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Harry is not the type of person who’s content to live on his own. He’s tried it only once, but all four weeks he spent solo were absolutely miserable. He needs to be in the company of others in order to be satisfied with his living situation. There’s something about having another living, breathing person around that makes him so much more comfortable in his environment.

He was lucky when he found Liam. They shared a class together in uni, and just around the time Harry was in need of a place to go Liam’s roommate moved back home, freeing a room in the flat. It didn’t take much discussion for Harry to move in and for the two of them to start a friendship.

It’s been a great few years living together. Harry keeps quiet when Liam leaves his dirty dishes on the counter, and Liam doesn’t say anything about Harry’s music being too loud. They fit together perfectly.

Which is why it’s so unfortunate that Liam had to go and fall in love.

Harry’s happy for his friend, he really is, but he’s not happy about having to pack up everything he owns in cardboard boxes and move in with somebody else.

He found Louis, his new flatmate, in an advert online. One of those real estate websites that -

The small ads. It was the small ads, alright? Every other site had an application process that was too complicated and time consuming for the schedule Harry’s on. The small ads were his last resort, and though Louis seemed perfect in his ad, Harry was extremely weary to meet him.

They were both desperate for a flatmate, and their meeting went as smooth as it possibly could have. Two weeks and a hefty security deposit later, Harry’s moving in.

Liam insisted on helping; the very moment Harry mentioned he’d found a place, Liam was puffing his chest out and acting every bit the big brother role he thinks he’s born to play. It’s moving day now, and Liam’s sticking to Harry’s side, voicing his disapproval in a never ending soundtrack of “ It’s a bad idea ”s and “ I just want you to be safe ”s.

“Liam, it’ll be fine.” Harry’s been ignoring Liam’s protests. The two are carrying Harry’s mattress up the steps, Liam insisting that it’s best to do the hard work first, and Harry’s focusing more on not dropping the damn thing than listening to Liam. “I’ll call you every night if you’re going to worry that much.”

“That’s not…” Liam huffs and his end of the mattress rises as though he’s just shrugged with his entire body. “I just find it worrying that he was on the small ads, and so completely desperate for a roommate that he rushed you in.”

Harry ignores him for a moment, putting all his attention in fitting the back end of the mattress around the first turn on the staircase. Getting it down the stairs at Liam’s took far less concentration, but here there’s no room for error lest Harry wants to be crushed under the weight of his bed.

“His old flatmate left without much warning,” Harry defends, “and his rent was due soon. I would’ve done the same.”

“But he’s a stranger,” Liam insists, his voice biting.

“You were a stranger - ”

Liam’s groan cuts Harry off, and he has to stop himself from laughing at Liam. “We had a class together.”

Harry grins, thinking back to just how little they interacted. “We didn’t talk. You asked me for a pencil once a week and occasionally emailed me notes.” They wouldn’t have even moved in together if it wasn’t for Harry eavesdropping on Liam’s conversation one day.

“But you at least knew me.”

“Serial killers can go to uni, too, Li.”

Liam huffs, and Harry refuses to admit just how much fun he’s having at Liam’s expense. “I’m just saying. You don’t know him. He could be into weird shit.”

I’m into weird shit,” Harry returns. It’s probably immature of him, but he loves the way Liam’s face gets red and blotchy at his outburst.

“But you’re you,” Liam argues, “so it fits.”

“You’re just talking out of your arse at this point.”

Harry has a secret love for fucking with Liam. It started when they first moved in together and Liam accidentally walked in on Harry naked, and since then, just from the shock on Liam’s face, Harry has done everything he could to mess with him.

Over the years, it’s gotten more and more difficult to have the same effect. Nowadays Liam catching Harry naked just earns a sigh, and all of the earlier pranks like flipping all the furniture in Liam’s room upside down just make Liam laugh now and ask when Harry found the time.

So moments like now when he can rile Liam up, can frustrate him to no end, well it blooms a joy inside of Harry that makes him want to do nothing but persist in his efforts to infuriate his best friend. He swears, it’s all done out of love.

“No, listen!” Liam’s beginning to get petulant at the way Harry keeps messing with him. “I have a point. If he comes home and you’re doing that sex yoga - ”

“Hot yoga, Liam,” Harry finds himself correcting. “It’s hot yoga. There’s no sex.”

Liam lowers the mattress and glares at Harry, his mouth set in a firm line and his eyebrows completely unimpressed. “It was sexy.”

Liam !” Harry knows he can’t stop grinning, and even when red flushes his friend’s face, he still can’t seem to keep his smile down.

“That’s not what I meant.”

“I’m pretty sure it was, Liam,” Harry laughs, feeling nothing but joy. “You think I’m sexy .”

Liam groans, his end of the mattress shifting, and the thought that he’s getting even more frustrated just makes Harry even giddier. “I meant sexual. Your hot yoga was sexual, and…” Liam trails off before groaning again. “I don’t even remember what I was saying.”

“You were saying that I’m weird, but it’s sexy, yeah?”

“No, I -

“It’s okay, I understand.” Harry’s not even pretending this isn’t one of the best holes Liam’s dug himself. “We all have repressed sexual urges sometime, and if you think - ” Liam drops his end of the mattress and Harry falters. “ Liam! Liam, what the fuck? Pick it up, pick it up, it’s heavy.” They’re halfway up the stairs, and the mattress is threatening to crush Harry underneath it. “Please, please, please, I can’t take it anymore.”

Liam sighs and, slow as ever, picks it back up off the ground. Immediately, Harry’s arms are thankful for the relief. “Are you done then?”

“Yeah, of course.” Liam’s face disappears behind the white of the bed and they continue up the stairs until they finally make it to Harry’s new front door. “Was it sexy when I begged?” Liam drops the bed again in response and Harry laughs. He drops his side as well, glad they’re not on the stairs any longer and that he can also let the weight go.

Harry starts to shuffle through his pockets, searching for the copy of his key Louis gave to him after their meeting last week, but before he can even find it, the door opens to reveal Louis, his new flatmate, holding an apple in his hand and leaning against the doorframe.

“Good morning.”

Harry smiles, taking his hands out of his jacket and stopping his search. “Hey, Louis.”

“I assume this is my roommate delivery then.”

Liam steps forward before Harry can say anything. “So you’re the bloke from the small ads?” He’s tense, standing taller and broader than he usually does. It’s clear he’s trying to look intimidating, but Louis merely quirks his eyebrow.

“That’s what they call me,” he deadpans. “Small Ads Louis. I’m real popular with children.”

Liam snaps his head towards Harry, eyes wide and mouth taught. It has Harry holding in giggles, but Liam ignores him and scoffs. “Can we just get this bed inside?”

“You absolutely can,” Louis speaks up through a bite of his apple. “Do you need help?”

Harry shakes his head. “No, I think we’re alright.”

“Thank God,” Louis grins, stepping out of the way and holding the door open. “I would’ve been absolutely no help, to be honest.”

“Then why did you ask?”

Louis narrows his eyes at Liam, not seeming impressed with his tone. “To be kind, bland stranger. I’m a kind person, and you’re welcome.”

“Thank you, Louis,” Harry cuts in, seeing that a fight is actually a possibility between the two. “We’ll try to be quiet as we’re putting things up.”

He bends down to pick up his end of the mattress, pushing the other end into Liam’s feet until he exhales through his nose and helps Harry get the mattress onto its side and through the front door.

Louis stands by the doorway, watching the two of them work until the get the bed to the hallway. “I’m going to work in about an hour and a half, so you’re alright. I’ll be in the kitchen pretending to keep busy until then.”

Harry and Liam get to work bringing up the rest of the bed and the boxes and making sure everything labeled in Harry’s handwriting is out of the car and in his new place. Liam doesn’t stay past that, excusing himself for work, so Harry’s left alone with everything he owns packed up in boxes, ready to be put away.

He decides to start easy and finds the box marked “kitchen.” It’ll be easier for him to put things where there’s already a place instead of having to reorganize an entire room, he thinks.

He has trouble finding the cupboard where the mugs are kept, so he searches through all of them, laughing when he opens one cupboard to find an array of tea with a label marked “ Do Not Fucking Touch .”

“That was for Perrie.”

Harry jumps at the unexpected voice resounding through the kitchen. He turns around, catching the sight of Louis in a suit, most likely heading out for work. “Your old flatmate?” he asks.

Louis nods. “She used to drink this shit tea, and when she’d run out, she’d just start going through mine. I’d wake up in the morning with my tea spilled across the counter and dripping with cold water. Eventually, I had to stop it.”

“So I take you fought a lot?”

“All the time,” Louis laughs. “But she’s my best friend, and I love her. At the end of the day it’s just tea.”

“If it makes you feel better about her moving out, I can steal your tea.” Louis’ laugh doesn’t fade any at Harry’s offer. “I won’t clean the kitchen either.”

“That’s - ”

“You’ll have a hard time pouting when you’re scrubbing counters.”

“I don’t pout,” Louis argues. “I brood.”

Harry smiles at the way Louis’ frown comes out of nowhere, over exaggerated and dramatic. “Then you can brood over the dishes you’re washing and drying.”

“I use paper plates, actually.”

“Not in my house,” Harry bites.

It’s sarcastic and playful and they’re both grinning at each other over the counter. Harry knows it’s ridiculous and they probably look silly on the outside, but he can’t help but be giddy that they’re getting along so well. Moving in with a relative stranger has the possibility to be a disaster, but everything is going so well already, and Harry couldn’t be happier about it.

“I should be heading out.” Louis flicks his head towards the door.

“I’ll let you go. I’ve got boxes to unpack.”

“I’ll see you later.” Louis slides his coat off the counter and makes his way out of the flat.

