When Louis walked into the house after working his third double-shift in a row, he could tell before the door was even shut completely that something wasn’t right. There wasn’t the pitter-patter of feet racing to be the first one at the door, nor was there a solid warm weight pressed against his shins, like when Simba said welcome home.
For a minute, Louis starts to panic, trying to think if he was supposed to meet his family somewhere for dinner like they’ve done in the past on Friday nights but he keeps drawing a blank. So with a deep breath he sets his brief-case down in the coat closet and sluggishly makes his way further into the house pulling petulantly at the knot of his tie.
Just as he’s settled down on the couch with a large mug of tea, hand poised on the remote to flip on the footie game, he sees the note. There’s no doubt in his mind that it’s from Harry, his husbands neat, loopy scrawl a dead give-away. After safely placing the tea down on one of the coasters he reaches out to the coffee table and picks it up frowning at what it says.
“Call me when you see this. –H”
“What the fu-” Louis frowns stopping himself from cursing then bitterly realizing the kids are with Harry so he’s in the clear. Louis gets up and walks back into the kitchen in search of his phone while his mind plays out all the worst case scenarios that could’ve taken place and is the reason his husband is out somewhere leaving anxiety inducing notes on their coffee table.
“Hello?” He hears sighed out, almost as if wherever he is Harry was fast asleep and was woken up by his phones ringtone. That just seems to make Louis more upset, it’s not like his stomach is sick with worry or anything.
“Harry where are you? Where are the kids?” Louis says calmly trying to continue breathing like a normal human being.
“I took them away for the long weekend. We’ll be back on Sunday hopefully before noon, since they still have school on Monday.” Harry answers much more alert than when he originally answered the phone.
And, how dare him. They had planned to spend this whole weekend together as a family, considering the twins have been down right begging to go pumpkin picking for the past month. They could only use the excuse that the farms weren’t open until all their classmates started sharing the stories from their own adventures to the farms.
“What the fuck do you mean? Why the fuck would you-”
“Louis. I’ve told you countlessly to stop talking to me like that. Enough with the bullshit. You know exactly why I’m here with them.” Harry starts raising his voice before taking a deep breath and starting again. “You’ve been nothing but a complete arsehole to me for the past month, I don’t want to have to keep telling our thirteen year old sons that ‘of course we still love each other, you don’t have to worry about us' because I’m just as scared as they are!”
“Harry!” Louis shouted to get the younger lad to stop rambling. “Can you quit with all these dramatics and riddles and just tell me why you left?” Louis says exasperatedly.
He hears Harry take a deep, shuddering breath before answering, obviously thinking of how to respond which makes him nervous. “Last night you came home drunk from that dinner party your boss had and begged me to go back with you. I said no, it was a school night and I obviously can’t drink considering I’m pregnant and I didn’t really want to deal with your drunk ass, because I was- I am so exhausted. And you had a complete strop, worse than any of our kids have ever had. You yelled all this awful shit at me and then stormed out of the house. I’m not repeating any of what you said because frankly I cannot believe you even thought to say any of those things and I hope, I pray to god that you feel guilty over-” Harry’s voice gets gradually choppier as he fights to keep his emotions in line and Louis can’t help but let out a quiet whimper as everything from last night come flooding back to him.
**The Previous Night**
“Harry!!” Louis yelled slurring the name itself as he toppled over in the entry way, looking up when he heard the man in question come running down the stairs.
“Louis, what the fuck!” Harry gasped, any sleepiness that was in him left as soon as he saw the older boy slumped against the closed front door. “C’mon babe let’s get you to bed, yeah?” He said slowly crouching down to the ground, carefully avoiding his bump as he tried to help his husband get back to his feet.
“H, the party is so sick!” Louis yelled wrapping his arms around the younger boys neck trying to pull him towards the door.
“Lou-Louis stop! It’s one in the morning and I have to be up to help the kids get ready for school in a couple of hours. Stop fighting me and go upstairs, I think you’ve had plenty.” Harry reasons, slowly disentangling himself when Louis starts to flail his arms, wrapping his own arms over his stomach protectively.
