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Raise a Glass to the Four of Us

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Louis stared at his luggage.

Well. Apparently not his luggage because the clothing he was looking at currently was a: worth more than everything he currently possessed, b: not his size at all, and c: more suited for a fancy ass lawyer than a holiday in NYC with his best mates.

How did this actually happen? Sure, Louis has heard of occasions like this, but he didn’t think any of them were real . Or, well, at least it would never be real to him.

“Ooh, nice loafers,” Niall said as he pulled one out of the suitcase. “I love the rainbows.”

Liam snagged it out of Niall’s hand and placed it back into its rightful place.

“Okay,” Liam began. “What do you want to do first? Eat, shop for new clothes, or spend hours on the phone with the airline?”

Louis continued to stare at the luggage.

“I think Louis has gone into a luggage coma,” Niall said from a distance. “I’m not sure what you would call his current state but apparently it comes with baggage. Any ideas, Liam?”

“We could try shock therapy,” Louis heard Liam say. And wait a second…

Louis turned around to face Liam. “Aren’t you supposed to be the sensible one, Liam? Did you just suggest shock therapy because I’m a little taken aback by the fact that someone else in this massive city has my luggage? What the fuck am I supposed to do with gold boots? And who is this person that would even own gold boots and rainbow loafers in the first place?”

“And sheer shirts,” Niall pointed out as he pulled another item out of the suitcase. “I can’t decide if this is a suitcase full of clothes for a man or woman. Or bi-sexual. Or transgender. Or non-binary. I’m open to all options obviously.”

“Oh, my God,” Louis mumbled. “Male alpha.”

“That’s rather presumptuous, don’t you think?” Niall asked as he poked around in the suitcase full of clothes. “You shouldn’t judge someone based off of looks. Or clothes in this case. Or the amount of money they might make because everything looks to be expensive as fuck. Damn. Why does someone need to pack three pairs of sunglasses? Just buy a pair when you get here instead of wasting room in your bag. How did you not realize this wasn’t your luggage, Lou? It’s probably ten times heavier than what you packed.”

Liam carefully picked up the top article of clothing and held it to his nose. “Definitely an alpha. I’d guess male. And honestly, Lou, how did you not realize this wasn’t yours?”

Louis put his hands on his hips and glared at Liam. “You offered to carry my luggage before we even left London, remember? You’re the one that picked this off of the baggage carousel thing.”

Niall snorted. “Nice try on placing the blame, Lou. He picked it up after you insisted about five times that this bag was definitely yours.”

“That’s beside the point,” Louis disputed.

“Anyway,” Liam continued as he inspected the suitcase. “You’re in luck because the person left their email address on the tag as their contact information. So let’s go eat and you can email the owner on the way.”

“Do people even check their email anymore?” Niall inquired.

Liam shot him a blank look and Niall merely shrugged. “I’m just saying. If you want to contact me it would be best to text, I don’t really check my email.”

Louis took a picture of the contact information of the owner of the suitcase, silently picked up their hotel keycard and headed towards the door.

“Apparently we’re leaving,” Liam unnecessarily pointed out.

----

To: Harry.Styles@gmail.uk

Subject: lost luggage.

Dear owner of this suitcase full of weird expensive clothes,

I have it. Hopefully you have mine. Please text.

Louis

“That’s a little harsh, don’t you think?” Niall asked as Louis hit send.

“What’s harsh about it?” Louis inquired as he shoved his phone into his back pocket. “Should I have put some hugs and kisses at the end? It’s not like I know them.”

“Fair point,” Niall stated as he picked up the menu full of expensive meals. “Might I suggest you maybe create a more professional email address though, mate. Tommothelad@hotmail.uk sounds like something you’d create in middle school.

Louis scoffed. “I did create it in middle school. And it works just fine so there’s no need to change it.”

“You’re twenty-six. And single,” Niall pointed out.

“What the fuck does my age and relationship status have to do with anything?”

“You never know. Also you might want to send that Harry person another email because you forgot to put your phone number for him to text.”

“Fuck,” Louis mumbled as he pulled his phone back out.

“You two are such children,” Liam said from the other side of booth as he closed his menu.

“We’re ignoring you,” Niall stated as Louis ignored Liam’s comment.

Once Louis finished with the second email he tucked his phone away and finally took a moment to look around at his surroundings. He had been so absorbed in thoughts he hadn’t paid much attention to the bustling city around him on the walk to the cafe. Not that there was much to see in the two blocks they’d gone from the hotel, but still. He needed to get his mind off of the owner of that luggage. The clothes appeared to be clean, but the suitcase still held a strong scent of the alpha. Louis honestly wasn’t even concerned about his own luggage, as long as he got to meet the alpha that the gold boots belonged to. Well, he wasn’t concerned until he needed a change of clothes. So his current state wasn’t going to last long.

“So what are we doing after we eat?” Niall inquired. “Did you make a secret itinerary, Liam? Despite me saying not to make one?”

“No?” Liam responded, clearly making a failed attempt at denying that he made set plans.

Louis laughed. “So what’s on the itinerary you didn’t make, Liam?”

Liam shrugged. “Well, it’s slightly thrown off since we have to track down your luggage. Just because you have Harry Styles’ luggage doesn’t necessarily mean that he has yours.”

Louis internally groaned at his own stupidity. He hadn’t even considered the fact that finding his luggage would just be a simple swap when he found the owner of the gold boots and the blue bandana that Louis was considering stealing. Or permanently borrowing.

“It’s going to be a simple swap,” Niall stated confidently. “I can feel it in the dirty New York City air.”

Louis’ response was cut off by the waiter appearing at the table. Louis had barely looked at the menu so he scanned through the meals with pictures beside them as Liam ordered. Not that the plates of food ever looked like the picture but it was a start. The pancakes looked good. Yes. Pancakes.

“Pancakes?” Liam inquired after everyone’s order was placed and the waiter had left. “It’s the middle of the day.”

Louis cocked his head and said, “I don’t see how the time of day is relevant.”

“Kind of like Louis being twenty-six and using an email address he created in middle school isn’t relevant,” Niall chimed in. “Fear of adulthood, that.”

“I really shouldn’t have come on this trip,” Louis mumbled as he once more pulled his phone out of his pocket and sat back to check his email.

Niall nudged Louis in the shoulder. “Whatever, Tommo. It’s a bumpy start but we’re going to have a blast. Maybe you’ll even have a new email address and be in a relationship by the time we leave.”

Liam burst out in laughter. “His email address is fine, Niall.”

“Thank you, Liam,” Louis said. “You’re my favorite.”

It didn’t take long for the food to arrive. New Yorkers weren’t exactly known for patience so that was an advantage when it came to mealtime. Well, if Louis could afford to eat moving forward. His money might have to be spent buying some clothes.

Louis was halfway through his pancakes when his phone pinged with an email notification. Snatching it up immediately he found an email from harry.styles@gmail.uk . Moment of truth.

To: Tommothelad@hotmail.uk

Good afternoon,

There is no tag on the luggage I retrieved and I did not want to go through the belongings. From a brief inspection I can tell you there is a lovely black t-shirt on the top of the other belongings. If you would like to bring my suitcase to my hotel you can take a look to see if it is yours.

I am staying at The London NYC and will be available until six this evening.

Yours sincerely,

Harry xx

Louis couldn’t help but stare in shock. Or surprise. Or something besides relief. Was this lad serious?

“Louis has gone into a mobile coma,” Niall stated as he cut into Louis’ pancakes. “Should we continue with shock therapy?”

“Shut up, Niall,” Louis clipped.

“Lou?” Liam asked gently. “What’s wrong?”

Louis looked up from his phone and addressed Niall, “Sorry, mate. I didn't mean that. Mostly. Just a little surprised by this email is all.”

Niall snatched Louis’ phone from his hand and proceeded to review the email.

“I’m a little confused,” Niall said when he finished reading.

At least Louis wasn’t the only one. Niall handed the phone over to Liam for review and continued, “I mean, is it just me or are there mixed signals in the message?”

“It’s definitely not just you,” Liam said as he handed the phone back to Louis. “And I’d say there’s no doubt he’s an alpha.”

“I’ll have to agree,” Niall said. “But a weird one. He’s, like, holding your stuff hostage unless you bring his luggage to him. The lad could probably afford to buy all new clothes for fucks sake. And all you get in return is that there’s a black t-shirt in the luggage. Like, doesn’t everyone have a black shirt in their luggage? Honestly. Could he be less helpful?”

“Well, apparently this black shirt is lovely though,” Liam pointed out. “So not just any black shirt. Which means it’s quite possible it’s not Louis’.”

“Excuse you, Liam!” Louis protested.

“Anyway,” Niall continued. “He demands this, then ends the email ‘yours sincerely’ with kisses? And why the fuck did he email when you gave him your phone number? Literally no one emails anymore!”

“They really do, Niall,” Liam advised. “I think that’s just you.”

Niall waved his hand in the air as if to bat away Liam’s comment.

“Should we email him back and ask to meet at a neutral location?” Liam asked. “I’ve no idea where that hotel is.”

“When you say ‘neutral location’ do you mean a location that you already have planned in your itinerary?” Niall asked in jest.

“Does he not believe in using a phone?” Louis mumbled.

Niall let out a small laugh. “Going off the way he packed three pairs of sunglasses in the midst of those expensive clothes I’d bet he probably owns five different phones. Just for the sake of showing off that he can afford to have five phones, of course. Obviously he doesn’t use them but that’s beside the point.”

Louis went back to concentrating on his pancakes before they got cold. Liam had pulled out his phone and was likely looking up the location of the hotel and Louis had no doubt Liam would come up with a plan.

“Well, the hotel isn’t too far out of the way,” Liam advised. “We could make it work.”

“Alpha’s are so inconsiderate,” Niall stated.

“Hey!” Liam exclaimed.

Niall rolled his eyes. “You know what I mean.”

Louis’ phone pinged with a text and Niall snatched it up before Louis could even put his fork down.

“Unknown number,” Niall announced.

Louis yanked the phone out of Niall’s grasp and opened his messages.

My apologies, I did not see your additional email before responding. I am quite busy but would be happy to meet you somewhere in public if you do not have anyone to come with you. I don’t want you to feel unsafe meeting an unknown alpha. With your permission, I will gladly look farther into the suitcase for any indication that it is yours. It’s unlikely that a third person picked up the wrong luggage so ours is probably switched. Xx

Oh.

“Well, nevermind, Harry certainly knows how to use a phone,” Niall mused. “That text message is longer than the email. Looks like he may be a good egg after all too.”

“Are you going to share or no?” Liam impatiently asked.

Louis handed over his phone and said, “Looks like he had my suitcase open long enough to smell that I’m an omega.”

“Interesting,” Liam said as he typed something into the phone before handing it back as another text was received.

Harry: Also, I’m sorry for my email and assuming it would be simple for you to bring my belongings. I didn't mean to sound demanding. Xx

Louis looked up at Liam and asked, “You programed his name in my contacts why?”

Liam shrugged. “Maybe he’s the relationship Niall says you’re going to take home with you. Better to be prepared.”

“Why is he ending his email and texts with kisses?” Niall said thoughtfully.

“Maybe he wants to meet Louis,” Liam said.

“Why?” Niall inquired.

“Because he likes his scent,” Liam stated as if it were obvious.

Louis thought back to the bandana that he was considering permanently borrowing. He could certainly return the sentiment. If nothing else he’d love to know what the alpha looked like.

“Do you think if we met at his hotel, he’d let me keep his bandana?” Louis asked.

The fuck? He did not mean to ask that out loud.

Louis was met by stares from both Liam and Niall. Not that he should have expected anything different from the question he accidentally voiced. Thankfully another text came through which relieved Louis of the other’s looks.

Harry: Would you like me to provide you additional information about the belongings in the luggage I have?

Harry: Also, I apologize for taking your suitcase.

“He apologizes a lot,” Niall said.

Louis elbowed Niall in the side and said, “Stop getting in my personal space. These are my text messages and do not require your commentary.”

“Honesty, you two really are children,” Liam said as he cleared his plate of food. “Let’s go get Harry’s luggage and take it to the hotel. It’s not far from where we’re staying and near some things on the itinerary. I’ll just need to tweak it a bit so it’s no big deal.”

“Really?” Louis asked. For some reason he wasn’t expecting that decision.

Liam shrugged. “I want to meet this alpha too. He sounds intriguing.”

“So naturally we have to go to him?” Niall asked. “Alphas make stupid decisions and the rest of us are subjected to them. Life is so unfair.”

“Oh boo-hoo. Now I feel really bad. Bad Liam,” Liam said in response.

Louis couldn’t contain his outburst of laughter. “Oh my God, Liam. Did you just quote Emperor's New Groove but inserted your name instead of the llama? Nevermind. I know you did but that was amazing. Vacationing suits you.”

Louis’ phone pinged with another text reminding him he still had not responded to Harry.

Harry: Louis?

“Is it weird that I’m totally cool with Harry going through my things?” Louis asked.

“Yes,” Niall promptly stated.

“Not really,” Liam said over Niall’s protest. “Text him. Ask him if there is a pair of Vans in the suitcase.”

Louis rose an eyebrow at him. “I’m wearing my Vans. Why would I ask him?”

Liam gave Louis a knowing look.

“Oh.” Louis said after realizing what Liam was implying.

“What did I miss?” Niall asked, looking between the two.

“Nothing,” both Louis and Liam said simultaneously.

Louis: Are there a pair of white Vans with a smiley face drawn on them?

Louis: Maybe a Rolling Stone t-shirt?

Louis bit his lip as he waited for Harry’s response. Louis hadn’t worn those Vans in ages and made a mental note to find them when they returned home from their trip.

“I’m confused,” Niall said as he invaded Louis’ personal space to read the message. “Do you even still own those shoes? Why would you pack them?”

“He didn’t,” Liam advised. “But now Harry is going to be rummaging through Louis’ omega scented belongings in search of them.”

“Is this some sort of mating ritual?” Niall inquired as Louis’ phone pinged.

Harry: I see a Rolling Stones shirt but no Vans. :(

Harry: Maybe this isn’t yours after all?

Harry: :(

Harry: Do you think we could still meet? xx

“I’m honestly so confused right now,” Niall said as Louis handed his phone to Liam.

“He likes Louis’ scent,” Liam explained as he caught the waiter’s attention for their check.

“This is definitely a mating ritual,” Niall mumbled as he shoved the last piece of Louis’ pancake into his mouth. “How do you even get that from a text message? It’s a text message for fucks sake.”

“With a frowny face,” Liam said.

“Two frowny faces,” Louis corrected.

“I don’t think I’ll ever understand you guy’s secondary genders,” Niall said as he took the check from the waiter.

“Okay, first up on our itinerary is to go retrieve Harry’s luggage and meet the owner,” Liam advised. “Text him back, Lou.”

Louis: It might be mine. I don’t remember if I packed my other Vans. :) Me and my friends can bring your stuff over if you’re available. I like my green toothbrush and don’t want to have to buy another.

Louis: I’m not sure how far we are though.

Harry: There’s a green toothbrush. :)

Harry: You’re truly lovely. Text when you get here. Hopefully I’ll be finished with my work by then. Xx

“So we’re following the alpha’s orders and making an exchange for Louis’ luggage that he’s holding hostage then?” Niall asked as the group got up to head back to collect Harry’s luggage.

“Yes,” Liam stated. “It’s been added to the itinerary.”

----

“Nice place,” Louis mused as he looked around the lobby of Harry’s hotel. “Maybe we should swap hotels too.”

