There's a stain on Louis' kitchen wall, and he can't believe he's never noticed it before. It's there - right there - and he has no idea what caused it. It could've been magical in origin, maybe from the last potion he’d actually attempted at making, could just be a water stain from a leaking roof. But he's too busy staring at it to focus on anything else but that stain as he patently ignores Liam, who is busy talking about something Louis has deemed unimportant minutes before he noticed the odd stain.
Liam, long-suffering, ever loyal, very much human Liam, heaves a sigh and reaches across the island to place his hand over Louis' mug, effectively stilling the spoon stirring itself through Louis' tea in an attempt to regain the witch's attention. Liam's the only human that knows about Louis' little secret, has known about it for the years they've been friends, and except for an incident a few years ago, he's actually pretty cool about the whole magic thing. It's probably because (or so Louis lets Liam think, because his potions never turn out properly) Louis only uses little spells like stirring his tea with a little spin of his finger and lighting candles with a small puff of air. Although he does know Louis' put warding spells on both their flats, he's never seen the process, and there are other spells Louis does on the regular Liam doesn't see. Like the aformentioned potions, and some scrying spells.
Liam Payne is the Louise Tate to Louis Tomlinson's Samantha Stephens, really. Louis loves his best friend, really, but sometimes – like now – he opts to ignore the man in favour of more important things.
Like feeding Hemlock, apparently, as the small black cat winds its way into the kitchen with its usual squeaky meow. He wonders if the cat's aware of the stain, because if the cat is, that would mean it's magical in origin. It might even pinpoint just when the stain occurred.
“Are you even listening to me?” Liam asks with some frustration as Louis pushes away from the counter as the magically animated spoon continues to bump against the side of his hand as it tries to continue to stir Louis' tea. He sounds like he's very much aware that Louis is very much not listening to him, but he's hoping that now isn't like the usual. Liam’s patience, as high as it is when it comes from Louis being a terrible friend, makes Louis think he should be nominated for whatever the human equivalent of a high witch is, or at the very least, Liam should cross paths with a werewolf.
A sweep of Louis' hand makes a cupboard door open, a come hither gesture brings a can of wet food float to the counter and a twitch of his nose produces Hemlock's bowl onto the counter. It’s all very flashy and flamboyant and very much Louis’ brand of craftwork. Louis catches the can in midair, fixing Liam with a look as he opens the tin. He can't let his best lad down, after all, considering he is ignoring him.
“I never listen to you, Payno. You should know that.” He neatly dumps the food into the bowl and twirls his finger to both mash up the food and warm it up for the witch's cat's personal taste. He sets it on the floor - like a human would, without the use of magic, just to further the point home - just as Hemlock starts twining around his bare feet, squeaky meow and all. “D'you wanna go back over what you were talking about then?”
“Why do you use magic to feed your cat?” Liam asks, even though he knows Louis will never properly answer the question: simply because he could use magic to do it. Louis was born a full witch; witches ran in his family tree on both sides, but it had been Louis' first stepdad who'd tried to get a young Louis to cut out the “weird shit” when Louis' boyhood magic had been childish and wild. Louis' younger sisters had magic as well, but their magic would never be as strong as Louis' is because they were only half witch and half human.
He doesn’t know if his father Troy’s aware of the strength of his magic, but he knows from his mother Jay and all his relatives on his mum’s side that he’s one of the strongest witches they know. If only he could properly master scrying the way his mum can….
Louis spins a finger in midair, like he’s indicating someone to turn around, staring pointedly at Liam as the faucet turns itself on and the can rinses itself in the sink behind him. Liam, moon burn him, doesn't rise to the bait, choosing instead to lean back on his stool and wrapping his hands around his own mug.
“Anyway, like I was saying and that you were ignoring, there's this new club near my school and I want you to go with me. Could do you some good, getting out once in awhile.”
Louis considers it, actually seriously considers it, even though he absolutely does get out. Liam's idea of fun are like, pub quizzes and karaoke nights, surrounded by like-minded humans, cheering on their favourite sports teams. That's not to say that they only ever do that when they go out; Liam has absolutely enjoyed his time in places designed for the supernatural set, especially when they're Louis' idea of fun, like clubs.
Liam doesn't casually suggest going to a club, is the thing. That's why Louis' considering it. Since it's Liam, it probably caters solely to humans, so he'd have to keep his magic close to his skin, so to speak. He can make some charms to help with that, and Goddess, he could find a hookup. It's been awhile since he's gotten laid by something other than his imagination, hand and a few toys.
He mentally shakes himself, hoping he's not actively drooling as he asks, “When do you want to go then? James has me working the shop practically every night this week, but I'm free on Saturday?”
“Saturday works for me. I've got studying that I've been neglecting anyway.” Liam finishes his tea with one big swallow, getting up to put the mug in the sink like a person trying to prove a point. Louis chooses to ignore said point, wiggling his nose so the faucet will turn on once more and rinse the mug out. Liam, bless his little human heart, just turns the faucet back off. “I'll see you then.”
Saturday comes without warning, that curse of working every night in a week, and with it comes indecision. Louis' set on his protective charms, had made them the previous night and tucked them in the jewelry he’d be wearing regardless (a wide black leather cuff on one wrist, and a collar that matches), but what he can't decide on is what in Mother Nature's name is he to wear. He normally doesn't have this problem; he knows how to dress to pull and he knows how to dress like he's not interested in pulling. He's decided on the former tonight, but as he throws another shirt to the bed for Hemlock to purr contentedly with, he's losing hope.
He feels the wards on his door react warmly to Liam's presence before his best mate uses his key to let himself into Louis' flat, crossing to Louis' room.
“Why is your room a mess?” Liam asks, with a hint of annoyance in his tone. Louis chooses to view it as rhetorical – because seriously he can clean it with a twitch of his nose – and throws another t-shirt to the bed.
“I've got nothing to wear!” He bemoans, sneaking a glance Liam's way and hoping that how practical Liam is dressed will give Louis an idea of what sort of club they're going to. Which, hopefully, will give Louis an idea of what he should wear to pull. After all, pulling is an important goal.
Liam, as per usual when they go out, is dressed in jeans, a black t-shirt, and brown boots. The shirt showcases the muscles Louis knows Liam's spent months working on, muscles Liam is definitely proud of, and that have maybe played a starring role in a few of Louis' wet dreams and fantasies. A black snapback perches on top of Liam's head.
“You look like a frat boy.” Louis dismisses Liam after a moment of silent appraisal, turning his attention back to the shirts he's already vetoed in the hopes that maybe one will find redemption. He's already in dark skinny jeans that show off his best asset; although black on black is always a look and therefore always on point, it's always felt far too dark for the bright light Louis views himself as.
He finally settles on a white shirt, pulling it on and brushing off the black fur that's since accumulated on it with Hemlock nearby.
“I'm surprised you don't use a magic lint roller to get rid of that,” Liam says as he follows Louis to the loo. Louis wonders if other people would find it annoying; Liam does it because he wants to make sure the witch is paying attention to him. Even though they both know that it wouldn’t change a thing, whether or not he can judge if Louis’ paying attention to him.
“There's some things that magic doesn't work well on, Leeyum, and cat fur is one of them.” Louis makes a face at him through the mirror as he styles his hair, swooping it to one side. “Especially fur from a witch's cat. Set fire to a curtain once.”
“I think I remember that.” Liam leans in the doorway as he watches Louis sort through eyeliner and eyeshadow pencils, selecting a pair of rose gold colours to line his eyes. “Why couldn't all of this be done, I don't know, before I got here?”
“Because,” Louis says as he works. Makeup is every bit as artistic as spellcraft, and requires the same amount of attention to detail. “I couldn't properly figure out what to wear until I saw you. You just said club, so I'm assuming it's the human sort and probably a straight hang out. Which would make certain outfits a lost cause.”
Liam turns and leaves the bathroom with a shake of his head, but Louis knows from experience that the man has only retreated to the living room to wait for Louis to finish primping. Like always, Liam doesn't have long to wait before Louis' making his way to the front door, grabbing the essentials - wallet, keys, the jewelry that holds his protective charms - as he goes.
“Come on, show me this new club, mate.”
It's a supernatural club. That's Louis' first impression when he sees the club Liam's dragged him to. It's a nightclub created specifically for people of Louis' ilk and more, and it's in a part of London that this sort of thing – a place specifically for supernaturals - is uncommon. But judging from the line out front, which seems to be primarily human even though it’s a supernatural club, it's doing well for itself. Which makes Louis wonder if the club's owner was trying to bring the two sides of the coin together; rather like a club for gay people having nights for straight people.
It does, however, make Louis a bit uncomfortable, knowing that there are certain supernatural creatures that do prey on humans, and that some humans have made it their life's work to go after supernatural creatures. Mostly, both sides of the coin are kept separate, and after his human stepfather being a right tool about witches, that's just how Louis likes it. He interacts with humans just fine when necessary, but except for Liam, no other human he knows is aware of Louis' witchy roots.
He might be more Samantha Stephens in his life, but when it comes to his witch roots, he's more Sally Owens.
“I thought this was a human club,” he hisses as he follows Liam to the front door, bypassing the line for the bouncer altogether. A burly man, he takes one look at the pair of them and lets them both in without checking their ids or anything. That's a new one for Louis: he's old enough to drink, he absolutely has both a human and supernatural id, and he's always been carded. Although, getting in without waiting is another new one for him.
As if aware of Louis' thoughts, Liam grins at him. “I know a guy, okay? He's the one who recommended this place. He doesn't have your whole thing,” Liam even makes a hand gesture like he’s indicating Louis’ person as a whole, “but he's on the same spectrum.”
“What spectrum is that?” Louis asks indignantly as he follows Liam to the already busy bar, plopping down in one of the plush bar stools. “The gay spectrum? The other spectrum?”
Before Liam can respond, a hand is clapped to both of their backs and Louis turns to come face to face with a young man with a warm, welcoming smile and sparkling blue eyes. He looks warm and friendly, the sort you’d follow down a dark alley, just because you think they look safe.
“Liam!” The young man pats Liam's back, like a politician greeting possible voters and hoping to garner their support. “I see you showed up, and you brought a friend!” He pats Louis' back. “The supernatural spectrum, by the way.” His hands drop from their backs and he sticks his hand out to Louis. “I'm Niall. I'm not much of anything, but I've got banshee in my mum's family tree somewhere, which tags me as supernatural, but I can’t do anything cool. You must be Liam's witchy friend Louis.”
Louis frowns, turning toward Liam. He doesn't necessarily mind meeting fellow supernatural creatures, but he does mind being outed to ones he's never met prior, just like he hates being outed as a gay man to people who don't know him. You never know who’s going to be for what you really are, and who’s going to kick your arse for being who you are. “You talk about me to people?”
Liam waves a hand, looking like he's unconcerned with what he's done. “I took a class that I thought was going to be about like, legends and that, but was about actual supernatural people. That's how I met Niall here. His roommate's the owner here.”
“Your roommate runs a supernatural club that allows humans in?” Louis turns his frown toward Niall this time. “Aren't there like, laws in place to keep from that sort of thing?”
“Ghost tours and haunted houses are a thing.” Niall shrugs, looking for all the world like he's unbothered. He rather looks like the supernatural-minded Liam with the gesture; Louis can easily see how his best friend and this part-banshee had become friends. That doesn’t make what Liam did okay, but he can see how having a witch for a best mate could come up in conversation. “Humans like to have fun and be scared.” He pats Louis' shoulder. Surprisingly, although he’s a stranger to Louis and the protective charms he’d made should’ve repelled the action, the charms don’t flare the way they should. Granted, he’s never encountered a banshee before, so maybe they don’t work the same way they would against other supernaturals. Maybe banshees require the same sort of protective spells that ghosts require? “Harry'd like you. And since you're friends with Liam, whatever you're having all night is on the house.”
“Who in the world is Harry?” Louis asks, but Niall doesn't respond to the question. Instead, he pats Liam on the arm with a goodbye and fades back into the crowd. So Louis turns the question on Liam.
“I haven't met him, but I think he's Niall's mysterious roommate.” Liam shrugs. “At least, I'm assuming he is, because I know Niall has a roommate, and I haven't met them.”
“I think you're pulling my leg.” Louis responds before signaling for a bartender. The person who comes over isn't the typical sort Louis sees bartending. It's not that he's young or male – Louis is definitely used to seeing both of those things, especially in the gay bars that the witch frequents – or the multitude of tattoos that lines one of his slim arms and his chest that peeks out from his shirt. It's the tiny points of white that Louis can see: the witch has never seen a vampire bartending before. Hunting in clubs and bars, yes, but never bartending.
“Hullo, little witch.” The bartender leans over the bar, smiling warmly at Louis like he knows him. Louis' eyes are fixed on the vampire's fangs, on full display. He doesn't know any vampires, doesn't socialise with any, has no idea why a vampire would be treating him so warmly. He also has no idea why, even in a supernatural club that caters to humans, one of the supernaturals races that prey on humans is piling them with alcohol. “What can I get you?”
“Can I get a vodka and tonic?” Louis' gaze moves from the vampire's fangs up to the vampire's green eyes. He’s reminded of a warm meadow, and rolling down hills with those green eyes.
“You can, but don't you want to expand your horizons? This isn't your regular sort of club, liquor-wise.” The vampire waves his hand toward the rows of various alcohols lining the wall behind the bar before turning back to Louis, looking like he thinks he’s got Louis’ number down. “There's a few drinks specifically for supernaturals in my repertoire. Or rather, I should say that I've created a few drinks for supernaturals like you and me.”
Louis considers it, considers passing on such an offer, but he's intrigued at the same time. What sort of drink would be up a witch’s alley, according to this vampire? “Alright. Surprise me then.”
The vampire smiles, turning to the rows of bottles and getting started on Louis' drink.
A few hours later, Louis' quite fond of the Black Cat martinis that Harry – the bartender-slash-owner-slash-Niall's-roommate – has been making him. He's also feeling the liquor, and the liquid courage that said liquor provides, at this point in time, and Harry is really pretty.
