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By Your Side (That's Where I Have To Be)

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Louis knows it’s a bad idea to be standing outside Harry’s hotel room in the middle of the night, but the moment he’d gotten off the phone with his mum, he’d found himself throwing on a hoodie and all but flinging himself out the door. He could have gone to any of the boys; he probably should have been ringing management and getting Paul to arrange a car to the airport, but Louis’s feet had carried him straight to Harry’s door. He doesn’t want to think about what that means; he knows, but he can’t… Just can’t think about that right now.

Before Louis can remind himself it’s a mistake, he’s raising a hand and knocking.

It’s silent for a minute and Louis realizes he’s holding his breath. Then there’s a thud and the scraping of the door chain before it’s opened and Harry is standing there in his briefs, wide green eyes blinking in the sudden light of the hall. His hair is a mess, and he’s shirtless; the tattoos stand out starkly on his caramel skin and he’s so damn gorgeous that for a moment all Louis can think about is getting him inside and pressing in close, closer… until the only thing filling his senses is Harry.

“Louis…? What are you doing here?” Harry’s deep voice is scratchy with sleep and he absently pokes his head out the door, scanning up and down the hall for people. Louis feels his teeth clench at that; he hates it. Hates the way that they’re not even together like that anymore but they still have to be so careful. Louis wants to scoff, to remind Harry that if there are security cameras in the halls, it takes just one dodgy hotel employee to sell a tabloid a picture of Louis showing up to Harry’s room in the small hours of the morning, so what does it even matter?

“Can I come in?” He asks instead, pushing the thought aside. Harry pauses for a second before he gives a dim nod, but rather than stepping aside to let Louis in, he wraps the fingers of one ridiculously large hand around Louis’s wrist and gently tugs him inside. Louis wants to pretend he doesn’t notice how his breath catches or how his heart kicks up; it’s been so fucking long since Harry has touched him like that, gentle but insistent, moving Louis to stand exactly where he wants him because he knows he can and knows that Louis will let him.

The room is warm, but Louis still feels himself shiver.

“D’you want some tea, Lou? I think there’s Yorkshire…” Harry’s saying, ambling over to a small counter set up with a kettle and tea selection. Louis tries hard not to miss the warmth of Harry’s fingers on his wrist, instead choosing to observe Harry’s movements; his long, awkward limbs always make him seem to fill up a room and Louis wonders for the millionth time how Harry Styles manages to make clumsy seem so endearing.

“Yeah, thanks” Louis says eventually though Harry’s already started on two cups. He wonders why Harry even offered; he’s got to know there aren’t many reasons Louis would show up to his door at this hour, and there’s no doubt Harry’s probably picked out the most obvious one already.

Only Louis doesn’t really know why he’s there at all. The only thing he’s really certain of is that the moment he’d heard his mum’s voice over the phone he’d known he needed to see Harry…

“Haz…’ Louis says quietly, not missing how Harry freezes at the old nickname “Something happened. I just got off the phone with mum...” his tone must have tipped Harry off that something is up because his eyes widen in alarm and he immediately crosses the room to put a hand on Louis’s shoulder.

“Is she alright?” he asks, soft and worried. In that moment it’s suddenly really hard for Louis not to think about how much he misses his mum and Harry’s mum and how close they were all allowed to be once. It has him curling a hand over Harry’s before he can stop himself.

“Yeah, she’s fine. She just... She told me that Troy’s been in an accident.”

It’s strange to see how Harry’s eyes darken at the same time they look concerned. Harry’s no big fan of Troy. Hell, none of the boys are; Louis the least of all.

“Is he ok?” Harry asks at length and it gets difficult for Louis not to squeeze his hand around Harry’s so much tighter. When he finds his voice again it’s little more than a whisper;


Harry gives a sharp inhale at the news and then the hand not on Louis’s shoulder is hovering by his waist, hesitant. It’s like Harry wants to offer comfort but is wary of how intimate he’s allowed to be with Louis.

“Is he…?” he aborts the sentence before he gets the word out, as if it’s something unspeakable instead of the reality.

“Dead?’ Louis finishes it, a grimace curling his lips “Yeah, pretty bloody well so; drove himself headfirst into a tree.”

“Louis…” Harry says his name softly, his eyes are wide and full of compassion and all of a sudden it’s too much to have this beautiful, kind boy in front of him not knowing what to say. Whatever he came for, Louis knows it wasn’t so Harry could feel sorry for him.

“Don’t, Harry.’ He says with a sigh, stepping away and Harry’s hands fall limply to his sides “it’s not like that, you know we weren’t close” it’s a fucking understatement and Louis can hear the bitterness creeping into his voice.

“What is it like then, Louis?’ Harry asks, voice quiet and eyes dark “why’d you come to tell me?”

It’s a good question. Louis’s not even sure what he’s feeling, really. The man who gave him half his genetic coding is brain-dead on a slab somewhere and he’s standing in his… In Harry’s hotel room with no idea what he’s supposed to be thinking or doing.

“Well, I might have to fly back tonight and figured somebody ought to know where I’ve gone…” Louis mumbles but it sounds weak even to his ears and the way Harry’s jaw firms up tells him he’s not buying it.

