Louis believed in soulmates, he just didn’t believe he had one. He believed all omegas had an alpha, but didn’t believe he would find his. He was okay with that, really. If his alpha was in Antarctica playing with sled dogs Louis was happy, as long as his alpha was happy.
Louis looked towards the kitchen where Harry was cooking dinner. Harry never wavered in his doubts. Ever since they were both young and in grade school he was always certain that he had a soulmate and that he would someday find his omega. Even if he had to move halfway across the world, Harry said that he would find him.
At this point, Harry had moved halfway across the world. He had applied for several internships when he graduated, three in England and one in the United States. After receiving the news of his fourth acceptance he had phoned Louis immediately. The internship in New York City was the last to come through, and Harry wanted that one.
Louis still couldn’t figure out why. Louis had moved to New York City for a major role in a Broadway production. The show didn’t last the full two years, as originally planned, but Louis decided to stay a little longer to see if he could land another job. England was their home; their families were there and it was fucking expensive to make the trip back for the holidays. Louis didn’t question Harry’s decisions most of the time though. He had his best friend back in his life full time. No more late nights spent facetiming, the six hour time difference was tiring and having to wait for hours to receive a text message in return had been frustrating.
Louis didn’t believe in fate until Harry had called him about wanting to move to the United States just days after Liam told Louis and Niall that he was going to move in with Zayn, leaving an empty room in their expensive flat. It was quickly filled by Harry and Niall was there to welcome him with open arms. Literally.
Louis was snapped out of his thoughts by Harry yelling from the kitchen. “Food is ready!”
“Foooooooood!” Niall yelled out as he flung open his bedroom door and skidded into the living room.
“Were you waiting by your door for Harry to call that out, Niall?” Louis asked. “That was an extremely fast reaction.”
Niall scoffed. “Unlike you, Tommo, I am in tune with Harry and his culinary skills. I feel the vibes of his sense of accomplishment once he has finished cooking.”
Louis nodded. “Right, sure you do.”
Harry walked out of the kitchen carrying three plates of food.
“Please, be careful, Haz. I could have gotten up to help you,” Louis stated.
Niall snorted and mumbled, “Sure you would.”
Louis threw Niall a glare precisely when Harry tripped over an invisible object on the floor, pulling a face of concentration to keep the food on their plates.
Niall jumped up from his spot on the couch and pointed to Harry who was carefully setting the plates down on the coffee table.
“That was the face!” Niall looked to Louis and yelled in excitement. “That was the face wasn’t it?!?”
Harry looked between the two and asked, “What? What face?”
“Niall,” Louis warned.
Niall ignored him and continued, “Louis was right! You do look like Beaker!”
Harry continued to look between the two of them in confusion. “What? Who? What are you going on about?”
Louis gave up on trying to hold in his laughter and burst out into a fit of giggles. He nodded in agreement towards Niall.
Harry moved to scoop up Louis and NIall’s plates, presumedly to take them back to the kitchen.
“My food!” Niall yelled as he sat back down and pulled the plate into his lap.
Harry remained standing as he waited for an explanation.
Louis smiled over at Harry. “It’s your frowny face, Harry. But your special frowny face.”
“That makes no sense,” Harry still had a look of confusion.
Louis reached for his phone and pulled up google, typing in ‘Beaker from the Muppets Show’. He clicked on the images tab and held his phone out to Harry.
Harry furrowed his brows as he looked at Louis’ phone, eventually looking up and stating, “I do not look like that.”
“Maybe not the orange hair, but that is definitely an exact replica of your face, mate,” Niall happily stated.
“Wait, hold on,” Niall continued. He pulled out his phone and a few moments later looked back up saying, “I take it back. Harry, you’re the replica. Beaker came on the show in 1977. You’re, like, Beaker, Jr.”
Harry scrunched up his face and looked over to Louis. “Lou?”
Louis smiled and made an attempt at a condolence. “It doesn’t happen very often, Harry. But when it does, it makes me happy. I like it. It’s cute.”
Harry finally took a seat on the floor and dug into his food while mumbling, “I’m not cute.”
Louis smiled and moved on, “Anyway, we are here to celebrate the two month anniversary of Harry joining us in America. While New York City resembles London in many ways, meaning that they are large cities with not much else in common, I’m so happy you have joined me.”
Niall gave an exaggerated cough.
Louis watched as Harry’s face lit up and continued, “Sorry, joined me and Niall. Even though you had no idea who Niall was beyond him photobombing our Facetime sessions.”
“I don’t think it’s called photobombing when there isn’t a photo involved,“ Niall stated. “But continue.”
Louis ignored him and lifted his beer in Harry’s direction. “To Harry! For getting the internship that he wanted, and joining us here in this tiny apartment with a kitchen that I'm sure is happy to finally be in use!”
Harry laughed as he held up his beer to join Niall and Louis in a toast.
NIall had returned to his room after dinner while Louis and Harry remained in the living room watching reruns of Friends. Or re-reruns as they had already watched the series for a second time. As per usual, Louis was snuggled into Harry’s side with his arm around Louis’ shoulders. It was a position that was never anything more than platonic, but it was always comforting. Louis’ current thoughts were focused more on his best friend than the TV. Harry had spent all of his time with Louis since his arrival. As far as Louis was aware he had never been out with other people, and when they were out together as a group he made no effort to pull.
Louis looked over to Harry who had his eyes on the TV. “Hazza?”
Harry looked down with a smile on his lips. “Yeah?”
“You know you can bring guys back to the apartment, right? I mean, I would think you would, but just in case you weren’t sure, it’s no problem.”
Louis watched as Harry’s smile slid off his face. He looked at Louis with a hint of sadness in his eyes and asked, “Why would you tell me this, Lou? Do you want me to bring guys back?
Louis shook his head. “No, it’s not that. It’s just, I mean, how are you going to find your destined omega soulmate if you don’t get out and meet people?”
Harry remained silent so Louis continued, “Or what about people at work? Are there people your age? Any hot guys?”
Louis wiggled his eyebrows at the suggestion and Harry half-heartedly shrugged.
“Everyone is very nice. And yeah, there are people my age.”
“Hazza, I know that we pretty much shared the same friends back in uni, but I know you also met people when I had to leave. From talking it seemed like you enjoyed their company despite me not being there. Do you not want to meet other people?”
“It’s not that, Lou. It’s just, I don’t know,” Harry shrugged again and moved to stand up. “I think I’m going to head to bed, it’s late.”
Louis didn’t know what else to say about the subject so he let it go. He watched as Harry slowly made his way to his room.
“Sweet dreams, Haz.”
Louis felt like they just had an argument and he wasn’t sure why. Louis knew that Harry believed he had a soulmate and that he would find his omega, but if he didn’t put himself out there and meet people, he was never going to find them. Louis loved the time they spent together, but he also didn’t want to hold Harry back from finding the love he was searching for.
It was Friday night and Louis was preparing to binge watch the show Timeless . Apparently the show was cancelled after the first season, but was renewed a few days later. He wanted to know what would make them cancel a show, only to turn around and reverse the decision.
He was just settling in on the couch when Niall came out of his room dressed as if ready to go out. Niall glanced around the small room and inquired, “Where’s Harry?”
Louis rolled his eyes. “Not here, so out.”
“Yes, really. He met up with some people from work. I’m happy for him, he needs to meet new people.”
“Was this his idea? Or your idea?” Niall asked.
“Does it matter?”
Niall shrugged. “I’m just curious is all.”
“He needs to meet people, Niall. He always used to talk about meeting his omega soulmate person, but he hasn’t spoken about it in a couple years. Back in grade school he used to say he would even move halfway across the world if it meant finding them. Well, he’s moved across the world for this internship. If his omega is here he needs to go out and find him.”
Niall was silent for a moment then stated, “Okay, so it was your idea.”
“Does it make a difference?” Louis asked.
“Kind of, yes,” Niall said. “It’s his life, Lou. He needs to make the decision of whether to go out or not.”
Louis looked towards the TV. “It’s not like I pushed him out the door or anything. He made the final decision to go. What’s the big deal?”
Niall let out a sigh. “I think you should let him decide if he wants to go out or not. He’s a big boy. If he’s set on finding his omega let him do it at his own pace. I think he’ll be just fine. He’ll find him when he’s ready.”
Louis looked back over to Niall. “You’re being, like, really serious. Why are you being so serious?”
Niall gave a bright smile. “Because I like both of my roommates and I want them both to be happy on their own terms. Even if your terms are shit.”
Louis let out a small laugh. “What is that supposed to even mean, Niall?”
“It means I think I’m going to start praying.”
With that, Niall was out the door before Louis had a chance to respond.
