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No Bunny But You

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Harry strolls down Prince Street, a venti iced coffee in one hand, a freshly lit cigarette in the other. It’s a perfect early summer afternoon, not a cloud in the sky and a light breeze whipping through the tree branches. He’s a little warm in his standard bartending uniform of painted-on black skinnies and black button-down, but he knows he’ll be grateful for his long sleeves when he gets off work in the wee hours of the morning. Slurping his coffee, Harry rattles the ice around in the plastic cup and then takes a drag of his cigarette, momentarily wishing that he had his camera with him so he could properly capture how the sunlight dances on the fire escapes and casts shadows on the streets of SoHo. 

Fuck, he loves New York City. 

He loves the way the city always crackles with energy, whether it’s the hustle of the early morning rush hour, or the persistent hum of the neon signs when day clicks over to night, the streets full of possibility. He loves these early summer afternoons, before the suffocating heat of July and August hits, when everyone is just happy to be outside with the sun warming their shoulders and there’s a Mister Softee truck on every third corner. But Harry’s favorite thing about New York is the way the entire landscape and feel of the city can change in a matter of a few blocks. He comes to the corner where Prince dead-ends with Bowery and he literally sees the transition; NoLIta is behind him, always polished and glossy, with its designer boutiques and overly quirky cafes, while The Bowery waits ahead of him, a little more industrial and a lot more gritty, with its abundance of spray-painted murals and seedy dive bars that the horny and beautiful flock to in droves every weekend and most weeknights. 

Though, if he’s being honest, it’s really not that gritty. There is a fucking Whole Foods up on the corner of Houston and Second Avenue after all. 

The light turns and Harry crosses the street, taking another puff of his cigarette. He can feel the nicotine and caffeine start to course through his veins, the jolt giving him the added boost of energy he needs to get through his third ten-hour shift in a row. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be too bad, but he had an early photoshoot this morning and he can feel himself dragging, already counting down the hours until the end of his shift when he can crawl into bed with two whole days off ahead of him. 

Harry can’t complain, though. Sure, it’s been a long day but it feels good to finally be gaining some good momentum with his photography business. He’d quit his soul-sucking office job almost two years ago in order to pursue it full time, and while it was a rough go at first trying to make ends meet, Harry doesn’t regret it. Not for a second. He counts himself lucky that he not only has a passion for what he was doing, but he also has two best friends who’ve supported him through thick and thin. 

Liam and Niall saw how miserable he’d been stuck behind a desk; they had just opened their bar when Harry quit his job and they were more than happy to offer him a bartending gig so he could have his days free. It’s been the three of them there since the beginning, Harry slinging drinks four or five nights a week, with Niall overseeing the menu and the kitchen while Liam manages the bar’s day to day operations. Harry loves it. He loves working with his best friends, the three of them a well-oiled machine. He loves the people that filter through the bar, from their regulars who stop by for post-work happy hours during the week to the wild crowds of the weekend, the bar packed to the gills with singles looking for their next hookup. He even loves the overly complicated but delicious cocktails that Niall rotates through the menu on a monthly basis. He loves his job and he loves his life. 

If only his second wind would just kick in before an inevitably slow Monday night shift. 

Harry turns the corner, waving at the clerk in his favorite bodega as he walks by. Once he passes the line of dumpsters, the familiar facade of Leave Zayn Out Of It comes into view, with its black-painted brick and wall of windows that they open up in the summertime. Something is different today, though. Harry stops on the corner of Chrystie, letting out a low whistle as he takes in the finished mural painted on the side of the building. It’s so fresh Harry can still smell the lingering fumes of spray paint, the colors bright and glossy, almost a little sticky looking. He’s seen the mural coming together over the past week, the mysterious artist Liam commissioned working during the day, priming the wall and gridding it off, gradually filling in the larger swaths of color before starting in on the details. 

Taking another drag off his cigarette, Harry steps back, standing on the edge of the curb so he can take in the entire scope of the twelve foot high mural. This artist, whoever he is, is quite good. The blank stretch of brick has been transformed to the side profile of a man’s bare torso, his lean but toned arm propped on a table, a cigarette dangling from his long, elegant fingers, the smoke curling up in delicate tendrils. Harry snorts as he recognizes the sleeve of tattoos, each of them rendered in painstaking detail from the crossed fingers to the bright yellow “Zap!” to the little swallow on his hand. Liam and Niall are nothing short of dedicated to their bar’s namesake, Harry doesn’t know why he’s the least bit surprised they’ve decided to immortalize him on the side of the building. Several tumblers of whiskey are clustered on the table, one of them tipped on its side, the amber liquid dripping off the edge of the table, the last drops splashing up right where the brick meets the sidewalk. It’s sexy and a bit cheeky all at the same time, and Harry has to admit the mural would definitely make him want to check out the bar inside if he was just passing by. 

His cigarette is nearly down to the filter, so Harry takes a final puff and drops the butt to the ground, stubbing it out under his boot. He crouches down to pick it up and that’s when he notices them: six pairs of spray-painted bunnies, two under each window, hopping along in the space between the windowsills and pavement. Honking out a laugh, Harry stands back up to his full height, flicking the cigarette butt into the nearby dumpster and then turning his attention back to the bunnies. He can’t believe he didn’t notice them before, but now that he’s seen them, they are literally all he can see, even with the impressive mural of Zayn taking up the entire wall next to them. Harry shoves his aviators up into his mop of long curls, brushing them back over his shoulder as he peers closer at the bunnies, checking to see if he’s actually seeing what he thinks he’s seeing. 

Yep. Those bunnies are definitely fucking. 

Harry studies them, giggling in delight when he realizes that the bottom bunnies are all smoking cigarettes, while the top bunnies grip the bottoms around their middles with their front feet, holding them in place. They are so obviously fucking and it’s hilarious and Harry can’t actually believe that Liam is actually okay with a row of cartoon bunnies fucking on the side of his building. He loves his best friend with all of his heart, but he often makes Cameron from Ferris Bueller seem relaxed in comparison. He had to have blown a gasket when he saw them; Harry’s kind of sad that he didn’t get to see it. 

Harry pulls his phone out of his back pocket, swiping right to open up his camera and snapping a quick photo. He scans the mural, looking for a signature or a hashtag, anything that can be used to identify the mysterious artist on social media. Spotting it in the corner by the last pair of fucking bunnies (Fucking! Bunnies!), Harry thumbs over to Instagram and makes a new post, smirking the whole time. 

Noting the time, Harry hits post and pockets his phone, slurping up his coffee as he rounds the corner, still laughing to himself. 

Looks like he just caught his second wind. 

He grabs the keys clipped to his belt loop, flipping through until he finds the key that opens the bar’s front door. Clicking the lock over, he pushes the door open and steps inside. 

“Honey, I’m home,” Harry calls. 

“Haz, hey,” Liam answers from a table in the far corner, his wire-rimmed glasses sliding down his nose as he pours over the bar’s books, a half-full glass of club soda and lime sitting by his laptop. “How was the photoshoot this morning?” 

“Good, good,” Harry replies, tossing his keys on the bar. “It was a bitch getting up that early, but we had some really great light at all of our locations. I can’t wait to start editing, I know I got some good stuff.” 

“That’s great,” Liam says warmly, tapping a few keys on his laptop and then snapping it shut. He smiles up at Harry, his brown eyes crinkling shut. “I’m glad it went well.” 

“Me too,” Harry agrees, rattling the ice in his cup.

Chewing on his straw, Harry studies Liam for a moment, a little blown away at how calm he is acting right now. Maybe Liam has finally found his chill after all these years. Or maybe he got laid last night. Liam always has been a bit of a dark horse; Harry wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he was secretly seeing someone. Harry does a quick scan for any obvious hickeys when it suddenly hits him. 

Maybe Liam hasn’t realized that there are fucking bunnies painted on the side of the building. 

Oh, this is good.  

“So the mural’s finally done,” Harry says casually. 

“He finished it just a few hours ago,” Liam affirms, making some notes on a legal pad. “I mean, you saw it, yeah? It’s perfect, just what we wanted.” 

“I did see it,” Harry nods. “I’m just wondering if you saw it?” 

Liam’s brow crinkles in confusion. 

“Of course I saw it? It’s a giant mural, Haz–” 

“So you saw the bunnies then?” Harry clarifies, a smirk tugging at his lips. 

“Yeah, those were a bit of a surprise,” Liam huffs. “I mean, they definitely weren’t part of what we commissioned from him, but they’re kind of cute, right?” 

Harry sputters a laugh. 

“What?” Liam asks, the furrow in his brow deepening. “They are cute little bunnies!” 

“Cute little bunnies that are fucking,” Harry snickers. 