“Definitely,” Niall agreed. “It looks a lot more expensive. And judging from that suitcase full of clothes he’s probably in the penthouse.”

“Assuming they have one,” Liam said. Of course Liam would be the one to think of that.

“Do you think it would be rude if we ask how much the items in that luggage are worth?” Niall asked. “Should we make a bet on whether it’s worth more than our year’s rent? Maybe we shouldn’t give it back and just sell the shit.”

Louis snorted. Niall did make a valid point though.

“That’s actually not a bad idea,” Liam said as he looked down at the suitcase by his feet. Louis had made him carry it as penance for picking up the wrong suitcase in the first place. Naturally Louis’ insistence that it was his suitcase was irrelevant.

“Are you serious Liam?” Louis asked in shock. “I like you as an Emperor's New Groove quoting rebel. You should try it out more often.”

“Are you going to text Harry or not?” Niall asked. “We have things to do. Liam’s itinerary is being screwed up with every moment we waste.”

“And that would be tragic.” Louis deadpanned as he pulled out his phone.

Louis: We’re in the lobby.

It only took seconds for a response to be received.

Harry: Would you like to come up? Or I could meet you in the lobby.

Louis looked over to Niall and Liam who had expectant looks on their face.

“Meet in the lobby or go up to his room?” Louis inquired.

“Ask if he’s in the penthouse,” Niall suggested. “Then we’ll go up. I want to see what it’s like to step foot in a hotel penthouse.”

Louis rolled his eyes before responding.

Louis: We’ll come up if that’s okay.

Harry: Top floor. Can’t wait to meet you. Xx

“More kisses, I see,” Niall said as he looked over Louis’ shoulder.

Louis jabbed him in the stomach and bent down to pick up Harry’s luggage.

“Fuck, this is heavy,” Louis grumbled. “How did you not realize this wasn’t mine Liam?”

Niall giggled and explained, “Liam is a strong manly man alpha who doesn’t pay attention to the weight of an object as long as he can easily carry it. Or pretend that he’s easily carrying it. In which case, he probably noticed the additional weight but didn’t say anything because he wanted to display the fact that he was carrying a heavy as fuck suitcase around the city with ease. Although if he was carrying it with ease no one would even know that it was that heavy. So really there was no point in agreeing to carry the wrong suitcase everywhere, Liam.”

“Or,” Liam interjected. “As previously mentioned, it could have been that Louis was insisting that it was his suitcase so that’s the one I grabbed.”

“Oh, my God,” Louis huffed as he heaved the luggage from Liam’s side and headed towards the lift. “The problem is being rectified so no need to dwell on the past.”

“Just out of curiosity, Lou,” Niall asked. “Why are you carrying the thing? It has wheels.”

Liam snickered. “He’s proving he’s a strong manly man omega who can carry a heavy as fuck suitcase with ease.”

“It was the fastest way to get it out of Liam’s grasp,” Louis said as he set down the luggage and jabbed at the lift button. “Although I suppose it does prove I’m a strong manly man omega so I’ve killed two birds with one stone.”

The trio were greeted by a lift operator as the doors opened. He was an older gentleman who smiled brightly as they entered the larger than necessary lift. At least there would be plenty of room to sprawl out on the floor if the lift broke down.

“Good afternoon, gentlemen,” the operator asked. “What floor?”

“We have been invited to the fucking penthouse,” Niall chirped. “Please deliver us to the beautiful abode.”

“Niall!” Liam hissed.

“We don’t know him,” Louis advised the lift operator.

The man merely chuckled as he pressed the button for the top floor. Louis couldn’t help but wonder how much the employee got paid. His job was to poke a button or two as he rode the lift all day. Or maybe just during peak hours? Either way, it was a curious job.

The lift pinged and the doors slid open to reveal a small lobby. There was only one door on the floor that would lead into Harry’s suite and Louis suddenly felt nervous butterflies take flight in his stomach. What if Harry didn’t like him? On the other hand why did he even care if Harry liked him?

Before he could mentally prepare himself Liam was brashly knocking on the door. Louis took a small step back and huddled into Niall’s side.

Niall seemed to sense Louis’ sudden shift in demeanor and whispered, “It’s not like you’re ever going to see him again, Lou. Why are you nervous?”

“I’m not,” Louis rushed out as he shook his head violently.

Louis could feel Niall’s eye roll when he said, “Yeah, that was totally convincing.”

“Shut up,” Louis hissed as the door to the suite opened.

“Oh,” Louis whispered. Hopefully too quiet to be heard.

Louis’ nostrils were flooded with the same scent as Harry’s suitcase and Louis grabbed onto Niall’s arm. It was rare for alphas and omegas to not wear scent blockers when they were around a large amount of people, like New York City for instance. But Harry wasn’t wearing any. Maybe he forgot to put some on after showering? Louis was fucking proud of himself for holding in a whimper.

He squeezed Niall’s arm harder and was surprised that Niall didn’t make an attempt to shake him off. Louis still hadn’t decided on what he was expecting Harry to look like, but it wasn’t this. His beauty was unparalleled. His curly hair was being held back by a red bandana and he had an adorable hair clip holding back some of his curls. Louis briefly wondered if he actually did have Harry’s luggage, as the contents seemed foreign compared to Harry’s t-shirt and shorts. His legs were long and lean and Louis’ imagination was already running rampant at what Harry may look like with no shirt. According to Harry’s toned arms and broad shoulders he was sure to have a six pack underneath his t-shirt.

“Come in,” Harry said as he gestured into the room.

Niall plucked Louis’ hand off of his arm which had the grateful result of snapping Louis out of his Harry coma. Because apparently a Harry Styles coma was actually a thing.

“Holy fuck,” Niall exclaimed the moment they were in the entryway. “I mean, I always figured the penthouse was super nice but this place is sick.”

“Does this room have two floors?” Louis asked as he took in his surroundings. The entirety of the room seemed to be for entertaining as there was nothing that looked like it would open to a bedroom.

“It is,” Harry said as he boldly sidled up to Louis. He was so close Louis could practically feel his body heat and Louis craved the minty scent that Harry carried.

“How many people are staying here?” Liam asked as he and Niall moved around the room. Louis stood rooted in place next to Harry.

Louis felt Harry shrugg. “Just me.”

“You’re fucking kidding me,” Niall said in outrage. “Why the fuck do you need a two floor penthouse for just yourself?”

Harry moved out of Louis’ space and he immediately missed the warmth. Louis watched as Harry headed towards the seating area in the room. Harry didn’t get far before he turned slightly and with a warm smile gave a small wave to gesture for Louis to follow.

“I work in investments,” Harry explained. “Most of my investors share my ideals of living frugally but there is a small percentage who believe that one should flaunt their wealth. Most of them live here in New York. I know it’s stupid, but I feel like they may drop me as their investor if I don’t dress the part of being rich due to the way I manage money.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Liam said as he turned to join Harry and Louis in the seating area.

“It is,” Harry agreed. “But they make me a lot of money so I go along with it.”

“Is that why the things in your suitcase cost more than the amount of our yearly rent?” Niall asked.

Louis internally groaned as he flopped down on the luxurious couch. The things that came out of his mouth, honestly.

Harry frowned as he sat next to Louis. He sat close, but not close enough.  

“Don’t mind him,” Liam stated as he sat on the nearby armchair. “We ignore him most of time so you can feel free to as well.”

“Oi!” Niall burst out as he flopped down on the other armchair.

Louis realized with a start that the exchange of luggage seemed to have been forgotten. He quickly glanced over at Harry who he found was already looking at him with a soft expression on his face. Or maybe that was always his expression?

“Are your investors meeting you soon?” Liam asked, effectively pulling the room’s attention back to business. He gestured around the room. “I assume that you meet them here to show off the place?”

Harry let out an amused laugh. “We do meet here, yeah. I met with most of them yesterday. Just one more and I’m free for the weekend.”

“Are you staying in the city for the weekend?” Louis tentatively inquired.

Louis looked over to Niall and gave him a hard look. If Harry was staying in the city Niall better fucking invite him to join the group. Not that it was Niall’s job to ask. But it kind of was. Niall gave Louis a knowing smirk. Good lad.

“I hadn’t really planned beyond my meetings, to be honest,” Harry slowly said. He seemed unsure of something and Louis had no idea what it could be.

“Excellent!” Niall exclaimed. “Now your plans consist of hanging out with us. Liam made an itinerary and everything. Hopefully it is filled with fun things to do. The Central Park Zoo should be listed so there’s that at least.”

“Um…” Liam started and Louis couldn’t contain his laughter.

“Is your itinerary broken, Liam?” Louis asked.

“What? No!”

Niall snorted and said, “He’s now mentally rearranging it in his head so we can go to the zoo.”

Louis looked over to Harry who had a thoughtful expression on his face. Louis hoped he was reading Harry’s expressions correctly at least.

After a few moments Harry glanced over to Louis and said, “It’s pretty obvious the three of you came for a lads holiday, I don’t want to get in the way of that.”

“Where are you from?” Niall abruptly asked.

“London,” Harry informed. “Well, that’s where I live now at least. But England.”

Niall wiggled his eyebrows suggestively at Louis. “Harry Styles I deem you to be one of the lads this weekend. Join us. Also thank you for putting your first and last name on your luggage so I could say your full name in that statement. It makes it more authoritative.”

“Oh my God,” Louis mumbled. “I will never understand you.”

Harry shifted uncomfortably and Louis looked over to find him with a furrowed brow.

“Would you prefer that I not come?” Harry asked quietly.

“What?” Louis asked as he looked around the room to take in everyone’s expression. “Why would you think that? Of course I’d like you to come.”

Harry’s face broke into a brilliant smile and Louis ducked his head down to hide his warming cheeks.

“Okay, well that’s settled,” Niall stated. “Where to, itinerary maker? Lead the way, our fearless leader, Liam!”

Liam rolled his eyes and asked, “Harry, when is your final meeting?”

Harry looked at his watch and grimaced. “About fifteen minutes.”

Liam nodded decisively. “Let’s do a luggage exchange and then we can get settled at our hotel while you finish up with work.”

“Where are you staying?” Harry asked.

“Wellington Hotel,” Louis advised.

“The Wellington?” Harry repeated. “Isn’t that right down the street? I think I looked at it when I was searching online.”

“It’s actually in New Zealand,” Niall stated. Both Louis and Liam rolled their eyes in unison.

“The Wellington hotel is about a block and a half away,” Liam informed.

Harry bit his lip and Louis watched as his eyes danced around the room.

“Do you want to stay here?” Harry asked, his words coming out in a rush.

“Really?” Niall asked in surprise. “Fuck yes!”

“Um, how many bedrooms do you have here?” Liam asked. Louis could tell he was unsure about the offer.

“Well,” Harry paused as if he didn’t know. “Just the two, I suppose. I guess that wouldn’t work would it?

“Why not?” Louis asked. He had absolutely no qualms in staying in a two story penthouse. He’d probably never have the opportunity again.

“Probably not, no,” Liam said. “Thanks for the offer though.”

Niall got up and walked towards the bar on the other side of the room.

“You lads do as you please,” Niall advised. “But I’m coming back here tonight and getting drunk at this bar. Thank you for the invitation, Harry. I accept your generous offer.”

“I’m with Niall,” Louis advised as he got up to join Niall with inspecting the beverages available to them.

“Where are we all going to sleep, Lou?” Liam asked.

And, well, Liam had to go back to being the sensible one. Their plan was for Louis to have his own bed and Liam and Niall would share. Louis had cuddled with Liam on more than one occasion but, to be honest, Louis wasn’t fond of sleeping a whole night in Liam’s scent. Harry, on the other hand….

“I’ll sleep on the couch,” Louis advised. “When’s the next time we’re going to have the opportunity to stay in a two story penthouse overlooking Central Park?”

“If you really do want to stay,” Harry said. “Louis can sleep in my bed and I’ll sleep on the couch.”

“Sounds good to me,” Niall said as he skipped across the room and flopped down on the couch. “Oh fuck yes, even I’ll sleep on the couch if you want. This thing is comfortable.”

“Louis?” Liam prompted.

Louis bit his lip. He felt like he should be unsure about the situation. They had literally just met Harry and now they were going to stay at his place? Well, his hotel room. Louis knew Liam was inwardly shaking his head no. Liam was too protective for his own good. And sure, Louis probably shouldn’t agree to stay at an unknown alpha’s place, but that’s what Liam was for, right? To protect omega Louis?

“Maybe we could see how the day goes and then decide?” Louis said placatingly.

Liam took a moment and then nodded in approval. “I think that’s a good idea.”

Louis looked across the room where he had spotted his luggage tucked in the corner. Liam seemed to follow his eyesight and he looked to Louis with an eyebrow raised in question. Louis merely shrugged.

“Right,” Liam started. “I’m going to grab Louis’ luggage to take back to Wellington. Just in case.”

Harry nodded, his eyebrows slightly knitted. “Sounds good. How about I text when my meeting is finished. The gentleman I’m meeting with today doesn’t tend to stay around for long.”

“You should wear that blue bandana,” Niall advised as he headed to the door. “If Louis hasn’t stolen it, that is.”

“Um…” Harry started.

“Like I said,” Liam said as he ushered Louis out the door. “Feel free to ignore him. Although he is right in this case.”

Louis’ cheeks were already flushed from Niall’s comment and he felt his entire face turn crimson with Liam’s statement. Louis couldn’t even look back to see Harry’s response, although he couldn’t help but notice the smell of mint become stronger. Louis wanted to know what that meant.

“I’m going to strangle you both in your sleep,” Louis hissed as Harry’s hotel door closed behind them.

“Ten pounds says he wears it though,” Liam said. “You weren’t the only one who noticed he wasn’t wearing scent blocker, Lou.”

“Did anyone else notice that we never actually exchanged names?” Niall asked. “Like, Harry literally has no idea who we are and he just invited us to stay.”

Louis burst out in laughter at the revelation. “We’ll work on introductions first when we meet up and go from there.”

----

Harry fit in seamlessly with the group. Too seamlessly. Not enough seamlessly? What level of seamlessness caused Louis to suddenly have an innate desire to walk close to the alpha instead of racing Niall towards an Elmo character standing on the corner ahead of them? Louis had somehow turned into an omega who wanted to keep an alpha’s sole attention instead of running around like a petulant child. Not that Louis would ever run around like a petulant child but the point stood.

They weren’t anywhere near Times Square where all of cartoon characters stood around collecting money. That Elmo up ahead of them stood alone as he, or she, waved to the people passing by.

Louis couldn’t help but fidget and hopped slightly on the balls of his feet while Liam purchased some Nuts 4 Nuts. Niall obviously hadn’t seen the Elmo and Louis wanted to run ahead to the brave, lone character on the street.

Louis saw Harry glance down at him from his side as Louis watched for Niall’s reaction when he saw Elmo. They were both far too old to want a picture but they were on vacation right? Age was irrelevant when it came to silly things like taking a picture with a person who was probably suffocating underneath that outfit.

Louis suddenly felt Harry’s hand slightly brush the small of his back. While they had remained close the entire way towards their destination, there had been no physical contact and Louis couldn’t contain the shiver that ran through him at the touch. Louis looked up at Harry through hooded eyes to find a playful smile on his face. Harry directed his eyes towards the Elmo and softly pressed his entire hand into Louis’ back. Louis had no idea what the fuck was occurring but he instinctively knew that Harry was directing him towards the Elmo. Harry pulled his hand back, but not before softly pressing his thumb against the dip in Louis waist. With the encouragement of the alpha, Louis went into action.

Thankfully Niall was standing near enough for Louis to smack him upside the head.

“What the fuck, Lou!”

