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What Am I Gonna Say When I See You

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“Is it not a bit weird that I’m going to this thing?” Louis asks his sister Lottie as she’s parking the car. He’s got the gift bag and a bottle of wine balanced on his knee, preventing his leg from bouncing with nerves as it would be in similar situations.

Once Lottie is happy with the car’s position, she cranks the noisy handbrake of her decade-old Ford Fiesta and kills the engine. “Louis, we’re here. Would it not have made more sense to ask me that back at mum’s house?”

Louis knows she’s right, but the doubts have steadily built up in his mind in the twelve minutes it took to drive here. “I haven’t seen him in years, and he might not want me there.”

Lottie laughs and shakes her head. “God, you have no idea do you?” He wants to ask her what she means but she reaches to unclip her seatbelt and opens the car door, jumping out onto the pavement still a little slushy with the snow that had been falling earlier that day before closing it shut with a thud. Louis waits a couple of seconds before deciding that his curiosity is overpowering his mild anxiety so he undoes his own seatbelt, shuffling out the car trying not to drop the items in his clutch. A somewhat difficult task with the thick gloves he has on but he just about manages. 

Louis rounds the front of the vehicle as Lottie locks the car and pockets the key in her jacket before readjusting her hood over her head. There’s the faintest falling of rain, so light you can barely feel it, but she won’t want to take the chance in getting her hair wet on the short walk. “I wouldn’t have asked you to come if he didn’t want you there.”

Louis hands her the gift bag when he reaches the pavement beside her and they turn to walk down the street to the house he has been in too many times to count. “I know you wouldn’t, but I haven’t seen him in forever. And you said it was just close family and friends going.” 

“You are close family and friends. A lot closer than I am. The main reason I’m going is because mum made me since she’s sick in bed with the flu.” Louis kind of wishes he was sick in bed with the flu. He shouldn’t be this apprehensive. It’s Harry. It’s only Harry. And yeah, they might not have seen each other in almost six years, but they’re still friends. Aren’t they?

The last time Louis had seen Harry was two days before he left for London when he was eighteen. Friends at first through circumstance and obligation by way of their mothers’ from a young age when Louis’ family had moved to Homes Chapel, they had become inseparable as children, spending many a weekend together, even if their mums weren’t. Then there was the joint family BBQs, and camping trips and holidays in the south of Spain. Louis had so many fond memories of his childhood where Harry was front and centre.

Then, as adolescence hit them both, so did the questions. “Have you ever thought about kissing a boy Lou?” Louis can still hear Harry whisper it against his skin when they were coiled around in each other in a tent in Louis’ mum’s back garden to retain heat. Can still feel the little shiver that zipped right down his spine when he was fourteen. “Only one,” he had replied honestly, before pressing their lips together.

It carried on like that for a while, but stolen kisses and late night fumbles under the sheets during sleepovers in his early teens had to become a thing of the past eventually, Louis having grown increasingly aware of the two year age gap between them. He still spent time with Harry, although the number of occasions decreased, and the silly experimentation of their formative years had fallen by the wayside as Louis went off with lads and ladies of his own age and experimented with them. Harry never asked why it had stopped. Louis never told him. They just both seemed to get it.

Then Louis left, got a job as an apprentice electrician with his uncle in London, leaving Holmes Chapel and the family to live and work in the nation’s capital. He didn’t get home much in the first couple of years, choosing to stay and slog his guts out to make ends meet. By the time he passed all his qualifications and had a bit more time and money to venture back north, Harry had upped and left to do his own thing himself. 

Louis had kept up with Harry’s news in the six years since they had last been in the same room together, mostly third hand through their mothers since he had gone off to teach English abroad when he himself was eighteen. Harry being the reluctant user of social media that he is, barely relayed any news himself. Louis didn’t even know what he looked like nowadays, still imagining a goofy teen with too thick hair who wears bowties on special occasions. “He’s taller I suppose,” Louis’ mum had offered when he had enquired as to any differences, “but still so very handsome.” Not much to go on then, and Harry had barely been in the country at all for Louis to so much as consider meeting up with him. And he had, numerous times. Over the passing years, Louis thought about Harry often, wanted to get in touch directly, more directly that liking a few tweets or arty Instagram posts anyway, but he didn’t know where to start. How do you tell someone half a world away that you were a stupid, selfish kid and you want your best friend back?

