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the love is ours to make (so we should make it)

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Louis didn’t hate his job. He didn’t. He was not going to admit that he hated the one thing he worked so hard for in his life. He wasn’t going to admit that he wasted too much time and too much money in a prestigious art school to hate his career. No, sir. Not Louis.

Except, he really did.

He was just so sick of girls coming in asking for dream catchers or the saying “I refuse to sink” with an anchor. Anchors sank. Louis didn’t have the heart to say it. He couldn’t stand the men that walked in and demanded barbed wire around their arms, ignoring Louis’ comments that yes, under the arm is going to hurt. A lot. So Louis spent his days dealing with basic people wanting basic things and then crying about how bad they hurt. It’s a needle puncturing skin. That much should be obvious.

Louis had finally had enough one day, after a girl told him that there was no way she was sitting four hours for a tattoo, and there was no way she was making a second appointment to have it completed.

“Then don’t get the tattoo, love. ‘m not gonna sit here and lie, nor am I gonna listen to you bitch much longer.” That earned Louis a slap in the face and a disappointed look from his boss, Zayn.

“Lou. What was that about?” Zayn asked, setting down the needle that he was cleaning. Louis huffed and pulled his lip ring into his mouth, sucking on it.

“I need a smoke. You got any?” Louis muttered. Zayn silently got up and Louis followed, the two slipping behind the tattoo shop. Zayn pulled out two cigarettes and lit them up, giving one to Louis.

“What’s been into you lately?” Zayn asked, blowing smoke out from his nose.

“I’m tired.” Louis replied, taking a long drag of his own.

“Of..?” Louis let out a sigh, letting his head fall against the brick wall of the building.

“Fucking everything. What am I even doing, Z? I’m 26, single, and stuck in a job that I’m just not happy with anymore. My mates are all getting married and having kids while I smoke up in my apartment and work a few days a week. I’m the textbook definition of pathetic.” Louis blurts. Zayn nods and pulls his pouty thinking face that makes Louis roll his eyes. Louis loved Zayn, he’s the only good thing about his job, but Louis’ not sure if he can take much more of being around a fucking Gucci model with the perfect business, life, and boyfriend.

“Maybe you should just take some time off.” Zayn suggests. Louis rolls his eyes again, so hard that they might fall out of his head.

“Right. Because taking some time off from my job is really gonna help me pay rent and feed myself.” Louis blanks. Zayn chuckles and shakes his head.

“I’ll pay you to get your ass out of my hair for a few weeks. I think you think you’re always a fucking joy to be around but you’re not, mate. I’d fire you if you weren’t so good at your job.” Louis has to laugh at that, because he’s aware of how big of a bitch he is.

“You’re funny.” Louis says as he stomps out his cigarette.

“I’m serious, Lou. Take some time off. Go home, see your family, get out of here for a bit.” Louis gave Zayn a side eye.

“You’re going to pay me to leave you understaffed. Is that a joke?” Louis asked suspiciously, poking Zayn in the chest.

“No. Get out of here until I say you can come back.” Zayn chuckled, his tongue pressing against his cheek. Louis squinted his eyes suspiciously.

“How long are we talking?” Louis demanded.

“Like, a month. Yeah, leave me alone for a month and I’ll pay you. You probably made our Yelp reviews go down with the stunt you pulled today.” Louis watched Zayn’s face to make sure he wasn’t joking before throwing himself at Zayn and hugging him tight.

~*~

The drive back home was enjoyable and Louis was very excited to see his family. Pulling up to the long drive of his home made Louis’ nerves even worse. The last time he saw his family was Christmas, and that was nearly six months ago. He hadn’t meant for it to get that bad, but his mom was busy with the babies and his sisters were growing rapidly. With his luggage in his hand he knocked on the door, bouncing on his toes. The door opened and revealed a teenage boy with big green eyes and silky brown curls. Louis couldn’t stop staring at the light pink flower crown that sat neatly on top of the strangers head that seemed to perfect match the oversized pink sweater hanging on the boy’s body.

“Erm. Can I help you?” The boy asked slowly, his voice deeper than Louis ever expected. Louis raised his eyebrows.

“You’re kinda in my home, can I help you?” Realization dawned on his face and his eyes widened comically.

“Oh. Oh! You’re….” The boy squinted his eyes as he thought.

“Louis?” Louis offered and the boy grinned and was that a fucking dimple?

“Louis, yeah!  Come in!” the boy exclaimed and opened the door, stepping aside when Louis walked in.

“Who the hell are you?” Louis said. The boy’s grin faltered slightly.

“I’m.. Harry. I nanny? For Ernest and Doris?” Harry responded, seeming a little nervous.

“A nanny? How old even are you? You look twelve.” Louis remarked, setting his luggage down on the ground and kicking off his vans. Something caught Louis’ eye, and a closer look revealed that Harry had a coat of pink nail polish on his fingers. Harry seemed to close in on himself then, pulling the sleeves of his sweater over his hands.

“Nineteen. I’m nineteen.” Harry replied.

“Right. Nineteen, wears pink, flower crowns and paints his nails. Who the actual fuck did my mum hire?” Louis whispered to himself. Harry sucked in a breath and when Louis looked up, Harry’s eyes were watering.

“Well I guess now that you’re here I can go.” Louis raised an eyebrow and watched as Harry grabbed his coat and phone before running out of the house. Louis felt an instant wash of guilt flood over him. He really didn’t mean for Harry to hear that, but it was slightly true. What nineteen year old boy wore pink and painted his nails? And why would his mum hire said person to watch over her children.

With a sigh Louis picked up his bags and took them upstairs to his old room, which was now the guestroom. He had barely set his bags down when he heard a baby crying. Louis loved his siblings, really, really loved them, but he also really didn’t feel like babysitting first thing when he got home. Pushing the door open to the twin’s room he grinned when he saw Ernest standing in his crib. The boy’s blonde curls were a mess on his head and his face was flushed red.

“Ernie.” Louis cooed, making the boy reach out for his older brother. Louis took Ernest in his arms and kissed his head, looking over to see if Doris was still sleeping. When Louis made sure that Doris was safe and sound he took Ernie downstairs and sat on the couch. Ernie looked around the living room, trying to squirm out of Louis’ grip.

“What you looking for, bud?” Louis asked, letting go of Ernie so he could explore. Ernest toddled out of the living room and went into the kitchen, coming back looking awfully confused.

“Ha?” Louis squinted at his little brother.

“What is ‘ha’?” Ernest pouted.

“Ha-eeeeee.” Ernest babbled and Louis’ mouth fell into the shape of an ‘o.’

“Harry?” Louis said slowly. Ernest nodded.

“Harry went bye-bye. Am I not enough for you?” Ernest blinked at his brother before walking over to some toys. Louis huffed out a breath of annoyance. What was so special about Harry?

The front door opened and Louis panicked slightly, because what if someone was breaking in and trying to kidnap the babies? Louis let out a sigh of relief when he realized it was just his mother.

“Jesus fucking Christ, mum! Scared the shit out of me!” Louis exclaimed. Jay jumped at that and put a hand over her heart.

“Louis William Tomlinson, don’t talk to your mother like that! Get up and hug me, you tit.” Louis laughed and got up, wrapping his arms tight around his mother. Jay hugged back just as tight before holding Louis’ face in her hands.

“How’s my boy? What are you doing here, love?” Jay asked.

“Surprise? You get to feed me for a month?” Louis said and Jay gave him a look.

“You didn’t get fired did you?” Louis shook his head and gestured to the couch.

“Then what are you doing here for a month?” Jay asked as the two sat down.

“Taking a break from life to spend time with my beautiful family.” Jay raised a brow at that but didn’t question it further. Louis was thankful for that.

“Where’s Harry?” Louis rolled his eyes. Why was everyone in this house so obsessed with Harry? He was weird, and quiet, and shy, complete opposite of Louis.

“He left when I got here, don’t know what his problem was. He’s a bit weird, ya know? Not sure why you hired him to watch over your kids if I’m honest.” Louis shrugged and Jay gave Louis a hard look.

“Louis Tomlinson, since when did you start thinking it was okay to judge someone based on his looks?” Jay asked sharply. Louis raised his hands in defense because, okay, why was his mum getting so defensive about this. Louis was only stating the truth.

“Mum! He was wearing pink, and a flower crown, and his nails were painted. What is he? A teenage girl?” Jay looked taken back by that.

“Says the one who has holes all over their face and wears eyeliner. Did you say something to offend Harry? I swear Louis if you did, you’re in so much trouble. You might be grown but that’s not going to stop me from punishing you.” Louis shrunk back. He knew he was going to be in deep shit, and his mum was the best at seeing through his lies, so he groaned loudly and covered his face.

“I’m so disappointed in you, Lou. You of all people should understand what it’s like to be picked on for what they chose to wear or how they express themselves, I can’t believe you would even think of judging someone else for the same reasons you were judged.” Louis frowned. Okay, so he never really thought about it like that.

