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Louis bent down and clipped the black nylon lead onto Clifford’s collar, tucking his mobile, wallet and a few treats into his pocket before he shut the front door behind them, setting off down the road. It was a bright and sunny Saturday morning, and unusually for Louis, he had a need to be up and about early. Clifford had woken him up by slobbering on his face at just gone six o’clock, and after that, Louis had jumped into the shower, bright and ready for the day.

They’d eaten breakfast together, Louis slinging two extra rashers of bacon for Cliff into the pan as he made himself a bacon sandwich, the dog eating happily from his bowl on the floor while Louis sat at the table nursing a cup of steaming hot tea, replying to a few Valentine’s day texts from his Mum and sisters. He’d smiled at the sweet photos and hearts they’d sent him, quickly promising he’d pop around for dinner tomorrow because he couldn’t be roped into anything today.

Louis didn't exactly hate Valentine’s Day. He just didn't much care for it. He’d been perpetually single for a couple of years now, and he was determined to put himself first for once. Louis often found that when he was in a relationship, he gave it 110%, even when his boyfriend didn't necessarily give him that in return, and he was a bit fed up of coming second best. So, for the past few years it had been just him and Cliff at home in their little house, and he was perfectly happy with that.

As they neared the market, Clifford started tugging Louis along at a brisker pace, keen to get to one of his favourite places. Louis had been bringing him here since he was a puppy, and everyone knew and loved Cliff, and by the same token, Louis. They were always welcomed with open arms, and Louis loved that this was their thing. They meandered down here together every Saturday morning, grabbing some fresh fruit and vegetables for the week, perusing the other wares, seeing if there was anything that took their fancy.

“Oi, slow down, bloody dog,” Louis cursed under his breath as Clifford started to whine and pull again in sheer excitement. Louis grinned and allowed himself to be tugged along, rounding the corner and smiling at the already bustling market, despite the early hour of the day. Voices were calling out, children were running around in excitement, and everyone looked happy. Couples were walking hand in hand, and Louis wrapped the lead around his hand a few times, keeping Cliff on a short leash for a while.

It wasn’t that he didn't trust Cliff. He did, implicitly. He was the world’s most docile dog, but he had a habit of getting overexcited, something he’d never really outgrown whatsoever. It was cute, but when the market was fairly busy like this, it always made Louis hyper aware of good dog owner etiquette, and he kept Cliff as close to his side as he could.

“Morning Louis, morning Cliff!”

Louis turned to the side to see Jack, the owner of a fruit and veg stall grinning and waving at them, and he walked over, keeping Cliff tucked into his left leg, well aware the dog would be rubbing his dark fur all over Louis’ new jeans. He approached with a smile and loosened the lead a bit, letting Cliff run around the side towards Jack.

“Oh hello boy, such a good boy, aren’t you?”

Louis watched with amusement as Clifford nuzzled into the man’s touch, slobbering all of him as his head flew side to side, chasing whatever tickles and scratches he could. Louis took a moment while Clifford was busy to view the produce the man was selling, and he grabbed a paper bag, selecting a couple of apples for his lunch boxes that week, and some vegetables for dinner too.

“How have you been, Jack? Doing anything nice for the missus tonight?”

“Just going to dinner, she chose Pizza Express of all places…” Jack rolled his eyes as Clifford tilted his chin up, wanting to be rubbed under his jaw. “But still, whatever the lady wants, she shall get. Let me ring that up for ya.”

He took Louis’ bags from him and held up a carrot with a questioning expression at Louis who just nodded, watching as Clifford sat nicely, waiting for the go ahead to take the vegetable from Jack’s hand. Louis felt proud as Clifford approached it slowly, careful not to nip the man before he laid on the floor, carrot between his paws as he started to gnaw noisily at it.

“Cheers, he does love a good carrot. How much do I owe you?”

“Uh, two pounds and nine pence, please Louis. How about you? Got anyone special to take out tonight?”

“Just that lump,” Louis replied, nodding down to Clifford as he handed over a five pound note, sliding his purchases into the bag he’d brought along with him. He accepted the change and slid the coins into his pocket before Clifford got up, nudging Jack’s hand for something else to eat. “Don’t be such a pig, Cliff. Have a nice night mate, enjoy your pizza!”

“Will do, Lou, bye Cliff!” Jack stroked over Clifford’s ears once more before he turned to another waiting customer, and Louis tugged Clifford away, ignoring the dog’s whine at leaving his friend. Louis loved that all the market owners seemed to enjoy Clifford’s visit, and that they always had a treat or something nice for the pair of them.

Together, they wandered through the market as Louis picked up a few things, finally coming to a stop outside the meat van. Louis hated this bit because the smell of raw meat drove Clifford wild, and he tugged him back as Clifford kept sniffing the legs of the stranger in the queue in front of them. He turned around a few times, looking down at the dog with what Louis could only describe as disdain before he turned his attention to the butcher behind the counter, speaking in a low, deep drawl.

Again, Clifford nudged his nose forward, sniffing into the shopping bags at the man’s feet, and Louis yanked him back, a bit annoyed at his dog for displaying this behaviour. He knew that he knew better, and he looked down at Clifford, a stern expression on his face.

“Clifford, sit. Behave yourself, or no more treats for you today. I’m really sorry, mate.”

The man in front turned around and gave Louis a tight smile before he reached up, accepting some wrapped up meat from the butcher, sliding it into his bag before he paid for them. Clifford whined again as the meat came tantalisingly close to him, but Louis held out a finger, stopping him in his tracks. He stepped back slightly as the taller man made to move away, flipping his long hair over the shoulder of his bright red coat as he did so.

“Clifford, up. Now sit there and don’t move. Hiya, Bill, I’ll take two of the steaks please, a chicken breast, and uh… enough of that minced beef to make a chilli for me. I don’t do measurements so sort me out.”

“Will do, Lou. Clifford being a pain in the arse?”

“Just a bit. I think it’s your unique scent,” Louis joked, making the man up in the van chortle away as he prepared the meat Louis had asked for. “I get it, must be hard on him but I look like a shit owner when he’s sticking his snout in people’s bag for a sniff of their dinner. Cheers.”

He lifted down his wrapped up meat and put it in his other bag, keeping it away from his fruit and vegetables. A glance to the side told him that Clifford was still where he’d left him, and he pulled out his wallet and the coins from earlier, coming up with the right money which he handed up to Bill.

“Oh, almost forgot… don’t go anywhere, Lou…”

Louis paused, frowning as he wondered what Bill could be doing, and he looked around, seeing who else was around the market. The stranger in the red coat was along at the next stall, but Louis looked away, not wanting it to appear like he was staring. Being accosted by Cliff was probably traumatising enough for the man. A thump rang out from the counter and Louis stared as a biloody bag appeared in front of him. He grimaced slightly, while Bill continued to grin at him.

“Little Valentine’s treat for my favourite four legged friend. Got a good old lamb bone in there for him, keep him busy for days.”

“Wow, I mean.. Thanks Bill, he’ll love it. How much do I owe you?”

“Nothing, Lou. He’s such a good dog, let him have a treat, yeah?”

Louis stuttered for a moment, not quite sure what to say. “Thank you, that’s really generous. I’ll make sure he has it tonight. Seriously, thanks mate.” He reached up and shook Bill’s outstretched hand, touched by the man’s generosity. “Better get him home, but see you next week.”

“Will do, mate. Have a good one.”

“You too,” Louis said with a wave as Clifford got to his feet, shaking his fur slightly before they set off. Louis’ attention was captured by the flower stall to the side as they walked past and he slowed down, admiring the colourful blooms. He wasn’t a guy who was usually into flowers, he’d certainly never had anyone buy him them, but he’d bought a few bouquets in his time, mainly for his mum if he was honest. One colourful spray caught his eye and he whistled for Cliff to stop, reaching out to touch the soft petals.