“What?” Liam gasps. 

“Liam,” Harry says, trying to school his face into a serious expression. “Those bunnies are fucking.” 

“No!” Liam exclaims, leaping to his feet, his chair clattering to the floor. “Are you serious?” 

“Very,” Harry grins. “Go see for yourself.” 

Liam storms towards the door, a strangled cry escaping from his throat as the door slams behind him. Harry ponders following him for a second, but instead shakes his head, making his way behind the bar to prepare for the night’s shift. He grabs saran-wrapped metal canisters of lemon and lime wedges from the cooler, peeling back the plastic wrap and shaking them out into their respective trays in the garnish station, counting down backwards from ten as he awaits Liam’s response. He’s twisting open a jar of olives when he hears Liam’s piercing shriek from outside and he bites back a laugh at his poor friend’s expense. Harry scoops olives into their tray, pouring some of the brine in as well, quietly counting down as he waits for Liam to reappear. 

Three...two…

The door bangs and Liam appears in front of the bar, his eyes slightly crazed. 

“Harry, those bunnies are fucking!”  

“I know,” Harry says mildly, grabbing the jar of maraschino cherries and twisting the lid open. “I told you.” 

“I swear to God, I’m gonna murder him,” Liam mutters, pulling out his phone. “Obscene art on the side of my building.” 

“Li, it’s not that bad,” Harry soothes as he dumps cherries into their tray. “It’s funny!”

“Yeah, real funny,” Liam snarks, angrily typing out a text message. “What if people complain?”

“In this neighborhood? I doubt it. It’s not like we’re next door to a school or anything.” 

“Harry, there is literally a park across the street!” Liam protests. “What about the children?” 

“The children will be fine,” Harry deadpans, grabbing his cutting board and a few oranges. He chances a glance up at his friend as he rummages around for a knife; Liam’s face is bright red as he finishes his text, pocketing his phone with a flourish. “I mean, if anything, it’s educational. Sex positive. They’re just doing what comes naturally to them, and I, for one, think that’s beautiful.” 

“Not helping, Haz,” Liam sighs heavily, rubbing his temples. 

“Liam,” Harry says gently. “Look at me.” 

Liam looks up, his mouth downturned. 

“All jokes aside,” Harry says, “and you do have to admit, they’re fucking funny–” 

“Ugh,” Liam groans. 

“I’m just saying, I don’t know,” Harry placates, “they could be good PR for the bar, yeah? Like people coming and instagramming the bunnies and stopping in for a drink after? My first thought on seeing the mural was that this looked like a place I would want to check out if I was just passing by. And that’s what you wanted with it, yeah?” 

“I guess,” Liam agrees reluctantly, raking his hand through his hair. 

“Instagram famous, Li,” Harry encourages. “That was the first thing I did when I saw them; I posted them to my Instagram. And I tagged the bar. I bet you most people will do the exact same thing, it’ll be huge for word of mouth. It’s a good thing, I swear.” 

“But Harry,” Liam sighs. 

The door slams.

“Fellas,” Niall cackles, his Boston accent thick. He strolls into the bar, tossing his messenger bag on one of the tables. “Did you see the fucking bunnies spray-painted on the side of our building? Wicked!” 

Liam groans dramatically, banging his head on the bar. 

It’s going to be a long night. 

********

The most beautiful boy Harry’s ever seen saunters into the bar at precisely 10:02 P.M. 

It’s a slow night; Mondays usually are, so Harry’s very aware of both the clock and every single patron that comes through the door. But as he watches the newcomer make his way towards the end of the bar, Harry knows that he would immediately notice this boy even if he was deep in the weeds on a jam-packed Saturday night making three different cocktails at once. 

He’s small, Harry observes. No. He’s compact and curvy, his all black ensemble of a slim-fitting hoodie and painted-on skinnies showcasing the dip of his waist, strong, thick thighs, and shapely calves. The boy’s outfit is not without flair though, his blue and silver sneakers standing out in stark contrast to the rest of his ensemble. But the reason Harry can’t keep his eyes off this boy is the way he carries himself with undeniable confidence; he has a natural magnetism that makes him look much bigger than he actually is. 

As much as Harry loathes the term “Big Dick Energy,” he has to admit this guy is radiating it.

The boy slings his backpack on the back of a chair, running his fingers through his artfully mussed brown hair, sweeping it to the side as his sharp eyes scan the room, clearly looking for someone. (Of course he’s meeting someone, Harry thinks, his heart sinking. Why would a boy this gorgeous be drinking alone on a Monday night?) Their eyes meet and even in the dim light of the bar, Harry can see that they are bright blue. The boy fucking smirks at him; Harry flushes, realizing he’s definitely been caught staring with his mouth dropped open. He looks down at the half-full cocktail shaker in his hands and tries to remember what the fuck he was in the middle of making. 

A dirty martini. Right. 

Harry adds vermouth and olive brine to the shaker, capping it with a flourish and giving it a thorough shake. His eyes drift back over to the boy as he pours the cocktail into a chilled glass; he bites his lip as he sees the boy watching him, one perfectly shaped eyebrow arched as his gaze drifts up and down. 

Okay, so maybe he’s just meeting a friend. 

Harry looks away as he expertly spears three olives on a red cocktail sword, fully aware that the boy is still watching him. He glances back over at him, dropping the garnish into the drink with a plop, vodka splashing over the edge as he tries to keep his eyes from bugging out of his head. The boy slowly unzips his hoodie, his eyes locked on Harry’s the whole time, shrugging out of it and revealing a tight black tank, the words “Skate Tough” emblazoned across the chest in white. 

Jesus Christ. 

Harry’s mouth goes dry as his eyes rove over the boy’s toned and tattooed arms, his skin golden and practically glowing. The scoop of the tank displays a smattering of hair and an intricate chest piece of cursive letters; Harry wants to trace his tongue over the delicate swoops and curls. His mouth starts to water at the sight of his prominent collarbone, the dip created there practically made for body shots. 

Harry makes a point not to hook up with customers. Oh sure, he’ll flirt and banter with them, often being left with phone numbers scrawled across napkins and credit card receipts, but it never goes further than that. He’s always thought it was a bit clichéd, to be honest. Besides, it’s never good to shit where you eat. Just ask his buddy Nick who used to work at a restaurant uptown; he’d managed to get a full star knocked off of its Yelp rating after a bunch of his former conquests caught on to his MO. 

But this boy. 

This boy makes Harry want to chuck all of his rules right out the window. And judging by the smug smile on the boy’s face as he finally sits, delicately picking up the cocktail menu and studying it, Harry reckons the feeling might be mutual. 

Harry places the finished martini in front of the expectant customer, giving her a smile in apology for the wait. 

“Okay there, Haz?” Niall chuckles, appearing beside him with a tray of clean glasses. “Thought you may have had a stroke there for a second.” 

“Shut up,” Harry mutters good-naturedly, his cheeks heating as he dumps the dregs of the martini into the sink and rinses out the cocktail shaker. “He’s so pretty, I want to cry.” 

Niall cackles as he slides the glasses onto the shelf. 

“Maybe I should wait on him then,” Niall teases. 

“Don’t you fucking dare,” Harry growls. 

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Niall laughs, ruffling Harry’s hair and then grabbing a bin of dirty dishes. “But don’t forget the rules about sex in the bathroom.” 

“Fuck off,” Harry chuckles, shoving his shoulder. “You’re the reason those rules exist.” 

Niall shoots him a wink as he heads back into the kitchen; Harry shakes his head fondly. 

When Harry glances back over at the boy, he’s still studying the menu, delicately toying with the ends of his hair, so Harry hangs back, not wanting to appear too eager. Plus, it always annoys him when bartenders pounce too early, before he even knows what he wants. He grabs a dish towel, cleaning an invisible spot on the countertop while covertly studying the boy. He’s even prettier up close; a hint of stubble dusts his cheeks and jaw while his eyes are rimmed with black eyeliner, his ridiculously long lashes casting shadows on his high cheekbones. There’s a small silver stud in his left nostril, a silver hoop adorning his bottom lip, and a barbell going through the cartilage of his right ear. His sharp jaw twitches as he reads the menu, his mouth twisting into a mischievous smile as he looks up at Harry, summoning him over with a little tilt of his head. 

Harry takes a deep breath, dropping the towel and flipping his long hair back, scrunching up the ends. 

Here goes nothing. 

Harry strolls over to the end of the bar, which is blessedly unoccupied, other than the beautiful boy. He grabs one of the cardboard coasters, gearing up to impress the boy with his best bartending trick. He’s perfected it over the years, being able to flick the coaster with just enough force that it lands directly in front of the customer, spinning in place. With a cocky grin at the boy, Harry flicks his wrist, sending the coaster flying. 

