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Sitting alone in his dormitory was what Harry does the majority of his time since he stepped foot onto Southampton University.

It’s tedious, mainly because he has heaps of book work to do almost every week. He signed up for it, however. Harry wanted to be a medical caregiver; he planned to be that guardian somebody can depend on with their loved one. He wanted to make the ill feel more comfortable with doctor visits and such; he also wanted a financially stable life ahead of him. So examining and re-composing notes was what he’d been doing, and yes, maybe Harry ought to have set aside time for his mates, but it was hard. Harry was only trying to get comfortable and find a routine that worked, and well, it had been nearly four weeks.

His timetable was all over the place, with morning classes that seem to take up the greater part of the day, to evenings spent preparing for what was to come the next day. He was just mentally fatiguing himself, but it was ok.

On his laptop, Harry was typing away the notes he took amid that morning's lecture. Maybe he shouldn’t be so ambitious and re-write his notes two times over, but he signed up for this. Harry knew when he got to university he needed to crack down on everything and focus on bettering his future. Presently, the only thing Harry needed to work on, besides a decent grade point average, was his friendship with Niall and Ed.

Those two boys have been with Harry through thick and thin, since they were just little lads. Honestly, Harry was quite surprised when they both ended up getting accepted into Southampton. It was quite satisfying to his anxieties, because it meant that he would have at least someone he knew among the masses. Harry had never been great with making new friends, since he'd been so centered around his work more so than anything. Always been a good student, and never got sucked into distractions. Ed and Niall seem to know their routes around his homebody lifestyle, however, and were always convincing him to attempt new things. Harry was just glad they’ve stuck around this long.

The split in halls here at Uni may divide them, but Harry’s just glad he can talk to them in person instead of over the phone. You see, Niall and Harry were situated at Bencraft Hall, and Ed was at Highfield Hall. It’d had been tough, especially when Niall tried to drag Harry out to meet up with Ed to hit up some parties, and Harry hadn’t been coming with. If anything, Ed was coming to him, and that made Harry feel like a shit friend.

A moment later there was a loud noise coming from his door and an all too familiar Irish accent cursing at someone out in the corridor.

“You can come in, Nialler.” Harry shouted, closing his tablet, and concealing it under his bed. Niall came in and let out a huff, crossed his arms, and looked at him.

“You’re coming to this party tonight, Harry,” Niall remarked. “It’s time to break down that barrier and make some friends.” No, just no. Niall knew how essential Harry’s studies were to him, and, well Harry couldn’t bear the cost of going to parties or futile occasions in his first semester. He mentioned both of his mates that the first semester was off limits.

“Again, no,” Harry hissed, crossing his arms. “I made it pretty clear this morning where I’m at on the whole, ‘illicit party schemes’ you attend.” Harry didn’t want to go hang out with a bunch of stoners and drunks. It wasn’t his scene.

“For the love of Pete, Harry. It’s not going to kill you to at least try to come out tonight. I mean, I could use a wingman tonight, since Ed won’t help for shit.” Ah yes, the classic wingman scheme. Niall had this infatuation with a fellow peer that he’d been talking to at these parties, but Harry had yet to meet him. Or see him for the latter. Harry wondered if the guy was even worth it since Niall’s priorities with Uni lay elsewhere other than in his books.

“Just try talking to Ed again. Tell him it’s a crisis.” Harry recommended.

“You’re my best mate though, Harry. Can’t you at least do this for me?” Niall asked, pleadingly, “Instead of being cooped up in your room studying the night away and driving yourself to mental exhaustion.” Well, Niall was making a reasonable point, but either way, Harry just couldn’t abandon his studies. It would not be proper.

“I can’t, Niall. My notes… I have to finish my notes.” Maybe Harry was making excuses, but he seriously didn’t have the energy to party that night. Especially since he’d get abandoned once Niall got sucked into this bloke, and Harry left alone bored out of his mind. Ed would also probably leave Harry to chat up some ladies or get high off his arse with the stoners.

“Notes can wait. We don't have class tomorrow, right?” Niall questioned.

Niall was really making this difficult for Harry to come up with excuses, he really was.

“No, but you know how much I stressed how important studies are to me, I’ll lighten up a little come semester two.” Harry knew that was an empty promise, but at least it was something to get Niall off his back, hopefully.

“You keep making excuses,” Niall said, shaking his head. “I promise it’ll be fun, and your notes will be there when you get back. Hell, I’ll even leave you alone tomorrow so you can study all you want.” He was making this so hard to refuse, Niall’s promising him if he comes with him tonight then he’d be left alone. Harry knows Niall does stick to his word often and maybe he should just go and meet Niall’s love interest.
Harry wasn’t even sure if this was a good idea though, beyond any doubt, the thought of unwinding a little sounded nice, though, and the fact he would be left alone to study all day tomorrow. He knew he should just go and hang out tonight to help balance out his friendships, because if he doesn’t make time for Niall or Ed then he would lose his two best mates, but it was hard. The thought of slipping up after one infraction made Harry nervous because that would be just asking for a snowball effect. Which Harry really couldn't afford.

Harry ran his fingers through his tangled mess of chocolate curls and taking a deep breath. “Fine. I’ll come to your party or whatever it is.” Harry responded slowly, giving him a pained look. “I swear to god if you ditch me, Niall.” Harry scolded, squeezing his eyebrows together. Harry wished he could get out of this, but he could try to at least have a decent time tonight for Niall.

“Relax. Don’t be so cheeky, you’ll have fun. Meet new people and who knows, maybe you might meet a cute bloke.” Niall teased, and Harry just swatted the air to that.

The last thing Harry needed to think about was boys or anything to do with the whole dating thing. He didn’t have time for it, nor the motivation to hop into a relationship. When it happens, it will happen.

“Anyway, I suppose I could leave you alone to your mundane activities, until later, when I come get you when the real fun starts.” Niall informed and grinning afterward.

“Alright, Niall,” Harry replied, in a sharp tone.

Niall shook his head, and soon he was out the door, leaving Harry alone and wondering why he even agreed. Harry shouldn’t have caved in, but being the good friend that he is, he got sucked into saying yes.

Of course.

When it rolled into the evening hours after Harry spent as much of the day as he could studying, Harry was trying on different garments. He didn’t have much, yet he wanted to look somewhat nice. Not that he was trying to impress anyone or anything, he just had certain standards, not because of the possibility of cute blokes being there.

“Short sleeve button down or basic long sleeved Henley?” Harry asked himself in his full-length mirror, putting the bits of clothing up to his bare torso. He’d been staring at his reflection for the past half hour, wondering what the hell he was going to wear. Garments were heaping into piles around his bare feet, and Harry was having a mini crisis.

This was such a task, and Harry was about to message Niall to cancel all plans, just because he couldn’t pair a fucking top to his skinny dark wash denim trousers. This was a nightmare, and he also wasn’t sure how he was even going to style his hair, or what cologne to put on. Okay, so maybe Harry was putting way more effort into this than he originally planned. However, it was his first real outing since he’d been at Uni. Harry didn’t want to be known as a slob or anything, he cared only enough to give off the impression that he had his life together.

Harry finally settled on the button up and slipped it over his head. He was also not too sure if he wanted to wear his hair up in a bun, wear it down, or wear sunglasses as a headband. Such a stressful task.

Harry squeezed his lips together and felt a snugness in his chest thanks to this nonsense. He eventually just decides to screw it, wear his bloody hair down and forget the rest of the details. This was good enough, it’s not like he had to dress to the nines or wear anything extravagant to a ball or something. It was just a casual party, and there was no need to worry about what to wear or anything, for that matter.

“Harry!” Niall hollered, pounding at his door before just barging right in without even getting the ‘okay.’ Typical.

“It’s a mess in here,” Harry rolled his eyes at that more than palpable statement.

“Clearly,” Harry said.

“Lighten up.” It was getting hard just to ‘lighten up,’. “I'm guessing you’re taking the party a little more serious now that your room is a complete pig sty.” Niall teased with a chuckle. “Not that it’s a bad thing, just glad to see you put effort into it is all.” Harry didn’t know what kind of effort Niall thought he put into it; he would just love to know.

“Anyway, when are we leaving and when can I finally meet this boy that you always talk about?” Harry asked, slipping on his shoes, and getting his essentials for the night.

“Soon, and we’re walking to Ed’s hall and then his friend Nick is giving us a ride to the private accommodations.” That all sounds excessive, for Harry’s liking. They were hitching a ride with Ed’s mate, and that didn’t settle well with Harry.

This guy could be a murderer in disguise, for all they know.

Why couldn’t the three of them arrive alone without any followers?

Harry just shook his head as they ventured out to walk for a while as the night cast over. Niall talked his ear off about this boy for nearly fifteen minutes. From how gorgeous the guy is, to what a barney badass he is. Saying he's in the Fashion and Textile design program of year three. Apparently, this guy was into the whole smoking and drinking scene, oh, and not to mention that he’s more than likely a fuckboy too, and Harry was kind of worried for Niall’s sanity.

He didn’t want to shoot down Niall’s hopes, though, he never would.

Harry could genuinely tell Niall liked this bloke because the way Niall was always talking about him with an accompanying blush. Harry just wished this bloke was worth it, and that he would not be a walking heart breaker. Niall didn’t deserve that, he deserved the best.

“You must really like him,” Harry mentioned, shoving his hands into his pockets as he strolled along the walkway with Niall. “What’s his name, I think I forgot to ask.” Harry kind of felt bad that he never got a name from Niall. From past experience, Harry was always the first to know everything, because Niall would gush to Harry about all these guys he’s liked, to his ex-boyfriends, before they were his exes. It was probably because Harry's been so sucked into his own little world, and thus felt awful.

“Harry, I’ve told you millions of time already. Obviously, you weren’t listening.”.

“Not my fault you talked to me when I was hammering out book work, you should have known better,” Harry retorted.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Niall sighed, “His name's Zayn.”.

“Now that I know his name, I just need to see him up close and read his ‘I’m out of your league’ radar.” Harry jested. He felt a hard fist collide against his arm, and yet Harry just smirked.

“Looks like I’m not the only one who needs to lighten up.” Harry teased with a grin. “I’m only giving you a hard time; I’m sure you're more than qualified to date him, Niall,”

“Let's just hope he likes me back, and then you would be one hell of a wing man,”

Harry doesn’t know why Niall thinks he will make one hell of a so-called wing man when himself never been lucky in the whole, dating department. He’s only ever had two boyfriends. Needless to say, those two blokes didn’t even last a month, because, apparently, Harry was too much of a prude. That was not really the case, but whatever, it was their loss, as Harry was not going to give up his constant streak of abstinence to the only lay in bed with the wrong bloke; he was much smarter than that. Harry was waiting specifically for the right guy, and, well, call him uptight, but that’s how it was.

Harry kept to himself after that comment as they continued on their way to Ed’s dorm, because his mind got all filled with his stupid past dating experience and why he’d been single. His academics were way more important, and the last thing he needed to do was sacrifice his precious time to spend with some guy that could waste everything away. Despite Niall’s, Ed’s and his mum’s wishes on him meeting someone, Harry was fine with being single. It’d been better off that way.

Luckily, it didn’t take too much longer till they were in Ed’s building, as they made their way down the long corridors filled with students, and eventually found the door they need. Ed’s hall wasn’t that bad, substantially more students among the halls; part catered rooms, which were probably really nice compared to what Niall and Harry had, and not to mention that a lot more seemed to be going on. It was not so quiet here though, and Harry was just glad he picked out the right hall.

Harry knocked on the door three times until the door swung open, Ed stood there already ready to hit the road with some guy standing beside him. Some guy Harry’s never seen before, but Harry wasn’t too surprised, since they more than likely probably won't ever cross paths again, depending on their area of studies. Not to mention the fact that he looked a little older. Maybe a year three student or four, if that.

“Harry, glad to see you finally cut away from the books, mate,” Ed mentioned moving to the let the two of them in the room.

“Yeah, be happy Niall persuaded me properly, or else I wouldn’t be joining.” Harry crossed his arms.

“Well anyway, this is my friend Nick.” Ed mentioned, nodding to the guy beside him that looked a little older than the rest of them. Stylish, quite handsome, and Harry’s sure he’s seen his face before around the grounds at some point in the past few weeks.

“Hello, name's Nick Grimshaw,“ Nick held out his hand.

Harry's eyes darted down to his hand for a minute before taking it and shaking it delicately. Well, at least Nick’s proper.

“Harry. Harry Styles,” he told Nick, then moved his hand to runs his fingers through his hair. “You look a little old to be a year one student,” Harry commented and Nick just laughs.

“I’m a year four in the natural sciences program. Last year here, thank heavens.” Nick answered, and Harry just nodded. “So, since I take it you’re a year one, you have a lot to learn tonight, young Harry.” Nick teased, and Harry just rolled his eyes.

“I’m nineteen, not a child.” he snapped back, and Nick quirked a brow.

“Alright, alright, enough. Harry relax.” Niall cut in and patted him on his back. “You need to chill out and make friends not enemies. Sheesh.” Niall said, and it’s not Harry’s fault. Harry put his guard up because it’s better for him. He can be quite sensitive, and when Harry gets shoved off or anything along those lines, he takes it personally. So making new friends was quite hard for him. It’s mainly a trust issue other than certain things.

“Any who, how about we head out then,” Ed mentioned and Niall and Nick nodded, but not Harry. His hands just dropped to his sides as he followed them into the corridor. Harry was quiet when they passed fellow students meandering about, hearing Ed and Nick’s intricate conversation about some bloke that Nick’s friends with. That is apparently the biggest arsehole ever. Sleeping around like it a free meal and smoking marijuana like it’s a necessity. To Harry’s own opinion, he sounded like a dickhead, and he hadn't even met him.

Nick was saying something about this friend that hooked up with so and so and then slept with a different person the very next day. Then onto that one time when was high as a kite for almost two days straight because he ate more than two pot brownies. Needless to say, Harry knew to stay away from this guy for sure. This guy sounded like trouble, to be honest.

When they got to the car, Harry got into the backseat with Niall, and kept to himself once again. The car was a snug fit in the back considering his tallness, but it worked. What compensated for it was the tunes that Nick turned on. Nirvana always seemed to make any car ride bearable, and he was just thankful that there was someone else to enjoy great taste in music with.

Harry mainly looked out the window as they headed down the street, taking in the verses and melodies from the song Lithium. Maybe it eased him a bit, however, he was feeling sort of apprehensive about the party. Being around all those new faces and getting out of his comfort zone tonight was going to be tough, but he was sure he’d be okay. Just the whole making friends thing probably won’t happen. Never had been his strong suit.

Like what happened at Ed’s dormitory with Nick, for example.

So tonight would be a real challenge.

Harry watched as they passed all the lit up buildings and bungalows. He hoped and prayed that the night goes by fast enough, because he wasn’t sure how long he’d last. More than likely, Harry would be off alone sitting on a couch, sipping on iced water, and eavesdropping on drama around him. Like witnessing a failed hookup to someone making a complete fool of themselves.

The car suddenly had come to a stop in front of a house and Nick cutting the engine shortly after. Oddly enough, the house wasn’t even lit up, for one, and secondly, there were no other bloody cars around.

What was going on?

“Follow me,” Nick instructed, glancing back at the two boys in the rear view mirror. Harry felt kind of uneasy, to be honest. Hopefully, this wasn’t like a trick, and they’re not going to get jumped or something, If they do, then those fools are out of luck. He only had a tenner on him, and the rest stored in his lock boxes under his bed.

Harry followed Nick and his mates down the empty sidewalk; street lamps were illuminating the way, and cars parked were becoming more frequent around them. Harry noticed that the silhouettes of people were in the shadows when they got closer, and the sound of faint music blaring got louder with each step. Nick must have parked far, because of either parking purposes, or the fact he didn’t want anyone tampering with his vehicle. Thank God the Uni neighborhood felt safe at night.

They started passing through people, men and women, around their ages, chatting about the party. And the boy hosting the night’s main event, went by the name Liam. Harry wondered if he’d see any familiar faces from his lectures or anyone he’d frequently seen on campus. It was possible, but he was pretty sure it wouldn’t be very likely.

Harry followed the boys up the swarmed walkway into the house, the first thing that hit Harry was that God dreadful stench. Weed.

He maneuvered through the people quickly, since the scent made him feel quite ill, and he noticed that it was much stronger when he got closer to the stairs. So he definitely made a note not to go up there, unless he had too. Which would never be because he didn’t want a damn contact buzz.

Nick led them to the crowded kitchen, and Harry noticed some guys chugging down cans of beers and then proceeding to put away yet another. A girl sipped on her drink, and she looked like she was trying to be sexy and seducing, yet Harry didn’t think it was very attractive. Then there’s the lad who set down a tray of brownies that Harry knew had to be tampered with, He’s not that dumb. Harry felt like he wasn’t going to survive, after what he’d witnessed so far, and he’d only been there for a minute.

“Zayn! My man, we made it!” Nick shouted as they drew near the notorious guy Niall fancies, wearing a leather jacket. This guy was gorgeous, maybe a little too gorgeous, but, then again, Niall always had a thing for model like beaus. Zayn’s a pretty boy covered in countless tattoo’s and his dark hair perfectly styled in quiff. Scruff and a nose piercing complementing his face. Cigarette tucked behind his ear and he has a Motley Crue band top that says girls, girls, girls on it, peeking out of his jacket. Zayn has this cool aurora about him. From his grungy attire of ripped tight trousers and combat boots, he has everything paired together as if he planned it out the night before. Zayn seems very into his looks which Harry's not surprised when it comes to Niall’s picking. Harry just observed the way Zayn’s eyes landed on Niall, and a smile crept onto his face. Especially when Zayn pulled him in for an embrace that looked somewhat more than inviting.

“Zayn, I want you to meet my friend, Harry… he’s bit of a recluse.” Niall smiled and nodded to Harry. Zayn put his hand on Niall's hips, licking his lips, and giving Harry a smile.

“I don’t believe I’ve seen you around before. You start late?” Zayn asked, and Harry shook his head.

“No, I’ve just been putting my studies before anything else,”.

“Fair enough,” Zayn replied. Harry noticed Zayn’s hand on Niall’s hip, and wondered if they’ve already went passed the friendship phase. Zayn’s awfully touchy, and Harry hoped he wasn’t treating Niall like some rag doll, then tossing him away when the next best thing comes along.

Just like Harry expected, Niall was led off by Zayn, who put his arms around his shoulder and vacated the area. Leaving Harry with Ed and Nick, who seem to be in cahoots’ and cracking open beers. Harry gnawed on his lips as he wandered around the crowded kitchen. He watched the same boys chugging down even more drinks and that girl spinning her hair around her fingers. Harry raised his brows when one of the blokes that were getting themselves sloshed spilled a can all over the makeshift island and special foods. He sighed before leaving the room, leaving Ed and Nick to drink their night away. Harry wandered around the lounge area and bumped into a few drunks. Someone got a little handsy, but Harry shoved them off and sat on an empty couch.

He crossed his legs and watched everything unfold around him. People were laughing boisterously with a drink in their hand, some people dancing to the background music of some artist that goes by the name, Fetty Wap. Oh and, Harry can see Zayn bracing his arm on the wall beside Niall and leaning in relatively close. He knew what this was all going to lead to tonight for his mate; it was honestly a little too obvious. Especially with Zayn’s proximity and touches.

Harry was bored out of his mind, so he pulled out his phone, as that’s what this resorted to. Ignoring the disgusting couple that was now beside him, snogging and spilling their drinks all over themselves. Harry just sighs to himself as he skims through his social media profiles because there’s nothing better to do. For a while, he scrolled through facebook before going onto instagram. Shaking his head when the first thing he see’s is Ed had posted on Instagram of him and Nick drinking and with a hashtagging it about living it up or some bull shit.

This continued on, and Harry noticed twenty minutes passed before he pocketed his phone and saw Niall was no longer standing where he was with Zayn, they had wandered off.
If this night couldn’t get any worse, his top was soaking wet and reeked of beer. The bloke that strolled by him stumbled over his own feet and dumped his drink on Harry’s top. Of course, it happened to Harry.

“I’m so sorry, man.” The guy said before he vanished into the crowd, leaving his red solo cup just littered on the floor. Harry furrowed his brows; that guy didn’t even bother to give him a towel or some napkins to dab some of the drink off. Fucking rude, especially with him also discarding the cup he spilled and acting like it never happened.

Harry shook his head and went off to the kitchen, tossing the empty cup into the bin before looking around for the loo. It was a tough search, because he kept bumping into more people and the blaring music was getting to him. His top was still soaked, and all Harry wanted to do was to go back to his quiet dorm and be alone. This was all just way too much of a sensory overload.

Just his luck, no toilet on the first floor, so that meant he had to go upstairs to the polluted pot rooms. Harry plugged his nose as he made his way upstairs, and found the room he was looking for, the first door at the top. He closed the door behind him, flipping on the light, and leaned against the door. Harry took a deep breath, counting to ten, and put his hands over his face.

At least in here he had some space, and didn’t have to worry about being a basin for discarded drinks. Harry finally made himself go over to the hand basin and grimaced when he saw the toilet had vomit in it, so he grabbed some tissue and flushed it, because God knows who touched it. Harry took a look in the mirror and did not like what he saw. This was going to be a pain in the arse to dry, so he grabbed fistfuls of tissues and started dabbing it, getting most of the moisture out. It looked like he’d be doing laundry on his day off. Nice.

Time seemed to fly by as he tried to get his shirt less than damp, because someone was pounding on the door. “You almost done in there?” a voice shouted from behind and jiggled on the handle.

“Give me a minute,” Harry hollered.

“Hurry the hell up, before a line starts forming.” the voice shouted back, and Harry just knew whoever it was more than likely a dickhead.

Harry sighed and rolled his eyes before tossing the soiled tissues away, then finally opening the door. “I said give me a minute, sir,” Harry retorted as the guy bumped passed him not so nicely and then somewhat shoved Harry out.

“You were taking way too long; I’ve been waiting out this bloody door for nearly ten minutes.” Whoever this bloke was, he was obviously over exaggerating. Harry was merely in there for five minutes, and clearly this guy had a problem with being patient.

“I wasn’t even in there that long,” Harry stated, crossing his arms. “I had an emergency featuring spilled beer on my top. Be thankful I’m kind enough to give up that,” Harry jeered, and the guy rolled his eyes.

“God, you sound like you never been to a party like this; why are you even here if you can’t take little beer on your shirt?” the bloke asked. But Harry just walked off. Rude, just rude.

Harry made his way back downstairs and found Ed at the edge of the staircase chatting up some girl, so he walked passed him and then found Niall and Zayn on the couch, cuddling and being all hands on. Harry marched right over there and crossed his arms.

“Niall,” Harry rebuked, “I want to go back now. I’ve already had beer spilled on me, and I just don’t fit in with this crowd.” Harry demanded, and Niall shook his head, not moving away from Zayn’s arms.

“Just relax and have fun, you’re probably just over exaggerating, Harry.” Of course he would say that. Niall obviously didn’t want to leave Zayn's side. Harry’s was not in the least bit surprised. Putting the guy he liked first before his friends, a true repeat offender.

“A little beer won’t hurt,” Zayn commented with a smile. “Also, if you're bored, head upstairs and talk to my mate, Louis, he’s cool,” Zayn suggested, but Harry shook his head and walked off again. That did no good, and he didn’t want to step foot upstairs again, especially with that arsehole roaming up there.

He went outside to the back, where it was a little less crowded, and people were mainly smoking cigarettes. Harry grabbed a seat at one of the couches against the house. He took out his phone once more and got sucked right into it until someone slammed down into the spot beside him and smelled like marijuana. God, so awful.

Harry made the mistake to look up when he heard the flick of the lighter, as here was the arsehole he had met upstairs. At least he was good looking, unlike his shit attitude. His fringe was messy and tousled, his scruff made him look maybe a few years older than himself; tight black ripped skinny trouser, black two in creepers shoes to probably add height to his short stature, and not to mention, he was wearing a tight Nirvana shirt paired with a light denim jacket.

“Well if it isn’t the bathroom hog, still here I see.” the bloke exclaimed as he brings the cigarette to his lips. “Have you calmed down now about your soiled top?” the guy asked.

“For the last time, I wasn't a hog,” Harry argued, crossing his arms. “I just didn’t want it to stain badly, and besides, you rushed me.” Harry scolded, narrowing his eyes at him.

“Whatever you say.” the guy muttered, as he took another drag from his cigarette. “So then… what brings you here tonight? You don’t seem like a partier, no offense.” the bloke added, exhaling the smoke from his lips.

“I was dragged here by my mates,”.

“Of course, you were.” the guy commented and Harry rolled his eyes. “Probably never partied a day in your life.”

Harry was just getting annoyed, “I have, actually. Parties just aren’t my thing. You, are being quite rude, so please keep your snarky comments to yourself.” Harry explained, getting to his feet and strolling off.

“The names Louis, babe.” Louis shouted out after him, as Harry vanishes back into the house.

That must have been Zayn’s friend, because he had met him upstairs (and also his name is Louis, duh?) and needless to say, that friendship won’t happen. Louis was rude, callous, and just upright annoying. Making unnecessary comments about Harry and assumptions based on the fact that Harry he was upset over beer spilling on his top. Bastard, and Harry hoped that this Louis kid would leave him the hell alone for the rest of the night.

Harry, now, on the move to find Ed, since Niall was probably already too much into his own little world by now. He ended up finding Ed in the kitchen, alone, which was surprising. So Harry took advantage of that.

“Harry! Having fun? Make any friends?” Ed asked hopefully, as he sipped from his can.

“Friends? No. Having fun? No. I’m actually quite annoyed and would much rather prefer going back home.” he answered honestly.

“I know this isn’t like your thing, but I’m glad you came out tonight, Harry. You may be annoyed and not trying to make friends, but hey, a little break from book work doesn’t hurt. You just need to stop looking at the negatives and just enjoy yourself. Have a beer and talk to some blokes. I know you have to find at least one of these lads attractive here.”

Harry got what Ed’s trying to do, but he just didn’t like it. Harry knew he had to balance his relationships with his schooling, and he was trying to figure it out, but it’s been hard. But at this party, even maintaining friendships is hard, especially when they all go off and do their own things. Harry’s left to survive alone in a house filled with people he’s never even seen before, let alone talked.

Ed took another drink from his can before setting it on the messy island. “You’re coming with me. Come on.” Harry wondered as he was led by Ed, who had his arms around his shoulders taking him towards the stairs. Harry stops dead in his tracks and was not wanting to get dragged into that mess.

“Hell to the no. Ed, it reeks of pot up there. I don’t want to step foot in that mess.”

“But Nick is up there with his mates, and it won’t hurt you just to hang out. Make some friends and just chill. Maybe not think about the little accident that happened on the couch or book work.” Ed proposed. “Please?”

“Fine,” Harry agreed reluctantly, following him up and into a room filled with four other guys… and Louis. Of course, he was in there. Harry didn’t expect anything less, to be honest, since all he smelled like outside were the things he was smoking. Harry cannot stand this stench, at all, and he hopes to God he himself doesn’t smell like this shit for days.

“Well, well, well. If it isn’t Ed and his virgin party friend.” Louis announced annoyingly with a smirk.

Harry took a seat on the bed as Ed laughed and sat beside Louis. “Harry’s more into studies.” Ed commented, putting it nicely, and Harry wanted to scream. Of course, expose him as a boring person that spends his night studying and not getting high.

“Not my fault I’m not into this,” Harry gestures to the things they were passing around. “I prefer a clean slate for my health anyways, Ed,”.

“God you're such a killjoy.” Louis laughed. “I bet you're against drinking too. I mean, against one of them, against them all, right?” Louis was wrong. He was being utterly annoying with his assumptions.

“I am not. I just don’t like this kind of stuff. I prefer bettering my life for a comfortable future, thank you very much.”

“Killjoy,” Louis stated, exhaling the smoke from his lips, as he passed it.

“I am not a killjoy,” Harry stressed, crossing his arms. “I’m just as cool as you think you are.” Harry was not about to let this punk ass talk to him like this anymore.

“Come hit this blunt then,” Louis challenged with a smirk. Ed raised his brows at that, looking at Harry, seeing if he’ll give in, especially after the whole killjoy comment.

Harry rolled his eyes, “I have far better things to do with my time, thanks though.” Harry answered, sharp-toned.

“So you're making excuses to cover the fact that you are a killjoy.”

“I’m not.” Harry stated, and narrowed his eyes.

“Mhmm, keep telling yourself that,” Louis said before taking another hit. “You know, Harry, maybe if you tried it, you wouldn’t be so uptight.” But Harry was so done, and he got up and left the room, ignoring the lads comments about him and Louis’ too. He was quite annoyed that Ed didn’t even step in to defend him.

For a second, Harry wanted to march back in there and rip that blunt out of their hands and stomp it out.

Good thing he wasn’t that uptight.

So he wandered about for the rest of the party, thoroughly annoyed more than ever, thanks to that Louis bloke, and even more annoyed that Ed didn’t even venture out to tell him to ignore Louis' idiotic remarks, or tell Louis to drop it. It turns out Harry wasn’t too worried about that Nick kid, and he hoped to God that if Niall ends up dating Zayn, he never has to be around Louis. Ever.

He plopped himself down onto the sofa and protested everything for the rest of the party, ignoring anyone that tried to have a conversation with him, waiting for this all to just end already. Harry was still pretty ticked off about what happened upstairs, however.

Soon enough Nick and Ed came downstairs laughing, joining Harry on the couch, and pretty much invaded his time alone. “Harry, lighten up, mate. Okay? Louis was only giving you a hard time; he’s always like that with the newbie’s.” Nick explained, and even that still didn’t dismiss anything at all.

“Hard time or not, I don’t appreciate being mocked,” Harry hissed, crossing his arms.

“Do you need me tell him to be a bit nicer?” Nick offered, but Harry shook his head.

“There’s no need to, because this is my last party, and I will never talk to him again.” Maybe Harry spoke too soon, because right after he said that, Louis sat right down in the recliner across from them.

“Talking shit about me to the killjoy, eh lads?” Louis teased.

“I'm going to say this one last time, I’m not a killjoy, Louis.” Harry sassed in defense.

“Sure, whatever you say.” his sarcasm was anything but funny at that point. “So, what do you even do for fun? I mean, other than study.” Louis commented.

“Watch movies, go for walks, jigsaw puzzles...” Harry listed off, and Louis acted as if he were snoring while Harry listed them off.

“Boring, boring, and boring,” Louis commented, “You seriously need to be corrupted a little.”

Ed shook his head, “Don’t even bark up that tree, Louis, you’ll go nowhere. Niall and I have tried countless times, but Harry’s got good morals.” At least Ed was kind of defending him.

“Fuck morals, you’re how old? And living the life of an elderly man!” Louis exclaimed, and Harry was offended again. “I bet you’ve never even tried anything out of your comfort zone other than attending this party.” Honestly, Louis wasn’t exactly wrong. “You wouldn’t last a day in my shoes.” And Harry had no desire to ever be in his shoes. Ever.

“Especially with what you consider fun of doing jigsaw puzzles.” Louis went on, and Harry rolled his eyes.

“It relaxes me, Louis. Especially when I burn out on studying.” Harry expressed, defending himself.

“A hit of a joint can relax you, why not try that?” Louis asked, “Oh yeah, I forgot. You’re a killjoy.” Louis smirk, knowing he's crawling under Harry's skin so easily tonight.

Man, that word was so annoying, and Harry hoped never to hear it again.

“Okay, stop giving him a tough time, Louis,” Nick cutted in and thank God for that. “Before you really tick him off. ” No shit.

Louis rolled his eyes and Harry wondered why Louis thought he was so entitled. Like, Harry didn’t need to do illicit drugs or drink to prove that he’s anything. Louis was just a jerk, because he probably thinks he’s a bad ass, with what he was wearing, to his callous personality.

“Yeah, and maybe if you’d actually try to not be a dickhead, maybe I might talk with you in a civil fashion. But you already showed your true colors to me, so friendship is out of the question.” Harry insisted and yet Louis shook his head.

“So uptight, unbelievable.” Louis commented and Harry scoffed.

“Enough, before you make an enemy out of each other from opposing views. This isn’t debate lectures or anything, calm down, and ignore each other.” Ed stressed. “Obviously, you two don’t get on, so no more bickering and shooting passive aggressive comments towards each other.” It wasn’t Harry who started. It was all Louis’ fault for being an arsehole the second he met him.

“Anyway, is there any buses around here? I want to leave.” Harry asked, seeing Louis roll his eyes once again. Harry desperately wanted to grimace, but nope, he kept his poise, as he was not letting Louis get to him anymore tonight.

“Unfittingly not in these hours, Harry. You’ll have to pry Niall away from Zayn, which won’t be easy.” Ed answered, and Harry was actually considering the whole walking on foot thing.

“I could give you a ride.” Louis suggested, “But unfortunately, I don’t drive around stuck up killjoys.”

“I wouldn’t dare get in a car with you; you’re high, and probably drunk too. I don’t trust you at all with my life in a car.” Harry hissed back, while Nick and Ed were shaking their heads, getting up to leave the two of them.

“Look who’s the one making assumptions now,” Louis commented. “I’ve only had one beer, and I'm far from drunk, babe, thank you very much. Just keep passing judgments on me. It’s highly amusing.” Louis laughed.

Harry was about to say something back, when some girl sat herself onto Louis lap and wrapped her arm around his shoulder. “Louis, why haven’t you answered my texts?” the girl pouted, and yet Louis looked less than interested, despite him being touchy with her legs and such.

This was certainly a change of events. Maybe now that his girlfriend or whatever she is was here, maybe Louis would finally leave Harry the hell alone.

“I’ve been busy, doll,” Louis cooed, “I’ve meant to catch you around,” he added, and instantly, Harry was up off his seat, walking away, and glad to have an escape. He made his way outside and sat down, alone, for the rest of the awful party. At least he was finally left by himself.

He didn’t see Louis again the rest of the night either, which was a relief; Harry suspected Louis went off with that girl he was awfully comfortable with. Not that he cared. Harry was glad Nick wasn’t drunk considering he’s the only one that drove. The car ride was quite interesting to say the least. For one thing, it was a little more cramped, because Zayn was snogging Niall right beside him, practically taking up the whole back seat for their shenanigans, and Harry felt really out of place again. Niall and Zayn are probably going to do it, and Harry’s not surprised about that, from all those little touches and playfulness he’d seen that night.

Harry found himself wondering if they slept together before that evening.

When Harry finally got back to his dormitory, he fell right onto his bed; this night was just too mentally exhausting. Then, he passed out in his clothes, also way too tired.

Come morning, Harry was awoken by loud beeping noises, and he just groaned. Of course, Harry had a text message.

Harry fished around for his phone under the blankets with his eyes still closed for a minute. He finally found it, and made himself open his eyes, and read the message.

Niall. Of course Niall would text Harry asking him if he’s up at seven in the morning, especially since it’s an ‘emergency,’ as he puts it. Harry wanted to ignore him a little longer, but then he remembered what happened last night, and soon enough, there was pounding at his door.

Harry sighed as he got to his feet, tossing his hair into a bun and calling it good. Answering the door and seeing Niall standing there looking rather radiant and already gussied up for the day.

“I take it you’re completely satisfied now?” Harry quipped dryly moving to let Niall in, “Since he did more than one love bite on you.“ he jested while Niall tried to cover them, “So, when did he leave? Was it before you woke up or did he just go? Because you look like you're about to squeal and jump up and down, because you finally slept with him.”

Niall rolled his eyes, coming in and sitting down on the chair by Harry’s desk. “Harry. It’s much more than the sex, like yeah, it was good… it was so, so good. Oh my god, shit, he knows what he’s doing.” Oh please, Niall really didn’t need to share with Harry the details. This was the last thing Harry wanted to hear about, let alone get any images in his head with it. Especially since he considered Niall like a family member of some sorts.

“Okay, I’m excited for you and all, but I really don’t want to hear about what positions you did or who did what,” Harry disclosed, shutting his door and finding himself sitting on his bed.

“Fuck off,” Niall snapped, and Harry just grinned.

“Anyways, what happens now? Are you just going to bang all year or are you going to ignore each other now?” Harry asked and Niall shrugged in thought.

“Not really sure, I mean, I did promise him I’d come hang with him and his mate before he left my dorm twenty minutes ago.” Well, that was good to hear.

“But, you’re going to hate me,” Niall continued, and there it was, that dreadful sentence that always implied something Harry really didn’t want to hear would be coming up. “I sort of mentioned you'd be there as well," Niall mentioned, scratching the back of his neck.

Of course he did.

“What? Why the hell did you do that for?” Harry asked irritated, wanting to know what his plan is, because Niall said he would leave Harry alone today because he tore him away from his all important studies the night before.

“I don’t want to go alone, and besides, his friends will be there, and I really want you to get to know them in case we end up, you know...dating.” Oh hell no. Harry knew exactly who these so called mates are, and he was already strongly against this idea.

“No, that means that dickhead named Louis is going to be there.” Harry griped, snarling.

“I take it you met him last night, then.”

“Obviously, and evidently he has such a loose mouth on him too.” No way in hell was Harry going to waste his day around that bloke again.

“I knew you two would clash,“ Niall sighed, shaking his head. “Just ignore his comments, Harry. I mean, you could at least try to get to know him.” Niall suggested. “Especially if I do end up with you know who.” Niall had a reasonable point. However, Harry couldn't think about friendship with Louis right now. It literally turned him off, and brought on a headache.

“Can’t make any promises, but I’ll try to be nice to him today, since you already promised your ‘boyfriend’ I’d be there.” he said, surprised with himself that he pretty much said yes.

“Shit, you’re a great friend,” Niall replied, happy he was able to convince Harry so easily. “I wish he was my boyfriend.” Niall pouted.

Harry wanted that for him too, however, Niall just needed to be patient and wait. Harry might not have been that experienced in the whole dating thing, but he knew for a fact Zayn was into him. If anything, Zayn was probably stalling on the whole question until things got passed the whole friend zone stage. Harry gave it a week before Niall comes to him all excited over a new relationship.

“Be patient, Nialler. I have a feeling it’s coming soon, don’t worry. I may not know the whole deal with you and him, but from what I’ve witnessed last night, I’m certain he’s going to ask you.” Harry reassures him. “Also, you’re right, he’s gorgeous.” Harry was trying to make Niall feel better about the whole boyfriend deal, because he sincerely didn’t want Niall to lose hope. It was bound to happen, Niall just needed to wait it out.

Harry was going to say something else, when Niall's phone went off, and he held his index finger up and answered it. Harry sat there as Niall was very coquettish on the phone; Harry was more than sure it was the one and only Zayn on the phone. The one whose swooped Niall completely off his feet, and yeah, Harry hoped this one lasts a little longer than the rest.

Harry made his way up and stretched out a bit, as Niall chatted away. So Harry fussed with his hair in the mirror, but soon he didn’t feel like messing with it anymore, so he threw it up into a bun again and slipped on a beanie over it. Good enough for him, and besides it looked a bit glum outside anyway, and more than likely it was going to rain.

Niall eventually got off the phone, blushing, and smiling down at his device before pocketing it. “So, how do you feel about going to a birthday party?”

Harry furrowed his brows. “Birthday party?”.

“Yeah, so, Louis is in a band, and they’re playing at his cousin's birthday bash today in Doncaster. Mind a bit of a road trip with Zayn?” What the hell? That’s like, a four-hour car ride. Did Harry really want to be stuck in a car with two people who shag now, and probably won't keep their hands off each other? Was Harry really up for that?

“You gotta be kidding me, right?” he asked, “I mean, Niall, that’s so far away, who’s even going to drive? Or are we taking a bus or something?”

“Stop worrying, Zayn’s driving and paying for the gas. Just enjoy the ride and relax.” That’d be easier said than done, when all Harry could think about was his studies Also being in a foreign place he’d never been before with a whole bunch of strangers.

“Please tell me why he’s going out of his way to go watch some silly band play? I mean, I’m sure he’s seen them before.” Harry complained, crossing his arms.

Niall shook his head with a small smile. “Harry, Zayn is Louis’ best mate. It should be self-explanatory, and just be glad you won't be stuck in a car with Louis, since you two can't seem to be level headed with each other. Honestly, you might not even have to deal with him, because he will probably be too busy with his guitar to notice you’re even there.” Hopefully, Niall was right, because really Harry didn’t want to hear his unsolicited opinions again.

Louis could shove his thought and assumptions elsewhere, honestly.

“I really hope this is worth it, Niall. I mean, have you ever gone off campus with him before? Like on a road trip?” he asked, and Niall shook his head.

“Oh, getting serious now.” Harry teased, “It’s coming Niall, I can feel it in my gut.”. Niall’s never went on any trips alone with anyone more than a friend before. He must really, really like this boy.

“But I do have an idea though, you could study in the car. I mean you could try and at least it
would give you something to do.” Niall proposed, and Harry did kind of like that idea. Still, he’s not too sure if he would be able to concentrate though and just the thought of being somewhere out of place sounded not so fun.

“I don’t know, Nialler. I mean yeah, I could study, but what if it’s too distracting? I’ll never get anything done.”

“Harry. Please just come alright? I need you there and you know I’d do the same for you,” Niall expressed. “You're my best friend, and I really like Zayn.”

Harry really wanted to tell him no, but his heart is telling him otherwise. Damn him for being too soft for Niall when he throws in the best friend card.

“Fine, I’ll go Like I said before.” He muttered out

“Great! You’re the best Harry! So now I’m going to let you freshen up and then I’ll grab you in an hour, and promise we’ll leave once the party is done, okay?” Harry nodded, even though he knew it wasn’t likely. Especially if Niall and Zayn get caught up in other things. Things that probably shouldn’t happen in a car but rather somebody’s bed.

It would be awful, being the third wheel.

Harry wasn’t sure if this was a smart idea. Parties bored him and being surrounded by strangers made him anxious. So great, two parties to days in a row. What were his mates trying to do to him?

The hour passed by too quickly, and soon he was with Niall, chatting his ear off down the corridor about Zayn, and speaking of which, the bloke was waiting out in the car park nearby; leaning against his vehicle.

Harry watched them a moment, hugging tightly, Zayn kissed Niall like they were in a relationship, and then smiling back at him. God, so disgusting, and Harry knew that they're going to be that type of couple. He could just see it.

Very touchy in public and disgustingly adorable. How the hell was he even going to survive the car ride, especially with the two flirting consistently and touching?

Harry really hoped that he doesn’t end up driving back, while the two snog in the back of the car. That would be a very awkward four-hour experience.

“Glad you decided to come, Harry,” Zayn mentioned with a grin, slipping his arm around Niall's waist. “I promise it’ll be fun, and besides, maybe you can actually get to know Louis better. I mean, other than ripping at each others throats, hopefully now that’s washed over.” Yeah, not likely, Zayn can keep dreaming.

“Maybe. If he keeps his rude opinions to himself.” Harry scoffed, as he crossed his arms.

“Oh come on, I mean, Louis told me he met you last night, and I think there is potential for friendship. You two may have started off on the wrong foot, but you guys may have far more in common than you think. Just give him another go, okay?” Zayn proposed, “He’s not that bad.” Not that bad? What the hell was Zayn on? Seriously?

He barely knew this Louis, and Harry was only there because Niall promised Zayn Harry would come. Maybe Zayn needed his ears checked or something, because those things Louis said we're not nice, not okay, and definitely annoying. Harry wondered if Louis was like that with everyone, since Nick said he gave the newcomers a hard time. Also, Harry wondered what year Louis was in, what’s he studying, and where he stayed, so that Harry could stay as far away from him as possible.

As if the trip couldn’t get any more annoying, Zayn and Niall were flirting heavily up front. Always touching and bantering too. Harry felt like the biggest third wheel. Despite this, Harry was glad because it means that they were making headway in terms of their possible relationship. He had to keep reminding himself that Niall really liked Zayn, and he had to support that. You know in case if he ever gets himself in a similar situation and also because Niall is his best mate. One thing is for sure is that Harry just hoped he didn’t keep getting dragged to parties, or anything involving Zayn with his mates for very much longer.

The first hour flew by, and maybe because Harry was studying on his phone trying not to pay any mind to Niall upfront laughing and talking really loud. Trying his hardest not to get distracted by the background and keep focus on what's important. There’s not enough time to slack off right now, not when it seems he’s the only taking his university career seriously.

“You’re very quiet, H.” Zayn commented, looking in the rear view mirror.

“I’m just reading is all,” Harry answered and Zayn nodded to that.

“Your best bet is to leave him alone while he studies, unless you want him to put a death wish on you.” Niall teased, and Harry shot him a glare.

Zayn snickered a little, “That’s fine. At least you’re ambitious.” That was nice of Zayn, not being told to ‘lighten the load’ or ‘procrastinate until the night before’ like Harry was oh so used to hearing.

So far, Zayn won some points with Harry. Niall picked a good one, finally.

“Thank you,” Harry replied as he went back to his readings.

Harry decided to keep to himself from that point on, ignoring the radio playing in the background, bumps on the motorway, and the two up front flirting. He felt more at ease now that he decided to focus on what's in front of him. It was mentally exhausting, but it worked for him, at least for the moment.

Time slipped away while he was engaged in his thoughts, because the car suddenly stopped. Harry broke away from his phone and seeing that they were already parked outside someone’s bungalow, got out. He was so focused on what he was reading that he had no idea what was evening happening.

“Harry?” Niall asked, “Earth to Harry, you there mate?” He asked, swaying his hand in front of Harry.

“What?” Harry finally broke his gaze from the window.

“You alright?” Niall questioned, and Harry just gave him a nod. ”Well, we’re here. Zayn's been standing there for a minutes waiting on you because you were in a trance, or something.”

Harry followed Niall out of the car and took a good look at their surroundings.

It was a fairly decent neighborhood, quite a slew of cars in front of the house they were at, and not to mention, every house was also decently sized. Harry hoped he’d survive today too, because two parties in a row was certainly going to be the death of him.

“Come on, we don’t want to stand out here like idiots,” Zayn expressed, gesturing for Niall and Harry to follow him. Harry slowly made his way up the steps and into the house, feeling quite nervous. Zayn didn’t even knock or ring, he just walked in and Harry wondered if Zayn even really knew these people.

“Zayn you made it!” Some girl with silvery long blonde hair came running up and pulled Zayn into a tight hug, almost making his fall back into Niall.

She looked young, perhaps sixteen. “Missed you.” she cooed before pulling away, “How come Louis never takes you with him anymore?” she pouted.

“Because he’s a dick.” Zayn laughed, and, well, Zayn isn’t wrong.

The girl just laughed and shook her head, and that was when she looked at Harry. “So, is this the one you always talk about,” she gushed with a grin.

Zayn shook his head, blushing like mad, and Harry wanted to laugh. Harry watched Zayn nod to Niall, who was grinning, and yet Harry was still holding back laughter.

“No, the blondie.” Zayn mentioned, rubbing the back of his neck. Watching the girl look towards Niall and grin. Zayn must have been very smitten with Niall, if he filled these girls ears up on how much he talks about Niall.

“Zayn always says you have pretty eyes on the phone, and he’s right.” she gushed before pulling Niall into a hug.

“So who’s your other friend then?” she asked, pulling away from Niall.

“I’m Harry, Niall’s friend.” Harry answered.

The girl nodded, before grabbing Zayn by the hem of his shirt and dragging him along. “Lottie, you’re going to stretch out my top,” Zayn hissed. Niall gave Harry a glance before they both followed Zayn and Lottie out back, and that’s when Harry's stomach churned.

There were a slew of people. Not as many as the night prior, but definitely more than he expected to be there. Harry passed through people, going after Lottie and Zayn, until he realized that Zayn was surrounded by a group of girls. Three of them looked alike, and he assumed that the two of them must be sisters, and the other one had to be either their oldest sister or mum. Harry was also more than likely sure that they were a part of Louis’ family, since the girl complained to Zayn about Louis not taking him. Also that sort of explained why Zayn just let himself in when they had arrived.

Hopefully Niall won't have a run in with Zayn's family here because that could be rather nerve wracking.
He could just see it, Niall, trying way too hard, and making a complete fool out of himself. Harry hoped the whole, ‘meet my parents deal’ happens later on, because, one, they weren’t even a couple yet, and two, Harry can't even imagine how daunting it'd be. Harry never made it to that part in his past relationship so he had no idea what exactly happens at that point.

Harry stood next to Niall and kept quiet, until another girl, who looked exactly like Lottie, came over and smiled at them. “You must be Niall, the guy Zayn fancies,” she commented as the corner of her mouth quirked up, eyes on Niall, and he nodded with a smile and a slight blush on his cheeks. “I’m Fizzy,” she grinned. “And you are?” her eyes finally looked at Harry.

“Harry, pleased to meet you.” he said giving her a small smile. Fizzy nodded.

“You too, now how about you boys come meet my mum and my friends,” Fizzy explained, nodding for them to go over and join the little circle, so they did. Harry felt a little out of place, though, because he barely knew these people, and, not to mention, more people came over to the group to chat up Zayn and Niall. Harry hadn’t attempted to talk to anyone yet, just more standing next to Niall and listening to him talk.

Harry sucked on his bottom lip, not really paying much attention anymore, standing there, thinking about what he could be doing right now back in his room had he been smart enough to decide not to come.

“Who are you, hun?” a woman asked, breaking Harry out his thoughts. “Are you Niall’s friend?” she questioned with a smile. He guessed this had to be the mum of Lottie, Fizzy, and Louis’, as she looked older than the rest of them.

“I’m Harry, and yeah, Niall’s friends, he kind of dragged me along.” Harry’s explained.

The lady smiled at that, “Nice to meet you Harry, My names Jay, Louis’ mum.” She explained, “Also, you go to Southampton too?” Jay asked and Harry nodded.

“Year one.”

“My son goes there too, year three, and with Zayn, Just wish he would take it more seriously,” she said with a sigh. So, Louis was a year three student. Interesting. “Have you meet Louis?” questioned, and Harry nodded slowly. Unfortunately, he had.

“He’s quite nice.” Harry lied, because he couldn't tell Louis’ mum that he loathed her own son.

“Louis has his moments, but he’s good kid.” Jay added. “So, what are you in school for?” She questioned.

“Nursing, I want to be a staff nurse, and then work my way up the ladder, eventually,”

“Oh, how wonderful! Excellent choice, Harry, I think you choose the right field. Myself, I’m a midwife, and let me tell you, it’s worth it. You choose well.” she cajoled, and Harry was glad she thought that. As he’d always admired the hard work nurses did before the doctors attend to them, but he couldn't imagine being a midwife, and helping a woman with birth. He was glad he met someone he can relate to, even slightly,

“So where are you from?” Jay questioned.

“I'm from Cheshire, well actually I'm living in my dorm right now, but on my off time at my mums,” Harry explained as Jay nodded along.

“Oh, that's not that far from here, then. So how did you decide on Southampton? I know it's a bit of a drive. I wasn’t entirely thrilled with Louis’ choice, but I knew he'd follow his friend anywhere though.”

“I've done quite a bit of research for a while, and I liked what they had to offer,” Harry answered. “Also my mum wasn't too keen on the idea, but she agreed to it once she learned Niall and my other friend Ed would be there too.”

“Well, you know us mothers and our instincts. We just worry all.” Jay said in defense with a smile. “Maybe sometime you could motivate Louis to be more serious about this.” Harry nodded even though he never is going to, not wanting to tell her what exactly he thinks.

“So do you have a girlfriend, boyfriend, married, or?” Jay asked Harry.

Harry just shook his head, “No been single for a while. Haven't met the right guy yet.” Raised her brow at that.

“You know, I’m going to sound like one of those mums that plays matchmaker, but I think Louis would love you if he took the time to get to know you. You’ve got a good career in your future and you’re handsome too.” Harry’s eyes widened and warmth inched up to his cheeks, as he didn’t expect this. But, she was so wrong; they would never get to know each other, more than being distant acquaintances, and Louis was inconsiderate. Harry preferred more of the gentlemen type. Besides, he thought, Louis has a girlfriend, or, at least, one that he was certainly comfortable with, because that girl on his lap last night didn’t look like just a friend, but he didn’t tell his mum that.

“Um, thank you,” Harry replied, his words just rushing out.

Harry watched her; and just as she was about to open her mouth again, Lottie came over and stole Jay’s attention away. As lovely as she was, thank God for Lottie. Jay was wonderful, but he didn’t want to think about dating her son, as it left an awful taste in his mouth.

Harry decided to look around, and that’s when he saw Niall and Zayn talking to Fizzy, and then he averted his gaze from there since much wasn’t happening. He looked at what he thought was the supposed band set up and then saw some of the other guests lounging around on the furniture chatting away. Harry noticed that he alone seconds later, he must not have noticed that Jay and Lottie had gone off. So Harry just closed his eyes. Taking a moment to relax a little.

“Well look who it is.” A familiar voice announced, and Harry opened his eyes only to rolls them in disgust. His moment to relax didn’t last very long.

“Niall made a promise that I’d come, so yeah, look who it is.” Harry said, sharp-toned, looking at Louis, who this time had his fringe pushed back with a headband.

Louis smirked at that, while standing in front of Harry which from what he can tell Louis is a bit shorter than him. He’s wearing a black tank top and his black ripped tight trousers along with denim jacket completing the look. He looks good, but Harry couldn’t get past the smell on him. He had a faint scent of nicotine, not weed, surprisingly. It kind of made his stomach churn, but Harry tried his best to ignore it.

“Because he knew you’d love to see my band today. We’re just that amazing.” Louis smirked, “I mean, we’re quite famous around here.” Man, was he awfully cocky.

“Right.” Harry said lazily. .

“And since you're probably wondering, yes, my guitar skills are impeccable,” Louis expressed and Harry seriously wish Louis would stop bragging.

“Nice, Louis,”.

“You know, maybe you could try to be friendly with me at my families party and all,” Louis insisted, crossing his arms.

“I don’t have time to be friendly with potheads, sorry,” Harry said in defense.

“Your mates smoke, Harry. You sound like a hypocrite.”

"I am most certainly not hypocritical. I was friend with them way before they got into this mess you consider fun.” Man, Harry was getting sick of defending himself already. What really bothered him was the way Louis acted.“Why are you laughing?” at this point, Louis was just snarling.

“Because you’re a bluffer and you won’t even admit it. Just like the rest of them.” There goes another one of Louis’ elicit opinions.

First it was killjoy, and then this.

What next? A prude?

“I don’t care what you think.” and Louis shook his head with a grin.

“Right, okay.” Louis sarcasm was really bothering Harry, more so that day than the night before.

“Louis, mate. Quite flirting and get your arse over here.” some guy yelled, and Louis had a flush that crept across his cheeks.

“I wasn’t flirting, so fuck off, Alex.” he shouted, before glancing back at Harry and then jogging off toward his band mates.

Harry stood there, licking his lips, and wondering why Louis felt the need to come bother him again in the first place.

Harry decided to join everyone else when the music started, and got himself some cake to munch on. Surprisingly, the band was pretty good and apparently they’re called Faithless Night. Good name, good indie sound, nice looking band mates (except Louis, or at least, nice behaving), and not to mention, they were rather talented. Harry was impressed and yet he was not about to tell Louis that once he was done. No need to make him even more arrogant.

He saw Niall and Zayn standing together at one point, well, really, Zayn behind Niall holding him, so Harry was confident that Niall would be really happy soon.

When the band started the next song, Harry went over to the tree again, where it was a little less populated, and sat against it on the ground, taking out his phone and checking the time. They had only been there for two hours, and he suspected they’d be there till sundown, which he actually didn’t mind. Not anymore, since he‘d met some of the people, and they weren’t all that bad.

Harry put phone away and watched everything; Lottie and Fizzy were chatting up some boys over by the cake table, Louis’ mum was talking to what he thought was one of Louis’ sisters or friends, Niall and Zayn still in their own world, guests eating, talking, and bobbing their heads to the music. The band playing song after song, even throwing a few covers in there from Oasis.

So far, it wasn’t too awful, and he was just glad he finally decided to enjoy the moment instead of being mad that Niall went back on his promise of leaving him alone today. Harry was actually thinking of apologizing to Niall for being a little upset in the first place, but then again, Niall was probably too in tune with Zayn to even care.

When it came time for the band to take an intermission, Harry stayed where he was, now totally engrossed in his phone. Niall and Zayn had a very different agenda and Harry had also gotten a text from Ed asking if he would like to try out another party that night when he got back. Of course, Harry told him probably not, because another party sounded utterly exhausting. But, he would take a rain check, since Harry had an early morning lecture the next day, so being tired would not be good.

He pocketed his phone once more and decided to get up, as Harry was thinking about going to find the loo to escape away for a second again. When he walked out, Louis was leaning against the wall, near the door just shaking his head.

“It seems we keep meeting at the same place.” Louis teased, “Do you always take forever?” Harry just narrowed his eyes at that.

“I was fixing my hair.” Harry shot back at him as he stuffed his hands into his pockets.

“Right, the fixing the hair excuse. Works like a charm every time.” Louis smirked. “Well, if you excuse me, I’ve been waiting for five minutes now,” he retorted, pushing past Harry, sending him a wink before shutting the door. Harry was boiling on the inside.

Despite this, Harry walked away and went back outside to join the rest, and he found himself back at the tree. Zayn and Niall were now standing near the house, all close; then Harry noticed Louis talking to them eventually catching Harry watching them and winking at him. Harry felt a bit embarrassed and quickly looked away.

He didn’t even notice the band when they started to play again. His head shot up eventually, and he watched them. Soon enough, someone sit beside him, and that person was Lottie.

“Having fun being all alone over here?” she asked, eyes still glued on the band.

“I suppose. I just needed to break away from being surrounded, I guess.” Harry admitted and Lottie nodded.

“I know exactly how you feel. That’s why I joined you, and besides, it’s actually a little more relaxing over here. Not to mention, I can see my brother’s band mate, Alex, because he’s a hunk.” Lottie grinned “Don’t tell Louis I said that, he would murder me.” Lottie snickered.

“I won’t.” Yeah, Harry would never ever.

It fell silent between them as they listened on to the band play. Harry didn’t mind Lottie sitting beside him, because she was actually quite nice. Harry locked eyes with Louis for a second, before looking down and scratching the back of his neck.

Soon, Harry noticed Lottie get up and go talk to some guy that she was chatting up earlier and leaving Harry to himself.

The time sitting by the tree seemed to slip by, soon Niall was lounging beside him and Zayn nowhere to be seen.

“Where’s your lover boy?” Harry teased.

“He had to go inside for a minute. I saw you were over here. Why aren’t you out there making friends?” Niall brought up.

“I rather be elsewhere, and besides, I’ve already got somewhat acquainted with Lottie.” Harry insisted, as he brought his knees to his chest.

“Quit being so negative, Harry.“ Niall replied, “Well good, glad to see you’ve managed to try meeting new people. I promise in an hour or so we’ll leave okay?” Harry didn’t believe it, but he didn’t argue.

“So what’s the deal with Zayn? I mean obviously you two were quite the couple earlier during the first performance.” he japed.

Niall blushed a bit and grinned. “I honestly have no idea, it still on my mind that he talks about me to Louis’ sisters,” he gushed Harry was happy that Niall was finally seeing someone that was actually worth it, and put in effort.

“I think you found a good one,” Harry mentioned. “I like him.”

Harry knew to Niall that meant a lot because usually Harry never liked any of Niall’s ex’s or hookups. Zayn was entirely different than the rest; he may have come off as a bad ass, but now that Harry has seen him around Niall, it was something else. Zayn’s not toying around with Niall and shoving him off to the side when his mates are around. His eyes’ not wandering to anyone else but Niall. Harry’s been there when all of Niall’s past interests only cared about one thing or were self absorbed, and so far Zayn seems pretty decent enough for Harry to approve. He hasn’t just had sex with Niall, they actually hang out, and are quite into each other. So hopefully this goes somewhere.

“Thank you, that says a lot since you’ve always hated everyone I’ve been involved with.” Niall said with a smile.

It was a comfortable silence between them for a while. The band was done playing, but the party presumed. It was getting a little dark, but not too bad. Zayn eventually came back over and snatched Niall’s complete attention away again.

Harry got up to go get another piece of cake, and he sat on one of the benches against the house. He watched Niall and Zayn talk with Jay, then noticed some people already leaving. Harry twirled his fork around the frosting, slowly getting up to throw out his half eaten piece of cake. Harry jumped when a voice came from behind and spooked the living daylights out of him.

“That’s wasteful,” Louis avowed.

Harry turned around quickly, seeing that Louis was rolling up the sleeves of his denim jacket, exposing some tattoos. Louis might have some elsewhere, but of course, Harry was not going to ask, he had no reason too, why should Harry care?

“Do you always need to bother me?” Harry shot back.

“I’m just pointing out that you threw out a piece of cake that looked perfectly fine.” Louis mentioned, with his arms crossed.

“Thank you, captain obvious,” Harry smirked, he wasn’t going to give Louis the satisfaction of annoying him this time. Nope.

Louis shook his head and pulled out his pack of cigarettes from a pocket of his skinny ripped trousers. “You know you should come join the smoke circle with my band mates and Zayn. I’m sure your friend Niall will be there too.” Louis suggested.

“I think I'm alright, actually. I hate the smell of cigarettes.” Harry stated.

“Oh yeah, forgot,” Louis noted. “Suit yourself then, be the killjoy you are,” he blurted out loudly as he sauntered off.

Just because Harry hated cigarettes, marijuana, and drinking did not make him a killjoy. No matter what Louis had to say about it.

Harry stood there contemplating if he should march after Louis and set things straight or give up, but in the end, he goes against his weak bout of confidence. Harry pulled up his phone and reads his notes because he really didn’t want to think about anything else.

Luckily, he managed to cram in some studying again. He didn’t realize how much time he had to study, until Niall texted him saying they were leaving in twenty minutes or so.

Thank God.

Harry got up and said goodbyes to Lottie, Fizzy, and Jay. He also went looking for Niall and Zayn, but he couldn’t find them anywhere outside. So he ventured inside, and that’s when he could smell it by the basement door. They were downstairs.

Harry took a deep breath before making his way down the stairs to see Niall, Zayn, Louis, and the band mates playing a round of pool, and Harry sighed. It reeked of cigarette smoke and it was quite loud with alternative music booming throughout the basement. It was like their own little party and Harry wanted to find his own way home. This was getting ridiculous.

“Well if it isn’t the killjoy coming to finally join us.” Louis jested, taking a drag of his cigarette.

“Louis, stop,” Zayn said lazily, taking a drag as well. “We told him we’d be leaving in like ten minutes or so, he’s fine.” At least Zayn defended him and stopped Louis from his frivolous comments. Zayn earns a point from Harry on that for a potential mate.

“Yeah, and I’m ready to leave.” Harry announced, “Is it even okay to be smoking and drinking down here?” he asked as he quirked his brow.

Louis laughed, “Of course it is.” he shook his head. “This is my mum's house, she hosted James’s birthday this year. So yeah, she doesn’t give a damn what I do, as long as I don’t stain the carpets and keep the noise down.” Louis clarified, putting out his cigarette in the ashtray.

“Okay, you two, chill.” One of the guys said as he took a shot at the ball and hit one of the stripes in the opening. “We don’t need you getting into a brawl again, Louis.” the guy smirked and Louis narrowed his eyes.

Harry didn’t even bother saying anything else, instead he took a seat next to Niall on the couch, watching them finish up their game. The smell was really getting to him, and the fact that Louis was sending him challenging glares didn’t put him in a better mood.

This game seemed to last forever, and with all their bantering back and forth, Harry was just sitting there impatiently. It felt as if they were both dragging their heels, and Niall wasn’t even acknowledging it, he kept watching Zayn and cheer-leading him on with his team.

“Let me make a bet,” Louis started, “Man to man, both me and you, Zayn, since we’re the last two to go against each other.” he grinned.

“Loser gets a tattoo on their fingers tomorrow. Winner gets to go free,” Louis declared, and Zayn agreed.

“Just another added to my body, so bring it on, Tommo,” Zayn smirked.

Tommo? Was that his nickname?

Harry couldn’t believe they were betting on the loser getting a tattoo, like, that would be permanent. But, Zayn was loaded with them, and as Harry remembered, Louis was too, and since Harry was almost positive Louis had a chest piece, a new one because of a stupid game would be nothing.

Harry couldn't help but wonder what was wrong with their sanity, or lack thereof.

By the time the game was finally over, it had been decided that Zayn actually won it, causing Louis to curse a bit.

“My mum is going to kill me when she finds out, but whatever. Good game, Z.” Louis commented, as he bumped fists with him.

“Your own fault for making up the bet in the first place, but hey, if it makes you feel better I can get one of mine touched up with you, mate,” Zayn suggested and Louis liked the idea. “We should probably get going, though, I’ll shoot you a message tomorrow about the appointments, alright?” Zayn questioned before Louis nodded.

“You going to be there, eh killjoy?” Louis questioned, shooting a glance towards him, and Harry scoffed.

“Me? Tattoos? Yeah, right, as if.”.

Louis smirked, “Of course, just as I thought. Against tattoo’s as well?”

“Of course not, I don’t want to mark my body is all,” Harry replied sharply. “I mean, it is permanent, so I really have no reason to get them,” he went on, standing to his feet. ”I’m perfectly fine the way I am,” he added in.

“I don’t want a tattoo either,” Niall admitted. “So I’m with Harry on that one.”

Louis shrugged. “Suit yourselves.” Surprisingly he didn’t throw a zinger in there.

Harry just stood back a bit as they all started saying their goodbyes since he didn’t really know anyone other than Zayn, Niall, and unfortunately Louis..

Speaking of the devil, Harry managed to ignore the look he was getting from Louis. Harry followed the rest of them up the stairs, until he heard Louis call out to him, as Louis wasn’t going up with them.

“See you around, killjoy,” Louis shouted, followed by a laugh.

Louis would just have to keep wishing.

Chapter Text

Lectures on foundations of health sciences was what Harry had been sitting through most mornings. Not that he had any protests, since his scholastics education was the most priority.

He’d been taking note after note. Even the unimportant stuff, like when the professor went off task and told the class a story about their experiences, but you could bet it’d be in Harry’s notes somewhere, every last word. At least Harry had been able to focus; all the past week, Niall stopped bugging him about useless parties. Thankfully, Niall must have gotten the hint at the birthday party as to why Harry normally never frequented such events, especially those operated by strangers and distant acquaintances. Harry was nothing but thankful that none of his mates dragged him out again, and Harry expected it to stays that way. Harry couldn’t afford to lag off and lose focus anymore than he already had.

When class was dismissed, Harry decided he wanted to get a little bit more work done before heading back to his dorm, so he took off towards the Hartley library, the university's main library.

Spending time in the library would be good for him, as all the research he’d be doing would add to his knowledge. But, it was a seventeen-minute ride via bus, because walking would take even longer. Now, on a nice day, Harry would have walked, since he despised the damn bus. From the crowdedness to the possibility of late arrivals was something Harry wasn’t too keen on.

Harry walked to the station, his hair tucked into his beanie, because the weather decided to be shit that day. Drizzling on and off, Harry was not about to get his curls damp and gross. Plus, it wasn’t a long walk, maybe two or three minutes, tops, but waiting for the bus was rather a pain. Six others were waiting there also, and Harry felt a bit apprehensive due to the fact that he’d have to take it again on the way back. Harry wished he had a different mode of transportation, but he didn’t, so there was nothing he could do about it.

Finally, the bus came, pulling up and letting various people off. Harry hopped on and found a seat towards the front. It was a little crowded, but not too bad, as the library was just a short ride away, and with the whole seat to himself, it was comfortable.

Harry was anxious to get to the library, so trip seemed like it went on for ages, especially when the driver made a few stops along the way. He watched the scenery outside the window; the downpour hitting against the glass, and the hazy overcast. Since it was Friday, Harry hoped that when he was done at the library, Niall might want to come hang in his dorm, or get coffee. Harry was looking forward to hearing what was going on between Niall and Zayn lately. Ever since the birthday party, Niall hadn’t been saying much to him, and Harry wondered not only how bad he scared Niall off, but if there were any updates with Zayn.

Either way, good or bad, Harry wanted details.

To get it started, Harry shot Niall a quick text, asking him if he was free later that evening, to come to Harry’s dorm around eight.

Of course, Harry got no immediate response. Niall must have been with Zayn or Ed, because he wasn't in the lecture today. Not only that, but Niall always responded to texts fairly quickly. But whatever. Harry shoved his phone away in his pocket and soon enough the bus stopped. Harry got up and got off, walking through a light drizzle, as he made his way towards the library. Harry hoped that Niall would catch a break soon from whatever he was doing and respond to him.

The library was huge, about six floors, and enough computers and books to go around. Harry generally invested a larger part of his time after class there, on most days.It was a quiet environment, one where he was able to focus better. No distractions, and definitely around people there with similar ambitions as himself which was nice, for once.

Once Harry found a seat at a small table, he did some research on the notes he took that day. He was even able to rewrite them and print them out, just incase he were to lose them. Time must have slipped by, as Harry didn’t realize how dark it had gotten outside.

Harry’s attention was immediately diverted when he felt his phone buzzing against his thigh. Thinking it would be Niall, Harry quickly checked it, but was not in a million years expecting to see what he saw; a friend request on Facebook from the one and only Louis Tomlinson.

How the hell did Louis even find him? And why did Louis think they're suddenly friends? Or at least, on Facebook?

Niall might be shagging Zayn, but that didn’t mean anything for Harry and Louis. It had nothing to do with them. At all.

Harry pulled his eyes away from his phone and tried to make himself focus in on what he was doing. He was writing some reminders for what he’d need to do once he got back to his dorm, like finishing book work, for example.

Right as Harry was about to start typing, his phone hummed once again. He started typing, knowing it would be better to just ignore it than to be super paranoid.Unfortunately, it buzzed again, but Harry wanted to finish what he was doing before checking his phone, since what he really wanted to do was to go back to his dorm, and the sooner he had his reminders planned out, the sooner he could head back. At this point, Harry already got that stupid friend request from Louis, so what else could it be? If anything, it was more than likely Niall finally texting him back. Harry kept his focus until the third time it buzzed, but by then, he was almost finished with his reminders anyway.

Harry sighed as he took out his phone and saw that he had a text, and a notification from Facebook that he had a message. He can only guess who sent it to him, but he wished he couldn’t.

Because he has his priorities straight, Harry checks his texts first, and lo and behold, it was Niall. To Harry’s delight, Niall agreed to get a coffee with him in fifteen minutes.

Despite every bone in his body telling him not to, Harry checked his Facebook messages and instantly wished he didn’t. Louis asked him to come to some party tonight, because everyone who's anyone would be there.

Harry didn’t appreciate the snarky undertones in the message from Louis he just read, as it made him even less inclined to write back to him. Maybe Louis would get the hint by Harry not adding him as a friend nor responding to his message. However, Harry was curious as to why Louis thought he’d even think about going after how well the past two nights went. But then again, Harry knew that Louis was the kind to attack on all sides, so of course he’d invite Harry to a party, just to spite Harry, because Louis knew Harry would just wimp out and not go, proving everything Louis said about Harry to be true.

Louis was acting like a kid; it was quite ridiculous. Harry puts his phone away and starts packing up, as he didn’t need to be thinking about Louis, because he really didn’t have the time nor the energy.

By the time Harry was sitting at the bus station, Niall finally responded properly to Harry’s text, and confirmed a coffee break.

Niall agreed because, apparently, he really needed to talk to Harry. Harry figures this must be about Zayn, but he wasn’t going to jump to any hasty conclusions so soon.

After making a quick detour to his dormitory to drop off his stuff, Harry made it to the Arlott Cafe. Even though this place was rather out of the way, Harry liked this cafe.Sure, there were other places that serve coffee around the school, but Harry preferred this place because it was the most relaxing, and Ed's hall wasn’t too far from the cafe either.

Twenty minutes later Harry was in line at the Arlott Cafe. Hopefully, Niall would just stroll in any minute, because Harry didn’t want to spend the rest of his night there.

After getting his holy grail of vanilla iced coffee, Harry found a table near the wall and sat down, sipping on his beverage, waiting patiently. He even took out his phone to check if Niall had sent him an, ‘on my way’ text. Nope, nothing.

He sat there for nearly ten minutes and just as Harry was finishing his coffee, the chair in front of his screeched against the floor. Niall slammed down into the chair looking like a mess that just rolled out bed. Dark purple love bites plastered along his neck, his blond hair damp and disheveled from the rain, and his jacket out of sorts and drenched. Not to mention the patches of missed stubble.

So, they were shagging.

“I’m so sorry I’m late. I ran here as fast as I could.” he breathed out, and Harry nodded. Niall's face was beat red, and he was panting pretty hard; Harry wondered just how far he ran.

“Ran here from?” Harry asked, quirking his brow.

“From,” Niall breathed hard, “Zayn’s dorm.” he said, taking a deep breath before running his fingers through his soaked hair.

“And how far is that?” Harry continued, taking a sip from his empty drink.

Niall sucked on his bottom lip, “That's not important, I’m here now, aren’t I?” of course changing the subject, Harry smirked. Zayn’s dorm must have been pretty far away, and Harry can’t help but wonder just how many days Niall had been bunking in his dorm. Considering his appearance and lack of communications with Harry.

“So, I take it things are going pretty well then, yeah? I mean, your love bites really compliment your eyes.” Harry teased and Niall rolled his eyes.

“They most certainly are, thank you very much,” Niall scoffs, crossing his arms. “In fact, I think I might ask him out later tonight.”

Harry never expected that to come out of his mouth. “What happened to the ‘I don’t like to be the one to ask’? Hmm?”.

In the past, Niall thought that guys should come to him, as he had this thing with asking guys out, like it wasn’t good for his complexion or some shit. Because of that, it’s always been that way. Harry thought Niall was crazy for having such high standards when it came to a partner and for acting so spoiled, but then it’d turn hypocritical, as Harry could be way worse at times. Harry liked a true gentleman, slow paced, romantic, good head on their shoulders, and just the overall package.

“Fuck off.” Niall shot back, narrowing his eyes and Harry just grinned.

Harry watched as Niall took off his jacket, and realizing the top Niall had on was a size too small. It was also a band shirt for a band Niall never listened to.

“Whose top is that?” Harry asked sarcastically, as he sure as hell knew it wasn’t Niall’s.

“It’s mine,” Niall responded, as if he was planning on getting asked about it. “I like Metallica, I’ve always liked them. You don’t know everything I listen to,” he responded, a little bit too defensively.

“So what songs do you like, then? I mean since you are an avid fan and all?” Harry quizzed, sitting back in his chair.

“I like them all,” Niall replied in a quieter voice.

“Oh yeah? What do you think about the song, An Ode To One” Harry asked, ready for this.

“Love that song,” Niall blurted, “It’s one of my favorites.”

Harry really wanted to burst out laughing, because Niall was lying so badly. “Oh really?” Harry moved to prop his elbows on top of the table and rested his chin against fists as he dragged this thing on because Harry was having a great time, listening to Niall fib his ass off. “What about Take Me Down?”

Niall furrowed his brows, “That’s a great song too, why are you asking me so many questions? I didn’t agree to come hang out with you because you're curious about my top, I actually need to make sure I'm not crazy for asking him out before he does.” Niall objected, ready to get up and leave, but lacked the motivation to get away from Harry being annoying.

“Because those are Smashing Pumpkins songs, that's why.” Harry replied, finally laughing, “Let me just take a wild guess,” he continued, beaming, “That’s Zayn's top, isn’t it?” Niall's cheeks turned a bright shade of pink.

“Knew it. Just knew it.” Harry says confidently, sitting back. “You've never been into hard rock, so you could never play me like that,” he confirms, winking.

Harry knew Niall was just being defensive because Niall didn’t want Harry to read into the origins of his shirt. Plus, the whole thing was just so stupid; Harry knew what music Niall liked, and Niall knew what music Harry liked, and unless either of them had some sort of epiphany and started liking something totally unlike themselves, all that was totally uncalled for, and now wasn’t the time for an epiphany. Just to recap, Niall was doing that, just to cover his arse.

“Fine, it’s his top." Niall finally admitted, "I just kinda threw something on when I realized what time it was. I just hope he isn’t like mad I kind of borrowed it.” Niall explained rather honestly.

“I’m sure it’s fine. You two are almost dating anyways.” Harry knew this was the unofficial truth, and despite being unofficial, it was still true. “Also, you’re not crazy for asking him out, I mean he’d be pretty stupid to say no. Go for what you want, Nialler,” Harry explained, smiling. “I’m sure he’ll say yes.”

“I hope so.” Niall replied with a sigh.

Harry realized Niall was feeling a little insecure about it, but Harry thought Niall needed to stop being so pessimistic. With all that that had been going on between the two of them, Harry could tell it was not an act, or an elongated hookup. Like back at that birthday party, he saw the way they were all over each other and the way Zayn looked at Niall.

Harry fiddled with the trim of his sleeve for a moment, trying to think of some words of encouragement for Niall. “You know, even if he says no then it’s his loss.” Harry started with a low voice. “You’re a really great guy, and he would be absolutely crazy to say no to you.”

Niall let out a breath and looked down, running his fingers through his hair. Harry wished he could be the one to talk to Zayn and figure out how he felt before Niall jumped right into it. However, Harry knew it wasn’t his place and he’s not exactly super close with Zayn either. Plus, Harry didn’t exactly have a super great track record with relationships, so what was he doing giving all this advice?

Harry watched Niall get up and go to the counter without a word, and Harry wondered if there could be anything else he could do, something to make Niall feel better about it, but his mind was drawing blanks.

When Niall finally re-joined him, and Harry kept thinking as Niall stirred his straw around his drink. “Do you think you can come with me tonight?” Niall asks slowly, finally looking up at Harry, his face slightly troubled.

“To where I might ask?” Harry was taken aback by this question.

There was a pause, and Harry knew that was probably a stupid question. He should have just known what it could have possibly been because it seemed to be Zayn’s natural habitat for him and his slew of friends.

“To Liam’s party.” Niall finally answered, after taking a sip of his drink. Harry leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. “Please?” Niall begged.

“No.” Harry said.

“Come on, can’t you do this for me?” Niall whined, “You’re my best mate and I need you for support. Please?”

“Niall, I said no.” Harry replied firmly, “Why can’t Ed be your support system tonight? I have tons of book work to do, and you know how much I hate parties.”.

Niall frowned and pushed his drink away. “Then I won’t ask him out. I prefer you there because you’re like my brother, Harry. Also maybe because if it were you, I’d do the same.” Niall kept trying, because Harry wasn’t going to be that easy to convince. “I know you don’t like parties, but can you at least do this for me? Once I get him, I’ll leave you alone forever, if you want. I just need you there, for me, at least. It would mean so much to me, especially if he says no at least we can ditch and go somewhere else instead.” Niall finished, pouting, not sure what else he could say.

Despite his initial reaction, Harry gave it a thought because of what Niall was saying. Harry knows he could be a big help for Niall, and he appreciated Niall offering to do the same for him if the day ever came. He wanted to keep telling him no, but something inside him just wanted all this to be figured out and settled and everyone dating who they were supposed to be dating and all that jazz. It was as if Harry’s insides were screaming at him telling him to stop being so selfish and just help Niall out.

“Fine, I guess I’ll come.” Harry says after a while. Niall just grinned and Harry shook his head with a small smile. “But you have to promise me you're going to ask him out and not go off and shag him again instead, and you owe me so much for doing all this” Harry explained firmly, setting down some rules, it was about damn time too.

Niall nodded, saying yes to it all just to make sure Harry did come with him. “Yes, fine, whatever you want, it’s on me. And you don’t have anything to worry about, because sex is the last thing on my mind right now, trust me. “ Niall said rather honestly, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Just don’t even start on that part.” Harry groaned.

Niall swatted at the air before taking a sip of his drink.

“So when are you gonna tell me more about this party? Another four hour trip or no?” Harry asked, knowing it was time to just go along with it.

Niall shook his head. “No, no, not that far. It’s close, but we gotta go, especially since Zayn might not stay that long tonight.”

“Perfect, that means that we can just show up, you do your thing, and then we leave.”

Niall laughed, standing up. “Sure, I mean, in theory those are the highlights of tonight's main events but-”

“But nothing, I don’t need to hear it. In reality I know we won’t be leaving until you’ve discovered the meaning of life.” Harry frowned, following after Niall. “But I can dream.”

Niall giggled, just glad he got Harry to agree to come, as he didn’t care just how much Harry kicked and screamed about going. They were both just as hopeful that everything would work out.

When they arrived at the party a few hours later and made their way inside, Harry felt as if it was deja vu all over again. The same stench hitting his nose, boisterous music, and all too familiar faces.

“Come on,” Niall shouted over the music, grabbing Harry’s wrist as Niall dragged Harry along. Harry just let him do it, Harry let Niall drag him up the stairs. Niall led Harry into a room filled with other guys, and loud music (Nirvana) was playing. Of course Nick, Zayn, Ed, were there, and last but not least, Louis. Seated on his lap was that girl who sat there at the first party. Louis had his arm around her waist while taking a hit before passing it along to the bloke beside him.

“Well, well, well, look who's here, Z.” Louis shouted out. “It’s your boyfriend and the killjoy.” Louis smirked, pulling the girl closer. Harry rolled his eyes and bit back a smile when he saw Zayn lightly punch Louis in the arm, glaring at him.

Harry watched Zayn come up to Niall, pulling him into a tight embrace, and to Harry’s left, Louis was talking to Nick. Despite trying to look away, Harry’s eyes are wandered over to the two of them again. He sighed and looked to watch Niall, wondering if this was is the moment he asks Zayn to go somewhere more quiet to talk.

Thankfully they pulled away, and Harry noticed the Zayn’s fingers looped through Niall's trouser belt loops.

“Can we talk? Like in another room?” Niall asked Zayn nervously, as Harry could see him blinking a little too much and yet making no eye contact. Harry felt bad for Niall because he knew this was such a huge step, and Harry was honestly ready to jump in and ask the question for Niall.

“Is everything alright?” Zayn wondered, puzzled, and Niall nodded.

“Please?” Niall begged and Zayn slowly nodded, “Um, Harry you can stay in here if you want.” So what happened to the whole, Harry needs to be there for moral support because he was Niall’s best friend kinda thing? Did Niall not really mean them? But no, Harry realized it was probably for the aftermath, a good or bad situation.

“I think I’ll wait in the kitchen.” Harry finally manages, offering Niall an encouraging smile. To this, Niall agrees, and yet Zayn looked absolutely confused. Harry allowed the two of them to leave, and just as he was about to take his first steps, he had a certain someone making superfluous remarks.

“Leaving so soon?” Louis smirked, sounding as if he expected Harry to do nothing else.

“Yes, yes, I am, because I rather be downstairs and away from you.” Harry hissed back before leaving the room, ignoring any further comments. He did not care if it was rude or that it also just happened to bother Louis’ girlfriend or whatever she was. After all, Harry was just there for Niall, and that was it, nothing else had any importance.

Harry found himself in the kitchen, and as he leaned the countertop, he watched and his surroundings. It was all the same things; drunks falling over themselves and spilling their drinks. The usual people snogged each other and practically ended up shagging. Loud music pulsated through the flat, and specialty desserts were placed out for grabs. Harry still felt out of place, so he took out his phone to comfort himself. The phone was a nice tool, as it allowed Harry to ignore all the madness going on around him and kept him on the ready for a text from Niall, Harry expected a text featuring a few different options, one, getting Harry to come up stairs or gushing to him about how he has a new boyfriend.

Harry hoped it would be the second one.

Minutes pass and nothing spectacular happens, so Harry takes a sigh as he put his phone away and begins to meander around the house once again. He accidentally bumped into a few people (or they accidentally bumped into him), but thankfully nothing got spilled on him this time. In order to prevent what happened to him and his shirt at the first party, Harry headed outside where it was a little less crowded. Harry found a spot on one of the couches and closed his eyes, somehow able to ignore the smoke from the smokers outside and the chatter from those that could still do it without slurring.

Since nothing was really happening, Harry slouched back into his seat, tilted his head back and rested his hands in his lap. It was nice to unwind a little bit, even though there was music blaring from inside the house and people talked quite loud.

“Are you seriously sleeping? At a party no less?” Louis asked incredulously, sitting down beside Harry… well more so he slammed his body down into the seat.

Harry’s eyes shot open and saw Louis lighting up a cigarette. In a voice no more surprised and annoyed that it was indeed Louis sitting beside him, Harry replied, “I was relaxing not sleeping. Learn the difference.”

“Still uptight I see.” Louis remarked and Harry crossed his arms, offering Louis no response.

While the two of them sat there in an awkward silence, Harry noticed that Louis had a small anchor on his middle knuckle and helm complementing it on the index knuckle on his right hand. Harry wondered if there was any meaning to it, or if was just a careless tattoo. Either could be possible, considering that Louis had a plethora of tattoos even though Harry had yet to see really any of them because both times Harry had been around Louis, Louis always had some sort of jacket on.

“Is that the tattoos you got after you lost that bet?” Harry questioned, eyeing Louis’ fingers.

“Yup, picked them out myself,” Louis answered slowly, taking a drag from his cigarette. “Like them?” Louis brought his hand over to Harry and Harry furrowed his brows at how damn close Louis’ cigarette was to his own face, the smoke voyaged towards Harry, and so he pulled his own head back a bit, creating distance once again.

“They’re… nice.” Was all Harry could possibly say, and Louis just huffed. “Just please get that God awful cancer stick away from me.” Harry complained.

“Oh yeah, forgot, you don’t like tattoo’s.” Louis remarked as he tossed his cigarette to the ground and put it out with his foot. “I only needed a half a cig anyways.”

“Again, I like them, but not for myself. “ Harry countered in defense and Louis laughed.

“Right,” was all Louis could manage before Harry got up from his seat on the couch and walked away.

“Why do you always walk away from me?” Louis shouted over the music from behind, but Harry rolled his eyes and ignored him, still walking away. “Am I not as cool as your friends or something?” Louis continued, his voice strained a bit. But Harry didn’t stop walking until he reached the kitchen and got himself a bottle of water from one of the coolers.

Harry didn’t know how Louis got there so quickly, as Harry left him outside and in an area not nearby the kitchen. But Harry didn’t want anymore conversation with Louis, so he played it off, pretended he just wasn’t there. Clearly Louis knew his way around the house oh so much better than Harry did, but it was annoying to Harry that he himself could never be alone. Louis was always somewhere, and one would think, that with Louis always there in Harry’s vicinity, that Louis wouldn’t treat Harry so poorly, but that’s just how it was.

Harry chugged down most of the water bottle, ignoring the many looks Louis was giving him. He didn’t know why Louis just had to pester him so much, but then maybe Louis was lonely or this was some sort of cry for help because Louis needed help with his academics. Then again, Louis probably just wanted to make Harry’s life miserable.

“Why do you always feel the need to bother me? I mean, If I’m such a downer and all,” Harry wondered, as he set his bottle on the counter.

“Because our friends are going to end up together eventually, and I would much prefer getting to know who Zayn’s future boyfriends mates are.” Louis had a point here. A small one.“ Also you’re a challenge in itself, someone seemingly impossible to befriend, and I find that absolutely fascinating.”

“A challenge, really?” Harry asked, crossing his arms, a bit offended. “I’m not some game to be won, Louis,” Harry announced firmly, hoping Louis would finally understand it this time.

“Yeah, I always love a challenge,” Louis continued, smirking, “ You’re too much of a goodie from what I’ve witnessed. I want to help break down those walls and expose you to what this university experience is all about. You know, the passage of youth.” Louis explained rather honestly, and despite the fact that Harry appreciated Louis’ truthfulness, his reasons were ridiculous, and stupid.

“The only thing I’m breaking down is any idea of a friendship, that, for some reason you think it could actually happen between us.” Harry countered in a sharp tone. As if all the times before where Harry walked off, leaving a dazed, Louis were not able to work before, Harry hoped that maybe this time, as he stormed off, that Louis would get the hint that whatever thing Louis saw between them was all just a stupid idea.

Harry took out his phone once he made it far away from Louis enough and checked the time, hoping he had a missed text from Niall, but of course, there was nothing. Because Niall gave Harry the impression that his whole thing with Zayn would only take like ten minutes, Harry was impatiently waiting, for a text he knew probably wouldn’t even get in the end, as Niall would probably blow him off once he didn’t need Harry anymore.

“You know, you’re quite rude,” Louis sighed, coming up and standing beside Harry.

“I’m the rude one. Alright.” Harry agreed, his tone clearly sarcastic.

Once Harry looked up from his phone, Louis frowned. “Why are you ignoring my friendship request online? I saw you read my message.” Louis asked accusingly, crossing his arms.

“How did you even find me in the first place? I never gave you my last name.” Harry questioned, shooting him a sharp glance.

Louis smirked, running his fingers through his messy fringe, “I have my connections, and besides, be happy I added you.” It was not difficult for Louis to sound like a cocky bastard. “I don’t add most people, but usually, the most interesting ones have a spot on my list.” Harry wanted to know which one of his ‘friends’ gave his name to Louis, because clearly Harry was going to start thinking about methods of revenge.

“What are you, some creepy stalker or did you ask my mates? I really hope it’s the second option, despite the fact that they shouldn't have told you my name in the first place.” Harry declared, crossing his arms over his chest.

Laughing, Louis took out his pack of cigarettes and his lighter. “I’m not that fucking weird. I actually saw you on the ‘people you should know’ list. Thanks for making assumptions again.” Louis finished, sounding slightly disappointed.

“I’m the one who's making assumptions? Excuse me?” Harry asked incredulously, his gaze flicking upwards, obviously annoyed. “I can not believe what I’m hearing. I’m the one to blame. Me.” Harry’s snippy tone was rather harsh, but he laughed, as this whole thing was so ridiculous.

“Well, you certainly are being defensive now,” Louis mumbled under his breath.

This was all just a headache inducing conversation, and he swore that if Niall did date Zayn, Harry had no plans on hanging with Louis at all. They could just count Harry out, because Louis was too damn smug and everything about him was just so annoying.

“You know what, screw you.” Harry declared, his voice strained. As he turned his back to Louis and started walking off.

“Someone needs to calm down, babe,” Louis shouted back at him, but Harry kept walking, and didn’t slow down until he made it inside.

All of this was a joke, it had to be. There was no way Louis was serious about this, about anything! Harry really hoped he could find Niall and that they could just leave.

So Harry looked all over. Up and down, even in the rooms where the smoke was choking him. Then Harry texted Niall, trying to keep calm. A few minutes later, when Harry got no reply, Harry tried calling him, but there was no answer.

“Niall left with Zayn an hour ago” Louis shouted over the music from behind him, and Harry wanted to pretend he never met Louis.

How the hell does Louis keep showing up out of the blue? Was Louis following him this whole time?

“Why don't you go bother your girlfriend or someone that actually would love your attention,” Harry remarked.

“Girlfriend?” Louis laughed, shaking his head, “Edith is not my girlfriend, she wishes though. We just hook up from time to time, but that's about it.” Harry didn’t know how honest Louis was with that answer, as he was sure they were dating from what he’d witnessed, since the girl seemed to be all over Louis.

Harry didn’t reply to Louis, as he just kept his focus on what in the world he was going to do since Niall left him. How was he supposed to get home?

“Thanks a lot, Niall,” Harry said under his breath.

“You know, I can give you a ride back to your dorm,” Louis offered in a much quieter voice.

“No way in hell; you could secretly be a murder, or something, for all I know, and I’m not taking any chances,” Harry replied, getting flustered. “Besides, I don’t want to be in the same vehicle as you.” he grimaced. Harry didn’t really care that he was being a bit of jerk, he didn’t trust Louis as it was and he sure as hell didn’t trust him even more in a car, especially after a party. Louis could be stoned out of his mind or even a bit tipsy, and Harry didn’t want to take his chances.

“I take high offense to that,” Louis scoffed, “Would you much prefer walking alone in the dark or ride in a car with a falsely accused serial killer? I mean, the choice is yours, love.” Louis explained, picking at his nails.

“I think I’ll find a ride on my own terms, thanks, though,” Harry replied, passing it off, not even giving it another thought.

“You’re being irrational now,” Louis countered quickly, “I mean, think about it, you're willing to ask a random stranger for a ride back to your dorm instead of me.” Louis shook his head. “That's so much more unsafe, and I’m not even unsafe. Secondly, it’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard. Have you not you seen those murder mystery shows?” Louis prompted, pausing, waiting for Harry to answer.

But Harry had no intention of answering Louis, because he has no intention of actually going with him. It was not going to happen.

“Hasn’t anyone taught you to not get into vehicles with strangers?” Louis continued on and on after he got no answer.

Harry narrowed his eyes, “Of course my mum has.” he snapped back. “Stop trying to justify things. I just don't want to ride with you because who knows how stoned you are or how many drinks you’ve had.”.

Louis shook his head. “You always get so defensive about everything,” Louis laughed, “It’s great.” Harry was getting really annoyed. “I’m not drunk, so there’s that.” Louis announced, but it wasn’t enough, as Harry just walked off again. Harry remembered that Ed and or Nick were at the party, and he actually had a reason to leave Louis again, as he was trying to find them.

Thankfully, Louis finally left him alone, and Harry saw Ed, but he was across the room with some girl that looked to be a little older than him. Harry was about to go over to Ed, but then Harry saw him lead the girl upstairs by the hand, so that was clearly not going to work. Hopefully, Nick was still around, because this was Harry’s last chance, even though he really didn’t really even know him, at least Nick was friends with Zayn.

Harry meandered around the swarmed living room, dodging potentially spilled drinks, and people trying to flirt with him. He almost tripped into a big bloke that could probably snap him in half with his massive muscular arms, but he didn’t thankfully.

Harry was never able to find Nick, which sucked because he only had one other option, which he really just did not want to do.

Because there wasn’t much Harry could do now, he ventured outside and takes one of the empty seats Harry sent Niall a text, that ended up sounding more happy and polite than Harry was feeling, as Harry was pissed that Niall left without him, or at least, didn’t even tell Harry he was leaving. Niall snuck out with Zayn, because he was gone too, so at least Niall’s plan went well. Harry was happy someone was having a good night. Anyway, Harry texted Niall that he himself was planning on leaving soon, and that Niall should watch out for him because Harry wasn’t planning on forgetting about getting ditched.

Since Harry was banking on the fact that Zayn and Niall were about to become ‘Ziall,’ he wondered if Zayn’s mates would be around much more, or if they’ll start to leave Harry out of things and do stuff without him. Despite how much Harry disliked the things in which Zayn and his friends did for fun, Harry didn’t want to be left out and pushed to the side more than he’d already been.

Soon enough, Harry felt a vibration in his pocket from his phone and as he pulled it out, he tried really hard to not get his hopes up, because it was so unlike Niall to text back, especially since he’d struck it rich with Zayn. “Found a willing candidate yet?” A message from Louis online. Great.

Of course, Harry ignored it and fiddled with his phone, wishing he was back in his bed reading his a book, or even one of his textbooks.

When people started leaving a few hours later, Harry stated feeling rather worried. He hadn’t gotten a ride arranged yet and it started pouring outside. As much as Harry acted like it would be totally possible that he’d be able to find someone, it was all completely false. All of it. Harry couldn’t get a hold of anyone that could possibly come pick him up; it’s not like he could grab a ride with anyone here, because everyone was trashed. Ed left with that girl, Nick was a no go and Niall was long gone.

Harry ventured to the bathroom to fix his hair, well, actually, he was putting it into a bun, since it was storming out and he didn’t want to deal with wet hair.

Pretty soon there was a knock on the door, and Harry sighed. Cracking it open a bit, Harry saw Louis standing there with his keys and a slight smile, as if, for some reason, he was delighted that he was going to end up giving Harry a ride.

“Come on, I’m giving you a ride,” Louis began, pushing open the bathroom door.

“I already told you no,” Harry said in a firm voice, “I can walk.” Even though the idea was awful, it was all Harry could do at this point.

“You're seriously going to walk in the pouring rain in the middle of the night?” Louis asked, stunned Harry was so… stubborn. “Are you insane?”

“Not insane, just up for a walk, it’ll be good, clear my head and all,” Harry replied, trying to sound positive. “Also, you may have had a bit of drink tonight, and I really don’t know if you should even be on the road.” Harry concluded, eyeing Louis’ keys in his hand.

But Louis disagreed, crossing his arms. “I didn't even drink tonight. Got high, yes, but not drunk.” Harry does not believe this. “I’m actually going to my mum's tomorrow, and I really don't want to be hungover for the four hour drive.

Harry saw more party goers walking passed Louis quickly, but Louis paid no attention to any of them, as he waited for Harry’s answers, his eyebrows were raised, and he twirled his keys in his hands.

“So, are you going to let me drive you back then? If not, it’s your loss on a free ride.”.

Harry gave it a thought, because he really didn’t want to get soaked and get even more tired from a long walk. His hair would be absolutely gross, and his garments would be cold; his legs would be so tired and Harry didn’t even really know the way back to his dorm too well.

Harry sighed, thinking he’d have to give in, just this once, because the only other option wasn’t a smart one. “Fine, I suppose you can give me a ride.” Harry said, reluctantly.

Louis’ face broke out into a grin, “Then follow me.” Louis exclaimed, suddenly very excited, and Harry couldn’t believe he even agreed to getting a ride from Louis. What was Harry thinking?

Harry followed Louis outside after he said his goodbyes to some of the party goers, and Louis sprinted to one on the cars in front of the house. Harry walked after him, as the rain drenches him from head to toe. Harry couldn’t help but hope that Louis wouldn’t get mad if Harry happened to have the slightest bit of mud on his shoes.

He was impressed, Louis’ car was quite clean and even rather spacious, which was nice since Harry was on the taller side, and the Jimmy Eat World playing the background was a nice touch.

“So where do you stay?” Louis asked, staring at Harry with his phone in his hand, which was conveniently illuminating up the inside of the car from the darkness.

“Bencraft Hall,” Harry answered.

“Interesting,” Louis replied, sounding neither impressed nor surprised and he typed something into his phone. Harry was curious as to why Louis said the word ‘interesting’ in response to where the building in which Harry lived, but also what Louis typed into his phone. Not because Harry was nosy, but because he felt that Louis was probably saying something about him to somebody or something. Louis continued. “I hope you don't mind my amazing taste in music, by the way.”

Harry rolled his eyes, “I like this band, I’ll have you know.”.

Louis didn’t say anything in response but he smirked a bit, from what Harry could see.

When Louis took off down the road, it was relatively silent, other than the quiet of music playing and the heavy downpour hitting the windshield. One thing Harry was thankful of was Louis’ driving skills in this kind of weather, as he was a good driver.

“My mum tells me you’re going for nursing, that’s cool.” Harry was intrigued that Louis even cared to know what Harry was studying, and, if Louis was being honest, Harry was surprised at the fact that Louis thought it was cool.

“Yeah, so far I like it.”

Louis nodded, “Good, that means you know you’ve made the right choice. I’m into the game design and art myself. Thankfully it's my last year, which I’m really fucking ecstatic over because Uni blows.”

So this was Louis’ last year then.

Louis continued, “How long is yours?”

“Four years total.” Harry answered.

