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Forever and a Night

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Harry's eighteenth birthday party is an understated affair; just thirty or forty of Harry's quietest and closest friends in the roped off upstairs bar in The Rat and Pheasant. By eight o'clock there's birthday cake in Niall's hair, the bar's run out of Sambuca, and at least twenty of Harry's friends are on a last warning after Louis led everyone in a frankly spectacular choreographed dance routine on top of the chairs and tables, whilst they sang Happy Birthday at Harry to the tune of Icona Pop's I Love It. Harry's friends are quite enterprising, when Nick comes to think about it. A harassed barmaid has already begged Liam and Louis to stop snogging in the hall outside the toilets twice, because nobody could get past them, and apparently sticking your hand down your boyfriend's pants in public is a step too far for the bar staff. Harry has narrowly avoided setting his hair alight whilst he blew out his eighteen candles—saved at the last by a long-suffering Zayn, because Nick was too busy having a complete mental breakdown at his boyfriend being eighteen to notice him setting himself on fire—and people keep buying him shots. There are seven lined up on the table in front of Harry. Nick doesn't even know what half of them are, but it doesn't matter all that much because Niall and Louis are doing a pretty good job of sneaking them away when they think Harry's not looking. To be fair, Harry mostly looks the other way on purpose when they steal them, because nobody can drink that many shots in one go and still remain a human being at the end of it.

All in all, Nick thinks that they can count the party as a roaring success, and not just because Harry's got a massive stack of presents in an Ikea bag by his feet. He deposits a whisky sour in front of Harry, and sits down next to him.

"Enjoying yourself?" Nick asks, bumping his knee into Harry's.

"Yes," Harry says, and slides his hand into Nick's, squeezing. "Thanks for coming."

"Like I'd miss it," Nick says, carefully not mentioning the fact he'd been half an hour late, or the reasons why. He and Harry have been officially going out for five months now, give or take, and unofficially for two or three months before that. They haven't had sex yet, which is one of those things that Nick keeps expecting to be dumped for. He'd implemented a no-sleeping-over-without-clothes rule about last August, after Harry had slid into his bed in just a pair of faded black boxers, and Nick had only managed to stop himself from taking Harry up on exactly what he was offering by a hurried trip into the bathroom and a judicious application of a very cold flannel to his dick.

Because the thing is, Nick has a rule, and he's normally shit at rules, but this one he's worked really, really hard at to keep. He doesn't have sex with people who aren't old enough to vote—not because he cares if the people he has sex with are politically engaged or not, but because he's not a dirty old man, no matter how much it feels like it when he walks down the road holding Harry's hand. Because he's a good person, deep down inside. Because he's nine and a half years older than Harry, and he's trying to do a good thing. He's trying to do the best thing for Harry, who might think that he likes Nick now, but five years in the future he's going to look back and think, god, what a perv about Nick, and Nick desperately, desperately doesn't want that.

Because Harry is brilliant, and Nick's been in love with him for the last fucking year, and he's never, ever told him.

And now Harry's eighteen. He's eighteen, and Nick's terrified. He's fucking terrified.

Harry hooks his foot over Nick's and leans into his side. "Did you see Liam? He wanted to talk to you about that CD you lent him."

"I've seen him," Nick says, although there hadn't exactly been an opportunity to talk to him, as such. Louis had had his legs wrapped around Liam's waist and was yelling giddy up whilst waving Liam's t-shirt above his head, so Nick had settled for kissing Liam on the cheek and patting Louis on the thigh. They could talk about music another time. Where there was less Sambuca.

"Mum says, do you want to come out with us for dinner tomorrow?"

Tomorrow is Saturday, and Nick's twenty-seven. He should probably be out with friends or applying for jobs so he can give up this shit job presenting at the local radio station. He could be out with friends or in watching telly or doing his washing or out at the cinema or cooking something out of the Nigella book Harry's mum and step dad had got him for Christmas. "Who else is going?"

"Me, obviously. Mum, Robin, Gem. She's coming back tomorrow morning from uni. Gran and Grandad. Mum's booked a table at that Chinese place Robin keeps going on about."

"All right," Nick says, since Harry's family are pretty brilliant, all things considered. They've never once treated him like a leper for being a million years older than Harry. He suspects that's partly to do with the fact that Harry makes no secret of the fact he tells his mum and his sister pretty much everything, and that he's fairly sure the no sex rule has come up once or twice.

"Sick," Harry says, beaming. He leans in to kiss Nick's cheek. "I'll text her."

"Mind you tell her I'm coming back to yours after," Nick says. "After party. We'll do karaoke again. Me and your mum are fucking brilliant at that."

"You're embarrassing, you mean," Harry tells him, although he always sounds oddly proud of their combined caterwauling. They do a wicked Irish dance whenever B*Witched comes up. Last time they'd layered up the denim and done it three times in a row.

"You love it," Nick says, trying not to think too much about what it is he's not saying.

Harry leans into his side. "Zayn says he's going to ask Perrie to marry him," he confides.

"Fuck me," Nick says. "Are you serious?"

"Totally fucking serious. Cross my heart and hope to die." He makes a vaguely drunken sign of the cross. "He's going to do it after A levels."

Nick seriously would not be eighteen again if you paid him. God. Eighteen and married. When he was in upper sixth he was barely managing to pass his exams, let alone maintaining a functioning adult relationship and thinking about marriage. "Christ."

"I know," Harry seems to be the kind of boy who likes a happy ever after. He probably thinks them getting married is a bloody brilliant idea. "I've told him I've got to be best man. I think Louis and Niall told him the same thing, but I bet he's going to pick Liam. I'd pick Liam. He won't lose the rings. Or the groom. Louis says he's already planning the stag do."

Trusting Louis with the stag do is a recipe for a total fucking wicked disaster of a night. Nick wants a seat front and centre for the fallout from that. He's seen what Louis can do for an eighteenth birthday party, and just the potential for carnage on a stag do is off the scales. He'd better get an invite. "It'll be carnage."

"Yep," Harry says, with a grin. "It'll be brilliant."

"Yep," Nick agrees, because at some point tonight he actually has to say what he's planned to say, and it's not going to get any easier. "So, uh—" he trails off. "You, um, you might have noticed I haven't brought you your present."

"No worries," Harry says. "You can get me one another time." He doesn't sound bothered. Nick would be bothered. Nick is always bothered when people don't buy him presents. He holds a grudge against his brother for forgetting his twenty-fourth birthday, and he's not shy about bringing it up in the quiet bits at family parties.

"No," Nick says, and he sounds awkward, even though he's trying to make this sound as light-hearted and easy as possible. "It's not that I haven't bought you one. I just—haven't brought it with me."

"That's fine," Harry says unconcernedly. He taps out a message on his phone. "You can give it to me when we get back to yours."

"No," Nick says again. Fuck, this had gone differently in his head. He tries his best to drown out Harry's friends being ridiculous teenage shits and dancing terribly to Sexy And I Know It, and leans in to Harry's side. "Will you stay with me tonight?"

"Thought I already was?" Harry says. "At least, I told my mum I was. I might have forgotten to tell you, though. Did I?"

Harry stays over at Nick's a lot. They hold hands and spoon fully clothed. Harry had bought Nick spooning leads to forking David and Goliath pyjamas for Christmas. Harry had laughed so much at Nick's face that he'd actually cried. Nick's boyfriend is the best boyfriend, even if Nick has no idea why Harry's still with him.

"No, not at mine." Nick says softly, shaking his head. He leans in even closer and presses his mouth to the shell of Harry's ear, so he can be sure that Harry hears over the noise of everyone singing. "There's a room, in the Queen's Hotel. I got us a room. You don't have to say yes, but if you want to, then you have to stop drinking. We can't—not if you're drunk." Nick might be making poor life choices, but they don't include taking Harry to bed when he's off the scales drunk.

Harry's fingers tighten around his glass. He tilts his head to one side, his nose brushing Nick's cheek. He's close enough to kiss, a breath away, no more. "A room?"

"Yeah," Nick says, and his heart is pounding. "You really, really don't have to if you don't want to. I just—it's an option, all right? I got us an option."

"An option for me and you?" Harry asks, his voice low. He sounds a little rough. It makes Nick want to touch his mouth to Harry's throat and run his tongue over his skin. He wants things like this all the time, but he never lets himself, not ever.

"If you want," Nick says. "For your birthday."

Harry pushes the remains of his drink away, and links his fingers with Nick's. "Thank you," he says, voice still quiet.

For a second, Nick thinks he's going to say, thanks but no thanks, and he's got his accepting, slightly disappointed but it's obviously for the best face all ready.

But Harry leans in even closer, and rubs his nose over Nick's cheek. "Can we go now?"

"It's your birthday," Nick says, and tries not to sound too stupid. "This is your party."

"This is a pub," Harry says, "and these are my very drunk, borderline alcoholic friends. Louis' snogging Liam and standing on a table. They want to chuck us out for being rowdy. I had a cake. There were candles." Over Harry's shoulder, Nick can see that what's left of the cake is mostly smushed into Liam's cheek and Louis is licking it off. Next to them, Niall is holding two plates, one for him and one for Cher. Jesy is fighting Jade for the last slice. "I think the birthday part of the night is done, don't you?"

Nick looks down at Harry's fingers in his. They've been together months and months, and every single day they've been together, he's wanted this. "Harry—"

"I want to go with you," Harry tells him. His eyes shine, and it's not just the alcohol, Nick knows. "More than anything else, just so you know. I want to go with you."

"Are you sure?"

Harry squeezes Nick's hand. "I like you so, so much."

Nick laughs at that. He can't help himself; it's such a ridiculous understatement. It's been months since he's been able to look at Harry and think just, like. Instead, he says, "Happy birthday, love."

Harry's smile is so bright it makes Nick's heart ache.

"Get your stuff, Haz," Nick says. "You've pulled."

Nick's left trying to shove the rest of Harry's many presents into the Ikea bag on the floor whilst Harry goes to say good bye to his best friends. Nick watches him clap Niall on the back, and hug Zayn, and disentangle Liam from Louis so he can poke Louis in the side and kiss Liam on the cheek. Nick's heart pounds. Harry's a tall drink of water and more besides; he's clumsy and absurd and tells the worst stories in the world and thinks spooning leads to forking is actually the funniest thing anyone's ever, ever said. He's the worst football player on the planet, Nick excluded, and that woolly cow racing game he's obsessed with for the Wii is just ridiculous.

He's perfect, is the thing. He's perfect, and Nick fucking adores him, and just this once he's giving in to it, even though it's the stupidest thing he's ever done. He feels about a million years old next to Harry sometimes, but Nick can't tear his eyes away from him. Harry's this bright, funny, droll, amazing spark of life, and Nick's in love with him. He's so in love with him.

He gathers up Harry's presents, and pulls on his jacket, and goes over to where Harry's talking to Liam and Louis. He slides his hand to the small of Harry's back, and hands him his coat and scarf.

"Ready to go?" Harry asks, breaking off mid-conversation.

"Only if you are," Nick says, because he's going to give Harry as many outs as he can tonight, and he's not ready to stop yet.

Harry just grins at him, smile wide. "Yeah," he says, softly. "I'm ready."

Nick blushes at that. He shoves Harry in the direction of the door, leaning in to press a kiss to Liam's cheek on the way past. He settles for smacking Louis on the bum, just for fun, and waves at the others on the way past. Jesy winks at him. Clever girl, that Jess.

Once they're outside, and they've stopped so that Nick can lean in to knot Harry's scarf a bit tighter, and button up his coat so that he's warm, Harry leans in and kisses Nick's cheek.

"How long have you been planning this?" he asks, zipping up Nick's jacket for him, and tucking his scarf inside.

Harry bundling him up like this steals the breath from Nick's body, is what it does. He tries to shrug. "I booked it like, yesterday."

Harry rolls his eyes as he tucks his fingers into the curve of Nick's elbow. "Yeah, but how long have you been like, planning it?"

"Harold," Nick says, and doesn't admit to Christmas, or just after. "Come on. It's freezing out here. Get a wriggle on."

"I've got, like, nothing with me. There's a Tesco, isn't there? By the station." Harry is trying to look relaxed, but there's anticipation in the set of his shoulders, and a bright gleam to his eyes that Nick hopes is down to more than just the fact it's his birthday.

Nick shakes his head. "It's all sorted. I sorted it all. You don't need anything."

Harry stops him then, darting up to press a kiss to the corner of Nick's mouth. "You," he says. "You."

"Nah," Nick says, bumping his elbow into Harry's. He can't help but smile. "You."

~*~

The Queen's Hotel isn't the kind of place that Nick tends to frequent. It's dead posh, for a start. Nick leans more towards Travelodges and Premier Inns; if it's good enough for Lenny Henry, it's good enough for him. But rather than identikit budget rooms with a crappy old telly and hugely overpriced bacon sandwiches, the Queen's Hotel is a beautiful, stately, Edwardian hotel down by the train station. It's majestic in its silence; beautifully clean black and white tiled floors with thick, burgundy carpets that their feet sink into as they walk down the corridors. There are floor-length, wine-coloured drapes at the windows, and identically plumped cushions on each of the armchairs along the length of the hall. The staff wear flawlessly identical navy suits, and they nod at Harry and Nick like Nick isn't carrying an Ikea bag full of presents for a teenager, and Harry isn't clinging at his hand and smelling like Sambuca and cake.

Nick leads him down the corridor to the lift lobby at the back of the building; it's floor to ceiling fractured glass walls, glittering in the bright light. There's a single orchid on the delicate table in front of the lifts, pale cream. It shivers gently in the silence, a breeze that Nick can't feel.

Harry ignores all of it in favour of leaning into Nick's side and beaming up at him as the lift doors open without any kind of fanfare.

Their room is high up in the hotel, down one long carpeted corridor after another. They stay hand in hand as Nick leads the way, Harry tripping over his feet and joking that he'll never find his way out. It's probably a valid concern, but Nick just steadies Harry with a hand to his elbow. "Careful."

Harry just sneaks his hand into Nick's again, and laughs.

Fuck, Nick doesn't do relationships, and he doesn't do commitment, and he doesn't do boyfriends. He does drunken pulls, and boys that stay around for a bit but don't really mean much, and he does a lot of complaining about being alone forever and not having anyone to make him a cup of tea when he's too knackered to get out of bed and stick the kettle on. That's who he is; this isn't him. Harry is an anomaly he can't understand, and spending months holding his hand and getting off with him without getting off is just—it's bananas. This whole thing is fucking mental, and literally the only thing Nick understands about all of this is that he's in way, way too deep.

"What room are we?"

"Six-four-three," Nick says, pushing the keycard into Harry's other hand. Christ.

Harry bumps his hip into Nick's, and slides the keycard into the slot, waiting until it pings green before trying the handle.

He stops in the doorway to turn on the lights, and Nick's stuck out in the corridor, unable to see his face, and quite convinced that this is the worst decision he's ever made in his whole entire life.

"Oh," Harry says, softly. He steps to one side, so that Nick can follow him in and let the door shut behind them with a quiet click.

Nick puts Harry's bag of presents down on the floor by his feet. "Good oh?" The room is all burgundy and black, and when Nick had taken possession of it that afternoon, he'd spent a good ten minutes with his face in the pillows thinking that this whole thing was a terrible, terrible idea. And then he'd got up and started unpacking his bags. He'd pushed the complimentary tea and coffee tray to the back of the desk, replacing it with a bottle of wine, and a box of Harry's favourite tea. Nick didn't really think that a pyramid bag made it anything special, but Harry clearly did, so Nick wasn't going to argue the point on his birthday. There's milk in the mini-fridge plugged in under the flat screen telly. A couple of boxes of Jaffa Cakes and two packets of Cadbury's Fingers next to that. There's stuff for breakfast, too, croissants and jam and a large butterscotch and pecan Danish pastry because they were all on offer in Waitrose, but he'd dumped those bags in the corner because by the time he'd got to them he'd been partway to some kind of Harry-induced mental breakdown, which was kind of par for the course considering he's spent the last year in love with a seventeen year old.

Harry's not looking at any of that stuff, though. He's staring down at the bed—the massive, king-sized-and-then-some bed—and the not very neatly wrapped Rubik's cube sized box sitting in the middle of it, next to a birthday card with a badly drawn picture of a balloon on the front.

"Nicholas," Harry says, in what Nick hopes is a happy kind of dazed voice.

Nick's chest feels tight, sort of like he's going to cry or explode or something maybe in the middle and probably equally messy. "Happy birthday, love," he says.

Harry turns around then, and throws his arms around Nick's neck. He barrels him back against the door, burying his face in Nick's neck.

The door handle is an insistent pressure in the small of Nick's back. Nick tries to laugh. "Take it that means you like it, then?"

Harry pulls Nick towards the bed. Nick lets himself be manhandled, not that he likes that kind of thing, or anything. "You didn't have to get me a present as well as all this. This is like, this is—I can't even. This is perfect."

