Half the trouble comes from where they met, and therefore where their baby was conceived. Harry has always been one to fall quick and fall hard, but the first time he'd spotted Louis it had been on a whole different level. He'd been leaning against a diamond encrusted pillar, exhausted and a little tipsy from the free flowing champagne by the stage, when sparkling eyes - which were somewhat, he noted, like the diamond encrusted pillars. And walls. And floor - had caught his own. The stranger's face had been caught in a laugh, and the throng of people surrounding him pressed in closer, entranced. Wobbly, Harry steadied himself against the pillar and was just working up the courage to go join the group when he'd realised the stranger had broken away from his admirers. To Harry's utter surprise, he was heading straight for him. The smile he was wearing exposed his teeth, and Harry couldn't help but notice that they were very cute teeth. In so far as teeth could be cute.
He shook himself out of his own thoughts just in time to hear the tail end of his sentence, "- to dance?"
"Yes! Hi, yes, I'd love to," he accepted.
Louis pulled him toward the dance floor and Harry absently placed his champagne flute, half empty, on the tray of a passing waiter.
From there it was a whirlwind, and honestly Harry had trouble remembering most of the rest of the night. He had flashes of Louis' eyes and smile, the mischievous twitch of his lips as he'd dragged Harry toward the cloakroom, and then sloppy kisses and skin on skin and heat and utter joy, then the absolute mortification of the Doctor busting through the door, tossing a robe at him and yelling run. He'd had barely a few seconds to process the command and start to obey; more out of habit than desire, before the reason for the haste became apparent. An armed guard stampeded after him, and Harry was too busy escaping their wrath to give Louis more than a quick smack on the lips goodbye.
He tried not to mope about it, too much. He'd only known Louis for a night, not even, and both of them had been just this side of drunk but not quite to the point of plastered. So it shouldn't have affected him much, really, in the grand scheme of things. He tried to forget it. And if wispy brown hair and bright blue eyes appeared in his mind when he was wanking a few times, well, no one had to know.
It was two and a half months later when Harry realised that Louis might have left him with more than just a few memories.
The minute Harry got inside the TARDIS he bent over, resting his hands on his knees as he struggled for breath. He fought back a wave of nausea as the door clattered closed and the Doctor whipped past him, frantically tugging on a few levers until the familiar grinding of dematerialisation began, signalling their safety. Harry was still catching his breath, now slumped against the side of the control room as he gripped his abdomen.
"You okay?" The Doctor said with concern, hair flopping into his eyes as he pulled out his sonic screwdriver. Their desperate dash for escape from the inadvertent chaos they had caused was completely forgotten.
Harry waved him off. "I've been a bit tired lately," he admitted. "But it's nothing I can't handle, probably just a bug."
The Doctor's lips twisted into an unhappy moue, his finger still hovering over the button on the screwdriver. "It'll only take a second," he wheedled.
He considered for a moment. He had been feeling unusually exhausted for a while now, longer than a bug should have kept him down, and while the Doctor wasn't actually a doctor of medicine, a quick scan from the screwdriver should rule out anything more serious. He smiled, feigning a put-upon smile. "If you must."
The Doctor beamed, positively radiant, and didn't waste a second in poking the blue light in his face. He frowned. He shook the screwdriver, whacked it against his palm a few times - a tired but true troubleshooting method - and pointed again. The frown remained firmly fixed in place. "That can't be right," he muttered under his breath.
Harry cocked his head enquiringly.
The Doctor looked up from whacking the screwdriver against the console. "It says you're pregnant," he informed him, confusion marring his features. "But you're human."
"Uh, no," said Harry.
"Yes, yes, I know, human men can't get pregnant, yadda yadda," the Doctor dismissed, frown even more pronounced.
"No," Harry corrects. "I mean I'm not human. I'm synjr. Mostly, anyway. One of my grandparents was human though." He tacked on the last bit as though consolation.
"Oh!" said the Doctor, and he looked a little sheepish. "Well. In that case, congratulations! You're going to be a dad!"