If he were sober, that would pull him up short: a vampire can't be pretty. As a witch, Louis' aware that vampires are intrigued by witches' blood. He’s heard some even consider it like a supernatural version of cocaine or heroin. So that's why Louis avoids vampires, and makes it a point to go out of his way to do so. If he'd been sober, he wouldn't be thinking Harry's pretty.
But he's not sober, and also not dead, and so: Harry's very, very pretty and Louis can't stop smiling in Harry's direction every time the vampire comes over by where Louis' sitting. He's not so drunk that he isn't aware that he's leaning more and more flirtatiously against the bar, although he is drunk enough to be aware that sober Louis wouldn't be doing this with a vampire, and he's also drunk enough to know that he doesn't care.
Liam's disappeared a while ago, although Louis doesn't know when exactly that was, or even entirely why Liam's disappeared. Doesn't matter though, because Harry is so pretty. It’s a fixation at this point.
“Your cheeks are pink.” Harry says a lifetime, or maybe just a few minutes, later as he sets a glass of water in front of Louis. He's been doing that all night, Louis' noticed, keeping Louis on the same sort of drinks – never mixing liquor with beer – and making sure that Louis drinks water periodically. Louis kinda wants to keep Harry, if this is how Harry treats his friends. Or maybe just keep coming to this club, if this is how Harry treats his customers. The vampire leans in close, so that they're nearly nose to nose, and that if Louis wanted to, he could lean forward and kiss him. “It's cute.”
Louis really, really wants to kiss Harry. Judging by the way Harry's quietly smiling and keeps glancing at Louis' lips, he's pretty sure that Harry's feeling the same way.
He's just about to lean in, forgo any concerns and questions he'd have while sober and just kiss Harry when the vampire pulls away.
“It's getting late. I should close up the register and all.” Harry says, walking away from Louis and leaving the witch feeling suddenly bereft and cold. The vampire waves a hand at the water in front of Louis. “Drink that, and I'll pour you into a cab, okay? Paying for cabs is on the house here for special customers.”
“You think I'm special?” Louis smiles in what he hopes is a flirty manner as he lifts the glass to his lips and takes a drink. For all he's concerned, he might as well be the only person left in the club, basking under Harry's attention. He's glad Liam brought him here; this was a good way to spend his evening. Definitely better than his usual nights out clubbing, though those nights usually had him pulling and going home with someone well before closing time. Also more dancing, and not being belly up to the bar all night. But he can't be blamed: Harry is undeniably pretty.
“I think you're very special, yes.” The vampire smiles at the register he's counting down, shooting the smile briefly in Louis' direction. “You're also cute, which is a plus for you.”
“You two are still here?” Niall says as he plops down in the stool next to Louis, already drumming his fingers on the wood of the bar. He's pink cheeked as well, but Louis' pretty that Niall – being Irish from the sound of his accent – is a lot better at holding his alcohol than Louis is. His blue eyes skim from Louis in his bar stool to Harry now organising bottles behind the bar, and snorts like he didn't find the answer he was looking for. “I would've expected you two gone hours ago.”
Louis mock gasps, pressing a hand to his chest and arranging his features into what he hopes is indignation. He's pretty sure he fails at it in his drunkenness, but he doesn't even care. “How easy a witch do you take me for?”
Niall's blue eyes look him up and down, the other man's face otherwise impassive. “I don’t know how easy a witch you are. But every time I've seen you all night, you've been making eyes at Harry, whether or not Harry's been looking your way, like you want him to take you home.” He pauses when there's a quiet sound, almost like laughter, from where Harry's standing, before he fixes the vampire with a look. “As for you, every time I've glanced your way, you haven't been much better. Besides, it looks like you're closing up shop for the night, so why don't all three of us share a cab and I get to see if my new headphones work.”
“What makes you think I'm going to take advantage of the little witch?” Harry asks, turning and leaning against the bar in front of Niall. His face is mostly impassive, but Louis can see the twitch of a smile. Can see just the hint of a dimple. Yeah, Harry’s really pretty, and Louis definitely wants to keep him.
And then it dawns on Louis just what Harry said, like getting doused with cold water. Even though he'd never sleep with a vampire, sober or not, he doesn't do with rejection well, and so he can't help the little whine that comes out from the back of his throat. Harry turns to Louis, adjusts his whole upper body so he's properly facing Louis and by the Goddess, that's a cool trick. Louis'd like to see more, preferably with less clothing. He'd bare his throat if Harry twists like that in bed.
“I mean no disrespect on your very clear sense of honour, little witch, but I like my bed partners minus the whole drunkenness.” The vampire pauses, looking toward Niall like he's reconsidering his thoughts before facing Louis again. “But you're perfectly welcome to crash at our place. I won't be heading to bed for a few more hours because, well. Vampire. But I'm more than willing to keep an eye on you until sunrise. Unless you've got a roommate worried about you?” He glances at Niall again, this time like he's expecting the man to have the answer in place of Louis.
“I don't have a roommate, just a witch’s cat.” Louis shakes his head. “My best mate's Liam, the one who suggested I come here, but he left a while ago.” He looks around, suddenly wondering if Liam's going to reappear. The man doesn't, and it makes Louis dig out his phone. They've got a routine down when they go out and leave separately: they'll text the other when they go, or if they pulled, in the morning on their way out from the hookup’s place. Although that part's usually Louis; Liam doesn't really do one night stands. More's the pity, Louis thinks, but he never tells Liam that.
Sure enough, there's a text from Liam, telling him to have fun with his flirting because Liam didn't have the heart to pull him away from his latest source of attention and affection. There's even a winky face emoji followed by a sun peeking from behind a cloud emoji. Louis gets the first; he's too drunk to get the second, and far too drunk to care enough to text more than just a few question marks in response.
That's a pretty good response for now, he thinks as he slides his phone back into his pocket and getting to his feet. He wavers a bit, unsteady, but Harry proves the lightning quick speed of vampires Louis' heard about when he reaches across the bar to grab Louis' arm to steady him.
“I'm going to go get you another glass of water, and I want you to drink it while I call a cab, yeah?” His voice is low, commanding, and although Louis didn't know he had it in him, the tone actually turns Louis on a bit. He doesn't trust his voice, wonders if it'd crack if he talked, so he settles for nodding his head. He's rewarded with a smile and Harry hands him a glass, waiting until he's started drinking from it before he calls up a cab for them.
Harry and Niall, it turns out, live in a much nicer neighbourhood than Louis does. In fact, they don't live in a tiny little flat like Louis.
“You live in a bloody penthouse,” Louis breathes as he stumbles out of the lift. He's got Harry's hand resting lightly on his arm, all the better to guide the drunk witch, so he doesn't fall flat on his face, but it's a very near thing.
“We do. Goodnight, Lou.” Niall grins, waving as he heads to the left and turns the corner.
“What do you do that you can afford a penthouse?” Louis turns his attention to Harry as the vampire moves his hand from Louis' arm to his lower back, gently leading him through a few rooms – they're all in dim mood lighting that are too dim for Louis' eyes to see properly, but seem to be just fine for Harry – before Harry flips on a light.
Louis' pretty sure his entire flat fits into this bedroom. It's gorgeously furnished, a far cry from Louis' own furnishings, even though his job at James' herbal shop pays well enough.
Owning a club must pay really well.
“It doesn't, actually.” Harry sounds amused by the question, and it takes Louis a moment to realise that he actually said that aloud, and not, as he thought, in his head. “I'm a vampire, remember? Live long enough and you'll be able to afford to do a lot of things. Although I am also dabbling in writing.”
His hand falls from Louis' lower back as the vampire crosses the room to sit down on the plush bed, leaving Louis' lower back to feel colder than it did before. Which is an odd thought because Harry’s skin is cool to the touch. He smiles when Louis stays where he is, too busy gawking around the room and doing his best impression of a goldfish. “I'm told the place looks better in the daylight, but I've only seen pictures to prove it. So you'll have to tell me what it looks like in the morning.” He pats the bed next to him. “Come on. I don't bite, unless you ask, and I did say you can sleep in my bed.”
Louis gawks at him for a change of pace before he gingerly makes his way to the bed. On the watery edges of his consciousness, he can feel some Other Consciousness suggesting that the alcohol in his system is making him sleepy and that he should get comfortable.
It doesn't take Louis long to strip down to his briefs and crawl into the plushest bed he's ever been in. He's fast asleep before his head even touches the pillow.
Louis wakes up slowly, confused and disoriented. It's dark in his room, for one thing, far darker than he’s used to. For another, he's not being pestered by Hemlock. And the bed is a lot nicer than his.
And then he remembers. It's not his bed, it's not his room, it's definitely not his flat.
He quickly scrambles out of the bed, fingers fumbling about before he manages to turn on the lamp on the nightstand. His phone is plugged into a charging dock just under the lamp, fully charged and reading some time in the mid morning, and his clothes are neatly folded on a nearby chair. There's also a glass of water and a couple paracetamol sitting next to the charging dock.
Harry is the consummate host, it would seem.
He doesn't seem to have as bad a hangover as he's had in the past, thanks to Harry's bartending last night, but he takes the paracetamol and washes it down with the water. He considers not turning around, doesn't know if he wants to know what a vampire looks like during the day. Doesn't know if he wants to know what Harry looks like during the day.
He closes his eyes and inhales deeply, tries to convince himself that all he wants to do is treat this like a one night stand even if Harry was a perfect gentleman and nothing whatsoever happened. Tries to convince himself to just grab his phone, grab his clothes and hightail it out of there.
It doesn't work. His curiosity is far too strong, and he'll probably never get a better chance to do it.
He inhales deeply, counting to five slowly, exhales on an eight count before turning around. Despite Harry having said it was his bed, Louis appears to have been the only person who spent the night in it. The other side is undisturbed. Which begs the question, where did Harry go at sunrise if not his own bed?
The question follows Louis into the ensuite bathroom – another room that could probably fit both his bedroom and his own bath – where he finds a new toothbrush still in the packaging and toothpaste waiting for him on the marble sink. This is quite possibly the politest one night stand Louis' ever been a part of, and there's a twinge of something in his gut that for a one night stand, there was a lot less sex than Louis' used to.
“It's also a one night stand that's never happening again,” he tells his reflection in the mirror over the sink as he goes through the motions of brushing his teeth. “Even if another one night stand with Harry would be sober and involved actual sex.”
His reflection doesn't respond as he spits out the toothpaste, rinsing out his mouth. He can't properly explain why, but instead of throwing out the toothbrush – he's not planning on seeing Harry again, after all, because witches and vampires don't hook up or date – he sets it jauntily down in the polished toothbrush holder next to the green toothbrush he assumes is Harry's.
The question of where Harry is currently sleeping pops back into his head as he walks back into the master bedroom and sees the empty bed once more. Maybe he's sleeping in Niall's room?
He settles on that as he dresses in his clothes from the night before, grabbing his cellphone on his way out of the room. And has to stop because holy fucking shit.
He hadn't seen much of the penthouse in the dim light of the night before, but now that the sun is awake and filtering through floor to ceiling windows, things look very different. And far, far more posh.
He knows he's staring again; he can't help it because this place is gorgeous. He certainly can't be blamed for exploring as he tries to find his way back to the lift. He barely remembers the path he and Harry had taken the night before, and he certainly doesn’t have the same guide.
The master bedroom opens onto a small hallway that leads to a dining room with steps leading up into a sitting room and a set of doors off the dining room leads into a large room dominated by a grand piano and an entire wall of windows overlooking the lush greenery of Hyde Park. Past that room, he can see another hallway and the lift.
At the sight of the lift, he hurries through the massive music room. Fights past the urge to linger at the grand piano with its shining, shimmering polished wood and ivory keys. Fights the urge to linger at even one of the windows to admire the gorgeous view.
He's made it to the lift, and is just about to hit the button going down when a voice stops him.
“You really leaving then, mate? I was making breakfast.”
He wonders if it's polite to act like he hadn't heard Niall, but then he's reminded that Niall is actually friends with Liam. Which means that Niall could easily find out where Louis lives, and Louis' heard stories about how banshees have caused whole families to die. He can't imagine what it would be like to have a part-banshee after just him.
So instead of taking the cowardly way out, Louis turned on his heel and headed in the direction of Niall's voice. Walking down the short hallway that included the lift and a door leading to what Louis assumes is the rest of the penthouse, he emerges into a spacious kitchen that looks like it belongs in a design magazine. He could do some serious spell work in a kitchen like this, and there’s no strange stain on any of the bright white walls.
Niall himself is at the island stove, making eggs by the smell wafting around the room. He smiles when he sees Louis, sliding the eggs on two plates that already hold a couple rashers of bacon and sausage and a couple pieces of toast. It's a couple pieces short of a fry-up, but it still smells delicious. His stomach certainly agrees, because it gives a loud rumble at the smell.
“You don't seem so hungover. That's good.” He says in lieu of greeting, carrying the plates to a small nook in a corner. A teapot and a coffee pot already sit on the table, as well as two mugs and all the fixings. “I wasn't sure if you were a tea drinker or a coffee drinker, so I made both.”
“Do you normally make breakfast for Harry's one night stands?” Louis finds himself asking as he crosses the large space to the nook and settling into a chair, like he's got a right to know the usual routine for one night stands of a man, a vampire, he met literally last night. Like he's angling to be more than just a one night stand. If the thought had occurred in his drunkenness of the night before, he wouldn't have been bothered, but in his soberness now, it makes him uncomfortable.
Because, after all, witches don't date vampires. They don't have one night stands with vampires. They definitely don't have breakfast the morning after with the vampire's roommate, questioning if maybe their priorities should change and where is said vampire spending the day?
“There's six bedrooms including the master suite and Harry's actually got the smallest bedroom set up to sleep in during the day,” Niall responds, grinning when he sees the confusion on Louis' face because Louis' pretty damn sure he didn't ask that out loud. The man bursts out laughing when Louis says as much. “Of course you didn't say that out loud. But I guessed you were thinking it based on your expression. Turns out I was right.”
“I didn't think it was that obvious,” Louis mutters into his eggs. It just makes Niall crack up all over again.