Except he uses too much force and the coaster skitters right past the boy, bouncing off the end of the bar and landing on the floor. The boy looks between him and the coaster, pressing his lips together as he tries to look unimpressed. 

“Oops,” Harry laughs ruefully. 

“Hi,” the boy rasps, his blue (so fucking blue) eyes sparkling in amusement. 

“Hi,” Harry grins goofily, carefully placing a new coaster in front of the boy. “Will you be drinking tonight?” 

Harry tries not to visibly cringe. The boy is at a bar, for fuck’s sake, of course he’s going to be drinking. The boy sits up straight, his blue eyes laser focused on Harry’s as a smirk tugs at the corner of his lips. 

“Yes, Daddy, I will,” he nods decisively. 

Harry’s cock twitches as he sucks in a sharp breath. He clears his throat, raking his fingers through his curls as he feels heat rushing to his cheeks. 

“Erm, what?” Harry manages to croak, trying not to squirm too much under the boy’s heated gaze. “I mean...what?” 

The boy finally breaks and just fucking giggles, his eyes crinkling shut; the sight does nothing to help the situation brewing in Harry’s jeans. 

“I’ll have the ‘Yes, Daddy, I Will,’” the boy grins, holding up the menu and pointing to the line near the top of the menu. “It’s just a twist on an Old-Fashioned, right?” 

“Right,” Harry exhales, unable to stop himself from giggling along with the boy. “Niall, he’s one of the owners, and he likes to come up with these ridiculous names, if you met him, you’d get his humor. Anyway, I was distracted and I forgot he even did that and you were looking right at me when you said that and I…” Harry’s rambling, oh my God, he’s rambling in front of this beautiful boy like a goddamn idiot. “Jesus, that was...fuck, sorry, I’ll shut up, sorry.” 

“Don’t be,” the boy replies, eyeing him appreciatively. “You’re cute when you’re all flustered.” 

Harry’s blush deepens, looking up at the boy through his eyelashes. 

“Definitely cute,” the boy affirms, leaning forward, cradling his chin in his palm as he rests his elbow on the bar. “You got a name, Curly? Or should I just call you Styles?” 

Harry looks down at the name embroidered on his shirt and smiles. He knows when he’s being hit on; it’s happened more times than he can count working behind this bar. But there is something about this boy’s directness that Harry finds refreshing. No games, no bullshit, just “You’re cute, what’s your name?” and a smile. It makes him want to know more. 

“Harry,” Harry grins, extending his hand. “Styles. And you? I mean I could just open up your tab under ‘Beautiful boy at the end of the bar’ but I’d rather–” 

“Louis,” the boy interrupts, sliding his hand into Harry’s and giving it a little squeeze. “Tomlinson. Nice to meet you, Harry Styles.” 

Harry swears that he feels sparks shoot down his spine. Louis’ hand is smaller and more delicate than his, but somehow it fits perfectly. He has no idea how long he stands there, Louis’ hand in his while they just grin at each other. It could be seconds, it could be hours. Harry has no idea. 

“So did you want that drink?” Harry finally asks, still clasping Louis’ hand. “Or was that all just some big ploy to call me Daddy?” 

“I resent that implication, Harold!” Louis gasps with mock offense, withdrawing his hand and pressing it to his chest, right above the scoop of his tank. “Of course I want my drink. Calling you Daddy was just a bonus. Got your attention, didn’t I?” 

“You already had it,” Harry states boldly.

“I know.” 

Louis winks at him; Harry bites back a grin as he shakes his head, turning around and looking at the wall of liquor bottles on display. 

“Do you have a bourbon preference?” Harry asks, glancing over his shoulder at Louis.

“Four Roses Small Batch,” Louis replies easily. “If you’ve got it.” 

A man who knows his bourbon. Harry may be a bit in love with him already. 

“Do we have Four Roses Small Batch,” Harry repeats mockingly, plucking a small bottle off the shelf. “What kind of establishment do you think this is?”

“Harry, the drink menu literally capitalizes the ‘Cock’ part of ‘Cocktails,’” Louis says drily. 

“Fair point,” Harry chuckles, grabbing a chilled rocks glass from the cooler, as well as a bottle of simple syrup and bitters. “We also have graffiti of rabbits fucking on the side of the building. They’re brand new, did you see them? They’re wicked.” 

Harry looks up at Louis, smiling when he sees Louis staring at him, a pleased smile creeping across his handsome face. 

“Well? Did you see them?” 

“Yeah,” Louis replies, full-on beaming now. “Yeah, Curly, I saw ’em.” 

“Liam just about had a heart attack when he saw them,” Harry continues as he mixes Louis’ drink, adding the correct amounts of liquor by pure muscle memory. “He’s the other owner and he’s still pretty mad about it, though Niall and I have been working on talking him down.” He stirs the drinks together with a long, silver cocktail spoon, fully aware of Louis’ eyes on him the whole time. “I’m pretty sure he still wants to give the artist a piece of his mind though.” 

“I’m sure,” Louis hums agreeably. “I mean it’s rabbits fucking on the side of a building. Who would do that?” 

“Someone brilliant,” Harry grins, grabbing a pair of tongs and pulling open the door to the freezer. 

“Anyway, back to the Daddy thing,” Louis says slyly. 

“Oh, we’re back to that, are we?” Harry asks, plucking out one oversized, perfectly square ice cube out of a tray. They make them especially for these cocktails, not wanting to water them down with too much ice. 

“Yep,” Louis nods, a wicked grin on his face. “I was just thinking that if anyone is the Daddy in this scenario, it’s me.” 

Harry’s cock twitches again in his jeans, the pulse making him shiver; the ice cube slips out of the tongs, falling to the floor and shattering on the rubber mat beneath his boots. Harry looks up at Louis, pouting dramatically as Louis laughs brightly, the back of his hand covering his mouth. 

“You,” Harry glares, pointing up at him as he picks up the chunks of ice, tossing them in the sink. “Stop doing that!” 

“But it’s so fun,” Louis teases, his eyes sparkling. “It’s so easy!” 

“Do you want your drink or not?” 

Louis mimes zipping his mouth as Harry reaches for another ice cube, carefully placing it in the glass. He grabs an orange and a stainless steel peeler, carefully slicing a long piece of the rind, twisting it over the cocktail and then sliding into the amber liquid. 

“Cherry?” Harry asks, looking up at him. 

“Always,” Louis grins. “And I won’t even make a joke about it. Even though I know you want me to.” 

Harry rolls his eyes, spearing three cherries on a cocktail sword and swirling them in the drink, mixing everything together. 

“Voila,” Harry says proudly, presenting Louis with the cocktail, placing it on the coaster. “A ‘Yes, Daddy, I Will,’ for the beautiful boy at the end of the bar. On the house.” 

“You don’t have to do that, Harry,” Louis argues, reaching for his wallet. “Besides, I wanted to open up a tab–” 

“So open up a tab on your next one then,” Harry counters. “Let me buy you a drink, Lou. I want to.” 

Jesus, the nickname slips out without him even realizing it. 

“I’m sure you say that to all the boys,” Louis teases.  

“I really don’t,” Harry says seriously, looking Louis right in the eye. “Ever.” 

Louis looks at him with surprise; Harry can’t help but feel a little triumphant that he’s knocked him off his game. Louis’ face softens as a smile stretches across his face, his eyes crinkling at the corners. 

“Thank you,” Louis replies, equally serious. He holds up his glass. “Cheers.” 

Harry watches, biting his lip nervously as Louis sips his drink. He’s made this cocktail probably thousands of times before, but suddenly he feels like his entire future depends on whether or not Louis likes what he’s made for him. 

“Ooh, that’s good,” Louis hums appreciatively, smacking his lips as he places the glass back on the bar. “I think I’m gonna have to keep you, Curly.” 

Relief rushes through him, feeling like a string has been cut as his shoulders relax and a smile breaks out on his face; Harry hadn’t realized just how tense he was, waiting for Louis’ assessment of his mixology skills. What he does realize is that his cheeks are starting to hurt from smiling so hard. It’s absolutely insane; Harry doesn’t even know this boy for fuck’s sake, but he can’t help but think that he’d quite like to keep Louis too. 

He also can’t help but think he should probably get back to work. He’s not being paid to flirt with beautiful strangers, after all. 

“Glad you like it,” Harry says bashfully, grabbing another dish towel and swiping his work station, cleaning up after himself. “Um, listen, as much as I’d love to stay and chat, I should probably–” 

Harry’s interrupted by the distinct sound of a cocktail shaker. He looks over, his eyes widening in surprise as he sees Niall behind the bar, mixing another round of drinks for Martini Girl and her friends, who are getting increasingly rowdy under Niall’s attention. Niall shoots him a wink as he starts pouring the cocktails into waiting glasses. 

