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A Love Like War

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            Louis is getting ready for the last show of his European tour when Liam barges into his green room fuming with anger and a magazine Louis has never seen in his life in hands, waving it around and saying many words that Louis can’t distinguish, because he is a tad high and a lot drunk.


            “… And this is why you’re going on a break before recording your next  album whether you want it or not”, his manager finishes and shoves the magazine in Louis’ chest, before turning around and collecting bottles of beer, placing them on a table.

            Liam is the same age as Louis, although most of the time he acts like a forty year old – when Louis doesn’t like him very much. Yes, he has his moments; yes, they are friends; yes, Liam knows him better than the entire fucking world; yes, Louis loves him – but he doesn’t necessarily like him. Louis doesn’t like many people these days.

            When they first met, Louis was eighteen and had just signed his first real contract with a management company that had gotten him a great deal with a major label in the UK. Liam was an intern, still in uni and struggling to pay his bills, and Louis had related to him then.

            Now, at twenty five, seven years and four albums later, Liam has grown into an uptight, rich son of a bitch and Louis wishes he was a bit different, if only not to scold him so much all of the time.


            “What are you talking about, Liam?” He finally gives in and asks, looking down at the magazine that has Taylor Swift on the cover. He fucking hates her. Or has he hated fucking her? He does not remember. Hopes it’s not the latter.

            “Fucking read it, Louis”, the man replies and Louis does so, sitting down on the couch and trying to focus on those tiny, tiny letters.



            Recently The Royal Academy of Music decided to write pieces on new musicians and the effect they have on people’s music tastes – and lives. With a great group of renowned professors and dedicated students, the article promises to come with surprising names on it.

Truth be told, it was about time someone took today’s English music seriously enough to write about it. We just didn’t know it wouldn’t be a good review at all – especially for Louis Tomlinson, world-wide sensation that, for what we can tell, is listed as the most plastic singer of our time, and, we quote “is going through a boy-bander crisis without ever being a boy-bander”.


            “What?” Louis whispers and re-reads the last sentence.

            The article continues, but Louis decides not to read it, because they start talking about other artists he doesn’t care at all.

            “What the fuck is this and who the fuck wrote it?” He asks as angry as Liam was a couple of minutes ago, feeling a bit more sober now and sitting by his side.

            “I don’t know, the article hasn’t come out fully yet- only some people had access to it to generate a buzz, I guess.”

            “Well- they write bad things about me all the time, it’ll go away, yeah?” He tries to convince himself and Liam. He isn’t even lying. Louis has lost count of how many times people called him bad names throughout the years, he’s definitely got a thick skin.

            “This is The Royal Academy of Music, Louis”, Liam looks at him concerned. “If it hits Social Medias, it’s not gonna be good.”

            “I don’t wanna take a break, Liam”, Louis rolls his eyes and opens another Corona; he needs to get drunk again. “Now get me that cigarette over there, please”, he says and sags into the couch.

            Liam doesn’t reply; he doesn’t get him the cigarette either. He only gets up with his frustrated expression on the highest level and tells Louis they will talk when he decides to take his career seriously for once. Louis ignores him, of course he does, looks up to the ceiling and waits for the nicotine and alcohol to work on his blood again so he can go on stage in half an hour.

            Everything’s okay, he’s got it under control.




            The article comes out at the end of January, when Liam is far away with his girlfriend and their families, somewhere in South America, and Louis is alone at home with Netflix and pizza. (And a few other substances he uses whenever the night’s too tough to deal with.)

            Louis has some alerts set up on his phone to let him know what people are talking about him out there – not that he cares about what they say, he’s way past his phase, but since his manager is out, he promised he’d take a look at the articles every now and then.

            He pauses in the middle of a gangster film and opens The Royal Academy of Music’s website, because that is where the source pointed anyway.

            There are many names in there and many familiar ones listed, but Louis scrolls down until he finds his – it’s a link for a review on his first and his latest album as much as it is of his personality and who he is as an artist. There is a black and white picture of him and he scoffs at that, he can barely remember that photoshoot, but he remembers he hated it.

            He braces himself to start reading the long review ahead.



            Louis is livid. Actually losing his shit. Who the fuck does this… This Professor Harry Styles think he is to write these things about him? What now, just because he’s majored in music and works for the Royal Academy of Music he has the right to trash the last seven years of Louis’ life? He wants to murder this guy, but first he’ll check if his fan base isn’t doing it for him.

            The fan base Louis loves. The fan base Louis has not forgotten. The fan base he most definitely does not ignore.

            And then he goes on twitter. And then he realizes the last time he was online was to thank people for the birthday wishes… On the twenty-fourth of December. Okay, so maybe he hasn’t been that active. But he’s on a break (a forced one, but still a break).

            Louis has been working nonstop since the first day he signed his contract. He’s always doing something – whether it is touring the world, recording collaborations, attending parties or taking small parts on TV shows, because he acts a bit –, so all of his songs were written on the road, about things he saw happening, about how fickle this world is. They are somewhat genuine and the reviewer can shove it. God, Louis is so angry.

            (If Liam were here right now he’d tell him to not comment at all. He’d tell Louis to wait until somebody called his rep (meaning: Liam himself) asking for a comment and he’d tell Louis to lay low because he would handle it. But Liam isn’t here, now is he? No, Liam is probably tanning somewhere in Brazil, drinking caipirinhas and having lots of sex, while Louis is, for the first time in a long time, absolutely bothered with what he’s just read.

            So he just types a thank you message to the fans, telling them not to worry, because some sixty year old guy who reviews music instead of making it can’t be right.)

            It’s not even that he thinks the industry will stop caring about him or that his fans will suddenly realize some music expert is right, again: Louis is very rarely affected by what people think of him.

            His problem, right now, is that Professor Harry attacked his music. His problem is that the guy said he hasn’t evolved from his 18 year old self. His problem is that while everyone is trashing the guy now on social media, Billboard is agreeing with the Royal Academy of Music and pointing his flaws on twitter. His problem is that he doesn’t want to believe what he’s just read about himself… But he kinda does.

            And if there is one thing that Louis hates more than doubting himself, is doubting himself because of someone else’s words.

            Louis’ phone rings in his hand and he’s only half-startled by it.

            “You’ve already tweeted, great!” Liam says resigned, like he’s just seen it.

            “Well, the guy was a prick.” Louis replies not even hinting to be sorry. He isn’t.

            “And why is it so hard for you to let me do your damage control for once, Louis?” His manager whines on the phone; Liam might be a bit drunk, Louis reckons. He is too, so.

            “Always had some trouble biting me tongue”, he shrugs knowing Liam won’t see it anyway.

            “You’re proper pissed, aren’t you?

            “What gives?”

            “Your monotone voice”, Liam tells him. “It’s always worse when you’re not screaming.”

            “Maybe I just wanna match it with my monotone music…”


            “Don’t patronize me, Liam.” He cuts him off. “We’ll deal with this when you come back, yeah? I’ll stay away from social media if that’s what you want.” He offers.

            “No- it… It’ll be good to interact with fans, keep doing that, show’em you care. Just—I know Harry”, he finally says.


            “The guy who wrote the piece on you. I mean-- I didn’t know he worked for them- haven’t seen him in ages, but I know the name.”

            “He’s an idiot, clearly.” Louis states and an idea starts to form in his head. He cannot tell Liam about it, because chances are he’ll fly back to London just to stop him.

            “Let it go, it’s already out there anyway- I’ll call some people tomorrow.”

            “Yeah, yeah, whatever. I don’t care that you know him, can we hate him? I kinda hate him.” Louis goes for moral support and Liam chuckles on the other line.

            “Yeah, Lou. Yeah, we can hate him from afar.”

            They wrap up the conversation and Louis presses play on the movie again, promising himself he won’t think about this article anymore. Louis is fine: he’s got two more years of contract and he just knows they will renew it with him again and again and again, because he’s worth millions of pounds anyway; he’s about to start writing for his fifth album and the DVD of his latest tour will come out in a few months and sell brilliantly. Everything’s fine.


            He still wakes up angry on Monday. Partly because he forgot to turn on the heater the night before, partly because he wishes Harry Styles had been a little kinder and less dickish towards his work. So after a well-deserved, super-hot shower, Louis finds himself driving to Marylebone where The Royal Academy of Music is located. He isn’t being petty; he just wants to know why.

            Traffic’s not too bad and even though he needs to pay a toll, it’s still better than taking the underground and being recognized by at least five schoolgirls on their way to class. He hears his latest single on the radio and cringes at it, kind of hates it and turns it off, driving peacefully silent the rest of the way.



            “Excuse me- hm”, he clears his throat at the front desk. As it turns out, the place is fucking huge. Louis thought he’d be able to just barge into the man’s office and ask for some explanation, but, well, he’ll have to adjust.

            The blonde girl takes her eyes off of the computer screen and they widen with recognition as soon as they lay on Louis.

            “Oh, hi, good morning”, she says, only a hint of flirt in her voice. Louis snorts internally and kind of wishes he could, better, wanted to flirt back.

            “Morning, love”, he smiles. “Can you tell me where I can find Professor Harry Styles, please? I mean, is he even here today? Do you know him?” He asks as an afterthought. This place is so big that certainly not everyone knows everyone.

            “Yes, everyone knows Harry”, she smiles back, brighter than before.

            “Well then?”

            “He’s here, but—it’s almost lunchtime, he’s probably at the cafeteria now”, the blonde says as if this is any help. “I can take you there, if you’d like? D’you have an appointment with the Professor?”

            “No, hon, sorry. Just want a quick word, will that be possible?”

            “It’s up to him”, and she seems to do her best not to shrug now. “Come one, I’ll take you there. Cover for me, Danny?” She turns to the guy by her side and he nods, politely nodding at Louis as well as they walk away. “I’m Jade, by the way. I actually study here, but I needed some money and they were hiring…”

            “I get that”, he tells her.

            “Right.” Jade snorts. “You seem to be doing pretty well for yourself, Louis Tomlinson”, she says.

            “I was going to politely introduce myself you know?” He jokes as they walk. Everything around him is beautiful, balancing old and modern. She is lucky to be able to study at a place like this. Louis barely finished sixth form.

            “There’s still time…”

            “I’m Louis, nice to meet ya”, Louis laughs.

            “Any chance I get a photo with you or is this a pretty secret visit?”

            “Are you sure you want a picture with me? Won’t Professor Styles reprimand you for being a fan of such bad music?” He asks her and they both laugh. “Course you can.”

            They stop for five seconds so she can snap a picture on her phone. Louis doesn’t remember the last time he took a picture with a fan – and it’s either because he was too stoned to remember or because it’s actually been too freaking long. Neither option is good anyways so he does not dwell on it.

            Jade walks him for two more minutes and they finally reach an open area in the back of the college, where there are a few people chatting that pay no mind to them.

            “Over there”, she points to a table where two guys are talking animatedly. One of them must be Professor Harry and the other seems to be a student.

            Louis thanks her as politely as he’s been taught and makes his way to them, grateful that no one looks for too long or whispers where he passes by. It’s a nice feeling for once.


            He didn’t know how he’d approach the man, but thankfully he doesn’t have to, because the student notices his presence as soon as he stops by the table and smiles up at him – too much lips and too bright teeth; Louis can consider that a gorgeous smile (to match his gorgeous face, because fucking hell, that guy could sell out stadiums just with his looks and curls; he’ll get back on that later).

            “Louis Tomlinson”, the student says blinking rapidly at him.

            “Hi” he says back and hopes he doesn’t sound too dismissive. “Professor Styles, I was hoping I could have a word with you…?” Louis asks trying to contain his disgust for the white-haired man. I knew he was sixty.

            “And you intend to talk to me while looking at Professor Brown because…?” The younger man asks with a smirk on his face.

            “I- you are- but.” Louis is seldom speechless.

            Professor Brown laughs quietly and sips from what looks like orange juice.

            “Professor Harry Styles, very nice to meet you”, the man stands up and wow, okay, unfair. Because he is tall. Taller than Louis. He’s also kind of gorgeous all over, not just his stupid face.

            Harry Styles, who is most definitely not sixty, has mile long legs that are enveloped in the tightest pair of black, skinny jeans Louis has ever seen in his life (and that’s saying a lot, because Louis pairs are quite tight too), and defined torso and arms that are visible even though he’s wearing a thick brown sweater that matches his brown boots.

            The young man in question wears glasses, but they are positioned on his head, holding his long, curly hair back and his eyes are so, so green that Louis can only imagine if he’d be blinded by the spark on them were they in the sun. He tries not to check him out and fails miserably, and he gets his composure back a few seconds too late.

            “You’re a Professor? Seriously?” He asks completely thrown off balance.

            “I am.”

            “Well- we—we need to talk.”

            “It’s my lunchtime, and Professor Brown was telling me a delightful story about his wife and a violin…”

            “I’m pretty sure he can tell it later”, Louis responds. He’s not one to take sassiness from anybody. He’s the king of sass. “Can’t you, Professor Brown?” He turns to the older man again.

            “Dinner at my house tomorrow, Harry?” He asks. “Daisy’s going to love to see you; you can bring Ben, of course.”

            “Oh we-” Curly blushes. “We’re not- hm, together. Anymore. We. Yeah. I’d love too. If you’d have only me?” He asks in a completely different way from how he treated Louis and Louis watches the exchange absorbing the most important message of it all: Harry Styles is not straight. One more reason for him to keep his distance, clearly. He’ll just ask what he needs to know and go away. It’s a solid plan.

            “Sure thing, Harry.”

            “Bye then, Paul. Have a nice day”, he says and grabs his coat from behind the chair.

            “You too- tell Cami to work on her semibreves—they were a bit shaky on her last test.”

            “Will do, thank you”, he smiles one more time and then looks at Louis. “Shall we?” He asks leading the way. Louis hates to be bossed around, but complies with it and follows him anyway.


            It’s an endless, painful walk. Endless because the place is big, as it has been previously stated, and painful, because Harry (Louis refuses to refer to a guy who looks his age as a Professor) has an insistent smirk on his face, glancing furtive looks at Louis like he’s in on a joke Louis knows nothing about. Also, it’s painful because Louis struggles not to ogle his small bum when he’s a few steps ahead.

            Louis hates when this happens. He hates checking men out and he hates it even more when he can’t quite control whether he does it or not.

            Finally, after they bypass what it sounds like a choir room, Harry opens a wood door to what seems to be his office.

            The space is broad and still cozy; it has a piano, a guitar and a violin in display – Louis wonders if he plays all three instruments. It also has a huge, comfy-looking sofa and a desk, which is by an enormous window that faces a garden. There are a few pictures on the walls – pretty ones, if Louis says so himself – and a bookcase very well organized.

            “Welcome to my office”, Harry says and closes the door as soon as Louis enters.

            “Was expecting more”, Louis lies. “I mean, for someone with so much shit to say, I’d hope you’d have more trash bins around…”

            “That is extremely impolite and I can forget it if you want to start again…” He says furrowing his brows.

             “And why would I be polite with you?” He asks kind of exasperate, struggling not to laugh out of nervousness, suddenly remembering all of the things Harry said about him.

            “If I were older, would you be less of a prick? Or it doesn’t matter because you’re too bitten about what I wrote?” Harry asks and sits down on his own couch. “You can sit, by the way.”

            “I’d rather stand.”

            “Fine by me”, he shrugs. “So, what do you want?”

            “I—” Louis thinks. “I can’t believe you’re this young. How are you even a Professor? Shouldn’t you be in uni still?”

            “First of all, I’ll have you known that the average age for completion of a Ph.D. degree is around twenty-six in the UK, which I intend to achieve. Second of all, I finished uni at 22, at which time I was already working here as an assistant, because I am that good and had already published some articles when I was still a student.” He points to a few magazines on the table, probably the ones in which his articles were published.

            The most recent one Louis knows pretty well. He wants to shred that.

            “Now that I hope I’ve gotten your prejudice with my age out of the way… What do you want?”

            “How old are you?” Louis asks, still wanting to punch him. He can’t be gorgeous and have brains and be so young and- Damn.

            “Twenty-four today”, he replies.

            “Today’s your birthday?” Louis is incredulous.

            “And you interrupted my birthday lunch, so. What does rock-star Louis Tomlinson need from me?” Harry claps and props one leg under his bum, sitting sideways on the couch before Louis can ask why Harry was having his birthday lunch at work with a guy who is probably triple his age.

            And… How does he move underneath these clothes?

            “Why did you write that about me?” He finally asks him. “I mean, it would’ve made sense if you were old and rejected current music, but you’re- you’re supposed to get it.” Louis frowns.

            “Now, that’s just ridiculous”, Harry cackles. “I do not reject current music, Louis. Old people do not reject current music. We, at the academy, just don’t like bad music, which’s what you’ve been doing.”

            “How- how d’you even- music is personal.”

            “Lyrics are personal. Music is a science”, he argues.

            “Well, you trashed my lyrics too.”

            “They’re bad lyrics.” The other man says dismissively.

            “People relate to them Harry, isn’t that what music is supposed to do?” Louis doesn’t risk raising his voice, but man does he want it!

            “Yeah, but do you?”

            “I wrote them!”

            “And that makes it even worse- how—are you really proud of them?”

            It hurts. A lot.

            “Well I-”

            “Shit”, Harry curses under his breath.

            “That was mean”, is what Louis ends up saying. “But then again you wrote a mean article, so I should’ve expected it.”

            “I’m not a mean person, I just… I judged what I listened to, okay?” He explains. “And what I listened was a bunch of bad bridges and repetitive chorus, too much auto-tune in your voice that didn’t translate those words. Except that sad one—about not falling in love... Terrible things, is it?”

            Louis thinks for a second.

            “So, let me get this straight, the only song you liked in all of my four albums was the one about my now dead father telling me about my then dead mother?” He asks and Harry nods, seeming unaffected. “Why?”

            “It’s the only genuine one; your voice is clear in that song and—”

            “My voice breaks in that song, Harry”, Louis tells him and finally flops down by his side. “It’s why I never perform it live.”

            “Your voice breaks because you feel. Because it’s genuine. It’s not bad, it’s emotional.”

            “Tell that to my label”, he snorts.

            “They made you into—this. But you could’ve changed by now and you didn’t. This is what the article is about, you know? All of the articles, not only the one we wrote on you”, Harry explains again, patiently. “We get it, it’s hard to make it in this world and you guys need to fit the pop industry for a while there… But you’re established enough to change and you just… Don’t.”

            “Keep the praises coming”, he laughs bitterly. Deep down, he wants to know where this is going.

            Harry pauses for a while and then speaks again. Louis doesn’t like the way Harry makes him feel about himself at this moment.

            “What is culture to you, Louis?  When you think about music culture, what comes to your mind?”

            “You mean classic music? We can’t all make classic music, Harold, it’s boring!” He argues.

            “First of all, classic music is divine, not boring. Secondly, my name isn’t Harold.” Harry corrects him.

            “Nice to know you care more about music than your own name…” Louis teases.

            “I care more about music than I care about most things in life; it’s why I’m here. And I’m guessing it’s why you’re here too. So tell me.”

            For that, Louis doesn’t need to think much. The names of his favorite bands come to mind in a heartbeat.

            “The Beatles. The Police. The Rolling Stones. U2.” He’s a big fan of The Script, but he doesn’t dare put them in the same category as the others.

            “They’ll live forever, won’t they?” Harry asks again like he’s explaining to a fourth grader instead of a twenty five year old man. Louis nods. “They are fixated culture. Fifty years from now, they’ll still be remembered.” Louis couldn’t agree more. “Will you?”

            “I don’t know, I’ll have to wait and see it, won’t I?”

            “No, Louis, trust me, you won’t”, he sounds frustrated. “You have potential, yeah, but you’re- like, rotating culture. You work for this generation, but they’re just waiting for the next big thing.”

            “My music isn’t authentic enough, it’s what you’re saying.”

            “Your music isn’t authentic enough.” Harry states.

            “Thanks, Harry”, Louis says and gets up. He was expecting this Professor to be some kind of a jerk, and he still thinks Harry is a jerk, but he wasn’t expecting to be even more affected by his words in person than he was by the ones on the article.

            Louis has a lot of thinking to do.

            “Look, I’m sorry, okay?” Harry says getting up as well. “I don’t know everything, but this is what I study—this is what I’ve been studying for years, Louis. Your songs all blend into one and your lyrics are-”

            “Fuck you, honestly!” Louis loses it. “You don’t know me. How do you even know I don’t relate to them?”

            “Have you ever even had sex with a girl, Louis?”

            “What does that have to do with this conversation?” He asks completely outraged.

            “You have tons of songs about sex- and they’re just awkward like you don’t enjoy it at all, isn’t familiar with enjoying it. So you’re either very bad at it or in the closet and no one’s showed you properly how good it is.” Harry finishes.

            “This is very invasive, Professor Harry Styles”, Louis responds. He could have him sued. “What a fucking waste of my-”

            “You are in the closet, aren’t you?” Harry then asks. “Fuck”, he chuckles. “You’re trouble, Louis Tomlinson.”

            “You’re a dick.”

            “You like dicks, so.”

            “You go around assuming everyone’s sexualities?” Louis spits.

            “Only when they’re good looking rock-stars that check me out whenever they think I’m not paying attention”, Harry answers cheekily.

            “Okay, I’m outta here”, because he’s had enough. “You can take your article and shove it up your ass, and I’ll go back to my loaded bank account and my enormous fan base, which I love, by the way, and keeps on growing.”

            “Hey, if that does it for you”, Harry raises both of his hands defensively and walks towards the door. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Louis.”

            “Wish I could say the same”, he replies offering him a brittle.

            “Oh, by the way…” Harry calls before he goes. “I’d rather have other things shoved up my ass, although I often prefer the other way around”, he blinks.

            “Happy freaking birthday”, Louis says and walks out of that room.




            It takes two more weeks for Liam to arrive, because as his family came back to England, he and Sophia – his now fiancé – decided to spend Carnival in Rio de Janeiro; fuck them, really. But when he gets back what he finds isn’t much different from what he left: Louis on a couch with spliffs around him and now an empty bottle of vodka. He isn’t even paying attention to the TV, but makes Liam ring the doorbell for at least two minutes before he gets up and walks towards the door.

            He stumbles a bit on his way and struggles to fit the right key to unlock the door, but when he finally manages it, he’s faced with a way too tanned Liam – or maybe three of him.

            “You’re drunk”, is the first thing he says when he sees Louis.

            “I missed you too, Lima bean!” Louis salutes him and smiles big, saying the words a bit louder than necessary.

            “Hello, idiot”, his friend smiles and hugs him. “Shower, now. Gonna make coffee, we got work to do.”

            “Soooo serious always Leeeyuumm.” He rolls his eyes and turns around, grabbing a floor lamp for support and almost knocking it over. “What work?”

            “The article? Remember? You have two radio interviews- one of them is American.”

            “Ain’t I on a break? Break means no interviews”, Louis whines and draws a no in the air with his finger.

            “Just those two, so other people have something to work with”, one of the Liams in front of him reasons. “Shower. Now.”

            Louis listens to him and goes to the bathroom. Liam is probably the only person that gets in his nerves but also convinces him to do stuff – maybe it’s some long-life bond. Go figure.


            After 15 minutes and the water going cold, Louis steps out of his bathroom and into the bedroom, lying on the bed enveloped on two towels and in desperate need of a nap.

            One day, in the future, Louis is going to tell Liam how much he loves him and how thankful he is for having him, because when he wakes up again it’s dark and he’s wearing joggers and a jumper, he’s under the covers and Liam is still there, by his side, scrolling calmly on his tablet waiting for Louis to speak.

            “Coffee’s cold, but it’ll do its job”, he says when he notices Louis is still a bit lost and then hands him the cup.

            Louis sips from it and “argh, I hate this”, he voices hoarsely. His voice’s always shit after he drinks too much and goes straight to sleep without having tea (or hot coffee) and water afterwards.

            “Did you put me in these?” He then asks, referring to his clothes.

            “I’ve seen your dick too many times already, I swear to God”, Liam chuckles.

            “Yeah, yeah. Thanks.” Louis replies and sits up. “So, congratulations are in order then…”

            “Thank you”, Liam smiles sheepishly and scratches his neck. He always does that whenever he’s nervous or shy. Or both. “Louis, are you okay?” He asks knowing he won’t get an answer. Still. He asks.

            “I’m paying for your wedding”, is what Louis replies.

            “No way.”

            “Yes way. It’ll be my gift. Just—just give my credit card to Soph, yeah?”

            “You don’t have to do that.”

            “I know. I want to”, he shrugs. “Plus, I need to soften you before you lecture me on drinking and smoking every single day for the past month…” Louis chuckles. “And then you’ll scold me even more when I tell you that I went to talk to this Harry Styles…”

            “You- WHAT?” He’s alarmed. Yeah, Louis imagined he would be.

            “But, strangely, there was no repercussion—no one wrote anything about it, so”, he says dismissively. “They only wrote about me going out twice after the article, and both times I was buying frozen food and alcohol.”

            “I’ve already told you, you can have someone bring this stuff in for you—I’ve lost count of how many articles exist out there about you having an alcohol addiction…” Louis knows where this is going, so he doesn’t respond.

            You see, Liam is sure Louis is an alcoholic. But Louis isn’t. He can go a couple of days without it if he puts his mind to it, he just doesn’t see a reason to, and so he doesn’t put much effort in it. Alcohol is liquid – Louis needs liquids. Win win.

            “So… You met Harry.” He states then.

            “He’s not sixty”, Louis responds and Liam frowns.

            “I never told you he was sixty…”

            “I assumed.”

            “Only you, Louis…” Liam smiles. “Nah, we went to school together, when my family moved to Holmes Chapel, and then we went to uni together… He was a good friend, we had plans to continue being friends, but life took us to different paths…”

            “’S why the internet’s there, dear Liam!” Louis jokes and his friend shrugs, pointing he doesn’t exactly want to talk about it so Louis lets it go. “Hey, when are my interviews?”

            “One’s tomorrow, the other is next week—figure we’d keep the buzz going”, he says. “Your fans seem pleased you were online recently”, Liam goes into manager mode, hinting that Louis should do that more often. “You should do that more often”, he then proceeds to voice these thoughts. Louis snorts. “It doesn’t hurt to tweet, Lou.”

            “There’s nothing to tweet about, Liam.”

            “You can tweet about your charities!” He suggests like it’s a brilliant idea. For some people, maybe.

            “So what? They’ll say I’m just trying to gain sympathy which would actually be true and I- that’s not why I do charity.” And… Louis also doesn’t know exactly why he does it.

            Of course he is very rich, to the point where he doesn’t know what to do with his money anymore because there’s just too much of it and no family to spend it on, no friends to spoil and no personal desires to fulfil. At first, charity was the obvious choice: every celebrity does it, right?

            Nowadays, though, Louis finds himself caring more than he did a couple of years ago, when he started. He’s met with the kids a few times, but it’s been a long while if he says so himself – mostly because he was nine months on tour during 2015, but also because in order to play with them, he’d need to wear less eyeliner, brush his hair and not smell like a mixture of Heineken and Marlboro.

            He still thinks it’s important to donate, though. Most of those kids really need all the money they can get, and he every now and then checks how they’re doing on the love-department as well (thankfully all of them have parents or representatives of parents around)… Even if they’re all probably going to die soon, which is the saddest part and one of the reasons Louis fights Liam every time he wants to make this public.

            “Tweet about football. Celebrity Big Brother. Tea. Whatever. Answer a few questions, show you care…”

            “I’ll do better, promise”, he says as a means to finish this conversation. “Also—d’you still have that Niall guy’s number?”

            “The Irish song-writer?” Liam asks. Louis doesn’t know why he asks when he already knows, but Liam is the kind of person who always needs to triple-check everything. He just nods. “Probably. Why?”

            “I wanna collab with him- for my next album. Can we make this happen?”

            “You only need to start thinking about your next album two months from now. You’re only going back to the studio in May- plus, you said he was shit.” He points.

            Niall Horan is good, actually, which is probably why Louis hated him at first: he could write about things, feelings that Louis couldn’t. He isn’t famous, he doesn’t care about being famous and he uses pseudonyms to make sure he stays not famous.

            “He’s different. I wanna try something different”, he shrugs.

            “Is it because of the article? Lou, you don’t need to make music you’re not comfortable with because Harry said it isn’t good.”

            “Do you think it’s good, Liam?” Louis asks him.

            If he thinks hard enough, he’s sure he can remember Liam criticizing his first album when it came out, but he doesn’t want to.

            “I like it, Louis. But most importantly, your fans love it.”

            “Do they love it or do they love me?” He retorts with a question. Liam’s speechless. “They like me, therefore they listen to my music and they buy it—but for once I’d like them and other people to like my work before they like me as a person”, Louis confesses and leaves out the fact that most of the time he doesn’t understand why they like him as a person. He isn’t a very good one.

            “You shouldn’t have been this affected by an article- shit.”

            “I’m not, I just- I wanna do better, I don’t know.”

            Deep down, Louis wants to find out if he can do better, because he isn’t entirely sure of it.

            “I can call Niall, of course- we can set up a meeting for the first week of May, yeah?” Liam offers him a small smile. Louis nods and smiles too, getting up to order some pizza.




            For the next week Louis’ job is to stay sober. He does the radio interview the next day and he sets up a new record: he’ll stay sober until, at least, the next radio interview on the other week.

            He slips twice and has a few beers at dinner with Sophia and Liam on the weekend – when he himself gives her one of his credit cards, because Liam was pretending he had never offered (Liam hates taking things from Louis – “you already pay me a salary, stop spoiling me”) –, but, apart from that (that meaning he was driven home because he wasn’ stable enough to drive), everything went okay.

            It’s been two weeks now, though, and he didn’t know this break would be so fucking hard. Maybe it’s nice for people who have lots of friends to go out with and travel, maybe backpack somewhere unusual, but for Louis it just means the same old walls from his apartment and binge watching more TV shows than he can remember the name.

            For a world-famous person, it’s a weird, very weird life, the one he lives. It’s not that Louis doesn’t know people – hell knows he’s acquainted with at least sixty percent of Hollywood and London’s high society. He’s got connections in fashion and in music, of course. Even on TV. But those are—what were the words Harry used? oh Rotational. Those are rotational friends. Louis can’t see himself being friends with them fifty years from now and he sure as hell can’t see himself spending more than a few hours with them nowadays either.


            His soberness is lost when he starts thinking about what the fuck is so wrong with him that people never stayed in his life. Or, better yet, why he never stayed in other people’s lives.

            It’s easy to say that people always leave, because it’s 100% accurate. Louis happens to be one of them and he can say, first hand, that he isn’t better off because he is the one doing the leaving, especially because of the reasons he never allows himself to stay. He doesn’t think about that often and, when he does, it’s because he’s on his seventh beer.


            On the ninth beer, he calls Liam. It’s nine pm on a Friday, so of course his manager doesn’t pick up. He tries three more times, just to be sure, but it’s a lost cause already. He then decides to do some writing, but he can’t hold the pen, because his vision is blurred and so is his mind.

            Everything is blurred and everything is spinning and he is quite sure that if he moves from the kitchen floor right now he’ll fall down and hurt all over, so he just folds himself against the stove and closes his eyes, praying that his back doesn’t hurt too much when he wakes up.

            If anybody ever found him there, what a great headline that would provide!




            Lou, talked to Niall and scheduled a meeting, he says he’s excited to work with you and he’ll be in town in two weeks – we should hang out and schedule studio hours and everything together... Dinner at mine or pub for pints? It rhymed!

            Have a nice weekend, mate.


            Louis reads Liam’s email first thing in the morning when his mouth’s still dry and his back is most definitely killing him and even if he’s feeling bad, physically, he manages a small smile – a cautious one. Louis is cautious about everything, but mainly about being happy. Happiness is a feeling that is very easily shattered and Louis can’t quite handle things breaking around him anymore – not like he used to, anyway.

            He’s still hangover when he goes out for breakfast (after brushing his teeth and changing his clothes) and he allows himself to play how the conversation with the lad will go, which brings him to another internal debate, one he’s been avoiding since his conversation with Liam: how does one simply make good music out of the blue after seven years doing the same thing? What is considered good music?


            He calls Harry. Well, not Harry. He calls The Royal Academy of Music after doing a quick research on google, typing with one hand and holding a mocha latte with the other.

            “Hi, I’d like to talk to Harry Styles?” He kind of asks.

            “I’m sorry, sir, Professor Styles is not in on Saturdays…” The guy voices.

            “Oh, hm- could I- could I have his number?”

            “I’m sorry again, sir, but we’re not allowed to disclosure Professors’ personal information…” He says politely. “He’ll be here first thing on Monday, maybe then…?”

            “Yeah, yeah, sure. Thanks.” Louis says a bit crestfallen and doesn’t do much for the rest of the weekend, doing some research on the Academy and reading the other articles the professors wrote on some other artists.

            He wasn’t the only one who got criticized, but he definitely took one of the hardest hits, which only makes him even more invested in doing better now. He still kind of wants Harry to go to hell with all of his musical-superiority, but when he enters The Academy on Monday afternoon, being annoyingly papped as he does so, he’s also a bit more open to hear what he has to say – that is, if the guy doesn’t act like an asshole. Louis has an asshole quota in his life that he fills all by himself, he doesn’t need another one.


            It isn’t the Jade girl on the front desk this time; apparently she’s from the morning shift and is only there until one pm. Instead, he’s faced with an older lady that has a kind look on her face but shows toughness when she tells him that he can’t go into Harry’s office without scheduling an appointment.

            “But I called!” He argues. “No one said I had to schedule a damn- sorry- hm, anything”, he says.

            “Well, dear, I can see if he’s out of class and willing to talk to you… What’s your name again?”

            And. Louis doesn’t expect everyone to know who he is, he isn’t that smug, but it’s weird when people don’t recognize his face these days.

            “Louis Tomlinson”, Louis tells her and she nods unimpressed, picking up the phone.

            “Harry, my love!” She says with clear affection in her voice. She smiles a bit too. “You’re not in class, good! There is a young man here who claims to be Louis Tomlinson that wants to speak to you, but I don’t know if he is the real one…” Well, at least she knows who he is, just not what he looks like. Louis is secretly a bit more pleased.

            “Hm, lemme see” the lady studies him. “Smaller than you, for sure. Blue eyes. Wants me to think he’s better than everyone else…” Louis frowns at that. What? “Definitely him, dear.  I’ll send him in”, she smiles and hangs up the phone.

            Louis wants to protest that he absolutely does not think he is better than everyone. Or anyone. She definitely doesn’t know him. Harry doesn’t either. He shouldn’t be surprised or hassled by their conclusion, so he ends up saying nothing. Maybe things are getting under his skin too easily – he keeps in mind to ask his dealer for something other than just marijuana next time he calls him; Louis is never hassled when he’s floating.


            “Harry says you can go in, d’you know the way?”

            “I-hm, I think I can remember, yeah”, he tells her. “Thank you”, Louis tries his kindest smile and she’s only half impressed.

            The woman doesn’t respond and Louis nods, making his way into the hall on the right.

            When he went to Harry’s office exactly three weeks ago, he was going from the cafeteria, so it takes him almost fifteen minutes to locate himself around the place and get to the right room.

            It isn’t a bad walk, though. Louis goes around admiring the architecture but also listening to some people that are still in their classrooms. He can hear voices singing but he can also hear cellos and what sounds like acoustic guitars as he walks by each room.

            There aren’t many people in the hallways – he figures it’s late enough that most of them have already gone home or to their dorms, but the few that he passes by recognize him, and he tries and keeps a low profile. Louis is never the first one to talk to people wherever he goes, it doesn’t really matter if they’re fans or not.

            He knocks twice and the door opens almost immediately.

            “Took you long enough”, Harry says.

            “Seems like you were eagerly waiting for me by the door…” Louis responds and lets himself in, hearing the soft click of the door when Harry closes it behind them, much like he did the first time.

            “Don’t flatter yourself, I was actually going out, thought you’d given up.”

            “This place’s just pretty big”, he defends himself and Harry laughs a bit, nodding and agreeing with him.

            Harry looks different today. Louis didn’t want to notice, but, once again, it’s not like he’s got much control over this kind of thing; he just kinda… Notices it. Him.

            The professor is still wearing skin-tight jeans, but today his boots are black – very shiny, but not sparkly, they just look brand-new. He’s not wearing a button up this time; instead, he has a loose grey shirt on that is a bit too informal for this place.

            None of that is what throws Louis off balance, though. When they met, Harry had his long hair falling onto his shoulders, but now he’s got them up on a loose bun with few curls escaping it. And he is wearing his glasses.

            Professor Harry Styles is a freaking view at this moment – one Louis only admires from afar and for very few seconds.

            “You get used to it”, Harry shrugs pulling him out of his thoughts. “So, what do you want?” He asks.

            If it were anyone else saying it, it could’ve seemed either smug or plain rude, but Harry asks with genuine curiosity, and Louis makes himself comfortable on that huge sofa once again.

            “I’m still trying to understand how you’re a professor being so damn young…” Louis confesses even though this is not why he is here.

            “I’m good, Louis”, Harry shrugs and laughs hoarsely. “I finished high school early, started and finished uni early… I’m actually working on my PhD right now.”

            “You’re kidding me”, Louis scoffs.

            “I’m not.”

            “In what?”

            “Music education”, the curly one replies easily. “As much as I love it here, I’ve always wanted to work with kids who are into classic music, because it gets pretty boring when you start that early on, and I think it’s important to know how to handle them and make them love it as much as I do…” He tells him. “By the time I’m twenty-six I’ll be able to start doing that, I hope.”

            Harry says it and then shakes his head as if he shouldn’t have spoken so much. It took him longer than the average human would’ve taken to say those few words, but Louis didn’t mind.

            “I ramble a lot”, Harry kind of apologizes.

            “’S okay”, Louis finds himself saying. “Have you always loved it? Music, I mean.”

            “Always, but my sister played a major role in what I chose to do with my life…”

            “How so?”

            Harry eyes him suspiciously like he doesn’t understand why Louis is so interested in his interest for music and if Louis is being truthful, he doesn’t quite know either, but he just nods encouraging him to continue speaking. Harry sits across from him on an armchair before he starts talking again.

            “Gemma’s always loved classic music and bugged mom to take us places, since we were little—as a kid she’d prefer to stay home and watch the Orchestra on TV than cartoons and stuff, and I looked up to her so much that I wound up loving it too.” Harry kind of travels somewhere else when while tells his story, Louis watches as he goes. “Got my first guitar at fourteen and it was love at first sight”, he chuckles.

            “Where’s Gemma now?”

            “She plays violin at the London Symphony Orchestra.”

            “You’re shitting me!”

            “No”, he laughs. “She’s the youngest there too… But she is very, very good. Always nagging me about my violin skills.”

            “How many instruments do you play?” Louis is doing his best to not turn this into an inquisition.

            “A few”, Harry answers sheepishly. “She masters one of the most difficult ones, though, so—don’t know, I think it’s more impressive.” He pauses. “What about you?”

            “Me? Oh. Hm. Guitar, electric guitar and the piano…”

            “The p- when I researched you there was no—you play the piano?” Harry asks perplexed and Louis nods while he ruffs out a laugh. “Why does no one know that?”

            “My songs don’t allow me to play it, now do they?” He asks and sounds only a little bit bitter. “It’s something I like to keep to myself, ‘s all.”

            “You seem to keep many things to yourself”, Harry hints.

            “Do not go there”, Louis warns him and turns cold immediately. Harry notices it and averts his gaze, clearing his throat and waiting for Louis to speak again. “What makes music good for you? What do you listen to? Apart from classic stuff.”

            “Lots of things”, he replies. “From Ed Sheeran to Beyoncé.”

            “I know Ed!” He’s one of the few people in the industry that Louis, on his good days, would consider having in his life fifty years from now.

            “Yeah, me too”, Harry rolls his eyes. “He’s- Gemma kind of, hm, slept with him? Once or twice? We all went out for drinks, made a fool of myself of course because he had just released a new album and it was the only thing I’d been listening for weeks…”

            Louis laughs. He quite likes the idea of Harry acting like a fan boy. Okay, focus.

            “What makes Ed’s music so good, then?”

            He tries not to sound jealous and he doesn’t know if he accomplishes it, but Harry is kind enough to not point it and answers him.

            “It’s authentic”, he says simply. “It’s simple and it’s authentic and the way he handles the guitar is insane—he’s got some runs that Jesus. Plus, some of his lyrics speak to me- like, on a personal level.”

            “And mine don’t.”

            It slips before he can control himself and Harry looks into his eyes for the first time in a long time half alarmed. His intention was not to hurt Louis and Louis knows that, isn’t even hurt per se, just kind of disappointed in himself.

            When he was younger, he had a vision of what his life would turn out in case he ever made it. Now he’s made it and it’s 80% of what he imagined it’d be – most people would consider this a success. For Louis, it just proves how dumb and naïve someone is at 15 when they start thinking about becoming famous. Granted, back then he still had his dad, but. Things change. He should’ve adjusted and he didn’t. Now here he is.

            “It’s why I’m here”, Louis rushes to say before Harry apologizes. He knows he was going to. “I want your help.”

            “Are you sure validation isn’t the right word?” Harry frowns. “Because, Louis, my professional opinion won’t change just because you’re being nice.”

            “I don’t want your professional opinion on my work to change. I wanna do better work, so you and everybody else can have a new opinion”, he states simply.

            “You- what?”

            “Look, Harry, I don’t care about much in life nor do I have much in life that is actually worth caring about. Do not give me a speech, it is what it is and I’m okay with that. But-” he pauses. “I do care about music. My music. And I want it to live. There’s only one thing worse than being dead, and that is being forgotten. I wanna leave something good here and I don’t know if I can, but I’m kind of invested in finding out.”


            “So. Will you help me? I can pay you, of course; can have my manager ask the lawyers to draw up a contract and whatnot…”

            He’d tell Harry that his manager is Liam Payne and ask if he remembers him, but he doesn’t want the Professor’s decision to be biased.

            “How would I help you?”

            “Anyway you could…” Louis offers. “You’re clearly qualified and not nearly as stupid as the people I usually work with, so—whatever you have to- like, teach me—I’m up for it.”

            “Can I think about it?” Harry questions him and for the first time tonight Louis can see the tiredness in his face.

            Although still very handsome, Harry’s got purple circles around his eyes and seems to be in need of a lot of sleep.

            Louis nods and Harry seems to even breathe better.

            “Ok, hm- can I have your phone contact? And I’ll call you once I’ve made a decision?” Harry asks standing up and Louis understands it as it’s time for you to leave, so he does the same. “I’m not being an ass on purpose I just- with the PhD and the teaching thing… It’s just really hard to manage time and I need to check my schedule.” It seems that there’s some other reason behind those two, but Louis doesn’t point it and just goes along with Harry’s answer.

            “It’s fine, mate, don’t worry”, Louis tells him and takes Harry’s phone from his hand, typing his number. “Here, you can save me as the one who wants to evolve”, he snorts.

            “Gonna save you as Lou for now, if that’s okay”, Harry smiles at him and Louis smiles back. Control your damn face, his brain tells him. “I’m big on nicknames”, Harry shares as an afterthought. Louis doesn’t buy it.

            “Yeah, whatever”, he dismisses it. “Thank you for your time, Harry”, Louis tells him and moves to leave.

            “How did you get here?” Harry asks. “Did you drive?”

            “Nah, took a cab, I drank a few beers earlier- it’s never a good idea to mix those two.”

            Louis drank lots of beer after lunch, to say the truth. And then smoked some weed. He was starting to sober up when he came here, but the idea of this conversation going wrong also brought I’m gonna drink afterwards feelings, so he thought it’d be better if he didn’t drive at all. If anything, Louis is a responsible addict. Not that he is an addict, not at all.

            “Smart”, Harry points. “I can give you a lift, if you’d like, I’m going home myself now…”

            Yeah, a car with Harry... Not gonna happen. He can’t be getting any ideas for the sake of his own mind and body.

            It’s a bad thing, and he’s sort of aware of it, but anytime Louis starts to pay too much attention to a guy, he finds a girl to be his next girlfriend. He doesn’t like it much, but he doesn’t mind the sex – much, also. He doesn’t want to go through the emotional distress of handling a relationship right now, so he just avoids paying attention to any guy at all.

            It may seem counterproductive to ask Harry to help him, in this circumstance, but he figures that, with time, he’ll stop being so mesmerized by his sight and handle it a lot better. One day, for sure. Today is not that day yet.

            “Thanks, I still got a few things to do and I’m sure they’re out of your way.”

            “No, I can-”

            “Thank you, Harry, that’s very kind of you. Bye”, he says and then leaves the room, less smoothly than he intended to, but, as he said: it is what it is.


            At ten pm, when Louis has given up on being productive and curled up in bed with a book he’s always wanted to read and some really hot tea, he gets a text from an unknown number confirming that yes, he will be able to help Louis – mainly on weekends, but they can make it work.

            Absentmindedly, Louis saves it as Hazz. Maybe he’s big on nicknames too.



Chapter Text




            When Harry told Louis he was a very busy person, he wasn’t lying. It takes them two weeks to be able to sit down and talk, but it ends up working pretty well, because it’s just enough time for Liam to ask the lawyer to draw up a contract for Harry to sign.

            Liam is happier than he’s showing, Louis is sure. Throughout these past weeks in which Louis has only been texting Harry what is extremely necessary, every time he mentions the Professor to his manager Liam seems to light up a bit, but when Louis asks he just says Harry reminds him of a great time in his life.

            “Does he know I am me?” Liam asks for the hundredth time this afternoon.

            It’s three pm and they’re at a café near Harry’s workplace because it was better for him, and since neither Louis nor Liam had other commitments, they had no trouble coming here.

            The great part of it all is that apart from the infrastructure – that reassembles any other café in the UK –, this place is nothing like a Starbucks or Costa or anything famous and well attended. Instead, it’s a hipster hole and Louis is fifty percent certain Harry is a regular. Oh God, what has he gotten himself into?

            “No, Li- I’m just gonna pretend I didn’t know you two knew each other if that’s fine”, Louis rolls his eyes and orders a chocolate brownie. “Hey, love, is that a special brownie?” He asks because you can never be too sure.

            “No, sir”, the girl blushes.

            “Well, that’s a shame”, he shrugs. “I’ll take it anyway… And whatever he’s having”, he nods towards Liam.

            They place their orders and proceed to the second floor – this place has a second floor! Louis can hardly believe it – where Harry’s supposed to be already.

            “You can’t ask this kind of thing around, Tommo”, his manager and friend hisses while they climb the stairs, reprimanding Louis again for asking for illicit substances while in public.

            “They write stuff ‘bout me anyway, why should I care?” He rolls his eyes.

            “I’m not gonna lecture you on your image ag-Harry Styles, hi” Liam says cheerfully.

            “Liam Payne! Is that you?” Harry asks in the same tone as Liam and it’s the happiest Louis has seen him since they met.

            “Hey, man”, Liam smiles and hugs him once Harry’s standing up. “Small world, this one we live in”, he chuckles.

            “You tell me”, Harry says and then turns to Louis, his smile still as big as ever, dimples on display. Oh Lord, he has dimples, Louis cries inside. “Hi, Louis.”

            “Harry”, he forces out a smile. “Glad to know you guys know each other.”

            Liam snorts but nods anyway and they sit around the small round table Harry was already at.

            “Liam was captain of the football team, everybody knew him”, Harry tells Louis. Louis knew that already, has played enough footie with Liam himself.

            “Harry was the ladies men, or so they thought.” Liam turns to Louis. Okay. That he didn’t know. “But then he started dating Ben and the girls lost their hopes… You guys still together by any chance?”

            “No”, Harry blushes and looks down. “Broke up less than two months ago, actually.”

            “Oh, H! I’m so sorry. What happened?” Liam frowns seeming really concerned.

            Did Harry like this guy a lot? Louis finds himself being an outsider. A curious outsider.

            “We wanted different things”, he explains.

            “People always want different things, it doesn’t mean they can’t be together”, Louis interferes. He clearly should’ve kept his mouth shut because he knows absolutely nothing about relationships, but he spoke up anyways.

            Liam nudges him under the table and Harry eyes him for a few seconds before replying.      

            “Yeah, but sometimes… Sometimes the differences are too big. I could never be with someone who doesn’t want kids, for example.”

            “But he-” Liam starts.

            “He changed his mind”, Harry shrugs. “And maybe I didn’t love him as much as I thought I did, because I got over it the next week, so.”

            “That’s good”, his manager chuckles. “Well then, we can keep catching up later- on how your family is doing and all that--- for now”, he puts some papers on the table, “contracts”.

            “Right”, Harry sits a bit straighter. “I still don’t know what you want from me to be honest”, he tells Louis.

            “Just your help, really”, Louis repeats to him. “I’m going back to the studio in May, with a new producer—he writes too, nice Irish lad. But till then I’d like to write some stuff and being on a break is killing me.”

            “Almost literally”, Liam interjects and Louis makes a show of rolling his eyes one more time.

            “… Anyway, I thought weekly meetings could do?” Louis continues.

            “We drew up a pretty simple contract…” Liam starts again with the business talk. “We’ll pay you per hour the same amount we’d pay a songwriting coach and yo-”

            “Wait, wait”, Harry stops him. “I don’t want money for this.”

            “We’re legally obligated to give you money even if you don’t want it…” Liam explains.

            “Which you’d be stupid not to, because it’s good money”, Louis blinks. He realizes he’s way more excited today and it’s maybe due to the fact that he hasn’t drunk any alcohol. Yet.

            “It’s just- what if it doesn’t work?” Harry asks and frowns, suddenly seeming more interested in his cuppa than in the conversation. Is it possible that he’s lost some of his confidence? “I mean, what if I’m no help at all?”

            “What d’you mean?” Louis snorts. “You had a lot to say about me, so the least you can do is live up to the I’m pretty good at what I do, Louis narrative.”

            “I am”, he affirms. “And what I do is teach how to sing, how to read a music sheet- not—not this. Whatever this is.”

            “Well, I’m trusting you here, mate”, Louis says.

            “Right, moving on…” Liam continues. “We’ll also need you to sign a NDA for every time you see Louis in any capacity.”

            “Why?” Harry asks.

            “Because we can’t risk anything about him getting out.”

            “You mean the—” Harry starts but refrains from saying it as soon as he sees the panic Louis is in. At least Louis supposes it’s what stops him, because the minute Harry opens his mouth Louis feels the blood leaving his face, so it must’ve been an indication. “Yeah, I get it.” He finally says and lets Liam explain the rest of the legal things.

            If Louis had to trust someone with his life, he thinks it’s pretty clear by now that this person would be Liam. But that doesn’t mean he knows about Louis’… Situation. And only because nobody but himself – and probably Harry – does.

            Louis doesn’t talk about his sexuality. He doesn’t think about his sexuality. He can’t even fathom a day in which he’ll be able to open up about it neither does he want to. He was like that already when he met Liam. He’s always been like that, for what he can remember, and he’s not about to change – he can’t see himself changing for anything or anyone, not now, not in ten years.

            He doesn’t consider himself a victim. If anything, he’s the one who is to blame for the mess that his body and emotions are; he’s been wrong about everything from the start, he’s a fuck up by nature, so why would he blame his identity problem on anything or anyone else? Why would he disclosure to the people who are closest to him what a failure he is when everyone already knows?

            Louis is watching Liam and Harry discuss trivial things and he’s trying to remember the last time he had a girlfriend. It was probably before the tour even started the year before and then he broke up with her because he couldn’t look at the girl anymore without wanting to throw up. He could only have sex with her when he was too stoned to even remember the day after and she’d call him on his shit every fucking time, so he just quit it.

            He figured it’d be easier, anyway, if he didn’t have anyone. It was the same cycle he’d always get himself into, but it was how he managed to live.

            Whenever he is dating someone, no matter who that someone is, he always looks at other couples and imagines himself being happy like them – being normal like them. Last time, with this girl “before the tour”, he remembers being out with Liam and Sophia and going to a restaurant restroom to throw up so sick he was with that entire situation.

            He remembers going back home with her and faking a migraine and then waiting for her to sleep so he could snort some cocaine he had hidden in the bathroom. (Proof that Louis isn’t an addict is that he never, like, ever takes it daily and he controls his doses.) He remembers going back to bed feeling a bit happier and waking up alone.

             That’s the first part of the cycle anyways.

            The second part is when he’s single again and every fan in the world believes they have a chance with them. Louis makes himself believe in it too and every now and then takes a higher dose of whatever is available so he can get through with the whole sex thing – and for the most part it wasn’t, it isn’t that bad. Or so he convinces himself. Every single time.

            (You had an orgasm, be happy for it, he’s told himself every other night for the past year. For all of the years, really.)


            The third part is coming now, right at this moment. And it might be a new one, because he doesn’t remember being single and having the same thoughts he does when he’s dating someone. He’s sitting at a table with Liam and Harry and he’s not actually here. His mind has wandered to another place the second Harry implied he is anything but straight.

            Harry’s done this before, of course. It was the reason Louis left The Royal Academy of Music so pissed off that day and bought some cocaine for the first time after the break started. It was the reason he spent three days without even opening his windows and refraining from cutting himself because there was no Vicodin to numb the pain.         

            If there’s one thing Louis hates more than he hates himself, it’s feeling pain. Even if he deserves it most of the time. Even if he’s the one to provoke it in the first place.

            The third part consists in being single and still imagining himself being happy with someone else. It consists in allowing himself to think about something impossible, something that won’t happen to him, something that makes him want to die knowing he won’t have. The third part sucks more than any other.


            “Louis, you there?” Liam pulls him out of his thoughts.

            “Sorry”, he clears his throat. “What are we talking about?”

            “Oh, hm, can we begin this weekend?” Harry asks. “If you’re going back to the studio in a couple of months and I only have weekends to work with you, I’d like to start as soon as possible.”

            “Sure, weekend works for me, mate.” Louis agrees. Mate is gonna be his go-to word whenever he speaks to Harry from now on. He’ll keep that in mind.

            “Okay, I was thinking you guys could do this at your place, Lou?” Liam asks him and Louis does his best not to murder him right then.

            What the fuck?        

            Liam has been to Louis’ flat; he knows how disorganized that place is, he knows it’s rarely clean, he knows Louis himself doesn’t even like it there that much and he knows that-- actually, no.

            Liam doesn’t know how uncomfortable Louis will feel alone with Harry in a confided space, because Louis has never voiced his concern or any other kind of concern (like the time he liked his trainer’s biceps and fired the guy the next day) he’s ever had, so all Louis does is nod and say fine by me like it isn’t eating him alive the thought of receiving Harry in his house.

            “Okay then, I have one more class to teach so I gotta go… I’ll text you about a time on Saturday, Louis.” Harry says already getting up.

            “Right”, Louis agrees robotically and pretends he doesn’t see the weird look the Professor gives him. “Thank you, Harry. Have a nice class”, he manages to say.

            “Thanks” he smiles. “Bye, Li, great to see you” Harry continues and Liam actually gets up to hug him again. Louis focuses on finishing his brownie and barely pays attention when Liam says he and Harry should catch up soon.


            “This is gonna be good”, Liam says when he drops Louis off at his place. “Harry’s always been a sensible guy, you know? He’s gonna help you a lot. It’ll be amazing.” His manager smiles confidently.

            Yeah. Freaking awesome.




            When Harry arrives at Louis’ building in a freaking cold March morning, he has no idea of what he was expecting, but it was most definitely not this. For starters, it isn’t posh. It doesn’t look peasant either; it’s just very far from the kind of place someone with Louis’ bank account would choose to live.

            The doorman greets Harry as if he were already expecting him, and the only security measure that is apparently taken is that Harry can’t reach Louis’ floor unless he inserts a special card in the lift.

            Once he’s there, he rings the doorbell twice, and it takes almost five minutes for Louis to get it.

            “Hey”, he says as soon as he opens the door and- well, Harry wasn’t expecting that. It’s ten thirty am and Louis looks like he’s just woken up, but with last nights’ clothes. “Sorry, mate, d’you mind giving me ten minutes to shower?” He asks before Harry even gets a word out.

            “Good morning”, he says. “No, no, it’s fine, I’ll just—”

            “There’s hot water on the counter… For tea. Make yourself comfortable, I’ll be back”, Louis tells him halfway down the hall already.

            Harry would be lying if he said he’s not a bit disappointed. He hates it when people are not punctual and, more than that, he hates it when they don’t apologize for it. And- okay, he’s being paid to be here, and this is Louis’ house, which makes it weird for him to say Louis is “late”, but he can’t help but feel a bit frustrated with the singer for not even being considerate.

            He leaves his things on an armchair and proceeds to the kitchen counter to get the tea Louis was talking about, and once his cuppa is ready, he walks around the living room absorbing the space and trying to understand what type of artist Louis is.

            He looks around and he doesn’t see many pictures. He saw one in the kitchen of him and Liam at an awards ceremony, but that was it. And there isn’t anything else that seems personal either, only a videogame under the TV.  He figures this is going to be much more difficult than he had previously thought.


            When Harry was assigned to write about him, he obviously had to do some research since Louis’s isn’t the type of music he generally listens to – which gets clearer by the minute. And a huge part of understanding someone’s music is understanding the someone, because this is a two way lane.

            Harry believes that there’s a direct connection between songwriters and their work, whatever that connection may be. Sad people can write about being sad, because it’s their reality and they can write about being happy, because it’s what they want. Happy people can write about being happy, because that’s how they feel, and they can write about being sad, because they once were.

            Still, lyrics are authentic when a part of whoever wrote it gets exposed because of what they wrote – and if Harry can’t see the soul in the lyrics or the melody, and if the techniques are bad, on top of it all, then he can’t possibly like it. And that’s what happens to Louis. That’s what he tried to explain to him and that’s what he’ll keep trying to make him see from now on.

             Harry believes in music like he believes in God, gods, to be more specific, because he’s a polytheist when he turns his iPod on. He wants to make a god out of Louis Tomlinson too.




            He’s talking to Gemma, his sister, via text message when Louis comes back into the living room, freshly showered in black joggers and a black sweater. He looks more alive without that black eyeliner he generally wears and a bit healthier than fifteen minutes ago.

            “I’m sorry, had a weird night”, Louis speaks when he notices Harry staring.

            “It’s-uhn, okay, I fetched myself some tea, got myself entertained”, he says getting up and pocketing his phone. “So, can we start?”

            “Where?” Louis sits on the sofa.

            “Ok, I did some research… And I think it’s important for us to start defining your genre”, he says and Louis winces. He literally winces where he’s seated. “Your music genre, Louis” Harry sighs. This is gonna be tiring, isn’t it? “There’s gotta be a balance in it.”

            He seems to relax at that. Harry would like to understand why he’s so uptight when it comes to this stuff, but it’s not the time – not right now anyways, so he just straightens his body and looks at Louis’ face, and starts again.

            “Basically, each genre has a balance of melody, lyrics and chords. This balance is what gives it a characteristic sound, you know? For example, the Pop genre, that I’m guessing is what you want to do…” The singer nods. “It tends to have a melodic interest- like: verse, pre-chorus and chorus all have different melodies with changing dynamics and some twists to the rhythm.”

            “I was thinking of- maybe, like, try and do some pop-rock? I don’t know why they call me rock-star when I clearly don’t—hm, do rock music.” Louis voices.

            “Okay, yeah, we can do that with the melody, but I think- I mean, I’d like for us to follow the pop music protocol”, he tells him. “Of course we’ll do what you want, I just thought- it’d be, hm, easier.”


            “Pop lyrics are generally focused on a single emotional situation—usually defined by the chorus.”

            Louis nods again and Harry continues speaking. He then tells him about the ten-step list there is to writing a song and how it’s just a guideline that maybe Louis won’t even need, because what he needs, more than a template, a mold, is to find his true inspiration, which may be harder  than Harry initially thought.


            On their second lesson, the next weekend, this is what they talk about. Louis doesn’t have much experience with melodies, but he’s written some stuff the last couple of days and when he shows Harry, it isn’t even half-bad. The lyrics though…

            Harry looks at them and his first thought is: fake.

            “I’m sorry, this is too forced”, he tells him truthfully.

            “What d’you mean?” Louis almost gasps.

            “It means it’s not good”, Harry shrugs and hands him the paper again.

            They sit down and go through some websites for inspiration. Harry tells him about the process of writing a song one more time and they decide to work on melodies for the time being.




            It’s nine pm on a Thrusday night and Harry’s eyes are closing, because he hasn’t slept well at all last night and worked hard during the day. He’s always happy about his life, always letting people call him a “prodigy”, because he really is, but that doesn’t mean he has an easy life.

            He works hard – too hard sometimes. Harry’s been trying to be one of the best since he was seventeen and got a grip of how much he loved music and teaching music to others, so now that he’s working on his Ph.D. he doesn’t even care much about his lack of sleep – except for the fact that the classes are tiring, he’s having trouble writing his thesis and his hours at The Royal Academy of Music haven’t lessened like he was promised they would at the beginning of the semester last year.

            Harry yawns for the thousandth time and is almost giving up staying up until ten (he refuses to go to bed before that, since he’s too young to act like an old person, no matter how exhausted he feels) when his phone rings. He hates it when he forgets to silence it, because he’s always startled.

            It’s Louis.

            “Hello”, Harry picks up.

            “Haroldddd, what are you doing?” A voice that does not sound like Louis’s comes from the other line.

            “Louis?” He asks just to be sure.

            “It’s me, Harold, whazzup?” He laughs. “I am writing! W-R-I-T-Y no, no, I… W-R-I-T-I-N-G! Aced it!”

            “You’re drunk”, Harry chuckles, because it’s kinda cute how Louis gets so happy for being able to spell a word.

            “Nooo, I’m Louis, remember? Louis Tomlinson! You’re helping I- me”, he laughs loudly there, “you’re helping me write! Come help me write, Harold, Liam hung up on meeee.”

            “Sorry, Lou, I am very tired and it’s very late.” He says.

            “How old are you, fifty? Sixty?

            “Eighty, actually”, Harry corrects him.    

            “Very funny. You’re funny.” Louis says in a lower voice. “Don’t be funny with me”, he then speaks seriously. “Bye, Harry”, and hangs up.

            What even was that?

            Harry asks him on Saturday, but Louis says he doesn’t remember a thing. Harry chooses not to push it, but he doesn’t necessarily believe him, so he goes to Liam with it.


            He and Liam have known each other for a long time now and it’s nice that they’re reconnecting. It’s funny how easily you can lose contact with people you so genuinely like – proof that life doesn’t stop and isn’t very kind to anybody. It’s not even that they let it happen; it just seemed like a natural progression, their lives weren’t aligning anymore, and now they are.

            Liam then tells Harry that there is a fat change Louis wasn’t lying at all, and it somehow makes Harry feel very sad – to know that this is a common occurrence.

            Liam tells him more about Louis’ personality and the things his friend/client usually does, and although Harry has picked up some stuff about Louis’ behavior along those past few weeks, it doesn’t mean he isn’t very sadly surprised by it.

            “He’s just- a dark person”, Liam shrugs. They’re at the café they were when Harry signed the contracts a month ago. Somehow, it feels like much more. Time really is making a fool out of him.

            “Maybe he isn’t”, Harry says, “maybe he’s just, I don’t know, going through a rough path.”

            “He is, H”, Liam assures him. “I mean- I’ve known the guy for eight years now… He’s one of my best friends, but he—he’s complicated, yeah? I haven’t figured him out yet and I wouldn’t hope to do it if I were you, he just- doesn’t open up.”   

            “What am I doing here then?” He asks. “I mean, if he doesn’t open up, he’ll keep writing shit.” Liam gives him a stern, disapproving look. “Shit, Li”, Harry repeats. “Those are musical garbage.” Harry tells him and Liam know he is referring to Louis’s four albums.

            “You didn’t talk to him like this, did you?”


            “Good. Don’t you ever”, and it’s the first time Liam’s being like this with him. “I told him and I’m telling you… I think it’s gonna be good, you both working together- you’re a—great person. I just- I wouldn’t get my hopes up, you may not find any light in there.”

            “There is”, Harry is certain.


            The thing about Louis is that his eyes are bright, but they don’t necessarily shine, and this is why Harry just knows how great of a songwriter he can be. Louis seems to have so much hidden pain and discomfort that if he ever allows himself to put that on paper, some beautiful music will come out.

            Harry is convinced that he can break some of Louis’ walls – he just doesn’t know that, by doing so, his own will come tumbling down.




            “I’ve gone deep!” Is the first thing that Louis says when he opens the door for Harry on the second week of April.

            It’s a Wednesday and it’s unusual for them to meet in the middle of the week, but for the first time in a while Harry’s had some free time and texted Louis to see if he were available.

            His flat is a mess. All of their sessions had happened on Saturdays and the place looked almost… Sterile, what now makes Harry wonder if Louis has been having a maid weekly to do the cleaning right before Harry shows up each weekend.

            Louis’s eyes are a bit unfocused and dilated, and Harry doesn’t want to assume the worst. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s not completely sober talking to him, he’s even watched Louis drink and smoke pot by now, but that didn’t have to mean he did some other stuff. Now, though… Well, now Harry’s having second thoughts.

            “What does that mean?” He smiles and pretends he doesn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, stepping into the living room and sitting on his now usual place on the couch. Louis has left the guitar there already and Harry thanks him mentally.

            “Look!” He shoves a piece of paper in Harry’s hands.

            The words are… Different, deeper, for sure, but that doesn’t mean they’re good. But Louis looks so happy with himself that Harry finds himself not having the heart to discredit him right away.

            And what can he say? This is too deep? Because it is, and weirdly so. It’s like Emily from Evanescence and John Mayer sat together and wrote the most depressive things about love using the pompous words that some Rhyming Dictionary provided them. And on top of that, Harry imagines Simple Plan’s saddest phase for the melody. It isn’t good. It’s too much.

            “What was your inspiration for this?” He carefully asks.

            “Love?” Louis immediately responds, but it also sounds like a question.

            “Lou, we- hm. We all want to write beautiful, poetic stuff, yeah?” He softens his voice as he speaks. “But sometimes… Sometimes those deep lines can be hard and- like, confusing for the listener.”

            “Well, music isn’t supposed to be comfortable.”

            “Isn’t it?” Harry retorts.

            “Not necessarily- it’s supposed to make you feel.” Louis answers plain and simple.

            “Music is supposed to be an answer for your feelings, actually”, Harry carefully corrects. “And if you can’t understand the lyrics of a song, you can’t even place what the feelings are- not the songwriter’s, not yours.”

            “So, it’s bad again?” He frowns and sits back, picking up a beer from the coffee table. There’s always one more for Harry, but he never reaches for it and Louis ends up having that one too. It’s not different today.

            “Not terrible”, Harry tries to soften it again. “You just have to try and mix in a few conversational lines that come right out, you know? Say what you want the listener to know for certain. Mix the poetical and the conversational. Let people know what you’re feeling.”

            “Ha, cause that’s easy.” He snorts.

            “It’s not. And it isn’t supposed to.”

            “Well- fuck”, he throws his arms up. “You’re like this—this fucking puzzle, Harry. What are you trying to say? Just be blunt about it.”

            “I’m not trying to say anything, Louis. I am saying it. It isn’t just about being deep, it’s about being real. Why can’t you be real?”

            “Harry!” He stands up. “This is who I am.”

            “Lying broken on the floor because you’ve left me wanting for more is who you are?” Harry reads the lyrics out loud. “Fine, then. Who left you?”


            “You have a lost lover, apparently. Who was the guy who made you suffer? Did he leave you when you got famous? Did he ma-”

            “There is no he, Harry, shut up; you don’t know what you’re talking about”, Louis hisses, his face getting redder and redder with anger.

            “Louis, please”, he rolls his eyes.

            “You don’t get it.” And- it’s the first time Louis sounds real since Harry walked right into that door. He writes down this sentence on his notebook.

            “Well, explain it then.”

            “For starters, I am, in fact, straight.”

            “Right”, it’s Harry’s turn to snort. “You’re also sober now”, he jokes.

            “I don’t know when I gave you the idea that I am anything but straight, but I don’t even have the patience to discuss right now, so just- leave, yeah?”

            “Really? That’s how you’ll handle it? Very mature.”

            “Well, Harold, unless you wanna lecture me on my sexual orientation and pass me your gayness, I suggest we move on from this topic.”

            “I—what?” Harry is baffled, to say the least, and he gets up as well to level with Louis. “Pass you my gayness?” He asks frowning his eyebrows. “I can’t believe you. I mean, I knew you were a prick, but this- I never took you for a homophobe.”

            There it is. The wince. The slight shiver that runs down Louis’ body that is so visible whenever Harry mentions anything sexuality-related or accuses him of anything.

            Truth be told, Harry can only guess that Lous is, in fact, gay, because of his actions: the way he flicks his hair and wrist when he relaxes and the way he keeps eyeing Harry when he thinks Harry isn’t looking; the way he writes so uncomfortably about straight sex – like Harry’s already pointed; the way he never seems too interested in going to a pub and the way he’s always looked around his girlfriends over the past seven years, because, well, Harry’s done his homework, of course he has.

            He’s gone online and he’s googled Louis – more specifically this time around –, because a small part of him is certain Louis is attracted to him, and another huge part knows he’s attracted to Louis too. How could he not be? Louis Tomlinson is sexy. He’s compact, but his muscles stand out. His cheekbones are to die-for and his hair is caramel-colored just like his skin – that is sun burnt even though they don’t get many sunny days in England; might be the traveling, but might be the genes too.

            And Louis is genuinely a nice guy. Yes, he is being a prick now, no, Harry doesn’t know him entirely, but he also believes there is so much more under the surface and he finds himself so eager to find out. Louis doesn’t make this easy, though, now does he?


            “I’m not a homophobe”, the other guy rolls his eyes. “I’m just not like you…” He says. The I can’t be is hidden somewhere in there and Harry doesn’t know how he hasn’t noticed it before.

            “The fact that you don’t accept yourself doesn’t make it okay for you to hurt other people, just so you know”, Harry tells him. “It’s time for me to go anyway. Text me if you want another lesson on Saturday.”

            “Harry, I—”

            “Louis. Don’t.” He says walking towards the door. “I’ll just tell you one thing: inspiration is the heart of your songwriting. It’s what guides you, tells you what’s important, and delivers that brilliant line out of the blue. Inspiration is what matters, but only real inspiration.”


            “I’ll see you, I guess”, he sighs and closes the door, not wanting to hear anything else the singer has to say.

            Harry doesn’t think about him until Friday night – when Louis texts again confirming their lesson the next morning. And he’s still angry with how Wednesday turned out; he’s angry with Louis and he’s kind of angry with himself too or- well, disappointed might be a better word. And he really shouldn’t go in there with unresolved feelings about the way Louis seems to feel towards him. Still, he says yes, and finds himself at Louis doorstep at ten thirty am again.


            This time when he gets there he doesn’t spend more than one minute ringing the doorbell. Louis opens the door almost immediately looking completely cuddly but still alive and kind of healthy, at least… Better. His hair is damp like he’s just showered – even though it’s freezing outside – and he’s wearing socks for the first time since Harry met him. He’s wearing black skinnies and a thick yellow hoodie. Harry decides right now that if anyone can pull a yellow hoodie that someone is Louis.

            “Hi”, he says dumbly at Louis’s smiling face.   

            “Morning, Harry, come in.”

            Okay… Harry thinks as he enters the flat. It’s neat again, which corroborates with Harry’s theory that Louis has someone clean it every Friday (or Thursday) before Harry comes.

            Something’s positively weird about him today, and Harry came here ready to fight if necessary, so he’s caught a bit off guard.

            “Tea?” The singer offers. “There’s also cheese on toast cause it’s the only thing I know how to do basically…” And. Harry’s not someone who can quite hide what’s going on in his mind, because even when he does a good job at keeping his mouth shut (not often, but), his face gives him away. It’s just who he is.

             Louis notices it, of course he does. He’s very observant and points it as soon as he catches Harry’s eyes.

            “What?” He then asks.

            “You’re being oddly nice- and awake”, Harry voices.

            “The least I could do after being a tit with you on Wednesday…” He shifts on his feet and looks down. “Look, Harry- I’m sorry, yeah? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you being gay…” He laughs like he’s holding something back and looks at the ceiling now. “You’re a great person, has been amazing with me—to me, and I- I said a stupid thing because I was high.”


            “Yeah. I get high- and I drink and that’s me, the fuck up who on top of having no writing talent also consumes some substances here and there. I was in a bad mood and I’m- I’m sorry.”

            The saddest part is that Harry can see that Louis isn’t saying any of this because he wants Harry to pity him. Louis is saying this because he actually believes it and Harry doesn’t quite know how to handle people who are so negative about themselves since he himself is positivity personified. Maybe he’ll have to learn. Or maybe he’ll fight to change Louis’ mind.



Chapter Text




           Louis is used to having Liam call him on his bullshit whenever he’s acting prick-y with someone who doesn’t deserve it, but this time he didn’t even need to tell his manager about what had happened, because the second he was rude to Harry he realized that, from the people he knew, Harry was probably the one who deserved his moody self the least.

            You see, Louis doesn’t know much, he isn’t a very smart person, he reckons, but one thing he is a hundred percent sure is that Harry Styles is one of the kindest, warmest people he’s ever met. Louis thinks that his mom would’ve loved him. He actually finds it hard to know someone who doesn’t like Harry, but, well, there might be some insane person out there.

            If his first impressions about the professor were bad at the beginning, they are the entire opposite at this moment. Because even though Harry’s still a professional and still tells him week after week that he pretty much sucks, he’s still as nice as one can be about it. Harry also makes Louis laugh even when he’s sober, and it’s something that hasn’t happened to him in forever, so he owes him that as well.

            Of course he is being nice today. Of course he is trying. Of course he woke up a bit earlier and didn’t even drink vodka – just went for tea instead. Harry deserves him to be less of a shit of person; Louis can go back to self-loathing later, right?


            “So, did you find any inspiration these past few days?” Harry asks when they sit together around Louis’ game room.

            It has become their favorite place to brainstorm. At first they’d just stay in the living room, and Louis told himself it had nothing to do with the fact that he didn’t want to let Harry in any further than that, it was just because the piano was there, but as they got more acquainted with each other and Harry’s lessons got more—human, maybe, Louis showed him around the flat and Harry eventually took a liking to the carpet in this room.

            Now Louis is sprawled on the couch with a sheet of paper in his trembling hands and Harry’s on the other side, looking expectantly at him.

            “I have a few sentences?” He kind of asks. He hates how insecure he sounds, but he just can’t help it. “Like, you can—you can read them.”

            “Why don’t you read them out loud to me?”

            “Why?” Louis frowns.

            “Because that way I can tell if it has come from the inside or not”, Harry just says it, nonchalantly, like it’s so normal to want to read somebody’s soul like the professor seems to want to read his.

            The singer feels sorry for him if Harry ever gets a full view of what Louis looks like on the inside.

            “It’s just a few sentences, honestly, maybe it’s nothing- and I was a bit drunk, so just-”

            “Just read it, Lou”, Harry sighs with a little smile on his face, like he’s tired of waiting but somehow endeared by Louis’s shyness.

            Louis takes a deep breath.

            “Arrogant boy, love yourself so no one has to. They’re better off without you… Arrogant boy, cause a scene like you’re supposed to, they’ll fall asleep without you—you’re lucky if your memory remains”, he reads. “I mean, if it’s repetitive I can change? Or just, like, we can scratch everything, I don’t even know where this would fit, I just—”

            “Louis.” Harry calls him seriously and sits closer. His eyes are wide and so green that Louis does not have the strength to back away. “This is—this is actually brilliant.” He says and takes the sheet of paper out of his hands. “This could- could be a bridge or something. It’s so… Sad”, he then huffs.

            “Yeah, well…” Louis scratches his hair self-consciously.

            “It’s not bad”, he hushes out. “Sad is happy for deep people.”

            Harry has a small smile playing on his face like he’s just waiting for Louis to catch the reference and… Oh.

            “Did you- did you just quote Doctor Who to me?” Louis asks smiling too.

            “I may have.”

            “Dork”, he rolls his eyes. “God, I love that episode.”

            “Me too, haven’t watched the show in forever, with the whole Ph.D. thing…” Harry tells him.

            “Me neither, with the whole—tour thing.” Louis doesn’t tell him that despite being on a break, he spends his time doing other things like putting on whatever on Netflix just so he has background noise to smoke and drink. Besides, Doctor Who makes Louis feel things. He’s been avoiding feeling things for a long time now.

            They talk for a while about the series, though. Harry’s favorite Doctor is Matt Smith, because of course it is, the youngest and dorkest of them all, but Louis will fight him until his last day that David Tennant is the best one. Neither of them has a formed opinion about Peter Capaldi yet, and Harry suggests that they watch one episode for each strophe Louis writes from now on.

            It’s a done deal.

            By the end of the day, which Harry spends entirely at Louis’ flat, they have the first verse of the song Louis was trying to write with those verses he read out loud and Louis considers it a success.


            “What are you doing tonight, Lou?” Harry asks him when he’s about to leave, at five thirty in the afternoon. He arrived before eleven am.

            “Not much, why?”

            “There’s a concert at the London Symphony Orchestra tonight, my sister got me tickets and me and a mate are going—Gems has been traveling a lot with the Orchestra and I rarely get to see her…” He explains.

            Louis notices how happy Harry is to just mention her name, and his lips always curve up without him even noticing every time he does so.        

            Louis certainly doesn’t know why he notices it.

            “My mate’s girlfriend was going to go but she’s sick so- yeah, d’you wanna come with us?” He asks and bites down his bottom lip. Dear Lord. “Of course you don’t have to, and you’re probably tired of my face, it’s just—”

            “If I go, will I have to wear a tux?” Louis asks and Harry laughs like he’s exhaling a breath he’d been holding for a while.

            “No, but- maybe dress shoes? And just- like- slacks? And a button-up?”

            “Are you asking me to go enjoy music or are you trying to torture me, Harold?” Louis just makes fun of him; Harry rolls his eyes. Has Louis mentioned that they’re very green? “Sure- at nine?”

            “Yeah- gives you time to have dinner and everything.”

            “And find these horrendous clothes in my closet.”

            Last time he wore something like that it was for an Award Ceremony and somebody dressed him, because he didn’t have the stomach to do shopping anymore. He doesn’t. Louis hasn’t been having the will to do much. Except going out to watch London’s Symphony Orchestra play on a Saturday night, apparently.


            He picks Harry up at the professor’s flat, because it gave him a reason to keep sober. This isn’t a date, he knows it. This would never be a date, because Louis doesn’t date guys, wouldn’t ever go on a date with a guy, please, but it’s still a social experience and he doesn’t remember last time he had one without his parents (Liam and Sophia) around him to be his training wheels.

            Actually, when he called Liam to let them know he was going out, his manager acted like Louis was a teenager going out with his high school friends for the first time ever – he seemed as worried as he was happy. He laughs now thinking about it, but the laughter gets stuck in his throat when Harry opens the passenger door and gets in with a hello again, Lou, sitting by Louis’ side and closing the door right after.

            And do you want to know why? Because Harry looks so sinfully beautiful that Louis doesn’t even have the courage to call for God right now. And- Louis is used to being around Harry by now. He controls himself enough that he doesn’t ogle him or anything, but this is just—unfair.

            “What’s unfair?” The professor asks. Louis hadn’t realized he spoke it out loud.

            “Nothing”, he shakes his head out of his trance. Harry smirks. Louis steps on the gas pedal. Everything’s under control.




            Everything is most definitely not under control. Things have never been less under control than they are right now. The word control doesn’t even seem to exist at this point. At this very moment, Louis wants to run away.

            “Nice to meet you, mate”, Greek-god shakes his hand.

            “You too”, he chokes out. 

            Harry’s mate is—gorgeous. Everything about him screams Vogue Cover and he could easily earn money by just existing, like being an exhibition of his own, if he wanted to. He just isn’t as gorgeous as Harry, but just because he is so perfect he almost looks like was computer-made, unlike the curly one, whose dimples get so big at times that they occupy his entire face and who every now and then has a pimple on his forehead, whose smile is brighter and eyes bigger and just—see? This is why Louis is in hell!

            His own personal hell to be more specific. Why the fuck is he comparing two guys’ beauty and picking a favorite? When did someone’s completely normal imperfections started being the reason he thinks they are better than “just” perfect? Why, just why did he decide to come here tonight?

            If Louis lasts until the end of the night, he’ll reward himself with at least three shots of vodka when he gets home. And then he’ll just down the whole bottle to forget about his thoughts.

            “Zayn’s a literature professor”, Harry tells him.

            “Great, one more to judge my poor lyrics…” Louis jokes.

            “To be honest, I even like some of your stuff, mate. Took my girlfriend to a concert of yours a couple of years ago”, he smiles.

            “Oh, see Harold! Not everyone who is smart and well educated hates my guts.” He slaps his arm.           

            “I don’t hate your guts”, Harry says seriously, a crease between his eyebrows.


            Louis just- he doesn’t understand why he can’t be normal. Why can’t he be standing here talking to Greek-god like someone who doesn’t want to either jump on him or puke? Why can’t he look at Harry without noticing the way he didn’t button his shirt all the way up and the way his hair’s falling onto his shoulders? Why can’t he not notice that Harry isn’t wearing his glasses now and why can’t he not wonder if he’s wearing contacts instead?

            Louis hates the way his own mind works.


            The show starts and it’s overall nice. More than nice if Louis is being perfectly honest. Harry points who Gemma is as soon as the curtains open and he’s just so proud and happy that the first three minutes Louis looks at him instead of the Orchestra.

            At the end of it, the three of them are led to a different saloon in which a cocktail is being held and everyone looks posh, very posh. Louis sees some pretty famous people like actors, two other singers, an X-factor judge and two celebrity chefs. Harry seems to know the latter pretty well and excuses himself just for a second to go and talk to them. Zayn’s not here and, alone, Louis feels like an easy target.

            It doesn’t take more than one minute for somebody to approach him.

            “Good to see you here, Louis Tomlinson!” Nick Grimshaw shows up.

            He’s a well-known journalist in the UK and has been walking with England’s highest society since Louis met him, all those years ago.

            “Nick, hey”, he says politely.

            “Didn’t take the Orchestra as your scene…” He says. Louis knows him enough by now to understand that he’s fishing for a statement.  

            “A mate of mine was coming, his sister plays violin here, so.”

            “Wait, Harry Styles? You know him? I mean, his sister is Gemma, right?”

            “You know them?”

            “Me and Harry are well acquainted”, Nick tells him.

            “Oh- well. Yeah. Haven’t met Gemma, though”, Louis says. “She’s very good, I was- I was impressed with the whole concert. It definitely isn’t my scene, but I wouldn’t mind if it were”, he smiles.

            “Thanks, Louis, gonna use it on tomorrow’s edition”, Grimshaw blinks.

            “Yeah, I knew it”, he rolls his eyes.        

            As if on cue, Harry arrives with a gorgeous blonde by his side, whose eyes are as green and the curly’s and whose smile looks just like his. It’s Gemma, of course it is, and Louis is half in love with her when she shoves Nick aside and tells him that if he writes crap about the Orchestra she’ll cut off his balls.

             She smiles at Louis politely and he congratulates her on a perfect show. She tells him it wasn’t perfect and talks about something related to the chords being a bit too forward, but Harry rescues him as soon as he sees the big question mark on Louis face and changes the subject. Louis likes him a lot for it.

            Then everything is good. Like, really good. Louis manages to spend the rest of the night talking to her and Harry, and even Zayn (honestly, even his name is ridiculously attractive, somehow) and does not have a break down. For a few hours Louis completely manages to be himself – he doesn’t watch the way he moves and swoops his hair, and he doesn’t even hate himself when he stares at Harry when the man talks passionately with another member of the Orchestra.

            Through it all, Harry includes him. Whenever he notices Louis is not completely familiar with a term, he explains it and they move on the conversation. He introduces Louis to other people like he respects him – and even though those people might not do the same, they smile and act like they do. Louis feels almost like he’s an adult. When champagne passes, he grabs one flute and spends thirty minutes holding it, so engaged he is in a conversation.

            Louis thinks that control is part of his vocabulary once again. For now.




            What nobody tells you about inspiration is that it fucking comes at all fucking hours at any fucking day. Louis has a bad dream about himself, about last night, about how fake everything was, because he’s definitely not that healthy person who can talk to intellectuals and enjoy posh food and be happy. Louis wakes up from it knowing it’s all fake, that he’s fake – but it’s five thirty am, and it’s Sunday, and he just really hates the way inspiration works.

            He remembers Harry’s words, though, about how inspiration is the heart of songwriting, and gets up from the bed to search for his little notebook and a fountain pen (he can only write with fountain pens or an specific pencil now thanks to Harry) that took him ages to get used to using, and writes down what could be the chorus and therefore the final part of the song he started writing a couple of days ago.

            He likes it! He reads and re-reads the strophes and puts them in order and even though they are, indeed, very sad, he can definitely see poetry in them and, more than anything, he can see himself.

            Louis doesn’t even think about the time when he texts Harry that it’s finally done.

            He wasn’t ready for the other man to call him right away.

            “Lou, hey!” He sounds breathless. “You finished it?” But happy. Too happy for a freaking Sunday morning.

            It isn’t even six thirty yet.

            “Hi, yeah- I think so. Why are you awake at this ungodly hour, Styles?”

            “’M on a morning run”, he replies cheerfully. “I’m actually nearby—can I come over? I’m eager to read it.”