But now Harry was back in town, and so was Louis, coming up from London for a spur of the moment visit to the family. Lottie had informed him she was attending Harry’s birthday party as soon as Louis had walked through his mum’s front door and that he would absolutely be attending with her, despite his meagre protests.

They walk a few feet side by side in silence until the tension in Louis’ stomach gets too much again. “You saw him when he first got back right? Couple of weeks ago?”

Lottie sighs, her exaggerated breath smoking in the freezing night air. “Yes Louis, I saw him. He came over with Anne for dinner. What of it?”

Louis swallows, studying the ground as they move. “Did he like, you know, ask about me or anything?” He looks up in time to see her smirk. “You know what, it doesn’t matter. Forget I said anything.”

“He didn’t ask about you outright, but obviously mum was gushing about you like she normally does, so he knows about what’s going on with you.” Louis doesn’t know how to feel about that. Harry probably doesn’t care. He’s been off globetrotting meeting fantastically interesting people and seeing fantastically interesting things and very probably doesn’t give two shits about his childhood friend that he exchanged late night snogs and clumsy orgasms with back in the day. Louis probably shouldn’t give two shits either come to think of it. Except he does, he really fucking does. 

Louis stops dead in the middle of the pavement. “Maybe I shouldn’t go. Or maybe you should call ahead and tell him I’m coming, to check it’s OK.” 

Lottie, having had to backtrack a couple of feet due to the suddenness of Louis’ move, wraps an arm around his waist and starts hauling him down the street, Louis’ feet dragging along the wet concrete. “For fuck sake what is the matter with you? Mum was right, you two are as bad as each other.”

“What? What do you mean? What’s mum been saying?” He’d struggle more against her insistence to pull him along with her but he’s afraid he’ll drop the wine. It’s a nice wine, he bought it especially from the fancy wine shop in town. 

Lottie ignores him. “I can literally see the house from here. Come ooon!” she whines, giving him a final forceful tug, now apparently over Louis’ minor theatrics, before dropping her arm completely and stomping off to finish the last hundred feet. Louis follows, slower, until he catches up with her waiting on the doorstep that leads to Harry’s childhood home.

Louis can hear music, and the din of chatter of people in the front room, but the curtains are drawn so he can’t get a look at how many people are there or who. He nods at Lottie who is staring at him expectedly and shuffles awkwardly on the spot while she reaches up to ring the doorbell, his heart going like the clappers. He could do with a glass from the bottle in his hand right about now. 

They only have to wait a few seconds before the door bursts open. It’s Harry’s mum, so Louis releases his breath.

“Oh my God Louis! What are you doing here?” Anne pulls him in for a firm hug and kisses his cheek.

“Aw well I came up for the weekend and Lottie mentioned this was happening tonight so thought I would stop by and say hello,” he explains once she has let go. He refrains from telling her that he was told to come and threatened with minor violence from his sister if he didn’t. 

“Of course, of course.” He watches as Anne and Lottie hug. “Sorry your mum couldn’t be with us tonight, but best for her to rest up with that nasty bug of hers. Can I take your coats and everything?” she asks.

Louis places the bottle of wine securely between his thighs before proceeding to tug his gloves off with his teeth and stuff them in his pockets before removing his winter jacket, leaving him in smart jumper and jeans. He would have worn something nicer but he understandably hadn’t packed for a special occasion before leaving London. He hands the jacket over to Anne, as does Lottie having taken off her own, and they watch as she deposits both of them in the cupboard under the stairs, talking back at them as she goes. “Harry is going to absolutely flip when he sees you’re here Louis.”

Louis highly doubts that, but he guesses he’s about to find out either way. Anne tells them to head on through, that she thinks Harry’s in the kitchen. They do as instructed and make their way into the livingroom which is surprisingly crowded. He recognises a few of Harry’s family members, including Harry’s sister Gemma, but she doesn’t seem to see Louis, too engrossed in conversation with a tall, dark haired man. The room is decorated with lots of balloons and banners, and there’s a table in the far corner set up with finger food, though the thought of eating right now makes Louis’ already jittery tummy spin harder. They move to the back of the room, giving Louis a view into the kitchen.

