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Conflict of Interest

Chapter Text

Harry’s POV

I woke up that morning with a weird sense of dread. I had no idea how true that premonition would be.

I walked down stairs as usual, in nothing but my boxers. Bad choice. Normally it’s just my mom in the kitchen waiting for me. This morning I came down to find a whole slew of people waiting in the kitchen.

There was an older woman sitting with another woman a couple of years older than me, at the kitchen table. Mom was standing at the counter making tea and there were a handful of men, dressed in all black, in various positions around the room.

“Mom, what’s going on?”

But it wasn’t her that responded. It was the older lady at the table. “Harold, I am your grandmother and this is your half-sister Gemma.”

“What?” I asked, deeply confused. As far as I knew, I was an only child and my parents had gotten divorced when I was very little. He sent presents every year, but I had never really had contact with him.

My mom spoke up. “Honey, I was going to tell you about all of this when you were 18, but then you’re dad died.”

Then my grandma, wow grandma, that was weird to say, added in her two cents. “This is not going to be easy to say, but I am queen of Myoria. Your father was the crown prince and Gemma was his heir and set to take the throne after him. It turns out she cannot be the heir through a series of unfortunate events. That leaves you as heir to inherit the throne when I step down.”

“What the fuck?!”

“I beg your pardon?” my grandma asked.

“Your majesty, in today’s slang it means something like good golly, or gee wiz, or holy cow,” a man in black added from the background.

“Thank you. I know you’re surprised but you have to know. You don’t necessarily have to take the throne, but you will have to come to Myoria for the summer to take lessons and learn about politics before making your decision.”

I couldn’t take it anymore, this was way too much to process before breakfast. I ran up into my tower. Our house, used to be a fire station so I had what we called the tower, which was my space.

About ten minutes later, I realized I still had to get dressed for school. I peeked out to see if the coast is clear. I clambered down to discover a boy with the most beautiful blue eyes and a cute fringe, but I was too pissed to truly appreciate such perfection sitting on my bed.

“What are you doing here?”

“Whether you like it or not, your heritage is real. As such, you need protection. I’m Louis, the crown’s head of security.”

“Fine, but could you at least give me five minutes to get dressed?” He nodded an affirmative and walked out. How long was I going to survive being around my new scrumptious bodyguard? Damn it! Everything just kept getting better and better today and I wasn’t sure I wanted it to…

I got dressed and grabbed my stuff and almost snuck away from Louis. I apparently have no luck because there was another similarly dressed boy with black hair, brown eyes and well-defined cheekbones. He was hot, but Louis was still hotter. The man caught me on the way out the door and spoke into his earpiece, “Louis, I think we’ve got a runner.” He turned back to me and said, “wait right here. Louis’ coming to take you to school, sir.”

“But-“

“Stay put, sir,” he cut me off in a strict tone.

Louis came out of the house, grabbed my elbow, and promptly escorted me to a sleek black car that hadn’t been there yesterday. He opened the door and waved me into the back. He got in the front and turned around.

“Let’s get some things straight. You don’t go anywhere without at least one of your security team present. You do not try and ditch your security team under any circumstances, whatsoever. You listen to your security team. We are here for your protection. Understood, Prince?”

“Yes, sir. Um, Louis sir.” Frankly he seemed a little pissed and was intimidating, no wonder he was head of security at such a young age. Running out the door was not my best idea. Looks like I’ll have a shadow today. School was going to be hell.

He parked in the parking lot. The only thing we had to do was make it through the mob of paparazzi outside of school. I don’t know why they were here at our non-noteworthy school.

“Stay behind me at all times. Let’s go.” I did what I was told and he shoved his way through the crowd. I thought we would make it through when they turned their attention to me.

“Harry, is it true you’re a prince?”

“Harry, do you plan on taking the throne?”

“Harry, how do you feel about your recent royal status?”

“Harry!” “Harry!”

Everyone was suddenly trying to talk to me. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t get through. All I could see was a wall of people. They all wanted something. There was no way out. I could only see the microphones shoved in my face and the camera flashes going off.

Then a hand appeared. It was like a lifeline. I grabbed on and it pulled me away from the crowd into the building. I muttered a thank you and then headed for my locker so I could go hide in class. I went to my usual spot in the back of class with my two friends, Grimmy and Niall.

“Who’s the dude?” Niall asked.

“Um, well, apparently he’s my head of security.”

“Why do you suddenly need a head security?” Grimmy asked. “Since when were you famous?”

“Since, uh, well this morning. Apparently my grandmother’s a queen.”

“So that’s you they were talking about,” Niall stated, completely unfazed.

“Yeah, well, can we just pretend that this isn’t happening? I just want to maintain some form of normalcy.”

“Well, at least your bodyguard is hot,” Grimmy said.

“Shut up!” I hissed.

“What? Are you afraid he’ll hear me or that I’ll steal him from you?”

“No! I just don’t want anymore attention drawn to me.”

“Well, if the pap’s out front mean anything, than you’re not going to get that anytime soon.”

“Really, Grimmy? Really? You want to tell me how everything else is going to change too?” I was being sarcastic and either he chose to ignore it or he didn’t notice it.

“Well, you probably won’t be able to hide in the back anymore. Kids are going to take more of a notice of you, not to mention the female attention. Though that would be more of a bother than a help since-“

“Would you just stop it all ready?”

“Fine, but just because you asked oh so nicely,” Grimmy muttered sarcastically. Then the bell rang and class was starting.

Classes were hell. Everyone was either staring at me or whispering about me. The fact that I had a newly acquired bodyguard following me everywhere wasn’t helping. Lunch was the absolute worst. I normally eat in a secluded area outside with my two friends, but instead I spent it trying to run away from people and their overly invasive questions.

I ended up hiding in the handicap stall with my lunch and Louis. I hadn’t sought out Niall or Grimmy, in hopes they wouldn’t be pulled into the madness.

“Do you want some food?”

“I’m fine, Prince.” Great. More awkward silence and overly formal titles.

I just sat on the floor and ate while he just stood there in the corner. I swear this day couldn’t get any worse.  Good thing today was Friday and we only had finals week left before summer vacation started. On the other hand, I would be leaving to fly to Myoria in a week. Could it get any worse?

Yes, yes it could. I have gym. Gym means changing in front of Louis, as if changing in front of a locker room full of immature guys wasn’t already bad enough. Now I got to change in front of my annoyingly hot bodyguard. My sole goal was to not turn completely red in embarrassment.

 I was surprised when the coach let him into the locker room in the first place. I mean, no offense to Louis, but a random older guy watching dudes change in the locker room seemed a little creepy. I think the coach wanted to object, but then he said the magic words ‘prince’ and ‘royal security’ and the coach was practically tripping over himself to do Louis’ bidding.

We got out of the locker room and did our normal stretches with Louis there, just watching. I was trying not to get too distracted when I felt his gaze pass over me. Then I saw one of the coaches roll out a cage of balls. Shit! It’s dodge ball day.

We were split up into two teams. I’m a typical target, uncoordinated, anonymous, and all around easy to go after. Today it was 100 times worse. The girls were fawning over me in hopes of becoming a princess, and the guys were throwing balls with extra zeal to make up for the female population ogling me instead of them. Some of the balls were from the other team and some were friendly fire. Honestly, it was pretty much the gym versus me.

The guys were kind enough to yell princess at me before throwing painful balls of doom. At least they weren’t calling me gay or faggot anymore. No matter how true the statement was, I wasn’t quite ready for my security staff to know what team I played for.

I got hit with a ball and was walking off the floor when I was nailed in the face by another one. Then I felt something warm dripping down my face and Louis pulled me off the floor and gestured at my nose. I realized the warm liquid was from a nosebleed so I took my shirt off to use as a towel. The teacher started scolding me for stripping until she realized I was bleeding and told Louis to take me to the nurse and handed him a pass.

The school nurse was busy dealing with someone else, so Louis sat me down and started felling my nose. I tried not to flinch too much.

“It’s not broken, so it should stop soon enough.”

I let out a muddled mmph that was supposed to be a thank you. Painful or not, at least I had gotten out of the rest of gym. When it finally stopped, we went back to the locker room so I could get back into my school clothes.

The rest of the day went by with me trying to hide and failing miserably. Teachers took abnormal notice of me, forcing me to talk in class. Except I hate talking in front of people. I normally talk slowly and deliberately. Since I wanted to get done speaking faster, I ended up talking faster than normal, which led to a stutter and laughter from my classmates.

When the final bell rang, I practically ran out the door to the classroom. Louis somehow managed to follow me despite the people in the halls and the utter chaos of after school. He caught up to me before I could finally break out the front door.

“Where do you think you’re going, Prince?” he hissed in my ear, grabbing me by the elbow.

“Out, away, anywhere but here.” I really could not handle any more of this shit. I was tired and annoyed and just done. I wanted out of this building and I wanted it now.

“There’s a press storm out front. We are going out the side where Zayn is waiting for us. Follow me, Prince.”

With that I was being escorted, and by escorted I mean dragged, through a random exit and out to a car waiting on the street. I was kind of glad he pulled me away. The press would’ve probably been my breaking point and who knows what would’ve happened then.

I went in the back and Louis joined someone who I guess was Zayn up front. He was also the guy who had prevented my escape this morning. Thank God it was the weekend, I don’t think I could’ve survived if I had to do this again tomorrow.

“Where are we going?” I asked. This wasn’t my normal route back home.

“We are going back to your house. We are taking a different route to ensure your safety, Sir,” Zayn answered.

“Enough with the sirs and princes and other ridiculous titles! I may have found out I have royal blood today, but that does not mean I suddenly want to go by my so-called title. My name is Harry, just Harry. Nothing else.”

“But it is your title. Better to get used to it now rather than later, Sir.” This Zayn guy sounded genuinely confused that I wouldn’t accept my title.

“It would be better to get used to it later when I’m not going to get ridiculed and forced to eat lunch in the bathroom.”

“You ate lunch in the loo, Louis?”

“He ate, I supervised.”

“Ha ha! I can’t believe you did that.” He was talking to Louis, but I interjected anyway.

“Yeah, ha ha. Make fun of the anonymous guy forced to eat in the bathroom out of self-preservation. Are we home yet?”

“Yeah-“ but before he could finish talking I felt the car stop moving and I was out, into the house, and up the tower. I had had enough of people for the day. Maybe I could go to sleep and it would all be a dream.

Chapter Text

My wish didn’t come true. I woke up in time for dinner and let out a squeal when I almost bumped into Zayn guarding my bedroom door.

“Are you alright, Sir?”

“Once again, it’s Harry. Just Harry.” He followed me as I pushed past him and headed downstairs.

“Whatever you say, Sir.” I groaned and wanted to pull my hair out. I wasn’t sure how much of these formal titles I could take.

I walked into the kitchen with Zayn close behind. I guess it was his turn to be on duty and apparently I wasn’t safe walking through my own home. When I walked in I found Louis laughing with my mom.

“Hi, Mom.” I was oddly curious what they had been discussing.

“Hey, sweetie. Sit down. Dinner is almost ready.” Louis moved to get up. “Louis, you sit back down. You need to eat too or you’re going to be all skin and bones.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Apparently my mother was able to ruffle the infallible Louis.

“How was your day, sweetie?” she asked.

“You know, the usual.”  It was bad enough going through the day once, I really don’t want to rehash everything.

“Really?” she said, giving me her all knowing look.

“Okay, not the usual.”

“And?”

“And you should feed Louis because he didn’t eat lunch today,” I blurted in hopes of turning his attention away from me.

“Louis, how dare you skip a meal! You better eat everything on your plate and you’re not allowed up until you do.” When she laid down the law, there was no arguing.

She dished up the food and we ate in silence. Louis was following instructions and my mom watched to make sure he ate every bite.

She noticed Zayn and subjected him to the same treatment. He tried to avoid it but she wouldn’t let up until his plate was clean as well.

“Goodnight, Mom,” I said as I attempted to escape back to my room and hide for the rest of the night.

“Honey, it’s so early. Why don’t you stay down here and watch a movie or something? Or you could invite Grimmy and Niall over.”

“I’m tired. It’s been a long day and I think I’m just going to study and then go to bed.” Those were words I had never expected to say on a Friday night…

“Are you sure?” I nodded and walked up the stairs. Both Zayn and Louis followed. Zayn stopped at the doorway and Louis followed me inside. Zayn could obviously hear the conversation but this was evidently a conversation between Louis and I.

“Really? Do I lose all my privacy now?”

“We need to talk about your security, Prince.” I groaned and fell back onto the bed. I was already in overload and now a hot guy was in my room and wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Fuck.

“Do we have to?” I whined. I knew I sounded like a petulant child but I was past caring by now.

“Yes, Prince.” He always wore such a serious expression. Before I could stop myself, I wondered how pretty his smile would be.

“Well I had to try.” I set back up in an attempt to seem less juvenile.

“Rule number one: No going anywhere without security. I repeat anywhere.

Rule number two: No sneaking out.

Rule number three: No taking the same route twice in a row, nor forming a consistent pattern for your routes.

Rule number four: you go where we tell you.

Understood, Prince?”

“Yes, but I have a few rules too.” He looked surprised at my statement.

“Is that so, Prince?”

“Yes.” There was a pause.

“Well go on then.” At least I had his attention.

“First off my name is Harry, not Sir or Prince or Harold or whatever other title you come up with.”

“But-“

“I’m not done. I want to meet all of my security staff so I know who will be stalking me. I want to be able to hang out with my friends whenever I want to. I want to know where I’m allowed to be alone because I cannot be suffocated by you all the time.” More like I couldn’t deal with his attractiveness all the time but he didn’t need to know that.

“Are you finished, Prince?”

“It’s Harry! And yes I’m finished.”

“Okay, your security team consists of mainly Zayn, who you met earlier, Liam, and myself. Liam is sorting out paperwork at the embassy so he won’t be here until tomorrow. The other bodyguards may shuffle around on rotation, but the three of us will always be part of your team.

You can go hang out with your friends, but you have to notify one of us and you have to hang out in an area deemed safe by us. You can’t go much of anywhere alone anymore. Your room and the bathroom are about the only places we won’t follow you in, unless it’s a bathroom with stalls. Then we will go with you and wait outside the stall, Prince.”

“It’s Harry! Just Harry.”

“I regret to inform you this, but you are no longer simply Harry. You are a prince and must be called thus. So I will not simply call you Harry, Prince.”

“Why can’t I just simply hold onto my name?” I hated how vulnerable I sounded but it seemed like a really important question.

“Because, if people still call you Harry and only Harry, then you can still pretend this isn’t happening. The truth of the matter is that this morning happened and there’s nothing you can do about it. So you better start getting used to your title, Prince.” I groaned and tried to smother my face with a pillow.

“I wouldn’t advise doing that, Prince.” I just groaned louder and decided why not? I threw said pillow at him and he just stared at me in disbelief.

Then I started cracking up. Today had been completely awful but watching his face contort in shock was one of the funniest things I had ever seen. I guess that opened the floodgates because I just started laughing so hard I was crying. The whole situation suddenly seemed so ridiculous.

Apparently I’m a prince with a super hot bodyguard. I just hit said bodyguard with a pillow. Next week I was moving halfway across the world to take prince lessons so I could take over the throne to a country I know next to nothing about and have never been to.

I started laughing harder as I thought about my future. Princes were expected to get married and produce little princelings. That wasn’t going to happen, because I’m gay. I’m a gay prince, or maybe I should be called a princess, as my classmates preferred, either way my freaked out brain processed this as hilarious and I should, therefore, continue with my sidesplitting laughter.

I kept laughing until I was clutching my sides in pain and gasping for breath. I could feel the tears trail down my face. I finally calmed down so I could breathe normally again.

“Are you okay, Prince?” He sounded somewhere between genuinely concerned that I would die of excess laughter and amused by my hysterics.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I managed to get out between gasps.

Zayn came into the room then. He had probably assumed I was dying from the sounds I was making. He turned to Louis.

“What did you do to the poor boy, Louis? You realize we’re supposed to protect him, right?” He face remained impassive but there was an interesting twinkle in his eyes.

“I didn’t do anything! He just threw a pillow at me and started dying of laughter!”

“Whatever you say.” He turned his attention to me. “Are you alright, Harry?”

But I could only zero in on the fact that he called me Harry. So I started off on Louis.

“See! See! He called me Harry! Why can’t you do the same?!” Zayn just looked confused, he must’ve missed the part of the conversation where Louis refused my demands. Then the hint of emotion wiped from his face like he realized something but didn’t want it to show.

“Zayn is Zayn, Prince,” he replied simply. I was so aggravated; it was like he was doing this on purpose. I saw a little smirk on his face before it vanished and I realized maybe he was doing it on purpose to get a rise out of me.

“Is there anything else you wanted or can I study?” Personally, I didn’t feel like studying but if I got some alone time, I didn’t care if I had to do school work. That was a really sad thought: homework as stress relief. What am I going to do when I run out of things to study? I’m going to have to see Nialler or Grimmy this weekend for my sanity’s sake.

I don’t care how crude and teasing Grimmy will be as long as I can get time with people who are relatively normal. And I’m using the term normal very loosely.

I spent the rest of the night studying so I ended up going to bed abnormally early and actually woke up early enough to eat breakfast which was very atypical Saturday behavior.

Zayn was still guarding my door when I sought out the smell of food. I walked downstairs to see a new guy sitting at the kitchen counter. He instantly stood up when I walked down. He introduced himself.

“Hi, I’m Liam. I’m the final member of your security team. I’m sorry for not being here earlier and I’m happy to serve you, Prince.” He had really happy brown eyes and a matching smile.

“You can just call me Harry.”

“Okay, Harry. It’s nice to finally meet you.” He was a nice contrast to the two more serious guards. It’s not that he wasn’t serious too; he was just more friendly and open than the other two. Plus he’ll address me as Harry, which is always a bonus. I still don’t understand Louis’ refusal to use my name, though. It was clear that he was allowed to address me informally.

I ate breakfast in relative silence. My mom and Liam and Zayn may have been talking but I was too busy thinking to notice.

“Harry!” my mom yelled.

“Huh?”

“I asked what are your plans for today?” she repeated.

“Um, I was wondering if I could invite Niall and Grimmy over.”

“That should be fine, right boys?” My mom asked, probably concerned for my safety and still not quite sure what was and wasn’t allowed.

“Yeah, that should be fine.” Liam pitched in.

“Ok.” I shot them a quick text. Grimmy was mad at me for waking him up and Niall was already up for some odd reason. They should be here in a half an hour. Soon my mom left stating she had errands to run so I guess it’s going to be a boy’s day.

Louis made an appearance about twenty minutes later. He had just gotten out of the shower, if his wet hair was any indication. He smelled too damn good when he walked by. How am I supposed to survive with him as my bodyguard? I thought he was supposed to protect me, not kill me with a hormone overdose.

“What are you staring at, Prince?” Louis asked.

“Nothing.” I was desperately trying to keep my cheeks from flushing and looking anywhere but at Louis.

“Then why did you have the look on your face like you just saw freshly baked bread come out of the oven, Prince?” I’m fairly certain he is intentionally torturing me, which is distinctly un-bodyguard like of him.

“I-uh-I-uh…” I was saved from answering when the doorbell rang. “I have to go get the door.”

“Zayn, go with him and make sure it’s someone he knows.”

“Yes, Sir.” Zayn responded. Despite Louis’ young age, he apparently had a lot of respect from his underlings because so far they have all followed without question.

I opened the door to find Niall and Grimmy standing outside. Grimmy always picks Niall up because Niall doesn’t have his license, due to his lack of motivation. He always says why bother when Grimmy or I will pick him up.

We were heading to my room when a voice stopped me. “Stay here so we can keep an eye on you, Prince.” Normally, I would have questioned how my friends were a threat to my safety but I was still attempting not to make eye contact with Louis and talking to him would definitely hinder that.

“Who are the chaperones?” Grimmy asked.

“Uh, these are my bodyguards, Liam, Zayn and Louis. And these are my friends Niall and Grimmy.”

“Do they fetch things too? Like drinks and snack foods? Do they move at the snap of your fingers?” He was clearly sizing them up and I had known him long enough to know he liked what he saw.

“Grimmy,” I groaned. “They are not butlers they’re my security team.”

“So? They still serve you don’t they?” I just rolled my eyes and walked away. This wasn’t an argument worth fighting. I just hoped he wouldn’t actually ask them to get him stuff. I was hoping they would just sit in the far corner and protect from a safe distance.

We ended up setting up a movie and Niall headed for the snacks. We grabbed some action movie or another off the shelf. Grimmy and I used it more as noise to help drown out our voices so we could talk. Well more like I wanted the noise, Grimmy is fearless and doesn’t care who listens.

“So he’s totally hot. Have you hit him up yet?” Grimmy started the interrogation.

“Who?” I had a pretty good idea who he was talking about but I was not surrendering to this easily.

“Louis, the one with the fringe, duh. Though the one with quiff is cute too, but he’s not your type.” He had a point.

“Sh! Keep it down.”

“Oh so you do like him.”

“Shut up Grimmy. I do not.” If I gave him an inch, who knows what would happen.

“Oh, so we’re playing that game.” This can’t be good.

“Hey, Louis!”

“Yes,” he answered warily. I couldn’t blame him, Grimmy was obviously up to no good.

“Are you dating Zayn, because I, for one, would love to snatch you up if you aren’t?”

“No, I am not.”

“So how about we go out for dinner?”

“No.”

“A movie?”

“No.”

“You could come over and we could have some fun.” There was no missing what he was insinuating.

“No.”

“Hm, feisty. I like it.” Louis just stopped responding.

“Oh, so you’re ignoring me now. I guess I’ll just have to take Harry, then.” I guess that’s his game, but what is the ending? He won’t really try to get with Louis will he?

True to his word he’d constantly try and touch some part of me or whisper random comments in my ear after that, whether they were relevant or not. It was ridiculous. We had realized a long time ago that we were only ever going to be friends.

“Nick, quit it!” I kept my voice low so the others couldn’t hear. I really didn’t want this to be perceived as some threat because I had no doubt my new security would pounce.

“Quit what? I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.” If I could only figure out his goal, maybe I could get him to quit.

“Fine. Be that way.”

He continued on for the rest of the movie and then pulled me into his lap for the second one. At this point there was no fighting him, but I still spent the whole movie trying to figure out what he was up to. It wouldn’t really make Louis jealous if that was how Grimmy wanted to pull him. The guy probably thought I was a whiney brat so I wasn’t exactly going to be perceived as competition.

We ordered pizza for lunch and ate on the couch with Grimmy trying to feed me and pouting when I refused. I finally had to give in or risk wearing the pizza.

We watched some crap television and talked over schoolwork and classes. We gossiped over who was with who and various rumors currently circulating. Once school topics were out, Grimmy finally breached the last frontier.

“So a prince, eh? Who would’ve thought that our little Harry was royalty?” Grimmy said as he pinched my cheeks.

“Yeah, yeah. Mock me all you want.”

“I wouldn’t mock you, princess. What on Earth could I gain by doing that?”

“Entertainment or some other information you’re after.”

“Oh, how thou dost know me, Princess Harriet.”

“Keep it going, let’s get it out of your system.”

“Whatever you say, Princess Harmony.”

“Is that the best you’ve got?”

“Of course not, Queen Hera.”

“Are you done yet?”

“Last one, Harper my Lady.”

“Are you happy now?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“I wonder why I put up with you sometimes.”

“You know your world would be so much bleaker without me.”

I just sighed. He had a point. He may give me crap, but if anyone tried to mess with me or Niall then Grimmy would take them down. He had a way of speaking that could tear down the strongest of people.

They left before dinner. Niall leaving for his mother’s food and Grimmy left so he could go, in all likelihood, to a party. No wild parties for me, especially with the hunk brigade. Wow… Did I really just call them that? Between that statement and my wild Friday night I was considerably lamer than I remembered.

I walked my friends to the door and then headed for my room. Louis followed me inside, but I wasn’t surprised this time.

“Is he your boyfriend?”

“What?!” I shouted, surprised by the accusation and Louis’ abnormally harsh tone.

“Is Nick your boyfriend? I need to know if you’re going to be sneaking out to go see him.” I laughed hysterically at that thought.

“No, Grimmy is not my boyfriend. Oh God, the thought of him as my boyfriend is ridiculous.” Louis looked a little relieved to hear that, but I can’t be too sure. I still can’t read him as well as I would like.

“How about a girlfriend?”

“Nope. I am completely single and you have met my entire friend group. So assess my security issues thusly.” I could lie just to annoy him, but I’m too curious to see if he’ll reveal his motives.

“Okay. By the way, anything you tell me remains confidential, so if you ever have anything to talk about or any questions about this summer and what’s going to happen, feel free to talk to me, Prince.”

“Okay… I have one or two questions.” I really needed some answers if I was going to try to process what was happening instead of just ignoring it.

“Go ahead and ask away, Prince.” When I chanced a glance up at him his expression had soften just a bit. But that may have been the lighting.

“I want to know what’s going to happen at the end of the summer. I want to know what happens if I accept the crown and what’s going to happen if I don’t.”

“Well, if you accept the crown you’ll move to Myoria and continue on with your studies with private tutors as well as learning the laws and politics. You will also start making public appearances and start getting involved in the country. It will all be preparations for you to assume the throne. If you turn down the crown, you may continue to stay in the castle or you may return here. No matter what you do, you will still have a security team. Though, if you turn down the crown, you would get a new team because your risk will be less severe.”

“Okay… Uh, what about this summer? What am I going to have to do?”

“Well, you are going to have various lessons anywhere from behavior in public, to history of Myoria, to your family tree. You will probably have to make a couple of public appearances. You will probably be spending a lot of time with people who will either be trying to convince you to accept or try and tear you down so you don’t, Prince.”

“So much for a summer vacation…”

“Yeah, but one thing will always be consistent. You will always have Liam, Zayn, and I, Prince.”

“That’s good.” Louis gave me a look.

“Not that I enjoy having stalkers. I mean not stalkers, but it’ll be nice to have the same faces around. Not that any faces would do, I mean you guys are pretty cool and you’re young. Not that I mean you’re inexperienced, it’s just nice to have someone closer to my age. I assume most of the people will be older, but what do I know. I mean considering most people will probably hate the fact that I’m alive, and resent having me around the castle.”

I’m rambling but I can’t stop. I started panicking. I hadn’t really thought about my future yet. I guess it finally hit me and my brain decided to process this aloud.

“Not that I’m worried or anything. Shit! I guess my whole future is going to be decided this summer. Most kids are going to be lounging and playing video games, while I’ll be half way across the world with complete strangers.

Everyone’s going to hate me aren’t they? I mean I’m just showing up out of the blue and suddenly being planted into a position that most people spend their life training for. And my mom’s going to stay here and I’m going to be alone. How am I going to survive all the new people watching me all the time and constantly being under scrutiny, never being able to mess up?”

I was in full-blown panic mode. I guess it finally hit me. My whole life is going to change. No matter what I choose, everything will change. I will always have royal blood no matter what anyone else says, and people will always treat me different because of it.

 On the one hand, if I accept people are going to say it was a stupid decision and I’m not ready. On the other hand, if I go back home they’re going to say I choked and look down on me for failing to do my duties.

I dropped my head into my hands and started rocking back and forth. I felt a sudden dip in my bed somewhere behind me and felt a pair of arms wrap around me. Then there was whispering in my ear.

“It’s okay, Harry. Everything’s going to be okay. Sh. Just breathe. In and out.” He started rubbing circles into my back. I started crying. I was just so stressed with school and finals and now my whole world was falling down around me and my future was based on one summer. One tiny amount of time is going to determine the rest of my life.

I just needed an emotional release, an outlet. I started crying. I let out big, huge crocodile tears. I was making some kind of noise that was not very attractive. I’m just glad my mom wasn’t around for this.

 I don’t want her to worry about me. She already has to let her baby boy go, I need to be strong in front of her. She hasn’t had it easy all her life, but she always makes do while staying optimistic. But I don’t have to be strong in front of Louis and for that I’m grateful.

“Just let it all out. I’m right here. You’re going to be okay.” I just cried until I fell asleep in his arms. He was warm and comfortable and I had no energy to move anyway.

Chapter Text

I woke up disoriented. I usually slept naked, but for some reason I still had my clothes on. That wasn’t the only reason I felt abnormally hot, though. I woke up to the feeling of another body wrapped around me and someone’s hand in my hair.

From the feel of the small fingers, it could only have been Louis’ hand. Not that I paid a lot of attention to his hands. But the real question was why he was in bed with me. I mean, I remember crying last night until I fell asleep and Louis being there. I just don’t understand why he stayed.

“Good morning, Prince.”

“Morning,” I mumbled. “What time is it?”

“It’s a little after eight, Prince.”

“A.M.?”I asked, a little shocked. This waking up early thing better not become a habit.

“Yes, Prince.” I couldn’t be certain but it sounded like he was smirking.

I was going to try and move but we were too tangled up. I wasn’t quite functional enough to sort out whose body parts were whose. We laid in silence for about five minutes and I attempted not to whine when hand left my hair.

“Why did you stay?”

“Hm?”

“Last night. Why did you stay?”

“I’m supposed to ensure your welfare, Prince.”

“And?”

“And that includes your emotional welfare. Besides I tried once and you would have none of it, Prince.” That didn’t sound right. I was infamous for kicking my friends off of beds at sleepovers. Though it may be true, considering how tangled we were. It may also be true, because I had never had a hot boy in me bed before… Shit, it’s too early for this.

“We should probably go get breakfast.” I said as my stomach let out a growl to punctuate my statement.

“Sounds like you need it, Prince.”

“Well now that we’ve slept together can you at least call me Harry?” I attempted to make a joke about this instead of thinking about how well rested I felt.

“No, Prince.”

“Of course not.”

We finally managed to get untangled and I headed off to go shower and get dressed. Afterward, I went to go to the kitchen until I heard arguing downstairs. It seems someone left his post to go argue with Louis. I think it was Zayn. I guess he expected me to take longer to get ready.

“Louis! I can’t believe you slept with him!”

“I did not sleep with him.” *pause* “Okay I slept with him but I didn’t sleep with him, sleep with him.”

“Louis,” he groaned. “You should know better.”

“I should know better? Really? That’s what you have to say? I didn’t do anything wrong!”

“You should know by now, not to get emotionally attached to clients. Especially after…” he trailed off.

“Especially after what, Zayn? Especially after my first client? How many times do I have to tell you I was completely professional with her? I was a rookie and she misread my merely friendly intentions. Nonetheless, I did my job diligently and we kept her safe. I am good at my job, which is why I am the head of Prince Harry’s security.” The tone of his voice was absolute. He was asserting his authority.

“I’m not doubting your skill, Louis. I’m just worried about you. I just don’t want you to get emotionally attached and then have to watch him leave.”

“What do you mean, watch him leave?” I was shamelessly eavesdropping by this point trying to determine if his voice sounded harsher on that last statement. But I may have imagined it.

“His title isn’t set in stone. He still has to make a decision at the end of the summer. If he turns down the crown, we’ll get re-assigned and you’ll never see him again. So I’m just saying that he can leave, and if he does, you can’t follow.”

“So you think he’s going to leave at the end of the summer.” There was no questioning it this time; his voice was softer, more hesitant.

“Not necessarily. I don’t know him well enough to know if he’s going to stay or leave, nor do I know him well enough to say if he should stay or leave. I just want to make sure you see all the possible outcomes.”

“It’s my job to see all possible outcomes.” And authoritative Louis was back

“Professionally, yes. But that doesn’t mean you can see all the options in your personal life.”

 “So you’re trying to protect me, because you think something’s going on.”

“It is not my place to say as your subordinate, Sir. But as your friend, I just want you to be careful. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“Zayn, I’ve known this kid for all of two days.”

“That’s a deflection and you know it. I know you and when you fall, you fall hard and fast.”

“Zayn, I’m not-” I don’t think I had taken a breath in the last minute because I didn’t want to miss a word, or risk making a sound and interrupting them.

“Don’t try to play the ‘I’m straight’ card. Your bosses may think that, but we both know you’ve never been straight a day in your life. I know you got through training and gained promotions by pretending to be straight, but that doesn’t mean you are. I’m not judging you; the heart wants what the heart wants.” So Louis was gay? I wasn’t sure how to process that just yet.

“Zayn, what is your point?” Louis sounded like he was ready to be done with this conversation. I was just glad he hadn’t denied his orientation, though I shouldn’t be mentally calculating whether or not I would have a hope in Hell of landing him.

“My point is: be careful.”

“Fine, I’ll be careful. Can I go get dressed now?” It was more of a rhetorical question because Louis was already walking away.

“Wake up Liam while you’re at it!” Zayn shouted after him.

I decided to wait thirty seconds and then make my presence known by thudding down the stairs.

“Hello, Harry.” Zayn’s expression showed no indication that he had just had as serious of a conversation as I had just overheard.

“Morning, Zayn. Where’s my mom?”

“Out,” he said vaguely. This can’t be good, especially after the conversation I just overheard.

“So what’s the plan for today?” I said sounding cautious.

“Assuming your homework is done, we are going to give you a crash course on etiquette so you are prepared for your trip, Sir.” I wasn’t sure if this or getting a lecture on Louis would be worse.

“In other words you’re going to try and cram in as much information as possible so I dodn’t make a complete fool out of myself and the crown.”

“Yes.” Well, at least he was honest…

“Fun.” I said in a tone that implied anything but.

“So what does that have to do with my mom leaving?”

“It would be better if you get used to just having us now. Also, this way you actually have to learn everything and can’t look to her for guidance.”

“Mhm.” I had a feeling that it had more to do with harsh realities that were about to be revealed and they didn’t want to scare my mother. I heard a clatter in the background and some muffled noises.

“What was that?”

“Oh, just Louis waking Liam up, Louis tends to be a little dramatic.”

“I can imagine,” I mutter, before I can stop the words from coming out of my mouth. Zayn gave me a look that said ‘oh, really?’

“It’s just that- I mean he’s just always seems to air toward the dramatic when he’s off duty. Not that I would really know, because I don’t know him and we just met like two days ago. It’s just he seems like the type. Not that I’m trying to stereotype him. I just, mean he has an air about him. Not that I’ve been studying. Or paying that much attention. I just, you know, yeah...” I trailed off as I ran out of ways to dig myself deeper into the hole.

Zayn chuckled at my incessant rambling and just shook his head.

“Let’s get started.”

We started with setting the table and working through silverware from the outside to the inside and having to learn the names of all the courses of food. He kept talking and I wondered how I’ll ever eat that much. After meals they are going to have to roll me out of the dining room. Right now, I think Niall might be better at this royalty stuff, considering his ongoing love affair with food.

Louis and Liam came in some time later, when we had switched from table manners to conversations. We sat down in the living room and they took turns asking questions and worked on trying to get me to answer without truly answering. We had been doing easy questions at first with them getting progressively harder and I wasn’t getting any better.

 “Why are you coming to the throne now?”

 Liam started the next question.

“Well, I’ve been in America with my mother.”

“That’s not going to satisfy the press they’re going to continue on with the questioning naming others who have been out of the country and still in the public. Not to mention that crosses the border from non-answer to irrelevant,” Zayn corrected. “Again.”

“I didn’t know I was a Prince until two days ago.” I tried.

“Not even close. Try again.” Zayn said, a little less patient that time.

“We always assumed Gemma was going to take the throne, so my Mom preferred if I got to stay in America with her.”

“This opens you up to questions about why Gemma is suddenly not taking the throne. Can you answer that question?” Zayn said more clipped than last time.

“No, because I don’t know why.”

“Then try a different answer.” Zayn stated as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“I decided it was time to finally learn about my father.”

“You can’t say that either because it implies you weren’t close with your father.” Zayn said, starting to sound frustrated. I was getting frustrated. No answer was good enough. “Again” he said, clipped and demanding.

“Because I felt like it.” I sneered.

“Don’t be sarcastic. Again”

“I decided I wanted to take the throne?” It sounded more like a question than an answer.

“Did you?”

“No…” I felt like a chastised five-year-old.

“Then it’s the wrong answer. Again!”

“I don’t know what you want!” I shouted. “No answer is good enough!”

“Maybe, you aren’t trying hard enough,” Zayn said, sounding completely over this situation.

“I am trying! Just because I’m not good at this, doesn’t mean I’m not trying.” I gritted out.

“Your lack of improvement would attest to that.” Zayn replied.

“Did you ever think that my lack of improvement may be due to a shitty teacher!?”

“Enough!” Louis cut in. “Zayn, go patrol the exterior while you cool off. Liam, take five.” They both left with a yes, Sir. Even though Zayn look pissed, he still obeyed Louis without question.

I was embarrassed. I couldn’t even handle these questions now, in my home. How am I supposed to answer them in front of all the paparazzi?

“Harry, it’s okay if you can’t answer these questions right away. It’s hard to get a hang of and you’ve had less time than most. Just take five minutes to regroup. Okay, Prince?”

“Yeah.” He went to go to leave the room. “Hey, Louis?”

“Yeah, Prince?”

“Thanks.”

“No problem, Prince.”

I made a quick sandwich, while they were gone. It was gone before they came back. I was putting dishes when Louis walked back in. I checked the clock and he had appeared exactly five minutes later.

“Are you ready to get back to work, Prince?”

“I guess…” I wasn’t looking forward to it, but I am ready for it.

“Okay, the next project is your wardrobe, Prince.” That surprised me. I had just assumed we were going back to question and answers.

“What’s wrong with my clothes?”

“You mean your holy jeans and random band t-shirts? Why nothing if you are trying to avoid looking professional. You can still wear them for school, but you need an outfit for the first time you go to Myoria. And I need to take your measurements so they can start working on building your wardrobe so your closet will be filled by the time we get there, Prince.” He was practical and sassy at the same time.

“Oh.”

“Yeah, oh. You need to go slip into some briefs or boxer briefs or a speedo. Call me when you’re ready and I’ll come measure you, Prince.”

“Um, ok.”  I was a little nervous when I walked off. I’m going to be practically naked in front of Louis. I just hope nothing embarrassing happens….

So much for calling him, Louis barged into my room spouting something about me being a girl and taking too long. Unluckily for me, I was right on the other side of the door and he smacked me in the head with it.

“Ow!” He pulled me back up to my feet.

“You’re not supposed to stand on the other side of a moving door, Prince.”

“You said you were going to wait for me to yell.”

“Yeah, but you took too long. Now stand up straight so I can get an accurate measurement, Prince.”

“Fine,” I grumbled as I rubbed my forehead.

There was no point in procrastinating any longer, so I gave in and did just that. It wasn’t too bad at first; just the standard shoulder width and arm span, etc. Then it was the inseam, which was a little close for comfort. Of course he started talking while he was doing that.

“Do you hang left or right, Prince?”

“Excuse me?!” I was startled. He just huffed with annoyance.

“Do you hang left or right, Prince?”

“Why do you need to know?” That just didn’t seem like a relevant question.

“Because, when you get custom suits, they need to know which side you hang so they can add a little bit more fabric on that side, Prince.” He sounded like he was trying to explain something to a child.

“Oh…. Um left.” He just nodded his head in acknowledgement.

He had just finished and was still on the ground in front of me when Liam and Zayn walked in.

“Oh my God!” Liam exclaimed and covered his eyes.

“Louis!” Zayn hissed.

It finally hit me how this might look. I mean I’m in only boxer briefs and he was on his knees after just measuring my inseam.

“We weren’t-I mean-he was just-you see-“ Louis cut me off to save me from my sudden inability to talk.

“What poor Prince Harold, here, is trying to say is I was taking his measurements for his wardrobe and you two should just calm down.” I don’t understand how he could keep calm while it looked like, well what it looked like. There was a pause.

“Louis, do you think you could get off your knees now?” Liam asked. Louis stood up but then he kept staring.

“Louis!” Zayn shouted, trying to get his attention.

“He’s got four nipples!” Louis blurted out.

“What?” Liam exclaimed, sounding vaguely scandalized.

“You’ve got four nipples, Prince,” he said in my direction.

 “Yeah,” I responded as I felt the blush creep up my face. Louis reached out a hand like he wanted to prove to himself they were real, but then Zayn’s voice cut in.

“Louis!” Zayn snapped.

“Okay, well I think I’ve gotten all your measurements, so we’re just going to wait outside while you change.” Louis said as he ushered Zayn and Liam out the door with him.

I threw on some sweats and took some time to calm myself down. Louis stare was intense before Zayn snapped him out of it. Most people freaked out when they saw my extra bits, but I still felt like Louis’ reaction was different from most. I finally took a deep breath and went downstairs to find my mom making dinner.

“Hello, Love. How was your day?”

“Not too bad. It was work, but it could’ve been a lot worse.”

“That’s good. Is all your homework done?”

“Yes, Mom.” It was nice to have a normal conversation. For a little bit I could get lost in the normalcy of it all.

Mom made a big dinner and we all ate family style. It was kind of weird having dinner with all five of us. The four boys kept glancing over every few minutes, until my Mom spoke up.

“I take it you saw the four nipples.” She said. Louis and Liam blushed and Zayn tried to look like he hadn’t been one of the ones she was referring to.

“Don’t worry, Niall and Grimmy acted the exact same way. Though I believe Grimmy threw in more snide comments about it.”

That broke the tension and everyone was considerably more relaxed. I helped out with the dishes and went to bed immediately afterward. I was so worn out from today, plus I needed a good nights sleep because finals start tomorrow.

I woke up with a start as someone jumped on my bed.

“Come on sleepy head, or you’re gonna be late, Prince!” Louis informed me.

I rolled over to check my clock and let out a curse. He was right. I had slept straight through my alarm. I had fifteen minutes to get ready and get out the door. I couldn’t risk being late for an exam and having to make it up Friday.

I got dressed and grabbed toast my mom handed me as I ran out the door. This time it was Liam who caught me running out the door.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

“Oh Shit! I forgot I had security. Please tell me Zayn or Louis or whoever is driving me is ready to go because I am running late and I would prefer to be on time for my finals.”

“I understand. Louis is pulling the car around right now, so let’s go.” He sounded genuine, like he gave me the benefit of the doubt. That was a tidbit of information I filed away for later, so I know who I could come to if I made a mistake.

He escorted me to the car and got into the back with me. Louis turned around to speak.

“Liam and I are both going to be guarding you today due to the increase in press coverage and the irregularity of the schedule, Prince.”

“Okay.”

“What? No protest today, Prince?” He seemed slightly upset that he wouldn’t be torturing me.

“No. I mean I wouldn’t have survived the mob outside of school on Friday if it weren’t for you and I trust that you guys know what’s best for my security. Plus my mom would kill me if I disobeyed any of you guys.” The last line elicited a chuckle from the other boys. I think they were just glad I wasn’t fighting them on this.

People were still staring when I first got to school and past the media mob, but they couldn’t do so once the tests started so that was a relief.  I had two tests back to back in the morning but none in the afternoon, so I went home immediately after. I studied for my other finals and repeated this Tuesday and Wednesday.

Thursday Niall, Grimmy, and I got done at a half day and decided to all hang out after we were done. We were going to go out to eat, but when we made it out the doors we realized how big of media frenzy was waiting for us and decided against it.

We ended up going back to my house since their houses hadn’t been cleared yet. I didn’t want to put up a fight over something as simple as location. It would have been a waste of time, especially since I’m leaving in two days.

We settled in my room and they helped me pack. By helped, I mean they were completely counter-productive, with Niall eating everything within reach and Grimmy having a snide comment for everything I went to go put in my suitcase. At least the security team let us have some time alone with each other this time.

“Really, Harry? You’re going to take that old Ramones T-shirt?” Grimmy questioned.

“Yes.” I was getting tired of his commentary by this point.

“In order to get Louis to ravish you, you should wear something like this.” Grimmy pulled out an old fish net shirt from a long ago, but not forgotten Halloween costume.

“Where did you even find that thing? Wait, I don’t really want to know. Can we just stop talking about my wardrobe? Besides it doesn’t really matter since I’m apparently getting a whole fucking new one.”

“Speaking of fucking, you should always be prepared young Harold.” Grimmy said as he looked at me with a smirk.

“What are you up to this time?”

“Oh, nothing really. Not to mention that I’m absolutely hurt by your jab, but since I’m just that good of a friend I picked you up some supplies.” The next thing I knew he pulled a Walgreens bag from his backpack and started chucking lube and condoms at me. I squealed in surprise. Then I heard a voice on the other side.

“Are you okay? I’m coming in, Prince.”

“Shit! Shit!” I hissed under my breath as I tried to shove the ‘supplies’ into my suitcase.

I slammed my suitcase shut right as Louis walked in. Grimmy was laughing hysterically at the situation and the embarrassment that has probably made my cheeks hot. Of course Niall was chuckling along into his bag of crisps.

“Is everything all right in here, Prince?”

“Yes, Sir. Louis-uh yeah. Everything’s fine. I’m just packing and these two are being unhelpful as always.”

“Do you need some help? Because you do realize we’re leaving tomorrow, Prince.” As much as I like Louis, I know Grimmy can’t control his commentary and have decided the two should come in contact as little as possible..

“Yeah, no. I’m fine. It will get done.”

“Alright, Prince. I’ll be outside then.”

He walked out of the room and I could finally exhale. I would have died of mortification if he had stayed when I opened my bag back up. I shot Grimmy a look.

“Not funny, man.”

“Are you kidding? That was priceless! Too bad you’re leaving tomorrow, otherwise I could have oh so much fun.” He sounded a little too wistful, but I’m still going to miss him.

“Maybe you guys can come up sometime and come check out the palace.”

“Yeah, maybe and on a less morbid note maybe you’ll have shacked up with the stud muffin by then!”

“Don’t call him that!”

“Eh, someone’s a little defensive and that only happens when it’s true.”
“Shut up, Grimmy.”

“No. And you’re just too stubborn to admit you don’t want me too.” He had a point, but I wasn’t going to boost his ego. I just went back to packing.

Too soon it was time for them to go so I could spend some quality time with my mother before I leave. The boys and I had some borderline tearful goodbyes and promises of keeping in touch. I made some comment about it just being the summer, but I knew it could be longer. With that morbid thought, they were gone and I was left staring at their retreating car.

I went to the living room and spent the rest of the night talking, eating, and just relaxing with my mom. It was comfortable, but somewhere in the back of my mind there was the constant thought that I’d be leaving her tomorrow.

Too soon it was time for bed. I had a fitful sleep about where I’m going and who all I’m leaving behind. I looked like hell when I got up in the morning far too early. I had given up on sleep, so I just took my sweet time making sure everything was set to go. I dragged my bag out the door and Liam carried it downstairs. Zayn was on the couch so Liam told me to stay with him for the time being.