            Louis wants to tell him that it can wait until next week. He also wants to show him the lyrics. (He ignores the part that just wants to see Harry, because that would be ridiculous given that he’s seen him LESS THAN TWELVE HOURS ago.) He says he’ll be waiting with tea instead. And that’s pretty much it. He doesn’t recognize it, and he can’t possibly know now, but this is the moment his life starts to change.


            Harry arrives at seven. Louis opens the door the way he was in bed: gray sweatpants, white shirt and messy hair. Tea in the kitchen, as promised.

            The heater is on, because even if it’s the beginning of April, it just seems like winter doesn’t wanna leave them. But it’s not what’s making him completely hot at the moment.

            Now, if Louis were drunk, he’d be able to blame it on alcohol, but it’s just him; it’s his own damn fault, his body and his brain and Harry. Standing right here, in the middle of his flat, taking off his jumper and putting his hair up in a bun, chest so sweaty that his thin white shirt is glued to it. Louis doesn’t dare to call for God’s name this time either.

            “Tea’s so good”, Harry says over the rim of the cup.

            “Only thing I could master in my entire life”, Louis smiles.

            “It’s very good”, he smiles reassuringly and Louis hops up on the counter, swinging his legs re-reading – just to be sure – the lyrics put together.

            Harry tells him about how much Zayn liked him and so did Gemma. He also tells him about how he prefers to run when it’s warm outside, because it’s better for his back and bones in general. He tells Louis about something else, too, but Louis isn’t paying attention because he is too worried about the lyrics that are by his side on the counter. He is worried because he likes it, loves it even. He doesn’t want Harry to shoot this one down.

            It’s like Harry can read him, because he puts an easy smile on his face and takes the paper from Louis’ side, barely brushing his knuckles on the outer side of Louis’ left thigh and why is he so aware of it?

            Harry stops in front of him and starts reading.


            It takes three hours. Or maybe three minutes, for Harry to say something.

            “What are you calling it?” He asks.

            “Therapy, I guess”, Louis shrugs. “Is it bad?”

            “It’s perfect”, Harry whispers. “I just—”


            “Louis”, he cries out and gets closer. Whoa, he’s way too close. At arm’s length, really. “Is this how you feel?”

            “You tell me”, he gives him a tremulous smile.

            “I’m a walking travesty, but I’m smiling at everything”, he reads it out loud. “It does sound a lot like you- unfortunately”, the other man says, but he sounds so frustrated, genuinely sad, like he doesn’t know what to do with himself. And Louis is a bit at loss because of it.

            “Is it-” he clears his throat. “D’you like it then?”

            “I love it”, Harry looks into his eyes. He’s whispering, and he sounds so, so sincere. Louis wants to cry because, if anything, this moment feels pure. “I love it so much and I wish-” he gets closer. “Damn it.

            “What, Harry?”

            “I wish you weren’t sad”, he breathes out. “I don’t want you to be sad”, he then speaks more to himself than to Louis. One of his hands is on Louis’ shoulder and just this point of connection comforts him.

            Louis wishes he was brave enough to hug Harry right now. He hugs Liam. He always hugs Liam. He just knows it wouldn’t be the same.

            “I’m”, he then says, “I’m not always sad.”

            “Sometimes you’re numb”, Harry translates it. Yeah, pretty much. His hand goes from Louis shoulder to his neck and then his thumb is caressing Louis’ cheek so, so softly that Louis closes his eyes.

            There is turmoil inside of him right now, but he also feels serene. At peace. He’s never been comforted like this and he doesn’t even know for certain what he’s being comforted for. Obviously Harry doesn’t know all that has happened to him, Harry doesn’t know the things Louis has been through, the things Louis goes through daily. But he’s still the one who is here making everything a bit better.

            “Well I—I felt a lot of things writing these lyrics”, he offers.

            “I felt a lot of things reading them”, Harry confesses and steps closer. “Shit”, he whispers again. “Louis”, he says and looks up.

            Louis doesn’t know how Harry wound up in between his legs, and he doesn’t know how he didn’t stop him sooner, he should have, he wants to stop him, right? A guy isn’t supposed to want another guy this close, is he? Harry’s clouding his judgement.

            The professor rests his forehead against Louis’s and Louis dares to open his eyes just for a little bit and- and Harry’s lips are right there. He can’t move.

            “Shit, Louis, I’m sorry”, he tries to step away, but Louis’ doesn’t let him. He holds Harry by the hem of his shirt because he needs the closeness, he needs this comfort; he needs, needs, needs.

            “What are you sorry for?” Louis asks. He licks his lips because suddenly they’re very dry and so is his throat. He also doesn’t speak in his full voice because this moment is too fragile to be disturbed.

            “For—for…” Harry closes the remaining distance between them.

            At first, he just stays there. Harry, that is. But Louis too. Neither of them moves.

            Their lips are connected and Harry’s hand is still on Louis’ cheek, drawing circles with his thumb while Louis’ hands are closed in fists on Harry’s shirt and they’re still; it’s warm, and it’s like there’s some kind of energy floating between them, everywhere there is a connection. And then Harry moves.

            Within these seconds where they’re suspended in time, Louis’ entire life flashes through his closed lids. He remembers the first girl he kissed, the last girl he kissed and many in between and none of them – no matter how much effort he put into it – had felt as good as this.

            Harry kisses him slowly at first, like he’s trying to not freak Louis out, but also like he is mapping Louis’ mouth, like he wants to learn how Louis likes to be kissed. (Louis is almost certain that by now Harry knows he’s never kissed a man before and he likes him even more for the calmness he’s trying to convey.)

            Louis responds the best he can. He tells himself that it isn’t different from kissing a girl – kisses are kisses, right? It’s only different because it’s better, Jesus, so, so much better. Harry licks his bottom lip and Louis opens his mouth and from now on it’s just fireworks exploding in the sky and all of that crap he never got to feel for many years of his excuse of a life.

            Louis moves his hands up to Harry’s neck that’s still sweaty and where his hair’s curling at the end, and dugs his fingers in there as Harry’s tongue licks to the roof of his mouth, hot and languid and tantalizing and as they get a good rhythm going, Harry moves his hands down to Louis’ waist, and under his shirt, sling it up and God his hands are so big and hot and Louis is shivering and holding back whines, completely taking control of this kiss, which is, most definitely, the best kiss he’s ever had.

            He’s desperate and he doesn’t want to end, Christ, no! He never wants it to end. He’s using his tongue more rapidly right now and Harry’s taking deep breaths through his nose to keep up, but he never stops, his hands keep wandering and just stop to grip more firmly on Louis back when he pulls on Harry’s hair, eliciting a moan from the other man.

            Never in Louis’ entire life hearing someone moan had felt so good it went straight to his cock, but that’s exactly what happens, and as he whines lowly in his throat, Harry pulls him closer by his ass, that’s now hanging half off the counter, and rocks forward, making Louis well-aware that he’s as interested as Louis is and… Harry has a cock, as in, the same thing Louis does. Because they’re both men and—wAaT tHe heLL?

            This is a shock. This is the best, but also the worst thing that’s ever happened.

            Louis freezes into the kiss and Harry notices it right away, because he retracts a bit and reconnects their foreheads, but Louis just scoots further away, making Harry’s hands fall from his thighs and letting go completely of him.

            What has he done?

            He can’t think, God, no, no, no this isn’t happening--- what has just happened?

            “Louis, what—” Harry starts asking.

            “I’m sorry, just- just go.” He says.


            “Harry. Leave. This was a mistake”, Louis voices more harshly and he sees the exact second Harry understands the message. He looks defeated, but not sorry at all.

            Louis is. Sorry, that is; he’s so, so sorry. How is he ever gonna be friends with Harry again? He couldn’t control himself. Why couldn’t he control himself? That wasn’t supposed to feel that good. Jesus Christ. All of the Saints. And Angels! What was that?

            He hears the door close and snaps out of it.

            It’s a good thing he’s in the kitchen, because that’s where the whisky is too.




            April turns into May and Harry still hasn’t heard back from Louis.

            After he left the singer’s flat a couple of weeks ago, a bit startled and a lot horny, Harry tried calling him. He also texted and sent multiple emails the days that followed, but Louis never responded and Harry knew better than to show at his door and ask what the hell was going on.

            Harry doesn’t know for sure, but, by now, he’s got a pretty good idea about how Louis feels about himself and that should make him more understanding; still, Harry can’t help but be really pissed off with the other man, mostly because he would totally like to help.

            It can’t be easy – to not be able to accept yourself, Harry thinks. Louis seems to harbor so much hatred for himself that at the same time the professional side of Harry wants him to channel it to his writing, his personal side just wants to hug him and ask him to please, please understand that there’s nothing wrong with being gay, with being who you are.


            Louis is a very likable person – even if he’s a bit self-destructive, even if he can snap at you at any given time… He’s still a very, very likable person. Harry likes him, and Harry loved kissing him.

            God, that kiss!

            Harry has a fairly satisfying history when it comes to kissing and other experiences, but that was… Phenomenal, really.

            It’s three weeks later and he still feels his entire body shudder just by remembering it. He’s lying awake in bed and all he can think about is Louis’ body, and Louis’ tongue and the way he pulled his hair while moaning into his mouth and all of a sudden Harry’s entire body is hot under the duvet.

            Hot. Another thing Louis is. But Harry isn’t even talking just about his appearance – although that shouldn’t even be discussed, because hell –, he’s talking about his freaking body heat. Harry remembers wandering his hand up and down Louis’ back under the shirt and feeling his skin on this, the warmness and the softness of all of his curves and fuck Harry’s getting worked up.

            He can’t even think much or he’ll regret it, so he just shoves one hand down his pants and grabs his half-hard dick before he gives up and goes for a run. This has to stop happening, but each time, without failure, Harry tries and wank to something else, it’s just LouisLouisLouis in his mind.

             If he tries, he can actually hear Louis’ panting and whining, he can feel his heart beating frenetically and he can taste his mouth once again, all the while he tugs as fast and hard as he can on himself, spreading the precome with his thumb and knowing he’s lacking finesse and completely not caring about it. He throws his head back and moans loudly as he fastens the pace even more, just imagining being with Louis.

            He bites so hard on his bottom lip that it’ll probably draw blood in a while, and he doesn’t dare to touch his own nipples because he’ll come too soon, but as he feels the sweat dripping on his pecks and his hair sticking to his forehead, he starts to involuntarily move his body too, fucking into his hand and wishing, just wishing he could be with Louis, he could feel him hard again and maybe suck him off, while Louis traps him with his thighs- his thighs, his freaking thick thighs and his ass, that Harry got to squeeze and bring forwards, but wasn’t enough, no, none of that was enough.           

             He’s panting, and it’s pathetic. He’s twenty-four with stamina of a sixteen year old because of an older super famous multi-millionaire singer. He’d laugh if he weren’t so busy coming at the thought of Louis being a bit older than him- choking him with his cock, hugging Harry’s head with this thighs…

            Harry’s screwed, and not in the good way.




            “Hello?” Harry answers the phone dizzy with sleep. It’s nine o’clock on a Thrusday morning and he spent the night awake finishing his thesis. Today’s his first day off in forever.

            He wants to murder whoever’s calling him.

            “Harry? Morning, mate. It’s Liam!” Comes a cheerful voice.

            “Hi- hi, Liam.”

            “Did I wake you? Shit, I’m sorry- just.”

            “’S okay, what happened?”

            “Nothing, nothing, just wanted to know if you’ve been speaking to Louis lately? How the songwriting is coming?” Oh.      

            “Hm…  Liam”, he’s a bit uncomfortable, it’s true. “I- don’t know? I haven’t talked to him in weeks.”

            “You… What? He said you guys were friends… A while ago.”

            “Yeah…” Harry trails.

            He doesn’t know how much he can say and remembering now, a while ago, Louis seemed like he would faint when Harry almost implied to Liam that he was gay, so- maybe his manager and apparently only friend doesn’t know.

            How fucked up is that?

            “Something happened?”

            “Yeah…  Look, Liam, you better ask him okay?”

            “I would, if he answered his damn phone. He was supposed to meet with Niall and I at the studio today, but he didn’t and I thought—I thought he wasn’t picking up because you guys were writing, I don’t know. Sorry to bother.”

            Liam sounds alarmed, speaking faster than ever before, and it’s like he hasn’t talked to Louis in a while. Harry is worried.

            “How long has it been since you’ve last spoken to him, Liam?” He finally asks, getting up from the bed and looking for his skinny jeans. His mind’s already made up before he can think this through.

            “A couple of weeks. I was in the US sorting some of his endorsements and stuff—fuck.”

            Fuck, indeed.

            “Maybe he’s just asleep, yeah?” Harry bites his nail.

            “That’s a possibility.”

            “Or maybe he’s passed out in his flat”, he says what he knows Liam is thinking too.

            “That’s another possibility—I’m driving there right now, rescheduled with Niall”, he says.

            “I’ll see you in a bit then.”

            “You don’t need to, Harry, I got this.”

            “I want to”, he assures him, and he does. Because as much as he’s still a bit angry with Louis, he also needs to know he’s 100% okay.




            When Harry arrives at Louis flat, Liam isn’t there yet and he waits at least five more minutes – that pass like five hours – before his old friend arrives, eyes widened and keys in hand. They don’t exchange many words and Harry has the strange feeling that Liam has already dealt with a situation like this before. He doesn’t want to think he’ll find Louis actually passed out, he kind of hopes he’ll be asleep on the couch or in bed clutched with a bottle of vodka, maybe.

            He is one for “best case scenarios”, Harry.

            It just doesn’t pay off; not this time.

            When Liam opens the door, the first thing Harry notices is that the flat is a complete mess. It’s worse than Harry’s ever seen and Liam himself didn’t seem to be expecting that. The mess is left aside, though, when they start calling out Louis’ name and he doesn’t respond. And then Harry sees it: both of Louis feet showing behind the counter that divides the kitchen and the living room. He’s a bit afraid to walk around it and find Louis, but he does it anyway.

            He regrets it, but just because he was definitely, definitely not ready to handle it.

            Harry screams. Or wails, he isn’t sure. He just makes a loud, cracking, terrifying noise and brings his hands to his mouth, waiting for Liam to run to him and stop on his tracks by his side.

            Louis is passed out, but that isn’t even the worst part.

            There’s what looks like coke by his side, and a small bottle of what Harry recognizes later as Vicodin. Also, two bottles of whisky, one of wine and two beers. And Louis is blue. Or red. Harry really can’t look much, but he seems to be freezing cold in only his pants and a thin black Stone Roses shirt and—and red because his thighs are bleeding, like he was cutting himself and passed out in the middle of it.

            Liam makes another strangled noise before falling on his knees by Louis’ side, and only then Harry realizes that needs to call a fucking ambulance before it’s too late and no, no, no, of course it’s not too late, he’s gonna be okay.


            “Harry, don’t!” Liam interrupts him as soon as he says hi, I need an ambulance.

            “Are you crazy? Look at him!” Harry hisses.

            “He’s world-wide famous, Harry- we can’t risk it.”

            “Well, we can’t risk him dying either, Liam, for fuck’s sake- yeah, hi”, he continues talking to the woman on the other line and gives her the address.

            Liam is crying now, and Harry has no idea of how he needs to handle this situation, but first things first: he needs to make Louis stop bleeding.

            He notices lots of other marks on his lower body. As he cleans his thighs the best he can with a warm wet cloth, he also sees lots of fainted white lines there. Louis has been cutting for forever now; Harry realizes it as he checks other marks on his hipbones, and more recent ones towards his ribs… Harry’s crying now too, but he coaches himself to keep working.

            Louis’ arms are clean, and that’s just worse, really, because it makes Harry think of how premeditated everything has always been – Louis takes care so no one sees it, so he can appear normal to the public and to the people next to him, when in reality he’s hurting himself in more ways than Harry can count at the moment.


            He finishes Louis’ legs and takes off his shirt so he can clean him completely. The top reeks of alcohol anyways and there’s dried beer on his neck and collarbones and this is the saddest thing Harry has ever seen. He’d be crying if it were a stranger, too, but the fact that this is Louis Tomlinson, someone who used to be no one to him up until two or three months ago, someone who is so full of life and snarky remarks, stupid jokes and annoying manners, makes everything five hundred times worse.

            Harry washes the cloth again and cleans a bit under his nose and his forehead. He’s got white powder on him and fucking hell, Lou, he cries out not even realizing he’s speaking out loud.

            He’s got Louis head on his lap and is just whispering words of comfort, even if he can’t hear, when Liam comes back – Harry hadn’t even noticed the man had left.

            “I brought a few bandages and- and some clothes”, he says, voice trembling. “I—I need to- I think the ambulance’s here, can you- can you”, he cries. “Harry, please.”

            “I’ll ring them up, put him in some clothes cause it’s fucking freezing outside”, he answers and sniffles a bit, cleaning up his face the best he can before opening the door.


            From then on it’s all very quick. None of them can go with Louis in the ambulance, but since Harry took the tube here, he rides with Liam to the hospital; Liam, who is driving like a mad-man. Harry didn’t offer because he definitely wouldn’t be much better behind the wheel at the moment.

            Once they get to the hospital, Louis is being rushed to the emergency room and Harry starts pacing around, a bit disoriented, and it takes him five minutes to notice that Liam hasn’t stopped crying at all – instead, he’s sobbing on a chair in a far corner where there are less people, clutching his phone like it’s a lifeline. Harry walks towards him.

            “Li…” He calls, way more contained. “Liam.”

            “It’s—it’s my fault, I should---I should’ve gotten him hel-help a long time ago, I… We were on tour and he- he always denied it, H, always, but I knew it, you know? I—” cries and cries and cries, “I knew it. And I didn’t do anything because I wanted to believe him, I wan-wanted to believe him so ba-ad.”

            Liam rests his forehead on Harry’s shoulder and even though he’s a bit startled by the sudden contact, he hugs him as strongly as he can, feeling Liam’s whole body shaking in his arms.

            “Li, calm down- they’re—they’re taking care of him. He’s gonna be okay, he’s gonna be okay…” Harry keeps repeating it like a mantra.

            Truth be told, he doesn’t believe what he’s saying. Louis isn’t going to be okay, at least not now, because Louis is most definitely not okay. Flashes from his body on the kitchen floor come to Harry’s mind and he forces his eyes shut, as if it could block the images from his brain – it doesn’t work.

            At the same time he is practically losing his mind, Harry feels like he doesn’t have the right to have a proper freak out, because here is Liam, a complete mess, someone that’s been in Louis’ life for nearly ten years now… And Harry wants to help him, he just doesn’t know how.

            “Tell me what to do, who should I call?” He asks then, stepping away and making Liam look at him. “Breathe with me, Li”, Harry pleads.

            “The press- we—if anything gets out, fuck Harry”, he slaps his own foreheads. “We need to have the paramedics sign NDAs and—and nothing can get out, like- he’s ruined if anything at all gets out.”

            Harry wants to argue, tell him it wouldn’t be the end of the world, many artists have come back from that. But now is not the time.

            “Ok, so, how do we do this? I’m going to help you.”

            “My phone, I— fuck, where is my phone?

            “Back pocket”, Harry helps.          

            “Right, yeah”, he takes it and starts dialing. “I’m gonna call Meg and ask her to bring a few documents, can you—could you find the paramedics? And anyone else who saw him? We need to get them to sign the papers.”

            “Yes, sure. Will you be okay here by yourself?”

            “I’m gonna call Soph…” He promises.

            “Ok, be back.”


            It is only three hours later, hundreds of calls, documents signed, some tea and nothing to eat that a young, red-headed doctor walks towards them.      

            By now Sophia is already here and Harry hates that that’s how they got to meet and they have been moved to a private room, where there are only the three of them and an older woman in the far corner who is a politician’s wife and did not want to talk to Harry when he tried to be polite.

            “I’m Doctor Amelia, you can call me Dr. Amy if you’d like.” The woman says with a small, pale smile on her face. “Which one of you gentlemen is Liam Payne?”

            She looks exhausted.

            “Me, that’s—that’s me”, Liam answers anxiously.

            “You’re his emergency contact, are you family?”

            “I’m his manager and- and his friend”, he offers.

            Liam only stopped crying thirty minutes ago, but he still isn’t in his right state. Harry’s head is heavy too, but he manages to pay attention to the conversation two steps behind.

            The Doctor blinks three times like she’s trying to decide whether to give Liam the news or not, so the man rushes to speak again.

            “Lou doesn’t have any family. He’s got me. You can talk to me.” He pleads.

            Harry’s heart sinks.

            It’s not like he didn’t know Louis life was a bit hard. In his prior research – and also talking to him for the past few months –, he got pretty aware that Louis doesn’t have parents anymore (even though he doesn’t know exactly how it happened) and never had any siblings either, but he’d imagined he had contact with someone in his family, or more close friends like Liam. Hearing that that isn’t true at all, that Liam is pretty much everything Louis has, does weird things to Harry.

            You see, Harry’s family isn’t the biggest one, but they’re all very close. He’s got a mom and a dad, and a sister. Harry sees them all regularly and visits his grandparents whenever he’s got a bit more time. He’s close to a few cousins and childhood friends and has some new ones that he considers trustworthy.

            Harry is a people’s person, and he can’t imagine his life without anyone who is already in it. He can’t imagine what Louis’ life is without anyone in it, even though he probably knows more people (because of who he is) than Harry ever will. It’s one of those cases in which sadly quantity does not mean quality at all.


            “Louis is sleeping now…” She starts. “I’m not sure when he’ll wake up. We had to perform a gastric lavage and intubate him so he’d breathe regularly… He still has the tube in his throat, but as soon as he wakes up we’ll take it out, we just want to make sure he isn’t forcing anything”, Dr. Amy explains the best she can. “Plastics took care of his cuts and did some grafts to cover the deeper ones…”

            Sophia winces by his side and Harry places a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

            “Is he- like, stable?” She asks the Doctor.

            “He is, but this isn’t necessarily good”, Amelia grimaces. “He’s stable in a bad condition; we need him to get better through the night.”

            “I see…” Sophia sighs.

            “I need to ask- how long has he been doing drugs?” The doctor looks down, concentrated on her iPad, but clearly waiting for an answer.

            “I- I don’t know?” Liam frowns. “He’s always smoked weed, but—”

            “Heavier drugs, sir”, she pushes. “We’ve found traces of cocaine and Vicodin in his system… Now we think that the cocaine was for the high, but the Vicodin was more likely to numb the pain of the cuts and- and maybe his mind’s.”

            “God, I don’t know”, Liam puts his hands on his head. “I know I should know, I’m with him every single day, but I just—God.”

            “Babe, it’s okay, you couldn’t’ve known”, Sophia hugs him from behind, hooking her chin over his shoulder. “Lou wasn’t always high or out of it”, she answers for him. “He’s mostly okay around us, you know? He might’ve done something before concerts or because he was really bad this time, but apart from his regular spliffs… He’s—he never seemed like a drug addict.”

            “He doesn’t do drugs every day?” Dr. Amy frowns.

            “No”, Harry answers before he can contain himself. “Louis drinks a lot, but he was never high around me—I once saw his eyes reddened, but- like, once. Almost like…”

            “Drugs are his last resources”, the doctor finishes it for him. “Believe it or not this is actually good”, she ponders.

            “How so?” Liam asks.

            “He only seeks comfort when things are really bad. He doesn’t do it for fun, it wasn’t how it started. It’s more probable that he started doing it not to think about something that really bothers him… And maybe—I’m only a resident, I’ll have to check with my superiors and then they’ll send him over to the psychiatric wing but—maybe he just needs therapy.”

            “Therapy”, Liam repeats.

            “It’s a good thing, Liam”, Harry assures him and everyone nods, including the doctor. “He’s okay, then?” He asks anxiously, more worried than he thought he’d be.

            “We’ll monitor him through the night”, is what she answers. It isn’t what they wanted to hear, but it’s something. “Louis is going to be okay”, Amelia finishes.

            “Thanks. When can I see him?” Liam asks. His words are short and well-measured as if he can’t say or do much more than what he is currently managing. Harry can understand.

            “You can spend the night, if you’d like, but only you I’m afraid… If he wakes up the two of you can come during visiting hours tomorrow”, she responds looking at Harry and Sophia.

            “Y-yeah, I’m staying.”

            “I’m gonna bring you some clothes then”, Sophia tells him smiling and then kisses his cheek.           

            When she got here, she definitely wasn’t expecting to find both him and Harry covered in blood. This was definitely very different from what Harry expected to be spending his free day too. They all had to readjust.

            “I’ll go too”, Harry sighs telling them. “Call me when he wakes up?” He turns to Liam.

            “Sure thing, man”, he smiles, a bit happier. “Thank you, Hazz. Don’t know what I would’ve done without you there.”

            “It’s okay, Li”, he tells Liam and lets his old friend hug him. “He’s going to wake up and get better overnight, yeah?” He looks at him, seeking reassurance in his eyes.

            “Yeah, he’s- he’s going to get better overnight”, Liam agrees and Harry smiles one more time.


            When he gets home, he gets in the shower and cries everything he couldn’t cry throughout the whole day. He then calls the school telling them that he won’t be able to go tomorrow, because he’s sick – and that isn’t even a lie. Harry feels sick, feels like throwing up whenever he remembers Louis’ pale skin, half-lifeless body and just so. Much. Blood.

            For now, Harry doesn’t think about why he’s so damn affected by someone he’s known for such short amount of time, but he’ll realize soon enough that he’s way too deep into this mess. He’s way too into Louis.


Chapter Text




            Louis wakes up coughing with trouble to breathe and the first thing he notices is that he isn’t in heaven. Or hell. He’s anything but dead, apparently.

            There’s too much noise and too many white lights that bother him through his eyelids, and there’s someone pulling a tube out of his throat, which hurts badly, making him wish, not for the first time that he were dead.

            He was supposed to be dead. What the fuck is he doing alive?


            “Louis, Louis, wake up”, a soft voice is calling him.

            He knows a lost battle when he sees one and there’s no way he’s going back to the peace that being drifted into nothingness gave him, so he opens his eyes for what it seems like the first time in forever and is faced with two women staring back at him.

            One of them is dark-haired with piercing blue eyes and the other one has red hair and freckles all over her face, she also seems younger.

            “You’re at the London Hospital”, the dark-haired Doctor tells him. “You’re okay, everything’s okay.”

            If there’s one thing things aren’t is “okay”, but he lets it slide because it’d hurt too much to speak right now.

            “We’ve been taking care of you…” The red-headed starts and then the two of them alternate in telling him a story about what happened and how he wound up here.

            Well, he doesn’t know how he’s here, but Louis is pretty aware of what happened. He made it happen. He didn’t succeed, mind, because if he had, he wouldn’t be lying on this bed in this room at this very moment, but, still, Louis is pretty aware of why he is in a hospital.

            He loses track of time as he focuses on the wall behind the Doctors, and it isn’t like he is completely ignoring them, he’s partially listening to what they’re saying. They washed the inside of his stomach and took care of his most recent cuts; they’ve contacted a therapist that is coming later today to talk to him and the good news is that he is only here because they wanna keep an eye on him, since thank God and good medicine his body is reacting rather fine considering the amount of substances they found in there.

             They are speaking and speaking and speaking and, to Louis, the worst of it all is that they know. He feels small and ashamed and he wants to turn off the lights, cry and never leave this place, because he can’t face anyone.

            By now Liam is definitely here, he thinks. He’s his emergency contact after all and God, how can Louis even look at him again?

            Liam is a worrier; he’s probably listing everything he’ll do better from now on, because there’s a 99,9% chance he is blaming himself for not noticing it before, for not knowing, for not helping Louis, when, in fact, this is all Louis’ fault. It’s his own damn problem if he can’t handle being around a handsome man without being a whore and kissing him, he is the one who was born wrong, so why would Liam feel bad?

            For starters, Louis remembers that Liam doesn’t know about that either, which only makes him feel worse, because the only person who’s been a constant in his life for the past eight years and a half doesn’t know him.

            If he actually knew you, knew you fancy guys, he’d probably be a million miles away now, you freak, a voice tells him, but he makes an effort to shut it down just so he can listen to the final words of the dark-haired Doctor, who seems to be demanding his attention right at this second.

            “You have a friend out there who is very eager to see you, Mr. Tomlinson… I am going to let him in”, she tells him.

            “You can call me Louis”, he voices weakly, throat hurting hurting hurting.

            “I’ll tell him to come in, Louis”, the doctor smiles again and leaves the room.

            The red-headed one gives him a glass of water with a straw and instructs him to drink it slowly and in small sips, because his throat will hurt for a while since he’s been intubated for over twenty-four hours; he smiles through the pain – literally, because the more awake he gets, the more every part of him starts to hurt – and she leaves the room, saying a polite hi to whoever is coming in. Louis doesn’t need to look in the direction of the door to know it is, of course, Liam Payne.


            “Oh my God”, is the first thing Liam says.

            Louis closes his eyes and pretends there aren’t tears streaming down his face just for listening to his friend’s voice.

            “Louis”, Liam rushes to his side and touches his arm. Louis remembers his arm isn’t hurting because he never tried to cut it there. “Oh my God, you’re alive, you have color on your skin, you—you”, Liam is sobbing, full on crying, hysterically. Louis has never witnessed his manager losing his mind; it’s shocking.

            (The thing about being vulnerable around people is that at some point you end up comforting them – that’s why Louis never let his demons show. Well. Too late now.)

            “I’m okay, Li”, he pets his friend’s hair, running his fingers through his soft strands.

            “No, you’re not, and I didn’t know and I’m- I am so sorry I didn’t see it, I…”

            “I didn’t want you to see it”, Louis explains hoarsely. “I hate it that you know now.” He confesses in a smaller voice.

            “Hey, no”, he looks up, “Louis. Look at me”, Louis does. “You’re gonna be okay, we’re gonna fight whatever this is together and you- I- I won’t leave you, ever, okay?”

            Louis grimaces. People often make promises that they can’t keep, even if they themselves believe they can.

            “Jesus Christ, I’m not the praying type but I haven’t done anything but pray for the past days, I swear”, Liam lets out a relived laugh. “I love you, yeah?”

            “Don’t go soft on me now, Payno”, he tries and jokes. “And I love you too. Thinking now… I’d probably miss you if I died.”

            “Don’t joke about it”, he says seriously.

            “Hey, it’s okay, I’m alive, yay.” Louis fake-celebrates.

            “You’ll want to live again, you’ll see”, Liam says seriously, once again. It sounds like a promise – Louis gets worried one more time.         

            “Yeah… All right.”


            To Liam Louis pays attention to. He finds out it’s a Saturday and that he’s been out since Thursday night. Liam tells him how badly he felt for not going to his flat sooner once he got back from the US, because the fact that Louis hadn’t been taking his calls should’ve been weird as fuck to him, and somehow it wasn’t.

            And Liam didn’t mean to, but he only makes Louis feel worse right then. Because if his manager, who happens to be his only friend, doesn’t find it weird that he isn’t answering his phone calls for days on end, then Louis must really be a shitty person.

            The worst part comes now, though:       

            “If it hadn’t been for Harry I would’ve lost it completely”, he vents.

            “What?” Louis scream-whispers.

            “Harry helped me bring you here, he- he called people, helped me make them sign NDAs… He kept you alive till the paramedics arrived because I couldn’t even move, Louis.”

            “Harry—Harry saw me?” He manages to ask.

            God, no. No, no, no, this isn’t happening.

            “Yeah”, Liam breathes out. “He’s a mess as well- actually. Wait a second.”

            Liam is out of the room before Louis can say anything. Please tell me he isn’t here, please tell me he isn’t here, please tell me he isn’t here, he mentalizes.

            Harry’s here. He knocks on the door with all of his beauty and curls and glasses and-

            “Get out!” Louis exclaims.

            “Louis”, Liam reprimands him.

            “Get the fuck out of here, Harry”, he orders again, ignoring his friend completely.

            “”Lou, I-” Harry starts.         

            “Out.” He says and closes his eyes. If never is the next time he has to face Harry he’ll be quite happy.




            As it turns out, Louis only gets to meet with the therapist on Monday. Apparently the doctors thought he wasn’t stable enough to relive what had happened to him or to discuss it openly, so they made up their minds to let him rest all the way through Sunday too.

            It was better, Louis agrees, but now that Liam has left to deal with the press, Louis has had lunch (that terrible, disgusting hospital food) and is just sitting here waiting for the man or woman to come in, he can’t help but feel fidgety.

            He doesn’t know what to expect, he doesn’t know what he’ll have to say or if he’ll just blurt things out the second the therapist looks at him.

            Louis has thought, many times now, about talking to a professional – and he thinks he’d eventually get around to actually doing it, and being forced into this situation makes him way more uncomfortable than he’d like to admit. But then again, once you try to kill yourself and people find you lying cold on the kitchen floor, you don’t have much of a choice than to fight for your life once you’re awake.


            It’s a man: a short, thin, blond man that walks in. He introduces himself as Andrew and jokes that if they get along well today, next time Louis can call him Drew if he’d like. Louis smiles politely and knows it doesn’t meet his eyes – he’d say he can’t remember the last time he laughed really hard, but the fact that he can, and it was with Harry over some old burger that the professor had found in Louis’ fridge, only makes things worse. He stops thinking.

            “So, Louis Tomlinson”, Andrew says neutrally and writes down on a piece of paper what Louis can only assume it’s his name.

            “That’s me”, he voices.

            “Would you like to tell me a bit about yourself?” The therapist asks with a warm expression on his face.

            “There’s nothing much”, Louis shrugs, “I’m pretty sure you can find all about me on a Wikipedia page.”

            “I doubt your Wikipedia page will tell me about how you felt losing your parents or help me understand why you tried to kill yourself. But, for all means, let’s google you”, he says nonchalantly and takes his phone out of his pocket.

            Louis winces when he starts reading.

            “Louis William Tomlinson, born on the twenty-fourth of December, is an English pop singer and songwriter, who is also known in Hollywood for playing a few parts on famous TV Shows. Tomlinson began his career at the age of 18 in”

            “You can stop, I get it, I need to talk”, he rolls his eyes.

            “Oh, good then”, Andrew smiles. “How are you feeling today, Louis?”

            “Like a truck ran over me”, he answers promptly.

            “Can you describe it better?” He presses.

            “Well, I don’t actually know what it feels like to have a truck run over your body, but my thighs hurt like fuck and I thought I’d felt every kind of pain already… Apparently I hadn’t.”

            “That was because you never felt your cuts”, Andrew points. “I understand you possessed Vicodin?” He asks and Louis nods. Here it comes. “It’s a very strong drug, Louis… People get addicted to it very easily.”

            “I didn’t”, he tells him. And it doesn’t feel like a lie.

            “No, you didn’t. You got addicted to cutting- the drug was the way you found to harm your body without feeling it... Did it numb your mental pain too?” The therapist asks. There’s something about him that makes Louis want to talk.

            “It numbed everything”, he confesses. “But I’d still bleed and I- I knew I was hurting, so it was enough.”

            “I see. And cocaine?”

            “When I wanted to be happy.” He offers. “Or hyped, before gigs.”

            “You aren’t happy, then?”

            Louis snorts.

            “What d’you think?”

            “I think you’re happy… Most of the time, you just don’t feel like you deserve to be.”

            “You don’t know me.”

            “That’s why we’re talking”, Andrew smiles serenely. How can he be so patient?           

            “I’m not happy”, Louis then says. “I just get by.”

            “How so?”

            “I don’t know”, he shrugs. “I literally just live day by day doing what people expect me to, what I’m supposed to do.”

            “This isn’t living.”

            “You’re telling me!” He agrees easily and even smiles a bit.

            “Are you never happy, Louis?” Andrew asks. “Are you sure?” Louis doesn’t answer right away. “Can you remember the last time you felt happy?” He can. He doesn’t respond to that either.

            Dr. Andrew sighs. He waits a long time for Louis to feel ready to talk about it again, but he never does, so he moves on and asks about the first time he cut.

            Somehow, even ashamed and uncomfortable, it is easier for Louis to talk about what hurts him than what makes him smile. And he starts wondering why, as their sessions happen.

            On the second one, Louis tells Andrew about what he used to cut himself with and how he chose the parts of his body. His arms were never an option because he often wore tank tops abroad and he was abroad a lot for the past year. Andrew tells him that he needs to stop and find something else to take his mind off of things – Louis argues that it isn’t very easy, and then the therapist suggests that he writes instead of hurting himself.

            “You don’t have to record any of those—but they’ll help you, you’ll see…” Andrew promises.


            On the third session, he clears Louis to go home, as long as he keeps visiting him once a week. Also, on the third session, Louis asks Liam to reschedule everything with Niall – he’s feeling inspired and courageous enough to go back to the studio.

            Luckily for him, the press spun this in his favor. Louis goes on twitter and people are being supportive, people are telling him to fight, people are telling him that he isn’t a train-wreck, that he’ll get through this, that they’re by his side. People are saying that he’ll be okay, and he tries, with everything he’s got to believe them, but he just… Doesn’t. He tells that to Andrew on the fourth session, almost a month later.


            “Why don’t you believe that they’re by your side?” The therapist asks him.

            This room is much more comfortable but also more… Sterile than the hospital. Coming here makes Louis realize that he really is in therapy, that there is somewhere for him to lie down where a stranger analyzes him and writes things down. Coming here makes Louis as sick as it makes him proud of himself. It seems like this is the only right thing he’s done in a long time, even if it’s a result of a huge mistake.

            Yes. Louis sometimes thinks he’s made a mistake trying to kill himself. It wasn’t hard to admit it, but just because he’s been spending his days at Liam and Sophia’s place – and they make sure he knows how much they love him. Louis hates himself for having made them suffer for him, and he promises he’ll never make them got through anything like that, like this again.

            We’re happy to have you here, Sophia assures him every time, hugging him tighter than she ever has in the three years they’ve known each other. Still, Louis wishes he could go home. Louis wishes he could be okay enough to go home.

            Andrew says he can’t be by himself when he still might try self-harm, because staying alive for others doesn’t mean getting better – it means masking the idea that you don’t believe you yourself is enough of a reason to be on this planet. Louis is slowly getting his point and maybe one day he’ll be glad he is here for himself. Today is not that day.

            “Louis?” He asks again.

            “Oh, sorry…” He snaps out of it. “I think I don’t believe them because they don’t really know me… And I don’t think I’ll be okay because I’ll never change.”

            “Why not?” Andrew frowns. “Contrary to popular belief, people can change, Louis.”

            “I’ve tried”, he whispers and looks down.


            “I’ve tried”, he says it a bit louder. “All I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember is change and I—can’t.”

            “Change what?” Andrew asks.

            “What I am.”

            Louis has never felt so small in all of his life – not when Liam hugged him so he could sleep better the first night he got back from the hospital, not when Niall told him he’d never read such sad, poignant lyrics on their first studio session. Right now he feels like the smallest person in the world.

            “What are you, Louis?”

            He thinks it’s too soon. He doesn’t know if he can say it with all of the needed words, since he can barely think about it, but of all the things he’s managed to let go since he began therapy, this is the only one that keeps nagging him.

            And Louis knows that one month is nothing compared to the life-time it’ll take him to be completely okay with the past years, but he’s always been a person who wants and needs to do everything right away. You see, Louis isn’t one to postpone things – he’s like that with his work and he’s like that in his personal life. If he’s in it to get better, he’ll do anything in his power to get better. And it isn’t easy.

            There are nights in which he swears he’ll die again – nights when he understands why he still isn’t at his own apartment. There are nights in which he doesn’t even believe therapy is working at all. There are nights in which Louis gives up completely. But proof that there is a solution is that the next day he somehow manages to get up and get by.

            Still, he doesn’t think about Harry. He’d like to say it is solely because of him, but it’s much more and much bigger than the other man who’s barely in his life anymore, who’s actually been too little in it. He doesn’t think about Harry because of what Harry represents: the knowledge that Louis is gay. But he can’t say that, so he twists the words instead, in a way that Drew can still understand his message.

            “I fancy guys”, he tells him.

            He doesn’t think he’s ever said it out loud and this action alone makes him feel victorious. But only for a couple of seconds.

            “Oh”, the therapist replies.

            For someone who is in his fifties with two degrees and a Ph.D., Doctor Andrew should’ve had a better answer.

            “Yeah. Oh”, Louis snorts.

            “No, I’m… I am so sorry, Louis. I’ve been doing everything wrong.”

            “Wait. What?” He frowns.

            “I… I hadn’t realized this was an issue.”

            “What d’you mean?” The crease between his eyebrows gets deeper, he’s sure.

            “I, hm, didn’t think you being gay was a problem”.

            Louis winces at that. Andrew said he was gay naturally, like he’d already known it. Andrew said he was gay like that wasn’t the thing that’s been haunting Louis for forever now. Andrew said he was gay like that was the only thing that was not wrong with Louis. Damn.

            “Are you a homophobe, Louis?” He asks out of the blue.

            Louis was checking the watch and he noticed they only have seven minutes left today. It isn’t possible that they’ll discuss this topic now, which will kill him for seven more days till he’s sitting here again. Still, Andrew’s question takes him off-guard.

            “What? Of course not!” Louis tells him feeling completely outraged.

            “Here’s what I want you to do…” The therapist starts explaining, leaning forwards and placing his elbows on his knees. “I need you to find your problem with gay people throughout this week. I know I always say you can call me if you want to talk and we don’t have a session, but this week specifically I need you to just—think, okay? About what I asked. I want you to come back with a list of what is wrong with same-sex relationships. Can you do that?”

            Louis nods but feels weird about this assignment. He doesn’t think he’s a homophobe and the fact that Andrew thinks that makes him reevaluate a lot of things in life.

            Louis has gay fans for fuck’s sake. He’s never and he would never mistreat one of them. Louis has met more gay people in the industry than he is capable of remembering.

            Why the fuck does Andrew think I’m a homophobe? He questions himself when he’s exiting the therapist’s office.




            Louis has the longest week of his life after that session.

            He meets with Niall the next day and he feels completely exhausted.

            “Hiya, mate!” The Irish lad smiles when he enters the studio. “How are you doing on this ungodly morning?” He asks.

            He and Louis share an utter disgust for the early hours – and by early hours they mean ten o’clock. Still, this isn’t even the beginning of Louis’ day. Liam wakes him up, religiously, at seven thirty every morning, five days a week, to go to the gym with him. All about being healthy mate. Don’t tell anyone, but Louis knows Liam as overcompensating.

            “Tired”, he sighs. “Li made me do pushups today, was not ready for that”, he says and falls on the couch by Niall’s side. “How long have you been here?”

            “A couple of minutes, but could barely sleep last night- check this out…” He plays a melody and talks over it. “It’s very raw, and simple, but-like, I was reading your lyrics from last week… And I KNOW you don’t want the public to hear it, but Louis. Could you please record it? Over this melody? I’m dying to know how it’d be ready.”

            “Don’t you think we’d need backing-vocals for that?” He asks.       

            The melody is quite good, and Louis can see the lyrics fitting perfectly there.

            “I can sing ‘em”, he shrugs. “Please?”

            “You can’t win me over in few weeks, Nialler, I’m a tough guy”, Louis rolls his eyes and gets up to grab the lyric sheet on the desk, already caving in.

            “You’re going to love me, Louis Tomlinson!” Niall promises.

            “We’ll see”, he squints his eyes. “Okay… let’s go over this a couple of times”, Louis gets comfortable and reads the lyrics.


            The best thing about writing with Niall is that besides being a super talented producer and songwriter, he’s also the most easygoing person Louis has ever encountered. Also, Louis isn’t attracted to him, which makes their connection a hundred times easier, since Louis doesn’t have to worry about letting the gay show. Still, there is something that makes him miss Harry each time Niall comments on his lyrics.      

            At the same time Niall compliments him and tells him that yeah man, I liked your previous album, but this one’s gonna be so much better and this makes Louis feel somewhat accomplished, he also misses Harry’s way of understanding him, of making him feel that what he wrote actually matters.

            Louis shakes his head and concentrates on the task at hand.


            At the end of the day Niall has convinced him to actually put Misery on the CD. Also, together, they choose a name for the album. Louis thinks he might keep Niall forever.




            “Liam, d’you think I’m a homophobe?” Louis asks on Friday morning, when they get back from the gym.  

            “Course not, why?”

            “Dr. Drew told me to make a list of everything I think is wrong with same-sex relationships, and- like, he thinks I’m a homophobe.” He voices his concern. “Which is weird because I’ve never treated a gay person badly.”

            “Yeah, neither should you, right?” He shrugs.

            “You think it’s okay?” Louis looks up at him.

            “Love is love, Lou”, Liam tells him matter-of-factly. “As long as people are happy, man… That’s all that matters at the end of the day.”

            “When did you become so deep, manager?” He asks with a playful smile on his face.

            “You just never asked, you asshole”, Liam laughs. “I have gay friends”, is what he ends up saying. “Hell, Harry’s as gay as they come—I remember when he came out at college, it was so funny. And hey—you are, were, I don’t know, friends with him. So you don’t have problems with gay people either. Unless… Louis!” He exclaims seriously. “Tell me you didn’t stop working with him because he is gay!”

            No, because I am, he cries out in his mind.

            “No, Liam”, he rolls his eyes.

            “Good. So. You can tell Dr. Andrew to stop calling you a homophobe, because you aren’t. I know it’s hard for you to believe, but you’re a decent person, Tommo.” Liam says and half-hugs him.

            “You’re not bad yourself”, he whispers over his friend’s shoulder.




            Louis arrives at Dr. Andrew’s office at three pm with a speech in his head. And he says it all. He tells him that there is nothing wrong with someone being gay, that he talked it over with his friend and that they agreed that love is love and why would think I don’t understand it?

            The therapist listens to Louis patiently and with a small, sad smile on his face. It’s like he already expected Louis to say it all, and he is not that happy for being proven right. Louis doesn’t quite get it, but once he’s finished, he’s out of breath and drinks half a bottle of water.

            “So?” Louis presses him to speak.

            The thing about doing this therapy-thing is that he rarely gets the answers he is looking for. Dr. Drew is nice and all, and he generally talks to him, but Louis does much more talking than the other man. Sophia says it is to be expected, since he is the one being analyzed, but, still, it is weird for him to be indulged to speak when, in a group of people, someone is always telling him to shut up because he talks too much. Apart from Liam, and- well, Harry.

            “Have you ever heard of internalized homophobia, Louis?” Dr. Andrew asks.

            “Hm- no? I don’t think so, no.” He responds.

            “If we had started with the sexuality topic at the very first day I would’ve found that out sooner, but it’s good we talked about other things first—it gave me an idea of who you really are.”


            “You’re a very good person.”

            “Ha”, he snorts. “Okay.”

            “You say you don’t like people, but you actually love them, Louis. You help charities, you’re loyal to Liam to death and I can tell you’re very fond of your new friend at work…”

            “Niall’s a great laugh, I don’t think anybody dislikes him”, he smiles.

            “And I don’t think anybody dislikes you either, except for yourself”, the therapist grimaces. “D’you love yourself, Louis?”

            “I tried to kill myself, so I wouldn’t say that, no.”

            The nonchalance in his tone surprises even himself. Wow.

            “Why d’you think that?” Dr. Andrew asks. “Why don’t you love yourself?”

            “Because I don’t feel—because I’m not normal.”

            “Because you fancy guys?”

            “Clearly”, he points like this isn’t even up for discussion.

            “You realize you’re not making any sense, right?” The therapist asks him and Louis sits up straighter on the sofa, tilting his head to one side like he’s asking how so? “You say you don’t have anything against gay people, but you hate yourself because you’re gay. Because gay isn’t normal.”

            “No- it’s not—”

            Louis doesn’t have much to say now, if he’s being honest.

            “This is what we call internalized homophobia, Louis”, Dr. Andrew explains, a bit kinder now. “And now that I’ve diagnosed you, we can work for you to get past this, okay? I promise that you’ll be fine. It won’t be easy, but I’m certain you’ll like yourself again.”

            “I… I don’t know what- I.”

            “It’s okay”, he gets up and puts a hand on his shoulder. Louis didn’t notice he was shaking.


            And so he cries.

            The rest of this session is him crying and doctor Andrew telling him that everything will be okay, even if it doesn’t seem like it now.

            It’s hard, finding out why you hate yourself. It’s even harder to hate yourself for something that you can absolutely not change. It’s super difficult to think that you have a flaw that is only a flaw because it’s in you, since you’re okay with everyone else doing whatever they want, loving and having sex with whoever they want to.

            After Louis leaves the office, he goes for a walk. He puts on some music and just wanders around, thinking of every time he’s ever wanted to disappear. It was always related to wanting someone else, to checking a guy out, to having the desire to kiss a man… To actually kissing a man.

            Harry was his trigger, after all. It isn’t like Louis didn’t know that.

            The night after he kissed Harry and told him to leave was one of the worst nights he’d ever had, losing only to three other nights: the one his mother died, the one his father died and the one in which he actually took some scissors and slit his thighs and ribs.

            Louis still remembers watching the blood falling on the kitchen floor and laughing so out of it, thinking that he needn’t worry about cleaning that afterwards – like he had to do whenever he cut in hotel rooms – because by the time someone saw that, he wouldn’t be here anymore.

            Louis remembers counting the cuts at first, contrasting them with the old ones and finding them beautiful in a way. Louis remembers cutting deeper and deeper because he wasn’t feeling it thanks to how much medicine he’d taken previously. He remembers crying at some point too, thinking he’d never been happy until he was kissing Harry, and he’d never be happy again, because he would be dead.


            On the next session, he tells Dr. Andrew about that night, with more details now – he tells him that he’d kissed a man for the first time, and he’d gotten hard, and that was why he felt like he didn’t deserve to live.

            He also notices that this man is a professional, after all. Not that he’d made Louis doubt it before, it’s just that this is something really revealing to Louis himself, and to be saying it out loud is huge, but Dr. Andrew doesn’t even flinch. He just listens to it and writes some stuff down.

            At the end, he says he has homework for Louis again.

            “I need you to tell someone else.” The therapist voices.

            “No”, is Louis’ immediate answer.

            “You can choose who you tell it to”, he allows. As if. “It can be Liam or Sophia. It can be Niall or a stranger… Although I’d advise you not to choose the latter because a stranger could tell the press.”

            “I won’t be telling this to anyone. And you won’t either, because I’m your patient and I have privilege.”

            “Louis”, the therapist sighs. “I will never tell anyone anything. But you have to. We will find out why you feel like this about yourself and you will feel better, but it’s a long way down and, until then, you need support. You need to listen to the people close to you telling you that they love you no matter what...”


             “… That not only being gay is okay, but you being gay is okay too.”

            “No, I can’t do this, no- I- I can’t.”


            Dr. Andrew seems to think he can, but he doesn’t say anything else. He lets Louis think this over for the following seconds.

            Louis’ heart tells him that Liam and Sophia won’t find him weird for being gay. His heart tells him they’ll be completely okay with it, that they won’t stop loving him, that Liam won’t drop him as a client if he says he prefers men over women. Still, Louis’ mind is a warzone. Louis’ mind tells him he is completely disgusting for even cogitating such thing, for even being such thing.

            And he knows he doesn’t make any sense. In some level, he knows none of it makes any sense, but still—how can he get over it?

            The only person who knows is the one with whom he’s ruined everything by kissing them. The only person who knows he made sure to send away. He is so damn stupid.

            Still, there might be a chance Harry will talk to him again. That is, if he gets his act together. If he apologizes.

            “Does it count if I tell someone who already knows?” He asks quietly.

            “You wanna talk to Harry?” Dr. Andrew checks.

            Louis nods. First affirming it and then denying. He doesn’t know.

            “I—I don’t think he wants to speak to me, but- but not because I’m, you know.”

            “Because you’re gay.”

            He knows Andrew repeats it time and time again just so he gets used to it, just so he understands he doesn’t think this is weird, but, even so, he still winces each time he therapist says it, like it’s an accusation of sorts.

            “Yeah.” He agrees eventually. “But I think- since he already knows, I mean… I think I could say it to him. I just need to, like, make him listen to me at first.”

            “It’s settled then.”


            “Your homework is to talk to Harry”, he says easily.

            “This won’t be easy”, Louis whine.

            “Recovery isn’t easy, Louis. It’s a freaking difficult road paved with sorrows and tears, but believe me when I say it’ll be worth it, yeah?” He reassures him.

            “Yeah, okay”, Louis sighs. “I’ll try.”

            “Trying is good enough for me.” The therapist smiles and they move on from this topic.

            They always do. They start talking about something that really troubles Louis and then move to a lighter topic, like Louis’ childhood, the moments he spent with his parents and even how he felt when he lost them – nowadays, although he still misses them like hell, Louis can reminisce without breaking down, without hating God for it.    

            It’s better this way, because he leaves the office feeling less of a failure.




Chapter Text




            “Uncle Harry, I don’t like this color much”, Lux stretches her hand in front of her face and analyzes her nails, wrinkling her nose.

            She’s been here since yesterday when her parents went on a much deserved date, and this morning she and Harry decided that painting their nails would be an amazing activity. Well, Lux decided, Harry complied, because he’s been in love with her since the day she was born, six years ago.

            “Why not? Blue is awesome!” He tries to convince her, showing how mesmerized he is by the light blue paint on her tiny, tiny nails. “And I did a good job, didn’t I?” Harry smiles despite himself.

            Growing up with Gemma and going through her teenage-phase with her has made Harry a pro in everything beauty-related.

            “You did”, Lux giggles agreeing. “Okay. I stay with blue! Now yours”, she jumps excitedly towards the nail-polish box. “Pink?” The little girl asks.

            “I love pink”, Harry tells her truthfully.

            Lux does a good job at painting almost all of his fingers, but she has a huge smile on her face by the time she finishes it, so he promises her that he loves it, that it’s the most beautiful work he’s ever seen – you did better than your mom, he whispers to her, making Lux elicit a full on belly laugh. He loves her to the moon and back.

            They compromise: while Harry cleans his fingers (“I promise I’ll leave my nails painted, love”), she puts away everything they used and in fifteen minutes the living room looks more like a living room and less of a hairdresser saloon.

            “Ok, my nails are dry enough, let me braid your hair, come here!” He tells her and opens his legs on the couch, so she can fit in between and watch TV as he sorts out the mess that is her hair.

            Lux is the daughter of Lou and Tom, two of Harry’s oldest friends.

            When he was sixteen, he used to work at a bakery, and Lou worked at a hairdresser’s saloon on the same street – she’d always go in the mornings for breakfast and they bonded over muffins and way too hot tea. By the time Harry was seventeen and leaving for uni – having finished sixth form earlier than other kids –, Lou was in a committed relationship with Tom and they were thinking about moving in together.

            Flash-forward one more year and they were in London, where Harry also happened to be, living together and soon-to-be parents. It could’ve been a disaster, except for the fact that they loved each other to death.

            Tom opened his own tattoo shop and Lou got a job at a fancy saloon downtown. Sometimes life works in your favor, even when it’s hard to believe. Harry’s always taken them as an example that when timing is right, and when the person is right, things happen as they should.


            Lux was born in a September morning, at the same time Harry was taking an important test for one of his favorite classes. He’d never left his phone on before and somehow he happened to forget to turn it off that day – as it was, it rang in the middle of the exam, his professor complained a lot and decided to give him another chance, but Harry didn’t take it, because a little girl that he’d been loving for nine months was about to come into this world.

            Harry remembers leaving everything behind but his phone and wallet and rushing to the hospital – he was in time to be the first one to congratulate both parents and also to be asked if he wanted to be her godparent. Harry was an eighteen year old who didn’t have anything at that point and was just hoping to be as successful in his career as his sister already was in hers, but he accepted it with the biggest smile on his face. The rest, as they say, is history.


            “Thank you, it’s perfect”, Lux thanks him for the braid and smiles, giving him a kiss on the cheek and focusing back on the cartoon that’s just started.

            Harry’s never watched this one before and hadn’t even realized she’d changed channels, but he gets comfortable and pays attention to it, just happy to have her in his arms.

            Every time he’s with Lux he thinks about his own still inexistent children, and he can’t help the grin that spreads on his face picturing early school mornings and Sunday picnics and the joy he’ll get to have little ones to call his. Harry’s a big sap, sue him. He just wants it all: husband, a house with a garden, a dog, and kids. Plural.


            At half eleven he hears Lux’s stomach growl and they both laugh, because it’s too loud.

            “D’you wanna help me make some lunch, Miss Lux?” He asks getting up.

            “Turkey sandwiches?” Her eyes shine.

            “With tomatoes and lettuce”, Harry bargains. She doesn’t even bother to roll her eyes, which means Harry’s been doing something right for the past few years.

            They move to the kitchen to start preparing their lunch and he places a chair by the counter so she can climb on it. As Lux carefully removes the crusts from the slices of bread, Harry washes the lettuce leaves and tomatoes, so he can start preparing them.

            It’s team work, and a good one of that. Lux gets the slices of turkey out of the fridge and places them by Harry’s side, waiting for Harry to finish slicing the tomatoes so they can start assembling their sandwiches. And then the doorbell rings.

            “Lux, babe, can you get it for me, please?” He asks, thinking that they only person who might be out there is her mother. “But ask first!” He half-yells as an afterthought because she’s run to the living room already.

            It takes too long for her to come back.

            “Uncle Harry?” She then calls a bit uncertain. “Can you come here please?” Well.

            Harry washes his hands and dries them on a cloth that is around and then goes to the door to see who is there.


            “Louis.” He states sternly. “Babe, can you come here, please?” Harry says a few steps from her. Lux goes. “One second”, he tells her and moves to the door.

            “Harr-” he closes it before Louis can finish his name.

            It’s mid-June. Louis doesn’t get to show up at his doorstep in mid-June. Not after not talking to him for a month, trying to kill himself and telling Harry to basically vanish after Harry practically saved his own damned life. He doesn’t get to show up here in mid-June, a month after he woke up in a hospital and didn’t even let Harry see if he were okay.

            “Harry!” Louis says again, a bit louder, and rings his doorbell nonstop.

            “Fuck”, Harry whispers and knocks his head against the door. Lux shouldn’t be here for this. “Fuck”, he curses again.

            He looks back and the six-year old is wide-eyed in the middle of the living room because of course she recognized him. Harry sometimes forgets how famous Louis is. Harry sometimes forgets that wherever he goes, it’s bound to be a pandemonium of fans and paparazzi. Harry sometimes forgets that Louis is a multimillionaire, that he’s traveled the world, that everyone knows him, from this six year old in his living room to his seventy year old grandmother back in Holmes Chapel. He forgets it all because, whenever he was with him, he was just Louis – insecure, problematic, talented, funny, amazing Louis. It’s hard to wrap his mind around it.

            The doorbell keeps ringing. It’s a constant noise and Lux is getting impatient just staring at him. Harry can imagine his neighbors complaining already and it doesn’t seem, it doesn’t sound like Louis is going to give up any time soon.

            He opens the door again.

            “Harry”, Louis breathes out.

            He looks skinny, is the first thing Harry notices. Not that Louis was fat or even chubby before, it’s just that he looks really skinny, unhealthily so, like he has only lost weight since the last time Harry saw him. The second thing is the purple circles under his eyes. The third one is that Louis is still every bit as handsome as he’s ever been.

            “What are you doing here?” Harry asks him.

            “I- I want to talk with you, if that’s okay”, he shifts on his feet and doesn’t meet Harry’s eyes when he says it; instead, he looks over Harry’s shoulder where Lux is standing.         

            “Uncle Harry?” She asks in a small voice, coming to be by his side.

            “Say hi to Louis, Lux”, he says and opens the door wider, so the other man can come in. Lux smiles big.

            “Hi, Louis! I love your songs! Uncle Harry didn’t tell me he knew you”, she sounds happy and frustrated at the same time.

            “Hey, Lux, nice to meet ya”, Louis smiles and gets on his knees. “Do you want to give me a hug?” He opens his arms. She goes in easily and Louis even closes his eyes over her small shoulder, hugging her tight. Harry does not soften at that.

            “Is she Gemma’s?” Louis asks.

            “No. She’s my goddaughter, I’m friends with her parents”, Harry answers.

            “Did you know I danced Steal My Girl at my school presentation?” Lux interrupts the exchange excitedly.

            Steal My Girl is from Louis’ first album and Harry knows how much Louis hates that song. Hell, Harry hates that song. It is a terrible song. But Louis doesn’t show any disgust when she says that, he opens an even bigger smile and ruffles her hair instead.

            “D’you have videos of that?” He asks, “I’d love to see them.”

            “Uncle Harry has on his phone… Don’t you?” She turns to him.

            “I do”, he smiles. “Hm- we- we were about to have lunch”, he tells Louis. “Would you like to join us?”

            “Liam made me eat before I left his house”, Louis tells him almost apologetic. “But I’d love to watch some videos while you two eat!” He cheers up and Lux goes to looks for Harry’s phone among the cushions on the couch, and Louis follows Harry to the kitchen.

            “You can sit if you’d like”, Harry offers and turns back to the counter, starting to assemble his and Lux’s healthy sandwiches.

            “I tried calling, you know”, Louis says and then sits on one of the stools. “I didn’t want to show up out of nowhere… I can leave if you want.”

            “You’re already here, aren’t you?” Harry turns to him. It came out a bit harsher than he intended to. “It’s okay, stay-- Lou is coming in a bit to pick her up. I didn’t even hear my phone ring, was busy getting my nails painted by a six year old”, he smiles and shows Louis his pink nails.

            “Pink suits you”, Louis compliments and laughs, making Harry widen his eyes at the lightness of this moment.


            He calls Lux to the table so they can eat and she hands Louis Harry’s cellphone, explaining to him between bites each picture and video he watches. There’s the ballet recital, in which she danced an Adam Lambert song (Harry’s still trying to understand it) and then the school party, a few weeks ago, in which she danced Steal My Girl.

            The three of them keep a nice conversation going and Lux eats everything, making Harry very glad; Louis distracts her as Harry does the dishes and when he gets back to the living room she is using Harry’s phone again, only this time to take selfies with the singer. Harry considers for the first time to put on a password, because he doesn’t need Louis’ pictures on his cellphone. He does not.

            (He makes a mental note to send these pictures to Lou and then delete them. Yeah. He won’t keep them there.)

            Lux suggests a movie, even though it’s almost one pm and her parents can arrive at any time. Harry lets her choose one anyway and before he notices it, he’s seating on the couch with her legs on his lap and her head on Louis’s, as Tangled starts on the TV.


            Harry’s mind is going a thousand miles per hour right now, because as much as Lux is the perfect buffer, he can’t help but want to know what in hell Louis is doing here in his flat. It wasn’t like he tried reaching out before; it wasn’t like Liam was the one to keep Harry updated on his progress while Louis’ was still in the hospital and it wasn’t like images of that terrible day haunted Harry for days on end when he was at work or reading books for this Ph.D.

            He is saved by the bell, literally. They’re fifteen minutes into the movie when it rings, and Harry gets up faster than he ever has, manages not to fall face forwards to the ground and opens the door to a very smiley Louise Teasdale.

            “Hiya, love!” She says and pulls him on a hug. “Everything okay?” Lou asks already entering the house and stopping on her tracks when she sees who’s on the couch running his fingers through her daughter’s hair.

            Louise’s eyes widen, but, in her defense, she doesn’t make any comments – at least not now.

            “Yeah, we were just watching a movie…” He answers and smiles at Lux, who’s now turning her head towards her mom. “C’mon, Lux”, Harry calls her.

            She gets up lazily and walks smiling to hug her mother.

            “Mom, Louis Tomlinson is here. Look!” She points at him. Louis gets up and walks towards them too, smiling happily – it’s a fake smile and Harry notices it, but neither Lou nor Lux seems to be bothered.

            “I see…” Lou squints her eyes.

            “Hi, nice to meet you”, Louis stretches his hand so she can shake it. “You’ve got an amazing daughter”, he offers.

            “I know”, she muses. “Thanks”, Lou then completes. “Go grab your things, peanut, dad’s downstairs in the car”, she tells her daughter and Lux doesn’t complain, just moves towards Harry’s bedroom. “You let her sleep in your bed, didn’t you?” Lou sighs.

            “Lou!” Harry whines.

            “She’s six, Harry”, his friend rolls her eyes. “She can sleep by herself.”

            “But she’s small”, he argues. “She wanted cuddles. I wanted cuddles.” And it isn’t even a lie.

            “You’re an overgrown child, that’s what you are”, she slaps his arm weakly and smiles as her daughter comes back with a backpack that is bigger than herself. “C’mon, baby, say goodbye to uncle Harry and Louis.”

            “Bye, Louis Tomlinson!” She says seriously and then hugs his legs. Louis coos at her and caresses her hair again.

            “Bye, Luxie. It was very nice to meet you. But you can call me just Louis, okay?” He smiles.

            “Okay, Louis”, she smiles too.

            “Why does he get to call you Luxie and I don’t anymore?” Harry pouts, not even faking his outrage.

            “Because! He is famous”, Lux half-whispers.

            “And you’re a fan, yeah, we know”, Lou rolls her eyes. “She cried for hours when we didn’t take her to your concert at the O2 last year”, Lou tells him.

            “It was better not to take her, though, you guys were right… I wasn’t- it wasn’t a concert for kids, I’m afraid”, he says almost like he’s ashamed. He offers Lou a small smile, but, again, it does not reach his eyes.

            “Yeah…” Lou trails. “It was nice to meet you, thanks for being so nice with her.”

            “She’s a blast!” Louis exclaims.

            Harry watches the exchange not knowing what to do with himself, so he just hugs Lux and tells her he’ll see her whenever, which is probably on Monday when he takes her to school. Harry always tries to see Lux, even with his tight schedule.

            They say their goodbyes and before Harry notices he’s sending his regards to Tom and Lou and Lux are out of the door and in the lift, leaving Harry and Louis alone in the same space since God knows when.


            “What do you want?” Harry asks immediately as soon as he shuts the door.

            “Don’t you want to finish the movie? Tangled is so nice!” Louis asks hopefully, but Harry just rolls his eyes and takes the remote control to turn off the TV. “I guess this is a no, then.” He sighs.

            “What do you want, Louis?” Harry questions him one more time, sitting on the couch and waiting for Louis to do the same.

            “To say that I am extremely grateful that you literally saved my life”, the singer finally says, sitting by Harry’s side and turning to face him. “To say that I acted like a dumbass because I was ashamed. Because I didn’t want you to see me like that. Because I didn’t want you to see me ever again. Because I thought you hated me- or—or were disgusted by me. But mainly, I wanted to say that I am very sorry by the way I treated you, even before that—when you- we… You know”, he looks down. “You are a great person and you didn’t deserve me being—” Louis waves his hands in the air. “Whatever the fuck I was.” He looks at him again. “I really am sorry, Harry.”

            “Do you—” Harry starts. “D’you have any idea of what it was like seeing you lying cold and covered in blood on the floor, Louis?” The whole sentence is a whisper. Even speaking about it makes Harry sick and he sees it does the same to Louis, who winces and shudders right in front of him.

            “I don’t”, he shyly replies. “But do you have any idea of what it was like to be the one lying cold and covered in blood in the floor, Harry?” Louis asks back and--

            No. Harry doesn’t.

            “I—don’t. But I was worried sick, Louis”, he says in a pleading tone. “And afterwards I just wanted to see you alive.”

            “And I was ashamed, Harry.” He explains, raising his tone. “I was ashamed and I was broken and all I could think about was that the guy—the only guy that I kissed in my entire life was there giving a crap about me even after I hadn’t spoken with him for weeks.”       

            It all comes out in a rush, like Louis needs to take it all out of his chest before he gives up.

            Harry lets him speak.

            “You kissed me, H”, Louis states. “And I kissed you back. And I hated myself for it.”

            “For kissing me?” Harry asks just to be sure.

            “For having liked kissing you”, he explains. “Even now, sitting here and talking to you I—I can’t believe that that happened. I can’t believe I kissed a guy and I can’t believe it was that good, and  I—I hated myself after that. And I tried to kill myself, yes, because I hated myself. And I still hate myself. And- and hating myself is exhausting when I’m sober.”

            The last sentences are only half-spoken; Louis didn’t even look into his eyes. Now, when he raises his eyes again, there are tears there, and Harry just wants to hug him, so, so badly. He is scared though. What if he hugs Louis and the man freaks out? What if he touches him, only to comfort, and Louis backs off and leaves the flat? He can’t have that, no. Because, at this moment, as it is, Harry’s just as broken as the singer in front of him.

            It wasn’t like Harry didn’t suspect Louis’ reasons or how he felt about himself, but having him say that out loud, having him confess it to him, seeing how much it affects Louis… It’s too damn much.

            “I’m sorry you feel this way”, Harry says at first. “I’m sorry I kissed you, I should’ve known better.”

            “You couldn’t have”, he responds. “And you don’t have to be sorry.”

            “I… Don’t?” Harry frowns.

            “Harry, I- my therapist says I—he.” Louis is fidgety and, once again, Harry refrains from at least holding his hands. “Dr. Andrew says I have internalized homophobia”, he breathes out. “And he gives me- like, homeworks, you know? Every other week there’s something I need to work on and since he, hm, diagnosed me with it—he wanted me to, like, tell someone.”

            “That you have internalized homophobia?” Harry asks sweetly. “Lou. This is really bad, I’m sorry, how- can I, hm, help?”

            “Hm, yeah, but- no. My homework was to tell someone that I’m—I’m, you know.”

            “That you’re g-”

            “Don’t say it!” Louis stops him. “I- I have to say it.”

            “Okay.” Harry waits patiently.

            “My homework is to tell someone, just one person, that I’m… Gay”, he says cautiously. “And you- somehow you’ve known since day one, haven’t you?” Louis laughs humorlessly. “I mean, Liam’s been around me for ages and it never crossed his mind, not even when we talked about gay people the other week, but you Harry, you just.” Louis sighs and stares at the ceiling; Harry has done this before, so he knows Louis is trying to make the tears go back into his eyes. “Since you already know, I thought it’d be easier to say it to you.”

            “And is it?”

            Louis nods negatively.

            “No”, he then confesses. “But I am. Gay, I mean. I’m gay”, he lets out and lets his head fall into his hands. “God, I’m gay”, he cries a bit. “I am so sorry, Harry, so, so sorry”, he says and Harry just can’t stay away anymore.

            He scoots closer and rubs Louis back with one hand, the other finding his hair in no time. Louis full on sobs and moves to hug Harry, who is just glad to give him comfort. In the span of thirty minutes he went from being royally pissed off with Louis to having the need to just take care of him, to hold him and never let him go, because who even is Louis Tomlinson?


            Harry considers himself very lucky.

            He grew up knowing he liked boys. Of course he experimented with girls; Harry was never one to just discard things without trying, so from thirteen to sixteen Harry kissed girls. It was okay, but it was never like kissing Josh who was one year old than him and had a dick, so when they finally started dating, Harry decided to tell his mom that instead of bi, he was really gay, and he wanted to just kiss boys from then on.

            Anne, his mother, was completely okay with it, and so were his sister and stepdad. Harry’s father wasn’t as okay as everyone else, but by the time he finished high school Des had already gotten over it. So, yeah, Harry is lucky. He has an amazing, supportive family, he has supportive friends, and he is okay with himself.

            Apart from the jerks everyone finds in life every now and again, no one’s ever made him feel that gay is anything less than completely fine, and normal, and okay. It hurts him, badly, that someone else, someone he cares about – a lot, he’s quickly finding out –, hates himself for something Harry too is.


            Louis keeps chanting I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry and Harry just tries and soothes him, using the same voice he uses when Lux’s having stomachache or bad anxieties.

            “It’s okay, Lou, it’s okay…” He whispers. “You have nothing to be sorry for, it’s completely okay”, he says.

            “But it’s not”, he cries out and looks at Harry, bloodshot eyes and flushed cheeks. “It’s not okay because I’m looking at you right now, I am a mess, and I want you. I wanted you in that cafeteria when I didn’t even like you yet. I wanted you every time you went over to my place so we could work and I wanted you when you kissed me and—and what does that make me?”

            “It makes you attracted to me”, Harry responds. “And I’m completely fine with that because I am also attracted to you. Was from the word go”, he confesses lightly.

            “You probably wanted a kiss and a fuck, H, you did not sign up for—this. For me being this problematic”, Louis says.

            He isn’t wrong. Completely.

            “At first, probably yeah… But, Lou—by the time I kissed you I just really wanted to keep kissing you”, he smiles kindly and dares to touch his face, cleaning Louis’ tears with his thumbs. “And I would’ve cooked you dinner and we would’ve watched a movie and done some more kissing. And when I went back the other week or even a couple of days later, because I would’ve missed you, we would’ve written a song together again, kissed between lines-”


            “By the time I kissed you I just really liked you”, Harry tells him. “Genuinely, seriously liked you. And you’re right, I was not expecting any of this…” He laughs. “But I’m here and I wanna help, so. Stop apologizing, yeah? It’s okay. You wanting me is okay. You wanting any and every other guy is okay too.”

            “I can’t—why can’t I accept that?” He asks him agonized. “I think it’s okay you liking guys, you know?” He offers and tries to smile. “I think it’s okay if anyone else likes whoever they like. But when it comes to me I-”

            “That’s why it’s called internalized homophobia, Lou”, Harry tells him. “I’m sure your therapist’s told you that.”

            “Yeah. It sucks”, Louis states the obvious.

            “It does. But hey- you’re not alone, you know that, yeah? I am here and Liam and Sophia will be there every step of the way too…”

            “They don’t know it yet.” He admits it.

            Harry figured.

            “They will someday”, he assures him. “You’ll tell them and they won’t even bat an eyelash for that. I promise.”

            “Till then?” Louis asks.

            “Till then you can call or come here and- you can just talk to me about it.”

            “But what if I don’t wanna talk about it?”


            “Then you don’t have to. But Dr. Andrew-”

            “No, Harry, what if I—what if I wanna do something about it?” He looks at him. Harry knows Louis eyes are blue, but he still feels naked under his stare right now, as two piercing blue balls study his every move.

            Harry doesn’t know if there is a correct answer to that, so he just goes with his feelings. It isn’t like it can get any more fucked up than he already is.

            “That is okay too.”

            “Even if it’s right now?” Louis mutters.

            “Even if it’s right now”, Harry responds equally quietly.

            “Okay then…” He trails and leans in, stopping centimeters apart from Harry’s face.

            Harry’s hands are still on each side of Louis’ face because he didn’t stop caressing it one second after he cleaned his tears, and as Louis surged forward, Harry just moved them down a bit, so they were on his neck and his jaw.

            Louis is looking from Harry’s eyes to his lips like he truly wants to kiss him, but doesn’t have the courage to do so. Harry already thinks he’s too courageous for everything he confessed today, so he helps him out by being the one who closes the distance between them, placing his lips carefully on top of Louis’, afraid he’ll change his mind at any time now.

            But he doesn’t.

            Louis grabs Harry’s shirt and pulls him in a bit more forcefully, and starts moving his lips trying to part Harry’s, and when he does it, he doesn’t waste any time before sliding his tongue into Harry’s mouth and it’s so good. Harry’s been remembering for a long time of what it was like to kiss Louis that first time, but his memory didn’t make it justice.

            He kisses him back and closes his eyes when one of Louis’ hands finds his curls, intertwining his fingers there and caressing Harry’s scalp with them as he does the same with his tongue in Harry’s mouth, dragging it languidly and hotly to the roof of his mouth and sliding against Harry’s own.

            Harry tilts his head to one side for better access and as he does so, Louis enjoys the advantage to straddle Harry’s thighs – one hand still in his hair, the other on his shoulder for support and it’s so good. At the same time that Louis kisses with experience, he also kisses like he’s rediscovering what it is like to kiss someone.

            Louis kisses like he doesn’t want it to stop and that is something they have in common. Harry runs his hands on his back and finds his favorite spot to hold again, the hair on Louis nape, and uses the pressure there to move Louis’ head to the other side again – their breaths are short and heavy, but they can’t, for the life of them, stop kissing.

            As they keep on, Louis becomes Harry’s favorite taste in the world. And as they finally finish kissing, after an hour or a year, and lie side by side on the couch, regulating their breaths and falling asleep together, Harry has already accepted he won’t leave Louis unless he tells him to go away again. Something tells him that this time, Louis won’t.




            Harry wakes up with a phone ringing. He doesn’t know if it’s his or Louis’s, because both are on the coffee table, so he just reaches for the one that is making noise and sits carefully on the couch not to wake Louis up.

            “Hello?” He answers without looking.

            “Harry?” Liam’s voice comes from the other line.

            “Hi, Li, it’s me…”

            “Is Louis with you?Clearly, Harry thinks and just hums in agreement. “Thank fuck, been worried sick about him.”

            “He’s been here since lunchtime, thought you knew, sorry. He’s actually asleep now, we had a- hm, tough conversation.”

            “He apologized then?” Liam’s tone is hopeful. Harry dares to think that the manager’s been bugging Louis to actually talk to Harry since that day in the hospital.

            “He did, yeah.”

            Harry doesn’t tell him much more; for now, he is okay with Liam not knowing much about them because, truth be told, Harry doesn’t know much about them. They literally kissed a lot and fell asleep without even talking about whether they’d kiss again or not. Harry really wants to, but it isn’t up to him.

            “Good, good. He was being an idiot; I told him you’d be a good friend to him if he let you.”


            “Well then, I’m glad he’s okay. Tell him we won’t go out tonight, so he can come in whenever… Louis refuses to have a key”, Liam sighs.         

            “Will do. But Li- you should, hm, go out.” Harry advises. “I get it that you and Sophia are worried about him, but- I’ll keep him company, if you’d like.”

            “I think it’ll be nice for him to spend more time with you…” He ponders. “God, I’m talking about Louis like he’s a ten year old and we’re just about to share custody”, Liam laughs humorlessly. “I’m sorry; I’m a bit paranoid now.”

            “It’s okay”, Harry says kindly, “it was a trauma.”

            “And Louis doesn’t have actual parents, so, there’s that.” The other man completes.

            “There’s that”, Harry sighs. “Anyway…”

            “We might go out tonight then… Let him know, please? I’ll leave the key under the front door mat…”

            “I will, as soon as he wakes up.” Harry assures him, noticing that Louis is already stirring awake. “Bye, Liam, have a nice evening.”

            “Thanks, Hazz. Bye.”

            Harry hangs up the phone and soothes Louis’ alarmed expression running his fingers through his hair.

            Louis smiles despite himself and Harry coos at it. Right now, under this dimmed light, sun setting outside the window and lights off inside, Louis looks more cuddly than ever, and the fact that only Harry gets to see him like that does weird things to the professor.


            “It was with you”, Louis voices hoarsely.


            “My first therapy session, at the hospital…” He starts explaining. “Dr. Andrew asked me when the last time I’d been happy was… And… It was with you.” Louis tells him. Harry smiles in wonder. “Now I’m being a creep”, he rolls his eyes laughing at himself and throws his head back.

            “No. You’re being cute”, Harry tells him and leans down to kiss his forehead.

            It’s a small act, kissing someone’s forehead, but it’s also one of the biggest in Harry’s book. Last time it happened to him was definitely with Ben, and at the very beginning of their relationship, when they were still crazy in love with each other and not just used to each other’s company.

            Louis closes his eyes and smiles again, and Harry can’t help but kiss his nose, then his cheek, his jaw, his mouth.

            “Is this okay?” He asks looking into his eyes. Louis looks soft now.

            “Yes. Yes, this is okay, Harry”, he muses and closes his arms around Harry’s neck, pulling him down for a firmer kiss, which lasts too shortly for Harry’s liking. “Were you talking to Liam on the phone?”

            “I was. He’s going out with Sophia tonight, gonna leave the key under the mat.”

            “Hm, good”, he closes his eyes and gets even more comfortable in the couch.

            “You can also stay here if you’d like”, Harry offers.

            “Will I be fed?” Louis opens an eye.

            “What were you thinking?”

            “Japanese? Maybe? We can order, I can pay and it’ll be tasteful and amazing.” He smiles showing his teeth this time. Harry likes this smile on him. A lot.

            “Why do you have to pay though?”

            “Because I’m the millionaire here”, he jokes.

            “You do know I’m not that poor, right?”

            Louis rolls his eyes like he’s saying of course I know, you idiot, I’m just taking the piss.

            “Because I was an idiot and have a lot to make up for then?” He arches an eyebrow.

            “That’s a better reason”, Harry smiles back.

            “I’m sorry I was an idiot. You scare me”, Louis says and grabs his hand.

            “Hey. Now that I know what’s happening it’s easier, yeah?” He tells him, caressing his hair with his free hand. “I like you, and I like this”, he looks at their joined hands. “Stop apologizing and order our food. I’m gonna remove this nail polish and then shower…”

            “I wasn’t lying, you know? Pink really suits you!” Louis comments before Harry can go.

            “I might keep it then”, Harry grins cheekily, pecks his mouth and gets up, going towards the shower and bypassing completely the nail polish remover that Lux left for him on the bathroom counter.


            Harry showers quickly and feels like an idiot, since he only does so because he knows Louis is waiting, and he wants to get back to his presence as soon as possible.

            Harry has read lots and lots about internalized homophobia already. Before he came out, he remembers he went online and read everything there was to know about facing this disgusting world being gay. He remembers he read about the consequences coming out could bring and he remembers trying not to care about them.      

            It helped him to not only be prepared for himself, but for others. Now, thinking about it, he doesn’t think he fully understood it back then, and maybe it was because he didn’t have to go through it himself, but seeing Louis dealing with it is kind of giving him a whole new perspective.

            It’s been hours, and Harry is already too invested in making him feel better, too attached to let go. It scares him; of course it does, especially because he spent the first part of his youth in a committed relationship with someone who was as easygoing as Harry is. Plus, Ben never had any problems with whom or what he wanted, and they still didn’t work.


            As Harry dries his hair in front of the mirror, he doesn’t even pretend that he and Louis aren’t headed towards a relationship, mainly because Harry himself isn’t the kind of guy who does casual. He wishes he could be this person, he promised himself he would be, after Ben, but then two nights at clubs made him realize that that definitely wasn’t his scene.

            He doesn’t dwell in it, not now anyways; not when there’s a confused man in his living room who is probably hungry and bored of waiting too long. Harry sighs and hangs up the towel there in the bathroom, exiting it right after.


            “Took you long enough”, Louis muses when he sees Harry entering the kitchen. “Where are your plates?”

            Harry takes a while to answer him, but just because there he is, in all his unawareness, standing beautifully in Harry’s kitchen sorting out their take-outs and looking for plates to serve the food, and all Harry can think about is that this is so domestic, and he is so smitten.

            “Hm, er, second cabinet”, he says pointing to the top. “Want me to get it?”

            “I can get it”, Louis smiles and turns around, reaching for the cabinet to open it. He gets on his tiptoes and still can’t reach it, so Harry goes to his rescue.

            “No, you can’t”, Harry chuckles behind him.

            “Oh, give me a break, I’m big”, Louis says still smiling. It seems like he hasn’t stopped smiling since they kissed.

            Harry feels proud of himself, like making Louis smile is an accomplishment on its own. He kisses Louis’ temple and gets their plates.


            “Liam called again”, the singer tells him as they start eating. “He asked me if I got my head out of my ass and asked you to work with me again”, he scoffs.

            “Oh!” Harry exclaims in lieu of a better answer.

            “It’s not why I came here”, Louis rushes to say. “You know that! It’s not why I wanted to apologize.”

            Harry nods slowly and takes a bite of his Hot Philadelphia. It’s good to see Louis not in denial for once and Harry wonders how long this is going to last – in cases like this, it can be a day, a week even, or an hour. Until the person is completely “healed”, things get really bad before they are good for real.

            Still, Harry can’t manage to focus on a possible breakdown anytime soon; he just smiles and enjoys Louis’ presence like this, while he can.

            “You know… It wouldn’t be the worst thing ever…” The singer starts. Harry raises a brow. “Working with you again, I mean. Niall says I’ve been doing really well, considering everything.”

            “You’ve been doing very well because of everything”, Harry softly corrects.

            “See!” Louis exclaims matter-of-factly. “That’s why I like working with you. You—you get it.”

            Harry hears the unspoken you get me and, somehow, for now, it’s enough to make him happy.

            “It’s always been in there, you just needed to unlock it”, he smiles despite himself.

            “I’d still like it if you came to the studio one of these days… I could show you some demos”, Louis offers. “Plus, you’re gonna love Niall, he’s a right laugh.”

            “I’ll consider it, yeah?” Harry asks and Louis shrugs smiling, almost like he knows there is no way Harry won’t say yes.

            They talk a bit more while they eat and Louis asks all sorts of questions about Harry’s childhood and his family, and he looks completely endeared with Harry’s stories about his first crush in seventh grade. Harry’s starting to think that as far as crushes go, Louis might be his first real one.

            Louis shares with Harry that when he was thirteen the only thing he cared about was footie, and swears that if he weren’t a successful singer nowadays he’d be heading towards being the next David Beckham. Harry cackles at that – it wasn’t even funny, but he laughs super loud, surprising both of them.

            He keeps saying that Harry’s something else and Harry believes him, he just can’t help but wish that Louis saw the same in himself – how unique and special he is.


            It’s nine pm when Louis asks Harry if he can take a shower, because he decided that he’d really like to spend the night. Despite being on recover and looking a bit happier than when he arrived here, Louis still looks exhausted, like he’s in need of a lot of sleep.

