Harry knows that he's not being fair.
He fucking knows that it's not Louis' fault that he has to go out on one of his sanctioned Eleanor dates tonight, but that doesn't stop Harry from avoiding Louis all evening by hiding out in his own hotel room. He can't help it if he's not in the mood to sit in the background as Louis gets ready, unwilling to watch Louis fuss with his hair until perfectly swooped, or smell him as he spritzes on Harry's favourite cologne, or listen to him answer the door with an exuberant, “Hello, darling!” when she shows up, an almost apologetic look on her face when she spies Harry sitting there.
Harry's a bit of a possessive bastard on a good day, but normally he's okay with this little “arrangement” they have set up, because he knows that it's best for the band right now. Nothing is truly happening between Louis and Eleanor, Harry knows this, but he still hates seeing pictures of them splashed everywhere, holding hands as they waltz out of a restaurant, or from a store weighed down by bags of things that Louis has bought for her. He's especially frustrated that he's barely had any time alone with Louis while they've been on tour in America, especially with the unexpected trips out Eleanor has made recently.
Of course, Harry's unbelievably grateful for all the wonderful things that have happened to them since their time on the X Factor, but he's learnt that his fantasy of fame is much different than the reality. He's always been an open book and it's difficult for him to exercise restraint, especially when it comes to Louis, who he can barely stand not to touch every two seconds if they're in the same room.
Harry shakes his head, angry with himself for caring so much about this stupid fake date. Feelings of annoyance have been poking at him all day and he’s just about reached his threshold. He's annoyed at having to hide this wonderful part of his life from the world, with Louis for going along with it all and with Eleanor for getting to walk around in public with his bloody boyfriend. When they spoke earlier, he told Louis that he'd stay at the hotel, waiting for him to get back, but Harry's skin is crawling with nervous energy. There's no way he'll be able to stay in tonight without going mental.
First, he considers calling one of the boys to see if they’d like to have dinner, but they'll see right through him, Liam especially. Tonight he’d rather go out and forget about the fact that he can't be with the boy he loves more than anything. He wants to have some fun.
As if on cue, his cell phone buzzes with a text.
Anyone fancy a drink in town? Meeting friends in an hour.
It's from Laura, one of Caroline’s assistants. Harry remembers hearing her talk about people she knows here, friends who studied at Oxford for a semester, but live in Los Angeles. His phone quickly buzzes with negative responses from most of the recipients, most importantly Niall, Liam and Zayn. Laura's a fun girl and this might be the perfect way to distract himself tonight. A small smile makes its way across Harry's face as he writes back.
Where shall I meet u?
They hop into a cab about an hour later, Harry ignoring the buzz of his mobile in his pocket, probably a message from Louis checking in. He'll deal with it later, maybe text back once they arrive at their destination. Clearing his throat, he asks Laura to tell him a bit about these friends of hers. She explains that they met in a philosophy class and she was somehow tricked into showing them the sights of London.
“I imagine a boy had something to do with this trickery,” Harry comments. “Are you looking to get shagged tonight?” he asks, waggling his eyebrows at her.
Laura's cheeks pink and she hits him in the shoulder. “Oh, shut it, Styles.”
The cab turns onto a lively street, and peering out the window, Harry quickly realizes why. The sidewalk is packed with couples walking hand in hand, and rainbow flags hang from the streetlamps. The cab slows and he turns to Laura with a confused look on his face. “Are we going to a gay bar?”
Laura, who had been furiously texting, looks up from her phone, eyebrows pinched together. The cab has stopped just in front of a bar proudly proclaiming to be called Trunks, in rainbow lettering no less. “Oh, shit.” She giggles at the name of the bar while Harry gives her a pointed look. “Well, we're not meeting them here! It's a place called The Abbey.”
The cab driver interrupts. “Abbey's right across the street, guys.”
A concerned look crosses Laura's face. “Is this alright, Harry? Can't say I'm completely surprised that this is what they picked, but it honestly didn't cross my mind that they might choose a gay bar.”
Harry laughs. “No, no s'fine. I just hope the guy you planned to shag tonight isn't the one who picked the venue.”
She brings her finger to her chin in thought. “Come to think of it, he tried really hard to convince me to let him put it in my arse back at school.” Harry's mouth drops open in horror. Not that Laura's a picture of innocence, but still...