Harry could kiss him. 

“You were saying?” Louis asks, swirling his sword of cherries through his drink and looking up at Harry through his eyelashes. 

“I should probably just stay here,” Harry amends, flipping the towel over his shoulder. 

“Good,” Louis grins, taking another sip of his drink. “Because I have a question for you, Harold. One that only you can answer.” 

“Oh, really? What’s that?” 

“What in the hell does the name of this bar mean?” Louis asks. “I mean, really, what kind of name is ‘Leave Zayn Out of It’? Who the fuck is Zayn? And why is he being left out of it?” 

Harry honks a laugh, clapping a hand over his mouth; Louis’ eyes crinkle fondly as he sips his cocktail. 

“Okay, now you have to tell me,” Louis laughs, sweeping his hair off his forehead. 

“It’s a long story,” Harry giggles. 

“I’ve got time,” Louis says, smiling at him over the brim of his glass. 

“Aren’t you supposed to be the one telling me stories?” Harry teases. “I’m the bartender, that’s how these things work.” 

“Just tell me the story already, Curly.” 

Harry laughs, leaning forward and resting his forearms on the bar. 

“Okay, so, I told you that my friends Liam and Niall own this bar, right?” 

“Right.” 

“Well, Liam and I were roommates at NYU. Met freshman year and it was like...friends for life, yeah? We were practically glued at the hip. Anyway, flash-forward to the year after graduation, when Liam met this guy Zayn at a poetry reading down in the West Village.” 

Louis rolls his eyes. 

“I know, right?” Harry scoffs. “And he’s like, exactly what you’re picturing in your head right now. He was a musician too, classic tortured artist type, all broody and mysterious. You know the type.” 

“Yeah, I do,” Louis huffs. 

“We all do,” Harry grins. “And Liam fell for Zayn’s whole schtick, hook, line, and sinker. He was just completely ass over tits for him. So they’ve been dating for a few months when Liam decides to surprise Zayn by showing up unannounced to one of his open mic nights. Zayn was very particular about which ones Liam could go to, always told him he didn’t want Liam hearing songs before they were ready, that kind of bullshit.” 

“Oh no,” Louis chuckles. 

“Oh yes,” Harry nods, tapping the side of his nose. “So because Liam was by himself, he ended up sitting at this two-top table with another guy, and they get to talking. And, as it turns out, that guy Niall was also there to see his boyfriend play that night.” 

“Oh no, no, no,” Louis chortles, waving his hand in the air. 

“I mean, there were several artists playing that night, it could have been anyone! But then, right as Zayn took the stage, I shit you not, the way they tell it, it’s like a moment from a movie, where they both leaned to each other and said ‘That’s my boyfriend!’”

Louis is full out laughing now, it only spurs Harry on. 

“And then they had to sit there together through the whole set! Then Liam and Niall started comparing notes and stories–” 

“What even happened after the show?” Louis wheezes. 

“What do you think happened? They confronted him of course! And you know what that fucker said? He was all ‘I never said we were exclusive, I just have so much love to give, I can’t possibly give it all to one person.’”

“Fuck off.” 

“Totally. So Niall just turned to Liam and asked him if he wanted to go out and get drunk. Liam said yes and he called me to come join them and the rest is history. The three of us have been best friends ever since.” 

“And what about Zayn?”

“Last I heard, he was gallivanting around Europe, still playing his open mic nights. His biggest claim to fame is having a couple of his covers used on Grey’s Anatomy.”  

Louis snickers, swirling his cherry sword around his glass. Harry can’t take his eyes off him. 

“Okay, that’s an amazing story, but you still didn’t answer the question,” Louis points out. 

“What was the question again?” Harry asks, shaking himself out of his daze. 

“Why in the hell is this bar named after Zayn?” 

“Oh! Right.” Harry chuckles. “So right after Liam and Niall bought this place, we were sitting around one night having beers and trying to come up with a name for it. Liam was like there has to be something we have in common, something that links us together. And I just said, ‘Whatever you come up with, just leave Zayn out of it.’ And they just started laughing hysterically. Niall thought it was brilliant, so it stuck.” 

“I just can’t imagine naming my bar after one of my ex-boyfriends,” Louis says. “Especially one that cheated on me.” 

“Yeah, I don’t really get it either,” Harry agrees. “Except that Zayn’s the reason we’re all friends though. We never would have met Niall without him. Liam and Niall always speak of him fondly.”

“Why, d’ya think?” Louis asks curiously, sliding one his cherries off the cocktail sword.  “I mean, seriously. Did he have like a massive cock or something?” 

Harry sputters as Louis looks at him with a devilish grin. 

“That’s gotta be it right?” Louis wheedles, spinning the cherry by its stem. “There is literally no other reason to be fond over an ex-boyfriend unless it’s sex related. He definitely had a massive cock. Admit it. You’ve thought about it.” 

With that, Louis pops the cherry in his mouth, closing his pink lips around the stem. He raises an eyebrow at Harry as he pulls the stem away, smirking as he chews. Meanwhile, Harry’s half-hard in his jeans from all the cock talk and whatever the fuck Louis is doing with that cherry. 

“I wouldn’t say I’ve thought about it,” Harry says, trying to subtly adjust himself behind the bar. “He was just one of those guys who just oozed sex, you know? I mean, he definitely wasn’t my type, but I still let him eat a candy thong off of me at a Halloween party.” 

Louis purses his lips, his blue eyes flashing. If Harry didn’t know any better, he’d say Louis was jealous of a drunken Halloween party almost six years ago. 

“Candy thong, huh?” Louis muses. “Okay fine, so Zayn oozed sex, but could he do this?” 

Louis sucks the cherry stem into his mouth, hollowing out his cheekbones. Harry’s brain short-circuits and he barely surpresses a whimper as Louis’ jaw works and his mouth twists, his blue eyes glinting with determination. He wonders if this is what a stroke feels like, his pulse pounding in his ears as he watches this utterly ridiculous and fascinating boy. Harry swallows hard, completely dumbstruck as Louis winks at him. 

Harry has no idea how much time passes before Louis opens his mouth and sticks out his tongue, displaying a perfectly knotted cherry stem. 

“Well? Could Zayn do that?” 

“Nnnngh,” Harry replies, trying to unstick his tongue. 

“Cat got your tongue, Curly?” Louis smirks, placing the knot on a cocktail napkin. 

“Who even are you?” Harry finally breathes. “Where did you come from?” 

“I came from Alphabet City.” 

“No, seriously,” Harry says, boldly reaching out and resting his hand on Louis’ forearm. “Like...out of all the gin joints in all the towns in all of the world, you walked into mine.” 

“This is a whiskey bar,” Louis says softly, eyelashes fluttering. Harry can feel the goosebumps prickling underneath his fingertips as he delicately strokes Louis’ golden skin.

“Close enough,” Harry murmurs. 

“The thing is,” Louis starts, “I didn’t just walk in here, I–” 

“You!” 

They both startle, leaping back as bubble surrounding them suddenly pops; the hubbub of the bar comes rushing back in and Harry swivels around to see Liam standing at the end of the bar, a scowl on his face as he looks at Louis. 

“I’ve been waiting for you for the past twenty minutes,” Liam exclaims. 

“I got distracted,” Louis answers simply, smiling over at Harry. 

“What the fuck, Tommo?” Liam asks, marching over to them. “You painted obscene graffiti on the side of my bar!” 

“Oh my God,” Harry gasps, his eyes going wide as he smacks Louis’ arm. “You’re Tommo? You painted the mural? You painted the bunnies?”  

“Guilty,” Louis grins. “You like them, huh?” 

“Like them?” Harry laughs. “I fucking love them. They made my afternoon.” 

Louis preens at the praise, a blush appearing on his high cheekbones. 

“Seriously, I spent like half an hour scrolling through your Instagram after I saw them. You’re so fucking talented, oh my God. Those murals on Venice Beach–” 

“Yeah, yeah, he’s very talented, it’s why we picked him,” Liam waves dismissively. “It doesn’t negate the fact that for some reason he decided to paint pornography on my–” 

“Our!” Niall shouts from the end of the bar. 

“Our building,” Liam amends, shooting Niall an apologetic look. “Explain yourself, Tommo.” 

“I don’t think I should have to explain my art to you, Liam.” 

Harry barely stifles a giggle. 

“You do when I’m paying you for it,” Liam huffs, crossing his arms in front of his chest and leveling Louis with his gaze. 

“Fair enough,” Louis shrugs. “I don’t know, Payno. Is it alright if I call you Payno?” 

“Whatever.” 

