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“I think you may want to consider hiring a bodyguard,” Liam says, and Harry, who was somehow falling asleep with his eyes open, jerks to attention. Liam is looking at him expectantly from across the desk.

“I’ve never needed one before. Why now?” Harry asks, genuinely curious as to where this suggestion is coming from. Has someone made a threat on his life? Does he have a stalker? Has every member of his fan base suddenly acquired weapons at the same time? Have cinemagoers been rioting in the streets?

Harry Styles has been in the film industry for nearly five years now. Throughout his childhood, Harry always dreamt about being the next Leonardo DiCaprio (preferably with more Oscar wins, if he’s being honest), but he realized early on that he would have to be highly selective about roles if he was going to be taken seriously. After a childhood and teenage years where everyone’s first comment seemed to be about his dimples or lustrous curls, Harry did not want his acting career to be about his appearance rather than his talent.

He had booked his first role in an Indie film when he was 18. The director had been looking for unknown talent, and Harry was certainly unknown when he began the grueling audition process. The film was an unexpected hit, and by the time he turned 19, Harry had a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor, a manager by the name of Liam Payne, and a pile of film scripts for upcoming projects sitting on his kitchen counter.

For Harry’s second film, he selected a role where his character had a female love interest.

When the positive reviews were in, he approached Liam and asked whether he could come out publicly. Liam was hesitant at first, but Harry convinced him that it could be a positive publicity move and pointed out that Harry’s success as a character in a heterosexual relationship would help prevent him from being limited to “the gay friend” or whatever other stereotypical and one-dimensional roles Hollywood often offers to gay men. After weeks of negotiations, Liam and the director of Harry’s third film agreed that Harry could come out.

Harry won’t pretend that it was easy to deal with the homophobia and criticism hurled his way afterwards, but he had a lot of people supporting him, including his family, friends, the cast and crew of his third film, other people in the industry that admired his courage, and the majority of his fans.

Despite the publicity storm when Harry came out, he remained only moderately famous until his fourth film. While it had a smaller budget, Denzel Washington held the starring role and therefore drew more attention to it. By the time promotion period for the film ended, Harry had acquired a rather admirable fan base, largely consisting of female fans who got hooked on his pretty face and “stayed because he’s a sweetheart and he’s talented as fuck,” to quote one of the most popular tweets about Harry on Twitter.

Now Harry is 22 years old with a successful film career, respect as an actor within the industry and among fans, an upcoming release for his first blockbuster film, and a Christopher Nolan project on the horizon.

Filming for Nolan’s Dunkirk is scheduled to begin in about three months, giving Harry just enough time to complete his publicity tour for James Corden’s blockbuster, Something Great. James had approached Harry nearly a year ago to ask if he would audition for a leading role alongside Zayn Malik, and Harry had jumped at the opportunity. James, much like Nolan, was a director who was known in the industry for making big budget films that still focused on clever ideas, talented actors, and attention to character development.

Harry knows that he is more famous now and that his celebrity will likely grow upon the release of Something Great, but hiring a bodyguard seems excessive. Liam has never even hinted at the need for hired security previously, particularly because most events and interviews that Harry attends have security present without him having to bring them along.

This meeting has already dragged on for too long, but now that Liam has mentioned the bodyguard thing, Harry’s sure it’s going to be even longer. When Liam begins his spiel, Harry slouches down in his chair and suddenly wishes he had brought snacks.

“This press tour is by far the largest and most high profile of any of your previous films. Corden’s films are always huge at the box office, but Something Great has an interesting cast mix, which means people are really curious about why less well-known actors like you and Zayn have your names in big letters on the film posters, while some bigger stars are occupying smaller roles in the film.” Harry nods, so Liam continues.

“You’re doing a lot of interviews in a two month span, as well several press conferences and three premieres – one in the United Kingdom, one in the United States, and one in Japan. The tabloids wouldn’t shut up about you and Zayn while you were filming, reporting on every detail about your private lives they could get their grubby paws on, so people are talking not only about this film, but also you as individuals.”

Harry understands Liam’s reasoning by this point, but Liam loves to listen to his own voice, so Harry prepares for the long haul. Harry can hear his personal assistant, Niall Horan, smacking his gum from his seat in the corner of the room, and it’s very distracting.

“I’m expecting significant crowds at a lot of these events, and fans will likely be following you to your interviews and airports more than they did in the past. You and Zayn are on everyone’s radar right now, and if this film is as big as it’s projected to be, the attention is only going to increase. I think a bodyguard who travels with you and attends all of your events will just be more convenient.”

Harry sighs. He isn’t particularly looking forward to having someone follow him around for his own protection, honestly, but if Liam thinks it would be best, he’ll try to hire someone — at least until after the film premieres and the talk dies down a bit. Anything to get Liam off his back, honestly. “Alright, Liam.”

Liam smiles brightly, looking more like a puppy than a manager. “Great, thanks, Harry. It’s not a necessity because security is usually already present at places where fans may become rowdy, but I do think hiring someone will make things easier on you over the next few months.”

Liam looks down at his laptop for a moment and types something, so Harry takes the opportunity to glance back at Niall.

Niall has been dutifully taking notes on the meeting, but when he sees Harry looking at him, he mimes falling asleep. Liam has been talking for almost an hour straight, so Harry’s glad that he isn’t the only person itching to leave.

Harry turns back around just as Liam is beginning to talk about filming for Dunkirk. The Nolan film is going to be more physically taxing than any of Harry’s previous roles, but he’s incredibly excited. Between the upcoming premiere of Something Great and the upcoming filming of Dunkirk, Harry feels like he’s on top of the world in terms of his career.

It’s just unfortunate that for the next few months, he will be on top of the world with a bodyguard as a shadow.

 

*

 

Harry is fucking exhausted.

He’s met with six bodyguards so far, and while several of them would have got the job done, he isn’t completely satisfied with any of them. Bodyguard applicant #2, #3, and #6 all seemed rather gruff and unfriendly, which Harry doesn’t want if he’s going to be spending so much time with them. Bodyguard applicant #1 did seem to understand that Harry’s life isn’t actually at risk, as he kept speaking really aggressively about how to deal with fans that, for the most part, are harmless. Bodyguard applicant #4 had not prepared at all for the interview and had no understanding of who Harry was or what the job position was for. Finally, Bodyguard applicant #5 kept asking about what weapons he was expected to carry with him at all times, and he didn’t seem to hear Harry’s consistent response of “you cannot and should not carry weapons.”

Harry realizes that he may be harsh, but this bodyguard is someone who Harry and his fans will be interacting with closely on a daily basis. Harry is not going to apologize for wanting to at least like the guy.

He’s considering calling Liam and telling him he’s changed his mind about hiring a bodyguard, at least unless things become unmanageable during promo, but he still has two more interviews to get through today before he can do that. If he doesn’t complete all the interviews, Liam will definitely lecture him for not giving them all a chance.

Harry has a fifteen minute break before the next prospective bodyguard arrives, so he fetches a glass of water from down the hall and successfully reads through the next five pages of a script that Liam’s been harassing him about for nearly a fortnight.

Just as the script is finally beginning to capture Harry’s full attention, he hears a soft knock on the door. Niall pokes his blonde head in the door a few seconds later.

“Sorry to interrupt, Harry. The next guy is here for his interview. Are you ready to see him now, or do you want me distract him for a few minutes?”

Harry shakes his head, shuffling the script and other papers in front of him until the applicant’s resume is at the top. “Nope, I’m ready now. You can bring him in.” Niall’s head disappears again, and Harry takes the next two minutes to skim the resume in front of him. He’s slightly intrigued by the lack of bodyguard or military experience on the page, but before he can give it much thought, Niall reenters the room.

While the other job applicants of the day had beefy bodies and were roughly Harry’s height or taller, Harry immediately notices that the man standing beside Niall looks nothing like the others. He’s a few inches shorter than Harry, and his body is just generally small, all lean muscle and sinful curves. Harry’s mouth feels dry.

“Harry, this is Mr. Tomlinson. He’s one of the applicants for the bodyguard position. Mr. Tomlinson, this is Mr. Styles. The interview will be about thirty minutes long, and when it’s over, I’ll return to escort you out.”

When Harry thinks back after the meeting, he can’t even remember Niall entering the room with Mr. Tomlinson, let alone what he was saying. Harry is far too preoccupied appreciating the delectable sight in front of him.

Mr. Tomlinson is absolutely gorgeous. After his small stature, the second feature that Harry notices about on man in front of him is his piercing blue eyes. As Niall continues talking, Harry also takes note of his soft brown hair, swept into an artfully messy fringe, as well as his outfit – a navy suit jacket and matching trousers, slightly wrinkled as though the man had been sitting on the tube or squashed into the back of a taxi for his commute, and a pale blue tie that perfectly compliments the man’s eyes. Harry is incredibly attracted to him.

It takes him a moment to realize that Niall has even left the room. Mr. Tomlinson is standing on the opposite side of the table, looking nervous, but he has a small awkward smile on his face as though he realized that Harry had zoned out unintentionally.

As Harry tries to shake himself out of his distracted mental state, he reaches to grasp Mr. Tomlinson’s hand in a polite handshake. Harry can’t stop himself from noticing the difference in the size of their hands.

Harry tries to unstick his tongue from the roof of his mouth before he makes more of a fool of himself.

“Mr. Tomlinson, it’s lovely to meet you. Thanks for coming out today.” Harry intends to sound as nonchalant as possible, but his voice comes out sounding much slower and deeper than usual. Harry usually only speaks that way when he’s trying to pull, which means Harry’s voice has betrayed him in an attempt to seduce Mr. Tomlinson, thereby choosing the side of his heart and cock instead of his mind.

“Just call me Louis, please. And thank you for this opportunity,” a high raspy voice says in response. Harry wants to take a moment to step out of the room so he can hyperventilate, but he realizes that would be unprofessional.

Instead, he gestures to Louis to sit and takes a seat himself, trying to pull it together.

“So, uhhh, Louis,” Harry says, resisting the urge rolling his eyes at himself. “I’m just going to start with a little introduction. My name is Harry Styles and I’m an actor, as you probably know since you’re here applying for this job.”

“I’ve seen some of your previous work,” Louis says quickly. “You’re really talented.”

Nearly five years into his career, Harry still feels his face heat up and his insides dance when someone compliments his acting ability. It means so much to hear that people appreciate his actual work and view him as more than just a talentless heartthrob in Hollywood. It means even more when it comes from someone that Harry has found himself immediately smitten by, but that’s beside the point.

“Thank you so much, Louis. I really appreciate it.” Harry smiles, and Louis returns it, fidgeting slightly. Harry continues with his introduction, hoping Louis will relax somewhat while he speaks.

“I recently acted in Something Great, my first blockbuster, and it will be premiering in a couple of months. The incredible James Corden directed the film, and it’s my biggest to date by far in terms of media coverage. My manager, Liam Payne, suggested that I hire a bodyguard for the next few months, and possibly beyond that as I move onto my next project. The pandemonium surrounding this film is going to be significantly more than I have dealt with in the past, so that’s why Liam thinks it would be best.”

Louis is nodding along. “Makes perfect sense,” he says.

“The expectations for my bodyguard aren’t particularly grueling, if I’m honest. I haven’t experienced any threats to my safety in the past. Liam just thinks that it would be ideal to have a presence beside me to keep the fans at bay at the premieres, interviews, or other promotional events that I’ll be attending. My fans are wonderful, but they can be a bit overzealous. For the most part, your job description would include showing up and telling fans to step back when necessary. Any questions?” Harry inquires.

Louis shakes his head and blinks. “Nope, that all sounds reasonable.” Louis has incredibly long eyelashes.

Harry thinks he may be having issues staying focused. “Can you start by telling me about your previous experience as a bodyguard? I glanced at your resume only briefly, but it seemed like you mostly worked in retail.”

The question clearly makes Louis anxious, as he tugs at the knot of his tie slightly as though he wants to loosen it. Harry watches Louis try to control himself, as he quickly seems to realize that he’s fidgeting and moves his hand down to join the other one in his lap. Harry can’t see what he’s doing, but he would bet money that Louis is nervously twiddling his thumbs under the table.

Harry suddenly feels a pang of guilt for putting Louis on the spot, and it takes him about three seconds too long to realize that all he did was ask the man a reasonable question as part of his interview.

“Well, to be honest, I haven’t been a bodyguard previously. That being said, I think I’ll be great in this position. I have two years of Jui Jitsu experience, so I’m definitely capable of defending you physically.”

Harry tries not to scoff. If Louis stood behind Harry, he would literally disappear from sight. He’s small. He’s also muscular in the I-like-to-play-footie and the genetics-gave-me-perfect-lean-muscles way, not in the I’m-going-to-kick-your-arse-way.

“Sorry, what’s Jui Jitsu? I’m not familiar,” Harry says, trying to keep his posture as open and friendly as possible to subconsciously comfort the man in front of him. Harry asks the question despite knowing exactly what Jui Jitsu is. He remembers one of the boys who lived down the street from him during sixth form used to go on and on about grappling, joint locks, and chokeholds. Harry never got into it himself, but he knows the basics and he’s curious to see how much knowledge Louis actually has on the subject.

“Umm, it’s like...fighting on the floor.” You mean ground fighting, Harry thinks to himself, willing himself to keep the smirk off his face as Louis continues. “Two people basically roll around and put themselves into weird positions as they try to wrestle. It all looks very, um.” Louis gives an alarmed look and cuts himself off abruptly. Sexual, Harry thinks to himself, biting his lip to resist laughing. Louis was actually going to mention how the positions look rather intimate, but realized he was in a job interview at the last second.

Harry can tell that a smirk has made its way onto his face, but Louis doesn’t seem to notice as he continues his explanation. “It just gives you the ability to take down an opponent and hold him there. I’m really good at it.”

Louis looks incredibly earnest as he lies through his teeth, and Harry feels incredibly endeared. He shouldn’t. He should be telling this man that while it was nice to meet him, Louis isn’t exactly what he’s looking for in terms of security.

Harry doesn’t do that though.

Later, he’ll probably be able to explain that he was enthralled with Louis from the first moment, even knowing so little about him. Later, he’ll probably be able say that it went far beyond simple attraction. Later, he’ll be able to talk about how Louis immediately struck him as a perfect combination of qualities – soft and fierce, gentle and strong, sarcastic and kind, intelligent and funny. Later, he’ll probably say all that and more, and nobody will really believe him because it sounds too ridiculous and too close to a modern day fairytale. Later, he’ll probably tell people anyway, though, and there will be one person who believes him – the person who matters more than all the others.

For now though, Harry just leans back in his chair, smiles, and asks Louis another question.

 

*

 

In the next half hour, Harry listens to Louis make up several more excuses as to why he would be a great bodyguard (“I’m the eldest sibling, and I’m very protective,” “I have a great eye for people who look like they’re going to cause trouble”), but mostly he just tries to find out as much about Louis as he can. By the end of the half hour, Harry has discovered that Louis is 24 years old, was born in Doncaster, is a huge supporter of the Rovers (he rants for about three minutes straight about the fact that they were relegated to League Two), adores his five younger sisters and one younger brother, and has dreamt about being a drama teacher since he was a little boy.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Louis. American football is really fun to watch once you understand the game,” Harry argues, becoming increasingly infuriated as Louis rolls his eyes and moves his hands in a rude yapping motion that suggests Harry is driveling on about nothing important.

“Sorry, mate, but that’s absolute bollocks,” Louis says, and that’s when Niall chooses to enter the room, smiling unknowingly as his eyes flit between Louis and Harry. Louis cuts himself off and Harry can see the emotions flash over Louis’ face as he realizes that he was just using inappropriate language in a professional interview.

Niall hesitates, appearing slightly confused by the atmosphere in the room.

“Finished? I’ll show you out, Mr. Tomlinson.” Niall speaks smoothly before looking over at Harry and raising his eyebrows.

Harry stands up, drawing Louis’ attention back to him. “Louis, it was very nice to meet you. We’ll be in touch within the next three days.” He reaches his hand out across the table, giving Louis a wide smile that shows off his dimples.

“Great, thank you so much for the opportunity.” Louis gets to his feet as he speaks.

Louis looks slightly flustered as he grasps Harry’s hand, shaking firmly. He begins to thank Harry again, but Harry briefly tunes him out as he takes note of Louis’ height in comparison to his own. Harry is 99 percent certain that Louis is standing on his tiptoes, as he seems taller now than he was when he first entered the room.

Harry’s first instinct is to laugh and call Louis out on it, but this is their first meeting and he doesn’t want to be rude, despite Louis’ criticism of the Green Bay Packers and American football in general. Instead, he brushes his hip up against the table where his sunglasses are perched precariously on the edge, successfully knocking them to the floor.

“Ah, shit, sorry,” he interrupts, bending down to pick them up. As his hands grasp the sunglasses on the floor, he glances under the table toward Louis’ feet. Sure enough, he’s up on his tiptoes, which gives him an additional inch or so of height and puts him closer to Harry’s level. Harry bites his lip and stands up again.

“Have a great rest of the day, Mr. Tomlinson.” After Louis returns the sentiment, Harry watches Louis lower himself back down onto the balls of his feet and turn around, following Niall out the door. His hips sway as he walks, and Harry can’t help his eyes from falling below Louis’ waist to the man’s perky bum.

Consider him hired.

 

*

 

Harry is grinning to himself when Niall re-enters the room about ten minutes later.

“Hey mate, what’d you think? He’s a bit, uh, small, for a bodyguard at least. Nice and really funny though. We were having a laugh in the hall just now.” Niall flops down in the chair across from Harry.

“I think we should cancel the last interview of the day. I want to hire Louis.” Harry says, looking Niall straight in the eye while he speaks to indicate that he’s serious.

Niall gives Harry an exasperated look, nodding slowly. “Okay...so do you want to explain why we’re hiring Louis? And do you want to explain it without making any mention of his soft hair or ample buttocks?”

Harry narrows his eyes. “I want to get to know him. There’s something about him that has me hooked, and I realize that I sound completely ridiculous and smitten, but none of the other applicants were going to be good enough anyway. I was just planning to tell Liam that I’d changed my mind, honestly, but then I found Louis. Why not have him do the job he applied for? He may not be a particularly intimidating physical presence, but as I learned when I was arguing with him about American football, he can be extremely loud. That will come in handy when fans are crowding too close.”

Niall sighs deeply, sounding extremely put out. “Harry, you know I love you, but...”

He trails off when he looks at Harry. Harry assumes that’s because Niall can tell he’s about three seconds from stuffing his fingers into his ears and singing at the top of his lungs like a child ignoring their parent.

“Fine. He applied for the job and clearly thinks he can do it, so if you want to hire him, I can’t stop you. Still, as your friend and PA, I have to ask what you’re going to do if there are genuine security concerns and Mr. Tomlinson can’t defend you.”

Harry grabs his calendar from the side of the table and holds it up to Niall, pointing at the red writing all over it. “Niall, these are the days that I meet with a personal trainer. Six fucking days a week. I’ve been boxing for three years, and my training routine is going to pick up even more in the next few weeks because I need to start prepping for Dunkirk. I’m capable of defending myself and you know it. The only reason I agreed to hire a bodyguard in the first place was to get Liam off my back – it’s not a necessity. There is little that another bodyguard would be able to do for me that I can’t do myself thanks to Mark’s training.”

Niall sighs, but nods. It’s rare that Harry is stubborn enough to argue about something, so when he does, Niall knows that he’s serious. “Okay, you’re right. I still think you’re being ridiculous about a man you literally just met, but I’ll back you up with Liam. Do you want to just call him now, or wait until later?”

“Let’s just get it over with now,” Harry replies. Liam is one of his closest friends in the world and has been for years, but he tends to think he’s right about everything when it comes to Harry’s life and career, which can make him difficult to deal with. Harry dials Liam’s number and puts it on speaker when he hears it start ringing. Liam picks up almost immediately.

