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Hate Me To The Moon

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“I’m telling you mate, we’re not going back there anytime soon.” Liam sighs, throwing his basket ball and catching it as he lays down on the garden bench.

 

They were both dressed to go out, but had ended up chatting outside wondering where they could go.

 

“The guy Andy introduced Louis to knew the owner and made sure none of us would ever step into that club again. What even happened ?”

 

Harry shrugs, still not too sure about that answer. All he knows is that he’s not even that mad to get black listed from the club, not when he got to sleep so well that night…

 

He’s extremely close to telling him about the shared bed when they hear a familiar shake of bushes. They quickly get up and hide behind the highest wall coming to their forehead. They stand on their toes and try to peek through the night and see what’s going on.

 

They had been spying on Lottie every time they played basketball in Liam’s garden. She would always sneak out of her room, get to the garden, and walk on the grass instead of the gravel to go through the crooked door next to the gate, never noticing them play behind the wall.

 

Tonight though, they would satisfy their curiosity and follow her wherever she was heading. They waited for the car to be far enough but not too much, and started Liam’s car, following at a safe distance to not get caught.

 

The black Porsche that had picked up Lottie at the house stopped in front of a club Liam and Harry knew very well. They would always go there when they were underage, knowing most bartenders easily gave drinks without checking IDs, discretely escaping the looks of the few regular customers that happened to be cops.

 

They waited for her to get out of the car and clasped each other’s hands together in shock when they saw three guys and a girl with her, looking like the trouble makers every parent warned about.

 

She was wearing a tight black dress coming mid thigh, plunging neckline and high heels that explained her puffy red mini sausages of toes in the morning. She had expertly painted her face with make up and chosen the longest fake lashes that made the metallic blue of her eyes stand out. She was nothing like the Lottie Harry had seen, and she looked even more beautiful than usual.

 

They parked in the corner and entered the place, waving at a few familiar faces, before hiding from Lottie’s sight.

 She lets two of the guys she came with sandwich her on the dance floor, grinding on her as she giggles non stop. Harry had no idea what to do, who to warn, or what to smash. He somehow felt like they were touching his little sister, and a strong desire to knock them unconscious spurted into his chest.

 

Liam got them drinks and they were planning on spending the night discretely looking after her, but one of the blokes pulled her against his chest a bit too harsh and she tried jerking away without success. He didn’t let her escape from his embrace and pulled her right back against his crotch despite her weak yet very clear disapproval, and that’s about all Harry and Liam could take before ganging up on the guy.

 

“I believe she doesn’t want to dance anymore.” Harry said, pulling Lottie with a hand behind her back to hide her behind him.

 

She looked a bit weak and was surprised to see them, but apparently not enough to say anything, making Harry frown in confusion. She giggled into Liam’s chest when she tripped over to him and Harry took one look at her red eyes and the smirks on those guys’ faces to get it.

 

“You drugged her?!”

 

The two guys shrugged, smug expression on their faces when they started talking to each other in French, completely ignoring Harry and Liam.

 

Bande d’enculés ! “ Harry yelled in their face, shocking the two guys convinced he didn’t understand them. They had just bragged about giving her a drug usually used by rapists and Harry had just caught them.

 

When the other girl with them raised a brow, clearly in the loop and not intoxicated at all, Harry cracked his neck and just walked out of there, Lottie slowly passing out in Liam’s arms.

 

He was not a fighter, and even a group of stupid criminals couldn’t make him risk losing his temper and end up in the precinct. He didn’t forget, however, to warn the two men he knew to avoid  when he was younger that two underage rapists were walking around with alcohol and drugs, pointing at them as they tried to flee, gladly in vain.

 

They carry Lottie to Liam’s car and Harry sits next to her in the backseat while Liam drives them to the hospital. They knew that kind of drug should only last a few hours and just make her dizzy, but they had no idea how much she had in her system or how she would react, so they decided not to take any risks.

 

Harry is holding her tight in his arms while she whispers nonsense and starts to drift away slowly. He tries to keep her awake, not wanting her to fall into a coma or worse, terrified by the lack of life in her eyes.

 

When they get to the ER within twenty minutes, Harry lifts one of her arms around his neck and slips his arm under her knees to carry her inside as quickly as possible. They’re lucky there’re only four people waiting that don’t seem to be dying, and rush to the first nurse they see to explain everything.

 

He takes one look at her and brings a stretcher to lay her down. He checks her pulse and the state of her eyes and tries talking to her with no reaction before calling another nurse.

 

They gesture for Harry and Liam to wait in the room while they check on her after seeing how panicked they look, unable to not crowd the professionals to make sure she’s alright.

 

They sit down, waiting for the nurse to call them, and Harry tries to not remember what the smell of this room reminds him of.

 

“She’s going to be okay.” Liam squeezes Harry’s shoulder and pulls him in his side to rub his arm, knowing this can’t be an easy time for him.

 

He can’t help remembering the day everything changed. The empty seats around him are too similar to the ones he was climbing to occupy himself while they were trying to determine if his mom was going to live or not. The sound of the vending machine brings him back to his sister getting him crisps as they waited, and the sound of ambulances outside is ringing in his ears.

 

“I should’ve beaten them up.” Liam says, still angry Harry forced him to let this in the hands of the two police men without a fight.

 

“But then we wouldn’t be here for just one person.” Harry remarks and Liam doesn’t argue.

 

When the nurse calls them after an hour and gesture for them to follow him, Harry takes a deep breath, glad Liam is holding him by the waist, ready to catch him whenever.

 

They walk along a row of temporary beds before reaching Lottie’s. Her eyes are closed and she looks way more peaceful than moments ago.

 

“She must’ve taken a significantly small amount. There’s not an alarming trace of the drug in her body. She will feel a bit nauseous for a while, but she should be fine. She just needs some rest and a lot of water. Now, are you sure nothing happened before you arrived ?”

 

Harry and Liam look at each other in horror, but figure there was no way something could have happened just on the short drive to the club. They had kept their eyes on her the whole time in the club and she had done nothing but dance and chat with the group.

 

“I don’t think so.” Harry shakes his head.