And oh. Yes. That made sense. His stomach turned, his thoughts flying automatically to Louis and oh god, it had to be him because there hadn't been anyone else and fuck. Without his say so, his mind spat forth images of small children with his curls and Louis' smile, and he'd only known him for one night but his heart thrummed with want at the image. He bit down hard on his lip to stop himself from thinking about Louis with those children because that was ridiculous. He was never going to see Louis again, even if he was pregnant with his child.
"So," the Doctor crowed, interrupting his train of thought. "What do you want to do?"
"Do?" Harry echoed blankly.
"You're pregnant," the Doctor pointed out, as if this fact hadn't just been revealed to them. "Did you want to go home? To a doctor? To the father?"
"Oh ho, I see!" he said, grinning. "Operation baby daddy it is then. Now, where would we find the lucky man?"
Harry started to stammer through a denial, then huffed. "Oh, whatever. It was at the diamond planet, one of the diplomats. You should know, you interrupted us."
"Well if I'd known you were making a baby," the Doctor whined, like that would have changed anything. "Okay, so we'll set a course for Druidia. One week from when we were there, the diplomats should all still be there and, ah, the guards will hopefully have forgotten that they want to kill us."
The Druidians had not, in fact, forgotten that they wanted Harry and the Doctor dead, or mostly just the Doctor, since Harry hadn't been the one to force the king's hand into giving the diamond miners actual wages, and therefore losing him a lot of money and power. They found themselves surrounded within seconds of leaving the TARDIS, gleaming laser guns pointed firmly in their direction.
"Don't shoot!" The Doctor exclaimed, shoving Harry in between him and the guns like a shield. "Pregnant person!"
Harry huffed, indignant, but the guns pointed at them were immediately lowered so he couldn't stay mad. "We're looking for someone," he explained. "Louis? He was at the ball last week, one of the diplomats, but I uh, didn't get a last name or home planet."
The guards looked disgruntled, but one of them tucked their gun back into the holster and stepped forward. "There were diplomats from over 1000 planets," they said mildly. "It could be difficult to find this one person."
Harry shrugged, unconcerned. "Doesn't change the fact that I need to find him."
The guard inclined their head, beak touching their chest. "If you wish. Follow me, we can go through the guest list."
Harry fell into step behind the guard, and the Doctor made to follow them, but was immediately restrained by the other guards. "You're coming with us," one of them grunted at him. "I believe there's quite a price on your head."
Stricken, Harry exchanged a look with the Doctor, but from the casual quirk of his lips he didn't seem concerned, so Harry tore his gaze away and jogged to catch up with the guard who was helping him, already a few dozen meters ahead of him.
They went through names and photos for over an hour before Harry stopped them, his heart seizing as a familiar face blinked at him from the screen. "That's him," he said, vaulting forward in his seat to read the page.
The guard restrained him, throwing out a leathery wing to block him. "I'm afraid the only information I'm authorised to release to the public is names and photos of attendees. The rest of the information on the screen is confidential. I will contact Mr Tomlinson on your behalf and leave a message," the guard elaborated.
Harry groaned, but held back on saying anything else. Then, while they were turned to the side typing a number into the intercom, he leaned forward and memorised as many details as he could in a split second.
The guard turned back to him. "I'm sorry," they said. "It appears that Mr Tomlinson pulled out of the convention after the ball."
Harry felt a lead-like weight sink in his stomach, and the guard tapped his shoulder with a paw in what was probably supposed to be a comforting gesture. "I can send an email to his aide, if it's very important," they suggested.
Harry shook his head. "It's okay, thank you for helping."
"Of course," said the guard. "I'll escort you back to your vessel now."
Harry was sat in the TARDIS for three hours before the Doctor returned, looking slightly worse for the wear. "What happened?" Harry asked, and the Doctor shook his head.
"I snuck out when they let me out for a toilet break. So did all the other prisoners, actually, not sure why they don't just put toilets in the cells. Anyway, we managed to come to an agreement."
"Agreement?" Harry echoed, sceptical. "You were in a cell,"
The Doctor waved it off. "I made some suggestions. Point is, we're free, the slaves are free, and the former ruler of the planet might have slipped and fallen down a diamond mine. Did you find Daddy?"
Heat coloured Harry's cheeks and he cleared his throat, grappling for his composure. "Uh, yeah, not exactly. But I do have, erm, his name now. And a planet."