Louis hated the way people looked at him, or talked about him when they thought he couldn’t hear. School was always miserable for him. When he was younger, Harry’s age, people always called him a twink, or a faggot, and Louis would spend all night crying about it. Then when he decided to get a few piercings and tattoos and wear eyeliner, he thought it would stop. He thought people would be intimidated by him, but they really just thought he was a freak. But in his opinion, being called a freak was better than being called a faggot.

“Well now I feel bad.” Louis muttered and Jay nodded.

“As you should, love. Harry is the biggest sweetheart I know, and that’s why I trust him with my babies. That boy is absolutely ridiculed for the way he dresses and I expected so much more from you. Harry’s not going away, Boo, he’s just not. So tomorrow when he comes to watch the twins, I expect a full on, sincere apology. That boy is probably so upset because what you said.” Jay said softly. Louis sighed and rubbed his hand down his face.

“You’re right. I’ll apologize tomorrow.” Jay smiled and stood up, dropping a kiss on Louis’ head.

“Good. The girls are with Mark for the weekend, so it’ll just be us and Dan. Anything special you want for dinner?” Louis smiled at his mum and shook his head.

“Whatever is fine, I’m just happy to be home.”

~*~

Louis woke up the next morning with two squealing babies on top of him. He tried his best to ignore it, pulling a pillow over his head and groaning loudly, but that only made the babies giggle and hit him even harder. A particularly hard slap to his chest was what really got him, whipping the pillow off his face.

“Oh, fucking hell!” Louis moaned miserably. Someone gasped audibly and Louis knew he was fucked because it was probably his mum and he really needed to watch his mouth.

“I’ll wash that mouth out with soap like you’re a child if I hear another swear come out of it.” Louis peaked one eye open to look at his mum, who had her hands on her hips and an eyebrow raised.

“Jay, darling, I can’t be bothered this early in the morning, I’m going back to bed.” Louis yawned as he rolled over, careful of the babies still on him. Jay snorted out a laugh.

“Louis, get your big bum out of bed. You’re helping Harry with the babies.” Louis let out another loud groan and shifted on his bed. The point of him coming home was so he could do nothing for a month except lay around, maybe masturbate here and there, and sleep all fucking day. Never did he agree to watching babies and waking at the ass crack of dawn to do so. That was just ridiculous.

“I’m not helping Harry do sh-.” Louis cleared his throat with a loud cough, “I’m not helping Harry.”

“I have to go, feed the babies. Leftovers are in the fridge for lunch and please, for the love of god, Louis, please remember to take the chicken out of the freezer to thaw.” Jay stressed. “If you don’t you’re not getting dinner. You can watch the rest of us eat take out and you can eat cereal.”

When Louis turned around to protest, his mother had already left his room. The front door slammed and Louis flinched. His eyes moved from the door to the two babies on his bed, looking up at him with wide eyes. Doris’ bottom lip started wobbling, and Louis froze.

“Dori, don’t cry!” Louis exclaimed, but it was too late. Doris let out a loud wail as tears rolled down her chubby cheeks. Louis looked to Ernest whose lip started wobbling as well. “I’m fucked.” Louis whispered, just as Ernest started crying as well.

He picked up his two siblings and walked downstairs, taking them into the kitchen. Louis set them down on the kitchen counter and looked between the two of them.

“What do you guys eat?” Louis asked. Doris still had tears rolling down his face and Ernie was sucking on his thumb, looking up at Louis with big blue eyes. The front door opened and Louis sucked in a breath, knowing Harry was going to make an appearance any moment. Harry walked into the kitchen with a smile that instantly fell as soon as he laid eyes on Louis.

“Oh.” Harry breathed out, instantly shrinking in on himself to appear smaller.

“Uhhh. What do they eat for breakfast?” Louis asked. Harry smiled at the babies on the counter and kissed both of their heads, making them smile and giggle.

“Are you two hungry?” Harry cooed, tickling Doris’ stomach and making her squeal. Harry then turned to Louis.

“Usually something like some cheerios, oatmeal, today I was thinking yogurt. And then some sort of watered down juice.” Harry answered. Louis watched as Harry put the babies in their chairs, noticing the lack of flower crown and bright clothing. A closer look revealed that the nail polish had been chipped off Harry’s nails and Louis could’ve cried at how bad he felt.

“Look, Harry, I’m sorry. I was a dick yesterday.” Louis apologized, playing with the string of his sweatpants. A smile appeared on Harry’s face and he waved his hand dismissively.

“Oh. Don’t worry about it. I’m used to it.” And okay, what? How was Harry so happy about admitting that he gets judged so regularly that he became accustomed to it?  

“Harry,” Louis paused to shake his head. “What?”

Harry shrugged and picked up the twins, setting them in their highchairs and putting bibs around their necks.

“It’s okay! I’ve learned to ignore it mostly. I just wasn’t expecting it here, this is kind of my safe space, so I think I was a little shook up.” Harry gave Louis a blinding smile and no. Louis really couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Why was Harry so okay with this?

“No. No it’s really not okay.” Louis groaned, running a hand through his messy hair. He felt like shit and he didn’t want Harry to just forgive him for treating him so poorly. “Look. I understand what it’s like, getting picked on. I was ridiculed when I was younger and people can even be cruel now.”

“Well. I’m sorry.” Harry had a confused frown on his face. Louis was stunning, incredibly so, and Harry didn’t understand how such a beautiful person got picked on. Sure, he was a little different, with dark hair and a multitude of piercings and tattoos. But different was good. Harry thought different was beautiful.

“Why are you apologizing?!” Louis exploded, throwing his hands in the air. Harry shrunk in on himself, flinching at the loud noise.

“S-sorry.” Harry stuttered and fuck, Louis needed to stop screwing up.

“No, I’m sorry.” Louis deflated, lowering his voice. If he wanted Harry to forgive him, he was going to have to start being a lot quieter and gentler. “I know what it’s like to be treated like shit, like I’m nothing, and it absolutely wasn’t fair to do the same to you.”

Harry laughed quietly, “Jay told you to apologize, didn’t she?”

“Maybe.” Louis replied slowly. “But I mean it. She made me realize what I said to you was unacceptable.”

Harry looked over Louis with suspicious eyes before he flung forward and hugged him. Louis was taken back at the invasion of personal space, and he probably smelled, due to not showering after he woke up. If that was the case Harry didn’t seem too bothered, arms wrapped tight around Louis’ shoulders. Louis was short, he stopped denying it a long time ago, but Harry was also very tall. It was weird hugging someone who basically towered over him when they were so young in comparison. Louis pat Harry on the back awkwardly before stepping away from him.

“So. Now that the bad is behind us, I’ll just give you a heads up. I’m here for the next month, needed a break from work and life, really. Mum doesn’t want me to sit around all the time so she asked me to help you, but I don’t know shit about babies.” His confession was met with a soft laugh.

“I can handle everything, been doing it since they were only a few months old.” Harry’s eyes widened and his smile brightened. “I can teach you!”

Louis nodded hesitantly. If he was honest, he wasn’t too thrilled about having to wake up early five days a week to play house all day. Especially not with Harry. He had apologized, because he did feel bad about making fun of him, but that didn’t mean he wanted to spend the next month with someone so happy and bubbly. Louis wasn’t a cynical, miserable person, he wasn’t, (he was), but he could only take too much pep before he would go off.

“Yay.” Louis cheered weakly, making Harry roll his eyes.

“Why don’t you shower, you’re not really helping me anyway.” Louis responded with a huff and Harry stifled a laugh, trying his best to hide his grin. Louis swiftly turned around and stomped up the stairs, making sure to be extra obnoxious.

He grumbled to himself as he took his shower, scrubbing at his skin and hair, silently cursing his mother for torturing him like this. He was always a good kid, was well behaved, and treated her with respect. So what in the hell did he do to deserve this? They were going to have a serious talk later that night.

When Louis got out of the shower he brushed his teeth, bypassing shaving and doing his hair. After changing into black jeggings and a dark grey sweater he threw a beanie over his hair and trudged back down stairs.

The soft hum of some cartoon played in the living room, though it wasn’t really being watched. Doris was sat on the ground playing with some blocks while Harry and Ernest sat on the couch, Ernest dozing off in Harry’s arms. Louis sat down on the opposite side of the couch, staring blankly at Harry when he smiled at him.

“Is this what you do all day?” Louis looked around the living room, noting how not much has changed since the last time he visited. This seemed boring. He didn’t understand why someone would just want to watch two babies all day and feed them and change them and listen to them cry. No amount of money would make him do that.

“It’s fun!” Harry grinned, kissing Ernest’s head gently. “I love spending time with them, they’re so well behaved.” Louis scratched at his head and raised his eyebrows.

“Sure. Yeah. I’d much rather sit here with babies than hang out with my mates or a nice guy or gal.” Louis supplied sarcastically. Harry’s smile instantly faltered.

“I. uhm. You see, my friend, Nick. He’s spending the summer back home in Ireland so, like. I don’t really have anyone to hang out with? And, er, no boyfriend either.” Okay. So Louis really needed to think before he let things shoot out of his mouth. He felt more like an idiot every time he talked.

“Right.” Louis said, letting the awkward silence take over.

This was going to be a long day.