“Hey, Harry. How are the interviews going?” Liam sounds like he’s walking somewhere, as Harry can hear the sounds of London traffic through the line. That’s ideal because if Liam is distracted, he’s less likely to fight Harry on this.

“Interviews are good, Liam, and I actually think the last applicant is the one. His name is Louis Tomlinson and he’s 24 years old.” Harry looks at Niall, who has hopped up onto the table and is swinging his legs. Niall is looking at him with one eyebrow raised, likely intrigued as to why Louis’ age even came up in the interview.

“That sounds young. Isn’t that young for a bodyguard?” Liam asks, sounding doubtful.

“Well, this guy may not be a very conventional choice. He’s smaller than average, but he says he has some Jui Jitsu experience and he has a very forceful personality and loud voice.” Harry hopes that diluting the bad news with the good news is an effective tactic. Niall stifles a laugh upon hearing the Jui Jitsu suggestion, so Harry assumes that he isn’t the only one who doubts Louis’ experience with that particular art.

Liam sighs deeply. “Harry, why do I get the feeling you aren’t choosing this man for his security abilities?” Here we go, Harry thinks to himself. Harry hasn’t dated anyone in a while, and unfortunately, that motivates Liam to side-eye him every time he’s near an attractive and nice man. Liam even side-eyes Harry when he is standing near Zayn, despite the fact that Zayn has been in a relationship for months. Liam also clearly has no understanding of Harry’s tastes.

Harry hears the sound of a door slamming over the line and then hears Liam swear under his breath. “I’m about to get into my office, so just wait a second and I’ll look up his Facebook. I want to know a little more about this guy you’re so desperate to hire despite his apparent lack of experience.”

“Now, Liam,” Harry begins sweetly. “Let’s remember that in the end, this is my decision. And let’s also remember that you made the suggestion for me to hire a bodyguard, but you also agreed that it wasn’t really necessary at this point. I think that Mr. Tomlinson will be a good fit, and I don’t see myself changing my mind on this.”

Harry usually only puts his foot down with Liam when it comes to choosing acting roles, but he’s determined to hire Louis. Liam is his only obstacle to doing that, so Harry is going to do what he can to convince him.

Liam huffs into the line and Harry hears the sound of him greeting Sophia, his secretary. Harry has been in Payne Management’s building enough times to know that once you reach Sophia’s desk, you’re only about ten footsteps away from Liam’s door. Sure enough, Harry hears the clicking of Liam’s mouse less than a minute later.

Harry grits his teeth, preparing for the worst. When Niall chuckles again, Harry just shoots him another glare.

A groan comes over the line. “This guy weighs two pounds and looks about three inches tall,” Liam says, and as though sensing that Harry’s about to interrupt him, he continues. “Yes, Harry, I realize that I’m exaggerating, but honestly, you call me a puppy dog and I would be ten times more intimidating as a bodyguard than this guy.”

Harry hears more clicking, and then Liam sighs again. “He’s literally on his tiptoes in this picture.”

Harry feels offended on Louis’ behalf, at this point. “Excuse me, Liam, but height isn’t a disqualification. He’s not the size of a child; he’s just a bit shorter than me. Don’t be rude.” Besides, Harry likes that Louis is smaller than him. Louis is perfectly sized to fit under Harry’s arm.

“Alright, fine. You clearly have a stick up your arse about this, so I won’t fight you on it if it’s what you want. It’s your money that’s going to be wasted anyway.” Liam sounds exasperated. Harry is almost certain that most managers would not speak to their clients this way, but then again, he and Liam lost their sense of professionalism with one another years ago. “Also,” Liam adds. “If there are any serious threats to your security during this press tour, you’re firing him and hiring someone for real.”

Harry smiles. “Perfect, thanks Liam. Can you send Niall over the paperwork? We’re going to fax it over to Louis tonight so he’ll be ready to go by the time I have my first interview for Something Great on Thursday.”

Liam hums his agreement and hangs up the phone soon after. When Harry looks at Niall again, Niall gives Harry another long look. “I’ll go cancel the other interview and forward Louis everything that Liam sends me. Then I’m going home, propping my feet up, having a pint or six, and applying to new jobs because my boss is a fucking lunatic.”

Harry pulls Niall into a hug. “Thanks, Nialler. Love you too.”

When Niall leaves the room, Harry settles back down into his chair and finds that he can’t keep the smile off his face. Louis Tomlinson is going to be his bodyguard, and Harry has a good feeling about it.

 

*

 

The following morning, Harry wakes up earlier than usual to head over to the gym. In preparation for Dunkirk, Nolan’s people had forwarded a suggested fitness regimen to Harry’s trainer, Mark Jarvis, a couple of weeks ago. During the last few months before filming is set to begin, Harry is going to have to work even harder than usual to bulk up slightly and increase his endurance, as filming in heavy military gear will likely make an already physical film even more demanding on Harry’s body. Harry is up for the challenge, of course, eager to prove himself as someone who is perfectly capable of acting in a physically demanding role, but it’s still going to be a lot to deal with.

The timing couldn’t be better for Harry to get into better shape, especially now that he’s basically going to be acting as his own bodyguard. Harry knows that Louis isn’t weak and helpless by any means, but he would never normally be hired as a bodyguard without any previous experience.

Even if Harry hired an effective bodyguard, there is always the risk that an unstable fan will gain access to him or try to attack him when the bodyguard isn’t present. If Harry’s celebrity is going to continue rising with future roles, he figures it can’t hurt to ensure that he can defend himself without having to rely on others.

Mark texts Harry that he’s running a few minutes late, so Harry puts on his gloves and begins attacking the punching bag in the corner of their private training room. Harry has never been a violent person, so when Mark first suggested that he start boxing, Harry shot him down and continued to lift weights as usual. Mark had encouraged him to give it a try, however, and since Harry trusted his trainer completely, he gave in.

Now, years later, Harry finds that boxing makes him feel physically strong and in control of himself and his body. His technique is significantly better than it had been when they had first started, and Mark often jokes that Harry gives him a run for his money when they’re practicing. That’s likely an exaggeration considering Mark has been boxing for about two decades, but Harry appreciates the sentiment anyway.

Mark arrives a few minutes later, and Harry is already sweaty when he pulls the older man into a one-armed hug as a greeting.

Harry boxes for the first hour of his workout, and after a short break and cool down period, he approaches Mark. Mark is enthralled in conversation with Lou, the owner of the gym, but he notices when Harry approaches.

“Alright?” Mark asks, and Harry nods.

“Listen, this is going to sound a bit weird, but I wanted to ask if we could try something different for a while today,” Harry says. He’s not sure whether Mark will even be able to help him, but he figures that it can’t hurt to ask.

Mark nods and says a few parting words to Lou before returning with Harry to their private training room. When they’re alone again, Mark just looks at Harry expectantly. Mark is a man of few words, and Harry appreciates it at times like these.

“I know you’re going to make fun of me for this story, so I’m going to just give you the short version, and if you laugh, you’re fired.” Harry frowns at Mark, but Mark looks about as intimidated as he would if a puppy had yipped at him.

Harry continues. “The attention surrounding Something Great has been stressing Liam out, so he told me to hire a bodyguard. And I did — except he may be slightly underqualified. It’s actually possible that he isn’t at all qualified. He’s on the smaller size and I’m pretty sure he just blatantly lied throughout his interview. Of course, I hired him anyway.”

Mark looks like he’s about to interrupt, so Harry cuts him off. “Don’t bother asking me why because I don’t know that I can give you an answer that will sound reasonable. The only reason I’m telling you this is that I’m interested in learning some defensive moves as a precautionary measure. I doubt they'll ever be necessary, but it can’t hurt.”

Mark’s eyebrows are practically at his hairline. “That was the fastest you’ve ever spoken in the four years I’ve known you.”

Harry smacks Mark on the arm. “Shut up,” he says, laughing.

Mark gives his own belly laugh before continuing. “So basically, you have a big ole’ crush on a boy, you hired him to be your bodyguard because of that crush, and now you want to learn self-defense.”

Mark calling Harry out explicitly like that makes his face heat up. Harry swallows his pride, however, and simply nods in response to Mark’s comments. He then waits patiently for Mark to stop laughing.

After a few minutes, Mark wipes the tears of laughter from his eyes and focuses his attention back on Harry.

“Alright, mate. Let’s begin with just teaching you how to get out of holds that you don’t want to be in. Then we can move on to more sophisticated moves, though honestly, the strength of your arms and your boxing experience will help you in a threatening situation even without defensive training. Hold still and I’m going to grab you from behind, okay?” Mark comes up behind Harry and grips him around the middle firmly, trapping him there.

It’s going to be a long day, but Harry will be ready to serve as his own bodyguard in no time.

 

*

 

Louis’ first day of work is a Monday. Harry has a magazine interview and two photoshoots scheduled, and to his dismay, the locations of the interview and one of the photoshoots have somehow been leaked via update accounts on Twitter. Harry wishes he could get those accounts and the creepy fans that run them deleted, but he knows it’s impossible. Instead, he just has to deal with the consequences of their stalking.

Harry had Niall give Louis his home address and asked Louis to arrive at half seven. He doubts that meeting at his home is the typical protocol for bodyguards, but since neither he nor Louis have experience in this area, he figures it doesn’t really matter.

Louis arrives promptly and texts Harry from inside his car, which he stopped just outside the entrance gate. Harry pushes the button to open the gate, and it’s only a few minutes later that he hears a knock on the front door.

When Harry opens the door, he is immediately reminded of one of the reasons why he wanted to hire Louis in the first place. Louis is simply the personification of sunshine, and Harry can feel it warming him just from Louis standing on the porch with a nervous smile. Harry welcomes him into front hall quickly, reassuring Louis that he’ll be ready to leave in just a few minutes.

Louis follows him to the kitchen, staring at almost everything he passes in the house with fascination.

“Your house is beautiful, Harry,” Louis says, sounding genuinely awed.

Harry smiles gratefully, and maybe a bit proud. “Thank you. It’s by far my favorite place to be in the world, and no matter how long I go away and how much things change from day to day, this place always stays the same. It’s home.”

Louis is looking at Harry fondly when he finishes speaking, but he doesn’t say anything.

“Coffee? Tea?” Harry asks, rummaging around in the cupboards for two mugs. “It’s going to be a bit of a long day.”

“Black tea is fine, if you have some,” Louis says, and Harry can see him fidgeting out of the corner of his eye.

“Trust me, it’s not an issue. I have an excessive variety of teas. Do you want to go over what’s happening today and what your duties will be?” Harry asks, hoping that making the expectations (or lack thereof, if he’s being honest) clear will soothe some of Louis’ nerves. Louis nods, so Harry continues.

“This morning, I have an interview with British GQ about Something Great and some of my upcoming projects. The good news is that it’s not expected to last more than two hours, but the bad news is that fans figured out that I’m doing the interview today and may be waiting outside the building in London. All you have to do is escort me from the car into the building, and from the building into the car. While I’m doing the interview, you can either stay and hang out, or you can just walk around, window shop, whatever you want to pass the time.”

Louis looks surprised. “You’re paying me to do five minutes of bodyguard duty and then to just hang out? Really?”

Harry nods. “Uhhh, yeah, pretty much. That’s not the entire day sorted though. After the interview, I have two photoshoots. The first is on the outskirts of London, but I’ll have to double-check the address later. As far as I know, the fans aren’t aware of anything happening there. After that, however, there is a second photoshoot. We’re meeting the photographers in London and they’ll be having a car escort us to the site where the shoot will take place. To my understanding, it’s going to be in a field. Unfortunately, fans are also aware of that location, so that might make your job a little more interesting. All in all though, today will probably go very smoothly. Sound good?”

When the water is done heating, Harry hands Louis a mug and gestures for him to sit down on one of the stools at the kitchen island. Louis takes a sip and makes a low moaning sound, clearly pleased with Harry’s tea choice. The sound goes straight to Harry’s dick, and he tries not to look too eager about the indirect praise.

“Everything sounds fine for today, but uh, just out of curiosity...what is the age of your fans, generally?” Louis asks, swirling his teabag while gazing at Harry.

Harry has to stop himself from chuckling. He almost wants to tell Louis that his fan base consists largely of middle-aged men, but Louis’ blood pressure would probably spike. Picturing Louis trying to defend Harry against a swarm of large, middle-aged men makes Harry sweat nervously himself.

“Generally young women and teenage girls,” Harry says.

When Louis hears his response, he looks over at Harry and gives him a full body scan with his eyes. He does it slightly more slowly than you normally would if you were platonically examining someone’s outfit, and Harry has to will himself not to blush.

“Ah yes, I can see how you would have gained that heartthrob status,” Louis says. He’s smirking, and there’s a tone of sarcasm in his voice that Harry had seen brief glimpses of during their interview. It makes him feel slightly giddy to discover that Louis is starting to feel more comfortable with him. Harry is also very sarcastic, though only his close friends seem to realize that, and he can tell that his and Louis’ sense of humors will be very compatible.

“My two eldest sisters, Lottie and Fizzy, are big fans. They were bricking it when I told them that I would be working for you,” Louis says, and Harry laughs out loud.

“Oh yeah?” He says, smirking.

Louis is smiling. “Yeah, pretty sure Lottie wanted to marry you a bit there, at least until I told her that you weren’t interested in her equipment, so to speak. She told me to go for it though.” Harry looks up at that, studying Louis’ face to see whether Louis just implied what Harry thinks he did.

“Um, so you’re...” Harry trails off, unsure if he’s crossing a boundary or not.

Louis gets up suddenly, and Harry feels his heart stop for a moment before he realizes that Banana, his enormous cat, has wandered into the room and was likely swishing her tail around Louis’ ankles. Louis immediately picks Banana up, grunting slightly in surprise at her weight.

Banana is not a lap cat by any means, and she prefers to just do her own thing most of the time. Harry is happy about that because it makes him feel a little better when he has to leave town.

Banana starts purring happily in Louis’ arms immediately, however. Harry has never seen anyone get on with his cat that quickly before, and he honestly doesn’t think that Banana would even let him pick her up without scratching the shit out of him, despite having been her owner for two years now.

“Yeah, I’m gay,” Louis finally responds as he scratches Banana between the ears. She looks even more enormous than usual in his arms. “Are you telling me you hadn’t guessed that by now?” Louis looks at Harry with a knowing smile, and Harry feels his face heating up yet again. Louis makes him feel like a child with a crush, and it’s embarrassing.

“I don’t like to stereotype and assume,” He explains sheepishly, shrugging.

Louis just rolls his eyes and sets Banana down on the kitchen counter. Harry is about to protest, but Louis silences him with a look before giving Banana a few more scratches under the chin. He also takes a second to read the name on her collar and chuckles to himself, but doesn’t say anything about it. Banana is still purring, and Harry realizes that he’s not the only person who is quickly falling for the man in front of him.

When Louis finishes lavishing attention on Banana, he eyes Harry skeptically. Harry stares back, feeling slightly uneasy and unsure of what Louis is thinking. After about a minute-long stare down, Louis levels a meaningful look at the clock hanging on the wall. Harry nearly spills the last drops of tea on himself as realizes that they should have left ten minutes ago.

He and Louis are on the road just a few minutes later, despite Harry almost tripping over Banana on his way out the door.

 

*

 

When the photographer finally tells Harry he has enough photos, Harry has to force himself not to collapse onto the wet grass of the field with relief. It’s just his luck that there had been clear skies all morning, right up until they left for the outdoor shoot. The rain stopped before they arrived at the location, but the grass was still soaking wet.

The photographer was pleased, suggesting that the lingering fog would make for beautiful and artsy shots, but Harry is cold, wet, and miserable. He wants nothing more than to go home, lie down in his bed, and watch Netflix until he falls asleep at a perfectly reasonable 7PM, the same time as his granddad.

The walk across the field is only about five minutes, but the fog prevents Harry from being able to see Louis standing by the fence that separates the field from the car park until he’s less than five meters away. A fairly sizable group of fans stands on the other side of it, mainly consisting of young women in their teens and early twenties. A few parents are also among them, standing there sullenly, but when Harry comes into their line of sight, even the adults perk up.

Louis spins around when he hears Harry approaching, and Harry watches his face light up with a smile, eyes crinkling in the corners. The bottoms of Louis’ rolled jeans are wet from the grass, and Harry sees a familiar lavendar jumper on the smaller man’s torso. The jumper is already large on Harry, which means Louis is swimming in it. He must have snatched it from Harry’s car before they left for the photoshoot location.

It’s probably unprofessional for Louis to be wearing Harry’s clothing, but Harry feels nothing but endearment and affection at the sight. The long sleeves almost cover Louis’ hands completely. Louis looks tired but happy standing by the fence, and Harry is glad that he seems to have enjoyed his first day of work.

Harry spends the next twenty minutes or so signing autographs with Louis leaning slightly into his side. When they start to walk back toward the car to be driven back, Harry turns one last time to wave at the group of fans.

“You two are cute together!” One of them calls out, and most of the other fans standing nearby start giggling, some yelling out words of agreement. Harry smiles at Louis, who looks huffy, but also somewhat pleased.

Harry is nearly at the car door when Louis sticks out his foot. Harry doesn’t trip, but it’s a close call.

“Thanks for a great first day of work, Harry,” Louis says. His eyes are twinkling mischievously, and Harry is fucked.

 

*

 

A month into Louis’ tenure as Harry’s bodyguard, Harry can say with complete certainty that he has no regrets about hiring him. He is judged and mocked on a daily basis by Liam, Niall, his castmates from Something Great (particularly Zayn), and his other friends, but everybody who meets Louis adores him and is happy that he’s around.

Louis is as fun as Harry expected him to be, but he’s also significantly more complex than Harry could have ever predicted when he decided to hire him. They’ve become close friends in just a few short weeks — so close, in fact, that Harry is contact with Louis on a daily basis, even when Louis isn’t working.

Louis is an entertaining person with a huge heart, and while he doesn’t do much on the actual protection front, he is always looking out for Harry in other ways. When Harry falls ill a couple of weeks after Louis starts work and cancels his plans for the day, Louis drops by his house with soup from Harry’s favorite restaurant. When Harry is having a bad day, Louis does his poor imitation of Niall’s Irish accent because he knows it never fails to make Harry laugh. When Harry is feeling tired before an event or interview, Louis brings a pillow in the car with them so Harry can nap on the way. When Harry begins doubting himself, Louis is always there to remind him that he’s a good person with a lot of talent.

Louis is more like a best friend or boyfriend than a bodyguard, and Harry is definitely not complaining.

Tonight, Harry and Zayn are attending a charity ball for sick children. Not only is it an important cause and one that both actors wholeheartedly support, but it also gives them great publicity for the film. James quickly realized that the friendship between Harry and Zayn was a huge hit among fans and the media, so he encouraged them to hang out as much as possible. Harry considers Zayn a close friend, and while they don’t have much in common aside from acting, it’s certainly not a chore to see him.

The organizers of the event have created a makeshift red carpet for all the children to walk down with their parents to be photographed, but first, the famous attendees are supposed to do their own walk for the paparazzi and fans.

Harry and Zayn are two of the most famous of those attendees, and as the premiere date of Something Great is growing closer, a great deal of attention will be lavished on them during this event. Harry knows he’s going to have to navigate a fine line between promoting the film and keeping the focus on what really matters tonight, which is the charity.

Harry is planning on arriving at the red carpet with Louis, Zayn, and Alberto, who is Zayn’s bodyguard, all in toe. For the past few weeks, Zayn had been working with a different bodyguard while Alberto dealt with some family issues. Now that Alberto is back, however, he and Louis will be meeting for the first time. Harry met Alberto during filming for Something Great and the two of them became fast friends, but Harry is worried about Alberto and Louis meeting.

When Louis arrives at Harry’s home in the evening, Harry has just finished getting dressed and is eating an apple in the kitchen. Louis walks in the front door without bothering to knock, as he has apparently had enough time by now to familiarize himself with Harry’s security system and to even make a duplicate key to the house for himself.