 

“Well, if something did happen, please be sure to signal it as soon as possible, especially since you know who would be responsible. You should also make sure she understands what happened and what could have happened.” The nurse explains and excuses himself when he walks away towards another patient.

 

“I’m sure nothing happened Haz.” Liam says, seeing the concern on his friend’s face.

 

“Lottie…” Harry sighs as he sweeps her blond hair across her forehead. “What were you thinking…”

 

“Mmh…” Lottie hums and flutters her eyes open under Harry’s hand.

 

“Hi there.” Harry tilts his head, pursing his lips, and gives her a small smile.

 

“How are you feeling ?” Liam asks, hands in his pockets.

 

“Stupid ?” Lottie huffs. She sits up, wincing all the way up, and leans her head on the pillow behind her.

 

“You’re not stupid. You were incredibly irresponsible and scared the crap out of us, but you’re not stupid. They are.” Harry says, earning a weak smile as she brings her head down, staring at her fingers fidgeting with the lace on her dress.

 

“I just wanted to have fun and hang out with friends...”

 

“How do you even know those guys ?” Harry asks when Liam leaves to get some snacks from the vending machine.

 

“I met one of them online. Nothing sketchy, just chatting on Tumblr and stuff. He told me he lived here so when Des invited us I started making plans with him and his friends. They seemed cool and we chatted over Skype and stuff so I was looking forward to it…”

 

“Did…” Harry starts but needs more strength to ask. “Did they do something to you ?”

 

“No ! No…” She says immediately, frowning. “It was the first time I accepted a drink in the car. I remember everything except the drive here.”

 

“But why wouldn’t you warn anyone ? What would we do if we didn’t find you in your bed tomorrow, with no idea of where you are ?”

 

“I didn’t want my mom to find out…”

 

“Well, you could have come to me or Gemma, or Louis…”

 

“I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble for me. I just…” Lottie sighs and drops her head backwards. “I’m just so tired of being the good little girl who’s never kissed a guy and is called ‘uptight’ or a ‘nun’ all the time. I jus thought that, if I hooked up with a guy, then I wouldn’t be the weirdo anymore…and maybe have more friends back home…”

 

“Look at me.” Harry uses his serious ‘let me teach you something’ voice and waits for Lottie to look up before continuing. “You don’t need to justify your worth by how many times you kissed a boy. Unless his lips are magical and will turn you into an  instant goddess, I see no reason to force yourself to do something you’re not ready for yet.”

 

She drops her eyes back down, biting her bottom lip.

 

“But people make fun of virgins and I’m sick of being judged for choosing to wait until marriage.”

 

“But who cares about what people think ? No guy’s dick is important enough to define you.” Harry says, a bit raw, but he means every word and she doesn’t flinch so he figures she’s not taken aback by his choice of words. “If you want to wait until you meet someone you truly trust and see your future with, then do it. If you want to go for the cute guy you meet at a party, then go for it. No matter what you do, as long as you’re comfortable with it, then it’s really no one else’s business.”

 

“You say that like you didn’t laugh when Lou and I said we’d stay virgins, or judge the way I dress…” Lottie frowns. Harry takes a moment before answering that, knowing she’s right.

 

“I know. I’m sorry about that, I shouldn’t have laughed, I’m just not used to it I guess… And I admit I was a bit surprised by your clothes.” Harry confesses. “But I saw the way you looked at Gemma’s and I saw the sort of defeat when you spoke about chastity. It’s like it’s not even your choice, like you’re forbidden to explore and find what you like or something.”

 

“I knew you weren’t like us !” Lottie smiles, pouting gladly discovering he didn’t share the same views as her family. “ But I just don’t want my mom to think I’m turning into a slut or something.”

 

“Do you hear yourself ?” Harry chuckles quietly, unable to get why this family can’t stand being themselves. “Since when wearing clothes you like and finding yourself makes you a slut ?”

 

Lottie kept her head down as if to question everything she’d thought so far.

 

“Will you tell my mom about this ?”

 

“Not if you don’t want me to.” Harry smiles and she smiles back as a thank you. “But never hesitate to call me if you ever find yourself in a situation like this. Or Gemma. She saved me from many situations that could have ended very, very badly for me. And I’m sure Louis would rush to you in less than a second.”

 

Lottie nods and wipes the few tears that started showing in the corner of her eyes, giving up on trying to keep her make up from getting smudged.

 

“Does he know about your little midnight adventures ?”

 

“No. He’d kill me ! Or my friends...” Lottie shakes her head no vigorously. “I didn’t want him to worry about me. He’s always getting in trouble for me and I didn’t want to see him take the blame once again.”

 

Liam returns with his hands full of chocolate bars and Gatorades as Harry give a wry smile, weirdly pleased by the idea that Louis would do anything for her.

 

“S’all they had…” Liam shrugs in apology and sets everything at the foot of the bed.

 

“Thank you !” Lottie beams and picks up a Twix bar to unwrap.

 

“Are you feeling better ?” Liam sits on the bed next to Lottie’s covered feet and grabs a bag of M&M’s.

 

“Much better yeah.” Lottie smiles at him with her mouth full. Harry drags the chair he spotted a few beds away and opens a Kinder Bueno as he sits down.

 

Lottie is suddenly exposing her teeth with a bright smile and Harry and Liam feel like they’re missing out on something, raising a brow at each other.

 

“This reminds me of the time I broke my arm.” Lottie giggles. “I had heard Louis make plans with his friends to go skate and I had a crush on one of them at the time, so, as the twelve year old who thought she had found love, I blackmailed him so he’d take me with him. He was checking on me the whole time and made sure his friends looked after me as well. I was so happy because my crush wasn’t leaving my side… Sure, it was more like a brother duty to him, but I was still hyped.”

 

“Anyway, Louis didn’t want me to skate because he knew I had no sense of balance and would fall face first on the cement. So I waited for him to be too focused on his sick tricks…” She uses her brother’s voice and wiggles her hands doing ‘westside ‘signs, making Harry and Liam laugh. “…while his friends were cheering for him and not watching me for a split second. Unfortunately, he was completely right to not let me go on that thing, because I rolled in the worst way possible and literally flew in the air to fall hard on my left arm.”

 

“Ouch !” Harry and Liam wince in unison.