That when Louis’ memory gets a little foggy, he can only remember the sound of Harry gasping back a sob and the slam of the front door after he screamed complete bullshit at his husband for no reason.
“Harry- Baby I’m so sorry!” Louis gasps out feeling his throat tighten with emotion. “Love please come home, I-I baby come home, please..” he begs brokenly feeling his face getting wet, and then realizing he’s crying.
“No, I’m staying where I am for the weekend. This isn’t just about last night Louis,” Harry sniffles but keeps going. “You’ve been a dick to me for weeks now, maybe even a month and it’s just- you can’t get away with that. I’m not even mad, I just- my feelings are hurt Louis. And if I come home now you’ll say all the right things to make me forgive you. But I don’t want that to happen.” He takes another shuddering breath, and Louis’ heart breaks the more time goes on that Harry doesn’t start speaking again. “I want you to actually try and fix this, not just sweet talk me into forgiving you again.”
“Baby, I’ll do anything-”
“We both wanted this baby Louis and that’s why we started to try again, but ever since I told you that I was pregnant again you’ve been getting more distant with me every single day. I’m scared Louis, you’ve got two days to figure out how you’re going to prove it to me that you actually want this. Want her. Fuck, want us.” Harry whimpered. “Please. Don’t call me after we hang up. I need some time alone to think and I want to focus on my family. I promise you’ll see us on Saturday.”
It’s almost as if their heavy breathing is in sync with each other at this point. At some point he managed to slide down against the wall and hug his knees to his chest, only holding himself together at this point with threads that he almost misses Harry saying a very quiet, shaky, “Love you, Lou.” Before the line went dead.
The weekend dragged on, and Louis never liked to waste a minute of time that could be spent lying around and catching up on the telly but he couldn’t sit still. It was impossible, really. He spent the whole of Saturday calling Harry’s mobile, but the younger lad let it go through to voicemail, every single time. It had to have been call number fifty that finally sent the younger lad over the edge because he had picked up it only to hiss, “Louis the kids know what your ringtone is and you need to stop. I told you I needed some time to myself. Stop calling me.” before the line went dead again.
So, needless to say that by Sunday afternoon Louis was exhausted. Sleeping without his husband cuddled up to him is just out of the question because you can’t break a sixteen year old habit cold turkey.
Louis had just settled in on the couch with his third cup of tea when he heard a key in the lock- he has never moved more quickly in his whole life. The first he sees is Emilia, who’s carrying Simba in her arms with a Tomlinson pout etched onto her pretty face, but the second the ten year old sees him a grin erupts over her features. He smiles back at her and opens his arms so she can run and jump up burying her face in his neck.
“Papa.” She says simply, almost like a sigh while she cuddles impossibly closer to her father.
“Hi, love.” He answers back quietly tightening his arms around his little girl, never wanting to let go again. “Did you have a nice weekend at Nan’s?”
“Mhmm, we made loooads of cookies and Robin kept trying to steal them when Nan wasn’t looking.” She giggled, pulling her face out of his neck to grin up at him.
They caught up for a few more minutes until she declared she needed the toilet and wiggled out of his arms taking off into the house. The next person in line was Nick, who more or less catapulted his scrawny body into Louis’ torso successfully startling and knocking the wind out of him. At seeing this, Ben copied his brother and the three of them ended up on the floor.
“For goodness sakes,” Louis groaned out whilst pulling his boys closer to him. Since they were thirteen now, getting any sort of affection out of them was an extreme rarity. No matter what time it is nowadays you accept the cuddles with a smile on your face.
Once he shooed them off with a promise of a footie game in the back garden after lunch he dusted himself off and made his way to the door in search of a curly haired man. He heard him before he spotted them and even though their relationship was strained at the moment, just hearing his voice a smile made its way to his face.
“Hi, love…” Louis said cautiously when the man in question finally stepped into the entryway. Louis walked over quickly and took the bags off of Harry’s shoulder setting them against the wall before timidly looking back up into green eyes. “I missed you.” He said quietly.