Louis soon found that he would have to watch Timeless on his computer as opposed to finding it on TV. He looked towards Harry’s open bedroom door. Louis thought back a couple of years when they were sharing a place while in uni. He smiled thinking about how they often fell asleep in each others beds after watching a movie or doing homework together. One or the other claiming they were too tired to walk across the hall to get in their own bed. Their roommates thought it was weird but Louis claimed that that’s what happens when you’re best friends from the ages of eight and ten. With so many years of sleepovers it was like second nature. Louis could easily admit he missed those days. He missed being wrapped up in Harry’s scent. They never officially cuddled, although they often woke up with their limbs tangled together. They never spoke of it though.
Louis pulled up the first episode of Timeless and started in on his binge watching. Halfway through the first episode Louis had already determined it was a mistake to have cancelled it. It was good. Not only did it have amazing characters, but he was also learning history without being forced into doing so, which was definitely an added bonus. He hit pause and got up for a beer. Returning to his computer, he again looked back to Harry’s bedroom.
Niall’s words momentarily ran through his mind. Louis still stood by his belief that Harry had to do something if he was going to find his omega, but he shouldn’t have pushed him into going out. Louis knew he hadn’t, not really, but he couldn’t help but think that maybe Harry felt otherwise.
Louis sighed, picked up his laptop, and headed into Harry’s room. Most of their shared time was spent in the living room since Harry’s arrival. Louis missed Harry’s childhood blanket. It wasn’t a baby blanket, by any means, just something he kept since he was younger. Louis laughed at himself for missing someone else’s blanket as he climbed into Harry’s bed to continue watching. He had no plans to fall asleep and would be back into his own bed before Harry got home.
Louis blinked awake at his name being called. He had made it through four amazing episodes before closing his laptop and snuggling under Harry’s blanket. He hadn’t meant to fall asleep, or at least that’s what he would claim.
Harry was sat on the edge of the bed wearing sleep shorts and a t-shirt. How long had he been home that he was dressed for bed? And why was he dressed for bed? Did he no longer sleep naked? And, shit, Louis had been found in Harry’s bed. He had failed to think of that ramification after deciding to close his eyes for a nap. At least Harry didn’t have anyone with him. Or at least he didn’t any more.
Louis moved to sit up. “I’m sorry, Haz. I didn’t realize the time. I’m sorry for coming in here, I’m sure you want your bed.”
Louis started to push off Harry’s blankets but Harry caught his forearm before he could complete the movement.
“You’re tired, Lou,” Harry quietly said. “I’m sorry I woke you. I didn’t want to just climb into bed without you knowing I was here. You can stay if you want.”
“My room is really far away, Hazza. Like, really, really far away,” Louis sleepily said.
Harry gave a soft laugh and pushed lightly on Louis’ shoulder to direct him to lie back down. Louis easily went and snuggled back under Harry’s covers. They smelled good and Louis pulled them tighter around himself.
“You can stay here, Lou,” Harry whispered. “But you at least have to share my blanket.”
“Okay,” Louis whispered as he loosened his grip to allow Harry to share Louis’ favorite blanket.
Harry settled and Louis immediately fell back asleep. As far as Louis was aware there was still no cuddling involved.
Louis couldn’t move. Why couldn’t he move? His limbs were trapped to his sides. His mind raced for a reason why he couldn’t move his arms and he quickly woke up. He was still in Harry’s bed, but was now wrapped very, very tightly into Harry’s blankets. Harry had apparently woken up and decided to wrap Louis into his blankets like a burrito. It was an old game they used to play when they were younger to see how tightly they could wrap each other up. Harry had done an incredibly good job without having woken him.
“Harry!” Louis called. Seriously, how had Harry done this good of a job while he was sleeping? He couldn’t fucking move.
“I hate you, Haz! Come unwrap me! Please?”
At least a minute passed by with no response.
“Are you fucking kidding me!?” Louis shouted to apparently no one.
Louis gave in to the fact that he was going to have to get up by himself, and flailed his unmoving limbs until they finally started to move on command. He was almost out of the shroud of blankets when he tipped too far to the side of the bed to get the last bunch out from under him. He fell face first onto the floor.
“What the fuck?! What did I do to deserve this punishment? I’m sorry for sneaking in here! Except the door was wide open so it wasn’t really even sneaking!”
Louis finally untangled himself from his no longer favorite blanket and moved to stand up. He needed ice for his face. He flung the door open and walked out into the living room.
“Hi, Lou!” Niall cheerfully greeted him. “How are you this morning? I’m not supposed to ask questions as to why you slept in Harry’s bed, although it does make me curious. No worries, I’ll happily subject myself into living in suspense and you can tell me when you’re ready.”
“I’m sorry,” Louis interrupted. “But did you not hear me yelling for help just two minutes ago? Literally yelling, Niall.”
“You were yelling for Harry. I never heard my name and I had no idea what the hell you meant by unwrapping you so I didn’t think I should get involved.”
Louis glared and continued past Niall into the kitchen. He needed tea.
“Where’s Harry?” Louis asked over his shoulder.
“Not sure. His running shoes are gone though, so I’m sure he’s practicing his religious act of exercising somewhere.”
Louis grunted. Tea.
Louis had just finished making his tea when he heard the door unlock. He grabbed the bag of peas they kept in the freezer to use as a makeshift ice pack. As he heard Harry move closer to the kitchen he held the bag to his face. Fucking ouch. Why hadn’t he put this on sooner?
“What are you doing, Lou?” Harry asked.
“You broke my face,” Louis mumbled behind the bag of peas.
“You heard me, Harry. You broke my face.”
“I’m confused. How am I involved in this?” Harry inquired.
Louis removed the bag of peas and pointed to his face.
Harry let out a small gasp. “What the fuck did you do to your cheek, Lou? Why is it red? Or is it just cold from the peas?”
Louis scowled. “While I admit I am impressed at your burrito-ing me so tightly when I was asleep, you weren’t here to get me out. So I fell out of bed and landed face first.”
Harry let out a loud laugh. Louis scowled even more.
“I’m sorry, Lou,” Harry said with sincerity. “I didn’t plan on being gone as long as I was. I didn’t think you would be awake until I got back. Are you okay?”
Louis threw the peas back into the freezer and took his tea into the living room, Harry following close behind.
“I would be fine if Niall would have helped me. I was not whispering when I was yelling for help,” Louis stated as he set down his tea and flopped onto the couch.
Louis watched as Harry turned to Niall.
Niall held up his hands in surrender. “I am not involved in this. I am merely a third party observer.”
Harry opened his mouth as if to say something, but appeared to change his mind and sat down next to Louis.
“Anyway, what is everyone doing today?” Louis asked as he sipped his tea.
“You’re looking at it,” Niall stated as he remained draped across the arm chair.
“Thrilling,” Louis stated. “Harry?”
Harry shrugged. “I’m going on a date.”
NIall’s head popped up and asked, “Really? Did you meet someone last night? I’m confused.”
“Wait, what?” Louis asked. He didn’t know how he felt about this development. Sure, he wanted Harry to meet new people, but he didn’t expect him to immediately start dating someone.
Niall jumped up and moved towards his bedroom. ”Anyway, I’m taking a nap. Wake me if the building catches on fire.”
“It’s eleven in the morning,’ Louis pointed out.
Niall looked over his shoulder. “Thank you for being my timekeeper, Tommo. Have fun on your date, Harry.”
Louis heard Niall’s door close and Louis remained silent as he finished his tea. He didn’t want to bring up Harry’s date.
Louis was snapped out of thoughts by Harry asking, “What about you, Lou? What are you doing today?”
Louis shrugged. “I don’t know. I started watching a new TV series last night. Maybe I’ll continue with that.”
Harry moved to stand up. “Go get dressed. I’m going to take a shower and we’re going out.”
Louis looked up in confusion. “I thought you had a date.”
“I do,” Harry said. “You’re taking me site seeing. I’ve only been to New York City once before moving here and you haven’t taken me out to show me the tourist spots.”
“You’re saying I’m your date? That makes no sense.”
“Sure it does,” Harry stated. “Now get dressed and figure out where you’re taking me.”
Louis never came up with a place to go. He figured Harry would have somewhere in mind and Louis would be happy to take him. He definitely wouldn’t admit it though. They currently stood waiting for the next downtown train, destination still unknown.
“I hate New York City, Harry. Why are you making me be a tour guide to all the crowded tourist spots?” Louis pouted.
“Because I want to see them, and I want you to show me,” Harry stated. “And I also know you don’t really hate this city.”
Louis shrugged. “You could always find an actual date to take you to these places.”
“You are my actual date,” Harry countered. “Now, can we go to Ellis Island? I want to see the signatures of all the immigrants.”
Louis looked over to Harry. “Really? That’s where you want to go?”
Harry shrugged. “Why not? Have you been there?