After that, it's pretty much companionable silence as they both eat their breakfasts. And, despite Louis' best intentions of not thinking along those lines, he finds himself considering seeing Harry again, just to have more morning afters like this.
He'll push the very idea of it out of his mind as soon as he leaves. After breakfast.
As it turns out, it's not so easy to push someone out of your mind when they don't want to be gone. Louis hadn't quite been so aware of that fact since high school with his first failed relationship, but although he'd told himself to push the idea of Harry, of having a relationship, or Goddess forbid, even an actual one night stand, with the vampire, he just can't shake the idea.
It creeps up on him at the most inopportune times.
There's the morning a few days after breakfast with Niall that finds Louis feeding Hemlock his cat food – with the usual finger flourishes – and he finds himself wondering if Harry likes cats. He can't remember if that had come up in the drunken talking that night, to be honest. But he finds himself hoping Harry likes cats, because Hemlock the witch's cat absolutely comes with the package of dating a witch. As soon as the thought enters his mind, though, Louis immediately shoves it back out and tries to focus on what caused the stain on his kitchen wall. He's no closer to the truth than he'd been when he had first noticed it.
Then there's the night where Louis invites Liam over to watch some action-adventure flick, to spend some time together and to pull Liam from his studies, and while he's snuggled up with Hemlock and a bowl of popcorn, Louis finds himself wondering what sort of movies Harry enjoys and whether or not Harry cuddles during the romantic kind. It creeps into his head about halfway through the movie, to the point he's annoyed with the movie by the end of it, even though the movie isn't bad. Because he's really hoping Harry’s a fan of comedies and the occasional romance and musical, and Louis is definitely a cuddler during romantic movies.
The final straw for Louis comes when he goes out on a night he has free. This time, he's ready before Liam is, showing up on Liam's doorstep before Liam's had time to properly shave for the night. And even though he and Liam hit up the regular clubs like they always do, with Louis absolutely looking to pull, Louis goes home alone. It wasn't that he couldn't find a willing partner for hot and heavy sex, it was because none of them - and he'd found a few viable candidates - were Harry.
Guys like Harry just don't exist outside of romantic movies, and it really, really makes Louis annoyed.
“Why can't I get him out of my head?” He finally growls one night at work, as he's grinding up fresh mint for a spell. The snarl startles both his coworker Perrie, busy copying a spell from one of the spell books that had just come in from where she's settled in behind the register located at the front of the store, and his boss James, who'd been dusting some higher shelves in one of the aisles.
“Are you okay?” Perrie asks, the concern in her voice clear, her blue eyes wide behind her bubblegum pink hair. “Do you need a love spell?” She glances over at James, who's watching the both of them in surprise. Not because of the topic of conversation - James is a witch himself - but because of what Perrie’s discussing. “Or, I suppose, an anti-love spell?”
“I don't need a love spell.” Louis grits out, using the mortar and pestle to grind the mint into a finer powder than is probably necessary. “Or an anti-love spell.”
“Also, those are illegal. Especially in stores that cater to normal people as well as supernatural.” James points out as he climbs off the ladder, hurrying over to save the mint from further damage. He makes a face at the fine powder before setting it to one side. “Are you going to need the rest of the night off, Louis? Or should I give you some other task that doesn't involve grinding ingredients into pieces too small to be properly effective?”
Louis grimaces, well aware that even if James isn't coming right out and saying it, he's never allowed a bad mood to affect his working performance and that's exactly what's going on with the whole Harry mess. He toys with the idea of just coming clean, curious to know if he tells someone that isn't Hemlock about the whole thing, that the matter will just magically clear up. That he won't still be stuck on Harry, someone he's only known a night and certainly hasn't slept with, if it's out in the universe. That is, after all, how the universe works, he's found: whatever you put out into the universe finds its resolution in some way.
He opens his mouth, absolutely prepared to come clean, explain why he's being a moody prat today, but before he can do so, there's a jingle from the bell on the front door, signaling that a customer has entered. That fact is echoed when Perrie brightly greets the person; by the way that she doesn't hide the spell book beneath the counter, a habit she does whenever a human customer enters the store, Louis knows the customer is supernatural. It also signifies that, until the customer leaves, the conversation with James has been put on hold for now. It doesn't mean he's getting out of it.
The way Perrie leans over the counter, her breasts in her low-cut shirt and supported by her corset on full display, tells Louis something else: the customer must be incredibly attractive.
Usually, if there's an attractive customer in the store, Louis tries to see if they're his type. He knows that he should check – after all, Perrie's a self-described equal opportunity flirt and just because she's perked up for the customer doesn't mean they're male – and he needs a distraction from Harry. But he also wants to stay where he is; while he does want to get over Harry, use someone else to get Harry out of his system since he doesn't want to use his friendship with Liam to go after the vampire, he doesn't want to use a customer to do so. He's pretty sure that James would kill him, and then when Louis would come back as a ghost, James would exorcise him.
Instead of checking, though, he stays where he is, under James' questioning gaze – he hasn't answered James' question, after all, even though the conversation has been put on a temporary hold – and finds himself hoping the customer doesn't make their way to the back of the store. He's being a prat, he can't get Harry out of his head, and his boss is questioning his mental state. None of those are great conversation starters for a hookup.
“Can I help you find something today? Maybe some tea while you browse the shelves? Coffee?” Perrie's tone leaves her question incredibly open ended, and then she takes it one step further because that's what Perrie does as an equal opportunity flirt. “Me?”
A low chuckle answers the question, and before the customer responds, Louis knows instantly who the customer is, even though he's never heard the man - no, the vampire - in question chuckle. There's a thrumming in his bones, a compulsion running through his blood to show himself, that tells him that Harry's entered the store. He resists the urge, avoids James' gaze as he moves away from the counter he's been sitting behind.
Tries to escape the compulsion that tells him to go to the front of the store.
He manages to succeed, in a way. As Harry teasingly tells Perrie that although he appreciates the very tempting offer, he has to unfortunately decline, Louis retreats to a case in the far back corner of the sales floor. The case in question has various vampire artifacts in it, so it's not much of a win running from the compulsion.
It's also not a win because that's exactly where Harry finds him a few minutes later.
“Do you recommend anything in that case?” Harry sounds amused, and although Louis knows for a fact he'll falter if he glances the vampire's way, he does. The vampire's standing next to him, his whole body facing the case but the vampire's green eyes are looking at him like the only thing in the entire store he's interested in is the witch standing next to him. Like maybe Louis isn't the only one that can't get the vampire out of his head.
He doesn't know if he likes the fact that he's not alone in that, so he forces it down and crosses his arms over his chest as he makes himself smaller in posture. Forces his gaze back to the case, even though he isn't really seeing the various pieces of jewelry and weaponry inside. “What are you doing here? Don't you have a club to look over? Bartending to do?”
“I do, but the night is young. And there's this one customer that hasn't come back since his first night. Sad, that.” The vampire leans to the side, entering Louis' personal space before he leans back out of it. “I was hoping to see him again, so I did some digging. Seems the little witch's best mate is mates with my roommate.”
Normally, when there's a comment about his height, Louis takes offense. When he was drunk, he thought the nickname had been cute, especially because Harry had thought he was cute and he'd thought Harry was so pretty. Sober as he is right now, even though he still thinks Harry's pretty, Louis should be taking offense at being called little. He definitely doesn't like that he's not offended if it's Harry using it as a nickname. His brain is a mess.
He mentally shakes himself, glancing briefly at Harry. The vampire is a lot more subdued outside of the club, dressed in black skinny jeans tucked into black boots and a band t-shirt, with his short brown hair curling around his ears. He looks more like a rockstar than a fearsome vampire.
“You didn't compel Liam to tell you where I worked, did you? Because that's illegal, compelling humans.”
Harry chuckles softly, a small smile gracing his lips as he tucks his long fingers into the front pockets of his jeans. They're skinny enough that they look like they were painted on and Louis can't imagine that tucking his hands in his pockets is very comfortable. “It's illegal to do it to a human that isn't aware of supernaturals. I know it doesn't look like it, but I was alive for the protests against that law going in effect. But no, I didn't compel your mate Liam to tell me where you worked. He was happy enough to tell me.” The small smile grows into a grin. “In fact, he said you were being pretty moody since that night you two went to my club that he was hoping that seeing me again would cheer you up.”
Harry's not wrong. Liam isn't wrong. He wants to deny that both of them are horribly, horribly wrong and that he's not been moping since he ran from the penthouse after breakfast with Niall. But. “Liam needs to know when to shut his mouth.”
Harry laughs at that, a full bellied laugh that Louis doesn't think the comment merits because it's nothing more than the truth, but Louis also feels pretty pleased that Harry found it funny. “He probably should, in case I turned out to be a stalker or something.”
Okay. Louis knows that witches don't get along with vampires, but he could definitely have done without knowing that vampires, like some humans, had the potential to be stalkers.
The realisation must show on his face because Harry reaches a hand out to pat his arm, the vampire turning to him. “I'm not a stalker, even though I did hunt you down the way I did. I meant what I said about being unable to get you out of my head. I just didn't know how else to find you, since I didn't have a number or anything like that.” He smiles, his fangs just barely peeking out from behind his plush lips. “And considering I don't know your last name, I couldn't exactly find you in the phone book.”
The idea is so outdated, so absurd, that Louis can't help the bark of laughter that gets. And judging by the pleased look that crosses the vampire's face at his reaction, Harry got the response he was looking for. The vampire also turns more toward him, stance a bit flirty, with his lower lip caught behind a fang. Louis isn't sure if it's what Harry was going for, but the action makes Harry look both more innocent and more alluring. More like Louis should trust the vampire, even with the vampire-witch history.
Like Louis should bare his throat for the vampire.
“Maybe I could get your number, then? Hopefully ask you out on a date?” The vampire reaches out to brush Louis' bangs out of his eyes, tucking the longish piece of hair at the edge of Louis' fringe behind Louis' ear. The vampire's fingers are cool, his touch delicate, but the simple action – even though it's heavily couched in flirtation – sends tingles of desire down Louis' spine. Those deepen as Harry's fingers brush along the curve of Louis' ear, down the column of Louis' neck.
A girlish giggle and a clearing of a throat bring Louis crashing down back into reality. He pulls back, aware once more that they're standing at the back of the store where Louis works, and that they definitely have an audience in both Louis' coworker and his boss.
There's a part of Louis that wishes that weren't true, that they didn't have an audience and were in a far more private setting, because Louis' body just keeps betraying him whenever he's around Harry. And that's odd because he's only been around him twice now.
“You're not compelling me to feel like this, are you?” He finds himself questioning instead of properly studying why, because it's the only thing that makes sense to him. It's got to be the only reason he reacts this way around Harry, when he's never been this wanton around even other supernaturals.
“I'm not.” Harry smiles like he was expecting the question, like he knows exactly what's going through Louis' head. “I don't know if you remember this, but I like my partners willing. Compelling partners and taking advantage of drunken customers is, in my rather humble opinion, wrong. I'd prefer a consensual agreement.”
Louis wants to think he's lying to him, like vampires are said to do to witches because they find witch blood more delicious than any other sort, but. He's pretty positive that Harry's never done anything but tell the truth to him. Still, though, he'd love to bare his throat to Harry. Absolutely, perfectly willing to, in fact.
Knowing that that's not a compulsion should be more worrisome than a turn on, and yet. Yet.
“Okay. One date.”
Harry cheers happily, and as he puts his phone number in the cell that the vampire hands him, Louis wonders if he'll regret this later.
Despite best intentions, mostly on Harry's side and mostly involving nights where Harry's club ran into unexpected issues causing the vampire to cancel at frequently the last minute, the date finally happens a few weeks later.
In his defense, based on how often Harry seemed to be tied to his club, Louis' more than a bit surprised when the date doesn't actually take place at the club. It's not that he would've minded the date being at the club, he absolutely understands that sometimes work and responsibility come first. He just. Wouldn't have expected a night walking tour of London as a date idea.
But that's exactly what happens: their first date is a Jack the Ripper walking tour. They're not the only people on the tour – the other people on the tour are clearly tourists, and very human if their clothing is anything to go by – and while Louis would've imagined he'd be bored by the tour or annoyed that Harry picked something so touristy as a date idea, he finds that he's anything but.
“I know that was a bit cheesy,” Harry admits after the tour is over, as they make their way to the nearest tube entrance. “A sightseeing tour about a serial killer in London's history, I mean. It was a toss up between that or one of the ghost tours because, you know.”
Louis can't help but smile at the sheepish way Harry's glancing in his direction. He knows exactly where Harry’s mind’s gone. If he weren’t still leery of vampires, he’d think that maybe witches and vampires aren’t very different mentally. “Because I'm Samantha Stephens and you're, well.” He pauses in both voice and step for dramatic effect, looking Harry up and down like he’s sizing him up before choosing the most innocent vampire he can think of. He might be a witch that isn’t a fan of vampires in person, but he’s quite fond of the fictional type. “Bunnicula.”
“Hey,” Harry wheedles out, but he's laughing as they start walking again, effectively killing any pouting on the vampire’s part. “Bunnicula was an awesome little rabbit, fangs and all. I don't suck veg dry though, and I'm glad you're not Chester.” He nudges Louis with a smile. “I don't think toothpicks are going to work on me.”
“Well, there goes that plan!” Louis throws his hands up, trying to look upset but he knows he's failing at it because he can't stop the wide smile hurting his cheeks. This is what Harry brings out in him: happiness. He should be terrified about that being his default emotion in regards to the vampire, should be running the opposite direction the first breath of realisation. “I'd have a very hard time sticking toothpicks in your chest anyway.” He reaches out, patting Harry's chest. It’s just as firm as he thought it would be, and this might be a stupid idea on his part, because he just wants to keep touching.
Harry catches Louis' hand in both of his, pressing it close to his shirt with a quiet flirtatious smile as he stops them once more. Like he’s fully aware of where Louis’ thoughts are wandering off to. Louis can’t tell - Harry’s eyes make it too hard to tell what’s going on in that brain of his - but he thinks that maybe, Harry’s thoughts are circling the same drain his is. “You would. It's a very sturdy chest, I think.”