Harry tapped his fingers on his thigh to the music, looking out to the lit up buildings, and thought about hitting the sheets as soon as he got back. He felt utterly exhausted now, not only from the party, but from sitting in the car this long, but it probably was for the best that he didn’t walk, from the pouring rain to his fatigue setting in, the walk would have been disastrous, and Harry was kind of glad Louis offered.

They were about three minutes away from his hall and Harry was already feeling anxious to go back into his room, as all he wanted to do was get changed, snuggle into his warm bed sheets, unwind, and forget about the stupid party and the smell of weed suffocating him to almost the whole night.

The second Louis pulled into an empty parking spot near the building Harry was already unbuckling.

“Harry?” Louis asked.

"Yeah?”.

“Do you need me to walk you to your door?” Louis mocked, smirking. Harry narrowed his eyes, knowing that Louis thought that was so funny, but it wasn’t.

Harry firmly shook his head, “I don’t know if you’re trying to be a sappy romantic or being a tool,” he began, annoyed that Louis was back at it again. “But I definitely don’t need to find out, and I totally don’t even want to.”.

Louis chuckled, “It’s so fun to mess with you.” and Harry shot him a glare.

“Why do you get such a bloody kick out messing with me? Huh?” Harry sneered, upset, “I mean, back at the party you said you like a challenge, and now this? Am I just some video game to you?”.

Louis rolled his eyes, “You’re being melodramatic, I never said you were like video games, I just said that you're fun to watch and annoy. You react to everything I do and say so I can’t help but find it fascinating. It also makes me wonder why you hate me so much.”.

“I don’t hate you,” Harry replies sharply, crossing his arms. “So don’t put words in my mouth. I may not like you, but definitely not hate. You’d have to do something awful to get me to hate you.”

“Fair enough,” Louis shrugs.

Harry sighed at that. Was he supposed to worry that Louis was now going to keep going with this and start annoying Harry even more, since as long as it wasn’t anything severe, Harry wouldn’t hate him and Louis could get off free?

“You should hang with Nick, Ed, and I when I get back. Perhaps we can broaden your horizons to new things, and what not.” Louis suggests, sounding more friendly than ever, and Harry doesn’t know where that came from.

“I think I’m fine, thanks, though,” Harry replied, getting out and looking down into the car to meet Louis’ eyes. “Anyways, I’m going to head in, thanks for the ride, Louis,” he thanked Louis, giving him a small wave before strolling towards the double doors.

“See you around, doll,” Louis shouted to at him, but Harry just shook his head as he heard Louis’ car drive off like a damn speed demon.

Harry was still in shock that he took a ride with Louis, but was thankful he managed to stay dry.

Harry knew that the only thing he needed were fresh pajamas and a nice warm blanket, and as he made his way down hallways and up some set of stairs, they were calling his name.

*****

Over the next couple of days Harry heard the all important news of the new couple. His ear full of what went down minute by minute the day it was confirmed that Niall asked Zayn out. From Zayn saying yes, to the sex, which Niall could have spared him the details of, Harry heard it all.

Harry was at the coffee cafe alone, sitting at a table near the corner. Sipping on his usual iced coffee and typing away on his laptop, working on some essay about caregiving, but things weren’t going too well. Harry had spent upwards of an hour on it and yet was making minimal meaningful progress; Harry was almost at the point of slamming his head on the keyboard and giving up for the day. The saving grace was that Harry wasn’t in the library, as this place was more easy to work in.

Harry had been trying to think of something to type to get out of the brain fog he had all that morning. He thought that maybe heading out to the cafe would help jog his mind a bit since he preferred its atmosphere and also the wonderful coffee fumes, but he was wrong. Not even the scent of caffeine could wake up his brain.

“I feel like I need a holiday,” Harry whined to himself, taking a sip from his straw. After Harry was done with his sip, he groaned painfully, staring at the screen. He kept checking his word count and it seemed to be stuck at one hundred every time he looked. Maybe Harry should go hang out with Ed or Niall, as that had more promise in clearing his head than a few whiffs of coffee. Course, there was the risk that he spends time with them, clears his head, but is still right in the middle of writer's block, having wasted his time on something again.

The essay was due in a couple of days, but Harry couldn’t put it off to the night before, as that would just get the ball rolling to knock him out and have him fall behind.

Harry ran his fingers through his hair and closed his eyes, trying to unravel his nerves a bit because there was just no point in stressing out since it’d only cause it to not actually get it done.

It was then that his phone began to ring, so he answered it without looking, as he was too wrapped up in his thoughts to even care.

“Hello?” Harry tapped his fingers against the tabletop, staring at the word document on his computer.

“Hey, Harry! What's up mate?” Instantly Harry knew exactly who was on the line; Ed.

He sighed, moving to rest his elbows on the tabletop, “A bit stressed about an essay. You?”

“I’m actually thinking about heading out to the pub in a few hours with Nick and Louis. You should come with,“ Harry knew he really should not. “Hell, Niall and his boy might be there.”

Ed was clearly clueless.

“Do you even know me? Like, at all?” Harry asked, stunned, “You should know better than to think the pub is my scene, Ed.”

“Oh come on, Harry. You don't have to drink, just come have fun with us mates.” Yeah, mates. Louis was not his mate, and furthermore, he barely knew Nick and Zayn. So it was a stretch to call them anything close to a ‘mate.’ “It‘ll be fun… and I’m sure there will be some really hot blokes there tonight too.”

Harry was curious as to why Ed thought it was a good idea to invite Harry, because this was so not something Harry would typically go to. What was Ed even thinking? Maybe he wasn’t thinking, like at all, because, clearly, someone with the slightest idea of who Harry was wouldn’t include him on this one. They wouldn’t because they knew better. Ed didn’t know better.

It was probably because Harry showed up to those parties that caused Ed to think Harry was coming around to this stuff, and for that Harry couldn’t really blame and or be mad at Ed, because he didn’t know.

“I don’t know, Ed,” Harry replied, twirling his straw around his half gone drink. “Louis and I aren't friends and I also don’t know Nick and Zayn all that well either, and you know my stance on dating.”

Ed sighed, sounding annoyed, “That's why we were all going to hang out tonight, to get to know each other better. I think this could be good for us all, expanding our social bubble, Harry.” Ed was right, but Harry really didn’t want to be bored out of his mind. Sitting there watching them all get drunk and being loud and obnoxious and Zayn and Niall being a romantic mess wouldn’t be that fun to witness either.

“Come on, Harry,” Ed begged, otherwise ready to give up, “Do this for Niall’s sake, okay? I mean, he finally has a boyfriend and we should at least trying to be friendly with his mates.” Call Harry gullible but Ed was indeed convincing him.

“Fine, I’ll come,” Harry finally muttered, not happy. Harry closed his laptop and scratched the back of his neck, “But you owe me a drink, Ed.”

“Okay, okay; I’ll buy you your virgin drink.” Ed teased, and Harry rolled his eyes. “There’s a first for everything, yeah? Well, whatever, at least you’re coming. I’ll stop by your place around seven thirty to get you, okay?” Harry’s eyes drifted to the clock in the cafe, realizing that was only two hours away. He’d have to dash out of there to get back to his dorm and clean up a bit.

Harry was back in his dorm forty minutes later (the bus was late), so he stashed laptop under his mattress before he changed into something different with a little more style to it. Harry took his hair out of the bun and wondered if he should wet it and scrunch it or just let it be, but he didn’t really have enough time to do anything to it, so he just left it down as he rushed around looking for his other shoe and brushed his teeth.

Time must have slipped away, because when Harry checked his phone, Ed was on his way would be there in ten minutes. Harry had yet to even pick out what cologne and now that was overwhelming him. Harry ends up settling for one of the bottles he stashed away for important events, and ended up spraying it on him a bit, his mind elsewhere, so he wasn’t focusing on how much he was putting on.

Ed knocked on the door but let himself in, he was the impatient sort. Instantly he covered his nose and started waving his hands in the air. “Oh my god, it’s like perfume shop in here, Christ, Harry.”.

“Oh shut up, it’s not that strong, and besides, it’s better that that rubbish you smoke anyways.” Harry snapped.

Ed shook his head, “Well, at least you're attempting to attract a bloke tonight, so that’s a plus.” Ed teased, but Harry frowned.

“How long have we been mates? Why can't you remember that I've told you that I don’t have time to date?” Harry questioned, tilting his head. “Not to mention that I already told you on the phone not even an hour ago about my dating life.”

“Harry, I'm sure you have time, you're just making up excuses as always.” Ed replied, “You haven't had the time in years, so when exactly will you have that ‘perfect’ time to date?” Harry didn’t like these questions at all.

“I'm not making excuses, Ed. I have my work to focus on before worrying about a guy. I'm fine being single, actually.” The concept of being single is lovely, as Harry would only have to worry about himself. Call him selfish but he didn’t want to get side tracked.

Also, Harry was young, he would have loads of time to date when he figured things out and it was the right time.

But Ed wasn’t in the mood to be convinced, so he moved on. “Alright, fine, whatever makes you happy, I guess. Anyway, we should probably go instead bickering; are you ready?”

Harry was as ready as he’d ever been.

The pub was crowded, more crowded than Harry’s liking, and he picked this up the second after they stepped in the door. Despite the fact that Harry wasn’t a fan of this at all, he knew he was doing this for Niall and kept telling himself that to make everything seem worth it.

They made their way towards the back, and that’s when Harry sees him, with a dark beanie on, tousled fringe peaking out and his signature denim jacket; Louis. Louis was sipping on a beer, talking to Nick in a deep conversation with his theatrical movements.

“Oi! Tommo and Nick, already drinking before we arrive?” Ed shouted to them before taking a seat next to Louis. Harry sat down across from Louis, unfortunately, who flashed him a smirk.

“You slow pokes took forever, we’ve been waiting here for ages,” Nick huffed.

“Unfortunately, you both missed Nick’s wonderful conversation about the bloke he fancies the pants off,” Louis explained excitedly, “and about how he has their wedding all planned out with their five cats.”

“Shut up, Tommo. “You're speaking shit and I did not say anything remotely close to that.” Nick remarked, and Harry just sat there listening to it all. It was interesting when Louis was bugging someone else, as Harry had never really seen this perspective before.

Louis shook his head, crossed his arms, and looked over towards Harry. “I’m actually shocked you're even here, no offense.” He said with an air of surprise and disbelief.

Harry rolled his eyes, “I came here because Ed invited me. Am I not cool enough to hang out with you two?” he shot back, utilizing Louis own words.

Louis grinned, “Hey, you stole my line!” Louis paused to take a sip from his drink, “ Such a cheap shot.”

“Alright, before you pull each other's teeth out, are Zayn and Niall coming tonight or what?” Ed interrupted.

Nick shook his head, “Z told us they’re not, he messaged me before we got here.” Oh how delightful, Harry stuck with Nick and Louis in a bar. Wonderful.

“Figures.” Ed scoffed, getting up, “I’ll be back in a few, gonna get some drinks.” Nick told Ed he’d come with, and together they wandered off to the bar together.

Alone, Harry was stuck at the table with Louis, who was staring at Harry, but this bothered Harry; what was Louis looking at and why did Ed and Nick have to leave him alone? Such great friends them two.

“What?” Harry asked, getting restless.

“Nothing, just studying you out.” Louis replied quickly, “Not to mention that I can smell your cologne from here and I feel a little smothered. Trying to find yourself a date I suppose?” Louis smirked, raising his brows.

Harry scoffed, “Dating is the last thing on my mind. Ed and Niall knew this, shame they couldn’t have told you.” Harry crossed his arms over his stomach. “I’ve been single for years, and I'm happy, so don’t even make any snide remarks despite the fact that it’s your favorite thing to do.”

“Accusing me of making snide remarks,” Louis licked his lips, moving in his spot a little closer, ”My, my, Styles, you sure do make so many assumptions about me I’m not that mean, am I?” Louis pouted, tilting his head.

“No comment,” Harry responded coldly, looking around the room for Ed and Nick. Harry was dying; what was taking them so long? Soon, Harry’s eye’s fell on Ed’s mop of red hair, and Harry noticed him chatting up some girl. A few feet away, Nick was standing talking to a guy. Louis, curious as to where Harry was looking off to, turned and saw Ed and Nick clearly doing other things than getting the table drinks.

“Rude,” Louis complained.

Louis was the rude one, not the two of them. Granted, it wasn’t totally nice of Ed and Nick to leave them like that, but in reality, neither Harry and Louis should have been surprised; the two of them had other priorities. Plus, Harry wasn’t a drinker, and Louis already had a beer. Them going to ‘get drinks’ was just an excuse to get away and meet people.

“Since we’re stuck here, we should at least try to get to know each other,” Louis suggested, turning around to focus on Harry again. “You know, other than being hostile towards each other.”

Harry sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “Are you bored or are you actually interested in getting to know me?”.

“Of course I am. Tell me some of your favorite bands.”.

Easy, very easy question.

“Jimmy Eat World, Nirvana, Metallica, and Smashing Pumpkins,” Harry listed off too easily.

Louis nodded, “I see you have taste for the alternative nineties music. Shockingly, we have the same tastes in music.

“What else, what else...” Louis mumbled, tapping his fingers against his glass when Harry offered no reply to Louis’ realization that they both liked the same music. Harry didn’t want this to turn into 20 questions or something. He wanted to go home.

But then it was silence between them again, and that was worse than the two of them answering stupid ice breaker questions, so Harry decided to give it a go. “Do you only play guitar?”

Louis shook his head, suddenly very interested into Harry again, “I used to play piano when I was about six, but got introduced to something much more exciting later on.”

Harry didn’t expect that he could learn so much from one person in a mere half hour. He knew almost all of Louis’ life story; about how he started smoking at sixteen, the moment when Louis first tried pot at nineteen and fell in love with it. Harry learned that Louis started playing guitar at the age of nine thanks to a Christmas gift from his mum, and how he formed his band about two years ago. Despite the fact that Harry told himself that he didn’t care about Louis and cared even less to get to know him, Harry realized that Louis was actually not all that bad. Sure, Louis smoked, got high, partied, and drank, all things that Harry doesn’t care for, but from Louis just talking to Harry so freely kind of made Harry feel a little more at ease and see past the image of who Louis was at the surface. But Harry was not considering a friendship, not really anyway, just trying to understand Louis a bit more.

Harry was nodding along listening to Louis talk about how his band had been doing fairly well and how they play all these party gigs. Harry didn’t know how someone could be so ready to talk about all this stuff with a stranger who they treated like shit to the last few times they were in the same room, but he doesn’t say anything, just silently listened.

It was when the denim jacket came off when Harry saw more of Louis’ tattoo’s, not just the silly finger tattoos. Both of Louis’ arms were decorated with ink, and Harry could see some script below his defined collar bones.

“You sure have a lot of tattoos” Harry commented, not sure where he was going on this.

“Obviously.” Louis replied with a smirk, “I also have some on my chest too.” he revealed, pulling down the neckline of his top to show off his chest piece more. “ ‘m actually thinking of adding more, and even a neck tattoo, possibly.”

Did Louis really need more?

Even though Harry wasn’t a big tat guy, Louis was covered, and Harry would never tell Louis this, but he kinda thought it was attractive that Louis had ink, but why Louis even decided on it in the first place was the kicker, as that stuff does not come off.

“You probably think I’m crazy, but it’s addicting.” Louis began, “ Proven fact, once you have one, you just want more.” Louis started to, run his fingers over his rope tattoo.” My mum kills me every time I get one, but she gets over it eventually.”

“Is that really a proven fact or are you just making an excuse to get more?” Harry questioned, ready to ask Louis to cite his source.

Louis smirked, “I think you ought to get one and tell me what you think, I mean, maybe like a small one, yeah, that would look nice since you’re a novice.” Frantically Harry shook his head. “Oh yeah, I forgot that you’re anti-tattoo. They say don’t knock it till you try it, so, you should try it.” Harry rolled his eyes, Louis was starting to sound like his mum. Oh God what a thought. Thankfully Louis moved on.

“Enough about me, tell me about you,” Louis said abruptly, “And why you're so uptight, Harold.”

Harry raised his brows, “Harold? Really? You sound like my mum, and she doesn’t even call me that.” he grimaced.

“Gives me more right to call you it since it annoys you,” Louis grinned mischievously, “Harold. Do you do anything other than what people at elderly homes do? I mean, besides the silly jigsaw puzzles and shit.”

“They relax me.” Harry shot back; he was not about to be talked down to.

“I’m not making fun of you, no need to get so defensive now, love,” Louis replied quickly, smirking. “Just wanting to know if you like do anything exciting and adventurous, like traveling and skydiving, or something like that. You know, other than books and puzzles.” Harry didn’t like how Louis kept throwing in his activities as if everything he does in his free time is boring.
But, for a second, Harry did think about it because it was true, he’d never been much of a risk-taker, Harry didn’t spend a lot of time traveling and hadn’t even thought about skydiving or anything else Louis would consider ‘exciting and adventurous.’

“I take it by your silence that your life is at a steady level of impartial fervor,” Louis sighed, not surprised. “Good thing you're getting to know me, because I will break you out of your shell, I can promise you that.” Harry did not believe Louis yet he also didn’t doubt it; there was something about Louis that just seemed too stubborn and determined, but Harry knew he couldn’t trust Harry, and for sure he didn’t want to even know what Louis had in mind.

“Trust me, you haven’t experienced a good time until you do it the Tommo way,” Louis continued, messing with his fringe a bit.

Harry murmured, getting annoyed, “Right, the Tommo way.”

“Sorry about that lads!” Ed hollered putting two glasses on the table. One-half empty and the other full and in front of Harry. “Got a bit sidetracked, but that’s not important; did you two get along? I mean, I would assume so, since the place didn’t catch fire.” Ed continued, sounding rather motherly as he peered at them both before taking a seat and gulping some of his own drink down.

Louis licked his lips, “Harry’s gonna let me broaden his horizons, I’m so excited.”

Talk about a shit lie.

Ed looked like he was gonna spit out his drink, as his expression was surprised, happy and even doubtful at the same time. “He is?” Ed glared at Harry.

“I never said I agreed to anything; you just assumed, which you're really famous for doing,” Harry snapped, upset at Louis once again.

“Knew it; It takes a lot to get Harry out of his comfort zone, just telling you that now, Louis,” Ed warned, taking a sip of his drink. “Trust me, Niall, and I have tried over and over again to get him to have a good time at parties, in the past, and usually it’s the opposite.” Despite how mean that was, Ed wasn’t wrong. Parties weren’t his thing, and being surrounded by a slew of people for a night at a party all drunk and sweaty just wasn’t Harry’s idea of fun.

“Don’t blame me for wanting to have nice quiet evenings alone away from the chaos. I prefer a good book or studies because being around things I don’t condone isn’t fun,“ Harry explained, but Louis rolled his eyes. “Why are you rolling your eyes for? Is it because I don’t fit your standards for a fun mate or something?” Harry was on his game that night.

“Because your life is so structured around mundane things,” Louis tried, “you need to live a little; you are, I’m guessing, at least nineteen or twenty, and spend your nights sitting in your dorm missing out on all the great things that everyone should experience at Uni, but you would much prefer stressing over studies.”

Harry was done hearing all of this; everyone was just ratting on him and pointing out why he wasn’t as fun compared as they were. Louis didn’t seem to understand that not everyone needed to party in Uni and do drugs and stuff.

Finally, Harry took a sip of his drink, and it had a somewhat of a bitter taste, so he was pretty sure Ed got his drink mixed up or something. Harry then gave it a little smell, and for sure, he could tell by its pungent odor.

So Harry pushed his drink away, because there was no way he’d even have another sip. He heard Ed and Louis talk about some gigs during the holiday and Harry was just pleased he was out of the conversation.

Harry was no longer paying much attention anymore and just observing Louis, wondering why he was so smug and just so careless about things. Sure he was talented, good looking, and seemed smart, but also super rude, and that outweighed everything else. At the same time, Harry kind of wanted to keep learning more about Louis, but he’d never say that out loud, telling himself that he had no reason to hang out with Louis in the future, so there was no point in learning more. Sure, what Harry found out was interesting, and the rebellious side of Louis was fascinating, and it was possible that Harry could have a thing for the bad boys, but Harry knew he wasn’t the cliche and certainly not that desperate. Louis was very honest and outgoing, not afraid to speak his mind; did Harry wish that was him? Possibly, or that he had the guts to even attempt speaking his mind, to strangers!

In a weird way, maybe Louis was right, maybe Harry needed to break out of his shell and try new things, but not drugs, like, Harry didn’t want to ruin himself, thank you very much.

At one point, Harry ended up discreetly staring at Louis, because Nick came back (finally), and the two of them started having a very interesting conversation, or at least it looks that way, Harry wasn’t listening, or paying attention either. More of Harry’s focus was on Louis’ rugged appearance, which was rather distracting, and handsome. Oops? Could one blame Harry though? Louis was fit.

With pretty blue eyes, Louis’ tattoos were rather random, but beautiful, and his clothing choices were different, but he wore them well, and not to mention Louis had a really nice smile. But maybe it was weird for Harry to get taken by looks, but who can blame him? Harry thinking Louis was good looking doesn’t mean anything, right?

As the night progressed, Harry barely touched his drink and made no effort to get a new one. Louis talked to him when they were alone again, telling him all about his band and his first concert he’d gone to. It was kind of nice to know more about Louis other than hearing about partying and drugs. The two of them had a good time, when they didn’t bash each other, and it was good that they managed to get along, especially since Nick and Ed went off again and Louis and Harry were left alone.

It was when Harry saw Louis fiddling around with his jacket and moving to slip it on that he knew Louis was getting restless. “I need to go have a smoke before I go mad, coming with this time, Harold? Louis asked, and Harry was right.

“Only if you promise to stop calling me Harold.” Harry replied, hoping to get that name as far away from Louis’ mind as he could, and willing to do anything he could to help that cause..

Louis licked his lips, “You see, that's going to be a problem. I think it suits you, and, well, obviously, the best part, it annoys you, and I get such a kick out of it.” What a bastard. “But I suppose I could stop just for tonight because I really don't want to sit in my car alone, so what do you say?”

As much as Harry didn’t want to be around smoke, he was perfectly fine with getting away from the noisy pub, and he wanted to prove to Louis that he was less uptight that Louis assumed him to be, as if Harry was too good to be around smokers. So Harry gets up and follows Louis out, passing by Nick and Ed playing some billiards with a few other guys and not even nothing the two of them saunter out. Or, Louis sauntered out, Harry reluctantly followed.

There was a little chill in the air, and Harry crossed his arms, hoping Louis’ car was close by. Instantly Harry knew it was a mistake to come out and sit in a cold car while Louis smoked. Why did Harry care that Louis would sit in his car alone? Or maybe Harry didn’t want to be alone in a strange pub, as that seemed worse that going with Louis, by far.

Louis’ car of course had to be parked far away, in a spot near no lamp post. Harry got in and sat quietly while Louis fiddle with the car. Sitting there, Louis put on Jimmy Eat World before sliding his window open a bit. Soon, Louis had a cigarette tangled in his fingers and was exhaling the smoke from his lips.

“I think you should give me a chance,” Louis started rather softly, taking another drag.

Harry was quiet, waiting for Louis to elaborate, basically just being polite because the immediate response was a ‘no.’

“You know, like a friendship. You’re rather fascinating,” Louis admitted, flicking his gaze towards Harry.

“I think you’ve already told me this, Louis,” Harry sighed.

Louis smirked, “Well, I wasn’t joking, I do find you amusing. You’re so much more than academics. I just wonder why you don’t let loose sometimes. I mean, you have such access to these vices, but you shove it off. You don't like parties and would much prefer sitting in your bed reading or doing a puzzle. I just find it interesting because I’ve never met someone like you before.” Harry was not sure if he was supposed to be charmed or offended.

But Louis went on. “I’ve always been friends with the wilder ones, never the home bodies. I mean, you have good taste in music, and I’m sure you’d be an absolute blast to be around if you just let your guard down.” Louis put out his cigarette in his travel ashtray in his cupholder. “Can you at least try to give me the time of day? It’d make Niall and Zayn happy that we’re trying, success or not.” Louis was right, and it kinda made Harry look like shit for being the one that didn’t want to try.

“I guess I’ll see what I can do, but I can't make any promises,” Harry finally responded, worried about what he was getting into.

Louis nodded, pushing his fallen fringe out of his face, and Harry hoped being sorta attracted to Louis would fade if it worked out that they would be mates. It would just make things harder later on, so Harry had to wake up or regret it, and he wasn’t too fond of regrets.

Soon it fell silent between them, as they didn’t speak, just the music played softly in the back. “We should ditch them,” Louis suggested, raising his brows. “They’re aren't even hanging out with us, like, the whole night.” Again, Harry just waited, wondering what Louis was thinking of, not sure if it was too early to get nervous. “How does a trip to London sound?”

More like the perfect time to get nervous. “London? Why on earth do you want to go there at this time at night?”

“You have a lot to learn, Harry. My favorite tattoo shop is twenty-four hours and it's in London.” God help him, Louis wanted a tattoo. “So, what do you say? Want to try an experience something off your routine?”

“No I-”

“I mean, you turned down my invite the last time, are you going to reject me again? Don’t reject me again...” Louis pleaded, starting to sound like a child.

“What kind of tattoo are you getting anyway?” Harry asked curiously, not sure he could manage telling Louis ‘no,’ since Louis appeared ready to kick and scream if he didn’t get his way.

Louis smirked, showing Harry his hand that had no tattoos on it, and lifted his middle finger.

“‘Established in 1991’ right on the side of my middle finger.” Louis explained proudly, but Harry didn’t know if Louis was serious, as that was the stupidest idea for a tattoo ever, like those ones people get when they’re drunk, but Louis wasn’t drunk, so there was no waking up from that.

“You can’t be serious.” Harry commented, frowning, “Why in the world would you drag me all the way to London to get that silly tattoo?”

“So it means you're coming with me then?” A smile started to creep on Louis’ face.

Harry sighed, “Yes, of course I am. But even though I’m coming with you now, know that you’re not keeping me out all night, and certainly this isn’t going to be a frequent outing of mine.

Louis just grinned, turned up the radio, and didn't say another word.

The ride was awfully quiet between them other than the opening chords of Cautioners playing in the background and the downpour hitting the windshield. Harry was not sure why he even agreed to come along with Louis, because they weren’t really mates and secondly they hadn't been getting along other then back at the pub. Harry hoped that something good might come out of all this, because it would make some part of the whole adventure worth it.

The things he did for his mates though, and yet they still gave him shit.

Harry's eyes darted over to Louis, who was slouched back with one hand on the wheel. At that moment, it was down pouring, and Louis looked like some sexy stud waiting to pick up someone.

What the hell was wrong with him?

Harry didn't even say a word, because, obviously, Louis wouldn't listen, and furthermore, silence was better than Louis’ smart arse comments.

Soon, it seems like they were in the car for hours, but thankfully the ride was coming to an end. They were about twenty minutes away from London, and Harry anxious to get there and stretch his legs. Harry had never been to a tattoo parlor before, so he was intrigued, even though the thought of getting something so permanent churned in his stomach.

Harry kind of wondered if Louis was getting anything else done. The Harry thought something that kinda freaked him out; would he ever see what other ink Louis was hiding under his top? Not that he wanted to see Louis shirtless or anything, Harry just wanted to see his tattoos. That was it, and realizing that made Harry feel better.

“And we're here,” Louis’ voice as he cut the engine awoke Harry from his thoughts.

Rubbing his eyes and looking out the window, Harry saw a lit up building in front of them, some place called Twenty-Three Chaos. It looked a little dead on the inside, but there were two cars outside the shop. Oh goody, Harry was suddenly feeling a little intimidated, just the feeling he was hoping for.

“You look nervous,” Louis called out to him, “and you're not even getting one.” Louis chuckled.

“I'm not nervous,” Harry said back quickly in defense. Louis didn’t need to know what Harry was feeling. He’d just make it worse.

Louis raised his brow, “Oh really?” Louis asked this with a sarcastic tinge to it and Harry narrowed his eyes. “Then meet me inside.”

Harry gnawed on his lips,”I'm not the one who had the random inspiration for a tattoo, so I shouldn't be the one going in there first. I have no reason to be here.”

“You just won't admit, huh?” Louis continued. “Don't worry, Allen won't bite. He's cool.” Harry guessed that was Louis’ artist.

After Louis got out, Harry followed him, and they both almost getting drenched from the downpour. Once inside, Harry looked around and he saw a girl looking to be in her mid-twenties at the desk covered in tattoos and piercings. Her half head of pink and black hair was the first thing Harry noticed, besides her beautifully inked arms of roses, bird, and various other designs.

“Coming in for the late night session again I see, eh Louis?” She greeted them, leaning a bit forward. Her eyes landed on Harry eventually, “Did you really just bring a date to a tattoo parlor again? It’s not the best place for them, I’ve gathered.” She teased, and Louis shook his head. Harry was stunned and super embarrassed, already hating himself for agreeing to come along.

“This is Harry, my friend… Well, new friend, I should say.” Louis did not need to give this girl the details, no one cared! Harry much would have prefered Louis to lie and say that they’ve been mates for years and stuff, because then this whole thing would have been ten times less awkward.

The lady nodded with a smile, “Nice to see you making friends.” Louis scoffed, rolling his eyes. “He looks a little bare though,” she commented, apparently feeling it appropriate because he had no easily visible ink (and not that she knew, but no nonvisible ink either), but basically, no ink at all.

“I prefer none, thanks.” Harry defended himself, and Louis grinned.

“Don’t mind his attitude; he was the same as I was in the beginning. ” Louis interjected, and Harry scoffed. “But he’s cool, he’s just here to observe.” That was a nice touch from someone like Louis.

Maybe Louis was trying to become mates with him after all.

“Fair enough,” she replied, and Harry’s eyes landed on a very inked up bloke coming towards them. His ears were stretched, his lip had a few piercings decorating it, and he looked to be in his mid-forties. The work he had done on his arms and neck were beautiful, though, exceptionally well done traditional style and Harry wondered if he drew any of his own or did his own for the matter.

When the guy got closer, Harry gulped, no longer paying much mind to Louis and the lady chatting at the desk, as Harry was feeling even more intimidated. It was probably because he felt so out of his element, and because he was in a tattoo parlor in the middle of the night hours away from his dorm with Louis.

“Louis? You’re back again?” the guys asked, as if surprised to see Louis standing there.

“If you have an opening, Allen, then yeah I am.” Louis replied. The guy nodded.

“Who's your friend?” Allen gestured to Harry. “I don’t think I’ve seen you bring him around here before.”

“We’re trying out a friendship, so I dragged him here instead of sitting alone at a pub.” It was at that moment that Harry realized that Louis had no filter. He said what came to his mind without really thinking about it, because, no one else, would get into the specifics of their weird relationship, and Harry was sure that neither the guy nor the girl actually cared.

Allen nodded, “Alright, well, my name's Allen if you're wondering and also I’m his uncle.”

“He gives me half off, and, I mean, you can't go wrong, I need to afford my ink, I’ll do anything.” Louis explained.

“Instead of being cocky and showing off to your mate, why don't you come over to my station and tell me what you want, so that I can go back to sleep, yeah?.” Allen shouted out. Louis narrowed his eyes and nodded for Harry to follow him back to Allen’s station, and Harry grabbed a chair to sit in to observe.

Harry watched as Louis held out his hand and pointed to where he wanted. All Harry could feel was the second hand embarrassment from that tattoo, as it was literally the silliest idea ever, and he couldn't believe Louis wanted that permanently on his body.

It made Harry cringe a little when Louis mentioned it was just a funny tattoo. Allen saying he should think it over was smart, but of course Louis waves him off and demands that he draws up the sketch, as he was serious.

It didn't take long before the sketch was made up, and Harry sat there watching it all unfold. Louis was sitting so calmly and still, holding out his hand without hesitance. Especially when Allen took the tattoo gun to Louis’ hand and Harry just shook his head.

“I can't wait to show Zayn tomorrow,” Louis hummed, and Harry wondered if he was feeling any pain. He sounded fine, looked to be okay, and he wasn’t fidgeting at all. There was no look of pain on his face either. Harry was so bored that at one point he wondered what it felt like to get a tattoo. Uhh... pain maybe? What was he thinking?

“Just don't tell anyone I did it this time,” Allen said, shaking his head before continuing the added touches, “I don't want this one linked back to me, especially with your mum; she’ll raise hell on us both,” Allen replied under his breath.

As much as Harry wasn’t really paying attention to their words, he realized he probably should have been putting more focus as to what they were saying and not how Louis looked (super smug) while getting the tattoo done.

When the tattoo was finally done, Harry checked his phone, it had been an hour. That small tattoo on Louis’ finger took an hour. He couldn’t even imagine how long it took for the other tattoos on his body.

“I love it, exactly what I wanted,” Louis grinned, admiring his new tattoo before taking care of it. “You did well, Allen, as always.”

“Next, you should get one,” Allen hinted, obviously to Harry, because he's the only one in the room bedside, Louis, and he had none.

Louis snickered, “You're wishing on that one, and a wish is all it’ll ever be.” At least Louis was right, it seemed like Louis was finally getting the point.

“What Louis is trying to say is, that I don't want tattoos. But thanks for the offer.” Harry replied finally, and Allen nodded.

“Alright, well, I guess I gotta respect that.” Allen then turned back to Louis. “Audrey’ll meet you at the desk and give you the discount.”

Harry was glad once they left, and the rain had stopped. The only thing was that it was almost two in the morning. By the time they get back, it would be nearly four, and that means Harry would have to sleep his day away tomorrow, and he was not sure if he'd be ok with that. Harry was not sure why the hell he even agreed, but he was glad he came, and it wasn’t that bad. Harry got to see how tattoos work and spending that time with Louis, as awkward as Louis made it, wasn’t that bad.

“I think I'm a bit hungry.” Louis exclaimed, “Want to go across the street?”

“It's two in the morning, Louis.” Harry groaned, “you can't possibly be hungry at this time a night.”

“I am, and if you want to sit in the car and wait that's fine by me, but I want a burger.” Harry knew Louis was crazy but not this crazy; it wasn’t time for dinner part two, it was time for bed! “The diner across the street is twenty-four hours too… They have breakfast if you like.” Harry knew Louis was trying to bribe him.

Harry sighed, “Fine, but can we please head back after this? Luckily I don't have lecture tomorrow.” Louis nodded.

They sat at a booth near the back, and the smell of Louis’ burger made him feel a tad bit hungry. Harry ignored it and listened to Louis talk about music and how badly he wanted to see Jimmy Eat World. Then Louis told him that if he can't find a job in the profession he chooses, he’d become a music teacher.

Harry could see it; he could see Louis getting into the music business because he was really good with the guitar he seemed to know a thing or two about music in general.

It's nice hearing Louis talk about something he's so passionate about, but it was sad that he went into something he wasn’t not so fond of. Perhaps it was the pressures of his family or others, telling him that music would not be a good choice. Harry kind of wanted to ask him why he just didn't go that route in the beginning, but he didn’t. Louis would tell him in due time, and Harry would wait.

Time must have slipped right by while they spent some time in the diner, because Harry hadn't checked his phone once. He had learned a lot about Louis that night. Sure, maybe Harry didn't want a friendship with Louis at the beginning, but once they hung out, Harry got to know him much better, more than at the party scene and such.

The ride home was quiet besides Nirvana playing in the background. It was relaxing and Harry was content, not worrying about his studies, or the fact that it was almost five in the morning. They spent too much time at the diner but that was okay; Harry was just glad he got a chance to understand Louis a little better.

It wasn't long before Louis pulled into the all familiar lit up car park.

“And we’re here,” Louis announced, stopping the car and scratched the back of his neck. “I hope I didn't bore you too much.”.

Harry shook his head and gave Louis a small smile, unbuckling. “I had a lovely time,” after a quiet yawn, Harry continued, “even though it's almost six, but thank you.”

Louis grinned. “See, I'm not that bad. You just had to hang out with me for one night to realize I'm not just a partier.”

Harry nodded, feeling himself very sleepy all of a sudden, “You were right, you’re not all that bad. And I like to think I’m not that bad either.”

Louis shrugged. “I’m gonna need a bit more convincing on your part. I’ll get back to you on that one.”

Of course. Harry shook his head. “I'm going to head in, but thank you again.” Harry got out and shut the car door, walking to his building.

“Good night, Harold.” Louis shouted from the car. Remember that promise they made? The whole reason why Harry even stepped into Louis’ car in the first place? Harry told himself that Louis just forgot about it, because Louis seemed like the kinda guy that kept his promises, after what Harry learned about Louis that night.

But then again, Louis was that brash, playful and honest kind of guy, and no promise was going to stop him from doing what he wanted.

Harry just smiled and went inside.

Chapter Text


By now, it’d been weeks; the weather started changing, as the smell of autumn was in the air. It’d been getting colder and wetter, and the leaves were turning shades of amber, brown and even golden yellow. This time, also known as the middle of October, was Harry’s favorite time of year. Harry loved almost everything about the season, with a few exceptions here and there.

The first term was halfway over, and everything had been a little bit more stressful for Harry ever since he started worrying that he’d been slacking off too much. He’d been dragged by Niall to even more parties because of Zayn and was thus always around the same sort of people; the whole party scene was getting old really quickly. The best thing to come out of it all was that Harry knew Zayn better and even Nick.

Then there was Louis, who was different than the others, as Harry was trying to befriend him after the whole spontaneous tattoo adventure. They’d been getting along a lot better after that night because Harry got to know him, a person with feelings, instead of a pothead who made snarky comments constantly. Louis wasn’t all that awful and soon enough Harry felt rather neutral about Louis.

Harry was sitting out on a couch outside of Liam’s place while a large party was going on as usual. It was a Friday night so what else would be going on? Harry wondered how the hell Liam even got away with these parties; maybe Liam was rich or he was related to the chancellor. If it were anyone else, they’d probably get kicked out or fined for the matter, or even both.

Harry had been sitting by himself while his mates were inside getting high off their arses and snogging against the wall with the night’s guest list. Action regarding Harry was quiet, other than the text that he received from Louis asking Harry where he disappeared to when Harry left the upstairs room over an hour ago. In reality, Harry needed to get away from the smell of marijuana, as it was making him feel ill, and well he didn’t want a contact buzz nor see Edith all over Louis, as it just made Harry wonder why Louis didn’t show any interest to her. But then again, of course he wasn’t interested in her, after all, they were just hooking up, and his body language spoke for itself when he was around her.

So Harry prefered not to have second-hand embarrassment more than the times when he had to.

“Just a few more hours,” Harry muttered to himself, checking the time. He wanted to leave already because he was just kinda sitting there alone and was done for the night, ready to go back to his dorm and do a jigsaw puzzle with his favorite iced coffee, and just relax a little, as it was the weekend, thankfully. Every week he told either Niall or Ed or whomever that he was going to take the next Friday for himself and not go to a party, but come that Friday night he somehow found himself back at another one, not sure how he got himself there and also strove to avoid the next one.

Harry sucked on his bottom lip looking around the patio area as some stray raindrops hit his jumper. Everyone was heading inside the house continuing with the party to get out of the rain, so Harry slowly went inside and found it more crowded than before. Harry strolled around the living room and then into the kitchen where he saw Nick obviously flirting with some guy that looked to be around Harry’s age. Whoever the guy was he was pretty, and Harry hoped the best for Nick, unless this was just some hook up, either way, Harry left the room, there was no reason to stick around. Harry made his way upstairs and felt his stomach churn because of the smell. At the top of the stairs Harry saw Niall and Zayn kissing in the corner at the end of the corridor and decided there was no point in hanging around those two. Harry’s mind drifted to what Ed and Louis were up to, and he supposed Ed and Louis were getting high, their favorite past time.

The door that led to the room where the two of them usually smoked in was shut, oddly enough, causing Harry to wonder why it was closed. Harry was a little hesitant to open the door, but he did, and that's when he wished he hadn’t.

“Harry!” Ed barked in horror as Ed jumped up off the bed and ran to shut the door. There was a girl on the bed in her bra and clearly that’s why the door was closed. Harry didn’t know why Ed picked that room (the community smoke room, or whatever) for that kinda late night entertainment, and the bigger question, why didn’t Ed bother locking it? Harry sighed and made his way passed the loo and about to head downstairs when he felt someone tap him on the back.

“There you are, Harold,” Louis exclaimed from behind. Harry slowly began to turn around, raising his brows. Harry saw Louis standing there with a drink in his hand and his jacket on. “Did you just walk in on Ed?” Louis asked, trying to hold back a smile.

“Unfortunately,” Harry started, crossing his arms, “I didn’t expect it, to be honest… I thought you’d both be in there since the two over in the corner are sucking face and all you guys do is smoke.” Harry hinted to Zayn and Niall still ravishing each other.

Louis gazed over there for a second, “True, but he kicked us out.” Louis explained, taking a sip of his drink. “So we were gonna go outside, but then the rain started, so it’s whatever,” Louis took another sip.

“How many of those have you had tonight?” Harry frowned, eyeing Louis’ red solo cup.

Louis looked confused until he noticed Harry staring at his cup, “It’s my first one, why? Are you worried I can't drive myself back to my dorm or something?” Louis sneered, putting the cup to his lips. "Beer police.”

Harry shook his head, “No, I was just curious.”

Louis smirked, sipping down the rest of his drink and crushing the cup. “Want to ditch this joint? I’m bored.” Louis announced almost too loudly.

“And where else would be much more fun at this time of night?” Harry questioned

“My dorm, I mean, unless you want to go to yours. Give me a grand tour of this mystery room you sleep in.” Louis exaggerated. Harry was surprised Louis wanted to take him back to his dorm, not for like specific reasons or whatever. Just as two guys trying to be mates and yet maybe it’d be nice to figure out where he stayed and see the way he took care of his room.

“How about we head to your dorm instead, that way I can drive.” Harry suggested and Louis raised his brows.

“You sure about that?” Louis questioned and Harry nodded. He was sure.

“As much as I would love to see how you can handle being behind a wheel, I’d prefer to drive. I mean since I know the in’s and out’s around here.” That was quite mean what he said at first, but Harry had to agree. Louis’ been here much longer than him and he supposes Louis should be okay to drive, he doesn’t seem buzzed.

“Fine, as long as you are honest about that being your one and only drink, I’ll let you drive.” Harry replied.

Louis placed his crushed cup on a half empty bookshelf in the hall before sliding his arm around Harry's shoulders, which was kind of awkward, since Louis was rather short compared to Harry. “To my place it is.” Louis began as he led Harry down the steps, maneuvering through the crowd.

Once they were in Louis car Harry buckled as Louis drove off. It was relatively silent without the radio on, until Louis asked Harry to hook up Louis’ phone. Harry did just that.

“Pick playlist number one.” Louis told him, and Harry pressed it and set Louis’ phone down. The opening chords of To Kill started playing, and Harry smiled. This must be one of Louis’ favorite bands too, because every time Harry was with him, they listened to Jimmy Eat World.

He wondered what other music Louis liked, if he had any guilty pleasures or other favorite bands. Harry decided that he’d ask him later though, right now he was just enjoying the ride. Also, the fact that they were no longer swarmed by the masses in a (to Harry) boring party.

During the ride, Harry swore he heard Louis humming along to the music, but then again, Harry knew he could have just been hearing things.

It didn't take fairly long for Louis to pull into the Wessex Hall car park and cut the engine; it was still raining so they wouldn’t spend that much time outside. Harry’s shoes were still a bit damp from when they left.

Despite getting out and following, Louis they hadn't exchanged words. Louis had his hands shoved into his pockets as they walked down the corridor, going up to the second floor to the first door they saw and pulling out his key. The door was opened a moment later, and Harry followed Louis as he made it to the door inside, opened that one up, and flipped on the light.

“Well here it is, it‘s not much,” Louis began scratching the back of his neck as he closed the door behind them, “but it’s home.”

Harry looked around the room, and it was fairly decent, about the same size as his, and surprisingly enough, it didn’t smell like pot. He was impressed. Louis had old concert posters taped to the wall of Nirvana, Metallica, Pink Floyd, and The Stone Roses. He had a black case under his bed visible from where Harry was standing, which Harry supposed was Louis' guitar and textbooks on his cluttered desk. There was a phone charger on his bed with the mess of blankets, and his blinds were down. He had a bulletin board above his bed that had a calendar, tickets tacked on, pictures pinned of Louis and his family and mates. Louis' clothes were in a basket overflowing and his many shoes scattered throughout. Harry liked it; Louis went all out with the personal touches and yet Harry wasn’t surprised. Harry expected it to be a little basic, because Louis seemed always to be with his mates, but then again, Harry also thought other things at times which were entirely wrong.

“Sorry if it's a mess in here,” Louis mentioned as he moved to sit on his desk chair across from the bed. Running his fingers through his soaked hair, Louis tossed his jacket near the pile of his other clothing on the floor. ”I didn’t intend to have visitors.”

“It’s nice a bit more themed than mine actually, and I like your memory board." Harry commented, nodding to the wall as he took a seat on the bed and looked up at it.

Seeing pictures of Louis looking to be much younger with little to no facial hair and no tattoo’s was interesting, and there were also ones where he was hugging his sisters, and drinking with Zayn and Nick at parties. All very young looking; Louis, playing acoustic guitar in a circle with his mates outside, and one where Louis was sticking tongue out with Zayn at some Christmas party with smeared red and green frosting on their faces. There were concert tickets from different bands hanging on the walls and even autographs from what Harry guessed were musicians, and Louis also had sheet music hanging up from the song Hear You Me. Harry wondered if he’d been practicing that song in particular, or if it had a lot of meaning to Louis.

“Six years ago was when I started it, but it's been awhile since I've put any up.” Louis began, “I always take it with me. Those pictures up there are so old, but I haven't gotten around to putting up any new ones,” Louis mentioned, now sitting down beside Harry.

“How old were you in that one?” Harry asked, pointing to the one of him and Zayn before gazing towards Louis.

Louis licked his lips, “That was my nineteenth, early birthday party.” Louis explained, shaking his head, “Surprise party more like it, four days before Christmas.” Harry realized that Louis’ birthday was in a few months, and subconsciously made mental note of it.

“Zayn being the sneaky bastard he is planned it with Nick. They made it Christmas themed to throw me off; he said it was his mum's Christmas party, but in reality when I showed up, lo and behold it was for me. I nearly strangled him.” Louis chuckled. “It was so embarrassing, and I still give him shit about it to this day.”

Harry wondered if Zayn would do the same for Niall next year or maybe even just for a small date. Zayn seemed to be the big grand gesture kind of guy from what Louis told Harry, which Harry kind of envied because that was another quality about Zayn that made the both of them really special to have each other.

“I’m glad he found Niall,” Louis mentioned.

“Me too, they make a cute couple.” Harry agreed, and Louis nodded. “Niall was so nervous to ask him out so he dragged me to that party but I ended up getting ditched. Having to ride with you in the end.”

“And I’m not that bad, right? Maybe you just needed to be ditched to realize it.” Louis teased, smirking.

Harry shook his head, “Okay, maybe you’re not awful, but you can be a bit callous sometimes. “But I am glad I got to know you a little better.” Harry admits, heat rising to his cheeks slightly.

“I tend to speak my mind.”

Harry’s eyes wandered back up to the board, and his eyes landed on the picture of Louis playing guitar. “Who took that picture of you?” Harry then looked back at Louis.

Louis sighed, “My ex, Michael.” Louis replied, “I was sixteen at the time.”

“When we were dating, he insisted on taking pictures of me playing guitar because he was a ‘self-proclaimed myspace photographer.’” Louis snickered. “God, I was stupid, I can't believe I even dated him in the first place.”

Harry remembered those old myspace days, with his top eight arguments from Ed and Niall, oh what a bad, awful time. Especially when Gemma got upset that Harry set her to number four when he was like number two on hers, all because she got bumped down for guys Harry found to like for a while. Harry was just glad that era was done and gone, and he really didn’t want a repeat ever again.

“How long were you with him?”

“Like roughly six months or so; I’ve only dated a few more people after that, then I kinda got into the whole casual hook up scene. Much easier if you ask me.” Louis explained, crossing his arms. “I would never want to go through what Zayn went through few years ago. His heart was shattered when his ex-boyfriend had to move, and let me tell you, those were dark days for everyone close to him for over a year. Not good, not good at all.” Personally, Harry hadn't’ experienced the whole, ‘falling in love’ or ‘heartbreak’ thing. So he couldn't imagine what it’d feel like, in both situations.

“But back to the picture, that was just me playing with my friends and boyfriend at the time while hanging out in a park, way before I joined my band and shit.”

“Do you sing?” Harry asked, but Louis scoffs.

“I don’t sing, Harry. I don’t sound good, for one, and secondly, I’ve never sung in front of anyone before, so I don’t intend on starting now. Plus, they’d just laugh anyways.” Louis murmured as he looked away.

Harry wondered why Louis was so insecure about his singing voice, as Harry was sure Louis sounds fine, much better than himself anyway. It got Harry curious, as he’d love to hear Louis sing, just once, but he knew that would probably never happen.

“But enough about my non-existent love life; what about you? Been single for a while?” Louis looked back at Harry finally. “I remember you saying you don't have time to date, but have you at least had any action on the side?”

Harry sucked on his lip, thinking, not sure if he really wanted to tell Louis flat out about himself being a virgin and only ever having short lived relationships. Since Louis was totally clueless about Harry’s love life and no one else cared to share the details about it (not that they should anyway), Harry would be telling Louis this stuff himself, which maybe was more nerve wracking than Harry finding out Niall or Ed told him. What would Louis’ initial reaction be? What would he think of Harry?

“Have you ever dated anyone before?” Louis prodded in response to Harry’s silence, “I mean, you must have.

“Only a few times, but nothing ever lasted long enough, and as for the action part... no.” Harry admitted, heat inching up to his cheeks. “I’ve never really done anything… uh, sexual, before.” Good God, Harry thought that’d never come out of his mouth, to anyone, and never to Louis. Harry was preparing himself for laughter or teasing, as he was ready for Louis to make fun of him any minute now.

But all Louis said was “Cool.” Cool? What did that mean? Louis went on. “You're smart, very smart Harold,” Louis sighed, smiling a little. “Are you waiting for the right time?” Harry nods.

“I should have waited, but I just gave it up to Michael because I thought we’d be together for a long while, and well, I was wrong I don’t regret it, though, It made me the person I am today, plus, it was really just sex.” Harry didn’t think sex could ever be ‘just sex.’

“I have a question for you,” Louis asked suddenly, “What's your type, as in, what makes Harry Styles weak in the knees?” This totally caught Harry off guard, as no one ever asked him this. Usually, Niall just knew from experience and Ed thinks any guy that's cute was Harry’s type.

Harry gnawed on his lip and shrugged, “I don’t really have a type, I guess.”

But Louis wanted an answer. “Bullshit. Tell me a few celebrities that you’d give your v-card to in an instant?” Harry just smiled a little, he couldn’t help it. Why did Louis want to know this silly stuff?

“Chris Hemsworth and Leonardo Dicaprio.” Harry announced, and he was surprised he was able to pick those names so quickly, as if some part of Harry had been waiting to answer that question this whole time. Louis smirked at the names.

But why did Louis smirk like that? Was there a doppelganger of one or both of them running around uni or something?

“Interesting.” Louis replied, raising his brows. ”Chris is hot as fuck, so I don't blame you with that one. Anyway, are you attracted to Leo’s acting or his beauty?”

“Is this like twenty questions or something?”

“Just answer the question, Harold,”

“All of the above, he’s the perfect man, point blank. Especially with his environment consciousness” And this was true, so, yes Harry would sleep with him if he could.

Louis grinned, licking his lips “So, you like older men that are talented and that care about global warming.”

Harry shrugged. “Actually, I just like someone who’s a gentleman and has a nice face, really.”

“Just like everyone else that wants a man,” Louis said frankly, “Anyway-” Louis started but was cut off when a phone started ringing, and he held up his finger to get up and grab it.

Harry sat there, looking up at the pictures while Louis talked on the phone, not paying much mind to his conversation, more admiring Louis’ old pictures again. Louis did seem like a fun guy too. He had so many memories with his mates and friends and it was nice that he saved them, hanging them up on board as if to never forget.

“Good news, Harold!” Louis exclaimed suddenly, sitting back down on his bed. “You’re my plus one to the invite only Halloween party!”

Harry was? He never agreed to come to any Halloween party, and secondly he was not too sure if he wanted to do Halloween this year. It might have been coming up in two weeks or so, but he hadn't made any official plans to do anything yet. No spook houses, pumpkin patches, or binging on scary movies with candy. No, he figured he’d skip that stuff and focus on his work instead. Niall now had a boyfriend, Ed was always hanging out with Nick at sleezy parties, so Harry thought he’d have a nice quiet night to himself, for once.

“I am?” Harry asked, confused.

“I mean, if you want too. I love it for you to come though, because it’s only the most important party of the year, as it’s by invites only. I want you to come with me.” Louis said firmly.

Like date style? Or did it mean going to a party as friends?

“I don’t know, Louis. I wasn’t actually planning on doing anything,” Harry sighed, rubbing the back of his neck.

Louis frowned, “Oh come on, it’ll be loads of fun, and besides, you can be anything you want. All of our mates are going to be there and not to mention that Liam’s actually having a band play. I mean, he throws these parties every year since I’ve been here… this is important.” is it really, though? “It’ll be my last one, ever! It’s gotta be good, better than the others.”

Harry understood why the last party was more important than the other ones for Louis, but why would it be significantly better if Harry was there?

“If you come with me I’ll buy you a coffee, how does that sound?” Louis asked.

“Trying to bribe me to come with you?” Harry shook his head, smiling. “I think I’m going to need something more, a coffee just won’t be enough. Plus, do you really even need me there?”

Louis grinned, “I mean yeah, who else would I want to come as my date.” Louis said it so casually, and Harry’s eyes widened. Talk about unexpected, and sudden.

Yeah sure Louis is fit and entertaining, but he's not sure if he would want to go on a date. Let alone be his date to a party. He doesn't have time to date and lastly Louis obviously doesn't so the whole dating thing anyways. Louis calling Harry his date made no sense, especially since they just met, went from bashing each others heads in to now pretty much friends, shared some private information about themselves to each other, and the biggest thing of all, Louis who wasn’t into dating called Harry his date? Talk about a joke. Harry hoped Louis was joking.

Harry then felt a pat on his back and heard Louis cracking up, “Oh man, you should see your face,” Louis snickered. “I’m only messing around with you. We’ll go as friends. Promise.”

This made Harry feel better, because, if not, things were happening way too quickly. Harry couldn’t do quick. “I'll only agree to come if you help me pick out a costume.”

“Of course, we’ll go next week and find some amazing costumes that will win us that costume contest. I think Liam rigs the bloody thing because his girlfriend always comes in first and Zayn always gets second place. Always. Every fucking year. “

Harry had yet to even formally meet Liam but he sounded like a load of fun.

“I think we need to beat the system this year. Need kick ass costumes and special effects makeup. But don’t you worry, I have my connections and everything, so we’ll just pick a day and we’ll figure all that stuff out so that we can look kick ass walking into the party, and win that damn contest.” Louis was getting so excited about all this, Harry couldn’t believe it.

But Harry just nodded, again in a situation where he was roped into something without agreeing into it first. Then again, Harry realized that if Louis asked him to come to this party, Harry would have said no, so it just made more sense (and allowed Louis to get what he wanted), if he just assumed Harry was going and made it so impossible for Harry to get out of coming when Harry actually learned about it.

When Louis moved on to the subject of some utopia type costume place in Doncaster to pumpkin picking for his mum, Harry just let him talk. It was interesting hearing Louis being this excited for Halloween as a whole (not just for the party), and the fact he was happy to go to the pumpkin patch and find one for his mum was kind of sweet. Not to mention that he brought up dragging Harry to a spooky house beforehand, which really didn’t really sit well with Harry.

Usually, those kinds of things made Harry jumpy and uneasy, so Harry knew it’d be a bad idea. If Louis did end up persuading him enough to go, well, Harry knew he’d have to be prepared to be jumped on. Harry knew himself well enough to know that he would seek safety regardless of a little jump scare.

So Halloween was crossed off then.

*****

Harry lost count of how many times Louis had texted Harry asking about when he’d be free to go to Doncaster for the day. Actually, it was a lot more than just texting; Louis sent Harry reminders, and soon they talked practically every day. Unlike what Harry thought at first, texting Louis wasn’t that bad, and between them there was never a dull moment. It surprised Harry how close they’d gotten just a little over a month, and at times, it was scary, as not too long ago Harry never expected it.

Sitting on his bed, Harry was reading over one of his textbooks. He’d been slacking off, and that was not okay, Harry hoped that he’d be able to cram as much as he could and still pull off the results like he spent the past few weeks studying. Harry needed to spend the day working, he couldn’t let his grades slip because of some guy with lovely blue eyes.

No.

Harry ignored his vibrating phone on the nightstand beside his bed and went about his studies.

Every minute that passed, his phone went off like he was receiving a slew of long messages all at once. The phone buzzed and hummed, not giving up as much as Harry wanted it to. Harry sighed, grabbed it and checked it to see what all the fuss was about.

Apparently Niall needed to talk to him; why couldn't he just knock on the door?

Seriously Niall?

Harry couldn’t even send Niall a text back because Niall came bursting through the door. His hair a mess and panic in his eyes.

“Oh my god, oh my god,” Niall panted, pacing about Harry’s room. Harry sat on his bed watching him and wondering what in heaven's name was wrong with the poor boy.

“What's the problem this time?” Harry questioned as he crossed his arms, already done and Niall hadn’t even started crying to him yet, “I mean, you're obviously freaking out over something.”

Niall ran his hand through his hair and groaned, falling down on Harry's bed all dramatically. Typical, just typical when it involves a boy.

“I’m going to be meeting his sisters next week, and I’m so not ready.” This took Harry by surprise, as he didn’t expect having to deal with something like this so soon, as Niall had been dating Zayn for near month.

“And why are you meeting them?” Harry asked, clearly missing something.

Niall sighed painfully, “Because they’re visiting friends down here, and Zayn wants me to meet them before his parents. It’s so early, we’ve only been dating for a month and three days, and I have no idea how I’m going to get them to like me. Like, what if they hate me or what if they think Zayn can do so much better since he’s like so gorgeous, and ugh.” Niall was seriously overreacting.

“Only you would count the days you’ve been with him." Harry teased, but Niall just glared at him.

“I'm serious Harry… this is an emergency. What if they don’t like me?” Niall asked, closing his eyes.

“Why do you think they won’t like you?”

Niall rolled his eyes. “They’d find something, I’m sure.”

Harry shook his head, “They’ll love you, everyone loves you, Niall. I think you’re just overthinking, plus, it’s just his sisters. It’s not like you're meeting his parents this early. I mean, Zayn wouldn’t have you meeting them if he didn’t really like you that much, yeah?”

Niall, still not convinced, ran his hands over his face, “Why did I have to land someone so beautiful?” he whined to himself, “I set myself up for this, I’m the one who asked him out.”

“This is why I’ve been single, no need to deal with the meeting of the family or any of that rubbish, it’s great. Oh, make sure to not have any love bites on display,” Harry added, laughing.

“Fuck off, Harry.” Niall muttered, and Harry just smirked to himself.

Harry soon got to his feet, and checked his phone, which had started to buzz again. It was a text from Louis, but now was not the time to deal with him, so he put his phone away again.

“I don’t know how I’m ever going to prepare myself, and I don’t even know if we’re going to that Halloween party anymore because it's the same night.” Niall whined, “At least you get to not worry about impressing anyone.”

“Who says I’m not worried about impressing anyone?” Harry didn’t want Niall to think he wasn’t trying, and on the road to let himself go. That wasn’t the case. At all.

Niall shrugged. “You said it, all this time you’re just so happy to be single, why would you give that up, if it makes you happy? Beats freaking out over the stupid yet meaningful aspects of relationships.”

“God, you’re so bitter.”

“I have my reasons. But whatever. Just don’t fall in love, I tell ya, most of the time, it’s not even worth it. Stick to the parties thought.”

“How about no to both?”

“After the Halloween party, fine, but you gotta go to that one. Can’t miss it.”

Harry sighed. “So, you found out that I’m going.

“Yep, with Louis to.” Niall grinned.

“I’m just going with him, it doesn’t mean anything. You just said not to fall in love. This isn’t love related. Or anything related. Trust me.”

Harry might have convinced Niall to trust him, but he couldn’t get that grin off his face. Despite the fact that it made Harry blush a little, he was happy Niall was thinking about something else than the apparent nightmare known as meeting Zayn’s sisters.

“But I am glad you’re going with Louis, as I'm happy you two have gotten close… makes things much easier. It’s one less thing for me to worry about, honestly. Also, he’s not exactly awful looking…”

What a hypocrite!

“Niall you-”

“I know, I know, don’t listen to me. Go out there, fall in love, no, get shit faced drunk in love; it’s amazing, you have no clue what you’re missing, and you’ll regret being so pumped about being single.”

They were quiet for a second, Harry was too...embarrassed and yet excited? Because maybe Niall was right, and the concept of love, as daunting as it seemed, was something Harry knew he’d like to properly experience at some point, and, if he played his cards right, maybe he could experience it sometime soon. But he wasn’t going to tell Niall that.

But back in reality, Harry was still Harry, the guy that loved being single. Plus, he couldn’t give into what Niall was saying about Louis so easily. Was Harry that desperate? No. Not at all. “No.” Harry began, “No, no, no, and no I know exactly what you're thinking. Just because I’ve been getting close with him doesn’t mean there’s something special. It’s all platonic.”

“I wasn't implying anything, not really anyway,” Niall replied quickly, slightly smirking. “Aren’t you at least attracted to him a little bit? Come on.” Niall edged, but and Harry rolled his eyes.

“Am I attracted to him? Really? Niall, what does this have to do with anything?”

“Harry, just answer the question. It won’t kill you.”

Harry sighed, feeling heat inch up to his cheeks, “Fine, yeah, maybe, like a little, but I don’t see him anything more than a friend, Niall.” Harry explained, firmly, slightly ashamed when he realized he was trying to convince himself more so than Niall.

“Alright.” Was all Niall said in response, and in a rather indifferent tone, so Harry didn’t know if Niall really believed him or not, but Harry knew that if he tried to keep persisting, it would look worse, as Harry would be trying too hard.

Thankfully, Niall’s stay was short lived because he started getting all weirdly quiet and saying he was ‘tired’ so, Niall left. Of course, Harry wished him well meeting Zayn’s sisters, and told him to relax. Niall responded with a quick thanks before walking out.

Just as Harry was about to go back to his studies (and his oh so entertaining textbook), his phone started ringing. Harry, thinking about ten other things, answered it without even seeing who it was first.

“Hello?”

“Drop everything you're doing and meet me in the car park in ten.”

It was Louis. Harry hated the fact that he started smiling.

“And what if I'm busy.” Harry played on, not going to give in so easily, toying his finger around one of his curly strands, “I mean, you didn't even ask politely, Louis.”

Harry heard a sigh on the other end, “Too busy for me, huh? That’s not possible.” Louis was being a little cocky.

“I'm studying, and I've already been distracted enough by Niall's boyfriend theatrics.” Harry explained truthfully, messing with the threading of his jumper.

“You're always studying, and maybe if you had been with me early today you would have missed the Niall’s relationship soap opera. Please just meet me outside, I want to see you.” That last part, that damn last part got Harry feeling like his room was a little bit too hot and his jumper too itchy, clearly taking everything Louis was saying to the extreme.

Harry licked his lips, “Lucky for you it’s almost my study break time, and I didn’t have anything scheduled during it today, but I’ll need my coffee, so you better fit that into whatever you’ve planned.”

“Begging me for a coffee?” Louis laughed, “Be lucky I like you, Mr. Styles.” Harry’s smile made it to a grin. No big deal.

After getting off the phone with Louis, Harry decided to check his hair and change his jumper. Niall’s words about how Harry was missing out on love and how he needs to get drunk in it, kept ringing in his head, as if they meant a lot more to Harry and he didn’t even know it. It was freaking him out a little, but at the same time, thrilled him.

Harry managed to make it outside in record time, because right as he walked out the front door of his building, Louis was leaning against his car with his sunglasses on, lazily checking his phone with his foot kicked up against the car door.

“Ahem,” Harry crossed his arms as soon as he was in front of Louis but Louis hadn’t looked up from his phone. Harry couldn’t help but notice that Louis smelled like he bathed in pot-infused cologne. Despite its muskiness, there was a hint of something sweet that intrigued Harry.

Louis smiled while he put his phone away, and tilted down his glasses a bit to flash his eyes. “You're late. Good thing I'm patient, unlike you.” Louis teased, and Harry rolled his eyes.

“Still using unsolicited comments towards me, how sweet.”

Louis shoved his hands into his pockets, “Because I know it drives you crazy, but lucky for you I didn’t come here to bicker with you, I mean, maybe I did slightly, but that’s not the real fun of the day,” Louis explained moving away his car and slightly close to Harry. “We're going to Doncaster.”

No wonder Louis didn’t mention it sooner.

“Louis, it's noon, and that means the rest of my day is gone. Was this your plan all along?” Harry asked, certainly not as delighted as Louis, but also, not upset either.

“I mean, if you're up for it.” Louis replied, hoping Harry would say yes.

‘No’ is exactly what Harry should have said, and the Harry that didn’t get dragged to any parties, meet his friends at a pub and didn’t go with Louis to get a tattoo at 2am would have said no, but that wasn’t this Harry.

“Count me in.”

The ride to Doncaster was pleasant; not a lot of talking, pretty scenery and good music in the background.

But the curiosity (and the fact that Harry said yes without even knowing anything) was getting to Harry, so he asked, “Where exactly are we going?” because the suspense was getting to him. Plus, he was patient, Harry found himself asking after they had already been driving for an hour.

“Costume shop, pumpkin patch, dinner at mums, and then I will get your coffee before we leave.” Harry looked over towards Louis while he answered, and saw that he only had one hand on the wheel and was sitting back as if they were on nothing more than a casual Sunday drive.

Harry realized that they’d be in for a busy night, once they arrived, of course. Dinner at Jay’s house was kinda freaking Harry out a bit, as they just met a few weeks ago and what would she think at first, before either of them explained they were just friends?

“It’s good I like to hang out with you, you better be thankful.” Harry replied, moving around in his seat a bit.

“Oh I am, Harold. Trust me on that one.” Louis smirked.

Harry bit back a smile and kept to himself, looking out the window as they went down the motorway. Harry decided to worry about dinner when they arrived at the house and were about to walk in; he wasn’t going to start stressing about that now.

The first stop on the list was the pumpkin patch. Needless to say, they spent way too much time there trying to decide which four out of nine contenders would be the perfect fit. Apparently, they had to pick the biggest ones, because Louis’ family liked to go all out on the carving. Good thing Harry was quite strong and could carry one big at a time, but Louis was able to carry two at once, which made no sense to Harry.

Harry couldn’t imagine the back ache Louis was bound to have later.

“I'm not a weakling like you.” Was what Louis threw at Harry when they first started out trying to haul the pumpkins, but Harry just laughed, especially when Louis started showing off how strong he was by trying to carry as many pumpkins as he could all the way to his car, but then ended up dropping some, right after he called Harry clumsy for tripping over some pumpkins, when Louis himself looked up for a split second and tripped. Louis was already swearing in response, but when he was humiliated enough by Harry’s laughter, he blushed a bit and stormed off, which of course got Harry laughing even more.

By the time that was all over, the pumpkin patch led them off to a great start, despite how much time they spent there and the rush they were in.

From gathering pumpkins it was onto picking out a costume, and soon Harry was plastered in front of a mirror holding up different options.

Louis went off to the clustered aisles looking for a pirate costume, while Harry didn’t even know what ha wanted to dress up as.

At first, Harry picked out a royal prince costume, and then a vampire, but those seemed so typical, as anyone could just pick one of those and show up. Harry didn’t want to wear a sweaty mask or paint his face and hide it with special effects. He wanted something simple with minimum effort, but the costumes he was finding were so typical and cheap looking it was the other extreme.

Harry's eyes wandered off to his surrounding, scary masks hanging up, skeletons dangling from the ceilings along with paper mache bats, fake spiderwebs around the tops of the shelving and corner of the wall and the Halloween music playing in the background. The store was practically empty too, other than the employee guy at the desk reading a magazine.

“Found anything yet?” Louis came up to Harry and Harry noticed he had something tucked into his armpit.

Harry shook his head, “I told you Halloween is my worst enemy.”

“Nonsense, show me what you have,” Louis replied.

Harry showed Louis what he found, but Harry could tell that by the look on Louis’ face that he wasn’t pleased, and, without saying anything, ripped the costumes out of Harry’s hands and walked off, vanishing into one of the aisles.

Soon Louis came back and pressed a costume into Harry’s hands. “This is your costume,” Louis smirked, crossing his arms.

Harry looked it over and furrowed his brows, “A cat? You’re joking.”

“No, I'm serious. You'll be the hottest one there.” Louis laughed.

Harry glared at him before speaking again, shocked at his...tenacity. “This isn't funny, Louis. I just want something easy, okay? Not to look like a stuffed animal.”

Louis rolled his eyes, “I'm only messing around, relax, yeah? I suppose you could go as a policeman or something.”

They spent more time looking at Harry eventually found something. After an hour and a half in the costume shop, he's decided he's going to be a ringmaster. Louis didn’t storm off in protest so Harry didn’t dare change his mind again.

It didn’t totally match with Louis’ pirate costume, but then again, maybe it was better that way since they were just going as friends, and something to matchy might test that fact.

Then it was on to dinner at Jay’s and when they arrived outside of Louis’ mums house, Harry felt nervous. They were four hours away from Uni, spent the last hours with each other, and with what everything Jay told Harry when they first met, Harry had every right to feel a little anxious.

Harry never spent a lot of time at friend's houses; they’d always meet up somewhere or go out to stuff, because that’s just what they did. Harry had been to Niall’s house like two times despite how long they’ve known each other, and as weird as that might sounds that’s just how they did stuff. It worked for them.

When Louis just walked in, Harry was right behind him, trailing quietly as Louis led him to the kitchen with the pumpkins in their arms.

“Mum, I’m home.” Louis announced, “and guess who I brought?”

Harry followed Louis into the kitchen where Louis’ mum and sisters were, and Harry could tell they were making something certainly delicious.

“You brought the young man I met few weeks ago, Harry is it?” Jay asked, and Harry nodded, setting the pumpkin down on the table where Louis had done so.

“Glad to see you boys getting along,” she said, smiling. “You can show Harry around if you want but dinner will be done soon, okay?”

“Alright mum, we’ll be back in a bit.”

As Harry followed Louis around, he realized that the house look familiar, as Harry remembered this house from the party where Louis’ band played, but when he was here, not only did Harry dislike Louis, but he was also trying to go home. Now no longer in a rush, Harry noticed the little accents in the rooms and on the walls; the pictures hanging, bookcases filled with good books and the charming little furnishings that were scattered around the house. At times it reminded Harry of his own mum’s home.

When they made their way to the bedrooms, Louis stopped in front of the first room, “And here is where you claimed you were doing your hair to avoid me.”

“Why do you think I was lying? Maybe I actually was fixing my hair.” Harry replied, trying to remember what he was actually doing. Louis shook his head and showed Harry the other rooms until they got to the last door in the hall.

The door had a sticker on it that said no trespassing and Harry knew it had to be Louis’. All the other rooms were his sisters and his mum's, and unless Louis no longer had a bedroom, this was his room.

“Last but not least in the bedroom category is my room,” Louis announced, opening the door and flipping on the light.

Louis’ room was fairly clean besides a chair in the corner with a pile of clothing. There were band posters up, a dark colored sheet used as a blind for his window, a hemp leaf poster, guitar amps stacked in the corner of the room, and some belts hanging off a stand alone mirror by the bed. There was a laptop covered in stickers (that ranged from drug use to bumper stickers) placed on the middle of the bed and connected to another speaker.

Louis didn’t say much as he started messing with a few speakers in the room while Harry let himself in. As Harry looked around, his eyes landed on Louis’ closet door that was half shut, and Harry could see a little bit of another poster hanging up. Harry couldn’t see what it was a poster of and soon the curiosity got the best of him. Harry walked over to it, and just as he checked it out, Louis' hand stopped Harry from opening the closet door anymore. But Harry had already seen enough of it to know who was on it.

Louis must have been in love with Ryan Gosling, or at least enamored with him.

“The closet is off limits.” Louis exclaimed, trying not to sound embarrassed.

“Is it because of that poster?” Harry asked, staring at him and Harry could see Louis’ cheeks turnings shade of pink.

Louis shook his head, “No… I just-” Louis began stumbling over his words. “I don't like anyone going through my stuff is all.”

“Look who’s the nervous one now.” Harry commented, “Don’t worry, I’d have the same poster hanging up too, just never thought I could get my hands on something like that.” he laughed, and Louis rolled his eyes.

“Zayn gave it to me for Christmas one year, told me he found it on some website, but yeah, he’s one of my celebrity crushes.” Louis admitted.

“Well, you know my celebrity crushes, so I guess it’s only fair that I find out yours.”

Louis just shrugged.

For the rest of the time they spent in Louis’ room, they sat on Louis’ bed while they listened to some alternative nineties tunes, and while Louis went on and on about this upcoming party. Despite Harry’s take on parties, it sounded promising, and way more eventful than the regular ones Harry got dragged along to. From the supposed ‘rigged’ costume contest to the games that featured at least one thing illegal in it, Harry kinda felt excited about it. Harry had been to the boring ones, but this was clearly the other extreme.

Shortly after Louis had said all that he could about the party, Louis mentioned something briefly about going to a concert together. Now that was something Harry could agree on, because their music taste was practically the same, and it’d been ages since either of them had been to a gig.

When dinner was called a little bit later, Harry felt a bit nervous. He didn’t know Louis that long and Harry certainly didn’t know Louis’ family any better. Then again, Harry was just overreacting, but he did want to leave a good impression on Louis’ family, because he had no idea what Louis told them.

Harry even started to understand what Niall was feeling a few hours ago, when he was crying to Harry about meeting Zayn’s sisters, except this was nothing like that, because he wasn’t dating Louis.

Harry found an empty seat across from Louis and in between Louis’ sisters. He sat there quietly as his mum set a bowl that looked to be chicken carbonara, which smelled delightful and since Harry was pretty hungry, he was eager to try it.

“I hope you don't mind what's for dinner, Harry.” Jay said, “I wasn't expecting Louis to bring a guest with him.”

Harry smiled, “It's okay Jay, it smells wonderful.” Harry replied.

“So Louis tells me you also know Nicholas.” Jay announced as she made up her plate.

Louis smirked,” You better not call Nick that, mum. He hates it.” And yet Louis still had the gall to call Harry ‘Harold’ when Louis knows it drives Harry crazy.

Harry was in love as soon as he took the very first bite. Each time it was a forkful of comfort and packed with flavor, just exquisite, and his plate was nearly gone by the time Lottie finished talking about the boy she liked, as she hadn’t even started eating yet. But back to the conversation about Lottie’s latest crush, apparently, they’d been best friends and have been for years. Lottie had liked him for a very long time and had been getting all these mixed signals, from getting asked to go to the cinema alone with him and then watching him go off and flirt with these other girls they’re both mutual friends with, two days later. As Harry listened to Lottie’s situation, he hoped she’d be able to figure it all out soon enough, because Harry couldn’t of imagined what it’d be like to have feelings for a friend and then watching the same person go flirt with others.

“Boys are just a bunch of trouble, stay as far away as possible at all times,” Louis commented, stuffing a forkful of pasta into his mouth.

Jay just looked at Louis, “You’ve never listened to me when it came to advice about boys, so what good is your advice to your sister?”

“Mum, I’ve dealt with all kinds of guys, and besides, my advice is true,” Louis explained in a tone of voice that seemed to be surprised that Jay was doubting him. “Dating is just a waste of time if you ask me.”

Harry sat there quietly, clearly avoiding adding his two cents, primarily because he didn’t any to add. He’d never been in this sort of situation, so if he offered any advice, it’d be weirdly hypocritical of him since he’d be sharing knowledge that lacked experience, so it’d be worthless. Plus, he didn’t really know Lottie that well and didn’t want to start poking his nose into things that weren’t his business. It made him feel almost like family, since Lottie, for some reason, felt comfortable sharing all that in front of a stranger (to Lottie anyway) at dinner, and such subject matter was usually saved for those family dinners.

During the course of the dinner, Harry did his best to ignore Louis’ gaze every so often and put his focus elsewhere. Not saying much but also paying attention to people as they spoke in the midst of conversation to show he had manners and was polite and things like that.

“So, Harry’s going with me to a Halloween party,” Louis mentioned, his voice sounding slightly excited, as he twirled some pasta around his fork before taking a bite.

“As a date?” Fizzy questioned with a smirk, asked, quirking her brow, “I mean, yeah, since you always talk-” her words were cut off with a yelp, “hey! God, you and your stupid feet-mum!”

Louis glared at Fizzy as his fork scraped against the plate.

Harry had no idea what that whole ordeal was about, but he didn’t dare ask.

“Fizzy and Louis, cool it,” Jay scolded but couldn't hold back a smile, as that whole exchange was comical, “before I ask you both to do the dishes.”

Fizzy rolled her eyes after letting out a dramatic huff and went back to eating. Louis got to his feet and pick up his plate, “We should probably head out soon before it gets too late.” Louis mentioned off hand as he made his way to the kitchen with his dish.

Thankfully Harry was plenty satisfied and it seemed like perfect timing for them to head on back, since Louis was right, it’d be late soon and there was a four hour drive back in front of them.

About twenty minutes later, Harry was ready to go. The process of saying goodbye included hugs, which was odd at first, but Harry didn’t even have a minute to think about it being weird because it was hugs all around and rather rapidly that the whole thing felt more like saying goodbye to family, not friends.

“Ready?” Louis asked as he twirled his keys around his finger as they walked to Louis’ car.

“Yeah, sure am. It was nice meeting your family though, like, actually meeting them.”

Louis nodded. “They’re crazy though, don’t believe anything they told you.”

This made Harry think back to what Fizzy was saying, and how quickly that was shut down. It got Harry curious as to what Fizzy was planning on saying, especially since Louis reacted like he did.

As soon as they were ten minutes from the house, Louis grabbed a cigarette and started smoking.

“I’m surprised you didn’t take a smoke earlier, like, while we were there. You went a while without it.”

Louis shrugged, replying after he took a drag. “Mum doesn’t like me smoking around the girls when I’m home. At parties it’s different because there’s so much going on and tons of people over, but when I’m home and their entertainment for the night, I have to cool it. Plus, I don’t want to get them hooked on these dirty things. I can’t stop them from getting their hearts broken by boys, I mean, I would if they’d just listen to me, but I can help them from starting to smoke.”

“Yeah, but, you tried getting me to smoke, and I’m pretty sure you’re still trying.”

Louis laughed, now finished with his cigarette. “I tried because I knew you’d never actually give in. You’re going to school to be a nurse, like, clearly I knew I’d never actually succeed, but I still gave it a shot because, I don’t know, why not?”

As ridiculous as all that seemed to Harry, he took it as a valid answer, because there was no point in arguing anymore, plus it seemed like the amusement of bugging Harry was slightly beginning to dissipate so certainly Harry didn’t dare want to disturb that process.

When they left, it was already dark out as the lights were illuminating the streets and buildings were starting to light up on the inside. Ever since Harry got into the car with Louis while they were still in the parking lot at uni, Harry hadn’t checked his phone once. At Louis’ mum’s house, it seemed like they were only there for maybe an hour, but they were there for almost two hours according to the clock on Louis’ car radio. But that didn’t upset Harry, as it was quite nice; Louis’ family was lovely, and it was a nice change from the nights Harry spent at parties.

They were on the road for some time before Louis pulled into a spot in front of a coffee shop. “So how about we go get that coffee I owe you,” Louis began, unbuckling himself, cutting the engine. Harry just stared at him.

“You were actually serious about that?” Harry asked, rather surprised.

Louis nodded, “I’m a man of my word, Harold. Now, do you want that coffee or not?”

Harry got out of the car and stood in line with Louis once inside, standing there looking at the menu f while Louis eyed the pastries. When Harry got to the counter, he ordered his vanilla ice coffee while Louis ordered a brownie, a chocolate chip cookie, and a hot chocolate. After Louis paid, Harry followed Louis over to the side while they waited for their drinks.

When they made it back to the car, they didn’t drive off right away. Harry sipped his coffee as he watched Louis devour the brownie in a mere minute.

Harry took one last sip before putting his coffee into the other spare cupholder as he watched Louis break his cookie in half, “Want a piece?” Louis asked, but Harry shook his head, and Louis shrugged before chowing down the piece that he offered Harry.

Two minutes later they were off again.

Harry didn’t mind drive back, as the hours spent with Louis were nice, with good music in the background, good conversation and good coffee.

Despite being so far away from uni and totally out of his element, Harry had a lovely time, and he was glad he went.

Maybe they could do this again sometime.

*****


Halloween mornings spent with Niall. It wasn’t really what Harry wanted to do, but Harry was stuck on Niall duty, preparing him for meeting Zayn’s sisters later that night. Harry knows Niall was overthinking it and freaking out for no reason, and since Harry had dinner with Louis’ family, he understood Niall’s anxiety, but also realized it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Everyone who met Niall liked him; he had a contagious laugh, plenty of witty humor, totally easy going, and just was a really good mate overall. Putting up with the back and forth banter that happened between them was worth it, as they had a great relationship and considered themselves practically brothers.

“Oh my god, I don't think I can do this.” Niall fretted as he paced around Harry’s room. It was six in the morning, and Harry had no idea why Niall needed to be up so early, besides to overreact, and the fact that Niall came to Harry’s dorm to do so just made the whole situation so much better. No it didn’t.

And no matter what advice Harry gave with his half asleep mind, Niall was not taking any of it, totally ignoring Harry’s efforts.

“Yes you can,” Harry huffed, “You’re going to be fine, I promise.”

“You don’t understand, Harry. This is such a huge deal, and I’m meeting them so early, and this is the next big step before meeting his parents.” Niall shook his head, scraping his hand through his hair, and adjusting his clothes as if they were chafing him. “It’s so hot in here,” Niall complained as he wiped his forehead.

Harry got out of bed and grabbed Niall by the shoulder, stopping him from pacing, and stared Niall in the eye. “Calm down before you make me feel anxious. You have hours before you’re actually meeting them, so quit worrying about it now. And, for the last time, you’re going to be ok, just trust me on this, yeah?”

Niall sighed, “I just don’t know… I have so many worries about what could go wrong, I guess I feel so overwhelmed. Having a boyfriend is so stressful.”

“Then maybe you shouldn’t have asked him out or shagged him, then maybe you wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.” Harry teased.

Niall narrowed his eyes, “Harry.” he started, crossing his arms. “This isn’t a laughing matter; this is serious.”

Harry sat down back onto his bed, “I was just giving you some input, but if you’re really worried about tonight then talk to Zayn, oh and take a nap, that always works for me. Find something that will calm your nerves.”

Niall’s freakout seemed to go on for twenty minutes, before he finally slumped down on the bed beside Harry and ran his hands over his face.

“What are you doing tonight? I mean, anything other than the party? Maybe not talking about Zayn’s family might calm my nerves down.”

Harry's eyes darted over to his alarm clock to check the time, “Well, apparently, around noon or so, Louis’ planned a trip to some spooky houses, and then we’re going to Liam’s Halloween party, but you knew about that.” Harry mentioned. Niall raised his brows, a smirk forming on his face.

“So, you’re still going with Louis alone tonight? Interesting.” Niall grinned

“Don’t start on that now.” Harry sighed, ”He just offered me to come because he wants me to experience the supposed best party of the year, it’s not because Louis likes me in that way, Nialler.”

“Alright, if you say so. I'm just surprised you're even going in the first place.”

Harry folded his arms, “I don’t know why you should be, after all, you got me into this mess of going to parties. Plus, I can go to a Halloween party with a friend, it’s not a big deal.” Harry continued defensively. “Sue me for actually enjoying hanging out with him now.”

“I never said it was a huge deal, just you’ve never been much of a partier, and it just surprised me how he managed to convince you. I mean, you spent half the day with him, alone, and you didn’t have to, so talk about a quick change to a pretty bad first impression of him. God, you hated his guts.”

Harry sighed, already tired of this conversation because he didn’t want to keep defending himself.

“Alright, I think we’re done with this conversation, Niall,” Harry began, ready to start his day and stop worrying about Niall or what Niall had hinted about him and Louis. Harry didn’t need that. “Maybe you should go see Zayn now, yeah?”

“Fine, I’ll stop interrogating you about your super quick developing friendship with Louis and will go back to bugging my man, but please have fun today and at that party, you deserve it, as it’s about damn time you stopped missing out on this kinda stuff.” Niall teased lightly before leaving, and Harry heard him laugh, mumbling something as Niall closed the door behind him.

Harry spent the rest of his morning getting ready for the day’s events and organizing his slightly messy room. Harry tried not to think about what Niall said and put his focus on preparing himself for his day with Louis. He was kind of excited, because Louis did know how to have a good time, as there was never a dull moment with him, and, don’t take this the wrong way, but the idea of seeing Louis in a pirate costume perked Harry’s interests.

Later that day, Harry got a text from Louis saying that he’d be by in ten minutes to pick him up. Harry fixed his hair and threw on a warm jumper. As he walked out, Harry saw Louis’ car parked and waiting.

Harry took a deep breathed before he strolled over to Louis, who was dressed in all black.

“You’re late,” Louis commented, “I thought I was getting stood up.”

Harry smiled, “Someone's impatient today.”

Louis licked his lips, shoving his hands into his pockets, “I’m just excited to get this fang-tastic evening started.”

Harry shook his head and just got in the damn car. He just can't right now. Not once puns start going on.

The drive was nice, good music and all, and soon they left the campus of the university. Trees were in full show with brightly colored leaves that lightly drifted down as the wind blew. The air was slightly chilly, and Harry hoped it wouldn’t get that cold later.

The first spookhouse they stopped at wasn’t that scary, actually (more like thankfully, as Harry was perfectly fine with that). It took about an hour to walk through it, and the special effects and even the makeup and jump scares weren’t good. It had the people that would randomly grab you, but most of the time it was just a tall guy with a mask on. Nothing special. But, they weren’t just going to one house, Louis had them planned out, researched, list created and memorized by heart. Halloween was his day and there was no way Harry was going to dare touch it.

As Louis’ warned Harry, as they started going through more of these houses and going down the long list, each house got scarier and scarier, as if Louis knew all along and ordered them deliberately, easing Harry into it slowly. The walkthroughs got longer; the scares got worse, and if anything, the whole spectacle became more real each time. Harry was getting spooked here and there, but remained cool and calm, even when a guy jumped out at him with a chainsaw to blood-curdling screams playing along with creepy music, yeah now would be the time to say Harry had had enough.

Despite all that Louis told Harry that he was not going to get scared by anything at any of the houses, Harry was actually surprised Louis was right about his claim. Louis flinched, at the most, but that was it, laughing when Harry got spooked. Harry didn’t see how this sort of thing could be fun when you weren’t scared at really anything, but then he realized that he was probably Louis’ form of entertainment, not the houses per se; Louis laughed at Harry getting spooked and teased him, awaiting Harry’s reaction and making something fun out of them. Louis didn’t care about the houses, it was all on Harry.

The last house was a popular one, as they had to stand in a long line in order to get inside. By now the air was chilly, and they were both impatient to enter the house.

“I wish this line would hurry the hell up, we have a party to attend in a couple of hours, and I don't want to show up late.” Louis exclaimed, crossing his arms, “Do you think you can handle this last one, Harold?”

Harry nodded, “I mean, I did the others, I think I can manage one more.”

“Good, because I saved the best for last.” Harry knew Louis wouldn't let him off easy, since all the houses were pretty lame. Of course, Harry was already plotting revenge just in case this house would be a total nightmare.

“God help me,” Harry muttered under his breath as the queue moved up, but it wasn’t directly related to having to see the house, more as to the fact that the majority of the day and that night were practically wasted between going to these houses and then the party.

As they entered the building, Harry felt a wave of anxiety wash over him. Louis was behind him (because of course he made Harry go first), and that made Harry uneasy. The lights and the music was getting to him, mainly because this was the tenth spooky house, and even though Harry assumed he’d get used to all the tricks and the effects, he was wrong.

During the course of the time spent in the house, Harry jumped a bit here and there, scared only a few time. A few times, Harry felt some grabs at the back of his jumper, like where Louis was behind him, and Harry never really found out what it was. For a second, Harry thought it could be Louis, but then again this house had better scares, so it could have been people trying to grab him from the back.

This house took longer to get out of, probably Harry reached his limit and had had enough. All Harry wanted to do was get out, and maybe get something to eat, but he was physically tired enough to take a nap. The minute Harry blinked, something (a guy in a blood covered face mask with an axe) jumped out at Harry and started screaming, and the whole thing caught Harry off guard, so much so that he stumbled back into Louis, who just lightly pushed Harry forward again and over all the noise Harry could hear him laughing.

Thankfully, it wasn’t much longer until they reached the exit, and Harry felt like breaking out the champagne, as he completed Louis’ spooky house marathon and made it out alive to tell the tale. Of course, he didn’t drink, but at that moment, he was both relieved and pleased with himself that he’d do it.

“So did that fill your thrill thirst at all?” Louis asks as they head out to the car park, noticing the sun was setting by now. They must have been in there for almost two hours since it seemed to fucking drag on.

Harry nodded, “Yeah, and I hope it filled your thrill, as you were the one that demanded we do all that. I think I’m good till next year. I had fun, though.”

“Good, that was my intention.” Louis replied, generally pleased as they made their way to his car and got in. “Now, onto my dorm. The real fun has just begun.”

Louis’ dorm looked more messy this time, and Harry stood and waited while Louis frantically searched around for something. There were tons of plastic bags, both on and under his bed and on his desk; everything they bought at the costume shop. Soon Louis walked back over to Harry with his arms rather full. He handed Harry over his costume and then walked back to where his desk was.

“You can get changed in the loo if you want,” Louis offered as he ripped open one of his plastic packets.

Harry nodded and made his way into the small bathroom with his costume, and locking the door behind him.

It took him awhile, but he eventually Harry figured out the surprisingly confusing costume and threw it on. Harry had to be careful not to rip it while putting it on, as the fabric was cheap and Louis would still make him go, as a rip would look like Harry intentionally tried to get out of going to the party. Harry didn’t know why he decided to go as a ringmaster, but he decided it would be one of the costumes that would make him look the least stupid, at least that’s how it looked on the bag. The whole day, going and actually celebrating the holiday kind of brought Harry back to when he was younger, when he’d go with Niall for Halloween celebrations and spend all week looking forward to picking out his costume. Obviously, they’d both grown up, and after so many years, stopped caring so much about Halloween. But that night, as much as Harry would have rather done many other things, it was nice, because it was like what Halloween was when he was young.

By the time he had the whole costume on, Harry was worried to look in the mirror, but when he finally did he saw he looked halfway decent. The whole look didn’t look bad, especially with the hat and his curls that had a lot of bounce that day, thankfully.

Harry headed back into the room, but didn’t get that far; Louis was buckling his stupid belt buckle to his costume multi striped trousers with no bloody top on, and Harry never expected to see such a delightful sight, or to find such sight a delight. Standing there like an idiot, Harry tried not to stare and appear fazed, because, like, no, he wasn’t, most certainly was not, at all. Actually, Louis’ back muscles with the ink here and there was mind numbing, to say the least. A thousand red flags were going up in Harry’s mind, and yet he dismissed and ignored every single one as he cleared his throat, ripping his eyes away after a quick mental note to calm himself down.

“I’m ready when you are.”

Louis finished with his belt and smiled up at Harry.

“You look good, like a real circus fiend.” Louis snickered as he slipped on the top to his costume and buttoned it up halfway.

Harry smiled as he sat down on Louis’ bed, watching Louis grab the scarf and eye patch that went with his costume, and something off his desk before heading out the door to escape to the bathroom.

Harry couldn’t get seeing Louis’ shirtless (at least the back of him) out of his mind, and it was both scaring him and worrying him. What was happening here? Not something good, as Harry didn’t need anything of that sort developing. Talk about wrong place wrong time, if Harry had walked out two seconds later he would have avoided seeing Louis’ shirtless, and that would have been better. For sure.

Harry rubbed the back of his neck and waited silently, hoping when Louis comes back out shortly and that everything would be fine, that Harry won't stumble over his words, or do something stupid, and they can just enjoy the party.

Eventually, Louis returned with the scarf tied around his messy fringe, the eye patch on the right eye and he was wearing eyeliner, talk about going all out. Holy shit, he looked so good, and Harry couldn’t even believe that he was thinking that way. If Harry was all there, he’d be more nervous about the party than standing in Louis’ presence.

Oh, how the tables have turned, and so suddenly too!

“How do I look?” Louis asked, stuffing the fake sword he grabbed from his bed into the holder connected to his belt. “Do I look like a real pirate?”

Harry swallowed, “Uh, yeah, you look nice.” That was a safe answer.

“Thanks, Harold.” Louis replied pleased as he checked his phone, “I suppose we should head out, so we can make it in time to participate in the contest ” Louis grabbed an orange colored paper from his desk, and Harry guessed that was either the invite or the tickets.

The ride to the party was relatively quiet and similar to the other rides they’ve had together, as the music was playing on in the background and Louis was smoking. Along the way, they saw little kids in costumes trick or treating with their parents as every street seemed to be alive.

When Louis parked the car about a block or two away from the campus, he scrambled out. Harry, never saw Louis move that fast, and watched him scramble around to the other side, but had no idea what he was doing, until Harry’s door was opened for him. Needless to say, Harry was stunned.

“I can open my own door, I'm not weak you know,” Harry commented, once out of the car.

Louis grinned as he shut the door, “I wanted to.” Harry never expected to hear that.

Shortly after they walked along a dimly lit path over to the house, they heard music getting louder and voices, a clear sign this as the place. Between Louis and Harry, however, they were quiet. Harry followed Louis past some people on the front yard and into the house, after Louis gave some tall buff guy the orange piece of paper.

Once inside, Harry noticed plenty of people dressed in scantily clad costumes and yet a few of some fascinating ones. There were also plenty of lame ones also, like guys just dressed in khakis and polo shirts dubbed as ‘white guys.’ Harry ignored all the really bad looking costumes and just followed Louis, noticing all the Halloween decorations on the walls. Fake spider webs, skeletons, black and orange streamers, banners saying ‘Happy Halloween!’, and candy bowls spread throughout each table, which of course was loaded with food and drinks. The kitchen table had a pumpkin tablecloth over it with candy apples, green colored popcorn balls, pumpkin decorated cupcakes, a punch bowl filled with orange colored contents. This party, since it was themed, had more to it, and Harry appreciated the effort, and knew someone spent a lot of money on all this.

“Do you want anything to drink?” Louis shouted over the loud music as they went over to the cooler. Louis grabbed a beer and cracking it open.

Harry nodded, which promptly sent Louis off to pour him a glass of punch. Harry could have just done it himself; Louis didn’t need to keep accommodating Harry tonight, as if Harry was some royal pain in the ass.

When Louis came back over to Harry holding a red solo cup and a beer, he gave it to Harry before taking a sip of his drink.

“So, are you having a spooktacular time?” Louis asked raising his brows.

“Why are you using such awful portmanteau words today? It's embarrassing.”

Louis smirked. “I'm only trying to have a little fun because it's a holiday, and maybe I am trying to embarrass you, Harold.”

“I hate you.” Harry chaffed, taking a sip of his punch.

Louis shrugged before taking another sip, and set the can on the messy counter. Louis then moved closer to Harry a bit, as more people were starting to come into the tiny kitchen.

“Do you think you could meet me upstairs? I’m going to go sign us up for the contest and get our name tags.” Louis explained in a rather serious tone, because this was his party and there was no messing around. “I'm sure Ed or Nicks up there.”

“Um, yeah, sure,” Harry replied, and without another word, Louis wandered off.

With nothing better to do and after promising to Louis that he’d be upstairs, Harry made his way up, expecting the smell of weed and he surely wasn’t disappointed. Harry walked into the first room on his left and there were a bunch of guys in there, plus Ed and Nick.

“Harry!” Ed called out, waving for him to come over. Ed was in a doctor's costume, and Nick himself was dressed as a male cheerleader. Not very cohesive but then again Harry and Louis weren’t either.

“Let me guess,” Nick began, scratching his chin, clearly pretending, “You're a ringmaster, yeah?” Harry nodded.

“I'm surprised you're here.” Ed exclaimed, crossing his arms, “Usually you hate coming to these kinds of parties.”

“I'm not surprised. Louis asked him to come tonight.” Nick smirked, looking pleased with himself that he knew that fact.

Ed looked at him with a grin before taking a hit of the blunt that was passed to him. “Where's your date then, I mean, since you came with him and all.”

“We came as friends,” Harry sighed, “And he was signing up for some costume thing.”

They both nodded, and thankfully they didn't prod more into the reasons why Harry went with Louis and didn’t just go alone, or even not at all.

Soon enough, Louis made it into the room and pinned a name tag on Harry's chest. Harry felt weird being this close to Louis, and he was surprised again that Louis didn’t just hand it to him and have Harry do it himself. All this babying as if Harry couldn't do it himself, or something.

“Now we’re all signed up, but we have to be down in the living room area in about an hour.” Louis announced, stepping away from Harry.

Louis fretted Ed, Nick, and the others as he made his way away from Harry and sat down on a couch in the room. Louis eagerly grabbed the blunt when it came towards him and took a hit. Harry stood there watching Louis exhale the smoke as he passed it to the guy next to him.

“Going to try it this time?” Louis asked when it came to Harry. Harry shook his head and it was passed to the guy next to him, skipping Harry.

“Such a goodie two shoes.” Louis mumbled, and Harry ignored that.

Harry stood among the guys as they smoked and bantered back and forth with each other. It was a little bit boring, because he wasn't into getting stoned or joking about stupid things. Harry kind of wanted to stuff his face with those treats from the kitchen and get away from the pungent stench and smoke. Plus, he was kind of hungry. Harry knew that even if he made it downstairs with the purpose of getting away from the smell, he’d have to ride back with Louis, who’d be drenched in it, so, no, there was no escaping it.

Soon, Edith came in, dressed as a sexy nurse. She made her way over to Louis with a beer in her hand and almost stumbled into him.

“Hey Louis.” She started in a low slurry voice, biting her lip, “You make one sexy pirate.” She purred as Louis took another drink before wrapping her arm around him.

Harry saw Louis give her a little smile, “Thanks, love.” Was all Louis said, and they didn’t do much more interacting, as much as Edith probably would have preferred.

As crazy as this sounds, she was getting onto Harry’s nerves because she was just rather...annoying, trying to get Louis’ attention and it wasn’t working, at all. Louis looked more interested in the blunt and his beer than her, but maybe Harry was just looking too hard.

Edith licked her red stained lips before leaning and pressing a kiss to Louis' neck. “I marked you.” She fiddles, pulling away. “You're mine.”

Harry gave her a sharp gaze as he crossed his arms over his chest, clearly caring too much about this Louis and Edith thing.