“Can I help you, love?”

“Uh-” Louis looked up, feeling a bit like a rabbit in the headlights. He hadn’t actually intended to buy anything but suddenly, he thought that the flowers might look pretty in his sitting room, and anyway, the girl who owned the stall probably assumed Louis was going to be buying them for a boyfriend or girlfriend anyway. “Yeah, I’ll take these, thanks.”

He reached down and lifted up the pretty spray, handing the dripping bouquet over to the girl who took them with a nod, taking them off to be wrapped up. Louis grabbed the last note out of his wallet, sighing as he realised he’d have to go to the cash machine at some point and get some cash out. He didn't like not carrying money on him, it was something his mum had always instilled in him. He wasn’t paying much attention as he shoved his wallet back into his pocket, and a shriek caught his attention, stomach sinking as he realised what was going on.

“Oh fuck- Clifford, come here!”

Louis abandoned his bags as he took off in the direction of Clifford, who had his snout stuck back in the bags of the stranger he’d seen. Somehow, he’d let the lead go slack while he’d been admiring the flowers, and Clifford had taken full advantage, running off to sniff the stranger and his purchases too.

“Shit, I’m so sorry, Clifford, come here!” Louis was shouting now, something he didn't usually do at his dog, but he was panicking, and the furious expression on the stranger’s face didn't help matters. “Clifford, now.”

Clifford was getting too excited, clearly thinking that Louis was playing with him, and Louis realised with horror that he was quickly losing control of the situation. It felt like the eyes of the market were on him, and he felt like the most incapable, irresponsible person in the world. He rifled in his pocket for a treat, an action Clifford must’ve seen as he circled the stranger for a moment, darting between his legs without the taller man noticing.

Louis watched in horror as the next few things happened in slow motion. Clifford seemed to use the man’s legs as a slalom course of sorts, and Louis could only watch as the lead wrapped around the man’s ankles. As he went to step away, the material went taut, and his arms flapped almost comically, the man trying to catch his balance, but it was in vain. His shopping bags crashed to the ground, apples, pears and oranges rolling across the concrete as Clifford yelped, the man heading towards the ground.

He landed on his knees first, hands hitting the hard pavement underneath afterwards. Louis held his breath, waiting to see what would happen next. Clifford clearly sensed he’d done something badly wrong because he sat on his bum, whining lowly, too tangled up in the stranger to be able to move. Louis blinked and came back to earth, realising he had to do something. There was a horrible hush in the market, and Louis wished everyone would just leave him to it, that he could sort this mess out in peace. Unfortunately for him, the public liked a good scandal, and everyone was just watching, nobody bothering to offer a hand.

“Shit, I am so, so fucking sorry, are you okay?” Louis unhooked Clifford’s lead for a moment, confident he wouldn’t run away as he unwound the lead from around the man’s ankles and calves, trying not to touch him unnecessarily as he watched him attempt to get into a sitting position. Clifford stood up but Louis glared at him. “Don’t you even think about it, Clifford. You are in so much trouble. Sit, and you stay .”

Clifford whined, giving Louis his biggest doe eyes before he sat again, silent as a mouse. Louis crouched next to the stranger, cringing when he saw the scrapes and blood on his palms, and that he’d torn the knee of his jeans too. It wasn’t even an artful looking rip he could probably pass off as an intended one. It was a scratchy, messy tear, and blood was seeping into the fabric already.

“Oh god, you’re bleeding, let me-”

“It’s fine. Just- just stop.” The man snatched his hand back, wincing as the skin stretched, prompting more blood to rush to the surface. “Shit, this stings. What the hell is wrong with your damn dog?”

“I don’t know, he’s not normally like this, I- I have no excuse, I’m sorry. He’s a good dog, really. Such a romantic he is, always making people fall head over heels for him.”

No laugh came, and Louis cringed again, wishing he hadn’t spoken a word. He got up and started collecting the scattered fruit, piling them back into the man’s bag as he got to his feet, wiping down his dirty coat and jeans.

“Look. You can say no, but you need to clean up those cuts. I don’t live far, a five minute walk, I can sort you out, send you on your way?”

“No, it’s fine, really, I-”

“Please, I insist. My dog hurt you, and that’s not okay, not in my book. I want to help. I’ve got lots of little sisters, so I’m good with some dettol and a box of plasters. It’ll take ten minutes tops, then you can leave and forget you ever met me and my dumb dog.”

The man sighed and pushed his hair back from his face, and Louis couldn’t help but notice the streak of blood he left in his wake on his forehead.

“Sorry to interrupt, did you still want the flowers?”

Louis turned, confused and then realised it was the young woman he was about to buy some flowers from before the whole horrific accident had occurred.

“Um, yeah, sure, whatever. Here.” He shoved forward a handful of coins and accepted the flowers, ramming them into the corner of his bag, grabbing the stranger’s bags with his other hand, ready to not take no for an answer. He stepped over to Clifford and hooked him up to the lead again, tugging him to his side.

“Come on, it’s not far. The sooner you let me help you, the sooner you can get as far away from me as you want to.”

The man just nodded, and they set off, Louis laden down with all the bags, and Cliff, who was now walking very quietly and sensibly much to Louis’ relief. He wasn’t sure he’d cope if Clifford tried to misbehave again.

“I really am sorry. I feel so awful-”

“Seriously, it’s okay. I know it was an accident, I just feel a bit embarrassed, that’s all. Haven’t fallen on my arse since I was a kid.”

Louis laughed softly at that, and turned to look at the man next to him, locking eyes with him, startled at how green they were in the February sun.

“I’m Louis Tomlinson, by the way. This idiot here is Clifford.”

“Harry. Harry Styles. Nice to meet you, Louis.”

───── ⋆⋅☆⋅⋆ ─────

“Here we go, come in, come in.”

Louis kicked the door open with the toe of his green Converse shoe, setting the bags on the floor while he kept a tight hold of Clifford’s leash, Harry hanging around awkwardly behind him as he closed the door.

“I’m just gonna go and put him in the kitchen, go through to the sitting room.” He nodded towards the ajar door of his living room, and unclipped Clifford’s lead, taking him by the collar and leading him into the kitchen, quickly topping up his water bowl.

“You bloody menace, I can’t believe you did that, Cliff. Honestly. You have to stay in here while I sort out Harry’s hands and knees, okay?” He rubbed Clifford’s head, feeling a bit guilty for how stern he’d been with him earlier on. He never shouted at Clifford, had never felt the need to, but what had happened earlier had clearly shaken the pair of them up. “Go and have a sleep in your bed. Good dog.”

He pressed a quick kiss to the crown of Clifford’s head before he stood up, heading to the cupboard where he kept his small but well filled first aid kit. He looked back at Clifford before he left, pleased to see him curling up in his bed. He smiled and pulled the kitchen door to behind him, heading for the sitting room.

Harry had taken off his coat and boots, and was now sat on Louis’ sofa in his jeans and a gorgeous black cable knit jumper, heart patterned socks sticking out of the end of his jeans.

“Nice socks,” Louis mused cheekily, making Harry blush as he put the first aid box down on his coffee table, disappearing again for a moment to prepare a bowl of disinfectant to clear Harry’s wounds with. “Seriously, are you more hurt than this, or…”

“No, I think it’s just a couple of scrapes. You really don’t need to do this, I’m a big boy, I’ll live-”

“I know I don’t have to, but I want to. My dog got you hurt, so it’s my job to sort you out now. Hands out, please.”