“Perfect,” Harry clapped his hands in excitement. “Something new for both of us.”
“I hate you,” Louis mumbled to himself.
“I heard that, and no you don’t,” Harry said as the train arrived.
Louis was bored out of his mind. He could appreciate the history of Ellis Island, but guided tours were not his style of learning history. Harry was enjoying it though, so Louis went along with it. He would rather be here with Harry, than have some other bloke take Louis’ spot. Why did he even say anything about Harry meeting other people? On one hand, he wanted Harry to go out and find his omega, but on the other hand, Louis didn’t want him to go. Maybe he was a bit selfish.
As the tour went on, Louis thoughts wandered to his alpha in Antarctica playing with sled dogs, or maybe he was tracking the movement of penguins. That sounded like it could be interesting. Or maybe his alpha was back in England and Louis had left him behind to come to New York. He didn’t like that thought so he tossed it away and tried to concentrate on the tour.
From what Louis saw it looked like they were finally coming to the end. He breathed a mental sigh of relief. He was hungry and wanted cheesecake.
“Now what?” Harry asked as they parted ways with the group of tourists.
Louis had an idea this time. “Food. I’m hungry. I’m also in the mood for cheesecake.”
“That’s a weird mood to be in, but sounds good. Where to?”
Louis went back to having no idea, instead looked over to Harry as they walked.
“Okay,” Harry said. “You told me about Junior’s cheesecake one time. How about we go there.”
Louis woke up from his Ellis Island tour coma. “Yes! Definitely!”
Harry laughed and gestured for Louis to walk first. “Lead the way, fearless leader.”
Louis rolled his eyes. “You’re ridiculous.”
The restaurant was a few blocks from Times Square so they took the train and got off at the busiest subway station in the city. Once they got out of the station they found the street packed with people.
“What the fuck is going on?” Louis nearly shouted to be heard over the crowd. “This is not a normal Saturday crowd, Harry! I’m not walking through this. Cheesecake can happen another day.”
“It’s only a few blocks, Lou,” Harry reached down, took Louis’ hand, and started weaving his way through the crowd, Harry paving the way to allow Louis to easily follow. Ish.
They made it through a block and a half of people and suddenly found themselves in a near standstill.
“This isn’t New Year’s Eve, where did all these people come from and why are they here?” Louis yelled. He wasn’t sure if Harry had heard him until he felt him squeeze Louis’ hand. It was comforting, but Louis was suffocating in the crowd.
“Harry!” Louis shouted as he pulled on Harry’s arm. “Hazza!”
Louis wasn’t claustrophobic, or at least not until now. It would probably help if he were taller and could see where he was going. As it was, he needed out. He proceeded to pull harder on Harry’s arm to catch his attention in the midst of all the people. Harry turned around with a look of concern on his face. Louis didn’t know what Harry saw when their eyes locked but he immediately pulled Louis into his chest, arms wrapping around his shoulders and holding him tight. Louis breathed him in, scenting him. Hopefully Harry wouldn’t notice in this large crowd. As the stood in the sea of people, Louis felt as though it was just the two of them, and he had never felt safer than he did with Harry’s arms wrapped around him.
As Louis wrapped his arms around Harry’s waist he thought he could hear singing. He continued to listen, finally able to filter out the noise of the crowd with the help of Harry’s scent. Was that Nicki Minaj? Was she still around? Louis was never an avid listener but from what he had heard it sounded like Nicki Minaj. What the fuck was Nicki Minaj doing in Times Square?
Louis could feel Harry bend down. He spoke directly into Louis’ ear and said, “We have about half a block and then we can duck around the corner to a less populated area. Are you okay with that?”
Half a block. Absolutely. Bring it on.
Louis nodded and let go of Harry’s waist. Harry took his hand again and moved forward a bit faster than what they had previously been going. Louis had a feeling Harry wasn’t being as polite as usual, when he heard profanities being directed at them as they walked over, around and on people. Louis figured he didn’t weigh enough to break someone’s foot as they walked. All was well.
They rounded the corner and were welcomed by fresh air, or at least as fresh as the city would provide. It ended up taking about twice as long to get to the restaurant in order to avoid the crowd, but Louis was completely fine with that. As they walked into the restaurant Harry released Louis’ hand in order to open the door for them. They were holding hands the entire time? When did that happen? Why did that happen?
Once seated at a table, Louis pulled out his phone to see if he was correct about Nicki Minaj being in Times Square. He did a quick google search and found a tweet she had sent out earlier in the day. ‘ Shutting down TIMES SQUARE!!!!!! Let’s go #Nokia ’. Louis glared at the offending tweet and proceeded to hand it over for Harry to read.
“Do you think she wrote Times Square in all caps as a warning sign?” Louis asked. “Because it didn’t work. We were not warned and now I have cooties from all the people we had to walk around.”
Harry snorted and stated, “Well, we prevailed and now we can have the best cheesecake on the face of the planet. According to you at least, it’s still up for debate until I try it.”
Louis scoffed. “It most definitely is and I want three pieces. You’re buying.”
“Why am I buying?” Harry questioned.
“Because I voted we should have turned around to go back into the subway after seeing all those people on the street. But no, you grabbed my hand and yanked me into the crowd saying it would be just fine.”
Louis held out his own arm and pointed to random places. “Do you see all of these cooties? This is your fault.”
Harry failed to muffle any laughter and eventually said, “I think you may be overreacting, Lou. But I will buy you three pieces of cheesecake. You have to share though.”
Louis huffed. “Fine.”
“Good,” Harry gave a nod of finality. “Now what are we getting? Sorry, correction, what are you getting that you’re going to share with me.”
Louis gave in and let out a smile. “You choose one flavor, and I’ll choose two.”
Louis handed over a menu and pointed to the cheesecake section. “You have twenty-eight seconds to choose or you forfeit your right to do so.”
Harry’s eyes flitted across the page and met his twenty-eight second deadline when he stated, “plain with fresh strawberries.”
“Good choice,” Louis nodded in approval. “You can also try the raspberry swirl and the chocolate mousse cake that I will be ordering. We can get real food later.”
Their decisions were made in time with the waiter appearing by their table. They quickly placed their order and looked around at the crowded restaurant. It was nearing dinner time and the place was quickly filling up.
Louis turned back to Harry and asked, “What’s up?”
“Why did you tell me I should go out and meet new people? That I can bring guys back to our place if I wanted to?” Harry bit his lip as if nervous for the answer.
Louis sighed. “I don’t know, Harry. I shouldn’t have said anything, I’m sorry. It’s your life and I shouldn’t have gotten involved in the timeframe of when you want to meet people. I just always thought that you wanted to go out into the world and find your omega soulmate. I don’t see how that would happen if you only go out with our small group of friends and make no effort to pull.”
Harry furrowed his brows. “But you only go out when it’s with our group of friends. How is that different?”
“Because I don’t feel as comfortable going out on my own. Not since I moved away from uni. Or maybe I don’t want to anymore, I don’t know. I’m not the charmer you are, Harry. And I’m not an alpha. I enjoy the company of other guys but it’s only ever been temporary.”
Harry still had his eyebrows furrowed. He might want to consider botox before his frown lines remain permanent. Louis would maybe make that suggestion at a later time.
“What about bringing guys back with you?” Harry asked.
Louis shrugged. “Like I said, I haven’t really had the desire to meet new people since I moved from London. Don’t go thinking I’m a weak omega and can’t handle things on my own, though. If I really wanted to go out by myself, I would. Or if I wanted to pull when I’m out with the guys, I would.”
Harry let out a small laugh. “Lou, you may have the appearance of an omega, but no one would dare call you weak. You fight dirty and you know it.”
“Despite the fact that alphas want their omegas to easily submit, I’m taking that as a compliment.”
Harry nodded. “You definitely should. And not all alphas want their omega to submit.”
Louis stayed silent as he noticed the look on Harry’s face. Harry wanted to say more but wasn’t sure he should continue. Louis was endeared.
“What, Harry? What are you thinking?” Louis gave him a reassuring smile.
It still took a few moments before Harry asked, “Just, have you dated anyone since you left London? It’s been two years, Lou.”
Louis gave yet another shrugg. “Twice. Pretty short term. Niall isn’t as nice and comforting as you are when things go wrong. Maybe I just need that. For now, I think I prefer one night stands with betas. I don’t want an unknown alpha knotting me. And I definitely don’t want an accidental bond.”
“What about your destined alpha?” Harry asked.
Louis gave him an unimpressed look. “You know my beliefs about that, Harry.”
“What if your beliefs are wrong?”
Louis rolled his eyes. “They’re not. But if a pretty alpha shows up at my door and tells me that he’s my soulmate, I may change my mind. Maybe.”
Harry smiled at that. “Okay.”