Louis watched with bated breath as Harry bit his lip looking down quick before walking quickly to Louis, burying his face in his neck much like Emilia had done moments before. Louis let out a relieved sigh and wrapped his arms around him, holding him as close and tight as possible with the baby bump in between them. He buried his nose into Harry’s curls letting the familiar sent calm him down until he felt a wet spot start growing on his shoulder.
“Baby..” Louis frowned pulling his face back to look at Harry, frowning even more when he saw tear tracks down his pale cheeks. “Honey why are you crying? What’s wrong?” Louis asked gently, rubbing the pads of his thumbs across to collect all the tears.
“I’m so sorry Lou-” Harry whimpered, and when he saw Louis open his mouth to protest he quickly started to talk again. “This weekend was hell. The boys missed you and I think they’re a little mad at me for making them go to my mum’s house all weekend without you but I was just so hurt and scared I needed to clear my head.” He took another shuddering breath, resting his forehead on Louis’ shoulder. “My morning sickness is back again and you weren’t there and I’ve never felt so alone! I’m so sorry for saying you didn’t love me or want the baby I know that would never be true. I’m just a hormonal arsehole.” He all but sniffled out, trying to press himself even closer to the older lad than he already was.
“Harry,” Louis said sadly, rubbing Harry’s back in long motions trying to help the younger lad even out his breathing. “You and I both know that none of that stuff is true. I’m not mad at you, I’m the biggest asshole that ever walked this planet. I shouldn’t have put all that stress on you with you being five months pregnant, I should never put that much stress on you regardless if you’re pregnant or not,” he quickly corrected himself. “I’m giving you every right H to slap me upside the head if I ever start being an ass hole to you again, okay?” Louis murmured smiling when he heard a small, watery giggle coming from his neck.
“I just, you get so mean and nasty when you’re stressed out and you try to lock yourself away to deal with it by yourself but I miss you when it happens.” Harry explained circling his arms around Louis’ waist and fisting his t-shirt in his hands, almost like he would be afraid to let go.
Louis frowned at hearing that, they’ve been together for sixteen years, living together for most of it, Harry should never be missing him. Hell he should be annoyed he sees his face so much. “Baby, I’m going to give Zayn a call and see if the kids can go over for the afternoon, and then me and you can have some ‘us’ time yeah? Let me make you feel good, I haven’t in a while.” He says bitterly at himself for not taking care of Harry the way he deserves.
Once Harry nodded in agreement things moved along quickly. Louis set him up on the couch with the remote and a cup of herbal tea, making sure to put the small pillow behind his back so it wouldn’t start to ache while he made the phone call to Liam and Zayn. They happily agreed to take the kids for the afternoon, Liam having heard all the struggles from Harry on their lunch dates. Once Louis hung the phone up he went about packing the twins and Emilia a bag with a change of clothes, it didn’t matter there were ten and thirteen they still somehow managed to always gets their clothes dirty wherever they went.
“Alright please be good for your uncles and be kind to Jax alright?” he said crouching in front of the three of them. “Alright go say goodbye to Daddy.” He said once they all nodded and gave him a hug. He watched them all trot off to the living room feeling the brown eyes boring a hole into the side of his face. “Liam..” he sighed quietly knowing the younger lad was right pissed at him.
“Don’t Liam me, Louis. I will not listen to my best friend sobbing on the phone to me about how his husband doesn’t love him anymore. And I know that by us taking you’re obviously working on it, but I swear to God if you don’t fix this then-” Liam’s voice gradually got lower and it was actually starting to scare Louis when Zayn quickly stepped in.
“Alright killer, calm down.” Zayn chuckled quietly wrapping an arm around his husband to comfort him, but also to hold him back just in case. “We both know Louis is a right idiot but at least he can admit when he’s been wrong,” Liam was about to protest when Zayn covered his mouth gently and kept talking, “it takes him an embarrassingly long time but he knows when he needs to fix something. I think Louis is done being stupid. Right Lou?” Zayn said arching a single dark eyebrow.
“Yeah, I am. And please Li if I ever get like that again, which I won’t but if by the slightest chance that it happens you have every right to come and slap me, multiple times.” Louis said playing with his fingers, feeling strangely close to crying.