“Well then, Payno, you saw my portfolio when you hired me. Bunnies are kind of my thing.” 

“They are his thing!” Harry interjects helpfully, not being able to stop himself from coming to Louis’ defense. 

“They are!” Louis agrees. 

Liam rolls his eyes

“Well, first of all, I didn’t even ask for the bunnies.” 

“But they–” Louis starts.

“Yeah, yeah, fine, they’re your thing. But from what I recall, Louis,” Liam corrects. “Can I call you Louis?” 

“Whatever.”

“Louis, all of your bunnies in your portfolio were smoking not fucking.” 

“I mean, if you go outside and look, you’ll see my bunnies are indeed smoking,” Louis points out. 

“And fucking!”

“What can I say, Payno? Inspiration struck,” Louis grins, winking at Harry. “And as any artist knows, when inspiration speaks, you listen. So I listened.” 

Liam sighs heavily, removing his glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose. Harry holds his breath, clamping his teeth down on his bottom lip as he studies his best friend. He knows this look, of course he does, he’s seen it many times over the course of their decade-long friendship; he knows Liam is weighing whether or not he wants to stand his ground or just let it go. Harry says a quick prayer that it’s the latter. 

“Y’know, I have half a mind not to pay you the rest of what we owe you because you pulled this shit,” Liam starts, putting his glasses back on. “Or at least withhold payment until you paint over them.”

God dammit.  

Louis lets out an affronted squawk, his blue eyes flashing. 

“Liam, what the fuck?” Harry gasps. “Seriously?” 

“However,” Liam continues, holding a hand up, shushing Harry. “I shared Harry’s Instagram post on the bar’s account a couple of hours ago.” 

“You posted them on Instagram?” Louis asks, turning to Harry. “That was you who tagged me?” 

“That was me,” Harry nods. “I told you, Louis. I really liked them.” 

Louis beams, his eyes crinkling completely shut. Harry almost can’t look at him directly, he’s that beautiful. Liam clears his throat. 

“Hello? I’m not finished.” 

“Right, right,” Louis says, schooling his features into a serious expression. “You were saying?”

“I posted the bunnies on the bar’s Instagram.” 

“And?” Louis asks, arching his eyebrow. “What was the response?” 

“It’s already our most liked post in ages,” Liam admits begrudgingly. “And Niall said that everyone that’s come in tonight has mentioned how much they love the mural.”

“Yeah?” Louis asks, a pleased smile breaking out across his face. 

“Yeah,” Liam nods, pulling a folded envelope out of his back pocket. “So what I really should be doing right now is thanking you. It may be a bit...erm...unconventional, but you did exactly what we wanted. So, here’s what we owe you. Thank you.” 

He offers the envelope to Louis, who takes it and tucks it into the front pocket of his backpack.

“You’re welcome,” Louis replies, extending his hand to Liam. “I had a lot of fun doing it.” 

“Next time, maybe give a little head’s up when inspiration strikes, okay?” Liam advises, shaking Louis’ hand. 

“Now, now, Payno,” Louis laughs, clapping him on the shoulder. “What would be the fun in that?” 

Liam rolls his eyes, but Harry can see a bit of fondness creeping in there. Good. If he keeps Louis, and he very much intends to do just that, they’re going to need to be friends. 

“I’m heading out,” Liam says, turning to Harry. “Gotta be here early tomorrow to receive the liquor delivery. Wanna grab lunch on Wednesday?” 

“Blockheads?” Harry asks. 

“Always,” Liam grins, bumping Harry’s fist. “Love me a good margarita lunch. Have a good rest of the night, Haz.” 

Liam nods at Louis and then heads towards the door, waving at Niall over his shoulder.

“I love you, Liam!” Niall shouts from the end of the bar. “Have a good night!” 

“I love you too, Niall,” Liam laughs as he pushes the door open. “See you tomorrow.” 

“Whew,” Louis sighs dramatically, fumbling in his backpack and retrieving a slightly crumpled pack of cigarettes and a lighter. “That was a close one there, wasn’t it, Curly? I really thought he was gonna lose it there for a while. I need a smoke.” 

“I don’t blame you,” Harry laughs. 

“Save my seat?” Louis asks sweetly, placing a coaster over his drink. 

“Of course,” Harry smiles. 

“I’m gonna have to ask something of you, Harry,” Louis grins, tapping his lighter on the bar. “And I know it’s going to be hard, but I’m going to need you to do it for me, okay?” 

“Okay,” Harry says, bemused. 

“Try not to ogle my ass too much as I walk away,” Louis smirks, turning on his heel and heading for the door. 

Of course, now that he’s been essentially dared not to, Harry can’t help his gaze from drifting downward as Louis walks away with an exaggerated sway of his hips. He barely surpresses a groan because Louis’ ass is perfect, all round and peachy, just begging to be touched. Nay, worshipped. It’s an ass that Harry would write sonnets about, if he were a poet. As it is, he can’t help but think of all the ways he’d want to photograph it, how he could capture the dip of Louis’ spine and the way his ass curves out from it. Louis glances at him coquettishly over his shoulder, tapping his nose and laughing as he pulls the door open and goes outside. 

Jesus, he could use a cigarette too. 

“Niall,” Harry says, fluffing up his hair as he walks to the other end of the bar. “I need a break.” 

“Yeah, I bet you do,” Niall snickers. 

“Shut up,” Harry huffs, patting his front pocket for his cigarettes. “Can you cover the bar for a bit?” 

“Think I can handle it,” Niall replies, gesturing to the thinning crowd. “Go get him, Tiger.” 

“Do I look okay?” Harry asks, fluffing his hair again. 

“Harry, he’s been looking at you like he wants to eat you alive from the moment he walked in,” Niall says, rolling his eyes. “You’re fine. More than fine.” 

Harry grins, moving out from behind the bar. 

“Wait!” Niall exclaims, halting him in his tracks. He walks over to Harry, licking his fingers and flicking open three of Harry’s buttons in one smooth motion, exposing the swallows tattooed on his chest and the antennae of the butterfly on his stomach. “Tits out. Now you can go,” he pronounces. 

“Seriously, how do you do that without ripping any buttons?” 

“Well, it’s not my first time,” Niall winks, shoving Harry towards the door. “Now go, before he finishes his cigarette!” 

“Thanks, Joey!” Harry calls as he makes his way out. 

He pauses at the door, butterflies dancing in his tummy. Taking a deep breath, he steps outside; Louis is leaning against the streetlight, a lit cigarette dangling from his fingers, looking effortlessly beautiful. A knowing smile slowly creeps across his face as he takes Harry in. 

“Fancy meeting you here,” Louis quips, taking a drag. He exhales slowly, elegantly blowing a smoke ring, his eyes locked on Harry’s the whole time. 

“I know,” Harry smirks, pulling his pack from his front pocket, extracting a cigarette. “What a crazy, random happenstance.” 

He places his cigarette between his lips and pats his pockets, looking for his lighter. 

“Dammit,” Harry mutters. “Forgot my–” 

“Here,” Louis says, pushing himself off the pole and stepping into Harry’s space, so close Harry can feel his body heat. “Allow me.” 

Louis flicks on his lighter, holding it up to the end of Harry’s cigarette; Harry sucks in a breath, smoke filling his lungs as it lights. His heart starts to pound in his chest, his fingers itching to touch as Louis stays in his space, looking up at him through his eyelashes. Harry exhales, tilting his head away as to not blow smoke in Louis’ face. 

“Thanks,” Harry murmurs. 

“You’re welcome,” Louis rasps, running his finger over the embroidered name on Harry’s chest before sliding the lighter into his front pocket, giving it a little pat, his hand lingering. “Keep it. It’s my spare.” 

“Thanks,” Harry murmurs again, his eyes drifting to Louis’ mouth. 

They stand there, studying each other closely, both of them clearly savoring the tension brewing between them, neither one of them wanting to break it. Not just yet anyway. Harry notices a little triangle of freckles on Louis’ cheek, barely stopping himself from pressing a kiss to it. Finally, Louis puffs out a breath, taking a step back as he takes another drag of his cigarette, his eyes crinkling as he smiles. 

“So that’s Zayn, I’m assuming,” Louis says after a moment, gesturing to his mural. 

“That’s him,” Harry affirms, coming to stand beside him. “You did a really good job with the tats.” 

“Liam gave me a picture,” Louis says. “Though hilariously, he never explained who the fuck the guy was.” 

Harry snickers, taking a drag off his cigarette.

“It came out pretty good, though,” Louis says, exhaling a long stream of smoke. “We came up with the concept together. I’m happy with it.” 

“You should be,” Harry says earnestly. 

They smoke in comfortable silence. 