Harry complied, and Louis took his left hand between his own, tilting it towards the window to get a good look at it and make sure there was nothing nasty in there. It seemed like it was just superficial scrapes, so he held it in one hand while he dampened a piece of cotton wool in the bowl of dettol he’d made, squeezing it to drain the excess fluid before he pressed it to Harry’s scrape.

“Sorry, I know it’s gonna sting-”

“It’s fine. So… you and Cliff, you go to the market a lot?”

“Yeah, every weekend actually. Have done ever since he was a puppy. I wanted to get him used to being out and about, around people, you know? I swear, he’s never done anything like this before, I don’t know what got into him.”

“He’s a dog, Louis, it could have been anything. Probably the meat he smelt me get at the butcher counter. At least it was just me he knocked over and not some old dear who could’ve broken her hip -- ouch!”

“Sorry. And don’t say that, oh my god, just imagine…” Louis grimaced as he imagined how much worse it could have been. “Okay, that one’s clean, I think I got all the little bits of dirt out. Other one, please.”

Harry removed his clean hand and rested it on his thigh, placing his other one in Louis’ again. Louis tried to ignore the shiver he got whenever he touched Harry’s skin, schooling his face into a neutral expression, taking the situation as seriously as it deserved.

“How about you? Do you go there much?”

“Nah, first time, actually. But it’s a nice market, got lots of good stalls. I liked it, definitely have to come back.”

“Well, give me a warning and I’ll make sure me and Cliff are nowhere near,” Louis joked, hoping to lighten the atmosphere a bit. When no laughter came, he looked up, surprised to see Harry frowning down at him. “Sorry, thought that was funny…”

“Well, it’s not. It was an accident, I promise. I’m just… I’m a bit wary of dogs, that’s all. Never really been around them, Mum always had cats when I was growing up. Your dog is, uh, quite big as well, I guess I was a bit intimidated?”

“I get that,” Louis nodded as he rubbed carefully at a tiny stone in Harry’s hand, working it free as gently as he could. He left the blood stained cotton wool piece on the table while he got a fresh piece, wetting it slightly and wiping gently again. “I promise though, he’s a lovely dog. I’d love to introduce you to him properly when I’m done here?”

“Yeah, okay,” Harry breathed lowly, smiling down at his now clean hands, only raw looking scrapes still visible.  “Hey, you did a good job, thanks.”

“Not done yet. Can you roll your jeans up, let me see your knees?”

“Louis, have you seen these jeans?”

Louis laughed and shrugged. “Well… I dunno…”

Much to his surprise, Harry just stood up and fiddled with the button of his jeans, pulling the zip down slowly. Louis just stared, unable to drag his eyes away from the spectacle. He stayed on his knees as Harry pushed the jeans down his long thighs, leaving them at his ankles as he sat back down again, clearly unbothered by the sudden baring of flesh. Louis watched as he peered over at his knees, cringing at the dried blood.

“Yuck. Bit of a mess, aren’t they?”

“Uh, yeah,” Louis mumbled, trying not to show how affected he was by his proximity to Harry’s bare legs. “I’ll just… uh…”

“Sorry, have I made you uncomfortable?”

“No! God, no, it’s fine…” Louis quickly turned his attention to Harry’s scrapes, rubbing at the dried blood, pleased to see the small cuts underneath weren’t as bad as he originally feared. Harry was brave throughout, watching Louis intently as he worked but he didn't interrupt, letting Louis do whatever he deemed necessary. Soon, all the cuts were clean, and Louis decided they needed dressing, just in case. He rummaged in the first aid kit, cringing when he realised there was a bit of a problem.

“Uh… shit, looks like I’ve only got the plasters I usually give to my sisters…”

He held up a strip of shiny pink Disney Princess plasters with a wince, hoping Harry wouldn’t be too offended at the thought. “I can nip out and get some more..”

“Louis, it’s fine. I’m man enough to wear a Princess plaster and make it look good. I don’t mind, really.”

Louis smiled and nodded, quickly opening the plasters and applying them to Harry’s wounds, smiling at the sight of Elsa and Princess Jasmine adorning Harry’s hand, and a particularly fetching sparkly Belle on his left knee.

“These will probably fall off, but I’ll feel better knowing I’ve covered them up, stopped the germs getting in.”

“Well, I like them, you have good choice in plasters.”

Harry gave him an amused smile and let Louis carry on, applying the plasters gently, pressing them into the soft skin of Harry’s hands, and then his knees. When he was satisfied they weren’t going to fall off too soon, Louis pressed his palms onto Harry’s thighs to help stand himself up, but pulled back quickly when he realised what he’d done. Harry hadn’t given him permission to touch but he’d just helped himself, like they’d known each other far longer than the half an hour or so they’d spent in each other’s company.

“Thank you, Louis. You didn't have to do this, but I appreciate that you did.” He stood up, and Louis cleared up the rubbish around him while Harry got himself dressed again. He’d just gone back to the kitchen when Harry appeared in the doorway, dressed and with his shoes on again, and he couldn’t stop his heart falling at the thought of Harry disappearing from his life already. There was something about this curly headed stranger that made Louis want to get to know more about him. “Oh, you’re leaving already?”

“Yeah… uh, you cleaned me up so I’ll leave you to it. I’m sure you’ve got someone waiting for you to get around there with those flowers. I really don’t want to ruin anymore of your Valentine’s Day. They’re very lucky, whoever they are. Thanks again, Louis.”

Louis chuckled loudly, stopping Harry in his tracks. He turned around slowly, arching an eyebrow at Louis.

“Something funny?”

“Yeah… I bought those flowers for, um, for me. I just thought they were pretty, and I thought why not. Got no someone special to buy them for me, so I thought I’d treat myself. Sad, I know…”

“No, not sad. They’re lovely, I’d have done the same if I wasn’t swept off my feet by a handsome stranger and his dog…”

Louis held his breath at the words falling from Harry’s lips, and he glanced to a sleeping Clifford, smiling softly, grateful for his dog’s earlier mistake now. “Well… as pretty as the flowers are…” He took a few steps closer, coming to a stop just in front of Harry. “I have to say I think I found something much prettier at the market today.”

The air between them suddenly felt filled with something new, and Louis paused, hoping he hadn’t entirely misjudged the situation. Harry’s tongue shot out to lick his lips, and Louis shuddered as Harry’s hands came forwards, settling gently on the curve of Louis’ waist on top of his jumper. Louis’ breath hitched as he sensed a spark of something pass between them, but still, he felt unprepared when Harry surged forwards, pulling him into a kiss.

Louis went easily, Harry’s lips pressing into his, fitting against Louis’ own perfectly. Louis would be the first to admit that it had been too long since he’d been kissed, but god, this was everything. Harry kissed eagerly, a hand coming up to cup the back of Louis’ neck, not letting him escape. Louis moaned low in his throat as Harry parted his lips, running the tip of his tongue along the seam of Louis’ lips, making Louis shudder with anticipation and pleasure. His body was pulled forward again, Harry’s hand pressing into the small of his back, and while Louis usually hated feeling small and being manhandled, there was nothing he wanted more in that moment.

Harry pulled away, looking down at Louis with dark eyes, pupils blown wide just from a bit of kissing, and Louis panted, trying to catch his breath from the unexpected but very welcome kiss. “Shit, is this- is this okay?”

“More than. Don’t fucking stop,” Louis rasped out, reaching up to pull Harry down into another frantic and dirty kiss. Their tongues moved together, as if it wasn’t the first time they’d ever kissed each other, and it seemed their bodies knew just what to do. Louis was rutting against Harry’s thigh almost without realising, and he circled his hips, desperate for some sort of friction on his half hard cock, needing more from Harry too. “God, Harry… you’re an amazing kisser.”

