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who we are from the start

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Louis’ due date is just over a week away and he’s over this whole pregnancy. This time around things have been at least ten times worse, but he’s trying his best to stay optimistic. It’s hard though, with an aching back and swollen ankles and a nightmare of a baby who’s kicked him so hard he’s cried.

They’re having a girl this time around, something that Louis is thrilled about. Harry is nervous, only having grown up with a single sister, but Louis has assured him it’s going to be fine.

~*~
Louis is sitting on the couch, Elias and Yves curled up next to him while Finding Nemo played on the tv. If it were up to him, he’d still be at work, teaching right up to his due date. Harry didn’t want that, so the two compromised and decided Louis would start paternity leave two weeks before his due date. It’s been a week and he’s bored and exhausted. Harry was switched to teach night classes, so he’s only gone for about three hours a night at the studio he owns. Louis is grateful to have a spouse as flexible as Harry is… in more ways than one.

The front door opens a little past six, letting Louis know that Harry is back with their dinner. He was craving Italian, and had cried until Harry agreed to pick some up on a Friday night. Elias’ head turns and he looks at the door expectedly.

“Dada!” Elias calls out.

It’s crazy how big he’s gotten, Louis thinks. At a year and nine months, he’s an absolute devil, with a smile as mischievous as Louis’ and a personality so charming it challenges Harry. His hair has no sign of curl in it yet, but his eyes are a deep shade of green. Yves and Elias are still best friends, and it’s funnier now that Elias can walk, because he tries to pick Yves up and pull him around. Yves mostly just dangles in Elias’ arms but doesn’t show any discomfort, so Harry and Louis just take a lot of pictures and laugh.

“Is dada home?” Louis asks his son, who nods and starts to clamber off the couch. Harry enters the room just as Elias’ tiny feet hit the wooden floor.

“Dada!” Elias shrieks and goes running to him. Harry hugs him as if he’s afraid to hurt him, a special glint in his eyes.

“Elias, go tell Daddy how much you love him and give him lots of kisses.” Harry says. Elias looks confused but climbs back on the couch to smack his lips against Louis’.

“Luh dada.” Elias grins.

“Love you too, pumpkin.” Louis turns to Harry. “What did you do?”

Harry shrugs, a sheepish smile on his face.

“What makes you think I did something?” A quiet mewl escapes from the front pocket of Harry’s sweatshirt and Louis just knows.

“You did not.” Louis grits and of course he did. With a grin larger than life, Harry reaches in his pocket and pulls out a fluffy orange kitten.

“I had to, okay Lou!” Harry exclaims, coming to sit on the couch. He lets the kitten go to climb on the couch and the little thing meows and stares back at Harry.

“Harry. We’re having a baby in a week. And you thought that getting a kitten would be a good idea?” Louis’ mad, has a right to be if you ask him, because they just can’t take care of a kitten right now.

“No but listen. Earlier this week we found a bunch of kittens behind the studio and they looked really sick so I took them to a shelter and they were just so cute. So I asked one of the employees to contact me once it was cleared that they were healthy.” Louis runs a hand down his face.

“Okay. I know you have this weird animal rescue complex but this is not okay. We never discussed this, and a kitten is just not in the books for us right now.” Harry pouts at that. It’s just then that Elias takes note of the kitten and gives it a look.

“No Eeb. No want.” Elias pouts, climbing over Louis to pet Yves.

“See, our son doesn’t even want him!” Louis says and Harry scoffs.

“Elias has Yves. See I wanted Elouise or Hazel to have a cat too!” Harry explains and, okay. So that kinda makes sense.

“Yeah but are you going to buy a cat every time we have another kid?” Harry pouts at Louis. “I’m not winning this argument, am I?”

Harry shakes his head.

“I’ve already named her!” Louis gives him a look. So it’s a her. Female. Great.

“Alright so what’s her name?” Louis asks. Harry simply smirks.

“Saint.” Louis blinks at him.

“So, what? Are we going to name our next cat Laurent?” Louis wonders. Harry nods his head and pets at Saints head.

“Yes. But that means we get to have another baby.” Harry says.

