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keep you in my pocket

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“You’ve gone proper mental, haven’t you?”

These are the first words out of Louis’ mouth when Harry shows him his second phone.

And maybe it is a bit odd, having two phones. It’s strange, of course it is, but Harry has his reasons.

“It’s for us,” he explains to Louis, wondering if maybe he sounds a bit dumb. He hadn’t thought it was a dumb idea when he’d bought the second phone—another iPhone, identical to the one he uses everyday. But this one’s meant to be special. Different. Just for the two of them. 

Louis laughs, though there’s less mirth behind it this time. His tone softens. “What’s that even mean, Harry?”

The curly-haired boy shrugs a shoulder and keeps his eyes trained on the phone. “Like… I don’t know, to save things. Document things. Special sorts of things, I guess.” He cuts off and shrugs again. “I don’t know.”

Louis is silent for a moment, contemplating, before he plucks the second phone out of Harry’s hands. Hitting the home button and unlocking it, he asks, “Can’t you do all that on your phone?”

“Yeah, but…” Everything gets lost under business and drunk texts from Liam and Nick and twitter notifications and goofy selfies from Niall and phone calls from Zayn and Mum and Gems and I don’t like when you get lost in the mix, Harry doesn’t say aloud because the words sound stupid in his mind. Maybe this really was a dumb idea. Sighing, he glances up to find Louis already snapping a quick pic of himself, pulling a funny face.

“Just christening it,” Louis explains with a cheeky grin when he spots Harry staring. “There. Now you’ve got the best lock screen in all of Britain. Possibly the world.” 

“Even though you think it’s stupid?”

“Not stupid,” Louis clarifies as he turns and takes a shot of Harry’s face. “Just a little odd. And random. Stop pouting, Hazza.”

When Harry frowns even more, Louis doesn’t turn the phone away as he pokes him in the cheek until his dimple appears. Harry’s smiling when he wonders, “How many pics are you taking?”

“Recording actually,” Louis says

“Why the hell are you recording?”

Louis shrugs. “Because I can. Isn’t that the point of this thing? Do whatever we want with it? Document us for us, as you’d say.”

“Well, yeah, I guess, but—”

“Does that mean I can document you giving me a blowjob?” Louis cuts him off, finally looking away from the phone. There’s a smile in his eyes, but his face is otherwise blank. Completely serious.

Harry flushes. “Louis.”

“That doesn’t answer my question.”

Harry swallows thickly and looks away for just a moment. He hadn’t really thought about it, but he looks back to Louis with a slight smirk. “Might as well, shouldn’t we?”

A grin tricks up Louis’ lips and he shifts on the sofa until he’s straddling Harry, the phone still on and lens facing them. “You know,” he says, his lips a smile against Harry’s neck, “I’m starting to like this second phone thing. Handy little guy, innit.”

**

And so the second phone begins to fill up. In a week, there are photos of Louis and Harry and LouisandHarry and videos that Harry would simply be too embarrassed to ever show to another pair of eyes. The only calls that come through are from Louis, the only texts that light up on the lock screen have Louis’ name beside them, and it’s a comfort to Harry, looking at this phone and knowing that every little thing on it is theirs.

He’s glad he went with the 64GB.

**

It’s good, overall.

But there are times when Harry tries to sneak a picture or stealthily record a short video of Louis (he nearly always fails—stealthy is not his style), and the phone only gets in the way.

“Harold, would you put that blasted thing down for five minutes!” Louis might shout as they’re in the middle of a game or a conversation or, for heaven’s sake, a simple trip to the grocery. Louis’ knocked the phone out of Harry’s hands too many times to count, the corners now dented and sides scratched from too many defensive accounts.

But there are other times when Louis is distracted or engulfed in something else or just entirely unaware.

It’s how Harry captures a string of shots with Louis sprawled across their bed, his limbs tangled with the sheets, eyes shut and features soft. Harry can zoom in and count each of Louis’ eyelashes, and he thinks it’s kind of beautiful.