Nick knows that if this were him, it'd be about now he'd be asking how much it all cost, or how he'd managed to pay for it all. Nick always thinks that about everything, but Harry never seems to. Harry never seems bothered if Nick offers him something really expensive for pudding at his, or something really cheap instead. Sometimes it's just one of the chocolate mousses that are six for twenty-seven pence in Sainsbury's, and sometimes it's a Gu dessert that are well pricey, but Harry never treats them differently. But all the same, it's strange to Nick. Where he comes from, you talk about money, and how much things cost, but Harry never does.

"What makes you think I did?" Nick says, sliding his hands around Harry's waist from behind. He leans in to touch his mouth to the back of Harry's neck, his curls catching in Nick's kiss. Even that's a step beyond where he's let them be before. "That present's for me."

Harry shivers, and tilts his head back a bit. Nick's hands rest on his stomach. "You'd better open it, then."

"Nah," Nick says. His heartbeat is loud in his ears. He steps away from Harry, leaning nonchalantly against the wall. It's all fake. Inside he's a bag of nerves. He takes off his coat and stuffs his hands in his pockets. "You do it."

Harry sits down on the bed and picks up Nick's present. He's bought Harry a watch, and if he thinks for more than one second about the two hundred and more quid he's just dropped on a Marc Jacobs watch for his boyfriend's eighteenth birthday, or the similar amount he's splashed out on the room and all the stuff to go in it, just on the off-chance that Harry would say yes to this tonight, he's going to have to fumble his asthma inhaler out of his pocket and have a puff.

Harry takes off the wrapping paper infinitely slowly, and then carefully opens the box . He stares down at the watch for a long time without saying anything, and Nick thinks, I've fucked this up. I've fucked this up so fucking bad.

"I love you," Harry says, when he finally looks up. His eyes are bright. "I really, really love you."

"I don't know," Nick says, awkwardly picking up a packet of biscuits from the desk, "you buy a boy a Jaffa Cake and he's all over you like a rash."

Harry doesn't laugh. "This is—" he stops, and looks down at Nick's present again. It's got a black leather strap and a stainless steel face; it's bright and strong and as effortlessly handsome as Harry is himself, and Nick is so, so fucking gone on him it's stupid. "This is the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me."

Nick forces a grin. "Don't go telling your mum that. All those times she had to take a bite out of a carrot and drink half a glass of sherry and snaffle a bit of mince pie every Christmas Eve just to make you believe Father Christmas still existed. She'll be heartbroken."

"Don't joke," Harry says, and he doesn't look up. "Don't joke about this. Look what you did for me."

"It's nothing," Nick lies, since embarrassment swings both ways, and right now he's feeling it. Embarrassed, and sort of stupid, too, because Harry is always, always open about how he feels and what he likes and who he likes, and Nick never is. Half the time he even tries to keep how he feels a secret from himself, and that makes things even more complicated in his head than they already are. Gestures are one thing, but when they reveal things he thinks are better off hidden and secret, then that's something else. How he feels about Harry is the biggest fucking secret he's ever tried to keep.

"It's really not." Harry has got the watch out of the box now; he keeps running his thumb over the leather strap. "It's really, really not."

There's a text on Nick's phone from Gillian in London, the latest of many. A room's going in her flatshare, and she thinks he'd be perfect for it. Get out of that town, she keeps telling him, come down here and try and get a job at radio 1 or capital or something. I miss you. And he misses her too, misses her like mad. Best friends all the way through uni, and then he'd ended up here, doing a stupid show on the local commercial station, whilst she'd ended up in London, living a totally different life.

He's not stupid. He knows that he's what Harry wants; Harry's a fucking open book about his feelings. But there's a whole world out there for Harry to live in, and a million different options to Nick just waiting round the corner. Nick knows that one day Harry's going to want someone that isn't Nick, someone who's closer to his own age, and that's going to hurt. He's already steeling himself for their inevitable break up. Come September, Harry's going to be going away to uni, and Nick's going to still be here, stuck in this stupid town going slowly crazy. He can't even think about it.

Just for tonight, he's going to have everything he wants, and he's going to spend Harry's eighteenth birthday night with him, and him alone. "It's your birthday," he says finally, because all the jokes of gone out of his head, and what's left is just the truth. "I wanted to make it good."

Harry stands up then, stumbling a little as he crosses the few steps to where Nick's standing, leaning up against the wall. He's still holding the watch in one hand, but he cups Nick's cheek in his other hand, leaning in to kiss him. Nick kisses him back, because tonight, and just for tonight, he's taking it all, every last second and more.

"It's perfect," Harry says, pressing the box with the watch in against Nick's chest. "Put it on me. Please."

"You're already wearing a watch," Nick points out, to cover up the fact he's sort of falling apart.

Harry steps back, and takes off his coat and scarf, dropping them on the floor where he's standing. He pulls his shirt over his head so he's standing there, topless, and then without taking his eyes off Nick, he unbuckles his old watch and drops it down onto the bedside table.

"Put it on me," he says again, and Nick's breath catches in his throat.

Nick takes Harry's hand then, thumb pressed soft against his pulse point. He lifts Harry's hand to his mouth, kiss grazing the inside of Harry's wrist. He feels Harry's pulse skitter beneath his thumb, and part of Nick is saying, this is going to kill you when it falls apart, but he can't help it. He closes his eyes, and kisses him again.

When it comes to buckling the new watch around Harry's wrist, he does it carefully, and slowly. The light glints off the shiny metal of the watch face as he holds it up for Harry to see. "How'd you like it?" He sounds a little gruffer than he would perhaps like.

"It's perfect," Harry says, but he's not looking at the watch.

Nick knows he's flushing under Harry's gaze. "Haz—"

"Let me take your clothes off," Harry says, without waiting for him to finish. "Let me."

Nick bites his lip, and it feels like forever before he nods.

Harry unbuttons Nick's shirt one button at a time, just as slowly as he does everything else, and when it comes to pushing it down over Nick's shoulders, he steps into Nick's space and—glancing up at Nick and then down to his mouth—he kisses him, gentle and infinitely slow.

When Nick had planned this, he'd bargained on him being the one taking Harry to bed, but it's starting to feel like the other way around.

Harry's hand slides around the curve of Nick's neck, drawing him in. He kisses him again, pulling him back towards the bed. Nick's shirt hangs off his elbows, and he shrugs awkwardly out of it as Harry bumps into the bed. He grins against Nick's mouth, and Nick can taste his laughter in his kiss. He'd sort of expected that Harry would jump on him the moment they'd got through the door, but Harry consistently surprises him, so Nick doesn't know why he thought this would be any different.

Nick laughs too, half compulsion, half awkwardness. Harry's fumbling Nick's jeans off, and okay, that's not going to work. He had to pour himself into these earlier, and frankly, in the taxi on the way to the hotel that afternoon, he'd practically had to lie flat just to keep them on. Luckily they had a bit of give in them, and so sitting down hadn't been rendered completely impossible for the rest of the night, but unless Harry wants to know just how much Nick's had to squeeze to get them on, he's going to have to take them off himself. He steps back, out of Harry's arms, and makes a face. "No way, love. A gentleman has to take some secrets to the grave, and how he gets into his jeans is one of them. Take your own off."

Harry just rolls his eyes at him, and without looking away, unbuckles his belt and shoves his jeans and underwear down to mid-thigh.

Apparently every single person that's ever met Harry—apart from Nick, who has implemented his no-sex-before-eighteen rule with startling vigour and dedication, for a person with neither vigour nor dedication—has seen him naked at some point, but for Nick, this is definitely the first time. It's taken one hell of an effort to avoid seeing Harry's dick before today, but he's managed it.

"Christ," he says, voice rough.

"Your turn," Harry says, pushing his jeans all the way down and toeing off his boots and socks in one awkwardly fluid kind of a movement. He's knobbly-kneed—which Nick knew—and has big feet and hairy toes—which Nick also knew—but he's also considerably big-dicked, if big-dicked is a word. Nick sort of already knew this, since there have been a lot of kissing sessions and breathless getting off sessions and a lot of spooning and waking up in each other's arms as Nick gave himself yet another serious talking to about the appropriate behaviour in dating a sixth former, but knowing there was a large-ish bulge in Harry's underwear is different to seeing him hard and flushed like this.

"How do you feel about blowjobs?" Nick asks, trying to peel himself out of his jeans with a limited attempt at success. Sweat appears to have moulded them to his skin, as if he was in a leather trouser instead of a skinny jean. He should have gone for jeggings, honestly. They might be embarrassing to buy, but at least they stretch.

"Giving or receiving?" Harry asks, and Nick is terribly relieved to note that Harry's voice sounds a bit squeaky. Gruff and squeaky. He's got a voice like a teddy bear.

Seriously, Nick can't have sex with someone who has a voice like a teddy bear. It'd be like fucking Paddington. He'd better just call the whole thing off. Or, you know. Not.

"Um, receiving," Nick says, after he's got his jeans down to his knees and has only tripped over his feet once. Seriously, he has style. He has grace. He's just also lost all semblance of adulthood in the face of Harry Styles' dick, which is a thing that's just happened. "How do you feel about marmalade? And duffel coats?"

"Is this like a weird blowjob thing?" Harry asks. He's naked now, apart from his watch, and this isn't quite the mental image Nick had gone for when he'd stood in front of the watches in John Lewis two days ago and made a life choice which was probably going to blow everything apart, and likely as not, in a terrible, painful, Nick's an old perv kind of a way. God, Nick wants to press his mouth to Harry's skin and taste him everywhere.

"It's a Paddington thing," Nick says, sitting down and unlacing his shoes. Getting undressed isn't normally this complicated. He shall overcome. He kicks off his shoes and socks, and peels off his jeans, standing up again to take off his underwear.

His dick does a little jaunty bouncing kind of a thing, and stands to attention. Nick has, in the past, suggested to boys he was having sex with that he should tie a little flag to it, just for fun.

There is potentially a reason that Nick does not have a relationship history that extends beyond a few shags and a breakfast if Nick is extra lucky. The fact that Harry holds the record for the longest relationship Nick has ever sustained in his whole entire life is probably to do with the fact that he hasn't got his dick out and suggested tying a flag to it before today.

"Hmm," Harry says, considering. Nick hopes he's not actually considering Paddington and blowjobs in the same sentence. "I'm not averse to receiving blowjobs," he says finally, and who uses words like averse when they have a dick like Harry's? "But I'm also not averse to giving them, either. Except for how I haven't before." He makes an abortive half-step in Nick's direction, and then stops, cheeks a little pink.

"Christ," Nick says, and even though he's completely naked now, and so is Harry, he doesn't move. It just so happens he's never had sex with someone he's been in love with before. He can't help but wonder if it's going to be different.

He's got to stop thinking about Paddington, for a start.

The bed has a bolster, for fuck's sake. An actual bolster. He makes a move for that instead of Harry, dumping it down on top of the pillows so that he's got something to lean against. He climbs onto the bed and sits back against the stack of pillows, beckoning Harry over.

Harry clambers over him with, frankly, a minimum amount of style and grace.

"Hi," he says, sitting back on Nick's legs like Nick's a seat for his convenience, or something. "Have I told you in the last three seconds that I love you?"

"Nope," Nick says, and warmth flutters in his chest like a butterfly, gentle and new. He reaches for Harry, hand curving around his hip.

"Well, I do. Quite a lot, really. And not just because you bought me a watch for my birthday."

"I should hope not," Nick says. "I wouldn't accept any declaration of love that came with less than a watch, a packet of Jaffa Cakes and the promise of a cup of tea." His hands have sneaked their way into the small of Harry's back, thumbs stroking over his spine. Harry's a little bit ticklish, apparently, and he wriggles away from Nick's fingers.

It's really quite delicious, especially the way that Harry keeps trying to rock back against Nick's dick, but Nick won't let him near. Nick graduates to full on tickling so that Harry yelps and goes all squirmy, his dick bumping into Nick's stomach.

"My love doesn't come cheap," Nick goes on, still tickling. "I won't say it for less than a million pounds and a year's subscription to GQ."

"You hate GQ." Harry sounds both amused and a little breathless, too.

"I don't have a million pounds, either."

"I'd give you a million pounds, if I had it." Harry is studying him with a fierce kind of intensity. He cups Nick's face in his hands, and Nick is almost embarrassed to be the focus of this much attention.

"Well then," he says, and he itches to pull away, to duck his gaze and hide. How he feels about Harry is probably written all over his face, and he isn't Harry. He doesn't open up easily, not really, and he's spent so long trying to hide how he feels that letting it all show fills him with a desperate kind of dread. "I'll take that. I'll take your imaginary million pounds."

Harry leans in, still cupping Nick's face, and touches his mouth to Nick's. "This is the best thing anyone's ever done for me," he says softly, without pulling apart. "You're the best thing in my life."

"You'll give me a complex," Nick tells him, trying to look away. He just—he doesn't know how to do this. He doesn't know how to be open with how he feels in the way that Harry is; he's never said I love you to someone he's been shagging, and meant it.

At least Harry seems to know he's not going to get a straight answer any time soon. He shifts a little on his knees, sitting back so that he's resting on Nick's legs. "Kiss me."

"I don't respond well to being told what to do," Nick lies. He strokes his hand up Harry's spine, and rubs his nose against Harry's.

"Shut up and kiss me, Nicholas." Harry's breath comes in a soft exhale as Nick traces his fingertips over Harry's back, and down again, ghosting over the dimples in the small of his back. Harry's rocking his hips down into Nick's, a slow but insistent pressure. His cheeks are flushed.

"Fine," Nick says, breathless already, and covers Harry's mouth with his own.

This, at least, is familiar territory. Nick's got so used to this, to Harry's hands in his hair, trying to sneak his fingers up Nick's shirt, to being hard and ignoring it, to the soft scratch of stubble and the resultant rash. He knows how Harry tastes, and he knows how Harry sounds when he's turned on. He catches Harry's whimpers in his kiss, the soft groans in the back of his throat as Nick kisses him deeper, harder. He can pre-empt Harry's reactions, now. The way his fingers curl in his hair, the way he kisses, the way he's always tried to press closer, be nearer, capture Nick's heart against his tongue. He's familiar; Nick knows him.

He just doesn't know him like this. Naked, he's beautiful. His curls catch in Nick's fingers as he tilts Harry's head back so that he can mouth at his neck; there's the beginnings of stubble at his jaw, and the taste of his aftershave. He smells like body spray and sweat and booze and heat and even a little bit like sex; Nick's not stupid. Harry's stayed over enough that Nick knows when he's sneaked into the bathroom for a wank. Harry doesn't hide anything, and never has, so his warmth and the way he smells when he's turned on isn't actually new to Nick, even though being here like this might be.

Harry tips his head back, and Nick holds him there with a hand splayed across his throat as he sucks a mark into the curve of his neck; Harry gasps, his fingers tightening on Nick's bicep. Nick's other hand is in the small of Harry's back, and as he kisses Harry's throat, urging him even closer by sheer force of will alone, he strokes his hand down over Harry's arse, and closes his eyes as Harry whines.

He presses his mouth to Harry's chest, and lets out a breath as Harry's hand tightens even more on his arm. When he slides his hand down into the cleft of Harry's arse, and strokes his fingertip over Harry's hole, shy and slow, Harry gasps out loud, head tipped back.

"Yeah?" Nick at least wants to check that this is okay.

"Yeah," Harry says and he arches up a little, shifting so that Nick's at a better angle and he can keep on touching him, stroking his finger in soft circles over Harry's hole. He wriggles, trying to press down, and Nick can't take how much Harry wants this, how needy he's turning out to be, squirming down and begging for more with a hand wrapped around Nick's shoulder, his cock trapped between them, fat and hard and slick across the tip. "Kiss me, fuck."

Nick tilts his chin up, and does just as he's asked.

He doesn't sneak the tip of his finger inside of Harry until Harry's breathless and begging for more with kisses that are more catches of breath than actual kisses. He's rocking his hips up, his dick sliding awkwardly over Nick's stomach, catching on the dark treasure trail down towards Nick's dick, and maybe he doesn't even know that he's trying to rub one off in the least effective way ever, or maybe he does and he doesn't care. Nick sneaks the tip of his finger inside Harry, not even as far as the knuckle, and Harry whines, tipping his head back.

But Nick doesn't want Harry's first orgasm with him to be like this. Harry's skin gleams with sweat; he's breathless and a bit desperate and Nick wants to take him apart and make him beg and kiss and come. He rolls them over so that Harry's on his back, knees up, and he kisses him, hard.

"You want me to suck you off?" he asks, hoping the answer is of the yes-that-goes-without-saying variety. Harry rolls his hips up, desperate for purchase, chasing after Nick's mouth with his own, but Nick just pulls back. "Tell me what you want. Want to make it good for you."