Harry almost chokes on the apple when Louis enters the kitchen. Louis is wearing a gorgeous, well-tailored black suit with sparkles all over it. His hair is done up in his typical fringe, though it’s slightly neater than usual, his shoes are shined, and he looks absolutely stunning.

Harry had sent Louis to his stylist a week or so earlier, insisting that his bodyguard had to be dressed to the nines since he was going to be on the red carpet too. Louis was born to wear that suit, and Harry reminds himself to text his stylist later and thank him for helping Louis out. Harry can already sense that when Louis turns around, he’s going to faint at the sight of Louis’ bum in tailored pants. He looks incredible.

“You look incredible,” Louis says, beating Harry to the compliment. Harry preens slightly, moving his hands down his floral suit jacket and smiling to himself.

“Thanks, Lou. You look rather dashing yourself. Spin around for me,” he requests, humming approvingly when Louis follows his direction. Harry was definitely right about the bum. “I think the car is outside, so I’m ready if you are,” Harry says, grabbing his phone off the counter. Louis nods and starts walking toward the door, already starting in on a story about the rude man who tried to take the last bag of Louis’ favorite flavor of crisps at the shop this morning.

Zayn and Alberto are in the car already, and when the driver opens up the door for Harry, he motions for Louis to slide in first. Zayn greets Louis like they’re old friends, and at this point, they practically are. Zayn and Louis got on from the first instant they met, and Harry can tell that they’ll have a long-lasting friendship even after promo for the film ends.

Once Zayn, Louis, and Harry finish greeting one another, Harry clears his throat to introduce Louis to Alberto. Alberto speaks first, however. “You managed to get a boyfriend since I last saw you, Harry? Miracles never cease!” Alberto laughs, leaning forward to thump Harry on the knee.

Harry chokes on his saliva and glances over at Louis, who is frowning slightly. “No, Al, this is actually my bodyguard Louis. Alberto, meet Louis. Louis, meet Alberto.”

Alberto stares at Harry for a full thirty seconds before reaching out and shaking Louis’ hand. He looks incredulous.

“Bodyguard, eh?” He says, sounding doubtful. Louis looks even more offended.

“Yes,” Harry says, shooting Alberto a look that he hopes says not now, you arsehole. “Liam thought it was about time to hire my own bodyguard, and Louis was perfect for the job. He’s been great so far and I’m sure you two will get along great.”

Louis then directs his glare at Harry. Apparently, Louis does not think that he and Alberto will get along, likely because Alberto had made his doubts about Louis being a sufficient bodyguard clear. And while Alberto’s doubts may be well deserved, Harry feels annoyed that he had to be so obvious about it. At least Zayn and Liam made an effort to subdue their reactions when they first met Louis in person.

Harry takes out his phone and shoots a quick text to Alberto begging him to tone it the fuck down before directing his attention to Louis. He wants Louis out of this mood before they arrive at the ball because he knows Louis has been excited about this event for days. Louis gushes about children on a daily basis, so he’s probably going to melt when he sees all of the children in their gowns and suits tonight.

Harry spends the entirety of the car ride distracting Louis with stories about the six different times he tripped and fell at public events, and by the time they pull up to the red carpet, Louis practically has tears in his eyes from laughing so hard. Louis apparently thinks the time Harry fell in front of Meryl Streep is the most entertaining, probably because it was the most traumatic for Harry.

Louis finally stops laughing when the car stops and the hired driver gets out to open the door for them.

“You ready?” Harry asks Louis, wanting to make sure that he’s prepared for his first red carpet event.

Louis looks a bit nervous, but he nods.

Harry and Zayn step out of the vehicle first, immediately followed by Louis and Alberto, and that was their first mistake. Immediately, a swarm of people somehow manages to crowd them before they even make it to where the red carpet and barricades begin. Harry feels slightly alarmed by how many people are pressing closely to them, and it happens too quickly for him to do much about it. He looks over to make sure that Louis is okay, and that’s when he sees the determined look on Louis’ face.

Harry is immediately concerned that Louis is going to do something to prove himself to Alberto. There are simply way too many people pushing and shoving for Louis be able to do much to help out, so now is really not the time for Louis try and imitate the bodyguards he sees in films or reads about in articles about Justin Bieber.

Harry is just about to tell Louis to stay close to him when he sees Alberto looking angry, pushing the fans back and yelling at them to step away. Alberto is not a very tall man, but he’s muscular and can be very intimidating when he wants to be. The fans crowding them immediately begin backing up when he starts yelling.

Louis is standing next to Alberto looking a bit lost and unsure of what to do, and Harry thinks Louis is about to try and help push back the crowd when Alberto intervenes.

“Louis, get behind me and stay close to Harry and Zayn please,” He says, and in a surprising turn of events, Louis immediately listens to his command and steps a comfortable distance away from the fans. Harry feels a rush of gratitude at the fact that Louis seemingly understands, even if only on a subconscious level, that Alberto is meant to be doing this job and that Louis is meant to stay back so he can stay safe.

Alberto and a few security guards who had been standing nearby manage to contain the crowd quickly so that Harry and Zayn are able to walk forward onto the red carpet without further interruption. Zayn and Harry pose together for a few minutes at the end of the red carpet before separating for their individual photos. Harry wants so badly for Louis to be next to him as the cameras are flashing, and he has trouble keeping a smile on his face for the paps when Louis just stays near Alberto in the background.

Once they’ve posed for a sufficient number of pictures, Harry and Zayn approach the crowd of fans behind the barricade. They all look extremely excited to see the actors, so Harry immediately begins signing as many film posters as he can. Louis is standing behind him with an extra sharpie just in case, and every few minutes, Harry looks back at him and smiles. Louis always smiles back.

The crowd is far too big for Harry and Zayn to possibly reach all the fans, so when Harry sees Zayn and Alberto head inside a few minutes later, he decides that it’s probably time for him to enter the event as well. Harry is just capping his sharpie and saying goodbye to the fans in front of him when he hears a shriek.

The person who cried out is a young girl, probably only about 10 years old or so. A teenage boy behind her accidentally knocked into her and caused her to fall, and Harry watches as she begins crying almost before she even hits the ground. Harry step forwards to help her up, but Louis somehow reaches her first.

He leans over the barricade to help her up and pulls a tissue out of his suit pocket, gently wiping her eyes with it. “Are you okay, babe?” Louis asks as Harry steps forward to stand next to him.

Now having realized that one of her favorite actors just saw her fall, the girl starts crying harder.

Harry feels terrible. “Hey, please don’t cry. Do you want me to sign an autograph?” Harry says, and the little girl nods and hands him a poster to sign. “What’s your name?”

“Sarah,” she says, sniffling slightly. Harry nods and smiles at her, writing out a message addressed to Sarah. He tells her that she seems like a lovely young lady and that it means a lot to him that she came to see him today. He closes with his usual signature: All the love, Harry.

When he looks up from the poster, he notices that Louis is leaning down so he’s closer to the girl’s height while he talks to her. Her cheeks are still wet with tears, but she has a huge smile on her face from whatever he’s saying.

Harry steps forward again to hear.

“When he went to the Golden Globes last year, he tripped on the red carpet in front of the actress from Pitch Perfect. Have you seen that film, Sarah?” Louis asks. Sarah nods and giggles. “Harry is like a newborn fawn who just started walking on his legs for the first time. If you ever fall down and feel embarrassed, just remember that Harry Styles trips all the time, but he’s still pretty cool, right?” Sarah is still smiling, and it only gets bigger when Harry hands her the autographed poster.

“It was very nice to meet you, Sarah,” he says, and Sarah seems too nervous to respond, but the smile stays on her face.

“Go get a plaster for that knee, Sarah, and remember what I told you about this goofball over here.” Louis says, and Sarah giggles again as Harry and Louis walk toward the entrance to the venue.

“You told her all my tripping stories,” Harry says, placing his hand on Louis’ lower back as they walk inside.

“Only the highlights,” Louis responds with a wink, and Harry’s heart feels heavy with affection for the man next to him. That girl’s day could have been ruined by a fall in front of one of her idols, but Louis had seen that and made her feel infinitely better with one short conversation. Harry knows that Louis is going to be an amazing parent when he decides to have children. A voice in Harry’s head wants to add “with me” to that sentence, but he tries to quiet it down.

They only met a month ago, but something about Louis makes Harry want to know him forever. Somehow, it didn’t take long at all for Louis to leave lasting fingerprints all over Harry’s heart.

 

*

 

Harry is taking a break from lifting weights to have a drink of water when he notices Louis standing in the doorway, watching him. Louis sees Harry notice his presence and does a half wave, so Harry motions him over.

“Hey, Louis, you alright? How long have you been standing there?” Harry asks, toweling the sweat off his face.

“Just a few minutes,” Louis says. “Niall said you would need security for your interview in an hour and I live near here, so he asked if I could just pick you up.” Louis’ eyes move up and down Harry’s body as he speaks, and Harry realizes that he’s not wearing a shirt and he’s covered in sweat. He also probably smells, unfortunately.

Mark returns from the loo a few seconds later and introduces himself to Louis. Louis is very polite to Mark, but he quickly excuses himself to go wait over by the door while Harry finishes his workout. As soon as Louis’ back is turned to walk away, Mark leers at Harry knowingly.

“Anyway,” Harry says, ignoring him. Mark just grins and helps spot Harry for several more repetitions until Harry feels like his muscles are going to give out. Harry can also feel Louis’ eyes burning into him, and it’s making him feel jittery.

When he’s finished, Harry thanks Mark and walks over to where Louis is standing. Louis is wearing denim shorts and a maroon scoop neck top that shows off his collarbones and chest tattoo, and Harry is so distracted by him that he trips over his own feet on his way over. He ends up bumping into Louis, not hard enough to knock him over, but hard enough that they both find themselves off balance. Harry’s hands instinctively fall on Louis’ hips to steady him, and Louis’ hands grab onto Harry’s chest while he tries to regain his balance.

“You’re honestly just like fucking Bambi,” Louis says, sounding like the breath had been knocked out of his lungs somewhat.

Harry grins sheepishly and shrugs. Louis just looks at him, eyebrow raised mockingly, and that’s when Harry realizes that his hands are still on Louis’ hips and one of Louis’ small hands is still resting on his sweaty chest. Louis seems to realize it at the same time, and the air between them feels charged, even as they drop their hands.

“Uh, sorry,” Harry says, somehow feeling more off balance than he had even a moment ago. “I really am like a newborn fawn. I just wanted to come over and tell you that I’m going to go shower and I’ll be ready to go in like ten minutes.”

Louis just nods, and Harry watches his throat move as he swallows. He stands there for a few seconds longer than necessary before he finally tears himself away. Just take a shower and relax, he thinks to himself.

A cold shower, maybe.

 

*

 

When Liam had told him that there was going to be a week of film promo in France, Harry had no complaints. It’s been one of his favorite countries since he was a kid, so Harry genuinely enjoys any excuse to visit. The trip is even better than usual because Louis is there, as Harry has quickly discovered that Louis’ presence improves every experience.

On their third day in Paris, the lead actors, director, and executive producer attend a press conference with journalists from all of the leading media outlets in France. While some might expect Harry to get more nervous for one-on-one interviews about the film, the press conferences make him feel like he’s going to be sick. He’s always afraid that he’ll make a fool of himself with his answers in front of the rest of the cast and Corden, particularly because he’s new to receiving this extreme level of publicity for a film.

Tonight’s press conference is held in a large conference room at a hotel in Paris, and as the hotel hired their own security in preparation for the event, Louis’ presence isn’t necessary. Harry probably would have asked him to come anyway, but Liam had announced the security situation while Louis was in the room.

If he’s being honest, Harry always finds Louis’ presence extremely comforting – more so than Liam’s presence, despite Harry having known Liam for years and known Louis for only a little over a month. Louis is a often jokester at best and a pain in the arse at worst, but Harry has never met anyone more in tune with peoples’ feelings.

Harry spends fifteen minutes in the loo just before the press conference begins. His hands are braced on the sink and his eyes are looking directly at his paler than usual reflection in the mirror. He tries to reassure himself that the press conference will be fine and that even if he messes up a response, nobody will care. The pep talk isn’t a complete success, but at this point, Harry has no choice but to go out there.

Just before they call Harry’s name to come sit down in front of the audience of journalists, Harry’s phone pings with an iMessage. He’s about to just turn off the phone in order to avoid any other interruptions, but when he notices that the message is from Louis, he opens the message instead.

Was talking to James the other day and he said ur his favorite. Said u understood the character better than even he did. I know ur gonna do a great job. Good luck & break a leg – not tripping in front of Meryl style, but the other way.

Harry is still smiling when they call his name a minute later. He’s got this.

 

*

 

The press conference goes perfectly. James and Harry were seated next to each other at the table and played off each other well while answering questions, and Zayn talked more than any of them expected. The other members of the cast in attendance also received ample opportunity to speak, and none of the questions were rude or inappropriate.

There’s a small celebratory event hosted by the hotel after the press conference, and though Harry just wants to go back to his own hotel, see Louis, and turn in early, he knows he has to make at least a brief appearance. He spends most of the first hour or so chatting with his castmates about their upcoming projects and then listens to James talk about a film idea that he just began to conceptualize. James tells Harry that he’s going to force him to audition whenever the screenplay is finished, likely not for another year or so, and Harry feels warmth spread through his body when he hears that James was impressed enough with his performance that he wants him in future films.

When James’ attention is drawn toward one of the French journalists milling about the room, Harry decides to move over to the bar so he can have his glass of champagne refilled.

“Fancy meeting you here,” a voice says from behind him, and Harry feels the smile forming on his face before he even turns around. Louis is standing behind him looking slightly rumpled, likely because he rolled out of bed after a day of watching telly to have a driver bring him to this hotel. Harry immediately pulls him into a hug.

“Thank you for the message,” Harry says. “That calmed me down so much.”

Louis squeezes him tight before pulling back from the embrace and signaling for the bartender to bring him a glass. When the returns and fills two glasses, Louis picks his up and sips it, humming appreciatively.

“Balcony?” Harry asks after taking his own glass, curious to see whether Louis is willing to hang out with Harry alone despite having just arrived. Louis apparently has little desire to mingle, as he simply nods and follows Harry out.

The hotel’s balcony offers a stunning view of the Paris skyline, which is even more enthralling than usual with the backdrop of a purple pink sunset. The lights of the city are helping to bring the night to life all around them, and Harry feels so lucky to be able to appreciate the view with one of his favorite people.

“How is it that you knew just what to say to calm me down?” Harry asks, finally breaking the silence. “I was ready to be sick in the loo before I got that message.” Louis has not even known Harry for that long, but he somehow knew how to comfort him better than people Harry has known since childhood.

“Magical powers,” Louis responds, Harry elbows him in the side. Louis laughs, but then his expression becomes more serious. “Just know you, I guess.”

Harry gives him a soft smile in response.

“Yeah, I guess you do,” he says. Louis doesn’t look at him, but Harry can see him smiling out of the corner of his eye.

The silence stretches on for a few minutes, giving the champagne just enough time to catch up with Harry’s brain. He has so many questions he wants to ask Louis, and this feels like the perfect opportunity. Of course, Harry already knows a lot about him, but there are certain questions that never felt appropriate when they were in a more formal work setting. Right now, however, it somehow feels like Harry and Louis are in their own little world, even as the city continues to bustle below them. Nothing feels inappropriate in this atmosphere.

“Louis, can I ask you a personal question?” Harry asks.

Louis glances over at him and nods.

“What happened with your last job?” Harry asks. It’s a question Harry has wanted to ask for weeks, but he never found the courage. He thinks it’s safe to assume that Louis did not leave the position willingly, as he must have been somewhat desperate to apply for a bodyguard position when he had no previous experience in the field.

Louis sighs deeply, but Harry can tell that he is more annoyed by the story he’s about to tell than by the fact that Harry asked him to tell it.

“I was working at Toys R Us. I needed the money and I love working with kids, so I thought it would be a good fit for me...just as a temporary thing, until I figured out what the fuck I was doing with my life. Anyway, it was working out really well for a while. I think I had the job like, a year and a half? Which is a while for me to stay at one job, honestly.” Louis pauses and sips at his champagne, brushing his fringe out of his eyes before continuing.

“One day this little boy, maybe five years old, walked into the aisle I was in. I think I was restocking the Barbie clothes or something like that. Anyway, this boys’ father was lingering in another aisle for whatever reason, and this little boy walked up alone and started looking at boxes of Barbies. He was smiling and saying their names out loud, picking which ones he wanted.”

Harry isn’t sure where the story is going, but he can hear the edge in Louis’ voice that suggests he’s upset. Harry steps closer to him, bringing the sides of their bodies into contact as Louis continues talking.

“I was just watching him and smiling, honestly, because most little boys think they need to play with the toys that society tells them are for little boys, you know?” Louis says.

“For a while when I was a kid, I would play with toy cars and action figures because that was always what was expected of me by friends and classmates. My mum never limited me in that way, but I still thought boys are meant to play with certain toys, and girls are meant to play with certain toys. It wasn’t until Lottie was born and I saw all of the things she played with that I realized how arbitrary gendered labels on toys are. So seeing this little boy enjoying a toy that most people would claim is intended for girls...it just made me happy. And that’s when his dad came up to him.”

Harry tenses slightly, suddenly getting an idea of where the story is going. He grabs onto Louis’ hand down by his side, squeezing gently, and Louis doesn’t move away.

“This dad takes one look at his son and the Barbies in front of him, and just get so angry. Tells the kid that those toys are for girls, and that it’s ridiculous that he even came into this aisle. He was being a fucking dick, and the kid was starting to cry. He was so young and small, I just wanted to give him a hug, and that’s when the dad started saying some really homophobic things and I just...I snapped.” Harry squeezes Louis’ hand again, and Louis squeezes back.

“I yelled at the guy and called him a homophobic prick, told him that his son deserved better from his parent. I also knelt down and told the kid that it was okay to like whatever he wanted, and that ‘girl toys’ and ‘boy toys’” — Louis adds air quotes to emphasize his point — “is just nonsense that adults made up because they’re scared. The dad was furious, obviously, and reported me to my manager. They were sympathetic, I suppose, but said that they couldn’t keep on an employee who insulted a customer.” Louis sighs again, sipping his champagne.

“Lou, that’s incredible. Honestly. I’m sorry that you lost your job over it, but you stood up for a little kid who hadn’t done anything wrong, and you probably taught that kid an important lesson that will help him accept himself and his interests in the future, whatever they may be. That’s amazing. You should be so proud of yourself.” Harry speaks earnestly, and he means every word.

Louis looks at Harry and gives him a small smile. “Thank you. Really. I’m glad that I did what I did, despite the consequences.”

Harry knows that he’s probably crossing a line, but he can’t help himself. “Did you apply for the bodyguard position because you were having trouble finding another job?”

Louis sighs again. “Yeah. I was a bit frantic, if I’m honest. I had rent due in a couple of weeks, and I also just like to send home money to my mum. She and her husband do fine for themselves, but with six kids in the house, it’s always going to be a lot. I want my sisters and brother to have every opportunity, you know? I try to send some money so she can help them have a little bit extra. Spoil them a little. Lottie wants to be a makeup artist, so some of the money goes toward helping her buy better makeup to practice with. Fizzy loves photography, so I helped mum buy her a nice camera for Christmas last year. They might be silly things to some people, but my siblings appreciate them, and I like being able to help when I’m able to. Losing my job just wasn’t part of the plan, so I was desperately applying places.”

“And then you found me,” Harry says, nudging Louis with his shoulder.

Louis rolls his eyes. “Yes, I found you. Bad luck, I guess.”

Harry huffs and prepares to list all of his admirable qualities, but Louis sees it coming.

“Alright, I guess I’ll admit that you’re okay.” The fond smile on Louis’ face suggests that he thinks Harry is a bit more than okay, but Harry is feeling generous enough that he won’t call him out on it.

It’s only when Niall comes out on the balcony to tell them that a car has arrived to take them back to their own hotel that Harry realizes his and Louis’ hands are still entwined.