“Don’t let the big kids pick on you,” Harry yells, and Louis’ laugh echoes as he’s shutting the door. Harry grins to himself before going back to the box in front of him.

⇟⇟⇟

Harry knows that moving in with Louis was a smart choice. Even in the interview, Harry could see the potential between them.

Because, here’s the thing - he and Louis are extremely compatible. Harry tells bad jokes, and Louis, it seems, will laugh at anything. Louis insults Harry, but all it does is have the younger of the two grinning into his hands. When they speak, there’s an underlying current pushing their conversations along and making it seem like they’ll never run out of topics.

There are small mannerisms Louis possesses that captivate Harry and grab his attention as well - minor ticks that Harry just knows add to their compatibility. Living together is going to be a walk in the park, Harry’s certain, because even in the short time they’ve known each other, they get on better than Harry and Liam could ever dream of.

Sure, Harry may have a slight crush on Louis, that much is obvious, but he doesn’t want to ruin his living arrangements, not when he’s close to public transport and in a not-terrible part of town with a decent roommate. He can contain his attraction for the sake of his and Louis’ comfort. Harry’s handled painful, all-consuming infatuation before, and despite the fact that nothing can come from it, he knows living with the other man won’t exactly be a hardship.

The two of them get on like cheese on toast and Harry’s certain he can work his way through a minor crush. He’s mastered getting over people who were off limits before. If all else fails and Harry’s stuck living a lifetime of concealed feelings and unrequited pining, at least he’ll have something nice to look at.

The fact that he wants Louis to fuck him into next week doesn’t hurt either.

⇟⇟⇟

As is the norm for just moving in somewhere, Harry spends most of his time unpacking. He never seems to realize just how much stuff he owns. Every time he’s inclined to believe he’s completely moved in, there’s a box of clothing or books or kitchen supplies sitting in the corner, taunting him.

He knows he could leave them sitting there, but if he does that, there’s no telling how long it could take to have them unpacked. Harry’s box of movies didn’t get unloaded in Liam’s house until about a month before he moved out. He knows how he is, and he knows the boxes need to be taken care of now.

That’s why, just after an exhausting eight hour shift, instead of settling in with tea, he has plans to finish unpacking the last of his clothing. It won’t make him completely settled in, but it’s progress, and it’s a goal he’s going to meet no matter what.

Any temptation he may have had to skip unpacking and kick his feet up while watching the telly disappears as soon as he walks in to see Louis video chatting with somebody. Not wanting to interrupt, Harry waves as he walks through the living room and into his bedroom. Before he has time to do anything else, he grabs the closest box he can and sits on the ground ready to sort through the next few.

About halfway through his shirts, there’s a knock on the door and Louis’ head pokes through. “Hey,” he smiles stepping into the room when he sees that Harry’s decent. “I just wanted - Wow, that’s a lot of print.”

Harry nods, looking down at the various patterns lying in front of him. “It is.”

“A lot of print.”

“I like print.” Harry can feel his forehead creasing down. He looks Louis over consideringly, not sure if he’s trying to make fun or just commenting.

“I can see that.”

Harry watches Louis’ wide eyes take in the mess of clothing he has scattered around. There clearly isn’t any negativity behind his words, but Louis’ not saying anything, and Harry still has to finish this box of clothing. “Did you come here just to criticize my fashion or are you going to insult my mum too?”

“What?” Louis’ gaze snaps to Harry. “No, I wasn’t insulting - ” As soon as he sees Harry grinning through Louis’ backtracking, the alertness fades away. “You’re an arsehole.” Harry laughs and turns his attention back to hanging his shirts. “I actually came in here to apologize.”

“For insulting my - ”

“I wasn’t insulting you,” Louis insists, groaning with his words. Harry laughs quietly at his exasperation. “No, I’m apologizing for basically hoarding the living room and forcing you to hide out in here.”

Thinking back, Harry doesn’t remembering Louis acknowledging him, let alone kicking him out of the room. “You didn’t force me in here.”

Louis shrugs. His focus turns to the open box of records resting next to the door. “Well staying in there while I’m talking to my family is bound to be uncomfortable.”

“I was coming in here to unpack anyway,” Harry explains. “You really have nothing to be sorry for.”

“I still am.” Louis bends down and looks at the records on the floor, partly stacked, partly scattered. “I never want you to feel like this isn’t your home… too.”

Harry stops his work, too busy watching Louis. His words sounded as though he wasn’t paying attention to them, as though he wouldn’t remember what he’d just said if asked. It’s interesting, that the music caught his focus, and Harry wants to know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

He doesn’t find out, as it is. Louis doesn’t look past the first few records before standing back up and looking back at Harry expectantly. Harry isn’t disappointed.

He’s not.

Racking his brain, he remembers Louis saying something about feeling at home, but he was more than distracted by his flatmate’s interest in the music. “Well with your tea fence and taking over public areas how could I not feel welcome?”

Louis laughs, a light, sweet sound that’s followed by him playfully crossing his arms in front of him. “If you were to talk like this in the interview, I never would’ve let you move in.”

“The interview was you eating crisps out of a cup and talking about your old flatmate getting a job transfer,” Harry recalls.

“I was sad and eating my feelings.” Harry bites his lip to contain his grin at Louis’ insulted tone. “I can’t believe you’d attack me in my moment of distress, Harry”

Harry watches Louis closely, waiting for him to laugh at his own joke, but the moment never comes - he stays as straight-faced as ever, forcing Harry to shrug and wonder if he’ll ever know what Louis is thinking.

“Well I should you leave to it,” Louis sighs. “I’d help but I really don’t want to.”

Harry shakes his head, a fond smile taking over his face as he remembers Louis saying something similar on move-in day. “Is this the support I should get used to?”

“If you want support, I’ll gently cheer you on as I’m watching Bake Off in the living room.”

And that gathers Harry’s attention. He sits up straighter, letting a hanger fall loosely from his fingers. “The new episode? From last night?”

“Of course,” Louis scoffs. “That means my cheering might be lacking, but I’ll make it up to you sometime.”

“You can’t watch that without me.” Harry’s horrified to realize that he didn’t tell Louis about his obsession with that show during their interview. It was the first thing he ever told Liam.

“I can’t?”

“I’ve seen every episode of every season, and I cannot miss this one. I’m joining you.”

Louis pointedly looks at the pile of shirts Harry has in front of them, half of them on hangers and the other half haphazardly folded. “Then you’d better hurry up.”

Harry nods eagerly. “Give me five minutes, and I’ll be there.”

Louis hums, slowly backing up and through the doorway. “I’m pressing play the very moment I make it to the living room.” He walks out of the room and down the hallway, and Harry hands are shaking with how fast he’s trying to gather all of his shirts into something that resembles an organized pile. “I just need - ”

Pressing play…

Harry groans and drops the clothes in his hand. He rushes after Louis as quickly as his numb legs will let him. And if his shirts don’t get put away until next week, that’s alright.

⇟⇟⇟

Something Harry loves about living with Louis are their grocery days.

The reason being, that Harry’s consistently having to stop himself from picking up Louis’ lithe frame and setting him into the shopping trolley.

Because for all that Louis’ a twenty-five year old man, he acts every bit a child when confronted with kinder eggs. They don’t exactly have the budget to be supporting Louis’ snacking habit, so instead taking of turns with shopping, his and Liam’s arrangement, they have to get together. If not, Louis will come home with a trolley full of mini cheddars.

Louis insists that he’s overreacting, but when Louis throws more snack food into the trolley and Harry has to sigh for the seventh time, he assumes the proper amount of concern is being given.

“Louis, we can’t get anything like this.” Harry’s not sure what else he can say to keep Louis from throwing more unnecessary food in.

“It’s just one more pack of biscuits,” Louis insists, but Harry’s not inclined to believe him. Especially when he almost cried over the box of jaffa cakes Harry placed back on the shelf.

“There’ve been ten different ‘just one’ packs. If you keep this up we won’t have enough for vegetables.”

Louis’ eyes narrow and Harry repeats the gesture. It’s their first fight as roommates - a mild one, sure - and Harry can’t back down else Louis get the idea that he can step all over him. “All the more reason to do it.”

“We have to get real food,” Harry explains, reaching down for the biscuits and putting them back on the shelf. “Nourishment. We can’t live off of sweets.”

“Maybe you can’t, but I very much can.”

Louis’ glaring, moments away from snarling in his discontent. Harry hates seeing Louis like that, hates seeing the usual smile completely wiped away, but for the sake of making rent this month, Harry won’t back down.

The snack war goes on for a while. It soon starts to feel like Louis’ throwing in whatever he can just to piss Harry off. And it’s working. It gets to the point that he actually tries to put Louis in the trolley for the rest of the trip.

Tea goes into the trolley, Louis glaring at Harry, daring him to take it out, and Harry’s inclined to believe he’ll be out on the street if he messes with the box. He puts his hands up in surrender, figuring that letting tea through will make Louis see he’s not the bad guy, and hopefully stop the battle.

It doesn’t.

Almost immediately after Harry’s surrender, a cocky grin paints itself on Louis’ face and he’s throwing more stuff in. Harry’s not certain when he moved in with a seven year old, but he’s almost ready to move out.

It’s long after the crisps and biscuits when Louis throws a few chocolate bars in and it takes everything Harry has in him not to stomp on the ground. “ Louis .”

Louis rolls his eyes in return, making a show of it. “Harry, please. Just let me have those.” Harry frowns, but doesn’t immediately remove the chocolate. “I promise not to throw anything else in, if you’ll just let me have this one thing… multiple things.”

Harry doesn’t answer right away. He watches Louis, looks him in eyes, wants to be sure that this isn’t another tactic like the tea. “If anything else so much as touches the trolley - ”

“It won’t,” Louis promises. His eyes are wide and for the first time since they stepped foot in the store, he looks truly innocent. Harry’s almost forced to believe him.