 

“I know ! I was screaming and my arm was turning purple, so we went to the ER and, because a friend of our mom’s worked there, she arrived within minutes.” Lottie takes another bite of her chocolate bar, unbothered by the biscuit crumbling on her lap as she talks. “When she saw me, she was furious. She yelled at me and turned red scolding me for going out without permission and blah blah blah...”

 

“So Louis told her it was his fault. He told her he was trying to teach me and that he thought I was steady enough. He said he made me come with him to the skate park and that I had nothing to be blamed for. She took away his laptop, his games, even his phone, and grounded him for a whole month. He was in year thirteen so he could just go to school and go home. Nothing else.”

 

“That was nice of him ! I’m not sure I would’ve done that for my sis…” Liam exclaims, finishing his second bag of chocolate covered peanuts. Harry is leaning on the bed with his chin resting on his crossed arms, trying not to smile too much at the story to not look even more interested than he should be.

 

“Yeah…I didn’t even get grounded or anything because she thought I had been influenced by him. The good part is, when I got my cast, he drew sick designs on it and told me that, whatever happens, it was us against the world – meaning my mom.” She chuckles. “He drew a ‘CT’ on it and told me he was a superhero whose only job was to protect me. Captain Tommo.”

 

Liam has his adorable smile when Lottie finishes the story and Harry’s heart feels a bit too tingly. He finally understands why Lottie sometimes called her brother ‘Captain Tommo’ and he was seeing another side of the guy he thought was incapable of altruism.

 

They fill out a discharge form and other things, given that she’s under eighteen, and Harry smiles a bit too much when she tells the nurse he can sign them for her since he’s her brother.

 

They wait for Lottie to be fully able to walk and head back home around three in the morning, glad the whole thing happened early in the night to avoid walking into Jay and Des.

 

Lottie thanks Harry and Liam and hugs them before quietly going in her room. Harry isn’t tired though, so he offers Liam a beer in the kitchen. The latter is a bit too tired however, so he hugs Harry goodbye and heads home, cussing loudly in the garden, surely remembering he actually has keys and doesn’t need to climb the fence to go inside.

 

Harry opens the fridge to take a beer but spots the bottle of Vodka on the shelf, and figures he could use a shot…or four. He’s not too keen on drinking by himself, but he’d rather drink away the feeling he’s been dealing with since he arrived here.

 

After their rather eventful night, Louis had been avoiding Harry, once again. But this time, he would just leave the room whenever he walked in, give him his back when he slept, and refuse to team up with him for any familial activity. It’s like he was trying to pretend Harry just didn’t exist.

 

Harry should be unbothered or indifferent, but he’s just full on hurt. Add that to the fact that he’s slowly finding out that Louis might be more human than he thought he was and the fact that he just spent hours in the ER trying not to replay the worst day of his life in his head, and you’d find him lying on the kitchen floor with a glass on his chest, wondering when his number one concern stopped being how many marshmallows he could actually eat before it killed him.

 

He’s thinking about the other night at the club and the way Louis looked at him. He thinks about the expression he had on his face, like he was daring him to touch Diego, daring him to give attention to someone other than him…

 

He thinks about the story Lottie told in the hospital and pictures him trying to convince his sister he could save her from anything. He thinks about the way he slept on his chest, hot breath and soft hair and light stubble gently leaving its marks on him.

 

He’s thinking about how wrong everything is when he hears quiet footsteps and suddenly finds himself lying on the tiled floor next to someone.

 

“Oh my god ! When will you learn to stop spreading your legs everywhere ?!” Louis grunts. Harry just ignores him and sits up to pour another glass of Vodka, chugging it down before leaning his back against the cupboard next to him.

 

“Doing shots alone ?” Louis asks when he stands up, grabbing a bottle of water in the fridge.

 

“Sorry, are you talking to me ?” Harry asks dramatically, making Louis roll his eyes.

 

“You see someone else here ?”

 

“Don’t know, you’ve been giving more attention to the cereal box than me so…Are you doing shots alone Coco ?” Harry engages a conversation with a cartoon chimp on the table and yes, this is when he knows he’s had a bit too much to drink.

 

“Harry.” Louis says firmly and Harry pretends this doesn’t satisfy a small part of him he wasn’t aware was needy for something.

 

They don’t say anything more as Louis drinks from his bottle and Harry plays with the glass on the floor.

 

“I think I’m drunk.” Harry giggles and blissfully grins, stumbling when he tries to get on his feet.

 

“Woah, woah, easy there Bambi !” Louis catches him and wraps an arm around his waist to sit him down in the nearest chair, but Harry just slides on the floor, bringing Louis with him progressively.

 

They lean their back against the cupboards behind them and Harry almost whines when Louis unwraps his arm from him. He just sits there and watches him, looking at the way the moonlight through the windows reflects on his cheek in the unlit kitchen.

 

His hand aches to adjust the hair sticking out over his ear and he doesn’t know whether he’ll get those long lashes out of his mind so soon when Louis turns to face him with his eyes on the floor.

 

“I freaked out.” Louis murmurs out of nowhere, resting his head against the cupboard. “I woke up in your bed…and I freaked out.”

 

Harry would normally nod or ask more questions or even accept the confession, but instead he giggles and taps Louis’ button nose, making him look up.

 

“Your eyelashes are sooooooo long !” Harry exclaims, almost dribbling when he keeps his mouth open like he’s in shock.

 

“What ?” Louis chuckles, probably amused by Harry’s dramatic voice.

 

“And your hair looks so soft…” Harry continues in ecstasy. “It’s like feathers, but better. SO much bettah !”

 

“You’re truly disturbed.” Louis giggles, hiding his soft smile behind the back of his hand.

 

He looks nothing like what Harry’s used to. Nothing like the tough looking guy he met, and nothing like the quiet and polite character he’s been impersonating. He looks like a tiny hedgehog that would easily roll into a ball and let Harry keep him in his pocket.

 

“I think I am.” Harry whispers, a tad more serious.

 

He must be truly deranged to be getting lost in Louis’ eyes, disturbed for starting to feel an overwhelming warmth whenever he’s around him and crazy to think about him the way he does.