            Some people don’t realize it, or don’t understand, but there is a huge difference between being tired of your work and a crazy schedule, and being tired of your own life, not even wanting to get up and out of bed. Louis is the latter, has been for all the time Harry’s known him, but for now, all he can do is smile and say of course you can, let me lend you some stuff.


            They get up together and Louis follows Harry into the bedroom, thanking him for the clothes, the towel and the new toothbrush, making his way into the bathroom with a shy smile on his face. When he comes back, he’s very quiet and smells amazing.


            “You can have the bed, I’ll sleep on the couch”, Harry tells him and looks at Louis’ back.

            The singer is sitting on the edge of the bed and his head is bent, he’s typing something on his phone that a couple of months from now Harry will find out are lyrics to a song. Louis sighs loudly and Harry puts down the book he was reading, sitting up and walking on his knees till he’s close to Louis, stilling behind him.

            “Everything okay?” He asks. He doesn’t know why he doesn’t raise his voice, but it doesn’t feel like it’s necessary. Everything is too quiet around them. And it’s nice.

            “Of course not”, Louis laughs throatily. “But you don’t have to take the couch, H, I’m a big boy, I don’t mind sharing a bed if you don’t”, he turns his head sideways and smiles at Harry. “I also do not mind you kissing me right now; it’s been too long.”

            Harry’s so weak for him. He lets his body fall behind him and places a leg on either side of Louis’ legs, his inner thighs touching Louis’s outer ones through their sweatpants and it’s a good thing Harry opted for being fully clothed even in the summer.


            Louis sags into Harry’s body, his back fitting perfectly on Harry’s chest and he kisses him before Harry can even do it himself.

            Harry is pleasantly surprised, he can’t deny it, and he kisses the other man as passionately as he can, careful not to cross any boundaries (and making a mental note that they need to talk about this, whatever this is going to be), but deeply enough that they’re both satisfied.

            Louis rests the back of his head on Harry’s shoulder and turns his head to the left, and Harry doesn’t miss his cue, kissing along Louis’ jaw and trailing a path to his throat, moving a bit to the side of his neck and spending more time there, nipping at the soft skin so it bruises, but running his tongue over and over the same spot to soften it.          

            Instantly, it feels like every part of Louis’ body is on fire, because whenever they’re touching seems to be hot. Louis doesn’t seem like he wants Harry to stop, so Harry doesn’t. He opens his mouth over the place where Louis’ head meets his shoulder and sucks another kiss there, holding Louis’ shirt a bit to the side so he can access the skin there without any barrier.

            Louis releases these soft, breathy sounds, and somehow they drive Harry a lot crazier than loud moans.

            “H…” He whispers and turns this head to the other side, rolling it on Harry’s chest and exposing the other side of his skin.

            Harry holds Louis’ shirt back and licks hotly on his back, stopping to suck on his neck and then blow cool air over it, making Louis shudder in front of him.

            “Your skin tastes so good, Lou”, he tells him truthfully and Louis moans lowly at that, body shuddering once again as his hands travel to the sides of Harry’s thighs and grip firmly there, making Harry bite a bit harder than he intended on his right shoulder.       

            Harry hears the sound of Louis’ cellphone falling to the ground but neither of them cares, so Harry keeps kissing him and sometimes pulling his hair, guiding Louis’ head where he wants it to go and he soon notices that he might be actually addicted to the taste of Louis’ skin. Not only that, but the softness, the color, the way the sweat starts forming on his nape the more worked up he gets.

            “Ha-Harry”, Louis calls him weakly and Harry catches his mouth before he can ask for another kiss.   

            At first, Harry thought this wasn’t the best position, but now that Louis is unconsciously – or not – rutting back and he can feel Louis’ ass on his dick, he’s thanking all of the gods above for being where he is. Harry allows himself to feel a bit more of Louis and moves his own hands to Louis waist.

            His waist is curvy, small and meaty at the same time, and Harry can’t quite understand how someone can be all of that, but it’s like somebody up there granted all of Harry’s wishes and fantasies of perfect bodies in one person and then Louis was born and came into his life. He feels his ribs expanding everytime he breathes through the thin material of the flannel shirt he’s wearing, Harry’s flannel shirt, and he traces them with the tip of his fingers while still kissing Louis.     

            It isn’t that fast, but it doesn’t make it less sensual. It’s the complete opposite, if Harry’s being perfectly honest. Every little whine Louis exhales straight into Harry’s mouth goes to his dick and he can’t possibly be the only one feeling this.

            Louis is yet to stop him, but Harry has half a mind of asking him if he wants to stop when he moves his hands to Louis’ thighs.

            “Lou, I’m—”

            “Me too”, he says an awe.

            “Louis”, Harry doesn’t even know why he’s calling him, doesn’t know what he expects.

            “Harry”, he whines, “Harry, c’mon”, he pleads and turns around. It’s a weird angle but he kisses Harry’s neck the same way Harry did with him and Harry throws his head back, gripping Louis tightly and then running his hands up and down his inner thighs. Louis’ legs are parted, meaning Harry’s legs are even more parted, and he can feel Louis’ body kind of spasm underneath his palm everytime he gets closer to his crotch.

            Harry then gets bolder and allows his thumb to brush on Louis’ semi, and he finds out it isn’t a semi at all. Louis stops kissing his neck and just sags his body into Harry again, letting his head fall back on Harry’s shoulder one more time.

            “Louis—”, Harry breathes out, one hand squeezing one of Louis’ thighs while the other moves up to his bulge, massaging him through his clothes. “God, you’re so hard—” he says like a curse.

            “I’ve—I’ve nev-never-hmm”, the singer moans as Harry squeezes his length through his sweatpants.

            Harry can’t quite wrap his mind around what is happening, because it seems like everything’s just sped up and they’re going on too fast, Louis is going on too fast, but Harry also doesn’t know what he’d do now if Louis were to ask him to stop. He doesn’t think anymore and just uses his thumb to press on Louis dickhead, making Louis buck up in his palm.  

            “You’ve never been this hard this good, have you?” He asks in Louis’ ear and bites wetly and hotly on his earlobe.

            “N-no-no”, Louis responds, his hand still holding Harry’s thigh for dear life and the other one moving up to Harry’s hair, entwining his fingers in Harry’s curls and pulling it down harshly, making Harry squeeze Louis’ dick more forcefully than he intended. “FUCK, Harry”, Louis curses.


            Harry isn’t a school boy anymore, he can’t rub someone over their clothes and call it a hand job, plus, he is dying to see Louis’ cock, so he just does the logical thing to do and moves his other hand to Louis waistband, kissing from his earlobe to his neck to his jaw again, speaking hotly by the side of Louis’ face, looking down at his own hands on the man’s crotch.

            “Lou-Lou, can I?” He asks uncertainly, playing with the elastic of his sweatpants and boxers.

            “I- I don’t… I’ve never. I mean.” Louis says nonsensically.

            “I know”, Harry whispers. “And I’ll stop right now if you want me to.” He stills his hands. He’ll probably actually die if Louis tells him to stop-

            “No”, he says.

            “No, you don’t want me to--?”

            “No, I’m not going to stop you”, he says in one breath and as if he wants to make sure Harry got the message, he tugs on the professor’s hair once more and bucks up in Harry’s hand one more time, moaning louder than before, and Harry doesn’t waste any time before he’s moving his hand to the inside of Louis boxer, taking zero point one second to find his dick and finally.

            Louis hisses at the contact and to be honest so does Harry. Louis is thick. And it wasn’t like he hadn’t noticed or felt over the material of his clothes, but he gets whole new level of aroused once he properly touches it, and Louis does too, because Harry can see when he bites down on his bottom lip and suppresses a growl.

            Harry isn’t much different, and as he pulls Louis’ dick out of his pants to finally look at it, he feels his own twich painfully and uncomfortably, but it’s still perfect when Louis moves and his ass presses on it. Louis only freezes for a second, but moves again when Harry kisses his already too damn bruised neck and starts picking up his pace, wanking Louis like both of their lives depend on it – right now they might.

            “You look so good, Lou—you’re doing so well”, he praises.

            “I’m not-do-oiing anything”, Louis argues throatily and ruts up again, and again.

            Harry uses his thumb to collect the precome from Louis’ tip and spread it over his length, making an easier and more pleasurable slide for both of them, and only then notices his pink fingernails. It’s a nice sight, and maybe Louis was really serious when he said pink looked good on Harry, but right now he decides it looks even better contrasting with Louis sunburnt skin.

            He strokes lazily for a while, wanting to enjoy the moment, but as Louis gets impatient he picks up his pace again, praising Louis over and over again and being rewarded with pressure on his still clothed cock and pulls in his curls, which are making him pretty crazy and as desperate and needy as the man that he is wanking right now.

            Harry has a tight hold on Louis’ dick, and he fists slowly as Louis thrusts up rapidly, and uncoordinated as it is, Louis comes with a loud groan minutes after, eyes shut and sweat streaming down his temples and neck. Harry is really really close, but he is not there yet. Still, he feels pretty accomplished already, and rests his forehead on Louis’ shoulder as the singer comes down from his high – ironically, Harry thinks, it’s the first time Louis might be this high being sober. He’s glad he gets to be a part of it.




            Louis starts to wake up when he gets too hot. He can feel his nape sweating and his back is on fire, and the reason that is happening is simple: Harry’s attached to his body, one arm on his waist and the other under his head, breathing softly on Louis’ neck.

            The first thing he does is have a proper freak out. He freezes on spot and thinks what the best, quicker way for him to leave this bed, this flat, Harry is. He remembers what happened the night before and he feels dirty – he feels undeserving and he feels disgusted by himself for having enjoyed that so much, too much.

            But then he tries to move and Harry’s arm tightens around him, as if he’s pulling him closer, too close for comfort, but somehow it works. So Louis’ second reaction is to smile. He lets his mind travel to the way Harry’s lips felt on his shoulders and neck, how his tongue felt against Louis’s, how his hand felt on his dick and Louis doesn’t think he had ever felt something as strong as what he did when he came.

            It was like he was coming for the first time; it was like he’d finally understood what an orgasm was – one that he really had wanted to have; one that wasn’t forced, that didn’t require alcohol and drugs, that Louis didn’t have to focus on just getting there but, instead, trying to postpone the peak because the process was so, so, so good.


            Louis gets out of bed doing his best not to wake Harry up, desperate for a shower. Once he gets to the bathroom, he can clearly see the marks on the side of his neck and a shiver runs down his spine because he vividly remembers how he got them. For a second there he thinks about what the hell he is going to tell Liam if/when he asks – it’s not like Louis can wear a turtleneck or a scarf because it’s bloody summer –, but he decides against thinking and turns the shower tap, letting cool water wash away his worries. It’s too early in the morning anyways.

            Harry isn’t in his room anymore when Louis finally  finishes showering, and as he unknots the towel from his waist, he wanders into Harry’s closet, looking for something comfy to wear, settling for pants and a lilac shirt that seems too big for him – and he secretly loves.

            Actually, Louis secretly loves everything that makes him feel small and like he needs to be taken care of, and he’s never been able to admit it because 1) it doesn’t make him manly, like he was supposed to be, and 2) he’s never had anyone take care of him in the first place. Okay, that’s not completely true, but it’s been a long, long time since Louis last had a shoulder to cry on.


            Harry smiles as soon as Louis enters the kitchen. The sun is coming through the big window Curly has in his living room and it is a beautiful day; for the first time, also, Louis enjoys being awake at nine in the morning on a Sunday.

            “Morning”, Louis says sheepishly, smelling the pancakes Harry’s working on at the stove.

            “Good morning, Lou”, he replies. “There’s orange juice and- hm, coffee. And tea.”

            “Tea would be good—my throat needs it in the morning”, he comments and walks towards the higher counter, the one that separates Harry’s kitchen from the living room.

            Harry likes to cook. Louis is pretty sure he once mentioned that the first thing he’d do once he got more money was going to be changing flats and looking for one with an open, big kitchen, so he could make all of his crazy recipes.

            Harry looks good cooking, Louis notices.

            “Pancakes, syrups—d’you want fruit?” The professor asks as an afterthought when he’s placing a plate in front of Louis, who’s just sat on a stool.

            “You offend me”, he pretends to be outraged.

            “Fruit’s good for you, you know?”

            “No kidding!!!”

            “You’re ridiculous”, Harry rolls his eyes and sits too. “I think I’m gonna buy a table…”


            “Like, a dinner table? We’d always have dinner dates at Ben’s when we were together, so it never occurred to me that I didn’t have a table for, like, eating.” He explains. “Now we’re eating side by side and it’s weird.”

            “Oh!” Louis exclaims.

            Harry never brings Ben up. The only thing Louis knows about the man is that he is Harry’s ex, and that’s because of their first encounter, when a fellow professor of Harry’s mentioned him and Harry told the older guy he and Ben weren’t together anymore.

            “Hm”, he clears his throat. “It’s not that bad”, Louis offers. “I’ve got one and no one to eat at it with, so”, he shrugs. “Not that I am living in my place now so it doesn’t really matter…”

            “D’you miss it? Your flat?” Harry asks him and then proceeds to take a bite of his pancake, which contains banana, because it’s Harry, so of course it does.

            “Rarely. I miss having my space, but I don’t- I mean, I don’t know if I wanna go back there either and, like. You know.”

            “Understandable. Although- one would think you have a mansion somewhere else or another flat, with all the money you have”, Harry’s only teasing, Louis knows, but there’s also undeniable curiosity behind his words.

            “I’m smart with my money, I guess. I always think about it ending. Plus- it’s—”, he ponders for a few seconds whether to finish the sentence or not, and opts for doing it. Harry hasn’t judged him up until now, so Louis figures what he’s about to say won’t scare him away. “—it’s lonely enough in a flat, I don’t know what I’d do living in a mansion all by myself.”

            “Lou.” He whispers, leaving his fork on the side of the plate and turning to him.

            “No, it’s okay”, he smiles but knows it doesn’t reach his eyes. “Was just telling you.”

            “I think we all need some place that makes us feel like home.”

            “Not someone?”

            “No. People leave, eventually”, Harry answers, and it’s the first slightly-bitter thing he’s ever said since Louis met him.

            Louis agrees wholeheartedly, though.  

            “Where’s yours then?”

            “My mom’s.” He answers promptly. “I go there whenever I can—I cannot wait for my vacations to start so I can visit. It’s a small village up North, and everybody knows everyone, but I have the best memories from growing up there.”

            “That’s nice…” I hope I find somewhere like this one day too. I hope I can manage not to make a person my home. I hope there is a place for me to be me in the world.


            They keep talking about lighter things (like Harry’s friends and how he used to work at a bakery in Holmes Chapel right before he went away for college) as they eat breakfast. Harry even manages to make Louis eat a strawberry, but only because it is covered in chocolate. Harry eats one too and the side of his mouth gets dirty – Louis wants to lick it clean. So he does it. Apparently, Harry was not expecting that.

            “I’m sorry”, Louis rushes to say.

            Maybe last night was a one-time thing. Maybe Harry meant he’d be by his side only as a friend. Maybe Louis acted like a slut and now Harry’s about to call him on it.

            He gets up, looks down and moves to walk away, but Harry’s hand closes on Louis wrist – the same hand that was on his cock last night. Louis takes a deep breath.

            “You’ve got nothing to apologize for”, Harry smiles kindly. “Come here”, he pulls him closer and hugs Louis by the waist, placing his chin over Louis’ shoulder. “I didn’t know what to do so I didn’t do anything. You are allowed to do whatever you want.”

            “Yeah?” He asks skeptically.

            “Yeah”, Harry takes a deep breath and looks at him again, eyes still soft, hands still on his waist. “I’m okay with you figuring yourself out with me. More than okay”, he chuckles.

            “There’s a lot to discover, isn’t there?”

            “There is.”

            One of Harry’s hands goes up Louis arm, shoulder and neck, till it reaches his cheeks and then he uses his fingers to brush Louis’ fringe out of his eyes.

            “I never got you off last night”, Louis says but doesn’t dare to level his eyes with Harry’s.

            “You didn’t have to.”

            “I may just be starting doing these—things, but I know what the etiquette is, Harold”, he scoffs.

            “There’s no etiquette- hey. There’s only you and me and whatever you’re comfortable with. And I don’t think you’re comfortable with someone else’s dick right now. And that’s fine. I’ll live.” Harry responds and smiles again, kissing his cheek just because afterwards.  

            “I couldn’t have dreamed you if I tried, you know that, right?” Louis asks him and it sounds like a confession. He may freak out about that later. “Thank you”, he raises to the balls of his feet to cross his arms around Harry’s neck, hugging him tight. “I think I wanna kiss you some more”, he then whispers.

            “We can manage that- yeah.” Harry replies weakly. It’s the best Sunday Louis’ had since his mother was alive.




            They’re all at the studio, because that’s Louis’ life nowadays: work. He’s been working really hard on this album, but it is completely worth it every time Niall tells him how sick this track is going to come out. Today is a special day, though, because Harry found some time in his crazy end-of-semester schedule to come over and meet with them.

            Liam is here as well, and they’re currently lazing around outside of the recording room, sprawled on the couches and sharing pizzas and cokes. Louis hates that these people around him (that he is just getting used to calling friends) don’t drink beer because they think he can’t handle it, and he hates it even more that they’re probably right.

            The therapy sessions have been helping a lot, he reckons. Two weeks ago, after the weekend at Harry’s (in which he told Liam was completely!!! platonic!!!), he told Dr. Andrew everything, how he kissed a boy and how good it felt, and how he woke up feeling bad, terrible even, but how knowing that that was Harry who was hugging him from behind calmed him down.

            Doctor Andrew said it was just the beginning though, and he was bound to encounter many other things sexuality-related that he wasn’t ready to do just yet; and Louis knew that, he was okay with that… Until he had to deal with it in real life.

            The conversation starts okay-ish.

            “Does never have I ever counts if we play it without alcohol?” Niall asks out of sudden.

            “I don’t think so, mate, why?” Louis answers right away. He’s never played this kind of game anyways because he could never just do it for fun.

            “Dunno, it seems like a good way to get to know people.”

            “It’s a good way to know the nasty things people do”, Liam rolls his eyes and Niall points at him, as if he’s saying that’s exactly what I meant. “Last time I played it I was still a uni student, I think.”

            “Me too. It was terrible”, Harry laughs and Niall gestures for him to continue. “The thing about having a boyfriend throughout university is that everyone knows that all of your experiences are with one person… So after those parties people would always look at us with that—knowing face.”

            “I was scarred for life”, Liam comments.

            “Oh, yes, Liam, because you were an angel. Give me a break.”

            “I would’ve loved to have seen student Liam”, Louis comments.

            “Proper party boy- hooked up with everybody. Triple-kisses, threesomes, sex games—Liam was always in.”

            “Reeeeally?” Louis looks at his manager discovering a new person.

            “I got over it. Matured. Plus, I kissed guys for fun—after that threesome I never wanted to see one naked again”, he chuckles.

            “He was hot”, Harry points. “Really hot. You get points for that, but also lose for not having appreciated him.”

            Liam shakes his entire body as if he’s trying to get rid of the memory and Harry cackles a laugh.

            “You ever been into girls, H?’ Niall asks.

            “Not really”, he answers as soon as he downs the rest of his soda. Knowing him, Louis thinks Harry will work out first thing next morning. “Kissed a few, but- meh. Never fucked one. Don’t intend to. Ever.”

            “Can’t get it.” Niall voices in awe, like talking to Harry is an anthropological experience. Louis understands it, to some extent. But his research is a bit more… Empiric. “I’m gonna try and kiss a guy one of these days to see what all of the fuss is about!” The Irish decides.

            Never in a million years would Louis be able to voice it as nonchalantly as he’s just done.

            “Ha, a mate of mine did that once! You’ve met him, Lou, Zayn…?” Louis nods along and remembers all too well the handsome guy Harry introduced to him months ago. “He was falling for this girl- Perrie, they’ve been dating for a long time now. And then he was like mate, what if I stay with her and later on find out I’m into guys? He was probably stoned, but anyways—he kissed me, and then he laughed, said I was a fantastic kisser, but he’d stick to women.”

            The first thing that comes to Louis mind is to agree: Harry is a fantastic kisser. But then many things come tumbling down all at once, and Niall and Liam laughing along just turn into background noise as he realizes that they’re all discussing sexuality with such ease; they’re all talking about it as if it weren’t the thing that’s been haunting Louis’ life since he can remember, as if it weren’t the thing that almost got him killed. How is it so easy for them?

            How could Harry accept himself so early in life and how could Liam experience his way through university without even caring about what other people would think about him? How dare Niall sit here and talk about how he wants to kiss a guy one day just to see “what the fuss is about” when it took Louis twenty-five years to begin to come to terms with all of his?

            Things are spinning a bit and all the pizza Louis has eaten is in his throat at the moment, threatening to get out. Harry says something about a club night so he can find Niall a boy and Louis gets up without even excusing himself, running towards the restroom knowing he is about to puke – he is grateful that he can at least get to the toilet before throwing up.

            And then he cries, pathetically so. He’s on his knees in a restroom in a music studio and he realizes, once again, what a complete fuck up he is. If his fans could see him now, he wonders how many would stick around – probably none. No one would, except for Liam, and now Harry.

            God, Lous is a burden, isn’t he? Harry could be at home taking a rest because he had a stressful day and Niall could be on his way too, maybe at a bar, maybe with other friends. Liam could be with his fiancé having sex against the fridge or swimming in the pool under the moonlight – Sophia is into that stuff. Instead, everyone is here, with him – maybe because they feel like they have to, because Louis has no one else.

            He hates the situation, he hates being so damn fragile, he hates that now everyone tiptoes around him about every fucking thing, and when they finally don’t, when they’re all having a normal conversation, laughing and exchanging uni stories, talking about what they still might wanna do because they’re all still  so freaking young, Louis cracks one more time.


            “Louis, are you okay?”, he hears Liam’s voice. He can also hear him forcing the doorknob. “Open the door”, his friend kind of orders.

            “’M okay, Liam”, he answers and manages to get up.            

            Louis splashes water on his face and tries to make his hair look a bit better. He also washes his mouth the best he can without any toothpaste around and takes three deep breaths before opening the door.

            “Might’ve been the cheese”, he bluntly lies and walks past him.

            “Hey.” Liam grabs his arm. “You know you can talk to me, right? About anything. We can figure it out together.”

            “Yeah, Liam, thanks”, he smiles (falsely) and goes back to where they were, but Niall’s already throwing the empty boxes of pizza in the bin and Harry’s organizing the sheets of music that were around.

            Harry looks at him with sad eyes, like he wants to apologize but doesn’t know how to. Louis feels worse for that, then, because Harry shouldn’t have to apologize for being his amazing self; he can’t say that right now, but he makes a mental note to mention it later.

            “You okay, mate?” Niall asks.

            “Sure, just got a bit sick.” Less of a lie than the one he told Liam.

            He was sick indeed. Still is.

            Is he ever not going to be?




Chapter Text




            It’s on a Friday that Harry has the brilliant idea to invite Louis over so he can watch a class at the Royal Academy of Music. The term is about to be over and this is the second class Harry is “graduating”, so it’s important to him and, somehow, he wants to share his work with Louis, since the singer has been doing the same for him for a long while now.

            The best part is that Louis actually accepts it the second Harry calls him from his office. It’s around lunchtime and Louis promises he’ll be there by two in the afternoon, just after he and Liam finish a meeting. Harry doesn’t ask much, mostly because Louis says he isn’t that ready to be back at being a superstar and his bosses disagree. Harry thinks, no, Harry knows contracts are a bitch, so he’s there for moral support when Louis needs it.


            Harry’s just about to enter the classroom when his phone buzzes in his pocket and it’s Louis telling him he’s arrived; Harry gives him the instructions and waits for him to get there so they can enter the room together.

            Everyone seems surprised – of course. All of them know Louis and, most importantly, all of them know what Harry wrote about Louis more than six months ago, so they have question marks where their faces should be.

            “So”, Harry says loudly and clears his throat. “I’m sure you know who Louis is, so I’ll skip that—”

            “And I’m sure you know all read the shit Harry’s written about me!” Louis intervenes, which- Harry wants to be mad, but people laugh. “Hey guys!”

            Some people wave back, some continue focused on Harry.

            “Louis and I are working together on his new album, and although this isn’t a secret, it clearly isn’t a well-known fact yet, so I’d appreciate if you could keep it quiet.” He smiles kindly. “I invited him over today because I’d like him to see the other side of music—the non-industrial side.”

            “He’s lying”, Louis says yet again. “He’s always bragging about you guys and thought this was a perfect opportunity to show off.”

            “Or that”, Harry laughs and now everyone seems more relaxed. “Okay, today we have your final presentations that I’ll avail until next week and come back with a result—please impress me, and impress him- I know- I know that I, hm, trashed his albums, as he so kindly remembered you, but he’s actually- hm, a pretty decent musician. He’s gonna be incredible when I’m done with him”, laughter. “Okay, who’s gonna go first?”


            And so it starts. Rebecca takes her violin and is bold enough to present a composition of her own, saying that it’s all or nothing – Harry’s always liked her, so as he picks up his notebook to take notes on what she’s about to do, he’s got great expectations; he is so focused that he doesn’t notice the stars in Louis’ eyes because of Harry’s compliment nor does he realize that throughout all of the presentations, Louis stares at him rather than at his students, to whom he is supposed to pay attention to.

            It goes well, Harry thinks. He’s always known this was a good group, better than the one he worked with last year, but he is fairly impressed with the results. As the hours go by, other professors come in and watch for minutes on end, signaling to Harry things he might’ve missed and complimenting him on training them so well – he blushes, especially because he’s always looked up to most people in this faculty.

            When it’s five pm, the last student gets up and, differently from the others, who used violins and pianos, and even flutes, this guy comes up with an acoustic guitar.

            Raphael is definitely Harry’s favorite. He’s from the United States, but comes from a Mexican family, so he’s got a great ear and his taste in music is divine, Harry thinks – especially because he’s super in love with Latin-songs and melodies. He can’t be that much younger than Harry, and when he takes place on the stool, right in front of the class, he flashes a big smile before explaining what he’s about to do.

            “Though I love classic music and it’s been an absolute pleasure to learn about it throughout this semester, I’ve decided to end this course with a type of music that is called bossa nova. I know Professor Harry is familiar with it, but for those who aren’t, bossa nova is one of the best things in Brazilian music. It’s a fusion of samba and jazz, and it’s very popular around the world. This specific song has been translated to English and performed countless times throughout the years… It’s called Girl From Ipanema, and I hope that, although simple, you guys enjoy it. And I hope it’s enough.”

            Finally done with his speech, he picks up the guitar and streams the first notes. Harry drops his notebook and pen and closes his eyes. Before Raphael even begins to sing, he’s already picturing a summer day in Rio de Janeiro, the beach, a cold beer, someone playing this exact song and Louis. Harry opens his eyes again. It’s too damn early in this— somethingship for him to start imagining himself with the singer. Harry is lucky if he can keep Louis for a few more months.


            “Professor, may I talk to you for a minute?” Raphael asks when the room is starting to clear up after Harry’s see you next week speech. It’s going to be their final week with Harry and he is expecting some kind of celebration – luckily, they won’t fail him.

            “Yes, of course”, Harry responds and smiles, waiting for him to come closer. Louis is by Harry’s side and there he stays, hands clasped together and a curious expression on his face.

            “Hi, Louis, nice to meet you”, Raphael smiles and reaches out to shake Louis hand, who politely shakes his, tight smile on his lips. “So, how was it?” The student asks with an anxious expression.

            “You know it was good”, Harry rolls his eyes. “But you’ll get your results with everyone else next week, Raphael…”

            “No, I know, I guess I- hm, I just wanted to impress”, he bites his bottom lip.

            Maybe Harry’s forgotten to mention, but Raphael is also very attractive and very bisexual – he’s made it pretty clear to Harry more than once, and he’s never missed the way the student hits on him. And Harry—Harry’s a flirt himself, so even when he knows things aren’t going, will never go anywhere, he still flirts back. The problem begins when the other person doesn’t know that this is all there is going to happen.

            “Consider me impressed”, Harry smiles and Louis clears his throat, excusing himself.

            “I’ll wait for you outside”, Louis lets him know and moves to exit the room.

            “No need, we’re done here, aren’t we?” Harry asks kindly. “Or is there anything else you’d like to ask me?”

            “Oh, no, thank you, professor. I’ll save my other question for when we officially finish this course.”

            Louis scoffs and Harry does his best not to widen his eyes and says okay, then and follows Louis outside. Louis, who doesn’t say a word until they reach Harry’s office – it’s a long walk.


            “You do flirt with everybody, don’t you?” Louis asks him squinting his eyes.

            “Yes. But what’s that supposed to mean?” He asks back.

            “Nothing, Harry, it isn’t supposed to mean anything. Okay, I’m leaving.”

            “Don’t be ridiculous, Lou”, he laughs. “You can’t possibly think that my answer will be yes to whatever Raphael asks me next week.”

            “Oh, I can, since you’re so impressed by him.” The singer replies and honestly, what the fuck is Louis doing acting like this?

            For the past few weeks, since Louis decided he’d be okay with “being” with Harry, he’s been doing a push and pull game that is hard to keep up with. And Harry understands, of course he does, the things Louis deals with inside his own mind can’t be easy and he cannot imagine what he would do in his position, but it’s also very difficult to be the person on the receiving ending of… What? Affection? Harry isn’t sure.

            Harry is, indeed, glad to help Louis figure himself out, but he never lied to himself or to Louis about it being just that. Harry likes him, maybe, most definitely, more than likes him, and, still, he’s fine with hiding it from people until Louis can completely accept himself, but he can’t, for the life of him, not feel a bit hurt the days Louis acts so cold around him. He can’t help but feel a bit used, even if his mind’s telling him that Louis isn’t doing that on purpose.

            At this very moment, in Harry’s office, Louis is being jealous. And Harry knows Louis is being jealous, even if he has no fucking reason to be, but he can’t point that out either, because Louis will either freak out or tell Harry that he is being delusional, because “why would I be jealous?”, and Harry will hurt.

            So, he does nothing. He pours himself some iced tea and sits on the couch, craving for some peace and quiet after so many melodies playing in his mind.


            “You okay?” Louis asks more softly when he sees Harry won’t answer or fight him, and approaches Harry on the couch, sitting by his side.

            “Just need to be quiet for a bit”, he replies and Louis makes it to move away. “You can stay”, he adds promptly and pulls Louis closer.

            Louis moves around a bit and makes Harry fit on his chest, so they stay there in silence for a few minutes, Harry evening his breaths and thinking about things that aren’t his students’ works (he always needs to clear his head after intense classes), Louis’ fingers running through Harry’s curls and softly caressing his scalpel.

            Harry’s only half surprised when Louis kisses his temple and then his nose. Silly, silly Louis. Harry’s mind’s on him now, solely on him, and he has a smile tugging on the corner of his mouth.

            “I like this a lot”, Louis breathes out like a confession.


            “Holding you. You’re usually the one holding me together and it’s just- it’s nice to feel like I’m doing something for you too.” Louis says to his skin, kissing his upper cheek and then his forehead. Harry’s hand closes in a fist on Louis shirt.

            Harry wants to say I like you holding me too, I wish you could always hold me, but he refrains from it, and quietly appreciates Louis vulnerability.

            Louis has these moments. He sometimes goes to Harry’s flat to write, because Liam and Sophia are being noisy and he just sits by the window or on Harry’s bed wearing nothing but pants, holding a notebook and a pencil – he found out a couple of weeks ago that he prefers pencils than pens.

            And sometimes Harry will just sit and watch him work; he offers inputs when Louis asks or writes things by himself just in the presence of the singer, and sometimes Louis turns to him, smiles softly and says things like “I think I’m writing a song about you”, and Harry doesn’t know what to do with himself in these moments – they’re so brief and so fickle, just like right now. So he just holds Louis back, and enjoys while it lasts.


            They don’t fall asleep, but they’re only half-awake when Harry’s phone starts buzzing loudly on the wooden coffee table and they’re both startled by it, so Harry lazily moves his body forwards to grab it.

            “Hey, Gems!” He answers the phone already knowing he is late and pretends he hadn’t forgotten he was supposed to meet his sister for dinner.

            “Where are you, you knobhead?” She asks.

            “Got caught up at-hm, work. Be there in twenty minutes, promise.”

            “Waiting”, Harry can picture her rolling her eyes before she hangs up on him.

            “Gemma?” Louis asks.

            “Yeah, need to meet with her for dinner before she travels- she’s going to Greece with the symphony; d’you wanna come?” Harry asks before he can stop himself. “I mean, you don’t have to, but, hm.”

            “I’d love to, yeah”, he smiles easily and- okay.


            They go on separate cars and when they park in front of the restaurant, a valet takes their car keys – they both thank him and make their way inside. Louis comments he feels a bit underdressed and honestly, so does Harry. In the morning, he thought he’d have time to go back home and change clothes, and now he’s just wondering why his sister needs to be so damn… Fancy.

            “Your sister sure knows how to pick a place”, Louis voices when they enter the restaurant.

            “She’s got the money for it”, he chuckles. “I like these places too, wish I’d had the chance to get changed though…”

            “You look expensive even when you’re not dressing fancy, Harry.” Louis says in a way that was meant to be playful but it comes out as a compliment. Harry just smiles in response.

            “Hm, Styles, Gemma. She’s waiting for us…” Harry lets the woman know.

            “Oh, it says here it’s a reservation for two people…”

            “Hello, Rose”, Louis voices, surprising Harry.

            “Louis!” She exclaims and smiles. “If you could come with me…” Rose says kindly and walks with them towards Gemma’s table. Harry sends Louis a you know everybody, don’t you? look and the singer just smirks and shrugs, like he’s saying: yes, Harold, I do.


             “Well if that isn’t my late brother with his new best friend”, Gemma muses when she sees them approaching. Both of them thank Rose and proceed to greet Harry’s sister. “Nice to see you again, Louis, you look good”, she says kindly, which’s very uncharacteristic for Gemma, who is wit and sassiness personified.

            “Thanks, Gemma, lovely to see you again too”, Louis replies and- okay, what’s happening? Harry laughs internally. They’re too much alike. He bets with himself that within thirty minutes they’ll be exchanging playful insults—or maybe they’ll team up against Harry himself. Yep. That’s more likely.

            “Hi, Gem”, Harry says and hugs her, kissing her cheek afterwards. “I’m sorry- it was my class’s final presentation, it ran a little late”, he explains, even though that is not the reason why he is late.

            “No problem, been entertaining myself with this amazing bottle of wine. D’you guys want some?” She offers.

            Harry sees the exact moment Louis stiffens and coughs to try and not let it show. Louis told him that he didn’t have a drinking problem, after all – or, at least, he wasn’t going to have one anymore once he accepted himself completely. But until then – whenever then was, if it ever came – he’d be in a strict no-alcohol policy, no matter how tempted he felt at times, and he did, he confessed.

            You see, Harry’s mother has always loved wine. When Gemma completed seventeen, Anne offered Gemma her first glass (not that his sister didn’t drink illegally with her school friends before that, but oh well) and told Harry he’d have to wait till he was seventeen too – and he actually did (but the same hadn’t applied to beer or vodka. Oops?).

            So it’s only imaginable that both he and Gemma got used to drinking it together, and now Harry finds himself in an impasse, because even though he wants to drink with his sister, because it’s their thing, he also does not want to make Louis more uncomfortable than he already looks, and Harry was the one who invited him after all. It shouldn’t be this deep, and it shouldn’t be this problematic, but Harry loses himself in this line of thought, and when he snaps out of it, his glass is already half-full of wine and Louis has ordered a coke, earning a weird look from the waitress.

            “Oh”, is all Harry comes up with.

            “Don’t overthink it, H. You’re allowed to drink in my presence, I won’t die”, Louis laughs.

            “You don’t drink anymore, Louis?” Gemma asks completely unaware, as if Harry hadn’t called her crying telling her everything that had happened.


            “’S okay- she’s your sister, if she’s as nice as you I’ll be fine”, Louis assures him. “You won’t sell me to the rags, will ya?” He jokes. Harry likes him so much.

            “Oh yeah, that was my number one priority when I invited Harry to have dinner with me not even knowing you’d come”, Gemma jokes back and makes Louis laugh. Harry likes the sound of his laughter.

            “I had a few problems a month or so ago,  I’m sure you’ve read about it somewhere, everyone has—and now I can’t drink. Maybe further down the road, but- not now. It’s okay, I’m not that bothered. Not right now to be honest. Harold keeps me entertained.”

            “I’m sure he does…” She looks between Louis and Harry. “So, how long have you two been together then?”

            And- no, Gemma, why would you?

            Louis stiffens again, but this time he can’t quite fake it. He just widens his eyes and looks at Harry like the world is about to end, like he wants to bury himself in a hole and never come out of it. He can’t look at Gemma again and at the same time Harry wants to comfort him, he’s afraid to even touch Louis in public. Fuck.

            “We’re not together, Gemma”, Harry does his best to roll his eyes. “We’re just mates”, he chuckles to try and cover how sick he feels by lying to his sister. “I’ve been keeping him entertained with music- we’ve been working together, you know that.”

            “Oh. Oh my God. I just thought- Jesus. Okay”, she laughs. “My bad.”

            “Never mind”, Louis answers letting out a long sigh. “I’m quite a catch, but I don’t think I’m up to your brother’s standards anyways…” He jokes. Louis makes a joke about it. With Harry’s sister. Harry shouldn’t be this happy.


            The dinner goes fairly well, it’s true. There are no more weird comments and they all fall into a nice conversation about Gemma’s and Louis’s trips for their respective jobs and Harry can’t help but feel a bit jealous of them both since he’s never even left Europe.

            Growing up, Harry was pretty content with his life; he was never the kind of kid who wanted out of that small town nor did he want to take a gap year like literally everyone who studied with him – Anne says he’s always been too mature for his age, and maybe that is true. But now Harry kinda misses it. He misses not having done it.

            “You can always come with me”, his sister says. “It’s not like I have a plus one”, she jokes.

            “You say that but you stopped asking me”, Harry pouts. Right now Louis gives him a soft look and he does his best not to melt under it.

            “Well, of course, you could never come without your boyfriend”, she says boyfriend exaggeratedly teasingly. “Has he been calling, by the way?”

            “Sometimes”, he tells her. “Haven’t been picking up for a while now.”

            “Good. He’s an idiot.”

            “He’s a good person”, Harry defends.


            “He is. We just wanted different things”, he shrugs.

            “Like what?” Louis asks surprisingly.

            “Kids. For starters.”


            “That’s about it, to be honest”, Harry chuckles. “We just got used to each other—we weren’t in love anymore. Although he claims that he still is.”

            “I think he’s just realized what he’s missing now, to be honest”, Gemma says. “People often do that, don’t they?” She huffs. “God.”

            “D’you have a personal reason to be saying that, sister?”

            “Not that I wanna talk about right now”, she sips her drink and changes the topic. Classic Gemma.


            There are paparazzi out there in the exit. Gemma and Harry leave the restaurant first so they’re not photographed, but it’s useless, because when Harry gets outside he realizes Louis’ cellphone is in his pocket, and they’re in different cars tonight, which means he needs to wait for the singer to give it to him. Plus, his car takes forever to arrive, so he just says goodbye to his sister and stands outside waiting for the other man.

            When he comes, there are lots and lots of flashes in their faces. Harry looks down and does his best not to close his eyes and Louis walks closely to him, completely ignoring the paps in order to give the valet a tip and get into his car. Harry ends up not giving him his phone, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem, since Louis follows Harry home.


            “We’re gonna be all over the papers tomorrow, it’s the first time I’ve been papped since- well”, is the first thing Louis says when they enter the lift together. “They’re gonna know who you are in a heartbeat.”

            “I’m fine with this”, Harry looks at him earnestly. “I’m sorry Gemma didn’t know how to behave at times, I’ll talk to her”, he chuckles.

            “Are you kidding me? Gemma is amazing!” He exclaims.

            “Well, she did ask if we were together.”

            “I promise one day I’m gonna be ready to tell her yes. Right after Liam, though, because he’ll kill me if he’s not the first to know”, Louis explains and Harry’s too surprised to respond to Louis’ sentence, maybe because of the nonchalance of it all.

            Of course Harry wants them to be together, Jesus, he’s over the moon. He’s just worried he is nothing but an experiment to Louis, someone who is there for him to have his first experiences with. For now, though, he allows himself to be really happy about that statement, and holds Louis’ hand tight until he needs to let it go to open his door.

            Louis has the biggest smile in the world when Harry opens the door and-

            “Louis! What is this?” Harry squeaks once he gets inside.

            “Hm—a living room?” He replies cheekily.


            “Well, Harold, I believe this is a table.” Louis says thoughtfully. “But then again our eyes can be mistaken and-OH”, he scream-laughs when Harry catches him and swirls him in the air.

            Harry is so stupid for him it isn’t even funny anymore, but he laughs along anyway. When he puts Louis down, the other man crosses his arms around Harry’s neck and, for the first time, initiates a kiss. It starts as innocent as a French-kiss can be, and it’s so so so good too.

            Louis is soft when he caresses Harry’s nape and Louis is soft when his tongue plays with Harry’s like they’ve been doing this for years and not weeks. He’s still raised on the balls of his feet and Harry finds it completely endearing, but he bends a bit anyways so Louis can be more comfortable and circles Louis’ waist with only one arm, pulling him closer and uses his other hand to caress Louis’ back.

            They kiss for God-knows-how-long, and when they finally stop, Harry’s eyes are a bit unfocused, but he can still see Louis clearly. For a while now Louis is the only thing that never loses focus, if Harry’s being honest.

            “D’you know how hard it was to get a copy of your damn key?” Louis asks him with a smile on his face. “It’s always in your pocket. And your jeans are tight.”

            “How did you do it?”

            “By grabbing your ass to distract you, clearly”, the singer laughs.  

            “Thank you”, Harry then says, pecking his mouth once, twice, three times for good measure, and then kissing his forehead. “Thank you.”

            “You said you’ve always wanted a table; and now I have one more excuse for you to cook for me.”

            “As if you needed one…” Harry rolls his eyes. “You staying tonight?” He asks.

            “Yeah… Yeah, I am”, Louis answers and that’s just it. He’s staying one more night. Harry definitely does not count it as the third night this week.




            “Tell me about Ben”, Louis gathers the courage to ask when they’re lying in Harry’s bed.

            “What d’you wanna know about him?” Harry asks and he sounds careful.

            “Whatever you wanna tell me. Gemma doesn’t seem to like him much…” He says.

            “We met when we were in uni. He’s a decent guy, you know? We were together for a long, long time. But then we grew up and- I think the first time I realized we weren’t going to get married and live happily ever after was a year before we broke up for real.” Harry tells him and turns on his side.

            Louis tries to refrain from snuggling closer, but it’s a lost cause when Harry’s chest’s just so warm and there. He moves around in bed and lays his head there, Harry’s hand coming immediately to his hair. Harry’s arms is Louis’ favorite place in the world at the moment, and he’s been working really hard with Doctor Andrew not to hate himself for it. Tonight… Tonight he doesn’t.

            “Because you had the ‘having kids talk’?” Louis asks.

            “Yes. And because I was happier at work than I was at home”, he chuckles. “For a while it was fine because it seemed normal, since I really loved my job, but- I mean. It wasn’t, right? One day we just looked at each other and agreed we were tired of that relationship. So we ended it. It was hard, but not as hard as one would think.”

            “He still calls you, you said.”

            “He thinks we’ve made a mistake.”

            “And you?” Louis asks in a small voice and holds his breath, very, very scared of Harry’s answer.

            “Nah—No, I’m very happy the way I am”, the professor replies and kisses Louis’ hair. He snuggles even closer. Harry tightens his arms around him and Louis’ heart tightens in his chest. Is that what falling in love feels like? He asks himself.


            Harry falls asleep not long after that, but Louis is just staring at the ceiling. This day seemed to have lasted a life-time, and he can’t help but feel like it’s ending exactly like it was supposed to.

            Louis reaches out to Harry’s bedside table and grabs his phone. He doesn’t know if what he is thinking now will end up in a song, he doesn’t know if he’ll ever be able to let somebody see it, but he types some words anyway, because they just won’t leave his mind.

            I promised myself I wouldn’t let you complete me, he writes.

            I’m trying not to let it show that I don’t want to let his go.

            Cause I clutched your arms like stairway railings… And you clutched my brain and eased my ailing.

            And I try to refrain, but you’re stuck in my brain.

            I’m sorry but I fell in love tonight. I didn’t mean to fall in love tonight.

            He can’t think of a melody right now and he doesn’t know how he’ll ever organize those sentences, but right now—right now they mean everything to him.


            Louis sighs and hugs Harry from behind, burying his nose in the younger lad’s hair and falling asleep not much longer after.




            When he wakes up, Harry isn’t in bed anymore, but the smell of pancakes coming from the outside of the room makes Louis smile before he even opens his eyes properly. It’s a Saturday morning and he’s got nothing better to do than to spend the entire day here, that is, if Harry allows him to. He really hopes he will.


            He gets to the kitchen and Harry is there dancing in his underwear to Ariana’s Grande newest hit and Louis is smitten, he will never deny that.

            “Morning, sunshine”, Louis says and smiles involuntarily as he enters the kitchen. “Are you surrendering to these pop sensations? I’ve heard they’re shallow and plastic…”

            “You’re never gonna stop teasing me, are you?” Harry turns around.

            “Not a chance”, he answers.

            “Morning, Lou”, the curly haired says and kisses his cheek. “Go sit at the table—I’ve got a table now, and wait for your breakfast.”


            Breakfast is perfect. They can’t stop touching and Harry even convinces Louis to try some pieces of the fruits he is eating. Louis doesn’t hate all of them, but maybe because Harry gives them to him. God, now that he thinks he’s falling for the guy, he can’t stop but feel awfully inadequate, because everything Harry does is a reason for Louis to just stare at him fondly, like he never wants to stop.

            It’s hard, being who Louis is and it’s even harder to be dealing with such different feelings all at once. There’s this dark place in his head telling him that all of this is completely wrong, that he’s just using Harry, because there is no way in no lifetime that he’ll be able to give Harry everything he wants, everything he deserves.

            The dark side of Louis’ mind tells him that as easily as it began, it is going to end – and he’ll only be left with blisters and bruises, but that isn’t even the worst part; the worst part is that he’ll leave Harry just as hurt; the worst part is that he will, eventually, leave Harry – period.

            Still, there is another part of him, a brighter side in his brain; the part that lets his heart speaks louder, that tells him that everything will work out in the end; that the reason why he went through so many rainstorms in his life was just so he’d get clean enough to enjoy the sun now. And he wants it so much. He wants to leave darkness behind and he wants to stand in the sun with Harry. And he wants to try. He is trying.

            The brighter side of Louis, one he didn’t even believe existed (and maybe it didn’t, maybe it was… Created recently), tells him that he can make it through.

            “What are you thinking, hm?” Harry asks him.

            Louis hadn’t even noticed that they finished eating and now Harry’s standing behind him, massaging his shoulders and he’s got magical hands, Louis swears.

            “Life”, he sighs.

            “Good thoughts about life?” Harry lowers his body and is now speaking directly to Louis’ ear.

            “You thoughts”, Louis replies easily.

            “Hm… Could you be more specific?” He can feel Harry smiling against his cheek right before he kisses it, and then trails down to his jaw. Louis turns his head and kisses Harry full on the mouth, tongue and all, because he’s not wasting any more time without him.


            Everytime they kiss, Louis feels electrified. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, if they’re having breakfast or lying on the couch, a shiver runs down his spine and it makes him pull Harry even closer, even when it doesn’t seem possible, tangling his hands in his head and making what could be an innocent, quick kiss become a heated one.

            When Louis notices, he’s on his feet and Harry’s got both hands in his ass; their crotches align and—and once again Louis sappily so thinks this, yes, this is how it’s supposed to feel.

            Harry is always slowing things down for him, he notices. He’s yet to get Harry off properly and that because they’re still on hand-jobs basis; Louis doesn’t blame the younger man, though, because he knows how his mind could change without his own permission at any given time, so he just enjoys whatever they’re doing for how long they do it, because, honestly, it’s otherworldly. Harry’s otherworldly.

            Louis nips on Harry’s bottom lip and that always elicits a low groan from him, making Harry throw his head back instantly, so the singer does not miss a beat and connects his mouth to Harry’s neck – he tastes so so so good. Louis sucks and bites and laps his tongue over and over again, and Harry’s completely useless by the time Louis reaches his exposed collarbones. He finds out soon enough that this is Harry’s weak spot.

            Whenever Louis bites down more harshly, Harry squeezes his asscheeks and Louis revels in it.

            “Lo-oueh”, Harry calls him gravely, voice completely affected.

            “Yes?” He stops and looks at him, but his hands keep moving, roaming Harry’s lower back, shoulder blades, finding his hair again. “What d’you want, H?” Louis asks and kisses his cheeks.

            “Want to blow you”, Harry replies. “Is that okay?”

            And. YES. That is very okay, indeed.


            Louis is sitting on a glass table that, despite being thick, it’s still made of glass, and he should be afraid of breaking it – or spilling the milk, juice and water that are there; he should, maybe, also worry about knocking a plate or two on the floor, but, right now, all of his efforts are concentrated on his do not come do not come do not come mantra.

            Because there Harry is, between his legs, pumping his dick and kissing his thighs; with the way they were kissing a few minutes ago, this was supposed to be moving much faster, but Harry made sure to slow down the pace just so Louis could get used to the fact that a bloke’s about to blow him.

            He isn’t afraid, is the thing. If anything, he’s eager to have Harry’s mouth around him, because if that mouth weren’t made to suck cock Louis doesn’t know what it was made for. Harry’s lips are pink, so pink they’re almost red, and if he didn’t know better, he’d think Harry wore some kind of 24 hour lasting lipstick every day of the week.

            “Harry”, Louis hisses when the other man bites his inner thigh and slides his thumb on Louis’ dickhead at the same time.

            “Been wanting to do this for so long, Lou”, Harry says, parting Louis’ legs even wider, making sure that he’s got enough space to work with.

            “Just-fuck—just do it then, dammit!”

            “Someone’s eager”, he chuckles and moves to kiss Louis’ hipbones, lapping his tongue down his crotch and finally hitting Louis’ base.

            One of Harry’s hands is on Louis knee and the other is caressing his sides, from Louis’ thigh up to his ribs and down again, and when he finally licks a long stripe from Louis base all along the shaft and envelops his head in the tight heat of his mouth, Louis understands why he’d been teasing so much: he was getting Louis ready for this and this is… this is.

            “FUCK, H”, he curses and throws his head back, concentrating not only on not coming right now, but not bucking up his hips either. “Jesus- oh-OH God”, Louis moans when Harry sucks. He isn’t bobbing his head yet, no, he just focuses on the tip of Louis’ cock, and hollows his cheeks and hollows hollows hollows until Louis feels he’s about to explode.

            “You taste good, I knew you’d taste good”, Harry pulls off to say, precome dripping on the corner of his mouth. Louis can’t help but clean it with his thumb and feed it to Harry again.

            Harry gets back at it. And now it’s even better – or worse, Louis really doesn’t know – because he goes all the way down, and, as tightly as before, starts bobbing his head in a frenetic pace, both hands on Louis’ thighs, squeezing them hard and fucking fuck all the fucks in the fuckworld, Louis has had blowjobs before, but they all just—they don’t even seem like blowjobs compared to what Harry is doing to him.   

            It’s weird, because it feels awesome, and not many things feel awesome to Louis anymore. In fact, he thinks people misuse the word awesome just as much as they misuse I love yous nowadays. But what is happening right now is, indeed, awesome; one of the most awesome things that have ever happened to him.

            Harry pulls off again and holds Louis base right in front of his face, swirling his tongue on the tip and the sides of Louis’ shaft, making Louis’ moans get louder and more pathetic, but he doesn’t even care.

            “I’m gonna- we’re gonna-HARRY”, he screams when Harry throws both of his legs on his shoulders and buries his face in Louis’ crotch, “we’re gonna break—this­-ahh this table”, Louis exclaims and laughs.

            He laughs. Harry pulls off and laughs too. Louis has never laughed during sex in his entire life. He loves it.

            “We won’t—just behave”, Harry says and gets back at it.


            Louis is pretty sure he’s gonna blackout at any point now. Harry tells him he can pull on his hair however he wants and when he goes down on him again, Louis takes him up on the offer, practically hugging Harry’s head with his leg and he can’t take it anymore.

            It’s when he hits the back of Harry’s throat for the umpteenth time that he feels his entire body shudder; that now very familiar and very satisfactory feeling of being close to release starts accumulating on the pit of his stomach and he writhes on the table, curling his toes and screaming really, really loud, coming with a gasp and short breath as Harry swallows everything around him, finishing up with kisses down his thighs.

            Louis could probably fall asleep half on the table half off it and be very comfortable, but he can’t help but notice how hard Harry is in his pants, breathing raggedly and looking sinful.

            “Come here”, he says when he finds strength to get up and kiss him.

            He isn’t used to the taste of his own come; he doesn’t think he’s ever kissed a girl after a blowjob and he doesn’t know if he’d kiss anyone that wasn’t Harry, because—Harry. Everything Harry is okay and perfect to Louis. Their tongues meet before their mouths and it’s so dirty, Louis feels so dirty and he doesn’t feel guilty and a huge part of it is because of this man, right here.

            Louis runs one of his hands down Harry’s chest and finds his bulge; it’s not the first time he does it, but it’s one of the few, and when he squeezes Harry’s length through the soft material of his boxers, Louis knows he needs to touch him properly for what it’ll be the first time.

            Harry is surprised, and he stops kissing Louis and grabs his wrist in a loose hold, like he’s trying to convey to Louis that he doesn’t need to do this. But he does need it, not only for Harry, but for himself too. It’s about time, isn’t it?

            “It’s okay, H”, he whispers and falls on his knees, bringing Harry’s pants down slowly, making Harry take a few steps backwards so he can support himself on the balcony. “Are you trying to make me work for it?” Louis jokes as he walks on his knees towards the professor.

            “I’m trying not to fall on the floor”, Harry replies equally playful and places one hand on Louis’ neck, stroking softly on Louis’ jaw with his thumb. “You don’t need to do this if you’re not ready, you know?” He says. It is very clear how composed he is trying to sound.

            “You’re definitely huge”, Louis says studying Harry’s dick this closely for the first time. He’s seen it before, but well, he’s really up-close now.


            “Shut up”, Louis chuckles and kisses Harry’s left hipbone, slowly lifting his hand again so he can grab Harry’s length.

            It’s heavy. And thick. And hot. And perfect. Louis Tomlinson is, right now, admitting to himself that he finds another man’s dick perfect. He is suddenly very proud of himself and flashes a blinding smile to Harry, who smiles too and slides a hand down his body, covering Louis’s and helping him stroke his dick.

            Harry moans very lowly as Louis picks up the pace, and lets him do it by himself – the singer can’t help but kiss Harry’s milky thighs as well, using his other hand to massage Harry’s balls and making him groan loudly for the first time, bucking his hips and clumsily apologizing to Louis over and over again, because his dick hits the side of Louis face, smearing precome across Louis’ cheeks and, once again, he laughs. God, Louis loves this. He might love Harry one day; he might love Harry right now. He just doesn’t want this feeling to end.

            “You’re gonna kill me”, Harry huffs out and dishevels Louis hair with one of his hands, Louis never-stopping hand working tightly against his shaft. “Fuck- Louis, I—Lou.”

            Louis works well under praises. The more Harry talks – or pants, really – the more he wants to make him come. In his face, preferably. And as he says it, sliding his hand up and down Harry’s dick, the other one squeezing his ass, Harry cries out his name once again followed by a string of fucks and comes all over Louis’ cheeks and chest. Louis closes his eyes and opens his mouth, but only a few drops hit his tongue. He’s happy with it. For now.

            “Fuck”, Harry pants again, sliding down and sitting on the floor. “Fuck”, he says and takes in a deep breath.            

            Louis looks at him expectantly, but he doesn’t really know what he’s expecting. Harry pulls him closer, though, and Louis moves to straddle his thighs. Harry licks his cheeks, his chin and then his chest, collecting enough come just so he can kiss Louis and this is filthy, is the first thing he thinks. The second one is: I am not disgusted. Louis feels freer than ever.

            (Is this just the beginning? God, he hopes it is.)

            “Where did you come from?” He asks Harry mesmerized after their lazy kissing session.

            “Been here all along”, Harry answers and lets his head fall on Louis shoulder. They don’t move for what it feels like forever, and when they do, it’s just so they can shower and go back to bed. Harry reads and Louis listens to music; it’s the best Saturday of his life.




            It’s almost seven pm when Louis voices that he should probably head back to Liam’s since he’s been out for over twenty four hours now. Harry complains, of course he does – he whines and tries to stop Louis from getting up and God does Louis want to stay, but he also feels a bit selfish, because a couple of hours ago Harry’s friend texted him inviting him for a pint and he declined to stay with him.

            Louis never wants to be the kind of person who keeps the other tied down, but instead of saying that, knowing that Harry would probably go on a thread about all of the reasons Louis is not to blame, he just says Liam’s going to be worried about him.          

            “Liam knows you’re here, he won’t be worried”, Harry rolls his eyes and tightens his arms around Louis’ waist.

            “He’ll get suspicious then…” Louis tries. This isn’t even a lie. He’s scared shitless that Liam will ask him one of these days what he does spending so much time at Harry’s since Harry often goes to the studio too.

            Harry agrees with him then and Louis doesn’t miss the disappointed look on his face. Louis knows Harry wants him to tell someone, he’s not stupid. They’ve been at it for a few months now and it’s comfortable; it’s happy and it’s theirs. Harry doesn’t seem to be the person who likes the spotlight and Louis admires that in him, especially because Louis himself has always loved being the center of attention, but Harry also seems to be the kind of person who is open about every single aspect of his life, and to be hiding like this, from his own friends and family must be bothering him a whole lot.

            Being the amazing person he is, the professor never brings it up, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard. Louis sees how difficult it is for Harry not to touch him when they’re in the studio and how much he tries to avert his gaze just so he doesn’t stare at Louis too much when they’re in public – Louis knows it’s hard because Louis goes through the same thing, except for that fact that, in Louis case, it’s about self-protection, he is doing this for himself. Harry is doing this for him.


            Louis gets to Liam and Sophia’s place in less than twenty minutes and for the first time in what it seems like forever, the couple’s having a night in with friends. Liam apologizes profusely for having forgotten to tell Louis about it, but Louis really doesn’t mind – there’s food and Sophia’s friends are somewhat nice, so he stays in the living room for a bit; it’s about time he comes out of his shell.

            “So, Louis, how’s the new album coming along? Li said you’re recording again…” One of the girls asks. Louis doesn’t know her name, but her face isn’t that weird to him.

            “It’s coming great, I’m really enjoying the recording process this time—I always do, but now it’s different”, he smiles. People often talk to him like they’re interviewing him, but Louis really doesn’t mind; if there’s one thing he loves talking about, it’s his job.

            “Excited to hear it”, she replies. “Will there be a party again this year?”

            “For sure”, he laughs.

            “I expect my invitation then…”

            “Just talk to Soph”, Louis says and smiles at her, excusing himself to go to the kitchen and grab some water.

            Sophia is there putting some stuff on a tray and Louis helps her.

            “The girl you were talking to? That’s Cindy, by the way.” She tells him with a smirk on her face. Louis feels a bit bothered.

            “Oh. Where do I know her from?”

            “Think you slept with her last year…” She says. “She was excited when Liam said you’d show up tonight.”

            “Oh.” And it’s all he manages to say.

            Sleeping with women seems to be such a weird concept for him nowadays that he definitely blocks every memory of it. And it isn’t even that hard, considering he was never completely sober when shagging someone. How things have changed, he thinks.

            “She’s a sweet girl, you could ask her out, you know? Think it’d be good for you…” His friend’s fiancé nudges him.

            “Not looking for anyone now, Soph.”

            “Well, are you ever?” She jokes. But it stings a bit. Sophia doesn’t know, so he can’t fully blame her.

            It isn’t the first time she says something like that, though; it isn’t even the third. Louis has lost count of how many times Sophia’s tried setting him up with her friends (and same goes for Liam), and every single one of them Louis has managed to get himself out of it with simple banter. Now it seems a lot harder to even pretend he isn’t pissed.

            “Why d’you care, Soph?” He asks back.

            “I- I’m just worried you’re lonely, Lou.” The girl frowns.

            Louis drinks a full glass of water in three gulps.

            “I’ve been lonely for forever now, Sophia and—and I’m not now. I’m okay. I don’t need or want to date your friend, friends, so just drop it, yeah?”

            “Okay. I’m sorry.”

            “It’s fine, I’ll… I’ll get some sleep. Can you tell Li I’m not feeling very well? It’s just a headache, he doesn’t need to go into dad-mode.” He says a bit more softly.

            “Louis. Stay. I’m sorry I said anything…” She tries.

            “No, Soph, it’s okay”, he smiles. “I should really go to bed.”

            And he does go to bed, but he counts the minutes until Liam is knocking on his door because he knows he will.

            Louis changes his clothes, gets under the covers and listens to three songs of the new album Harry put on his phone. Louis has listened to more weird (yet quite good) music over the past two months than in his whole life. Then, there are three knocks and the door is opening.

            “Took you long enough”, he laughs quietly and takes off the earplugs.

            “Sophia said you guys had a- hm, misunderstanding?”

            “Nah, I just snapped at her to be honest, I’m sorry”, Louis tells him. “She was trying to hook me up with what’s her name but I really am done with these hook ups so, yeah.”

            “Could’ve just said that, you idiot”, Liam smacks him on the head. “’S all right, she’s not hurt or anything”, he chuckles. “But… Who are you and what have you done with party animal Louis Tomlinson?”

            “I think being hospitalized changes things, Liam”, Louis rolls his eyes.

            “That was a stupid question, of course it does. But—I mean, you really don’t miss the hookups? I mean. It’s been a while, Louis. Unless you’ve been going out with Harry- wait, are you banging one of his students and using him to cover it up?”

            “Although it’s very cute to see you so worried about my sex life, Liam, I’m gonna have to stop you right there. When I say I’m spending the night at Harry’s, I really am spending the night at Harry’s”, he smiles involuntarily. “I just feel bad being here all the time, I don’t want you guys to have to babysit me”, Louis amends. This is not a lie. It just isn’t the whole reason why he goes to Harry’s place.

            “You don’t bother us.”

            “Well, your loud sex bothers me”, he retorts joking. “You deserve your privacy and to fuck your fiancé in the kitchen counter if you want to, so, yeah, I’m gonna be spending more time at Harry’s till doctor Andrew clears me to go to my own place.”

            “Whatever you say…” Liam laughs. “I should get back downstairs. Sleep well, Lou.”    

            “Night, man”, he says and then asks Liam to turn off the lights on his way off. Louis finishes listening to the album and then goes to sleep.


            On Monday Louis tells Doctor Andrew he’s been having sex with Harry. He tells him they haven’t gone all the way yet, he doesn’t even know when he’ll be ready to think about that, but he manages to say, without crying or choking, that he’s been having fun. He also tells him the reason why he cancelled their appointment last Friday was because Harry had invited him over to the Academy and the therapist doesn't seem too bothered about it as long as Louis keeps going to the sessions regularly.

            He asks Louis tons of questions about Harry then; and Louis feels comfortable answering all of them, he feels giddy knowing the answer to many of those, actually, because they’re related to Harry’s family and Harry’s childhood and Harry’s job, and if there is one topic Louis doesn’t seem to get tired of talking about is Harry.

            “How long has Harry known he’s gay, Louis?”

            “Hm, he’s always known, I think.”

            “And do you think this is wrong?” The therapist asks with an easy expression.

            “What do you mean? Of course not”, he frowns. “We’ve been over this.”

            “We’ve talked about people in general… I’m talking about Harry specifically because you’re familiar with him…”

            “Exactly. I am familiar with him, we get along, I—we’re together, I think, why would I believe that Harry of all people is wrong?” Louis asks trying not to get made about someone implying that Harry’s nothing but wonderful.

            “But you’ve told me before that you’re not normal…”

            “Of course I’m not, look at me!” Doctor Andrew isn’t making any sense. Louis is angry.

            “Louis, you do realize that you and Harry are the same, right?”

            No. No, of course not. Louis and Harry could never be the same. Harry’s an amazing, smart person. He’s got great curls and honest eyes and the brightest, most beautiful smile Louis has ever seen. Harry’s everything good. He feels bad being compared to him.

            Louis snorts and rolls his eyes, throwing his head back and staring at the ceiling. He was happy when he arrived here.

            “If how Harry is isn’t wrong, why who you are would be?” The therapist presses. “Have you ever thought about it?”

            “No”, he answers. “Because it’s not the same.”

            “But he is gay.”

            “But Harry is—Harry is…” He can feel some tears threatening to get out and blinks fast so they stay in. “No.” Is all the can say.

            “In fact, the only reason why you’re together is because you are gay, and he is gay too. You told me Harry was in a relationship before you, right?” Louis nods, he doesn’t trust himself to say anything else. “With a man?” He nods again. “So it’s not your fault that he is gay, Louis. He just is. Many, many people just are. It isn’t anyone’s fault that you are gay either, not even yours.” Andrew says kindly.

            “It’s not the same”, Louis whines.

            “Can you tell me why?”

            “Because—because I-, he, I mean”, he doesn’t want to cry, he really doesn’t.

            He was happy when he entered the session today; his demons were locked away, and now he’s rubbing his face and looking down to not make eye contact with the guy who holds the keys to their cell in Louis’ brain.

            “Everyone loves Harry for who he is”, Louis says finally. “I’m a farce. My only friend doesn’t know that I like blokes and he’s fiancé is still trying to hook me up with girls. My parents are dead. My fans- they- I can’t even get started on them—everyone loves Harry for who he is. Harry’s the only person who seems to like me for me.”

            “You don’t think other people would love you if you’d told them?”

            “I don’t know.” I don’t wanna take the risk.

            “What if I gave you another homework?” The therapist suggests and Louis eyes him suspiciously and scared. “I want you to tell Liam.”


            “I can promise you it’s going to be okay.”

            “You can’t promise shit, you don’t even know Liam.”

            “Liam is okay with Harry”, he reminds Louis.

            “It’s not the same.”

            It’s not the same, it’s not the same, it’s not the same.

            “You can do this, Louis.” Doctor Andrew says and waits until Louis can look him in the eyes again. It takes him at least five minutes. “Tell you what… If you can tell Liam about this, you can move out of his house.”


            “You need your space. You can have it again—after you tell Liam. It’s going to be entirely up to you.”

            “I- I’ll think about it”, he says, finally, and one more session is over.





            The opportunity to talk to Liam presents itself on Wednesday, when they get out of a meeting early enough and have the rest of the day off. Sophia is out at work and when they get home after a not previously scheduled work-out session, Liam goes to the kitchen to try and cook something for dinner while Louis pretends to help sitting on a stool.

            He’s scrolling down this twitter feed and replying to some fans when he sees the article.





            Louis smiles involuntarily down at his phone and saves the pictures of him and Harry to send to the professor later. Liam’s talking about something he is not paying attention and Louis clears his throat.


            “What?” Liam looks at him and must see something in his face, because he places the spoon on the counter and stares directly into Louis’ eyes. “What is it, Lou?” His manager asks frowning.

            “I need to tell you something”, Louis says in a low voice.


            “And like- I probably should’ve told you this ages ago? Like, when we met?”

            “What is it, Louis?”

            “I, hm”, he stutters, of course. Louis had only cogitated telling Liam that he was gay years ago when he was very high and wanting to kiss a guy at a party, but even then he hadn’t had the guts to do it.

            Now he’s here, facing the person who supposedly knows him better, a person who is not only his friend, but also his manager. Louis is already overthinking – so many things are gonna change from now on, he is pretty sure. Liam’s going to want to change Harry’s contract, he’s going to make Louis tell the rest of his team, he’s gonna get angry that he didn’t know and then he’s gonna pity Louis – that is, if he doesn’t get too disgusted.

            Louis needs to speak, he knows he does, but—why is it so hard? He wishes Harry were here. Harry would know what to say.

            When Louis told Harry on a late-night phone call that Doctor Andrew had told him to tell Liam, Harry practically cheered on the other line and said it was going to be fine; it was going to be amazing. Just imagine not having to hide from him, Lou? Harry almost squeaked. Louis can do this, right? He can.

            Liam keeps staring at him. Louis clears his throat again.

            “I don’t like to talk about that night”, is the way he chooses to start telling him things. “The night you and Harry found me—when I wound up in the hospital. But I need you to understand that night. And all the other nights- and, like, drugs and alcohol and—yeah.”

            “You don’t have to talk about it if you’re not ready, Lou”, Liam says kindly and sits on the stool by his side.

            “No,  I—I think I am. Plus, doctor Drew says I need to tell you my real reasons and it’s only fair. Been lying for a long time.” Liam’s eyes widen. “I kinda hate myself”, he shrugs. “Maybe now I hate myself a bit less than I hated myself that night, but-yeah.”


            “Of course there’s a reason for that and- like, I’m pretty sure it never crossed your mind but if it did thank you for always hiding it well.”

            “You really are making me worried here, mate.”

            “I like g- no, I need to say it differently. Okay”, Louis takes a deep breath. “Yeah, I can do it…”

            “Louis, you’re shaking.”

            “I know, it’s—I’m so sorry, Li”, he cries. Damn.

            “Louis.” Liam grabs his arm. “Breathe. Just talk to me. It’s okay. Don’t say anything that will make you sad, just—just don’t.”

            “The reason why I tried to kill myself right after ignoring Harry for God knows how long is because he’d kissed me in one of our sessions. And the reason why I’ve been spending so much time at Harry’s is because I’m with Harry. And the reason why both things happened is because I’m—I’m. I’m gay, Li.” Louis manages to say. “I’m hate-fucking-girls gay. Have-to-drink-to-endure-even-kissing-a-girl gay. Hate-myself-and-wanted-to-die gay. And I’m so, so sorry”, he sobs the words out. Liam is right here, in front of him, hugging him so tight…  Louis hadn’t even noticed, but he is right here.

            Liam keeps saying comforting things while he runs his hands through Louis’ back and squeezing him really tight in his embrace, and Louis didn’t know how much he needed something like this up until now. Liam is not disgusted, Liam does not hate him, Liam is his best- his only real friend, and Liam is here.

            “Jesus Christ”, Liam breathes and backs off a bit to look at Louis. Louis is pretty sure he looks a mess, he can feel how puffy his eyes are and there are tears streaming down his cheek over the dried ones that are there as well.

            He doesn’t know what to say anymore and he doesn’t trust his voice to say much, but he manages to say a thank you when Liam fetches him some water. His friend waits until he thinks Louis is steady again and sits back on the stool, gesturing for Louis to do the same.

            “Fuck, Louis, you do know how to keep a secret”, he chuckles a bit. “I’d never- I swear, I’d never suspected anything. Which I’m now realizing is pretty sad because that means you’ve really locked yourself away from us and-”

            “I locked myself away from me, Li”, Louis explains, he can’t quite raise his eyes to meet Liam’s yet, but it’s good that his voice’s become a tiny bit steady. “For years.”


            “I don’t know, I just- I hate it. I hate the way I hate it, the way I can’t quite feel normal even though I’ve been trying—I’ve been trying real hard.”

            “With Harry…?” He asks.

            “Mostly. But with myself too. I don’t overthink things when I’m with him, but- it’s not easy when I’m alone; and I need it to be easy when I’m alone too.”

            “Of course, of course. I’m glad you have him, then.” Liam smiles kindly.

            “Me too”, a smile tugs on the corner of his lips. Just thinking of Harry puts him at ease. “When I met him, like, the first day, really, he joked about me being-hm, gay… He was the first person, Liam. And- like, Harry isn’t the first gay guy that I know, so it stuck with me, you know?” He tells him and Liam nods, encouraging him to continue. “I didn’t understand it then, I got so angry with him that I stormed out of his room…” Louis laughs lightly remembering that day. “He dropped it after a while. I guess he caught up on the whole I don’t know how to deal with my sexuality thing…”

            “But there’s nothing wro-”

            “I know, consciously, I know. It’s not rational.”

            “’M sorry. Continue. Harry caught up on that…” Liam straightens his position, becomes a bit more serious and focused on what Louis is saying.

            “Yeah, so we started working together and got really comfortable with each other, I actually tried to stay sober for our sessions… God, I was such a wreck, I thought he was very attractive, you know? And I just- guys don’t find guys attractive, I’d tell myself…” Let the records show that Liam Payne doesn’t look like he pities Louis. Louis loves him a whole lot. “But it just got- harder. He’d call me up on my shit and he’d say my lyrics weren’t truthful enough and he was always spot on… He always is, I don’t know how he does it.” He laughs.

            “He’s a musician too, Louis.”

            “It’s more than that, though. It’s like—it’s like he knew who I was before I did- or, he accepted who I was before I did. And it meant- it means so much. So one day I wrote a really, hm, deep song, I think you’ve heard the demo already… Therapy?”

            “Amazing song.” Liam agrees.

            “Yeah. I showed it to Harry as soon as I started writing it. He said it was sad, but that was okay because “sad is happy for deep people”, he told me. He fucking quoted Doctor Who to me, Liam!” Louis whines and looks at his friend for the first time. Liam is smiling big now. “When I finally finished it, I called him up again—and he told me he loved it and he had something in his eyes, I swear, and he was so close, I. I never wanted to kiss someone so badly so I- I let him kiss me. On the fucking kitchen counter and I had-” Louis ponders whether to continue or not. But this is Liam.

            If he doesn’t tell him this stuff while he’s on a roll, he’ll never tell anyone else.

            “I fucked enough girls in my life to know what being- hm, aroused should feel like. And that was kissing and it got me—it got me a bit crazy, so of course I pushed him away and ignored him till-”

            “Till you drank yourself to oblivion.” Liam completes.

            “I’d been drinking and cutting and drugging myself for two weeks and I’d always regret it in the morning”, Louis confesses, his hands seeming much more interesting than anything else at the moment. “But I could never fall asleep without any of that and I just- you were away, Harry had stopped trying calling me and I just- I thought no one would notice or- miss me.”


            “I was in a really dark place, Li.”

            “Because you kissed a boy? Lou that’s-”

            “Don’t say that’s normal, don’t say that you’ve done it or would do it for fun, just don’t, Liam, because you don’t get it. Coming to terms with the fact that I’d never be able to kiss a girl again after kissing Harry almost got myself killed.”

            “I’m sorry.”

            “Me too.”

            “So, that’s it then? No more secrets?” Liam asks. “Just so I can tell you- you know, that I love you, that I’d miss you like hell, that I get it, and that it’ll be okay.” He smiles.

            “I think I’m falling for him. But he doesn’t know it yet, so. Yeah.” Louis smiles back sheepishly.

            “You, Louis Tomlinson, are smitten.” His friend laughs.

            “That I am.” He takes a deep breath. “That’s it, Li. No more secrets.”

            “Okay. Yeah, okay”, Liam gets up and hugs him again, it’s much less dramatic but as strong as before. “I love you”, he says over Louis’ shoulder. “I would’ve missed you like hell—I, I didn’t even know what I’d do if you had died, don’t you ever pull that crap on us again.”


            “I get it- how hard it is. I mean, not entirely, but. I get it. I’m always going to be here if you want to talk, and if you want to gush more about your high school crush on my uni friend”, he chuckles. “It’s the first time I see you talking passionately about someone and- and I’m all ears, yeah?” He asks staring at him and Louis nods.

            “Lastly, but not less important… It’ll be okay, Lou. A week or a year from now… You’ll be okay.”

            “I know. I’m trying really hard.”

            “I know”, Liam says, hand still on his shoulder. I’m very proud of you.”


            And that is it, really. After a while Liam asks him if he can tell Sophia and he’ll completely understand if he isn’t okay with it, but Louis doesn’t see much of a point in making his friend lie to his fiancé when, in reality, Louis would have to tell her sooner or later. So they wait till Sophia arrives and they tell her over dinner.

            The girl apologizes profusely for all of the times she made misplaced jokes and implied how straight Louis was, for the times she tried to set him up with his girl friends and for all the times she accused him of being a party animal when she had no idea what he was dealing with.

            “But that’s just it, isn’t it? You had no idea”, Louis excuses her.


            He thinks he might lover her just as much as he loves Liam these days.

            Louis calls Harry, at night, and the professor even cries a bit on the phone saying how proud of Louis he is. The four of them meet for lunch the next day, and although Louis doesn’t know how to act around Harry most of the time, now that two people know, he does the best he can – and everyone seems satisfied.


            On Friday afternoon, Louis tells Doctor Andrew he’s told Liam and Sophia about his and Harry’s relationship – yes, he calls it a relationship now; he’s yet to tell Harry, but he thinks the younger lad will be very okay with the term too. So, on Friday night, he arrives at Harry’s flat with permission for moving out of Liam’s, with a big smile on his face.




            It’s on Harry’s first day of vacations that things start to complicate.

            July sneaks up on them and Louis finds himself spending more and more time at the studio, speeding up the recording process as much as he can, because Niall is needed in the US in August, and in September Louis needs to put his first single out – which he still needs to choose, by the way.

            His management and PR team aren’t very happy with him. Although they were very understanding of his situation at the beginning, now that Louis is getting the right treatment and looking happier, healthier and steadier, they want him to get back on track with his public appearances and an event or two.            

            Louis sometimes forgets that his career isn’t entirely up to him and Liam’s, there are other people who own who he is, his brand, so the day he sits with them to discuss his new contract now that he’s dating a man is the day he realizes how hard this is actually going to be – and how it won’t have anything to do with his own issues with himself.

            “Guys, this is Harry”, he introduces him to the table. “Harry, you know Li, of course, and those are Megan, John and Olly. Megan’s from PR, John runs the management company, Olly’s the lawyer. They’re all pretty decent people”, he jokes and they laugh. “Most of the time”, Louis murmurs under his breath.

            He only trusts Liam, but that’s pretty clear by now.

            Harry smiles politely and as enchanting as ever at them, and sits by Louis’ site on one of those very comfortable chairs.

            “So, Harry, it’s very nice to meet you in person…” Meg starts. “Not that I didn’t know you face already because you’ve been in an article or two over the past month, so. First step is: what do we tell people?” She asks. “I take it you aren’t going to come out now, will you?” The woman turns to Louis.

            This is something he’s discussed with Harry before and Harry is okay with it. Neither of them is ready to deal with this kind of spotlight and Louis hasn’t fully come to terms with so many people knowing already. He’s yet to tell Niall and he sees the lad pretty much everyday, so, yeah, it’ll take a long while till he even considers telling the world. The only people who know about this know because they need to. And he can count them in his hands – he wants to keep counting them in his hands, thank you very much.

            “No, I’m not going to come out.”

            “But they know who Harry is now”, she says.

            “Harry’s my friend. Harry works with me, we’re bound to be seen together. Been walking around with Liam for forever now.”

            “Liam’s your straight manager with a very hot, very female fiancé.” Meg argues.

            “As far as everyone knows, I’m very straight myself, so”, he shrugs.

            “Okay. We go with the friends’ narrative now then, that is solved.” For now is implied, but Louis doesn’t think about it.

            “Harry, we’ll need you to sign a new NDA, of course…” Olly tells him and Harry nods. He’s a very cooperative person. “Does anyone in your family know?”

            “No yet, no.”

            “What d’you mean by not yet?” Liam asks him, frowning. Louis was about to ask him the same thing.

            “I’m going to visit my mom in a few weeks, my sister’s going to be there and I- I don’t lie to my family. I don’t want to lie to my family.” Harry says that looking straight at Louis. Maybe it had been implied that Harry was going to tell them now that Louis had told his people, but Louis didn’t catch up on that, and now he’s just staring back at Harry, mouth agape, many pairs of eyes on them. “Louis.”

            “I- We haven’t talked about this”, Louis says.

            “Can we?” Harry asks back.

            “I don’t- I don’t know how I feel about strangers knowing things about me”, he blurts out. Wrong move, Tomlinson.

            “Louis. They’re my family. You’ve met Gemma. And my mom, I-”

            “Harry, this is my life. It’s not that easy.” He tries to explain.

            “You made it my life too.”

            “I did not force you into it”, Louis responds. He doesn’t realize the dick he is being at the moment. Fear does that to people.

            “I- you know what, ok.” Harry breathes out. “Liam, get me whatever I need to sign when you guys are done discussing Louis’ life… I need some air. Excuse me.” And with that, Harry is gone.


Chapter Text




           “Harry wants to tell his family about us”, Louis tells doctor Andrew on Wednesday.

            He’s not exactly pissed off at Harry, he knew it was coming at some point, but he just can’t. Not yet. The idea of other people knowing him, really knowing him, scares the shit out of Louis. He isn’t ready to let go of this secret part of himself. Not even for Harry.

            “Liam knows”, Andrew comments.

            “He does, because you made me tell him”, Louis points.

            And it turned out all right – with Liam and Sophia knowing, that is.

            “And now you’re going to live at your own place…” The doctor comments and, yeah, that is something Louis wanted badly and now he just… Doesn’t know.

            The thing is: Louis doesn’t seem to be ready to do many things. One of them is going back to his own flat, to relive what is one of the worst nights of his life. Proof that he isn’t that well is that he doesn’t even consider dying the worst  moment of his life per se, but maybe because the worst moment of his life till this day was to bury his father next to his mother’s grave.

            Anyways, Louis can’t quite feel happy about things. Sure he’s mentioned it before, but no one gets how really fucking difficult it is to completely let go of himself, how completely powerless he feels when that voice in the back of his mind tells him that no matter how much he tries and “plays happy” with Harry, he isn’t really happy, because he can’t be, he doesn’t deserve to be.

            And it’s not fair, none of this is fair. It’s not fair that he doesn’t get to be carefree and it’s not fair that he doesn’t get to enjoy the little things in life and it’s not fair that Harry can’t be okay with the fact that Louis won’t budge anytime soon when it comes to telling people about their relationship.

            Because it is a relationship. They can’t say it isn’t and even though they haven’t properly talked about this yet, Louis knows Harry isn’t with anyone else and Harry is certain that Louis can’t even think about another person. They’re both in his weird place in which they don’t name it, but they’re not bothered by what they have – they’re content with what’s happening, Louis knows that, in some level, he is making Harry happy, and that is the scariest part of all.

            How can he make someone happy? What has he got to offer?      

            More than that, how is it possible for them to keep doing this when Louis just asks and sometimes takes without asking whatever part of Harry he wants at any given moment, but when Harry wants a little piece of him he refuses to give in? How can Louis believe  he’s done nothing at all for the professor and at the same time feel like he’s giving away everything he didn’t know he had?

            It’s so damn complicated. He can’t explain to Doctor Andrew something he can’t even understand himself, but the therapist, somehow, still knows the right questions to ask.


            “Why do you think Harry wants you to meet his parents?”

            “I think it’s important to him”, this is an easy one, Louis can answer this one. “I think he’s a family guy, he really loves his family… And- I don’t know, I think he feels like he’s lying by omission.”

            “And what do you think of that?”

            “I think he could wait.” He replies promptly. “This is still very new and I’ve already given too much, you know?”

            “You certainly have, and I’m sure he is glad for it, I’m sure he understands you as much as anyone who isn’t going through what you are can…” Andrew says calmly. Louis senses a but coming. “But…” He called it! “If your parents were alive… Wouldn’t you want to tell them?”

            “My parents aren’t alive now are they?” He retorts before he can think any further.

            How dare he bring this up? How dare he compare the situation as if Louis would have the same privilege Harry does? Nothing’s ever felt like a privilege to him, not even his multi-millionaire life.

            The fact that Louis parents are dead is not something he goes around talking about. He can’t even fathom the idea of mentioning them to anyone and Doctor Andrew should know better than to talk about this right now! This isn’t about Louis’ parents. This is about Harry and Harry’s parents, because Harry has got very much alive parents for them to talk about.

            “And how do you feel about it?”

            “What do you mean?”

            “Your parents are dead. How do you feel about it? When you think about Harry wanting to tell his parents about your relationship… Would you tell yours were they alive?” He asks without care. He asks not even thinking about the hole that spreads in Louis’ heart with each one of his words.

            “How do you think I feel?” Louis’ question is nothing but a whisper. “Bad would be a fucking understatement, we can start right there. Secondly… I’ve never thought about this, so can we just drop it and move on?”

            The therapist seems to think for a while and then they come to a compromise. They can move on from the topic if Louis promises to think about it and talk it over with him their next session, which will be two days from now because Doctor Andrew is a bit more concerned than usual.

            Louis leaves the office feeling heavy, but at the same time trying to forget whatever bad thoughts come to his mind, because he really does need to talk to Harry about contracts and whatnot. He feels terrible for not having talked to him since the day the professor stormed out of the meeting, because he knows he is the one who needed to go after him and not the other way around. If anything, Louis has got a bit of common sense. Sometimes.


            He arrives at Harry’s place right after lunch but Harry isn’t there. Louis calls him twice and when Harry finally picks up, he tells Louis he’s at his old university handing over his project for his final thesis, one he will present the next day.

            “I’m at your doorstep”, Louis tells him. “Thought we should talk.”

            “Y-yeah, I’m heading over in a couple of minutes.”