And what’s the first word that Louis thinks of when he finally sees Harry? Long. Everything about him is just so bloody long. From his shoulder-length curls to his thick neck, and his barely covered torso and his jewellery adorned fingers all the way down to his legs. God his legs look like they go on for miles. He’s wearing tight black jeans and silky, pale blue shirt that’s only got two buttons done up, showing off his golden chest and tattoos. Another long is how long Louis hasn’t been breathing for. 

The second word Louis thinks? Man. Louis swallows, the picture of the goofy sixteen-year-old boy in his mind evaporating to be replaced with this, this fucking man in front of him. He’s always been pretty, Louis always knew that Harry would be handsome as an adult, but he hadn’t prepared himself for this. He’s absolutely stunning. How the fuck did he not see this coming? 

The third word? Run. Because Harry’s just looked up from the person he’s talking to and spotted Louis, his eyes widening in what could be mistaken for horror. Louis tries to smile at him, but he’s sure it’s coming off as a grimace. He curses himself for not wearing a hood, his hair probably looks like shit now from the rain, and he should have worn something better than this awful jumper. Fuck, Harry’s marching over to them. Louis needs to run but his legs won’t bloody move. 

“Lou,” is all Harry utters when he reaches him in about three strides with his mile long legs before wrapping his arms round Louis’ waist and squeezing tightly. He buries his face in Louis’ neck and Louis squeezes just as tightly back, careful not to hit Harry’s back with the bottle he’s holding.

“Hey Hazza,” Louis says quietly against his ear. They do nothing for a few seconds but hold each other, and it feels so good Louis could cry but he won’t because that’s weird and he’s just happy and relieved to see his friend after so long. 

Harry pulls away but keeps gazing into Louis’ face, a hand still on Louis’ hip. “I can’t believe you’re here. I’ve missed you.” 

His voice is so deep now, it throws Louis off for a beat. “I’ve missed you too,” he rasps eventually. And he has. He isn’t just happy and relieved to see his friend. Louis doesn’t quite understand what’s happening and what this is but it’s definitely not that. They’re a knot of something in his chest and he knows he needs to keep Harry close to figure out exactly what it is. 

“Hi, I’m here too by the way,” Lottie says from beside him. Louis had forgotten she was there, that anyone was. He bites his lip to keep the nervous giggles at bay at Harry shaking his head, flustered and apologising before he goes to hug her. 

“Thanks for coming Lotts, really appreciate it,” he says when he lets go. He’s back looking at Louis, sort of as if he can’t not. 

Lottie laughs warmly. “Well I had to, was under strict instructions from mum to hand deliver your present.” Louis turns to watch Lottie hand the gift bag over to Harry but she doesn’t move. “Sorry it’s not wrapped better, but he wasn’t expecting to go to a party tonight.” Wait, what? Is she talking about Louis being Harry’s present? That can’t be right. 

“Looks perfect to me.” Louis whips his head back round to see Harry smiling softly, his teeth sitting perfectly in his bottom lip. 

He doesn’t know what to say to that, possibly missing a joke he hasn’t been made privy to before now, so Louis shoves the bottle of wine in Harry’s direction. “Happy birthday Hazza.”

Harry looks a bit taken a back but he takes it and thanks him, before looking down at the label. “Oh wow, this is from Bari in Italy, where I lived my first year away? That’s so crazy?”

Now Louis feels like an idiot, he should have gone for something more subtle. “Um, yeah, I know, I got it especially for you.”

Harry’s smile spreads, the dimple that Louis used to poke and lick during play fights as a kid popping on his cheek. “Yeah? Good to know I’m not the only one that’s been keeping tabs then.” Oh, God. He’s been caught. But it’s OK because it sounds as if Harry’s been doing it too, so they can both be idiots, together hopefully. Harry leans forward to kiss Louis’ cheek but it ends up being one that grazes the side of Louis’ mouth and Louis has to actively stop himself from following him when he leans back again. 

“Drink?” Harry asks.

“Please,” Louis almost begs. Harry takes his wrist and leads him to the kitchen.

***

The next four hours pass by in a blur. Harry barely leaves Louis’ side or lets Louis’ leave his like he’s afraid that Louis might disappear on him without saying goodbye. He introduces him to everyone as simply ‘Louis’. Not ‘Louis, my childhood friend’ or ‘Louis, my mum’s best friend son,’ or even ‘Louis, my kind of secret maybe boyfriend when I was a teenager before he was an idiot and decided to go off with Juliet Brown,’ which is what Louis would deserve. No, he simply introduces him as ‘Louis’, as if people should just get that Louis doesn’t need a reason to be standing with Harry, the man of the hour, hips pressed together while they sip on bottles of Corona. 