 

Louis scans Harry with his shiny eyes, looking ever so striking in the dark, and raises a hand to Harry’s face. He carefully brushes his fingertips along Harry’s cheek, as if going harder would make him disappear. He doesn’t move them, just touches Harry’s skin, feeling the heat radiating from his flushed cheek.

 

He drops them quickly after, but Harry has just been introduced to something he’d do anything to feel again. He already misses those fingers barely touching him, misses the breeze they created when they left, and misses Louis’ hot breath when he sighed slowly against his face.

 

“Do that again.” Harry whispers as he closes his eyes. “Please.”

 

The room is silent and too dark to make out anything but Louis’ glistening eyes. Harry is about to convince himself he’s just imagined the touch, but Louis’ fingers are suddenly back on his face without warning.

 

This time, he drags them all the way to reach the corner of Harry’s mouth. Harry parts his lips a little and squints his eyes, as if Louis’ touch was painful, except it’s painfully soothing. It’s like he’s being touched by the sharpest needle that somehow feels like the most delicate petal.

 

Louis’ thumb rests on Harry’s chin as his index traces a line on Harry’s bottom lip, following the curve and stopping briefly. Harry purses his lips against Louis’ fingertip and leaves a light kiss, his lips taking forever to fully pull away.

 

He repeats the peck again, taking more of Louis’ finger this time, the tip of his tongue threatening to slightly lick before backing off, and showing again, leaving the tiniest wet spot on Louis’ index.

 

“Harry we shouldn’t-“ Louis whispers, barely audible.

 

“Shhhhh…” Harry shakes his head.

 

He wraps his hand around Louis’ wrist, not putting any pressure, and brings his palm to his lips. He brushes his mouth all over it, barely kissing here and there before intertwining their fingers to gently squeeze his hand.

 

He would have stopped, he would have removed his hand, but Louis starts stroking his fingers in return and he would be insane to stop when petals are brushing his skin.

 

He looks up at Louis and finds him staring at their moving fingers between them, biting his bottom lip and looking breathless. Harry brings their linked hands to his mouth and fixes him intensely as he kisses his chastity ring and sticks the tip of his tongue out, ready to lick it and get high on the look Louis’ giving him right now.

 

Before he does though, he brings his face closer to his and stares at his lips, fighting every bone in him to not lean further.

 

Louis must be having the same battle, because he’s keeping his eyes on Harry’s lips as if they’re made of gold.

 

When the gap between them is barely existent, Louis leans from half of an half of an inch, making their lips touch as far away as they possibly can. There’s no pressure, no move, nothing but their lips in contact.

When Harry starts to move, ever so slightly, Louis parts his lips just enough to feel him, but only to jerk away quickly and look away. He bangs his head on the cupboard and pinches his lips together as if to contain himself from smashing something.

 

“You’re drunk.” Louis breathes.

 

“You think I’m doing this because I’m drunk ?” Harry whispers, hurt that he would think that.

 

“Yes. You’ll regret it tomorrow.” Louis states before looking at him. “You should call that guy from the club.” Louis’ words are harsh, like he’s giving an order, and Harry goes from wanting to touch him to wanting to punch him.

 

“Maybe I will.” He frowns.

 

“Good.” Louis says, face unreadable.

 

“And maybe I’ll touch him.”

 

“Suit yourself.”

 

“And maybe I’ll let him touch me.” Harry whispers and Louis shrugs, acting like he doesn’t give two fucks about that.  “You don’t care if he touches me ?”

 

“No.” Louis answers, expressionless.

 

“You don’t care if…” Harry murmurs as he brings his own hand to his lips as Louis watches. “…he touches me here ?...Or there ?…” He drags his fingers down his torso, stroking himself with Louis’ eyes following his every move. “…or there ?”. He slowly slides his hand to meet the waistband of his jeans and briefly palms himself.

 

Louis is almost panting watching him.

 

“No.” He repeats and looks away again.

 

“Don’t act like you don’t want to.”

 

“I don’t.” Louis says and stands up, quickly reaching the doorframe. “I don’t do pricks.” He says dryly and storms out.

 

Harry looks at him go, wondering why he’s shattered on the kitchen floor panting and miffed.

 

He repeats himself that Louis is nothing but what his future stepbrother, nothing but the jerk he met a few weeks ago, nothing but an annoying twat and a liar. And he just has to remind himself that before he starts something he wouldn’t be able to stop.

 

 ******

 

The rest of the week goes by in the blink of an eye, yet Harry feels like every second lasts a lifetime.

 

He spends most of the time with Liam and other friends, partying at night in various clubs and villas. He’s ran into Diego again and apologized for the other night. His friend gladly forgave him and has been inviting him over several times and flirting continuously, no matter how distant Harry could be.

 

They rarely find themselves alone though, always dragged everywhere by their mutual friends and playing team sports on the beach.

 

Harry doesn’t give away his plans to his dad or Jay so he doesn’t find himself forced to bring Louis along, not that he’d accept anyway.

 

He hasn’t been seeing much of him these past few days. The only times they find themselves together, it’s just yelling and rolling of eyes and Louis flicking Harry off when his mom’s not watching.

 

They find any excuses to start a fight and they don’t even bother not bickering in front of their parents, always forced to separate them, confused as to why they’d hate each other so much.

 

Harry mostly sleeps over at Liam’s or Diego’s so he doesn’t have to deal with being pissed off until he falls asleep.

 

So when they all get ready and go to church, he’s just not pleased to be sitting next to him. He had gathered enough anger and wanted nothing more than to stay away from him.

 

Just like the last time, Harry spends most of the mass eyeing people and guessing the conversations they’re having in their head. His eyes stop on Diego at the same spot he was the first time and he smiles, receiving a wink that makes him tilt his head down shyly.

 

“God’s watching you.” Louis whispers jokingly without looking at Harry, and the latter tries to ignore him for a while, but it’s the first words he’s hasn’t yelled at him in days so Harry just can’t keep it to himself.

 

“Why are you like this ?” Gemma pinches his ear next to him and he winces but keeps talking with a lower voice while the priest is speaking.

 

“What ?” Louis frowns, trying to focus on the priest again.