She gives him another shove before gesturing to the cab driver. “I'm joking, Harry! Now pay the man so we can find out who gets more numbers stuffed into their pockets tonight.”
Harry tosses the driver a twenty and they climb out of the car. He takes a long look around, before realising there might be a problem. “Laura? D’ya think I'll be able to get in?”
She laughs and winds her arm around his elbow. “Not to worry, dear. It doesn't turn into a proper club until after dinner and we're eating first, so they shouldn’t check your I.D. at the door.”
“Looks like you've got it covered, sweetheart.” He gives Laura a wink and they make their way to the bar.
Several hours later, Harry's dancing with Laura and her friends, body loose with alcohol. Her friends had been quite welcoming and they've done a wonderful job of keeping him distracted with a steady supply of drinks. The dance floor is packed with people and all of them are covered in at least one layer of sweat. More than a few guys have doffed their shirts, tucking them into the back pocket of their trousers and Harry follows suit, always preferring nudity if given the option.
Harry knows he's not the best dancer in the world, his long limbs awkward when he flings them about, but he lets himself get lost in the music, jumping around the dance floor. He waves at Laura, who in turn, gives him a thumbs up sign. His chest tightens at the sight of it and just like that, he remembers that he's here, alone, while the love of his life is out on a romantic date.
The song ends and the DJ slows the tempo of the music. Half of the group heads to the bar for another round, but Harry opts to stay, preferring to be alone with this quick hitting wave of melancholy. Head falling forward he lets his body sway to the beat, and from the corner of his eye, he catches sight of two men dancing quite intimately. The couple look lovely together, both long and lean, one slightly taller than the other, their bodies fitting together just right. Harry suddenly wishes that Louis were here with him so much that it hurts.
He's jealous, because he knows that they might not have the chance to do that for a long time, if ever. They've promised each other that they won't stay hidden in the closet forever, but it's so much easier to say when there aren't other people’s lives to consider. It’s hard sometimes, shouldering all this responsibility at his age.
Shaking the thoughts from his head, he closes his eyes again and drags his hand down his chest and across his stomach pretending it's Louis. His other hand runs through his hair, brushing the limp curls off his forehead. He imagines Lou behind him, hands on his hips as they move with the music, teasing him as they dance.
A bare muscled chest brushes against his back, snapping him out of his fantasy. Spinning around, he sees that it belongs to one of the guys he was watching earlier. “Er, sorry, I'm uh...” He doesn't really know what he's going to say to the guy, but the appearance of the guy's dance partner distracts him.
“Don’t be nervous, gorgeous, we just noticed you watching us earlier and,” he looks over at his partner before continuing, “well, we thought you might like to dance?” Harry knows this is a terrible idea. He knows it with every single fiber of his being, but still finds himself nodding his head yes.
The guys keep a respectful distance from Harry at first, but are still playful with each other, and watching them makes Harry's body begin to fill with longing. He wants to feel wanted, not cast aside, like some kind of inconvenience. Moving forward, he lets his legs bump into theirs, as if on accident, but everyone knows that it's not. The taller boy turns toward him, wrapping his arm around Harry's waist and he feels another hand come from behind and settle onto his hip. Everyone in place, they begin to move together, in tune with the thumping bass line.
As the next song comes on, the men inch closer and closer until their bodies are all pressed tightly together. A small voice in the back of his head chastises him, but Harry shakes it away as a thigh presses between his legs. His head lolls back against the other boy's shoulder, and from there, hands start to move across his skin, touching all over his body. He knows just how much he's wanted here, can feel the evidence pressed against him from in front and behind, and it feels good.
“There you are!” Harry's head snaps up and Laura grabs onto his arm, pulling him from between the writhing bodies. “Sorry, lads, got to get this one home. Hope you had a lovely dance!” Harry lifts his hand in a halfhearted wave and reaches for his shirt, pulling it over his head as Laura leads him to the exit.
She hails a cab and as he slides into the seat, Harry starts to feel a little woozy and lets his head rest against the window. “You all right, sweetheart?” she asks, leaning toward him.
“Yeah,” he responds, “just maybe a bit too much to drink,” lifting his thumb and forefinger up to indicate how much.