~*~

Louis was right, it was a long day. A long day filled with horribly awkward silence accompanied by crying babies. Harry would try to make small talk, god bless him, but Louis wasn’t much of a small talk person. He didn’t understand why he had to stay all day with Harry, he seemed to have everything under control.

Louis watched his mum’s car pull into the driveway and he let out a sigh of relief. Harry noticed and let out an annoyed breath, standing up and sliding his jacket over his shoulders.  

“I. I’ll see you Monday. Thanks for the apology, it meant a lot.” Harry said, lingering by the front door. Louis hummed and waved his hand, not taking his eyes off the TV. The front door opened and closed then, Louis throwing his head back on the couch in relief.

Through the window, Louis could see Harry talking to his mum with furrowed brows. Jay had a confused look on her face and keep giving worried glances to the window, the lines on her face prominent. Finally, Harry pressed a kiss to Jay’s cheek and started walking down the street, Louis watching him go.

“Louis.” Jay sighed as she walked through the door, setting down her purse and shrugging off her coat. Louis shrunk into the couch and pouted at his mother.

“I didn’t do anything.” Louis whined and yeah, he was twenty-six, way too old to be whining at his mum but he was innocent. He did nothing wrong.

“Can you please stop being so standoffish?” Jay asked tiredly, sitting down on the opposite side of the couch.

“I wasn’t! He’s just really awkward!” Louis defended himself. He needed his mum to stop being so mean to him, because it was actually starting to hurt his feelings.

“Louis William, stop.” Jay huffed, glaring over at her son. “I don’t know what made you such a cold person, but you need to cut your shit. Maybe this is why you needed a break from work, but I’m not going to have you be disrespectful to people in this home. Harry is shy, incredibly so. He’s so worried that you hate him that he doesn’t want to come back Monday. He practically begged me not to.”

Louis crossed his arms over his chest, keeping his mouth in a tight line.

“If you want to stay here, then you play by my rules. You know I love seeing you, but I’m not particularly fond of this Louis. Harry is so sweet and he really tries, so you should too.” That really got to Louis so he stood up quickly, frowning down at his mother.

“I’m so happy you found the perfect son you never had, Mum! I’m glad that you care more about how he feels than how I do!” Louis chuckled darkly. Jay’s eyes widened and she shook her head in awe.

“How dare you even say that, Louis. My kids are the most important people in this world, and I love nothing more than I love my family. I know you’re stubborn, but this, this is a new low. Harry’s been through a lot, he’s had a tough time and a very tough home life and he feels at home here. This is a space for Harry to come when he needs to get away, and that includes time when he’s not watching the kids. You have to get used to Harry’s presence here, love.” Jay said shakily, tears in her eyes.

“Mum.” Louis deflated, feeling instantly horrible. He hated seeing his mother cry, hated it even more knowing that he was the reason behind her tears.

“No. Harry is like another son to Dan and I, and I’m not going to sit here and watch you tear him down whether you mean to or not. Just. Think about it, and the next time you see Harry just give him a chance. For some reason, your opinion of him means a lot. So just. Please.” Jay begged.

With a sigh Louis nodded his head. “Fine, yeah, I’ll try harder on Monday.”

The smile Jay had on her face was beautiful, and Louis wanted to make sure that it never faltered. He was going do whatever it took to keep his mum happy.

~*~

The weekend came and went quickly, the house relatively quiet until the girls came home to discover that their older brother had returned. His sisters were so excited that they all begged Jay and Dan to let them stay home on Monday but to no avail. With the promise that Louis would be there all month, Louis kissed each of his sister’s heads and sent them off to school.

Jay grabbed her bag and jacket, hesitantly looking at Louis and the babies, both on Louis’ lap.

“I’m off then, Boo. Harry’ll be here any moment and I hope to hear a good report when I come home!” Jay called. Louis rolled his eyes and waved to her.

“Yeah, mum, things are gonna be great.” With a bid of farewell, Jay walked out of the house. The rumble of an engine starting made Louis sigh in frustration. He wanted to try to be better with Harry, but it was nothing he could promise.

Harry walked in through the front door only a few minutes later, cooing greetings at the babies and smiling hesitantly at Louis.

“Good morning, Louis.” Louis tried to smile back but he’s sure it looked a little forced and really painful.

“Hi, Harry. Uhm. The babies were already fed, so we’re just chilling.” Harry nodded and smiled at Ernest when he grabbed for him. Louis took this opportunity to really look at Harry.

He was wearing a lilac sweater with a flower crown made of white daisies. His nails were painted a sparkly white color, and Louis thought the colors really suited Harry. Of course he didn’t know him well enough to say for sure, but the outfit seemed very Harry.

Louis also noticed how soft Harry looked, with smooth creamy skin and silky hair that made Louis want to reach out and touch it. Harry was attractive, Louis couldn’t deny it, but he would never admit it out loud. Harry was pretty, but those words would never leave Louis’ mouth.

“You coordinate colors well. I. I’m a tattoo artist, and contrast is a big part of what I do. I think the purple and white looks really good.” Harry’s cheeks flushed pink, like the color of his nails when Louis first met him and, oh. Why that was even a connection his mind would make, Louis was unsure.

“A tattoo artist, really?” Harry wondered, eyes widening when Louis confirmed it with a nod. “That’s amazing. I have tattoos!”

Louis raised a questioning eyebrow. “You have tattoos?” Harry did something unexpected then. Minding the baby in his arms he lifted his sweater to reveal his chest and torso and, wow. Okay. Harry was toned but had the hips of an absolute angel and Louis couldn’t believe he was saying this but. His body was killer. And he had a butterfly tattooed on his stomach.

Louis sat up to get a closer look, squinting at each of the tattoos, and trying not to stare too long at the leaves accentuating Harry’s hips.

“These are all nicely done.” Louis said, impressed. He wasn’t lying either. All of his tattoos were shaded nicely, lacking spots too dark that could be accidentally mistaken as cover ups.

“Thank you!” Harry beamed, dropping his sweater and sitting on the couch.

“So what got you into tattoos?” Louis asked. Tattoos were something Louis could talk about, no matter who with, so it was cool to share this common ground with someone he never thought he could relate to.

“They’re pretty,” Harry shrugged, “And, like, it’s cool that you can put anything on your body to help express you infinitively. They’re permanent, and I think that’s what I like about them. They’re constant when everything else in life seems to change. Am I making any sense?”

Louis hummed. He understood. “So the pain wasn’t an issue then?”

Harry seemed to shut down then. He closed in on himself, swallowing a lump in his throat and picking at the hem of his sweater. Louis wasn’t sure what he said to set Harry off, he was sure it was a reasonable, non-offensive question.

“It’s controlled pain, and I think that’s why people think it’s addictive. I can pick places to get tattoos where it’s more painful than other places, and I like that aspect of it.” Louis frowned.

“Why would you pick the most painful places?” Louis asked. Harry shut his mouth at that, shaking his head slightly. Louis wasn’t an idiot. He knew that that was the end of the conversation, Harry was uncomfortable, and the topic should be dropped.

“Never mind that.” Louis grinned, making Harry let out a sigh of relief.

“You’re a lot more. I don’t know. Willing? To speak to me than you were last week.” With a nod of his head Louis confirmed that to be true.

“Yeah. I figured if we were going to spend the next month together, I needed to be friendlier.” Louis sucked in a breath and Harry laughed at his honestly. “I was thinking we could be friends?”

A smile bloomed on Harry’s face and again with those dimples. They were going to kill Louis. Harry had a nice smile, and a nice body, and a nice personality and Louis was starting to think everything about the younger boy was nice. It was a dangerous thought, but one he just couldn’t ignore.

“I would love to be friends, Louis.” Harry answered, biting on his bottom lip to contain his grin from growing.

Good. Louis was glad.

~*~
Later that night, when Louis was cleaning up the kitchen with his mum, she asked him about his day.

“It was nice.” Louis shrugged, ignoring the look Jay was giving him.

“Just nice? Harry was practically over the moon that you had an actual conversation with him.” Jay bragged, making Louis’ cheeks heat up slightly.

“We had a nice conversation, yes. He has tattoos, so we talked about them.” Louis said simply, having no desire to make a big deal out the situation. So they talked. Did he deserve a medal?

“Oh, that’s lovely, Lou!” Jay gushed, “He has quite a few, doesn’t he?”

Louis nodded. “Yeah, they’re nicely done, too.”

“Interesting.” Jay hummed. Louis hesitated for a moment, biting his bottom look and looking over to his mother.

“He said he likes the controlled pain? And that he picks the painful parts of his body to get tattoos, opposed to getting ‘em on places that would hurt less. Do you. Would you know anything about why?” Jay froze and turned to her son with wide eyes.

“He said that to you?” Jay wondered and Louis nodded.

“I tried asking him about it and he just kinda froze.” Jay sighed and shook her head, taking Louis hand in hers.

“It’s not my place to say, doll. Maybe it’ll all come out on its’ own. All I can tell you is Harry has been through a lot. Remember that.”

The conversation left Louis confused, a lot more confused than he was when they started it.