“I’m pretty good at other things as well,” Harry whispered through a smirk, and Louis threw his head back, groaning. Harry dove in, licking and sucking at the side of Louis’ neck as he tilted his head to the side, giving Harry room to work. “Do you, uh…”

“Yeah, fuck yes please.” Harry tapped the back of Louis’ thigh and he didn't hesitate, jumping up and wrapping his legs around Harry’s waist as Harry turned them both, slamming Louis’ back into the wall. “Shit, watch it!”

“I’m so sorry-”

“Don’t be- bedroom’s upstairs-” he let out a less than manly squeak as Harry captured his lips in another kiss before he pulled him away from the wall, stumbling together towards the stairs. Somehow, Louis had faith that this stranger wouldn’t drop him, and wound his fingers in Harry’s curls as they started to climb the stairs, more than desperate for each other by now. Louis could feel Harry’s heavy breaths against his neck as he buried his face there, sniffing the scent of Harry, arousing himself even more.  “That door-” He jerked his head in the direction of his bedroom, mentally wishing he’d tidied his room earlier but he wasn’t sure Harry wasn’t going to care too much about his decor.

“Fuck, Louis-”

“Good idea,” Louis interrupted with a smirk, and Harry chuckled, Louis feeling the deep rumble of it in his chest as he stayed pressed close to Harry. “Sorry, go on-”

“What do you want? I don’t want to presume…”

“You’re not. I want you in here, in my bed. Want you to fuck me, unless you want me to…” He shrugged and Harry slowly released him, letting his feet land on the floor. Harry’s cheeks were tinged pink, and his lips were red from the kissing. Louis wanted to see how much more of an effect he could have on this man, and he wanted to slowly take him apart bit by bit.

“No, I can do that,” Harry stammered out, reaching up to brush Louis’ fringe to the side. “I really want to do that, actually.” His hands came to the hem of Louis’ jumper and tugged on it gently, a questioning look on his face. “Can I…”

“Do what you want, Harry,” Louis replied, his voice holding steady. He hadn’t sex in too long. He wasn’t particularly into one night stands, or sex without emotion, but right now, he wanted nothing more than to get this handsome man into bed and between his legs. Clearly Louis’ words were all Harry needed to hear, and he yanked Louis’ jumper off, chucking it unceremoniously to the side, gaping at the plethora of tattoos littering his skin.

“Fuck… you’re so inked… I love it.” Harry bent down and ran his tongue over the script on Louis’ collarbones, making Louis’ cock twitch in his jeans, already keen for more. Harry’s tongue moved down to his nipple, sucking on one while his fingers pinched and pulled at the other, rolling the nub between his fingertips, Louis just standing as still as he could, letting Harry take the lead. Usually, he was the one who was dominant in bed, but something about Harry made him want to just be taken care of, to be led. He moaned into it and felt Harry push him towards the bed in the middle of his room.

“Harry… fuck, Harry, clothes off, wanna see you, please-”

Harry pulled his mouth away from Louis’ nipple and nodded, shrugging off his coat and throwing it onto the floor. Louis turned to see the bed just behind him and sat on the edge, watching as Harry started to shed his clothes. There was silence in the room, and he could only watch as inch by inch of skin was revealed. Harry more inked and toned than even Louis was, and fuck did Louis love it. He licked his lips as Harry ran his fingertips up the side of his body, trailing down to the waistband of his jeans, leaving them there.

“Don’t. Leave something for me.” Louis stood up again and sashayed over to Harry, well aware of how the swing of his hips was affecting Harry if the bulge in the front of his jeans was anything to go by. He stopped in front of him and brought his hand forward, palming at Harry who just moaned, breathing heavily at the contact with his cock. Once he was done teasing Harry, Louis fiddled with the metal button, popping it free, slowly working the zip down until he could push the denim down Harry’s long legs for the second time in the space of twenty minutes. “You’re so fucking fit, Harry…”

“So are you… wanna get my mouth on you, Lou, can I?”

“Fuck, you can do whatever you want, babe. Let me get you naked first, okay?” Harry just nodded, cheeks flaming red as Louis proceeded to release him from his jeans, now only in his underwear. Louis palmed at himself for a moment, not enough to push him anywhere near the edge but he needed something. Harry’s body was a lot to take in all at once, and the sight of the damp cotton where Harry was already leaking precome made him more desperate to taste.

With a soft chuckle, Louis lifted Harry’s feet and pulled off his heart socks, leaving them on the floor as his fingertips crept up, hooking into the elastic waistband of Harry’s tight black boxers. With a quick glance up at Harry for permission which was granted with a nod, Louis pulled them down and over Harry’s cock, gasping when it was finally revealed. Harry was big, and Louis gulped with the realisation he’d be taking that soon enough, if things went to plan.

“Fuck. Oh my god, Haz. Your cock is fucking amazing.”

Harry smirked and took hold of it at the base, running the wet head over Louis’ lips. Louis just stayed still, resisting the urge to stick his tongue out and taste. Harry continued with that for a moment until Louis couldn’t take it anymore. His hands came up and grasped at Harry’s hips, opening his lips and followed the path of Harry’s cock until it slipped between his lips, humming as he finally tasted Harry. He hollowed his cheeks as he sucked hard, making Harry cry out, clearly unprepared.

“Wanted to taste you… fuck, Louis, your mouth …” he stuttered out, voice low and rough already. Louis loved it.

“You can in a minute,” he purred as he pulled off, too turned off by his position on the floor on his knees at Harry’s feet to care about getting a blowjob in return at that moment. He quickly went back to what he was doing, sucking Harry down eagerly, running his tongue around the dripping head. Harry’s hands were now on his head, not pushing him but just resting there, feeling every bob of Louis’ head. Harry tasted good, was the thing. He was sweet and salty at the same time, and Louis couldn’t get enough of it. The stretch of his lips around Harry’s girth was such a turn on, and he knew he probably looked like sin sucking Harry’s cock like it was his last meal on earth.

A sharp tug at his hair made Louis slide off Harry’s cock, licking his lips as he stared up at him, smirking at the sight of Harry.

“If you keep doing that, I’m gonna come and I’d much rather do that in your arse,” Harry murmured and Louis nodded, stumbling to his feet. Harry caught him, supporting him under his elbows before he yanked him closer, kissing deep into his mouth, no doubt tasting himself. “Fuck, I taste good on your tongue. Now let me see your cock. Please.”

Louis grinned at the manners Harry was displaying despite the plethora of dirty words tumbling from his lips, and stood still as Harry pulled down his jeans, exposing his dark grey underwear. They weren’t Louis’ nicest pair, but seeing as they were about to be floor decoration, he wasn’t too bothered. Harry wasted no time in stripping him off, both men bare now.

Harry reached out and took Louis’ cock in his hand, wrapping his fingers around his shaft, stroking gently, just enough for Louis to push his hips forwards into it, craving more.

“Gorgeous cock… get on the bed, I want to taste you, Lou.”

Louis turned and crawled onto the bed, well aware he was showing off his bare arse to Harry. When Harry didn't appear on the bed within a few seconds, Louis turned and saw Harry stroking himself now, biting his lip as he wanked slowly, thumbing over the head of his wet cock. Louis swallowed heavily at the realisation that Harry’s cock was wet because it had been in his mouth just moments ago.

“Well, come on then. Want you to suck me off.”

Harry nodded and Louis turned onto his back, watching as Harry came onto the bed, settling between his legs. Just as he settled down, Harry sprang back up, leaning over Louis’ naked body to kiss him, eyes boring into Louis’ own.