 

“You’re a twat, then you’re nice, then you’re distant and then back to being obnoxious. Can’t you just stick to one ?!” Harry puffs and crosses his left leg over his right, straightening his back.

 

A little girl in front of them turns around and shushes him and Harry’s starting to wonder if the entire neighbourhood plotted against him. He makes a funny face and she giggles, sticking her tongue out. He sticks his tongue out as well and they engage in a funny faces battle until her dad turns her around and Gemma punches her brother’s knee.

 

They stay silent for the rest of the mass and go back to grunting at each other as soon as they get out.

 

They had kept calm enough in church, even when Harry had stretched his leg purposefully right when Louis tried getting out of the bench to queue for the host given by the priest, making him trip and bump into an annoyed looking lady; even when Louis had pushed him when kneeling down, making Harry lose his balance and trip over the kneeler, creating a domino effect pushing everyone with him, earning groans from the whole row while Louis pretended he was innocent.

 

As soon as they go home, Harry rushes to his room and changes into denim shorts and a white tee, tucking his aviators on his head and grabbing his flip flops before rushing back down, ready to enjoy his freedom from Angerland – yes it was now an official place where Louis Tomlinson was the king of annoyance.

 

“Where are you going ?!” Des calls when Harry’s almost out.

 

“Diego’s.”

 

“Diego ? As in Diego Deschamps ?”

 

“Yep ! I’ll be back tonight…probably.” Harry said and walked out before any further questions.

 

Diego only lived three houses away. He had invited him over to enjoy the tennis court and check out his recently shipped German collection of documentaries on the Big Bang, and there wasn’t much Harry could reject in exchange of documentaries discussing origin of the universe and expansion, in German. He liked practicing his languages and science so this was just the best mix really. It was one of the things he and Diego had in common when they first met.

 

They settled on his couch in the living room and turned on the TV, Harry already sinking into the voice over. He was mentally confronting Einstein and Hawking when he felt Diego kiss his neck, and, even completely focused on his internal debate, he couldn’t help leaning into it.

 

He felt a hand on his thigh but subtly placed it back on the couch between them. He enjoyed the peck against his neck but still didn’t feel completely up for it. It used to be so easy with him, but he had something – or someone – else in mind.

 

Unfortunately, the one he was thinking about was forbidden territory. He had to forget about him and not let his arsehole of a ‘brother’ get in his way. That on his mind, he turned his head and cupped Diego’s cheek before pressing their lips together, a quick smack that felt forced.

 

It wasn’t that bad, he convinced himself. He knew Diego was a good kisser and his lips were quite nice. He kept rejecting his tongue though, keeping it simple with chaste kisses and squeezes of his hips.

 

When Diego tried to part his lips for the third time, Harry pulled away and got back to the screen, smiling at him to mask the fact that he just no longer wanted to pretend enjoying this.

 

His phone buzzed in his pocket and he excused himself to go to the bathroom, taking the opportunity to be alone and just breathe.

 

He sat on the floor against the door and opened his texts.

 

Paps said : Movie night tonight ! No way out !

                   PS: Diego ????????

                   PSS: Louis looks sad so be nicer to him

                    xx

 

Me said: What are we watching ? Of gods and men ?! LOL

                   PS: You don’t wanna know

                  PSS: I’ll try.

                  x

 

 

Paps said: I know you’re joking but it’s the actual movie…SEE YA

 

“Are you serious ?!” Harry whispered to himself and banged his head on the door. He went back out and sat on the couch, Diego a bit more tensed than before.

 

They resume watching the documentary with a bit of an awkward gap between them but Harry is too focused on the documentary to notice.

 

He walks back to the house around five after letting Diego kiss his cheek and hug him before making his way home, wondering when he became nothing but a friend, unable to distract him.

 

When he comes home, everything’s already set up for the movie. Gemma isn’t there and Harry suspects his dad gave in to her ‘but daaaaaaaad’ that never failed, and he regrets not trying out his own tricks to get out of this.

 

To Harry’s surprise, however, Liam’s here, chatting with Lottie, and he wonders if he got trapped when he stopped by to give her the lipstick he had found in his car.

 

They’re all diving into the cushions, Jay and Des on the two-seater aligned with the bigger couch. Lottie and Liam are sitting on one part of it, next to Jay and Des, Louis right next to Liam, forcing Harry to sit next to him.

 

A large blanket is thrown over the four of them on the couch and Jay turns off the lights,  putting the room in a frightening dark with the curtains blocking the daylight to watch the two hour long movie about monks.

 

The second the movie starts, Harry is done. He’s seen it once out of curiosity and he still doesn’t know how he made it through. He figures he can just take a nap, far enough so neither his dad nor Jay notice. But he’s a bit too preoccupied to fully relax.

 

Louis is pressed against his side in his white short sleeved cotton tee and his black sweatpants, and it could be fine if Harry couldn’t feel his warmth and his perfume, bloody natural scent of flowers and marshmallows.

Their shoulders brush at some point and Harry turns to face him, but finds himself inches away from his lips, the latter deciding to lean in and whisper something at the same time Harry did. They both freeze for a second, but Louis goes for Harry’s ear anyway to speak as quietly as possible, everyone staring at the screen.

 

“How was your date ?” Louis whispers, visibly as interested by the film as Harry is.

 

“None of your business.” Harry whispers back, going back to the movie.

 

“Did he…touch you ?” Louis leans again, further than he needs to, hot breath tickling Harry’s ear. The question is tented by both concern and anger and it’s just too confusing.

 

Harry doesn’t know what Louis’ playing at. He can’t be on and off and on and off about being gentle and being mad at him for no reason. He needs to show him he can’t adjust to his mood and is not the puppet Louis’ probably used to, bendable to his messed up mind.

 

“Yes. He did.” Harry says as if he’d had the time of his life today. He turns to look at Louis with a serious look and smirks, and looks away again.

 

Louis frees himself from the blanket and rushes upstairs, no one noticing that he fled in the dark. Harry grunts but decides to follow him and discretely tiptoes to his room. He closes the door behind him and walks closer to Louis who’s sitting on his bed.

 

“So ? You’re gonna tell the fuck you’re on about ?” Harry asks.