He came back in and my mom appeared to make a quick cup of coffee and Louis appeared with his suitcase in hand. All too soon we were leaving. I had to say bye to my mom at the door because it would be too hard to take two cars and dealing with security would be a mess. We hugged and she cried, while I tried to keep a brave face. I promised to call as soon as I was there and we parted with I love you’s.

The car trip was silent. I was tired and my brain was in overdrive so I was zoned out. We got to the airport and it wasn’t long before we were getting on the private jet for our thirteen-hour flight.

To be honest, I only made it about an hour and a half into the flight before I started breaking down. I was looking out the window just thinking before the emotional tidal wave washed over me. I guess the reality of the situation finally hit me and I could feel the tears silently roll down my face leaving a salty trail in their wake.

Louis must’ve noticed because he came and sat in the seat next to me.

“Are you okay, Prince?”

I just shook my head, because there was no longer any one around to keep up the façade for, plus I’ve already become a complete emotional wreck in front of him before. Last time it was because I was worried about my future. Now it was about all the things that I was afraid would become only pieces of the past.

It was my only option, really, to let emotion out. I couldn’t have done it at home, and I can’t show weakness later. So this is how I found myself crying in Louis’ arms… again.

He didn’t say anything and just let me stay until I felt better. It helped and I managed to pull myself back together fairly quickly.

I kept myself entertained for some of the flight, but then ended up playing cards with my security team. It was fun and I’m glad I get along really well with my team, because I’m not really counting on making friends in Myoria. We didn’t talk much about our pasts, and that was okay because we just flowed really well together. It was good to feel like they had my back.

We had taken off at about 6 am, meaning we landed at about 7pm in home time. But there was a five-hour time difference, so it was really midnight here and we still had to take the ferry to Myoria, which is apparently off the coast of England. By the time we got there I was tired, jet lagged and time confused. Tomorrow was going to be a Bitch. 

Chapter Text

I woke up with no sense of time and a reminder I was in a palace, which meant I was actually a prince.  These thoughts were too deep first thing in the morning so I just rolled over on the unfamiliar bed.  I took some time to look around. I hadn’t been functional enough yesterday to do more than crawl into bed.

 

The bed was by far larger than my own. It was, also, significantly softer and less worn than the one I had at home. The blankets were a little warm, though and it was getting uncomfortable. I rolled out of bed onto plush carpet that was heaven on my feet. I could have probably slept on the floor it was so comfortable. Of course the palace would be so plush.

I walked into the attached bathroom that was probably about the size of my room at home, if not bigger. It had a Jacuzzi tub and a large, walk-in shower. It had a huge mirror over a rather expansive counter top. I went and got dressed in some clothes from my suitcase. I wasn’t quite ready to go into the closet. I walked out the door to see Louis on duty.

“Good morning, Prince!” How can he be so perky this early?

“Good, maybe. Morning, definitely.” He let out a chuckle, which made me smile in turn.

“So what’s the plan for today?”

“Well, first you need to eat breakfast. Then I was going to take you on a tour of the castle. Later, Princess Gemma and Queen Magdalena will be home, so you’ll probably have dinner and a chat with them.”

“Mk.” I dreaded the talk, but it wouldn’t help to focus solely on that so I focused on food instead. I walked in to find a counter covered in breakfast foods. Louis walked over like this was the norm, so I guess it was and I followed suit. I picked up a pastry while Louis started the tour.

“This is the kitchen. When you want a quick meal, you can typically find them banquet style on the counter. Mostly the staff use it, but I figure you might like this better than sitting alone at a dining table, Prince.”

“Thanks.” While I did appreciate it, I still wish he wouldn’t use my moniker. Some of the staff had decided to look over and size me up. It wasn’t a comfortable feeling, and I started to fidget. Louis didn’t comment; though he led me back out of the kitchen to start the tour.

We walked out one of the doors and into a dining hall.  It looked fancy and polished with an extended wood table.

“Now this is where most of the formal dinners occur. In all likelihood, that will be the only time you use this room, assuming you aren’t posh and have an obsession with eating in dining rooms, Prince.”

“That would be a no.” We were moving on to the next room.

He took me through the banquet hall and the living room and various sitting rooms. It would have been boring except for the fact it was Louis giving the tour. We kept polite conversation and threw out random remarks as we went. I tried to make a mental map, but I soon got lost after several hours of identical hallways.

“Thank goodness I have a bodyguard or else I’d be perpetually lost in this place.”

“I understand. That’s what I thought when I first got here. Don’t worry, you’ll soon be able to navigate through Wonderland, Prince.”

“Does that make me Alice?”

“Absolutely, Prince.” He was smirking as he said it.

“Then you must be the Mad Hatter!”

“And why would I be the Mad Hatter, Prince?”

  “Because on the outside you may seem like a nutter, but there’s a method to your madness.”

“Hm. Good to know. I’ll have to file that bit away for a later date. Now let’s go get some lunch, Prince.”

“Lead the way.”

“Of course. We wouldn’t want you falling down too many rabbit holes, now would we, Prince?”

I just rolled my eyes and followed after him. We ate lunch in the kitchen and I tried to ignore the stares from the rest of the staff.

“So what do you wanna do now, Prince?”

“I dunno.”

“Well, are you settled in yet, Prince?”

“Well, no.”

“Typical teenager you are. You haven’t even unpacked yet! Go get on it Prince.”

“You’re not my mother!”

“Damn right, I’m not. Now hop to it, Prince!”

“Slave driver,” I mumbled under my breath as we headed back to my room.

“I heard that, Prince!”

We went back to my room and I just stared at my closet door. I couldn’t quite bring myself to open it. It shouldn’t be this hard. It’s just a simple thing, really. But why can’t I bring myself to do it?

I guess I had stood there for a while, because Louis came up behind me and put a hand on my shoulder.

“Are you okay, Prince?”

“Yeah, I-I’m fine,” I hoped my face didn’t display my internal turmoil, but as always it did.

“Hey, just tell me what’s going through your head. Maybe I can help, Prince?”

“I’m fine.” I insisted. Then I took a deep breath and pushed the door open.

It was huge. There were suits and ties and shirts all around the room. There were a ridiculous number of shoes and it just looked… formal. It wasn’t me. That’s how I feel about everything. It’s not who I am, or at least who I feel like I am.

I unpacked what I brought and put it in a corner of the closet. They were dwarfed by the surrounding clothes and out of place among the designer jeans and starched shirts.

I killed enough time so that by the time I was done, Louis was speaking into a wire I hadn’t noticed before.

“Prince, Princess Gemma and Queen Magdalena have returned and have requested for you to meet them in the parlor.” I raised my eyebrows at his formal tone, but followed him nonetheless.

I was nervously fidgeting behind him the whole way down. This would the first time I would actually be able to talk to them. Louis opened the door and announced me, which was weird as hell. It would take a lot to get used to.

I awkwardly stood in the doorway at the two women sitting on the couch who were probably sizing me up. They stood up.

“Welcome, Harold.” Her smile was warm but other than that her expression was very difficult to read.

“It’s just Harry, actually.”

“Well Harry, please feel free to call me Grandma or Lena, whichever one makes you feel more comfortable. And this is Gemma.”

“Hi.” I didn’t know what else to do.

“Please have a seat,” Lena continued, so I did just that.

In my distraction, Louis had somehow melted into the shadows. He was always such a presence that it was weird for him to fade into the background. Well, I would figure that out later. I needed to concentrate on the two powerful women in front of me.

“How have you settled in?” Lena started.

“Well, um so far so good. I’ve gotten unpacked and, uh, Louis took me around for a tour earlier.”

“Good. So what do you think of the palace?”

“It’s nice. And very very big. Not that that’s a bad thing, it just makes it easier to get lost. Not that I’ve gotten lost, I just wouldn’t be surprised if I did. Not that I’ll have the chance with security and all. Not that them following me around is a bad thing. It’s just different. A lot of things are just different, you know? I just-I guess I’m rambling again.” I started blushing in embarrassment, while Gemma snickered at me. Great, it’s only been five minutes and my stepsister hates me.

“It’s fine, Harry. I understand the palace can be a little daunting at first. Feel free to ask for anything that will make this feel more like home.”

“Thanks.”

“Now, let’s talk about your schedule. You will work with a private tutor every weekday, from eight to noon. You’ll have lessons ranging from public conduct to history to our laws. In the afternoons you’ll have various things to do, depending on the day. Weekends will be either days off or formal occasions ranging from dinner parties to banquets to social outings.”

“Okay.” At the point I was pretty much agreeing to everything because my brain wasn’t making sense of anything.

“Now let’s go eat dinner.” She got up and led the way to a smaller dining room.

We had dinner and made small talk about America. Then Gemma took over the conversation and steered it towards politics and things I had no understanding over. I just kept eating and pretended I wasn’t slightly hurt by the fact she was trying to exclude me. I was glad when the dinner was over. I was emotionally and physically tired. I’m glad I had one more day until the work started.

I went to leave and found Zayn standing where Louis had been. I had almost forgotten that I have more than one bodyguard. I was kind of disappointed he didn’t say goodbye, but I wasn’t about to voice that to Zayn.  

“Do you need anything else, Harry?” He said when we got to my door.

“No thanks. I think I’m just going to try and kill my jet lag. Thanks though.”

“No problem. Good night, Harry.”

“Night, Zayn.”

I crawled into bed and it suddenly hit me how exhausted I truly was. I was out before my head hit the pillow.

 

 

I woke up to the sound of knocking on my door.

“One minute!” I rolled over and mumbled sleepily as I made the trip to the door. I opened it to find Liam standing on the other side.

“Morning Harry!”

“Morning, Liam. To what do I owe the pleasure of being up at-“

“7:30”

“7:30 in the morning?”

“It’s time for you to get up and get dressed. You are spending the day with Princess Gemma.”

“What am I supposed to wear?”

“Something nice but not formal. Maybe some jeans and a button up.”

“Okay, thanks.”

I went and took a shower and made a fruitless attempt to tame my curls. I finished getting ready and Liam took me down to the same study as yesterday. Gemma was already there, impatiently tapping her foot.

“It’s about time. Let’s go.”

“Where are we going?”

“I’ve been told to show you around town. Let’s get going.” She was ushering me out the door and I finally noticed her bodyguard move in behind her. They are really good at blending into the background.

Our two bodyguards climbed into the front of a black SUV while we got into the back.  I gaped as we drove down the driveway and onto the street. The palace looked absolutely amazing. I hadn’t really seen the castle the first time, since it had been the middle of the night.

We started out driving around the edges of town. We saw some old landmarks and Gemma knew the stories behind every one. While she was typically short with me, I couldn’t deny how much she seemed to love it here. She spoke of the history with a tone of awe in her voice.

I was jealous. She’s got this passion for her country that I’ve never seen before. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to be half as passionate about this new country as she is. I wonder what it’s like to be that confident. I’m sitting here panicking over everything that could go wrong this summer and she’s as cool as the summer breeze.

The first part of the tour included the occasional comments: “but you wouldn’t know anything about that” or “if you survive this summer” and always putting an emphasis on it being her country. After a while she seemed to calm down and made less and less snide remarks until they all together disappeared. She seemed to get lost in the country and appeared to forget whom she was riding with.

Soon enough we were heading back through the gates and up to the castle.

“I’m having some people over for lunch. You should join us.” I felt like she had been told to ask me to come along, but I knew better than to turn her down. I hope it wouldn’t be too awkward…

I followed her into the parlor and it was more like a buffet cocktail style lunch. Everyone walked and talked while carrying plates of ridiculously fancy food. Some even had flutes of champagne. I’m pretty sure it’s a little too early in the day for alcohol.

This social gathering made me feel like I was back at school, hiding in the back corner trying to avoid people’s attention. I was out as gay back home and tried to avoid gaining more attention and thereby inciting more taunting than I got on the basis of being gay alone. At least I had Grimmy and Niall at school though; here I just had to pretend I didn’t hear the hushed whispers passing between her various “friends.” They seemed more like the popular crowd, where everyone grouped together for power without any sense of friendliness between the group members.

I hated feeling like an art exhibit and was glad when Louis showed up to pull me away from the meeting. I made a quick apology as I about ran out of the room to follow Louis. I don’t care why he had come to get me, I was just glad for the rescue.

“Thank God!”

“Just call me, Louis. God is a little too intimidating for most mortals, Prince.” I chuckled. Only Louis could get away with such an absurd statement.

“While I appreciate the rescue, what do you need me for?”

“Well, with the time difference and all, I set up a time for you to Skype your mother so she wouldn’t worry her pretty little head over you, Prince.”

“Thankyouthankyouthankyou!” He did not understand how much I missed talking to my mother. It had been just the two of us for the past seventeen years and I already missed our daily talks. It may seem pathetic because it’s been a few days, but that’s still a lot for us.

I pulled out my laptop and jumped onto my bed. I logged into Skype to find my mom already online. Soon enough her face was popping up on the screen.

“Hey, Mom!”

“Hi, Harry!”

“Mom, you have to click the little camera button if you want me to be able to see you.”

“Is it better now?” she asked as the loading swirl came on the screen.

“Yep!”

“So how are you doing? How big is your room? Are you having fun? Are you settled in yet? Have you met any cute bo-“
“Mom!” I cut her off. Who knows who was listening?

“You have to pause so I can answer.”

“Alright Sweetie.”

“So my room is absolutely humongous and the bathroom is the sized of my room at home. I got to go on a tour of the country with Gemma this morning.”

“Oh really? How was that?”

“It was pretty interesting. We went and saw all these historical places and we even went to the Lover’s Cliff.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah. It had an interesting history behind it. There was this couple who used to meet there because their love was forbidden. See she was a noble and he was decidedly not. So he joined the British Navy and promised to come back to her when he made rank. She waited at the cliff every night for ten years until word finally reached the island about him.

He had been named captain of his own ship and he had been heading back home to the island. One night they were hit by a great storm. He climbed up the mast to secure the sails and save the crew, but he fell and broke his back. The crew sailed them to England, because it was closest, and dropped him off so he could get medical care.

He couldn’t come back, so she decided to go get him. It took her almost a year to find him, and she almost gave up. She found him staring across the sea as if he could still see the cliff where they used to meet. She brought him home and they got married. They spent every day at their home and every night at the cliffs where they first found their love.”

My mom was sniffling on the other end of the camera.

“Mom, are you okay?”

“It was just so beautiful.”

“That it was.”

“Maybe you’ll find someone to love and who loves you back that much one day. Just like me and your father.”

“Then why did you leave him?” I had asked her this before while I was growing up but she never wanted to answers. I guess I sort of know why now.

“Oh, Honey…”

“I deserve to know, Mom.”

“I know. It’s just been so long.”

“Please tell me…” This conversation had taken a turn for the worst, but I wanted to know. At this point I think I had a right to know.

“Alright. Your Dad and I met after his first wife had died. It had been two years to be precise. I had been roaming Europe for a summer. I was painting landscapes while I traveled from hostel to hostel.

I was painting in England when I met him and we fell in love. We got married in secret and had a great marriage, no matter how short lived. But then summer was coming to an end and I had to go back to school and he had to go back to his country. A month later I found out I was pregnant with you.”

“But why didn’t you go with him?”

“Honey, I couldn’t. He had this whole country waiting for him and I could never be the crown princess they wanted. I’m too much of a free spirit.” That was true.

“And he could never have given up his crown. He loved his people too much. We had to part. I felt bad for Gemma, though. She was about five at the time and I wish I could’ve been a mother to her, but there was no way I could stay.” She was tearing up. I think she still felt guilty over leaving Gemma, but the past has past.

“Did you tell him?”

“Of course I did. He’s been sending you cards and sending us money ever since.”

I just sat there for a few minutes.

“Honey, you should know he loved you so much even though you hadn’t properly met. He didn’t want you to get dragged into the media, and neither did I.”

“I understand, Mom. Thank you for telling me.” I didn’t understand but she was already upset so I didn’t want to upset her anymore.

“No problem, Sweetie. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“Talk to me soon, okay?”

“I will.”

“Bye.”

“Bye.”

*End*

“Are you okay, Prince?”I just realized Louis had been here for a while. I wonder how much he heard.

“Yeah, I’m just gonna go shower.” I’m not sure if I was okay or not. I just needed some time to process. Showers were nice and relaxing like that. They allowed deep thought and sorting out your brain.

“Okay. By the way, you’re having a family dinner tonight with Princess Gemma and Queen Magdalena.”

“Okay, thanks.” I wasn’t exactly sure what all I was thanking him for, but it was for more than information about my dinner plans.

I kept turning what my mom said over and over in my mind. I was starting to kind of understand. I mean my Mom, though I love her to bits, wouldn’t have wanted the fancy life with the jewels and glamour and responsibility. I was proud of my Mom for being able to give something up for something she believed was better. If she didn’t think she could run a country, then she shouldn’t have to.

At the same time I felt bad for them. They had to have been in love, and how do you not fight for something you love? Maybe he just loved his country more. That makes me sad to think that they’ve never found true love. Oh, well. At least my mom still has time to find someone. Now I just need to find out why the sudden change in my location. Tonight gave me the perfect opportunity to do so.

 

I waited until we were decently far into the meal before bringing it up.

“Lena?”

“Yes, Harry?”

“May I ask you a question?” She paused and set down her silverware.

“Of course.”

“Okay. I was just wondering why I was here and why now?”

“Well you’re here because you’re the crown prince until you say otherwise.”

“But why now?”

“Well, your father died.” She was being vague and it was getting frustrating. Apparently Gemma was getting frustrated, because she started talking.

“Grandma stop pansying around the issue! If you’re not going to say it then I will.” Gemma turned back to me.

“The reason we came for you now, is because Dad didn’t tell anyone you were alive. Nor did he tell anyone he had gotten married t-to her that summer. It was such a great surprise when we opened his will to find your name in it. ” She spat out.

“And let’s just rub salt on the wound and inform you that the male heir takes first priority. So here you are, evidence that Dad lied to his whole family. Congratulations, now you know.” She got up and stomped out of the room. I shouted out before she could make it out of the room.

“Just so you know, she still loves you. And she still thinks about you. She keeps your old picture in her room.” It seemed like something she should know

She paused for a second, but then kept walking out the door. The dinner continued on in awkward tension before I finally got up to go. I went back to my room and tried to read a book for a while until it got too late and I needed to sleep. I had an early morning tomorrow.

If only getting to sleep had been that easy, I would have been fine. I tossed and turned all night thinking about what my mom said and what Gemma said and what Lena wouldn’t say. I thought about tutoring and Louis.

Thinking about him helped me to sleep. He didn’t seem like he really wanted anything from me. He was friendly and pleasant and seemed like he cared. I was probably becoming too attached to him, but if thinking about him calmed my brain down enough to sleep, then I wasn’t going to second-guess it.

Chapter Text

I was, once again, woken up by a knocking on the door. This time it was Zayn’s voice yelling at me to wake up from the other side. I really needed to invest in an alarm clock. I didn’t think to bring one with me when I came out here.

I went to the bathroom and went through my morning routine. I threw on a pair of jeans and an old band T-shirt and walked out the door. I let Zayn lead me to the kitchen, since I still had no navigational skills. We had to grab a quick breakfast since I was running late.

I followed Zayn to this mini library. It had a long wooden table and a series of bookshelves around the walls. The chairs were hard wood that would probably make my ass hurt after a half an hour.

An older looking man walked in. He had salt and pepper, short-cropped hair and a goatee. He had on a full suit like he was attending a formal event, not tutoring a teenager. I think he even had a monocle in the breast pocket of his suit.

“Good day, Prince Harold. I shall be your tutor, Mr. Peabody.”

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Peabody. You can just call me Harry.”

“I think not, Prince Harold. Now we shall start with the History of the country today and basic protocol. In your free time, you shall start memorizing members of the royal family tree.”

He lectured for the full four hours in his posh monotone. I would’ve fallen asleep if I could’ve gotten comfortable. But there was no hope with the hard wood rails pressing uncomfortably on my spine every time I leaned back and the hard seat that provided no cushion for my scrawny ass. To sum it up, it was four hours of torture.

I was glad when he finally excused me and let Zayn lead me back to the kitchen for lunch. Afterward, I grabbed my books and found a place outside to sit and study. It probably wasn’t very prince-like to lay out in the grass and read, but that’s what I did.

I alternated between my homework and reading one of the books I had brought from home. I also remembered, I can use my cell phone as an alarm, so I don’t have to worry about oversleeping. All-in-all it wasn’t too bad for a Monday.

The next day was pretty similar, except I was tested on the family tree as soon as I walked in. I got a ninety, which I thought was pretty good considering I had one day to learn it. He didn’t seem to think so. That day he assigned me new history homework in addition to memorizing the family tree with added family members.

Wednesday brought the same–testing and not meeting his standards, leading to more homework and even more time spent studying. By Thursday, the only thing I was doing with my time was working. I was even studying through my meals.

I wasn’t sure what he was trying to get from me. Was he trying to test my work ethic? Was he trying to teach humility by giving me an impossible amount of work with more work on top? Was he just testing me?

I could understand his motivation. I mean I could be potentially running his country. It makes sense that he would be putting me through the paces. It was his country. Our country sounded wrong. This place doesn’t feel like my country.

I was just glad when noon on Friday rolled around so I could be free from his monotone and scrutinizing gaze for a while. I was finally capable of navigating from the tutor room to the kitchen. Liam was on duty and we ran into Louis and Zayn eating in the kitchen. They introduced me to a few of the kitchen staff they had been talking to.

I entertained them with stories about Niall’s insane love of food. I told them about this one time when we were going to go out of town for the weekend and Grimmy and I made the mistake of letting Niall pick up the groceries. I swear he got at least five different kind of chips, three boxes of cereal, four different types of wheat bread, two brands of peanut butter, and who knows how many types of drinks. Luckily, Nutella only had one brand. Needless to say, he is no longer allowed out with grocery money.

Gemma walked in and the mood instantly changed. She still hasn’t quite warmed up to me and I think everyone’s noticed.

“Harry, I’m having a bunch of friends over for a young nobility gathering tonight. It is a semi-formal affair and you are expected to attend.”

“Okay, thanks.” I replied at her retreating form. There went my Friday.

Zayn went off to go to bed because he had night duty tonight. Liam and Louis traded, so Louis was on duty for the rest of the day. I decided to go exploring. I would probably learn my way around better from getting lost than from people leading me around.

“Is there anywhere you’re trying to go, Prince?”

“Not particularly.” He looked confused.

“Then what exactly are you doing, Prince?”

“Just meandering.”

“Meandering, Prince?”

“You know, strolling around.”

“Yes, but why, Prince?”

“So I can learn the layout of the palace.”

“By getting lost, Prince?”

“Yes. I learn a lot better when I do things for myself rather than having people lead me around. Besides, you can find more interesting stuff when you get lost.”

“I guess I’ll have to take your word for it, Prince.”

He let me continue around with my aimless wandering. I went up some floors and down some sketchy back corridors that looked like they hadn’t been used in years. Maybe one day I’ll manage to find a secret passage or two, but there wasn’t enough time left today.

“Prince, we need to head back to your room so you can get ready for the gathering.”

“Okay… Um, Louis?”

“Yes, Prince?”

“Could you lead the way back?”

“Oh, but here I thought getting lost would help you find your way around, Prince.”

“Yeah, yeah. Just start leading the way.” He chuckled and we set off towards my room.

“What exactly am I suppose to wear for a ‘semi-formal’ affair?” I asked Louis in hopes that he would know.

“Dress pants and a button down, Prince.”

“Thanks.” I shot off as I went to my closet.

That brought about another problem: which pants and which shirt should I wear? The options were endless. I ended up wearing a pair of black pants and a navy blue button down. I walked out and Louis led me down to the parlor.

Gemma was already down there and so were a few of her friends. They were chatting and I felt extremely awkward and out of place. A few heads turned my way when I walked in and a cluster quit speaking, so I assumed they had been talking about me. I ignored the stares and made my way over to the row of food.

I thought about going over and chatting with Louis, but it would probably be frowned upon by this high-class crowd. Come to think of it, I had never seen Gemma be as friendly to her staff as I was with Louis. A handful of people came over to talk to me; they were probably the most forward out of the group.

“Hello, Prince Harold. I am Duke Richard, this is Lord Kenneth and Lady Sabine.”

“Hello, it is nice to meet you all.” I said cautiously.

“Now, what’s the story?” Lady Sabine asked.

“Excuse me?” I was confused.

“You know, the story with the details. We want to know about the scandal that brought you here.” Sabine elaborated. They were gossips. Shit.

“There’s not much to tell.”

“Oh, come on. It’ll just stay between us,” she flirted. I didn’t believe her for one moment. I chose to eat something rather than answer.

She proceeded to bend over and grasp food in attempt to either flash me her cleavage or show off her ass. Either way, I wasn’t interested. But I didn’t feel like informing her that there was no way in Hell her tactics would work.

“Oh, come on, man. Don’t be such a hard ass. It’s just a story, it’s no big deal.” Kenneth said. He had gotten impatient over my lack of response or possibly because I wasn’t responding to her attempts at seduction.

I still wasn’t going to trust them. I may not know what’s kosher and what isn’t, but I know this was way off limits. Especially if my failed press session with Zayn was an indicator. I wasn’t going to go down this rabbit hole.

I guess Richard noticed his friends’ tactics weren’t working because he cut in.

“Stop being so rude, Kenneth,” he said in a silky voice. He kind of reminded me of the snake from the Jungle Book.

“I’m sorry for my friend. He can be so tactless at times.” He said like he was confiding something in me.

“You see we’re just all a bit curious. We just wondered where you’ve been hiding. It’s just in our nature to be curious and we just want answers so we can finally put to rest all the whispers passing through the crowds.” He made a convincing argument, but I still wasn’t going to answer. He was waiting for a response, and his face dropped when he realized I wasn’t going to give one.

“Oh, so you’re one of those. You think you’re so much better than us because you’re some upstart prince. You’ve only been here for about a week, so you don’t know anything Prince. We could make you or break you around here so you want us on your side. To be honest, you need every person you can get. It’s not like you have any skills.” He spat.

“Hello. I would say I’m sorry to interrupt, but I’m not. Come with me Harold.”

She grabbed me and pulled me aside to an adjoining room.

“Don’t listen to them, Harry. They’re just trying to tear you down. Don’t let them get to you.” I was surprised she was actually being nice to me.

I just shrugged it off like no big deal. It was, but I figured it would happen a lot so I better start getting used to it.

“Don’t just shrug at me. You can’t let people get you down. You can’t let them tell you what you can and can’t do!”

“But they’re probably right. I’m not suitable to be a prince.”

“Harry, don’t say that about yourself!”

“Why not?! I have little to no training, no clue about what I’m doing, and I’m just not fit for this.”

“What do you mean you’re not fit? You can’t learn these things over night and you don’t have to accept this if you don’t want to. But that’s your decision, you can’t let others decide for you.” There’s still something I was worried about.

“But it won’t matter how fit I am; they still won’t want me to be the prince.” She looked genuinely confused.

“Why?” she asked. I decided I needed to tell someone here. I was going to need someone on my side.

“Because I’m gay.” I muttered.

“What was that?”

“Because I’m gay.” I stated with more confidence than the last time.

“Oh.” I couldn’t face her. I was afraid of how she would react. She was finally being nice and I didn’t want to lose that.

“Well, at least I’ll still get to give birth to the heir.”

“What?!” That was not the reaction I had been expecting.

“I mean think about it. If you and your potential husband ever want kids, I’d probably get artificially inseminated with his semen so they still had royal blood. Or me and my potential husband would have kids and one of them would become the heir.”

“You’d carry a kid for me?” I was touched. Out of all the outcomes, this hadn’t crossed my mind.

“Of course, that’s what sister’s with gay brothers are for.”

“You called me your brother.”

“Of course. A girl can’t stay mad at someone for no good reason.” I gave her a look like oh really?

“Okay she can, but luckily for you I’m not going to. I know it’s not your fault that we didn’t know about you. I’m mad at Dad, but since he’s not here, I guess I transferred my anger towards you. I know it wasn’t fair, but I’m glad you stuck around long enough for me to calm down.”

“Thanks, Gem. So friends?”

“Nope. We’re siblings.” I laughed and we hugged. It was going to be nice to have someone on my side.

“Now just stick around me for the rest of the night and I’ll keep you out of trouble.”

“Okay. And Gemma?”

“Yeah.”

“Thanks again.”

“It’s no problem. Now let’s go before security comes looking.”

I followed her back into the room. I stuck around her for the rest of the night and Gemma politely cut off anyone who went into the wrong territory. It went a lot smoother with her around and I could actually hold a polite conversation without panicking or making a mistake.

People left and so I started gathering up the plates and the trash.

“What do you think you’re doing, Prince?” I jumped a bit. Louis had startled me by appearing out of nowhere.

“I’m helping clean up.” Wasn’t that obvious? We had guests over and now it was time to clean up, so I was cleaning up.

“That’s sweet, but that’s what the staff is for. You’re a prince, you don’t have to clean up.”

“Oh.” I finished what I was doing; I could never stop in the middle of a task. Then I walked with him back to my room.

“So how did it go, Prince?” He asked once we got back.

“Good. I had a talk with Gemma and we’re all good now, so that made everything better.”

“That’s good, Prince.” He sounded glad that we were on good terms.

“I was wondering, what do you think about that trio, Kenneth, Sabine, and Richard?”
“Why are you asking me?”

“Well, Gemma has known them forever and I don’t know if she’d give me a straight answer, or a biased one. You sit back and blend in. You see everything that happens and you aren’t influenced by the rest of the groups’ gossip.”

“Are you sure you want to know? I’ll be brutally honest, Prince.”

“I want your opinion.” I wanted his opinion for a couple of reasons. I liked that he had an outside view that Gemma wouldn’t have. And I know he’ll give me his true assessment. He wasn’t one to sugar coat things.

“I think they’re trouble. They’re nosy gossips that chase after the slightest hint of scandal. They’re also powerful; they can get people into a lot of trouble. You don’t want to piss them off, but at the same time you don’t want to let them get too close. They’re a fiendish trio, and you don’t want to get caught up in their games, Prince.”

I mulled this information over. I had a feeling he was right. I was going to file away his assessment for a later date. He had an astute eye and it would come in handy throughout the summer.

“So how have your tutor sessions been going, Prince?” I groaned.

“He has a boring monotone that drives me crazy. And he expects me to automatically know everything and anything under one hundred isn’t good enough. It’s frustrating because I try so hard, and I just keep getting more work.”

“It’s okay, Prince.”

“It’s not okay. He expects so much of me. I don’t know how to please him.”

“Who are you referring to, Prince?”

“What do you mean?”

“You aren’t really talking about your tutor, Prince.”

I didn’t respond.

“You realize, you haven’t talked once about your father, Prince.”

I stayed quiet.

“I’m not judging you. It’s just not good to keep things bottled up. It’s understandable for you to be confused about him, but sometimes it’s better to just talk it out.”

“It’s just, I never-ugh. I just don’t know. I’ve never even met the guy, how am I supposed to feel anything about him?”

  “Well, the truth of the matter is, stranger or not, your still going to have some kind of emotional attachment to him, because, whether you like it or not, he is your father, Prince.”

“I just-ugh- I know I should be mad at him for keeping me hidden, I know Gemma is. I just can’t be mad at him. It makes sense that he stayed away in some rational way, but I can only feel sad. He was my father and I never knew him, but I feel like I still want to prove myself to him. It’s ridiculous because he’s dead, but I want him to be proud of me.” I honestly didn’t know I felt all of that until I voiced it aloud.

“Of course he would be proud of you. You have handled more in the past two weeks than most people have to handle in a lifetime. And you’ve handled it well, Prince.”

“You can’t know that, Louis.”

“It’s true that I didn’t really know him, but anyone would be proud of how well you’ve handled yourself, Prince.”

“Okay. Can you do me one more favor?”

“What, Prince?”

“Can you help me study these names, because they are totally kicking my ass?” He laughed and I laughed along with him.

We stayed up late studying and we both fell asleep on my bed. He was still there when I woke up. We had somehow twisted around and he was wrapped around me. He was always a protector, even in his sleep.

It was about nine in the morning, when Zayn walked in. His eyes went wide and I put a finger over my lips in hopes he would keep quiet. We had stayed up until about three in the morning and we could probably use more sleep. He didn’t look too happy as he backed out of the room. Whatever was wrong, he wasn’t going to tell me, so I fell back asleep.

I woke up a while later when I felt Louis shifting.

“Morning.” I muttered.

“Morning.” He was probably surprised that I was awake and forgot my moniker for once.

“What time is it?”

“Just about noon, Prince.” No longer startled, I take it.

“Thanks.” I started to get up and went to the bathroom.

When I got back out he was gone. I just shrugged it off. Louis does what Louis wants. I’d see him eventually. For now, it was Saturday. What to do with my day off?

If Liam thought it was weird for Louis to have spent the night in my room, he didn’t say anything. He just followed me around as per the usual. I wandered the castle grounds and ended up in a rose garden. I let out a chuckle.

“What are you laughing about?” Liam asked.

“Just thinking how fitting it would be if we started painting the roses red.” He looked confused.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, when Louis first showed me around the castle, we joked that I was Alice from Alice in Wonderland.”

“Oh.” I smiled at the memory.

“You and Louis seem pretty close.”

“Yeah, he’s pretty nice. He just seems to understand, or at least he’s willing to listen. It’s helpful.”

“So last night…” He trailed off.

“He was helping me study my family tree and the noble’s names. We kind of fell asleep in the middle of studying.”

“I see.” He said neutrally. I didn’t take it to heart, though I kind of hoped it could be more than that, but at this point I know it’s not and there’s no use worrying Liam.

“Shall we paint the roses red?” I said with a wink. He laughed and I stuck my arm through his and proceeded to skip into the rose garden with a startled Liam in tow. I made my way to a patch of flowers and let go of Liam.

“Let’s see if I remember how to do this…”

“Do what?” He asked.

“You’ll see.”

I started plucking flowers and tried to remember how to fold them together. It took me about a half an hour until I finally got them right.

“Close your eyes.” I told Liam.

He complied with a huff and I plopped the flower crown on his head.

“What is that?” he asked when he opened his eyes.

“A flower crown, of course.” I put on the one I made for myself.

“I also made one for Louis and one for Zayn.”

“Good luck getting them on the two of them.”

“I won’t know if I can until I try. Where do you think I could find them?”

“The kitchen would be a good place to start.”

We found them goofing off in the kitchen. Since they were distracted, I decided to try and sneak up on them. I managed to slap them on their heads and then jumped back when they turned around. Zayn scowled and Louis let out a “What the fuck?”

I giggled. The three of them looked hilarious in their colorful flower crowns.

“You touched my quiff! I can’t believe you touched my quiff!” Zayn exclaimed.

“Although they may look cute on you, Prince, the rest of us are a little too manly to pull off flowers in our hair.”

I blushed. He called me cute. I shut that thought out. But I still smiled from ear to ear. Then I realized the insult in his words.

“Hey, I can be manly!”

“Says the guy who spent the last half an hour folding these crowns.” Liam pitched in.

“I’m just surprised you were brave enough to touch the sacred quiff, Prince!” Zayn scowled at Louis’ words and I laughed.

“I’m surprised he’s not shouting: off with her head!” I laughed even harder and Louis joined me. Zayn stared at us like we were crazy and Liam just shook his head at our antics.

I was going to have some interesting stories by the end of the summer.

Chapter Text

I spent Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday doing homework. I mean all day, from when I got off from tutoring to when I passed out on top of my books. By the time Thursday rolled around I was exhausted and stressed, but I tried not to let it show.

“Good morning, Prince Harold.” Mr. Peabody greeted.

“Good morning, Sir.”

“Let’s begin.”

We went over various nobles’ territories and then transitioned to French and Latin and even a touch of German. Four hours flew by and then he was assigning another impossible pile of homework.

“Tonight you need to memorize the vocabulary in Chapter four. You need to memorize this map of territories. You also need to do the next section in your workbook.”

“No.” I replied simply.

“Excuse me?”

“No. I understand I need to learn a lot and I have a lot to make up for, but this is too much. If I keep up at this pace I will burn out, and there will be no point in learning all of this if my sanity goes out the window.” I was surprised at how calm and even my voice sounded.

He examined me to see if I’d give, but I just held his gaze and hoped some of my nervousness didn’t show on my face.

“Good.”

“What?” I asked confused.

“You need to learn how to balance work and leisure. You don’t want to ‘burn out’ as you put it. You need to be firm, because if you do too much, all your work will suffer.”

“Oh.”

“So, tonight I want you to just relax. You’ve earned it.”

“Thanks.”

“You actually lasted longer than I thought you would. Your work ethic is impressive. I hope I continue to see good things from you.”

“Um, thank you, Sir.” I was shocked. He never seemed to feel either way about me, it was nice to finally get some recognition for the fact I’ve been working my ass off. I can’t wait to tell Louis

I went with Zayn for the usual lunch in the kitchen. I was eating when Louis walked in and Zayn and him had a hushed chat before he left and Louis took over. Louis sauntered over.

“So I hear you got the day off, Prince.”

“You heard correctly.”

“So what are you going to do, Prince?”

“I have no clue. Probably relax.”

“Well come on then. We’ll get something figured out, Prince.”

We headed to my room and I jumped on my bed. He stood to the side thinking.

“What are you thinking about?”

“I’m trying to decide what to do with you, Prince.” I snickered a little but let him reach a decision.

“Do you have a twitter, Prince?”

“Uh, no.” He looked mock horrified.

“Now that certainly won’t do. I mean how are the adoring fans supposed to shower the grand Prince of Myoria with attention, if he doesn’t have a twitter?”

“Ha ha. Absolutely hilarious, Louis.”

“Nonsense, now we must rectify this situation, Prince. Where’s your laptop?”

“Over there on the desk somewhere.”

He nodded in acknowledgement and grabbed my laptop and charger. He plugged the charger in and joined me on my bed. He pulled open the laptop and passed it to me so I could type in my password. As soon as it was unlocked, he took it back and got to work.

“Full name, Prince?” I rolled my eyes.

“You know this would be faster if I did this, right?”

“Full name, Prince.” I rolled my eyes and gave in.

“Harold Edward Styles.”

“E-mail?” He said brusquely.

I rattled off one of my random e-mail addresses I use for spam/people I don’t like.

“Password. What should your password be, Prince?” It seemed like a rhetorical question.

“Oh I know. Louisisawesome. No. Louis>you. No. Louis&Tiaras. Yes. I like that one. Now the username, Prince.”

“Why not just @Harry_Styles?”

“Really, Prince? Isn’t that a bit boring?”

“Maybe. But it’s simple and easy.”

“Fine. Here confirm your e-mail, Prince.” He handed me my computer so I could confirm my e-mail.

“Now, let’s fix your bio, Prince.”

“How about, Prince of Myoria at your service?” He paused.

“Oh, do I get to have an opinion this time?” He rolled his eyes at me.

“Of course, it’s your account, Prince.”

“Um. How about teenage boy locked in a tower?” Louis rolled his eyes, again. One of these days, his eyes are going to get stuck in the process.

“No. Something more official.”

“Grand Prince of Myoria who can’t write worth shit.”

“True, but no.”

“Hey!” He chuckled at my indignant tone.

“Um, let’s see…. How about Teenage boy who may also be the Prince of Myoria?”

“I guess it’s good enough for now. Now we need a photo of you.”

He found the photos folder on my computer and started going through them.

“When was this photo taken?” I looked over and it was a photo of me in black skinny jeans, a black button up and a dark grey blazer.

“Oh, God. I can’t believe that’s still on there.” I groaned.

“Ooh, now I’m really interested. Do tell.”

“That was the first and the last time Grimmy and Niall decided to set me up on a blind date.”

“Oh really? Please go on.”

“You’re not going to make this easy, are you?”

“Never.” He retorted.

“Okay. Well, first off, I had never been out on a date before, so they took it upon themselves to set me up. We went on a group date, Grimmy with some guy whose name I don’t remember and Niall with one of the girls from the cheerleading squad that he dated for a couple of weeks afterward.

They set me up with this girl named Annie May. She was on the cheerleading squad and about as naïve as they come. She hung all over me when we went to dinner and chattered endlessly about meaningless crap. It was clothes this, her hair that, and look at how pretty I am!

Needless to say, she thought the date went great and I was dying to get away from her. Halfway through, I noticed Niall and Grimmy starting to pretend to take shots whenever she talked about something appearance related. I joined them and we almost snorted our drinks when all five of us, excluding her, took a shot.

The poor girl didn’t understand what was going on. I took her home and she looked like she was waiting for a kiss or something, which ended in a very awkward goodbye. Needless to say I never let them set me up again and gave them a very stern lectures on how awful of friends they were, which didn’t end the way I thought it would. All in all, it wasn’t that bad of a day.”

I left out the reason why.

*a few months ago*

“I can’t believe you set me up on such a horrible date! Not that I would have enjoyed any date with a girl, because I’m gay. But seriously, she was so awful! Why would you do this?”

I took in their faces and they looked like they were trying really hard not to laugh. Then I realized I had just come out to them. I thought about it.

“You sneaky bastards! You did this on purpose. You set me up with the worst date ever so I would out myself!”

“Well, it’s about time you figured it out.” Grimmy commented.

“I mean our plan was so obvious. I thought you were going to drown yourself in your soup at one point. Though you could have saved us the trouble by outing yourself earlier. Seriously, we’ve known for a while now that you had no interest in the opposite gender.” He continued on.

“Yeah, yeah. In retrospect it was stupid to keep it quiet, now can we all agree to never do that again?”

“If I must.” Grimmy responded and Niall nodded.

**

That had been a good night because I finally accepted who I was. I came out to my mother the next morning and she was all like ‘that’s nice dear’ and continued reading the newspaper.

“Interesting.” He commented. He probably knew I was leaving something out, but he didn’t press.

“So, now that there is a photo, what’s next?”

“Well, do any of your friends have an account?”

“Niall does. I think his is @NiallOfficial.”

“Okay, I’m adding him too.”

“What do you mean, too? Who else are you adding?”

“Why me, of course. That should be completely obvious.”

“Oh, okay.”

He fiddled around a little longer before finally putting down my laptop.

“Now let’s see how long it takes for your fan girls to find you.”

“Fan girls?” I looked at him skeptically.

“Of course, fan girls. Like my sisters in all likelihood.”

“Oh, so you have sisters now, do you?”

“Yeah. Four of them actually.”

“What are their names?” I was genuinely curious. Normally Louis never talks about himself, so I was eager to listen to anything he was willing to tell me.

“The oldest one is Charlotte and she goes by Lottie. Then there’s Felicity, who goes by Fizzy. The twins are the youngest and their names are Daisy and Phoebe.”

“I bet you miss them.”

“Yeah. I go home when I can. I’m just lucky they don’t live too far away.”

My computer made a funky sound.

“Looks like you got a tweet. Let’s have a look, shall we?” He pulled the computer over.

@NiallOfficial: @Louis_Tomlinson has obviously failed to keep @Harry_Styles safe from internet predators. #bodyguardfails

“Hey! I am offended by that!”

“I don’t think he can here you, Louis.”

He pulled out his phone and I realized he must have twitter on his phone.

@Louis_Tomlinson: I keep @Harry_Styles perfectly safe no thanks to @NiallOfficial and his food devouring ways. #eatingyourfriendsiscannibalism.

I chuckled when his response popped up on my screen. A war was starting. This could get very interesting.

@Harry_Styles: @Louis_Tomlinson @NiallOfficial I am not a food group! #notthenewwhitemeat

I heard Louis chuckle at me.

“Not the new white meat, Prince? Really?”

@NiallOfficial: Shouldn’t @Louis_Tomlinson be worried about the girls trying to devour @Harry_Styles. #chickmagnet

I was turning bright red at the last one. I could picture Niall sitting at his computer and writing that just to spite me.

“So Louis?” I said in an attempt to distract him from replying.

“What?”

“Are there any other important people in your life?” More family, friends….significant other…

“Well there’s also my mom, Jay. She can be hardheaded and stubborn at times, but she’s also like my best friend. I can tell her anything. Then there’s Zayn and Liam who are my friends. I may be their superior at work, but we’re still fairly close. I’m glad they’re part of my team. I trust them and you’re lucky to have them working for you.”

“Well that speech changed from friends to your security team, fairly quickly.” He stuck his tongue out at me, while I laughed.

“Tell me more about Zayn and Liam.”

“Ah, so they have names now, not just security team.” This time it was my turn to roll my eyes.

“Okay well Liam is friendly, if you haven’t already notice. He’s pretty cool about everything as long as you don’t do anything he determined stupid or reckless. Zayn’s quiet and takes a while to warm up to, but he’s fiercely loyal and a major goofball. And here’s where I insert my lecture about please don’t do anything stupid as far as your safety is concerned. And try not to get too disheartened by stupid people.”

“Good to know.” We sat in silence for a few minutes.

“Hey, what time is it?”

“Oh, wow. It’s almost six. Wanna go get some food, Prince?”

“Absolutely. You do realize this is the first time you’ve called me Prince in a couple of hours?”

“That can’t be right, Prince…” He trailed off, lost in thought.

“Well it’s not my fault; I was distracted by having to defend my honor against the treacherous Niall, Prince.”

I just shut my laptop and rolled off the bed, not bothering to dignify that with a response. I followed him back down to the kitchen where Zayn and Liam were already eating.

“Hey Zayn! Hey Liam!” I greeted.

“Hey Harry, how are you?” Liam responded.

“Quite good, thanks. Having a day off is rather nice. How has your day been?”

“Fairly good, I just woke up though. I have tonight’s shift. What have you been up to today?”

“Just chillin’. Louis helped me make a twitter and then proceeded to have an argument with Niall.” I saw Zayn raise his eyebrows.

“Oh really?” Zayn seemed to direct at Louis.

“Yes, really. I had to defend my honor, Zaynie.” He said it like it was the obvious thing to do. I don’t think Zayn appreciated the nickname, though.

I grabbed a plate and started eating. After we were done, Liam spoke up.

“So what are you going to do now?”

“I don’t know.”

“Have you gone bowling yet?” Liam asked.

“Where would I do that? It’s seems like it would be a mess for security to take me out to a bowling alley.” I was genuinely confused.

“No, it would be no problem. There’s a bowling alley in the west wing.”

“Oh cool.”

“Want to go bowling?” Zayn pitched in.

“Uh, sure.” I was surprised Zayn spoke directly to me about something other than my safety.

I followed the other boys across the palace to the in-house alley. We each picked out a ball while I continued to gape around. I couldn’t believe there was a bowling alley.

“Hello! Anyone in there, Prince?” Louis said while snapping his fingers in front of my face.

“What? Yeah. Just a little in awe.”

“Come on. Let’s get started, Prince.”

“Okay, but aren’t you supposed to be on duty?”

“Are you worried about your safety, Prince?”

“No, just curious and wouldn’t want to get you in trouble.”