The action causes both of them to stop once more, but this moment, this one is more charged than the teasing one prior. It feels more like that night in the club, minus the liquid courage that all the Black Cat martinis Harry'd made for him had given him, and there's definitely no liquor involved.
Louis finds himself wanting to bare his throat to Harry once again, and he knows now that Harry would never use his vampire compulsion on him. Unless Louis asks. He wonders what that would feel like, being compelled by a vampire. Wonders if Harry ever considers asking Louis to cast a spell of some sort on him. That huge penthouse could use a few wards and Louis thinks he could even make them specific against vampire hunters. He might even have a dark spell somewhere that would make it far easier come sunrise for the vampire.
Instead of asking any of that, though, he licks his lips to give himself a minute's composure. What he wants to do, more than any of his previous thoughts, is lean in to kiss Harry. He wonders if the vampire’s lips would be as cool as his fingers, wonders if they’d be as soft as they look. “D'you want to go back to my place? I think it's closer than your penthouse.”
Harry's green eyes, glowing in the darkness around them, goes darker and deeper and more primal, his gaze more revealing and making Louis feel like he's standing naked in front of the vampire. Louis finally gets why a vampire's lover is so willing: he's fairly certain he wants Harry to look at him like that all the time.
“I thought you weren't that easy,” Harry finally says after a few minutes of just staring at Louis, like he spent the time thinking that Louis was playing him for a fool, even though his eyes are still dark and looking like someone Louis doesn’t (does) want to meet in a dark alley. “What sort of witch invites a vampire home after the first date?”
“A witch who can't get you out of their head.” Louis takes a step closer to the vampire, licking his lips. By the Goddess, the moon, and every other word Louis has in his bag of profanity, he wants to taste Harry so badly. “You said you couldn't me out of your head either. Maybe if we just do something about it, it'll help?”
The vampire lets go of Louis' hand, one hand settling on the back of Louis' neck and the other settling against his hip. It’s possessive, it’s intimate, and Louis’ pretty sure it’s the only thing now keeping him upright. “I don't think I ever want to properly get you out of my head. I hope you know that.”
Louis licks his lips again, hoping his knees won’t give out before he’s proper ready for them to do so. Hopes it’s not obvious to Harry he’s gone weak in the knees. “Makes two of us then.”
Because of the sexual tension, they forgo taking public transport and take a cab instead. They don't do much beyond staring at each other and small touches: Louis sticks to Harry’s upper thigh and hip and occasionally his knee, but Harry’s fascinated with the line of Louis’ neck, the curve of his ear. It’s like they’re a pair of teenagers just discovering sex and intimacy with each other, but with the knowledge of adulthood that they can take their time soon enough without getting caught by either one’s parents. But regardless of personal thought or agenda of either of them, Harry pays the cabbie extra even as Louis pulls him out of the cab. The witch leads him up the stairs, still touching Harry and feeling like he's got to make sure the vampire is still there. Harry does the same, hands mostly touching Louis' hips like the vampire's worried that he's going to back out at the last minute.
They touch each other like they’re both afraid the other will vanish into the night instead of going through with this.
There's a moment when Louis has to dig out his keys to unlock his flat, where Harry stops him, pressing him up against the door and kissing him deeply. A cool hand cups the back of Louis' neck as Harry's body settles against his. The kiss isn't anything major; it's not sexual by any stretch of imagination, it's not groundbreaking or earth shattering. But try telling that to Louis' knees, because it absolutely makes them go weak, weaker than they had what’s beginning to feel like another lifetime ago, and causing him to slump boneless against the door. It also makes him forget for a moment that they're standing outside of his flat and should go inside said flat so Harry can do that again. Maybe even with less clothing. He’d be down with Harry kissing him like that again, slow and methodical like the vampire speaks. Like he’s got nothing better to do with his afterlife than kissing Louis thoroughly.
He finally comes back to himself, fumbling for a moment with his keys, and then fumbling with the door before they finally, finally get in. And then it comes crashing down in reality. After all, Harry has a penthouse filled with elegant furniture that looks like it belongs in a design and architecture magazine and Louis has a tiny flat with a strange, possibly magical stain on his kitchen wall.
"It's, well." Louis gestures toward his flat at large, even though he's not really sure what he means by it. Hemlock comes meowing from the bedroom, twining around Louis' legs like the witch has been gone for days, months, years instead of just a couple hours. He scoops the cat up to have something to do with his hands, something to do that isn't stare at Harry in the hopes that Harry won't be disgusted by the vast differences in living spaces. He's also aware that usually, his reaction on coming home is to use magic to do everything, from closing and locking his door to making his dinner, but after multiple discussions about a vampire's compulsion, Louis' not sure what Harry would think of his handwaving to do simple tasks. Not that he thinks they’re on the same level, since using magic to do chores isn’t the same as compelling a person to do something they might not want, but Harry might be like Liam, and think it’s a waste of energy. "It's nothing much, and it's nothing like your penthouse." His voice is small, embarrassed, and he has no idea because he’s never been embarrassed by his flat before. Then again, he’s never brought someone that owns a penthouse to his flat.
"Well, it's yours, so that makes it perfect, I think." Harry whispers, leaning in so he scratch Hemlock behind the ears just like the witch's cat likes. Louis doesn't know why he's jealous of the cat, even though Harry'd been kissing him just minutes ago.
Hemlock, for his part, just purrs contently, butting his head against Harry's fingers and being as friendly to people as always.
“Do you want anything? Nightcap or something?” Louis could kick himself. He was so confident before, was practically thrumming with restrained energy just moments ago, and now he sounds like he’s taken steps backwards.
But everything that’s been going through his brain, every nagging and negative thought, doesn’t seem to be what’s going through Harry’s as the vampire gently takes Hemlock from Louis’ hands and sets the cat on the sofa. The vampire’s green eyes then graze along the line of Louis’ throat, like he’s watching Louis’ blood flow through his veins.
“I can think of other things,” the vampire whispers as he moves into Louis’ space, hands settling on the witch’s hips. They stay there for a heartbeat, for two heartbeats, before one comes up to cup Louis’ chin and tilting the witch’s head up for a deep kiss. Just like the one outside the flat, this kiss threatens to melt the joints in Louis’ knees, but just before he stumbles into Harry, the vampire’s hand on his hip tightens.
“I’ve got you, little witch.” Harry says, or perhaps he says it in Louis’ head. Louis knows somewhere that he should care if Harry’s in his head, but before he can process that thought correctly, there’s a small nip to his lower lip. And. Oh.
He doesn’t get to process that either - that he must’ve caught his lip on the vampire’s fang or that Harry actually nipped his lower lip - before he’s picked up by the vampire’s strong grip. He wraps his legs around Harry’s waist instinctively as the vampire carries him to the bedroom. Once there, he’s deposited on his bed and before he can push himself up, there’s a vampire on top of him and it feels like there’s more hands than he was sure of previously.
Not that he’s complaining: between the ravaging Harry’s doing of his mouth and the way the vampire’s hands are cool and very welcoming against skin that’s starting to feel like it might burn them both, Louis isn’t sure where he ends and Harry begins.
It takes him a dazed moment to focus enough to slide curious fingers down to the belt buckle pressing against his thigh, and the heavy, hard length of Harry behind it. He traces his fingers around it, trying to gauge without looking, as Harry’s mouth moves to ghost along his jawline.
“You're distracting me,” Louis gasps out as Harry's mouth moves to his throat. He can feel the sharp pinpricks of Harry's fangs trailing along the skin, and. He wants. He wants. He knows that he shouldn't want those fangs piercing his skin, but he does.
Moon burn him seven ways to the next holy day, he wants those fangs to pierce his skin and for Harry to drink heavily from him.
Harry presses himself against Louis' questing hand, chuckling low in his throat as if he's aware of the witch's thoughts. Like he knows that Louis wants to throw his reservations to the winds and into the Goddess’ hands just to get whatever Harry wants to give him. “You've got important wand work to get to, little witch?” One hand reaches down to cup Louis' own pressing erection. “I might fancy a bit myself.”
Whatever Louis might've said in response is buried beneath a groan as Harry's thumb pops the button of his fly open and slipping a hand inside Louis' jeans. Louis'd forgone pants in favour of the tight jeans and the feel of the vampire's cool fingers against his heated flesh takes whatever breath he has left away.
“Yeah,” the vampire whispers as he pulls Louis out to stroke him slowly, lips moving like a whispered prayer against Louis' neck. “Definitely fancy a bit of wand work myself.”
“Not that,” the witch breaks off in a moan, eyes rolling back into his head. Damn, but Harry's good with his hands. It takes him a moment to get back on track. “Not that kind of witch.”
“You should be,” Harry chuckles again, the cool hand on Louis' cock pulling away. It makes Louis whine in the back of his throat, but it's only momentarily: just long enough for Harry to unbuckle himself and work his own trousers down. “Think you can deal with this sort of wand?”
Soft cool lips press to his throat once more as cool fingers wrap around his cock once more. It doesn't quite distract him this time, and he chuckles breathlessly as he reaches out to wrap his own hand around Harry's cock. It’s just as cool as the rest of Harry, and he finds himself wondering if it’ll be different once Harry feeds. He really wants to know, actually. “I still don't use wands, but I could be this sort of witch.”
“What-” Harry gets out before Louis gives him a taste of his own medicine: a teasing stroke. The word falls apart into a moan against the line of Louis' throat, which only encourages another sure stroke.
It doesn't take much after that before they're both panting, Louis up at his ceiling and Harry against the tender skin of Louis' throat, thrusting into each other's hands. Somewhere in the haze of nearing the edge of the cliff, Louis can feel the vampire's fangs brush against his skin and he feels the same want, no, need from earlier.
“Go- go on, do it.” He finds himself gasping. He doesn't have long to wait; there's a sharp prick at the base of his throat followed by both the most intense orgasm he's ever experienced and seeing stars so bright, he feels himself falling into blackness.
Louis wakes up with a groan, rubbing his eyes as he sits up. It takes him a few minutes to remember the night before, to remember what happened.
And then it all crashes down, a terrible parody of the same bright stars he'd seen the night before.
“Oh, goddess.” He buries his face in his hands, wondering if there's a spell that could turn back time. He's not... He's not exactly ashamed by what happened – he was, after all, very much in the moment and had a very good time – but. Witches don't do that.
Maybe he could just avoid Harry from now on? Don't agree to a second date? Not that Harry asked for a second date; there was definitely not a lot of talking last night, much less asking for another date. He should just delete Harry's number from his phone, and ignore any texts that come from numbers he doesn't have stored in his phone.
He picks his phone up from where it's sitting on his nightstand – plugged in, because of course it is, what even is Harry Styles – and, as he thumbs it unlocked, he sees a text from Harry. “Had a good time last night. See you again?” There's a prayer hands emoji after.
Louis groans again, burying his face in his pillow. He would find the sweetest vampire in the world, wouldn't he?
Normally, Louis' good about responding to texts, especially ones from people he likes (and he does like Harry a lot, despite the fact he's a vampire). But this time, he forces himself into the kitchen and avoiding his phone. After all, Hemlock needs to be fed, and, if he's lucky, the use of magic will make Louis forget last night.
Goddess, he hopes it will.
Shopping with Liam is always an experience. He's been shopping with Louis for years now, in a few different stores that specialise in supernatural tastes, but it's like he absolutely forgets how different they are from the stores Liam regularly shops in.
It's a good thing that most of the supernatural stores Louis frequents are used to humans that are aware of the supernatural world; there's a lot less weird looks whenever Liam exclaims over finding something he deems 'odd'.
“Are there like, differences between the different colours of candles?” Liam asks as he holds up a black candle in Louis' direction. Like he expects the witch to voice his approval of said candle and maybe even take it.
Louis has to let Liam down quickly, even as he wonders why Liam's even bringing this up when he's known Louis for years and has been shopping with Louis about as long. With a flick of his finger, Louis floats the candle from Liam's hand back to the shelf he'd taken it from. “There are. Like all magic paths, though, candle magic can be used for evil. Also, I don't really do candle magic. Or any path that involves forcing your will on someone, or something, else.”
“A pure white witch then? I don't think I've met one before. They tend to go more gray.”
It's not Liam who responds, and that makes Louis freeze so quickly, it might've been a spell. It's been exactly three weeks since Louis made the mistake of sleeping with Harry. Three weeks of avoiding texts and phone calls that he figured Harry'd just take the hint he was ghosting (ha) on him, and leave him be. After all, as he keeps telling himself: witches and vampires don't work out.
Why is Harry here, at this shop and not one, say, closer to his flat.
He must've said that thought aloud when he hadn't meant to, because Harry smiles wide – there's a warm feeling of arousal pooling in Louis' lower belly at the sight of those fangs because Louis' body hasn't gotten the memo that Harry is Bad News to him – and holds up a glass bottle full of viscous red liquid. As a witch, even though he doesn't go down that path, Louis knows what's in that bottle, and really hopes that Liam just figures it's a dark red wine. “This is one of the best shops for vamps that I've found. I don't like to touch the club's stores if I don't have to.”
“So you're not following me then?” Louis knows he sounds annoyed, feels that he has every right to be annoyed if Harry is following him. Is aware that it makes him just as bad a person, considering that he could've just talked to Harry instead of going ghost on the vampire. Properly explained himself.
“I'm not, although I do think I deserve an explanation for why you're avoiding me.”
And there it is, the one thing that Louis absolutely owes Harry. It's one thing to tell himself it's okay in the silence of his mind, or out loud to Hemlock, but it makes him sound like an absolute twat when it's said out loud by another person.
“I thought you had a good time on your date.” Liam's voice breaks into the silence that follows Harry's words. Louis doesn't take his eyes off Harry, but he knows that his best mate in the world is staring at him in confusion. “I mean, if a hookup or something goes sour, you complain about it constantly. It's when they go right that you don't say anything.”
Something in Harry's eyes goes bright at Liam's words, and Louis knows that he absolutely should say something. He should explain that he did have a nice time. He should explain that the sex had been great. He should explain that vampires and witches don't hook up, that they don't work out.