"This is good," Harry says, but that's not enough. Nick's shagged enough blokes over the years to know the difference between all right sex where it's stuff he quite likes, and sex where he's been able to get what he actually wants. He wants it to be the second one for Harry, who's pretty much a virgin (mostly, at least; there have been two mostly-naked girls and one potentially successful girl fingering, apparently, before Nick showed up and Harry got distracted trying to get Nick to let him sleep mostly naked). Nick deserves a medal for managing to say no to him over and over and over all these months, because Harry is amazing. He's amazing even as Nick continues to stroke his hole, finger sliding in, and Harry's nodding yes over and over, and saying, "Suck me off, Nick."

Harry's dick is fat and hard. Pre come pearls across the tip. When Nick ducks in to take him in his mouth, he splays his other hand across Harry's hip and sucks a mark into Harry's skin, an I was here. It beats graffiting the boys' toilets at school, but not by much.

"Do it," Harry begs, hand to Nick's hair. He's cautious, not pushing, and Nick doesn't know how to say that Harry doesn't need to be. That he likes it when he's pushed about a bit. Another time.

He wraps his hand around the base of Harry's dick, the tip of his index finger on his other hand still pressed inside of Harry, crooked a little so that Harry wriggles on the sheets, and tries to push down. Nick grins at that, and takes the flushed, hot crown of Harry's dick in his mouth.

The noise Harry makes is off the fucking scale, a full-on, loud-as-anything whine.

And the thing is, Nick knows Harry, and he knows the people Harry hang around with. Harry's mischievous and absolutely as capable of being a shit as his friends, but he's not the loud one. Nick would have bet on Louis for that, but he's pressing his tongue to the underside of Harry's dick, and Harry's proper keening above him, and he's talking too, babbling, fuck, and this is what this feels like and please don't stop please don't stop and more, fuck, more. Nick bobs up and down on Harry's dick, and Harry's fucking begging him to keep going, holding him there with a hand to his hair, squirming on the sheets like he's desperate. It's enough to make Nick almost come, and he isn't even touching himself.

He's wanked like nobody's business the last few weeks. Since Christmas, when Harry had shown up at Nick's flat in a taxi on December the twenty-seventh, about ten minutes after Nick had stumbled home from his mum and dad's house, dragging a suitcase and a massive bag of presents in from the rustbucket he occasionally calls a car. Harry had been drunk and wearing a tinsel halo on top of his stupid, adorable curls, and he'd tripped through Nick's door and into Nick's arms. He'd said, I missed you, whilst wearing the most ridiculous drunken frown as he listed all of the things Nick had missed by daring to go back to Oldham for Christmas. Then he'd produced a cracker from fuck knows where, and demanded that Nick pull it immediately. Harry had obviously doctored it, because instead of a joke, he got a slip of paper that said, I love you on one side and Happy Christmas, Nicholas on the other. Nick had been forced to wear the paper crown all fucking night, and Harry had passed out in his lap at some point after half past eight, fingers linked with Nick's. He had been still wearing that ridiculous tinsel halo crown.

Nick's laptop had been right there, and instead of waking Harry up and demanding he go home to his family, Nick had noodled about on Google, looking up hotels with availability for Harry's birthday, and trying not to sneak too many looks at the beautiful, drunken teenager asleep in his lap.

"God," Harry groans now, as Nick sucks him off. "Nick, Nick—"

Nick crooks his finger inside of him, and the angle is all wrong and he's folded up like a weird foldy thing, but he can't bring himself to care because the taste of Harry is on his tongue. If he licks at Harry's slit then Harry practically shouts, and his fingers tighten in Nick's hair.

He really, really hadn't taken Harry for a loud one. It's perfect. It makes him want to laugh around Harry's dick, but when he hums, Harry just squirms and whines and tells him to do it again.

His jaw starts to ache around the same time as he starts to sense Harry's close to coming, which is good timing. Harry's dick is spit-slick and leaking; Nick fucking loves sucking dick, and he loves it slick and wet like this. He concentrates on just the head for a moment, switching to fisting the base of Harry's dick with one hand, and sliding a second finger into his arse, up to the knuckle, with the other.

Harry babbles in response, chest heaving. He's so close; Nick can feel it in the way he holds himself, in the way he presses down against Nick's fingers, and begs him for more, his voice catching in his throat.

"Gonna, gonna—God, Nick—"

Nick wants to tell him, It's okay, sweetheart. Come for me, but he has to settle for pressing his tongue to the underside of Harry's dick and curling his fingers inside of him instead, and hoping that it translates.

When Harry starts to come, Nick works on swallowing it all down, and sucking him through it, the air thick with sex and heat. Harry's chest is heaving, and when Nick finally lets his dick slip from his lips and rolls onto his back, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he closes his eyes and concentrates on breathing in and out.

"Wow," Harry says, after a minute, and Nick wants to laugh. This stupid, ridiculous, adorable boy. He leans over and presses a kiss to Harry's hip before heading into the bathroom to wash his hands and wipe his mouth. He cups his dick for a moment before sticking his head back around the bathroom door.

"You want a flannel or anything? There's bound to be one, they've provided everything else." They should have done, at least. This hotel room cost an arm and a leg. Fuck, he sounds wrecked. Gruff and throaty. Not surprising, since he's just been sucking dick, and anyway, Harry clearly likes it if the way his eyes have got all dark is anything to go by.

"There are tissues," Harry says, lazily grabbing one from the box on the bedside table. He gives his dick a cursory wipe down and deposits the tissue back down next to the box. He grins over at Nick, languid and loose-limbed. If this is what Harry's like post-orgasm, Nick wants to get him like this again, and soon. His smile is wide and easy, and if a blow job and a bit of a cheeky finger can do this to him, Nick wants to see him when he's well-fucked.

Christ, there's a thought.

He leans against the doorframe, because he gets a good view from here. The sheets are all rucked up around Harry, who's sprawled across the bed like it's his kingdom. The burgundy quilt is half on and off the mattress, and the pillows are all messed up and Harry's using the bolster to prop himself up. To be fair, Nick isn't exactly sure what you're supposed to use a bolster for, so it's not as Harry's doing anything wrong.

"What are you doing all the way over there?" Harry asks, propping himself up on his elbows. Everything he does is even slower than normal, like his limbs have taken on indolence as a life choice. "Why aren't you over here?"

"I'm watching you," Nick says lazily. "Do you want some wine?"

"I'd rather make you come, first." Harry smiles at him, slow and indolent. "Though you could bring the Jaffa Cakes with you, if you wanted."

"Greedy," Nick says, to cover up the fact he's a bit jolted at the fact that Harry's just talked about making him come. He doesn't know why, it's all part and parcel of having sex, but whatever. He's still jolted. Even his dick's jolted. It just did a jaunty little bounce thing just to remind Nick that it's still interested. Like Nick could forget.

"You haven't seen the half of it," Harry says. "Get over here, Nick. Seriously." He licks his lips. "How do you fancy being the recipient of my first hand job?"

"Not ever, I hope," Nick says, grabbing the Jaffa Cakes and the wine and the water glasses from the compliment tray. "I'm rather hoping you've at least practiced on yourself."

"Oh yeah," Harry says, as Nick deposits his arm full of food and drinks on the bedside table. He looks considering. "Twice a day, recently. Ish."

"Oh, to be a teenager again," Nick tells him, climbing onto the bed and kneeling over Harry. He leans in and nudges Harry's nose with his own. He can't stop smiling. When Harry chases him for a kiss, Nick ducks back, grinning.

"Yeah, well. My boyfriend wouldn't have sex with me." Harry makes a sad sort of frowny face, but it doesn't stop him trying to kiss Nick.

"Your boyfriend probably had spectacularly good reasons," Nick says, batting him away. "He should be commended for them. Given a badge. Or a medal. Fuck, I should have a medal."

"Cheeky," Harry says, sliding his hands down to Nick's arse. Nick can't help but roll his hips up, giving Harry a better angle to touch him. His heart pounds. "You want something?"

"Styles, shut it."

"Ask me nicely to wank you off and I will," Harry says, kissing the corner of Nick's mouth.

"My dick's right here." Nick even waggles his hand down in the general direction of his dick, for helpful guidance purposes.

Harry rolls his eyes. "That's not asking me nicely, Nicholas."

"Harold." He tries to put a hand down between them, so he can at least do it himself, but for someone who is ninety-seven per cent spaghetti arms, Harry has quite a grip on him. He's also naked and in bed with him, so Nick's willing to make at least some concessions. "All right. It's your birthday, and you're absolutely an adult now, so will you please wank me off?"

"I wasn't a child for quite a while before today, just so you know," Harry tells him.

They've had this discussion before, and Nick is fairly sure that it's going to come up again in the future, but he doesn't regret his decision. "I know," he says. He strokes his thumb over Harry's bicep. He doesn't say, I love you, but maybe Harry gets it anyway, because his expression softens. "Where do you want me?"

Harry makes Nick sit back on his heels as he shifts, sitting up and wrapping his arms around Nick's back. They fit around each other well, once they're settled, and they're sitting in between each other's legs. Nick hooks his ankles together around Harry's back.

Sitting like this just makes it feel even more intimate, and this is weird, because Nick's never done intimate. He's done fun and hot and even perfunctory, but never intimate. Never close.

Harry tilts his chin up and kisses Nick again, running his fingertips up and over the length of Nick's spine. It's enough to make Nick breathless, and it's nothing more than a touch. He strokes his hands over Harry's sides, kissing Harry back. Need pulses through him like an insistent heartbeat, but he can't stop kissing Harry for long enough to take himself in hand.

But then Harry wraps his hand around Nick's dick, and Nick groans against Harry's mouth, even as Harry's pulling back so that he can look down between them to Nick's erection, the tip peeping out of Harry's fist.

It's quite a nice visual, all things considered.

"You can, you know, move your hand or whatever," Nick prompts, after at least five seconds where nothing happens.

"I'm building up to it," Harry tells him, still concentrating all of his attention on Nick's dick, his brow furrowed. He chews on his lip. "You don't get a first time more than once, you know."

"You don't think you could get a move on, though, could you? I mean, it's been a while." He rocks his hips just a little, trying to get a little friction on his dick. It doesn't work all that well because Harry's got quite a good hold on him. Nick might have to rethink his opinion of Harry's spaghetti arms. "Come on, Hazza. Get a wriggle on."

"You're awful," Harry says. He sounds quite delighted.

Nick has to stop being charmed by him at some point, he really does. It doesn't feel like that's going to happen any time soon, though, because Harry's stopped his very busy job of just looking at Nick's dick in favour of very, very slowly running his thumb over Nick's slit, at the tiny pearl of slick that he's making a very big deal about touching. His hips buck up.

"Jesus Christ, Harold. Are you trying to drive a man insane?"

"It's a happy side effect," Harry tells him, still sounding delighted. "Look at how quivery you get if I touch you like this, look." He strokes the crook of his finger over Nick's stomach as he runs his thumb over Nick's dick again.

"Do I look like a science experiment?" Talk about Harry being delighted, Nick's ready to roll around in how much he loves Harry right this second. He's not usually this sensitive when people touch him, but he feels a bit like he might vibrate right off the bed given another few minutes of this.

"You look exactly like a science experiment," Harry agrees. "If you'd been naked in my science lab, I'd have done better in my GCSEs."

"Harry, you got two A stars in double science, and can we not talk about you being under sixteen when you've got my dick in your hand, thank you very much."

Harry doesn't look perturbed by this, but he does make an effort to move his hand a bit. He grins at Nick, eyes bright. "You're so soft."

"Hard, you mean." He feels like he's had an erection for positively forever.

"No, but, like—your skin. It's so soft." Wonderment shouldn't be this hot, but from Harry, it just makes Nick's stomach do an odd sort of cartwheel. It's ridiculous. He presses his fingertips into Harry's skin, begging him not to stop.

"You've touched your own dick before, Harry Styles. Please don't tell me you haven't." He tries to hide how breathless he is, but he can't.

"Not anyone else's, though," Harry persists. He's still grinning, though, even as he twists his wrist a bit, and Nick's stomach does an odd, flippy thing in response that makes his breath catch in his throat. "You're my first. I'm savouring it."

"Well," Nick says, trying not to rock his hips up and force Harry's hand. "That's stupendously hot."

Harry laughs, and leans in for a kiss. "Mmm, virginity kink," he says.

"Shut it," Nick says, and kisses him back.

Harry doesn't speed up for anything, and it's like the worst kind of delicious torture, the languid fisting of Nick's dick as Harry mouths at Nick's neck. He's going to be covered in fucking love bites tomorrow. He'd complain about it if it wasn't so incredibly hot. Marked up by his boyfriend; it's almost enough to make Nick come.

Harry stops to spit on his palm, and all right, that should be revolting—and it is, he's being wanked off with Harry's spit for lube—but obviously every part of Nick that should be disgusted has fucked off on holiday, leaving nothing but a few synapses which are currently fizzing about on the floor and saying, go on without us, it's all too much.

Harry's taking him apart, one breath at a time, and it's all Nick can do to stay focused. He feels like he's two breaths away from just breaking into pieces, need skittering across his skin in a relentless pulse beat. He's not going to last long, and usually he'd be worried about how that might come across, but this time he doesn't. It's been months and months of building up to this, and he's half proud he didn't just come from that alone the moment he'd got inside the room with Harry.

Harry cups Nick's face in his other hand, and Nick shifts so that he can press his mouth to the buckle on Harry's new watch.

"God," Harry manages, tilting forward so that his forehead is touching Nick's. "Nick."

Nick whimpers at that; it's half-embarrassing, the desperate, bitten-off whine he tries to keep inside and just can't. Harry's wanking him off and he's wearing Nick's watch and this is outside of what Nick can possibly be okay with.

"Come on," Harry sounds like he's the one that's two seconds away from breaking apart, instead of Nick. "Nick, please. You have no idea how much I want to make you come. I've been waiting. All this time, Nick."

Nick kisses him then, covers Harry's mouth with his own mid-word, cutting Harry off. Harry takes a second to catch up, and then kisses him back, hand still cupping Nick's face. Nick doesn't stop even though he's breathless and making embarrassing panting noises into their kiss; Harry's hand on his dick is unrelenting, fast and hard.

"Love you," Harry tells him, breaking away for only as long as it takes for him to say it out loud; he's back kissing Nick even as Nick whines, his hips rocking up into Harry's fist, his orgasm starting to stretch across his skin, white-hot and desperate.

It still takes him by surprise; a staccato falter as Harry's thumb catches the underside of Nick's dick and all of a sudden Nick can't hold it in any more. He comes, all over Harry's fist and his stomach and god knows where else. Harry wanks him through it, and Nick can't kiss anymore. He tips forward, forehead resting against Harry's shoulder, and soon all he can hear is his own harsh breathing in the quiet of the room. He trembles through the comedown, skin burning hot.

Harry's kissing the top of his head, wiping his hand on something—the duvet, the sheets, a tissue, himself, Nick doesn't open his eyes to check—and then his hands are in Nick's hair, and he's urging him nearer so that he can kiss Nick's mouth with the kind of fierce intensity that Nick's never had, not even when he was eighteen and the world was his oyster.

"Thank you," Harry's saying, like Nick coming all over him was some kind of present. He cups Nick's face in his hands. "Fuck, Nicholas."

"Harold," Nick says, and to his surprise he sounds wrecked. He'd expected it to a certain extent after sucking Harry off, but after a hand job? The intensity in Harry's expression is exhilarating. "Harry, god."

"You were brilliant," Harry says, and Nick can't look away. "Oh my god, that was amazing."

"I came all over you," Nick says. He feels almost boneless. He's practically sprawled all over Harry, and that can't be comfortable, but he can't bring himself to move. Not just yet. He's sticky and sweaty and there's come everywhere, but he can stay here for a little bit longer.

Just a few minutes longer.

After a while they end up giving in and shifting so that they're lying together under the duvet. They've cleaned themselves up with a lick and a promise and a handful of tissues. The room's a bit chilly—it is only just February, after all—so Harry pulls the covers up over them, and fixes them so that their legs are all tangled up under the sheets, and his arms are around Nick's back. He noses at Nick's mouth, and Nick's still riding the crest of his orgasm, even though it's been more than a few minutes now, and he doesn't protest as Harry kisses him again.

Nick strokes his fingertips up and down Harry's back, and up over his shoulders and into the nape of his neck. Harry keeps beaming at him, in between kisses, and Nick can't help but laugh at the brightness of Harry's smile.

"Good birthday?" Nick asks. He's plastered to Harry from shoulder to toe, and it's sticky and sweaty but he can't bring himself to care.

"The best," Harry says, and his hand is creeping down Nick's spine, and down over the curve of Nick's arse. Nick wriggles, blushing as the buckle on Harry's watch grazes his bum. "Can I?"