“Have you got stuff?”

Louis nodded in the direction of the bedside table, and Harry leaned over him, chests pressed together as he rummaged around, emerging with a smile, clutching a bottle of lube and a condom in his big hand. Louis flushed, realising this meant they were definitely going to have sex, and he let Harry set the things next to his hip on the bed, kissing there before he started kissing down, over Louis’ v-line, towards the middle of his stomach.

“Fuck… love how you do that…” Louis murmured, unable to drag his eyes away from what Harry was doing. His naked body was hunched over, and his hand was still wrapped around his cock as he tasted Louis’ skin, licking and biting gently, making Louis moan. He pushed his hand over his mouth, wishing he didn't sound as needy and desperate as he did. He tended to fall apart when he was being given pleasure, and while he didn't mind that with someone who knew him, he didn't want Harry to think he was weird.

“Hey, no… I want to hear you. Want to hear how good I’m making you feel, Lou… is that okay? Want to know I’m making you feel good. Please?”

Louis nodded and let Harry pull his hand away from his mouth, smiling as Harry thumbed over his cheekbone, an intimate gesture that spoke volumes against the intensity of the rest of the situation.

“Kiss me?”

Harry nodded and surged up, bracketing Louis’ body with his own as he kissed him deeply, pushing his hips down until his cock pressed up against Louis’. Both men moaned loudly at the contact, and Louis planted his feet flat on the bed, raising his hips as well until they were properly grinding against each other. Their sweat-slick torsos slid together as they kissed and rocked together, cocks leaking precome onto each others as they brushed over and over.

After a few more minutes of filthy kissing and grinding, Louis sucked on Harry’s tongue, releasing it and then tugged him up by his hair, making Harry whine.

“Thought you were going to get your mouth on me, Harry…”

“Yeah, fuck, yes please.” Harry got up carefully and hovered for a moment, looking down at Louis with what could only be described as a soft smile. Louis returned the smile shyly until Harry shifted back onto his calves, knelt between Louis’ splayed legs, large hands coming to rest on Louis’ thighs, staring down at his most private parts. “You’re fucking gorgeous… like, every bit of you is amazing. Can’t believe I get to taste you now…”

“What are you waiting for then?” Louis asked, holding his breath as Harry bent down, licking just the tip with his tongue, making Louis’ cock twitch in his hand. “Oh fuck…”

“Mmm, Lou…” Harry dove back in, taking Louis down as far as he could, and Louis kicked out reflexively, narrowly avoiding smacking Harry around the head with his foot, pleasure swooping around his body so quickly he could barely control it. Harry’s mouth was wet and warm, everything he knew it would be, but at the same time, Louis felt like this might be the best blowjob he’d ever received. Harry certainly knew what he was doing, and the twist of his hand around the lower part of Louis’ cock was an extra sensation Louis was definitely appreciating right now.

Harry worked his mouth lower and lower until Louis felt the tip of his cock bump against the back of Harry’s throat, making him gag quickly. Harry was undeterred though, and popped off, wiping his mouth of precome on the back of his hand before kissing Louis’ balls gently, sucking on one before he returned to his cock, swallowing him down again. Louis cried out once more, gripping the bed sheets underneath him in tight fists, trying to stave off his urge to come that was far too close for his liking.

“Shit, Harry, stop-”

Harry came up immediately, eyes flooded with concern. “Sorry, is it not-”

“It’s too fucking good, just… I don’t want to come yet. Are you, uh, you gonna prep me?”

“Please.” Harry grabbed the lube and pushed under Louis’ thigh, so his knees were up and Louis suddenly felt very exposed as Harry stared down at him. He reached forward and ran the dry tip of his finger around Louis’ entrance, making both of them gasp. Louis could feel his muscle fluttering under Harry’s touch, and he wanted nothing more than Harry buried deep inside himself.

“Harry…” he whined, unashamed of his desperation now. Harry just nodded and reached for the hair tie on his wrist, scooping his hair back quickly into a messy bun on top of his head. Louis felt hopelessly endeared by that and just smiled up at him, thinking not for the first time how beautiful Harry was. The sunlight was streaming in through Louis’ window, grazing across Harry’s cheekbone, and he looked positively ethereal. Louis kind of wanted to keep him.

“Okay, uh… I’ll go slow but tell me if it’s too much, alright?”

Louis nodded and braced himself as he watched Harry trickle a bit of lube over his fingers, spreading a little around Louis’ hole before he pushed the tip of his index finger inside. Louis exhaled as Harry pressed in a little further, and it was a most welcome sensation. Louis might have been single, but he kept himself happy with his own fingers and a small selection of toys. To him, however, there was nothing like the sensation of someone else filling him up like this. He let out a long, slow sigh and smiled to himself, relaxing into Harry’s touch.

“Good?”

“Really good,” Louis replied lazily, opening his legs a little wider, smirking as he tilted his head, seeing Harry’s still-hard cock jutting out from his body dripping for him. “You’re good at this, your fingers feel so good inside me-”

“You’re so tight, baby. Love feeling you stretch around me, can’t wait to put my cock inside you, watch you take it all.”

“Yeah, fuck, want to, want to take you so deep. Another finger, come on, Haz.”

Harry chuckled but complied, slowly pushing another finger in alongside the first one. Louis hissed slightly at the burn but Harry moved slowly, twisting and moving his fingers as if Louis were a piece of artwork that needed preserving, and Louis appreciated it. The sunlight made the golden hairs on Louis’ legs shine, and Louis couldn’t drag his eyes away from where Harry’s hand lay on his skin, stroking it gently as his fingers worked him open, starting to scissor slightly now, preparing Louis’ body for something much bigger.

“Didn't think this would be happening when I woke up this morning,” Louis confessed with a small smile, letting out a groan when Harry pushed a third finger inside, eyes still focused on where his digits were disappearing inside Louis’ body. “Like… I’m sorry Cliff hurt you, but I’m not sorry this is happening-”

“Me neither… fuck, are you ready, I need to be inside you-”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m ready. Can I…” He picked up the condom packet in his fingers and waggled it, Harry nodding quickly. Louis sat back up and tore it open, proud that his hands weren’t obviously shaking given how hard his heart was pounding right now. He slipped the rubber disc from the packet and rolled it down Harry’s cock, not faltering once. Without thinking, he leaned up and pressed a kiss to Harry’s lips before he laid back down, propped up on his elbows. Harry smiled down at him.

“How do you want it?”

“I, uh…” Louis started to blush, well aware all of a sudden that Harry was a complete stranger, and voicing his wants felt a little too much. Harry must have noticed because he grabbed Louis’ wrist, stroking the skin softly for a moment, calming Louis down.

“Hey… don’t be shy, yeah? You can say anything to me, just tell me what you want, Lou. I want to make this good for you, please?”

“Fuck… yeah, okay. From, uh, from behind? And um… you can be a bit rough, I kinda like that…”

Harry smirked and nodded, and Louis quickly got himself into position, trying desperately to ignore the fact his arse was practically waving in Harry’s face now. He moaned as Harry’s hands came up and clutched at his cheeks, pulling them apart for a moment before releasing them and repeating the motion.

“Harry…”

“Sorry, just… you’re beautiful? Like… wow.” Harry chuckled, a deep, low rumble of noise and Louis pushed back, needing more. He held his breath as Harry rubbed the condom covered tip of his cock against his entrance, and Louis whined, not caring about anything except getting Harry inside his arse now. It was bliss when it finally happened. Louis could feel himself stretch, and he stayed as still as he could, letting Harry entirely dictate the pace. “Oh god…”

“Shit, fuck. You’re so big, ah, god...”