“Don’t worry, between the three of us you should be safe, Prince.”

“Yeah, don’t worry about it.” Liam added on. I wasn’t really worried; I had just been curious. I was beginning to notice the other security teams don’t act the way mine does and I don’t know how to interpret that.

Liam went first making a spare. Zayn followed with a spare as well. Louis went next and made a strike. I gave him a high five because, why not?

“Let’s see what you’ve got.”

“I’m warning you now, coordination doesn’t exactly exist in my vocabulary.”

“Come on Prince, don’t you think you’re being a bit overdramatic? I mean I should know, I was in theatre back in the day.” That was an interesting fact. On the other hand, I wasn’t being overdramatic.

I swung back my arm and released the ball at the end of my swing, at a wonky angle. It went into the left gutter spun off and managed to get back on to the lane, only to end up in the right gutter. The boys just stared, open mouthed at the lane and then me and back again. Zayn broke the silence.

“Well, I guess you were being kind in your description.” 

I didn’t feel embarrassed. I was used to it and accepted my issues with coordination.

“My friends like to say I’m all heart and no skill.” I threw out there.

“No shit, Prince!” Louis snorted. I shrugged my shoulders like what can I do?

We kept playing and I got my ass kicked, of course. Zayn ended up winning and getting five euros from Liam and Louis for having the most strikes, six in a row.

I learned that Liam and Zayn weren’t actually from here; they both came from England. Apparently Zayn’s tan complexion came from him being half Pakistani and spending a lot of time in the sun with Louis. All three of them played football at school and were recruited into a bodyguard academy straight out of sixth form, which I guess is like their high school. I don’t really understand the British/European schooling system.

Zayn warmed up to me a little, although he still isn’t that talkative. I don’t mind, I know not everyone is as free flowing with words as Louis is.

We decided to play a second round and everyone tried to teach me how to bowl ‘correctly,’ as deemed by them. Zayn insisted it was all in the swing and tried to make my arm movements more efficient. Liam tried to adjust my stance so I didn’t end up turning when I rolled the ball.

Nothing really helped until Louis pressed against my back and grabbed my wrist of the hand holding the ball. He swung back and then stepped forward, me moving in sync and somehow letting the ball go at the right time.

“I got a strike? I got a strike. I got a strike!” I turned around and threw my hands up.

I got high fives from everyone and managed to snag a ‘manly’ hug from Louis. I say that to defend what’s left of my dignity, because I’m pretty sure I squealed when the pins went down. After things calmed down a bit we started talking.

“So how have your lessons been going?” Liam asked. He sounded genuinely interested.

“Pretty good actually. I mean not necessarily good per se, because of the sheer amount of work I’ve been doing, but things are going to go better now.”

“How so?”

“I guess I didn’t tell you guys why I got the day off, did I?”

“No, you didn’t.” Louis stated.

“Well you guys know I’ve been studying constantly, right?” They all nodded. They had all found me, at one point or another, asleep with my face plastered to a textbook or notebook.

“So today I finally told Mr. Peabody that it was way too much work and there was no way I could do it all. And he told me it was about time I stood up to him and to take the rest of the day off for finally realizing I can’t be a workaholic and expect to remain functioning.”

I got a shocked look from Liam. I still couldn’t read Zayn well enough to know what emotion he was showing. I think I saw something that looked a little like admiration in Louis’ eyes. I hope I get to see that look directed at me more often as I try and figure this royal thing out.

“Oh, by the way. Do either of you have a twitter?” I asked Zayn and Liam.

“Um, yeah. Mine is @Real_Liam_Payne and Zayn’s is @zaynmalik. Why?”

“Well Louis made me a twitter account today so I was going to follow you.”

“Oh, okay.” Liam said but I felt like there was something more.

“Is something wrong?”

“No, it’s just unusual. Most of the people here like to pretend the staff doesn’t exist. It’s just weird to have a client who acknowledges our presence.” He stated it like a fact.

“Oh. I’m sorry.” So the whole ‘we’re better than the staff’ mentality is real?

“Don’t worry your pretty little head, Prince. We’re tough.”

I understand they’re used to it, but it still doesn’t seem right. I knew better than to push the issue though. Now wasn’t the time. But I was going to make sure that, no matter if I stay at the end of the summer or not, I wouldn’t ignore any of the staff.

We put away our balls and headed back up to my room. It was weird to hang out all four of us, but it was nice to start feeling less alone here. I mean if one of them would be around me all the time, it wouldn’t hurt to befriend them all, not just the one I may, in all likelihood, definitely have a crush on.

I let out a huge yawn when we managed to get back to my room and I decided I’d be better off going to bed.

“Night, guys.”

“Night.” Zayn said.

“Good Night, Harry.” That was Liam.

“Good Night, Prince.” Louis wouldn’t let the moniker go, accept for when he had forgotten earlier. Maybe one day though.

I went and took a quick shower and heard hushed voices on the other side of the door when I got out.

“Louis, what were you thinking?” The harsh voice sounded like Zayn.

“Oh come off it, Zayn. He needed a day to relax and he’s going to need a twitter account. I don’t know what you’re going off about.”

“You seem pretty damn sure he’s going to stay.” Zayn retorted. I guess Liam was staying out of this one.

“So what? He’s got potential; I mean he told Mr. Peabody off and that takes some balls. I don’t think Gemma’s ever done that.”

“You have a lot of faith in a boy you’ve just met. Are you sure you just want to be friends?”

“What are you saying, Zayn?”

“I’m just saying that you should remember he’s a client and a bloody Prince at that. Just remember there are lines.”

“I know that, Zayn. I’m staying within the lines.” And oh how I wish it wasn’t true.

Looks like my crush will be staying just that.

I heard them walk off, well more like it sounded like Louis stormed off. Since there was nothing else to learn by staying up I figured I was better off going to sleep. Easier said than done, since my mind decided it was better to swirl with thoughts of Louis.

Chapter Text

It’s Friday… I can’t decide whether to be happy because I don’t have to wake up early for lessons tomorrow or in a state of dread for whatever social event has been planned for tonight. I went to my lesson as usual and while I still got a pile of homework, it was nowhere near as severe as it had been.

We had just eaten lunch and Liam was guiding me back to my room, when he got a message in his bodyguard earpiece thingy. Then he started guiding me in a new direction and took me to a parlor looking room.

“Hello, Harry.” My grandmother greeted. This must be the reason for our side trip.

“Hi, Lena.” I returned.

“Please have a seat.” I sat across from her. I wasn’t quite sure what she wanted so I probably gave off a wary look.

“Don’t worry, Dear, you’re not in any trouble. I just wanted to check up on you and make sure everything is going well.” I sat down to join her and realized Liam had disappeared. I guess this conversation was going to stay between the two of us.

There was an awkward silence hanging in the air. I didn’t know what to say or how to break the tension, so I just fidgeted in my seat a little, trying not to be too obvious in my discomfort.

“So, I talked to Mr. Peabody yesterday. He said you’ve been doing rather well in your studies. I want to know how everything else is going.”

“Like what, more specifically?”

“Like how have you been settling in?”

“Fairly well. Gemma and I are getting along and I’m finally starting to learn my way around this place.” She let a chuckle at that.

“How are you getting along with the staff?”

“Pretty well. The staff,” I mentally cringed at the use of that word, “are all pretty nice. Louis, Liam, and Zayn are pretty cool and have been really helpful.” I didn’t want to risk getting anyone in trouble by mentioning bowling yesterday. I, also, didn’t want to single Louis out as being especially helpful, either.

“That’s good. So I was thinking instead of going to the usual Friday banquet, we could spend the afternoon together.”

“That’s sounds good to me.” It actually did. I didn’t want to face another event with Gemma’s friends quite yet, and it would be nice to get to know my grandmother. We got up and she led me through to a different wing of the castle and out into the garden. We sat on a bench, with her sitting prim and proper, and well let’s just say I wasn’t.

“So tell me a little about yourself.”

“Well, let’s see… I’m seventeen. I’m going to be a senior in high school next year, but I’m not really sure where I want to go to college or what I want to major in. I guess that’s kind of a moot point until the end of the summer, though. I have two friends, Niall and Grimmy. Niall is constantly eating everything in sight. Grimmy is, how should I put this… sassy and meddling, but he always means well.

I like to read. A lot. I’ve always been known as a bookworm at school. I get good grades in school and like a little bit of every subject. That makes it harder to know what to do after high school since I have so many interests.”

Her face didn’t give away any of her thoughts. I guess after being a queen for years, you learn to hide things.

“Well, I guess it’s my turn. I was raised here to be queen. When I came of age, I was married to my husband, Nikolas, may he rest in peace. It was an arranged marriage, but we became the best of friends, and loved each other in our own way. I have been a queen for a couple decades and I try to do right by my people.

Now your father, may he rest in peace, was a lovely lad. He was always a kind boy, but a little headstrong. Though at the bottom of it all, he still loved his country. He was bound by his internal honor code at all stages of life. He married Gemma’s mother, it was arranged too, and they lived happily for a while. She died when she gave birth to Gemma.

He was sad after, but he went on a trip one year and came back happier. Looking back on it now, I would assume it was because he had met your mother. I guess hindsight is twenty-twenty. He loved you and your mother, but he was always bound by his honor code. It was both a blessing and a curse.”

We let the conversation fade as I mulled over all this new information. We sat there for a while trading bits and pieces of information and just making small talk. As time went on, our conversation became smoother and felt less like a struggle. Eventually, we went inside and shared a dinner, and then she had to go back to work.

We spent the next week talking for at least a half an hour a day. She was kind, and a little peculiar from living in a palace her whole life. I admired her work ethic. She started talking to me about politics here and there. She would ask me my opinion on a subject or two, but she never gave off how she felt about my answers. She was testing me and I couldn’t blame her, but it was still nice to talk to her so I had some sense of family again, since I’m away from my mother.

Friday rolled around again and I was getting ready for another one of Gemma’s banquets between ‘friends.’ I stuck somewhat close to her the whole night and managed to avoid another confrontation with the terrible trio. I was taking a break in a corner when I was approached by a girl.

“Hello, Prince Harold. I am Lady Lauralie.”

“It is very nice to meet you, Lady Lauralie.” I said as I shook her hand. She giggled.

“The pleasures all mine, Prince Harold.” She giggled. Ugh, she was one of those girls.

“What can I do for you, Lady Lauralie?” I figured I might as well cut to the chase. It was always about something they want with these girls.

“Well, Prince Harold, my father has business to attend to here tomorrow. I was wondering if you would be so kind as to keep me company, while I wait for him to finish working.” That sounded reasonable. Plus it could come in handy to have more than just Gemma on my side in this group of people.

“Sure. I don’t see why not. What time are you going to be here, Lady Lauralie?”

“Around one o’clock, and please just call me Lauralie.”

“Please call me Harry, Harold makes me feel like an old man.”

“You are definitely not an old man.”

“Exactly.” She seemed nice enough. Maybe we could become fast friends.

The rest of the banquet went off without a hitch, and I tried to help clean again, out of habit and was scolded by Gemma for it. Louis escorted me back to my room and seemed uncharacteristically quiet.

“Hey, Louis?”

“Yes, Prince?”

“Are you okay?” That seemed to shock him back into his quiet mask of professionalism.

“Yes, I’m fine. Now you should go to bed, Prince. You have a big day tomorrow with Lady Lauralie.” His tone still seemed a little tense.

“Okay, good night.”

“Good night, Prince.”

Lady Lauralie arrived promptly on time and Louis was on duty as my escort today. It was a little weird for him to be on duty two afternoons in a row, but I just shrugged it off.

“Hello, Lauralie. How are you doing today?”

“Quite fine, Harry. Thank you for asking. How are you?”

“I’m doing well. What would you like to do today?”

“I was thinking we could go watch a movie in the theatre room.”

“There’s a theatre room?” There was still so much I didn’t know about this castle.

“Of course there is, silly.” I was feeling slightly patronized, but I wasn’t going to comment.

“Sounds good.”

Apparently she knew the way to theatre because she hooked her arm with mine and led the way.

“Harry, there’s someone following us.” I guess I had gotten so used to it that I didn’t think of it as odd anymore.

“That’s Louis; he’s one of my bodyguards.” I turned and smiled at him.

She pulled my arm closer and I stumbled a bit and heard a chuckle behind me. I tried to ignore my slight blush in hopes it would go away.

“So, what do you want to watch?”

“It doesn’t matter to me, you can pick.”

She ended up picking She’s the Man. In the movie Viola (Amanda Bynes) pretends to be a boy so she can play on the soccer team and ends up rooming with Duke (Channing Tatum).

“Channing Tatum is so hot.”

“That he is. Did you see him in Step Up?”

“Yes! OMG he was so awesome in that movie. All those rippled muscles and his killer dance moves.”

“Yeah, and then in the second movie he did that trampoline routine and hooked his shirt on the beam pulling it off.”

“Exactly.” I looked back to the screen and snorted as Viola tried to explain the reason she had tampons was because she had bad nosebleeds.

I peered over at where Louis was standing and looking at me with an odd look on his face. We got to the kissing booth scene where Duke, Viola’s love interest, wants to kiss Olivia, a girl he’s had a crush on. Viola switches with Olivia right as he was at the front of the line.

“If I had to be someone in this scene, I’d want to be Viola. Who would you want to be?” She batted her eyelashes and I wondered if she had something stuck in her eyes.

“Well I certainly wouldn’t want to be her ex-boyfriend, that’s for sure!” I answered honestly as he got in a fight with Duke at their fair.

Louis raised an eyebrow at me. I tilted my head trying to ask ‘what’ without saying anything. His eyes moved back and forth between her and me. I shot him a confused expression as she scooted closer to me. He gave me a disbelieving look and I probably looked exasperated. I had no clue what was going on.

We finished the movie and headed back out to the main entrance. Louis had informed us her father was finished and waiting for her so he could head out.

“Bye, Lauralie.”

“Good bye, Harry. I had a very nice time.”

“I’m glad.”

I awkwardly stood there and she just looked at me. I tried not to fidget. She suddenly rushed forward and I stumbled back at the rapid movement out of instinct.

“Why’d you move?” She sounded slightly miffed.

“I wasn’t expecting you to rapidly move towards me so of course I stepped back.”

“What do you mean you weren’t expecting it? You’re supposed to kiss people at the end of a date.”

“A date?” I spluttered. What was she talking about? I heard a choked noise behind me.

“Yeah, a date. You know a movie.”

“I’m confused.” That seemed to be the last straw and she walked out the door leaving me completely lost. I heard a loud bout of laughter erupt behind me.

“What’s so funny, Louis?”

“Its just-I can’t believe-come with me.” He let out between laughs shaking his body.

I followed him back to my room where he collapsed into my desk chair to finally clear the laughter from his system.

“Louis, would you please tell me what’s going on?” I practically whined.

He finally started breathing well enough to tell me what was going on.

“It’s just, yesterday she asked you to keep her company, right?”

“Yes.”

“And you said yes.”

“Of course. It was the polite thing to do. It couldn’t hurt me to spend two hours with her.” He looked like he was trying not to laugh again.

“What?”

“Are you really that oblivious?”

“Oblivious of what?!”

“She asked you out on a date!”

My jaw dropped. I’m pretty sure my eyes bugged out like a cartoon character.

“That is too precious. I can’t believe you didn’t realize it.” I groaned.

“Is that why you kept shooting me looks?”

“Yeah, I was confused. She kept scooting closer and you were pretty much ignoring her. No yawn over the shoulder arm movement. It was like you were completely uninterested.”

“That’s because I was.”

“That would explain you not picking Duke when she asked who you would want to be. I almost cringed from the awkwardness.”

“Well there was no way I wanted to kiss her. Truth be told, I’d rather have kissed Duke than Viola, if you catch my drift.”

I can’t believe that slipped out of my mouth. I just outed myself to my bodyguard, and not just any bodyguard it was Louis. Louis, the guy I was totally crushing on. I cradled my head in my hands out of embarrassment. Why did he have to be so goddamned easy to talk to?

I felt the bed dip beside me and an arm wrap around my shoulders.

“Hey, it’s okay.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. This doesn’t change anything.” There was a silence as I leaned into his shoulder.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“What do you want to know?”

“Well, who knows first off?”

“My mom knew first. I came out to her about two years ago. I told Niall and Grimmy soon afterward. I came out in school about a year or a year and a half ago. I told Gemma about two weeks ago, and now you know.”

“So you aren’t having a sexuality crisis?”

“Oh, no. It’s more like I wonder sometimes how everyone else will handle me being gay. I mean princes are typically known for their ability to have pretty girls on their arms and produce many offspring.”

“I see.” He seemed like he was holding something back, but I wasn’t going to point it out.

“I’m okay with who I am, I know that other people may not be. I, also, don’t want to create drama before I know whether or not I’m staying. It’s better to avoid causing panic until I am sure I’m going to see it through. It would be bad for me to come out and then leave. People can be hateful enough in normal society, no need to add a crown. Besides, I think I had enough princess taunts that last week of school to last me a while. ”

“Makes sense.”

“Are you sure you’re okay with it?”

“Yeah. I’m just thinking.” Well what does that mean?

“Okay...”

“Harry!” Gemma shouted as she burst into my room.

“Yeah, Gemma.”

“You went on a date with Lauralie!” It didn’t sound like a question, but I answered anyway.

“Apparently.”

“What do you mean apparently?” She demanded.

“Well, Prince Harry over here didn’t realize she had asked him out on a date and was being polite by keeping her company.”

“I see.” She narrowed her eyes at Louis.

“Calm down, Gemma. He knows I’m gay which was probably why I didn’t consider the possibility she was asking me out.” She took a moment to ponder this.

“That is priceless. You have to tell me everything that happened.” I groaned and pulled a pillow over my head, while Louis started recounting the date.

“So she pulled him down to the theatre to watch She’s the Man. Every couple of minutes she’d scoot closer or bat her eyes and he just kept sitting there staring straight ahead. I can’t believe she didn’t realize he wasn’t into her. They bonded over the fact Channing Tatum was hot!”

“No!” Apparently she was willing to forget the fact he was staff in order to get her story.

“Yes!”

“I have second hand embarrassment here.”

“Oh, it got better. She was talking about the kissing booth scene saying she’d like to be Viola and Harry said he wouldn’t want to be her ex-boyfriend.” There was a laugh.

“Harry! I can’t believe you said that.”

“What!?” I retorted.

“I wasn’t going to say I wanted to be Duke because I didn’t want to kiss her. I wasn’t going to say I wanted to be Viola because I have no desire to spontaneously become a woman, even if it brought me closer to Channing Tatum’s infamous abs.”  This brought another round of laughter at my expense. “What is it this time?”

“It’s just you’re so obvious about it. How could she not have noticed? You’re so obviously gay and not interested.”

“It gets even better.” He trilled.

“Ooh, please go on.”

“When he walked her out, she tried to kiss him!”

“Can you say, desperate?”

“No kidding. Poor Harold here, tripped over himself trying to backpedal away from her.”

“That is too priceless.” She smacked me on the shoulder.

“Why didn’t you invite me to come along?”

“Well, I was being oblivious, so I couldn’t have invited you along.”

“Too true.”

“I can’t wait to give her shit about this.”

“You can’t, Gemma. I’m not coming out, yet.”

“Fine, fine, but when you do come out, I get to rub it in.”

“Be my guest.”

“Oh, by the way I was talking to Grandma before I came up here.”

“And?”

“And, we were discussing ways to add extra incentive for you to accept the crown.” This was not going in a good direction.

“She thinks that I should set you up on dates in order to try and keep you here.”

“That is too priceless. Please tell me I get to be on duty for this.”

“That’s a great idea, actually. You can go on dates with him and feed me covert information on how it went and all the dirty details Harry won’t be paying attention to.” I groaned out loud at that.

“Hello?”

“And then you can talk to the girls and get all the information from them. We can laugh about how silly they are to be throwing themselves at him because he’s a Prince.”

“Hello?”

“That is too perfect. We might have to coach him on how to date. And pick out his clothes. We might as well just figure out the whole date for him.”

“HEY!”

“What?”

“Do I have any say in this?”

They looked at each other.

“No!” they shouted simultaneously and returned to planning. I was in for a long ride.

Chapter Text

I thought it might have been all talk when nothing happened Sunday. I just did my homework and shot off a quick e-mail to Niall and Grimmy. I was starting to miss them, though most of the time I was too busy to feel homesick.

 

But anyway, Monday came around and I was ambushed as soon as I got out of my tutoring lesson. Apparently Louis was on duty and Gemma popped up as soon as we made it into the kitchen.

“Are you ready?” Gemma asked.

“For what?” I asked, confused.

“For your dating lessons, of course.” She said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

“Oh. You were serious?”

“Of course. Why would I ever joke about something so serious as that?”

I chose not to answer and kept working my way through lunch instead. We all headed back to my room and Gemma immediately set to work.

“So, what would you like to do first?”

“Wait, you mean I have options?”

“I wasn’t talking to you. I was talking to Louis.”

“You might want to do the practice date first, so you still have time for your studies later.”

“Practice date?”

“Yes, practice date, since your real date was painful.”

“I didn’t know it was a date!” I exclaimed, but apparently that wasn’t a good excuse.

“Doesn’t matter. You’re in politics now, you must be charming all the time.”

“I was charming enough for her to want to kiss me!”

“Doesn’t count. Now, come sit here on the bed with me so you can practice.”

I groaned and joined her on the bed.

“If I’m pretending to date her, what are you doing?” I asked Louis in hopes he wouldn’t stick around to see me totally fuck this this up. Nobody wants to have their crush watch them totally botch a date.

 “I am here to observe and instruct.” He said in a crisp, cool, business voice.

“O-okay.” I stuttered out.

“Let’s begin.” Gemma interrupted my awkwardness to begin with further awkwardness.

“So Harry, I absolutely love your curls.” She said in an overly sweet voice with an added eyelash flutter for emphasis.

“Thanks?”

“That came out more as a question than a statement.”

I cleared my throat and then tried again.

“Thanks.”

Then came the awkward long pause.

“Now you should compliment her in return.”

“Oh, um… You’re dress looks nice on you.” It probably still had a tone of uncertainty in it, but no one pointed it out.

“Why, thank you Prince Harry. It’s nice of you to notice.”

“No problem.”

“So how does it feel to be a prince?” She gushed.

My eyes widened. I was panicking a little. How was I supposed to answer that when I wasn’t sure of myself?

“Well, it’s different. That’s for sure. Now tell me about you. What is it like to be you?”

“That was an interesting deflection, Prince.”

“I agree. Now let’s pretend I’m self-centered and conceited. Half the girls could spend at least the next half hour in self-indulgent speech. If you make the occasional noise you can get away with not listening or you could actually listen and get bonus points with the girl.”

“Okay.”

“Now let’s say I spent a half hour talking about myself and go from there. ‘Kay?”

“Sure.”

“Gosh, Harry. You don’t want to hear more about me.”

“Of course I want to hear more. You are fascinating.” I purred as I looked at Louis on accident. His face betrayed a small look of shock before he could mask it. This could be fun.

“Oh my word, you are such a flatterer.” She said with a few waves of her wrist.

“Is it flattery if it’s true?” Once again I looked to Louis.

“You’re really getting good at this. What changed?”

“I’m not sure. I guess it was just a change in my state of mind.” I made a bold move and winked at Louis.

“Well, whatever works for you, Bro. I’m going to head out. I have some stuff to get done. Be good, you two.”

“Bye, Gemma. Good luck!” I said as she walked out of the door.

I got up and started moving to do homework.

“What are you doing, Prince?”

“I figured since Gemma was gone I’d start my homework.”

“Well, we aren’t done. You still have to work on flirting so you can survive these banquets.”

“Okay.” I took a deep breath. This could go so terribly awful, and probably will. Though there could be some fun to be had. The only things I know about flirting are some truly awful pick-up lines. I may embarrass the hell out of myself, but if I could get him to smile out of it, it would be worth it.

“So have at it, try and pick me up.”

“Are you serious?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Just wanted to check.”

“Enough chatter, Prince. Get to work.”

“In that case, did it hurt?”

“Did what hurt? What are you talking about?”

“When you fell from heaven?” His jaw dropped.

“Really, Prince? Really? Is that all you’ve got?”

“Oh I have worse.”

“Then go on then.”

“Do you have a library card? ‘Cause I’m checking you out.”

“I’ve heard worse.”

“Apart from being sexy, what do you do for a living?”

“I’m your bodyguard. Next, please.” A smile was just barely cracking his façade with each attempt I made.

“Do you have any raisins? No? How about a date?”

“Oh, they’re getting better, but eh. They’re still only okay.”

That’s it. It’s go big or go home. The ones I have left are down right dirty but oh well.

“If I flip a coin, what are my chances of getting head?” I tried to ask in as innocent a voice as possible. He stared on, apparently unable to form a sassy retort.

 “Were you born on a farm? Because you really know how to raise a cock.” I paused and drew out the last word. His eyes went wide and he looked completely off-balanced so I decided to go for my last one.

 “Do you use Windex on your pants? ‘Cause I can see myself in them.” I said trying to use my deepest voice, while talking my slow drawl to a whole new level.

I saw the slight dilation in his eyes before he could wipe away whatever he was feeling. So close yet so damn far. But at least I know I have a chance, maybe, if I’m not being self-delusional.

“Well, I guess you do have some pretty lame pick-up lines.”

“I try.”

“So how about for now, you stick to compliments and hope your curly locks and dimples bring the girls to you and not your ability to hit on them.”

“I should probably feel insulted by that, but I can’t help but notice you admitted I look cute.”

“Whatever helps you sleep at night.”

“It might.”

“Oh, so you have a sassy side now?”

“Says the guy who has to have the last word.”

“Touché.”

“Case and point.”

“Are you finished now?”

“Yes. Now I’m going to do some homework. Do you want to help me?”

“Sure. What do you want to start with?”

We worked for a while and the shift changed and I went to bed. Tutoring went the same the next day, except I was intercepted by Gemma as soon as I walked out the door.

“Hi, Harry!”

“Hello, Gemma. To what do I owe this pleasure?”

“Well, this is my friend Duchess Annalisa. Anna, this is my brother, Prince Harold.”

“It’s very nice to meet you, Duchess Annalisa.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you too, Prince Harold, but please call me Anna.” Anna said.

“In that case, please call me Harry.”

“Now I will let you two enjoy your lunch in the garden together.” Gemma said. I raised my eyebrow at her and she mouthed Grandmother in return. I nodded and turned my attention back to Anna.

“Shall we?” I asked offering my arm. She just giggled, nodded her head, and linked our arms.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Louis join Liam, who was on duty. They shared a few words and Liam looked like he was nodding in agreement to something. I guess Louis and Gemma had been serious about one of them being with me during my dates.

We sat outside and we were served by wait staff, which I still wasn’t used to because I jumped when they first appeared. It wasn’t that I had never eaten out, it was just they were so silent and swift they seemed invisible.

I mostly let her speak and threw in a compliment or two. She seemed friendly enough, but she was kind of boring, honestly. Her life mainly comprised of stuffy traditions and middleness. She wasn’t the most obnoxious in a crowd, whether it be in a sickly-sweet friendly way or a super bitchy way. She, also, wasn’t super quiet or overly timid. She just was. She was average, the middle of the pack.

That made for an average chat and led to mostly polite conversation. I paid attention, though. I mean there wasn’t much else I could do at the time. Afterward with a hug and a wave goodbye. I wasn’t about to give up my first kiss to a random girl.

Louis disappeared after the girl left and I sat in my room and did homework for the rest of the day until Gemma appeared in my room with dinner. Louis followed shortly after.

“Aw, Harry you are such a charmer! Who knew you had it in ya?”

“Hm?”

“I just got off the phone with Anna. Man is she totally gushing over you. It’s quite amusing.”

“It’s the dimples. It’s always the dimples.”

“So true. On another note, she has been totally charmed by you. She said you were such a gentlemen and you actually listened when she talked. She is now totally enamored. Enamored enough to completely ignore the fact that you didn’t kiss her at the end of the date.” She gave me a pointed look and I blushed.

“Well, uh, you see, um… I haven’t had my-uh-my first kiss, yet and, so yeah, I didn’t want it to be her…” I managed to get out. There was a moment of silence.

“That is just too precious!” Gemma commented.

“You are just too cute and innocent, what with the curls and the dimples and absolutely no experience. Could you any more adorable?”

“I highly doubt it, unless he spontaneously turned into a cat.”

I’m pretty sure my face was flaming red at this point, so I tried to return to doing my homework.

“Hello? Harry?”

“Yes?”

“In all seriousness, good job.”

“Thanks. I really appreciate it.” I had a feeling she didn’t give out compliments much, so I would enjoy it while it lasted.

“On another note, I think you should tell Zayn and Liam about the situation.”

“Oh.”

“They’ll accept you and it’ll make it easier to get you out of any situation you may get into.”

“Um, ok I guess.”

“Good.” He spoke into his earpiece. “Liam, Zayn, please come to the prince’s room.”

“Hey, Lou. What do you need?” Liam asked as he walked in with Zayn.

“Harry has something to tell you two.” He looked at me and I took a breath and began.

“Well, um, I’m gay. And until I figure out what I’m going to at the end of the summer, I don’t want to cause a ruckus. Apparently Lena thinks that setting me up on dates will provide further incentive to stay or something along that line. So if I’m ever being awkward, you know why.”

Liam’s eyes went wide, and Zayn narrowed his gaze at me as if he was trying to work through some problem in his head. It probably has something to do with Louis in the same weird way it normally did.

“I guess that explains your date earlier.” Liam piped in.

“I mean you seemed friendly, but like you didn’t have a remote interest in her beyond that. Which, I guess you didn’t.”

“You should have seen him Saturday.” Gemma piped in.

“What happened Saturday?” Zayn asked.

“Well, he went on a date, that he didn’t know was a date. At the end the girl tried to kiss her and he dodged.”

“I see. So that’s why you wanted us. For our help, I mean Gemma isn’t into girls and Louis-“ Liam was cut off by Zayn covering his mouth.

“Any way,” Zayn cut in, “We’ll make sure to get you out of any sticky situation.”

“And we’ll preserve your purity, Prince, don’t worry your pretty little head.”

“Too bad you can’t do anything about my dignity,” I muttered.”

“What was that, Prince?”

“Nothing, Louis. Nothing at all.”

“Whatever you say, Prince.”

“Anywho, are we done with this powwow so I can finish my work?”

The boys all looked to Louis.

“Yeah, sure, Prince. Let’s go.” The boys all left and Gemma followed. I guess even Gemma bowed to Louis’ authority.

I wonder why Zayn cut Liam off. I didn’t want to get my hopes up and think the rest of the sentence was going to end with Louis wasn’t into girls either. My sleep was rough that night, because while you sleep, your brain never stops working so it was trying to work out the puzzle that was Louis.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday went by as usual and followed by another cocktail party on Friday. Apparently word got out about my fabulous date Tuesday and I found myself being swarmed by girls. I tried to pay as much attention to each girl as possible. I may not be interested in them romantically, but that doesn’t give me an excuse to be a dick and ignore them.

Plus, I like to hear about other people. I don’t like to speak a lot but I do like to listen. Information is power, and I could use as much information as possible in order to get a firmer footing here. I was starting to think that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to stay here past the summer.

I woke up Saturday as usual, and spent most of the day just lying around in my pajamas until Liam appeared to tell me I had some callers waiting for me downstairs. I threw on some dark skinny jeans and a white V-neck. I headed downstairs to find a blonde guy and a guy with a black quiff.

“Niall! Grimmy!” I shouted and Nick turned around in time to catch me as I launched myself at him.

I wrapped my legs and arms around him as he spun me around. I got off him to get tackled by Niall in a similar manner as I attacked Grimmy.

“What brings you guys here?”

“Well, your sister, Gemma I think, called us up and said we might want to come out here to visit, so here we are.” Grimmy said.

“Oh, and something about saving your sorry ass,” he added.

“Mm, yeah. Well you’re a charmer, and I’m not out yet. Might I say you missed quite an awkward date that I didn’t realize was a date?”

“Oh do tell, Harold.”

“We had a movie date and we bonded over how hot Channing Tatum was, and at the end I practically tripped over myself getting away.” I knew he would hold this against me for quite a while, but it would be better to tell him myself then have someone blow it out of proportion in their retelling to him.

“So Lady Killer Styles strikes again.”

“What on Earth are you talking about, Nick?”

“Are you really that oblivious?” I chose not to answer that.

“I take that as a yes. Didn’t you know about your fan club back home?”

“Please tell me you’re joking.”

“Now why would I joke about something so serious as your fan club back home? I even got a shirt with you’re ugly mug on it.” He said as he unbuttoned his top layer to reveal a T-shirt with my face on it. I groaned.

“Just wait until you start appearing in public here. You’ll have a multitude of fans then. Maybe you’ll even get a spread in a magazine.”

“Hush, up Grimmy. You’re being ridiculous.”

“Actually he isn’t for once.” Niall piped in.

“You have a mostly female fan base back home, which will probably spread. And you do have the looks for the camera; don’t even try to pretend you don’t. That’s not even mentioning all of the followers I’ve gained from being friends with you. Apparently a friend of yours peaks their interest. Now, where’s the food?” I rolled my eyes. Maybe I should start actually checking my twitter…

“Follow me.” I led them to the kitchen. In all actuality, they were probably starved from the long trip here. Nick snaked his arm around my waist, as per the usual, when Louis walked in.

“Hey, Louis! You remember Nick and Niall, right?”

“Yeah, of course. It’s nice to see you all again.”

“Do I have anything I have to do this weekend, or do I get a reprieve to catch up with my friends.”

“You don’t have anything to do except your homework, Prince.”

“Okay, thanks Louis. See ya later!” I said as we took our food and left, with Liam following behind.

“Hey, Liam?”

“Yes?”

“Can you take us to the movie room, please? I’m still not quite sure about how to get around.”

“You never were good with directions, Cupcake.” Grimmy responded.

“Cupcake?” Liam asked.

“Yes, he is a cupcake.” Grimmy said definitively.

Luckily for me Liam let it go.

“So what all have I been missing? How’s my mother?”

“Your mother is doing just fine. She worries about you sometimes, but we’re always quick to reassure her.” Grimmy said.

“Ah, still hanging out with older women, I see?” I teased.

“Now young Harold, what could you possibly be insinuating? I mean let’s not forget your thing for older men.” He retorted.

“I won’t dignify that with a response.”

“Speaking of older men, how is the infamous Louis Tomlinson?”

“Grimmy! You know there’s nothing going on there.” I hissed.

“I, also, know you wish that wasn’t true.”

“Shut up!”

“Oh, hush now, Darling. You know I’m just teasing.” I looked around for Liam, and luckily he wasn’t around to hear this, so I need to end this before we are no longer alone.

“Look, I may have a crush on him, but nothing will ever come of it. If you could prevent yourself from bringing up this conversation in front of any of my security, that would be great. Now, what else have I missed, while I’ve been away?”

Grimmy caught me up on all of the home gossip. I ended up leaning against him as he ran his fingers through my curls. Oh, how I have missed that. No one here is close enough to me to realize how tactile of a person I am.

We ended up watching Hercules and Louis came in half way through to switch with Liam. I could see him staring at us out of the corner of my eye, but I eventually fell asleep. I woke up to Nick ushering me onto his back. It was nothing unusual, so I just climbed on and Nick followed Louis back to my room.

The three of us put our pajamas on and climbed into bed like it was a third grade sleepover. It was nice to have my friends here. Maybe I’ll actually sleep well tonight. 

Chapter Text

I was the first to wake up, I assume because the other two still had jet lag. I weaseled my way out from between Niall and Nick, so I could go grab us some breakfast. I walked out and Zayn and Liam were both outside the door.

“I’m gonna go grab us some breakfast.”

“I’ll come with you,” Zayn said.

“So are you doing double shifts now or?” I trailed off.

“No, we were just trading duty and I wanted to grab some food too before I head off.”

“Okay.” It seems like maybe Zayn is warming up to me.

We walked into the kitchen and I grabbed a tray and a bunch of pastries. I also grabbed us some tea and Zayn helped me carry them back to my room. Niall’s head popped up as soon as I made it through the door.

“Food?” He asked.

“Of course.”

“Should I wake up Grimmy?” He asked, while still keeping his complete focus on the food I was putting down on my desk.

“Nah, I’ll do it. You enjoy your breakfast.”

I straddled Nick’s torso and when he didn’t wake up, I stuck my pinky in my mouth and then shoved it in his ear yelling, “Wet Willy!”

Grimmy screamed and popped upright and I fell off of him onto the floor. I couldn’t breath I was laughing so hard. Liam must’ve heard me hit the ground because he came in and Grimmy was yelling at me for being a twat and Niall was laughing between bites of food, while I was lying on the ground.

“What is going on in here?!” He asked, seeming deeply confused. On the one hand, these were my friends and so I should be safe. On the other hand, this situation could appear threatening if someone wasn’t use to our uniqueness.

“I w-w-woke-“inhale “Grimmy up with a- with a- wet willy.” I finally managed to wheeze out; trying to explain before Liam did anything drastic.

“Oh.” He said, and Grimmy used that pause to start yelling at me again.

“How dare you, Harold! Unlike some youthful things, I need my beauty sleep and a gentle awakening, not a bloody wet finger in my ear!”

“Aw, Grimmy. All’s fair in love and war.”

“Shut up, you ass.” He said but I could tell he didn’t mean it because he ruffled my hair when he walked by, heading straight for some caffeine. I pulled myself up and joined them in downing the food. Liam just shook his head at us like we were crazy, which we, admittedly, are.

We made our way through the pile of food and then got dressed. I had decided that we should just wander around the castle today. Going out seemed like it would be too much of a hassle. I took them around and we got lost; so lost, in fact, that even Liam looked confused. He had to send out a call to Zayn to come find us.

He told us to find somewhere and stay put. I accidently managed to get us into the old armory, full of medieval weapons. Grimmy was making fun of the codpieces and pointing out, which ones may be the ‘right size.’ We had a three way sword duel, with Niall winning due to my complete lack of coordination and Grimmy’s inability to concentrate when I’m managing to make a complete fool of myself.

Zayn finally managed to find us, when Niall had a sword point poised over my throat. Niall did not get bonus points with the bodyguards for that. I thought Zayn was going to end up tasing him, for a few tense moments.  Then Grimmy made a comment about Niall pointing his sword at the wrong end and the tension significantly decreased, while the amount of blood in my cheeks increased.

It was fun to screw around and just have fun, but we had to go back to my room so I could do my homework that I had been putting off all weekend, which took way too long because my friends were very good at distraction tactics. Originally Liam was going to take them to their rooms, but they insisted on spending their trip with me, including staying in my room.

I didn’t care. We have been best friends for who knows how long, but it sure felt like forever. We, also, had very few, if any, boundaries. And, well, despite Grimmy and I both being gay, our feelings were brotherly and nowhere near romantic. Niall was straight, so there was no sexual tension there, either. It would be like a prolonged sleepover, and none of us would have it any other way.

~Grimmy’s POV~

Harry had to get up at way too early o’clock in the morning. As soon as his alarm went off, I kicked his ass out of bed, so he would turn it off and I could go back to sleep. I woke up eventually and decided I would do a little exploring through his computer, not the first time I’ve done this, mind you. Niall was probably down in the kitchen… again, going through who knows how much of their stock in a very short amount of time.

I dragged his computer over to the bed and opened it to the lock screen. I typed in ‘cockslut,’ which is what I changed his password to the last time I had gotten ahold of his computer. There was a sticky note on the corner with his twitter username and password, lucky for me. It was like an open invitation to have fun, who am I to ignore that?

 Louis&Tiaras was his password; I would have to store this information for blackmail later. The homepage loaded up and I scrolled to see a ridiculous number of female followers. I quickly adjusted my mentality and decided to have some fun. Plus he deserved a little retaliation for the stunt he pulled yesterday.

@Harry_Styles: Don’t you wish your boyfriend was hot like me? #imsexyandiknowit

I just sat back and watched as the replies rolled in.

@sexyinjeans: Who doesn’t wish their boyfriend was hot like you?

She was boring. A lot of the responses were boring, but there were a few good ones.

@bigtits: @Harry_Styles Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?

She was sassy; I decided to respond to that one.

@Harry_Styles: @bigtits No. I’m more of a butt guy tbh. #ilikebigbuttsandicannotlie

This inspired an ass versus boobs debate. I ignored it; I mean boobs weren’t even on the table anymore, so why argue? I kept scrolling through his feed, looking for more tweets to use to my advantage.

@Beyoncebootie: @Harry_Styles can kiss my ass any day of the week ;)

@Harry_Styles: @Beyoncebootie I’d rather not. I already have more butt kissing than I ever wanted. #royalproblems

Niall walked in to find me on Harry’s computer.

“What are you doing?” He asked.

“Messing with Harry’s twitter.” I responded.

“Ooh. Pull me into the conversation.”

“You just want to try and get some babes.”

“So? I mean you and Harry don’t want them. Somebody has to make sure they’re taken care of.” Straight and to the point, as per the usual.

“How very gentleman like of you. You’re such a martyr.” I deadpanned. He just shrugged his shoulders at me.

@Harry_Styles: Meet my best friend @Niallofficial. I’m sure he has plenty of embarrassing stories from my childhood. #neverlivingitdown

“Thank you.” Niall piped in from the side.

Niall probably started flirting as I went back to scrolling through Harry’s feed. I found an interestingly invasive tweet.

@noseybitch: @Harry_Styles How big is your dick?

@Harry_Styles: @noseybitch Let’s just say my IQ isn’t the only thing that’s above average… #averageisnotanoption

@Niallofficial: yeah like @Harry_Styles ability to make lame jokes. #notasfunnyasyouthinktyouare

It was sad, but true. Harry has made some really lame puns in his lifetime.

I was interrupted from my twitter spree when Harry stormed in looking royally pissed off, pun most definitely intended.

“Give me back my laptop, Grimmy!”

“Now why on Earth would I want to do that?”

I managed to hand off his laptop to Niall before he could tackle me and break it. I didn’t want to have to pay for him to get a new one. We rolled around on the floor for a bit, before I managed to finally get him pinned down by straddling his hips and pressing his wrists into the ground.

“God damn it, Nick! Why are you such an asshole?”

“Aren’t you the asshole? I mean you’re a bottom, while I’m a top. Therefore I’m the prick, while you’re the ass.”

“Really, Grimmy? We’re fighting and you’re keeping up banter?” He sounded more annoyed than outright pissed. I saw Louis walk in out of the corner of my eye, but Harry seemed too focused on his rage at me to notice. This could be fun.

“Of course, Doll. It’s what you love most about me. I can keep up the banter even throughout sex, if my partner is interesting enough. Would you like to give it a go?” I waggled my eyebrows.

“You’re such a prick-“

“Ah, my little submissive is learning. Good boy.” I maneuvered his wrists into one of my hands so I could pat his cheek with my newly freed one.

“Grimmy.” He whined. This was getting too good, but the fun had to end.

“Nick, off! Prince Harold, go with Liam to the parlor, now!” Louis snapped. His commandeering tone startled me enough to give Harry some leeway. He took the opening and managed to sneak out from under me. He immediately left the room to go with Liam. So obedient, Louis could probably have some fun with that one day, if he ever managed to pull his head out of his ass.

Louis sure has a commanding pair of vocal chords on him. This is the first time I’ve seen signs of his rank, besides the way others submit to his authority. Even then it’s only been with Liam and Zayn, which isn’t as impressive. Now I can see how he got such a high-ranking position at his age.

Harry doesn’t know much about Louis or his job, and I don’t think he realizes what a big deal Louis’ position was, especially at his age. I, on the other hand, had done a fair amount of research once Harry had left. It didn’t reveal much, considering a lot of it was classified. I know he is 24, which is young to be the head of security for the heir to the throne. From everything I’ve read, he is good at what he does and is totally devoted to his job.

That was good, considering protecting Harry was his job. Then again, it could create two possible outcomes in their relationship. In a way, his attention could be transferred from his passion for work, to his love for Harry, leaving him completely devoted to Harry, making him happy and loved. At the same time it could be bad, if he continued to pay too much attention to his job, leaving Harry to feel neglected and ending in a nasty break-up. But the relationship was inevitable. I would make sure of it. I may be an undeniable ass, but I am still a good friend.

I took my sweet time getting off the floor from where I had been kneeling and then, finally, turned my attention to Louis.

“Is there something you wanted?” I asked Louis, who had closed the door.

He stared me down and I just kept staring right back at him and quirked my eyebrow in a questioning manner. Niall seemed to take this as his cue to leave, and quickly ran off to go somewhere else. 

“Were you the one that was tweeting this morning?” He started off with the easy question.

“What do you think? Its not like Harry’s had access to his computer all day. I mean he did have class this morning.” Duh! He was being rather thick at the moment.

“What’s going on between you and Harry?” Straight to the heart of the matter.

“Why does it matter to you?” I wanted to get more information before I decided how I wanted to play this.

“I’m in charge of Harry’s security.” He said like that answered everything.

“So?” I responded, ‘cause it didn’t.

“That means I need to know about every aspect of his life so I can better protect him.” I felt like this was just an excuse to get an answer; it was a copout. I decided to play the jealousy card. It seemed to be the only way to get through to Louis. He was deeply in denial over his feelings of the young prince and only seemed to stop ignoring his feelings when someone else was in the picture. I could be that person.

It wouldn’t be that hard. Harry would never notice what was going on, I mean people have assumed we were together before due to the close nature of our relationship. Harry wouldn’t have to know, at least not anytime soon if ever.

“Well, since you seem so determined to get an answer, Harry’s my boyfriend. Though, I still don’t understand why it’s any of your business.”

“Harry’s life is my job, therefore it is my business.” He said in a terse tone.

“It is his personal life and provides no threat, thereby making it not your business.”

“Well it is for me to determine whether or not you are a security threat.”

“You do realize if I wanted to kill and or harm him I could have very well done it long before now.” I pointed out.

“If you hurt him I’ll-“

“You’ll what?” I cut him off.

“Is this the point where you threaten me not to hurt him? Seriously, you have no right to give me the father or big brother lecture. You’ve made it perfectly clear you’re just his security, so save this little speech for one of your siblings’ boyfriends.” I sneered back.

“Well, if you haven’t noticed his family isn’t here, so it is my job to warn you.”

“Apparently you forgot about his sister and grandmother, because they are both part of his family.” I reminded him.

“But I know him better.”

“Is that so?” It seems jealousy has already had an effect on him, because I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean to let out that little tidbit of information, probably heat of the moment and all that.

“That is so. If you haven’t noticed, you haven’t been here for him.”

“And I suppose you have?”

“Of course I have. Someone has to support him who has little input in the outcome of this summer. The queen and princess want him to ascend, you two don’t so he could return to the states. That leaves me.”