“So why not Paul? Or management? Why me over the other boys?” Harry pushes and Louis frowns

“You’re my best mate, Haz-”

Was.” Harry cuts him off abruptly and Louis’s heart sinks. Because even if that’s the way it began, they’d ended up so close that ‘friends’ couldn’t even begin to describe how much they meant to each other. In the end, Harry knows what the inside of Louis’s mouth feels like against his tongue and has heard all the moans Louis could never hold back every time Harry slid inside him, hot and thick.  

No. They were never just best mates.

And what hurts the most is that there was no fight; it might have made things easier if anger had been involved. The truth is that things had been tense for months and then one cold night in October, Louis had packed his bags, opened the door and left.

Harry hadn’t stopped him.

Louis remembers exactly how it got to that point; the chemistry between them which had been so intense since X Factor was suddenly being analysed and picked apart by the world until it was impossible for management not to notice. It started off small with them making all these little comments; just inoffensive, harmless sounding suggestions like “we think you and Harry should sit apart during this interview, we don’t want to run overtime because you distract each other.” Every time it was made out to sound like it was for the good of the band and Louis, too naive and too terrified of jeopardizing their success, had gone along with it. Distancing himself from Harry, lying about their relationship… It had seemed worth it if it meant he wouldn’t screw up and lose them this incredible dream they’d wanted so badly.

Only he couldn’t help noticing the hurt in Harry’s eyes every time he passed him on stage without acknowledging him and there was no way to ignore the tightening in his own chest whenever he told a joke and Harry was somehow the only one not laughing.

It built up; management kept pushing and pushing and by the time Louis had realized they’d actually wanted to drive a wedge between him and Harry, it was too late; when Louis had finally moved out of their London flat, a place that had become more of a home to him than Doncaster had ever been, being around Harry was nothing short of painful.

He’d tried to pretend he didn’t see the tears in Harry’s eyes the last time he shut the door.

Although Harry’s never said anything about it since then, Louis sees the remnants of what they used to have on his face every time Harry nearly touches him like he used to, only to remember and pull back at the last second. It destroys Louis that he’s put that look on Harry and it kills even more that he’s never found a way to apologize for it.

It’s even worse that Harry, who everybody fawns over, who is everyone’s best friend whether they’ve known each other four seconds or four years, has never gotten along with Eleanor… Except Louis reminds himself that’s not right; Harry has barely ever spoken to Eleanor and that’s what is so wrong about it all. El’s tried to bridge the gap between them time and time again at Louis’s insistence but Harry never budges and it just upsets Eleanor. She’s great, she’s one of the best friends Louis has ever had but he knows he’s a dick to her. Every single time somebody asks about the girlfriend in an interview and Harry’s eyes go blank, Louis is reminded that El isn’t Harry; she’ll never be Harry and like a complete asshole he takes it out on her even though the last possible thing it could be is her fault.

Louis knows in the eyes of the world he’s this awful boyfriend who doesn’t appreciate her dealing with the shit that gets heaped on her day after day, year after year, but the most awful thing about it is that she puts up with it. Even when it means he’ll be stumbling to her flat drunk at 3 o’clock in the morning, ending up on his knees in front of her with his arms wrapped around her waist; mantra of “sorry… sorry… I’m sorry” muffled where his mouth is pressed into the plush fabric of the Peter Alexander dressing gown he got her for her birthday. Eleanor never says a word, just strokes his hair like she forgives him even though her eyes are always so sad. Louis never asks if it’s sadness for him or because of him. He’s not brave enough to hear the answer.

“Haz… I don’t- I didn’t…’ he’s fumbling now, searching for something to tell Harry so he’ll just stop looking at him like Louis doesn’t give a shit he’s broken Harry’s heart. It couldn’t be further from the truth, but he doesn’t know how to tell him that without it slipping out that Harry is the only thing there each night when Louis slips into that space between asleep and awake. He can’t possibly tell Harry he never wanted to hurt him and not also blurt out that Harry will never be anything less than the most beautiful person he has ever met.

Louis is still so completely in love with Harry and he doesn’t think he’ll ever know how not to be.

“Why can’t you just say it, Louis?” Harry says in exasperation and with that Louis just hates it. Hates that Harry has chosen now to try and drag things out of him when he’s tired and on edge and can’t even figure out what to feel about the mess awaiting him back home.

“Can you not make this a discussion about us?’ he snaps “I’m kind of dealing with a bit of a crisis right now, in case you didn’t get that the first time!” Harry runs a hand through his hair, looking upset and shakes his head.

“I’m not trying to- Louis, I’m sorry about your dad, ok? I just-”

“Don’t call him that” Louis cuts him off “You know he’s not my- I don’t need you to pity me, Harry.”

Harry hunches in on himself like he’s trying to make himself smaller and he looks very, very young. Louis is reminded with vivid clarity of a doe-eyed boy with ringlet curls and a silly scarf in the line for auditions all those years ago…

“It’s just… if I were in the same position-” Harry starts and for some reason that’s what it takes for all the tension Louis’s been carrying to explode out as any thoughts of the past fly out of his head

“Don’t you even dare’ Louis spits and Harry flinches like he’s slapped him “Where do you get off, H? You’ll never be in this position! You know why? Cos your dad actually bothered to be a father! He was still there, even if he wasn’t with your mum anymore! He didn’t run off and make a shiny new family when you were too young to get he didn’t want you! He didn’t spend eighteen years ignoring you until you got rich enough to suddenly be worth his time! At least your dad gives a shit, Harold; the last thing mine did before he splattered himself against a tree was sell an interview to the Mirror talking shit like he’d a fucking right to say a damn thing about how I live my life! So you see, it’s not the fucking same mate and you can fuck right off if you think you can tell me anything about crap parents!”