“Hey, I’m sorry about the way he acted tonight,” Harry says, nudging Louis’ shoulder with his own. “Liam really is a good guy. The best guy. He just takes this bar pretty seriously.” 

“S’alright,” Louis grins, ashing his cigarette. “I did go off-book.” 

“Why did you?” Harry asks curiously. “You said inside that inspiration struck? What was the inspiration?” 

Louis blushes. 

“What is it?” Harry grins, elbowing him. “C’mon, tell me.” 

“Promise you won’t think I’m creepy?” Louis asks, sounding unsure for the first time all night, sweeping hair to the side. 

“Promise.” 

“I had just finished up working yesterday,” Louis explains. “I’d packed up all my shit, was just about to head home when I saw this boy coming down the sidewalk, all long-legged and curly. Prettiest boy I’d ever seen, slurping on his iced coffee in the most obscene way possible.” 

Harry’s heart skips a beat. 

“I didn’t–” Harry starts, his heart kicking into overdrive. “I didn’t even see–” 

“He was focused on his phone,” Louis continues, keeping up the ruse, a sly smile creeping across his face. “Walked right by me, pocketing his phone and then grabbing a set of keys, unlocking the door to this bar and going inside.” 

Harry feels like he can’t breathe. 

“I couldn’t get him out of my head, you see,” Louis says, flicking his cigarette butt into the street and turning to face Harry. “And then I came back here this morning to finish the mural, and this whole stretch of moulding under the windows was just like...calling for something, you know? It was the perfect size for my bunnies. So I started them, and then thought about that boy, and the way his cheeks hollowed as he drank his coffee. And then...well,” Louis trails off, gesturing to the bunnies. “You see what happened.” 

“Oh my God,” Harry breathes. 

“I knew I needed to see that boy again, I had to find out who he was. I would have come here tonight looking for you even if Liam hadn’t texted me. And I would have come back the next night if you hadn’t been here–”

“Let me get this straight,” Harry interrupts, taking a final puff of his cigarette and then dropping it to the sidewalk, grinding it out with his heel. “You painted those bunnies because of me?” 

“For you, really,” Louis admits with a grin, his eyes flicking down to Harry’s mouth. “One might say no bunny but you, Har–” 

Harry cuts Louis off, cupping his jaw and pressing their lips together, kissing him firmly. 

He’s always been a sucker for a good pun. 

Louis squeaks in surprise but he quickly catches up, his hands coming to Harry’s hips, gently squeezing them as he kisses him back. Louis’ lips are soft and warm under his but the metal of his lip ring is slightly cooler, the opposing sensations more than a little intoxicating. Harry sucks Louis’ bottom lip between his, prompting a quiet moan from the other man, his grip on Harry’s hips tightening. 

“That is,” Harry murmurs against Louis’ lips, unable to stop himself from taking another taste, his tip of his tongue teasing against the lip ring as he cups Louis’ face in his hands. “Without a doubt.” Another kiss, this time a little harder; Louis presses their chests together as their lips meet over and over, still teasing, neither one of them deepening the kiss just yet. Harry feels a little dizzy with it all and finally pulls away from him, thumbing over Louis’ cheekbones before dropping his hands to his shoulders, squeezing them lightly. “The most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me.” 

Louis laughs, looping his arms around Harry’s waist and pulling him closer as he tilts his chin up, capturing Harry’s lips again. As they kiss eagerly, they stumble closer to the side of the building, giggling into each other’s mouths as they regain their balance. Harry drops a kiss on the little triangle of freckles on Louis’ cheek, resting their foreheads together. 

“You really don’t think I’m weird?” Louis asks after a moment.

“Oh, no, I definitely think you’re weird,” Harry teases, kissing the tip of Louis’ nose as he squawks in protest. “My kind of weird. You’re weird.” He crowds Louis up against the side of the building, right in the middle of his mural, nosing along his cheek and pressing a featherlight kiss there. “And funny.” Louis shivers as Harry kisses him again, right on the curve of his jaw. “And charming and just…”

Harry kisses right below Louis’ ear and then grazes the lobe with his teeth. Louis shudders, his breath hitching. 

“So fucking sexy.” 

Harry pulls back slightly, smirking when he sees the dazed expression on Louis’ face. He gently thumbs at the silver hoop adorning his bottom lip. 

“This is so hot,” Harry mutters. “All of your piercings are.” 

“Glad you like ’em,” Louis replies, toying with the ends of Harry’s hair, wrapping a curl around his index finger. “You’d look hot with some yourself.” He mirrors Harry, thumbing at his bottom lip gently. “This mouth is begging for it.” 

“Oh, I already have piercings,” Harry says casually, his fingers skimming up and down the bare skin of Louis’ arm. 

Louis’ eyes darken, the hand on Harry’s hip squeezing. 

“What?” Louis asks, his eyes roving, searching for any sign of one. “Where?” 

“Guess you’ll just have to find out,” Harry says smugly. 

Louis practically growls, pushing at Harry’s hips and flipping their positions, pressing Harry into the wall as he crashes their lips together, all semblance of teasing gone. Louis thrusts his tongue against the seam of Harry’s lips, demanding entrance; Harry parts for him, moaning as Louis licks into his mouth, tasting of cigarettes and bourbon. Their tongues finally meet and Harry’s cock starts to throb in his jeans, having been half hard pretty much since Louis walked through the door.

“You’re so fucking hot,” Louis mumbles between fervent kisses, one hand tangled in his hair, the other anchored at his hip, squeezing the love handle that stubbornly remains there, no matter how many spin classes he takes. “Jesus. The things I want to do to you. With you.” 

Harry gasps as Louis rocks their hips together, Louis’ own hardness becoming extremely evident as he grinds against him. They both groan at the contact; Louis wedges his knee between Harry’s thighs, the friction alleviating some of the pressure in Harry’s jeans and making it worse at the same time. He ruts against it instinctually, a whine escaping his lips. 

“Fuck,” Harry pants, his head rolling to the side as Louis launches an assault on his neck, sucking and biting his way down. “Lou, Jesus.” 

Louis hums in agreement, sucking hard where his neck meets his shoulder as his hands find their way under Harry’s loose shirt, stroking the bare skin of his hips and lower back. 

“C’mere,” Harry breathes, grabbing his face and pulling him back up to his lips, kissing him filthily, his tongue fucking into Louis’ mouth over and over again. 

Louis meets his kiss eagerly, his blunt nails tracing maddening patterns on his back. Harry’s cock throbs again and he briefly thinks that maybe they should stop, that maybe coming in his jeans outside where anyone could see, where he has to go back inside and go back to work isn’t the best idea he’s ever had. But at the same time, it feels so fucking good that he can’t be bothered to stop, his hands drifting down Louis’ back, his fingers tracing the line of his spine through his thin tank top. He palms at Louis’ spectacular ass, kneading it as Louis rocks forward with a moan. 

The door to the bar bangs, followed by the loud chatter of a group of girls. The chatter quickly turns into giggles and even a few wolf-whistles; Harry reluctantly disconnects his lips from Louis’ and looks over his shoulder, huffing a laugh as he watches Martini Girl and her gaggle of friends disappear down the street, off to their next destination.

Harry looks back at Louis, taking in his kiss-swollen mouth and his lust-blown eyes, only a small ring of blue showing. They both burst out laughing, their chests heaving as they try and catch their breath. Harry rests his forehead on Louis’ shoulder, pecking a kiss on his collarbone and then blowing out a big breath, trying to get his raging hormones back under control. 

“Busted,” Louis giggles, scratching at Harry’s scalp and pressing a kiss to his temple. 

“Busted,” Harry agrees, dropping another kiss to Louis’ golden skin and standing back up to his full height. “Ugh, it’s the last thing I want to do right now,” he sighs reluctantly, “but I should probably get back to work.” 

“Yeah,” Louis practically purrs, pressing their still-hard cocks together, the friction taking Harry’s breath away. “You should do that.” 

“I’m going to,” Harry murmurs, kissing along Louis’ jaw. 

“So go on then and go back to work,” Louis goads, his blue eyes glinting mischievously as he pulls back from Harry, adjusting his very obvious hard-on. “I, for one, am going to go to the bathroom.” 

He sashays away from Harry, arching an eyebrow as he looks back at him over his shoulder, his gaze hot. 

“You’re–” 

“Going to the bathroom, yes,” Louis says airily, his hand on the door. “Just letting you know.” 

With a wink, Louis pushes the door open and disappears inside. 

Harry leans back against the wall, bringing his fist to his mouth, biting down on it. 

Jesus fucking Christ. 

Is he really going to do this? 