“Fine.”

The rest of the trip runs well, and Louis makes true on his promise. Nothing that isn’t on their list goes in the trolley, and neither of them makes a fuss for the rest of the trip. It’s grown-up and mature, and Harry should be happy…  

But he just can’t seem to shake something from his mind.

⇟⇟⇟

For all that they’re very compatible, they may be too similar.

Harry loves their banter, and lives for the moments he can make Louis laugh; sometimes it’s the best part of his day. There’s no denying that their personalities blend perfectly, but there’s one thing that Harry can’t stop wondering about, something that plagues his thoughts.

There have been many times that he’s considered approaching Louis about his feelings and putting everything on the line. He’s no stranger to wearing his heart on his sleeve. Every time though, he’s stopped by a pop of the hip, a flick of the fringe, or those goddamn maroon skinny jeans, rolled up just the perfect amount to show off Louis’ dainty ankles.

It’s not that Harry doesn’t believe their relationship would be amazing, because it would be. It’s just, for all that they blend together perfectly, Harry isn’t sure that they’d be sexually compatible. Because while Harry loves to be held down and man-handled, Louis, well…

Louis is a twink.

Harry doesn’t like to stereotype, hates the way that one small mannerism can affect the way the outside world judges someone. He doesn’t like to put someone under a specific category that they’ve not put themselves into. He isn’t trying to presume, but Louis, well…

Louis is a twink, and submissive as hell.

There’s no denying it, not with the way the other man will stretch himself across the counter while Harry’s cooking and pretend to be doing something wrong until Harry scolds him. Not with his petulant behavior and spontaneous bouts of unrestrained, mischievous energy. Not with his arse , perfectly curved and singing of sin .

And it’s sexy, it’s so unbelievably attractive to Harry, but he knows that he could never satisfy Louis, and - as much as he doesn’t want to admit it - he knows Louis could never satisfy him.

Louis clearly isn’t the type of person to take control in the bedroom - it’s just not something Harry can envision (but fuck if he hasn’t tried). Harry doesn’t mind topping every once in awhile, doesn’t mind the feel of a tight, slick arse stretched around his cock, but even then he’s not great at taking control of things. He much prefers being told what to do, prefers when his body is manipulated into the position his partner wants to see him in most, prefers being told when he can cum, if at all.

It’s not like he’s asking for anything extreme, he just likes giving up control in the bedroom, and Louis’ not exactly giving off dominant vibes.

There’s nothing wrong with that either, Harry has to keep telling himself. Louis’ most likely the very same as Harry in the bedroom, and that’s probably why they get along so well. It’s not a crime for Louis to be, in not so crude terms, a complete and utter bottom ; it just makes things tough for Harry.

⇟⇟⇟

But just because Louis isn’t a domineering type, that’s not to say he isn’t sexy as hell.

There are small things he’ll do that drive Harry absolutely insane. When their laundry got mixed together and Louis walked around in Harry’s too-large sweater, Harry had to bite his own fist to keep from moaning at the sight. When they were cleaning up after dinner together and Louis slapped Harry’s arse with a metal spatula, Harry had to keep his crotch angled away from prying eyes for the rest of the night due to the overwhelming stiffy bulging obscenely at the zipper of his jeans.

And this morning, as Harry’s minding his own business, enjoying a bowl of ricicles at the counter, Louis comes stepping out of the bathroom in just a towel. The steam from his shower billows out behind him, and it’s all Harry can do not to fall on his knees as Louis, clearly in a rush, races across the living room and into his room. The towel drops just before the door shuts behind him, and Harry’s spoon goes crashing to the floor.

There’s not enough recovery time in the world to help Harry get over the sight of Louis’ backside, bare and so fucking pert, but even if there were, Louis would have no respect for it. After he gets dressed, he’s rushing out of his bedroom and offhandedly saying, “See you tonight,” before the front door is slammed and Harry’s left alone.

He doesn’t even clean his bowl before he’s stomping towards his bedroom to get off on the memory while it’s still fresh.

⇟⇟⇟

“I’m bored.”

Louis is sitting on the counter swinging his legs as Harry is cleaning up after dinner. They had bolognese and Harry cooked, of course, yet somehow Louis tricked him into cleaning. Sure, he offered to clear the table, but, regardless, he was clearing the dishes that Harry had to wash. It’s remarkably unfair, yet Harry can’t find it in himself to challenge it.

“You could start drying the dishes and putting them away,” Harry offers. “It would help me out.”

Louis scoffs, and Harry doesn’t even have to look at him to see how disappointed with the suggestion he is. “That’s a shit option, if I’m honest. It’s like you don’t even know me at all.”

Harry shrugs, placing a plate on the drying rack. “That’s all I’ve got for you.”

“You’re so young and you’re living in the biggest city in the world! You’ve got to have more excitement in your bones.”

“I’m the same age as you and we live forty minutes outside Manchester.”

“The specifics are irrelevant, love,” Louis waves him off. Harry’s heart hurts at the pet name. He knows there’s no intention behind it; it’s just the thought that things are so easy between them, but nothing can ever be… it hurts. “My point is, I’m bored. The dishes are nearly done. Let’s go do something.”

Harry shakes his head. “It’s almost eight. Everything is closed.”

Louis laughs, but the sound gets caught in his throat. When Harry looks at him, he’s looking incredulously right back at Harry. “Putting aside the fact that it’s not even dark outside, clubs are open. Pubs are open.”

“Is Subway open?”

Nobody says anything for a moment, but then Louis jumps off the counter. “You know what, never mind. I’m going to my room.”

“It was funny!” Harry laughs. He’s not sure if he’s laughing over the joke or Louis’ reaction. Both are equally hilarious to him.

“You’re not allowed to tell any more jokes if that’s your idea of funny.”

“Well that’s hardly reasonable,” Harry protests. The tap is running beside him as he watches Louis to make sure he doesn’t slip away and leave Harry alone with the dishes. “I can’t control when they come out.”

“No comedic stamina then?”

There’s no smile on his face, but Harry’s inclined to believe he was trying to be funny. “Was that supposed to be a joke?” Louis’ showing no indication of humor on his face.

“Yes, and it was fantastic,” Louis defends. “I’ll thank you not to insult it.”

“If I can’t tell jokes, then you can’t either.”

“You just watch me.”

Harry rolls his eyes and goes back to the dishes. He has a thousand different jokes running through his mind, one-liners that Louis would find hilarious, puns that would put Louis’ attempt at a joke to shame.

He doesn’t say any of them. Something tells him that the tangent they ran off on wasn’t what Louis was meaning to talk about. He goes back to the dishes and stays quiet when Louis takes his spot back on the countertop. They can discuss jokes another time. For now, he finishes and turns off the tap.

The sink hasn’t even drained before Louis’ enthusiastically suggesting, “Let’s go the movies.”

“It’s got to be closed by now.”

Louis groans, leaning back and banging his head against the cabinet door. “Harry, honestly. It’s not even eight yet. The sun is still in the sky. And we are going to the movies.”

Harry looks towards the window, mouth turned down as he wipes his hands off with the kitchen towel. The sun is just setting and he was hoping to spend the evening in his pajamas. “I don’t think anything good is out.”

“You are not ruining this for me.” Louis hops off the counter again, his feet hitting the linoleum with a thud . “Go put something nice on.” His hands press persistently and solidly against Harry’s chest as he shoves him out of the kitchen and into the hallway. Harry sighs, slightly annoyed at the sudden change in his plans, but he goes along with it. “And put on a sweater; it’s raining!”  

Harry decidedly doesn’t put on a sweater. They go to a movie and Louis insists on paying. It’s a nice gesture, all things considered, but it feels an awful lot like a date, and Harry’s left wondering where they stand.

⇟⇟⇟

Harry gets sick, and despite what Louis says, it had absolutely nothing to do with not putting on a sweater. It happened because of the time of the year, and the way his allergies…

It was because of the sweater. There’s no denying the chills that hit the morning after they got back from the movie, and since then it’s all been downhill. He probably should’ve listened to Louis, he should’ve worn that sweater, and all this could’ve been prevented.

Though, for all he pretends to be smug about being right, Louis doesn’t throw it in Harry’s face. There’s one half-hearted “I told you so,” but it’s immediately followed by a bottle of water and a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup. It’s hard to be miserable when Louis’ coddling him.

Louis feeds him, and cleans up after him, and when Harry’s falling asleep, Louis climbs in bed behind him and cuddles him, hands idly playing with loose strands of his hair. Harry hates that he likes him so much. He really should have worn that sweater.

⇟⇟⇟

They’ve developed a routine together. On Thursday nights, if neither of them have work, they make time to watch Great British Bake Off together. It gives them something to bond over, something to look forward to, but mostly it's a time he can get close to Louis without worrying about his own ulterior motives.

And alright, he knows it’s not smart - he’s aware. He has to move on away from this terrible, dead end crush he’s got, but when lying on the couch with his feet in Louis’ lap, his flatmate’s hands rubbing soothingly around his ankles, it’s too tempting to stay away.

One day, Harry likes to think, things between them will be completely platonic, that nights like this won’t make Harry’s heart beat in his chest and that he’ll be able to call Louis his friend without feeling like a liar.

Today is not that day.

Louis doesn’t seem to notice how conflicted Harry is with his comfort. He looks completely settled and at ease, even going as far to express it all. “This is so relaxing,” he groans, adjusting his position until he’s where he wants to be. “I miss Perrie, of course, but it’s nice having someone around who isn’t always talking.”

“I wonder what that’s like,” Harry replies sarcastically. Louis pinches the skin of Harry’s ankle in between his fingers and Harry can’t help but laugh.