Louis let his head hang low, arms already shaking with the weight of holding himself up. Slowly but surely, Harry bottomed out, hips resting flush against Louis’ arse, and they both let out a sigh as their bodies adjusted to the position. Louis shivered as fingertips ran up his spine, and he looked over his shoulder, taking in the sight that was Harry Styles for a moment. Harry was gorgeous, was the thing. His eyes were shut, his lower lip was held between his perfectly straight teeth, and his cheeks were the softest shade of pink. Louis sort of wished they could do this all day.

“You can move, love.”

Harry just nodded and his eyes fluttered open, meeting Louis’ for just a split second before they grinned and Harry started to move. He rocked his hips rhythmically, his cock sliding with ease in and out of Louis’ waiting body, and every slap of skin on skin made Louis impatient for more. Harry’s hands were gripping at his hips now, pulling their bodies close with every thrust, and Louis was loving it. He gasped when Harry’s fingertips prodded at the sensitive skin where he was being stretched open, and he bit down on his lip, trying to focus on not coming too soon.

“You’re so good, Louis, so, so good. Love this, fucking with you-”

“Yeah, I love it, more, Haz. Love you filling me up. Fuck, harder, please-”

“Okay, fuck… just… come here, yeah?”

Much to Louis’ surprise, Harry grabbed him under his arms and sat him up, practically in his lap now. Harry’s cock was impaling him and Louis just sat still for a moment, his sweaty back pressed close to Harry’s chest now as Harry’s long arms came around his waist, holding him close. It was an complete sensory overload but Louis used his thigh muscles to pull himself up slightly, slamming back down again, making both of them cry out.

They’d just found a good rhythm, Harry’s fingers working over Louis’ nipples, kissing at the side of his neck when there was an odd noise that shook Louis from his sex-haze. He paused his movements, letting Harry nibble on the side of his neck while he tried to figure out what it was. A low whine made him realise and he rolled his eyes, shouting out, startling Harry.

“Cliff, go away! I’ll be out soon- ah, fuck!” Harry rammed his cock back up into Louis’ body and he turned as best he could, glaring at Harry. “Fuck, Haz… warn a guy, yeah?”

Another few scratches came as Cliff tried to get through the door, and Louis practically growled himself, not wanting to remove his body from Harry’s cock unless he could absolutely help it.

“Clifford, downstairs, NOW!”

There was silence and Louis sighed in relief as he realised his dog had listened and left them alone to finish off the amazing sex they were having.

“Sorry about that, he’s just curious-”

“S’ok… your dog is fine, Lou, let me just fuck you, okay? Hands and knees for me…” Louis nodded and let Harry pull their sweaty skin apart, falling back down onto the bed. This time, Louis lowered himself to his forearms so he could tug at his cock with his right hand, needing to come now. His body was aching with pleasure, and he needed the release only an orgasm could provide. “You close, Lou?”

“Yeah, really close. Come in me, yeah? Really want it-”

Silence reigned as Harry’s hips snapped back and forth, pounding into Louis and it was everything. The room was hot and smelt of sex, and Louis needed to come. He pulled at his cock harder and faster as Harry fucked him from behind, and Louis absentmindedly wondered if he’d ever get the chance to be inside Harry instead, to come buried deep in Harry’s body. It was that thought that sent him hurtling close to the edge, and when Harry’s hand trailed around and batted Louis’ out of the way, taking over his strokes, Louis shut his eyes and just let the whole thing wash over him.

His orgasm exploded out of him with a loud cry of Harry’s name, and he felt his whole body tremble as he spurted onto the sheets below and Harry’s hand, quickly going limp. Harry caught him, holding onto his hips as he thrust hard and fast a few more times, a hand coming up to grab Louis’ shoulder as he pushed his cock in deep one more time, coming hard into the condom.

Louis could feel Harry’s cock twitch inside him as he came, both of them panting and shaking as they came down from their highs. Louis stayed still as Harry pulled out of him, leaving him feeling too empty. He flopped down onto the bed, cringing slightly as his warm stomach hit the cooling pool of come underneath him, but he cracked open an eye, watching Harry peel off the condom, tying the end before he dropped it to the floor.

Harry looked down at him, and Louis held out an arm, hoping Harry would agree to a quick cuddle. Louis wasn’t the type to fuck and kick someone out of bed, and luckily, it didn't seem Harry was either. Harry quickly burrowed himself into Louis’ side in a ball, curling against Louis’ warmth, a hand resting on Louis’ bare chest as they calmed themselves down. Louis’ body was throbbing, and the slight pain in his arse reminded him already of what they’d done.

“That was… that was amazing, Haz. You’re good at that.”

Harry laughed softly, kissing at Louis’ bare shoulder. “You felt so good, Lou. Your body… I love how curvy you are. That was seriously good. My knees fucking hurt now though.” There was a pause until they both burst into laughter, and Louis reached down, rubbing over Harry’s sore knees, pleased to see his plaster was still in place. Harry’s hand was now rubbing over the curve of Louis’ hip, and Louis sort of wanted to stay like this forever.

There was a low whine and scratch at the door again, and Louis sighed, shaking his head slightly. Harry pushed him away gently, and Louis knew he was giving him permission to let his dog in, which he was grateful for. Clifford would only become more agitated, and reluctantly, he got off the bed and walked to the door, well aware of Harry’s eyes watching his naked body cross the room. He opened the door and Cliff moped in, sniffing over Louis before coming to the bed and sniffing at Harry, who seemed to just let him.

“Sorry about him…”

“Don’t be. He’s just protective. I get it.”

Louis clambered back onto the bed and this time rested his head on Harry’s chest, kissing his skin before he realised what he’d done. Clifford settled on the floor on Louis’ side of the bed, knowing that he wasn’t allowed on the bed, and they just laid in silence for a while, Harry’s fingers scratching at Louis’ scalp, sending him into a pleasant sleepy haze.

After a while, they’d cooled down and Harry sat up, stretching out his long limbs for a moment. He reached for his boxers and smiled at Louis before he started to pull on his clothes. Louis yanked up the bedsheet, covering his modesty now Harry wasn’t naked too, and his heart fell at the fact Harry clearly wanted to leave already.

“I, uh… sorry if this was too much too soon. Like… I don’t want you to think I’m that kind of guy. I don’t usually fuck people when I’ve just met them, Harry-”

Harry whirled around, his face a myriad of concern. He hurried back to Louis and sat on the edge of the bed, his socks in his hand. “What? No, I never thought that, Lou, not for a second. And I wanted this as much as you did. I kissed you, remember?”

Louis smiled, nodding shyly as Harry tucked two fingers under his chin, forcing him to look up and into Harry’s green eyes.

“Actually, I wondered if you’d like to do something tonight? I’d, uh, I’d really like to get to know you outside of the bedroom. If you want to get to know me too, that is?”

Louis didn't bother to hesitate with his reply. He knew he liked Harry, and there was no point in pretending otherwise. “I’d love to. I’d really like that, actually. But it’s Valentine’s Day, won’t everywhere be busy?”

“I’ve got a few ideas, just… leave it with me, okay?” Louis watched as Harry pulled on his socks, standing up and smoothing out his jumper over his body. Louis shuddered with the realisation he now knew exactly what laid under those clothes, and he was hoping it wouldn’t be too long until he got to see it again. “I’ll text you later, tell you where to meet me. You stay in bed, you look so cosy. I can let myself out.”