 

*

 

On their second to last day in France, James Corden forces the cast members to “take a break from talking about the best film of all time” and come golfing with him. To say that it’s an unconventional way to spend a day during promo season for a film is an understatement, but James has always been as much a friend to his cast and crew as he is a director.

Harry has enjoyed golf since he was a teenager, and because he has been too busy with work recently to have the opportunity to enjoy a round or two, he’s excited. In a few short weeks, he and the other cast members from Something Great will be going their separate ways for other projects, so Harry wants to enjoy the time he has left with them. These people became his good friends over the four months they spent filming, and Harry cherishes that friendship.

Harry, Zayn, and James are all attending, as well as several other leading cast members, including Perrie Edwards and Nick Grimshaw. While Louis tried to avoid attending at first by claiming that he doesn’t know how to play golf, Harry managed to convince him after several hours of begging. Liam and Niall are also in attendance, and Zayn invited Alberto as well as his own personal assistant to attend too.

They set out for the day early, and to Harry’s dismay, Louis stays glued to Zayn’s side for most of the morning. While Harry is watching from afar, he quickly notices that Louis is messing up nearly every swing he takes. Apparently he wasn’t lying when he said he couldn’t play golf, and Harry can’t help but feel a tiny bit smug at the fact that he has finally found a sport that Louis has tried and failed at.

Harry watches Zayn and Louis chatting while Louis gets ready for his next swing. Zayn pulls Louis in for a hug, and while Harry is aware that Zayn has a girlfriend and has nothing more than platonic interest in Louis, he can’t help but grit his teeth at the sight. Harry wants to be laughing and hugging Louis right now. Actually, Harry wants that all the time.

“Jesus, you’ve got it bad.” Harry hears a voice behind him and turns to see James. Harry rolls his eyes.

“Fuck you,” he says petulantly, but doesn’t disagree.

“I’m impressed you haven’t gone over there to mark your territory, mate, if I’m honest.” James says, laughing.

Harry glares at James, which only makes the director laugh harder. He supposes this is what he deserves after choosing to take a lead role in a film directed by a man who considers himself a comedian as well as a director. Harry pretends not to hear James’ laughter, instead opting to watch as Zayn backs away from Louis so he can take his swing. Louis is bending his body slightly, preparing to take the shot, when Harry calls out.

“Lou, wait,” he says, voice carrying. Louis looks over toward him and moves one of his hands off the golf club, using it to shield his eyes from the sun so he can look over at Harry.

“What do you want, curly?” He says, intentionally sounding more exasperated than he actually is.

Harry steps forward.

“Your body isn’t positioned correctly, and that’s why your swings are awful. Here, let me help you.” Louis doesn’t protest as Harry moves behind him, close enough that he is basically just spooning Louis in a standing position.

“Hands like this,” Harry says, reaching around Louis and adjusting his hands where they’re positioned on the club. Harry then moves his hands down to Louis hips. He feels Louis tense under his touch for a second before relaxing, and Harry grins in triumph. Louis never seems to mind being touched by Harry, and remembering that always makes Harry’s heart race. He leans in to murmur the next words against Louis’ ear, and he is close enough now that he can hear Louis is breathing slightly more heavily than usual.

“Put your feet slightly close together,” Harry says, and Louis’ obeys. Harry can see a flush creeping up the back of his neck, “Okay, now just,” Harry begins before cutting himself off, wanting to show instead of tell. Harry gently straightens Louis’ hips and doesn’t move his hands away.

“What is this, a fucking romcom?” Louis mutters under his breath, and Harry can hear in his voice how affected he is by Harry’s close proximity.

“Sorry, I didn’t catch that. What?” Harry says, trying to keep the smile out of his voice.

“Oh, nothing, I just think the ball needs to be moved a bit to the left,” Louis replies, and Harry is confused until Louis bends over. Louis just bends at the waist instead of squatting down like any other reasonable human being with someone standing so close behind them, therefore allowing his bum to push back straight into Harry’s crotch. Harry can feel his dick perking up, and he immediately regrets thinking that torturing Louis with proximity would be a good idea. Now Harry is the one being tortured.

Louis takes his sweet time adjusting the ball, letting his bum rest against Harry’s rapidly awakening dick while acting like he doesn’t have a care in the world. Harry grits his teeth and tries to think unsexy thoughts.

When Louis is back in a standing position, Harry can’t decide whether he wants to spin Louis around to scream at him or kiss him. He tries to refrain from doing either.

“Sorry, Haz, but can you readjust my hands? I’ve already forgotten the positions,” Louis says. He’s definitely doing this intentionally. Harry adjusts Louis’ hands on the club again and steps back, breathing a sigh of relief at the fact that he’s only half hard and that it probably isn’t noticeable to anybody unless they’re looking closely.

Louis swings. He still needs some serious work if he’s going to be even an average golf player, but the ball ends up significantly closer to the hole than it would have without Harry’s intervention.

After taking the swing, Louis walks toward the golf cart without turning back toward Harry. Harry watches him go, taking a quick moment to appreciate the sight of his bum in those white pants, and he notices that Louis is definitely moving his hips more than is necessary. Just as he’s about to sit down beside Zayn on the golf cart, Louis turns back in Harry’s direction and quirks his eyebrows, smirk on his face.

Even when Harry thinks he has the upper hand, he doesn’t. Louis knows exactly what he’s doing.

 

*

 

The first of several Japanese interviews is scheduled for tomorrow night, and Harry should already been in the air. He turned off his alarm in his sleep and missed the earlier flight, and Niall basically had to sell a kidney to find three first class tickets for the next flight out. Everyone else attending the premiere made the flight or took an even earlier one, but Liam and Louis had chosen to stay behind with Harry.

Liam stayed behind because he had been hoping to discuss a couple of scripts with Harry during the flight over, but Harry isn’t sure what Louis’ reasoning is. He’s only mildly embarrassed by the butterflies that took flight in his stomach when he received a text from Niall calling him a twat and saying that Liam and Louis would both be flying out with him.

Liam is extremely irritable when Harry meets them in the terminal roughly an hour before take off. He lectures Harry on how important timeliness is and how rude it would have been to cancel the interview if Harry hadn’t been able to catch another flight to Japan in time. Liam is being overdramatic, but Harry does genuinely feel awful about what happened. He never wants to be irresponsible or to make things more difficult for his manager and PA. It was an honest mistake, and one he won’t make it again.

Harry is so caught up in Liam’s lecture that he had barely has time to look around, but as Liam walks away to grab track down some coffee, Harry finally turns his attention to the man next to him. Louis is leaning against the wall, his arms folded over his chest and his legs spread apart and planted firmly on the floor. He’s wearing a fitted t-shirt with a skull on it, black skinny jeans, vans, and purple-tinted sunglasses, despite the fact that they’re indoors and it’s been cloudy all day. Harry bites his lip in an effort to control himself before he opens his mouth.

“Louis, why are you wearing sunglasses?”

Louis startles slightly and takes a moment to focus his attention in Harry’s direction, and Harry suddenly realizes that the older man had his eyes closed behind the sunglasses and was trying to rest while leaning against the wall.

“Don’t most bodyguards wear sunglasses? Potential threats can’t see my eyes this way. Nobody in this room knows whether or not I’m watching them when I have these on, so it gives me a tactical advantage. It’s also more intimidating.”

Harry bites his lip again. It’s very difficult to resist telling Louis that the intimidation factor is knocked down ten notches by the mere fact that he’s chosen a pair of fashionable purple-tinted aviators. The advantage is also reduced by the fact that Louis had been trying to take a catnap against the wall instead of focusing on the task at hand – Harry’s protection.

“Well, you’d know better than I would, I suppose.” Harry says slowly, feeling hopelessly endeared by his faux bodyguard. “I’m going to go and sit down though, if you want to come.”

Louis gives an exaggerated groan and pushes himself off the wall, walking toward a row of empty seats. His bags lay abandoned by Harry’s feet. Harry glances down at them, and then over at Louis, who is already curling up in one of the chairs.

“Forgetting something?” Harry calls over to him.

Louis pushes his sunglasses further up on his nose and then flips his middle finger in Harry’s direction. “It’s better if I have my hands empty in case I need to whip out some defensive moves at an attacker. It’s important that you help me to help you, Harry, and right now, you can help me by bringing my bags over yourself.”

Harry sighs and swings his own bag onto his shoulder so that he can grab Louis’ bags with his free hand. When he flings himself into a chair, he can hear Louis already snoring softly next to him.

Harry can’t keep the smile off his face.

 

*

 

They’re only scheduled to be in Japan for four days, and much of that time is supposed to be filled with promo, including interviews, a press conference, and the premiere, but Louis has never been to Japan before and Harry wants to take him sight seeing in Tokyo.

On their second day in the country, Harry only has two interviews scheduled for late afternoon, so he plans to take Louis to Tokyo Tower to get a good glimpse of the city, and then to the Tokyo Imperial Palace. He asks Liam and some of the other cast members if they want to come as well, but most of them are feeling jetlagged and have been to Japan before, so they choose to relax in their hotel rooms instead. Harry is actually rather excited to spend the full day with Louis without it being because of work obligations, and Louis seemed excited too.

He heads to Louis’ hotel room early in the morning and knocks softly on the door. Louis doesn’t respond or open the door, so Harry knocks harder, suddenly wondering whether Louis accidentally forgot to set his alarm. Harry hasn’t heard from him yet this morning, and he usually gets at least one typo-ridden text message by 9AM. Before Harry can knock for a third time, he hears someone shuffling to the door. A moment later, Louis flings it open to grant Harry access. As soon as Louis closes the door closes behind him, however, Louis immediately turns around and flops back onto one of the beds.

“You okay, Lou?” Harry says, concerned. Louis is still dressed in the clothing he wore to sleep, including a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt with holes in it. Harry can only see the hair on the back of his head because Louis flopped facedown into the bed, but it’s messed up enough that Harry would guess he had a very fitful night’s rest.

Louis doesn’t respond to Harry’s question, so he walks over and sits down on the edge of the bed, careful not to disturb Louis. Louis turns his head slightly, but his cheek is still smushed into the pillow and his eyes are closed. Harry can see that his face is pale and covered in a light sheen of sweat, so Harry automatically reaches out to feel his forehead. It feels very warm.

“Baby, are you okay?” Harry asks again, but this time a pet name slips out unintentionally. Louis just gives a moan of discomfort, so Harry assumes that he didn’t notice. The sheets feel slightly sticky with sweat. Harry gets up and pulls down the duvet on the second bed in the room, hoping to move Louis so he can have a clean, cool bed. Harry makes a mental note to call the front desk and have a change of sheets sent up. He’ll change them himself so Louis won’t be disturbed by the maids coming in.

Louis doesn’t protest when Harry picks him up bridal style and moves him to the other bed, which is another sign that he is really feeling under the weather. Harry pours a glass of water from one of the water bottles in the mini fridge and sets it beside Louis before he calls room service. He also requests toast and crackers to be sent up, and he asks for it to be done as soon as possible. The desk clerk says that he can expect them to arrive within the next fifteen minutes.

Harry wets a flannel with cool water and cleans the sweat off Louis’ face, hoping to help lower his fever slightly. Louis looks so sad and small in the large bed, and Harry feels awful that Louis is poorly when he wanted to go sightseeing. He hopes this illness doesn’t last more than a day or two so Louis will be able to travel back to the UK without issue.

When room service arrives with the food and the clean sheets, Harry wakes Louis up and helps him sit up in the bed.

“Feel poorly,” Louis says in a raspy voice.

“I know, Lou. Here, have a sip of this,” Harry says, handing Louis the glass of water. Louis drinks it gratefully, but Harry can tell the exact moment when Louis begins to feel his stomach churn with nausea from the liquid.

“Toast and crackers will help,” Harry says, and Louis groans unhappily. Harry reaches out to touch his forehead again, noting that it feels slightly cooler than it did when he first arrived. Louis’ eyes open again, and they’re bloodshot and watery, but still just as beautiful as ever. Louis nods, and it’s a delayed reaction to Harry’s words, but he’ll take it.

Louis eats the soup and crackers very slowly, but he manages to get it all down without being sick. Whenever he tries to stop, Harry encourages him to keep eating if he can and then distracts him with another story of his experiences in Japan. This is Harry’s fifth trip to the country, so he has a number of fun stories to keep Louis entertained.

When Louis finishes eating, Harry plays Grease on his laptop in the hopes of raising Louis’ spirits. Harry wants to cuddle Louis, but he knows that he can’t afford to become ill right now, so instead he changes the sheets on the other bed and settles down there. Every time he looks over at Louis in the other bed, he wishes he could be next to him, stroking his hair and rubbing his tummy to help distract from the nausea.

Harry stays in Louis’ hotel room with him most of the day, ordering soup and crackers, playing films, and occasionally replacing cold compresses on Louis’ forehead. Louis dozes on and off, but every time he wakes up and sees that Harry is still there, he smiles. Harry feels his heart thumping in his ribcage.

At around 3PM, Harry has to leave to get ready for the interviews. He wakes Louis up from a nap and feels his forehead again, happy to find that his temperature seems to be returning to normal. He knows Louis still has a headache and is likely still feeling slightly nauseous, but Harry assumes he will be feeling much better by the morning.

Harry says goodbye to Louis and tells him to text Niall if he needs anything, but as he turns away, Louis clutches his wrist with a clammy hand.

“Thank you, Harry,” Louis says, and he sounds so grateful that Harry feels a pang in his chest. “I’m sorry that I ruined our plans. I must have caught something on the plane.”

Harry frowns, unhappy that Louis thinks Harry is at all upset about missing out on sightseeing. The only thing Harry is upset about is the fact that Louis is feeling so ill. “Hey, none of that. I chose to stay here with you because I want you to feel better. We still have time to see some cool places here in Tokyo if you start feeling better, and even if you don’t, we can come back to Japan whenever you want.”

Louis smiles, but his eyes are already slipping closed again. Harry kisses Louis on the forehead gently before whispering goodbye again and walking to his room to prepare for the interview.

Duty calls.

 

*

 

Louis wakes up the next morning feeling well enough to sight-seeing, and by the time they have to fly out of Japan, he and Harry have managed to see most of the places that were on the top of Louis’ list.

They’re at the airport when Louis makes a throwaway comment about how Harry chose to spend almost a full day in a hotel room with his sick bodyguard rather than going out and about in Tokyo, and that’s when Harry realizes the true depth of his feelings about Louis.

Six months ago, if you had asked Harry what he wanted, everything on the list would have been a career goal. Harry still has those goals, of course, and he has every intention of achieving them. If you asked Harry the same question today, however, the first thing that would come to mind is Louis.

 

*

 

Harry is enjoying the promotion for Something Great more than any of his other films. He has countless funny stories from filming, he has nothing but positive things to say about the cast and crew, and he simply loves his character and the film itself. That being said, the constant promo is grueling to say the least.

Harry has been in New York for less than a week, but he’s done nearly fifteen interviews. In between, he’s been reading scripts for future projects and completing the occasional Skype call with Nolan to discuss his character development in Dunkirk.

Zayn has been similarly overworked this week, so they decide to celebrate having the weekend off at some dive bar in a part of New York City that Harry isn’t particularly familiar with. Zayn tells Harry that he plans to invite his girlfriend, Gigi, and several of friends the couple has in the city. Niall agrees to attend without hesitation, as he always enjoys a pint and actually prefers it in a lower level establishment. Niall deserves a break anyway – whenever Harry is busy, Niall is usually about ten times busier, as he’s the one in charge of Harry’s life.

Harry decides to invite Louis under the guise of needing a bodyguard, just in case he may have been inclined to say no. Harry feels slightly bad about it, but he also thinks Louis deserves to have the chance to enjoy himself after a week of following around a rather grumpy and exhausted Harry.

When he tells Louis that he needs a bodyguard for the bar outing, they’re in the car back from filming for Jimmy Fallon. Louis responds by narrowing his eyes and staring at Harry for two minutes straight without speaking. He’s clearly waiting for Harry to crack and confess his sins, but Harry is stronger than that.

Louis finally rolls his eyes and nods, and Harry feels triumphant. Louis moves his legs so he’s sitting cross-legged in his seat, pulls his beanie down over his eyes, and ignores Harry for the rest of the car ride.

Back at the hotel, Harry spends significantly more time than usual getting ready, despite the fact that they’re headed to a seedy bar rather than some kind of black tie event. The sheer black button-down may be overkill, but Harry is in love with the man he hired to be his makeshift bodyguard, so he’s pretty sure he can’t stoop much lower at this point.

The car is supposed to arrive to pick up Harry, Niall, and Louis in about fifteen minutes. Zayn has a flat in the city, so Gigi, Zayn, and their friends will just be meeting up with them at the bar.

Harry is deciding between two pairs of almost identical black boots when Niall and Louis enter Harry’s hotel room without knocking. Niall always has Harry’s extra hotel room key, but he usually knocks to prevent any uncomfortable encounters. Louis has never had any boundaries with Harry, however, and apparently his bad influence is rubbing off on Niall.

As soon as Louis walks in, Harry regrets having worn jeans this tight. Louis is dressed simply in black graphic t-shirt that scoops low enough to show some of his tattoo, but he’s also wearing black ripped jeans that Harry assumes someone poured onto his body. His fringe looks very soft, and while Niall chats about the pizza he ate earlier, Harry watches Louis gently flicks his fringe out of his eyes. His cock is suffocating.

 

*

 

About two hours and copious amounts of alcohol later, Harry’s body seems to be defying science by growing more turned on instead of less. Harry’s eyes have barely left Louis since they arrived, and he’s decided that Louis in a bar setting should be illegal.

Louis looks tipsy and happy, and the best part is that he’s been glued to Harry’s side for most of the night. While Harry told Louis that he would be on bodyguard tonight, Louis clearly realized that was just an excuse. He probably knew it from the stare down in the car because Louis is too clever for his own good, but even if he hadn’t known it then, he certainly does now.

In the past two hours, nobody in this bar has recognized Zayn or Harry except the female who checked their IDs and gave them a wink. The crowd is on the older side compared to many bars in the city, and even if some of the people present had seen Zayn or Harry’s films, it’s unlikely that they would recognize them or care even if they had recognized them.

Harry offered to buy Louis and Niall their drinks for the night, and since bodyguards don’t typically drink on the job, Harry knows he gave himself away with that one. Louis hadn’t commented on the offer, instead simply grabbing Harry’s hand and squeezing, a soft smile on his face.

Harry is currently resting his elbows on the bar, humming along with an Ed Sheeran song while he waits for the bartender to bring him another beer. Someone suddenly rams into his back, and before he even has time to turn around to glare at whoever it was, Louis slips into the bar stool next to him.

Louis looks up at Harry, smiling. He looks slightly tipsy, and Harry can’t help himself from smiling back.

“Hey, babe,” Louis greets.

“Hi, Lou. Finished your drink?” Louis nods in response before turning his attention to the bartender, who has just returned with Harry’s beer. Louis gives her a winning smile and requests two shots of Fireball, elbowing Harry in the side when he makes an audible groaning sound.

“Stop crying, Harry,” Louis says, picking up the shot glass in front of him and standing up so he’s closer to Harry’s height level. Harry is very aware of Louis’ proximity to him, suddenly, and when he licks his lips subconsciously, Louis’ eyes follow the movement.

“Pick up the shot glass, Harry,” Louis commands, and Harry grasps it using his peripheral vision, not willing to take his eyes off Louis. Louis’ hair is a bit damp with sweat, and he looks so beautiful that Harry’s throat feels tight.

“What shall we toast to?” Harry says. He can hear how deep his voice has gotten, but he can’t help it. Neither of them have broken the eye contact yet.

“Let’s toast to this exhausting week being over,” Louis says. “Let’s toast to going back to the hotel later, taking off our clothes, and sleeping until Sunday evening. Speaking of taking off clothes,” he continues, and Harry’s stomach flips. Louis moves the hand not holding the shot glass up to Harry’s chest, thumbing his nipple through the sheer blouse, which, after several hours, is unbuttoned to just above his belly button. “Why do you bother even putting them on if they’re just going to be sheer and unbuttoned?” Louis says slowly, fingers grasping Harry’s other nipple. Harry feels them both harden into peaks, and suddenly his pants are feeling tight again.