Things between them are just so easy, and if Harry didn’t know that Louis was, without a doubt, a complete and utter bottom, he’d like to think that they’d have a great relationship. Sex aside, their personalities together are perfect - a puzzle not missing a single piece.

Harry thinks it’d be easy to fall into something with Louis, especially with all the time they spend with each other and the fun they have together.

Usually it’s simple to ignore those intrusive thoughts, but when it’s nighttime and they’re together in their shared home… there’s not much he can do to get rid of them.

“You know,” Harry speaks suddenly. “I used to be a baker.”

“Yeah?” Louis doesn’t take his eyes off the tv, but the thumb at Harry’s ankle begins to rub circles into Harry’s skin. “Somehow I don’t believe you.”

Harry grins to himself. “Real blunt of you. Incredibly uncalled for.”

“You burnt pancakes the other day.”

“I didn’t say I was a good one,” Harry argues - though the words are pointless, he can’t help himself from laughing through the sentence. As is with Louis, there’s hardly a moment where he isn’t smiling. “I mostly worked the till.”

The laughs that follow are almost insulting. Louis looks downright pleased and Harry knows he’s about the be the punchline to some joke. “So you’re saying you weren’t a baker at all - you just worked in a bakery.”

Harry huffs and turns back to the television. There’s an advert playing and he swears under his breath for the lack of a distraction.

“You know, I used to be a fortune 500 CEO.” There’s a smug grin on Louis’ face when Harry turns back to glare at him. “Or actually, I just worked for one. His distant cousin really. It wasn’t for very long, though.”

Louis.

“A pizza driver,” he bursts out with a cackle. “I delivered him a pizza once.”

Harry goes to kick Louis, but he catches Harry’s ankle in a punishingly tight grip. He tries to pull it free, but Louis doesn’t let go easily. His mouth is set in a firm line and Harry’s confused until Louis grins, easy as anything, and let’s go of it. Harry clears his throat and pulls his legs away from Louis’ lap.

The show is back on and Harry tries to put his focus on it, but he can see Louis moving out of the corner of his eye, and try as he might to ignore it, he can’t when Louis pauses the show. “Hey, can we talk for a minute?”

Harry feels a chilling shock go down at his spine, and all sorts of scenarios run through his head. The most prominent one is him getting kicked out and it makes his blood run cold. “Yeah, of course. Is something wrong?”

“No, just…” Louis sighs, clearly having trouble saying what he wants to. Harry’s heart beats faster. “Could you sit up?”

Harry sits up, alarmed and blindly doing what Louis asked, watching as his hands rub his thighs tensely. “Are you - ”

Lips press hard against his own, cutting his sentence off. It takes Harry by surprise, but he definitely isn’t complaining, not when a probing tongue coaxes his lips apart, licking and tasting like Harry is the best dessert at the buffet and there’s only one more serving left.

Harry stays still at first before giving in to the kissing… briefly. He forces himself to pull away.

“Louis… what are you - ” He licks his lips impulsively, an attempt to put his mind on track, but it only serves to make him want to continue tasting Louis. “Why?”

“You, uh… That wasn’t something you wanted?”

That’s the thing, isn’t it? Harry does want that, he wants that so bad that he has to consciously stop himself from going back in for another kiss. He wants it so much it hurts.

But he can’t have it. They can’t have it. Knowing what he knows about their sexual preferences, Harry can’t let himself have what he so desperately wants.

“I,” He has to clear his throat to get the words out. “I’m attracted to you, but I don’t think this is a good idea?”

“Is it because we live together?” Louis asks, curious and open and so damn sincere that Harry has trouble formulating his thoughts.

“It’s not that,” he insists. “It’s just. I don’t see us - ”

Harry can feel himself panicking, can feel the dark, uneasy edges of something bad prickling behind his skin. He doesn’t want to sound shallow or sex-obsessed, because that’s absolutely not it. They’d be great together, Harry knows that - it’s just that they couldn’t possibly satisfy each other. Harry said it once and he’ll say it again: it’d be so easy to fall into something, everything, with Louis.

Everything except the bed.

“Harry, it’s alright,” Louis rushes to say, gently grabbing one of Harry’s hands between his own. “I just thought there might be something there.” Harry nods, completely numb, hurt that he can’t be what Louis wants him to be. “We can be friends; I have no problem with that. I just wanted to make sure.”

“Are we good?” Louis asks. “Friends?”

“Friends,” Harry grins and Louis grins back. Only one of them is hollow.

Everything is good, Louis doesn’t hate him, and they’re friends…

But Harry still wants more.

⇟⇟⇟

They’re friends, and it’s fine, and there’s absolutely no residual weirdness from Louis’ end. He’s just as tactile and twinky as usual, almost as though the kiss never happened.

It’s fine, it’s great , Harry likes being friends with Louis, loves it even. It’s just that, for all he enjoys their friendship, he can’t stop himself from being crazy about his flatmate.

It was easy enough to deal with before, but now that Louis’ not worried about overstepping boundaries, now that their feelings are in the open and they’re both aware that they have to move on, Louis isn’t afraid to touch and tease Harry more than ever.

And when he’s not making Harry as tense and sexually frustrated as possible, he’s going out. A lot. He often doesn’t return until late into the night. And sometimes, Harry doesn’t see him until the next morning. He’d like to remain ignorant and stay unaware of why Louis’ always out.

But he does know. And he doesn’t like it.

⇟⇟⇟

Every once in a blue moon, Harry’s granted with the gift of his shift ending early, meaning that instead of getting home after midnight, he’s comfortable, dressed down, and alone by eight at night.

It also means that for the next while, he has the flat to himself, Louis having disappeared sometime before Harry got home, and he can take his sweet time getting himself off without having to worry about keeping quiet.

That’s why he’s alone in his bed, thumbing the outline of his cock through his boxers, enjoying the jolt of electricity that runs through him at the contact. The room is warm, but Harry’s lying atop his sheets, letting the thin, cool fabric balance out the temperature. It won’t help later when he’s desperate and sweaty and trying to reach his peak, but for now it’s nice.

He lowers the waistband of his boxers, staring at his cock for a moment, flushed and full, before he wraps his hand around it, relishing in the sweet shock of the touch.

It takes some maneuvering to grab the lube from his bedside table, but soon he has his cock slicked up, his hand taking it’s time teasing himself to full hardness just before the sun goes down. It shouldn’t feel like such an accomplishment to be touching himself at twilight, but that doesn’t stop a smug grin from taking over his face when he thinks about it.

There’s porn playing quietly on Harry’s laptop, but he’s not really watching, just enjoying the sounds, letting the pleased moans fuel his imagination. He strokes himself once and a wet gasp escapes him. No matter how often he does this, it never gets old.

He tries to keep his thoughts vague, tries to just enjoy the beautiful noises playing from his speakers, but like usual as of late, Louis’ face comes to mind. The sharp curves of his smirk contradict his thin fingers pressing Harry’s wrists into the mattress.

Harry moans, letting his hand speed up in its strokes, working over his cock. His thumb teases at his slit, playing with the precum beading slowly through the head. His thoughts of Louis overcome him while he lets himself get lost in the fantasy.

He tries to keep his strokes slower, doesn’t want it to be over too soon, doesn’t want to stop this incredible feeling of skin against skin as he chases his own climax. His control isn’t amazing though, being left to his own devices doesn’t help any, and soon his hips are jumping as his fist goes down, properly fucking himself inside his own tight grip.

The slap slap slap of Harry’s skin echoes through the room, playing louder than the video on his laptop, and it just makes him hotter. There’s sweat beading at his brow and dripping slowly off his face. He can feel the salty dampness pooling at his tailbone, making everything slide easier, his body moving effortlessly as he gets himself off.

In his mind, he’s picturing what it’d be like if Louis were there, if it were Louis ’ hands working Harry over into a desperate, pleading mess, not letting him move his hips, holding him in place as he only gave Harry what he thought he deserved.

He can’t have that, though, he knows it’s not probable, so for tonight he lives in the fantasy and cums, quick and dirty, as he envisions Louis’ voice telling him he can. He shouts out, biting his bottom lip to stop the sound from getting too far, as he frantically fucks his own hand.

It’s in the aftershocks, still coming down from the intensity of it all, that the squeak of the front door opening and the boom of it closing flood Harry’s senses. He doesn’t react at first, disoriented from his orgasm, but when there’s gentle laughter coming from the hallway, Harry jolts up in bed.

The video’s still playing on the laptop, Harry’s tummy has a puddle of cum drying on it, and his roommate - the one he just wanked over - is right outside the door. He hopes, more than anything, that his door remains closed.

There’s a tense moment where the floorboards outside his room squeak. Harry holds his breath, his hands gently cupping his soft cock, shielding it from possible prying eyes, but then the footsteps continue past his room, followed by Louis’ door closing. Harry lets out a sigh of relief and rushes to turn his laptop off.

Close call.

He grabs a towel off the floor and wraps it haphazardly around his waist. Peeking out his door first, he makes his way down the hallway and into the bathroom to clean himself off. Louis doesn’t come out of his room, Harry doesn’t get caught, and everything goes smoothly.

At least, it all goes smoothly until Harry gets back to his bed and hears just why Louis went straight to his own room.

There, on the other side of the wall, rests Louis and some bloke . The sound of their voices, quiet and playful, echo through the plaster, and Harry’s left with a nasty, twisting, sinking feeling in his gut.

He’s not inept, he’s not ignorant, he knows that since Harry turned him down Louis’ been going out and finding fit lads to fuck him, but being faced with the evidence? It fucking hurts.

Only…

That’s not Louis ’ voice begging for more.

Harry just about falls off his bed when he hears it, when he hears the unfamiliar voice, speaking the words Harry had just imagined saying to Louis. This stranger is actually expressing them. Harry shuffles farther up the bed, getting close enough to press his ear against the wall, and listens.

