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Grief is Mine

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"May the gods bring you the reward you deserve, if there are any gods who have regard for goodness, if there is any justice in the world, if their minds have any sense of right. " - Virgil, The Aeneid.

 

 

 

That night, Harry returned to Louis’ house, freshly showered and in his own clothes, looking fresh and bright eyed. He was lovely and charming, saying all the right things to Jay and Dan, teasing the twins lightly and asking them about school and their friends. He even got Lottie to engage in conversation for a solid fifteen minutes, and Louis thought by the end of it Lottie may have had a small affliction for Harry. Louis couldn’t really hold it against her.

At some point after dinner, they all ended up on the couch, the twins picking out a movie, The Vow, to put on. Harry sat down on the couch tentatively, ensuring there were at least thirty centimetres between him and Louis. Louis rolled his eyes at this, tugging on Harry’s waist till Harry was leg to leg with Louis, hip to hip, side to side.

“They don’t mind.” Louis whispered to him when Harry threw him a slightly panicked glance. To prove his point, Louis pressed a soft kiss to the side of Harry’s head. Lottie barely even glanced their way, and the twins were completely wrapped up in the movie. A soft smile fell over Harry’s lips.

The movie was almost halfway through and Louis’ eyes were growing heavy, he had to keep blinking them awake, when his phone vibrated in his pocket. He wiggled a hand into his pocket, careful not to dislodge Harry, whose head was resting on his shoulder. He wasn’t sure if Harry was asleep or not, his face angled so Louis couldn’t see it. There was a text from Niall on his screen.

Having some of the gang round tomorrow night. You down for it?

Louis considered for a moment, and then messaged back.

Sure. What time?

Bout eight. Bring Harry too, yeah?

Louis smiled at the response from Niall, it made him happy to see how quickly his friends wanted to include Harry.

Yeah, I’ll ask him. See you then.

He placed his phone back in his pocket and pressed his face into Harry’s curls, just for a moment. Lottie caught the movement, and gave him a soft smile, something knowing in her eyes. Louis just returned the smile.

It was moments like this when it was so easy to forget what a life spent with Harry would entail. It was these moments, when Louis was able to trick himself into believing that it would all be okay, that they would be able to have a life that perfectly consisted of this, of movie nights and family dinners and cuddles on the couch. It was so easy to pretend that Harry’s grief would be a thing of the past, in a future with Louis. That they would be the barriers between each other’s sadness. But that wasn’t how life worked. Neither of them could keep the other safe.

With these sobering thoughts, Louis let his eyes fall shut just slightly, and he was soon dozing lightly as the movie continued to play.

 

When the movie finished, Louis woke to Phoebe shaking Louis’ shoulder. “Mum told me to wake you. She says Harry has to go home.”

Louis nodded blearily, glancing down to Harry, who had shifted as they slept till his face was buried against Louis’ chest.

“Okay. Thanks Phoebs.” Louis said slowly, voice sleepy. He carded a hand softly through Harry’s hair. “Haz. Hazza love, wake up. Mum wants you to go home.”

Harry shifted and smiled up at him, happy even in his waking. “Okay.” He stood up from the couch, and Louis went to follow him, stumbling slightly when he realised his left leg had gone a little numb from how they’d been sitting.

Louis lead Harry out of the tv room and through the living room, where Jay and Dan were both sat, each with a book in hand.

“Thank you for having me.” Harry said politely when Louis’ parents looked up at them entering.

“Anytime, Harry, lovely to meet you.” Jay answered, and Dan nodded his agreement.

“You too. Goodnight.” Harry said, and Louis’ parents echoed it back as Harry and Louis left the room to reach the front door. It was a very brief goodbye on the front step of their house, Louis pulling Harry into a soft hug, and Harry gave him a smile before Louis turned and shut the door, making his way quickly back into the house. His mum and Dan wanted to speak to him, and he must have spent twenty minutes in the front room, bouncing his knee, eager to get up to his room. When he could finally plead exhaustion and leave, he booked it up the staircase.

 

When Louis reached his room there was a winged Harry sitting in the centre of Louis’ bed, a cheeky smile across his face.

“We both have a death wish.” Louis uttered, but he didn’t tell Harry to go, said nothing else except to pull Harry forward and up from the bed, against him, wrapping his arms over Harry’s shoulders. There was a moment of warmth, of safety, as they held each other. “Bed?”

Harry nodded, shuffled them backwards until Harry dropped back down onto Louis’ mattress and Louis followed. Not wanting to get up again, Louis wiggled out of his jeans on the bed, and tossed his shirt across the room, before pulling the covers up over him in just his jocks. Harry didn’t do the same, was too busy staring at Louis.