It's just like Harry to ask if he can touch. "It's all yours, love," Nick says, and doesn't bother trying to parse what the exact truth of that statement actually is.

Harry looks a bit bolder at that. "Good." And then his fingertip is stroking over Nick's hole, tentative and gentle, and Nick lets out a long, ever so slightly ragged breath. "That okay?"

"Uh-huh," Nick says. It's still too near to his orgasm for him not to shiver at Harry's touch.

Harry adds a second finger, still stroking over his hole and not venturing inside. Nick doesn't know whether this is exquisite torture or a welcome interlude from actual sex; it's entirely possible that it's both.

"Do you like that?" Harry asks. Nick's trembling, and trying not to; it's not long since he came and his body still feels oversensitive and sort of unfamiliar under Harry's slow touch.

"What do you think?" Nick grazes a kiss to Harry's jaw.

"I think you're shaking," Harry says.

Nick buries his face in Harry's shoulder. "It's the good kind, I promise. It's just—I just came, that's all."

"Oh." Harry's fingers stop their gentle exploration, and Nick doesn't know whether to feel relief or desperation that they've stilled. "You want to wait a bit?"

Nick actually does, but he's always been a bit embarrassed about talking about what he likes in bed. He licks at Harry's neck, just for something to do. "Just for a few minutes, all right? We could have a Jaffa Cake and wine break."

Harry laughs at that, his fingers gone from Nick's arse.

Nick fakes indignation to cover up the fact that Harry has succeeded where most other people have failed, and has managed to take him apart with a single hand job. "Hey, I'll have you know I'm fucking classy, Harold."

"Oh yes," Harry says, and he holds his hand up, his new watch sitting comfortably around his wrist. "I know."

Fucking Harry, always disarming him when he least expects it. "It's your birthday, of course I was going to get you something nice," he says, rolling away so that he can sit up and open the wine. "You want a drink?"

"Obviously," Harry says, sprawling back across the sheets, arms wide. "And this isn't just nice, by the way."

"You're only eighteen once," Nick says, twisting the cap on the wine bottle. He should have let it breathe or some bollocks, but some things—Harry, naked, and wanting him—take precedence. "It's not a big deal, look at that giant bag of presents over there, everyone's got you stuff."

Harry strokes his knuckle down Nick's back as Nick pours them both wine. He rolls onto his side and leans in to kiss Nick's hip, propping himself up on his elbow. "It means something to me."

"I know." Nick concentrates on pouring the wine, and not on Harry sprawled across the sheets next to him. He literally has no idea how Harry is so open about how he feels. Nick hates being open with people, it's just an invitation to get fucked over. He finishes pouring them both a glass, and screws the bottle shut. Knowing them they'd knock it over and get it all over the carpet. He opens the Jaffa Cakes, stealing one before shoving the box in Harry's general direction, and then opens the drawer in the bedside table, where he'd hidden a tube of lube and a packet of condoms earlier. They sit, unsettlingly, on top of a Gideon bible. He shuts the drawer on the bible, and puts the lube and condom down on the pillow, in easy reach, and passes Harry his wine.

Harry sits up so he can lean on the bolster, and takes a sip. He's staring at the condoms and the lube, skin flushed pink.

"We don't have to," Nick says. "Just so we didn't have to stop for supplies if we, you know, wanted to."

Harry takes another sip of wine, and makes a face at Nick. He's still flushed. It's good that Nick is coming to recognise how Harry looks when he's turned on, bright eyed and flushed, his bottom lip all bitten red. "If you think for one second that I haven't been wanking myself stupid for the last fucking year, Nick, imagining fucking you, or like, you fucking me—"

"Oh."

Harry nods, biting his lip again. "Yeah."

"Right." Nick helps himself to a Jaffa Cake. "Want one?"

Harry takes two. He starts to take one apart with his teeth, layer by layer. Cakey-biscuit first, then the chocolate flakes off the top, until it's just an orange slither of Jaffa left on his tongue.

"That's revolting," Nick says, absolutely charmed.

"You love it," Harry says, around the Jaffa slither. He swallows it down, and grins.

"Only a bit," Nick says. He eats his normally, one bite at a time. "Um, the wanking thing."

"Yep," Harry nods, and starts taking apart his second Jaffa Cake. "All the time, Nick. You have no idea. I've come so much this year I reckon there's like, a national shortage of come, or something."

"Is that a thing?" Nick asks, a little distracted at the sight of Harry doing things with his mouth. It can only get worse when he breaks out the chocolate fingers.

Harry snorts. "It should be." He takes another gulp of wine. "Hey, do you think I can finger you?"

Nick thinks, fuck it, and downs the rest of his wine. He dumps his glass down on the bedside table. "Absolutely. Let's do it now."

"Greedy," Harry says, and passes him another Jaffa Cake. He shoves a whole one in his mouth, and then leans in for a faintly revolting, Jaffa Cake-tinged kiss. His hand spans Nick's jaw, thumb stroking his cheek. "Can I fuck you afterwards?"

"Uh-huh," Nick says, against Harry's mouth. "I think that could work."

"Brilliant," Harry says, sitting back and drinking the rest of his wine so he can leave the empty glass and the remains of the Jaffa Cakes over on his side of the bed. "Where do you want me?"

Getting themselves sorted takes more organisational skills than Nick has right now, and he's not afraid to admit it. In the end, he ends up in the middle of the bed—resting on that damned bolster—with his hips propped up on a pillow, and Harry plastered to his side.

"So," Nick says, when they've both stared at each other for a bit and not much else has happened. "This is nice, right?"

"Very nice," Harry agrees. He's absent-mindedly stroking at one of Nick's nipples, his gaze fixed on Nick's.

"Are you, um—well. Are you going to get started any time soon?"

"Shush," Harry says. "I want to remember every last moment of this, so stop complaining."

"Do I look like a telly programme you can just watch?" Nick complains. He's not fully hard yet, still nursing a semi, and he's fairly sure his boyfriend should by paying more attention to that than the contours of his face or whatever Harry's staring at. Honestly, this boy. "Are you composing a sonnet, or something?"

"Or something," Harry says, propped up on his elbows. He darts in to lick at Nick's jaw. "Anyway, I like it when you get all grumpy."

"I'm not grumpy," Nick tells him, grumpily. "It's just that I have a dick, and—"

"I know you have a dick," Harry says, and without looking down, he slides his hand over and wraps his fist around him. "I have a dick too, would you like to see that?"

Nick makes a sound that is most definitely English and not some kind of nonsense stream of syllables.

Harry laughs at him, and rolls onto his back, letting go of Nick's dick. "Look," he says. He holds his hands out, framing his dick. "Willy."

"God, I hate you." Nick doesn't, not one tiny, miniscule bit, and Harry fucking knows that, which is probably exactly why he's wearing that particular brand of smirk. He's hard, and his dick is bigger and fatter than Nick's. Nick isn't jealous, or anything, but he'd really rather they both stop looking at each other's dicks and move on to the next stage in proceedings. His previous orgasm has receded enough that Nick's ready for round two, and he's bored of waiting.

"I hate you too," Harry says, and to prove it, he rolls back over and covers Nick's mouth with his own, tongue darting out. He laughs against Nick's mouth, and Nick takes a hold of his wrists, his heart skipping when he finds the watch to curve his hand around. Harry deepens the kiss, rolling on top of him, limbs going untidily everywhere.

It's easy just to kiss like this for a while, Nick's grip on Harry's wrists loosening, his thumb brushing over the leather of Harry's watch strap as Harry kisses him open. Harry shifts up onto his knees, rocking back against Nick's dick as they kiss, and Harry's dick leaves a slick trail across Nick's stomach. Every time his dick brushes Harry's arse, Nick's breath catches in his throat, and Harry catches it on his tongue and kisses him again.

It's just—it's lovely, all right? It's lovely, being kissed like this, and being wanted like this, and—sod it—being loved like this. For this one night, and one night only, Nick's going to let himself enjoy being the focus of Harry's undivided attention, and he's not going to worry about being an old perv or moving to London or if Harry's family are going to accept him shagging Harry as easily as they've accepted him in Harry's life. He's just going to have it all, just for this one night.

He smiles into Harry's kiss, and Harry smiles back, one hand in Nick's hair, fucking up his quiff. Love you, Nick thinks, and the world doesn't end, so he thinks it again. Love you.

"You ready?" Harry asks, in between kisses.

Nick nods. "Yeah," he says, and Harry rolls off him, and reaches for the lube. "Aren't you going to ask me if it's gross or revolting or anything?" It is an arse, after all.

"Nope," Harry says, cracking the lid up on the lube. "Hey, I was going to ask. Will you come with me to buy a vibrator?"

No, that noise that Nick just made really was just nonsense syllables. "A vibrator?" He hasn't actually made a noise that high-pitched in a while.

"Yep." Harry squeezes some lube onto his fingers, and dumps the tube back onto the pillow. "I've been trying it with my fingers, but I really want a vibrator. Or a dildo, I suppose, but a vibrator would be cool."

"For yourself?"

Harry rolls his eyes, and drops a kiss to Nick's shoulder. "That is the idea. Except if you want one. Or if you want me to use it on you, I suppose. That could work. Is that a thing you might want?"

Harry, fucking him with a vibrator? Jesus. "Is that a question? Yes?"

"Sick," Harry says, positioning himself back on his side to slide his hand between Nick's legs. "Let's do that, then."

This boy is going to be the death of him. The actual death of him.

Which is when Harry strokes a lube-slick finger over Nick's hole and Nick makes a totally reasonable and not at all loud whine.

"Yeah?" Harry asks.

"Uh-huh." Nick tries not to press down onto Harry's fingers this early in proceedings. He needs a bit of self-respect, at least, and letting on that he's this needy and desperate this early on is a bit crap at best.

Harry adds a second finger, but doesn't speed up. Asking Harry to hurry up is a pointless experience; he does things at his own speed and won't take direction.

Anyway, Nick is already a mess, and it hasn't even been a minute. When Harry's thumb catches on the underside of his balls, Nick makes a strangled, whimpering noise. He'd be embarrassed about it, but for all of Harry's refusal to take direction, or even speed up if he doesn't want to, Harry appears to be fairly good at picking up on both visual and verbal cues, so he does it again. Nick wants to crawl up inside of himself and never come out. He wants to draw his knees up to his chest and have Harry touch him over and over.

Harry slides the tip of his finger inside of Nick whilst Nick's in the midst of contemplating becoming hedgehog-like, and he scrabbles for Harry's other hand as Harry crooks his finger.

"Oh, god," he says, as Harry slides his hand into Nick's, and squeezes. "Do that again."

"What, this?" Harry crooks his finger, sliding deeper inside of Nick. Nick's never going to get over how dirty this is, having someone inside of him. Even after all these years. "Fuck, Nick, you're so tight. And hot."

"Yeah?" Nick tries not to curl his toes into the sheets like some kind of cliché, but he can't help it. "Tell me."

"I'm inside of you," Harry says, in disbelief. He slides his finger out, and then back in again. He strokes inside of Nick with the tip of his finger, and Nick lets out a ragged breath as Harry does it again. "I'm doing this to you."

Nick wants to laugh, because Harry is—and always will be—crap at telling stories, but he can't, because Harry's fucking him, and it's the beginning of the end. Harry's taking him apart, one slow finger at a time, and if there's one time to be appreciative of Harry's slow, measured way of tackling life, it's now.

In the end, he has to beg Harry to add a second finger, and when he slides that in alongside the first, Nick lets out a long, desperate whimper even as Harry curls his fingers.

"God, you're so hot," Harry says, leaning in to press a kiss to the centre of Nick's chest.

"Literally," Nick tries to laugh, but sweat's prickling across his skin.

"Literally, figuratively, whatever." He nips his teeth over Nick's nipple, and Nick's hips buck up.

"Christ, who taught you to do that?" He doesn't sound quite as in control as he would like.

"I'm a quick learner," Harry says, still sliding his fingers in and out of Nick's arse with slow, gentle precision. He turns his attention to Nick's other nipple, running his tongue over it and clearly refusing to make any attempt at speeding up. "And I wanted to. I want to touch you everywhere."

Nick tries to press down onto Harry's fingers. "Harry."

"You ready for another finger, babe?"

Nick will allow the babe to pass for now. Well, forever, really. He's not fussy. Harry can call him whatever he wants, whenever he wants, if he's honest. "Please, yes."

"Yeah," Harry says, and then there's the blunt press of a third finger alongside Harry's first two, and Nick would care what he looks like, laid out and begging like he is, but he just—he can't. All he can do is whine, a long ragged breath that doesn't let up until Harry's all the way inside of him. Harry's other hand is still in Nick's, and Nick holds on with grim determination, desperate to at least remember that there's a ground somewhere beneath them, and he's rooted to it.

Then Harry curls his fingers inside of him, just a little twist of his wrist, and Nick's vision goes soft at the edges, pale and breathless. He cries out, his hips rocking up.

"What—" Harry says, his fingers stilling. "Nick?"

"God, fuck," Nick manages. "Do that again. Whatever you did, do it again."

"Is that—"

It isn't as if Nick hasn't done his fair share of sliding his fingers inside of other people, and it isn't like people finding his prostate is new to him either, but perhaps it's just Harry touching him there that makes him want to float off the bed. "Yeah." He lets out a long, long breath. "Fuck, do it again."

And Harry does. Nick twists on the sheets, desperately trying to get more, to feel more, to catch whatever Harry's doing to him and just keep it, forever.

"I want to fuck you," Harry says, his voice low. He shifts so that he can touch his mouth to Nick's. "I really, really want to fuck you."

Nick can't think of anything to say that isn't, yes.

It takes Harry a minute or so to get the condom on and squeeze out more lube. It's another few endless seconds for him to get himself in to position, lining himself up. His dick bumps into Nick's erection, and then his balls, and Nick manages a healthy squeak of anticipation as Harry's dick makes its merry way back towards Nick's arse. Obviously it would have been nice if Harry didn't meander quite as much as he was doing, but Nick can't have everything. Anyway, judging by the smirk Harry's wearing, Nick has no real hope of speeding him up.

"Ready?" Harry asks.

"As I'll ever be," Nick says, and he reaches for Harry's hand, lacing his fingers in with Harry's, and pulling him closer so that he can kiss Harry's knuckles.

Something in Harry's expression loosens, and he lets out a breath. "I really, really want to fuck you." He sounds anticipatory, his voice a little rougher than normal.

"That's good," Nick says, nodding. "You can get on with that any time you want, you know." He rolls his hips up a bit, not caring that he's giving Harry a right old show. "Any time you want."

"Stop whining, Nicholas." Harry sits back on his heels, and lines himself up.

There's the gentle, insistent pressure of Harry's dick against his arse, and then he's pushing in, and Nick's breath lets out in one long oh.

"Nick—" Harry sounds kind of overwhelmed. He's bollock deep in Nick's arse, and he's not moving anywhere. His thighs are quivering. "Fuck."

"Yeah," Nick scrabbles for Harry's hand again, squeezing his fingers. Harry's inside of him. It's not new, this feeling. This gorgeous desperation; the heavy weight of being filled up. He fucking loves it. He's not new to being fucked, but Harry's new to fucking, and god, this is Harry's first time. He's picked Nick for his first time, and it makes Nick's heart pound, and the hairs on the back of his arms stand up on end if he thinks about that for more than a second. "God, Harry."

"Can I—are you—"

"You feel so good," Nick tells him. "Fuck, Harry, you feel like—it feels—I don't know. It's so good."

"It's so tight," Harry sounds almost dazed, his voice low and rough. "You're so tight around me. It's so hot."

"You can move," Nick says, meaning, please move. "You can fuck me. Please."

And Harry does; he rolls his hips up and slides out, and then in again, and desire ripples across Nick's skin like fire. If it feels anything like as good to Harry as it does to Nick right now then it must be fucking incredible.

Sweat prickles across Nick's skin, and his fat, hard dick is leaking up against his belly, flushed red. He feels so needy. He wants Harry to touch him everywhere, wants to feel him all over. He can't help but take his dick in hand, palm catching the pre come that's beading across his tip. He should have got lube for himself, but it's too late now. Harry's leaning down low over him and his hand bumps into Harry's stomach as he moves his hand on his dick.

Harry hisses in a ragged breath on Nick's every up-stroke, every time Nick touches him, and Nick just wants to make him look and sound like this forever. Harry's face is flushed, and he's fucking Nick with the kind of focus that Nick doesn't often get to see. Harry's tentative but not shy in the way that he moves. He's flushed right the way down his chest. Nick wants to touch him everywhere, but he settles for running his hands over Harry's thighs, hooking his legs round Harry's waist and trying to draw him in even closer. He just wants to be nearer. He wants it all. He wants to know the way Harry looks when he orgasms just as intimately as he knows his own warning signs.