“First one to Elmo gets a picture,” Louis exclaimed. “The loser has to give them a tip. Which is a ridiculous concept but whatever.”

He heard Harry softly chuckle as Louis glared Niall down.

“Three, two, one, GO!” Niall rushed out so quickly it caught Louis off guard as Niall started to sprint down the road. Louis momentarily cringed thinking how Niall was going to kill his knees in their race. To make sure Niall wouldn’t have to run for long Louis took off and easily overtook him.

“Fuck!” Niall shouted as Louis reached the Elmo.

Louis momentarily stiffened as Elmo caught Louis in his arms.

“Hi, there,” Elmo said in Elmo’s voice as he hugged Louis tightly. Was this a girl or a guy inside the costume?

Elmo released Louis from the hug but immediately grabbed his hands as Louis started to be swayed back and forth.

“I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world!” Elmo started to sing. What the fuck? Someone better be filming this.

Elmo obviously didn’t know much of the song as he, or she, started to repeat the first line over again. Louis couldn’t contain the giddy laugh that burst out of him.

“New York City is fucking sick,” Niall said as Louis noticed him filming. “We’re all moving here immediately.”

“Absolutely not,” Liam said in a stern voice.

“Fine,” Niall stated. “Since you’re against the idea, you don’t get to have a picture with Elmo.”

Niall handed his phone over to Harry and joined Louis and Elmo, standing on the opposite side of the character. Louis knew his smile was causing the silly crinkles to form on his face as he looked at the alpha. Harry had the brightest smile and his eyes danced as he took several pictures.

“Do you want in too?” Harry asked Liam.

Liam gave an exaggerated huff and pretended not to care about getting a picture with the group as he walked over to join them.

Once pictures were finished Louis snorted as the Elmo opened the red bag that had been camouflaged within his outfit.

“Who has cash?” Louis asked.

“Seriously, Lou?,” Liam mumbled as he pulled out a few dollars and dropped them into the bag.

Elmo clapped enthusiastically as Harry once again joined Louis by his side.

“Congratulations on winning,” Harry said loud enough for the entire group to hear.

“I made a mistake in inviting you, Harry,” Niall announced before continuing down the street.

The group, including Niall, burst into laughter as they neared the entrance to the zoo.

----

“Do you think they, like, switch out the animals or something so they don’t get stuffed with this food we’re feeding them?” Niall mused as he held out his hand to feed the goat a treat.

“That’s actually a good question,” Liam said as he took a picture of Niall and the animal.

“I have them from time to time,” Niall informed him as he stuck his tongue out at the camera.

“Can we please go feed the giraffes now?” Louis asked. “I’m not in a hurry or anything but I’m just saying. I’m in the mood to feed a giraffe.”

Liam rolled his eyes and addressed Harry. “I was just saying earlier how these two act like children. So just beware.”

Louis huffed. “We’re on vacation, lima bean. It’s the only time in our adult life where we can be as carefree as possible. You should try it. You were doing really well when you were quoting Emperor's New Groove at Niall. Keep that up.”

Harry laughed before he ducked down and whispered in Louis’ ear, his nose pressing into his temple. “Let’s go feed the giraffes.”

Louis beamed up at him and watched as Harry’s eyes twinkled in the sunlight.

“We’ll meet you at the giraffes,” Louis announced as Harry brushed his hand along the small of his back for a second time. Louis managed to contain his shiver this time around.

It was a small zoo so the giraffes weren’t far. Louis internally rejoiced as he noticed there were no tourists around the area. Party time with the giraffes. And Harry.

Louis wasn’t sure where Harry had gotten the food to feed the animal so quickly but Harry reached down to pull Louis’ hand up in order to provide him the food for the giraffe. An absolutely unnecessary gesture but completely welcome.

Louis knew Harry was watching him but he put his sole focus on the giraffe bending its long neck down to be closer to Louis’ height.

“Hi there,” Louis greeted the animal. “I’m just going to take a wild guess and say you’re a boy. My apologies if you’re a girl but just know I’ll love you just the same either way.”

The giraffe reached down and took the proffered food from Louis’ hand. They truly were magnificent creatures and Louis looked up at him in appreciation.

“Thank you for being here,” Louis told the giraffe. “I’m sure they have giraffes in London, but I haven’t seen them yet. I don’t care what the others say but you’ve made this whole trip worth it.”

Louis looked over to find Harry taking a picture with a fond look on his face and Louis immediately flushed. He had nearly forgotten that Harry was there.

Harry sidled up to Louis as the giraffe had just taken the last bit of food from his hand and Louis watched in awe as the animal stretched his long neck towards the sky.

“Lou?” Harry asked quietly. Louis’ smiled at the fact that Harry was already using his nickname. If shortening his name could be considered a nickname.

As the giraffe walked away Louis turned his full attention to Harry. He looked…. Nervous?

“Yeah?” Louis asked softly, unsure of what was to come.

Harry looked down towards the ground momentarily before directing his gaze back on Louis.

“Is it too much to ask…” Harry trailed off and Louis smiled in the hopes it would prompt him to continue.

Harry cleared his throat and continued, “I know we just met but… could I maybe hold your hand?”

Louis did his best to hold in his shocked expression. Although should he be shocked? He had no idea. Harry had put on scent blocker and it was driving Louis insane not being able to smell him anymore. Not that he had spent much time in his scent before but there was a sort of comfort in just the fact of smelling his pheromones during the short time in the hotel. And there was sure to be some sort of shift in Harry’s pheromones in this moment. Although, outright asking to hold his hand was probably a pretty good indicator that Harry was attracted to him, right?

Louis held out his hand and Harry was quick to engulf it in his own, giving Louis’ hand a soft squeeze as they turned to search for Niall and Liam. Louis looked up at Harry and found him biting his lip. It looked like an attempt to hold in a blazing smile but Louis wasn’t fooled into not noticing it.

“There you… okay?” Niall said as he came into view around the corner. His eyes were already focused on Louis and Harry’s intertwined fingers. Louis squinted his eyes at Niall in an attempt to stop him from saying anything stupid.

“Well, that was fast,” Liam said as he joined Niall on the sidewalk. So it was going to be Liam saying the something stupid then? Right on.

Louis turned his head and face planted it against Harry’s strong bicep. His t-shirt smelled faintly of mint and Louis wondered if Harry would notice if he took a deep breath in to calm his senses. Probably.  

Or maybe it didn’t matter because Harry’s pheromones were overpowering whatever scent blocker he used. Louis squeezed Harry’s hand in an attempt to show some sort of sign that Louis could smell the minty pheromones washing over him.

“Anyway,” Liam continued. “I don’t think it’s, like, your average touristy thing to do, but I was thinking we could go to a street fair.”

“Street fair?” Niall chimed in. “Don’t they have food there? Like the unhealthy food that you’re supposed to eat while on vacation?”

Liam rolled his eyes and responded, “Yes, Niall. Shall we go feed you?”

“Lead the way,” Niall announced. “Bring on the funnel cakes. Which better be there.”

----

“Where are we?” Niall asked as he shoved a piece of funnel cake in his mouth.

“A street fair in New York City,” Liam advised.

Niall shot Liam a glare and tried again. “ Where in New York City. We’re obviously not in Times Square, which I’m pretty sure is the tourist spot of this whole island so I really hope that’s on your itinerary.”

Harry snickered and said, “We’re in Upper West Side. They filmed the show Seinfeld based off of this area of the city.”

“Never really got into the show,” Niall said. “However, we better be going to see where they filmed Friends. I want to see Central Perk in the flesh.”

“We don’t have time to go to California, Niall,” Louis informed. “Did you honestly think it was filmed here?”

Niall halted in the middle of the street. “What?”

The rest of the group stopped to look back at Niall. He stood stock still with a piece of funnel cake halfway to his open mouth.

Louis let out a cackle at the confused look on Niall’s face. When Louis could speak properly he asked, “How the fuck do you not know that, mate? We’ve watched the series twice and you weren’t aware of that?”

“My life is ruined,” Niall mumbled around the food in his mouth. “Nothing will ever be the same from this point forward.”

“Actually the cafe is here,” Harry said as he led Louis towards a booth containing an excessive amount of colorful bandanas.

“Really?” Louis asked. “Central Perk?”

“We’re going there,” Niall announced as he blindly followed Harry and Louis to the booth.

“I already looked it up, Niall,” Liam stated. “It’s not the actual shop. It’s literally a regular store on the corner of a street. Central Perk isn’t a real place.”

“My childhood is ruined,” Niall grumbled as he poked around on the different racks of clothes.

“Oh, good,” Liam cheerfully said. “Does that mean you won’t be wanting a picture with all of the cartoon characters in Times Square?”

Niall scoffed. “No, that means I have to make up for my ruined childhood by getting two pictures with every character in Times Square.”

“Absolutely not,” Liam stated as he picked up a blue bandana and held it out to Louis.

Louis glared at him in challenge to say anything related to how Harry was wearing his blue bandana to hold his hair back.  And by challenge Louis was going to poke one of Liam’s eyeballs out in his sleep if he said anything.

Harry brushed his thumb across the back of Louis’ hand before releasing it. They had been holding hands off and on from the moment they had first intertwined their fingers, only releasing each others grasp when necessary. It seemed like it should be weird, being they had just met and all, but it was comfortable and perfect.

Harry reached out and took the bandana out of Liam’s hand as he caught the attention of the seller. The bandana was almost an exact replica to the one Harry was currently wearing and Louis couldn’t contain his curiosity.

“Are you buying that, Harry?”

Harry shrugged. “Yeah, I like it.”

Louis didn’t have a chance to say anything else before Harry began talking to the seller. Louis heard the mention of a discount if he purchased two items and Harry quickly snatched a pink bandana off of the table to add to the small bag the seller was already holding open.

As Harry handed his card over to pay, Louis questioned, “You do realize you bought almost an exact replica of the one you’re wearing, right? You don’t seem like the type of person who would bother to own two of the same items.”

“Although do you happen to own five phones?” Niall asked from Louis’ other side. “Maybe five different generations of iPhones? All in working order, of course. Or, well, maybe none of them in working order?”

Liam burst out in laughter and Louis giggled at the disgruntled kitten face Harry had.

“Why would I own five phones?” Harry inquired in ernest.

“Don’t worry about it,” Louis said as Harry finished his transaction.

Harry looked like he wanted to push for more information but decided against it as he took Louis’ hand in his own. The group turned to continue down the street and Louis could see that they were nearing the end of the road filled with booths of knick-knacks, clothes, and fatty foods.

“What’s next on your itinerary, Liam?” Niall asked before Louis had the chance.

“Times Square,” Liam informed. “Where we will not be taking pictures with all of the costumed people.”

“Says you,” Niall stated as he tossed his empty plate in a nearby bin.

Harry chuckled low in his throat and squeezed Louis’ hand as they exited the street fair.

----

You what?!?!?!

How?!?!

Are you fucking kidding me?!?

Louis didn’t know who said what as everyone stared at Liam in disbelief.

“You heard me,” Liam said as he turned and walked towards a group crowded around a pair of dancers.

Louis stared at Liam’s retreating figure and wondered how he could possibly say what he just said and pretend like it was nothing.

“Maybe he’s lying?” Niall asked. “Is that why he just left us standing here in shock? Are we being pranked?”

Louis nodded. “I think we are. We definitely are. There’s no fucking way Liam has four tickets to Hamilton. There were three of us when this trip started. And what? Another one just materialized? How did he even get the first three to materialize?”

Harry had fallen into silence after everyone’s outburst. Louis was fairly certain Harry was the one to ask how. That was obviously the most important question. Because how ?

“We’re definitely being pranked,” Niall stated as he turned in a full circle to take in their surroundings. “Where are the fucking cameras? Get this over with so we can go back to our miserable Hamilton ticket-less lives.”

“Can I finish my sentence now?” Liam asked as he walked back over to the group.

“Yes, explain!” Niall rushed out.

“I have four tickets to Hamilton tonight…” Liam began.

Louis waved his arms around in a nonsensical pattern. “You already said that part. Where’s the rest of the sentence.”

Liam shot him a glare and Louis shut his mouth.

“One of my co-worker’s friends works in the theater industry. Or maybe it was a friend of a friend? I don’t remember.”

“Liam,” Niall warned. “If we’re being pranked could you please get this over with? Get to the point. Where are the tickets? I need proof.”

“Anyway,” Liam continued as he reached into his back pocket for his wallet. “My co-worker, who is actually a friend, but for the sake of the story I’m calling him a co-worker, had four tickets. He said he was never going to get to New York City so he gave them to me.”

“He gave them to you?” Louis exclaimed. “And why did he give you four when there were only three of us coming?”

Liam shrugged. “He had four. He said I could sell it or whatever.”

“I need better friends,” Niall mumbled. “Friends with friends in the theater industry who just give Hamilton tickets away. Who does that? Have they never heard of StubHub?”

“Should we sell them on Stubhub instead of seeing it?” Liam asked.

“Fuck no!” Niall shouted, causing a few people to look their way.

Louis pointed to where Liam was twirling his wallet between his fingers and huffed. “Are you going to show us proof or not?”

Liam rolled his eyes and pulled out what looked to be four theater tickets. Louis snatched the tickets from Liam’s hand and held up to the sun.

“I don’t think tickets are like money, Lou,” Liam said. “They probably don’t have any sort of security strip or something like money does.”

“They should,” Niall said as he gently plucked a ticket out of Louis’ hold. “These things are worth more than gold. Are you sure they’re authentic?”

“Guess we’ll see tonight,” Liam said as he took the tickets out of Louis and Niall’s hand. “If they don’t let us in the door that probably means they’re fake.”

“I’m crying if they end up being fake,” Niall said. “Not only will my childhood have been ruined from finding out the truth about Central Perk but my adulthood will be ruined as well.”

Liam flicked Niall on the shoulder and said, “Stop being so dramatic.”

“If you didn’t want him to be dramatic than you shouldn’t have shown us tickets that may be fake,” Louis advised.

“Anyway,” Liam said. “Let’s take the long way to where we’re eating dinner. And then we can go straight to the show.”

Niall bounced on the balls of his feet. “I can’t wait. I really really can’t wait.”

“Too bad,” Liam said.

Louis felt Harry take his hand once more as Liam started to lead the group down the crowded street. Louis suddenly realized that Harry hadn’t participated at all in the conversation about Hamilton, at least not past his inquiry of how Liam had obtained the tickets. Louis looked up at Harry and found the alpha with furrowed brows as if he were deep in thought.

“What are you doing with the fourth ticket, Liam?” Louis asked as he looked towards the ticket holder. It was only an assumption but that seemed like the most logical thing Harry would be thinking about.

“What do you mean?” Liam inquired as he dropped back to walk closer to Louis.

“The fourth ticket,” Louis said as he hardened his look towards Liam. Telepathy really needed to be a thing. “What are you doing with the extra ticket?”

Liam’s face held a look of confusion as he said, “It goes to Harry. What else would I do with it?”

“Sell it on StubHub!” Niall called from where he was walking in front of them.

Louis groaned as Liam’s eyes widened in realization.

“Oh shit, sorry Harry,” Liam rushed out. “I kind of just assumed that you would know that the fourth ticket would be yours.”

“Not when StubHub exists,” Niall said as they stopped to watch a group of dancers.

“We’re ignoring Niall,” Louis stated. “Continue Liam.”

“Oh, well, um, I don’t really have much else to say,” Liam said.

“Are you sure?” Harry asked tentatively. “How much do I owe you? I can’t just take it.”

Liam shrugged. “You showed up wearing a blue bandana and that was that. Oh! Plus you offered for us to stay in a two story penthouse so there’s that too.”