“What?” Louis asked, tone curious “Why are you looking at me like that?”

Harry shook his head lightly, letting out a soft puff of air. He reached out a hand, tentative and gentle, as though Louis hadn’t spent most of last night running his hands over Harry’s skin, and pressed his palm to Louis’ side. “I just. I haven’t seen you like this before. I mean, without a shirt.” Harry cleared up. His voice sounded reverent, as though he was looking at a sculpture or an art piece, and not a soft Louis lying flat on a single bed, in blue and white striped jocks. “You’re like, really beautiful.” He murmured. Louis shivered underneath Harry’s touch. It seemed like this was all they ever did, run their hands over each other, too scared to take it a step further, too desperate for contact to keep their hands to themselves.

“You can-” Louis began, felt breathless in his eagerness. “You can do- whatever you want, you can do it.” Louis said, his words confused, pressed together in how overwhelmed he was by Harry, how overwhelmed he always was by Harry. He knew what he was saying though, god, did he know what he was saying. It was a lot, to hand something like that over to Harry. But Louis couldn’t help it, he wanted to. Wanted everything with Harry.

Harry levelled him with an uncertain look though, halfway between disbelief and eagerness. “Are you- you’re sure? What about your parents?” He murmured. Harry wet his lips as he spoke, a pink tongue peeking out from between red lips. Louis nearly died on the spot. The question faltered him slightly.

But Louis knew his mum wouldn’t come up after having said goodnight to him, not after they’d seen Harry walk out the front door. She wouldn’t expect that Harry had somehow got back into the room. The twins would be fast asleep by now, and if Lottie was still awake, she would have headphones in, would be watching something or other on her laptop. His parents’ room was downstairs. If anyone even heard anything at all, they would probably just assume it was Louis getting off on his own. Which, okay, that was going to be very, very embarrassing. But it would be nowhere near as bad as his parents figuring out it was actually Harry here with him.

“We’ll be quiet. They won’t come up.” Louis said, voice a lot surer now he had worked out the likelihood of any interruptions. On a whim though, Louis stood up and clambered over Harry, extremely ungracefully, to drag his desk chair up against the door. It wasn’t really a fool proof option, but it made Louis feel slightly better. When Louis turned around to check Harry’s approval though, he realised Harry wasn’t really paying attention to what Louis had just done.

“Please stop staring at my bum.” Louis said as he turned back round. Harry blushed a delightful shade of pink, but he didn’t deny it.

“Please hurry up and come back here, right this second. I would like to get my hands on said bum.” Harry instructed, and, well. Who was Louis to deny a request like that? He threw himself onto the bed, landing with a thump on top of Harry. Harry let out a heavy huff at the added weight, but when Louis shifted to straddle Harry, Harry’s face went from fond to extremely serious in a split second. His hands went to grip Louis’ hips automatically. “Jesus, Lou.” He breathed out, the end catching on a light moan. Louis wiggled his hips slightly, knowing his bum was positioned directly over Harry’s crotch.

“We doing this with the lights on or off?” Louis asked, trailing his hands down Harry’s chest. “Actually, scratch that. My first question is why the hell are you still clothed?” He pinched at the fabric of Harry’s t-shirt, tugging at the offending item. “Get it off!” He instructed. Harry shifted up slightly on the bed so he could wiggle out of the t-shirt, which in turn uprooted Louis’ position straddled across Harry, sending him tipping backwards. Before he could fall at all though, Harry’s hands were catching him at the base of his spine, hands just low enough they’re brushing Louis’ bum.

Louis giggled, laughing lightly as he pressed his palms into Harry’s now bare chest to right himself. “Got a good grip there, Styles.” He murmured. Harry grinned cheekily at him, letting his hands drop lower.

“Oh, I know I do.” Harry said, wiggling his eyebrows. Louis could tell by the set of his mouth Harry was about to make another cheeky comment, and Louis couldn’t have that. Wasn’t about to let Harry de-rail him. As Harry opened his mouth to finish his next sentence, Louis circled his hips, grinding down against Harry. “I- sweet Jesus, Lou. God, do that again.” Harry said, as his head dropped back against the pillows. Louis circled his hips again, and then he tipped himself forward, reaching for the switch on the wall to turn the light off. The action brought him closer to Harry, and inadvertently led to Louis grinding down on Harry with some degree of purpose. Harry let out a soft sigh that was on the brink of a moan.

Louis could feel Harry was interested, felt the hard press of him against his bum. Louis was extremely interested himself. From his new position parallel to Harry’s chest, Louis continued to grind slowly, the friction now crotch to crotch.