“Calm down, babe” Louis commented as pulled his arm from her grip. “Why don't you go downstairs and wait for me in the basement, yeah?” He asked her, and she gave a little pout before getting up and wandering off again.

So they were going to hook up?

What the hell was Harry going to do? He arrived with Louis and needed him to get back. Now he'd get stranded and forgotten about because of some silly girl.

Louis' eyes flicked over towards Harry and he smiled, clearly not worried about anything Harry was currently preoccupied about. “We should probably head down in a few.”

Harry nodded but didn’t say anything in response. Soon, they all began to filter out of the room and head down stairs. Harry followed after Louis, not really sure what was going to happen next, but he was already ready to leave. It wasn’t that Edith kind of ruined the mood, but she ruined the mood.

When they got to the bottom of the stairs, Louis grabbed Harry’s jacket by the sleeves and led him to the area where others were gathered around. Everyone who was in the room had such amazing costumes, and especially Liam being shirtless with a construction uniform on with a girl in a latex catsuit pressed up next to him.

“That's Liam's girlfriend Sophia, and that’s Liam, clearly. I bet you anything she's gonna make them win again.” Louis exclaimed in Harry’s ear unexpectedly, making Harry jump.

They both looked amazing, of course they’d win, Harry thought, be he didn’t say anything.

“Like I said, shit’s rigged.” Louis huffed before stepping away and quietly standing next to Harry.

Not even a moment later, Liam had a microphone in his hands and told everyone to be quiet.

“As you all know, it's time for my annual costume party where we crown the king or queen. We have a good number of contestants this year so it’ll be good. Winner gets a gift card of their choice and second place gets a 5-pound bag of candy, of their choice of course.” Liam announced. Harry didn't think those prizes were that great, but then again, it was the spectacle of the thing and the bragging rights that really mattered to everyone.

“Now, if you ghoulies and ghosties are ready we can start this thing, so remember to vote in the kitchen where the ballot box is, and only one per person please. Up here I have a list of the people in the contest so feel free to look at that before voting if you forget or something.”

Then contentores started walking. It seemed as if there were at least fifty people in the competition, and they each had thirty seconds to ‘sell themselves.’ At first, Harry felt really nervous when it was his turn, but he was the only one sober there so literally no one cared. Plus it only lasted for a moment.

Soon it was Louis’ turn, and Harry watched as Louis walked around with such confidence, pulling out his fake sword and posing with it, before putting the sword back. When Louis was finished with this 30 seconds of glory, Harry bit back a smile as Louis stood by him again.

The contest seemed to drag on, losing its excitement as it continued, especially when Liam's girlfriend (as attractive as she might have been) did a really stretched and almost boring (to Harry at least) out stroll around. There were a few whistles going on during her time, but they all probably come from Liam.

Thankfully, after a little while longer everyone had gone and the whole walking portion was over. Now it was time for people to vote, so everyone was strongly encouraged to head into the kitchen, as they’d only have an hour to vote.

Once again, Louis grabbed Harry by the sleeve and dragged him outside where it was a little more quiet, leading Harry to a bench and claiming it. Louis smoked a cigarette and the two of them were quiet, listening to the music faintly playing inside and shivering a little from the chilly air, but getting to step outside was nice, since the house was stuffy and a little bit too hot.

“I bet you anything Sophia wins it,” Louis remarked as he exhaled the smoke from his lips. “And for second place, it could be Liam, but if not, I'm clueless, since Zayn isn't here to sweep everyone off their feet.” Louis paused, as if in thought. “Gorgeous bastard.”

“It's not a big deal if we don't win, Louis,” Harry finally responded as Louis flicked his gaze towards Harry, bringing the cigarette up to his lips.

"That's not the point, it’s the principle; he cheats the system,” Louis commented. “Every year I've been here and every year they’ve been together, and probably even before he started dating Sophia.”

“If it’s rigged, why do people keep participating in it? I’m sure you’re not the only one who noticed the same thing happening year after year. You’d think people would just stop once they found that out.”

“You really think these people care enough to stop? They like to show off and dress up, and it’d be about ten times more stupid if they couldn’t say they were entering a contest. No one actually cares, because no one, except you, is sober, and at the very least, they're buzzed.” Louis explained, as if he had a Ph.D. on the subject.

“You’re not drunk, or very buzzed, and you care about actually winning. Why? What does this even mean to you?” Harry knew the whole thing was silly, and probably just a big joke, so why was Louis so invested in winning?

“I can’t get drunk tonight, not when I have you to worry about, plus-”

“You don’t have to worry about me,” Harry cut in, “I should be worried about you, since you got somewhat high tonight and will probably freak out if you don’t win that contest.”

Louis shook his head, speaking after taking another drag. “Alright fine, I guess I’ll stop worrying about you then. But maybe just try to understand how annoying it might be for those that take a contest like this seriously, I just don’t like to lose.”

“Fair enough.”

Louis tossed his cigarette on the ground and stomped on it, heading inside to grab another drink, leaving Harry alone on the bench.

Not in the mood to follow after Louis and preferring the outside air to the sticky, warm air of the inside, Harry pulled out his phone. He checked his texts, seeing that had ten texts from Niall. Harry forgot all about what Niall had planned for Halloween night, and was suddenly glad he wasn’t in Niall’s situation.

It was funny to read Niall’s texts, as they went from Niall freaking out to slowly being ok to then having a great time. Harry was right all along, and he wanted to reply with an ‘I told you so,’ but he didn’t as then Niall would start asking about Harry’s night, and Harry didn’t really know what to say yet. Plus, the expression on Niall’s face when Harry actually says to him ‘I told you so’ would be ten times better in person that through text, and Harry decided he’d save it for when he’d see Niall again, which would be soon, of course.

“What are you smiling about?” Louis asked as he sat down next to Harry again, taking a sip from his red cup.

“Niall; he was freaking out this morning about meeting Zayn's sisters, but it’s going well so he had nothing to worry about,” Harry told Louis, eyeing his’ drink. “I hope that's punch and not beer.”

“Course Niall would freak out, such a drama queen, honestly. Now you need to not be a drama queen, this is punch, chill.”

“I was just looking out for our safety, especially since you’re driving tonight. I am chill.”

“Are you though?” Louis asked, squinting as he looked at Harry.

“Certainly. Why, are you surprised?”

“Nah, just pleased.”

For the majority of the time spent at the party, Harry and Louis hung out in the kitchen, munching on snacks and staying out of the way of people that were just too drunk to reason with. At times it was filled with people, so they stayed away from trouble by standing in a corner, talking and acting as if they weren’t bored.

“Why did you lie to Edith earlier upstairs?” Harry asked, curious, and just because he wasn’t too fond of her, he didn’t think it was very kind of Louis to lead her one like that and not mean it.

Louis shrugged, looking as if he wasn’t phased by it, and honestly forgot about it.

“Just wanted to get her off my back, and besides, she’d come back and find me if she was really serious. I’m sure she found someone else to bug.”

“But still it was still kind of rude, Louis.” Harry commented, but Louis just smirked.

Louis didn't say anything else, just huffed quietly and leaned against the wall.

Five minutes later, Liam called everyone into the living room because they were going to announce first and second place winners of the costume contest.

Harry stood beside Louis among the slew of sweaty people as Liam talked to the crowd. Liam spoke about how he was so happy that everyone seemed to be having fun, how the costume contest winners were a close race and that he hoped everyone had a safe rest of the night.

Harry felt someone grabbing his wrist and his eyes darted down to see Louis’ hand wrapped around his wrist with his eyes closed shut, squeezing it so tightly. Harry still didn’t get why Louis wanted to win so badly; it was just a silly little costume contest with stupid prizes.That’s it.

Liam opened the first envelope, “The second place winner is…” Liam announced, “Michael Abbott.”

“Come on,” Louis muttered sounding pretty stressed out.

“And the first place the winner is…” Liam paused, trying to get the anticipation up when Harry just wanted him to read the damn name so that he could go home.

“My girl, Sophia Smith.”

Louis’ hand promptly left Harry’s wrist and he uttered some curse words, not happy.

The crowd cheered a bit before they went back to what they were doing, and Harry remained where he was standing, wondering if they could leave now. Louis took off his eyes patch and sighed, looking deflated.

“I just can't believe it,” Louis ranted, “I mean, I can, because like, it’s rigged, but damn, another year she wins. Another year! Totally not fair, at all.”

Harry, knowing it wouldn’t be a good idea to try and bother with Louis mid rant, let his pout about it for a while. Louis then went on to explain why Sophia shouldn’t even be in the contest, and then wanted to find out who was responsible for recording the votes to give him a piece of Louis’ mind. Talk about a drama queen.

Eventually, Louis calmed down, and they went to go hang out with Ed, Nick and the other guys no one bothered to introduce Harry to (and yet Harry was ok with that), for the remainder of the time they spent at the party. Harry watched as they got high, keeping to himself except for the times when they managed to talk about something of actual importance, but those moments were rare.

That’s what the party was like until the very early morning hours, Harry spent time in that room with basically those same guys and nothing really happened. Harry didn’t think about his studies or how late it was, Harry was enjoying the fact that everything was very low key and that no one paid attention to him, as Harry no longer had to worry about Louis’ constant teasing and name calling any more.

When they were back in Louis car, Harry felt utterly exhausted. When Harry looked at the time, he felt very mad at himself for letting this happen, but there was no point, and he knew that it was a lot better for it to be three in the morning than five or even six. Harry had no lectures the next day so he decided to just let it slide, plus, it was Halloween, the biggest and best excuse for staying up late.

The ride was long enough for Harry to close his eyes for a bit, and with the music in the background rather luling, Harry almost fell asleep, but he didn’t, as he kept himself awake because he knew they were almost back at uni and if he did when he’d wake up his neck would probably ach because of the position, making sleeping just not worth it.

Five minutes later, the car pulled up into a spot near the door of Harry’s building, and Louis cut the engine. It was quiet for a second before Harry unbuckled and opened the door.

“I had a lot of fun tonight, Louis,” Harry said with a smile after getting out, closing the car door and turning back to Louis, sitting in the car.

“Me too,” Louis agreed.

Harry gave a quick sigh, unsure of what really to say next or what more to do. Harry just decided to keep it short, since he was sure Louis would head back to the party and see if Edith was still around, or something.

“Well, I should head in, it's fairly late. Thanks again.” Harry then turned and started walking off, not turning back to the car, as he had no other desires to do anything but go to sleep. That was until he heard another car door slam and then someone walking or running rather fast, and it sounded to be in his direction. Louis was jogging up to him.

What was going on here?

“I wanted to walk you to the door,” Louis explained as he reached Harry (who was too confused and ‘what is Louis doing?’ to keep walking), and once again, Harry felt he was clearly missing something. Why was Louis such a gentleman tonight? Was this just a Halloween thing, like a trick, or was Louis just trying to show Harry that he did indeed know how to be nice to people?

Harry was too stunned to say anything as they walked to the main doors, still unsure what Louis’ motive was for all this, and every other thing Louis did for Harry earlier that night that got Harry thinking Louis was babying him. Maybe this was Louis’ display of appreciation for Harry being such a good sport and going to all of the spook houses and also the party when Louis knew Harry really did not want to go. What a weird way to thank someone.

“I'm glad you came tonight.” Louis mentioned as he leaned on the brick wall next to door, “Even if you thought I was going to ditch you for Edith.” Louis laughed.

“Yeah, I was sure you were going sleep with her, I mean, she left a lovely red stain on your neck.”

Louis shook his head, “I just needed her to leave me alone tonight, especially since the world does not revolve around her and I came with someone else tonight. Despite what you think, I’m not that rude.”

“Not with all the babying you’ve done for me tonight you’re not.”

Louis smirked, “Don't get used to it, I don’t do it often.” Then Louis stood up a bit, creating space between him and the building he was just leaning on. “Besides, she probably went off with her friends or something, so I’m not worried.”

“Well, I'm just glad I wasn't ditched, so thank you,” Harry smiled as they stood there quietly.

There was an awkwardness in the air for about two seconds, while the both of them didn’t know what to say or do and just stood there. It was as if they were waiting for something, subconsciously, but on the surface, they didn’t know what to do next.

“I should probably go inside before I shiver to death, and before you need to take another smoke,” Harry reasoned out loud, scratching the back of his neck. “Night, Lou.” Harry said, accidentally throwing in a nickname, suddenly wondering what was to happen in terms of Louis’ reaction. Harry thought it would be ok since Louis called him ‘Harold,’ and at the party tonight, all the guys in the room were calling Louis ‘Lou,’ so why not?

Louis smiled a little and nodded before walking off, and he looked over his shoulder back at Harry once more before getting into the car, as if to say something, but he didn’t. Harry didn’t know why he stayed to watch Louis leave, but he did, as if he couldn’t pull himself from his spot until Louis was actually gone. Why? Harry wasn’t sure, and it freaked him out a little.

Just like it freaked Harry out that Louis wanted to walk Harry to the door, hanging around longer than usual, and of course Louis treating Harry in ways Harry never expected at the party that night; everything freaked Harry out. All of it. Louis did. Maybe in a good way, maybe in a bad way, maybe even a little bit of both, but overall, it just freaked Harry out.

And soon, Harry learned to like being freaked out, but he didn’t find that out until later.

Chapter Text

Ten in the morning on a Sunday and Harry found himself with Louis at a cafe. It was accidental; they ran into each other in line and decided to catch up, as things got busy and they both hadn’t really seen each other for a bit. Harry didn’t mind, of course, as Louis seems to become less and less annoying every time they spent time together.

Soon they started talking about Christmas and the time off, both of them looking forward to the break. During the conversation, Louis invited Harry to Jay’s New Year’s Eve party, but Harry was hesitant, as it’d be quite a drive from Cheshire to Doncaster, and Harry’s mum hoped Harry’d be home to start the new year off with his family.

Harry didn’t even want to think about going to parties, as exam season was starting, so there was no slacking off allowed. Because of that, Harry made no promises.

"Can you please come?" Louis begged, "I need someone there to keep me from going mad..."

"I don't know, Louis. It just depends, and I have loads of time until then to figure out if I can come." Harry knew it wouldn’t be smart to decide then and there, and he also knew he had to think about it.

Louis sighed and leaned back in his seat, tilted his head. “So you're going to let me suffer alone in this? I mean, my family’s great and all, but by New Year’s I know I’ll just be aching to get away from them. I can only handle so much."

"I'm sorry, Lou," Harry replied, not sure if he really was sorry.

"Well, I suppose I can give you up until the day before to give me an answer, because I would love to have one of my mates there instead of being surrounded by my mum and sisters annoying friends." Louis remarked, and Harry was going to see what he can do.

Harry understood Louis’ situation perfectly, as he too knew what it was like going to family and friend parties and events when everyone else in the world seemed to be able to show up, but his friends just couldn’t, of course.

The mood in the cafe was light, and easy, and the place was half empty, probably because no one wanted to go out in the rain, unless of course they really had to. Because of this, it was more relaxing, and less noisy, a surprise to what Harry and the cafe were used to, since this spot was rather popular.

"So, what are you doing tonight?” Louis started taking Harry away from his thoughts about the fame of the cafe, "I hope you're free by chance." Louis grinned mischievously, suddenly sounding ready to propose a trip to the moon and back.

But oh great, what did Louis want now? Was grabbing coffee not enough? It was raining and chilly out, not the best night to hit the town or anything.

"Well, I have a date with a book in my nice warm bed," Harry explained, giving Louis a shy smile.

Louis kept grinning and shook his head. "You seriously don't surprise me." he laughed. “I was thinking that maybe-" Louis cut off by a chair screeching and Zayn popping down beside Louis.

"Hey, lads," Zayn announced, taking off his leather jacket and ruffling his damp hair. "I'm surprised you both are here together, never mind alone." Zayn commented.

“Oh it was coincidental, trust me.” Harry breathed, never sounding more honest in his life, and not to mention the least enthusiastic about it.

“Hey,” Louis frowned, not liking Harry’s answer.

Harry shrugged and Zayn suddenly got busy again, pulling out his phone, but then he turned to Louis.

"What about you, Tommo? You're never up this early, even if it's for class."

Louis' eyes flicked up at Zayn, as if Zayn was thinking about this whole thing too much. "I can manage to get up early, thank you very much, and yes it may not happen every day but that does not mean it’s not possible. Today was one of those days and this is where I ended up because of it.”

"Damn, you just get so defensive about it.” Zayn noted shaking his head.

“I’m not being defensive I’m being honest.”

“Fair enough." Zayn remarked.

Soon Zayn put his phone away and thought for a minute. "Tommo, what are you doing tonight?"

"Nothing, why?" Louis asked, eyeing him.

Zayn licked his lips. "Well, I gotta go get N a two month anniversary gift for next week and I won’t be able to get it later. Do you wanna come with me?”

"You gotta be shitting me, you're going to waste your time and money on a gift because you've been with him for two months…?”

“Uhh, yeah, you just think it’s stupid because you can’t even last in a relationship for two weeks, or even two days.” Zayn crossed his arms and Harry didn’t know (and certainly didn’t want to know) where this was going.

“I can so last in a relationship longer than two weeks, and even if I was in one and in your shoes I’d still think it’s stupid.”

“It’s not the amount of time,” Zayn began in a remarkably calm voice, “it’s the principle. If the fact that it’s only been two months freaks you out, then fine, think of it as five fucking years or something.”

“I just hope he’s getting you something.” Louis huffed, maybe sounding a little bit...jealous? To the fact that no one was buying Louis anything? Yeah, hooking up was great, but it seriously lacked fruit baskets and gift cards.

“Of course, I highly doubt he wouldn’t, and as far as you going with me tonight my invitation still stands.”

Louis thought for a moment, pondering his options. As much as he might not have wanted to go at first, he knew that Niall and Zayn spent almost every minute together, and this was the one chance where Louis could do something with Zayn and not also Niall. Not that Louis didn’t like Niall, no, of course he liked Niall, but Louis had been trying to spend some time with Zayn for months, and was never able to.

"Fine, I guess I can sacrifice my time to go shopping with you. Just please don't spend hours in one store looking for the perfect outfit you’d only wear once and not even for an hour? It’s so brutal.”

After a quick laugh, Zayn agreed, and the two of them talked the details for that night.

As they spent more time in the cafe, Harry found out that Zayn was taking Niall out the next night for a fancy dinner, going to a movie, and then spending the rest of the evening in Zayn's dorm. After hearing all that, Harry was not surprised, as Niall was getting rather spoiled with all the fancy dates, and he rarely spent any nights in his own dorm. Lucky bastard, it would be dishonest of Harry to say he wasn’t jealous of Niall at all..

Eventually, Zayn stole Louis away from Harry and headed out. Harry was ok with that, as Harry was planning on heading back to his dorm and taking a nap, or studying a bit, either one sounded good to him, and as Harry had no intention to stay out in that rainy cold day any longer.

After Louis and Zayn left, Harry quickly finished up his coffee and tossed it in the bin. He started walking away from his table, but then something told him to turn back. Sitting right on the chair Louis was sitting at was Louis’ wallet, and Harry knew this because he’d seen it when Louis paid for coffee the day they picked out their Halloween costumes and then also saw it on Halloween on Louis’ desk. Harry was thankful he saw it and not someone else, as that’d be ten times worse than Harry ending up finding it, as it made Harry risk spending his day in his dorm relaxing or studying, and if not that day, then it’d certainly mess up Harry’s routine for the next day too.

Harry hoped Zayn and Louis didn’t leave yet, but once he stepped outside, they were nowhere to be seen.

Harry sent Louis a quick text, just asking him where he was so that Harry could explain everything methodically and tell Louis the situation calmly, but he didn’t get an immediate response.

By the time Harry got back to his dorm and despite his efforts to stay dry in the persistent rain, Harry was soaked. He put his hair up in a bun and checked his phone, again. Nothing. This was surprising as Louis wasn’t one to take long to respond to texts, but Harry knew there was always a first for everything.

In the meantime, Harry decided to go over his notes from class the day before, spending about an hour working on that before taking a break. The fact that Louis hadn't replied to his texts was kinda driving Harry crazy, as Louis didn’t really know what to do. The idea of going to Louis’ dorm and dropping it off (if Louis was there) was tempting, as it would allow Harry to stop thinking about Louis’ damn wallet.

If Louis didn’t think Harry was a good friend before, he better think Harry was pretty great now.

It didn’t take Harry long to get to Louis’ building, and lucky the rain stopped, but waiting for the bus took ages. Harry saw Louis’ car parked in the lot, so that was a good sign.

Harry went inside, but as he was walking through the halls and up stairs, he kind of forgot Louis’ number, and tried to see if there were any hints of it’s location from the last time he came with Louis.

But Harry’s had better luck elsewhere and he ended up just drawing blanks, soon at a dead end. He checked his phone again, to see if Louis had replied while Harry was pacing round. Nothing.

Harry was not happy; he’d spent too much time trying to find Louis’ room and looking like an idiot while doing so.

Just because he had nothing better to do and was too determined to leave just yet, Harry started walking down a corridor again, one that looked particularly familiar, as maybe this was where Louis’ room was.

Eventually, Harry found a door that looked promising, granted that they all looked the same. Despite this, Harry was pretty sure this was Louis’ room, and just as he was about to knock, he heard h a faint singing voice coming from the other side.

If that was who Harry thought it was, Louis had a breathtaking and raw sound, not bad at all, from what Harry could hear. Louis was singing a Nirvana song, and Harry looked around before pressing his ear to the door (like a fucking weirdo because he was curious).

“Come as you are,” Louis sung, and a smile formed on Harry’s lips. Louis was so talented, and Harry wished Louis wasn’t so hard on himself and critical, because he really had no reason to be so critical.

Harry eventually pulled away from the door and felt a little hesitant to knock at first. He didn’t really want to interrupt Louis, but he needed to give Louis back his wallet.

He sighed and made himself knock, hearing the soft music stop and the door in front of him promptly opening. Louis was shirtless. Louis should know that’s not allowed, but he didn’t, of fucking course.

"Harry? What are you doing here?" Louis asked, his cheeks were flushed and he rubbed the back of his neck.

"Um, you forgot your wallet." Harry said pulling his mind away from other thoughts, handing it to him, "I've been trying to get a hold of you, but you've haven't answered any of my messages."

"Oh, I didn’t know you texted. I was busy, but I didn’t mean to ignore you, love." Louis commented quickly, taking the wallet.

It fell silent between them for a second, while they both gathered their thoughts.

"Do you want to come in for a while?" Louis asked after stuffing his wallet into his pocket.

Harry shook his head, "Nah, I just came to drop off your wallet, because I think you'd probably go insane come later to find it missing." Harry laughed.

"True," Louis said with a nod. “Thank you, Harold.”

Harry sighed, still contemplating that weighing question on his mind.

After taking a minute to think, Harry asked a question that had been on Harry’s mind since he found Louis’ door. "Were you singing before I knocked?"

Louis' face turned into a grimace and his eyes grew wide, before he shook his head "You probably heard things, you know I don't sing." Louis replied firmly.

"I'm sure I heard you singing to Nirvana, Louis," Harry remarked hoping Louis would at least kind of admit to it.

Louis sighed and crossed his arms. "Again, no. I was listening to music, and maybe that's what you heard, I was definitely not singing. I think you need to get your ears checked if you’re still certain.”

Harry knew that Louis’ denial was enough to prove Harry’s assumptions about Louis singing true, because he wouldn’t get defensive if it wasn’t.

"Alright, I believe you, I guess," Harry replied. "I should get going since you have that thing with Zayn tonight."

"Ugh, don't remind me." Louis complained, "I love Zayn and all, but this monthly anniversary bull shit is ridiculous, especially since Zayn’s so picky when it comes to clothing, but really just his own, as he’s fine with other people looking like shit, as long as it’s not him.”

Harry could agree on that, from what he’s experienced from Zayn and heard about him, and Harry was glad Niall wasn’t like that.

But then Harry remembered what the conversation was before Zayn showed up. “Why did you want to know if I was free tonight?”

Louis scraped his hands through his messy hair and bit his lip. “Eh, it’s not important, not anymore at least because, clearly, it doesn’t matter,” Louis shrugged his shoulders, clearly over it.

Harry nodded and stood there for a little, staring at Louis before he decided he should probably just leave already, before Louis dubbed him as a weirdo.

“Alright, well, I’m going to head on out now, so you can get ready and stuff. See you around, yeah?”

Louis gave Harry a quick smile, before Harry turned and started walking off, hopefully in the direction of the door. Harry realized he could have asked Louis how to get out of such a confusing place, but he knew he’d just do something stupid if he had to face Louis shirtless again.

Harry was halfway back to his own dorm when he realized he had Louis' muscle definition engraved into his brain, and he didn’t even think he stared that much.

*****

It was a Friday night and Harry was at his usual spot in the middle of it all at Liam’s weekly extravaganza. Harry was in between Louis and Nick squashed on a tiny couch, and the two men besides Harry were drinking, per usual. Harry was just observing everything, pretty used to these kinds of parties by now.

Nostalgic nineties music rippled throughout the house; from No Doubt's song Underneath It All to Backstreet Boys’ well-known tune, Everybody, and Harry could finally say that Liam picked a good playlist.

Harry hadn't seen Ed recently, and he knew Niall and Zayn were off somewhere, but Harry was ok with that, getting used to Louis’ and Nick’s company.

"Man, this party blows," Louis complained, taking a sip from his drink. "It's so dull tonight. Where's the life at in here, huh? It’s snooze ville.”

It was a little less swarmed than usual, and Harry suspected it was either because of the weather (cold and gloomy) or they were finally buckling down on their studies, as things were starting to get serious. The living area was more packed than the kitchen from what Harry could tell compared to what it was when Harry first arrived earlier. Despite this, the party was still quite hopping, but not as full as it had been in the past. Harry, unlike Louis, didn’t really mind it being half empty, because Harry was sure a party like this would be jumping in just a few months as people started to come back, and then the whole scene would be ten times less enjoyable.

"No hot guys either; I haven't even seen one since I arrived, and that's just sad." Nick pouted, looking at them both. "How am I ever going to meet someone at this rate? This party is a complete joke tonight, a complete joke.”

Louis shook his head and laughed. "Don’t find a guy at a party like this, Nick, you can do so much better. I mean, you're handsome and smart, so like, why limit yourself, yeah? Also it's not the end of the world if you don't find anyone. For example, look at me. I've been single for years, and I don't give a shit if I ever find myself someone. ”

"I'm not you, though, Louis. I actually want a relationship, instead of these one night stands every once in a blue moon. It’s great that that works for you, but that's not my thought process, or my last choice if I don't find someone." Harry did understand where Nick was coming from because it made sense; Nick was tired of settling for the hooking up scene and wanted an actual relationship, a perfectly valid thing to want.

"Suit yourself," Louis remarked, taking another sip from his drink, as Louis knew he’d never be able to convince Nick to see things the way he did.

In the short moments after, Louis finished his drink and Nick’s eyes were glued onto some guy that arrived to the party not too long ago, and Harry knew Nick had good reasons to appear to intrigued. This guy was rather handsome, tall, muscular and even looked to be around Harry's age. He had a good sense of fashion with an edgy appeal, and was very well groomed. With a badass pompadour haircut, Harry could tell by the look on Nick's face that Nick was interested.

"I think I'm in love." Nick moaned in awe, his eye contact not breaking away from the guy. “He’s so, so hot, fuckin hell.”

“Go chat him then,” Louis suggested calmly.

Nick nodded. “I plan on it because I’m sure he won’t want to pass me up. Do you think he will sleep with me though?” Nick questioned, and that was a sudden change from Nick’s thinking five minutes ago.

“I thought you weren't looking for a one night stand. Maybe, maybe not.” Louis replied apathetically.

“Fuck off, Louis.” Nick snapped, “Besides, a little test run never hurt anyone, and I never said it would only be a one night deal.”

Louis' eyes flicked over to Harry as they shot him a smirk before gazing towards Nick. "Go over there and talk to him then, because you just look like a weird stalker.”

Nick snarled, “Shush it; you should be wishing me luck, not being annoying.” And before Louis could say something back, Nick was up and off the couch.

Louis snickered and rubbed his eyes. “So, he’s checked off for the night and now it looks like it's just you and me."

"I suppose so," Harry replied with a slight smile. "Even though I'm not very entertaining, especially at parties.

Louis shook his head and moved to rest his arm on the ledge behind Harry's head. "Quit talking nonsense. I happen to love your company."

Harry couldn’t tell if Louis was being serious or joking, but it didn’t matter, as Harry felt heat inching up to his cheeks and his smile grew a little.

"I need a smoke, come with me?" Louis asked, and sure enough Harry obliged.

Once outside, Louis smoked not one but two cigarettes while they chatted away and sat together on a wicker bench.

Louis stuffed his lighter and pack back into his jacket and crossed his arms. "Honestly, I'm so glad I met you," Louis remarked, looking over towards Harry.

"You are?" Harry asked, rather surprised.

"Yeah, you actually make these parties bearable when they're dead, believe it or not," Louis admitted. "Glad you gave me a second chance."

Actually, Harry was glad he gave Louis a second chance too, as they hung out more frequently than Harry expected. Often, Louis invited Harry to things like Louis’ band gigs, and despite it slightly awkward that Harry really just knew Louis and not any other members, they were fun to go to. "I think you earned it fair and square, Lou," Harry replied with a smile. "That trip to London is what sealed the deal for me. Instead of the first time I met you with your foul attitude."

Louis snickered, and if Harry's eyes were correct, the space between them seemed to be closing in.

But maybe Harry’s eyes were just playing tricks on him. Yeah, that's it.

"You intrigued me the moment I met you. I knew I wanted you to be my friend because you're sassy." Louis grinned.

Harry was not sure that word was the best way to describe himself when he's annoyed, and Louis had been in a constant state of acting impatient since the night of the beer spilling on Harry’s shirt incident. Then Louis started being a complete smart ass, but as things have been getting better, Louis had refined his behavior.

"You're a great lad, Harold, even though you can be uptight sometimes."

“Always gotta throw those comments in there, huh?” Harry asked.

Louis just grinned but didn’t say anything in response.

A moment later it fell silent between them, and Harry looked over to see there were only a few inches between them.

Did Louis move closer again?

In reality, Harry just needed to stop overanalyzing things because his mind was thinking too much. Harry didn’t want a relationship with Louis and Louis didn’t even want a relationship, with anyone, so nothing was going to happen between them, especially with Louis’ mindset like that.

Just then, a cold breeze went through the air and Harry shivered a little. He realized he should have brought a jacket, but at the time he thought a jumper would be sufficient enough. Harry didn't want to get hot and have to worry about carrying it or it getting ruined, plus, Harry didn’t plan on spending that much time outside.

Louis must have noticed Harry’s reaction (as small as it might have been) because he stepped up. "Here," Louis said as he took off his own jacket and handed it to Harry, exposing his biceps which should have not been out in that freezing air like that.

Harry frowned, "You can't be serious, Lou. It's cold out here, and you're willing to let me wear your jacket. You're wearing a tank top, and you would much rather freeze? Are you insane?"

Louis smiled, showing no signs that he himself was cold. "I'm all right, Harold. I can handle it, but you're obviously cold. What kind of gentleman would I be to not offer you my jacket?" What Harry doesn’t understand is why Louis would even do something like this? Wouldn’t the better solution just be for the both of them to head inside?

"But-" Harry tried protesting, but Louis shook his head and brought his finger to Harry’s lips unexpectedly, pressing his index finger against them and Harry felt little shock from the sudden contact.

"No buts, you can wear if you want," Louis explained quietly. “Plus, it's not like I've haven't worn a jacket in this weather before."

Harry thought for a moment, and soon Louis removed his finger. When he did, Harry swallowed and looked down at the jacket, not sure if he really should accept it or reject, it because he didn’t want Louis to be cold no matter how many times Louis says it’s ok.

A moment later Harry pushed the coat away. “I can’t do that to you, Lou. I’d feel too guilty.” Which was true. Now, maybe if Louis was wearing a bit more or something things could have been different, but he wasn’t, so no, Harry would not take Louis up on his offer.

“Well, if you change your mind, the option is still here,” Louis replied with a slight sigh, as if maybe he wanted Harry to wear his jacket for some strange reason. Regardless, Louis slipped the jacket back on.

As the night continued, Harry found himself upstairs with Louis and this time joined with Ed. Harry assumed that Nick either took off with that guy or left, because Nick was no where.
Louis and Ed were passing a joint back forth between one another sitting on the bed in a messy vacant room with spare mismatching furniture that seemed too big for just the three of them to be occupying. Harry was slouched down in the chair across the room with his legs crossed, doing his best to ignore the pungent stench and hoping he doesn't reek of it come morning.

“What are your plans after this, Louis?” Ed asked as he took a hit before he passed it back to Louis.

Harry saw Louis’ eyes flick over towards him before replying. “I don’t know, might go for a drive. This parties doing a shit job of getting me exhausted.

“What about you Harry?” Ed inquired, now looking at Harry.

Harry shrugged, and responded in a dull voice, “Might just go to bed since I should start preparing for exams tomorrow.”

“Harold, you have time to cram all that knowledge into that pretty head of yours, live a little tonight.” Harry didn’t ask for advice and yet Louis was still trying to get Harry to step out of his comfort zone even more. “The night's still young.”

Yes. Fine. The night was still young to Louis, who thought the night was young even at midnight, when, technically, the night was over at that point, but whatever.

“And what am I going to do instead of sleeping? Hmm? Because sleep sounds pretty good to me right now.” Harry questioned, leaning forward and crossing his arms over his stomach, staring at Louis curiously.

“Come hang out with me and binge watch some movies on my laptop.” Louis proposed that idea without even blinking, as if he’d just been waiting to do that with someone.

Harry reached his limit with people for the night and totally would have preferred spending the rest of the ‘young’ night by himself to clear his head a bit. Plus, what would Ed think if Harry said yes? Or at least, said yes too quickly and appeared too excited? “I don’t know,” Harry replied, gnawing on his lip conflicted.

“Oh come on, H. You know you want to.” Ed teased with a grin, and Harry didn’t appreciate that at all.

Louis kept trying, stubborn and determined little shit. “What if I have food there? Come on, it’ll be ten times better than this party, I swear, with better food.” Louis just grinned as he stared back at Harry before he moved to sit up, “I’ll have snacks and drinks if that makes it more appealing.” Louis mentioned,

“Shit Lou, why didn’t you ever invite me to one of these things? Can I go if Harry says no?” Ed asked, slightly joking while also totally serious.

“No,” Louis replied firmly, “and actually, I tried inviting you to one of these things before and you bailed last minute, so, no, sorry.”

While Ed pouted and finished up the blunt, Louis tried again to convince Harry to come along. “Please?” Louis begged, not sure what else could entice Harry.

Harry sighed, thinking it over for a moment, trying to ignore Ed’s stupid gaze while he weighed his options.

“Fine, I guess I’ll go, but only one movie.” Harry compromised, and Louis nodded.

“Well, you both better behave then.” Ed jested as he got to his feet, “And I never wanted to join you anyway, I’m going to see my dad tomorrow bright and early.”

“Tell John I said hi,” Harry offered, and Ed said he would.

Soon Ed left the room, leaving Harry and Louis.Harry observed Louis as he got to his feet and stretched a bit, the hem of his top rising and showing a peak of his stomach. Not that Harry was looking, or anything, he totally wasn’t...like, at all.

“Do you wanna go now, I mean, since we’re not doing anything else and this party's been lousy.” Louis proposed, shoving his hands into his pockets.

Harry, still sitting, gazed up at Louis and nodded, “Are you alright to drive, though? Like, you've smoked quite a bit tonight. Not to mention drinks.”

“Harold, you worry way too much.” Louis expressed sounding bored, “I’m fine, unless you want to drive.”

Harry did have his license, of course, and he might not have his own car, but he knew how to work one.

“You can’t be serious.” Harry stated, getting to his feet.

“Oh I am, I trust you enough.” Louis reasoned as he pulled out his keys and held them out to Harry. “Go on; you can drive since you’re so worried.”

Harry hesitated for a moment before he took them from Louis’ hand, surprised Louis even offered it up so easily, as Louis was apparently done being stubborn for the night.
As soon as Harry grabbed the keys, Louis wrapped his arm around Harry’s shoulder and led him out of the room into the mess of people, dragging him along. It looked ridiculous, because of the height difference, and Harry hoped everyone there was smashed enough not to notice them leave together, and like that.

Once outside, they located Louis’ car and got in, and before Harry even started the car, Louis already had a cigarette in his lips. Harry didn’t say anything as he started the car and starting driving down the empty streets.

The drive took a while, but eventually they reached Louis’ building and Harry parked the car, allowing the both of them to stumble out and head inside.

Once inside, Harry took a seat on Louis’ unmade bed while Louis tossed off his jacket and pulled his laptop off his desk.

Were they going to watch a film on that thing?

The screen was at least thirteen inches, was Louis insane?

“What movie sounds good, huh?” Louis sat down at his desk and turned on his laptop. Harry remained where he was sitting, watching Louis unplug his laptop from its charger and tried thinking of a movie.

“Come on, throw some movies out there, Harold,” Louis continued, looking over at Harry.

“Uh,” Harry was still thinking, as it was too late for his mind to be working.

“Chop, chop, love,” Louis commented with a slight smile.

Harry swallowed, and replied, “Surprise me.”

Louis nodded and turned away. Harry ran his fingers through his hair and looked at Louis’ alarm clock, not happy with what he was seeing, two in the bloody morning. Harry was still not a fan of late nights and didn’t know why he even agreed to all of this in the first place, as he knew that the next day would be nothing but a rough one.

“I hope you don’t mind a classic Disney film,” Louis said, and of course, why would Harry mind?.

Louis then stood up, placing his laptop back down onto the desk and just casually slipped off his top like it was no big deal. Harry, who was watching him right up until Louis took off his shirt, looked away, as he knew it was not appropriate to start staring, especially since he was feeling brain dead.
“Do you want to change into more comfortable clothes?” Louis asked, and Harry hesitantly looked back up. When Harry looked away, Louis put on a dark hoodie and zipped it up, but only halfway, leaving some of his tattoos and smooth hairless chest on display, like almost on purpose.

“I didn’t bring anything,” Harry mentioned, looking at Louis confused.

Louis smiled and shook his head before going into his wardrobe. “Don’t worry, I have plenty of extra stuff.”

Harry frowned, confused. “What do you mean, ‘extra stuff?’”

“Oh you know,” Louis began, now busily digging through a drawer and sitting on the floor, “Clothing you pick up here and there.”

“Like, steal?”

Louis stopped searching and turned to look at Harry. “Now Harold, I know you think I’m literally evil personified, but I would never steal stuff.” Louis turned back to the drawer he was currently ransacking. “Some of its clothing from parties that’s no one's claimed a day later to ‘oh I found this is my door like a week after I hooked up with some guy but he didn’t come looking for it and is probably long gone by now so I guess I minus well keep it.’”

Harry was still rather weirded out. “But like, isn’t that gross, to like, keep?”

Louis didn’t look up at Harry but Harry could tell Louis rolled his eyes. “No, it’s not gross, it’s me being resourceful and not letting perfectly good clothing go to waste.”

“But like, is it dirty?”

“Yes Harry, I’m going to have you wear something I’d keep in my drawers with all of my clean clothes that’s dirty because getting able to use a washer and dryer for free in this bloody place just makes no logical sense.” Louis stood up and handed some clothing to Harry. “Now go change, before you start questioning that I actually know how to use a washer and dryer.” Louis went back to his desk and grabbed his laptop, leaving Harry to take a minute and escape to the bathroom to change.

Once alone, Harry looked over what Louis gave Harry to wear; a Nirvana band tee that was in pretty good condition except a bit of a ripped hem at the bottom and a pair of joggers that Harry knew would be too small, considering Harry’s size. Of course, Louis probably didn’t have anything better, and it didn’t really matter. No one was trying to impress anyone, right? Right. Plus, it was kind of Louis to offer, and Harry didn’t know if it was super rude of himself to be surprised every time Louis treated him with kindness; it was as if Harry couldn’t get out his initial impression of Louis and thus would always be surprised when Louis acted differently.

The shirt was a bit of a snug fit and actually the joggers fit pretty well, so Harry was glad to see that. The only slightly unfortunate thing was that the clothing had a slight smell of pot mixed with cologne, but then again, Harry should have been used to that by now, but Louis was right, the clothing was clean, because despite the smell of pot and cologne, Harry could smell lovely laundry detergent.

When Harry came back into the room he stopped short, because what in the world was Louis doing?

Louis had blankets scattered throughout the floor with pillows placed on top. There were sheets thrown about and Louis’ laptop on one of the blankets. While Harry walked back into the room, Louis was moving his desk chair by his bed headboard and grabbed one of the sheet’s corners, making what looked like to be a roof over the blankets and pillows on the floor. Then Louis added sheets to the sides to cover it up and Harry had no idea why Louis was doing all this in the first place.

“How does the fort look?” Louis asked as he threw a few more pillows on some blankets.

“Good?” Harry answered, setting his clothes on the desk. “But why did you even build one, Lou?”.

“Because why not? It's fun.”

“More like it's a waste of time, and a pain to clean up,” Harry stated as he crossed his arms.

“No, it's not,” Louis commented sounding a little defensive, “You may think it’s stupid and whatever, but you see, young Harold, I love sheet forts when I watch movies. They are not only worth it for the sake of the movie, but just make it all more special. Plus, I never asked for your help to clean it up, yeah?”

Harry didn’t really know what to say to that because it still seemed rather pointless and unimportant, but good for Louis for being so entertained and enamored about it.

“Now are you just gonna to stand there or are you gonna come in this fort with me? I didn’t put in all this effort and almost fall off that stupid desk chair while making this thing for nothing.” Louis huffed, crouching down and crawling into his fort. “Oh, and flip the light switch off before you come.”

Harry sighed, shutting off the lights and then seeing a bright glow illuminating up from the sheets. When Harry crawled in, he realized he’d have to lay next to Louis on his stomach to watch the movie. Luckily, the whole fort was padded with blankets and plenty of pillows, so it was rather comfortable.

“Come on; I don't bite. Come ‘ere.” Louis patted the spot to his left of him, as Harry initially left space in between the two.

Harry moved over a bit, closing the gap, but still left a few inches between them. Just as he did that, Louis got up and made his way out of the fort. “Gonna be right back, ‘m gonna make popcorn.”

“Why weren’t you making it now all this time?” Harry asked, not sure anymore that Louis really knew what he was doing.

“I didn’t know if we’d make it this far, or if you’d like, leave. You know, because maybe you didn’t want to stay after all.” Louis explained sounding extremely honest.

Harry felt bad for giving Louis that message, and Harry certainly didn’t mean to. “Of course I’ll stay, like you said, you didn’t do all this work to make a fort and stuff for nothing, right?”

“Right,” immediately Louis’ smile was back and Harry felt ok again. “Ok, now I’m really going to make popcorn. I’ll be back in a minute.”

Eventually, Louis came back with a large purple bowl, and the aroma of buttered popcorn was strong and wonderful. Louis managed to get back into the fort without knocking it down and put the bowl between the two of them and water bottles for the both of them.

“Alright, I got the snack I promised, you ready?”

Harry nodded, he was as ready as he’d ever be.

It was quiet until the movie began and Harry's eyes were locked on the laptop screen, just waiting to see what in the world Louis picked. When the opening credits rolled, Harry knew exactly what movie it was due to the familiarity of it, as Harry had seen it quite often as a kid.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Harry was more pleased than he was surprised, surprised since the movie choice held no relation to Louis’ demeanor, especially when they first met, but then again Louis was proving himself to be a lot more things that Harry expected, like nice, for example.

For the first half of the movie, Harry watched intently and chowed on the popcorn. Harry didn’t paying much attention to Louis next to him, who had been moving around as if he couldn’t get super comfortable and ended up lying close to Harry then either of them had initially planned. Of course, Harry didn’t mind, not really, at least, because what did he expect them to do when watching something on a screen only 13 inches? Watch it miles apart? No.

At one point, Harry reached into the popcorn bowl without looking and bumped his hand into Louis. Harry quickly removed his hand as his cheeks started to feel hot but Harry made it seem like he didn’t even flinch and kept watching. As Harry thought back on it a few moments later, Louis’ hand almost practically grabbed his in the bowl, and that was just weird, unless, Harry was just overthinking things.

Whatever really happened, Harry realized he needed to pay more attention.

Both of them just ignored that whole little thing and pretended it didn’t even happen, which was fine with Harry, of course. Nothing like that happened again.

As the movie dragged on, Harry felt his eyes start to get heavy, and naturally so, as it was probably past 3 am. Despite feeling so sleepy, Harry didn’t want to sleep, as that would be nothing short of weird, so Harry tried his best to fight. A good compromise was trying to keep them focused on the movie for as long as they could, and then letting them close for a little bit and repeating the pattern. This worked for a little bit, but then all Harry wanted to do was just drift away. When Harry rolled onto his back, Louis was already asleep, and Harry knew this because Louis was lying on his left side and softly breathing heavily. Harry knew that would have been the perfect time to sneak out and leave, but the fort was really cozy and warm and his whole body just felt heavy.

Harry then decided to take a short little nap and then leave, snoozing a bit until he could pull himself up and away to go back to his own dorm.

Harry did just that and went into a deep slumber.

When Harry woke up, the first thing he noticed was that the air was a little chilly. Slowly sitting up, Harry rubbed his eyes and reached for his phone to check the time. Louis was still asleep but now facing Harry, and from what Harry could tell, it was still dark out; a good sign. Harry decided that he’d head over to his dorm and that he’d be there by 6 am at the latest, which made him happy.

Harry had to do a double take when he actually looked at the time, however, and his eyes looked over to the window because he could have sworn it was still dark out. It was noon. Harry spent the night at Louis’ in a fort wearing clothing Louis kept from some guy and now it was noon.

What in hell was Harry thinking?

As quietly as Harry could (to not wake Louis), Harry got out of the fort and noticed thick blinds over the window, keeping out bright sunlight. The clock on Louis’ desk read noon, so Harry knew he did not have the quick little nap he’d hoped, but rather slept for more time than Harry’d ever expected.

Grabbing his clothing and making his way into the bathroom to change, Harry hoped he’d be able to leave before Louis got up, but thought that that shouldn’t be an issue, as Harry had a feeling that Louis was a deep sleeper. Harry changed rather quickly, as if to make up for the lost time and the morning he spent sleeping on the floor. Not one of Harry’s finer moments, but when Harry walked back into the room and saw Louis still sleeping, Harry didn’t regret spending the early morning hours to noon like that, as it, again, wasn’t as bad as Harry initially thought.

Once Harry slipped on his shoes, he left quietly.

*****

At seven in the morning, Harry was getting ready for a nursing practice lecture at eight, something he stayed up late the night before doing the work for, a little last minute, yes, but it was almost exam season which meant there was a tons more work to do than normal.

His mind in ten other things, Harry was in the middle of changing into a forest green flannel to go with his black trousers when his phone buzzed. Not think it’d be anyone special or important, Harry didn’t think of checking it right away, but his body started moving in the direction of his phone on the night table, as Harry knew he was nothing more than a creature of habit. Harry wasn’t sure what he felt besides a little annoyed, and surprised he was even up this early when Harry saw it was a text from Louis. What did Louis want now, and why at seven a.m.?

Not wanting to get distracted or convinced into another adventure, Harry quickly replied that he had class, and put his phone in his pocket. Harry grabbed a text book off his bed, but once he did that, his phone rang. Immediately the book fell back on his bed, and Harry, a little bit more than slightly annoyed now, took his phone out and answered it.

“What Louis?” Harry asked as he mindlessly sat down on the bed next to the textbook that was supposed to be in his bag by now.

“Skip class.”

Harry laughed, because he knew Louis was joking. Louis was joking, right? “Louis, I don’t think you’re exactly sure who you just called and suggested that to.”

Harry heard Louis scoff on the other side. “No, of course I knew who I was calling. Besides, those who’d just do it don’t need me to help them with it.”

“Well then get one of those that ‘do it,’ because it’s not a good idea.”

Harry heard a sigh on the other end, as if Louis wished he didn’t have to do this much convincing. “It is a good idea because I want to see you and well I’m bored.”

“Ask Zayn to hang out then.” Harry suggested knowing that Niall won't be with him since Harry and Niall have lecture together. It’s one of the few instances where Zayn and Niall aren’t (by the simple fact that they can’t be) together.

“I hung out with Zayn last night; I want to spend time with you.” Louis protested, “Besides, missing one class won't affect you that much. I’ve skipped a few and managed to make my way to year three.” that still didn't make it any better.

“Do you realize just how much money you’re wasting every time you skip class? A lot! And this place isn’t cheap!

“Oh please,” Louis huffed, breathing into the phone, “half the stuff you’ll learn today you’ll forget anyway, and there’s google, so like, clearly the world will not end and you will not become dead ass broke if you skip with me.”

But Harry was standing his ground. “Skipping class doesn’t do anything for either of us. What do you think you’re even supposed to do at university? Not learn? What’s the point of even being here then?”

“Harry.” Louis began sounding rather serious, “Just come over to my dorm, please? I have nothing to do all day.”

“Then take a nap or something. We can hang out later, alright?” The clock was ticking, Harry needed to get off the phone and head to his lecture, or be late, which was also not an option. “I don’t have a lot of time to keep talking, though; I have to get ready to leave in five minutes.”

Louis sighed, “Well, if you change your mind I’ll be here, being bored and lonely, wishing I had my friends here entertaining me.”

Harry rolled his eyes, fighting back the urge to tell Louis that friends were not there to only entertain and amuse people. “Boo hoo, tell me your sob story later,” Harry replied in a voice that had a slight mean hinge. “ I have to go, Louis. I’ll text you when I’m out.” Harry hung up before Louis could say anything in reply and stood up, now grabbing the dang textbook that Harry suspected started it all, since as soon as Harry picked it up he was blessed with Louis’ call and totally delightful idea. Not.

When Harry arrived at the bus stop, Niall wasn't there yet, and it worried Harry a little since he was always early for the bus (sometimes more so than Harry), despite his poor attitude about having to learn that Niall put on display pretty much all the time.

While Harry waited for Niall, Harry took his phone from his pocket and checked it, seeing that he had a text from Louis.

Louis sent Harry a selfie with a pained expression on his face, his fringe a mess, and Harry could tell he was shirtless, by multiple indications in the selfie that set up a red flag in Harry’s brain alerting Harry that he was looking way too hard and for way too long. Oops? It also didn’t help that Harry could tell that Louis was lying in bed, as Louis’ head was resting on a pillow. Louis was just acting desperate and Harry didn’t appreciate it at all.

When the bus arrived, both the selfie and Harry’s phone went away but Harry couldn’t get that damn picture out of his mind. Worried about what he’d do if he took out his phone again, Harry just sat down towards the back of the bus and looked out the window, watching others around him and trying to let all his thoughts about Louis leave his mind.

Initially, it worked, but then Harry’s mind started drifting and Harry was horrified when he realized he was rethinking this whole skipping class thing. Despite being horrified, it was not enough to keep Harry’s thoughts Louis free.

After the bus arrived and dropped Harry and a few others off, Harry walked to the building, going to make it to class right on time, just like Harry hoped and planned, and for a split second, it seemed like the right thing to do. Of course it was.

But once Harry reached the heavy double doors, a second thought dawned in his mind and a hand that once reached for one of the handles pulled back, causing what felt like time to stand still for a moment. Was Louis serious about wanting to see Harry or did he just say the most desperate thing that came to mind to help convince Harry to skip? Harry still had no idea how genuine Louis was, and couldn’t read Louis at all. Was that a good thing? Possibly, as it prevented Harry from knowing too much but also kept him totally clueless as to Louis’-

“Harry!” a voice shouted, and Harry was taken out of his thoughts and looked up, seeing Niall walk right over to him.

“Hey, Niall,” Harry replied, shoving his hands into his pockets feeling slightly unsure about everything suddenly, except for one thing.

“Ready to head in? I want to have a decent seat at least before more show up. You know how bad it is to sit in the back, it’s like you can’t hear anything!” Niall exclaimed reaching past Harry and for the door.

Harry really shouldn't do this, but what the hell.

“Actually,” Harry started with a little bit more confidence than usual, especially when it came with a bad idea. “I'm skipping today.” It was both a bad idea and three words he never expect to say in his career at university.

Niall had to do a double take, and then he started at Harry for five seconds, eyes wide and face stunned.“Harry Styles, missing class?! What brought this on? Am I dreaming?” Niall asked surprised, crossing his arms.

Harry kinda didn’t want to deal with questions (even the rhetorical ones) and knew he should have left before Niall showed up, because then he would have to explain himself to anyone, except maybe Louis, but that was...different.

When Harry said nothing, just looking back at Niall still trying to pick his words, Niall, scoffed with a stupid grin. “Oh. Nevermind. I think I know why.”

Harry sighed, scratching the back of his neck letting his eyes drift away from Niall, as Niall’s gaze was sharp and proved that Niall knew too much.

“Tell Louis I said ‘hi’,” Niall teased with a grin before vanishing inside and not giving Harry a chance to either deny spending time with Louis or agreeing that he’ll do it.

But Harry was ok with that, because what did Niall know? And besides, this didn’t mean anything. Nothing with Louis meant anything. After all, Harry knew that Louis was doing all that he could to ‘corrupt’ Harry, and other than that Louis had no other intentions or goals. Too bad Niall didn’t know Louis’ true motive.

Back at the bus stop, Harry knew it was stupid for him to come all the way to his class and then have to turn back around and leave again, but Harry realized that skipping this way felt more legit. If Harry just stayed in his dorm until he went Louis’, it might have felt like it was a weekend or that it was a day without class. In doing it this way, it was much more authentic and bad, giving Harry a boost of energy, making him slightly jumpy as he felt excited and maybe even looking forward to this day where suddenly Harry could just break the cycle and breath.

He's so fucked.

As if the whole turning around and walking away from class wasn’t daunting enough, standing outside Louis’ door was somehow more nerve wracking. To make things slightly better, Harry had himself go through a script in his mind of what’d he say to keep Louis’ questions at either a solid zero or at least a minimal few. When Harry came up with what he thought would be enough (he didn’t know how much of an explanation Louis wanted), Harry knocked on Louis’ door.

Then Harry waited. During that period of waiting Harry began thinking. What if Louis went out somewhere and or was off doing something? Louis didn’t know Harry was going to skip (unless Niall texted Louis or something, but why would Niall do that since Harry didn’t make it sound like Louis’ didn’t know. Granted, Harry didn’t formally tell Niall that he was off to Louis’, but he also didn’t deny it either), so since Louis wasn’t expecting him, Harry wasn’t sure Louis would still be in his dorm. Unless he was a sleep? No, that couldn’t be, as he didn’t sound that sleepy on the phone, and Harry, who picked this up just from spending time with him, knew that once Louis was up and awake, he was up and awake.

Before Harry could think anymore ‘what ifs,’ the door in front of him swung open, and Louis was on the other side beaming, of course. But in the span of all that time since Louis sent Harry that picture, Louis hadn't managed to locate a shirt but was indeed wearing sweats that rode a little low on his hips. It’s like Louis knew, like he just fucking knew what he was doing, while at the same being completely ignorant about it.

“Well, well, well,” Louis began slowly, his arm leaning the door frame. “Look who decided to be a little bit rebellious today.”

“It was a last minute decision,” Harry replied, fixing his book bag strap because it was feeling rather heavy but Harry knew that it looked more like a nervous tick.

“Was it my selfie or my charm?”

The sarcastic, ‘I have my guard up, so don’t try me’ Harry would have told Louis, ‘neither,’ taking some of Louis’ constant cocky behavior and trying it out for a spin, but in that instance, the whole reality of the morning and what Harry just actually did (like, no, he was indeed not dreaming) was all coming to him, so his words suddenly got consumed by the sheer ‘oh shit’ of it all that was playing out in his head. To counter everything and at this point, it happened rather subconsciously, Harry's cheeks grew a little hot, and just as he managed a response (but not his mean and sarcastic one), it promptly left his head, somehow getting forgotten in the big mess of all the million other things that were going on in his mind, so Harry was not sure what to say back.

Louis was cool calm and collected during the whole thing, just laughing at it all and shook his head. “I'm only teasing; I'm happy you showed up.”

“You were the one that told me I need to live a little, so here I am, proving to you that I can be less structure and also spontaneous.” Harry’s fingers started to slightly fiddle with the strap on his bag.

Louis smiled, “I'm impressed.”

“You should be,” Harry stated plainly, suddenly feeling very bored so far with this whole skipping class thing. He wanted to add that Louis should do his best to make this day worth missing class, but Harry never got a chance to say all that, because Louis laughed and then reached out and grabbed the strap of Harry’s bag, slightly pulling him in a bit. With wide eyes Harry had no idea what was going on, but Louis did. .

“Don't be so cocky, love. Don't let this new found rebellion get to your head.” Louis breathed, staring Harry in the eyes before abruptly letting go of the strap and stepping back a little. “Now, are you coming in or what?”

Harry nodded, following Louis inside letting the door close behind them.

Once inside Louis’ room, Harry set his bag down while Louis went back to a drawer that was partly open, starting to look through it. Louis’ back had a little definition to it, but Harry didn’t get to observe it all too long, because Louis soon pulled out a black top and pushed the drawer closed, which wasn’t really closed at all since there was clothing in the way, but Louis probably didn’t want to spend so much time arranging his drawers.

Harry, who sat down on the corner of the bed while Louis grabbed a shirt remained there alone, until Louis turned around and flopped onto it with a sigh, leaning up against the headboard and bringing his knees up to his chest so that he rest his arms. Harry just watched Louis and for a minute they were both quiet.

“You look nice today.” Louis started suddenly as he fiddled with his thumbs, “Do you always dress this nicely for class?”

Harry frowned, then subconsciously peered down at what he was wearing; casual clothing, nothing special.

“If you consider this nice then I don't even want to know what you wear to your classes.” Harry replied, moving to face Louis more (so that he didn’t have to keep turning his head) and crossed his legs to be more comfortable.”I'm just glad I didn't have to wear that uniform today, you know, the nursing one, because then I'd be stuck in them.”

“You could have gone back to your dorm and changed if you were wearing those, you know.”

“True.” Harry replied.

Louis nodded and started up again. “Well, from what I've seen you wear, this is an upgrade, so just take the compliment, Harold.”

Harry didn’t know where that one came from, because he knew he always dressed nicely and took care of his clothing.

“Thank you so much for that backhanded compliment, it was just the critique I needed,” Harry huffed sarcastically.

“You're welcome” Louis smiled, “But whatever, you have nothing to worry about, you look good all the time.”

So first Louis bashed Harry’s outfits and general looks to now saying he always looked good? What? Talk about mixed messages, and Harry was about to say something, when he realized he heard a note of sincerity that he never really ever heard before, causing him to rethink his initial reaction to what Louis just said. Soon, Harry didn’t even know what to say and between the two of them thing were quiet. Harry’s eyes drifted down and his mindlessly started to fiddle with a button on his top, not sure if Louis was still watching him (why on Earth did Louis need to observe him so much) and also not sure as to what to do and or say next.

“Harry?” Louis asked breaking the silence, and Harry looked over at Louis, meeting his eyes.

“Yeah?”

“Can you come over here for a second?” Louis asked and of course, Harry nodded, because, like, what was Harry going to say? No? That word seemed to be forgotten in Louis’ presence. Moving rather awkwardly, because Harry didn’t exactly know what Louis had in mind, moving over was slow. But just as soon as Harry got there, Harry knew he shouldn’t have agreed.

Just as Harry got two feet or so away from Louis, Louis lunged forward and tackled Harry down; that little shit started tickling Harry, and how did Louis even know Harry was ticklish on his sides and his side's only? It seemed as if Louis had been getting inside information about Harry from someone and Harry was not ok with that. Harry was even less ok with what was going on, as it caused him to thrash about and laugh, while Louis was laughing out of the sheer sensation of it all.

Louis laughed as he tickled along his side and even tried tickling his neck too but Harry caught that one before it started. Louis was between Harry's legs just ticking away as he laughed along with Harry.

“Louis, I can't.” Harry managed in between laughs, “I'm going to wee.” Harry announced laughing even harder.

At first, Louis didn’t react to Harry’s words, but a moment later Louis finally pulled away and sat on his knees looking down at Harry with a grin while Harry just laid there for a second before propping himself on his elbows breathing heavy.

Louis was so weird, but kind of in a good way. Kind of.

“That’s honestly my favorite ways to break the ice. Now that the energy is in the room, how about we order some brunch, yeah?” Louis asked his eyes flicking over towards the clock. “How does pizza sound?”

Pizza sounded delightful.

A little later, they were in the kitchenette sitting with their pizza. Harry was satisfied with two slices, but Louis practically ate half of it, which stunned Harry (that Louis could eat that much). Despite having a morning empty of classes, they were rather daunting and filled Harry’s thoughts.

“So, are you nervous about exams coming up?” Louis asked conversationally speaking.

Harry sighed and sat down his half-eaten piece of pizza on his plate. “Yeah, I just hope this day doesn't fuck me over,” Harry commented.

“You'll be alright, babe,” Louis said mindlessly. “You're intelligent and I have no doubts you'll pass. This day won’t affect you that bad.”

Harry knew he was smart and could get good markings, it was just that university was much harder, nail biting inducing and more stressful; deep down a small part of Harry knew he should have skipped.

“Don’t worry about it; you have a few more weeks anyways.” Louis replied, but that did nothing to make Harry feel better about anything.

They finished eating in silence and soon ended up back in Louis’ dorm, holding small talk for a while. Then Louis started telling Harry about how Jay’s been asking Louis on and on about the status of his romantic relationships and if he’d found someone yet. Louis told Harry that his mum doesn’t understand very well how he been staying out of formal relationships and preferring it. Of course, Jay didn’t know that Louis was hooking up and the loads of silly rumors fueled by his friends.

When it came to the rumors, Louis said they weren’t very true and he didn’t appreciate them. As much as it’d seemed like these rumors were true, Louis had only slept with a couple of people ever since he quit dating and was clean. Edith was still hanging around because she liked Louis, but Louis admitted that he was getting bored of her and she was also seeing other guys. After telling Harry that, Louis mentioned that he’d been thinking of no longer sleeping with Edith, telling her he no longer wanted to hook up with her.

“Is there someone else you want to take her place?” Harry asked curiously as they sat somewhat next to each other on Louis’ bed.
Louis shrugged and looked at Harry, staring him in his eyes. “Yeah, but it's complicated,” Louis sighed, and Harry felt a pulling sensation in his stomach. “I don't want to sleep with him; that's the thing.” Louis added in a very honest voice.

“Then what do you want?” Harry crossed his arms and his eyes suddenly flicked around the room as he watched dim sunlight stream in through the blinds.

Louis shook his head with his response and looked away from Harry, whose own eyes were still drifting around Louis’ room. “I honestly don't know.”

Neither of them said anything for a little bit, but that was ok. There was an easiness to everything, even when talking about something like this. Plus, Harry himself was thinking, finding it very interesting what Louis had been saying. Harry assumed Louis had in mind the list of the top five people he’d plan on hooking up with when he’d had enough of who he was currently somewhat seeing. When Louis told Harry that there was someone, but not to hook up with, it cause Harry to think that maybe Louis was getting bored of it. Of course, Harry knew Louis would probably never say such a thing out loud because it’d hurt Louis’ pride. But it wasn’t Harry’s place to bash Louis’ pridefulness, as Harry knew he’d be rather hypocritical about it, as he was a creature with pride too. So Harry decided to not even bother and to certainly not pry.

“What about you?” Louis asked suddenly, breaking the silence. “I'm sure you have at least found a guy worth drooling over.”

All Harry could do was shake his head. Anything else and he’d have to start lying, more than he’d like to.

“Come on, you have to have found someone hot at least since you've been here, or at least, slightly attractive.” Louis continued, then pausing. But when Harry stayed quiet, Louis started up again. “Listen, I know you say no to dating, and that’s where I’ve been for the past few months too, but really, be honest. It’s ok.”

Harry sighed and finally replied. “I don't know, Lou. I guess I haven't been looking at other guys that well. I've been so wrapped up in studies and hanging with friends more than anything.” Harry admitted explained and none of that was incredibly false.

Louis smiled, and Harry felt an arm go around his shoulder. “You never seize to amaze me,” Louis stated. “You have a good mindset, and I admire that, even if you did skip today. Granted, it’s technically my fault, but you would have done it soon enough anyway.” Louis teased, suddenly pulling his arm away.

Harry grinned and shrugged, because yeah, maybe one of these days he would have.

Louis sat up from leaning against some pillows and turned to face Harry. “How about we go for a walk? I don’t think I can be cooped up in this room all day for much longer. Plus, I need a smoke, before my head explodes.” Standing up, Louis took a few steps towards the door. “You coming?”

Of course Harry would go along, a walk didn’t sound that bad.

Chapter Text

With holiday break coming up in a week and exams shortly following, Harry had been mildly in a constant state of stress over the past few days. Harry hated the fact that exams were the week right after break, meaning that he’d have to spend time studying while making sure he spent enough time with his family, not just being able to take a proper break. Sure, there would be those kids that just didn’t spend anytime on holiday studying and then those that’d wait until the Sunday night before, but Harry wasn’t like those kids and knew how much exams meant. Just because Harry skipped class (all because of a damn selfie from Louis) didn’t mean Harry was planning on slacking off.

Academics before guys; always.

Speaking of Louis, Louis may have sent at least two texts to Harry asking if he was busy. Harry, knowing that no matter what answer he’d give Louis, would get himself persuaded to go on some sort of adventure with Louis because Louis was just that damn persistent and stubborn. In order to avoid this, Harry simply wasn’t replying to Louis, as things were easier this way. On the other hand, Niall was texting Harry incessantly because he still didn’t know what to get Zayn for Christmas and all the answers Harry and everyone else had been giving Niall were not good ones, apparently, so Niall still hadn't let up about that one. Ed had been also texting Harry over the past week trying to get him to come along to the pub again, but Harry was too busy to even get in a good more than three word reply. Harry felt a little bad because he was blowing all of them off to some extent, but the one thing he did do was promise them he’d catch up with them once everything academic died down a little bit.

“God, my heads killing me.” Harry muttered to himself as he looked up at the screen of his laptop. He’d been doing some bookwork on pain management while also making a makeshift study guide to work off of over the holiday, all on a Friday night, a Friday night where he would have normally been at Liam’s party, but with so much to do he simply couldn’t make it. Actually, for the rest of the term, Harry promised himself no more parties, and so far, one week into this new no partying lifestyle, Harry was doing well.

Just as Harry was about to close his laptop and take a five minute break, he got a text, and the screen read ‘Louis,’ causing Harry to remember all of Louis’ other messages he sent that Harry ignored. Harry had been so good about it, exercising plenty of self control to not check them and so he was proud of himself. Harry wasn’t going to ignore Louis and his messages forever, just while he was studying, but it seemed like Louis texted Harry more when Harry was actually trying to get something done, which made things even more annoying. When Harry was trying to study, Louis was nothing more than a distraction, one that Harry didn’t need, because he had things to worry about and plenty of other people bothering him too.

But anyway, things were clearly different when it came to Louis, and unfortunately so. Harry spent time trying to shrug off any feelings that could lead to trouble when it came to Louis, and Harry didn’t even know how it all started, and certainly didn’t find his feelings fair. Harry didn’t want and he surely didn’t need to be feeling crushy kinds of feelings towards Louis, and didn’t know whose fault it was. Sure, Louis was nothing short of good looking, but Harry had seen plenty of other good looking guys before with nothing happening, so why was Louis different? Maybe it was Louis’ personality. That could be it, because Louis’ spontaneous ideas were new and even delightful sometimes.

Whatever the cause actually was, Harry came to the conclusion of his feelings (realizing what he was feeling for Louis) a few days ago while chilling in bed after studying for several hours. Harry was reading over some texts he’d received that morning but didn’t read, and of course also not reply to, and when he came to Louis’, all Harry wanted to do was respond, but he told himself not to. The reason why he didn’t let himself was because he didn’t want to start behaving in ways that would hint to anyone (and in this case, Louis) that he was starting to feel something.

But understanding his feelings was confusing. The two of them got on well, and Louis was unlike anyone else that Harry’s ever known, and maybe sometimes Harry thought that these feelings of admiration were mutual, but Louis was always rather hard to read.

Harry was out of Louis’ league by a long shot; Louis was like a typical bad boy, doing what he liked when he liked and saying anything and everything he wanted. Louis could care less about relationships and didn’t seem to value his education at all, and all that was refraining from mentioning all the drug and alcohol stuff. But aside from all that, Louis was pleasant to look at and be around and there was never a dull moment. Harry knew that Louis wanted nothing to do with Harry more than them being ‘just friends,’ as Harry was nothing like the type that Louis actually like. Granted, Harry wasn’t very sure what Louis’ likes and dislikes were when it came to people Louis wanted to be more than friends with, but if Harry had to guess, he and everything about himself was a dislike, for sure. Harry was focused, had goals and was at university to learn. Harry didn’t drink or do drugs, got good grades and totally preferred relationship over hooking up, and Harry knew that all that probably annoyed Louis to high heavens. Maybe because Louis was jealous deep down, or maybe Louis didn’t even care. Regardless, Harry could count himself out for being one of those people that Louis liked. Period.

So, since Harry realized all of this, Harry had been trying to do everything he could to destroy his crush on Louis because it was stupid and pointless, and Harry knew that everyone has tiny little crushes on their friends, so it’s no big deal and will all blow over soon enough.

A moment later, his phone rattled once again as Louis sent him yet another text. Using the same batch of self control he used earlier, Harry started convincing himself not to check it, as he was not done studying and knew he had more important things to be doing that didn’t include texting Louis, at least for the rest of the night.

But, Harry’s self discipline took a dip when he found himself reaching over for his phone and realized he was quite curious as to what Louis was texting him about. Harry realized everything would still be ok if he just read his messages, as he could just read them and not reply. In reading them, Harry could find out what the deal was with Louis and yet still keep himself from getting into another adventure.

Right when he picked up his phone it started ringing, and Harry realized the biggest mistake was that he didn’t just turn the damn thing off, because of course Louis would call him, as Louis wasn’t scared of looking desperate.

Just as Harry was about to say ‘hello?’ and try his hardest not to sound too excited about Louis calling him, Louis decided to start, being the little shit that he was. “Harry Edward Styles, put the damn pens and bookwork down; I’m coming to pick you up.” Louis sounded like Harry’s own mum, and Harry knew he didn’t need another one of those ordering him around, despite the fact that he did indeed love his mum.

“And what if I protest to that?” Harry asked trying to compress a smile as he moved to take a seat on his bed.

“Don't underestimate me, I’m quite strong.”

Harry shook his head, “But I'm taller than you, so-”

“Hey, just because I happen to be slightly shorter than you doesn't mean I’m not stronger.” Louis huffed.

“Whatever you say, Lou.” Harry sighed, knowing there was no point in trying to argue with him, “Oh and by the way why exactly are you swinging by to picking me up?” At first, Harry didn’t want to ask, because getting Louis distracted and off topic enough would prevent him from remembering and allow Harry to continue studying and get out of doing whatever with Louis, which was the best choice if Harry really cared about his education. But on the other hand, Harry was curious, because what would Louis want Harry to do this time, and what means of persuasion would Louis try this time?

Louis gave Harry no answer at first, and there was silence of the line. Harry’s eyes flicked over to the clock, which read a little after nine pm. Harry was surprised that Louis wasn’t at Liam’s party, and Harry knew this by the fact that he couldn’t hear anything else but Louis (and silence) on the other end, and that Louis didn’t sound high or even like he had a few drinks yet.

“I’m taking you out to dinner.” Louis finally answered casually.

“Seriously? Why aren’t you at Liam’s party?”

“‘S boring.”

“Yeah, but isn’t like going out for dinner even more boring? I’m pretty sure you can’t get high when you go out to eat.”

Louis huffed, and when he started speaking again, he suddenly sounded very flustered. “Do you have to fight everything I want to do with you, huh? I mean, come on, it’s a Friday night, you shouldn’t be wasting away studying of all things.”

“But Louis, you don’t have to, like, why would you want to? And besides, I don’t have the money right now for.”

“It’s on me and I just want to. It’d be a nice change from our party schedule, especially since you’re not even at Liam’s tonight and if you want a reason, well, I miss your face.” Harry marveled at Louis’ ability to say totally non casual things casually and so calmly too, as if it was all no big deal. Harry knew he could never say something like while sounding like he was just discussing the weather.

Harry kind of didn’t know what to say and he was sort of speechless because he didn't really know what was going on but at the same time maybe it was better that way. Harry tried to think of things to say back but couldn’t think of a response he liked so he was just quiet, despite how much he didn’t want to be.

“Anyway,” Louis cleared his throat, starting up again. “I’ll be over in thirty minutes or so.” Then Louis abruptly hung up, and Harry was still at a loss for what to say in response to all this, as he didn’t even know what he was getting himself into once again. Why did Harry do this to himself? Good question; it seemed as if no matter how hard Harry tried his days somehow featured Louis pulling him away from the things Harry should have been actually doing, and no matter what Harry did to stop it from happening, Louis always somehow managed to succeed.

Nice going, Harry.

But it was too late now to fight it, so Harry decided to clean himself up a bit and changed into a casual button up. His hair was put into a bun and of course he donned just the right amount of cologne to finishing things up, taking a good last look in the mirror before checking his phone again, which had been surprisingly quiet, for once, as there was no new texts from anyone.

Since Harry still had some time before Louis was set to arrive, he slumped down into his desk chair but was still careful not to wrinkle his shirt. Harry couldn’t help but start to wonder if Louis was actually serious or not about this whole dinner thing, or if it was all just a joke, but Louis never gave up the chance to pull Harry away from his books, so why would Louis have given up the perfect chance to do that again?

Time slowly passed by and Harry didn’t know why he wasn’t studying while waiting for Louis, but then decided that this was all just a part of his break and that he’d been working so hard and it was a Friday night, after all, so he deserved to just do nothing, for once. Then suddenly, in bounded Louis wearing a dark green denim jacket with a white tank under it and skinny black trousers with subtle stubble and soft messy fringe, but Harry just couldn’t believe Louis didn’t knock and just waltzed right in. Of course, that was also partly Harry’s fault because Harry didn’t lock his damn door, but even with it unlocked it was still customary to knock and rather rude to not knock. Harry was about to say something about it when he noticed that Louis had an ice coffee in his hand with Harry’s name on it.

“Guess who is the best mate in the whole wide world?” Louis beamed as he handed Harry his coffee. “Me.”

“Coffee? But you said dinner, and why would we-”

Louis rolled his eyes, “my, are we not thankful for people showing kindness, huh?”

“Sorry,” Harry replied, upset he didn’t realize what he was really saying and just how he was saying it.

Louis shook his head. “Don’t worry, I know you really meant to say thanks.”

“Yes,” Harry cleared his throat. “That’s right, yeah. I can’t believe you remembered what I order.”

‘It's quite simple, really; vanilla iced coffee. I figured you’d need it with all this studying and stuff you've been doing, even if exams aren't until January.”

“Well thank you, and I like to be prepared is all, unlike you.” Harry smirked before taking a sip of his coffee and getting to his feet. “So, where exactly are we going to eat since it’s now almost ten?”

“You’ll see.” Louis nodded for them to leave not saying anything more, and Harry couldn't believe he was actually agreeing to this. Harry had one last chance to change his mind but found himself following Louis, after he locked and shut his door. Harry would just have to go along with it and do the rest of his studying later.

Louis drove around for bit until they stopped outside some café that looked more like a bar than anything else.
“We’re eating here?” Harry asked frowning.

“Yeah, it’s the only place open this late around here, and I also want a beer, now, are you coming or not?” Harry bit his lip and nodded, following Louis out of the car and heading inside to the pub.

Harry was glad to see the pub wasn’t very busy and noisy and they were lucky enough to get a table towards the back.

“Now, what sounds good?” Louis began, looking over the menu he was holding. “You can get anything you want because I’m getting the bill.” Louis added.

Harry nodded as he tried to find something that appealed to him. The chicken burger sounded okay, and the fish and chips sound decent, but he just couldn’t choose which one sounded delicious enough to have for free. But soon neither of those choices seemed rather exciting, so he went with the veggie fish and chips, because not only was it healthy, but slightly cheaper than pretty much everything else to eat, and he did want to be conscious of that even though he wasn’t paying.

After the orders were placed, Harry couldn’t help but think about all of the reasons why he fucked up that night. For starters, he should have been locked in his dorm studying, but he wasn’t doing that, for sure. Then, Harry was out with Louis, and Harry knew Louis would do everything in his power to pull Harry away from his school work even more. Harry also didn’t like the fact that Louis always got his way and was always able to drag Harry away whenever he wanted to.

“So,” Louis began pulling Harry from his thoughts, “as you know, my birthday is coming up, and I think coming to my mum's party will be like your gift to me.”Louis took a sip of his beer.

“You never exactly told me when your birthday actually is, Lou, and secondly, I don’t know yet if I can come.” Harry replied honestly, not so sure that his mum would allow him to go. At home, it would only be the three of them since Harry hasn’t seen his dad since he was ten and his mum hasn’t had any luck dating. The other person there would be his sister, and they never saw each other that much since they were both so busy. Even if Harry did get the okay from his mum, he would still feel terribly guilty.

Louis smirked and said, “I’ll be turning twenty-two on Christmas Eve. When’s your birthday?”

“February first… and I’ll be... twenty.” Harry mentioned, “So, you were right when you guessed I was nineteen.”

“I’m always, right aren’t I?” Louis replied with a smile.

“You need to watch that ego of yours before it explodes, just saying.” Harry shook his head and took a sip of his water.

When they food arrived they were both too busy to keep any conversation going. Harry had to be careful though, as he tried his best to ignore Louis’ eyes practically gazing at him every time Harry looked up and dared to take a peek at Louis.

Harry was pleased with his order, despite it being pub food, but it was better than dining hall food at the university so Harry was happy. Plus, Louis was intrigued with Harry’s apparent liking of it, which was rather entertaining to Harry.

“I take it you love your meatless abomination.” Louis jabbed and bit into his half gone burger. “I can’t believe you’re eating that rubbish.” Louis made a fake gagging noise after he swallowed down his food.

Harry took a bite of a chip and just smiled. “It doesn't taste that bad, tastes pretty good, to be honest.” Harry admitted with a shrug. “Besides, it’s healthy. Show some respect, Lou,” Harry retorted playfully, smiling.

“Not that bad? Are you insane?” Louis questioned devoid, wrinkling his nose. “I’m sorry, but your meal is rubbish, and I can’t accept that you’re enjoying it.” Despite Louis being totally rude and acting like a spoiled brat, the look on Louis’ face was just priceless. Louis had a pained expression and Harry wanted to laugh because he was so overreacting.

“Either way, I’m right, and you’re just totally freaking out about it. Maybe if you’d try a piece you might like it.”

Louis jerked his head back, dropping what was left of his burger, and cringed. “You’d have to pay me all the money in England to have me try that monstrosity you call food.”

“Oh come on, you always tell me to try new things, now it's your turn.” Harry replied, with a smirk and he pushed his plate towards Louis with his last fish strip and little of what he had left of his veggie chips. Louis just pushed it back to Harry and shook his head.

“So you’re scared to try my vegetarian dish, I’m surprised,” Harry mentioned, letting out a bark of laughter. “Bad boy, the almighty tough Louis, scared of a healthy dish consisting of fish and veggies.” Harry teased, leaning back in his spot, smiling.

“Personal preference.” Louis huffed.

“Oh come on, have you ever heard of omega-3s? What about some fiber? You’re acting as if this stuff could kill you.”

“I’m already eating meat, you know, protein and stuff. Isn’t that good enough, mum?” Louis countered.

Harry shook his head. “Not unless it’s grass fed beef. But even still eating a lot of red meat can increase the amounts of bad cholesterol in the body.”

“Shit, you’re such a buzz kill.” Louis replied pushing his own plate slightly away from himself and looking down at the dregs of food.

“Me?” Harry stammered, stunned. “You were the one that started this whole thing being super rude about my dinner, you are the ultimate buzz kill. I just wanted you to try a bit but no. You’re just like a little kid.” Harry laughed, “You’ll do almost any drug put under your nose and yet won’t try a bite of fish.”

Louis looked as if he was thinking for a minute, eyes looking at Harry’s plate, “Are you challenging me?”

“Maybe, maybe not.” Harry answered with a shrug, biting back his smile.

Louis sighed and flicked his eyes to Harry. “If I take a bite, do I get something in return for trying that nastiness?”

Harry sat there thinking for a moment trying to figure out what Louis would want most in return. Harry knew Louis was one to make big deals that involved tattoos and stuff, and Harry didn’t want anything like that, which gave Louis an even better reason to make a deal with it when doing something of this sort with Harry.

“If you take a bite in the next sixty seconds I will try to persuade my mum to let me go to yours over the holiday,” Harry began slowly. “If you don’t try it, then you owe me an another iced coffee. Now, are you going to be that big arrogant guy I met at a party or are you really just a coward?”

“I am not a coward,” Louis answered, evasively, staring as the food was getting cold as time went by.

“Louis you're time is ticking, you probably should quit stalling and get it over with.” Harry commented as he then saw Louis picking up the fish and sniffing it. He's so weird.

A few seconds later when there were about seven seconds left Louis took a bite. He was Making a sour face as grabbed a napkin he spits out into it.

“That's fucking gross.” Louis hissed before chugged down some of his beer.

“You're being over dramatic,” Harry sighed, crossing his arms. “It's not that bad; it's probably all in your head.”

Louis shook his head as he took another sip of his half gone beer. “I am not being over dramatic.” Louis answered evasively.

“Yes, you are.” Harry replied with a slight grin. “Maybe you really did like it but you’re just too proud to admit it.”

Louis shook his head firmly, “Say what you want but at least I won.” Louis smirked, then he leaned back and rested his arm against one on the chair next to him. “So now you're going to beg your mum to let you come because that was part of the deal.”

“I never said I would beg my mum, Lou.” Harry stated, “Besides, you didn't actually win, you barely tried it, so guess who owes me an iced coffee?”

“Harold.” Louis began in a rather serious voice, “Your rules never stated I had to swallow it or like, actually eat, just try it. So guess who's coming to my party?”

Harry frowned but then it faded into a tiny smile. "Fine, I guess you won, but I can't make any promises, though; my mum might not let me since she hasn't seen me in a while.”

Louis nodded and thought for a moment, but then spoke up. “Yeah but like she can see you for the whole holiday, minus my party. I think she’ll live. But at the same time, I don’t blame her if she says no; I would miss you too if I didn’t get to see you for a few months.”

Harry was caught off guard. Does Louis really mean that? Before Harry could ask, or even fathom a response, Louis went on.

“Oh and don't worry, I'll still get you a coffee because you made such a huge deal about it.”

“I did not make a massive deal about it.”

“I didn’t say massive, yeah?” Louis replied sounding slightly defensive.

“Ok, alright fine, not massive. Big deal. I made a big deal, apparently.”

“Mhm,” Louis nodded, “that’s correct, but hey, look at what you’ll get in response! Sometimes it pays off to act like a drama queen.”

Louis seemed to not realize he was more of a drama queen than Harry but Harry didn’t say anything.

A few minutes later, Louis excused himself and he went towards the restrooms. Harry remained at the table somewhat bored and tired, and soon his mind caught on several things Louis said earlier that night. Harry learned that Louis (unless he was joking, which could be a possibility), would miss Harry. And of course Harry would miss him back. That was the simple reason why Harry didn’t downright count out Louis’ party.

The question was, were things still platonic?

Of course, they had to be; Harry had no time for dating and Louis was nothing but a man of risky choices and poor decisions, everything Harry was not. But Louis had some good qualities and wasn’t a total bad boy, as he appreciated his family and knew how to be kind and polite.

It was just tough.

Harry soon heard a voice that pulled Harry from his thoughts, looking up to see Louis back at the table still standing watching Harry with an unreadable expression. “Everything okay?”

“Uh, yeah, yeah, just thinking about my exams is all.” Harry lied looking up to focus on Louis and giving him a forced smile.

Louis shook his head. “Of course you were.” Then Louis sighed, as if he’d been hoping Harry was really thinking about something else. But then he shook that off. “Now, you ready to get out of here? I’m ready to drop you off if you are.”

Harry nodded to that and got to his feet. “What about the bill, Lou?” Harry asked suddenly, putting on his jacket

“Like I said it's on me, and I already paid it, no need to worry. We’re not dining and dashing despite what you might have thought. I’m not that much of a dickhead.”

Harry gave no reply as he followed Louis out into the terribly chilly nighttime air. Since Harry was shivering, it didn’t take him long to wrap arms around his torso as he waited for Louis to unlock his damn car. Even though Harry liked autumn, he was not a fan of fall, as he hated snow, the cold, dry skin and chapped lips.

If it were possible, he’d go somewhere warm for the winter.

Soon they were back on the road and the streets were deserted. They listened to some Metallica as Louis sped along the empty street. All this time that Harry’s grabbed rides with Louis and he’s a proper speed demon, Louis has never gotten a ticket, but then again, he wasn’t a reckless driver anyway.

Harry’s eyes flicked over towards Louis and Harry sighed to himself; Harry didn't want to go back already, but it was late and the next day was an important one with classes and lectures. Despite the fact that Harry initially came along with Louis kicking and screaming (mentally, at least), when it was time to go Harry suddenly wanted to stay. But Harry knew what was more important, his education and career, which held no relation to someone like Louis, none at all.

Eventually, Louis pulled up to the closest spot towards Harry’s doors and put the car into park before looking over to Harry and sending him a slight smile. “I forgot to mention to you that there’s a party before holiday, next friday.” Louis began, “I expect to see you there.”

“Oh really?” Harry replied, unbuckling.

“Well, I hope so; I want to see you before you head off home. Also because everyone's going to be there since it’s the last one before we all come back and it’s the new year and blah blah blah.” Louis added.

“I’ll think about it,” Harry replied trying to quiet down his mind repeating Louis saying, I want to see you and playing it cool. But Harry knew instantly he’d go to the party, because he wanted to see Louis too, and parties were a wonderful excuse to do so. As long as Edith wasn’t there. Not that Harry had anything against her, it was just that she was annoying and rather an embarrassment to be around, considering how drunk she was most of the time. .

It was silent between them, both of them more or less not sure what more to say but feeling tired more than anything. “I should go back to my room,” Harry began, unbuckling his seatbelt. “Thank you, Lou, for taking me out tonight, it was really nice.”

Harry didn’t want to leave yet; he wanted to tell Louis never mind and go hang out in Louis’ dorm, or invite Louis inside to his, but Harry knew that it probably wasn’t a good idea. Harry kept telling himself that as he stepped out of the car and said his goodbyes, telling himself to not look back as he made his way to the door.

Louis was unintentionally fucking with his head.

*****

A week later, Harry was leaving class and was more excited than usual, because the next day he’d be able to leave campus. Bookwork was done until it was time to come back to class which only left studying to do, at least until term two.

Harry was in his scrubs uniform sitting outside the Southampton general hospital campus, waiting for Niall to join him on the benches. The two of them were going to wait for Zayn to pick them up, dropping Harry off back at his dorm so that he could finish packing. Gemma, Harry’s sister, was set to pick him up tomorrow, and Harry wasn’t going to last minute his packing by trying to get up early and doing it then or something.

“Can’t believe we’re done until holiday’s over.” Niall exclaimed walking up to Harry and sitting next to him on the bench. “Fucking finally; I was just waiting to get it all over with, for now.”

“Me too, Nialler. It’s just that I’m still so worried about exams though. Like, what if I do terrible?” Harry stressed frowning.

Niall shook his head and smiled. “You’re freaking out for nothing, H. You’re gonna do the most studying out of anyone in the whole damn class and it’ll pay off, I’m sure of it. Besides, tonight you’re going to stop worrying for a couple of hours and relax with me and the boys.” Relax? How the hell was a huge party going to relax Harry? What if Harry said he wasn’t done packing yet? Could that be a good enough excuse to get him out of going?

“Relaxing is an understatement,” Harry replied firmly. “How am I’m going to unwind when I’m surrounded by drunks, stoners, loud music, and drugs?”

Niall just sighed and ran his fingers through his disheveled blond quiff. “I don’t know; you’ll figure it out, you always do. Plus, you’d be a million times better off if you stop stressing about every little thing, yeah?”

Harry was just glad to see Zayn's black car pull up into the parking lot because Harry was ready to go back to his dorm, and he also didn’t have any sort of reply to what Niall just said. Of course, Louis just had to be with Zayn, because like, things were clearly going in Harry’s favor. It seemed kind of weird that Louis was there, especially since he didn’t need to be, and with his outfit adorned with a beanie and aviator sunglasses, Harry knew Louis literally just went with Zayn to look good, of course, unless they were doing something, but now with Niall on board Louis held less importance to Zayn. Whatever. There wasn’t much Harry could do about Louis’ presence, besides pretend that it didn’t affect him as much as it did.

Harry saw a hand waving in front of him, and his gaze broke (because Harry’s eyes must have wandered to Louis). Harry looked over at Niall, who was standing next to Harry with a slightly puzzled look on his face. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, ‘m fine. Was just zoning out a little.” Harry blinked, lying, of course, but Niall didn’t, and he would not know that.

Niall smirked and he looked back over to the Zayn’s car, before turning back to Harry and raising his brows. “Uh huh, sure. Now come on, before Zayn drives off without you.” Harry was certain Zayn would do that, for sure.

Harry found himself following Niall as they walked over to the car. Currently, Louis was in the passenger seat, but as soon as Harry and Niall started getting closer, Zayn turned to Louis.

“Louis.” Zayn said, eyes glued to Niall but clearly his mind on Louis, and of course Harry could hear what Zayn was saying, as they were just close enough.

“What?”

Zayn turned to Louis, as if stunned Louis didn’t get what he was trying to hint at already, looking over at Louis with a stern face.

“You can’t be serious, really?” Louis complained, taking off his sunglasses, letting out a sigh before opening the passenger door and getting out. Louis gestured over to the still open (used to be Louis’ seat) passenger door. “Your throne awaits you.”

Niall blushed the slightest bit and got in, letting Louis close his door. Then Louis got into the back, next to Harry. Even before they started driving, Harry could see Niall and Zayn holding hands (leaving Zayn only one hand to drive with) up front. Between Harry and Louis, the two were texting, and Louis started it, because Harry thought it was rather silly that the two needed to text when they were right next to each other. Despite this, Harry replied to Louis’ texts.

Harry smiled at Louis when he sent a message saying Zayn was whipped. Oh, how truthful that was.

“What are you both smirking at?” Zayn asked sharply, suddenly looking in the rearview mirror. By then they were on the road.

Louis’ eyes gazed to Zayn, “It’s nothing, just focus on the road, Z.” Louis replied, turning back to Harry and trying to contain his growing, slightly devious smile.

“Stop.” Harry mouthed to Louis, trying to bite back his own smile from getting any bigger. He knew they were going to get caught because their faces were just going to give it away that Louis was talking shit.

Soon they turned back to their phones, smiles subsiding a little as they continued on texting each other. They used texting as a way to ignore the surprisingly more adorable than expected couple sitting in front of them holding hands.

Finally Niall was happy with a guy and thankfully that guy was happy with Niall. Maybe it was true that Zayn was a little whipped, but they were so good and to each other that it was ok.

“You can skip my hall, Z.” Louis mentioned indifferently as he rolled down his window, pulling out his pack of cigarettes.

“What?” Zayn replied surprised, looking over his shoulder quickly at Louis, who was lighting up.

“You heard me.” Louis put the cigarette to his mouth and took a drag.

“I thought you told me you had major packing to do before the party?”

Louis exhaled the smoke from his lips and tapped the ashes out of the window. “I was over exaggerating, and besides, I don't feel like doing it right now."

Zayn shook his head and continued driving towards Niall’s and Harry's hall.

Meanwhile, Harry didn’t know what it meant now that Louis wasn’t going to his hall and didn’t really know what Louis’ plan was. Why would Louis want to stick around with Niall and Zayn? Unless he wanted to spend time with Harry. But why? Harry was rather curious, but of course not going to ask.

Soon they arrived and Zayn parked. All four got out, which wasn’t exactly what Harry expected (as Harry started thinking he was the only one getting dropped off), but again, Harry didn’t say anything.

While they were all walking down the corridor inside the building, Zayn had his arm wrapped around Niall’s waist while Louis and Harry were walking behind Zayn and Niall doing their best to not walk too fast as to be on top of Niall and Zayn slowly meandering along.

Aside from coming to get Harry, Louis never spent that much time in Harry’s room. Not that Harry knew if Louis was coming along or not. But soon Harry knew, because Niall and Zayn took a left down a hallway where Harry kept walking straight, and Louis still followed Harry along.

“Looks like it’s just you and me, Harold,” Louis announced after looking around, reaching up to wrap his arm around Harry’s shoulders and pull Harry rather close. “By chance, do you need help packing?” Louis asked in a slightly quieter voice. Harry nodded and continued leading Louis along. Not that Louis really needed help finding Harry’s room, as Louis found it somehow before, probably getting the room number from Niall.

When the made it to Harry’s room, Harry unlocked the door, going in a letting Louis follow. While Louis came in, Harry went over to his wardrobe and pulled out a suitcase which was leaning against it. Louis walked slowly around Harry’s room looking at everything as if he’d never really been inside before (which was kind of true). Louis was lightly poking around in Harry’s stuff, looking at some papers on Harry’s desk and things like that. Harry ignored him and put his attention on his suitcase.

“You’re only taking one bag?” Louis asked suddenly, and when Harry turned around Louis was sitting on Harry’s bed. “I don’t think you can fit all your 1000 piece puzzles and novels in there.”

Harry stood up from opening his suitcase which was still on the floor. “I’m just packing the essentials and leaving the rest, Lou, because, I don’t need to take all that stuff. Now, since you insisted on coming here and helping me, why don’t you get off your lazy bum and actually do something?” Harry was now back at his wardrobe trying to figure out what to pack.

Harry grabbed a few jumpers and tops, folding them over his forearm as Louis arrived next to Harry, promptly leaning his arm against the wardrobe door. “So does that mean I can pick out an outfit for you to wear to my mum's party?” Louis asked with a hint of excitement in his voice. Harry frowned and let out a little sigh.

“That’s if I go, but if you really want to, I guess you can. Just nothing crazy.” Harry replied as he looked through his clothes, grabbing a few more things off their hangers and going to his suitcase, leaving Louis ripping through his clothing.

Harry folded his clothing neatly before putting them in the suitcase. When Harry made it back to his wardrobe, Louis was holding up some clothing. Harry noticed that Louis picked out a white henley (something Harry rarely wore) and a pair of black tight skinny trousers.

“I think this is it, this is the outfit.” Louis grinned before turning around and lightly tossing the outfit on the bed. Harry smiled a little as he went back to searching through, looking past the stuff he normally wore.

“So what are you wearing tonight? I mean, you look good in scrubs and all, but I don’t think you want to party in them.” Harry felt a tug on the bottom of his top as Louis was lightly pulling at it.

Harry didn’t know what to say in response. If he’d been asked a few months ago, Harry would have laughed, because why on earth would he go to a party, and, if he did go, why would he care about his outfit? But now, Harry was kind of excited about parties, and actually wanted to put more thought into what he’d be wearing. Harry knew for a fact that he didn’t want to see Edith around, and decided to do his best to stay away from her whenever possible. Course, if he dressed more appropriate for a party, keeping people like Edith away could get more difficult.

“I don’t know, I guess I was just going to throw something on?” Harry tried turning to Louis, who just shook his head and crossed his arms. Harry phrased it this way because he knew that was probably not what Louis wanted Harry to say, but then again, Harry didn’t really know what else he could do.

“How about after this we head back to my place, and we’ll come up with something for you to wear tonight, since you’re like pretty much coming with me anyway.”

Oh really? When did Harry agree to that?

“Now, let's finish packing you up, yeah?” Louis continued with a smile, giving Harry a quick pat on the shoulder.

A few hours later, Harry was inside Louis’ car watching the rain slide down the semi open windows. Louis was there too, of course, driving, and also smoking, causing Harry to shiver a bit from the cold wind. This was supposedly supposed to be one of the biggest parties of the year, being the last one and all, but Harry wasn’t in the mood for a massive crazy party. Then again, was Harry really ever in the mood for a party like that? No.

On the other hand, Harry was excited. He’d be rolling in wearing Louis’ clothing. Not that anyone would know, but Harry knew, and it felt weird and also thrilling. Of course, Harry was just borrowing them, and Louis insisted Harry wear something of his to the point where Harry knew he just couldn't say no. Harry had on a pair of tight dark trousers and a white tank top, paired with a black leather jacket. When Louis picked out this outfit, Harry realized that he himself had pretty much the same clothing, minus the leather jacket.

“Why can’t I just wear this same exact outfit with my clothing?” Harry asked frowning.

“Because,” Louis huffed, sounding bored. “These fit you better.”

“They don’t fit me better, they’re smaller, probably too small.”

Louis crossed his arms. “It’s too late to go back to your dorm, the party’s going to be starting soon, by the time we’d get there and also since you take ages to change, the party would be half over when we finally got there.”

Harry was going to retort back, but Louis tossed a leather jacket at him, stopping Harry from speaking.

“Here, put this on.”

Harry did as he was told as he knew that things would not be good if Louis didn’t get his way.

Louis stepped back and looked Harry up and down. “There, now that’s a quality look. What do you think?”

“It’s ok, I guess, but the sleeves are a little too short and the-”

“No no, stop being so critical. Besides, if you can make scrubs look good you can make a slightly too small jacket look good too.”

Harry didn’t argue with that.

Louis had on a light washed denim jacket (one of his signature items), a slouchy beanie (exposing just a little bit of his soft fringe), tight dark trousers (with rips in them, of course), and a black v neck (which hugged Louis’ torso). Would it be weird for Harry to admit that Louis looked hot? Maybe, but it would be even weirder if Harry said something about it, so he kept his mouth shut.

When they were all set to head out, Harry started walking to the door, ready to leave Louis’ dorm. Louis, took that as an opportunity to spray Harry with his cologne, ultimately drowning him in. When Harry turned back to face Louis, Louis was beaming mischievously, but it didn’t help to dismiss some of Harry’s anger.

Course, Louis just laughed, and after he put down the bottle of cologne, Louis grabbed Harry’s arm and pulled him out of the room, leading Harry to his car.

When the car came to a halt in front of a brightly lit bungalow, Louis shut the car off and unbuckled, glancing over at Harry, who was too busy unbuckling and didn’t noticed Louis watching him. That was until Harry looked up noticed eyes on him, causing Harry to smile a little and lightly blush.

“What?” Harry asked calmly.

“Nothing, just-” Louis stopped mid-sentence, eyes turning away from Harry. Louis rubbed the back of his neck for a second, before starting up again, Louis’ eyes slowly drifting back to Harry. “Ready to go free your mind tonight? Get those worries off your chest?”