Louis had no idea what that meant but thankfully their cheesecake was arriving so the conversation could end. Hopefully for good.
“Now where?” Harry asked as they walked out of the restaurant.
“Brooklyn?” Harry asked. “What’s in Brooklyn?”
“You’ll see,” Louis stated. “Now, has it been long enough for you to decide?”
Louis threw his hands up in exasperation. “The cheesecake, Harry! Is it the best in the world or what? From the obscene sounds you were making when you were eating I think you agree, but will you officially agree with me, please?”
Harry smirked. “Oh, that decision. I’m not sure yet.”
Louis glared and picked up the pace. He considered speed walking, but decided to full on sprint towards the downtown subway, leaving Harry behind to make his decision on the cheesecake.
He was leaning over the ledge of the platform in search of the next train when he felt arms around his waist. He gave an undignified yelp as he was pulled into someone’s chest, no doubt Harry’s.
Harry held on tight as he whispered into Louis’ ear. “I’m sorry, Boobear.”
Louis groaned at the nickname and he weakly struggled to get out of Harry’s grasp. Harry held tight around his stomach and continued talking into his ear. “It was the best cheesecake I’ve ever had in my entire life. If I tried every cheesecake in the world I’m sure that would definitely be the winner.”
Harry slowly released his hold on Louis, trailing his fingers lightly along his waist and hips as he let go. Louis couldn’t contain his shiver and he didn’t know what that meant. Harry had never done that before.
Louis let the thought go and turned to face Harry. “I’m not sure if it was worth that horrendous trip through Times Square, but excellent decision.”
Harry laughed at that. “Nope, it was definitely worth it.”
“You weren’t the one who suddenly became claustrophobic, but okay.”
Harry let out a laugh that was quickly drowned out by the arrival of the train. They were able to secure two seats next to each other and settled in for the forty minute trip.
“I still don’t understand why we’re in Brooklyn,” Harry pondered. “Are you going to explain?”
Louis shook his head. “It’s a ten-ish minute walk. You’ll be thrilled when we get there. Trust me.”
“I’ll always trust you, Lou,” Harry said with sincerity.
Louis looked over and smiled as they continued their walk, eventually stopping outside a bar called the “The Way Station”.
“You brought me to a bar?” Harry skeptically asked. “A forty minute train ride for a bar?”
“Didn’t you just say you trust me, Harry? Have a little faith.”
Louis wasn’t sure why, but he held out his hand for Harry to take. Harry was quick to hold on as Louis led them inside. They weaved their way through the small area until Louis came to an abrupt stop. “Do you need to use the loo, Hazza? Because here you go,” Louis said with a smile as he pointed towards the restroom.
Harry’s eyes widened. “That’s not a restroom. That’s Doctor Who’s TARDIS. How is it here? Why is it here? How did you find this place?”
Louis laughed and said. “A friend told me about it. But seriously, go use the loo. The entire thing is decorated in a Doctor Who theme.”
Louis watched as Harry moved towards the TARDIS restroom in awe. He was glad he had thought about it as they had finished up eating.
Several minutes later Harry reemerged with a massive grin.
“I just took, like, fifty pictures and then did a 360 video of all of the walls as backup,” Harry stated.
Louis shook his head in amusement. “Come on, Harry. Let’s head back. Enough site seeing for the day.”
“Wait! Lou!” Harry pulled onto Louis forearm. “We need a picture together!”
Louis held his ground and stated, “I am not going into the loo with you. I know that’s what you’re thinking.”
“No, I wasn’t.”
Louis cocked his head in question. “No?”
Harry shrugged. “Okay, maybe I was, but come on! We may never get another chance!”
“We can come back, I promise.”
Harry gave a lopsided grin. “Right, well I know I said I’ll always trust you just a few minutes ago, but I don’t think I trust you with that promise.”
Louis sighed in defeat. “Fine. Get your camera ready. We’re making this quick.”
Louis watched as Harry pulled up his camera app. When he appeared to be ready, Louis pulled him into the restroom and set them in the best lighting.
“We’re taking two,” Harry stated.
“Just get on with it,” Louis said impatiently.
Harry pulled his signature peace sign for the first picture and immediately started counting down for the second. On the count of three Harry quickly bent down and kissed Louis’ cheek. Louis’ shocked reaction didn’t occur until after the picture was taken and he looked over to find Harry inspecting both photos with a small smile on his face.
“What was that for?” Louis asked.
Harry looked over and shrugged. “It made for an excellent photo. Are you just going to keep standing there or should we go?”
They exited the restroom to find three other people taking pictures of it, likely waiting their turn to go inside.
“I hate you,” Louis mumbled.
“I know you do,” Harry stated. “But that was amazing. Thanks for bringing me.”
Louis just smiled as they weaved their way back through the bar and headed home.
Later that night Louis laid in bed thinking. He had an amazing day with Harry. They hadn’t had a day like that in years. Why couldn’t all alphas be like Harry? Maybe he would believe in the whole soulmate alpha and omega idea if there were other wonderful alphas out there. It was just Harry though.
He wondered if they could ever be more than just best friends. Would it be awkward to move from best friends to more? What if it didn’t work out? Would they still be able to be friends? What if they got together and it did work out? What if Louis was his omega? Would Harry know? Surely he would have done something by now if that was the case, right? Although, why did Harry call their day together a date? That was new. They didn’t do dates. Not with each other, at least. But Harry had been very adamant on calling it a date. Also, what was with the accidental hand holding between the Times Square nightmare and the restaurant? Or was it not accidental? And the kiss on the cheek? Where did that come from? His mind was racing at these new developments. Or maybe it was just in the moment and everything would be back to normal in the morning. Louis gave a loud sigh, flipped onto his side and willed himself to sleep.
Louis woke up to the smell of food. If he had to guess it was a full English breakfast. He didn’t think they had the food in the refrigerator for that though. He gave a large yawn and shuffled out into the living room. He found Niall on the couch, Harry presumably in the kitchen if the delicious smells were anything to go by.
“Tommo!” Niall greeted. “How was your date?”
“Harry went on a date,” Louis stated. “I don’t know what you're talking about.”
Niall rolled his eyes. “Of course you don’t.”
“Are you hungry, Lou?” Harry called from the kitchen.
“It smells yummy,” Louis said as he moved into the kitchen to join Harry. “You’re not feeding Niall, are you? I don’t like him.”
Harry laughed. “And what is your reason for not liking him today?”
“He can’t sing,” Louis bluntly stated.
“Excuse you!” NIall called from the living room. “What are you on about?”
“Nothing!” Louis shouted back.
Louis pulled himself up onto the counter to watch Harry cook.
Harry looked up from flipping eggs and stated, “You realize you’re taking up practically half of the counter space right? This is a really small kitchen, Lou.”
Louis innocently shrugged. “Did you need this spot?”
Harry smiled and fondly shook his head. “You’re good where your at.”
Louis smiled to himself and asked, “Where did we get all of this food? Was this here last night?”
“No, I went out and got it this morning.”
“You went out on a Sunday morning just to get food for breakfast?”
“I got other stuff as well, but yes,” Harry confirmed. “I wanted to make you something besides cereal.”
Louis gave a shy smile. He didn’t know what that meant, but it felt like it meant something.
“Oh. Okay, cool. I approve,” Louis replied.
Harry chuckled. “I’m glad you approve. Now get off of the counter, I need the room to finish up.”
Louis huffed. “Fine. I need to brush my teeth anyway.”
“Yeah, you do,” Harry mumbled as Louis walked towards the bathroom.
“Oi! I heard that!”
When Louis arrived back to the living room he found Harry setting three plates of food on the coffee table. Louis joined his two roommates and dug in. He loved his cereal, but this was a nice change.
They ate in relative silence, Louis thinking about what he was going to do for the day. He glanced over to Harry who was looking at something on his phone. He wanted to spend the day with Harry. Maybe curl up on the couch and watch a few movies. Perhaps secretly scent him if Louis could manage it. As best friends it was weird to scent one another and Louis had never done so, at least not until the Times Square incident. Louis wasn’t sure what he had been thinking, but he was overwhelmed and Harry was there. He felt grounded breathing him in and Louis wanted to know what it would be like when they weren’t surrounded by hundreds of people.
Louis was snapped from his thoughts when Harry announced, “Finished! I’m caught up, Lou.”
Louis looked over and questioned, “Finished what?”
“I watched the first two episodes of Timeless before I fell asleep last night, and now I’ve read up on the other two so I’m caught up with you. I’m thinking we should watch some more today. Maybe have a lazy day in?”
Louis nodded as he swallowed his food. “Sure, sounds good to me.”
“I appreciate the invite, but I think I’ll pass,” Niall stated. “Thanks though.”
Louis rolled his eyes. “I’m sure you already have plans.”