They talk about everything they’ve been up to, within reason. There’s so much to say they couldn’t possibly do it all in one night but Louis gets the abbreviated version for now. Harry’s been living in Japan for the last year but the job contract was coming to an end and as much as he loves it there, he’s been missing home and wanted to come back. He’s so enthusiastic when he’s talking about all the places he’s lived in though, Louis somehow ends up promising that he’ll let Harry take him to them one day. He’s starting to think he’d follow Harry anywhere he asked him to.

He’s smart, and so, so funny. Harry’s always been funny, true, but he says things during the course of the night that make Louis laugh way too loudly. Louis can’t believe he forgot how much they laugh together, guests of the party routinely turning around to stare when one of them makes the other honk and splutter. Even when they’re reminiscing about times growing up, when Louis knows the punchline before the story has barely begun, he still finds himself doubled over holding his stomach in hysterics just at the way Harry tells it.

And Harry's ridiculously flirty. Louis thought he might have to play the obvious attraction that still lingers between them down, but Harry’s either too drunk or doesn’t care. And it’s allowed now, it’s not this silly little thing that has to be kept behind closed doors or under tables, away from prying eyes. They’re both finally at an age where if they want to fancy each other, they can. And they do because neither of them is being subtle. It might have helped that when Louis had mentioned Niall in conversation, and Harry had enquired as to who Niall was, Lottie had interrupted them both to say that Niall was only Louis’ flatmate and that Harry had nothing to worry about, Louis was ridiculously single and ripe for the picking, earning Lottie a punch to the arm and Louis another drink and a squeeze of his arse from an elated birthday boy. 

Despite the differences Louis can see in him now, there are definitely things that haven’t changed about Harry. There’s the way he stares at your mouth more than your eyes when he’s speaking to you, or starts every second sentence with ‘um’ and every third with ‘I think’. He’s always loved his mum and sister to death and it remains that he knows fuck all about football despite maintaining he’s a fan. Fleetwood Mac continues to be his favourite band and he’ll forever maintain that you couldn’t find a guy that likes a garden pea better than he does. He’s still one of the kindest people you will ever have the fortune of coming across and he’s still the best person Louis has ever met, hands down.

And as the night continues, as Harry feeds Louis homemade tiramisu with a fork, and plays Louis’ favourite songs on the Spotify playlist, and asks all about Louis about life in London with genuine interest, and holds him close when they dance in the kitchen, and waits with him outside when Louis has a fag, and looks at Louis like he’s the fucking sun at every opportunity, Louis wonders to himself if you can fall in love with someone in one night. This knot in his chest feels like it’s unravelling to reveal itself as something similar to love if not the thing itself and it’s a lot but it’s also not a lot because Louis probably already knew it was possible, had already fallen in love with Harry that night all those years ago in that yellow pop up tent while the rain spattered against the outside of it and the wind whistled through the gaps in the fabric and it didn’t matter because they had each other, but he just didn’t realise it because he was only a kid at the time. 

When they finally cut the cake, Harry’s tipsy but makes a lovely speech about being grateful for having everyone he loves and cares about in one room. When he’s told to make a wish, he scours the circle around him until he’s found Louis’ face and winks before blowing the candles out, never taking his eyes off Louis for a second. Yeah, there’s nothing subtle about this now. 

***

Louis’ not a hundred percent sure how he ended up here exactly. 

He knows how he got into Harry’s childhood bedroom of course. Harry had split his drink down himself and despite Louis drunkenly suggesting that he could just undo the shirt and leave it open because it was practically undone anyway, Harry had pinched his waist and murmured against the shell of his ear that unwrapping presents was his own job that night and had pulled Louis up the stairs by the hand to help him pick out something else to wear. 

Yeah, Louis’ just not sure how he ended up going from helping choose a shirt from Harry’s wardrobe to lying underneath him on his single bed, his lips going a bit numb from all the kissing they’re doing. It all happened too fast for Louis’ head to make sense of it. 

“Dunno, reckon it was my tiramisu that sealed the deal though,” Harry answers when Louis asks how Harry got him in the predicament, his hands caressing the skin on Louis’ waist underneath his jumper. 