“You’re um- really pretty.” Louis murmured, voice breathy and high as he worked his hips in lazy, slow circles. Harry had begun to press kisses to Louis’ shoulders when he said that, and Harry let out a quiet laugh.

“You can hardly see me. It’s dark.” Harry teased. Louis thought, briefly, about how wonderful Harry was, that he could be hard and grinding against Louis, and still take the opportunity to tease him.

“Shut up. I was being romantic, and you’re fucking it up.” Louis responded, hissing quietly in a faux threatening tone. “Plus, there’s some things I just know.” He ground his hips down with more purpose this time, and watched, delighted, as Harry’s jaw dropped a little, taking in a harsh intake of breath.

“Wanna know something I just know?”

“What’s that?” Louis said, trailing his fingers over Harry’s biceps, the soft skin barely visible in the dark.

“I need these jeans off, now.” Harry said, and Louis giggled at that, rolling straight off Harry and shifting so he could reach for the zip on Harry’s pants, all too happy to oblige.

It was a joint effort to wriggle them off, and possibly one of the least sexy actions ever, but on Harry, for some reason, it worked. If anything, the shifting of Harry’s hips as he tried to get his jeans off without standing up turned Louis on more. His dorky, beautiful boy. All his.

As soon as the jeans were off, Harry was shifting so he was on top of Louis, biting harshly at Louis’ neck, marking it up. Louis should probably care, would definitely care in the morning. But there was something possessive about it, and it made Louis feel all kinds of things, so he let Harry do it. He trailed his hands down over Harry’s spine, skimming over the dark blue fabric of his jocks. He smoothed his hands over Harry’s bum, soft and perfect, and he squeezed lightly, causing Harry to let out a puff of air against Louis’ collarbone.

Louis was throbbing in his underwear by this point, needing friction or Harry or both. Harry had slotted one leg in between Louis’, and Louis could feel him pressed against his hip. He wanted to touch so badly.

“H, can I- wanna feel you.” Louis murmured, trying to be eloquent and failing miserably. Harry pulled his mouth away with a wet suck, the air of his breath brushing over Louis’ saliva-slicked skin.

“Yeah, yeah Lou. Whatever you want.” Harry murmured, and Louis took the invitation, sneaking a hand between the two of them, brushing against the waistband of Harry’s jocks before dipping his hand inside. Harry was hot and heavy in his hand, and Louis gave the base of his cock a gentle squeeze, revelling in the feel of it.

“Jesus, H. You’ve been holding out on me.” He said, as he tried to shift under Harry to get a better angle for his hand. Harry let out a heavy sigh at the touch, his body going rigid over Louis’ before he rolled sideways, shifting away from Louis’ touch to lay on his side next to Louis, facing him. For a moment, Louis assumed that was Harry calling it quits, and that they were simply going to curl up and go to sleep now. But then Harry was catching his fingertips against the waistband of that blue material and tugging it down, down. The darkness may have impaired his vision a little, but Louis could still see the heavy line of Harry’s cock as it rested against his tummy, and Louis had to palm himself slightly at the sight, digging the heel of his hand against his own crotch. “Fuck, Haz.” He murmured, making eye contact with Harry as he slipped his tongue out to wet his pink lips.

As if on autopilot, Louis reached out, wrapping a hand round Harry’s cock, not even trying to resist the urge. He stroked him twice, slow and steady, glad that he could mask the shaking of his hand. Harry was fully hard, and Louis could feel beads of pre-come at his tip. Harry blinked up at him as he did, eyes glassy and mouth dropped open slightly.

“Have you- um. Have you got lube or something?” Harry asked, voice rough and uneven as Louis continued to stroke him slowly. He paused his movements as soon as Harry said that, realising how rough the touch of his hand would feel on Harry’s skin.

“Fuck. Sorry- I don’t- I haven’t got any. Fuck.” Louis said, and Harry reached a hand up to Louis’ mouth quickly to hush his words.

“Quiet, remember?” Harry said. He seemed nonplussed Louis didn’t have anything, and Louis was confused for a moment until Harry reached down and tugged at Louis’ hand, bringing it up to his lips. The motion clicked, and Louis understood as he felt the drag of Harry’s spit-slicked tongue against Louis’ palm. The sensation made his cock twitch, and Louis’ jaw dropped slightly as he watched Harry lick over his hand. When Harry pulled away, he gave Louis a cheeky smile. Louis could hardly process it.

Instead, he brought his hand back down to Harry’s cock, stroking faster now, the ease of his slick hand drawing quiet moans from Harry as his head lulled against the pillow.