Niall finished the last of his food and said, “That I do. I’m going to the zoo with Babs and some of her friends.”
“The zoo?” Harry asked. “Where is there a zoo?”
“The Bronx,” Louis explained. “It’s nice. We’ll go sometime.”
Harry beamed, eyes twinkling. “I’d like that.”
“Right,” Niall said. “You two can go there for a date another day. You are not third and fourth wheeling on my day there.”
Louis raised his eyebrow in question. “I thought you said there were other people going,”
Niall shrugged. “I did, but that’s not the point. You two are staying here today.”
Niall stood up to take his plate to the kitchen. “And I won’t be back until late, so don’t wait up for me!” he called over his shoulder.
Louis looked over to Harry who just shrugged his shoulders. Okay, then.
“This breakfast was amazing, Harry. Thank you,” Louis said as he cleared his plate as well.
Harry gave a warm smile. “You’re welcome. I like cooking for you.”
Louis didn’t know what to say to that so he just smiled back. He liked Harry cooking for him too, and it wasn’t just because he was a good cook.
“So,” Harry continued. “Binge watching Timeless? I bought unhealthy food while I was out in preparation.”
“Did you buy Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream?” Louis asked.
Harry frowned. “Um, no. I didn’t see that anywhere.”
Louis let out an exasperated sigh. “Did that flavor just disappear, or what? Why does the store never have it?”
“I mean, I didn’t really look that hard though,” Harry replied, giving no explanation where the flavor had disappeared to. “I bought Double Stuf Oreos though. You can have the cookie part and I’ll eat the cream if you want.”
Louis laughed. “Okay, sounds good.”
They were just finishing up the dishes when Louis remembered they couldn’t watch Timeless on the TV.
“So, yeah,” Louis said. “Niall lost our Apple TV so we only have our computers to watch the show on. I’m sorry.”
Harry furrowed his brows. “Don’t be sorry, Lou. How did Niall lose the Apple TV though? How do you lose something that is supposed to be connected to the TV, with an actual wire so it can’t really go far.”
Louis rolled his eyes. “He disconnected it to take it to a friends place, and he says he hasn’t seen it since.”
“It was yours wasn’t it? He paid for it right?”
Louis laughed. “Yeah, he did. I don’t know if binge watching is going to be very comfortable with just a laptop though.”
Harry gave one of his award winning smiles. “We’ll be just fine. Do you want to watch on the couch or we could get comfortable and watch on your bed.”
“Or,” Louis grinned. “We could watch on your bed. I’ve decided to forgive your blanket for your wrongdoings which resulted in breaking my face.”
Harry’s face held a fond expression when he said, “You’re ridiculous. Your cheek is just fine.”
Harry finished up and they headed into Harry’s room. Just like they had years ago, Louis climbed in the bed, shuffled the pillows around to lean against, and settled on the left side. Harry joined him as soon as he got his laptop. They sat as close as possible and balanced the laptop between them. Louis didn’t know why they bothered, Harry was always the one who ended up holding the computer while Louis snuggled into him.
“Thanks for watching this with me, Hazza,” Louis said. “It will be even better with you here.”
“Right,” Harry stated. “What you really mean is that you’re happy that someone is here to listen to your ongoing commentary about what’s happening.”
Louis scoffed. “That’s not what I mean!”
“Sure it isn’t,” Harry said as he lightly bumped Louis’ shoulder, making sure to keep the laptop steady on their legs. “Are you ready?”
Louis nodded. “Let’s do this.”
Fifteen minutes into the show Harry gave up on trying to keep the laptop steady between them and pulled it into his own lap. Louis was pretty sure fifteen minutes was a lifetime record, but didn’t say anything about that. Instead he leaned into Harry’s side, Harry moved to wrap his arm around Louis’ shoulders. It was comfortable. It was just how it was when they were back home in England. It wasn’t enough now.
Maybe it was the mistake of scenting Harry in Times Square. It seemed to be instinct at the time, but now he couldn’t stop thinking about it. Harry was his best friend, he couldn’t go scenting his best friend. Especially since he moved across the world for this internship. Louis couldn’t get in the way of Harry’s plans.
Louis went back to adamantly watching the show. He didn’t know what he did to catch Harry’s attention but he was just going to ignore it. Harry didn’t say anything else and Louis was thankful. Now that he didn’t have a laptop to help balance, Louis pulled his legs up to his chest and turned into Harry’s side. And okay, Harry smelled like Harry. But he smelled even more like Harry. What did that even mean? He needed cookies.
“Harry, can we have cookies?”
Harry chuckled. “We just ate breakfast less than a half hour ago.”
“You really want cookies? Now?”
Actually, he really wanted to scent Harry, but cookies would have to suffice.
“Cookies. I really need cookies, Harry,” Louis was fairly certain he sounded desperate, and he was very certain Harry would know it was something beyond cookies. Louis just had to make sure he didn’t find out.
Harry paused the show, placed a kiss in Louis’ head, and moved to get up.
Did Harry just kiss him? Technically hair was dead, but it felt very alive right now. He fucking needed cookies.
“Here we go,” Harry stated as he walked back into the room.
Lous made grabby hands for the package of Oreos and ripped them open immediately. He needed something to do with his hands. What was wrong with him? Louis gave a random thought to the few guys he had dated. He had liked all of them, their scents were lovely, but there was something different between them and Harry. Maybe it was his heat. Was his heat coming up? He didn’t feel like doing the math.
Harry settled back onto the bed and pulled Louis into his side. Why was Harry’s scent so fucking strong? Louis couldn’t sit still, but he also didn’t want to move away from Harry.
“Lou, babe, what’s wrong?” Harry quietly asked.
“Nothing,” Louis said much too quickly for there to be nothing wrong. This was supposed to be a lazy day of platonic cuddling. Louis’ body was not cooperating and if he didn’t get his head on straight Harry was going to smell the inevitable arousal.
“Harry,” Louis said in a slightly strained voice. “I think we may need to do this another day. I think I’m tired. Or I’m not feeling well. Maybe I need to lie down or something. In my own room would be best. Yeah.”
“Why don’t you lie down here?” Harry asked as he brushed his fingers through Louis’ fringe.
“Lay down, Lou,” Harry stated. “Please stay here with me?”
Louis nodded and Harry moved the laptop out of the way and prompted Louis to move out of his curled up position. Harry reached over and set his laptop on the desk next to Louis’ side of the bed and Louis moved onto his side so he could watch. The video was sideways but who the fuck cared. Louis certainly didn’t. Harry resumed the episode and Louis tried concentrating as Harry continued to get settled. Seconds later, Harry was wrapping his arms around Louis’ stomach, pulling him in tight so Louis’ back was plastered against his front.
What was he doing? What was happening? This wasn’t plantonic, this was an intentional real cuddle. They were best friends and Harry had to go out and find his omega. What was he thinking?
“Lou?” Harry asked.
When Louis didn’t responded Harry made a second attempt. “Louis?”
“Yes?” Louis whispered.
“Is this okay?” Harry asked, giving a slight squeeze around his stomach as if to emphasize the cuddling.
Louis nodded his head. He didn’t trust his voice. Louis remained silent and tried to relax in Harry’s arms. Harry was smelling even more like Harry. How was that possible? Were his pheromones broken? Harry was scent marking him. Was he doing it on purpose? Louis couldn’t contain the quiet whine he released. He wanted it. He wanted more . How did he ask for more without actually asking for more? Words were so overrated.
Louis tilted his head to expose his neck. Maybe Harry would take a hint and scent him. Or maybe he wouldn’t because Harry didn’t move. Maybe just a little bit more? Louis twisted his neck in an unnatural position for how he was currently laying and found success. He felt Harry shift as he moved to scent him. Louis couldn’t contain a shiver as Harry nosed through his hair, the back of his ear and down to his neck. He placed a small lingering kiss on Louis’ pulsepoint as Harry pulled him in tighter to his chest.
Not that Louis was doing a very good job in the first place, but he completely gave up the concept of trying to hold in his arousal and immediately felt slick. Harry’s pheromones were definitely broken. Either that or he believed Louis was his omega. Louis’ mind was racing. What if he was Harry’s omega? Was it possible? Louis may not believe in the whole soulmate concept being applied to him, but if he had to pick an alpha it would be Harry. It would always be Harry.
“Lou, relax and watch the show,” Harry whispered. His pheromones changed to a different sort of scent. One that once and for all calmed Louis’ mind. Louis was slick, but it was clear Harry wasn’t going to do anything beyond scenting him. Louis wasn’t really the praying type, but he sent up a small prayer that this wouldn’t be an incident they would pretend didn’t happen. He was done with those.