It’s not his finest hour, he’ll agree with that, but that doesn’t stop him from leaning in close and eavesdropping to his roommate talking dirty. He’s not getting full sentences, just snippets, but that’s mostly because of how hard he’s breathing, caught up in the shock of hearing Louis’ usually tongue-in-cheek tone lathered in arousal, sensual as he orders his partner around.

Suddenly, Harry’s hard again. It’s not as full or persistent as earlier, still too close to his last orgasm to become completely hard so quickly, but it’s there, shaming Harry for being so insanely creepy. He tries not to touch himself, doesn’t want to be that guy, but he doesn’t have control, and when he hears Louis on the other side of the wall saying, “ Go ahead, baby, touch yourself, ” it’s pretty fucking difficult for him not to.

When he grips his cock in his hand, it’s touch-sensitive from how quick it went from hard to soft to hard again, and Harry can’t help but gasp at the pleasure-pain of it all. He immediately bites his tongue to hold in the sound, not wanting to get caught.

He tentatively slides his hand down his length, careful to keep his noises in, and works himself at a slow pace. He’s approaching this the way he wish he could’ve the first time around. He wants to enjoy the moment, give himself time to appreciate the way the callouses on his hand add an extra layer to his touch.

Harry can hear the other man moaning and pleading on the other side of the wall, but he ignores them. Nothing against them, Harry’s sure they’re sexy in their own way, but he’s too focused on Louis’ praises, the gentle “ That’s it ”s and “ You’re doing great ”s that spill from his mouth and have Harry working to make it good.

In the other room, Harry can hear the tell-tale sound of a wrapper, followed closely by Louis and the other man’s groans. Harry’s certain Louis’ now fucking his friend.

He’d be plenty more jealous if he weren’t reaping in his own personal benefits from the action.

It takes a while before Harry can feel himself to the desperate place that he knows Louis’ friend’s been at for longer. Harry’s sure he wouldn’t have been able to last very long had it been the first time around, so he’s glad it’s not.

Being able to hold himself in the pleasure for so long, keeping himself from getting wild and unrestrained is a blessing because it allows him to focus on the little things. He’s able to hear the soft groans Louis makes, the promises and compliments he shares. It gives Harry the ability to stay in the moment for longer, to enjoy this illicit moment he shouldn’t be listening in on, but is anyway.

It lasts longer than it would have, but it doesn’t last much longer than that. Before he knows it, Harry’s a sweaty mess again, cock leaking profusely as it aches in his hand, sensitive from overuse but ready to cum anyway. He’s leaning against the wall, unable to support himself as all his energy is going towards furiously stroking his cock, and open-mouth panting wet heat in the corner of his room.

It’s all too intense and Harry’s moments away from cumming when -

Stop.

A sob almost wretches itself from his throat at the command, and his rhythm falters, a heavy bead of precum blurting out in the absence of his fist. He can hear the other man’s hand slapping against his skin still, but soon the sound stops, replaced with a surprised shout. Harry imagines Louis’ hand slapping at the other man’s wrist and forcing him to stop. His own cock twitches in his grip.

Harry’s hand falls away from his cock in what may be the most difficult move he’s ever done. His hand, wet with his own precum, hangs limply at his side as he tries his hardest not to taste the release.

Louis says something to the other man, Harry can hear the rumble of his voice, but no words are coming through. He’s left hard, pulsing, and ready to cum already, but he refuses to do so until he gets Louis’ permission.

He’s so fucked.

Soon, he can hear the words through the wall, can hear the ridiculing tone Louis holds. “ Oh, you’re desperate are you? ” Harry nods, knowing Louis isn’t talking to him. “ You want to have a bit of cry because you can’t cum? ” Harry drags the tip his nose against the wall as his eyes roll back. He didn’t want to cry before, but he does now. “ You’re lucky I’m even fucking you at all, baby. Do you even deserve it?

Harry’s shaking his head, holding back tears and his impending orgasm. Louis voice before was hard enough to hear, but now it’s … now it’s like he’s speaking into a megaphone right next to Harry. It makes it feel all the more real, makes it feel more personal. It feels like Louis’ there, watching, waiting for Harry to impress him. And while Harry would do anything to make Louis proud, but by the tone of his voice, it doesn’t sound like that’s happening.

And for some fucked up reason, that just makes Harry harder.

It feels like an eternity before Louis’ telling them, “ You can continue. ” Harry tries not to sigh too loudly in relief, but it’s quite the feat, especially with Louis sounding like he’s doing them a favor.

It’s not often Harry gets off twice in one night, but when it happens, it’s always hot, desperate, and messy, which is exactly what Harry’s craving as he chases his own release.

The tension just behind his cock coils and builds, and soon Harry’s on the edge. He reaches his free hand underneath him to cup his balls, hoping that the pressure prolongs his orgasm. He wants to wait until Louis cums - he wants permission .

He can feel tears at the back of his eyes starting to release themselves. He’s pulled so tightly that his body is letting go of anything it can just to hold himself off for a bit longer. It’s a lot, and he’s moments from breaking the rule he set for himself, when he hears Louis’ tinny, ecstasy-coated voice saying, “ Go ahead, baby. You earned it.

Harry nods frantically as his hand strips harshly at his cock. He does deserve this, he tells himself. There’s nobody who deserves it more.

He cums with a muted cry just moments before he can hear the duo in the other room doing the same. There’s only a bit of shame that he holds for being the first to let go, but he’s panting into the wall, exhausted and sore in the best ways, and he’s happy . He feels like he could lie back and sleep for a decade feeling nothing but satisfied and completely empty in the best way possible.

Usually, Harry has to use his fingers to feel this wrung out. The fact that all it took was his hand and Louis’ demanding voice telling him to come is a testimony to just how good it was.

But that’s just the problem. Louis didn’t exactly sound like a twink when he was fucking some bloke in his room with all he had. He didn’t exactly sound like a twink when he was barking orders, telling his partner to stop touching himself before he came. He didn’t exactly sound like a twink when he was mocking the lad for being desperate. He sounded like every one of Harry’s fantasies, everything Harry ever hoped he’d be, and Harry told him they wouldn’t be a good match…

He may have made a big fucking mistake.

⇟⇟⇟

Harry can’t seem to look Louis in the eyes after the night when Harry crossed every boundary known to mankind. There’s something so off putting about knowing the truth now, and he can’t stop himself from hearing Louis’ voice telling him to touch himself anytime they’re in the same room together.

Needless to say, things only spiral from there.

He can see Louis’ domineering personality in everything he does. He stands tall, shoulders back. He never asks Harry to pass the salt but orders him. He praises Harry for simple things like remembering how Louis takes his tea. Louis’ definitely not one to take orders in bed, and it’s driving Harry insane.

It gets to the point that Harry’s tripping over his words and his feet at anything Louis says. And it’s obvious that he’s doing so. He knows he looks every bit the fool he is, but he can’t stop it. He just can’t.

Every single thing he does leaves Harry wanting more.

There’s also the fact that he gets off to Louis’ voice a lot . In fact, after the first few times of listening in, if Louis doesn’t bring a boy home, Harry can’t get off. He tries - God, does he try - but there’s nothing that compares Louis voice telling him to touch himself. It gets him off like nothing else.  

Harry really shouldn’t have judged him.

⇟⇟⇟

Things run like that - tense and morally wrong - for a while. Louis brings lads home from the pub and Harry listens in as he gets himself off. It’s not a great system, but it all goes well. At least, until Louis catches Harry.

It’s been a rough few nights for Harry and the only thing that’s calmed the stiffness he’s been carrying with him has been listening to Louis. He really drew things out tonight, and at the end of it, Harry was sweating buckets and praying to every God he could. It’s just what he needed, and after cleaning himself off in the shower, he thinks he’s ready for bed.

Or he would be, but just as he’s coming out of the bathroom, somebody else is stepping into the hallway.

“Harry?”

Louis .” Harry jumps when he sees Louis, both of them without a shirt. His heart is racing, and it’s all he can do not to run out of the flat and never return. “Hi. Good morn - er, evening.”   

“When did you get home?” Louis asks, avoiding Harry’s pleasantries. His eyes are narrowed and it feels like he’s a lie detector ready to expose Harry for every perverted crime he’s committed these past few weeks. “I thought you worked tonight.”

Harry clears his throat, hoping more than anything that his voice doesn’t shake. “I wasn’t feeling well so I called off.”

Oh . So…” Louis trails off and in a move mimicking Harry, clears his own throat. “You’ve been home all night?”

“Yeah…”

Neither of them say anything, letting the silence stretch on and torture thim in an already awkward situation. It seems that nothing needs to be said, though, as Louis’ plaything for the night yells out, “ Louis ?” from where the bedroom door is cracked open.

Louis glances back, looking panicked, and Harry tried to ease the situation. “Oh, do you have someone over?”

“Yeah, I just. I met someone from the bar and - ”

“I get it.” It feels odd, that Louis’ the one stumbling over his words and trying to explain himself. He’s done nothing wrong. Harry’s the one who should be ashamed. “You don’t have to explain yourself. It’s your flat too.”

“Right,” Louis nods his head once, a firm bob, before standing up straight again, back in his usual, dominating position. “Well, I’m going to go… back in there. See you tomorrow?”

“Good night, Louis.”

“Good night.”

They both go back to their respective rooms and Harry keeps his gentle smile on his face the entire time, playing up the hoax that he’s alright with how the night’s unfolded.

It’s alright, Harry tells himself. In the morning everything will go back to normal. But he knows he’s lying. Everything will be weird and Louis won’t be able to look Harry in the eyes. There won’t be any eye contact in the house all because Harry’s a horny deviant who can’t keep his eyes to himself and just has to fuck up everything good in his life.