            “I’ll wait”, he replies weakly sitting on the floor with his back to Harry’s door.

            While Louis waits, he absentmindedly does his “homework”. Well, first he goes online and talks to a few friends, secondly he replies to Niall’s obnoxious snapchats, thirdly he comments on Sophia’s scheme colors for the weeding choice and then finally, when he’s out of things to distract himself with, Louis lets his mind travel to the day he considered telling his father about his sexual orientation.


            It was raining a lot, it’s the first thing Louis remembers, and he was seeing his father for the first time after he went on his first tour. Louis was so excited telling him all kinds of stories about all kinds of people around the UK that he was stumbling on his own words. His dad looked proud, to say the least.

            There was this spark in his father’s eyes that Louis very rarely saw anymore, and his smile was so big that Louis found himself trying to remember when the last time they’d had such happy, light conversation was. And Louis felt, above all, confident.

            Of course he’d known for forever that he liked boys better than girls, and like most teenagers, he ignored it, thought it was a phase – especially when he got into the industry, when there were as many homophobic assholes as there were gay people, so he just kept it inside.

            Louis didn’t feel normal, but he knew that if he didn’t talk about it with someone he trusted, he would end up losing his mind. His mother always used to tell him that it was better to just say it, whatever it was, than to die choking on your own words, drowned in your own thoughts.

            Above all, Louis was feeling brave. His father loved him, after all, and he always seemed like a great man. And then the café door opened with a loud noise, and a group of friends entered it taking cover from the rain. They were soaked but they were still laughing and hugging each other, including two boys, who looked the same age as Louis. They looked like a couple, and Louis’ suspicion was confirmed when the shorter one pecked the other guy’s lips that were getting purple because of the cold.

            “Fucking fags, I swear to God”, Louis’ father voice pulled him out of his thoughts.

            It was like Louis was being punched in the stomach. Right there he lost all his courage, and as his father rambled about how disrespectful that was, how disgusting and plain ridiculous those guys looked, Louis swore to himself he’d never mention it to him again, otherwise he’d lose the only person he had in his life up until that point. His father loved Louis the way he was – nice, famous, talented, straight. Louis could keep being just like that.




            Louis hears the lift doors opening and gets up rather quickly from the ground, losing his balance and instantaneously reminding himself that even though it’s three thirty pm, he hasn’t had lunch yet – he hasn’t eaten anything since he left Liam’s place this morning.

            “Hi, Lou”, Harry says when he sees him, walking towards the singer and hugging him lightly by the waist. Louis briefly closes his arms around Harry’s neck and for those two seconds he’s at peace.

            “Hey, how was it?” He asks excitedly. Since they met Harry’s been talking about his dissertation on new educational methods for children who study classic music and Louis would be lying if he said he wasn’t—isn’t completely endeared by all of the professor’s work.

            “It went well, I think”, Harry says searching for the keys in his pocket to open the door. “I did a good job at writing that project if I say so myself… It did cost me many sleepless nights.”

            “And what now?” Louis asks as they enter the flat.

            “I’ll present it to some other people tomorrow and if they like it as much as Mrs Cowell seems to have liked, I get to write a full dissertation about it and get my PhD sooner rather than later.”

            Harry has his I don’t want to jinx it smile on his face, and Louis hugs him once again, pressing his lips to Harry’s cheek for a few seconds.

            “I’m sure it’ll go perfectly, I can’t wait to read it myself.”

            “Right”, Harry snorts and rolls his eyes.

            “This reaction is offensive, Styles, I mean it.”

            “I’ll email it to you then”, Harry smiles and kisses Louis’ cheek back. “So.”


            “I got some papers, I signed them…”

            “I don’t care about the papers”, Louis replies too quickly and Harry laughs again, but this time a bit lower, a bit more intimate. “Ok, I do, a lot, thank you for signing them. What I mean is… I’m not here because of the papers.”

            “I’d hoped so.”

            “We should talk about what happened at the meeting.”


            “Help me out here.”

            “There isn’t much I can help you out with, Lou”, Harry tells him and walks over to the couch. Louis doesn’t handle distance that well anymore, so he just follows him and plops himself by Harry’s side, as close as he can without climbing on his body.

            “I didn’t mean to be rude to you. I just need you to—”

            “Understand”, Harry completes the sentence and exhales. “Yeah, I know. I am trying to.”

            “I’m sorry I was such a dick in front of everybody.”

            “You’re forgiven”, Harry answers and takes his hand. “But we’ll revisit the topic in a few days… I’m still thinking some things over.”

            “Okay…” Louis answers uncertainly. “Yeah. Yeah, okay.” He sags into Harry’s arms and they stay there for at least thirty minutes. It isn’t even hard to ignore his hunger when he’s got Harry kissing his hair from time to time, and when Harry’s hands are wandering on his back in a soothing manner.


            Harry gets up eventually to bake them a cake, because, against Louis’ protests, Harry swore he could hear Louis’ stomach complaining.

            They’re in the kitchen when Louis asks Harry if he’d like to go flat-hunting with him, and for a split second he gets really scared and nervous that Harry will understand that he’s in a way inviting him to move in – he isn’t, he wouldn’t –, but Harry just smiles and says sure, Lou, as soon as I leave the university tomorrow we can go if you’d like, and Louis understands why he trusts him so much.

            Harry is the first person that’s ever made him comfortable. Louis doesn’t remember when the last time he felt comfortable was; it’s been so long that he thought that if he’d ever felt this way again he wouldn’t be able to recognize it, but now that is here, he does. It’s one of the great feelings that come when he is with the professor.

            What Louis knows, though, and what bothers him the most, is that Harry makes him forget things. Harry makes him forget that he feels wrong in the world and Harry makes him forget that he tried to kill himself a while ago. Harry makes him forget he’s in therapy and that he doesn’t have anyone but the people he met in the last few years.

            And Louis doesn’t even care, when he stops to think about it. He’s in a phase in life in which he doesn’t actually care anymore that he isn’t one of those people who has childhood friends, because he’s very content with the ones he does have now, when a while ago he’d just mope around for not having enough people in his life.

            Harry has been showing him that it isn’t about the quantity of people you have in your life or for how long you’ve had them, maybe it’s about the quality of people you have in your life, maybe it’s about how they make you feel.  

            So he is thankful. Louis, that is. He’s watching Harry put a cake in the oven with his hair in a bun and sugar on his glasses, and he is thankful that he came into his life. He just is scared that all this forgetting that he does when he is with Harry is an easy way out.

            “Do you think I am lying to myself, Harry?” He then asks almost absentmindedly.


            “Here, with you. Do you think I am lying to myself?”

            “Why would you think that?”

             Harry, as the amazing person that he is, asks that without even stopping what he is doing. He doesn’t have his back to Louis; when he speaks, he turns and looks directly at him, but as Louis speaks, Harry concedes him, once again, the comfort of not being stared at, and starts washing the dishes.

            “I think- I think that I love being with you. I don’t hate myself when I’m with you, therefore I don’t even think about my problems when we’re together—writing or, you know, doing stuff.” He voices. “But everytime that we’re away my mind goes to this—dark place, again.”

            “Lou”, Harry breathes out and turns to him. “I think… I think that there’s nothing wrong in taking a break from your demons. And if I’m that break, then it’s okay.”

            “But I don’t want you to be my escape!” Louis protests. “I want to come to you and be with you because I want to be with you, not because I depend on you.”

            “Okay…” Harry agrees. “Okay, I understand that, you’re not used to having people. And of course I want you to get better on your own, I want you to feel great about yourself with or without me”, he chuckles. “But it is okay to depend on me emotionally. I’m not running. Emotional support is as important as any other, if not more. And I’m here for it.”

            “You barely know me.”

            “I think I know enough, Louis”, he says and approaches him. By now, Louis is already used to the sudden proximity. He revels in it. “I like you a lot. I think you’re an amazing, talented person. And I want you in my life. Is that okay?”

            “That is okay, yes”, Louis replies and lets a smile take over his face. Harry kisses him for the first time today, like, really kisses him, and Louis lets himself be kissed, because every time they’re like this, it’s a new experience.

            Louis doesn’t feel nervous anymore. Harry’s already gotten him off numerous times and he’s tried doing the same to him once or twice. More recently, Louis has been thinking about trying the blow job thing himself. If Harry likes it so much, it must be really good. He doesn’t want to talk about it now, though, so he just pulls Harry closer by his wrist and gets up from the stool, making their bodies align.

            Harry tilts Louis’ head to guide the kiss, and as his tongue works perfectly inside of Louis’ mouth, the singer decides that he wants to get better for himself, but also for this man, here, that is by his side, that has been by his side for a while now.

            Louis also wants to get better for Liam and for Niall. And for his fans.

            Louis wants to get better because he wants his future to be as bright and as amazing as this moment right here feels. He goes on his tiptoes and intertwines his fingers in Harry’s hair, unmaking his bun and pulling on his curls as he presses his body more and more to Harry’s, hoping that he can convey, with his actions, the things his brain doesn’t let him show with words yet.

            Right now, he is inspired. And, as Harry has previously taught him, inspiration just happens.

            “I’m going to write while the cake bakes, is that okay?” He asks to Harry’s mouth.

            “Will I get to read it later?”

            “Nah… Not this one”, he smiles and kisses Harry’s cheek. “This one you’re gonna have to wait to listen to when it’s ready.”

            “Are you going to write me a song, Louis Tomlinson?” Harry jokes.

            “I most certainly will.” He says, pecks his mouth again and moves to Harry’s room, where he knows he’ll find a notebook and a pencil.


            Louis gets comfortable on his claimed spot by the window and starts writing what will be a fan favorite and a personal one too.

            I was stumbling

            Looking in the dark

            With an empty heart

            But you say

            You feel the same

            Could we ever be enough?

            Baby, we could be enough (…)



            Things changed after Louis told Liam about him and Harry. Now his manager thinks it’s okay to mention it at any time and schedule dinner dates at his and Sophia’s place like it is something that Louis can do with no problem whatsoever.

            And it’s not like Louis has a problem with Harry, he has a problem with being comfortable around other people acting couply with a man. Harry doesn’t blame him, and when they go over to Liam’s house on Saturday night, Louis does his best not move away every time Harry touches him on the arm or shoulders.


            “Harry, would you like dessert?” Sophia asks from the kitchen.      

            “Do people ever say no to that?” He asks with a smile on his face.

            “Louis does”, Liam rolls his eyes and sits on the armchair across from them.

            Harry and Louis are sitting together on the couch, but there is an unnecessary space between them. Once again, Louis notices that Harry isn’t bothered by it, and, if he is, he isn’t letting it show.

            “He doesn’t refuse mine”, Harry says.

            “Yours are my exceptions, though…” Louis replies. “If I ate every dessert Sophia makes in this house I’d have to run double on the treadmill and trust me, Liam is not a nice gym partner.”

            “You ungrateful bastard!” Liam says and throws a pillow at him. “I’m just trying to make you healthy again”, he mumbles under his breath, but everyone catches it.

            “I know, Li”, the singer forces a smile. “I love you for that, thank you”, he completes.

            “No problem, mate.”

            Harry moves to put his arm around Louis in a comforting manner and Louis suddenly gets up, saying that he’ll help Sophia in the kitchen with bringing their desserts.

            Harry doesn’t say anything, but when Louis comes back the professor isn’t there anymore. Liam tells him to calm down, he just stepped out to take a call from his sister, but, still, Louis feels a bit like crap for treating his… Boyfriend? this way.

            “Isn’t it weird for you?” Louis asks for what he acknowledges to be the millionth time. “Like, I’m- I feel weird.”

            “No need to, babes”, Sophia soothes him. “I, for one, think you make a really handsome couple. You’re hot, Harry’s definitely hot… It’s very pleasant to see you two together, don’t worry.” She chuckles.


            “Mate. Stop overthinking it”, Liam says.

            It’s one of those moments when Louis feels like he should fight him and say if it were that easy don’t you think I would’ve done it by now?, but at the same time knows it’s useless.

            No matter how many times Liam tells him that he “gets it”, that he “understands what Louis is going through”, Louis just knows that his friend really doesn’t. And it’s okay; it is not something that most people would understand anyways. Still, it is exhausting to hear this kind of stuff, especially when you’re already putting so much effort into recovering.

            It is not consciously that Louis winces each time somebody nonchalantly talks about his sexuality and it’s not consciously that he throws a fit when his management starts talking about being extra careful now when going out with Harry. “If you don’t want people to speculate, stop looking so damn fond of the man when there are paps around”, Meg scolded him the day before.

            Everything that happens to Louis’ brain is not actually his fault, because he can’t control it; therefore, his actions are very rarely controlled as well, because they are a product of the only reality he’s known his entire life: hating himself, being scared, hiding.

            Doctor Andrew says that the fact that Louis recognizes this, the fact that he knows our bodies work on their own in a different way than we’d like them to, is a proof that he will be better when he least expects it – because he will want to take control of his life again, so he’ll be able to beat his demons.            

            Louis chooses to believe those words, he chooses to believe that this fight with himself is actually for himself, for a better life, and that he is bigger than his fears. Because when Harry comes back into the living room, pocketing his phone and looking only a bit bothered, Louis just knows he doesn’t want to lose him. As premature of a thought as it is.


            “Everything okay?” He asks Harry in a quiet voice when he sits by his side again. Louis even makes an effort to scoot closer.

            “Yeah, just Gems telling me about some stuff at the Orchestra…”

            “Is she okay?”

            “Yes, Louis”, Harry answers.

            “Are you?” But he doesn’t reply.

            The night ends half an hour later, when Liam starts yawning and Harry is kind enough to say he will go, because he is tired too. Louis knows it to be a lie because they woke up at eleven thirty today, which is pretty late.

            When Louis offers to go back to Harry’s flat with him the professor refuses. This is a first.

            “I- I have a brunch thing-y tomorrow”, Harry tells him. “Gonna hang out with Zayn and Pezz, cause it’s been a while.”

            “Oh.” For a second there Louis thinks about asking if he could go, but he doesn’t want to get a no nor does he want to force Harry to say yes and have to pretend in front of his friends. “Okay.”


            Harry hugs Liam and kisses Sophia on the cheek, thanks them for an amazing night and says that he can’t wait to see them again. As always, he does everything right.

            Louis walks him to the door, and his friends are polite enough to clear the living room so they can say goodbye.

            “Are you still going with me to see flats on Monday?” Louis asks.

            “Sure”, Harry smiles. “Want me to pick you up?”

            “Actually, I- Liam thinks I should call my driver and a body-guard. It’s just that, hm, I’m about to start, like, attending events again and- they might call paps for this outing so, like, people can get used to my face on the magazines and websites again.”

            “And since when you need to tip paps? There were paps that day at the restaurant and nobody called them…”

            “The owner of the restaurant probably did”, Louis chuckles. “If I go to the right places of course I don’t need to. But I don’t like going to the right places just to be photographed, so they just call some to follow me in case they want my name out there.”

            “Still forced.”

            “It is what it is”, Louis shrugs. “If you have a problem with this-”

            “No, Louis, I don’t”, Harry rolls his eyes and smiles. “Mom’s gonna like to see my face out there. That woman is one for tabloids.”

            “Your face should be everywhere, love. It’s very pretty.” He smiles as he says it. It’s not very often that Louis can praise Harry this naturally.

            Harry smiles and leans in to kiss him. It’s soft and chaste and quick and perfect.

            “I’ll pick you up around lunchtime on Monday, then, is that okay?”

            “Yep”, Harry says. “See you then”, and kissing him one last time, he goes out of the house and into his car.





            “I hope you know that this is how it starts”, it’s the first thing that Meg says when Louis meets with her on Wednesday after his appointment with Doctor Andrew.

            “That what starts?”

            “Gay rumors”, she replies coldly and Louis flinches for the first time in this meeting.

            Liam isn’t here today to help him through it, because he’s in another meeting discussing Louis’ schedule for the next few months, so he is alone, he’s feeling alone and unprotected, and even though in the back of his head there is a voice saying fucking man up, Louis still can’t find his voice to answer the woman.

            Megan sighs. She’s been working with him for three years now, because his previously PR consultant got married and pregnant and went to live in Greece, so she knows Louis pretty well. She’s handled a lot for him already, media-speaking. And Megan is not a bad woman, she is talented and she is focused and, most of all, she is honest. Hence why  Louis is so scared.

            “Look, it’s not bad yet, yeah? But you and Harry are- impossible around each other.”

            “We barely go out together”, he rolls his eyes.

            “You go out with him more than you’ve gone out with other friends.”

            “That’s because I don’t have other friends.” Louis says matter-of-factly.

            “Is he moving in with you?”

            “No! He’s just helping me choose a flat, ‘s all.” He explains. “I’ve already run it by Olly, he says it’s a great investment… And it’s not like I don’t have the money”, he chuckles.

            “You certainly do”, Meg agrees with a smile that fades just as fast as it appeared. “Look, Louis, your situation is complicated, and I… I try to comprehend that, to my limited extend. But I needed to call you in and make sure you’re aware that people have started… Shipping you and Harry.” She explains cautiously, as if Louis would understand what that means.

            “We’re not—ships? Like. They’re sending us somewhere?”

            Meg smiles truthfully at that.

            “Shipping as in they want you in a relationship.         “

            “But I’m straight to them!” To most people.

            “It doesn’t really matter… They can ship you with David Beckham if they want to—it’s just a thing. They think you’re hot and they think  Harry’s hot, and they think you look good together.”

            Louis thinks that he and Harry do look great together. More than once he’s found himself stopping in front of a mirror with the professor to just admire their reflections.

            “That’s a bit crazy.”

            “It is… But also… It’s, like, true”, she shrugs. “Especially for the modern world. I’m not gonna lie, if you ever came out it’d be, like—huge.”

            “I’m not.”

            “Not now.”

            “Not ever.”

            “You don’t know that.”

            And yeah, he doesn’t.

            The hardest part, sometimes, is to not know. Because Louis wants to. He just can’t even begin to picture it.

            So Meg sighs again. It’s good that she understand that Louis can be as mature as a three year old.

            “But I understand it is not what you want now. And I’ve talked to John, we are not inclined to put you so far in the closet to the media that you forget who you are, because that would get in the way of your recovery… But also- Louis. Something’s gotta give.”

            “Meaning?” He raises a brow.

            “If you don’t want to stop going out with Harry-- flat-hunting, food-tasting, shopping… Doing whatever cute thing you guys feel like doing, I’m afraid you’ll have to stablish now, more than ever, that you are nothing but straight.”


            And that’s when she does it. Megan places a portfolio on the desk, which contains pictures of numerous models that Louis has never seen, and tells him to pick one. She tells him that he doesn’t even need to see them for now, she’ll just make his name connected to one of theirs and it’ll be mutually beneficial.

            Louis does not think when he says yes. But he should have.




            Talking about his parents is always stressful. Louis’ mind goes to the darkest of places whenever he remembers them dying, whenever he remembers how he felt when they died, and, still, he’s become addicted to talking about it.

            It is the third consecutive session that he lets Doctor Andrew poke his mind and ask him everything that he wants. Louis answers it all, as difficult as it is for him, because he’s found out that it is easier if he complies. He wouldn’t be able to avoid the topic forever anyways.

            “You said your dad was a homophobe…”

            “I said my dad was uneducated”, Louis corrects him.

            “Sure, sure. And you didn’t think about educating him then?”

            “I believed him”, he tells the therapist. “I believed he was right, that people like me were freaks.”

            “But did you?”

            “I told myself I did.”

            “Ah- good. That’s good. What about your mother? You never told me about her opinion.” Andrew presses.

            “Because I don’t know what her thoughts on it were.”

            “So… There is a chance she would’ve been completely fine with it?” He asks and Louis nods. Hypothetically speaking… Yes. Maybe Johanna might’ve still loved him after she knew. He’ll never know now, will he?

            Louis voices it.

            “I’ll never know now, will I?” He asks.

            “Exactly my point.” The therapist smiles big then. Louis frowns. “You need to forgive yourself for not knowing, Louis. It’s the only way.”




            It’s in the third week of July that things start to go south. And the worst part is that neither Louis nor Harry notices it, so there is no one to blame, really.

            Harry’s been making the best of his new table, and tonight he’s invited Louis for a date in, because he knows Louis is extremely tired. The singer is taking the summer to start going out again, and since he wasn’t used to this schedule anymore, parties and crowds have been really exhausting to him, especially because of the recording schedule.

            And it’s nice, it really is. Louis tells him about his charities and how he wants to be more personally involved with them and not only send anonymous money, and Harry has to control himself not to melt right there, because Louis is just so good. It’d be nice if he realized that, and that’s not even the third time Harry thinks it.        

            He doesn’t say anything, though. Louis’ isn’t one for taking compliments, so Harry needs to pick the right moments. This is one he can let slide, and as Louis keeps talking excitedly about what he and Liam came up with for next week (I’ll go to a children’s hospital and surprise them!!!), Harry sets the table and puts the plate in front of Louis, sitting across from him.

            “This is really nice, Lou”, he says carefully. “I think it’s gonna be good for you.”

            “Drew says that too”, Louis tells him. Harry sometimes forgets that depending on Louis’s mood, he decides he’s in a nickname basis with his therapist. “He says it’ll give me perspective.”

            “I think he’s right.”

            “Yeah, me too. OH! I haven’t told you… I’m gonna sign the contracts for the flat tomorrow!” He smiles. It’s not very often that he looks this happy. Harry savors every second of these moments.

            “Really? Congrats, Lou, that’s so exciting!” He smiles big too. “You really are going to spend twenty million pounds at once…” Harry comments as an afterthought and Louis shrugs. “That’s a bit insane. I can’t even count that much money.” And that makes Louis chuckle.

            “Me neither. ‘S why I have people do it for me.”

            “Oh, the life of the rich…” The professor says in a dreamy tone.

            “Stick with me and you’ll see wonders”, Louis jokes, but Harry doesn’t laugh. That’s a first. “Hazz?”

            “’S not a nice joke if it implies I’m with you for money.”

            “Don’t be silly, Harry, you know I’d never think something like that.”

            “It’s a tiny bit uncomfortable, ‘s all.”

            “Hey-” Louis takes his hand on the table. “A person wouldn’t endure unnecessary closet and occasional tantrums of mine just because of my money.”

            “You’d be surprised”, Harry snorts.

            “Well. You wouldn’t. I’m sorry I joked about it. I just meant that- I don’t know. You’ll be in my flat a lot, so you’ll enjoy it as much as I will.”

            “I will? Be at your flat a lot?”

            “Hopefully, yeah”, the singer smiles and focuses on his food. Harry is hopeful too.


            It’s nine thirty pm and Louis is still there; they’re lying together on the couch watching Doctor Who, and Harry finds it extremely cute the way Louis reacts to the emotional parts. Whenever there’s a beautiful quote being said, he grabs his phone and types it on his notes. Harry doesn’t ask, but at some points Louis says it’s for him to read on bad nights and Harry just… He really doesn’t know what to do with himself.

            He’s known Louis for five months now and yet somehow he feels like it’s been a lifetime. Because whenever Louis says things like this and Harry actually imagines him having a bad night, all he wants to do is to hug the singer and promise him that monsters aren’t real, that he is there with him, that everything is going to be okay.

            Since he isn’t there most nights, Harry hugs him tight now, and Louis doesn’t question it – he just fits himself in Harry’s arm in a better way, and they watch two more episodes until it’s time to go to bed.

            By now, Liam doesn’t even ask anymore. He knows that whenever Louis goes over to Harry’s chances are he isn’t coming back, and even now that Louis is about to move out of his friend’s place and one would think he’d like to spend more time with him, things haven’t changed.

            Harry is glad Louis is here, so, so glad that he almost let it slip to Gemma. He thinks about telling him now, like a nonchalant comment, something like “almost told Gems about us today”, but Harry knows the turmoil it would cause – they’re at peace right now, so at ease. It’s very rare for Louis to be truly calm, so Harry figures he can bring up the I’m dying to tell my family about us talk the next morning.

            “Hazz, you coming?” Louis asks already from the bed. He’s claimed the right side all for himself.

            Harry just smiles from the door and closes it behind him, turning off the lights and climbing over Louis’ body to go to his side of the bed.

            “You comfortable?” Harry asks.

            “I wanna try something”, Louis states.


            “Okay”, he repeats and then kisses Harry.

            Whenever Louis starts it, it’s a bit uncertain, like he’s still trying to convince himself that it’s okay for him to do it, that there is nothing wrong with him initiating the kiss. But just because it’s uncertain, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t amazing.

            Louis turns on his side and cradles Harry’s face with his hands, and as he gets a bit more comfortable in the kiss, one of his hands slides to Harry’s neck and chest, the tip of his fingers playing with the exposed skin on Harry’s collarbones and just the slightest touch of him can make Harry go mad nowadays.

            Harry kisses him with everything he’s got – always. As Louis parts his lips, Harry takes the opportunity to slide his tongue on the singer’s one, and everything is slow and passionate, like each time they kiss, they’re discovering something new.

            Harry makes sure to keep his hands wherever Louis is already comfortable with, so he grips his hips and pulls him on top, letting one of Louis’ leg fall in between his and Louis seems to like it, because he deepens the kiss and closes his hand in a fist in Harry’s shirt. Harry doesn’t know where the other man is going with it, but he likes it.

            The world outside stops existing when Louis kisses down his neck – wet and hot and languid, like everything else, like all of their movements. He’s picked up some stuff from Harry, because he alternates his kisses with sucks and bites, and Harry can’t help but grab Louis’ ass, pulling him closer and closer.

            And Louis knows what he is doing, because he places his thigh right on Harry’s crotch, making sure Harry knows that Louis is okay with him having a semi, this is where he wants this to be headed. Harry is so on board with it.

            Louis lifts Harry’s arms and proceeds to remove his shirt, and even this small act is different from everything that Harry’s ever felt. He can’t quite explain and he can’t quite pinpoint exactly what makes him lose his mind, but Louis makes sure to brush his knuckles on Harry’s stomach and chest as he is taking his shirt off, and as soon as he does it, he traces kisses from Harry’s torso to his navel, licking to the sides on Harry’s laurel tattoos—

            “You’re so fucking hot”, Louis uncharacteristically whispers to Harry’s skin, like a secret. And it burns. “Harry…” He says and bites on his hipbone.

            “Lou”, Harry calls him, one hand grabbing the headboard and the other one lightly caressing Louis’ hair. “Louis”, he calls again, doing his best not to buck up. It’s an extremely difficult job with Louis’s hand placed right on his groin.


            “What are you doing?” Harry asks. It’s pretty dark, he can’t see much, and he has an idea where this is going, but he needs to know for sure. He needs to prepare himself.

            “I’m attempting to blow you, H”, he responds nonchalantly but Harry knows it’s a façade. Louis sometimes tries to soften the moments so Harry won’t notice how nervous he is. “You’ve been doing that to me for a while now—it’s my turn to return the favor.”

            “You don’t have to if you’re not-”

            “I am ready. Fuck, I’ve been ready”, he chuckles. “I just might be rubbish at it, in which case, I’m sorry.”

            Louis’ voice is so sincere that Harry has to try very hard not to coo at him, because even he knows that this is not the moment to be sappy. Still, he needs to reassure him.

            “There’s no pressure”, Harry says as Louis starts removing his pants. They’ve been sleeping in only shirts and boxers for a while now. “But because it’s-it-oh God”, he chokes with Louis’ first lick on his shaft. “Because it’s you, I k-knnnow it’s gonna be, yes.”

            “’S gonna be yes?” Louis asks. Harry can tell he’s smiling without even looking.

            “’S gonna be perf-ee-eeect, Louis”, Harry finishes the best he can.

            Louis gains some confidence there and grabs Harry’s dick with one hand, the other smoothing the skin of Harry’s inner thigh, and gives little kitten licks to his head, like he’s trying to get used to the taste of it. He hums in appreciation and licks around it, and Harry once again needs to contain himself not to buck his hips up – and as considerate as he is, it’s very hard, because, after all, this is Louis.

            And everything with Louis is more difficult, right? So everything Harry gets from him, it’s because Harry deserved it. Everything Louis gives him, every barrier that Louis pushes for Harry and for himself, Harry takes as a prize. And this moment isn’t any different.

            The singer licks from Harry’s base to the head of his cock again, and when he gets there he finally envelops it in the tight heat of his mouth, making Harry writhe on the sheets, a low moan escaping his throat. Even the sound of Louis’ mouth popping out of Harry’s cock every now and then makes him insane, and even though Louis can’t properly deep throat him, he wanks Harry at the same time he bobs his head, so his mouth meets his own hand halfway Harry’s shaft.

            Louis’ lips are soft and as he tightens them around Harry’s girth, Harry can’t even speak coherently to let him know what a great job he is doing. He does close one of his hands in Louis’s hair though, and the more Louis hums, making the vibrations of his mouth go straight to Harry’s dick, the tighter Harry’s hold gets on him.

            “Am I doing okay?” He asks and Harry feels rather than sees Louis’ smirk.

            “You know you a­-are-ah, LouisLouisLouis” he chants as Louis licks his balls, enveloping each one of them in his mouth, hand never stopping on Harry’s dick. “You-fuck, you’re­ ah-ahh.”

            “Doing that on purpose? Maybe”, again, Harry can imagine his eyebrows shooting up, but he doesn’t have time to say anything else because there is Louis, sucking on him again like Harry’s cock is a lifeline. You won’t hear Harry complain about it, ever.

            And like every first blowjob, it does get a bit messy. Louis gets too excited and goes hungrily for the rest of Harry’s cock, but Harry’s cock is big, so he chokes a bit and pulls off to cough – he jokes a bit about this not being sexy at all, but by now Harry’s eyes are already used to the darkness and he can see Louis’ blown pupils and disheveled hair; he can see his precome smeared on Louis’ cheek and-

            “If you only knew how sexy you are”, Harry says and pulls Louis to the bed again, kissing the living shit out of him because he just can’t wait anymore.

            Louis is really hard in his pants too, and Harry removes his boxers as well, letting their dicks slide against each other as he dry humps Louis, not even sorry for being such a teenager.

            “I- I want-” Louis starts, “ohGod, oh Harry, FUCK”, he screams when Harry takes both of their dicks in his hand and lowers his body, so there’s his hand and their cocks trapped between their bodies.

            Louis’ nails drag from Harry’s lower spine to his shoulder, and the sound of Harry getting them off is the only thing apart from their heaved, labored breaths. Louis chants Harry’s name in his ear and this is enough to get him to the edge, using his own come as lube to keep working on Louis, who comes a few minutes later – without ever stopping to say the many versions of Harry’s name he uses.


            “This was supposed to be me getting you off”, Louis comments when Harry comes back with a cloth to clean them up.

            “Trust me, you did”, Harry smirks and lies by Louis’ side. “I just have trouble laying there without doing nothing.”

            “I was perfectly fine with you doing nothing.”

            “Hm…” Harry hums and kisses Louis’ cheek.

            “Was it okay, then?” Louis asks in a low voice. Harry hates that he’s even doubting himself.

            “More than okay.” He assures him and takes Louis’ hand in his, raising them up to his mouth and kissing Louis’ knuckles. “You’ve got magical lips.”

            Louis chuckles. “It’s that so?” He then asks.

            “It is so”, Harry replies truthfully and lies on his side, facing Louis. “Thank you.”

            “Thank you”, Louis says. “I think…” He takes a deep breath but doesn’t continue.

            “You think…?”

            “I think I wanna try… More- not tonight”, he completes quickly. “Just… In a little while? I wanna have all of my firsts with you before you decide I’m not worth it anymore and calls it a day. Us, I mean.”

            “I won’t do that. Don’t you trust me?” Harry asks him and Louis closes his eyes. He doesn’t answer Harry and that somehow is the worst possible answer he could get right now.

            Harry falls asleep with a weird feeling in his gut.




            Harry wakes up with his phone ringing and he mentally curses because he swears he silenced it last night. He has no idea who is calling him at this time in the morning, but he thanks the gods when Louis stretches his hand and does it for him.  

            It turns out that it’s his mother, and she wants to know if Harry really is going home the next day, because she’s at the supermarket and wants to buy all of his favorite stuff – Harry laughs on the phone, because, really, only Anne would still be doing this kind of thing for her twenty-four year old son.

            Harry left home pretty early, and he knows the impact it has caused on his mother, especially because he became independent way before she expected he would. Anne says that all of her friends used to tell her that boys were different when compared to girls, that it’d take Harry a longer while to mature and find his way in the world, so she was a little bit surprised when it happened the complete opposite.

            Only a little bit, because she also says that she’s always known that Harry was different, yes, but good different, “amazing different”. He smiles at the memory as she keeps listing all of the things she is going to buy, and he doesn’t even have the heart to tell her he’s gotten over peanut butter around the same time he got over moving to the United States.

            “I’ll be leaving here in the morning, so hopefully I’ll be there by lunch time, mom”, he lets her know. Harry doesn’t think Louis had realized who it was on the phone up until now, because he widens his eyes as Harry mentions who it is.

            “Are you coming alone?” She asks.

            “Y-yes”, he answers.

            “Are you sure Ben isn’t coming? You’re not back together, are you?” Her tone is worried.

            “No, mom, we’re not back together. I’m not dating Ben anymore- or ever again for that matter, I’ve told you that”, he takes a deep breath. Louis is staring at him with a weird expression.

            “But your voice is happier—”

            “Bye, mom, see you tomorrow. I love you.”

            “Love you too, H.” And he hangs up.

            “That was your mother!” Is the first thing that Louis says.

            “Good morning to you too”, Harry smiles easily and turns on his side to kiss Louis’ cheek. He stiffens, but doesn’t move away. “What’s wrong?”

            “Why did she ask if you’re bringing someone?”

            “Because she thinks I’m back together with Ben. Because I sound happy.”

            “I thought he didn’t make you happy.”

            “He did, for a while. And then he didn’t… But you do.” Harry smiles again. Louis is still too raw to admit to being jealous, but this is one of the things that Harry’s eager to witness when realization hits the singer. “You okay?”

            “I don’t like it that she thinks you’d get back with your ex, ‘s all”, Louis replies.

            “Well… It would be a lot easier if I were able to tell her, don’t you think?” The professor raises a brow, going for a playful tone, but he does mean it.


            “Lou, can we at least talk about this?” He asks in a bored tone.

            Deep down Harry must know this won’t go anywhere, that Louis will deny it and Harry will just be frustrated that he has to lie to his family, but he still tries, because Harry isn’t anything if not an optimist – “the dreamer of improbable dreams”.

            “No, we can’t, because you won’t like what I have to say.” The singer replies and sits up on the bed, his back to Harry.

            “Oh, now please do, I am curious.” Harry sits too, he only has time to rub the sleep off his face before Louis slaps him with words.

            “This is not going to happen, Harry. This thing—in which you parade me around to your mom and stepdad and sister, forget it.” He turns to say. “And it’s not because I wanna punish you for anything, God, no, never… It’s because I can’t.”

            “You can’t even try?”

            “NO. I CAN’T EVEN TRY. And d’you wanna know why? Because, unlike you, Harry, I’ve got my life scrutinized by everybody. And I know it doesn’t seem or feel like it when we’re together, because I shield you the best that I can- I don’t tell you about my meetings and I don’t show you what the rags are saying, but it does not mean that they aren’t saying things, or won’t say things.”

            “First of all, I never asked you to shield me from anything. Secondly, I am not asking you to come out, for fuck’s sake. I’m asking you if I please may tell my own mother about my new relationship.” He explains calmly. Harry isn’t one to lose his patience.

            “No, you didn’t, but I care about you, so yeah, I’m sorry if I keep stuff to myself.”

            “You don’t have to, though!” Harry exclaims. “The whole point of you having me is that you don’t have to go through anything alone.”

            Louis doesn’t answer for a while. He takes a few deep breaths and starts dressing himself up. Then he looks at Harry again – and Harry can see Louis’ own eyes are sad, so, so different from yesterday. Harry wants to rewind and never start this conversation, but now it’s too late, isn’t it?

            “There are too many articles about us out there- maybe you’re a new shiny object to them since I never walked around with friends, but my fans think you’re hot”, Louis chuckles, but not happily. It’s more of a laughter turned into a sigh. “And they started thinking about us as a couple. I haven’t had a girlfriend in forever so it’s only a little time till the media starts rumors about the two of us.”

            “But those are all assumptions.”

            “Not according to my management, no. According to them, I can’t control my face around you or something and honestly, Harry, I think you know that.” Louis accuses. “I think you’ve known that for a while, but we don’t talk about it. I don’t want to talk about it, I’m not ready to talk about it, but… Yeah.”

            “So what?”

            “So, they want to give me a love interest. And I think it’s fair enough.”

            And that is… No, Louis sure as hell ain’t getting a beard, Harry thinks to convince himself. Because that would be… Weird, to say the least. Harry has never put himself in the closet for anybody, but he’s done it for Louis. Hell, he even called Ben the other day to ask him not to talk about Harry with anyone else.

            Ben, of course, caught up on something, but he didn’t push, just agreed on never selling him out. This, though, this is completely different. This is not only Harry staying in the closet for somebody who can’t even let him tell his family about them, but has a girlfriend to the public – someone who will claim him to the media and to everyone who is there to hear it. Someone who will be taking Harry’s place on the streets while he waits for Louis on the sheets.

            “You think it’s fair enough?” Harry asks. He doesn’t intend for it to sound like he’s spitting words at Louis, but this is exactly how it sounds like.

             It’s nine thirty am, too damn early for them to be having this argument. But now it’s as good time as ever, Harry supposes. They need to get this out of the way.

            “Really, Louis, out of all of the things, you think that asking me to lie and then finding yourself a girlfriend is fair?” He asks again and gets up. “How is any of this fair?”

            “Liam knows! Sophia knows. People know, Harry, it’s not like no one knows.”

            “Your friends know, Louis”, he accuses. Louis opens and closes his mouth once again. “You know what, for a while there I really thought that one of these days I’d take you to meet mom- you’d love her, I’m sure. And she’d stuff you with food, and- and for a while there I thought we could really do this.”

            “So now we can’t do this?” Louis snorts. “Nice, Hazz, for a while there I really thought that my mind was just playing games with me saying you wouldn’t stay.”

            “You’re pushing me away!”

            “I am not.”

            “You’re getting a girlfriend, Louis! How is that not pushing me away?”

            “The media will think I’m getting a girlfriend, Harry. And we don’t even have to meet at first, I just chose a random girl out of a portfolio…”

            “… Because that’s so much better.”

            “You’re being difficult. Why are you being so difficult?” Louis whines.

            Harry doesn’t know what the singer expected him to feel or say. And Harry thinks of many answers to give him. But at the end, Harry is just tired. He got too caught up with Louis too soon and now he’s paying for it. Because he wants more than what Louis can give. He knows that this might be too much in too little time.

            But Harry also knows that the things they went through together the last couple of months make it seem like years have passed. Harry also knows that the moments in which he held Louis in his arms were worth for a lifetime and he knows that Louis feels the same, even though he can’t quite admit it yet.

            So out of respect for what they have, and in order to take deep breaths again by himself, to calm himself down and distance himself from this scene, just so he can get more perspective, he asks Louis to leave.

            “What?” Louis whispers.

            “I think you should go”, Harry repeats.

            For the first time, Louis agrees without a fight.




            The first thing Louis wants to do when he leaves Harry’s flat is to die. Maybe not in the literal sense – which proves he’s a bit better now –, but drowned in self-pity, because it’s all just too much for him.

            Louis doesn’t blame Harry for feeling the way he does and saying the things he did, but he also can’t find a way out. And that’s terrible, just—terrible. Because Louis has gotten used to having Harry, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

            For example, right now. He’s on his way to signing the deal to his new home, he should be excited and he should be celebrating, but, in truth, he’s bummed that he is doing it alone. Yesterday he thought about asking Harry this morning if the professor would like to go with him, and now it’s all gone downhill.

            It’s not like Louis wasn’t expecting it, of course he was. He just wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon, not after the night they had, not after Harry reassuring him, once again, that he wouldn’t run away.


            The singer meets with his lawyer and the real estate agent at eleven thirty and by midday he has a new flat. Olly hands him a few interior designers’ cards and goes on his merry way, so Louis drives back to Liam’s place with a pocket full of cards and a mind full of Harry.

            “Did you sign it? Is it yours?” Sophia asks excitedly when Louis enters the kitchen.

            “I did, yeah”, Louis forces out a smile.

            “You okay?” His manager questions him. Nothing goes through Liam these days. It’s like he’s got Louis 100% of the time under a microscope.

            Louis ponders. If he were to tell them now about his fight with Harry, they’d treat him like a baby, and Louis doesn’t want to feel incapable, he doesn’t want to feel like he can’t take care of himself, so he decides to put on a huge smile and say that of course I am, Liam, I am perfect.





            It’s a weekend and Liam convinces Louis to attend his first party. Calvin Harris is launching an album and even though his crowd usually isn’t the same as Louis’s – when partying in the industry – he agrees to go because Calvin is an okay guy, plus, Niall agrees to go with him.

            Everything is okay when Louis arrives. He goes through the red carpet routine and answers a few questions. People seem really excited to see him, which is great. He’s missed this buzz – he’s missed enjoying this buzz. Louis makes a mental note to tell Doctor Andrew about how happy he actually is being back on the scene, and then moves into the party to try and find his Irish friend, who is still anonymous to the public God-knows-why.


            “It’s simple- I love the money and the people, but I hate the drama”, Niall shrugs with a beer in hand. Louis would kill for a beer right now, but he’s still not cleared for alcoholic drinks. He doesn’t think he will be any time soon.

            “It’s a smart decision, I suppose”, Louis answers him and sips his own drink – a fruit cocktail that tastes okay-ish.

            They walk around the party together shaking hands and smiling at different people. Louis takes many pictures with many high society acquaintances and can’t help but check his phone every two seconds.

            Harry hasn’t contacted him since the day Louis left the professor’s flat, and even though Louis has been telling himself that things are okay, he needs to give Harry space, he is actually bummed that they haven’t spoken in over a week. And “bummed”, if you haven’t noticed, is an understatement.

            The thing is: Louis doesn’t know how to sleep alone anymore. Or rather… He does know, he just hates it. His body just doesn’t seem to rest. The bed is too big and the room is too empty and no matter how many new things he buys – under the advisement of his new interior designer –, the whole flat is just lifeless. Because Louis is a bit lifeless without Harry.

            And that’s exactly what he didn’t want to happen. Even though Louis didn’t base his recovery process on the professor, he made him his main source of happiness for the last… five months. (He can pretend and say three, but the truth is his life – his career – started changing after the first couple of weeks he met that man.)

            Now… Now Louis is in this weird place in which he feels like he can take care of himself, but at the same time he can’t, because at the end of the day there isn’t anyone there for him to share his evolution with.

            “You okay there, mate?” Niall asks him. He must’ve zoned out.

            “Y-yeah, just thinking about stuff. Think I see an old mate over there, gonna say hi.” Louis excuses himself and walks over to the small group of people he’s just spotted.


            “Well if that isn’t Louis Tomlinson…”  Josh says as soon as Louis approaches. “Long time no see.”

            “Hey”, Louis waves and says hi to other people too. “What have you been up to?”

            “Oh, you know what I’ve been up to…” Josh responds with a smirk on his face. He used to be a drummer for fuck if Louis knows who, and somehow managed to keep himself in the industry, mostly in recording studios.

            Josh is an okay guy – for Louis’ old standards of living.

            “Want some?” He asks a bit quieter.

            “No, thanks”, Louis refuses but his body goes rigid instantly. It’s just some weed, he’s sure. Josh wouldn’t be stupid to bring more stuff to a party like this – security was pretty strict outside. Still, Louis knows he needs to keep his distance from even the smell of it.

            “Are you sure, Tomlinson?” Louis nods and walks away.

            His resistance doesn’t last long.


            When you’re an addict, you’re never fully recovered. Yes, you can control it, but you never really stop wanting it.

            Louis goes back to the place where Niall was, but when he gets there he finds the Irishman talking to a beautiful brunette lady and Louis knows better than interrupting him. So he grabs a bottle of water and sits on a stool waiting for the time to pass until it’s acceptably late enough for him to go back to his flat.

            Liam is texting him nonstop now to ask about the party, about the people, about the environment and Louis is religiously ignoring each one of his manager’s questions, because he just can’t.

            He knows he should be better at it – socializing. But right now he’s watching one of his newest friends being normal with a chick on the other side of the saloon and all that he can think about is: why couldn’t I be like this? Louis just knows that so many of his problems would be erased in the blink of an eye if Harry was called Harriet, had tits and a vagina.

            As hard as he tries, he cannot imagine himself wanting a girl. Not after what he’s already experienced with Harry – not before knowing what is still in store for them. Well, if there is still a them in the first place.

            Louis is really, really scared. He’s scared of not being good enough for anybody, but mostly, he’s scared of not being good enough for Harry. Fuck, he knows he isn’t good enough for Harry, but still, there’s a part of his brain that just doesn’t let go. Everything about him is wrong, and everything about him drives people away, he’s sure, but he just-

            He wishes he could be different. He wishes he could be someone people would be proud of – someone who everybody would love. Louis wishes he could do not only Liam or Harry or his fans proud, but also his parents. Louis wishes he could look at himself in the mirror and be sure that wherever his mom and dad are, they’re looking down at him and smiling, because he’s being a good human being.

            Which he isn’t.

            Louis isn’t particularly good at anything, but he sucks the most at being a person. At being the person his father always expected him to be. Louis failed at football, Louis failed at getting a girlfriend at fifteen, Louis failed at wanting  to have a girlfriend. Louis only didn’t fail at being a popstar – but that’s because he isn’t being himself, or at least hasn’t been being himself when writing and singing.

            And he wants to forget. Lord, does Louis want to forget. Just for one more night; he doesn’t want to be in control. Nobody is watching him anyways, nobody is here to care.


            “What have you got for me?” He grabs Josh’s arm as the man is passing by him.

            “Nothing anymore-” the drummer replies. “But I’m sure we can get you sorted out- come with me.”

            It’s one of Louis’s worst mistakes.




            “Mate, can you hear me?” Niall asks Louis for the hundredth time as he drives madly into London’s night.

            “Nail, Niall, Neillll, Nai-a-llee-rrrr!” Louis slurs from the backseat but doesn’t quite open his eyes.

            Niall just wants to get him home; it’s his main priority.

            As Louis keeps saying or at least trying to say uncoherent things in the backseat, Niall is just trying to list all of the things that he can do to make this right.

            It’s one thirty in the morning, so he is most definitely not calling Liam. Plus, he’s dealt with his fair share of drunk people, so he knows how to take care of him: cold shower, strong coffee, bed.          

            What worries Niall the most is the fact that this is clearly a setback on Louis’ recovery, and he hates that he is the one who is here to witness it. Worse: he is the one who is to be held accountable for it, because he should’ve known better than to leave Louis on his own at a party full of alcohol, drugs and bad influences.

            If you could only keep it in your pants, he curses himself mentally as he parks in Louis’ garage. Thank God Niall was able to avoid paps leaving the event, or else this could turn out a lot worse.

            “C’mon, singer man, let’s get you to your penthouse.”

            Louis’ body is heavy as he is half-asleep on his feet, but Niall manages to drag him into the lift and into his living room, dropping Louis’ weight on the couch and moving to the kitchen to try and find a coffee maker.

            The house is still pretty messy, Niall notices, but because Louis has just moved in, so there are a lot of unpacked boxes around. Still, the producer can see how spacious and luxurious the place is. It’s open and clear and everything someone like Louis should have; everything someone with his bank account could afford.

            “You all right there, Lou?” He asks sitting by his side.

            Louis laughs and almost pukes on his new carpet, but keeps it down.

            “”m not all right”, he replies looking at the ceiling. “Harry broke up with me, how could I be all right?” Louis asks and… What?

            Niall has a few seconds’ delay.

            “Who broke up with you?”

            “Harry. Hazz. Curly. Tall. Amazing legs and gre-green eyes”, he chokes a bit at the end. Louis’ lips are quivering, his eyes full of water.

            “Oh- you two- I. I mean. I hadn’t realized.” He opens his mouth but doesn’t know what else to say.

            Never in a million years would Niall have imagined that Louis was hooking up with a guy. He’s certainly noticed the way he’s too fond of Harry, and how Harry can never keep his eyes away from him – but Harry is openly gay and Louis is a very captivating person. But. Still.


            “Lou, it’s all right, I’m sure you guys can work it out.”

            Louis laughs wickedly. Uncontrollably. And then he throws up. Niall realizes it’s time to put him under the shower.




            Louis wakes up with a pounding headache and a weak heart. His stomach also hurts as fuck but it can’t be his appendices because he doesn’t have that anymore. Went through a surgery at the age of nine. So. there’s only one option left: he screwed up big time.

            There’s noise coming from his kitchen and he prepares himself for the wrath of Liam Payne to come upon him, but as he waits to gather some courage to get up and go there, a very blond, bright and Irish Niall Horan enters his room with fried eggs on toast and bacon on the side, and what smells like the strongest coffee Louis will ever have.


            “Morning, Louis”, he says lowly.

            “Oh my fucking God, Niall, I am so sorry!” Is what he says. “You don’t have to deal with my mess, fuck, I’m a terrible person, go home- Jesus. I’m sorry.”

            “’S all right, mate”, Niall smiles and places the tray in front of Louis on the bed. “Reminds me of my good old uni days.” He chuckles. “So, how’re you feeling?”

            “Like a truck ran over me”, Louis says sincerely. “Like shit. Like Doctor Andrew will murder me if I tell him.”

            “When you tell him.” He corrects him.

            “Sure. When I tell him”, Louis compromises. “Does Liam know? How many websites are gossiping about my fallout now?”

            “No and none. Nobody saw it, dragged you outta there in time.” The producer smiles.

            Louis loves Niall right now for respecting his hangover – he hasn’t raised his voice since he came in.

            “I’m sorry you had to- deal with me.”

            “Again, no trouble.”

            “You’re a God-sent angel”, Louis chuckles and sips from the coffee. “Any embarrassing confessions?” He tries to joke about it. Louis doesn’t remember a thing, but he’s very scared nonetheless.

            “Not embarrassing, no”, the producer assures him. “Though it was very surprising to know that you and Hazz are in a relationship.”

            “Oh fuck!” No, no, no, no.




            It’s been a long, long time since Harry was last in Holmes Chapel. He did not spend New Year’s with his family and they all came to London to spend Christmas together, so Harry thinks that the last time he set foot in this village was at least a year ago. And he now realizes how much he missed it.

            He and his mother have a routine. When Robin’s at work, they clean the kitchen after breakfast and laze around in the living room watching whatever morning show pleases them. Around lunchtime, Harry cooks and Anne takes care of her garden, and in the afternoon he goes out to visit some old friends or just walk around town.

            Today is no different, but it’s a Saturday and Alice – his childhood best friend – convinced him to go out with their old mates from school to a pub nearby. They’re all back for the summer and it will be nice to see everyone, Harry is sure.

            Once he finishes getting ready, he decides to go online just for a little bit, because she still hasn’t texted him saying that it is okay for him to go – Harry promised to give her a ride, because he isn’t planning on drinking tonight.

            His mother’s laptop opens directly on Sugarscape, and Harry chuckles thinking about his mother following the newest trends. Anne says that she likes to keep up to the speed of the modern world, she even has a twitter!!!

            Harry managed to stay away from Louis the entire week.

            He hasn’t answered his calls or replied to his texts, because he doesn’t want to be one of those people who get attached to their cellphones and lie about it. Plus, he’s still pretty annoyed with Louis, and since he doesn’t want to fight anymore, since he doesn’t want to blame the singer for something that Harry understands he can’t quite control – as hard as it might be at times –, he decided not to get in touch with him.

            However, on his fine evening, Louis is the first thing he sees when he starts browsing.




             Harry doesn’t bother to read the piece, but because there is nothing there that Harry doesn’t already know. He does analyze the pictures, even if he shouldn’t.

            Louis looks sad, for starters.

            And sadness is something that it’s already in his mien, Harry knows that, but for a couple of months now they’ve managed to change it, together. In those pictures, though, Louis is restless. Thin, restless, with bags under his eyes and no matter how hard he is trying to look thrilled, like he is buzzing to be at this random party, Harry just feels sorry for him.


            “H, your phone is ringing”, Robin calls him and Harry closes the tab. He wound up staring at that screen for longer than he intended, apparently.

            “Oh, it must be Alice-”, Harry answers. “I’m gonna go, mom”, he lets her know and grabs his keys and wallet.

            “Is Mike going?” She asks and then hands him his phone. Robin by her side.

            “I think so- he texted me earlier, said he’d get to town today, but I think I forgot to reply”, Harry chuckles.

            “Only you, Harry”, Anne rolls her eyes and hugs him tight. “Robin and I are going out to dinner, too, so there won’t be food when you arrive.”

            “It’s fine, mom, have fun and don’t wait up.” He kisses her cheek. “Love you, guys.” He says smiling and hugs her and Robin before leaving.

            “You too, darling.” Anne answers when he’s already entering the car.


            Harry leaves the house and gets to Alice’s in less than ten minutes.

            She’s one of Harry’s favorite people in the world, and as she teases him about his sixth form crush being at the pub waiting for him, Harry can’t help but grimace, wanting to tell her that he isn’t really interested in his high school crush anymore, because he’s got someone better now.

            It’s been hard, like he knew it would. Surprisingly harder with his friends, because they’re the ones who grill him about his love life whenever they meet. Everyone knew Ben; everyone somehow warned Harry that they wouldn’t last. Now they think Harry is in some kind of deep hole from where he can’t climb out. They think Harry is mourning losing his long-term boyfriend, when, in truth, Harry moved on ages ago.


            Anne didn’t press him. Neither does Robin. He sat with them and told them how over Ben he really is, how everything happened how it was supposed to, how he is in a good place in his life right now – and they believed him. They were okay with Harry not sharing more than that. Anne even told him “you’ll tell me when you’re ready”. Well, funny thing is: it isn’t up to me, Harry thought;

            His old friends aren’t as kind. Especially Alice.

            “Derek looks so good, H”, she says excitedly. “And get that: he thinks you’re proper hot!”       

            “Old crush, Alice. As in, old, not current anymore.” Harry jokes.

            “Just wait till you see him. Oh, I’m so excited!”

            Thank God the drive doesn’t last long.


            The pub is the same as always. The music isn’t so loud and it isn’t crowded, which is completely different from what Harry’s already used to. Their friends are in a booth in the middle of the saloon, because it’s the biggest one, and as they arrive, everyone gets up to hug Harry. Some of them Harry sees whenever he comes here, some those people he hasn’t seen in—wow, he doesn’t even remember.

            “If that isn’t Prince Harry!” Samantha says sitting by his side. “You look good, H. Some hair you’ve got going on there.”

            “Ha, thanks, love”, he smiles. “You look good too. John okay?”

            “Yes, we’re getting married!!!” She exclaims loudly and shows her hand to everyone. The table cheers, Harry smiles big, and some great conversation starts.

            Mike arrives a bit later and the group is complete. They all talk a little bit about themselves, and when it’s Harry’s turn, everyone asks about Lou and Tom – because they were all a bit jealous of them. Harry shows them pictures of Lux and they all coo at her, and as he passes them, he ends up slipping to one of hers and Louis’s pictures. It feels like it was taken ages ago.

            “Oh, wow, that is one Louis Tomlinson!” Alice exclaims taking the phone from Harry. Harry’s heart races. “You said you didn’t have personal pictures of him.”

            “I had completely forgotten about those ones…” He says. It’s not completely a lie. “It’s been a couple of months.”

            He looks terrible in those pictures. Terrible in a way that only Louis could look: still the most beautiful man Harry has ever seen. Still, comparing to what Harry is used to now, he can’t believe Louis looked that unhealthy. I guess trying to kill yourself does that to you, a darker side of Harry’s mind tells him.

            “We’re all dying to know, H… How is it working with someone like him?” Mike asks and Alice gives Harry his phone back, but with a weird look on her face.

            “What d’you mean someone like him?” Harry half-smiles and pretends he didn’t understand the question.

            Half of the table is talking about something else; five other people are focused on him. Including Harry’s old crush, who, admittedly, looks really good.

            “Someone that famous and- rich”, his cousin laughs.

            “And how is it being followed by paparazzi? I’ve seen you on gossip websites, Styles!” Jenny laughs loudly too. Harry’s a bit bothered. But, in their defense, they don’t now the first thing about it. Him. Them.

            “Paparazzi are a part of it, I suppose”, Harry shrugs. “And working with Lou- Louis is…” Something else. Amazing. Perfect, even. “Really good. He’s very talented.”

            “You trashed him not even a year ago.” Mike frowns.

            “Yeah, well- he needed to, hm, unlock some stuff. His new album’s going to be great, I’m sure.”

            And that is it. Harry manages to talk about something else, at which point he’s already craving a beer. He won’t get drunk, he probably won’t even drink it completely, but he needs to get a pint, just to do something other than overthink this whole conversation, this whole night, his relationship with the singer and how difficult it is to be in it. How worth it it is too.

            Harry gets up and heads towards the bar, and two guys at the table whistle and cheer. Harry looks back and sees that Derek is following him.


            “Can I buy you a drink, H?” Old crush asks when he reaches Harry at the bar.

            “Thanks, mate, just getting myself a pint. I’m driving tonight.” He smiles back.

            “God, you’re handsome”, he says to Harry the second Harry finishes his sentence.

            “Ha, right”, Harry laughs and throws his head back. “Eighteen year old Harry is very flattered, Derek. Probably blushing. Thank you.”

            “And twenty-something year old Harry?”

            “Twenty-four year old Harry is flattered too”, he smiles again. “But he’s over you- hi, a pint please!” He talks to the bartender.


            “You look great yourself, mate”, he tells the man as he waits for his beer. “I’m just- not available now”, Harry shrugs and Derek says something like fair enough before walking away.

            Harry and Louis haven’t discussed what they are. They’ve talked superficially about exclusivity, but even if they hadn’t, Harry doesn’t want anyone else right now. He can’t see himself wanting anyone else.

            He gets his pint and goes back to the table, and they’re all talking about the Eurocup, so he gladly joins them on it, careful not to mention Louis’ opinions too much, often preferring to talk about the Niall guy I’ve just met, because it’s safer and Harry won’t swoon when mentioning his name.

            Everything is going great. Harry is managing to have fun and he notices how much he’s genuinely missed all these people – it’s that thing about having old friends he was thinking about. He loves it.

            “H, your phone’s buzzing”, Alice says and points to the center of the table.

            At some point they all placed their phones there in order to keep the conversation going, so no one ignores anyone.

            “It’s okay, I can take a look at it later.”

            “It hasn’t stopped buzzing for a while, H”, Mike tells him. “Some…” He looks over the table to look at Harry’s screen. “Liam P has called you eight times now.”

            And- that’s a bit weird. Harry frowns and grabs his phone. Two calls from Louis’s phone. Eight from Liam and three texts. Seventeen from Niall and ten texts. What the fuck? Harry thinks.

            He doesn’t even know what to do first, and everyone goes silent when they see his face. Alice is by his side and grabs his phone for him, unlocking it and giving it to him to put on the password.

            He opens one of Niall’s first.

            Get back to London. Now!!!

            And then the second one:

            Louis is in the hospital.



Chapter Text



           Harry can’t stop shaking. He’s got his phone in his hands and he’s staring at it after the call is over and he needs Alice to literally pinch him to snap out of it.

            “What happened?”

            “I need to go”, he gets up from the table without explaining anything to anybody, and he thinks he knocks something over, but he’s not sure. Harry’s almost exiting the pub when his friend grabs him by the arm again.

            “What happened?” Alice asks again.

            “Louis is the hospital. I can’t explain, A, but I-” Harry swallows his own saliva to gain time, but even that is hard right now. “I care about him, a lot. And I need to go.”

            Harry’s wasting time talking to her right now. He needs to go. He needs to get to London.

            “Let me drive you”, she offers. “I saw something on your phone, something I clearly shouldn’t have- when I was looking at his pictures with Lux… There were other pictures too. And I get it, H.”

            “Listen to me”, Harry places both hands lightly on her shoulders. “No one can know about this. No one, Alice. My own mother doesn’t know about this and it is going to stay this way, because things are—hard, and messy, and complicated, but I-”

            “Love him?” She asks.

            “I…” He doesn’t know what to answer. He doesn’t know what he feels. He just truly, really needs to move. “I’m going now. Straight to London, I’ll call mom on my way and I’ll be back to grab my things within the week, as soon as I know he’s all right.”

            “You can’t drive like this, Harry, you look like a madman. I’m sure it isn’t that b-”

            “You have no idea of what it is like. I love you. Bye”, he kisses her on the forehead and leaves again.

            Harry’s never driven so fast in his entire life.

            He steps on the gas pedal and for fifteen minutes he forgets that he needs to let his mother know that he won’t be going home tonight. Well, he needs to let his mother know that he is going home tonight. And Harry has no idea of when his concept of home changed, but somewhere in the past few months, between laughter and kisses, good food and bad movies, Harry’s safe place became what he’d never allowed before: a person.

            He doesn’t even have time to feel ridiculous, because he knows he’s already in too deep, but he does compare it to Ben, because how could he not? Harry stayed with that man for years. Years. How is it possible that in less than one Louis became more important to him? How is it possible that Harry feels more like himself with the singer than he ever did with anybody else?

            Harry doesn’t understand, but he knows that it’s different. He knows what is happening and he knows it is rare, and beautiful, and probably a “once in a lifetime” kind of thing, but—but he doesn’t know how.

            He is aware of how much Louis is going to hurt him. He is aware of how much he already has. Right now Harry feels like he can’t breathe properly because Louis is in a hospital bed.


            It’s dèjá vu. It’s April all over again only this time it’s worse.

            Yes, a few months ago Harry was the one to find him. A few months ago Harry was covered in blood trying to keep Louis alive. A few months ago Harry had to clean him up, call an ambulance, sit on that waiting room at The Royal London Hospital while doctors walked around without saying anything for hours. A few months ago it was terrible.

            But now Harry is in lo-in a relationship with Louis. If then he already felt like his world wouldn’t be the same without the man in it, when they weren’t even speaking with each other properly, when they didn’t even know each other properly, now that they’re together, it feels like there won’t be a world without Louis.

            And Harry doesn’t even have time to question his line of thought, because that’s exactly it. Some people say that after they meet someone whom they love, they can’t quite remember how their lives were before that person. Harry has always found that a bit dramatic, a bit too much… Until he felt it.

            It’s not like Harry doesn’t know what he did the year before, or the year before that, or five years ago. It’s that it doesn’t really matter to him. He doesn’t think about the years before Louis. Because all he thinks about is Louis. Who is in the hospital. Who has tried to end his life one more time.

            Harry needs to be strong enough for Louis, but right now, sitting inside his car in the parking lot, in the middle of the night, he doesn’t even know if he can be strong for himself.




            The first person he sees when an intern shows him to the room he unfortunately knows too well is Liam. They hug for a long time before Harry lets go.

            Liam looks like he’s been run over, but Harry hasn’t looked in the mirror in a while, so he probably looks just the same. Actually, everyone seems scared. Sophia is in a corner just staring down at her phone without saying a word. Niall’s just sitting there, a bit catatonic.

            “You got here really fast”, Liam says. “It’s a three hour drive, H.”

            “Made it in two and twenty minutes. Felt like two fucking months, though”, he sighs. “How is he?”

            “Awake”, his friend answers. “Found him this afternoon.”

            “I- h-how?”

            “It’s my fault, it’s all my fault, Hazza. I’m so sorry”, Niall says standing up. Out of all of them, Niall looks the worst, maybe because it’s his first rodeo.

            “It’s not”, is the first thing that Harry says. “Now tell me what happened”, and moves to where Niall was sitting, making a gesture with his hand for the Irishman to sit again by his side.

            Sophia acknowledges Harry’s presence with a firm grip on his shoulder and he attempts to smile at her, but it doesn’t really work.

            Niall takes three deep breaths.

            “We went to a party on Friday- he- he needed to mingle and he needed to be seen, so Li asked me to go with him, y’know, just in case.”

            “It was my mistake too”, Liam interferes.

            Harry doesn’t know how to explain that it isn’t anybody’s fault. Louis is sick.

            “I lost him for a while there- and he drank, like, lots”, fuck. “But he was okay in the morning, you know? He knew he had screwed up and he said he’d tell his therapist. He said that everyone would be so pissed with him. I could see he was really pissed with himself. He ate the breakfast I made him and we started talking, so he asked me if he’d confessed anything embarrassing to me while drunk…”

            “I can see where this is going.” Harry sighs and rubs his face. He’s exhausted, but all he can think about is staying awake long enough to see Louis.

            Liam nods confirming Harry’s unspoken theory. Still, they let Niall continue.

            “I said I hadn’t known you guys were in a relationship and he-”

            “Freaked out”, Harry says. “Yeah, that would do it. We fought about this, actually”, he tells them. Sophia and her fiancé both start to pay closer attention to him. “I wanted to tell my mom, because it- I’m not used to hiding and it really sucks having to sign contracts and then lie to literally everyone I care about the most. My family.”

            “It’s understandable, H”, Liam offers.

            “Yeah- so we- we got into a fight, and then I-”

            “Broke up with him. Yeah, he told me that while drunk”, Niall finishes and-

            “What?” Harry asks.

            “He said you’d broken up with him, so he couldn’t or wouldn’t be all right. Something like that”, the producer tells them.

            “I didn’t break up with him- what—fuck”, Harry curses. “Louis is so smart, but I swear to God, he can be really thick.”

            “Tell me about it”, Liam chuckles.

            “Did he really try to kill himself again?” Harry asks, his eyes full of water already. How could Louis hate himself so much? Why would he do that? Harry can’t understand. Louis is so, so, so special. Fuck.

            “I think he was just- just trying to hurt himself, for real”, Sophia says in a low voice. “No traces of drugs in his system.”

            “No Vicodin?” Harry’s eyes widen. “No pain killer?”

            “Nothing, H.” Liam said.

            “He was punishing himself”, he says then. Three pairs of eyes look straight to him. “I mean, I’m not sure, we can ask Doctor Andrew later…”

            “He’s already in the room with Louis. He came as soon as Louis woke up. We called.”

            “Good.” Harry murmurs. “I think he’s punishing himself for having drunk. And for- for the fight we had. He probably still thinks he deserves to suffer for- being who he is.”

            “I didn’t know it was that deep”, Niall says, voice low, like he’s talking more to himself than with the other people around him. “He’s such a great guy and-”

            “He’s sick, Ni. Really sick.” Harry said.

            “Soph told me a little about it”, Niall tells him. “It’s just really hard to wrap my mind around it. He’s always seemed so… In control, you know? Even after he was hospitalized… Wait. So before, when the press said that he overdosed he actually-”

            “Wanted it. Yes.”


            Yeah. Fuck.




            It’s only at five in the morning that Doctor Andrew comes looking for them and tells Harry to go in.

            What a great start for a Sunday morning, Harry thinks sarcastically.

            He walks through the hospital halls knowingly, and this is the saddest part: he’s been here before.

            For a second there Harry doesn’t know if he wants to go in. Even though the therapist said he should, a part of Harry is still very scared that Louis won’t even look at him again, that the singer will send him away for whatever reason he put in his mind and that he won’t give Harry the chance to hug him, kiss him, and see for himself that he is alive and okay.

            He stands outside the room for at least three minutes, and only then he notices that the door is a little open, just a little gap, really.

            “How long are you going to stand there?” Comes a weak voice from inside the room.

            Harry clears his throat and gets in, closing the door behind him.

            It’s so clear and… Surgical. Sterile.

            Except for Louis.

            Even a bit pale, with bags under his eyes and disheveled hair, Louis is still the only warm, bright thing inside the room. It’s the only thing that doesn’t hurt Harry’s eyes.

            “Oh my God”, Harry chokes out and moves forward, sitting on the bed and cradling Louis in his arms, squeezing him the best he can without hurting the other man, crying over Louis’ shoulder like a small kid who has just fallen badly off the bicycle.

            Harry can’t believe he’s got Louis in his arms again. Louis hugs him back as tightly as he can, still being weak, and he tries to soothe Harry, running his fingers through the professor’s hair and whispering words of comfort in his ear – I’m here, I’m sorry, it’s okay, I am here, H, he keeps saying and repeating and Harry would love to answer, he just can’t stop sobbing.

            It’s almost an out-of-body experience, because he can’t quite explain what he is feeling. His heart is racing, but at the same time nothing is moving. There’s only him and Louis, on a hospital bed. There’s a bubble of warmth and happiness, in spite of the situation.

            “Don’t you—” Harry starts, still holding Louis close to his chest. “Don’t you e-e-ever do that ag-gain.” He says and then takes a deep breath, separating their bodies and sitting straight on the bed, looking Louis in the eyes for the first time.

            “H…” Louis starts, a hand brushing Harry’s hair out of his face. Louis grimaces at him and tilts his head to one side, like he doesn’t really know what to say.

            “No, Lou, I- I’m serious”, Harry says again, inhaling all the air he can so his lungs expand a bit.

            It seems like it’s the first time he’s breathing since he got the news in the pub hours ago.

            “I don’t know how I managed to get here without having an anxiety attack”, Harry tells him and laughs humorlessly, tears still falling down his cheeks. “Don’t do this again- I’m- I’m begging you, okay? I can’t—” he looked down. “I can’t be without you.”

            “You broke up with me”, Louis responds weakly, as if he isn’t understanding anything.

            “No, Lou, I didn’t”, Harry smiles and looks at him again, holding both of Louis’ hands. “I just needed some time to sort my head out, but I didn’t break up with you, you stupid, stupid person”, he jokes. He doesn’t know how he manages it. “I couldn’t. I- I need you.”

            “Oh”, Louis breathes out and pulls Harry on a hug again. “I, hm, clearly need you too”, he laughs over Harry’s shoulder.

            “What happened?” Harry asks in a low voice.

            And then Louis tells him. 

            He starts with the party and then goes back to their fight, then to one of his therapy sessions, then he mentions his parents and it’s all just a blur to Harry, some topic he will need to ask Louis about later, because, as the singer is speaking, the only thing he can think about is he is here, he’s alive, he’s going to be okay.

            He does try to focus, though.

            Louis explains how idiotic he felt the next day after drinking when he clearly couldn’t, and how he panicked when Niall told him what Louis had said the night before.

            Harry nods and hums and kisses Louis’ knuckles for comfort. It’s the same story Niall told him, with only a few darker inputs, because this is Louis after all.

            “I cracked again, Harry and I’m- a mess. I’m in pieces and this--- this isn’t what you signed up for. This isn’t what you want, yeah?” Louis asks. He looks so ashamed. Harry hates this look on his face.

            “Lou… Cracks don’t mean that you’re broken. If anything, being cracked means that you were put to test many times and you didn’t fall apart.” He says. Louis squeezes Harry’s hand and pulls him closer again.

            It’s difficult, but Harry manages to lie by his side. He hopes no one comes in yet, because he needs to hold Louis – for the both of them. They need each other right now.

            “I don’t want to be like this”, Louis confesses with his head buried in  Harry’s chest, and Harry knows he is crying by the way his voice is shaking. “Things were going great, you know?” Louis raises his eyes to look the professor again. “I mean. I felt like I was getting better?”

            “You were. You are. But there are ups and downs, Lou.”

            “Doctor Andrew said that, too. He also said that I can’t- can’t have a, hm, beard. So, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Not that you had before, but I just-” Louis tells him.

            “Not worried about this now, babe.” It’s the first time Harry lets it slip, he thinks. Louis just smiles at him, the happiest smile today, and Harry makes a mental note to call him babe on different occasions.

            “Hazz, I- I taught myself to carry pain long before I ever learned to carry everything else—like, good things, so, I’m- I’m sorry for not knowing how to, hm, be with you the way you need me to, ‘cause I’m- I’m still learning. Just- don’t give up on me.” Louis pleads. “I know that I-”, he pauses and takes a deep breath. “I know that I kind of push you away, I know I’m a bit self-sabotaging and all but it’s all I’ve known for a long time.”

            Harry softens even more at that.

            “Just stop thinking that I will run every chance you think you’re giving me”, the professor tells him and kisses his temple. “I’m not going anywhere.” I don’t want to. I can’t. Nowhere feels like you do.

            Louis lets the words sink in for a while, they both regulate their breaths and Harry caresses Louis’s arm lightly. The sun is already up outside, but the world is still pretty quiet.

            Harry has always had a soft spot for Sunday mornings, and this one isn’t different. Even if they’re here because something bad happened, he’s still thankful for starting it with Louis.


            It’s around six thirty that Louis grabs his phone and opens his notes.

            “I wrote something- before, y’know”, he says and turns to Harry, who sits on the bed again, with his back to the door, facing Louis.


            “I couldn’t find the notebook, I think I-”

            “Left it at my place, yeah.” Louis nods and then gives Harry his phone.

            “Here. Check it.” He says. “It might be a bridge and a chorus, or… Nothing. But I- I like it. I’d like to give it a rock beat, maybe. Gonna show it to Niall when I get out of here.”

            “Niall’s outside”, Harry tells him and Louis’ eyes widen. “He’s worried sick about you, I think… I think he considers you his friend.”

            “That’s… Good.”

            “He’s okay with us, you know?” Harry assures him. “C’mon, Lou, it’s Niall, don’t act surprised.”

            “I’m glad, H.” The singer tells him. “Really. I’m relieved he knows. Now I can tell him where all of my sappy songs come from”, he chuckles.

            “Oh, so they are about me?” He asks pretending to be surprised. Maybe he isn’t. But it’s still so nice to know.

            Louis rolls his eyes.

            “Just read it.”

            “Okay, okay…” Harry chuckles and starts reading. “No escape from the truth and the weight of it all, I am caught in the web of a lie.” Harry reads. Louis wasn’t expecting him to read it out loud, because he buries his face in his hands and waits for Harry to finish.

            “And the bitch of it all is that I’m running from the desire of the people to whom I belong. At the end of the day you can tell me I’m wrong, ‘cause you went through all of this trouble.”

            It’s very angry, is the first thing Harry notices. But it’s raw. Harry truly likes it. He’s proud of Louis for letting his demons show in such a beautiful, poignant way.

            “You haven’t finished yet”, Louis’ muffled voice fills the room.

            “Heart’s one fire tonight, feel my bones ignite- feels like war. A love that feels like war.” Harry finishes then and… “A love that feels like war.”

            “But I want to fight”, Louis completes.

            Harry kisses him right then. They lose track of time and only stop kissing when there’s a knock on the door. Everyone comes in – Liam, Sophia, Niall. Still, Harry does not leave his side and Louis doesn’t let go of his hand, not even when talking to the new addition to their group. Harry can get used to it.




            Louis needs to give an overdue statement on Monday.

            Somebody from the hospital leaked that he’d been admitted again and after apologizing a hundred times, Liam told him, just as he was arriving at Louis flat – giving him a ride back from the hospital –, that he’d need to put something out there as to why he was admitted again.

            He invites Liam up and asks if he can stay for a while, because Louis doesn’t trust himself to be alone.

            It’s a terrible feeling, but even though he feels like he took a step back, he’s still better than the last time. Doctor Andrew talked to him this morning and they are now going to see each other twice a week – he also wants Louis to bring in people he cares about in the sessions, and that number will be pretty low, but the therapist assures him it is going to make a hell of a difference, and Louis trusts him.

            Louis remembers going back to Liam’s after he got back from the hospital the first time and he remembers how shattered he was. He literally didn’t want to do anything, just sleep and go back to alcohol. Louis remembers wanting to have access to drugs again and he remembers hating his himself for not having accomplished the act of killing himself.

            This time is different.

            He enters his new home tired as fuck, angry with himself, but wanting to get better. He had a setback, but he wants to manage it. He is aware he’s got support. He is aware he may have another terrible night one of those days, but he is also aware that there will be good days too.

            “Where will the statement be?” Louis asks. “I’m not sure I trust any of those rags to spread the news. Whatever news we tell them.” He tells Liam.

            “I was thinking your facebook page… Meg says it will seem more genuine if you post the link on twitter and all…” His friend briefs him.  

            “And what will be said?” He asks.

            Liam is the only family he has, so Louis doesn’t bother to offer him anything. He goes straight to his living room and takes off his shoes, lying on the couch and stretching his body on a surface that is way better than a hospital gurney. Louis likes being here – even if he still has tons of boxes to unload on the top floor. Actually, his bedroom and living room are the only places that are already organized the way he wants to – he’s yet to contact designers to help him sort this whole space out.

            His manager and friend follows him a while later, coming back from the kitchen with a bottle of water and throwing his body in one of Louis’ armchairs.

            “That is up to you, to be honest”, he tells him. “I think it is important that you make very clear you didn’t do any drugs this time. I think it is important that you didn’t do any drugs this time.”

            “Thanks, I guess”, Louis shrugs. “I’ll say I’m still struggling, because that’s true. And that the fans’ support is helping a lot- which’s not a lie…” He tells his friend, thinking about all of the twitter mentions he got. Even the ones who are confused about what is happening are being there for him. “And that it’s a freaking difficult road being at peace with myself, but I’m going to focus on my music and finishing this album for myself and for them, and it will be the best one yet.”

            Liam doesn’t reply for a while. Louis can see his eyes glistening and a proud smile on his face and Louis honest-to-God does not understand what Liam is proud of, because Louis has just screwed up again. He thanks all of the gods that may be out there for having someone so understanding in his life and that is something that even in his darkest times, Louis has always acknowledged: how lucky he is that Liam isn’t a prick.

            Louis has been in the industry for a long, long time. He’s already met more people than he can actually count and their teams as well, so he knows how much many of them suffer with a terrible management.

            He’s seen closeted artists losing their minds wanting to come out and not being able to, and he’s seen what that did to them. He’s seen some people he actually liked being burned out by contracts and the fact that Liam Payne chooses to be his friend first and foremost is something that Louis knows he needs to be thankful for.

            “God, Louis, you’ve changed so much”, Liam voices after a while, still smiling.

            “What d’you mean?”

            “This year. You’ve changed so much this year. Do you know what you were doing July last year?” Liam asks him.

            “I can’t remember.” Louis frowns.

            “That’s because you were snorting coke in a penthouse in Monaco right before going on a red carpet.” He answers. “And now you’re here, actually caring about yourself and people around you. And you’re clean.”

            “Not really, Li, I-”

            “You’re clean from drugs, at least.”

            “Doesn’t mean I don’t crave it on bad nights. And there are many bad nights, Li.”

            “I know, I know, I just- you’re so strong, Lou. I’m very proud of you. It’s going to be a killer statement.” Liam smiles big.

            They order dinner in and stay on the couch watching Belgium lose to Wales in the Eurocup quarterfinals. Louis laughs a lot with Liam and for a few seconds he even forgets the cuts on his thighs. But then he moves a bit to get the remote control and he feels one of the deepest ones sting; Louis hisses and sits back, and his hips hurt a bit too. Fuck.

            Liam notices but doesn’t say anything. He gets up and comes back with a glass of water and a painkiller. Louis thanks him and stares at the ceiling, trying not to cry, swallows the pills and focus on the TV again. Liam pulls Louis closer and hugs him, says you’re okay, Lou and looks straight ahead too.


            Harry arrives really late, because he needed to go back to Holmes Chapel to get his things, and when he arrived in London again, he let Louis know that he was going to his own house for a while to organize some things and pack a bag to spend the rest of the week at Louis’s. I’m not gonna let you sleep alone, not like this, Harry told him.

            Liam stays until Harry gets there, at one am. Louis thanks him and promises he’ll be ready for a meeting on Wednesday. Louis really wants to finish this album in time for it to be released on Christmas, and for that he needs to speed up the recording process so they’ll release the first single in August – single that he still needs to choose.


            “What did you tell your mom?” Louis asks Harry when they’re lying in bed together. It’s past two am by now, but neither of them seems to be able to fall asleep.

            “Nothing”, Harry sighs.

            “What d’you mean?”

            “I mean I didn’t tell her anything”, Harry says and rubs his face. “Just avoided the topic, had dinner, played board games and packed my things to get back on the road.”

            “I’m sorry.”

            “Don’t be. I chose this”, the professor looks at him and smiles. It’s a bittersweet smile. Louis doesn’t realize that a tear escapes his eyes until Harry’s thumb is there on his cheek, catching it. “I chose you and I’m gonna keep choosing you, Lou.”

            “I’m so much work, Harry”, he lies flat on his back and lets his hands fall by his sides. Harry catches one of them and kisses his knuckles. “I’ve only brought you trouble since we met”, he chuckles. “And it’s been what? Six months?”

            “Is this you trying to give me a way out again? Telling me how horrible you are just so I decide you’re not worth it?” Harry asks, scooting closer. Louis doesn’t have it in him to push him away, not physically anymore. He is selfish that way. He needs Harry. He needs him so much it scares him. It’s only been six months. “Because you are worth it, Louis Tomlinson”, Harry’s voice is right there in his ear.

            Louis takes a deep breath, crying a bit more. He’s so glad it’s dark, because he is very pathetic as it is.

            “I know it’s hard for you to believe that choosing you isn’t a burden for me”, the professor says. “I know that in that mind of yours you can only see the bad things that happened between us”, Harry finishes each sentence with a light kiss on Louis’ skin. “But I can see everything, the whole picture.”

            “What’s the whole picture?”

            “Dinners at my brand new amazing table”, he chuckles. “Doctor Who marathons, beautiful lyrics, great studio afternoons… Breathtaking kisses and bluer than blue eyes in the mornings I am lucky enough to wake up with you.” Harry voices. “The whole picture is beautiful. And it’s okay to have a few dark nights, even when you practically give me heart attacks.”

            “There might be a lot of dark nights”, Louis warns him.

            “So I’ll stay with you until you run out of them. And then we’ll step into the light together. Sounds like a plan?” Harry whispers and Louis turns on his side. He kisses Harry until he’s dizzy.

            It sounds like a risky plan. But then again, Louis has always liked a challenge.




            He wakes up feeling like shit the next morning. The good part is that he knows it isn’t his fault, just some chemical stuff going on in his brain. The bad part is that he wants a magic solution, and there isn’t one.

            Many people say that the first and most important part towards recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem, and then everything else gets easier, because you know what you have to work on. Louis disagrees. After he realized he was sick, things just got harder.

            Even though he was basically down a rabbit hole last year, he didn’t know it, so it was easier to numb himself when there was nothing for him to feel guilty about.

            Now he is here, lying in bed right beside Harry, and he just wishes he weren’t feeling like the world was crumbling down on his body – there’s this weight pulling him down, like he’ll disappear inside the mattress, and there this voice in the back of his mind telling him that it will take him forever to get completely okay, that it isn’t worth it, that he’ll break down again soon enough, but that isn’t what is hard, per se.

            What is really, really difficult is that now there is another voice saying that he can push through this – that he is strong enough to push through this because he has people by his side who want him to get better, people who will help him get better and people whom he doesn’t want to let down. Like the man snoring softly in his ear.

            Dealing with one voice is okay, but having to handle two – and wanting to listen to the one that offers a more difficult path – exhausts Louis the second he is awake. He turns in bed and faces Harry, and all he can think is:

            “I don’t wanna let you down”, he murmurs, playing with a strand of Harry’s hair.

            (And then he thinks about everyone else and he doesn’t want to let them down either: Liam, Sophia, Niall, Doctor Andrew, himself.)

            “I don’t want to worry you day and night…” Louis continues saying it, low enough that it won’t wake Harry up, but loud enough that the words are understandable – more than just mere thoughts in his head. “I want to be whole. I want to be someone you’re proud of… As an artist and as a person.” And as he says it, he notices how truthful his words are. “I want to be worth your while, Hazz…”

            Harry starts blinking awake and moving a bit in bed, and Louis sits up and grabs his phone, before the professor opens his eyes and thinks he is weird for having spoken to a sleeping man. Harry smiles and says good morning, Lou, and just like that, his day is a bit better. The weight is still very heavy, but he believes he’ll manage to carry it around now.


            The first week after his second breakdown goes like this:

            Louis has got two sessions with the therapist and Niall picks him up afterwards so they can go to the studio, where he manages to finish one song, record two and meet with a guy named Julian, who will help Niall produce Louis’ album from now on.

            He doesn’t go to the gym, but Liam still makes sure to have some quality time with him and Louis guarantees him he is fine to go to a meeting – so they do it, and Megan doesn’t even mention Louis having a beard, she just tells him that she is happy he’s okay and congratulates him on the statement he wrote.

            “We’ll put it on your facebook now, if you’re okay with it”, she lets him know. Louis just nods and in less than one minute millions of people know that Louis Tomlinson, prince of pop, suffers with depression.

            It’s hard, reading it there, especially because Louis knows that some of his fans are going through the same and will want him to talk about it eventually. He can’t help but imagine himself in interviews, having to talk about it in a couple of months when it’s promo season.

            He also knows it’s a topic that can be stopped. He knows Liam can blacklist the past months events from the asking list and they’ll just focus on the album and ask some stupid question about Louis’ life, but Louis feels like he owes an explanation to everyone who looks up to him, because no matter how much he tries and explains otherwise, some people still think Louis is someone worth admiring.

            He stays seated by Liam’s side for some good five minutes until he trusts his legs enough to get up and move silently to the car. Liam doesn’t say much, just throws one arm over Louis’ shoulders and guides him to the parking lot, checking around for any paps they might find.