“Lou- let me- I need to-“ Harry murmured, one of his hands drifting to stroke across Louis’ hips. Louis shifted closer, so they were almost chest to chest, leaving just enough room for both their hands to slot in between them. When Harry’s hand tugged down on Louis’ jocks and wrapped around his cock, Louis’ movements faltered, a moan that was definitely too loud escaping him. “Shh. Don’t wanna get caught.” Harry murmured. Louis was leaking enough that his pre-come helped the slide of Harry’s hand, no need for anything else, and Harry tugged at Louis with short, sharp movements.

Louis had his teeth biting harshly into the pink of his lip as Harry did so, his hips bucking involuntarily every few strokes. He soon realised he’d let his own hand go lax on Harry’s cock, and he started stroking him again, trying to time his movements with Harry’s.

The movements were a lot, and Louis could feel the tug in his stomach, the heat collecting there. “Haz- I’m not gonna. Oh, fuck, yes. I’m not gonna last much longer, baby.” He warned, feeling his stomach coil tighter and tighter. The pet name happened to just slip out, but Harry seemed to like it, if the violent jerk of his hips was any indication.

“Neither, Lou. Don’t worry.” Harry panted out, his face tucked in against Louis’ neck, damp breathes of air hitting Louis’ skin. Harry started to twist his movements slightly, his thumb pressing into the head of Louis’ cock every second stroke, and Louis felt his balls draw up tight, unable to hold it off any longer

“Oh fuck, Haz. Yeah, that’s it, baby. Jesus, fuck.” Louis kept murmuring as he felt his orgasm approaching, closer and closer. He fisted Harry’s cock, attempting to get Harry right there with him. He misjudged it though, as Harry let out a short, sharp cry and bit down heavily on the juncture of Louis’ neck as he came. The sensation of Harry’s mouth against his neck, and his hand on his cock was too much for Louis, and he came straight after Harry, cock pulsing.

He loosened his grip on Harry straight away, knowing his cock would be sensitive. Instead, he dragged his hands up to Harry’s shoulders, caressing the smooth skin, feeling that it was slightly damp with sweat. Harry slowly drew his face away from Louis shoulder, making eye contact with him in the darkness of the room.

“D’you reckon you could call me baby more often?” Harry asked, voice light and airy, but still cheeky. He looked breathless, eyes wide, curls sticking slightly to his forehead, cheeks flushed dark. Louis let out a light laugh.

“I’ll call you whatever you want me to, baby.” He responded, and Harry smiled.

“That was something else. You’re pretty damn good with your hands.” Harry informed him, voice shifting to slightly serious. Louis bit his lip, settling in closer to Harry’s body heat. His stomach felt sticky with cum, and Louis wasn’t sure if it was Harry’s or his own, but he didn’t really care at this point. He just wanted to be close to Harry.

“Mm. You’re telling me. Your hands are like, something they write epic poetry about.”

Harry giggled, and shook his head in denial. “What an interesting poem that would be. Not sure if you could write a Homeric poem about that though, think the Greeks or Romans probably would have thrown you out.”

“Try homo-erotic, and we’d have no troubles.” Louis responded, a grin breaking out over his face. Harry laughed too, and they descended into silence for a moment, Louis arms round Harry’s shoulders, Harry’s hands resting on his hips. “Do you have to go home? I don’t want your mum to worry or something.”

Harry shook his head in response, taking his hand up to card through Louis’ sweat damp hair. “Nah. Mum doesn’t really worry. Me disappearing is a fairly regular occurrence in our household, as is her disappearing. She’ll just assume I’m off grieving. Plus, considering I can’t die, she doesn’t worry much about me full stop.”

“Wait- what? You can’t die?”

“Nah. Not like, really. Like I will eventually die, but a car can’t just, hit me out of the blue or anything. It’s pretty much guaranteed I die of old age. The wings, we’re not really sure how it works exactly, but they give you like, not immortality. But like, death immunity, for a little while at least. No one in my family has ever died before the age of eighty.” Harry said quietly. His voice was slow, trying to foil out his own mind in the post haze of sex. “Except my grandma’s sister. She died when she was thirty.”

 

Louis shifted on the bed, pulling the sheets up as a makeshift face washer, wiping at his own tummy and then Harry’s to clean them up. “What happened to her?” He was morbidly curious, but Harry seemed happy enough to humour him, giving him a soft smile.

“She cut her wings off. It killed her. Mum says she bled out in the back of their garden. She had three kids, and a husband. No one really knows why she did it.” Harry looked steadily at Louis as he spoke, the darkness of the room cutting angles into his cheeks. Louis sucked in a breath.