For a moment there is a silence stretched as tense as piano wire. In those following seconds Harry’s face is a stunned mask while Louis desperately attempts to take stock of what in the fuck just came out of his mouth. It all breaks apart when Harry’s jaws sets so firmly Louis almost wishes his face was crumpling instead. It’s all gone so wrong; he just wanted to see Harry and god, was that a mistake. Louis would prefer to die a thousand deaths worse than Troy’s than stay in the hotel room any longer and makes for the door, but in the next moment Harry gets in front of him, blocking it. His chest heaves like he’s just run a marathon and a hectic pink stains his cheeks. Louis tries to shove him out of the way but Harry pushes him back hard enough for him to stumble. Harry has never put his hands on Louis like that before and it makes rage and disbelief fill his chest.

Move, Harry” he demands, and his fingernails cut into his palms with how tightly his hands are clenched.

No.’ Harry bites out stubbornly “Why did you come here, Louis? Because you needed to yell at somebody?” he steps towards him then, eyes fierce and determined. Harry is fucking scary when he’s this mad simply because it’s so rare; Louis has never had Harry’s anger directed at him like this and can’t help the step he takes away from Harry when he reaches for him. There’s a brief flash of hurt in those green eyes and then all of a sudden Harry gives this growl like a cornered animal and springs forward, seizing Louis by the front of his hoodie and yanking him in so their bodies crash together. Harry gets a hand in Louis’s hair, yanking his head to the side so the long column of his throat is exposed to his furious gaze.

“For once, Louis, just be honest with me!” he hisses, grip tightening enough for Louis to gasp, and despite everything his fucking cock starts perking up in his sweats. Christ, he’s always loved Harry fisting his hand in his hair and tugging just enough to be on the right side of too painful; he can’t help the way that even now, raw and exposed as he feels; Harry can still make him want it so badly.

“I don’t know, ok?!” he wails because it’s all too much for Louis to think straight with Harry’s hand in his hair and his body so close that there’s no way he can miss how hard Louis is getting. He’s never seen Harry’s eyes so alight with anger and hurt and want before; it's piercing and Louis needs to look away but Harry won’t let him. Instead he loosens his grasp just enough that his palm cups the back of Louis’s head as he pulls him in, lips brushing against the shell of his ear.

“I think I know why, Lou’ he tells him quietly. Louis has to shut his eyes, unable to deal with how close Harry is; not when he sounds like he’s just seen through every wall Louis has ever constructed to keep him out.

“You came here because you needed me… because you’re mine. You’ve always been mine.”

Louis’s eyes snap open and it feels like the entire world is caving in.

Harry’s words are rough and possessive and they burn through him, repeating over and over always been mine always been mine. Louis tries to draw in the air to speak, to deny it, but all he manages is a short choked-off sob. Harry releases his grip from Louis’s hoodie then to wrap one thick arm around his waist and lock their bodies together.

“And d’you know what else, Lou?’ he says as he pulls back to look at Louis’s shell-shocked face “I’m yours too. No matter how many times you try and say you don’t want me, I’ll never stop being yours.”

Whatever Louis could possibly have said in response doesn't even get a chance to make it beyond his lips because Harry’s abruptly covering them with his own, coaxing Louis’s mouth open and licking inside as if this is something they never stopped doing. It’s so familiar and feels so incredible that all Louis can do is scrabble at Harry’s shoulders and try to hold on as Harry kisses like he’s trying to breathe Louis in, as frantic and desperate as drowning. Louis remembers how his eyes had teared up the first time Harry kissed him like this, because he’d been kissed before, but never by anyone who made him feel so loved and wanted.

Harry runs his hands down Louis’s body until they’re clutching at his hips, stumbling them both towards the door where his back collides hard enough to wrench a grunt from his throat. Then Harry’s spinning them around so Louis is pressed against the hard surface and crowding in close. When one of Harry’s firm thighs pushes up between his, it’s all Louis can do to groan and pant against Harry’s mouth, snapping his hips forward and- oh, Harry’s hard too, cock thick and full and hot. Harry gives a huff as Louis grinds against him, getting their cocks together through the fabric, and then his hand is unzipping Louis’s hoodie, peeling it from his shoulders and letting it fall to the floor. Harry gives a small noise of surprise when he finds Louis’s skin bare beneath the fabric and he starts to slide his hands over him like he’s trying to relearn Louis’s shape.

He's thinner than he once was, and he’s got a smattering of new tattoos, but it seems a small change compared to the way Harry has grown so tall and covered himself in scores of unfamiliar ink. It’s always pained Louis that he hasn't been allowed to touch any of the new designs etched into Harry’s skin, to learn them with his hands and his mouth like he’s wanted, but he can now that he’s actually got Harry in front of him like this.

It hits Louis like a brick then that they’re going to fuck. For the first time in over two years. He wonders if Harry will do it right here, turn him around and spread Louis out against the door and take him that way, all rough and dirty. 