Harry knows the answer, but he ponders his options anyway. He presses the heel of his hand down on the bulge in his jeans as he counts down from five in his head. His mind made up, Harry takes a deep breath and strides over to the door in determination. He pushes it open harder than he should, the door banging on the wall, some of the picture frames on the wall rattling. Ignoring Niall’s delighted cackles, Harry turns left and makes a beeline towards the bathroom, flinging its door open with equal force. 

Louis is waiting for him in the (thankfully) empty bathroom, leaning against the double sink counter looking like absolute sin, his arms crossed across his chest and a smug grin on his face. Harry can still see the outline of his hard cock in his jeans. 

“Up for it, Harold?” 

“Up for it,” Harry answers, his eyes raking over Louis’ body hungrily.  “Definitely.” 

“That’s too bad,” Louis shrugs as he pushes himself off the counter, slinking towards Harry. He taps the framed sign on the wall, his eyes twinkling devilishly. “Because according to this sign, it’s against the rules to have sex in the bathroom.” 

“They’re more like guidelines, really,” Harry replies, grabbing Louis by the hips and hauling him into the stall, slamming the door shut and flicking the lock. He pushes Louis up against the door, attaching his lips to Louis’ neck as he grinds their cocks together. “Everyone knows that,” Harry mumbles, his tongue dipping into the hollow created by his collarbone. 

“Fuck,” Louis moans, gripping Harry’s ass, guiding his movements. “Baby, fuck.” 

The endearment goes right to Harry’s cock, precome dampening his briefs. Louis’ lips find his, hot and wet and demanding, his tongue sliding past Harry’s lips as soon as they meet. Louis tangles his hands in Harry’s hair, tugging it as they kiss passionately, prompting a groan from Harry, his hips stuttering forward. 

“You like that?” Louis whispers, mouthing along Harry’s jaw as he tugs again. “Feel good?” 

“Y-yeah,” Harry stammers, his hands finding their way under Louis’ tank as he tilts his neck, allowing Louis more access. “Fuck yeah.” 

Louis nods, sucking hard on Harry’s neck, most definitely leaving a mark. Harry hisses, the slight hint of pain just upping the pleasure. Louis swipes over it with his tongue and pulls back, looking at his work in satisfaction. He slides his hands down Harry’s chest, sucking in a sharp breath when he thumbs over Harry’s nipples, feeling the bars there. 

“Can I see?” Louis asks breathily, reaching for one of the few buttons still fastened on Harry’s shirt. 

Harry nods, biting down on his bottom lip as he watches Louis unbutton his shirt slowly, pausing and smiling as he thumbs over the embroidery; it’s like he’s savoring him, unwrapping Harry like a treasured gift. 

“Christ,” Louis sighs, pushing the folds of black fabric open, revealing Harry’s chest, the barbells pierced through his nipples glinting in the dim light. He tugs at one experimentally, smirking at the way Harry squirms under his touch, pushing into it. “You’re so gorgeous, Harry.” 

Louis dips his head, leaving open-mouthed kisses down Harry’s chest, his clever fingers still tugging and twisting his right nipple as he does, causing sparks to explode behind Harry’s eyelids. Harry’s so turned on he feel like he might combust; he moans brokenly as Louis flicks his left nipple with his tongue before sealing his mouth over it, gently pulling the bar between his teeth. 

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Harry chants breathlessly, the dueling sensations starting to overwhelm him as Louis switches over to the other nipple, giving it the same treatment. 

Harry’s hands bunch at the bottom of Louis’ tank, pulling it up. 

“Wanna see you too,” he pants. “C’mon, Lou.” 

Louis releases his nipple, flicking at it one more time with the tip of his tongue. He arches an eyebrow and leans back from Harry, yanking the tank off and dropping it to the floor without a second thought. Harry’s mouth waters as he takes him in, all golden skin with a dusting of tawny chest hair, pert, pebbled little nipples and a toned stomach with just a hint of a soft curve to it. 

“God,” Harry breathes, his hands skimming up and down Louis’ ribcage, tracing the shape of him and marveling at his narrow waist and the way his hips flare out from it. He drags a finger down Louis’ stomach, following the line of fine hair that disappears into the band of his jeans; Louis’ breath hitches, his eyes darkening even further. “So fucking beautiful.” 

Harry pulls Louis close, cupping his ass in his hands as he shifts them over from the door to the wall of the small stall. He presses their bodies together as he captures his lips again, the skin to skin contact making everything that much hotter and more overwhelming as their tongues dance with each other, stroking and teasing. Louis reaches under Harry’s open shirt, running his hands up and down Harry’s back, whimpering in Harry’s mouth as Harry squeezes his cheeks firmly. 

He can feel Louis’ cock twitching against him, pushing against its denim restraints. Harry sneaks a hand in between them, palming at his bulge and then giving it a squeeze; Louis throws his head back, cursing loudly. 

“Harry, fuck,” Louis swears as Harry squeezes again. 

Harry nips at his bottom lip, pulling back and looking into Louis’ eyes. 

“Can I suck you off?” Harry asks, running his knuckles up and down the hard line of his cock. 

“Yeah, yeah, please,” Louis practically begs, nodding frantically and pawing at him as he gulps a deep breath. 

Harry grins, kissing him firmly and then mouthing down his neck as he fumbles with the button of Louis’ jeans, suddenly desperate to just get him in his mouth already. He sinks down to his knees, kissing his way down Louis’ torso, licking over his nipples and sucking kisses into the soft skin of his tummy as he goes. 

“Fuck,” Louis breathes as Harry sits back and slides his zipper down, tugging his jeans and underwear down to mid-thigh, freeing his cock, which slaps wetly against his belly. 

It’s fucking perfect, long and thick and flushed pink, precome bubbling at the tip. 

“Indeed,” Harry agrees, taking him in hand and lapping at the slit, the taste of precome salty and a little bitter on his tongue. 

He flicks his tongue under his crown, teasing the bundle of nerves there. 

“Fucking Christ,” Louis groans. “Stop being such a fucking tease, baby, need you to get that pretty mouth of yours on me now. Will you?”

“Yes, Daddy,” Harry says, looking up at Louis from under his lashes. “I will.” 

Louis’ cock twitches in Harry’s face, his eyes fluttering shut as his head falls back against the wall, a half moan, half laugh escaping his lips. 

“Jesus,” Louis pants, tangling his fingers in Harry’s hair. “Are you trying to kill me?” 

Harry snickers, waggling his eyebrows as he pecks a kiss to Louis’ tip. He keeps his eyes locked on Louis’ as he slides his lips over his teeth, taking the head of Louis’ cock inside his mouth at last. Louis goes boneless, slumping against the wall as he cries out in relief. Wrapping one hand around his base, Harry kneads one of Louis’ thighs with his other hand as he bobs his head experimentally, swirling his tongue around the head, getting used to the weight of him in his mouth.

“Yes,” Louis sighs breathily, reaching down and tucking his hair behind his ear. “Harry, God.” 

Harry wastes no time, taking more of him in, looking up at Louis as he does so. Relaxing his throat as much as possible, Harry sinks all the way down until he meets his hand, keeping his lips tight around his shaft. He hollows his cheeks, sucking hard as he makes his way back up, immediately sliding back down and then back up before Louis even has a chance to recover. Sucking a breath in through his nose, Harry dives back down, Louis’ cock nudging the back of his throat every time he goes down. Louis cries out, hips thrusting forward as Harry curls his tongue along his underside, pressing it into the thick vein there. Harry sputters a little, popping off.

“Fuck,” Louis gasps, patting at Harry’s curls. “Fuck, baby, I’m sorry. I didn’t–” 

“It’s okay,” Harry rasps, his voice well on its way to being wrecked. “You can do that.” 

“What?” Louis asks, disbelief evident in his voice. 

“Fuck my mouth.” 

“Are you–” 

To prove his point, Harry takes the head of Louis’ cock in his mouth, suctioning his lips and sliding his hands down Louis’ shapely calves, leaving them there as he holds still, looking up at Louis expectantly. 

“Fuck,” Louis grunts, thrusting forward tentatively. “You’re a goddamn dream, you know that?” 

Harry flutters his eyelashes at him, tightening his lips around Louis’ cock as he thrusts again, more confidently this time. 

“Just look at you,” Louis praises, his fingers carding through Harry’s hair as he guides himself back and forth, picking up speed. “So beautiful on your knees for me, baby. You look so good just letting me use you like this.” 

Harry moans around him, squeezing his aching cock, trying to give it some relief. Tears are starting to pool in his eyes and his jaw aches, but he just holds on, letting Louis have his way with him. He’s getting off on it as much as Louis is. 

“Feels good, yeah?” Louis asks, his fingers brushing down Harry’s cheek, checking in with him, slowing his thrusts. “You okay?” 