“Give us a few years between this one and the next? And give her here. Don’t hog the precious little thing.” Harry happily gives over Saint and Louis pulls her to his chest, cooing down at her. Her claws latch on to Louis’ (Harry’s) sweater, and he’s already in too deep. Saint is so cute, with furry orange hair and bright blue eyes and Louis can’t even lie and say he’s not smitten. He drops a kiss to the kitten’s head before showing her to Elias.

“El, look. Dada brought us a new kitty. Do you want to hold her?” Elias shrugs slightly before nodding, holding his hands out. Yves has taken note of the new cat as well, and eyes her warily. Elias wraps his tiny hands around Saint in a way that’s probably not comfortable.

“Say hi, baby. Her name is Saint.” Louis smiles gently.

“Hi, Sait.” Elias says before putting her down next Yves. Saint meows and paws at Yves tail, the older cat looking thoroughly unimpressed.

“Saint is for the baby in Daddy’s tummy. Just like Yves is for you.” Harry explains. Elias nods and hands Saint back to Louis.

“’Kay. Eeb no want.” Louis and Harry laugh and Louis snuggles Saint.

“I’m still mad at you.” Louis tells Harry. Harry just shrugs, a smile pulling at his lips.

“You’ll forgive me.” And yeah, with a face as cute as Saint’s, he will.

~*~

Hazel Anne Styles-Tomlinson is born just past midnight on March 21. She’s smaller than Elias was, with a head full of dark waves that will most likely curl when it gets long enough. She’s a tiny little thing, takes after Louis that way, and Harry can’t stop commenting about it. Harry cries more than Louis does, because he’s got a little girl now, and it’s his responsibility to make sure nothing hurts her.

The moment Elias meets her he’s absolutely in love. He sits carefully in Louis’ lap and the two of them hold Hazel, with Harry taking pictures off to the side. Elias keeps talking about how tiny and cute Hazel is, claiming her as ‘my bebe’ and giving her red forehead lots of kisses. He throws a fit when Anne comes to take him back to her house, because they have to spend one more night in the hospital. Louis cries too, promising his son that he can see his sister the following day. Elias nods his head and rubs at his cheeks, kissing his daddies and new baby sister goodbye.

Louis is exhausted, more tired than he was when he gave birth to Elias, but it’s all very much worth it.

~*~

Louis is one hundred percent not nervous about bringing Hazel home. Elias already loves her, Yves loves Elias, and Saint is really still too little to have a care about anything but sleeping and food. Saint is crazier than Yves ever was, constantly running around and getting into things she shouldn’t. The other day Harry almost squashed her, because she had found her way into his boot and almost put it on. Saint was going to be the death of them.

Harry and Louis walk into the house, Hazel fast asleep in her carrier. Anne is sitting on the couch reading, smiling when the couple walks in the room.

“Hi, guys. How’re you feeling, love?” Anne asks Louis. Louis sits next to her, grabbing her hand tight.

“Good. I’m exhausted, gonna take a nap once we’re settled.” Louis replies.

“Elias is taking a nap, and I think I’m going to lay down as well. He’s a little monster.” Harry and Louis laugh at that and Anne goes off to the guest room to sleep. Yves comes around the corner at that point, hopping on the couch between his owners.

“Alright, Yves. You’ve done this once before, so let’s see how this goes.” Harry says as he lifts Hazel from the carrier. Saint shows up too, jumping curiously on the back of the couch to stare down at the baby. Hazel blinks up Harry, letting out a yawn bigger than she is. Yves then walks up to Hazel and rubs his head against hers. Hazel twitches at this, letting out a loud wail. It’s so loud that Saint jumps up and goes running, probably on her way to hide in a closet.

“Oh my god!” Louis laughs, wiping at his eyes. Yves is unaffected by her screams and starts licking Hazel’s face. Harry giggles and tries rocking her to calm her down but it doesn’t work.

“We’ll I guess Saint isn’t too fond of her.” Harry says over the cries. Louis rolls his eyes but is smiling.

“Give her here, I’ll feed her and you can try to coax Saint out of hiding.” Harry passes over Hazel and Louis bounces her in his arms, cooing down at her. When Louis disappears into their bedroom Harry turns back to Yves.

“If Saint doesn’t end up liking her you’ll be her friend, right Yves?” Harry asks. Yves meows at him before rolling over to expose his tummy. Harry smiles and goes to rub it. He’ll take that as a yes.