⇟⇟⇟

After the uncomfortable meeting in the hallway, Louis stops bringing men home. Completely unrelated to that, Harry stops getting off.

Every time he has a moment to himself, every time he tries to bring himself to completion, he feels like he’s disobeying Louis, and he can never push himself over that edge. It’s fucked up, unfair, and his balls have never been this blue.

It frustrates him in more than just the bedroom, too. It seems that there isn’t a limit to what frustrates Harry nowadays. When the cable cuts out, or his popcorn burns, or even when his sock isn’t perfectly aligned on his foot, he’s raising hell and throwing tantrums.

But when it comes to Louis, things are even worse. He can’t handle even the smoothest of conversations without staring at Louis’ hands or his lips. Louis can’t tell him to do something without Harry nearly fucking moaning. And the small bickering arguments they used to have that Harry loved now end in slammed doors and stomping around like a child. Harry is a loose cannon ready to explode.

And he would , if he just had Louis’ permission.

⇟⇟⇟

Just as Harry suspected, Louis isn’t one to let the water boil over the edge of the pot. He only lets the negativity go on for a week before he’s cornering Harry in the living room and sitting him down for a talk.

The air around them is silent save for the whirring of the fan in the corner of the room. Harry doesn’t want to be the first to speak, doesn’t want to address the elephant in the room because, well, he is the elephant. He’d rather sit quietly until he perishes than confront Louis with his feelings.

Eventually, the tension must get to Louis. “Harry,” he sighs. “I think we need to talk.”

“I…” Harry bites back his sarcastic response about them already talking, and smiles thinly. “Yeah, sure.”

“Are you alright?”

Harry jumps in surprise at the question. He expected the bluntness, but he’s completely thrown off by the sincerity and concern. “I’m okay, I guess. I got to work a bit late today, but I wasn’t yelled at or anything. Felt a bit off with - ”

“I don’t mean today.”

Harry knows what he means, knows that he’s asking about how thick the air has been with stress the past while. He doesn’t want to face the situation though. “Do you mean like mental health wise? I’ve been fine, I think.”

“I don’t know if you’re doing it on purpose,” Louis snaps, and Harry’s alarmed at the bite in his tone, “but stop jerking me around. You’ve been tetchy lately, and I want to know if it’s something you want to talk about.”

That’s just the thing, isn’t it? Harry doesn’t want to talk about it actually. That’s what he’s been dreading since the moment he and Louis bumped into each other in the hallway. Talking about it can only make things worse, at this point. Especially if Harry were to reveal the real reason behind his appearance in the hallway. It’s -

The whole thing is a mess waiting to happen. It’s full of lengthy discussions and admissions of feelings, and it’ll probably end in a restraining order because nobody signed up for a peeping tom as a roommate.

So Harry stays silent, doesn’t give in to the soothing sound of Louis’ voice, doesn’t want to be tricked into sharing just because Louis’ a kind person.

“We don’t have to, love.” The pet names, that ’s what got Harry into this mess in the first place, so he rolls his eyes. “I - Did you just roll your eyes at me ?” Harry’s eyes widen at Louis’ astonishment; he didn’t think he’d be caught. “I’m just trying to help Harry. I don’t fancy sharing a flat with an arsehole who can’t even look me in the eyes. Now either tell me what the fuck I did or pack up your shit.” Venom has begun to bleed into his words, but Harry doesn’t think it’s directed at him so much as the situation. “This is ridiculous.”

Harry cringes, his lips pursing in response. He doesn’t speak because he doesn’t want Louis to hate him. Though maybe his logic is flawed because at the rate they’re going now, being best mates again doesn’t look an item on the menu.

“Forget it.”

Louis shakes his head and gets up, pressing harshly on his knees as he huffs out in disappointment. He starts to walk away, and Harry’s stricken with the sudden fear of actually being kicked out. It’s this panic that he blames for yelling out -

“I thought you were a bottom!”

Louis freezes in his path, and Harry slaps a palm over his eyes in embarrassment. He doesn’t want to see Louis’ face, doesn’t want to know what look comes alongside his “ Excuse me?

“I thought you were, like.” He takes in a deep breath to prepare himself and can hear it skip shallowly in his chest. There’s no turning back now, and that’s almost scarier than the threat of eviction. “You’re probably going to kick me out anyway, so I don’t - ”

“You thought I was a bottom?” Louis’ voice squeaks out, sharp and confused. “ That’s why you’ve been walking about like somebody pissed in your frosties? What the fuck is that?”

That isn’t why.”

“Then what is it?” Louis asks. Harry mumbles to himself in response, knows that he has to explain himself, but letting Louis hear it is too humiliating to face. Louis doesn’t hear though, and doesn’t seem to want to put up with Harry’s antics today. “Speak up,” he orders.

I’m a bottom.”

Louis huffs out a laugh. “I know.”

“What does that mean?”

He ignores Harry’s narrowed eyes and the pout placed on his bitten lips. “Don’t change the subject. What does this have to do with you avoiding me?”

Harry huffs and glares at the table top. Louis stands there waiting, and Harry thinks momentarily about making a run for it. He could probably get halfway down the stairs before Louis could catch up -

That’s more trouble than it’s worth though, and if Louis isn’t running, he’s probably willing to hear Harry out, so Harry should just bite the bullet and be honest.

“I want to go out with you but I thought we were incompatible, so that’s why I said no when you - that night we kissed.” He confesses, and as Louis stays quiet, he continues, “But recently I’ve… seen the major fucking error of my ways.”  

“You’re being cryptic. Just say what you want to say.”

To be fair, Harry doesn’t want to say it, but he also doesn’t want to be kicked out, so he nods and clarifies. “I just, I told you - that night when you kissed me, I told you I didn’t think we’d work together, but that was because I thought you were kind of twinky - ”

Twinky !”

“I didn’t think we could give each other what we needed in the bedroom, so I turned you down.”

Louis doesn’t move, doesn’t make his way out the door or closer to Harry - everything is at a standstill. “And what changed?”

“Just - ” he avoids eye contact, not sure if he can look at anything other than his own shaking hands and he further explains himself. “Just that I’ve seen that I was misjudging you. And - and when you brought that lad home, he was - like,” Harry takes in a deep breath and chooses his words carefully. He’s not ready to admit everything to Louis, not trying not to give himself away so soon. “He wasn’t a top. So, I figured - ”

Harry doesn’t finish his thought because Louis walks over and kisses him. It’s innocent, nice, nothing like their first kiss, but it’s still sweet and wonderful, and Harry thinks there’s a lot of feeling stored in it.  

“I like you too, you idiot,” Louis says, and Harry bites his lip. “But this… this internalizing shit, it’s not going to do.” Harry nods, not wanting to speak until he’s certain Louis’ done. “I don’t want you bottling things up and holding them in. If we’re in this, we’re going in together, and I’d like for you to be honest about whatever you’re feeling so we don’t get to this point. I’m a talker, I like to talk things out, so I need you to be open with me.”

Harry blushes about Louis being a talker because he knows - he knows - that Louis certainly does love to talk, and that’s part of the reason they’re where they are now.

“I can do that.”

That night they don’t sleep together - just talk. But Harry can’t find it in himself to be disappointed, not when he has Louis laughing at his jokes, not when he’s wrapped in a cloud of pure elation at Louis’ smile, feeling like a giant weight has been lifted off his shoulders.

⇟⇟⇟

Their first date comes only a short week after their first kiss. It’d have been much sooner, but they couldn’t get their schedules to line up until Tuesday night. They do manage to find time, and they go out to dinner, Harry insisting on paying, going so far as to force the bill out of Louis’ hand. They have a great time, and the entire ride home is full of laughter and smiles, and Harry’s not sure anything could make the night better.

But then they get home and the mood changes completely.

They’re hardly even through the front door before Louis’ shoving Harry against it, not even wincing at the slam of the wood closing. Louis’ lips angle in on Harry’s and then they’re kissing, against the front door of their shared flat, and Harry’s in heaven.

They’ve kissed before, but not like this, not with intention . Before, it was all innocent, not leading anywhere else, but now there’s heat behind it, and Harry loses himself.

The stubble on Louis’ cheeks rubs harshly against Harry’s bare skin, but there’s not even an inch of him that wants to complain. The sharp stings of it, the small scratches, are sure to be annoying in the morning, but for now it just makes everything feel all the more real.

“You want to take this to the bedroom, baby?” Louis asks between kisses, pulling away to inquire about moving this further.

Harry nods eagerly, but makes no move to speak or head towards Louis’ room. He only wants to keep kissing Louis against the solid wood of the door. Sure, hitting the other bases is something Harry wants to do - and soon - but for right now, just feeling Louis’ body against his own is a home run.

Louis has other plans, though, and pulls Harry off of the door and down the hallway. They pass Harry’s room completely, which is probably for the best. All Harry would be able to do is think about the other side of the wall.

Harry’s first steps into Louis’ room are truly his first steps into the room. It hasn’t hit him until just now, but he’s truly never been in the space before. It’s messy - something that absolutely does not surprise him - but it’s messy in the way that says it’s lived in and cared for, which is lovely.

But that doesn’t stop Harry from tripping over a pair of Vans.

Louis squawks in surprise, but Harry can’t help himself from laughing as he’s sprawled out on the floor. Louis just looks down on him with a fond smile, and suddenly the air gets thinner around them.

“C’mon, love.” Louis reaches down and help Harry to his feet, but it doesn’t last because as soon as they’re across the room, he’s planting a palm in middle of Harry’s chest and pushing him onto the bed.

On his way down, Harry can’t help but thank whatever deity is looking down on him for not letting him fuck everything up. Things so easily could have gone downhill, but they didn’t, and now Harry’s biggest dream is about to come true.