Shit he thinks we need lube- a fucking condom, it’s been ages. It's daunting, Harry's so much bigger and stronger than when they last did this and Louis feels himself tense up.

Harry senses it immediately, pulling back a little but not away so he can see Louis’s eyes.

“I want you’ Harry tells him seriously “but I don’t want this if you’re not certain about it.”

Something melts in Louis then because this, this is his Harry- he’s always been conscious of Louis’s needs as well as his limits and even now that’s not changed. Harry knows how to push and pull at Louis just right, how to get him on the edge of pain through the pleasure, but he’s always been so mindful of making sure Louis is ok throughout it. No matter how rough Harry gets, he’s always taken care of Louis first.

Christ, Louis is so stupidly, completely gone for this boy.

“Please…’ he finds himself whispering “please fuck me, Harry”

He inhales sharply and then his hands are on Louis’s, interlocking their fingers and pinning both of them gently to the door.

“You sure?” Harry asks him softly, dipping his head to mouth a kiss along Louis's collarbone which has him shivering.

“M’sure Harry, please…” he gasps out as Harry’s teeth gently graze his skin, leaving goosebumps behind.

Louis expects Harry to lead him to the bed, but instead he pulls him to the nearby rug where his bag is lying, pushing at Louis until he’s knelt on the floor and sinking down behind him. One hand is a warm, firm weight on the center of Louis’s back as he digs through his bag with the other, eventually unearthing a bottle of lube and a single condom. 

“Forward, love’ Harry murmurs to him, guiding Louis with the big palm spread out on his back “want you on your hands and knees.”

They’ve done it like this before and it’s always struck Louis how much more intimate not being able to see Harry’s face can be, being fully in his hands and waiting for his touch, not knowing exactly where it’s going to land… It’s intense and something Louis has only ever trusted one person enough to do it with.

Once he’s got him positioned how he wants, Harry slowly rolls Louis’s sweatpants down over the swell of his arse. A small shudder goes through Louis’s muscles as his skin is bared and although he can’t see Harry’s eyes, Louis imagines he can feel the heat of his gaze on him.

“You’re so beautiful,’ Harry says as his hand slides to the small of Louis’s back and he presses a thumb into one of the dimples there “you’re so lovely sometimes I can barely stand it.”

He sounds- He sounds like he's in love, voice thick with feeling, and Louis’s heart is breaking. He can’t let Harry say things like that, not if after this they have to go back to pretending like there’s nothing between them anymore.

“Touch me’ he pleads “don’t say that- just touch me.”

Harry’s fingers dig harshly into his skin for a second and then he’s draping himself over Louis’s back, curling his big body around Louis’s smaller frame like he’s trying to envelop him.

No,’ he says roughly into Louis’s ear “I’m going to fuck you but you’ve got to understand what you do to me; you’ve got to know how much it hurts every single day when you’re just… When you’re always right there and you’re gorgeous and you’re mine but I’m not allowed to fucking touch you.”

Harry’s deep voice cracks like he’s about to cry and Louis goes from desperate to completely overwrought; he feels sick knowing how terribly Harry’s been hurting over this but at the same time he’s so fucking turned on with the knowledge of how much he still wants him. Louis is helpless against how Harry’s hips are seated tightly against his arse and fucking lost on how he can feel the shape of his cock pushing between his cheeks.

“Christ, Lou…’ Harry says, words rasping hotly against his skin “why’d you leave me? I needed- and you weren’t-” he gives a frustrated moan, thrusting a hand between them to wrench his briefs down and then there’s nothing separating their skin anymore; Louis gives a low whine as Harry’s cock slides up the cleft of his arse, big head catching against his rim one moment before slipping away. For a wild second Louis imagines Harry pulling his arse cheeks apart and wrestling himself inside with nothing to ease the way; he knows how much it would fucking hurt and the sudden terrifying realization occurs to Louis that he’d actually let him. If Harry asked for it, he’d fucking let him.

He knows Harry would never, but there’s still a part of Louis which thinks maybe he should.

“Fuck me- please, please fuck me” he sobs. Harry’s not even inside him yet and fat, wretched tears are spilling down Louis’s cheeks with how badly he needs him to be. He doesn’t think he has ever wanted something as much as he wants to be fucked right now, not the money, not the band, none of it. Nothing has ever sunk its teeth into Louis and refused to let go like this mad, roiling need for Harry to make him come.

“Shhh, oh sweetheart, no’ Harry sounds distressed and he wraps an arm around Louis’s waist to hold him that much closer “don’t, Louis, please don’t cry”

His hand skims down the heated flesh of Louis’s stomach until he’s palming his cock, getting a hand around it and swiping his thumb across the tip. Louis cries out in relief, hips jerking forward, fucking erratically into the tight circle of Harry’s fingers.

“See?’ Harry says pressing a kiss to the delicate patch of skin just behind Louis’s ear “I’ve got you… I’ve always got you.”

Louis’s completely torn up at how good Harry feels wrapped around him like this, long body curving over Louis’s smaller one as he uses a strong hand to steadily work him over. Louis is so acutely aware of the wet drag and press of Harry’s cock where it’s sliding between his cheeks. He’s going to come so fast like this and he needs Harry inside him before that happens.