“I guess I am.” Harry replied looking at Louis. For a second it seemed as if something was happening, or about to happen, because Louis, whose eyes were locked on Harry’s, seemed to dilate for a second, and then Harry swore Louis' eyes flicked down to Harry’s lips. But it happened rather quickly and Harry was also certain it could have just been his own mind play tricks on him. Why would his mind be doing this? Wasn’t it Harry’s own brain telling him to stay out of relationships because he had no time for guys? If so, then why would it also be leading him on and making him imagine things that aren’t happening? Then again, maybe Louis was the one doing it, but why? Harry concluded that if it was indeed Louis, he was just doing it to mess with Harry, and boy, Louis reached success there. .

Eventually, Harry broke the gaze and they both made their way out of the car, walking beside each other to the house. The sidewalk was dark and the air was cold but there was nothing Harry could do about it. He kept to himself, knowing that his words would simply display his unenthusiastic feeling about going to this party, despite all the initial excitement Harry felt.

They did their best to ignore the cold wind, and for Harry, this was easier to ignore than Louis walking rather close to him, making Harry feel even more on edge. Then when their hands would lightly (and of course, accidentally) brushed together, Harry felt his cheeks grow a little warm. Luckily they made it to the house shortly, because Harry realized he didn’t know what he would do or what would happen if somehow his hand landed in Louis’ grip, his own doings or not.

The front yard was filled with people drinking and having fun, which didn’t sound like a great time because of how freezing it was out there. Harry hoped Louis was smarter than that and not decide to join them. Louis didn’t pay much attention to the people around them as they made their way to the door, but Harry didn’t know whether to be angry at or have sympathy for everyone out there without a coat on. Soon, however, they made it inside and Harry was greeted by the usual facets of these kinds of parties, loud music, tons of drinks and of course the smell of weed, for example. But Harry didn’t have long to take in the moment, as he felt a hand on the dip of his back leading him into the kitchen. Harry knew it was Louis. Of course it was. The contact made Harry want to melt into a puddle of goo, as Louis’ touch made Harry feel like he was on fire, even when it was something insignificant and platonic as Louis intended it to be (as far as Harry knew anyway). Harry didn’t know why it had to affect him this much and hated it, because it was just another indication that he’d soon be in trouble if this kept up.

“You thirsty?” Louis asked over the music as they headed into the messy kitchen. It was pretty crowded as usual, but Harry didn’t mind, as Harry realized that as long as he was with Louis he’d be ok.

“Uh, yeah,” Harry responded loudly as they stumbled upon a cooler. Louis reached down and grabbed a beer and a water bottle. The fact that Louis not only knew that Harry wasn’t going to drink alcohol and also didn’t try to make him made Harry’s stomach flip. It seemed as if everything Louis did had that sort of effect on Harry.

The two remained close by as they drank some of their drinks, and the people around them paid no attention to them. Harry kind of wished people would think they were a thing so that no one would try to steal Louis’ attention, which would cause Harry to wind up alone. Of course, Harry knew he couldn’t do anything to make it look legit, as he didn’t have the guts to touch Louis so openly (let alone at all). Sure, Louis touched him every now and then, simple little gestures (that once again, meant nothing), but there were still boundaries between them, and despite the fact that Louis knew his, Harry wasn’t sure what his own were.

“Hey, lads!” Ed shouted out of nowhere, coming up behind Louis with a girl around his arm. She had long layered wine colored hair, spray tanned golden skin, flawless dark makeup, and looked to be Ed’s type. Harry wasn’t surprised to see a girl next to him, but Harry was positive it’d be temporary, it usually was. “This is Laken, we’ve been talking for a week now.” This was new for Ed, who really used usually hooked up with girls.

But that was none of Harry’s business.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Harry said with a smile to Laken.

“You too,” Laken grinned her pearly whites before looking up at Ed and licking her matte red wine stained lips. “Can we go smoke now, Eddie?”

Eddie? Ed would kill Harry and even Niall if they dared to call him that. Laken must have been something special if she got away with that.

Ed nodded, looking at her before gazing toward Harry and Louis. “Well, I’ll see you two around.” The two of them walked off, leaving Harry and Louis alone again.

Louis laughed and took a sip of his beer. “Eddie. Jesus Christ. This night is already off to an impressive start, and we like, just got here too.”

Louis was right about that, for sure.

Harry’s mind wandered suddenly to Nick. Did Nick ever land that guy he met at that party a couple weeks ago? Harry couldn’t even remember the guy's name, despite the fact that Nick told him, multiple times too. Whatever. As long as Harry wasn’t going to get quizzed on it he’d be fine. What about Niall and Zayn? Harry had no idea if they were even at the party that night, but reasoned that if they were they’d be in some room upstairs or snogging in a corner. They were very predictable, those two.

Harry drank most of his water as they wandered around the living area, leaving the kitchen. They bumped into some drunks and both of them (Louis more so that Harry) had to swat grabby wandering hands away. Louis didn’t look too fazed at them, but it creeped Harry out and put him a little bit on edge. This made him lean into Louis a bit more, because he didn’t want to deal with it, honestly, as he wasn’t used to it all.

In the end, they wound up sitting on the staircase, since every other possible seat inside the house was taken and there was no way either of them actually wanted to go outside. Louis was just about done with his beer, still taking a few sips here and there to finish it up while Harry was busy thinking about his grades (who’s surprised?) and trying not to let it consume him.

“Everything okay? You look unsettled.” Louis commented after a sip of beer.

Harry sighed, running his fingers through his hair. “Sure. I mean, I’m mildly freaking out over exams once we come back and how it's going to affect my degree if I don’t put more focus on it, but, I’m ok.”

Harry soon felt an arm go around his shoulder, pulling him in close. “You're going to be fine, Harry. Quit worrying, alright?”

But how could Harry not worry though? There was no way he could just brush it off and not care. That wasn’t him.

Louis set his beer bottle on the step below before locking eyes with Harry and speaking in a semi serious tone. “Also, stop thinking so negatively.”

Harry frowned slightly, finding himself staring at Louis' lips’.

“It's just hard,” Harry replied, finally looking up into Louis' eyes. “I've set expectations for myself and I want to exceed them.”

Louis nodded, as if for a moment he understood. It was quiet for a second, before Louis started up again, suddenly much more excited. “What you need is something to take you from top to bottom, you know what I mean?”

“Enlighten me.”

Louis smirked and stood up, grabbing Harry's by the hand, pulling him to his feet and dragging him up the stairs. Harry's stomach was on fire from the touch and he felt really hot all over.

Louis dragged Harry over to the last door in the hall, which was closed. Louis knocked, putting his ear against it. While Louis tried to see if he could hear something, the two didn’t move and remained quiet. Of course, Harry still felt like he was burning all over, because while Louis checked the room, he was still holding Harry’s hand. This was until Louis dragged Harry into the room and flipped on a dim light, after opening the door.

Harry wasn’t sure why Louis wanted to show him a storage room. There was nothing unusual or special in there and secondly, how was it going to relax Harry?

“Here, sit,” Louis gestured to some boxes more or less in the middle of the room as he closed the door. Then Louis went over to the only window in the room and cracked it. “Do you trust me?”

“What?” Harry replied, confused.

“Do you trust me?” Louis asked again, this time in a quieter voice, coming over and standing in front of Harry.

What the hell was going on? Why did this get so weird all of a sudden? Why was Louis asking this?

“Yeah, of course I do.” Harry swallowed, “But what does that have to do with anything?”

Louis grinned slightly and shook his head. “You'll see. Can you wait here for like, five minutes?” Oh so now Louis was leaving. Great. Harry was pretty sure that Louis was just using all this to ditch him.

Harry realized he shouldn’t have been going along so easily with what Louis wanted to do, kicking himself because he assumed this wouldn’t happen again. Of course it did. Of course.

Harry nodded, not displaying how upset and confused he was to Louis, who promptly left the room without saying anything else. Harry didn’t want to be left up in that room the whole night and forgotten. If Louis’ idea of relaxing or whatever was isolation in a cold and drafty storage room, Louis was absolutely insane. Harry wouldn’t be surprised if Louis never came back. Despite this, Harry tried not to let that thought get to him, and decided to actually trust in Louis like Louis thought he did. What would have happened if Harry said no? Harry wasn’t sure, and he was curious, wondering if Louis would bother trying to convince him or just give up. And if Louis tried to convince Harry, how would he do it?

Harry took a deep breath and wandered around the room. Because it was rather dark in the room (the little light not doing much), Harry had to be careful not to trip on any boxes or spare furniture. Harry was surprised to see no boxes rummaged through and no furniture vandalized, as the room, besides being a little dusty, was in good condition. But then this made Harry nervous, because what if no one was allowed in here? Was this room off limits and that’s why it wasn’t trashed? But if it was off limits to everyone, why did Louis knock? Maybe because there’d be some rule breakers, if the room really was off limits.

Soon standing around got boring, so Harry made it back to the boxes in the middle of the room. They were stacked together and in a neat pile, and Harry was curious as to what was in them. Of course, none of the boxes were marked and were all still sealed with tape. Since Harry was lacking a pair of scissors, there was no way he could actually see what was inside, and his sense of ‘that’d be so wrong, you can’t do that’ was strong enough anyway, so even if he had a pair of scissors on him he wouldn’t dare try to open them.

Thankfully, Harry wasn’t left to dwell in his thoughts and what was in all these damn unmarked boxes for too much longer, because a moment later, Louis waltzed back in with a huge smile on his face, quickly closing the door before walking over and sitting next to Harry.

“Miss me?” Louis asked playfully as he dug into his jacket pocket and pulled out a plastic baggie.

Oh no, no, no, and no.

Didn’t Louis know by now Harry was against smoking weed? Like, what gave Louis the slightest clue Harry wanted to try it? Nothing gave Louis the clue because Harry never actually wanted to try it.

Harry watched as Louis took out the blunt and held it up in front of Harry's face.

“You my friend are going to try your first hit.”

“No.” Harry hissed, pushing it away from his face. “You should know better, Lou, You know I don't smoke that rubbish.”

Louis lit up the blunt and put it to his mouth, inhaling it. Harry couldn’t help but watch as Louis soon exhaled it from his lips.

“I promise it won't hurt you.” Louis tried again, gazing towards Harry. ”You won't know if you like it if you don't try it.”

Louis just took another drag and then looked away, quiet for a moment.

“Louis, I just don't think I should associate myself with that… Especially since my pending career.”

“Harry, it's not going to harm you to try it at least once because by the time you go to the health council for your degree, it'll be out of your system, long gone,” Louis informed rather factually. “Plus, would I have you try something if I didn't think it would benefit you?”

Uh, yeah, Harry was pretty sure the answer was yes, but pretended like he didn’t think so.

“What?”

Louis grinned and held it out towards Harry again, the smoke traveling towards Harry’s face. “You're stressed about exams and shit, so, this will relax you,” Louis said. “I mean, yeah it's nothing like your jigsaw puzzles, but it can make all your anxieties go away. Not to mention it does have its health benefits.”

So maybe Harry was… slightly tempted to try it. Slightly. Only because Louis made it sound appealing, and Harry wasn’t against getting his mind off his worries, but Harry didn’t really want to feel what being high was like. Sure, there’d be benefits, but at what cost? Harry was smarter than that, right?

Harry watched as Louis slightly snickered before taking it back to his lips, and Harry was still watching when Louis exhaled the smoke from his lips a few moments later.

Harry bit the inside of his cheek, his mind racing. He was trying to figure out if he was really thinking this through, because he didn’t want to try something and then be hooked. Harry’d been preaching for years that weed was stupid and a waste of time; Harry trying it would just make him a hypocrite.

Harry tore his eyes away from Louis and glanced around the room, wondering what time it was. Harry realized he could have just checked his phone, but ended up deciding against it.

“Also, since it'd be like your first time trying it, you probably won't get high unless, you're lucky. You may feel something for a little while, but it’s nothing like being stoned.” Louis piped in again, still not giving up.

Harry rubbed his jaw as his eyes drifted back to Louis. Maybe Louis was right. Maybe Harry should try it, but just this once, and as if to get it out of the way. It would allow Louis to no longer think it was the solution to every single problem if Harry tried it and showed Louis it wasn’t going to help.

“Well…” Harry started slowly, “Maybe I could try it, one time.” Harry never expected those words to come out of his mouth. Louis just gazed at Harry with a smile.

“You sure?” Louis asked, trying not to seem too happy Harry finally gave in.

Harry nodded, a little hesitant at first, and his eyes soon dropped from looking at Louis, as if Harry was ashamed he actually gave in.

“She’s all yours.” Louis replied, holding it out to Harry.

Harry sighed, looking at it before slowly bringing his hand up to grab it, telling himself over and over again that this would just be a one time thing and that he’d be fine. Plus, Harry said he trusted Louis, so in that case he decided to act upon his trust and just do it.

Harry finally grabbed the blunt, but the second he did he realized he had no idea what to do. It felt rather foreign between his fingers and in his hand, so Harry looked up at Louis, as if for help.

Louis shook his head with a laugh. “Put it up to your lips and inhale, not too much, though, just a little bit,” Louis explained while also mimicking the gesture. “Do it until you think you can't hold it in anymore and then exhale. It's that easy, babe.” Harry slowly put it up to his lips, glad it seemed rather simple.

Harry did just as Louis said, inhaling it until he felt it was more than enough. It feels so weird just grabbing the blunt because it was something really out of Harry’s element. Harry was doing something he never thought he’d do. Never.

Harry finally exhaled the smoke from his lips but coughed a little from taking too much. He handed it back to Louis and shook his head.

Louis raised his brows as he took the blunt from Harry. “You did it too hard.”

No shit.

“Also, since you’re not going to be high after one hit,” Louis continued before pausing to take another drag. "Do you want to try it again?”

Harry knew he shouldn’t but, he already tried it, and his insides didn’t crumble and his brain didn’t fall out, so certainly another go wouldn’t do that much damage, right? what could it hurt? Besides, it was slightly exhilarating, enough to take Harry’s mind off everything else that was stressing him out.

“Sure,” Harry mumbled in a low voice, taking it from Louis’ hand and inhaling a little less this time. Harry’s eyes soon flicked over to Louis, who was watching Harry with a small smirk. Harry handed it over to Louis again as he exhaled, and Harry was rather proud of himself because he didn’t end up coughing, at all.

”You know,” Louis started as he took a hit, “I want to shotgun with you.”

Shotgun? Like that thing you do when you’re driving with multiple people, but only can take the passenger seat, so they holler ‘shotgun’ first and get to sit in it? Uh...what did that have to do with weed?

“I take it you’ve never heard of it since you have a rather confused look on your face.” Louis laughed, shaking his head. “It’s where one person exhales smoke into another person's mouth.”

Harry’s mind stalled. Why was it called shotgun? Was this really a thing that people did? I mean, Harry never got the feeling that Louis didn’t know what he was doing when it came to weed and stuff, but this kind of seemed silly. Plus, why did Louis want to shotgun with Harry? It’d be something relatively similar to kissing, but of course, not exactly like it. Harry knew that if he had the chance he’d want to kiss Louis. Period. Not that it would have to mean anything, Harry just wanted to do it, like, at some point. But Harry knew that would probably never happen, and of course for various reasons. The biggest one being that they were really nothing alike and wanted very different things out of love, making anything between them lacking the possibility of actually working out. Because of this, Harry realized that since he might not get the chance to kiss Louis, this was the closest thing he’d get to it, thus making it worth it.

“But I’m only teasing.” Louis started up again before Harry could reply, “I believe you've had enough for tonight before you get sick of it, since you’re so new to it.” Harry didn’t like the fact that Louis offered something and then decided to take it away. Plus, Harry didn’t feel anything yet, so didn’t know why he was on the verge of getting sick now if he decided to smoke some more, let alone shotgun. Then there was the drive to continue to prove Louis wrong about himself that Harry had been starting to feel ever so slightly ever since he started going these parties. Did Harry want to change that perception of himself that he was no fun and so uptight that Harry was sure Louis still had? You bet, so this was another chance to chip away at it.

“I want to,” Harry said suddenly, seeing Louis stop mid-smoke, looking at Harry surprised.

“What?” Louis asked, sounding slightly stunned.

“Yeah, I want to shotgun, or whatever it’s called.” Harry hoped that Louis wouldn’t say something stupid or laugh, making Harry feel weird and like shit for daring to try it, as that would just make Harry change his mind about doing it.

But unlike Harry expected, Louis just stared at Harry with the smallest grin Louis could manage. Before Harry knew what was going on, Louis was in front of him, leaning in dangerously close, close enough where Harry would smell the weed, and also the sweet notes of Louis’ cologne. Harry could hear his own heartbeat speeding up as he stared into Louis’ dilated pupils. The blunt was slowly brought up between them, but that’s not what Harry was focusing on, and he didn't even know he stopped breathing until Louis put a hand on Harry’s shoulder.

“Are you sure you want to try it?” Louis double checked one last time, searching Harry’s eyes. Harry just nodded in reply, too out of it to attempt words. “Open your mouth and inhale it when I blow out, yeah?” Again Harry nodded.

Harry did as Louis said and when Louis took the blunt away from his mouth and leaned forward really close to Harry’s lips. Harry just wanted to pass out. If Harry thought about how close they were, like really realized this was happening, there was no way he’d make it out alive. So, Harry kept his composure and inhaled the smoke Louis blew out. It felt weird, yes, but for a split second, Harry felt compelled to kiss him, causing Harry to cough suddenly, as a way to stop a kiss from happening.

“Okay, I think I’m done off for the night… I don’t feel so great.” Harry lied as he mumbled after sitting up and creating distance one again between them. Despite the distance, Harry was still staring into Louis’ eyes, who hadn’t moved.

“I told you. But hey, it was your first time, not bad, not bad at all. I appreciate your effort.” Louis replied with a smile before sitting back up himself. “Now that you’ve relaxed, do you wanna join the rest of the party and go find the lads?”

“Sure.” Harry watched Louis finish up the blunt and soon followed Louis out of the door.

Right outside of the storage room was a couple kissing against the wall, but Harry didn’t really pay much mind to them, instead following after Louis.

“Oi! Where have you been, Louis?” They ran right into Ed and Laken as soon as they made it down the stairs. “You took off with our goods! Did you smoke it all up yourself?” Ed asked as he pulled Laken into him.

Louis gazed at Harry before smirking, “Not entirely, it was shared. Ed eyed them suspiciously.

“Harry? You didn’t do it, did you?” Ed questioned sounding rather surprised. Harry felt his cheeks growing warm, not sure if it was from embarrassment or pride, that yeah, he did do it. “Damn, I can't believe it.”

“He tried it twice actually.” Louis wrapped his arm around Harry's shoulder and shook him gently. “He did alright for the first time.” Louis commented, glancing at Harry for a second and smiling.

Harry’s mind, feeling fuzzy and somewhat out of it, didn’t know much at the time. But what Harry did know was that the fact that they were so close to kissing, and it was messing with his head, a lot. Harry was fucked. Every time they made eyes contact it was fire all over and Harry’s stomach flipped, causing Harry to be very close to freaking out. Just being in Louis’ vicinity was hard enough, let alone trying to remain calm. Of course, the weed provided as a great excuse to acting out of it, allowing Harry to worry less about how he was acting.

“Lads?” Ed shouted towards them, “You there?” Ed eyed them both suspiciously, as if he suspected something was up but just fell short on what exactly it was.

Harry watched as Louis looked back at Ed, breaking their gaze. Louis told Ed to promptly ‘fuck off’ but that wasn’t anything important as far as Harry was concerned. Harry’s mind was still stuck on Louis, and soon Harry’s eyes drifted over to Louis’ hands. Harry felt a strong urge to reach out and grab them, but of course, he wasn’t that damn brave.

As Ed turned away, Louis’ and Harry’s one minute of no one bothering them only lasted one second, because someone had thrown themselves onto Louis, and Harry was instantly ten times more upset once he realized who it was.

Edith? Seriously?

“I wanted to see you before I leave for holiday.” Edith hummed in a low voice as she ran her hand down Louis’ chest. “I thought maybe we could have a little fun tonight.”

Harry didn’t like that plan. Edith, per usual, was annoying Harry. It was nothing against her, personally, she just was so needy and had to get her way when she wanted it, unless she was distracted and entertainment with another means of entertainment. Harry wanted to tell her to go away and bother someone else, but of course, what good would that do? And besides, Harry had no legit reason to be so protective around Louis, so why was he? Harry wished he didn’t care and held no emotions towards Louis. But that wasn’t the case.

“I think you read my mind, babe.” Louis replied in a very quiet voice, and then Harry was up, pulling himself away and leaving the room, not looking back, just making his way right to the bathroom, knowing he wouldn’t see anything good if he dared to look back.

The bathroom was an oasis from people and the mind numbing noises of the party, but it couldn’t be an escape forever. It was just a way to leave it all and clear his head. Harry would have gone outside, but it was freezing out, so that wasn’t happening.

Harry realized that he was being rather dramatic about everything once again, as it didn’t matter what Louis did and whom he did it with, as it had nothing to do with Harry. Because of that, Harry really shouldn’t have been bothered by it, because, again, it held no relation to Harry. So why was Harry being so bitter? He had no idea. What Harry did know was that he needed to calm down and get his shit together, and quickly.

When Harry stepped out of the bathroom, he saw Louis leading Edith to the spare room out of the corner of his eye, and Harry wasn’t surprised at all. Sure, it didn’t make him happy that Louis was going off and doing that with Edith, but it also was Louis, typical Louis, causing Harry to realize there was nothing special about what was happening. This made him feel a little better, but there was a little bit of uneasiness about it that made it seem bleak after all.

Harry made his way back downstairs through loads of drunken people, pretty good at maneuvering through them, as Harry was used to it by now. The big leather couch wasn’t very crowded, and Harry was able to find a spot, slumping down into it. Harry was quite thankful for getting a seat, as the only other option was to sit outside, but in the cold that would be the worst.

Ever since Ed ran off with Laken, Harry hadn't seen him, and Harry also hadn't seen any of the other lads. Of course, that was to be expected, as Niall and Zayn rarely went to them anymore, Nick spent his time trying to land that guy he was after instead of attracting as many as he could at parties, so he was out, and then there was Louis. Oh Louis. Harry realized he must have been so boring to cause Louis to hook up with a girl he was thinking of cutting ties with. Ugh. And Harry thought Louis was having a good night and all since Harry tried weed and stuff, but no, it didn’t help. But Harry was just overthinking it; with nothing else to do, Harry’s thoughts kept him busy, but Harry knew he had to stay somewhat alert, to make sure Louis didn’t leave without him.

Time seemed to slow down as Harry sat there on the couch bored out of his mind and also quite tired. Soon, Harry couldn’t stand sitting on the sofa, and the air in that room suddenly seemed too stuffy and stale, causing Harry to get up and head towards the patio out back.

The patio was empty of people, but red cups and smashed cans, cigarette butts and pieces of broken bottles littered the grounds of the patio. Harry checked his phone. Nothing. Harry didn’t know why it had to be taking so long, but the cold wind blowing in his face made Harry realize that the whole waiting for Louis situation got worse as soon as Harry made it outside as it was just too cold, and yet it was better than melting to death in a hot house with no ventilation.

With his legs crossed tightly and his jacket wrapped up, Harry was sitting on one of the benches patiently. Harry’s eyes drifted to the stars above, wishing he was back home at his mum’s already. Harry knew he’d rather be there than at this party, because, for one, he wouldn’t be freezing to death, and two, he’d be able to see Gemma and his mum, who he missed tremendously. All Harry really had to do was get through the next morning, as then he’d be on his way back home. What seemed more impossible was getting through the party, but Harry’s patience was also waning.

Harry heard the sliding door open, and Louis waltzed out. Harry’s gaze fell from the sky to Louis, who had a huge love bite on his neck, besides all of the lipstick smears, as if Louis didn’t both taking a good look at himself before reemerging. But Harry wasn’t surprised, and was more relieved to see Louis again than he was upset at seeing Louis like this.

“Hey,” Louis took a seat next to Harry, “Sorry I ditched you there.” Louis then turned to look at Harry, but Harry just looked down, as if avoiding eye contact, and bit his lip. It was then when Harry started to feel a little angry, which, of course, didn’t make sense since Louis was apologizing, but there was something about everything that went on that night that just rubbed him the wrong way.

Harry didn’t even want to acknowledge the apology, all he wanted to do was ask Louis when they could leave, because Harry was done, he was just done.

“Everything okay?” Louis asked after Harry simply said nothing.

Harry shook his head. “I’m just tired.” And that wasn’t a total lie either. “That's a nice love bite you got there.” Harry mentioned, gazing over towards Louis’ exposed neck, suddenly feeling mad at himself for even saying a word. Harry was curious as to what exactly happened, but then again, he didn’t even want to know it happened.

Louis shook his head and covered it with his hand, a subconscious movement as if Harry wasn’t meant to see it. “She was a little, uh, rough tonight.”

“I thought you said you were going to stop sleeping with her.” Harry mumbled, slightly under his breath. “Since you apparently like some guy you told me about weeks ago, unless that’s no longer true.”

“Look, she came onto me, and I never made it past the part where I told her I wanted to end things.” Louis said in defense, looking at Harry.

“So her bum distracted you then?” Harry asked sharply, eyes flicking to Louis.

“Harry.” Louis crossed his arms and spoke rather seriously, “I wasn't planning on sleeping with her tonight, it just happened. I’m going to get a hold of her over break and tell her we’re off. I would have done it sooner but I never got the chance. Besides, I do like that guy I told you about, and I don’t want to ruin anything.” Louis sighed, and Harry waited for Louis to go on.

“I want to… something, with him, but I just don't know what I want because I can’t bring myself to sleep with him.” Louis expressed in a soft voice. “I’ve been so unsure of everything, and it’s exhausting.”

Harry let Louis talk, just quit because he had no clue what to say. In reality, Harry was jealous. Of course he was, if not, Harry wouldn't give two shits about Edith or this other guy. But knowing it wasn’t just Edith anymore and it was mainly this other person, just made the jealousy even worse. Harry felt certain that he’d be better off if himself and Louis never started to get along, which was a horrible thing to think, clearly.

Harry soon felt an arm wrap around his shoulder as Louis pulled Harry close. “By the way, hanging out with you is far better than the sex,” Louis breathed, and Harry felt very hot all over suddenly. That was a huge compliment, considering the fact that the farthest Louis’ relationships went was sex, to exceed that and be something better was incredible. A smile soon appeared on Harry’s face as suddenly all the angry feelings just seemed to fade away. Instead, Harry wanted to cuddle into Louis, probably because Harry was freezing his ass off and Louis was nothing but a beacon on heat. And maybe because every bit of Harry’s being wanted to as well.

But it sucked because Harry couldn’t do something like that with Louis, so Harry refrained.

“Really? Even though I don’t drink and get high?” Harry questioned, because maybe Louis was kidding? “I mean, unless you're just saying that so you can slowly turn me into a ‘rebel,’ since I'm not like everyone else you seem to be friends with.”

Louis shook his head and started up again. “I don't care if you don’t do any of that stuff; I only had you try weed because I know you're stressed about the exams and stuff, not because I wanted to make you into something you're not.”

Harry sighed and looked down to his lap. He was still somewhat upset about the whole Edith thing, but Louis was sincere and Harry knew he had to take Louis’ word for it, trusting Louis that he did really mean all this.

“I care about you a lot, and I wouldn't ever try to change you. You're one of my best friends, and I hope you know that.”

Harry picked his head up and smiled at Louis. “You're one of mine too.” He admitted almost in a whisper and Louis just grinned.

Soon, they both ended up back inside and found Ed and Laken, hanging with them until Ed and Laken took off again. Harry and Louis also ran into Niall and Zayn, but they were in their own worlds and soon disappeared again.

For the rest of the night, Edith never came back and left Louis alone. Of course, they could see her, she wasn’t that hard to miss, and she was all over some guy in the living room. Harry couldn’t help but keep an eye on her, even when he was in the kitchen. With nothing else to really do and being pretty much bored to high heavens, Harry couldn't help but wonder who this guy Louis liked was. Who could it be? Harry didn’t think it was very much like Louis to keep who it was such a huge secret, as Louis never really held things back, but then again, since Louis didn’t seem to just want to sleep with this guy and Louis didn’t really knew what he wanted, Louis holding back who it was perfectly fine and normal.

Come next day at seven am, Harry was rechecking his bags to make sure he really had everything he needed. Harry knew he should have organized a little bit better, but when he finally got back from the party, it was just too late and Harry was too tired.

The drive back from the party was an interesting one. Niall and Zayn suddenly reappeared right when Harry and Louis were leaving, causing them to hitch a ride back with them. Harry, who sat up front in the passenger seat, had his focus on Niall and Zayn the whole time to make sure they didn’t end up fucking or something. This meant that Harry had to keep half an eye on what was going on back there, and Niall and Zayn didn’t like that, as they just thought that Harry was being nosy. Despite Harry’s initial thoughts of what Niall and Zayn would do, they two were relatively well behaved, which of course made things slightly easier for Harry.

It’s seven in the morning and someone knocking. Great. Just what Harry needed, another distraction. When Harry opened the door a moment later, he realized it was certainly someone he was not opposed to seeing, but yes, indeed, a major distraction. It was Louis.

“Good, you’re still here.” Louis began, brushing right past Harry into the room. On Louis’ way past Harry, Louis handed Harry a vanilla ice coffee, clearly remembering that it was Harry’s favorite drink. “Niall told me you weren’t leaving until nine, so I figured I come by and see you, but I know you’re the type to leave early and stuff, so then I didn’t know if you were gonna still be here.” Louis planted himself on Harry’s half made bed and started looking around.

“You could have at least given me a chance to tidy up a bit. Like a text would have been nice. What if the door was unlocked? You would have just come right in. What if I was changing? ” Harry asked, setting his drink down onto the end table near his bed.

Louis smirked and crossed his arms. “I don’t care. I mean, it’s not like you haven’t walked in on me before.” Harry felt his cheeks heating up. Oh yeah, he’s witnessed Louis shirtless a few times, and yes, those images were still engraved in Harry’s brain.

Harry shook his head as he checked his bag one more time, feeling Louis just watching him, wondering why Louis even stopped by in the first place.

“Why are you here?” Harry asked abruptly, looking up at Louis, “I thought you’d be off to your mum’s by now.”

“I will be once I leave here, but I wanted to come see you first.” Louis explained, licking his lips. Harry felt faintish all of a sudden and very hot, because Louis fucking Tomlinson wanted to see him before they go on holiday. Yep.

“Oh,” Harry replied as he zipped up his suitcase and got to his feet, grabbing his coffee off the end table and taking a seat next to Louis. “And why's that?”

Louis grinned and flicked his eyes towards Harry. “Can I not say a proper goodbye to my best friend?”

“It’s not goodbye, though, Louis.” Harry stated rather certain, but his tone was slightly unsure and he couldn’t help but give Louis slightly a blank look, because since when was this a goodbye?

Louis took a deep breath and shook his head. “I won’t be seeing you for a few weeks, so like, to me it’s a goodbye. Plus, who knows, it’s likely you’ll ditch me on New Year’s Eve.”

“Louis,” Harry began in a more serious voice, “I already told you it depends on my mum, it’s not just up to me. How many times do I have to tell you that?”

Louis sighed. “I know, I know, but just be grateful I’m such a fantastic mate that takes time out of his morning to come see you. Also, I have something I want to show you out in my car.”

Was there some reason why Louis couldn’t have just brought it inside?

Harry looked at Louis utterly confused, until Harry watched him stand to his feet and look back down at Harry with a small smile, as if Louis was up to something again. “Well, are you coming or are you going sit there and stare at me like a creep?”

Harry’s eyes fell from Louis’ as he stood up, about to tell Louis that he was not the one doing all the staring and also not the one that just randomly decided to show up for some reason. “Uh, yeah, let me just go grab my jacket.” Harry’s words rushed out as he turned his back towards Louis, feeling heat on his cheeks. Soon Harry got his jacket on and they were off.

As they walked down and through the halls, it was quiet not only between them, but just in general, as so many other students has already left. The quiet was a nice change, as Harry certainly didn’t miss the noise.

It was colder out than Harry expected, since it was colder than the day before. Winter was upon them, no doubt about that, and Harry squeezed his jacket a little more as they walked over to Louis’ car.

Harry watched Louis open up the driver side door and crawl in, looking for something. Harry simply waited, as there wasn’t much else he could do. Harry still didn’t really know what all of this was about but luckily he had enough patience to stand there and stay as warm a possible.
Eventually Louis emerged, closing the car door and turning around to face Harry. Louis was holding a tiny package in plum colored wrapping paper.

“Here,” Louis said, holding it out to Harry.“From me to you. I know it’s early, but I would much rather give it to you in person than like, by mail or something.”

They never discussed a gift exchange or anything like that. Did Harry have to go buy Louis something now? Especially since his birthday and Christmas were so close, would Louis get two gifts then?

“Louis, you didn’t have to,” Harry replied, slowly grabbing the box and looking down at it. “I’m not the one with a birthday coming up, and we’ve certainly never talked about presents.”

“Just accept the gift, Harold.” Louis put his hand on Harry’s shoulder, bracing his arm. Harry looked up and met Louis’ eyes with a small smile, and felt his stomach flutter like it did when Harry first knew he had a thing for Louis.

It was silent between them for a minute, other than a car speeding down the street and the wind. Harry didn't even know what to say as he just stared back at Louis, gnawing on his lip, and still feeling the pressure of Louis’ hand resting on his shoulder.

Louis cleared his throat, breaking the moment, “Well, I should probably let you finish packing.” Louis gave Harry a quick smile, and for a moment, Harry watched Louis’ lips, seeing them open as if Louis was going to continue but then just decided against it.

Harry was about to say something when his breath caught in his throat as the distance between them closed. Louis pulled Harry into a hug causing the gap between their bodies gone. Harry’s arm with the gift in it was smashed between their stomachs until Harry wrapped his arms around Louis’ torso. Harry felt as if he was going to pass out from initial shock that Louis was so close to him and the way that Louis was squeezing Harry tight and not letting him go; Harry wanted to fall apart. Despite this, Harry rested his chin on Louis’ shoulder and felt his eyes closed, taking in the sweet moment.

The moment seemed to linger on for a few seconds until Louis slowly pulled away from Harry and looked him up in his eyes. The two were no longer hugging but they were still standing close to each other.

“So, yeah, I should go now,” Louis mumbled, and Harry nodded, taking a step backwards to grow their distance once again. "I'll see you soon, but also ring me tonight, yeah?” Louis asked while letting his eyes linger on Harry for another minute before opening the car door and getting in.

After one final nod from Harry, Louis started up his car and sped off, leaving Harry standing there with the gift in his hand. Part of Harry wanted to open it right away. The other part was telling Harry to wait and not open it yet. That part didn’t win, because soon, after Harry looked at it long enough before he was senselessly curious as to what could possibly be inside, Harry opened it slowly.

It was a keychain, and it was in the shape of a key in shiny silver that had the words ‘best friends’ engraved on it. Harry thought it was kind of silly at first, and was sure Louis picked it up during one of Zayn’s and or Niall’s shopping trips, because where else would Louis find something so random like that?

When Harry picked it up out of it’s box, a folded piece of paper remained inside. Harry grabbed it and looked it over.

‘Don’t worry; I have the lock to match, Merry Christmas Harold! -L.’

This was most certainly the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for Harry, just the thought of it all was something so kind, causing Harry to hope that one day he could just return the favor.

Chapter Text

Harry found himself sitting at the kitchen table as Gemma and his mum were talking about their plans for the next day, as in, Christmas day. Of course, Harry wasn’t really listening, not to the details, at least, as Harry found himself more captivated by his phone.

It just so happened that Louis had been messaging Harry all day, causing Harry to force himself to keep holding back smiles so that no one would think something was up. It was hard, as Louis wasn’t just keeping up a conversation, but also sending Harry emojis, something Harry didn’t really expect since Louis never seemed to be so taken by emojis, but Harry knew that when it came to Louis, anything was possible.  

“What are you smirking about?” Gemma asked Harry suddenly. Harry slowly looked up and realized that his mum wasn’t in the room anymore. ”Is it a boy?” Gemma continued teasingly, wiggling her brows and giving him a bemused smile. Since when was Gemma this nosy, and also amazingly correct? Not that Harry would tell Gemma that.

Harry scoffed as he shook his head and put his phone away. “You never been more wrong; it’ was just something Niall posted.” Harry lied, feeling his words come out slightly more rushed than usual, but it was the best he could do in a moment like that.

“Oh, really?” Gemma questioned in a serious tone that was also somewhat playful sounding. “The funny thing is that I know you better than that. Besides, you’re not a good liar Harry, like, at all.” Gemma continued to glare at Harry, not letting up. “What’s his name?” Yeah, like Gemma needed to know his name and as if Harry was stupid enough to tell her.

Harry frowned and crossed his arms, no longer in such a good mood. If Gemma found out, why, she’d tease him to the rest of their lives, because the whole thing was so...cliche. Not only that but it’d prove a decrease in Harry’s self control, because then she’d know that Harry’s weakness was bad boys.

“It's none of your business.” Was all Harry replied sharply as he got up and headed into the kitchen. As Harry grabbed some water from the sink, Gemma appeared at the doorframe into looking at Harry with her arms crossed.  

“Did you met him at Uni? I bet you met him at Uni. Is he your age?”

“Why are you asking so many questions?”

“I just want to know who my brother likes. What, is that a crime or something?” Gemma questioned, tilting her head. Gemma was getting rather defensive and Harry didn’t remember Gemma being this annoying ever before.

”You know, I always have the best advice when it comes to guys, H.” Gemma reasoned, still trying to make Harry talk.

“Yeah, if I’m looking to get laid, but like, I’m not.” Harry rolled his eyes, not sure why this had to be a big deal, and why Gemma just couldn’t leave him alone. Harry turned around and crossed his arms; leaning against the counter and sighed. “Also, you don’t have to know every guy I like, especially because you tend to give it away by your terrible acting when they’re around.”

Gemma scoffed and moved to stand in front of Harry. “I’m just excited for you, that’s all, because you've said for a while now you're too busy to date and stuff. But if you don’t want to tell me then fine, just can I at least know what he looks like?” Harry shook his head vigorously. “Oh come on, I want to know how hot he is and if you’re in his league.”

Harry narrowed his eyes and sighed heavily, as this was sort of tempting. “Fine, since you just have to know, and you certainly won’t be satisfied since you do.” Harry mumbled digging his phone out and pulling up a picture of Louis Harry was sent the night before. It was a picture of Louis looking so damn adorable in his black hoodie, black joggers, and beanie with his fringe poking out. Harry, of course, saved it, because why the hell not? Louis wasn't wearing anything under the hoodie, and more importantly, the chest piece tattoos were visible.

Harry showed Gemma, and before Harry even knew it, the phone was out of his hands and locked into Gemma’s.

“Woah, he’s a babe!” Gemma exclaimed excitedly, and also sounding rather surprised. Before Harry could do anything, Gemma started scrolling through Harry’s pictures, and Harry was horrified.  

“Give me my phone back.” Harry exclaimed reaching for it, but Gemma shook her head and turned her back. “Gemma please,” Harry pleaded, trying to retrieve it because he really didn’t want Gemma to read his texts from Louis or anything related to Louis, and with Harry’s phone in her hand certainly all that was possible.

“Oooh, a scandalous topless picture of this hot mystery guy.” Gemma cooed, scrolling through more pictures before Harry finally snatched it roughly from her hands.

“I want to meet him.”

Harry narrowed his eyes. “Yeah, that’s just not happening, ever. And I only have that picture on my phone because I accidentally saved it.”

“Yeah, okay, and yet somehow it magically never got deleted.” Gemma laughed, “Explain that?”

“It saved by mistake and I forgot about it, until now, so like-”

“What's on earth is going on out here?” Anne suddenly reappeared back into the room eyeing the two of them suspiciously. Harry hoped she didn’t hear anything.  

“Nothing mum.” Harry replied, shooting Gemma a glare to follow his lead and keep quiet. No one needed to know about this, and Gemma finding out was bad enough, especially since nothing was happening yet, and Harry was thinking that nothing ever would. If Harry’s mum did find out, there’d just be more pressure, and Harry didn’t need that (getting it from Gemma was bad enough).

“We were just talking  if we should switch spots this year and I guess it got a little loud.” Gemma lied, as she was a high quality liar, which wasn’t a good thing, of course, but in this situation it was perfect. “Harry wants to do kitchen duty instead of taking down the tree tomorrow night.”

Anne looked between them for a second and Harry could only hope she’d buy it. Gemma was a good liar, but Anne was even better at picking out the weak lies, which was easy to do if Harry was involved because he was hopeless at lying.

“It’s like your first day here and you two are already trying to cover something up.”

Gemma opened her mouth and then shut it, not sure what she could say back to that. Then Gemma looked over at Harry, offering him a sympathetic look as if she felt bad that there was not much more she could do for Harry. Then Gemma looked back at Anne. “I have nothing to cover up, it’s not about me.”

Harry rolled his eyes. Of course, Gemma would put it all on him.

“I’ll be off to my room, I guess. Maybe then you’ll say what it is, you know, because I won’t be around.” Gemma exclaimed with a smirk as she started to leave the room, but Harry knew she would try and linger around in order to listen, as she wouldn’t dare miss out on this.

Gemma was no longer in the kitchen, but Harry knew she wasn’t too far. Harry signaled to Anne to come closer, so that Harry wouldn’t have to talk so loud. Anne made her way over with a confused look on her face, as she was totally clueless.

“You don’t have to tell me, but I was just wondering, because maybe I could help, yeah?” Anne whispered.

“Yeah,” Harry sighed, “I guess. But it’s nothing, it really is.”

Anne looked at Harry for a minute before starting up again, continuing to whisper. “Gemma certainly thinks it’s something.”

“Yeah but like, she thinks everything's something, especially when it comes to me.”

Anne nodded. “That’s true, but I think she’s just excited to see you, and to be home as well. Just know that you don’t have to tell her and you don’t have to tell me, but if you want to tell either of us or both of us, that’s fine too.”

Harry thought for a minute. Gemma, being the little shit that she was, would probably go ask Anne later when Harry wasn’t around what Harry told her. If Gemma hears that Harry didn’t tell Anne, she’d go and tell Anne herself what she knew. This meant that Anne would still find out about Louis (or at least, what Gemma knew about him), so either way, Harry was screwed.

“Well, basically, it’s about a guy…” Harry started in the lowest and quietest voice he could manage. “And, uh, I didn’t want Gemma to find out but she did, not everything but…” Harry’s voice trailed off as his eyes made his way to peer over at the doorway. Harry could see some of Gemma (but not her face) resting against it not moving.

“Yeah, and?” Anne asked, paying less attention to Gemma standing there than Harry was.

“Uh…”

“You like him? I mean, what else could it be, right?”

Harry felt his cheeks start to feel the slightest bit warm as his gaze fell back on his mum. “I mean like, possibly but it doesn’t matter because he doesn't like me back and-”

“Well you don’t know that for a fact.”

“Yeah but like, with how much I do know him I’m pretty sure nothing's going to happen.”

“If nothing happens you have to make the first move!” Gemma hollered from her post where she was listening.

Harry didn’t know how she could hear what they were talking about, since him and Anne were speaking softly and Gemma wasn’t that close to them. “I thought you were supposed to be upstairs by now.” Harry exclaimed in a louder voice back at Gemma.

Gemma laughed and finally pulled herself away from her spot, turning around to face Harry and Anne.

“I was just on my way upstairs actually.”

Harry rolled his eyes.

“But like really, you should ask him out if he doesn’t.”

Harry scoffed and was about to retort back, but by then, Gemma was up the stairs, and Harry heard a door close, so Harry looked back at Anne.

“We’re not dating, and we won’t be. It’s just a stupid crush so don’t get excited. Please tell Gemma she doesn’t need to get her hopes up.”

Anne laughed. “Harry, it’s literally fine, you don’t have to ask him out or anything like that, you’re not obligated to do anything. Just tell me this though; what’s his name?”

This was a question Harry could answer. This was an easy one. “Louis. But Gemma doesn't know that yet, I don’t think.”

“You should have him over for New Years.”

Oh yeah. New Years. Hm. About that…

“He actually wants me to go to his mum’s for a party.”

Anne frowned, as she was thinking for a minute. “Well, any other day would be fine, but I think I want you here with us. Not only is it tradition and stuff, but if you weren’t here, it’d just be the two of us, and Gemma will probably find a way to sneak out mid party anyway.”

Harry knew it would be a no go. He could have told Louis that the day Louis invited Harry.

“But, if he wants, he can come here for the party.”

Harry crossed his arms. “Oh so it’s ok if he comes here and is away from his family, and yet if I want to go over there then there’s problems.”

“I just suggested it as an option if that’s something either of you would like, and I’d like to meet him. But hey, maybe his mum will be like me and not want him away from family either.”

Harry nodded, finally feeling the embarrassment set in and kicking himself for not only talking about Louis, but also for saying too much about him. Luckily the nod was enough for now.

A little later, Harry found himself back in his old bedroom practically ready to head to bed. He’d been messaging Louis off and on throughout the day but finally glad he was alone so that it was no longer weird that he was on his phone so much. Harry being alone didn’t last that long, as soon there was a knock on his door, and when Harry looked up, Gemma was peering in at him.

Harry knew that Gemma would come in even if Harry didn’t want her to, so he said nothing as she let herself in and closed the door behind her. Harry didn’t want another repeat of what happened earlier that day in the kitchen, so Harry put his phone away, but Gemma got a good glimpse of Harry on it when she first came in, so there was no point in trying to deny it even existed now.

“Hey.” Gemma began, eyeing where Harry stashed the phone away. “You still talking to that Louis guy?” Harry nodded. “Cute, so when's the wedding?”

Harry sighed, too tired to address that question and decided to just ignore it. “He likes someone else, Gems.”

“So? That doesn't mean you should stop flirting with him.” She expressed. “Especially if he's still single. If anything, you should be flirting even more.”

Harry shook his head, because that wasn’t happening. “He also sleeps around with this girl like, all the time. It so annoying and I wish she would just go away, honestly.” Harry sighed. “Apparently, he was supposed to dump her because he likes this guy, but they shagged the night before I left, so like, there goes that.” Harry didn't like thinking about all this and when he remembered seeing Louis with a love bite on his neck it kinda annoyed him.

Harry felt a hand on his arm and Gemma gave him a few quick pats before pulling away. “He sounds… complicated...”

Harry didn’t know if he wanted to agree with that or rebel against the idea that Louis was a piece of work. So Harry said nothing. What could he say? Harry didn’t care that Louis complicated because Louis was so much more than that.

Gemma ran her fingers through her hair and smiled. “You know, I think you should have him come over and sleep with him.”

Now that was something that was surely not going to happen, like, at all.

“Um, how about no.”

“Why not?” Gemma asked sharply, “You get to have sex with him, and not to mention that it opens up a can of intimacy.” Yeah, like that makes the situation any better, especially if it wasn’t mutual. “Friends with benefits is the next best thing.”

Harry sighed. Maybe Gemma was right (because she would be the one to know), but still, it was something so foreign and so...unlikely to happen that Gemma really shouldn’t have even brought it up. “I hope you know I’m still a virgin,” Harry admitted sounding slightly disappointed that a statement like this was true. “I thought I already told you this?” Harry thought that he told Gemma before. Not that she needed to know, but it was one of those deep dark secret things, where they both shared something they wouldn’t dare tell anyone else (like Anne*, for example) just for the hell of it, and it was the first thing Harry could think of.

“Okay, so, maybe I forgot you’re still one, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do other things.” Gemma explained playfully, nudging him in the shoulder with her elbow. “Like, it’s a pretty damn great idea, actually. Take it from an expert.”

Harry bit the inside of his cheek and shook his head “Gemma,” Harry began slowly, “I’ve never done things with other guys before. Just kissed.” This made Harry sad and upset at himself for being so inexperienced. What was Harry thinking? Here Louis was living off sex for who knows how long. Harry, on the other hand, has done next to nothing, and, for the shortest bit of time, thought he had a chance with Louis. Why was Harry forgetting the most basic and important fact that Louis didn’t care for relationships? If Harry did want something with Louis, he’d have to do it Louis’ way, which was completely unknown territory for him. Not only that, but Harry wasn’t even the guy Louis likes, so frankly, nothing was going to happen. End of story.

Gemma sighed and tapped her fingers against her cheek. “Well then I don’t know what else to tell you, other than just to kiss him, I mean, it’s better than nothing.” Harry knew he wouldn’t even dare because it wasn’t worth the embarrassment and it also wasn’t worth it to have to be rejected. “But by that look on your face that says otherwise, it sounds like you’re staying in the friend zone. Sorry H.” Gemma reached over and patted Harry on the shoulder before getting up from her seat on the bed and heading to the door.

“I just hope you figure out whatever it is with him soon.” Gemma commented in a gentle tone before leaving the room and closing the door behind her.

Finally alone, Harry let out a groan as he fell back on the bed. He was stuck and stumped. Stuck in the sense that Harry felt no better about his feelings for Louis despite talking to  Gemma and Anne about it, and stumped because he wasn’t sure what to do next about it. Also, Harry was very well aware of how fast news spread, and despite only two people knowing, Harry was sure that Ed and Niall, even Zayn and Nick, could know in less than a week's time, and of course, worst of all, Louis would know. All because Harry fell short keeping it a secret. Harry wasn’t sure there was a way to get out of this one.

A few hours later, Harry was still up, and yes, also still talking to Louis, but this time on the phone. Louis initiated it. Apparently, Louis couldn’t sleep or something, so he was bored. What was the solution? To call Harry. Sure, it hadn’t yet been days since they actually talked, but it felt like, to Harry at least, it had been ages.

Harry was lounging on his bed fiddling with a loose string on one of the blankets while Louis had been talking about what he did that day. Then, Louis started going on about how he always gets short changed for his birthday since it’s right around Christmas (and Louis added that he certainly didn’t appreciate that). None of Louis’ sisters got him anything, but Jay gave him a card (with some money in it, and that Louis appreciated), so that was nice.

“But enough about my crap-tastic birthday. Have you found out what your plans are for New Years yet?”

“Unfortunately, it’s a no; mum won’t let me come.” Harry didn’t think Louis should have been surprised by this, because Harry knew he wouldn’t be able to go the minute Louis asked him, and Harry told him this.“But, my mum said you could come over instead.”

The line went silent, and Harry didn’t know if that was a good sign or a bad one. Harry waited, wondering what the response would be.

“Sure, I can do that.” Louis breathed easily, and Harry couldn’t help but smile a little. “So it’s a date then.”

It most certainly was not. Luckily Louis was joking, and Harry knew this because then Louis laughed.

“But anyway, about this get to together at your mums, do I need to show up with a dish or come as my handsome self in a suit or what?” Louis asked, and Harry swallowed. What did Louis think this was?

“Um, it’s up to you.” Harry answered stumbling over his words a bit. “But skip the suit, this isn't some extravagant ball or something. It’s just my mum.”

Harry heard a dawdling sigh on the other end, because of course, Louis wanted to be somewhat dramatic about not getting his way.

“Hey, I was only asking because you never know, and besides, I think I look quite handsome in a suit...what do you think? If you had to guess, of course.”

Harry closed his eyes. At that moment, Harry thought about doing it. For some reason, it seemed like the right moment, but that feeling that that was the right time only lasted for two seconds, because tons of doubts started filling up his mind. Harry reasoned it was better to play it safe, for now, at least.

“I’m sure you do.” Harry finally muttered, instantly feeling better knowing he went with saying the safer option.

“You know what, when I get off the phone with you I’m sending you a picture of me in a suit to prove it.”

“Why?”

“Because I want too, and there's nothing better to do and I’m bored. Also maybe you would appreciate seeing me looking cleaned up.”

Well, Louis wasn’t wrong with that per se…

“Okay alright, fine, whatever makes you happy.” Harry paused, trying to think of what to say next to keep not only the conversation going but to keep Harry from revealing too much, if they were to keep talking about how good looking Louis was. “What are you doing right now?”

“Laying in bed, talking to you, and wondering if I should shave before I meet your family,” Louis mentioned sounding slightly preoccupied. “Considering you're so into clean cut guys, I need to impress your family, since they might be like you were at first glimpse: I’m ‘public enemy number one’.” Louis teased, but at the same time sounded rather serious.

Harry rolled his eyes. “Louis, Gemma’s already seen your picture, and she thinks you're hot, by the way, probably just like any other girl and or guy you’ve slept with.”

“Gemma? Your sister?”

“Yeah, my older sister. She’s kind of like you in a way, not afraid to speak her mind and can be brutally honest when it comes to certain things, but she’s great.” Harry explained, trying his best to make Gemma sound good. Not that that was hard, as she was a good sister, she could just be annoying at times.

“We’re going to get along great then, oh and I promise not to flirt with your sister.” Louis bantered with a snicker that followed, but he did sound like me meant it.

“Well yeah, I hope not.” Oh man, that would be bad. Gemma would tease Harry for infinity if she ended up with Louis when Harry liked his first and yet was too shy and unsure to do anything about it.

As their conversation went on, Louis continued to ask Harry about his family, before it turned to what they’d all be doing before Louis was invited. Harry knew they weren’t really going to be doing anything spectacular, watching the ball drop, having some drinks (not so much Harry), eat a ton of food and then just hang out, real low key. Harry was kind of hoping that Louis could stay over, as it’d make the night a little bit more lively. Plus, it’d been plenty of time since they last saw each other, and Harry missed Louis slightly.  

Alright so Harry missed Louis a lot.

Harry couldn’t help but wonder if Louis broke it off with Edith yet. Hopefully so, because then Harry could just focus on finding out who this guy was that Louis like without worrying about Edith showing up.

It wasn’t until his phone started to beep from low battery when Harry noticed the time; they’d been on the phone for two hours. Usually, the most they’d spend on the phone with each other was an hour, but even that as rare. Two hours, however, was a massive amount of time that Harry couldn’t even believe, and at that time of night, he couldn’t even comprehend it. Of course, Harry’s phone low on battery gave Harry the perfect excuse to hang up, because he was so tired and so sleepy Harry was sure he’d fall asleep on Louis if they remained talking any longer.

“So, my phones about to die,” Harry began, turning to his side to grab his charger. “I might have to end our wonderful chat, sorry Lou.”

“Awe, hanging up already? You do know you can charge your phone and make calls at the same time, right?” Louis teased, but Harry was still thinking of a proper response when Louis started up again. “Can’t handle our long in depth conversations anymore tonight?”

“I guess so, but feel free to text me if you want, I’ll still be up…maybe...I mean, unless you’ve run out of things to talk about.” Harry yawned, moving over to the side of the bed where the plug was.

“I’ll come up with something, I always do.” Louis answered smugly, as if he couldn’t believe Harry ever doubted Louis abilities to create captivating conversations.

“Anyways, happy birthday Lou.”

Louis let out an easy sigh. “You’re the best Harold, the second birthday wish in one night. Good thing I have a friend like you in my life because my supposed best friend that goes by the name of Zayn only wished me once.”

“Just how many birthday wishes did you expect to get?” Harry asked, not sure why Louis had to be so spoiled.

“Multiple. I don’t think someone can ever have too many birthday wishes, actually.”

“Well, I guess you would know.”

“Of course I would. Now I’m going to let you go before you hang up on me.” Louis remarked in a tone that was a little playful yet sharp at the same time.

“Who said I was going to hang up on you?”

“I never said you were, but I’ve heard it before, ‘My phone’s gonna die, I have to go now!’ Oh please, the classic excuse.”

Harry laughed, he just couldn’t help it. It was funny, Louis mocking Harry, or at least others he’s talked to that have used the ‘my phone’s on low battery’ line just so that they could hang up. “Louis,” Harry began, trying to sound like Louis wasn’t be absolutely ridiculous. “My phone really is gonna die, I’m serious. If anything, my phone will hang up for the both of us if I don’t get it charging.”

“You need one of those portable chargers. Too bad I didn’t think of it sooner when I got you a  Christmas present.”

Harry sighed. “You’re gonna really wish you thought of it when we get cut off, that’s for sure.”

Now it was Louis’ turn to laugh. “Man, you’re getting feisty, huh?”

“Louis.”

“Ok, ok. We’ll talk later. But I’m still going to text you.”

“Of course.” Harry yawned, knowing he was not at all skilled in the sport of staying up very late. For now though, it was ok, because soon they hung up Harry had enough energy to get up and turn the light off, waking up a little bit to do so.

Harry made himself stay awake just in case Louis did text, but a few minutes later there was nothing. Harry wasn’t going to initiate anything, of course, because he would have rather gone to sleep than spend his night texting, but he wondered when Louis could send him a message. Hopefully not for the rest of the night so that they both could get some sleep.

Harry just turned off his lamp and rolled to his side under the covers. Soon after his phone lit up the room and he smiled, reaching over and seen he had a message from Louis. Without hesitation, Harry was quick to open it, and he wanted to faint.

It just so happened that Louis really did feel the need to send Harry a picture of himself in a suit with a text that read, ‘On my way to steal your man.’ Yeah, it made Harry smile, of course it did; Louis knew how to do that, that bastard.

Harry couldn’t help but reply, he just had to say something, as he knew that Louis would call him rather shortly if Harry didn’t reply, demanding some sort of feedback on the picture, because Louis was like that.

But Harry didn’t really know what his reply was and didn’t really think it through until it was already sent.

Harry: Too bad I don't have a man.

It was the text that was one hundred percent honest and also one hundred percent risky. What would Louis think? At first, Harry didn’t think that text could be so bad, but when Louis didn’t reply right away like he normally did it made Harry rather anxious about it. Course, Harry was also thinking about it too much, as Louis was clearly joking, so he would think much of it, right?

When Harry finally got a text back he was relieved, as he could finally allow himself to stop freaking out over a text.

Louis: Well then…On my way to steal you.

Uhh...was Louis still joking? Harry wasn’t sure, but either way, it made Harry's stomach all fluttery and he felt instantly ten times more awake.

Harry: I feel insulted….Are you saying I'm not worth even a tenner? Just worth a five finger discount?

Harry didn’t want to keep pushing it, but he just couldn’t help it, as it was too easy to do so. Plus, wasn’t Louis also pushing it? Seeing how flirty he could be without Harry picking up on something? Problem was, Harry didn’t know if it was just a bunch of jokes, as he had no way of knowing how sincere Louis really was.

Louis: You're worth more than money can buy, quit whining before I actually do come steal you ;) '

Maybe Louis was just practicing pickup lines and flirty texts on Harry, trying them out to pick what he’ll do to win over that guy he likes.  

Even if that’s what Louis was doing, Harry couldn’t help smiling like a fool because it was just that unreal and somewhat wonderful, all at once, something that had never really happened before to Harry. Sure it would kinda hurt if Louis was just trying out lines and testing things on Harry to eventually use on someone else, but in that moment, that didn’t matter, because it just seemed like Louis really meant what he was saying.

It was tough.

Harry: Too bad because I won't let you; I'll stand my ground on that one, Lou .'

Harry read that over for another minute before pressing send, suddenly worried that the whole conversation could all go wrong with one text either going too far or making things awkward, and Harry didn’t want to ruin anything at all.

It took Louis a solid ten minutes to respond, each time Harry waited for a response it seemed to take longer and longer for one to come. Was that a bad sign?

Louis: Who said I was going to ask? Hmmm? If I want you, I want you. Also, maybe my intentions are to in fact steal you away because I miss you.

Oh so that’s what it was.

At this point, Harry could think of nothing else to say, not sure for how much longer this was going to go on and feeling even more confused, because he still had no clue about what Louis really felt, like beyond the texts, and for a minute Harry didn’t even know if he ever would. Harry just stared at the message trying to think of what to say.  His mind is blank, and he wants to say he misses him too if that's what Louis is implying. He can't do it, though, he can't find a way to word it without giving himself away.

Harry just put his phone away and tried to fall asleep, as his mind needed a break from thinking too much about their last few texts back and forth, torn between thinking Louis felt something towards Harry and the other extreme where all Harry was just a friend.

Thankfully, sleep came in no time.

   

    *****  

The next few days were rather uneventful, and Harry was used to living back at home again. He’d been texting Louis about their plans for term two. When it came to Louis, the attention fell on the band. Apparently, they were taking a break, not playing over the holiday vacation. Louis explained that shortly after the band began again, they had a massive gig lined up. This was all news to Harry, as Louis hadn’t been talking about the band for a few months, so of course, Harry didn’t really know what to ask and what to think, until Louis told him.

Louis told Harry this big gig was also a big deal, and that Harry should come. Harry wasn’t against it, because it’d been ages since he last saw Louis and the band play, which was really reason enough to go. Course, Harry said he’d have to think about it, buying Harry enough time to make it seem like Harry wasn’t really that excited about it, despite the fact that he was.

With Anne out running errands, Gemma was with Harry planted in the living room. Currently, Gemma wasn’t allowing Harry to leave and take a shower because she apparently had something so important to tell Harry.

“Gemma, please just tell what you want so I can go,” Harry sighed, crossing his arms and flicking his gaze towards her.

Gemma grinned slowly like she had all the time in the world, looking at Harry.“I wanted to ask you what your plans are for New Year's Eve.”

“I don't have a plan, for one, and secondly, I only have two days until New Year’s Eve, which isn’t really enough time to figure something out, Gemma.”

“Two days is more than enough time then, honestly,” Gemma replied flatly.

“Two days for what? Gem, what are you talking about?”

Harry hoped Gemma didn’t have any ideas, and certainly hoped she didn’t have any aspirations, because nothing would become of them, and that was for sure.

And if Gemma thought that Harry was actually contemplating making the first move, she could go and rethink things, because no way was that going to happen either.

“You know, two days to plan out how you're going to make out with Louis.” Gemma huffed and rolled her eyes, as if disappointed and alarmed that Harry didn’t get her hint.

“Gemma,” Harry sighed, not sure how many times he’d have to tell her this, or something along these lines. “I already told you I'm not kissing him or doing anything sexual with him. Period.”

Gemma frowned and for a second looked defeated.

“Don't give me that look.” Harry replied, because that was what Gemma did when she didn’t get her way, and somehow was always able to use it to turn things around and get her way.

“Then how about I read some of your messages to him... please?” Gemma began not giving up her pout. “I promise I won't go through your pictures.”

Harry shook his head and pushed her already grabby hands away. “Hell no, you just want to snoop or send Louis a text to instigate things, I know you.”

Gemma scoffed and rolled her eyes. “Do you want me to decode his messages or not? Plus, I promise I won't go through your top secret shirtless photos of him this time, and I know you have more.” Gemma added smugly.

Harry looked away, thinking. If he denied that bit about having more pictures of shirtless Louis it would make him look defensive, causing him to show Gemma all his pictures just to prove himself right. If Harry didn’t say anything it’d seem like his silence was an embarrassed way of saying yes. The only way to get around all that was to just hand her the damn phone. Maybe one day Harry would learn to stop being so pushed around by Gemma, but today was not that day.

“Okay, fine. I’ll let you read a few messages, just a couple, though.” Harry muttered, glancing towards Gemma again who now had a huge smile on her face. She held out her hand again as Harry chewed on the inside of his cheek, giving him one last minute to change his mind before the phone totally left his hands. “Please don’t send him a reply back, just read them. I know you want to but please don’t.”

Gemma nodding, taking the phone gently as if it were a living creature. The smile on her face turned focused and serious, then puzzled, and Harry had no idea what it all meant.

“Man, oh man,” Gemma finally remarked quietly with a smile. “He’s such a flirt!” She squealed, glancing over towards Harry before looking back down at the phone again, her smile still growing.

Still, Harry was quiet, waiting for the final verdict on all of this. It seemed like a lot of hot air, but since Gemma was clearly impressed and pleased, Harry thought maybe, just maybe, there was something going on. Course Harry realized Gemma could have also been playing him, overreacting to get Harry to think there was something going on to get Harry to go through with having Louis over and possibly doing was Gemma suggested. So Harry knew he had to be careful and not gullible at all.

I kind of maybe miss you and I can’t wait to come over and see you, aww.” Gemma pressed her hand to her chest, for extra dramatic flair. “I’m going to get you a gift card to a coffee house one of these days because I know how much of addiction you have to iced coffee.” Harry didn't want Gemma to read them out loud, but there was no stopping her at this point; she just wouldn’t listen. The fact that Gemma was enjoying it made it even more annoying, and Harry maybe would have liked to grab the phone back and make her stop, it was just too awkward and amazing, all at once.

“Oh and, I’ll ring you in a bit. Hm, there’s a lot of those. It seems to be a nightly thing for you both.” She smirked, glancing over towards Harry. “You two sure have a lot to talk about.”

Before Harry knew it, Harry’s phone was back in his hands, but she continued to beam. “God, I can't believe you’ve been so blatantly ignorant all this time.” she began before reaching over and putting her hand on Harry’s shoulder. “He likes you, H.”

Instantly Harry thought of a million reasons why Louis did not, in fact, like him, but all he could manage to do was to look back up and Gemma and swallow. There was no way Gemma could know what Louis really felt from just a few texts, because that (besides some pictures) were all Gemma knew of Louis, whereas Harry knew him a lot more. If anyone was misinformed it was Gemma, for sure.

“You’re wrong, Gems,” Harry replied, shaking his head and starting to sit up. “If he did then he’d make the move, but Louis likes someone else, just like I told you before.”

Gemma glared at Harry. sighed and stared at him. “Are you being serious right now? Harry, he calls you Harold even though no one else calls you that, tells you he misses you like, three times per night and is even offering to buy you things when he’s probably way more broke than you are. Plus, he sent you pictures of himself that he’d never send to any other ‘friend.’

These were all things Harry thought about, but they still didn’t really convince him. After all, why was Harry going to get his hopes up? Harry didn’t know why Gemma didn’t understand that.

Gemma got up and started moving away from Harry, walking over to the door. “He wants you.” Gemma announced confidently before turning and walking out of the room, leaving Harry alone.

No, Harry was sure that Louis didn’t want him, right?

Louis’ whole philosophy about dating and relationships was different from anything Harry wanted, and if someone gave in to what the other person wanted, they’d be unhappy, making things miserable and not worth it.

Harry got up and made his way out of the living room, unsure of what to think. All the information Harry was getting from Gemma and what his own mind was thinking about the whole situation sent conflicting messages about what Louis really thought, and since Harry had no clue he didn’t know what side to believe in.

All Harry wanted was to stop thinking about Louis and what Gemma told him, because it was all starting to feel like nothing was really happening but just the concept of it all overwhelming at the same time.

   

    *****  

Nine in the morning of New Year’s Eve and Harry was nothing but nerves, as Louis was going to be showing up later that day. Even though Louis wasn’t arriving until later, Harry was ready; hair styled, perfect outfit, things like that, and basically all set... basically. All Harry really had to do was chill out, but unlike other things that needed to be done, there was no guarantee that Harry could actually relax.

“What if he gets bored.” Harry mumbled as he walked back into his room. He crashed down on his bed and groaned, not really sure why he even told Louis he could come in the first place. Course, the whole thing wasn’t that a big of a deal, but to Harry, there was a lot possibly riding on it. Not only that, but Harry would have to answer to Gemma about what happened, if anything. That put so much more pressure on it, because Harry didn’t really want to let Gemma down, but then again, it was none of her business.

Harry was planning on languishing in his room the whole day, but then Anne came stomping in with other plans.

“I need you to go with your sister to the market to grab a few things I forgot.” And before Harry could say anything else, Anne left, closing the door behind her.

Harry took a deep breath before getting up, not sure why Anne couldn’t just go back herself (and take Gemma with her). For some reason Anne wanted Harry to go, and to make Gemma go with him.

Eventually, Harry grabbed his coat and made his way into the kitchen, where both Gemma and Anne were. Gemma had her coat on and was twirling the keys in her hands, looking bored, and maybe slightly annoyed that Harry had to tag along. Well, Harry was pretty annoyed that he had to go in the first place, with or without Gemma.

“You guys gotta be back before four.” Anne handed some money to Gemma as they started out of the kitchen.

“Yeah, before we have company. You gotta be home for your guest, right H?” Gemma sneered with a smirk, and all Harry could do was roll his eyes.

Gemma did most of the shopping, Harry just really followed her around, letting her do most of the work, which was fine, as Harry wasn’t really putting much care to it. Was he much help to Gemma? No, and yet Gemma didn’t see to need him at all.

At the moment, Harry was preoccupied with the worry that Louis would lose interest in him. With no party going on in the background, Harry was sure Louis would get bored, and bored quickly. But Harry didn’t want Louis to get bored, because if there was any possible way that Harry actually had a shot for anything between them, this was it, this was the chance, and Harry didn’t want to ruin it.

“What are you going to do if Louis gets bored?” Gemma asked, as if reading Harry’s exact thoughts, and honestly, Harry was thinking the same thing.

“What makes you think he’ll get bored?” Harry asked, playing it off as if that wasn’t even a thought that graced Harry’s mind.

Gemma shrugged. “I mean, he’s hanging with you.”

“Gemma!”

“What?” Gemma replied, as if stunned by Harry’s response.

“You were the one that agreed with mum that he should come.”

“Yeah, on the promise that you weren’t gonna be boring, or I’ll have to come in and save him from you, or maybe I should just steal him anyway, he seems pretty chill.”

Harry didn’t want to scream, ‘Gemma, he’s mine,’ but Louis really wasn’t, so there was really nothing Harry could do.

“Anyway,” Gemma began again after Harry didn’t bother to reply.

“You need to learn to have fun and, while you’re at it, a little sexual teasing never hurt either.” Gemma announced as she grabbed a box of yellow cake mix and put it into the basket.

“Gemma, what does that have to do with anything?” Harry hissed once again and glared at her to stop. “Louis and I are just friends, so there will be no sexual tension, and just for the record, I’m not even sure if your claims of him wanting me are even true, because like, how do you even know?”

Gemma rolled her eyes as they strolled down the aisle. Harry didn't want to keep talking about it and didn’t like what Gemma was doing at all. It was none of Gemma’s business, and Harry maybe even suggested she was jealous of him for having plans like this on New Years. Speaking of, Harry had no idea if Gemma had any plans, but he hoped she did, as it would get her out of the house and no longer able to annoy Harry.

They meandered around the isles a little bit more, before winding up in the family planning aisle. Before Harry could protest, Gemma said she needed something, but Harry was still unsure about what she was getting.

As Gemma looked around, Harry followed her aimlessly, starting to get impatient. When Gemma pulled a box of condoms from the shelf, Harry ripped them from her hands and put them back. No no no no no, Harry was not doing anything with Louis, not that night, not ever. Why couldn’t Gemma just stop trying to make it happen?

“Hey, no need to be rude.” Gemma scolded grabbing the box back and carelessly throwing it into the basket. “Don't worry, they're not for you.” Harry just groaned. If those weren’t Gemma’s New Year’s plans Harry didn’t know what were.

As they were making their way to checkout, Harry checked his phone. Louis texted Harry saying he’d get there early, so Louis was checking to make sure that was ok. Course it was, but it made Harry feel all nervous again, because that meant he’d see Louis even sooner, and yet they were still in that damn store.

When they both got back home Anne was rushing around cleaning everything.

“I can’t believe you kids make me do all the work around here, especially when your guests are coming over.”

“Mum,” Gemma began placing some bags onto the kitchen table. “You wanted us both to go. How were we supposed to clean and go buy your stuff at the same time?”

Anne rolled her eyes as she opened a new pack of Clorox wipes. “You know what I meant. Just come help me before I make the two of you do all of this yourself.”

They left the bags of food on the kitchen table, but Harry saw Gemma take out the box of condoms and hide them in her purse. On the drive back home, Gemma explained that she had plans with some guy after she sneaks out, and yes, Harry was right when he suspected they had to do with her New Year’s plans.

The house was cleaned up in no time, and soon Harry was back in his room, still nervous. Louis would be arriving soon and then the night would begin. What Gemma told him was supposed to make Harry more certain about what Louis felt, but it didn’t. If anything, it made Harry more nervous because if Harry did start to believe any of it but in reality, such was not true, all Harry would be in the end was hurt, if Harry’s hopes went up.

A text from Louis two minutes later announcing the fact that he was there, and Harry wasted no time as he grabbed his coat and boots before heading out of his room.

Once outside Harry saw Louis in his car messing with his hair in the mirror. Harry had snowflakes caught in his hair making it slightly damp as he carefully made his over. The last thing he needs is to slip and fall on his bum especially in front of Louis.

As Harry was standing by the driver side door, he noticed something; Louis shaved (which Harry wished he didn’t). Great, now Harry has to deal with this too on top of everything else.

How the hell is even going to do this?

Harry crossed his arms as he watched Louis climb out of his car. “Hey,” Louis said with a smile as his bag hit the ground once the car door slammed shut.

Before Harry could mutter out a word he was pulled close. Arms locking around his waist and holding him close and Harry just smiled. He nestled his face in the crook of Louis’ neck as shuffled a tad closer for warmth. Also maybe Harry kind of missed being in Louis’ arms.

Harry could smell the notes of his cologne, and he forgot just how good Louis smelled. Something's off about it, though; there were no traces of marijuana. Harry doesn't mind though.

The hug lingered for a minute too long before Harry finally pulled away. Glad the nippy air was making up for his flushed cheeks because the last thing he needs to do is make things obvious.

Still standing quite close to Louis, Harry’s not sure to do now. His mind has gone fuzzy, and all he can do is look at the way Louis’ lips were trembling. He snapped his eyes up to when Louis spoke up.

“Sorry, I came a bit early,” Louis apologized as he rubbed his hands together. “I couldn't wait to see you.”

Louis couldn’t wait to see him, and that makes Harry feel a tad bit warmer inside.

“It’s fine, even though you infringed on my alone time, which you're really good at doing.” Harry teased, as he shivered when the bitter wind blew. Snow falling obliquely and slightly heavier now.

“Well I could drive back home now and you'd have all the time to yourself since you're making a huge deal about it.”  

Harry rolled his eyes, “I am not. You're the one who’s making a massive deal about it. I mean I'm not the one who showed up early.”

Louis sighed languidly, “I'm not making anything thing a massive deal, I just wanted to see you. So sue me for missing you.”

The corners of Harry's lips quirked up as he glanced down to the snow covered pavement. Feeling his cheeks warm up once again because Louis words of missing him. Louis hasn't even been here for twenty minutes and he already has Harry even more nervous than before.

Harry wished he had the house to himself tonight. He'd much rather be alone with Louis instead of having to deal with his family. Gemma could say something embarrassing or his mum could be overbearing. Knowing Harry likes Louis and god, this could be a disaster now that he's thinking about it.

Maybe he's overthinking it all and this cold is just messing with his head. Hopefully, that's the case because the last thing he needs is for this night to be a disaster.

“So... are you going to show me in or are we just going to stand here all night?” Louis asked as finally picked his bag off the ground.

Harry was about to open his mouth to retort back at him, but he just kept his mouth shut. Gave Louis a nod and feeling unsettled about what could happen once they walk through these doors. Gemma could blurt out the fact Harry’s been saying so much about Louis like how Lottie exposed Zayn. Anne could just be overbearing and ask too many questions because Harry’s never brought a guy he’s liked over before that’s just a friend. He has no idea what they’re walking into, but he’s hoping for the best.

Right as Harry stepped back inside Anne and Gemma could be heard from the kitchen (laughing and in the middle of fussing with dinner) and Harry was thankful. Last thing he needs is for Louis to be greeted the moment he walks through the door. Harry kicked off his damp boots as he glanced to Louis. Harry noticed that Louis already hung up his coat on one of the empty hooks and his shoes tucked into the corner. He’s actually kind of impressed, to be honest, because that’s one way to win points with his mum. No one’s allowed to walk on her floors with wet shoes, no one.

“Your mum’s place looks cozy” Louis commented as his eyes glanced around the room before they landed back on Harry.

“Well aren’t mum’s homes suppose to be cozy? It’s home, Lou.”

Louis just smiled, Harry was about to show Louis to his room before meeting his family. Unfortunately, things never go according to plan and out came Gemma from the kitchen with a knowing smile.

“You must be Louis, right?” Gemma asked as she crossed her arms. Her eyes darting between Harry and Louis.

“Yeah, I mean since I’ the only one Harry’s invited, shouldn’t it be obvious, love?”

Gemma smirked, “Smug one, aren’t you? I think I’m going to like you. No wonder Harry always talks about you.” Harry wanted to scream. That was a lie, what happened to not making this into a huge deal? What happened to Gemma saying she wasn’t going to make it obvious? Thanks a lot, Gemma.

Harry felt heat inch up to his cheeks and wanting to go outside and freeze to death because that would be much kinder than this right now.

“Oh he does, does he?” Louis asked impishly as he flicked his gaze towards Harry.

“No I do not!” Harry countered back at his sister and glared at her, hoping she’d get the hint to tone it down. “I only just told her about you not even that long ago. She’s just blowing things way out of proportion which she tends to do, a lot.”

“No I don’t, I'm just truthful to the guest of honor, I mean your guest of honor” Gemma laughed, and Harry was already done. The idea of hypothermia sounded better every time Gemma opened her mouth to say something.

“I mean I can’t blame him, I am quite awesome.” Louis beamed, and Harry knew he was screwed. Gemma and Louis are obviously getting on well already and yet they barely know each other. Harry can just tell this was going to be one long night. Harry’s hoping Gemma sneaks out earlier on so that way in case of her being drunk on wine she would blurt out Harry’s crush on Louis.

If life couldn’t get any worse for Harry right now, out came Anne with a glass of wine. Great, this should be interesting. Hopefully, she’ll be less embarrassing.

“Hello, darling.” Anne greeted Louis with a warm smile as she stood next to Gemma. Her wine glass full and Harry hopes to heavens that his mum won’t be drunk before it’s midnight. He doesn’t need to have double the embarrassment, not today. Louis could tease him about it later on and if he figures things out well the new year could start off on a very awkward note.

“Hello, Ms.-” Louis started to say but Anne already cut him off.

“Please, just call me Anne, hun. I’m Harry’s mum and I’m pleased to finally meet one of his new friends he’s made at uni.” Anne said tenderly before she took a sip of her wine.

“You know I would have mistaken you for one of Harry’s sisters he’s never told me about.” Louis commented and Harry rolled his eyes. Louis just had to play that sneaky 'you look good for your age' card just right and Harry's honestly not surprised by this.

Anne grinned, “You’re so sweet, Louis. Well I'd love to talk more but I should finish up dinner, so I’ll see you boys in an hour.” Harry was glad to see Gemma had disappeared along with Anne into the kitchen because he’s not sure if he can handle anything more from them right now.

Once they were in Harry's room with the door shut he was thankful for the privacy. There are no chances of getting embarrassed or Louis being asked a million questions. Harry’s knows Gemma and Anne are curious about Louis and they both know Harry likes Louis. They’re going to ask questions through the night, and lots of them .

Harry sat on his bed as he watched Louis set his bag on the empty desk and strip off his coat. Harry wanted to self-immolate right about now because it sounded better than this, sounded better than hypothermia because it’s quicker. Louis’ wearing a navy blue henley and Harry wants to tell him to go change into something else. It’s like Louis always knows what will send Harry over the edge and does it out of spite because that’s who he is.

“Your room’s nice,” Louis commented as he glanced around the room. Harry just bit his tongue and didn’t say anything because he couldn’t.Not with Louis standing there and definitely when Louis pushed up his sleeves. Harry doesn't even know what to do with himself right now because it’s like his mind has gone fuzzy. It shouldn’t be this hard; they’re just friends, nothing more.

It was silent, and Harry still couldn’t think of anything to say, his mind is still in a haze. Harry could hear Anne and Gemma talking in the kitchen, but it was very faint. At least they weren’t arguing or being loud and obnoxious. The last thing Harry needs to deal with right now is drunk Anne and Gemma.

Louis moved to sit next to Harry, their arms brushing, and Harry wished they weren’t so close. Louis’ cologne is more potent than it was when they were outside, and it’s smothering him. Harry hopes Louis doesn’t have anymore surprises up his sleeve tonight.

“So,” Louis started, “Do I clean up nice or what? Because you haven't even said anything and I thought you'd at least notice that I shaved. I mean since you used to be so good at picking me apart.”

Well Louis certainly hasn't cleaned up his smug attitude.

“I did, but I didn't want to stroke your massive ego, and yes I think you look nice.” That was a safe answer Harry always seemed to go back to when in times like these. It’s not too revealing of what he actually thinks and Louis never seems to push the boundaries. Except for now of course.   

“Just nice? Not ruggedly handsome? Or even a little hot? “ Louis pressed further as ran his fingers through his hair. Harry did not appreciate these questions at all because he does think Louis is both of those things and he almost feels mocked as if Louis knows what Harry really thinks.

“I just don't want your ego to grow, so nice try.”

“Jerk,” Louis mumbled with a smile. “Anyway, what's on the agenda tonight?” Louis asked as he flicked his gaze towards Harry.

This was the moment Harry realized that this could make or break for a decent night. It could either entertain Louis enough that he doesn’t want to leave or it will be that bad and he will. Harry hopes it’s not like that at all and Louis won’t regret skipping out on spending time with his family tonight.

“Well,” Harry started as he looked Louis in his eyes, swallowing hard. “Um, My mum’s famous new year's dinner with some cake after, a bit of Jenga with some wine, and then I guess watch the ball drop on Gemma’s laptop if she sticks around long enough.”

Louis hasn’t said anything, and Harry already knows he’s thinking of many excuses to leave. This was what Harry was worried about this morning, and he was aware that this would happen. Louis’ a free spirit and Harry’s not. They’re opposites, and it’s just expected Louis would much rather be surrounded by a slew of people immersed into music and vices. Not sitting here on holiday doing nothing but drink wine and playing games. No, of course not, what was Harry even thinking about inviting him over?

“Sounds fun,” Louis finally commented, and Harry never thought those two little words would make him feel better. “Anyone else coming over beside me?”

Harry shook his head, “Not that I know of like I said, Gemma might sneak off with her special friend, so it’s just us.” Harry explained and Louis raised his brow at that.

“Special friend? Like a friend with benefits or is it just someone she fancies?” Louis asked, of course he would. Louis’ always quite nosy about Harry’s life and thoughts.

Harry wasn’t exactly sure if he’d consider this guy was on Gemma’s terms as she hasn’t said much about him. To his knowledge, they are going to sleep together, and that’s about it. He just shrugged his shoulder, “I don’t know, honestly. She bought contraceptives, so I guess she plans on doing things with this guy.”

Louis smirked, “So friends with benefits then,” Harry just shrugged, again, he’s not sure. “What do you think about that kind of relationship? Coming from a virgin’s point of view, of course.” Did Louis have to point out how inexperienced he was? Was it really necessary?

Harry gnawed on his lip as he looked Louis In his eyes trying his hardest not to glance down to his lips. He felt even more nervous now that they’re on the topic of intimacy and Harry wishes they weren’t. His mind keeps going to scenarios that involve Louis in his naked glory and that’s something Harry shouldn’t have on his mind.

“Um.. I mean.. if it's for you then that’s fine, but I don't know.” Harry answered diffidently, because what would he know?

The corner of Louis’ mouth quirked up; he leaned in and Harry wished he didn’t. They’re too close, and Harry’ held himself back from just leaning forward and kissing Louis. Harry really wants to, but he’s not going to take any chances. Not tonight, not when Louis is leaning more in that their lips are only a few inches apart. Harry’s body gone numb and he’s not sure what’s happening or why Louis needs to be so close. Harry swore he saw Louis’ eyes flick down to his lip, but then again it could be his mind messing with him once again. Yep, that’s it, because why would Louis look at Harry’s lips anyway?  And Harry’s going to stick with hallucination to make himself feel better.

“What about friends who just kiss and hang out? What're your thoughts on that?” Louis questioned as he licked his lips.

Harry was taken by surprise because why would Louis need to know about that. It’s not even like a thing, is it? Friends who kiss on a regular basis and hang out? Isn’t that like dating? Harry's not sure how to answer that question because he doesn't know if he can. The question made him feel itchy, hot and wanting to flee the area. Harry wishes Louis never asked and went on with their night, but no, of course not.

It was silent between them still, his eyes not leaving Louis’, and Harry is fighting everything in his being not to lunge forward or blurt out he fancies Louis. Even if it seems like something like that is suppose to happen right now. No matter how perfect the scenario plays out in his head or the fact his mind keeps going back to his previous thoughts.

“I-” Louis started to say breaking the silence between them, but Gemma opened the door, causing Harry to look away, and heat inching to his cheeks. Gemma is definitely going to tease him about this, he just knows it because of how close they were, and she’s just too smart for her own good. Also, Harry's going to remind her about knocking because how would she like it he barged into her room while she had a guy over?

When Harry’s eyes fell on Gemma, he saw that knowing look on her face and Harry wanted to wipe that look off her face.

“Mum wanted me to tell you both dinner's done,” Gemma said cheerily, a smile coming to her face, “Also Harry can you come help me pick out an outfit tonight?”

Harry just stared at Gemma wondering what her motives were. She has never once asked him for clothing advice or ever really asked for help, period.

“Uh, sure I guess,” Harry muddled as he got to his feet, his eyes back on Louis.  “You can go eat, Lou. I'll meet you out in a few minutes.” Louis just gave a nod and Harry doesn’t know why he’d even agreed to go along with Gemma’s plans in the first place.

Once across the hall, Harry noticed Gemma had shut the door behind them and was standing in front of him with her arms crossed. He knew she didn’t help with anything because she’d be at her wardrobe pulling many dresses out and her room would be a retail nightmare.

“Did you really need help picking out an outfit or did you make up a lie to get me in here and laugh at me?” Harry crossed his arms, clenching his jaw.

Gemma sighed, “Okay I lied, but I have my reasons.”

“What reasons?”

“The fact I’m the best big sister in the world, and you're going to love me just a little more tonight.” she grinned, and Harry doesn’t even want to know what she is planning, nope. He already told her that he isn’t doing anything with Louis so why can’t she respect that?

Harry looked at her with a glare before he turned on his feet and headed to the door, about to reach for the knob when she spoke up again.

“Oh come on, Harry. I promise it has nothing to with getting in Louis’ trousers. I swear,” Harry doesn’t know how honest she is right now. “If it makes you feel better it has to do with the four of us tonight.”

Harry wished he had the willpower just to leave, but he was curious as to what Gemma was getting at now that he knows it doesn’t revolve around his and Louis’ friendship.

Turning in his spot, he looked at Gemma, bored, and waiting for her to get on with it so he can go eat.

“I might have persuaded mum to let us all go to Manchester tonight to see the fireworks this year.”

That was certainly something Harry was not expecting, ever. Usually, they stay home on this day and celebrate together, just the three of them. Harry doesn’t get how she did it, but in all honesty, he’s kind of glad she persuaded Anne. Maybe less alone time with Louis will keep him from trying to make moves that don’t need to happen and keep Louis entertained. Also, it’d be nice to have his mum go out and have a lovely time. She works most of the time, so she deserves a fun night out too.

“Are you being serious right now?”

Gemma smiled with a nod, looking satisfied with herself. “Yeah, I mean it took some convincing, but she warmed up to the idea. Also since my friend lives out there, it’s perfect, and maybe I had this crazy idea that you could kiss Louis at midnight. You know the fireworks bringing that dramatic effects for that long overdue kiss.” and there it was, exactly what Harry thought. There was a mischievous motive to it and know he knows exactly why Gemma did what she did.

“Gemma,” Harry sighed, shaking his head. “What did I say a few days ago? Nothing is happening. End of discussion” this conversation was getting tired and old real quick.

“Oh come on, I mean it’s a brilliant idea and besides, he obviously likes you.” Gemma explained, moving to go to her old wardrobe and opening the doors, and skimming through her clothes that she kept at when she visited.

“He likes someone else.” Harry already told Gemma this not even a week ago, so why can’t she get it through her head that there will never be anything between them?

“That someone being you,” Gemma said pointedly, her eyes back on Harry. “He hugged you the moment he saw you after he set his bag down. That was the longest hug I've ever seen between two platonic friends.”.

Harry narrowed his eyes, annoyed that Gemma had been lurking. “Why were you spying on us? No- Just because he hugged me that long doesn't mean he likes me. He just hasn't seen me in a while; it's not that big of a deal.” Harry stressed to make himself feel better about this because he knows it’s a huge deal. A massive deal actually because no other friends of his have ever hugged him like that. He knows there could be a huge possibility that Louis could be into him, but it’s still a crazy thought.

“Right, not a big deal, okay.” She didn’t sound convinced, and this is why he never tells her about anything when it comes to guys. Gemma's back to her wardrobe, pulling out an olive green top, and not saying anything else.

When Harry was seated at the dining room table, he just wanted to get this over with already. Harry wanted just to have a nice quiet dinner and then head off to Manchester for the night. Get away from Gemma and her observations and his mum’s possible embarrassing stories. Maybe he and Louis could drive separately because that sounded better than be cramped in a small car with his family.

As dinner began Harry mainly kept to himself. Only commented when it was necessary and let Louis get to know his family. Hearing Anne ask Louis about where he lives if he likes uni, what he does for fun, and a whole bunch of questions. Harry's interests were more on his plate of spaghetti and looking at Louis when no one seemed to notice.

Things seemed to go okay so far, and Harry’s glad Gemma hasn’t even uttered out anything that they’ve both discussed over the past week. Gemma mainly talked about how she dislikes being a nail tech and is thinking about going back to uni or something. Dinner was going smoothly and even when Anne started up on the whole trip to Manchester in a few hours Harry noticed Gemma didn’t give him any looks.

When dinner was long over they had a bit of desert before breaking out some hot cocoa and played a game of Jenga before they headed out. Harry paired up with Louis of course, and Louis got a little too competitive through the first few rounds. Harry honestly just thinks it’s funny when  Louis would go on a tirade of claiming Gemma is playing dirty, saying she’s doing the squeeze and shift move. Honestly, Harry had no idea what Louis means, but he knows not to even ask. That boy takes games very seriously, and Harry  doesn’t need to hear him go off about a silly game, let alone have a repeat of the costume contest.

Maybe that’s another reason why Harry’s so endeared when it comes to Louis. Louis gets along with most people (when he's not a smart ass) and he’s not afraid to voice his opinions. Which Harry likes even if sometimes the opinions are unwanted and unnecessary because that’s not something Harry would do. They just mesh well together, and Harry's not going to lie, he never thought he’d be here today thinking about Louis Tomlinson being more than a friend.

It’s so crazy, and Harry still doesn’t understand why of all the other guys he’s met over the years, why Louis has stuck out to him. Why he’s the only one Harry has liked in a long time.

By the time Harry was sitting in Louis’ car on the way to Manchester he felt nervous. It could be because they’re alone finally after his mum agreed to take separate vehicle so Gemma could take off afterward. Also, Harry’s mind is back on what happened in his room before dinner, thinking about what Louis had asked him. Wondering why Louis needed to ask it in the first place, is that what he wants with that mystery guy he likes?

Louis did say he didn’t want to sleep with the guy, so maybe he plans to kiss him instead?

Harry’s just leaves the thought alone and looked out the window, not looking forward to standing in the cold, but it beats sitting at home doing nothing.

They were a little less than halfway there when Louis cracked the window and lit himself up a cigarette. Harry shivered from the wind blowing in and crossed his arms, squeezing his coat shut, and his eyes falling on Louis.

“So… I broke it off with Edith.” Louis finally broke the silence between them, and Harry was having a party in his head. Confetti is flying everywhere, party horns going off, and balloons everywhere. It's a New Year's miracle!

“When did you do that?” Harry asked trying not to sound too excited as he watched Louis exhale the smoke from his lips.

Louis looked to be thinking quickly with that brooding expression on his face before he took another drag.  “I think a few days ago, she’s not too happy with me right now, but oh well it was bound to end anyways. Got a bit bored honestly.”

“Well at least you don’t gotta worry about her anymore, but what about that guy you like?” as much as Harry didn’t want to bring this up, he was still curious about this guy. Louis hasn’t ever given him a name or even really brings the guy up, so he’s curious because this guy must be something special.

At first, Louis didn’t say anything as he took a  few drags from his cigarette before putting it out in his travel ashtray. Harry looked at him curiously, waiting for him just to say something, and give him some details.

“What about him?” Louis finally asked, his eyes still on the road.

“Have you figured out what you want with him yet? Or have you at least seen him since we’ve been on holiday?”

From where Harry was sitting here could see Louis messing with his hair as they passed the lampposts that lit up the car. He takes a while to answer the question and Harry wonder what's gotten into Louis. Usually, he’s quick to speak up, but right now he’s acting quite coyly.

“Lou?” Harry questioned again; maybe he didn't hear Harry?

“Yeah?” Louis answered calmly.

“Did something happen with that guy?”

Louis shook his head as the car came to a stop at a red light, his eyes on Harry for a second. “Not yet, but I’ll make a move soon.” Louis had smiled before he focused on the road again, taking off when the light turns green.

Harry just nodded and didn’t say anything else for the rest of the trip there. He tried his hardest not to think about when they get back to uni and seeing Louis and this guy together. Louis’ 'soon' either means in a few days or weeks. Harry just hopes and prays he’ll be over this stupid crush he has in no time once he see’s Louis with someone else. He can get over Louis like all the other crushes he had, it’ll be easy.

Eventually, Harry was being led through the masses of people by Louis’ hand. Louis was dragging him along, bumping into people along the way, and Harry doesn't even know where Gemma and Anne are. They had arrived before them thanks to Louis’ lead foot had Harry hopes they made it safely. Thankfully after Louis stopped tugging him along he checked his phone, and there was text from his mum telling him to be safe and message her when they were ready to leave.

Harry pocketed his phone and looked down to his hand that Louis was still holding and blushed a little. He didn't understand why Louis still held onto his, but he kind of liked it and wasn’t going to say anything. Even if their fingers weren’t intertwined, Harry didn’t care. If anything it made them look like a couple and the idea of people seeing them like this was exciting. Not to mention their mates weren’t around here to tease them and no family members pestering them. It’s just perfect.

“Would you like something to drink?” Louis shouted over the people talking and laughing. Harry nodded as he stood there shivering. Maybe a hot drink would warm him up some more because he’s not even sure if he’ll be able to make it to midnight without getting frost bit.

Louis then lets go of Harry’s hand and disappeared into the crowd. Leaving Harry alone and stranded so that's just great. It's too damn cold to mess around on his phone and secondly, there's literally nothing to do and no one to talk to. He could chat with the people around him but they all look older than him or younger. So Harry just stands there with his hands in his pockets, shivering.

Standing in the street around a slew of people was not something Harry pictured doing on his New Year's Eve. Sitting in front of his sister's laptop and drinking hot cocoa sounded more like it, but that’s not what happened. Louis came into his life, and Gemma somehow convinced Anne otherwise, and now here he is waiting on some guy that’s getting him something to drink. A guy that always offers him things and talks to on a nightly basis on the phone.

Harry knows it’s a long shot, but maybe what Gemma said about Louis wanting him was true. It’s not a totally crazy idea that he’s ruling out now that he’s thinking about it. He’s been friend with Louis for a little over three months now, and he’s noticed that Louis doesn’t act the same with Zayn or Nick. Louis’ walked Harry to his door and gave him a Christmas present which from his knowledge he never gave Zayn one and that Louis’ best friend. Maybe Harry’s looked too much into those ‘Ten signs he likes you’ articles online and he’s paying too much attention to the details. It’s still a possibility to not rule it totally out.

Still, there’s the factor of Louis not being one for relationships and that contradicts everything else. That’s why Harry’s been trying to ignore his crush or at least act on anything because he’s not brave enough or confident in the fact Louis could potentially like him back. He’s not willing to take that risk.

Harry snapped out of his thought when he felt something nudge him in the back, and he was quick on to turn around, only to smile and grab one of the cups from Louis’ hand.  “Took you long enough, thought you ditched me there.” Harry teased as he took a sip of his drink. Tasting hot cocoa and Harry just smiled against the rim of the lid.

“Of course you would,” Louis shook his head as he smiled up at Harry. “Anyways… so tell me what your new year's resolutions are by chance? You never told me.”

Harry looked at Louis and thought he joking because to had to be. Making resolutions was the dumbest idea ever because no one sticks to them unless they had incredible willpower. Harry did try one year to eat less sugar and that only last two days, so it proved his theory more right. Especially when all his friends and families resolutions failed not long behind him.

“I don’t make resolutions; it’s all just a made up concept to make you feel better about yourself.” Harry explained as he took another sip. Spitting out some of his drink on the ground because it burnt his tongue and Harry blushed a little when he saw Louis just smile at him. Harry just wiped his mouth with his sleeve and decided to let his drink cool off a bit more.

“Oh come on, Harold. Everyone has at least one thing they want to accomplish in a year. Just because you're a negative Nancy about the whole resolution things doesn’t mean it’s any less important to me.” Louis went on, and Harry just lets him talk. Not really up for arguing his points on this because he’s cold and his tongue is burnt.

“I get that it’s important to you, but I’m not going to make one. You can tell me yours though.” Harry offered and Louis nodded, not looking totally pleased.

Louis licked his lips and seemed to be thinking for a moment before he shook his head. “Nah, you probably don’t want to hear it anyway. Since you know, you don’t believe in such a thing and besides, you might jinx it.” Louis laughed, and Harry just rolled his eyes.

As time had went on and time winded down with two hot cocoas later. Harry's shuffling in his spot trying to keep warm on top of not panicking every time Louis steps a little closer to him. It’s like he doesn’t know boundaries and wants to be right next to Harry, not that he minds of course. He likes being close to Louis; he loves it when Louis touches his arm or his shoulder. He likes Louis in general, but right now after everything else he hates it.

Harry noticed that they have five minutes until midnight when he checked his phone and couldn’t wait, to be honest. He was already thinking about Louis’ nice warm car on the ride back. Hopefully, a quiet one and his mum isn’t asking too many questions again. All Harry wants is a nice warm ride back and sleep in his warm bed.

Waiting for the countdown to begin was quite irritating, to say the least, because Harry was antsy and his skin was itchy his toes were starting to go slightly numb. He probably should have worn two pairs of socks, but who would have known that they’d be outside the whole time.

The snow picked up and Harry shivered, standing a little closer to Louis, hopefully, to get some warmth. He jumped, and his breath caught in his throat when he felt an arm wrap around his waist and pulled him close. Harry blushed and glanced down at Louis’ hand on his side, thinking about how nice it feels, and back to those stupid articles online of signs he likes you.

His mind back on that and he starts to think of everything that happened tonight and the past couple of days. He thinks about the keychain Louis had given him and the goodbye hug before holiday. He remembers when Louis teased him for the beer spilled on his top and pestered him, and now they're here. Now all Harry wants to do is to run off into the sunset with this boy.

Harry was pulled out of his thoughts when he started people chanting numbers, and he hadn’t realized just how long he’d been staring at Louis’ hand. His eyes snapped back up and noticed Louis was already looking at him with a smile on his face. Harry doesn’t know why Louis’ looking at him like that, but he likes it, he likes it a lot.

“What?” Harry mouthed to him, wanting to know why he keeps looking at him like he’s won the fucking lottery.

Louis licked his lips again, and Harry wants to tell him to stop doing that because he’s going to get chapped lips and because it’s distracting. Of course, he’s not going to that because why would tell Louis he’d been staring at his lips?

Louis’ looked down for a moment before they snapped back up to Harry and it didn’t process in Harry's head at first, but when it did he almost wanted to faint. Louis’ looking at him like how Zayn looks Niall. How Nick looks at all the hot guys, how Ed stared at Laken, and how his mum used to stare at his dad.