“That’s utter bullshit. You want him to take the crown, so that he won’t leave you at the end of the summer.”

“What I want doesn’t matter.”

“But it does matter. If you had realized it sooner, you could have had him. Because you didn’t, he’s mine and there’s nothing you can do about it.” I figured he was competitive by nature and issuing a challenge would stir up the pot even more.

“Now, if we’re done with this conversation, I’m going to go save the kitchen from Niall. So if you’ll excuse me? Thanks.” I said before he could get a word in.

I did, in fact find Niall in the kitchen.

“What was going on back there?” Niall asked. I pulled him back to Harry’s room before I answered. I didn’t want anyone to overhear. Luckily, Louis was gone by the time we got back.

“Well, he wanted to know the status of Harry and I’s relationship, so I told him we’re dating.”

“Why would you do that? You aren’t dating.” I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.

“That’s true, but I’m doing it so Harry and Louis will end up dating.”

“Oh. That sounds like a complicated game. Why don’t they just tell each other and then fuck until the sexual tension is gone?”

“Because, Niall, they are complicated.”

“Oh, well that’s stupid.”

“You’re right, they are being stupid.” It was the truth.

~Harry’s POV~

Well today sucks. My tutoring this morning was frustrating because all of these names and dates were getting mixed up in my head and I just couldn’t get them right. Then I went to lunch and Liam showed me my twitter account, which Grimmy had spent the morning screwing with.

I fought with Grimmy, to have the misfortune of Louis finding us in a compromising position. Then he barked at me to go off with Liam, and I had to face another awkward date waiting for me in the parlor. It was nothing out of the ordinary, boring talk, carefully avoiding heated topics. On top of the hellish day I was having, it was just absolutely painful to pretend to care, while my mind wondered when exactly Louis walked in and how bad the situation looked.

I finally managed to get away and on my way back to my room, all I could think about was the look Louis had on his face when Grimmy was on top of me. His face was absolutely blank. Most of the time I could see some kind of emotion, even if it was mostly hidden. Earlier, it was just gone. Like everything that made him human was just gone. I wonder if that was something he learned at the academy. From the way Zayn talked about it, academy didn’t sound like a good time in Louis’ life. Maybe I’ll find out one day, but if I continue to get the look I got today, that may never happen.

I was so zoned out I literally bumped into Louis.

“I’m so sorry, I wasn’t paying any attention.”

“It’s fine, Prince. I should have been more observant. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have somewhere to be.” He brushed me off and kept on walking.

I wonder what was up his ass today; he’s never done that before. He was always the first person to make sure I felt like I do, in fact, matter. It just compounded on my bad day, and I was ready to collapse when I finally made it through the door to my room.

I ignored Niall and Grimmy and headed straight for the shower. I spent a long time under the heated spray in hopes the water could help wash my stress away. I just ended up feeling more confused than before. Instead of relaxing, my brain tried to rework over the problem, leaving me frustrated because I feel like I’m missing so much information.

I walked into my room in nothing but my boxers.

“Hey, you’re wearing more clothes than normal.” Grimmy commented.

“Shut up! Don’t you think you’ve caused enough trouble today?”

“Well, someone’s grouchy.”

“Of course someone’s grouchy, when they’ve had a hellish day!”

“Come sit here and tell Grimmy all about it.” I thought about it for a few minutes, before I caved in and curled up with him on my bed. He started petting my curls and I could only think about how much I’d rather have smaller fingers working their way through my hair right now.

“Now tell me what’s all been going on.”

So I explained to him about all the tutoring that’s been going on and the dates. He had a good laugh when I brought up the dates. Then I finally started talking about my thing for the cutie named Louis Tomlinson. That took a while and Grimmy just gave me a pitying look.

“It’ll get better, don’t you worry.” I was skeptical.

“Now, how about you get started on your homework and I’ll go get us all something to eat. Alright?”

I nodded in to his shoulder and he got up. He took Niall with him, giving me enough time to get my stuff done while they were gone. I spent the rest of the night listening to chatter mostly coming from Niall and fell asleep curled up with the two of them. Hopefully Louis won’t be as closed off tomorrow.

Chapter Text

I slept for a long time last night, but yet I still felt like I had gotten no sleep at all. Anyway, my level of distress didn’t matter considering I still had to get up and go get ready for my lessons. I’m glad Niall and Grimmy are heavy sleepers, I managed to slink out from under their collective pile of limbs without them waking up. I really didn’t want to wake them up and listen to their ‘it’s too fucking early in the morning’ speech.

I threw on the first clothes I could find, which happened to be baggy jeans and a black V-neck. I looked about as good as I felt, the feelings of yesterday not quite forgotten. At least I didn’t have to face Louis quite yet seeing as Zayn was waiting for me outside my door.

“Morning.”

“Morning.”

And that was about it. Zayn was a quite person, at least with people he didn’t know, but at least I didn’t have to fill the silence or pretend to participate in a conversation. I picked at some breakfast, though I’m not really sure how much of it I actually ate.

Apparently my black mood even got a reaction out of Zayn because he shot me a concerned look, for the first time ever. I shrugged him off and just headed to the tutor room. I was surprised to find Gemma waiting inside for me rather than the usual Mr. Peabody.

“Hey, Gem. What’s going on?”

“Considering there’s only a few weeks before you make an announcement, I thought you could use a day to think, rather than your usual tutoring session.”

“What do you mean announcement?”

“Oh, didn’t anyone tell you? Whether or not you accept the crown, you still have to stand up and tell people your decision.”

“Oh. Oh shit. That’s not nerve wracking at all. Not only do I have to make a decision, I have to announce to the world what I’m doing. No big deal, it’s not like normal high schoolers ever have to do this.”

“Breathe, Harry, breathe. You’re going to give yourself panic attacks if you don’t calm down.”

“Oh, now wouldn’t that just be the icing on the burning cake that is currently my life.”

“No need to get so pessimistic, besides you don’t even have to learn more names and dates today.”

“Thank God.”

“Now come with me.”

We walked through the hall of portraits, full of generation after generation of royals staring at me from their various positions on the wall. I just spun round and round until one portrait caught my eye.

“Is that Lena?”

“Yeah.”

“But she looks so… young.”

“Yeah. That’s an old portrait of when her and grandfather first ascended the throne.”

“Is our father in here?” I wanted to know. The only image I ever saw of him was from before I was born. It was also worn out and slightly faded due to age.

“Yeah, he’s over here.”

She pointed to the next portrait over on the wall. It was a portrait of him and a woman, who I assume was Gemma’s mother. They didn’t look particularly happy together, but then again most of the people in this hall didn’t look happy. I assume posing for a portrait wasn’t the most fun activity to be heard of.

He was handsome, and seemed to have an air of duty about him. His dedication seemed to show through the portrait. It made more sense that he returned here, while mom went back to America. This hall alone probably would have scared her out of her wits. She wasn’t very good with stuffy rules and protocols.

She let me stare at his portrait for a bit before interrupting my thoughts.

“Hey, Harry. I think there’s something you should see.”

“Okay.” That sounded ominous.

I followed her out back and we walked into the most ornate mausoleum I’ve ever seen.

“Harry, this is our father.”

I just walked forward to rest my hand on his casket. It was weird that something so beautiful could be hiding death and decay.

“You know he really did care about you, in his own way. I mean when you first came here, I was jealous. I felt betrayed that Dad never told me about you and he just dropped a bomb in his will. Now it makes sense. He wanted you to have a choice. I was born into this world because of my lineage. You weren’t.

 He could’ve had you brought here after you were born, which would’ve happened if anyone else in the family knew about you. This is the country he loved and it’s up to you to decide what to do from here.”

“I don’t know what to do.”

“Well, you have a lot of options. I mean you could do a lot of good here. You could bring about change and be a role model. You could, also, stay and follow the typical path with a marriage and still do good here. You could also go back to America and leave me to run it.”

“Isn’t that being cowardly, though, if I decide to go back?”

“No, never. It’s like they say, if you love something enough you have to let it go. If you really don’t believe you’ll do a good job here, it’s perfectly acceptable to turn down the crown.”

“Well, what do you think?”

“Do you really want to know?”

“Yes, please.”

“I think you should stay. You could bring about a lot of good and shake off some of these old stuffy laws. Of course I’d be with you whenever you want me, but I think you can do this.”

I just let the silence hang for a bit. It was nice that Gemma had confidence in me. I’m just not sure I have the same confidence in myself. But she was right; I maybe could bring about social change, which would be nice if I could make life better for people. I want to help people. I enjoy helping people, and I may not have been born here, but I’m starting to think I could make a home here.

I rubbed my hands over his coffin, the cold marble attempting to warm up under my hands. I guess I’m finally getting to grieve over him, and accept that I want to do this. The family issues don’t matter; my relationships don’t matter. This is my decision and I want to bring change.

“Yes.”

“What?” She sounded confused.

“Yes, I will accept the crown.”

Gemma squealed and jumped around and started hugging me.

“I knew you would. I’m so excited! You better let me help pick out your crown. Oh and I get to be around when you come out of the closet.”

“Gemma, calm down. At least for now, let’s just keep this between us and Zayn.”

“Okay, but who’s Zayn?”

“Security guard, tall dark and tattooed in our peripherals over there.”

“Oh.”

“So what do you say, Zayn?”

“I’ll keep quiet, unless it becomes relevant to your security. If that happens I’ll have to tell Tomlinson.” I rolled my eyes.

 “Okay. Thanks.”

“Before we go, would you explain why you’re taking the throne?” Zayn asked. I knew I could decline to respond if I wanted, but I felt it was important to answer. Zayn’s approval could go a long way if I could get it.

“Well, I think I can make some real changes here, hopefully for everyone’s benefit, though I know that’s an ideal. I know I won’t be perfect and it’ll be a lot of work. I realize I may not always succeed, but if I’m not willing to try, who else will?”

“That’s not a half bad response, Prince. I hope time doesn’t change you.” I felt like it was a double loaded statement, but coming from Zayn, it meant a lot.

“On a less morbid note, let’s go get some lunch,” Gemma interjected.

I followed her back to the kitchen and enjoyed the rest of my day with my friends. It didn’t take much for me to forgive Grimmy for yesterday’s twitter adventure. I was able to get some sort of contentment, now that some of the weight was off my chest thanks to finally making a decision. I was still worried about Louis since I still haven’t seen him and I still don’t know why he was being weird, but I was doing better than yesterday.

Wednesday and Thursday went by as usual, classes wise. On the other hand, Louis was colder than ever. By Friday it was starting to take it’s toll and I was getting snippy. I also hadn’t told Niall or Grimmy that I was going to accept the throne, and wondering how they were going to take it was adding stress on top of the Louis inspired stress.

After class Friday, Niall, Grimmy and I were eating lunch in my room.

“I wonder who will be replacing our gym teacher next year.” Niall was saying. “Maybe it’ll be a smokin’ hot babe.”

“More like an old asshole who probably hasn’t been able to touch his toes since the 80’s, if then.” Grimmy replied.

“Well, whoever it is, it won’t matter because I’ll never have him considering I’m staying here to become a prince.”

“Pay up, Niall. You owe me a 20.”

“Wait, what?”

“I bet you’d decide to stay during the first two weeks we were here, and Niall bet you’d decide to stay during the second two weeks, leaving it to practically the last minute.” Grimmy responded.

“So you both thought I’d stay?”

“Without a doubt.” Niall stated.

“Nonetheless, we need to celebrate.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well don’t you have a cocktail thingy tonight?” Grimmy asked.

“Yeah.”

“Well we’re going to have fun.”

I think Grimmy needs to redefine his meaning of fun. About an hour into the cocktail party, he started passing me drinks and I mean the alcoholic kind. A half an hour later I was absolutely drunk. I was leaning on Grimmy in order to keep me upright.

“Harry, I think it’s time for us to go.”

“Why?” I asked confused.

“Because you’re drunk.”

“Oh. Okay!” That made sense, and explained why I felt all sorts of funky.

We walked out of the doors and ran into Louis.

“Louis!” I exclaimed, throwing my arms around him in a mockery of a hug.

“Prince, what is wrong with you?”

“I’m pretty sh-sure that I’m drunk.” And slurring, apparently.

“And why are you drunk, Prince?”

“Grimmy. Or at least I’m pretty sure I’m drunk because of him though Niall might have mixed up one of his signature killer drinks.” And I obviously had no filter.

“I see, well then, Nick. Shouldn’t you be taking care of him?”

“Well in a sense he should because he thought it would be fun to get me drunk. On the other hand, you are in charge of my safety so you should be making sure I don’t die of alcohol poisoning or choke on my vomit in my sleep. Though you’ve been avoiding me for the past few days, so who knows if you care about my survival anymore.” I shrugged, which was awkward because I was still holding on to him.

“It’s okay, I’ll take care of him.” Grimmy said to Louis.

“No, he’s right. It’s my job. Now hold on to my neck, Prince.” I did that.

“There’s a good boy,” he said as he picked me up bridal style. He took me back to my room, while saying something into his ear walkie-talkie thingy. I just nuzzled into his neck.

“You’re warm, and you smell nice. Did you know you have the prettiest blue eyes, though I feel like blue doesn’t do them justice, you know? And you’re right fit. Though I think that has something to do with your job. I mean you have to work out and stay in shape to be on top of your game and man does it look good on you.

Though your ass is another story all together. Grimmy, why don’t you have an ass like Louis?”

“Because I’m not him, Love.”

“No, no you aren’t.”

There was a silence so I leaned over and started sucking on his neck. It took him all of five seconds to realize something was going on.

“Prince! What are you doing?”

“Giving you a hickey, of course. Duh.” I chuckled.

“It’s a lot more fun to give you hickeys than Grimmy. He’s a lot more combative when I try to mark him. Right, Grimmy?”

“Indeed.”

I felt Louis tighten his grip on me.

“Please don’t drop me.”

“What do you mean, Prince?”

“Well, you tensed up, so I have to assume I was slipping. If you can’t carry me I’m sure Nick can. Not that it’s an offense to your manliness, ‘cause I’m pretty sure I’m just dead weight at this point. I have never been drunk before. Have you ever been drunk before, Louis?”

“Uh-yes.”

“Did you have to get carried out too? Or did you pass out? Did you feel like this?”

“Let’s just say, you are probably going to hate yourself in the morning, Prince.”

“First off, I’d hate Grimmy, not myself. Second are you going to still be ridiculously closed off like you’ve been the last couple days?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Prince.” He said as we finally got to my room. He walked over and promptly dropped me on my bed. I giggled as I bounced.

“Can you help me strip him?” Grimmy asked Louis.

“What? Why?”

“I can’t sleep in a lot of clothes or I feel like hell in the morning. Or I go sleep stripping.”

“Don’t you mean sleep walking, Prince?”

“No. Sleep stripping. Hey, Grimmy! Do you remember that one time I slept over in my pajama’s and I woke up standing in front of your mother wearing nothing but my dazzling curls?”

“I don’t think anyone’s forgotten that.”

“Oh, right. Which is why I don’t tell anyone about that.  Why did I tell you about that? Please don’t hold it against me. Or bring it up whenever the opportunity presents itself, because that would royally suck.” I chuckled.

“Haha, royally suck. Because I am actually royalty. That makes it funny, right Nick?”

“Aren’t you cute when you have no motor control and make lame puns?”

“Yes, I think. Is this a trick question? I’m confused. Louis, what’s the right answer?”

“Well, uh-”

“It was a rhetorical question.”

“Oh, right. I fail at these social cues, even more so when I’m drunk. Oh well.”

Grimmy started manhandling me out of my clothes.

“Haha, that tickles, Grimmy!”

“Would you please man up and help me. Louis?”

The next thing I know Louis had joined Grimmy.

“Ah, your hands are so cute and tiny! My hands are giant. You know what they say about big hands.” I wiggled my eyebrows.

“Harry,” Grimmy chastised.

“Yes?”

“That was inappropriate and this is not the time or place to proposition your security guard.”

“Why not? He’s already helping undress me. I don’t have much to lose at this point.”

He just laughed at me.

“What’s so funny?”

“Oh, nothing Harold, Dear.” I looked past him to see Niall walking into my room.

“Hey, Nialler! Come join the stripping party?”

“I don’t see any strippers.”

“Not strippers, stripping. Well more like a strip Harry party.”

“He really can’t hold his alcohol, can he?” Niall asked.

“Not all of us can have Irish blood like you, Niall.”

“’Tis but a gift.” Niall replied.

“Who cares? You should come to bed so we can all cuddle and dream of rainbows and unicorns and a blonde Leprechaun with his pot of gold flake vodka.”

“Gold flake Vodka, Harry. Really?” Grimmy asked.

“Well Niall’s a leprechaun and leprechauns have their pot of gold. Though I’m pretty sure his would be full of food or alcohol so I assumed gold flake vodka.”

“Okay, let’s go to sleep before you can spill anymore of your secrets.” Grimmy said.

“Like what? I mean he already knows I’m gay. Oh, you mean you think I’ll spill whom I’m crushing on or the fact that Zayn’s seriously hot. I wouldn’t ever date him, though. He’s hot, but not my type. But I can appreciate a good thing when I see it.”

“Like I said, time for you to sleep.”

“Okay, but not until you and Niall join me. Louis, you’re welcome to join us, but I have a feeling you’ll just say you’re on duty and you can’t. So I’m going to skip ahead and say goodnight.”

“Okay… Goodnight, Prince. Grimmy, I put the painkillers on his nightstand, make sure he takes them in the morning.” He promptly walked out.

I fell asleep in contented bliss between the warm bodies of my friends. How could I not? I felt warm and fuzzy and my best friends didn’t hate me for staying and Louis was talking to me.

I woke up the next morning and groaned.

“Morning,” Grimmy said in a way too chipper voice that grated against my pounding headache.

“Shut up, you jackass. This is all your fault. Along with whatever embarrassment I brought upon myself.”

“Take your painkillers and then we’ll talk.”

I just groaned and then did as he asked. I let some of my memories come back in flashes. I remember Louis carrying me and helping me undress. I remember some comment about gold-flaked vodka and stripping. I don’t remember much of what I said though.

“Please tell me I didn’t say anything too stupid.”

“I can’t promise you that. You did try to proposition Louis last night.”

“Please tell me you’re joking.”

“Sorry, Love. I’m being completely serious. Now put on these sunglasses so we can meet Niall down at breakfast.”

“You know if you were a really good friend, you would have brought me breakfast in bed.”

“If I was that kind of good friend, you would also be extremely boring and uneducated.”

I just harrumphed at him and threw on some clothes. I also went to brush my teeth and get that nastiness out of my mouth. Then I headed for the kitchen.

“Morning, sunshine.” Niall greeted.

I ignored him and started eating. Louis walked in and I looked up to see a bruise on his neck.

“What’s that on Louis’ neck?” I asked.

“Oh, that. That’s the hickey you gave him last night.”

“What!” I exclaimed, a little too loud. Because said guy was now focusing his attention on me.

“Yeah, and you said and I quote ‘you’re more fun to give hickeys than Grimmy.’”

“I did not!”

“You did. Right Louis?”

Louis just pretended he hadn’t heard him. Strange, but I know he did hear because he had a faint blush on his cheeks. Then my head decided to make itself be heard and I dropped it down on the table.

“Are you alright?” Grimmy asked in a teasing voice.

“You are never, ever and I mean never, allowed to get me drunk ever again.”

He just laughed at me and I wanted to kill him, but I lacked the energy. One of these days. One of these days, he’ll get his comeuppance. But probably not today. I cannot function enough to make a devious plan. Maybe I’ll just crawl back in bed and die. That sounds like a fabulous idea. So after breakfast I tried pretty hard to do just that.

Chapter Text

I spent Saturday sleeping off my hangover and had to face the music Sunday as Grimmy replayed the events of Friday in great detail. I apparently accused him of not caring anymore. On top of that I can’t believe I fucking tried to proposition Louis, while he was helping Grimmy strip me. I mean, he was stripping me and I can’t remember it to save my life! The way he’s been acting, that might have been the closest I’ll ever get to him. Why did I ever let Grimmy get me drunk off my ass?

After the delightful retelling of my drunken failures, I managed to get Grimmy and Niall out of my room long enough for a Skype call with my mother.

“Hi, Mom!”

“Hi, Honey. How are you doing?”

“I’m doing pretty well, but I wanted to tell you something. But first you have to promise not to tell, or be mad.”

“Did you do something wrong? Are you in trouble?”

“I’m not in trouble and I hope I’m not doing anything wrong.”

“Okay, then I promise not to tell.”

“Well, I’m sorry but I’m not going to be coming home at the end of the summer. I’ve decided I’m going to keep my crown. Please don’t be mad.”

“Honey, I’m not mad.”

“You’re not?”

“No, Sweetie. There’s no way I can be mad at you for doing what you believe you should do. I’m proud that you’ve decided that you wanted to do it and you’re going to do it well. I’m just a little sad that my baby is growing up.” Her eyes started watering.

“Mom, please don’t cry. Please don’t cry because then I’m going to cry.” It was too late and we were both sitting on our computers crying.

We spent some of the time talking about all the things I was missing back home and I caught her up on the dealings in the castle as well as Niall and Grimmy’s crazy shenanigans. I asked about their parents as well, and told her to tell them they say hello and they’re staying out of trouble.

Most of the red, blotchiness was gone from our faces by the time we were done, but it was still enough for Niall and Grimmy to notice when they walked in. They started giving me crap about it. It was their way of trying to cheer me up.

“Just shut up, okay?” I pouted, but then I cracked and started laughing along with them. It’s not my fault laughter is contagious. It did make me feel better, though.

Monday seemed to hate me, because I walked out the door and Louis was on duty. My jaw dropped open in shock and I gaped for a second to long. I was surprised since he has avoided being alone with me for a while.

“Are you okay, Prince?” Louis asked and I’m pretty sure my cheeks turned bright pink.

“Y-yeah, um-uh, I’m fine.” I stammered out and I resisted the urge to smack myself for digging myself deeper into a hole.

“Are you sure? I hope you’re not still hung over, Prince?”

“Of course not. It’s just I’m surprised that you’re-you know.  And talking like well-um. And yeah…” I was just digging myself into a deeper hole.

“What was that, Prince?” He asked with his browed completely furrowed in confusion.

I realized I didn’t make any sense, so before he could make me explain; I started speed walking off towards the tutor room in hopes he would just let it go.

Tutoring went as per usual, but it seemed easier to learn now that I didn’t have to balance learning with the persistent debate over whether I was going to stay long enough to use the information. Louis was still on duty when I got out and he followed me to the kitchen where Niall and Grimmy were already waiting.

My embarrassment increased when I kept turning around to find Grimmy with a new food ushering me to ‘just open you’re mouth, Harry,’ or ‘just one bite! I promise it’s delicious!’ I rolled my eyes and let it go. It was easier not to fight him. I did notice that he’d shift his gaze towards Louis, especially after I ended up sucking something off his finger. Grimmy got this smug look on his face and I glanced over to find a look I couldn’t quite decipher.

Meanwhile, Niall was making every innuendo possible, whether they made sense or not. ‘I bet that’s not the only thing he sucks,’ or ‘that’s what she said’ and this one time he made some weird round about joke about swallowing, I think. I guess because no one really understood it except him. Oh, well.

We spent the rest of the day having a movie marathon in the projection room. Niall spent the whole time snacking on the couch and I curled up with Grimmy on the love seat. It was comfortable, even if we were a little closer. At about five, Liam came with food and Louis ducked out. I couldn’t get a thank you out before Niall dove in. Liam said it was no problem and we shifted around so we were all spread over various surfaces, no longer curled up like before. I was glad, because it was starting to get a little too warm where I was before.

I didn’t care; I was just glad I was allowed to eat for myself. I fell asleep and I woke up to Liam shaking me awake. Niall and Grimmy had already headed back or out or wherever the Hell they go at night when they don’t want to keep my sleeping schedule. One of these days I was going to have to ask them about it.

“Hey, Liam. What time is it?” I asked, as I let out a huge yawn and tried to get the blood flow to return to my legs.

“About ten.”

“Oh, okay. Could you give me a hand up?”

He just chuckled and gave me a firm pull up. I must’ve been lighter than he expected, because I was pulled up and kept going. Luckily he caught me and kept me from going sprawling onto the ground. Nice to know I have strong protection.

I wanted to ask him what had been up with Louis lately, but I thought better of it. I didn’t want Liam to know about the crush I’m harboring for his boss or get suspicious over his change in behavior, if he hadn’t noticed already. I, also, didn’t want to be wrong and get a lecture about it. Hopefully I’ll be able to figure it out on my own soon enough.

The rest of the week went by rather odd. Every time Louis would enter the room, Grimmy would magically appear at my side and Louis would do what I have come to think of as his version of a scowl and walk off, unless he was on duty. Then I spent however long he was there, feeling his gaze burn into my back.

His teenage angst seemed to be leaving Liam and Zayn just as frustrated. They never took it out on us, but I could see the tense lines in their shoulders and the tight smiles. They seemed to send worrying glances at Louis whenever they changed shifts or he walked by when off duty.

By Thursday it got to the point where I was in the library looking at books when Nick appeared out of nowhere. I was so startled that I jumped and dropped a heavy tome on my foot. It sucked because ow my foot, on the other hand, it got Louis to acknowledge me and he had to go get me some ice.

He actually looked a bit like himself, while he made sure that I hadn’t broken anything. He was gentle when he put on the ice pack that made me hiss at the coldness. He seemed caring; instead of the cold look he had been giving me lately. Then Nick had to intervene and blow it all to smithereens.

“Are you okay, Babe?” And that was all it took for Louis to close off again. He quickly wished me good day and a ‘I hope you feel better’. Then he ran off, for lack of a better word, leaving me with a pounding foot in a state of confusion.

“Babe, really?” I grimaced. Pet names were not something we did.

“What?” He asked, all pretend innocence.

“Cut the crap and tell me what you’re playing at?” Louis’ tenseness was taking its toll on me too.

“I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about, dear Harold.” He said coyly.

It seems like I wasn’t going to get a straight answer out of him. Bastard.

“You realize you’re being a total dick, right?”

“Maybe. Maybe not. Only time will tell, my dear.” He said in a sickly sweet tone of voice.

I rolled my eyes and was about to walk off when I realized I couldn’t go anywhere with the ice still attached to my foot. I groaned and slumped back in the chair.  It’s not fair that I can’t walk away when he’s being more of an ass than normal.

I had a bruise when I woke up on Friday and sent a glare at Grimmy’s sleeping form, not that he noticed. He just kept sleeping on like he wasn’t being a clingy asshole as of late. I want to know what his game is. He never does anything without a reason and I need to find out what it was before all Hell broke loose.

We ended up going to another banquet that night. Every time someone turned around Niall and Grimmy would make fun of the posh snobs, especially the evil trio. It felt good to listen to their snide comments when I was still going to be able to remember the jokes the next morning. Even better, Grimmy wasn’t able to hang all over me without risking outing me. While he was a dick, he wasn’t that much of a dick.

Niall went on a flirting spree. Me and Grimmy made fun of him at every turn. Some girls thought he was charming. Others turned up their nose at his ‘normal’ heritage. He somehow managed to snag a couple of numbers, though I don’t know if he ever plans on actually calling any of them. That night I went to bed not drunk and fairly happy, which was a vast improvement over the last weekend.

Saturday brought me back down to my disgruntled state I have been stuck in lately. Louis was on duty that morning when we decided to go play video games on the movie projector. Grimmy spent the whole game in my lap and I started getting tired of playing around him pretty fast.

He wiggled around and almost jabbed me in the family jewels on more than one occasion. It didn’t take long for Louis to get just as huffy as I was. When Liam came to relieve him I wasn’t sure if Louis was going to punch him or bolt out of the room. He chose the latter as soon as Grimmy turned to nuzzle into my neck while simultaneously managing to knock the air out of my lungs. In a blink of the eye, Louis was gone and I shoved Grimmy off of me.

“What the Hell is wrong with you?! You’ve been acting crazy all week! I’m tired of this!” I shouted at him.

“I have no idea-“

“What you’re talking about. I know that’s the end of that sentence and total bullshit.” I stormed off and Nick seemed to be too shocked to form a reply.

“Liam, I’m going to the bathroom.” I said in hopes he wouldn’t follow me. He didn’t and I went off in order to try and catch up with Louis.

It took me a while, but I finally heard his voice. He was talking to someone in a room, so I waited for him to come out. I followed him for a while, which may or may not have been stalker-like. When he went in his room, I paused in the hall.

“Are you coming in or not, Prince?” Louis said. I jumped but then followed him in.

“I guess I’m not that stealthy.”

“You realize I’ve been trained to detect followers, Prince?”

“Well-uh, yeah. I mean I guess it makes sense.” I mumbled.

There was a tense silence that lasted about a minute or two.

“Well?”

“Well, what?”

“Why are you here, Prince?” He sounded annoyed and I took a deep breath and began to talk.

“Well, you see-uh. As of late I noticed-um. You’ve got to realize-mm.”

“Just spit it out, already!” He was impatient too.

“You’vebeenkindoftenselatelyandIwaswonderingwhatwasbotheringyou.” I said in a rush.

“What was that?”

“Well it’s just that you’ve kind of been crabby and silent lately. And I want to know why, if that’s okay?” He was getting his scary face on and I was already nervous enough as it is.

“Why would you care?” He hissed.

“Well, it’s just that you were-uh-you were my-“

“Any day now.” He sneered. Well that hurt a little

“It’s just you were my support system here. And I thought we were friends, so I care. Also, it has been sucky to have this awkward tension and I wanted to know why so I could fix it.” I stammered out.

“Why don’t you go to your boyfriend for support?” He snapped. Now I was genuinely confused.

“I don’t have a boyfriend.” I stated bluntly.

“Don’t lie to me, Harry. Not again.”

“I’m not lying! And what do you mean again?”

“I asked you what was going on between you and Grimmy and you told me nothing was happening.”

He paused. I guess I was supposed to respond.

“Yes.”

“That was a lie!”

“That was not a lie!”

“Then why do you let him climb all over you and do stupid shit all the time?!”  We were full out yelling now and I hoped no one was nearby to hear us.

“He’s Grimmy! He does whatever the Hell he wants! More often it’s easier to just give in than try to fight him on it.”

“Oh is that so?” He asked sarcastically.

“YES! Why won’t you believe me!?”

“Because you’re lying.” He said, his voice dripping with venom.

“I’m not lying! You have to believe me!”

“I have to do no such thing!”

“What has you so convinced I’m bending the truth?”

“What? Did your boyfriend not tell you that he told me about the two of you?”

I stared at him, completely lost.

“Who?”

“Grimmy.” He said like it was the most obvious thing in the world. I guess it should have been with the way he’s been acting lately.

“That son of a bitch!”

“What? Are you mad he outed the two of you?” Louis said but I was too busy off in my own world to respond.

“So that’s what the bastard’s been up to! That’s why he’s been abnormally clingy. What was his end game? Was he trying to keep us away or shove us together?”

“Us? What do you mean by us?” Now Louis looked as lost as I had been ten seconds ago.

“Me and you, you stubborn ass!”

“What?!”

“I don’t like Grimmy, you idiot!”

“I got that part, but why did he lie?”

“Because he wanted to help me get someone else.”

“Who?” He asked with his eyes narrowed.

“Seriously! You have to ask?”

“Why would I know?”

“God damn it! You are so frustrating!” I was so close to ripping my hair out.

“What are you talking about?” It seemed it was his turn to be genuinely confused.

“Are you really that dense, Louis?”

“I am not dense!”

“Well you’d have to be to think I would ever want Grimmy over you!” I shouted then slapped my hands over my mouth.

I instantly regretted my words. He wasn’t supposed to know. He wasn’t supposed to know I had a deep-seated crush on him and it’s been killing me that he has been so close yet so far away lately. How could he not notice me drooling over him almost constantly? But now he knows and he wasn’t supposed to know!

I started pacing. He must know, right? I mean I wasn’t that direct but it was painfully obvious in that past statement. But at the same time, I don’t even know if he’s gay. I mean Zayn hinted at it, but Louis never admitted to it. Now I’ve just embarrassed myself. I stared down at the floor passing by while my cheeks heated up. I just wanted to melt down into the floor.

I felt a hand on my chin stop my frantic movements. I attempted to look up only to find a pair of lips smashing onto mine. I startled and tried to move back only to find another hand around my waist holding me in place.

Then I realized it was Louis. Louis. So I relaxed and melted into the kiss. My first kiss, like ever. I grabbed his shirt around his waist in order to give me something to hold onto.

His lips felt thin and slightly chapped beneath mine. Then they opened and I felt the wet slide of his tongue against my lips. I was confused on what to do until I noticed he was applying pressure to the seam of my lips. I opened up and his tongue darted in. It moved around, like he was trying to memorize every ridge and line. His tongue took over complete control of my mouth; I didn’t even bother trying to fight it.

His one hand moved from my jaw to grab my curls and I let out a sound from nowhere when he accidently tugged one of them. He chuckled against my lips. He finally pulled back so I could breathe and I could feel his lips making a lazy trail down my neck.

“You are such a kitten.” He said between kisses and all I could manage in response was some sort of moan/sigh.

He found my collarbones and started sucking. It felt oddly good. When he was satisfied with what was probably a dark hickey by now, he moved back to my mouth. This time it was more of a lazy dance where earlier had been more dominating and plundering.

He worked on coaxing me into joining in on a tangle of tongues. I fell into the relaxation of it all. Finally being able to relax for the first time in a while. And man have I been missing out by waiting this long to kiss someone. Then again, it probably wouldn’t be the same without Louis.

The state of bliss couldn’t last forever. I heard a crackling over what appeared to be a radio. Then Liam’s voice appeared.

“Captain Tomlinson, are you there? I repeat, are you there? Prince Harold has disappeared, have you seen him? I repeat have you seen the Prince?”

Oh shit. 

Chapter Text

Louis pulled off of me and quickly gathered his wits about him. At least that’s what I hoped he was doing, otherwise we’re screwed.

“Agent Payne, this is Tomlinson. I have found Prince Harold. It would appear he got turned around. I will escort him back to his room and meet you there.”

“Sounds good. I’ll meet you there shortly.” He responded. I waited about thirty seconds before I could finally speak out loud.

“Thank God he didn’t catch us. That could have been really really bad.” I started stammering out loud.

My heart was stuttering not only from finally making out with Louis, but also from the adrenaline due to almost getting caught. Louis just silenced me with a look. He grabbed my arm and pulled me out the door. I followed him the rest of the way back and sagged on my bed as soon as we made it to my room. I was glad to finally have something underneath me and no longer had to worry about collapsing in the hallway.

I jumped when I felt a shirt hit me in the chest. I gave him a questioning look. He just rolled his eyes at me and put his finger on his collarbones. It took me a second to get what he was miming before I finally looked down at my own chest. Apparently I bruise easily, because I already had a dark purple hickey forming. General curiosity aside, I decided ‘oh it’s a bruise, therefore I must poke it.’

I yelped when it actually hurt to push on and Louis looked at me like an idiot. So sue me, I’ve never had a hickey before. Now that my curious side was satisfied, I remembered that I needed to change shirts before Liam returned. I pulled my shirt off to feel Louis’ gaze on my chest. I didn’t have time to decide whether I liked it or not, so I went ahead and threw on the shirt Louis had thrown at me and then his gaze was gone as quickly as it had come.

I heard Liam come in right after I managed to throw my old shirt in the hamper. I turned around to greet him, and found Louis had already left.  That kind of stung, but I need to pretend nothing’s off for a bit longer.

“Hey, Liam.”

“Hey, Harry! I’m glad you made it back safely.” Liam greeted.

“Yeah, who knows what was lurking in the corners ready to snatch our young, innocent Harold.” Grimmy commented.

I shot him a glare and he just raised an eyebrow in return. I rolled my eyes and returned my attention to Liam.

“Yeah, I guess I’m still not done getting lost in Wonderland.”

“So does that make Louis the rabbit or the Cheshire Cat? Out of curiosity.” Grimmy asked with a smirk.

“Does that make you the Mad Hatter?” I asked in lieu of answering.

“I like to think of myself as the caterpillar. Niall, on the other hand, would make a fantastic Mad Hatter.” He responded.

Of course he would choose the caterpillar, the one who seems to know all. Now all I needed to do was get Liam out of the room, so I can chew Grimmy out for the boyfriend con he had tried to pull. Lucky for me, Liam seemed happy to leave with a chuckle at our craziness and return to his post outside the door.

“Would you say he’s an eight?” Grimmy asked.

“What?” I was totally lost.

“I’m thinking eight of diamonds.”

“I think it suits him.”

“Just stop now. Stop while you still can.”

“But it makes sense-“

“No. Just no. The bad pun ends here.”

“My puns aren’t bad!” He gave me a looked.

“Well, not all of them are bad.” He still gave me a look of ‘are you shitting me?’

“My puns may be awful but at least I don’t lie about dating someone to their crush!” I was slightly insulted, hopped up on adrenaline from almost getting caught, and pissed off at his lying. It was making a rather explosive emotional grenade of a statement.

“Oh, so that’s where you’ve been.”

“Grimmy, focus!” He couldn’t even pay attention to an argument.

“What?”

“You lied to Louis, about you and me. Do you have anything to say for yourself?” I sounded like a principal at this point.

“Well, it worked.”

“What?” Now I was confused. And the adrenaline was gone, taking my anger with it.

“I see it this way. One: you and Louis weren’t going anywhere anytime fast. Two: I figured jealousy might be the only way to get through to him, so I told him we were together. Three: it must’ve worked and something must’ve happened in order for him to tell you about it. Did I get anything wrong?” I just glared at him, but then conceded.

“No.”

“So, would you like to share what happened with the class?”

I shook my head.

“Now come on, Harry, don’t be selfish.”

I didn’t respond.

“Come on, Styles. You know you want to. I bet you’re just waiting to be able to tell someone and jump up and down in excitement.” He tried to entice me.

“Ugh, fine! You win! We kissed, alright! We kissed. Are you happy now?” Damn Grimmy and his prodding ways.

“Very much so. My innocent wittle Harold is growing up.” He said as he pinched my cheeks.

“Let go, Grimmy!” I mumbled.

“First you have to spill all the details.” He sing-songed.

“I can’t do that if you have my cheeks.” I said mostly incoherently, therefore proving my point.

“Fine.” He finally let go. Thank God!

I didn’t share all the details. I told him we had pretty much just yelled at each other until I accidently outed my crush by saying Louis was a better choice over Grimmy anyday. Grimmy smacked me for that one. I guess I kinda deserved it (but not really.) It wasn’t my fault Grimmy wasn’t dating material.

I didn’t tell him about the hickey either. He didn’t need to know all the dirty details, despite his insistence on it.  Since he’s this spastic over just kissing, it almost makes me want to die a virgin to avoid ever having that talk with him. By the time he had wrung out every detail that I was willing to give him, and some I wasn’t, we headed out for dinner upon Niall’s insistence.

Lucky for me, Grimmy seems to have some ability to keep his mouth shut, because he hasn’t brought Louis back up since we left my room. I was grateful. I still have no clue what’s going on with us and the last thing I want is for someone else to find out and get Louis in trouble. That would be very, very bad.

The rest of the night was relaxing, with only the occasional snide comment from Grimmy’s side of the room. I fell asleep happy with my friends’ support and still feeling the rush of the kiss. I didn’t stay that way.

I woke up at about 5, which was extremely early for a Sunday, in what could only be described as a state of panic. My thoughts were running rampant through my head:

What if Louis doesn’t really like me? What if the kiss was just a pity thing? Poor prince, closeted and crushing on Louis. He deserves some sort of relief in the whirlwind of royalty.

Is he going to just pretend it never happened? Is he going to continue to ignore me? Is he just going to reject me? Is he just going to tell me I’m too young and go away? Is he just going to apologize and shove me onto Grimmy? Does he even care?

I had broken out into a full panic mode and was currently trying to ingrain a permanent path through the lush carpet. I continued pacing long enough that when Nick came and placed his hand on my shoulder, I got one hell of a shock and made an attempt to hit my head on the ceiling.

“Shit! Sorry, Grim.”

“It’s fine, now would you please tell me what has you pacing at 7:30 in the morning when you could be sleeping?”

I just gave him a look that seemed to scream lost puppy because he pulled me into his arms.

“It’s okay Harry. Everything’s going to be alright.” He held me a bit longer before delving into my subconscious.

“It’s about Louis, isn’t it?” I nodded into his chest.

“Let me guess, you’re worried now because he never spoke a word after you guys played tonsil hockey.” I snorted and nodded again.

“And a hickey too, apparently.” Then I realized I had taken my shirt off to sleep, so much for keeping that a secret.

“You feel calmer now?” I nodded.

“Okay, let’s try to get some more sleep.”

I followed him back to my bed to sleep for a few more hours, which means until about lunch. I haven’t done that in a long time. Sleeping in that late just hasn’t happened since maybe last summer, and that’s a pretty big maybe. We went down to lunch. When we were almost done Zayn got a message or signal or something because he came over to us and started talking overly formal again.

“Prince Harold, the Queen has requested your presence in her office.”

“Okay.” I paused for a second. “Could you please lead the way, so I don’t get lost again?”

“Sure, from talking to Liam you obviously still need a guide.” Zayn had a tiny smirk. My jaw dropped.

“What?” He snapped.

“You smiled. You, Zayn, actually showed an emotion towards me. I am truly flabbergasted.” That earned me a scowl.

“See, there! You did it again!” He started walking away and I rushed to catch up.

“Zayn, I’m sorry. I’m slightly sleep deprived and have been around Grimmy too much, resulting in a very bad filter.” He rolled his eyes at me.

“Please?” I begged.

When that didn’t work I had to draw out the big guns. I got in front of him and used the puppy dog eyes. I then had to pull out the dimples, which finally got him to cave and talk to me.

“Fine! You’re forgiven. But please put those away. The curls are bad enough without the dimples. Go put them somewhere where you can’t hurt anyone or yourself.”

I tried but then I smiled so the dimples reappeared. The rest of the walk was silent but I was happy I had cracked Zayn’s shell a little bit. All too soon we were at Lena’s door. Zayn knocked before I could stop him, so I had no time to prepare. Then I heard a ‘come in’ from the other side of the door. I didn’t even have enough time to properly work myself up into a worried state.

“Hi, Lena.” I said as I walked in. I was slightly scared.

“You aren’t in trouble, Harold. I just wanted to have a talk with you.” She motioned for me to sit down.

“Okay. What about?” I asked as I plopped down in a chair.

“I wanted to talk to you about your impending decision over whether or not to accept the crown.”

“Oh yeah. I have been meaning to talk to you about that.” Well, more like avoiding telling her because then I can’t change my mind. I won’t change it, but it had been nice to know I still had the option.

“So then you have reached a decision.” It wasn’t a question, but I treated it like one.

“Yes. I am going to accept the crown.”

“Good.” She said completely calm, keeping her true feelings hidden which is probably how she survives the politics.

“We won’t place you into the spotlight until the official announcement not this weekend, but the next weekend. You will need to decide if you want to write your own speech or let one of the advisors do it for you.”

“I’ll do it.” I didn’t want to start off not doing my own work.

She nodded and I could see a faint smile at the corner of her mouth. It seems I passed some kind of test.

“Now enjoy your time off while you can, because you’ll be extremely busy after the announcement.”

“Okay. I will try.” I sensed the dismissal and started walking out. She stopped when I got to the door.

“Oh, and Harry?”

“Yes?”

“I’m proud of you. I know this is a big responsibility and a huge decision. I know you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. I don’t believe you’ll regret your decision.”

“Thank you.”

“Now you enjoy the rest of your day off.”

I nodded at her and walked off.

Meanwhile…

~Grimmy’s POV~

As soon as Harry left, I decided to seek out Louis. I think it’s about time we have a nice, little chat. I waited about five minutes until I peaked out the bedroom door. It seems they were more concerned about Harry’s safety than what Harry’s friends might get up to.

I walked around casually, trying to gauge where different members of the staff took up residence. I saw some men in dark clothes head down one wing and I followed at a casual distance. They weren’t any men I had seen before, but they looked like the security type.

They split and headed off to their rooms and I went in search of Louis’. It seems that if you had a high enough ranking, you got a name plaque on your door. I was currently glad Harry was crushing on someone high enough up to make my life easier.

I finally found his room and knocked. When no one answered, I let myself in. I found a spot and got ready to wait.

It only took about fifteen minutes for Louis to make an appearance.

“What the fuck are you doing in here?” He said by way of greeting.

“Well, hello to you too.” I returned.

“I repeat, why are you here?”

“I was looking for you.”

“Why?”

“So we could have a nice little chat about the cute boy with the dimples and curls. Goes by the name Harry. Have you met him?” His earlier scowl turned into a full out glare.

“What about him?” He gritted out between his teeth.

“It seems someone is attempting to ruin his innocence, I was wondering if you know anything about it?”

“I would assume it’s not you since you aren’t even his boyfriend.” He snarked.

“Ooh. Good one. At least I give a shit about him and am not just taking advantage of him.”

“I am not taking advantage of him!” He defended.

“Oh, no? Then what would you call making out with him, giving him a hickey, and then avoiding him like the plague?”

“I’m not avoiding him.”

“Then why did you sit twenty feet away in his room yesterday when you brought him back? Why didn’t you say one word to him after it happened? Why did you bolt from the room like you had the royal guard dogs nipping on your heels?”

“I don’t have to explain myself to you.” He growled.

“Well, the least you could do is tell me if you’re gay so I know if I have any competition.”

“That’s none of your business.”

“I believe it is. I’m trying to decide if you like him or if you’re just using him as an experiment.”

“I would never do that to him!”

“So then you are gay?”

He didn’t respond, so I started shooting rapid-fire questions at him.

“You’re gay, right? You want the D? Girls are too soft and squishy and all that jazz? They don’t make the blood pump in a way that feels oh so good? Only guys can turn you on? You must’ve enjoyed academy, all that hot male flesh and absolutely no sense of modesty-“

“Just shut up! Shut up about it already!”

“Then just admit it. It’ll make you feel better.”

“Fine! I’m gay! I like dicks and hard muscles over soft curves and what-not! Are you happy, now?”

“Yes.” I said with a self-satisfied grin, relishing in the fact Louis hated every moment of this.

“Why are we even talking?” He sounded awfully frustrated.

“Two reasons. One: I would like to know of your intentions with my dear son, Harold. Second: It seems you have no one else to turn to.”

“I have Zayn and Liam.” He pointed out.

“Ah, I think you don’t. From what I’ve seen around here, most of the security guards are big macho dudes. Macho comes with this implied straight sign, so I believe you never told them you were gay.”

He took a deep breath like he was going to protest.