Louis breathed a sigh of relief as Harry’s face cleared of furrowed brows and Louis offered Liam a look of thanks. Liam just smiled, likely knowing what Louis was thinking.

Liam looked at his watch and announced, “Let’s head to the restaurant. I’m sure they’re bound to get busy soon with the start of the shows in the theater district.”

“Excellent, I’m starving,” Niall stated as they turned to follow Liam.

“You literally just ate, Niall,” Louis pointed out. “A hotdog and pretzel. How can you possibly be starving?

“We’re on vacation, Lou,” Niall huffed. “Anything’s possible. Like accidentally swapping luggage with an alpha who you’re holding hands with, like, twenty-eight seconds after meeting.”

Louis felt his face immediately warm with a blush and he ducked his head in an attempt to hide it.

A hint of Harry’s pheromones escaped his scent blocker and Louis recognized it as happiness. Or something related. Pheromones weren’t exactly precise in their meaning after all.

Louis squeezed Harry’s hand as they arrived at a restaurant named Junior’s.

“Ooh, cheesecake,” Niall said as a waiter came out of nowhere with a platter filled with different desserts. “You are definitely my favorite, Liam. No matter what Louis says.”

“Oi!”

“Hush, Lou,” Niall side whispered. “He has the Hamilton tickets.”

Louis giggled and leaned against Harry’s side while they waited for their name to be called.

----

“That was fucking sick,” Niall announced as they followed the crowd out of The Richard Rodgers Theatre.

Louis had no idea who Richard Rodgers was but no matter who it was, Louis hoped that they were proud that the best Broadway musical of all time was playing in their theatre. Not that Louis had watched an extensive amount of Broadway shows but it was a good assumption.

“I think we should celebrate,” Niall continued.

“And I think we should get a taxi,” Liam said. “We can celebrate at the hotel.”

Louis felt his hand being engulfed by Harry’s as they began to walk down the street. Harry was definitely the most tactile person Louis had ever been with. It was just an observation Louis had as Harry had placed his hand on Louis’ thigh halfway through act one. It had been slightly distracting until the cast of the show started singing about the Ten Duel Commandments, something that everyone in the twenty-first century should be aware of. Louis could be challenged to a duel at any time and the more knowledge he had about the process the better. After that point in the show Harry’s touch was merely a point of comfort.

Louis looked over to find Harry’s eyes already on him and Louis briefly wondered if Harry’s touch may be more than just comfort. Louis’ body seemed to crave it.

“Why do we need a taxi?” Louis asked once his mind had returned to the present. “The city is beautiful and it’s not that far is it?”

“Maybe about fifteen to twenty minutes,” Liam advised. “Niall?”

Louis looked over to Niall and found him biting his lip with an unsure expression. Louis suddenly realized the amount of walking they had done throughout the day. Niall’s past knee surgery had gone well and his recovery was far better than expected, but it was still a lot at one time.

Louis huffed and said, “Nevermind. I thought we were, like, five minutes away. I’m not walking twenty minutes in this crowd of people. You lads can walk, I’m finding a taxi.”

As he stopped on the curb to look for an available taxi, Liam bumped Louis in the shoulder and quietly said, “You’re a good friend.”

Louis rolled his eyes. “Or maybe I’m just tired of walking. Now, is anyone riding with me or am I going to have to pay for the ride on my own?”

“You’re paying for the ride,” Niall stated. “But I’ll join you.”

“Fuck no, Neil . You either pay for half or you walk.”

Louis noticed Harry looking around the group, obviously not sure what was going on. Harry had fit in so seamlessly that it was easy to forget they had just met earlier in the day. Louis squeezed Harry’s hand in assurance as he waved down a taxi.

“Fine. I’ll pay you in hugs and kisses,” Niall said as he climbed into the waiting car. “Via text message only.”

“You’re buying my next meal,” Louis stated with finality. “Either that or I’m opening the other door and pushing you out of the car. You might get run over by passing traffic but oh well.”

Harry laughed as he joined Niall and Louis in the backseat while Liam politely asked if he could join the driver in the front. Because of course Liam would ask despite there being no room in the backseat. Maybe the driver would tell Liam to walk?

“Where to?” The driver asked the group. And, well, good question.

“Since I don’t feel like going to New Zealand,” Niall announced. “Let’s go to The London NYC.”

“The corner of 54th and 7th, please,” Liam requested. “We can go from there.”

The driver nodded and pulled out onto the busy streets of the city. Louis may or may not have felt like he was going to die in a car wreck on more than one occasion. As well as nearly running over a biker.

“Did anyone else feel like they were going to die during that trip?” Harry asked once they had piled out of the car. “Taxi drivers aren’t exactly known for safety, but damn.”

“I’m glad that lad on the bike is also still alive,” Liam added.

“Which way?” Niall asked. “Harry?”

“You’re all still welcome to come to my place,” Harry said. “Having a penthouse is such a waste when it’s just me.”

“A two floor penthouse,” Niall clarified. “So I think we should go to Harry’s. Liam can sleep on the incredibly comfortable couch which solves the whole sleeping arrangement debacle.”

Louis giggled. “Debacle?”

“You know what I mean, Tommo.”

Harry shook his head and said, “I will be the one to sleep on the couch, which will keep your original plan in place.”

“Should we get our luggage or…” Louis tentatively asked. Did this mean they were changing hotels for the rest of the weekend? Maybe they could cancel one of the nights they had reserved in the Wellington and save some money.

“It’s up to you, Lou,” Liam instructed.

Fuck no. He couldn’t make that decision. It was simple. He wanted to stay with Harry. They weren’t holding hands right now and even just standing next to him he wanted Harry’s touch. But it’s not like he could just say that.

Niall looked between Louis and Harry and stated, “I will be Louis’ spokesperson and say that we’re getting our luggage from New Zealand and enjoying Harry’s penthouse. The end.”

“Works for me,” Louis said. Shrugging as if it were no big deal.

“Thought so,” Niall mumbled.

Louis rolled his eyes and addressed Harry. “So we’ll see you in a little bit then?”

“Or I could come with you?”

“Decision made. Join us Harry,” Niall announced. “The sooner we get our things the sooner we can raid your mini bar. Plus you can carry Louis’ luggage.”

“Oi!” Louis burst. “I can carry my own luggage thank you very much.”

“Says the person who insisted that Harry’s luggage was yours and had me carrying it to the hotel for you,” Liam said as he turned to walk towards their hotel.

“I have no comment on the matter,” Louis announced.

Harry burst out in laughter and Louis scowled. At least until Harry took his hand to lead him down the street.

----

“Holy fuck,” Louis said in awe. “Liam we need to have our bathroom remodeled into this! Immediately. Let’s just call a plumber now. Or a decorator. Construction worker? Whoever the fuck is in charge of remodeling bathrooms.”

“I actually agree with Louis,” Niall said as he stepped inside the shower. “I mean, I don’t know why you would need a bathroom like this but it can be, like, the centerpiece of your flat. This thing has three shower heads, Liam. Three .”

“Why do you want a shower the size of our entire bathroom?” Liam asked. “What is the purpose of having shower heads on opposite sides of the wall? You’ve done a fine job of waiting the five minutes for me to get out of the bathroom so far, do you suddenly want to start showering together on the regular?”

“What?” Harry asked.

Louis suddenly felt Harry’s hands on his waist as he stepped up behind him. Harry’s hold was light, giving Louis the chance to move away, but the action only resulted in Louis leaning back against Harry’s chest.

Louis really couldn’t stand guys that were jealous but the action felt more as if Harry was protecting him more than anything else. Of course, protecting him from what? Maybe it was jealousy? Either way Louis felt the innate desire to have Harry’s arms around him no matter what. It was absolutely confusing and he needed to concentrate on something else. Like the gorgeous shower in front of him.

“That’s not the point,” Louis stated as he watched Niall stand fully clothed in the middle of the shower, looking from one side of the wall to the other as if he couldn’t decide which one of the shower heads he would want to use. To be honest, Louis wasn’t sure the purpose of it either, but it was fucking sick and he wanted one. Niall was right, it could be the centerpiece of their flat.

“Anyway,” Liam said. “While this is impressive, I’m thinking we should eat something. Midnight snack anyone?”

“I’m definitely using the entirety of the hotel’s hot water afterwards but I’m in agreement to having a midnight snack,” Niall said as he moved to exit the bathroom.

----

They had just settled around the entertainment area with two boxes of pizza and three boxes of Insomnia cookies. It was quite possible Louis was going to go into a sugar high but it would be worth it. They ate in relative silence to begin, perhaps getting used to each other’s company now that they were no longer surrounded by the bustle of the city.

“So Harry,” Niall finally began. Because of course he did. “Tell us about yourself.”

“What do you want to know?” Harry asked hesitantly.

“Well, you’re a bit…. Odd,” Niall responded.

“Odd?” Both Louis and Harry asked at the same time. Liam looked intrigued.

“Yes,” Niall stated. “I mean, mostly I want to make sure you’re not a serial killer. But I’ve never seen an alpha take a shine to an omega as quickly as you. You’re quite bold, mate, and I can’t decide if I like it or not.”

Louis internally groaned. Niall always had good intentions but the lad really needed some sort of boundaries on what he should and shouldn’t say.

“I’m not sure I follow,” Harry said as he glanced over to Louis.

“Well, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed or not, but we just met you today. And the two of you have been holding hands all day. Which is kind of sweet, don’t get me wrong. But how much talking have the two of you gotten around to? What if Louis already has someone back in London. Or, do you have someone back in London, Harry? Is this just a weekend fling with my best friend. You should probably confess now if it is, or it could get really ugly.”

Harry fish mouthed for a moment before responding. “I didn’t smell alpha on Louis’ things. Not that I was specifically looking exactly. And I asked for permission to hold Louis’ hand? He said yes. And it’s nice. This is really embarrassing. Do you have another question?”

“No, they don’t,” Louis promptly responded. Harry’s face was crimson. “This is beyond embarrassing. Let’s move on.”

“It is intriguing though, don’t you think?” Liam asked. They were supposed be moving on.

“No?” Louis squeaked. Could they move on?

Although to be fair, the situation was unusual if one thought about it. Louis had never known an alpha like Harry. Of course immediate physical attraction occurred with everyone. Scent obviously played a big factor between alphas and omegas. But none of that usually led to a day like today. There was something in Harry’s touch that Louis craved. Maybe even something that his inner omega needed? Or at least wanted . Did Harry feel the same way? Louis had forgotten to put more scent blocker on after his shower at the hotel but it was such a quick shower what he was wearing probably hadn’t even washed off completely. So to what extent could Harry smell him?

But back to the point, it’s not like Louis needed Harry’s touch. He could surely go back to London on his own and continue to look for his alpha there. The weekend was sure to be memorable no matter what though.

“Well I’m watching you two,” Niall said in a warning tone as he pointed between Harry and Louis, effectively pulling Louis from his thoughts.

“Cool, now let's go back to talking about Hamilton.” Louis suggested. “We need to come up with a plan to make everyone in our lives jealous.”

Niall burst out in laughter. “Saying that we saw Hamilton on Broadway would probably work splendidly. Simple but effective.”

“No one would believe us if that’s all we said,” Louis said. “I certainly wouldn’t.”

Harry laughed softly before saying, “They would if we wave our Playbill in their face. Solid proof right there.”

“Although people might think we bought them off of eBay and had them rushed delivered to the hotel,” Niall stated.

“Valid point,” Louis said. “That’s actually probably more believable than getting tickets.”

“Oh my God, stop,” Liam said between laughter. “Did you all forget you still have your ticket? All they did was scan them and you put them back in your pocket. Or wherever you put it.”

“What if I ate mine?” Niall asked.

Liam rolled his eyes. “Did you eat it?”

“Gross,” Harry commented.

“Fine, I didn’t. I’m just giving a  hypothetical situation.”

“And on that note, my high from seeing the show has died,” Liam said. “Thanks Niall.”

“What about your high from that shower in our room?”

“Nope. You’ve killed that too,” Liam said as he shuffled around the floor to stand up.

Niall scoffed. “I don’t believe you but if you want to leave our party it’s your loss.”

As if on cue Louis let out a yawn. Louis wasn’t in good enough shape for all of the walking they had done throughout the day.

“Lou, you sure you're okay with the whole sleeping arrangement?” Liam asked.

For some reason Louis felt compelled to look over to Harry. He had a small frown on his face and Louis wondered what that meant. Did Harry not want Louis sleeping in his bed.?

Louis shrugged and turned back to Liam. “I am as long as Harry is. It’s his bed after all.”

“Of course,” Harry rushed to say. “I wouldn’t have asked you to stay if I wasn’t okay with it. I took a nap on the couch earlier and didn’t want to get up because it was so comfortable. It’s absolutely fine I promise.”

Niall snorted but thankfully didn’t say anything as he got up.

“Goodnight you two,” Niall said as he wiggled his eyes suggestively at Louis.

“Sleep well,” Liam called from halfway down the stairs.

“Good night!” Harry and Louis called in unison.

And then it was two.

“Louis, you would say something if you weren’t comfortable sleeping in my bed right?”

Louis smiled shyly. He’d be more comfortable if Harry was sleeping beside him but he didn’t want to rush things.

“Yes, Id tell you. It’s been a long day and I wouldn’t want to stay awake all night because I didn’t like your scent. Besides, don’t you think it’s kind of obvious that I like it at this point? Or at least don’t have an objection to it.”

Louis ducked his head and fiddled with the hem of his shirt. He hadn’t exactly meant to admit that out loud but too late now.

“Well,” Harry began with a smile engraved on his face. “I’ve only slept in the bed one night so the scent shouldn’t be that strong anyway. Just in case.”

“True.”

Harry gestured towards the stairs and said, “Shall we get you settled? And I can grab a blanket for the couch.”

Louis clamped his mouth shut before he could say anything stupid and let Harry direct him towards the stairs by the small of his back.

----

Harry had taken a quick shower to clean the grime of the New York City air off of him before he snagged a pillow and blanket and headed up the stairs. The shower had managed to clean remaining scent blocker off of Harry and Louis could still smell the lingering scent he had left behind. Well, either that or the fact that Louis was now in the same bed Harry had been in the previous night.

The scent wasn’t strong being that it was a sanitized hotel room and Harry had only spent one night in the bed, but it was still there. Unfortunately. Louis laid staring at the ceiling trying to force himself to sleep, but it wouldn’t come. He needed Harry’s touch. He needed to be closer to his scent. Maybe it was more of a need versus want? Or maybe Louis just needed an alpha’s touch and that could be that. Although it had only been a couple hours since Louis had been with both Harry and Liam. That wasn’t it. It was Harry.

Louis sat up with a huff and looked around the dark room. God he was blind without his glasses. He snagged them off of the nightstand and crept out of the room.

“Louis?”

He heard his name being called before Harry even came into view. Louis remained silent until he reached the couch, the lights of the city filtering in through the large windows making it fairly easy to see in the dark room.

“Hi,” Louis whispered as he came to a stop at the end of the couch. What the fuck was he doing?

The room was silent as the pair took each other in, both unsure of what the other was thinking. Louis was going to start working on his telepathy skills.

Harry sat up fully and the blanket covering him pooled into his lap. He was fucking shirtless. Harry had put on a shirt as he had left the bedroom so where the fuck did it go?

“Do you want to join me?” Harry whispered as he held out his hand.

Louis slowly shook his head. Because no. He didn’t want to sleep on the couch. He would of course, if that’s what it took to be with Harry, but he wanted to sleep in a bed. With Harry wrapped around him so Louis could breath him in, perhaps with a bit of scenting.