“God, do you even know how you look right now?’ Harry says and Louis hears the snick of the bottle being uncapped, the subtle wet noises of Harry finally, finally slicking up his fingers. Louis’s breathing goes ragged as Harry holds him open with one hand, kneading at the flesh of his arse “you’re so flushed back here, love” he adds reverently, dragging the wet tips of his fingers over Louis’s rim in careful teasing strokes until Louis is shoving his hips back, trying to get Harry to breach inside. His eyes well up again with frustration as Harry holds him more firmly, preventing Louis from moving back into his fingers, but then slowly, so carefully, he slides the tip of one inside. It goes in easily enough that Louis imagines it’s like his body recognizes who is doing this to him.

“More…” he moans, trying to clench down on the digit inside him, but it’s not enough; he needs that aching stretch, that feeling of utter fullness. Louis doesn’t want Harry to be careful with him right now.

Harry presses in deeper, curling his finger until Louis gasps as it nudges right up against his prostate. Harry still knows how to touch Louis just right to get him dizzy with pleasure. He adds another finger and it feels so good as Harry slowly spreads them apart, stretching Louis open and it’s impossible for him not to clench down with a needy little whine.

“Louis…’ Harry breathes “you’re doing so well, sweetheart- can I…?”

Louis makes a small inquisitive sound but instead of saying anything, Harry shifts on the rug behind him and then he’s leaning forward, pressing a fleeting kiss to the swell of Louis’s arse before moving in until his breath ghosts over where he’s got Louis spread around his fingers.


Louis can’t stop himself trembling and it only gets worse as Harry’s tongue laps hot and wet at his stretched rim; dipping between his fingers and pushing inside. It wrenches a cry from Louis’s throat and he can’t hold himself up anymore. He collapses forward onto his arms, only barely avoiding smashing his face into the floor. Now Louis’s got his arse in the air with Harry’s face buried between his cheeks and he’s grinding back against that hot mouth as Harry licks and sucks at his rim.

Harry hums against him and it’s just so much; Louis is moaning helplessly while his cock aches and leaks precome all over the carpet. When Harry slides in another thick finger alongside the other two, Louis just loses it, bucking wildly into Harry’s touch.

“In me- in me, Harry, now” he babbles, back arching hard enough to hurt.

“Yeah...” Harry sounds completely gone and Louis hears him fumble for the condom, cursing softly when he discovers it’s too far away and it means having to take his fingers out of Louis to reach for it.

“I’m clean’ Louis finds himself gasping “I haven’t- not since…” He cuts himself off and there’s a brief silence like they’re both holding their breath. It’s irresponsible, Louis knows it is, but he just doesn’t care

“Oh,’ Harry says “me too, I mean I haven’t with anyone since you- not bare.”

It’s not the smartest idea but Louis finds it doesn’t matter to him if Harry’s fucked a thousand people between now and the last time they did; all he gives a damn about in that moment is Harry being inside him with nothing keeping them apart.

“Then just fuck me’ he groans, shoving his hips back greedily “c’mon Harry, fill me up-”

“Jesus’ Harry gasps “if you’re sure…”

And then Louis’s hearing the wet tug of skin as Harry slicks up his cock before his hands clamp down on Louis’s arse, spreading him wide apart. Harry settles his hips back against Louis’s and his cock nudges up against his hole; he whispers something, too gentle and too soft for Louis to hear but he thinks it’s important, it feels like it is. Louis never gets the chance to ask him though because in that next moment the head of Harry’s cock shoves up hard against him; for a second it’s just this raw, intense pressure that has Louis struggling to breathe through it before Harry finally squeezes past Louis’s rim and at last he’s inside.

It’s like the air’s been punched straight out of him, Louis feels so full and it hurts just right as Harry’s thighs flutter against his, trembling with the effort to hold still as he waits for Louis to adjust to the stretch.

"More’ Louis chokes out “I want it all, Harry, please” he wants to fuck back on Harry’s cock, feel him slide in until he can’t go any further. Louis doesn’t want Harry to hold anything back.

“Shh love, I know’ Harry soothes, even though the tremor of his voice means that he’s struggling to stay in control “I’ll give it to you, yeah? Know you can take it- god, just the way you look right now, Louis, you’re incredible- just so fucking pretty all pink and stretched around my cock, I wish you could see.”

He starts to move then, going deeper with each slow rolling thrust of his hips until Louis is gasping, cheek pressed helplessly into the floor with Harry’s big cock fully inside him. The air feels heated and damp by the time Harry finally starts thrusting hard into Louis, and Louis's fingers claw at the rug beneath him, trying to find something to hold onto.

It’s so good like this, and Louis knows what Harry must be seeing right now, his slick cock disappearing into Louis’s body again and again, the way Louis’s thighs and arse bounce every time Harry fucks inside. Louis can’t see it but it’s completely overwhelming and amazing even with his face and knees getting scuffed raw against the rug. He can’t begin to care, not when he’s so completely full- full with Harry, and it’s perfect.

Harry’s hips keep meeting Louis’s arse with an obscene noise of skin on skin, a chorus of “oh god” and fuck” spilling out of his mouth as his hands tighten around Louis’s hips to pull him back into every thrust. Louis loves Harry having control like this- can remember every time that Harry would hoist his legs up around his waist and fuck him against a wall, or hold his wrists to their bed while he pushed inside so slowly that sometimes Louis would come before Harry had even bottomed out. 