It’s also how he records Louis singing Little Things, soft and quiet in a room by himself as he’s folding clothes and putting away the wash. Harry sets it as his ringtone.

There are other times, yet—Harry’s favorite times—when Louis is well aware of the phone and doesn’t have a care in the world.

It’s a time like this when Louis hums and sings through a practice run of Strong while tracing Harry’s tattoos with his fingertips, his nose, his lips, a kiss. He finishes the song with a grin at the camera lens of the phone and a close-up smooch that leaves Harry in giggles. “For when you’re away,” Louis says.

It’s like this again, when Louis snatches the phone from Harry’s hand and takes control. He likes to get pictures of them close and snug, like when they’re cuddling on the sofa during a film or crowding into each other’s space in the kitchen or caught up in each other on the rug near the telly. Or, when they’re still wrapped up together on an early morning, Louis fumbling for the phone on the bedside table and snapping a few shots, their hair still a mess and eyes barely open but lazy, happy smiles strung across their lips.

**

The others catch onto the second phone fairly quickly.

It’s not hard to believe, when Harry’s so forgetful and leaves his phone(s) on the table or the sofa or the counter backstage before an interview or a show. Niall, of course it’s Niall, is the first to pick it up and he blushes at the lock screen before even opening up the camera. It’s nothing shameful, just a noticeably intimate photo of Louis. Intimate enough that Niall looks up and asks, “You sure it’s a good idea to have this as your wallpaper, Harry?”

And it’s a well-grounded question—interviewers have a history of asking, “Show us your phone backgrounds, won’t you?” like it’s the greatest interview question in the world.

Harry blushes, too, and crosses the room in three quick strides to snatch the phone from Niall’s hands. “It’s not,” he starts and catches himself as he shoves it the best he can into the left pocket of his skinny jeans. “It’s not my—”

“It’s a private line,” Louis cuts in from the other side of the room.

Niall lifts a brow. “Private line?”

“Of sorts, yeah,” Harry mumbles in reply, plopping onto the sofa, the phone burning in his pocket. His cheeks feels just as hot. He doesn’t even know if Niall made it past the lock screen, but Harry resolves to put on a passcode after the interview.

“What d’ya mean?” Niall continues prodding, gaining Liam and Zayn’s attention now as well.

Harry shrugs and glances toward Louis. The older boy barely has a tint of pink to his cheeks, and he’s smiling. Bastard, honestly.

“It’s just a second phone for, like, erm, private things, I guess,” Harry explains in a jumbled mess of words.

Liam furrows his brow. “What sort of things would you need to keep that private?”

Another shrug. “Just, private things. Don’t worry about it.”

“Private things, eh?” Zayn repeats, grinning and waggling his brows.

“Oi, fuck off,” Louis speaks up this time. “We’re allowed a bit of privacy, aren’t we?”

There’s a beat of silence, and then Niall settles: “So it’s a phone full of nudes, innit.”

The boys don’t try to steal Harry’s phone—either one—after that.

**

i miss you :(

Harry reads the text on his way back to the table. He’s at some restaurant he can’t quite remember the name of for a “party” with some American celebrity he’s supposed to speak with later. It’s all rather formal and strictly for publicity, and he’d been sent on his own. His stomach’s felt heavy since he landed in the US three days before, and he’s not sure he’s going to be able to get through dessert as he rereads the words on the screen of his second phone. He takes a deep breath that shakes on the way in, and manages out a reply.

i miss you more :(

Louis’ response comes just as Harry’s retaking his seat. 

lies . tell stupid america to send you home already the house feels empty and i don’t like when your side of the bed is cold i might have to call zayn over for a cuddle i’m so lonely

Harry tries not to smile, but he catches the older man across from him giving him a peculiar look. He schools his features and types back a quick response before someone decides to glare.

don't you dare. be home tomorrow night. stay up for me X

He slips his phone back into his left pocket—always in his left pocket—and it buzzes against his thigh seven more times during the course of the evening. It takes all of his control not to look at it until he’s in the cab on the way back to his hotel. It’s too late by then to reply, already half past five back home.