 

“Fuck off.” Louis snaps and stands up.

 

“Oh my god ! You’re fucking unbelievable !” Harry laughs, incapable of getting what goes on in this mind of his. “You treat me like shit, then you’re nice, then you snap at me for no reason and expect me to not give attention to anyone else ? What the fuck is wrong with you ?!” Harry tries his best to yell in whispers so no one barge in.

 

“Because you’re annoying okay ! You’re always walking around without a care in the world, like everything’s good and like there’s nothing wrong ! You spend your time smiling and being nice and I don’t get it okay ?!” Louis stands up and walks in circles around the room.  

“But that’s what happens when you’re nothing but yourself instead of hiding behind a fucking mask ! You can’t even find the guts to tell your mom you’re into guys and far from being a saint and it makes you angry at everyone who can !” Harry yells in his face, walking him against the wall, towering him as his face goes red.

 

“You don’t know me ! You know nothing !”

 

“Then fucking tell me Louis ! You keep saying I don’t know you but you don’t even know who you are yourself, you’re too busy pretending to be someone else !” Harry’s veins are popping on his neck, letting out all the things he’s wanted to say. “Why don’t you just say what you want to say ?!”

 

“Because not everyone has the perfect family Harry ! Not everyone can brag about a cool dad that loves them to death and would do anything to make his kids happy ! Not everyone can afford losing the only people in their life !” Louis looks out of his mind screaming in Harry’s face.

 

“The perfect family ? You wanna come for me for the perfect family ?! You got to grow up twenty two years with your mom ! You got to have a devoted woman by your side ready to protect you from everything ! You got to say the word ‘mom’ for twenty two years ! You got to give her flowers on Mother’s Day and  kiss her at night !” Harry tries to keep the tears in his throat inside but his voice is starting to crack and he’s not sure why he’s saying so much.

 

“But what is the point if she doesn’t love the real me ?! What’s the point of having a devoted mom if she spends her life trying to control mine ?! What’s the point of trusting someone to have them break you apart because you’re just not enough for them ?!” Louis pushes Harry backwards against the opposite wall and Harry finally understands what this is about.

 

“But who said you weren’t enough ?! Who decided that you weren’t enough for every single human on this planet ?!” Harry pushes him back.

 

“I know I’m not enough for anyone okay ! I push people away by being rude because it keeps them out of my life so I don’t have to fucking deal when they change their mind and decide to walk out on me !” Louis’ voice is as broken as Harry’s and they’re not even waiting for the loud noise from the living room to cover their voices.

 

“But you are ! You’re more than enough and you can’t fucking own it ! You’re so insecure about everyone treating you like shit, you don’t realize when you treat someone who cares about you like shit !” Harry pushes him with two fists against his chest, bringing him towards the space between the two beds.

 

“But who cares about me Harry ?! Who ?!”

 

“I do ! I can’t stand myself for it because you’re an utter ass most of the time but I do care about you and I can’t handle you being this afraid to show who you really are !”

 

“Oh really ?! That’s not what I got from you being pissed off at me all the time, or by the way you judge my family, or by the look you give me when I say something you don’t agree with ! You don’t care Harry ! You’re like everybody else ! You say you care but then you run into someone else’ arms first chance you get !” Louis yells a bit louder and they forget they’re not alone in the house.

 

“Are you really that stupid ?! You think I’d let someone touch me after you did ?! You’d think I’d settle for someone else when I had your fingers on my skin and your body against mine ?! I’d be a fucking idiot for wanting to be with anyone when I’m craving you !” Harry walks forward, forcing Louis to sit on his bed. “But you’re too fucking scared to accept it ! You’re too afraid to be vulnerable and lose control for a fucking second !”

 

“I’m not afraid !” Louis screams, eyes challenging Harry’s.

 

“Then fucking act like it !”

 

Louis stands back up and pushes Harry all the way to his own bed, making them fall on it. He climbs on top of him and puts his hands on each side of Harry’s head, completely breathless and blood boiling.

 

“Do it.” Harry whispers angrily when he sees Louis hesitates. “Forget about them.”

 

“What ?” Louis says weakly, brows furrowed.

 

“Forget about the voices in your head telling you this is wrong.”

 

“But it is !” Louis groans.

 

“Forget about them. Please.” Harry whispers again, almost begging. “Or tell me you don’t feel anything and I’ll be out of sight.”

 

Louis looks like he’s going to pass out. His lips are moving but no words are getting out.

 

“Tell me you don’t feel it !” Harry says with the angriest deep voice, ready to leave the room and spend his time trying to forget how painful this is. “Tell me you don’t and I’ll leave you alone !”

 

“Shut up !” Louis huffs heavily, and sinks.

 

They intertwine their lips and only wait a second before they kiss with open mouths. Louis is grasping Harry’s jaw with his thumb and index on each side, forcing him to breathe with his mouth wide open. He licks Harry’s lips, gently brushing, and sucks on his bottom lip, nibbling with the overwhelming anger still present.

 

He lets go of his jaw to place his hand back on the mattress and starts exploring Harry’s mouth with his tongue, turning it into a sloppy mess of saliva.

 

“Make me shut up Louis…” Harry whispers between each smack of their lips and slides his hands from Louis’ hips to his arse, massaging with his strong hands, squeezing lightly enough to feel the shape properly before digging his fingers harder and pulling him down against him. “Make me shut up.”

 

Louis brings a hand over Harry’s mouth, choking his words, making him shut up the only way he knows how. He presses his lips against the back of his hand between their mouth, eyes deep into Harry’s. He starts grinding on him, letting Harry pull him in by pressing his bum against his growing bulge.

 

Harry huffs heavy breaths under Louis’ hand and squints his eyes as Louis drags his free hand on his torso under his shirt. He twists his nipple, making him squirm and moan under his fingers, and soothes the slight pinch by rubbing his thumb against the sore spot. He digs his fingertips in Harry’s chest all the way to his shorts and palms him over them, slowly caressing his covered cock as he bends to kiss his neck.

 

He sucks at the skin, licking the redness he’s creating and kissing it with silky wet lips, hand still feeling Harry twitch over his clothes.