For tonight, and tonight only, he's letting himself want it all.

He tries to sit up to wrap an arm around Harry's neck, drawing him down for a kiss. Harry's rhythm falters as he stumbles forward into Nick's arms, but Nick doesn't care. He wants to be kissing him even more than he wants to be fucked, and the two things vie for supremacy in his head, even as Harry's breathing fast and hard against his mouth. Their teeth clash as they kiss, and Nick breathes into Harry's kiss, Harry doing the exact same thing back to him before Nick sinks back onto the pillows.

When Harry's dick bumps up against Nick's prostate, heat flares across his skin, star-bright. It takes his vision for a moment, head tipped back against the bolster. He whines, yeah, yeah, god, again, yeah¬—and Harry rocks his hips up again, just the same way.

"You're going to make me come," Harry tells him, breathless. His hips snap up, sliding back inside of Nick until Nick can feel Harry's balls up against his arse. So deep. So, so deep.

He's still seeing fucking stars, and Harry's every single last one of them, and more.

Nick wanks himself off, unable to think of anything other than his imminent orgasm. He can feel it starting to crest. "Come in me," he begs, before he can think better of it, and Harry cries out at that, a strangled moan as his hips roll forward.

When Harry starts to come, all Nick can think about is that Harry's inside of him, inside of him, and it's so filthily, desperately intimate that he can't even manage coherent thoughts any more. He's so close to coming himself, still fisting his dick, and Harry's hips rock a loose, almost lazy rhythm through his orgasm.

He slides out of Nick almost immediately, and Nick wants to cry with the loss. He wants to draw Harry back in, wants more of him, wants that feeling of fullness and need satisfied again. He's so close.

Harry—sweaty and fierce and still flushed red—leans in to press his mouth to Nick's hip, to the curve of his hip. He noses at Nick's hand, mouth so close to Nick's balls, and Nick can't cope with that. He's almost there, almost at the edge, his hand a blur on his dick.

"Harry," he gasps, and he reaches for him almost without realising he's doing it, hand to his shoulder. "God, Harry."

Harry scrambles up the bed and covers Nick's mouth with his own. "Come for me," he begs, and Nick can't breathe any more. It sounds harsh to his own ears, his laboured breathing. "Want to see what you look like, coming from my dick inside of you."

Nick whines, unable to help himself.

"I fucked you," Harry goes on. "And oh my god, you felt good. Did it feel good? Me fucking you? So tight, Nicholas. You were so tight, and so hot, and you felt so good."

Nick comes with a ragged, desperate breath, pulses of come striping his stomach and his hand. He covers his eyes with his other arm, and tries to ride the wave of his orgasm and not fall apart from the inside out. It feels like he might just shatter, right here on the hotel bed with Harry beside him, plastering himself to Nick's side and rubbing his nose over Nick's throat like he wasn't a sweaty, desperate mess.

"Christ," Nick says, a minute later. His voice sounds wrecked.

"Yeah," Harry says, and buries his face in Nick's shoulder. "God, no one told me it would feel like that."

Nick's disgusting and he could probably do with at least a shower, and possibly some kind of industrial hose down, but instead of making any kind of a move towards the bathroom, he wraps his arms around Harry's shoulders.

"Yeah," Harry says again, hugging him back. Unpeeling themselves from each other is going to be a revolting task, Nick can tell.

It's one that can wait, though. At least for a few minutes.

It takes him three minutes to come to himself again.

Christ, he just took Harry Styles' virginity. He sits up with a jolt, and unpeeling himself from Harry's side is—as he expected—a faintly horrible and sticky procedure. "You're not a virgin anymore."

Harry snorts, and sneaks his hand into the small of Nick's back, down by the cleft of his arse. "Nope."

Nick tries not to let on that he's ticklish, but it's easier said than done. He wriggles. "Hands off, Styles. My bum is totally off limits right now."

Harry sneaks his fingers a bit further down.

"Oi." He wriggles away. "How's it feel?"

"Virginity is a heteronormative concept," Harry tells him, leaning in to kiss Nick's hip. "What bit of tonight made me not a virgin?"

"Stop it with your book learning and your clever thoughts, Harold. Be a love and nip over there for the chocolate fingers, will you?"

Harry rolls his eyes, but dutifully hops out of bed and over to the desk. It's quite nice, all things considered, getting to watch Harry be naked and doing stuff. Nick could get behind this as a series of life choices. "You've got a degree, though. Don't you think it's interesting?" Harry asks. "Like, the point of virginity? Between being one and not being one? Me and Liam were talking about it. Like, he said he wasn't a virgin any more after he and Louis wanked each other off. I mean, you said that to him, too. In KFC. And I fingered Becka Humphreys once and I still think I was one up until, like, ten minutes ago. Well, an hour ago. You sucking me off counts, right?"

"I've got part of a degree," Nick says, trying not to think over the part where he didn't actually finish too closely. He doesn't particularly want to think about sucking Harry off either, as that way meant extra erections and he'd had enough of those for this half hour at least.

"You've got more of a degree than not."

"Suppose. And did Liam really use the word heteronormative? I mean, I love that kid, but I don't use the word heteronormative."

"Jesy and Perrie taught us it. And Jade. Liam uses it once a day now. Twice on Sundays."

Nick can't be bothered to figure out if Harry's taking the piss or not. He needs a shower; he's kind of revolting. "How do you fancy showering?" he asks, tapping Harry's thigh with his fingertips.

"Alone, or with you?"

Nick carefully strokes his fingers over Harry's knee. "You've seen that shower, right? It's big enough for two."

"Haven't actually," Harry says. He's torn open the chocolate finger packet and has a fist full. He arranges them so that they're poked up between his fingers like the spines of a hedgehog, and then holds his hand out. "A chocolate finger, Nicholas?"

"Don't mind if I do," Nick bends his head and steals one from in between Harry's first and second finger. "So, shower?"

Harry shares the rest of his hedgehog of chocolate fingers out, and then stuffs all of his in his mouth at once. It's awful and revolting, especially when he gives Nick a chocolatey, gummy smile.

"God, you're terrible," Nick says, admiringly.

"I know," Harry says, and resorts to licking his chocolatey way into Nick's mouth. "Isn't it brilliant?"

It's remarkable how much that turns Nick on. He kisses Harry back, messily, and then pulls away to eat the rest of his slightly-melting handful. "Shower," he says, mid-mouthful, because it's only been a minute and there's chocolate fucking everywhere. Harry is a fucking liability. It's quite delicious. He shoves Harry towards the edge of the bed. "Go on, get in there, you brilliantly revolting thing."

Harry strikes a pose. "You love me," he says, and does what is quite possibly the worst dancing that Nick has ever, ever seen as he shimmies into the bathroom.

Nick finishes eating his chocolate fingers, and meditates for a bit on the fact that he's really rather in love, as he listens to Harry turning the shower on.

"Hey," Harry says, sticking his head round the bathroom door. "I'm having terrible trouble with the soap. I think I might have forgotten how to wash myself."

"Oh no," Nick says, in as serious a voice as he can possibly manage. "What will you do?"

"Go dirty for the rest of my days, I think." Harry makes a sad, frowny sort of a face. "Do you think there's anything that can be done for me?"

"I suspect there's some kind of biohazard exclusion zone we can set up round you after the smell gets really bad."

"Sexy," Harry says. "What about in the meantime?"

"I don't know," Nick says. "Do you think maybe if I scrubbed your back that would help?"

"Not sure. Depends if you're going to wash my hair at the same time."

"Hmmm." Nick pretends to ponder it for a minute. "It is asking quite a lot."

"I'm just saying, but if you got your arse in here in the next five seconds, there could be kissing too."

Nick doesn't scramble off the bed, but it's a close run thing.

"Hi," Harry says, as Nick kicks the bathroom door shut behind them and wraps his arms round Harry's waist, walking him backwards towards the shower. "What happened to the exclusion zone? Biohazard?"

"Don't care," Nick says, nudging at Harry's mouth with his own, tilting Harry's chin up so that he can kiss him for real. "They can do one of those chemical shower things afterwards, spray me down with a hosepipe or whatever."

"I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Like in Monster's Inc., when the monsters touch humans. Shut up, stop laughing." He pushes Harry back into the shower, under the spray. "I'm too busy and distracted to think of proper examples."

"I'll be your distraction any day of the week," Harry tells him, hands sliding down to Nick's hips. Luckily the water pressure is good enough—and warm enough—that Nick's shiver can probably (hopefully) go unnoticed. He concentrates on kissing Harry instead, stroking his finger down Harry's cheek, and cupping his face in his hands as he draws him in for another kiss.

They stay under there for ages, and Nick thinks it might be what kissing in the rain is like. If it was raining really, really hard and people were naked. And it was inside. He tries to tell Harry what he's thinking, but Harry just laughs at him, and reaches for the shampoo.

"I'm very special and unique," Nick says, once it's become clear that Harry's still laughing at him, and is not-so-patiently waiting for Nick to wash his hair for him. Nick's fingers have gone all pruney from standing under the spray for so long, kissing Harry's stupid and ridiculous and brilliant mouth until they're both mostly hard again, and the water's proving more of a hindrance than a help to actual breathing.

Harry doesn't say anything to that, just letting out the kind of low groan that should probably be illegal when Nick starts massaging Harry's scalp, fingers shampoo-slick. Harry drops his head forward until his chin is resting on his chest, and Nick can't help but think that this is the mental image he wants to take from tonight, the two of them in the shower together, water running in rivulets down Harry's golden skin as Nick shampoos his hair.

He leans in to press a kiss to the back of Harry's neck, before the soap runs down his skin and gets in the way. Harry reaches one hand back, to keep him near. They stay like that, with Harry pressed to his front, Nick's arms around him, mouth pressed to his skin.

"Come on," Nick says finally, when he's finally reached the limit for embarrassing romantic moments that involve a lot of water. "Let's go back to bed."

Harry laughs at that, and then takes over washing the shampoo out of his hair as Nick quickly washes his. They stumble out of the shower, getting water everywhere. They'd forgotten to put the bath mat down before getting in, and forgotten to put the towels somewhere more convenient than the shelf where they were kept, over the other side of the bathroom.

Nick spends a gloriously uninterrupted five seconds staring at the long length of Harry's legs as he bends over to dry himself, taking in the curve of Harry's arse and the weight of his dick, hanging down and just visible through the gap between his legs. It's oddly intimate, seeing him naked, and it not being anything sexual.

"Oi," Harry says. "Eyes up here, Nicholas."

Well, that sexual, anyway.

"Make me," Nick says, lazily looking him up and down.

Harry just waggles his arse in Nick's direction instead.

Nick manages about two seconds straight faced before dissolving into laughter. After that, it descends into a race for who can get dry the quickest, and Nick chooses to play dirty by shaking his hair like a dog in Harry's general direction.

"You're terrible," Harry says, and he tries to steal Nick's towel, grabbing it and flicking the corner of it at Nick's legs.

Nick snorts, trying to dart out of the way. "Just jealous you didn't think of it first," he says, calling himself dry and heading back into the bedroom. "Do you want tea, or wine?"

"Wine," Harry says, following him out. He wraps his arms around Nick's waist from behind, stumbling them both towards the bed. His dick is up against Nick's arse. Nick quite likes how that feels. "Wine, then tea. Because we're classy."

"Dead classy," Nick agrees, sliding his hands into Harry's, and pulling him onto the bed. He makes a half-hearted attempt at pushing the pillows up into something resembling a nest, and then pulls Harry down into his lap.

Harry leans in and kisses him, sliding an arm around Nick's neck. "Hi," he says.

"Hi," Nick says, one arm around Harry's waist. He leans past him to grab the wine bottle and the chocolate fingers. He doesn't bother with glasses, this time, uncapping the bottle and taking a swig. He holds it out for Harry to take. "Wine, good sir?"

"Why, thank you," Harry takes the bottle. He moves so that he's sitting with his legs over Nick's thighs, cheek pressed to his shoulder. "It's better without glasses."

Nick drops a kiss to the top of his head. "Course it is. Everything's better if it's a bit naughty, innit? Proper bad manners, drinking out of the bottle. I mean, it's no, ain't got no manners cos I eat with my fingers, but it's sort of pushing it. Like, my mum would tell me off for this."

"You're making up sentences again, and pretending they make sense," Harry says, rubbing his cheek against Nick's shoulder. "Who's eating with their fingers?"

"Oh my god," Nick says. He's actually, literally, genuinely appalled. "Stick 'em up punk, hit 'em low, hit 'em high?"

"Now you're just doing it on purpose," Harry says, taking another long drink. "This wine's nice."

"It was on special offer in Waitrose," Nick says. "Tell me you know, one, two, three, four, 5ive will make you get down." He makes a half-arsed attempt at doing the dance, counting up on his fingers.

"Nope." Harry pretends to bite Nick's shoulder. "Do you want more wine?"

"In a minute." Nick reaches for his phone. This has to be rectified immediately. There's free WiFi, because the hotel is posh and isn't a Premier Inn, so he'd already taken advantage of it earlier in the day when he was having a nervous breakdown about this whole thing being the stupidest idea he's ever had. He loads up YouTube and searches for 5ive, and Everybody Get Up. "Look at this. This is the shit I had to grow up with." And by shit, he means—well, he means shit, but the addictive kind. Pop music is his favourite thing on the planet, even the stuff that's got lyrics like this one. I'm the bad boy that you invite for dinner.

"What are you even showing me?" Harry usually shows at least some interest in whatever piece of musical history Nick thrusts at him as a faintly regular occurrence, but he sounds a little confused right now. 5ive will do that to you. They do it to Nick, and Nick's watched this video a lot, over the years.

"Just be glad you've only been an adult for twenty-four hours," Nick tells him, shifting so that he's got his arm around Harry's shoulders and he can get a good look at the phone screen. "This is what I had to grow up with."

"Boy bands crashing GCSE exams?"

"Listen to the lyrics, Harold."

Harry rolls his eyes, and kisses Nick instead. "How about you just send me the link, and I promise that I'll watch it at home, and email you all of my thoughts."

"But, ain't got no manners cause I eat with my fingers," Nick protests.

"You keep saying that," Harry says, stroking his fingers down Nick's cheek. "It's like you think it means something."

"It does." Nick can sulk for Britain if he puts his mind to it, but he's not sure he can be bothered right now. He pokes Harry in the side instead.

"All right," Harry says, and he puts Nick's phone down on the bed beside them, and shifts so that he's kneeling up over him. "I believe you." The video keeps playing even as Harry leans in to kiss him, hands going to Nick's shoulders.

Nick tilts his chin up and lets himself be kissed, his hands sliding down into the small of Harry's back. His skin is still warm from the shower, and Nick can't get enough of it, stroking his way down over Harry's arse, over his thighs and back up again, up and along his spine to the curve of his shoulders. God, he could touch him all over, forever, and never grow tired of it.

Harry's half-hard again, his dick pressed up against Nick's stomach. Christ, are they going to go again?

But Harry doesn't make any move to speed it up. He cups Nick's face in his hand, fingertips splayed over Nick's jaw, and tangles his other hand in Nick's wet hair.

Nick has no fucking idea what his hair is going to look like in the morning, but he very much suspects that they're far beyond the point where Harry is going to break up with him for having awful morning hair. Or, at least, he hopes so.

"Are you going to break up with me if I have terrible morning hair?" he asks, breaking away from Harry's kiss.

Harry rolls his eyes, and wraps an arm around Nick's shoulders. "No?" he says. "I'm probably just going to think it's cute, to be honest."

"I'm not cute," Nick says, affronted. "I'm like—handsome, or something. I'm not cute."

"You are," Harry says. He strokes Nick's hair away from his forehead. He kisses Nick's nose. It makes Nick's stomach flip over. "I mean, I think you're handsome as well." He kisses the corner of Nick's mouth. "The handsomest, really. Shut up, don't make that face. It's my birthday, and I'm a bit drunk, and you've done all this for me. The least I can do is drink wine and tell you I think you're handsome. Dead hot, really. Most handsome. Shush, I'm trying to tell you how hot you are. Don't distract me."

"I know how hot I am," Nick says, before he's had a chance to think it all over. He feels warm all over, and he's not sure if it's residual heat from the shower, or having a lap full of Harry, or Harry telling him he's handsome.

"You're brilliant," Harry goes on, and Nick suspects the wine has just hit him, because Harry's waxing lyrical about how great he is, and that's got to be in some part down to the alcohol. "You're amazing, and you got me this amazing watch—" he looks down at his wrist. "Crap, I took it off to get in the shower." He hops off the bed. "Be right back, hang on."

Nick's left looking down at his half-hard dick. He locks his phone and dumps it on the bedside table, grabbing another couple of chocolate fingers. Sex has made him hungry. Maybe he should have thought to bring something more substantial than chocolate biscuits. A sandwich, perhaps. Some kind of nut-and-seed-filled energy bar, something to keep them going into the small hours. He takes another gulp of the wine. He can feel the warmth slowly slide across his skin; he takes another drink.