“Louis…’ Harry groans “you feel so good- come up here, wanna kiss you” he slides over Louis’s body to slip strong arms around his chest and pull him up on his knees. Harry’s front presses solidly against Louis’s back as he cranes his neck over his shoulder and Louis turns his head so their lips meet. The angle is awkward but the kiss is so hot and wet and it turns absolutely filthy as their tongues slide together, Louis whimpering into it when one of Harry’s hands comes down to fist around his cock.

Louis is dripping wet, slicking Harry's hand with enough precome that his cock slides through the circle of Harry's fingers with ease. When Harry’s mouth goes to Louis’s neck, his teeth sting against the flesh, surely leaving a mark. Louis wants it so badly, he wants everyone to see it and know exactly who put it there.

“Wanna come’ he gasps, hands clutching at Harry’s arm across his chest “please make me come, Haz”

“Want you to” Harry responds, hand stripping over Louis faster “Need to see your face, sweetheart, always so pretty when you do- God, I’ve missed this”

It’s a shock when Harry’s body leaves his and Louis gives a distressed cry, but Harry’s back on him almost immediately and wrestling Louis to the floor. He turns him over and Louis looks up, freezing as his heart leaps into his throat- Harry looks so gorgeous, all wild, damp curls and flushed cheeks that seem to make his eyes shine greener. Louis's eyes linger on Harry's swollen lips, bitten a deep, nearly dark red, before slipping down to watch his broad chest heave with exertion and how the warm planes of his skin glisten beneath a fine sheen of sweat.

It looks like he's glowing, and it takes Louis's breath away. 

Harry…” He doesn’t mean for it to slip out so awed and breathless, but Harry’s eyes go heated as he settles between Louis’s spread thighs and reaches out to brush the sweat-dampened fringe back from his eyes.

“I’ll never get enough of hearing your voice say my name” Harry tells Louis like it’s a secret. And maybe it is, really, a secret for only them to know. It’s a calming thought in the midst of everything that’s happened and Louis sighs as Harry presses a lingering kiss to his mouth. He lets his legs come up to wrap around Harry’s waist, loosely at first and then tighter as Harry shifts so he can guide his cock back inside. As Harry’s hips start to roll into his again, Louis holds on and just knows there isn’t anywhere else he’d rather be than in a moment like this- wrapped around Harry, clinging to him and safe beneath the solid weight of his body.

It’s not long before Harry’s rhythm is lost and he’s driving himself into Louis with hard, erratic thrusts. They push long, shuddering gasps straight out of Louis’s lungs and it’s all he can do to hold on, so tightly he’s sure he’s cutting Harry’s shoulders with his fingernails. If Harry notices or cares he doesn’t show it though, because the only thing on his face is this expression of astonishment, as if he can’t believe how good this feels.

“Going to make you come, just like this,” he pants “I know you can” Harry changes the angle of his hips then and then he’s hitting hard up against Louis’s prostate, hard enough to rip startled moans straight out of him. Harry’s right, he’s going to come hard, back rubbed red against a hotel rug with Harry above him, fucking into him and shattering Louis’s heart into a million pieces because there’s still that look in his eyes like even after all this time, Louis is still it for him.

Louis clenches down hard around Harry's cock and spills up his chest.

“Oh fuck- Louis"  Harry groans and he sounds broken, suddenly coming hot and wet inside Louis, thrusting in over and over until they’re both completely spent.

Louis is still clinging weakly to Harry’s shoulders when he collapses on top of him, so much heavier than Louis can ever remember him being, but it doesn’t matter. Not when Harry’s got his face pressed into his neck and Louis can feel the heave of his stomach against his own. All he wants in that moment is to hold onto Harry, close his eyes and breathe as he slowly comes back down to earth.





He doesn’t know how long it is before they move, it’s probably been mere minutes but it feels like an age. When Harry carefully eases himself out of Louis there’s a small twinge of pain which has him taking a shaky breath through it. Harry somehow manages to get on his knees, although Louis can see it’s a struggle, and he reaches down, curling his hand around Louis’s wrist and tugging gently, making small encouraging sounds as he does.

He lets Harry scoop him up and bring them gently to their feet. Louis is grateful for the way Harry keeps his arms around him as he stumbles them both to the bathroom because there is no way his legs are carrying his weight right now. Now that his skin is starting to cool, Louis finds himself feeling cold and clammy and he doesn’t resist as Harry pulls him into the warmth of the shower, propping him gently against the wall. They don’t talk and it’s very quiet; there’s only the sound of the spray hissing against the tiles.

When Harry’s hands brush over Louis they feel a lot warmer than the water does and he gives a little sigh as Harry carefully begins to wash him, lathering up his hands and running them all over Louis’s body. Sore and over-sensitive as he is, it’s impossible not to feel the distant heat of arousal flare up when Harry thumbs over his nipples and he's powerless against the shudder that passes through him when Harry dips between his cheeks, fingers stroking gently at his swollen rim to wash away the come he’s put there.

Harry doesn’t keep them in there long, when he’s satisfied they’re clean he ushers Louis out and wraps him in one of the big hotel towels, carefully drying him off. Louis bites his lip at Harry’s gentle attention, thinking about how long it’s been since he’s allowed somebody to take care of him like this.

“Hey," Harry says, cupping Louis’s chin and peering at him from so close Louis can see tiny beads of water clinging to his lashes “are you alright?”