Louis likes him; Louis Tomlinson likes Harry, he…

When  Louis erased the distance between their bodies and pressed their lips together, Harry almost got the wind knocked out of him. Fireworks going off in the background as everyone yelled ‘Happy New Year,' Harry was shaking, and unsure of what just happened. Gemma was right about the fireworks to add dramatic effects; their first kiss had fireworks… and not just in the background.

The kiss didn’t last long because Louis slowly pulled away from him, his gaze half lidded, and hand on Harry’s arm. Harry wanted more; he wanted to kiss Louis again because he might never have this moment again. So he went back in and crashed their lips together, their lips moved in sync and soon enough Louis’ tongue was shoved into his mouth.

Louis moved his hands to Harry’s waist, keeping his close. Kissing him like he was never going to see him again and Harry felt like his knees were going weak. He just felt tingly all over and didn’t want Louis to stop; he didn’t want to stop kissing him.

The kiss is just everything he imagined, maybe even more amazing than he expected. It was so sudden, and he didn’t even expect it to happen.Not ever because he was so convinced Louis had other plans with someone else when it's been him this whole time.

It went on like this for a while. Time just slipped away until Louis finally stepped back and was breathing heavily. Fireworks still cracking in the background and lighting up the sky. Staring into each other's eyes and Harry’s not sure what to think because they just kissed. It wasn’t any old kiss, though… it felt weird, in a good way.

Harry’s heart is racing one hundred miles a minute and they're not saying anything. They’re just standing there looking into each other's eyes. Harry can’t even move because he doesn’t want to, he doesn’t want to be apart from Louis, like at all.

Harry doesn’t care if he’s missing the firework show or missed texts from his mum and friends telling him happy New Year. He doesn't care about anything else, but this.

So what now?

Chapter Text

First morning back at uni and Harry's sitting beside Niall in foundations of health science.

Class hadn't started yet and Niall was already yapping away about what happened over holiday. As much as Harry loves to hear Niall go on about his lovelife with Zayn and their amazing relationship. Harry was not in the mood, not today.

Harry's exhausted and downhearted. If Harry were honest he'd much rather be back in bed with his eyes closed. Unfortunately, Harry's own morals seem to kick his arse and make him be the good student he is. Preparing for exams next week and putting his education first. An expensive education he can't afford to mess up because he feels a bit blue.

Even Niall’s been looking at Harry in a peculiar way throughout lecture. Which Harry doesn't appreciate at all. Hopefully afterwards he gets to leave without a million and one questions from Niall. Niall shouldn't be snooping where his nose doesn’t belong, but goes about it anyway.

By the time Harry left he thought he’d wouldn't get the hell out of there fast enough. All he wants to do is go back to his dorm and take a nap. Or maybe do a puzzle or something that will get his mind off certain things. Unfortunately, Niall had other plans and yelled out for Harry just as he was about to reach for the handle. Oh no, here we go. . .

“Harry!” Niall shouted as he jogged up to where Harry was standing.  “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you leave that fast. Got a hot date or something?” Niall laughed. Yeah, not funny.

Harry sighed, fixing his book bag strap as it was feeling quite heavy. Also in no mood for jokes and teasings. “No, I’m just tired, Niall,” which wasn’t necessarily a lie per se.

Niall crossed his arms and gave Harry one of those stern looks as if he wasn’t buying it. “That’s a load of bull, I mean maybe you're tired since you spend nights face down in the books. But I think something's bothering you,” Nope, Harry's not even going to go into this, not right now. He’s already walking out the doors knowing it was quite rude, but he just can’t.

Not making it far,  Niall caught back up to him again, almost slipping when he trotted over an icy patch. Thankfully Niall hadn't crashed into the other students leaving because the last thing needs to happen is more than one person falling.

“You know you can tell me what’s going on, Harry,” Niall mentioned, as he pulled out his phone, quickly typing something before shoving it back into his coat. “Don’t pretend like I don’t know because I do. You’re acting a bit strange,”  as much as Harry feels a bit guilty for shutting Niall out as they’ve always told each other everything over the years. This was just… a delicate topic.

Harry didn't offer a response as he veered towards the direction of the bus stop, noticing Niall wasn’t leaving his side. So Zayn isn’t picking Niall up or what? Maybe he’s running late, oh god Harry hopes that’s it. Zayn better be on his way here to get Niall for the day or else Harry’s not going to have the nice quiet evening to himself.

A few seconds pass as they grew closer towards the slightly crowded bench. Niall still was right next to him, hands shoved into his pockets, and shoulders hunched as if he were cold. Which it is and Harry thinks Niall is crazy for saying the next thing that comes out of his mouth.

“Want to just walk back to our hall instead? Could use some fresh air, you know,” Great, so this is going to be an evening full of numerous questions, great. Just great.

Harry just had to bring it up because it’s weird seeing Niall fall out of his usual routine all because of Harry’s mopy attitude. Niall is a very loyal and dear friend to Harry, so he gets it, but usually, Zayn comes first. Like in a sense of spending time together as much as they can in a day. Then again Niall was always there when he knew Harry was down in the dumps over something, usually something along the lines of boys he liked or dated.

“And why isn’t Zayn picking you up? He always picks you up,” Harry brought up because it’s true. “I mean if you want to walk back to the hall, then by all means I’m not stopping you, Niall. But I’m taking the bus,” Harry knows that came out harsh, but it’s cold and snowing. Damp curls and his legs going numb from the chill didn’t sound too appealing thank you very much. Especially since it’s nearly a twenty minute walk.

Is Niall crazy?

Niall let out a huff as if he should be the one that’s annoyed right now. “Oh come on, now,” Niall complained, “Just walk with me, alright?  I told Zayn not to wait up for a reason,” as much as Harry wants to tell Niall to fuck off, but every being in him says to just go. Harry knows if he doesn't go off with Niall then it’d prove Niall more right that something is going on. If Harry goes with him then Harry will be interrogated with unsolicited questions thus proving that there is something. Either way, Harry knows he’s screwed.

Harry rubbed the back of his neck, as much as he dreaded the trek back with the shit weather, maybe skipping out on the very crowded bus (which he hates) sounded okay. Hopefully, it gets to be too chilly to hold a conversation long enough, well Harry’s hoping so.

“Alright, fine. But just this once, alright?” Harry settled, already treading away from the bus stop, Niall following not far behind with a satisfied smile on his face.

By the time they were in Harry’s dorm, Niall was lounging on Harry’s bed with his wet boots kicked off, and coat thrown on the edge of Harry's bed. As if he were at home lounging on a Saturday afternoon. Harry’s hair still damp from the snowflakes is now thrown into a disheveled bun and his cheeks still pink from cold. Bundled in a nice warm jumper and making a mental note to never walk that far in the winter with Niall again.

At least Niall dropped the questions and went on about his six month anniversary coming around in two months time. Thankfully that was something Harry could deal with on the walk back. Hearing Niall be so happy and excited about how long they’ve been together without any troubles. Which was really good considering Niall's shit ex boyfriends in the past. So hopefully whatever they got going for them keeps going.

Harry soon felt his phone buzzing against his thigh, but he ignored it. Knowing who it exactly is, or at least guesses, that he simply shouldn’t be talking to right now. A major distraction from his coursework and yeah… other things.

Niall busy with his phone for a moment, his eyes landed on Harry who was clearing off his desk chair and slumping down into it, crossing his legs. “So, Liam’s party is tonight and Louis and Zayn are going to be there, so like we should go,” Niall casually mentioned and Harry was already shaking his head. Nope, not happening. “And why not?” Niall pressed further, as he pocketed his phone. His eyes on Harry.

“Because exams are coming up and I don’t have time to go mess around, alright,” Harry snarked, crossing his arms. He knows he’s being a bit of a dick today and he’ll awfully feel terrible about it later, but Niall caught him on a bad day.

“Sheesh, you need to calm down,” Niall stressed as he moved to sit up. “Listen, I don’t know what’s going on or if something happened that you’re not telling me. But it’ll be alright, okay?” Harry appreciates what Niall’s saying, but it’s useless. He’s not going to feel better, not for a while.

“But still you should come tonight, loosen up a little, and go have fun with Louis. Because you and I both know you have a massive crush on him,”  Niall stated as a matter of fact and Harry wished Niall wasn’t so good on picking up when Harry liked someone. Harry should have known better though because Niall’s just too smart for his own good and knows things before Harry does sometimes when it comes to guys he come to like.

“I do not,” Harry’s answer was rushed and Niall looked unconvinced. “We’re just friends, that’s it,”

“Uh huh, sure,” Niall’s sarcasm was something Harry was not appreciating right now, no he was not! “You like Louis, so try again,”

Man, Harry wishes what Niall was saying was anything but true.

Harry wants to keep fibbing about his crush to his best mate and not feed into it. It’s just getting to that point it’s borderline frustrating because he knows, he fucking knows it’s all pointless.  “Not like it matters anyway, Niall,” Harry scoffed, finally just saying because he’s tired, so so tired.

The corner of Niall’s mouth quirked up and god, why did he have to look so smug about it? It’s not the first time Harry told Niall about his crushes. Sure it could be that Niall beaming that he knew Harry would have fallen for Louis after all this time. Mainly because Niall believes highly in the opposites attract stuff, so he can’t blame him for thinking the way he did and he was right. Harry has a soft spot for the bad boy type.

“Well I be damn, it’s about time you admit it!” Niall exclaimed, suddenly sounding more enthusiastic. “You actually said it out loud and I can’t believe I was actually right, I mean I can because it was so obvious, but damn,” Niall was too happy about his (not so) revelation and Harry likes that Niall is excited for him and all. But it’s nothing worth getting excited over that’s for sure.

“God you have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to set you two up, seriously Harry. Like the moment I met Louis I knew you’d be drooling all over the place, despite the differences, but I knew it’d take you some time to warm up to him. Which I was right, but still. “Niall went on and Harry just bit his tongue. “Also it does matter because I think he likes you too, by the way, I mean, hello? have you seen the way he looks at you?” yeah, Niall needed to stop right there.

As much as Harry didn’t want to say this, he had too. “Niall,” Harry started, but Niall kept going on about double dates and stuff. “Niall,” Harry tried again, a tad louder. Niall eventually stopping to finally let Harry talk for once.

Harry took a deep breath before he said, “I don’t think me and him will work, Niall, it just won’t work,”

“What do you mean it won't work? You guys are practically together twenty four seven and-”

Harry cut Niall off, speaking over him. “Because then why would he have kissed me and then apologize for it?” well there it is, out in the open and Niall hasn’t said anything. Just sitting there as he gaped at Harry. “Niall he left me all alone hours away from home and I had to have Gemma come get me, does that sound like Louis likes me?” Harry questioned, feeling like honestly crying because he’s obviously hurt. Of course he is, because if Harry wasn’t then he would have brushed it off two weeks ago.

Niall soon frowned and was silent. Harry wished what he said wasn’t true, but it was. It’s the reality of the whole situation and surprisingly enough Louis never gave him an explanation other than saying he was sorry and needed to go home. Yeah, talk about a good way to start the new year off! Feeling embarrassed for even thinking for a split second there was something there. Especially since he acted on his own impulse after holding himself back for a while.

“I thought he liked me too, you know, and well I guess I was wrong,” Harry said woefully, looking down at his lap, and feeling a bit more upset now that he was talking about it.

If Harry were honest, he didn't plan on Niall finding out about what had happened. At all. It's embarrassing and it's bad enough Gemma knows about it too. Which she claims that Louis probably was freaked out or something. Yeah, unlikely because why would that happen? It's not that Harry is some amazing kisser or at least have any resemblance to Ryan Gosling. It's confusing, to say the least. Some part of Harry believes maybe Louis had only kissed him because it's tradition to kiss at midnight. Knowing Louis and how he tends to take celebrations quite seriously, but still. It wasn't very nice to go around kissing your friends if that's what it was. Especially leading Harry to believe that maybe Louis did feel the same after all.

On the bright side, Harry did finally get to kiss Louis. Which he won't lie, it had to have been one of the best kisses he's ever had. Sure he's only ever kissed two other guys before and lacks in experience. It still left quite an impression on Harry, Louis knows what he's doing that's for sure, but Harry wished he would have known Louis’ thoughts on Harry's kissing abilities.

Oh god, he probably is the worst kisser in the world and Louis ran for the hills. It's a crazy thought, but look at Harry's love life that's nonexistent. It's tragic.

“So let me get this straight,” Niall began, messing with his hair that was mostly dry. “Louis kissed you and then apologized about it?” Yeah, he did, funny isn't it?

“Yes, Niall. He did, and it wasn't just a small little kiss either, he shoved his tongue down my throat. So tell me how any of that makes sense?” Harry retorted, his eyes back on Niall.

Niall scratched at his scalp and looked to be quickly thinking before he said, “You know I could have Zayn-” Harry cut Niall off again because he knows exactly where this was going, or at least he thinks.

Harry shook his head, “Don't even think about it. I don't need Zayn finding out that I like Louis too. Especially since they're like best mates and all,” well it's true, it'll just make things weird if Zayn so happens to tell Louis that Harry's got crushy feelings for him. “Besides I just want to keep this between us, if that's okay?”

Thankfully Niall gave a nod and Harry hopes Niall is able to keep it to himself. Niall wouldn't want Harry to do the same if he were in his situation. Especially when it comes to Zayn that's for sure.

“I won't, I promise,” Hopefully Niall keeps that promise. “But you know that you're going to have to confront Louis sooner or later about this, right?” That was not happening, never! Harry doesn't even have the audacity to touch Louis without overthinking too much, so how the hell will Harry be confrontational towards Louis. This wasn't something you just bring up casually on any other day. No. Not without the possibility of making things even more weird.

Why did any of this have to happen though? Harry could have avoided ever liking Louis or talking to him in the first place. This was all Niall’s fault for wanting to be more than just one of Zayn’s sexual conquests, but Harry can’t blame him. Zayn’s borderline perfect for Niall compared to his past relationships and Harry found to like Zayn too. It’s just his friends could have been left behind, with the exclusion of Nick because at least he doesn’t toy around with Harry’s head.

Still if Niall wouldn’t have pushed Harry to be friends with Zayn's group, then maybe he wouldn't be sitting here slightly miserable. Over some guy moreless.

“ I don’t know, Niall, I don’t even want to talk about it anymore, so can we please just drop it already because it’s pointless“ Harry muttered, “Not like Louis wants to actually be with me, anyway. Can’t believe I actually thought I wanted to be with Louis at some point, funny isn’t it?” Harry knows he’s being bitter about all of this, but he’s allowed to be. He’s been saying no to guys for how long? And actually gave a damn about dating again after he found himself liking Louis more than a friend. Well, at least Harry knows for sure he is not the guy that Louis likes after all.

Niall thankfully dropped it all together after he decided to change the subject to something Harry can agree on. Knowing Niall won’t be satisfied if he doesn’t get his way since he’s already sacrificing his evening listening to Harry’s problems. “How about we both skip out on the party and hangout instead? Just the two of us.” Just the two of them hanging out sounded much better than being dragged to a party. They haven’t really just ‘hung out’ since Niall had a boyfriend, so this should be nice. Maybe it’ll get Harry’s mind off of things.

“As nice as nap sounds to me, I actually think I can agree on that, Niall. I just don’t want to be up all night, okay?” that was his one and only compromise. Well other than bring up the whole kissing conflict thing, but still.

Niall gave a nod as he moved to his feet, pulling his wet boots over his feet. “So I’m going to go back to my room and change into something a little comfier, “ Niall mentions, grabbing his coat off the end of Harry’s bed. “I’ll bring some stuff, you just sit tight and set up your laptop so we can watch some films tonight,” Niall hadn’t even given Harry a chance to say anything because he was already out the door.  

Well at least Harry’s not being pestered to come out tonight anymore so that’s a plus, but he has a feeling Niall won’t stick around long enough. He’ll probably run off the second Zayn texts him that he misses him or some shit. Harry just knows or at least thinks this will happen most definitely before the clock is seven. Which Harry won’t complain because the sooner Niall leaves, the sooner he can go to sleep!

With what little time Harry had to himself, he refrained from checking his phone, too nervous to even take a look. So he put his phone on the charger next to his bed and went to change into something a little more comfortable. A nice warm jumper and pair of joggers to go with it, Harry even left his hair tied up because he doesn't even want to deal with that mess on his head. The last thing Harry did pull out was his laptop from underneath his bed and start it up, minimizing his screens.

By the time, Niall had come back with various snacks and drinks tucked into his arms, which Harry doesn’t understand. Niall’s room isn’t that far and he could have just made two trips instead. Then again this is Niall and he likes to make things harder than they are or is just being plain lazy. Even though it is not necessary since there's no time crunch or anything. Unless he has plans lined up afterwards with Zayn, which isn’t in the least bit surprising.

“You know Niall, you could have just texted me for some help, or you know, make two trips.” Harry pointed out as he watched Niall clear Harry’s desk off in one swift movement off his arms. Papers and pens falling off his desk and onto the floor, one of his textbooks is now in the rubbish bin. Harry wonders if Niall is planning on cleaning up after himself because Harry's not.

"By the time I messaged you it'd take too long going back and forth. So I thought 'hey I got two arms why not use them'," Niall explained as he slouched down onto Harry's desk chair, rolling it over towards the bed (with his feet) as he already has his hand in the bag of salt and vinegar crisps. Like he hasn't eaten in days and can't put the bag down to just move the chair. "Besides I told you I would be the one supplying snacks, so don't start complaining now', " Niall mentioned as he pulled out his phone with his free hand and quickly checked it.

So Harry takes it Niall going to be on his phone or at least checking it throughout the night? Surprise, surprise!

"Anyway, what exactly are we watching because you left before I could even ask you," Harry hoped he would stay awake long enough to last until the end of the movie. Or at least pay attention to it other than being in his thoughts.

Niall soon grinned after scarfing down a pile of crisps before he carried on, "Well you know we have to watch A Walk To Remember, that's like the staple of all movie nights." Oh yes, that film. Hmm… Harry's not sure if he's really up for a movie like that.

"Is it really though? Or is because it's literally one of your favorite films?" Sure it's a good film, but anything in the romance genre sounded the least bit appealing to Harry. Maybe they could have at least gone into the more comedic route? Hell even a flinching from jump scares from horror flicks would be better than watching love stories. But of course, Niall would much rather cry over some sappy movie then maybe you know, something a little more lighthearted?

How the hell was this suppose to perk Harry's mood up?

The film is literally about a bad boy falling in love with a guileless girl that has great ambitions. Like how more relatable can it get? Well except Harry not the local minister's daughter or starring in a school play with Louis. It's the concept mainly and to be honest, Harry doesn't like it.

“It's a timeless classic, Harry. So shush,” Niall declared. Harry just bit his tongue because not like it would do any good. Niall already has his mind set and Harry’s just going to have sit through this film whether he likes it or not. All because Niall was doing this for Harry’s sake and Harry feels obligated (because he such a good friend) to just go with it.

By the time they had gotten comfortable on Harry’s bed (there wasn’t a whole lot of room), as comfortable as they could. Sitting side by side with their legs crossed wasn’t the ideal way to watch a film, but it’s good as it’s going to get. Niall’s the one who wanted a film night, in Harry’s dorm mind you, so he better not complain to Harry about accommodations.

Harry tried, he tried to focus on what was in front of him, but it was just so hard. How can he even focus on Landon picking apart Jamie on the bus after she said ‘Please don’t pretend like you know me’ when Niall’s sitting beside him checking his phone every five seconds. Man, he wished he could kick Niall out and it hasn’t even been twenty minutes into their ‘lads night’.

If Harry’s honest the way Jamie had gotten picked apart reminded him of a certain someone when they had first met, but Harry’s not going to think about that. It’s only a teeny tiny resemblance to Louis anyway, nothing to stress over.

Niall‘s not even paying attention anymore as expected now as he is face first in his phone. Smiling while scrolling through Instagram, well Zayn’s Instagram. It was annoying. So what happened to them just hanging out? This doesn’t even feel like Niall’s even really trying and it was his idea in the first place! Then again if Harry himself had a boyfriend he’d suppose he’d be doing the same, maybe, maybe not. Still, Harry wishes they could have just studied instead of watching a movie they both aren't really paying attention to in the first place.

When it got to be half way over, Harry had to say something, he just had to because Niall is in need of being in check. “Niall, so when are you actually going to start paying attention and put away your phone?” Harry firmly questioned, his eyes on Niall. “I mean afterall this was your idea,” the screen to Niall’s phone went dark and he had mumbled an apology in the midst of all of that. In truth, Harry knows Niall was trying his best even if his best wasn’t necessarily great. Harry expected it to go south from the start anyway because for as long as they’ve known each other it’s always been like this. Always.

Not that Harry can blame him, Niall’s in a relationship that’s going places and it’s probably exciting to finally be with someone that isn’t a total jerk. But still, that doesn’t mean ignoring your friends because your boyfriend can’t handle one night without getting into your trousers.

Eventually they both fell back into the movie. Niall was actually watching this time and commenting about if he were getting a temporary tattoo from Zayn in a car in the middle of the night like in the movie. Then confessing his love to Niall sometime after, why he’d would be the happiest ever.

Still, it beats seeing Niall on his phone the whole damn time.

By the time the movie had ended, (fucking finally!) Harry was relieved, and a little sadder now. That damn ending always, always gets him. Every time Harry has sat through this film no matter how many times he tried to hold back tears, it always gets him.

“You know, I've seen this movie at least a hundred times and it still makes me cry.” Niall mentioned, as he rubbed his eyes.

“And yet you were more into your phone the first half of the movie,” Harry shook his head, moving off the bed, and pulling his phone off the charger. Heading into the bathroom for a moment while Niall did whatever.

Now that Harry was alone for a few minutes he was able to take a deep breath. Not that Niall was overwhelming to be around, but he needed to have a second alone. Also maybe because he was feeling a bit anxious when it comes to his phone. Harry knows he can't avoid checking his messages much longer.

It took every ounce of Harry to turn on his damn phone and pull up his messages. Which Harry was amazingly correct about, even though he wished he wasn't. It was Louis.

 'Louis: Hey you. '

The last time Harry even heard from Louis was a couple days ago, but that was a text that went ignored. Harry didn't want to talk to him, and he still doesn't want too. Louis is just so confusing and he's already done enough, Harry just needs a little more time before he's okay to just have a conversation with Louis, let alone hang out with him again.

Yes, of course Harry's missed Louis and his antics, he really likes him for crying out loud. But Harry's never been in this sort of situation before and everything's just so… complicated.

Harry just pockets his phone and decided to not think about it anymore than he should. Last thing he needed to do is dwell on the fact of feeling guilty of not responding to Louis. Hopefully, Louis’ getting the hint that they’re not okay and won’t be for a little while. Harry sighed as he left the toilet and first thing Harry noticed was Niall back on his phone. Smiling and typing away and Harry’s just about to tell Niall to just go already. Obviously, he’d much rather be with Zayn than spending his time watching films that he’s seen numerous times already.  Harry isn’t going to force Niall to be here either, so he’s going to bring it up to him.

“You can go off with Zayn, if you want,” Harry suggested as he made his way back over to his bed, seeing Niall’s head pop up. Of course, the mere mention of getting off movie night to see Zayn had Niall’s immediate attention. Man, that boy is so gone for Zayn and Harry hopes it’s a mutual feeling on Zayn’s part.

“I’ll be fine,  promise,” Harry reassured him for extra measure just so Niall won't have that guilt of leaving behind his friend who’s mopey over some guy. It’s not like Harry’s going to hold it over Niall’s head either, he’d much rather be in bed anyway. Even if it wasn't particularity late into the night, everything was just wearing onto him mentally.

Niall had a pensive expression on his face, his head titled to the side, and his phone no longer in his hand. Then he gave a soft shake of his head, “Eh, I don’t know, Harry. I can see Zayn anytime I want and it’s been ages since we’ve hung out, just the two of us, with the exception of Ed being there,” Niall pointed out. But Niall’s okay to spend time with Harry if that means he can text Zayn instead? Wow talk about a shit compromise!

“But you’re texting him? And have been since you’ve been here and made a mess on my floor, which you need to pick up before you tail it out of here, by the way,” Harry’s just being honest and he’s tired. It’s still rather annoying to him that Niall would much rather be in deep conversation of god knows what with Zayn than spend sometime with Harry. Even if that means being deep into poorly done rom-coms and tear jerking films. For one night, for one fucking night. Harry's a good mate though, he wouldn’t tell Niall no about going off with Zayn, of course not. He just wishes sometimes Niall would be a little more considerate of Harry’s feelings.

“Are you sure though, Harry? Because I think we can squeeze in one more film before it gets too late.” Niall proposed. “I was hoping we’d at least make it to 10 Things I Hate About You,”

Harry nodded because he was sure, he was so sure that he wanted to go to bed!

“Niall as much as I enjoy your company, just go and be with your boy. It's not like the end of the world or anything, maybe we can study for exams together soon,” oh god, what a thought! Niall actually studying with Harry, something not likely to happen since they have such differences on study habits. “You know where you actually take pride in your coursework,” Harry teased for good measures.

“Fuck off, I do so take pride in my work, just my routine is a bit more laxed” Niall scoffed as he went to pick up his mess. Well at least Niall actually was cleaning up after himself, so that’s an upside.

“Your routine involves what's in Zayn’s trousers instead of coming to class, hate to break it to you, Nialler!” Harry suddenly feeling a little bit better as they bantered back and forth. It’s nice.

Niall just shook his head, “Well you know, sexual anatomy has always been my favorite subject,” oh god, Harry was not ready for that and how smug Niall sounded. “Zayn's been helping me study real good every night,” oh dear lord, last thing Harry wanted to picture is Niall and Zayn shagging on a nightly basis. Thanks a lot, Niall.

“Did I really need to know that? Really?” Harry shook his head while closing up his laptop, shoving it back under his bed. Watching Niall grabbing a few of the unopened bags and other snacks he hadn’t touched or at least Harry didn’t touch.

Niall just smiled, looking satisfied as he could as he didn’t say anything else before leaving the room. Umm... talk about rude. He didn’t even say goodbye or at least tell Harry he’d be back.

Well he did, he sent Harry a text three minutes later, hoping he had at least picked Harry’s mood off the ground slightly. Also saying that he was up for the study session by the way. Well, that should definitely be interesting… as Harry’s more into revising  for hours and Niall’s more of a quick study kind of guy. Not that it’s a problem, but Harry feels like their study ‘date’ will be short lived. It’s the thought that counts though right?

So now that Harry finally had his room to himself and it wasn’t even seven thirty yet, he thought maybe squeezing in a bit of studying before bed sounded like a decent idea. Now that his mind was in fact on exams and no longer napping. Which he really should be studying even if he does feel like burying his face into his pillow for the night.

Squeezing in a bit of studying turned into nearly two hours of studying because by the time he reached the thirty minutes mark his brain was a tad more awake. Also, he’d been sort of slacking off over holiday, so he figured maybe, getting in two hours was a good idea; it was, until Harry almost fell asleep halfway through his notes on the cardiovascular system.

Harry had decided right then that it was definitely time for bed, even if it was later than normally planned. He feels better though, a lot better now that he refreshed his mind on how important his university career is to him. Harry’s now putting his stuff away and slipping off his jumper, tossing it onto his desk chair. Looking through his wardrobe for one of his more loose casual shirts to wear to bed, as it felt a little too warm to wear long sleeves to bed.

Right as Harry pulled his white shirt off the hanger there was a loud pounding coming from the other side of his door. Oh great, what now?  Hopefully whoever this is will go away if Harry ignores them, because maybe they’re drunk and have the wrong room. Yeah, that’s probably what it was.

Except they didn’t just go away.

They wanted Harry to march over to his door and give them a piece of his mind because he’s too tired for this shit. He’s already been through a whirlwind of things, so confronting a potential drunk couldn’t be too hard, right?

And Harry does go stomping over, shirt folded over his arm, face in a scowl, and opening up his door in a quick. Suddenly wishing that he didn’t act on his impulse tonight because right now he’d much rather deal with the consistent (well rather inconsistent) knocking then having to deal with who was on the other side.

Louis. It was Louis and he isn’t wearing a coat. Cheeks flushed and snow in his hair. Harry wonders if maybe Louis is intoxicated.

Louis was about to open his mouth, his hand up in the air, finger pointed but then his hand dropped and mouth closed. His eyes widening slightly as he licked his chapped lips.

The last time Harry was face to face with Louis, he got stranded hours from home and Harry’s suddenly feeling even more annoyed at the thought. He wants to ask Louis, why, but he can’t do it. He’s actually more worried that he didn’t manage to slip on his top in the heat of the moment now that Louis’ in front of him. Staring and not saying anything. Ugh, now Harry’s starting to feel a bit self conscious, that Louis may be judging his lack of muscle definition or something, but he tries to ignore that and ask Louis the important question of the night.

“Louis.. What are you even doing here? And without a coat?” Harry crossing his arms, trying to cover himself up a little. It’s not much, but it’s better than standing there in the entryway exposed like that.

“I came to see you!” Louis announced loudly, waving his hand in the air, as his body shifted back and forth for a second “Night so fucking boring, oh my god!” Yep, Louis is drunk. Great, just great.

Harry sighed, not even knowing what to really say to this. He doesn't want to be Louis’ source of entertainment tonight at all and dealing with someone drunk wasn’t on his agenda either.

But then Louis blurted out something that confused Harry, “You weren’t there,” what does that even mean? Where wasn’t Harry? At the pub or something?

“What?” Harry questioned, absolutely one hundred percent confused.  

Louis scoffed, “You weren’t at the party! Fucking boring as shit,” Louis then as if he had an official invite lurched past Harry into the room. Almost falling into Harry’s desk and right now was not the time for another mess!

Harry shut the door behind him because there was no need for anyone to be curious as to what this was about. Especially since he just saw a couple students peering over at Harry as they slowly walked down the hall. Great, now they probably think Louis’ spending the night in Harry's room where Harry’s shirtless and it’s almost going on ten.

“No, of course I wasn’t, I was with Niall, Louis.” Harry explained, still wondering why Louis showed up in the first place. “Why are you even here?”

“Question is why not?” Louis asked, as he was supporting himself with the top of Harry’s desk chair.

Ugh! Harry just wants to go to bed and for Louis to get the hell out here. If Louis wants to talk then he should have showed up sober, because it almost feels like this is some joke.

“For fuck sakes are you really going to bed at nine fucking thirty? What are you twelve?” Louis teased. Harry did not appreciate being mocked at all.

Silence suddenly filled the air and Harry just stared at Louis, noticing how disheveled his clothes were. His green utility button up is out of sorts with one sleeve rolled up. His white shirt had taupe colored stains that looked like droplets and Harry wonders if that's from Louis’ beer he probably had before just showing up. The one thing that did stand out to Harry though was that he didn’t reek of marijuana which was impressive, but Harry wasn't going to comment on that. There's no need and there shouldn’t be any need to say anything to Louis besides telling him to go home.

“I think you should leave,” Harry muttered out and Louis just laughs, he fucking laughed. Obviously thinking this is some kind of joke or something.

“Mmm, but I want to hangout with you, Harold!” Louis suddenly exclaimed, making Harry slightly worried he might get in trouble for being too loud. “I haven’t seen you in ages!” Can Louis stop talking loudly? That’d be great.

“I’ve been busy, also would you tone it down a few notches, you’re going to get me in trouble or have half the hall hate me by the end of the night,” Harry stressed firmly as moved to sit on his bed. Tired of standing and not really sure what to do anyway, feeling a bit awkward that he’s still shirtless and all.

Louis rolled his eyes and suddenly flipped the chair around and straddled it as if he was making himself comfortable. Staring at Harry with his arms folded at the top of the chair, looking kind of like arsehole, to be honest.  A hot arsehole…. No, Harry is not going to think Louis looks good tonight, it shouldn't even be a thought! He’s still annoyed with Louis and he still doesn't even want to talk to him either.

Why can’t Louis get the hint?

“You need to relax, Harold.. No one gives a fuck,” Louis said carelessly as he started messing with his fringe. “No one except for you who’s already ready for bed!” Louis then laughs and Harry frowns. Not up for Louis jokes and teasings. He doesn’t want to hear any of it!

“Then again I’m not in the least bit surprised considering it’s you,” alright that was enough, Harry was done. Sick and tired of Louis bashing his lifestyle because clearly, that’s probably the reason why Louis doesn't like him.

Harry crossed his arms, glancing down at his lap, and breathed out, “Just leave me alone, Lou. You’ve already done enough.”

Silence once again filled the air between them and Harry didn’t say anything or look up at all. Especially a few seconds later when Louis finally spoke up, just kept his eyes off, because he can't even look at Louis right now. Already upset again and wanting to be left alone and he means it. He wants Louis to go away.

This was probably the first time since he met Louis where he didn't want to see Louis and wanted him to leave him alone. After being lead on and all, Harry’s not sure how their friendship is going to recover from this.

As if Louis finally got the fucking hint, he finally declared “Well then I’m going to go back to the party now,” as he almost stumbled out of Harry’s desk chair (but caught himself) and leaving without even saying goodnight. Not like Harry was expecting it, but whatever.

At least Harry was finally alone and hopefully the next time he sees Louis it won't be for a while.

 

    *****  

It's Thursday and it’s going on two.

Harry's been at the library for the greater part of his morning. Studying and all that fun stuff. Needing just a change of scenery from his dorm or sometimes the cafe. Also, it gave Harry an excuse to make a detour to grab his usual coffee.  It was finally nice to be back into the swing of things that's for damn sure!

Harry gnawed on his lip as he was typing out his notes again. He's been revising all morning now that he had a day off from class. From copying out his notes two times over (his favorite thing to do!) to writing down the key points of interest and rephrasing it to make it less dull. Harry is satisfied. Now if he is able to keep himself motivated for one more hour then he can leave and take a break. Then the rest of the night is free to do whatever he wants, which Harry could use a night to decompress.

Well that is until Harry's phone buzzed against the table, not once but two times. Already having a feeling that he just needs to ignore and come back to it when he's on the bus. Not when he's in the middle of studying especially since exams are starting very soon.

So that's what Harry does and in the span of the time, he had left he received even more messages. So apparently it looks like his evening of lavishing in his room wasn't going to happen. Harry knows it, he just knows because whoever is sending these umpteen messages is obviously trying to get a hold of him for whatever reason. This better be important.

Hopefully it's not who Harry thinks it is…

Harry sighed as he grabbed his phone and saw he had a few texts. As much as Harry didn't want to read them until he was on the bus back to his dorm, he was curious. Of course, he was because the last time he received this many messages was when Niall was in a crisis over meeting Zayn's sisters.

And it was actually Niall who texted Harry and not because he was meeting his boyfriend's family, no. It was about Zayn's birthday outing tonight asking him if it was okay to come get him at six.

Harry knows this sounds bad and make him look like a shit friend, but he sort of, maybe forgot it was tonight.

Niall had told Harry about it the other day when they were sitting in the cafe after class. Hanging out because Niall being the supportive friend he was, felt super guilty about ditching halfway through their movie night, spent his afternoon entertaining Harry. Telling Harry that he knows it's last minute but Zayn had wanted all of their mates to go out for his birthday. Yeah, of course, Harry was very hesitant because he knows Louis would be there. He's Zayn's best friend and Harry knows how important celebrations seem to be to Louis.

Niall advised Harry to just ignore Louis or at least just walk away if it gets to be too much for him.  Yeah, but then Harry wouldn't have to see Louis and he could always send Zayn a birthday text. Niall didn't like that idea apparently and continued to persuade Harry. It took a little while and a promise from Niall to not be focued on Zayn all night for Harry to accept. Harry didn't buy it but he gave in to make Niall happy. Also because deep down he likes Zayn too.

So now the night Harry already had planned out is scratched off. So that's just great. He had about three hours to get ready and prepare himself to face Louis again.

After sending Niall a text back confirming that time was alright, Harry was already on his way to the bus station.

By the time he was back in his dorm he managed to have a quick shower and was now in front of his wardrobe with a towel around his waist, wondering what he's going to wear tonight. Sure it's not like he's actually going on a date or anything. He just wants to look decent and not look like he's been languishing in his joggers as of late. Besides maybe cleaning himself up might make himself feel a bit better about going out tonight.

“What to wear… what to wear,” Harry wondered, torn between wearing his go to staple short sleeve button up or just a basic black long sleeve. It shouldn't be this tough to just pick a damn top out to wear with his trousers, but it was. Deep down Harry wanted to show Louis that he, in fact, isn't moping over him, he wants Louis to see that Harry can get over one small kiss. Okay two kisses, but still. He just doesn't want to appear still phased.

Eventually Harry settled on the long sleeve top and slipped it over his head before pulling on the rest of his clothes after losing the towel. After Harry scrunched his hair, he was ready to hit the road. Still, Harry had about an hour before Niall would come swooping in to come get him. So with what little free time he had, Harry decided that maybe he should break out one of his thousand pieces cat puzzles he got two Christmas’s ago from Gemma. It’s been sometime since he’s got around to doing one since he’s been here at university and besides, maybe it might calm his nerves. Get his mind off of things too…

Who knew working on a puzzle would make Harry feel slightly better about going tonight, crazy, isn’t it? A cat puzzle, a fucking cat puzzle was the reason why Harry could go be there tonight and not wanting to dash the moment he see’s Louis. Wow, who would have thought that many cute little faces of cats would brighten Harry’s mood and he only has the perimeter done.

Puzzles should definitely be more frequented during his stay here that’s for sure.

By the time Harry was working on one of the cats’ faces, there was a soft knock on his door and someone let themselves in. Harry with his back turned and too focused to look up, knew exactly who it was because he knew that irish accent from anywhere when he spoke up.

“Really Harry? A puzzle?” Niall asked in disbelief as he tossed Harry his coat, hitting him in the back. Wow, talk about being rude.

Harry just rolled his eyes as he got up from his spot, shooting a glare at Niall before picking up his coat off the ground and dusting it off. “You could have just handed it to me you know,” Harry snarked, slipping it on afterwards.

“Yeah, but at least you got the hint that we’re leaving now, plus Zany’s waiting out in the carpark for us,” and Zayn couldn't have just came inside? Or maybe sent Harry a text to come out there instead. But Niall just wanted to come in and be all dramatic about it, of course.

Not offering Niall a reply he just shook his head and walked past him out the door, hoping Niall would be sticking to his word tonight. Hopefully, he won’t be left alone without anyone to entertain him. Maybe Ed might talk to him if he’s not too busy with a beer in his hand and an arm around Laken. Yes, they’re still together surprisingly enough, apparently, they’re dating now.

Even Ed has a girlfriend now and Nick? Harry hasn’t really spoken to him since he left uni before holidays so he’s sure he’s off the market. And so it looks like Harry’s the single one with Louis who's more into getting a good fuck than a meaningful relationship. So that’s just fine. Really.

Ugh, Harry didn’t want to think about Louis potentially hooking up with anyone tonight, it would seriously kill his mood. So he stops it before it even occurs.

Thankfully it was just the three of them on the way there because Harry wouldn’t have known what to do if he had to share a back seat with Louis. Harry would have probably jumped out of the moving car actually because he’d rather walk, to be honest.

“Hey H, haven’t seen you in weeks,” Zayn mentioned as he got into the car, Zayn looking over his shoulder with a smile.

“Yeah I know, happy birthday by the way,” Harry commented as he buckled himself in as Zayn muttered out a thanks.

After Niall gotten in they were off down the road and Harry just kept his mouth shut.

Being a third wheel in a small cabin was not fun and not ideal. Sure, the car ride isn't going to be that long, but hearing those Two boys flirting with one another with Zayn handling the wheel with only one hand, the other one possessively gripping Niall's thigh.  In a way it made Harry feels a bit envious because he wants that, he really wanted that. Sure he didn't want to think about boys when he first came here and even before anyway because they're just a distraction! But look what happened? He got himself distracted by one guy...

Harry wished he had better willpower when it came to his weaknesses sometimes.

When they finally arrived Zayn explained they needed to show up earlier than the others which, honestly, was fine by Harry. Maybe then Harry could actually take a breath before he has to be in the same room than a certain person. A certain someone who probably won’t leave him alone. Harry just knows that’s bound to happen. Too predictable if you will.

Once they were inside and seated in the back of the pub, Harry was besides Niall who was telling him that afterwards he’s going to stay over at Zayn's (of course he is) and how they’re going to go out for breakfast tomorrow if he can get Zayn out of bed by then. Zayn who was fetching drinks for them had left The two boys by themselves for a quick minute. Harry felt envious yet again because he too would love to have breakfast dates or even late night dates just spontaneously happening. Even going on random trips or staying over at someone's room for the night sounded like something Harry wants. He wants it, but he knows he can't have it.

As if, in some weird way, Niall knew what was on Harry’s mind he spoke up while they were still alone.

“Are you sure you’re going to be okay about him coming tonight?” Harry just nodded because what else can he do? He’s already here and it’d be rude to just leave this early and it’d just be pointless. “You know I could always talk to him and maybe-”

Harry was already shaking his head and cut Niall off, speaking over him. “Niall, I already told you no. We’re not talking about it, not to him, not to anyone. I just want to forget about it, okay?” Harry stressed, not liking the fact Niall’s already wanting to confront Louis himself. Which that cannot happen, not tonight.

Niall sighed and was about to open his mouth when a drink was set down in front of him and thankfully that shut him up for now. Zayn being nice even had gotten Harry a sparkling water with lime and Zayn, of course, had a beer. At least some people finally got it that Harry is not and never will be a drinker. It just doesn't taste good, and sure wine can be okay… if it’s the right kind. Still, Harry appreciates that Zayn knew this fact about him.

Thankfully Niall had gotten distracted now that Zayn was back and left Harry to drink his water in peace.

Unfortunately drinking his water in peace didn't last long enough because Nick came strolling over and Louis wasn't far behind him. Already making eye contact with him, Harry quickly looked away and down at his drink. If matters couldn't have gone any worse, Louis sat across from him. So, now Harry had to be forced to look at Louis now, ugh this was already turning into a nightmare.

“Ey we made it! Already drinking without us?” Nick commented as he sat down beside Harry, shaking his head.

And then it was Louis’ turn to speak up, “Hey boys… Harold” Harry just kept his mouth shut as he stirred his straw around his drink. Not feeling up to talking with Louis right now.

Harry feelt Niall nudge him in arm, but Harry just played it off like he wasn’t paying attention and kept to himself. Listening to Nick and Louis go back and forth with Zayn and Niall. Ed and Laken eventually showed up a few minutes later and now they all have drinks in their hands and Harry still hasn't said anything since Louis arrived.

This was going to be a long night...

Thankfully Harry didn’t have to really say anything because everyone else did all the talking. Zayn going on and on about how he’s thinking of someday owning a motorcycle and of course Niall isn’t much of a fan of this idea (for safety reasons). Harry thinks Zayn might just want it to look cool. Maybe, maybe not, but Harry didn’t comment. Ed was saying something about how on his birthday next month he’s not going to do anything special and Harry can agree with that for his own. Nick mentioned that sometime after the topic has changed into something not really interesting; he also talked about how he's been hooking up with that guy he had seen at Liam’s party that one night.  So Harry takes it Nick didn’t follow his own plan of not shagging the hot guy of the night? Well, Harry’s not in the least bit surprised. Then there was Louis who only spoke up when Zayn mentioned something about going to get a tattoo touched up soon. Louis is discussing that he thinks he’s going to add some more ink to his arms or something and okay, maybe Harry was imagining that in his head but it's pretty damn hot if you ask Harry, well, of course, he won't say that out loud because why would he? And he’s still upset with Louis anyway.

Which every time Harry looked over to Louis, the boy was already staring at him, even when he was sipping on his beer. Giving Harry a smile when he didn’t and one thing that surprised Harry was the fact Louis didn’t try to get Harry to talk to him.  

Everything was going pretty smoothly and Zayn seemed to be enjoying his birthday so far even if it wasn’t like some big birthday party. Which Niall had told Harry that Zayn prefered a smaller gathering over a party anyday. Which was odd because Harry thought Zayn lived for big parties and such?

After a while Harry grew bored and tired of sitting in his spot now that his drink was pretty much gone and nothing to keep him busy. So Harry excused himself to go get another drink in hope to at least have a second to be away from Louis just staring at him. Can’t he look at someone else? Seriously!

Harry spent maybe five seconds waiting for his drink when someone was next to him. That someone being the one Harry really didn’t want to talk to right now. Or at all for that matter.

“Hey you,” Louis said lightly, his eyes on Harry. Pulling down the sleeves of his denim jacket and tapping his fingers against the grain of the countertop.

Harry gnawed on his lip, not really wanting to say anything and was glad when his drink was in front of him. Listening to Louis getting himself another beer even though Harry’s sure the one he has is not even half gone.

Then again Harry knows if he ignores Louis, he will only keep bugging Harry until they talk.

“Hey,” Was all Harry had to say as he went back to their table, setting down again, and Louis was right back in his, with a beer right next to his other one. Glancing over towards Harry again and smiling.

Harry doesn't like this, he really doesn't like it!

Louis is so frustrating to Harry and goes about acting as if everything was okay when it isn’t in the first place. He wants to have conversations with Harry and has been texting over the past couple of days trying to initiate some sort of exchange. Harry just can’t do it though, he can’t reply to any of those messages without having any sort of bitter feelings.

Yes, he would love to just hangout with Louis like before, why wouldn't he?

Louis’ one of his best friends and Louis always knows how to have a good time. He knows a lot about Harry, maybe more than a friend should know, and he remembers everything. It’s crazy to Harry because even sometimes Niall forgets, Ed too when it comes to useless things and they've been friends for years. Like Louis knows the way Harry likes his coffee in the morning and what kind of music he likes. Louis also treats him better in most cases by buying him various things and offering his jacket like he did at Liam’s party. Walking him to his door and spending hours upon hours with him doing whatever it is to keep Harry’s mind off his studies. Harry’s never had a friend like Louis before and that’s why it’s so hard to just forget about what had happened.

Deep down Harry’s waiting for the moment it starts feeling okay again to be friends.

Soon enough Niall and Zayn found themselves at the billiard area leaving them alone and eventually it started to slowly just wind down to being just Harry and Louis. As Ed and Laken soon after had joined the couple for a round of pool; while Nick was at the bar chatting up some guy, so Harry takes it he’s is back the hookup scene then, surprise, surprise!

Then it was just silence between them and it was awkward.

Almost as if this were preplanned and set up by Niall to get them to talk. Which by the way is not working and all Harry wants to do is go back to his dorm already. At least back there he wouldn't have to keep making eye contact with a boy that still gives him those fluttery feelings.

Harry made sure to keep himself busy as he downed most of his water and he almost spit it out the moment he saw someone he did not want to see. Not at all!

Instantly he felt ten times more upset and annoyed because here was Edith and Harry hates the fact he had made eye contact with her. She sent him a glare as if he was the cause of the end of Louis and her sexual relationship. Harry would have laughed if that were true because it’d be funny to him. Knowing she would be jealous of Harry even though there's nothing to be jealous over in the first place. It’s not like he’s actually sleeping with Louis, no, or even kissing him. Harry does in a way want to reach over and make it looks legit that maybe they are a thing because again it would be comical, but that would be weird. Also, he is still not in good terms with Louis, so...

Speaking of Edith she sashayed over towards their table (probably trying to look seductive or something) and Harry knew in that moment, she was coming in for the prowl. Oh god, Harry's not prepared for this shit.

By the time she reached the edge of their table, Louis was already looking up at her and Harry’s got his arms crossed. Giving Edith a bit of a scowl, not too happy she’s here tonight. One way to make this night a whole lot worse for Harry, just shove it in his face that Louis’ not interested in him whatsoever. It doesn’t help that he remembers Louis and her hooked up the night before he left to go on holidays. So yeah, he has his reasons to still be annoyed by her being around, probably wanting to go home with Louis tonight.

“Hey Louis,” Edith greeted with a smile as she started twirling her hair around her finger.

“Hey, “was what Louis responded and he looked far more interested in his beer, to be honest. Still, Harry’s not going rule out that they might end up start sleeping together again, you know since Louis’ unpredictable. Shit even Nick didn’t stick to his word so what good was Louis’ then?

As if Harry couldn’t get any more annoyed, Edith sat down beside Louis as if she had been invited to do so and Harry was already up out of his seat. Done and tired of this, he doesn't even want to look back because it probably won’t be good. Harry just slips on his coat and heads outside, needing a little bit of air because his nerves were through the roof.

Harry took a deep breath as he stood there with his arms crossed, shivering slightly from the chill in the air.

His mind started racing as to why what just happened.

Did Louis tell her to come tonight? Or at least informed her that he’d be at this pub in particular or something?

Especially since she came alone and it makes Harry feel a bit sad that Louis might actually be hooking up with her again. Does Harry know that for a fact? No. Is it a possibility? Yes.  Hell, they could have never been just done hooking up in the first place and Louis could have fooled Harry into believing that. But Louis wouldn't lie about it though, right?

He’s been telling Harry for months that there was this guy he likes but was rather secretive when it came to the details. Then again he’d run off and have sex with her or anyone else that came about, it’s all just one big complicated mess to Harry. He just wishes he could read Louis’ mind and figure him out for once.

“I want to go home,” Harry muttered to himself. He really wants to go back to his dorm and go to sleep. It’d be better than sitting at a table watching his friends do whatever and seeing Edith and Louis looking all cozy. So here he is, about to march inside and demand Zayn to take him back home or at least fetch him a cab or something because he’s done.

Maybe Harry could make up an excuse that he’s feeling suddenly ill or has a massive headache. It could work, but then again Harry’s not necessarily the best liar either. So Zayn believing it for a split second? Maybe, but he’s not banking on it.

Sure Harry could call his own damn cab to come get him, but it wouldn't feel right to leave unannounced. Niall would probably be disappointed that Harry's up and left the moment he seen Louis with someone else. Zayn might be upset because it is his birthday after all and Harry was specifically invited.

Harry pressed his lips together as he squeezed his arms just a little tighter as the wind started to pick up a little. Not caring if his hair would be windswept or that his cheeks were flushed. He just doesn't care.  He needed to be here and away from that mess inside, or else he would have finally said something to Louis. That something not being too nice.

Unanticipatedly a group of girls, around his age, walked passed Harry into the pub and he was hoping those were Edith’s friends and that’s why she showed up alone. Not because her and Louis are.. well you know.

Just as Harry was about to give in and head back inside because his legs were growing numb, Louis came alone. Harry hated the fact that he felt better knowing Louis didn't have any followers. What confused him though was when Louis didn’t pull out his cigarettes. Usually, by now, he would at least have a smoke, but he’s just standing there; next to Harry with his eyes down on the pavement, hands in his pockets, letting out small breathes. Which Harry could see in the night air as it’s quite chilly and already started snowing again. Not that he was paying a lot of attention to Louis, but it wasn't hard to not notice since they were standing quite close together.

It’s comforting knowing Louis had come out here to stand next to him, but for what reason?

All of a sudden, Harry remembered why, in fact, he came out here in the first place. Harry had to say something or else he may never get it off his chest and sulk for days. Thinking that maybe things aren’t what they seem after all.

So here goes nothing…

“So I take it you and Edith are back to hooking up, then yeah?” The way it came out sounded a little bit harsher than Harry had intended it to be. But he’s allowed to feel upset and annoyed by everything that’s been happening. Especially when it’s right there in his face being rubbed in which isn’t a nice feeling at all.

Louis let out a huff his eyes now on Harry before he shook his head. “No,” Louis said easily as he moved to stand in front of Harry, closer than Harry would have liked right now. “I had no idea she’d even be here tonight and she knows it’s over,” Louis clarified, but Harry was still feeling rather bitter towards what happened back at the table.

Harry just looked down at his boots, not wanting to even look at Louis right now. Not even offering Louis a reply because it still bothering him. Louis hooked up with her even after he told him back at his dorm two damn months ago that he liked someone else and declared he would stop sleeping with her. Well what good did that do, huh?
Louis fell through on that plan because Edith was already in his pants at the last party after Harry tried weed with him. All because Harry thought maybe something special was going on between him and Louis. He was wrong though just like he has been because he just doesn’t know.

Then Louis decided to continue chatting and Harry just listened no matter how much he didn’t want to.

“It was a coincidence that she showed up, okay?” Hmm, Harry’s not sure if he actually believes Louis on that. “Actually, I haven’t slept with anyone else since I called it quits with her.’’
Was that suppose to make Harry feel better? Because it did, slightly. Very slightly.

Yes the idea of Louis not fucking everyone in sight was a nice concept, wonderful one actually. Not that there's anything wrong with the hookup culture it’s just thinking about Louis in bed with someone else had a tendency to twist his stomach into knots. Harry knows he’s probably not even on Louis’ radar because look at his sex life? Pretty much nonexistent.
He’s never even had his neck kissed before or anything that’s remotely sexual. Harry remembers Louis said it was all cool and stuff, but did he really think that though?
All because Harry’s waiting for the right guy to do things with and someone who he trusts? Louis probably doesn’t even want that, probably wants someone more experienced who know exactly what they’re doing. Not a flat out virgin.

Then Louis went on, “Sex has been the last thing on my mind lately, and I’m being serious about that.”
Harry still didn’t say anything, not even looking at him, his eyes still on his boots that were now lightly dusted with snow. To be honest, Harry wanted to walk away and go back inside to warm up. He’s cold and upset, but as much as this is what he wants, he rebels and stays because Louis obviously wasn't going to let Harry off easily without giving him a lecture on why he hasn’t been sleeping around.

Eventually Louis just stops altogether and blows out a noisy breath, his eyes still on Harry, but Harry wasn't looking at him. “I don’t know what else to say to get you to believe me or at least say something, anything,” Louis expressed helplessly.

Harry couldn’t just say anything though, because he had absolutely no idea what to say in the first place. It’s not like Harry’s going to straight up tell Louis that he's jealous, no absolutely not. That’s just asking to tip over their already teetering friendship and Harry doesn't want to lose Louis asa  friend. No, of course not.

“Are we okay, though?” Louis asked, but Harry just bit his tongue. “It seems like you’ve been trying to avoid me all night, and you know…” Louis voiced trailed off, scratching at the back of his neck. Almost as if he seemed a bit nervous, and Harry just had to look up and make eye contact with him when the next thing came out of his mouth.

“I miss you.”

Chapter Text

 “I miss you.”

Was what just came out of Louis’ mouth. Damn, Harry misses Louis too.

But just because Harry misses Louis and his free spirited ways doesn’t mean he wants to jump right back into going on all day trips with him. No random trips to the tattoo parlor at two in the morning because Louis’ bored or staying over to watch movies in a makeshift fort. Not any of that justifies kissing and making up so fast… well minus the kissing. Still, Louis’ going to have to wait it out, it’s not going to happen overnight and Harry hopes Louis eventually understands that.

Still, on the other side of Harry’s mind, he’s upset and doesn’t want to hear a single word come out of Louis’ mouth anymore. Just wanting to walk away and be all dramatic about it, but he can’t do that. Not when Louis’ gazing at him and standing quite close. A part, a very small part of Harry wants to lean in just a little; Louis looked so warm and maybe also because Harry just wanted to be close to him. But that’s only a small part, a teeny part that doesn’t override the rest of Harry’s problems with Louis right now.

Afterwards Louis continued, bringing Harry out of his thoughts.

“I miss you being around,” Louis admitted, shuffling a touch closer to Harry.

Although he hears him loud and clear, this is confusing for Harry. Everything Louis’ saying right now is! He is talking about missing him which contradicts completely his actions from some weeks ago. And for Harry, actions speak louder than words; it’s all just a big bunch of mixed signals if you ask him.

Louis’ actions and words are just so erratic Harry can’t keep up with any of it! It’s mentally exhausting!

Suddenly, Harry frowned as he took a step back to create some much needed space between them because he just feels so smothered.

“Do you even hear yourself talk?” Harry started, finally breaking his silence. “I don’t even understand you sometimes,” slowly backing away some more, ready to just go back inside and tell everyone his goodbyes because he doesn't feel too great anymore (not that he already did feel the best in the first place). Ready to get the hell out of here and back in his bed where he should have been in the first place. Away from Louis and any of that mess back inside pertaining to the Louis and Edith thing.

Silence was filling the space between the both of them and this bothered Harry. Louis wasn’t saying a damn thing now and ugh! Harry’s done. So done with tonight.

So he is just turned on his heels and marched back inside towards their table where Niall and Zayn were still sitting fairly close together; drinking beers with Zayn’s arm around Niall’s shoulders, but that’s not important. What’s important is Harry going over there and telling the two that he is leaving.

“Zayn,” Harry began, now standing across the table with his arms crossed, looking at them. “I'm sorry and I know this will make me out to be a shit friend but I need to go home.

Zayn looked confused for a moment, scratching at his chin, and his eyes on something else. That something else being Louis who was sitting back in his seat right down at the fucking table and Harry just wants to scream. He can't get away from him at all and it bothers Harry that Louis’ not even pulling him aside and explaining himself. Harry just doesn't even acknowledge Louis at this point and focus on the couple in front of him.

Zayn’s eyes fallen back on Harry as he caressed Niall’s shoulder gently. “It’s not even nine yet, H! Are you sure?” Harry nodded because he was sure. He was so, so sure that he wanted to get the hell out of here.

“Alright, I mean it won’t be much fun without you, but I get it,” how wouldn't it be much more relatively fun without Harry there? He’s mainly kept to himself all night!

“I’ll text ya later, Harry,” Niall mentioned probably knowing that something was obviously wrong after Harry came stomping inside with changing plans for the night.

So Harry arranged himself a ride and had a cab come get him because he was not about to wait around for any of the boys to be ready to leave.

By the time Harry’s cab had arrived he had already said his goodbyes to Nick and Ed, explaining he wasn't feeling too well. Which wasn't necessarily a lie per se, but he didn't need to explain himself.  

But the only thing Harry didn’t do was go say his good nights to Louis. Because why would he? Everything's still really weird. It's also weird Louis had kept staring at Harry from across the room ever since they've came inside. It bothered Harry even more, but he didn’t go trotting over there to say anything else, he just left.

Because it wouldn't have done any good.

    *****  

By now it had been days since the whole birthday disaster and it still has been dwelling on Harry since.

Yes, he’d gotten texts from Louis over the course of time, acting as if they never actually had that conversation outside the pub. He kept trying to get Harry into coming to parties, band gigs, and all that stuff. But that didn’t mean anything along the lines of them hanging out, or Harry replying to Louis’ messages, at least so soon.

Maybe one night when he was lying in bed he felt compelled to reply to Louis’ string of unanswered messages. Harry tried not to look at all those invites and attempts of talking, but he had too. He wanted to reply back so badly and just ask Louis to meet him at a cafe to talk about everything that’s been weird lately. But that never happened and Harry threw his phone on top of his nightstand thinking how dumb it was in his head after thinking it through.

He can’t bring it up to Louis, he’s too scared.

All of that was a few days ago, now Harry’s sitting at the cafe alone with his laptop, feeling stressed as ever. Worried about exams and the last thing on his mind is Louis because passing was more important than worrying over some guy.

Harry rubbed his hands over his face as he let out a sigh, not even an iced coffee could make him feel better about any of this.

Harry’s not working on anything in particular, he is just sitting here alone with his half gone staple of a drink, he needed some fresh air mainly because he had spent most of his time in his dorm for the past week. Also, because he’s supposed to be meeting Niall here when the boy is done doing whatever with Zayn this morning. It’d been awhile since they’ve actually hung out again so maybe chatting for a little will get Harry’s head in order.

Maybe having a look at Facebook would calm his nerves….

Well that is, until Harry noticed he had an invite to an event, from the one and only Louis Tomlinson of course!

Apparently he had this gig coming up next month and Harry is invited. Well, he is not sure if he should even go or not. Also not sure why Louis invited him in the first place; Harry hasn't even replied back to any of his messages.

He let his cursor hovering over the ‘Accept’ button, of course deep down he wanted to click but he just stared back at it not knowing what he should do. All of a sudden, the pop up on the bottom of his messenger appears signaling Louis is writing to him right now. Curiosity prevails and Harry is clicking on the button wanting to know what Louis was up to now.
Louis only said that he hoped to see Harry there because he misses him lot (with a smiley face).

There he goes again throwing around the big words. He misses him.

Harry groaned and just propped his elbow on the table and rested his chin on his fist. Staring back at the message and knowing Louis could see that Harry had read it, but Harry just doesn’t know, okay?

Should he go and try to make amend with Louis and ease his way back to the way things were?

Harry’s not sure and he doesn’t have much more time to think about it because the chair beside him screeched suddenly and now Niall was sitting beside him with a coffee in his hand. A beanie over his hair and wearing a leather jacket that was a size too small. So apparently when Niall had said that he had plans with Zayn this morning meant he stayed over with him.

“So tell me, when exactly did you start wanting to dress exactly like your boyfriend?” Harry teased as he closed his laptop. Just ignoring Louis’ message and invite for now, as he had more important things to do right now. Like downing the rest of his coffee and teasing Niall about his fashion choices today. “I mean I know you’re pretty much in love with him and all, but I never expected you to follow along with his ‘bad boy’ aesthetic,” Harry smiled, suddenly feeling slightly better now that Niall was here to get his mind off exams.  

Niall rolled his eyes taking a sip of his drink, “Don’t even start he lended it to me, it doesn’t mean I’m going to start magically dressing like him!” Niall explained rather seriously, his hands around his cup, probably to warm his hands up.

“Shit I don’t think I could ever because he can pull off anything and make it look good,” Niall went on and Harry let him talk because Niall, oh Niall loved any topic when it came to Zayn. Bad or good, well mostly good.

“But anyway, that’s not the reason why I came here to hang out with you.”So what exactly was this reason then? “But you have to hear me out before you start saying no.”

What was Niall plotting? Because Harry doesn’t like it, not one bit.

“If this has to do with anything that involved getting dragged to one of those sleazy parties, you can think again, because it’s not happening!”  

Niall huffed and started speaking again, sounding slightly annoyed. “You haven't given me a chance to explain and you're already saying no,” yeah, because Harry knows that either Niall's dragging him to a party or something along the lines of being immersed in a crowd. Because why else would he had told Harry to not already be making up his mind so quickly?

“Because I know you and how you think that I need to attend parties to make friends. And what happened from going to all these parties?” Harry asked firmly, taking a sip of his drink. “I made like three new friends and that all because of you, Niall. That's it.”

Well it's true, Harry's honestly only close with Louis out of Zayn and Nick. Only because Nick’s always off rounding up many blokes and Zayn, well he's always with Niall. So that left Louis and the last time they talked Harry stormed off upset and confused.

So now Harry's just been spending a lot of time alone or texting Ed or Niall when he had the time. As he's been preoccupied with his studies for exams. Thankfully they'll be over soon, but that doesn't mean Harry's going to feel better about it until he knows his scores. Then he can relax for a little while.

But Harry's mind is no longer on his exams but rather on what Niall had up his sleeve. Hopefully, it isn't a party because he's not ready to go to one of those, not tonight.

“Hey, I'm only trying to help you out and besides the party isn’t until tomorrow night!” yeah Harry doesn't need any help. He's fine and the group of mates he has is just fine and Harry wished Niall could understand that not everyone needs a big social circle. “Anyway, what are you doing at seven tonight?”

Why did Niall need to know that bit? Harry's already made plans to sit in bed and study, as always.

“Studying more than likely,”  Niall had this smirk suddenly coming to his face and Harry didn't have a good feeling about this.

“Well scratch that off because you're going to come back here!” Wait, what?! Why the hell would he come back here for? Coffee drinks round two? Not going to happen.

Harry sighed, not liking where this was going at all.

The next thing that came out of Niall's mouth was not something Harry was expecting. At All.

“I sort of maybe set you up on a blind date…” Niall's said casually and Harry just glared at him. Wondering what in the hell Niall was thinking! Harry doesn't want to go on any dates or a blind date for the matter. Not after what happened weeks ago and Harry's already realized that maybe he's just undateable anyway. No one seems to stick around long enough because he won't sleep with them or because Harry's life's structured around long term goals. If anything he'll probably be single up until he's graduated and then find the perfect guy.

Harry was shaking his head, now with his arms crossed, staring at Niall. Trying to figure out why Niall thinks Harry would have agreed with this in the first place?

“Don't give me that look, I told you to hear me out, so let me finish talking before you start crying about it,” Niall explained but Harry didn't want to hear anymore of this. He wanted to go back to worrying about his exams and Louis’ invite to that gig next month. “Like I was saying, there's this guy that I think you're going to like. Or at least be friends with if it goes south.” Yeah, Harry wasn't liking this at all.

“How do you know I'll even like him in the first place, Niall?” Harry questioned back because it's true. He hasn't even had a conversation with this guy or you know never seen his face. Not that looks are important but Harry doesn't like the idea of this blind date. Especially being in such short notice.

“Because he's your type, I mean sure you like the occasional rebel, but this guy is like everything you told you wanted in a guy. He's literally perfect and I think you need to give this a chance,” Niall wasn't making this any more convincing for Harry. Not at all because Harry was already saying no over and over in his head.

“Also if it makes you feel better he's fit. Like holy shit he's gorgeous,” hmm, Harry would have to see it to believe it. “Besides he's the one who came to me and asked about you.” Wait, what? This guy asked about Harry?

Niall soon smiled and went on, “Even if you don't like him, I think this will be good for you.” And what does Niall know about what's good for Harry? Going on dates isn’t what's best for him.  

“And you think this will be good for me because?” Harry inquired, taking a sip of his drink.

“Because I seen how miserable over Louis you were back at Zayn's party, I really think this will cheer you up. Show you there is other guys out there.” Yeah, guys that want nothing to do with a university student that spends his day in the books. “ Besides you're going to be twenty in less than two weeks time and who knows… this could be a start of something new. Maybe finally get laid after all this time,” Niall teased and that was just mean. It's not like Harry didn't have a choice to not sleep around, he's waiting for the right time.

Why does everyone keep telling him he needs to go off and lose his virginity so soon? As if it's such a bad thing now that he was reaching his twenties. There's tons of people that abstinent well into their later years. It's totally normal and totally not weird.

Harry shook his head. “Niall, I appreciate the effort. I do. But I don't think me dating right now is the best idea, can't I have like a rain check or something?” Why can't Niall just give Harry some time to figure things out before springing a surprise date upon him.

“Harry, come on it’s not going to kill you to go on one date with this boy. I mean don’t you want to at least try to see the other options out there? I mean there’s tons of guys at uni and you’ve only gave a chance to Louis.”Yeah, but Louis and Harry were never dating in the first place and Harry couldn't help that he had grown a liking towards Louis. It just happened.

Niall surely wasn’t going to let Harry leave without agreeing to this ‘blind date’ tonight and as much as Harry doesn't want to do this, he knows there's no way getting around it. Especially since Niall had already arranged it in the first place. Harry doesn't even know what to wear tonight and it’s been ages since he’s been on a date.

After Harry let out a sigh as he tucked some of his hair behind his ear, he said, “I'll agree to go if you promise me that you don't have any more of these dates lined up,” Harry compromised not still too keen on the idea.

“Yes, yes, I promise there's no other guys lined up, I swear. Just this one guy, that’s it.”

Hopefully that’s true, because this was the one and only time Harry will be going on a blind date. But Niall’s just seems so excited about the idea of Harry finally stepping his foot into the dating pool after so many years. It’s almost a bit silly if you ask Harry, but he’s glad he could bring some joy to Niall’s life, even if it’s like something for himself.

Then Niall kept talking about how that if things go smoothly tonight, Harry should bring this guy tomorrow to the party. Hmm, about that, Harry wasn’t planning on going to anymore parties at all, not until he makes up with a certain someone.

Niall didn't even give Harry a chance to tell him that, continuing on his rant on how it’d be nice to see Harry smiling over someone and be excited as he is when it comes to relationships. Also adding that Harry could end up with a boyfriend shortly after if they talk enough.

All of that talk was too much for Harry, he couldn't deal with this right now, all he could say was:

“So I’m meeting him here, tonight at seven?”

Niall nodded as he slurped down more coffee. “Just be nice, okay?”

That was rude and uncalled for because he is not rude to anyone! Yeah, sure most of the time he has his guard up but that's because he doesn't want to get hurt. You can’t blame him for being sensitive because look what happened weeks ago… he got let down.

Just like what he was afraid of, especially when it comes to a risky friendship that you know will be problems down the line. Which he all risked because Louis had to be a little shit and pulled Harry away most nights from his studies. Which Harry isn’t going to lie, he liked it.

Still, what Niall said was rather mean and Harry doesn’t appreciate that.

Therefore he just glared at the blonde boy before getting up to throw away his now gone drink before returning back to the table, seeing Niall already back on his phone, smiling.

“Anyway now that I got you to agree to this tonight, I better get a long and detailed text from you afterward telling me everything that happened! Not that briefing shit, ok? I want to know everything!”

Of course Niall does.

“Whatever Niall, whatever you want,” Harry muttered out as he sat there quietly, his mind on tonight but also his exams and last but not least, on Louis.

How the hell is Harry going to make it to the end of this semester at this rate? How?

That’s what Harry would like to know.

One hour later, the both of them had left the cafe but not before Niall had spilt his worries about Zayn and this motorcycle thing, complaining that it’s just too dangerous, and how Zayn reassured him that there's nothing to worry about and how safe he’ll be. Harry gets it that his friend is worried but honestly, Zayn’s a big boy and if he wants a bike to look cool on, well he can.

But he understands Niall’s worries still, of course he does. Eventually, the subject changed to their anniversary yet again and how he wasn’t sure what they were going to do as Zayn wasn’t giving him much word on it.  

Now though, Harry was back in his dorm and back to staring at that invite Louis had sent him earlier on. Still contemplating if he should press accept or not, as he had a couple hours to think this over before he has to get ready for that thing tonight.

It shouldn't be this damn hard to click a button, but it is.

Is Harry ready to see Louis in a month's time? Maybe.

Louis had been making an effort to talk to him quite a lot but Harry can't help that he still feels quite weird about everything. The only thing that scares him more than everything is that Louis could potentially say fuck it and stop trying to get Harry’s attention. Like, it’s a real possibility because Harry's been snubbing him a lot recently.

What kind of mate did that make him out to be? Yes, Harry was mad and upset, but deep down he feels awfully guilty.

Also he does miss being around Louis, a lot. His stupid blue eyes and stupid smile. His laugh and his upbeat attitude, Harry misses it all.

This is tough and Harry wishes he knew what to do. Still unsure for now, he decided to just think about it later and closed his laptop. Maybe he should just study like he should be doing instead of worrying about some boy, yeah that sounded good.

Well studying was quite hard when all Harry could think about was the damn invite.

Shit, Harry wants to go. Harry wants to go so badly.

After a fairly amount of time trying to concentrate,  Harry realized he needed to just stop thinking about it and worry about other (more important) things for the moment.

Like getting ready for that stupid date Niall sprung on him and studying. Which was highly more important by the way!

When it came around time for Harry to get somewhat prepared for his date, he was feeling a bit... nervous.

As much as he didn’t want to do this, he can’t help but wonder who this person is and why they wanted to know about him. Why they asked Niall about Harry and didn’t just come up to him themselves in the first place. Then again Harry would have most likely brushed them off because he’s had a one track mind on Louis for the past couple of months. It’s kind of weird to Harry that someone was actually trying to pursue dating him as he hadn’t had anyone do that in a long time.

Okay maybe Harry is slightly excited about this date, but that doesn't mean he’s going to end up liking this boy.

By the time Harry had changed his flannel for a short sleeved button up, he was satisfied. It wasn’t too fancy nor too casual. Afterall they're just having a small date at the cafe, nothing too extravagant. Even donning on some of his special cologne which he may have accidentally sprayed on a little too much but it was too late now anyway; Harry had to leave in the next few minutes if he wanted to make it back to the cafe in time.

Arrived a little bit early, Harry began the waiting game seated towards the back of the cafe, sipping on his coffee to calm his nerves. Hoping this wasn't some trick set up by Niall to have him talk to Louis or something, that better not be what this is!

If so, then, Harry would give Niall a piece of his mind and never agrees to anything he would plan ever again. Especially now that it’s five past seven and the guy hasn’t even showed up yet.

Oh god what if he had gotten stood up because his date heard that Harry doesn’t put out or maybe it got out that he has eyes for someone else. Knowing Niall those things might have slipped out of his mouth, subconsciously. Also, this might be a set up after all. It’s not a totally crazy thought, but Harry hopes it’s not what he thinks it is, after all, he wants to do that on his own terms.

Right as Harry took a deep breath to calm himself down, someone sat down in the chair across from him.

Oh.Oh.

This guy, this fucking guy literally looks like he fell out of a god damn magazine. Yes, he’s good looking, so good looking with his dowey brown eyes, his clean shaven face, his well kept hair that was styled into a (modern) comb over, and his clothes. His fucking clothes were neat and semi casual. He had a watch on too and Harry wonders why he has never noticed this guy before? Not that Harry wants to be with him right away but he can’t believe this guy wanted to know about Harry.

“Hey, sorry I am a bit late! Got held up at the library,” the guy explained. So this guy spends his time in the library? So far he’s liking what’s going on.

“My name’s Elijah by the way, um, Harry, right?”

“Uh, yeah, nice to meet you.”

Okay … this was kind of awkward to be honest. Harry doesn't really know what to say or to do. Well other than to drink his coffee but that can’t be his comfort throughout the whole damn thing. He’s already had two coffees today, one more and he’d be up all night. That just can’t happen, so he settles on fiddling with his straw every time it was just pure silence between them.

Thankfully though Elijah just kept on talking.

“So, Harry, tell me about yourself, what do you like to do for fun?” the guy asked, leaning back in his spot, pushing up his sleeves. From what Harry could see there was no visible tattoos, not that it mattered if he did, but still.

Throughout the first fifteen minutes Harry told Elijah pretty much everything he wanted to know. From Harry’s love of puzzles and books to spending his days focused on his education. Which, surprisingly, the guy didn't bash his lifestyle choices and hobbies or the fact that Harry put his education first. Nor did the guy look displeased when Harry declared that he doesn't drink, smoke, or do drugs. Harry had actually found out that this guy, was living pretty much the same life as Harry, except for the fact Elijah goes jogging most mornings and is in Uni for Law.

Wow talk about a perfect match, scary actually that Niall found this guy. Not only is he well rounded, good looking, and ambitious. But he’s literally Harry’s ideal guy that he’s described over and over to his friends. It’s strange.

Almost too good to be true and Harry’s not even sure if he actually likes this new guy yet, no matter how good looking or how alike they are. He needs to get to know him a little more before he makes a decision if he wants to go on another date or something. That’s if this guy ends up asking Harry of course… not that Harry wants to presume anything.

They were in the middle of talking about Elijah’s bachelorhood life which began a little over a year now as he wanted to put all his focus on his education. Which, Harry has to say, won him some major points.
He had learned that Elijah’s in his second year here and is quite exciting to be half way done with his major.

A moment later, the conversation steered on what Harry was looking for in a boyfriend, which totally caught Harry off guard.

And what also caught him off guard was the next thing that had happened.

“Well, well, well, look what's going on here, Z,” Louis suddenly spoke rather loudly pulling up a chair and sitting between Harry and Elijah. Zayn just standing there looking confused with a chocolate chip biscuit in his hand. Eventually pulling up a chair himself and giving Harry an apologetic look.

Oh god, why did Louis have to show up and furthermore right now? Actually, how in the hell did Louis find him?

The last time Harry saw Louis was days ago and now Louis’ sitting between him and his date, and all Harry can do is sit there. Trying not to be affected by Louis as much he was. Rubbing at the back of his neck, suddenly feeling more nervous now that Louis was here.

Don’t even get Harry started on how good Louis looks right now because damn, being at a table with two stunning guys (plus Zayn) was definitely something Harry never expected to happen to him. Especially since Louis and Elijah were complete opposites to Harry knowledge so far. Hopefully.. If Harry decided to maybe talk to this boy more than he could get to know his friends.

Elijah had a slight pinched expression across his face as he eyed Louis for a second and then said, “And who are you? Because we're on a date and you're being quite rude,” oh boy, this wasn’t going to end good and Harry knows it!

Louis crossed his arms and had his eyes on Elijah, eyebrows raised, and not looking too impressed. Which confused Harry because why would Louis care?

“Oh a date? Really! At a cafe no less?” Louis sneered, “So tell me… “ his voice trailing probably trying to guess the boy’s name.

“Elijah”

“Yes, Elijah, of course! So, tell me what is that you do, yeah?”

Why can't Louis just go away and not do this right now? Because Harry has a feeling this won't go over too well.

“Well as I was telling Harry that I’m majoring in law and take it rather seriously too. I find it impressive that he’s kind of in the same boat as me,” Elijah told Louis, scratching at his cheek. “And I’m sorry, but who are you?“

Louis still didn’t look entirely impressed and laughed.

Oh god… here we go.

“Seriously? Law? How typical! Student studying Law chasing a nursing student, how fucking funny is that?”

Harry just bit his tongue, and Zayn, who was eating his biscuit, told Louis to stop, but the shorter boy was having none of it. Of course not. Too busy mocking Elijah and giving him an intense stare down.

“By the way, my name’s Louis, Louis Tomlinson, since you’re wondering,” he said matter of factly. “One of Harold’s bestest friends,” he added smirking slouching back into his spot.

If Harry were honest he had absolutely no clue why Louis was doing this in the first place. They haven’t talked in days for one and secondly, Harry still has confusing feelings towards Louis regarding what happened in Manchester. Still, deep down, Harry was kind of glad Louis showed up out of the blue because it’d be a lie if he didn’t say he missed having Louis nearby.

Elijah raised his brow as he eyed Louis for a second saying: “You know Louis, I’m sure you are best pals with Harry here and all, but we’re on a date. So if you could leave that’d be great.”

At that, Louis just scoffed rolling his eyes and yup, this was going to end in yet again another disaster, Harry could feel it.

“Mmm... Nah! I don’t think that's such a good idea cuz for one I don’t think you’re quite the material he’s looking for in a boyfriend,” Louis stated as if he knew exactly what Harry was looking for. “And secondly you need to go through me first before you guys go off and do boyfriend things!” What in the hell is Louis doing now?! It’s not the time to be protective over Harry especially not after what Louis did, what a hypocrite!

“And why not? Clearly, you know Harry better than his own self! Also, Louis tell me, how long have you been mates with him?” Elijah pressed and Harry just sat there quietly, feeling embarrassed that his date was getting bothered by Louis. All Harry could do was sit here and hope Zayn would suddenly feel the need to run off and drags Louis along.

“Wouldn’t you like to know that one huh?! “ Louis snickered and Elijah just shook his head, resigned.

“Anyway, Harry, like I was asking before your friends showed up, what are you looking for in a boyfriend? You did get the chance to respond to me,”

Well so much for keeping quiet because now Elijah is back on that stupid question and Harry doesn't know how to answer it.

Because what does he want in a boyfriend?

Yeah, sure Harry had said over the years every time he’d been asked that he preferred guys that were a gentleman and had a nice face. But those are only slightly important because now that he’s sitting here on a date, with Louis and Zayn (which is strange) Harry is not so sure anymore.

Does he want to be with someone who’s got a bright outlook on their future? Yes. Someone to just sit around with and do pretty much nothing all day? Of course. But a small part of Harry wants those spontaneous trips and being pulled out his comfort zone. Most of all Harry wants a boyfriend to be serious with, but he’s not sure if that’s in the cards.

Harry sighed and looked down to his coffee, fiddling with the straw for a moment, still trying to think of something, anything to say. Wondering why it’s so hard to just tell Elijah what he's exactly looking for. Maybe it’s the fact that this date was so unexpected and sudden Harry hadn’t prepared himself for these type of questions. It also doesn’t help that he’s sitting beside one of the guys he wanted to be more than friends with. In the end,  it’s just so complicated…

Harry slowly realized that he’s taking too long to answer so he just said the first thing which popped into his head and thankfully it was a safe answer too.

“Just someone to make memories with, I guess,” he shrugged and felt relieved when Elijah smiled. Well at least he smiled, so that must be a good sign that Harry answered that correctly.

“Me too,” Elijah added.

Louis, who had remained silent so far, decided that right now was the right time to make fake snoring noises; he really thinks he’s being funny. Which he’s not!
He really needs to leave now, he’s not even supposed to be here at all, and last but not least not chaperoning Harry’s date either.

“Oh is that suppose to be boring to you? Us both finding a common interest in what we want in a partner?” Elijah questioned, gazing at Louis now who had this scowl on his face.

“Well you sure did put me to sleep with that shit answer you gave, I mean come on! ‘Me too’… How typical!” Louis complained as Zayn chimed in and tried once again to make him stop but Louis apparently had other plans and paid no mind to Zayn.

Elijah frowned a little before he shook his head his eyes once again back on Harry. “So, anyway, how come you’ve been single for so long? I mean you’re pretty cute if you ask me,”

Harry couldn’t help the heat inching to his cheeks.

“Surprised you’re actually single, honestly”

Harry couldn't help but smile and glance down to his coffee. It’d be a lie to say that he wasn't flattered by the compliment.
It’s been a long time since he’s had someone this genuinely interested in getting to know him, wanting to pursue something with him. Though that doesn't mean Harry wants anything… but that doesn’t mean he won't try this out to see if it’s worth a shot.

Because obviously, the thing with Louis won't ever go anywhere. Just like Gemma mentioned back on holidays, stuck in the friendzone. Except Harry did kiss Louis back and look where he’s at? Stuck exactly in the middle of that damn friendzone.

“Uh, I just put my studies before everything else, mainly. Haven’t really met anyone I’ve liked yet,” and that was partially true. He did find someone he liked after all, but that fell through. He wasn't about to tell Elijah that though. Especially since that guy was right here, right now.

Talk about making things awkward and Harry's can’t do awkward!

“ Nothing wrong with that, like I said earlier, I get it,” Elijah explained as he started to fiddle with his watch. “Anyway since we're on the topic of studies, maybe we could meet up at the library sometime soon, you know to like revise together maybe?” Harry did like that idea! He likes it a lot.

Apparently not everyone was liking this idea though because suddenly Louis just bursted out laughing as if it was the best joke he’s ever heard. Why was that funny? There's nothing wrong with studying or doing it in a group.

“Are you fucking kidding me?! A study date, really? Man, you really need to come up with some better ideas because they're shit if you ask me!”

As if Louis had any idea about what a good date was, Louis would much prefer casual sex so what good was his opinion on this?

Elijah sighed and shook his head ignoring Louis and continuing, despite Louis’ attempts, to maintain the conversation.

“Maybe we could help each other out, you know? Maybe Monday morning?” Harry nodded, but Louis didn’t like that plan. Of course he didn’t.

“How exactly are you two going to ‘study’ when you're both in different majors? That doesn't make any sense to me!” Louis jeered, still ignoring Zayn’s attempts to leave. Harry just doesn't get it. Why is Louis being so…. so stubborn about all of this!

Then Elijah went on to explain to Louis that they don’t have to be in the same courses to help one another out. They could do flashcards and give each other little quizzes to keep their momentum going strong. Maybe even learn a thing or two about one another’s major too, because the more knowledge, the better.

Louis didn’t look too impressed sitting there with a bored expression on his face.

“That’s a dumb idea if you ask me,” Louis muttered out, and Harry was sick of this. He’s tired of Louis bashing the idea of them studying together. Like Louis doesn’t understand that this is the reason why Harry came to uni in the first place, to learn. What a concept!

“Well good, because we didn’t ask for your opinion in the first place.” Harry finally spoke up, ready for Louis to leave.

Louis just huffed as he started messing with his fringe that was peaking out his beanie. Looking still not too impressed with any of this. It bugs Harry that Louis’ so bothered by this because why should he be? Is Louis possibly jealous that Harry could be making a new friend with similar interests of his own? Maybe. He’s not going to totally rule it out.

“I’d love to Elijah, it’ll be a nice change to actually study with someone who takes it seriously for once.”

Harry honestly was looking forward to that morning spent revising. Finally, someone wants to do what he likes to do, study. As crazy as it sounds, Harry can’t help but wonder if he did give this boy a chance, how they would work out.

Afterall, Elijah is studying Law and Harry, well Harry’s in the health field, would they have time for each other? Harry just stopped those thoughts because it was stupid and pointless: he's still not even sure how he feels about this in general, no matter how nice a studying date sounded.

Elijah nodded and then continued on to the next question which Harry was more than happy to answer.

“So, I am curious, why Southampton? I mean I’m sure you had many other choices that accepted you, better ones even I am sure as I assume you had excellent results on your A levels.”

Well that wasn't a lie, Harry did have quite a few options to choose from. It was mainly the factoring of his mates coming here and the research he’s done. About to answer Elijah’s question, he was interrupted by Louis who had decided to speak up again.

“Who fucking cares what university he chose, that’s not a big deal,” Louis remarked and Harry just glared at Louis. Wondering what the hell his problem is and why hasn't he left yet. He’s being rude and annoying, and as much as Harry did miss Louis. He didn’t miss this.

Harry sighed, his eye flickered over towards Zayn and just stared at him, because this was the only way he could get Louis out of here fast enough: by involving Zayn. Thankfully it didn’t take too much longer for Zayn to catch on and he’s already on his feet. Telling Louis that they really should get going now because he’d like to go see Niall.

Louis just sighed, clearly not liking the idea of leaving so soon, but turned towards Harry in his spot. “So, tomorrow's Liam's party, you should definitely come!“ was all Louis said before he got up and walked away with Zayn. Harry’s eyes must have been on Louis because he did catch Louis look back over his shoulder at them before disappearing out of the doors.

Well at least they're finally alone…

“Sorry about that” Harry started as his eyes were now back on Elijah who just gave Harry a smile, mumbling out that it’s okay. “Louis’ like that with everyone first time around, probably even worse when it came to me!”

“Well he’s definitely a character that’s for sure,”

If only Elijah knew how Louis was with Harry before they became mates. He’d probably be ten times more annoyed by Louis’ presence. Though Harry had grown to like Louis’ callous attitude overtime and maybe Elijah will do too if things take off well.

“Anyway, so I know our date kind of got crashed by your mates, but maybe if I give you my number we could do something again and you know, revise in the library together too,” Harry nodded to that because trying it out one more time and alone would be much better. Better without unsolicited opinions and remarks.

After they had exchanged numbers, Harry decided to end the date here because he was ready to head back to his dorm. Also because Louis slightly ruined the mood for him with his snarky unwanted comments. Just being absolutely rude.

Anyway, they had been in the cafe for nearly an hour, so by the time he gets back it’d be almost time for bed. Elijah did offer to drop him off, but Harry refused and said he’ll be fine. It's snowing and chilly outside but Harry can do it, it’s not that long of a walk.

Besides maybe a walk would clear his head and get his mind off Louis’ issues with Elijah. Clearly, there's something wrong since the tattooed boy who wouldn't leave them the hell alone. Harry wanted to send Louis a text right then and there but it was too cold to even fathom the thought. Also, It's dark, so staring down at his phone walking? Not a good idea.

A few hours later, Harry was nestled in his bed, lights off, wide awake on his phone. Apparently, he couldn't sleep once his head hit the pillow, he was fully awake. Which was definitely a problem because first thing in the morning he had class. But here he is, looking over all the texts from Louis.

Weird feeling of déja vu from a few days ago, except this time Harry was itching to say something, anything at all about what happened back at the cafe. Just needing some sort of answer as to why Louis acted the way he did, and maybe slightly because Harry missed their talks. Conversations about everything and exchanging texts throughout the day even if they were just series of emojis. Harry missed it, of course he did, or else he would have deleted their messages way long ago.

But things are still just so confusing and what went down back at his date was even more confusing. Why did Louis feel the need to be overprotective of Harry? It's not like Harry was going to go back at Elijah's dorm for the night or anything. It was just a simple date, that's it.

As if Louis should be the one to talk anyway... if Louis wanted to protect Harry from the bad guys, well, he should have a good hard look in the mirror. Louis’, not the one who got stranded in Manchester after a kiss and to Harry's knowledge he should not have a say in anything. Like at all.

If only Harry had the guts he would have said something to Louis a while ago.

Apparently Louis must have been thinking about Harry too because suddenly Harry has a text and it’s from Louis.

 'Louis: So I’ll drop by to get you for the party tomorrow night, by the way,  :)  you’re coming, no if's, and’s, or buts! '

And when did Harry agree on that?

Last time Harry checked they weren’t okay and Louis was incredibly rude to his date.  

At that moment, Harry felt it was the right time to finally text back Louis. Mainly to just confront Louis about his blind date boot camp. Also maybe because a small part of Harry wants the communication between them back.

Harry couldn’t help but reply, he just had too or else he’ll never get this off his chest. Also not wanting to be roped into going tomorrow night now that Louis hadn’t given Harry a choice in the first place, just assumed. How typical.

 'Harry: Hmm. About that. Going to be a bit of problem as I might go with Elijah instead. By the way, what's your problem? Because clearly, you were beyond rude to Elijah back at the café '

Harry knows that sounded harsh after he had hit sent, but it needed to be said. Also, he kind of lied about Elijah taking him to Liam’s party tomorrow night. They never agreed on going to any parties and so soon, but maybe Harry could convince the Law student to come with him. Especially if he wants this to work out and as much as Harry detests parties, how else will Elijah get to know his mates better?

So now Harry was texting Elijah asking him how he felt about going to a party tomorrow night to meet his friends. Harry knew there was a ninety percent chance of the boy saying no but he’d at least try. They don’t have to drink or anything, just hang out with Harry’s friends. Oh god, he can't believe he willingly wants to go to a party.

Oh how the tables were ever so slightly turning.

When Harry finally got around to check Louis’ text, he could help but be perplexed.

 'Louis: Oh '

Oh? That’s all? What does that mean? Louis doesn’t even give Harry chance to think more on it before he sent another message. Which, Harry doesn’t get why Louis didn't just send him one big message instead.

 'Louis: I was only teasing, no need to get your knickers into a twist ;) besides obviously what's his face can’t take a fucking joke '

All of that was a joke? Hmm.. Harry doesn't know how high Louis is right now, but all that wasn’t just some joke.

Louis was absolutely rude and obnoxious, bashed Elijah's lifestyle and date ideas. Which, if Louis was bashing Elijah, then he was also insulting Harry pretty much. As they both have similar backgrounds and prefer a nice quiet evening to study. It bothered Harry because Louis knows, he fucking knows how important his education is and how seriously he takes it. It’s all just one big reminder on why Louis would never in a million years want Harry more than a friend. As he proved that to Harry already when he ran off.

As much as Harry was feeling troubled about the whole mocking Elijah thing, he was going to keep up the conversation. Only because if he doesn’t Louis will end up calling him if he doesn’t receive a response soon enough.

It took Harry a solid five minutes to send the next message because for one he had absolutely no idea what to say and secondly Elijah had texted him back, agreeing that maybe one party should be okay to come meet some of Harry's mates. Well, that worked out then! Perfect.

 'Harry: You know it wouldn’t hurt you to actually be nice for once. Do you not like strangers or something? Because you treated me the same when we ran into each other, actually no, maybe even worse '

It's like Louis had this agenda to give shit to anyone that's not interesting enough or at least interesting to Louis. But then again Louis contradicted all that because he said he likes that Harry's his friend. As if Harry was the perfect escape from it all.

Without another second with his thought Louis was quick to respond and Harry just sighed.

 'Louis: Yeah, but with you it’s different, babe '

Harry hated the fact he started to smile a little, but that fell short after Harry started to think about what Louis was implying. Why was Harry different from Elijah? They're pretty much the same person minus their majors and Elijah was a tad bit taller than Harry, So it left Harry laying in bed puzzled as ever.

Should he ask Louis on what he means by ‘’with you it’s different’ or should he just ignore and change the subject?

 'Harry: I think you just need to give him a chance, Lou '

Well it wasn’t exactly what Harry wanted to ask, but never being one too confident enough to push the boundaries opted for that safe text instead.  

Also, Louis needed to give the poor boy a chance because maybe if Harry wanted to continue this thing with Elijah (not that he’s considering it quite yet) then Louis would have to tone down the snide remarks.

Harry didn't have much more time to think about it as his phone started to ring and he saw Louis’ name across the screen. As much as Harry wanted it to go straight to voicemail, he was curious to see what this was about. Certainly, Louis was being too impatient as always and probably ready to list off the top ten reasons why he won't give Elijah a chance.

“What-” Harry answered but didn't even have the chance to say anything because Louis was already talking.

“I’m sorry but I can’t accept that you like him. He’s just.. You know too good to be true. I just don’t think he’s the right fit for you.”

Like Louis knows what’s the right fit for Harry anyway.

Louis let out a sigh as if he was already tired, putting too much energy into explaining his reasons on why he doesn’t think Elijah and Harry would work together.

“He’s putting on an act to impress you, no one's that perfect!”

Did Louis sound a bit bitter? Why? Is it because he’s jealous that Elijah seems like he has everything in order?

“Besides he isn't even that cute if you ask me, “ Louis added bitingly.

Then the line went silent and Harry knows it was his turn to say something. But what can he say to all that? Louis obviously had already put a lot of thinking into this whole topic, he clearly doesn’t approve of Elijah nor likes him; he thinks he’s a fraud or something. Still, there's that factor of that Louis’ pretty much insinuating Harry was all of that because he recalls Louis treating him the exact same at the beginning. Maybe, maybe not but Harry's not ruining it out since Louis said Harry was too much of a goodie.

So did that mean Louis thought Harry had been putting on act to come across as a perfect student? Possibly.

Harry laid in his bed trying to think of the right thing to say as he pulled his blanket up further, suddenly feeling a little colder.

“Well I never asked for your opinion on him did I? “ Harry retorted back finally. ‘Besides, why do you think he’s too good to be true?”

Louis scoffed and said, “Because who in their right mind would spend their time in the library, willingly. Also, all he talked about was academics, shit, talk about boring!”  

That’s it, Harry was offended. Like really offended because Louis pretty much insulted him too! So he thinks Harry's boring then?

Hmm. Okay then.

“You know Louis, not all of us are into parties and being stoned for days. Some of us actually enjoy being at home for the night with a book in our hands. Shocker I know!”

Apparently Louis didn’t like that and was already defending himself quickly, but that didn’t mean Harry was any less offended.

“You know that’s not what I meant, love. This does not apply to you anyway … it’s just I don’t think he’s right for you, H.”

Harry was done with this conversation because for one Louis basically insinuated Harry was boring and secondly he’s again trying to tell Harry what's right for him. He’s sick of this.

“I think I’m just going to go bed now, so good night, Louis.” Harry didn’t give Louis a chance to say anything else because he had already hung up.

There was nothing else to say.

The following morning Harry just wanted to get through lecture and on with his day. Not really looking forward to tonight with Elijah. Mainly because of being Louis’ behaviour and his disapproval of the boy and Harry doesn’t want to hear any more reasons why Louis dislikes him. Not up for being affronted yet again.

If Harry were honest he’d much rather skip the party and focus on studying but Elijah already agreed. Also, Niall has been very enthusiast of Harry seeing Elijah again. Harry had explained to him what happened during the blind date. He, of course,  apologised that the message was not sent right after the date, he had a lot on his mind afterwards, which wasn’t a total lie.

Harry had about two texts from Louis asking him if he’s okay and what he's up to after class, which he received this morning at around seven; weird for Louis to be awake this early but Harry didn’t respond anyway, left them marked as read and got ready for the day.

Now Harry was on the bus back to his building and after having spent most of his day centered around class and in the library. It was getting fairly late and Harry knew as soon as he gets to his room he might as well start getting ready now for tonight’s party.

The thing is Harry’s  struggling, he is currently in front of his wardrobe with absolutely no idea what to wear. In the meantime, he also received a text from Elijah saying he’d get Harry in ten. So Harry was now slightly panicking in front of his clothes: Why was picking out a stupid top so hard for Harry every time he goes to one of these stupid things? It shouldn't  be this hard!

After another five minutes conflicted between his button down and his nicer grey jumper, Harry just tossed those to the side. Decided to go a bit more casual and went with his white T shirt, rolling up the sleeves slightly to add a little bit of flare. Checking himself in the mirror he thought that at least it certainly isn’t his worst choice he’s made yet so far.

Right. Still a few minutes to himself and Elijah would show up. Deep down, Harry still didn't want to go but there's no point in turning back now. He already told Niall and Louis he'd be there tonight with Elijah.

As soon as he heard a knock on his door, Harry was slipping on his boots.

“Hey, I made it,” Elijah addressed as shut the door behind him as Harry had gotten to his feet. His gaze fell on Harry and he then smiled. “You look stunning by the way.”

Harry subconsciously looked down and was a bit confused. He was only wearing casual clothes, nothing special. Without his consent, he felt his cheeks grow warm and the corner of his lips quirked up.

“Uh, thank you,” Harry nurtured out as his eyes fell back on Elijah before moving to slip on his coat. Ready to go get this night over with.

Harry just hopes once they arrive it won't be a total nightmare.

Soon they were out in the car park just as the snow started to pick up. About to hit the road when Elijah asked for the directions, which Harry had to recall how exactly how to get there. Usually, his mind was on other things every time he went, but after a minute or so he told Elijah the directions and they were off.

The ride was fairly quiet. Thankfully the music Elijah decided to put on was decent. It was a playlist of Pearl Jam’s songs.

Well at least he has great music taste, so that’s a good sign.

Once the car was parked and they were marching towards Liam’s front door, the nerves that went away during the car ride came back in full force in Harry’s belly. What if Elijah doesn’t like any of his mates? Or what if his friends don’t like Elijah? It worries Harry because if this works out for him then he wants his partner included in his group of friends. Who knows maybe Louis might come around eventually if that does happen. After all, the shorter guy was the one pressing a friendship between them knowing Zayn and Niall were bound to date, so why was it different with this one?

Harry also thought that if Elijah and him become a thing, his stupid crush on Louis would eventually go away for good and he can look back and forget about what happened.

Finally, they were inside and the usual concoction of loud dance music, stuffiness, and overcrowded place welcomed them. Everything’s a mess.

Harry’s already used to this kind of environment by now but he can notice that Elijah looks a bit uneasy, Harry gets it: when he first came here he wanted nothing to do with this place. He still doesn't honestly, the things he does for his mates though...

“Um, want me to get you something to drink?” Elijah asked loudly over the music, and Harry just nodded, feeling his hand being grabbed, guiding him through the crowd. Harry just stared down at the hand and smiled a little, he kinda likes that. He also likes that Elijah is take the lead kind of man (his favorite type of guy) and even if they were going in the wrong direction, Harry just smiled. Not saying a word when Elijah accidentally found the stairs before he found the kitchen.

Thankfully this room was less crowded and Elijah grabbed for Harry a water bottle from the cooler, yet again winning some points with him at remembering that Harry doesn’t drink.

Harry was glad they were able to have a spot in the kitchen to chit chat, still remaining somewhat close as Elijah was going on about how he’s only ever been to a few parties before. Saying he usually left before the clock hit midnight because he didn’t want to fall into that reveler mindset. Also because he put his education first and still does. Which Harry admires by the way, like a lot.