He fell asleep. It was probably only noon and he had fallen asleep? He moved to grab his phone, which turned out to be Harry’s phone and found it to be three in the afternoon. What had happened? Or why had that happened? Harry wasn’t next to him anymore and he wished that he was. Kinda.
Harry’s laptop had continued to play the show, as if leaving it on was some sort of lullabye for Louis. He shut the laptop and sat up. He could feel the dried slick in his joggers and immediately moved to take a shower. As he moved through the apartment he found Harry was nowhere to be seen. He checked by the front door on the way to the shower, his running shoes were gone. Louis could only guess he was out thinking about what had happened earlier. Louis decided to go with what was probably the inevitable. They would pretend it never happened.
On the way back to his bedroom, Louis took enough food from the kitchen to last the night. If he was going to have to forget it happened he needed a break from Harry. He pulled out his calendar and checked when his heat was scheduled to start. Next weekend. Maybe that’s why he had the reaction to Harry as he had. He didn’t know what Niall and Harry were doing next weekend but figured they would both be home. Louis had been renting a heat room for the past two years from a well established company downtown to spend his heat. It made it more convenient for him and Niall, or at least a lot less awkward. He phoned the company and made his usual reservation for the weekend.
With that complete, he pulled out his laptop and restarted the episode from earlier in the day. When he heard the door to their apartment open he pulled out his earbuds so he could put his full concentration on the show and not think about the person in the other room. When the episode ended Louis gave a ten second thought about what he would change if he had a time machine. Maybe he would make it so Harry was his alpha. The next episode started playing before he could think of any details.
So, they were pretending it didn’t happen. Or it was also possible Louis was avoiding Harry so they wouldn’t have to address it. And in turn Louis wouldn’t have to be disappointed when Harry pretended it didn’t happen. That was definitely the way of progress. Just keep on avoiding the world.
He had stayed in his room the entirety of Sunday, slipping out once to use the loo when he was positive Harry was in his room. It was surprisingly easy to have limited interaction with both Niall and Harry on Monday and Tuesday, but now it was Wednesday. Since Harry had arrived two months ago he had cooked dinner every Wednesday as a sort of roommate bonding time. It was a standing arrangement and he knew he wouldn’t be able to avoid it. Especially when he started to smell the food seep in under his bedroom door. Louis had a thought of fajitas. Because of course Harry would go and make Louis’ favorite.
Louis took a deep breath. Time to face the music. Or whatever.
“Tommo!” Niall yelled out upon seeing him. “Where the hell have you been, mate?”
Louis rolled his eyes. “I’ve been right here, thanks for noticing.”
“Okay, I rephrase,” Niall stated. “Why have I not seen you for more than ten minutes at a time in the past two days?”
“I think you’re exaggerating,” Louis said. He totally wasn’t exaggerating. Louis had timed it. Ten minutes allowed for some interaction while most of it was spent shoveling food in his mouth so there could be no talking.
Niall shook his head. “If you say so. Anyway, Harry’s making us fajitas. It’s your favorite. I think he likes you because he never makes my favorite.”
“You don’t have a favorite. You’ll eat whatever is placed in front of you,” Louis stated as he flopped down on the couch next to Niall.
Niall shrugged. “Okay, that’s true. I still think he likes you.”
“We’ve been best friends since he was eight and I was ten. I would hope that he likes me.”
“Praying isn’t working,” Niall mumbled at the same time Harry announced that the food was ready.
Harry walked out carrying the three plates of food. Louis could admit that he was getting better at balancing everything. He was proud.
“I made your favorite, Lou,” Harry gave a small smile as he set the plates down.
Louis returned the smile and stated, “I noticed, thank you.”
“Should we say grace? Or a prayer?” Niall asked.
Louis looked over to Niall. “What the fuck? Since when do we say grace, Niall?”
Niall shrugged. “Just a suggestion. No harm in asking for a little help from the powers that be.”
“Niall,” Harry said in a warning tone. “Eat your food.”
“Noted,” Niall stated. Whatever the hell that comment was for.
“What have you been up to the past couple days, Lou?” Harry asked. His eyebrows were furrowed like he wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer, or wasn’t sure he should ask.
Louis shrugged. “Just been busy at work is all. Plus, I’m always looking for something to audition for.”
Niall snorted. “You work at a pet shop. How busy could you be?”
“I’m an assistant manager there, Neil . There are times that we’re really busy and I need to be there.”
“Not this busy,” Niall countered. “But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.”
“What have you been working on?” Harry tentatively asked.
Louis didn’t like how Harry was being so timid when asking questions. Niall was right. There was no reason Louis needed to be at work as long as he had, and he always looked for jobs when he was home. Instead, he had been playing with the dogs that didn’t get as much attention by the public when he was off duty. They needed attention too so it was a valid reason. Kind of. Maybe not. No, it definitely was.
“We got quite a few new animals in, so I needed to be there to get them settled and such.”
And that part wasn’t a lie. He did need to be there longer hours than usual. He just extended the time for a bit. Moving on.
“What about you guys? Sorry I haven’t been around,” he said because now he really was. These were his best friends and Louis was a grown adult. He needed to stop avoiding them.
Louis looked over to Harry, who was already looking back at him. “I really am sorry for not being around like I usually am,” Louis said with sincerity.
Harry gave a small smile and asked, “What about this coming weekend? Maybe we could do something. I thought maybe you were watching Timeless when you were in your room Sunday, so I watched some too. I have time to catch up on Friday if you’re ahead of me.”
Louis nodded and shoved food in his mouth to avoid answering. He didn’t know what Harry would think about him going to a heat room. Louis had never mentioned what he did for his heat in the entire time they had been separated. Louis had briefly said he never had an alpha help because he wanted Harry to know that part, but he never said anything else and Harry had never asked.
“Um, Lou?” Niall tentatively asked. “What are you doing this weekend? Are you going to be around? Or, um, are you working really long hours?”
What was it with Niall? He couldn’t remember what he ate for breakfast but he somehow always remembered his heat? Louis had them every three months. Did Niall actually keep a calendar or something?
Louis quickly glanced over to Harry, who was looking between the pair. He really should speak to him about botox.
Louis sighed. “I’m pretty busy, I’ll probably be downtown. I don’t think I want to talk about it now though.”
“What’s downtown?” Harry asked.
Both Louis and Niall shoved the remainders of their food in the mouth. Louis needed more food. He wasn’t sure he could actually fit it though.
Niall swallowed first. As he stood up to move to the kitchen he announced, “Okay, I’m going to head to Babs for a bit. She wants to go on a short road trip this weekend so we’re making plans. This food was brilliant, Harry, thank you. You’re the best cook ever.”
Harry gave a small laugh. “Thanks, Niall. I try my best.”
What just happened? Niall worked over the weekend. Louis was positive of that.
Louis called after Niall, asking in disbelief, “Are you serious, Niall? I thought you had to work.”
Niall turned around from where he had been heading to his room. He shrugged and stated, “I did. I was able to get the day off. We really are going to go on a road trip.”
Louis temporarily forgot that Harry was watching their whole exchange and continued, “This weekend? Why this weekend?”
Niall gave him an unimpressed look. “I was able to get the day off.”
With that he turned around and continued to his room, shutting the door behind him.
Louis turned back around to where Harry was still watching him, half of his food still on his plate. There was no use in stalling.
“My heat is this weekend. So that’s what’s downtown.”
“I don’t understand,” Harry replied.
Louis shrugged as if it was no big deal. “I rent a heat room at a nice place down there. I have for years. It’s a good place for safety, privacy, and Niall doesn’t have to be bothered.
Harry pushed his plate away. That wasn’t a good sign.
“I’m sorry,” Harry stated. And yeah, he wasn’t happy. “Are you saying that you’ve been spending your heat locked up in some room by yourself?”
“Well I wasn’t going to share them with some alpha,” Louis defended. “You knew that. We never talked about anything else. There really wasn’t any need to.”
Niall came out of his room and practically sprinted out of the apartment, not saying a word as he closed the door behind him.
Harry stood up from where he was sat on the floor. He was, like, a lot taller than usual.
“Yes, there was , Lou!” Harry said with a hint of alpha in his voice. What the fuck?
Louis stood up from the sofa so Harry wasn’t towering over him as much. “What the fuck, Harry? What’s the big deal? It’s my heat. I may hate having to spend it alone but it’s my decision! I’m safe there! No one can get in to take advantage of me, if that’s what you’re thinking.”
They both stood facing each other for a few moments, Louis being the first to move as he dropped back down to sit on the sofa. He folded his arms around himself in a defensive act.
Harry’s face cleared of anger and he deflated as he moved to sit down next to Louis.
Harry let out a small sigh, his voice much softer and controlled when he said, “It’s not that, Lou. I know it’s your decision. But it’s a stupid decision.”