"Useful," said the Doctor, his smile wry.
"And!" Harry added with a flourish. "A title."
The Doctor straightened. "Ah-ha! Well that we might be able to use. Lay it on me."
"Louis Tomlinson, Lord of the Rovers, Doncaster. It's in the upsilon quadrant, in the Boötes Dwarf Galaxy."
The Doctor entered the coordinates, and they were off.
Louis Tomlinson, Lord of the Rovers, Doncaster, patently did not exist. On arriving on Doncaster, Harry and the Doctor had been informed in no uncertain terms that there never had been a Lord of the Rovers, and there was certainly no one called Louis Tomlinson having been him. Furthermore, Doncaster, being so incredibly far away from Druidia, had elected not to attend the Gala, given the exorbitant transportation costs that would have resulted. As far as spacefaring planets went, Doncaster was small and poor. Up until a year ago, only the recently overthrown King Parker had been allowed to leave the planet. They wanted to get back on their feet before they properly entered intergalactic politics.
Harry's heart sunk further and further into his chest the more they were told. He felt small and ashamed and it was only exacerbated by the increasingly disapproving look on the Doctor's face. From the things Louis had said to him that night, he'd fashioned him a hero in his mind, and finding out that that was probably all a deception upset him more than he imagined it could.
"So none of you have ever heard of a Louis Tomlinson?" Harry interrupted, becoming desperate for any of the things he had imagined Louis was to be confirmed. "About yay high," he held his hand up about eye level before he continued, describing Louis in terms that made the Doctor eye him with suspicion.
"Oh!" Interjected a small, green-skinned child. "Perhaps you mean the Tommo?"
At that there was a murmur of conversation among the crowd.
"The Tommo?" Harry seized on the name, ignoring the way the Doctors face cleared and twisted into comprehension, the corners of his eyes wrinkling into a smile. "Who's the Tommo?"
"The Tommo," the child repeated, like it should be patently obvious.
An adult interjected. "The Tommo," she repeated. "He came through town nearly a year ago."
"And?" Harry prompted, eager.
"Without him, the revolution would have failed," she admitted freely. "He came through and taught us not only how to fight, but how to negotiate. And then he left. I don't know where he went after that."
Harry turned to the Doctor. "It could be him," he said, hope colouring his tone. "Right?"
After learning as much as they could about the Tommo, Harry and the Doctor were almost certain that he was in fact, Louis Tomlinson, but to the people of Doncaster, he was something of a mystery. He'd appeared out of nowhere and disappeared just as quickly. They had almost nothing to go on, until they were beginning to give up on the idea of finding him. After a month of searching for clues, one of the generals he'd worked with mentioned that he had been a mentor of sorts to a group of orphans in the lower town.
The orphans had been only too eager to sing his praises. A lanky, curly haired child had proudly brandished an enormous teddy bear in Harry's face, proclaiming that Tommo was the bestest, most kindest person in the entire world.
"Yeah?" Harry asked, kneeling down to his level, a funny wobbly feeling in his belly at the words. "Why's that then?"
He hugged the bear tight to his chest and smiled into its plush head. "Because he loves us, and looks after us. Like a Daddy! 'Cept he can't be here all the time."
Harry's heart clenched. On one hand, it was a good sign that Louis was willing to look after children, that he was good with them and he loved them, and was clearly loved back. On the other, if he proclaimed to love these kids like a Daddy and was happy enough to leave them here, by themselves, what did that mean for their future child? His stomach fluttered. He shook himself.
That wasn't fair. Louis could hardly be a father to dozens of children, anyone would struggle under that burden. And yet, he still managed to provide for them. There was a warm feeling in his chest when he thought of Louis and their own child, a child that Harry was sure would be spoiled to death. Between Harry himself, Louis the child loving liberator, and the Doctor, who had declared himself godfather not long after Harry had started showing, the swell of his stomach pressing at the waistband of his jeans, he knew their child would be well taken care of. "When was the last time you heard from him?" Harry asked, getting back on topic.