            “Okay, what’s next?” Louis asks Liam when they’re about to arrive at his flat.

            “You were supposed to attend an event tomorrow, but I cleared your weekend…”


            “There will be more events, Lou”, his manager shrugs. “You’re not healthy enough to go to a party.”

            “I am.”

            “Louis, your cuts are still visible”, Liam says with a sorry face. “There’s a party next Friday. Nick Grimshaw’s boyfriend’s gonna launch a line for TopMan and they actually asked you to be there, front row… You can attend that.”

            The first thought that comes to Louis’ mind is this is too gay, people will know, but he nods shortly and tells his friend that it will be lovely. Liam assures him that he won’t have to go alone or stay alone this time, Niall promised he won’t ever take his eyes off of Louis again. Louis entertains the thought of asking Harry to go too.

            “… But before that, hm, you mentioned a while ago that you wanted to be more in contact with your charities, yeah?” As always, Liam asks and Louis nods. “You’re going to be at the studio on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday next week-” he says checking his iPad now that they’ve already parked on Louis’s building sidewalk. “But I thought you could check the children’s hospital on Wednesday.”

            “In the morning?” He asks. “I’ve got Doctor Andrew in the afternoon…”

            “Yes. I can pick you up if you want.”

            Louis agrees easily and even makes plans to take his guitar with him. Maybe seeing some kids struggling with cancer will give him some perspective after all.






            Louis literally steps out of the hospital and receives a text from Harry with the link to the Mail Online. Seriously. They didn’t even wait for him to leave the hospital and send his pictures with one of the kids to the closest newspaper.

            It’s not that Louis doesn’t appreciate the recognition, because he does. But he spent almost four hours with those kids and the last thing he wanted was for the world to think he was doing some kind of favor or charity by spending time with them. His charity resumed to giving money, but Louis didn’t go there to make them a favor. If anything, they did him a favor. It is the first thing he tells Doctor Andrew this afternoon.

            “How come?” The therapist asks with a thoughtful expression in his face.

            “They’re struggling so much to stay alive and I- I tried to kill myself and I- I hurt myself when I’m supposedly very healthy”, Louis shrugs. “Like- how hypocritical of me to say that I am sick as an excuse to my dumb actions when there was a twelve year old there who suffers from liver cancer with needles in her fingers because there was nowhere else to be pierced anymore!”

            He is kind of desperate, Louis is. He is very aware that the pain he feels is genuine, of course he is – he knows he hurts so, so much at times he can’t quite breathe. But at the same time he just feels… Dumb, stupid, really. Louis doesn’t know what to do with himself, but that’s no news now is that?

            “Their organs are failing, Louis.”

            “Exactly!” He exclaims exasperated.

            “The brain is an organ too”, doctor Andrew says matter-of-factly. Louis nods because he knows. The therapist waits to see if Louis will say something, but he doesn’t quite catch up, so Andrew continues. “The brain is an organ and your brain sometimes fails you.”

            “It’s not the same.” He argues.

            “Why isn’t it? Your brain tried to kill you the same way that kid’s liver is trying to kill her.” The therapist explains calmly, and it’s… New.

            Louis has obviously never thought about it this way and it’s a comparison that actually makes sense.

            People often don’t believe how hard it is to live with a malfunctioning brain. He is having a normal, good day and then in less than one minute it becomes the worst day ever and he just wants to lie down and cry till the next world cup. And then he stays feeling bad, sad and sorry for himself for forever. Sometimes he gets angry. Sometimes he wants to get better, like now. Sometimes he just wants it all to end.

            Is that how people with other diseases live? Is that how they feel? Louis doesn’t know, because, again, he’s never thought about it this way. In truth, it always seemed ridiculous to him to compare illnesses, but that was exactly what he did, and now that Doctor Andrew is showing him another kind of comparison, Louis is a bit at loss for words.


            “I just… I can’t see it being the same”, he half-whispers.

            “Because it’s not.”


            “But that doesn’t mean your pain is any less valid”, the therapist beats him to it. “That doesn’t mean that you have to feel bad for feeling bad. You just have to want to feel better and keep doing what you’re doing.”

            Louis nods and they continue their conversation.

            Today is one of the days in which the doctor spares him from talking about his parents and honestly, Louis doesn’t know if he’d be able to anyways. He’s learned that he can’t handle all of the emotions in one day, he can only think and talk about them separately, like his still in recovery brain can’t storage everything all at once or it will explode.


            Louis makes his way back home and kind of expects to find Harry there, but instead he finds an empty flat with a note glued to the fridge saying that he went to spend the day with Lux and Louis should call him if he wanted Harry to come back.

            Harry has been staying in Louis’ flat for over a week, only going back to his own to grab some clothes and it never occurred to Louis that he was there for more time than they have previously stated. And the thing is: Louis is glad that this is happening.

            You see, Louis has always hated having people around him at all times. He always used to say that he could never have a roommate because at some point he’d just get fed up with them and either leave the room or tell them to leave. However, when it comes to Harry, Louis has never felt this way.

            Even in the beginning, in his old flat, Louis would never feel suffocated by the professor’s presence; it would always be peaceful and just… Right. Now it’s even better, because they rarely need to communicate with each other to be understood. Just like Louis, Harry has his moments.

            He isn’t dark or anything like that, but he is different, in a way. He can either be very loud and energetic or very quiet and lazy, and by now Louis can notice his mood swings and knows when to cuddle or when to leave him alone with his books – just like Harry can do it for him.

            That is why, when he reads the note, he gets a bit self-conscious, because tonight will be a night Louis will want to cuddle – still, he doesn’t know what Harry is thinking. Is Harry still staying there because he is worried that Louis will do something crazy? Is Louis keeping him from living his life and enjoying his vacations? Would Harry rather be somewhere else and not here?

            Communicate with him, it’s the only way, he remembers Doctor Andrew’s words from a few sessions ago.

            Louis takes the phone. Harry picks up on the second ring.

            “Lou, hi! You home yet?” Harry asks if Louis is home yet.

            Not at “your flat”, not “at your place”, not at “your home”. Just if Louis is home. Louis grins before he can even speak.

            “Hi, yeah, just got here actually and saw your note…” Louis comments. “Wanted to ask you something.”


            “Do you want to be here?” He says at once. “Like- are you here just because you’re worried about me being alone or because you want to be here? Because it’s okay if you want to, you know, stay at your place.”

            “Oh”, Harry’s voice comes weak. “Just gimme one second, Mrs Luxie!” He says then and when he speaks his voice comes lower but somehow clearer. “Lou- do you want me to stay at my flat? ‘Cause I can, I won’t be mad if you say so!”

            “What? No!” Louis answers too fast and laughs. “No, it’s just… I don’t want you to feel trapped with me. I’ll have to go to the studio early in the morning anyway tomorrow…”

            “I don’t mind, plus, I’ll go to the studio too, Niall said he needed some inputs for the chorus in Something In Me Was Dying.

            “But I’ve already recorded this one…” Louis frowns.

            “I know, but I think he thinks there’s something weird with it- if there is we can change it, no big deal. It’s a great song, needs to be treated properly.” He says and the singer hums in return. “It’s one of my favorite songs, by the way.”  Harry adds and Louis smiles.

            “So- just to clarify, you’re coming back here tonight…?”

            “Do you want me to?” Louis can feel Harry smiling on the other line and he makes himself say yes out loud. “So I’ll see you in a bit. Have you eaten yet?”


            “Okay, I’m gonna pick something up on the way. See you, Lou.”

            “See you”, Louis replies and stays put in the middle of the kitchen for a few seconds smiling to himself before going into the shower.

            He is smitten.







            Friday comes quickly, and Louis is quite excited for it, if he’s being honest. He invited Harry to go with him to the after party and he said yes faster than Louis expected, so he considers it a win.

            He is not scared. The only reason he fucked up at his first party post-first breakdown was the fact that he and Harry weren’t okay with each other and Louis let his self-doubt and poisoned brain take the best of him. Not today, though. Today he is feeling good and confident and as he arrives home from another session with Doctor Andrew, he is greeted with the curly haired man sprawled on the couch in his living room like he already belongs there, and maybe he does.

            “Hi, Lou”, Harry smiles as he sees him approaching. “How are you?”

            Harry always asks. And he always wants to know the truth.

            “Emotionally drained”, he doesn’t lie.

            “What was the session about today?”

            “My parents”, he shrugs and sits down by Harry’s side, scooting closer so the professor can envelope him in his arms. “Doctor Andrew thinks that- hm, the reason why I’m like this is because they died before I told them about me.”

            Louis doesn’t look up; he can barely say it out loud as it is, but Harry is so trusting and always so open himself, that Louis feels that he owes him the same, even though Harry never pressured him or told him he did.

            “And I’m beginning to think he’s right, because my- my dad was, hm, harsh, you know?”

            “With you?” Harry frowns.

            “No, with other people”, he sighs. “But because he had no idea, yeah? He loved me because I was straight, played footie and shagged girls left and right. I mean- I made him proud just by not being a fag, I suppose.”

            “Language.” The man corrects softly.

            “It’s how he said it, H”, Louis grimaces. “One time…” He starts. “One time I was just about to say it, to tell him. I was coming back from tour and we met up. It’s not like I- hm, accepted myself completely, but it was when I was feeling more okay with it, you know?” He searches for confirmation and Harry nods. “But it was like- I don’t know, a sign of fate, really, because those guys came in and there was a gay couple there; the second they kissed my father started to show his true colors”, he chuckles sadly, once again reliving that day.


            “Yeah. He said terrible, hateful stuff. I set my mind on never letting him down by being like that.”

            “And that’s when you started to get bad?” Harry asks him, one hand caressing his cheek, the other squeezing Louis’ thigh.

            “I think so, yeah.”

            “I can understand that.”

            “Isn’t it terrible, though?” Louis questions him, so frustrated with himself, with everything. “That one moment defined the last few years of my life, Harry. That one day, those—those few words destroyed me. They ruined me. I wasn’t even whole but- somehow I got worse.” Louis complains.

            He said the same thing to Doctor Andrew earlier, and he cried a lot at the session. He doesn’t cry while speaking to Harry, but Harry does.

            “I’m sorry, Lou”, he hugs him. “God, I’m so sorry”, he says, keeps repeating it over Louis’ shoulder. “But you’re not destroyed or ruined. You’re whole. And you’re amazing and- ok”, he sniffles a bit and backs away, holding Louis’ shoulder with both of his hands. “Think this way: you’re getting better, yeah?” He tries to smile. “And maybe, I’m a believer, you see… Maybe there will be one moment that will fix everything.”

            “I don’t think so, H”, Louis laughs along.

            “Maybe a collection of moments, then?” Harry pushes and smiles, bringing Louis closer to his body. Louis goes easily and smiles even bigger when Harry kisses his temple.

            Yes, a collection of moments. A collection of moments with Harry.




            Ok, so maybe Louis is a little nervous. A driver drops him off at the red carpet for the fashion show at half past for in the afternoon and Louis legs start shaking before he has to walk in. Liam couldn’t be here with him today to guide him through it, so Louis will have to settle for whatever assistant someone hired for the event. It’s fine, though, he can do it, he just needs to focus that in a few hours he’ll be with Harry again at a private party and maybe they’ll have a bit of fun.

            As Louis walks, he sees some familiar faces and they all smile at him. Despite the blinding paparazzi flashes, once again, Louis feels good for being back in the industry for real, to put his face out there and give an interview or two talking about his album – and that’s exactly what he does.

            Interviewers in London are way more polite than the ones in the United States, that’s for sure, so this a good way to come back to the spotlight; Louis thanks Liam mentally for knowing him so well, even though he is aware that at some point he’ll have to go to America to do a round of interviews and whatnot.

            “So, Louis, what can you tell us about your new album?” The man asks him right before he walks out of the carpet.

            “It’s… Different”, he smirks.

            “That’s all you have for me? C’mon, Tommo, don’t tease your fans”, he guys says.

            “But it is, I can’t quite describe it”, Louis tells him for real. “I’ve never done anything like that. I’m working with some great people and I can’t wait for my fans to listen to it.”

            “Is there a single on the way?”

            “Sure, sure”, he nods. “In a couple of weeks.”

            “Do we get a name?”

            Louis thinks. He hasn’t discussed with anyone yet, hasn’t even decided which one of the three songs he has in mind will be picked out, so he just shakes his head and tells the guy to wait a bit because it’s a surprise. The man smiles and sends Louis on his merry way.

            The show starts late, because of course it does, it’s just the way it is. There is a brunette, nice girl sat by Louis’ side and they make good conversation to pass the time. She’s an upcoming model and the only reason she got front row here is because she knows Greg from uni and he’s trying to help her.

            “That is nice of him…” Louis muses. “I never got your name.”

            “Eleanor”, she smiles.

            “Louis, nice to meet you”, he says.

            “You too. Excited for your new stuff, you know?” Eleanor tells him.

            “Oh. Thanks”, he chuckles a bit.

            “Are you going to the after-party?” She asks and Louis nods. “Maybe we’ll see each other again there.” And Louis pretends she isn’t insinuating anything when he replies maybe.

            It’s more difficult now that he is completely aware of his sexuality. It’s like Louis broke a barrier and he can’t go back to pretending he is even remotely interested in women anymore and Doctor Andrew says this is great, it means he’s already come to terms with who he is, but it’s still a bit weird for him.

            A year ago, he would’ve played along with Eleanor’s flirt. He’d even look for her at the party, after he downed enough alcohol. But right now he just feels bad for leading her on by smiling in return when she touches his thigh unintentionally, because all he can think about is what Harry will be wearing for the celebration.

            Harry went to his flat around lunchtime, telling Louis he didn’t have anything to wear to the party at Louis’ flat, and Louis’ let him go, since he himself had to wait for the hair-stylist to arrive and start getting him ready.  

            Louis feels bold in this suit. It’s definitely not what he is wearing for the after party – having brought another set of clothes with him and leaving it in the car –, but the fact that he walked the red carpet, where everyone was looking at him, wearing a black suit with discrete but still visible sparkling dots on it makes him think that being a bit free is not the worst thing in the world – it’s actually quite addicting, he’ll find out eventually.


            Think I’m taking a cab to the party, Harry texts him. The show has already started and it would be very impolite of Louis to answer it. But he does anyway.

            Do it. I’ll pay you back later, Louis replies.

            No way in hell, Harry’s response comes right away and Louis does his best not to roll his eyes, because he’s lost count of how much money Harry has been spending because of him – on cab rides, on wine, on grocery-shopping (“because Louis, since I’m staying here, the least I can do is pay for our food”), and at times Louis is so busy being fond of him that he doesn’t argue.

            But it’s something they need to discuss at some point, if they ever get to a point in their relationship in which they can, you know, discuss these things. Louis wants to get there. And he wants to tell Harry that he has enough money to spoil him rotten, and that’s exactly what he wants to do. And he wants to see Harry pout and argue and say “I’m not poor, I can take care of myself, thank you very much” just so Louis can kiss the words out of his mouth.

            The show ends and Louis is still making up scenarios of him and Harry having old married couples’ arguments. The clothes were good too. He thinks.




            “I knew you’d get here before me”, he smiles at Harry as soon as he sees him near a bar. The after party is being held at the private area of Chinawhite nightclub, one of the most exclusive places in London, and Louis knows it all too well. Has been dragged drunk out of his mind out of it quite enough times.

            “I think it’s the second time in my life I get in this place”, Harry says a bit louder than usual because of the music. “Last time was with Ed.”

            “You fit in very well”, Louis says.

            “I don’t need to fit in”, he replies. “I’m here for you.”

            “We can go home if you want, you know?’

            “No, Lou”, Harry rolls his eyes. “I’m here for you. I’m here with you. I don’t care about anything else”, he shrugs.

            “I could kiss you right now”, Louis says in his ear and Harry is about to reply when Nick Grimshaw puts a hand on his shoulder, pulling him in for a hug. Louis goes easily and even thanks Nick mentally for interrupting them.

            “I see you’ve corrupted young Harold into coming to a nightclub!” He says loudly.

            “He’s more convincing than you are, Grimshaw”, Harry says and half-hugs him too.

            “I’m sure he is”, Nick muses. “Hazz, let me introduce you to Greg-” he turns around and pulls his boyfriend by the arm, who does a hundred and eighty and almost falls over Nick, who laughs and steadies him.

            “Jesus, Nick”, he laughs and kisses him on the cheek.

            “Babe, this is Harry Styles, Harry, this is Greg.”

            “Hi, man, nice to meet you, glad you made this one settle down”, he jokes and shakes his hand.

            “And this, you know, of course, is Louis Tomlinson.”

            “Louis, hey, man, what an honor that you came to the show, thank you”, Greg says and shakes Louis’s hand as well, a big smile plastered on his face.

            “Honor was all mine, mate.” He smiles back.   

            “Well, I need to go and mingle with other people”, Nick says, “may you guys have a lot of fun. Bye!” He says obnoxiously in a way that only off-duty Nick can do and walks away.

            Greg watches him go with an idiot smile on his face, looking completely, stupidly in love with him, and Louis asks himself if that’s the way he looks at Harry when he thinks no one is noticing.

            “… I like patterns, to be honest”, he catches Harry saying when he’s talking to Greg. “Can’t wear it much at work, but yeah, ‘m a big fan.”   

            “They must look good on you, with your skin tone and all…” He says. “I’ll send some over to Louis so you can just steal it off him.”

            “Hey!” Louis interjects.

            “You don’t wear patterned shirts”, Harry tells him. “You can send it over, Greg, I’ll totally steal all of them”, he laughs.

            “It’s a deal”, the designer smiles back and looks at them. “It’s gonna get easier, you know?” He then says, looking directly at Louis. Louis frowns because he doesn’t understand, so Greg explains. “I’ve come a long way, and so have you, Louis. It’s going to get easier. You got a nice boy by your side.” He then squeezes his shoulder. Louis doesn’t even have time to reply when the man wishes them all the happiness in the world before leaving.

            He’s stunned, Louis is. Suddenly he thinks that everyone that is looking at them knows they are a couple and he can’t quite breathe, because he’s feeling really, really overwhelmed.

            Harry notices right away and gets him some water, snapping Louis out of it.

            “How does he know it?” Louis asks after he drinks it all in one gulp.

            “It takes one to know the other, I suppose”, Harry shrugs. “How are you feeling?” He asks him worriedly, but doesn’t touch him. Louis’ heart tightens in his chest because he wants to be touched by Harry. Maybe not here, not with people watching, but, still, he craves his warmness like never before.

            “Weird”, he answers. “Surprised.”

            “But not like you want to run and hide?” The professor checks.

            “No”, Louis answers, still a bit in shot, but strangely… Okay.


            “Good”, he replies one more time. It takes him five more minutes to regain control of himself, but then he drags Harry to the dancefloor, plasters his back to the professor’s chest, and forgets everything else while he sways in the rhythm of the music. It’s a good night. Louis is going to enjoy it.


            Harry has already commented with him once or twice that he thinks that Partition by Beyoncé is one of the most sensual songs to be danced together, and when it starts, Louis can’t help but smirk, realizing that it’s completely dark, no one is really paying attention, and he can dance however he wants.

            He makes the best of it. Harry is singing happily with the lyrics, and Louis wiggles his bum into Harry’s crotch, making the other man squeeze his hips more strongly and keep him there, moving with him, grinding on him. Louis has never grinded on anyone before.

            They’re sweaty, because that’s what happens in nightclubs, even when it isn’t summer, and as Louis feels the sweat run down his neck, he also feels Harry’s tongue catching it. It’s surprising, to say the least, but the fact that Harry waited a fuck-ton of songs to do this, starting something only when Louis showed he was comfortable enough, makes every part of Louis crave this man even more.

            Driver, roll up the partition please

            I don’t need you seeing Yoncé on her knees

            Took forty-five minutes to get all dressed up.

            We ain’t even gonna make it to his club

            Harry sings in Louis’ ear, and he’s clearly hard. Louis grinds back, rougher, and turns his head around, just so his mouth is aligned to Harry’s ear.

            “If you keep singing and dancing this way”, he yells over the noise that surrounds them, “we ain’t even gonna make it out of this club.” He turns around and sucks a bruise right there, under Harry’s earlobe, and Harry shudders under his touch.

            Louis is completely reckless and he’s not even drunk. Or maybe he is. Drunk in love. Ha-ha. The reference is ridiculous. Louis is stupid. And ridiculous. Well. Ridiculously in love. Holy shit he’s so in love with Harry.

            “Lou”, Harry whispers and Louis still hears it, sucking more and more on the soft skin, sure that it will be purple in no time. “Fuck, can we go?” He half asks half groans.

            “Car’s outside, love”, Louis answers and takes his hand.

            They try and make their way through people and everyone is so wasted that Louis can’t help but think if that’s how he looked when he used to come here before. He doesn’t know and he can’t compare because he can’t remember. Just like most of these people won’t remember tonight.

            Louis is glad he’s not one of them – because many years from now he’ll still be able to pinpoint his night as one of the best nights of his life, not only for not being too afraid of someone who isn’t from his inner circle knowing about him and Harry, but also for what is about to happen.

            He is so happy that he doesn’t even notice the paparazzi when he exits Chinewhite.





            “Lou, Louis-wait”, Harry says as they stumble into Louis’ flat. They’re hard and panting and so hungry for each other and why is Harry telling him to stop? 

            “What?” He breathes into Harry’s mouth. He needs him so badly. Just needsneedsneeds.

            “I- what are we- I mean”, the professor stutters as Louis takes off his own shirt, going for Harry’s blazer right after it.

            “I don’t care”, Louis voices roughly. “I really just want you, need you-” he confesses shamelessly, stopping to kiss Harry’s jaw again, and then his mouth. Harry grabs his ass and pulls him in, sliding their clothed cocks together and holy mother of God, they’ve never been this hard, have they? “Need you to fuck me.”

            “Louis”, Harry practically wails in his neck, trailing wet kisses from his neck to his collarbones, “ple-please tell me you’re sure”, he says in a small, low voice.

            Louis grabs Harry’s hands and brings it to the front of his jeans, making Harry undo it in the hall, doing the same to him. They fumble a little trying to take their trousers off with their shoes on and they both laugh, detangling their bodies to strip to their pants only.

            Harry’s on him like a mad man as soon as they do so, and grabs Louis behind the thighs, making both of his legs circle Harry’s middle. He’s so up for it. Louis circles Harry’s neck with his arms and brings him for a kiss. He loves his angle because he’s a bit taller than Harry then, and the professor needs to tilt his head back just so Louis’ tongue fucks into his mouth.

            It’s never been like that ­– never, with nobody. The kiss is pure lust and want and something else entirely.

            Louis whimpers when his back hits a wall, and he hadn’t even noticed that they were walking. Harry, who is always kind of clumsy, seems to have complete control of everything as he uses the wall to support Louis’ body, sucking one of his nipples into his mouth and playing with its nub with his tongue and teeth. Louis pants loudly and dugs his nails on Harry’s shoulder, the other hand closed in a fist in Harry’s hair. Each time he pulls with more force, Harry bites him and their moans mingle in the air. Louis can’t even begin to explain what he is feeling.

            “Ha-Hazz”, he calls while he feels his ass right on top of Harry’s hard-on.

            “You’re so hot”, Harry says lowly, dragging his tongue to Louis’ other nipple, both of his huge hands squeezing tightly each of Louis thighs, which are already trembling. Louis is dizzy just by feeling the contracted muscles on Harry’s arms. “D’you have any idea of what you do to me?” He drags the words, speaking hotly into Louis’ ear. “Fuck, Louis, fuck, you drive me insane”, Harry swears as he lowers Louis to the ground, steading him by the hips once again and kissing him senseless.

            They kiss and kiss and kiss until they run out of breath, and then they do it one more time. Louis wants to feel every part of Harry and in a bold move he shows his hand in Harry’s pants, grabbing his dick and stroking it tightly and fast once, squeezing the head in his hand and repeating the process. Harry lets out a guttural sound and drops his head on Louis’ shoulder, mumbling incoherent words as Louis keeps going.

            As Harry starts bucking up into Louis’ fist, he has half a mind to stop, because he needs to be fucked by Harry tonight – he can’t postpone it anymore or he will combust, he’s fairly sure of it –, so he starts to fist Harry in slower movements, stopping completely at some point, kissing him lightly on the mouth and scraping his nails on Harry’s hips.

            “Take me to bed”, he says then. Harry just smiles and pulls him by the hand, walking quietly up the stairs.


            It’s electric, to say the least. The room is dark when they enter it, but it doesn’t last much. Harry turns on the lights and sees on Louis’ face the question mark as to why he did so. Louis feels more comfortable in the dark and Harry knows it.

            “If we do this…” Harry says with a short-breath. He’s way calmer now, different than when they arrived at the flat. “If we do this…” He pulls Louis closer with one hand on his waist and the other softly on his neck, thumb stroking lightly Louis’ cheekbone. “It’s gonna be with lights on- hear- hear me out, yeah?”

            He asks and Louis nods.

            “You’re gorgeous”, Harry speaks. “You’re the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen, Louis, and I- I care so much about you, you have no idea.” He says, connecting their foreheads. “I need you to be sure, and I need you to be okay with me seeing and touching every part of you. I need you to look me in the eyes while we do it. And I need you to know how privileged I feel to be one you chose to do this with.”


            “I’m serious.” He cuts him off, voice a bit hoarse. “It’s okay if you changed your mind, if we don’t do th-”

            “Shhh”, Louis chuckles and puts two fingers on Harry’s lips. Then he replaces them with his own mouth and pecks him lightly but reassuringly. “I don’t just want this, I want this with you, okay?” He squeezes Harry’s hand. “I want you.”

            It really seems to be all the confirmation Harry needs, because he kisses Louis fervently one more time, except that now it’s different. It’s not less sensual or insinuating, it’s just… Different, like something’s settled in them and they decided to take their time. Harry decided to take his time for Louis and Louis loves him more for it.

            And it should scare him. A part of Louis mind tells him that he should be scared of everything. He should be scared of the lights, of the way Harry is kissing him and leading him to bed; there’s a voice in the back of Louis’ head telling him to run the opposite direction, telling him that he should be afraid of letting another man be on top of him, afraid of loving said man.

            But there Harry is. There he is with his gentle hands removing Louis’ pants and kissing his entire body all the way through it. Harry runs his tongue from Louis navel to his hips and sucks right above his crotch while Louis’ dick hits him on the cheek. Harry smiles at it and sucks the precome right out of Louis’ dickhead, making Louis’ entire body arch with such action, and how would this be wrong?

            Louis shuts that voice up. He is stronger than it and he knows what he wants. He knows how not scared he needs to be, because this can’t be something one is afraid of. This is love. This is Harry. And they’re the same thing.

            “You’re so, so beautiful”, Harry murmurs, marking his words with kisses and little bites on the inside of Louis’ thighs, running his hands up and down Louis’ sides while Louis is trying to make himself do something.

            He moves one hand to Harry’s hair, the other to his shoulder, and just keeps them there, following Harry’s movements.

            “D’you have stuff, Lou?” Harry asks him, coming up again and kissing him before he can answer. He licks inside Louis’ mouth slowly, letting his tongue go to the roof of Louis’ mouth and back again, repeating the action many times. He then nibbles on Louis’ bottom lip and looks at him, waiting for an answer.

            “Second drawer”, Louis says and looks at his bedside table, hoping that Harry can understand what he is saying. He’s a bit incoherent already.

            Harry does, because he understands Louis. And sometimes Louis thinks he was the first one to ever do it.

            “It’s…” Harry starts, coming back on top of him. Louis spreads his legs again so Harry can fit in between, and Harry has one hand holding the lube bottle and the other supporting his body by Louis’ head. “It can be a bit weird, at first…” He warns. “And it may hurt, it- probably more because I’m, hm, big”, he says and his cheeks redden.

            “And modest too”, Louis smiles as he teases and Harry chuckles, dropping a hot, sweet kiss on Louis’ shoulder.

            “I’m trying to be serious here.”

            “And I’m trying to not be because I’m nervous.” He shoots back truthfully. “In a good way”, he adds before Harry asks one more time if he’s okay. “I think I’m eager, actually, so get on with it, Styles, haven’t got all night.”

            “Oh, but I think you do”, Harry says, a different, wicked smile on his face. “And I think we’re gonna make good use of it.” And then he’s kissing Louis again.


            Louis knows Harry is experienced, way more than he is, when it comes to gay sex, so it’s not a surprise that he can uncap the lube and coat his fingers while he’s still kissing Louis – on the mouth, jaw, neck, collarbones, nipples and back on the mouth again. It’s just that Harry seems to be everywhere and it’s not even enough.

            He trails Louis’ body with hands and tongue leaving a hot trail behind, making Louis shudder underneath him, a shiver running down his spine.


            The first finger is, indeed, weird. But that’s fine, because Harry does it slowly, perfectly, really. They’re facing each other on the bed, and as exposed as Louis feels, he also feels kind of worshiped and relaxed. Harry doesn’t kiss him, but he connects their foreheads and breathes hotly into Louis’ as Louis’ does the same to him.

            “You’re so, so good”, Harry whispers.

            “I-” Louis stops himself. He can’t say I love you, not now. But oh does he want to. “Hazz”, he then calls when Harry’s entire first finger is in.

            Now Harry kisses him. Their cocks are sliding together and Louis is kind of trembling all over because he’s never had so many sensations at the same time: Harry’s finger in him, Harry’s cock on his, Harry kissing him like Louis is his only source of air. And maybe, because of all of these sensations, he doesn’t really notice that much when Harry slides a second finger in—except when it stops feeling weird and it starts feeling really, really good.

            “Fuck”, he says into Harry’s mouth, shutting his eyes strongly. “Theretherethere you fucking found it already, oh God”, he chants and Harry chuckles.

            “I told you it would feel good”, Harry says and maneuvers Louis to be flat on his back, but his hand never stops. With the tips of his fingers, his free hand trails from his thigh to his side… “Can you imagine what it will feel like when it’s my cock hitting it?” He speaks into Louis ear, making him whimper and throw his head back on the pillow.

            “I-Haa-Harry”, he calls him as Harry scissors his fingers. “I can, I fu-fuckin-fucking can.”

            “Me too”, the professor replies. His teeth close on Louis’ earlobe and he grinds down on Louis’ crotch to relieve the pressure on both of their cocks, while his fingers fasten the pace.


            He adds a third one, but by now Louis is already a mess. He’s spurting pre-come on his own stomach and he is pretty sure he could come like this. He won’t, though, because Harry’s cock lies heavy and curved up to his stomach in the middle of his legs and Louis’ eyes darken with desire, lust, everything together.

            “I’m ready”, he tells him, the words coming out with difficulty. “I- I promise I’m-fuckHarryfuckfuck”, he is surprised when Harry goes down on him, swallowing him whole. “Don’t- are you- wha-shit’ he can’t, he just can’t say anything anymore, because Harry Styles is definitely trying to kill him with sex. With what already is the best sex of Louis’ life.

            Louis just moans and writhes on the sheets because that’s the only thing he can do. He is squirming as Harry keeps scissoring his fingers and licking along Louis’ shaft and when Harry finally stops and looks up at him with something that can only be described as adoration, every nerve-ending in Louis’ system responds the same way. He adores Harry.

            Harry grabs the condom and puts it on, coating his length with lube and then cleaning his hand on Louis’ sheet.

            “We’re gonna have to clean this later”, he smirks.

            “Or sleep in another room”, Louis answers, moving his hands to Harry’s arms so he can pull him down again. “Is this okay?” He asks. He’s referring to the position they’re in, and, once again, Harry gets it.

            “This is perfect”, he replies. “It would probably be easier for you if you were on your hands and knees…” He confesses. “But like I said, I need you to see how much this means to me. How much you mean to me”, Harry whispers. Louis places a hand on the nape of his neck and kisses him softly, closing his legs behind Harry’s back.

            “You mean the world to me”, he tells Harry, lowly, so lowly that the only reason he knows Harry’s heard it, is because he replies.

            “Feeling’s mutual”, he says and kisses him square on the mouth. “Trust me.”

            “I do”, Louis answers easily.

            Harry holds one of Louis’ hands by the side of his head, intertwining their fingers, and with his free hand he guides his own cock to Louis’ entrance. For a few seconds Louis’ blanks out, because it really, really hurts when Harry’s head breaks into his rim, but when Louis opens his eyes, with Harry’s other hand already brushing his fringe out of his forehead, kissing his cheeks softly and murmuring words of encouragement, Louis is already okay enough to go through the first drags.

            “Move”, he whispers.

            “Yeah?” Harry asks.

            Now Louis feels him – on him, around him, inside him. As sappy as it is, now Louis feels like he’s complete.


            Harry kisses him, and as he starts thrusting in and out of Louis, he finally understands that this is how it is supposed to be: this way, with this person. Nothing’s ever compared to this. Nothing’s ever going to compare to this.


            Harry fastens his pace as he feels Louis relaxing around him. Louis. Is. Literally. Around. Him. Just this fact alone makes him want to come, but he holds himself for the man that is under him. The most beautiful man Harry has probably ever seen.

            Louis squirming and moaning, and the more he contracts his body, with each shiver, each shudder, the tighter he gets, and the more Harry moans into his neck, not being able to contain himself. They’re stifled moans, and they accompany each of Harry’s long, harsh drags.

            He hasn’t felt like this in so, so long that Harry, who mocked Louis one of the first times they met, starts to doubt if it’s ever been this way, if he himself knew it could be this good. They’re in sync, is the thing.

            Louis bucks up the exact moment Harry thrusts in, and as he mercilessly hits his prostate, Louis chants a strand of fucks and shits and Harrys that sound like a prayer to Harry. This moment, right here, is holy. He knows Louis feels it too.

            “Hazz- I. I’m going to-GOOOOOOOOOOOD”, he screams louder than before. Harry lets go of Louis’ cock and only holds onto his hips, thrusting shorter, but faster and harder than before, throwing his own head back because he can barely handle the pleasure as it is.

            He can feel Louis’ thighs trembling around him and his own body starts to give in as he stops being able to fully control his own hips, so he lowers his chest and connects it with Louis’s, throwing the singer’s legs on his shoulders and kissing him messily and filthily, going deeper each time he fucks into him.

            It doesn’t take much longer till Louis is coming all over their stomachs, but it’s beautiful when it happens. Harry will never forget the look on his face.

            “Harr-I-I’m-ohmygodohmygodohmyFUCK”, he screams, but only comes after that, silently trembling under Harry’s body, eyes closed and mouth agape, hair so wet it’s sticking everywhere on his face.

            “You’re so, so perfect”, Harry says as he pulls out and takes the condom off, taking ahold of himself and straddling Louis’ thighs with his knees.

            “Lemme”, he tiredly makes a move to get up.

            “Just stay there and look at me”, Harry whispers, stroking his cock furiously as he watches Louis’ dick lying on his left thigh, come all over his shaft and belly. He watches Louis breathing, his chest moving up and down, and Louis is- Louis is everything at this moment, he can’t get his eyes off of him, he can’t- he can’t even name the turmoil inside of him right now.

            Louis runs both of his hands up Harry’s outer thighs and then scratches his sides, getting closer and closer to Harry’s hips, one hand moving up to his nipple—Louis touches it, says just come for me, Hazz, and Harry does. White ropes of come paint Louis’ body and mixes with the singer’s on his stomach, making it even messier, but Harry doesn’t think twice or at all when he leans down and kisses him one more time.

            He could kiss Louis for hours, days, years even. But this time he kisses him enough for Louis to understand that this is, too, the best night of Harry’s life yet. And then he backs off a bit, looks at him, and decides that he will never let him go.


            “Lou…” He whispers softly as he sees one tear streaming down Louis’ cheek. “Don’t cry.” Harry catches the tear and kisses his cheek, still so, so softly. Louis just drops a few more of them.

            “They’re happy tears”, Louis voices and moves closer. “Thank you, Harry”, he then hugs him, squeezing Harry’s middle.


            “You don’t have to thank me, Louis”, he says and kisses his head, hugging him back. “If anything, I should be the one thanking you”, he chuckles lightly. “Are you okay?” He asks a bit more seriously.

            “Sore”, he confesses. “But it’s- a good burn? If there’s such a thing?” Louis frowns. “I’m just- light, I had never-”

            “Me neither”, he replies quickly and Louis is doubtful. “Never, Louis. Not like this”, Harry assures him.

            He understands where Louis is coming from, though. He knows Harry has had sex plenty times before; he knows he was in a long-term relationship with someone he loved, so of course he won’t think “little old him” was enough to be Harry’s best. And, you see, Harry has indeed had some pretty great sex throughout his life – hadn’t he experienced it just now, he would still be thinking he knew what “the best orgasm” felt like. Now he does.

            “Please believe me.” Harry kind of pleads.

            “I… Do.” He finally says. “I don’t know why, but I--- I really do.” The singer says mesmerized and caresses Harry’s cheeks with four of his knuckles.

            “You’re-” Harry takes in a deep breath. “You’re the best person I’ve ever met, you- Louis Tomlinson, you are everything.” He confesses. Harry doesn’t really care; he’s not scared of love.

            “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me”, Louis says back and surges forward, kissing him.

            Against his own rules, Harry makes a home out of a person. Lucky for him, Louis is offering him cover.



Chapter Text





            The article is the first thing Harry sees when he wakes up, because he is now the kind of person who’s got alerts on his phone just in case his name is mentioned by the media, something that has been a normal occurrence since he started hanging out with (dating) Louis.

            Louis is still softly asleep by his side, breathing regularly and smiling from time to time like someone who is deep into a good dream – Harry sappily thinks that Louis should be the kind of person to live good dreams, because he deserves it all.

            He gets up and makes his way to Louis’s kitchen, the one place besides the singer’s bedroom that Harry could move around with his eyes closed, and starts making a half-English breakfast – because there’s only bacon, poached eggs and toast. Maybe he should add things to Louis’ shopping list.

            He prepares tea and grabs a small bottle of water once everything’s done and heads to the bedroom to wake Louis up, except he’s already awake, with Harry’s cellphone in hands and a little crease between his eyebrows.

            “Morning, Lou”, he says anyway, heading to bed and placing the tray between them.

            Louis is reading the same article Harry did. Harry expects him to throw a fit, but, instead…

            “You made me breakfast in bed!” Louis’ expression softens right away and he leaves the phone on the bedside table, moving forwards to kiss his boyfriend on the mouth.

            “Technically I made it in the kitchen…”

            “Semantics”, Louis smiles and kisses him again on the cheek, then on the nose, then square on the mouth once more. “A half-English breakfast. I love it.”

            Harry grins – Louis has just thought the same thing as he did a while ago. They’re in sync.

            “Dig in, then”, he replies and Louis does so, complimenting Harry on the perfect poached eggs instead of his go-to scrambled or fried ones. They eat together in silence and exchange happy glances every now and then.

            Louis drinks his tea while Harry foregoes it and goes straight to water, making a mental note to buy more fruits this afternoon so he can prepare fresh juices for them too. Then he laughs, out of nowhere, and Louis looks at him with an endeared but puzzled expression.

            “What have you just thought in that mind of yours, Harry Styles?” He asks over the rim of his cup.

            “I…” Harry thinks before he speaks. He doesn’t want to cross any boundaries, but he also doesn’t want to lie to Louis. They have been honest with each other since the beginning, and Harry quite likes honesty. “I was thinking that I need to go to the supermarket to get some more fruits, because we- uh, you ran out of it this morning and I couldn’t make juice.”

            “I used to have food delivered here, couldn’t bother to shop to be honest…” He says. “But we could go to Sainsbury later if you’d like.”

            “Okay”, Harry laughs again.


            “I thought about grocery shopping while I was making you breakfast, in your kitchen, in your flat, and then again here”, he explains. “I’ve been here forever. I guess it never occurred to me that maybe I was, I don’t know, overstaying my welcome…”

            “You’re not”, Louis says, placing the cup on the tray that is already empty. “I don’t mind you here. I quite like it.”

            “I quite like it too”, Harry smiles back and kisses him.

            It’s sweet and salty and it’s a mix of all the things they ate, with the bitterness of Louis’ tea in the back, but, mostly, with Louis’ taste overpowering the whole thing. Harry knows addictions are bad, but this one might be perfect for him.

            He slips his tongue deeper in Louis’ mouth and Louis responds as enthusiastically as the professor himself, tangling his fingers in Harry’s hair and pulling him down on top of him, carefully not to touch the tray that is on the edge of the bed.

            They snog for a while and Harry can’t remember the last time Saturday morning felt so great to him. Louis tangles their legs and keeps emitting soft noises every time the tips of Harry’s fingers caress his sides up and down. They kiss like they have all the time in the world, and right now it feels like they actually do.

            “So”, Louis pecks his mouth once again, “Dan Wootton is onto us.”

            Harry sighs and rolls off him, lying by his side on the bed. Louis instantly closes the distance between them, hugging him one more time. Harry can’t tell what he is thinking right now, so he doesn’t know what the right answer to give is.

            “I got the alert on my phone as soon as woke up”, he chooses to tell him. “Didn’t know how you’d react.”

            “I don’t know how to react either, but Megan will give me a piece of her mind for sure.” Louis chuckles. “I was so desperate to get in your pants that I didn’t notice the paparazzi.”

            “I didn’t either, I’m sorry.”

            “’S okay, we just need to be more careful.” The singer says and kisses his chest, smoothing his hand over the place, caressing it. “A part of me wanted to send you your way and call it a day.” He then confesses. Harry’s arm tightens around him because no. “But I also thought that I can’t- no, that I don’t want to do this without you anymore. You’re too important.”

            “Yeah, but am I worth the risk?” Harry voices his own concern.

            “This is not even a question anymore, Harry”, he tells him and then looks up, staring right into Harry’s eyes. Louis’s blue ones are glassy, a bit watery, but he isn’t crying. “I’m scared as fuck”, the man confesses. “And I hate Dan for the way he wrote it…”

            “Dan has always been a scumbag, Louis.”

            “Yes”, he agrees, laughing weakly.

            “You know you’re not a trainwreck, yeah?” He questions and kisses him on the forehead.

            “No”, Louis replies. “I kinda am.”

            “You’re not.” He fights him.

            “I’m getting better, yeah?” The singer asks in a small voice.

            “Yes, yes, you are”, Harry agrees and kisses him again, because he can’t stand watching Louis sad, he can’t stand to watch him doubting himself once again, believing the words of a man who is nothing but unkind to everyone.

            Harry hated that piece too, and the only thing he saved from it was the picture of the both of them, and he wants to forget it too, so when Louis climbs over his body and straddles him, aligning their crotches and grinding down, Harry can’t help but moan lowly into his mouth, roaming his hands down Louis’ back and grabbing his asscheeks.

            “How’re you feeling?” He asks lowly and already raggedly in Louis’ neck.

            “Like I want you inside of me again”, Louis answers cheekily and kisses him with more intent, rocking his hips on Harry’s lap.

            It is decided then.




            Saturday afternoon is spent in a sex-haze filled with heartwarming words and laughter, and the more Harry looks at Louis, the more convinced he gets that he is falling in love with him, that he’s starting to actually love him. And even though those feelings are not the same thing, they’re both happening at the same time, but Harry is okay with it.

            It definitely wasn’t in his plans, that’s for sure. After he and Ben broke up Harry promised to himself that he’d keep focused on his work and his master’s degree, and that only after he felt established enough he’d seek a new stable relationship.

            Now, while he’s waiting in the living room for Louis to finish his shower so they can go over to Liam’s, Harry can’t help but think this is exactly where and how he is supposed to be in life.


            Harry feels Louis’ smell before he can speak.

            “You ready, Hazza?” Louis asks, entering the living room. “Don’t say you were ‘born ready, babe’, please”, he laughs before Harry can get a word out.

            “Never. What do you take me for, Tomlinson?” Harry fakes outrage as he gets up and meets Louis halfway.

            “As someone who is into really bad, old puns”, his boyfriend smiles and hugs him by the neck, tugging him down for a kiss, and-

            “Uh, Lou”, the professor says a bit lowly, looking him in the eyes. “I keep, uh, calling you my boyfriend in my mind”, he chuckles, “and we haven’t spoken about it yet, so- I think we, like, should? It’s okay if you’re not up for labels, I know this is all new to you, it’s just-”

            “Hazz”, Louis pecks him on the mouth again and then looks at him. “It’s okay. We can talk about it.”



            “I’d like you to be my boyfriend”, Harry then says. “Even if it’s just in secret and, like, a handful of people know. I’d still like to know you’re, well, mine.”

            “I’d like that too”, Louis smiles easily and kisses him. “I’d like that a lot.”



            “It’s just…” Harry falters. He doesn’t want to go there, but he needs to, because honesty is the best way to go.

            “It’s just…?” Louis looks at him worriedly. “Harry, what is it?”

            “Okay, please don’t take this the wrong way, but… When we first kissed, after, hm, a month after you got out of the hospital for the first time and visited me at my flat…” He situates him in the conversation. Louis nods in agreement.

            They’re both standing in the middle of a penthouse living room, and it’s their own little world.

            “I said I was okay with you figuring yourself out with me, because there was… There is a lot for you to discover”, Harry tells him. “And I- I like you, and I think you know that”, he chuckles. “I like you an insane amount. And I’m just afraid that you’re- you’re still just figuring yourself out with me.”


            “I don’t know if it’s me that you want or if it’s a guy and I’m available.” Harry finally confesses.

            Harry doesn’t believe it’s the second option, because there are times when Louis looks into his eyes like Harry hung the freaking moon in the sky. But Harry is a human being, and like any other human being he is full of doubts. This is one of them, and it needs to be solved before he loses his mind, considering he’s way past the point of return.

            Louis’ eyes widen as if just now he is realizing that this was an issue at all. He then laughs and laughs and Harry can tell he is genuinely laughing because he’s got crinkles by his eyes. As always, Harry’s as confused as he is endeared.

            “HARRY”, the singer cries out, “are you freaking serious?” Louis laughs more and jumps on him. He hugs Harry and kisses his entire face, smiling silly when he kisses him on the mouth again. “Look at me- I know I’m laughing, but it’s just because you’re ridiculous. I’m being very serious, okay?” He says and laughs again.


            “Ok, ok”, he tries and contains himself, “It’s just… God, how can you even doubt it?” Louis looks at him. “I would never be where I am or who I am without you. Not a guy, Harry, you. And I want you, for as long as you want me. I want to be yours. And I’d quite like if you were mine too.” Louis takes a deep breathe, “okay, boyfriend?” He asks him, face and voice soft, the moment just as intimate as before.

            “Okay.” Harry breathes out relived.

            “Okay what?”

            “Okay, boyfriend”, he rolls his eyes and kisses him.

            “Now that that’s sorted, can we head to Liam’s? Because I’m starving, you’ve exhausted me”, the singer makes a show of rolling his eyes and pulls Harry by the hand.

            “I was not the one who was insatiable for something other than food, Lewis.” He grabs Louis’ bum as he walks, making Louis jump ahead and laugh again.

            “That’s pretty debatable, Harold.”

            They exit the flat and get into the lift together, smiling like two fools in love. Maybe they are. Maybe they’ll talk about it and say those three words in a while. For now…

            “Hey”, Harry asks a bit more quietly, holding his hand. “Are you okay with it? Having a boyfriend and not a girlfriend?”

            Louis seems to ponder, but only for a little while. The doors open, and as they walk towards Louis’ car in the parking lot, the singer nods with a serene smile on his face.

            “I am. I’ve been talking with Doctor Andrew about it for a while now…” Louis confesses. “I guess I was just building up the courage to bring up the topic. Thanks for beating me”, he chuckles.

            “Good that’s… Good”, Harry nods more to himself than to Louis now. Louis kisses him and opens the passenger door. Harry doesn’t even roll his eyes because he’s extremely flattered, and yes, he is the kind of person who appreciates small acts like this one – and Louis knows it, so he’s always making them. Harry thinks that, because of it, he falls a little bit more in love with Louis.

            Before he starts the car, Louis kisses him again, and then drives with one hand on the wheel and another on Harry’s thigh. From this day on, the twenty-ninth of each month has a whole new meaning to Harry.




            They don’t talk work tonight, and it’s one of Harry’s favorite things when he gets together with them. Apart from Sophia, the three of them spend most mornings and afternoons in the studio, alongside Niall and the new producer, finishing up songs and giving inputs on Louis’ recordings (they’re so, so good now that Harry wouldn’t believe if he weren’t there!), so it’s really nice to be able to enjoy quality time with them.


            It’s like déjavù when Harry is at Liam and Sophia’s place and his phone rings.

            “Hello, Gems”, he answers the call with a light smile on his face and pretends he doesn’t feel Louis tense up by his side. He knows it’s involuntary, but it still kind of kills him.

            “What are you up to, knobhead?” His sister asks drunkenly.

            “Clearly not having as much fun as you”, he chuckles. “Why d’you sound so drunk, Gems?”

            “Because I aaam very drunk. Also, I am going to Italy next week!

            “That’s- that’s great”, he agrees.

            “Who’re you with that you’re so weird?”

            Harry’s not weird, but he indulges his older sibling because why the hell not? Gemma is a funny drunk.

            “At Liam’s.”

            “LEEEEEHYUUMMM, our old friend?”

            Harry says that yes, it’s their old friend, takes the phone off his ear and warns her:

            “You’re on speaker.”

            “Hi, Li!” Gemma says.

            “Gems, it’s been so long”, Liam says cheerfully. “What are you up to now that you’re a big shot?”

            “Right now I’m holding a bowl of popcorn and an empty bottle of wine calling my younger brother, what about you?”

            “Hanging out with my fiancé, your younger brother and Louis.” He tells her. Harry watches the exchange fondly.

            Of course he was the one who was closest to Liam, but Gemma was always with them, whenever possible.

            “You have a fi- OH, LOUIS, LOUIS TOMLINSON, SUPERSTAR! It’s been so loooong! Did you know my brother has a crush on you? Oops! Sorry, Hazz, I think I drank too much wine.”

            “Yes, you did”, Harry intervenes and takes the phone off speaker again, “d’you need me to go there cuddle you to bed, sis?”

            “I might.” She whines.

            “Okay”, the professor chuckles. “I’ll be there in a while, okay? Get in the shower, I’ll bring you coffee.”

            “I love you, baby brother.”

            “Love you too.” And hangs up.    


            “You need to go?” Louis asks, but he’s not complaining.

            “She gets a bit needy when she drinks”, he smiles easily.

            Gemma doesn’t have many friends her age, since everyone in the Orchestra is so much older, and all of her friends are either from uni, scattered around the world playing at different places, or from their childhood, working different jobs or stuck in Holmes Chapel still. So whenever she needs someone, she calls Harry, and he’s always there, because she’s one of his best friends, always has been.


            They finish the game in about fifteen minutes and Liam and Sophia win, because Louis keeps cheating and ruining all of the progress Harry managed. He laughs it off and kisses his boyfriend’s temple, because even when he makes Harry lose his favorite game, Harry still thinks he’s the best person in the world.


            “Think I’m gonna spend Sunday with her, maybe call- well, it’s late, maybe text mom and see if she and Robin want to drive here for lunch…” He tells Louis. “Are you going to be okay?”

            “Am I going to survive without you for a day? Hardly. But I’ll manage”, he rolls his eyes fondly and hugs him. “Go be with your family.”

            “Kay, I’ll call a cab.”

            “Don’t be stupid, Harry, take the car.” Louis kisses his cheek and gives him the key.

            “Uhn- how are you gonna get home?”

            There it is again. Harry doesn’t always notice it, but more often than not he refers to Louis’ flat as home. Damn.

            “I’ll call a cab.”

            “You’re famous”, Harry argues.

            “I can drive you, mate”, Liam says before they continue. “Seriously, it’s no trouble. Soph can go with me, so no one is alone. Plus, Louis should stay more, we could play FIFA.”

            “That we could, Payno!” He cheers. “Take the car, Lima’s gonna give me a ride, do not complain, bye, Harold”, Louis then gets on his tiptoes and kisses him square on the mouth.

            Harry doesn’t comment that it’s the first time he does it in front of someone else, but he gets butterflies in his stomach anyways.

            “Kay, see you on Monday at the studio?” Harry asks.

            “I-” Louis kind of frowns but then smiles again. “Yes, okay.” And hugs him one more time. “Bye, love.”

            “Bye, Lou”, Harry kisses him on the cheek, nose and then lips again, all of his nerve endings not wanting to get out of here, not at all.

            He hugs Sophia and Liam and then gets the car key from Louis’ hand. He doesn’t even think about what he’s going to tell Gemma if/when she asks what the hell he is doing driving a Porsche, but he is sure he’s going to come up with something really stupid and not convincing at all if/when the time comes.


            The drive to Gemma’s flat is tranquil, and when he arrives there he texts Anne so she can see it in the morning and maybe give him an answer. Harry then enters the flat and finds Gemma still on the floor, like an Olivia Pope look alike, wrapped up in blankets even though it’s warm outside, an empty bottle of wine in hands, a popcorn bowl on her lap and, guess what, a Scandal rerun on TV.

            And he should be super responsible and get his sister up, make her take a shower and shove the coffee he bought down her throat; instead, when she offers him popcorn and says “there’s more wine in the kitchen”, Harry takes off his shoes, gets the drink, sits by her side and gets as drunk as she is.

            It’s been forever since he drank this much, probably because he’s been around Louis so much and seen what it’s done to him, also, because he doesn’t want to tease, not when Louis is working so hard to recover, but boy has Harry missed it.


            “I think I’m pregnant, Harry”, his sister says at two thirty in the morning. Harry spits the wine that is in his mouth on that white carpet of hers.        

            “You what?” He asks and takes the bottle off her hands immediately. “And you’re drinking? What’s wrong with you, Gemma? Christ!”

            “I didn’t know what to do!” She states.

            “Drinking shouldn’t have been an option, you stupid, stupid person”, he laughs and knocks her on the head lightly.

             “H…” Her eyes fill up with tears and Harry moves to hug her.

            “Shhh-shhh, Gems, ‘s okay, it’s gonna be okay, shhh.” Harry tightens his arms around her and lets her sag into his body, “you think you’re pregnant or you know you’re pregnant?” He asks after a while.

            “I know”, his sister whispers.

            “Okay”, Harry takes a deep breath.

            “I slept with a guy in Spain a while ago”, she tells him. “Don’t even have his phone and I don’t- I don’t wanna contact him, but I… H.”

            “Gems, it’s fine”, he kisses her temple one more time reassuringly. “This baby’s gonna be the most spoiled kid in the world, I promise you”, the professor whispers in her ear. “Now c’mon, get in the shower and then bed… Okay?”

            Gemma nods and lets him get her up. He leaves her in the bathroom and, while she showers, he cleans up the living room and kitchen, going back to her room twenty minutes later. His sister is already getting under the covers and making grabby hands at him, and only when he lies down by her side he starts to fully think about what is coming next.

            She is going to have a baby; Harry’s going to be an uncle – again, because he already considers Lux family. Their mother is going to be a grandmother. Oh God. He chuckles a bit.

            “I might have invited mom to come over tomorrow, I- I didn’t know.”

            “It’s okay. It’s better if I tell her right away, uh?”


            “Thanks for not judging, H.”

            “Never”, he tells her truthfully. “Now get some sleep. I love you.”

            “Love you too”, his sister answers and falls asleep immediately.

            Harry’s still awake at almost four am when Louis gets home safely and texts him to let him know he beat Liam’s ass playing FIFA.

            Plus, I already miss you. It also reads.

            Harry misses him too, and laughs at how ridiculous he is, but texts it back, heart emoji and all. Harry isn’t even an emoji person.




            “I vote Weightless!” Liam raises both of his hands.

            “Me too”, Niall agrees, “it’s not too different from your last album, but the lyrics are better, and won’t scare people right away…”

            They have been here all morning listening to all of the options Louis has got for a single, which needs to be sent for revision before the end of the week, so it can finally be released at the end of August, and they’re working on a really tight deadline here, because supposedly, Louis should’ve released a single last week – at the end of July.

            Of course shit happened, so that was not possible and now everyone is working together to make the best of it. Harry loves that he’s still on vacation and he can be a part of it, because he knows this is a very special moment in Louis’ life.

            They’re all going for Weightless because it’s more upbeat. And it’s a bit… Revolted, which matches Louis’ media persona; it’s going to sell really well if he chooses it. But something tells Harry that Louis doesn’t want this one, not now anyways.

            “What d’you think, Lou?” He then asks him and the guys turn to the singer, like they had completely forgotten who’s got the final say in the matter.

            “I think- no, I want to go with Therapy.” Louis voices.

            “W-why?” Liam frowns.

            “It was the first song I wrote”, he explains but looking directly at Harry. It’s the song that made them kiss for the first time. “And Harry says it’s perfect.”     

            “It is.” The professor agrees easily.

            “And it’s okay if it doesn’t reach number one, Li”, he tells his manager before he can say anything. “I just want to- I want to be able to talk ‘bout ‘the new me’ or whatever in the first interviews, and this song will allow it.”

            “Well, can’t argue with that.” Liam shrugs. “Let me take it back to the team, yeah?”


            “Because you probably don’t care about it reaching number one, but they do, and they need to approve of you making them less money”, Liam chuckles. “I’m sorry, but it’s the truth.”

            “You don’t have to”, Harry interjects, speaking directly to Liam. “It will reach number one within the first week.”

            “You can’t know that, Hazz.” Louis says and softens when he looks at him.

            “I trust it will.” He smiles. “Trust him too, Li.”

            It’s all silent for a while until Niall speaks up.

            “Therapy is one hell of a song.” The Irishman ponders. “It’d make a sick video as well.”

            “I can’t not check with them”, Liam apologizes. “But I’ll tell them that they can go heavy during promo season, and you won’t argue. Deal?” He asks Louis.

            “Deal”, Louis answers with a smile on his face and then sits closer to Harry, resting his head on his shoulder. “Thank you.”

            Harry kisses his forehead and doesn’t answer, just smiles contently while Niall dials numbers and more numbers of video-producers who, in his words, would sell a kidney in the black market to work with Louis. Harry doesn’t doubt it one bit.


            They all go out to have dinner on Monday night, and since Harry’s still driving Louis’ car, he rides with him until they get to the restaurant.

            “So, I was thinking…” Louis stars when they’re alone, “what are you doing on Wednesday?”

            “Watching Lux… But you know that already.”

            “Yes, I do”, he chuckles. “D’you think she’d be up to meeting other kids?” Louis asks and Harry turns to him just for a second, questioning expression on his face. “I’m going to the hospital again, those kids, they really- they’re doing me good, yeah? But I also want to spend time with you and- and with her, she’s a sweet kid.”

            “I’ll talk to Lou, but I’m sure she’ll be okay with it. Lux’s gonna be really happy.”


            “Yeah”, Harry’s expression softens and he can’t help but kiss Louis when they stop at a red light.

            “Please come back with me tonight?” The singer asks into his mouth.

            “Course”, Harry answers, and as they arrive at the restaurant, Harry can’t help but count down the minutes till they’re in Louis’ flat.


            It doesn’t take much time. They eat, they make small conversation and at some point Harry takes part it in excitedly, but then Louis sneaks one hand under the table and places it on Harry’s knee, and then inner thigh, squeezing every now and then, sliding it up, up, up till it almost reaches his crotch and going down again.

            Harry gulps loudly when it happens, and Niall cracks up a laugh because he notices it while Liam is still blissfully unaware talking about TV shows appearances with Louis.

            “Liam”, Niall calls, cheeks really red. “LIAM, mate!” He calls again, kind of yelling in his ear.

            “Fuck, Niall, what?” He asks a bit annoyed.

            “We should go, I need a ride home.”

            “But I’m still talking to Louis ab-”

            “Mate, Louis wants to go home and ride something else.”

            “Wha-” Liam then frowns and looks at Louis.

            Harry’s been trying to control his face, but he’s pretty sure his pupils are dilated; he laughs really loud when Liam follows Louis arm with his eyes, landing on his right hand that is now politely placed on the top of Harry’s thigh.

            Harry’s got an obvious bulge, though, which… Well.

            “I hate you all”, the manager says frustrated. “You could’ve said something!” He complains to Louis.

            “Oh but it’s so nice to rile Harry up in public”, he raises an eyebrow.

            “You’re so fucked when we get home.”

            “Well I hope so”, his boyfriend jokes.

            “God, I hate you having regular, good sex”, Liam says and knocks his head on the table. “The visuals! The damn visuals.”

            “They’re hot, Liam, it can’t look bad’, Niall intervenes.

            “Oh my God”, Louis shakes with laughter and hides his face in the junction of Harry’s shoulder and neck. “Nialler, I swear, I’ve never met a straight person more curious about gay sex than you are.”

            “That’s our cue to leave, right?” Harry questions. “Please, tell me it is.”

            “Lead the way, love.” Louis says and leaves some money on the table. Harry doesn’t even argue about the check this time, only waves their friends goodbye and follows Louis into the car.

            It’s Louis’ car, but his boyfriend makes him drive it back to his house anyways, saying he is too tired to do so, but Harry knows it’s a lie.

            As soon as they’re on the road Louis takes off his seatbelt and moves closer to Harry, attaching his mouth to his neck, holding Harry’s hair with one hand and pressing the other down Harry’s crotch, making him hiss through his teeth and slower the sleep limit.

            “What d’you think you’re doing?” Harry asks without taking his eyes off the road.

            “I always found road head to be quite sexy”, he smirks in Harry’s ear, catching his earlobe between his teeth and then smoothing his tongue over it, repeating the process over and over again, in every exposed skin he can find.

            Harry is not against this idea, he totally isn’t, but Harry also knows how he gets when somebody gives him road head; he can’t control his body and bucks up more often than not, and he’s a bit worried that Louis isn’t ready to have his throat fucked in the middle of the night.

            In his defense, he tries to tell him that. He even explains to his boyfriend how dangerous it is and that he can stop if he wants to; this isn’t for everybody, but Louis just smirks (he could as well be laughing at Harry’s face) and unbuttons Harry’s jeans, making him lift his bum off the seat just for a second, just so he can slide it off him to the middle of his thighs.

            “Lou, I’m- I’m serious.”

            “So am I, love”, the singer breathes on Harry’s cock that is still covered by his pants and then kisses its length, warming it up even more, wetting the thin fabric and making Harry squirm where he is.

            One of the professor’s hands goes to Louis’ nape and he tries and schools himself not to put any kind of pressure, while his other hand grips the wheel so tightly one would think his life depends on it. (Well, since he is driving, it kinda does.)

            This is so, so, so reckless, but it’s also so, so good.

            Louis has gotten better at blowjobs, because he doesn’t like being bad at things, so when he sucks the head of Harry’s cock through his pants, Harry already knows he’s making a mess of his underwear, precome already showing through the fabric.

            “Fuck, Lou-eeh” Harry closes his eyes for one second, making himself open them again and focus on the road, he needs to focus on the road.

            Louis finally takes pity on him and reaches inside Harry’s boxer, and as soon as his hand’s in contact with Harry’s cock it’s like the world is in place again. Louis keeps his mouth closed on Harry’s dickhead while his hand tugs up and down his shaft, sometimes very fast, sometimes so slow Harry would want to die if it weren’t so good.

            “Uhn-shi-shitfuckLOUIS”, he curses at once.

            “What a dirty mouth, Hazz”, Louis teases him and blows hot air on Harry’s cock, licking down his shaft and reaching his balls in no time. Harry moans louder than he ever has with Louis, he thinks, and that seems to make him even more invested in killing Harry with an orgasm.

            Louis keeps saying extremely filthy things while his hands keep working on Harry. One of them is in his nipples right now, teasing them through the shirt, and the other one keeps pumping Harry’s cock, thumb colleting the precome and sliding it on Harry’s length again.

            Harry wants to know how Louis learned all of it, because it certainly wasn’t just from him, but as Louis goes down on him again, taking him in, in, in as much as he can, Harry can feel his cock reach the back of Louis throat, and it’s-

            “Fuck”, he curses and steps on the brake abruptly.

            “Keep driving”, Louis pulls off to say.

            They are almost at Louis’ place, only two corners to go, but Harry’s starting to think he won’t be able to make it there without coming. Louis sucks his head with such intent that it’s almost total vacuum, and Harry’s eyes roll to the back of his head, sweat accumulating on his neck and collarbones, that welcomed feeling already accumulating in the pit of his stomach.

            “Lo-Iou”, he calls, bucks up only just a bit, and Louis places both hands on Harry’s thighs, making him stay glued to the seat.

            The singer is restless, is the thing. He bobs his head up and down and scratches the insides of Harry’s thighs, laughing around his cock like Harry isn’t about to explode in Louis’ driveway. He makes it to the parking lot, but does not park the car before Louis is, again, sucking the life right out of him through the head of is cock, and he comes right there, shuddering and putting his own hand in his mouth so he doesn’t scream so loud.

            Harry’s spent.


            “I take that was good”, Louis smirks and cleans the corner of his mouth, smug smile on his face.

            “When we-” Harry takes a deep breath, “when I catch my breath… And we get upstairs…” Breathes. “I’ll eat you out for so long you won’t be able to walk after it.”

            “Like you can’t walk right now?” His boyfriend cheekily replies, winking at him. “C’mon, love, I’ll help you get upstairs.”


            Harry keeps his promise. As soon as he regains control of his own limbs the first thing he does is press Louis face down the bed, hands gripping tightly on his hips pulling his ass up, right in front of his face.

            Louis is divine, is the thing. Harry still can’t explain how a person like him exists – heart, mind, soul, body. What a freaking body.

            “Are you okay with me doing that?” He asks just to be sure.

            “You know I nev-”

            “I do, I know”, Harry says lowly, mouth at the end of Louis’ spine, wet lips speaking directly to his hot skin. Everything’s hot. “I can take care of you, Lou”, the professor promises him. “Okay?”

            “Fuck, ok, of course it’s okay”, he looks back and Harry can see it in his eyes how okay this is.

            Louis’ fringe is falling onto his eyes and he’s all sweaty since they left the car. Harry likes it, revels in it even. He grips both of Louis cheeks and bites down hard on one of them, squeezing him in his hands and making Louis hide his face on the crook of his arm, a low whine escaping his throat.

            Harry is, again, painfully hard, just like the man in front of him, with the difference that Harry wants to take his time, to knead on Louis’ flesh and to savor each and every part of his skin, while the singer just wants him to do it.

            Harry kisses the cleft of his ass like it was made to be worshiped and traces his tongue till he reaches the back of Louis’ left thigh, sucking a bruise right there under Louis’ bum, while his free hand, that isn’t being used for support, travels up and down the singer’s right leg.

            It’s all new but, in a way, it isn’t. Everytime Harry kisses him, feels him, gets closer and closer and closer to him, there’s some kind of feeling inside of him awakening, something that seems to have been there for so long that he had forgotten – like his soul already knew Louis’ long before they ever met.

            And that’s a cheesy, weird thing to be thinking right before putting his tongue in someone else’s hole, but he can’t help but feel it everytime their skins connect, everytime Louis softly whimpers in pleasure, everytime Harry shivers when he is the one giving.

            He squeezes Louis’ ass once again and pulls him up so he stops touching the sheets, and Louis doesn’t complain, per se, but he asks for more.

            “You want more?” Harry asks, smirk on his face. “But what more could you want, Louis?”

            “I’m not-” short breath, “fuck, I’m not playing this game, not right now, H.” He fake-complains and Harry laughs lightly.

            He opens Louis’ cheeks and blows hot air into his hole; he feels Louis’ entire body shudder.

            “What d’you want, love?” He asks, breathing closer to him, both thumbs around his rim digging close, really close, but never there.

            “D’you want my tongue on you?”

            “In”, Louis moans out as Harry bites right beside his hole.

            “What? Didn’t quite hear you”, he teases.

            “In me, Harry. I want your tongue in me, yesterday, preferably.” He snaps.

            “Aren’t you a bossy bottom? You’re showing your true colors, love.” The professor chuckles.

            “Harry.” Louis kind of wails so impatient he is, and Harry wants to laugh, really, but Louis moves a bit down the bed and shoves his ass in Harry’s face and- it’s right there.

            Harry needs to control himself not to come at this second, so he grabs the base of his dick, squeezing it with full force before he can do anything else.

            The air is electrified and by the time he gives Louis his first lick, making Louis moan and shut his eyes, mouth agape, Harry can’t help but find him the most beautiful, mesmerizing human being walking on earth. His skin is smooth and golden and the more Harry licks around, the more he can watch Louis’ hole contracting on nothing and expanding again, like it’s so ready for whatever Harry wants to do with it.

            He buries his face in Louis’ ass and from then on they’re both pretty much done for. Harry eats Louis out like he is a starved man, and, for Louis, he might just be.

            He takes his time getting Louis wet with spit and saliva, and it’s just when Louis seems ready to lose it completely, forcing his body down so he can get some friction on his dick, Harry pulls him impossibly closer, feeling his own tongue break through Louis’ ring of muscle, feeling his walls tightening around him and his smell invading his nostrils like nothing ever before.

            “Fuck”, Louis cries out, body slack. Harry needs to use a lot of strength to keep him up in the air.

            The professor’s got one hand in the middle of Louis back, keeping his chest pressed to the mattress and the other arm is circled around his waist now, so he can have better access to him.

            He presses his tongue in with more intent, and Louis makes noises that should be fucking illegal, crying out a strand of curses Harry isn’t even sure that exist. And Harry thinks of many things he could say back; he wants to tell him how gorgeous he is, how tight and velvety and perfect he feels, how his taste is the best thing Harry’s ever tasted in life even though it’s a bit bitter, just because it’s him and Harry could do this forever.

            When he feels that Louis can hold himself up again, he uses his hands to spread his asscheeks and have a breathing room there, and starts fucking Louis’ hole with his tongue in a fast pace, while Louis writhes and whines and pants and finally moves one hand back to hold Harry’s head by his curls and yes.

            Louis holds him there and gains enough energy to just fuck himself back in Harry’s face. And Harry loves it, loves all of it. Harry’s cock hurts a lot, and he finally gets ahold of himself as Louis keeps holding him, enjoying Harry’s tongue sliding in and out of him at his own mercy.

            Harry strokes himself and elicits guttural sounds everytime he feels like he can’t quite breathe because of Louis, and it’s so, so, so good. He’s read about it before, but it’s the first time he’s actually experiencing what it is like not to breathe properly during sex, and how enhanced everything feels. And it’s dangerous, especially because they’ve never talked about it and Louis has no idea that that’s actually what he is doing: depriving Harry of breathing with his own ass, but in the few seconds that he is able to think, Harry promises himself that he will talk to his boyfriend about it after he survives this moment.

            Louis screams when Harry inserts one finger into him because his tongue just can’t take it anymore, but he doesn’t scream in pain, no- no, Harry already knows that scream all too well.

            He moves up a bit and kisses down Louis neck. One more finger. One more moan that could wake neighbors up if they had any. Harry lets Louis hump the sheets while he presses his own body down on his, cock between Louis thighs, fingers inside of him, mouth on his neck sucking a bruise and his breath’s so ragged that he needs to come before it’s all too much.

            “Ha-Harry-y”, Louis tries to speak coherently but fails. “Pl-please.

            “I’m-” Jesus, Harry can’t speak either. “’M close too”, he manages out, and as his fingers hit Louis’ prostate nonstop and he strokes his own cock like his life depends on it, they both come almost at the same time. Louis is loud, loud, and loud – his whole body trembling. Harry is still, panting on the singers back, biting his bottom lip till he draws blood out of it, watching his own come paint the back of Louis’ thigh.

            Neither of them moves for at least ten minutes.


            After a while Harry notices that he needs to climb off Louis, because he’s resting his entire weight on Louis’ smaller frame. Not that the singer seems to care, but oh well.

            He rolls over and falls flat on the ground, like, really. Louis laughs louder than Harry’s ever heard.

            “Not funny”, he complains and gets up. “Auch, fuck.” His arm hurts. Idiot.

            “Damn, love”, Louis says in the softest of voices and sits on the bed. “You okay?” He then asks.

            “Y-yeah, I think”, Harry chuckles. “I need to shower. And so do you.”

            “But… Bed”, his boyfriend whines.

            “We’re sticky.”

            “Will you wash my hair?” He gets up, pulling Harry by the hand towards his ensuite.

            “Lou, it’s twelve thirty in the morning, don’t wash your hair now.”

            “But what if you wash and dry it?”

            “What if I wash your hair and what if I dry your hair?” Harry checks just to be sure. This is so Louis.


            “Then I think it would be okay…” He agrees with an easy smile on his face and Louis kisses him square on the mouth, guiding him into the shower and letting the warm water wash over their entire day.

            It’s so nice that Harry finds himself thinking about the small things that characterize someone’s love for you, because, you see, love isn’t always in the big things. In fact, more often than not, love is in the smallest of acts, ordinary moments that became extraordinary because of the person you’re sharing it with.

            Harry thinks that love is being the best version of you with another person, even if the best version of you isn’t necessarily a young professor at a renowned music college who’s got his shit together, but someone who loves to walk around the flat in just his boxers, eats more junk food than he can admit and French-kisses worldwide famous singers. Well, one singer.

            Harry thinks that love is in every phone call and stupid text, and in the way you look at someone, like your whole world lights up just by being in their presence, and the way they look back at you – like you’ve saved them.

            Harry thinks that love is showering with someone else in the middle of a summer night, after the most amazing sex, exchanging soft glances and smiles, and washing their hair and drying their hair, while having many conversations without saying a word. Harry thinks- no, Harry knows that love is what he’s feeling right now.


            “What are you thinking?” Louis asks when they finally make it back to bed, one hour later. They’ve changed the sheets and also got some water.

            Now they’re both laying together, lights out; Harry’s on his side and Louis is being the big spoon, holding him close to his chest. If Harry concentrates, he can feel Louis’ heartbeat.

            I’m thinking that I love you.

            But Louis isn’t ready for that yet.

            “Not much to be honest”, he voices. “You?”

            “A lot.” Louis confesses.

            “Wanna share?”

            “Yes.” Then a pause. “Does it- does it bother you that most of my confessions are made in the dark?”

            “No.” The professor responds, turning his body again just to look at Louis. Louis’ arm is still over his waist, and he uses the tip of his fingers to caress any part of Harry’s skin he can reach.

            “I have two things to talk about”, Louis says. “They’re not related, so don’t laugh when I change topics, okay?”

            “Okay”, he answers already laughing and Louis chuckles a bit too.

            “First of all: sex.”

            “Okay…” Harry swallows his saliva and becomes a little more serious. “Are you- are you okay?’

            “More than”, his boyfriend smiles, and Harry’s eyes are adapted enough that he can see it. “It’s like… Is it always like this?”

            “What d’you mean?”

            “I mean that- this is clearly the best sex of my life”, he chuckles, only a bit embarrassed. “And I think it’s- good for you too?

            “I hate that you even doubt it”, Harry tells him and then kisses him. It’s chaste and it doesn’t last long. But he means to reassure Louis. As many times as it’s needed.      

            “I guess I’m just wondering if it’s always been this good with everyone else you’ve ever slept with- or if- if it’s because we’re… Us.” The singer finishes, cheek hot under Harry’s palm, eyes closed.

            Harry pecks his mouth again.

            “Sex is great, Lou, when you’re having it with the right gender”, he smiles, “and the right person”, Harry tells him and takes a deep breath. “I think we should have this conversation… Because I know exactly how many guys you’ve slept with…” They laugh a bit together. “And you should know how many guys I’ve slept with.”

            “Oh, God.” Louis groans and places both hands on his face. “I so don’t wanna hear it.”

            “It isn’t that many.”

            “Okay.” He agrees resigned. “Shoot.”

            “Bear in mind that I lost my virginity at sixteen. And then I slept with guys till I was twenty. And then I met Ben. And now I’m with you.”

            “I said shoot, H.”

            “Thirteen.” Harry tells him lightly. “You’re the thirteenth guy I sleep with.” He says and pulls Louis’ hands from his face. “Lucky number thirteen, apparently. Because I don’t intend to sleep with anyone else, for as long as you have me. Okay?”

            “Yeah?” Louis asks shyly. “Even when I don’t- I mean, when I’m not—”

            “You’re perfect, and trust me, I’m not telling you this so you can feel better”, he says and scoots even closer. “I lo- I love having sex with you, and doing everything else with you, and- sex is great, Louis. But answering your question… No. It’s probably never been this good.”

            Louis hugs him, and presses their bodies firmly together, and doesn’t let go.

            “I love everything with you too.” He mumbles on Harry’s chest.

            “Good thing we’re on the same page”, Harry smiles dumbly at the ceiling. “What’s- what’s the next topic?”

            Louis seems to have to prepare himself for that. He takes a deep, deep breath before he starts speaking. And it’s okay, Harry can wait, because, apart from his own mother, Louis is the only person who’s never rushed him to speak.

            You see, Harry’s a slow speaker. He doesn’t notice it, he just knows because people tell him; they’re often completing his sentences or telling him to just be out with it, but Louis never did it – even when they didn’t date.

            Louis, who is always on the entire time, doing hundreds of things at a moment, who is fast and loud and impatient, has never urged Harry to be anything other than himself. Louis is patient, and Louis is kind and Louis is soft. And Louis gives him more emotionally speaking than Harry ever thought he needed.

            “Remember when we fought about- hm, about you wanting to tell your family about us? About, well, me?” He asks. He doesn’t tiptoe around the topic and that’s good.

            Harry just nods. Because after this weekend with his family at Gemma’s flat, he notices it’s just gotten harder to omit things. He swallows audibly and lets Louis continue.

            “That’s another thing I’ve been talking with Doctor Andrew about.”

            “Oh.” Harry voices surprised. “Really?”

            “Really”, Louis smiles and raises one hand to Harry’s face, smoothing his thumb on Harry’s cheek and lips. “Really, really”, he smiles again and kisses Harry.

            Harry lets Louis guide this time, because, let’s face it, Harry loves being kissed. And the singer manages to kiss him exactly the way he likes it. It’s deep and slow. He opens Harry’s mouth with his tongue and when he slides his own against Harry’s, it’s not too little or too much. The drags are tantalizing and the deeper he kisses him, the lighter Harry’s head gets. He’s in an entire different world when he’s with Louis. He loves it.

            “I think…” Louis whispers into his mouth. “I think I need to do something first.” He tells him. “But I hope you know that I’m trying to- like, be okay with it. Is that enough, for now?” The singer frowns.

            “Y-yeah, Lou”, Harry smiles, “it’s enough for now.” He hugs him and Louis rests his head on Harry’s chest. They don’t talk more after that; their breaths sync and they fall asleep together.




            The week goes by without a hitch, and it’s a nice change to Harry.

            He gets an email from his university telling him that his paper was not only accepted but very well accepted and that they’re looking forward to him finishing and presenting his thesis to a board of his choosing by the end of the year.

            He also receives another email from The Royal Academy with the classes he’ll get come this new semester and he is really glad to know that he’ll not only teach private violin sessions and one piano class, but also, for the first time, he’ll be teaching singing classes and not only instrumental ones.  

            Harry never considered himself a singer, but he can sing – he knows it. He understands all the ups and downs of one’s voice and he truly is into putting words to melodies, so getting this class is amazing for him, and a great step, even if it says it will be with freshmen students.

            “You- you sing?” Louis asks when Harry tells him. They’ve just arrived at the studio and today Louis records the last song of the album.

            “A bit”, he shrugs.

            “Are you fucking kidding me?” He asks frustrated. “Poor Niall recorded all of those backing vocals when you could’ve also done it!”

            “You could’ve hired professional backing vocals too…” But not really. This album is so special to Louis that he didn’t want many strange people working on it. Julian was an exception because Niall said he trusted him.

            “Not the fucking point”, is what Louis answers.

            “I’m sorry, babe, come here”, Harry chuckles and moves to kiss him on the lips.

            “’M still pissed.”


            “You never sang to me.”

            Later Louis will swear he didn’t pout, because I don’t do that, Harold, that’s your thing, but it’s exactly what he does when he complains. Louis pouts. And Harry’s soft for him.

            “I’m sorry, Lou”, he then says. “I’ll find a perfect song and then I’ll sing it to you. Deal?”

            “Yeah, whatever”, the singer pretends to be pissed and rolls his eyes, but kisses Harry’s cheek before getting up and inside the recording booth again.

            Harry keeps going through his stuff and making some notes for the next week. He needs to get back to the Academy so he can start on his lesson plans and texts professor Brown for help – the man has taught him a lot already, and it’s also great to learn.

            Harry also receives an offer to write another article for the Academy, this time about the London Orchestra and its influence on young people – if it has any at all. He accepts it happily, and also texts Gemma to see if they can meet next week, she’s part of the Orchestra after all, she’ll be his main source of information.


            He is relaxed, is the thing. For the first time since he met Louis Harry feels like things truly are going to be okay. He’s not scared of Louis having another meltdown, because, if he ever does, Harry’s going to be right there to stop him from doing anything stupid. He’s not scared of their future anymore, because Louis seems to open up to him more and more as the days pass.

            And the days pass so, so well.

            They take Lux to the children’s hospital as Louis requested and have such a good day. Lux is in love with Louis, is the thing, even if they don’t know each other so well – it might be the whole LOUIS IS SUPER FAMOUS THING, but Harry knows it’s more than that. It’s the Louis is great with kids thing.

            Everyone at the hospital receives them heartwarmingly and when Louis asks “no pictures this time, please”, Harry’s heart almost bursts out of his chest.

            “They always make this about PR and it just- isn’t”, he explains to Harry.

            I love you, is what Harry thinks.

            “I think that’s amazing of you”, is what Harry says. It isn’t a lie either.


            After a few hours with the kids, playing and singing and just talking, really, they go back to Lou and Tom’s place to drop Lux off and they’re invited in for dinner. Harry knows that his friend knows the second they step inside her house, but then again, it was taking too long for her to question him about it anyways.

            Louis is talking to Tom in the living room while Lux changes her clothes and Louise comes to the kitchen with Harry – she’s got that look in her face.

            “How long have you two been together?” She asks.

            Harry chokes on his water.

            “Oh, c’mon, Harry, I’m thirty, I don’t have time for this.” Harry keeps quiet. “You can’t say anything?” She guesses and Harry nods. “Do I get to ask only one question?’


            “Are you happy?”

            “The happiest, Lou”, Harry beams and she softens.

            “Okay, then. Take care, kid.” Louise smiles and moves to hug him. She knows, Harry thinks. But that’s fine.


            On Thursday, they finally get the approval for Louis’ new single and they decide to celebrate it at Louis’ place. Contrary to everyone’s beliefs, they haven’t used that pool yet, which is a crime, according to Sophia, and Harry very much agrees, so they do it all:

            Niall brings beer because Louis asks him to, “I’m not an actual alcoholic, you can drink around me, you know?” he jokes lightly, Liam brings meat and Harry uses the kitchen for making salads and stuff, and they all have a proper barbecue on a Thursday afternoon.

            It’s lovely, Harry thinks. He’s in the pool with a bottle of beer talking to Liam about someone from their uni when Louis jumps head-first, swimming towards them and finally stopping in front of Harry, using the professor’s shoulders for balance and then wrapping his legs around Harry’s torso.

            “I missed you”, he excuses in his neck and hides his face.

            They’ve been apart for less than half an hour.

            “Missed you too, Lou”, he kisses him on the cheek and then looks to Liam again, who is grinning at them like them being together is the best thing since sliced bread. Harry thinks he might be right.

            Actually, everything is just right, there’s no other way for Harry to explain it. He knows he complained to Louis about only Louis’ people knowing about them, but as he watches Sophia stealing something from the grill and Niall yelling at her, Liam yelling at Niall and Louis laughing at them all, Harry thinks that they’re his people too, and he likes it a lot.




            It’s on Friday that whatever Louis seemed to be building up to the entire week happens. They wake up together for the umpteenth time – Harry’s given up going to his place for anything other than getting clothes he never takes back there – and there’s something in Louis’s eyes. It’s a mixture of nervousness and eagerness.

            “Why are we up so early? Thought you were only going to work next week now…” He asks still a little bit disoriented.

            “Got a session now”, he says in a low voice. “Hey, H, open your eyes”, Louis requests and Harry does it. “Morning, gorgeous.”

            “Morning, Lou”, he opens a smile because how can he not?

            “Do you have plans this weekend?” Louis asks.

            “I don’t think so, no. Why?”

            “Can you pack us some clothes and pick me up at Doctor Drew’s office around ten?” He’s got one hand on Harry’s hair and the other on his chest, and Louis looks so hopeful.

            “Of course. Do I get to know where we’re going?” Harry raises an eyebrow.

            “Nope”, he chuckles lightly. “But- still, it’s just-”

            “Lou, I’ll do it. What do I pack?” He asks, kissing him quickly.

            “Everyday stuff, really.” The singer answers and kisses Harry again, on the forehead this time. “I’ll be waiting for you, love.”

            Harry thinks he mumbles I’ll be there back, but he falls asleep again for the next hour or so.


            When he wakes up again it’s nine am and he’s already late, because he still needs to shower and pack to get to Louis at ten. He does it quickly, though. Harry grabs clothes they’d wear on a daily basis and doesn’t even bother with two different suitcases, it’s just the weekend after all, and apart from his patterned shirts, they pretty much wear the same clothes, so he just shoves everything inside one suitcase, completely contradicting his organized nature, and drinks a cuppa before leaving the flat.