“You want me to join you,” Harry said. And it wasn’t a question. Holy fuck, telepathy was real, hallelujah.  

Louis didn’t have a chance to respond before Harry was up and reaching out his hand to take Louis’ in his own.

“Let’s go, love,” Harry whispered as he led Louis down towards the bedroom. He was still shirtless and his minty scent was strong.

It wasn’t often that Louis was submissive but Harry was so tender and gentle that Louis didn’t want to break the moment. Harry made him feel like an omega in the best way. An omega who was taken care of but not expecting him to submit to the alpha any more than necessary. No matter what happened, Louis would never forget the way Harry had playfully encouraged Louis to race Niall to the Elmo on the corner of the road. They didn’t even know each other. They still didn’t know each other. Yet it was as if Harry actually did know.

Louis still hadn’t said anything, lost in his thoughts about the man beside him.

“You’re so tired, Lou. I don’t think you even realize it. Lie down, love. I’ll help you sleep.”

Louis furrowed his brow. He had something to say but what the fuck was it?

“You’re shirtless,” Louis stated. That’s definitely not what he was going to say.

Harry giggled as he lifted the blanket and signaled for Louis to climb in. “I am. Do you want me to put a shirt on?”

“Fuck no!” Louis said a little too forcefully as Harry climbed in and plucked Louis’ glasses off of his nose.

“You look nice in glasses, Lou,” Harry said. “I hope you wear them sometimes.”

Louis snuffled as Harry pulled him into his chest. “It’s barely light enough to see where we’re walking, Harry. I doubt that you can even see what I look like with them on.”

Louis felt Harry shrug. “I can imagine. Do you want me to scent you?”

Louis softly snorted. Harry was gentle and tender and liked to hold hands and asked if Louis would like to be scented.

Louis didn’t exactly have doubts that Harry’s intentions were pure, but if this turned into only being a weekend fling between the two of them Louis was going to be highly disappointed.

Although if this were only a weekend fling Louis was positive they would be having sex right now, not cuddled up like an old married couple.

Louis smiled at that thought and fell asleep to the minty scent of Harry.

----

Louis woke up to the feeling of Harry brushing his fingers through Louis' fringe. He slowly opened his eyes to find a soft smile on Harry's face. Louis briefly thought back to the previous night and how he felt like an omega. It sounded weird to think that since he was an omega but it just felt so different. Louis always happily accepted his role in society but also refused to jump on the bandwagon that omegas are just around to please their alpha with no argument. Louis wasn't going to be a fucking housewife just because an alpha wanted him to be. Which, as Louis got older he found that belief to be instilled with most alphas. That being said, or thought, Louis really needed to reign in his feelings. This weekend was merely an unfortunate incident of swapped luggage. Harry seeming cool enough to earn an invitation to join their lads holiday was merely a lucky bonus. And wasn't Niall the one that invited Harry in the first place?

"What time is it?" Louis croaked.

"About eleven o'clock."

"Really?" Louis asked, slightly confused. "I would have expected the strict itinerary maker to have us up at eight or something so we could get going and see as much as possible."

Harry chuckled. "I think that was his plan until Niall said that it would have to be rearranged if we didn't want to hear you complain about jet lag the entire day."

"What?!" Louis said, holding his hand to his chest in shock. Or fake shock. "I would never..."

Harry booped him on the nose. Louis always thought that was a weird gesture but he suddenly loved it. Funny that.

"I don't know you much about you yet," Harry said as his smile grew. "But I have an innate feeling that your friends might be right."

Louis huffed. "They're wrong."

Harry laughed softly. "You're stubborn, aren't you?"

Louis could feel his cheeks warm and he ducked his head in an attempt to hide his blush. Being stubborn wasn't exactly on the list of preferred omega traits.

"Should we join the others?" Harry continued, giving no indication of whether he was okay with a stubborn omega.

"Yeah, let's see what Liam has planned for us."

Harry nodded. "I'll leave you to get ready and see you upstairs, okay?"

So that would be a no to using the double shower together? Dammit. Maybe tonight. Yes. Definitely an achievable goal.

"Sounds good," Louis said as the pair sat up and climbed off the bed.

Harry took Louis' right hand and planted a kiss on the top of it before quickly turning to leave of the room. Louis couldn't do anything but stare at Harry's retreating figure until he disappeared up the stairs.

Louis turned to look around the room for his luggage. He packed his skinny jeans right? Like his skinny skinny jeans? And his maroon scoop neck shirt that everyone always talked about? Please, God, let them be in his suitcase. He shouldn't have let Niall do most of his packing. Or maybe it was okay that he did. Niall always suggested that shirt when they went out on weekends.

----

Niall snorted before Louis had even made it all of the way into the room to greet the others.

"Nice outfit, Lou," Niall said as he gave an exaggerated wink. Thankfully Harry was on the other side of the room at the small kitchen area.

"Don't make me break your toe, Neil," Louis hissed.

"He likes you," Niall whispered in response. "Maybe even without you dressing as if you’re going clubbing as opposed to a day of sightseeing. Or maybe not, in which case I guess it's for the best that I packed that outfit."

"He thinks I'm stubborn," Louis said as he plopped down next to Niall. "I don't know if him saying that is a good thing or not."

"He's obviously not your average alpha," Niall said in seriousness. "He may actually like you for you. Despite your failings in life."

"Like my choice of friends?" Louis innocently asked.

"I was going to say your inability to keep a plant alive but if you would like to be unfriended that's fine too.”

"I hate you," Louis mumbled.

"I packed that outfit."

"Fine. I'll hate you later."

"Good morning, Louis," Harry said as he turned away from the stove. Louis watched as his eyes widened before saying, "Um, you look, um, really nice."

"Thank you," Louis said as he felt a flush rising to his cheeks.

Louis noticed Niall clamp his lips together to stay silent. Maybe Louis wouldn't decide to hate him. Or at least for now.

"Where's Liam?" Louis rushed on in an attempt to move the conversation along.

"He went to check out of New Zealand," Niall explained. "Although there must be a party going on or something because he's been gone for about two hours."

As if on cue, the door to the penthouse unlocked and Liam made his way into the room carrying what looked to be a goodie bag.

Niall squinted at the bag and said, "Okay, I was totally joking about there being a party at that hotel. What's in the bag?

Liam merely shrugged and said, "What happens at the Wellington Hotel, stays at the Wellington. You should have come with me if you wanted a bag full of condoms and pamphlets on safe sex.

"What?" Louis and Harry asked in unison.

Liam burst out in laughter. "I'm kidding. Well, kind of. It wasn’t at the hotel but there was a table out on the sidewalk along the way with people literally handing out condoms."

"I knew I should have gone with you," Niall mumbled.

"Anyway," the Itinerary Maker continued, effectively ignoring Niall. "Are you ready for food?"

"Fucking finally," Niall said as he hopped off of the couch. "I'm starving and the mini bar and snack basket didn't have much."

"Where are we going?" Louis asked as he looked over at Harry who seemed to be gathering paperwork from the small table on the other side of room. It suddenly occurred to him that he had no idea when Harry was flying back to London. They were obviously on the same flight here, but what about on the way home?

"Harry?" Louis asked. Harry's head snapped up immediately. "When do you fly home? Like, are you going to be around for the day or..."

A slight blush rose to Harry's cheeks as he said, "I was supposed to go home this afternoon but Liam said you were going back tomorrow. So I kind of changed my flight to go back on the same plane. I hope that's okay?"

Louis internally did a happy dance. Yes, that was definitely okay.

Niall responded before Louis got a chance too. "Sick, mate! Absolutely perfect. I have no idea where you live across the pond but we're officially friends for life so we'll make it work."

"I'm confused," Liam interrupted. "It took me about two years for you to tell me I'm a friend for life. You just met Harry."

"Jealousy doesn't suit you, Liam," Niall stated. "And I personally find that statement offensive on Harry's behalf."

Louis watched on in amusement as Liam's eyes widened and flared his arms around as he rushed on. "I mean, no offense Harry. You're great. You truly deserve Niall's friendship for life status, I was just observing is all."

"Oh my God, stop while you're ahead, Li" Louis instructed as he stood up to find his shoes. "I didn't know that was something Niall had. Apparently I'm not a friend for life and could be tossed to the curb at any moment."

"That's true," Niall agreed. "So watch your back, Tommo."

Harry let out a beautiful, yet rather scary, laugh before saying. "You're fine, Liam. No offense taken. And thank you for the friendship status, Niall."

"Let's go eat," Niall announced. He said nothing else about friendship so Louis decided he would prepare to be unfriended at anytime. If Louis didn't unfriend Niall first of course.

----

Louis was just biting into his waffles when Liam asked, "So do we want to go to the top of the Empire State Building or the top of Rockefeller Center? It's a group decision but I was leaning more towards the Empire State building. It's a classic."

"Empire State building," Niall answered.

"Top of the Rock," Louis said at the same time.

The group looked towards Harry, waiting for his response. Louis found him with a furrowed brow as he looked around the table.

"They both have their benefits, so either works for me."

"Which means he votes for Top of the Rock," Louis announced.

Harry chuckled softly but didn't say anything.

"On the other hand, he's my friend for life." Niall said. "Meaning he would be on my side."

Louis lightly nudged Harry's foot underneath the table and Harry shoveled a fork full of egg into his mouth. Louis could tell he was trying to hide a smile and he nudged Harry's foot a little harder.

"The Empire State building is definitely iconic," Harry began after taking a sip of water. "But I did hear that you get a better view of the city from the top of the Rockefeller Center.”

Niall squinted at him and said, “Did you actually hear that or are you just making it up because Louis is probably poking you under the table?”

“Oi!”

Harry laughed and said, “Louis may or may not be nudging me under the table, but I did in fact hear that as being true.”

“I am in no way nudging or poking him,” Louis insisted. “It is Harry’s decision alone.”

“How about we google which one people prefer?” Liam asked as he unlocked his phone and immediately began typing in information.

Niall pointed between Harry and Louis. “Yeah, he’s a stubborn one, Harry. If you couldn’t tell. Just, you know, a heads up.”

“I am not,” Louis grumbled before shoving a massive bite of waffle into his mouth.

“Like I said,” Niall said.

Liam set down his phone. “So it seems that most people do prefer the Top of the Rock for sightseeing.”

“That was some fast googling, Liam, damn,” Niall commented.

Liam merely shrugged. “I had done a bit of research before we came. I already knew which one had the better view.”

Louis glared over at Liam. “Yet you let us all argue over which one to go to?”

Liam smirked. “Consider it a getting to know you session to help Harry determine if he wants to stick around with us.”

Niall cackled before saying, “This is why you’re the leader, Liam.”

“Excuse you?” Louis questioned. “What happened to Louis the Leader?”

Niall shrugged. “Did you bring Hamilton tickets?”

“What else did you have planned?” Harry interrupted.

Liam tucked his phone to the side so he could finish eating and said, “Whatever you lads are up for.”

“What?” Niall burst out. “What happened to your itinerary?”

“Did you really want to follow an itinerary, Niall?” Louis asked.

“Well, no,” Niall responded. “But it doesn’t make sense that he doesn’t have one. What happened to it?”

Liam shrugged. “It started and ended with ‘see Hamilton at 8:00 pm saturday night’. The end.”

“Are you fucking serious?” Niall squawked. “I kept asking why we were spending the money to fly here for such a short time and that’s the reason? We literally came to see Hamilton.”

Louis recovered from choking on his water before saying, “Honestly, you could have told us that Liam. I almost didn’t come like ten times. No way in hell did I want to spend the money on the flight and end up with a bunch of jetlag just to see the Statue of Liberty or some shit.”

“Although we did meet Elmo,” Niall pondered.

“And you got to feed a giraffe,” Harry said as he bumped shoulders with Louis.

:”We also met Harry,” Liam pointed out, raising an eyebrow at Louis.

Louis lightly kicked Liam under the table.

“Ow! What the fuck, Lou!”

Okay, so he had kicked Niall. His bad.

“I thought you were, Liam,” Louis calmly explained. “Sorry about that. Would you like to kick me back?”

“I’ll save it for later, when you’re unprepared.”

“Noted,” Louis said. “Although my ninja reflexes might make it a little difficult to… ow! You little shit! You said later!”

“Oops?” Niall said innocently.

“It’s just as well I’m not a friend for life,” Louis said. “You won’t be around for much longer anyway.”

Harry burst out in laughter and for some reason Louis internally preened. He had caused that laugh.

“Okay children,” Liam chided. “Stop making a scene and finish your breakfast so we can go ride the Staten Island Ferry.”

“Staten Island Ferry?” Harry questioned.

“Apparently you can get some good pictures with the Statue of Liberty without having to pay a fortune to actually go to the island. Close enough,” Liam explained.

“I like your way of thinking Payno,” Louis stated as he finished up his waffle.

----

Harry still liked holding hands and Louis felt like the omega he was meant to be. One moment Harry was holding him cuddled into his side to take a selfie as they passed the Statue of Liberty and the next moment Harry was picking him up and acting like he was about to throw Louis overboard.

Viewing the city from the Top of the Rock had been amazing. Louis and Niall were in the middle of trying to figure out the best angle to make it look like Niall was kissing the top of the Empire State Building when Harry had come up from behind to hug Louis around the waist. Niall merely rolled his eyes and told Louis to give the camera to Harry so the picture would turn out perfect. Which, rude. But Harry had pecked a kiss onto Louis’ temple before efficiently directing Niall into the perfect position. Thankfully Harry didn’t see the blush that had materialized onto Louis face. Which, why was Louis even blushing? And why were there butterflies in his stomach?

“Let’s go to Harlem,” Niall announced as they exited out of the Rockefeller Center.

“Um, why?” Liam asked.

“I want to see what the Incredible Hulk broke when he was there,” Niall explained.

“Like the Apollo Theater?” Harry asked. “I think that was in the film. Well, at least a recreated version was.”

“Recreated version?” Niall asked.

Louis snorted. “They filmed that in Toronto, mate. They recreated some street to make it look like Harlem.”

Niall looked around the group, his face held a look of horror. “I don’t understand. Is anything actually filmed in New York City?”

“Part of Batman was,” Harry said. “The Dark Knight Rises. I have a client here that could see the Batmobile being flown around from his balcony.”

“Really?” Niall asked. “At least that’s something. Honestly, New York City is such a traitor.”

“I’m pretty sure the city didn’t choose to have filmmakers shoot in other locations, but okay, Nialler.”

“Let’s go to Harlem anyway,” Liam suggested. “It’s not a touristy spot but there’s some good history up there. And good food.”

“Count me in,” Niall promptly said.

Louis rolled his eyes. “Do you even care where we go, Niall? Just as long as there’s food?”

“Food is important for one’s stamina,” Niall advised as he started walking in the direction of a subway. Well, hopefully it was the right direction.

Harry took Louis’ hand as they followed along. Try as he might, Louis still couldn’t contain his smile every time Harry engulfed his hand in his own.

----

Louis kicked off his shoes and flopped down on the couch immediately upon entering their hotel room. Or, well, Harry’s hotel room but, semantics.

“I feel like we’ve done a shit ton of sightseeing, but also didn’t do much at all,” Louis stated. “Or is that just me?”

“Definitely not just you,” Niall said as he laid down on the couch and propped his feet up onto Louis’ lap. “We should have just stuck with watching Hamilton and had Liam put together a slideshow of the important sights of the city. Maybe have him deliver us the food from Harlem. Which was amazing, but still.”