He scoots up the bed until he’s at the head of it, resting back on his elbows. He watches Louis climb onto the mattress, crawling forward slowly on his knees. Harry bites his lip to try and contain his smile, but it doesn’t really work, and Louis’ laughing by the time captures Harry’s lips in his own, his tongue coming in with a gentle slide.

In almost no time at all, Louis’ clever fingers come up to undo the buttons on Harry’s shirt, and the two chuckle through their kisses at the difficulty that comes with untucking the fabric from his belted trousers. They get the shirt off, but Harry doesn’t see what happens to it because he’s too focused on the way Louis’ hand free hand moves to palm at Harry’s clothed cock.

“F- fuck ,” Harry gasps wetly, the slide of the denim rough against his skin, but the pressure feels too good for him to complain.

Louis hums, watching his hand where it rubs consistently against the fly of Harry’s jeans. “That feel good baby?” Louis asks, and Harry has to physically stop his eyes from rolling into the back of his head. He’d forgotten just how hot Louis’ voice is when he’s turned on.

It takes a lot of effort for Harry to grab Louis’ wrist and pull his touch away from Harry. “Lou,” he protests weakly. “We should talk first.”

“Is everything alright?” Louis pulls himself out of Harry’s grip slowly, locking eyes with Harry. He looks so genuinely concerned and confused, and Harry almost doesn’t want to ruin their moment, but he knows he has to, knows he has to be honest with Louis before they go any further.

“Everything is great, really great.” Louis smirks, and Harry wishes he could see that cocky, happy expression on Louis’ face for the rest of his life, but he know it has to end. “But I have to tell you something.”

“Of course. What is it?”

“I…” he trails off. “I can - The walls are thin.”

Louis laughs, and Harry immediately knows his point didn’t get across. “Yeah? I’m not sure we can do much about the structure, love. The building is already, well, built.”

“No, Lou, it’s that they’re really thin,” He clarifies. “You can hear through them.”

Louis looks confused but his smiles isn’t diminishing. “Well I’m sure my flatmate won’t mind what’s going on in here.”

“Right, because your flatmate can hear what’s going on in here.”

“Right, because he’s in here.”

Louis .”  

Louis laughs loudly. “Harry, love, I really don’t know where you’re going with this.”

Harry huffs, almost aggravated that Louis couldn’t just read between the lines so Harry doesn’t have to actually admit that, well, “I could hear you when you brought boys home.”

Louis doesn’t immediately react, his face passive, blank, and adorably confused. Harry can see the moment his words hit, the way Louis’ jaw drops, almost looking insulted, before his eyes narrow, a chillingly inquisitive look taking over his face.

“That night in the hall - ” Harry’s nodding his head before Louis finishes his question, wishing more than anything he weren’t shirtless right now. “You could hear that?”

“Louis, let me explain,” Harry rushes to say, leaning forward and grabbing Louis’ forearms, feeling nothing but relief when he doesn’t pull away. “I didn’t mean to listen - well, the first time I didn’t - ”

“The first time?!”

Harry bites his tongue briefly, a slight punishment for explaining this so poorly. “Yes, the first time. It happened more than once.” If Louis’ hurt, his face doesn’t show it, if he’s angry, he doesn’t show it. All he’s showing is confusion, and Harry grasps at straws thinking of what to say to make this even an inch better. “I, um, I was in bed the first time it happened, and I heard, and I - ”

Harry’s voice is wavering, shaking as he tries to find his footing again. He knows how bad it sounds, how creepy and perverse it was for him to listen in, but in the moment it felt so right .

“I got off,” Harry admits. “I heard your voice, and I got off to it.”

The surprise is evident on Louis’ face at Harry’s admission and Harry cringes, waiting for the violent reaction.

It doesn’t come. Louis’ eyebrows narrow and Harry braces himself, but then Louis says, in a honey-coated voice, “Well, we can’t have that, can we baby?”

And Harry’s brain explodes.

“What - ”

“Oh no, baby,” Louis cuts him off. “You’ve had your chance to talk and now it’s mine.” His hand comes down heavily on Harry’s shoulder and pushes him flat onto his back.

There are a lot of things that’ve surprised Harry - when his mum announced her engagement, when he got accepted into uni, when Liam told him he had to move out - but his reaction has never been to moan. Now, though… now Harry’s turned on. He expected to be yelled at, to be thrown out of the room, at the very least he expected to be asked ‘why?’ but now that Louis’ closing in on him, he can’t say he’s upset with the outcome.

Louis lies down beside Harry, still fully clothed, and fits his face into Harry’s neck, so his soft breaths blow gently across his skin. Louis’ fingers dance gently across the curve of his own hip, and Harry eagerly awaits for them to make contact on his skin.

Only, that never happens. Louis stays close enough for Harry to feel his body heat, but he never makes contact.

“Lou - ”

“What’d I say?” Louis asks. “You’ve talked enough. I think it’s time you stayed quiet.” Harry moans gently into the air, and Louis chuckles gently into his neck. “Why don’t you go ahead and get undressed?”

The sentence isn’t even finished before Harry’s arching his lower body off the bed to pull his trousers down. His belt is still fastened, but he doesn’t have the patience to undo it, not with Louis chuckling in his ear.

It takes effort for Harry to get the overly-tight waistband down his hips and thighs, but soon they’re sliding off his body, taking Harry’s pants with them. As he kicks the fabric off his feet, it works to push his body closer to Louis’ so the sides of his thighs are touching the front of Louis’.

“Now, baby,” Louis croons. “I want you to touch yourself for me, just like you did on the other side of that wall.”

Harry’s eyes flicker over to where Louis’ wall sits on the other side of the bed, and he’s almost haunted by the fact that there were other people in this position, other men , and that Louis did the same thing he’s doing now, but with other people.

Although, that’s not what making his stomach twist. It’s the idea that while Louis was with those other men, Harry was listening, was touching himself to the thought of being here, on Louis’ bed, getting told to touch himself. Now that he is here, that his fantasy is coming alive, he’s harder than ever.

He reaches down his body, taking his time at first, enjoying the chills he gets when Louis’ harsh breath hit his neck. His fingers skate delicately down his chest, but once they get to his ribs, all patience disappears, and his hand runs the rest of the way, not hesitating to wrap itself around his cock.

His own moan drowns out what Louis says, so he’s surprised when he flicks his thumb against the head and Louis grips his wrist. “I thought I said to go slow?”

“I didn’t - ”

“No excuses, baby,” Louis cuts him off, and Harry sighs into the air. “Just go slow, yeah?” Harry nods and Louis releases his wrist - though Harry wishes he wouldn’t have.

This time, instead of going fully into it, Harry eases his hand into the motions, taking his time to get himself off, slowly dragging down to the base and raising it back up, only to repeat. He’s done it like this a million times, and he’d say it’s basic and boring, only it doesn’t feel that way with Louis’ airy voice praising him as he does so.

When he rubs his thumb against his head to collect some of the precum pooling there, he looks over to check that it’s alright with Louis, but the other man doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, so Harry does it again.

And again.

And -

“Don’t be greedy,” Louis voice cuts through the air, sharp.

With a huff, Harry gets back into it, softly moaning when his wrist twists the right way, or when he manages to reach his fingertips down to cup his balls or when -

Or when Louis reaches out and pinches one of Harry’s nipple in between his fingers.

The room is heating up, and Harry’s panting into the already humid air, making everything feel more intense than it normally would be. There’s sweat beading at the small of his back, and when he jerks up into his own fist, it makes the sheets slide and bunch at his back. It’s only a slight discomfort, but it makes everything feel more .

“You’re doing so well baby,” Louis says into Harry’s collar, and it serves to rile the boy up.

Please .”

Instead of admonishing Harry for talking, Louis only cooes. “Alright, love. Go ahead.” Harry’s not absolutely certain what Louis’ speaking of when he tells him to go ahead, but he doesn’t protest when Harry’s hips jump into his fist. “That’s right, fuck yourself for me.”

“Sh- shit .”

Harry jerks his hand harshly down to the base, the slide much easier than it was earlier with the way he’s leaking, so close to the edge that his body’s starting to get desperate in anticipation. His hand strips his cock, his grip unforgiving as he chases his own relief. He’s almost there, teetering on the edge of something wonderful.

As he’s working himself over, Louis’ doing the same on Harry’s chest, his pace much slower, leisurely in comparison to Harry’s hurried hands. It’s an odd juxtaposition, but Harry can’t say he’s disappointed when Louis manages to pull a nipple at the same time Harry presses his thumb into his frenulum, making him gasp wordlessly.

He’s moments away from cumming, and he’s not sure what’s keeping him. His hands work hard, his hips jump higher, but he doesn’t cum. He’s unsure of what he’s waiting for. At least until -

“You close, baby?” Louis voice has a desperate edge to it, that almost makes Harry want to laugh. He doesn’t even want to know what his own voice would sound like at this point. “Why don’t you cum for me?”

It isn’t the fact that Louis gives him permission that pushes him over the edge, but that he says “for me” because that’s what this is, for him.

Harry cums with a muted cry into his own hand, feeling the immediate exhaustion hit. But just like that first night of listening in on Louis, the promise of something good keeps him waiting for more.

The heat from beside him disappears as Louis rolls over. There’re a few small crashes and then Louis rolls back next to Harry, victoriously welding a tube of what must be lube with a ridiculously proud grin on his face.

Harry’s weak.

“You think you have another in you, babe?” Louis asks, and Harry nods his head in response. Louis laughs, “You can talk now, love.”

Harry gasps in a breath of air to speak, but instead starts coughing, his hand - the one not covered in his own spunk - coming up to stop the hacking.