Harry comes back from the bathroom, watch held out. "Put it on me," he says, doing a kind of hop, skip and a jump back onto the bed.

Christ, he is drunk. Nick starts to laugh, because so is he, and because he's just watched Harry's dick do a jaunty little bouncing thing in time with Harry's hop, skip and jump. "Can't you put it on yourself?"

"Don't want to," Harry sulks. "Want you to do it. And it's my birthday."

"Now who's adorable," Nick says, almost without thinking.

Harry laughs, and rubs his nose across Nick's cheek. "I'm drunk."

"Me too," Nick agrees. He buckles the watch around Harry's wrist. "Are you sure you want to sleep in that?"

"Never taking it off," Harry says, holding his hand out for the wine bottle. Nick hands it over, and then fumbles with the switches by the headboard so that the lamps turn on and the big light goes off. "Sexy," Harry says, sprawling across the pillows, feet tangled with Nick's. "You're turning the atmosphere on."

"Nah," Nick says, reaching for the wine. "Atmosphere's already here." He shifts a little, making Harry move too, so that he can pull the covers up and over them both. Harry nestles into his side, arm across Nick's stomach.

"Love you," Harry says, mouth pressed to Nick's chest.

"Yeah," Nick says, since he doesn't actually say I love you apart from in his head. That text message on his phone about the room in London is weighing on his mind. There is a disjoint somewhere inside of him; there's the part of him that wants nothing more than Harry, but there's the other part of him that knows Harry's going off to uni in six months' time, and the part of him that's so desperately bored of his job that some days he thinks he could go mad from it. There's opportunity in London that there just isn't here. His dreams weigh heavy on his mind.

Anyway, he's not stupid enough to think that Harry will feel the same way about him when he's living away from home as he does now.

He just—he has to live in the moment, for now, at least. Enjoy this whilst he still can.

He presses a kiss to Harry's forehead, and Harry grins up at him, lazy and clearly more than a bit drunk.

"This is the best night ever, just so you know."

"To think I almost didn't tell you about it in case you said no."

"Nicholas," Harry says, bumping his foot into Nick's ankle repeatedly. "Sometimes you're a bit of an idiot."

"Yeah," Nick says, using it as an excuse to hug Harry a bit harder. "Expect I am, really."

They fall asleep after a bit. The wine's gone, and so have the remains of the Jaffa Cakes. The lamps are dimmed down as far as they'll go, and Harry's voice goes slow and heavy before he falls asleep right in the middle of a sentence. Nick would make fun of him for it, but he's almost out himself.

He falls asleep between on breath and the next, cheek pillowed on Harry's shoulder.

~*~

Nick wakes up to Harry kissing his neck, one hand in his hair.

"What time is it?" he asks, still more than half asleep and groggy.

Harry rubs his nose over Nick's jaw. "No idea," he says. "Early."

"Anyone would think you hadn't got a new watch," Nick says. He tries not to open his eyes. If he's still pretending to be asleep, that's almost the same as actually being asleep, right? "Or that you didn't go to sleep wearing it."

"I'm an idiot." They'd fallen asleep with the lamps on the night before, and the light casts the room in a soft, warm glow. Harry checks his watch. "It's just after six."

"That's the middle of the night, Harold." Nick tries to cover his eyes with his arm. "Especially on a Saturday."

"I know," Harry says, kissing his cheek, and then his chin, and then his other cheek. "It's just—it's still my birthday if it isn't morning yet, right?"

"By some stretch of the imagination, yes." Nick's mouth is dry and tastes a bit like something's died a red wine-shaped death in it. He reaches for a chocolate finger, which isn't toothpaste but has to do something towards ensuring he tastes a bit more like a human being without him having to leave the comfort of their bed. Harry steals the other half of the chocolate finger. "So, like, what does the fact it's still your birthday mean, then?"

Harry grins at him, and rubs his toes down Nick's calf. "I was thinking, Nicholas," he kisses the corner of Nick's mouth again, and Nick can taste sleep and chocolate on his lips. "Nick-o-laaaaaas."

"Get on with it, Styles. This is valuable sleeping time."

Harry rests his chin on Nick's shoulder. "I was thinking, that um, maybe I could ride you." He looks up at him with a bright, hopeful gaze, and strokes his thumb over one of Nick's nipples. "I mean, only if you wanted. Obviously. But it is still my birthday."

It isn't Harry's birthday, and it hasn't been for six whole hours now, but that's neither here nor there. Nick's dick has already made a bit of an attempt at jumping to attention—or at least managed to go from asleep to half-hard without much attention from himself—and there are only so many ways to respond to Harry Styles asking if he can ride him, and Nick picks the closest and most obvious answer. "Yes? I mean, well, yes?"

"You don't sound very sure about it," Harry says, in a way that suggests he knows that Nick is very, very sure of his answer.

"I'm sure," Nick says decisively. Nick is quite clear about that. He has a bed full of his naked boyfriend, and okay, he has a bit of a head on him from the booze last night and the lack of sleep, but nothing that's going to stop him from kissing Harry back. He slides his hands down to Harry's hips, tugging him over so that his knees are either side of Nick's thighs. "That's better. Now, you going to kiss me, or what?"

Harry laughs at that, and ducks his head. He cups Nick's face in his hands, and kisses him so, so slowly, and infinitely gently.

"Oh," Nick says, as Harry kisses him again, just the same. His breath slides gently out of him, in one slow movement, and Harry smiles down at him, sleep-sweet and only a little bit stale.

He slides his arms around Harry's back and draws him in again, for another slow kiss.

Harry—who really never takes direction if he doesn't want to—refuses to let it speed up, and in the end, Nick stops trying to make him. If Harry wants to kneel over Nick and kiss him at the speed of a dawdling snail, then Nick's going to let him, because he's Harry, and Nick fucking adores him, and it's the middle of the night so he's going to let thoughts like that slip past him without any form of redress.

"Remember how you said you'd come with me to buy a vibrator?" Harry says after a bit, thumbs pressed to Nick's jaw, tilting his chin up.

"I remember," Nick says, which is as close as he can come to, like I could ever, ever forget that. He strokes his hand up and down Harry's back. His skin is still sleep-warm.

"We should do that sooner rather than later," he says, kissing Nick again. "I'll have birthday money."

"You can't use your birthday money to buy a vibrator, Harold," Nick says. "What will you tell Auntie Mavis you spent her money on? A giant fake cock?"

"I haven't got an Auntie Mavis," Harry says, kissing Nick's jaw. "I won't ever have to tell her anything."

"Not quite the point." It's very hard to pay attention to things that aren't Harry when he's kissing him and touching him the way that he is. A lap full of Harry Styles and his brain is about ready to sneak out of his ears. "You can't tell your nan you used her crisp twenty pound note to buy a five inch shaft."

"I'd tell her it was a back massager," Harry doesn't relent. He rolls his hips down against Nick's cock, and if Nick wasn't completely hard five seconds ago then he most definitely is now. "Anyway, not the point, Nicholas." He grinds down against him again, and Nick's about to give up wondering what the point actually is.

Harry leans in to press his mouth to Nick's ear. "Gonna need something to remind me of you, after this. Can't go back to my fingers if I've ridden you, can I?"

Nick makes a noise that most definitely doesn't sound anything like, nrgh. It has more vowel sounds, for a start. He makes an attempt at jocular. "Going to need more than a five inch shaft if you want to replicate this experience, sweetheart."

Harry snorts, and buries his face in Nick's shoulder. He shakes with laughter.

It wasn't supposed to be that funny. Nick feels quite put upon. He sneaks a look down between them just to check that he wasn't completely imagining the size of his cock.

"I love you," Harry tells him, and bites at Nick's shoulder, which Nick hopes is code for, I appreciate you, and your dick. Your giant dick. "Now, are you going to finger me, or do I have to do it myself?"

"Well," Nick says, "if you're offering. I always have been a sit back and watch it happen kind of a boy. It's why I love the telly." He slides his hands down to Harry's hips, and makes a fairly poor attempt at pushing Harry away.

Harry rolls his eyes, and leans in to kiss him again. "Fine," he says. "Pass me the lube."

Getting the angle right so that Nick can see Harry slide his fingers inside of him proves more complicated than Nick's six-am brain will allow for, but one moment they've got the duvet twisted up around their feet and there's lube on the sheets and on Nick's thigh, and the next, Harry's sliding two fingers inside of himself, and Nick's spellbound.

"Better than the telly, this," he manages, which he's sure is quite an achievement, come to think of it.

"Should think so," Harry says. "You're getting this porn for free. Can you see properly?"

Nick can see properly. Nick can see Harry' lube-slicked fingers sliding inside of him, down to the knuckle. It's gloriously, brilliantly dirty, and he is going to be having a good old wank to the memory of this for the foreseeable future and then some. "Nice arse," he says, for something to say.

"Thank you," Harry says, politely. His skin is flushed pink. Sweat is beginning to gleam across his forehead and the middle of his chest. "Quite like yours, too."

"Good, good." Nick isn't entirely sure whether it's polite to wank himself off watching Harry finger himself, but he's buggered if he's not taking advantage of the free show. He steals the lube, and dribbles it out onto the head of his dick. It makes a thoughtful, splurting kind of a noise that makes Harry laugh. "There's nothing sexy about sex." He tries his best to sound regretful, since this is Harry's first night of having sex, and he needs to learn these things early on.

"I don't know. I think you're pretty sexy," Harry says, grinning.

"And you're pretty cheesy," Nick tells him, bumping his foot against Harry's leg.

Harry beams in delight, and Nick can't let that pass without comment, so he folds himself into a position where he can kiss that grin right off Harry's lips. His smile tastes pretty good, not that Nick's going to tell him that any time soon. He suspects the dazed, flushed look he's probably been wearing since last night will go some way to revealing his secrets, anyway.

"How's that feel?" Nick asks, which he's hoping Harry will understand is code for, can you ride me yet?

"Like it's my birthday," Harry says, with a smile that leans towards beatific.

Harry is his favourite little shit.

"No, but seriously," Nick says. He feels a bit weird just wanking off over this. "Don't you want to ride me yet?"

"Preparation is key, Nicholas."

"Preparation's boring." He bumps his foot against Harry's leg again. "Preparation's for losers."

Harry rolls his eyes. "Do you want to help?"

Nick's yes is so immediate that even he can't help but laugh at himself. But then he's sliding in one finger alongside Harry's two, and Harry's tipping his head back and pushing down onto their fingers and Nick has to lean in to rest his forehead against Harry's shoulder and just breathe.

"Please, Nick." Harry's breathless and begging him, and Nick can't say no to that. He just can't. Harry's so hot and tight around his finger, and it's a bit of a logistical nightmare with them both fingering him, but it's worth it for the way that Harry whines, loud and desperate.

Nick really, really could get used to seeing Harry get this turned on. "Think we will have to get you that vibrator."

"Fuck," Harry says. He's up on his knees and his dick's so hard, flushed and slick across the tip. It's starved of attention, and Nick wants to blow him. He wants to do everything to him, over and over again, and Nick is twenty-seven years old and he's never been in love before. He's never wanted someone as much as he wants Harry right now.

"You ready?"

Harry nods, chewing on his lip. He looks wrecked already, and he hasn't even been fucked. Fuck, this is his first time.

"You sure?" Nick asks, because his first time being fucked was a bit rubbish, and a bit rushed, and sort of all right but not that brilliant. His hand is flat on Harry's thigh, and the muscles are trembling beneath his fingertips. He slides his finger out, wiping it on his thigh. He suspects there's another shower in his future.

Harry tugs Nick in for a kiss, breathless against Nick's mouth. He stays there for the longest moment, not moving, mouth pressed to Nick's. "I'm so ready."

Nick nods, reaching blindly for the condom next to him. He tears off the corner and rolls it down his dick. He's supposed to be a bit of an expert at condoms, all things considered, but his hands shake.

And then, somehow, Harry's kneeling over him, and sinking down onto Nick's dick, slow and a little unsteady. Harry takes Nick in so, so slowly and his fingertips press bruises into Nick's hips as Harry pushes down onto him, bottom lip caught between his teeth. Nick can barely breathe. He forces himself to stay still, desperation catching in his fingertips, and he begs himself not to move, to let Harry take the lead. But Harry's so tight, and he's trembling around Nick's dick as he sinks down to rest on his heels, shoulders thrown back; his uncertainty is there in every tiny movement, but then Nick catches his gaze, and Harry's eyes are so, so bright.

"You okay?" he asks, hands to Harry's hips. His voice catches in his throat. Harry's a heavy weight on top of him, so hot and tight around Nick's dick. Nick can barely tell which bit's making him tremble and shake the most, but he wants to move; he's desperate to fuck up into him, and leave his own marks over Harry's skin. He wants to show Harry what this feels like to be inside of him, how hot this is, and the only way he can think of to do that is to wrap his fingers around Harry's wrist and hold on.

"Yeah," Harry says breathlessly, chewing on his lip and nodding. His cheeks are flushed, but he stays perfectly still. Nick doesn't know how he's doing it; Nick's never worked so hard at staying still in his whole life, and his muscles burn with it. A bead of sweat runs down his temple and into his hair. If he doesn't move, then they can stop if Harry wants to.

"You sure?" He can't do this much longer. It's making him want to break apart.

Harry tilts his chin up, so, so slowly. "I'm so full," he breathes, and then he blinks, like he's coming back to him, and the edges of his mouth curve up into a smile. "God, Nick. You feel so good."

"You feel so good, you mean," Nick says, letting out a ragged breath he hadn't known for certain he was holding. "Can I—I want to fuck you so badly, Harry. Please—"

Harry nods, too quick. He closes his hands around Nick's wrists. "Please," he begs. "Please."

Nick lets out a desperate, bitten-off whine, and fucks up into him. Harry's gaze doesn't leave his for a moment, not even when he leans in to kiss Nick's mouth, catching Nick's silent I love you against his tongue.

He tries to keep it slow, and measured, because this is Harry's first time being fucked, and because Harry is a kind of deliciously slow individual at the best of times, but Harry's taking more of him in, pressing down to meet Nick's hips rolling up, and Nick can't help himself. He fucks his hips up, and Harry's panting, mouth open, and Nick wants this. He wants this forever.

Harry wraps a hand around his dick and starts to wank himself off.

Nick's never said I love you in his life, and meant it. He curls his hand around the back of Harry's neck, drawing him in again. Harry's hand keeps bumping into Nick's stomach as he fists his dick. There's a smear of pre-come across Nick's skin. "I love you," he says, quickly.

The world doesn't end and the walls don't fall in.

But Harry kisses him like they are, though. He pants against Nick's mouth, fucking down onto Nick's dick, and Nick's not going to last long. He can't. His muscles ache and Harry's so tight and so hot, and they're in love.

"Nicholas," Harry says, in between kisses. He sounds hoarse and broken and desperate, and so close to the edge. "God, Nick. Fuck. Love you, love you. Going to come."

"Do it," Nick begs, because he's close too. He's so close. "Fuck, do it. Harry—"

Harry comes first, all over Nick, and the way he clenches around Nick's dick, so, so tight—it's too much. Nick fucks his hips up one last time and comes with a cry, fingers leaving bruises across Harry's hips.

Afterwards, breathless, Harry drops down next to him and hides his face in Nick's chest, even as Nick's removing his condom and tying it off, hiding it in a tissue and dropping it off the side of the bed. There's time to be less revolting when it's not the middle of the night and he's not fucking shell-shocked. God, he's a mess. He needs another shower, but he's trembling. He probably couldn't stand up if he tried. His legs feel like jelly.

"Is it always like that?" Harry asks, mouth pressed to Nick's ribs. He strokes his fingers over Nick's nipples; Nick quivers and can't help but wonder if Harry knows that he's taken Nick apart like no one else ever has.

"What, spectacular?" He covers up his own unease at being this open by forcing a smile. "Mindblowingly brilliant? And just so you know, we're talking about me."

"You're always mind-blowingly brilliant," Harry says, sleepily. He's poking lazily at Nick's belly button. There's a stripe of his come there, and Harry drags a finger through it.

Jesus fucking Christ, for real.

"You're just saying that because you're riding the afterglow." Nick likes to ride the mythical afterglow rollercoaster every now and again, but this one feels a bit like Oblivion at Alton Towers. Or Nemesis, come to mention it. He'd come off that one and lost all feeling in his feet. He'd had to hold onto Gillian just so he didn't fall over. He has a very sensitive inner ear, sometimes.

"I'm saying that because I love you," Harry says, without moving. He taps his finger over Nick's hip. "What's I love you in Morse Code?"

"No idea," Nick says. "Ask the internet."