            Harry hasn’t got a clue of where they’re going when he stops in front of Doctor Andrew’s office building, but he doesn’t ask when Louis enters the car tearing up a bit. He doesn’t seem sad, just tired, and Harry asks him to put in some coordinates so he can sleep.

            “No, I’m okay”, he assures him. “Just take us somewhere for brunch and then I’ll drive from there.”

            Harry nods and squeezes his hand reassuringly. They never kiss in public, even when they’re inside a car with tinted glasses, they just… Don’t. They can’t.


            Harry notices the paparazzi before Louis does, this time, and it’s actually become a normal occurrence, because apparently Harry has the eye for this kind of thing. He mentions it to Louis and the singer does his best not to look panicked.

            “Doesn’t it ever stop?” Harry asks him, eating a piece of his waffle right after.

            “Not really, no”, Louis answers. “I’d gotten pretty good at ignoring them before you, now I’m just- like, scared all the time.”

            “Because of what they’re going to think?”

            “Yeah”, at least he is truthful about it. “Meg keeps saying that I should stop going out with you so much if I want to avoid it, but I just- I refuse to hide you, H. You’re such a great part of my life that I- I can deal with a few headlines questioning my sexuality.”

            Harry wants to tell him that this means he’s in a glass closet. Comes promo season – that is really, really near – Louis will be bombarded with questions about them, unless he tells Liam to blacklist the matter in every interview, which will make everybody even more suspicious. He keeps his mouth shut, though, because Harry is a tiny bit selfish and kind of wants people to at least wonder if they belong to each other. Harry doesn’t need to wonder at all. Not anymore.




            He doesn’t fall asleep, but closes his eyes and sings with the music while Louis drives and drives and drives. He promises Harry it won’t take much longer now every time Harry shifts uncomfortably in his seat, but he is not complaining. If anything, Harry’s absolutely eager to know where they’re going, his only clue being: they’re going north.

            Harry sees the plaque for Yorkshire and keeps quiet, but his insides are all weird. He wants to ask so badly, but something tells him Louis would rather show than speak.

            It’s only twenty-five minutes later – some excruciating twenty five minutes – that Louis parks in front of a cemetery, and Harry… Harry watches him break down as soon as he unbuckles his seatbelt.


            “Lou”, Harry moves as fast as he can to hug him in this weird position, letting Louis rest his head in the crook of his neck and shake while he cries, cries, and cries.

            He isn’t even breathing properly and Harry loves him so much and just wants Louis to be happy and why does his boy have to suffer like this?

            He doesn’t understand, is the thing. He doesn’t understand any of it. Harry just can’t get why someone so good and so bright has to go through so much shit, how someone so, so lovely has to suffer so much, has to feel so at loss and alone and- and Harry is here, and he is completely, utterly fucking powerless, because Louis’ parents are most definitely buried in this cemetery, and so are Louis’ memories of them and it’s just- unfair. Everything about what is happening is so unfair.

            If Harry could, he’d give Louis everything he’s missing. He’d make sure to write a personal letter to God asking Him or Her to just make his boyfriend happy, because- because Harry can’t stand the idea of Louis being sad and not being able to do anything.

            Louis keeps crying and Harry holds him, hugs him, and promises everything is going to be all right, but everything is so not all right.

            Because for the first time Harry notices what is really, really fucked up about all of this: Louis has everything but his mom. And mothers, Harry’s grandfather says, mothers are a whole family in one person.

            Louis doesn’t have a mother anymore. Louis doesn’t have a family – not a proper one. And no matter how many friends he gathers around (which are not many), they’re still not the people who raised him. Because the people who raised him are dead.


            “Welcome to my personal hell, I guess”, Louis mumbles in his chest and Harry tightens his arms around him again. “I’m sorry I didn’t give you a fair warning. I had an idea about- uhn, how I’d feel, but I thought” he takes a deep breath, “I thought I’d hold it till we were in there”, he chuckles morbidly.

            “It’s okay”, Harry assures him and kisses his temple. There are no bloody paparazzi in Doncaster. “I got you.”

            “I know”, Louis backs off a bit and looks him in the eyes and smiles, wet cheeks and red eyes. “And- I’m glad we’re here. I’m not glad I’m here but I- I’m glad we are.” He says and detangles himself from Harry’s embrace, looking at the review mirror and cleaning up his face.

            Harry realizes he needs to do the same when he notices that his own face is covered in tears. Louis gets out of the car and then opens Harry’s door for him, saying c’mon, Hazza and pulling him by the hand. Harry only has time to grab his own sunglasses before Louis locks the car behind them.


            It’s the first time they walk hand-in-hand, Harry thinks. It’s the first time Harry walks hand-in-hand with somebody who isn’t Ben. It’s odd, but it’s also comforting and he’s completely fine with it if Louis is. Louis seems to be.

            Five minutes later Louis stops and takes off his sunglasses again. They’re both holding hands in front of a tombstone that has got the Tomlinson names engraved on it, both Louis’ mom and dad, or at least what represents Louis’ mom and dad. Always in my heart, it says.

            Harry squeezes Louis’ fingers and Louis looks at him, squinting his eyes because of the sun. He looks at peace when he turns back to the tombstone.


            “Hi, mom, hi, dad”, Louis starts. His voice is hoarse and a bit shaky, but he pushes through it. “Long time no see, uhn?” He chuckles and Harry can see the tears streaming down his face again. But they’re not out of control anymore, they’re more like… Nostalgic.

            Nostalgia, in Greek, means the pain of an old wound or the pain of going back. It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. It’s… It’s like a carousel. It lets a person travel the way a child travels – around and around and around, and back home again, to a place where they know they are loved. Harry thinks that, right now, he’s getting to watch Louis experience one of the most beautiful sentiments in the world.

            Not for the first time since he met this man, Harry feels privileged.

            “So, I’m a bit fucked up”, Louis speaks again, going for nonchalance. “But I get by, and I think that’s okay- we’re all a bit fucked up, aren’t we? I know, mom, language”, he chuckles and then sits on the grass, pulling Harry down with him. “I’m not here to talk about me, though- well, I guess I am, but I actually…  I actually wanted you guys to meet someone.”

            Harry holds his breath. This moment so, so big.

            “Mom, dad, this is Harry”, he smiles. “Hazz, this is what’s left of my parents. But I- I like to think that, somehow, they’re still here so- y-yeah. I wanted you all to meet.”

            “Louis.” Harry cries and now it’s Harry’s turn to bury his face in the crook of Louis’ neck.

            Louis throws his arm around Harry’s shoulders and raises the other to his curls, caressing them absentmindedly.

            “Harry’s my boyfriend.” Louis says aloud. “But he’s so much more, mom. I think he’s the most important person I’ve ever met, can you believe it?”

            Harry keeps crying.

            “And- you’d probably be a bit bitter about it, dad, but you have to understand that he saved my life. Multiple times. Harry saved me. Please, wherever you are, understand that, dad.” Louis says in a pleading tone and Harry doesn’t even contain himself anymore.

            He can’t stop shaking and sobbing and he can barely breathe, but Louis keeps soothing him, calmly as ever.

            “For years now I wished you’d forgive me, you know?” Louis talks to the stone. Or, to his parents. Harry likes to think that they’re also here, somehow. “I hated myself so much thinking that I wasn’t someone you’d be proud of… I think you, dad, specifically, made me think that. I didn’t know how to forgive myself and I didn’t know how to forgive you either. I guess we both got pretty lonely after mom left us- and I know that I was just a kid, but I think… I think it changed me just as much as it changed you. And not for the best.”

            “Did you know that I gave up on love?” He tells him. Harry really hopes, prays even that Louis’ dad and mom are listening. “Yeah.” He sighs. Harry sits straight again, but keeps looking at Louis, still holding his hand. “I gave up on love long before you died, dad, because you said- you said there was too much to lose. I even wrote a song about it”, he chuckles. “Harry loves that song.”

            “I love the way you sound in that song. Not what it represents”, he corrects his boyfriend gently.

            “I know”, Louis smiles at him. “When mom died, dad gave up, you know? He lived for me, but he gave up on himself, and that was- that was wrong of him to do. But I understand him now, I guess.”

            “How so?”

            “He loved my mom since they met at sixteen until the day she passed away, H. I have known you for less than a year, and I honest to God don’t know what I would do if I ever lost you”, he says and looks at the tombstone again. “I understand why you thought it was over for you, dad. It’s okay now. I forgive you for letting yourself go and I forgive you for fucking me up without even knowing and, most importantly, I-- I guess… I… I forgive myself.”

            They’re both crying now.

            “God, I really do, I really forgive myself”, Louis breathes in deeply and then lets it go. “Which is why I- I need you both to know that I am also happy now. And I’m fighting and I’m not giving up and I- I have Harry. And Harry is… Harry is everything wonderful. And I know he’s a boy, yeah?” He laughs lightly.

            “But I’ve never- I’ve never felt what I feel for him for anybody else. And just between us…” He lowers his voice and gets closer to his parents, but Harry can still hear him and he thinks that that’s Louis’ intention. “If I thought this was the right moment, I’d tell him that I love him... I love him so much it hurts, but in the best way possible. But I don’t think this is the right moment, because I want to tell him that when I’m completely okay. Now I know that I’ll get there, I’ll be completely okay- with him. But while I don’t tell him that, I’d like you two to know, at least.”

            Harry lets go of Louis’ hand to tie his hair up in a bun. He’s a mess, but he’s a glowing mess.

            “The other day I was in therapy and my therapist asked me about religion. I didn’t know what to say, I’m not particularly fond of churches but I remembered that mom liked to read the bible… There was this quote that always stood out to me somehow. I don’t know what it said exactly, but it- there were lots of commandments, and at the end it said that none of it mattered because it all summed up to love. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

            “I think- I think loving Harry is okay now, even if he’s not a girl.” Louis speaks. “Love is the fulfillment of the law.” He repeats.

            Harry kisses him on the cheek and says he’ll be right back.

            He cries his way out of the cemetery and lets Louis keep talking to his parents while he finds somewhere to buy flowers. He also gets them some snacks and when he comes back he finds Louis singing acapella – Harry pays attention to the lyrics and understands immediately that he wrote it for his mother. Harry knows this song didn’t make it to the album, probably won’t make it to any album, and that’s what makes it all the more special.




            They have dinner in a corner restaurant, two blocks from the cemetery. Harry’s emotionally drained and so is Louis, of course, so the conversation between them is quiet and basically nonexistent, but that’s perfectly fine, because silence between them is good too.

            Louis takes Harry’s hand over the table, and caresses his knuckles with his thumb.    

            “Thank you”, he whispers. Harry just smiles and takes a sip of his drink. He knows Louis knows there is nothing to thank him for. Harry’s in it for the long run.


            Louis doesn’t let go of his hand when he pays the bill or when they walk back to the car. The sun has set and it’s dark enough on the street that no one would recognize them, which is the only reason that Louis presses Harry’s back to the car and kisses him thoroughly, promisingly, and perfectly.

            When they get into the car, Louis turns on the engine again and tells him he’ll find them a place to crash.

            “I wanna show you the town tomorrow morning”, he tells him. “And we can leave in the morning.”

            “Thought we were going to spend the weekend away…?” Harry frowns.

            “We are.” Louis smiles. “So you’d better call your mother, Hazza.”

            “Wha- why?”

            “Well, I’ve taken you to meet my parents. It’s time I meet yours, isn’t it?” He says and Harry does not squeal. He smiles, big, very big. Squeezes Louis thigh and grabs his phone to tell mom he’s taking a boy home tomorrow night.


            Who? Anne asks.


            The love of my life, I think.



Chapter Text




            This was a terrible idea. What the hell is Louis doing? He can’t go meet Harry’s parents like this. He hasn’t even gotten a non-disclosure agreement. What if Harry’s family hates him and decides to out him? Oh my God, what if Harry’s parents hate me?

            He’s hyperventilating, to say the least, and the only reason Louis hasn’t lost it completely is because Harry’s driving with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on his thigh, squeezing it every now and then and running his fingers on the inseam of Louis’ jeans, like he’s trying to anchor him in the present, to remind him that he isn’t alone.

            He’s not. Harry’s here. The only reason they’re in this car right now and Louis is freaking out is because Louis wants to do this. He wants to meet the professor’s mom and tell her how amazing her son is, and he wants to meet his stepdad and bond with him. He wants Harry to be proud of him just as much as he is proud of Harry.


            “We’re fifteen minutes away, do you need to puke or something?” His boyfriend looks at him with an amused smile on his face, but his eyes are serious, concerned. Only Harry Styles can manage this kind of expression.

            “As a matter of fact, yes”, Louis confesses. Harry doesn’t say anything else, just pulls over the next gas station they pass by on the road.

            Louis goes straight to the restroom to empty his stomach of the breakfast they had before leaving Doncaster and Harry goes to the convenience store to buy him something sweet to eat afterwards. They’re a team.


            It’s eleven in the morning and the sun is absolutely killing Louis. He doesn’t really like the summer, but at the same time he is enjoying watching Harry’s skin get a bit more tanned. His cheeks are rosy and if Louis weren’t in the closet, if Louis were braver, they could risk going to the beach together – he’d like that, one day. Louis wonders whether he’ll ever be able to. He hopes so, because… Because this is Harry.

            And Harry is the kind of person anyone wants to parade around. Harry is the kind of person to be shown to the world. Harry is the kind of person that doesn’t deserve to stay hidden, to pretend there is nothing going on, because he’s so- he’s so freaking amazing that Louis wishes he had the guts to tell everyone he is his. He wishes and wishes and wishes and maybe getting to know his family is a step towards the light.

            Maybe, just maybe, he is already a bit more courageous by doing this. Harry certainly thinks so, because when they meet again at the car, Harry hands him a cereal bar with a smile so big that Louis wants to kiss it out of his face. But he can’t. Not yet, he tells himself. Not yet.


            Less than twenty minutes over they’re in Holmes Chapel. It’s a really small village, but Harry had already told him that. Harry is driving slowly now, telling Louis about all the places he used to go when he was a kid, the music school with only three classrooms, his high school, the bakery where he went every Saturday and the old ladies he became friends with; the river where he kissed a girl for the first time and the wall where he kissed his first boy.

            Every corner of the village holds a Harry memory, a Harry story. This city screams Harry and Louis loves it already.

            “I’ll show you more of it if you’d like…”

            “Yes, please”, he answers too quickly and Harry laughs.

            “But for now—this is it”, Harry tells him, stopping in front of a white house, where a brunette, beautiful, so, so beautiful woman waits for them on the porch. “That’s mom”, he says in a low voice.

            “She’s- she’s beautiful.” Louis replies. His voice is low, too.

            “Hey”, Harry turns to him and takes his hand. “It’s going to be okay”, he assures him, squeezing his fingers. “She is going to love you because I- because I’m so happy with you, Lou”, the professor smiles. “And mom just wants me to be happy.”

            “I’m scared, H. I want to do this, but I’m scared, my mind is like- not right.” Louis confesses. He can’t help but feel ashamed. But Harry knows it, Harry knows it all.

            He places one hand on Louis’ neck and the other on his cheeks, and kindly forces the singer to look into his eyes. Harry’s are so green and so beautiful that Louis could easily get lost in them – has already many times and doesn’t regret any of them.

            “You are amazing, Louis Tomlinson”, he says and then kisses his cheeks. “Mom and Robin are going to be absolutely endeared by you and you’ll win them over just as fast as you won me.”

            “It’ll take months then?” Louis jokes but it falls flat, because Harry shakes his head and gets closer, his lips almost touching Louis’s as he speaks.

            “In less than an hour”, and then he kisses him.

            They’ve been being careless since yesterday, kissing in public and in daylight, even if it’s inside a tinted-glass car. But Louis lets him because he needs him – and, at the beginning, he felt selfish, really, really selfish for needing Harry and letting the professor break his barriers for the simple fact that Louis wanted him.

            But now he understands. Or, better yet, he accepts it without having to understand: Harry wants him back. Harry needs him back.

            Louis doesn’t struggle to get his reasons anymore, because maybe there aren’t reasons. Maybe it jus is. Like the sky is blue, the grass is green and really hot showers on rainy days are the best thing in the world, Harry is happier with Louis. Louis is happier with Harry. Against all odds, in spite of all the odds, they belong together.


            “Are you ready?” He whispers the question to Louis’ lips.

            “Lead the way, Hazza.”

            Louis isn’t sure he is ready, per se, but for Harry, he is going to try.


            Harry gets out of the car first. They can’t exactly risk Louis parading around on the street, because even though there aren’t paparazzi, Louis’ fans are everywhere. So Harry hugs his mother and Louis gets to watch her smile over his shoulder, looking a bit curious about who is in the car.

            A man who Louis believes it’s Robin shows up at the door and Harry hugs him too, urging both of them inside of the house and leaving the door open, gesturing for Louis to come in. Okay, this is it, breathe in, breathe out, think happy thoughts.

            Doctor Andrew warned him about a possible panic attack. He also said that, sometimes, in order to avoid it, Louis just needs to focus on one thing – one happy thing, and now, it isn’t even difficult to find a happy thing to focus on. He gets out of the car too, closes the door and watches Harry’s dimples grow deeper and deeper as his smile gets bigger. Harry’s his happy thing. Harry’s his happy everything at the moment.

            Louis is breathing. It’s okay. It’s all okay.

            He reaches the porch and takes another deep breath. He doesn’t think he’s ever met anyone’s parents before and he’s never met anyone’s parents that mattered. But now he is here and this is happening and underneath all of the nervousness, there’s also excitement.

            “Okay?” Harry mouths to him.

            “Yeah”, he nods and pecks Harry’s cheek, looking at the people standing in the middle of the living room.

            Robin’s expression is unreadable. Anne looks impressed, but not surprised.

            “Mom, Robin, this is Lou. Lou, this is mom and Robin”, Harry says. It’s not awkward at all, but then again, Harry’s been there and done that.

            “OH I KNEW IT!” Anne half-jumps half-turns to Robin slapping his shoulder with a huge smile on his face. “I should’ve bet with you, would’ve gotten a new coffee maker by now!” She says again.

            “You bet on my boyfriend?” Harry asks dumbfounded.

            “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”, his mother laughs. “Hi, Louis”, she then says, moving a bit closer. He doesn’t have much time to answer, because she hugs him tight.

            Harry’s family are huggers, but Louis was prepared for that already. They’re also the best huggers – not just Harry, apparently.

            “Hi, Anne, it’s great to meet you”, he says over her shoulders.

            “Oh, darling, it’s great to meet you too”, the woman replies and she sounds like a mom. Louis misses his mom. Fuckfuckfuck. He closes his eyes and doesn’t let go of her. They’re watery. He can’t believe he’s doing this.

            “It’s okay, Lou”, she says, “we’re gonna take care of you”. Fuckfuckfuck.

            He hugs her for a while longer and feels Anne’s fingers running through his hair, the other hand on his back. It’s comforting and it’s soothing and Louis may love her already.

            “Jesus, aren’t I an idiot?” He chuckles when she lets go and she only smiles, giving him a peck on the cheek.

            “You’re lovely, this is Robin. He’s thick and he thought Harry would bring Ben back again. As if.” She snorts and moves to hug Harry.

            “Hi, son”, Robin smiles then, reaching out to hug Louis. It’s quick, but still… Warm, somehow. “Please make yourself at home.”

            I already have. Harry’s here. Harry’s home.

            “Thank you”, he smiles.

            This is home, he then thinks.




            Anne has prepared them lunch and they gather around the table to eat. They talk about everything and nothing, and whenever they talk about something or someone Louis doesn’t know about, they make sure to fill him in, so he can also have an opinion on the matter.

            Harry checks on him every five minutes and it’s really endearing. He’s always squeezing his thigh or his hand or just looking at him as if he’s asking is this still okay? Do you want to run? And at times, Louis does.

            It’s all too much, is the thing. Anne is absolutely amazing and Robin is a right laugh, but this is something Louis thought he’d never have. This is something Louis had given up so long ago that he doesn’t think he’s ever allowed himself to even want it properly.

            So yes, Louis kind of wants to run, because, unfortunately, this happiness is strange to him – foreign. But… But he also wants to stay. He wants it to be familiar. Louis got used to having someone. He got used to relying on Harry for writing songs and grocery-shopping and he got used to loving him and he got used to the idea of being loved back.

            He wants to get used to this family and he wants to get used to being here. He wants to be able to come back here without fearing a panic attack and he wants to maybe receive them in his house one day. He wants to feel normal, he wants to act normal. Because, guess what? He is.

            “Has Gemma told dad yet?” Harry asks. They’re talking about her pregnancy and Louis doesn’t know what to say apart from I love babies.

            “I don’t think so”, Anne says, “she’s scared”.

            “But he-” Harry starts, “he doesn’t have a say in anything. Gem’s is a grown woman.”

            “We all know that, Hazz”, Robin chuckles. “But she’s entitled to feel scared. She’ll tell him when she’s ready.”

            “I’m meeting her for lunch this week; need to get some information for an article I have to write for the Orchestra…” Harry tells them.

            “Are you gonna trash them too, Harold?” Louis asks before he can help himself and then snorts. Harry cackles and both Anne and Robin laugh too, but they don’t seem to understand much. They’re having dessert, and Louis is comfortable enough by now to initiate a topic. “Did Harry tell you how we met?” He asks.

            “Bits and pieces. Didn’t get the reference, though”, Anne offers.

            So Louis starts telling her everything. His side of the story, at least. How angry he got when he read that and how much he hated Harry, thinking he was really old and really unhappy with life and how- how surprised he got when he saw that handsome, young man standing in the cafeteria.

            Harry gives his inputs and Louis shuts him up, talking over him and making Robin laugh when he asks if this is a family thing, interrupting people when they speak, but it’s all playful – Louis would never get mad at Harry because of it.

            He finds it addicting, telling their story. It’s the first time and they’re telling it to people that matter. Louis wonders if one day he’ll get to tell this story to the world. If he’ll sit among a group of friends and just gush about his ridiculously perfect partner and if he’ll answer naturally when interviewers question him about his love life.

            Louis thinks that everyone is, indeed, addicted to something that takes away the pain, but that it doesn’t have to be a bad thing – Louis is now addicted to music, to raviolis, ice cream cookies sandwiches and the way Harry makes him feel. And that’s good. Because none of it makes him suffer. In fact, the latter, more often than not, makes him forget that he used to suffer in the first place.


            It’s only around three o’clock that Anne decides to do the dishes and Louis, of course, gets up to help her. It isn’t because he’s trying to be polite, he’s never done it before, it’s just that… He wants to help.

            “You cooked, I ate- so I do the dishes, it’s only fair”, he says as he gets up.

            “Why doesn’t that rule apply to me?” Harry fakes outrage.

            “Because you practically cook for me every day, Harold. I cannot do the dishes every day, it’s against my nature!” He reasons and kisses his boyfriend’s head, following Anne to the kitchen.

            “Are you living together?” She asks.

            Robin excused himself to go watch a game and Harry’s with them in the kitchen, not really knowing what to answer, but… Yes, they’re practically living together, aren’t they? They just don’t say it because it’s not sociably acceptable for people to move in together after only a couple of months being together.

            And it’s hard for Louis to wrap his mind around the fact that it’s this little time. It’s hard because so much has happened, but he guesses that’s just life, isn’t it?

            You sometimes go months without nothing ever changing, years, even, just going through life like you’re playing a part you don’t actually understand, and then something big happens, or really small things happen together, and you find yourself in his crazy rollercoaster that keeps speeding up – and you find out that you love the speed and you never want it to stop.

            That’s what Harry brought into his life: movement. Louis didn’t know he was stuck until he started moving again.

            “Not yet, no”, is what Louis answers.

            “I do stay there more often than not, though”, Harry says and they lock eyes. There’s a silent agreement between them that there’s no way they’ll spend nights apart again.

            Louis smiles. Harry does too. And Anne watches like she knows something really special is presenting itself before her eyes. It is.




            On Tuesday morning Louis is brave enough to meet Gemma. He’s just finished his album and is saying goodbye to Niall at the airport when he decides to call Harry up and ask him to bring his sister into his flat.

            “Oi, Tommo, I’m saying bye here!” Niall says knocking him on the head.

            “Sorry, was just thinking—think I’m gonna meet Harry’s sister tonight”, Louis replies and turns to him. “Have a good trip, mate, don’t be a stranger”, he unbuckles his seatbelt to hug Niall. He won’t leave the car because Louis has spotted paparazzi already.

            “Proud of you, Lou”, the Irishman says over his shoulder. “Not only for the album, which is sick, but- the whole thing you know?”

            “Thank you, Ni.”

            “I’m serious.”

            “I can see that”, he answers truthfully. “Thank you.”

            “Take care of Hazz, yeah?” Niall asks and Louis nods. “Okay, see you in a couple of months. Keep me updated on your stuff.”

            “Will do, Nialler; now get outta here before you miss your flight!” The singer says playfully and unlocks the doors so Niall can leave.

            He is going to the United States to produce someone else’s songs for a while and Louis realizes that, on top of everything work-related, Niall has also become a constant in his life and now he is going to stay away for two months – Louis already knows how much he’s going to miss him.


            Louis calls Harry when he’s on the way to the supermarket, thinking about what they can eat for dinner tonight. Harry acts surprised when he says you should have dinner with Gemma at my place instead of going to a restaurant and Louis can’t help but laugh a bit. He feels at ease for the first time in a long time.

            Meeting Anne calmed his heart, somehow. She is a mom and she is Harry’s mom and she approved of him – and that was enough for Louis to be a little bit more okay with whom he is, with what he and Harry are doing.

            You see, most of the time he still doesn’t know what he is doing – but it feels nice to know that he doesn’t have to know anything quite yet. They’re taking it slow and they’re doing it together and so far everyone has been amazing with them.


            Gemma arrives at six, and somehow Harry seems to be more nervous than Louis is.

            “You can get the door”, the singer nudges Harry’s arm.

            “It’s your house”, Harry replies.

            “I’d roll my eyes but just this once I’ll do what you want…” He says and starts walking.

            “Just this once”, his boyfriend muses and Louis chuckles. As if. Louis is absolutely smitten. He’ll do everything for Harry at this point.

            He opens the door and is met with the female version of his boyfriend, only this time she’s dressed way more casually and carries a bottle of wine in her hands. Proof that Louis is getting better is that he doesn’t actually care about the two of them having wine like he did (and pretended he didn’t) when they first had dinner together.

            Louis doesn’t get this insane urge to drink alcohol anymore. Sure it would be nice to be able to do it socially again, but it’s not the end of the world that he’s not cleared for it just yet. He’s okay with staying sober – he doesn’t want to miss any detail of his new life, and he wants to remember all of his moments with the man he’s got right now, for however long it lasts.

            “Hi, there”, Gemma greets him cheerfully and moves to hug him. Louis isn’t surprised.

            “Hi, Gemma, welcome”, he voices over her shoulder.

            “Thanks for having me here”, she smiles and walks in after him.

            “Why are you pretending to be so polite, sister?” Harry appears smiling and hugs her right away.

            “Cause mom taught me manners, Harry”, his sister laughs. “So, am I meeting singer Louis or my brother’s boyfriend Louis?” She asks. “Because I had to know through mom, honestly!” She complains.

            “I was going to tell you now, you know”, Harry pretends to be hurt and Louis watches amusedly. “I was going to say, Lou, this is my sister Gemma, Gems, this is my boyfriend”, he pouts. Louis refrains from kissing the pout out of his mouth, since it’s instinct by now.

            Gemma laughs.

            “I’m sorry you weren’t in Cheshire this weekend”, he then says and hugs her tighter. “But it means a lot you two meeting each other. Again. Like this, I  mean.” Harry tells her in a lower tone.

            “It means a lot to me too”, she smiles brightly at him.

            “Me too”, Louis then voices weakly.

            “Come here”, Gemma calls him and the three of them hug. “Welcome to the family, Louis Tomlinson. Break my brother’s heart and I’ll break your everything.”

            “Copy that”, he chuckles and Harry kisses his forehead over Gemma’s head, being the tallest of them all.


            “Hey, why have you got wine?” Harry asks.

            “Because.” She replies.

            “You’re pregnant, Gems.”

            “The doctor said I can have a glass of wine once a week, Harry, I think he knows better”, she rolls her eyes at him and Louis turns around not to laugh.

            Gemma opens the wine and Harry, against his will, goes and gets them glasses, coming back with a non-alcoholic cocktail for Louis.

            Harry, bless him, has been looking at different tasty drink recipes so Louis never feels like an outsider. And it’s super cute, super endearing, and Louis loves him a whole lot for that too.

            They talk about many things and Louis realizes that yes, Gemma looks a lot like Harry, but her personality has more to do with Louis himself, and the greatest part is that they both team up in order to make fun of the professor.           

            “Your mom actually showed me lots of baby pictures, he was the cutest”, Louis tells her. “Still is”, he says lower, but they both hear it and Harry kisses him on the cheek.

            Gemma totally coos at them.

            “Oh, but I have teenage-Harry pictures. They’re the funniest. Absolutely ridiculous.”

            “Why are you doing this to me?” Harry whines.

            “Didn’t you know, babe?” Louis turns to him. “The only reason why I wanted to meet your family was just so I could make more fun of you!” He laughs or so does Gemma. He counts two seconds till Harry laughs too.

            After dinner, Louis says he is going to do the dishes while they talk about what they need to talk – Harry’s next article – and wastes more time than is actually necessary. When he comes back, it’s with ice cream and three different kinds of toppings, and Gemma smiles big, saying that her baby will be very well-fed tonight.

            “When are you gonna know if it’s a boy or a girl?” Louis asks excitedly, sitting on the couch and looking at her belly.

            She isn’t showing yet, but Louis definitely wants to be around when she does.

            “Next month, probably”, she says.

            “Are you hoping for anything, sis?”

            “Not really, no”, Gemma answers, both hands on her belly now, looking down at it. “He or she will be loved anyways.”

            “They sure will”, her brother answers and hugs her again. “God, I’m going to be an uncle!”

            “And a godfather. Again”, she rests her head on his shoulder and Harry gasps, and then cries a bit. Louis looks at them so fondly he feels like he’s going to explode.

            “Jesus, Gemma, that’s- thank you”, his boyfriend sniffles. “I need to wash my face”, he then says chuckling a bit and getting up from the couch.


            “You too, you know”, Gemma says a bit lower after Harry exits the room.


            “A godfather.” She explains. “That is- if you’re intending to stick with us for a while.”


            “I… I do”, Louis sighs and realizes how much he means what he’s just said. “I really do.” He answers again and Gemma smiles. “You’ve just met me!” The singer then exclaims as an afterthought.

            “Yeah…” Gemma trails. “I knew Ben for years and would have never asked him even if he and Harry got married one day.” She shrugs. “I’m good with people, you know?” She kind of asks him. “I was right about you from the start.”

            “Thanks… I guess?” He answers a bit at loss.

            “No need to thank me, Louis. Just keep taking care of him”, she says.

            It’s the same thing Anne told him and Robin, even Niall, but Louis has a hard time understanding it, because ever since they met, Harry’s been the one to take care of him in every capacity.

            “He’s the one who takes care of me”, he voices his thoughts.

            “You know… Harry’s always been the brightest person I’ve ever known”, she tells him almost like it’s a secret. “He’s- incomparable, isn’t he?” Although it is a rhetorical question, Louis nods agreeing.  “He’s always had this spark in his eyes and something that just draws people in. So many of my friends, men and women, have fallen in love with him that it isn’t even funny”, she chuckles nonetheless. “But… But for a while he lost it, you know?”

            “How so?”

            “I don’t know. Honestly. Maybe it was Ben, maybe something was off, I‘m not sure, but- he’s got that again. He had it months ago when we had dinner and he still has it and- and it’s because of you, so don’t sell yourself short, Tomlinson”, Gemma smiles at him. “You take care of him just as much, in your own way. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”

            Louis isn’t sure he can agree. He really doesn’t see himself doing much for Harry and at times he feels a bit overwhelmed by how much Harry does for him. He doesn’t know how he’ll ever give him back everything Harry brought into his life – every good thing he’s done for him –, but Gemma is saying he’s on the right track, apparently, and Louis decides to trust her.

            Even if he can never do as much for Harry as Harry’s done for him, he sure as hell will die trying.


            When Harry comes back, he still looks emotional, but there’s something else in his eyes. They talk for half an hour, at least, but then Gemma says she needs to go and catch a good night of sleep, because she’s got work the next day. They both hug her, and Louis is glad when she leaves, because as he sees her entering the lift, he pictures the same scene many years ahead, and realizes, quietly, that for the first time in his life, he sees a future for himself – one he isn’t alone in.

            When they’re about to sleep, Harry confesses that he overheard his sister speaking to him, and he stayed back just so they could finish the conversation.

            “She’s right, you know?” Harry says in his ear. “I feel like myself again, and that’s thanks to you.”

            They’re lying on their sides; Harry’s hugging him, chest plastered to Louis’ back. Louis knows that ten minutes after he falls asleep he’ll turn around and Louis will move too, hugging him and being the big spoon, but for now they both pretend that Harry isn’t the little spoon.

            “You’re good to me, Lou. So, so good”, he whispers and kisses the back of Louis’ neck ever so lightly. It still makes the singer shiver.

            “You’re everything to me”, Louis whispers back. Harry tightens his arms around him and kisses him again. Louis turns around and catches his mouth. Not for the first time, they say I love you without actually saying it.




            On Wednesday morning Louis has got an appointment with Doctor Andrew. The look on the therapist’s face when Louis tells him what he did over the weekend and the night before is almost as good as the look Harry had given him last week, and Louis feels so accomplished and so happy that he wants to hug the man – he doesn’t know if it is allowed, though, so he remains where he is.

            “And how do you feel now, Louis?” He asks. “Now that more people know… That Harry’s family knows…”

            That’s the gold question, isn’t it? Because for a while now Louis has been waiting to feel different or at least scared.

            Since he came back from Holmes Chapel he’s been waiting to break down. He’s been waiting for that one moment when he realizes at least ten people (counting friends, management and family) know about him and he’ll want to run away.

            It hasn’t come yet. He doesn’t know if it will. And maybe that’s what bothers him the most: the uncertainty.

            It’s just that… He doesn’t feel any different. Yes, he’s freer, yes, Harry’s definitely happier, but… He’s still going on about his life the same.

            “I feel… Strangely okay.” He responds after a while.


            “Yes. I think I had forgotten what it was like not to lie”, the singer shrugs.

            “Did Harry’s family receive you well?”

            “God, yes”, he smiles. “I got- I got pretty emotional with Harry’s mother, to be honest. Her hug reminded me so much of my own mom…”

            “But was it bad?”

            “No, it was… It was just too much to deal with, but not necessarily in a bad way… I can’t quite explain.” He chooses to go with the truth. “To be honest, I didn’t overthink it, it just happened and I’m okay now.”

            Doctor Andrew smiles bigger than Louis has ever seen. Louis doesn’t understand and most definitely has got a puzzled expression on his face. 

            “Don’t you get how good this is, Louis?” The therapist asks. “You didn’t overthink it. It just happened. And you’re okay now.”



            “Why’s that?” Louis asks, frowning. “What changed?”

            “I’d say you tell me, but you’d just make a joke about how I’m the one who has the answers.”

            “Know me too well, doc”, Louis smiles.

            “I think you’re starting to forgive yourself.” He finally says. “For not having told your parents about you being gay.”

            “Well I- I didn’t even know I was gay when my mother died.” He ponders.

            “Exactly.” The doctor says and writes something down. Louis has already given up trying to understand what he writes. He never seems to read anything. “It’s important that you realize that this conversation, with your mother, I mean, could’ve gone both ways…”

            “We’ve already talked about it.”

            “Yes. But do you get it, now?” He asks seriously.

            Months ago Louis didn’t. Months ago all he could do was hate himself and then hate the world and then hate God for giving her cancer and taking her away from him. Months ago Louis could only stare at the Doctor and not really understand when he said that maybe Johanna would have loved him through it all.

            Now he does. It’s as clear as Caribbean water: even if his father didn’t understand (which Louis also gets now that is just a possibility), his mother could have.       

            Louis will never know, is the thing, and he still needs some time to come to terms with never knowing, but- but he’s surer than ever that terrible isn’t the only outcome of his would-have-been-coming-out to his parents.

            “I do”, he answers. “I think- I think she would’ve liked Harry. They would have liked Harry. And I think Harry would’ve liked them.” Louis smiles.

            “I think so too”, Doctor Andrew smiles. “Have you told Harry about what happened between you and your father? How it stopped you and made you even more closed off?”

            “I did. He was wonderful about it, of course.”

            “I think- I think maybe it’s time we invite Harry for one of our sessions, Louis, what do you say?” The therapist asks carefully. “It can be Liam, too. I’d like to talk to the people who are closest to you, if you think that’d be okay.”

            “Why?” Louis frowns.

            “The people you live with shape you as much as you shape yourself. You’re lucky enough that you have great people by your side, on top of being a great person.”


            “I promise you it’s standard procedure. If you still had your parents, I would’ve liked to talk to them too, with your permission and you in the room, of course.”

            “But- but are you gonna analyze me or them?”

            “Both”, he smiles simply. “Whoever you choose to come first.”

            “Harry”, the singer answers right away. “I just- I told him first, right? About everything. It’s only fair.”

            The doctor smiles and agrees with him. They don’t schedule the day Harry’s going to come yet, but it hangs in the air that it will be sometime soon. Weirdly enough, Louis is kind of excited about it.




            On Friday morning Louis has a meeting about his promo season.

            Liam is there by his side and together they veto many questions, but they also allow others that Louis never thought he would. He needs to come clean about the year he’s had, he knows it.

            Of course Louis isn’t ready to talk about what he’s been diagnosed with, because that would mean he’s going to come out – which he isn’t, not now anyways –, but they do allow questions about him being hospitalized, and Louis makes sure to run through his team what he is going to say.

            He doesn’t want to lie, is the thing. Not even twist the truth “a little bit”, like Megan suggest. He wants to play it safe, but he doesn’t want to play dirty. Louis wants to talk about depression and how much it affects young people, how much it affects many people in the industry and how much it affects him. He wants to tell everyone that there is a way out, and even if he hasn’t quite found it yet, he’s on the right track, and that light at the end of the tunnel, that light that everyone talks about but he never believed even existed, is finally there to be seen, and, every day, he takes longer steps towards it.




            Louis is exhausted by the end of the next week, but it’s a good kind of exhausted. He’s noticed that he likes it, the feeling of accomplishment, the feeling of knowing that what he is doing matters again.

            It’s Harry’s last week at home before he needs to go back to teaching, and Louis gets to the flat to find dinner at the table and a new cocktail prepared. Seriously, Louis does not deserve that person standing in his kitchen.

            “Evening, love”, he voices leaving his keys and cellphone on the counter.

            “Took you long enough”, Harry jokes, but leans back to Louis’ body when he circles his arms around the professor’s waist from behind. “How was your day?” He asks. Harry’s voice is husky and velvety and everything Louis needs after a day of meetings.

            Louis kisses his neck and then his shoulder, finally letting go of him so Harry can turn around. He’s wearing his glasses and his hair’s in a bun and Louis has never loved him more.

            “It was good”, he sighs for an answer. “Finally done with all of the paperwork and filming, now it’s just- you know, promo and all.”

            “When do you start traveling?” Harry asks.

            “In a couple of weeks…” The singer answers. “My first interview is next week, and then I’ll do Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds--- and come back to London, have three days off…” Louis stops to think, he seldom memorizes his schedules. “I think then I go to the US, stay there three weeks and come back to the UK…”

            “London?” His boyfriend asks hopefully.

            “Ireland, Scotland… A few more cities in England and then London.”

            Harry sighs sadly.

            “I’ll see you”, Louis assures him. “Whenever there’s a break, I’ll see you”, he says.

            “I know”, Harry answers smiling. “I’ve just gotten used to having you every day, gonna be weird, you know?” He asks.

            “Trust me, I know”, he tells him and pecks his mouth.

            It is going to be weird, indeed, but Louis is also kind of looking forward to it.

            He knows they haven’t had it easy – far from it –, but they’ve always been able to see each other and physically be there for each other. Now that Louis life is going to go back to normal, to what’s normal for him, anyways, they’ll have to find a way to be together without actually being together all of the time.

            And this is exciting, Louis thinks. This makes their relationship all the more serious- it will force them to communicate more with words than gestures, it will show Louis what it is like to not feel lonely even when he’s alone.

            It’s not going to be a walk in the park to stay away from Harry’s warmth, but it will be an important experience nonetheless.

            “How was your day?” He asks Harry back.

            They’re now setting up the table so they can finally eat.

            “Stressful”, the professor replies. “Turned in another article, started reading more stuff for my Ph.D. and learned that I still have a year of research ahead…”

            “But these things take time, don’t they?”

            “Yeah, but I was kind of looking forward to start working with kids by the end of next year.” He shrugs. “Here, taste this”, Harry hands him a glass.

            “What is this?”

            “A non-alcoholic Piña Colada. I promise it’s tasty!” Harry smiles excitedly.

            It actually is. It’s amazing. And so is the Pepperberry-Rubbed Caribbean Pork Ribs he’s prepared. Harry.

            “You’re- you’re like a unicorn, Harold.” Louis laughs weakly as he takes his first bite. Fuck, this is good, he closes his eyes.

            Harry also laughs lightly.

            “Glad you liked it.”

            “Loved it!” He reinforces. “But- okay, going back to the kids… Why can you only work with kids if you have a Ph.D.?”

            “I can work with kids without a Ph.D.…” He explains. “But I make good money now and I’ve gotten used to a certain—standard, you know? This sounds stupid, I know, but if I dropped the Academy right now, not only would that be stupid, because let’s face it, no one my age gets to work there—but also- I’d have to teach kids at a school or something and- the salaries are not that good. Is that too, I don’t know, bad?”

            “No, H.”

            “I mean, if I wanted to teach kids so much I guess I could do it for love, right? It makes me feel a bit stupid, to be honest.”

            “It’s not stupid, love”, Louis tells him. “We all get used to- standards, clearly”, the singer chuckles. “I don’t know what I’d do if suddenly I wasn’t rich anymore.”

            “How hard would life be…” Harry chuckles.

            “I mean, I certainly wouldn’t be able to afford Doctor Andrew”, Louis replies and Harry’s smile softens.

            “What are you gonna do with your sessions while you’re away?”

            “Skype, I suppose. I won’t stop the therapy Harry, relax. I actually, uh... There’s something I need to ask you…” He trails and Harry waits. “How would you feel about going on a session with me? Like- he wants to talk to the people around me, you know? Gotta ask Li and Soph too, maybe Niall, since he was there when I… Last time. But I wanted you to be the first.”

            “I… Sure, babe, of course. Whatever you want.”

            “I’m scared”, he confesses.

            “Of what?”

            “I don’t know… You seeing me in therapy, even though you’ve seen me worse…”

            “Why’s that, Lou?” He frowns and sips from his own drink. 

            “I guess I get by pretty well nowadays, right?” Louis looks for confirmation, Harry nods. “But you’re gonna see firsthand again how sick I am and that’s- hard.”

            “Lou”, Harry speaks and holds his hand over the table. “I’m not running away, okay?”

            “I know.”

            “But do you?”

            Louis doesn’t. He hopes and he wonders and he wants, but he doesn’t know per se that Harry won’t run away. One day Louis might have another freak out and Harry can finally realize he doesn’t want him anymore. One day the professor can just wake up and decide that Louis isn’t worth it at all. It’s a possibility.

            Louis doesn’t answer and Harry squeezes his hand.

            They’ve both finished eating by now and although Louis is very curious to know what Harry’s made for dessert (Harry always makes dessert), he also can’t take his eyes off of him when Harry walks around the table and kneels by his side, holding both of Louis’ hands and kissing them like it’s a promise.

            “You’re too important for me to ever let you go, and I am too selfish”, Harry smiles weakly. “It will be an honor to go to a session with you, okay?”

            Louis doesn’t really know what to say, so he bends down and kisses Harry with all of the things he can’t voice yet. Every kiss is good, and Louis has found out that he loves when he is the one who starts them, especially like this, when he’s a bit taller than Harry.

            Harry sinks to his knees and lets Louis kiss him the way he likes. It’s soft and it’s deep, languid and so, so meaningful. Louis can taste the pineapple of the “non-alcoholic piña colada” when he drags his tongue against his boyfriend’s, and he can taste something entirely Harry, something that’s got him completely addicted, but is better than any drug.

            Harry’s hands move to Louis’ thighs as Louis’ own sink in Harry’s hair, pulling and making his head move according to his own will – Harry lets him, and roams his hands on Louis’ inner thighs, squeezing every now and then and making Louis kiss him more forcefully, rapidly, desperately and… And in control.

            It’s the first time the professor is this pliant, this trusting, and Louis takes advantage of it. And as much as Louis loves the way Harry always pounds into him, mercilessly and guiltlessly, he can’t help but think about doing the same to him right now—will Harry let him? Does Harry even bottom? How the fuck doesn’t Louis know that by now?  

            “H…” He speaks and notices how hoarse his own voice is.

            Harry keeps kissing him, his neck, his collarbones, and one of his hands moves to Louis’ dick, which is already pretty interested in what’s going on.

            “Harry”, he calls again and pulls Harry’s head by his hair. Harry moans and he moans loudly, eyes closing and mouth opening and Louis revels in it. Oh my God, he looks beautiful, sinful, Louis is mesmerized. “D’you bottom?” He asks.

            The professor opens his eyes, big, glassy, staring right back at Louis.

            “Because I- I mean, it’s okay if you don’t, but I-” Harry cuts him with a kiss again, but this time he manages to get them both up and flushed against each other without even disconnecting their mouths.

            Louis moves his hands to Harry’s ass and pulls him closer, aligning their crotches and now all he can think about is putting his fingers inside of Harry’s ass, experiencing gay sex the other way around—all the can think about is Harry underneath him squirming and asking for more just like Louis has done many times before.

            He kisses Harry with the intent of someone who’s been days in the desert and has now finally found a drop of water, because—because that’s what Harry is to him: the light at the end of the tunnel, the rain after the draught, the hope of a better everything.   

            And Harry kisses him back like he understands, but, more than that, like he shares the same feeling.

            They only stop kissing to breathe, but Louis is right there on Harry’s jaw, biting and smoothing his tongue over it, leaving a mark where everyone will see and know Harry is taken, even if they don’t know by whom.     

            “You-” Harry’s breath is irregular, but he speaks the best he can. “You’re asking because you want to fuck me?” He manages to ask. Louis stills his hands and looks at him.

            He’s sincere, and he isn’t ashamed.

            “Yes, obviously”, he chuckles.

            “In that case”, Harry pulls him closer again, rolling his hips on Louis dick and fuckfuckfuckfuck say yes, Harry, please, Louis squeezes his eyes shut and drops his forehead to Harry’s shoulder, waiting for an answer.

            “I would love to be fucked by you”, Harry speaks slowly, hoarsely and decidedly in his ear.

            First Louis freezes, then he shivers, and then something possesses him, because he starts walking pulling Harry by his shirt—and if they start running towards the room, then it’s nobody’s business but their own.

            Louis finds a new strength in him, a new pleasure he didn’t know he had when he shoves Harry to the bed and climbs on top of him, straddling his legs and pressing down till the pressure on their dicks boarders too much too fast, and starts undressing Harry by his shirt, lifting his arms and kissing his chest in the process.

            Harry’s nipples are right there, pink and hard and so inviting. Louis wastes no time when he takes one of them in his mouth and Harry arches his back instantly, dick rubbing against Louis’ again.

            There’s too much clothes between them, still, so Louis prays that he’s coordinated enough to take off Harry’s jeans without detaching his mouth from his boyfriend’s body – he succeeds, and kisses along Harry’s torso and thighs as his pants slide off his mile long milky-colored legs.

            “One day”, Louis speaks to Harry’s body, licking and sucking on his inner thigh, already stroking his dick, “one summer- we-- we’ll go to a beach and toast in the sun”, he says, smiling, kissing up to Harry’s hipbone.

            Harry’s got one hand in Louis’ head and the other on the headboard, holding himself in place.

            “We’ll get suntanned together and your skin will look- golden”, Louis promises… “And then I’ll get to watch it fade again- till it’s just you one more time.”

            He hopes Harry understands what he’s saying. He hopes Harry gets that this means Louis wants to be lucky enough to be with him through all of the seasons of the year and then some more. Louis hopes Harry understands, that Harry gets the message that one day they’ll get to go the beach together, as a couple, because one day Louis won’t feel the need to hide anymore.

            And Louis knows it’s too much to be understood right now, and his choice of words, as an example of what he means, probably wasn’t the best, but it’s all he could think about—it’s all he can think about as he kisses down Harry’s crotch, inhaling his scent and licking around his base, making Harry’s hips buck up and his hand pull his hair and-

            “Shit”, Louis hisses. He’s so hard too and so, so clothed.

            He kneels on the bed and takes off the rest of his clothes, and when he looks up Harry’s right there, kissing him and hugging him and roaming his hands on Louis’ body, and everywhere he touches Louis feels hot, like something ignites inside of him and implodes- he can’t explain because he can only feel, feel so damn much.

            “I want you”, Harry voices, mouth on his neck, hands holding Louis’s, chest plastered to his. “I want you so-fuck, Louis, I want you so much”, Harry speaks and almost sobs, Louis thinks.    

            There’s emotion, sure, but there’s also something primal about the way Harry’s acting right now.

            Harry, who is always so careful and is always slowing down for Louis to catch up. Harry, who is always concerned about teaching and giving Louis pleasure. Harry, who never seems to let go afraid that he’ll scare Louis off is now giving himself completely, Louis notices.

            “I wan-” he’s kissed. He goes with it, and fucks Harry’s mouth with his tongue till their bodies fall on the bed again, Louis still on top, the professor’s legs opened to accommodate him. “I want you too”, Louis says raggedly to Harry’s mouth, “so much”, he completes.

            Because he does. He doesn’t think he’s ever wanted anyone or anything this much, and he doesn’t think he ever will.

            Harry hands him the lube and condom, and Louis has only two seconds to freak out before Harry is squeezing the lube on Louis fingers, guiding his hand down to his hole.

            “Just do to me what feels good to you, okay?” He says looking right into his eyes. “After-” swallows saliva, “after the first finger I won’t be able to say much, I reckon”, Harry chuckles. “But I trust you.”

            Louis leans down and kisses Harry on the mouth again, much slower but deeper too. Harry trusts him to fuck him. And Louis kind of trusts himself right now too – he’s got this.

            He starts with one finger, because it’s safe, because for what he can tell Harry hasn’t been fucked in a long time – at least for the time they’ve been together, so he needs to be careful with him. Because here’s the thing: Harry’s bigger than him, but Harry’s made of soft edges.

            Harry’s soft and hard in all the right places, and the sound he makes when Louis inserts his first finger in his pink, small, so fucking tight hole is something Louis will never ever forget. And it feels good. It feels good around his damn finger, and he closes his eyes against Harry’s thigh now just imagining what it’ll be like when it’s his dick in there.

            He pumps his finger in and out and kisses whatever part of Harry’s body he can without changing the angle of his hand too much, because he reckons it’s a good angle. Louis is careful in everything he does because right now he’s the one who is in charge, he’s the one who needs to take care of Harry.

            “Gimme another”, Harry tells him, his voice barely audible.

            Louis does what he says so, though, and Harry squirms on the bed, writhes on the sheets as Louis goes back in with two fingers. Harry’s legs spread wider and the singer kisses up his chest, neck, and bites hard on his collarbones as he moves his hand faster – his wrist hurts only a little bit, but it’s completely worth it for the sounds Harry is making.

            “You feel so good, Harry—” he says, kissing along Harry’s chest tattoos and then moving to his neck, jaw, ear… “Does it feel good, H?” He asks lowly, biting his earlobe and licking over it.

            It’s something he’s done countless times before and Harry’s reaction to it never ceases to amaze him.

            “Does it?” He asks again when Harry doesn’t speak.

            “It--” the professor’s breathing shortly and quickly, chest rising and falling accordingly, stomach moving as Louis’ third finger enters him, “oh-my-GOD”, he half-screams, “keep—keep going, Lou.”

            Harry’s disorientation is all Louis needs to know he’s doing a good job, really. He kisses him again, harsher this time, and more filthily too, tongues meeting before lips do.

            Louis thinks that this moment is one of his favorites. He kisses Harry one more time and then backs away, removing his fingers and watching Harry’s hole clench on nothing, just there. When is his fucking miserable life would Louis allow himself to think that this is so beautiful?         

            Everything about being here on this bed watching Harry is enticing, mesmerizing, mind-fucking-blowing.

            “Condom”, Louis says after a deep breath and looks around him, finally finding a small package by Harry’s shoulder.

            Only then Louis pays attention to his dick, because as he fingered Harry and kissed him and felt him, it was like Louis was a man on a mission, and now that he notices how hard he is, it’s painful- it’s like his dick will fall off his body unless he does something right away.

            Harry notices it, because he smirks when he looks at Louis reaction, but Louis is quick to shut him up, pulling Harry’s legs up and pressing his length to Harry’s entrance just so he can get a taste of what’s about to happen – it only backfires fifty percent, because it does wipe the smirk out of his boyfriend’s face, but it also makes the singer roll his own eyes to the back of his head and chant a bunch of incoherent curse words as the pressure is finally relieved.

            “Come on, Louis—” Harry says, “it’s en-ah ah fuck fuck”, he closes his eyes again, hands moving to Louis’ shoulder and sinking his nails there while Louis rubs his head on Harry’s rim. “Enough.”

            “But I thought we were just about to start, love”, Louis teases and Harry stares at him seriously, murderous expression in his face.

            Louis thinks that if he doesn’t get a move on right now Harry will most likely throw Louis on the bed and ride him into oblivion, not allowing him to move much. And although his idea is very appealing and Louis wants to do this one of these days, later tonight, who knows, the thought of being able to enter Harry and watch him fall apart underneath him and right before his eyes is more entertaining at the moment.

            With certain difficulty, Louis puts on the condom and Harry helps him spreading the lube on his length.

            “I- oh, Harry, fu-uh”, he tries to say something, anything as Harry keeps pumping him, squeezing his base so he doesn’t come and sliding his hand up to his head again.

            Louis slaps Harry’s hand and pushes him down on the bed one more time. Every girl he’s ever fucked flashes through his mind – at least the ones he can remember – and he knows, he’s just- so, so sure that every single one of them will be completely erased the moment he enters Harry.     

            There isn’t a doubt that Louis has never fucked anyone in the story of forever with as much want and willingness as he is about to do right now.

            Harry silently instructs him to grab his legs so that’s what Louis does. He hooks Harry’s legs over his shoulders and kisses the side of Harry’s knee, while he uses one of his hands to guide his dick into Harry’s rim.

            “I-” Harry starts speaking and Louis stops. “I can take it, yeah?” He tells him. “Whatever you feel like- doing, however you feel like doing it I—I can take it.”

            “Is this your way of saying you like it rough, Hazz?” Louis asks, smiling down at him and letting the head of his cock slide past Harry’s whole.

            Harry closes his eyes and arches his back from the bed, Louis hisses with him.

            “Y-yeah, Lou”, he smiles, blissed expression on his face—and he hasn’t even come yet. “I like it hard.”

            Louis smiles, kisses his knee again, mumbles something in the lines of your request is an order and enters him at once, not even stopping. He slides his dick into Harry steadily until he’s completely bottomed out, balls to Harry’s ass, dick completely inside him and the fucking tightness—he wasn’t ready for this, “OH MY FUCKINGG-FUCK-MY—HARRY”, Louis voices a bit out of it, squeezing his eyes shut.

            It’s so tight, everything is tight and—how?

            Harry’s incomparable. Harry is…

            “Everything”, the singer says, barely breathing. “You’re everything.”

            “And yours”, Harry assures him. “Now move, for the love of God, move”, he pleads and uses his legs to pull Louis’ forwards.

            Louis ends up going with him, leaning down to kiss his forehead and letting Harry’s legs drop to his elbows. He finds he likes it better this way, and he starts moving his hips thrusting into Harry shortly, at first, and fast, like he said he liked it.

            And Harry is useless, really, at Louis’ mercy—fuck Louis loves it so much. Harry’s gripping the sheet by his sides like it’s a lifeline and all the can come up with is a strand of uh-uh-uh everytime Louis fucks into him, and Louis knows he’s found Harry’s spot the second Harry screams, arches completely off the bed and stays this way, hands uncomfortably holding his body up in a bridge position as Louis fucks into him mercilessly once again.

            Louis loves it, him, everything about this moment. Harry’s so responsive and so different from when he is the one doing the fucking… His cheeks are so, so red, his lips are swollen, his hair is a mess and he’s the most- the most everything Louis has ever seen.

            “You’re so gorgeous”, Louis says, only the tip of his cock in Harry. “So.” In. “Fucking.” Out. “Gorgeous.” In, completely, right on his prostate. Harry screams again. “I want you, I want you so much”, he repeats what Harry said to him once again, pressing him down to the bed now, letting his weight hold Harry on the bed. “I can’t explain how much I want you”, Louis says and now he is the one getting emotional, fuck, what has Harry done to him?

            He knows that this is how some people feel during sex. That they feel so overwhelmed that they start crying, and Louis doesn’t want to be one of those people, not again, but he can’t help but feel everything building up inside of him, every time he felt like sex wasn’t enough, every time he felt like he wasn’t enough, every time he believed he’d never feel this good and this complete and this right—it’s all building up inside of him, it’s all happened so he could be here right now and Louis is- he’s exploding.

            “M-more, Lou”, Harry asks in his ear, “al-ah—almost there”, he tells him.

            “C’mon, Hazz—” he voices, “c’mon, baby.”

            Louis holds Harry’s hair with one hand and grips his boyfriend’s hand with the other. He keeps his thrusts strong and short, letting Harry’s dick trapped between their stomachs and it only takes a few more thrusts and words of encouragement for Harry to come with a sob, choking Louis’ name out of his throat like a prayer.

            Harry clenches around him and Louis is done for. He buries his head in Harry’s neck and muffles his own scream.

            He’s never been so loud.

            He’s never been so sure that this is the man he wants to spend the rest of his life with.

            He’s never been so excited for the future.



Chapter Text





            “You probably think this world is a dream come true. But you’re wrong.”

            “Why d’you say that?” The interviewer asks Louis.

            September has started, the video for his single has been released, and this is Louis’ first interview in a year.

            “Because…” He stops and thinks. Liam’s right there, behind the main camera, urging him to continue. You’ve got this, his manager mouths. “Because there’s a lot that goes on behind the cameras, and sometimes we get lost without even realizing it.”

            “You say that because of what happened to you at the beginning of this year?” The woman asks and Louis nods.

            He never likes when he isn’t familiar with the interviewer. This one is named Sandy and has been on air for a few months now. Liam thought it’d be nice to help her out by coming to her show.

            “Yes, because many things.” She waits for him to continue, so Louis elaborates. “I think everyone notices that fame changes a person, sometimes, but—the length of it, the impact of it is not something that you can see.”

            “Do you regret anything, Louis?”

            “No”, he answers truthfully. “I’m doing good things now… What I’ve been through shaped me into what I am. I’m stronger now.” I have someone who makes me strong, he doesn’t say.

            “You certainly seem so”, the woman smiles. “Your new single is a really strong one… Different from everything you’ve ever done…” She then moves back to his career and Louis feels a little more confident and relieved.

            For a first interview, it goes well, Louis thinks. Sure he needs to work on looking less sad and terrified when his breakdown is mentioned for future interviews, but he thinks he does a good job at talking about the album and people who helped him write this one without going into much detail.

            After three more questions, he is asked to perform and gets up electrified. He’s not nervous, is the thing. Maybe he should be, maybe it should be more difficult than to just pick up an acoustic guitar and perform in a studio, but it really isn’t.

            The lights dim, there’s a spotlight on his face, and he knows he needs to start.

            My ship went down

            In a sea of sounds

            When I woke up alone

            I had everything

            A handful of moments

            I wished I could change

            And a tongue like a nightmare that cut like a blade

            In a city of fools

            I was careful and cool

            But they tore me apart like a hurricane…




            Here’s the truth about September: it sneaks up on you and all of a sudden it’s autumn, and you’re back to work, and you don’t know what to do when your alarm sets off at six in the morning, especially when there is a Louis Tomlinson hugging you from behind and breathing softly into your neck. Harry has a hard task at this moment.

            The professor turns off the alarm once. But then five minutes later it is ringing again and Louis whines.

            “Just throw it at the wall”, he mumbles in Harry’s neck.

            “I wish I could”, he chuckles. It’s the fourth day they’re having this same conversation. “Gotta get up, Lou.”

            “No”, Louis says decisively and hugs him tighter.

            “Don’t do this.” Harry’s not above calling in sick during the first week.

            “I’m traveling next week, won’t have you with me.”

            Low, Louis, very low. Harry turns around and faces him. Louis hasn’t even opened his eyes yet. Harry runs his index finger lightly on his boyfriend’s eyebrow and kisses his nose.

            “That’s not fair”, Harry whispers and Louis smiles knowingly. “Ugh, I hate you”, he rolls to the other side and gets out of bed. If he doesn’t leave now he’s going to stay here forever, which is exactly what he wants, but hey, one needs to work, right? Unfortunately.

            “You don’t hate me, Harold”, Louis says and rolls over to look at him. “Why d’you have to go so early anyway? Don’t you have to be in at, like, nine?”          

            “Yeah, but someone didn’t let me go back to my flat yesterday and I don’t have more work clothes here”, he tells Louis pointedly, who remains unbothered. “Plus, I promised Paul I’d have breakfast with him and his wife before class.”

            “Is Paul the one I thought was you when I went to the Academy for the first time?” The singer asks, propping his head up in his hand, elbow on the mattress, and unabashedly checking Harry out as he dresses himself.

            “Yeah… That was so funny.”

            “That was terrible.”

            “Well, your face was amazing. I loved every bit of it.”

            Louis snorts. “You hated me as much as I hated you when we first met.”

            “Where did you get that from?” Harry frowns, sitting on the bed to put on his boots.

            “Uhn, your article?”            

            “That was work.”

            “You didn’t seem to like me personally either, H.”

            “I didn’t like that you were hiding”, Harry shrugs. “I just wanted you to tell me you were gay so we could have hate sex in my office.” He leans in and kisses Louis, who caresses his face and keeps the kiss tender, the pace slow.

            “I’m sorry”, Louis whispers into his mouth. Harry’s about to object when he speaks again. “And thank you. For everything. You’re… I don’t even know what you are, but thank you.”

            “Nothing to thank me for, Lou”, Harry kisses him again and then on the cheek. Louis is always the softest in the morning and Harry can only handle too much softness when he needs to leave. “I think I’ll—” he starts only a tiny bit scared, not wanting to hurt Louis. “I think I’ll stay at my flat tonight, yeah? It’s just uhn, you have a party to go tonight and I need to get all the sleep that I can, especially because I’m not used to waking up this early anymore.”

            Louis’ expression falls, but he doesn’t look pissed or disappointed. He looks like a puppy. But Harry’s fine, he can handle it. Oh God, he totally can’t. Harry gets in bed again just to kiss Louis entire face.

            “Please don’t be mad?”

            “Not mad”, Louis voices. “By the way, Liam’s going with me—to the party, he’ll watch me so you… You don’t have to worry.”

            Harry wants to say I’m not worried, you got this, but he can’t, because he is, indeed, worried sick about Louis going back to all of these industry events.

            “I’ll still see you on Friday, right?” He asks.

            Friday they have an appointment with Doctor Andrew, since it is Louis’ only free day. Harry’s not nervous, because nervous is the understatement of the understatement. Harry’s on the brink of an anxiety attack, because… What if Louis’ therapist hates him? What if he thinks Harry’s a bad influence? What if he thinks Louis will be better off if Harry simply vanishes from his life?

            “Yep. Pick me up at the Academy?” Harry asks. They’ve scheduled it for five pm, so Harry has time to finish his classes, get some tea and calm himself down.

            “Sure.” Louis answers.

            “Now I’m really going. Bye.” Harry pecks his mouth and doesn’t wait to hear back from Louis or he’ll never ever exit this place again.


            Work is work, as per usual. Only now Harry gets stupid texts every now and then that completely make him forget what he’s supposed to do or which classroom he’s supposed to go next, but he’s fine. He still picks Lux up from school most days and still gets major stares from Louise when he drops her daughter off at the hairdresser saloon she works at.

            Today is no different.

            He is coloring with Lux in the back while Lou finishes someone’s hair, and everything is good – perfect, even. Lux draws him as a ballerina and Harry even risks a few twirls, making the six year old laugh so much her eyes get watery.

            Harry snaps a picture of her and posts it on instagram and then twitter as my favorite child. Louis replies with a heeeeeeeey almost instantly. And then says I’ll only let it slide because it’s miss Lux. Tell her I say hi. And. Okay. They’re talking with each other on social media now. Apparently. That’s a thing. It’s fine.

            Harry had already gotten his fair share of followers for being seen with Louis. Because of this small interaction he’ll finish the day with more than a hundred thousand. But it’s fine. It’s okay. Who’s counting?

            “All right there, Harreh?” Lou asks coming to join them. It’s six in the evening and he hadn’t even realized.

            “We’re all right, aren’t we?”

            “We are! Louis Tomlinson says he misses me, mom! She kind of yells. Harry smiles looking at her. Louise’s eyes almost pierce Harry’s skin, so hard she stares. They don’t talk about it. Again.

            It’s not that Harry doesn’t want to. God only knows how much he wants Lou and Tom to know, so they can all have a date night together. Because he bets Louis would love Tom’s designs of tattoos and would get many more, and he also bets that Louis would win Louise over in just a couple of minutes, and they’d all become friends and maybe even babysit Lux together.

            So, it’s not that Harry doesn’t want to; it’s that he knows what to ask and when to ask, and this is not something Louis is ready to give him, he thinks, not at the moment, anyways. He’s already met part of Harry’s family, and it hasn’t been that long, so he can’t quite ask him to tell Lou and Tom, no matter how much he wants to.

            Harry goes home and texts him to ask if it’s okay to reply to his tweet. Louis says that yes, as long as it isn’t- you know. Yeah, Harry knows, so Harry simply answers Lux says hi back. She may even miss you a bit. To which Louis replies, in a text:

            So bring her over on Saturday for lunch. Assure her mom that you’re cooking, though.

            And… Yeah. Harry can do that.




            “So, it’s nice to see you again in a better circumstance, Mr. Styles”, Doctor Andrew says when Harry enters his office.

            Last time they met was at the hospital. So, yeah, it is nice to see him today without Louis being half dead.

            “Harry, please”, he smiles. “It’s, uhn, good to see you to. In a better. Circumstance. I mean.” Damn, you idiot.

            “No need to be nervous, Harry, Louis speaks wonders of you.” He says calmly and Louis blushes furiously by Harry’s side.

            “Which just makes me more nervous”, he voices.

            “Why’s that?”

            “Now I’ve got standards to meet, right?”

            “You already meet all of them, H”, Louis answers before the therapist can speak. Maybe Harry blushes too.


            “It’s Louis’ standards that you have to meet, and you clearly do”, doctor Andrew chuckles. “This is simply so we can talk about Louis in your life and you in Louis’ life. Just like I’ll do with Liam. I won’t go any harder on you because you’re his partner.”

            “Boyfriend”, Louis says aloud. “I like the word boyfriend.”

            “I like it too”, Harry looks at him and smiles.     

            “This is very good, Louis”, the therapist says, “Can you pinpoint the exact moment in which you started to be okay with the term?”

            “Uhn, no, not quite…” Louis seems to think. “Truth is I’d been thinking about it-- calling Harry my boyfriend in my mind long before we made our relationship official.”

            “Me too”, Harry confesses. “Maybe- I don’t know, I guess it gave you time to get used to it?” He turns to Louis again, to ask.

            “I think so too” the singer replies and Harry smiles.

            “Good, that’s… Good, that you guys took your time. It’s very important to respect each other”, Doctor Andrew says and Harry agrees one hundred percent with him. “It’s very clear to me how much you respect Louis, Harry.”

            The professor doesn’t know what to say, so he just nods.

            “Do you feel like Louis respects you? And your wishes?” He questions.

            Louis’ body stiffens next to him, but Harry pretends he doesn’t notice. Sometimes Louis just needs things to sink in before he’s okay with them.

            But… This is a good question. Not because the answer is a definite yes or a definite no, but because this is something Harry’s never thought about. Now, put on the spot like this, he can’t not think about it and, well, he doesn’t think Louis has ever been disrespectful.

            At times he’s felt like Louis was selfish, because Harry’s only human and he wants things for himself too, but he’s known about Louis’ internalized homophobia from the beginning. He can’t say this isn’t what he signed up for. Harry did his research after all.

            “Just because Louis is dealing with a mental illness it doesn’t mean you have to just take everything he gives you and give everything he wants to take, Harry.” Doctor Andrew voices when he sees Harry doesn’t answer his question.

            And that’s… No one’s ever told him that. And Harry knows it, to some extent. Still, it’s like he can breathe properly for the first time in forever when Doctor Andrew tells him that.

            “And it doesn’t mean that you can’t ask either”, Louis says lowly. For a second there Harry even forgot his boyfriend was in the room, the shock of the therapist’s sentence taking all of his attention.

            “I’m not… I’m processing information”, is all Harry says.

            “Why don’t you tell Harry what we’ve been talking about, Louis?” Doctor Andrew suggests.

            Harry looks at him wide-eyed. He knows Louis talks about him with his therapist, of course he does, but everything’s hitting him harder now that he’s here. Harry never, not even in a million years, would imagine that he’d be sitting with his boyfriend in a therapy session discussing their relationship. Harry never thought he’d be in a therapy session. Now he’s reconsidering it all. Maybe he’s got stuff to figure out too.

            “I’m afraid…” Louis starts. “I’m afraid you’ll start resenting me, eventually.” He sighs. “And you’ll be completely right, so… I think what I’m actually afraid is that I had seen it coming and didn’t do anything.” He catches Harry’s hand. 

            This is big, because it’s the first person who isn’t one of Louis’ closer than closest friends that sees them interacting this closely. And even though this is Louis’ therapist and probably knows more about them than anyone who’s seen them interact on a weekly basis, it’s still something. This is Louis doing something.

            “This is you doing something, Lou”, he smiles privately.

            “Yes.” His boyfriend smiles back.

            “Have you got an answer for me yet, Harry?” The therapist catches his attention again.

            “Doctor Andrew doesn’t let us go with unanswered questions.”

            “I do”, Harry answers. “And yes, Louis does respect me. And my wishes. The best he can. When he can.”

            “And doesn’t that bother you?” The doctor presses.

            “That he does his best despite the circumstances? No, I think that’s awesome. I’m… Human, and I’m not perfect, and I’ll get frustrated, at times, sure. But I—this is what I want. He is who I want”, Louis squeezes his hand, “so I’ll learn to adjust. The best I can, too.” He turns to Louis. “We’re learning, aren’t we?”

            “We are”, Louis says. His eyes are shining and I love you, Harry thinks for the hundredth time today.

            “I’d like you to ask more of Louis, Harry.” Doctor Andrew says. “That’s your homework.”

            “Isn’t that pushing him?” Harry frowns and Louis chuckles.

            “It’s not pushing if you understand that he might say no more often than not”, he replies.

            “But I want you to, too”, Louis tells him. “You give me more than I could ever ask for, H. And you should have the world. And I don’t want you to resent me ten years from now.”

            “Ten years from now, yeah?” Harry asks playfully.

            “Shut up”, Louis rolls his eyes but rests his head on his shoulder.

            “You’re both committed to making this work”, doctor Andrew says. “You’re both making really big efforts here, especially because you’re from different worlds, so to speak. So you’re both allowed to want things from each other.”

            Harry nods. He thinks he understands.


            Louis says he wants to take him to dinner when they leave Doctor Andrew’s office, and Harry feels something really different in the air as they enter the car. Hearing Louis concerns not only helped Harry understand even more what he is going through, but assured him, somehow, that Louis is as into this relationship as Harry himself is.

            Harry didn’t doubt him before, in no way, but he hadn’t gotten the whole picture either. Now Louis is driving and he intertwines their fingers on top of the car console while his other hand remains on the wheel. This is something they’ve done before. This is something Harry wants to keep doing for however long they can.


            Louis picks a small but very fancy looking restaurant in Camden Town, but Harry doesn’t say anything – he knows that this is Louis’ way of saying thank you, I care about you. For someone who has been writing such beautiful songs, his boyfriend can have real problems expressing himself. But then again, so can Harry, because more often than not, Louis kind of makes him speechless.       

            Like at this moment.

            They exit the car together, and a valet takes Louis’ key. Louis smiles, thanks him and tells Harry to walk in before he does, holding the door. They sit at a table away from the street. Not many people turn their heads to look at them, and Harry recognizes two or three famous faces.

            “Wine, sirs?” A waiter comes around.    

            “The sweetest thing you have for him”, Louis nods towards Harry. “I’ll just have still water for now, thanks.”

            “I don’t need to drink wine, you know that”, Harry rolls his eyes.

            “One, I know how much you love wine and two, this is kind of selfish, too, since I love how your mouth gets absurdly red and and just—more sinful than ever when you drink it.” Harry takes a deep breath and smiles; he feels his cheeks redden, but his smile doesn’t falter. How could it? Louis loves his mouth.

            It’s not the first time he’s thrown the word love in the middle of a sentence, far from it. Louis often loves many things about Harry. And Harry knows Louis loves him, because, well, he’s heard him talking to his parents not long ago. Still, the huge butterfly on his stomach – Harry’s really tired of trying to convince Louis it’s a moth – bats its wings rapidly, and the professor feels sixteen again.

            “Okay then”, he smiles and thanks the waiter when he comes back with a freaking expensive wine.

            This isn’t the part that takes Harry’s words away from him though.

            The part that takes Harry’s words and breath away comes right after dinner, when they’re having dessert. Louis is big on desserts and if he’s being honest, Harry is too, especially if there’s chocolate involved.      

            And here’s what Louis does: he takes Harry’s hand on the table. Just like they were in the car, but now in this restaurant, with people around them. Louis takes Harry’s hand and raises it towards his lips just so he can give him a wet, ice-creamed kiss.


            Tonight Harry fucks Louis sideways, slow, and deep. Louis grinds back and moans whenever he musters the power to circle his hips on Harry’s cock, and with each thrust the professor holds back an I love you. He comes biting on Louis shoulder and Louis comes with a choked sob.

            They go for round to with Louis riding him, slow and deep too. Harry can almost hear Louis’ thoughts – and he knows that whenever he sinks down on him, shutting his eyes and opening his mouth, he’s feeling the same thing that Harry is. And this kind of connection is more than Harry ever thought he’d have in life.




            Lux arrives at eleven thirty on Saturday, just when Harry is finishing lunch and Louis is getting up, having some trouble to walk because of the night before. Louis is sore, but he’s content, and that’s all that really matters these days.

            “Do not get in trouble, misses Lux!” Her mother is saying at the door.

            Louis decides to come and say hi, and he knows what she thinks, and he knows Harry hasn’t told her yet, although it’s pretty clear, but Louis finds himself not minding it that much. Maybe he’ll find a way to tell her himself.

            “She won’t, will you?” He says as he approaches. “Hello, Lux.” He smiles.

            “Louis Tomlinson!” The little girl smiles as she says his name, Harry also smiles by her side. “Thank you for inviting me to your house.”

            “Wow, so polite”, he chuckles and he can feel the crinkle by his eyes. Louis opens his arms and Lux jumps, hugging him tight as he holds her in the air. “You’re very welcome.” He kisses her cheek and puts her down again. “Hi, nice to see you again.” He talks to Louise.

            “Hi, Louis, thanks for- uhn, having her. She’s really excited.” The woman says, a smile on her face.

            “Clearly”, Harry laughs lightly as he watches Lux smile from ear to ear. “Never that happy to see me”, he says, pretending to be wounded.

            “But I see you almost every day, uncle Harrrrrryyyy.” She whines. “And I love you anyway. And you love me.”

            “That I do”, he smiles and brushes her fringe out of her hair.

            “Okay, I’m gonna say goodbye, then. Tom’s at the shop, so I’ll be there with him till he finishes at four and then I’m going home… You know where to find me.” Louise tells Harry and he nods.

            “Thanks for bringing her”, Louis smiles, “we’re gonna have a blast.”

            “Say that after she tires you out.”

            “She can’t tire me more than Harry already does.”

            The joke is out before he realizes it. Harry’s eyebrows go up to his forehead, he chokes on a laughter and Louise looks between the two of them before laughing loudly too. Lux doesn’t seem to understand, but joins them when she sees Harry’s expression.

            “Okay, that’s my cue to leave.” Lou says. “Behave!” She looks at Lux one more time. “I love you.”

            “Love you too, mom. Now bye.”

            Lou rolls his eyes and says goodbye before closing the door.

            “The hell was that?” Harry asks, still surprised, but grinning nonetheless.

            “Uh, it escaped?” Louis shrugs.

            “You’re ridiculous.” His boyfriend answers and kisses his temple. “Plus, you’re dead wrong. Lux tires everyone out.”

            “Think you’re selling yourself short, love”, Louis answers, because Lux is fully entertained with his shelf of awards at the moment.

            “We’ll talk at the end of the day.” Is all Harry says, kissing his temple and going back to the kitchen.

            Louis joins Lux and she asks all sorts of questions about the small statues. They talk sitting on the carpet and she gets overly happy when Louis lets her touch all of them. He notices she has many Harry mannerisms, because he’s been in her life since forever, and Louis thinks the girl is kind of amazing.

            But as it turns out, Harry is right.

            After they eat, instead of feeling a bit lazy like most people do, Lux gains new energy and wants to play all sorts of games – from hide and seek to jumping rope. They do all of it, but only after they wait long enough for the food to settle (under Harry’s orders).

            Louis is in love with her, is the thing. She’s alive and she’s happy and he wonders if Gemma’s kid is going to be like this – probably yes, the kid’s gonna have Styles genes after all, it’ll give Lux a run for her money.

            He does pretty much everything she asks and so does Harry, to be honest, which is why the professor ends up with his nails painted and his hair braided. It reminds Louis of the first time they properly hooked up and Harry had pink nail polish on his nails. It feels like a lifetime ago and only yesterday at the same time. Crazy.

            Lux is sweating by four in the afternoon and it’s warm outside, so Louis suggests they go in to the pool and the little girl practically screams out of excitement. Harry doesn’t even have the strength to look at Louis disapprovingly, Louis notices, and after the girl is completely soaked, the professor just joins them in the water, splashing water on Louis face urging the little girl to do the same.

            It’s probably one of the best Saturdays of Louis’ life, but at the end of it, when Harry’s already getting started on dinner and Lou lets them know she’ll be there right after they eat, Louis is absolutely exhausted, holding Lux on the couch, in front of the TV, so she doesn’t get any new ideas. Seriously, some energy she has!


            “Told ya”, Harry says when they close the door at seven pm after Louise picks her up. Louis is still sprawled on the couch. He sighs and Harry chuckles. “Today was kind of perfect, by the way”, his boyfriend tells him, sitting by his side. “Thank you.”

            “I loved every bit of it too”, he smiles back and scoots closer to kiss Harry. It’s just a brush of lips, soft but grounding. Everything Louis needs. “I say we take a shower and watch a movie before bed”, he speaks lowly, privately. “Unless you want to go out…?”

            “As if I have the energy to go out”, Harry chuckles, kisses him on the mouth. “I could go for a bath, actually. And then definitely movie before bed.”

            “I’ll get the tub started then…” Louis groans just a little when he gets up.


            They spend fifteen minutes in the tub, just letting the warm water wash off the tiredness of today. Harry’s almost asleep when they get out, so they give up watching the movie, getting under the sheets and talking quietly till sleep takes them over completely. Louis dreams of brighter days and toddlers running around.



            It’s on a rainy day that Louis starts traveling for promo around the country. It’s no surprise, because it rains a lot in London, but today is like the city is a bit sad too, just like Harry. Plus, it’s very weird being back in his flat. It’s even weirder that he instantly misses Louis’ place, but never once missed his own while he was staying away.

            Louis does so many interviews in the next few days that Harry can’t even keep up with all of them – especially because he’s back to his routine and working really hard. Usually, September rolls fast, but this time it goes as slowly as it is possible, dragging itself as if it’s telling Harry  to learn how to live without the singer.

            He will, he knows he will, because, well, he’s going to have to. From now on Louis is back to work as well – and his work happens to be a bit different.

            “Today’s my last interview outside London… I could probably come home after this one, because it’s gonna be live—but Liam says it’s too late to drive back.” The singer says apologetic on the phone.

            “Nah, it’s fine…” It isn’t.  Harry misses him. And it’s only been two weeks. “See you tomorrow?”

            “First thing in the morning.”

            “I’ll work first thing in the morning”, he rolls his eyes fondly because Louis knows.

            “Well, I can show up at your work tomorrow? We can have lunch?”

            “You’ll bump into fans.”

            “Then I’ll make sure to wear my best trousers.” His boyfriend replies cheekily. Harry wants him to come back yesterday.

            “See you tomorrow then. Have a nice interview, yeah?”

            “Thanks, love. See you.”

            They hang up and Harry starts organizing his stuff in his office. He’s leaving a little early today because he promised Gemma to go to a doctor’s appointment with her. His sister is super excited to know the sex of the baby, and, honestly, so is Harry.

            If he’s being honest, he’s still trying to wrap his mind around the fact that his sister is going to have a small child of her own and that small child is going to be his niece or nephew. But the baby is barely three months old, and they can’t see a thing. A bummer, but the can wait till next month – they think.

            Harry then accompanies Gemma to her flat, just because he doesn’t want to be alone tonight, and his sister cooks him a nice dinner – one they watch in front of the TV because Louis will give his last live interview before he comes back to London, to Harry.

            “He kind of told Lou about us…” Harry tells his sister when they sit down.

            “Really? How?”

            “He made a joke about how I make him feel exhausted. It was kinda dirty, but anyways”, Harry laughs brightly.  

            “That’s great, actually. I like him a lot.” Gemma voices.

            “Yeah… Me too.”

            “Clearly”, his sister mocks and ruffles his hair. Harry doesn’t roll his eyes, just focus back on his food and waits for Louis to come up on the screen.

            It’s not the first time Harry’s watched an interview of his, but it’s still strange to see Louis out there in the world being the famous person he is.

            Harry doesn’t forget anymore, but he can’t quite get used to it – at least not now. Louis is dressed in jeans, a shirt and a blazer. He looks relaxed, happy even, when he enters the stage, but he’s got the whole popstar thing going on, a different kind of brightness that is not present when they’re in private.

            He conquers everyone with one smile and one nod, and people scream louder under his attention. The interviewer greets him and Louis sits by his side, saying good evening in his strong Yorkshire accent.

            Everything goes greatly, at the beginning. Louis is alive and energetic talking about the album, he talks about his favorite songs and even though he doesn’t say their names, because he can’t yet, Harry knows exactly which ones he’s talking about just by the way he says things.

            “Your boy looks good”, Gemma nudges his side.

            “He does”, Harry chuckles back. His boy looks edible. Harry can’t wait to do just that tomorrow.

            “… My favorite song’s probably the last track of the album, if I’m being honest”, Louis keeps saying. “It probably won’t become a single, but- yeah, that’s my favorite song.” Louis talks.

            The song he hasn’t let Harry listen to yet.

            “Speaking of singles, your single Therapy is still on the top of the charts all over the world, how does that feel?” The man asks.

            “Amazing. It’s unreal that after all this time so many people still support me… Even when I came up with something entirely different from what they were used to.” He glows when he says it. Harry’s smile spreads on his face.

            “But I guess it is coherent with everything you went through his year…”

            “Sure thing. I think human beings are all works in progress who mistakenly think they’re finished…” TV Louis chuckles. “It came as a shock when I found out I still had a long way to go with- you know, figuring myself out as a person and as an artist… I’m getting better now.” He does his best to smile, but Harry interprets it as a grimace.

            “Deep thoughts”, Gemma comments by his side. “Guess he’s, right, though. He’s done a lot of figuring out, hasn’t he?”


            “You said in a previous interview that you had a lot of help going through what you called the worst part…” The interview starts and Louis nods. “Was there anyone special who helped you?”

            “Everyone who helped me is special.” Smart, Louis, Harry thinks.

            “But no love interest? We haven’t heard about your love life in a while, and people are very curious about it.”

            “I’m afraid there’s nothing for them to be curious about.” Louis shrugs. Okay.

            “Nothing? No one? Are you telling us you’re a single pringle, Tommo?”

            And Harry knows it’s coming when Louis braces himself to answer. Harry knows. But it still stings.

            “That’s exactly what I’m saying”, TV Louis smiles a tight smile and the topic changes after the man cheers “on behalf of every girl out there watching this”.

            “Well, that was a bit shit”, Gemma comments turning to him.

            “Didn’t expect any less”, Harry tries to shrug it off.

            “Still a bit shit.”

            “It is what it is”, he finds himself borrowing a Louis’ sentence.

            “I’m sorry little bro.”

            “Me too.” Harry sighs and gets up to wash their dishes. It goes without saying that he doesn’t finish watching Louis interview and neither does he watch Louis performing Therapy live again – which is one of Harry’s favorite things nowadays.