Louis goes to answer ‘yes’ but the words stick in his throat. He thinks Harry would know it wasn't true anyway.

"I’m not sure” he replies instead and Harry looks pained

“Because we had sex?”

Louis looks at the floor; the truth is being with Harry again was amazing. Nothing has felt this good in over two years but he knows it’s come at the price of having to confront where they stand with each other. It’s not been easy trying to pretend every day, but eventually it had become habit- avoiding contact, barely speaking. It had hurt, but Louis had learnt to manage it. Now things have come crashing down and he’s scared of just what it could mean.

“I think just because it’s us, you know?” He eventually replies. He tries to soften it by putting a hand on Harry’s shoulder but he just looks down at it with this pained expression as if the touch burns.

“Louis, I don’t-” Harry cuts himself off and runs a hand through his wet hair. He sounds hurt and frustrated and when he looks at Louis’s face again it’s a shock to see his eyes welling up “I don’t think I can watch you walk out the door again like you’re never going to come back.”

Hearing it feels like being punched in the gut.

Louis forces himself to look at Harry then. To really look at him. He's notices for the first time how tired Harry is- there are dark smudges beneath his eyes and he’s beginning to form frown lines he’d never had when they were together. Louis takes it all in, along with the tremble of Harry’s lips as he tries so hard not to let himself cry in front of Louis.

Louis realizes he is so sick and tired of letting Harry feel this way.

He’s over it.

“I didn’t want to go’ he admits in a rush and Harry blinks, startled by the ferocity in Louis’s voice “I loved it, Haz. I loved living in that stupid flat with you- Christ, I miss it all the time. I miss our couch and the shower with its shitty water pressure and how you didn’t want to change the ugly ceiling lights cos you thought they added character- I miss our bed, H, I miss making tea and climbing into it to watch dumb music countdowns with you all day and just- just fucking in it until the sheets got so disgusting we had to toss them, I loved it so much and I never wanted to leave.”

Harry looks stunned and Louis realizes he’s gripping his shoulder hard enough that the skin is turning white. He loosens his grasp and goes to pull back but Harry’s hand comes up to keep it there.

“I thought it wasn’t enough for you anymore. That I wasn’t...” Harry says at last, voice uneven. And just like that Louis feels his own face crumple and he steps in, both arms going around Harry to hold him tight. The towel slips to the floor between them as their naked bodies slide together and Harry gives this soft, shaky little sigh of contentment.

No- Harry… love, you were always enough," Louis tells him, running his hands soothingly up and down Harry’s back “I… I fucked up, Haz. I listened to the wrong people and just got so scared of things being over, y’know? Like screwing up everything we’d worked so hard for. I couldn’t do that to you or the lads.”

“Louis… You know that no matter what they would have had our backs, right? You can’t not know that” Harry sounds distressed as if he thinks it was all because Louis didn’t trust any of them enough, but that’s not it.

“I do now, but back then I was this stupid kid and everything was happening so fast," Louis says gently “I didn’t know what would happen to you and me if it got ruined. I didn’t want to find out- you were born for this, Harry, you love it so much- I just couldn't be responsible for you losing it. I thought even if we weren’t together, at least you'd have the band.  I thought it was for the best”

Louis shakes his head, unable to meet Harry's eyes. He's trying so hard to lay it all bare. All he wants is to make Harry understand what had been going through his head and why they hadn’t been able to fix things.

Harry’s arms tighten around Louis, cocooning him in. “I wish you’d told me, Louis- we’d have worked it out. God, I would never have chosen anything over being with you, don't you see? I know we weren’t ready to like, come out or anything, but we should have been working through it together," he says and then he's tipping Louis's chin up gently so they're looking into each other's faces  “We’re just better together, you and I.”

“I know… I know… I was just so convinced if we lost the band I’d lose you too. It would have broken me, Harry.’ He tells him, pressing the tips of his fingers to Harry’s cheekbone “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I left."

Harry touches their foreheads together for a moment, it’s just a brief touch but it’s comforting and intimate.

“I should have realized you were hurting just as much as me, sweetheart," Harry tells him softly “I let you walk out that door without even trying to ask you to stay and it's been killing me ever since.”

Louis feels his chest clench as he looks into Harry’s eyes and he just has to tell him.

“I never wanted to hurt you, Harry, you mean the entire world to me.”

Harry just leans in and kisses him. It's nothing like the other ones they’d shared that night- it’s all long and slow and sweet, with Harry taking the time to fit their mouths together just right as he cradles Louis’s face in his hands

Somehow it feels like coming home.

It’s easy to go pliant against Harry, arms knotting loosely around his neck when he reaches down and picks Louis up. It’s like instinct for Louis to wind his legs around Harry’s waist and cling as close as he possibly can, unwilling to leave even an inch between him and his boy.

“Louis…’ Harry breathes in his ear and god, he sounds just as wrecked as Louis feels “baby

As he tucks his face into Harry’s neck, Louis breathes in his familiar scent. He lets Harry carry him out of the bathroom and lay him down on the bed but he refuses to let go. He can’t just yet. Harry still manages to drape his body over Louis's and settles between his parted thighs with a sigh. It’s been too long since they’ve held each other like this and Louis’s missed it so much it aches.

“God, I love you,’ he tells him all of a sudden “I love you so much, Harry.”