“Na-ah. Now I believe they may have guessed at your gender preference, but they don’t understand. They weren’t in the academy with you. They weren’t there when, let me guess, you laid awake at night waiting for someone to come and do something to you for being the way you are. They may accept you, but they don’t understand what it’s like.”

“Oh and you do?”

“I may not have lived through the same specifics, but I am gay while those two are not.”

“So?”

“So they won’t get it. They also may suspect your preferences, but it’s another thing all together to have it confirmed. Then there is that one last detail they could never overlook…”

“And what would that be?”

“The fact that you like Harry, the one you are charged to protect. They wouldn’t understand if you decided to risk your career to go out with him. They wouldn’t want to risk their career to protect you. They won’t help you.”

“What?”

“You know that thing where you do stuff for people because you care.”

“But you don’t care about me. You don’t even know me.”

 “You’re right, but I care about Harry. I want him to be happy and he wants you.”

“Is that why you came up with the boyfriend shit?”

“Most definitely. You seemed to need a kick in the ass so I improvised.”

“Be that as it may, you may have a point.”

“About what?”

“Are you going to make me spell it out for you?”

“Most definitely.”

“Fine. I need someone to talk to and I will begrudgingly admit that I have no choice, but to talk to you.”

“Good.”

“But I’m not going to like it.”

“You don’t have to.” Game, set, and match. I win.

Chapter Text

Zayn escorted me back to my room, which was surprisingly quiet for once.

“Hey, Niall?”

“Yeah?” He responded.

“Where did Grimmy go?”

“I have no clue.”

“Oh, okay.”

I just let the silence return to the room, leaving me to my own thoughts. I finally told Lena I’m going to stay, which is one more thing off my checklist. I probably need to tell Louis I’m staying before the public announcement, but I don’t know if I want to after the whole kiss scenario.

Depending on how he feels about the situation it could result in a couple outcomes. He could, best case scenario, actually feel something for me and we could have a happy ending. Unlikely. More likely was he felt pity for me and my infatuation. I don’t think I could face him if he just looked at me with that apologetic look in his eyes, while telling me he did it just so I could have at least one happy memory when I go home.

The absolute worst thing that could happen is that he could tell me I’m delusional and it meant nothing; it was just a quick kiss for the hell of it and I’m dead if I tell anyone. Though it might be worse if he did like me, but I wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t worth losing his job over. Though that may be understandable, it would still hurt to not be given a chance.

It’s just easier if I don’t talk to him. Ever. Save myself the pain by just severing ties now. Then again, I’m a glutton for punishment, so I really want to see him again. And again. And some more after that.

Apparently Niall could sense my distress, which means I was totally freaking out considering he normally doesn’t notice things like this, or if he does he keeps his mouth shut.

“Harry, you need to calm down. Whatever is bothering you can’t be that bad.”

“But what if it is, Niall?” I probably sounded a little bit whiny and a lot tired by this point.

“You’re probably just overthinking it. You need to try to relax before you explode or something.” He may or may not have a point.

I finally got myself to a mostly calm state when Grimmy finally returned.

“Hey, Grimmy. Where have you been?” I was curious, considering he didn’t know much of anyone here.

“Oh, I was talking with Louis.” There went my calm state.

“What do you mean you were with Louis?! What did you talk about? What did he say? Did you talk about me? Does he hate me? Would he be mad if I decided to stay? Is he okay?” Oh God, I sound like a teenage girl obsessing over a crush.

“Harry, breathe. I won’t hold you in that much suspense. We did talk about you-”

“What did he say? Was it good or bad?” I cut him off. He made a shushing motion and waited for me to quiet down, so he could talk.

“Now, we had a nice chat. I will not tell you what about, though it may have had something to do with you. It will all be revealed in due time, Harold, but not by me.”

“That’s not helping, Grimmy! And would you please wipe that self-satisfied grin off your face, it’s annoying.” It was more annoying that he knew what was going on, while I didn’t. For the time being I’ll snipe about his stupid face instead.

I tried longer to prod information out of him. He never gave me enough to do more than appease me so I could sleep.  

Sleep didn’t last very long. I woke up to find a hand clamped over my mouth and a voice by my ear. My initial reaction was to scream, but the hand kind of prevented that.

“Sh! Be quiet, Harry. We wouldn’t want to wake up Niall and Grimmy.” He whispered in my ear.

I calmed instantly when I recognized Louis’ voice. Once I had calmed down enough to satisfy Louis, he removed his hand from my mouth. He tugged to get me up, but I had to motion for him to move away so I could untangle myself from Niall and Grimmy. Then, he grabbed my wrist and led me out of my room. I pulled back to grab a pair of sweatpants, so I wouldn’t be walking around in only my boxers.

He took me to another room and into a secret passageway that deposited us in another part of the castle. I made a mental note to search for other random passageways when I get bored, later. Our final destination seemed to be this random sitting room consisting of a couch, a fireplace, a few chairs and other random pieces of furniture.

 He led us over to the couch and we sat facing each other, though he never released his grip on my wrist. He ruffled his hand through his hair a few times before finally getting up and pacing back and forth in front of me. I had never seen him look so un-composed, so I decided to just wait for him to come to some decision on what he was going to do. I don’t think he had much thought beyond kidnapping me and finding somewhere secluded.

I guess he finally reached a decision or a plan of action because he finally returned his attention to me.

“I’m gay.” He blurted out. I had had my suspicions before, but it was nice to actually hear it from him.

“Okay.” I responded, waiting to see where he was going with this.

“And you’re gay.” It wasn’t a questioned but I responded anyway.

“Yes.”

“And we kissed.”

“And you gave me a hickey. Is there a point to stating these facts?”

“I want to do it again.”

“Do what again?” He rolled his eyes at me.

“Do I have to spell it out for you?”

“Probably.” I replied honestly.

I blinked and the next thing I know there was a weight on top of me and a tongue trying to make its way into my mouth. I quickly gave up control and relaxed into him. He used one of his hands to pull my hand to his side and I took that as my hint to participate. I grabbed onto his waist as he curled his hands into my hair. His tongue started teasing mine so I decided to suck on it.

I moaned when he tugged on my curls in retaliation and then he was using them to turn my head so he could have access to my neck. He paused when he made it to my chest and found the hickey he had left yesterday. He pressed a kiss to it and left a few more marks just to make sure I got his message.

I was a jumble of Jell-O when he was done and he took a moment to breathe before speaking again.

“Do you understand now?”

“I don’t know… You may need to kiss me one more time to make sure.” I responded.

We made out for probably another five minutes, just so I could be absolutely positive I got the message.

“Now, let’s get you back to bed before your friends notice you’re gone.”

“Okay.”

He got off me and then helped me up. It took longer to get back because my legs were a little wobbly. I curled back up in bed and he gave me another quick peck before going back to his station. I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

I woke up the next morning to the realization he never really said anything. He kissed like he cared, but it could’ve been a lust thing misinterpreted as a love thing. I decided it was better to just forget about it for the moment and just be happy that he wants to kiss me and it wasn’t just a silly mistake or joke on his part.

I got ready and was about to walk out the door when a hand pushed me back inside. Louis shot a quick glance to make sure Niall and Grimmy were still asleep before giving me a good morning kiss. Then he made me change shirts because I had forgotten about the colorful hickeys adorning my chest, so a few of them were poking out of my shirt. We didn’t want to get caught by anyone, let alone Mr. Peabody, because of a silly wardrobe error.

Once everything was covered up to his satisfaction, he dragged me out the door claiming that if I didn’t hurry up, I’d be late for my class. It’s not my fault I kept getting distracted by him.

Tutoring went normally as did the rest of the day, since Louis wasn’t on guard duty. Everything was fairly normal until bedtime. Grimmy snickered at the many hickeys currently taking up residence on my chest and Niall’s jaw dropped.

“When the fuck did you get those? Better yet, who gave you those? Wait, do I even want to know?”

I turned bright red and spluttered looking for an answer.

“Well- I-uh-it was-uh-fuck-uh-yesterday-uh-Saturday-uh-“

“What, Harold, here is trying to say is some things are just better left alone. Right Harry?” This was one of the few times I was glad to have Grimmy during an embarrassing conversation.

“Exactly.”

It was left at that.

Tuesday, Louis had daytime duty and snuck me out so we could go make out after lunch. The same thing happened Wednesday after dinner and Thursday night.

It was nice and fun while we were together, but I couldn’t help but wonder what we are. Yes we run around and make out all the time, and the kisses were always hot enough to make me melt. That’s not enough. At the same time I’m afraid to ask for more. What if he just wants to be make-out buddies or something? I want more, but I’m afraid to lose what we have in the process of asking for it.

Grimmy must be sensing my internal turmoil, because he keeps sending me pity glances. I think he may be sorry he meddled or just pitying me over this relationship, not that I’ve told him anything. I’m afraid to tell him what’s going on, because then he may go on and meddle again and completely fuck things over more than they already are.

Man, this is stressful. There’s also the fact that I need to tell Louis that I’m not going to go home with Niall and Grimmy in the next couple of weeks. Even worse, Gemma told me that I have another ‘date’ Friday night. Isn’t that just the icing on the cake? I can’t keep my actual love life straight, how am I going to fake one?

The date was a semi-formal affair that involved dinner in the dining room. I thought Liam was supposed to be on duty. I was surprised when I headed out of my room to go downstairs and meet ‘my date’ and found Louis waiting outside of my door. It was just lovely, my pseudo-relationship someone was coming to watch me fake date someone, as if these weren’t normally bad enough on their own.

I opened the door to find a girl in an extremely clingy, strapless cocktail dress and a precariously high pair of stilettos. I greeted her nervously and she put a calming hand on me in reassurance. That was the wrong move. I could feel Louis’ gaze intensify, which wasn’t helping with my nervousness at all. She insisted on sitting next to me at the table and pressed her knee against mine. I blushed and Louis narrowed his gaze. Shit.

“So Harry,” she began. “I’ve heard no one’s made it past step one with you.”

I shot a quick glance at Louis because he made it pretty far past step one, but I wasn’t going to tell her that. I, also, wasn’t going to tell her she had the wrong set of genitalia to make it past the first phase.

“No they haven’t.”

“Well, I’m going to be the first.” She was cocky and headed straight for what she wanted, which was obviously a boyfriend with a title.

“Okay?” I said since I didn’t know how else to respond to such a bold move. Though it might have been the wrong thing to say, because she seemed to look pretty smug afterward, while Louis looked equally pissed.

She scooted closer to the point where I had to eat dinner around her boobs. She was completely pressed up against my side and arched just so they stuck out right in my line of sight. I could almost here a growl coming from Louis. I don’t know how to get her off, though. The only thing I could think of would be to forcibly shove her off, but I can’t afford to piss anyone off in case they have connections.

Then came dessert. It was some chocolate thingy with whipped cream on top. She insisted on feeding me some and I turned brighter red and mumbled something along the lines of thanks. Apparently I had some whipped cream on my face, because she reached over to swipe it off and then licked her thumb. She leaned forward like she expected me to return the favor. I tried to do it without touching her lips. I wiped my finger on the napkin rather than sucking it off. She looked vaguely disappointed, but I wasn’t going to appease her and risk Louis attempting to kill one or both of us. Then she insisted we spend even more time together and go for a walk in the garden.

She wrapped one of her hands in mine and continued to try and smash herself into my side. She shivered, whether it was real or not I don’t know. I ended up lending her my blazer, which earned me a smile. She inevitably dragged us over to a secluded bench, which led me to believe this wasn’t the first time she’d been around here with a guy.

She placed her hand on my thigh and gradually leaned closer as the conversation went on. I hadn’t really been paying too much attention to anything, until her hand was suddenly way too close to my crotch. I grabbed her hand and pulled it off.

“Aww, come on, Baby. Don’t be like that. I know what you want, just let me give it to you.” She said in what I assume was supposed to be a demure voice. Little did she know, I wished the shadow standing over us, would have been the one in her place.

“Um, no thank you.” I guess it might have sounded more question-like because I was trying to figure out how to let her down. She seemed to take it as a no that means yes because she moved the hand I wasn’t holding to my upper thigh.

I grabbed her other wrist to pull it off of me and she leaned her weight against my arms and pushed her chest out, trying to entice me. I jumped up and dropped her arms causing her to fall forward.

“I-uh. It’s getting late and I need to go to bed, so…” I managed to stammer.

“I understand.” She purred. “Lead the way to your room.” Oh hell! Shit on a stick, this was not going well.

“Um, I mean-uh-you see. I uh-“

“What he means is it’s about time for you to go.” I could hear the pissed off undertones in Louis’ voice. I was in deep shit.

“I think not. I believe he wants me here. Right Prince Harold?”

“I believe he doesn’t and he’s too polite to tell you otherwise. It’s time to go.” They started glaring at each other.

“Let me walk you out.” I said, hoping to cut the tension.

“Thank you. You’re such a prince.” She completely ignored the fact that Louis was right and I did want her to leave.

I led her out the front door and managed to somehow get my jacket back. I didn’t really want it. It smelled like her cloyingly sweet perfume. Luckily she didn’t move in for a kiss nor did she press the point about a second date. I think it had something to do with Louis’ pissed off aura radiating throughout the room.

As soon as she was gone, he pulled me back to that same secluded parlor that he had taken me to when we had started whatever we were doing. As soon as the door shut behind us, he was smashing his lips to mine. Then he was working his way across my neck, biting and sucking like he was trying to permanently ingrain himself on my skin.

It felt so good, but it was getting us absolutely nowhere… Then again, letting him practically maul me for five more minutes wouldn’t hurt either. I guess I didn’t have to be the first one to speak.

“I can’t believe that girl was so blatantly all over you! I swear she was going to give you a hand job in the middle of the garden! The pretentious twat thought she had you! Delusional girl.” He started ranting as soon as we had to split apart for air.

The only way I knew how to soothe him was to smash my lips to his. I tried to tell him I was his and not going anywhere. I finally decided to drop the bomb and inform him I really wasn’t going anywhere. There was never going to be a good time so I might as well tell him now.

“Louis, I’m staying.” I said when I had caught my breath.

“What? What do you mean you’re staying?”

“I mean, at the announcement in two weeks I will be accepting the crown. I’m not going anywhere.”

His jaw dropped.

“You can’t do this, Harry?”

“Can’t do what?”

“Stay here because of me!”

“Really, Louis. Really? You think this is all about you?” There was a pause. That was enough.

“God damn it Louis, not everything is about you! All you want to do is make out. Then I go on a date and you freak out, yet you don’t ever want talk about anything! How am I supposed to know what’s going on if you don’t ever speak? I have no idea what’s going on with us, which makes you an insufficient reason to stay!”

“Exactly.” He said in an exasperated tone.

“I didn’t decide this because of you, you conceited Bastard!”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Really, you don’t believe me? I’ve told you so many things that I won’t tell anyone else! I’ve told you the truth when so many times I could have made my life easier and blatantly lied to your face! And you don’t trust me enough to believe me when I tell you this?”

“No.” He said simply and that hurt.

“Is this your way of breaking up with me? Are you tired of me already? Poor self-deluded Prince, I’ll play nice until he gathers his wits and go home. Well too fucking bad! I’m not going anywhere and it has nothing to do with your and your self-absorbed ways! And if you don’t believe me you can go to Hell! Or you could talk to Zayn considering he was there when I made the decision, weeks ago; I’ll have you know.”

He didn’t respond which was enough to tell me I was no longer wanted here.

“I get it. I may be mostly clueless, but I can tell when someone’s done with me. Thanks for the fun week; it was a whirlwind. I hope you can one day find someone you can trust, but then again it will be hard for anyone to accept you when you won’t accept yourself. Goodbye, Tomlinson. It was a blast while it lasted.”

I walked out the door and, for once, I didn’t have anyone following me. I headed straight for my room, then locked myself in the bathroom and turned on the shower.

I saw all the hickeys in the mirror. I stood in the shower and tried to scrub off the scent of that girl and the obvious marks on my neck. I tried and tried and when I realized they wouldn’t come off I just collapsed and sat in the stream, while crying.

The stupid bastard, with his stupid good looks, and his stupid I know-better-than-you attitude. Why did he have to be so damn addicting? His kisses are a drug, but they aren’t enough to save me if he isn’t willing to share an emotional connection. I know it was right to split, but why do I feel so wrong because of it?

He could lose his job for what we’ve done, so I should be understanding. I tried so hard, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t lie when I said this past week had been fantastic, but I didn’t tell him how incredibly confused and solemn I got when he wasn’t around and there was nothing to encourage me to stay with him, beyond lust and wishful thinking.

I’m so lost with him. I don’t know what to do now. Things are going to be awkward. He can’t get reassigned without outing us, so we’re going to be stuck together. I just have to hope Liam and Zayn don’t pick up on it. I don’t know them well enough to trust that they wouldn’t out us if they found out.

I realized I had probably been sitting in the shower for about forty-five minutes or an hour when I heard Grimmy knocking on the bathroom door.

“Harry, are you okay?”

“No.” I sobbed. There was no point in hiding it from him.

“Ah, Babe. I need you to do a couple things for me, okay?”

“Mhm.”

“Now I need you to turn the water off okay?” He waited for me to do that.

“Now, wrap up in a towel. Do you have any clothes?”

“No.” I murmured.

“Okay, then try to dry yourself off while I grab you some.”

About two minutes later a hand appeared and shoved a pair of boxers, sweatpants and a V-neck into the room. I put them on.

“Come out once you’re dressed.”

I walked out to where he was sitting on the bed. I hadn’t checked in the mirror, but I’m pretty sure my eyes were still red from crying.

“Oh, come here poor boy.” I crawled on top of him and curled into his arms. I’m glad that he’s still taller than me, despite my recent growth spurts.

“Now, do you want to tell me what happened?”

“Louis, he-hic –then I-hic – and we-hic- so I dumped him.” I said into his shoulder.

“Aw, it’s going to be okay. Everything will work out.”

“How? How can anything work out, when he’s closed off and everything revolves around him? It’s all lust on his end and I can’t help but still like him? How can I still like someone that treats me like that?”

“Because we both know he’s not really like that. We know he’s just scared and you gave him a kick in the ass that he needed. Everything’s going to work out just fine.”

“You think so?”

“I know so.” I hoped he was right, but I knew he was going to be wrong. There’s no way anything will happen. Louis loves his job way too much to risk it over me.

I slept with Grimmy and Niall holding me and couldn’t help but wish that it was a pair of tan arms holding me.

I decided to stay in my room Saturday for two reasons. The first reason was due to the fact I was too mopey to move. The second was due to the fact I didn’t want to have to look at the hickeys long enough to be able to cover them. All in all, there was no way they were getting me out of my room.

Niall tried to make me feel better by bringing me all sorts of food. Grimmy played a bunch of comedies and tried to distract me from the pain. It was a valiant effort, if ineffective.

That night there was an unexpected knock on the door. I looked at Grimmy and he looked confused too. He got up to go answer it.

“I need to see him, Grimmy.” I sat up stock straight at the sound of Louis’ voice.

“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea…” Grimmy sounded unsure of what to do.

“Please Grimmy, I have to talk to him.” He pleaded.

“Okay.” He turned to me. “Harry, it’s Louis.”

“I know.” Nick walked back over to me.

“You don’t have to talk to him if you don’t want to.” He whispered.

“I know. Do you think I should?”

“It’s up to you. Though you may never get closure if you don’t talk to him.”

He had a point.

“Take Niall and let Louis in on your way out.” He nodded in understanding.

I sat down on my bed and Louis hovered by the door, not really looking at me.

“Well? What do you want?”

“Um well, I-uh- I talked to Zayn.” He seemed flustered but I wasn’t about to soothe him.

He finally looked up and gasped at my bedraggled appearance. I guess he forgot his awkwardness, because instantly came by my side to wrap around me in a way that felt better than when Grimmy did it.

“I’m so so sorry. I can’t believe I didn’t believe you. You were right. I was being a selfish jerk. I am glad that you’re staying and I should have told you. I’m sorry I didn’t believe you. I am so sorry.” It all came out in a rush.

“You can be sorry all you want. I will forgive you every time, but it still hurts. I’m still confused. I’m frustrated because I don’t know what’s going! You can apologize as many times as you want and it will be all fine and well and then you leave. Then I’m left confused and I hate it! I hate not knowing what’s going on! What do you want from me?” I was yelling. And crying. And it wasn’t really working.

“It’s my job to protect you Harry.” And here’s where I get the gentle let down.

“That’s the one thing that’s been trained into me for years now: protect your charge. I’m supposed to protect you from everything, but I don’t know how to protect you from myself. I don’t know if I even want to.”

“What are you saying?”

“I want you. Not just the kisses in the hallways. I want to be part of your emotional landslides and I want to be the one to build you back up. I want to be everything for you and I’m willing to take the risk. I want to be your boyfriend and I want you to be mine. Assuming you still want me.”

“I want you Louis, no question. But…how am I supposed to know if this is real? That this isn’t just some joke? That you aren’t just toying around with me?”

“Because I’m not. I tried. I tried so hard to stay away from you. I keep telling myself you’re too young and you’re my charge so it’s not okay. It doesn’t work, because I still want you. No matter how hard I try, it all comes back to you. It’s amazing, because I figured there was never going to be anyone I wanted to date. There would never be someone worth my job.

Then there was you. You, with your bright green eyes that screamed temptation. I built up walls, and you nudged them aside. I tried to tell myself you’d be happier with Grimmy. That you might not want to stay for the crown. But you’re you, so of course you stayed, and for good reasons. And I blew it all up.

I’d understand if you don’t want me or this. If you don’t want the risk of a scandal, but I’m on my last limb and I’m trying. I don’t share easily, but I will for you. Please?”

I sat there and thought. I didn’t want to just run head first in this. Most of the time I only think about him and his career. I tend to forget this could affect me too. If we were caught, it could create a giant scandal. It could cost me a huge deal of credibility and greatly prevent the change I wanted to enact. I had a feeling he was worth it, though. So that left only one option.

“Okay, Louis. I’ll be your boyfriend. Though it will stay between us for the moment and possibly Grimmy, because that sneaky bastard manages to get his nose into everything.”

He chuckled and I thought maybe things might be finally turning around.

Chapter Text

We got about ten more minutes of peace and quiet before I heard Grimmy’s voice outside the door.

“There can only be two reasons for this kind of quiet; either one of them is dead or their mouths are otherwise occupied.”

“And there’s the end of our honeymoon stage.” I muttered and reluctantly pulled away from Louis. “Come in!”

Grimmy came in with that ever-annoying smug look on his face.

“I better get back to duty before someone gets curious.” He gave me a quick peck before heading out the door.

I gave him a look like ‘what about Grimmy?’ He gave me a shrug, probably figuring Grimmy was going to find out anyway, so why waste time and pretend?

“Don’t say it!” I said as soon as Louis was out the door.

“Don’t say what?” He asked, innocently.

“I told you so.”

“I don’t have to.” He was right; his grin was enough of a smug ‘I was right’ look.

“So no objections? No this is an inappropriate relationship? No he’s too old, or you’re too young? No lecture about my idiocy?”

“I do love the inappropriate.”

“Grimmy.” I rolled my eyes.

“Fine. In all seriousness I have worked way too hard to get you together. Why the Hell would I object now?”

He kind of had a point.

“In that case, let’s go to bed. I need sleep. And where’s Niall?”

“He’s coming. He got sidetracked by the pantry.”

“Mm.”

I was only half listening. I was already crawling under the covers. It had been an emotionally exhausting day and I needed the rest.

I woke up the next morning and my only thought was: Fuck! I have to give a speech Friday. This gives me six days, including Friday, to figure out what I should say. Then what happens afterward? I need to go find Gemma and figure out what’s going on.

I walked outside to find Zayn on duty. If he had assumed anything from the talk he had with Louis yesterday, he wasn’t showing it.

“Morning, Zayn.”

“Good morning, Harry. What are you doing up so early?” I couldn’t blame him for his hesitance. I was up early for a Sunday.

“I was wondering if you could help me find Gemma? I wanted to maybe get some help with my speech and talk to her about what will be going on afterwards.”

“Okay. Give me a moment.”

He picked up his phone and talked for a few minutes, before returning his attention to me.

“She’s going to meet you in the kitchen downstairs. She says she needs coffee if you want her to be fully functional.”

“Okay. Thank you.”

I followed him downstairs to the kitchen where I found Gemma staring longingly at the espresso machine, while someone made her coffee.

“Morning, Gemma.”

“Hello, Harry. Once I get my coffee we’ll head off to my room to chat.”

“Okay.”

I followed her to her room and found it surprisingly clean. I imagined she was somewhat messy and would have clothes strewn about the room. Then again, she probably had maids for that.

“So what has you up so early on a weekend?”

“Well, I realized my speech was Friday. I have no idea what’s going to happen at the event, nor what I’m expected to say. Then again, what’s going to happen after my official acceptance?”

“Breathe, Harry. Calm down. You have excellent timing, actually. I wanted to talk to you about that. The speech itself is not going to be in front of that many people, it’s going to be more of a live broadcast.”

“What?! I have to speak on live television! As if talking normally isn’t hard enough.”

“You’ll be fine. Stop freaking out.”

“Easy for you to say. You’ve been raised in the limelight. Me, not so much. The mere thought of speaking in front of that many people makes me feel nauseated.” I muttered.

“Don’t mutter, the microphones won’t be able to pick up your voice. Now, do you know what you want to do after?”

“I don’t know. I was just expecting people to tell me what to do.”

“Well, that’s not going to happen anymore. Your advisors may give you general ideas about what to do, but you have to be independent and decide how to go about it.”

“Okay...”

“So I will inform you that you’re a new face so you might want to show yourself to the people and do some P.R. work.”

I sat there and gave it some thought. I didn’t want to be some distant face on the TV that they just have to trust would do what’s right for them. I, also, want a chance to actually see the country.

“Is there anyway I could do some kind of tour around the country? I would like to be able to see the country and actually get to know some of the people, if that’s possible.”

“Hmm. That’s a halfway decent idea. We could go around the country, stopping here and there for random press events and meet and greets.”

“You would come along?”

“Of course. Someone’s got to help you manage the press! Who better than me?”

“Touché.”

“I will talk to Grandma about it.”

“Okay. Thank you. Now would you please tell me what I’m supposed to say in my speech?”

“Well, it should be something like I am the crown prince now. I will try to do my best. If grandmother approves, then you should announce the tour.”

“Okay. Thank you.”

She came over and gave me a hug.

“It’s no problem. Now shoo, so I can go talk to Grandma.”

I walked out the door with a wave at Gemma.

“See ya!”

Zayn escorted me back to my room where Niall and Grimmy were already up. We chilled in my room for a little while until they finally got up enough energy to get dressed so we could get lunch.

Gemma came in while we were eating.

“Good thing I caught you. Grandma approved so everything is being set in motion. I forgot to mention that after your speech, there will be an after party. Now I have to go get everything ready. Good luck with your speech!”

“What was that all about?” Grimmy asked.

“Well, I just got approval to go on a tour of the country after Friday.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why are you going on a tour of the country?”

“I feel like I need to see the country and get to know some of the people.”

“That makes sense.”

“Now are you done so I can go and start writing my speech?”

“Sure.”

So I spent the rest of the day attempting to write my speech.

Monday lessons leaned towards Mr. Peabody attempting to cram as much last minute information as possible. The rest of the week would be devoted to going over the tour schedule and making sure I know as much as possible about the places I would be going. I spent Monday afternoon attempting to finish my speech so I could work on the speaking part of my speech the rest of the week.

That plan was easier said than done. I got the speech written, that wasn’t the problem. I couldn’t speak worth shit. Midafternoon Tuesday, Niall and Grimmy had run away from my stuttering panic and repetitive speaking. It was easier for them to leave me alone with a mirror and a video camera. Instead of concentrating, I walked along the walls like the woman from the Yellow Wall Paper . I probably looked half crazy and out of my mind.

My frantic pacing stopped when I discovered a niche in one of my walls. I continued to feel around it until I pushed something, which caused a hidden door to open. Lucky for me, it wasn’t loud enough to alert Liam. . This could come in handy.

It was dusty and full of cobwebs showing serious signs of disuse. I used my cell phone to light a path. It led into a closet and I listened for sounds before walking out. I walked straight into Zayn.

“Oof!”

He looked pissed until he realized it was me he was talking to.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah. I’m fine, just wasn’t paying attention.”

“What are you doing here? And where is Liam?”

I ignored the second question and I made a random guess to answer the first.

“I was looking for Louis.”

“What do you need him for?”

“I wanted to talk to him about the upcoming tour and what security was going to be like and what restrictions I will have.”

“Okay. Follow me.”

He led me to a door just down the hall with a name plaque outside. I stored that information away for a later date. He knocked on the door.

“Who is it?” A voice that was most definitely Louis’, called from inside.

“It’s Zayn.”

“What do you want?”

“I have a visitor for you.”

Louis finally decided to get up and come to the door. He was visibly surprised when his gaze settled on me.

“How may I help you, Prince?” He said in an oddly formal tone considering the past week and a half.

“I had some questions about the tour and I was hoping you could answer them.”

“Come in, Prince. Thank you, Zayn.”

Zayn saluted Louis and was off.

“So do you know where we’re going, Prince?”

“I saw the map today. My tutor is trying to cram as much information as possible before we leave.”

“Okay.”

We sat there in silence another minute before he spoke.

“Why are you really here?”

I guess that means the coast is clear and we can talk freely.

“I was going to go crazy if I had to stay practicing my speech any longer. Plus Niall and Grimmy abandoned me about an hour ago.”

“I see. So do you want to go do something to take your mind off of it?”

“Yes please.”

I closed my eyes expecting a kiss. I got one, but not the one I expected. It was simple and quick, but good nonetheless. Then he walked out the door and then I realized I was expected to follow and had to run to catch up.

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll see, Prince.”

I took the hint and followed him. We ended up in a ballroom.

“What are we doing here?”

“If you’re going on tour, you’re going to need to know how to dance. I’m going to teach you how to waltz.”

“This isn’t going to end well.”

“Are you doubting my teaching skills?” He raised an eyebrow.

“No. I’m severely overestimating my dancing skills by not stating it will end up in complete and utter chaos.” That earned a laugh and I blushed in response. He’d understand soon enough.

“We’ll see.”

He started spouting about a prep step and natural turns and reverse turns. Then he said something about turning a corner and spin turns and a whisk and chasse.  I was confused.

He started off by teaching me a box step. Then he made me turn the box step. It was very choppy, but at least it had a basic 1-2-3 count. I thought I was doing bad, but I guess I was doing good enough to start dancing with him. Or I was bad enough that he just wanted a firm grip on me so it would be easier to push me where he wants me.

He pulled me close into a dance position where I was slightly to the left of him with his right hand on my back and his left hand out to the side. My left arm went on top of his and my right went out to grab his hand. Once he was satisfied that I could get in and out of that easily, he turned on some music. He played Come Away With Me by Norah Jones. Then he told me to just follow.

The first couple of steps were a little rough, but they started smoothing out as I just relaxed into him. I let him pull me around and it worked surprisingly well. Waltz was slow, but I was grateful. It was nice to just have some fun with my boyfriend. Man does it feel good to call him that.

Once the song ended he tried to teach me a spin turn and a whisk and chasse. Those didn’t go as well. They were more complicated and I was uncoordinated. After about ten minutes of somewhat futile effort, I realized something.

“Hey, Louis?”

“Yes?”

“Why are you teaching me the girls’ part?”

“Do you have a problem with following?”

“I don’t mind following you, it makes it easier. I was just thinking that if I needed to learn to dance to survive social events, most people would expect me to lead the women, not to wait in the line with women while we wait for someone to lead us.”

“You may have a point. Luckily for you, the basics are fairly similar. You just have to start at different points in the turn.”

“That went over my head.”

Then we spent another half an hour making sure I knew the guys part and could lead a girl through it without being as close as me and Louis had been. I got the message: no dancing closely with girls or anyone other than Louis. All in all, it was a great way to de-stress and procrastinate.

Wednesday and Thursday went by with increasing anxiety. Niall and Grimmy decided to try and cheer me up by showing me trash TV predictions of what I was going to say or decide in my upcoming speech.

Some tried to make it ominous like who is this boy and what will he choose. Others analyzed my personality mostly based on what Grimmy tweeted to spite me; they were in for a mighty big surprise. Some of them brought in a girl or two I had taken on a ‘date’ and asked their opinion. One episode ended with two fighting over me. It was a little ridiculous and surprisingly calming. One thing they all agreed on was that I was a lady-killer. They would be in for a huge shock one day.

Friday was tacked full of panic. My tutor didn’t even bother to continue to teach after a while. He worked on giving me calming techniques and tips for camera speaking.

I was a nervous wreck all afternoon since I didn’t have to give my speech until five. At about 3:30 I found out I had stylists and they set to work on my wardrobe. Then they tried to mess with my curls only to find that my curls weren’t going to get any neater than they already were. Then I had to get makeup so I wouldn’t pale under the lights or some nonsense like that. I tried not to twitch too much, but wasn’t that successful.

I still had about a half an hour before my speech, leading me to pace back and forth in a random dressing room. Grimmy and Niall had disappeared, probably unable to deal with my anxiety.

About five minutes later the door opened and I panicked thinking it was already time for me to give my speech. Then it was actually Louis, which meant I had more time before I had to speak.

“You seem to have worked yourself up into a right state.”

“You think?  I have to talk to the whole country about me taking over and hope to hell I don’t screw up. I was the kid in the back of the class who avoided attracting attention and now I have everyone’s attention on me. It’s nerve-wracking!”

He pulled me into his arms and held me. It was weird that, despite being taller than him, I still felt smaller in his arms. It was comfortable and soothing, and I could finally breathe normally again when he rubbing circles into my back.

“Now, you’re going to go out there and give your speech. You’ll charm the pants off of everyone with your dimples and charming personality. All you have to do is be yourself. Okay?”

“Okay. You’ll be there the whole time, right?”

“Yes. Now, let’s go.”

Louis stood by the camera so I could talk to him the whole time and it looked like I was talking to the people. I spoke about being new but trying to do my best. I talked about how I was going to be going on tour and I hope to see the people as I travel. I thanked them all for listening and that was that.

They cut the cameras and I got a round of applause. I let out a sheepish smile and blushed. Grimmy came up to me.

“Good job, kid. Looks like you’re all grown up and talking to the masses.”

“Thanks. When are you guys leaving?”

“Tomorrow morning after the after party is finally over.”

“What after party?”

“To celebrate your crown, of course.”

“Oh, I forgot.”

“Come on. Let’s get you some party clothes.”

We ended up grabbing dinner first and sitting around killing time. Then he stuffed me into some insanely tight, black skinny jeans and a black button down.

“Are you trying to suffocate the family jewels?”

“Maybe, maybe not. You will never know.” He turned back before he reached the door and added, “and I can’t believe you aren’t going to call them the crown jewels now. You’re wasting a brilliant opportunity!”

“You’re insufferable. I would change, but I don’t think I could get the pants off.”

He just chuckled at me and dragged me along back down to the party. I was assaulted by the loud noise and people. The party was in full swing by about nine. The alcohol seemed to be free flowing and it was like an actual party with a DJ rather than the things that normally went on Friday nights.

I ran into a couple of the girls I had gone out with and Grimmy somehow managed to extricate them and plant them on other men. I kind of skirted around on the edge until Gemma found me.

“Hi, Harry! I want you to meet somebody. This is Kyle. Kyle, this is Harry.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Kyle.”

“It’s nice to meet you too, Harry.” He responded.

“I’m just going to leave you two now. Have fun!” Gemma said.

“Good job on your speech today.” He started.

“Thanks. I was really nervous about it. I’m glad it turned out well.”

“Really, because you didn’t seem nervous at all?”

“Yeah? I was a right wreck until Lo-Grimmy helped me calm down. Now how are you enjoying the party?”

“It’s fun. May I say those pants look great on you?”

“Thanks. You look nice, too.”

“Would you like a drink?”

“No thank you. The last thing I need is alcohol.”

“Bad experience?”

“The morning after sucks, to say the least.”

“Well then maybe I should stick around to make it all better.”

I heard a chuckle and turned to see Louis trying to contain his laughter.

“Excuse me. I need to borrow the Prince for a bit.”

“Um, okay. I’ll see you later, Harry.”

“Okay.” I responded and we were off.

We headed to a parlor.

“What was that all about?”

“I thought you could use a rescue.”

“From what?”

“A guy apparently wasting his time by flirting with you.”

“Who was flirting with me?” I asked, confused.

“Kyle, the guy you were just talking to.”

“No he wasn’t.”

“I think I have proved my point. I, also, needed to talk to you about the upcoming trip.”

“What about it?”

“Well, we’re leaving straight after Niall and Grimmy leave tomorrow morning. They want to ensure you’re always watched over, so we’ll be rooming together throughout the tour.”

“Really?” I was silently nervous and excited.

“Yeah. I just wanted to warn you ahead of time in case you wanted to talk about it.”

“I’m actually kind of happy. I have come to enjoy cuddling. Plus this way it’ll be easier to have ‘us time’.”

“Good. Now enjoy your party and I’ll see you in the morning.” He gave me a small kiss before disappearing into security-land

I was sad Niall and Grimmy were leaving, but I’m glad Louis and I will have some alone time. It was a mixed bag, but I was going to make the most of it.

Chapter Text

Niall and Grimmy’s flight was at some god-awful time in the morning. We had to get up even earlier than normal flights required due to the fact they had neglected to pack until the absolute last minute. Then I told them they brought this upon themselves and refused to help. Grimmy sent Niall to give me puppy eyes until I caved in and helped them.

The goodbye at the airport was bittersweet, but it didn’t take long for them to be off. Then it was back to the cars and we headed to our first city rather than back to the castle, to my surprise. Apparently we were going to try to make it before lunch. Gemma had set up a meet and greet for later today. I felt somewhat hypocritical for accusing Niall and Grimmy of not packing for themselves when someone else had packed my stuff for this trip. Then again, I didn’t realize we were leaving so soon and didn’t know I needed to pack.

I fell asleep quickly in the car to make up for my lack of sleep this morning. I woke up about half way through the trip when we pulled over for a pit stop. Gemma decided to ride the rest of the way with me.

“Hello, Gemma. To what do I owe this pleasure?”

“I just wanted to tell you what all is going to go on this afternoon. Do you know what we’re doing after lunch?”

“A meet and greet.” She just rolled her eyes at me.

“Do you know what that entails?”

I opened my mouth to respond, but then again, I didn’t really know. I shook my head.

“Well, since this is your first one I’ll be joining you. Basically we’re going to set you up at a table and people will file in and you may do autographs or just share a few quick words with someone, and just try to get your face out there. And you’re going to need to send out a tweet about it. Here’s the address.”

I pulled out my phone, glad that someone, probably Grimmy, had already downloaded the twitter app.

@Harry_Styles: Lovely day in Myoria! I’m going to be at 5230 West Plaza after lunch. Please come out and see me!

“I sent out the tweet.”

“Good. Now tell me how you’ve been.”

 The rest of the trip passed rather quickly with our easy conversation. We made it in enough time for us to have an early check-in at the hotel, so I could change clothes and look presentable.

I was so lost in my thoughts on what to wear and how to behave that I didn’t notice Louis enter. I had somehow managed to forget we were rooming together. He was currently waving his hand in front of my face.

“Hello? Are you alright there, my little Princeling?”

That got my attention and I felt my cheeks burn bright red at the term of endearment.

“Uh, yeah. I’m just trying to figure out what to wear.”

“Do you need to take a shower?”

“Um, yeah why?” I don’t know if I’m ready for where this is going. After all, we just started dating. And I really don’t want to worry about slipping and ruining the moment.

“I was going to suggest that I paw through your suitcase and find you something to wear while you get started on your shower so we won’t be late.” Not where I thought that was heading.

“Okay.” Obviously I was relieved I had been wrong but it also made my stomach churn for different reasons.

I had already catalogued all the dangers of shower sex while standing under the hot spray when I was startled by a knock on the bathroom door.

“It’s Louis. I’m going to come in and hang your clothes on the door, okay?”

“Alright.”

He was in and out before I knew it. I finished my shower and found he had picked out a pair of black skinny jeans, a white V-neck, and a blazer. I guess that was what formal, but approachable looked like. I got dressed just in time to be rushed out the door.

Lunch was a quiet affair. We hung out in Gemma’s room and some of the security team had been sent off to get sandwiches from a local mom and pop place. It was weird to have not seen the ridiculous amount of franchise fast food places that were so prevalent back home.

As soon as lunch was done, we were back in the cars and heading out to our destination. Then Gemma and I were sitting at a long table and there was a major influx of people.

The first couple of people were well-wishers. It was nice and they were fairly sweet. A few were inquisitive about me and my past. Others were gossips and wanted to find out why I hadn’t appeared before now. Then there was my fan club. Because apparently I had a fan club now…

The girls were absolutely fawning over me and I wasn’t quite sure how to take it. I mean I was appreciative of how supportive they were, but the sheer number of facts they knew about me was faintly creepy in a stalker way. They all wanted autographs and pictures, I had a feeling this wouldn’t be the last time I saw them.

I was right. When we left I realized I had only met a portion of my fan club. There were about thirty girls outside in matching Harry t-shirts. And by Harry T-shirts I mean T-shirts with my face and Team Harry on them. I don’t know if that’s something I’ll ever get used to.

We had dinner at an old friend of Gemma’s house. I mostly talked to the mother while Gemma and her friend caught up on all the latest gossip. It was late by the time we got out of there. I was completely exhausted and ready to collapse, until I realized, once again, Louis and I were going to be sleeping together. Or well, in the same room. But still.

The car ride back was spent mentally fretting over what he would be expecting from me. I worked myself into a nervous frenzy, while Louis explained the security format.

“There will be two guards outside your and Gemma’s doors.” Is he going to expect sex?

“There will be at least five guards with you when we go outside the hotel.” Will he laugh at my inexperience?

“I will be staying in your room in order to provide extra security, just in case.” Will he dump me if I say no?

“Zayn and Liam may be off and on duty with you, but I will always be there. Any questions?”

We had finally reached the door.

“What? Um, no. No questions.”

Louis shot me a look, but waited until we were inside to voice his question.

“Are you okay, Harry?”

“I’m absolutely fine. Why would you think anything’s wrong? Nothing’s the matter.”

“Harry, I have to be able to read people for my job. I know something’s wrong, plus you aren’t that good at deception.”

“I’m just worried about what you expect.” I kept my eyes on the ground as I spoke.

“What do you mean?” I looked up at his confused tone.

“You know.” I really didn’t want to have to spell it out.

“No, I don’t know.” Of course not… It would be too easy if he already knew.

“Sex.” I mumbled.

Apparently his supersonic hearing managed to discern that. He walked over to where I was sitting and staring at the floor.

“Harry. Harry, look at me.”

When I didn’t, he just grabbed ahold of my chin and tilted my head, so I could look him in the eyes.

“Listen. No matter what, I will never ever force you into something you don’t want to do. If you aren’t ready for something, we won’t do it. I am perfectly happy with going at whatever pace you set. Understand?” He let go of me so I could talk.

“It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just, you’re older. You’ve experienced the world and I’ve never done anything. I may not be enough for you.” My gaze had returned to the floor.

“Hey, hey. It doesn’t matter. And you know why?”

I shook my head no.

“It doesn’t matter how experienced you are because it only matters that it will be you.”

I thought he was crazy, but he may have had a point. I mean with all of Grimmy’s exploits, he’s probably great in the sack. But I never would haveslept with him, because he’s Grimmy. I still had some doubt, but I would accept his answer nonetheless.

“Okay, I think I get it.”

“Good.” He said as he pressed a kiss to the top of my head.

“I’m going to go shower, but don’t wait up. You need your sleep. Tomorrow’s going to be a busy day.”

He wasn’t exaggerating. I had an early morning meeting followed by walking around town, then a Q&A session in the afternoon. It was a mad house. Everyone was running around to get things organized. I was shoved into this outfit, then that. I was trying my hardest to grin and bear it. I wanted to behave perfectly at all times. I needed to prove to everyone I’m good enough for the crown.

The town sights were fun enough. It was just early. I got to see the sights, but I didn’t fully enjoy them due to my worrying over the Q&A later.

At the question session, I tried to avoid flinching whenever someone carelessly asked about the father I never knew. I tried to talk about the change I was hoping to make without getting too into the specific male-female marriage laws. I didn’t want to accidently tip anyone off this early into my career. I answered every question as honest as possible and tried not to feel too exposed when they started asking about my personal life.

The next morning I spent trying to write a speech for another charity event I had to attend and another one for a new hospital wing that was opened. I didn’t ever talk to anyone about the stress. I didn’t want anyone to think I couldn’t handle it. I didn’t want Louis to think I was a whiny boyfriend, so I shrugged it off whenever he would ask me about it.

I felt like I was constantly panicked between the speeches and public appearances and worrying about whether or not I was good enough. This made for the most stressful car ride ever, when we headed out on the fourth day to a new city.

I spent the whole time constantly twitching and fretting over the next meet and greet this afternoon and everything else I had done so far. I was reviewing everything I’ve done so far and tried to figure out how the average citizen might take it. Then again, everyone was an individual so I couldn’t really assume anything.

The meet and greet was fairly similar. It was mostly locals, a few tourists and a bigger population of fan girls. I was surprised at how fast they’d grown. The one’s who had been at the previous meet and greet, had on t-shirts with the picture they had taken at the last event.

It went downhill when we left and there was this guy waiting outside shouting that I’d never be as good as Gemma or my father. He vocalized every fear I’d had as of late and I couldn’t help but think he was right. I am not good enough. I will never live up to peoples’ expectations or my father’s reputation.

I felt dejected and wasn’t feeling up for dinner. I guess Louis figured something was wrong because the cars split up and I ended up back at the hotel rather than wherever I was originally supposed to go.

He locked the door and did his initial security check before he came over to where I was curled up in a ball on the bed. I couldn’t hide it anymore, my stress, my doubt. It was just easier to lie down and hope the bad feelings went away.

“Harry?”

I didn’t respond. I felt the bed dip and his hand on my shoulder.

“Haz, please talk to me.” He pleaded. I was just shocked that I had gained a nickname. It managed to dissipate the stress for about thirty seconds, allowing for a small smile before it came crashing back.

“Is it about that man?”

I nodded. He took a deep breath and curled up around me. It was funny that I was taller, yet he was the big spoon.

“He was wrong. I want you to know that everything he said wasn’t true.”

“How do you know?” I whispered. “How do you know he isn’t right and I’m just not good enough? That I’ll never be good enough?”

“Because I know you. I know how hard you try and I know how determined you are to do the best that you possibly can. I, also, know that he doesn’t know enough about the intricacies of what’s going on to make a proper judgment. Most of all, I know that if you talked more you’d probably feel better and realize I’m right.”

I thought about it. I’m not sure I would agree that he’s right about everything, but he was right that I did need to talk to somebody.