Harry sat in the chair closest to Louis and said, “We should come back sometime. Maybe we can find all of the movies and shows that were filmed here so we can restore Niall’s faith in the city.”

“I should have made a proper itinerary,” Liam said as he sat down in another armchair. “Sorry, lads. I think we did some backtracking as we went places today.”

“No way!” Niall forcefully said. “I mean, my legs are about to give out from all of the walking, but it was nice just making up where to go. I don’t think eating at Red Rooster in Harlem would have made it on any itinerary. Harry’s right though. We should come back. Two days isn’t enough.”

“We did see Hamilton though,” Louis pointed out.

“Fuck yeah we did!” Niall yelled. “I’m laminating and framing my ticket. Maybe put it behind bulletproof glass.”

“It’s not the Declaration of Independence,” Liam said. “I think it will be okay in a regular frame.”

“You say that now, but in ten years it may actually be worth more than the ancient document,” Niall countered.

“Why are you bringing in the Declaration of Independence as comparison?” Louis asked. “We’re from England. By default the ticket is definitely worth more.”

“Fair point,” Niall stated. “Moving on. What time do we have to get up tomorrow?”

“About four,” Liam advised.

“Please say you mean four in the afternoon,” Louis practically begged.

Harry giggled and Louis shot him a glare. He didn’t care how pretty Harry was. Or how he was one of the most perfects alphas in the world. Four a.m. wakeup call was nothing to laugh about.

“You’re a morning person, aren’t you Harry?” Niall asked.

“For the most part, yeah.”

“Don’t be surprised if Louis decides to trade you in for a different alpha,” Niall advised.

“Niall!”

“He does have a point though, Lou,” Liam agreed. “You’re really not a morning person and you practically bite the head off of anyone that tries to get you up early. It’s best that everyone in the room know it.”

Louis pushed Niall’s legs off of his lap, unfortunately not hard enough for him to fall off the couch.

“I’m going to go take a shower,” Louis mumbled. Harry wasn’t even his alpha. The conversation was completely irrelevant and far too embarrassing. Somehow packing seemed more appealing than having Niall and Liam talk as if Harry was his alpha. And nothing had never been more appealing than packing.

----

Louis hadn’t even managed to find a clean pair of boxers before his name was being called.

Louis froze in position with his back to the door. Harry had followed him down. Oh. Was Louis’ achievable goal of sharing a double-sided shower with him actually happening?

“Yeah?” Louis asked as he slowly turned around, not yet having found his boxers.

Harry had a sheepish look on his face. Or maybe it was a let’s-shower-together look? Except Harry didn’t seem to want to keep talking.

“Do you need in the bathroom or anything?” Louis asked. Hopefully prompting some sort of response. “My skin is practically crawling from the dirty air of the city.”

“Would you like help?” Harry asked. “I mean, um, not like you need help showering. Sorry. That was a stupid question. I’m sure you’ve been doing a fine job for your entire life without the help of anyone else. I’m just going to, um, grab a clean t-shirt and I’ll wait for you to finish. No need to hurry.”

Louis internally rolled his eyes and took pity on the alpha in front of him. He walked over and stood less than a foot from Harry. Without a word Louis lifted both arms. Harry needed no additional prompting as he reached down to lift Louis’ shirt up and over his head.

“You’re beautiful,” Harry whispered. “Why were you sleeping with a shirt on last night?”

Louis giggled. “Same concept as the glasses, H. It’s not like you could have seen me in the dark anyway.”

“Maybe. Although, I guess it’s for the best. My imagination wasn’t even coming close to the perfection standing in front of me.”

Louis scoffed. “Yeah, okay. Are we showering or what?”

“I’ve learned a lot about you today,” Harry said as he held Louis’ waist and walked him backwards towards the bathroom.

“And?”

“You never fail to deflect compliments.”

“That’s not true,” Louis argued as he felt his feet hit the tiled floor of the bathroom. “And that’s all you’ve learned?”

“Along with being stubborn, you’re also a menace. You’re opinionated and like to argue and push people’s buttons. You’re playful and you don’t conform. Nor do you have any intentions to.”

Louis frowned. He wasn’t sure if Harry was listing off traits that he considered good or bad. None of those were on the list of something alphas wanted in an omega.

Harry pressed his thumb on Louis’ lips, effectively releasing his frown and said, “And I wouldn’t want you to.”

Harry halted their walking and Louis smiled up at him. He saw truth in Harry’s expression and Louis never wanted him more.

“Are we showering or not?” Louis asked again.

“You’re deflecting,” Harry said with a sly smile.

“No I’m not.”

“And arguing.”

Louis huffed. “I’m definitely not. Are you taking your clothes off or not?”

“And demanding,” Harry said as he reached down to unbutton Louis tight as fuck trousers. He immediately sighed in relief.

Harry ran his hands down the back of Louis’ trousers. “Your outfit has had me on edge all day, Louis. Fuck. Please don’t wear that anywhere again. Unless I’m with you to fend off any alpha advances. Because there are sure to be.”

Louis giggled and nodded. “Sure, as long as you take your damn clothes off so we can shower.

Harry ran his hands down Louis legs, pulling the tight fabric down with him. With Harry squatting in front of him, Louis stepped out of the trousers and Harry tossed them to the side of the room.

Harry looked up from where he was still squatting and he lifted his arms up. Louis couldn’t contain his smile as he bent down to lift Harry’s shirt from his body, simultaneously encouraging Harry to stand fully. Getting a better look at Harry’s tattoos was mesmerizing. Louis wanted to lick each line of the permanent ink on his abdomen and chest. And arms. And thigh. More on that later.

“Which shower head do we use?” Louis asked as he unabashedly watched Harry strip out of the rest of his clothes. Taking in each inch of skin.

Harry gave him a look like Louis had just asked the stupidest question. “We use all three.”

So maybe it was a stupid question. As soon as they stepped into the shower Louis rushed to the side that had the detachable shower head. As Harry started up the shower on the other wall Louis turned the water on his own piece of the shower to the coldest setting and turned the spray on Harry’s back.

“Lou!” Harry shouted as he jerked his body around to face him. Which… bad move.

Louis shot the freezing water from Harry’s head along the length of his body. Louis’ amused laughter turned into a full cackle as Harry’s face morphed into a look of shock.

“Louis! Fuck!”

As Harry rushed from the other side of the shower, Louis accidentally aimed the shower head at Harry’s cock. Okay, maybe not exactly by accident.

Louis! Motherfucker you little shit!”

Harry wrestled the shower head out of Louis’ tight grasp and turned Louis’ side of the shower off.

“Oops?” Louis innocently said.

“Come here, Little One,” Harry demanded fondly as he pulled Louis back against his chest. “Consider that shower head broken, we’re using the attached head.”

“I don’t think it’s broken,” Louis stated. “I think you’re just afraid of it. It’s okay to be afraid of a shower, Harry. Admitting things like that builds character.”

Harry planted Louis firmly under the warm spray and grabbed a flannel that had been set to the side.

Louis’ laughter settled as Harry soaped up the flannel with what was clearly the most expensive shower gel Louis had ever seen provided by a hotel. Louis watched on in silence as Harry gently washed off any remnants of the city.

“Do I get to wash you now?” Louis quietly asked as Harry set the shower gel and flannel to the side.

“Maybe after I wash your hair,” Harry advised.

Louis merely nodded as the alpha stood in front of him while soaping up his hair. It was quickly determined that Harry should start a head massage side business. Louis held onto Harry’s waist as Harry worked his fingers along Louis’ scalp.

“Feels nice,” Louis mumbled with closed eyes.

Harry merely hummed in response as he carefully rinsed the soap out of Louis’ hair. There was no way Louis would be able to do such a good job at washing Harry in return. And he definitely didn’t know how to do a scalp massage. It was little daunting to be honest. He wanted Harry to feel good too.

“All done,” Harry said quietly as he took both of Louis’ hands to direct him out from under the water.

Louis belatedly realized that Harry was pulling him out of the shower completely, grabbing a towel from the side rack and wrapping him up before he had a chance to protest.

“Wait, Harry!”

“Hush, Little One,” Harry said as he pulled Louis into a hug. “It’s my turn to take care of you.”

Louis’ need to protest died when Harry leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to his lips.

“Okay,” Louis whispered.

“Why don’t you contemplate packing while I finish up here.”

Louis giggled. “Contemplate packing?”

Harry shrugged. “It’s just a gut feeling that you’ll avoid packing until the last moment.”

Louis shrugged out of the towel Harry had carefully wrapped around him and walked out of the bathroom naked, swinging his hips exaggeratedly.

Louis looked over his shoulder to find Harry’s eyes glued to his bum. Louis gave an exaggerated wiggle before closing the bathroom door behind him.

“Oh my God,” Harry said. Louis couldn’t tell if he was meant to hear him or not.

----

Louis stared at his luggage.

Or more accurately he stared at his bottle of suppressants. He couldn't even blame Niall for this. Or Liam. Louis always took the job of packing his suppressants to make sure they were, in fact, packed. So yeah, there were suppressants left in his bag, but the wrong fucking dosage. He always took a lesser dosage in the morning, followed by twice the strength at night. It was easier on his body but still prevented going into heat. But where the fuck were his night pills? And how did he not realize he had been taking the smaller pill in both the morning and night?

It was fine. All would be well. At least he was still taking some sort of suppressant and it would surely last until they got home tomorrow night. There was a time change somewhere along the way. Did that get them back to London sooner or later? Nevermind. It didn't matter. It was best not to think about it. Definitely best not to say anything about it. For now, at least. He had just had the best shower of his life with the most beautiful alpha he had ever known. He was not going to ruin that experience.

"You okay, Lou?" Harry asked as he joined Louis by the side of his bed where Louis had dumped out the contents of the suitcase. “Why does it look like you’ve unpacked things as opposed to packing? Although I can certainly appreciate the fact that you haven’t put on any clothes yet.”

Louis laughed softly. "I was just looking for my, uh, Vans."

Harry chuckled. "You had me searching for a second pair of Vans the other day, I'm pretty sure they're not in there, love.."

"Right," Louis nodded. "I guess I'm just really tired. It’s been a long day and that shower was relaxing.”

Harry moved behind Louis and hugged him around the waist. That worked to calm him a bit.

Harry placed his chin on Louis shoulder and quietly said, "Can I at least help?”

Louis internally laughed. Not that he was going to go into heat early but would Harry help with that?

Louis tilted his head back to get a better look at Harry and said, “Well, since I seem to have done a good job of unpacking, would you like to help pack?”

Harry laughed. “Are you asking for help, or are you asking for me to pack?”

“Both?” Louis grinned. “I mean, packing for me is essentially helping right?”

Harry pecked the top of Louis’ head. “You make a very good point. What clothes would you like out? Do you want your sleep shorts?”

Louis pulled out of Harry’s hold and picked up a shirt and cut off joggers from the pile, the perfect outfit for spending a day of traveling.

“Are you getting dressed?” Louis asked as Harry started to fold Louis clothes. Why the fuck was he folding dirty clothes?

“I tend to sleep naked.”

Louis nodded decisively. “Then I’ll dress to match.”

Harry giggled. He had a cute giggle. “Get in bed, Lou. We have an early morning.”

Louis popped his suppressant in his mouth and took a sip of the water sitting on the nightstand. He tried his best to ignore the fact that it was the incorrect dosage and he only had one more pill left.

“Nevermind, I’ll pack in the morning,” Harry announced as he quickly moved the suitcase to the floor and scooped all of the articles off of the bed in one go. “I can tell you could use my help to relax.”

Louis sighed dramatically as he climbed under the covers. “I’m fine Harry. I’m just not looking forward to traveling tomorrow.”

“Budge over, Little One,” Harry said softly as he pulled the blankets back and joined Louis.

Louis really didn’t want to ask but the questions tumbled out of his mouth. “Will you spoon me, Harry? And scent me?”

Harry was already rearranging them before Louis had even finished his question. “Of course, love. Whatever you need.”

Harry had Louis completely caged in as his arms wrapped around him tightly, one large hand on his stomach and the other spread across his chest. Harry was the best big spoon ever.

“‘m not little,” Louis mumbled as he drifted into sleep to the feeling of Harry scenting him.

----

Louis had to tell someone. He felt absolutely fine and had good vibes that he wasn’t going to go into an unexpected heat, but he should still tell someone just in case right? Maybe just a stewardess to ask about the plane’s emergency heat room. Louis never knew anyone that had to use it, and he certainly wasn’t going to need it. But just in case?

“Liam,” Louis whispered from where they both stood in line at the Starbucks in the airports terminal.

“No, I’m not carrying your luggage, Lou,” Liam sighed. “So stop asking.”

Louis lightly kicked Liam in the leg. He dropped his voice even quieter and said, “I’ve been taking the wrong dosage of suppressants.”

Liam whipped around in line at record speed and looked around to see who else may have heard. It was pointless as Louis had already verified Harry wouldn’t be here when he told Liam.

“What do you mean? What are you saying, Lou? Why didn’t you say anything earlier?”

Louis cringed. He was such an idiot. “I didn’t realize until last night.”

“You…. what? What have you been taking? Or not been taking? How did you not realize, Lou? You’re always so careful about taking your suppressants. What happened? And why are you just now telling me?”

Louis held up his hands in defense. “Calm yourself, Li. Overreact much?”

Liam merely raised his eyebrow in question. Louis supposed it was fair that Liam overreact.

Louis fiddled with the hem of his shirt and continued, “I’ve been taking my morning dose twice a day. So I’ve been missing the heavier dosage I should be taking at night.”

“I don’t understand how you didn’t notice. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, stop worrying.”

Liam laughed humorously. “There’s no chance of that. Honestly though, mate. How did you not notice? When’s the last time this happened? Did you go into heat?”

Louis shrugged. “I’m not sure how I didn’t notice. I guess it’s just been a busy few days. Not to mention the fact that the pills look exactly the same, one is just a larger size. You’d think the pharmacy would come up with a better way to differentiate.”

“And the chance of you going into heat?” Liam prompted.

“I’ve never screwed up my suppressants like this,” Louis admitted. “I still have them in my system though, just not as much as preferred. We’re almost home so it’s fine .”

They shuffled farther up towards the counter before Liam continued, “We are not almost home, Lou! There are still two hours until we board…”

“Wait, why the fuck did I have to get up at 4am if we have two more hours before we board, Lima?!”

Liam fixed him with a look and Louis let it go.

“It’s over a seven hour flight, mate,” Liam advised. “We’re not almost home.”

“Almost in comparison to yesterday?” Louis asked. He should have told Niall. He would have just smacked Louis upside the head and moved on.

“Next in line!” the Starbucks’ barista yelled. Saved by the coffee.

“Keep me posted,” Liam warned as they stepped up to the counter to place their order for the group.

----

In order for Harry to get on the same plane he had been 'forced' to buy a first class ticket. Forced was Harry's terminology, of course. He was probably up in the front sipping cocktails with soft pillows and blankets. Harry had agreed to switch seats with Niall but unfortunately the airline was not willing to make the change. Which, why not? They were going to the same destination for fuck’s sake. Did it matter? No. No it did not. But unfortunately Harry was a horrible liar and couldn't keep up with Niall's story of exchanging identities. Or at least boarding passes.

"How are you feeling, Lou?" Liam whispered.

“The same as when you asked me two hours ago.”

“How were you two hours ago?” Liam inquired. And was he for real?

Louis opened his eyes and faced Liam. “I’m fine, Liam. We have, like, four more hours or whatever. Why don’t you take a nap?”

Liam frowned but nodded in acknowledgement. Louis suspected that Liam knew that Louis wasn’t fine though. Because he most definitely was not. He could hold out for four more hours though, surely.