            He understand it, he really does. Louis can’t quite say “I’m in a committed relationship with someone I like very much” without people prying into his life to try and find out exactly who and for how long Louis’ has been with that person. Still, Harry can’t help but feel sad and kind of worthless when he goes to sleep, and he decides that that’s something he needs to talk about with Louis, even if there in basically nothing he can do about it right now.




            “Professor Styles, hi”, a girl stops him when he’s about to enter his office for lunch. Louis is probably coming in the next few minutes, and all Harry wants is a bit of peace and quiet with him.

            But this girl is a freshman, and she sings like an angel. Harry stops to talk to her.

            “Hi, Rose”, he smiles. “What can I help you with?”

            “I was just hoping you could help me pick a song for my next assignment? I’ve been singing some classics, but, I don’t know, would my voice fit pop songs well?” She asks him excitedly.

            “Yes, I think so, what were you thinking?”

            “Louis Tomlinson.” Her eyes widen.

            “You want to sing something of Louis Tomlinson?” Harry frowns.

            “Oh my God, Louis Tomlinson!” Rose squeaks and Harry turns around. Louis is there with two takeout plastic bags and a smile on his face. “Hi.”

            “Hi, there”, he chuckles. “Hi, Hazz”, Louis then says. His smile softens a bit.

            “Hey, Lou.”

            “Oh my God, you’re actually friends!!! I mean, I knew it; I follow, like—everything? But. Oh my God my professor is friends with Louis Tomlinson.”

            “Breathe, love”, Louis laughs and comes closer.

            “Yes, breathe”, Harry tells her, putting a hand on her shoulder. “Louis is a twat, he doesn’t deserve you dying over him.”

            “Heeeey”, he complains. “Watch your mouth, Styles. You missed me.”

            Harry thinks about answering, but he doesn’t want to flirt in front of a student. Not that she’d pay much attention, since she’s still saying oh my God repeatedly looking at Louis.

            “Can I hug you?” Rose asks Louis.

            “Hold this, Hazz”, Louis hands him the plastic bags. “Bring it in, love”, he opens his arms and she hugs him. Rose basically trembles in Louis arms and starts crying, and although Harry’s seen his boyfriend doing that for many fans throughout the months, there’s something different about today.

            Rose tells him how much he has helped her growing up and how lucky she feels to be here right now; she says that she’s really glad he’s okay, because she doesn’t know what she would do if he weren’t (Harry can relate to that). Louis thanks her, clearly moved too, and they take a picture.

            “Can you just- not post it, for a while?” Louis asks her. “We’ll have lunch and then I’ll leave. Post it after I leave. Please?”

            “Sure, sure.” She says, her hands still shaking a bit. “Thank you so so so so much. Thank you too, professor! Bye.”

            Rose goes away in shock and without her problem solved. But maybe she’ll end up singing something of Louis’ after all.

            “God, I missed you”, Louis crowds Harry against his office door as soon as he locks it, taking the plastic bags after Harry’s hand and placing it carefully on the console near the door.


            “I missed you so much, Harry, fuck”, he says in his ear, kissing along Harry’s neck and opening his shirt to kiss his collarbones, hand already on Harry’s crotch, massaging his bulge. “This is insane.”

            Harry chuckles.

            “Missed you too”, he says and kisses him back, eagerly, disconnecting his back from the door and taking Louis with him, walking the boy backways, both stumbling towards the sofa and falling with their legs entwined.

            They kiss passionately just feeling each other, and Harry doesn’t think much when Louis whines into his mouth for the first time in two weeks and two days. He just kisses him deeper and harder and all of his frustration from the night before goes away momentarily as he undresses Louis too, trying to keep kissing him as he does so, hands fast and hot roaming over his exposed torso and opened trousers.

            “Missed you so much too”, he says and licks his boyfriend’s bellybutton. Louis’ back arches from the couch and he buries his hands in Harry’s hair, making Harry close his eyes and swallow a moan before removing Louis’ jeans and pants.

            Their sex only gets better, the more confident Louis gets, and the more Louis finds out about him. By now it’s like a rehearsed dance, because they know exactly where to touch to provoke a reaction on the other; they know what to do and how to do and Harry thinks this is kind of amazing, and this is what sex should be about: the comfort of knowing you can trust someone to make you feel good.

            Harry kisses Louis’ thighs as he takes him in his hand, already hard and leaking from their making out session, and Louis outright wails at the contact.

            “You can’t be loud here”, Harry says in a hushed voice, moving his tongue up his thigh till his hipbones, biting on the soft edge of Louis’ waist right after.

            “Why not, H?” Louis asks with a short breath. His eyes are only half-open and he’s got one hand in Harry’s hair, the other holding his arm. “I bet you’d love if people knew you’re the one who makes me scream”, he says in his ear.

            Harry’s entire body shudders at it and he loses balance for a second, falling onto Louis body, feeling his hard dick pressed against Louis and why the fuck is he still wearing clothes?

            “I promise I’ll keep quiet…” The singer says, a high pitch to his tone. “But only if you fuck me real good on this couch.”

            “Louis”, Harry moans in his neck, biting there and making Louis arch his back once again. Their dicks brush. Harry needs to take his pants off.

            “I’m not kidding, H, I need you.” He says, nails scrapping Harry’s back and making him shiver everywhere. “Need you to open me up and fucking pound into me for the last seventeen days I spent without you.”

            “Shit”, shit shit shit shit, fucking shit.

            Harry gets up to undress himself as fast as he can, and when his own dick slaps against his stomach, Harry needs to squeeze it tightly so he doesn’t come from only watching Louis. Louis, who is stroking himself in Harry’s office couch at Harry’s work, watching him lazily while he waits to be fucked... In Harry’s OFFICE COUCH AT HARRY’S WORK.

            “Lube and condom are in the back pocked of my jeans”, he says nonchalantly, “oh-Harry come on”, he then closes his eyes, stroking himself faster and hell no, there is only one person making Louis Tomlinson come and this person is definitely not Louis Tomlinson himself.

            Harry gets to work and finds what is needed, coating his fingers in lube and then spreading Louis’ legs, fitting in between them and inserting the first finger without any warning, feeling really satisfied when Louis chokes on a breath.        

            And Harry told Louis to keep quiet, he is sure he did, but Louis doesn’t seem to remember it when Harry’s up three fingers and sucking on the head of his dick, because he screams Harry’s name the second he hits Louis’ prostate and—

            “Fucking stay quiet, please”, Harry hushes to say.

            Louis nods and bites his own hand as Harry keeps thrusting his fingers into Louis ass. It’s only when the singer is fucking his mouth and grinding back, desperately trying to feel both things with the same intensity, completely using Harry’s fingers and mouth to get off that Harry pulls out.

            His boyfriend whines, complains, and as Harry puts on the condom, using the rest of the lube in the small package to coat his dick, he watches Louis’ whole clench on nothing and fuck Harry is throbbing and dying and he needs to be inside of Louis right now.

            So he does. He enters him at once and he thinks it’s the first time he does it, without much care if he’s being honest. Harry’s frustrated and kinda tired and he’s missed Louis and he’s here, underneath him, right now, at his fucking mercy, and Harry’s never wanted anyone in the history of forever as much as he wants Louis. He doesn’t think he’ll ever want anyone as much as he wants this man. 

            “Fuckndinfuhn-HELL-HARRY”, Louis muffle screams in Harry’s neck, but Harry’s too busy shutting his eyes closed and saying a pained with so much pleasure ahh when he bottoms out to reprehend Louis again.

            He starts thrusting without waiting much, but Louis doesn’t seem to need it. He just holds on tighter on Harry’s arm, his nails sinking in Harry’s skin so hard that Harry thinks he’ll draw blood at any minute.

            They try to kiss but it is too uncoordinated, and Harry gives up any romance when Louis asks him to go harder.

            He gets up from the couch and maneuvers Louis so he’s rested against the back of the couch, and as much as he dick slips out, he knows it’s gonna be better for both of them. He pulls Louis by the legs and watches him clench on nothing once again. Harry revels in it.

            “You’ve no idea how crazy you make me”, he tells him. “Fuck, Lou, you have no idea—shit, fuckfuckfuck”, he says again as he enters him.

            Like this, it’s much deeper and since Harry’s standing, he can get a better angle and go at a better pace. Everything but Louis’ shoulders and head is in the air. Harry’s holding him by the legs and once he starts thrusting again he’s not sure any of them is able to say a single word. He just fucks and fucks and fucks Louis and throws his head back, feeling the sweat accumulating on his entire body.

            Louis has both of his arms by his sides and Harry can see the exact moment he takes a pillow to put on his face, muffling a scream. And as Louis comes, clenching, and trembling and completely losing control of his own words, Harry bites his bottom lip to keep from wailing too, shooting inside the condom in Louis’ ass, keeping his thrusts at a slower pace until he’s extremely over sensitive and needs to pull out.

            Louis is half on the couch half on the floor. Harry’s sprawled on his carpet, feeling absolutely spent.

            “This…” The singer starts, breath absolutely labored. “Is the best sex”, he takes another deep breath, “we’ve ever had.”

            Harry agrees with him right there, but he can’t quite voice anything yet.


            It’s only ten minutes later that they muster the courage to get up and put on their clothes. The food isn’t even hot anymore, but they eat it anyways, with pleased smiles on their faces and glistening eyes checking each other out across Harry’s desk.

            “What are you doing tonight?”

            “Nothing, got work tomorrow morning”, Harry answers and finishes drinking his juice.

            “Can I come over?” Louis asks shyly.

            “Since when d’you have to ask to come over, Lou?” The professor chuckles and rolls his eyes. “You can go there earlier, if you want”, he says, taking his key out of his pocket and tossing it to Louis. “I’ll stop by the supermarket and buy stuff to make us dinner.”

            “Sounds like music to my ears”, Louis smiles and walks around the desk. “Oh, by the way, my next single will come out next week!”

            “Have you decided on which one?”

            “A Love Like War”, he smiles. “Then the last one will probably be Gasoline.”

            “I like those choices.” Harry tells him. “They’re smart. And upbeat single now after Therapy is gonna do you good.”

            Louis sits on his lap and hugs him by the neck. They’re both fully dressed now and Harry’s lunchtime’s about to be over, but he wants to stay here anyways.

            “Yeah, ‘m gonna film the video in the US, though, which- well, I’m gonna have to stay there for a month instead of three weeks.”

            “I’ll survive. Barely, but I will.” Harry promises with a smile on his face. Louis kisses him square on the mouth.

            “But what about me? Will I survive?” He pouts.

            “’m sure you will”, Harry tells him, “it’s not like you’ve got anyone special to miss anyway”, and- he did not plan on saying that now and like this. It just kind of escaped, because Harry’s brain is dumb like this at times.

            “Hazz…” Louis starts.

            “Sorry, this was out of place; I didn’t intend to bring this up now.”


            “No, Lou, please, it’s-” he checks his watch, “it’s almost one pm already, let’s talk about this tonight, okay?”

            “Not sure I want to talk about it, to be honest”, Louis mumbles.       

            “Well, I do.”

            The singer takes in a deep breath.

            “Okay, H, we’ll talk about it tonight then.” Louis says and bends down to kiss him again. “See you later, yeah?”

            “Later.” Harry half-smiles and watches as Louis exits his room. Harry takes a deep breath and tells himself everything’s going to be okay, he doesn’t need to stress over this. It’s just a conversation after all.


            And it is. Harry finishes work at four twenty, like every day and stops at Sainsbury to get them something for dinner. He settles for roasted chicken breath and spinach rice, and even though he knows Louis will complain about the green, he also knows he will eat it anyways and be a little bit healthier because of it.

            It’s the end of September and the wind’s already a bit chilly while he walks towards his car at the supermarket parking lot, and Harry can’t help but think how fast time has passed his year. It was freezing cold when Harry met Louis, and he had just turned twenty four, and now they’ve gone through spring and summer together.

            So despite being only a tad bit angry with Louis – much less than he was yesterday –, he’s also extremely excited about the way things are going for them. If a few bumps on the road is what it takes for him to be this happy for the next winter, and then after that, and after that, and after that, Harry thinks he can take it.


            “This is really good, Hazz”, Louis comments once he bites the chicken.

            When Harry arrived, Louis was already there sprawled on his couch watching a Friends rerun – all cute and cuddly in one of Harry’s jumpers.

            “Thanks”, he smiles. “So, how was the trip?”

            “It was good, standard, but good”, he says, “it really is nice to be back and, don’t know, doing thinks healthily, I guess. Didn’t know what that was for a long time there.”

            “That’s nice to hear.”

            “Yeah- and oh, get that. Liam and Soph decided on a date for their wedding. It’s only a year from now but boy am I excited!”

            “Why so far?” Harry frowns.

            “Li’s gonna be on tour with me throughout next year, and he wants to, you know, have time to go on a honeymoon and stuff.”

            “Makes sense.”

            “It does!” Louis smiles.      

            “Is it gonna be a world tour?” Harry asks and bites his bottom lip. He’s gonna hate missing Louis for that long.

            “Yeah… Another one”, he sighs. “My team says I need it, since I’m going a completely different way with the album and such…” He explains and Harry nods along. “So I’ll start it in the middle of February, because I told them there was no way I wouldn’t be here for your birthday”, Harry smiles, “and finish in September.”

            “Wow. That’s a long time.”

            “Yeah…” Louis’ smile doesn’t falter. “I’ll have breaks, of course. And I’ll fly in to see you in each one of them. Except during summer. During summer you’ll be with me. If you want- I mean.”

            “Are we seriously making plans for July next year?” Harry chuckles.

            “Yeah. That is- if you don’t break up with me after the idiotic answer about my love life yesterday.” Louis sighs. “I’m sorry”, he then says.

            “That was a bit shit. Not worth breaking up for, mind, but- shitty nonetheless.”

            “I know.” The singer replies quickly. “I knew it the second I said it, but Hazz… I didn’t have another option.”

            “Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, Lou.”

            “I know”, he says and looks down. “I’m sorry. I’ll- I’ll tell Liam to blacklist the question, if you want to.”

            And- Harry knows what this will cause. Any question blacklisted means the artist doesn’t want or can’t answer it, and it won’t look that good to Louis, especially now that he needs all the promo that he can get, since it’s, well, promo season.

            But Harry deserves things for himself too. And Doctor Andrew said it was okay to ask. Louis said it was okay to ask. And he wouldn’t have given Harry this option if he weren’t willing to actually go through with it, now would he?

            “I… I think I want to”, Harry says. “I’m sorry if it’s too much, I just-”

            “It’s done. I’ll never say that again, I promise”, Louis tells him. “I’m sorry. It’s—”  

            “Thank you.”

            “I’m sorry”, Louis says again and Harry squeezes his hand and then kisses it. He whispers a thank you one more time and Louis squeezes his hand back.

            They are okay.




            October rolls around and Louis does more interviews, this time in London, more photoshoots and even squeezes a visit to Holmes Chapel with Harry over a weekend.

            Gemma has just found out that she is going to have a boy and the whole family is ecstatic. The baby’s only due in April, but it feels like he’s coming tomorrow by the way everyone is talking about him.

            “I think you should tell dad now, Gems”, Harry says. “I mean, you do whatever you want, I just-”

            “I’ll talk to him, I will”, she says. “I just- can you go with me?” Harry’s sister asks. Louis has never seen Gemma look scared, but she certainly does right now.

            “Course I will. When?”

            “Tonight? We- uh, kinda have dinner tonight. I said you were going anyway.”

            Harry looks at Louis instantly and-

            “I’ll entertain myself”, he smiles and then Harry nods.

            “Okay. I guess I’ll shower then.”

            So Louis is alone in Harry’s childhood home with Harry’s mother and stepfather. It should probably be more awkward than this, because truth is, it isn’t awkward at all.

            They have dinner and Louis insists on washing the dishes; after that, he joins them in the living room and they watch TV together, commenting on that terrible show they just can’t stop watching.

            Anne bites her nail and when she notices, she stops doing it, frowning at her own hands like her body betrayed her.

            “Harry does that a lot”, Louis says without realizing. Anne looks at him without understanding much. “He bites his nails and then complains to himself about it”, he chuckles.


            “It’s pretty endearing most of the time.”

            “They’re a lot like each other”, Robin says. “Gemma’s taken more after their father, I think, but H’s just like Anne.”

            “I think I noticed that. I mean, I haven’t met Des, but- yeah, Harry’s got a lot of you, Anne- and, uh, he’s kind of wonderful so, you know, thanks”, he blushes. Why can’t Louis control his mouth? Damn it.

            Anne is blushing too.

            “No need to try and win us over, son. You already did”, Robin tells him and gets up, laughing a bit.

            “It’s the truth, though. I’m pretty lucky”, he shrugs.

            “We are”, Harry’s stepfather says and bends down to kiss Anne’s forehead. “Gonna try and get some sleep, ‘night, love. Good night, Louis.”

            “Night.” Louis answers and watches Anne watch him as he climbs the stairs. This is the kind of life he wants for himself one day. And it’s surprising; Louis isn’t used to having these kinds of thoughts.

            “Y’know”, Anne tells him, “Harry’s pretty lucky too, I reckon. And I must admit I had my doubts at first, I- liked you a lot, but I was just so certain you’d hurt him, you know?”

            “That’s fair”, Louis smiles. “But not anymore?”

            “No, Louis, not anymore”, she smiles back. “All a mother wants is for their son to be loved… And you love him, don’t you?”

            “More than anything”, Louis confesses.

            “Have you told him yet?”

            “Kind of, but not really”, he tells her, remembering the first time they were here, right after he took Harry to Doncaster. “I will though. And he- he knows.”

            “I think so too. He loves you too.”

            “I know.” And he keeps smiling. His cheeks hurt. “It’s- it’s overwhelming that someone like him is with someone like me, to be honest.”

            “Oh, love, but you’re amazing.”

            “But he’s Harry”, Louis chuckles.

            Anne rolls her eyes and smiles too. They talk lightly about Harry for a little while, and then focus back on the television. It’s midnight when Harry and Gemma arrive and they’re still there talking. Harry looks like he’s gonna burst with happiness when he sees his mother and his boyfriend getting along so well, and he jumps on the couch falling on their laps.

            Gemma says good night and goes to her room, and Anne goes too, saying that now there’s someone to keep Louis’ company. Louis asks Harry how dinner went, and after he tells him it was okay, their father was completely fine, after all Gemma’s an adult, Louis kisses him for minutes on end, till they’re searching for air. Once again, Louis thinks that this is the life he wants to have in the future. And no, it isn’t a thought he is used to. But it’s definitely something he wants to get used to.




            In retrospect, Louis should have thought it better. This is a terrible, shitty idea. He has no idea what he was even thinking when he asked Liam to arrange this. But here they are and there is no turning back, they’re doing this. Even though Harry doesn’t know what this means yet.         

            “What’s with the driver?” Harry questions him as soon as he enters the car in front of the Royal Academy of Music.

            “I’m kind of kidnapping you?” Louis sort of asks. “But I packed you everything we’ll need, I promise.”

            “Louis, where are we going?”

            “At this moment? To Heathrow airport.”

            “Louis. I have work on Monday. Are you crazy?” Harry asks him, eyes wide and so, so curious.

            “We’ll be back Sunday night, love.”

            “Are you taking me to Paris?”


            “Where then? Is it in England?”



            “You’ll find out soon enough, Harry, now can you please shut up and kiss me?” He says.

            “But- the-” he gestures towards the front of the car.

            “Alberto, meet Harry, my boyfriend, Hazz, meet Alberto, my body guard slash driver slash someone who is under a NDA and already knows about us.”   

            Alberto nods from the driver’s seat with a smirk on his face and Harry says a timid hi to him. In the future, they’re going to be really good friends. And Louis will learn that Alberto can be more than a body guard slash driver. And he didn’t keep his secret just because he was under a non-disclosure agreement – he actually cared about Louis, in a way that fathers do.

            So they arrive at Heathrow and Harry gasps when they step out of the car already in front of the plane and calls Louis crazy a gazillion times for flying them on a private jet until they’re buckled up – but even then he doesn’t stop.


            “Why are you doing this you insane person?” He asks again.

            “Because something new came to my knowledge these past few weeks and I want to take you somewhere. I want to take you to meet someone.”

            “And where is this someone?”


            “Portugal”, Harry frowns. “Okay.” He seems resigned. “Who are we going to meet?”

            “Won’t tell you. But we’ll only meet them tomorrow for dinner.”

            Louis thinks he did the calculations all right. They’ll arrive late in Portugal today, so they’ll probably just eat something and fall asleep. Tomorrow morning they’ll go for rounds and rounds of sex in that expensive five-star hotel bed (or at least he hopes so), and then have lunch in the rooftop restaurant with a nice view of Lisbon. Maybe one day Louis will take him there and they’ll get to tourist around the city together.

            In the afternoon, they’ll get ready to go. A car will pick them up and take them to their location and Louis hopes, with all the good vibes in the world, that Harry understands everything he can’t voice just yet.

            “You’re crazy.”

            “Just enjoy the flight, Hazz.” Louis looks at him. He’s so soft for Harry.

            “Entertain me”, Harry looks at him and leans in. Louis catches his lips and Harry kisses him back. Needless to say, they both become part of the mile high club.




            Everything goes according to plan – except for the fucking paps in freaking Portugal. It’s freaking late at night, how could Louis imagine they’d be there? Lisbon airport is no LAX, for fuck’s sake, so Louis thought it would be nice if they walked out through the front, so Harry could take a look around. Now they’ve just arrived at their hotel room and Louis is stress-eating while Liam tries to calm him down over the phone.

            Harry decided to take a shower to give him some privacy and thank God for that, Louis definitely does not want to ruin Harry’s mood too.

            “I think they didn’t trace us to the hotel but fuck if I know.” He complains to his manager on the phone.

            “It’s fine, Lou, anything to be published will only come out tomorrow—We’ll try to contact our newspapers overnight… But can’t do much with the Portuguese ones”, Liam says apologetic.

            “I hope they don’t do much damage”, Louis whines. “Fuck.”

            “Lou, it’s okay, friends travel together too.”

            “I know, I just- I don’t know”, he sighs.

            “Go be with your boy, I’ve already called them and they’ll be waiting you guys tomorrow. Think Harry’s gonna shit his pants.” Liam is way too excited, but hell, so is Louis.

            “I’m so excited”, he confesses to Liam on the phone.

            “You’re doing a great thing for you and your boyfriend, Lou. You can be excited”, Louis can practically hear Liam’s smile throughout his sentence. Louis himself is smiling big too. This is how Harry finds him when he comes out of the ensuite just in his boxers.

            “Yeah, okay. I gotta hang up now, because my boyfriend is currently half-naked in front of me. Bye, Lima Bean.”

            “Night, Lewis. I’ll handle the articles.”

            “Thanks, I love you.” He says. After their session with Doctor Andrew Louis realizes how much Liam needed him showing more affection.

            “Love you too, you git.” And he hangs up.

            “Are you okay?” Harry asks.

            “I am now”, Louis smiles simply. “Think I’m gonna take a shower, wanna order something for us to eat?

            “Yeah, I’ll get on that. Pasta okay?”

            “Perfect”, Louis gets up and pecks his mouth. “Be right back.”


            They sleep for nine whole hours till Louis’ phone wakes him up with a text from Liam saying that the articles are out but they won’t do any harm. Louis breathes a little better and wakes Harry up with a blowjob, because, why not? He’s young, he’s got a hot boyfriend and he can have all the sex he wants with him. After twenty six years of denying himself, Louis is nothing but insatiable.






            “So, you’re ready?” Louis asks when Harry finishes dressing up.

            “I think? Am I ready?” He gestures pointing at his body.

            “You are”, his boyfriend answers.

            “Where are you taking me, Lou? Please, tell me, please please please.”

            Seriously, Harry barely slept because of how curious he was, is. This is so not fair and he is not above whining or pouting. In fact, he is whining and pouting. Thank God, this is something Louis can’t resist.

            “Okay, okay…” The singer says. “I’m taking you to meet a footballer. A Portuguese footballer who is probably, nah, most definitely the best in the world at the moment no matter how much Niall thinks it’s Neymar. That’s all I’m saying.”

            He. Louis is. Well. No. It can’t be. What.

            “You’re taking me to meet Cristiano Ronaldo.” Harry manages to say.

            “Yes, love, and he says dinner’s getting ready, so let’s go…” Louis smiles and passes by him, pulling him by the hand.

            “Louis, what?

            “Come on, Harold, I don’t have forever for you.” Louis complains. “Well, actually, I do- but, you got what I meant. Let’s go.” He pulls him again and Harry stumbles after his crazy, amazing, lovingly boyfriend. Who is taking him to meet Cristiano Ronaldo fuck if Harry knows why. But it’s okay.


            Their hotel isn’t far away from where they’re going. Harry kind of expected to be faced with a freaking huge mansion, but the car leaves him at a flat compound and they walk inside a non-extravagant-looking building. Louis greets the doorman and uses simple English words to explain to him where they’re headed, since the man doesn’t speak English fluently.

            They’re buzzed up, get to the penthouse and someone who is definitely not Cristiano Ronaldo opens the door.

            “Louis Tomlinson”, the man smiles at Louis and reaches out to shake his hand. “And you must be Harry Styles, welcome.” He says and-

            “Hi”, Harry says, still trying to understand.

            “Hey, Ricky, nice to meet you in person”, Louis laughs.       

            “Same, man.”

            Right now the footballer shows up behind the other man. He’s wearing washed out jeans a red shirt, and he’s got an easy smile on his face. Harry totally doesn’t have a fan crush on him. Nope.

            “You’re here!” He says. “So good”, the man smiles.

            Ricky steps away so they can come in and locks the door behind them. Are they…? Noooo. Really?

            “Nice to see you again, Louis”, Cristiano says.

            “You too, it’s been forever”, his boyfriend half-chuckles. “So, Cristiano, Ricky, meet my boyfriend Harry”, Louis says and his voice barely changes. “Hazz, meet the fucking legend Cristiano Ronaldo and his husband, Ricky.”

            “I- uh- what?” Harry can’t help but open his mouth and widen his eyes and have all the reactions that a freaking surprised person has because WHAT?

            “Is hi the word you’re looking for, babe?” Louis nudges him and laughs.

            “No, I mean, yes, hi, it’s an honor to meet you, believe me, I’m a huge fan—and you too”, he then turns to Ricky, “thank you for having me- us, I mean, here, but- no, the word I’ve been looking for is what?” He asks again. They all laugh.

            “We’ve been dating for forever now, but I could never come out”, Cristiano explains. “Not with the circumstances and—yeah. But we- we manage, don’t we?” He looks at Ricky. Cristiano Ronaldo looks at Ricky the same way Louis looks at him.

            “We more than manage, Cris.” He smiles. “It’s not easy, you know? But it works and it’s- it’s wonderful at the end of the day”, Ricky assures them.

            Harry finally finds a way to nod and swallow some saliva, coaching himself out of the shock he’s in. Louis intertwines their fingers again and Harry feels like flying. Cristiano smiles at them and excuses himself to check on dinner.         

            Ricky walks them towards the dining room and tells them what’s on the menu. They’ve got wine and a special drink for Louis, and Louis blushes because that’s just who he is. Harry leans in and kisses him on the cheek out of instinct – instead of stiffening and backing off, Louis goes pliant, and, once again, Harry loves him with all of his heart.

            “Hm, could I use your bathroom before dinner?” The singer asks.

            “Sure, second door on the right.”

            “Thanks, mate, be back.”

            Harry watches him go like the stupid teenager he is when he’s with Louis and Ricky chuckles lightly.

            “You’re totally gone for him, aren’t you?”

            “I am.” Harry answers quickly.

            “I was too. For Cris”, he says. “Never thought we’d be where we are today, though, because- what professional footballer dates a dude? But he… He was it for me, so we stayed friends for the longest time. And then he came out to me.”


            “Yeah.” The man smiles. “I kissed him so hard”, he chuckles. “It’s probably my favorite memory of ours.”

            “Not your wedding?” Harry asks. “I mean, you’re married, right?”

            “Yeah, but… No. Our marriage is probably my second favorite memory, but this one- this—this first kiss is when I kinda felt I was finally starting a life, you know?”

            Harry only nods, a thousand questions swirling in his mind.

            “Is he ever going to come out?”

            “Probably only after he retires. Who knows.” He shrugs.

            “Is it worth it? The hiding and… The wait? Because it… It has been really, really worth it to me, I just-”

            “It is, Harry”, Ricky tells him. “I have the love of my life with me and… And the rest is just background noise, you know?”

            Harry does know. God, does Harry know! But he can’t answer, because Louis comes back right then, and Ricky excuses himself to go help his husband, who is Cristiano Ronaldo, professional closeted footballer in the kitchen.


            Throughout dinner, Harry finds out that they constantly travel together, their instagram are filled with pictures of each other and most of the world thinks they’re just mates. Sure there is a parcel of fans who don’t buy it, especially because they’re always with a kid. A kid! Product of one of Cristiano’s failed stunts. A kid who is now being raised by the two of them – who are their fathers.

            At the same time it is a lot for him to process, it’s also one of the most amazing things that have ever happened to him. At the end of the night he takes a picture with Cristiano and Louis encourages him to post it on instagram. Everyone knows we’re here anyways, he ponders. Harry posts it and captions with “a legend introduced me to another”.

            Louis looks at him like Harry’s the most important person in the world when he reads it, but Harry thinks the same thing right back – they bicker and kiss all the way back to the hotel, and they’ve never looked more like a definition of happiness than right now.


            “I…” Louis starts when they’re in their hotel room again. “I wanted you to see it is possible, you know?” He says. “I knew about them for a while, but only mustered the courage to call Cristiano up a couple of weeks ago. I’m going to spend a month away, Hazz, a month, but I- I wanted you to see first-hand that closeted relationships can work and work really well, even if one party is always traveling for work.”


            “I guess I just- I really want us to last. I don’t think you’re running, and I don’t want to push you away either and I- I want us to last.” He says more firmly.

            Harry loves him. Harry truly, infinitely, unconditionally loves him. He pulls him in and hugs Louis as strongly as he can. Louis buries his face in Harry’s shirt and hugs him back.

            “I love you”, Harry whispers in his ear. “I’m in love with you. I love you like I’ve never loved anybody in my entire life”, he tells him. Louis entire body shivers, he clutches Harry’s shirt with both hands. “You’re probably, most definitely the love of my life.”

            “Harry.” Louis kind of chokes, but then stares at him.            

            His cheeks are red and his eyes are glistening and Harry loves him, loves him, loves him, and now that he said it he just can’t stop anymore.

            “It’s okay that you’re not ready to say it.” He says as he walks back with Louis towards the bed. “But I think you’re ready to hear it”, kiss, “so let me say it, please, because I-”, kiss, “I love you so much, Lou.”

            “Hazz”, he hugs him tighter and then kisses him fully on the mouth again, straddling his thighs and just deepening the kiss, dragging his tongue against Harry’s, swallowing and marking each and every one of his I love yous as they undress each other.

            Harry can feel Louis’ salty tears while they kiss, and maybe he cries a bit too. But it’s okay. Crying doesn’t always mean you’re sad. It sometimes just means that you don’t know what to do with all of the happiness that life has handed you.


Chapter Text







            Louis doesn’t really like the United States. Sure, he likes the United States, but he hates the attention he gets whenever he comes here. Of course paps follow him everywhere, but as of landing in Texas, he is pratically buried in cameras and flashes and people screaming at him and really, that’s just bloody ridiculous.

            His team said he needed to walk out through the front almost everywhere, because “that’s why you’re here, you want to be seen”. So he goes out, he tries to open his eyes, because he forgot his sunglasses, and deals with the fans the best he can, but  there are too many. Jesus Christ.

            It’s a bit overhwleming. They hand him gifts and scream super loud and he’s only walking out of an aiport, it’s not like he’s putting on a concert right now. That’s just how amazing the people who support him are, Louis supposes. And it doesn’t matter for how long he’s been doing this, how long he does this, he’ll never quite get used to that much love.

            Speaking of love, as soon as he gets into the car who’s picking him up to go to the airport he shoots Harry a text to let him know he’s on the ground and he’s safe, because, you see, Harry loves him, he’s said so himself – many times in the last couple of days before Louis traveling – and Harry gets a bit nervous when people he loves are traveling overseas. Something about planes breaking down and pilots not being able to land correctly.


            “Liam, tell me we’ll go to New York tomorrow.” Louis begs once they are settled in their hotel.

            “As if”, Liam snorts. “We got at least four cities before New York. Then we go there, stay for a few days and go to Florida. Then you head to LA so you can finish the interviews and, you know, record the video.” He says checking his iPad.

            “Think like that, love…” Sophia starts. She’s spending the month on the road with them because she got released from work and- well, it’s not like Liam would pass up this oportunity. “At least we’ll go to Disney!” She smiles brightly.

            “At least you’re going to Disney, you mean”, he snorts.

            Louis is performing a pocket show in the Universal Studios park in Orlando, but Sophia is going to meet a few friends and stay there for a week so she can go to all of the parks and stuff while he and Liam go back to work. Oh well. It’s life.

            “Have you talked to Harry yet?” Liam asks.

            “Yeah, but time-zones are a bitch.” He complains.

            His friend just gives him a shrug, but doesn’t seem too sorry. Liam is kind of used to it by now, because he’s been dating Sophia for a long time, and Louis’ traveling schedules always sucked big time. Louis sometimes thinks Sophia is an angel for putting up with them, but then again, Harry might just be one too, because he also signed up for this.

            And he doesn’t seem to be going away. Now, after months and months of therapy, Louis can see and understand that Harry’s actually in it for him and with him, and it’s a liberating feeling – Louis is starting to feel free.




            As it turns out, talking to Doctor Andrew over the phone is the same – and maybe even better – than face to face. Something about Louis not having to look him in the face makes it easier to tell the truth, and it also comes in handy having the opportunity to hang up on his face when he says things like:

            “Do you think you would have had brothers or sisters?” Because, really, what kind of person asks that?

            Louis’ mom loved kids. She used to tell Louis that as soon as their financial condition got better, she’d have as many kids as possible.

            “Why’s that relevant?” Louis asks in return.

            “Everything is relevant.”

            But by now, Doctor Andrew knows how Louis works. Whenever he’s about to discuss something that he isn’t comfortable with, Louis needs to know exactly why and how it will help him with his depression. The therapist sighs and starts answering.

            “Because you once said you’d end up alone, since you weren’t going to marry and have kids… Has your opinion on that changed?”

            “I- I… I don’t- I don’t know.” Louis stutters, only whispering on the phone.

            “Some parents think that their kids need brothers and sisters if they ever end up alone in life…”

            “That’s bullshit”, is the first thing Louis answers. But then… “I would’ve liked to have siblings. Lots of sisters, probably.” Liam’s got two. He loves them to death.

            Doctor Andrew only hums on the other line and Louis starts to talk about being a kid and having many friends, and how he never felt excluded because he was an only child. But he also tells him how things changed after his parents died, because then he didn’t have many friends anymore, or no friends at all, so it got a bit complicated.

            It’s tricky, anyway, because Louis doesn’t think he would’ve let another person in even if they were family, not the way he got these past few years.

            After an hour and a half, more than their sessions usually last, Louis thanks Doctor Andrew one more time and hangs up the phone, with a mind full of bittersweet would have beens. But then Harry calls to tell him the exciting news about one of his students who will probably get a deal with a british label and Louis’ day is suddenly brighter just by listening to his voice.




            Louis’ day absolutely sucks. He’s knackered, interviewers are jackasses and the weather in Los Angeles is bloody awful – this damn city is supposed to be sunny, he thinks.

            His phone rings when he’s on the verge of throwing the hotel videogame at the wall.

            “Tommo!” Comes a cheerful voice from the other line. It’s Niall.

            “Long time no see”, Louis smiles instantly hearing his voice.

            “Heard you’re already in LA, fucking finally”, the irishman says. “Let’s hang out tonight—there’s a party at a mate’s house and I think you’ll like it.”

            “I’m filming later, but sure, send me a text with the adress and I’ll be there.”

            “Hey, Lou…” Niall calls, a bit more seriously. “I promise it’s all clean, yeah? There’s beer but, y’know, they’re good guys.”

            “Thanks, Ni”, the singer smiles despite himself. “See you later, mate.”      

            Louis misses Niall a lot, and it’s a bit crazy to think he cares so much about someone like this, because a year ago Louis couldn’t find it in himself to care about anyone, and now things are so different but so, so good. It’s nice that he can realize it on his own now.


            He invites Liam to the party but his manager turns down the idea, saying he is too tired to even lift a finger after working so much and knowing there’s still lots of work to be done this next week. Truth be told, Louis can’t wait for it to be over. Yes, he likes what they’ve been doing and he thinks the video will be awesome, but he just can’t wait to get back to his boyfriend – it’s nice to know that now he’s got somewhere or, better yet, someone with whom he belongs.


            “Does this look okay?” He asks Liam walking out of the bathroom. His manager is sprawled on Louis’ hotel bed.     

            “Is this shirt yours?” Liam asks raising an eyebrow.

            Louis just rolls his eyes. Last week he wore one of Harry’s jumpers and yes, now he’s wearing Harry’s shirt. He likes it. Sue him.

            “Let me be”, he tells Liam and turns back to look in the mirror. Louis feels comfy and weirdly taken care of when he’s in Harry’s clothes.

            “I think you look good, yeah. Don’t get back too late, we’re filming in the morning tomorrow.” His friend lets him know.

            “Yes, dad”, Louis jokes and concentrates on fnishing his hair.




            It’s two days later when a new article comes out and Louis only sees it because Liam shows it to him, saying that “it’s better if you freak out with me than in the middle of the street”.

            And Liam is right. Because as much as Louis doesn’t want to, as much as it doesn’t mean anything, Louis feels like he’s going to throw up the second he reads the headline.




            “What the fuck?” He throws the iPad on the bed. “Honestly, what the fuck?” Louis asks again.            

            “Boyfriend look is just a look, Lou”, Sophia says, having joined them yesterday.

            “It doesn’t matter”, he cries out. “Those are Harry’s clothes and I- I…” He’s not breathing properly.

            Fuck, fuck, fuck, why is he so damn stupid? Why couldn’t he simply wear normal clothes? Why did he let the gay show so much? Idiot, idiot, idiot, he keeps calling himself in his head, but nothing works, he’s just so annoyed at himself.

            Louis feels a hand on his shoulder and bats it away, pulling on his own hair and trying to think, to breathe, but he can’t, because now everyone knows, because they’ll know and they’ll hate him just like he hated himself, hates himself, he doesn’t know how he feels about himself at the moment, but it doesn’t matter much, because everyone will know.

            “Louis, calm down”, Sophia says, coming closer and hugging him from behind. “One, this is Perez, no one takes him seriously.” It’s a lie, Louis knows it’s a lie, but it comforts him anyway. “And two, boyfriend look is just  a look.”

            “For girls, Sophia. It’s a look for girls!” He exclaims and turns to her. Sophia’s got a pained expression on her face.

            Louis hates it when people pity him, but what else would she do at the moment? He’s a wreck.

            “There’s no such thing, Lou.” Liam says.         

            “Liam, please”, he snorts. “Oh my God, I am such an idiot”, Louis rubs his hands on his face and- he’s not going to cry, but he- he wants to throw up. He wants to curl up in bed and never leave anymore.

            “Louis, no one will say you’re gay because of it. Plus, your fans already think you’re dating Harry.”

            “Liam!” Sophia calls his name.    

            “It’s true, Soph.” He shrugs. “And you know that, Louis. You know because Meg’s been telling you this nonstop for the last few months.”

            “Yeah, but they don’t have any confirmation.” Louis tells him. “This…” He points to the general direction of the iPad. “This is…”

            “Literally nothing but some fan service, if you ask me”, Liam tells him. “You know how they are, Louis.” His manager sighs. “The ones who ship you and Harry to death will be the happiest people alive, and the ones who don’t will say this article is pure bullshit. So. Win, win, yeah?”

            “I don’t know”, he says and sits on the bed again, accepting the water Sophia hands him. “I don’t fucking know.”

            “Lou, it’s okay.” Liam sits by his side and rubs his shoulder. “This isn’t the end of the world, it’s just one article, okay?” He says. “We can debunk it if you want, but honestly, it would just add fuel to the fire.”

            “And there is nothing to be debunked”, Sophia argues. “For fuck’s sake, guys.”

            Louis understands what they are saying. How this is absolutely nothing. And even though he sees the reason in it, he can’t agree with them completely, because he’s so scared. He’s scared of people finding out and not liking it, and he’s scared of more people writing about it and he’s scared of his fans leaving him because of it and—

            “I’m not scared of people finding out.” He says as an afterthoguht.

            “What?” Liam questions.

            “I’m only scared they’ll stop liking me for it.” Louis voices.

            Shit, Louis is not scared of people finding out. He’s scared of people finding out and not liking it, him, but those are two different things, aren’t they? He doesn’t know, but he thinks… He thinks they are.

            “I mean, of course I don’t want them to know now, but-” he stops himself. “But I think that the worst thing would be if they stopped liking me.” Louis tells his friends.

            “Check this out then…” Sophia shows him her twitter feed and Louis finds out that now he’s got a group of fans called larries, and it is, indeed, a humongous group of people who support him and Harry, even if they don’t know for sure that they are dating, even if other people and the largest part of the media keeps saying Louis is as straight as they come.

            It’s exilarating, in a way. Louis wants to tell them thank you and you’ve figured it out and still love me, but he can’t, because he doesn’t want to deal with the other side of the fandom – he doesn’t want to deal with the disappointment and he doesn’t want to handle the backlash of the media, and he just… He just wants to breathe.

            Louis is breathing better now.

            “I should call Harry…” He says. “Can I-”

            “Sure, we’ll give you some privacy, yeah?” Liam says. “Meet us in an hour in the lobby.”

            “Kay, thanks, guys.” He smiles and watches them go, grabbing his phone to call his boyfriend on facetime. Harry is probably sleeping right now. He’ll just have to wake up, Louis supposes.




            The month Harry spends without Louis is probably the worst month of his year. Harry’s snappy the whole freaking time and even when he’s out with friends he’s a bit whiny, because he misses Louis so much. Yes, they talk all the time, but it’s just not the same.

            The day before he arrives is probably the slowest of them all, and because of it Harry’s agreed to meet up with a few friends, which include not only Zayn and his girl, but also his sister who is very much showing her pregnancy and some other uni mates.

            Harry realizes he hasn’t seen Zayn since he and Louis started hooking up and hadn’t defined their relationships, and his friend hasn’t changed much except for the beard he’s grown.

            “So, tell us, Harry, what have you been up to?” One of Harry’s uni mates asks.

            “Not much to be honest.”

            “Weren’t you working with Louis, though?” Zayn asks.

            “Yeah, but he’s finished recording a while ago- actually, the album release party is next week, so I guess I’ll be there, but nah, no news. Just working and studying, the usual.”

            “And fucking said Louis Tomlinson, the usual”, Gemma whispers in his ear and Harry just glares at her. His sister is unbelievable.

            Zayn notices something, because he’s Zayn and he always notices stuff, no matter how long he goes without seeing a person, but Harry averts his gaze and instead texts Louis to know if he’s already going to the airport. He can’t wait for him to be in England again, at arms length or better yet, no length wathsoever.


            I think Zayn’s onto us, he tells his boyfriend after Louis replies saying he’s on his way to LAX as they speak.

            Is Zayn the one who looks like a god? Do you trust him? Louis replies. Harry giggles and feels stupid, but says yes and yes, because, let’s face it, Zayn’s pretty much perfect-looking. Not Louis-perfect. But perfect.

            Gemma calls his name again and he focuses on the story she’s telling. Something about the first time Harry came back home from uni and their mother cried every day knowing he would go back and never live with them again after he finished it. Zayn’s girlfriend laughs along and everyone else comments on it, telling their own stories.

            Harry’s probably heard and told those stories a hundred times. He could probably tell them backwards if needed. And he can’t help but notice how they don’t have anything in common anymore.

            Johnny works for a bank, Katherine did nothing with her degree and decided to open a store, Jocelyn simply got married with a rich man and now lives abroad, Peter is still doing his residency at a teaching hospital and Zayn, well, Zayn’s a teacher, so he’s the one Harry’s in touch with the most.

            The thing is… The thing is: they don’t belong together anymore, they don’t have anything that connects them but those old stories that they all already know and still they meet every now and then to catch up. Harry’s still trying to decide whether this is beautiful or kind of sad.

            “’M gonna get another drink”, he tells them and excuses himself from the table, already fishing his phone out of his pocket to see if Louis has replied. He has.

            So tell him. It reads.

            Louis is saying that Harry can tell Zayn about them. Zayn. Who is not Harry’s family, who is just a friend. Louis is okay with Harry telling him about them.

            Got to the airport, gonna turn off my phone now. See you tomorrow, Hazza, xxxxxxxxx.

                        Harry stares too fondly at his screen.

                        Tomorrow. Love you, he answers simply and asks for another beer.


                        “Spill”, Zayn reaches him when the bartender has jus handed him his drink.

                        “About?” Harry smiles at his friend.

                        “Last time I saw you was when we went to watch Gemma at the Orchestra and you took Louis with you. Tonight he isn’t here yet he’s the first thing you talk about when we ask about your life. So. Spill.”

                        There are many words Harry could use to describe Zayn, but the one that comes to mind right now is cool. Zayn is a cool guy. Here he is, analyzing Harry’s life, wearing a leather jacket and eyeing him like he’s already in on the joke Harry hasn’t even told yet, and damn Harry likes him a lot. No wonder he’s the only one from the group the professor is actually in touch with on a weekly basis after so long.

                        “We’ve been working together for quite a while…” He starts and Zayn huffs. “He might also be my boyfriend. That is, if you can keep a secret.”

                        “I knew it.” Zayn squeezes his eyes.

                        Harry just shrugs.

            “You always know”, is what he answers.

            “How long?”

            “A while.”

            “And Ben?”

            “Over it, I suppose.”  Harry replies and Zayn doesn’t answer him, but he is looking at him quite weirdly. “What?”

            “Nothing, just- I met him the other day at Tesco’s, he asked me about you and, don’t know, there was still something in his eyes you know?” His friend tells him. “And it’s just sad, because- well, you’re clearly not in love with him anymore.”

            Harry thinks about this. He gets kind of sad, he cares about Ben a lot. They have shared so many things together…


            “Can I tell you another secret tonight since we’re at it?”

            “Shoot, mate”, Zayn replies.

            “The way things are with Lou…” He starts. “I don’t know if I was ever in love with Ben. I loved him, yeah, but Zayn.” Harry says. “It’s just—”

            “For what it’s worth, it’s visible, Harry.” Zayn replies. “I’m glad you’re so happy. Let’s hang out one of these days, yeah?” He pats Harry on the back.

            “Will do”, Harry raises his glass and clicks on Zayn’s. The night’s a bit better and a while later Harry goes home.

            Louis will arrive really early in the morning and Harry will be damned if he won’t be awake when his boyfriend comes knocking on his door.




            Harry Styles hates noise. Like, absolutely loathes it. Still, this is exactly how he wakes up on Sunday morning. He barely has the strength to open his eyes and check his phone, but when he does so, he notices Louis’ name on the screen while his boyfriend repeatedly rings the doorbell. Harry would kill him if he didn’t miss him so fucking much.

            He gets out of the bed and walks around his flat at six thirty am, a little bit hungover, and opens the door sleepily, but still very, very excited.

            “Took you long enough”, he says slowly with a smile as soon as Louis appears in front of him when he opens the door.

            “I missed you”, Louis jumps on him.

            Harry loses balance for a second there, but he finds it again pretty quickly, with his arms full of Louis and his heart full of love. He hugs him as strongly as he can, kicking the door to close it while he smiles in the crook if his boyfriend’s neck, because Harry missed him so much.

            “Missed you, missed you, oh my God”, Louis keeps saying. “This is insane, I missed you so much, I love you so much.” He whispers in Harry’s ear and Harry’s entire body shudders while he kisses any part of Louis’ body he can find, letting him slowly stand on the ground again. “Harry. Harry!”

            “Lou”, he replies with a huge smile on his face.         

            “I love you. Oh my God, I love you.” Louis voices and grins too. “I love you, I love you, why did it take me so long to say it, I love you, I’ve been loving you for so long! I love you, Harry Styles”, Louis hugs him again, tightening his arms around Harry’s neck and Harry doesn’t remember a time in his life in which he was this happy.

            “I love you too, I love you so freaking much.” It’s so sincere when he says it, and when he hears it, and everything about this moment is genuine and pure that Harry wants to store it in his mind and never ever forget. “Come here”, he pulls Louis closer by the hand, connecting their bodies again and just breathing him in.

            Harry liked to think that he’d be okay if Louis never said it, and maybe- maybe he would have, because he didn’t know what it felt like to hear those words coming out of Louis’ mouth. But now that he’s heard it, he doesn’t think he’ll be able to go a day without hearing them again.

            “I really did miss you, H”, Louis says with his head buried in his chest. “You’re my favorite person and I don’t know how I survived a month without you.” He sighs.

            “You’re here now.” Harry answers and kisses his forehead. “I missed you too. Like, ridiculously so”, he chuckles.

            “What a pair we are.”

            “The greatest pair”, the professor assures him.

            “The greatest.” Louis agrees smiling.

            “You came straight from the airport, Lou- d’you need anything?” Harry asks.

            “Just you and your bed and a few hours of sleep, if that’s okay”, he chuckles and pecks Harry’s mouth.

            “It’s perfect”, Harry answers and kisses him back.

             This is his favorite Sunday morning to the date.




            Harry wakes up around eleven thirty to the smell of bacon and scrambled eggs, and for a while there he feels a bit disoriented; but then he remembers that Louis is here, and an involuntary smile spreads on his face. The smile, though, lasts for a total of five seconds, until he remembers that Louis can’t cook and is probably destroying his kitchen as Harry lies in bed.

            He gets up quickly and forgoes clothes, because they’re so past that and makes his way to the kitchen, finding his boyfriend cursing a frying pan and wearing nothing but a pair of boxers. (Thank God for heaters or this wouldn’t be possible in winter.)

            “You could’ve woken me up if you were so hungry”, he says amusedly watching Louis turn around way too fast and lose his balance.

            “I wanted to surprise you in bed”, the singer pouts. “Sorry it didn’t work. But I promise I haven’t burned anything yet!”

            “I can see that, kudos for you!” Harry smiles and walks closely. “Good morning, love.” He pulls Louis by the waist.

            “Morning”, Louis hugs him too and kisses his chest. “I love you.”

            Harry chuckles out of happiness.

            “I love you too”, he replies and kisses Louis’ head. “Even more for making me breakfast, which I assume is even edible.”

            “If it isn’t we can go out for lunch”, he says. “I hope it is”, comes as an afterthought.

            “Let’s dig in then”, Harry smiles and walks towards the stool.          

            They have a routine when they’re here, in Harry’s flat, even though they haven’t been staying here for a while now. Anyways. This is their routine: breakfast’s at the counter, because it’s closer to the stove and the sink, and it’s usually faster. Lunch and dinner are at the table, except for when they’re too lazy and spend the latter on the couch.

            And Harry likes it, loves it. They’re at a point in which they exist around each other seamlesly, because they just- they fit.

            Breakfast turns out pretty all right. Louis has got tea down to a science, and his bacon and eggs are actually pretty good – Harry has been trying to teach him; apparently he caught up on a few things, even though the toast could’ve been less, well, toasted. They can work on that, they have time.


            “So, get that, Julian called- which is why I woke up”, Louis starts, “the first box with my CDs arrived at the studio today.”


            “Yes, it’s actually done, H. After so many months, Jesus”, he sighs.

            “How d’you feel?” Harry asks.


            “Me too.” He agrees with him.

            “You do?” Louis’ eyes and smile are so hopeful that Harry can’t help but soften at it. Louis looks like nothing of what he’s done would be worht it unless Harry got really satisfied with him in the end and, somehow, that makes the butterflies in Harry’s stomach bat their small wings even faster.

            “Of course I am, Lou. You’ve come such a long way, and your songs are so good.” Harry smiles. “Do you remember our conversation at the beginning of the year, when you came to me asking for help?”

            “Are you sure validation isn’t the right word? Because, Louis, my professional opinion won’t change just because you’re being nice”, Louis does a perfect immitation of Harry back then.    

            Back then. It’s been eleven months. I feels like ages ago.

            “I told you I didn’t want your opinion to change”, he continues, “I said I wanted to do better work so you and other people could have a new opinon… Based on a different kind of work.” The singer tells him and Harry nods. He remembers as if it were only yesterday. “God, H, we’ve come such a long way.”

            “Yeah.” Harry kisses him on the cheek, since they’re sitting side by side. “’M so happy, Lou. So, so, so happy. Thank you”, he then kisses his shoulder.

            “Good, that’s—that’s good”, Louis whispers. “Me too, you know?”

            “Yeah. You deserve it”, Harry assures him.

            “I’m sure I’ll get around to that”, he smiles simply.

            Louis has come a long way, yes, but Harry understands his battle with happiness; with believing he deserves it. But yeah… They’ll get around to that.

            “So, launch party. Ready?” Harry asks, changing the subject.

            “Dunno, but excited nonetheless.” He says and gets up to take their plates to the sink. “Has your mom told you if she received her invite?” Louis asks nonchalantly.

            “What?” Harry frowns.

            “Her invite, for the party. It’s pretty exclusive, I’ll have you know, but I made sure to send it to her and Robin and another to Gemma…” He explains as he opens the tap to start washing the dishes.

            Harry’s legs work before he can think properly.

            “You invited my family to your album launch party?” Harry asks just to be sure.

            “Of course, Harold, please”, Louis has his back to Harry, but the professor is pretty sure his boyfriend is rolling his eyes. “Your sister actually texted me to let me know she’s coming-”

            “You and Gemma text?”

            “Obviously. But your mom hasn’t said anyth-” he cuts his sentence short when Harry plasters his chest to Louis’ back.

            Harry’s always thought that bringing moms into conversations meant the contrary of getting a boner. Yet here he is, extremely horny all of sudden, because Louis, fucking Louis Tomlinson, his boyfriend, invited his family to his super exclusive album launch party.

            “I love you”, Harry says in his ear and latches on his neck, kissing in the juncture of it and pulling Louis impossibly closer by the hips, feeling his warmness all over, syncing their breaths and sinking his teeth in Louis’ skin – salty, softy, caramel colored and his.

            “H—” Louis gasps and lets his head fall to one side, allowing Harry to kiss him more and more, running his tongue over the small lovebites already created and sucking on them again. “Will y-you” he stutters, “will you mark me up?”

            “Can I?” Harry asks.

            They have been being careful for a while now, Louis having heard lots of complaints from his management team, but fuck if Harry doesn’t want him to go out there all purple so the world can see he belongs to someone.

            “Y-y-yes, please”, Louis gorans and presses his ass to Harry’s groin, making Harry moan in his nape and move one of his hands to Louis’ chest in order to play with one of his nipples.

            Harry’s always thought of himself as sensitive, but Louis, maybe for being new to all of this, is a whole new level of aroused by the smallest things – and this is the professor’s biggest turn on: how good he can make Louis feel.

            Louis uses his hands to free himself from his boxers, and as he steps out of it, with Harry’s hands roaming his body and Harry’s mouth still connected to his skin, he releases the prettiest of whimpers when his bum touches Harry’s hard cock without any fabric between them.

            “Fuck, H—” he turns around.

            Louis pulls Harry down by his neck and kisses him hard and deep, his tongue working its way inside like that’s where it belongs and Harry lets him take full control of the kiss, taking Louis’ asscheeks in both of his hands and massaging them, bringing Louis’ body forwards and sliding their aching cocks together, feeling the precome accumulating at the tips and his entire body shudder as Louis kisses from his mouth to his jaw to his neck.

            Louis’ favorite spot is Harry’s collarbones, Harry’s figured by now, and he lets him have his way there once he feels Louis’ teeth breaking the skin right on top of his tattoo, moaning and stumbling forwards, trapping Louis’ body between his own and the counter.

            “And to think I once freaked out because you kissed me on a kitchen counter…” Louis chuckles as he licks from one side to the other on Harry’s chest, placing both of his hands on Harry’s arm. “I still remember how turned on I felt by you—everyday, H, every freaking second, you were driving me crazy—stil do.”

            “S-s-same”, Harry says and kisses him again, fast and filthy and long enough that they run out of breath.

            “It’s like I knew I was going to love you.” Louis says and kisses him again, “fuck, do something”, he half-complains and thrusts forwards when their cocks brush again.

            Harry takes them both in his hand, and by now this is one of his favorite things. The way Louis squirms and whines and throws his head back squeezing both of Harry’s biceps like he needs to hold on to him to keep breathing is something that Harry will never get over – never wants to get over.

            He uses their precome as lube making it an easier slide, and goes from the base to the tip tortuously slowly, squeezing harder when he gets to the head and grinnng wickedly when Louis’ moans get louder because of it, forehead now on Harry’s shoulder, nails digging in Harry’s back, hips thrusting up and down fucking into Harry’s fist.

            It’s all too good, and even though they’ve been doing this for months, Harry can’t help but feel a teenager with little to none stamina when it comes to the man he is currently dating, so he strokes them faster and breathes into Louis mouth, seeking the warmess of his kiss again and swallowing each and every moan Louis allows him, doing the same as that amazing familiar feeling builds up faster and faster in the pit of his stomach.

            “Fuck, look at your hand getting us off”, Louis pulls away from the kiss to speak, “like it was meant to do this-fuckfuck-shit, Ha-Har” he doesn’t finish, instead, he bites Harry’s collarbone, making Harry chant his own string of fucks and shits as they come only seconds apart.

            Harry strokes them trying to prolong the moment till it gets a bit uncomfortable, and then he kisses Louis some more, feeling the singer’s hands caressing his hair and neck, ever so softly, in a way that only Louis can.       

            “Please tell me we can spend this entire day in bed watching movies and having sex”, Harry whispers to his mouth with a  small smile.

            “Oh, yes, that we can”, Louis smirks. “But maybe- we call your mom first just to make sure she’s coming next week? And- like, offering her and Robin a room in my flat? I know they can stay with Gemma, but I think I have more room, and I’d love to-” Harry shuts him up with a kiss.

            “Stop. Stop talking or I’ll get hard again.”

            “Family talk gets you hard?” Louis asks in disbelief.

            “You being a part of my family gets me hard”, Harry corrects.

            And- Louis is not officially part of his family. Harry catches himself thinking that he wants him to be. One day.

            “You’re ridiculous.” He rolls his eyes. “And I love you.”

            “Love you too.” Harry pecks his mouth once again.

            “We’ll never stop with the sappiness now, will we?” The singers asks humored.

            “God, I hope not”, he giggles answering. “C’mon, let’s shower. Then we can call my mom.”

            “Please don’t have a boner when we call your mom?” Louis asks pulling him by the hand.

            “Shut up”, Harry slaps his ass and Louis jumps forwards with a yelp.

            Maybe he doesn’t know, maybe he isn’t acknowledging it yet, but Harry thinks that, little by little, Louis has, indeed, stopped blaming himself for being happy. He can’t wait for the day his boyfriend realizes it, though.




            The day of his album launch party should be something Louis was already used to. However, this is the most different day Louis has ever had. It starts with a kiss on his forehead and a whispered good morning, Lou from someone he loves so much he sometimes can’t believe he’s his. (Louis opens his eyes and Harry’s there, smiling down at him and telling him to sleep a little longer because he’ll get started on breakfast.)

            But it’s not just that. Louis is used to having people come and go out of his flat bringing clothes and make up and hair product and it’s all really crazy. Today, well, today Louis has got all of this, but he also has Liam and Sophia, Niall, Gemma and, of course, his boyfriend by his side.

            They all have lunch together, and Harry’s parents are due to arrive in just a little bit. Louis is excited to meet them.


            “Ni, Meg wants to know if you’ll walk the carpet.” Liam yells from another room. He’s been on the phone since he got here, just making sure that everything goes perfectly, he says.

            “He will”, Louis answers from the couch.

            “Lou.” Niall rolls his eyes. 

            “Please?” He asks. “Please, please, please? The universe needs to know how talented you are, Niall Horan, not that horrendous name you choose to go under.” Louis only half-jokes, because that’s exacrly what he thinks.

            It takes Niall less than thirty seconds to say that yeah, okay, but NO INTERVIEWS! It’s a victory nonetheless.

            “Why did you never want to get your name out there?” Gemma asks seeming interested.

            “Just not my thing”, the Irishman shrugs. “I don’t want to go through the things L.A Reed does for example.”

            “The being a millionaire thing?” Harry’s sister jokes.

            “Nah, I already got the millionaire thing. The famous thing.” Niall winks. “Which I think it’s about to change…”

            “Oh.” Gemma replies and says something else that Louis doesn’t hear because he leaves the room and goes to find Liam and Sophia in a guest room. Sophia is getting her hair done and Liam’s there just talking to her.

            “Hazz says they’re arriving”, his friend lets him know.

            “Thanks, mate”, he smiles. “Looking good,  Soph.” Louis tells her. “Can you believe this is your fourth red carpet with me?”

            “It’s crazy”, she smiles. “How’re you feeling?”

            “Everyone’s asking me the same thing”, Louis looks down. “I’m feeling good”, he answers before he hears noise downstairs. Harry must have arrived.

            Everyone is worried about him. Literally everyone. Including Doctor Andrew, with whom he talked the night before.

            Last time Louis went on a red carpet for himself he was drunk out of his mind, talking about an album no one who actually mattered liked, feeling like he had nothing left to prove because no one cared anymore – he was just another washed up celebrity who was about to make more money.

            Last time he went on a red carpet for himself he was unaware of who he was, what he really wanted in life and alone. Last time he went on a red carpet for himself, Louis hadn’t gone through hell and back, he hadn’t faced his demons, he didn’t have a boyfriend, he didn’t have people who knew he was gay and he wasn’t clean.

            So, yeah, pretty much everyone thinks he’s due to a freakout. And maybe… Maybe he is. But for now what he really wants is to go downstairs see Anne and Robin again, so he excuses himself from the room and drags Liam with him, telling Sophia she can meet his future in-laws later, after she finishes her hair. Lucky for him, neither her or his manager point the fact that he said future in-laws.


            “It’s so, so good to see you”, he says hugging Anne as tightly as he can.            

            “You too, Louis, thanks for inviting us.” She smiles that beautiful smile of hers. That Harry smile.

            “Thanks for coming”, he answers.

            “Wouldn’t have missed it”, Robin says.

            “Thank you”, Louis replies and hugs him too. “Please feel at home. There’s lots of food and drinks, and there’s a hair stylist and make up artist upstairs, in case you want anything…” He says.

            “But I’m going after Sophia, you can go after me, mom!” Gemma exclaims.

            “Sophia’s Liam’s fiance”, Louis lets them know. “This is Liam, by the way. My manager and best friend”, he points and Liam moves to greet them. “The blond one into your daugther is Niall, Irish, producer, songwriter, can sing, and one of the greatest lads I’ve ever met. But I’m not saying Gemma should date him!” He shrugs and people laugh. Niall goes tomato red.

            “Nice to meet ya”, he says and shakes their hands. “Where has this come from?” He then fake-whispers to Louis, making everyone chuckle.

            “I just notice things, ‘s all”, he says and excuses himself as he sees everyone is well acquainted. Harry follows him.

            It’s been an hour since Harry left to pick his parents up at the train station, but to Louis it feels like much, much longer.


            Louis smirks when he hears Harry locking he game room door behind them and turns around to hug him, kissing his boyfriend deeply and pining his body against the door, feeling every nerve ending in his body manifest themselves.

            “Hi, gorgeous”, he whispers to the professor’s mouth. “How are you?”

            “Cold”, Harry answers and they chuckle. “Hug me, I need warmness”, he says and pulls Louis in an embrace. Hugs are awesome. Harry’s hugs are the best. “I know this is your big day”, his boyfriend starts saying over his head. By now Louis finds it endearing how much taller than him Harry is. “But it’s- kind of big for me too and just—thank you. For bringing my sister and my parents into this. I want them to be your family as much as they’re mine and- I’m just so proud of you, Lou. Thank you for letting me know you.” He voices.

            “H… Don’t make me cry”, Louis whines, but he’s actually very, very moved. He backs away just a bit so Harry can look into his eyes. “You changed my life, Harry Styles. I could be dead by now, I could have oddeed at a party, I could have drunk myself into oblivion, or worse… I could be really, really unhappy and—and still lonely and you- you changed my life.” He breathes out.

            Harry kisses.

            “Thank you, for everything”, Louis whispers.

            “I feel warm now”, Harry tells him.

            “Me too.” He smiles.

            They sit together on the couch and just stay there talking about their expectations for tonight and playing a bit of videogame. People gave them some time because they knew they needed it, and an hour or so later they go back to everyone.

            Louis sits by Robin’s side and they eat together in the middle of the afternoon, because, well, there’s food. Robin tells him stories about Harry and Gemma growing up, and Louis notices that even thoguh he isn’t their real father, he loves them just as much as one would.

            Anne joins them a while later, after Gemma’s pregnancy hormones while doing her hair started to be utterly unbearable and they laugh at it.

            “She’s just never satisfied, honestly”, Anne huffs, “oh God, I’m bitching about my own pregnant daughter”, she chuckles.

            “It’s normal, mom”, Harry says.

            “Don’t I know, Harold, honestly”, she rolls her eyes and Louis’ own widden. “What, dear?” Anne asks him.

            “I’d never noticed you call him Harold too. You never said anything”, he then pokes Harry.

            “First time you called me Harold I didn’t know you well enough to tell you, and after that it was just- I don’t know. I’m glad you know it now.” He smiles.

            “But I only do it when he’s being annoying”, Anne lets him know.

            “Oh, I do it all the time, I think”, he shrugs.

            “Because Harry’s annoying all the time”, Niall chips in and ruffles Harry’s hair as he passes by. “Lou, ‘m gonna go shower and change and everything, see you later, yeah?” He kind of asks.

            “Why didn’t you bring your stuff, Horan?” He rolls his eyes.            

            “Because I still don’t know what I’m wearing, duh.”

            “Text me pictures, I’ll help you”, Harry says.

            “Will do, Hazz.” He winks obnoxiously. Louis slaps him and Niall cackle. “Liam arranged for a limo to pick me up anyways, so I’ll be there on time and walk on the red carpet, so don’t worry LouLou.”

            “Get out of here, Neil”, Louis just pretends to be annoyed and laughs, watching his friend exit his flat.


            The rest of the afternoon goes smoothly. One by one they all get ready for the party and Louis is the last, because he needs to look perfect. It’s too damn cold outside, and Harry gets extremely bothered that he won’t be able to wear his shirts with all of those buttons down, but Louis just laughs it off saying he’ll unbutton them all for him when they get home.

            “You’re ridiculous”, Harry pecks him on the mouth putting on his trousers.

            “You love me”, Louis streches out his tongue.

            “I do”, Harry looks at him fondly.

            Yeah, Louis thinks,  I can do this.




            “I absolutely cannot do this what was I even thinking????”  Louis asks inside the limo trying to keep his voice down but absolutely failing at it.          

            The partition is up and Liam and Sophia are staring at him and Louis can’t breathe, why is this happening again? Why is this happening now?

            “I’m not getting out, I just— I can’t.”

            Louis looks outside and the place packed with paparazzi and fans outside. Yes, there is security, but he can hear people scream with all the limos parked.

            It’s a small venue, compared to others in the past, but Louis can’t remember so many people waiting for him since his first two albums. The weather is bad, some people say it’s gonna rain later and yet there are hundreds of girls and boys around the fences, security trying to hold them till  Louis gives some interviews and gets inside for the party.

            Jesus. It’s all too much it’s what it is. He doesn’t deserve that, he doesn’t deserve any of that, any of those people – fans of his. He doesn’t- he can’t—it’s just-

            “I’ll get Harry”, he vaguely hears Sophia say and then the screaming intensifies as the door opens.

            Harry’s in the car behind them, with his parents.

            This is bad, this is terrible, people are going to see Harry come in and immediately think something’s up because, guess what, something is up. Louis is panicking. Everyone was right not to trust him, everyone was right to be worried about him, because now he’s freaking out. Now everything he’s worked so hard for in the past few months is going to be for nothing because Louis can’t even breathe.

            “Tommo, listen”, Liam holds his hand tightly. “Focus. Look at me!” He demnads.

            Louis finds his friend’s eyes, but can’t say he’s focusing much.

            “You’re gonna be okay, it’s all okay.”

            “It’s not, Li, it’s not I can’t—breahte properly, I feel like”, he really can’t, he tries to breathe and the air is cut and fuck—“I feel like dying.”

            “NO, hey NO”, his friend holds him again. “You’re just really anxious and your mind’s playing tricks on you, but please don’t say that ever again. You don’t want to die and you’re okay, everything’s okay—”

            The door opens, Harry stumbles into the limo and kneels in front of Louis. Sophia is inside again.

            “I told a reporter I went to look for Harry for a toast before we go in. It’s okay, Lou”, she lets him know.

            “Lou, look at me”, Harry asks, way softer than Liam did. He takes both of Louis hands and kisses his knuckles. The singer feels like a failure in front of his boyfriend. He had promised he’d be okay, and here he is, making a scene.

            God, Harry doesn’t deserve him. Or, well, Louis doesn’t deserve Harry. Look at this!

            “Lou- babe, please.” Harry asks. “Breathe with me, okay?”

            Harry takes Louis’ wrist and places his thumb where he can feel his heart beat in a vein. He counts to three and then syncs their breaths. On that Louis can focus. He’s been counting Harry’s breaths for a long time now, and it always calms him down.

            “Everyone who is out there loves you”, Harry starts saying to his skin. Louis is sure he’s using a low voice, but in the limo, with only four people in there, it feels like he’s on a megaphone. “Every single person came because you deserve them to be here so much.” He kisses the inside of his arm, his wet lips somehow making Llouis settle in himself. Louis’ heart’s at a better pace. “You worked so hard on everything. They’re dying to get a picture or an autograph of the guy who’s fighting a war that many of them do too, everyday.”

            “You’re okay, Lou. Your party’s going to be amazing. Nick and Greg are here. Ed Sheeran is coming. My family’s here for you, Julian is here, Niall is finally revealing who he is… I’m here. Sophia is here. Liam, your best friend of many years is here too”, as Harry speaks, Louis looks around and both Liam and Sophia have soft expressions on their faces.

            Liam has got an arm around his fiancé’s shoulder and Sophia is smiling at Louis like she’s saying he’s right, you’ll be fine. His manager is too, if Louis is being honest.

            “Everyone’s here because they love you. I love you, so, so, so much”, he whispers and Louis hugs him.

            “I love you too”, is the first thing he says, muffled in Harry’s neck.

            Louis doesn’t think his friends knew about them already having exchanged those words, because they both gasp when Louis says it back.

            The professor caresses his hair softly, trying not to mess it up, and five minutes later Louis is okay.

            “You all right?” Liam asks. A temptive hand on Louis’ shoulder.

            “’M fine”, he mumbles. “I’m okay”, he then looks into Harry’s eyes.

            “You are”, his boyfriend smiles. “I’m gonna go out there, pose for a few pictures, and wait for you inside. Okay?”


            “Take care of my boy”, Harry winks at Liam and Sophia and then kisses Louis again, only on the forehead. “See you.”

            Louis nods, Harry opens the door and people scream and scream and scream. Harry’s a celebrity on his own now – Louis’ fans seem to love him. The other day Louis uploaded a video of Harry playing the guitar at the studio and it went kind of viral amongst Louis’ fans.

            They wait ten minutes till they go again. Sophia, bless her, applies some more powder she had in her purse on Louis’ face, because he looks way too flushed according to her and then she’s out with Liam.

            Louis waits for them to take three steps, and then he gets out of the car. He’s got this now.




            The party itself happens like every other party Louis has thrown or been to. He makes the rounds saying hello, he shakes the hands of the right people and smiles so much that his jaw starts hurting. He eats little, gives less attention to his friends than he’d like to, but, this time, he doesn’t drink.

            Louis is still nervous during the first two hours, and he only calms down a bit when he spots Nick and Greg talking to Harry, Niall and Ed. Liam is, surprisingly so, dancing with Harry’s mom while Robin, Gemma, Sophia and Julian talk and laugh over a glass of champagne and Louis feels happy inside – his little family is here.

            “The man of the night!” Nick salutes him as he approaches and Louis flicks his hair, pretending he isn’t blushing. “Good to see you again, Tomlinson, thanks for the invite.” He says.

            “Pleasure you’re here, Nick”, Louis smiles. “Hi, Greg.” He says and then just nods at Ed, because he’s seen him already.

            “Hey, Louis, party’s sick, mate, can’t wait to listen to the album.”

            “Thanks, thanks”, he smiles again. At least it’s a genuine one now. Louis really likes Greg.   

            “Greg was saying he’s gonna send me more shirts”, Harry lets Louis know, a sparkle in his eyes.

            Receiving design clothes is one of Harry’s guilty pleasures. He loves them. Louis almost feels irrationaly jealous of Greg when Harry’s wearing something the man designed. It’s ridiculous.

            “He wears them every week”, the singer rolls his eyes, “those terrible patterned shirts.”

            “Eeeeei!” Harry frowns.

            “Thanks, mate”, Greg snorts and Ed chuckles.

            “Well, they are terrible. But Harry manages to pull them off”, Niall shrugs and drinks his beer.

            Louis agrees.

            “Hey, Louis, what are you doing on New Year’s Eve?” Ed asks him and Louis’ first reaction is to look at Harry. Oops.

            “Uhn- I don’t- like, I don’t know?” He kind of asks and tries not to look at his boyfriend again. He fails. Lucky for him, Harry notices and offers him a small shrug that is only noticible because Louis is paying close attention – as if he’s saying whatever you want, Lou. “Why?” Louis chooses to ask.

            “’M gonna throw a party at my flat this year, really small, just, like, thirty people tops? If you wanna come?”

            “Sure- I mean, is that—” okay, Louis has two options here. He either agrees to plans with Ed Sheeran without consulting with Harry and completely ignoring his existance, therefore hurting him a lot, or he mans up and asks Ed if he can bring a plus one.

            Sure, Louis doesn’t need to mention who his plus one is, neither does his plus one need to be a date exactly. But, well, it’s New Year’s Eve. Of course his plus one is going to be a date. Louis has always been one to rip the bandaid off once and for all.

            Okay. Not always. But he feels like he wants to be this kind of person now. Which is why he says his next words…

            “Can I bring my boyfriend with me?” He asks.

            Everyone goes quiet. Except for Nick – who yelps. Yes, he does. It’s very funny.

            “Sure, anyone you want, really”, Ed shrugs. “Just gimme his name so I can put him on the list…”

            “I think you might now him?” Louis squints his eyes. “Something about having had a fling with his sister?’

            “What?” Ed’s eyes widden. “Hazz? Shit, mate, that’s ace!” The ginger singer celebrates and everyone laughs. “Oh, this is gonna be good.”

            Somehow, all Niall registers is…

            “You’ve dated Gemma?”

            “Date is not the correct word, but we- we’ve met.” Ed chuckles.

            Louis lets them keep talking and makes a mental note to talk to Niall about his recent crush on Harry’s sister at another time. For now, he focuses on Harry and the way he seems to be dying to kiss Louis right here and right now, but settles for changing places with Niall and coming to stand by his side – his eyes a bit wattery, still in disbelief.

            “So happy for you guys”, Nick says and his boyfriend nods along.

            “We’re happy too, aren’t we?” Louis answers and asks Harry at the same time.

            “Really happy.” Harry answers.

            They talk for a few more minutes, Nick totally asks for an exclusive on Louis’ writing and recording process and Louis totally says yes because, well, he’s got to admit he’s very fond of the journalist (probably the only one he actually likes), and then Liam comes to get him, because he needs to go give his speech and thank everyone and bla, bla, bla.

            Megan tells him the exact names he needs to mention, but Louis doesn’t memorize all of them, or neither of them, if he’s being honest, because this year is different. He is different, even though the party is the same. The people Louis needs to thank have their names already engraved in his mind and heart, so he’s okay.

            Of course his nerves are killing him – but the good kind of nerves, if there is such thing. He’s approaching the small stage when Harry follows him, and grabs him by the arm so nonchalantly that everyone around them can’t even fathom the things he says to Louis.

            “You’ve been driving me insane the whole night”, the professor whispers, talking in his ear. “When you came out to them—fuck, Lou, I wanted to pin you on the nearest wall and kiss you till tomorrow.” Louis likes this idea. Louis likes this idea a lot. “Go out there and make me proud again. Smile at everyone and afterwards, when it’s just the two of us, we’re gonna get so, so dirty.”

            Louis takes a deep breath and turns around, clearly flustred.

            “That’s music to my ears, Hazz”, he replies.



            Harry’s eyes have darkened, and Louis suspects his own have gone a darker shade of blue too.

            He needs to get this over with.


            “Hi, everyone”, Louis says into the mic, already on stage. People clap and whistle and he laughs a bit. “Being here tonight is a victory on its own for me and- and not just because of this album, which I’m actually really proud of, but…” More claps. “But also because if you’ve been following the rags, or if you know me on a somewhat personal level you… You know this year hasn’t been easy at all.”

            Now there’s silence. But Louis can handle this. He remembers Harry saying that those people are here for him. Harry is here for him.

            “It’s saddening just how quickly a person turns into an architect when they’re hurt.” He chooses to say. “Personality becomes an emergency shelter, walls of fear insulated with coldness and harsh words, and—and people are nothing more than storms to run away from." Louis voices. “But what I didn’t know and, honestly, it’s something nobody tells you, is that if you stay long enough to face the storm… If you let the rain fall on you and wash your entire soul—it eventually ends, and what comes after is something so- so beautiful and so magical that you start wondering if this is really happening, if you really deserve it. I guess that’s why I named the album Every Storm Runs Out of Rain…”

            Louis focuses on Harry for the next part.

            “I went through a lot this year, but now I’m in a good phase and I owe it to so many people. I need to thank my management team and my label for such great support in my decisions as an artist… I gotta thank Julian, that weird dude with a hat in the back…” He points, “for coming in a bit late and doing his best in this album with me. And I… I need to thank some other people to whom I owe not only this album, but, not dramatically speaking at all, my life.” He chuckles. Not necessarily happy, though, just—it’s a sigh that comes out with a laugh.

            “I need to thank Niall, my fellow writer, producer, friend—for crazy studio hours, many unhealthy meals and extreme support on everything. Liam, my manager and also best friend, and his fiancé Sophia for being my- for being my alive parents and for never giving up on me...”

            Sophia is openly crying and Liam is smiling big hugging her. Louis loves them more than he can explain. Maybe one of his songs can.

            “And”, he continues. Last but never, never least, “I need to thank Harry, whom I guess you already know, too… I need to thank him for completely trashing me almost a year ago and making me so damn angry that I had to barge into his workplace and demand some answers as to why he was being so mean”, he laughs. Everyone chuckles a little too.

            Harry doesn’t even try to roll his eyes this time. He just looks extremely fond.

            “Hadn’t it been for you”, Louis says, looking straight at him, “I’d never get to see what came after the storm. I’m really glad I did. Thank you.” He smiles. “Thank you all for being here for me tonight. I hope you enjoy the party.”

            People clap really, really loudly. Louis needs to close his eyes because there are too many flashes on him. His single starts playing full volume. But all he can think about is getting off the stage and moving to find Harry.

            Harry finds him first. They hug and soon Louis feels Liam’s arms around him too, and then Niall. God, Louis loves them so much. He’s so, so happy.

            [A/N: maybe “he trashed me and I hated him” will be their chicken wrapped in parma ham stuffed with mozzarela cheese and a side of hommade mash.]




            Louis is the first one to leave his party. At some point the whole place becomes a nightclub and it’s not that Louis doesn’t like it – he does –, it’s just that he’s already done everything he needed to, and now he’s craving silence, his bed and his boy.          

            Anne and Robin go in one car and Harry and Louis take the other. They decide to give Gemma a ride since both of her potential rides (Ed and Niall) were left extremely drunk at the venue, and she lives kind of far from Louis, so it’s not until three am that they manage to enter Louis’ flat, making as little noise as possible so as not to wake Harry’s parents up.

            “How’re you feeling?” Harry asks him as they make it into the bedroom.

            “Good”, Louis answers truthfully. “Really, really good. Like I need a shower, sure, but-  good nonetheless.”

            “We could take a bath, maybe? To calm down?” Harry suggests and circles his waist with both hands, bringing him closer.

            “That’d be lovely”, Louis smiles and breathes Harry in. The professor kisses his forehead softly and then pulls him by the hand to the ensuite.

            Everything is silent and calm, just the way Louis needs it.   

            While the water fills the tub, Harry undresses them and kisses every inch of  Louis’ skin he can manage to get his mouth on, dragging his tongue slowly and hotly all over Louis’ body, leaving hot trails behind with a promise of more, more, more.


            They fuck without a condom for the first time inside the tub.

            It’s not crazy, but it defintiely is dirty – as Harry promised. He marks Louis up as much as he can while Louis rides him painfully slow, circling his hips and sometimes squeezing his asscheeks just so the pressure on Harry’s cock will increase and the man will moan in the curve of Louis’ neck.

            Louis whispers I love yous each time he feels the professor’s cock brush his prostate, and Harry answers it with a low grunt when he comes inside of him, the singer following suit after feeling, for the first time, what it is like to have someone shooting inside of him and not a condom. Everything is enhanced, somehow.       

            The water dances around them, and there has never been anything more perfect in the history of forever than this moment right here.


            “Hey, I kinda made you something.” Harry says as they sit together on the bed. There’s only the bedside table light on now, and Louis feels dizzy with sleep, and love and content.

            “Yeah? What?” He asks with a tired, but hopeful smile.

            “A new review. For your new album.”

            “Oh.” His eyes widden. “Is it going online? Will I need to fight you again?” Louis jokes. Harry laughs and nods negatively, pulling a paper from behind his back and placing it in front of Louis.

            Louis does not cry. Apart from the fact that he totally does.




Chapter Text















            The days that follow the party are spent in a haze of pap outings, articles about Louis and Harry and excitement for the holiday parties. But mostly articles about Louis and Harry.

            It’s like Louis can’t avoid the topic anymore, no matter how much he tries to go around it. Everywhere he goes – in person or online – there’s something about him and the singer, about how they look at and around each other, about Louis’ apparent proximity with Harry’s family, about how cute they are as a possible couple.

            It’s not only the media, is the thing. If Louis fans liked Harry before, after the papers started talking more and more about them, and after Harry’s public support of his career in contrast of what he thought back in January, Louis’ fans, even the ones who didn’t believe it at first, started sending him supportive messages.   

            He doesn’t know how to feel. Overwhelmed is definitely a way to explain it, sure, but apart from that, there’s just this weird feeling in his stomach that he can’t quite pinpoint. It’s not necessarily bad, it’s just there – and it’s new and strange and Louis doesn’t know how to handle it.

            Now, though, he’s got more pressing matters at hand, like, for example: Christmas shopping.

            “I have no idea what to give to Robin”, he voices his concern as Harry enters the flat.

            “Good evening to you to, my day was amazing, thank you for asking”, his boyfriend answers playfully as he closes the door behind him and walks towards Louis.

            “Hi”, the singer smiles from the couch.

            “Hi”, Harry leans down and pecks his mouth.

            “Your day was amazing, uh?”

            “Yes, yes, it was”, he sighs happily and doesn’t wait for Louis to ask him why. “They offered me a promotion for next year.” Harry’s smile rivals the sun when he says it.

            “What? Really? What?” Louis asks, laptop long forgotten as he stands on his feet on the couch being much taller than Harry.

            “They said they were going to wait for the new school year, but thanks to you my reputation is so good that they made up their minds to give it to me as off January.” Harry laughs and hugs Louis hips.

            Louis bends down to kiss him fast.

            “Give what, Harry, tell me!”

            “I don’t know if there’s a name for that?” He frowns quickly. “But- like, I’m basically on a board, yeah? And I get to judge alongside other professors who gets in or not at the school, and the ones who get scholarships and whatnot and- Louis, I’m so happy.

            Louis jumps on him right then, hugging him with his legs and arms as Harry spins them around in the middle of the living room. Louis kisses him full on the mouth as soon as he manages to stop grinning, because he’s so proud of this dork, and their tongues meet excitedly, hungry for one another.

            Harry walks them back to the couch and sits, with Louis straddling his thighs, and they snog for a long while, exchanging laughs and pecks and I love yous.

            Louis never thought he’d be so happy for someone else’s accomplishments, always thought he was too selfish for something like that. Not Harry, though. Louis wants everything with and for Harry.

            “I’m so proud of you, babe”, he tells him for the hundredth time now.

            “There are so many good students that don’t get scholarships because they don’t fit a profile, did you know that?” Harry asks. “Like, some of them are older than the average uni kid, so the Academy thinks they won’t do much for them or bring in much prestige once they graduate and- of course, not every student can go to a major orchestra or work at famous labels or whatever, but—but can you imagine how many people just need an opportunity?” Louis nods. “I’ll get to have a say in that now. It’s like—”

            “Good. It’s good. People are going to be very lucky to have you not only mentoring them, but giving them the opportunities they need.”

            “I… Yeah.” He smiles and kisses him again. “Sometimes people just need other people to believe in them.”       

            “Like you believed in me.” Louis kisses his cheek and Harry closes his eyes. “For the longest time I thought you wanted me to be bright when all I could see was darkness and, like, I didn’t understand it. But you coaxed sunlight out of me and—it’s a stupid metaphor, isn’t it?”