“Are you sure?” Louis looked up at Harry then, a lump developing in his throat at the thought of saying goodbye. “I can-”

“No, stay there. I’ll be in touch, okay? And... thank you, Lou. For taking care of me earlier, and… that amazing sex.” He leaned in and Louis let his eyes close as they kissed, softly and carefully, the opposite of the other kisses they’d exchanged so far. Harry’s hand grazed his cheek, and they pressed their foreheads together for a moment before Harry finally pulled away. “Bye Cliff, look after Lou for me.”

Harry walked to the bedroom door and Louis raised his hand, smiling at the man who was grinning at him again.

“Bye, Haz.”

“Bye, Louis. I hope I’ll see you again soon.”

“You will, love.”

With that, Harry left, and Louis laid in bed as he heard his front door close with a click, and finally, silence fell. He rolled onto his side, pulling the pillow next to him close against his body. Somehow, it already smelt like Harry, and Louis wanted it to linger just a bit longer. He smiled to himself for a moment before a horrible realisation dawned on him.

Harry hadn’t left his number. He’d told Louis they’d go out but with no way to contact him, Louis suddenly realised that was Harry’s way of letting him down gently. Sure, they’d had amazing sex but that didn't mean it was going to last. Louis sighed and groaned, pulling the pillow over his face for a moment. Clifford came up and poked his snout into Louis’ side, stirring him from his thoughts.

“Oh well, love. Guess I’m just not destined to get someone to stick around, am I? Come on, out of the way, I need to get cleaned up.” He swung his legs out of bed, bare feet hitting the carpet beneath, and he slowly meandered down the hallway to the bathroom, realising that was probably the last he was ever going to see of Harry Styles.

───── ⋆⋅☆⋅⋆ ─────

Louis slumped down on the sofa, a bowl of mac and cheese balanced on his lap as he reached out for the remote control. Clifford was on the floor with his bone that the butcher had given him earlier, and Louis smiled to himself, realising he hadn’t heard a peep from him since giving it to him nearly half an hour ago now. At least someone was enjoying their Valentine’s Day present. He flicked through the channels, settling on an old episode of Friends, and lifted a fork of pasta to his lips, blowing on it gently.

He was just about to finally tuck in when his doorbell went. The curtains were all closed and the room was dark so he decided to stay put, hoping whoever it was would go away. No such luck. The doorbell rang again, and Louis sighed, setting his bowl on the table before he stood up, yanking his hoodie down a bit. He looked at his outfit and sighed, realising he didn't look his best, but he wasn’t actually sure he cared that much.

He pulled the living room door closed behind him to keep Clifford inside and grabbed his door key from the hook on the wall. He slid the key into the lock and pulled the door open, blinking when he saw who was stood on the doorstep.

“Oh god, Lou, I’m so sorry… I know I said I’d text, but I stupidly forgot to take your number, and…”

“Harry?”

“Yeah, uh… sorry, shall I go, or…?” He turned, pointing over his shoulder to his car, and Louis quickly shook his head, opening the door more.

“No, fuck! I’m so glad you’re here, come in…”

Harry grinned again and Louis let him walk into the hallway, shutting the door behind him,

“If I’m honest, I thought you didn't leave your number on purpose, like you were telling me that it was just sex or something-”

“What? No way. No! Please don’t think that… I’m sorry, I really am. I promise I wanted to see you again-” He looked down at Louis’ bowl of food, and raised an eyebrow. “Oh, was I interrupting something?”

“Yeah, you totally ruined my night in with my shitty packet meal and crap telly.” Harry laughed at that, and suddenly held out a blue gift bag in his hand, smiling shyly at Louis. “What’s this?”

“I couldn’t turn up to take you out for Valentine’s without a present. Here.”

Louis accepted it with a soft smile and pulled out the piece of tissue paper on the top, screwing it up and chucking it onto the sofa. He reached in and pulled out the present, bursting into laughter when he saw what it was.

“Condoms? Seriously?”

“Well… I used your last one earlier, so I thought I’d be a gent and replace them. Kinda hoped you’d still wanna go out for dinner with me, and maybe…”

“You think I’m the kind of guy who puts out on the first date, huh?” Louis cocked an eyebrow and Harry’s face fell, nervously twiddling a ring around on his finger. “Shit, I’m joking, love. Thank you, I appreciate the condoms, although I have to say flowers are a more traditional pre-dinner gift…”

“You already got some earlier! I was being practical… now are you gonna get changed, or are you going out like that?”

“I suppose I’d better get me glad rags on. Wait here, alright? Help yourself to the telly…”

He walked towards the door and the stairs, and as he slipped past Harry, he squeaked as Harry slapped his bum, sticking his tongue out as Louis gave him the middle finger. Louis sprinted up the stairs, grateful that he’d done some washing earlier in the week and pulled out some maroon chinos and a baggy grey jumper he knew Harry would like on him. He fiddled with his quiff in the bathroom mirror and put on some aftershave before he deemed himself ready, grabbing his new Vans from the bottom of the wardrobe.

He slowly went down the stairs and swallowed, nervous to see Harry now he knew they were definitely going on a date. It had been the last thing he expected when he’d said goodbye earlier that Harry would reappear at his door to take him out, but now it was happening, a happiness settled inside Louis that he hadn’t felt for a long time.

Harry stood as Louis walked into the room, coughing into his hand, cheeks reddening as his eyes raked over Louis from head to toe. “Wow. You look stunning.”

“Thank you. You look lovely yourself.” Harry had divested himself of his coat, and was stood in a black silky shirt over dark blue denim jeans that hugged his thighs perfectly. He stepped closer and took Harry’s hand in his own, giggling again when he saw the condoms still sat on the coffee table. “Let me just feed Cliff and we can get going-”

“Um, he needs to come with us.”

“Sorry? I thought this was a date…”

“It is. But Cliff’s coming too.”

“Oh, uh…”

“Trust me, okay? I know he’s important to you, Lou, and I want you to know that makes him important to me, too. I know we barely know each other but…” Harry blushed then and looked down, a few curls falling forward and into his eyes. Louis thought it was adorable but stayed quiet, wanting to hear what Harry had to say. “I want to get to know you, both of you. And that means getting on his good side as well as yours.”

Louis’ heart melted at those words and he grinned, squeezing Harry’s hand gently until he looked up. “I think that’s amazing, love. And I want to get to know you, too. I’m really happy you came back, you know.”

Harry surprised him by leaning in for a quick kiss, and Louis reciprocated, just a press of lips but it was somehow a promise of more.

“Let me get his lead, and we’ll get going. Are we walking, or…”

“Yeah. It’s pretty close, and it’s dry out so if you don’t mind?”

Louis nodded and set about grabbing Clifford’s things, clipping his lead onto his collar, and then they were outside, Louis locking the front door behind them. Harry set off down the path first, and soon, Louis walked alongside him, Clifford trotting quietly at his side. Louis’ little finger brushed against Harry’s several times before he took the plunge and pushed his hand into Harry’s, the pair sharing a quick smile as they walked, not taking too long to arrive at their destination.

They didn't pass many other people, although Clifford was keen to sniff every lamppost and tree that they walked past, much to Harry’s amusement. Their breaths were cold puffs of steam floating into the air as they chatted easily, acting like they’d known each other far longer than the few hours they’d spent in each other’s company already. Louis wasn’t sure if it was the fact they’d already had sex that made things so comfortable between them, but he liked the feeling of being out with Harry like this, walking hand in hand down the street together.

“Okay, just around this corner…” Harry mumbled, stopping and looking before he pulled Louis and Clifford across the road. “Right, here we are…”

Louis stopped still in shock as he realised where Harry had brought them. He couldn’t stop the huge smile that crept across his face at the realisation and he turned to look up at Harry, eyes shining in wonder that a virtual stranger had done something so unbelievably perfect for him.