“Jesus, H.” Was all he said, running his thumb along Harry’s exposed side, feeling the warmth of Harry.

“Yeah. So like, we know that’s one way to die. Mum didn’t tell me any of that for quite a while. I think she was scared I would try it. She knew I wasn’t happy.”

For a second, Louis thought of how he would be right now if there wasn’t a boy in his bed, if Harry’s skin wasn’t warm under his touch, if there hadn’t been a boy sat in his Classical Studies class so many weeks ago.

“Would you- would you have done it? Back then, I mean, if you knew.” And Louis wasn’t really sure how they ended up back here, how they kept coming back to these topics that filled him with sadness.

Harry considered that for a moment, looking at Louis steadily. There didn’t seem to be a moment where Harry was considering whether to tell him the truth or not, but more so, a moment where Harry was truly considering what Louis was asking him.

“I think that I would have wanted to. But I don’t think I could have actually done it. That would have been a lot of grief I was leaving for everyone else.” Harry said slowly, voice careful. Louis smiled, and the urge to kiss Harry then and there shocked and saddened him. How easy it would be to press his lips to Harry’s, to kiss him like he loved him. Because he did. In every capacity he could.

“I’m glad. I think,” Louis paused, considering how to phrase it. “You were meant to be right here. With me. No one’s ever supposed to be in a grave.” Louis said, and it sounded so morbid, so distressingly dismal, that Harry let out a snort of laughter. Louis’ lipped quirked at that, and soon they were spluttering, shaking with laughter as they tried to keep their voices down, tried not to wake the whole house.

“Oh my god, what is this? The new Twilight movie or something? God, how depressing.” Harry had tears of laughter in his eyes, and he’d pulled Louis close, was laughing like a manic into Louis' neck.

“Fuck, it was not meant to sound so fucking dark. Fuck- I just meant… I don’t know what I meant. Stop laughing at me.” Louis scolded, in the midst of his own laughter. It felt ridiculous to both of them, and it was probably a product of it being almost midnight and the fact they’d both barely slept that week, but god, it was suddenly hilarious.

Eventually, their laughter faded, and both of them were lying there with soft smiles, their cheeks aching. Harry’s curls were even more mussed than they were when they began laughing, and Louis could feel heat radiating off his own cheeks.

He leant forward, pressed a kiss soft and gentle to the dip of Harry’s collarbone. “We need to set an alarm. If Mum finds you in here tomorrow morning again, we’re both going to be dead, no questions asked. I don’t care if you’re immortal or not.” Louis teased. Harry’s eyes grew wide with seriousness. He shoved the doona cover aside, searching the ground for his discarded jeans. Louis let out a low whistle. Harry blushed, grabbing his jeans quickly and diving back onto the bed.

“If that’s the thing that wakes your parents, you’re going to be very sorry.” Harry responded seriously, and Louis chuckled.

“I can’t help it if you’ve got a nice body. Technically, it’ll be your fault.” Harry just rolled his eyes at Louis’ response, fishing his phone out of the pocket of his retrieved jeans to set an alarm for six the next morning. Louis wrapped his arms around Harry’s waist as soon as Harry placed his phone on the bedside table, and pulled him down, snug against Louis. He took slow breaths, catching the scent of Harry, revelling in the way his curls brushed Louis’ cheeks, in the way he could feel every slight shift of Harry under his own palms. I love you. He thought. I have always loved you.

He considered it, considered saying it right then and there. He didn’t want it to be a suspenseful thing, something full of unfulfilled connotations and deeper meanings. He just wanted to be able to say it, wanted to be able to let the words fall into the quiet of the night, let them drift against Harry’s curls, over Harry’s skin. He wanted it to be simple, to be easy. Because that’s what loving Harry was. Simple. Easy. Even when it was the hardest thing in the whole damn world, it was so, so easy. Maybe he’d tell him tomorrow, early in the morning. Or the next day. It didn’t really matter, just yet. The words weren’t burning in his heart, but rather humming there, pleasant and happy and content to just exist for now.

 

Louis had forgotten. Louis had fucking forgotten to invite Harry to Niall’s. He didn’t know how it had happened, but somewhere between Harry falling asleep against him on the couch, and Harry leaving his room in the soft morning light, Louis had forgot to ask Harry about coming to Niall’s. And he’d only just realised that now, as he’d rung the bell to Harry’s front door, ready to pick him up for it.

“Fuck fuck fuck fuck fu-“

“Louis!” Anne was standing there in front of him, having just opened the front door. Louis shut his mouth immediately, and put on a smile, filing his plan to bolt away in his mind for later reference.