When he manages to calm down, Louis giggling next to him. Harry can’t help but smile as well. “Thanks for the help,” he rasps, not sure if the poor quality of his voice is from the coughing or his previous orgasm. “So glad you were there.”

“Sorry love.” Louis sounds anything but apologetic, but Harry can’t find it in him to mind. “C’mere.” He grabs Harry’s neck, pulling him into a kiss, and for all that Harry’s throat is sore, he believes nothing soothes it more than Louis’ tongue.

Louis pulls away too soon, though Harry can’t say he’s upset when Louis pops the cap on the lube and drizzles some onto two of his fingers. He doesn’t warm it, something Harry’s going to say something about… sometime. Not now because even though it’s chilly, Louis finger rubbing the slick onto his hole is much better than nothing at all.

The first finger slides in easily enough, only a slight bit of resistance as Louis opens Harry up. There’s a sharp intake of breath upon its entry, but Harry doesn’t know if it was from him or Louis. It doesn’t matter, he tells himself, not when the second finger is making its way carefully aside next to the first.

Louis stretches them apart, hissing between his teeth as he watches them. “You’re so tight.”

“You’re so cheesy,” Harry mocks him in a pinched voice. Louis retaliates by putting in a third finger without any warning, and the surprise hits Harry more than the slight pain of it, and he’s crying out.

Louis works his fingers in and partly-out of Harry, stretching them at infrequent intervals to keep Harry on his toes. It feels magical, and sooner than Harry would’ve thought possible, he can feel his cock filling up again. Not quickly, and not enough to hurt just yet, but enough so that Louis pulls his hand away, finding it an appropriate time to get to the fun part.

He grabs a condom - out of fucking nowhere , but Harry’s too into the moment to question it - and slowly rolls it onto himself. He looks Harry over, his eyes spending a moment too long looking at his cock before he’s grinning at Harry’s face. “How do you want it, babe?”

“I could go hands and knees?” Harry offers. “That might make things easier.” Louis agrees, so he withdraws his fingers and they work to turn Harry over, having him rested on his elbows and knees. He can feel Louis weight leaning against his bottom half, and it’s hot , and Harry’s so turned on he can hardly breathe.

Behind him, Louis is humming quietly as he lubes himself up, and the tune sounds familiar. Harry tries to hum in his own head to catch what the song is, but then Louis’ voice raises higher and he’s singing, “ You and me baby ain’t nothin but mammals - ”

“Shut up ,” Harry can’t help but laugh, and he can hear Louis echo the sound before lining his cock up to Harry’s hole.

It’s so silly, but Harry’s elated that even as they’re about to fuck, even as Louis is slowly sliding his length into Harry, they can still have a laugh. In a few years, if anyone were to ask when he knew Louis was “the one,” he’d tell them about this moment.

Well, maybe not in crude terms. And maybe he’ll say that they made love. He’s not sure exactly how he’ll phrase it, but he’ll definitely leave out the bruising grip Louis has on his hips, and the unrelenting stretch as his cock fucks into Harry with concentrated thrusts.

That’s just for him and Louis.

When Louis bottoms out, Harry sobs out in relief, the pressure of Louis’ cock filling him to the brim. Louis’ hand reaches out and pets gently at his lower back, and Harry’s thankful for the contact to keep him grounded, even if it actually does nothing to ease the slight pain that no amount of prep could’ve prevented.

He adjusts easily, though he’s not certain how Louis has such control over himself to stay so still as Harry adapts to the burn.

Eventually, the pain ebbs away, and Harry starts to seek out the good part. Of course being full, feeling stretched, having Louis inside of him, it all feels wonderful, but he knows it can get better, he wants to feel the same shade of desperate he did early, the same hunger he did when he was sitting on the other side of the wall.

He wants to feel it.

Harry’s hips begin to work slowly, gently pulling forward, easing Louis’ cock out of him halfway and then taking it all back in, a slow effort to find the right angle to really make things interesting.

It doesn’t take long for Louis to catch onto what Harry’s doing and start to aide in his search. With each time Louis bottoms out, his hands slant Harry’s waist to work at a new angle.

That’s not to say it doesn’t already feel amazing. They slow push and pulls gradually get faster until Harry’s all but slamming himself against Louis groin, sweating in his effort. Even if they never manage to find what they’re looking for, Harry won’t be disappointed.

They keep up the tandem work, Louis managing to hold the steady pace while making subtle changes to the angle of his thrusts. It’s getting tiresome, and Harry’s not sure he can get up his end until -

Harry freezes up suddenly, abandoning his movement in favor of a shocked gasp. His hands shoot out to grip the sheets so hard that one edge completely flies off the mattress. He ignores it, can’t find the time to do anything about it in between throwing himself backwards and yelling “ There, There!

Louis keeps at it, his thrust unforgiving and the angle something out of a fairytale. The wet slap of their skin is covered by Harry’s babbling of “yes yes yes” and “more more more”.

It doesn’t take long, can’t take any longer with the euphoric glide of Louis’ cock against Harry’s prostate and the resulting squeeze of his arse around said cock, before Louis is cumming, filling up the condom inside of Harry, and falling on top of his back.

Harry isn’t finished - close, but still hard as rock underneath Louis. He resumes his movement on Louis’ spent cock until Louis hisses and guides himself out of Harry hole. Harry can hear him discarding the condom and groans helplessly into the bed.

When Louis returns to the bed, he doesn’t give a warning before he flips Harry onto his back and takes him into his mouth. Harry cries out in surprise, his hips jumping and his hand grasping onto Louis by the wisps of hair at the back of his neck.

Louis takes him deep, probably just to show Harry he can, but then retreats up and curls his tongue over the head, dipping to trace the edges of Harry’s foreskin before taking the entire length in his mouth again. Harry’s trembling with the effort it takes not to thrust blindly into the wet heat of Louis’ mouth. His head is thrown back, and he’s fisting strands of Louis’ hair in his grip.

Louis brings one of his hands up to cup Harry’s hip, coaxing them up in a thrust. “ Fuck, ” Harry groans. He begins to move, cock sliding in and out of Louis’ mouth, the tip of it hitting the back of his throat with every thrust.  

It’s not even two minutes in before Louis’ mouth sends him overboard and he’s yelling out with his second orgasm of the night. Louis stays where he is, swallowing every bit of what Harry gives him, and if that isn’t the hottest thing Harry’s ever felt…

Louis pulls off of him with a smack and then leans forward to kiss Harry, his tongue making its way into his mouth with - fuck - with Harry’s cum still in his mouth, pushing into Harry’s and -

Okay, that’s the hottest thing Harry’s ever felt.

Louis falls down next to Harry with a sigh and Harry swallows, hoping more than anything it isn’t enough to get him hard again, because as much as he knows he’s too exhausted to do it again - Louis just turns him on in the worst of ways.

“I hope the neighbors are out,” Louis comments casually as they’re catching their breath. “You’re awfully loud.” Despite his exhaustion, Harry finds the energy to giggle - if only to see the delight on Louis’ face.

⇟⇟⇟

They’ve been officially dating for a few weeks when they agree that it’s best for Harry to move into Louis’ room. He already spends most nights there anyway, so moving his clothing into the room was a no-brainer, and eventually, the idea that they should just merge rooms completely started sounding great.

It’s not that hard of a job - not as hard as moving buildings, at least -  but they still recruit Liam to help out. Louis says it’s for the heavier lifting, but Harry thinks his two friends are slowly starting to grow on each other. The thinly-veiled insults are few and far between, nowadays.

They’ve gotten most of Harry’s belongings out of the room, aside from the bed and a couple boxes from the closet, when Liam looks around the bare space and hums appreciatively. “Have you thought of renting that room out?” he asks. “You could put a post on a more reliable site than the small ads this time. I think going through a letting agency could get you even more money on the side.”

Louis nods along, steeping beside Liam and following his gaze. “That’s not a bad idea, actually.” He turns towards Harry, mouth quirked up in a semi-smile. “What do you say, love? We can go to clubs and pubs and movies more often.”

“I don’t think that’s a great idea,” Harry tells him honestly, trying to keep his laugh in at the absurd idea.

“It’d be nice to have that extra bit of money each month,” Louis supplies, and Harry can only blink in response, certain he didn’t just hear that properly and Louis isn’t actually considering renting the room out.

Liam’s quick to step in defense, “Your budget wouldn’t be so tight.”

“I could get more biscuits each month!”

Both Liam and Louis look excited at the idea, while Harry stands by the window, appalled that this is a conversation that’s happening right now. His mouth can’t keep up with his brain, and he can’t seem to vocalize his frustrations.

“I’ll start drafting up - ”

Louis .”

Louis slightly jumps, hardly noticeable but still a jump, at Harry’s tone. “Harry, love, are you really not alright with it?”

“I know you want your space now, mate,” Liam tries. He’s got a hand lightly placed on Louis’ shoulder, and Harry almost chuckles at how quickly things got serious from what Harry genuinely assumed was a joke earlier. “But after the honeymoon phase is over, you may enjoy having a third party around.”

“We could at least interview some people. See what we think?” Louis nods along with his words, mouth twitching away from a frown. Harry sighs.

“Louis…” Harry works his way around the phrasing, not wanting the words to come out too crass or explicit in front of Liam. “The walls are very thin.”

“So?”

Harry ignores Liam’s confusion and focuses on the blank look Louis’ got on his face, his eyes clear as he thinks until suddenly they widen and Harry knows he understands. “Yeah, you know what? I think we’re good on our own.”

“Are you - ”

“Drop it, Liam,” Louis bites, and Harry actually does laugh out loud at that. “Harry doesn’t want another flatmate. Respect him, will you?”

Liam quirks his brow as Louis glares, Harry can’t stop laughing, and everything is wonderful.