“You brought us here? For our first date, you brought me to a dog-friendly restaurant so I could bring my clumsy arse dog who knocked you flying this morning… Harry, I don’t know what to say.”

“Uh, say that you’ll have dinner with me? Both of you, that is. I checked, Cliff’s welcome in here, and they have a little doggy menu and everything. I just… I didn't want you to think I hated him, or you, for what happened this morning. I really like you, Louis.”

“Harry, this is just- fuck, come here!” He laughed and jumped at Harry, pulling him down into a kiss, not caring who was watching. Clifford jumped up in excitement, not understanding what was going on aside from his owner being happy, which was good enough to him. Louis released Harry and grinned down at Clifford, rubbing between his ears, crouching down to his level. “Now listen up, you. Harry’s been nice enough to let you crash our date so you better be on your best behaviour, got it?”

Clifford whined and nuzzled into Louis’ touch, licking his hand before Louis stood back up, taking Harry’s hand in his own again.

“Ready?”

Louis nodded, grinning. “Come on then, you two. We’ve got a date to enjoy.”

Harry held the door open for Louis and Clifford to walk in, coming to a stop beside them and telling the waiter he had a reservation for three. The waiter nodded and stroked Clifford before he led them to the seating area. Harry sorted out clipping Clifford to the special hook in the wall, and Clifford soon settled down next to him on the carpeted floor, quiet and well behaved.

Harry smiled up as their waitress approached, handing them two menus each, one for themselves, and one for Clifford. Louis laughed at it, and showed it to Clifford, watching as he sniffed it slowly. Harry ordered a bottle of wine for them to share, and as Harry indulged in a quick conversation with the waitress, Louis rested his chin on his palm, elbow on the table, just watching him. Harry’s eyes sparkled, his curls shone in the low light of the restaurant, and he looked gorgeous.

Louis smiled to himself, and ran his foot up the inside of Harry’s calf, stealing his attention for a moment. Harry smiled, dimple popping with his cheek and he reached across the table, taking Louis’ hand gently, lacing their fingers together. Louis looked at the small pink rose in the middle of the table, and realised that for once, Valentine’s Day just might not be that bad after all. He’d found someone pretty special, and Louis was sure he wanted Harry to stick around in his life a lot longer than just tonight. If he was lucky enough, his wish just might come true.

───── ⋆⋅☆⋅⋆ ─────

Six months later

“Will you be quiet, if you wake up Lou, I’m not gonna be happy.”

Harry reached for Clifford’s lead and clipped it to his collar as quietly as he could before he patted his pockets, making sure he had his keys and wallet. He opened the front door to Louis’ home as quietly as he could and tugged on Clifford’s lead, making sure he was following. Clifford sat as Harry closed the door, and they headed off together into the early morning August sunshine in a familiar direction.

Harry strolled slowly, Clifford’s lead dangling from his fingertips, aware the dog wasn’t ever going to try and get anywhere away from him. He had a cushy life with Louis and Harry, and as much as Harry had been wary of him all those months now, he was just as fond of the dog as Louis was, and enjoyed these quiet moments they got together.

Harry stumbled down off the kerb as he led Clifford in the right direction, grimacing slightly at the stab of pain in his backside. He and Louis had woken up early and had enjoyed some alone time in bed together, Louis taking Harry apart bit by bit until he’d been begging to come, both of them praying Clifford wouldn’t come and interrupt them as he usually tried to do. He smirked at the memory and decided if Louis was still asleep when he got home, he’d wake him with a six month anniversary blow job. That always went down well.

Clifford barked quickly as they neared their destination, and Harry pulled his lead, stroking him for a second to calm him down, not wanting to seem like one of the out of control dog owners he saw too often on their walks.

“Calm down, boy. Nearly there, I know you’re excited.”

Harry hadn’t imagined that six months ago, he’d be literally swept off his feet by a stranger and his dog, but it had happened and changed his life completely for the better. Their first date at the dog friendly café Harry had managed to find had ended perfectly, Louis and Harry making out on the sofa until Harry had carried him up to bed, indulging in their second round of sex for the day before they’d fallen asleep together. Harry had never really left after that. He and Louis had slipped into an easy relationship and fallen fast and hard for each other, and they’d confessed their love a few months later amongst a few tears, much laughter, and the best sex they’d ever had. It had been a whirlwind, but Harry wouldn’t change a thing. Now, he was walking his dog -  yes, Clifford had become his dog too - and they were looking for something to celebrate Harry and Louis’ six month anniversary.

The market came into view and Harry smiled, holding Clifford just a little closer when he spotted a few young children running around, fruit in their hand as they looked at everything on display in the various stalls. Harry looked down when a little hand patted his bare thigh, his shorts a little too short but he knew Louis liked them so he didn't care.

“Excuse me mister, can I pat your dog?”

Harry looked up for any sign of a parent, and when a woman smiled and nodded, he crouched down, holding Clifford by the collar for a moment.

“Sure. On top of his head, between his ears. He’s very friendly, don’t be scared.”

The little boy grinned and reached, patting his palm firmly between Clifford’s ears. Harry felt proud of how nicely Clifford was sat, and he smiled to himself, wishing Louis could see him now.

“What’s his name?”

“Clifford, he’s soft, isn’t he?”

“Is he yours?”

“Yeah. He belongs to me and my boyfriend, actually.” The boy nodded and touched Clifford’s wet nose, giggling as he did so. “Thank you for being so gentle with him.”

“That’s okay! Bye Clifford!” The little boy laughed and ran back to his mum, shrieking about Clifford and his wet nose, and Harry chuckled, getting to his feet, wandering off again.

“Morning, young Harry, how are you today?”

“Good, thanks, Jack. How are you?”

“Alright. Where’s Louis, then? Trusted you out with his beloved, did he?”

“Did you mean me, or Cliff?” Both men laughed, and Harry let Jack hand over a carrot, which Clifford started munching on. Harry chatted as he bought some more fruit for their home, and soon made his way off, promising that next week he’d bring Louis with him. He loved that Louis was so popular in the market, and it made him feel ridiculously proud that the man was all his, that he got to say Louis was his boyfriend, and that everyone now knew him as such.

Harry stopped in front of the flower stall and looked down at the selection of colourful blooms, pondering which ones to buy for his boyfriend. Louis loved flowers, and Harry made sure that since Louis’ comment on Valentine’s Day that he had no one to buy him flowers, he always bought Louis something whenever he went out without him. The look of delight on Louis’ face every time he appeared with a new bunch was worth every penny Harry spent on them.

“Can I take these, please?”

“Sure, would you like them wrapped?”

“Yes, please. Sit down, Cliff, just a second then we’ll go home, okay?”

Clifford whined but did as he was told, sitting down on a shady patch of concrete while Harry fumbled in his pocket for his wallet, caught on the edge of his pocket. He cursed quietly as he finally worked it free but just as he was handing over a crisp ten pound note to the young man on the stall, Clifford had legged it.

“Shit, come back here, you-” He paused and laughed when he saw the person Clifford was running towards and folded his arms, waiting for the inevitable to happen.

Louis was stood there, arms out as Clifford bounded happily towards him, ears flapping as his legs took him to his favourite person in the world as quickly as they could. Harry braced himself as he accepted the flowers back from the boy with a mumble of thanks, and could only watch as Clifford launched himself at Louis, sending the pair of them spiralling to the floor, Louis’ laughter floating down towards Harry.

“Oh god…” Harry turned with a grin to the young man who had just served him, a look of concern on the boy’s face he was keen to remove. “Always making people fall head over heels for him, he is! I’m coming, Lou!”