“Hi Mrs Styles. Erm, is Harry here?”

“He is. He’s up in his room. You can go on up. You remember the way.” She said, and she was smiling gently, looking as warm and friendly as Harry always did.

“Thanks.” He said, returning the warm smile and slipping inside when Anne gestured, taking off his shoes before he made his way up the stairs. He knocked softly on the wooden frame of Harry’s bedroom door, which was swung wide. He could see Harry on the bed, lying with his back facing the door. He shifted when Louis rapped on the wood, turning towards him.

“Louis! What are you doing here?” Harry was across the room in one of his freakishly graceful steps, and he wrapped an arm round Louis. Louis returned the hug, smiling into Harry’s collar. He was in a soft white button up with short sleeves. Louis took him in as he stepped back,

“You been somewhere curly?”

“Nah. Went to lunch with Mum, that’s all.” Harry said, but then he took in Louis’ similar get up, the black button down, the dark jeans. “Have you been somewhere is the better question?”

Louis looked sheepish and shifted onto his toes and back again. “Actually, I’m going to a get together at Niall’s. And I kind of thought I’d already asked you, for some reason. I didn’t even think about it. And then I got here and realised I actually hadn’t asked you at all, and now I feel stupid. Your mum opened the door before I could run away.” Louis admitted. Harry, bless his soul, looked delighted.

“You’re an idiot.” He responded, but he did it with a fond smile and a gentle squeeze of Louis’ cheek. Louis batted his hand away. “However, lucky for you, I have nowhere else to be tonight. So I may be able to be persuaded to join you.” Harry had his hand secured low on Louis’ waist, and his expression looked far too mischievous.

 

Two rushed hand jobs and two wrinkled shirts later, Louis and Harry were both walking down the street to Niall’s. Harry’s cheeks were still flushed as they walked, and Louis couldn’t help glancing at him repeatedly. He was just so damn attractive like this.

“So um, I don’t really know who’s coming tonight. But, like, Niall asked me to bring you, so. It might be fun?” Louis said, suddenly nervous to bring Harry. Last time they’d gone to a social gathering, Louis had ended up receiving some fairly life altering news from Harry. He wasn’t really feeling like a repeat.

“I’m sure it will be fun, I’m not stressed.” Harry said, and he linked his hand with Louis’, giving it a squeeze to put him at ease. Louis smiled to himself as they walked the next few streets in silence, the trip interspersed with the dark of the night and soft pools of lamplight.

 

“Tomlinson! Good to see ya. And Harry, how you doing mate?” Niall said, bright and boisterous as soon as the pair of them stepped into the living room of Niall’s house.

“Hi Niall. I’m good, mate, what’s happening?” Harry said, and it was almost scary, how Harry slipped into this laddy kid who said mate. His voice was louder than normal, and he had an odd infliction on the words. Louis smiled, knowing Harry was putting on a little bit of a pretence that Niall would have gone in no time. He had a habit of putting everyone in the universe at ease.

“Horan.” Louis stated, pulling the blonde in for a quick hug. Niall clapped him on the back in response.

“Beers are in the fridge, boys, everyone’s in the kitchen. There’s pizza.”

Louis caught Harry’s eye. He knew he was nervous, because he dropped Louis’ hand as soon as they walked in the door, and if the fake voice didn’t tip him off, the rigid posture he had going right then certainly did. “Well, if there’s pizza, we’re coming, aren’t we Haz?” Louis offered him a smile, encouraging him. Harry smiled back and nodded, following Louis right into the kitchen, where they were met with at least fifteen people, all talking and laughing to each other. Louis recognised all of them, boys from their footy team and girls from their year level and the one below. There was a chorus of greetings to both of them, and Harry smiled back at them all, as did Louis.

Zayn Malik approached them then, one of the art students who Louis knew well, but hadn’t spoken to in a while. He’d somehow become the school dealer, and Louis had distanced himself pretty quickly.

“Hey Louis, Harry.” Zayn said, smiling confidently. He was always confident, a boy who practically oozed security, a brooding force in a leather jacket, which was probably what made him such a good dealer. He took no shit from anyone, and despite the fact he dealt drugs, he never did them, so he kept a clear head for it. Louis supposed that was important. Harry seemed to perk up at his presence though.

“Hey Zayn! How you been?” Harry was eager, and Zayn knocked his hip against the kitchen bench, leaning against it.

“I’m good. How have you been? Got yourself a boyfriend, I hear?” Zayn’s eyebrows raised teasingly. Harry flushed.