~*~

Harry wakes up the next morning to Elias crying over the baby monitor. The bed beside him is cold and the bassinette is empty, which means Louis is already up in the house somewhere with Hazel. It’s just past 7 and he wishes it were later, because he and Louis had spent the majority of the night up with Hazel. She seemed to hate her bassinette, and wouldn’t sleep unless she was nuzzled against Louis’ chest. This frustrated Louis, because that meant he couldn’t fall asleep in fear of hurting her. It had been a bad night.

With a sigh Harry lets his feet hit the carpeted floor and he walks down the hall to Elias’ room. When he enters the room, Elias is no longer crying, but giggling. At closer inspection it seems as if Saint had found her way into Elias’ crib. Elias laughs hysterically as Saint bites and kicks at one of his stuffed animals, and Harry has to suppress a loud cackle.

“Whatcha doing, El?” Harry asks as he comes closer to the crib. Elias grins toothily up at him.

“Sait, Dada!” Elias screams, pointing to the cat.

“Are you hanging out with Saint?” Harry asks. Elias nods before picking up the kitten and holding her to his chest.

“Luh Sait.” Elias says and Harry awes. There’s absolutely nothing cuter than a baby and a kitten. Especially his baby and a kitten.

“Saint loves you, too. How about we go get you some breakfast?” Elias perks up at the mention of food so Harry picks his son up and places him on his hip. Saint is still in Elias’ hands as the three of them walk to the kitchen to get some food. Elias sits on the counter while Harry puts some cheerios and cut up fruit in a bowl, petting and talking to Saint. They go to the living room then, finding Louis half asleep on the couch. His eyes open as Harry sits on the couch with Elias and he smiles tiredly at them.

“Good morning, cutie.” Louis leans over to press a soft kiss on Elias’ cheek. He leans over him then to kiss Harry as well.

“I found him in his crib with Saint. They’re taking a liking to each other.” Louis hums.

“So are Yves and Hazel.” He nods over to the baby swing, where Yves is fast asleep on Hazel, the two rocking back and forth. It reminds Harry of how Yves and Elias used to do that and he cooes.

“Sait, Dada!” Elias says to Louis, putting the kitten in Louis’ lap. Saint purrs as Louis runs his hands down her back.

“Is Saint you’re new friend?” Louis asks. Elias nods his little head and shoves a cheerio in his mouth.

“What about Yves?” Harry cuts in. Elias cocks his head to the side for a moment.

“Eeb luh bebe.” Elias says, shrugging.

“Do you still love Yves?” Louis wonders.

“Luh Eeb.” And that seems to be the end of the conversation, because Elias reaches to take Saint out of Louis’ lap. Harry gives Louis a look before chuckling softly.

“Well, I guess we were wrong.” Louis nods. They were so wrong.

“Maybe Elias is getting a little too crazy for old Yves. Maybe Yves is using Hazel for the baby swing.” Louis offers and it’s a valid point.

Hazel lets out a cry then, and as soon as she does, Saint goes running. Elias puts down his bowl before he goes chasing after her, yelling her name. Harry laughs and stands up to get Hazel, but stops when he sees Yves cuddling up to her and nuzzling her face. Hazel quiets down almost instantly, and it leaves both Harry and Louis in awe.

“I’m never going to understand these cats.” Louis breathes out and Harry slowly nods.

“What if Hazel grows up and starts thinking that Yves is her dad?” Harry asks. Louis barks out a laugh and quickly covers his mouth with his hand.

“If that means she’ll sleep as long as Yves is by her side and not on my chest, I honestly don’t care.” Louis huffs. Harry grins and sits down next to Louis, pulling him in his lap.

“Maybe we’ll both get some sleep then.” Harry agrees. Louis kisses him softly then, his hand caressing Harry’s jaw. When they pull away from each other Louis nuzzles himself in the heat of Harry’s body and lets out a tired sigh.

“One can only hope, H.”

The two cuddle until Yves gets up to eat and the lack of warmth wakes Hazel, sending her into a fit of tears. Harry and Louis think they should be exhausted, with having a new baby crying and not sleeping, but they can’t find it in them to be upset. They have so much love for each other, for their kids, and their cats, that they’re invincible.

Nothing can stop them.