 

Harry tilts his head back when Louis finally undoes the button and frees his mouth to unzip his shorts carefully. He gets lower and wraps his mouth on Harry’s cock over his boxers, brushing his lips along the visibly thick length begging to be touched.

 

“Take me in your mouth…” Harry pants and Louis smirks from where he’s teasing to come back up, nuzzling his head in the pillow to whisper in his ear.

 

“You don’t tell me what to do, love.” Louis mumurs with a scolding yet extremely sweet voice, making Harry nod immediately, suddenly very obedient.

 

Louis finally frees Harry’s throbbing cock when he gets back down, and cusses when he wraps his hand around it. He makes Harry licks his palm to wet his hand – which Harry is glad to do - and keeps his face barely away from Harry’s as he brings it down between them.

 

He circles his thumb over the slightly leaking tip, and starts pumping Harry, breathing right into his mouth. He keeps going, sliding his hand up and down, over and over again,  teasing the head before going back down again.

 

Anh…Mmh…” Harry moans loudly into Louis’ mouth, forcing him to put his hand back to keep him quiet.

 

“Shhhh…” Louis coos just like Harry had a few days ago, and kisses his neck, Harry painfully hard in his hand.

 

Harry moans even louder and nibbles Louis’ fingers, earning a light bite on his neck and a firm pressure around his cock. Louis lets go of Harry’s mouth to massage his balls and Harry’s not too sure he’s supposed to feel this overwhelming warmth down his spine.

 

Just when he thinks he’ll have to just imagine Louis’ lips around him, the latter shifts his weight and settles between Harry’s legs, lifting them up so his feet are flat on the bed. He kisses Harry’s thighs and bites and sucks on a bruise, all whilst squeezing them and caressing them and stroking them and just making sure Harry can’t remember ever having someone touch him before that.

 

Louis walks his mouth along Harry’s length, making sure to keep eye contact, eyes glossy and lustful and soul wrecking.

 

He lets his upper lip drag against his hard-on to reach his balls. He takes them in his mouth one at a time and gets them slick before sucking Harry’s cock like he did the strawberry iced stick. He makes sure to repeat exactly what he had done that day at the beach and makes the same kissing noise he had for the candy.

 

He sucks a few more times before hollowing his cheeks as if to swallow, gluing his eyes on Harry’s when he takes him whole, moaning as he does, hair brushing against Harry’s pelvis.

 

Harry’s jaw drops when he sees his thick and hung cock entirely disappearing inside Louis’ mouth. He’s unable to think properly and just cups his cheek to wipe the saliva on it with his thumb, feeling every movement of Louis’ head bobbing up and down at a painful pace.

 

Anh…Mmh…F-…Hmmhm…” Harry bites his bottom lip to trap the noises he can’t control, and plays with Louis’ hair as he swallows him, looking beautiful drooling between his legs.

 

He considers being religious for a few seconds when he feels like he can literally hear God himself as he reaches the purest height, feeling dizzy from the stars behind his eyes, suddenly not so eager to question these.

 

“Oh God ! Jesus !” Harry hasn’t opened a Bible in ten years but all of a sudden he could list all the saints and describe exactly what Heaven looks like.

 

He can hear Louis moan even louder than him as he swallows every drop of cum, licking Harry’s wet head before wiping his lips.

 

Harry’s breathing is all over the place and he’s boiling and he can’t move a finger and he can’t stop sucking in his stomach to trap the feeling making his toes curl. He’s panting and just can’t bring himself to close his mouth when he drops his hand from Louis’ cheek to his thigh.

 

He’s barely able to move but still brings a hand to Louis’ sweatpants, only to feel them wet. He looks at him and Louis just shrugs with a ‘not my fault’ look and they both laugh, allowing Harry to drop his head back on his pillow and close his eyes as he tries to breathe normally again.

 

He doesn’t know what he does after that, doesn’t know what Louis does after that, doesn’t know in which country he is, what’s his family name or what makes two times one. He’s a mess, shattered on his bed, and all he can do is keep his eyes shut and his mouth wide open.

 

He opens his eyes to see a pitch black room with no sound whatsoever.

 

Louis is sleeping in his bed, pile of clothes next to it as usual. Harry sits up to see he’s tucked up under his comforter and he smiles at the thought of Louis pulling it to his chest to keep him warm, or just keep the room a bit more descent.

 

He gets up, thirsty like he’s been running a marathon. He slips into his sweats, no boxers needed, and ties it tight to keep it from getting too low and leave little to no mystery.

 

He walks to the kitchen and stops when he hears moans coming from it. He takes one more step to see his dad and Jay full on snogging against the fridge. He ‘s not sure how to respond and whether he should just grab his water on the bar and pretend he hasn’t seen anything, but then his dad lifts Jay up on the table and lifts her nightie to slip her panties and down and Harry covers his eyes and runs back upstairs, scarred.

 

“Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck…” He repeats on a loop as he walks. He bumps into Gemma in the hallway and she has to shake him to calm him down.

 

“What’s wrong ?!” She looks so worried Harry thinks he looks like he’s just seen a ghost.

 

“Dad and Jay and tongues and panties and old people having sex and-“ Harry vomits the words, making Gemma laugh.

 

“Well, at least some of us are getting some in here!” Gemma jokes but now is just not the time. “Be prepared to have babies added to the family !” She laughs and smacks his bum to push him towards his room but he wants to puke even more.

 

Babies. Des and Jay having children. Sharing siblings with Louis. Becoming Louis’ brother. Dying.

 

Harry’s about to explode and goes back to his room, unable to find a way to calm himself.

 

He spots Louis’ pack of cigarettes in his opened suitcase and checks if the lighter is inside – which is in fact there – and opens the window-door thingy, climbing out and closing behind him, leaning over the balcony to have a drag for the first time in five years. He had only ever smoked once to try and didn’t like it, but right now he felt like a burning throat would only match his fuming brain.

 

“Harry ?” Louis calls when Harry coughs loudly, walking out to lean next to him. “Into stealing now ?” He smirks and picks a cigarette for himself, making smoking a bit more acceptable suddenly.

 

“Sorry. Felt like I needed it.” Harry says, still trying to take a puff without choking.