So Harry leaves the texts for the morning and spends an hour in bed sifting through the photos and videos on his phone. He watches a clip of Louis bouncing on their bed whilst laughing through a verse of Wrecking Ball; maybe stares too long at a photo of Louis toweling off after a footie practice; grins at a series of photos from a recent baking disaster, both of them caked with flour and frosting; and he turns off the bedside lamp as he presses play on a video of Louis and he fumbling through a sloppy rendition of Ed Sheeran’s Firefly. They’d forgotten a third of the words, got tongue tied on the rest, and ended up in laughter in the comfort of their room.

When the video ends, the hotel room doesn’t feel so empty. Home doesn’t feel so far away.

Sticking in a pair of ear buds, he scrolls through his music to a playlist called louis. He sets it on shuffle and passes out within minutes.

**

“Two phones,” Gemma states when she spots Harry texting on the second one during a visit back home. “You’re such an odd one, Harry.”

Harry tries to embody nonchalance with a shrug, but he’s smiling, big and dumb, at a stupid, stupid, stupid pun Louis just sent him. It’s not even a good pun, but that doesn’t usually matter when it comes to Louis.

“Two phones?” Anne repeats as she comes back into the living room, settling in between her two children. “Who has two phones, now?”

“The weird kid,” Gemma supplies.

“Aw, Gems,” Harry drawls, not looking up from his phone, “don’t be calling yourself names like that.”

Gemma only rolls her eyes, and Anne doesn’t even bat an eye. Typical banter, really. Instead, she wonders, “When’d you get a second phone, dear?”

Harry shrugs. “A while ago. Few months, I suppose.”

Anne turns to Harry with an expectant look, her brow raised. “A few months?” she echoes. “You’ve had a new phone for a few months and you haven’t thought to give your mum your new number?”

“It’s not a new phone,” he starts and then backtracks. “I mean, it is a new phone, but I don’t—I still use my other, and it’s not like—”

“It’s a Louis phone, mum,” Gemma interrupts, emphasizing Louis’ name.

“Sorry?” Anne pauses. “A Louis phone?”

“He only talks to Louis on it,” Gemma clarifies with a laugh. “It’s like an emergency Louis phone. Honestly, everything on it is Louis. It’s a little ridic.”

“Everything?”

Everything. Photos, videos, voice memos, ringtones. He’s even got bloody notes about the lad and things he’s said, it’s really rather—”

“How do you even know that?” Harry cuts off Gemma, looking to her with wide eyes. “I even have a passcode on here.”

Gemma smiles sweetly, tilting her head to one side. “Aw, Hazza,” she drawls, “if you don’t want people on your special phone, maybe you shouldn’t put your boyfriend’s birthday as the passcode.”

Which, okay. Maybe she has a point.  But Harry leaves the passcode as is.

**

The phone starts to clutter up after a year.

There are photos from countless moments—too many from Christmas, all wrapped up in ribbons and bows and matching holiday jumpers; quite a few from an experiment with chocolate covered fruits and whipped cream and extra chocolate syrup that ended in laughter and dirty sheets; a collection from Valentine’s Day with a candlelit night in; and perhaps a few too many shots of them cuddling, but Harry wasn’t going to stop Louis from taking any pictures.

There are videos from countless moments, too—like that time Louis randomly noted, “Hazza, you chew awfully funny,” and continued to film Harry chewing his gum, no matter how many protests Harry made while trying to get away. And that time Louis was in a spectacular mood, full of golden laughter in the afterglow on a Sunday morning. And perhaps a few videos that Harry should really consider deleting altogether, lest they ever make their way into the public eye, but at the moment he really can’t be bothered.