He opens his mouth, prepared to say any of that, prepared to say something. Instead, though, what comes up makes him ashamed.
“I have to go.”
He feels even more ashamed that it's at a pace that's not quite a run that takes him out of the shop, leaving his stuff behind.
There are flowers sitting next to the register when Louis walks into work. Flowers. Sitting on the front counter. A very large, very gorgeous, very purple bouquet of flowers. Sitting. On the front counter. He's repeating himself like an idiot, but he can't help it.
Perrie, her long, bouncy hair today the exact same shade of the flowers, waves a small card at him. As he watches, her hair shimmers to an ombre with the darker purple at the bottom to a soft lavender at her roots. “They're for you!” She pats the card to his chest as he approaches the counter, eying the bouquet. “Someone likes you very much.”
He looks at the envelope in his hand, with its very neatly lettered “Louis” written on the front in an ocean blue pen, considers throwing it in the garbage can, considers setting it on fire, considers doing literally anything else that isn't opening it up to see who they're from. But he knows that if he were to throw the envelope out, Perrie'd dig it out and find out for him. That’s exactly the sort of person Perrie is. She’s a great friend and one of the best potion makers Louis knows; she’s just incredibly nosy.
And if Perrie digs it out of the trash, he'll never hear the end of it. Not that he won't hear the end of having flowers delivered to his work, but.
He sighs, closing his eyes and feeling like if he tries hard enough, it'll block out who the flowers are from because he's starting to get a pretty good idea who they're from. It doesn't, but a witch can dream, really. He finally takes a deep breath, opens his eyes and the envelope.
In the same crisp handwriting as his name on the envelope, the words “forgive me? - H” is written on the card. By the Goddess, of course the flowers are from Harry. He'd guessed that much already.
“Who are they from?” Perrie chirps in his ear, and he only just keeps from setting her hair on fire. She makes a grab for the card, but somehow, he manages to keep it out of her reach.
“They're from an admirer. That's all you need to know, Pez.” Louis tells her, sidestepping her next lunge. “It's just like you said. Someone likes me very much.”
Suddenly, the card disappears from his hand and, for a split second, he thinks Perrie's learned a new spell. But then he sees James standing in front of the door to his office, the small card in his hand, while his boss reads what's written on it.
“I can explain,” Louis begins just as James' blue eyes move from the card to the far too large bouquet.
“I don't want an explanation.” James says as he crosses the room to the front counter, holding the card out to Louis with the print facedown. Like he’s keeping any ill will from the flowers away from the aura of the shop. “I also don't want your problems walking in the door. Not all of our customers are comfortable with your friend.”
“Oh, it's a friend.” Perrie coos, and Louis' pretty sure she's about to vibrate out of her skin from how excited she looks. The feeling intensifies when her eyes widen. “It's that cute vampire that came in a while ago, isn't it?”
As she pats his arm and assures Louis that he and Harry would make a very cute couple, marking her one of the few witches he thought would be okay with vampires, he focuses on James. “I'll make sure this doesn't happen again, sir.”
And he will, as soon as he gets home.
Louis didn't think that carrying a huge bouquet of flowers up to his flat would be such a major pain, but here he is, lugging a huge, very purple bouquet up several flights of stairs. If he didn't live in a building that housed regular people as well as his kind, he'd just wiggle his nose or finger to make the vase float its own way upstairs.
It dawns on him as his feet hit the last flight of stairs that he has no idea how he's going to fumble his way into his flat with this vase filling his arms. Curse Harry again for the flowers, and curse Perrie for convincing him he couldn't just chuck them in the nearest bin or any of the bins he passed on his way to his flat. Maybe he’ll get lucky and Hemlock will try to take a bite out of the flowers. That’d be a valid reason to chuck them, can't risk a witch’s cat getting ill. There would go a significant portion of Louis’ magic and balance.
He manages, somehow, to get to his floor without issue. There's no one in the hall as he makes his way to his flat, and he's just about to set the vase hovering so he can dig his keys out of his jacket pocket when his front door swings open to reveal Liam.
Liam looks more disappointed and upset at Louis than he ever has, and there was that one time that Louis drunkenly set a bookcase in Liam's flat on fire. Liam had eventually scored with one of the responding EMTs, so Louis considers it a personal win, even after all this time.
The look makes Louis suddenly grateful that Harry's bloody bouquet is so large. It's perfect for hiding from that look, and he manages to do so as he ducks around Liam. “What are you doing here, mate?”
He hopes his voice conveys calmness, innocence. After all, he hasn't seen Liam since he ran out of the shop yesterday. When he left Liam with Harry, both not getting very much earned explanations.
He's not sure he's convincing anyone that he's calm or innocent, especially not while he's holding a huge bouquet.
“Those are lovely. They're from Harry, aren't they?”
Oh Goddess. Louis gives himself a mental pat on the back that he doesn't drop the vase at Niall's voice – Niall, who is definitely not one of Louis' friends and has no business in Louis' flat – and manages to make it to the safety of his kitchen.
He sets the vase on his counter and fiddles with the flowers, as if rearranging an already gorgeously created bouquet will do any good. He's well aware that he's stalling, trying to figure out why Liam's ambushing him. Why he's got Niall helping him, and how Niall even got past Louis' wards. His wards are specifically designed to keep people out, unless he specifically invites them in.
Thinking about his wards – how his wards work - makes him burst out into laughter. It's not the laughter of an amused sort, though: this laughter is bordering on hysteria. Louis might actually be going crazy, thinking about how his wards work exactly like the fictional vampire: needing to be invited inside. He's avoiding a vampire that sent flowers to his work and he's got said vampire's roommate in his living room like this is some party he wasn't invited.
Hemlock squeaks from his pillow located on top of the fridge, yellow eyes staring reproachfully at Louis. The hysteria must be deeper than Louis thought, if the little cat is feeling it through their link and looking so offendedly at him.
As he stares at the small cat, he notices the container of salt that he uses for spellwork. He's heard that salt keeps ghosts and their ilk at bay, supposedly. Would it work on someone with banshee blood? After all, a banshee is just a vengeful ghost, right? Granted, it doesn't explain how a banshee can have descendants.
Maybe Louis really is losing it, a side effect of avoiding Harry at all costs. He wouldn't be all that surprised.
He forces his gaze away from the salt container, gaze landing on the unknown stain on his wall. He uses that as a new focus, calming the hysteria that's still lying just under his skin. Uses it to continue pretending that he doesn't have unwelcome guests in his living room. Continue stalling. He doesn't necessarily mind Liam letting himself in; it's just. This is a clear ambush.
“I'm not ambushing you,” Liam calls from the living room, and Louis panics again, wondering if he'd said that thought out loud. He's still thinking it when Liam comes into the kitchen, hands up in a placating manner. Like Louis' a crazed individual, as evidenced by the hysterical laughter of a few minutes ago. “I didn't suddenly develop the ability to read your mind, if that's what you're worried about, mate. I just know how your mind works, especially when people show up unannounced.”
Louis looks at the flowers as Liam approaches him at the counter, trying to find out if any are out of place. All of the flowers are neatly in place, looking gorgeous and purple. He still wants to stall, wants to avoid acknowledging this ambush – just because Liam says it's not an ambush doesn't mean it's not an ambush – until it's over and done with. But he can't find something to stall with.
So he pulls a page out of his mum's book: he starts making tea with magic.
Liam frowns when the first twitch of Louis' fingers sets the electric kettle whistling, and the frown deepens when the second twitch brings out both a mug and a teabag. But he stays silent as Louis makes his tea with his magic, although Louis is well aware that his best mate is getting increasingly annoyed with his stalling techniques and avoiding whatever issue Liam wants to talk about.
As Louis takes the first sip of his tea, he considers the possibility of if he can sidetrack Liam with a different topic of conversation than whatever it is Liam’s here to talk to him about. But either the thought is apparent on his face, or Liam knows him far too well, because the man doesn't give him a chance to speak first.
“Why are you avoiding Harry? That is who those flowers are from, isn't it?”
Even though he knows that Liam really does know the answer, even though he knows that giving Liam attitude isn't the best response, Louis can't help it. “They're not from Harry. They're from some other admirer.” He pauses like he's waiting for that to sink in, that Louis’ a busy witch with an active social life, an active personal life, an active sex life. He finds himself hoping Liam buys it, that it actually sinks in as the truth, but of course, Liam doesn't look like he's buying it.
Louis needs better close friends.
“Harry’s hurt by this, you know,” Niall speaks up from the doorway, and by the Goddess, even though he'd been trying to figure out if salt banished part banshees, Louis’d forgotten Niall’s even in the flat.
“No one’s asking if I'm not bothered by things.” Louis mutters, but he's also pretty sure no one hears his protest. His gaze lands on the stain again, spends a moment to figure out what it's from as he tries to pull himself together, and then sets his mug down. The sound echoes loudly through the silence of the kitchen as two pairs of eyes settle on him.
“Look, it's not Harry that I'm avoiding.”
Louis sees the twin skeptical looks he gets, watches them turn in unison from him to the large bouquet like it's suddenly a beacon. It makes him sigh, because he hasn't actually said they're from Harry; they're just assuming they are. He doesn't know Niall all that well, but he does know Liam and Liam knows that Louis’ not the type to get flowers.
But, he supposes, Harry might be the sort to send them, which is probably why the assumption.
“It's not Harry I'm avoiding,” he repeats. “Witches and vampires don't hook up. They're not a thing.” His gaze lands on the flowers. “They don't date.”
There's silence for a few minutes, silence while (he assumes) they process his valid reason. He thinks he's got them, and then Liam talks.
“That's bullshit, and everyone here can smell it. Including your cat.” Liam frowns when Louis opens his mouth to protest. “No, it’s bullshit and you know it. But if it bothers you that much, don't you think Harry deserves it from your own mouth?”
Louis knows that Liam’s right, knows that he likes Harry far too much to continue this way. But he also knows that he doesn't want to give in this easily, doesn't want Liam to know he's right. He'd never hear the end of it. So he jerks his head toward Niall. “Niall’s here, so Harry’s probably at the club. And this isn't exactly a conversation to have in a place like that.”
“He's not at the club,” Niall says, gaze fixed on Louis like he expects Louis to worm out of talking to Harry. Like he expects Louis to get unexpectedly lost on the way to the club. “He’s at home, writing. You'll be alone to tell him how you feel, if that's what you're worried about.”
He considers protesting, considers saying that Niall’s wrong, that Harry doesn't need to be told anything. But instead of protesting or correcting either of them, Louis finds himself nodding. “Alright, fine. If I go, will you two leave? I have to reset my wards too.”
For the first time since Louis arrived on his floor, Liam looks sheepish, like the fact he interfered with Louis’ wards just occurred to him. That breaking them the way he had was actually a terrible thing. “I wasn't even thinking, Lou. I'm so sorry.”
Louis waves a hand like he's feeling more magnanimous than he really feels. “Yeah, yeah. Now get out, both of you, so I can reset them.” He doesn't miss the skeptical look Niall throws him, and knows exactly why he's getting it. “I’ll reset my wards, and then I’ll go talk to Harry. I promise on my nan’s grave and coven.”
Louis doesn't get over to Harry's flat for a few more hours. His wards took longer than he expected to replace - he didn't know adding banshee protection was harder than just humans and the occasional were being too curious about his flat - and then the ride over on the Underground took more time than he had planned. He's pretty sure that, by now, Harry's been told he's coming over, especially since Niall texted his address since Louis didn't have it, just like he's equally sure that Harry probably thinks he's blown him off. Again.
The only other time he'd been here, he'd been with Harry and Niall, and he realizes quickly that he has no idea how to get up to the penthouse. He'd been drunk that other time, and with the people who lived here. He's trying to decide if he should just ring Harry, when he spots a call box by the front door.
He pushes the one marked “penthouse”, and after a few minutes, he hears a tentative “Hello?” Crackling over the line. It's been a few days since he's heard Harry's voice or seen the man, and just the sound of the vampire’s voice makes him feel like the biggest arse on the planet.
“Um. It's Louis. I don't know if you remember me?” As the question comes out, Louis can hear how stupid it sounds, because of course Harry knows who he is. The vampire sent him flowers tonight, for Goddess’ sake.
There's a long moment where nothing happens, and Louis starts wondering if maybe Harry's just blown him off. He's about to turn around and walk away - Niall can't blame him for leaving if Harry won't see him, after all - but there's a buzz at the door.
He chews his lower lip as he lets himself into the building, and as he approaches the elevator, it opens to reveal Harry. The vampire is dressed in far more casual clothes than Louis’ ever seen him: soft trackies paired with a soft looking hoodie, with the hood pulled up. Louis’ never been the sort to want to tuck into another person, although he does enjoy cuddles, but just the sight of Harry in those soft comfortable clothes makes him want to curl into the vampire and never stop.
They stand in the foyer of the apartment complex, silently staring at each other for a few minutes before Harry hits the up button on the elevator. “Want to come up?”
Louis doesn't respond, but he follows the vampire into the elevator. They stand awkwardly in the enclosed room as the lift makes its way up to the penthouse. There's a few times when Louis nearly say something, just to break up the silence, but Harry glances at him without saying a word. Like he can hear Louis’ thoughts, or at least the hamster running the wheel in his head.
The penthouse is dimly lit when the lift doors slide open, small circles of dim light here and there. Small circles of safety, Louis thinks to himself as he continues to follow Harry. They don’t go toward the kitchen or the part of the large flat that Louis’ seen before, instead going down a long, winding hallway behind a door just off the kitchen. He’s reminded of Niall from that first night, disappearing this direction, and since the only bedroom the other way is Harry’s, this must be where the other bedrooms of the penthouse are located.
Including the bedroom Harry must have slept in when Louis was sleeping in his bed.
The thought of beds and bedrooms brings Louis up short. He came here to talk to Harry, after all; came to clarify that there’s nothing Harry needs forgiveness for, it’s just that witches and vampires don’t work out, and that he’s not here to sleep with the vampire.
Or something. All thoughts and protests go out the window when Harry finally opens a door, at the far end of the winding hallway. If Louis were to guess, the room is probably the second largest bedroom of the penthouse behind the master, and - except for a large desk on one wall and a large window overlooking the park on another - the walls are covered in books.