And then he felt slick.

“Oh fuck,” Louis whispered as he dropped his face into his hands. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.”

Liam was up and out of his seat before Louis even had a chance to say anything.

“I take that as a bad sign,” Niall whispered. “Liam disobeyed the fasten seatbelt light. The world as we know it has ended.”

“Niall….” Louis warned.

Niall held up his hands in surrender. “Okay, either that or you’re going into heat. I’m packing your suppressants from now on. You’ve proven that there’s no point in insisting that you do it.”

The pair were interrupted by someone reaching over the seat to tap on Louis’ shoulder.

Louis looked back to find a man hovering from behind their row. He had a knowing smile on his face when he asked, “Do you need someone to help you with your heat, sweetheart?”

Louis stomach churned at the revolting idea. “I….”

“No. He does not. So get your dirty paws off of him and sit down.”

Louis whipped around to find Harry working his way back to their row of seats. His face was stone cold and Louis was taken aback at the alpha that his threatening words carried.

Harry slid into Liam’s seat, and wrapped Louis in both of his arms.

“You’re burning up, Lou. Why didn’t you tell me?” Harry whispered.

“Because he’s a stubborn fucker who likes to pretend predictable things like this won’t happen,” Niall replied over Louis shoulder. Louis made a mental note to kick him later.

“You knew?” Harry asked. Louis just assumed the question was directed at Niall as he snuggled deeper into Harry’s embrace.

“I just found out as we were boarding, Harry,” Niall whispered. “And he just told Liam a little bit before that.”

Louis felt Harry nod and he couldn’t help but wonder what Harry was thinking. He should have said something.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, Harry,” Louis mumbled into his chest. “I didn’t think this would happen or I promise I would have.”

Harry kissed the top of Louis’ head. “Hush, you. I wasn’t even meant to be on this flight, remember? It’s not like I had a right to know.”

Louis wasn’t sure what to say to that so he just nodded in acknowledgement.

“Excuse me, sirs?”

Harry’s hold loosened and Louis looked up to find one of the stewards addressing them from the aisle.

“The emergency heat room is ready for you,” the man informed them with a polite smile.

Louis groaned. He had never been in an emergency heat room before. Especially one on a fucking airplane over whatever ocean they were over right now.

“Wait,” Niall said. “Emergency heat rooms are real?”

“Remind me to kick you later, Niall,” Louis stated as he shuffled out of his seat.

As expected, nearly every person on the plane had their attention on Louis as he stood up. He even noticed a few of them had their phones pulled out and were recording.

“Harry…” Louis pathetically mumbled.

Harry reached down and took Louis’ hand, squeezing tight. “Ignore them, love. You’ll never see them again.”

Louis couldn’t help but laugh. “Kind of like I was never supposed to see you again? And then we ended up swapping luggage?”

Harry chuckled softly. “I’ll make sure we get the correct luggage when we get back to London.”

The pair followed the steward to the back of the plane. Louis had never even gotten up to go to a bathroom in the back before and had no idea what to expect.

“Have you ever had to use an emergency heat room on a  plane before?” the steward asked as they stopped outside a door far too small for Louis’ liking.

“No?” Louis said weakly. “Thankfully.”

The steward nodded. “There are two small fold up chairs. I don’t care what stage of heat you’re in but when you hear the signal go off that we are going to be having turbulence or that we are landing you must be seated with your seatbelt on. Understood?”

The steward looked between Harry and Louis until he got confirmation that they understood the instruction. Were they honestly supposed to follow them?

“As I’m sure you can imagine the space is small,” the steward continued. “It’s pretty much here to prevent lawsuits by keeping you safe from other alphas. I have placed some wet flannels in the room as well as sterilized toys should you need them.”

Louis was impressed at the steward’s ability to keep a straight face of professionalism as he explained the flannels and toys.

“The room has been built to be as soundproof as possible but there’s only so much that can be done on an airplane so just be aware of that.”

Louis nodded in understanding, he had no idea how loud he was when he was in heat so he’d have to hope for the best.

“Lastly,” the steward said. “I must reiterate the fact that you must sit down with your seatbelt on when the notification goes off.”

“Understood,” Harry said.

“Good luck,” the steward said as he slid the door open. Holy fuck the room was small. Maybe a tiny bit bigger than the bathroom but did people honestly have heats in here? He was definitely going to have to trust Harry to not hurt himself from smacking his head against the wall or whatever. Thankfully there was a fan blowing cool air from the ceiling so at least there was that.

The steward nodded and quickly moved on to assist with his actual flight duties, leaving the pair to fend for themselves.

“I can’t go in there with you, Lou,” Harry said quietly. “I’ll stand out here and make sure no one tries to get in.”

The fuck?

“Why the fuck not?” Louis asked. He was not going to do this by himself. Maybe back home, but not in a fucking airplane in a room half the size of last nights hotel shower.

“We just met, Louis. And I really like you. We’ve had an amazing weekend together and I don’t want to ruin any sort of trust you’ve placed in me. I feel like I’d be taking advantage of you and I can’t do that. I want our first time to be special, Lou. You have to understand that, right? Plus you haven’t even broken out in full heat yet. The toys provided should be enough until we get back to London.”

Louis stared up at Harry blankly before saying, “You asked me last night how you could help me. This is how you can help me. Get in this fucking room and fuck me.”

Harry cringed at Louis words. “Please don’t call it that.”

“So you’re not going to help then?” Louis nearly growled.

“It wouldn’t be right,” Harry said, barely above a whisper.

“Go get Liam,” Louis said loud enough to draw the attention of the people in the back row.

“What?”

“Go get Liam,” Louis ground out. “We have, like, four more hours of this flight and I’m not going to spend it in this confined space trying to fuck myself with toys provided by a fucking airline. If you’re not going to help, maybe he will. Or you know what? Maybe I should just accept the offer from the guy sitting behind me.”

Harry’s face darkened as he placed his hand on Louis’ chest and gently pushed him farther into the room, making space for Harry to join him. He swiftly slid the door shut and locked it behind them.

“You are the most impossible omega to ever live.”

Louis watched as Harry’s face shifted into a look of fondness and Louis briefly forgot about how he really needed his joggers off.

“But that’s okay?” Louis questioned quietly. He still couldn’t quite get past how alphas didn’t want an impossible omega.

Harry leaned down to place a soft kiss on Louis’ lips. “You are unique, Little One. You’re a challenge and everything I could possibly look for in an omega.”

Louis couldn’t help but wish Harry had said his omega but at least Louis had gotten him into this fucking closet. Baby steps.

“What do you need, Lou?” Harry asked. “You’re clearly still very lucid so the suppressants are obviously holding off the unexpected heat. Tell me what you need, love, before you can’t.”

The room did not smell of mint. He needed mint.

Louis looked around and found the wet flannels. Handing one over to Harry he instructed, “I need you to get your scent blocker off. I need to smell you and for you to scent me.”

Harry quickly took his shirt off, snagged the flannel out of Louis’ hand and started to scrub at his sweat glands.

“This is kind of fun,” Harry mused as the room began to smell like minty desire. “Or at least adventurous?”

Louis raised his eyebrow in question. He didn’t exactly find this fun. At all.

Harry chuckled. “I mean, being crammed in a little closet isn’t ideal, but it’s kind of hot having my omega order me about.”

Ha! Score! Screw baby steps. Harry called Louis his omega and he internally preened.

“Or, uh, what I meant was… maybe not my ... “

Louis used both hands and slammed Harry against the wall. The soundproofing of the room was probably useless but oh well. Harry looked at him with wide, unsure eyes.

“Don’t take it back,” Louis instructed. “Don’t you dare take it back.”

“We just met, Lou. I don’t want to move too fast.”

“As you have pointed out on several occasions, I am not your average omega. If I don’t want to be your omega I will inform you of that before any sort of mating or bonding takes place. In writing, if you prefer.”

Harry burst out in laughter. “Let’s at least get back to London before making decisions, yeah? I don’t even know where you live.”

Louis nodded. That was an acceptable compromise considering Harry already called him his omega. That wouldn’t change in four hours would it? Or after helping him with his heat? No. No it would not. Hashtag confirmed.

Harry reached down to pull Louis’ shirt off before saying, “I applaud your skills of being so talkative in your state, love. But you’re so wet right now. It seems I’m actually the one who is having a problem keeping up. You smell so good, Louis.”

That seemed to snap Louis out of whatever was causing him to forget the fact that he was going into heat. Well, the whatever was obviously Harry but the important conversation was over and now Louis was left with needing something up his ass.

“Harry…” Louis whined.

The pair were both jostled around the room as the airplane went through a bit of turbulence and Harry immediately pulled Louis into him and held him tight.

The notification to sit down and fasten their seatbelt went off. This could not be happening.

“Ignore it,” Louis instructed. “Ignore it, Harry, please.”

Harry shook his head, already maneuvering Louis around the space so Harry could unfold one of the seats. “We’re at least sitting, Lou. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“I’m already hurting,” Louis whined. “At least sit on the floor, it’s probably safer that way anyway.”

“Take your joggers off, love,” Harry instructed as he sat down on the foldable chair, promptly fastening his seatbelt as they had been told. Maybe he should ditch Harry afterall. He was too much like Liam in this moment with the whole following the rules of the airline.

The plane jumped again, causing Louis to lose his balance. Thankfully Harry caught his arm in time before he could fall against one of the surfaces in the cabin. Harry wrapped one arm around his waist and pulled Louis’ joggers down with the other.

“Harry…” Louis whined again.

“Sit on my lap, Lou,” Harry said. “Straddle me, love. I know you need something.”

Louis nodded as he followed Harry’s guidance to straddle him. The moment he was settled, Louis dropped his face into the crook of Harry’s neck and sighed in relief as Harry easily slid two fingers into his hole.

“There you go, love. I know you need more but you should have thought about that before taking the incorrect dosage of suppressants.”

Louis bit into Harry’s neck. Hard.

“Lou!” Harry called out. “Shit. Sorry. Fuck.”

“My bad,” Louis mumbled before placing a kiss on Harry’s lips.

“I doubt that,” Harry chuckled as he easily slid a third finger in, fucking into Louis and massaging his prostate.

The plane jumped again and Louis let out a gasp as Harry’s fingers managed to press even farther into him.

“My cock, Harry, please.”

“Hold tight, love,” Harry instructed as he released his waist to wrap his hand around Louis’ cock. Louis followed his alpha’s instructions and held his arms tight around Harry’s shoulders.

It didn’t take much for Louis to come and he cried out as he let go of his orgasm. Harry kept his fingers in Louis’ hole as he came down from his high and Louis eventually settled, burying his face into the crook of Harry’s neck. He wouldn’t be sedated for long but at least it was something.

“Rest, Little One,” Harry whispered as he wrapped his arm back around Louis’ waist to hold him tight.

“‘m not little,” Louis mumbled as he cuddled into Harry’s body.

----

Louis blinked his eyes open and found that he was in.... a hotel room? He remembered the fiasco of getting from the plane to a car, but why a hotel room? By himself. Where was his alpha? The alpha? The person name Harry that finally got Louis into the Mile High Club? Whatever his title was. And why did it smell like oranges?

"Hey there, Little One," Harry said from behind him, causing Louis to jump in surprise.

Louis promptly flipped over to find Harry sitting up peeling apart an orange. He had a soft smile on his face as he looked down at Louis.

"I'm not little," Louis grumbled. He tried to glare in annoyance but Louis couldn't deny that he was a bit fond of the nickname. At least when Harry said it. Harry could call him that. Maybe. But only Harry. Ever. Just to make that clear.

Harry popped the last slice of orange in his mouth and shuffled down on the bed to lay next to Louis, promptly gathering him in his arm.

Harry planted a soft kiss on Louis' lips before saying, "You're right. You have a big heart."

Louis rolled his eyes. "Did you figure that out during my unexpected heat or..."

"I can tell by the way you treat people. And animals. Especially giraffes."

Louis broke eye contact and look down to avoid Harry's gaze. He hadn't exactly treated Harry very well on the plane. He had threatened to let a creepy stranger help with his heat for fuck's sake.

Harry tucked his index finger under Louis’ chin, prompting him to look up once more. "What are you thinking, Lou?"

"Nothing."

"What are you thinking, Little One?"

Louis bit his lip. "Nothing?"

"Louis," Harry said. He sounded both exasperated but patient. It was a weird combination.

"I don't have a big heart, Harry. I treated you horribly on the plane."

"You were going into heat, love."

"But I wasn't in heat when I said it. I literally threatened you, Harry. That doesn't exactly fit in with someone who has a big heart."

Harry kissed his nose and said, "I guess that gives me a good reason to call you Little One then, doesn’t it?"

"Harry..."

Harry pressed his thumb to Louis' lips preventing him from saying anything farther.

"You were going into heat, Lou. You were scared. I could sense it before we had even gone to bed the previous night. I obviously didn't know why but it was there. You didn't want to be alone and if I were thinking properly I would have realized that. You need that comfort when you're going into heat. All omegas do. Especially when you were about to be shoved into a tiny closet on an airplane. And, I mean, it's no excuse but your scent was kind of overwhelming me. I also meant what I said. I wanted our first time to be a little more meaningful, you know? I didn't want to take advantage of you. "

Louis rolled his eyes. "You're a romantic aren't you?"

"Maybe a bit."

"I think you picked the wrong omega then. I'm not sure I'm a romantic."

Harry giggled. "You're definitely a romantic. You just don't know it yet."

"Yeah, that's not how it works."

Harry gave a half shrug and said, "We'll see."

The room fell into silence for a few moments and Louis wondered why Harry had put boxers on both of them. Naked was better.

"I am sorry though," Louis whispered after realizing he had never apologized.

Harry squeezed his waist and said, "There is no apology needed, love. But I accept it."

Louis nodded to himself. In the back of his mind he knew Harry would be forgiving. But getting the apology out was a relief.

So on towards other matters. Like why were they in a fucking hotel?

"How long have I been out?"

"About two days."

Well that was odd. Louis had never gone through a heat without knowing at least a bit of what was going on. Like how he had recognized Harry was following the airlines instruction to put his fucking seat belt on.

"I don't understand," Louis stated. "I barely remember even landing."

Harry gave a noncommittal shrug. "You obviously trusted me enough to help with your heat. I didn't think there was a reason to wake you up or whatever. Should I have?"

Louis blinked in confusion. "It's just that I always wake up or become coherent occasionally when I'm in heat. Which is obviously a good thing so I can make sure I get something to eat and such. Have I not eaten or drank anything in two days?"

Harry chuckled. Why was he chuckling?

"I made sure you are hydrated and you've eaten, quite a lot actually."

Louis scrunched his brow in confusion. "Okay, well, it doesn't make sense, but thank you for taking care of me."

Harry kissed his nose. "Of course, love. I'll always be here if you want me to."

"Okay," Louis whispered. He wasn't sure what else to say. He would always want Harry with him.

He had no idea where their relationship currently stood. There was an obvious attraction. Their weekend together was probably one of the best weekends of Louis' life. Meeting Harry without having to go through the hassle of swapped luggage would have been preferred, but whatever it took for them to meet was worth it in the end.

"Anyway," Louis began. "I really have to wee so I need to get up."

"Never," Harry said as he pulled Louis tight into his chest and wrapped his long legs around Louis body to keep him in place. Not cool. Well it was. But now all Louis could think about was how much he had to wee. Well, besides how he could feel Harry's hardness against him.

"But your hard cock feels really nice tucked up against my body," Harry advised.