"I'll ask it later," Harry says. "I'm disgusting." He doesn't sound anything other than delighted by the fact. "Can we shower together again in a bit?"

"After we've had a kip," Nick agrees, even though he's not normally one for sleeping all messed up. He still can't be entirely sure that his jelly legs will hold him up, though, so he's not risking it. "It is still the middle of the night, after all."

"Won't be my birthday when we wake up."

Nick doesn't say that it isn't his birthday now. "Boxing Birthday, though."

"Hmm," Harry says. "Think we can celebrate again?"

"Don't see why not," Nick says. "Twelve days of birthday, if you want." If it involves getting to have sex with Harry every day he'll embrace that. He'll leave off panicking until they wake up properly.

Harry sings, six geese a-laying. "What would I do with six geese, though?"

"Be a goose farmer?"

Harry snorts. "No geese, and no swans." He sounds half-asleep again, and Nick can echo that. He pulls the covers up over them both again. Even though they're both sticky and hot now, it'll be cold again in a bit. It's still winter.

"How about if I got you some maids-a-milking?" Nick asks, but Harry's only answer is a mostly asleep murmur.

I love you, Nick thinks. Christ. He's fucked. He's so fucking fucked. He's more fucked than he's ever been in his whole fucking life.

He doesn't think he'll sleep, but one moment he's bemoaning the state of his existence, and the next thing he knows, he's waking up to sunlight sneaking its way through the curtains, and Harry straddling him.

"Morning," Harry says, plonking himself down on Nick's thighs, pinning him to the bed. "Do you mind if I just wank off on your dick?"

"Nrgh," Nick says, which is the best he can manage on two seconds of being awake and the sight of Harry naked and hard.

"Unless you want to join in, or anything."

Nick drops his head back down to the pillow, and closes his eyes. "There is not enough come left in the world if we went again," he says. "I think my dick's going to drop off. How can you be hard? We've had all the sex."

"Stop complaining," Harry says, with a distracted kind of a smile. His balls keep brushing Nick's thighs. It's oddly hot, especially when he strokes his hand over Nick's thigh. Nick isn't hard, but his dick has made a cursory attempt at being awake. Honestly, Nick's had a lot of sex in the last twelve hours, he's surprised his dick is even capable of functioning any more. "I really like your dick."

"Well, it likes you too." Nick tries to prop himself up so he can see better, because even if he's a bit too shagged out to want to participate, there's something endlessly beautiful about watching Harry wank.

He remembers saying, I love you, and he blushes.

"No, I really like your dick. Look at it. It's all kind of—squidgy." Harry pokes at it with the tip of his finger.

"Oh my god," Nick says, in horror. "What the fuck did you say that for? I'm never getting hard again. I do not have a squidgy dick. That's the least sexy thing anyone's ever said."

Harry sticks his tongue out at him. Apparently Nick's squidgy dick isn't turning him off or anything, because he's slowly fisting his erection, eyes on Nick. "It is sexy," Harry tells him. "Look at it, it's all soft and squidgy and lovely." He pokes it again.

This is the oddest sex Nick's ever had. It's probably the oddest sex anyone's ever had. Christ, he loves him. "You're going to give my willy a complex," he says, for want of something—anything—better to say.

"A lovely complex," Harry says, breaths starting to hitch. It's nice that he uses words like lovely. Nick likes that about him, even if he's not entirely sure he's going to remember soft and squidgy and lovely as the best compliment he's ever received.

Anyway, Harry is naked and kneeling over him and is having a wank over him, so Nick should really be concentrating on that, especially as Harry keeps rocking his hips up, and his stomach muscles are clenching, and it's kind of ridiculously hot.

"Are you going to tell all the boys their dicks are squidgy?" he asks instead.

"Nope," Harry says, tilting Nick's chin up so that Nick meets his eyes. "I just save that for boys I'm in love with."

Nick is fairly sure he's going a lovely shade of pink right now, but he doesn't dare look down to check. Harry's gaze is so fierce. Nick's never looking away from his face again. "Harold."

"If I try and say thank you for last night, I'll sound like a total twonk," Harry goes on, and it's really beyond Nick to understand how Harry can carry on touching himself in the way that he is, and hold a conversation as well. When Nick's having a wank he's fairly hard pressed to remember his own name, let alone be polite about last night. "You gave me this amazing night." Harry blushes at that, still touching himself. "See, I sound like an idiot already."

"No," Nick protests, which sort of means yes.

"My mum always told me that I should wait to have sex until I found someone who was going to treat me like I was worth something." Honestly, earnest is a good look on Harry, but Nick would prefer it if the intensity of Harry's gaze was directed elsewhere at this point, because Nick's embarrassment levels are rising.

"Harry—"

"No," Harry says, and he's flushing again, his skin going a dusky rose colour all the way down his chest. "You have always, always made me feel like that."

"This is really cheesy," Nick says, to cover up the fact that he's moved. He wishes Harry was a bit less earnest sometimes. He doesn't know what to do with himself. Why can't he just be a pain in the arse all the time, instead of blindsiding Nick with feelings?

"Shut up, Nicholas." He presses the flat of his hand to Nick's stomach. "God, you're hot. You're so hot. You just get me so hard."

"It's my squidgy dick," Nick says, but he covers Harry's hand with his own.

"Probably," Harry's breath is starting to come in short pants, and his hand on his dick is speeding up. His dick's leaking pre-come. Nick's quite entranced. Harry looks so good like this, sweat beading across his skin, head flung back, hand on his dick. He's all long limbs and big hands, his skin flushed pink. "I do this at home and think about you."

"Christ," Nick strokes his hands over Harry's thighs, over the trembling muscles. He can't breathe. "Same. I do the same." His words catch in his throat.

"Next time, you should phone me." Harry sounds entirely serious, if breathless.

"I'm not having phone sex with you," Nick says, thumbs pressing into Harry's hips as he fucks up into his fist. He's so beautiful like this. "Your mum might overhear."

"I wouldn't do it whilst we were in the same room, idiot." Harry rolls his hips up. He's wearing a breathlessly fond sort of expression, which is doing strange, twisty things to Nick's insides.

"Oi," Nick pokes his fingers into Harry's thigh. Harry wriggles away, so Nick tries tickling him, just because he can, and because he's learnt very quickly that making Harry squirm is spectacularly hot. "Fuck," he says, once Harry's tried to pin his wrist to the bed and failed—spaghetti arms—"You're a very good boyfriend, okay? You do good boyfriend-y things."

"Same," Harry says, amused. He's amused and breathless, which is quite a feat. "Remember when you made me that mix CD when I came out?"

"It's raining men, hallelujah. I'm a fucking awesome DJ." Nick agrees with him on that front, at least. "God, are you going to come?" His legs are going to sleep, but it's not that just that that makes him want Harry to tip over the edge. He wants to see him do this, wants to see him wank himself off, wants to have his come on his skin. He wants all of that and more.

"Yeah," Harry says, his hand speeding up on his dick, and he's chewing on his bottom lip as he fists himself. His hips roll up and he's so slick across the tip, pre-come leaking down over the head as he catches it on the up-stroke.

Harry is the prettiest boy Nick's ever seen, and he's seen a few. "Want to see you," he says, because he can tell that Harry's getting close now, head tipped back, chest arched up as he groans, hips rocking up into his fist.

"You are seeing me," Harry manages, but he's breathless. "Want to come on your dick."

My squidgy, lovely dick, Nick thinks. This boy is so ridiculous. "Come on," he says. "Come on, sweetheart. I want to see you come."

Harry rocks his hips up one last time, and starts to come, stripes across Nick's dick. Nick's half-hard by now, but even Harry coming on him isn't enough to make his dick do more than twitch to attention. God, Harry just came on him. Nick reaches for him, hands to Harry's chest, and he can feel his heaving breaths beneath his fingertips, even as Harry tips forward, fingertips splayed over Nick's dick, and hides his face in Nick's shoulder.

"You're so hot," Harry says, in a very, very slow kind of a voice. "I really rather love you."

"Yes, well," Nick says, a trifle dazed. "I do have a squidgy dick, after all."

"A lovely, squidgy dick," Harry amends, rolling onto his side and holding himself up on his elbow. He looks gloriously, deliciously wrecked, sleepy-eyed and smiling. Even his smile is slow, and Nick really has no idea how he does that. Harry reaches down between them and cups Nick's dick in his hand, and makes a big deal of paying it his full attention. "My favourite dick, in fact."

"Stop talking to my penis," Nick says, wrapping his arms around Harry's shoulders. I have a face, you know. I am more than just a sum of all of my lovely squidgy parts."

"You're never going to let me forget that." Harry's clearly going for exasperated, but he ends up sounding fond instead.

"Nope, not ever." Nick drops a kiss to the top of Harry's head. "Do you think you've had enough of coming, now, sweetheart? Do you have any more come in there? Surely you should be coming dry by now."

"You are such a strange and unusual person," Harry tells him, without pulling away. He curls a finger into Nick's chest hair. Odd boy. "You're obsessed with how much I can come. You make it sound like a challenge."

"I'll rise to the occasion another time," he says. "This weekend I'm all shagged out."

Harry laughs at that, low and rough. "Best birthday," he says.

"Well, it's not over yet." Nick kisses him again. "There's breakfast. And tea. Although I suggest that we shower first. Nobody wants come on their Danish pastry. Especially dry come. That can't be sanitary."

Harry rubs his nose over Nick's arm. "Hungry now."

"That's what you get for thinking with your penis, Styles." He tickles his fingers over Harry's ribcage, just to feel him squirm. "Come on, let's get in the shower."

They shower for what seems to Nick like a very long time indeed. Well, if he's honest, there isn't that much showering going on, although there is a lot of kissing, and quite a lot of giggling from Harry when Nick—honest to god—slips on the actual soap.

At least the heat from the shower hides his embarrassment over it. He makes a big deal about picking the soap up and setting it back in its little soap dish. He gives it a little pat, afterwards, just because. "Stop laughing, I could have gone arse over tit, there. How would you have explained that to housekeeping? Or the ambulance men. It could have been like Casualty in here. Then we'd have to have some kind of dramatic showdown in A&E and you'd reveal that you've secretly been sleeping with my boss or something, and I'll cry on Charlie's shoulder. Is Charlie still in it?"

"You're my favourite," Harry says, which isn't an answer. He probably shouldn't have to do things like answer questions when he looks as gloriously hot as he does right now, long-limbed and smiling and a bit fuzzy round the edges because the water's got in Nick's eyes.

Nick draws him in with a hand to his hip. Harry close up is quite delicious. "I reckon Charlie's shoulder is good for crying on," he says, bracketing Harry against the wall of the shower, and licking a stripe up his neck. "Hasn't he been in it since the dawn of time?"

"Since before I was born," Harry nods.

"Right," Nick says. "I'm just going to have to go and chuck myself out of the window, don't mind me."

"You're exactly the perfect age," Harry tells him, kissing Nick's cheek. "Stop being ridiculous and get back to kissing me."

Harry makes a good argument, admittedly. Nick slides his hands into Harry's wet hair and kisses him.

They kiss for ages, until their fingers go all pruney, and Nick makes a big deal of shampooing his hair again. He's not sure if overwashing is a thing, but he can only hope it makes his hair super shiny and super conditioned.

Afterwards, Harry sprawls naked on the sheets whilst Nick makes them both tea. There are actual tea cups, but everybody knows that tea cups are only half the size of a proper mug, so they're faintly useless. He fills the pot as well, because this is the kind of hotel that comes with a teapot, and brings it over to the bedside table with the milk hooked over one finger.

"Don't say I never bring you nothing," he says, leaning in to kiss Harry's forehead. "Here." He passes Harry his cup of tea—on a saucer, no less—and goes to get breakfast out of the Waitrose bags in the corner. There are almond croissants, and a butterscotch and pecan Danish swirl, and Bonne Maman raspberry conserve. "It's just jam, though. What the fuck's a conserve? It's just jam."

Harry's busy taking a picture of the pile of food with his phone.

"Are you tweeting that? Can you be, like, a thousand per cent sure that it doesn't have my knob in it?" Nick asks.

"No knobs," Harry tells him, still typing one-handed on his phone.

"You sure about that?" Nick grabs his cup of tea from the desk and comes back over to the bed, bumping his foot against Harry's calf as he settles himself in next to him on the bed. He kicks him again, just because.

Harry shows him the picture. "Guaranteed knob free," he says. It's true; it's just of the pile of food on the bed, and Harry's cup of tea. The duvet's all messed up, though. The caption says, birthday breakfast in bed @grimmers.

Nick's chest does an odd kind of floaty thing in his chest, a bit like a feather falling. He hands the phone back to Harry. "Didn't know what you'd want for breakfast, but you can't go wrong with a croissant. And jam. Fuck that shit, we're not calling it a conserve."

Harry opens the butterscotch and pecan swirl. His phone buzzes, and Nick reaches for it. It buzzes again. And again.

"Which of your friends is going to be up at this time in the morning?" Nick asks. "Haven't they all got terrible teenage hangovers? They drank the bar dry of Sambuca last night, surely at least one of them should be feeling like death. Otherwise what's the point of it all?"

"Liam likes to go for jogs," Harry says, slathering a piece of croissant in jam. He holds it out for Nick to eat off his fingers. "Bet you it's him."

Nick steals the croissant, and opens Harry's twitter app.

Louis says, @harry_styles you filthy stop out you missed a mad one last night !!!

Surely Louis should have a hangover. It's only fair and right that Louis, of all people, should be hungover. He danced on the tables last night. He sounds way too perky to be hungover.

Liam says, @harry_styles @grimmers looooks romannnnnnntic love it xxxxxxxxx. Nick likes Liam. Liam's great.

The last one's from Harry's mum, and Nick wants to die, just a little bit. Make sure you leave room for food later boys. I'm making trifle.

No, Nick wants to die an awful lot. "Your mum's making a trifle," he says.

"Brilliant," Harry says, passing Nick more croissant. "I love trifle."

"Aren't you in the least bit bothered that you've just instagrammed our morning after and your mum's commenting on it?"

"Just be grateful I didn't instagram me coming on your dick earlier." Well, thank heavens for small mercies. Nick wants to retweet Harry's tweet, but he suspects that it might not be all that professional, shagging an eighteen year old and then putting the pictures on his radio presenter twitter. It might only be local radio now, but moving to London might change that. He sets up his own picture instead: breakfast! Bestest meal of the day and takes a picture of half an almond croissant, the uneaten butterscotch and pecan Danish, and his cup of tea.

Excellent life choices all round.

"So," Nick says, after a while. Butterscotch and pecan is the greatest combination known to mankind, by the way. He tweets that, because he's a living in the moment kind of a guy, and then bumps his knee into Harry's. "So. On a scale of one to ten, how did that rate, you know, on the virginity losing scale?"

Harry looks like he's genuinely thinking about it, the tosser. "You should lose points for not shagging me last August when I wanted you to," he says, which, fair enough. "And you should definitely lose points for taking so bloody long to actually go out with me last year." Again, Nick can't exactly argue with any of that. "But, like—on the boyfriend scale. If there's a boyfriend scale, then I'd give you extra points for this." He grins, poking Nick in the side with a long finger.

"How many extra points? Enough to get me out of the minuses?" Nick has a secret competitive streak. It doesn't often get a chance to shine. And, like—he's never done anything like this before. He's never made this kind of a gesture. He drums his fingers against his leg.

"Points for every orgasm, I think." Harry shares out the last bit of pecan Danish, and gives Nick the bigger piece. Nick's never that selfless. He eats it without any kind of guilt whatsoever.

"And you've had nine hundred of them, so I should definitely be in the pluses again. How much do I win by?"

Harry rolls his eyes. "Who said anything about winning? When did this turn into a thing that you could win?"

"Since forever."

"You're really needy, you know that, right?"

Nick definitely can't disagree with that. He leans in to lick Harry's jaw, in as annoying a way as he can manage. "Do I win the best boyfriend prize?"

"Most annoying boyfriend prize," Harry says, putting his tea down on the bedside table before clambering over Nick and straddling him. He leans in and rubs his nose against Nick's. "Seriously, though. Like, not joking. I couldn't—I didn't." He stops, and takes a breath. Up close he's pretty perfect. Nick runs his thumb over Harry's bottom lip, brushing away a croissant crumb. He doesn't need to shave all that much but there's a little rough patch on his jaw he must have missed yesterday. His hair's still damp from the shower. "You made it really special," Harry tells him, after a while. Nick's heart beats loud in his ears, and he doesn't even know why. This isn't sex, or the run up to sex, and neither of them are even hard. It's just breakfast, and tea, and Harry in his lap. "You always make me feel really special."

"Well," Nick says, embarrassed. He really, really wishes that Harry was less honest and earnest sometimes. It's going to get him hurt one of these days. "I just—it was your birthday, okay, and you deserved something nice for your birthday."