The only time he’s seen so many books in one place was his nan’s spell room, and where he stands in the doorway, he’s pretty sure some of the same books are in this room as well. He’s struck by a wave of nostalgia looking around the cosy office, and it’s odd that he feels at home and homesick at the same time.
He’s so wrapped up in his thoughts and memories that he both forgets he’s with Harry in Harry’s penthouse and that he's actually here for a reason. He’s brought back to reality when Harry clears his throat.
The vampire’s hands are tucked in the front pocket of the hoodie and he’s watching Louis with dark green eyes. In another context, it would justify the warm pooling feeling in his lower belly. In this context, though, he can't explain why the look still justifies the reaction. As if aware of the reaction the witch is having to said look, the vampire averts his gaze toward the view.
“This is my office,” the vampire finally says, green eyes flickering from piece to piece of furniture. His gaze moves back to Louis like he’s run out of things to look at that isn't the witch. “You didn't like the flowers?”
He doesn't sound happy, or unhappy. In fact, the vampire's voice is rather flat. It makes Louis want to squirm, makes him want to come clean all the faster about why he's here.
Louis Tomlinson is the hugest arse he’s ever come across.
“No, I loved them. They were gorgeous.” He hesitates because… Because why? He’s the one that's been an arse, and it’s Harry that thinks they've crossed a line. He needs to clear the air, needs to do something to remove that look from Harry’s face. “You didn't do anything wrong, you know? It's just…”
It's funny that it was easy to mention that witches and vampires don't hook up in his flat, to his best mate and Harry’s roommate. It should be just as easy to mention it to said vampire, right?
“It’s just what, Louis? I was a perfect gentleman when we met at the club, not taking advantage of you while you were drunk and I was sober. You seemed to have fun on our date, unconventional and cheesy as it was, and you know, after our date. But then you just stopped talking to me the next morning.” Harry’s eyes aren't as dark as he watches Louis, doesn't look so much like a predator watching prey. “Didn't see you again until we ran into each other a few days ago. So tell me, if I didn't do anything wrong, why'd you just disappear on me like that?”
Yup. Louis is an incredibly large arse. The biggest tool on the planet.
But he also has to stand firm on his convictions, which are starting to look less and less accurate in the face of the blank look Harry’s giving him. “I just.” His voice trails off, knowing he’s about to not only look like the biggest arse on the planet, but also sound like one. “You’re a vampire, and I’m a witch. It’s not how things are done, you know?”
There. There. It’s out there now, and. Harry’s facial expression both doesn’t change and gets sadder at the same time. The vampire’s silent for the longest time that Louis’ just starting to wonder if he’s going to find out if it’s possible for a witch to fly without a broomstick - not that he’s flown with a broomstick since he came to London and realised that it was harder to hide that here than in Donny where witch covens are more common - when Harry finally speaks again. “How what things are done, exactly?”
“Vampires and witches don’t date. You’re a great vampire and all, the perfect gent, but.”
There’s the faintest twitch to Harry’s brow that, had Louis not been staring at the vampire, he would’ve missed it in the dim light of the office. The vampire’s expression doesn’t smooth one way or another, to reveal what he’s feeling, but it comes out in his voice: mild exasperation. “You’re telling me that you ghosted, if you pardon the expression, on me because I’m a vampire and you’re a witch?”
Louis was lying to himself earlier when he told himself to stand firm to his convictions, that he had valid concerns to not continue whatever this was. He wasn’t wrong on being a tool, though. “Um. Yes. That’s what I’m telling you. Exactly.”
Harry’s brow twitches again, and the vampire’s eyes close for a moment, inhaling like he’s trying to make sense of how absolutely stupid Louis sounds. Goddess grant him strength, or the vampire equivalent of that saying. Do vampires have something similar? He’s heard rumours that vampires react negatively to religious talk and faith; it's not like he spends a lot of time discussing the subject with vampires.
“Do you have any idea how stupid that sounds?” Harry finally says, the exasperation in his voice moving from mild to major. “Witches and vampires can't get along.” He snorts loudly, nostrils flaring. “I bet your reasoning for that is that old myth that witch blood is highly prized amongst vampires, huh?”
“Yes,” Louis begins before pausing, because what? “What do you mean, it’s an old myth? I thought it was true.”
The look Harry levels on him isn't exasperated, it's quiet amusement. “I forget sometimes that you're a baby compared to me.” Louis opens his mouth to protest, but Harry holds up a placating hand. “I didn't mean that as an insult, little witch, just a statement. It's sometimes both easy and hard to forget that I've seen a lot in my life.”
Even though Harry says to not take offense at being compared to a baby, it’s still hard not to. “I’m still not a baby,” he points out stubbornly, arms crossing over his chest defensively.
“Baby compared to me,” the vampire repeats, coming closer with his hands out in that same placating manner. When he’s close enough to touch Louis, he curls those long fingers around Louis’ elbows. It’s not a romantic gesture, or even a restraining one. It’s almost like Harry just wants to reassure himself that Louis’ standing here, listening to him.
But instead of talking, and following through with whatever he’d intended to say, he just stands there quietly watching Louis. Like he’s waiting for Louis to make the first move. Like he’s made all the first moves he’s willing to make, and wants Louis to make a first move for once.
Louis doesn’t know how long they stand like that, the moment stretching forever and a day in silence, a silent power struggle between two preternatural creatures. Then he can hear a grandfather clock somewhere in the penthouse chime the hour - so close to sunrise, and Harry retreating to a dark place to sleep - before he says in a rush, “So it’s a myth then?”
“Very much one, yes.” Harry smiles. “Started far before my change, but I’ve always thought it had something to do with the darker side of both of our kinds. Blood is power and all.”
One hand moves from Louis’ elbow to cup the witch’s cheek. “But it’s an old myth, an old superstition. And I am far too old for silly superstitions heavily couched in outdated ideas and prejudices that are heavily sexist, racist and speciest.”
Something about the low and careful tone of Harry’s voice makes Louis smile. “How in the world is a myth like witch blood is addictive to vampires sexist?”
Harry’s eyes flicker to Louis’ mouth as the witch talks, and Louis is absolutely aware he’s begun to do the same thing to the vampire with every word Harry says, because he sees the faint relieved smile crossing the vampire’s face. There’s even the barest hint of a dimple. “Because, little witch, there’s plenty of people in the world that feel that the superstition is only true of the women of your kind.” The smile grows, and that dimple deepens to the point where Louis wants to tuck his thumb into the small dent. “That whole thing about how only women are witches. The men are warlocks.”
It’s not the first time Louis’ heard that particular word, and it’s certainly not going to be the last time. It still rankles deeply. “One, never call me a warlock ever again. I will break my white witch rules and actually curse you.” He doesn’t miss that the implication that he’ll be in Harry’s life long enough for him to ‘accidentally’ call Louis a warlock again causes Harry’s smile to grow so wide, it might actually break Harry’s face.
“What’s the second thing?” Harry asks, smile still impossibly wide, happy and blinding this close. His hands move to settle against Louis’ hips, like they belong there. Louis doesn’t want to focus on why Harry’s hands feel right there, and why he feels like they should be there for all of eternity. “Saying there’s a first thing implies it’s part of a list and all.”
He considers this, tries to remember if he had a second point before settling on shaking his head. “If I had a second point, I don’t remember it.” Unbidden, one hand drops to rest on top of Harry’s, his fingers curling around Harry’s slim wrist.
They lapse into silence once more, broken only by the ticking of that same grandfather clock, before Harry leans forward to rest his forehead against Louis’, smile fading away into a sleepy, content look. It reminds Louis that sunrise is approaching as they stand here talking. “By the way, I know that plenty of people have that same superstition about vampires, witches and blood. And if your implication toward my calling you a warlock means what I’d like it to mean, we’ll probably encounter it again. But…” He trails off, green eyes going dark as he watches Louis’ face for some sign that the witch might pull away again. Louis rests his other hand against Harry’s, trying to silently tell him he has no intention of pulling away ever again. The vampire’s smile returns, not nearly as large as it had been before. This smile holds quiet promise that the vampire hopes for the same eternity Louis had felt a moment ago.
“But,” the vampire repeats himself quietly. “That’s their problem, I want you to know. The only people that should matter is you and me, Lou. That I like you, and you like me.” Faint sadness that Louis is absolutely aware he’s the cause of crosses the vampire’s face. “You do like me, don’t you?”
He nods, moving his hands from where they’re resting on Harry’s and brings them up to cup Harry’s face, framed by the hood of Harry’s hoodie. The fabric, he finds, is absolutely as soft as it had looked. “I absolutely like you, even while I thought that we couldn’t be because of that superstition.” His thumb strokes the patch of skin where he knows a dimple would form if the vampire smiled, trying to invoke another into making an appearance. “Don’t ever be unhappy on my account again, okay, Bunnicula?”
“Don’t call me Bunnicula, Stephens.” Harry quietly laughs, closing the distance to press his lips against Louis’. If the vampire had had plans to deepen it, those plans are derailed as the vampire breaks out into a huge yawn. “Sorry, little witch, it’s getting late for me. I should…”
Whatever he should do, Louis doesn’t want to hear it. He knows he should go back home, because Hemlock won’t understand why he’s not feeding his cat breakfast. That Liam’s going to be bothering him until he’s sure that Louis’ talked to Harry. But he doesn’t want to think of that either. “You should let me spend the day.” He hesitates a moment, knowing his tongue is going faster than his mind is and that maybe he should properly think this through. Fuck that, though. “Break a few more stereotypes and myths I might have.”
Harry starts to laugh until a yawn breaks into that too. “What other incorrect myths might you have been told about my kind?”
Louis doesn’t know why, wonders if it’s just the fact his mind’s just thrown its hands up at how he’s clearly not thinking things through anymore, but his thumb slips between Harry’s lips to caress one sharp canine. “That first night, you didn’t sleep in the same bed as me, although you said it was your bedroom.” He narrows his eyes as a sudden thought occurs to him, one that hadn’t occurred to him that first night. “Do you really sleep in a coffin in one of the other rooms?”
He’s not sure what he was expecting for Harry’s response, but laughter is definitely not it. It takes the vampire a few tries to get to a point where he can talk again, albeit between breathy giggles. “I definitely do not sleep in a coffin, just a smaller bed than the one in the master.” His green eyes twinkle as he looks at the witch with amusement. “Why? Did you fancy a shag in one, little witch?”
Louis can’t help the smile breaking his face in two, even as he reaches out to pinch him. “No, I don’t want a shag in one. You’re so weird.”
“I do write bodice rippers for a living.” Harry’s voice is all accommodating agreement, matching the smile forming on his face as his hands move to grab at the offending hand. Louis doesn’t pull his hand back. “I thought it was obvious that I was weird from that. But it’s getting late, and I will absolutely collapse where I stand if I’m out at sunrise.”
“Can I join you?”
The vampire yawns before smiling once more. “Absolutely.”
Like the last time he’d fallen asleep at this penthouse, Louis wakes up slowly, trying to figure out why Hemlock isn’t meowing at him for breakfast. It doesn’t take him nearly as long as the last time to realise that Hemlock’s not bothering him because he’s still at Harry’s.
The room is much darker than it had been when they’d fallen asleep, and a check of his cell tells him he’s been asleep for most of the day. Hemlock’s definitely going to be mad at him when he gets home, the poor thing. He’ll be surprised if any of his spells work for the next few weeks.
The thought of his cat nearly gets him up, but then he remembers Harry. He’d fallen asleep before the sun had risen, so he hadn’t gotten a chance to see what a sleeping vampire looks like. It’s funny that, last time, he hadn’t wanted to turn over and see what would’ve amounted to a corpse, though his curiosity had inevitably gotten the best of him.
He rolls over to look at Harry, and finds that it’s not as bad as he thought it would be. Sleeping vampires don’t quite look like the corpses he thought they would: another myth busted. In fact, if he ignores the fact that Harry’s chest doesn’t rise and fall, the vampire doesn’t look any different than anyone else Louis’ ever seen sleeping.
He reaches across the small space between them to lightly touch Harry, to see if the vampire feels any different during the day. He’s not sure if he’s colder to the touch than normal, but the fact that the body next to him doesn’t react reminds Louis that vampires are different than what he’s used to.
There’s a part of him that wants to stay right here in this room until Harry wakes - he’s got tonight off, although he’s pretty sure after the flower delivery to his work, James would be annoyed if Louis were to show up - but Hemlock needs attention too.
He’ll leave a note, he finally decides, and head home to focus on his very neglected cat while he counts down the hours until he sees the vampire next. No more running like before. Like Harry said last night, the only people who matter are the two of them, and witches and vampires can be together.
“I’ll see you soon, okay?” He leans in to whisper to Harry, reaching up to brush a few strands of hair from the vampire’s forehead. He’s not sure if the vampire can hear him during the day, wonders if days are like comas to vampires. If they are, then Harry can definitely hear him.
He gets up, smoothing out rumpled clothing as he goes. He probably looks like the most boring walk of shame ever, but he doesn’t care. Needs to remember that he doesn’t care how he looks leaving Harry’s penthouse from here on out, might even have to ask if Harry wants him to start leaving clothes at his. Or Goddess forbid, if Harry wants to leave clothing at Louis’.
He’s halfway to the elevator, caught up in this line of thinking, when it dawns on him just what he’s thinking about: he’s in a relationship with a vampire. No, not just a vampire; he’s in a relationship with Harry. It’s probably not what Liam and Niall really had in mind when they’d sent him out to properly talk to Harry, just that he make sure Harry know where he stood with Louis.
Speaking of where Harry stands with Louis, he’s nearly forgotten. He spins in place in the hallway, heading for the vampire’s office to find some paper to write his note. He finds himself warming pleasantly as he enters the room, just remembering how they’d stood in here and done nothing but talk.
”But,” whispers his subconscious, taking note of a comfy looking leather couch. ”Think what you could do here, with a romance writer.”