“I just, I want to prove to everyone that I’m good enough for the crown and I’m trying so hard and I just don’t always feel like I succeed. I want to live up to Gemma’s expectations and be someone my father would have been proud of.”

“You are doing so well, Haz. I don’t know how you can’t see how good you’re doing.”

“If I’m doing so well, how come I’m overwhelmed? I wake up at night after you fall asleep so I can do some more work and try to make everything the best it can possibly be. I feel like I’m struggling to grasp as much information as I can in as little time as possible. If I’m so good, how come I feel this way?”

“Why didn’t you tell me this sooner?”

“Because. I didn’t want to be the whiny boyfriend who came to you whenever I had an insignificant feeling.”

“Harry, these feelings aren’t insignificant and probably have a lot to do with stress. If you tell me, I can help you feel better. I can help with the pressure. You just have to talk.”

“Okay. I guess I can do that.”

“Good.” He kissed the back of my neck.

“Now go get changed for bed. And don’t you even think you’re sleeping alone. We’re sharing a bed so I can make sure you get a proper rest and don’t stress yourself out in the middle of the night when you have no reason to be awake.”

There was no arguing with that, so I just rolled out of bed so I could go put on some pajama pants. I got too warm to wear anything more than that.

Louis kept true to his word. As soon as I was in bed, he was cuddling up next to me. It took us a few minutes, but then we were finally comfortable. I was using him as a pillow and he had his arms around me. I felt protected. It was a different feeling, but not necessarily a bad one.

He was right that I felt better in the morning. A good night’s sleep could really make a difference. It may have also helped that I spent the night in his arms. The stress wasn’t completely gone, but I was no longer on the verge of ripping my hair out.

Today was a full day of touring the sights since this city was larger and older than the previous one. I was trying to absorb as much of the history as possible, this was my history too and I needed to know.

I had a very large press deal tomorrow where I was supposed to give a speech. I worked on it after dinner and the end appeared to be nowhere in sight. I just couldn’t get it perfect.

“Harry, when are you coming to bed?” Louis asked from where he was reading a book curled up under the covers.

I was tempted to get up from where I was sitting cross-legged on the other bed and join him, but I still had more I needed to re-revise.

“A few more minutes.” It wasn’t really a lie. I mean an hour is still only a few more minutes…

Louis didn’t seem to believe me, because I heard the rustling of the sheets, signifying he was getting out of bed. He stood in front of me.

“You need to put that down and go to sleep.”

“I will, I just need to go over a few more things.” I replied.

He moved from in front of me so I assume he went back to bed. That was until I felt him kneel behind me and rest his chin on my shoulder, while his other hands roamed up and down my ribcage.

“Haz, you need to sleep.” He said in a singsong voice while he pressed kisses down my neck.

I just ignored him. I had to get this done tonight.

Vaguely I was aware that he continued his oral assault to my neck and shoulder blades. I managed to ignore him right up until I realized I had forgotten to put on pajamas earlier and his hand was currently rubbing my dick through the thin material of my boxers. I instantly dropped my speech.

“What-what are you doing?” I managed to gasp out as my hips shifted up seeking more pressure.

“I’m helping you to relax.” He said and proceeded to lick the shell of my ear.

I just gulped and leaned back into him. I was too far gone to put up any kind of resistance. He rubbed at me a little longer and I started squirming against him. I could feel him hardening behind me.

“Louis,” I pleaded. I needed more or something; I didn’t know what, though.

He seemed to understand. He moved back against the headboard and told me to take off my boxers and then straddle his lap. I was a little unsure, but Louis started kissing me as soon as I sat down and my worry vanished.

It was just a press of lips until his hand found my cock. I gasped and he used that as an excuse to start plundering my mouth. He ran his thumb over the head, trying to collect some pre-cum so there was some kind of lubrication.

He started running his hand up and down my shaft causing me to move and rub up against his still fully clothed erection. We both moaned when he flicked his wrist just so, causing me to swirl my hips against his. His free hand found its way to my curls. I let out some more embarrassing sounds and it only took a few more strokes for me to get off. I ground down through my orgasm and Louis’ curses were all I needed to know he was gone too.

We stayed like that for a few more minutes before he finally had enough energy to move, because we both knew I wasn’t going anywhere. He disappeared into the bathroom and returned cleaner with significantly less clothes on. I guess there went the last of our modesty, but I couldn’t bring myself to care.

He came over and wiped me down and helped maneuver me into the other bed. I lied there and was almost asleep before…

“You bastard!”

“What?” His voice was muddled by sleep.

“You complete bastard! You used your sexual trickery to get what you wanted.”

“So?”

“So? So?” I couldn’t come up with an answer.

“You needed sleep and an outlet for tension. Would you like to complain about my choice of methods? I think it worked brilliantly, don’t you?”

“You may have a point, you arrogant prick.” I muttered but the angry effect was ruined by the way I nuzzled into his side.

He just chuckled and pulled me closer to him so we could finally sleep.

Chapter Text

We had been on tour just over a week, but I was already accustomed to waking up with Louis’ arms draped over me. What I wasn’t used to was waking up when it was barely light outside, horny as hell. It was a rare day when we didn’t have anything scheduled until the afternoon, so Louis and I had planned on sleeping in. Apparently, my body had other plans.

I had to figure out what to do about my current situation, but that wasn’t easy when most of my blood was flowing away from my brain. On one hand, I could wake Louis up and show him how embarrassingly desperate I was; on the other hand, I could try to sneak away to the shower and take care of it myself. The latter seemed like a better option, considering I had never really initiated anything due to the fact I’d probably end up humiliating myself.

I began trying to extricate myself from Louis’ arms and legs without waking him up. I was almost free; I just had to slip out from under his arm when I realized a major flaw in my plan. As I rolled over onto my stomach, my untouched dick finally got a feel of the friction it had been yearning for. Before I could contain it, a moan slipped past my lips and I felt Louis stirring beside me. Damn my inability to keep my mouth shut!

As he became semi-conscious, he pulled me closer to him and I couldn’t think of anything to do but stare at him like a deer caught in headlights, while I hoped he’d just go back to sleep. My erection was still pressed into the bed and it was taking all my focus to keep from rutting into the mattress. I honestly had no idea what I was going to do.

“Y’alright?” His voice was muffled by sleep and the pillow.

He hadn’t really come to yet, but when the only response I could muster was something that could only be described as a whimper, his eyes flew open in concern.

“What’s wrong, Hazza?” he tried to pull me further into his chest. The friction caused by the movement and my failed attempts to keep some distance between us left me making more pitifully incoherent sounds. I was getting really desperate for any sort of release.

He easily won the tug-a-war, and as soon as my penis pressed against his thigh I saw the concern leave his eyes and his pupils start to dilate. At least I wouldn’t have to spell out my problem, but I still didn’t know where we would go from here.

“Would you like my help with that, then?” His voice was rough from sleep and lust. I was way past caring how desperate I appeared, so I simply nodded—perhaps a tad overenthusiastically.

He pushed his thigh forward into my crotch and when I moaned he took advantage of my open mouth and suddenly we were kissing, while I was shamelessly thrusting against his leg. I pulled back to catch my breath and he moved his mouth along my jaw-line and down my throat. As he scraped his teeth along the hollow of my collarbones, he pushed my shoulder back until he was holding his upper body above me on the bed. Unfortunately, this position left me grinding against the air and I let out more pathetic, pleading noises.

“Shhh. Baby, you’re alright.” I wanted to believe him but I had been painfully hard for too long now and I didn’t have the patience for foreplay.

He seemed to realize this, though, because he pulled back to take my boxers off. One hand moved to my dick and thumbed over the slit where pre-come was leaking profusely. As he lazily jacked me off, his mouth reattached to my torso, leaving what were sure to be dark marks of possession later on. As he got close to each of my nipples, he would stop to play with them.

My head was thrown back and I was arching off the bed at all the stimulation. I wasn’t going to last much longer. He chose that moment however to remove his hand and I lifted my head just in time to see him lowering his mouth over my penis. The whine I had been on the verge of producing at the loss of his hand quickly morphed into a strangled moan. Blowjobs were definitely new.

As he bobbed his head up and down, I let out a litany of curse words and his name. He held my hips down with his hands because they kept attempting to push more of my length into his mouth. When I felt my tip hitting the back of his throat and him swallowing around me I barely had time to warn him before I was shooting streams of cum down his throat.

He sucked me through the aftershocks of my orgasm then climbed back up and rested his forehead against mine.

“Better?” The smirk on his face was infuriating but I wasn’t really in a position to complain.

My response was simply to tilt my chin up until we were kissing and he happily opened his mouth so I could taste myself. When I regained some coherency I registered the feeling of his erection pressed into my own thigh. I snaked my hand down into his pajama pants and palmed at his erection over his briefs.

“Your turn.” He paused and pulled back for a minute and looked into my eyes. After that first night he gave me a hand-job, he had told me I never had to reciprocate if I wasn’t ready to. 

Instead of answering, I rolled us over so I would be on top and reached down to tug his pajama pants off. Obviously I had never given a blowjob, so I was slightly nervous. Luckily, or not so lucky at the time, I have been forced to listen to Grimmy talk about them enough times to know the basics of what was good and what wasn’t.

I moved down Louis’ body, all the while keeping eye contact, until I reached his erection tenting his briefs. I moved lower so I could mouth at him over the fabric, which was already soaked with his pre-come. When I looked back up towards his face, it was thrown back and he had his eyes squeezed shut. It really wasn’t fair how gorgeous he was, nor how controlled. I had been a mess and I really wanted to return the favor.

So I tugged his underwear down and took his cock in my hand. I rubbed over the slit to gather some pre-come. I stroked down to his base before taking his head into my mouth. I’d rather not admit how loudly I moaned at the taste of him. I hadn’t expected to like it, so that was a pleasant surprise. Apparently it surprised Louis too, because when I looked up to watch him again he was staring at me with eyes almost completely consumed by his pupils.

I worked to adjust and take more of him in with each bob of my head and I kept watching his face so I could figure out what he seemed to like. I had to pull off to breathe eventually because I lacked to skill to breathe and suck at the same time. As I caught my breath, I decided to shift my attention to his balls and gently sucked on one and then the other.

This took him by surprise as demonstrated by his ragged breaths turned into breathy moans. I worked on his balls a little longer while my hand worked up and down his shaft. Eventually his hand worked its way into my curls and he softly tugged me back up to his dick as he struggled to say he was close.

I bobbed up and down a few times to find a rhythm again, sucking as I pulled up each time. After a few bobs, I sunk down as far as I could manage without gagging and felt my nose brushing his pubic hairs. The noises he was making at this point, along with his hand tugging on my curls had basically coaxed my own erection back to semi-hardness. As I pulled up, pressing my tongue to the vein on the bottom of his cock, I felt his hand attempting to pull me off as he warned he was about to come. I wanted to taste him though so I moved to take more of him in and the resulting pull of my curls had me moaning obscenely, causing him to spill into my mouth.

Once he had gone limp, excluding the hand that kept petting through my curls, I pulled off and moved back up the bed. He kissed my chastely on the lips then tucked me back into his side.

“You’re incredible.” I turned my face into his shoulder at that so he wouldn’t see me blushing. “Honestly, are you sure you’ve never given a blow-job before?”

I didn’t really know what to say to that so I just laid there and let him continue playing with my hair. Eventually we would have to get up and get ready for lunch and the events after, but for right now we could probably get another hour of sleep.

I started to wake up to an offending appendage poking at my side. I tried to snuggle back into Louis in an attempt to get away from the hand; too bad it was his hand.

“Haz, Babe, it’s time to get up.”

“Mm, do I have to?” I murmured.

“Yes.”

“Fine. I’m up.” I grumbled, though I didn’t really go anywhere.

“Good.”

He rolled out from under me and took my last hope of falling back to sleep with him. I got up and went to the bathroom while he picked out my clothes. I jumped a little in surprise when I finally got a good look at myself in the mirror. Louis was apparently the possessive type, because my chest was adorned with who knows how many hickeys. He might as well have just signed his name in permanent marker.

We got dressed and soon enough we were heading back out to start the media frenzy. Over lunch we started talking about what was going on today. I hadn’t really paid attention before; I had mostly just focused on the fact I got to sleep in.

“So Harry,” Gemma said. “This afternoon you will be going with Zayn and Liam to a fan club meeting.”

“Why?”

“Because it will be good publicity if you go meet these fans and it’ll make you appear less unreachable.”

I had really meant why wasn’t Louis going with me, but I wasn’t going to explain that. It was a stupid and compulsive question that I shouldn’t have asked. Another reason she probably trusted me to go hang with fawning fan girls was she didn’t have to deal with the fall out if I should choose to take one home, because I wouldn’t. It would, also, help keep the gay thing under wraps until I was ready for people to know. I guess it wasn’t a half bad idea, minus the Louis not going part.

I know Liam and Zayn are good at their job, but they weren’t the head so I thought it was weird I was trusted with them while he staid at the hotel and had a meeting of his own. Then we went to go meet them and took the elevator up rather than down.

“Where are we going? I thought I had a meeting?”

“You do,” Liam replied. “We’re meeting about a dozen girls in one of the luxury suites upstairs.”

That explained why they could afford to have less security. This hotel was locked up tight and we were only going a couple of floors up.

“Why a luxury suite?”

“The head of the fan club is rich and has been renting a luxury suite at all the hotels you’ve staid at.” Liam said.

“That’s a little… unnerving.”

“Yeah well, that’s Sophia for you.” Zayn said. “Her family is part of the new money. They aren’t part of the noble class, despite how hard they’ve tried. You’re probably her next attempt to finally join the nobility, so be careful.”

He didn’t have to worry. I was never going to be interested in her. She was waiting for us in the hall outside her room in an extremely low cut belly top with really tight skinny jeans and stiletto heals. They may have had a point about her being desperate for a title.

She did the weird European greeting where they do the kiss on both cheeks. It was an attempt to show how sophisticated she was, but it just reeked of too much effort. The suite was luxury borderline overkill in its opulence. All the girls were dressed in some form of revealing or another, though none of them looked quite as nice; probably her doing.

She had the tiny little finger foods sitting around as well as champagne and wine. She kept trying to get me a little bit drunk or tipsy, while we talked. Most of the conversation was them talking about what they knew about me and how devoted they were. It was a little creepy and a lot awkward.

It was worse when one of the girls spilled wine. I stood up to see my shirt was completely stained. I was about to take it off, when Liam grabbed ahold of me. He pulled me into one of the rooms and closed the door, while sending Zayn off to go fetch another shirt from my room.

“What did you think you were doing?” Liam started.

“Taking off my ruined shirt.”

“Did you ever stop to think that maybe they wanted to see you take your shirt off?”

“No…”

“You have to think before you act.”

“I understand. Now can I get this shirt off? I’d rather not smell of booze for the rest of the day.”

It was a rhetorical question because I took it off anyway. I soon realized that was a stupid move when Liam started staring disapprovingly at my chest.

“Harry! You cannot afford to sleep around! That could ruin your career and prevent almost any change you try to implement. It would end up in the media and completely trash your reputation. You could lose your crown before you even have it! Are you stupid?”

I felt embarrassed and stupid. He wasn’t even close to being right but it was still awkward to have him lecturing me about who I was and wasn’t sleeping with.

“Is one of these girls next, because that would be extremely stupid?”

“No, I’m not going to sleep with any of them.” I said indignantly, though he ignored me.

“How do you plan on getting them in?” He said as Zayn walked in.

“Planning on getting who in?” Zayn asked.

“The women he is sleeping with.” Liam responded. “I mean security’s tight so that would make it really hard to get them in without any of the security knowing, though it can be done. But that still leaves one problem…”

“Louis,” Zayn finished.

“Yes. How did you get them in while Louis is there? He hasn’t been allowed to leave your side since we left the palace… Zayn?” Liam said.

Zayn was just staring at me and probably attempting to put all the pieces together.

“No one can get in because of Tomlinson. Their clothes are mixed together. Only one of the beds is messed up. And Harold, here, has a load of hickeys up and down his chest.” Zayn trailed off.

He figured it out. He totally knew what was going on. I just wondered who all he would tell. I took the shirt he had in his hand and put it back on.

“I’m just going to go back out there before they start getting antsy and start a riot.”

I walked off. It was a pathetic excuse, but it was also true.

I had to put up with more fawning and flirting for another two hours before we finally got a message stating that I was needed somewhere else for dinner. Zayn and Liam escorted me back downstairs and found Louis already waiting in our room.

“Your clothes are hanging in the bathroom.” He said, probably picking up that Liam and Zayn wanted to talk to him.

“Okay, thanks.”

I went into the bathroom and closed the door. I was trying to be as quiet as possible, so I could still hear them.

“Louis, are you stupid? Sleeping with a client, seriously?” That was Zayn.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Cut the crap, Louis. We know you’re the only one who’s been around him lately.” Zayn said.

“So?”

“So, that means that large trail of hickeys must have come from you.” Zayn stated like it was the most obvious thing, which it admittedly was.

“You make it sound like I’m just using him.”

“Well aren’t you? I mean he can’t come out and you can’t come out, so might as well, right? I bet you even arranged to share rooms so you could fuck around at night.” Zayn stated bluntly.

“First off, Harry and I started dating before the tour. Second off, Gemma’s head of security made the sleeping arranged. Third of all, our relationship isn’t any of your business, so back off.”

“You need to be careful,” Liam piped in. “Just because it isn’t our business, doesn’t mean the media won’t make it their business when they find out.”

“When they find out? You just assume we’re going to get caught.”

“Harry is watched closely, so yes I believe it would be extremely difficult to hide it.” Liam replied evenly.

“Enough. I don’t want to hear another word about this from either of you. Anyway we have to leave, because Harry has a dinner to go to.”

That was my cue. I scrambled to change and ended up whacking my hip on the corner of the counter, causing me to hiss and let out a stuttered curse.

“Harry, are you all right?” Louis asked. I didn’t hear him come in.

“Yeah, just hip plus corner equals pain.”

“Okay, well then finish getting dressed because we need to go.”

Normally he would have checked the injury himself, or kissed it like he’s done with all of my other klutzy accidents. I tried not to worry too much; it could’ve just been the fact that Zayn and Liam were there that made him hold back. I just pushed the thought away for later and pretended like nothing was wrong as we headed out for dinner with some local officials.

It was a normal dinner with the normal ass-kissing. These dinners were all about rubbing up with the new guy who now has power. It was boring and lasted forever. I was relieved when we finally got to leave.

I was not so relieved when Louis started talking in our hotel room.

“We need to be more careful. We can’t risk getting caught. I could lose my job. I could lose everything!”

“What about me, Louis? I could lose my reputation and my crown, depending on how far people have a stick up their ass.”

“Exactly! That’s why we have to be more careful!”

“That wasn’t my point!”

“Either way, we need to be more careful.”

“Fine, Louis. We’ll be more careful.” I agreed, grudgingly.

“Good.”

We still slept together, but it felt different for some reason. I just tried to ignore it and go to sleep.

Things changed after that. There started to be a little less talking and a lot less kissing, which was understandable.

Then we moved to a new city and he started to pull away even more. It got to the point where the only thing we were still doing was sharing a bed so he could make sure I wasn’t getting back up to study in the middle of the night.  The problem was, we weren’t sleeping close enough, so I was returning to my late night study routine.

I was starting to get used to the routine of media events, so I wasn’t as stressed about that. I was more stressed about our relationship, or lack thereof. Plus, I was getting too tired to feel much of anything. I was getting really good at compartmentalizing. I could be happy and sincere for the meet and greets, and completely miserable in my life outside of that.

I could only handle a few days of this before I got too tired. I, finally, decided we needed to talk one night.

“Louis?”

No response.

“Louis, you have to talk to me eventually.”

“Okay. Fine. What is it?” At least he finally put his book down.

“I’m tired.”

“Then go to bed.” If only it were that simple.

“I’m not tired in that way. Okay maybe I am, but that’s not what I meant.”

“Well then, what did you mean?”

“I meant I’m tired of this, of whatever we’re doing.”

“You’re tired of dating me?” He was guarded now.

“I’m tired of whatever it is we’re doing because we’re certainly not dating.”

“Then what are we doing, hm?”

“We were dating. Now we’re doing this awkward avoid each other thing except when we sleep. Oh wait, we aren’t even really together when we sleep!”

“What are you talking about? We fall asleep together every night.”

“We may fall asleep at the same time, but we don’t fall asleep together. Otherwise, you would’ve known that I haven’t been sleeping lately; I’ve gone back to my middle of the night studying.”

“You said you’d stop doing that!”

“No, you told me we’d sleep together so you could make sure I wasn’t doing that. You know, back when you acted like my boyfriend, not some guy who just happens to be sharing space with me.”

“You’re being ridiculous, I’m still your boyfriend. You know we have to be more careful.”

“Yes, more careful, not completely distant.” I sneered.

“I am not being distant!”

“Then why haven’t we really talked in days? How come you didn’t notice I haven’t been sleeping? We haven’t even kissed since before Zayn and Liam found us out!”

“You’re overreacting, Babe.” He picked his book back up and returned his gaze to the page.

“If that isn’t condescending, then I don’t know what is.”

“Just calm down, Harry.”

“I will not calm down! If you don’t want to talk, then fine! I’m going for a walk.”

“Fine.”

I stormed out and expected to walk straight into a pair of guards. I guess they were doing rounds down the hallway, so I ran off before they could come back around. I headed downstairs to the café. I know it would be stupid to actually leave the hotel, no matter how nice it would be to just wander around in the fresh air.

Sadly, I wasn’t left alone for long. It seems the fan girls had followed me to this hotel too.

“Hello, girls.”

“Hi, Harold! It’s so nice to run into you here!” It was just the head of the club, Sophia, and two of her groupies.

“Would you like something to drink?”

“Yeah, uh a hot chocolate sounds pretty good right about now.”

“Okay.”

She walked off and came back with a steaming cup of cocoa.

“Thank you.”

“So what are you doing down here, alone?”

“Just thinking. It has been rather busy lately, so I’ve just been trying to get some time for myself.”

“Hm, interesting.”

She was being rather quiet, so I just sipped some more of my hot cocoa. I started feeling a little woozy, and even more tired than I have been lately.

“I’m s-sorry. I have t-toooo go.” I was slurring.

Oh shit! What have I gotten into?

I tried to get away, but everything started getting fuzzy and started fading.

“It’s okay, Prince Harold, everything will be alright.” Sophia said.

Everything faded to black and I thought maybe I would finally get some rest.

Chapter Text

~Louis’ POV~

I waited about an hour and a half before I thought he might’ve had enough alone time. I needed to go get him so he could go to bed and wouldn’t be too tired tomorrow. I decided the first place to look would be downstairs. I searched the floor for about a half an hour before finally giving up and calling the guards who were supposed to be on duty.

“Hey, boys! Where is Prince Harold?”

“He’s still in his room the last time we checked.”

“What do you mean, the last time you checked?”

“You know, when we did our hourly round.”

“Since when do you only do hourly rounds?”

“Since you told us to do that after your last security meeting.”

Shit! This was not a good sign.

I started running around yelling ‘Harry,’ and ‘Prince Harold.’ There was no answer. I decided to phone Zayn.

“Hello?” He answered groggily.

“Zayn, I need you and Liam to get up and come help me now.”

“Louis, what’s going on?” He sounded concerned.

“Harry’s missing! We argued so he walked out to get some air and now he’s gone! I can’t find him!”

I was starting to panic.

“Louis, I need you to breathe. I’m on my way down.”

I headed back to the café and started talking to the guy at the counter.

“Did you possibly see a guy in here with green eyes and really curly hair?” I asked anxiously.

“Uh, yeah. There were three girls in here with him. I think they left together about an hour ago. He’s a lucky dude. The girls were totally all over him.”

“All over him how?” I narrowed my gaze at him.

“Well, all three of them had a piece of him. They were practically carrying him out the door.”

“And you didn’t think this was strange?” I was trying very hard not yell at the guy’s idiocy.

“No. But man did that guy seem incredibly lucky. If only I had that kind of luck…”

“I hate to rip you out of your fantasy, but did you see where they went?”

“Out. I think they left, they didn’t head towards the elevator.”

“Shit! Thanks for your help. I’ve got to go.”

I ran off and waited for Zayn to show up with Liam, while I planned my next step. I needed to get to the security booth so I could watch the security cameras. I needed to find out if they, in fact, left the building. If they did, I needed to try and get a heading or a license plate or something to track them with. I needed Zayn or Liam to go get an idea of the girls if we couldn’t find a decent shot of them on the security tape.

I called the rest of the security team and told them to lock down the hotel. I met Liam and Zayn in the security room and had them play back the video. I instantly recognized one of the girls but I didn’t know who the other two were, or their connection. Then Zayn let out a muttered curse.

“What is it, Zayn? Do you recognize them?”

“Yeah, that’s Sophia, the head of the fan club. I thought there was something off about her, but I never thought she’d be this desperate.”

Her name clicked with her face as soon as he said her name. My how she has grown and changed.

“Sophia LaFontaine. And who are the other two?”

“Members of her fan club. How do you know Sophia’s full name?” Zayn responded.

I was saved from having to respond when Gemma’s head of security walked in.

“What’s going on?” He asked.

“Prince Harold’s been kidnapped by Sophia LaFontaine and two accomplices.”

“We need to set up a plan. Zayn, Liam and Louis, in the conference room. I’ll be in in a minute.”

I figured he was rearranging people so he could figure out what kind of manpower we could use to rescue the Prince. He walked in about five minutes later.

“What happened?” He demanded.

“Prince Harold went to go take a walk and I went to go bring him back after an hour and a half to find he was nowhere to be seen. From the video, it appears he went to the in hotel café and received a possibly drugged drink. Once the drugs took effect, the girls escorted him out of the hotel and to who knows where.”

“Why was he alone?”

“After the last security meeting, I changed the door guards’ orders. I forgot they were only patrolling on the hour, so I had assumed they would accompany him when he left the room. Since they weren’t there, he went downstairs alone, where they snagged him.”

Zayn and Liam winced when I mentioned the change in orders. I guess it was them that changed the orders. It was probably in a misguided attempt to try and help prevent us from being caught. Either way I should have been paying more attention. I should have known they weren’t there. I should’ve followed him downstairs.

“You forgot. That’s your excuse?”

“Not an excuse. It’s a statement. You can inflict whatever punishment you want on me later. In the meantime, I would prefer to focus on the return of Prince Harold. Now, considering the kidnapper, her motivation is not money, so it would be pointless to wait for a ransom. We need to be proactive. We need to call her parents.”

“Well then, since you seem to know so much, you can take charge.” He said snidely.

“You have eight hours. After that, I’m taking over and this becomes a public affair. Understood?”

“Yes, sir.” He nodded and walked off.

It was time to get to work. She already had a two and a half hours head start.

“First things first, we have to call her parents.”

“What? Why?” Liam asked.

“We need a list of their properties. Sophia is going to want to take her sweet time with him. She’s going to want somewhere private in order to get whatever she wants from him. She is going to go somewhere she knows; somewhere she can control. Now, do we know which residence her parents are currently at?”

It took us some time, but we got ahold of the right number. I called and ended up talking to one of their servants. They weren’t putting me through.

“Look I don’t care if they are asleep, I need to talk to them!”

“I understand you’re anxious, sir, but they’re asleep and I will not disturb them.”

“I didn’t want to do this, but this is Louis Tomlinson and I will speak to them, now.” I said in my most demanding tone.

It worked. I heard the rapid shuffle of movement in the background. I earned a strange look from Liam and Zayn, but I didn’t have the time to explain. It took a bit for the shuffling to stop, but I finally heard an authoritative male voice on the other end of the phone.

“Tomlinson, why are you calling?” He sounded irritated. “I thought you were told never to contact us again.”

“I don’t have time for this.”

“Well, you better make time for this. I don’t care what you have to say. You will take time to listen to me if you are going to call me at this Godforsaken hour.”

He rambled about how wrong I was and all my mistakes and wrongs I’ve done him and his family. I don’t care; I didn’t have time for this shit!

“Look, you can spend your time lecturing me later. Right now I need a list of all your properties.”

“Why? Why should I give them to you, of all people?”

“Because, your daughter has kidnapped the crown prince and has most likely run off to one of your properties. I need a list of them, now. ” I demanded.

“There you go, accusing my daughter again. You think you would’ve learned not to do that after last time. You wouldn’t want a repeat of last time, would you?”

“Our past experiences are irrelevant. We have your daughter on video taking him, so would you stop being so thick and just give me the list?!”

I had completely lost patience. I wanted that list now! He was wasting precious time. Harry was in danger. My Harry! I need to make sure my boyfriend is safe and he was standing in my way.

 “Look, here’s how it’s going to go. You are going to get that list and send it to me immediately. No buts. I will have you detained if you do not co-operate with me. Do you understand?”

“Yes.” He replied coolly. “I’ll have it sent now.”

“Good. Now have a nice night.”

I hung up. I heard the fax machine start. It took about five minutes or so for it all to print out. That family had just cost me another two hours of time. I am seriously getting sick and tired of this girl.

It took another half an hour to deduce which house she would pick. We finally figured she would have picked one of their summer homes. After that we crosschecked our list of properties with the ones sent from the family to find any anomalies. One was a brand-new purchase, so it probably hadn’t been outfitted to her parents’ taste yet, meaning no one would be there. It had to be that one.

It pissed me off that he was so close and yet not. It was about an hour and a half to drive there and who knows what we were going to find on the other end of the trip.

I was pissed off that it was her, of all people. She almost ruined my career when she was my first client. The accusations of inappropriate behavior almost destroyed me. I had almost no defense except my word. I couldn’t have just told them that it wasn’t even a possibility, because I am completely gay. Luckily, they did an investigation and realized everything had been blown out of proportion. It was almost ironic that it was her of all people that kidnapped my boyfriend/client.

The car ride gave me time to come up with a couple of personal revelations I had been avoiding. The first one was that Harry was right. I was pulling back and being distant. I was so afraid of getting caught, I was eliminating the relationship altogether. I had been ignoring the feeling of something being missing lately because I thought I was protecting us. I lived in denial that distance was better. Now I could lose him because of my own stupidity and he doesn’t even know that I love him.

Wait…shit.

I love Harry.

I love him and he’s gone. Gone with that insane woman who would do almost anything to get her parents respect or attention. I am so dense! I couldn’t realize I was in love with a boy until he was kidnapped by a maniac.

Though, he wouldn’t have gotten kidnapped if it weren’t for me. If I wasn’t so stupid, I wouldn’t have let him walk away. I would have made sure he wasn’t alone. I shouldn’t have let him go. I should have recognized her in those cities. I should’ve known why she looked so familiar.

I should’ve listened to him. He needed me to listen to him. He needed me to protect him and I let him down. I love him and I couldn’t even pay him enough attention to know he was starting to self-destruct again. It’s all my fault. The only thing I can do now, is find him and make sure he’s all right.

 

 

~Harry’s POV~

Everything looked hazy. The sounds were muffled, liked there was still cotton in my ears. I tried to stay awake, but I just couldn’t quite manage it. The drugs were making me hazy and I had been so tired. I just couldn’t stay up.

It took about five tries for me to succeed. I tried to move and found myself tied to a chair. My knees and ankles were bound to the chair. My chest had been tied to the back and my wrists were bound together. I had a gag in my mouth and a blindfold over my eyes.

“Hello, sweetie. It’s so nice of you to wake up.”

I tried to respond, but the gag was in the way.

“Oh, silly me. Here let me help you with that.”

She removed both the gag and the blindfold.

“I think communication is very important in a relationship, don’t you?”

“Yes, definitely. Where did your two friends go?”

I needed to get as much information as possible without pissing her off. I was surprisingly calm. I had one goal in mind: survive.

“Oh, no need to worry, Dearie. We are all by ourselves. I sent them away when we got here.”

“How long have I been out?”

“Don’t worry about your health. I only used a mild sedative. You were only sleeping for about two hours. I didn’t want you to get car sick.”

So she was playing this as good for me.

“Now let’s have a chat, shall we? I mean we are going to be spending a lot of time together from now on. It might be good to start getting to know each other.”

“Okay.”

“Good. My parents are going to be so proud of me. They’ve been looking for a way to get in with the nobility for quite a while now. They are going to be so happy when I tell them I’m going to marry the prince.”

I almost spluttered at the marriage part, but I remembered to control myself. Objecting would do me no good.

“You might think I live a charmed life with all my money, but it really sucks. My parents are all ‘you have to be perfect all the time. We aren’t nobility so you have to get us there.’ It’s all about me being a screw up, when they aren’t even around. Most of the time they’re off dashing across the world doing who knows what, leaving me with whoever’s the most convenient.

They even got me a bodyguard at one time, Louis. I was his first client and he was my first beau. Obviously, I told my parents about him. He denied everything, of course. He was worried about his job. He threw us away for his precious career. But you wouldn’t do that to me, would you?”

I had a feeling this was the mystery client Zayn had brought up. He probably wouldn’t have used her against Louis if he had known it was Sophia. I couldn’t say anything about it. She probably didn’t realize I knew Louis and would probably throw me off a cliff if she knew he was my boyfriend and bodyguard.

“Never. I may have a career, but a career isn’t everything. There’s more to life than a job.”

Louis had helped me realize that, not that she needed to know that.

 “I knew we would be good together. I believe we’ll take this as our house. It could be our wedding present from my parents. It’s not like they ever use it. They’re excessive in their obsession with owning land. They may not have a title, but they are on their way to owning a land mass equivalent to Myoria.”

I need to buy time. I need to kill time until Louis can come get me. I have to believe he will come for me. If he’s even realized I’m missing yet…

Of course, he wouldn’t have to come get me if I hadn’t walked out. This is my fault. I knew I shouldn’t be anywhere alone. I knew I shouldn’t be taking drinks from strangers. I believed, as they say, it would never happen to me. It may happen to others, but not me.

I just have to buy some more time. So I let her talk and just worked at keeping her happy. It was all I could do to keep her happy.

I just need a little more time, a little longer, I kept repeating over and over.

I will say, she was giving me plenty of practice at keeping people happy without promising anything.

I lost track of time. Everything passed by slow or fast, I don’t know. It’s disorienting to not know how long it’s been, how long I’ve been stuck with her. I became completely focused on her, so I was in for a shock when a door slammed open and I heard people come pouring in.

She screamed in fright, while the shock caused me to shift my weight and fall backward. It was awful, because I had those few horrible moments where I just knew I was going to fall and there was nothing to do but wait for the impact. I fell back onto my still bound arms and tried to prevent my head from hitting too hard. It hurt, but I don’t think I broke anything.

People came rushing into the room while she stood blocking their path.

“No! No! You can’t take him away from me! He’s mine! We’re in love! He wants to be with me, don’t you Harold? Tell them. Tell them what we feel for each other.”

She waited for a response that would never come because that was when Louis walked in. I ignored her, to focus on him.

“Harold? Harold! You have to tell them now, or they’re going to take me away from you. They will separate us so we can’t be together. Just because they don’t approve, it doesn’t mean you have to give me up… Harold, answer me!”

I didn’t have to. A couple of people grabbed her and started hauling her away.

Louis ran over to me and used his knife to cut me free, while a couple of medics came over. As soon as she saw him, she started struggling even further.

“No, you aren’t allowed anywhere near me, Louis! Get out of here and away from my boy! You won’t screw him over like you did with me! Stop ruining my life!”

Louis just ignored her and completely focused on me.

“It’s going to be all right. Everything’s going to be okay. You just have to trust me, okay?”

I nodded and he got most of my body free, except for my hands, which were still under the chair. Then a pair of medics came over and started tending to me. They put on a neck collar, which was rather uncomfortable, before finally manipulating the chair out from under me as well as managing to get my hands untied. They moved and strapped me onto a gurney before finally getting me out of there and into the ambulance.

They asked me what happened, medical wise that may have caused injury.

“She, uh, she knocked me out with something in my drink and then kept me tied to a chair.”

“His arms were tied behind the chair and he landed on them when the chair tipped over. He might’ve also hit his head during the fall, which is where you found him.” Louis pitched in and I was grateful to find he had come with me.

I was glad I was no longer alone, but I didn’t feel safe, yet. I was too hyped up with adrenaline to realize the danger was over.

They did a few preliminary, in-field tests while we made our way to the hospital.

I was soon passed to the doctors as we arrived and they passed off information using too big of words for my muddled head to interpret.

“We’re going to need a full blood work-up, a CT scan and possibly x-rays.” The doctor said. “Now Prince Harold, how many fingers am I holding up?”

He ran me through a few tests to test my brain function, before sending me off to the scanner. I felt claustrophobic inside, and started to worry, because I could no longer see Louis. My adrenaline rush returned until they finally finished their tests and rolled me into a room where Louis was waiting.

It was really hard to calm down and I just couldn’t relax. Eventually the tests came back mostly clear, minus the little bit of sedative still left in my system. They told me I needed to take it easy for a few days and I might still be a little muggy for the rest of today. I, also, found it was a new day and too early in the morning for me to be fully functional.

I just needed some sleep and relaxation, which wouldn’t happen here, so they discharged me. They had to roll me out to a car with two of my security guards riding in front and Louis was sitting in back. I still couldn’t relax with other people around. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to relax again.

Louis half supported/half dragged me up to our room. This time two people stayed outside of my door.

Louis helped me strip and crawl into our bed. He ran his hands over every part of my body, double-checking for injuries. I guess someone had to talk first. I wanted to do it now, before I passed out.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have left, especially by myself. I knew better and I did it anyway. I’m sorry I put you in the position to have to come and get me.”

“Oh, Haz, don’t be sorry. You were right; I was pushing you away. You have nothing to be sorry for. If I hadn’t shoved you out the door, this would have never happened. If anything, you should dump me for being such a shit boyfriend.”

“I would never do that. Why would I let you go? You should let me go for acting like a child and putting myself in a stupid situation.”

“I would never. I love you too much.”

My mouth dropped open and he seemed to realize what he just said, but he didn’t take it back. That was good. That means I’m not crazy for loving him back.

“I love you, too.” He smiled and pressed our foreheads together.

“Yeah, it’s just too bad it took this kind of situation to make me realize it. I’m so sorry for pushing you away and ignoring you. I’m sorry I wouldn’t listen to you and try to fix the problem. Please forgive me.”

“Louis, stop apologizing. You live and you learn. As long as you try not to do it again, all is well. You live and you learn and that’s all I can ask. After a day like today, holding a grudge is the last thing in mind, so would you please come to bed so I can finally sleep?” I was too tired to make much sense at this point but I think my general message got across.

“Sure, Hazza.”

I tried to fall asleep, but I couldn’t quite manage to do it. Louis seemed to know what I needed. He pulled me into him, so he was completely wrapped around me and whispered reassurances into my ear.

“Shh, Haz, you’re safe now. Sleep. Everything is all right. I’m here and I love you. You’re okay.”

Soon I was lulled to sleep in the safety of his arms.

Chapter Text

I woke up and I felt like Hell. My arms hurt, my head hurt, my back hurt, well everything hurt. And I was nauseous.  Apparently that was one of those unforeseen side effects of the sedative.

I rolled over into Louis and groaned.

“Hey, are you okay?”

“No. Everything hurts.” I whined.

He started shifting out from under me.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“To get you some pain medication.”

I reluctantly let go of him, but I knew that I needed some ibuprofen if I wanted to be able to get up sometime today.

He returned with the medicine and I took it while he watched over me. I guess his protective instincts were still in overdrive.

“Are you hungry?”

“No. Sleepy.”

“That’s understandable. You’ve only got about three hours of sleep.” He started crawling back into bed.

“Stupid internal timer, that woke me up.”

“Yes, yes. Our bodies are creatures of habit. Now go back to sleep.”

I curled back into him and did just that.

The next time I woke up I was feeling better. The nausea had gone away and the pain meds had done their job.

“Morning.” I mumbled.

“More like good day. Are you feeling better?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you hungry?”

“A little.”

“Okay. How about you go shower and I’ll get us some food?”

“Okay.”

I got up and went to the bathroom and got a real surprise when I looked in the mirror. I had rashes from the ropes and bruises on my arms from the chair as well as bags under my eyes. I would have to wear long sleeves tomorrow if I wanted to hide it.

I got into the shower, and the water stung on my rope burns. At the same time, the heat helped relax some of my muscles that were in knots from last night. It felt good to get all of the dirt and grime off me.

I threw on a pair of boxers and headed out of the room. Frankly, the idea of throwing clothes on over my rope burns makes me wince. Louis actually did wince when he saw my current state. I guess injuries look different in the light of day.

“Liam and Zayn are getting us some food. Why don’t you sit down and I’ll get you some stuff for your burns?”

There was this indecipherable look on his face that I think might be guilt. He went into our room and came back with some kind of ointment that helped get rid of some of the stinging. The pain sucked, but it was kind of nice to be cared for.

There was a knock on the door and Louis went to go and check who was there. He returned with some food and my stomach growled in response. We popped in a movie while we curled up on the couch and ate lunch. Or dinner. I hadn’t gotten around to checking the time.

We ended up having a miniature movie marathon.  Afterward, he took his time tending to my injuries, stopping to place gentle kisses on each one, before finally cuddling me into him, but I couldn’t go back to sleep quite yet.

“Louis?”

“Yes?”

“I can’t sleep yet.”

“Okay…” He sounded confused, like he wasn’t sure what he could do about it.

I rolled over to face him.

“Tell me about you. Or at least your family. You know about my confusing familial relationships; I want to know about yours.” He seemed relieved so he probably thought I was going to complain about the pain or something

“Okay. Where to start? Um. Well, my mom’s name is Jay. She’s sweet and hardworking and single. My dad left before I could remember him. Then my mom married my stepfather, who was pretty much my father. He and mom had four daughters Charlotte, Felicity, and the twins, Phoebe and Daisy. I love them so much.

I try to send them money as often as I can. I wish I got to see them more and I miss them, but I can help out more with my job than if I was closer to home.”

“I’m sorry, Lou.”

“Why are you sorry?” He brought his hand up to my cheek to smooth out the lines creasing my forehead.

“Because. I mean your dad left and you had to take over. Then you went into the academy where you couldn’t be yourself. Then you got your job and you help your family, but can’t see them because of it. On top of that, you’re risking that to date me.”

“Haz, don’t feel bad. I chose this and I love you. I love them too, but not in the same way. You shouldn’t be sorry. I should be sorry for yesterday.”

“Didn’t we already go over this? You have no reason to be sorry and I’m alright.”

“But what if you hadn’t been? If you hadn’t been okay, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.”

“It’s one way to feel that way, but you can’t hold onto the guilt forever. It’s better to learn from your mistakes and move on. I forgive you. Why can’t you forgive yourself?”

“Habit, I guess.”

“Please try. For me.” I gave my best attempt at puppy dog eyes.

“I will try… But I won’t promise anything.”

“Thank you.” I gave him a peck on the nose.

“I love you.”

“I love you too. Now can you sleep?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

I passed out soon afterwards.

The next day was not so kind. I had an early wake-up, which left me tired even though I got so much sleep yesterday.

“C’mon, Haz. You have a meeting this morning. It’s time to get up.”

“Louis, do I have to?” I whined.

Early morning meetings always suck and tend to be mostly irrelevant.

“Yes, now I’ve already picked out some clothes, so go get ready.” He sounded off, but I figured he just didn’t want to be waking me up so early.

I just groaned and rolled out of bed. Then we headed out to the meeting room. Once everyone was seated, Gemma’s head of security started the meeting.

“Now, I believe you all know why we are here,” he began. “We are here to discuss the dismissal of Louis Tomlinson.” What the fuck? That wasn’t going to happen…

“Ah. So you plan on firing Louis? For what reasons might I ask?”

I had to keep calm and cool, if I wanted to keep this from happening. My panicking wouldn’t help save Louis’ neck.

“Well, first off, he changed the security which left you alone so you could get kidnapped. He is responsible for the trauma you experienced within the last 48 hours.” He accused and he seemed stunned that I would object.

“He, also, single-handedly mounted the rescue mission responsible for recovering me. I believe that you sat around while you left it to him to clean up his own mess. On the other hand, how long would it have taken you to find me?” I asked in my most polite voice.

He looked mad. But he didn’t to appear to have a response to that.

“Well, he still needs a punishment. A demotion.”

“Now, that wouldn’t be a good idea,” Gemma piped in.

“And why not?” He was less obviously pissed with her than with me.

“Because, a demotion would be obvious. It would get people to ask questions. Do you want people to know that the crown prince got kidnapped on your watch?” Gemma pointed out.

“Well-uh-I” He stuttered

“Exactly. Now if you want some punishment then leave a mark on his record, like insubordination or negligence of superior’s orders. That way he’ll still have a punishment, but nothing that will get out. Don’t you agree?” She pointed out in her kindest voice.

“Um-well-you see-“

“I’m glad you agree. Now is there anything else to discuss?” Her tone implied there wasn’t

Nobody responded.

“Okay, well then I vote this meeting is adjourned.”

Holy shit! I had just gone against someone and gotten my way. Not only that, but Gemma had backed my decision. I was silently stunned. I turned around and a few people had already made it out the door. I assume Zayn and Liam had headed out the door to inform Louis of the news. Now that that had been resolved, I could take a deep breath of relief. I didn’t have to worry about Louis getting fired and leaving but at least I was fully awake due to the shock.

The next couple of days were kind of monotonous. There were new people, but with similar events and similar outcomes. The tour was coming to a close, but there was still one more thing I wanted to do before we returned to the scrutiny of the palace.

First, I needed to talk to Grimmy. I informed Louis one morning that I was going to call my mom that night, so he was free to take as much time as he needed to pick up food and do whatever preparations for returning to the palace.

I was glad he didn’t question it and promised to give me a few hours, or just text him when I got off so he wouldn’t disturb anything. I was grateful. This conversation was going to be awkward enough without the threat of my boyfriend walking in at any moment and catching me in a lie.

I waited about five minutes after Louis left, just in case he forgot anything before making the call. It didn’t take long for Grimmy’s face to appear on my computer screen.

“Hello, Harry!”

“Hi, Grimmy!”

“So, what’s going on?”

“What do you mean, what’s going on?” I asked, trying to pretend I didn’t have an ulterior motive.

“Have you seriously forgotten how shit of a liar you are? Besides, I know you must have missed me, but let’s be honest. You wouldn’t be calling me when you could be with your boyfriend without a good reason.”

I blushed. It was true. He knows me too well.

“So spill already.”

“Um, well you see-how do I phrase this? Uh-I wanted to ask you about, uh well-“

“Just spit it out already.”

“I wanted to ask your advice.”

“To prevent this from taking the next twenty four hours, let me stop you there. How has everything been with Louis?”

“Good.” I said warily.