Laura giggles. “Well did you have a nice time?” she asks.
“Yeah, yeah, it was great. Thanks for bringing me along.” She pats his thigh and leans her head onto his shoulder. He's grateful that the rest of the drive to the hotel is silent.
Back at his room, it takes Harry three tries to get the hotel keycard to slide into its slot properly. He leans against the door after the handle clicks unlocked, letting his weight push it open. Tripping over his feet a little, Harry is surprised to hear Louis' voice.
“Where've you been, Harry?” His voice is tinged with hurt, and Harry remembers the texts he didn't answer, the texts he stopped reading once he made his way to the dance floor.
Guilt curls in his gut, and Harry feels the alcohol he drank earlier slosh dangerously in his stomach. “Out,” he answers, tongue feeling thick in his mouth.
“Out,” Louis repeats back to him, flatly.
Harry clears his throat. “Mmm-hmm. With Laura. Met some of her friends at a bar.” Harry wishes he wasn't slurring, and that he weren't quite so drunk right now.
Louis comes padding across the floor behind him. “Met some of her friends at a bar? How much did you fucking drink Hazza? Is there any alcohol left in that place?”
Louis’ trying to make a joke out of it, prepared to ignore Harry’s inconsiderate behaviour, but before he can stop himself Harry spits out, “Well, not all of us had a romantic date planned tonight, so I had to find something else to do.”
His outburst is met with silence.
“What are you doing here, Lou?” he asks, weariness creeping into his voice.
Louis walks up to him, face just inches away from Harry’s, voice no longer light. “You gave me a fucking key, Harry. Remember? So I could let myself in as soon as I was done having to parade around in front of the paparazzi? Or did you forget about all that while you were out, getting pissed off your tit?”
“Piss off, Lou,” Harry mumbles, moving to get a bottle of water from the minibar.
Louis snatches his wrist before he can take a step, leaning in and sniffing at Harry; his eyes narrow. “What's that smell, Harry?”
“Dunno.” Harry's eyebrows knit together in confusion, unsure of what Louis is referring to.
“What were you doing tonight?”
Harry tries to shake Louis’ hand off him, but he holds tight. “I told you, I went dancing.”
“That's not what you said. Who were you dancing with? Laura?”
“Yeah,” Harry responds, unable to meet Louis' eye. “And some guys, too. It was a gay bar.” It isn't worth trying to lie, pictures could contradict his story too easily. The dance floor was dark and if anything came out in public, Harry could easily deny that it's him, but Louis would know. He doesn't particularly want to lie about it, anyway. He wants Louis to feel jealous, or angry, or anything that shows he gives a fuck about what Harry does.
Louis’ grip tightens around Harry's wrist. When Harry can't stand the quiet anymore he looks up, not sure what to expect. Louis' lips are pressed together in a thin line, as if trying to hold his words inside, and his eyes are absolutely livid. Harry hates himself a little when this makes him feel happy inside.
Louis' voice is tight when he begins to speak. “That's pretty fucked, Harry. I go on these stupid dates and smile for the fucking cameras, while you're out dancing with strange men? Letting them put their hands all over you, so you stink like their cheap fucking cologne?” Louis takes a deep breath, trying to calm himself down, but it doesn't seem to work. “Are you that big of a slag, Harry? It doesn't matter whose cock it is, as long as it's fucking your arse?”
His words hit Harry like a punch to the gut. “Fuck, Lou, it was just dancing,” he says, even though it's not entirely true. Needing to get away, he yanks his arm from Louis' grasp. “I'm gonna take a shower.”
He pushes past Louis, slamming the bathroom door behind him before peeling off his sweaty clothes. He turns the shower tap to lukewarm before stepping in and holding his head under the spray, letting the water rinse through his hair. He knows it's wrong, but he can't help but feel somewhat satisfied by Louis’ jealousy.
The shower curtain pulls open behind him and Harry turns his head, even though he knows it won't be anyone but Louis. He steps in and Harry feels a pair of arms wrap around his waist, Lou's shorter frame fitting against his back.
Louis leans in, close to Harry’s ear. “I'm sorry, love, I didn’t mean it,” he whispers.
Harry's whole body relaxes in response, his arms folding over Louis'. “I wished it was you. I wanted for it to be you.”