"The watch is nice," Harry tells him. He's wearing it again, the only thing he is wearing, and that's a sexy mental image that Nick's going to take away with him. "Last night was a bit more than that," he says softly.

"Now I'm embarrassed," Nick says. "Can we talk about something else? You know there's an iPod dock on the bedside table, right? We could put my iPod on."

"Fine," Harry says, thumbs to Nick's cheeks. He ducks in to kiss the corner of Nick's mouth. "I love you, you're brilliant, but we don't have to talk about it anymore."

"Good enough," Nick says, and steals the last bit of croissant. He's sure he's bright red. To cover it up, he sticks his finger in the jam and presses his jammy finger to the end of Harry's nose. "See if you can lick that off."

Harry goes cross-eyed trying. It's pretty brilliant, all things considered.

He's pretty brilliant, all things considered.

~*~

Nick's fairly sure that he shouldn't be turning up on Harry's doorstep without at least bringing a bottle of wine, but Harry—who's behind him, and dragging his Ikea bag of presents down the drive—had said they were too late to stop at the shop and pick one up. Nick hates turning up without bringing a bottle. It's rubbish.

"Finally," Anne says, when Nick rings the doorbell. It's possible she's been hiding behind the door, because he's barely stopped pressing the bell when the door opens. "Give us a hug, love."

"Hiya, Anne," Nick says, hugging her. "I brought him back."

"Washed and ironed, I hope." Anne kisses him on the cheek, stepping back to let him come inside. "Hiya, kid. Happy birthday."

"My birthday was yesterday," Harry points out, dropping his bag in the hall and kissing his mum on the cheek.

"Your friend birthday was yesterday. It's family birthday today. Gemma's in the kitchen. Robin's just brought her back from the station. Go and say hello."

"Where are the crackers?" Harry asks, already heading down the hall after kicking off his shoes. Nick's Converse are laced really tight so he has to sit down on the stairs to unpick the knots.

"Living room," Anne calls after him. She shakes her head at Nick. "You'd think he'd stop wanting birthday crackers at some point, wouldn't you?" She smiles at him. "He looks happy, by the way."

It's a truth universally acknowledged, that Harry fucking Styles tells his mum bloody everything.

"When did he text you?" Nick asks, toeing off one trainer and starting to unknot the second. At least bending over means Anne can't see how embarrassed he probably looks. There's shagging your hot boyfriend, and there's shagging your hot boyfriend and having his mum know, and there's taking your hot boyfriend's virginity and then facing his mum over a birthday dinner.

She leans on the bannister. "From the pub, then about midnight from the hotel."

"Right." He kicks off his other shoe, and then stands up. "So, um."

Anne rolls her eyes at him. "Go and say hi to Gemma."

"Right," Nick says again. "And you're, um—you're all right with everything." With me being here, he thinks, since he's not entirely sure that there's ever really a good time to face your boyfriend's mum once you've just had sex with her son, regardless of whether it's his first time or not.

She smiles at him, then. "How long have you been going out with my son, Nicholas?"

"A bit," he says. If this was an interrogation, he'd fold right now. He'd be rubbish. Anne's not even that terrifying, in general. She's definitely not terrifying when she's wearing a t-shirt with Harry's face on it. Harry's six year old face, judging by the birthday badge he's wearing. "Um, you're wearing a t-shirt with Harry's face on it."

"It's his birthday, and rules are rules," she says, which does not explain anything, except that Harry's whole family are completely fucking bonkers and Nick loves it. "Look, you're a nice lad, and you're good to Harry, and I can't stop him falling in love, and I wouldn't want to even if I could. As far as I'm aware, you make him laugh, and you're kind to him, which is precisely everything I could ask for in a boyfriend or a girlfriend for my kids, so I'm counting it as a win. And he's eighteen, he's an adult. He can make his own choices, and frankly, I'm happy that we like the ones he's making." She relents, and smiles at him. "Go on, stop worrying. Go and say hi to Gemma. Robin's down there too, he's on kitchen duty."

"Kitchen duty?" Nick asks, and he wipes his hands on his thighs. He hadn't realised how nervous he'd been about facing Harry's family until it came to actually, you know, facing them. He's got to stop shagging teenagers who live with their mums. But probably not.

"Oh, Nick," she says, looking back over her shoulder as they got to the kitchen door. "You've got a lot to learn."

Harry's kitchen is bright and clean and fresh and new. Harry's stepdad is leaning over by the oven, getting stuff out on trays. He's wearing the same t-shirt as Harry's mum, which would be a little disturbing if it wasn't for the fact that Gemma—sitting at the breakfast bar and holding a champagne flute—is wearing the exact same thing. They're all wearing t-shirts with Harry's face on it.

"All right, Gem?" Nick says, shoving his hands in his pockets. "How's uni? Can we talk about the fact you're all wearing t-shirts with Harry's face on them?"

"The first rule of Harry's birthday is you don't talk about Harry's birthday," Gemma tells him, straight-faced.

Harry beams at that. "Hey, I'm legally allowed to watch that now. Brilliant."

"Oh god," Nick says. "You're wearing one too. I'm fairly sure you weren't wearing that a minute ago."

"Yep," Harry says, coming over and kissing him on the cheek, like that's a totally normal and acceptable thing to do. Nick's fairly sure he can feel himself going red. "Yours is over there."

"You're joking," Nick says. Robin's busy sliding what look like mini hors d'ouevres onto little plates. They might be mini, bite-size toad in the holes. There's a whole plate of pigs in blankets. The largest trifle Nick's ever seen is sitting in a bowl by the sink. Harry's whole family is bananas.

"Absolutely not," Gemma says, and she's enjoying this, the witch. He leans over to kiss her on the cheek as she brings his shirt over.

"Hiya, love." He stares down at the t-shirt. It's quite large, as these things go, and he's going to be wearing a shirt that's swimming on him with his boyfriend's face on it, so that's going to be a change. Harry's beaming at him like this is completely normal. "Oh well, in for a penny, etcetera." He takes his hoodie off and pulls it on over his checked shirt. "How do I look?"

"Hot," Gemma says. She winks at him. "Do you want a drink?"

Nick drank quite a lot last night, but he's wearing a ridiculous t-shirt and he's got to face Harry's mum, so the answer is—quite obviously—yes. Which is how he ends up clutching a glass of Buck's Fizz and giving Harry's hand a squeeze as they head into the living room, Gemma, Robin and Anne all holding plates of snacks. "You're all bonkers," he whispers, and Harry honest-to-god giggles.

The fact that Nick finds that so spectacularly charming is quite ridiculous. The fact that when Nick plonks himself down at one end of the sofa, Harry sits right down next to him, ignoring Anne and Gemma's exchange of smirks is quite something else.

Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound. He curls his hand in Harry's, and squeezes.

Harry catches his eye, winks, and then grins at his mum. "Is it cracker time now?"

"Honestly," she says, but she reaches down the side of the sofa she's sharing with Gemma and brings out a box of crackers.

"All right, I don't get it," Nick says. "Aren't crackers just for Christmas?"

Everyone laughs at that, like he's said something hilarious. He hasn't, and they're all mad. "Harry makes me buy up all the Christmas party food and crackers in the sale after Christmas," Anne tells him, "and then we have it all on his birthday."

"Right," Nick says. "Because you... love crackers?"

"Because he's dictatorial at heart, and on his birthday he makes us wear those bloody crowns all flipping day." Gemma looks inexplicably fond of her brother, even as she's sighing and taking a cracker from the box. "Even worse, these are egg and spoon crackers."

"Brilliant," Harry says, a little wistfully.

"Um," Nick says.

"Each cracker comes with its own egg and spoon," Robin supplies, reading from the box. "So that all the family can have egg and spoon races round the table."

"Right," Nick says, which is a fairly good response, he thinks. It sort of explains why five minutes later he's wearing a green paper crown on his head, a plastic purple ring on his finger (crowned best gift at the February cracker Olympics, unlike Harry's shit plastic fish, which he's still staring at miserably like the world's deliberately out to get him), and why he's just dashed around the coffee table balancing a blue plastic egg on a spoon in a race against Harry's step-dad. He comes a good solid last, having lost his egg under the telly and wasted a good ninety seconds trying to find it, and collapses on the sofa with his cheek against Harry's shoulder.

"There, there," Harry says, in a gently conciliating kind of a way. "You're always number one to me."

Nick rolls his eyes. "I think you need to avenge my honour. Take the stage, Harold. Win it back for me. My honour is lost."

"You've seen Harry attempt stuff requiring co-ordination, right?" Gemma passes them the plate of pigs in blankets. She pulls a face at Harry, but the effect's ruined when she waggles her eyebrows at him and steals a sausage.

"Oi," Harry says, but Nick's seen Harry attempt being co-ordinated. He's awful. It's wonderful.

"Let's cheat and Sellotape your egg to the spoon," Nick whispers, holding out a pig in a blanket for Harry to eat from his fingers. "It's your birthday, they'll never notice."

"I am honest to the core," Harry says, and then he steals Nick's other sausage, and Nick is no longer supportive of anything other than everyone beating Harry in everything. Forever. A man's pig in a blanket is his castle.

He does, in the end, let Harry beat him in the egg and spoon race final, but that's because there's a queer feeling in his chest which is most definitely a faintly forever kind of affection, and anyway, Harry's face when he beats him is possibly the best thing he's seen all day, and today's been a day when he woke up to Harry kneeling over him and wanking over his dick.

His face heats at the memory of that, and he bumps his foot into Harry's under the coffee table as they polish off the mini quiches and the prawn ring. They're going out for a Chinese later, with Harry's gran and granddad, so the full range of Christmas hors d'ouevres is just for snacks, really. Apparently they're eating that trifle before they leave, too.

It's possible Nick's eaten so much tiny party food bites he's going to roll down the road to the restaurant, and they haven't even started on the trifle, but whatever. Harry tucks his toes under Nick's thigh, and demands they play charades.

Nick is always, always terrible at charades, and always has been, but he's open to embarrassing himself if it means Harry carries on looking at him the way he does.

He sneaks off to the kitchen after a bit, under the guise of making everyone tea. Whilst the kettles boiling, he leans his forehead against the fridge door and tries to remind himself that he is a professional radio presenter in his mid (to late) twenties, and that enjoying playing party games with his teenage boyfriend this much is absolutely, definitely ridiculous. He can't make himself believe it.

Gemma comes in just as he's pouring water into the teapot. She sits down at the breakfast bar and taps her fingers against the four pints of semi-skimmed milk Nick's left on the countertop. "So," she says, after thirty seconds where Nick contemplates drowning himself in the teapot. "You and my little brother."

"Hiya, Gem," he says. "Are you going to beat me up?"

She laughs at that. "Nah," she says. "Don't think so, anyway. Do you think he has any idea about how much that watch cost?"

"Do you have any idea how much that watch cost?" He tries to laugh it off, like a really funny joke.

"Had a Christmas temp job in John Lewis," she says. "Men's department. I can take a guess, at least. Don't have an encyclopaedic memory for prices, or anything."

"Don't tell him," Nick says. He stirs the tea in the pot with the wrong end of the spoon. "I don't—I don't want it to be a thing."

"My brother's not an idiot," she says, a little gently. "He knows it's a Marc Jacobs watch."

"I know," he says. "Look, I saw it and I thought he'd like it. That's genuinely it."

She smiles at him then. "He loves it. He texted me a picture of it last night."

God knows when Harry had enough time to text his family photos, but whatever. Maybe he was sneakily doing it whenever Nick nipped to the loo. "It's his birthday. What was I supposed to do?"

"I'm not getting at you," she tells him. "I'm really not. You think it's not clear from like, space, that you think he's brilliant?"

Nick never was any good at hiding stuff. He should work on that. Make it a life goal. "I do," he says, finally. "Really brilliant, actually."

"Well then," she says. "Good choice of hotel room, by the way. Saw the picture on instagram."

Nick really, really hopes there weren't any knobs he hadn't noticed in that picture Harry had tweeted earlier. "It was his birthday," he says again, which is how he's going to be justifying his massive credit card bill for the long and foreseeable future. "And I wanted to do something nice for him." He knows he's blushing. He scoops the teabags out of the teapot and reaches for the High School Musical tray that Anne keeps down the side of the microwave, setting the teapot down on it.

"Well, it was. Really nice." She reaches for mugs from the hooks under the cabinets, picking out five that don't match. She keeps a hold of the milk. "It was really, really nice, Nick. Wish I had a boyfriend who did stuff like that for me."

Well, not everyone can be Nick Grimshaw. He doesn't say it out loud, though, but he suspects Gemma hears it anyway. She rolls her eyes at him and reaches past him into the cupboard for a packet of biscuits. Milk chocolate rich teas; bang on choice.

"Come on," she says. "Bet you anything Harry wants to play Pictionary before we go out."

"He's mad," Nick says, picking up the tray. "You're all mad."

"You love us," Gemma says, leading the way out of the kitchen, huge trifle in hand. "Don't pretend that you don't.

He couldn't even if he tried.

~*~

They walk back from the restaurant later that night, Nick's arm around Harry's shoulders. Ahead of them, Robin's got one arm around Gemma, the other around Anne, and when Harry's gran and granddad drive past on their way home, they beep the horn and they all wave, Nick included. They're all still wearing their t-shirts with Harry's six year old face on them; the benefit to it being February is that at least they're bundled away under layers of knitwear. He's already had to stop to make sure that Harry's scarf is properly knotted and tucked away inside his coat.

"Good birthday?" Nick asks, when Harry's mum is far enough in front of them that she won't be able to overhear.

Harry's a bit drunk on a lot of red wine. His hand is in Nick's, resting on Harry's shoulder, and Harry leans in to kiss the underside of Nick's jaw. "Best fucking birthday ever," he says, and he only slurs a little bit. "Love you."

"You're drunk, Styles." He kisses Harry's temple, and Harry grins against his throat, laughing into his skin.

"On love," Harry makes a bit of a song and dance about proclaiming that. It's possible that he's said it loud enough that Gemma and Anne and Robin hear, even though they're a good thirty feet in front of them. He's an awful, terrible, drunk teenager and Nick adores him. Bastard. "You're staying over tonight, right? You're not just coming back for karaoke and supper?"

Nick doesn't really stay over at Harry's. He's done it once, and he slept on the sofa.

"Your mum and Robin going to be all right with that?" he asks, as nonchalantly as he can manage, which isn't much. Harry's not the only one who's been on the wine.

"Think Mum's already changed the sheets."

Sounds like a fairly solid done deal to him. Nice. He tugs Harry even closer, kissing the top of his head, and Harry beams up at him, drunk and happy.

"Happy birthday, love," Nick says, softly.

Harry grins up at him, a drunken picture of knitwear and delight. "Stay with me tonight," he says, and Nick nods his yes.

"All right. If you insist."

"Sick," Harry says, and bumps his elbow into Nick's.

Nick leans in and kisses him, right there under the streetlight, right there where Harry's family can see. In fact, judging by the whoops and the catcalls, they've done just that. Nick waves at them without pulling away, and Harry laughs against his mouth.

"Nicholas Grimshaw," he says, scandalised, in between kisses, and Nick laughs and kisses him again, hands to his face, cold nose brushing Harry's.

"You love me," Nick says, in satisfaction.

"Course I do," Harry tells him, and he fumbles with Nick's scarf, knotting it tighter. "There," he says. "Now you're all warm."

"Yeah," Nick says, words caught in his throat. He feels warm right down to his toes. "I am."

Harry beams at him, and tucks his hand into Nick's. "Come on," he says. "I want to see you and Mum do the B*witched dance again."

"Fine," Nick says, with false exasperation. "Just because it's your birthday."

"You love me," Harry sings, squeezing Nick's hand, and okay, maybe Nick does, but it's not like anyone could blame him.

~*~

In the morning, when Nick wakes up, there's a snoring Harry pressed against him from shoulder to toe, and a message on his phone from Gillian.

Need to know by the end of today if you want the room, Nick. Come on, move down. London's calling! It'll be just like at uni. Say yes! You know you want to xxxxx

He looks down at his phone for the longest time before typing in yes, ok, I want it. He doesn't press send, though, and when he thumbs out of his messages, his phone asks him if he wants to save the message as a draft.

He presses yes, then locks his phone and rolls onto his side, wrapping his arms around Harry, holding him close.

"Nicholas," Harry says, still seventy-eight per cent asleep. He rubs his nose over Nick's neck. "Nicholas, you're brilliant."

"I know," Nick says, soft as anything. He doesn't say I love you out loud, but he hopes Harry can hear it anyway, even as he's wriggling closer, already lost in sleep again.

He strokes his fingertips through Harry's rough curls, and presses his mouth to Harry's temple.

You marvellous thing, you, he thinks, and doesn't think about Gillian in London, waiting for his answer. He closes his eyes, and goes back to sleep.

 

 

End.