Louis laughs against Harry’s mouth. “Shut up, idiot.” 

“Make me.” Louis can definitely do that, slipping his tongue back in to meet Harry’s happily. Louis can’t believe he also forgot how good kissing Harry actually is, the memories of their carefree antics, some of them in this very room with that same poster of David Beckham watching over them, now filling his head. 

It’s electric, that’s the only word to describe it really, and Louis is giving genuine thought to how he can spend the rest of his life right here, under Harry and getting kissed like the world might end if he doesn’t. When Harry starts lifting Louis’ jumper, however, Louis pulls back. “What d’you think you’re doing there Hazza?”

Harry pouts. “Just trying to unwrap my present.” 

Louis wants him to, God does Louis want to be unwrapped by Harry, but Harry’s already topless and Louis’ confident if his jumper comes off and they’re skin to skin, this is going to get so much worse. “Mmmm not sure that’s a good idea, what with your entire family downstairs.”

Harry smirks. “Never stopped us before. Remember that time when-“ he starts.

Louis takes his hands wrapped around Harry’s neck and slaps them against Harry’s mouth. “Do not finish that sentence. I’m trying to be good here and you are being very bad.” 

Harry pulls them away without much of a struggle and intertwines their fingers together, pressing them against the pillow on either side of Louis’ head. “Darling, let me assure you,” he mumbles deeply as he noses at Louis’ cheek, “nothing about me and you in bed together will ever be bad.” Jesus. When did he get so great at this?

“Hazza…” Louis chokes out.

Harry rears his back so Louis can see his over-exaggerated eyeroll. “Fine. Rain check on the sex then?”

Louis nods with a grin, delighted at the confirmation that sex with Harry is going to happen at some point in the future. Not that there was any doubt in his mind that it wouldn’t after the last four hours. “Yes. But that doesn’t mean the kissing has to stop though.”

***

There is no rain check though, it never comes. 

Their kissing eventually gets interrupted by Gemma shouting up the stairs that could Harry please ‘peel himself away from Louis long enough to say goodbye to his guests’ which they pair giggle at before returning to the party, Harry now in a simple black shirt, with an equal number of buttons undone as the previous one. 

They get a lot drunker after that, and it’s nearly three in the morning by the time the last guests trickle out of the house. Louis wants to stay and he doesn’t want to leave and he shouldn’t go but he needs to because this isn’t the time and place to have the kind of conversations he thinks him and Harry are going to have. He kisses Harry one final time before jumping in the taxi he had to order since Lottie went home hours ago and it’s not until he gets back to his mum’s he realises that Harry didn’t ask for his number and he definitely didn’t say he’d get in touch. 

 

_______

 

Eight months go by. To be precise, two hundred and forty-five days pass without Louis seeing or hearing from Harry and Louis thinks about him on every single one of those days, sometimes a little, mostly a lot. How could you not? How could you have a connection like that with someone and not think about them? But Harry never got in touch with him. 

Louis had wanted to call, of course, he had, but he also isn’t stupid. A guy can say and do all the right things in the heat of the moment and not have any follow through, Louis knows thats from bitter experience in his rather disastrous love life. And if Harry really wanted to see him there are ways he could get Louis’ number, but he obviously doesn’t. And they don’t even live in the same city, what would be the point in calling even if he wanted to? These are just some of the bullshit reasons Louis gives Lottie when she tells him to stop being a fucking arsehole and go call Harry himself. He doesn’t tell her the real reason that he doesn’t.

He’s scared.

Louis is terrified that he’s the only one that feels like this, that thinks there might be something more to what he and Harry have than just lasting friendship and mutual attraction. If he calls Harry up and finds out that Harry is ‘just up for a bit fun’ or ‘doesn’t see a future in it’ or something equally painful and glib, Louis knows he won’t be able to handle it. It was different before, when Louis could blame it on them being too young, age gaps, peer pressure and morale decency for not being with Harry when all signs pointed the fact they should have been, but now there is none of that. There would be only one real reason that could stop them being together and that would be that Harry simply doesn’t feel the same. 

So he waits. Waits for a call that never comes. 

 

__________

 

Louis would like to tell you that he knew as soon as Harry entered the bar that he was there, that some sixth sense or higher power caused the hairs on the back of neck to stand up at the mere suggestion that Harry might be in the same vicinity as him, but it wasn’t. It was a case of Louis nodding his head in agreement of his mate’s offer to buy the next round and watching him tottering off to the bar before Louis had swallowed the last mouthful of his pint and turned round to place the empty glass on a nearby table. He’d taken the opportunity to look around when his eyes had landed on Harry’s face. 