“Yeah. Um, Louis and I are-” Harry began, seeming to see no other option but to explain. Zayn cut him off politely.

“Yeah, me and Louis go way back, don’t we?” He said, addressing Louis. Louis nodded agreeably. “What are you two drinking? I’ll grab you some beers.” Zayn offered. Harry shook his head immediately.

“Nothing for me tonight, thanks. I don’t really drink.” Harry said quickly, shaking his head. Louis shook his head in decline as well. If Harry wasn’t drinking, Louis could very well stay sober as well.

 

The whole staying sober thing was beginning to take a toll on Louis and Harry. They had at some point moved into the living room, the lot of them. The noise level had risen, everyone getting raucously loud with alcohol, and almost everyone was most definitely drunk. Harry and Louis were the only sober ones in the house. They were both suffering for it, too, having had one too many conversations with Perrie, one of the other year twelves who kept insisting she had the perfect girl for Harry, despite the presence of Louis’ arm securely round Harry’s waist for the whole conversation. It was okay though, because Louis knew she’d be mortified the next morning, and he was looking forward to it, just a little.

They were sprawled out on one of the couches now, Harry half in Louis’ lap to make room for the other kids on the couch. Others had taken up residence on the floor, and they were all chatting amiably amongst each other. Louis had just tipped his head to press a kiss to Harry’s hair when Niall let out a raucous yell.

“Spin the bottle! That’s what we’re gonna do. We’ve got enough of a ratio here to do it.” Niall declared. Harry went stiff in Louis’ arms, and Louis couldn’t deny the sinking feeling that came over him. This was not going to end well. This could actually quite possibly have a rather high casualty count.

“Yeah, good plan, Niall. Just because you wanna get with Emma, don’t drag the rest of us into it!” Louis called over everyone else’s chatter. He knew he was throwing Niall under the bus, but he was doing it for all of their own safety. Call him a hero. Niall let out a loud laugh, never one to be easily embarrassed. Harry still hadn’t relaxed.

“Like I need spin the bottle to get a girl, Tomlinson. I’m just trying to help everyone else out.” He was always good-humoured, and he didn’t falter in his smile as he pushed a hand through his hair, despite the fact Louis had essentially just announced one of Niall’s many infatuations to the room at large.

Possibly in spite of Louis’ attempts, everyone began to move into a makeshift circle, dragging armchairs and seats in and around, some people perched on the arms of couches and some on the floor to complete the circle. One of the boys, Sam, chugged a beer to the chants of everyone around him, only to finish the bottle off and place it in the middle of the room. Louis could feel the panic rising in his throat, and when Harry turned his green eyes to Louis, he could see it mirrored there.

“’Salright Haz. It won’t land on you, it’ll be fine.” Louis said, as steadily as he could. Assessing the situation though, Louis did feel at least a little comfortable. Harry was taking up such a small space on the couch, and it was hard to tell where Harry ended and Louis began, so Louis felt almost certain that even if it did land on Harry, Louis could claim it had landed on him. He brushed aside thoughts of how much he didn’t want to kiss someone who wasn’t Harry, despite having never actually kissed Harry.

“If someone dies, it’s completely on you.” Harry said in a low teasing voice, looking almost comfortable as he burrowed closer into Louis’ side, insisting on taking up the smallest space he possibly could. Louis laughed wryly.

“Sure. Make it my fault.”

Niall started the spinning, sending the bottle round in a dizzying circle until it rested on one of the other boys from the footy team. For a moment, Louis was curious as to how Niall was going to play this out, considering it had landed on another guy. But Niall, ever the reliable, simply leant over to the boy and kissed him square on the lips with a light smack. He pulled back as a couple of the other kids around them let out sarcastic wolf whistles. The other boy, vaguely red faced, continued on with the game, flipping the bottle round again. It landed on the girl to Louis’ left, Jade, and Louis let out a shaky sigh of relief that it had managed to make it past both him and Harry. The boy and Jade kissed across the centre of the circle, Jade allowing a shy smile to fall on her lips when she retreated to her spot.

Louis and Harry both watched on, anxious to begin with, and then becoming increasingly amused as the kisses either became vaguely unsafe to observe, or downright ridiculous to watch. They were lulled into a sense of security, as the clink of the glass bottle whirled round and round, never settling on either of them. It was after everyone else in the room had refreshed their drinks at least twice, and the kisses were becoming sloppy, drunk displays of affection rather than anything else, that the bottle fell on them. Or more specifically, clearly fell on Harry. It was straight towards him, and even with a room full of drunk people, Louis could not justify claiming that bottle was pointing to him rather than Harry.