“How good?” He waggled his eyebrows and I blushed. I was trying to come up with a way to ask my question and he was making it terribly painful. But that was typical Grimmy

“Like how far have you gone?”

I had apparently peaked his curiosity when I didn’t immediately respond.

“Oh, has my wittle Harry lost his v-card?”

“Not yet.” I mumbled.

“Oh, so that’s what this is about. You want me to help you get your boyfriend into bed.”

I nodded, thankful I didn’t have to ask.

“Well, then. I have to know how far you’ve gone and you have to promise me you’ll dish after the fact.”

“Well-uh-we’ve you know-with the mouth and yeah?”

“Are you trying to avoid saying blow jobs, Harry?”

“Well-maybe. Um-yes?”

“Is that a question or a statement?”

“Fine. You win. We’ve exchanged blowjobs! Are you happy?”

“Oh, how easy it is to get you to squirm. Now you just have to get Louis to squirm in a more lustful way.”

“But how?” I tried really hard not to sound desperate and whiny but judging by his reaction I wasn’t too successful.

“Well, absent minded brushing up against him, or ‘accidently’ rubbing your ass on his crotch, or leaving lube out where he will find it.”

“Why so passive?”

“Well, this is you, Dearie. You aren’t going to just walk up to him and be like Fuck me right now.”

I opened and closed my mouth to form some sort of protest, but it just wasn’t going to happen.

“My point exactly. So you have to work him up into a lustful frenzy. Oh and you have to tell me who tops and who bottoms. I wouldn’t want to lose the bet.”

“What bet?”

“Don’t worry your pretty little head. Just concentrate on getting your man.”

We had a short conversation catching each other up, but I was more distracted by contemplating my plan of seduction, so the conversation didn’t last much longer.

About two days before we were going to return, we had the whole day to relax in the hotel. I needed a break and security needed me somewhere secure so they could finalize the return plan. It was time to implement a plan of my own.

When Louis first woke up, I pretended to be still groggy from sleep and ‘absentmindedly’ push my ass right up against his crotch. Not too long though, I only did it long enough to plant the seed in his imagination. After I came out of the bathroom, he went to use it. I searched in my bag and pulled out some lube, leaving it on the nightstand where he would undoubtedly see it. Then I pulled on some super tight fitting skinny jeans, and one of my band t-shirts.

I made sure I was bent over to lean on the counter when he came out and I heard the slight hitch in his breath when he saw me. I spent the morning rubbing up against him. Just random touches here and there and dropping things more often than I normally would so I’d have an excuse to bend over. It seems Louis had finally had enough when I sat directly onto his lap rather than the couch.

Every so often I would twitch and I could start to feel a bulge grow beneath me.

“Haz, love. I’m about one more grind away from taking you right on this couch so think carefully.”

He sounded completely serious and that’s what I wanted so bad. I could feel my heart quicken with anticipation and my breathing pick up.

“Ah, I see. That’s why you left out the lube and wore those jeans. You were trying to get to me, weren’t you?” His tone was playful.

I didn’t deny it. He started kissing up and down my neck.

“Are you sure, Love? I don’t want to start anything you aren’t ready for.”

I ground down on his bulge in response. The next thing I knew, he was picking me up and then practically throwing me onto our bed.

He hovered over me and kissed along my jaw while I pushed our hips together. When he brought his mouth over mine it was all open-mouthed and sloppy. After several minutes of kissing I realized he was expecting me to set the pace here so I pushed up the hem of his t-shirt. He got the message and pulled off so he was upright but straddling me. Without wasting anytime, we both removed our shirts and I reached up to pull him back on top of me.

“How long have you been planning this, Hazza?” He was slowly working his mouth down my torso so I wasn’t in the best mindset to answer the question that barely even registered in my brain.

“Thought you were innocent enough to not realize you were being a tease at first. You knew exactly what you were doing though, didn’t you?”

The question was punctuated with a tug to one of my nipples as he simultaneously ground down on my crotch so that the only answer I had to offer was a filthy moan. I move my hands down his back so that I could grab his hips in order to keep them pressed against mine. My tight jeans were seeming less like a good idea every minute that my cock continued to swell.

“Pants off” I managed to gasp out.

He chuckled at my ineloquence but nonetheless rolled off me to take off his sweat pants. I was still fighting to work my jeans down my legs so he moved to the end of the bed to help pull them off. I pushed my boxers down after them because I really needed this to go a little faster with less interruptions. I expected him to follow suit but he just watched me for a second. My dick was flushed red and leaking onto my stomach; the only response I had to offer was to make grabby hands at him and produce a whimpering noise.

He crawled back on top of me but left more space than I would have liked. I attempted to move my hands so I could push his hips down again but he grabbed my wrists and gently pinned them down beside my head. I think I pouted at him for that because he smirked and kissed my lips softly before pulling back.

“You’re sure you want this, Harry? I don’t have any condoms, we haven’t talked about it…”  I didn’t have the patience to deal with his protective side right now.

“Would you please shut up and fuck me?” I tried to convey with my eyes what my testosterone flooded brain couldn’t put into words. I wanted this and I wanted him. He wasn’t manipulating me or taking advantage of me.

It seemed to be enough because he released my hands and moved down the bed to kiss along my inner thigh. When he reached my groin he only licked at the tip, tasting my pre-come but it was enough to having me clenching the sheets in my hands. I felt his hands work under my thighs, lifting them up so my legs hooked over his shoulders.

I heard him snap open the bottle of lube that I hadn’t seen him grab earlier. He coated three of his fingers liberally and then began tracing his index finger around my rim. I felt myself clenching at the sensation. He pressed his lips again my inner leg again and asked, “Have you ever, to yourself?” I hesitated before shaking my head yes. I had tried a few times but I could never find the right angle.

He snaked his free hand up to grab one of mine and laced our fingers together. At the same moment I felt him push his finger into me slowly and I winced. It didn’t really hurt but it felt strange. He pushed in and out a few times and it felt better as I began to loosen around him. The next time he pushed in at a slightly different angle, and I think he also crooked his finger a bit at the end, but it had me pushing my hips down and whimpering helplessly in attempts for him to brush that spot again.

Louis grinned and pulled out, when he began to push back in he added another digit slowly and made sure to hit my spot once more. He started scissoring me open and worked up to the third finger eventually. By that point I was meeting his every thrust in with a downward thrust of my own.

“Are you ready, love?” All I could was nod and moan something that sounded vaguely like a please. Or at least I hoped it sounded somewhat like please.

He pulled his fingers out and quickly tugged down the briefs he had yet to discard. He coated his cock with the lube and positioned himself at my entrance. He looked up to meet my eyes at that point.

“I love you, Louis” I hadn’t planned on saying it but it seemed like the only thing to say at that point.

“I love you too, Hazza. So much.”

And with that he was pushing into me and I was trying not to show how much the stretch was hurting because with my luck he’d call it off right now. Once he was completely inside, I moved my legs from his shoulders until they locked around his waist. He patiently waited for me to adjust as I attempted to distract myself by tracing the lines of his muscled torso.

It wasn’t too long before the pain was being replaced by aches of pleasure and I just really needed him to move. My eyes snapped up to meet his and he must have understood because he grabbed ahold of my hands and laved our fingers together again before he held them down against the bed.

He pulled his hips back about half way before snapping back into me. The pressure against my prostate was unbelievable and after several similar thrusts I was squirming and begging incoherently for more. He pulled out further with each thrust and pushed back in with increasing force.

He released my hands so he could use his to keep my hips somewhat still. I reached mine up around his back so I was literally clinging to him. I told him I was getting close and he moved one of his hands around my dick and began jerking me off in time with his thrusts. My nails scratched down his back as I attempted not to scream.

“Harry, I’m…”

“Yeah me to.”

And with that I was spilling all over my stomach and Louis’ hand. I felt warmth spilling inside of me as he came with me clenching around him. We worked each other through the aftershocks of our mutual orgasm. I had never felt anything that incredible in my life and I was crashing quickly, overcome by a tingly feeling from being truly sated.

 My eyes had closed due to the heaviness of my eyelids but I felt Louis pull out and I was left clenching around nothing. Then I felt him push my curls off my forehead so he could kiss it. I heard him leaving the bed and I was probably whining in displeasure, but he quickly returned with a warm washcloth that he used to wipe down my stomach and then gently along my bum.

I grabbed him before he could wander off again and pulled myself into his chest. I didn’t know if I should say thank you or something so I just pressed a kiss into his collarbone as he stroked his hand through my hair.

 

I guess he gave up on getting up, because I felt him throw the cloth off the edge of the bed. Then he wrapped us up tightly in the covers, while I was more of a hindrance than a help. I was holding onto him like an octopus but I couldn’t bring myself to care. It was comfy and didn’t take long for me to fall asleep.

Chapter Text

I woke up with some slight, how should I say, tenderness? I reached over to hit the snooze on my alarm and went to go shower. Louis would wake up the next time it went off, if he wasn’t already awake. I was hoping the hot water would help relax my muscle so it wasn’t too apparent, what we got up to last night.

I walked out to find Louis packing everything up. Today was the day we were finally returning to the palace. It was a mixed bag of emotions. It would be nice to reduce my hectic schedule, but we were going to lose our sense of privacy. Speaking of privacy, I need to eventually call Grimmy back. But not today. I’m not quite ready to kill the afterglow quite yet.

I got out and Louis had left my clothes on the bed while he made sure everything was ready to go. I got dressed and he paused to appreciate the view.

“See something you like?”

“Yeah.” He came over and kissed me on the cheek. “How are you feeling?”

“A little bit sore, but good. Really really good.” A cocky grin appeared on his face.

“How’s your back?” I’m pretty sure my nails had attempted to leave a permanent mark on his back last night. They matched the bruises he left on my hips.

“Just fine. I’m more worried about you than me. Now, are you ready to go, yet?”

I let out a deep sigh.

“Yeah. I guess.” I attempted to hide my reluctance.

We headed out with Louis leaving our bags in a pile at the door for other people to take down to the cars. I’m a klutz, so, me carrying bags would be a disaster. Louis has to be on duty and having his hands full would not be helpful in case of an emergency.

I fell asleep on the car ride back, which killed a good amount of time. The rest of the time I spent fidgeting, trying to get comfortable. I wasn’t very successful and was ready to bolt as soon as we finally got back to the castle.

Louis and I headed straight to the kitchen for lunch. That was one nice thing about being back was on-demand food that wasn’t fast food. Afterwards, we decided to go roam around. We tried to find as many passageways as possible so they could be used to our advantage later on.

“So.”

“So?”

“I know a lot about you. And I realized I don’t give as much information back. So here’s your chance. Ask anything.”

I looked at him, trying to decide whether or not he was serious.

“It’s not a joke. Ask me anything.”

“Well-uh. I mean if you don’t mind? How did you get this job? If that’s not too invasive…”

“It’s fine. But it’s a kind of long story, just to warn you, now.” He paused, presumably to give me time to change my mind but I simply nodded.  “I mean after my stepdad left, things got really hard. My mom was working ridiculously long hours to keep our head above water and I was doing everything I could to help out.

It wasn’t too long until I was looking at universities.. I wanted to go on a football scholarship and maybe go professional. While I was getting recruited for football, I was also getting recruited for the academy. I ended up going to the academy instead of university though, obviously.

It offered a shorter schooling time and a guaranteed job after graduation. To be honest, we needed the money and I didn’t want to work my way through four years of school. I didn’t want to burden mom with paying it either.

I know I had to go into the closet for this job, but it was the best option for me. It was an acceptable sacrifice in order to be able to help my family.”
“I’m sorry, Louis. That sounds like a shitty situation.” He reached up to smooth out my frown lines.

“Don’t be. Turns out I’m really good at this. And well there’s you, so it all worked out in the end.”

“I guess it did. I mean it’s obviously a job you love, otherwise you wouldn’t be so dedicated.”

“Yeah.” His smile was warm and reassuring.

We ended up grabbing food and then Louis was no longer on duty. It was weird being separated after being together constantly. I guess I’d just have to get used to this again.

I tried to go to sleep, but I ended up tossing and turning instead. Turns out sleeping in your own bed is overrated if you are alone. I got up and decided to make use of that secret passage I found before we left for the tour.

I tried to move as quietly as possible, in hopes that Liam wouldn’t hear me. I ended up sneaking down the security hallway, trying to look as innocuous as possible. I got to Louis’ door and found it locked. Oh shit.

I tried to knock as quietly as possible so as to not disturb anyone else on the floor.

“Louis.” I whispered. “Louis!”

He came and unlocked the door, pulling me inside.

“What are you doing here? And how the hell did you get here?”

“I couldn’t sleep. So I took the secret passage in my room to the security hallway.”

“Seriously, we haven’t even been back one night and you’re already stirring up trouble?”

“Maybe….”

“Come to bed.”

“What?” I expected to have been denied. I didn’t expect him to give in so easily. Maybe he missed me too.

“Come on. But you’re going to have to be up early so Zayn and Liam don’t notice you coming.”

“Okay.” I easily agreed. Anything to get to cuddle with him some more.

His bed was slightly more cramped than the hotel ones, considering it wasn’t meant for two. Cramped or not, it was still better than sleeping alone in my room.

I woke up to a loud banging on the other side of the door and slight disorientation over where I was.

“Fuck. Get in the closet.” Louis hush-whispered as he shoved me into a room and closed the door.

Next thing I know, I heard the door open and footsteps in the room. I tried to still my breathing and heartbeat. I didn’t want to get caught in here without a reasonable excuse.

“Louis, we need to talk.” Zayn’s voice. It’s always Zayn.

“About what?”

“A couple of things. Starting off with we’re sorry about changing the orders on Harry’s security.”

“Yeah,” Liam agreed. “We shouldn’t have changed the orders, especially without telling you. And you shouldn’t have taken the blame for us.” Well, this was knew information…

I’ve been kind of mad he took the blame. Now, I’m more pissed off that he didn’t tell me about Zayn and Liam’s interference.

“Yes, I should have. You were under my command. I was responsible.”

“Though this wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t been stupid enough to date your client in the first place,” Zayn stated.

“Zayn,” Louis warned.

“Don’t Zayn me. We’ve been quiet until now, so now it’s your turn to listen to us.”

That sounded harsh. It hurt that they didn’t approve of me. I mean they are Louis’ friends, so I want them to like me.

“Really, is there anything to say?”

“Of course there is! There are rules against dating your client for a reason.”

“Like what? I’m still protecting him first and foremost.”

“Yeah, but you could become over involved and blinded to everything when he’s around, lowering your defenses. This could create an opening for someone to get him.”

“Could. Could happen. But it isn’t.”

“Not yet.”

“Don’t worry about me. Until I’m endangering him, you have no input in this matter and that’s final.” That was his authoritative side coming out.

“Louis,” Liam sounded pleading.

“I said that’s final. Now, if you’re here who’s on duty?”

There was no response.

“Then go.” And I heard them leave.

I couldn’t help but wonder. Am I good enough for him? Am I endangering his career? Well that one was a yes. Am I endangering myself? I mean his protective side is so blatant I don’t think so. Are Liam and Zayn right?

I didn’t have any more time for thought. Louis was ushering me out of the closet and sending me off down the hall.

“You have to get back before they notice.”

I let out a quick I love you before the door slammed and I was heading out back to my room. I was rushing in hopes I could beat Liam and Zayn back before they could notice I was MIA.

I got dressed as soon as I got back to my room. There was no point in even trying to go back to sleep. I went to an early breakfast. Afterwards, Gemma cornered me and took us to her room to chat.

“So, Harry...”

“Gemma?”

“I know we haven’t had much time to talk since we left. I was wondering how you and Kyle were doing.”

Shit, who’s Kyle?

“Um, good why?”

“That’s interesting.”

“How so?”

“Because I talked to him yesterday and he hasn’t heard from you since I introduced you at your congratulation party.”

“oh-uh-him. Well, uh, what does he have to do with anything?” I deflected,

“Well, since you’ve been practically glowing lately, I would assume it has to do with you having a boyfriend and it not being him.”

“So? He’s not the only guy who dates guys in the country.”

“He’s the only guy in the upper tiers of society who would.”

“Look, Gemma. Cut the crap and just get at what you’re trying to say.”

“Nothing. Just I know you’re dating someone.”

“Your point?” Maybe, I could convince her she was wrong? That wasn’t likely…

“He’s below you, Harold! You’re endangering your reputation for a bit of fun! It’s not worth it!”

“You don’t know anything, Gemma!”

“Yeah, well I know you saved his ass at the last security meeting. You don’t do that unless you care about the person.” Shit. Okay, so she knew a lot more than I thought…damn her perceptiveness.

“So what if I care about him? I care about a lot of people.”

“Yeah, but not like the way you care about him.” I have a bad feeling she won’t be letting this go until I admit everything and she gives me a huge lecture about all the ways it will go wrong.

“Do you have a point?” I wasn’t willing to admit to anything and I definitely didn’t want a lecture.

“The staff are just that: staff. They are here to serve and not be seen. You aren’t supposed to date them.”

“Is this a high school musical moment, where everyone starts singing about sticking to the status quo? Because I really couldn’t care less what you’re opinion on the matter is. They are people just like us. I don’t see what the problem is.”

“That’s the problem.”

“No it’s not. You’re apparently the one with the problem, not me.”

“I’m supposed to watch out for you. You’re my little brother, so you need to listen to me when I tell you this isn’t going to end well.”

“Sister, you may be, but you still don’t know enough about me to make that call. So I will say this, back off. I don’t need this from you.”

“I’m just looking out for you.”

“No, you’re looking after yourself.”

“Fine, then I’ll prove it to you.”

“How?” I looked at her skeptically.

“Well, you want to save the world and you have some laws to alter. Let me help you start to learn about the lovely thing called paperwork.”

“Fine, but no cracks at my supposed relationship.”

“Fine, but you’ll see my way one day.”

“Or you’ll finally see reason.”

“We’ll agree to disagree for now.” More like forever…

“Okay. Now, which way?”

“To the archives.”

We spent the rest of the morning in the archives studying laws and papers and the process. Gemma tried to explain things as thoroughly as possibly, and then she left for lunch. Zayn came in as she left, effectively removing my last hope of being able to work with less tension. He didn’t know I heard him, but I still felt awkward around him.

I ignored the weird feeling and threw myself into my work.

“Harry? Harry?” Someone was shaking my shoulder. “You need to go eat dinner or at least something.”

“Huh?” I blinked blurrily and finally made the connection that it was Liam standing over me.

“You need to go eat. You have been in here all day. You need to at least get up and give your eyes a rest.”

“What time is it?” I mumbled.

“About 7.”

“Oh wow. Have I really been in here all day?”

“Yeah. You have.”

“Oh. Okay.”

I started packing things away. I tried to get the books in a reasonable order so I could put them away more easily.

“Harry, it’s okay to leave them.”

“But I got them out.” I was confused. You always put things away after you got them out.

“Oh. Well, um there’s a librarian.” Liam managed to get out. I guess he’s not used to having to remind the people he works for that they have people who will do things for them.

“Oh. Um could you lead me back to the kitchen, I guess I am feeling hungry.”

“Okay…” This was awkward bordering on painful.

I know Liam doesn’t approve of our relationship, but I feel like he’s having a hard time not liking me. His internal conflict was spilling out onto his face. It was almost comical, though I blame my giggling on my sleepiness.

I grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed to my room. I wanted to go to sleep, but it was still early. I, also, needed to call Grimmy back. Might as well get that over sooner rather than later.

I dialed him up as soon as his icon showed up.

“Hey, look if it isn’t the lucky man. You are practically glowing, so I take it that it went well.” I felt myself blush.

“Aww, still innocent after being thoroughly debauched and no longer a virgin.”

“Shut up.” I mumbled.

“So tell me all the sordid details.”

“Really?”

“Of course.”

“Do I have to?” I groaned like a petulant child. I was already regretting asking for his help.

“Well, you do at least have to tell me who topped.”

I didn’t respond

“By the way, you never did properly thank me for getting you two together.” He tried to guilt out. Sadly for me, it worked. It always works.

“Um-well-uh *cough* Louis did.” I managed to get out.

“So then, how did you manage to walk today?”

“Quite fine, thank you.” Is this conversation over yet?

I feel like that’s a pretty bad sign if I want out of the conversation that fast.

“Does your bottom feel okay? Because I’m pretty sure your top feels swell.”

“Seriously? Could you please kill me now?”

“If I did that, where would be the fun? Hold on a second.” He turned away from me to yell.

“Niall come over here.” Soon enough he was joining Grimmy on the screen.

“What’s up?” He started, then he saw me. “Hey Harry! How are you doing?”

“Not now. Exchange pleasantries later. You owe me fifty.” Grimmy cut in.

“What for?” Niall exclaimed. Grimmy returned his attention to me.

“Because Harry bottomed.”

“Dammit, Harry! Why couldn’t you have lied so I could’ve won?” Niall exclaimed.

“I’m sorry?” I thought Niall could care less about our sex lives. He seemed to be able to read the look on my face, though.

“I don’t care what you do during your extracurriculars, but I do enjoy a good bet now and then. I was supposed to win!” He turned his attention back to Grimmy.

“But you didn’t, so pay up.” Grimmy held out his hand in askance.

“Fine, you ignorant, money-thieving, bastard,” Niall grumbled under his breath.

 “Says the leprechaun who has hordes of gold at the end of his rainbow.”

I chuckled a little at that one, which, sadly, brought me back into the conversation.

“At least I don’t have gold in my rainbow…” Niall started. “Wait that didn’t make any sense.”

“Nice try, doll, but you should leave the teasing to the pros. Now do you have any fun marks? Did Louis stake his claim, because I feel like he’s the jealous type?”

My face went red, an instant tell.

“Ooh, he did, didn’t he? Did he leave some nice bruised on your hips from where he grabbed you while he fucked you?”

I ignored him.

“Mm. I bet he felt delicious. If you ever break up, I would love to go for a ride.”

At least he wasn’t going to try while we were together. It’s kind of sad when you think of your friend like this…

“Do you think we should create a tombstone for Harry’s arse?” He asked Niall. “It could read: here lies Harry’s bottom. It went out in the best way possible, getting destroyed by Louis.”

“Are you done yet?” Because I was over this conversation. And being polite. I was tired.

“No. Harry, we aren’t done. Not even close.” He waggled his eyebrows and I pressed the magical red telephone that made it all better.

It didn’t really make everything better, but it gave me a reprieve from the mess that I call my friends. Did this day have to be any shittier? I mean at least my friends approve, but I prefer their minds out of the gutter, or at least not planning on making me feel like I’ve been dragged through it.

I sighed and headed off for a shower. Hopefully the hot water would do me some good. I tried to get lost in the feeling and try not to think. When that didn’t work, I started repeating the paperwork processes in my head, which really did wonders for helping me fall asleep. Nothing tires you out more than looking at endless piles of texts.

Chapter Text

I slept through the night dreaming of text. I was running around, trying to outrun the giant words trying to smash me to smithereens. If that wasn’t the analogy of the year, I don’t know what is.

I slept through the night dreaming of text. I was running around, trying to outrun the giant words trying to smash me to smithereens. If that wasn’t the analogy of the year, I don’t know what is.

I got up and received a note from Gemma. Apparently it’s time for me to meet the adults that help run the country. Tomorrow night there will be a formal dinner and banquet. That gives me a day and a half to prepare for it.

I got a pamphlet detailing who all was going to be there with names and pictures and lists of what they do. I threw myself straight into trying to get everything memorized. The last thing I wanted right now was to deal with people, so having something to throw myself into was convenient.

Eventually, someone appeared with a tray of food. I didn’t see who it was, but I picked at it as I continued working. I got rid of the whole day and a chunk of the next day until Louis finally appeared to force me to get dressed. I didn’t even realize what time it was.

“Harry. Hazza. You need to get ready.”

“What are you talking about? I still have time.”

“Do you know what time it is?”

“10?”

“Honey, it’s four.” He said it slowly, to make sure I understood.

“Really?”

“Yes. Now you go shower and I’ll get your clothes ready.”

“Where did the day go?” I muttered to myself as I walked off to the bathroom.

I got out to find a full on tuxedo waiting for me. I let out some form of a pained noise or another.

“Don’t be like that. Now let’s get you dressed. You have to meet with the princess and the queen before people start arriving.”

I huffed out a sigh and started getting ready. Lucky for me, Louis was there to help me. I hadn’t ever seen a cummerbund never mind being able to put it on by myself. At least I got to wear my bowtie.

I was led downstairs where Gemma and Lena were waiting for me. They were in their full out finery. If I thought Lena looked intimidating before, she looked positively commanding now. Gemma wasn’t far behind, but she just didn’t quite have that domineering presence that Lena must have perfected over the years.

“Hello.”

“Hey, Harry. How are you holding up?” Gemma asked.

“Okay, I guess. I guess it’s just not real yet.”

“Understandable. Now we have a few last minute details to go over.” Lena stated. “First off, dinner will be served promptly at six, make sure you’re in the dining room by then. There are nameplates so you will be able to find your seat. After, there will be drinks in the parlor along with socializing. This will be your chance to meet and familiarize yourself with most of the powerful people in this country. Understood?”

“Yes, ma’am.” Her voice just commanded the title. Gemma giggled at me.

“Come with me, Harry. You’ll do just fine.” Gemma said.

I wish I had as much faith in myself as she did. Oh well, it’s way too late to back out now.

Once people started arriving, I was greeted by all sorts of livery. Livery? Really? I’ve been in this palace too long. Anywho, some people looked nice in their ritzy black with white glitter dresses and absolutely no back. Others had some impressively awful taste.

There was one that was like awkwardly over-revealing but you almost didn’t notice it because the dress in its entirety was just awful. It was like ruffles meets random feathers and glitter in a haphazard, five-year-olds attempt at designing a prom dress. There was so many things going on, that the combination itself just looked horrendous. I almost expected someone to pop out and arrest her for committing a heinous crime of fashion.

The clothes were good. I mean the fact there were clothes there was good. It was a nice distraction to sit and analyze dresses and appreciate one over the other. It was, also, quite a task to find the worst one out of the bunch. Some women were congregating and talking about couture. I didn’t think that word belonged in some of their vocabularies.

I thought about joining there conversations, but it seems like unless you wear dresses, you weren’t invited. All the men were already pre-separated into their various groups of the like-minded. I didn’t want to approach one group and end up pissing off another group. I don’t think I could afford to piss anyone off if I wanted to get some of my more quote-unquote radical changes passed in my lifetime.

I, essentially, stood there awkwardly until we were summoned to the dining room. I got seated away from Gemma and Lena. Apparently they tried to spread themselves throughout the table in order to make sure everyone felt included. Something told me that the people at my end of the table felt somewhat slighted by my presence.

Theoretically, they shouldn’t because I’m crown prince and higher ranked than Gemma, but that doesn’t seem to have occurred to them. They just made the occasional slight at my age, my very recent appointment, and my non-native accent. They were distancing themselves from me. This was not a good start if I ever wanted to accomplish anything,

It got even worse after dinner. Now, instead of it being slighted by a few couples, it was everyone I came in contact with. From what I can guess by their snooty lingo, I’m lower class, way too young, out of my depth (their words not mine), and an ignorant child. I believe ignoramus was actually said aloud.

I hate people. Well, mostly these people. Anyone who didn’t grow up in their high class society is, apparently, not good enough. It almost makes me feel bad for Sophia. But not quite.  This social club seems like they could rip a person to shreds in a matter of minutes.

Their target for the night, seems to be me. I guess they are taking a break from tearing apart the individual factions in order to tear me to shreds. Sadly, it’s working. If I can’t even handle their cruel comments, how can 
I ever expect to navigate the public opinion without taking it personally? I can’t. Everything is personal. I need to get out of here. I need something. I started sneaking my way out of the room. It seems if they weren’t directly attacking me, then I was completely invisible.

I could feel Louis’ eyes follow me as I headed out of the room. I made it about twenty feet out of the room before he grabbed me. I turned and looked him in the eye. He must’ve seen how much I needed to talk to him, but not out here, not as my security guard.

We ended up in one of the many parlors that are all over the palace. At this point, I wonder if they serve any other purpose besides being a place for secret lovers to hide.

“Harry, are you okay?”

“No, I’m not okay. I’m about as valuable to them as a bug, except they can’t quite manage to flick me off and that annoys the hell out of them.”

“Don’t you think you’re overreacting just a little bit?”

“Overreacting? Were you not in the same room as I was?”

“I was.”

“Then how did you miss all the snipers aimed straight at me?!”

“Don’t you think that’s a little melodramatic?” Wasn’t he supposed to be on my side?

“No. I do not think I’m exaggerating. Well, at least not that much. And aren’t you supposed to be helping me, not undermining me?”

He held his hand up motioning for one second while his other hand went to his ear.

“Seriously, Louis?! I’m freaking out and you’re completely ignoring me!”

“I am on duty, you know. I have to listen or I’ll lose my job and be away from you.”

“That’s not the point! I need you! You’re my bodyguard! Your first priority is supposed to be me!”

“You’re acting like a child!”

“Well, I wouldn’t be if my boyfriend would just listen to me.” I said petulantly.

“Okay then, what’s really gotten to you? I know you don’t normally freak out over just one night.”

“Fine, it was a lot of things.”

Then someone started talking in his earpiece again. Two could play at this game. I’ll probably shake my head at my antics later, but it seems like a good idea now. I know exactly how to get his attention.

He was looking off in the distance and, I assume, trying to pay attention to what’s being said. Perfect.

I dropped to my knees in front of him and started undoing his belt. He didn’t seem to notice. Then I got his button undone and heard his breath catch when my knuckles ran over his dick as I undid his zipper.

He had to respond to something or another, but I just ignored it and continued to pull his pants down. I started to mouth at him through his boxers, and I felt him begin to stiffen.

I finally pulled his boxers down and heard a muttered curse and something hit the floor. I looked over and saw his earpiece roll across the ground. Good. All his attention was on me.

I put my hands on his sides and rubbed his hips with my thumbs. I kitten licked over the tip, causing him to groan. Before he could finish, I had my mouth around him, attempting to take him in as far as I could. I felt his muscles tense up in surprise underneath me. I grabbed his hips harder, probably leaving crescents on his ass from my fingernails.

I licked the vein on the underside on my way back. Then I continued to work him in and out of my mouth until my muscles were relaxed enough to take him all the way in.

His hands wrapped into my hair, so he could steady himself. Then I pulled on his hips in silent communication to tell him to let go and fuck my throat. I probably wouldn’t be able to speak well later, but it wasn’t like anyone wanted to hear me in the first place.

He started up a rhythm, but always watching for signs of distress. Ever the protector, he is.

He kept this up for about five minutes, while I timed out my breaths and tried to keep down my gag reflex. Then he was holding me down and spurting down my throat. I greedily swallowed it all down, already feeling better that I can at least please someone.

I looked up to see Louis’ face had turned completely white. I turned around as I licked some cum off my lips. Not my best move to make when finding one of the older more conservative security guards staring us down.

“Fuck.” I croaked out.

That probably didn’t help either. My voice sounded like shit. I heard Louis fumble to pull his pants up behind me. At least my head had been blocking the view of his crotch.

What a sight we must have made. He with his pants, literally, around his ankles and me liking cum off my lips, with pupils probably the size of Jupiter.

 “What were you doing?!” The guard exclaimed.

Seriously, did we really have to spell it out? I mean I realize he’s probably uptight, but I’d think he’d know what a blow job was when he’s seen it.

“I found them,” he muttered in what appeared to be a mouthpiece, before returning his attention back to us.

I had managed to get up and try to look at least halfway decent. Louis had taken to fixing his appearance, as well. I grabbed his hand for comfort. I felt him tense up, but the guard had already caught us in the act, holding hands was nothing at this point.

“Where’s your earpiece?” The guard demanded. I guess he was addressing Louis first.

“On the floor somewhere.” He sounded ashamed and I ran my thumb along the back of his hand to try and soothe him, but I couldn’t tell if it worked. His concrete mask had made a resurgence.

“And why was it on the floor?” He sounded like he was chastising a child.

Did he really need to ask these questions? I mean they seemed self-explanatory, so I answered for him.

“I startled him and he dropped it.” It was true, but also vague enough to not completely gross him out.

The guard turned his attention to me with copious amounts of pity in his voice.

“You don’t have to defend him, you know.”

“I’m not defending him. I’m just stating the truth.”

He returned his attention back to Louis.

“Head back to your post in the dining room. Now!” He commanded.

Louis quickly found his earpiece and headed out. This left me in uncomfortable silence with the intimidating guard.

“Now, Prince Harold.”

“What?” I was wary.

“You need to tell me what really happened here. You don’t have to be afraid of him. I can help you.”

“What in the world are you talking about?” He couldn’t really think….

“You need to tell me what he forced you to do.”

“Forced me to do?” I spluttered.

Louis would never force me to do anything. If I want something more, I have to hint in some way or another. I wanted everything. If anything, he was forced into it, not me.

“Yes.”

“Listen here. Louis didn’t force me to do anything. I started it. I asked for it. If anything it was my fault, not his.”

“I know you feel this way now, but you need to know it’s not your fault. He took advantage of your state and you just need to tell me what happened so I can get you the appropriate help.”

Help? Wait, did he think I was a rape victim?

“I don’t need any help. I was just fine until you came in.”

“Oh, really? Because from where I stood, you had a man forcing his dick down your throat. That’s not just fine.”

“Maybe not to you, it isn’t.”

“I’m not trying to insult your manliness. No matter what you say, you’re still as much of a man as you were before.”

That sounded like a line straight out of a textbook somewhere…

“Okay, let’s get this straight. He has never forced anything upon me. I chased after him.”

“Just because you wanted attention, doesn’t mean what he did afterward was warranted.”

“It was warranted because I wanted it, just as much as he did. I realize you may not understand, but we’re in a relationship. Disapprove all you want, but we’re in love and that’s final. I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t tell anyone how you found us.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Well, then only tell those necessary.”

“Yes, sir.” I guess my authoritative tone returned, despite the rasp.

“Oh, and you aren’t allowed to go crying rape. It was consensual by both parties and you have no grounds. Understood?”

“Yes, Prince.”

“Now, would you please return me to the banquet room? I believe I should get back before I’m completely missed.”

“Follow me, Prince.”

I nodded and walked behind him as calmly as I could manage. Hell was about to break loose. I was just waiting until the ball dropped.

I returned to socialize with various people. By socialize I mean politely nodding and humming when appropriate. The guys may not pick up on the rasp in my voice, but these girls have probably given a blowjob or two and probably recognize the vocal change for what it truly is.

Gemma eventually pulled me to a corner.

“Where’d you go?”

“Nowhere, Gem. Don’t worry about it.”

“What happened to your voice? Are you sick?”

“No, I’m not sick.”

“Then why is your voice all raspy?”

I just stayed silent in hopes she’d figure it out. I didn’t want to explain to my sister that I had been having oral sex with my boyfriend.

“No, Harry. You didn’t.” She sounded shocked and slightly disgusted.

“Didn’t what, Gemma?”

“You didn’t, you know, with the thing and the throat…”

Wow she’s a prude.

“Deep throat my boyfriend, because yeah I did. And we got caught, so if you could stop judging me for five minutes, that would be great because I need to figure this out.”

So much for avoiding spelling that out to a blood relative.

“What do you mean caught?”

“I mean we got walked in on and then we had a nice little chat where he insinuated Louis was raping me.”

“No.”

“Yes,” I admitted glumly.

“Oh, Harry I’m so sorry. That sounds absolutely awful.”

“Yeah and Louis’ just disappeared and I don’t know what’s going on. What do you think they’re going to do to him?”

“I don’t know, Harry. Rape is pretty serious. Rape of a crown royal under your charge is way worse.”

“Then you have to help me, Gem.”

“What?”

“If you’ve ever cared for the bond we have as siblings, you’ll help me.”

“How? What can I do that could possibly help?”

“You could tell them that we’re dating, that everything we did we both wanted. You could tell them he didn’t rape me. You could tell them how you knew we were dating.”

“You know I don’t exactly approve of what’s been going on…”

“I don’t care if you approve!” I hissed.

“If you’re a decent human being you’ll tell them, because a man doesn’t deserve to have his life destroyed due to cultural stigma. You’ll do what’s right, like what you’ve been telling me to do since I’ve been here. I’m not saying you should tell them to let us date. I’m just saying, a decent person wouldn’t let her brother’s boyfriend go down in flames because she disapproves of a class difference.”

“I don’t know Harry…”

“Please, Gemma? I really really need you to do this for me. I’ll do anything you want if you do this for me.”

“Anything?”

“Yes, anything.”

“Even give him up?”

Would I? Would I really?

“Yes. I’ll give him up.” I probably already sounded defeated.

“Why? Why are you working so hard to save him, just to give him up?”

“This job is everything to him and his life would be completely destroyed if I don’t. I’ll give him up, if it means I can save him. Besides, if I don’t agree I’ll lose him anyway. At least this way, he’ll still have a chance at happiness afterwards.”

“Wow. You really are gone for him.” She sounded completely shocked, like the idea of me having so much feeling for someone hadn’t ever occurred to her.

“Please?” I pleaded.

“Fine. I’ll see what I can do, okay?”

“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

I wrapped her in the tightest hug possible and watched her walk off. Lena had disappeared too and the guests had started leaving. Now I had nothing to distract me. What’s going to happen?

How the hell could this workout? I just really want Louis to be alright.

Chapter Text

~Louis’ POV~

I returned to the banquet hall, as ordered. I had no other choice, so I returned to work. I just got a glimpse of Harry returning before the same guard from earlier came over to me and blocked my view.

“Come with me, Tomlinson.” He growled.

I nodded and followed without any resistance. He led me into a well known, less visited part of the castle: the dungeons. More accurately, he led me to an interrogation room off to the side of the dungeons. I had a feeling I wouldn’t be leaving for quite a while.

I was shoved into the room and the door was locked behind me. I guess they were going to try to make me sweat before actually talking to me. It was working. I was worried what they would do about our relationship. At the very least, I was going to lose my job, of that I’m sure.

 I lost track of time. I had been resting my head on my arms when I was startled by someone slamming the door open.

“What did you do to him? Huh?” What the Fuck?

“What are you talking about?”

“What. Did you do. To the Prince?” This was a more aggressive line of questioning than a clandestine relationship warranted.

“Nothing’s happened to him…” This isn’t lining up. It’s not like something could have happened to Harry after we got caught…

“Did you force him to have sex with you?!”

“No! Never!” They fucking think I raped him?! Shitshitshit

“Then why did we catch you with your dick down his throat?” Okay, maybe that was a little compromising.

“Answer me!” I don’t know what to do… These allegations could ruin my career but more importantly, if it got out, nobody would take Harry seriously. Everyone would either pity him or think he’s weak. God forbid their reactions when he tries to pass any equality laws.

“Just couldn’t help yourself Tomlinson? The new prince is rather pretty isn’t he? And he was all alone when he came here, probably just wanted a friend, so he turned to you. But you wanted more didn’t you?” I just sat there, shaking my head. I really didn’t want to hear his rape scenarios.

 “Did it start on the tour, hm? All those nights with you two alone in his room? Maybe he wasn’t kidnapped at all, he was just trying to get away from you and his escape went awry.”

“That’s not what happened!”

Shit. It wasn’t taking much to get a rise out of me. This isn’t going to end well.

“Oh, maybe it started earlier then? Maybe even his first week here? Tell me Tomlinson, how long have you been raping Prince Harold? Surely not since America…you aren’t that desperate…” I couldn’t listen to this anymore!

“I’m not raping him! We’re dating…”

“What do you mean, you’re dating?” I guess I had no choice but to tell what I’ve been trying so hard to hide.

“We’re dating. We’ve been dating. We’re boyfriend and boyfriend, I guess you could say.” The guy looked shockedfor a split second before he regained control of his facial expression.

“Why? Why would you risk your career to get your rocks off on him?”

“It’s not about sex! God damn it! I care about him! And he cares about me!”

“Then why were you raping him?” He accused.

“I wasn’t raping him!” I defended.

“Oh, then what were you doing, then?”

“I was having oral sex with my boyfriend.” I tried not to seethe.

“Why should I believe you?”

“Why shouldn’t you believe me?”

“Because we caught you shoving your dick down his throat.”

“Your point?”

“That’s not normal!”

“So you’ve never had a girlfriend give you a blow job?”

“Well, that’s irrelevant.”

“How so?”

“That’s my private relationship.” He defended.

“And this is mine.”

“This situation is different.”

“How so?”

“He’s a client.”

“I seem to remember you dating a client once upon a time.”

“Well, this is different.”

“Really? Please elaborate.” I was really starting to get to him.

“Well, first off my client was a fully grown woman, not a newly crowned, young prince.”

“You just mean you’re not gay, so it was okay.”

“What are you insinuating?”

“Oh, nothing. Maybe just that you have a slight touch of homophobia.”

“I’m not homophobic.”

“Oh, then tell me this. If I was dating Princess Gemma, would we still be having this conversation?”

“Well-“

“Better yet, would rape even be on the table, because I know Harry never brought it up!”

He didn’t seem to have a viable response.

“Exactly.”

He just tried to stare me down, like if his gaze hardened enough, I would spill my guts. It wasn’t going to work. I was right. The only thing I had done wrong was date him in the first place, but wrong might be the incorrect term for it.

I spent the next couple of minutes running through a better list of words while he waited for me to crack. Inappropriate, probably. Stupid, definitely. Improper, understatement. Wrong, did not apply.

This situation, in itself, was caused by our recklessness. He was being foolhardy, but I was the one who shouldn’t have been so hasty to give in. I should have been more careful, to make sure no one would walk in on us, or come looking for us. This situation is my fault. And I had lot of fixing to do.

I propped my elbows on the table and leaned my head in my hands. I guess he took this as a sign of guilt because he started to talk to me again.

“Look, if you just tell me what happened, maybe you can get a little leniency.”

“What? Take the death penalty off the table?” I sneered.

“Seriously, Tomlinson? This is not a joke!”

“I know it’s not a joke! But there’s nothing left to do! You want me to say that I raped him, but I didn’t! I’m not going to lie to appease you. Harry and I are dating, or at least we were. Who knows what’s going to happen now? Either way, I was only out of line in the respect that I was dating a client.”

He opened his mouth to say something, when someone knocked on the door. He went over and opened it. There was a hushed conversation until he huffed and walked out of the room.

A few minutes later I heard the door open, and I looked up to see the Queen walk in. I instantly stood out of respect. I didn’t need to risk showing any more signs of disrespect when she held my future in her hands.

“Louis Tomlinson, is it?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Please sit down.” I did just that.

“Now, I would like to talk about you and my grandson.”

“Yes, ma’am.” It wasn’t a request, but I answered anyway.

“Now, how long have you been dating?”

“Almost two months, Ma’am.”

“I see. You realize this could affect his career.”

“I do. I wish I could do anything to make this all right. I know he will someday make great changes, but they won’t be instantaneous and I’ll probably have been reassigned by then, Ma’am.”

“So you aren’t serious with him?”

“I am. I just assume that I’m going down like a sinking ship, and won’t be around him for much longer, Ma’am.”

“Interesting.”

She just sat there and seemed to study me. Sitting before her was a different kind of intimidating than the guy who had been trying to use brute dominance earlier.

“Do you love him?”

“Excuse me, Ma’am?” She had taken me off guard.

“Do you love him?” She spoke slowly, more like Harry’s tempo.

“I do.”  I admitted, somewhat reluctantly. I don’t like to share my feelings, though if there was ever a time to, it was now. “More than anything.”

She nodded at me and then proceeded to get up and leave. It didn’t seem like anyone else was going to come in for a while, so I rested my head in hopes of getting some sleep. I was tired and still had no clue what the time was.

~ Meanwhile: Harry’s POV~

I went to my room as soon as I was sure most everyone had left. I didn’t even bother to change. I just started pacing back and forth, appreciating that the clothes were as uncomfortable as I felt.

I had nothing better to do than just keep moving while I waited for Gemma to return with some kind of news.

When she did, finally, appear, she wasn’t alone.

“Harry,” Lena greeted.

“Lena,” I tilted my head in acknowledgement.

She looked around and finally sat down on my desk chair. I had too much nervous energy to stop moving.

“So, would you like to tell me what happened, before I decide anything?”

“Well, I got frustrated with recent events and so I went to my boyfriend to feel better and we got caught.” I stated simply. Any more details would make this more awkward than it already was.

She just looked at me and studied me before saying anything.

“Boyfriend?”

“Yes, boyfriend.”

“How long?”

“Two months, give or take.”

“When did you plan on telling me?”

“About what?”

“Your relationship.”

“I don’t know, honestly. I hoped to have passed a couple of laws before having a public relationship.”

“And?” She knew there was more.

“And, I’m new to this country and crown and I wanted to get a firmer hold before admitting I was gay.”

“So have you told anyone before coming here or is this just an experiment?”

“I’ve known for quite a while that men are more appealing to me than women. It isn’t just a phase and not very secret back home.”

“Interesting. You realize you were having an illicit relationship, don’t you?”

“I know it was strongly frowned upon, but please don’t blame Louis for this. I conned him into it. He shouldn’t lose his career because of me. I will take whatever punishment you believe I deserve, but I won’t regret that we had one.”

“Intriguing. Why do you assume you’ll be punished?”

“Everything has a consequence. I assume that getting caught secretly dating a head of security has a negative one.”

“One more question. How do you feel about him?”

“Do you want the clean political answer or the longer, emotional one?”

“Whichever one you deem fit.”

“Well, simply put, I love him.”

“Why?”

“I mean why not? He’s gorgeous and I love watching him light up. I enjoy getting to see sides to him that no one else gets to. I like that he makes me feel safe and cared for. He can make everything better when we do something so simple as talk or joke. I love that he accepts my personality and that he truly believes in me. How could I not love him?”

“I will take that into consideration.” She still wasn’t betraying anything she was feeling, and I currently hated her for it.

She excused herself and left to go, who knows where, leaving Gemma and me behind.

“Gem?” I couldn’t hide the slight wobble in my voice.

“Yes, Harry?”

“What’s going to happen?” I probably sounded scared or heartbroken or both.

She came over and hugged me, rubbing my back while I cried on her shoulder. It may have been dramatic, but I didn’t know what to do anymore. My night was horrible. I’m tired. I could be losing my boyfriend at this very moment.

I guess I was going to lose him no matter what, though. Either Lena would make me let go of him or Gemma would. I just hope he wouldn’t be too badly scathed coming out of this. I just wanted to make sure he was all right before I had to watch him leave.

“Harry?”

“Yeah?”

 “I’m not going to make you give him up.”

“What?”

“I’m not going to ask you to split up with him.”

“Why?”

“You really care for him. What kind of sister would I be if I made you give up something that makes you that happy?”

“Do you really mean it?” I asked, hopeful for the first time tonight.