The only thing Harry wished could happen right now was for Ed or Nick came strolling into the kitchen then they could meet Elijah, as Harry wasn't willing to go upstairs knowing that's where they possibly are. He made a mental note to stay far away as possible from that room knowing who exactly would be in there. Especially if he wants to avoid another one of Louis’ not so finer moments.

Of course though, Elijah had to use the damn toilet and asked Harry where exactly it’s at. Harry had no other choice but to go upstairs and show him the bathroom. He was already thinking bringing this boy with him tonight was a bad idea, he's bound to run into Louis upstairs, it’s going to happen. And this smell, that awful marijuana scent that you can’t miss once you hit the bottom of the stairs and that gets gradually worse.

So Harry was alone now, leaning against the wall with a water bottle in his hand. Well that is until suddenly someone arrives beside him: Louis in all his glory, a beer in his hand and standing quite close to Harry.

God, he looks so good tonight- No! Harry can start thinking Louis looks good all because he’s wearing his stupid denim jacket with an iron maiden shirt underneath, nope. Not even his tousled fringe can make Harry think about it, not tonight!

“So, where’s Mr. Perfect at? Hmm?” Louis questioned as he took a sip from his red solo cup. “Unless he did not show up which I would not be surprised, since he’s a wet blanket and all!”

Louis didn’t have to be so rude, but yet. Also, he is so wrong about tonight, Elijah is here and he’s not being this wet blanket Louis so called him to be. Ugh, reminds Harry of that stupid word Louis kept calling him back in September; killjoy.

Harry sighed as he stared at Louis, still not too happy with him about last night conversation. Offended that Louis thinks Harry’s a complete bore to be around no matter what he says.

Before Harry could even answer, Elijah was back beside Harry, his hand on Harry’s lower back.

“Louis,”

“Elijah,” Louis said firmly, taking another sip of his drink, glaring at him.

Well time for Harry to step in…
Last thing he needs is to have his friend and his date argue tonight. Again.

Harry not sure how much longer before they both start yelling. Or at least Louis causes a scene.

“Funny thing we were just talking about you,“ Louis noted. Correction Louis was talking about Elijah. Harry hadn't even said a word!

Elijah raised his brow, glancing between the two while folding his arms across his chest.  

“Oh? What about?” he questioned giving Louis a glassy stare.

Before Louis could respond, Harry was already speaking up in an attempt to end this headed discussion.

“You know, Elijah, I think we should go find my other mates, Nick or Ed, I think you should meet them!” Harry declared and Elijah nodded, thankfully.

“Uh I’ll talk to you in a bit, Lou,” Harry added for good measure before he took off with Elijah into the crowd. Thankfully Louis didn’t follow, so that’s a plus.

As the night went on they ended up on one of the couches that weren’t occupied by people kissing with their drinks spilling over in the process. Harry hadn’t found Nick or Ed at all throughout the last hour he’s been here so here they were. Sitting beside each other and not really saying a whole lot, mostly watching what was going on around them. A comfortable silence sets up between them and Harry’s not sure if his eyes are playing tricks on him, but he swore Elijah scooted a tad closer to him. Not that he minds!

Harry’s mind did start to wander though as he sat there quietly. He wondered what Gemma would think of Elijah, would she approve?

She liked Louis before she even knew him. All because Harry liked him and she figured it out before Harry even said a word, too excited for him. Elijah's just so different from Louis though. He doesn’t have a plethora of tattoos, tight grungy clothes, plays guitar or he’s in a band, and doesn’t say what's on his mind so openly no matter how offensive it can be. Louis everything Gemma likes in a guy, Harry too apparently. But, who knows she might like this guy too, afterall he is Harry's dream guy. Harry knows for a fact that his mum will approve no matter what, as long as the guy makes Harry happy. He was glad she liked Louis despite his edgy appearance. Which Harry thought originally was going to be a problem as all the other guys in the past lacked everything Louis was. But back to Elijah, Harry just wants to work it out if they continue seeing each other.

Suddenly Harry was brought out of his thoughts when Elijah started to talk again, thankfully.

“So, I was thinking you know how we planned to study together one of these days?” Elijah brought up and Harry nodded. “Well maybe afterwards if you are free we could grab a coffee or something, maybe go to dinner or something to finish the night off.”

That did sound nice and Harry sure did like the idea of a coffee after a study hour, and a meal too.

“I think you have me for the evening then,” Harry answered as the corners of his mouth quirked up. Almost losing his breath when Elijah had reached over and tucked some of Harry’s hair behind his ear.

To say Harry wasn't  blushing would be a lie, because he was.

Though Harry had this strange feeling to be spied on, as if he were being watched. Making him feel rather unsettled as he glanced towards the other side of the room. That when he held eye contact with Louis who was leaning against the wall with his cup, staring at Harry with a frown expression on his face. Harry just gnawed on his lip and looked back to Elijah who looked a bit confused. Harry decided to change the mood and started talking about exams instead.

Getting his mind off all Louis related things right now.

Apparently that was too much to ask. Every time, every damn time, Harry felt eyes on him, it was Louis. Standing there not immersing himself with the people around him, not smoking a joint or a cigarette for the matter. Not doing anything except just watching Harry and it was kind of frustrating. Was Louis keeping an eye on Elijah because he doesn’t trust him? If so then Louis needs to get over himself and realize Harry can take care of himself.

Eventually Harry just ignored it and kept up the conversation with Elijah, the exam topic was long over with by now and Elijah was mentioning something about Harry meeting his own friends possibly sometime soon. Maybe study together in a group. Harry liked that idea, he did, but he’d have to get to know these friends before he cracks open one of his books with Elijah's mates.

Soon their conversation changed again the topic and now Elijah was telling Harry when he first seen Harry in the library. Seeing him usually in there for quite a while and always wanted to go chat him up, but wasn't sure how to approach him. He explained how he had met Niall one day at the library and that the Irish boy had mentioned being a close friend of Harry. So he asked Niall about Harry but wasn't sure if Harry was single as the rumor, apparently, was saying that Harry was hooking up with some stoner with tattoos (which was not true). First time Harry's heard of this so called rumor.

Oh so that may be the reason why Edith glared at him…

Not like it’s true anyway.

Still it makes Harry wonder why that gossip about him and Louis started in the first place, they've never kissed in front of anyone or be remotely intimate. It really confuses him though he doesn’t press the issue further and lets Elijah keep rambling on about it.

All of the sudden, Louis is approaching with great strides and without further notice he is smashing himself between them, almost spilling his beer on Elijah in the process. Oh god, what now?

“I can’t believe you're still sitting here and not partying!” Louis remarked as his arm went around the back of the ledge behind Harry's head.

“You know maybe you should come smoke a joint with me, Harold!” Louis added with a smirk across his face as Elijah moved to sit on the couch across from them, seeming a bit narked by all of this.

Harry flicked his gaze to Louis and shook his head, “Lou, you know I don’t smoke!” Apparently, that was a point needed to be reminded to Louis because in what world does Louis think Harry’s going to go off and smoke with him again?! It was one time.

Louis huffed, not looking too pleased with that answer, “Oh come on, you smoked one with me before, so why not now?!” And why did he have to say that! Did Elijah really have to know that information?!

The boy was, indeed, searching for Harry’s eyes, a confused expression on his face. He was silently asking for answers remembering very well how Harry had told how dedicated he is and how he doesn't condone drugs. What a nice way to make him look hypocrite … Thanks a lot, Louis!

“I only tried it once to prove that getting high doesn't solve every problem and because you suggested it to me,’’ he stated now looking at Louis, ‘’I was stressed over exams, that was the only reason I tried it in the first place.” Harry explained, hoping Elijah would understand Harry wasn't living a secret lifestyle of a stoner.

“But you shot gunned with me, willingly, so…” Louis needed to shut up now! Elijah did not need to know that at all, like seriously. Now that will feed this stupid rumor and Elijah will put two and two together, figure out that the tattooed stoner is in fact, Louis. Which he probably already knows, but if he doesn't then… Harry not sure about anything anymore tonight.

Harry rubbed the back of his neck as he stared at Elijah for a second before his eyes were back on Louis; the shorter boy was not done talking.

However, the next thing that happened almost knocked the wind out of Harry. Louis absently grabbed Harry's arm, gently, making Harry's body feel suddenly very warm all over. “You know I miss when we used to hangout; skipping class, coming to my dorm for the night after a lame party, and going to London with me for tattoos. I miss that...” Louis spoke with honesty in his voice and as much as Harry missed that stuff too (he really did) now was not the time for any of this. Not at all. Not when Harry's date is seated across from him and learning all these memories they have together. In addition, it’s more than likely that Elijah wouldn't agree with any of it.

Still Louis had brought up the fact that he missed Harry, he missed him in general. It makes Harry’s stomach feel a bit fluttery but Harry really tried to shut that down. No matter how many times Louis says he misses Harry it doesn't mean Louis likes him; Harry's been trying so hard to tell himself that.

Maybe he has been a bit too harsh when he ignored Louis because of what happened on holidays. It'd be nice to go do spontaneous things again and spend the greater part of his days doing whatever Louis had up his sleeve. Although, Harry's worried that if he kept all that up, he won't ever get over Louis, or at least not fast enough.

Despite everything, some part of Harry is telling him to go hangout with his best friend again, he does not want to lose him for good.

Abruptly, Harry was taken out of his thoughts by Elijah which makes Harry breaking his gaze from Louis.
“Well as much as I would love to stay and chat, I actually have to get going now, seeing my parents bright and early,” Elijah announced as he got to his feet, smoothing out his top. “We should probably get going so I can drop you off, Harry,” Elijah added with a smile.

When Louis removed his hand off Harry's arm, Harry wanted it back on him immediately but he tried to ignore that feeling. His head is probably just messing with him anyway.

Harry just nodded and he’s on his feet quickly, ready to get the hell out of here. Except Louis did not seem too pleased with this plan; suddenly, he can feel his hand on his waist. Harry is totally caught off guard by Louis’ clinginess. As to Elijah, he wears a slight snarl on his face and he, now,  crosses his arms on his chest.

“You know I could take you home myself later, I'd really like you to stay, H,” Louis suggested with a tiny pout on his face.

Harry couldn't do that, he just couldn't. He came with Elijah tonight and it's only right to leave with him. Besides Harry thinks it might not be the best idea to stay anyway with all these confusing feelings he got towards Louis right now. As much as he contemplates the idea of hanging with Louis again, he can't do it tonight. Not when Elijah standing is right there expecting Harry to come with him. That'd be just bad date etiquette and Elijah probably wouldn't be too happy knowing his date went off with the boy from the rumor.

“I can't Lou, maybe we can do something soon, okay?” Harry muttered out, hoping Louis would agree on that. Making this a whole lot easier for Harry and Elijah to leave.

Obviously Louis didn't care about making it easier, here he was, already pleading his case.

“Oh come on, can't you just stay here? What exactly are you going to do? Go back and sleep?!” Louis shook his head as he dropped his hand off Harry's waist and set his cup on the armrest of the couch, stuff his hands into his pockets. “Sleep can wait, I want to chill with you, Harold!”

Louis wasn't making this any easier was he?

Harry let out a sigh as he shook his head “I'm sorry, But I can't. Not tonight. I promise we can do something soon yeah,” Harry hoped Louis would just agree already, not keeping coming up with more reasons why he should stay.

Louis was about to open his mouth again when it got interrupted by Elijah.

“Ok, that’s settled then! We are leaving,” Elijah declared as he looked down to his watch around his wrist.

Louis rolled his eyes not looking too entirely impressed that Elijah was ready to hit the road. They’ve only been here for merely two hours so Harry can’t totally blame Louis for wanting him to stay longer, but Harry came with Elijah tonight, not Louis.

About to say his goodbyes, Harry didn’t even get to utter a word because in a span of seconds Louis was already crowding his space, pulling him in for a hug. Taking aback, Harry froze on the spot. Talk about unexpected! Eventually, though Harry gained enough consciousness to wrap his arms around Louis’ torso, his head nestled in the crook of Louis’ neck. Harry couldn’t help but smile when Louis squeezed him rather tightly.

Louis’ tight embrace seemed to linger for a few more seconds before he slowly pulled away, not  stepping away either, still standing close to Harry. Rubbing the back of his neck and meeting Harry’s eyes.

“I’ll text you later then,” Louis settled finally before grabbing his drink once again and holding eye contact with Harry for a moment. That moment not lasting longer before Elijah had grabbed Harry’s hand.

He’s not sure if he was seeing things but he could have sworn Louis’ eyes darted to their hands for a second, but maybe Harry was thinking way too much right now. Maybe the fumes from the marijuana which got to his head, yeah probably. That’s what Harry’s blaming it on, hallucinations.

Louis was about to open his mouth to speak up but Elijah was faster and pulled Harry away towards the exit.

Once arrived outside of Harry’s door,  it was was fairly quiet between them, they haven’t really said much since they left the party. Well except for Elijah saying he would like to walk Harry to his door.

But now they’re just standing here in silence and Harry’s unsure of what comes now. It’s been so long since he’s done this sort of thing and he actually never had someone walk him back to his room before. The doors to the building, yes, but not this.

Honestly Harry wasn't sure if he should invite Elijah inside his dorm or not, indecisive of what to say actually. Thankfully (fucking thankfully!) Elijah decided to finally speak up.

“You know, I don’t care about all those things Louis said you did with him,” he declared, “Doesn’t change the fact that I still quite like you and want to see you again...” that was music to Harry’s ears!

Because Harry would too.

“Likewise.”

Elijah smiled before he closed his eyes for a moment then opening them back up.

“Can I… kiss you?”

Oh god, oh god! Harry was not prepared for this! No, he was not. He didn’t actually think they’d be kissing yet as it’s really only been the second time they've gone out. Harry thought maybe after the fourth date or so Elijah would have kissed him, not this soon!

Still that doesn’t mean Harry’s opposed to kissing a cute boy.

So he nodded timidly, trying to contain his giddiness about it all. Maybe this is a sign that it is time for Harry to be in a relationship again. To try it out again, but Harry decided to think about that later because now Elijah was closing the distance between their bodies, his lips gently pressed against Harry’s.

It was very brief and Harry didn't have the time to process it that Elijah was already saying goodnight and leaving. Left alone, Harry went back inside of his room and felt rather… uncertain of everything.

He did not bother to turn the light on, he just sat there, his back against the door, knees brought to his chest. He tried to figure out why all of a sudden he feels very different feelings for Elijah. Everything was fine until they kissed and to be honest, it felt not right. Like something in Harry was telling him that maybe he doesn’t like Elijah as much as he thought he did. There were no sparks or fireworks or anything. It has been rather unpleasant to Harry actually.

Would it be bad to say that he didn’t want to kiss Elijah again?

Harry’s knows deep down Elijah isn’t the one. He isn’t the perfect boy for him. At all. No matter how he tries to convince himself.

As if this was some sign, his mind keeps going back to Louis and how he wanted Louis to be the one to take him to that party tonight. To walk him to his dorm and kiss him goodnight, play with his hair, and grab his hand. Harry wanted that so badly, but he knows he can’t have Louis. It’s not fair at all that he likes this guy that doesn't even want him in the first place. Harry felt tears come to his eyes now that he was thinking about all of this and how he’s been bottling it up.

Not wanting to admit to himself just how much it had been affected when it really did. Harry knew that there was a possibility of their friendship potentially becoming risky. All because Harry had to be stupidly attracted to Louis and come to like him over time, it’s frustrating. Especially with Louis giving him many mixed signals and acting as if everything's all good around him. Well it’s not.

Harry just sitting there against his door, crying because he’s very frustrated with this situation. Why did he have to like Louis in the first place?

Harry never came to uni with the intention of falling for the one boy that would be troubles down the line. The one and only boy that doesn’t want anything to do with relationships and is everything Harry’s not.

Louis’ just so… complicated and different to Harry. Louis mocked him and assumed many things about Harry when they first met but now it’s different.

Louis was never on his radar at all, not a guy like Louis could attract him before he came to this stupid university. Louis’ the first guy Harry has ever liked that brought excitement into his life, that actively tried to get Harry out of his comfort zone which he loathed at first. Now he wants that, he wants to get dragged to numerous parties, spur of the moment trips, and all that stuff.

Why can’t Louis like him back though? Why? Is it because Harry’s not into the hookup culture? Or is it because Harry’s everything Louis considers monotonous and predictable?

Whatever it is...

It’s just not fair.

Chapter Text

A few days before the weekend Harry found himself in the library.

Spending nearly an hour working on notes wasn’t unusual for Harry, but with company it was. Elijah had messaged Harry via text the night before asking how he felt to meet up in the library after class to revise. At first, Harry was rather reluctant because he usually wasn't one to study in big groups, more so by himself.

Then again sometimes Harry did enjoy the occasional study buddy, except it wouldn't have been just the two of them. Harry had asked Niall if he would like to join them since the Irish boy seemed to be kind of struggling a little with his coursework as of late. Of course, Harry told Elijah in advance that Niall would be tagging along and thankfully he didn’t seem bothered by it.

Now things with Elijah were different. Harry had received a text a couple days ago asking about studying together after the new semester had started. Which Harry appreciated because he’s always down for anything educational. But as Harry had messaged Elijah back he had to do the right thing and told him that maybe they should just try being friends instead. Of course, Harry felt awful because he knew Elijah had been into him, but how can Harry be into him when he's into someone else?

Thankfully Elijah just said it was okay, but nothing really else after that. Not until he finally got around to text Harry confirming that they were still meeting up the other night.

It was a bit awkward though, having to be seated across from Elijah this whole time so Harry’s quite glad he invited Niall. Harry’s never been in this sort of situation before where he turned down the guy. It felt weird and it still does because he’s worried that Elijah is harboring ill feelings towards him for ending suddenly after they kissed. Which he had told Elijah that it hadn’t had anything to with him personally, but Harry’s own self.

Of course, Harry didn’t spare the details because Elijah never asked and there was no reason too.

So now that was all water under the bridge because Harry was busy focused on doing his usual ritual of rewriting his notes two times over as Niall and Elijah went back and forth with flashcards. Which Harry had tried to do with them, but it wasn't working that well for him, he just preferred his way of doing things. Niall of course, fucking Niall complained that rewriting everything was a waste of time and energy and told Harry no wonder he always in a mess of nerves when big tests and projects come around. Exams too.

But Niall stopped it after Harry just told him everyone has their own style of studying so he shouldn't be mocking Harry's when he should be worrying about his own instead. Elijah, of course, just smiled and shook his head and suggested they quiz each other instead, and Harry liked that idea. Because one it’s effective and secondly they actually put the group study into good use. That only lasted for nearly fifteen minutes before Niall had pulled out his phone and decided whoever’s texts he’d received were far more important.

Harry having sat beside Niall sort of peaked out the corner of his eye (because he’s curious, okay?) and saw he was typing back to Louis, mentioning that he was at the library with Elijah and Harry. Saying they could meet up soon after they finish up. As Louis had wanted Niall to come take a look at some of Louis’ work for a second opinion on one his gaming projects, also to hangout for a while too as he promised there would be pizza with Niall’s name on it. Which Harry was thrilled to see Louis actually taking his work seriously, but why didn’t he ask Harry to come instead?

Not that it matters of course.

Deciding not to give it more thought because there was simply no point to dwell on the fact Louis hadn’t even thought that maybe Harry would love to help Louis. But whatever it is what it is. Because Harry had more important things to do and that was to help Niall recognize some of their key notes on communication and assessment. Also, help Elijah out with anything he needed, but of course that boy seemed like he needed none in the first place.

Eventually at some point Harry’s mind was no longer focused because Louis showed up out of the blue and popped down in the chair between Elijah and Harry. Yep, a major distraction.

“Hey Niall and Harold, miss me?!” Louis smirked, clearly not giving Elijah any mind that he was in fact right there beside him. Elijah, of course, was supporting a pinched expression, looking to be less than impressed to see Louis here right now. Without a book bag or even a book for the matter.

Harry just smiled down at his open textbook and glanced back up to Louis, holding eye contact with him for a moment. “You do know we’re studying, right?” Harry mentioned as he tucked some of his curly strands behind his ear. “I mean I am kind of shocked to see you here since this isn’t your thing...”

Louis scoffed as he slouched back into his spot, extending his arm and resting it against the ledge of Harry’s chair. Harry bit  back his smile because he sort of likes this, Louis’ arm close to him, almost as if Louis was wanting to put it around him. Not that Harry has any complaints.

“Maybe I had a change of heart and decided hey maybe I should go to the library. You know to actually see what all the fuss is about spending half your day here in the first place,”

Louis explained as he was fixing his beanie on his head, his hair pushed back into it. Which Harry thought he looked good, as always. But now was not the time to be thinking of all the times Harry has very much appreciated all Louis’  looks. Nope, he was here to study, that’s it!

“Or maybe I told you I was here with H and Elijah?” Niall shook his head as he closed his textbook as he pulled out his phone, probably had a text from Zayn more than likely.

Louis just rolled his eyes and they ended up on Harry for a moment, “So, Harold my invitation still stands for next month,” Louis brought up as he started to smile a little, “You better come, or else,” Louis teased as Harry swore he felt Louis’ fingers light skim across his arm.

Elijah looked unimpressed as let out a heavy sigh, glancing back down to his notes instead of listening any of it, clearly annoyed by Louis.

Harry knows Louis wants him to come to his band gig and of course Harry wants to go, he’s been thinking it over quite a bit. Especially after the night of the party, knowing just how much he missed hanging out with Louis. So, of course, he’s going to go, no matter how much he’s still rather upset with everything else, he wants to be around Louis. He really does.

“Of course, Lou,” Harry nodded as he began to fiddle with the edges of pages of his textbook. Holding back a smile when Louis decided right now was the best time to start messing around and he’s only been here for not even three minutes.

Louis’ pulled out his phone and decided he wanted to show Harry a video of him playing guitar just the other morning and asking him how he sounded. Of course, Harry being too enamored by this boy couldn't help but glance away from his notes and stare at the screen. Trying his hardest to actually listen to Louis’ guitar skills, but more focused on why in the hell is Louis’ shirtless with bed head. Ugh, it’s like Louis was doing this on purpose, planned out in advance, like he knew Harry thoughts wouldn’t be on those riffs.

This certainly wasn’t going to leave Harry’s mind anytime soon that’s for sure. Shirtless Louis was a major downfall for Harry and he hates how much it always affects him.

After that, Harry managed to mutter out a safe answer without sounding too affected by it all,  “Good, your, uh, good,” Louis decided he wanted to keep distracting Harry with other things. Eventually Niall too with videos on try not to laugh challenges and pranks, totally distracting them from their studies, well everyone except  Elijah that is. He was too busy working on what he intended to do.

Louis did end up scooting his chair closer towards Harry so Niall could get a good look at the videos and Harry had to contain himself. Biting back his smile especially after realizing at some point that Louis still hadn’t removed his arm off his chair, almost making Harry freeze up, to be honest.

Pretty soon the videos turned into a slew of lyric videos showing them what songs they were thinking of covering at their gig coming up in a couple weeks. Totally not letting Harry go back to his studies at this point now that they were watching a damn video with fonts and “The End Is Beautiful’ by Jimmy Eat World (which Harry’s not really surprised) playing in the background. It’s almost as if Louis was doing this all on purpose to distract Harry and pay attention to him instead. Which Louis would do that.

Eventually the videos come to a stop when Louis gets a series of texts from Nick and his sisters, allowing Harry to finally go back to his work. Kind of almost forgetting where exactly he had left off for a moment. Which is kind of hard considering Louis still hadn’t scooted his chair away at all… and all Harry can focus on is Louis right beside him. His stupid cologne mixed with the scent of cigarette smells and no longer had his arm around the back of Harry's chair, but brushing arms instead as he texted quickly.

But Louis wasn’t about to let Harry go back to his bookwork so quickly as he was leaning over the table, standing very fucking close to Harry. Like his body was basically pressed up against him as Louis reached around and grabbed one of Harry’s blue ink pen before sitting back down, thank god! Harry is certain if Louis was sitting even closer next to him and Harry feels like he’s going to pass out.

Niall mentioned that he’d be ready to go in just a few minutes to Louis so they can head out, but Louis just nodded and had the pen against Harry’s left hand, scribbling on a star onto the side of Harry’s pinky, making Harry’s mind go all fuzzy when Louis’ hands are on his own hand.

If this were anyone else Harry would have swatted that damn pen out of their hand and told them he’s not a sketching pad. Except for Louis, he’s an exception because damn Harry likes him too much to care Louis’ drawing on him with a pen.

“Now that’s quality art right there, temporary tattoo if you will, now only if it was a real one,” Louis snickered as he put the pen down, still had his hand on Harry’s, holding it up. Harry just shook his head because this was silly. But apparently, Elijah didn’t think so at all and was darting his eyes between them both before he slammed his book shut.

“Because it’s looks fucking amazing on you,”

Harry felt his cheeks grow warm when Louis said a tattoo would look amazing on him, but that didn’t get much more a thought because Elijah was speaking up.

“If you're not going to study and take this seriously, you can just leave instead of doodling on people like a child,” Elijah griped as he crossed his arms.

Harry soon felt Louis’ hand remove from his, letting it drop onto the tabletop, and Harry wished Elijah would have just kept his mouth shut honestly. Niall didn’t say anything about it so why did Elijah have to?  Louis wasn’t doing anything wrong and yes maybe they were supposed to be studying, but a little break never hurt anyone.

“Good thing I was just about to leave with Niall, then, because I don’t want to even be in the same room as you with that piss poor attitude of yours!” Louis countered back as he got on his feet suddenly and nodded to Niall, gesturing towards the exit. “I’ll catch up with you later, Harry,” Louis mentioned as he patted Harry on the shoulder, moving away from the table.

Elijah just sighed heavily as he watched Louis with a glare and to be honest Harry didn’t fancy staying alone with Elijah.

Right before Niall took off with Louis as he was buttoning up his coat he brought up, “Have nice birthday though Harry, and I’ll catch up Monday, okay?” Harry just nodded and Louis looked kind of confused at first. Almost as if he forgot, but then his facial expression was rather neutral. Maybe it wasn’t that, but who knows what goes on in Louis’ head sometimes.  

And then there were two. Alone.

If Harry were honest he could sense that Elijah was no longer in his decent mood from earlier. He’s not even cracking back open his book or telling Harry they should really go back into it; he is just sitting there with a slight scowl on his face.

“He’s so annoying, I don’t know how you can even be around him,” Elijah started and Harry was not liking where this was going. “He couldn’t leave you alone for a minute to let you at least finish up studying. Does he ever stop?”

Harry frowned, not appreciating Elijah attacking Louis when he’s not even here to defend himself.

“You just have to get to know him, yes maybe he’s not the most academically interested student here, but Louis’ good friend to me,” Harry spoke honestly in defense. Elijah just shook his head, clearly still not entirely impressed.

“Yet we didn’t come to uni to mess around, did we? We came to learn, so why on earth would you give him the time of day?” Elijah went on and it was bothering Harry what Elijah was saying. Yes, Louis could care less about his major, but that’s on him. Elijah had no right to bash Louis at all, especially Harry’s friendship with him too. “He clearly doesn't give a damn about his education and I seriously don’t know what you see in him anyway!”

Harry was confused… what did Elijah mean by that?

But then Elijah kept on ragging on Louis and the next thing that came out of his mouth was ten times more confusing. “You know what, no, is this the reason why you suddenly only wanted to be friends with me?”

Harry just scratched at his scalp, absolutely confused because there's no way Elijah would have known Harry’s thing for Louis. He’s never told him and besides Harry’s not that obvious, is he? The only reason Niall knew was because he just picked up on from queues over the years and Gemma, well she knew when Harry was on his phone most of the day smiling. But Elijah, he’s only known him for not even a month so he can't possibly know right?

So that’s why this was perplexing to him and soon Elijah was already putting his things away into his leather book bag and letting out a huff. “You know I thought maybe this could actually work out, you know. Both of us taking pride in our future, not into the party scene, and actually had things in common. But I guess I was wrong, because your priorities are elsewhere.”

Wait what?

“I’m confused ..” Harry said honestly as he watched Elijah putting back on his coat as he slung the bag around his shoulder. “What do you even mean by all that?”

“Clearly this isn't going to work, not when I feel like I have to compete for your attention. I’m sorry but I can’t do this anymore.” Elijah admitted and then stalked away from the table.

So that's that then?

Harry's still quite unsure what Elijah had meant. What did he imply by ‘compete for Harry's attention’?

Whose attention was Elijah competing against? Louis’? But that's not possible! Louis doesn't want Harry, so why would Elijah be that upset over a friendship?

Maybe Louis can be a bit clingy at times more so as of late, but that doesn't mean anything. Not for them because Louis doesn't want him in more than a friend way. No matter how much Harry wanted more. But then again Harry knows that Elijah and Louis just never well… meshed together and if he is honest he’s, indeed, glad Elijah left. No need to have that negativity near him and his mates. Last thing Harry needed was to choose between Elijah and Louis on who to be friends with. But Harry can’t do that, he wouldn’t give up his friendship with Louis, no. No matter how much Harry likes Louis and is still rather conflicted about things, he would never want to lose him. He can’t see a future without Louis honestly.

Elijah clearly wasn’t having any of that and left, which Harry felt rather relieved.

Yes, Harry had the same mindset as Elijah when he first met Louis and had that heated exchange in the bathroom. Hell, he couldn’t stand to be around Louis because Harry thought he was beyond annoying and too smug for his own good. But Harry gave Louis a chance and look where they're at now? Pretty much inseparable … well, were.

But still, Louis’ special to Harry and anyone can count out their friendship isn’t going away anytime soon.

After closing his textbook Harry decided now that he was totally alone he would just put his things away. Maybe go pack his bag for the weekend since he was staying home for his birthday as Anne had asked Harry to come back for his twentieth birthday because Gemma would be home too so they could celebrate it together. She’s happy to have her children home as it’s been quite lonesome without them, they’re also probably eager to ask Harry what he’s been up to. But that’s another thought for another time because now Harry was putting on his coat and leaving the library.

It didn’t take fairly long for Harry to make back to his dorm and tossed his suitcase onto his bed. Going to his wardrobe and skimming through some of his more casual clothes as his mind went back to the things Elijah brought up to Harry before he stormed off.

Still not understanding what Elijah had meant by Harry’s priorities lay elsewhere or the fact that he asked him if Louis scribbling a star onto him is the reason why Harry ended it so abruptly. But the one thing that confused him the most was the fact that Elijah said he felt as if he was trying to compete for Harry’s attention. Like what does that even mean?

Does Elijah possibly think Louis is into Harry too like everyone else? Possibly.

Harry thought so too, but he realized that maybe that’s just how Louis is with him specifically, clingy and sometimes kittenish.  He knows that Harry himself is a tactile person and who knows, maybe Louis was like that with Zayn or Nick in the beginning. Harry tries not to read too much into things as he once did, but it’s hard not too. Especially when he’s so gone for that boy, like talk about easier said than done.

Then this got Harry to think about how the blind date attempt went straight out the window and look where he’s at? Still smitten with Louis even with unclear feelings towards everything else.

It was nice of Niall to do that for him, set him up and all, but clearly, that didn’t work.

Speaking of Niall, Harry had soon received a message from the lad saying that he was so sorry that Louis had shown up and adding something like ‘but I guess everything's okay now ’. No, things weren’t okay, but a little better. Definitely better than a few weeks ago, that’s for sure.

Harry quickly texted Niall back as he put his folded garments into his suitcase, telling him that is okay and they’re fine as they can be, not really getting too far when his phone buzzed in his hand right as he was typing out that message. After he hit sent, Harry checked the notification and had seen that Louis had sent him a message asking him if he needed a ride to his mum’s saying he could take him as he was going back to Doncaster for the weekend for a band practice (also to see his family) anyway.

As much as Harry liked the idea of being alone with Louis in a car for a couple hours, he’s not sure if he’s ready for that. Not for that long period of time cooped up in a car with a boy that makes Harry’s stomach all fluttery.

They haven’t necessarily just hung out alone in almost a month's time and the closest thing to it was back at the party as Harry waited for Elijah. Yet, that was very brief. Also, Harry thinks that if he’s alone with Louis for too long he might go deeper than before in his liking towards Louis.

Harry felt bad for saying that he was going to actually take the train instead because he knows Louis’ been aching for them to hangout again, but Louis just needs to give it a little more time. Maybe they could do something when Harry comes back? Maybe alone too, but not all day.

Not yet.

After Harry had sent that text he zipped up his suitcase and sat beside it, finally admiring the work Louis did on Harry’s pinky. Harry couldn’t help but smile to himself because as crazy as this sounds he never thought he’d be so… well captivated with a mediocre star on his finger. His mind going back to Louis saying Harry would look amazing with a tattoo and God, Harry’s thinking of being Louis’ own personal canvas.

Liking the idea more and more of having random doodles on his arm, hand, or maybe even his thigh (if Harry was wearing shorts or something). Just the idea of Louis’ hands on him, on his hand or his thigh made him want that more. Just Louis near him because if Harry can’t have him then at least he gets to have Louis’ hands on him. Yes it probably sounds stupid, but it’s the closest thing Harry will ever get to Louis touching him more intimately.

As crazy as this sounds... Maybe someday Harry might actually get himself a tattoo. Just a small one, but that’s still up in the air. As Harry’s never been taken by them for him oneself. But Louis’ not only told him once but twice a small one would look nice on him, so maybe he’s not wrong?

He wouldn’t want to necessarily go alone if he did either, preferably want Louis to go with him of course, but it was also kind of daunting. The thought of something so permanent on his body, yes Harry knows there’s laser removal, but it’s the point of actually getting it done. Not regretting it soon after either.

But that’s a thought for another time.

*****

Saturday couldn't have come soon enough as Harry was back home with his family for the weekend.

It was finally nice to just see his mother as he hasn’t seen her since he had come back from the last holiday. The only thing he wasn’t particularly fond of was when she had gotten kind of emotional this morning during breakfast (just a little) because she thinks Harry’s growing up way too fast. As she admitted that since Harry's been away at uni that the house had just been so quiet. Even though he just seen his mum not that long ago, he gets it. He'd feel kinda lonely too if suddenly he was all alone after being surrounded by family for so long. But It's not like Harry completely moved out. He still lives there when he's not back at uni.

Also ever since it's been just the three of them Harry thought he'd still be the one to live at home anyway. As Gemma pretty much had her own place and career under her belt, but still ringing their mum every day to talk. Even texting Harry too when she wasn't busy or was just nosy about what's going on in Harry's life.

Which Gemma was, in fact, demanding of every single thing that was going on for Harry. Ever since she came to visit on Saturday. Asking Harry if he's talked to Louis yet or at least forgave him for that cowardly thing he did. Harry just told her (when they were alone) that things are better, but not ideal. Explained that it's too scary to even think about confronting Louis now, especially since he's never done this kind of things before. Basically telling Gemma that if Louis wanted to talk about it then he would have already by now, but clearly, it wasn't that deep since Louis swept it under the rug and acts as if everything is ok between them.

Gemma had told Harry that maybe Louis was doing Harry a favor as he would end up breaking Harry's heart in the long run. Which he probably didn't want that to happen at all. Or like she mentioned before back on holidays that Louis had just freaked out. Which regardless if those were true then Louis would have never kissed him the first place. As much as he hates to consider it, Harry’s still taking it in consideration.

Still, Harry didn't like thinking about all of that and told Gemma that he'd get back to her about it soon. As Harry didn't come home to start sulking again at the thought of Louis kissing him and then ditching him.

He came home for his birthday and spend time with his family! Not worry about some guy with countless tattoos and a picturesque smile. No.

So Gemma dropped all Louis related questions even though she gave him a look every time Harry was on his phone. Probably to see if they were talking or something. But Harry did end up telling her about the blind date he had went on and what a major fail that has been because the guy didn't like Harry's friendship with Louis. Calling Louis annoying and pretty much making fun of him for his lack of enthusiasm for his academics. Gemma made a comment about how he sounded like Harry's perfect guy in theory from Harry's past ideals.

Gemma mentioned something about Harry's perfect guy that is more than likely his total opposite in fact. Could be right under his nose all this time! Sure, Gemma could be insisting it had to be Louis once again because she really wants them together. Knowing her Harry will be in the least bit surprised, but whatever. Perfect guy or not, Louis can't be anything more than a friend because Louis’ a casual sex kind of guy. So how would that work?

Thankfully Gemma had dropped it all when they spent the rest of their Saturday with Anne. As she had gotten Harry a birthday cake and a card with some money. To help him with anything he needed back at uni. Of course, Harry appreciated it and was a little surprised Gemma had even gave him a card too.  He even managed to sneak in a well needed nap too which was very nice. It was nice for once to not worry about his coursework or anything related to his academics.

All in all his birthday was nice even if he didn't do a whole lot, it was just nice to be with his family.

What topped it all off was when he got various texts from all his mates wishing him happy birthday. Especially the one he had received from Louis later into the night as he had been busy all day with his family and band stuff. So maybe Harry’s stomach twisted into knots when he seen he had a text notification from Louis and to say he hadn’t waited all day to hear from Louis wouldn’t be a lie per se…

 'Louis: Okay so I know this is super late and knowing you, you're probably in bed, but I was busy with family and band stuff. I swear I didn’t forget. :) So now that I have the chance to message you, I wanted to just say that I hope your day is as wonderful as you are. As I’m glad I’ve met you and became one of my best friends. Anyway, Happy Birthday, Harold! See you on Monday!'

Harry read over that text at least six times beaming, I hope your day is as wonderful as you are. That. That got Harry’s heart hammering every time he read it over and over. His stomach going into a twisting mess because he never thought a birthday text could affect him like this. It’s not like Louis had confessed his love or anything to Harry, all he said was for Harry to have a wonderful day. But why couldn’t he stop smiling and mooning over a text? It makes no sense to Harry, but he doesn’t care, he’s just happy that Louis’ sticking around after Harry’s practically snubbed him.

Louis’ extraordinary.

Yes, Harry wanted to reply or at least call Louis after that but he never did and Louis never rang him either. Which was surprising as usually Louis was one to call if he didn’t get feedback or an answer, but then again Louis had acknowledged that Harry might not even be up. Which was a first, so maybe it made Harry feel even more elated that Louis even knows about Harry’s routine by now. Also the fact that Louis took time out of his busy day to send Harry a message did numerous things to Harry. He can’t quite explain why, but he can’t wait to see Louis on Monday too.

Sunday morning was quiet, as Harry had spent most of it in his room, reading. As he hasn’t had time in a while to just sit down and actually read for once. Other than his textbooks and text messages. It was nice to finally relax and not worry about anything else.

Anne wasn’t thrilled about Harry going back so soon already as he was leaving later in the day. She actually wanted him to stay one more day so they catch up some more, but Harry knows it’s not like he won’t see his mum again. Besides she had work to attend to anyway tomorrow morning so what fun would that be for Harry to be at home by himself? Also by the time she got back Harry would just up and leave a few hours later, so it didn’t make any sense. So he’s going back tonight, as he has class in the morning anyway.

Which he can’t afford to skip.

Harry almost made it to the end of his stay without question pertaining to a certain subject, but that went south. Anne had asked Harry as he was packing his bag if he was still talking to Louis as Harry hasn’t mentioned him at since he’s been at home. No, of course, he didn’t tell his own mum why in fact Louis never came back with him and had Gemma drop him off at home. He actually told her Louis had a family emergency which was a lie and thankfully she bought it because Gemma did most of the talking, well all of the talking. As she said in the car before they got home to just keep his mouth shut unless she wanted to know what really happened because then she’d never like Louis at this rate. So Harry did and was thankful for that.

But he knew Anne would have been suspicious as to why Gemma spoke for him so of course, she’d ask him questions while he was alone and his sister wasn’t at home to save his arse. Thankfully though the question weren’t hard ones to answer, but she was curious. Asking Harry if things were okay between them as she’s noticed he hasn’t really been on his phone as much as before and that she can just tell something’s off. Harry, of course, tried his best to tell her everything's fine, he’s just been super exhausted lately so they haven’t been hanging out as much. Harry’s not sure if she bought it or not, but she didn’t question it.

The only thing she did say though was to give it time.

And that confused Harry a lot.

It was now going on five thirty and Harry was on the train back to Southampton.

Harry knows he won’t make it back until late into the night, but by the time he’s dropped off and at his dorm he can go straight to bed. Also, Anne may have persuaded Harry into taking one of the later trains before he came home for his birthday. Which was fine, Harry didn’t care regardless.

An hour and a half into his train ride Harry was able to finally breathe and just be able to think for once. No longer being surrounded by his family or mates and his grades not weighing heavily on his back. It was just nice to finally have some Harry time as it’s been long overdue for that.

So sitting there looking out the window at the scenery the train passed, Harry’s mind started to go straight back to before he even came to uni. He was scared, nervous, and a bit worried only because this was it. This was paving his way to the career he’s been dreaming about for so long and it was all very intimidating at first. He was thankful Niall and Ed had gotten accepted after they learned Harry had decided he’d plan to go this university in particular. Honestly made him feel a lot better about it all that he knew some people especially being hours away from home. It was also quite nice that Niall had always talked about doing the nursing major too, so that was also a plus. But after, Harry got into the swing of things it wasn’t as bad as he thought it’d be. Yes, he may have refrained from any extracurricular activities with his friends at the beginning but he had his reasons. Legitimate reasons.

But of course Niall had to meet a boy at a party and end up dragging Harry along (to be his wingman) once things seemed to be picking up for him. Which was shit because he left Harry totally alone to go be with Zayn, but that’s whatever. Harry was glad he ended up there that night at Liam’s party because as much as he didn’t like Louis at first, he grew to like him. A little too much over time. As Harry knew as time went on things could become risky as he found Louis attractive of course and slowly very slowly enjoyed being around him and his cocky attitude. It's kind of crazy to Harry that he even gave Louis a chance in the first place because the old Harry back before he went to university would have just ignored him.  Flat out turned Louis down when he asked Harry to come out to his car with him for a smoke. Not going to London after ditching Ed and Nick, no. None of that. Even if Niall was dating his best mate. But Louis was persistent and still is. Harry doesn’t get why Louis pressed for friendship so much after being rude to him, then again they did just do it for Zayn and Niall’s sake. Because if they weren’t friends now and we're back to square one. Well, hmm, Harry’s certain he wouldn’t have skipped class or smoked a joint with Louis. He wouldn’t have stayed the night in some boys dorm in a sheet fort watching a Disney film or spend all day and night in different cities with said boy. Things would be different and Harry wouldn’t change it for the world.

He’s made new friends and lived new experiences. Some better than others, but still it’s been one hell of a year.

Just there's one thing. One damn thing  that is still pulling at Harry's stomach because he wants answers. He wants to know what the hell was that back in Manchester because it still makes no sense. None at all.

Yes, of course, he wants an explanation. Harry wants to be with Louis as in like a relationship type of thing. He wants a boyfriend.

Harry wants more, he wants to be able to kiss Louis and touch him without feeling so hesitant to do so. He wants the feelings of being excited yet nervous to go on dates and just being around him in general. Like what Niall has with Zayn, maybe not so in your face that ‘we’re dating’ with the affections, but Harry sees how happy Niall is all the time. When he talks about Zayn doing this or that for him, spending time together, sharing clothes, being supportive, and just the overall package. It’s been ages since Harry’s wanted something like this so badly, kind of like before he dated anyone. He wanted a boyfriend so much back then and yet when he finally did get around to it, it didn’t even last long enough because his boyfriend at the time didn’t like the fact Harry wouldn't have slept with him.

Same went for the other one too, so now thinking about that it’s kind of scary because what if Louis and him did date? Would Louis dump him off to the side if at one point he attempted to try anything? Harry’s not sure as Louis knows he’s waiting for that right time, but with Louis talks about causal sex being just about sex didn't very much sit well with him. As it was making him think that maybe Louis would get bored with him if Harry didn’t do anything sexual with him. Harry just wants to wait until it feels right and trusts the boy he's with. As he's always vowed to himself.

This was all stupid to think about though because Harry doesn’t even know for a fact if this will happen anyway.

Louis doesn’t do relationships. What is Harry even thinking?

As much as Harry wished there was a way to change Louis’ mind about commitment, Harry did wonder though if Louis was at least somewhat attracted to him. Even in the slightest because after all he did kiss Harry and proceeded to snog him too when Harry had kissed him back. For quite some time actually. Also, Louis did give him compliments here and there since they’ve been friends. But he could have given those out just being nice without actually having the hots for Harry anyway. This is going to sound a little crazy because now that he was thinking about all this, he wondered if maybe Louis had ever thought about hooking up with Harry before learning all chances of that were out the window, it’s highly unlikely as the window between them in that time frame was very slim to none as Harry loathed the boy pretty much. Then again that silly rumor Elijah told him about made Harry  just curious As they’ve never really done anything or in front of anyone, just always has been together. So who knows, maybe someone overheard Louis talking about hooking up with Harry at one point (probably as a joke) and noticed they were always arriving and leaving together. So they put two and two together and decided to spread such an odd rumor.

But that’s a long shot because why would Louis say any of that? Harry just shakes his head at that thought because it’s stupid.

However Harry would like to know at some point from Louis about the whole kissing incident. Hopefully, that’s sooner rather than later.

Luckily, time seemed to fly by the last part of his trek home as he was feeling rather tired from sitting here for so long. Also maybe going to bed once his head hit the pillow will get his mind of this Manchester thing because it’s bothering him, a lot.

Even from the moment he got off the train and was now walking inside his building after being dropped off by the cab his mind was still on it. He felt compelled a little to just give Louis a ring and ask him to come over, but it’s fairly late in the night. Almost going on eleven, but Louis would be up more than likely. Still, it’s rather nerve wracking even considering bringing it up to Louis in the first place.

Ugh, why did he have to start thinking about all that on his way back, why?

Harry fiddled with his bag strap as he made his way down the empty hall towards his door, eager to just change out of these snug clothes and be under the sheets in his nice warm bed.

Well once Harry was at his door he stood there as a second thought suddenly commenced as gnawed on his lip. As if he had a sudden rush of courage he wanted to go to Louis’ hall. Go there and just ask him what is going on between them because he is absolutely one hundred percent unsure of everything. By Louis’ behavior back at Zayn’s birthday outing to the whole thing with Elijah. Acting as if everything just peachy between them and all that other stuff. So Harry’s going to do it, he’s going to confront Louis finally.

No matter how scary it is, sometimes you gotta suck it up. As funny as it sounds for Harry’s sake. Harry’s officially thought he was doing something crazy... Never in a million years would he do such a thing, but look at him now? Ready to go and get it all off his chest. The old Harry would never but today Harry? Yes. Totally because he’s tired.

After Harry dropped his bag onto his bed he didn't waste any time as he was off, not caring if he was walking on foot and it was dark. He distracted himself with all that on giving himself pep talks to keep him in check of why in fact he was marching over to Louis’ in the first place.

“Okay, Louis we need to talk,” Harry recited out loud to no one in particular as he scuttled down the wet sidewalk. Hands shoved into his pockets with his shoulder hunched, trying his best to keep warm. “Why did you kiss me- no. Why did you leave me stranded after you kissed me?” Harry was trying to think about what he was going to say in fact, going over a script in his head because why if he just showed up then his mind would be absolutely blank the moment he knocks on Louis’ door or just lets himself in. Whether he feels brave enough or not to do such a thing since it’s so not courteous. Unlikely of Harry.

But right now nothing about what he was doing was usually something Harry would do. But he just can’t do it anymore, he needs to have this talk, before tomorrow morning. Because he may never get this courage again.

“Just be honest with me, do you like me or not?” Harry continued to voice out loud as he grew closer towards Louis’ building. The closer he got more dialogue came out, “It’s not nice to kiss your friends, especially ones that like you,”  Harry had almost slipped over an icy spot, but collected himself as he continued almost in a near sprint down the empty sidewalk. Wanting to get out of the cold and get this done fast enough.

“I want to be with you, okay, and I hope you want to be with me too,” Harry went on as grew closer towards Louis’ building. “It's not fair that you kissed me because I want to do that again, with you; kiss you,” Harry went over out loud as kept his pace as he saw the sign to Louis building, feeling relieved yet nervous. Because he just is okay? This a very unlikely thing he'd ever do, but he just has to do this or he will never know what all that was.

Harry was already stomping inside the building by now and up the stairs he knew that led up to Louis’ dorm. Not saying what he thinks out loud anymore, but thinking in his head on more about what he’s going to say. Not caring if he bumped into anyone at this point scaling up the steps quickly and kind of wishing at this point he would have checked to see if Louis’ car was in the car park at least. Well no turning back now as Harry was already at the top of the steps and veering towards Louis’ door.

Too late to change his mind now because he already was letting himself in. Glad to see it was in fact unlocked (strangely enough) and well maybe Louis should have locked his door because…

Harry was about to say something but he snapped his mouth closed as he stood there after shutting Louis’ door behind him. Not even stepping away because how could he?

There’s Louis on his bed in his boxers with his dick pulled out. Tugging at himself and Harry doesn't know what to say or do. He doesn't know okay, he's never walked in on someone before!

Already feeling absolutely embarrassed, a flush crept across his cheeks as he just fucking stood there because holy shit Harry thought he'd never see Louis touching himself. Also because what came out of Louis’ mouth shocked him the most.

"Harry, fuck .." Louis moaned out with his eyes closed.

Umm... Louis just said his name, while touching himself.

Like what in the hell is Harry supposed to do now?! Louis' obviously fantasizing about Harry in a sexual way and all he can do is stand there, frozen with his mouth agape.

Chapter Text

 “Harry, fuck.. “

When Harry first walked through Louis’ door he hadn’t expected to walk in on such a private moment. Not expecting to hear his name moaned out either because that was just something so… so unforeseen.

Harry can’t bring himself to say anything right now, frozen stiff, and just fucking standing there like a creep watching Louis get himself off. Like how do you even say anything? Especially when all Harry can think about is the fact that his name was mentioned in a context like that. Louis’ obviously having some sort of intimate thoughts pertaining to Harry and Harry doesn’t even know how to process this all.

If Harry had any sort of mind right now he’d quickly leave and not look back. He would go down himself in cold water and get any sort of image of this out of his damn head with whatever it took. Also, send a text to Louis that locking your door is a smart thing to do to prevent incidents.

But hell, all Harry can do is stay there with his mouth open like he’s seen a ghost. Harry wishes it was that! Oh how that would have been a much better situation than this!

Finally, Louis caught on that someone was in the room with him (fucking finally!).  His eyes flew open and he shooted up in horror. Tucking himself back into his boxers and covering his hands over his apparent hard-on for a moment. Almost as if Harry weren’t meant to see, well too late for that now. Louis’ cheeks were flushed and Harry still doesn't know what to say.

Talk about awkward…

Thankfully the silence in the room was interrupted by a flustered Louis, his words coming rushed out than usual. Probably feeling mortified that someone walked in on him pleasuring himself and god, Harry would be too! Like he can’t even imagine… especially if he was moaning out Louis’ name.

“You could have sent me a text you know, gave a heads up that you were randomly going to show up!” Louis started as he still wasn't moving from his spot. “Also haven’t you heard of knocking?” yeah, maybe Harry should have knocked instead of being just so in tune with his own self. Maybe then this would have been avoided because now there's definitely no way to get all this out of his head that’s for sure.

Harry still couldn’t manage to form words without the chance of it becoming tongue tied. Especially when Louis finally removed his hands and Harry couldn’t help but stare at Louis’ bottom half. Because fucking hell Louis looked too good in those fitted boxers that left little to the imagination (even though he did see Louis’ you know what) it’s still quite hard to focus on Louis’ face.

When Louis got to his feet Harry felt like he was going to pass out right then and there. Seeing him like this just added to Harry’s discomfiture and god, Harry’s  not sure if he’s ever going to forget this. Not when the strands of his fringe are stuck to his forehead or that damn bicep flexing back at Harry menacingly when Louis’ fingers combed through his hair. His stupidly toned stomach, strong thighs, and his bulge … No! Harry did not come here to have his mouth watered start because of the idea of Louis in his boxers. No. Not tonight. He came here for one reason and one reason it should be. To confront Louis.

But talk about easier said than done because every time Harry tries to open his mouth nothing comes out and he just stares. He looks at Louis wondering why does he have to be so… so beddable.

Is that even the right word? Because Harry’s not even sure if he can get his mind in order right now, not when Louis can’t locate his trousers or at least a shirt. Anything to cover his body so Harry could pick his mouth from up off the damn ground. It’d be nice.

“I swear it’s not what it looked like, okay?” Louis went on as his arms fell to his side, his voice raised significantly though which was a little strange. “I was just-” Louis rubbed the back of his neck as he let out a huff and Harry tried hard to understand why Louis is denying the fact he was just on his bed touching himself. Saying it's not what it looked like because it definitely looked like. For fuck sakes… Harry seen it with his own two eyes!

Louis looked conflicted as if he was thinking for a moment and Harry still didn’t know what to say or to do. No words were exchanged and Harry stared at Louis wanting to ask him so many questions right now. He can’t though, he just knows if he says anything at all it will either sound like a hot mess or straight up give himself away that he wants to be more than friends without getting an explanation first and foremost. After all, everything that happened, Harry certain that's what will happen and he’s not sure how he feels about that, not when Louis can’t even finish what he was saying.

If only there was a saving grace or something around because Harry could surely use it tonight. A text from Niall or Ed. Someone knocking at the door because Louis forgot his wallet somewhere again. Anything.

When Louis finally found his voice, Harry’s heart sank to the pit of his stomach, almost wanting to cry. Because this, this was not what he thought would come out Louis’ mouth.

“I was thinking of this guy in my class named Harry you know, huh …  not you obviously ... ”

Talk about getting let down and not easily.

Harry just lowered his head as his lips pressed tight to hold back from frowning. So much for confronting Louis about Manchester because what's the point? What is even the damn point now?!

Louis obviously is in love with this boy in his class and has been talking about him all this time (the mystery boy) and Harry feels like an idiot now! Like, he actually thought that maybe at one point Louis could have been talking about him or you know been putting up a front about it all. Since he did, in fact, kiss Harry not once but twice on New Years. Like it doesn’t make sense, nothing makes any sense.

Not the kisses or the touches on his waist or hand. Or the fact every time Louis hugged Harry he squeezed him tight and according to every online article he's read it's a sign that he may like you. Or that damn matching keychain Louis got him for Christmas.

None of this is clear, it’s just one big splitting headache if you ask him.

Yeah ,of course Harry’s annoyed, sad and a bit jealous. He’s allowed to feel this way because he almost felt as if he were led on still for even thinking about coming here tonight. Even if Harry would have showed up after Louis was done Harry knows it would have been a mistake regardless because clearly, Louis doesn’t feel the same way at all. Harry needs to just drop it. Because at this point why even try anymore?

“Why are you even here? Usually, you're in bed by now..” Louis pointed out as he scratched at his scruffy cheek. And Harry can even answer that question now.

Honestly he’s feeling sick to his stomach suddenly. Just wanting to go back to his dorm and sleep this night away. Not think about how dumb it was to finally be courageous and think for a second he’d maybe leave here tonight with a smile on his face.

Funny how that turned out.

Harry slowly shook his head and muttered out, “It doesn't matter anymore,” before he slowly stepped away and left without saying anything else. What upset him even more is that Louis didn't even come running after him wondering what was wrong, but whatever. Not like Louis has to come make Harry feel better tonight, he’s not obligated too. Harry just wished he never came over in the first place. Maybe then he would have never had to deal with this gut wrenching feeling.

The walk back to his building was a lot slower this time as he kept thinking about what happened. Still annoyed by the fact Louis clearly doesn't like him in more than a friend way and how everyone keeps insisting he does. That's the not the only thought that was bothering Harry though. He didn't like thinking about Louis fantasizing about this other Harry kid. It bugs him.

No, of course, Harry isn't like super sexualised, but for a second Harry thought maybe Louis was actually thinking of him. It's a nice thought knowing your crush thinks about getting you in bed. Well, that was before he told Harry it was about someone else. Now Harry can't even think about it without feeling annoyed. No Harry wouldn't sleep with Louis because he's waiting but that doesn't mean he hasn't thought about it either. Of course, he has, he fucking likes Louis so much and would like to just have a mosaic of love bites all over his body made by Louis.

The one and only time he likes someone this much, a friend, No… a best mate, he goes for the most unavailable of fucking course!. One that doesn't even want Harry at all. The homebody boy too preoccupied with his education. Because why would Louis want someone that's the complete opposite of him?

So looks like what Gemma said was true, he'd be stuck in the friendzone forever. Funny isn't it?

When Harry's back at his dorm, he goes directly to bed. Lights off, phone tossed on his nightstand but he can't fall asleep.

No longer upset as he was but more perplexed now than anything. After the walk back his mind started thinking about this other Harry in Louis’ life.

Louis never brought him around or mentioned it was someone in his class before. But then again Louis was rather secretive about it all; although it still surprised him that Louis kept it under wraps. It's strange and makes him wonder what makes this other boy so special.

Is he just insanely attractive or something? Or does he actually have qualities Louis likes? Does Zayn or Nick know about this said boy too? Also more importantly since Louis doesn't want to sleep with him does that mean he wants an actual relationship with him?

Those are the questions Harry wants to ask because it doesn't make much sense to him.

Whatever though, apparently this guy changed Louis’ opinion on relationships. It'd be a lie to say Harry wasn't jealous, because he is. Or else he wouldn't give a damn about any of this. He even worked up his courage back in the train to come tell Louis that he liked him. Not only just to get answered either. Shit, he wanted to tell Louis he wants to kiss him again and that he makes Harry's life so much more exhilarating. Not only that but...

He wanted to be with Louis.

 

*****

It’s going on five and Harry still hasn’t even gotten dressed yet.

He has Louis’ band gig tonight and he knows Niall would be here to snag him away for the night as they decided they were hitching a ride with Nick and Ed. Zayn already had plans to go with Louis as Niall mentioned something about Zayn wanting to hangout with Louis. Which is fine. Hanging out with Niall, Ed, and Nick didn’t sound bad at all actually. Harry did wonder though if Ed was bringing Laken as then the car would be awfully crowded, hopefully not.

Speaking of Louis, he had asked Harry the night before if Harry was still coming tonight. Of course, Harry said yes, because he wants to see Louis and appreciate the band's hard work.

Also maybe because Harry hasn’t hung out with Louis in a while where they just sat down and talked. That’s excluding the incident that happened merely two weeks ago.

Harry doesn’t like thinking about that at all because tonight could be the night this other Harry could show up to the event. Like who knows what kind of charm Louis could have pulled on this boy to get him to come, maybe Louis finally had the courage and asks him to come especially since Louis and Zayn went alone together… talk about suspicious. Maybe Louis needed Zayn to be his wingman or something even though Harry thinks Louis really doesn’t need any help whatsoever because he can sweep anyone off their feet.

Still Harry hopes that’s not the case and Louis is with Zayn helping him with Valentine's day stuff for Niall. Harry hopes for that, yeah he’s going with that to just stay positive. Like Valentine’s day is tomorrow so who knows, maybe Zayn is a last minute sort of guy on the big gesture kind of stuff.

Like he asked Louis to go shopping with him for an anniversary gift.

But Harry needed to stop worrying about Louis’ secret crush showing up tonight and focus on the real problem of the evening. Getting dressed.

Ugh, why was this always such a task at hand.

Harry stares at his clothes for a while before he settles on the usual; a button up.

As Harry had gotten dressed, his mind started to wander back to that night he walked in on Louis. Still having everything engraved into his brain because how can you forget about that kind of embarrassing situation? Especially when it involves nakedness. Thankfully Louis just brushed it under the rug and acted as if everything was okay as usual, but for Harry it still was weird.

Every time Harry was around Louis after that, he had his mind go slightly fuzzy due to any sort of close contact that made him melt on the inside. When Louis’ top rose up and showed off some skin it made Harry’s mind go back to seeing him in his boxers and whenever his arms weren’t covered Harry just wanted to reach over and touch them. It sounds strange, he knows. But it’s kind of hard not to act that way since Louis seemingly liked to crowd his space often. Not to mention staying damn attractive anytime of the day.

No they haven’t really just hung out alone yet, only with a couple of their mates around, or at least not alone long enough to spend the day together. But they’ve gotten better even if Harry still feels like he got broken up with after that night he was at Louis’ dorm.

Maybe once Harry’s silly little crush goes away they can start hanging out again and alone.  

Harry slipped the button up on and pulled on his typical pair of skinny fit trousers, moving over towards his mirror, and pulling his hair out of the bun. Staring back at his reflection and frowning, thinking he needed to change something. Maybe that is one of the reasons why Louis’ not interested in him, Harry’s always wears the same thing or his hair is always one way or the other. Nothing really spectacular, contrary to Louis who always has a variety of things on and his hair is always so different. Ugh, Harry just needed to stop this right now. He looks fine the way he is and just because Louis has a bit of more of an edge to his style doesn't mean he has to start doing so himself.

If anything Louis should be fine with the way Harry is. But this was all so stupid because why is he even thinking about this? It shouldn’t even be in his mind for one and secondly, he just needs to get it through his head that Louis and him are nothing more than friends, that’s it.

Shit, Louis’ probably kissed Zayn at some point for the New Year, so  yeah, whatever.

Harry just needs to keep reminding himself Louis’ not interested in him and he shouldn’t be interested in him either.

He still ended up just putting product into his hair and left it at that as he went to go sit on his bed and pull out his phone.

Deciding that maybe working on his essay that’s due would get his mind off of everything tonight. Which Harry wasn’t really up to doing at the moment as he had many things on his mind, but still maybe getting some work done would help. Essays weren’t his favorite thing in the world especially since his mind always went haywire for the most part, but Niall isn’t even here yet. So why not.

Well staring back at the word document on his phone was rather arduous.

Harry sighed to himself as he just sat there, for nearly fifteen minutes trying to think of what to write down. Maybe trying to do his essay right now wasn’t a good idea after all as he has ten other things on his mind. Also, he has several days to do it anyway and it’s not like he won’t get it done. He always does.

Thankfully he didn't have to sit much longer and dwell on the fact that his essay is far from done because he can hear pounding on the other side of his door and coming in Niall with his coat on.

“Hey H, you ready to hit the road? Ed and Nick are out in the car,” Niall questioned as Harry just pocketed his phone and grabbed his coat from the edge of his bed.

“Ready as I’ll ever be,”

Harry was almost out the door when Niall decided he wasn't ready to leave yet, of course he wasn’t.

“So, you're sure you’ll be okay tonight? I mean you and Louis seem fine, but as long as I’ve known you I just want to make sure you’ll be fine,” It’s nice what Niall’s trying to do, but Harry just wants to leave already. He wants to just go and have a nice time even if it’s surrounding by a slew of people he barely knows. The only thing he doesn’t want to deal with is that other boy being around and Louis being all over him because then no, Harry wouldn’t be okay.

He’d want to leave.

“Louis and me are fine now, Niall,” Harry reassured him even though he was trying to convince himself more of that. “If anything goes awry I’ll tell you.”

Niall didn’t look entirely convinced but nodded as they soon left the room because there was nothing else to say; also Harry was already out the door.

The ride was fairly quiet between them as music filled the background of Nick’s car. To be honest, Harry was quite glad no one was up for chatting because he’s been in his thoughts the whole trip. Last thing he needs is to be deep in thoughts and someone trying to have a chat with him. It probably helps that the ride was a mere twenty five minutes anyway (as Nick mentioned) and Ed was too preoccupied with his phone to care. Laken couldn’t come tonight as she had some family stuff and Niall, well he’s just scrolling through his phone aimlessly probably waiting for a specific person to text him. So all Harry’s been doing was staring out of the window. Thinking about how tonight will pan out and sort of wishing he would have at least considered changing his shirt at the last minute. Almost as if he re-thinking his decision on his signature go-to top to any disreputable festivities.

Why is he even worrying about this again?

Louis probably wouldn’t give a damn about Harry’s sudden change of fashion sense. Hell, he didn't even notice when he wore that long sleeve shirt to Zayn's birthday, so what good would any of that do? The only time Harry wore something significantly different, Louis actually complimented him on when he was wearing one of his flannels. More importantly, Louis only seemed impressed when Harry wasn’t in his own clothing, but Louis’ whose god knows who clothes those belonged too. Or at least Louis’ never worn and seen the light of day from his laundry pile.

Still Harry needed to do something.

Whether it be push his hair on the other side or maybe even tuck his top in. Maybe not those because Louis would probably tease him saying something like nobody tucks their shirts in anymore and how uncool it is and Harry’s not sure if his hair would even look right. Ugh, he wished he was back at his dorm with this mini crisis and not sitting here on the way to a stupid band gig.

Honestly Harry wished he had some advice because this wasn’t his strong suit whatsoever, hell he should have maybe asked Zayn or something for this, because he’s majoring in fashion for crying out loud.

Eventually the car came to a halting stop and pulled Harry out of his thoughts when he noticed everyone was moving to get out. Harry admired his surrounding as he unbuckled and was a bit confused… were they at some person's house or something? Hmmm. Maybe he should have read that invitation a little better…

Once Harry was out and following the boys up towards the house he noticed how many people were in fact here tonight. How they all are outside and it’s rather freezing out, so Harry doesn't understand that. Or the fact he could hear music blaring from outside the house… oh no.

Harry knows what kind of band gig this is... he should have definitely read the invite!

It’s a party. Of course.

Great, so Harry’s going to be stuck here at an unfamiliar party nearly a half an hour from his dorm for the night. Surrounded by the usual drunks, stoners, and people making complete asses out of themselves. Like where did Louis think Harry would want to come to this tonight? Like why even invite him in the first place knowing he still wasn’t into parties?

Whatever though, Harry came to support the cause and not start complaining about it either.

Maybe after Louis’ band is done for the night he can go back home and work on that essay he needs to start on.
Harry just let out a sigh as he followed inside, maneuvering through people, and trying to follow his friends. Except it was hard when Nick and Ed disappeared suddenly in the crowd and Niall told Harry he would be right back to go get some drinks. So looks like he’s alone, as per usual. Until Niall gets back of course.

So Harry just looked at his surroundings and wondered where exactly is Louis’ band supposed to be playing at because the living room was far too small for one and secondly the house isn’t even that big. Like smaller than the house they usually go to parties at actually. Not that Harry cares though.

Niall ended up right back beside Harry a moment later, handing him a water bottle, a beer in his own hand. Mentioning that Louis’ bands not here yet as they had a bit of an emergency with the drummer and bassist having differences on the set list; Zayn had texted him that while he was in the kitchen. Which meant Zayn was stuck with them too, but that’s okay. On the bright side, Harry did not get to hangout with Niall for a while.

Apparently spending time with Niall meant standing out back in the cold, shivering, and talking about on how Niall feels that he thinks he may be falling in love with Zayn. Which was a shocker to be quite honest because for as long as Harry's known Niall that boy has fallen for one other guy he’s dated out of all of them. Niall had mentioned in the past he wouldn’t have wanted to fall for another boy again unless he knew for sure this was going to last. Just he’s not certain how Zayn feels towards him as they haven’t talked about it. Their six month anniversary is coming up around in the coming weeks and Niall wants to figure out a way to say it, but he’s scared. Worried it might be too soon. Harry understands Niall’s worries, but he’s sure it’s fine. They’re both head over heels for eachother anyway and haven’t broken up yet. So it’s good sign to Harry at least.

Well from what he thinks because what does he know about love?

Yeah he likes Louis, a lot. But love is such a strong word… and yes maybe someday he would want to experience this falling in love stuff, but he supposes that’s not in the cards for him. At least not right now. If anything he’s just liking Louis even more than he should.

Eventually Niall’s worries subsided after Harry reassured him that he thinks Zayn may feel the same way but just has a different way of showing it. Telling Niall to just wait it out as usual and see how it goes, just in case it is too early to be tossing around I love you’s or anything relatively related to it. Niall thankfully just nodded and drank his beer quietly. Harry wanted to bring up himself that he’s still not in fact over Louis and that he wishes he could be at least so it would be less weird, but Harry just can’t do that. Not right now and not when Niall had already asked him if he were okay earlier back at his dorm about coming tonight.

So Harry bites his tongue and finishes up his water as Niall checked his phone and said “Our boys are here!” and Harry may have frowned at that. Louis wasn’t his boy and he knows Niall was just teasing to lighten the mood but it wasn’t funny to Harry. Not at all.

Niall, of course, gestured for them to head back in and away from the people smoking out back. As much as Harry didn’t feel up to seeing Louis right now especially if he brought that boy with him but standing out here in this cold was getting to him. His legs were rather numb and his hands were on the verge of becoming frozen, so yeah he decided to just give in and go inside.

Except Harry didn’t make it far enough because the moment he seen Louis setting up with his band in the living room. Who were all wearing black as if they planned to be cohesive tonight which Harry can't complain, they look nice. But Harry can’t go over there, not yet. Thankfully Louis hadn’t noticed Harry yet as was too busy setting up amps and looking to be talking to one of the boys with a cigarette tucked behind his ear. So Harry fled the area, quickly pushing past people and found the nearest bathroom with thankfully no line.

Harry just needed a minute. To breathe and recheck his appearance because damn it’d be a lie to say that he wasn’t at least trying to look nice tonight to impress a certain someone.  

But he still wasn’t impressed with his looks as he stared back at his reflection.

Unsure of what exactly he can even do that will spark an interest because his outfit is just so… ordinary.

As if he couldn’t have a minute alone there was pounding at the door and some feminine voice on the other side asking him if anyone is in there. Harry just chewed on his lip as his eyes fell back onto his own reflection.

Thinking for a moment and then it popped into his head, it’s simple, but not too drastic.

He unbuttoned the topmost button and thought it looked good. Except maybe one more could do the trick as well. That is until Harry undid the next button and smiled to himself. Because this was it. This was good enough because Louis would have to notice, wouldn't he?

It’s all he really can do last minute anyway, unless he borrowed clothes from whoever this person house this is, but that’s just a strange thought.

It’s definitely different though.

As Harry usually dressed a little more modestly so this was rather strange to him going out there with his top almost half undone. But maybe this was the change he needed? To prove that he isn’t so conformed and dull with his fashions. Hopefully, he won’t get teased about it either because if he does you can just forget about this fashion attempt ever happening again.

After doing one last check in the mirror and kind of feeling rather annoyed that he felt rushed to do so, he decided he was ready to face Louis now. Ready to see the outcome of his courageous attempt to try something a little out of his comfort zone with having some of his chest be on display.

So here goes nothing….

After leaving the bathroom, Harry felt as if everyone was looking at him strange, but he tried his best to ignore it; he noticed that Louis now had a cup in his hand and is still chit chatting away with one of the guys in his band. Which Harry is rather happy it's only him and not this guy Louis has a crush on because then Harry would already be on his way back to Uni in a heartbeat.

He’s not sure if he can handle that tonight, he’s already dealing with being here with Louis and to top it all, he is trying something new to grab Louis’ attention. No matter how many times he’s tried to tell himself Louis is not the reason, it actually is, he wants to show Louis that he’s far from boring and can be a little adventurous too.

Harry just took a deep breath and slowly made his way over, maneuvering through the crowd, and successfully avoiding being a basin for discarded drinks. Trying not to stride to fast to seem too excited to see Louis or anything. Acting as natural as he could without it coming off as strange. But soon a smile came to his lips as Louis’ eyes fell on him before he even made it over there. The next thing that happened took him by surprise, when Louis’ cup fell out of his hand and spilt all over the floor, well more on his shoes and the guy beside him. No longer talking with that guy who is now cursing up a storm and asking Louis what the hell is wrong with him while picking up Louis’ cup off the ground. Shaking his head and walking off, probably to go find some napkins.

Louis’ just standing there not taking his eyes off Harry, slowly growing bigger and his mouth slightly open. It made Harry feel honestly weird because Louis has to be judging it already; why else would he be giving Harry that look? Hopefully, he likes it.

When Harry was finally in front of Louis he felt rather diffident due to Louis’ lack of words. He hasn’t said anything yet or at least gave him any sort of reaction at all. Just standing there and staring at Harry licking his lips.

“You know you shouldn’t do that, you’ll get chapped lips,” Harry broke the silence because it felt too weird. Usually, Louis was always the first one to say something so Harry supposes it was his turn.

Louis just shook his head and scratched at his neck, tilting it slightly, smiling.

“But I’m sure you knew that.” Harry teased as he couldn't help but notice Louis wouldn’t just stop staring at him. Making Harry feel rather uncomfortable, to be honest; not that he minds Louis’ attention, but it’d be nice to know if he’s just speechless or disgusted.

Louis shook his head, “You uh.. “ coughing suddenly and clearing his throat, “You look nice,” he said stumbling over his words. “I mean it looks good, yeah that’s what I mean, your outfit looks.. good.”

Does he actually mean that though? He kind of sounded as if he were nervous and not sure of himself or his response which is making Harry feel even more self conscious over his last minute choice. Maybe he should button them back up because Louis could just be lying to him in order to not hurt his feelings.

“Thank you”

“So-” Louis started but was cut off when the guy from his band came back and rudely stepped between them and cleaned up the puddle of beer. Harry just moved to stand next to Louis, almost feeling as if he was being watched. Which he was, Louis eyes were looking him and up and down, almost as if he were still judging him. Harry definitely wished he wouldn't have been so courageous. Which he should never try to be so valiant anymore because it all does was no good for him.

“You know Tommo I know you like to go all out when you try to pull and shit. But spilling your drink on the floor and your bandmate isn’t a good way to impress a hottie, just sayin.,” the man stated firmly before he walked off again.

A flush crept across Louis’ cheeks as he shook his head, “Fuck off, Tommy!” Louis shouted after him as he moved back in front Harry again, but closer.

Honestly Harry tried his best to bite back his smile after Louis’ bandmate said all that because the way Louis reacted was kind of comical. Also maybe it’d be nice to think Louis was trying just that, but whatever. There's no point in thinking about this now because Louis was already speaking up changing the subject to something else.

“Now back to what I was going to say before he came over here and being annoying,” Louis started rearranging his fringe. “Where’s Mr. I’m so perfect at, hmm?” oh yeah about that….

Harry had forgotten to tell Louis that was long over with, but before Harry could even answer the question Louis wasn’t shutting up. “I mean obviously you're trying to impress someone tonight with you half undressed,” Louis snickered.

Harry rolled his eyes at Louis’ attempt at joking because it wasn’t that funny and besides he already feels weird about having half his buttons undone. But Harry just ignored that and got on with the more important matter of the subject.

“We uh, called it off.”

It was kind of funny how easily that came out because in the past when Harry had been broken up with someone, it always bothered him. For days. But this, it was his own doing and never felt more relieved because it wouldn't have been fair to Elijah anyway. Not when Harry had eyes for someone else and Elijah wouldn’t give Louis a chance.

Louis let out a quiet breath, “Oh, why’s that?”

“He wasn’t particularly a fan of my mates, so it wasn’t going to work out,” Harry said honestly because it wasn’t a lie but he just wasn’t going to say “because of you,” no of course not. Not unless he wanted to make things super awkward and Louis pressing for more answers. Which Louis would do that.

Louis pressed his lips together for a second as he fiddled with the hem of his top. “Well that’s too bad then, he seemed…. Well rounded I guess,” Louis shrugged his shoulders. “But you could do better anyway, way much better than him.” Louis sounded kind of bitter and that confused Harry. Louis had absolutely no reason to be; at least not anymore now that Elijah was completely out of the picture. No need to feel so protective of Harry anyway.

Pretty soon Louis had to stop chatting and left Harry’s side as he had to go have a quick meeting with his band out back before they start playing. So that left Harry to wander around for awhile, eventually finding himself a spot to sit on the couch against the wall (which wasn’t the most comfortable) and scrolling through his own Instagram as it's been ages since he's got on the damn thing.

There really isn't a whole lot to do and looking at others pictures seemed to keep him preoccupied enough. Well, more so Louis’ page that is. Because he can't help himself okay? Maybe if Louis’ following this Harry kid or at least this boy commented on any of Louis’ pictures well Harry wants to be nosy, okay? He wants to see who this boy is and see what's so great about him. Harry bets he has a plethora of ink on his body, piercings even. Probably posts pictures of himself smoking weed and bragging about it as if he needed to show off. It wouldn't shock Harry either, to be honest. Shit, this guy probably posts really interesting things on his Instagram. Compared to Harry's which is plain and just has pictures of younger himself and his family. That's about it though, nothing spectacular.

Like Louis’ page it's filled with a variety of pictures. He has his family on it, selfies, all his tattoos, pictures of his friends, and a picture of Harry drinking his morning coffee half asleep… Bastard! Harry didn't know Louis had taken that. At least he looks somewhat decent despite his tiredness and the caption was a bit weird.

 Mornings with H :)

Harry furrowed his brows because when did this happen? He doesn't remember having breakfast with Louis at all, maybe it was when they were at the cafe last week with Niall and Zayn, but why didn't Louis post a picture of them too?

More importantly, why didn't Louis tag him?

That wasn't the only picture though of Harry, there were three others.

One being Harry studying which Louis captioned it with ‘Harry's always revising’ with a frowning face. Another at one of Liam's parties that Harry does, in fact, remember and it's just him smiling because Louis demanded a picture of him for his Instagram aesthetic (apparently he needed all his friends’ mugs on there) and the caption for that was a smiley face. The last one was him on his phone with a half gone coffee beside him. Not sure why Louis posted this anyway as he did not look too good. His hair was all frizzy and in a disheveled bun. He was in his nursing uniform and if Harry's certain Louis took it when Harry wasn't paying attention. Sneaky little shit!

The caption to this though totally threw many mixed feelings his way.

‘Stunner’

Uh, was Louis implying that Harry was attractive at his worst or...?

Harry doesn't have much more time to think about it because now Louis’ bandmate named Alex was speaking on the mic. Harry quickly pocketed his phone and promised himself to think about it later because now, standing by Nick and Ed who reappeared again, the gig was about to begin. Niall and Zayn were near the amps and Harry can't even imagine the earaches which will come later. He's just happy he can see thanks to his tallness and has a good vantage point of watching Louis with his guitar. Which is really the only thing that matter anyway… other than being supportive.

Of course, Louis winked at Harry after he caught him staring at him. Harry quickly looked away, feeling heat inch to his cheeks. Damn it, he needed to stop this. Louis likes someone else and he needed to get that through in his head and quick.

When the band started to play, Harry's focus was back on the band, and trying his hardest to listen along. But it was hard, very hard to do. He just can't help but watch Louis and see how in tune he is with his guitar. Biting back smiles every time they made eye contact and just appreciating what Louis loves to do.

But there was something in the back of Harry’s mind telling him to cut it out. Louis is his best friend, not someone he should be into at all, especially since the shorter boy got his mind stuck on someone else. Which that got Harry curious, he never got to ask Louis if this Harry from his class showed up tonight or if Louis had invited him. Harry wished he knew what the boy looked like because not even on Louis’ Instagram or Facebook, could he find the guy. The only Harry was actually himself.

So that can’t be that as Harry's not in Louis’ classes and also the fact that Louis’ never really talked much about this boy. It's kind of frustrating honestly. Yes, he didn't like the idea of the boy possibly being here tonight, but maybe once he sees it with his own two eyes that there's no chance of anything and Louis’ one hundred percent serious about this boy then maybe he'll get over Louis a lot faster.

But easier said than done because Louis isn't really looking anywhere in particular other than in Harry’s direction every so often and there's too many guys to guess which one he'd be at least interested in. Hell, Harry doesn't even know Louis’ type at all, the only things Harry knows from experience that he's hooked up with Edith for a while and he has a celebrity crush on an actor. So you can't just go off of that, maybe once he has a moment to talk with Louis he can ask him about this boy.

As much as it put his stomach into knots… it's for the best.

Harry was brought out of his thoughts suddenly when someone appeared beside him and  was trying to talk to him over the loud music.

It was a guy who looked a be a year or two older than himself with quite a bit of traditional style tattoos; he also had long blonde hair tucked into a bun. Nose piercing and a couple inches taller than Harry. Overall he's cute, but boys were the last thing on Harry's mind. Especially if this guy thinks about perusing Harry.

Which Harry finds odd because where have all these guys been these past couple of years?

Anyway, that doesn't matter because all Harry wants to do is watch Faithless Night, not chit chat.

“So what do you think about this band, pretty good aren't they?” The guy asked as he flicked his eyes towards Harry.

Harry nodded, not really offering a smile and knows he's being quite rude but he wants to be left alone honestly.

“You know I don't think I've ever seen you around before, so I take it you're either new or with the band,” the guy pointed out.

Harry kind of wished this guy would leave him alone already, he doesn't want to date anyone or talk with anyone for the matter. Not after attempting two times to try to do this dating thing; it's not worth it anymore. He knew he should have stayed with his original thoughts before he even decided to start going to these parties and such. Guys were off limits and academics to put first, A-L-W-A-Y-S.

So that's how it's going to be because he's tired of being let down.

However, the guy next to him was not aware of this thoughts process totally because there he was, deciding it was okay to reach over and push Harry's hair off his shoulder, smiling at him. Wow, talk about being very assertive! Harry just feels uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, Harry has no time to react because Louis missed a note on his guitar and Harry’s eyes snapped back on Louis who looked quite annoyed. He was cursing to himself, but seemed to bounce back fine.

As for Harry he decided that he wanted to get away from this guy and quickly. So he found himself back in the kitchen and alone. Cracking open a new water bottle and was glad to see that the guy stopped trying to pursue anything … maybe he was drunk anyway. Hopefully, that's what that was because from what Harry could see the guy was already chatting up another boy.

Harry remained in the kitchen for some time before he noticed that Louis’ band was no longer playing, certainly taking an intermission. In no time, Louis is now back beside him with a beer in his hand, standing rather close. Not that he minds of course. It’s quiet between them and no one's really talking, it’s comfortable with Louis beside him. Even if some parts of Harry wants to distance himself, he refrains to do so.

Louis is now on his second beer after chugging down the other and Harry feels like he needs to keep an eye on him. Harry's not about to let him drink lots and drive, nope. Not happening.

Before Harry attempts to talk, he is interrupted by Nick who came stomping over.

“Louis, want to go out back?” He questioned and Harry has a feeling this either had to with smoking a cigarette or a blunt. Which he won’t be surprised either way.

Louis scoffed, “Do you not know me at all? Of fucking course I do!” Nick just shook his head and gestured him to come along. Louis glanced at Harry for a second as if he were inviting him out too with his eyes so Harry followed them because why the hell not! Maybe then he could finally talk to Louis about this other guy thing where it’s somewhere quieter.

Once outside Louis and Nick shared a joint as Harry just stood there shivering with his arms hugging his chest. You could hear the music blaring from the inside and no one else was outside with them which was nice; though it was too damn cold to just stand out here. On the bright side both boys seemed to do no talking and more smoking so the sooner they're done the sooner they can go back inside.

But Harry needs to say something, he just has to.

“Lou, is that guy here tonight?”

Louis exhaled the smoke from his lips as he glanced at Harry, “Hmmm? “ he hummed out, confused.

“That Harry guy in your class, the one you like, is he here tonight?” Harry started up, “Unless he had better things to do and I could just meet him some other time.” Okay maybe Harry sounded more bitter than intended, but whatever. He just put on a bright smile to show Louis that he was totally fine and totally okay if that boy is here tonight.

Nick had this baffled look on his face though as if this was brand new information to him, but didn't say anything taking another hit.

“Oh… uh, no,  he’s not.” Louis answered sipping his beer away before taking a drag.

Well that’s good to know, now he can stop worrying about that. But he’s curious, he wants to know what makes this boy so important that Louis’ pretty much stopped sleeping around with someone he’s been hooking up with for who knows long.

“What's he like though?” Harry started, squeezing his arms closer to his body. “I mean you've only told me a few things, I’m curious.” hopefully Louis will give him some insight so he knows what to prepare for when the moment comes.

Louis looked taken back by the question and Harry can't blame him because he’s being nosy. But whatever, Louis knows far more about Harry than he knows about him so why can’t he know too?

“Uh,” Louis stuttered as if he were thinking for a moment, sipping on his beer, and his eyes on Harry. “He’s… well he’s, you know… rather intelligent and determined I’ll say.”.So far that sounds pretty good, but Harry didn’t think Louis would much care for the fact the guy was intelligent or at least could care less. “Umm- I suppose he’s good natured and definitely charming.”

Okay now Harry was starting to feel kind of envious; Louis obviously likes this perfect guy, like he sounds ideal to Harry. Completely Louis’ opposite and it’s not fair that it’s not him.

“He’s hard to describe because he’s just so... so perfect, you know?” Louis answered honestly. “He makes me feel like I’m not even good enough for him as he’s like this super motivated student and we’re just two totally different people,” Louis was really going all out his answer wasn't he?

“I just wish I could talk to him and tell him hey maybe we could go grab a coffee or something sometime. It’s hard though because I don’t want to end up getting more attached than I already am in case he finds someone much better...”

Harry had this pulling sensation in his gut as Louis went on about how he has these  unrequited feelings for this boy and yeah, Harry no longer wanted to hear about it anymore. Kind of ruining his mood actually; he feels angry at himself for even asking in the first place.

Looks like Louis really does like this boy and maybe has been talking with him for a while, no wonder he’s kept him secret. Louis’ scared to commit with him or even just tell the boy flat out that he’d like to possibly date him, but too worried the guy will likely laugh in his face. Considering they are total opposite from what Louis’ told him. Honestly, Harry  felt frustrated; this is what he wants but he cannot have it. Why can’t he have it?

It’s not fair, not fair at all.

Why does liking your best mate have to be Harry's problem? He’s never liked one of his friends before. Why can’t Harry just get over Louis already?

Not even a cute law student could get his mind off of Louis, it’s kind of worrisome.

Thankfully Louis didn’t get to keep going on and on about this boy because Nick finally spoke up looking rather confused.

“Wait a second, so you’re telling me that you want a relationship with this guy in your class?  And why haven’t you mentioned this boy before? Because I thought you told me you liked-” Nick was then cut off as he yelped due to Louis’ fist colliding roughly on his arm.The shorter boy is glaring at him before going back inside. Leaving both of them standing there confused.

“Don’t know what his problem is!” Nick shook his head as he rubbed his arm where Louis popped him at before stomping out the blunt and going back inside himself. Left alone, Harry decided to head back as well; the band had starting to play again anyway.

The night went on as Harry watched Louis’ band play the remainder of their set. Nodding his head along and trying his best to enjoy himself. As much as could standing by himself since Niall and Zayn were long gone and probably already took off. Ed, was busy texting on his phone bobbing his head and Nick, well, he was chatting with some guy. So that left Harry to fend for himself and hoping this would end sooner rather than later. As much as it doesn’t make Harry sound like a supportive friend, he kind of wanted to leave as soon as he could.

Now if he only had his own car he could, but tonight it's on Nick or Louis’ terms. But deep down, Harry has a feeling he may need be the designated driver for tonight. Soon enough, another boy appears to be interested in Harry, once again the man looked relatively similar from earlier except this one was wearing glasses, his red hair styled into a quiff, and not invading Harry’s personal space, yet. Not that it matters, not that any of it does because Harry isn't interested. He just wants to be left alone.

Harry’s starting to re-think this whole fashion choice because it’s done absolutely no good for him tonight! First Louis and his mess of a compliment that Harry is certain that was fake as ever, the overly assertive boy with the nose piercing, and now this guy. Is he just giving off the wrong body language or something? He’d like to know!

“Hey there, “ the guy greeted with a smile as glanced at Harry. “How are you tonight, love?” the guy murmured near his ear, “I’ve kind of noticed you look rather bored being all alone and shit,”

As if this guy knew what he was talking about! Harry didn’t come alone tonight and he certainly wasn’t bored either!

“I’m fine, just watching my… “ Harry wanted to say boyfriend to get this guy off his back, but he didn’t. “My friend’s band play is all,” was all Harry responded to that.

The guy nodded as his gaze flickered back on the band for a second before they were back on Harry, “Anyway my name's Christian if you're wondering … ” No, to be honest, Harry wasn’t wondering, but thank you for assuming. “So your friends band is pretty cool, which one is your friend?”

Harry sighed, thankfully the loudness of the instruments vocal drowned that out because he knows he’s coming off as rude once again. But whatever at least this guy wasn’t hitting on him, more so just being friendly. So maybe Harry could try to make conversation as much as he really didn't feel up for it. No one else was talking to him, so why not.

“The short one, that’s him,” Harry smiled as his eyes fell back on Louis who was busy strumming away and looking at Harry with an unreadable expression. But Harry didn’t get to figure it out more because the guy kept on talking..

“He seems pretty cool and he has a sick guitar, but anyways I didn't come over here to talk about your friend,” then what did he come over here for then? “I was wondering if maybe you’d like to go somewhere a little more quiet,” oh no… it better not be what he thinks it is.“I mean, to go finish this conversation away from the madness and who knows, maybe we can do something a little more fun,” the guy said with a suggestive smile. Nope, not happening. Harry knows exactly where this was leading and he didn't like it one bit.

“Um, no thank you,”

Thankfully the guy didn’t try to ask Harry why not or pester him some more, he just grabbed his hand and began to scribble his number onto the side of Harry’s right hand. Talk about sudden and unexpected and Harry doesn’t know what to say, like at all.

“Just in case you change your mind, you know” Christian winked back at Harry before disappearing into the crowd and all Harry could do was stand there wondering what in the hell just happened!

Why all of a sudden are all these guys interested in him? Does changing something so small about his appearance really make him that much more approachable? Is showing a little more skin the key to pull someone at a party? What a concept!

It’s just so weird to him, especially since he’s never had so much attention before in the same night. It kind of freaked him out, to be honest. Yeah, sure some part of it makes him feel good about himself knowing he still had decently good looks. Still, that didn’t mean he wanted to talk to any of these boys. Especially since he can tell they weren’t looking for their next date, more like for their next lay.

Which they can keep on dreaming because Harry’s not about to do anything with anyone.

By the time it was the final performance for the band Harry was in the bathroom, trying to scrub away at his hand, but nothing was working too well to get this damn number off. He wasn’t going to call the guy as he knows it meant no good doing so. Also, he really didn’t want to be walking around with numbers on his hand either, it wasn't anything like what Louis drew on him because that was different. Harry didn’t mind that, but he did mind this.

Not to mention when he goes to class the following day, he doesn’t want Niall asking him a hundred and one questions about it. Or at least think Harry had went off with this boy and did things anyway, but Niall should know Harry wouldn’t do that. Still, the thought kind of bothers him and he’s been scrubbing for nearly a minute now and it was barely faded. Ugh, this stupid soap was worthless and just drying his hands out more so than anything!

If only he had some rubbing alcohol or something effective. But Harry wasn’t about to look through someone's cabinets, so looks like he’ll have to wait to go to the store. So that’s just great.

Honestly Harry wanted to text that number only to tell Christian that it wasn’t nice to write on people with a marker, but then that might open an invitation for an unwanted conversation.

Harry just let out a huff as he decided to just give up already as he no longer heard Louis’ band playing, but loud music from the radio. Hopefully, that means he can get the hell out of here now that it was done and over with. Well, so Harry hopes as he checked his phone and it was going on almost ten thirty. Too late for Harry liking as usual and hopefully someone was ready to head back as they really had no business being at this party other than to support Louis.

Unfortunately that’s not what the plan was as Harry left the bathroom to find Ed chugging down a beer in the kitchen and Nick, well he was still trying to round up as many hot guys as he could tonight. No there goes that… and all that’ s left was Louis and Harry has no idea where he is. Hopefully he didn’t leave or anything… it made Harry nervous to think Louis was on the road and driving while tipsy and stoned. He thought about sending a text to see where he was to make himself feel better, but Harry refrained because maybe he was worrying too much. As he noticed the amps still stacked in the corner and what looked like to be Louis’ guitar case beside them. So Harry takes it as a good sign.

Louis probably just stepped outside for a cigarette anyway.

Harry found himself back on the couch, staring down at his phone. This time mindlessly scrolling through his texts, well that is until someone slammed down beside him. Harry knew if was Louis before turning his head, as weird as it sounds he could recognize the scent of that cologne from anywhere. With the mixture of pot of course.

“Fucking finally I found you,” Louis stated as he took a sip from his cup, eyes on Harry. “Wondered where you wandered off too! “

Before Harry could even respond to Louis’ worries, the shorter boy kept on talking and chugging down the rest of his drink,  tossing the cup toward the end of the couch. Hmm, Harry makes a mental note to discard the cup before they take off because the last thing they need is to be rude, especially at someone's party.

“Was busy,” Harry answered honestly as he flicked his gaze over towards Louis. He could have sworn Louis was sitting fairly a lot closer. His mind could be playing tricks on him though… and yeah. Harry’s going to rule it as his imagination getting the best of him because now Louis’ arm was resting on the ledge of the couch behind Harry. Honestly, Harry wanted to lean into Louis and have Louis’ arm around him because damn a snuggle sounded good, it really did. Except Harry’s not bold enough to do so or in the mood for rejection either.

So he stays where he’s at and rests his hands in his lap as Louis spoke up once again.

“Busy chatting up that boy earlier? Unless you were hiding from him, huh, which I don’t blame you because he was all over you;” Louis rolled his eyes, obviously annoyed. Which made Harry curious as to why Louis cares anyway. He didn’t get to think much more about it because suddenly his hand was grabbed by Louis and the air is his lungs seems to disappear.  

Louis, fucking Louis grabbed his hand and rubbed his thumb across the scribbled number. God, Harry hoped that Louis wouldn't be able to tell just how much he affected him that he had his hand in his. He would not know how to explain, not when Louis is still holding his hand and staring at it intently.

Before Harry could even state his case, Louis spoke up once again and was it Harry or did he sound kind of annoyed?

“He certainly was so sure of himself wasn’t he?” Louis’ gaze flicked upward. “Who even writes their number on someone anymore, this isn’t 2009 anymore,” Minutely shaking his head. “I mean clearly he thought you were at least interested or something to do something like that!”

“Uh, how about no, he just came up to me,” Harry tried his best to explain but from what he could tell Louis wasn’t very convinced. “Besides he seemed to only have one thing on his mind anyway, and you know I wouldn't, not with him ...”

Louis let out an exaggerated sigh, being dramatic as usual, okay maybe a little more than usual, “Clearly he didn’t get the fucking hint then, yeah, “ Louis declared sharply and Harry didn’t know why Louis was getting so irritated over this. It’s not like he was the one in Harry shoes earlier when it happened. But whatever, Louis can be annoyed if he wants since the guy was certain he’d get Harry into bed tonight. So Harry can’t blame Louis for being bothered that his friend was unwantedly getting hit on.

“But whatever I guess, not like you have to tell me everything anyway ..”

Huh? What’s Louis going on about?

Harry doesn’t even have a chance to ask Louis to elaborate because he soon left a very confused Harry on the couch.

That was kind of weird… almost as if Louis were jealous? Ha, yeah right, Louis jealous? Not likely. Probably just being that overprotective friend as usual when it comes to Harry and his not so exciting love life.

Who knows what goes on in Louis’ head anyway.

Eventually Harry left the couch and found Ed, they stayed together for a while, hanging out, they didn’t have too much opportunities to chat before as the redhead was busy with his girlfriend. Which it is still taking Harry sometime to get used to the fact Ed even has one in the first place. But apparently, the boy didn’t want to talk about that as they were in the kitchen, enjoying the only space where the crowd was not too present. They talked about each other’s lives for a while and Ed asked him why he acted so strange back at Zayn’s pub outing.

Harry, of course, just told Ed that he was feeling beyond stressed with exams that day and the new term starting up. Also that Louis and him weren’t on the best terms at that time. Thankfully Ed didn’t push for more answers and was happy to see that Louis and him were back to being friends.

“Anyway, I’m sure you two would have made up sooner or later. You both act like an old married couple most of the time anyway!”Ed joked.

Ed had to be joking, he just had to be. Harry hopes that ‘s what this is, a joke. A poorly done one at that ...

Talk about messing with Harry’s head.

The time Harry realises what Ed just implied, the redhead was already on the next topic, something about when summer comes he may just take easy and not do a whole lot.

Damn it, Harry would have loved to ask Ed to explain himself!

Shorter after that, Ed left to find Nick to make sure he hadn’t taken off yet without him, leaving Harry alone in the kitchen. So that got Harry thinking, where was Louis at?

He hasn’t seen him since they sat on the couch and Louis held his hand…  he held it the whole time they talked. Just thinking about it, Harry’s heart felt bigger in his chest. Not that it meant anything anyway.

Of course, Harry knows it meant nothing to Louis, but he liked that. He liked it a lot. Louis’ hands are so dainty and yet so strong, Harry likes the idea of them holding hands, but knows he’ll never get to experience that. Not with his streak of bad luck Harry’s been having lately.

As if Louis knew he was on Harry's mind, the shorter boy lurched over towards him emerging from the living room. With yet, another drink in his hand that was spilling over the edge. Harry thinks maybe he should cut him off already or after this one last drink, he can tell that Louis’ far from sober. He had lost count how many times Louis had a drink in his hand but it was too many to be able to handle his car.

“There you are, love!” Louis cheered shuffling way to close and stumbling into him, spilling his drink all over Harry’s button up and his cup fallen on the floor. Harry had no time to register anything that happened, he just knows that he’s got a slightly drunk boy into his arms. Louis had fallen into him so suddenly! And the fact that Louis grabbed onto Harry's shoulders to rebalance himself; it makes Harry’s insides want to melt.

Louis was leaning in fairly close to Harry as he dropped his hands from his shoulder, but was on his arm this time. “Mmm you know you're so fucking hot right?” Louis slurred out loudly as he was blinking rather rapidly. “So hot, babe...”

Harry felt like the room suddenly got very warm and very fast. It didn’t help that Louis was gripping onto his arm and admitting he finds him attractive. It’s so surreal and super random and Harry needs to remind himself that Louis’ drunker than shit, but that still didn't mean it brought a smile to his face. Because for a moment Harry thinks Louis just needed some liquid courage to admit his feelings. Maybe, maybe not but it's a nice thought nonetheless ..

“It’s not fair!” Louis pouted loudly as his grip slightly tightened on Harry’s arm.

What wasn’t fair? Harry good looks? Or what?

“What?” Harry questioned trying to reposition the boy on his feet.

Louis closed his eyes for a second with the hand that was previously on Harry’s arm, now dropped to his side and Louis was more and more crowding his space, awfully close. “That you’re not mine,” Louis whispered finally, “I like you so fucking much, love”

Oh wow, uh… Harry's speechless now!

Yeah he knows to take this all with a grain of salt but he can't help it okay? Hearing those words from Louis’ mouth, sober or not made him feel so many emotions.

“You’re perfect,” Louis went on loudly and people around them were starting to stare; before Harry could even respond, Louis hunched over with a paleness in his face.

… Louis had thrown up beside Harry’s shoes.

So that’s just great. First, his top is stained terribly after Louis' tumbled into him (looks like laundry day tomorrow) and now he’s certain his boots are going to smell awful as well. But whatever Louis clearly had a little too much to drink and he’s more worried about Louis’ well being more than his clothes.

The shorter boy stayed hunched over or a moment before finally moving back up, his body shifted and back and forth for a moment, founding his balance slowly. “I don’t feel so good, H” Louis whined still gripping Harry’s arm like an anchor.