Louis went to respond but Harry held up his hand and continued. “You’re not safe being by yourself, Louis. You pass out, you drop. I don’t know how far gone you are. I know you take care of your body’s needs, but I could never tell how conscious you were while doing so.”
Louis frowned. “How do you know this? How do you know that?”
Harry looked down at his hands before replying. “I always checked up on you. I needed to know you were okay.”
“You checked up on me? You came in my room during my heat to watch me?”
Harry’s head snapped back up. “You know that’s not what I mean. I didn’t come in to watch you during your heat. I opened the door to make sure you were okay from time to time. I needed to make sure you were still conscious and not too far out of it. Occasionally I would come in to make you drink something to stay hydrated but that’s it. I didn’t watch you. But you’re out of it, Louis, it’s not safe to be alone in that state.”
Louis was speechless. Harry came in to check up on him? To take care of him in his vulnerable state? Is that why he has been coming out of his heat dehydrated for the past two years? There was a noticeable difference but he never gave it any thought as to why.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Louis whispered, eyes looking down at his hands.
“I didn’t think you would want to know. You never wanted help during your heat so I let it go. As far as you knew, you were by yourself as you requested.”
Louis looked back up into Harry’s beautiful eyes. “Hazza, why didn’t you tell me? You could have told me.”
Harry shrugged. “I told you, you didn’t want the help. I was going to help you either way so what difference did it make?”
“It kind of makes a lot of difference. It just does.”
Harry reached over and took Louis’ hand. “Please, Lou, don’t spend your heat by yourself. Please? If you want to be alone, that’s fine, but stay here. Please. I can’t stay here by myself knowing that you’re by yourself. Please, Lou.”
Louis officially lost count of how many times Harry said please. Three times? Four? He couldn’t deny Harry’s request. Not after knowing what he had done for him. He was slightly embarrassed thinking how Harry might have seen him when he was naked and lost in heat. But he also didn't care. Harry was there taking care of him like an alpha took care of their omega.
Louis desperately wanted to scent Harry. It seemed pretty clear that Harry cared for him no matter what. Maybe Harry was his alpha after all? No time like the present to see how Harry would respond to Louis’ next action. He got up and moved to sit in Harry’s lap, straddling him and immediately moving to scent him. He had his nose in the crook of Harry’s neck as he mumbled, “Thank you, Harry. You didn’t have to do that.”
Harry wrapped his arms around Louis, moving in to scent him as well. “Yes, I did, Lou.”
They both remained silent for a few moments, Louis finally asking, “Why?”
Harry rubbed his hand up and down Louis’ back in a soothing motion. He planted a small kiss to Louis’ neck and said, “I think you know why. I hope you know why.”
“You’re my alpha?” Louis whispered.
Louis felt Harry smile into his neck. “Yes, I’m your soulmate. But, I don’t want to live in Antarctica, love. I want to be here with you. Is that okay?”
Louis let out a small giggle. “Yes, that’s more than okay.”
Louis pulled back so he could look into Harry’s eyes. They were bright and beautiful. “Will you help with my heat, Harry? More than just opening the door to check up on me and making me drink water from time to time?”
Harry’s smile had never been more radiant. “Yes. God, yes.”
“Will you knot me?”
“Yes,” Harry nodded with a smile on his face.
“Will you knot me now?”
Louis scowled. “The fuck? Why not now?”
“Have you had an alpha knot you before, Lou?”
“No? Why does that matter.”
Harry grinned. “That makes me happy, you know. Knowing you haven’t had another alpha’s knot.”
Louis continued to scowl. “Since you’re happy about that I think we should celebrate the moment by you being the first.”
“I will be the first. But I will not knot you for the first time when you’re not in heat. The first time hurts, love. Or at least that’s what I’ve heard a couple people say. It hurts the first time and when you’re in heat it won’t be as bad.”
Louis furrowed his brows and asked, “How do you know that? Have you given someone their first knot before?”
“Of course I haven’t,” Harry quickly replied. “But I’ve heard that it does and I’m not going to hurt you. You can have my knot this weekend, not before.’
Louis pouted. “But then I might not remember it. Please, Hazza.”
Harry shook his head. Louis had the feeling Harry wasn’t going to be persuaded. While Louis was positive pleasure would outweigh the pain, it was plain to see that Harry wasn’t going to take that chance. Stupid alpha. Louis gave up and shoved his nose back into the crook of Harry’s neck.
“Can I at least cuddle with you tonight?” Louis asked into his neck. “Or will you cuddle me? Or have an intentional cuddle and not just wake up with our limbs accidentally tangled?”
Harry brushed his fingers through Louis’ fringe. “We never accidentally cuddled, Lou. You obviously thought so, but nine times out of ten it wasn’t accidental.”
Louis smiled into Harry’s shoulder. He didn’t know what to say to that. There were butterflies taking flight in his stomach at the knowledge though.
“Oh,” he stated. “Okay then.”
Harry gave a small laugh and moved Louis off of his lap. “Let’s watch some Timeless ,” Harry said. “Maybe you can not freak when I scent you this time.”
“I have no idea what you mean,” Louis mumbled.
“Sure you don’t,” Harry said with laughter in his voice.
Louis heat was coming early. Why was it coming early? Ever since he found that he had a heat every three months he had been able to track it to the day. He didn’t have it memorized like Niall apparently did, but it was always on his calendar. This month it was supposed to start Saturday evening. Why the fuck was he feeling as though it was coming on Friday afternoon? He still had five more hours of work and he could not leave. There was no one to cover for him.
Thankfully the only time alphas tended to come into the shop was when they were with their omega or children. Harry, of course, being the exception to all alphas everywhere. Any pet store they passed, he wanted to go in to play with the older dogs that were still there. Louis fondly shook his head at the thought. How had he gotten so lucky?
Maybe that was why his heat was starting early? Because he officially had an alpha? An alpha who still hadn’t knotted him, the bastard. Maybe his body was impatient? Whatever it was he couldn’t work five more hours like this. They may not have many alpha customers, but the shop did have three younger alpha employees. Naturally, today would be his day to work with all three at once.
Louis shook his head to get out of his thoughts when he heard his name coming from one of his alpha coworkers.
“Louis?” Kevin asked. “Are you okay?”
Louis nodded a little too enthusiastically. “Yeah, absolutely. Are things going okay with that annoying family back there?”
“Yeah, um, yeah,” Kevin stated. “I think I’ll, um, go help them out.”
Kevin’s pupils were blown wide and as he turned away Louis didn’t miss the way he sniffed the air. Fuck.
Louis slipped into the breakroom, pulling out his phone as he went. He skipped over their usual texting and instead dialled Harry’s number. He answered immediately, probably assuming the worst since Louis rarely called.
“What’s wrong, Lou?” Harry answered.
“Well, hello to you to,” Louis said with laughter in his voice. It wasn’t funny, but it still kind of was.
“Lou, what’s wrong? The last time you picked up the phone to call me was when I was back in England,” He sounded nervous, maybe frightened?
“It’s nothing, it’s just that I’m going into heat early. My heat has never started early so it’s a little weird. I’m not sure what to do. I have five hours of work and I can’t leave. I’m the one that has to lock up tonight.”
“I’m coming down there. I don’t want you by yourself. We’ll figure out what to do once I’m there.”
The line went dead. Did Harry just disconnect on him? Seriously? Louis shoved his phone back in his pocket. It was a half hour train ride, he’d be there soon enough. Louis walked back out into the store. He had a job to do.
Harry walked in the door fifteen minutes later to find Louis with no customers. He was immediately by Louis’ side, pulling him into a brief, but tight, hug. He leaned down to quickly scent Louis, who in turn relaxed immediately. He hadn’t realized he was so tense.
“How did you get here so fast?” Louis asked. He could see the worry in Harry’s eyes.
“Traffic isn’t bad so I took a taxi, I knew it would be faster.”
Louis sighed. “Harry, it’s not that bad. I can just feel it coming on. I’m fine for now and I need to work.”
“You smell wonderful, Lou. I want to take you home now.”
Louis shook his head. “You can’t. Maybe you could just hang out for a bit though. Be my alpha and protect me? It’s not likely I’ll get a customer who is an alpha, but I do have three alpha coworkers. Kevin already noticed.”
Harry moved a short distance from Louis as a customer came up to the counter to check out. Usually Louis had other things to do so he rarely took on the job of working at the register. He actually enjoyed the position from time to time. However, from the hungry look on the beta’s face in front of him it appeared he would need to get someone else to take over for him. Apparently he was close enough to fully breaking out in heat that a beta could smell him, and he watched as the person leaned farther into him as they were paying. They quickly pulled back when Harry stepped back into Louis’ space. Louis rolled his eyes.
The customer left quickly after that and Louis rounded on Harry saying, “Harry, it was fine.”