Louis clearly doesn’t expect an answer, so Harry doesn’t give him one. Louis finally moves his hand away from Harry’s chest and raises his eyebrows. “Let’s toast to nudity, and let’s toast to famed actor Harry Styles always trying to get as close to nude in public as he possibly can without being arrested.” With that, he clinks his shot glass against Harry’s and throws it back, wincing slightly at the burn. Harry does the same.

They both place their shot glasses back on the bar next to them and look at each other. Louis’ mouth is wet from the alcohol, and Harry wonders if he would be able to taste the Fireball in Louis’ mouth if he leaned in right now. Louis’ cheeks are flushed, and Harry feels desperate with the desire to kiss him.

They just gaze at each other for another long minute, and Harry knows he keeps looking down at Louis’ lips, but he doesn’t stop himself and Louis doesn’t ask him to.

Louis finally breaks the eye contact and starts walking away, so Harry follows him back toward where Niall and Zayn are standing with a few others. Niall and Zayn are debating about which American beers are the most disgusting, and Niall is gesturing dramatically as he speaks about the trauma of drinking a can of Natural Light.

Harry and Louis easily join into the conversation, but they’ve barely been back with the group more than a few minutes when Harry hears a loud voice saying his name from behind him. Harry spins around, assuming that a fan has finally spotted him. He’s surprised it took that long, honestly, and he hopes he will just be able to give an autograph and then be left alone. The group is having a fun night, and Harry doesn’t want to ruin it.

When Harry’s eyes fall on the person who said his name, however, he tenses slightly. It’s a man, probably in his mid-thirties, and he looks red-faced, drunk, and belligerent. His face is angry, and Harry feels confused.

“You ruined that fucking movie, bro,” the man says, and Harry isn’t even sure which film he’s talking about. Harry was in four films before Something Great, so there are multiple to choose from. Harry focuses on trying to discern what the man is slurring at him, and that’s when Louis moves out from Harry’s side to stand in front of him.

No, Harry thinks. Louis is not getting into a conflict with a man who is roughly three times his size just because he thinks Harry needs protection.

Harry puts his hands on Louis’ hips from behind, trying to scoot him back to Harry’s side or behind him, preferably, but Louis keeps his feet firmly planted and moves his elbow back into Harry’s gut. It isn’t enough to really hurt Harry, but it’s a warning to not try and move him.

While the man gets progressively louder, yelling insults about Harry’s acting ability, Louis turns his head to the side so he can say something to Harry, who is still standing directly behind him.

“I’m your fucking bodyguard, Harry, so just stop,” Louis says, and he sounds determined. Honestly, Harry just wants to throw Louis over his shoulder and leave, but he fears what Louis would do to his balls if he did that. Harry needs those.

Harry looks back at Zayn and Niall, who look increasingly concerned about the situation unfolding in front of them, but who are also both significantly smaller than this man and clearly do not want to get involved.

This cannot seriously be happening. A bar fight is the last thing Harry expected to happen when he invited Louis out tonight, and now they’re in this situation and it’s his fault that Louis is standing in front of him trying to protect him.

Harry refocuses his attention on the drunken man who is yelling about him, and it sounds like he has now moved on to slurring angrily about Harry’s affinity for high-heeled boots and feminine tops.

“You look so fucking—,” the man begins, and Harry braces himself for the typical homophobic remark.

Louis chooses that moment to interrupt, however, and he does so loudly.

“What the fuck is wrong with you, pal? Just because it looks like you got dressed in the dark doesn’t mean we all have to look like shit when we go out. As for you trying to talk about Harry’s career, well, don’t get me started. What’s your fucking job, you fucking loser? Do you yell at people in bars for a living? Harry has more talent in his pinky finger than you have in your entire body, and yeah, his pinky is huge, but he’s also just really talented.” Louis is yelling, and Harry wants to laugh because Louis’ physical presence is about as intimidating as a Chihuahua, but he also feels slightly worried because Louis’ verbal beating is clearly further angering this man.

“What are you so bitter about anyway, bro? Is it ‘cause Harry has a career and cute clothes, and you have nothing but shit taste in beer and the ability to act like a knob? Maybe you should just shut up and sit down because you’re making a fool out of yourself,” Louis yells angrily, and that’s when Harry realizes that Louis’ back is glued to his front, with Harry’s hands still clutching Louis’ hips. As Louis yells, he’s motioning wildly, and with each movement, Harry can feel Louis’ bum brush against his clothed dick.

Don’t get hard, please don’t get hard, Harry thinks desperately as Louis continues to insult the man and seemingly every person the man has ever met. You’re in the middle of a fucking bar fight, do not get hard.

Louis stops to take a breath and the man takes that opportunity to start in on insulting Louis, though he still throws in the occasional comment about Harry. Louis barely allows the man get a few sentences out before interrupting again, and Harry is starting to understand why Louis genuinely believed his ability to increase the volume of his voice would benefit him as Harry’s bodyguard. The man and his friends, who are all standing behind him, seem taken aback by Louis’ determination, yelling, and quick-witted insults.

Harry is too busy willing his dick into submission to pay attention to every word Louis’ is saying, but Louis has just moved on to speaking disparagingly about the man’s penis size when the man steps toward Louis aggressively, shoving at Louis’ shoulders. Harry steadies Louis with his hands and then finally moves out from behind him, ready to snap on this arsehole himself.

The man appears to be done with talking, however, and he’s drunkenly swinging his fist in Louis’ general direction when Harry just loses it. Louis is smaller than this guy, and if he somehow manages to aim properly in his intoxicated state and hurts Louis, Harry is going to fucking kill him.

Harry doesn’t even think; he just acts. It’s like every single blood cell in Harry’s body is boiling, and all Harry feels is anger toward this man for ruining their night, shoving Louis, and trying to punch him. Harry’s fist collides with the man’s face before he even realizes that he’s swung. The man falls backwards, his drunk and disoriented body unable to hold itself up after an unexpected blow from someone who has been boxing for years.

The two bartenders finally make their way over and begin yelling at the man, who is swearing from the floor and struggling to get himself up, a smear of blood on his cheek from one of Harry’s rings splitting the skin open. The man’s friends help off the floor and then immediately walk toward the exit, clearly hoping to prevent the bartenders from making good on their threat to call the police.

Harry can feel Louis staring at him, but he’s preoccupied by the sudden panic flooding his body. He’s a famous actor who just participated in a bar fight and punched someone. The man was saying his name, which means other patrons at the bar may have realized who he is. This is the age of social media, and this entire thing may have been caught on camera. It could be trending on Twitter by now. Harry tries to take a deep breath and calm himself before glancing around.

He’s relieved to see that not only has the bar largely cleared out due to the late hour, but the people who were standing nearby when the man approached apparently moved across the room, likely hoping to avoid involvement in the fight. The bartender who had IDed Harry and Zayn earlier is standing next to them, and Harry hears her asking Louis if he’s okay. She clearly saw the exchange and knows that the belligerent man initiated the conflict. Louis nods and thanks her, and then she turns to Harry.

“Hey, you okay?” She asks, and Harry nods. “Feel free to clean that up here,” she says, glancing down at the knuckles on Harry’s right hand. “I would recommend heading out after that though. I don’t think most people have realized who you are, but they will soon if you’re not careful. I’m guessing you don’t want this story getting out if you can help it.” Harry nods gratefully and asks her to close out his tab and tack on a generous $200 tip for her help.

“I’ll sign the receipt when I’m finished cleaning up,” he says, and she thanks him before heading back to the bar.

Harry turns his attention to Niall and Zayn then, as they were standing behind him while the entire exchange took place and are probably surprised that Harry just punched a man in the face.

Sure enough, Niall’s eyes are wide as saucers. “Are you okay, Harry? Jesus, I can’t believe you actually did that. Impressive punch too, damn. Remind me to start boxing.” Harry reassures Niall quickly before asking him to call the car. Niall nods and walks away, iPhone already in hand.

“Never a dull moment with you, eh?” Zayn says, but he’s smiling, standing there with his arms wrapped around Gigi’s waist. “My car is already here, so we’re going to head out, but clean up your fist, yeah? And text me in the morning to let me know you’re okay.” Harry nods, giving Zayn and Gigi one-armed hugs as they leave with the rest of their friends.

Harry knows without turning around that Louis is still watching him. Harry has felt eyes on him since the punch, and it makes his heartbeat pick up somewhat. He’s not sure if Louis is angry with him because he interfered with Louis’ attempt to defend Harry, or if he is feeling a different emotion.

Taking a deep breath, Harry turns around and makes eye contact. Louis’ gaze is piercing and his eyes look dark. He nods his head in the direction of the loo without saying anything, so Harry just nods and follows him.

The toilets are individual rather than stalls, so Harry and Louis slip into one together before closing and locking the door. As far as dive bar toilets go, this one is rather clean and spacious. Louis doesn’t say anything to Harry, instead opting to grab some toilet paper and wet it under the tap. He adds a droplet of soap and onto the counter.

“Come over here, let me clean you up,” he says, and he’s still looking at Harry intensely. Harry swallows and steps between Louis’ open thighs, showing Louis his injury. Louis takes Harry’s larger hand into his smaller one and gently slides the rings off Harry’s fingers, placing them on the counter next to him. Harry’s fist is mostly just bruised and slightly swollen, which can only be treated with ice and time, but there are some small scrapes and a bit of blood from when Harry’s ring collided with the man’s face. Louis cleans his knuckles thoroughly.

The room is quiet except for their breathing, and Harry is itching for Louis to say something about what happened, anything at all, but he stays silent and seems to be concentrating fully on the task at hand.

When Harry’s fist is clean, Louis tosses the toilet paper into the rubbish bin by the door, and then focuses his attention on Harry’s face. Harry looks at him and doesn’t say anything, trying to maintain eye contact even though he knows his eyes keep slipping down to Louis’ lips involuntarily.

“Have you ever punched someone before?” Louis asks, and Harry notices that his voice raspy from all the yelling.

Harry shakes his head. “Not for real. I mean, you already know I box at the gym, but I’ve never actually thrown a punch with the intention of hurting someone.” It hurt more than he thought, actually, and Harry hopes he won’t ever have to do it again.

Louis doesn’t say anything. He just looks at Harry, and Harry feels like he’s on a cliff, one step from the edge. He knows he should just step out of the room, sign the receipt for their drinks, and go back to the hotel, but he makes the decision to jump instead. He leans in slowly, giving Louis the opportunity to back away or tell him no, but Louis doesn’t. He keeps his head perfectly still, eyelids fluttering closed as Harry approaches.

Harry’s lips touch his, and then they’re kissing.

Louis gives as good as he gets, immediately biting at Harry’s lips. The kiss is hot and wet, and Harry has never before gotten hard so quickly from just kissing. He kisses Louis’ soft lips thoroughly before slipping his tongue into Louis’ mouth, and Louis makes a whimpering sound that goes straight to Harry’s cock.

They haven’t been kissing for more than a few minutes when Harry feels Louis cupping the front of his jeans, and his hips thrust forward slightly. “Fuck,” he mutters, and presses another kiss to Louis’ lips. Louis just touches him gently for a few minutes, letting his knuckles trace Harry’s erection through the denim. Harry can’t stop himself from shivering.

They keep their mouths joined while Louis tugs at his belt and unbuttons his pants, clearly very talented at multitasking, and Harry legitimately feels like he’s going to pass out when Louis pulls his dick out.

Louis wraps his hand firmly around Harry’s cock without further preamble. Harry gasps and Louis smirks, slightly, just before Harry captures his mouth again. Louis is jerking him off with tight strokes, twisting his hand just right, and Harry’s going to come in an embarrassingly short span of time.

Harry holds Louis’ head in his hands while he kisses him, pulling back to groan every time Louis gives a particularly firm tug, and all it takes is Louis murmuring Harry’s name against his lips for Harry to come.

Harry allows Louis to rinse his hand off in the sink before he unbuttons Louis’ pants, finally freeing his erection. Harry takes a moment to spit into his own hand before taking Louis’ mouth again, hand wrapping around Louis’ dick. Louis’ mouth is incredibly distracting, as are the sounds falling from his lips as Harry pulls him off, but Harry tries to focus as much attention as possible on making it good for him.

It only takes a couple of minutes before Harry feels come spilling hotly onto his hand, and Harry isn’t even thinking when he raises his fingers to Louis’ lips. Louis’ doesn’t break eye contact as he sucks them into his mouth, hot tongue sliding over Harry’s fingers, and if Harry hadn’t just come, he would probably be well on his way to getting hard again. When Louis has finished licking his own come off Harry’s fingers, Harry gives him another kiss, pulling back to see Louis’ blown pupils.

Harry and Louis didn’t even have sex, but Harry knows he just had one of the hottest experiences of his life. He has never been attracted to anyone like he’s attracted to Louis, and he’s not sure that a higher level of attraction exists.

As Louis tucks his dick back in his pants, Harry realizes that they just took about twenty minutes to complete a two minute long task. He washes his hands quickly before exiting the toilet, Louis on his heels. They don’t speak when they walk back toward the bar, or when Harry signs his receipt, or when they get into the car.

Harry isn’t sure whether he just started something or ruined something, but Louis doesn’t seem angry or upset or regretful, so he tries to relax. He and his bodyguard just exchanged handjobs and made out in the toilet after getting in a bar fight, but it’s fine. Everything is fine.

When Harry and Louis arrive back at the hotel and reach the floor their rooms are on, they reach the door to Harry’s room first. Harry turns to say goodnight, but instead he finds himself being shoved against the door. Louis pushes up onto his tiptoes and kisses Harry deeply, and Harry barely has time to kiss him back before Louis is walking away.

“Goodnight,” Louis says, his voice soft. “Also, you have come on your shirt.”

Harry glances down. Louis is right.

 

*

 

The next morning, Louis, Harry, and Niall eat breakfast on the roof of the hotel, and Louis acts completely normal aside from the fact that his eyes linger slightly too long on Harry. Harry isn’t sure whether he should ask Louis to talk about what happened, or if he should just leave it alone. He can’t mention it in front of Niall, in any case, so he decides to just let it rest for now. Their meal is delicious and peaceful. The muted sounds of the city make for pleasant background noise while they chat about upcoming events on the press tour as well as a variety of random subjects, including Niall’s unfair hatred of rabbits, Louis’ desire to expand his cereal cupboard, and Harry’s decision to take up hot yoga.

After breakfast, Louis follows Harry to his room and asks whether they can watch a film. Harry agrees, of course, and they argue about whether Iron Man or Thor is a better option for almost fifteen minutes before they agree to just watch both. Every time there’s a lull in the argument, Harry considers bringing up what happened, but Louis always seems to sense it and makes another point on behalf of Iron Man, thereby sufficiently distracting Harry. At one point, Louis distracts Harry by suggesting that they have to watch Iron Man first because “it’s the one that I want to watch, and since I’m older, I’m closer to death.”

Harry may be in love with Louis, but that doesn’t mean he can’t admit that Louis is an utterly ridiculous human being.

They watch the films, one after another, and Louis falls asleep on Harry’s shoulder with his mouth open about half an hour into Thor. Harry wiggles himself down into more a laying position for the sake of his own comfort and finishes watching the film with Louis’ face buried into his chest, snuffling softly.

When Louis wakes up, he doesn’t move away. Instead, he just cuddles closer to Harry, tucks his cold feet in between Harry’s calves, and tells Harry to check whether Keeping Up With The Kardashians is on. There is a marathon, as it turns out, and Harry and Louis watch until Niall forces them to go try a newly opened restaurant down the block for dinner.

Sunday is more of the same, though this time Niall joins them for a continuation of their Marvel marathon, and by the time they arrive at the airport that evening, Harry knows that while he and Louis are fine with one another and are likely closer than ever, Louis clearly does not want to address what happened on Friday night.

 

*

 

Harry loses Monday and Tuesday to jet lag and Wednesday to more interviews, this time with the German press, but on Thursday, he has plans to attend the opening of his sister’s art gallery in Manchester. Harry isn’t entirely sure how many people will be attending the opening, and he knows Gemma would sell herself short and underestimate if he asked, so Harry decides that it’s a reasonable enough request to ask Louis to attend with him. Just as a precautionary measure, of course.

Louis agrees, as it’s a work obligation, but Harry can feel Louis eyeing him suspiciously when he’s not looking. It’s possible that at least part of the reason is that Harry wants Louis to meet his family (and more importantly, for his family to meet Louis), but you would have to give Harry at least three pints before he would admit it to anyone.

Thursday dawns beautifully, and Harry wakes up feeling happy not only for his sister’s success, but also for the prospect of an entire day spent with Louis. Louis arrives at his house around half nine, two hours before they have to arrive at the railway station, so Harry makes him an English breakfast and they eat it on Harry’s balcony. Harry feels guilty because he needs to read through the Dunkirk script again, but Louis just waves away Harry’s apologies and cuddles with Banana.

Every time Harry looks up from a page, he sees Louis munching happily on his breakfast and absently stroking Banana’s fur from where she’s perched on his lap. It’s all very domestic, and Harry’s heart aches in his chest.

When they arrive at the station in Manchester, Harry can tell that Louis is extremely nervous to meet his sister. Every time Harry asks if he’s okay, Louis snaps at him, so Harry just silently watches Louis tap his foot, fuss with his fringe, and bite his nails. Harry doesn’t want Louis to be nervous, but it makes his chest feel warm to think about why Louis would care so much about meeting his sister, mum, and step-father. Louis is supposedly nothing more than a bodyguard, after all, so he shouldn’t care at all.

When they arrive at the railway station in Manchester, Gemma is easy to spot because of her fading pink hair. Harry immediately pulls her into a hug and congratulates her. She smiles and ruffles his hair, looking pleased. Gemma then turns toward Louis, who has been standing behind Harry silently during the greeting.

“And you must be Louis,” Gemma smiles as she speaks, but it’s obvious that she’s looking Louis up and down. “You’re Harry’s, uh, bodyguard?” Harry can tell that she’s trying to keep the skepticism out of her voice, but it isn’t really working. Unlike when Alberto was skeptical, Louis doesn’t look annoyed. Instead, he just looks very nervous and continues fidgeting. Harry isn’t even sure whether Louis has realized that Gemma is confused by his job title.

Louis reaches for Gemma’s hand politely. “Yes, I am,” he says. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Gemma. And huge congratulations on the opening. I’m really excited to see your work.”

Gemma beams. She glances over at Harry briefly before looking back at Louis and smiling. “Thank you, Louis. So nice to meet you as well. My brother has told me a lot about you.” Gemma looks over at Harry a second time, one eyebrow raised. Harry tries to school his face into an innocent expression as she continues. “Seemed to have left some things out though, didn’t you, little brother?”

Harry clears his throat quickly and steps in between Gemma and Louis, placing his hands on both of their backs as he begins to guide them toward the car.

“Anyway, lets go, Gems. I want to see mum and Robin instead of just staring at your ugly mug all day.” Gemma steps out of Harry’s grasp and takes the lead, turning back once to give Harry a look that says we’re going to be having a talk later. Harry lifts his arm to wrap around Louis’ shoulder, and he smiles when Louis moves his own arm to clutch at Harry’s waist.

“She likes you a lot,” Harry whispers to Louis, and Harry sees the pleased smile on his face before he turns his face away.

 

*

 

Harry’s family adores Louis, just as he expected. It’s entirely possible that they love Louis more than they love Harry, actually, which Harry should probably find insulting, but he doesn’t. Harry also can’t say he’s surprised when Gemma and Anne corner him in the kitchen when Louis heads to the loo. He’s just grateful that Robin is out in the garden, actually, because it means he doesn’t have to deal with three against one.

“Bodyguard?” Gemma hisses, sounding exasperated.