He’s not even sure why his subconscious is choosing to focus on the fact Harry’s a writer and not that Harry owns a club, although the minute he reminds himself that Harry also owns a nightclub, his mind whispers, ”Imagine what you could get up to in his office there.”
“It’s like I’m a bloody teenager again, getting his first boyfriend,” Louis mutters to himself as he writes out a quick note to Harry, explaining that he’d gone home to check on his cat and that he hopes to hear from Harry soon. He tucks it in the thin slit under Harry’s bedroom door before leaving for his place.
Hemlock, to no one’s surprise, is angry as anything from the minute Louis walks into his flat. He’s waiting for Louis by the door, and doesn’t stalk away angrily when the witch lets himself in. But the dark look on the small black cat’s face says worlds.
That look has Louis going from room to room - Hemlock stalking after him, like the cat’s making sure his master doesn’t disappear from him again - to see if he’s been left presents. Thank the Goddess the cat isn’t that angry with him. In fact, once his survey of his flat is done and he’s feeding the little cat, he’s pretty sure Hemlock’s forgiven him for ever leaving.
“I’m sorry I abandoned you so terribly,” Louis tells the cat as it tears into its wet cat food. “I had to go talk to someone who I’d wronged too.” The cat lifts its head to look at him with wide yellow eyes before turning its attention back to its food. It’s the clearest dismissal he’s had in awhile, but a dismissal it definitely is.
Sunset finds Louis sprawled on his couch, fielding phone calls and texts from Liam. He still hasn’t told Liam what happened between Harry and him, that things are great. He doesn’t know if Harry’s told Niall upon waking at sunset - and Niall, Liam - but for the time being, he just wants to wrap himself in the knowledge that he and Harry are an actual thing and the only people that know are the two of them and Louis’ cat.
Half an hour after sunset, Louis’ cell rings again and he’s poised to hit ignore again - because why can’t Liam take a hint for once - when he realises it’s not Liam calling, it’s Harry. His thumb moves from it’s hovering over ignore to accept.
“Hi.” Harry’s voice is warm over the phone, the polar opposite of how he’d felt when Louis’d left the vampire’s penthouse a few hours ago. Louis can hear the click of keys in the background, and wonders if Harry’s busy writing as he talks to him. “I saw your note on my floor.” There’s a pause and then the warmth turns teasing. “I also see that you do accept my phone calls.”
“I fucked up.” Louis juts his lower lip out, pouting even though he knows Harry can’t see it. “I don’t think I said it, but I’m sorry for being a tool. We’re in a far better place anyway.”
“We are,” Harry hums in agreement. Louis hears a faint buzz in the background, followed by the sound of a chair rolling. “You should come back over, bring Hemlock with you.”
Louis’ about to say that he’ll be right over when Harry speaks again. “By the way, I want to talk to you about something I thought about when I woke up. Having your cat here might make that easier, you know?”
Louis blinks, pulling the phone away from his ear. He’s not sure what Harry’d want to talk to him about, that would require his cat around. Maybe Harry needs better wards on his entrance? Or a spell to block light during the day? He realises almost too late that his silence is dragging on too long, and Harry’s probably beginning to think he’s ghosted on him again. “Do I need to bring anything specific with me?”
Harry makes some sound that Louis can’t read over the phone, like he’s letting out a breath he’d forgotten he’d been holding. “Nah, just you and your cat. I’ll pay for the cab.”
Louis doesn’t know how, but the simple sentence of the vampire saying he’d pay the fare for Louis’ cab ride over sounds more like he’s saying that he’ll pay for anything Louis needs in the future, for the rest of their lives together. And… And normally, that sort of thought - the thought of eternity with someone would scare Louis, but instead, it just fills him with the same sort of warmth he’s come to expect from thoughts of Harry.
“I’ll be over shortly, yeah?”
Usually, getting Hemlock in his cat carrier is a real chore, but the cat goes in rather willingly, like he knows where he’s going and is as eager to get there as Louis is. It’s not the first time that Louis’ been convinced the witch’s cat has above normal intelligence; he’s never been properly sure how a cat goes from being a normal cat to a witch’s familiar, but he wonders if it has something to do with the magic that flows through the creature.
Putting aside strange thoughts about his cat, Louis’ able to call a cab with little effort on his part. The cabbie gives him, and by extension both the carrier and Louis’ choice in neighbourhoods, a dirty look when he gives the man Harry’s address. Louis chooses to ignore said look as he settles back against the cloth seat, but he definitely slips a small piece of wood from a pocket of Hemlock’s carrier, bringing the round piece to his lips and whispering a small spell. His blue eyes meet the cabbie’s dark ones as the cabbie drives to Harry’s building, and he’s damn sure the cabbie notices him slipping something - the piece of wood, now with a small curse attached - in the space where the back of the seat meets the bench.
Harry’s waiting for them when the cabbie pulls up at his building, a blinding smile on his face when Louis gets out of the cab. The vampire leans in to pay the man, and shoots Louis a questioning look when he straightens back up.
Louis raises his eyebrows as he slips another piece of wood in the crevice between the boot and the main body. As the cab drives off, the driver unaware of the two spells attached to his vehicle, Louis scrunches his nose. “He gave me a dirty look when I gave him your address. I gave him a few bad days and some bad tips.”
He honestly doesn’t know what he’s expecting in response to his whining, and his mild cursing, but he’s pretty sure that it isn’t the vampire bursting out in giggles.
“I thought you didn’t curse people. Something about being a white witch,” the vampire gets out when he finally stops giggling. His hand comes up to cover the smile on his face, but Louis can still see it in the laughing green eyes.
“He looked at me funny, okay?” Louis tries to pout, but he’s pretty sure he’s too busy smiling to be properly bothered by Harry laughing at him. “And it’s a small curse. A good wash would break the one in the boot, but the one I slipped under the seat in the car might be harder before it dies.”
“A few days and bad tips, was it?” The vampire finally manages to compose himself, but he’s still smiling warmly at the witch as he holds his arm out like a proper gentleman.
Normally, the gesture would grate on Louis, but he’s still feeling miffed about the dirty look. Besides, how often is one treated like royalty? He shifts Hemlock’s carrier so he can take the offered arm. “Maybe a lost bag. Maybe.”
“Remind me to never officially offend you then.” Harry says graciously as he leads the way into the building. “I think the ghosting was more kind than bad luck.”
“I did apologise for that,” he points out as they get into the lift and Harry pushes the button for the penthouse, the vampire inserting his key when prompted. “And you never offended me. I was just a tool.”
“A cute one,” Harry agrees before turning his attention to the cat beginning to mewl at being ignored in the carrier. “Hullo to you again, Hemlock. Are you keeping your master on his toes?”
Hemlock mewls again in response, pressing his face against the mesh of the carrier like he’s trying to get as close to the vampire as he can. Louis can’t say he really blames the small creature, so he crouches down to set the carrier down and let the cat out. The cat shoots out like he’d expected it would, but instead of exploring like the small cat would normally in a new location, it immediately trots the very short distance to Harry and twines its lithe body around the vampire’s legs with a loud purr.
“I’ve missed you too,” the vampire laughs, crouching down to stroke the cat. “My home is not equipped for felines at the moment, but maybe your master can fix that?” The vampire’s green eyes fix on Louis briefly. “If he doesn’t mind, that is.”
Louis has to turn that around in his head a few times, because he doesn’t quite know what Harry’s getting at. “Are you saying you’d start getting cat things for your place so Hemlock can visit you with me?”
“Not exactly,” Harry coughs, looking embarrassed. Louis isn’t too well-read on vampire biology, but he gets the feeling that if he could, the vampire would be blushing. The feeling multiplies when the vampire rubs the back of his neck sheepishly. “I was hoping that you’d be interested in moving in, actually. That’s why I wanted you to come over, to ask you in person.”
Louis stares at him, because. Well. He’s pretty sure that he didn’t hear Harry correctly. “Move in with you? I’ve only known you a couple months.”
Harry rubs his neck again sheepishly, green eyes dropping to where he’s stroking Hemlock with his other hand. “I know that, but it’s a big penthouse and only a couple bedrooms are in use. Plus, I’ve got a private garden and you’re a white witch, right? I don’t know if there’s everything you need for your spells and all, but whatever’s missing could certainly be planted.”
Louis can feel the muscles in his thighs burn with the effort of crouching, and since Harry doesn’t seem to want to move from his crouch, he shifts to a sitting position. It’s true that a lot of his charms, wards and spells all require various plants and the like - no animal sacrifice or blood magic for him - and it would be nice to be able to just grow his own instead of having to get it from a specialty shop….
He’s too busy caught up in the possibility that he doesn’t immediately notice the slow smile crossing Harry’s face. “You’re thinking about it, aren’t you?” The vampire sits down as well, scooting closer to the witch. “I mean, your flat’s nice and all, but there’s a weird stain on your wall. What’s that even from?”
He coughs despite himself, because Harry’s the first person to actually comment on that stain on his kitchen wall. He was pretty sure the stain just existed in his head. “I don’t know, actually. I’ve been trying to figure that out for a while now.” He’s quiet for a bit, still trying to decide whether or not he likes what Harry’s offering.
The thing is, it’s a really good offer. Private garden, a bedroom that’s nicer than his entire flat, and there’s no issue when it comes to having his witch’s cat? But on the other hand….
“I was a gigantic tool to you, though. And the cat?” He lightly tweaks Hemlock’s tail as if to remind both of them of the witch’s cat.
Harry smiled, smoothing down Hemlock’s fur. “You were misinformed about vampires. I can’t possibly blame you.” He moves his hand to rest it lightly on Louis’. “And the cat comes with the witch. I’ve met a few witches in my time, after all. Hemlock is as much a part of your magic as anything else. He’s part and parcel of you.”
The vampire squeezes Louis’ hand briefly. “If it sweetens the pot, you can have the master suite since I sleep elsewhere anyway. And I don’t mind buying cat trees if you don’t have any for Hemlock. I’m a fan of cats, if you hadn’t noticed.” His thumb begins to caress the back of Louis’ hand, green gaze steady on the witch’s face. “Also, I don’t think Niall would mind it if you were our roommate. But since we had that talk about being serious, I’m not inclined to share.”
Louis smiles quietly. “You sound like a creeper, saying you’re not going to share me with other people.”
Harry’s smile turns sheepish. “That did sound a bit creeperish, didn’t it? Sorry, I write romance novels in addition to running the club, and I guess bodice rippers don’t translate well to romantic gestures.”
Louis shakes his head, still smiling quietly. He leans over to kiss Harry’s cheek. “Not really, no.” He pauses for a moment before grinning. “A vampire writing bodice rippers, though? Can’t say I saw that coming.”
He’s not sure what he was expecting in response, but he’s pretty sure it’s not Harry suddenly tugging him into the vampire’s lap. Nor is he quite expecting the slow smile crossing the vampire’s face. “You want to see an example of bodice rippers, little witch?”
Before Louis can respond, before he can veto whatever idea he can see percolating behind those green eyes, before he can pull away, there's a ripping sound and he can feel the vampire's cool fingers stroking designs along his thighs.
“Did you seriously rip my jeans?” He knows he should be upset – they were his favourite jeans, after all – but Harry just smirks and stands in one fluid motion, with his hands now firmly tucked under Louis' exposed thighs. To be fair, Louis knew that vampires were strong, but it's one thing to know that instinctively and quite another to actually see physical proof.
It also stops any further questioning about his jeans because it also leaves him more than a bit breathless as he wraps his arms around Harry's neck while the vampire carries him toward the master bedroom.
“I could get used to this,” he says, ducking his head down to kiss Harry slowly. “You carrying me everywhere.”
Harry chuckles against his lips as he settles Louis onto the king size bed, leaning over him. “Good, I might take you up on that.”
“You should.” He leans up to kiss Harry again, hands moving from Harry's neck from his shoulders. He glances down to see the damage to his jeans: the thighs of his jeans are completely ripped away, exposing the length of his thighs, and leaving little to the imagination. By the Goddess, they're a complete lost cause. “Also, those were my favourite jeans.”
The vampire adopts an innocent look as he climbs onto the bed with Louis, his hands settling on the exposed skin. “They're a lost cause, aren't they?” His fingers slide across the exposed skin to where there's still fabric clinging, echoing Louis' thoughts in a way that makes the witch wonder if the vampire's reading his mind. “Should I just finish them off?”
The witch lifts his hips with a resigned sigh, biting back a smile he can't help. “Might as well.”
He might've been resigned to his jeans being torn to shreds, had even offered himself up for it, but he still can't help the flinch when Harry finishes ripping his jeans off. He didn't think it was that noticeable, but Harry must've noticed because the vampire settles between his legs.
“I'll buy you new ones, little witch,” the vampire nips his lower lip, not enough to break the skin, but enough to sting. His hands settle on Louis' bare hips. “Anything you want.”
Louis reaches up to thread his fingers through Harry’s hair, using his grip to pull the vampire into a proper kiss that burns through his veins the way only good spellwork does. “For now, I think I was promised a bodice ripper and all you've done is rip my favourite jeans.”
This close, Louis can see the moment his comment truly registers with the vampire. Sees the moment the vampire’s pupils blow, the remaining green growing darker. He can also feel the hard length of Harry pressing against jeans that must be terribly uncomfortably tight.
His fingers fall from Harry’s hair to the pillow behind his head and tilts his chin to expose the line of his throat. It's a submissive pose and they both know it, but Louis also wonders if Harry’s aware that he's been thinking about the last time they fell into bed together. The last time Harry bit him.
He wonders if Harry’s thought about it too.
“If blood is power, vampire,” he intones slowly, meeting Harry’s dark gaze with one of his own and hoping he looks and sounds just like one of the damsels in Harry’s novels, even though he hasn't read one yet.
He must get it right because the vampire groans in the back of his throat, his cool hands making short work of Louis’ shirt and pants and leaving him bare in a way he's certainly never felt before. If Louis hadn't felt wanton before, there's something in Harry’s gaze that makes him feel that way now.
The vampire pulls away, just enough that he can see the display he's created of the witch, green eyes moving from Louis' head to his toes. He must like what he sees, what he's created, because Louis watches as Harry's tongue flicks out to wet his lips, slide along fangs Louis knows from experience are razor sharp, the palest of pinks running alongside each other and along bright bone white teeth. It's predatory and alluring and absolutely adds to the wantonness Louis feels.