~*~

Tuesday started off in unusual way. The house was extremely quiet, making Louis nervous. He grabbed his phone and noticed that it was nearly noon, and no one had bothered waking him. Louis didn’t know why, but it bothered him slightly. Waking up at noon meant Harry had the babies by himself for a few hours, something Louis felt slightly guilty for.

Rolling out of bed, Louis made it his duty to take a shower as quick as possible, throwing on some random clothes and stomping down the stairs. Louis opened his mouth to yell as he walked in the living room, but Harry shushed him instantly. He gestured to the twins who were both asleep in his arms and Louis nodded, quietly walking over to the couch.

“Do you want help taking them upstairs?” Harry nodded, standing up cautiously. Louis took Ernest, sucking in a breath when he stirred in his arms. Louis hushed him when he whined quietly, rocking the boy in his arms. Harry and Louis took the twins to their cribs, turning on the baby monitor and tip-toeing out of the room.

“No one woke me up this morning.” Louis spoke as the two settled into the couch.

“Jay said to let you sleep in. She mentioned something about you getting up in the middle of the night because Doris wouldn’t go to sleep and you know your mum had a long day so you offered to stay up until you could get her back to bed. Said you were up until like, four in the morning.” Harry had this soft smile on his face. It made Louis’ face heat up, the way Harry was looking at him.

“Yeah, well,” Louis cleared his throat, “What are big brothers for.” Harry looked at Louis like he was in awe, like he couldn’t believe he was real. Louis looked at Harry the same way.

“You’re kind of incredible.” Harry said through a grin. Louis grinned back.

“Nah, love, that would be you.”

 

 

~*~

Wednesday was a beautiful day, Louis waking up to the sun blinding him through his curtains. It made Louis crumble, because he didn’t really like the sun, as dreary as that sounded. The sun meant that Harry would probably want to do something outside, and Louis was definitely not up for that. He liked just lounging on the couch all day, having to entertain a baby every once in a while when they got fidgety with their toys.

“We’re going to the park!” Harry called as he burst through the front door, scaring Doris so bad she started wailing. Louis gave Harry an annoyed look and picked her up, holding her against his chest in attempt to shush her.

Louis glared at the younger boy. “No. You made her cry, Doris says no.”

Harry rolled his eyes and went to sit next to Ernest who was sitting on the floor in front of the TV.

“Ernie,” Harry cooed, gaining the baby’s attention. “How about we go to the park today. We can go on the swings!” Ernest hummed around his pacifier, handing a block to Harry. Harry took it happily and pressed a sloppy kiss to his cheek.

“Thank you, lovely boy! Now tell Louis you want to go too!” Harry pointed to Louis and, really? Of course Ernest was going to do anything Harry said when talking in the cute baby voice. It wasn’t fair. This was a dictatorship.

Ernest turned to Louis and held up a block to him, squeal muffled. Louis shook his head. Ernest frowned, lifting the block up again and squealing louder.

“I’m going the park today, aren’t I?” Harry’s smile could light up the whole universe.

“Yes you are.”

~*~

Louis sulked on a park bench the whole time, arms crossed over his chest. He refused to play along with Harry, squinting over at him across the way. Harry didn’t really seem to mind, taking turns pushing Ernest and Doris in their baby swings. The baby’s giggles could be heard from where Louis was sitting, and it made him feel a little lighter.

He also couldn’t take his eyes off of Harry. The younger boy looked so in his element, happily cooing at the twins and making them kick their legs excitedly. Harry was made to do this, Louis decided. He was made to watch kids and make them happy. He was meant to bring joy in this world, and Louis felt bad that he had judged Harry in the first place.

Louis was a strong believer in fate.

 He was also a strong believer in the idea that Harry was brought into his life to make it a little brighter.

~*~

The first thing Louis notices Thursday morning when Harry walked through the door is the lack of flower crown. He frowned at that, pouting at Harry when he sat down on the couch next to him.

“What’s got you all grumpy?” Harry laughed, taking the dark green scrunchie off of his wrist and using it to tie his hair into a half bun.

“You’re not wearing a flower crown.” And Louis really shouldn’t be pouting but flower crowns were like Harry’s thing.

“Yeah. I don’t have one to match my sweater.” Harry replied, tugging at the worn fabric.

“You have a white one.” Louis pointed out. Harry scrunched up his nose and Louis wanted to cry, it was so cute.

Harry laughed, “I just wore it though.” Louis shrugged because what did it matter? Louis was the only one to see it, and he didn’t really care if Harry wore the same outfit every day.

“Can I ask you something?” Harry hummed, eyes trained on the TV.

“Why do you dress the way you do? I’m just curious.” Harry sighed and turned towards Louis, stretching his legs out so his toes pressed against Louis’ thigh.

“It makes me feel pretty.” Harry answered, twirling a curl around his finger absentmindedly.

Louis raised an eyebrow. “That’s it.”

“Yeah, I mean. I don’t like being called like handsome or hot, not that anyone’s calling me that anyway,” Harry chuckled sadly, “Pretty is nice. Pretty is sincere, and I feel prettiest with flowers in my hair and with my nails painted.”

So. It made sense. But Harry was pretty without all those things. Sure, they enhanced it, made him look even softer, but to Louis, Harry was gorgeous whether he was dressed up or if he was dressed down.

“Do I look less pretty without a flower crown?” Harry asked after a beat of silence. Louis tried to contain his grin.

“I think you look lovely either way.” Louis confessed. Harry pulled his bottom lip between his teeth, chewing on it softly. He looked up at Louis through his eyelashes and wow. Harry was so beautiful.

“Yeah?” Harry blushed.

“Yeah. ‘Ve got the prettiest sisters in the world, and you give them a run for their money.” Harry’s face was cherry red and he went to cover it, throwing a hand over his eyes. Louis chuckled and leaned over, trying to pull Harry’s hand from his face.

“Come on, let me see that pretty face of yours.” Harry squealed and tried to squirm away from Louis, making the older man lose his balance and fall on top of Harry. Harry groaned slightly before giggling, looking down at Louis.

“Oops?”

“Hi.” Louis breathed out, searching Harry’s eyes for any sort of discomfort.

“So uhm. Do you come here often?” Harry teased and okay. Was Harry really flirting while Louis was basically laying on top of him?

Louis was going to respond but the front door opened, making the boys look to see who it was. It was Jay, who froze when she saw Harry and Louis on the couch in what looked like a compromising position.

“Right. I forgot my phone and wallet. I don’t know what I just walked in on,” She pointed to Louis, “But we’re gonna talk about this later.” With that she grabbed her stuff and walked back out the door. Harry started cackling then, loudly in Louis’ ear. With a groan, Louis fell against Harry’s chest, resting his cheek on it. Harry giggled and pet at Louis’ hair softly.

“First time she’s caught you on the couch with someone?” Louis scoffed at that. He’s not going to bring up the time his mum came home from work early and walked into the kitchen to find a cock down Louis’ throat.

“She’s caught me in a lot more compromising positions. This is mild compared to what she’s seen. Now she’s gonna yell at me for sleeping with her nineteen year old nanny!” Louis whined, pushing off Harry’s chest to sit up.

“Just explain it to her!” Harry exclaimed, because Louis was taking this too seriously. It wasn’t that big of a deal, at least Harry didn’t think so.

“Fine. She’s never gonna believe me.”

~*~

Later that night Jay knocked on Louis’ door, opening it when Louis called for her to come in. She had two mugs in her hand and Louis gratefully accepted one of them, blowing on the rim before taking a big gulp. Jay sat down and gave Louis a look.

“Nothing happened!” Louis groaned.

Jay scoffed. “I’m not gonna believe that. I sure as hell remember the stairs incident.” Louis winced at that because okay, so his mum may have definitely caught him riding his boyfriend’s dick on the staircase back when he was younger. He couldn’t look at her for two weeks following, and broke up with his boyfriend the next day.

“It was completely innocent, I swear!” Jay gave him a look and Louis sighed.

“We were just messing around and-.”

“Louis!”

“No not like that!” Louis huffed, “It was just like, banter, and I lost my balance and fell on top of him and then of course you walked in.” Louis explained. Jay gave him a skeptical look before sighing in defeat.

“Fine.”

“I swear on my life, Mum.” Louis said sternly. Jay held her hands up in defense and stood up to leave.

“Just don’t let me catch you two like that again.” With a wink, Jay left Louis’ bedroom, leaving him even more frustrated than he was before.

~*~

Friday morning started off with the babies sleeping in, and Jay telling Louis to leave them to wake up on their own. She said they probably wouldn’t take their afternoon nap this way, but that it wasn’t too big of a deal.

When Harry walked into the house and noticed the lack of babies crawling around, Louis gave them the heads up.

“They’re still sleeping. Mum said to leave them.” Louis shrugged. Harry nodded and set his coat down before clasping his hands together and wiggling his eye brows at Louis.

“How do you feel about chocolate chip pancakes?” Louis raised an eyebrow at that because well, it sounded great, but Louis definitely could not cook. “I’ll make them of course!”