Liam let out a long sigh and stepped forward slowly putting his arms around Louis. “Come on Lou, you don’t want the kids to see you upset yeah? Just make it up to Harry, okay? I hate to see him sad because he loves you so much.”
“I will, I promise I will.” Louis mumbled into Liam’s shoulder.
Hours later when Harry is lying in the middle of their bed, completely naked and bones full with jelly he rolls himself over to press against Louis’ sweaty side. “I love you, and even though this weekend has been rough it will never change how I feel about you okay? You’re it for me, yeah?” he mumbles pressing a kiss to Louis’ pulse point.
Louis smiles with his eyes closed and tightens his arms around Harry. “I’ve loved you since I was eighteen, and it’s only gotten more intense every day that I spend with you-” Harry makes a gagging sound into his neck but Louis keeps talking, ignoring him. “I love you for giving me three beautiful children, almost four. I love you for doing everything you can to make things easier for all of us by trying to take everyone’s stress and putting it on yourself. But most importantly I love you for loving me; it still boggles my mind that I found someone who accepted all my strengths and all my weaknesses with open arms. I honestly never thought I’d get so lucky th- Harry I’m having a moment here confessing my deep love for you and you’re licking my neck would you quit it!” Louis yelled laughing hysterically, trying to squirm away.
“Babe you know how much I love you but that was a little too cheesy for me, and that’s saying something.” Harry giggled, holding Louis’ face in his hands pulling him close to press a few kisses to his lips.
“You’ve rubbed off on me, what can I say.” Louis mumbled suppressing his smile so he could press another kiss to Harry’s plump lips. “It was inevitable really, it had to happen sometime.
Hours later when Liam and Zayn are walking up to the front door Liam stops and turns to face the three children. “Alright so Daddy and Papa might be asleep so let’s walk in very quietly, yeah?” he says picking up Emilia when he sees her rubbing her own eyes. He follows behind his husband leading the twins and glances around nervously, not wanting the kids to see their father naked or in compromising positions.
“Well they’re asleep, thank god they got dressed first.” Zayn chuckles coming out from the living room. Liam smiles and peaks his head in, his grin widening when he sees Harry across the couch with the throw blanket covering him to his chin, and his head nestled in Louis lap leaning towards his stomach. Louis himself has one hand buried in Harry’s curls and the other resting on Harry’s bump. His head was tilted on his shoulder with a distinct line of drool going down his chin.
“Jesus,” he laughed heading back to the kitchen “Let’s just pack them a bag and they can spend the night with us.” He says quietly, eyes widening when he spots the three backpacks already in line by the table.
“I’m just writing those two a note so they don’t panic later on.” Zayn laughs shaking his head at his husband.
“Please Zayn, have you met Harry?” Liam laughed. “He’s going to panic anyway.”
Later on when Louis wakes up in a panic, he’s disoriented for a few moments until he sees the post it note stuck to Harry’s forehead.
“They’re with us for the night. Enjoy. Xx”
Louis smiles down at Zayn’s messy writing while gently running his hand through Harry’s curls trying to wake him up. He doesn’t want to, but he knows is he doesn’t Harry’s back will ache all day tomorrow. “C’mon lovey lets go upstairs to bed.” He whispers leaning down to press gentle kisses all over the younger lad’s face.
“Where are the kids?” Harry sighs out trying to press his face further into Louis’ stomach.
“Zayn and Liam kept them for the night, we should probably buy them dinner for all this.” Louis explains, tugging on a particularly springy curl.
It takes Harry a few minutes to process exactly what Louis said but when it finally dawns on him that they have the house to themselves he springs up (or as fast as he can with a bowling ball sitting on his stomach) and looks at Louis with a cheeky glint in his eyes. “Why are we still sitting down here then?” he asks leaning over to press a hard kiss to Louis’ lips. “Grab us a snack and meet me upstairs, we’re going to need an energy boost later.” He says biting his lip to stop from smiling. Once he’s up on his feet he looks at Louis once before going upstairs.
Louis sits in shock for only thirty seconds before he jumps up and runs. Before opening the bedroom door he takes his phone out to text Zayn a simple “Thank you. xx” before silencing his phone and stepping into their bedroom, excited for whatever Harry has in store for them.