“Fuck.” Harry murmured under his breath. He glanced up to the boy across the room who had been responsible for the spinning, and the boy looked back at Harry. Louis couldn’t tell whether the boys eyes were wide with shock, desire or alcohol. It was one of them though, that was certain. He was a small kid, and Louis thought he might be in the year below them. He’d seen his face around, but didn’t know his name. The boy licked his lip, a pink tongue brushing along the red of his bottom lip. Louis’ stomach curled. His jaw set. And for the first time, he realised he was hardly even against this because Harry may end up killing the boy, he was against this, because Harry was his, and he was Harry’s, and he’d be damned if he ever had to even watch someone else come close to kissing his boy.

For one horrible, selfish second, Louis thought how glad he was that no one would ever be able to kiss his boy. Not unless they were in the throes of death, at least.

He regretted the thought instantly, and Harry must have felt the jerk of Louis’ arm as his mind threw the thought away, because Harry turned to him, eyes shocked and panicked. Louis barely had to think about what to do, felt himself acting on instinct instead. He made eye contact with the boy and shook his head slowly.

“Sorry, mate. This one’s mine.” He said. There was a touch of possession to his tone, but also a heavy sense of authority. Louis saw the boy consider arguing, but ultimately, the boy sagged backward. “May as well spin again.”

However, of course, it wasn’t going to be that easy. Because then, James had to go right ahead and open his mouth. “If he’s yours then Tommo, I guess you’ve gotta do it.”

Louis’ blood ran a little cold. Because there was no escape he could see, nothing. The whole room fell a little quiet. Niall turned to Louis, trying to gauge his facial expression. Harry let a heavy hand drop to Louis’ thigh, warm and grounding. However, the tremor Louis could feel in it undermined the effect.

“Do what?” His voice was ice cold as he spoke, and Niall’s eyebrows rose in surprise at his tone. James was splayed out across one of the couches, one of the girls across his lap, but his face was almost… challenging, Louis thought. His posture said relaxed, the limp way he held his beer can, the way he was slouched in his seat. But his face said serious, and Louis swallowed.

“Kiss him. If Brent can’t, because he’s yours, you should.” His voice was even, paced out. Louis wanted to punch him.

“No.”

“What?” Came James' shocked response. He genuinely looked surprised too, like he’d expected his forceful command to work. Louis was unmoved, even as he threaded his fingers through Harry’s.

“I said, no. I’m not going to kiss Harry in front of you just because you want some sort of spectacle.” The tension was rising thick in the air, and the girl in James’ lap seemed to notice, shifting off him, tucking back her brunette hair as she dropped to the floor, out of James’ reach. James hardly seemed to notice.

“Oh come on, Louis. Just do it, it won’t do you guys any harm.” Came Zayn’s voice, cutting into the odd little standoff he and James seemed to be having. Louis thought he heard Harry snort at the last part of Zayn’s sentence. At least the boy still had his sense of humour. It didn’t help that James was drunk, eyes bleary. Zayn always knew when a situation was going to escalate; probably a part of being a dealer, Louis wasn’t really sure. Either way, he didn’t care what Zayn had to say.

“Fuck off, Zayn.” Louis said, turning his own expression to Zayn. Zayn looked calm, collected. He probably hadn’t had more than two drinks. The boy recoiled, facial expressions arranging themselves into some form of hurt, or confusion. Louis didn’t really wait to figure out what form of emotion Zayn was feeling, as he gently patted Harry’s thigh with his free hand, gesturing for him to stand up. Harry did, instantly, and Louis followed, “Thanks for having us, Niall. I think we’ll be off now.” Louis said, and his tone was clipped.

Niall looked back at him with wide eyes, but nodded. In his same cheery voice, he responded. “No worries, fellas, see you Monday.”

“See you, Niall.” Harry muttered.

The room was dead silent as Louis guided Harry outside of the circle, finding their way down the hallway and out the door. They could both feel everyone’s confusion at Louis’ actions, but Louis wasn’t about to bother explaining it to any of them. He might apologise to Niall and Zayn, but that was about it.

 

They stepped out into the cool night air and Harry immediately pulled Louis close, wrapping his arms tight around him, holding him there. Louis felt the familiar coolness as Harry dropped his mist, effectively cutting them off from the world around them.

“Let’s go. Come on, let’s go somewhere. Anywhere you want.” Harry said quietly. His voice had a habit of falling into this measured, angelical tone whenever the mist dropped. Louis didn’t like to think about it, but he knew it was the voice Harry used for the dying, as well. Sometimes it sent shivers down his back.

“Take me to the ocean.”