Staying here with Louis who already threw up and had who knows how many drinks was a bad idea. They needed to leave, Louis obviously isn't feeling the greatest and to top it off it's fairly late into the night. Maybe Harry could bring Louis back to his dorm for the night and keep an eye on him. Not like it'd be his first time helping one of his mates after a night of drinking. He knows what to do and besides Harry's never seen Louis this drunk before so he is a little bit worried.

“I think we should go, Lou,” The sooner they leave the sooner Harry could take care of Louis and be away from the alcohol and the crowd.

“I just want to go lay down,” Louis complained and the next thing he said made Harry want to smile, but he held back.

“With you, H”

Nope. Now was not the time to be smiling over drunk words when his best mate was ill. Not at all.

Harry just kept his mouth shut and watched as Louis dug around in his pocket for a moment before pulling out his keys. Before Louis was able to say anything or do anything, Harry snatched the keys out of his hand and Louis frowned.

“Hey!”

“I think I should be the one behind the wheel, especially since you don't feel good,” Harry reasoned honestly. “Besides you're coming back to my dorm where I can keep an eye on you until you sober up.”

Thankfully, Louis complies easily.

“And why can't we go back to mine?” Louis sounded like a child about to throw a temper tantrum. God, he is the cutest when he acts like a child! Though, Harry doesn't feel like dealing with this on top of drunk Louis.

Harry let out a sigh, “Because it’ll be easier for me to take care of you, now come on, let's get out of here before you get sick again.” Harry is tired and more concerned about Louis than anything else. Harry had to help Louis to walk towards the cars as he was having a hard time. He kept falling into people and just the way he was walking (more like stumbling) gave away that Louis needed some help. So Harry just took it upon himself to wrap his arm around Louis’ shoulders and guide him. Thankfully Louis didn't seem to fight it and went along with it.

The ride back to Uni went fairly well despite having to stop on more than one occasion as Louis had gotten ill. After that, Harry was able to get Louis into his dorm without a care who was staring (only a few students) as he led Louis into his room.

Harry was about to lead Louis over to his bed but apparently Louis had other plans as he broke free stumbling into the bathroom, holding onto objects as he did with Harry’s arm, he kneeled down in front of the toilet, ready to be sick again. Harry just sighed and thought that he should make a compressant for his forehead and look for pain meds. Yes, that's what he should do! Harry knows he has to administer the medication before letting Louis got to sleep in order to help with the hangover he’ll be certainly sporting in the morning.

He may never have experienced a hangover but he's certain of his abilities.

So after grabbing one of his flannels from his wardrobe that he hasn't planned on wearing anytime soon as he scurried into the bathroom and quickly doused the garment in cold water as he crouched down beside Louis who was busy hunched over the toilet as he disgorged.

As much as it makes Harry's stomach feel queasy at the thought of vomit, he supposed it's probably not going to be the worst thing he will come across in his nursing career. So he just put that aside and focused on Louis instead, when Louis finally moved to sit on his knees Harry pressed the flannel against his forehead. Resting one hand on Louis’ back to steady himself and also as a comforting mechanism.

“You're too good to me,” Louis tired eyes were on Harry now as he let out a sigh. “No wonder I Iike you so damn much,” Nope, Harry is not going to smile. Louis’ still not in the right mindset. As much as Harry wanted to melt into a puddle of mush at the mere thought of Louis liking him so damn much he kept his composure.

Harry just stayed quiet as he removed the compressant for a moment to let Louis remove his jacket. Which is lazily tossed a couple inches away and before Harry could go back to helping Louis, the poor boy was back hunched over, hands gripping the edges. So Harry did what he could and decided to rub his back to soothe him.

It seemed Louis began to become less queasy as time went on. Harry was beside him the whole time making sure he was just okay and comforting him. Of course, his knees were on the sore side but sitting down wasn't an option at all because he's just too tall. There's not enough leg room to even entertain the thought.

Eventually Louis moved back to sit on his knees and let a huff before he tried to stand up. But he almost teetered over so Harry quickly got up and wrapped his arm back around his shoulders. About to lead him out until Louis pulled away suddenly and was back where he was. Harry frowned to himself because he knows if this persists then he may need to take Louis to the hospital. Which Harry wasn't up for that honestly.

But thankfully Louis just got back up with Harry's help. Muttering out that he just wants to go lay down; again. Harry carefully led Louis over to his bed and before he let Louis lay down he decided he should at least check for a fever to be on the safe side. As he pressed the back of his hand against Louis’ forehead after pushing his fringe out of the way, he noticed that he was slightly warm, so Harry decided maybe removing some clothes before Louis even thinks about laying down to get comfortable.

But the thing is Harry doesn't have any clothes that would fit Louis as they would be a size too big. Also, the idea of bile on one his shirts wasn’t something he wanted to deal with tomorrow as he already has a beer stained top to work with. Sure the idea of his clothes possibly smelling like Louis’ cologne sounded nice, but also slightly creepy. Which Harry had decided at this point no matter how much the idea of Louis being undressed was rather delightful, Harry needed to just ignore that and only have his mind on one thing. Louis being comfortable enough to sleep this off.

“Here, let's, uh, get you more comfortable, okay?” Harry never thought that'd ever come out, not a day in his life would he have thought about undressing his crush. Actually doing it too. Talk about a first time for everything. At least Louis just went along with it only complaining that he felt awful. Harry helped Louis discard his top and toss it onto his desk chair, he let him undo his own buttons of his jeans because that…. Harry’s not sure if he could do that.

What he did though was help Louis step out of them and helped him into the bed, made sure to have him lay on his side to prevent choking in case he did end up having to run to the toilet again.

“Ugh, I feel like fucking shit” Louis whined as he closed his eye while he pulled the blanket closer to him.

Harry was busy folding Louis’ clothes up neatly watching him at the same time, tucking some of his hair behind his ear. “Just get some sleep, Louis. You'll be fine soon enough,” Harry reassured him as he went into the bathroom to go fetch one of his cleaning buckets from the basin cabinet. As he came back Louis was no longer up and going on about how he felt sick to his stomach. Instead, he was still in bed and taking it easy which made Harry feel better.

Once Harry set the bucket down and gathered some pain meds with some water, he sat on the floor beside his bed. Not even bothering to think about sleep right now as he was too worried about Louis waking up and needing assistance. So that’s where he stayed for the most part of his night.

Thankfully Louis had just slept right through the night so far and it’s almost going on six in the morning when Harry feels tiredness hitting him at full force. He had spent majority of his time working on that damn essay he tried working on earlier for the greater part of his time being up but not leaving this spot for too long. But Harry still hadn’t even managed to get a single word written on his essay so he got distracted with other means. Looking up advice online about your crush admitting they like you while drunk or more so feelings they have for you. Of course, Harry had peered over every so often to make sure Louis couldn’t see what he looking at just in case he was up. Thankfully that wasn’t the case but almost all the online advice gave him the same thing.  

It’s liquid courage.

Did Louis need actually alcohol in his system to say everything he did to Harry last night? Louis’ usually so assertive and confident, but then again he can be sometimes insecure. It’s frustrating because Harry's confused now. If that was liquid courage then Louis is attracted to him in the least bit but isn’t acting on it, but then again what about this other Harry?

That’s why it’s so confusing! What if Louis likes them both or maybe he didn’t actually mean any of it. Which would be a big let down whether he wanted to admit it or not because everything Louis said to him made him stomach feel fluttery. Still, he doesn’t know what to think and it was bringing on an unwanted headache, to be honest.

Harry just decided to no longer think about it. Now, he was just relaxing against his bed as he stared down to his soiled top. Not realizing until now that he hadn’t even changed into more comfortable clothes himself, not that he minds though, once Louis leaves Harry supposes his day will be slept away anyway (after he does his laundry of course). With being preoccupied with being hospitable towards Louis and trying to get some stuff done regarding his coursework, it was the last thing on his mind. Especially with the weird drunk confessions.

Sleep did sound nice right about now though and he's just thankful he had no classes today.

So Harry needed to keep his eyes open as falling asleep sitting up wasn't an option nor the best idea either. Having an aching neck was the last thing Harry wanted. He decided to quietly get up and move around for a little as his bum was starting to feel quite sore from hardly moving.

The first thing Harry did was pick up Louis denim jacket off his floor and put it with Louis' clothes. Happy to see Louis was still sound asleep. So that bought Harry some time to skim through his wardrobe to find something to wear to bed.

But before Harry even opened the doors to have a look,  Louis had let out a tired groan and rustled around in the bed for a moment.

Oh so he was up then, good.

Harry’s eyes landed back on Louis who still had his face pressed into the pillow rubbing his forehead. God, he looked too cute honestly! Yes, Harry knows Louis’ hungover, but he can’t help to find Louis stunning. He’s never had a boy sleep in his bed before, sexual or not, this was nice to see. Not that Harry’s going to say that to Louis. It’s just different and some part of Harry wished he was right there in his bed smashed up against the wall next to Louis. Cuddled close to him and just spending the morning in bed, but of course, that’s not Harry’s reality. As it will never be his reality, it’s a nice thought though.

“Oh my fucking god,” Louis sounded not too good, like he needed to go back to sleep actually.  But apparently, Louis didn’t think so because he was already sitting up with the blanket bunched over his lap and looking around. Scratching at his scalp as he looked at Harry.

Almost as if he didn’t know where he was...

“Morning, Lou,” Harry greeted softly, trying too hard not to visualize this, Louis in his bed wearing next to nothing with his messy hair most mornings. Trying his damn hardest to stop those thoughts because now was not the time nor was something he needed to start daydreaming about now.  

Before Harry could even tell Louis to take some pain meds that were on the nightstand, Louis was already getting out of bed quickly. Not facing Harry as he grabbed his pile of clothes from the desk chair, placing them over his lap and scurried into the bathroom. That was kind of weird… he’s never seen someone hungover move that fast before. Usually, they were more lethargic and rather dizzy. Not quickly getting out of bed and racing towards the closest toilet. Odd, to say the least.

Whatever though because at least Louis was no longer passed out and now he could assess Louis’ wellbeing better. Hopefully, he feels better than last night because Harry’s not sure if he has it in him to deal with hungover Louis for the next day, he’d be definitely grouchy that’s for sure.

Louis had been in the bathroom for nearly five minutes as Harry was now sat on his bed, itching to change out of these restricting clothes already, but wanted to wait for Louis to leave safely first. Eventually Louis stepped out looking slightly better, his eyes still red and had bags underneath them. To Harry, he looked like he needed to come back and lay down or maybe get some sun, but Louis already putting on his shoes.

“Uh, thank you, Harry,” Louis finally said, his voice rather hoarse. “I’ll get my keys later, okay?” Harry just nodded, feeling kind of disappointed that Louis wasn’t even going to stay for a little while. At least taking some medicine Harry had specifically laid out for him, oh well though. Louis’ a grown man, Harry supposes he can take care of himself now. Louis knows his body better when it comes to hangover anyway, also he may just want to be alone.

“Take it easy, Lou, ring me if you need anything,” Louis just nodded and left like that.

Harry sighed to himself wishing that he got the guts to chase after Louis and take him back under his wing. But he doesn’t and won’t overstep his hospitality, Harry just hopes Louis feels better soon enough.

So now that he’s alone, he can go to bed. With his mind stuck on Louis, but that’s okay.

Harry’s just worried about him or at least that’s what he was trying to convince himself…

Hopefully he’s able to fall asleep.

Chapter Text

Harry did fall asleep and had slept most his day away.

Not that he cares because Harry knew his day would have been spent in bed after last night's event involving drunk Louis.

Harry is still in bed and it's been hours since Louis left this morning. Looked like laundry day didn't happen after all because Harry was far too fatigued to do so. More so he just wanted to get as much sleep as he could before forcing himself to stay awake for the greater part of the afternoon. Only so it wouldn't have messed up his sleeping schedule anymore that he had last night.

But the thing is it’s late. It’s really fucking late.

Harry, the old Harry back before all the parties, epic adventures, and all the mischief he’s done that he considers rebellious would have a never slept the whole day. Not after taking care of a boy who got sick from drinking too much. Before, when Niall or Ed gotten ill from too much of a good time he’d make sure they were asleep for sometime before going to bed himself. But that was before he met Louis. Before all the madness that came along with it all.

With Louis it was different.

If you had asked Harry the night after he had met Louis for the first time if he would have cared for Louis if he was shitfaced, Harry would have scoffed and laughed at your face. He didn’t like Louis at all, couldn't stand him and didn’t want to have anything to do with him. But now, that’s all different. He loves Louis’ company, enjoys his remarks and opinions, his enthusiasm for celebrations and Harry just likes him in general. He couldn’t have imagined not taking care of Louis last night because who knew what could have happened.

Thankfully everything worked out just fine even though some of the things Louis told him last night in a series of drunk confessions had confused him. No, he hadn’t forgotten that Louis whispered ”I like you so fucking much, love” or that he had admitted he found Harry remarkably attractive. It just wasn’t expected and he’s never had anyone say those things to him before, so of course, he wouldn’t forget. Drunk words or not, Harry can't help but have this jumpy feeling in the pit of his stomach every time he thinks about it.

Not only that but now that he’s laying here under his blankets awake, Harry can’t help but think what if Louis had actually meant all that. If he liked Harry too as well, not the other Harry in his class. It kind of gives him hope that maybe he has at least a chance afterall, especially after Louis told him why he liked that boy anyway. Which still surprised Harry as Louis seemed to be not taken by someone so engaged with academics and good natured. Harry thought maybe Louis would be more into the wild partier type with interests in fornification and vices. But apparently Harry was wrong after all, Louis wasn’t into that apparently when it comes to wanting to finally settle down into a relationship. Especially after shutting down the ideas of commitment for years and hooking up with whoever he saw fit. But this made Harry wonder, why this guy?

Yeah, Louis had told him that this guy is perfect and all that stuff, but why? Is he just bored of hooking up? Is it because this guy doesn’t do casual sex (since Louis said he doesn’t want to sleep with him)? Or is it because Louis’ finally found someone he genuinely likes?

Those were answers Harry wanted to know, but it was definitely for another time.

Harry knows he should get out of bed and do something, but it’s easier said than done. Especially wrapped up in his blankets and this may sound a little weird, but his blankets faintly smelled like Louis’ cologne. Which Harry realized probably seemed rather strange, but whatever he likes the smell of Louis’ cologne because it’s quite intoxicating. Not because it reminds him of Louis, nope, not at all.

But that’s not the important matter of his evening anyway now that his phone started to go off. Someone decided they had wanted to intrude on Harry’s off time, but that’s fine. Harry hoped this better be a good reason anyway.

After fumbling around for his phone, he remained wrapped up his blanket smiling tiredly as he saw who exactly it was; Louis.

Without hesitation he answered, “Hey, Lou,”

“Sorry if I woke you up, just haven’t responded to any of my messages, but I needed to talk to you about something,” Louis did not sound like himself. This bothered Harry and made him feel anxious because what could possibly be wrong? Harry knows he’s probably not feeling the best due to his hangover, but Louis did just admit he needed to talk to Harry. So hopefully it’s nothing too awful.

“It’s okay,” Harry said softly into his phone as he moved to lay on his back. “What's wrong?”

The line went silent for a moment and Harry didn’t like that pause, no he did not. Clearly something wasn’t right and hopefully, whatever it was it will be resolved soon because hearing Louis not sound like his usual upbeat self bothered Harry immensely.

“I feel so awful about last night, I do.” Louis finally admitted, “Can’t believe I got that shitfaced and you felt like you needed to care for me” he sighed into the phone, “I am so grateful that you were here, I don’t want to think about what would have happened if you weren’t here, I don’t know what I would have done honestly .. “ Harry frowned, not liking hearing Louis sounding so disappointed in himself; it actually broke Harry’s heart.

He was about to say something when Louis continued.

“But whatever, what’s done is done. So anything I said or did I just want to let you know that I wasn't in the right mindset and I’m sorry, okay?”

Oh, okay then…

“I want to make it up to you though this Saturday coming up um .. If you’re up for it?”

As much as Harry liked the idea of Louis doing something special for him, Harry can’t have the shorter boy do that. Not because he feels bad about being ill and Harry nursing him, no.

“Louis, you don’t have to do anything for me, you were drunk, and I saw that you needed help so I stepped up. I didn’t mind honestly.” Harry really didn’t. The only thing he did mind was all the vomit.

But Louis was already protesting and stating his case.

“Harold, just please let me do this for you,” Louis stressed, “I want to!”

Now, he feels as if he kept rejecting Louis’ plans they’d just be running in circles and it’d just be easier to say yes. It’s just, deep down, he doesn't feel like he needs to be treated with any special treatment because of his hospitality. He’s going for nursing and of course naturally, he’s a nurturer plus his mum taught him right. But clearly, Louis felt the need to pay him back in whatever he had up in his sleeve.

“Fine, but nothing crazy, okay?” Harry compromised because the idea of Louis going all out with an evening to make up for this made Harry feel rather guilty. Not that he didn’t like the idea of doing something big with Louis, but not on the terms of this.  

Louis hummed into the phone before he finally said, “Don’t know if I can promise it won't be crazy, but either way you’ll have fun. I’d hope you’d have some fun because this is also to make up for your birthday as well ..”

Harry’s birthday? Now Harry was confused.

“My birthday? I think you’re almost two weeks too late on that one, Lou,” Harry pointed out as he pulled his blanket close against him. “Besides we didn’t do anything for yours, so why do we have to do something for mine?”

Louis let out a sigh, “Do you always have to argue with everything I want to do with you?” Harry bit back his smile as Louis went on. “I owe it to you and it’s been awhile since you’ve experienced life away from your textbooks, so here I am to save your Saturday,” Harry hated how accurate Louis sounded about that.

He hadn’t done much lately, not when it was weird between him and Louis. Not that it isn’t, because Harry still has these weird feelings and questions and such. But now the idea of actually spending time together sounded good to him.

“So what exactly are we doing anyway?” Harry decided to just see what Louis had up his sleeve and Harry hopes it was at least something he’d be interested in doing.

“What good would a thank you slash birthday outing be if you knew what we’re doing in advance? It’s a surprise, babe,” Harry’s not sure if he liked the idea of a surprise …

Hopefully it’s nothing too extravagant or where Louis ends up broke because he wanted to buy Harry things. Harry not sure how he’d repay Louis at all, or even accept such things. He still hadn’t scrounged up enough cash to get Louis a belated birthday gift as his money went to necessities instead. So how would he? Help Louis study or test out his latest gaming projects?

Which as much as Harry would love to assist Louis with his coursework, he knows that it is not a good form of payback, especially to Louis who didn’t really care for his major in the first place.

“All I’m going to say is wear something warm,” Louis alluded before he decided to change the subject about how his hangover still hadn’t passed and that he may just go to bed earlier than usual.

Eventually Louis hung up after reminding Harry about the weekend and mentioning he'd get back with him on details later.

So Harry just laid there, back on his side smiling like an idiot, wondering about Saturday.

They haven't hung out by themselves in ages and if Harry's correct and it's just the two of them and no one else; he already knows he'll be the happiest. Harry wanted those alone times again with Louis (not including last night's adventure) and just go back to the ways things were.

But Harry supposes he'll have to wait and see.

Hopefully Saturday comes sooner than later.

    *****  

Saturday mornings should be spent in bed contemplating if you should start your homework or just go back to sleep.

Right now, Harry is far away from his comfy bed though, peach beanie pulled over his head and wrapped up in an array of a nice warm navy blue jumper under his thicker jacket, he's on the fucking bus, his focus is on his phone and the time reads seven thirty.

He's on his way to the train station as Louis sent him a message last night at nine in the evening, telling him to meet him at the train station at 8am and to remind him to dress warm. Harry wondered where exactly they're going and why couldn't Louis just pick him up. No- why couldn't they just drive there in a car that Louis owns, instead?

He did not ask asked went along with it because Louis wouldn't give him much insight anyway. Surprise it’s supposed to be, surprise it will be! Usually not being one for being surprised, Harry honestly was rather excited this time.

Hopefully wherever they're going Louis’ not intending to spend all his money on Harry as he knows, like pretty much every student, Louis’ just as much on a budget as him, so Harry doesn't want him to go broke for this. All because he still feels guilty over Harry aiding him through his drunken state.

Which Harry planned to tell Louis at some point during their adventure that he really didn't mind and how Louis shouldn't feel guilty. It's not the worst thing he's ever went through and besides, it was great practice anyway.

But now with his mind too preoccupied on the fact that they’re leaving Southampton for the morning and how long. Was it an all day excursion? Oh god, Harry wouldn’t put it past Louis to keep him away from Uni throughout the day until wee hours into the night. Not that Harry minded being around said boy, but it’s like something in the back of his mind was screaming at him that this was bound to end up in a sea of feelings for Louis. And who knows what could possibly happen ...

It brought back the memory when Niall left town with Zayn for the first time and how Harry had razzed him about how things were getting serious as day trips were more for couples. Especially now that he was, in fact, traveling with Louis which didn’t involve going home or preparing for their next Halloween extravaganza. No. This was Louis showing his gratitude, so obviously it doesn’t mean anything, right?

That’s what Harry’s telling himself because it made him feel better. All because he knows if he thinks that way then it will truly mess with his head once Harry sees Louis with someone else.

Hopefully that’s not anytime soon…

Harry let out a sigh as he glanced out the window trying to not think anymore about his feelings for Louis. He put his focus on other things like the vehicles speeding down the street in the fogginess of the morning. How tired he exactly is and why he should be back in his dorm working on some notes. But no, here he is, on a bus merely minutes away from being dropped off only to hop on a train shortly after.

He hadn’t even had breakfast yet because he woke up just in time to make himself look presentable and Harry kind of wished he did, to be honest. Hell he hadn’t even had his morning beverage either so that better be one of Louis’ highlights of their trip.

Once he had been dropped off Harry quickly made his way towards the station, eager to get out of the chilliness, and to see that familiar edgy boy waiting inside for him.

Except by the time he reached the entrance Louis was outside, waiting for him. He looked to be cold, cheeks flushed, beanie pulled over his hair as well that stuck out, his jacket wide open and exposing his layers of a zipped black hoodie and a white top that showed off some of his chest tattoo.

Didn’t Louis tell Harry to dress warm?

That didn’t look warm enough to Harry honestly, but whatever maybe Louis was trying to look good. Which honestly doesn't surprise Harry!

“Hey you,” Louis greeted as a smile came onto his face now that Harry was in front of him and fairly close. “Almost thought I’d get stood up,” Louis snickered as he pushed his hands into pockets of his jacket. “But you actually showed up.”

Of course, Harry did, why wouldn't he?

Harry rolled his eyes but smiling at that, fiddling up with the sleeve if his jacket, “Be glad I did because I was contemplating on doing my studies instead!” Harry teased lightly and Louis just shook his head, looking smugly pleased.

“So why exactly are we here at eight in the morning, usually you’re asleep by now?” Louis sighed not too pleased with Harry’s observation.

“Oii! Watch your mouth Curly! Just because I sleep in most days doesn’t mean I’m never up early, it’s just rare is all,” Louis exclaimed in defense. “Besides we have a long day ahead of us and I wanted to start as early as possible knowing just how much of an early bird you are,” he smirked. Too happy to know Harry’s sleep routine oh so well… which isn’t hard to figure out, to be honest… But still, Harry can’t help but grin at Louis. “Also thought we could, you know, stop for a donut first thing once there, it’d be nice” hmm that did sound good, but Harry’s not sure if he had a lot to spend today. Hopefully whatever it is would be cheap.

“And where exactly are we going?” Harry questioned, “I mean since you've kept it secret all week, I am very intrigued now.”

Louis licked his lips, hands still in his pockets trying to close his jacket.

“So I hope you don’t mind but we’re going to Brighton today,”

They were?

“So you better be thankful I’m such an amazing best mate and know how to have a good time,” Louis exclaimed, sounding cocky. Which Harry won’t lie he kind of liked.

”Does this mean my whole day is slashed or what? Because if it is you better be making it count,” Harry teased as he crossed his arm, the corner of his lips quirking up. “Unless you're just dragging me away from Uni for the morning, I mean either way I expect to be impressed.”

“My, My, Styles you sure don't have faith in me, do you?” Louis shook his head, “We've been mates for how long now? And you're still questioning my abilities of a good time, remember it's not fun until you do it the Tommo way, okay?” Hmm... the Tommo way. Right.

Harry just sighed, not ready to start hearing stuff resurfacing from Louis’ mouth back when they first met again. Nope. He just wanted to get on this damn train and start their day.

“Also yes, I've got you for the day if you really want to know everything, my dear Harold,” Louis added and honestly Harry was rather ecstatic about it all, especially it's just going to be the two of them as far as he knows (he hopes it's just them). Also, they're going to Brighton which Harry's not going to lie he's very fucking excited. Because every time he went there with Niall or Ed it had always been a nice time.

But then again there's still that concern in the back of his mind that being away with Louis for the day was slightly worrisome. Only because Harry knows it will create more chances to just wanting Louis more. But it's a risk he's willing to take anyway …

“Well then, when do we get the show on the road? because I’m freezing my toes off right now,” Harry questioned,  it was rather chilly today.

“Always so impatient,” Louis commented with a smile. Harry’s not the impatient one, Louis is!
He recalls very well the scene Louis caused over a wait for the toilet and being a dickhead about it. Whatever though, no point in arguing about that now because they were headed inside, well Louis was and Harry followed.

The train ride wasn't horrible, but seated next to Louis who let Harry have the window seat (thank god) it was hard not to feel jumpy. Only because how close they were, knees touching every time the train was on a bump and Louis smelt so nice, god, this was so hard to not lean in and smell the crook of his neck.

At any moment, Louis could reach over and sort out Harry’s jacket so it wouldn't get wrinkled and Harry would be itching to just press for more contact.

Hell, Louis could also grab his hand or touch his thigh, Harry would let him do, he craved it even. But it never happened, they remained both in their seats doing small talk.

By the time they arrived, Harry needed to stretch his legs and have some air; if he kept being that close to Louis he would be brave enough to brush their hands together and that’s pushing it. Especially for Harry who is far too shy for initiating any sorts of intimacy towards Louis, a guy he’s not dating.

They strolled around for a little while and it was still rather quiet between them. Not that Harry had minded of course because it was nice and even if they weren’t talking that much, Harry enjoyed Louis’ company. The shorter boy didn’t seem bothered anyway but Harry was sure that Louis’ cigarette he had been working on was keeping him preoccupied long enough wherever Louis was leading him to.

A little while later after making a stop at Dum Dum Donutterie to get a few treats for breakfast they were now at Starbucks getting some tea, where Harry tried to pay for himself but Louis had insisted on paying as he did back at the donuts bakery. So, of course you can’t go wrong with a free drink when it’s an option. Even if Harry feels rather guilty for not paying.

“You know I could have at least paid for our teas.” Harry brought up as they walked out of the coffee shop and down the pavement. Harry took a sip of his drink staying beside Louis, wondering where they were headed next as Louis mentioned inside he knows somewhere they could stop and rest their legs.

Louis shook his head, eyes fallen on Harry briefly. “Harold, I’m the one who invited you along so I pay. Besides it’s your day, don’t start feeling guilt-ridden now, huh!”
If only it were that easy, Louis should try being the one who always gets stuff bought for him when he’s with Harry.

“But you always buy for me so why can’t I at least pay for something? I mean you’re going to spend all your money on me and I don’t think that’s fair,” Harry frowned at the thought, but Louis was already arguing.

“Who cares if it’s fair. I owe you so much Harry after you put up with my drunken ass! No one's ever done it before, well my mum has once when it was New Years, but that’s not the point. I just feel like I need to show you my gratitude, ok?” Louis explained seriously. “Is that reason good enough for you?”No, it wasn’t because Harry still felt compelled to at least buy Louis something in return. “Also,  believe it or not, but I happen to like spending my money on you.” Louis said so casually.

It’s still marveled Harry that Louis could just say things like that so randomly not knowing what it did to Harry’s butterflies deep in his stomach. Louis likes to buy him stuff which Harry to his knowledge already knew as over the time he’s known him, the boy had always paid for him. But strange thing is… Harry’s never seen Louis pay for Zayn for example (from what he’s seen so far) and they’ve been friends for years, much longer than Louis and Harry. Or Nick for the matter.  It’s odd, but maybe he’s looking too much into things.

Whatever though, Louis’ gets his way one way or another, usually anyway.

Harry just kept his mouth shut after that because there was simply no point in arguing his stance anymore. Especially with Louis holding a greater argument. It’s okay though, Harry eventually will get around to treat Louis someday, maybe buy him something as a congratulation for graduating university. Just to show how proud he is that Louis finished, but that’s a thought for later of course.

They had walked down the promenade along the beach quietly until they spotted an unoccupied bench.

Now that they were sat beside each other and it was silence between them, a contented one. They were too occupied with munching away at their donuts and sipping at their drinks. It was nice to just sit here and enjoy the sea with Louis beside him. Watching the waves roll gently towards the shore, drenching the sand. Listening to the humming of the ebbing tide had enthralled Harry. It had been ages since he got to actually sit down and watch the ocean. Actually, he hadn't seen it in a while as he'd been too busy with other things in his life. But now that he's here with a boy that makes his heart five times bigger pulled away for the day, he was exultant.  

Louis who was too busy stuffing the last of his blueberry doughnut and slurping down the rest of his tea. Harry can't help but smile to himself as he looked down to his half eaten creme brûlée doughnut, couldn't help but wonder if this could be their new normal. Having a breakfast together on a Saturday morning or even on Sunday. The idea of spending his weekend mornings with Louis sounded even better the more Harry had thought about it. Being alone and engulfed in each other's presence, attention solely on them and no one else. No vices, no other friends, no phones, just them.

Harry would love that.

But Louis isn't his, Louis’ not his boyfriend, because isn't what people in relationships do? Spend mornings together without being bothered by other means of distractions.

It's a nice thought in his head, imagining his future revolving around Louis. Seeing them going for walks for no reason at all just because they're bored, film marathons in Louis shoddy sheet forts, late nights intertwined together listening to one of their favorite albums all because one of them needed a cuddle. The idea of kissing Louis again was part of Harry ideal future and lots of it, Louis holding his hand and touching Harry on the small of his back. Love bites, 1 AM conversations spent on the phone because they can't sleep, ditching the seedy parties because they'd rather be alone.

That's what Harry wants, so badly.

Who knew he'd be sitting here on a Saturday morning in February with Louis, at a beach. Sat on a bench and deep in thoughts about his possible future with Louis if he is ever brave enough to talk about it. About them. But Harry of course too coy about it all, he doesn't say anything and just stuffed his mouth with some more pastry. Even if it was weighing on him to say at least something along the lines of his feelings towards Louis, he refrains.

Because he knows, he just knows it's not the right time.

Harry swallowed down the rest of his sweet treat and washed it down with tea. He still couldn't get his mind off his own future regarding the boy beside him that's now got his hands shoved into the pockets of his denim jacket. It's so uncertain and Harry needed to ask Louis about his future because he needs to figure out where he may fit in all of that.

“So, what are your plans after Uni, Lou?” Harry asked softly as his eyes fell back into the slothful sea. Rather tense at the unknowing of what Louis could actually tell Harry because he's never talked about it. Usually, any talk about university alone wasn't Louis’ interests, especially when it came to his major.

Louis let out a sigh as if he was waiting for someone to finally ask him this question. “Well had been thinking about taking the summer off I guess, spend time with my family,” Louis answered honestly. “Mum probably would want me home anyway before I venture off into the big scary world.” Louis sounded more sarcastic than anything at the last part of his answer. With an eye roll accompanied of course.

“She probably misses you since we're like four hours away you know, and you've been away for how long?” Harry knows if it were himself his mum would be the same.

“Three years”

Harry's point taken, “See that's like a long time in parent time. Besides maybe you might decide to come back to uni for music or something…”  Harry decided to bring it up because Louis obviously cares less about his current major anyway. Also Louis’ so talented in the musical area, so it'd only make more sense to Harry.

Louis scoffed, “And what do you know about parent time?”

“Enough to know that your mum probably misses you at home, just as much as mine does,” Harry answered as he took a sip of his tea. “Also my mum was the same when Gemma left so I know from observation.”

Louis shook his head, “I visit my mum and the girls every other weekend and talk to them through text everyday. I'm sure they'll be fine once I leave to go find a job,” Louis didn't sound too happy about that and Harry wished there was something he could do to help.

“But about the coming back to Uni, I don't think so, love,” Louis frowned as he flicked his gaze on Harry. “It's not probable.”

Harry didn't like that look on Louis’ face at all and he especially didn't like that Louis talking himself down about what's he's most passionate about. “And why not?”

Louis chewed on his lip for a moment as he glanced back to the ocean before they landed back on Harry once again.

“I just don't think it's worth my time to risk a music career, you know? At least with this gaming and art thing I have a chance to find a job,” it still didn't mean it didn't break a part of Harry's heart off to hear Louis talk like that. “Besides, I wanted to make mum proud of me for picking something at least worth finishing, you know” Harry's certain Jay would be proud of Louis no matter what he chose. “But whatever, I guess. I can always change careers later on, not like it's set with me for life.”

Harry just nodded because he understood now why exactly Louis didn't necessarily follow his dreams in the first place. It was kind of disheartening honestly. But maybe later on in life Louis knowing how unpredictable he can be, Louis could once follow his passions at some point. Harry would be there to push him along… if he's still around.

“I suppose you're right, but I still believe you should have followed your dreams.” Harry really did, but enough about that. He needed to know some other things, more important things that are screaming at him in the back of his mind to be asked.

“But what about that boy you like, is he in your plans after Uni?” As much as it made Harry feel quite ailing at the thought of Louis with someone else, he needed to know.

With a downcast expression on his face, Louis pulled his hand out of his pocket to fix his fringe,  “Honestly, I hope he is,” he finally answered. “As much as I said in the past that I didn’t give a shit about dating and would rather hook up. I've been reconsidering it.” that certainly did perk Harry’s interest. So Louis was looking for a relationship and sadly not with him...

“I just don't think I even have a chance at all because look at my past? I look like a sex crazed twenty two year old addicted to the latest drugs,” Harry frowned, not enjoying Louis belittling him like that. “He wouldn't want someone like me, not that I came blame him.” Louis went on and Harry wanted to reach over and grab Louis’ arm to comfort him, but he didn't. “I'm not his ideal guy, I’m sure of that.”

Harry didn't like any of this at all, he especially didn't like the fact on how insecure Louis sounded.

Yes Louis has his faults, but everyone has them.

“You know I’ve actually been avoiding commitment for so long because I hadn’t really met anyone I genuinely liked. Not since my ex Michael.” Louis admitted. “ I tried dating after him, but I just didn’t want to get attached as I know how fucking horrible it feels when things end,” Louis frowned as he crossed his arms. “I just don’t want to lose him, that’s the thing and I know if I don’t  just nod up and tell him how I feel someday that will never happen.” Harry just stayed quiet and let Louis open up, finally having a better grasp of why Louis stopped dating in the first place.

“My mum wants me to be happy and find someone worth settling down with, which I have, but I don’t know ...”

Harry wanted to tell Louis that this boy would be an idiot to say no to him, just because they're total opposites meant shit. Honestly, Harry would love to have Louis as his boyfriend, a serious boyfriend that lasts more than a month. Lasts more than a measly six months.

I’d settle down with you was what Harry wanted to blurt out but he didn’t. Instead, he said something a little more guarded. “ ‘m sure he’d say yes, Lou,” Harry knows it wasn’t the best advice ever, but it’s all he could come up with without exposing him.

“I’d like to believe that, really,” Louis added as he decided to put Harry on blast about his own future regarding relationships. Oh Joy.

“Enough about my fucking down spiraling singleness, what about you?” Louis asked curiously. “I remember back at the pub before we became mates you said you’d been single for years and were happy about it,” Louis actually remember that? That was back in like September and Harry vaguely recalls he even said that. “But you went on a blind date with that law student and that contradicts what you told me, so what's that about?”

Harry bit the inside of his cheek as he quickly thought of what he was going to say so he doesn’t say things that might cross some boundaries. His fingers twisted together in his lap before he finally spoke up. “I thought for the longest time that my studies and education were above everything else that mattered.” Harry started, “ I wanted to have my career under my belt and live comfortably before I even considered trying to find that perfect guy ...”

Yeah, funny how that turned out…

“But it turned out that’s not what I even wanted. I haven’t ever been serious with anyone before nor dated anyone long enough to know what it’s like to actually have feelings for someone.” Harry explained. “I kept telling myself that none of the boys I dated worked out well because they were my ideal guy in the first place, well my ideal guy isn’t what I’ve been wanting, not at all,” Harry just shook his head, eyes still focused on Louis.

“Well those guys were dummies because anyone would be stupid to break up with you,” Louis admitted, the corners of his lips quirking up. “You’re wonderful the way you are.”

Harry thought he almost got the wind knocked out him with what Louis just said, but he kept his composure and went on explaining.

“It’s okay though, Lou. Just meant they weren’t the one for me and I don’t know. Looking back how I was five months ago is completely different compared to now.” Yeah, kind of insane honestly what a change Harry’s mind did. “I don’t want to be alone for the next four years while I’m here, have someone to share my life with because when I look at Niall and Zayn I do feel envious at times. I want what they have at some point, I do.”

If Harry were honest he felt kind of better now that he had getting it all off his chest, even if he hadn’t entirely admitted to Louis how he feels.

“I want someone to create memories with ...”

Louis nodded as if he understood everything Harry had been saying and that was a relief honestly. At least he wasn’t being asked a million and one questions on who changed his perspective particularly…

Once again silence took over briefly between them as they just held their gaze and thankfully it didn’t last too much longer. Louis was the one who broke the silence.

“Would you be with someone that wasn’t in Uni or lived hours away?”

Yes, Harry would.

“Of course, Lou.”

“And you wouldn't care about his career or if he’s not the cookie cutter guy you always described?

Harry shook his head, because he didn’t care. At all.

Louis then smiled and put his hand on Harry’s thigh, squeezing lightly sending a flutter of electricity through Harry’s body. Harry’s certain he almost had a heart attack right about then. Louis’ hand stuck on his thigh and Harry felt absolutely one hundred percent compelled to put his hand on top of Louis but he holds himself back. Louis could just be showing support and not have put any meaning behind that squeeze.

But, fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. it’s hard for Harry not to have that jittery feeling in his belly and his palms starting to feel sweaty. To suddenly feel horrendously nervous because he’s infatuated with the guy beside him that had his hand is on Harry. Harry tried to suppress it, he did, and hoped Louis wouldn't have caught onto Harry’s blatant bundle of nerves.

After a few seconds pass Louis removed his hand and Harry wanted it back on him. Harry wanted Louis to wrap his arm around him and cuddle him on this bench. Share a kiss or two and just stay here admiring the sea. Harry wanted more than that but it’s all just a state of being lost in reverie.

Eventually Louis had gotten up to go throw his empty cup into the bin and Harry’s eyes were soon focused on a family strolling along the beach. Noticing the parents holding their small child's hand and it got Harry’s mind rolling once again about his future.

Wondering if he’d have his own family someday, picturing himself maybe six even ten years from now with a longtime partner and child of their own. Harry liked that thought and he likes it, even more when he pictures that long time companion being Louis. He pulled back out of his thoughts as Louis was back on the bench speaking up again, eyes back on Louis who was already staring at him, his hands shoved deep in his pockets.

“Do you see yourself with a family of your own one day?” Harry felt a blush coming on because Louis must have caught Harry watching. Also how weird it was Louis had questioned him on what had he been thinking about.

But Harry decided to not worry about that now and he nodded in response.

“Of course, I mean I’d hope so,” Harry answered honestly and wondered what about Louis? Did Louis see himself settling down in the coming years at all? Did he want a family of his own? Or just a doting longterm boyfriend or girlfriend of some sorts?

“And you?” Harry decided to just ask because why the hell not? It’s not like he’d ever get to ask Louis at any other chance anyway. Besides, it’d be nice to know more about what lies ahead for Louis.

“Yeah, I do.”

Harry bit back his smile at the mere thought of Louis finding happiness and love. It’s heartwarming to say the least because Louis deserves it, he does. And maybe a small part of Harry is hoping that he’s the one to that fits into all of that. Hoping someday he could tell Louis exactly how he feels and ask him for a chance. A chance with love.

If only it were that easy but the thought of falling in love was already daunting enough as it is. Especially with Louis for the matter. A boy whose complicated to understand at times with all the mixed signals he shoots Harry’s way.

But it’s stupid, so incredibly stupid because Harry knows Louis see’s him in a platonic light and nothing more than that.

Suddenly Louis scarpered past him and Harry who is now addled, stayed put. Wondering what the hell was that and why Louis had ran off so quickly without giving Harry a reason. Almost prompted him back to that night in Manchester, that is until Harry’s eyes surveyed the lot and eventually fell on Louis with that family. That family Harry had been watching earlier on and Louis had handed them a mauve beanie that little girl once had on. Probably had fallen off or something. Louis looked to having a cordial chat with the parents and Harry can’t help but watch. Seeing Louis having a laugh with them and a fetching smile making an appearance afterwards. Probably charming them with whatever he had up his sleeve. Harry should be wondering what exactly Louis was saying to the family, but he's not. Not at all.

The only thing Harry can think about is how heartwarming the scene was. Louis had that comely grin on his face as waved to the little girl, saying his goodbyes, from what Harry could tell at least. The father shaking Louis’ hand and the mum saying something as well. Honestly, Harry was rather surprised by Louis’ act of kindness as most people would have looked the other way, well most inconsiderate people that is. But at the same time, he’s not necessarily shocked either.

Harry remembers all the time Louis had opened the door for him, offered Harry his jacket on more than one occasion when he was cold, and even walked him to his door some nights. Not only that but Louis’ always been attentive towards him in general. Harry had also noted over time how family oriented Louis is and the fact he’s seeing his family every other week speaks volumes to Harry. Louis’ so much more than what he put out on the surface. Yes, sometimes he can be a little brash, callous and rebellious. But he’s also kind hearted once you get to know him and often selfless.

Honestly sometimes Harry thought Louis had always put on an act to impress the masses. Acting cocky and smug as if it were okay to act that way. But since he’s gotten close to Louis he realized that’s just who Louis is in general and Harry had come to accept that. Louis an actual person with feelings that didn’t care about impressing his next lay. He’s so much more than meets the eyes and Harry’s thankful he’s agreed to get to know him even if he loathed him at first.

Because Harry adores Louis tremendously.

By now Louis had jogged back towards the bench and Harry watched endearingly, eyes stuck on Louis. Hands now folded in his lap and doting over the boy who was now standing in front of his with his hands on his hips, staring at Harry with a smile on his face.

“What?” Louis asked, suspiciously.

“Nothing,” Harry murmured looking down to his hands, his smile turning into a grin. Hoping Louis wouldn’t keep asking questions and get on with the rest of their excursion instead.

When Harry looked back up once again, Louis was still looking at him with that stupid smile on his face. His hands no longer resting on hips, but more so folded against his chest.

“Don’t start getting mushy on me now, Harold,” Louis shook his head, “Because mushy is not something I can deal with right now, not when we have a day to conquer!” Yeah, a day and Harry still does not know what’s going to happen because Louis keeps insisting to not share their program of the day.

“And where exactly are we headed off to next then? Because I’d like to know,” Harry questioned, moving to his feet, as he finished up the last of his tea. “Also if it involves any spending I am paying Lou,” Harry wasn’t about to go all day without paying for anything, no matter how much Louis throws a tantrum like a child, nope. He’s going to put his foot down on that one.

Louis sighed, looking unimpressed by the idea of Harry paying his way, but whatever. Harry wanted to. “I already told you to not worry about it, didn’t I? Besides, maybe you can pay another time when it’s your trip that you planned out, yeah?” Yeah. Uh, no.

Harry wanted to pay for their next meal and he needed to think of a better argument. It took him a moment to recall that the shorter boy had always said he loved a good challenge and is super competitive when it comes to things, so that gave Harry an idea.

“Well then since we’re both awfully stubborn about who pays, why don’t we settle it with a race?” Harry prompted, hoping Louis would agree to that. Because Harry knows Louis could possibly run faster than Harry due to his better muscle definition but that doesn’t mean Harry won’t win. He’s got longer legs than Louis so…

Why not chance it?

“Are you challenging me?” Louis smirked, “Because you and I both know I love a good challenge, darling.”

So looks like Harry might be feeling less guilty about this trip after all. Hopefully, Louis isn’t a poor sport today because Harry wasn’t about to put up with that. He still remembers back when they lost the silly costume contest and went on a tirade on why it was rigged and such. So hopefully this goes over well or else Harry won’t hear the end of it for weeks, maybe months.

Oh god, what a thought! Louis bitter over a silly little race for months on end all because he’ll peg Harry of cheating. But Harry knows, either way, Louis will just have to accept the results anyway.

“Maybe I am, but you're not allowed to sulk if you lose, Lou, ok?” Harry noted. “Because obviously, I’m going to win … ok, first one to make it to the sixth bench from here wins, “ was all Harry said as he dashed off, not giving Louis much of a warning.

“Hey, you could have counted down you know!” Louis shouted as he started sprinting up behind Harry, but not fully catching up yet. Harry laughed to himself knowing fully well he was going to win and the fact this was kind of fun honestly.

It’s been forever since he got to frolic around, especially with a boy he’s massively crushing on. Yeah, that never happened actually. So it’s nice, very nice.

Harry scuttled through the sand as he darted passed each bench. Some of his curly strands fallen out underneath his beanie and the wind whipping it back. His cheeks going flush and he still had that broad smile across his face as he grew closer to the mock finish line.

By the time Harry had reached the fifth bench he pushed it. He wasn't about to let Louis win this time, even if he was right on Harry's heels. Harry almost felt his nearly slip in the sand but thankfully corrected himself quickly. Not ready to be embarrassed and lose all in the same go.

Louis wouldn't ever let him live that down that's for sure.

Then it was settled that Harry had won because he was the first to reach the sixth bench. It's when Harry turns around to face Louis that Harry's lifts his arms as if he had won a major victory and chants, “I won! I actually beat, Louis Tomlinson, Mr. big bad and tough, can you believe that?!”  Harry beamed, trying to catch his breath all in the same time.

Before Harry can even gloat anymore about his small victory suddenly a body collided with his and his back was now flat against the cold sand.

Harry laid there blinking for a moment, trying to comprehend what had just happened. He has a body pressed against his and not just anybody's body, but Louis’ body between his legs. On top of him, smashed into him, and Harry's certain Louis did that on purpose.

Not that he minds having a beautiful boy on top of him.

Louis hadn't moved yet and Harry doesn't care. He's too busy smiling into the crook of Louis’ neck, taking in the scent of Louis and the fact he still smells so fucking wonderful. Harry was aching to press a kiss against Louis’ cool skin. Wanting to wrap his arms around the boy pressed into him because he's hasn't had a cuddle in ages. But Harry refrains, he refrains from all of that because he's not sure how Louis would react.

The moment seemed to linger for a few seconds more and now Louis had his arms braced on either side of Harry. Staring down at Harry with a smile and Harry's not sure why Louis hasn't gotten off of him yet or why he's still nestled between Harry's legs. Harry just stared at him wondering what happens next, because Louis wasn't saying anything, just staring at Harry. Harry thought something was happening here because he was sure he caught Louis’ eyes on his lips. But he must have been wrong because Louis ended up sorting out Harry's hair that had been out of place and Harry's thankful it's just chilly enough to have an excuse for the flush in his cheeks.

Before Harry knew it, Louis was no longer against him and a dainty hand was in front of him. Louis was offering a hand and Harry just smiled even wider at the simple gesture.

After his feet were firmly planted on the ground, Harry looked at Louis who was already breaking the silence between them.

“You're such a cheater you know that right?” Louis teased and Harry just shook his head. Oh here we go, Louis surely not going to let this go anytime soon. But whatever, he won fair and square. Also, it's kind of endearing seeing Louis act like a total spoilsport from his loss. Makes Harry want to lean in and kiss him on the cheek to tell him he's always a winner to Harry. But of course, he doesn't.

“I didn't cheat.”

“Yeah you did, You did not count down, this was not a fair race!” Louis sighed heavily being all dramatic about it as per usual.  “You gave yourself a head start and that's not fair, especially since you've got legs for days,” Harry almost choked on his spit because Louis just said that and thinks it's something you admit so casually to your best mate. Well then… Harry's certainly not going to forget that Louis finds his legs appealing that's for sure.

“I still won though, so look who's paying next: me.” Harry pointed at himself with his free hand and that's when he realized his other hand was still in Louis’. His cheeks suddenly feeling warm and Harry's not sure if he should retract his hand from Louis grip or not.

“Still cheated,“ Louis mumbled under his breath.

Harry just smiled, even when Louis pulled his hand away finally and stuffing it into his pockets of his jacket. “But whatever I guess, onto more important things of the day instead of rubbing your win in my face,” Louis winked and Harry's certain Louis would be the one rubbing it in if he'd won, not Harry.

By now they were no longer on the beach as they made their way around the streets near the seaside. Taking their time and just enjoying the scenery and the sun that was now shining. Which definitely Harry was thankful for because as much as he doesn’t mind being slightly chilly, a bit of warmth never hurt. Especially since he’s certain they’re more than likely going to keep spending their day outdoors.

Harry didn’t mind though as he never truly gotten to just look around and see everything. Usually Niall or Ed, sometimes Gemma would have a motive and they wouldn’t have time to just go mosey around and admire everything. All the colorful houses they passed by and Harry thought it’d be pretty kicky to reside in a pink terraced house. Harry’s taking pictures of pretty much everything thinking it’s kind of bummed that he didn't have an actual camera with him instead, oh well the phone will do.

“You should have told me to bring my camera, by the way,” Harry expressed as he took a snapshot of a linear view of the vivid houses they slowly approached. Sort of wanting to take a picture with Louis and put him on Harry’s own Instagram, only because he’s on Louis’ of course. Not that he wanted to show off that he’s taken Louis’ company for the day or anything…

“But it wouldn't have been a surprise now would it?” True, but Louis could have just been vague. He didn't have to go into details or anything.

Harry sighed, “Still would have been nice to take better pictures!”

“Maybe next time, love.” Louis softly mentioned.

It was almost as if Louis was intentionally fucking with Harry's head at this point. Maybe next time and god, Harry's certain Louis had meant that. So Louis means they'll come here again and with a proper camera. Which Harry in his mind is a clear statement that Louis is already planning future trips down the line for them. And that just makes Harry's mind is going bat shit crazy over the fact that he's included in Louis’ future.

Like Louis not just going to toss him off to the side once he's done with Uni and it makes Harry feel one hundred percent better.

Because Louis is certainly going to be a part of Harry's that's for damn sure.

Louis was already smoking his second cigarette of the day (as far as Harry knows) and yes, as much as Harry disliked cigarettes. Louis’ habit of it too because Harry would love to see him not be so dependent on them, but that's Louis personal choice anyway. Harry doesn't even mind right now honestly because maybe he does surprise Louis with a quick snapshot on his phone of him exhaling the smoke from his lips. Explaining that since Louis thinks it's okay to exploit Harry looking like a mess half asleep that this was considered payback (also maybe because Louis looks striking).

But eventually the phone had been put away and they were just enjoying each others company quietly. Just the two of them, walking rather close together and now that Harry had nothing to keep his hands busy, he was feeling quite on edge. He tried his best not to react as much every time their hands lightly brushed together.

Luckily Harry had spotted something up ahead that he knew would hold Louis’ interest, as well as Harry’s especially since he’s been curious about it. It was a tattoo parlor and anything at this point that could pull Harry’s attention away from reaching for Louis’ hand is good enough for him.

“I notice they have a tattoo parlor up the street,” Harry pointed out; Louis looked intrigued as he glanced at Harry with raised eyebrows, “I mean not that I want to like get one today for myself…  I’m just surprised you didn’t plan for one, unless you actually did.” Harry started to stumble over his words a little now that he was explaining himself.

Louis smirked, “Are you suggesting I should get more ink or something young Harold?” Harry shook his head because that’s not what he was implying at all. “I mean I have been thinking about adding more anyway, you know it’d been since what? September since I got this baby,” Louis showed off his established in 1991 tattoo and god Harry had kept forgotten about that silly tattoo on the inside of his middle finger.

Kind of brought back the memory of Louis and him actually being in the same room together without having it caught fire, but that was a thought for later. All because Louis was no longer reminiscing about his stupid finger tattoo and was now standing in front of the tattoo parlor.

When Harry finally caught up he noticed Louis already in front of the entryway and god, maybe Harry shouldn’t have said anything. He didn't think Louis would want to go in at all, especially since it wasn't his favorite place to go to for his ink. Not only that but Harry recalls Louis saying his uncle does it for him because Louis had said he needed to afford his ink and he’d do anything. But whatever, Louis’ so unpredictable sometimes, you never know what that boy is up to.

“You’re not seriously going to go in are you?” Harry questioned nervously as he stared up at the sign, reading “Inka”. Of course, Harry feels rather intimidated because he’s like fresh meat walking into a place like this, someone's bound to come at him with suggestions of inking his skin up, just like last time. Harry still doesn't even know if he wants a tattoo or not yet. It’s up in the air still.

Louis let out a sigh, “I just want to have a look, maybe get some inspiration for my newest idea” ugh, Harry’s not sure how he feels about this anymore. “Why? Are you scared to go in?!” Louis teased, sounding too smug for Harry’s liking. Also not liking how amazingly correct Louis was either. “I’ll hold your hand if you want me to?”

Uh, was Louis joking or what? Because Harry is certain Louis was only messing around and thankfully that's exactly what it was. Louis had chortled and shook his head with a smile, “I’m only teasing by the way,” thank god for that! Because Harry’s certain he would have reached for Louis’ hand.

Yeah. He most definitely would have.

“Now are you coming in or what? Because I need you with me inside to help of course,” Louis stated before opening up the door and staring back at Harry.

It took a moment for Harry realize that Louis had been holding the door wide open for him and suddenly Harry’s cheeks felt slightly warmer. Louis and his chivalrous acts really do something to Harry and he still doesn’t understand why Louis had to be so accommodating all the time. Sure it’s nice, but he feels kind of guilty that Louis felt obligated to baby him. All because of a drunken night gone wrong.

Whatever though, Harry’s just going to keep his mouth shut and headed inside first even if he still felt rather timid about going inside.

The first thing Harry noticed as he stood inside was the designs displayed on the wall and what had been done on people previously. Harry found it fascinating at how amazingly talented the artists were and how well done their work was. Harry had his eyes fixated on one tattoo in particular as it was just one behind someone's ear, a drawing of a tiny anchor. Honestly, Harry thought that was pretty cool and maybe if he still has the courage to muster up over this whole tattoo thing, he may just get one behind his ear or on his ankle. Somewhere where he could easily hide it if he wanted and just subtle enough. Also, he’d want something small as a large piece kind of sounded less appealing to him.

Maybe Harry could bring it up to Louis later on and see what he thinks about it. Even though Harry pretty much knows Louis would be game for it, it’d just make him feel better to hear Louis’ opinion.

Harry’s attention was soon no longer on the display but on the blonde woman covered in numerous tattoos on his forearms and various piercings on her ears who was standing behind the counter.

“Do you boys have an appointment?” the lady asked, but Harry just stayed quiet. Because no, he doesn’t and neither does Louis, they honestly have no reason to be here, but apparently, Louis thinks they do.

“Mm, no just looking around, you know getting some inspiration and all” Louis smiled back at her as Harry just stared at Louis. Who was right beside him, scratching his scruffy cheek. “Trying to figure out my next one.”

“Well someone was supposed to be in ten minutes ago but they haven’t shown up yet, so if you want I can squeeze you in as I have about an hour free’d up.” the lady suggested and of course Louis nodded. Of course he did! Great, now Harry was stuck here because Louis wanted a tattoo.

“Also depending if choose something small, maybe I could squeeze you both in if I have some time left of course,” oh no, no, no, and no. Harry wasn’t planning on this so soon and so suddenly.

He still hasn’t the slightest clue on what he wants and to top it off it’s permanent! It's definitely something he still needs to think about that’s for sure.

Harry had tittered as he shook his head, “I’m not really into the whole marking up my body, thanks though,” Harry explained quickly as his eyes then fell on Louis wondering what his plans were. Hoping he would say no thank you and leave because Harry doesn't want to feel pressured into doing the whole tattoo thing so soon.

“Don’t mind him, he’s never had a tattoo a day in his life, he’s here to observe mainly,” Louis said and well that was nice of Louis to tell the girl. “But I’m up for it, I mean wasn’t planning anything for today, but I’m always up for new ink,” so Louis really was going to go through with this then.

Louis then proceeded to take off his jacket and push up the sleeves of his hoodie, showing off his tattoos and even pulling down the scoop neck of his shirt to show off the script across his collar bones. Mentioning to her that he’s quite addicted himself and someday would love to be covered in them. Which Harry won’t lie it’s pretty damn hot just thinking about Louis covered in even more ink.

Harry needed to stop the thought about that because it was not the place or time to think about it. Especially since Louis’ seriously going through with this last minute tattoo idea. As he was telling the lady that he already had an idea in mind and Harry's honestly not surprised.

So great, another tattoo session of Harry sat on the sidelines and staying mute. Which is fine Harry supposed he could watch the process once again. Just to know what to expect if he ever decided fully on going through with it.

Yeah, that sounded like a good idea as there really wasn't other things he could do.

“Well if you want to follow me we can start unless you need some time?” The lady asked and Louis already shook his head.

“Nah, I already know what I want,” he does? “But uh can my mate Harry come with?” Louis asked and Harry hoped so. Harry's not sure how he'd feel about sitting in the waiting area alone and occupied with his phone that he hasn't had a chance to really enjoy. Not that he wouldn't mind scrolling through his phone, or at least study,  because god knows how long he'd actually be sitting there for.

The lady nodded as she glanced at Harry, “Of course, but only if it won't make him queasy!” she teased before she finally told them to call her Olivia and to follow her.

Louis had gave Harry a glance before they followed the girl behind the counter and into a smaller room. This place was different than the other one they had went to back in London from what Harry observed. For one they weren't led over to a station more so a tattooing chair and in a room. There was a chair in the corner that Harry assumed would be his spot, and not to mention that it felt just a bit more secluded then back at Louis’ uncles work.

Once Harry was in his spot he crossed his legs and just observed. Wondering what exactly this tattoo Louis had in mind and where he's going to put it at. Not only that but how can Louis be so spontaneous with something so permanent? It's so odd to Harry still that Louis can be so impromptu sometimes regarding many things.

“So what is that you’re wanting done then?” Olivia asked as she pulled up a chair beside where Louis was seated. “And where would you like then?”

Louis had showed Olivia his left hand that was tattooless and pointed to his middle and ring finger. So Harry takes it Louis’ rather taken a liking to hand tattoos as that’s all he’s been noticing he’s been doing. Not that Harry has any complaints or anything because Louis wears them well, it’s just interesting as Lous had mentioned in the past something about a neck tattoo at one point.

Which hell, it would look absolutely amazing on him.

“Was thinking about putting 28 on them as I’ve been into fingers tattoos lately, obviously,” Louis gestured to his other hand, showing off his works of art. “Was originally going to opt for the more inner ear tattoo, but seems brutal honesty.” Yeah, that didn’t sound too pleasant to Harry. Quite painful actually.

Olivia nodded as then she started to tell Louis that finger tattoos were in fact quite trendy at the moment and proceed to show off hers located on the inside of his fingers with various words and designs. Explaining that they’re nice if you don’t want something too prominent and can fade over time as well which is nice.

But Louis was already shutting that down, “Well I was more so thinking about on the actual fingers instead, rather be able to see it as it’s quite important to me” Harry wondered what it had meant to Louis and he made a mental note to ask him later about it.

Then the lady began to ask Louis if had an idea of what sort of font he wanted and mentioned that if he wasn’t sure she could show him some examples. But Louis was already on that and mentioned something more classic and a little gothic as well for some edge. Which Olivia had nodded and told Louis to give her a minute to sketch up some ideas and after a couple sketches later and quick search on her phone Louis had decided on which one he had wanted done.

Harry just sat there quietly still, not realizing just how much detail you exactly have to go into a tattoo. A small tattoo. A number tattoo on your fingers.

It kind of intimidated Harry towards his own idea of getting some ink because they're definitely many ways to go about what kind of style to what exactly you’re going to put on your body. Not to mention the fact it’s fucking permanent. Yes, it fades over time or whatever, but to Harry, this was a huge decision. For years he’d always been against the idea for himself and has been little by little easing his mind into the idea of a small one. Yet that doesn't mean he’s still not unsettled at the mere idea of marking his body permanently.

But Harry had all the time in the world to decide when or if he’d go through with it in the first place.

“What’s so special about this number then?” Olivia asked, that’s what Harry would like to know.

Louis just smiled, “Just my lucky number is all, really” Hmm, Harry was expecting an elaborate story of some sorts or maybe it’s an important date. Not Louis’ lucky number, but honestly this doesn't even surprise Harry as Louis had his year he was born tattooed on his finger.

“Well that’s fine,” she commented as she then started to disinfect Louis’ fingers and then rubbed in what looked to be like a lotion into them. Then stuck on the white paper that she had done sketched on (the one Louis picked out) and went from there. Honestly, Harry watched in awe with wide eyes and his mouth slightly agape.

Harry’s eyes followed all the movements and eventually at one point had fell on Louis who smiled at him softly. Harry just peered down to his fingers twisted together in his lap and smiled.  Feeling his cheeks grow suddenly warm and Harry’s not sure why in the hell he’s feeling like his stomach is in a twisting mess. They’re in a tattoo shop for crying out loud as Louis’ marking up his body, the last thing Harry should be doing is blushing over a smile.

But of course Harry just had to like Louis more than he should, can’t help himself. Hopefully, he’s not being too obvious and Louis doesn’t poke fun at him about it later on. More importantly, Harry hopes Louis just doesn't say anything at all.

Eventually Louis’ tattoo had been finished and Harry was impressed, it was well done. Even for just a silly number tattoo and thankfully Louis seemed impressed. Even mentioning that he couldn't wait to show it off to Zayn and hopefully that Jay wouldn't kill him. Louis had said he promised her no more tattoo’s until after Uni, but looks like he didn’t stick to that after all.

Harry is not surprised because since when does Louis conform to rules anyway?

After Louis had let Olivia clean up and bandage up Louis’ fingers, she explained not to put water on it for a day or touch it. Disinfect it for several days and a lot of other stuff that Harry had noted in his head for later.

Harry may or may not send daily reminders to Louis…

When it came around time to pay Harry was ready to leave as they've been here for an hour now as he had grown tired of sitting there quietly. As he could just do that on the train ride back to Southampton later on instead. Well if Louis let him that is if he hadn’t run out of things to talk about yet.

Once Louis had paid the £80 they were out the door and Harry could help but shake his head. Because he can’t believe Louis even did that like, it was so random, and no one. Not even Ed one of his mates that actually has his some of his body blanketed in tattoos has never once just gotten tattoo’s on a whim. It’s crazy. Which made Harry sort of laugh because it’s just so weird.

Louis never seizes to amaze Harry that’s for sure.

“What's so funny?” Louis questioned as stared at Harry curiously with a frown.

“Nothing it’s just I think you’re out of your head really, that was quite unexpected, didn't think you’d actually get a tattoo,” Harry explained honestly. Yeah because it is fucking crazy that Louis did that. Like who even does that even? “I swear you’re addicted to them, Lou!”

Louis smirked and shrugged,  “Well what did I tell you? Once you have one you’ll always want more. I’m always right aren’t I?” Oh no, Harry’s not ready to deal with Louis’ cockiness once again. “Besides it’s just a small one it’s fine, if it was a bigger one I would have to make an appointment and talk about it beforehand.”

Still Harry thinks Louis has some balls to just randomly get body modifications on the spot.

“Also my uncle would be the one doing it anyway and I wouldn't have made you sit through that kind of appointment as I know you’d be beyond fucking bored.” Louis explained and he did have a point there.

Still doesn’t cover the fact Harry thinks Louis’ impulsiveness is insane.

“But I’m actually feeling a bit peckish, so how does lunch sound?”

Yeah, that was something Harry could definitely agree with right now.

A little while later Harry and Louis had found themselves at The Mock Turtle as Louis had insisted they go there. As he explained he’s been here more than once with Jay and the girls in the past and that in case Harry was planning on eating healthy today there were some of those options too.

Which was nice of Louis to even think of Harry in the first place when it came to sitting down for a meal.

Harry gazed around the dainty room and was fairly impressed with the light décor. The china around the walls, to the array of homemade cakes laid out in the window was rather charming to Harry. Not to mention the wooden furniture was quite a nice touch to a cozy feel and everything about this place was welcoming. The food is splendid and Harry’s certain his own mum would love to come here for tea, maybe even Gemma too.

Maybe have Louis coming along as well to keep him company...

“So Harold I wanted to ask you something,” Louis said as he had sipped on his tea, eyes trained on Harry. ”but you have to be honest and no shit answers to like make me feel better or anything, okay?”

Wait, what?

Harry was in the middle of munching on his chips until he set that down and stared at Louis, wondering what this was about. Wanting to know what exactly is this question he needed an answer too anyway and hopefully, it’s not pertaining to that night he walked in on Louis. Because that… Harry’s not sure if he could answer that without getting all flustered.

“Go on,” Harry responded quietly as he just sat there, not even touching his food anymore or his tea.

Then nothing was said for a few seconds which worried Harry; who knows what Louis wanted to ask to him now! It could, in fact, be the worst thing Harry could think of. The mere thought of Louis bringing up anything regarding their kiss back in Manchester to the night Harry caught Louis pleasuring himself, made Harry feel nauseated. Even his food didn’t even sound good anymore and he hasn’t even eaten more than a couple chips.

Louis fingers curling around his teacup before he spoke up with a tight voice, “Do you think I’m fit?” Uh is this a trick question or something? “I mean do you genuinely think I’m attractive?”

Oh god Harry wasn’t prepared for this, no he wasn’t. Shit, none of his mates has ever asked him this question before, especially ones he has crushes on. This is weird and Harry not sure if he should tell Louis he finds him exquisitely stunning or go for the safer route with telling him he’s cute. Harry doesn’t know and he’s sitting here silently wondering why in the hell Louis needed to know what Harry thought.

Shouldn’t it be quite obvious that he’s good looking anyway? After all, Louis has had many sexual conquests from what he’s heard and besides doesn’t Louis own a mirror? He’s gorgeous to Harry.

But Harry knows Louis was wanting an honest answer and wasn't about to let Harry off easy without preying an answer from him. Oh, how Harry wished there was a scapegoat out of this because he’d rather deal with this over text than face to face because it seemed so much easier to Harry.

“Uh, yeah I do,” Harry felt like it was suddenly boiling in the quaint room. His jumper starting to feel a bit itchy and suffocated as some more people stepped inside the building. Louis wanted an honest answer and he got it even if Harry was on the verge of fainting from heat stroke. Oh how that sounded wonderful right about now to get far away as possible from Louis interrogating Harry about if he finds Louis attractive. It’d be much kinder because who knows what’s going through Louis’ head right about now.

Will he be creeped out? Will he tease Harry now? Or will he be cocky and say something along the lines of thank you for reminding me? Because who even knows with Louis .

Louis lips curved into a smile, so Harry scratched off he’s not creeped out. so that's a relief. But that still left Harry wondering what Louis Motivation was behind this intricate question.

“Likewise, babe.”

What?

What did Louis say just now?

Did Louis seriously just admit he found Harry attractive? Harry’s certain that’s what he just heard. Louis Tomlinson actually admitted to finding Harry Styles attractive, and no these weren’t slurred words either. They’re sober, honest words and Harry not sure how to feel or respond as he was just sitting there in a daze wondering what in the hell is he supposed to say now.

“You know funny thing is, I was actually going to try and pull you at Liam’s party when we first met” Louis casually admitted and Harry was speechless. That wasn’t something Harry expected to never leave Louis’ mouth, at all. “I saw you come upstairs looking perturbed over your soiled top and I was instantly intrigued.” Louis went on and Harry not sure where Louis was going with this, but it was definitely making his stomach in a jumbled mess of knots. “Wanted you the moment I saw you to be more clear,”  yeah, Harry’s still fucking dumbstruck.

“But,” of course there's a but, there always one.  “I had a change of heart once I actually found out you were mates with Niall as I knew Zayn had been infatuated with the kid,” Louis explained, his cheeks flushed. “As that’d been really fucking weird if we had hooked up once and they dated,” Harry really wasn't going to make it out of lunch alive was he? “I mean talk about getting to know your new mates and all than just hanging out!”

Louis was now rearranging his fringe and Harry hasn’t even said a word, nothing, as he can’t form a proper sentence either.

“Not mention that it felt different with you when I actually got around to chat with you!”

Different? What's that supposed to mean?

Harry didn’t have a chance to ask at all not that he could have because he’s still tongue-tied over the fact Louis admitted of wanting to sleep with him. Louis actually wanted to bring Harry back to his and have his way with Harry and that’s something Harry should not be thinking about right now. Not at all.

“But anyway this actually leads into my question because I’m curious,” oh no… Harry wasn’t prepared for another question. Not when it involved Harry with a fleeting sexual rendezvous in Louis’ dorm. No.

Louis gnawed on his bottom lip for a moment, “So if I had approached you, like, let’s say at the cafe one day and we had never met before. If I had come over and chatted you up, would you had given me the time of day?”

Uh. Why did Louis want to know that?

Why is Louis admitting this all now? To Harry at a tea house where everyone could eavesdrop on their conversation. Does Louis want everyone to know he had originally planned to shag Harry in the beginning? Does he? Because Harry feels like that conversation was far too intimate and shocking for tea. But then again Louis plays by his own rules and thought it was a marvelous time to bring up such a topic.

Harry’s stomach is a jittery mess and all he can do is sit there silently because he doesn't know. He just doesn’t know, okay?!

Back before he gotten to know Louis he wouldn’t give guys that looked like trouble any time of his day because he knew bad boys led to no good. But then again maybe Harry would have given Louis a chance as he found him attractive right off the bat. Even if his first attitude kind of killed that part for him in the beginning.

Harry cleared his throat as he finally found his voice again, well more so stumbled over his words “Uh, I guess, I mean… if you were like… if you were nice,” god Harry felt like he was about to pass out right about now. “I would have.. Yeah.. ”

Louis smirked as he crossed his arms, “So you admit if I was charming enough you'd give me a chance to take you out then?” Harry nodded slowly, because damn Harry's not sure if he could say no. Especially if Louis had actually been nice, but only as like potential friends of course because guys were clearly off limits.

It was relatively quiet between them now and Harry not even sure what else to say to Louis at all, not after all that came out. Thankfully though Louis had excused himself to use the restroom and left Harry alone with his thoughts.

Louis wanted to not only sleep with him but also get his number… like who admits that to their best mate? Has Louis ever tried that towards Zayn in the past before they had met formally? Or even Nick?

It’s strange to Harry but also make him feel kind of happy that Louis is in fact attracted to him and had wanted him at some point. Except that Harry wouldn't have slept with Louis as it is against his principles,  he’s never been with a guy in that way before and he’s not about hop into Louis’ bed either. Not because Louis had admitted he thought of fucking him the night they first met. Also, Harry needed to remind himself that they’re just mates… best mates and Louis has a thing for someone else. Just because Louis finds him easy on the eyes doesn't mean anything.

Soon Louis had come back and was already onto another other lighter topics which was fine by Harry. Anything that's as far away as getting Harry to admit his attraction towards Louis was better.

Louis was going on about how his band was thinking of possibly taking it more serious and putting their names more out there. Like uploading their music online finally as they haven't done it yet or maybe just networking a little. Which Harry thought were splendid ideas. So Harry won't be surprised if they continue on with their success but it got Harry thinking about Louis.

Louis is always on Harry's mind now, isn't he?

But seriously Harry was curious if Louis would continue with his band after uni well into the later years. Also, it got Harry wondering if maybe Louis would ever build up his courage and sing at least once. He has such a lovely voice to Harry from what he's heard and should show it off. But then again Louis would shut that idea down in an instant and tell Harry to just drop it. Hopefully someday Louis realizes that his voice is impressively beautiful.

Soon their conversation turned towards their families and how his mum has been wondering about Louis' love life again. Louis says it annoying but he gets it that she wants him to be happy. He's stopped hooking up but didn't spare the details to his mum of course. But then Louis went on about how he thinks his mum may just be bored at home and trying to take charge of Louis' love life, he appreciates the effort but maybe she should focus on other things. Like maybe going on trips or something. With or without the girls when she isn't working. Like Brighton for example because she adores the city and sea.

Harry had chimed in and said his mum should do about the same. Only because ever since Harry's been at uni she's been alone. Probably quiet most days at home when she isn't working. She is always so excited every time Harry comes home when he does.

Louis had mentioned that he could drive Harry home anytime he wanted as he doesn't mind since it's not out of his way, apparently.

Actually it is, by like two hours give or take. But apparently to Louis it’s not a waste of time or anything.

This conversation had apparently gave Louis an idea, a sudden idea that kind of caught Harry off guard.

"You know this going to sound a little crazy, but maybe our mums could meet, like over dinner or something." Louis suggested and Harry's not so sure about that to be quite honest. Only because he knows in the past Louis’ mum tried playing matchmaker and Harry knows he's smitten with Louis.

"I mean it's a brilliant idea if you ask me because shit, me and you are best mates, imagine if our mums became friends." Louis went on, sounding too excited. "I mean I'm sure they'd get on just fine anyway. Both have loads of free time too" Louis made some good points... but this was something Harry would need to think about.

More importantly, talk to his mum about and see how she feels about it.

"I'll have to get back to you on this, Lou" Harry finally said as fiddled with the buttons of his jacket.

Surprisingly Louis didn't fight him on it. Usually, he'd at least try to get his way. Just like back on New Year's Eve when he had kept pestering Harry attending about Jay’s party.

"Fair enough," Louis agreed as went back to his food, no longer trying many ways to persuade Harry.

Which was fine though, because having their parents meet was kind of a huge deal. Like Anne has only met with Niall and Ed's parents a few times over the years. But never with the intentions of being friends anyway other than acquaintances.

But this was different. Yeah, Louis is his best mate but not Niall kind of best mate where Harry considered him family. Louis the best mate that Harry happens to have feelings for so this situation is kind of tricky.

Especially because Harry had thought when you have your parents officially meet that things were getting serious.

But then again it could just be Harry as always not looking at the big picture.

Soon enough conversation between them tapered off as they had finished up the rest of their lunches, well Louis more so as Harry had nothing but worry in back of his mind.. All because of dinner in Doncaster a few weeks from now. It’s unsettling and unpredictable on what could happen and Harry doesn't want to know and he’s going to keep agonizing over it until the night is done and over with.

For the rest of their day Harry felt more at ease as they continued looking around. Even stopped by the Royal Pavilion right after lunch to have a look, taking some more pictures, before heading off once again. Louis had even managed to get a selfie with Harry with the sea in the background at some point as he claimed they needed to document their memories. Which Harry held no argument towards and went with it anyway. It was nice doing this with Louis and Harry hadn’t realized just how late it was getting well into the evening. Meandering around the area has been quite nice, they did not talk that much but the silence was not heavy between them, they felt comfortable enough to just enjoy the scenery of the people visiting certainly just like them, stopping time from time to sit on a bench while Louis had a smoke.

It had gotten Harry’s mind off everything that was said during lunch and he was kind of sad when they headed back to the train station once the sun started to go down.

The train ride back was nice and quiet, Harry once again had the window seat even if he couldn’t see much because of the night, he was quite thankful Louis had given it to him. He even considered napping after the day they just had on the ride back, but then again the idea of a neck ache sounded less than appealing. Not only that but Louis may have fallen asleep on Harry's shoulder not even twenty minutes into it. Honestly, Harry didn't mind that Louis used his shoulder as pillow.

Harry kind of liked it... a lot.

At some point during the ride back he wanted to cuddle into Louis’ side to relax a little himself. Oh, how he wished he could have done that! It would have been a far more pleasant ride back to Southampton!

Once they had been dropped off and out of the train station Harry knew this was the moment he should start heading back to his dorm. Giving a call for a cab to come pick him up and out of his chilly night air. Even if a part of Harry didn’t want the night to end so soon already.

But Louis had other plans apparently, “So I didn’t bring my car with me this morning, want to come on a walk with me Harold?” Louis questioned as he let out a yawn and well… Harry certainly wasn’t opposed to this idea. He honestly wasn’t ready for Louis to leave just yet. Wanting to go off and spend time with him some more at either of their dorms, have a film night again or just stay together. Harry wanted that more than anything, but he doesn’t want to overstep things and definitely doesn't want to spend too much time with Louis as he may just end up being more infatuated with him if that’s even possible.

So in the end, Harry went with Louis on the way back to their dorms noticing at some point where Harry knew they should have parted ways, Louis kept by Harry’s side. Walking beside him all the way back to Harry’s building and Harry’s not going to lie; it made him feel elated and secure because Louis could have just left Harry to walk the rest of his way back to his building. But that didn’t happen, Louis apparently wasn’t ready to say goodnight so soon either.

Harry’s stomach did a somersault at any moment Louis’ hand had brushed against his. Even at one point Harry had felt fingers brush up against his own as if they were aching to interacting with his own.

As they ambled towards the heavy doors of Harry building, Harry had been thinking of many excuses. Something, anything, just to not end his night already and have just a little more time with Louis. Of course, though, Harry knows it’s quite pointless and he’s sure Louis had plans anyway, better plans than hanging out with him, that’s for sure. Probably has one of Liam’s parties to go get stoned ...

Harry glanced at Louis when they were now near the main doors.Louis smiled at him as he stepped a little closer to Harry before he finally broke the lingering silence between them.

“So I take it the day was a success then?”

“Of course, glad you dragged me along.” Harry answered with a smile.

Louis just scoffed, “Jeez make it sound like I forced you to come out today, Harold!” Harry just shook his head at Louis’ teasings. “You know you should appreciate me! Not but for real, I did all of this to show my gratitude..”

“But you didn’t have to, Louis I told you that!, Harry explained because Louis really didn’t have to.  “I didn’t mind nursing you back to health, you know, I am studying to do that on a daily basis, to take care of people ..”He’d care for Louis’s well being at anytime, no matter if he was sick, tired, or just had a terrible day. Louis far too important too for him.

“I just ... I wanted to since I felt so fucking guilty about what happened. And also… maybe also because I happen to like your company” Louis explained shyly reaching over and gently grabbing Harry’s arm. “I would do anything for you.”

Well…

How do you go from that? It has just been said out loud that Louis would do anything for Harry and Louis had actually done many questionable things today. All those things were confusing and made Harry’s mind go all fuzzy. Is Louis trying to tell Harry that he's into him because that's what's it's coming off as but then again Louis is tough to read. You never know if Louis’ flirting with a purpose of jokingly. Not only that but Louis quite the gentleman at times like tonight for example. He had walked Harry home to make sure he made it safely as it was dark out. Letting Harry have the window seat both ways on the train, opening the doors for him, paying most of their bills, and even at one point offering his jacket to Harry as the weather was getting chilly.

But there's still that one thing, that one little thing. Louis infatuated with a boy in his class, not him.

It bothers Harry, pangs in his chest at the mere thought of them together. Harry in a way wishes he didn't care as much about it, but he does. He does so fucking much because in truth it's painful to think about Louis, a boy he truly likes with someone that isn't him.

Talk about getting stabbed in the heart.

Harry needed to stop thinking like that though because right now that wasn't a priority. As him being next to Louis was the most important thing in the world right now. Anything wasn't important as this right here, right now.

A smile came to Harry's lips as he was trying to think of a response but nothing came to his head, nothing at all. Because what do you even say after someone says they'll do anything for you, it's tough.

There was silence in the air for a moment as Harry's mind was still stuck on the whole response. Louis was just staring at him not saying anything else as if he were waiting for something. Waiting on Harry to say something then wish him goodnight. But that's not what Harry does.

What Harry does do after thinking it over and deciding to end their night here, Harry leaned forward and pressed his lips against Louis’ scratchy cold cheek.  Feeling like his whole body was about to give out and felt as if time slowed down

When Harry retracted back, he felt heat inching to his cheek and that look Louis was giving him right now made Harry's night. The corners of Louis’ eyes crinkled as his the corners of his lips slid upwards and Harry thinks it's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen.

At least Louis wasn't creeped out or running off after a kiss. Even if it's just more so a thank you peck on the cheek kind of kiss. It was reassuring to Harry that small gesture was okay and Louis seemed to be pleased by it.

“Thank you, though Louis. I had a lovely time”

Louis nodded as he finally removed his hand off Harry's arm that Harry hadn't realized was still on him. A part, a massive part of Harry wanted Louis’ hands back on him. Except Harry knows Louis had absolutely no reason to be physical with Harry, especially before they are about to part ways.

Then there was once again awkwardness in the air for a couple seconds. As neither of them were saying another word and just staring at each other, almost as if they were waiting for something to happen, subconsciously. It sort of made Harry feel anxious in a sense because does he say goodnight now? Does he invite Louis inside his dorm for a little while? Or does he keep talking some more?

Thankfully though Harry had decided to clear his throat and decided maybe they should call it a night. Afterall Louis will (hopefully) more than likely send Harry a text later on in the night anyway. Not only that but they'll more than likely hangout again sometime this week. As now they were slowly starting to hang out regularly again.

Which honestly Harry was thrilled about even if he knows deep down it could lead to more attachment.

“I should probably head in for the night, you know to study before bed,” Harry said honestly as he pressed his lips together as he felt heaviness in his stomach. Of course, it wasn't a lie per se as he's always down for expanding his knowledge, but he almost doesn't even want to. He'd much rather spend his night at some seedy party with Louis, shit even a sitting in a car hot boxing with Louis, Zayn and Nick sounded better than revising.

Almost as if time seemed to move too quickly when Harry's with Louis and Harry wished it'd just slow down for once. Especially when they have days like these where Harry hadn't wanted the day to end so soon.

But then again Louis probably had plans anyway with like Nick or Zayn. Someone other than Harry of course which is fine, they don't have to spend every minute of the day together.

“Of course you are,” Louis smirked as he then stuffed his hands into his pockets of his jacket. “Well I guess I should let you go off and do your mundane routine, “ of course he has to throw in comments Harry's nightly routine, how typical.

“So I'll see you around, night Harold,” Louis ended up saying before he walked off.

Harry couldn't pull himself away from his spot, not when Louis looked back over his shoulder back at Harry once more before his silhouette disappeared into the night's darkness.

But eventually Harry had smiled to himself and went inside. In which his textbooks were never touched once and he found himself in bed by nine.

Because Louis had ended up sending Harry a series of texts throughout the night.

And Harry knew that tonight he may just have just fallen a little more for Louis.

Chapter Text

Being surrounded by revelers seem to test Harry's patience every time he's at one of Liam’s parties.

Harry should be used to it by now, the illicit drugs consumed around him, the blaring music thumping throughout the house, alcohol absorbed like it was water, and people hooking up left and right. Harry should be used to it all, but he's not. He can’t seem to understand what in heaven's name is so fun about these nights wasting away in a high state or intoxicated. He definitely can’t relate.

The only reason he still comes to these sleazy things is because of his good old mates and, well Louis. Louis being the main factor of it all honestly because at least Harry had someone there to keep him company that doesn’t treat him like yesterday's news when something better comes along. Not only that but Louis makes it all bearable for Harry.

Especially now that he’s gotten dragged to them once again after avoiding them at all costs to avoid Louis. But now, Harry is sitting on one of the benches outside next to Louis who has a beer in his hand. Chit chatting with Zayn as they shared a cigarette between each other because apparently, Louis had forgotten his cigarettes back at his dorm, so he bummed off of Zayn. Who actually pried away from Niall as he had different plans for the evening.

So here Harry sat with his legs crossed, eyes shifting between the two boys as they took drags of the shared ciggy. Zayn was telling Louis and Harry that he’s been thinking about his and Niall’s six month anniversary that's in like a week or two as it was now early into March after all. Mentioning that he wanted to do something big and special for his boyfriend. Which Harry knows for a fact Niall will love no matter what.

Speaking of Niall, he couldn't come out to the party tonight (surprise right?) because he had went home for the weekend to see some family in Ireland. Zayn seemed to be surviving so far with accompanying Louis and Harry throughout the night. Which is fine, Harry likes Zayn, and he wasn't being completely ignored either.

“I think I may just head back to my parents tomorrow as well, haven’t seen them or my sisters in days,” Zayn mentioned after he took a drag of his cigarette before passing it to Louis.“Maybe if I do, I could think more about this anniversary.”

“I don’t even know why you’re sweating over a six month anniversary mate! Why not rather do something massive for the year mark, isn’t that better?” Louis inquired. Harry agrees even if he’s never experienced it before. Zayn and Niall have only dated for six months, yes that’s a milestone or whatever, but it’s nothing like a full on twelve months.And Harry has a feeling they’ll still be together by then. They’ve haven’t gotten sick of each other yet without how much they’re always together and as far as Harry knows their arguments don’t last very long or are intense.

Then again Zayn is a big gesture kind of guy so Harry doesn't put it past him.

Zayn let out a sigh, “Because this is important to me, you know” Zayn explained as he brought the cigarette to his lips. “Also you know why, Louis. Don’t act like you don’t because you do, remember what I told you the other night?” What is the reason? Harry would love to know, but clearly, Zayn isn’t ready to share with Harry.

“Still Z, I think you’re stressing for nothing because clearly, Niall will fucking love anything you do, right Harold?” Louis asked, eyes now on Harry as the corners of his lips quirked up slightly.

Harry wasn't sure what this was all about now that Zayn and Louis were keeping Harry on the outs of whatever it was Zayn had told Louis the other night. But he does know Niall, better than Louis, probably somewhat better than Zayn even, so this, he can answer.

“Of course! Niall adores you Zayn, seriously” and it was true. Niall is in a constant state of heart eyes and euphoria when it comes to this boy.

“See my point taken” Louis stated as finished the last of their shared cigarette before stomping it out on. “Just wear your best dress and call it good, simple as that.”

Zayn didn’t look too pleased with any of this at all and it makes Harry wonder what exactly he is stressed about? Is this what Harry thinks it is? That Niall hopes he hears those three big words leave Zayn's mouth? Is it?

“If only it were that simple,” Zayn muttered under his breath before he pulled out his phone and quickly checked it. His lips twitching upward for a moment before he finally looked up towards Harry and Louis. “Anyway I suppose I should head back, you know, I have a phone date with my boy.” of course he does. This doesn't surprise Harry, those two seriously can’t go one night without talking to one another.

Like Harry’s one to talk though… Louis and him have been texting daily again. Which is nice and Harry may or may not be accompanying a smile every time he read Louis’ name popped into his text notifications.

Thankfully though no one's called him out on it, not yet at least.

After Zayn had left them it was just Louis and Harry. No one else was on the patio smoking or being boisterous, everyone was inside, and the party wasn’t as busy as it usually is. Which is fine, Harry doesn’t mind, and he doesn't mind at all that he’s finally has a moment with Louis.

Unsure of what to say or do, Harry stayed silent as Louis chugged down the rest of his drink.

“So, since this party is getting shitty, want to ditch it with me?” Louis asked as he tossed his cup onto one of the patio tables that had numerous littered cups. “Because you and I both know this party blows and I rather just not waste my time anymore than I have” Yeah, Harry could agree with that as any party was awful and not fun for him. So he nodded, kind of wondering what Louis had in mind instead, hopefully, it involved just the two of them.

Possibly another film marathon or something? Anything sounded better than being immersed in a slew of intoxicated sweaty people.

“So how about we go back to mine then, yeah?” Louis suggested and Harry liked that idea.

“Sounds good to me, Lou.”

When they were back at Louis’ dorm Harry found himself seated on Louis’ bed and no he is not distracted by Louis’ arms or collar bones. No he is not. Louis apparently had worn a tank top underneath his denim jacket that he wore quite well honestly.

Louis who is fussing with his fringe as he sat across the bed from Harry with his legs crossed was going on about how he can’t wait to be done with his major for good. Saying how he’s having a bit of trouble with his essay at the moment. Mentioning that he hates essays and thinks they are the worst thing ever in which Harry can agree.

They are not his strong suit either. But this gave Harry an idea, maybe he could help Louis on it. He would love to see what he has so far even if Harry’s not current in his major, maybe he could give pointers or you know read over it to check it. If Louis would let him of course as he’s never once asked Harry for a bit of help, as far as he knows Niall’s been the lucky one which still surprised Harry as Harry’s more diligent between the both of them.

“You know I could always help you.” Harry mentioned as he rested his hands in his lap and Louis just smirked at that as he crossed his arms.

“Yeah but I don’t want to bore you with something you’re not at university for and besides would really want to help me?” Yeah, Harry does.

“Of course, Lou.”

Louis just smiled and glanced down to his lap for a moment before his eyes were back on Harry. “Maybe you could help me with my final essay then when the time comes, because I will need another pair of eyes, meaning yours,” Louis proposed. “Because I trust you.”

The corners of Harry's lips slid upwards because Louis actually was going to let Harry help him out at some point, not only that but he has faith in Harry. He actually wants Harry’s opinions and aid on his final essay. That’s like an honor to Harry because well it’s Louis, the one person that doesn't give a damn about his course of study. Louis actually trusts Harry with something so paramount to his final markings.

It wouldn’t be a lie to say Harry heart may have swelled up.

“I’d like that... To help you with your essay.” Harry spoke honestly as tucked some of his hair behind his ear.

Then silence took over as it always seems to do between them as they held their eye contact for a moment. Louis was just looking at him with that stupidly gorgeous smile where his eyes crinkled in the corners and god, it’s almost as if Louis knows Harry’s weakness was this. The way Louis was looking at him right now.

“What?” Harry asked coyly, as he glanced down to his lap, feeling heat inch to his cheeks. Suddenly feeling kind of nervous with that way Louis was just gazing at him with that sparkle in his eyes.

“Nothing, just you’re so-” Louis was then cut off when his phone rattled against his nightstand. Louis had cursed before he reached over and checked his phone. Harry just gnawed on his lip, wondering what Louis was about to say before his damn phone decided to prevent whatever it was from leaving Louis’ mouth.

Harry didn’t bother asking though because if it were important Louis would finish his train of thought after he was done. But clearly, it wasn’t because the next thing that left Louis mouth after he tossed his phone on the bedside table took Harry by surprise.

“So Lottie just texted me saying mum would love to have Anne come for lunch next Sunday,” Wait what? “I mean if your mum is free of course.” Uh, Harry hasn’t even brought it up to his mum let alone thought Louis had been serious about it.

They're really going to have their mums meet aren't they?

Next Sunday. Johannah, Louis’ mum wants to meet Anne, Harry's mum. Fuck, Harry's so not prepared for that. If he had thought Louis was serious about this two weeks ago then maybe he'd actually wouldn't feel so on edge about it. At least then he could have prepared himself days up until Sunday's luncheon.

But no, nothing ever works in favor and their mums are going to meet. They are going to finally come face to face and possibly reminisce about their lives. More than likely Harry and Louis’ lives because they're the reason why this thing was happening. More so Louis then Harry but of course Harry had to stupidly agree with it.

Good god Harry is not ready! Not at all! But Louis just looked so excited at the thought of their mums becoming friends. Harry's torn, because a part of him wants to tell Louis to just drop it because it's not going to happen. Of course, though another part of him is screaming at him to just go through with it no matter how terrifying it may be. Their mums meeting and possibly trying to make things happen between Harry and Louis. Because Harry knows better that once Anne had a moment alone with the guys Harry's currently infatuated withdrew own mum, why, she'd try to do everything in her power to drop hints. Obvious hints that Harry's not sure he's ready to deal with. Not yet at least.

Especially since it'd be absolutely one hundred percent mortifying if Louis so happened found out Harry wanted to be more than friends.

“You know I haven't even talked to my mum about this, Lou,” Harry spoke honestly as he bit the inside on his cheek, eyes now on his lap. Fiddling with the sleeve of his top. “I wasn't sure if you were like, serious about it.”

Harry wished Louis hadn't been serious, but apparently, he was. Because now Harry's got this weighing on his back with other things. Great.

“Well I wasn't kidding, Harold. My mum got an ear full from me couple days ago and she's quite eager to meet Anne. Thinks it'd be nice,” well Harry wished Louis had been teasing him. Really. “Besides we won't even be sticking around much, especially if our mums click. My mums a talker if you haven't already picked up on that,” Harry sees where Louis gets it from then, because Louis seems to always to have something on the tip of his tongue.

Not that Harry's minded anyway. Honestly, Harry could listen to Louis ramble on and on for hours and not grow tired. All because it's never seemed to be a dull moment between them. Definitely not because Harry loves the sound of Louis’ voice. No, he does not, absolutely not.

“So you up for it, H? I mean you're not going to turn down my mum now are you?” Louis pouted, obviously trying to get his way anyway possible. Harry rolled his eyes but smiled soon after to show he was keeping it light especially since Harry thinks Louis looks too damn adorable when he pouts like a child.

Harry wished he wasn't so smitten for Louis, but of course, his own heart liked to betray him. “Of course not, I'll ring my mum tomorrow.” Is what Harry settled on because damn it he likes Louis too much and that pout he's supporting has affected him.

Fucking hell, their parents are going to meet.

It was when the corners of Louis lips slid upwards Harry's heart lurched out of his chest. “Now that's settled let's bring some life into this room shall we?” Louis thankfully decided to change the subject and Harry couldn’t agree more on this.

Louis had left the bed briefly, moving to his desk and rummaging through the piles of papers, his textbooks, and his discarded jackets. Until he found his speakers and plugged in his phone. The first song of Jimmy Eat Worlds album Bleed American began playing through his speakers. Just softly enough to kill any silence in the room and Louis’ back on the bed this time. Except he's not so far away, no. Louis in arm’s length and legs crossed once again and Harry can definitely smell Louis’ musky but sweet cologne. Harry's senses may or may not be on overdrive right now.

“Now that I got the music down, how about a game of twenty questions?” Louis questioned. Harry's not too sure about this, what Louis could possibly want to know that he doesn’t know already?

Louis’ told Harry his whole life story basically since they've become mates. Harry's curious as to why Louis wants to play that silly game. Doesn't usually this game turn sexual too? Well, so Harry's heard from Niall's mouth when the Irish boy had tried finding love online with the help of some apps like Grindr, but failed in the end in that aspect. As every man he came across that had a little bit of charm and good looks, some were creepy and assertive, but were all dickheads that wanted the same thing. To be laid. So this confused Harry why in fact Louis wanted to do this and with Harry. His mate, best mate.

Harry should say no, he definitely should. Especially if like Louis begin to ask questions about who Harry happens to have his eyes set on someone at the moment.

“Uh. Sure.”

But his mouth doesn't seem to follow his pattern of thoughts in this. Of course.

Louis soon smirked as he crossed his arms, “I'll start then yeah?” Harry just nodded because this was Louis’ idea after all and because he's not too sure what to ask anyway. Not yet at least.

“I'll start off easy, Harold, don't you worry, okay. I won't be mean …. yet!” Yeah, Harry was still quite anxious actually. No matter how Louis tried to reassure him. “But be honest with me, no lying or beating around the bush. No bullshit. Just want to know more about you,” Louis explained as he stared at Harry intently.

Harry hoped it would be mutual then when it comes to his turn to ask.

“What's one thing on your bucket list that you want to achieve someday? Don't give me any of that ‘I have no clue’ shit because everyone has at least one thing they want to accomplish before they're dead.” Well it wasn't exactly the easiest question but it was something Harry could answer.

“Mmh I would love to go on a hot air balloon I suppose but not a fan of heights I'm afraid.” Harry answered honestly. Because the thought of being far off the ground made his stomach into a mess. He's always avoided ferris wheels, roller coasters, planes, and anything that was fast and far off the ground because of his fear. Anything that could result into him plummeting to his demise basically.

Louis seemed impressed by that answer. “Well looks like I have to break your fear for you then, because I'm not about to let you miss out on all things adventurous and exciting,” Louis explained as he leaned over and patted Harry's knee. Sending a jolt of electricity through Harry at the brief contact. “Mark my words, Styles. I'm going to get you over this phobia one way or another when I drag you to some roller coasters this summer.”

Uh. Harry's not sure if he agreed with that and also Louis was planning a day around amusement ride with Harry this summer?

When did they make these plans? Not that Harry has any complaints though…

Roller coasters though didn't sound like fun to Harry, not even with Louis. But Harry knows Louis won't let this go and will proceed to pester Harry until he faces his fear because that's who Louis is. The boy Harry is heavily infatuated isn't afraid to try new things and will do anything in his power to get Harry on them too. Damn Harry really likes Louis too much doesn't he?

Then it was Harry's turn and the first thing that pops into his head is something he's been curious about. “Uh. What’s your type? I mean what kind of guy or girl are you attracted to?” Well, at least it'd give Harry an idea if he fits the bill or not. You know since Louis admitted he's attracted to Harry anyway and stuff. “I mean since you know what kind of guys I happened to like and all ..”

Louis licked his lips before responding, ”Well I suppose I do have a thing for someone that has a great personality. They don't have to have a strong one though as being sensitive is always nice,” well that's good for Harry's sake. “Always gone for someone a little more passive in the bedroom and out of it when it comes to dating. As I think I'd clash with someone that has a personality like mine.” Well, it wasn't exactly the answer Harry was particularly looking for as he hoped for of a physical description. It works though anyway and thankfully Harry fits that part so that's a good sign for him. If Louis ever ended up liking him more than a friend that is and if Harry ever slept with Louis. Not that he has any plans on his first time yet or anything really.

“But anyway, since we're like on the topic of relationships I've been wondering about yours,” oh no, Louis wants more in depth about his exs, Harry can just sense it. “What exactly happened with those boys you dated and why in the hell did they leave you? Unless you left them.”

Harry swallowed as he looked down to his hands in his lap, twisting them together. He suddenly felt kind of embarrassed about the reasons of his breakups because they were the same damn reason each time. The same exact thing and it makes Harry realize that Louis could possibly feel the same as those boys. Hell, this is probably another massive reason why Louis doesn't want Harry because he has no sexual experience whatsoever.

After taking a breath Harry finally answered, “Because they thought I was being a real prude. They didn't really like that I wouldn't do more than kissing,” Harry felt heat inch to his cheeks. “Apparently I'm undateable because I'm a virgin.” When Harry raised his head to meet Louis’ eyes, the boy kind of looked… irritated?

Which confused Harry because why would he be annoyed by Harry's ex boyfriends? It's not like any of this happened over the past year, it's been years since any of that had gone down. Also not a big deal anyway as he only dated the boys not even more than a month each.

“Fucking unbelievable, they broke up with you because you wouldn't sleep with them?!” Louis complained as he shook his head. “Tells what kind of incompetent twats they were anyway! Can't even respect the fact you're waiting.” Harry smiled a little as Louis went on and on about how it bothers him that Harry got dumped both times because he's been abstinent.

“I think you're smart for waiting and anyone that can't see that is a fucking fool. You're more than what those clowns you dated thought of you because you aren't undateable!” Louis continued and Harry felt as if his heart was about to give out. Louis was saying all the right things, his hand now on Harry's thigh (which made the room feel ten times warmer) and god, Harry fucking likes this boy so damn much. “You're so fucking wonderful, stunning as ever, and basically perfect. If no one can see that then they don't deserve you. You're worth so much more than sex, Harry. I promise you that.”