And Harry’s eyes are soft as he leans in until their lips brush

“I never stopped believing that, Lou. Not even once.”

Louis feels tears prickle at the corners of his eyes because Harry is looking at him like he’s something precious. It’s still hard to believe that after everything, Harry still thinks of him like that and Louis wonders how he ever managed to give this up.

“Still love me?” he asks, soft and shy and and actually so incredibly scared, but it doesn't matter because Harry is smiling at him.

“Of course I still love you," He says, pressing their foreheads together “I could never, ever stop. You’re my baby, Lou.”

The words are heart-felt and sappy in a way only Harry can be and they warm Louis through to his core. There’d been a part of him that had dreaded asking; thinking maybe it had been too long and that there was too much hurt there for anything to be like it once was. To hear that his boy still loves him is everything.

“But m’older than you…” He mumbles into Harry’s curls, flushed with happiness.

“Doesn’t matter," Harry replies, pressing a kiss to Louis’s jaw “you’ll always be my baby. Even when we’re old and grey and like, all the kids are telling us we’re gross because I won’t stop kissing you.”

“You think we’ll make it that long?” Louis asks and Harry unloops Louis’s arms from his neck so he can twine their fingers together.

“I think that when I’m with you I feel like I could do anything.”

When Louis finally drifts off to sleep curled safe in Harry’s arms, it’s with grey dawn light just starting to peek through the blinds and the thought in his head that Harry is right- when they’re together, not even the most distant stars feel out of reach.




It’s early evening the next day that Louis manages to get a flight home. They’ve got the car idling near departures and Louis stares apprehensively out the window; the airport is busy and everything feels sticky with a combination of late summer heat and the tension typical of airports. It’s enough to put Louis on edge straight away and he feels his shoulders tense up while he clings to his bag. He really hopes he doesn’t get spotted by anyone. If he was going home for any other reason, he’d be dealing with it as usual, but right now it just feels different…

A big hand comes up to cover his and all of a sudden he can breathe again.

“You ok?” Harry asks, squeezing his hand and Louis’s once again grateful he’d insisted to Paul he see him off.

“Yeah… M’ok, babe.’ He says, squeezing back “Just like, I’m not really sure if I’ll be when I get there.”

Harry looks even more concerned; Louis had got him to agree to let Louis do this on his own, but he knows he’s not happy about it.

“Are you sure you want to go? It still doesn’t have to be your responsibility.” Harry says gently. Louis leans in and plants a small kiss on Harry’s cheek, lets his eyelashes brush against his skin briefly.

“I’m sure, Haz. This isn’t for him anyway. Georgia and her mum don’t deserve to be abandoned right now.”

Harry still doesn’t seem alright with letting Louis go but his eyes seem more understanding at Louis’s mention of his estranged half-sister. They’ve not spoken in years, but Louis decided a long time ago he’d never be like the man who gave him up. If his sister needs him, then Louis will go through hell to make sure he’s there for her.

“I love you’ Harry tells him, touching his hand to the rope tattoo on Louis’s wrist. It’s his hand with the anchor and the sight of it lined up with the rope makes warmth grow in the pit of Louis’s stomach, grounding him “I’m so proud of you, Lou.”

“I love you too’ he tells him, letting Harry pull him into a hug “I’ll call you the second I can, I promise.” he gets his lips on Harry’s neck then, unable to resist the line of caramel skin exposed to him and Harry groans.

“Mm, you’d better leave before I reconsider letting you go” he says, a little breathlessly. Louis flashes him a grin.

“Don’t worry babe, I’ll be back.”

Harry’s answering smile is alive and bright and something Louis wants to see for the rest of his life.

“I know you will.”

It’s hard to watch the car drive away even though Harry keeps waving out the back window until it’s too far away for Louis to see. He tells himself it’s just for a few days, just to make sure things are ok back home. And maybe to put some of his demons to rest.

It’s going to be better now, Louis thinks. He’s got a boy to come back to and they’re going to make it work this time. It’s still scary and it’s important they move slowly, but Louis is done listening to people who try to tell him that what he and Harry have could ever be a bad thing. He couldn’t care less what they think.

His phone vibrates in his pocket and he absently pulls it out to sees the notification for a new text on the screen. He opens it up to see a reply from Eleanor to the message he’d sent her earlier.

TOOK YOU BOTH LONG ENOUGH. I’m so happy for you Lou! Tell that boy of yours we’re actually going to sit down and get to know each other sometime soon, ok? <3 

Louis’s face morphs into a smile at that and it only gets wider when a moment later he receives another text from Harry.

hiiii! sorry i know we only just said bye but i wanted to tell you again i love you and think you are very brave. call me when you land plz! x – H

Louis’s smile stays firmly stuck on his face as he quickly taps out a reply

Luv u 2 ur not so bad urself ;) dnt wait up ALL nite and tell the boys I luv them- c u soon 

He pockets his phone again and shrugs the strap of his bag back up his shoulder. The evening sun is drenching everything in a warm golden light and for the first time in ages Louis doesn't feel like the world is on his shoulders. He knows that there will be struggles ahead but this time he’s not going to be alone. He’s got Harry to face them with and there’s really no other person he’d rather have by his side.

It doesn't matter what the future throws at them, they'll see it through the way they were always meant to







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