 

“What’s up ?” Louis asks, walking closer to rest his hand on the small of Harry’s back and rub him with a thumb, and Harry wonders if he’ll ever feel cold again.

 

“Fuck, don’t do that…” Harry frowns, exhaling the smoke in the crisp air.

 

“What ?” Louis stops and turns to face him.

 

“We’re brothers Louis.” Harry says with a low and defeated voice, as if he wasn’t the one making Louis forget about that moments before. The latter doesn’t say anything and just smokes his cigarette, exhaling through his nose.

 

“We don’t share the same blood.”

 

“And ? Our parents are getting married and I just caught them trying to make their own kids.” Harry says with a repulsed face.

 

“What ?!” Louis sounds even more disgusted than Harry and he tries his best not to jump off that balcony. “That’s so…”

 

“I know !”

 

They both keep smoking in silence, thinking about how wrong this is, no matter how right it feels. They’re family, and if anyone finds out what’s been going on between them, they’d probably be forced to stay far away from each other and spend a lifetime pretending they’re nothing more than what they’re supposed to be.

 

“Why were you in London ?” Harry says when he takes a second cigarette out of the packet, trying to change the subject and push the thoughts away.

 

“What ?”

 

“You didn’t tell your mom you went to London and I’m curious.” Harry smiles, more relaxed after the fresh breeze and his burning breath.

 

“I’ve got mates there. My mom don’t like them because they’re quite the party animals, or atheist.” Louis lets the smoke out before continuing. “I go there sometimes to visit them, have fun somewhere no one can find out about my…whereabouts…and I get to be a bit more free…and myself.”

 

“Why don’t you just move there ?”

 

“I stayed in Manchester for uni and then felt responsible over my mom and sister. I was the only man they had in their life until a few months ago. Plus, I have my habits there. I have my friends and everyone knows me, so it’s easy I guess. It’s what I know.”

 

“Do they know you or the constipated saint ?” Harry grins and Louis kicks his shin, giggling nonetheless.

 

“The second one…”

 

“Does anyone know ?” Harry throws his cigarette butt under them, aiming for the small bin but reaching the breakfast table instead. Oh well.

 

“Only two people.” Louis throws his cigarette as well and mutters a ‘get in !’ when it falls right into the bin. “I was sneaking out with one of them and I sort of had a crush on the other and he found out.”

 

“How ?”

 

“I tried kissing him in the lockers…” Louis squints his eyes in shame and Harry chuckles, shaking his head in disapproval. “And…let’s just say he declined my offer. He was into guys but just not into me I guess.”

 

“He’s mad…” Harry says to himself and sees Louis smiling in the corner of his eyes so he clears his throat. “Any serious relationships after that ?”

 

“Not really, no. I did sort of date the guy I was sneaking out with for about four months, but I’d rather not remember him to be honest. He was a complete arse. Not to mention how tiring it was to make excuses for my mom and stuff. He broke up with me saying he couldn’t handle hiding himself.” Louis says with a weak voice.

 

After a rather long silence filled with unspoken concerns, Louis tried to create some sort of heat by wrapping his arms around his bare chest, but still shivered.

 

“Let’s go inside.” Harry suggests and Louis nodded before stepping back in.

 

Harry slid under his comforter and eyed Louis sitting on his bed, not really motivated to lay there. He smiled to himself and stretched his arm, patting the spot next to him. Louis grinned happily like a cute child and tucked himself under the comforter, Harry immediately wrapping his whole body around him, creating enough heat for way more than two people.

 

“What about you ? Ever had a serious relationship ?” Louis asks, turning to face Harry, hands under his cheek on the pillow.

 

“I did. But it was kind of a nightmare. It lasted for a year on and off, I thought the way he treated me was a proof of love at the time. Then I learned I was just justifying moral abuse. So…yeah.”

 

“How long ago ?” Louis asked with a worried frown.

 

“Ended in December.”

 

“Why the universe ?” Louis asks when Harry’s smile fades at the memory of nights spent worrying about someone that didn’t deserve it.

 

“Where to begin !” Harry beams at the question as if he hadn’t been on the verge of crying. “I mean…You probably don’t want to know everything but…” He tries to contain the excitement he always gets from talking about science, too used to everyone mocking him for being a nerd.

 

“Tell me.” Louis smiles, crinkles forming by his eyes.

 

“Really ?” Harry pinches his bottom lip with his fingers to contain his joy.

 

Louis nods and tangles his feet with Harry’s under the cover, and Harry’s more than happy to warm his rather cold feet tickling him.

 

“Well, I think it’s much more than just science and particles you know ? The universe and everything that comes with it can often be applied to life. I just love learning about how it works, how waves behave and travel among us, or how the different dimensions determine our everyday life and if we already know everything about them... I mean, is time just a concept ? Is there another temporal dimension we haven’t discovered yet that could allow us to not only move forward in time but also move backwards and just…go back ?”

 

Harry’s smile weakens at that. He closes his eyes at the rushing thoughts in his mind, because he really wishes he could go back.

 

He’d love to go back and redo that stupid exam. He’d love to go back and ignore that douchebag of a boyfriend or just never cross his path…But above all, he just wishes he could go back and keep his mom with him. Because if he could go back, then maybe he’d be able to warn her that the car behind them is going too fast.

 

He tries hard but can’t help the tear sliding down his cheek, feeling that moment all over again. Louis wipes it with his thumb and tucks his hair behind his ear. He reaches between them without asking anything and tangles his fingers with Harry’s. He brings his knuckles to his lips, applying a gentle pressure as he quietly sobs.

 

“What would you change if you could go back?” Louis asks as if he’s aware of what Harry’s thinking about.

 

“A lot.” Harry says, opening his reddening eyes. “The way I treated my mom, the people I chose to care bout, the things I’ve ruined…”

 

“Would you change this…?” Louis whispers, not looking at Harry anymore as he brings their hands against his chest.

 

Harry wonders if he’d change this if he could. What if he could keep his dad from meeting Jay or if he could take another wagon or stop in another coffee shop or party in another pub... He thinks about what would’ve happened – or rather what wouldn’t have happened - if he could make sure Louis never walked into his life.

 

And it just makes his answer very clear.

 

“No.”