That was all Louis needed to hear. So he got up and followed Harry into the kitchen like a lost puppy, watching him move around to get ingredients. He felt a little bit useless, because this was a nice gesture and unfortunately Louis could not return the favor.

“You cook?” Louis questioned as Harry stirred the mix together.

“Love to! I used to work at a bakery!” Harry exclaimed. Louis wanted to scream and cry because there was no point in denying how enthusiastic about everything Harry was, and how cute it made him. Fuck Harry. Fuck his cute self.

“You know what they say about bakers, yeah?” Louis wiggled his eyebrows. He was going to do it. He was going to make a cute pun.

“Don’t even say it.” Harry threatened, but had the biggest smile on his face.

“They’ve got nice buns.” Louis winked. A blush found its’ way on Harry’s face but he tried to compose himself with a loud cackle.

“Leave.” Harry giggled, gesturing to the kitchen’s entrance. “That was horrible. It was so bad that I don’t want you in here while I cook.”

Louis frowned and gave Harry his best puppy face.

“No!” Louis whined, “I don’t want to leave.”

“Goodbye, Louis!” Harry smirked, turning around to continue cooking. Louis let out a groan and stood up to make his way out of the room.

He didn’t steal a quick glance at Harry’s buns before he left.

He didn’t.

~*~

The next week was typical, nothing too exciting happening. Ever since the ‘buns’ incident, Harry had been making cheeky comments here and there. They always were out of the blue and took Louis by surprise, but they made him laugh all the same.

Louis was learning a lot, about taking care of babies and Harry, but he’d much rather learn about the nineteen year old boy. He was fun to be around, always smiling or joking. Harry was so full of love with a heart bigger than anything Louis had even known, and Louis was smitten. What he felt for Harry could only be described as a school girl crush. It was there, a tiny little twinge in his heart every time Harry did something especially cute, accompanied by a constant voice in his head telling him how adorable Harry was.

Louis had decided that he wasn’t going to act on it, that there really wasn’t a point to do so. He was only there for a month, for starters, and that was not enough time explain feelings, for those feelings to become mutual, and for those mutual feelings to blossom into something beautiful. Another factor Louis took into play was that Harry was young. Nineteen compared to his twenty six was a big deal. Harry was still practically a child, making Louis feel like some sort of weird cradle snatcher. Finally, there was the distance. Louis couldn’t keep a relationship when the other person lived in the apartment complex a few doors down, let alone with someone who lived an hour and a half away.

It was all just a little too complicated for Louis, so keeping the relationship with Harry completely platonic was the best option. And there was no room for disagreement.

~*~

The next Friday was a dreary day. The rain pounded against the roof of the house and thunder rumbled occasionally outside. Louis hated storms, he was twenty six and really hated them, and he wasn’t ashamed of it either. They were scary, and they made Louis want to stay wrapped up in his covers all day. Jay respected that, she understood Louis’ strange fear and let him alone to lay in the comfort of his room.

So Louis remained in bed when he heard Harry arrive, a fuzzy blanket cocooned around him while Skins played on his TV. A soft knock came to Louis’ door and he sniffled before letting out a quiet, ‘come in.’ Harry walked in with a sheepish smile, a baby placed on each hip.

“Hi.” Harry greeted softly.

“Hi, Harry.” Louis croaked back, trying his best to give a sincere smile. Harry gestured to the end of the bed and Louis nodded, making Harry grin. He sat down and put the twins down, both of them crawling over Louis’ body. Harry giggled when they both snuggled up to Louis, eyes watching the TV.

“So. Afraid of storms, yeah?” Harry joked. Louis frowned. That wasn’t funny. It was a logical thing to be afraid of. Storms can kill.

“If you’re only here to make fun of me then you can leave.” Louis pointed to the door.

“No, that’s not why I came up.” Harry answered, crossing his legs. “I thought that maybe you would want some company. I mean, if you’re afraid, wouldn’t it be nice be surrounded by people?”

Louis smiled at Harry, shaking his head at how caring he was. It was incredible that someone could care so much about the wellbeing of others, especially after being treated so horribly.

“Are you gonna protect me from the storm then?” The smile Harry gave Louis was blinding.

“I can sure as hell try.”

~*~

Harry joined Louis again when the babies were put down for their nap, cautiously crawling onto the bed to avoid knocking over the Chinese they ordered for lunch.

“Are they good?” Louis asked, passing over the container of Lo Mein. Harry accepted it, mouthing a quick ‘thank you’ before nodding.

“Fast asleep. Doing nothing all day really wore them out.” Louis hummed before laughing quietly.

“The life of a baby, am I right?” Louis nudged Harry slightly. Harry dropped some noodles then, pouting down at them before picking them up with a shrug and popping them into his mouth. Louis grimaced at that.

“I wouldn’t have done that. These sheets have seem some rough times.” Harry wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

“Yeah? Bringing girls home to your bed in your parents’ house?” Louis stopped chewing at that because, really? The last time Louis had been with a girl was, oh wait, never. And he was pretty sure that it was obvious. Sure, he wasn’t as… flamboyant as he used to be, but he didn’t take any extra steps to hide his sexuality. His very clear, very obvious sexuality.

“Really?” Harry cocked his head to the side in confusion, making Louis roll his eyes at the younger boy’s oblivion.

“I can promise you there has never been a girl in this bed, H. Never has, never will be. I can’t believe you didn’t know I was gay!” Louis exclaimed. Harry’s shoulder sunk and a slight frown appeared on his face.

“Well that doesn’t make any sense.” Harry mumbled to himself. “You sure you’re gay?”

“On the Kinsey scale, I’m about a six. Gay as can be. Dicks. Love ‘em.” Louis clapped his hands together and that made Harry jump.

“Oh. I guess I never even considered it. But that’s awesome!” And just like that, Harry was back to his happy, bubbly self.

“My mom literally thought we were sleeping together. She still might! That didn’t raise any red flags?” Harry shook his head. Okay, wow, who knew this boy was so oblivious.

Harry waved his hand. “Thought you were maybe bi or curious or… something. Never gay.”

“And you’re…” Louis trailed off.

“Gay!. Yeah. I’m gay!” Harry answered, nodding enthusiastically. Louis pursed his lips, nodding too.

“That’s cool.” Louis suggested, not really knowing what else to say.

“Yeah your parents have been like, wow. Like super nice about it. I told them right away, you know? I wanted to give them a heads up before they let me watch their kids. I thought it would be awful if they ended up finding out and were like, homophobic, or summat.” Harry rambled and Louis was having a hard time following. Of course they were understanding, this was 2015. What parents would hate their child for who they are?

“Harry?” Louis asked hesitantly. Harry’s eyes met Louis’ and they were shining, they were always shining and they were always so green and beautiful. Harry nodded to tell Louis to go ahead and ask away.

“Were your parents not okay with it?” Harry’s smile faltered and he shrugged shyly.

“Not really? They, uhm. They kicked me out. When I told him.” Louis let out a deep sigh letting his face fall into his hands. How could someone turn away such a precious boy? Harry was the sweetest, kindest person Louis ever had the pleasure of meeting, and the idea that his parents kicked him out all because of who he was attracted to absolutely killed Louis.

Louis felt a hand on his back and Harry say his name gently, so he looked up to meet Harry’s eyes. Harry had a sad smile on his face and his eyes were watery, which only hurt Louis more.

“It’s okay now. I moved in with my sister until I could get a place of my own and. I’m fine now. I promise.” Harry said softly, rubbing circles into Louis’ back. “Life is really good now. Nothing bad has happened in a long time.”

Louis wanted to ask more. Wanted to pry and find out what else has happened to Harry, but he figured that finding out Harry’s parents didn’t accept him was enough information for one afternoon.

~*~

Louis was grateful that it was Saturday, because his mum let him sleep in until noon before waking him up and dragging him to the park with her and the oldest twins. Once Louis woke up a bit more he found himself happy to be there with Jay and the girls. He hadn’t spent alone time with Daisy and Phoebe in such a long time that it was crazy how much they had grown up. So Louis watched them play with a smile on his face, sitting next to his mum on one of the park benches.

“Harry’s having a blast with you.” Jay confessed and Louis couldn’t help but smile.

“Yeah, I like spending time with him. He’s lovely.” Jay gave her son the side eye and hummed suspiciously.

“Lovely?” Jay questioned and Louis groaned in annoyance. He really loved his mother, but couldn’t stand her prying and her constant desire to involve herself in Louis’ love life. He knew it was a thing but mums did, but he really wishes it wasn’t.

“Yes, Jay. Lovely. There, I said it! Do you want me to scream it out loud, too?!” Louis asked, projecting his voice louder and louder. Jay put her hand over Louis’ mouth to silence him and when his tongue swept across her palm, she didn’t budge.

“I gave birth to you, love. A bit of your spit on my hand isn’t going to do much.” Jay laughed as she removed her hand and wiped it on Louis’ leg. Louis grimaced at his jeans before shaking his head. He didn’t want to think about it.

“Harry said something to me the other day.” Louis brought up. Jay nodded, letting him know that she was interested and wanted him to continue. “He told me he was gay and that his parents kicked him out.”