Louis rolled his eyes. "It's because I have to wee, Harry. Nothing more." Which was a complete lie but there was no need for Harry to know that, right? Ish?

"Mhmm," Harry mumbled as he released Louis from his hold. He had a knowing smile which Louis pointedly ignored.

"By the way," Louis started as he headed towards the loo. "Why are we at a hotel? Did we both become homeless since we left for New York?"

Harry burst out in laughter. "I didn't know where you live and I wasn't sure you'd want to go to my place."

Did both Liam and Niall ditch them when they got to London before Harry had a chance to ask where Louis lived or something?

"Niall said you were roommates," Harry continued from where he was still sprawled out on the bed. "But I didn't know if you would want me to know where you live. Niall said it was fine, but I wanted you to be the one to tell me that. Both Liam and Niall know where we are just in case."

"Just in case?" Louis called from the toilet.

"In case I, like, kidnap you or something? This would be a good starting ground to find where I may have taken you."

Louis snorted. Even the idea of that scenario was ridiculous and not even imaginable. But okay.

Once finished in the loo, he walked out to find Harry rummaging through Louis' suitcase.

"Liam stopped by to drop off your suppressants," Harry explained as he handed a bottle over to Louis. "He even provided the correct dosage which is always nice to have."

"Oi!"

Louis snatched the bottle out of Harry's hand and promptly swallowed the pills to get his body back on track with his suppressants. He never wanted to have another unexpected heat in his life. Airplanes would also be avoided for a while.

Louis still didn't know what day or time it was but decided that it was completely irrelevant to any responsibilities his life held. Ignorance was bliss and Louis was going to blissfully cuddle back up into the hotel’s bed. The sheets were clean which obviously meant Harry wanted to spend more time here right? That only made sense.

"Care to join me?" Louis asked as he crawled under the covers.

Harry seemed unsure for just a moment before joining him, rearranging them so Harry was on his back, allowing Louis to use his bare chest as a pillow. Instead, Louis scooted up to bury his face into the crook of Harry's shoulder. The pair remained silent as Louis breathed in Harry's minty scent. It was absolutely heavenly.

Louis was just drifting back into sleep when Harry lightly poked his cheek. "We should be going Little One. Niall and Liam are aware that you're no longer in heat so I should get you back."

"'m not little," Louis half heartedly said. "And I don't have a curfew so I think we're good."

Harry chuckled. "We also need to check out of the hotel. They agreed to only charge for half a day if we're out by four. And it's half past three.

"Oh," Louis said, his blissful ignorance was being ruined by real life.

"Maybe we could like, hide in the closet and make out for a bit?" Louis asked in vain. "Whoever comes to clean the room surely wouldn't notice that we're still here. It's the perfect plan."

"It's a horrible plan."

"We could at least test it out? For science or something?"

Harry laughed and said, "While making out in a tiny closet sounds tempting, I don't think it would work in our favor."

Harry squeezed Louis' waist and before he knew what was happening, Harry was hovering over Louis' body.

"You're cute," Harry said as he bent to place a tender kiss on Louis' lips. Louis didn't even have time to react before Harry was climbing off of the bed.

"I really don't like you right now," Louis grumbled.

"There's some stationary on the desk if you want to put something in writing that you don't want to be my omega." Harry advised. "In which case I'll leave and you can pay the hotel bill."

That got Louis out of bed and he headed straight for the pen and paper.

After swiftly jotting down his note he handed it over to Harry.

I'm your omega. Deal with it.

Harry broke out into laughter as he pulled Louis in by his waist.

"You are the most perfect omega to ever live, Louis. You truly are."

It was still confusing with Harry saying things like that. Louis had never been able to keep an alpha around because he was definitely nowhere near a perfect omega. Louis was far against the norm and no one wanted that.

Louis didn't know what to say and Harry remained silent as he brushed Louis' fringe across his forehead. For once Louis didn't want to deflect the compliment. If that's what Harry's statement was.

"Thank you for not deflecting," Harry said with a knowing smile. Louis should have deflected, damn it.

"I won't let it happen again," Louis mumbled. He was rewarded with a kiss before Harry pulled back to finish packing, setting some clothes aside for Louis to put on.

Hotels should be free. And have no check out times. Louis desperately wanted to stay in their hotel bubble for awhile longer. Or forever. Whichever came first. Or last?

----

"Did you accidentally bond?" Niall called out from somewhere in the flat the moment Harry and Louis walked in. "I would totally approve."

Louis quickly remembered having told Niall that Louis would choose to hate him at another time. Now seemed to be the perfect moment to put that into effect.

Harry set their suitcases down and took Louis' hand. The flat was small so it was easy for Harry to figure out where the living room was and he immediately led Louis in that direction. Louis couldn't help but smile at the way Harry continued to just seamlessly insert himself into Louis' life. Maybe that should be scary but it was fully welcomed.

"Oh. You didn't," Niall said in disappointment as Louis cuddled into Harry's side.

"Why do you sound disappointed?" Louis asked. "Accidental bonding isn't exactly something that most people want. It’s call accidental for a reason."

"Whatever," Niall stated. "I'm not most people and if you had bonded then my new friend for life would be insured to be around for forever.”

"You are definitely not most people," Harry mused.

Niall merely let out a cackle before asking, "So why didn't you accidentally bond again?"

"Because Harry's a careful alpha who doesn't have accidental bonding tendencies," Louis explained. "It's quite simple, that."

"Anyway," Harry interrupted. "We were just about to take a nap so we'll see you later."

There had been no plan to take a nap but Louis was not going to argue one bit. Louis pulled out of Harry's embrace and followed Harry's lead. Or, well, almost. It was Louis' turn to lead as he took Harry's hand to direct him in the direction of his bedroom.

"I don't think Liam would mind if you accidentally bonded either," Niall called from behind them. If Louis closed the door with more force than necessary it certainly wasn't on purpose. Or that's the story he would stick with if anyone asked.

"Are we actually taking a nap?" Louis inquired once they were away from the prying Irishman in the other room. "I'm not against the idea or anything, just wondering."

"We don't have to sleep if you don't want," Harry said. "But I'd like to cuddle with you now that you're awake and are aware that I'm cuddling you. Cuddles will be even better now that you've told me you're my omega."

Louis laughed softly at that idea before asking, "Blowjobs after?"

"Of course," Harry agreed. "As long as you take your clothes off now."

Louis was quick to strip down and followed Harry as he climbed into his bed. Harry immediately wrapped his arms around him and pulled Louis back so he was held tight against Harry's body. Harry was definitely a cuddler and was the perfect big spoon but Louis couldn't help but wonder if Harry would agree to being the little spoon at some point. He wanted to hold Harry in his arms in the same way. And they would absolutely fit.

"You wore me out, Little One," Harry said softly against Louis' ear.

Louis was about give some sort of apology but Harry cut him off. "You wore me out in the best way possible. Thank you for letting me help you with your heat, love. Or, well, I guess it was kind of forced upon me to begin with, but in the end it didn't feel that way. I liked taking care of you. So thank you."

Louis smiled to himself at Harry's words. He had a feeling Harry could sense Louis' appreciation for how much he had loved knowing that Harry had helped him.

Harry kissed the top of Louis' head and hugged him a little tighter as he started to scent him. "Sleep, Little One."

"'m not little," Louis mumbled as his eyes drifted shut.

----  Three months later ----

“Harry where are we going?” Louis asked impatiently for probably the tenth time. One more time wouldn’t hurt.

Louis had implemented all of his tricks to get Harry to tell him what they were doing, but none of them had worked this time around. He was currently at the mercy of the Uber driver.

“Patience, Little One,” Harry calmly stated.

Louis was about to scooch up to ask the driver where their destination was when he spotted a sign for the London Zoo.

“The zoo?” Louis asked in excitement.

He still hadn’t been to see the giraffes in his own country. And all of the other important animals of course. And non-important animals? Because honestly, did anyone go to the zoo to see a cage of ants?

“I think it’s finally time to see the giraffes in London, don’t you think?” Harry asked. “They also have a really cool ant exhibit.”

Louis stared blankly at Harry before saying, “You’re kidding. Please say you’re kidding.”

Harry furrowed his brow. “You don’t want to go? You’ve mentioned it a couple times now. I thought you’d want to feed our country’s giraffes.”

“What? No! I mean, yes. Of course I want to! Just…”

Harry had a frown on his face but didn’t say anything.

Louis threw his arms in the air in exasperation. “Just… ants, Hazza? You want to go to the ant exhibit? Are you fucking kidding me? No one wants to go to the ant exhibit.”

“Why not?” Harry asked. Was he actually serious?

“Tell you what,” Louis explained. “You can sit on the ground and watch them walk around while I feed the giraffes. I looked it up awhile ago so I already know they’re girls. I’m prepared to properly address them.”

Harry burst into laughter and Louis scowled. He wasn’t entirely sure why he was scowling but there was surely a good reason.

“I’m kidding, love,” Harry said when his laughter had died down. “I just wanted to see what you would do after I told you I wanted to see the ants.”

See. An excellent reason for Louis to be scowling.

"I love that you looked up their genders," Harry continued. "It may not seem that big of a deal to most people but I think it's important. You're such an amazing person, Lou."

Louis couldn't contain his blush. Because of course he couldn't. Harry had made remarks like that countless times over the past months and it turned Louis into a bashful omega every time. He loved it. Besides the whole blushing bit.

"If you say so," Louis replied. "Where are we going first? Giraffes or penguins?"

Harry smiled softly and said, "I'd like to visit the giraffes last, if that's okay."

Louis shrugged. "I'm fine with anything. Except ants. Oh! I would like to visit the children's zoo though. I'd like to take the opportunity to turn on my childlike tendencies for a half hour or so."

"Turn on?" Harry inquired. "Aren't they always on?"

Louis huffed. "No. They are not. I have a full time job. By default that makes it impossible."

Harry chuckled. "Yeah, okay. If you say so. But we'll go to the children's zoo first. I think it's pretty close to the entrance."

Louis nodded in approval as the Uber driver pulled up to the entrance. "Let's do this."

----

"Thanks for coming, Hazza." Louis said as he very patiently waited for their turn to get their picture taken with fake rabbit ears. "Or thanks for bringing me."

"Of course, love," Harry said as he tightened his hold on Louis' waist. "We should have come sooner but..."

Louis squeezed Harry's hand that were wrapped around him. "We just didn't have a chance to come. And to be honest I kind of forgot that we needed to."

Harry kissed his cheek as the children finally moved out of their way. "I don't think you forgot, but okay."

Louis didn't have a chance to respond before they were being directed behind a fake wall so only their heads would show in between the very unrealistic concrete bunny ears. The picture they received was beautiful. Or at least Harry was. His eyes were bright and he just radiated joy. Louis loved him. Even more than he thought possible.

Once they had retrieved their picture Harry promptly took Louis hand to lead them out of the children's zoo. The area was not near the front, as Harry had previously advised, so they had spent plenty of time walking around to view the other animals. Insects not included.

It was nearing sunset by the time they were headed to the giraffes. The crowd to feed the animals was smaller than Louis had anticipated and he squeezed Harry's hand in excitement. Louis had no idea where the intense enjoyment of feeding giraffes came from but he gladly welcomed it.

"Lou," Harry said as they were retreating from the feeding area. Louis was still on a feeding the giraffes high and missed anything else Harry may have said.  Harry pulled Louis to a stop by the side of the animals cage and Louis looked up at him in question.

Harry moved so he was directly in front of him and took both of Louis' hands. "You know I love you right?"

Louis furrowed his brow. Harry had been the first one to say the four letter word only two weeks after they had returned from New York City. Louis had wanted to be the one to say it first but the omega in him questioned whether he should allow the alpha to take the first step. If nothing else, Louis was just thankful that Harry hadn't waited months to say it. From that moment on Harry had made it a point to tell Louis at least once a day that he loved him.

"Of course, Hazza," Louis assured. "I love you too."

Harry's face lit up as if Louis was telling him for the first time. He nodded and continued, "Do you know why I love giraffes?"

"I don't know that you do, but I appreciate that you humor my love for them," Louis said suspiciously. Where was Harry going with this?

Harry laughed softly. "That's fair. But they do hold a special place in my heart."

Harry stopped and bit his lip. He looked nervous. Just like the first time they had stood by the giraffe cage in New York.

"When you were talking to the giraffes in New York... just, the look on your face, Lou, it was pure joy. And I knew right then. In that moment I already knew that I wanted you. You were practically a complete stranger, but I knew I would never want anyone else. You're it for me."

Louis' heart was about to burst out of his chest. Harry really needed to finish his spiel before he died of happiness.

"Will you bond with me, Louis? Will you bond for life?"

Louis obviously knew that Harry was a romantic but this was a whole new level. Of course he would bring Louis to where it all began. Or as close as they could get at least. And then proceed to ask if they could bond. The answer was obvious, no giraffes needed.

"On one condition," Louis said with a grin.

"We tell Niall we accidentally bonded? He seems to be persistent on it being accidental."

Louis pulled his hand out of Harry's grasp in order to playfully punch him in the chest. "Don't bring Niall into this."

Louis could tell that Harry was holding in a laugh but he proceeded. "On the condition that I get to ask you to marry me."

A look of confusion flashed through Harry's eyes before both of his dimples appeared with a blinding smile.

Before Harry could say anything Louis continued, "And just to be clear this is not me asking you. I'll save it for another time so I can surprise you. Although this kind of ruins the surprise, but being that most bondmates don't even bother with marriage it's something right?"

Harry pulled Louis into a tight hug. "It's definitely something. And I'd love nothing more than to marry you."

Louis stomped on Harry's foot.

"Ow! Lou! What the fuck?"

"Don't talk like I just asked you to marry me. Because I didn't. I'm just giving you my condition to bonding."

"You're impossible, Louis Tomlinson. But your condition is granted and I'll pretend like that part of the conversation never happened."

Louis nodded decisively and pulled Harry down into a tight hug. "Good. Now, yes, please. I want to bond so much.

There were people clapping around them. What the fuck?

"Okay, that part wasn't planned," Harry whispered as he tried to pull out of Louis' embrace. Louis knew his cheeks were flaming and he managed to grab purchase onto the front of Harry's shirt in order to be able to bury his face into Harry's chest. Maybe it would make the people disappear?

"I took a couple of pictures," A young girl chirped as she approached the pair. Louis had no choice but to pull away. "I didn't hear much but you both looked so happy I figured I might as well capture something."

"Um, thanks," Harry said. Louis looked up to find Harry's cheeks crimson as well. It was adorable.

"That was really thoughtful," Louis managed to say. "Embarrassing, but thoughtful."

The girl grinned. "I don't think you were embarrassed. You were pretty caught up in your own bubble. It was cute."

Louis let Harry take the lead on getting the photos from the girl and the crowd quickly dispersed.

"I'm not sure about this picture," Louis said as he pointed one out. "I look a bit angry actually. Delete that one."

"Absolutely not," Harry protested as he shoved the phone into his back pocket. "That's when you were scolding me for talking about marriage... which we're not talking about because you're never going to ask. Because you're not a romantic. Or so you always say. But is completely false."

Louis burst out in laughter. "Whatever. Let's go Hazza. I'm going to accidentally forget to take my suppressant tonight."

Harry giggled and said, "I absolutely support that idea."

Harry leaned down to place a kiss on Louis' lips before taking his hand to lead them out of the park.

Louis brushed his hand along the blue bandana around his own neck and smiled at the thought of how this all began with Liam picking up the wrong suitcase on their lads holiday.

He also made a mental note to call the zoo about having wedding proposals in the insect house. Maybe even put the ring in the ant cage.