"Last week!" the child chirped happily, and dashed away. Harry frowned in confusion, but it soon became clear when he returned, a brown paper envelope in his hands. "He wrote me a letter!" he declared, extracting a sheet of paper, which he held up to his face, and thrust the envelope at Harry's belly. "A real old fash'n type one, with paper, and he sent me teddy with it."
Harry took it, intently scanning the envelope for clues while the kid began to haltingly read out the words Louis had penned. There was no return address, but after a good deal of squinting, he was finally able to make out the post mark. It had been sent from far away, several weeks earlier, and chances that Louis was still there were slim. From what the people of Doncaster had told him, he seemed almost like the Doctor; not sticking around anywhere too long once he'd wreaked havoc and cleaned up society's messes. Still, it was better than nothing.
"Doctor!" he called to the other room. His response was muffled by the shrieks of children, who were possibly still playing ‘bury the strange man’ with their bodies. "We're going to Rigel 5!"
Rigel 5 was, like Harry has suspected it would be, a bust. Even more of one than he had anticipated. Louis had never even been to the planet, instead, they just found someone that he had hired to send the letters.
"Why would you hire someone to send letters?" the Doctor groaned. "It's like he doesn't want to be found."
Harry rested a palm over the curve of his belly and levelled the Doctor with a look. "You did the exact same thing in the Antares System."
The Doctor tilted his head left, then right, and grimaced. "Well, yeah, but in my defence I was on the run! I'd just stopped an invasion, you know."
Harry continued to stare.
"Oh, shut up," the Doctor said finally, cuffing him lightly at the neck. He quickly changed the topic. "To Kord it is then."
They went to Kord and of course, as their luck would have it, despite arriving on the date that the letter sender had been hired, he was already gone. They followed Louis' trail of impromptu heroics across dozens of planets over the next few months, skipping back in forth in time to try and catch him.
"I'm just about done with this," Harry huffed one day, flopping onto a park bench and hissing with relief as he propped his swollen ankles up onto the Doctor's lap. He was six months pregnant at this stage, and his body was doing everything it could to remind him of the fact on a daily basis. He bent over awkwardly to stretch out the muscles in his back.
"Done with this?" the Doctor repeated, like he couldn't comprehend. He probably couldn't. The Doctor was not a quitter. "What do you mean done with this?"
"I mean I give up," Harry said irritably. "We've been looking for months, we're not going to find him. Whatever, I can be a single dad. I can handle it."
The Doctor shook his head. "Nuh-uh, no way."
"What do you mean no way?"
"I mean no way! I am not playing bad cop parent to your child, we are finding Louis Tomlinson and that's it."
Harry smirked. "Like you'd be bad cop, I'm not a complete idiot," he started to say, when someone cleared their throat, interrupting.
"Uh, 'scuse you," they said, dropping a hand onto Harry's shoulder.
Across from him, the Doctor's expression had frozen somewhere between horror and delight. Harry turned around slowly. And. Jesus.
"You said you were looking for Louis Tomlinson?" He said, voice trailing off when he met Harry's eyes.
It was Louis. Jesus fucking Christ, it was Louis, in the flesh. He had a thin scar along his jaw that he hadn't had before, and a few tattoos down his arm - if Harry wasn't mistaken that stylised compass on his forearm was in an incredibly similar style to his own ship, huh - but he still looked incredible. He recognised Harry, too, eyes sparkling with the same affection that Harry had remembered, though tinged with awe and surprise this time.
Harry had wondered, in the preceding months as they'd searched for him while their child grew in his belly, if he had imagined it. If he had seen what he'd wanted to see. But now that Louis was here in front of him again he could see it clear as day and he knew that he hadn't imagined it at all. "Hi," he breathed, wonder struck,
"Harry. Hi," Louis said back. His gaze dropped, taking in Harry's stomach. His expression grew tight. "You're, ah,"
"Pregnant," Harry finished for him with an open smile. "Yeah, uh," he hadn't thought this far ahead, actually, in all those months. He tried to think. It had been six months since he and Louis had met according to Harry, but with all the jumping around in time they'd done he had trouble keeping up with how long it would have been for Louis. He mentally shrugged. It was what it was, and he wasn't going to go around letting Louis think he was pregnant with someone else's kid when that wasn't even a possibility. "It's yours," he said plainly.