Harry scoffed. “No it wasn’t. Where are your three employees?”
“I’ll get them,” Kevin said from out of nowhere.
The three quickly appeared and before Louis could say anything Harry assigned each person a position within the store to take control over. How did Harry even know the specific locations where employees were usually stationed?
Once the other three boys left to do their assigned jobs Harry turned to Louis and instructed, “Your job is to go take inventory in the back room, or do paperwork in the back room, or sleep in the back room, whichever you prefer as long as it’s in the back room.”
Louis laughed. “Thank you for stressing the fact that you want me in the back room, Harry. I kind of got it the first time.”
“I’m serious, Lou,” Harry frowned. “I’ll keep an eye on the store, I promise. Please stay back there until it’s time to lock up.”
Harry turned Louis by his elbow and proceeded to direct him to the back of the store by the small of his back. “I promise I’ll take care of things up here. I’ve been to pet stores enough to know what jobs need to be done.”
“I’m fine, Harry,” Louis stated. “Will you stop furrowing your brows like that? You’re going to need to get botox soon.”
Harry snorted and turned back towards the front of the store, leaving Louis to find something to do. In reality he didn’t really feel fine and desperately needed a nap. Hopefully it was a six hour nap because he usually woke up in heat.
Louis blinked his eyes open to find Harry kneeling over him. He watched as a smile crept up onto his face and felt Harry run his fingers through his fringe. Louis wasn’t in the most comfortable position, having taken up residence on the hard floor with a jacket shoved under his head as a makeshift pillow, but Harry was here so it didn’t matter.
Louis looked up at Harry and asked, “Why haven’t you kissed me, Hazza? Why haven’t we kissed? You told me you were my alpha two days ago and you still haven’t kissed me on the lips.”
Harry gave a soft smile as he ran his finger along Louis’ jaw. “Because you were still trying to figure out how to make the switch from best friend to more than that. I didn’t want to rush you.”
Okay, that was just stupid. What kind of reasoning was that?
“That’s stupid, Harry. Maybe you should have just kissed me and flipped the switch. Now I’ve never been kissed,” Louis pouted.
Louis was still lying on the floor when Harry leaned over and planted a tender kiss on his lips. Harry had soft lips.
Harry sat back and Louis frowned asking, “That’s it? That’s our first kiss? A tiny peck? Are we back in kindergarten?”
Harry laughed and pulled Louis up into a sitting position.
“We never kissed back in kindergarten, so no,” Harry said as he stood up, bringing Louis with him.
“I hate you,” Louis mumbled. “Why are we getting up? I vote we just stay here for the night.”
“Absolutely not. We need to get you home. Where are your keys so we can lock up on the way out?”
Louis pointed in the vicinity of the desk that held paperwork that he never got around to doing. Harry must have seen them though as he quickly moved to pick something up that sounded like keys jingling.
Harry took Louis’ hand and led him to the front of the store, looking down at his phone as they walked.
“I called an Uber so I can track when they are arriving. We have a few more minutes,” Harry said.
As they walked, Louis looked around at the store. Everything looked to be in order and all nightly jobs completed. His alpha was the most perfect human being to ever exist.
They stopped just inside the door to wait for the car to arrive. Harry occasionally looking at his phone, likely tracking where their ride was. Louis mind was a bit hazy but he was very aware what he was doing when he pulled on the front of Harry’s shirt, stood on his tippy-toes and kissed him. Harry immediately wrapped his arms around him and pulled him in. Their tongues quickly found each other and Louis could taste Harry’s peppermint gum as he licked into his mouth. His mind was getting fuzzy from his heat but he needed to remember this. He would definitely remember how Harry’s phone vibrated against his back, signaling the arrival of their Uber. He was never using Uber again.
Harry pulled away and asked, “Where’s your jacket, Lou? Or a towel?”
Louis frowned in confusion. “Why?”
“Where is it, baby?”
Louis shrugged. “I guess it’s still in the back room?”
Harry released him and ran towards the back of the store, quickly coming back carrying one of Louis’ jumpers that he didn’t know he left behind.
“Hazza, what is going on? Why do you need my jacket? Or my jumper?”
Harry planted a quick kiss to Louis’ lips and took hold of his hand, directing him out the door towards the car.
Louis stopped and watched as Harry locked the store behind him, testing the doors to make sure everything was locked securely.
“You’re slick, baby. You can sit on your jumper so you don’t ruin our drivers seat.”
Because of course Harry would think of that. Sucks to be all the omegas who didn’t have a Harry, Louis thought. His mind paused. That was mean. He shouldn’t think like that. He hoped every omega on the planet had someone as perfect as Harry.
Harry opened the door to their Uber and placed Louis’ jumper on the seat before navigating Louis to sit down. Once seated, Harry closed the door, hurried to the other side of the car and hopped in. As the driver pulled into the traffic he glanced back to Harry and said, “Thanks, man, I really appreciate that. You wouldn’t believe the amount of strangers slick I’ve had to deep clean out of here.”
Louis snorted. He didn’t know why. He was quickly falling into full heat and he was pissed. He wasn’t going to remember anything.
“What’s wrong, Lou?” Harry asked in a low voice.
“I’m not going to remember it, Hazza,” Louis said quietly. “I’m falling into heat and I’m not going to remember it.”
Louis looked into Harry’s beautiful eyes and whispered, “I’m not going to remember you knotting me. You’re going to, right?”
Harry shuffled over in the back seat to sit next to Louis, pulling him into his chest. He placed a lingering kiss to the top of his head and whispered, “I am. I promise I’ll knot you. I’ve wanted to for so long. Once your body recognizes that it is made for the stretch of my knot I promise to knot you over and over again whenever you want.”
Louis smiled at that and replied, “Okay.”
They rode the rest of the way in silence, Louis still in Harry’s arms. His mind was quickly slipping away.
Louis woke and found himself held tight in Harry’s arms. Harry must have recently knotted him because they were still connected. While Louis smiled at that he couldn’t help the disappointment that flooded through him. He remembered bits and pieces of his heat, but most of it consisted of pheromones and sounds. He continued wracking through his mind and at long last found a fuzzy memory of Harry knotting him for the first time. Mostly because it hurt. A lot. He might have even cried in pain. Harry must have been right, the pleasure probably didn’t outweigh the pain.
Harry’s breathing was light and steady against Louis neck and he could only assume he was asleep. Louis wiggled his bum back against Harry who, in turn, snuffled awake.
“Sorry, Lou,” Harry whispered as he moved to pull out. Louis both cringed and giggled at the squelching noise it made.
“Lou?” Harry asked. “Are you awake? Are you here with me?”
Louis nodded in confirmation. “What time is it? What day is it?”
“It’s Sunday night,” Harry said as he reached over Louis for his phone. “Nine o’clock. Niall will probably be home soon.”
Louis groaned. “Can we change the locks so he can’t get in?”
Harry laughed as Louis wiggled out of Harry’s tight hold to flip over so they could face each other. Louis reached up to run his hand through Harry’s hair. He was radiant, eyes shining bright in the soft light of the bedside lamp.
“You’re beautiful, Hazza. You are the loveliest alpha in the whole world, do you know that?”
Harry smiled softly as he ran his fingers through Louis’ fringe. He remained silent for a few moments before moving to kiss him. The kiss was tender and seemed to hold unspoken words that Louis thought he might have seen in Harry’s eyes just seconds before. He hoped so, because Louis loved him too.
Niall came home to find them showered and on the couch, Harry on top of Louis giving him the kisses that he should have had before his heat. Harry was definitely doing a good job of making up for the lost time, and Louis was quickly becoming slick. Niall loudly dropped his bag on the floor and interrupted their activities by asking, “Did you both stay here this weekend? In this apartment? Together?”
Louis rolled his eyes as Harry pulled back. Louis looked over to Niall and stated, “Yes, Niall. Harry helped me with my heat. He’s my soulmate and I get to be his omega for forever.”
Niall looked between the pair with a smile on his face. “Thank, God.”
Louis glared at him and asked, “What does that mean?”
Niall picked up his things and continued to his room. He turned back towards the living room and announced, “I’m saying one last prayer of thanks and then I’m finished. My prayers have been answered. Congratulations on finally figuring it out, Louis.”
Louis heard his door shut and he turned to Harry, who appeared to be holding in laughter.
Louis directed the same question to Harry, “What the fuck does that mean?”
Harry shrugged with a large smile on his face. “I’m sure it’s nothing. I just think he might be happy that I showed up at your door to tell you I’m your alpha. It just took a bit for you to realize that is all.”
Harry gave no time for Louis to respond as he pulled him back down to resume their previous activities. Louis changed his mind. He definitely believed in soulmates, and he would forever be grateful that Harry was his.