Louis' arms squeeze tighter around his midsection and he presses his lips to Harry's shoulder. “I know, sweetheart.”
Harry turns around, tucking his face into Louis' neck. “I just...”
“Shhhh,” Louis quiets him, running his fingers through Harry's wet strands of hair. He reaches past Harry's shoulder, picking up the soap from its ceramic holder and lathering it between his palms before massaging the suds into Harry’s shoulders. Harry groans and presses his lips to Louis' neck as Louis washes the sweat and club grime from his skin.
“Turn around,” Louis says, and Harry slowly shuffles around in the confined space until his back is turned to Louis. Louis reaches for the shampoo, pouring a little into his palm and washing it through Harry's curls. He lathers his hands again with the soap and presses them to Harry's stomach, cleaning across Harry's chest and under his arms.
By the time Louis reaches his hips, Harry’s half hard from feeling Louis’ hands over his skin. It’s so much better than the way the boys in the club pawed at him, and he can feel the love behind every single one of Louis’ touches. Louis wraps his hand around Harry's length, stroking him lazily and Harry purrs, “Feels good, Lou,” his voice low and gravelly.
Louis stills him with a hand to his hip and whispers, “Meet me in bed, yeah?” He steps out of the shower and Harry listens to him fumble around the bathroom for a moment before the door opens and closes again. Harry turns the water off and steps out himself, wiping down with a towel that he tosses in the corner when he's finished. Biting his lip, he briefly considers the lube sitting on the counter before squeezing some onto his fingers, stretching himself quickly. He isn’t quite sure what Louis has in mind, but Harry has an overwhelming urge to feel as close to him as possible.
Grabbing the lube, he opens the door and finds Louis stretched out across the bed, his tan skin a stark contrast to clean white hotel linens. Harry crosses the room and climbs onto the bed, settling between Louis’ legs and pressing a soft kiss to his lips. Slowly moving down his body, Harry pauses briefly to kiss and lick his favourite parts of Louis: his neck and collarbone, his sensitive nipples and then finally, his stomach, sucking an angry mark into the skin next to his belly button.
Harry licks down to the juncture of Louis' thigh, sucking another mark into the skin there. Louis lets out a shuddering breath, thighs spreading slightly to give him more room, and Harry sucks each of his balls into his mouth before flicking his tongue against the sensitive skin behind them.
“Fuck, babe,” Louis moans, back arching slightly.
Harry shifts up onto his hands and knees and leans his head down, sucking the tip of Louis' cock into his mouth. He bobs his head up and down, just a few times before unsnapping the top of the lube and squeezing some into his palm. He adds his slick hand to the base, moving it in time with his mouth and feels Louis grip a tight handful of Harry's locks.
Placing a kiss to the leaking tip, Harry shuffles up onto his knees, straddling Louis' hips. He grasps Louis' cock, holding it straight as he sinks down carefully, enjoying the stretch of being filled. They stopped using condoms recently, and it's still a novel feeling for Harry to feel Louis inside him without any barriers.
“Sneaky,” Louis whispers, his breath hitching. Harry can feel Louis’ muscles clenching underneath him, sees his hands fisting the blanket as he fights to stay still while Harry adjusts to his size. When he’s ready, Harry pushes his hips forward slightly to let Louis know.
Their bodies rock together, slowly at first, and then faster, until Louis pulls Harry toward him and flips them over. Harry groans out Louis' name, low and dirty, when Louis pushes inside him again. Wrapping his arms under Harry's shoulders, Louis presses his lips against Harry's, whispering, “I love you,” against his mouth.
“I know,” Harry responds, locking eyes with Louis before pleasure crashes through his body.
After, they curl up together, Harry's longer frame tucked against Louis' side as Louis runs his fingers through Harry's curls. Harry feels Louis’ chest expand underneath his head as he takes a deep breath. “I'll tell them to stop, with Eleanor, if you want.” His whisper sounds loud against the quiet and Harry lets out a sigh. This isn't the first time they've had this conversation.
“No,” Harry responds. “It's just... it really got to me today, dunno why.”
Louis squeezes his arms around Harry, holding him tightly. “I know, babe, but it's not forever, yeah? I promise it won't be this way forever.”
Harry snuggles in closer to Louis. Tonight the promise is enough.