Jay let out a breath at that. “Yes, that is true.” She confirmed.

“But.” Louis protested weakly. “I don’t understand.” Jay sucked in a deep breath.

“You know better than most that some people just aren’t accepting. The way I see it is that you should consider yourself blessed that you have such loving, understanding parents. With that, I consider myself blessed because I was given seven beautiful, healthy children. I don’t care who you are because I’m thankful that you are alive and well, and I’m happy knowing that you’re happy, no matter what that means. You could tell me anything, could tell me you never want to get married or have kids, or that you wanna quit your job and travel the world and I would have your back the whole way.” Louis nodded, trying to process his mother’s words.

“That’s what being a parent is about. It’s about loving you unconditionally, and I hope that translates to you guys when.” Jay pauses and corrects herself, “If you have kids. If that’s what you want. As long as you guys are in love with the life you’re living, I have no right to get in the way of that.”

“Harry wasn’t in love with the life he lived before he came out, and unfortunately he wasn’t in love with the life he was living after he did so. He was good when we first met him, but he wasn’t great, which is why I stressed about you treating him well. Dan and I would love to take credit for the person Harry has grown into, the beautiful soul he’s become, but that’s all on Harry. He makes us proud, as if he was our own, so we try to be there for him as much as possible, in every aspect possible. His parents didn’t give him that, so it’s important that we do.”

Louis let the words sink in just as Jay’s phone started ringing. She fished it out of her pocket and grinned, showing the screen to Louis.

“Speak of the devil.” Jay winked before answering the phone and putting it up to her ear. “Hello, love!”

Her smile instantly turned into a frown and Louis chewed on his bottom lip nervously. Jay’s eyes widened and she nodded quickly, standing up and gesturing to the girls.

“Of course people love you, H. You know we love you.” Jay said quietly into the phone. Louis was terrified, unsure of what to expect because he never sees his mother this worked up and frantic.

“How about you come over, yeah? You can stay in Louis’ room-.” Jay was cut off by the voice on the other line and her eyes fell to her son, looking at him sadly.

“Louis won’t care, love.” Jay promised. When there was protest on the line Jay sighed, looking extremely exhausted. “Yeah, fine. Just go over and lay down, yeah? Dan’ll make you a cup of tea and will bring it up to you. The twins and I are leaving now and we’ll see you in a bit. Bye, love, hang in there.”

“What’s going on?” Louis begged, pulling on his mum’s sleeve like a child. Daisy and Phoebe approached the two of them nervously.

“Is everything okay?” Daisy whimpered, grasping her sister’s hand.

Jay plastered a fake smile on her face. “Harry isn’t feeling very well, so he’s going to come over. Louis is gonna be home in a little bit with presents to make him feel better. You know Harry loves presents when he’s sad.” Jay cooed. The twins nodded and Jay turned to give a pleading look at her eldest.

“Just. Stay out until I text you? Go get some coffee or something until I text you. I’ll need you to pick up some things and I’ll pay you back when you get home. We really have to go, I’ll see you later.” Jay pressed a quick kiss to Louis’ cheek and gathered the girls, the three of them hurriedly walking to the car.

Louis had never felt so clueless, or useless, his life.

~*~

The text didn’t come for nearly two hours later, Louis not so patiently waiting in a small café. His tea had long gone cold, being too anxious to actually drink it. When his phone vibrated he almost threw it with how much force he used to remove it from his coat pocket.

From: Mummy xx

Harry is okay if you come now. Please go buy him some bubble bath and roses? He would be so happy if you did. Love you lots. X

With a sigh Louis slipped his phone back in his pocket, leaving the café to enter the frigid air. He walked to the nearest store, spending way too much time in the soap aisle. He takes his time smelling all the different bubble baths, trying to figure out which one smells most like Harry. Louis smiles when he comes across one labeled ‘cherry blossom’ as it smelled sweet and pretty like Harry did.

Louis picked out a nice bouquet of white roses, and another of purple dyed daisies, before checking out and starting his walk back home. The house is eerily quiet when he returns, his siblings sitting silently on the couch. They all turn their heads when Louis walks in, but advert their gazes back to the TV.

“Mum and Dan are in the kitchen.” Lottie said quietly. Louis toed off his Vans and walked into the kitchen, frowning to himself. His parents gave him a set of sad smiles as he approached them.

“Harry’s up in your bed. He gets this way sometimes, Lou. Has bad days and feels like there’s no way to escape. It’s just another bad day.” Louis nodded but didn’t really understand. Dan picked up on his unsure look and pat his back.

“Just go sit with him, yeah? He’ll probably want to take a bath and if it’s not a big deal, he’d probably like for you to sit in the bathroom with him. He’s going to be very happy to see you though.” Louis smiled softly at that. If sitting on the floor of the bathroom would make Harry feel better then he would do it. Louis would do anything for Harry to feel okay.

So after a short talk with his parents Louis went upstairs to his bedroom, knocking on the door.

“Come in.” Louis heard, so he twisted the door knob and walked in. Harry turned to see who it was and smiled tiredly when he saw it was Louis.

“Hi.” Harry sighed, turning to face the older boy. Louis shut the door behind him and held up the flowers.

“I got you things.” Louis said as he sat on the bed, passing the bouquets over and setting the bubble bath on the bed.

“Things.” Harry laughed, making Louis chuckle as well. Louis watched Harry examine the flowers, leaning down to inhale their scent. When he was satisfied Harry gently set them down and picked up the bubble bath, uncapping it and smelling.

“This is my favorite.” Harry’s smile looked so sincere that Louis felt like he just won the lottery. He felt lucky just to be able to make Harry smile like that.

“How are you feeling?” Louis wondered, moving to sit more comfortably on the bed.

Harry was a mess, as unfortunate as that was to say. He wasn’t wearing any sort of hair piece and his nail polish looked like it was scraped off. He was wearing dark colors, which was unusual. Usually he was dressed in bright, happy colors.

“I’m a lot better now, I think?” Harry explained hesitantly. “Coming here always makes me feel better. I feel loved here. Like I’m wanted, which is always nice.” Harry laughed sadly at himself, but Louis didn’t find the situation funny.

“I’m sorry I didn’t want you here before. I just. I didn’t want you seeing me so bad. It’s kind of embarrassing.” Harry spoke up, to fill the silence the two boys had created. Louis wasn’t sure what else to do, so he wrapped Harry up in his arms and pulled him to his chest. Harry fell into him with a sigh of relief, nuzzling into the older boy’s chest. Louis couldn’t ignore how right this felt, how amazing it was to have this boy in his arms, safe, and pressed up against him.

“Don’t apologize, love, not to me. Not to anyone.” Louis cooed, brushing the fringe off of Harry’s forehead before pressing a kiss to his warm skin. Harry practically purred under Louis’ touch, nuzzling into his hand when it moved to Harry’s unruly curls. He let a deep sigh out against Louis’ skin.

“Uhm. Lou? I’d like to take a bath but, like. Will you sit in there with me?” Harry asked nervously. Louis hummed and kissed Harry’s head one more time before standing up.

“Sure, H. Did you bring clothes or do you need something to wear?” Louis called over his shoulder, shifting through his closet.

“Can I borrow like, some pajama pants? I’ll just put on my sweater again. Oh! And some socks?” Louis looked through his stuff and found a pair of sweatpants that most likely belonged to his friend Liam, but would probably be the only pair that fit Harry’s long legs. He grabbed a big Adidas crewneck as well, just in case Harry changed his mind. He took the pile of clothes into the bathroom, finding Harry playing with the handles to find the perfect temperature.

“Do you want me to leave so you can undress and get in?” Louis placed the clothes on the counter and gave Harry a questioning look. Harry shrugged and poured a generous amount of bubble bath into the tub.

“Just close your eyes, and don’t peak.” Harry pointed a threatening finger in Louis’ direction. With a chuckle, Louis covered his eyes with his hands, making sure not to look through his fingers. He heard Harry climb into the tub, letting out a sigh of relief a few seconds later.

“Okay, I’m in.” Harry said. Louis opened his eyes to the sight of Harry relaxing in the tub, his head leaning back against the wall and his eyes closed. Louis had to smile at the boy, who had never looked more peaceful. Louis’ eyes raked over the parts of Harry’s body that wasn’t covered by bubbles, appreciating his smooth, creamy skin. Looking back to Harry’s face, Louis noticed that he was watching him as well. His face was flushed, and Louis didn’t think it was from the hot water.

“Thank you for staying with me. I don’t really like being alone on days like these.” Harry was so quiet that Louis had to strain to hear him, but he hummed.

“It’s not a problem love, I don’t really mind.” Harry smiled at him relaxing into the water again. Louis wanted to ignore the part of him that desired to climb in the tub with Harry. Not in a sexual way, he just thought it would be nice to lay in there with him, Harry’s back pressed to his chest. Louis sighed dreamily at the idea of that.

“Thinking hard over there?” Harry’s voice rang out, tearing Louis from his thoughts.

“Yeah. You staying over tonight?” Louis asked.

Harry hummed. “Was planning on it. Could sleep on the couch or something.” Louis waved a dismissive hand. He definitely wasn’t going to let Harry sleep on the couch, especially not after he’s had such a bad day.