Anne tries to be more diplomatic about it, but only slightly. “Darling, I can’t help but notice that Louis’ stature is not that of a typical bodyguard. I also can’t help but notice that you look at him like he hung the sun in the sky, and he looks at you like you hung the stars. Do you have anything to share with your mummy?” Harry glares at Anne, letting her know that her sarcasm is not appreciated at the moment.

Harry sighs deeply, suddenly feeling like he was perhaps less ready for the meet-the-parents-and-sister than he had thought. “It’s possible that he was not hired entirely for his experience in the security field,” Harry admits. “It’s also possible that I have feelings for him. A lot of feelings. Serious feelings.”

He forces himself not to turn away from his mum and sister in embarrassment, instead maintaining eye contact. Harry has always avoided talking to them about men, but this particular man is different because Harry is in love with him.

Gemma and Anne grin from ear to ear. Anne reaches in and pulls Harry into a big hug, and he sinks into it the same way he did when he was a child.

“He’s lovely, honey,” Anne says, and Gemma nods. “Yeah, little brother, you did good. He seems like a little brat who can keep you in check, but he also looks like he would do anything for you. I’m happy for you.”

Harry quickly explains that they are really just friends, at least for right now, and Gemma responds by laughing out loud. Anne just gives him a knowing smile before going back to stirring the pasta.

Louis returns with Dusty wrapped up in his arms, purring happily, and as usual, Harry is physically incapable of keeping the smile off his face. “I see you met Dusty,” he says, stepping over to Louis and stroking her fur gently.

“Dusty popped out of the shower while I was washing my hands and nearly gave me a heart attack, if I’m honest,” Louis responds, drawing a chuckle out of Anne, Gemma, Harry, and Robin, who just entered the kitchen to see when dinner would be ready. “You have a beautiful home, Anne, Robin. Your son is okay too,” Louis says, gesturing over toward Harry, smirking slightly. “I suppose.”

Anne laughs and thanks Louis before looking over at Harry. She looks fond and a bit proud, and Harry feels so full up with happiness that he could probably explode. Harry goes over to set the table, pinching Louis’ arm (“I take it back, he’s the worst!”) as he walks away.

That evening, the gallery opening is a stunning success. Harry watches person after person walk over to Gemma to compliment her on her work, and he has never felt more proud to call her his sister. It means so much to Harry that he gets to share this not only with Gemma and his entire family, but with Louis too. Louis seems genuinely interested in all of the paintings on display, and as they walk around examining the work, he bombards Harry with questions about Gemma and what Harry thinks her inspiration may have been for certain pieces.

“You okay with staying in the guest room tonight, Lou?” Harry asks as the crowds begin to dwindle, the night coming to a close. “Otherwise, I can book us both hotel rooms, and we can just leave straight from there for the railway station in the morning. It’s up to you.”

“We can stay at your mum’s house, of course,” Louis says, frowning slightly at the painting in front of him. “That looks kind of like a vagina, I think,” He says under his breath, likely not intending for anyone to hear him, and Harry chokes on a laugh. Louis smirks at Harry before continuing his earlier thought. “You deserve to spend some time with your family, playing scrabble until midnight and getting into arguments with your sister as though you can win them. You seem very happy and relaxed here. It’s really nice to see.”

Harry reaches out and grabs Louis’ hand, squeezing it quickly before dropping it again. “Thanks for coming, Louis. It means a lot to me.” Harry doesn’t explain why, but Louis looks at him like he gets it.

 

*

 

The BBC offices are nice enough, but it’s not even half eight in the morning and Harry is fucking tired. Nolan had kept him on the phone until after midnight as they discussed the back-story of his character in Dunkirk, and then Harry still had to let his neighbor’s dogs out, as he had offered to care for them while they were out of town. He didn’t slide into bed until 2AM, and just over six hours later, he wishes he were still asleep.

When one of the interns spots him nodding off in the conference room where he will be completing the interview, she offers to get him coffee and breakfast. Harry just asks her to escort him to the kitchen so he can get it himself and stretch his legs on the way. The young woman agrees, and Harry gratefully follows her down the hall. The kitchen is small, but it has a machine for tea and coffee, a fridge, a plate of biscuits, and much to Harry’s delight, a Mr. Louis Tomlinson.

Louis had accompanied him in case there were fans waiting outside (there were, but only a few), but he had disappeared while Harry was being led around and introduced to some of the editors.

Louis is leaning against the counter texting someone and sipping on tea, but when Harry enters the kitchen, he glances up. He looks slightly surprised to see Harry, probably because Harry was supposed to be in the middle of his interview by now.

“They’re running behind,” he explains, and Louis nods.

“The coffee is shit,” Louis says, nodding at the machine in front of him, and Harry startles out a laugh.

“Let me guess — Yorkshire is the only worthy beverage in this kitchen.” Harry replies, stepping into Louis’ personal space to grab a clean mug out of the cupboard, which is helpfully labeled “Mugs.”

Louis just hums in response, taking another sip and looking up at Harry through his eyelashes.

“You look nice today,” Harry says honestly, gazing appreciatively at Louis’ gray beanie and white t-shirt. “That hedgehog on the skateboard looks like you,” he adds, because the graphic on the shirt really does resemble the scruffy, soft-haired man in front of him. He meant to tell that to Louis earlier.

Louis snatches the mug out of Harry’s hand and begins setting about making his tea for him, ignoring his comment.

“Which do you want?” Louis asks, and Harry steps close to him again so he can see all the tea options over Louis’ shoulder.

“Yorkshire is fine, Lou,” Harry breathes. The words come out against Louis’ neck, and he knows he’s standing too close. Instead of placing distance between them, Louis just stands there, and Harry watches goosebumps form on his skin.

By the time Harry leaves the kitchen a few minutes later, he is in much better spirits, but he’d be lying if he said it was because of the caffeine. Harry can feel the tension between him and Louis building like a rubber band. It’s been building for over a month, really, and he knows it’s only a matter of time before it snaps.

 

*

 

It snaps a few days later.

The Something Great cast is in Italy for the final press conference. It doesn’t end until late evening, so most of the cast is staying in Italy for the night rather than catching flights back to their respective cities the same day. It’s been a long day, but Harry is in a good mood when he and Louis arrive back at the hotel. There is a large crowd lining the streets in front of the entrance when they get out of the car, so Harry decides to sign a few autographs before retiring to his room.

Harry makes his way through the crowd, signing autographs for whoever requests them, and Louis hovers beside him as usual, pretending he’s an intimidating presence. Zayn is about ten feet away doing the same, and Harry can see some of the other cast members signing further away. The Italian fans are all thrilled and extremely kind, complimenting Harry and some even chatting with Louis while Harry tries to reach as many fans as he can.

A girl requests that Harry say something to her friend on camera, so Harry says the few Italian words that he knows. He’s about to apologize for butchering their language when he feels Louis tense beside him. Harry immediately turns his attention in the direction that Louis is looking.

Two girls are yanking on each others’ hair and yelling angrily in Italian, seemingly fighting over an autograph. A woman is standing behind them yelling and trying to break up the fight, and Harry quickly realizes that the two girls are sisters and that the woman is their mother.

The crowd is starting to step back from the fight, and Harry is about to tell Louis that they should have Alberto intervene and then head upstairs in case the situation intensifies, but Louis is already beginning to step in the opposite direction of the hotel. He clearly intends to beak up a fight between two screaming teenage girls who look like they're closer in height to Harry than to Louis, and there is no fucking way that Harry is letting that happen.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Harry says, grabbing Louis by the elbow and trying to pull him backwards from the chaos in the crowd. The other fans watching the girls fighting step back to give Harry and Louis space, seeming to understand that Harry and Louis are having a conflict of their own.

Louis yanks his arm out of Harry’s grip.

“I’m going to do my job,” he says testily, and Harry can hear the girls still fighting. Harry does not have the time or patience for this right now. He steps into Louis’ personal space and straightens his spine, drawing attention to their height difference. Harry knows he isn’t actually intimidating Louis, but he needs Louis to understand that he is not joking about Louis backing off.

“That isn’t your fucking job, Louis. I said to stop,” Harry keeps his voice firm and grasps both of Louis wrists in one hand to stop him from moving away again. Louis is looking at Harry with narrowed eyes, and that’s when Harry realizes what he just said. He blanches slightly, but doesn’t loosen his grip on Louis’ wrists. A moment later, Louis steps back from Harry’s hold, but he doesn’t walk away.

“Alberto,” Harry calls out, catching the man's attention from a few meters away and motioning him toward the fighting girls. As soon as he can see that Alberto has gone to deal with the crisis, he focuses his attention back on Louis.

Louis is glaring at him. He looks annoyed.

“You hired me to be your bodyguard,” Louis says, and it should be a statement, but it comes out more like a question. His eyebrows are furrowed and his hands are folded across his chest, but his hip is popped, which lessens the intimidation factor by at least half.

Harry knows his dimples are showing, but he tries not to break out into a full smile.

“Not quite,” he says.

Louis’ mouth falls open, but he looks less surprised at the content of the statement than he does at the fact that Harry made it. He clearly didn’t expect Harry to admit it, and Harry realizes that maybe Louis figured it out before today, that maybe he even had an idea of Harry’s true motivations for hiring him from the beginning. Before Harry can say something to that effect, however, Louis has turned and stormed away from him and the crowd.

Harry follows him into the hotel and the lift, not daring to speak when Louis aggressively presses the button for their floor. He also says nothing when Louis reaches into Harry’s back pocket and grabs his wallet, plucking Harry’s hotel room key out of it and walking toward Harry’s room.

When Louis opens the door, Harry half expects Louis to slam it in his face, but he doesn’t. Harry follows him inside the room.

Louis has his arms folded again, so Harry crosses his own arms and leans back against the wall. The room is illuminated from the street lamps outside, so Harry can still see every expression crossing Louis’ face.

Finally tiring of the silence, Louis huffs loudly in the quiet room. “You didn’t hire me to be your bodyguard,” he says. Harry nods. “Then why did you hire me?” Louis sounds annoyed, but not nearly as annoyed as he should sound, and Harry’s pretty sure that’s a good sign.

“Do you want the real answer?” Harry asks, raising his eyebrows. Louis nods.

“When you walked into the office that day, I thought you were the most beautiful person I had ever seen. I wanted to laugh in your face when I realized that you were seriously trying to convince me that you should be my bodyguard, but I also wanted to hear you out. So I did. I listened to you, and I talked to you, and I learned as much as I could about you. And something about you had me hooked from that first meeting.”

Harry watches Louis while he speaks, and he notices the slow relaxing of Louis’ posture. His heart is still beating a mile a minute, but seeing Louis’ body language open up makes Harry feel better.

“I decided to hire you because I wanted to get to know you, and because it was clear that you really needed a job if you were willing to apply for a bodyguard position without any experience, and because having a bodyguard wasn’t enough of a necessity that I felt like my life or your life would be put in any danger if I hired you. With the exception of the bar fight and possibly if you had gotten your hair ripped out by those two girls tonight, I think I was correct in that last assumption,” Harry says.

Louis doesn’t look angry anymore, but he’s still staring at Harry intensely. “And now that you have gotten to know me?” It’s not a real question, but Harry knows what Louis really wants to know.

“I’m in love with you,” Harry says simply, shrugging his shoulders. He is so in love with the man in front of him that most days, he can barely breathe when he looks at him. Louis takes the breath right out of his lungs with his beauty, with his quick wit, with his enormous heart. Harry hired a bodyguard that he never really intended to act like a bodyguard, and he hasn’t regretted it once.

Harry is about to open his mouth to say something else when Louis walks over and kisses Harry hard on the mouth. Harry immediately responds and wraps his arms around Louis’ waist to bring him closer. The kiss turns dirty fast, as Louis licks inside Harry’s mouth and Harry nips on Louis’ bottom lip.

“Jesus Christ,” Harry mutters, willing his heart to stop trying to pound out of his chest. He moves his hands up to cup Louis’ face, smiling when Louis leans into the touch. He thumbs at Louis’ wet mouth and sighs. “I’ve been waiting for this moment since you walked in the door for that fucking interview.”

Louis doesn’t respond immediately, instead pushing up onto his toes and wrapping his arms around Harry’s neck as he presses their lips together again. Harry immediately kisses Louis back, sliding his hands from Louis’ face over his shoulders and spreading his hand on Louis’ back. He keeps moving his hands lower, appreciating Louis’ thin waist and hourglass shape. His hands eventually find themselves down on Louis’ arse, where he spreads his fingers gratefully and squeezes at the roundness there.

Louis leans away, panting and wiggling slightly. “Fuck,” he says, his voice raspy. “It took me a bit to admit it to myself, but I think I’ve been waiting since then too. God, who told you your hands could be that big?”

Harry smirks, using his fingers on his left hand to trace down the center inseam of Louis’ jeans while using the other hand to knead his right arse cheek slowly. He ignores Louis’ question and leans down to press another kiss against his mouth. They’re kissing loudly, and the wet collide of tongues and lips sounds obscene in the otherwise silent room.

Louis pulls away to moan and presses his forehead against Harry’s chest, panting, “Okay, okay, fuck, that’s enough, let’s get out of these clothes now. I can’t wait any longer.”

Harry doesn’t need to be told twice. When Louis stands up straight again, Harry pulls his shirt over his head and then goes for Louis’, leaving them both shirtless in no time at all.

He lets Louis unbutton his own jeans, half-watching as the man yanks them down his legs, and he takes his own trousers off and spends half a second trying to fold them half neatly before giving up and tossing them on the floor. Louis stands in his boxers, tan skin glistening with sweat, and Harry’s too turned on to speak.

Louis is looking at him, eyes moving up and down Harry’s body, and he’s biting his lip slightly. He looks so fucking sexy, and Harry is too impatient to let the staring contest continue any longer. He’s been waiting for this for months.

He leans in to kiss Louis again before pushing him against the wall, Louis gasping slightly in surprise. Harry lets his fingers dance down along Louis’ spine and squeezes his arse one more time before hoisting him up. Louis goes willingly, wrapping his legs around Harry’s waist and leaning back against the wall behind him.

Harry pulls away from the kissing and takes a moment to appreciate how right it feels to have Louis in his arms.

“I really need you to understand that holding you up is basically the equivalent of holding up a bag of groceries. I get more of a workout on grocery days than I’m getting right now, but somehow you thought you were really serving as my bodyguard,” Harry says, laughter in his voice.

Harry grimaces as Louis digs his heels into his back, pressing into his kidney or some other essential organ.

“If you don’t shut the fuck up right now, you’re not getting near this arse tonight. So choose your next words wisely,” Louis says, smile looking far too innocent to mean anything good.

“I was just kidding, baby.” Harry mutters the words against Louis’ lips before kissing him thoroughly enough that any thoughts of a sexless night slip out of Louis’ head.

After several minutes, Louis is grinding his dick into Harry’s stomach and Harry is rutting him against the wall, but they aren’t making any progress with their pants still on. Harry adjusts his hands under Louis’ thighs and feels the smaller man’s legs tighten around him.

“Giddy-up,” Louis whispers into Harry’s ear. He’s just joking, but his breath is hot on Harry’s neck and he sounds so fucking sexy that Harry can feel his cock harden further. He turns away from the wall and walks Louis over to the bed, tossing him gently onto the mattress.

Harry takes a moment to strip off his pants, and on the bed, Louis lifts his bum off the bed so he can peel his own pants off his body. Harry’s cock is achingly hard and leaking, so he wraps his hand around it, jerking a couple of times quickly, before looking down at the man lying on the bed in front of him.

Harry’s breath catches in his throat. Louis is sprawled out, all his gorgeous skin on display, his legs spread apart and bent at the knees so Harry can see the roundness of his arse and the pucker of his hole. Harry almost wants to turn the light on and just stare for a few minutes, but he knows Louis would probably slap the shit out of him, so instead he just takes in the sight in the slightly illuminated room.

Louis’ body is perfection. He’s small and compact, all lean muscle and smooth skin, with small pink nipples and a perfectly proportioned cock. His hair is fanned out behind him on the pillow, and his cheeks are slightly rosy either from the heat of the moment or from embarrassment at Harry’s ogling. Harry lets his eyes scan Louis’ body once more, taking in the sheen of sweat covering his skin, before Louis interrupts him.

“Well, fuck me.” Louis says as he moves his eyes down Harry’s body, eyes lingering below the waist. He is clearly trying to sound sarcastic, but he honestly just sounds impressed.

Harry rolls his eyes before fitting himself between Louis’ thighs. “Yeah, that’s the plan.”

He kisses down Louis’ neck, stopping to suck a love bite or two below his ear and enjoying the feeling of Louis’ throat moving when he moans. The man under him already looks debauched, but Harry plans on ruining him as thoroughly as possible tonight. He lightly nips at the mark he just left, causing Louis to hiss, before moving his trek downwards.

Louis’ skin is tan, sweaty and so, so soft, and Harry could honestly spend hours touching and kissing every inch of him, but that’s something to be done another day. For now, he moves his lips to suck on Louis’ nipples, which are certainly interested in the nights’ events.

“You have the cutest nipples, Lou,” Harry says, sucking a ring of love bites around Louis’ left nipple while twisting the right one in between his fingertips.

“You have the cutest dick, Harry,” Louis says sarcastically, and Harry might worry that he isn’t affected enough if not for the raspy quality that his voice has taken on and the movement of his chest as he pants. “Honestly, it’s adorably small and I think it’s nice that you’re not insecure about—“ Harry cuts him off, reaching one hand to cover Louis’ mouth and moving his other hand lower, much lower, pressing a dry finger against his hole.

“Small, huh?” Harry says, raising an eyebrow and rolling his hips against Louis’ thigh, letting Louis feel every inch of his length. “I think it’s time for you to shut up, baby, or we’re going to have to put your mouth to different use.”

Louis nips Harry’s hand, but Harry expected it and doesn’t flinch away, just rubbing the pads of the fingers on his other hand against Louis’ hole again. “Are you clean? Because I am, and if you’re willing...” Harry trails off, his voice serious as he focuses his eyes on Louis’ face.

Louis looks at him and Harry removes the hand from his mouth. “Yeah, uh, I haven’t been with anyone in months and I got tested at my last doctor’s appointment.” His pupils are blown as he looks at Harry from under his eyelashes.

Harry smiles with dimples, and Louis smiles back, eyes crinkling. He pulls Harry up his body again and tangles his fingers in Harry’s hair as their mouths meet, tugging and yanking at the sweaty strands. Harry can’t hold back his groan, rutting his dick against Louis’ hip.

Eventually, Harry finds it in himself to pull away and blindly reach into the drawer of the bedside table, reaching blindly until he finds the half empty bottle of lube he had placed there last night. He flicks the cap open with one hand and moves down Louis’ body again, sucking softly at his soft tummy and sharp hipbones. Louis’ muscles contract under his ministrations.

“Ticklish?” Harry asks, smirking at the skin of his hip and inhaling Louis’ scent. He smells like the perfect mixture of soap and sweat, and Harry can’t get enough. Will never be able to get enough.

“There’s something you could do with that mouth instead of spout nonsense in that morbid tone, don’t you think, Harold?” Louis asks sweetly, digging his fingers into Harry’s scalp again and directing his face towards his groin.

Harry hums his agreement and moves into a kneeling position, pushing Louis’ legs slightly further apart. He makes eye contact with Louis as he pulls off his rings one by one, and he enjoys watching the heavy movement of Louis’ throat as he swallows. It’s a reminder of who’s really in charge here, and Louis has clearly gotten the message.

When all three rings are off, Harry hands them to Louis, who licks his lips before taking them and placing them on the bedside table. Harry raises his eyebrows at Louis before wetting his fingers with lube.

Harry ignores Louis’ impatient hands, which have found their way into his hair again, and instead focuses on lightly spreading the lube around Louis’s hole, one fingertip slipping inside just the slightest bit. He glances up, and sees Louis looking down at him. Louis nods and bites his lip, making it clear that he’s ready.