“Yes. I do. Now you need to get changed and go to bed. You’re going to need your rest for whatever comes tomorrow.”

I nodded and complied. She had headed out to give me some space by the time I had gotten out of the bathroom. I, also, think she was just anxious to get out of her dress. I have always wondered if girls thought the discomfort was worth it.

I didn’t think I’d sleep due to the amount of tension I was feeling. It seems that my body was too tired to care. I was out soon after I laid down.

I woke up early in the morning, Gemma ushering me to quickly get out of bed. I tried to ask her over and over what was going on but she just got me dressed and pulled me out the door. We ran down to one of the many courtyards and there was a guillotine waiting on a platform.

I had no idea what was going on. Had a mass murderer been caught? Or a serial killer? Or a terrorist?

They dragged a man out from nowhere with a sack over his head. I gasped when they removed the sack and revealed Louis’ face. They already had him on his knees, forcing his head through the hole.

I tried to scream stop, but almost nothing could be heard over the roar of the crowd. I tried to move toward him but Gemma was holding me back in an alcove. I tried to fight to get away, but it was a futile attempt. There were tears streaming down my face as I was forced to watch the scene unfold.

It didn’t take long until I heard the slick of the blade sliding down the wood and then Louis was gone. I let out a wail and started to collapse.

That seemed to call everyone’s attention to me and then they were after my head. I was being manhandled onto the platform. They started yelling Bloody Harry. I tried to scream and pull away, but they still shoved my head into the wooden contraption. I heard the pull of the rope and heard the slide of the metal before I felt a pain in my head and then… nothing.

I blinked my eyes and realized I had been dreaming. I had woken up when I rolled out of bed and hit my head on the floor. I was completely tangled up in my sheets. It looked like I had actually thrashed in my sleep. I hope I hadn’t been screaming too.

I can’t believe my mind had taken a turn to the bloody French revolution. I guess it almost made sense, considering all the European history I had studied lately. My brain must have tapped into the name similarities and created one hell of a nightmare.

I scrubbed my face and found the tear tracts caused by the scene. I looked like one hell of a mess.

Of course that had to be the exact moment my door opened and none other than Louis walked in. I lost it all over again.

He ran over to me and sat on the ground. He pulled me into his lap, blankets and all.

“Hey, shh, Haz. Everything’s okay. You have to breathe.”

“It was just you” sob “then the guillotine” hic “all the blood!”

“Sh, I’m right here. It wasn’t real.”

We just sat there for a few minutes until I calmed down. Then he helped me to start untangling myself from the snare of blankets.

“When did you get out?”

“Just now.”

“Did they say anything when they released you?”

“No.”

“Have they decided anything?”

“If they have, no one’s told me.”

That meant we may still have a chance.

“Haz?”

“Yes?”

“I think,” sigh “I think we should break up.”

I leapt up out of his lap and stared at him in disbelief.

“What? Why?”

“I think it would be better for both of us-“

“Do you love me?”

“What?”

“Do you still love me?”

“Of course.”

“Then why do you want to break up?”

“It’ll just be easier for us if we break up now, rather than let the rest of our relationship be tainted by the impending sentence waiting over our heads.”

“After all this? After all we’ve survived you just want to give up? Roll over and cave in? So far we’ve beat the odds, why give up on all that hard work?”

“I’m just acknowledging the inevitable.”

“But it doesn’t have to be inevitable!”

“Be practical Hazza-“ He tried to reach out for me, to comfort me, but I wasn’t going to concede. I couldn’t give in too.

“No! I don’t want to be practical!”

“But it’ll be better this way. It won’t mess up your career. You’ll be able to do marvelous things and create the change you want. You can make this an even better place to live. You don’t need me for that.”

“God damn it, Louis!” He seemed genuinely shocked by my outburst.

“Won’t you fight, for once in your fucking life, for something you actually want!?”

“Haz-“

“Don’t ‘Haz’ me when five seconds ago you were breaking up with me. You’ve talked about how all your life you’ve had to give things up, for the better of your family. You’ve talked about always sacrificing. You’ve finally got a chance to be selfish and you’re just throwing it away! We can be great together and you’re just tossing it to the side out of habit!”

I got frustrated and started walking to God knows where.

“Harry, I-“ I whipped back around.

“You what, Louis? Are you going to finally grow a pair? If not, then I’m not interested.”

I was truly frustrated. We were so close to surviving this. It had to be a good sign that we were allowed to see each other. We have a chance. We’re in love, or at least I still am. Why couldn’t he see the positive? Why couldn’t he see the potential?

“I-I don’t want to give up.” He practically whispered.

“What was that?”

“I don’t want to give up.” He spoke through gritted teeth like it was painful for him to admit but I was still too pissed off to really care.

“Really, because I don’t believe you.”

“Don’t be like that. Everyone doubts sometimes.”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean they throw everything away over their doubts.”

“I’m sorry, okay? I shouldn’t have given up. I shouldn’t let anyone get to me. I want you and that’s all that should matter. I’m just not used to that being true.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I just. God, Harry I don’t know what to do! I’ve never cared for anyone before. I’ve been so focused on caring for my mom and sisters that what I’ve wanted doesn’t even appear on my radar.”

“Do you still want to stay together?”

“Yes.”

“Then we should stay together.”

“But it’s not that simple!”

“Why can’t it be?!”

“Life isn’t that simple!”

“That’s not an answer!”

“You’re a prince and I’m a bodyguard. They don’t get together in real life, especially if they’re both boys!”

“Are you afraid to come out of the closet, Louis?”

I was afraid of his answer. If he couldn’t accept himself, how could we ever move forward?

“I’m totally okay with being gay. But just because I’m okay with it, doesn’t mean other people will be.”

“You care too much about what others think of you.”

“I’m just being cautious.”

“Yeah, but you aren’t living in the process.”

“Harry.”

“Just stop it, Louis! Stop treating me like a child! You don’t have to use kid gloves with me.”

“I know that, it’s just… I’m supposed to protect you.”

“You’re right. You’re supposed to protect me and you sure are doing one hell of a job at that…

Wait, you aren’t, because I’ve been doing that all night. I defended you when the guy tried to say it was rape! I fought to get Gemma to talk to Lena to gain you leniency if not get you off all together! I talked to Lena and told her how great you were! How much I love you! I said you protect me, but look where we are now. You pretend to be fearless and now that we’re facing adversity, you’re backing out! You can’t even give us a fair chance before you’re ready to quit!”

“It’s not like that!”

“Then what is it like? Are you just giving up for the fun of it?”

“I don’t give up! I won’t fucking give up, alright?”

“Fine!”

“Fine!”

We were both simmering with anger.

“I’m going to bed!” I was tired and angry but the anger was starting to subside and I needed to sleep before I had another breakdown.

“Then, let’s go to bed!”

“Make sure to stay on your side.”

“I will.”

I don’t know how I did it, but I even managed to cuddle up in my covers angrily. Stupid Louis with his stupid passiveness and his stupid brain. I just needed to fucking turn my head off so I could finally just go to sleep.

Chapter Text

~Harry’s POV~

I woke up feeling like something was missing. I rolled over to stretch—hopefully I’d remember what it was soon enough so that it wouldn’t bother me all day…

Then the previous day’s nightmare flooded back into my mind. Shit! Louis’ gone!

My heart started racing. My breaths started becoming sharper. I was scared.

Louis had just disappeared. He was here last night when I went to bed and now he’s gone.

Maybe last night was a final visit, the equivalent of a last meal for people on death row. It could’ve been his last hurrah before they fired his ass. Or maybe it was just a tease so the punishment hurt more when they ripped him away.

Even worse, what if he gave up? What if he decided we weren’t worth the trouble? Maybe he was still running away and splitting now before they could do it for us.

Where is he?

My train of thought was interrupted by a banging on my door.

“Come in.”

I was surprised to see Liam walk through the door.

“I’m sorry to disturb you, Prince, but the queen would like to have a word with you.”

“Do you know what about, Liam?”

“I’m sorry, but no Sir.”

“Okay. I’ll be out in a minute.”

He did a slight bow and then left the room. I guess they were being super strict on protocol now that Louis’ and my relationship came out. I don’t think I have ever heard Liam call me Prince since the first time we met and I asked him not to. Ironically enough, Louis was the one who always insisted on using my formal title, yet here we were.

I rolled out of bed and tried to make myself appear at least half way decent. I still had bags under my eyes and I looked paler than normal. My curls had even gone wonky. I was a mess.

I was immediately escorted to Lena’s office. I guess there was no hope of getting breakfast before I faced her. She was sitting behind a desk, making her seem even more intimidating than normal.

“Good Morning, Lena.” I greeted.

“Hello, Harold.”

I just sat there and waited for her to speak. I was waiting for her to make her next move. I don’t know what she wants, so I just have to sit here and try really hard not to fidget.

“Here’s the situation. You have engaged in an improper relationship and lied to several young women about your interest. You’ve been caught in a compromising position. Yet, you still want to pursue this relationship?”

I felt chastised and tried to resist the urge to stare at the floor.

“Yes.”

“In that case I have a few conditions.”

“Wait, a few conditions for what?”

“For you to keep your boyfriend.” Was she saying what I think she’s saying?

“Hold on, you’re going to let me carry on with my relationship?”

“Yes, only if you agree to the following conditions.” I was excited. I wanted to jump up and down and do a little dance, but I know that wouldn’t be appreciated.

“Okay.”

“First and foremost, you have to come out in public. You will be admired by the public and must maintain a family friendly public persona. You will have a committed monogamous relationship. No affairs or dalliances. You will behave like any other royal couple and you better get started on changing the laws soon. You will become the poster couple for gay rights. If you are not prepared for that or that committed to him, tell me now and he will get reassigned and your relationship will end.”

Was I really ready to be that serious with him? No matter how our relationship ends, if I go through this now, he will always be a large part of my life. I know I’m not ready to let him go. Though, at the same time, I don’t know if we’re exactly poster material.

“I agree to your terms. I do have a question, though.”

“What is it?”

“Why are you working so hard to allow us to stay together?”

“Well, my son, your father, devoted so much of his life for the better of his people. He worked day in and day out and never put himself first. He finally fell in love and ended up putting it aside for Myoria. I believe you deserve the love my son never got to have. You need something outside of work and I believe he may be good for you. I want you to be happy and he seems to help make that happen.”

I didn’t know how to respond. I mean I know we had family ties but that doesn’t necessarily equate to actually caring for another person.

“Thank you, Grandma. “

At this point, there was nothing else for me to say.

Earlier that morning…

~Louis’ POV~

I woke up with a fuzzy pile of curls in my face. It was weird because I swore we had fallen asleep on opposite sides of the bed. I guess we’re just like magnets, no matter what happens we always come back together. I don’t know why I even bothered to try to resist last night. Our argument was stupid, especially since, despite what I said, I probably couldn’t give him up.

I saw the door open and immediately tensed up before I saw Zayn’s face appear. I pressed a finger to my lips in hopes he’d stay quiet. I was hoping he wouldn’t wake Harry up; he needed his sleep. He just nodded in understanding and motioned that he’d be waiting for me outside.

I spent a few minutes trying to detangle our limbs; it was like we had been playing twister in our sleep. I was afraid the slightest twitch would wake him up. I finally managed to break us apart, but I couldn’t resist pressing a quick kiss to his forehead before I left to go face the firing squad.

“Zayn.” I tilted my head towards him.

“Louis.” It appears that I’m in the doghouse with him too.

“Do you know what’s going to happen?”

“No.” That was terse.

“Has anyone spoken to you?”

“Yes.” Could he be any less helpful?

“Have they told you anything?”

“No.”

“Are you ever going to speak to me in more than terse short answers?”

“Maybe.”

“But not today, apparently…” I muttered quietly to myself.

The rest of the walk was spent in tense silence. There was no point in expending my effort to try and fix it so he was no longer pissed. I had my impending doom to worry about instead. He escorted me to one of the senior security officer’s office. This guy was so high up I hadn’t even met him before.

“Sit down, Tomlinson.” I instantly obeyed. His tone didn’t leave any room for argument whatsoever.

“You’ve put me in a very compromising position. You see, your behavior reflects on me. How do you think it makes me look when a subordinate dates his charge?”

“Not good, Sir.”

“Not good? More like atrocious! It makes me look like I have no control over my sector. If it looks like I can’t regulate my people, then what good am I? I’m useless! You made me look like an imbecile! And you know what?”

I shook my head no. I was too afraid to actually say anything.

“Apparently none of that matters because your boyfriend is a royal and actually fell for your bullshit. And, apparently, that means you get an automatic get out of jail free card.”

He was pissed off. He looked like someone had shit in his Wheaties and now I’m going to pay for it. Here is where I die, immediately after being yelled at for dating my boyfriend.

“Here’s how it’s going to go. You can no longer be part of Harry’s security because it’s a conflict of interest. You can’t be reassigned because then you’d be too far away from your ‘boyfriend,’ despite the fact I think it’s one of the better options, directly behind firing you.” Yeesh, that was harsh, but at least death didn’t appear to be on the table.

“Since it has been decided that you are going to stay together, your first and foremost priority is to be the perfect boyfriend. You will be a complete and total gentleman. You will behave perfectly in the public eye. Whether or not I like it, you now represent us in the media.

You will be the first out royal and gay couple, so you set the example for those who follow. You are gay and I understand that’s different than being straight, but there will be no public indecency. No constant reminders that you do anything other than polite kisses. People don’t want to imagine what you get up to on your free time. Got it?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Now, since you are no longer in charge of the Prince’s security, I think you should meet your replacement. He is in charge of both of your securities, because whether you like it or not, your safety has now become a concern as well.” I didn’t like the sound of that. I don’t need to be protected; I’m a protector, not a protectee.

He pushed a button on his speaker.

“Send him in.”

A burly man walked in and introduced himself as Paul. I introduced myself as well, but it was more of a formality, because I was pretty much infamous among the staff, since Harry and I got caught together.

Paul seemed okay, but I don’t think I’d ever believe someone was as devoted to Harry’s safety as I am.

The man in charge’s phone started ringing and he talked for a few minutes while I just pondered the heavy-handed threats that had been thrown my way.

It finally hit me, everything being Harry’s boyfriend would entail. I’m facing media, press, old stuffy politicians, judgment, homophobes and a serious invasion of my privacy. I’m scared out of my mind, but at this point, there’s no turning back.

“The queen has requested our presence, though I don’t know why she’d want to see you after you debauched her grandson.” I guess he had gotten off the phone while my mind had wondered.

I nodded and stood up, while ignoring the snide comment tacked on the end. There was no point in trying to argue. He led us to what appears to be one of her formal offices.

~Harry’s POV~

There was a knock on the door followed by what looked like a security officer entering the room.

“Harold, this is your new head of security Paul. Paul, this is Prince Harold.” My Grandmother introduced us.

“Hello. It’s very nice to meet you.”

“It will be an honor to work for you,” he responded.

Grandma seemed to incline her head like thanks now you can go back to duty.

There were a few minutes of awkward silence before there was another knock on the door. This time two men entered, but I ignored the one in favor of running and jumping into Louis’ arms.

Luckily for me, he caught me and I proceeded to kiss him. It was all desperation and apology. I was trying to say I’m sorry for last night and tell him how relieved I was to see him without having to say it aloud. These people didn’t need to know about our stress-induced fight.

I wasn’t letting go of him anytime soon, so he had no choice but to take me to the couch with him. It didn’t take long for us to slot together on the couch, with me in his lap and his arms wrapped around me. I had a feeling he was a little anxious about showing this much affection in public, but he was going to have to get used to it sooner rather than later.

“Now, we have just a few more details to sort out and then you two may be excused.” My grandmother stated.

“Sounds good.”

“Firstly we need to decide how you want to come out.” I was surprised we were actually getting a say in this.

“Like don’t we just have a press conference and say we’re out and dating? Or is there some kind of protocol for this?”
“Is there some kind of protocol for coming out as the first royal gay couple, really Haz?” At least his snarky side was returning, so he must be feeling a little better.

“What? It can’t hurt to ask.”

He just shook his head at me. And I was probably staring at him a little too long because someone politely coughed. I felt my face heat up as I returned my attention back to the current conversation.

“Well a press conference would probably be best, but you have to realize that they will be asking you a lot of questions and they will be invasive and personal.” Grandma responded.

“Well, we’re going to be facing them eventually, so why not start now?”

“Okay. Now that that’s settled, we need to talk about your living arrangements.”

“For sure, Tomlinson has to move out of his current room. We need it for other security personnel.” The security guy stated with a slight sneer in his voice.

“Couldn’t he just sleep with me?”

“Watch your wording, Babe.” Louis whispered in my ear.

“I mean, couldn’t he just move into my room?”

“I don’t see why not.” Grandma said. I was glad she was being, so cool about the living arrangements.

“That’s improper!” The security guy blurted out. “Couples aren’t supposed to live together until after marriage.” He stated like it was obvious.

“Well, there doesn’t seem to be a point to it. It’s more of a formality. Most couples will find ways around it anyway, so I don’t believe we should even try to bother by forcing the pretense.”

“The Prince’s room was only meant for one.” I guess he was grasping at straws.

“They can move into Harold’s new room that has just been renovated, while they were on tour. It’s big enough for both of them.”

“They went cavorting around on tour and now you’re going to reward them with a brand new bed chamber, Your Majesty?!” He was indignant.

“Yes.” She replied simply.

“But there are plenty of other rooms where Tomlinson can be put.” He was still trying to argue.

“Ah, but if they are together they will be much easier to keep track of. You’re job will be a lot easier, and they will be less likely to run off if we let them be.” She pointed out.

“But-“

“No more. They will reside in the new room and that is final.” I guess he remembered her word is law because he tilted his head and accepted it. He still looked pretty pissed, but at least he was acquiescing.

We just sat there and I cuddled into him while people made arrangements around us. It was about twenty minutes before we got the go ahead to leave. We headed straight for what could now be called Louis’ old room so we could pack up his stuff.

We went to his room first, because they probably sent someone to pack up my room and it would be really awkward to run into anyone. Plus we had to actually pack his room since the staff probably wasn’t very happy with him if the way that other guy was acting was any indication.

We started to pack and I was soon relegated to sitting on the bed when I kept hugging him every two seconds… and I was about to start stripping so I could start trying on some of his clothes. I was thinking a Men in Black style.

I got bored and decided to start fiddling with his pillows. I was startled when his door opened and Liam walked in with a reluctant looking Zayn following behind him.

“Hi, Louis.” Liam greeted.

When Zayn didn’t say anything, Liam elbowed him in the stomach.

“Um, hello.” Zayn muttered.

I kind of hid further in the bed, figuring this was between them three and I didn’t want to muck it up with formalities.

“Um, we were wondering if you wanted help moving.” Liam said. There was still a bit of awkward tension in the room.

Louis seemed to thoroughly look them over before finally making a decision. Though his face seemed hard, his eyes told me he still wanted to say yes. Instead of saying anything, he just inclined his head. I guess Liam and Zayn have been with him long enough to know that means yes.

It didn’t take long for them to get everything packed up. Then we were heading out to our new room. I guess talking wasn’t their way, but to each his own.

I guess I kind of blew my pretend-I’m-not-here cover when I laid on our bed and moaned. I couldn’t help it; it was just that comfortable.

There was a somewhat uncomfortable cough in the background that must’ve come from Liam.

“Do we need to give you two some time alone to, uh, settle in?” Liam asked.

“Oh, no. It’s fine.”

He opened his mouth to say something, but then a bunch of strangers came in hauling my stuff.

“I guess we’ll just see ourselves out. We have some work we need to get done. We’ll get out of your way.” Liam stated, disrupting whatever peace they seemed to have had.

I think they were just reminded how different things were going to be now. We ended up leaving too. I couldn’t be in the room while they shot us, mainly Louis, questioning looks while they unpacked my stuff.

It was still weird to have people doing my work for me, so I didn’t really want to be here. I could tell, Louis still felt a little unsettled by his sudden promotion of sorts, so he wasn’t very comfortable either. All-in-all it was just better if we left.

I hadn’t eaten anything all day so we just went for food. He looked at me questioningly when I handed him a plate, and I gently reminded him he was off duty before he could say it. He looked a little sheepish before accepting it.

Once we were done, we went back to find my stuff unpacked, and his where he had left it. I wasn’t sure if they left it more out of fear, anger, or insecurity over what to do with it. Either way he went to work unpacking, while I tried to stay out of the way.

“Come here.” I said when he was done and made grabby hands in his general direction.

“What?” His tone was still slightly hesitant.

I grabbed him and pulled him onto me and then rolled us until we were laying side by side. He shot me a confused look, like what the hell are you doing?

“Isn’t this bed the most comfortable mattress ever?”

He raised an eyebrow at me, but I just smiled. He finally relaxed a bit and chuckled.

“Yeah, I guess it really is…”

Chapter Text

It was weird to start a day with Louis in my bed and not having to run off to do a million and one things. He didn’t have to sneak out and go on duty and I, currently, didn’t have any duties to see to, and it just felt nice.

“Morning, Lou.” I rolled over to face him.

“Morning, Haz.”

“Sleep well?”

“Yeah, but I still woke up really early.”

“Force of habit, I take it?”

“Yeah.”

We just laid in silence for a little bit.

“Haz?”

“Yeah?”

“We need to talk.”

Shit. Was this where he breaks up with me? I thought we were good, but could I have been all wrong?

“I mean so much happened so fast and I just want to get on the same page. Okay?”

“Okay.” I was trying not to let the panic show in my voice.

“It’s just this is all so fast and one day we were secretly dating and now they’re shoving us into the spotlight and me out of my position-“

“Do you want to split? I mean I know we never talked about coming out and this is really sudden. I know you love your job. We haven’t released any statements yet. If you really want, we can still back out now…”

“No! No. Shit, Hazza, that’s not what I meant. It’s just-I don’t know what I’m trying to say. Everything just came out of nowhere and I’m just frustrated because everything’s so chaotic. I’m normally in control and now it feels like I’m in control of nothing.”

“So then, what do you want to do?”

 “I don’t know. I guess I just want to keep going with this, because I don’t want to break up. I just want to be able to feel like I have some sort of dominion over what’s happening in my life.”

“I know it seems crazy but you still have some control. I mean you almost have more control without the hierarchy looming over you.”

“But we won’t really be in control until you get the laws passed so we have the option of getting married.”

“You’re just panicking. Once you get settled in you’ll feel better.” At least I hope so…

“I know, I know. I just feel out of my depth.”

“It’s alright. Now, how about we go get some breakfast. I’m hungry.” I hoped he’d just accept the encouragement and let it drop.

“Okay.”

It was kind of like being on tour again, with our routine of bathroom trade-offs and him picking out our clothes. It was very domestic, and normal. Normal was nice to have when everything else was so… not.

Gemma managed to find us at breakfast.

“Hi, Harry! Hi, Louis!”

“Hi, Gem!”

“Good morning, Princess.”

“So, I heard you’re doing a press conference, and I was wondering if you wanted to give Louis a crash course in dealing with the press before you face them?”

“That sounds great, Gemma. Thanks!”

I looked over at Louis and he looked hesitant, but Gemma was trying to help. There was nothing to worry about. In fact, I found her volunteering to help something to be very happy about.

“Okay. Meet me in the library in a half an hour.”

“See you then!”

She walked off.

After we finished eating, we made our way to the library. We were waiting patiently at a table while Gemma was, what she would probably consider, ‘fashionably late.’

“Hey, Gem. You ready to get started?”

“Yes. Now I need you, Harry, to go get some of the press release videos out of the archives. If you would.”

I headed off to go find them and it didn’t take me long to return with them.

“Now, you are not to hurt my brother. Ever.” That was Gemma.

I was so startled by her harsh tone, that I stopped mid step. I could have ended this conversation instantly by turning the corner. I decided against this, figuring it’d be better to assess the situation before jumping in.

“I would never hurt-“

“Say all the fancy words you want, but you are still going to listen to me. I may have not known Harry that long, but I still know that he is kind, sweet, and very caring. He can be almost too caring for this political climate, needless to say. He has, also, chosen to care for you.”

“And I care for him.”

“I’m not done. He cares for you despite my initial protest, which is very risky given your gender and class situation. Needless to say, you will be getting a lot of hate from a parade of stupid. If he’s not worth that to you, then you need to go now.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“Okay. Though I do have one more thing to say.”

“What’s that?”

“If you ever, ever, hurt my baby brother, I will make it my sole goal in life to take you down and then take your family jewels as a war prize.”

I managed to sneak a look around the bookshelf to see Louis’ face. He looked genuinely startled by Gemma’s animosity. I shouldn’t find it so funny that my sister was scaring the shit out of my boyfriend, but I had to work really hard to hold back a laugh.

“Duly noted.”

“Oh, and I guess you should start addressing me by Gemma now. Princess seems a little awkward since you’ve started fucking my brother.”

That was my cue to interrupt.

“I grabbed the videos.”

“Thanks, Harry. Now let’s get to work.” It was surprising how quickly she could act like nothing had just happened.

We worked until about lunchtime when Louis looked like he was getting ready to rip his hair out.

“I think we’re about as prepared as we’re ever going to be.” I stated, and heard Louis let out a sigh of relief.

“Oh, I meant to tell you. I was going to throw a party tomorrow in celebration of surviving the madness you have to face this afternoon.”

“Then why not have it tonight?”

“Believe me, the last thing you’re going to want to do tonight is interact with people. You’re going to probably want to sleep for the next week after they’re through with you.”

“Well thanks for the vote of confidence.” Louis said sarcastically.

“It has nothing to do with your skill, and everything to do with the fact that they’re going to be aiming straight for the jugular with all their questions.”

Louis paled a little at this statement, but it was too late now. We were facing the press in just a few short hours.

After we ate lunch, we headed back to my, our, room. He picked everything out, as per the usual, and then started working on his hair. He was styling it into a quiff while I just ran my hand through my hair and promptly gave up on trying to style it.

It was all too soon when we headed out to the conference room, I guess it was called. It was a fairly tense walk. I grabbed onto Louis’ hand and held on for dear life.

We were greeted with the flashing of cameras and video camera lighting.

“Good day. I am Prince Harold of Myoria and this is my boyfriend Louis Tomlinson.” I felt like I was at an AA meeting or something.

A chorus of Prince rang out around me. I picked one at random.

“Prince Harold, what kind of changes do you plan on making in the policies, pertaining to your relationship situation?”

“Well, I hope to pass some equality laws allowing for same-sex marriage and the like. I, also, hope to one day make it so a spouse can take a throne despite their corresponding genders.”

“Do you expect any backlash from your coming out?”

“I mean it would be nice to say that there wouldn’t be any negative reactions. However, I anticipate there will be some less than desirable comments headed our way, since not everyone will be accepting.”

“So, Prince, are you completely gay or do the ladies still have a chance with you?”

“I have Louis, so no one really has a chance with me, at the moment.” That seemed to satisfy most of their questions for me.

“Louis, weren’t you the Prince’s head of security?”

“Yes.”

“And now you have a relationship with him?”

“Yes.”

“What makes this different from your relationship with Sophia Fontaine.”

“Well, first and foremost, Harry and I actually have a relationship. Sophia believed we were together in a misguided attempt to get her parents’ attention.”

“So she lied about your relationship?” They definitely weren’t taking it easy on him and it was twice as stressful to stand there and not be able to answer. I mean I could, but interference on my part wouldn’t help in the long run.

“I’m not sure if she lied or if she really believed it. Either way, I wasn’t romantically involved with her.”

“Is the Prince safer now that you don’t have conflicting interests over his safety?”

“His safety will always be my first priority, regardless of my title.”

“I take it you aren’t adjusting well to your new role, then.” I tried my hardest to keep a frown off my face but these questions were frustrating. My only consolation was that Louis seemed to be holding up all right.

“Changing roles have nothing to do with it. I like to protect the people I care about, whether or not it is part of a job description.”

“Are you using the Prince to gain status?”

“Absolutely not!” Okay that’s enough, they got all the important questions answered. This was just becoming a firing squad.

“He is not using me. We are in love and I would be happy if you could respect that. Now I think we’ve answered enough questions for the moment. Thank you for having us.” I said and dragged Louis off with me.

We had said what we needed to say and didn’t need to stick around for any more. Louis seemed self-conscious enough without them trying to break him. I think tomorrow at the party I’ll have to get splendidly drunk. Most definitely.

Gemma didn’t disappoint when she said she was throwing a party. There was a hell of a lot of our peers and triple the amount of alcohol.

We split up and I was heading for the punch when I ran into Kyle. He seemed a bit sloshed already.

“Hello, Kyle.”

“Hello, Prince Harold. Where’s the boy toy?”

“Um, my boyfriend’s around here somewhere.”

“Well, it’s nice to see you’ve already replaced me.”

“We never had anything to replace.” I said gently. This was a little weird.

“Sure we didn’t. You’re just saying that so you don’t have to feel guilty over cheating on me with him!”

“Uh, this is getting kind of awkward. I’m just going to walk away, now.”

“No, don’t leave me! We have something!”

“No, we don’t.”

I turned around and walked away. That was getting extremely uncomfortable. I took time to look around the room. Some of them looked embarrassed when they made eye contact and others seemed to refuse… Okay, I didn’t really see that, but Gemma told me about it. She also warned me that some girls would be coming after me to try and flip me.

I finally managed to get some alcohol, and things significantly improved from there.

Everything had taken on a hazy edge to it and I just wanted to cuddle. I found someone to lean up against since I couldn’t find my Louis. He was somewhat comfortable, not quite right, but he would do for the moment.

I was passed off onto a girl a little later.

“Now, Harry. I want you to keep in mind that I’ll be here waiting when you’re finished with your rebellious stage. I’m here when you’re ready to commit and settle down with a real family. You’re work is admirable, but you don’t have to sacrifice true happiness for it.” She crooned.

Louis showed up and I tried to transfer my weight, sending her off balance.

“Louis!”

“Hi, Babe. I see you’ve found the alcohol.”

“Yeah. Everything is warm and fuzzy, but you weren’t here to cuddle. No one cuddles like you do. Bad Louis, for leaving!”

He chuckled and I started chuckling too. Then I poked at the corners of his eyes.

“Your eyes crinkle when you smile. It’s so cute! Almost as cute as the face you make when I do that little thing with my tongue…”

His hand slapped over my mouth.

“Not in public, Harry.”

I started licking his hand.

“Not going to work. I have four younger sisters.”

Then I started working my tongue between his fingers in a less than decent manner.

“Not now. Later. We should socialize a bit more.”

“Fine.” I whined beneath his hand.

We made it about a half an hour before I started getting really horny.

I was standing beside Louis, and kept moving my hand lower until I grabbed a hand full of his ass. It must’ve taken all of his training to keep from reacting. Then we moved to a couch, and I may or may not have ground down on his crotch on my way down. Not too much, just enough to try and peek his interest.

When that didn’t work, I got him to feed me something and worked my tongue lecherously around his fingers while he gave it to me. Then I started whispering in his ear about how big he was and how good it felt to be stuffed by his cock. I told him how much I loved when he took control and I could see him now, taking me back to the room and pinning me to whatever available surface and taking me there.

It wasn’t long after that I found myself being dragged from the room so Louis could finally have his way with me. It was about time.

By the time we got to the room, Louis was practically carrying me. My already poor attempts at walking were severely hindered by my drunken need to suck a mark onto Louis’ neck. Somehow he managed to get the door open and the next thing I knew my back was pinned against the other side. Louis held both of my wrists above my head with one hand while the other stoked up and down my side. His lips worked against my collarbones and made a line up to my ear.

“Did you enjoy yourself, hmm?” I was already too far gone for words, so I just bucked my hips up in response.

“Acting like a slut in front of all those people. You were so desperate, Hazza.” He punctuated his statement by pining my hips against the wall, stopping my efforts to reach a climax.

“Do you think you deserve to come, babe? I think you need to work a little bit harder for it.”

“Louis, yes yes, whatever you want. What do you want? Want me to suck you off?”

As I spoke, his hands had loosened their grip, allowing me to sink down to my knees. I mouthed at his cock through his pants, moaning when I felt how hard he already was. Louis’ hands slipped down into my hair and pulled me away just so he could unbutton his pants. I promptly tugged them down, along with his boxers, and immediately took his cock into my mouth. I swallowed him down as far as I could, making sure to swirl my tongue around the head on my way down.

I worked up and down a couple times, hollowing my cheeks and pressing my tongue against the vein on the underside. As I took him in all the way, with my nose brushing his stomach, Louis held my head to keep me from pulling back.

“So good with your mouth, love. You want my come don’t you? But I’m not quite sure you’ve earned it…Maybe I’ll come on your face. Think how pretty you’d look, mouth open, hoping for a few drops.”

 I couldn’t keep myself from moaning around him and I felt his thigh muscles starting to shake beneath my hands. I pulled off of him and sat back on my heels patiently. All I wanted was to please him.

He stroked himself a couple times before he came with a shout of my name. As the first drops hit my face I instinctively closed my eyes and let my mouth fall open. I felt my tongue dart out to lick at the come that landed near my mouth.

“So pretty. Such a good boy, Haz.”

 The praise only fueled my desire to do exactly what Louis wanted. As he came down from his high, he pulled me back up. Once again, I was pressed into the door. Louishand reached up to wipe the come off my face. But as he went to wipe it off on his shirt, I grabbed his hand and brought it to my mouth.

I watched Louis’ face as I slowly licked his hand clean. When I had finished, he made what could only be described as a possessive growl and spun me around. He grabbed both of my wrists behind my back and pushed me toward the bed. I landed on my stomach and Louis quickly climbed on top of me, effectively pinning me again.

“You want my cock, right baby? So you’ll be a good boy, yeah?” He stroked his hand along my side as he said it.

I could feel his cock hardening again and I just really wanted him inside of me. That coupled with the fact I had been quite hard for some time, meant my response was a pathetic mixture of whimpering and pleading that yes, I would do anything he asked.

“Good. Now, get your clothes off and onto your back, babe.” He said it as he climbed off of me and crawled over to the bedside table.

I quickly obeyed and when he came back, he had removed his shirt and was holding a bottle of lube.

“What you’re going to do, love, is to lay right there. You aren’t going to move and you definitely aren’t going to touch yourself unless I tell you to, alright?” I nodded enthusiastically.

He kissed me then and I didn’t hesitate to open my mouth so he had better access. I whined when I heard the cap of the lube open and Louis’ chuckled has his mouth drifted south stopping briefly at my collarbones and then again at each of my nipples. As he sucked a mark into my chest, I felt his finger rub circles around my hole, coating it with lube. It took every ounce of self-control I could muster not to push myself down onto his finger.

Soon enough he pushed in and began to work me open. Not long after I was begging for more and he add another finger. He took his time with two, proceeding to torture me instead of prepping. I began to reach up to grab his cock but before I got close he grabbed my wrist and pinned it down to the mattress.

“I said. Don’t. Move.” His didn’t quite sound angry as much as he simply sound aggressive.

“And I suggest, if you want things to progress, you do what I say.”

I nodded apologetically and tucked my other hand under my back to prove I could still be good. With that he added a third finger and thrust into my prostate several times before pulling all three fingers out.

He let go of my wrist in favor of coating his cock with lube. After he pushed my knees up to my chest and lined himself up with my entrance, he placed a hand on each of my hips to brace himself. I felt my muscle clenching because, while I really wanted to move in some way, I also really didn’t want to disappoint Louis.

“Relax, baby. I don’t want to hurt you. Come on, you’re alright.” I took a deep breath and willed myself to relax.

“That’s it, Haz.”

 He pushed in until he bottomed out and then paused to give me time to adjust. He kissed along my inner thigh and stroked along my sides calmingly. It was definitely working because I was starting to feel very blissed out and I was able to lie completely still for Louis.

I was letting out a constant stream of curse words and whimpers as he pushed in and out at a constant rhythm. I felt myself nearing climax and was vaguely aware of Louis praising me. I felt very floaty and happy, like I was in another world where the only thing that mattered was Louis and nothing else existed—it was incredible. I felt warmth flooding through me and I figured Louis must have come, or perhaps it was me. Either way, I had never felt so safe or taken care of.

After a few more minutes I felt Louis’ stroking my face and saying my name over and over.

“Haz, Hazzaaaa. Harry! Come on, love. Focus”

“Louis? Was I good? Was that ok?” I felt like I had just woken up from a nap and everything was still fuzzy and dream-like.

“Haz, you were perfect. You scared me there for a minute though, drifting off like that. Are you ok?” Maybe I had been in another world. I vaguely remember Grimmy talking about dom/sub relationships… though now was not a time I wanted to be thinking about Grimmy.

“I feel amazing. I guess we found a way for you to have more control in your life.” I chuckled.

“Cuddle now, please?” I said as I made grabby hands at him.

 Louis laughed but after wiping the come I had apparently spilled onto my stomach off on his discarded shirt he pulled me into his chest.

“Of course, Hazza, we can always cuddle. Especially after you’ve been such a good boy.” He kissed my forehead and pretty soon after, I felt myself falling asleep.

“I love you, Lou.” I managed to get out before my eyes closed.

“I love you too, Haz.” I believe he said, as I drifted off.

Chapter Text

I woke up sore in the most delicious way. I had the happy thought that now that we weren’t hiding we could have sex more often. Then the pounding headache kicked in and I regretted having so much alcohol. Why do so many fun things hurt the morning after?

I got up and went to the bathroom to go wash my mouth out. Fuzzy was a good feeling in my head. It’s not a good feeling in my mouth.

I took a nice hot shower, hoping the heat would ease some of the tension behind my eyes. After, I slung a towel over my hips and headed back into our room.

I walked over to the bed and shook my hair out over Louis.

“Noooo.” He whined, not completely aware yet.

“Yeeeessss.” I responded.

I saw one eye peak out from under the pillow.

“How very dare you?”

I just smiled cheekily and he snatched my towel off of me. I paused for a second, and then just shrugged my shoulders. He rolled his eyes at me.

“You and your naked addiction.”

“You’ve never minded before.”

“True… What time is it anyway?”

“About ten.”

“Holy shit! I don’t remember the last time I slept in that late.”

“Yeah, well I made you work hard.” I said with a wink.

He shoved his hand in my direction and I grabbed his hand to help him up. Instead, he pulled me down and I fell onto him and the bed. He cuddled me back into him.

“What are you doing?”

“I am enjoying the moment.”

“You sure you aren’t trying to distract me so you can get back to sleep?”

“Oh damn. You found out my evil plan.”

I gave in and just curled up anyway. He was comfy. I let my mind drift over what was going to happen next. I need to start working on the laws as well as enlisting help from Gemma to rally supporters for change. I have so much work to do.

“What are you thinking about, Babe?”

“Huh?”

“I could feel you thinking. What were you thinking about?”

“Work.”

“I don’t envy you. I’m a trophy Prince now. I no longer have to work.” He teased.

“I take it you’re feeling better about this today, if you’re able to tease me about it.”

“Eh.”

“I’ll take it.”

I snuggled back into him. He was comfy. We stayed in silence for a little longer.

“What am I supposed to do now?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, I’ve been in security since I’ve graduated sixth form. And you’re the prince and I’m the boyfriend. What does a Prince’s boyfriend do?”

“Well, that depends.”

“On what?”

“On what you want. You could be like a trophy wife, for lack of a better term, and just relax and do whatever you want, while maintaining some sort of high fashion look. You could help me change the laws or find some other kind of charity work. You have options. You’ll find something that suits you.”

“Mm.”

Over the next year I worked in law and Louis worked to find somewhere he fit.

He spent time as a trophy boy first. That didn’t last long. He got bored fast especially since everyone around him was working and Zayn and Liam haven’t quite gotten over Louis keeping Louis’ and my relationship from them; a relationship which they strongly discouraged him from in the first place. But Louis is happy and I believe they’ll forgive him and just be happy for him soon enough.

After that, he tried to study the law in order to try and help. Turns out he isn’t as studious as he thought he was. He got bored or easily distracted and would forget certain details, which is less than ideal for such tedious work.

Then, he tried to work with Gemma as a voice and an image to rally support for these laws. He quickly got tired of being behind the camera and never actually getting to be around people. Plus it kept him too far away from me.

He finally went back to something he loved. He returned to playing football. He ended up coaching at a local school. It was nice to see him happier. His earlier ventures required him to act like someone he’s not. He seemed more okay with himself and more comfortable with us as a couple.

We got closer over time as well. We learned more about each other’s childhood and family’s. I got to finally meet his family. When I did, I walked through the door and the youngest, twins, asked me if I was Louis’ Princess. I didn’t mind one bit. When Louis went to go do something for his mom, he came back to find the girls dressing me like a princess. What can I say? The girls enjoyed it and Louis looked a combination of amused and sassy.

It took me about a year to get the equal marriage laws passed. It took me another three years to get the royal versions passed. I had to get not only the law passed so I could marry who I wish, but I had to format a law so that I could assume the throne with my significant other and dabble into the laws of lineage and heritage.

It required a lot of archiving hours and even more time writing it and trying to prevent loopholes. If that wasn’t bad enough, I had to get approval from the backward-minded assholes to get it all passed. I had to do who knows how many revisions to get it past them. It was painful. But it was worth it.

Louis has stayed with me through all the frustration and cussing. And he occasionally laughed at me, breaking my stress and causing me to laugh too.

Six months after I got the laws passed we had a charity event. Louis was going to read a story to a bunch of children, stereotypical I know. What made this event especially unusual was the story he read. He told me he had written it himself but I wasn’t allowed to hear it beforehand.

We had several kids sat in a circle with Louis directly across from me, several kids in his lap. I was really curious as to why this story was a big secret or even why he had decided to write a children’s story.

“There was once this dashing knight named Louis. Louis worked hard fighting bad guys and keeping the kingdom and its’ inhabitants safe. One day he heard a tale about an evil witch named Sophia who had taken a Princess and selfishly locked her away, so she could keep the Princess for herself.

Well, the Brave Knight Louis couldn’t just idly stand by; he had to go save the damsel in distress. So he saddled up his trusty steed, Zayn, and called to his faithful hound, Liam, and headed out to go save the Princess.  The problem was Louis wasn’t sure about where exactly the Princess was being held, so he decided to go to the forest first to see if he could find someone who might have an idea of where the witch was.

He traveled three days and three nights until a creature popped out in front of him. He was obviously a forest dweller by the way he was hanging out of the tree and eating an exotic fruit of some sort. But that wasn’t the weirdest part. The strangest thing was his pair of pointy ears.

‘What are you?’ the knight asked before he could stop himself.

‘I’m an elf. What are you?’ the elf asked in return.

‘I’m a human of course!’ the knight replied, shocked that the elf didn’t know.

‘Wow! Really? We never get humans that come this deep into the forest. I thought they were a myth honestly. The last time I heard about a human this far in was when there was a witch dragging one through the forest.’

That must be who I’m looking for, the knight thought.

‘I’m looking for that human. Do you know where they went?’ The knight asked.

‘Vaguely, but if you want to find them, you have to take me with you.’ He responded for the elf had always wanted the leave the forest, but he could never find anyone to go with him.

‘In that case, I’m Louis.’

‘I’m Niall.’

And they were off. They headed to the great mountains next. The climb was hard. About halfway up the biggest mountain, they had to stop for they were exhausted. They decided to settle down for the night and were soon asleep.

They were awoken, suddenly, by a dragon wandering around the grassy patch where they had been sleeping. Louis’ first instinct was to attack the dragon, but Niall stopped him.

Niall told Louis that the dragon’s name was Nick and he knew where the witch was. Nick wanted to come too because he had a bone to pick with this witch, for years ago she had tried to con him and he’s been waiting patiently for a chance to get even.

Louis agreed to let Nick join them and soon they were heading back down the mountain. The witch’s cavern was across the plateau and hidden in a canyon.

When they finally got there, there were trolls patrolling everywhere. Niall volunteered to take care of them and before Louis could respond, Niall was gone. Then Louis heard reed pipes and saw random vines appearing and knew it was Niall’s work.

Once they got past them, Nick and Louis found the cave was blocked by magic. Nick immediately went to work on the barrier and went off to battle with the witch when she appeared to see what happened to her barrier.

With the witch distracted, Louis headed in to find the Princess. Once inside, he found a black knight named Kyle instead. They didn’t say a word, and just instantly got locked in battle.

The black knight was taller and bulkier, but Louis had cunning and agility on his side. It took a while, but Louis finally outsmarted the black knight and headed off deeper into the cavern.

What he found was not what he expected. For where he expected to find a damsel in distress, he instead found a Prince with impossibly green eyes and curly locks.

‘You’re the Princess?’ Louis found himself asking before he could stop himself.

‘Obviously not.’ The boy replied.

‘Weren’t you kidnapped by the witch? Louis questioned.

‘Yes.’ The boy stated.

‘But you’re not a girl!’ Louis spluttered, confused.

The boy just rolled his eyes.

‘Who cares? Are you going to rescue me or not?’ the boy said.

Louis couldn’t find an argument for that so he just shrugged his shoulders and went to work releasing the boy from his chains.

‘I’m Prince Harold.’ The boy finally introduced himself.

‘I’m the Brave and Handsome Knight, Louis.’ Louis said.

He then proceeded to throw Harry over his steed, Zayn, and quickly retreated out of the cave. But not without kissing him first, because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you finally find someone after searching for them so long.

On the way out, Louis was happy to find that Niall and Nick had survived their respective fights and they journeyed to return Prince Harold to his kingdom. Prince Harold was welcomed home with open arms. The King and Queen welcomed his rescuers into the kingdom as well.

I’d like to say they all frolicked together and lived Happily Ever After, but there is something the knight has to do first.”

“What does he have to do?” The kids shouted.

“Well, the knight has to propose first.” Louis said simply and then proceeded to cross the circle and get down on one knee.

“So, Prince Harold. Would you bestow this knight an honor by agreeing to marry him?”

At this point I was so in shock over what was happening that it took me a minute to realize I was expected to answer. I quickly spluttered a yes—as if I could have answered any other way.

He slid a ringer over my finger and then I was up in his arms. I was giggling like mad and crying just a tad. Okay, more than a tad, but I was really really happy. Louis proceeded to pick me up and spin me around and all the children cheered.

We were met with well-wishers and congratulations once we returned to the palace. I was over the moon and on cloud nine. We Skyped my mom first to show her the ring and so I could gush over it. My mom started happy crying and I was still beaming. Then we called his Mom who pretty much said I told you it would all go perfect and congratulated us.

Then there was Grimmy and Niall. Niall got excited for all the food we would surely have at the wedding. Grimmy pretended to dramatically sigh and teasingly complain that he had missed his chance to tap that before it was off the market. I’m still not sure if he was referring to Louis or me… Then again I’m not sure if I really want to find out.

Not long after, Grandma started to talk to me about stepping down. I asked her to wait until a little after our wedding so we could get crowned together. She agreed.