“No. I’ll take the couch and you can have my bed.” Harry frowned at that.

“You’re going to be so uncomfortable.” Harry replied. Louis shrugged his shoulders because it really didn’t matter to him, as long as Harry was comfortable.

“It’s fine, Harry. I’d feel better if you were in here.” Harry chewed on his lip momentarily, looking at Louis hesitantly.

“We could share your bed? If that’s something you would be okay with?” Harry asked. It was definitely something Louis was okay with. Who wouldn’t want a gorgeous boy in their bed with the possibility to get to cuddle him? Louis was not about to pass up that opportunity.

“Sounds good, babe. How about I go make us some cocoa while you finish up and get changed?” Harry nodded at that suggestion so Louis left the room to go downstairs. His mum was in the kitchen when he entered it, putting leftovers into the fridge.

“Everything okay?” Jay asked and Louis nodded, leaning against the counter.

“Is it. Is it okay if Harry and I share my bed tonight?” Louis looked up through his eyelashes, hoping his mom would give in and agree.

“If it were under any other circumstances I would say no, but. I know he probably needs comforting so I’m going to allow it. But if I hear one peep from your room.” Jay trailed off, squinting at her son.

Louis groaned. “For the last time, nothing is going on between us.”

“But you wish there was.” Jay wiggled her eyebrows and Louis huffed. So maybe he did, but his mum didn’t have to make fun of him for it.

“Maybe I do.” Louis pursed his lips, “But nothing is going to happen. I suck at relationships, for starters, and living an hour away is not going to be help that. And that’s to say Harry does feel the same way about me.” Jay scoffed and gave Louis an incredulous look, because was Louis really serious?

“Really, Lou? If you weren’t so stupid maybe you’d see the way Harry looks at you. He talks so highly about you it’s adorable.” Jay gushed. Louis didn’t want to believe that. It would be a whole lot easier if Harry didn’t feel the same way, because it would just make everything so much more difficult.

“Lou?” A soft voice called from up the stairs. Jay gave him the ‘I told you so’ look and Louis glared back at her.

“I’ll be up in a few, H.” That must’ve been a good enough answer because Harry didn’t reply, and they could hear footsteps go back to Louis’ room. Louis made their drinks without another word, kissing his mum’s cheek gently before climbing upstairs to his room. Harry was sitting in the middle of his bed, covers thrown over his lap as he leaned against the headboard.

“Budge over.” Louis said, climbing in next to him. Harry took the mug from Louis, holding it between his hands.

“Thank you.” Harry whispered, Louis nodding.

“You really okay?” Louis asked. Harry sighed and set his mug on the nightstand, Louis doing the same. Harry gave Louis a hesitant glance before sliding up next to him, placing his head on his chest. Louis wrapped an arm around Harry’s shoulder to keep him close.

“I woke up and just knew it was going to be bad. I wanted to go back to sleep and not wake up again.” Harry let out a shaky breath. “It’s been a while since I’ve had a day like this, probably a couple months, so it just hit me hard.” Louis didn’t know what to say, he figured he would just let Harry talk it out, and he would listen as long as he needed to.

“I used to wake up every day not wanting to get out of bed. Everything was just so blue, and I hated it.” Harry confessed.

“That’s okay, H.”

Harry shook his head. “It wasn’t. The thoughts consumed me and I felt like I was nothing. I stopped getting out of bed all together, stopped eating, stopped seeing the few friends I had. My parents already hated me for who I was, and Gemma was starting to hate me too. She would get so mad at me for not getting up that she just stopped talking to me. I was living in her house but it was like I didn’t exist to her.”

Louis rubbed his hand up and down Harry’s arm, urging him to continue.

“The only time I was getting out of bed was to hurt myself, and that even that was failing to make me feel better.” Harry sucked in a deep breath.

“So. I tried to kill myself. Slit my wrists and tried to bleed out on the bathroom floor.” Louis gasped quietly at that, squeezing Harry tighter. He couldn’t believe such a wonderful person felt so miserable that the only way to escape themselves was to take their own life. He would have never expected that, not from Harry, and it broke his heart.

“What happened then?” Louis asked quietly. Harry sniffled and rubbed at his nose, avoiding eye contact.

“I heard Gemma come home from work, and the bathroom door was locked, and I think that must’ve triggered something in her. She had to kick the door down, and I passed out just as the ambulance arrived.” Louis had tears in his eyes now, but he was trying to hold them back for Harry’s sake.

“I was in treatment the whole summer, and it was so horrible. The only reason I actually tried to get better was because of Gemma. She had to go into therapy after what happened, and I still haven’t forgiven myself for fucking her up, too.” Louis pressed his nose against Harry’s temple, not only trying to comfort the younger boy but himself as well.

“I switched schools after that, because I knew people at my old school would refer to me as the kid who tried to kill himself, and I couldn’t stand the thought of that. Things at my new school were equally as horrible, because that’s around the time I started wearing the flower crowns and painting my nails.” Harry rolled up his sleeves to reveal wrists littered with many horizontal scars and two large vertical ones. Louis choked on a sob, letting his tears finally fall.

“They’re just so ugly. Which is why I started with the… girly stuff. The scars made me feel disgusting and the flower crowns made me feel beautiful.” Harry said softly. “That’s why I didn’t wear anything nice today. I was feeling ugly on the inside so I figured I’d look ugly on the outside too.”

Louis shook his head at that. “You’re beautiful. Even with your scars and even without your nails painted and a flower crown on your head.”

Harry let out a wet laugh and reached up to wipe away Louis’ tears. Louis caught Harry’s hand in his own, placing a kiss to his knuckles before lacing their fingers together. Harry’s cheeks were already red from crying, but they turned an even brighter color.

“Thank you for telling me.” Louis mumbled against Harry’s temple, pressing a kiss there.

“Thank you for listening.” Harry responded. Louis hooked his fingers under Harry’s chin and titled it so they were looking at each other.

“If you ever need anything, you can come to me, yeah? I’m always there for you.” Louis promised. Harry exhaled sadly.

“You’re only here for another two weeks. I don’t know what I’m gonna do when you leave.” Harry curled up against Louis’ again, gripping at his sweatshirt.

“I’m not going anywhere, H. Sure, I’ll be an hour away, but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to abandon you. You have everyone wrapped around your finger.” Louis sighed.

“Everyone?” Harry asked. Louis looked down at the boy on his chest, smiling shyly.

“Everyone.”

~*~

Louis woke up the next morning with Harry’s hair in his mouth, and he wasn’t going to lie, it freaked him out for a few moments. He settled again when he realized it was just Harry, tightening his grip around the boy. Harry grumbled and shifted in Louis’ grasp, turning to face him.

“I’m going to pee in your bed if you don’t let me go.” Harry whispered. Louis let go of him quickly, making the younger boy giggle.

“T’s too early.” Louis moaned, turning over to lay on his stomach.

“Go back to sleep then, love.” Louis didn’t need to be told twice, falling back asleep only a few minutes later.

~*~

The next time Louis woke up the other side of the bed was empty and cold, making Louis open his eyes and frown. He was really hoping Harry would still be in bed when he got up, but he probably was just downstairs with the kids.

Louis slipped out of bed, throwing on his glasses and trudging downstairs. Lottie was sitting on the couch, typing away on her phone while Fizzy sat on the floor with the babies.

“Where is everyone?” Louis asked, falling onto the couch.

“Mum, Dan, and the twins went to the store. Your boyfriend had a lunch date with his sister.” Louis’ eyes widened at that.

“Harry is not my boyfriend.” Louis denied, making Fizzy let out a loud laugh. She tapped at her phone a few times, turning the screen to Louis.

“This picture of you two cuddled up in your bed says otherwise.” She tried not to laugh, and Louis’ jaw dropped. He lunged at his sister, making her scream loudly.

“Delete that!” Louis yelled as he tried to wrestle the phone away from her, trying not to knock over the babies.

“Lottie help!” Fizzy screamed, throwing the phone at her. Lottie caught it and laughed when she locked the phone.

“Now you can’t delete it.” Lottie smirked, giving it back to Fizzy. Louis huffed out a breath and crossed his arms across his chest. Being one of the two boys was exhausting. No one ever took his side, besides Daisy, sometimes, when they teamed up on him.

“I hate you guys.” Louis mumbled pulling out his own phone.

To: flower child x

I h8 my sisters :( they took pics of us sleeping together :((

Louis waited a few minutes until his phone vibrated in his lap.

From: flower child x

Awe I thought it was cute! It’s my lockscreen now :)               

Louis glared at the screen before angrily texting back.

To: flower child x

u did not :(((((((((((((((((

All Louis received in response was a screenshot of Harry’s lockscreen, confirming that yeah, he totally did. Louis wanted to say something about Harry leaving him on such a short notice but decided against it, not wanting to seem desperate.

 Besides, he would see Harry tomorrow.

~*~

When Harry came through the door the next day he was mostly back to his normal self. He had on a mint green sweater with a matching floral headband, hair pushed off his forehead. Louis noticed, however, that Harry’s nails weren’t painted, which he chose to ignore.