Harry gently pushes the first finger inside, listening carefully for any sounds or words of protest. All he hears is a filthy moan, which he thinks may be exaggerated, but Louis always did love being overdramatic. He’ll take it.

As Harry appreciates the tight warmth surrounding his finger, he turns the rest of his attention toward Louis’ leaking cock. Harry wraps his lips around the head and tongues at the precome pooling at the tip, moaning appreciatively when he feels Louis thrust up into his mouth. After a few minutes of getting Louis used to the feeling of having something inside him again, Harry slowly pushes a second finger in beside the first, trying to open Louis up as gently as possible.

It takes absurdly little effort for Harry’s fingers to brush against Louis’ prostate, which Harry thinks only further demonstrates that they were born to be together. He was meant to find his way into Louis’ body, just as they found their way into each other’s hearts. Harry marvels at how well they fit together, and as he adds a third finger, he listens to Louis.

Louis is breathing hard and making occasional high-pitched moans when Harry brushes against his prostate, and everything out of his mouth is the most beautiful sound Harry’s ever heard. He rubs his fingers against that spot again and Louis gives a small squeak before using his hands to pull Harry’s mouth off his dick.

“Okay, okay, please Harry, I’m ready,” Louis is talking quickly, and Harry smirks when he realizes how close Louis was to coming.

“Ready to come before I even put my cock inside you, that’s how much you’re loving this,” Harry says, and he means to sound arrogant, he really does, but he can’t keep the smile out of his voice. Fuck. This is it. He gets to make love to Louis, the beautiful, brilliant, pain in the arse that Harry has been obsessing over for months.

Louis just rolls his eyes and pulls Harry up for a kiss. Louis pulls back after a moment and rubs his nose against Harry’s gently. “Harry. I just...I want you to know how much I care about you. I know that the way we went about this was a fucking mess, but I want to be with you. I want this so fucking much.”

“Me too,” Harry whispers, closing his eyes and pressing another soft kiss against Louis’ mouth. “Now how do you want to do this?”

“Can I ride you first? I’d rather control the pace, at least at the beginning.”

“Yeah, Lou, of course, whatever you want.” Harry rolls off Louis and onto his back, reaching out next to him for the lube so he can coat his cock with it. Louis’ beats him to it, however, quickly moving to straddle Harry’s calves, too far down the bed for Harry to kiss. Harry has to stop himself from pouting.

He expects Louis to just slick him up and slide down onto his cock, but Louis never does what’s expected of him. Instead, he grasps the base of Harry’s cock in one hand, leaning his face forward and breathing hotly on Harry’s dick.

“Your cock is truly something to behold, babe,” Louis says as he gives the head a few kitten licks before just taking Harry’s cock down as far into his throat as it will go, no hesitation whatsoever. Harry feels his eyes roll up into the back of his head and thrusts up slightly by accident, which Louis responds to by pinning Harry’s hips down to the bed with both hands.

“Fuck — ah! Fuck, well, your cock is honestly the prettiest I’ve ever seen, so I suppose we’re about even. Fuck.” Harry feels like his brain is being sucked out his dick, and words have never been more difficult than they are now. Harry moves his hands down to Louis’ head and gently strokes his cheek, where he can feel his cock stretching the skin. Louis looks up at him then, his blue eyes watering, and Harry honestly feels like he’s going to come.

Louis seems to get it and pulls off, quickly and mechanically spreading the lube onto Harry’s cock with a very light touch. Within a few seconds, he’s positioning himself above Harry and sinking down.

Entering Louis is truly a life-changing experience. Harry has had plenty of sex — he’s young, attractive, and successful, so finding partners has never been difficult. Louis is in a league on his own though. As Louis slowly sinks down onto Harry’s cock, chest heaving, Harry’s entire body feels like it’s on fire. His dick is surrounded by wet heat as Louis works to fit it inside his body. His chest is flushed and covered with sweat from the heat of their movements, the heat of their bodies together, the heat of the room engulfing them. And his heart feels warm with love for the man above him, the man he never expected to meet, the man he now cannot imagine living without.

Louis moves down slowly, and it feels like it takes ages before his bum cheeks are sitting snuggly against Harry’s hips. Harry has to stop himself from thrusting up, and instead just breathes deeply through his nose and focuses on appreciating the incredible view in front of him.

“You’re big,” Louis says, his voice sounding even more raspy and fucked out now that he’s had a dick down his throat.

“Feels good though, yeah?” Harry asks, already knowing the answer as he secures his hands around Louis’ hips.

Louis raises himself up before dropping back down again immediately instead of answering, drawing moans out of both of them.

“Mmm, feels okay,” Louis says, moving up and down again before breaking his charade of nonchalance with another moan.

Harry lets Louis control the pace for a few more minutes before he begins to jerk his hips up, meeting Louis as he lowers himself down, and that’s when Louis starts to really lose it.

“Harry, come on, come on and fuck me, please,” Louis is pleading and Harry can see his thighs shaking as he tries to support himself on Harry’s cock. Harry thrusts up roughly one more time before flipping Louis onto his back and falling in between his open legs, cock still lodged deep inside as he picks up the pace in their new position.

Louis moans and closes his eyes tightly as Harry fucks him, hands positioned on either side of Louis’ head so he can hold himself up.

“I think,” Louis gasps out a moan, interrupting himself briefly, before continuing, “That was the most graceful move you’ve ever pulled in your life.”

Harry decides that Louis is far too coherent for his liking, so he changes the angle of his hips slightly before pistoning in hard and fast, triggering the loudest moan yet from Louis.

“There?” Harry asks, though he’s pretty sure he knows the answer, nailing that spot over and over. He puts every ounce of effort into keeping his thrusts steady and deep, making sure this is good for Louis, even as his heart feels like its hammering out of his chest.

Louis doesn’t answer and just moans again before pulling Harry’s head down to kiss him messily. Harry isn’t able to make his thrusts as long while he’s kissing Louis, but neither of them can keep their mouths away from each other anyway, so it doesn’t matter. From the sounds of it, Harry is still successfully hitting Louis’ prostate, and Harry’s cock certainly isn’t complaining about the angle either, still surrounded by tight wet heat.

Louis slips his hand down between their bodies, grasping his cock and jerking himself off in time with Harry’s hard thrusts.

Harry usually comes first during sex and then gets his partners off with his mouth, but he doesn’t want that this time. Harry wants Louis to come on his cock - not from his fingers, not from his mouth. His cock. Harry wants to feel Louis’ walls tighten impossibly further around him. Harry wants to see Louis’ mouth slacken and his eyes close when he comes. Harry wants to watch every expression on Louis’ face when his dick is pressed in as deep inside Louis as it can go.

He tries to focus his attention on kissing Louis and maintaining that angle with his hips, and Louis is moaning almost constantly now. Kissing turns into panting wetly against each others’ mouths, and Harry can feel the sweat dripping down his body from exertion.

“Come on, baby,” he mutters against Louis’ lips. “You feel so good, and I want you to feel good, so come for me, yeah? Let yourself go for me, can you do that?”

Louis sobs brokenly, and just as Harry is thinking to himself that he can barely believe that this man under him is real, he feels Louis’ release hit his stomach and chest. Louis tightens around Harry’s dick, and instead of moaning loudly like Harry expects, Louis’ lips open in a silent gasp as he comes, eyes squeezing tight before opening up again. Harry can see wetness in them, and he’s so overwhelmed with love for Louis that he can’t help thrust in once, twice, and three times before coming. Louis kisses him through it, open-mouthed and messy. When Harry has fully emptied inside Louis, he presses his face against Louis’ neck, giving them both a change to catch their breaths.

After a few minutes of just breathing in the smell of sex and each others’ skin, Louis speaks. “Fuck.”

Harry feels sated and happy, and he can’t help the lazy grin that comes over his face as he pulls back to look at Louis. Louis smiles up at him, and he looks utterly wrecked. There are tear tracks down his face, his cheeks are red and sweaty, his hair is mussed up, and when Harry glances down his body, there is come splattered on his stomach. He looks incredible, and Harry has no choice but to lean in again and kiss him.

“I love you,” Louis whispers against Harry’s lips, and Harry feels his heart stop for a second. He smiles, and Louis rolls his eyes and sticks a finger into one of Harry’s dimples.

“Yeah?” Harry says, big dopey grin still on his face.

“Yeah.” Louis smiles, and he looks so happy and soft and satisfied that it fills Harry’s heart to the brink.

When Harry pulls out, he barely gives Louis time to react to the feeling of emptiness before he’s back down between Louis’ legs, pushing his thighs further apart so he can watch the come trickling out of his hole slowly.

“I should have known you’d be disgusting,” Louis says, and Harry ignores him as he thumbs at the wetness.

Despite his comment, Louis just lets Harry do his thing between his legs while he uses a corner of the sheet to wipe the come off his own stomach. Harry watches most of the come drip from Louis’ hole onto the sheets, occasionally circling the area with a finger, before pushing Louis’ knees together and up toward his chest.

“Hold those, Lou,” he requests, and he hears Louis muttering to himself, but the man follows the order and holds his legs up.

Harry leans in and licks a stripe across Louis’ hole, which is puffy and still a little wet. He hears Louis’ gasp of surprise and smiles before leaning in and tonguing the reddened area again. Harry places his hands on Louis’ arse cheeks and spreads them slightly, opening his hole up enough for Harry to lick further inside and suck gently on the rim.

Harry pulls back so he can speak, but makes sure he’s still breathing hotly on Louis’ hole, making the smaller man twitch slightly. “I don’t think words can ever express how fucking crazy I am about you, Lou.” He leans in again and licks Louis again, slowly dragging his tongue along the sensitive skin.

“Harry,” Louis is panting above him.

“Think you can get hard again, baby?” Harry asks, licking again.

“Oh god, keep going,” is the only response Louis gives, and Harry takes that as a yes.

He licks and sucks at Louis’ rim until Louis is sobbing above him, and when he hears Louis’ voice quietly gasping, “Please,” he lowers pulls Louis’ hands off his legs and lets them fall open on to rest on Harry’s shoulders. Now that he can see Louis’ face again, Harry glances up.

For the second time, Louis eyes are wet and his cock is hard. Louis looks surprised, either from Harry rimming him or from how quickly he was able to get hard again, or perhaps a combination of the two. Harry wets his fingers with the saliva dripping down Louis’ crease and very gently pushes two fingers from his left hand into Louis’ hole.

Louis gasps as Harry seeks out his prostate again, rubbing when he finds it. Harry fingers him gently out of concern for Louis being sore, but his fingers are still insistent, ensuring that Louis is entirely overwhelmed by the feeling.

“Can you pour some of the lube into my other hand, Lou?” Harry asks.

Louis shivers as Harry thrusts his fingers over his prostate again, but nods and grabs the bottle of lube from where it was tossed beside them on the bed. He squeezes the liquid messily onto Harry’s right hand, which Harry then directs back onto Louis’ cock.

With one hand stroking Louis’ prostate and the other stroking Louis’ cock, Harry focuses the rest of his attention on watching Louis’ face. The man’s eyes are closed and he’s breathing heavily through his nose, restlessly moving his hips up into Harry’s fist and then back down onto Harry’s fingers.

“I love you, Louis,” Harry says, making sure to twist his hand slightly on the upstroke and brush his fingers against Louis’ prostate at the same time, and Louis makes a whimpering sound before coming messily onto Harry’s hand. Harry retrieves his fingers and shakes out his hand to relieve some cramping, and when he looks up, Louis is staring at him.

“Fuck my mouth,” Louis says, and Harry doesn’t need to be told twice. His cock is hard again, has been since Louis started writhing around on the bed on his fingers and tongue. Louis props himself up slightly against the pillows and Harry moves up to straddle his chest.

“Baby,” Harry says, and without further prompting, Louis wraps his lips around Harry’s cock and hums, nodding his head slightly to indicate to Harry that he’s ready.

Harry thrusts, slowly at first, just taking in the wet heat of Louis’ mouth, before he gets slightly rougher. Louis has excellent control of his gag reflex, only gagging slightly on particularly deep thrusts, and when Harry looks down, Louis’ eyes are closed.

“You okay, Lou?” Harry asks, wanting to make sure, and Louis pulls off his cock.

“I’m fine, I promise. If I’m not fine, I’ll pinch you in the arse, okay?”

Harry huffs a laugh, but it’s abruptly cut off when Louis takes him down again. He resumes his thrusts into Louis’ mouth as Louis kneads his arse cheeks, and it’s only another minute or so before he’s gasping out Louis’ name. The other man doesn’t pull off entirely, instead humming and moving back so that his lips are only wrapped around the head when Harry comes.

Harry looks down just in time to see Louis swallowing what he can of Harry’s release. Despite his best efforts, some of Harry’s come drips down his chin, and Harry’s going to die. This man, the love of his fucking life, is going to kill him.

Harry flops over onto his back on the bed next to Louis, smile on his face. Louis scoots until he’s lying down again, turning on his side to face Harry.

“You hired me under false pretenses,” Louis says, and Harry can tell he’s trying to make his voice sound stern.

“Maybe,” Harry replies, still looking at the ceiling with a smile on his face. He finally turns his head to look at Louis. “Are you telling me that you really thought you were a reasonable choice as my bodyguard?”

Louis huffs slightly, turning on his back and breaking eye contact with Harry. “Alright, so I may have been a bit suspicious. I also have a sixth sense and I can say with 99.9 percent certainty that you were staring at my arse when I walked out of that interview.” Harry laughs. Louis isn’t wrong.

Louis continues. “Honestly, I thought I was going to be laughed out without even talking to you at all. I had been applying to jobs for weeks and I was desperate, sending my resume to anyone who was hiring. When I got the call that you had actually hired me, I spent the first ten seconds thinking it was a joke, and then I thought that it was possible you had just liked me and hated all the other options. It didn’t seem like you really wanted a bodyguard anyway.”

“I didn’t,” Harry says. He hadn’t wanted to hire a bodyguard at all, and now, a couple of months later, his bodyguard is lying next to him on the bed, sated and happy and in love.

“It was pretty obvious that you wanted to date me from the first day, honestly, and I couldn’t force myself to mind. I liked you too, and I wanted to help you if I could. Not that you actually let me do my job most of the time.”

Harry leans over and kisses Louis on the lips and then the forehead. “Couldn’t let anything happen to you,” He says softly, brushing Louis’ sweaty fringe off his forehead.

Louis rolls his eyes. “I was supposed to be making sure nothing happened to you, you curly-haired twat.” He mostly just sounds fond. “Now, come on, we’re showering.” Louis gets up and trots into the bathroom, giving Harry a nice eyeful of his bum.

“You’re calling room service for fresh sheets and then changing them yourself when we’re done showering, by the way,” Louis calls out, and Harry can hear him turning the tap on. “I’m the one who did all the work during our sexual escapades tonight, so it’s the least you can do.”

Harry glares in the general direction of the bathroom. “Actually, I did all the work,” he mutters to himself.

Still, he strips the bed before following Louis to the shower.

 

*

 

“So, about those lies you told me in the interview,” Harry begins casually, cracking the eggs over the pan and then glancing over at Louis.

Louis is perched on the island, small hands wrapped around a mug of tea, looking sleep rumbled and adorable. He’s wearing a pair of Harry’s boxers and one of Harry’s jumpers. Harry has never seen a more appealing sight.

“I’ve never told a lie in my life,” Louis says, taking another sip and examining his nails, which are peeking out from the long sleeves of the jumper.

Harry stares at him until he glances up.

“Alright, I may have stretched the truth slightly. Not on every point though! For example, I am very loud and capable of intimidating with my voice.”

“Two years of Jui Jitsu?” Harry asks, eyebrows quirked as he scoops the eggs up and places them on the tray beside a pile of toast and bacon. He grabs two plates from the cupboard and places them on the tray as well — the finishing touches on a rather admirable breakfast in bed, if he does say so himself.

When Louis hops off the counter and knocks his hip against Harry’s, Harry just wraps his arm around Louis’ waist and kisses him on the forehead. He picks up the tray and begins the trek to the bedroom, Louis trailing slightly behind him. Harry can hear his sock feet dragging on the wood floors.

“My ex-boyfriend did Jui Jitsu and I watched him practice sometimes. I really felt like I had a good understanding of many of the positions...especially because my ex would sometimes try them in bed.”

Harry shoots a glare in Louis’s direction as he sets the tray down on the bedside table. “No breakfast for you,” he says, fully aware that he’s pouting as he settles down and scoops some of the food off the tray and onto his plate.

Louis laughs and plucks a piece of bacon off Harry’s plate, eating it and then sensually licking the grease off his fingers. Harry feels his cock stirring, and the look in Louis’ eyes indicates that he knows it.

Louis pats Harry’s knee, smirking. “I’ve only got eyes for you nowadays, babe, and you know it. As your white knight, your protector...“ Harry cuts Louis off with a hand over his mouth.

“Don’t say another word.” Harry says. He moves his plate off the bed before rolling on top of Louis. He settles in between his open thighs, holds Louis’ scruffy jaw in his hands, and kisses him.

Louis leans into the kiss, and Harry can feel his smile. “I love you,” Louis whispers against his lips, and Harry can’t stop the huge smile that comes over his face. Is this going to be his reaction every time he hears those three words? Probably. Harry rolls his hips and watches Louis’ eyes close, hips bucking involuntarily.

“And I love you,” Harry says, leaning down to kiss Louis again just as Louis moves his hand down the front of Harry’s pants. And just like that, breakfast in bed is forgotten.

 

*

 

The night of the UK premiere marks the second-to-last promotional event for Something Great, as all of Harry’s interviews have aired or were pre-filmed to air in the next couple of weeks. After this, the only thing left to do is fly to the United States for the premiere in New York City, but as Harry’s family won’t be in attendance for that, he considers tonight more important.

When Harry and Louis informed their families and friends that they were dating, it was embarrassing how few people were surprised. Harry’s family was thrilled, particularly because they could finally openly tease Harry about hiring a fake bodyguard just because he was cute. Gemma had actually called Louis herself just to laugh about Harry for nearly an hour, and Louis had ignored Harry pouting in the other room during the entirety of the conversation.

James, Zayn, Perrie, and the rest of the cast just laughed and congratulated them, as they were happy to see Louis and Harry finally admitting their feelings for each other. James had even pulled Harry aside after the news to say, “About time, Harold. If you didn’t snatch him up by the time of the premiere, I was going to reveal your feelings for him myself. You never know, maybe Louis and I would have been the ones riding off into the sunset if that had happened.” Harry had glared at James for that comment, but James just chuckled before wandering off to call his wife.

Harry informed Liam of the news over the phone, and Liam had simply responded by saying, “Fucking finally. Now can you hire a bodyguard that doesn’t look like a hedgehog both in size and hair style?” Louis had smacked Liam on the arm for that comment the next time he saw him. Niall had been waiting for them to get together since the first day as well, and he expressed genuine happiness when he heard the news. Niall adores Louis almost as much as Harry does (well, maybe not quite that much), so he was thrilled to have an excuse to spend more time with him. Harry has come to terms with the fact that everyone seems to be obsessed with his boyfriend, and he probably would be jealous if he weren’t so obsessed with Louis himself.

The best reaction by far had come from Alberto. Harry and Louis had told him when they were out shopping with Zayn one afternoon, and he had stared straight at the couple before saying with no inflection, “Wow, I’m shocked that your relationship went in this direction. I thought that Harry had hired Louis for his intimidating physique and bodyguard prowess.” Louis had elbowed Harry in the gut when he laughed out loud, but Louis started laughing himself a few seconds later when Alberto couldn’t maintain a straight face any longer.

Now, as Harry and Louis take their seats at the UK premiere, a photographer immediately approaches and asks to take Harry’s photo. Harry leans wraps his arm around Louis’ shoulders, making it clear that he wants both of them in the photograph, and Louis smiles at him and before turning toward the camera. After the flash blinds them a sufficient number of times, the photographer walks away to find some of the other cast members, and Louis leans in close to kiss Harry’s cheek.