Yeah, Harry's stomach was an absolutely atrocious mess.

Harry just sat there blinking and wondering why Louis had to be so right for him but so unattainable. He wants to be with Louis so bad, he wants to reach over and grab his hand, and just be his. It's been making Harry miserable and he hates it, but he can't get over Louis. He's tried and tried so much and it's only gotten worse. Just like right now, Louis saying all that and it made Harry's heart grow five times larger. As if Louis knew exactly what he was saying affected Harry liked it did.

Harry honestly didn't know what to say about all that, the only thing that he could come up with though wasn't anymore than a simple thank you. No idea what to even ask at that anymore and trying to get his mind back in order. You know because Louis could have just said that to make Harry feel better. Still, it doesn't mean Harry's insides weren't a fucking mess because of it.

“Anyway, so let's carry on now, yeah?” Louis decided to end the silence as usual. “So do you have your eyes on anyone in particular?” Oh god, why did Louis have to ask this? Why?

What does Harry even say to this? What had first came to Harry's head is “I have feelings for you” but yeah that's not something Harry planned on saying right now and not so soon. Especially since Louis wants someone else anyway. No need to set himself up for rejection.

“I mean let's be real here, you've had to at least find someone you've come to like since you've came here,”Well Louis isn't wrong but only if he knew who exactly it was Harry fancied. “I mean you liked Mr. Perfect so chances are you've bound to like someone else by now.”

Harry gnawed on his lip, deciding if he should just say yes and face the countless nosey questions that may reveal things. Or say no and totally outright lie about it. Which Harry knows that he's not the world's best liar either and he's certain Louis had picked up on that by now.

“Uh. Yeah… but it's a secret.” Harry decided on as he felt his cheeks grow much warmer. Especially when his eyes glanced down to Louis’ hand still on his thigh. Yeah, so Harry's chest felt increasingly tighter now thanks to that.

When Harry's eyes shot back up, Louis smirked, “Oh. A secret you say?” Yeah and Harry doesn't plan on telling Louis anytime soon. “Hmm, I think I may have found my new goal for the season. Who does Harry Styles like. Because I'll figure it out, I will one way or another, I can promise you that.”

Harry's not sure if he should be worried or not now that Louis’ on a quest to figure Harry's feelings out.

Unsure of how to go about that, Harry decided to change the subject. As it was his turn to be the one asking the questions.

“Enough about me, it's my turn to interrogate you, Lou,” Harry stated as he clamped his hands together tightly in his lap. “Have you always known you're not like.. straight?” Harry figured they could steer away from the whole crushes topic anyway as he felt if things kept going in that direction it may be a disaster. Also Harry's been kind of curious on how Louis’ dealt with his sexuality over the years.

Louis looked a bit taken back by the question, probably not expecting to ever be questioned about his sexuality. Not by Harry at least.

Harry nearly frowned when the hand left his thighs finally as Louis scratched at his cheek. Looking to be in thought for a moment before he nodded. “Yeah I suppose I kinda always knew I swung both ways,” Louis answered honestly. “Didn't like tell anyone though not until I was like well into my teenage years, mum knew before anyone did, as she kind of knew before I even went to her, ” Louis smiled a little, “I even went to her when I had my first time believe it or not.” So Louis pretty much tells his mum everything then, well mostly everything and Harry made a mental note of that.

“You did?” Harry couldn't even imagine that. Like he doesn't think he'd be so open to talk about this with Anne. Let alone anyone for the matter.

Louis nodded, “I mean I didn't like go into details or anything, but yeah I did.” How can Louis be so open like that? How?

Harry would never tell his own mum that he went off and had sex, no. It'd be weird to him and Harry's certain his mum didn't want to hear about it either.

“But you know what, it may seem weird that I tell mum basically everything. From every person I've come to like, nearly cried about, and other stuff. But she listens and gives any advice from the top of her head. Even if I don't really listen at times.” Louis shook his head. “Guess my noggin get a bit hazy sometimes.”

“Probably all that pot you smoke, killing brain cells an all!” Harry teased for light measures and was glad to see Louis chuckle a little at that.

“Hey, I don't smoke that much,” Louis said in defense as he crossed his arms. “Last time I got stoned was like two days ago, and I think that's impressive.”

Yeah, but still that's only forty eight hours. Harry's point still taken, Louis smokes far too much. Not that Harry has any complaints, it's not his life. He's just glad Louis stopped trying to get Harry to go down the path of becoming a stoner.

“To me, you smoke too much, but whatever you say, Louis.”

Louis rolled his eyes “Anyway back to our game of twenty questions,” honestly Harry was running out of questions to ask at this point as he pretty much knows almost everything about Louis. At least what's coming to his mind so far. “But time to make this game more interesting.” Louis smirked and oh no, Harry's not sure if he likes this sudden turn of events in this questionnaire game.

“Oh?”

“This may be a bit forward but, how do you imagine your first time to go?” Uh, was Louis being serious about this?

Why did Louis even want to know the answer to this anyway? As Harry doesn't plan on losing his virginity anytime soon that's for sure.

Honestly Harry has never really imagined in his head how things are supposed to happen. Yeah, he's like fantasized of course but nothing like actually serious. So Harry thought about it for a moment. Biting the inside of his cheek and glancing down to his hands. Already knowing that one things for sure he would have to trust the boy one hundred percent.

What else though?

“Uhm,” Harry started as slowly peered back up to Louis who was waiting for Harry's answer. “Well, I guess before anything else I'd have to trust the guy I'm with, of course.” Louis seemed pleased by that, “I also think I'd wouldn't want to be rushed into doing many things, also understanding that I've never done anything with anyone before, and I suppose not shaming me either for like not being experienced.” Harry answered honestly and Louis nodded as if he understood completely.

“So basically when you know you're in love with him then?” Louis inquired.

“Yeah, I believe so.” Questions is, will Harry ever get to that point though?

As he's had awfully bad luck when it comes to dating and such.

“And what about physically? Do you have like a perfect scenario played out in your head? Like who does what and so on?” Louis prompted and Harry swallowed at that.

Seriously, why does Louis want to know this?

What for?

“I guess I always thought I'd have whoever I was with take the lead.”

Hopefully this was enough insight for Louis because Harry's not sure what else he could say. Like it's not like he plans to do anything anytime soon. Harry has loads of time to think more about making love with whatever boy happens to stick around long enough.

So Harry decided to be the one to change the subject onto Louis as it was his turn anyway.”How was your first time then?” Well, he might as well know how Louis’ time went with his ex boyfriend anyway. As Harry recalls Louis saying he lost his virginity to Michael. “Also how… I mean… was it everything you thought it'd be?”

Hopefully it doesn't bother Louis that Harry was prying about that after all.  

Louis’ smile soon disappeared from his lips as he looked thoughtful for a moment. Harry was starting to regret even asking because that look on Louis’ face right now wasn't pleasant. Obviously, it affected Louis is some way.

“You know what never mind, Lou. I can ask something else,” Harry stated but Louis shook his head as he gave Harry a weak smile in reassurance. Harry of course seen right through that but before he could do anything Louis started to talk.

“When I lost my virginity I was certain Michael would have been around for a while, thought maybe that we'd even get married one day.” Well, that wasn't exactly what Harry expected to hear. “But of course I was so fucking young and in love, I thought so many things. I was sixteen for crying out loud and I thought he was everything.”

Harry just let Louis talk because maybe it'll make himself feel better.

“You know I had the same views as you before I gave it away, I wanted to be with the right person. Which I thought at the time was my boyfriend,” Louis’ sounded a bit sad. Harry didn't like it, he didn't like this Michael guy at all. “But I was wrong, Harry. Michael had met someone better and found to want to be with them instead.”

Yeah, Harry very much so disliked Michael and glad he was out of Louis’ life. Harry can't even imagine how Louis’ ex could find anyone better than Louis. Louis is everything to Harry and just so damn wonderful. It blows his mind that Louis had experienced heartbreak to begin with because Harry knows if he ever got to be with Louis he'd never hurt Louis. Never because he couldn't imagine even doing so.

Harry cares so damn much for Louis.

“But back to your question because I got a bit off topic,” Louis explained as Harry did something he normally wouldn't do. Something that made him terrified to do when it comes to Louis. He reached over and grabbed Louis’ hand to comfort him. It's all Harry could even do because he had next to no experience with love. But at least Louis seemed to be okay with this, especially when he squeezed Harry's hand.

Which Harry squeezed Louis’ hand back and gave him a smile.

“My first time wasn't perfect I'll say because it took me a few tries after to see what worked best for me. Michael thankfully didn't fight me on it when I told him I preferred to be like the one to not be on the receiving end, if you know what I mean ...” Yeah, so Louis prefers to top, which is fine by Harry. Absolutely okay and Harry is totally not thinking about it in his head right now, nope.

“But you know I've put off dating for so long as I've told you getting attached scares the fuck out of me. Well, I think I'm ready now for a serious relationship.” Louis finally admitted and Harry was glad to hear that. He was even if he knows for a fact Louis wasn't meaning a serious relationship with Harry, his best mate.

“I know I told you back in Brighton that I've reconsidered it, but I'm certain now because I want this guy so damn bad, but I don't know how to like go about things,” Louis went on and Harry's heart panged a little at that. “I don't want to screw it up, because I think… I may be falling in love with this guy.”

Harry's heart felt like it hit the pit of his stomach. No, he did not like to hear that at all, but right now was not the time to make it about himself. About his heart. This was about Louis finally confiding into Harry about personal things and not about Harry's unrequited feelings towards Louis.

Nope.

“And I'm kind of worried because it feels more intense with him than it did with Michael.” Louis finished and yeah, Harry felt a bit sick to his stomach now.

Not because Louis had found someone to be his prince charming, but because Harry's own heart may have some strain on it.

But Louis told Harry that he's in love with this boy (possibly) and Harry shouldn't be feeling sad now. Harry is supposed to be a good mate and he's trying. He's really fucking trying right now.

It doesn't help when Louis squeezed Harry's hand once again and pulled it more into his lap. Harry wanted to move closer, maybe cuddled up beside Louis, and tell him this boy Louis has his heart on couldn't possibly say no.

Harry can't though, he just can't. It almost brings tears to his eyes to even think about it. Harry wants Louis, he wants to be the one Louis is talking about, wants to be the one Louis loves.

It hurts. It really fucking hurts.

“I need to use the toilet.” Was all Harry said as his words were rushed as he quickly ruled his hand from Louis’ and scurried into the bathroom. Locking the door behind him and pressing him back against the door.

As Harry rubbed his hands over his face he blinked back the wetness that came to his eyes. He shouldn't be the one crying now, not in Louis’ bathroom. All because Louis is in love with someone that isn't him and Harry doesn't understand why he's feeling so overwhelmed or emotional about it. He needs to accept that Louis is nothing more than a friend.

But it's hard because the mere thought of Louis with this guy in his class. It made Harry so ill and almost frustrated because he wants it so bad. So fucking bad that it's almost making him feel wretched again.

Except Harry just took a deep breath leaning his head back against the door. Blinking his eyes to prevent any tears he so desperately wanted to shed and checked himself in the mirror.

Louis trusts Harry with what he just shared and the last thing Harry should be doing is crying over his friend in Louis’ bathroom.

After collecting himself and made it look like he didn't seem affected at all he decided to head back in. Face the music once again unless Louis was busy with something else.

Which he was… Louis was no longer on his bed and his tank top was discarded on the ground. Right as Harry walked out and all Harry can do is stand there and stare like a creep. Because no matter how many times he's seen Louis’ shirtless, Harry's always stunned.

Harry can't help it though, Louis’ so fit, and he looked so good standing there in his black ripped tight fitted trousers that rode a little low on his hips. Harry wants to touch. He does, but he doesn't. Instead, Harry just cleared his throat and Louis looked up at him finally.

Maybe Harry should leave because now it feels kind of weird for him. But his heart is telling him to stay and be with Louis. At least for a little longer so it wasn't obvious just how affected Harry was by that conversation that just occurred.

“So uh, I forgot to ask you,” Harry started as he peeled his eyes away from Louis (thank god) and fell on the guitar case under the bed. Giving Harry an idea and excuse to not talk about what that was just now. “Will you ever let me hear you sing?”

Louis face had fallen into a grimace as he crossed his arms. “I don't think so, no,” Harry still didn't understand why Louis was so against singing. He sounded lovely when Harry overheard him once. “I'm doing you a favor by not making your ears bleed as I sound so fucking awful.” Louis has an impressively beautiful voice to Harry, no matter what Louis says.

“I think you sound amazing, Lou. I promise.”

Louis looked a bit confused as he stared at Harry. Probably forgotten Harry overheard him singing along to Nirvana behind the door.

“I would love to hear you sing at least once and I swear I wouldn't laugh.” Harry wouldn't because there's no reason too. Louis’ a fantastic singer and Harry wished Louis would just realize that.

But Harry remembered that Louis had never sung in front of anyone before and he didn't plan to anytime soon. But that was months ago and this was now and maybe just maybe Louis will think about it. Hopefully at least.

Louis still didn't look entirely convinced and Harry knew he had to do more reassuring. Which he knows probably won't get him anywhere but Louis really does have such a unique beautiful voice. He wants Louis to realize that too because someone has to do it or else Louis will always be insecure when it comes to his singing abilities.

“I wouldn't lie to you, Lou. You know I wouldn't, but only when you're ready, okay?”

Louis didn't offer a response as he just pushed his tank top with his foot towards a small pile of clothes near the overflowing laundry basket. Harry frowned as he watched Louis stand there who acted as if he didn't just hear what Harry just said. He was already slipping on a hoodie and zipping up just far enough where his chest tattoo is noticeable. Mentioning he was up for a walk and could use one more smoke for the night.

As much as Harry wanted to keep reassuring Louis he'd be supportive, he just nodded. No point in trying to keep trying because what good would it do?

Louis will just keep shutting that down.

But Harry will wait in due time because maybe Louis will eventually come around to the idea. Hopefully.

Come morning, Harry was sat at his desk chair around ten wondering if he should give Gemma a ring or not.

Ever since he's made it back to his dorm after Louis walked him back (which was super sweet) Harry's been a bit conflicted. Still rather hurt and he thought maybe talking to Gemma about it might help. You know since she was the first to figure Harry liked Louis and well it's his sister. Someone that actually had experience in this particular situation. Not only that but he needed to check with Gemma to see if having Anne and Jay meeting is like a sign for something serious.

Harry just needed to talk to her before he goes off to tell to his mum about next Sunday.

Oh how Harry wished this wasn't his problem.

After a moment passes the phone in his hand and he's scrolling to Gemma’s name in his contacts.

Hopefully she was up for a chat and not at work… hmm yeah, maybe Harry should have sent a text first. It was too late though because not even three rings in, Gemma had answered.

So here goes nothing…

“Hello Harold.” Gemma teased and Harry rolled his eyes at that. She's not once ever called him that, no one calls him that, except Louis. Because Louis does whatever he wants and Harry's come to accept that.

Louis calling him Harold and for some reason, it sounded right coming from him. But not Gemma, especially with that goading she's doing in this morning already.

“Gemma, I'm not calling to have you start that now, I actually need to talk to you,” Harry said seriously as he tapped his fingers against his iced coffee he had attained half an hour ago. “If you're free of course.”

Harry heard a humming on the line as if Gemma had been in thought for a moment. Obviously being a pest as she always liked to be and Harry honestly didn't find it funny either.

“I suppose I can free up my precious time to hear what's going on there and all,” Gemma explained as if Harry's situation was taking up a greater part of her day. “So what's up, H?”

Harry ran his fingers through his curls and thought about exactly what he was even going to start with.

Should he flat out tell Gemma he might possibly going even more miserable that Louis’ very much so unattainable? Or should he talk about their mums meeting first off?

Ugh Harry doesn't even know!

Apparently Gemma could sense something was a bit off and killed the silence. “This happens to be about Louis, isn't it?”

It's amazing just how scarily accurate she could be sometimes.

“Yeah,” Harry answered in a crooned tone as he took a sip of his coffee. “I really need to talk you Gems, so please.”

“Well I'm all ears, so go on.” Hopefully, Gemma says what she means this time because Harry isn't feeling up to being interrupted.

Harry chewed on the inside of his cheek as he came to the conclusion of venting his feeling first and then go on about their mums. Seemed to make more sense to Harry anyway.

After Harry cleared his throat he just said whatever had come to his mind first.

“Louis is practically in love with this boy in his class and it makes me so ill thinking about it. I feel like crying over it, Gems,” Well it's straight to the point and even saying that all out loud, Harry had a lump in the back of his throat. “I like him so much.”

“You mean you're falling in love with him?”

What?!

That's not what Harry was implying, not at all. Harry's not sure if he'd describe his emotions towards Louis as like love feelings.

How would Gemma know anyway? The last time he talked to her about Louis was on his birthday. So she's more than likely just joking and Harry makes himself believe that. It makes Harry feel better if he thinks she's just trying to be funny.

“Gemma this isn't a time to mess around. I'm rather upset that I can't have him,” Harry stressed as he covered his hand over his face. “It's just not fair at all.”

Gemma had let out an unimpressed sigh, “Who said I was messing around?” Harry's certain he's not falling in love with Louis. That's why she has to be messing around because it makes no sense otherwise. “Love isn't fair, H. You can't pick and choose who your heart wants, just putting that out there.”

Well no shit. But Harry's not in love, he's just massively infatuated with Louis. That's it.

“Like I said before, you're falling in love with him. End of story.”

“I am not!” Harry answered quickly and Gemma just chuckled.

Harry narrowed his eyes at that. “What's so funny?”

“Oh nothing, just the fact that you were so suspiciously quick to tell you're not falling for him is all,” Gemma sounded too smug and Harry didn't appreciate it at all. “Also you know you're like the worst liar ever and I still can't believe you're denying it.”

Yeah because Harry isn't lying.

“I'm not denying anything, Gemma. I don't…” Harry's voice trailed off unable to say it out loud.

“Love him? Right, okay.” Gemma finished that for him sounding a little too self-satisfied. Harry drew his lips back into a snarl, now with crossed arms, and leaned back against his seat.  

“Well I don't, okay?”

Gemma hummed in response and god, this was getting annoying. He didn't ring her to be teased about his feelings towards Louis. He wanted to just vent and maybe have some advice. But of course, Gemma can't even be serious for two minutes without pushing Harry's buttons.

“Right,” Yeah, Gemma definitely didn't buy it. “Anyway, other than you being in denial. Who is this boy who caught Louis’ heart? And why exactly are you putting yourself through torture by being Louis’ friend still?”

Harry's not too sure how he feels about talking about this other Harry in Louis’ life. Especially after not even knowing the boy and secondly the fact Harry's heart chips away anytime he thinks about it. But then again maybe Gemma could give him some ample advice not only about that, but on what he should do.

Because Harry doesn't know what to do anymore.

After Harry thought for a moment he found his voice, even if felt like something was pulverizing his chest. “It's this boy in his class, Harry. Louis has fancied him since like.. I believe… since October,” Harry pressed his eyes shut, not liking to think about this one bit. “Apparently he's so perfect and just right for Louis, even though he's apparently rather antithesis compared to Louis.”

Then there was silence on the line and Harry didn't like it, not at all. So he continued to talk to fill the void in the air.

“Which confuses me because Louis made fun of me for being the exact same. I just don't understand, Gemma. I don't,” Harry wished he could just read Louis mind. If only.  “But I can't just stop being mates with him either, because I don't think I could live without him.”

It was brutally honest and Harry hopes Gemma understands that Louis’ not leaving as his friend anytime soon.

“Are you sure the Harry he's talking about isn't you?” Gemma asked.

“Yeah, Gemma. I'm positive on this one, so don't even start on that okay, it's bad enough I have to even think about it.” Harry stressed into the phone, opening his eyes up again as he moved to take a sip of his drink.

“What's Louis’ number?”

Huh?

“What- Gemma what does this have to do with anything?” Harry clearly wasn't understanding where exactly his sister was going with this.

“I want to ring him and have a little chat is all, none of your concern. Just hand over Louis number, Harry, please.” Gemma explained and Harry was already shooting that down. Gemma is not going to get Louis’ number and she is definitely not going to have this chat she wants with him.

This is not happening.

“Uh. How about no.” Harry answered sharply because no, that's not happening on his watch. Why, Gemma would end up exposing Harry's feelings to Louis especially with her shit abilities at acting. Not only that but Harry recalls her mouth being loose back on New Years when she said Harry always talks about Louis.

So no, Harry's not going to give it to her.

Not even on the promise of anything could convince Harry otherwise. No.

“Oh come on, Harry. Don't be stubborn about his number now, I just want to talk to him is all, especially since you don't bring Louis home with you.” Gemma explained as if Harry was being unfair about it all. “I mean how else will I ask Louis if he's in love with you?”

Ugh, Harry didn't want to keep on the whole love subject anymore!

“You're not going to ever have Louis’ number because it's not happening, Gemma. So stop.” Harry replied firmly as he was so done with this already. “Anyway since you were like no help at all, I suppose I should ask you about another matter,” god, Harry really didn't want too, but he needed to talk to her about Jay and Anne meeting soon.

Hopefully she's serious this time and not teasing Harry relentlessly to get under his skin as usual.

“Hey, I was only giving you advice you were clearly wanted and needed.” Harry didn't really consider that all advice. “But clearly you're not appreciating my impeccable guidance. So go on and tell me what else you had to ask.”

Harry hoped at least Gemma would be somewhat helpful about the topic of parents meeting. Because he's never been in this situation and Gemma's well more experienced in this area anyway.

“So, I'm going to call mum shortly after to see how she feels about meeting Jay, Louis’ mum next Sunday.” Even saying it out loud made Harry nervous.

How is he even going to survive that day, how?

“Louis’ the one who suggested it, by the way, wants them to be friends I guess, but I don't know. Isn't it that weird?” Harry went on as he moved out is his spot he started to pace around his room. “Isn't that what you do when you are dating?”

God, Harry felt a mess thinking about it now.

It shouldn't even be this big of a deal because they are just two best friends wanting their parents to get on. It's not supposed to mean anything, but Harry can't help it. His mind keeps screaming at him that it's crossing that platonic line.

So no wonder he's freaking the hell out.

Just mildly though.

“Well that certainly is an interesting situation, isn't it?” Gemma answered, sounding a bit smug if you asked Harry. “Are you sure you're not the Harry's he's on about? Because having mum meet his is kind of a big deal, H. Just saying.” Like that made Harry feel any better about it.

“I mean I could be wrong but that's highly unlikely since I'm always right, you know.” Gemma snickered into the phone.

“Gemma,” Harry sneered into the phone, not ready to hear more of this. “I'm being serious.”

“Okay.. okay don't go spare and relax, Harry,” Yeah, relaxing was an understatement right now. “But I do believe it'd be nice to get mum out of the house anyway, makes some friends and all that.”

That was the upside of it all, other than spending time with Louis of course. But Harry has that worry if Anne's gets to be chatty with Jay things may come out and Harry's a bit on edge about that.

“I think you're going to be okay, H.” Gemma reassured and that was nice of her. As much as she was annoying at times, Gemma had her sweet moments.

Harry didn't spend much longer on the phone with her after that. Gemma had filled his ear with how he should really come home soon so they can catch up. Maybe bring Louis with him, but Harry shut that down instantly. Changing the subject back to him just coming home soon and maybe visiting Gemma as well. As she lives in Manchester anyway, thankfully she had agreed on that and even threw in a remark about Louis tagging along once again, but Harry hung up shortly after, not in the mood anymore.

No, Harry was not thinking about what Gemma said about Harry falling in love with Louis. No, he's most definitely not.

Then it was finally time to call Anne regarding lunch with Jay. Which Harry was hesitating to do but he ended up just going through with it. Which thankfully Anne didn't ask too many questions and was happy to meet Louis’ mum. Harry had told his mum in the process of all that to not tell Jay that he likes Louis and not try to drop any hints either. Harry didn't need any of that to happen and Anne just thought Harry was being worried for no reason at all and is only interested in getting to know Johannah, that's it.

Well Harry would have to wait and see about that.

So looks like Anne and Jay meeting was definitely happening.

Harry's so screwed.

*****

When it rolled into the following Sunday, Harry's a bundle of nerves on his way to Doncaster. Louis was busy driving and acting as if there wasn't anything to be worried about.

Fucking hell, Harry's so nervous.

It's early in the morning and they've only been on the motorway for a little over an hour now. As Louis had wanted an early start to Jays as lunch was set to begin around noon.

It's been months since Harry has been at Louis’ mums and that alone make him on edge. He doesn't know Louis’ family all that well and he's about to spend his day there. His whole day in Doncaster with Louis at Jay's house where Louis’ sisters reside.

Not only that but his mum is going to show up sometime during all that and Harry's unsure how that's going to play out. He is staying (slightly) positive about it all though as he could be panicking for no reason at all. Harry should trust his mum, he should. But it's hard as Harry knows that he fancies Louis and well Jay wanted to set them up, it's hard not to worry.

But right now Harry's not going to think about all that, he's not. Not when he peels his gaze from the window and looked out the corners of his eyes towards Louis. Who looked absolutely breathtaking by the way as he donned a beanie over his messy hair the peaked out and his signature denim jacket. Harry still don't understand why something so casual would look exquisite on Louis.

It doesn't make sense to Harry, but nothing about Louis makes sense.

“So what are you doing on March 25th?” Louis brought up suddenly with his eyes still on the road and breaking Harry out his gaze. Hmm ..

Harry doesn't even know what he's doing a week from now, so why would he knows what he's doing on that rather specific date?

“I'm .. I don't think I have anything planned, Lou.” Harry answered honestly as he glanced at Louis. Wondering where this was leading to knowing there had to be reason behind it.

The corners of Louis’ lips slip upwards and Harry has a feeling that Louis wants to drag him somewhere. Which is something Harry had picked up on over time since he's gotten roped into many trips.

“Well now you do so don't make any other plans on that date, Harold.” Harry knew it, but he wondered what exactly Louis was planning two weeks from now?

“Mind telling me why?”

“It's a surprise. Just don't make any other plans.” Louis beamed as he took a passing glance towards Harry for a moment before they were back on the road.

Oh god, another surprise.

Harry should really tell Louis he's not one for surprises, shouldn't he?

Hopefully this time Louis won't be spending all his money on Harry. Because Harry was going to put his foot down on that one, especially since it's not like making up for anything. Not only that but Harry would feel guilty if Louis went broke because he wanted to buy Harry stuff.

For the rest of the trip it seemed to go by rather quickly than Harry had wanted. Maybe it didn't help that during the last hour of their trek Louis was on the subject of his band. Telling Harry that they have a few more gigs lined up in the coming weeks and Louis expects Harry to come to one of them and maybe to a band practice too. As Louis apparently respects Harry’s opinions and such.

Harry of course agreed because the more time spent with Louis, the better. Even if things are rather weird for him, he still needed to be a supportive best mate.

As he would do for Niall and Ed as well.

By the time they were outside Louis’ mums, it had started to sprinkle and Harry was eager to dodge the rain and stay dry. Even if he was feeling quite unsettled about this lunch, he’d rather not be sopping wet anyway.

Thankfully the rain was fairly light and didn’t reek havoc on his garments or hair as they quickly made their way inside. Harry trailing behind Louis because he’s feeling a bit perturbed that his mum will be here soon. Not only that but he’s seeing Louis’ family again.

Yes, they were all super friendly last time, but it still didn’t mean Harry wasn't nervous. Just something about this happening, their mum’s meeting, felt a bit serious to Harry. He still had Gemma’s words on his mind about how this was a big deal and everything she said about Louis loving him.

Gemma couldn't be right could she?

Louis has feelings for the Harry in his class, not him… right?

Now was definitely not the time to be thinking about that, not when Louis had led them into the kitchen where Jay was preparing lunch; Louis’ sisters nowhere to be seen.

“We’re here mum, made it safe and sound as usual.” Louis boasted as he leaned against the counter top and Harry just stood there silently. Not to sure of what to do or say as he didn’t really know Jay all that well still.

Jay who was busy stirring something in a saucepan glanced up and smiled warmly at them. “Good to see you made it before the rain, boys,” Yeah, Harry was quite thankful for that as well. “But unfortunately lunch won't be ready for sometime..” Jay explained as her eyes went back down to the pot.

Louis had glanced at Harry briefly before his eyes landed back on Jay. “Well, I suppose we’ll just be getting out of your hair then, mum.” Louis joked as he nodded for Harry to follow him out. Harry of course trailed behind Louis like a lost puppy until they ended up back in Louis’ room.

Harry was now sat beside Louis who was sitting so damn close to him on his bed that obviously has enough room to put space between them. But no, Louis wanted to sit close enough where their shoulders would bump. Not that Harry minded because he didn’t, but he doesn't understand it.

It’s quiet between them, a little too quiet. Harry’s unsure of what to really say especially with the way Louis’ eyes were burning on him. Which Harry felt increasingly hot every second that passed because Louis wasn't saying anything, just staring at him. Well, that is until Louis had lunged at him and started tickling Harry’s sides.

That little shit!

Louis should know tickle fights are not allowed, not when Harry’s pulling away and was in utter hysterics as Louis continued to overpower him. Not letting up easily as he moved with Harry, fingers tickling along Harry’s sides. Harry tried pulling away and scooting farther down Louis’ bed, but Louis was too quick in his spot.

It was when Harry’s back hit the plushness of Louis’ pillows when he tried grasping onto Louis’ wrists, laughing harder than before and trying to get Louis to stop. But damn, Louis is too strong and not giving up. Not when he’s laughing right along with Harry with that stupidly attractive grin on his face.

“Louis, please,” Harry managed to say while laughing as Louis continued his evil doings of making Harry laugh harder. Well, that is until Louis had fallen onto of him in the process, their laughter faded out. Now Harry’s breath is caught in his throat and Louis’ not moving, he isn’t moving off of Harry. No.

Louis is on top of him, body pressed into him, and Harry’s uncertain what to do now. Even when Louis moved to brace his arms on either side of Harry and searching his face. Harry is so unsure of this and not moving a muscle. Not even blinking because he’s worried that if he does, maybe this was all just an illusion.

But even when Harry does blink and it’s not all in his head, Louis’ eyes are still giving it away that they’re exploring Harry’s features. Which Harry can’t help but notice how blue Louis’ eyes are even though he’s stared into them numerous times (guilty as charged), Harry can’t get over just how gorgeous they are. Even Louis’ eyelashes were quite impressive to Harry as they splayed beautifully against his cheek whenever he fluttered his eyes shut.

Damn it, Harry’s heart was betraying him again and going erratic ever second that Louis was not moving off of him.

Why wasn’t Louis moving and why is he staring at Harry like that?

It seemed as if something was happening here and Harry’s still not sure about anything and just lays there, eyes going between Louis’ eyes and his lips. Feeling an urge to capture Louis’ lips with his own. Harry bravely brought up a hand to Louis’ cheeks and slid his thumb across the scruffiness. The corners of Louis's lips slid upwards and Harry certain his hearts about to give out because Louis’ just so beautiful.

If Harry was in any right mind he would have never done that at all, cup Louis’ cheek. But hell, Louis’ just right there, up close, and Harry wanted to touch him. Harry wanted to kiss Louis so damn bad and staring at his bitten lips did no good either.

His breath hitched in his throat when he felt as if Louis’ face was slowly crowding his space, well that is until he quickly pulled away when a loud pounding on the other side of Louis’ door. Totally catching Harry off guard as he laid there blinking as Louis let out a heavy sigh, seeming a bit annoyed by the sudden interruption.

“Harry your mums here.” Jay announced on the other side of the door and fuck. Harry’s not ready. No, like he hasn’t even been here long enough and Anne is already shown up.

But Harry’s not as worried about that as how what just happened five seconds ago, happened.

Was Louis about to kiss him?

Harry must have been hallucinating because Louis had no reason to kiss him. Not at all. Harry’s certain Louis wouldn’t try that again after the whole Manchester incident anyway. So Harry rules it as him misconstruing the moment between them as it made more sense.

Because Louis likes someone else.

When Harry had finally gotten off the bed he wasted no time to exit Louis room that felt quite warm and airless suddenly. Harry needed to get out as soon as he could even if it meant dashing out to greet his mother and the beginning of lunch.

Which Harry is still unsettled with on top of the other things going on in his mind.

Louis wasn't far behind Harry as they went to the kitchen and the first thing Harry heard as they grew closer was that familiar voice, his mum's voice.

“Oh how wonderful this all smells, do you need any help?” Is what Harry hears when he stepped into the kitchen and Harry thinks Anne must have come inside before Jay interrupted them. Not that they were like doing anything anyway…

“Hey mum.” Harry spoke up rather loudly as he crossed his arms, feeling himself begin to sweat.

Is the heat turned up too high or something? or is Harry’s jumper that's the cause of the sudden heat wave penetrating the air?

Whatever it is, clearly making Harry feel uncomfortable and hopes it  just cools down soon enough.

The last thing Harry needs is to be all clammy and irritable because it’s far too broiling in the house.  

“Hey honey,” Anne’s eyes fell on Harry with a grin. “You look a little flushed, are you okay?” and shit, he’s found out. Of course, his own mum had to pick up on the fact Harry was sweltering in the kitchen.

“Uhm.” Harry began unfit to consider what to say at all now that his mouth suddenly felt dry.

Harry felt as if everyone's eyes were on him, just staring waiting for an answer. Yeah, that alone made Harry feel even more self conscious.

“It is a bit warm in here, isn’t it?” Jay finally spoke up, thank god.

“Fucking hot as hell if you ask me.” Louis chimed in which earned a glare from Jay.

“Language, Louis.” Jay scolded as Harry just bit back a smile, feeling slightly better that Louis was the one getting the heat.

Louis rolled his eyes as then Jay told Louis she needed help and for Anne and Harry to go sit at the table as they’re guests in her home. Louis didn't appear to be excessively satisfied with assisting with lunch, yet perhaps he shouldn't have cursed in front of Jay.

Harry sat beside him mum, flapping the front of his jumper as he sat there, and watching Louis from the kitchen. Looking somewhat irritated, well that's is until he noticed Harry's eyes on him and gave a smile when they made eye contact briefly. Harry of course looked away as he felt his cheeks grow increasingly warmer, hoping Anne hadn’t been watching the entire thing.

“You need to calm down, I can tell you’re feeling quite anxious.” Anne pointed out as she frowned at Harry who was pushing up his sleeves now.

“I’m fine, mum.” Harry lied as he closed his eyes momentarily.

But of course Anne sees right through it, “Well just take a deep breath and relax. Everything going to be fine, honey.”

Yeah, Harry's still uncertain if this evening is  going to be just fine. Because who knows what could happen in a mere hour or so, depending on how long Anne stays.

Eventually Louis’ sisters had shown up as they had apparently come back from shopping with their friends. Surprisingly Louis’ sisters had remembered Harry and his name even though he hadn't seen them in months. But then again Harry wouldn't be shocked to know if Louis didn't retell them about him.

As Louis was quite excited about their mum’s meeting.

God, Harry's still feeling quite warm and it didn't help when Louis sat across from him either, no. Great now he had to look at Louis who makes his heart go a million miles a minute and deal with whatever Jay and Anne reminisce about.

This was going to be a long day…

Harry thought lunch would have been a disaster the moment they all had sit down to eat. However, he was wrong as Anne was busy complimenting Jay on the roast and potatoes. Which honestly relieved Harry in a way they weren't jumping into playing matchmaker already. That's what Harry had been dreading the most, but so far so good.

Jay was enlightening Anne regarding how she didn't like that Louis was four hours away and wished he would have went to somewhere closer. But is happy Louis is graduating this year and just how proud she is of him.

Which of course Anne had to add that she feels the same having her last born being so far. Not liking the distance or the fact Harry only comes to visit once in a blue moon (oops?). Mentioning she's proud of just how serious he takes his coursework and thinks he's going to be a wonderful nurse.

Harry just kept his comments to himself and just smiled, feeling totally relaxed now. Lunch was going so much better than expected. The foods absolutely splendid as last time and every time he's made eye contact with Louis he received a smile back.

The girls, Lottie and Fizzy were busy gossiping about some friend stuff as Anne started asking Louis questions.

“So Louis what are your plans after Uni?” Anne addressed with a smile as she took a bite of the roast on her plate.

Louis looked somewhat shocked Harry's mum was wondering about his plans, but thankfully he just answered.

“Well I think.. I'm going to spend time here for sometime and eventually look for a job in London,” Louis explained honestly as he flicked his gaze towards Harry for a moment before it went back on Anne. “Then possibly get my own flat with Zayn, my best mate I think.”

Honestly Harry was glad Louis seemed to be sticking with that plan. He just wonders if Louis would confront that boy he likes after Uni or before. Either way, it doesn't sit well with Harry, but he wasn't going to worry about that now. As Anne was telling Louis that sounded like a good plan and proceeded to ask him about his career.

Harry mainly kept to himself and didn't really say anything as he ate his veggies quietly. Stabbing his fork into one of the brussel sprouts as Jay was asking Anne how she does it at home without her children home. Jay and Anne seemed to be getting on well thankfully.

Inevitably lunch slowly turned into desert with sponge cake and tea. Which was absolutely delicious and Harry managed to finish every little crumb off his plate. Earning a pleased look from Jay that Harry had enjoyed his dessert.

“How about you kids go off and do something now, yeah? I want to talk to Anne, some more before she has to go.” Jay advised with a sincere smile as she started to pick up everyone's filthy plates.

Apparently watching Disney films seemed to be a favorite in the Tomlinson household. Last time Harry watched something with Louis it was Snow White and now he’s sharing a couch with Louis in the living room watching The Lion King. It may seem like they’re all a bit old to be watching this, but Harry has a soft spot for classic disney films and apparently, Louis’ family does too. Lottie and Fizzy were there too but not on the couch with them, they were on the floor and on there phones busy texting or whatever. Harry’s not really paying much attention to the film anyway, how can he when Louis’ sitting so close to him it was unnecessary as there was a whole cushion on the other side of Louis that could have been occupied. But no, Louis apparently needed to be close to Harry and Harry couldn’t help but glance down to Louis’ hand that was resting on his own thigh and Harry ached to reach for it, he did. But didn’t and tried his best to listen to Simba singing I just can’t wait to be king.

It’s just hard though, it’s so fucking hard when all Harry can think about slowly reaching over and intertwining their fingers. Damn, Harry wants to so badly.

If his mind can’t get any more unfocused he could faintly hear Johannah and Anne chatting away in the kitchen. Harry gnawed on his lip and tried listening in and nearly choked on his spit when he heard that Jay thinks Harry would be so good for Louis if they dated. Saying how Harry is highly ambitious from all that Louis’ said about him. Anne of course agreed and mentioned she’d like to see Harry with a boy that makes him happy, and she tossed Louis’ name in the mix (of course she did) that Louis seems to make her son happy.

Oh god, their mothers want them together.

Harry doesn't know how to feel about it so he tunes whatever is left of their discussion out and hopes to god Louis didn’t catch what they were saying in the kitchen. Hopefully, no one in the living room heard what was said about Harry and Louis potentially being set up.

Turns out trying focus back on the movie was quite a task when Louis had gotten up for a moment and was sat even closer. There was next to no space between them now and Harry could have sworn at one point Louis’ was about to touch his thigh, but his mind could have been playing tricks on him.

Thankfully the movie eventually came to an end and Louis was dragging Harry down the hall towards the bedrooms.

Back in Louis’ room Harry stood there unobtrusively as Louis was caught up with opening his closet door and fumbling through it. Seeing the peaks of Louis’ poster and smiling at the memory of Louis getting shamefaced about it. Harry thinks maybe they should have a film marathon on Harry’s terms with an array of Ryan Gosling films as he’s sure Louis would be enthralled about that.

However, on the other hand, would he really want to spend a whole night with Louis… alone? With the potential of falling asleep again?

Harry’s not sure about it honestly especially since he has these feelings towards Louis and all. Since Harry feels as if they did happen to you know, sleep next to each other, Harry wouldn’t be sure if a cuddle might ensure or not. That’s what he’s worried about, especially since Louis’ been clingy towards him recently.

But now was not the time to be thinking about an epic film night with Louis, no. In fact, Louis (thankfully) kicked his closet door shut and had a box tucked against his arm.

“Okay so since I’m like the best mate in the whole wide world, I figured I could sacrifice my evening doing something more of your tastes for once,” Louis explained as he moved to the center of his room. “You know see what the fuss is about the puzzle life and all.”

Did Harry hear Louis correctly? Did he just say the puzzle life?

Is Louis considering doing a puzzle with Harry?

Harry must be dreaming because never in a million years would he ever expect that to leave Louis Tomlinson's mouth.

It was confirmed when Louis had dumped an entire box on his floor, all the pieces of the puzzle scattering about. There must be no less than 2000 pieces there and Harry considers whether Louis realizes what he's getting into. Because Harry certain Louis may get fairly bored, especially with something so tedious.

Not only that but this may take them the whole night if Louis intends to finish it anyway.

“You really want to sit here and do a puzzle with me?” Harry inquired as he gazed at the haphazard  jigsaw pieces on the floor. “Why?”

Louis let out an unimpressed sigh, almost as if he were expecting Harry to just be grateful that he was up for the challenge.

“Because I want to see what makes this so fun for you, Harold.” Louis explained matter of factly.

“And what happened to the Louis who’s too cool for puzzle as I remember calling it an elderly pass time?” hmm?” Harry teased, feeling rather happy Louis wanted to do this with him.

Louis just smirked as he moved to sit on the floor cross legged, “I’m still cool and besides, maybe I could use a quiet night with my best mate, don’t always need to get high or drunk to have fun.”
Harry couldn't even believe his ears, Louis just said he doesn't need vices to have a good time. What kind of parallel universe is this? A dream? Or something?

Either way, Harry’s not about to pass up this once in a lifetime off to do puzzle with Louis.

Come a little later when they were sat beside it each other Harry had surveyed the box as tried to gather all the perimeter pieces in the process. Louis, on the other hand was far too busy going about his own routine and working on the exterior which was kind of comical as Louis was spewing out curse words when the pieces didn't fit. Harry just simpered and said nothing as he continued to watch Louis get agitated when one piece wouldn't fit with a similar design.

Harry had brought a fist up to his mouth, trying to hold back his smile more as it’s been nearly a minute now and Louis’ still trying to find the piece to match.

“How in the hell do you consider this even remotely relaxing?” Louis scowled as he eyed the pile of pieces and crossed his arms. “I’m far from relaxed because this is mindfuckery when they match but don’t fucking fit together.”

Harry just found this oh so amusing and wanted to laugh he really did, but he didn’t. “Louis put them into groups, that’s the key instead of rummaging through the pile looking for a match.” Harry started as he began flipping all the turnover pieces upwards. “Put the interior pieces into piles they match in color with and put the edge pieces all in one pile. It’s that easy.”

Louis sighed as he helped Harry with the tedious task of flipping the turnover pieces. “Is there some sort of secret you know about these things? I mean obviously, you have a strict routine and all,” Louis huffed. “Which I’m not surprised since you enjoy sitting in the library after class to rewrite your notes. You’re a very routinely kind of guy.”

Harry just shook his head at that and said nothing more as he continued sorting the pieces into piles. Glancing at Louis from time to time as they worked on the edge pieces once they sorted everything into groups of colors. This was quite nice though, doing something Harry enjoys for once with a friend, which doesn't happen often. More often than he likes. He’s tried numerous times to get Niall or Ed to do something other than parties every week. It’s a nice change for once and Harry hopes he’s not boring Louis to death already.

After getting the edge pieces finally together, they both worked on their own side of the puzzle. Harry had caught Louis gaze every so often, causing Harry to smile. Harry had to keep reminding himself that to not be so distracted by Louis. Now was not the time for that. Not when he’s even halfway finished with their puzzle they’re putting together.

Because Harry has a feeling Louis won’t leave until it's complete.

Eventually them being alone didn’t last too long because Louis’ sisters barged in with the intent to join them.Totally invading their puzzle time, which Harry doesn't mind honestly as he’d liked to get to know Lottie and Fizzy better.

Oh well, they have a four hour car ride later anyway.

“I love a good puzzle,” Lottie beamed as she brushed her blonde hair off her shoulder and started digging through the navy blue pile. “Why didn’t you tell me you were doing one, Louis?”

Louis looked a bit annoyed by their sudden appearance and joining them on this puzzle. Which Harry understood, but it’s not a big deal, he doesn't mind a whole lot.

“Also we’re bored and we want to get to know Harry better.” Fizzy also added as he helped herself as well.

“You could have knocked you know and maybe I didn’t tell you what we were doing for a reason.” Louis explained pointedly as he crossed his arms.

“It’s fine, Lou. I don’t care if they join us.” Harry really didn’t.

Both of the girls smiled and Louis flicked his gaze upwards, and Harry wondered why Louis seemed so bothered by this. But in a way, Harry understand somewhat as Gemma could be persistent and annoying at times especially when she was bored and wanted to intrude on things.

But still, it’s not a big deal anyway.

“Oh come on Louis, you can't just hog Harry either, we want to get to know him,” Lottie explained. “Especially since you’ve only brought him home twice.”

Louis still didn't appear too excited about them being here as Lottie defended her case.

“We’ve gotten to know almost all your friends so it's only fair we get to know Harry too since last time you didn’t even give us a chance other than at dinner four months ago,” Fizzy pointed out “And even then we still knew next to nothing as you were quick to leave.”

Félicité did have a valid point. Harry didn’t talk either when he came for dinner last time, just listened to their stories of their days, so maybe actually getting to know the sisters doesn't sound all too bad now that he thinks more about it.

“Fine, you both can stay I guess.” Louis gave in, sounding defeated as both of the girls smiled in delight.

During the course of the puzzle Harry had heard all about Louis’ sister’s lives. From their gossips about the latest scandal at school to telling Harry all about Louis’ embarrassing moments growing up. In which involved Louis accidentally sending an inappropriate text to Jay that was meant for a girlfriend at the time. Not just that but also saying how Louis got caught smoking with Zayn when he was sixteen. As that’s how she found out. Which Louis told them to shut it and to leave, but they obviously didn't listen. Leaving Louis to just shake his head and groan, clearly not liking them reminiscing about his past humiliations.

Which Harry sympathizes because he’s had his fair share of embarrassing moments as well. Maybe nothing like an explicit text sent to his mum on accident or getting caught smoking for the first time. But Harry’s been walked in on getting dressed before by Niall who showed up five minutes too early. Nothing like Louis’ though.

Eventually the conversations turned towards the girl’s love lives. Fizzy said that she’s gotten a boyfriend now. Louis seemed a bit bothered by that, but Harry supposed it’s his protectiveness kicking at the mere mention of his sister’s hearts on the line. Especially when Harry recall just how protective Louis got with himself, Harry can't even imagine what Louis feels it comes to his sister's.

Then it was Lottie's turn to go on about her friend that she’s now dating. As Harry recalled her telling everyone just how she had these mixed signals from the boy as he’d go off and flirt with another girl right after they’d spend the day together. It’s almost too similar to Harry's situation even now that he thinks about it again.

Louis, of course mentions that he thinks they still should have stayed away from boys in the first place but they wave him off and start asking Harry questions about his own love life. Wanting to know if he was single, who is he dating and if he likes anyone.

Of course, Harry answered honestly, well for the most part he did. Harry had given them the same thing to Louis’ sisters as he did to Louis, it’s a secret that he’d like to keep. Which thankfully they didn’t seem too disappointed about.

When it came time for Louis to have a cigarette break he told Harry he’d be back in fifteen minutes or so since he doesn't like to smoke around his sisters. So Harry was left with the girls which wasn’t all that bad honestly, even if they stopped doing the puzzle long ago when they got to chit chatting away.

“You know since we’re on the topic of love lives.., my brother sure does talk about you a lot. It’s Harry this and Harry that all the time when he comes to visit,” Fizzy pointed out after Louis was not in the room with them anymore. “I think you’ve got Louis wrapped around your finger.”

Wait what?

That can’t be possible. Not at all possible because Louis likes the other Harry, not him.

Maybe Fizzy was getting it wrong anyway and thought Louis meant him instead. It’s an easily misconception… especially since they have the same damn name.

“I can see why though, you’re quite nice. and he was right when he said you have a smile that lights up the room.” Lottie added with a smile, and uh they have to be wrong, because this isn't making any sense at all.

Harry swallowed as he just sat there blinking, wondering what is even going on right now. Like did Louis’ sisters really just say all that to Harry?

“I think Louis’ going to ask you to be his boyfriend sooner rather than later honestly.” Fizzy added and what?

Did Harry hear that correctly?

“Yeah, I think so too because he really likes you.” Lottie chimed in and fuck, Harry’s heart is going all erratic once again.

There's no way, absolutely positively no way Louis had meant him. Because Louis likes that boy in his class, not his best mate, Harry. No.

“Uh… I think..  you mean the Harry in his class. Because he’s told me that’s who he.. likes.” Harry explained feeling a bit nervous now.

Fizzy gave Harry an odd look, “So the boy in his class has long curly hair and a has dimples when he smiles?”

Oh.

“Yeah because I remember Louis mentioning something about curls and dimples,” Lottie agreed. “I think he meant you, Harry.”

Harry suddenly felt heat inch up to his cheeks and started feel a bit overwhelmed. Because Louis can’t possibly like him, right? He likes that guy from his class. That's what Louis told him when Harry walked in on him that one night. But what Louis’ sisters just told him made everything unclear. Because he, himself has curly hair and a dimple that shows when he smiles. There’s absolutely no way this other Harry had long curly hair and dimple too, because that would be absolutely weird.

Then again back at Louis’ band gig Louis had continued endlessly about how perfect this boy was. Harry remembered Louis saying they were two totally different people and that the boy was a serious student. Intelligent and charming and possibly good natured. Thinking about all of that made Harry stomach churn now that he kept thinking about it more and more.

Louis wasn’t talking about him… was he?

He certainly can’t be the one Louis thinks he’s falling in love with and wants to be in a serious relationship with. Louis’ sisters have to be fucking around.. They just have to be.

“Does your secret crush happen to be Louis?” Lottie suddenly questioned and Harry’s was taken back, not even ready to answer this question on top of the other things weighing heavily on his mind.

“Uhm.” Was all Harry could get out before there was a knock at the door and Jay popped her head in to tell the girls to come help her in the kitchen. As Anne was finally leaving now and Harry was quick off his feet, just needing to get out of the room and far away from the questions as possible.

Saying his goodbyes to his mum and telling her he’d text as soon as he got back to uni safely.

As bad as it sounds Harry was thankful when Anne decided to leave because who knows… those girls could have figure Harry out right there on the spot. Which they had no fear in spilling about Louis’ crush, so Harry knows they’d probably go off and tell Louis Harry likes him.

When Harry was back in Louis’ room he was relieved to see the girls didn't protest their mum’s help and he was finally alone. Clearly, Louis wasn't finished with his cigarette yet, which was fine.. It gave Harry some time to think about what just happened.

As he fiddled with the puzzle to make him feel better he couldn't help but wonder how true their words were.

Louis couldn't have possibly been talking about Harry this whole time while being secretive about it all, right?

Because if so then Louis thinks he's not good enough for Harry and thinks he some druggie that Harry doesn't want. Which is far from the truth, Harry doesn't give a care what Louis does in his free time. He cares about Louis and Louis is good enough, he's more than enough

Harry wants Louis.

It's just… what if they were just messing around to make something happen that isn't even a thing?

Like they like Harry enough to want Louis to date him. But then again they've only just got to sit down with Harry and share many things. So Harry's not sure about that honestly.

Harry's not sure about anything now!

Suddenly the bedroom door opened and it was Louis, tossing denim jacket onto the bed. Harry sat there quietly staring as Louis moved to his stand alone mirror, rearranging his fringe.

“Fucking finally they're gone,” Louis started as he flicked his gaze towards Harry in the mirror. “As much as I love my sisters, I didn't appreciate the fact they were bugging you with stories.”

Harry didn't know what to say to that, he really didn't. Not when his mind is on the fact that Louis is possibly falling in love with him.

“I think they purposely wanted to annoy me, really,” Louis explained as he pulled off his beanie and continued messing with his hair. Pulling the beanie back on once he was satisfied before he turned around and his eyes were on Harry. “Anyway how about we finish that puzzle before we leave then?”

All Harry could do right now was nod because what can he say?

Your sisters just told me you're infatuated with me and I want to talk about that instead. Yeah, that's not happening, not right now.

Because for one Harry wanted to think more about whether or not Louis really does love him. Secondly, he feels like he needs to talk to either Niall or Gemma about this and see what they think. Probably Niall more than likely since he doesn't joke around every swing he gets, unlike Gemma. But then again he trusts his sister’s opinions when she isn't a pest.

Ugh Harry should talk to both of them… maybe all three of them could meet up for lunch soon. That'd be nice to have not only his sisters input but his bestest mates input as well.

Yeah, that sounds like a plan to Harry. Hopefully, Niall doesn't run off and talk to Zayn about that and Gemma doesn't tell Anne either.

That will all have to wait though because Louis already back beside him and working on the puzzle.

What happens now that Harry knows?

The only thing Harry knows for sure is that it's possibly mutual between them and he may or may not be freaking the hell out.

Chapter Text

Meeting up Niall and Gemma was a lot harder than Harry had thought.

For one neither Harry or Niall had a working vehicle of their own. Secondly, Gemma wasn't about to drive five and half hours to just come have lunch either. It's not reasonable and wouldn't be fair to hog Gemma's time off.

Not only that but she'd probably do whatever she could to chat with Louis. Which no, Harry was not about to let that happen.

The only thing that made the most sense was to meet up with Niall and video chat with Gemma.

But that alone was a bit tough because Gemma had too many plans with whatever boy and Niall was with Zayn 90% of his days. Luckily Harry managed to get Niall on board yesterday after class.

“I need to talk to you, with Gemma too.” Harry brought up as they walked out of the building.

Niall briefly stared at Harry curiously as they continued to walk down the pavement. Waiting for Zayn's car to pull up soon.

“Why?” Niall questioned curiously as he glanced around the car park before his eyes landed back on Harry. “Gemma? Gems? Man, it's been forever since I seen her! Is she coming down to see you?” Niall sounded a little too excited at that and well Niall and her always got on quite well anyway. Just like she did with Ed of course, but she seemed to be closer with Niall. As he was Harry's bestest mate of many years.

“Not quite, Nialler,” Harry shot that down before Niall ended up asking, no begging Gemma to come down and catch up. “But maybe we could like video chat with her instead and I guess… I just really need to talk you both; together.”

As if Niall knew already what this was about (of course he did) gave a nod as he reached out and put his hand on Harry's shoulder momentarily. “I'm free tomorrow morning if that's fine, you know, to talk about Louis.”

Why did his sister and Niall have to be too skilled in the technique of knowing far too much?

Seriously.

“Yeah, I believe that's fine. I'll shoot Gems a text later and see what she thinks anyway.”

So it had been settled they'd meet in Niall's dorm before noon and that's where Harry was headed down the corridor. Gemma had also sent Harry a text earlier this morning being a brat and saying she had plans to do nothing but guess what could give up that to hear Harry cry more about his not so unrequited feelings for Louis.

It wasn't a long walk to Niall's room as it was only down another hallway. But the walk seemed long during these early hours because he was quite nervous.

Yeah, he's told both Gemma and Niall he fancies Louis and all. But they don't know what's been on his mind for the past week and a half now.

What Louis’ sisters had told Harry and that Louis may be possibly in love with him.

Louis is falling in love with him.

That had been weighing heavily on his mind and it hasn't been helping him keep focused. Not with his coursework because even during class Harry couldn't help but think about it. Even when he's tried to rewrite his notes it was hard to keep his mind on track. This confusing situation was quite overwhelming for Harry and hopefully, this talk with Gemma and Niall will help.

God Harry hopes so, he can't deal with the idea of his grades going down and continuing to be perplexed about everything towards Louis.

Who knew coming to this university would have him in quite a messy situation in his first year?

Ugh Harry can't even think about that right now, now when he's approaching Niall's door. Hoping Niall was at his dorm like he said he'd be and not with Zayn. As Harry really didn't want to share this kind of private stuff with Zayn, Louis bestest mate. Because god knows Zayn will tell Louis everything and Harry can't have that.

Not right now.

Not until he figures things out.

Eventually Harry was in front of the door and was about to reach out and knock when the door swung open.

It's Zayn. Of course it is.

“Hey H.” Zayn greeted sounding quite tired as he shut Niall's door, standing in front of it to block Harry's way in .

Uh… What is Zayn doing?

“Is… Niall in his room?” Harry asked just in case Zayn had dropped by to drop something off for Niall. You know because Niall could be running late or forgot to tell Harry he isn't able to meet up. Which wouldn't exactly be the first time, but Harry really needed this meeting to happen.

Especially before he gets dragged off to Doncaster tonight, again.

“Yeah, he's there.” Zayn told Harry as didn't move from his spot still and this bugged Harry.

Why isn't Zayn moving?

“But uh, can I talk to you for a sec?” Zayn asked as he fussed the sleeves of his leather jacket to smooth them out.

Harry wondered what Zayn possibly wanted to talk about because they aren't like super close. Maybe it's about that thing Louis and Zayn didn't share with Harry? Or maybe something pertaining to Niall?

It has to be about Niall because what else could it be?

After giving a little nod Harry didn't expect the next thing to leave Zayn's mouth. No absolutely not at all.

“So like,  Louis told me you're going to his band practice, right?” Of course Harry was, he was invited and Louis was swinging by to pick him up in an hour or two. “But uh I'll have you know he's never like, he never brought anyone to practices, not even me.”

What make Harry so special that he gets to tag along to band practice?

Oh right, Louis is fucking falling in love with him, that's why.

“So I mean don't feel ignored if he's too preoccupied with his band, because trust me H, Louis wants you there,” Zayn went on as Harry just stood there unsure of what to even say. “Just giving you a heads up is all”

All Harry could do was look at Zayn and blink. Zayn just told Harry that Louis doesn't bring anyone to practice and that Louis had wanted him there tonight.

God, this makes Harry's heart go slightly erratic.

“Well I'll see you around, H.” And then Zayn was gone and Harry was still stuck on what the hell Zayn just told him.

The fact that Louis wants him at practice tonight and the fact he never brings anyone. Well anyone except for Harry supposedly.

Harry added that on top of everything else pooling in his brain as he let himself into Niall's room.

Niall's busy quickly rummaging through his wardrobe and Harry can see the fresh love bites decorating Niall's neck. Zayn must have stayed over last night (which is not surprising) as that'd explain why he's over so early in the day.

However Harry noticed that Niall seems rather restless.

If anything Niall should be seemingly excited about spending his weekend with Zayn for their six month anniversary. Not making a mess of clothes falling off the hangers and onto the floor.

“Uh. Is everything okay?” Harry decided to ask as he moved to sit on Niall’s bed. Watching as Niall let out a groan as the hangers scraped against the rail of the wardrobe swiftly. Finally stopping at a midnight blue button up before giving a head shake of disapproval before going back through his mass amount of clothes.

“For fuck sakes, I don’t know what to wear, I don't!” Niall whined as he turned in his spot and slumped his shoulder with a frown on his face. His hair an utter mess and his outfit is out of sorts and wrinkled. Yeah, Harry suspects something's bothering Niall that's making him this so frantic to find his best shirt for the night.  

“And why are you worried about what to wear? I thought you were just leaving for the weekend with Zayn? I’m sure he thinks you look great in anything, Niall. Really.”

Niall shook his head as he started to pace around the room, running his fingers through his grown out blonde locks. Looking panicked and slightly stressed as he started to vent to Harry about the weekend's activities.

“Because you have no idea how nervous I am about Sunday night, like at all.”

What’s Sunday night?

Is Niall proposing to Zayn or something?

Because Harry wouldn’t put it past Niall honestly. The boy asked out Zayn which Niall would have never done in the past. So like… it’s possible that the whole engagement idea could be probable, as Niall had told Harry he thinks he may love Zayn.

However when Niall continued to rant on, that wasn’t the case at all, no.

“I’m meeting his parents, fucking hell Harry, I’m meeting his parents finally and I’m freaking the hell out.” So it was that time again to be the one to comfort Niall. Which is fine, but Harry hoped he could calm Niall down and get him to take a time out.

Harry was about to tell Niall he’d be okay, but Niall just stopped dead in his tracks facing Harry and groaned into his hands momentarily before they fell to his sides. “I’m sorry if I’m making this about me, H. I just learned this last minute and I don’t know what to do!”

“Maybe you should take a nap before going on this trip with Zayn and ring me before meeting with his parents so I can soothe your worries of his parents not liking you.” Harry suggested earning a nod from a worried Niall moving to sit beside Harry. His hands fallen into his own lap and letting out a huff.

“I suppose I could do that I guess, but I just.. I’m worried that they really aren’t going to like me at all and will tell Zayn to leave me in the dust. I wouldn’t put it past them honestly.” Niall explained. Harry wished there was some way he could reassure Niall that Zayn would never do something like that. Also that he’s overthinking about it too much and that maybe Niall should talk to Zayn too about his worries as well.

It may help... maybe.

Harry reached over and rested his hand on Niall’s shoulder. “Niall, I don’t think you’re going to have that problem because everyone seems to get along with you just fine. Just because they are your boyfriend's parents doesn't mean they won't enjoy your company.” Harry knows he didn’t have much experience in meeting each other parents when dating, but he’s had Jay and Anne meet. Which is the closes thing Harry could possibly relate too.  

“They could be the nicest people in the whole world, Nialler. Just like his sisters, do you remember how much you overreacted about meeting them?”

“Yeah, but this is different. This is Zayn’s parents… Zayn won’t want to be with someone in the long run if his parents don't approve.”

“Again, I think you’re overreacting, Niall. You make Zayn incredibly happy and even if his parents for whatever reason don’t seem to be impressed by you, I don’t think Zayn wouldn’t stop being you.” Harry was trying his best to reassure Niall and hoped it was working. Because Harry’s not sure how much more advice he can give right now.

Niall gnawed on his lip as he moved off his bed and reached for his laptop and charger cord that was beside it. “I suppose, but I don’t know, Harry. I’ll keep you posted, I guess.” Niall sounded defeated and Harry wished he could in some way talk to Zayn about Niall’s worries. It’s just he doesn’t want to intrude on things and Niall may get mad that Harry talked to Zayn about it, so Harry decided to leave it be. Niall can message him about it when the time's come and Harry will do whatever he can to help calm the storm.

Now Niall was back on the bed as he plugged his laptop in and pulling up his skype.

“So, anyway back to the reason you're actually here, about Louis, right?” Niall questioned and Harry nodded as he watched as Niall opened a video call for Gemma who was already online. Probably eager to get this ‘meeting’ started as she loved to just reminisce about Harry and Louis as a topic.

After a moment or so Gemma was on the screen and she was eating what looked to be soup, in her kitchen. Which Harry didn’t understand why Gemma couldn’t wait till after the chat to swallow down some soup, but whatever.

What's important is Harry’s confused feelings about everything right now.

“So let's cut straight to the point, Harry. Whats up?” Gemma decided to start off as she gave a wave to Niall who seemed to be a little relaxed now. “I mean you didn’t need us both for no reason at all. Clearly, this has to do with Louis.”

Ugh, what happened to warm greetings before jumping straight into the heavy questions?

Of course it’s Gemma though, nosey, and not afraid to push boundaries. How typical.

“True,” Niall added in, as he flicked his gaze towards Harry for a moment before they were back on the screen. “Harry’s been miserable since New Years, I tell ya, Gems.”

“Miserable and in love actually.” Gemma added in as if she knew exactly how Harry feels. Which she was far off the mark, but Harry's not sure if he loves Louis or not.  The only thing he’s certain on is that he is very much so infatuated with him.

Harry crossed his arms as he narrowed his eyes, not liking that they are both not giving him a chance to say anything. As if they were the ones who came up with the idea in the first place to meetup and discuss Harry’s life.

“Gemma I already told you I’m not, okay?” Harry replied sharply and earned an eye roll from her end. Niall just stared at Harry a little confused and Harry didn’t appreciate that stare Niall was giving him. No, he did not because Harry knows Niall doesn't even buy it either and Harry can’t have Niall thinking Harry's fallen in love with Louis. He just can't.

“But you are and you’re still denying it, so I think suppressing your feelings is making you much more miserable than before, honestly.” Gemma explained and Harry minutely shook his head, already done with this.

“She does have a point, Harry.”

Perhaps having a meeting with them both was a bad idea after all, a terrible one actually. Because he feels like he’s being attacked on both sides because somehow they know Harry better than his own damn self.

“For the last time I am not… I do not… I mean…” Harry stumbled over his words mid rant as he started to feel stomach begin to feel quite tingly. “I just don’t.”  Harry managed to get out as stared down at his hands in his lap.

Why can’t he just spit out that he doesn’t love Louis?

It shouldn’t be hard to say he doesn't… but it is. Damn it, it’s difficult to even say it and Harry doesn't understand why.

Suddenly a hand had patted his knee and Harry glanced back up to Niall who had given him a heavy nod.

“It’s okay to not know yet, but from what I’ve noticed I can tell you've fallen for him,” Yeah, Like Gemma totally knew what she was talking about. “ I mean why else would you hang around him if he’s made you sad since he kissed you, I mean I’m not saying that you’re in denial, but you’ve yet to tell me you don’t love him.”

Harry was about done with this conversation because it was kind of messing with his head. He didn’t want to think about his own feelings for Louis. They are supposed to be talking about Louis’ feelings for Harry, not the other way around!

“I have to agree with Gem’s on this one, H.” Of course, Niall would agree and not have Harry's back at all.

What a good best mate he is.

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore, okay? I wanted to talk to you guys about something I learned when mum had dinner with Jay.” Harry just wanted to get on with this because he was done with the love topic for himself and not to mention he’s taking off soon. So the sooner they talk about it the sooner Harry can see Louis.

“Oh yeah… I forgot about that.” Gemma smirked into the camera before briefly disappearing with her bowl.

Niall looked rather surprised at the information but Harry dismissed it because now was not the time to worry about what Niall’s thoughts. Harry’s more concerned about what's he's had stuck in his head for days now.

When Gemma was finally back in front of the screen and no longer eating, Harry decided to just lay it all out on the table.

“Uh.. so I talked to Louis’ sisters when I was there and they were quite nice and all, but not very good at keeping secrets,” which Harry had made a mental note to never tell them anything private. “But apparently Louis does like me afterall.” Harry tried not sound too excited anyway about that because he still has all these confusing feelings towards Louis.

Not mentions everything that's been quite weird between them since New Years.

“Duh, I could have told you that.” Niall voiced as Gemma had given him a nod in agreement.

Harry let out a sigh as he then said, “Niall I would appreciate it if you'd just let me finish.”

Niall muttered out an apology and didn't say anything else after that and thankfully neither did Gemma.

Fucking finally!

“As I was saying before I was interrupted, that I’m now more confused than ever about Louis because I don’t know what to do,” Harry really doesn’t, like at all. “He wants me and I want him, but it’s just so… complicated.” Harry really wished didn't have to be in this situation because it did some major wear and tear on his heart.

“I think one of you just need to suck it up and make a move already because you're both going to end up ten times more miserable by the time summers here.” Gemma stated, moving to rest her chin against her fist, arm resting on the tabletop.

She did have a point, however, Harry’s not sure if he could be the one to make the move honestly. It’s a bit scary actually.

“Which I really don’t want to see you be sad all summer over him, Harry.  It’s not a nice sight to see you like this, so I have to go with Gemma on this.”

“See? No one wants to see you moping over Louis because you never gained the courage to spill your feelings for him. Because I think if you both just talk about it all, everyone will be much happier when you two end up dating.”  Gemma went on as Niall nodded along, as Harry just sat there doing whatever it takes not to think ahead of himself already. No need to be in thoughts about Louis being his boyfriend, absolutely not.

But it's difficult not to because it's been ages since he's had an actual companion and someone he definitely wants to be with. It's still quite troubling because Harry had never been lucky in dating, but he has faith it’ll be different with Louis. It has to be or else something is terribly wrong and Harry is one hundred percent undateable.

That’s if he ever goes out with Louis that is because Harry recalls Louis saying he's absolutely terrified of commitment. Mainly because of his past and Harry remembers back in day Louis mentioning something about Zayn being brokenhearted and never wanting to be in his shoes. So it’s terrifying to even entertain the thought of having this talk with Louis.

Because it’s too unpredictable what could happen and Harry’s not sure if he’s ready to test the theory so soon.

“If Louis wants to be with me then he can make the move, not me.” Harry settled on, knowing that Louis making a move isn't likely to happen. Especially since it's been months now and he's told Harry, he thinks Harry wouldn't want him.

Which is absolutely wrong.

Harry wants to be with Louis more than ever and he can't see himself with anyone else. If only he could tell Louis that without feeling nauseated and his chest going heavy.

Yeah, Harry's not going to talk to Louis about it. Nope.

“Oh come on Harry, you've got to try and be courageous for once in your life.” Gemma stressed.

Actually Harry was courageous once and went to confront Louis, but that turned out more awkward than anything. So no, Harry's not going to be courageous once again, because something's bound to go wrong. Harry just knows it.

“Listen, Harry I know you don't want me to talk to Zayn about it, but maybe I could come with you?” Niall suggested as his eyes darted between the computer screen and Harry. “Like be your wingman.”

Oh god not this wingman crap again. The last time Harry was this supposed wingman he wasn't needed. So what good would this do Harry?

Is Niall planning to be sat in the corner waiting for Harry to confess his feelings to Louis? Even if Harry did decide to go tell Louis that he wants more from him, he'd rather it be done alone.

Don't get Harry wrong though he appreciates Niall's efforts to make it easier, but it's not going to happen. Because Harry's not going to have this conversation with Louis. Period.

“Niall I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it's not going to happen,” Harry shot it down and Niall looked a bit disappointed. ”Nothing's going to happen.” And that was that because Harry doesn't want to keep thinking about this. Because with his luck Louis may reject him because of whatever reason and Niall will be there to witness the humiliation. Which Harry doesn't want to happen because he knows his eyes won't be dry.

He never liked to cry in front of anyone. Not even his own family for the matter, so no. Not happening, not ever.

Honestly Harry wished he wasn't so sensitive sometimes because maybe then he wouldn't feel so damn wretched.

Niall looked to be quickly thinking as he scraped his fingers through his hair for a moment. “You're going with Louis to Doncaster tonight, right?”

Harry nodded and Niall was about open his mouth when Gemma started speaking.

“Wait, what?! What was that I just heard?” Gemma nearly screeched in excitement. Harry wished this was something to be excited about, but to tell the truth,Harry was a bit nervous.

After what Zayn told him outside Niall's room and the fact Harry's never had any sort of proper conversations with Louis’ bandmates before. Harry just knows he's bound to feel out of place at least. Especially if everyone's having a great time chatting and Harry's on the outs because the only one he knows is Louis. His security blanket.

As bad as that sounds Harry still has a hard time making friends easily. So he has a feeling that tonight may be a bit hard for him especially if Louis expects him to get to know these boys.

God, Harry hopes they're all nice and welcoming tonight. Not putting Harry on the back burner because he’s more on the reserved side.

“Don't get all excited about it now Gemma, it's just band practice,” Harry explained as he tucked his hair behind his ear. “Besides Louis will probably be too busy with his guitar, anyway.”

“It’s just band practice,” Gemma mocked as she rolled her eyes, “Harry, come on now you can't be this oblivious. “

Oblivious or not, Louis had invited him in purposes of support. Nothing else and Harry is trying to convince himself of that. Not because Louis wants him there on the intent of spending as much time in a day together.

“You are going to be there all day with him, like four and half hours away from Uni, you know?” yeah, Harry already knew that, he’s always known that. It means nothing. “Like that’s merely and nine hours on the damn road, Harry. Like obviously he’s invited you with a purpose.”  Gemma went on as Harry suddenly felt his phone vibrate against his thigh.

“I think Louis wants to just spend time with you, actually.” Niall chimed in as Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. Trying to bite back his smile when checked his texts, but he couldn’t help it. The corners of his lips sliding upwards as his eyes scanned over Louis’ name in his text notifications.

Harry doesn’t quite understand it but he always has this fluttery feeling in the pit of his stomach every time Louis sent him a message whether it be a pointless emoji or deep conversation, Harry heart always felt a bit jumpy.

Once Harry had opened the messages Louis had said he’d be leaving to get him in twenty minutes or so. With a smiley face added of course.

God, Harry suddenly felt a wave of eagerness dawn on him.

“It’s Louis, isn’t it?” Gemma teased and Harry's eyes shot up from the screen as pocketed his phone quickly, almost dropping it in the process. “I bet it’s him.”

Abruptly Harry started to feel heat inching to his cheeks as he rubbed the back of his neck. Not liking how Gemma was so quick to catch on that it was in fact Louis who caused him to smile. Then again she knew when he liked Louis even before she knew about him, so it’s not entirely surprising.

“Oh it definitely is.” Niall beamed and Harry didn't appreciate being called out like this.

Harry's not being that transparent is he?

Gemma and Niall are the worst and Harry makes a reminder to never talk about Louis to them ever again.

“I hate you both.” Harry muttered under his breath he tucked his arms into his sides. Pouting and not liking those knowing looks on their faces staring back at him.

Why did they have to so observant of Harry's life?

Don't they have better things to do?

“But seriously have fun tonight, Harry. You deserve to at least to have a little excitement in your life,” Gemma explained and that was nice coming from her. “And you better come visit me soon. Maybe bring Louis too while you're at it.”

Yeah visiting Gemma sounded nice but Harry's not bringing Louis, not a chance.

Eventually Harry had left Niall's room after his saying his goodbyes and wishing Niall good luck. To text him if Niall's feeling panicky over Zayn's parents dilemma, which Harry knew regardless Niall would have anyway. But reassurance is always nice, especially for his friend in need.

Now Harry was back in his dorm as he decided to change out of his jumper last minute. Feeling quite unhappy with his top when he walked back to his room. Switching into one of his long sleeved top before grabbing his jacket, hoping maybe he looked quite good.

Soon enough he made it out the car park and there was Louis leaning against his car and giving Harry that smile. That picturesque smile that makes Harry's insides want to melt. Honestly, Harry felt a bit jittery as he grew closer towards Louis. Just being near Louis made Harry’s heart want to lurch out his chest.

For fuck sakes Harry's pulse was racing and they haven't even shared a simple hello yet.

“Hey you,” Louis greeted warmly as he stepped closer to Harry. Shoving his hands into his pockets, holding strong eye contact with Harry. “Miss me?”

There's a light playfulness in his tone when Louis said that but also a hint of seriousness. Harry felt as if his mouths gone dry and he can't say anything. Not when it's caught in the back of his throat and Louis keeps looking at him yearningly like that.

There was a beat of silence between them and Harry couldn't help it when the corners of his mouth curved upwards. Not caring about the wind making his hair go in his face of that he's standing here not saying a word.

Harry stiffened and nearly lost his breath when Louis had reached over and tucked some of Harry's hair behind his ear for him. Harry felt as if he was going to pass out because in all that Louis had even ended up slightly closer towards him. Harry doesn't mind of course but he hopes the chill in the air is making up for his cheeks growing warmer.

“We should probably get going.” Louis mentioned almost as if he kind of didn't want to leave yet. But when Louis pulled his keys and made way to his car, Harry just got in without any questions.

The ride to Doncaster went a lot quicker than Harry would have wanted. Maybe it was the fact that Louis had kept Harry entertained with filling his ears all about his bandmates. Which honestly was very helpful because Harry knew next to nothing.

Alex is their vocalist and one of Louis and Zayn's old mates from back in the day as they grew up. Louis had told him that he's actually getting married in August and has asked Louis to be one of his groomsmen. Which Louis didn't appear to be totally excited however he said he'd hopefully have a date by that point. Harry hoped that date was himself. However, Harry didn't get the chance to continue contemplating any of that as Louis went on speaking about Tommy who is their drummer and he's Alex's cousin. Then there was Ryland who was the bassist and told Harry that he's one of Louis’ old childhood friends as well.

So basically Harry got all the backstory and even the time when the band had a hardship once. Mainly it was about Tommy flirting with Alex's ex girlfriend at one of their gigs. Thankfully though that washed over and Louis was glad their band hadn't broken up all because Tommy was thinking with his dick. Which Harry would be upset too if Niall went off and did something like that. So it's understandable but Harry's glad that's washed over.

By the time they parked outside someone's house Harry felt more nervous. Hopefully, Louis doesn't abandon him once they head inside. Because the last thing Harry wants to do is stand there like an idiot while everyone else is making themselves cozy.

“If any of them give you a hard time I guess I'm going to have to kick their arses, won't I?” Louis quipped as he got out of the car, quickly running around to open up Harry's door for him. Which Harry still doesn't understand why Louis likes to accommodate him so much sometimes.

“I can get my own door you know,” Harry put forth as he got out the car when Louis shut the door for him. “And I highly doubt you're going to fight one of your band mates because he said something that bothered me.”

Louis scoffed as they began walking towards the garage. “Are you saying I can’t jump in to defend you, my best mate?”

“All I’m saying is I think I can handle my own if it comes down to it.” Harry teased and Louis just nudged Harry’s side, supporting a grimace on his face briefly before opening the garage door for Harry.

Honestly Harry felt one hundred percent out of place and kind of uncomfortable.

Louis did not inform him that there would be no one else coming to support the band whatsoever so Harry was alone on the sidelines watching the band. Louis also apparently didn’t tell his bandmates he was bringing someone along either, so it was kind of awkward.

The band didn’t mind of course but it was rather embarrassing when he found out Louis had him show up unannounced.

So Harry's been sat on the couch quietly listening to the band go through five songs since they've arrived. Trying to focus on all the band members, but somehow his eyes make their way back to Louis. Louis who's already staring at him, giving him a wink, and causing that flush across Harry's cheeks to grow wilder as he glanced away. Feeling like the garage suddenly felt so much smaller every time he locked eyes with Louis.

Eventually feeling comfy when he earns numerous friendly looks from Louis’ bandmates throughout the evening.

Harry had yet to talk to them as they've all been too busy with their instruments and such, they didn’t really greet Harry when they had arrived a little over an hour ago either. Just teased Louis and said it’s cute that he brought a date, but Louis told them to fuck off and Harry’s here to observe.

Still Harry can’t get over the fact his bandmates teased Louis about Harry coming, it kind of made him smile when he thought about it. As Faithless Night did some covers of Collective Soul, Harry thought about it, even when he got up to go find the toilet in Alex’s house as he had gotten a text once he found the door. Louis told him to hurry quick or else he’ll lose inspiration.

No Harry was definitely not mooning over the text that Louis managed to send him in the mere seconds Harry went inside the house. Harry wasn't leant against the door and trying to calm himself down over a silly text that probably meant nothing. A message that made Harry's heart flutter because he fucking inspires Louis.

God damn it, Harry just wants to march right back to the garage and kiss Louis. He wants to more than anything, but he can't. He won't. Not today because he came to be supportive not to finally have that talk with Louis.

The talk that will never going to happen because Harry's too scared and wants Louis to be the first one to acknowledge it. He needs Louis to be the one to say something. He's always the first one to do something. So it makes the most sense to Harry.

Right as he was pocketing his phone there was a pounding at the door and Harry could only guess who this was.

He slowly opened the door and saw Louis standing there with his arms crossed. Harry bit back his smile and especially when Louis had moved to press open the door some more. Almost crowding in Harry's space.

Which shouldn't be allowed because Harry's minds gone a bit fuzzy.

“Are you quite finished yet?” Louis questioned as he looked up at Harry now that they were inches apart. “Because I'm bored and the band’s taking their first break of the night.”

“You can't keep yourself entertained for not even a minute?” Harry shook his head as his arms rested on his sides. Unsure of what to do with them.

Louis then smirked and shrugged, “What can I say I need to have some sort of fun and besides, you're taking way too long as usual, bathroom hog.” Louis bantered but Harry rolled his eyes.

Why is Louis trying to resurface old things? Why?

Aren't they past all that?

“Call me what you want, but at least I'm here, aren't I? Isn't that good enough?” Harry tilted his head. “I mean afterall if I didn't come today you'd be even more bored.”

Louis didn't seem too impressed with that assumption as the next thing he did had Harry's heart in his mouth.

Harry felt fingers curl around his hand and being pulled closer where he almost fell into Louis. But then Louis was in his ear being a total dick because it's not fair how close yet unattainable he is.

“Quit being a smartarse, Harold. Before I do something about that mouth!” Louis chafed as his breath tickled Harry's ear in the process. Sending a jolt of electrics down his spine and squeezing Louis hand a bit tighter.

What's going on here?

Louis surely isn't threatening Harry with a kiss is he? Like Louis can't be serious right now, right? Unless he had other means of Harry's mouth being preoccupied with like food or something.

Either way, it made Harry's knees feel quite weak and he's glad Louis got a hold of him.

But all Harry can do is swallow thickly and stare into Louis’ eyes when Louis pulled his head back just far enough. Louis simpered at Harry as his eyes went from his lips to his eye and Harry felt compelled to capture Louis’ lips.

Harry wants to just feel Louis’ soft lips on his just one more time, but Louis lets go of his hand. Took a step back from Harry when suddenly boisterous voices came inside the house.

“Meet me in the garage.” Louis then bumped passed Harry into the bathroom and pushed him out.

Harry just stood there blinking still trying to process what just happened. Even when he shook his head and made his way back out to the couch he was on earlier and crossed his legs.

Feeling a bit chilly he pulled his jacket closer as he tried to convince himself that Louis was only messing around. That he didn't threaten Harry with a kiss.

Because that made him feel better and less nervous to acknowledge it.

Louis ended up back out in the garage, not beside Harry but crouched down in front of him. Louis’ hand is on Harry's knee and it's making his heartbeat quicken. It sends warmth through his body and Harry wants to put his hand on top of Louis’, but he doesn't.

“So Harold, how's my band doing so far? Impressed?” Louis questioned as he slightly tightened his grip on Harry's knee.

Harry nodded as glanced down to Louis’ hand and then back up to Louis’ face. “I think you guys sound wonderful as always,” Harry spoke honestly. “Do you really need my opinion though?” Harry isn't like a profound music critic or anything so it makes less sense to him. “As you've claimed you're quite famous around Doncaster as I seem to remember you being oh so cocky about it.” Harry smirked as pulled his jacket even tighter.

“Well you know I wasn't wrong, babe.” Louis crooned as his eyes glinted. Giving Harry that broad smile and he still hasn't removed his hand off Harry's knee.

“And you're so sure of that because?”

Harry swore he noticed Louis’ eyes flicked down to his lips, but he must have been seeing things.

“Because we are quite popular,” Louis declared and Harry was certain Louis’ hand moved farther up his thigh. Just barely though. “But I trust your opinions and that's why I had you come today.”

Harry gnawed on his lip as he held a lingering gaze with Louis. Curling his fingers more into the jacket as he pulled it as tight as he could.

“Is that all?” Harry decided to push further because right now he feels almost as if something was happening. Something light and fun; flirting maybe? Harry isn't sure but he likes it and he likes that they're alone.

Honestly Harry wanted to be alone with Louis for the rest of the night but he supposes it's not nice to be greedy. Especially since Louis isn't his and he's not Louis’.

They're just two best mates who happen to like each other.

Nothing more than that because neither one has made a move and no one else is right now.

Louis licked his lips and he should know that's not allowed. “Well I mean I guess I could say I wanted to spend time with you.”

It‘s when Louis says stuff like that. That he wants to spend time with Harry that sends his heart into a frenzy. Making the palms clammy and his top suddenly feel a bit snug.

It’s not fair. It’s definitely not fair that Louis can say these things and not realize just how much it affects Harry.

Having feelings for your best mate is the worst.

“So-” Louis was about to continue on when all of a sudden they were no longer alone and Louis’ band was going back to work.

Except Louis wasn’t budging, he was staying where he was, looking a bit annoyed honestly by their presence. Harry can see it on his face, the way his expression dulled when they didn’t leave. Almost as if Louis wasn’t ready to give up his alone time with Harry just yet.

“As I was saying, Harold, I’m glad you came with me… I honestly do enjoy your company. A lot. “ Louis explained as the corners of his mouth lifted, making Harry feel like the rest of his term at Uni just had gotten brighter. That stupid, gorgeous smile always does things to Harry and he doesn't understand why, but he loves it, he loves everything about it.

Harry could be having a bad day or got a bad grade and Louis’ smile could perk up his mood instantly. There's just something about Louis’ smile, about Louis that can put Harry into a better mood or a bad one. Louis seems to revolve around Harry's day mostly now and it’s worrisome just how much he’s been thinking about Louis.

Yeah, Harry blames it on dinner with Jay and Louis’ sisters igniting the whole Louis definitely like you underneath Harry’s bum. That Louis had confessed he’s falling in love and is terrified of commitment itself. Then there was Gemma who thinks she can see Harry had fallen for Louis this whole time.

Harry hates the fact he starts thinking about it now, when Louis not breaking any eye contact with him and his hand is still on Harry's knee. That they’re not alone and he’s just told (well attempted to tell) Gemma and Niall that he’s not in love with Louis  Talk about wrong place, wrong time and Harry can’t fucking stop.

Does he love Louis? Or does he just has a massive crush on Louis?

Harry’s fighting that internal battle right as we speak and it sucks, it really fucking sucks.

“Louis, mate. It'd be nice if you’d come practice instead of flirting with Harry.” Alex yelled into the microphone with a smirk on his face. Fellow bandmates snickering and Louis just flipped them the bird before he mumbled out duty calls and patted Harry's knee before joining them.

Harry may have rubbed his hand over his knee where Louis’ hand once was.

Band practice went on and Harry wasn’t paying much attention. Not when he’s still stuck on his own feelings and the fact Louis keeps staring at him. Almost as if Harry was the only one that mattered in the room and Harry just wanted to march over and stop Louis. Stop him from staring at Harry so he can get himself to not think about his own feelings right now. But it’s hard, it’s so damn difficult.

Because Harry can’t even get him oneself to look away because Louis’ just so beautiful. Even if his hair covered in a beanie and wearing a plain black fitted shirt he looked stunning to Harry. He could be wearing anything at this point and still be the most handsome guy he’s ever known. To the stubble on his face and his lovely blue eyes, Harry can’t help but be enthralled. He’s always captivated by Louis whether he didn’t want to admit it or not at first because of their differences. But Harry’s always found Louis exceptionally appealing since the moment he’d laid eyes on him.

Funny how things turned out as they nearly despised each other at first and now they’re best mates. All because of a party Harry got dragged to and Niall began dating Zayn.

It’s like this was meant to happen. That Louis was meant to happen for Harry... well almost.

Harry sighed as he held eye contact with Louis for a moment as his band started to reminisce about some song idea. Harry could tell Louis wasn’t paying much attention as he hadn’t really added anything. Which Harry had to look away because all this hitting him at once and Louis eyes on him were making him feel overwhelmed.

He can feel Louis’ eyes burning on him as he pulled out his phone to check the time, not because he wants to leave, but because he can’t look at Louis right now.

“Do you need Harry to come closer or something?” Tommy asked, causing Harry's eyes to snap over to the group. Louis’ cheek turning a shade of red. “You keep staring at him, it’s embarrassing for yourself mate, honestly!”

“Fuck of Tommy!” Louis snapped as he shuffled his feet and looked down to his shoes.

Harry certainly felt even more overwhelmed and now everyone had glanced between the both of them. Harry scratched at his neck, unsure of what to do now, especially when Louis decided he needed a smoke break and the boys exchanged looks before following. Leaving Harry totally alone and his mind an absolute train wreck.

Honestly Harry felt a bit relieved to have the sudden smoke break happen because it gave him a chance to take a deep breath. Even if Louis’ bandmates were teasing Louis about Harry, it's kind of helping.

Harry doesn't have to look at Louis right now and doesn't have to hear his voice or his laugh. He doesn’t have to do anything except sit here and stare at Louis’ guitar sitting on the stand.

Except Harry did hear Louis guffawing, it was muffled, but he could tell it was him.

Harry knows it is because he knows Louis. Probably more than he should.

The next thing Harry does is pull out his phone and skim through his facebook because he finally is able to breathe once again. Seeing Niall had posted a status saying Zayn is the best boyfriend ever (as usual) and Ed uploaded a picture of him and Laken kissing. Which Harry was glad his two mates were having wonderful relationships and all, but it made him a bit sad. Because Harry wants a relationship too, he wants to be with his best friend more than anything, and it doesn't make sense that they aren’t together yet.

They both fucking like each other a lot, so why can’t they be together?

Why are they both so scared to make a move?

Harry wished he was courageous and could confront Louis again, but he doesn’t want to take the chance.

Maybe it’s a sign that it’s not time yet because if it were meant to happen it’d happen. So Harry’s decided that this was probably it even if he’s convincing himself to make it feel better on his heart.

That it isn’t their time yet.

Yeah, Harry’s trying to believe it, he is.

Eventually all the boys had come back and had no other breaks after that. Harry hadn’t realized how long band practice seemed to go on for. They had to at least practice twenty songs with a few starting over. Which was okay, not like Harry had other plans. Although Ed had texted him an hour again asking what he was up to tonight, probably about some party.

Of course, Harry told him he was out with Louis and Ed sent him a winky face, whatever that means.

When band practice finally came to an end Harry was a bit anxious to leave. Harry honestly didn't feel up to chatting with any of the boys as he'd much prefer to leave. Not because he thought they weren't pleasant or anything, but it was getting later into night.

Not only that, but he kind of wanted to be alone with Louis.

Even if it's a lengthy car ride back to Southampton, all Harry wants is to be just them. Without pesky mates making jokes because they wanted to give Louis a hard time. Without any distractions of a guitar or a phone in their hands.

Harry wants to be with Louis and do absolutely nothing for the rest of the night. Harry wanted to entangle with Louis on his bed under the covers and just lay together and talk. Talk about anything and just enjoy each other's company.

Yet Harry knows that's not part of his reality.

But it's a nice thought though. It really is.

After they said their goodbyes Harry was outside leaned against the back of a car, beside Louis who wanted a smoke before they hit the road and that's what Louis was doing, working on his cigarette.

Harry stood beside Louis in silence as he squeezed his jacket shut, feeling a bit chilly in the night air. Watching Louis as he exhaled the smoke from his lips from the corners of his eyes. Wondering why something so toxic looked so good when it came from Louis' mouth.

Shit, anything Louis did held Harry's interest at best, which should rather alarming. As Louis still liked to party, drink beer likes its water, and get stoned for days. On the bright side of it, all the random and prolonged hookups no longer happened so Harry liked that. He liked it a lot actually. Made him feel much better to know Louis wasn't being all over someone else that isn't him.

It's comforting.

A gust of wind that went through the air made Harry shiver a little as he felt even colder now. Itching to stand closer to Louis and snuggle up to him, but he’s not bold like that. He can’t just move closer without freaking the hell out and with the chance of Louis looking at him weird because who knows. Maybe Louis wants some space or something.

Louis must have read his mind scarily enough or sensed Harry was cold because what finally came out of his mouth after taking a drag, Harry felt heat go to his cheeks.

“You know you should definitely come closer.” Louis commented as he flicked his gaze towards Harry, bringing the cigarette back up to his lips.

Harry slowly inched closer, feeling his pulse in his throat, and huddling inside his jacket still. Harry nearly lost his breath when suddenly an arm was around him and he was pulled closer, up against Louis. The hand moved and Harry nearly frowned because he wanted it back on his side, he did. But Harry had to bite back his oncoming smile when he felt a hand in his hair, gently toying with it.

“It’s just so fucking freezing if you were wondering.” Louis explained as he then stomped out his cigarette, but apparently wasn't ready to leave just yet.

Which is fine by Harry because he’s content with this, Louis pushing his fingers through Harry’s hair and standing near him. Fuck, Harry wanted to wrap his arms around Louis and cuddle, he wants it so damn bad.

Honestly he was feeling quite eager to do it, but he didn’t. Not when Louis was now stroking the little hair on his neck, causing Harry to shiver from his uncomfortably cold fingers.

The longer Harry stayed near Louis the more he thought to himself about things. It wasn’t about their friendship though this time, it was about something he’s been having many thoughts about. Something he was so against for so long but came around to the idea of, a tattoo.

Harry’s certain he’s quite ready for one and thinks he’d like some small in corner of the inside of his right wrist. The only thing he hasn’t a clue what he wanted, but he wants something that meant something and that's what he’s been stumped on. Not only that but if he was so sure that he wanted to go through with it in the first place.

Afterall it’s permanent.

But now he knows and he found himself bringing it up to Louis to fill the silence in the air.

“So.. uh..  I’ve been thinking about doing something that's been on my mind for weeks now.” Harry’s eyes fell on Louis who looked at him curiously, licking his lips.

“Oh yeah?” Louis asked and Harry gave a nod, feeling his toes get all tingly.

“About a tattoo-” Harry didn't get to finish because Louis was already speaking over him excitedly. Almost as if he’s been waiting for Harry to come around to the idea of marking up his body.

“Well shit, I thought that’d never leave your mouth, Harold! Seriously, talk about a plot twist coming from you!” Louis beamed as his hand fell from the nape of his neck down to the small of his back. “Can’t believe I lived to see the day where you want a tattoo.”

Harry rolled his eyes, trying his hardest to not smile at Louis’ excitement to feed into it. “It’s not a big deal, Lou.”

Louis scoffed as he moved to face Harry, his hand now on Harry side, not breaking contact between them. “Are you fucking serious right now?” Yeah, Harry was. “This is a massive deal because you want a tattoo and you’ve always said you’d prefer none. I mean I’m amazed, shocked even.”

Harry just gnawed on his lip as Louis went on about what a turn of events this was and that Harry was finally coming out of his shell. His uncorrupted life was becoming no more and Louis seemed far too excited about it. But then again Harry knows Louis’ been trying for so long to get Harry out his comfort zone.

Honestly Louis seemed to make Harry life much more exhilarating as time passed on.

“It'll only be like a tiny one I suppose,” Harry decided to explain in case Louis thinks Harry's about to go all out. “Maybe on the inside of my wrist or something, what do you think?”

Harry brought up his wrist as he pushed up the sleeve and showed Louis where he'd been thinking. Wanting to see what Louis thinks about it, but nearly lost his breath when Louis’ fingers caressed over that spot. Hoping Louis didn't feel him flinch from the soft touch, as he felt a slight itchy sensation.

“I think it'd anything you do would look fucking fantastic honestly.” Louis explained excitedly. Harry suddenly felt the hand on his side gently pulling him closer and the hand not moving.

Fuck.. Louis’ wanting him even closer and Harry feels like his knees are about to give out.

“So what exactly do you have in mind then, Harold?”

That's a good question...

Harry gnawed on his lip trying to come up with something but his mind was blank. He came around to the idea but he never actually thought of what he had wanted. Harry doesn't even know what he'd want that had meaning behind it. As meaningless tattoos were out of the question.

A sigh escaped Louis’ lips, “So I take it you don't have the slightest idea of what you want, do you?” Louis questioned and Harry slowly shook his head.

Well Harry wasn't thinking about doing the tattoo tomorrow morning or anything, he has plenty of time to come up with something. All he was doing was simply telling Louis’ his thoughts, not making plans to get one so soon.

However the next thing that comes out of Louis’ mouth Harry wasn’t too sure about.

“We should get a matching tattoo then, would be fucking sick!”

Yeah.. Harry’s not so sure about that honestly.

“I don’t know, Lou. Isn’t that like, a bit much?” Harry just wasn’t so sure if they should be getting complementary ink. Because what if their relationship fades out over time or they have a rift that destroys their friendship?

It’d be one hell of a painful reminder of what they used to have and Harry’s not sure if he’s willing to risk it honestly. However, the thought of having their own tattoos together kind of made him feel a little giddy at the same time. A design they picked together and got branded to their skin for life. Solidifying just how important they are to one another makes Harry's heartbeat quicken at the thought.

It’s conflicting.

Louis fingers slightly dug into Harry's side which was fine even though Harry kind of flinched from the ticklish sensation. “Not really, I mean it’d be just a friendship tattoo. Loads of people do them, Harry.” Is that even true though?

“I mean I wouldn’t have suggested it if I thought it was a terrible idea, because you and I both know my ideas are always fucking great, right?” Louis sounded too smug right now and Harry hates that he couldn’t suppress his oncoming smile.

“You’re always so sure of yourself, aren’t you?” Harry teased as crossed his arms tightly, feeling a bit cold. Not enjoying the frigid wind blowing on his face much, but he doesn’t want to move, not when he is standing this close to the boy that clouds his mind most days.

Louis smirked as he stepped a bit closer, leaving about an inch or two between them and Harry’s not sure how much more he can take of Louis being this close to him today.

“I mean I’m pretty damn cool.” Louis avowed as he licked his lips.

“A bit of a dick too sometimes,” Harry quipped with a giggle and Louis rolled his eyes but the corners of his lips curled upwards. “But you are a good friend to me.”

Yeah.. Harry's heart may have chipped away just then when he said that out loud.

They are just friends and that's it.

It took everything in being to bite back his frown and not to think too much more on the whole just friends things. It’s his own damn fault though, he’s the one who said Louis' good friends to him. But it didn't mean it still doesn't bother him any less if it had come out of Louis’ mouth.

“Likewise, darling.” Louis breathed out and if Harry were correct Louis sounded a bit disappointed and Harry didn’t understand that. Yet he didn’t bother asking, not when he felt Louis dropped his hand off Harry's side. “ But seriously, we should get matching tattoo or something, I mean just sleep on it for awhile and get back to me.”

Well thinking about it for a while is something Harry could do and buys him sometime to think more on what he wants.  

“Alright, you win, I’ll give it a thought,” Harry settled as he started to shiver and letting out slow shallow breaths, “But I can’t promise anything, Lou.”

Louis looked to be pleased by that so it was good sign.

“Anyway I got something for you.” Louis decided to change the subject and Harry was confused.

Louis got something for him?

This better not be another surprise gift or anything because Harry’s already unsure of how to repay Louis back after everything he’s done for Harry.

Harry moved to watch Louis go into the backseat of his car and fumble around there for a moment. Harry shuffled in his spot to keep himself from forming into an icicle and warming up his legs that felt like they were burning. Aching to get into Louis car where there's heat and comfort for the next couple of hours.

Louis thankfully didn’t take too much longer and handed Harry an envelope. Harry gave Louis a suspicious look wondering what in the hell was going on but when he opened it up he didn’t know to either hug Louis or give it back to him and tell Louis to get a refund.

It was tickets to a concert. To see one of Louis and his favourite band, Jimmy Eat World, on March 25th … that little shit.

No wonder he was so specific about that date.

How is Harry ever going to repay Louis now?

“Louis… are you serious?!” Harry looked up to meet Louis who was beaming at him and gave a nod. “I can’t believe you did this.” Harry more so whispered to himself as he closed the envelope, unsure of what to do with it right now. Still trying to process the fact Louis bought concert tickets for the both of them, that he paid for Harry's ticket. That couldn't have been cheap and he doesn't even want to ask how much Louis had paid either.

“I’ve bought these tickets about three months ago and I wasn’t sure how to really ask you if you