There are voice memos, too, some just random phrases, jokes, laughter, “I love you’s”, and sleepy, quiet, rambling fantasies of their future that Harry never wants to forget.

There are other things, too, like things Harry writes down in the Notes app. Sometimes he types out things Louis has said that stuck in his mind that he didn’t get on record, maybe something sweet or sentimental, or maybe just a joke that Harry thought was brilliant. (There are a lot of those, actually. Harry is easily amused.)

And some of the notes are things neither of them have said but know the other will read. Ideas, dreams, questions that never make it into conversation in fear of being said aloud.

“Why do you keep all these things?” Louis asks one night, a trace of amusement lacing his quiet words. It’s late, nearly three in the morning, but the two of them are still holding out on sleep, trying to hold onto their last night together before Harry’s sent off on another round of publicity runs. For nearly two weeks, this time.

Harry smiles, gentle and small, and shrugs against the mattress. “Don’t know,” he answers, his words breaking with fatigue.

Louis rolls his head on the pillow, far enough to meet Harry’s drooping gaze. “You know,” he insists. “You wouldn’t do all this for no reason.”

Harry’s smile cracks into a lazy grin. “I might. I’m rather odd, you know.”

“The oddest.” Louis lets out a breathy laugh. “But really, Harry.”

“I don’t know,” he starts, swallows dryly as he takes a moment to think about it. Truly think about it. He’s always had his little reasons, but he’d never really pieced them all together. “I suppose,” he continues, slowly, pacing the words as he considers it, “it’s so I can always have you with me. Keep you in my pocket. Wherever I am, you know, I can just pull this out when I’m feeling lost or lonely, and then it’s like you’re there with me.”

He shrugs again, like maybe it’s stupid, I don’t know. Belatedly, he adds with a smaller smile, “Plus it’s nice just to have.”

Louis’ silent for a moment, a minute, maybe two, as he stares at the phone and swipes through a few more of the photos. He hums then, and looks back to Harry. Cracking a grin, he laughs, “Maybe I should get one of these, too.”

“Oh?” Harry sputters a laugh. “I see you’ve finally warmed up to the second phone.”

Louis’ laughter trails off, drowsy, and it’s his turn to shrug against the mattress. “We could always use some more storage space, couldn’t we?”

“I guess.”

“Mm. Besides,” Louis pauses, pokes Harry in the side as he turns to cuddle up against him. He pushes the second phone to the nightstand, slots their legs together, and snuggles in close with his head on Harry’s shoulder. “I get lonely, too, you know. Wouldn’t mind keeping you in my pocket.”

Harry chuckles softly, the sound lost to the night as he draws Louis close. “We’ll see what we can do about that. Tomorrow, maybe.”

Louis hums his agreement, already drifting off.

**

Harry doesn’t check his second phone the next morning until he’s waiting to board his flight to the US. He turns it on to find his wallpaper’s been changed. Instead of the Christmas background he’d been hanging onto for too many months, it’s now a selfie of Louis blowing him a kiss. And maybe such a thing shouldn’t leave him stifling a dimpled grin, but it does.

thanks for the redecorating lou. v cute.

He barely needs to wait a minute before his phone vibrates in his hand.

i know . no probs, babe :) have a safe flight x .

The plane starts boarding only minutes later, and Harry powers down his second phone with one last peek at the wallpaper before slipping it into his left pocket. It’s a steady weight at his hip, a comfort the whole flight through. And maybe it was a stupid buy in the first place—maybe it still is stupid—but he really can’t seem to care when he powers his phone back on once landing. Because there Louis is, and there he’ll always be.

It’s a comfort. That’s all it is, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

And if Harry wanders into an Apple store while in the States, glancing at the iPhones and choosing one to take back home to Louis, well. The rest of the world can just worry that he’s somehow got his phone stuck on marimba. Again.