“Love you,” he whispers, “and I’m so proud of you.” Harry’s chest feels tight, and he marvels at how far they’ve come in the few short months that they’ve known each other. He’s so lucky.

The lights start to dim, so Harry quickly turns to Louis and whispers, “Love you too.” Louis makes a big show of shushing him, but he also grabs Harry’s hand and holds it tightly.

When it comes to box office numbers, Harry feels confident that Something Great will not let them down. When it comes to award season, many months down the line, Harry has no idea what the future holds for him or for this film. Regardless of what happens after today, however, Harry knows that he’ll be okay. It feels like he’s already winning.

 

*

 

Soon after Something Great opens around the world to raving reviews and huge box office numbers, Harry’s training for Dunkirk picks up. Mark has been making every day’s training into something resembling a day at boot camp, and while Harry is in the best shape of his life, he is also the most exhausted he’s ever been.

A couple of weeks after the premiere, Harry arrives home from the gym around dinnertime. He finds Louis sitting in the kitchen with eating Chinese takeout, and Harry can tell from the crunching sound he hears coming from the corner that Banana is munching away at her own dinner.

Harry walks over and kisses Louis on the forehead before grabbing the two remaining containers and sitting down across from his boyfriend. He’s absolutely starving, so he starts eating immediately

“How’d it go today, babe?” Louis asks, digging his chopstick in for another noodle.

“Good. I’ll be able to keep up with the best of them on set and I think Nolan will be pleased, so that’s what really matters. What time did Jay head home?” Harry asks. Louis’ mum had been visiting for the last couple of days, as she hadn’t gotten to see her son in a while and she wanted to meet his new boyfriend.

“She left soon after you headed to the gym. She texted me when she got home and said she adores you, so stop worrying,” Louis says, sounding exasperated. Harry may have been a bit worried about it, but to be fair, Louis told his mum that Harry hired him to be a bodyguard without ever intending for him to act as a bodyguard. Their love story is a bit of an unconventional one, so Harry just wanted to make sure that Jay approved of him. He’s glad she did.

Harry and Louis finish up their dinner fairly quickly, and Louis gets up to sort the leftovers into containers in the fridge. When he finishes, Harry stands up and opens his arms for Louis to walk into. Louis looks extremely soft and worthy of a cuddle, dressed in black sweatpants and a gray sweatshirt. Harry runs his hands down Louis’ back gently, moaning appreciatively when Louis gently scratches his scalp while they hug.

“Mmmm you smell good,” Louis says before leaning back slightly and pecking Harry on the lips.

“I showered before I left the gym,” Harry explains, and Louis leans in for another kiss instead of responding.

The kiss deepens quickly, as Harry and Louis are both feeling the effects of withdrawal from each other after several days trying to reign in their public displays of affection in front of Jay. Harry licks into Louis’ mouth and runs his hands down Louis’ back again, moving down to rest them on his arse over the sweatpants. When Louis hums appreciatively, Harry gets a little more daring and slips his hands underneath the material to squeeze his bum.

Harry freezes.

“Louis,” he says, leaning back from the kiss slightly. “What are you wearing underneath these sweatpants?”

Louis pulls out of the embrace and smirks at Harry before turning away, leaning against the kitchen counter and pretending to look through the post that had been delivered earlier that day. Louis is living with Harry only unofficially (for now), so there isn’t even anything addressed to him. Harry knows he’s just stalling.

Harry crowds up behind him, resting his hands on Louis’ hips, before leaning down to reach his ear. “Please, Lou,” Harry says, and watches when Louis shivers.

“Why don’t you find out for yourself?” Louis replies, still pretending to flip through envelopes.

Harry certainly doesn’t need to be told twice. He pulls Louis’ sweatpants down slowly, fighting the urge to just rip them off his body. He has an idea of what he’s about to see, but nothing could possibly prepare him for the sight.

Louis is wearing black lace panties. Louis, Harry’s boyfriend and the love of his life, is standing in his kitchen wearing panties beneath sweatpants. He has been wearing them the entire time, eating his Chinese food casually next to Harry as though nothing at all was happening. Panties. Black panties. Jesus Christ.

Louis’ sweatpants hit the floor, and Harry just stares at the sight before him. Louis’ bum was made for this. Harry isn’t sure that you can get panties custom fitted, but they might as well have been for how good they look stretching across his plump cheeks, just enough of his tan skin showing through the fabric.

“Louis,” he breathes, and Louis finally turns around, lifting his feet to step out of the sweatpants that are now pooled at his ankles. Harry is staring, he knows he is and he also knows that it’s rude, but he can’t help it and he’s pretty sure that Louis intended for this anyway. Louis pulls his sweatshirt and t-shirt up and over his head, tossing them on the ground beside the sweatpants.

Harry dives in to kiss him and Louis almost immediately moans at the sensation of his rapidly hardening cock brushing against Harry’s body, who remains fully clothed in a clean pair of gym shorts and his own sweatshirt. Harry is only able to kiss him for a few minutes before he flips Louis around, Louis immediately bending his body slightly to lean on the countertop again.

Harry drops to his knees and kisses the center of Louis’ back just above his bum before moving his lips onto each lower back dimple, pressing wet kisses there as well. Harry can hear Louis panting, and he’s glad. Louis deserves to be teased after he sat there in panties for over half and hour while Harry unsuspectingly ate Chinese food right beside him.

Harry pushes the lace down into Louis’ crack slightly, and he can feel Louis tense in anticipation. Instead of moving immediately to where Louis wants him, however, Harry just sucks a love bite onto part of his arse cheek that isn’t covered by lace. Louis’ legs are already shaking slightly when he finishes, so Harry presses a kiss to the reddened mark before finally moving and flicking his tongue against Louis’ hole through the fabric.

Louis moans immediately, pushing his arse back toward Harry’s face. Harry continues his ministrations over the lace, licking as thoroughly as he can with limited access. After a few minutes, Harry turns Louis around, and there’s something about seeing him nearly naked and vulnerable right there in the kitchen while a fully clothed Harry lavishes attention on him. There’s just something about it.

Louis’ cock is hard and poking out the top of the panties. It looks wet at the tip, but Harry moves slowly upwards, beginning by pressing wet, open-mouthed kisses to the bottom of his length. Harry gently massages Louis’ balls through the fabric while he moves his mouth upward, and when he finally reaches the head of Louis’ cock where it pokes out above the panties, he gives it a single kitten lick.

“Please, Harry, let’s move to the living room, please,” Louis pleads, and when Harry looks up, he can see that Louis looks thoroughly debauched and desperate. He’s always the most beautiful thing Harry has ever seen.

“Living room instead of the bedroom?” Harry asks as he stands up, and Louis nods frantically. Harry leans in to kiss him, and when Louis clings to him, Harry decides to wrap a large hand around Louis’ thigh and pull it up towards his hip. Louis understands well enough by now what Harry wants and hops up, allowing Harry to grab him securely under the bum while he wraps his legs around Harry’s waist. Harry may have a thing for picking Louis up, but Louis also secretly has a thing for being picked up, so it works out nicely.

Harry spends the minute it takes to get to the living room appreciating Louis’ arse in the panties because he plans on them being removed very soon. As expected, Harry pulls them off as soon as he lays Louis down on the sofa and then goes for his own clothes, stripping off his clean workout clothes quickly and tossing them aside.

Harry tries to take a moment to appreciate Louis spread out on the sofa naked, but Louis starts tugging his cock and Harry can’t resist anymore. He lies between Louis’ open legs and immediately kisses his lips again. Harry always finds it very difficult to stay away from Louis’ mouth.

When their cocks slide together, Louis whimpers, and Harry wills himself not to come premature. Everything that has happened since he realized Louis was wearing panties has been a shock to his system, and Harry isn’t sure how long he’s going to be able to last long after that sight.

“What’s the special occasion?” Harry asks, wondering why Louis decided to wear lace for Harry when they haven’t discussed it previously and when Harry wasn’t even aware that Louis had owned panties.

“My boyfriend is a big film star, you know, and he works hard,” Louis says, just as Harry feels his small hand grip his cock. Harry can’t stop himself from moaning slightly when Louis thumbs at the head, spreading precome in a slow circle. Louis ignores him and continues talking while he strokes Harry slowly. “Not to mention the fact that he helped entertain my mum for several days without complaining once. I thought he needed a reward,” Louis says, and Harry can’t help but lean in to kiss him again.

Harry moves down to mouth at Louis’ neck, leaving the love bites he wanted to leave during Jay’s visit. Louis moans softly at the feeling, and that’s when Harry feels Louis’ hand leave his cock. Louis reaches over and grabs a bottle of lube on the floor by the sofa, which is clearly why Louis wanted to come to the living room rather than bothering to go all the way to the bedroom.

Once Louis has the lube in his hand, he pushes gently at Harry’s chest until Harry moves off of him and ends up on his knees between Louis’ spread legs. Louis squeezes a generous amount of lube onto his fingers, and Harry watches as he moves his hand, ignoring his cock in favor of slipping a finger between his cheeks. Harry has a front row view as Louis gently strokes around his hole, spreading the lube.

“Baby,” Harry says, feeling split between wanting to finger Louis himself and wanting to watch Louis’ dainty fingers open himself up for Harry’s cock.

“Nope,” Louis says as he smoothly slides the first finger in and wiggles it around slightly. “Just watch.”

So Harry does. He watches when Louis adds a second finger, sliding it in beside the first. He watches Louis turn himself on more and more, moaning softly and moving his other hand to twist at his nipples while he fingers himself. He watches Louis add the third finger and grow more and more frustrated at the uncomfortable angle, which prevents him from moving his fingers very deep. He watches Louis make no attempt to stop Harry from squeezing some lube onto his own fingers, and he watches Louis’ face change when Harry gently slides his own pointer finger in beside Louis’ smaller ones.

Harry gently tugs Louis’ fingers out with his other hand and adds a second finger, maneuvering them deeper than Louis was able to reach himself. Louis lets out a choked moan when Harry finds his prostate, and by that point, Louis is open enough for Harry to add a third finger without much hesitation. He immediately brushes up against Louis’ prostate, triggering a loud moan.

Louis clambers up then, sliding off Harry’s fingers. Harry is confused for a second, but Louis immediately straddles Harry’s lap and directs Harry’s fingers back toward his hole. Harry pushes them back inside Louis’ arse while he slides his tongue into Louis’ mouth, and while the last fifteen minutes were great, this — the best of both worlds, access to Louis’ mouth and Louis’ arse — is even better.

Harry fingers Louis gently and kisses him sweetly until Louis starts riding his fingers in earnest, clearly desperate for more. When Harry slides his fingers out for the second time, he barely has time to smear the remaining lube all over his achingly hard cock before Louis is sliding down on it.

“Fuck, baby,” Harry grunts when Louis bottoms out quickly, and Louis throws his head back and whimpers at the feeling of being filled up again by something bigger than Harry’s fingers, something better. Harry moves his hands to grip each of Louis’ arse cheeks and spreads them, directing all of Louis’ attention to where their bodies are joined.

Louis rides Harry like he has something to prove, even though he doesn’t, even though he never has. He’s working his legs to the max, and Harry has a feeling he’ll be carrying Louis around out of necessity more than desire tomorrow. Louis begins to circles his hips on Harry’s lap, and Harry can tell the exact second when Harry’s cock grazes Louis’ prostate because Louis’ fingers dig deeper into his shoulders where they were already clutching desperately.

“Yeah?” Harry asks, just to be sure, and Louis nods, attacking Harry’s mouth again as Harry starts thrusting up to meet Louis’ movements, aiming for the spot he had hit before. His efforts seem to be successful, as Louis keeps breaking the kiss to whimper or moan.

“So good, Harry, oh my god,” Louis moans, and Harry responds by gently pushing Louis off his lap and down so he’s lying on his back again. Harry moves with him, keeping them joined as they slip effortlessly into the new position with Harry’s hands holding him up from either side of Louis’ head and Louis’s legs wrapped securely around Harry’s back. Now, Harry has full control of his thrusts, slamming his cock into the spot that makes Louis’ back arch.

They’re both sweaty and panting, and Harry isn’t even sure how he’s lasted this long, but he knows it’s going to be over soon. “I love you,” he says, and starts nailing Louis faster and harder than before.

Louis is clutching Harry’s arms so tightly that Harry knows it’s going to bruise, and he fucking loves it, the way he can turn Louis into a shivering mess during sex. Louis is always a force to be reckoned with, loud and obnoxious and lovely, but the second that Harry gets inside him, he surrenders control and lets himself go, trusting Harry to take care of him. And Harry does, he always does, and he always will.

Maybe Harry should expect it based on the fact that Louis seems out of his mind with pleasure, but he doesn’t. Harry pushes in hard one more time, and the only warning he receives is Louis tightening impossibly further around his cock before Louis comes hard, completely untouched, come splattering on his stomach.

“Oh my god,” Harry says as he presses in deep, waiting for Louis to finish coming before he pulls out. When Harry has his dick in his hand, he looks at Louis stretched out underneath him. Louis is panting, eyes only half open as he watches Harry jerk off, and he looks absolutely gorgeous covered in sweat and his own come. Harry hasn’t really thought through where he is going to aim when he comes, but Louis looks down at his own tummy and raises his eyebrows. After that, it’s only a handful of strokes before Harry releasing, adding to the mess on Louis’ stomach.

Harry immediately drops down, supporting his weight with his elbows on either side of Louis’ head. They both just lie there for a few minutes, catching their breath without speaking. When Harry finally pulls back slightly, Louis smiles at him and pouts his lips, clearly trying to goad Harry into kissing him. It works, of course, because Harry is easy for Louis. Harry kisses him thoroughly, nipping on his bottom lip and then immediately soothing the sting with his tongue.

When they lean back to take a breath, Louis finally returns Harry’s sentiment from the heat of the moment. “Love you too,” he says, smile in his voice, and Harry laughs.

“You love the orgasms I give you, more like,” and he’s joking, of course, but Louis responds by smearing a hand through the mess of come and wiping it off on Harry’s chest and abs. Harry just rolls his eyes, unperturbed despite how disgusting and sticky he is now.

“I love you, and I love the orgasms you give me. There’s room in my heart for both,” Louis says, and Harry decides to shut him up by kissing him again. Louis pulls back after a few seconds, however, as he apparently has something else to add. “I also love that it’s your turn to get a wet flannel and clean us up.”

Harry groans and rolls off Louis so he can stand back up.

“I’m pretty sure it was my turn last time, and the time before that, and the time before that, actually,” Harry says as he walks toward the loo. He hasn’t made it out of the room when he feels something hit his back. When he glances down, he sees that Louis threw the panties at him.

“I wore panties for you,” is all Louis says, and Harry looks down at the lace fondly before turning back toward Louis. Louis is sprawled out on the sofa and smiling.

“Yeah, you did,” Harry says, waggling his eyebrows. “And I bet that’s not the only pair you purchased, baby.”

Louis huffs and turns on his side to face the back of the sofa, giving Harry a great view of his arse. Louis doesn’t deny it though, which is as good as confirmation. That thought alone is enough to motivate Harry go fetch the flannel yet again without further complaint.

 

*

 

Harry’s entire body feels like jello. After spending a four hour session at the gym training for Dunkirk, he had planned to do nothing more than collapse face first into his bed and sleep straight through until the next day. Instead, he walks into the house and is immediately greeted by the sight of Louis happily munching on cereal while watching footie.

Louis takes one look at Harry before putting his bowl of cereal down on the coffee table and motioning for Harry to sit next to him on the sofa. He gives Harry an hour-long massage, small fingers gently prodding at every knot in Harry’s shoulders and back until Harry feels like he’ll never move again.

He only gets a few minutes to recover from the glorious massage before Louis is pushing him toward the other end of the sofa and propping his feet up on Harry’s lap. Harry rubs at them absently while Louis raves about some of the positive reviews he had read about Something Great.

“So basically, everyone is obsessed with you and you’re going to win an Oscar,” Louis concludes, wiggling his toes excitedly in Harry’s lap.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we?” Harry replies, but he’s smiling. Louis is the most supportive person Harry could ever have hoped to find, and Harry feels so grateful for that.

Louis rolls his eyes, muttering under his breath about how Harry will be eating his words when award season starts.

Harry ignores him. “Now that this whole bodyguard thing has fallen apart and we’ve established that we’re disgustingly in love and all that, what kind of job do you think you want? Obviously you can continue pretending to be my bodyguard for as long as you want, but Lou, you deserve to do something that you really enjoy.”

Louis hums, considering. He looks slightly nervous, and his eyes flit over to Harry’s face quickly before glancing away.

“I think I’d like to finally go back to school so I can become a drama teacher. I’ve always wanted that for my future, but it was never the right time. Now I have some savings from this job, my family is in a good place money-wise, and I have you supporting me every step of the way.” Harry opens his mouth to add something, but Louis cuts him off. “No, Harry, you’re not paying for my schooling. I meant supporting me emotionally, not financially.”

Harry closes his mouth again. He will definitely be paying for Louis’ schooling, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Instead, he tickles Louis’ feet slightly and smiles. “That sounds perfect, Louis. I’m so happy for you,” Harry says, and he means it. Louis deserves the best things in life and he deserves to do exactly what he wants to do. Louis is better than the odd jobs he’s been doing to make ends meet without ever enjoying them. He loves acting and he loves children, so Harry is certain that Louis will be an incredible drama teacher.

Louis’ face lights up, and Harry can tell how long he’s wanted this. Louis will be pursuing his dreams just like Harry has been lucky enough to do over the past five years.

Louis moves his feet out of Harry’s lap before just crawling across the sofa and straddling him. Louis wraps his arms around Harry’s neck and kisses him deeply. It’s the kind of kiss couples that have been together for years give each other — there is nothing particularly sensual about it, yet it somehow demonstrates a level of intimacy that Harry never felt during any of his previous relationships. Harry can’t wait to kiss Louis like that forever.

Louis pulls back a bit, wiggling his bum until he’s more comfortably seated in Harry’s lap.

“Want me to tell you about our future?” Louis says, eyes crinkling as he smiles. Harry nods, setting his hands on Louis’ waist before focusing his attention on whatever his boyfriend plans to say next.

“You’re going to continue making amazing films. I’m going to get a degree and become a drama teacher. Whenever you’re filming while school is still in session, you’ll have to make sure you come back to London to visit me as much as possible because I expect to be dicked on a regular basis.” Harry laughs, but Louis puts a hand over his mouth before continuing. “During the summers, I’m going to go to you – wherever you’re filming or doing promo. We’re going to travel the world together and we’re going to make the most of every second.”

Harry feels like his heart is going to burst, he’s so happy, but Louis isn’t finished yet.

“You’re going to win so many awards – Golden Globes, Oscars, the whole lot. My kids are going to nominate me for teacher of the year every single year. I’m going to have the kids put on productions, especially Grease, and you’re going to come to every single one so you can see how talented they are. I’m going to walk the red carpets with you. You’re going to come talk to my students about acting and following their dreams.” Louis’ eyes look shiny. Harry feels a tickle in the back of his throat that sometimes means he’s going to cry himself. It’s just allergies, probably.

“And then one day, when we have kids and you want to make fewer films, we’re going to open a school of acting in London. Maybe one for impoverished kids – kids who might not get a chance to do what they love otherwise. We’re going to teach them everything we know. We’re going to do that while we watch our own kids grow up and start their own lives, pursue their own dreams. And it’s going to be amazing.”

Harry has no choice but to kiss him after that, leaning in and capturing Louis’ mouth with his, using his fingertips to gently wipe the dampness from around Louis’ eyes before wiping it from his own. They kiss for several minutes, only stopping to breathe against each other’s mouths.

Finally, Harry leans back and smiles at Louis.

“That was a pretty good description of our future, I think. We’re going to do all that and more. You did forget two of the most important parts though.”

Louis raises his eyebrows, looking skeptical. Harry leans in to kiss him again, whispering the next words against his lips.

“Through all of that, our entire future, we’re going to be so in love. We’re going be so happy.”

And they will.

*