Or maybe there was. Maybe there was some divine diety looking out for them that brought Harry and Louis to the same bar on the same night in the same city when there are literally thousands of other places they could be right now. Maybe fate played her hand and had them reunite because Louis had willed it into existence with the sheer power of thought and longing. Or maybe it’s just dumb luck. It doesn’t matter because they’re both here and Louis isn’t going to let him slip through his fingers again. 

Harry can’t have been in the building long, he’s still got a scarf round his neck and his jacket done up while he reads a drinks menu with two pretty brunette girls beside him. Louis watches as Harry makes a few comments to them both, pointing at the list in his hand before placing the menu down and looking up, directly into Louis’ face. Louis grins, definitely not a grimace this time. 

Harry quickly turns to reach out for the elbow of the girl that had started to make her way to possibly buy the drinks and pulls her back to the fold. Louis can’t quite make out what he says to both of them but they start to frown and their eyes begin to dart around the room. Harry lifts his hand to point in Louis’ direction and says something else, then what looks like the words ‘I’m sorry’ before shuffling passed them with a wave and resolutely making his way to Louis. Louis starts walking to shorten his trip, detouring fellow patrons as he goes. 

“Hi,” Louis breathes out when they stop inches from each other. 

“Hello,” Harry returns with an easy smile.

Now Harry’s here, in front of him, Louis has absolutely zero fear. He should have called. “How long are you in London for?”

Harry’s mouth goes crooked. “I live here now.”

Louis has never felt this giddy in his life, he thinks his hands might be shaking. “That’s good,” is all he can get out. 

“It is?” Harry knows it is. 

“Yeah, really good.” Louis nods once, before taking the final step so they are pressed up against each other, holding onto his Harry’s waist. Luckily it’s pretty crowded so not that odd a thing to do, but it wouldn’t have mattered either way. “I wanted to call. I should have called,” he murmurs.

Harry reaches up and cups Louis’ cheek. “I could have called. I wanted to get in touch so badly, but needed to sort my life out, you know, get a job and somewhere to live first. None of that matters now though. You wanna come back to mine?”

Stupid question. “Damn right I do. No fucking rain checks this time.”

Harry closes his eyes and presses their foreheads together, taking a deep breath as if to ground himself before tilting both their faces to press a kiss to Louis’ mouth. “Do you need to tell anyone you’re leaving?”

Louis pulls away then and weaves their fingers together. “I’ll text them on the way.”

***

It’s actually pretty hard to text someone when you have a human-sized puppy licking and clambering all over you in the backseat of cab. It turns out that Louis manages to send his friend ‘I’m sorry i ha’ before becoming too engrossed in the feel of Harry’s tongue against his and the strong hand gripping his waist and the silky skin under his fingertips and the blood pumping rapidly through his veins to even think of finishing a text to anyone while they make the short trip to Harry’s flat.

Once there, they stumble through the hallway clinging on to each other, attached at the mouth until the get to Harry’s bedroom when Louis clambers onto the bed and starts shedding his clothes quickly. When he realises Harry isn’t doing the same he pauses. 

“What’s wrong?” He isn’t worried, just a bit confused. 

Harry continues to look at him, now with devilish grin. “I’ve waited for this since I was fifteen. You could at least make a show of it?”

Louis throws his shirt at Harry’s face, watching him grab and smell the fabric deeply before chucking it to the side. “This is a bucket list thing babe. Want to tick off ‘shag a guy with four nipples’. Why would I waste my seduction skills?” He sticks his tongue out between his smiling teeth. 

Harry throws his head back and laughs loudly, before shaking his head and stripping himself of his own shirt. “You’re gonna pay for that.”

Louis hopes he does. “Oh yeah? Gonna rock my world big boy?”

Harry nods enthusiastically as he clambers on top of Louis on the bed and straddles him. “Every fucking chance I get sweetheart.” 

He makes it sounds like a promise. 

***

There are lots of things to like about sex with Harry. The main one being is Louis and Harry just, you know, click. They mesh. They fit. They’re compatible in too many ways to really pinpoint when Louis’ is on the verge of coming, but it’s true nonetheless. 