Harry nods, skimming his hands up to Louis’ ass, urging him forward. Louis keens, tugging his hair, his thrusts starting to get a little sloppy as he chases his orgasm. 

“Fuck, I’m gonna come,” Louis babbles, his cock slipping into Harry’s throat, prompting Harry to swallow around it. Louis gasps, tapping Harry’s cheek in warning. “Harry, baby–” 

Harry ignores his warnings, curling his tongue around him and sucking hard. Louis comes with a wail, shooting down Harry’s throat; Harry swallows eagerly, suckling him through the aftershocks, licking him clean, only letting him fall from his mouth when Louis whimpers from oversensitivity. Harry delicately licks his lips, looking up at Louis coyly as he tucks Louis back into his boxer briefs, wiggling his jeans back up to his hips. 

“Jesus Christ,” Louis pants, sweeping his hair off his sweaty forehead. “I think you actually sucked my brain out through my cock.” 

Harry tries not to look smug. Judging by the way Louis snorts at him, he fails. 

“C’mere,” Louis breathes, hauling Harry to his feet. “Wanna make you come too.” 

“God,” Harry groans, his neglected cock screaming for attention. “Please, Lou.” 

Louis pushes him to the other wall of the stall, kissing him filthily, moaning when he tastes himself on Harry’s tongue. 

“What do you want, baby?” Louis asks between kisses, his deft fingers quickly undoing his belt buckle and popping open the button of his jeans. “You want me to suck you too?” 

Harry shakes his head, gasping when Louis slides his zipper down. 

“No,” Harry croaks as Louis pushes his jeans down. “Lou, I’m...I’m too–” 

“Yeah, yeah, baby,” Louis soothes, dotting kisses down his neck. “I’ve got you, okay?” 

Louis reaches into his underwear, pulling his dripping cock out. Harry almost wants to cry in relief, his arousal coiling tight in his groin. 

“Hello,” Louis hums appreciatively, running his fingers from base to tip, taking in the size of him. “I’m definitely going to need this inside me sooner rather than later.” 

Harry moans, precome blurting into Louis’ hand. 

“You want that?” Louis asks, smearing it down his shaft, easing the glide as he starts to stroke him in earnest, the pressure and friction on his cock maddeningly perfect, reducing him to a quivering mess. 

“Y-yeah,” Harry nods, biting his lip as Louis sucks kisses on the underside of his jaw. “Fuck.” 

“God, you’re so wet,” Louis marvels, twisting over the head of Harry’s cock, making the ring of his fingers tighter on the way down. “So hard . You really got off on me fucking your mouth, didn’t you?” 

“Yeah,” Harry replies, thrusting into Louis’ fist, incapable of more words than that as he gets closer and closer to the edge. 

“Yeah, baby, come on,” Louis encourages. “Want you to come for me, wanna see you.” 

Harry whimpers as Louis’ hand picks up speed, matching Harry’s thrusts. They pant into each other’s mouths, their lips merely brushing rather than kissing as Louis brings Harry closer and closer to his peak. 

“M’close,” Harry slurs, dropping his forehead to Louis’ shoulder, mouthing along his collarbone. “Oh my God.” 

Without missing a beat, Louis brings his free hand to Harry’s nipple, tugging on his piercing. 

“Oh, fuck, Lou, Jesus!” Harry cries as lightning shoots through him, causing the coil in his groin to snap, pleasure coursing through him as he comes in Louis’ hand, pearly white splashing on his belly. Louis strokes him through it, not letting up until Harry slumps back against the wall, completely spent. 

“Gorgeous,” Louis mutters, supporting Harry’s weight with one arm, keeping him from sliding to the floor. “Just gorgeous.” 

They stand there, Louis pressing soothing kisses to Harry’s temple and murmuring words of praise in his ear as Harry gradually comes down from his high. When he finally comes back to himself, Harry looks up, groaning when he sees Louis licking his come from his fingers. 

“Fuck, I can’t believe we just did that. You,” Harry pants, “are a minx.” 

Louis giggles, completely counteracting the declaration. He tears a long line from the roll of toilet paper, gently wiping over Harry’s belly, cleaning him up and tossing the wad of tissue in the trash can. Harry watches in awe, feeling safe and taken care of; he wonders where in the hell Louis has been his whole life and why it took so long for him to find him. Louis smiles at him sweetly, pecking a kiss to Harry’s lips as he tucks him back into his briefs. 

“When do you get off?” Louis asks, combing his fingers through Harry’s hair, gently smoothing out the tangles he created. 

“I thought I just did,” Harry answers cheekily, unable to hold back a shit-eating grin as he reaches down and plucks Louis’ tank from the floor. 

Louis swats his chest, the bathroom filling with their giggles. 

********

Harry’s phone starts buzzing on his nightstand, jolting him awake. He blindly fumbles for it, silencing it and snuggling back into the warm body behind him, pulling his arms back around his middle and lacing their fingers together as he nuzzles his pillow.

The phone starts buzzing again. Harry groans in annoyance. 

“Just answer it, Curly,” Louis murmurs into his back, kissing along his spine. “Whoever it is clearly isn’t giving up.” 

Harry sighs heavily, untangling himself from Louis’ embrace and reaching for the phone, scowling when he sees the caller ID. 

“Liam,” Harry grumbles, flopping on his back. “This better be fucking good, you know I closed last night. And it’s my day off.” 

“Have you checked your text messages?” Liam asks with no preamble. 

“No,” Harry replies, pinching the bridge of his nose. “I’ve been sleeping. Is everything okay?” 

“Well, can you check your text messages?” 

Harry rolls his eyes, looking over at Louis and smiling at the way last night’s eyeliner has smudged under his eyes. He gently brushes the hair off his forehead. Louis purses his lips in a kiss. 

“How about you just tell me what’s going on?” Harry says, infinitely patient. “You just woke me up, Li, I haven’t had any coffee.” 

“I’m just wondering if you can explain what happened in the bathroom.” 

Harry’s eyes widen; Louis raises an eyebrow in question. 

“Um, what do you mean what happened in the bathroom?” Harry squeaks, his face flushing. 

Louis snickers. Harry smacks his arm playfully, shushing him. 

“Check your text messages, Harry.” 

“Alright, alright, I’m checking,” Harry mutters, sitting up and switching Liam over to speaker and thumbing over to his texts. 

There’s a whole chain of texts from Liam, using an alarming amount of capslock, and ending with a photo. Harry clicks on it, honking a laugh when he sees the familiar image. He looks down at Louis who smirks back at him. 

“Oh my God!” 

“Care to explain why there’s graffiti of bunnies fucking painted inside the first stall of the men’s bathroom, Haz?” Liam demands. 

“Um,” Harry flounders, digging his fingers into Louis’ side, prompting giggles from him as he squirms away. “It’ll make us Instagram famous?” 

“Harry, I swear to God–” 

Louis launches an attack of his own; Harry’s breath hitches as his fingers brush his morning wood, his cock twitching in interest. 

“Li, I gotta go,” Harry states, his hips canting into Louis’ touch. “We can talk about it tomorrow at lunch, love you, bye!”

Liam is still protesting as Harry hangs up, tossing his phone aside. He rolls over, pinning Louis’ naked body under his. 

“Do I even want to know when you had time to do that?” Harry asks, dropping a kiss on his lips. 

“Well, let’s see,” Louis says impishly, twirling a curl around his finger as he pretends to ponder his answer. “Do you remember how I disappeared to the bathroom while you and Niall were closing up?” 

“Yes,” Harry grunts, rutting against Louis’ thickening cock, the memory of Louis returning all sweaty and flushed forever seared into his memory. 

“Well, prepping myself isn’t the only thing I did in there,” Louis grins, his fingers dancing down Harry’s spine. 

Harry laughs, nuzzling into Louis’ neck and sucking a kiss over one of the marks he left the night before. Louis sighs, rocking their hips together as Harry kisses up the column of his throat. 

“What am I going to do with you?” Harry mutters in his ear.  

“Hopefully fuck me again,” Louis replies breathily, tucking Harry’s hair behind his ears as he tilts his chin up for a kiss, a kiss that Harry gives easily. Already so easy for him. “And then let me take you out for breakfast? Get you one of those iced coffees you love so much.” 

Harry kisses Louis softly, thinking for the hundredth time in the approximately twelve hours since they met how much he wants to keep him, how he wants this to be the first morning of many that he wakes up in his arms. Remembering how refreshing Louis’ directness had been the night before, Harry decides to just go for it. 

“Yeah,” Harry smiles against his lips. “I’m going to keep you.” 

“Yeah?” Louis murmurs, scratching at his scalp. “You sure that I’m the one you want?”  

“Yes, you,” Harry says, bopping the end of his nose. “No bunny but you.”