It also makes him feel a bit lonely, being as he's been stripped bare – quite literally – and Harry's still fully dressed.
“You should join me, vampire,” he whispers in that same intonation of slowness and carefulness, and some small part of his mind registers that he's mimicking Harry's own speech and inflections. He reaches up to tug at Harry's shirt. “Off.”
“Bossy little witch when you're not drunk on an evening, aren't you?” Harry's voice is teasing, and Louis would protest except for one, he'd be lying and two, Harry's doing as he's been told. The last time they'd fallen into bed together like this – earlier when he'd fallen asleep next to Harry doesn't count because nothing had happened and, except for Louis stripping down to his t-shirt and pants, there'd been no clothing removal - there'd been a lot more clothes than this time, so Louis takes the time to admire the skin being revealed as Harry loses clothing. He'd already known that there was muscle beneath Harry's deceptively soft skin, had seen hints of them every time he'd seen Harry poured into too tight jeans or t-shirts that showed off those strong arms. He'd definitely found out that that muscle was good for more than just making Harry look like a wet dream (Louis' wet dreams specifically) come to life, that Harry was absolutely as strong as vampires are supposed to be.
But it's one thing to know that, to have seen the proof of that, to have been a willing participant in getting to see that proof. It's quite another to see all that muscle on display this way.
It makes him want to touch, makes him want to mark his territory, makes him want to bite. It also makes him understand why vampires are so fascinated with biting, especially in a time where blood is always easy to come by, and why he always seems to want to bare his throat to Harry whenever he's around the vampire.
In that odd way he has of seeming to read Louis' thoughts, once he's lost his clothes, Harry leans over Louis once more with a quiet smirk. “If you've never read one of my books, my heroines always have their way with the hero, not the other way around.”
“By the Goddess above, how in the world do you read my mind? Are you sure you're not using constant compulsion on me?” Louis asks, even as he rolls on top of Harry and pinning him to the bed. He knows that any show of strength on his part is only a formality, that Harry's only letting him shove him around because the vampire wants him to. And maybe that's something to look into a later time, some time soon, but not now.
Now is watching the slow smile creeping across Harry's face, watch as the dimples that will probably be the death of Louis appear and deepen. He ghosts his hands along Harry's cool flesh from the vampire's wrists to his throat, his fingers tracing the firm muscle and the delicate curved wings of Harry's collarbones accented by the two swallows below. As his fingers reach Harry's throat, he can feel the subtle jump of the vampire's slow pulse: a sign that the vampire hasn't fed recently, Louis knows.
As Louis fits his thumbs into the hollows of Harry's dimples, he can feel the play of Harry's jaw working when the vampire answers his question. “I could compel you if you wanted and were willing,” the dark green eyes flicker down Louis' body like he's gauging just how willing Louis is, “but keeping a constant compulsion is hard, even for a well-fed older vampire.”
Louis moves one of his thumbs to trace along Harry's lower lip. “Are you calling yourself old, vampire?”
Harry doesn't dignify that with a response, choosing instead to suck Louis' thumb into his mouth and lightly nipping the pad. His hands slide along Louis' thighs to his hips, looking up at him with a smirk around Louis' digit as he squeezes lightly.
“You're a tease, Bunnicula,” Louis whispers as he pulls his thumb back from Harry's mouth, replacing it with his mouth. He feels Harry chuckle against his mouth, fingers squeezing Louis' hips again, like he's trying to rush the witch.
Well. Two can play that game, Louis thinks to himself, as he reaches down to wrap a hand around Harry's cock and giving him a slow stroke. It does the trick, in a way: the vampire groans against Louis' mouth, his fingers tightening enough that Louis knows that he'll find bruises later.
“You're being just as bad, little witch,” Harry groans against Louis' mouth before rolling them over again, this time pinning Louis' wrists above his head, drawing a groan out of Louis for a change. “And you're not doing anything more than touching. We can do that later.”
He squeezes Louis' wrists just a shade too hard, not to the point of painful, but just enough where Louis will have a matching set of bruises for bracelets. “Keep those there like a good little witch, yeah?”
He doesn't wait for a response from Louis, pulling away long enough to dig through the nightstand and pulls out a tube of lube. He starts to close the drawer before glancing at Louis as if realising something.
Louis can't help but blink up at him, wanting to snatch the tube from Harry's fingers, even if it's by magical means. Maybe even put on a bit of a show. “What is it?”
Harry coughs, looking a bit sheepish as he rubs the back of his neck. “As a vampire, I'm immune to bloodborne illness and everything, and obviously I've already fed off you...”
Even though he'd been told not to move, Louis can't help but prop himself up to look more clearly at Harry. He also can't help the grin that threatens to split his face in two. “Are you seriously asking me if I think we should be using condoms?” He glances down to where their bodies are touching, trying to make his meaning clear. “Like you said, you've already bitten me. And we messed around.” He shifts his weight to one arm, flicking two fingers of his other hand to magically tug the lube out of Harry's hand. Another finger flick uncaps it, causing the vampire to smile faintly at the display of witchcraft. “Now, get on with it, Bunnicula. I'm good, but I can't use it to prep myself.”
He settles back against the sheets once more, propping a leg on Harry's shoulder and using his magic to wave the tube in the vampire's face. “Now, if you don't mind. No condoms, just fingers and that gorgeous cock of yours.”
Harry watches the taunting tube for a moment, tilting his head before he snatches it back and squirts some on his fingers. He rubs his fingers together to warm it up before pressing them to Louis' entrance. “Neat little trick, that.” He waves the tube like he thinks Louis doesn't know what trick he's talking about with his free hand while he presses a finger in carefully with the other. “Can you do it with anything, or just lubricant?”
Louis shifts his hips against the intruder, watching Harry with dark eyes. “I can move just about anything. Don't really use it for sexy things, though.”
“Might have to test that out then,” Harry hums thoughtfully as he curls his finger, drawing out a gasp. He does it again, leaning in to ghost his fangs along the line of Louis’ throat. Louis wants those fangs to break the skin, wants the rush he had the last time. Wants a repeat of the explosive orgasm he'd had last time.
“I'm going to want to watch, just so you know,” the vampire chuckles in Louis’ ear, combining it with a second finger. Between the words, the soft chuckle and another finger stretching him, it takes Louis a moment to realise that Harry’s talking about his magic being used in a way that Louis hasn't properly considered.
He's not really given a chance to respond to Harry’s request because he adds a third finger, pulling a moan from him instead. Harry fucks him slowly, methodically on those three fingers, leaning forward just enough to put some strain on the leg Louis has slung over the vampire’s shoulder. It's been awhile since Louis’ had a boyfriend, been awhile since he's had a hookup, and it's simultaneously too much and not enough for him. He doesn't want Harry to stop, but he wants so, so much more at the same time.
“E-enough already,” he gasps, head falling back against the plush pillows and hips raising as he tries to push down against Harry’s hand. “I need you like- Goddess, like yesterday, Bunnicula.”
“Yesterday, hmm?” There's another soft chuckle by his ear, cool breath ghosting along his neck,the vampire's cool fingers pulling out. He pulls away long enough to lube himself up before hooking Louis’ other leg over his shoulder and pressing in without hesitation. Just like before, his cock is as cool as his fingers were, although Louis’ hoping to find out if Harry’s skin will warm up after he’s fed. He still hasn’t learned that, actually. “Pretty sure you had only just started talking to me again yesterday.”
Louis groans as Harry starts to fuck him slowly, fingers curling in the soft sheets beneath him. Just like before with Harry’s fingers, he doesn't want the vampire to stop the slowness, the almost reverent way he's thrusting into Louis, but he also feels like he's going to fall apart from the need, the utter want if Harry doesn't get on with it. He pushes himself up with one hand, feeling the strain the position puts on his spine, sliding his fingers into Harry's hair and roughly pulling the vampire’s head back. The vampire growls quietly in the back of his throat at the abuse, his eyes pitch black as he looks back at him.
“Just fuck me already, Bunnicula.” His grip tightens in Harry’s hair, causing the vampire to fuck into him hard, a low growl escaping the vampire’s throat again. “I can take whatever you can dish, vampire.”
“You can, can you, little witch?” Harry growls, hips twitching. He leans forward, practically pinning Louis between the vampire’s body and the bed. He doesn’t remove Louis’ hand clutching his hair, but he does trap the other in a crushing grip above Louis’ head as he picks up his pace to something that’s on the edge of too rough for Louis. Too rough, too much, although he’ll definitely be feeling Harry in the morning, maybe even the next few days, even though it’s exactly what he’d asked for.
He loses nearly all of his senses as Harry fucks into him hard and rough, narrowed down to points of contact: his fevered skin, the painful grip on his wrist, the strain in his thighs from how he’s pinned under Harry, the combination of hot/cold where Harry’s fucking into him, the feeling of Harry’s hair clutched in one hand and the softness of the sheets clutched in the other. He tries to keep up with Harry, tries to keep pace, but the vampire seems quite content with doing all the work and keeping Louis trapped beneath him.
He doesn’t know if it’s minutes or hours later when Harry lets go of his wrist to wrap cool fingers - cool fingers that feel like a balm - on his cock, stroking him as roughly as Harry’s fucking him. He feels like he’s falling apart, that he has already started to fall apart.
“C-close,” he whispers, voice cracking on a moan as his head falls back against the pillow again. Bares his throat to the vampire pounding into him. Hopes the implication is obvious.
It must be because he feels Harry slow down his frantic, rough pace to a snail’s pace, just lazy thrusts of the vampire’s hips, as soft lips brush against the heated skin of Louis’ throat. Feels the tiny points of Harry’s fangs drag along the skin, like they’re searching for the best entry point. Another moment, another heartbeat, another lazy drag of Harry’s hips go by before there’s a sharp pain against Louis’ throat.
This time, his orgasm isn’t nearly as explosive as the last one with Harry was: he actually feels hazy as he comes, like the come leaving his body takes the same draining as the blood. He can also feel Harry’s skin pressing against his, Harry’s cock inside him, warming with each drop of blood the vampire pulls from him.
It is, without a doubt, the single most intimate thing Louis thinks he’s ever experienced: the way a feeding vampire feels properly fucking into him.
He’s still feeling hazy, the way he does after a particularly strong spell, when Harry finishes drinking. There’s soft kitten licks against the bite, followed by a soft gasp as Harry spills inside him. He’s quite content to just sleepily watch the vampire watch him, trying to fight off the sleepiness the hazy feeling is bringing. He doesn’t want Harry to think he just falls asleep or blacks out after every orgasm, after all.
Harry pulls out as Louis feels himself slipping into sleep, untangling Louis’ legs from his shoulders and starting to stand up, and it’s just enough of a movement to shake Louis awake.
“Hey,” the witch whispers as the vampire gets to his feet, although he can’t find the energy to get up himself. “Don’t go, Bunnicula.”
Harry chuckles softly, leaning in to press a kiss against Louis’ forehead. “I’ll be right back. I’m just going to find some orange juice for you before you pass out on me, little witch.”
“Don’t go,” Louis repeats stubbornly, but any heat is lost by the huge yawn immediately following. Harry chuckles again, saying nothing as he leaves, presumably to get said glass of orange juice.
Louis thinks he falls asleep after that, or at least he doesn’t remember the time that passes between when Harry leaves and when he comes back with a tall glass filled with orange juice. There’s even a neon blue straw plopped into the glass. He definitely doesn’t remember Hemlock hopping up on the bed, because the little cat is purring quite contentedly on the other pillows.
He starts to reach for the glass, but Harry shakes his head with a quiet smile.
“I can hold it for you, little witch,” he says quietly as he settles onto the bed next to him. He holds the straw still for Louis to drink. The orange juice is probably the freshest Louis’ had, and he wonders if Harry actually just squeezed oranges in a juicer for him. He’s also pretty sure it’s not just juice in the glass, probably a cocktail of the vampire’s invention to help with blood loss.
When the glass is empty, Harry sets it on the nightstand, and tucks Louis more comfortably in bed. “I hate leaving you now that I’ve got you, but I’m going to just be in the next room writing if you happen to wake up. If you sleep until morning, I’ll see you when I wake up.” He leans in to press a soft kiss against Louis’ lips. “Sleep well, little witch.”
“You should write here.” Louis whines, even as he feels his eyelids drooping and sleep beckoning. It’s too hard to pass up that beckoning, just like it was hard to properly avoid the vampire sitting next to him. He doesn’t know if Harry responds to his request because, like he gave in to how he felt about Harry - even if he hadn’t been properly aware of it before Liam and Niall had their own version of the Spanish Inquisition - he falls fast asleep to the sounds of Hemlock purring and the faint sounds of twin hearts beating.
When Louis wakes up the next morning, feeling both sore and very satiated, there's a vase with a large bouquet of white roses tipped in red and a small envelope sitting next to it with his name written in Harry's crisp writing instead of Harry himself. The latter’s probably because of the warm light he can see streaming in through the curtains on the large window on the far side of his new bedroom, although he doesn’t quite remember when Harry had time to order another bouquet, between when he’d passed out and when he’d awoken. He yawns, remembering the last bouquet he'd gotten from Harry and how it’s still sitting in the kitchen of his tiny flat, but finds himself more eager to open this small envelope. It doesn't say much this time, just a simple 'Always. -H' written on it.
He smiles sleepily, settling back into the plush pillows of the bed. He might actually wind up keeping this bed and move his into one of Harry's spare rooms, and judging by the soft purring he hears at the base of the bed, Hemlock agrees.
Louis taps the card against his lower lip, shifting around to find a comfortable position that doesn’t put too much pressure on his sore arse. Yeah, he could do forever, he thinks as he holds his wrist up to properly inspect the bruise he can see blooming on the thin skin. He knows, without looking, that he’s got quite the matching set on his hips.
But yeah, he could do forever with a vampire like Harry. And he should let his fellow witches know that witches should definitely do this, although they can find another vampire. Harry’s his, after all.