There’s the kissing of course. Louis already knew that was good, has known that kissing Harry is pretty fucking spectacular since the age of fourteen, but he didn’t know what is was like during sex with Harry. It’s still fucking spectacular, but it’s more like a starter for ten than the actual main game, so they’re both less hesitate about it, like they’re not actively trying to make sure it’s good because they both know there’s so much more to come. It’s wetter, has more gumption and bite to it, the odd clacking of teeth, sometimes mouths not quite meeting right because they’re rushing to slot back together, so one or both will need to move to rectify things. But it’s still bloody phenomenal.

Then there’s that Harry seems to just know what makes Louis’ heart gallop. He instinctively guesses that the most sensitive spot for Louis isn’t his neck, or below his ear like the majority of lovers might assume, but that it’s his collar bone, right where that little bit of bone pops, and Harry is all too happy to brand Louis with a mark there to confirm his suspicions on the matter. He gets straight away that Louis likes his nipples being played with, sucked and nibbled at until they’re puffy, little buds. That Louis loves his legs being petted. Not just his thighs, the whole damn leg. Soft, plush kisses trailed from his ankles, fingers grazing the backs of his calves and knees, firm hands gently kneading the flesh of his thighs; it all makes Louis go shivery and pliable underneath Harry’s unwavering attention.

And it’s not just Harry that’s got some great intuition. Louis’ knows that Harry enjoys his hair being played with, Louis carding his fingers though it before lightly tugging at the roots at the back of his head while he explores Louis’ body. That he shudders with pleasure when Louis trails his fingers along the dimples at the base of his spine. That Harry likes the bottom of his jawline being nibbled at. And yeah, there’s probably a treasure chest full of ticks and quirks still to discover about him, but Louis’ not too worried, he’s got their whole lives together to work them all out.  

Harry’s a tease. Louis should have put two and two together before now, since Harry can be like that in life, but that doesn’t make it any less true that Harry thrives on keeping Louis well and truly on his toes. When he’s opening Louis up, his fingers moving in sweeping come-hither motions inside of him, he deliberately brushes against Louis’ prostate for a few strokes before avoiding the spot like the plague for a few more. And Louis knows it’s deliberate because every time he whines or huffs with frustration, he can feel Harry smirk against the gossamer skin of his upper inner thigh before continuing to suck bruises there, all the while working to create space for himself right where Louis craves him most. It’s equal parts maddening and thrilling.

And Louis adores how attentive Harry is. He’s thorough in his working up of Louis’ body, but he’ll still check in, still ask Louis if it’s good, if Louis’ enjoying what he’s doing. And Louis can tell it’s coming from a place of care rather than one of concern or nerves that he might not be doing a bang up job because he knows he is, they both are, couldn’t not considering how perfectly they are together like this. 

“Hitting you right sweetheart? Right where you want it?” Harry mutters against his mouth during the first round. He’s got Louis’ on his back with Louis’ legs and arms circling him and his own arm is tucked under Louis’ shoulder keeping him close, a hand cradling Louis’ neck while he fucks into his heat in long, smooth slides. He’s doing this thing with his hips that making Louis’ head go fuzzy and his mouth would be dry if it weren’t for the kissing that’s happening sporadically but he somehow still has the cognisance to reply.

“So right,” he breathes out before tonguing back into Harry’s mouth, hot and wet. Harry hums as if he was expecting that answer, but Louis can still feel Harry’s pelvis kick things up a notch just to be certain and it feels like Harry’s cock getting even deeper now, his pubic bone sparking with Louis’ in determined pulses. Louis’ limbs compress and he clenches around him from inside to thank him for his efforts, a resounding growl vibrating from the crux of Harry’s throat. 

Harry is heavy on the eye contact, which Louis loves. Their lips and noses might bump together awkwardly from time to time and fingers may slip amidst their desperate clutching of sweaty skin but the heated gazes are forever abiding. Harry is just so present, so there in the moment, every moment, taking everything in, drinking in his fill of Louis like he’s been starved of water for days. During the second round when Harry’s sitting perched up against the headboard, Louis straddling his lap with his hands on either side of Harry’s head clinging onto the wooden frame while he glides up and down Harry’s thickness, Harry’s attention might briefly flit to look at their sizzling connection and Louis’ leaking cock in bliss but it’s not long before they meander back up to Louis’ flushed cheeks and damp brow and stormy eyes in rapture, as if he can’t quite believe this is all happening. The stirring in Louis’ gut tells him it most definitely is though, and since he’s already come, his legs get shaky quickly with the threat of his second orgasm. It’s alright though because Harry’s got this, taking the lead again and planting his feet solidly on the bed so he can fuck up hard into Louis and get them both off without their eye contact ever breaking.