The tension in Louis' expression eased, his eyes going wide and his jaw going slack. "Mine?" he echoed, taking a step toward Harry, a hand reaching out toward Harry's stomach. He visibly stopped himself, looking at Harry with a query in his eyes. Harry nodded as he stood, taking Louis hand and laying it directly over his abdomen.
"It's yours," he swallowed, his mouth suddenly gone dry, and licked his lips. "I'm yours, too. If you want."
Louis let out a sound like a deflating balloon, looping his free arm around Harry's back, moving into his space and pressing his nose into Harry's neck. "This is just a crazy dream," he mumbled, right below Harry's ear, his lips brushing over his pulse.
Harry choked out a laugh. "Not quite, but sort of. This is stupid, right? I'm being really stupid right now." He sniffled.
Louis pressed a kiss under his ear, Harry could feel his lips twitching into a smile. They'd been hugging for a long time now, and normally Harry would have pulled away by that point, but it didn't feel weird yet. "Not stupid," Louis insisted in his ear.
"I was about to give up on looking for you, you know," Harry pointed out. "We've been looking since we found out, and I'm tired."
Louis pulled away from his neck at those words, his forehead furrowed in concern. "Do you want to sit down?" he offered, and Harry noted that the Doctor was laughing in the background. "I'm sorry I was so hard to find. I should have left some contact details."
"We got here eventually," Harry forgave. He frowned. "And yes it would be nice to sit down. You can tell me what you've been up to."
"Right, yes," said Louis, straightening up, looking suddenly alert. "Ah, about that. Here is probably not the greatest place for us to be relaxing."
"Oh?" said the Doctor, finally seeing fit to interrupt their conversation. "And why would that be?"
Louis made a few indistinct sounds, his lips forming into a guilty grimace. "I might have just released the hounds."
"Released the hounds?" Harry repeated in a higher pitch than he would have liked to. "Why would you release the hounds? Isn’t someone else supposed to do that?"
Louis scratched the back of his neck as the Doctor started to lead them toward where they'd parked the TARDIS. "Well, yes. But the poor fellas were being mistreated. So, they might be sending the guards to find me. Possibly with some other hounds, which I may have run out of time to release."
Harry huffed a laugh, shaking his head. Somehow he had managed to find the only man in the universe who was a bigger troublemaker than the Doctor was. It was probably fitting. "Come with us," he grinned. "We're just around the corner. But once we get out of the line of fire, so to speak, I am laying down some rules. They go for you, too, Doctor!" he called ahead.
The Doctor waved him off. "Pish, posh. Rules. Never did care for those." He pulled open the TARDIS door and disappeared inside.
Louis looked at it, his eyebrow raised as Harry reached for the handle. "Well you're going to start caring," Harry said as he stepped inside, ignoring Louis' gasp of surprise as he tugged him inside behind him. "I'm laying down a firm no revolutions rule, at least until the baby's born."
"It's not like I go looking for them," the Doctor said, sheepish pout on his face.
Louis nodded in sync with him. "Sometimes I just see trouble and they happen," he whined.
Harry massaged his forehead. "Three months," he said through gritted teeth. "Three months is all I ask. We're going to land on some quiet planet somewhere and relax, just for a little while. I have no desire to run from armed guards while I'm in this state."
Louis tilted his head forward in concession, stepping back into Harry's space, pulling their hips in close together. "That's fair," he said. "I want a rule of my own though."
"Oh?" Harry asked, inhaling deeply. There was something about Louis' scent and warmth that was intensely comforting. "What's that?"
"When we go stay on this quiet planet, I want to have some time. Just us." He waggled a brow meaningfully at Harry, and Harry faux-thumped his shoulder in response.
"Okay," he agreed. "I think we can manage that."
Leaving the Doctor to his own devices probably meant leaving him completely, in the long run. He'd never be content to sit still, not even for a little while. Harry knew that all too well. But he found that he didn't mind, with Louis here. There was still a lot to work out, a lot of getting to know each other that had to happen before they could become a family, properly. But Harry was confident that his adventures were only just beginning, and a happily ever after was going to be a part of that.