            “It’s not.”

            “And now I’m here, and I can see things clearly, and I get to love you, and I get to be loved by you. And I’m okay with sharing you a bit with everyone else, because everyone else needs you.” He hugs him. “I’m really, really happy for you, Hazz.”

            “Thanks, Lou”, Harry hugs him back. “I’m really happy for me too.” He says.

            “We should celebrate!” He decides and scoots back on Harry’s thighs, looking straight into his eyes. “What do you want to do? D’you wanna go out? Clubbing? Or dinner-date, maybe? What do you want?” Louis kind of jumps on Harry’s leg and the man chuckles, holding him by the hips.

            “We could get some dinner”, Harry says. “I could cook us something?”

            “Nope, you’re not cooking tonight.”

            “Louis, you can’t cook.”

            “I can take you out.”

            “Highly doubt Megan will be okay with that”, he points and raises a brow. “At this point I think even Liam agrees that the maximum we can do together without raising any more suspicions is going to Starbucks.” Harry jokes and Louis shudders in horror.

            “Starbucks are meant for pap-walks. No Starbucks for us, at least not- you know, now when we know we’ll be photographed.”

            “Oh, good, cause for a second there I thought you’d want me to give up Starbucks forever.” His boyfriend widens his eyes.

            “You prefer hipster coffee shops anyway.” Louis shrugs playing with a loose strand of Harry’s hair.

            It’s getting longer and longer, and Harry hasn’t mentioned getting it cut to him yet, but Liam said something about him wanting to grow it long enough to be able to donate when he gets it cut, and Louis thinks he’s the most precious thing in the entire universe.

            “That I do”, he chuckles.   

            “I’m sorry we’re hiding, though. And that I’m too reckless with my thoughts so you’re the one who needs to remind me about—everything.”

            Louis feels sad for it. He’s so tired of hiding. He wishes he were braver.

            “Hey, it’s okay. Everyone who matters knows. Moreover, you’re doing things at your own pace. ‘M not mad.” Harry tells him and softly places one hand on his cheek. “If anything, I’m very proud of you slowly outing yourself in the industry. Don’t think I’m not noticing it.”

            A smile appears on Louis’ face.

            “You are?”

            “I am.” Harry smiles and kisses the pout out of his mouth. “I’ve got students asking me about you all the time, now more than ever, did you know that? They say they know someone who knows someone who says we’re dating.” Louis chuckles. “I tell them they shouldn’t get information from such unreliable sources, but I never tell them it’s a lie.” Harry confesses.

            “Good. Don’t.” Louis says. “There is a thin line between lying and omitting. I’d rather not cross it.”

            “Me neither.” Harry agrees and slaps his thigh.  Louis hops off his legs and sits by his side. “So, you were saying something about Robin?”

            “Oh, yes”, he grabs the laptop and places it on his lap again, “I’m online shopping Christmas presents…” Louis tells him, “because I don’t like walking around, sue me, so…” Harry chuckles. “I bought your sister and mom gifts already, but I have no idea what to give Robin.”

            “Hm, me neither come to think of it”, Harry frowns. “Last Christmas I think I got him fishing gear? And for his birthday some vinyls. But now I’m not- I don’t know either.” He sighs.

            “Is he into watches?” Louis asks.

            “What middle-aged man isn’t?”

            “Cartier’s got a great new collection…” He says as he types the website address on his search bar.

            “You’re insane if you think I’ll let you buy him something so expensive.” Harry says pulling his hands. “No way, Louis.”


            “What did you get my mom?” He asks. Louis looks down. “Louis. What did you get my mom?”

            “Okay, don’t be mad, please!” He says first. “I bought her new gardening gear”, Harry breathes relieved when he hears it. But Louis continues. “And two Alexander McQueen scarves, because we got talking during the party and she mentioned how much she loves scarves, and I thought it’d be nice.”

            “Is that it?” Harry asks.

            “I might’ve bought her a Louis Vuitton bag, but just because I was buying one for Gemma and it was so pretty.”

            “Lou”, he sighs. He seems torn between amused and angry.

            “I just- I have no one to spend my money on, okay?” Louis tells him. “I’d do that for my mom if I had her, and siblings and everyone. I’m paying for Liam’s entire wedding, Harry, because he’s like a brother to me and- I have no one to spend my money on.”

            “I know, love.”

            “I just wanna get them nice things.”

            “I know”, Harry says and kisses him. “But they love you already, you know it, right?”

            “Yeah, H. It’s not about getting them to like me. I really want to- to spend money on them, because they’re an extension of you and you are—at this point you’re my-” home, family, everything. He doesn’t say it.

            “You’re my, too.” His boyfriend smiles and kisses him. “What did you get Gemma, besides the bag?”

            “Uh, a One Tree Hill box. She’s about to spend so much time at home, and she said she loved the show…”

            “She’s going to love it.” Harry assures him. “I was actually gonna get her that.”

            “We can say it’s a gift from both of us?” He tries. “Or you could get her smaller things she’s going to need as a pregnant woman.”

            “Such as…?”

            “Okay, so, there’s this website…” Louis opens it and starts scrolling, showing Harry things.

            They spend hours and hours online shopping, and Harry only fights Louis twice about who’s paying what. He wins one of them, but it’s okay, because Louis gets to buy Robin a watch after all. Sure, not a Cartier, because everything worth more than three thousand pounds is off the limits, but- well, he figures it might be a good one. Robin will have something new to check the time – that is for sure.



            The holidays come faster than they expected.

            Harry wraps things up at school on the twenty-second and on the twenty-third he finds himself ready to go out clubbing for the first time in forever, because this is how Louis wants to celebrate his twenty-sixth birthday.

            “I’m getting closer and closer to thirty”, he shudders his entire body out of nervousness, “and I don’t want to be one of those sad 30 year olds that go to nightclubs, so let’s enjoy it while I’m in my twenties.” He explains.

            “Nothing wrong with 30 year olds clubbing, Lou”, Harry tells him with an amused expression.

            Alberto, Louis’ bodyguard accompanies them to the club and there they meet everyone else. For somebody who said he didn’t have many friends, Louis actually manages to gather a pretty great selected crowd this year, and, according to Liam, he never seemed happy on his birthdays – until this one.


            “I’m so happy he’s happy”, Harry comments from the booth.

            Louis is dancing with Niall and a random girl and he seems free.

            “Me too, which- is kind of thanks to you, so, cheers, mate!” He raises his glass.

            “Cheers”, Harry agrees and downs his daiquiri. He doesn’t want to get drunk tonight, because he still needs to give Louis his birthday present once they get home after midnight, and he has got to be extremely sober for it.


            The party goes on without a hitch. When it’s midnight Niall appears with a cake out of nowhere, that no one expected, and it only lasts enough for Louis to see it and for the entire club to sing happy birthday, because right after that the Irishman buries Louis’ face in the cake, making everyone laugh and Louis start a cake fight.

            Harry cackles at that, and Louis throws cake at his face, spreading it to his neck and exposed chest, but being careful not to reach his hair. Thank God Louis respects Harry’s hair enough.

            “Now ‘m all sticky”, Harry fake-complains. “You’ll have to lick it off me.” He says in Louis’ ear.

            “Not a problem, love. Give me a couple of minutes to say my goodbyes.” He giggles and starts walking away.

            “No, Lou, c’mon.” The professor pulls him by the wrist. “Enjoy your friends.”

            “I’ve already celebrated enough with them, H. Wanna celebrate just with you now… Is that okay?” Even with all of that noise, Louis’ voice is a whisper that trumps it all.

            Harry swallows tickly and nods, starting to bid his goodbyes as well.



            When they get home, they’re horny and go straight to the shower, to clean themselves up. Harry sucks Louis off but does not let him fuck his throat, because he’ll need his voice in a few minutes, and then wanks himself off while Louis sucks a bruise next to his right nipple. It’s all fast and dirty and Louis says he’s ready for round two the second they dry themselves. But Harry has another plan.

            “I haven’t given you your birthday gift yet.” He says.

            “We agreed on only Christmas’ gifts, because I didn’t want you spending money on me twice.” Louis crosses his arms and Harry laughs.

            For somebody who spoils Harry rotten buying him all kinds of useless stuff and paying for almost all of their dates, Louis complains a whole lot about the things Harry wants to give him.

            “I didn’t spend any money on this one, I promise.” He lets his boyfriend know as he walks towards the stairs, going to the music room. Louis follows him silently, looking as soft as ever in a Harry jumper. “Get comfy on the couch, I’ll be right back.”

            Harry is nervous.

            He’s written Louis a song: lyrics and melody. He’s rehearsed it a hundred times and Niall swore to him that it’s perfect. Still, when he goes back to the room carrying an acoustic guitar he’d been hiding for a while now and watches Louis’ eyes widen, his blood starts running faster and he feels his cheeks warm and God, Harry’s so, so nervous.

            “You said you wanted to hear me sing…” Harry starts, sitting on the bed in front of his boyfriend.

            “You said you’d have to find a perfect song.”

            “I didn’t. But I kind of, like, wrote you one?” He says as he sits down on the rug in front of the fireplace. It’s warmer here.

            “You wrote me a song?” Louis asks in awe, walking towards him and kneeling right across from Harry – eyes big; so blue; expectant.

            “You’ve written me a few, so, it’s-”

            “Hazz. Just fucking play it”, the singer interrupts him impatiently. “Please.” He adds, a tad more softly.

            “It’s- uh, it’s called Through the Dark.”


            Somehow, as soon as he starts singing, his nervousness completely disappears. This song is everything he’s always wanted to tell Louis and, as hard as he tried, never quite knew how. But now he’s here, and Louis is here, and as Harry sings, he can see every feature in his boyfriend’s face changing according to the lyrics.

            He can see Louis go from regretful to thankful, from sad to so, so happy, from disbelieving to in love, and Harry thinks that this is kind of how their relationship happened, right?

            They’ve had weird phases, sad phases, and then they got to this point in which they’re so unbelievably happy that it’s strange sometimes. The magnitude of Harry’s love for Louis is something that he doesn’t think he can measure; it’s something he didn’t think he could explain until he’s singing it.

            Oh  I would carry you over fire and water for your love

            And I will hold you closer, hope your heart’s strong enough

            When the night is coming down on you

            We will find a way through the dark

            Harry plays the last notes of the song and drags out the word dark a bit. He hadn’t even realized he’d closed his eyes throughout the song, but when he opens them again, Louis’ own are glistening, there are a few tears drying on his cheeks but his smile is larger than life itself – and Harry smiles back, because how could he not?        

            He puts the guitar aside and the singer is on his lap before he has time do to anything else. Louis straddles his thighs and hugs him with his legs and arms, like the cutest koala bear in the world, and buries his face in the crook of Harry’s neck, saying thank you, thank you, thank you repeatedly, only stopping to kiss him silly.  

            Louis kisses him slowly and passionately, and Harry doesn’t think they’ve ever kissed like this – in a way he can’t even specify. Everything is special, ethereal, almost.

            “There are a million things about you that I have fallen in love with”, Louis tells him, looking him in the eyes. “There are a million simple things that you do… You could be staring into your phone, and I’d be wondering how on earth I, out of the entire world, have gotten the chance to fall in love with you.” He chuckles.

            Harry strokes his cheek easily, softly.

            “And while I try to find my answers, there is one more question that I have too… I wonder to myself how has the entire universe not fallen in love with you”, they both laugh quietly at that. “I’m serious though…” The singer voices while caressing Harry’s neck with his thumbs drawing small, invisible circles on his skin. “Of course my fans love you, of course my friends love you, and your students love you and everyone really…”


            “You’re the most lovable person that has ever existed, Harry Styles. The fact that you, out of millions of people, came into my life and loved me—I don’t know, it makes me believe in all of that meant-to-be crap.”


            “Shut up”, he kisses him. “I think- and that’s something I’m only confessing today because it’s my birthday, and I’m drunk on you, and you’ve just sung me the most perfect song of all times… Okay?”

            “All right”, Harry smiles and repositions Louis in his lap. “What do you think?”

            “I think that if my parents were alive they would love you too, and because you are you… I think they wouldn’t care about me being gay at all, as long as I had-- have someone like you.” He hugs him again. “Thank you for loving me, H”, Louis whispers.

            “I love you as certain dark things are to be loved”, Harry whispers too, stroking Louis’ back under his jumper with the tips of his fingers. “In secret- between the shadow and the soul.” He kisses his cheek.

            “Can you love me till I run out of darkness?” Louis’ voice is so, so small when he asks.

            (And, the thing is, Harry doesn’t think people ever run out of darkness, not completely. Harry thinks that everyone needs that bit of shadow inside themselves, completing the light. He thinks life, human beings are all about balance. But for now he can let this go.)

            “I can”, he answers and smiles. “I’ll love you through the dark”, he jokes.

            “Then we’ll walk together into the light.”

            “Yeah—yeah we will.”

            In the back of his mind, he thinks they’ve already had a similar conversation, but it’s still astounding to him how far they’ve gotten together, how far they can still go. There are no limits to Louis and Harry, not anymore.


            Tonight Louis rides him slowly and deeply in front of the fireplace, their bodies sweating because of their fire, their hearts racing because of so much love. They fall asleep together, and Harry wonders if Louis, like himself, believes this is forever. He hopes he does.




            The next day they drive up to Holmes Chapel super excited, only a little bit cold and with a car full of gifts. Harry talked about Louis, but he’s just as bad when it comes to his family, what can he do?

            Louis doesn’t seem nervous. He actually looks like he can’t wait to get to Harry’s childhood home – been talking to Anne over the phone since the party, just filling her in about his days and asking questions about hers. Harry couldn’t be happier about it even if he wanted to, and in one of the few times he managed to talk to his mom alone, he asked her to bake Louis a cake for his birthday, which is, in fact, today.

            “Uh, Lou…” Harry calls him when they’re almost there. Louis more often than not dozes off in the car.

            “’M awake”, he lets him know.

            “Good.” The professor smiles and catches his boyfriend’s eyes for a second there, turning his attention back to the road. “My dad texted me, he wants to have dinner with Gems and I tonight, since             we’ll be at mom’s tomorrow and he’ll travel with his new girlfriend on Boxing Day.”

            “Oh, okay.”

            “You could… Come have dinner with us? If you wanted to? I’ll probably cook at dad’s.” Harry shrugs, going for nonchalance.

            Louis knows Harry isn’t as close with his father as he is to Anne and Robin, but he’s still Harry’s father, and a very important part of his life. He figured he’d ask. He didn’t know he was holding his breath waiting on an answer until Louis says of course.

            “Really? You’ll come?”

            “Sure, babe.” Louis smiles back and rests a hand on his thigh. “Just- you sure it’ll be indoors, right? Can’t have anyone knowing I’m here, don’t need any more articles.”

            “At his place, for sure. No one will know.” Harry promises.

            “Ok, good.”

            Harry texts his father back at a red light letting him know that he’ll take his boyfriend with him. Des simply sends a smiley face back, which, in his language, means he can’t wait.

            Once they arrive at Harry’s house, Anne opens the door and they rush inside with their things, Robin getting out to help them as well and Gemma, who is already there, uses her pregnancy as an excuse to not move.

            Her belly’s growing at lot, it’s true, and Louis keeps joking about her having twins and not knowing it – which always makes her slap him and call him not so nice names.

            “Call me stupid when you give birth to two kids” he says.

            “Mom!” Gemma calls Anne.         

            “Shut it, Louis, don’t give my daughter a heart attack”, Anne smiles and shuts the door for good. “Jesus Christ, did you guys buy an entire mall for Christmas?” She asks looking at multiple gift bags under the tree.

            “Well, if it were up to Louis we would have”, Harry rolls his eyes.

            “You’re just as bad”, the singer accuses him. “Now, Gems, seriously, how you guys doing?” He sits by her side and puts a hand on her bump while Harry carries their things upstairs.

            Once he gets back to the living room, Louis has got his ear close to Gemma’s belly and is talking softly to the baby while he tries to listen to something.

            “OH MY GOD HE KICKED!” He says with his eyes glistening. Harry watches from the stairs as Robin laughs at Louis reaction and his chest is filled with love. Jesus, he loves Louis so much. “Hi there, little guy”, he says. “We can’t wait to see you.”

            “He’s kicking nonstop, I can’t sleep.” Gemma says, smiling as fondly as Louis is.

            “It only gets worse now, baby”, Anne tells her. “But also better”

            “Did we do that, mom?” Harry asks making himself noticeable in the living room and making his way towards the armchair.

            “Well, of course Harry…”

            As soon as he sits down Louis gets up from the floor in front of Gemma and goes to sit on Harry’s lap. It’s so normal, uncalculated and instinctual when he does that. Harry simply circles his arms around his waist and listens to his mother’s answer, and if an outsider looked at it, they would think Louis has been in this family for ages. Just because he’s right where he belongs.

            When the conversation about babies is done, Robin asks Louis about the album, and a new wave of pride invades Harry’s whole being.

            “… It’s doing really great yeah, thank God.” Louis chuckles.

            “He’s number one in eighty-three countries.” Harry tells them matter-of-factly.

            “What?” Gemma asks. “It’s been, like, two weeks.”

            “I know, it’s insane”, Louis smiles big.

            “Good thing that cake’s big enough to celebrate your birthday and your album…” Anne lets it slip. “Oops?” She then widens his eyes.

            “You baked me a cake?” Louis asks surprised. Harry can see his eyes water instantly, and tightens his arms around him.

            “Of course, dear; we need to sing you happy birthday after lunch.” Anne smiles at him.

            “Oh.” He says. Everyone’s silent, and Harry buries his face in Louis’ neck, kissing it gently under his ear. You okay? He murmurs only for him to know, but Louis answers everyone. “I’m fine, ‘s just—mom used to bake me a cake and- it’s been a long time”, he chuckles. “For the past eight years Liam’s been getting me a cake from a bakery downtown and it’s just- not the same.”

            “Babe”, Harry hugs him again and this time Louis hugs him back.

            “Thank you”, he closes his eyes when he says. “Thank you.” He kisses Harry’s shoulder and then looks at his whole family.

            “Oh, baby…” Anne walks towards them and hugs him too. “Should we eat and sing happy birthday, then?”

            “I think we should”, Louis smiles, hugs her back, and the day goes by like one of Harry’s favorite. He’s been having a lot of favorite days lately.




            When it’s time to meet Harry’s father, Louis pretends he is breathing properly, but he actually isn’t. Sure he was nervous to meet Robin a while ago, but Des is, well, Harry’s actual father, and Louis doesn’t deal well with fathers, clearly, since his own kind of began this whole avalanche of internalized homophobia Louis is trying to get rid of.

            So they’re in the car, Harry is driving and he’s trying to concentrate on whatever Gemma’s saying about the London Symphony Orchestra, he really is, but blood’s rushing through his veins and all he can think of is Des not approving of him because he’s too famous, because he looks like trouble, because Louis isn’t good enough for his son.

            And of course Louis isn’t. No one’s ever going to be good enough for Harry, because—Harry is Harry, right? Gentle, kind, gorgeous, smart, talented, perfect Harry. But he’s trying so hard. Anne and Robin understand that he is trying. That he is a bit sick, still, but wanting to get better – to be as okay as Harry deserves him to be. But will Des think the same?

            “Hey, bro, you okay there?” Gemma asks him putting a hand on his shoulder.

            “Not really”, he breathes out.

            Harry glances at them but lets his sister deal with it.

            “Dad’s okay, you know? I mean, he’s got a daughter who’s gonna have a baby with no father—Harry dating a megastar won’t be much trouble, I’m sure.”

            “Reassuring, Gemma”, Louis snorts.

            “It’s gonna be okay”, Harry sighs by his side and parks the car. “I love you. And it’s gonna be okay.” He squeezes Louis’ hand over the console.

            “Love you too.” He answers with a smile as Harry kisses his hand.

            “Oh my God you’re so cute!!!” Gemma gushes. “We all love each other very much but now let’s get going because this pregnant lady needs to pee.”

            “Way to ruin a moment, Gems”, Harry chuckles and opens the door.

            “You and Niall and perfect for each other, I swear”, Louis says under his breath but it doesn’t go unnoticed. Gemma eyes him guiltily and turns his gaze away as they enter the building. (Louis storages the topic in mind to bring it up when the opportunity presents itself again.)


            As it turns out, meeting Harry’s father ends up being as nerve wrecking as Louis was expecting it to be. He stutters on his words and doesn’t miss the jokes about Harry being everywhere with him, about how much time they’ll spend apart when Louis goes on tour and the scrutiny they’ll be put under when Louis comes out.

            “That won’t happen for a while, though”, Louis tells him.

            “So you plan on hiding my son then?”  

            “Dad.” Gemma frowns; Harry’s stuck in place, squeezing Louis’ hand under the table almost cutting off his blood circulation.

            “Was just a question.”       

            “Look, dad—” Harry starts. “I know it’s your duty to give my boyfriends a hard time or whatever. You did that with Jimmy back in sixth form and then with Ben, remember?” He smirks. “Jimmy wasn’t even my boyfriend, by the way, we were just screwing.” Louis tenses by his side and Des clears his throat. “But you’ve no idea of what Louis is going through, has been through this whole year. And I’m a big boy. I wanted you to meet my boyfriend, not interrogate him”, he smiles kindly, in a way only Harry can after telling someone off.

            “Okay, uh- I’m sorry.” Des says and Louis just nods. “It’s your birthday today, right? Happy birthday, I guess.”


            “How’d you know?” Gemma asks.

            “Came on TV just before you arrived. There was a special about you on E!”, Harry’s father tells him.


            “Yeah. I’m sorry. I was just trying to give you a hard time, as Hazza said. Got nothing against you, Louis.” He says.

            “Good.” Louis answers. “That’s… Good.”


            The air is a bit better after that, but Harry still apologizes on behalf of his father when they go back home. No wonder I’ve always preferred mom, he jokes as they enter the house. Louis just snorts and agrees – he prefers Anne (and Robin) too, but Des wasn’t so bad.

            Harry excuses himself to go shower and Louis stays in the kitchen with Gemma, making them some tea.

            “So.” Gemma says. “How’s Niall?”

            “Wouldn’t you like to know?” Louis muses.

            “I did not miss your comment early, you know?” She smirks.

            “I’m not known for by subtlety, Gemma.” The singer raises a brow and sips from his tea. “’M just saying… I like the idea of you two together.”

            “I never wanted to settle down…” She tells him. “That was always the biggest difference between Harry and I, I reckon. He’s always wanted to get married, have kids and I just- I wanted the world. By the time I started thinking about meeting someone with whom I’d actually want to get serious with, I got pregnant. So. Niall or- like, anyone half decent our age is really out of the question for me.”

            “You don’t know that.”

            “No one wants to date a pregnant woman, Louis.” She says.

            “I wouldn’t be so closed off. Ni really seemed into you for what I could see.”

            “He was into the flirting, not into… This”, she gestures to herself.

            “If you say so…” He trails. “Hey, uh-” Louis hesitates. “Did Harry- did he really break up with Ben because Ben didn’t want kids?”

            “Yeah. Among other things. But I guess, I mean- that was the main reason, yes.”

            Louis looks down at his cuppa, because it suddenly becomes much more interesting.

            “Fuck.” He sighs. Fuck, he’s gonna leave me too. “Okay.”

            “You’re not Ben, Louis.” Gemma tells him softly.

            “Yeah, but am I any better?” He asks.

            “Harry seems to think so”, she smiles and walks around the counter. “So do the rest of us…”

            “Thanks, I guess.” He rests his head on her shoulder. “We’re supposed to be the sassy ones and here we are talking about deep stuff.”

            “I can blame pregnancy hormones. What is your excuse?” She jokes.

            “Uh- Christmas fever?”

            “Ha, good one.”

            They finish drinking their tea and Louis hears Harry moving upstairs, which means he’s already finished his shower. Louis says goodnight to Gemma, about to go shower himself.


            It’s been a long, long day. One of those days when once you lay your head on the pillow you can’t even believe how much you’ve done. Louis thinks about waking up really early and then driving for hours, arriving here, having lunch, singing happy birthday, playing board games, having dinner at Harry’s dad, talking about important stuff with Gemma… Jesus, he’s done a lot.

            Harry’s lying by his side reading a book and Louis’ mind is about to explode with the amount of things in it. He’s thinking about today, yes, but also about the last couple of weeks, the next couple of months and everything is making him a bit crazy—

            “You know, you’re thinking so loud that I can’t concentrate on my book”, Harry says and places it on the nightstand.

            “’M sorry.” Louis says, and then he notices a bottle of lube right beside the book. Oh, Harry. “You mind helping me shutting up my thoughts?” He asks.

            “You’re ridiculous”, Harry chuckles and hovers over him. “I love you.”

            “I love you too.” He smiles happily. “Now please fuck me hard on your childhood bed, Harry Styles.”

            “Christ, Lou, you-” the singer shuts him up with a harsh kiss.

            Harry’s stunned for only a couple of seconds, but then he’s kissing Louis again with all of that passion he has inside. Louis opens his legs so Harry can slot one of his in between and for a long while all they do is snog and work each other up, to the point Louis is squirming on the sheets and Harry’s sweaty above him.

            “Have you ever thought you’d fuck a superstar in your teenage bed, Hazz?” Louis jokes as Harry sits up to take off his shirt.           

            “Yeah, actually…” Harry laughed, fitting himself between Louis’ legs once again, lifting Louis’ shirt up slowly.

            Louis was going to answer with another cheeky comeback, but then Harry kisses his tummy and uses both of his thumbs to rub Louis’ nipple, making him close his eyes and bite his bottom lip in order not to moan.

            He’s in Harry’s parents’ house, which complicates things a bit, yes, but also makes them a hundred times hotter. Louis needs to concentrate on his tone and what he says, he needs to remember he’s not at his penthouse with no neighbors around – no one, really – to listen to the filthy things he and Harry say while having this kind of sex.

            He thinks he’ll do a good job, but then Harry’s right there, gazing his teeth on his clothed cock through its length and squeezing Louis’ nubs between his thumbs and forefingers and Louis arches from the bed, sweat accumulating on his neck and why is it so hard to keep quiet this is just foreplay for fuck’s sake.

            Harry goes up to his hips again, then navel, and as he takes Louis’ shirt off completely, he launches at the singer’s collarbone – a personal favorite, Louis has noticed.

            Louis grabs Harry’s hair and pulls it forcefully, eliciting a loud groan from Harry, followed by a really harsh bite on his chest area.

            “Fuck, Lou”, he moans as he smooths his tongue over the recently created bruise, and Louis maneuvers Harry on his back again, trying to do something new, something he’s been wanting to since he saw it in a porn movie when he was alone in the US.

            Harry is great in bed – mindfuckingblowing great. But not just because of the way he fucks, but how he knows exactly when to act bossy and when to be bossed around, and Louis quite likes both, he’s quickly finding out.

            He reaches for the lube and straddles Harry’s thigh facing the wall, leaving his ass on plain view and Harry catches up soon enough, Louis thinks. The professor takes a deep breath and holds it till he sees Louis’ fingers coated in lube, till he sees and moans at the sight of Louis putting his own finger inside his hole, and it’s- it’s a different experience for Louis, to do that, yes, but more so, to do that with somebody watching. Even if that somebody is Harry.

            Louis whimpers as his first finger is in, he sinks down on it instead of pushing it up because he thinks he likes it better, and Harry grabs his asscheeks and spreads them as Louis breaths become more labored each time-

            “You’re the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen, oh my God”, Harry whispers in awe. Louis can see his dick tenting in his boxers and he would think about removing them, weren’t he so worried about putting a second finger inside.

            His breath hitches and Harry massages his ass again, spreading them and squeezing them and watching Louis’ hole contract, hearing Louis moan so lowly is almost unnoticeable.

            “You like it when I’m all spread out for you, H?” Louis asks looking at Harry over his shoulder.

            His third finger’s in, he feels the burn and he revels in Harry’s expression – like he never ever expected Louis to do this. Good.

            “You think I’m getting ready enough for your dick? Am I doing all right, H?” He asks and then “oh, fuck”, he whimpers, betrayed by his own body.

            Louis found his own prostate, but too soon, because now he wants to hit it over and over again, and he still wants to be fucked – hard – so he can’t come and isn’t this the best paradox of all times?

            Harry helps him keep his balance gripping strongly on his waist now, and Louis can see the precome wetting Harry’s pants as he breathes faster and faster, fingers certainly bruising Louis’ body.

            “You look so good, Lou, fuck- you’re… You’re a view.” Louis scoots back at that, ass in Harry’s face, completely, so much that if Harry just stretched out his tongue it would touch Louis’ hole. The singer removes his boyfriend’s pants and Harry’s dick basically slaps him on the face, but Harry doesn’t even have time to say anything as Louis takes him into his mouth and lets Harry’s entire length in, till it hits the back of his throat. “What fucking possessed you?” Harry asks.

            Louis bobs his head up and down a few times till he speaks again.

            “I just really wanted to try this.” He confesses, tongue licking at Harry’s head. “I wanted t-oh fuck Harry whAT”, he doesn’t scream per se, but his voice gets incredibly higher as Harry’s long fingers enter him all of a sudden, going all the way in and forming a V, spreading Louis’ whole open so Harry’s tongue can go inside. “Fuck fuck fuck fuck”, he cries and squeezes Harry’s thigh. “That’s so good, do that again”, he asks, basically reduced to nothing as Harry’s tongue works inside of him.

            Harry once said his favorite thing in bed with Louis was eating his ass. Well then, Louis certainly cannot disagree, because as Harry eats him out Louis can barely find it in him to lube Harry up, squeezing his base and wanking him in time with his tongue’s strokes, making Harry hum and hiss and give up so he can breathe—

            “Oh-oh my God Louis stop”, he says raggedly when Louis’ squeezes his dickhead in his hand. Louis obeys him, because it’s getting to a point in which no one will fuck or be fucked tonight if they continue this. “How d’you want it?’

            “On my back”, he says and already tiredly gets up, doing his best to keep looking sexy and not a mess.

            Harry’s eyes are glassy, his mouth absolutely sinful, and Louis knows it’s not the most hygienic thing to kiss someone after a rimjob, but he fucking has to with what Harry’s lips being swollen and strawberry-red. Plus, this lube is grape-flavored so… Yay?

            “Want you so much”, Harry mumbles into his mouth.

            “You can have me any way you want, babe”, Louis replies and Harry whimpers, his forehead dropping to Louis’ shoulder.

            Their dicks sliding together as they get closer and closer knelt on the bed. On Harry’s childhood bed.

            “Have you got any idea of how many times teenage Harry wanked on this bed?” He chuckles, but it’s pained. Probably because his dick is rock hard, red and angry looking, desperately needing release. Like Louis’s.

            “Yay teenage you, look what you’ve landed”, Louis jokes and yelps as Harry flops him down on his back. “Lucky you.” He smiles.

            “Look at what I’ve landed”, Harry says and French-kisses his neck, going up to Louis’ earlobe. “Lucky me”, he whispers and Louis’ entire body shudders. “God, Louis, I wanna wreck you”, his boyfriend says, a low groan escaping both of their mouths as Harry thrusts onto Louis’ dick—“please tell me that I can.”

            “Wreck me, H”, the singer asks with a fist full of curls. “Please”, he pulls them again, and Harry doesn’t need to be told twice.

            He guides himself towards Louis’ entrance and goes in at once when his head breaks Louis’ rim. And he doesn’t wait for Louis to adjust – no. He thrusts and he thrusts and he thrusts some more, making Louis forget what he had in mind and just hold the sheets by his side for fucking dear life, because Harry’s now a man on a mission.

            He hooks Louis’ legs over his elbows and as he gains momentum he just keeps going at it, a strand of uhs and ohs coming from him as Louis is absolutely speechless, just trying to breathe and not scream and fuck Harry’s so hot, this is all so freaking hot, they need to be careful not to wake anybody up but Louis is imploding HE NEEDS TO FUCKING SCREAM AND HE CANT AND—

            “Ooooh Harry for fuck’s sake there, right there right there right there”, he says and digs his nails on Harry’s back, sliding his hands down and holding Harry’s ass making him thrust deeper, faster, harder, he asks.

            Harry gives it to him, Harry gives it all.

            “Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck-shit-fuck”, he chants as Harry restlessly his prostate.

            “C’mon Lou”, he groans, “you can come, baby, please, come, c’mon—” he says and touches Louis’ cock. It takes one stroke and a half for Louis to spill everything on his own stomach and Harry’s fingers, silently screaming – because that’s a thing.

            He shuts his eyes, opens his mouth and feels his orgasm run through his entire body, hot liquid blissfully hitting his own skin, the world spinning at a different pace and Harry. Always Harry.

            His boyfriend pulls out and straddles his useless thighs – Harry very rarely stays in and thrusting after Louis’ comes, because he says it boarders real unpleasant pain because of the sensitivity. He starts to furiously stroke himself and moan louder than they’ve had this entire time, Louis thinks.

            Louis has only enough strength to place his hands on Harry’s inner thighs and scratch them, up and down.

            “Come on, love- come on me—get up here, Hazz, come in my mouth.”

            Harry’s dickhead touches Louis’ lips and the professor is also done for.




            The morning after isn’t awkward until Gemma makes it so. They’re all gathered in the kitchen having a nice, pleasant breakfast, when she enters the room and cracks up a laugh when she sees the both of them.

            “Morning, Gems”, Harry says and hands her a cup. “You okay?”

            “Scarred for life, but fine”, she answers.

            “Why’s that, love?” Anne asks.

            “Had a terrible nightmare, mom”, Gemma replies quickly. Lots of screaming involved… It was crazy.” And then she walks around the table, to sit beside Louis. She leans closer to him and speaks in his ear… “Lucky for you I’m not keen on telling my mom I was very much awake, and my nightmare involved knowing what my brother sounded like while coming inside his boyfriend.” She whispers, Louis swallows audibly and Harry kicks her under the table, not even a tad bit ashamed.


            They exchange gifts before lunchtime. Harry’s family loves everything Louis gets them, and he can’t stop smiling for even one second – especially when Gemma confirms that she wants him to be his kid’s godfather.

            “I think you’re gonna stay with us for a long, long time”, she voices. Then Louis might tear up a bit too.

            “Okay, you now…” He tells Harry. “Bear in mind that I stayed within the budget you allowed me- which kind of sucks because I couldn’t get you everything I wanted, but-”

            “It was more than enough money, Louis.” Harry rolls his eyes.

            “Agree to disagree. But here it is.” He hands Harry the small package with the new leather journal and fountain pen he got him. “So you can write me more songs.” He smiles and so does Harry, who hugs him and whispers a bunch of I love yous just for him to hear.

            “I actually got you something really stupid, but it just made me think of you…” Harry says and moves towards the tree.

            Anne and Robin already gave him their gift, which was very thoughtful if  Louis says so himself: a box with all kinds of tea for Louis to take on the road as well as a blanket that folds till it’s really small, so he can take on every flight. Gemma got him a toaster, because Harry says you can burn toasts in the oven and he mentioned buying you one – I just had to beat him to it.

            But Harry… Harry hands him the biggest box and the wrapper has TARDIS all over it, so Louis is grinning already.

            He opens it and finds a bunch of Doctor Who stuff, from David Tennant’s Doctor sonic screwdriver, to a TARDIS cookie jar – “we can put it in display in your kitchen, Lou!” Harry says with a goofy smile – to Louis’ favorite: a jumper with TIMELORD printed on it with capital letters.

            “I was also gonna get you a onesie, but I thought you’d hate it.”

            “I love everything. I would’ve loved the onesie and everything you wanted to get me.” He says truthfully and hugs Harry. “Can you believe we’ve already finished catching up to the show?”

            “Can you believe we’re gonna watch the Christmas special tonight?” Harry replies and kisses him in front of his family.

            Louis notices Anne taking a picture, he’s not bothered by it in the slightest.


            Louis calls Liam and Sophia to wish them a Merry Christmas and then Niall. He also tweets his fans and instagrams his Doctor Who presents, saying that he’s ready to watch the show.

            At night, they all actually gather around in the living room to watch it, passing a bowl of popcorn among them and commenting on how much they love the new companion.




            The end of the year also brings Harry a new list of resolutions. It’s tradition, and while many people just do them mentally and barely stick to them the first month of every year, Harry really is different.

            He finds his one from last December in a box under his bed and sits at his desk with it while Louis is showering so he can reread it.


  • Stop being so crazy about going to the gym.
  • Don’t do anything you don’t want to just because you think it’ll make Ben happy.
  • Find more time for Gemma.
  • Try new recipes.
  • See Zayn at least five times this year.
  • Get out of this relationship if you’re not happy by the end of January.


            Now, you see, Harry usually gets to check at least four items of his list, and the next two he just settles for solving the next year (and then they’re a priority). But this year, for the first time in… Ever, really, he checks all six items with a huge smile on his face and a newfound excitement to write his next goals.

            When he finishes, he smiles again, comparing the lists, and he honestly cannot wait for what 2017 will bring him. Them.  Harry and Louis.

            “What you doin’ there, love?” Louis asks from Harry’s bathroom door, towel around his waist and mouth full of toothpaste.

            “My resolutions.” He answers easily.

            “Didn’t know you did that…” He asks walking towards the desk, kissing his cheek. “May I read it?”

            “Uhn, no.” Harry crunches his nose. “Sorry. ‘S just-”

            “Hey, it’s fine.” Louis ruffles his hair and moves to the bed, getting the clothes he left there. “You don’t have to show me, H, don’t worry.” He says noticing Harry’s face and he schools his expression to something more normal.

            “It’s more superstition than anything”, he explains. “I’ve never showed them to anyone and they always worked, so I figured…”

            “Harry.” Louis smiles. “It is fine.” He says and then jumps a little to fit in his trousers. “Fuck, I think I’ve put on weight.” He comments. “This used to fit me perfectly, fucking hell.”

            “You look great, Lou.”

            “Look at my ass, I look-” Louis starts saying, looking in the mirror.

            “Edible, really.” Harry chuckles.

            “I liked these trousers better when I was skinny.”

            “You were always beautiful, but wanna hear a secret?” Harry asks him, circling his waist with his arms, and hugging him from behind. “Skinny boys look good in clothes, but fit boys look good naked.”

            “Ha!” Louis laughs loudly. “You’re ridiculous. No, I need to cut down on carbs.”

            “You don’t. Seriously, Lou.” Harry smiles and detangles himself from him so his boyfriend can finish dressing up. “You were skin and bones when we met. You look good now, healthy. Happy.”

            “That I am. Happy, I mean.”

            “And healthy, too.”

            “Yeah, I guess.” Louis smiles and blushes. “You ready?” Louis asks turning around.

            “Yep. Just waiting for you, love.” Harry answers.

            “Just gonna do my hair and we can go, yeah?” He asks and Harry nods. “You sure your sister doesn’t want to come with us?”

            “Nah. Zayn’s throwing a party at his place and she’s friends with Zayn’s girl, so she’s going there…”

            “Oh”, Louis widens his eyes. “You didn’t say anything. I didn’t even ask, maybe you would’ve preferred to go there, ‘m sorry.”

            “Lou.” Harry rolls his eyes. This is the cutest thing, when Louis feels a tiny bit doubtful about something Harry so clearly has no problem with. “I almost cried my eyes out when you asked Ed if I could go.”

            “If my boyfriend could go.” Louis corrects him.

            “I happen to be your boyfriend.”

            “Told him that, too.” The singer chuckles.

            “I know, I- that meant a lot, and I wouldn’t like to spend New Year’s Eve with anyone but you.”

            “Good, then.” Reassured enough, Louis finishes his hair and tells Harry they should get going.


            Harry doesn’t know what’s up with these millionaires, because they clearly don’t know how to spend their money. Sure, Louis has just done it with his incredible new flat, but before, he lived in a place much like Ed’s: a two bedroom flat with a small living room, considering how many people are here and everything’s just too normal. Either that or Harry never had a real idea of how the rich live.

            Also, he can’t help but notice that even though he and Gemma used to go out a lot, Harry never got to see his place. Now he does, and despite being way below Ed Sheeran’s paygrade, it’s also comfortable and full of good energies and great music and great people. Harry kind of loves this place already.

            Greg finds them fast and spends the entire night whining about Nick having to go to New York cover something for New Year’s while he is stuck in London.

            “But why couldn’t you go with him?” Harry asks.

            “Got too much work”, he tells him. “I could’ve maybe gone yesterday and come back tomorrow, but he wouldn’t let me. At least ‘ve got booze.” Greg says and Harry chuckles, nodding along. He’s only allowing himself a champagne flute at midnight, keeping up with Louis’ non-alcohol scheme.

            Speaking of Louis, Harry doesn’t know where he is. He left a while ago to say hi to someone he’d seen arrive and now that Harry is looking around he can’t find him. When Greg entertains himself with two girls who come closer, Harry excuses himself to go after his boyfriend, and finds him easily not one minute later, talking with Ed, his girlfriend and some other guy Harry is almost sure that is Charlie Puth.

            “Harry!” Ed exclaims. “Has Greg released you from his whining?”

            “Finally.” Harry jokes and rolls his eyes.           

            “Let him be, it’s sad to be apart. I would know.” Cherry, Ed’s girlfriend comments. Harry thinks me too and it’s gonna get worse when he’s on tour.

            “Oh. H, by the way”, Louis speaks up, “this is Charlie, Charlie, this is my boyfriend, Harry.” He smiles and Harry doesn’t really have time to choke on air, because Charlie is shaking his hand and saying nice to meet you, dude, heard lots about you in the past seventeen minutes.

            “Uh, nice to meet you too.” Harry smiles. “Big fan.”

            “Oh. Really?” Charlie’s eyes widen.


            “Aren’t you a professor at the London Academy of music?” He asks and Harry just nods. “Somebody from there wrote an article on me at the beginning of the year criticizing lots of things, I figured you might too.”

            “Oh, that’s gold!” Louis laughs loudly.

            “It wasn’t me. I mean- I never analyzed your CD-”

            “- please don’t.”

            “- but I think you’ve got an amazing voice, your falsettos are incredible.”

            “Thanks, man.”

            “He actually asked me if I could write with him for his next album”, Louis tells Harry excited.

            “-I was here for that, gonna socialize around, excuse me”, Ed says and takes his girlfriend with him.

            Louis goes instantly to Harry’s side and intertwines their fingers, seeking comfort, the professor thinks. Harry’s entire body shivers in excitement to be doing this in public.

            “And maybe sing a song?” Charlie asks. “It’d be good promo for me here in the UK”, he shrugs. “My agent would love that. God, I’m sorry I’m talking about work tonight. I just- can never stop?”       

            “No, mate, it’s what we do best”, Louis smiles. “Harry’s actually a better writer than I am. He’s written almost every song on my new album with me.”

            “Wow. Bring him to our sessions, please.”

            “I’m not a professional songwriter.” Harry tells him. “And Louis did a lot of good writing these past few months…”

            “Louis’ new album is sick, mate. He said you had a huge part in it after trashing him in that article…”

            Of course Louis told him this story. Harry wants to kiss him silly so happy he is.

            “Yeah… It was all a long con to make him fall for me.” He jokes.

            “It clearly worked. Tommo’s smitten.” Charlie jokes back. “It’s nice to see you so happy, mate.”

            “Thanks. How’s your girl by the way?”

            “Ah, we broke up…”

            “Sorry to hear that.”

            “Nah, it’s fine, we’re still friendly, I guess…”

            Harry kind of tunes out of the conversation while Charlie tells Louis about his last relationship  and just inhales this moment, one of the many he’ll spend with Louis, but a very important moment nonetheless.

            A couple of days ago, when they were coming back from Holmes Chapel, Louis was talking to Doctor Andrew on the phone while Harry was driving, and he said he and Harry were going to an industry party. He then put him on speaker, so Harry could hear part of the conversation, and told the doctor what he’d already told Harry: he was slowly coming to terms with the idea of coming out to the people in the industry.

            Louis argued that he’d met many closeted singers, actors and actresses throughout his career, and everyone kept everyone’s secret if they knew they were in the closet to the public, and he thought he was ready to do that.

            And it’s not like Harry didn’t have an idea that his “plan” would be put in practice here, tonight, but he still feels such pride and happiness inside his chest that he can barely contain himself.


            It’s only half an hour later that everyone goes out to the balcony to watch the fireworks explode once the countdown is finished.

            They start from ten, everyone together, but Louis is hugging Harry really tight, because it’s too damn cold in London, and all Harry can hear, even though there’s a lot of noise around them, is Louis’ happy new year, my love right in his ear as the fireworks paint the sky.

            Harry hugs him closely, buries his face in the crook of Louis’ neck and says happy new year back. They kiss amidst other couples, hugs, and screams. They kiss above the grey city that has witnessed them falling in love throughout two thousand and sixteen. They kiss while one year ends and another begins. And Harry, still without knowing what is in store for them, already feels like the luckiest bastard in the whole wide world.







            “I don’t want to get up”, Louis complains again. It’s the fourth time this morning. And it’s still Wednesday.

            Harry’s already made them breakfast, showered and is ready to go to work, but Louis is laziness personified today.

            It’s raining a lot and the temperature is near zero outside, Harry’s sure. He doesn’t want to leave their- Louis’s acclimatized flat either, but they’ve got things to do.

            “Babe, you’ve got a Live Lounge in a couple of hours.”

            “I know.” He whines. “And I’m excited for it, I am, but my bed’s so warm, and I was sleeping so well. Was actually dreaming about Hawaii, somehow. I miss surfing. We should go to Hawaii someday.”

            “We can”, Harry smiles dumbly. “But for that I need to work and so do you.”

            “I already have enough money to go to Hawaii, Harry. And retire. That’s it!” He brainstorms. “We should retire, and then never leave this bed.”

            “But then we would never go to Hawaii…?”

            “Stop your reasoning.”

            “Get up.” Harry laughs. “Liam will be here to pick you up in less than an hour.”

            “Fiiiiiiine. Will you listen to the Live Lounge, you know, live?”

            “I’ll be teaching, I think.” Harry says a bit crestfallen.


            “I can always make my whole class listen to you as an exercise…” He wonders more than tells Louis.

            “And then they’ll criticize every second of it. Nope. No way.” Louis gets up at that, hugging Harry carefully so as not to wrinkle his clothes. “We can listen to it later together, all right?”

            “Okay.” Harry pecks his mouth. “Can I go to work without worrying about you falling asleep again and missing your interview?”

            “Yes, Harold, I am already functioning”. Louis yawns. “I think.”

            “See you later. Love you.”

            “You too.” Louis kisses him and lets him go.

            Harry really doesn’t want to go to work, but oh well.




            Maybe now Louis is very, very nervous. He already knew he was going to be, because, let’s face it, acoustic versions are always more difficult.

            The interview went really well, he thinks. Liam does too. He smiled a lot while Louis was answering questions and he seemed really, really proud when Louis said he might be seeing someone – it’s the first time this question is even allowed after he and Harry had that uncomfortable conversation about Louis’ answers to his love life months ago, so it’s… Nice.

            But now he’s about to perform, and he’s chosen Home to end the set, and they’ve asked him to speak a little about each song he’s going to sing and it’s just… Wow.


            He’s performing five songs. He starts it off with A Love Like War and moves to Therapy – making sure the singles are out of the way. Louis loves them, he doesn’t think there is one song in this album he’s not fond of, but he’s kind of really excited to introduce the ones his fans haven’t heard live yet.

            Louis covers Simple Man by an old rock band called Lynyrd Skynyrd, because it reminds him of his father, and he totally does not cry at the end of it.


            “Okay, so this next one is called Something In Me Was Dying…” He says into the mic. “And I’ve actually recorded this song like three times before putting it on the album…” Louis chuckles remembering how much Niall cheered when they was finally happy with the result. “And uh- it’s about how I was feeling at the beginning of last year, and most of my life really and how it changed so drastically thanks to-” Harry. “Someone really special.”


            Something in me was dying, and my heart was heavy as stone

            Hard as I was trying, I never could find, find my way home

            And your voice came out of nowhere

            “Be my friend and give me your hand

            Let’s take off together, and then we can live wherever we land”


            Louis sings along with the melody, even smiling a little bit to himself.


            Something in me was broken, and my thoughts were bitter and ill

            My world was blown open, I couldn’t see and I couldn’t feel

            You said “be yourself and think of me

            And you’ll know there’s nothing to fear

            Let’s make plans together, it’s time to move on and get out of here”


            Harry never actually said that. But that was exactly how he made Louis feel: like it was okay for him to finally be who he’s always been, get out of the terrible place he was at in life and find a brighter one.

            Louis gets to the chorus a bit emotional, but so, so happy still.


            Babe, I need you

            Don’t know what I would do

            You will see the story through

            It’s a cruel world, and I need somewhere to hid

            But time goes by and you’re still on my side


            Thinking now, Louis guesses he wrote this the night after he talked with Doctor Andrew about Harry not leaving him, about how he believed the professor wouldn’t do this.


            Something in me was sinking, cause my heart was heavy as stone

            I gave up with thinking I never would find, find my way home…


            He repeats the chorus, and when he gets to the ending of the song, he’s not only proud of what he’s accomplished so far and how well he’s carried those songs, but also proud of the way he’s exposing himself to the world through his music – something he had never done before. Something he thought he wouldn’t ever have the courage to do.


            Waiting, searching, turning, running ‘round in circles

            And I’ve worn myself out hoping that we’ll always be together

            Yeah, we’ll always be together…


            Some people cheer behind a glass wall, Louis smiles and says thanks guys.

            “So, this last one is called Home. It’s also the last song on the album and probably my favorite, which, strangely, is why I didn’t want to make it a single. I just hope you guys appreciate it as much as I do and the person to whom it was written for does too. And the funniest thing is that this person once told me that we shouldn’t make people our home… They were so wrong about that. And I’m so glad.” He chuckles and starts singing.


            (The first time Harry heard Home they were at the studio and Louis CD had finally been considered complete. Niall cleared the room for them and Louis pressed play so damn nervously that Harry had to hold his hand because he was trembling.

            When Louis sang we could be enough, Harry was already crying and holding him. They heard it two more times, Harry still sobbing in his arms, and the professor confessed that that was the most beautiful and meaningful I love you somebody had ever said to him.)


            Liam hugs Louis tight and slaps his back at least five times so pumped he is.

            “That was fucking sick, Lou, I’m so proud of you.” His manager and friend smiles big.

            “Don’t think I’ve ever seen you so excited about a set, mate…”

            “It’s because I haven’t”, Liam kind of jumps. “Dinner at mine tonight. Am inviting Nialler too, bring whoever you want, let’s party!”

            “Oh, Li…” Louis chuckles and agrees. Maybe he’ll invite Gemma. It’s about time he puts his Nemma (or Giall?) plan in action. “All right. Drop me off at Doctor Andrew’s? Got a session after lunch.”

            Liam nods and Louis starts to say goodbye to the band.

            They’ve all been seeing one another a lot because Louis has been rehearsing nonstop for the tour since the fourth of January, and he can genuinely say that he is overly excited about going on tour this year. Of course he’s not glad about spending so much time apart from Harry, but if he gets to do what he is thinking of doing, things won’t be so difficult after all.






            “I listened to it! You were amazing! So amazing!!!” Sophia says when she opens the door for him later, hugging him tightly.

            “Thanks, Soph.”

            “Are you gonna sound that good touring?”

            “Well, I hope so”, he shrugs and laughs a bit. “Speaking of, I think we need to set up a final meeting with the rest of the management team next week, Li.” Louis tells him.

            January is ending, Harry’s birthday is approaching, and Louis gets on the road right after. It’s crazy how, in hindsight, his break lasted so long and nothing at all.

            “Okay, I can do that. May I ask what for?” He frowns. Louis hates meetings, therefore, he is never the one who schedules them. Liam practically needs to drag him everytime they need to go to headquarters.

            “Not now?” Louis kind of asks. “But, like- soon.”

            “You’re scaring me.”

            “It’s a good thing, Li.” The singer smiles in reassurance.

            They talk for a long time, Liam helping Sophia in the kitchen and Louis, as always, pretending to do something. He does go out to buy them drinks, though. He also does his best not to be papped because the last thing he needs now is somebody saying that LOUIS TOMLINSON IS FALLING OFF THE RAILS ONE MORE TIME. Which he isn’t.

            To be honest, Louis doesn’t think that he’s ever been better in every aspect of his life. Louis doesn’t think he’s ever been proud of himself the way he is right now. He’s rediscovering himself in a way he didn’t know he could, and this rediscovery has brought many new, amazing things into his life, and made others even better.

            Like his relationship with his alive-parents: Liam and Sophia. Looking back, Louis doesn’t remember being the greatest of friends, and he remembers them moving around him so very carefully, like they were afraid he was gonna have a breakdown at any given moment. But not anymore. They joke and laugh and tease, and it’s all very family-like. So yeah, Louis is in a great place in life if he says so himself.


            When he gets back, Niall is already there, being his usual loud self. He traps Louis in a bear hug and says he’s very proud of him too. There’s only one more person missing.


            “Lou, get the door!” Liam yells from the kitchen. It’s fucking freezing outside, so no one wants to do it.

            But Louis does. Because his boy has just arrived.

            Louis opens the door. And Harry is crying.



Chapter Text




            “Harry, what’s wrong?” Louis asks before he says anything else.

            Harry moves forwards and hugs him tightly, his cheeks wetting Louis’ neck and- what the fuck happened?

            Louis doesn’t even noticed he said it out loud until Harry backs away a bit and looks at him.

            “I just- I love you so fucking much, Louis.” His boyfriend squeezes his hand. “So, so much.” And then he’s kissing Louis.

            The singer kind of thanks the gods that he wound up being the one to open the door and that everyone is still in the kitchen entertained, because this is personal. And he is worried.

            “I love you too, but please talk to me because you’re worrying me, Hazz.” Louis says softly to his mouth.

            “I- I’m late cause I decided to watch your Live Lounge on youtube in the car.” He says. “And, like, I started crying when you sang Lynyrd Skynyrd and only stopped after you finished Home. And then I started crying again.” He chuckles. “I’m a mess, I’m just-” Louis hugs him.

            “I thought something had happened, you asshole.” He says in a mix of relief and something else entirely different while holding Harry in his arms. “I love you. Thank you so much for everything.”

            “God. We’re both a mess now.” Harry gives him a watery smile. “Nothing to thank me for. I love you. I love you. I swear I-”

            “You too.” Louis breathes better. “Fuck, I was scared.”

            “Sorry.” Harry laughs. “Sorry. ‘M gonna head to the loo before talking to people.”

            “That’s a good idea.” Louis smiles and walks in with him, parting ways when he moves to the kitchen again.


            They all laugh at Harry when he comes back and make fun of him – but in the cutest way possible. They gather around the table in the dining room and laugh and drink and eat, and Louis loves everyone who is here. Harry more.

            All in all, it’s a great night, and when they go back to Louis’ flat together, dizzy in love and make their way upstairs kissing and leaving a trail of clothes behind themselves, Louis knows that, even if it’s really hard, what he’s about to clear with his therapist is really, really worth it.




            “Are you sure of this?” Doctor Andrew asks on Friday.

            Louis is back to having one session per week, because 1) he’s a lot better and 2) his schedule is pretty hectic.

            “I mean… No? Why? Do you think it’s a bad idea?” The singer asks totally uncertain.

            “No, Louis, it was a simple question. Are you sure you want to do this?” He asks again.

            “I’ve been thinking about it for the last month, I think.” Louis chooses to answer. “I feel like it’s been a lot easier not to lie, you know? Like, I’ve told a couple of people that are not… Friends. Lots of people, actually. We kissed on New Year’s Eve at a party.” He comments.

            “You told me…”

            “And nobody really cared. And this month’s been… I don’t know.” Louis sighs.

            “This is a decision you need to make entirely on your own, though, Louis. You cannot base it on what other people will think, what Harry will feel or what I think.”

            “But I have to, though. You’re the two people who’ve helped me the most through it all.” He explains.

            It’s not just that.

            “And I- haven’t told him anything. About wanting to come out.” Louis keeps talking. “Harry just keeps thanking me whenever I introduce him as my boyfriend to acquaintances and it makes me feel… Bad. It’s not all right that he feels like he needs to thank me everytime I acknowledge our relationship. He deserves more than that.” Pause. “And also, I- I’m kind of tired of not holding his hand in public.” He chuckles.

            “That’s fair enough, I suppose.” Doctor Andrew says calmly. “But Louis, just because a few industry people at a party didn’t care that you’re gay it doesn’t mean other people won’t. The world isn’t, unfortunately, like our selected group of acquaintances.”

            “I know that.” He replies quickly and too defensively.


            “I do.” Louis continues. “I’ve read stories about other fellow industry people who came out… How harsh it was.”


            “And none of the hate they got was worse than the hate I used to feel for myself.”

            “Used to?” Doctor Andrew asks. “As in… In the past?”

            Louis doesn’t need time to think.


            It was tough when he first went online and researched people’s opinions about gay singers and actors and famous people in general. He’s seen the backlash that them coming out generated and he actually cringed at some of those messages.

            But what affected him the most was that he noticed that, despite their efforts to hurt the person they were sending hate to, everything they were saying Louis had already told himself when looking in the mirror through many, many years. Any disgusting comment he read in those disgusting rags couldn’t even compare to the things he thought about himself whenever he so much dared believe he was gay before Harry and therapy.

            It’s not like Louis came to terms with this decision blindsided.

            He knows how much it can hurt his career: his album sales, his concert tickets, his appearances in some countries. He knows he can lose millions of twitter and instagram followers. He knows fans might be disappointed in him and that his ex “girlfriends” might even reappear out of nowhere just to call him a dick.

            Louis thought about coming out being aware of all of the consequences or, at least, some of them – because one can never predict anything 100% accurately. But he’s always thought about coming out being aware of all of the good things that can come his way, how many people he can educate and how many people he can help.

            Louis thought about coming out being aware that even though somebody might call him a fucking fag on the streets or online, they’ll at least do it while he’s holding Harry’s hand – and the most important thing won’t be what a stranger says. The most important thing will be that he will be holding Harry’s hand. (Somehow, everything is all right when he is holding Harry’s hand.)

            “Well, Louis…” Doctor Andrew sighs, watching the decisiveness across Louis’ face. “For what it’s worth, it hasn’t even been a year since we started therapy, and if you were anyone else I wouldn’t trust your judgment about being ready or not.”

            “But?” Louis asks.

            “But you’re one of the most resilient people I’ve ever met. You have a small, but strong family behind you. And at the end of the day, no therapy would matter if you didn’t have that much support… Which you do.  You’re going to need your friends, you’re going to need your boyfriend and you need to promise me you won’t be reckless with yourself...”

            “Of course.” He hushes to say.

            “Well then… I look forward to seeing you out and proud in the world.” The therapist answers.

            “Really?” He totally beams.

            “Really.” Doctor Andrew chuckles.

            Louis takes a deep breath. Inhales. Exhales. He’s about to take a huge step.




            Now. Talking to his management team is a bit more difficult. First of all, it’s January thirty first, Louis hasn’t been able to tell Liam beforehand and now everyone – including his best friend – is looking at him like he is the most insane person in the world. Louis doesn’t know if he can do this if Liam’s not behind him.

            “Have you told Harry?” Is the first thing he asks.

            “Course not. Been anxious as fuck and making excuses about the tour… I only wanna tell him when we have a plan.” Louis explains. “Because we will have a plan, won’t we?” He looks back at Megan.

            “Why on earth did you think that deciding to come out mid-tour would be a good idea, Louis Tomlinson?” She asks. “You might lose half of your public.”

            “So be it.” He shrugs.

            “Lou.” Liam stops him from speaking more and Louis just glares at him. Liam shuts up.

            “I don’t need more money, Meg. Your company doesn’t need more money coming from me either. We’re all pretty comfortable in that department.” Louis states. “I love this team and I have a lot to thank you all for. But I don’t work for you. You work for me.”

            “You’re under a contract, Louis.” Olly reminds him.

            “And please, can you point out to me the clause that says I cannot come out when I clearly want to?” He asks.

            “You said you didn’t want to.” Megan raises her voice. “When you made your boyfriend sign NDAs. You said you weren’t going to come out.”

            “Things changed.”

            “Like what?” She asks.

            “I got better. I fell in love. My life is a hundred percent happier.” Louis tells her and he can see a smile spread across Liam’s face while he says it.

            “There isn’t a clause against you coming out in your contract because we didn’t think we’d need one. We all thought you were straight.” Olly reasons.

            “So did I. I didn’t predict this, okay?” He tries to explain. “It is what it is. And  I- just… Please.” He finishes weakly, and then he looks at his best friend again.

            “Louis…” Liam starts. “’S not gonna be easy. Just the amount of seeding we’d have to do to ease the public into the idea you’re anything but straight…”

            “Dan Wootton’s been writing lots of shit on me and Harry being a couple already.”

            “But no one takes him seriously.” Liam rolls his eyes. “Point is- this needs to go global, as in- American TV global. Are you ready for that? For the rumors and implications and… Everything?”

            “This is something that needs to be discussed with my therapist, Li.” Louis says. “Which I’ve already started doing.”

            Everyone seems surprised at that; Louis is so very smart… He doesn’t understand why people are still surprised by his intelligent actions.

            “There will be backlash.” Louis states. “I’m not dumb thinking that we’re living in a pink world. But if an American football player can come out and keep playing, I think I can do that too and keep doing my music.” He shrugs. “And, I’ll say this once and only once, because apart from Liam you people have no business knowing my personal, deepest secrets: if I survived the things I did to myself… Then no one can actually hurt me that much. No matter how much they try.”

            He says it all in one breath. Liam holds his hand at some point, Olly sighs, the two other executives in the room say nothing, and Meg’s expression softens a bit. Look at that! She even seems more human! Louis laughs internally.

            “We need to do a lot of seeding.” Megan states. “But we can manage it.” She says firmly.

            “For when?” Liam questions.

            “Can we…” Meg starts. “Can we settle for after the tour? It’s all I’m asking, Louis, please? We’ll start the seeding before. We’ll make sure that you and Harry are seen a lot more and differently than just bro, pals, dudes, just…” She takes a deep breath. “Can we make it official after the tour?”

            “I-” Louis starts the process of complaining, but Liam stops him again.

            “Can I talk to you outside for a minute?” His friend asks.

            “We’ll take five.” Olly warns.

            Liam nods and drags Louis outside the room.

            “What the fuck, Lou?” Liam asks. “A little warning would’ve been nice. Fuck, I’m so proud of you.” He pulls Louis into his arms, hugging him really strongly. “Damn.”

            “Oh, Li.” Louis hugs him back. “I’m sorry.”

            “No, I’m- look, Meg’s deal isn’t bad okay? We can talk about how proud of you I am later, but for now, take the deal for after the tour.” His manager says. “A standard process of coming out takes at least six months, you’re looking at seven or eight and it isn’t bad. Not at all.” Liam looks at him, eyes wide, expression serious. “You’ll fly Harry out in the summer, right? To Australia and South America?”


            “So. We can intensify the seeding then.” Liam smiles. “It’ll be good, perfect timing almost. Take this deal, Lou.”

            “Okay.” He breathes out. He trusts Liam with his life.


            “Okay, Li.”

            And that’s pretty much it. They go back inside, they start making arrangements, they schedule more meetings, and Louis cannot wait to tell Harry the good news. Or… Well, he can. He’s going to wait until it’s his birthday tomorrow, and then give all the good news at once.




            “How old are you?” Louis asks.

            “Twenty-four today”, he replies.

            “Today’s your birthday?” Louis is incredulous.

            “And you interrupted my birthday lunch, so. What does rock-star Louis Tomlinson need from me?” Harry claps and props one leg under his bum, sitting sideways on the couch before Louis can ask why Harry was having his birthday lunch at work with a guy who is probably triple his age.


            “It was a pleasure meeting you, Louis.”

            “Wish I could say the same”, he replies offering him a brittle.

            “Oh, by the way…” Harry calls before he goes. “I’d rather have other things shoved up my ass, although I often prefer the other way around”, he blinks.

            “Happy freaking birthday”, Louis says and walks out of the room.


            The first of February isn’t just Harry’s birthday now. It also marks the day he and Louis met. And dreaming about this day, one year ago, is how Harry wakes up.

            He is alone in bed, which is weird, because he’s fairly certain he went to sleep with his boyfriend in his arms and a promise of a blowjob in the morning. However, the morning light is creeping through Louis’ curtains and the singer’s side of the bed is nothing but cold.

            But then the smell of bacon invades his nostrils, and he hears a fuck you you stupid frying pan and Louis voice fills the entire flat, and just like that, Harry’s question as to where is Louis and what is he doing is answered.

            He gets up lazily and walks towards the kitchen to find lots of smoke, lots of bacon on the floor and a frying pan that was probably thrown at the wall because of the noise it made. And Louis – with disheveled hair, burning red cheeks and an angry expression on his face.

            “Happy birthday?” He kind of asks when he sees Harry.

            “I love you.” Harry rolls his eyes and walks towards him. That’s his current good morning to Louis now.

            “I love you too”, Louis says and comes to hug him. “I’m sorry I burned your birthday breakfast.” He complains more than apologizes.

            “It’s all right.”

            “Happy birthday, Hazz.” His boyfriend says softly in his ear. “And happy one year of meeting the greatest lad in the entire kingdom.” He jokes.

            Harry chuckles still hugging him.

            “I dreamed about this tonight.” Harry tells him. “About the day we met, the exact words we exchanged.”

            “Weird looking back, uh?” Louis asks him.

            “Nah…” Harry nods. “Amazing.” He kisses him square on the mouth. “So much has changed.” He takes a deep breath. “Thank God.”

            They both laugh and Louis kisses him again.

            “What time do you need to be at work?” He asks.

            “Not until ten, actually. Going in later today.”

            “Great. We’re going out for breakfast.” Louis smiles.

            “We don’t have to. We can clean this mess and I can cook.”

            “It’s your birthday. Please let me spoil you, since you created this stupid no presents rule.” The singer begs.

            “Which I can’t believe you actually followed.”

            “I am nothing if not an obedient boyfriend.” He comments nonchalantly and Harry throws his head back letting out a high-pitched laughter. “Hey.” Louis slaps him. “Go shower. We’re going out for breakfast.”

            “Come shower with me.” Harry pulls him by the hand.

            “Your wish is an order.” Louis trails behind.

            “Shut up.” Harry pins him down on the bathroom door and Louis laughs. Harry kisses him hard. There’s no more laughter after that. Only blowjobs.







            The thing about having a birthday at the beginning of the week when your boyfriend is about to go on a world tour is that if you celebrate it on the day, nobody will make it because people work the next day. And if you celebrate it on the weekend, your boyfriend won’t be there so sing happy birthday to you.

            So, instead of sitting back and complaining, Harry decided to have a birthday dinner with Louis tonight and then head to Holmes Chapel on Saturday morning to celebrate with everyone there – it’s a good plan, he thinks.

            Louis picks him up at five thirty in the afternoon, and although it’s quite early for them to go out for dinner, since they’re used to having it later now, Harry needs an early night.

            “Very fancy ride”, Harry says as he enters the car. “Hi, Alberto.” He smiles and taps the bodyguard’s shoulder.

            “Hi, Harry. Happy birthday.” He smiles over his shoulder and then starts the car.

            “Thanks, man.” He then turns to Louis. “Hello.”

            “Hi.” Louis smiles quietly and moves closer so they can kiss. He cradles Harry’s face in his hands and places his lips softly on his boyfriend’s, it’s slow and still demanding, somehow. “How was your day?” The singer asks into Harry’s lips.

            Harry kisses him again before replying.

            “It was good”, he smiles and backs away a bit, Louis immediately fitting himself in his arms. Harry hugs him sideways and rests his head on top of Louis’s. The closer they get to Louis leaving, the clingier they are with each other. “I had a cake at lunch”, Harry tells him. “My students sang me happy birthday with violins and stuff… It was really nice.”

            “That’s great. You deserve it.” Louis smiles back. “I-” he pauses, “I got us a table at Pétrus because you’re always going on and on about Gordon Ramsay… But if you want we can try and go somewhere else…?”

            “You got us a table at a Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant?” Harry asks and Louis nods apprehensively. “It’s perfect, you’re perfect”, the professor smiles big and can’t help but kiss his boyfriend again.


            They behave the rest of the ride. Louis tells Harry about their breakfast going public and how their dinner probably will too, but he also tells him not to worry. Harry just frowns and moves on with the conversation. They also talk with Alberto and Harry finds out his wife is pregnant with a boy – he mentions Gemma and the three of them start discussing babies and their quirks. Harry absolutely loves it.


            The restaurant is beautiful. Amazing, even, but Harry already expected that, because it’s got three stars and its chief is one of the most famous people in England. Harry’s also very, very hungry.

            Much like everywhere else Harry has gone with Louis up until now, no one turns their heads to analyze them. They’re not holding hands or anything, it’s just that Harry’s gotten used to having people staring at him on the street every now and then, especially when he’s with Louis, so it’s a nice change of scenario when they can be themselves without anyone making them feel uncomfortable.

            Louis walks straight through the saloon, though, and soon Harry realizes that they’re going to a private area. A smaller room in which there’s a table for two, better light and better everything.

            “This is not me hiding you, okay?” Louis assures him as they enter. “This is me trying to do something nice.” He smiles.

            “Didn’t think you were, babe.” Harry answers.


            “Can you believe Gemma didn’t call me today?” He complains. “Okay, like- she sent me a text at midnight, but she’s always the first person to call me in the morning, it’s tradition…”

            “Maybe her hormones are very fucked up and she forgot.” Louis pitches.

            “Maybe.” Harry chuckles.

            “Oh, I didn’t tell you-” Louis says excitedly. “I saw the cutest Spiderman costume today when I went out to get some lunch with the lads and bought it for Gemma’s kid. He’s probably not gonna wear it till he’s two years old, because that was the smallest they had, but I just couldn’t resist it!” He exclaims and Harry laughs, because Louis has been doing that a lot, with everything baby related.

            I’m a godfather, Harold, I get to buy as many gifts as I want. This is the only member of your family that you can’t keep me from spending millions on, he said the other day. The worst part is that he might, eventually, spend millions on Harry’s nephew. Jesus Christ.

            “You’re too much.” The professor rolls her eyes. “My sister really needs to pick a name soon, because I’ve been calling him Noah in my head and that’s just wrong.”

            A waiter politely interrupts them to tell them what the menu is. Louis looks like he already knew and is just waiting to see Harry’s reaction. Of course it’s one of Harry’s favorites, because that’s just who Louis is. The professor grins and says he can’t wait for their food to arrive.

            Harry chooses not to drink wine tonight. He doesn’t need it at all.

            “Why is it wrong?” Louis keeps the conversation going. “I love this name. You should suggest it to her.”

            “Yeah, me too. Love it, I mean. But I- uh, kind of always wanted to name my kid Noah. So.” He blushes. He knows he blushes because he can feel his cheeks warming up and why did you say that, Harry?

            “Oh.” Is all Louis answers.


            He doesn’t apologize, but he does get a bit weird. Louis seems unfazed.

            “And what about girls? Have you got names for little girls picked out as well?” Louis beams.

            “Not really? I don’t know.” He shrugs.

            “Hey, it’s fine.” Louis holds his hands over the table and doesn’t move it when the waiter enters again with their meals. “You look like someone who’s got their children names picked out since they were sixteen”, he keeps saying smoothing his thumb over Harry’s hand. “Thanks”, the singer then says to the waiter. Harry smiles too and the guy nods, gone as soon as he came. “Why do you look like you’re freaking out?”

            Kids talk is what made me broke up with my ex fiancé in the first place, Harry thinks but doesn’t voice it.

            “Sorry.” He smiles. “I’m okay.”

            “Okay.” Louis replies, but there is something else in his eyes. Something Harry can’t quite place yet. “Because I knew how much you wanted to have kids when I started to love you, H. It’s fine.” He completes. Harry chokes on his first bite, and keeps eating not to answer.


            It’s only during dessert that Louis starts to show how nervous he is. Harry knew there was something, but it’s still quite unsettling to feel his boyfriend’s leg moving unstoppably under the table.

            “Lou, what is it?” He asks. “You’re making me nervous and I don’t even know what it is. Is there anything wrong with the tour?” Louis nods negatively. “Is there anything wrong with you?”

            “No, H.” He laughs. “I just- have something to tell you.”


            “I’ve…” He creates just a little suspense, and then it’s all out. “I’ve decided to come out. To the public. This year.”

            Harry’s taken aback for 0.1 second until he exhales Louis, and smiles so hard he thinks his face’s gonna split in two.


            “I wanted it all to be- finalized, before I told you, because, I don’t know, I didn’t want any setbacks. And once it was I decided that I’d tell you on your birthday, because… Because this affects the both of us. In a good way. I hope?”


            “Like- I love you.” Louis smiles. “I really fucking love you, I can’t find any more words to say it to you and- and right in the beginning of our relationship, when I didn’t even consider this a relationship, I thought that you weren’t someone who should hide. You’re someone who needs to be paraded around and put on the spotlight. Because you- Fuck, Harry, you’re stunning. And amazing. And kind. And I’m the luckiest person in the world for having you. The world should know that.” He breathes. “I want the world to know that I belong to you. I want them to know that you’re… Home.” He finishes. “Please don’t cry!” His boyfriend then asks quickly.

            “After-” Harry sniffles. “After that speech- how could I not cry?” He gets up and moves towards him, and Louis gets up to receive the kiss he knows it’s awaiting for him. Harry kisses him quickly but surely. “Fuck, Louis.” He hugs him. “You’re the best gift in the world.” Squeezes tight.

            “I might get old and rusty. And cranky.”

            “Can’t wait for that.” Harry chuckles over Louis’ head and he still doesn’t know how much he means it. Or maybe he does, but he doesn’t dwell in it. Instead, he kisses Louis some more, tells him how proud he is of his attitude, and assures himself that Louis  is not doing this for Harry, but for Louis.

            They exit the restaurant shortly after that, Louis telling him “everything’s taken care of” when Harry asks about the check. As expected, there are two paps outside, but Louis just greets them and says something stupid, making Harry laugh behind him. At least they’ll have a good picture.







            It’s almost eight pm when they arrive back to Louis’ flat. Harry knows he should go back to his own place, he’s always telling himself that, but he rarely musters the power to leave Louis alone.

            Tonight he tells himself that it’s his birthday, so he can do whatever he wants. Tonight he holds Louis against the elevator wall and kisses him thoroughly all the way up to the penthouse, so much that they’re both breathless when they reach Louis’ floor. Louis lets him.

            Then the doors open, everything is dark and then everything’s bright. There are screams and a chorus of happy birthday starts.

            “Surprise.” Louis laughs and says to Harry’s mouth, turning him around by the hips.

            For the seconds people sing the happy birthday song, Harry doesn’t move. He stays glued to Louis’ front, secure in his embrace, and looks around the room registering every face that is in Louis’ living room.

            His entire family is here: Anne, Robin, Gemma, his dad. Niall, Julian, Liam and Sophia. Zayn and Perrie are here. Alice, Harry’s childhood friend, is here. Paul and Daisy. Nick Grimshaw and Greg James. Ed Sheeran and his girlfriend. Tom and Lou – no Lux tonight.

            “What.” Harry manages to say when they finish, Gemma laughing really hard at his face and his mom taking a picture. “I- Louis.” He hugs him.

            “C’mon, go say hi to your guests.” Louis kisses him on the cheek and moves past him, hi-fiving Gemma on the way. Those bastards.

            “Hello, darling.” Anne is the first one to move closer and hug him. “Happy birthday.”

            “So good to see you, mom”, Harry smiles over her shoulder. “Thanks. I- can’t believe him.”

            “He’s been planning this since Christmas.” Anne tells him.

            “Alice is here!” Harry exclaims exasperated.

            “Sure am”, his friend yells and hugs him too. She seems a bit tipsy already, and it’s confirmed when she says: “been drinking for two hours now waiting for you, knobhead”.

            “Love you too.”

            “Your boy’s amazing.” She chuckles.

            “He is.” Harry sighs and Alice pats him on the back twice before moving along so other guests can talk to Harry.

            He hugs the rest of his family and then some other friends, and ends up in the kitchen getting something to drink after all. Zayn’s there opening a beer and he laughs loudly when he sees Harry.

            “What?” Harry asks him.

            “Nothing, I just-” Zayn laughs again. “You were hard in the lift.”

            “What?” The professor laughs too.

            “You-” Zayn cracks, “were I-am-about-to-fuck-my-boyfriend hard in the lift, and then the doors opened and it was gold!”

            “Fuck you.”

            “Thought you wanted to fuck Louis?” He answers and hands him a beer. “He’s fucking great, by the way, man. One day my phone rang and he was like hi, Zayn, I’m Louis and I’ve just stolen your number from Harry’s phone, please hear me out and don’t tell him. I was like what the fuck?

            “That sounds like him…” Harry muses.

            “You’re great together, man.” Zayn assures him, and Harry knows that, so he smiles back, drinks a beer with the other man and then goes back to the living room, where he watches Louis, Niall and Gemma in a group. Harry pretends he doesn’t know what Louis is trying to do, moving along to chat with Paul and Daisy, who are talking with his parents and Louise.


             It’s a lot to take in in one night. And if Louis hadn’t told him before about his plan of coming out Harry would most definitely think his boyfriend was going insane. But now Harry knows what he is going to do, and he’s celebrating his birthday with the most amazing people he knows – his and Louis’ people, all in one place, mingling and liking each other and it’s just- it’s perfect, and it’s everything Harry’s ever wanted.

            In a way, this is Louis proving to him that he’s in it for real. And it’s not like Harry didn’t know it already, but if his heart still needed confirmation, this is definitely it.

            There is a karaoke being set up. A freaking karaoke. He laughs hard when Des – of all people – is the first one to get the mic to sing with Alice. Then everyone gathers around, choosing their own songs to sing, and Harry walks towards Louis, hugging him from behind.

            “I love you”, he says on a normal tone, so everyone who is around can hear, but he doesn’t care. “Like- so fucking much.”

            “We know!” Nick and Niall chorus at the same time.

            “I love you too!” Harry tells them and shows them his tongue, but Louis pulls his face closer and kisses him in the middle of the party, with everyone around.

            Harry kisses him back hotly, not caring much that his parents are here. He holds Louis by the hips and even feels his entire body shiver when Louis pulls his hair, loud cheers around them. Louis laughs unabashedly at the sound.

            A year ago Louis couldn’t even admit to himself he was checking Harry out. Tonight he’s kissing him in front of everyone that matters in their lives. Harry believes he’s in a fairy tale.


            “Harold, stop snogging my singer and come sing with us!” Julian calls from the karaoke machine.

            “I’m sorry, your singer?” Liam intervenes. “He’s my act, thank you very much.”

            “I produced his album.”

            “I wrote songs with him”, Niall chips in.

            “I date him”, Harry steals the mic from Liam’s hand. “I win. Now play some Bastille so we can sing, thank you very much.”

            People laugh and Julian puts on Things We Lost In the Fire so they can start singing. When they finish, Ed takes over with Louis making it super unfair for everyone to continue living, so after promising the crowd that they might record something serious together in the near future, Anne brings out a cake with Louise’s help, and they sing Happy Birthday once again.

            The first slice of cake goes to Gemma, but it’s really for his unborn nephew and Anne tears up a bit when he says it. The second one goes to his mom and the third one to Louis, and then he kisses him once again, right before Louis plasters the cake on his face.

            “I take it all back, I hate you”, Harry replies with frost in his hair.

            “I highly doubt that.”


            “Lies, lies…” Louis walks away unbothered.

            Harry cleans his face in the bathroom and comes back with his hair in a bun, having to wash it later. Daisy and Paul are already going home and he walks them to the door, thanking them a lot for coming – knowing how this kind of party is not the couple’s style – and thanking Paul even more for the amazing lunch they had as well.

            “Oh, son, you deserve it all”, the older man answers, “always so bright.”

            “Thanks.” Harry looks down.

            “Don’t bother coming tomorrow, Rory will cover your classes…”

            “No, I can totally-”

            “He needs the practice in a classroom, and your popstar says he’s traveling tomorrow night, so, enjoy your day.”

            “I- yeah.”

            “He’s a good one, Harry.” Daisy tells him, and then moves closer to whisper. “I like him better than Ben.”

            “Oh.” Harry chuckles. “Yeah… I guess… I guess me too, yeah.”

            “Have a great night.”

            “Thank you very, very much for coming. Bye.”

            Harry hugs them one more time and then goes back inside.

            The party’s slowing down, but Perrie is still singing with Zayn.


            “Fuck, they’re so good.” Julian comments. “Like, both of them have insane range”, he continues. They’re singing Beyoncé together, and they’re the only people that are not Beyoncé that Harry enjoys hearing sing Beyoncé.

            They are really, really good. Harry nods along with what Julian’s saying and once they finish the producer screams YOU’RE HIRED, making everyone laugh. Tom closes the night and he’s absolutely terrible and drunk. Harry hugs him tight in the end and thanks him for coming tonight.

            “Nothing to thank us for, man”, Tom says. “Gotta say I’m very surprised by… This, though.” He gestures between them.

            “Are you? Seriously?” His wife asks exasperatedly. “Honestly, husband!” Lou really seems outraged. “I figured it out before they started dating.”

            “You didn’t.” Harry rolls his eyes. “We were already dating when you started to- uh, notice.”

            “Fuck if I care. Point is: Tom’s thick.”

            “That I am.”

            “Gross, didn’t need to know.” Louis says and they laugh.

            Tom and Lou are also the last people to leave the party alongside Liam and Sophia. Harry pretends he doesn’t notice Niall giving Gemma a ride, and Louis tells him he booked rooms at a hotel for his entire family, because he still needs to give Harry something else.

            Harry just looks at him apprehensively; he doesn’t know how many more surprises he can take from Louis tonight.

            They leave the rest of the mess in Louis’ living room and kitchen behind (Louis assuring him that a maid is coming tomorrow first thing in the morning) and go to the bedroom together, where Harry starts undressing because he so needs a shower. It’s been a hell of a day – in the best way possible.






            “Jesus, did you turn off the heater?” He asks Louis when he’s only in his pants, Louis undressing himself as well.

            “No- wait.” He moves to the bedside table getting the control. “It’s on. Come here”, Louis opens his arm and Harry goes in easily, hugging him.

            Louis is usually the one that feels colder, but tonight he’s not and Harry’s body warms up as soon as it’s connected to his.

            “You said you had something else to give me.” Harry mumbles.

            “Yes”, Louis says in a low voice and kisses his neck close mouthed. “I’m nervous about it although I shouldn’t be.”

            “You don’t need to be”, the professor whispers and roams his hands on Louis’ back, stilling them on the top of Louis’ ass. Harry kisses his cheek, then his neck. “But I don’t need anything else.”

            “What if it’s a selfish thing? What if this thing I wanna give you is as yours as it is mine?”

            “Lou, stop the riddles”, Harry chuckles and pecks his mouth. “What is it?”

            Louis moves to the bedside table again, on his side of the bed and opens the drawer. For a second there Harry thinks it’s a joke, Louis will show him a bottle of lube and say surprise in one of his ridiculous playful tones and they’ll take it from there, but then Louis shows him a key with a pink ribbon on it, and Harry gasps.

            “I know you barely go to your flat anymore.” Louis says. “And I know that most of the time you only do that because you’re out of clothes here and- to be honest, I think you have enough clothes here…” He laughs. “But, like, if that’s still a problem for you just- like, bring them all? And everything else you want? And just come live with me? Please?” He asks.

            “Babe.” Harry smiles.

            “I know it’s, uh, maybe too soon. And I know that I’m traveling tomorrow and not coming back for two months, but- but I’d like to know you’re here keeping my—our bed warm for when I come back. I wanna know you’re home when I’m away.”

            “I won’t be home when you’re away.” Harry says quickly.

            “But, at least, you’ll be in our home.” Louis answers. “I hope?”

            “I hate you for making me do the rest of the move alone.”

            “The rest?” The singer raises an eyebrow.

            “Oh, Lou, c’mon, I’ve been living here for months now.” He laughs.


            “Thank you”, Harry says then. “I’ve had the best birthday of my life, with the best ending it could possibly have.”

            “I’m glad then”, Louis smiles. “Does that mean you’re moving in?”

            “Yeah-”  Harry whispers and gets closer, “you’re never getting rid of me”, he answers and kisses Louis for god measure, pinning him against the bedroom wall – he’s really into wall-sex today.

            Harry feels like he’s been hard since they were in the lift – alternating from half-hard to really hard, but never really not hard. And Louis is pretty much the same, because the second that Harry joins their hips the singer whimpers a bit and gets on his tiptoes so their crotches are better aligned.

            Tonight Harry plans to fuck him thoroughly in the shower, but first they need to release some tension if they’re ever gonna make it to the fucking part. He feels Louis’ hands on his ass bringing him forwards and circles his hips on his boyfriend’s, never stopping kissing him – because, through everything, kissing Louis still gotta be one of his favorite activities.

            Louis kisses him with the intent of someone who has been doing this for a long time, but never wants to stop doing it. Harry can relate, and he deepens it as hard as he can, backing Louis head on the wall and letting him squeeze his ass till he gets tired of it, bringing his hands to Harry’s hips and freeing him of his pants, quickly doing the same to himself.

             Harry grabs both of their dicks with only one hand, the other one playing with Louis