And Louis is obsessed, he fucking obsessed with how vocal and responsive Harry is, how completely uninhibited he is when it comes to telling Louis exactly what he’s thinking or feeling. There are the rumbling groans that start off from deep inside of him that make Louis’ skin tingle, and there are the empathic moans that make Louis’ stomach coil, and then there’s the actual vocabulary that makes Louis’ head detonate. Harry remains teasing and playful, but he’s also full of praise and admiration of Louis. “So fucking gorgeous, can’t believe I get to have you like this,” he mumbles against the back of Louis’ neck. They’re on to round number three now and Louis’ almost spent body is spread out, stomach flush with the mattress while Harry fucks him unhurriedly. The desperation, the frenzy of their earlier bouts has diminished, leaving soft caresses and gentle coaxing and even though Harry’s weight is pressing down onto Louis until he’s almost breathless, he’s more focused on the words tumbling unguarded from his experienced lover. “Best I’ve ever had darling. Gonna fuck you and care for you for the rest of my days, I swear.” He leaves dewy kisses on Louis clammy skin before pressing his forehead to the dip between Louis’ shoulder blades and fucking him to they have both come a third and final time that evening.

***

They’re lying on their backs under the duvet, Louis tucked into Harry’s side under his arm and his leg hooked over Harry’s hip. He’s trailing his fingers over Harry’s skin and Harry’s scratching at Louis scalp as he purrs and they’re quiet for a while in comfortable silence. Louis has never felt this relaxed in his life, and it’s not just from the sex. He knows it’s from the pure contentment of being exactly where he is supposed to be; in Harry’s arms. He could do with something to eat though.

“You hungry babe?” Harry asks him softly, his intuition and attentiveness shining yet again. “I’ve got some left over lasagne in the fridge I could heat up?”

Louis’ movements slow to a halt. “Cheap date you are.” Harry’s laugh shakes them both, but he doesn’t reply. They’re going to go on dates, lots of them, Louis already having thought of about fifteen places he simply has to take Harry. He wonders what places he’ll get taken to in return. 

There are a few seconds of pause. “Always knew this would happen.”

Louis pulls the duvet further up around their naked bodies. “What would?” 

Harry’s hand leaves Louis’ hair to drift down and squeeze gently at Louis’ waist. “You and me ending up together.” He presses his lips to Louis’ hairline once, twice. “We’re gonna make each other so happy darling, just you wait.” 

Louis looks up at him to meet Harry’s dopey gaze. “Do I get a say in the matter?”

Harry’s eyebrow lifts above his right eye. “Do you need one?”

No, he doesn’t. He giggles instead, his stomach somersaulting with something other than hunger as he buries his face in the crook of Harry’s shoulder. 

“Have you ever thought about falling in love with a boy Lou?” Harry whispers in his ear. 

And shit. Just that simple mirrored sentiment coming from Harry’s lips and they’re right back there, in that tent a decade ago, in Louis’ mum’s back garden, underneath three duvets to keep them warm and an old Spiderman night light dangling from the yellow, canvas ceiling. Their arms and legs are tangled around each other’s bodies, the smell of chlorine still faint on their skin from their trip to the swimming pool earlier that day when Louis was just fourteen and he had kissed Harry for the very first time. He sees it now, sees it clearly in a way that no fourteen year old was ever meant to; that he’s been Harry’s and Harry’s been his since that day, maybe even since forever. 

Louis lifts his head up from Harry’s beautiful bare skin and says the answer that he has to because it’s right and perfect and it’s so fucking true. “Only one.”

They snog for a while, Harry not making any move to leave to go sort the food but it’s of no concern to Louis, they’ve got time. They’re probably going to spend the rest of their lives together, after all, so Louis can wait another ten minutes for some leftover lasagne. Being here like this wrapped around Harry is as good as it could possibly get. 

And yeah, Louis isn’t going to tell him just yet, but he’s pretty sure Harry’s his soulmate.