“Good morning, Lou!” Harry sang, throwing a bag on Louis’ lap. Confused, Louis opened the bag and was instantly met with a sweet scent. Looking into the bag he discovered that Harry had picked up some treats and Louis was about to eat all of them.

“Oh! Thanks, love!” Louis called out, taking a bite of a scone. It was really good, making him moan at the taste. Harry came back into the living room with some fruit for the twins, going to sit by them and help them eat. When he was done he stood up, setting the bowl on the coffee table.

“Do you know where Lottie keeps her nail polish? She said she bought a new color that she thinks I’d like.” Louis shook his head because he had no idea. He was useless when it came to make up or anything like that.

Harry rolled his eyes, standing up. “Of course you wouldn’t.”

When he came back he had a small bottle of cream colored nail polish in one hand and a bottle of clear polish in the other.

“Is that why your nails aren’t painted.” Harry nodded and unscrewed the cap, slowly applying the paint. Louis watched them the whole time, blushing when Harry caught him staring. Louis was impressed by how fast Harry managed to paint and how good they looked. Harry could do it professionally.

“There. Done!” Harry showed Louis his hands and Louis gently grabbed them to better inspect.

He let out a breath. “You’re so good at that. Better than Mum or any of the girls.” Harry beamed at the compliment, smiling shyly.

“Could I. Maybe. Do yours?” The question had Louis taken back. He wasn’t opposed to the idea, just surprised. He never painted his nails before, even if he was supposedly ‘punk.’

“Uhm. Yeah. Yeah, that would be okay I think.” Harry excitedly got up and pressed a kiss to Louis’ cheek only to disappear back upstairs. He came back with a bin of nail polish and. Why did Lottie need that many different colors? She only used like. Two.

Harry dug through the colors, holding them up to Louis’ skin, throwing them back when he didn’t think they were good enough. He finally pulled out a dark purple, humming and going to read the bottle.

“Okay so this is matte, meaning it’s not going to be shiny? Is that okay?” Louis nodded. It really was a nice color. It wasn’t too girly, not that there was anything wrong with that. It was dark enough that it could look black, but did have a nice tint to it.

“I think it will look nice.” Harry sat next to Louis and took one of his hands, splaying it over his thigh. Louis sucked in a nervous breath at that because wow, Harry had great thighs. He also had a dick, which was something Louis was very interested in, and his hand was very close to it. Harry painted one nail, looking up to make sure Louis was still okay with it. Louis gave him go ahead, and Harry continued painting. He put the top coat on then, wiping at the sides of Louis’ nails.

“Beautiful!” Harry screwed the cap on. They looked really well, and Louis was thoroughly happy with them.

“They look lovely, H.” Louis said, looking up to meet Harry’s eyes. Harry was already looking at him, except his eyes were trained on Louis’ lips. It was then that Louis noticed how close their faces were, and it made his heart skip a beat. Louis was sure Harry was going to lean in and kiss him, until one of the twins started crying.

Harry closed his eyes and let out a deep sigh, standing up to grab Ernest.

“Do you want some help?” Louis asked, unsure of what just happened.

“Your nails are still wet.” Harry snapped, stomping out of them room to the kitchen. Doris watched him go with a confused look on her face.

“Me too, Doris. Me too.”

~*~
“Your nails are painted.” Phoebe pointed out that night at dinner, making everyone stop their conversations to check out Louis’ nails. He felt self-conscious then, a blush blooming on his cheeks.

“And, so?” Louis asked quietly, pushing the food around on his plate.

“Why?” Daisy asked.

“Do you ask Harry why his are painted” Louis shot back. Daisy cautiously shook her head.

“No, but that’s because mummy told me not to.” She answered.

“It’s a little weird, isn’t it?” Fizzy spoke up, eyes still trained on Louis’ fingers. That got to Louis, really setting him off. He stood up, his chair flying backwards with force.

“Louis.” Dan tried. Louis looked at his family before storming up the stairs, slamming his bedroom door. He was mad. Why was it such a big deal? It was okay for Harry to do it but not him? And his family didn’t even say anything about how good they looked. They basically just insinuated that he was a freak.

A knock on his door interrupted his thoughts.

“I really don’t want to talk to anyone right now.” Louis mumbled into his pillow.

“It’s Lottie.” The voice called and okay, Louis could talk to Lottie. When he didn’t respond the door opened and his sister peaked her head in the room. She smiled at Louis, coming to sit on the edge of his bed.

“No one was trying to make you feel bad, Lou. Especially not the twins. They’re so upset because they think you’re mad at you.” Lottie explained softly.

Louis sighed. “I’m not mad at them.”

“We all know that.” Lottie nodded, “But they don’t. What Fizzy said was rude, but no one understands why you reacted the way you did.”

“Why does it matter if my nails are painted or not?” Louis sat up, frowning.

“It doesn’t. The only thing that matters is what set you off.” She said again, trying to catch Louis’ eyes.

“It’s. Just. Do you think that’s what Harry has to go through?” Lottie bit her lip at that, letting out a quiet sigh.

“I’m sure that’s what he goes through and more. But he’s a tough boy.” Louis agreed with that. Harry was one of the strongest people Louis knew, and that wasn’t an exaggeration.

“They look really nice, but no one paid attention to that. You guys just thought it was weird.” Louis deflated and Lottie shook her head in awe.

“God, you care about him so much.” She sighed happily. Louis paused, because yeah, yeah he did. It was a terrifying thought, because he had not known Harry that long. It was scary to be so invested in someone he just met.

“I think he almost kissed me today.” Lottie’s eyes widened and her mouth dropped to shape an ‘o.’ She was just as surprised as Louis was when it happened.

“Would you have kissed him back?” Louis rolled his eyes. Of course he would have.

“That’s a dumb question, Lots. I think this whole house knows the answer to that question is yes.” Lottie giggled at that and Louis took the moment to reflect on the situation. She had matured a lot since Louis had seen her last, but he supposed that’s what happens when you don’t see someone for six months. He never would’ve thought that he would be sitting here talking about a crush Louis had.

“Then what’s stopping you from kissing him let’s say, tomorrow?” Louis’ eyes almost popped out of his head at that suggestion. He couldn’t kiss Harry tomorrow. He would probably fuck up and he’d be a nervous mess. He couldn’t do it. It would be a disaster.

“I can’t kiss him, are you kidding me?!” Louis exclaimed, giving her a look.

Lottie held her hands up in defense. “Yes you can. Just lean in and kiss him.”

Louis shook his head.

“No, I can’t. What am I supposed to do when I go back home? I don’t live here.” Louis spewed nervously.

“You keep dating him?” Lottie gave her brother a look, letting him know that he was stupid. “You live an hour away. You can come home on the weekends or he could come to you.”

And. Okay. So Louis hadn’t thought about that. An hour really wasn’t that far. But Louis wasn’t even sure that Harry would want a relationship with him. Maybe he misread the situation and Harry really wasn’t going to kiss him.

“I can see the wheels turning in your head. Think about it. Kiss him.” Lottie said one last time as she got up and left the room.

Okay. Louis would think about it.

~*~
Louis woke up sweating and nervous. He had thought about what Lottie said and yes. He was going to do it. He was going to kiss Harry and nothing was going to get in his way. So Louis made sure he looked good, putting on a little bit of eyeliner and styling his hair.

As it turned out, the babies were going to ruin his plan. They were especially fussy, refusing to eat or play or do anything but cry. Both Harry and Louis walked around the house, bouncing a baby and trying to stop their cries.

They finally got the babies to take their nap an hour later than they usually would. Unfortunately, Harry fell asleep as soon as the two boys fell onto the couch. Louis was just going to have to wait another day.

~*~
Wednesday and Thursday brought no such luck with the whole kissing thing.  

Wednesday Louis woke up feeling like proper shit, and Harry demanded that he stayed in bed the whole day. Louis couldn’t very well kiss Harry then, not when he was feeling so poorly, so that ruined his plan.

Thursday had brought a nasty tumble from Ernest, the poor little guy landing weirdly on his arm. Louis had panicked, and Harry had tried his best to calm him, but Ernest would not stop crying and that made Louis think something was really wrong. So Thursday brought a trip to the hospital that left Louis blubbering like a baby and apologizing to his mum profusely as Harry rubbed circles into his back.

Ernest turned out to be okay, and X-rays came back to confirm that nothing was broken and Louis cried for another hour after that. There was no way Harry was going to want to kiss a red-faced, snotty Louis.

~*~

Friday was a beautiful day. It was warm outside and the sun was shining brightly. Harry had the brilliant idea of filling up the plastic kiddie pool in the back to let the twins splash around in. Louis agreed, only because he could use it as an excuse to get a tan and to see Harry shirtless. He was really more in it for the latter.

Louis stood outside, holding the hose into the pool to fill it up, just a pair of jean shorts on. He was sweating already, the sun beating down against his back. Louis froze when Harry came outside, his hair in a bun, a teeny tiny pair of yellow swim trunks on and a baby on each hip. He was cooing to Ernest and Doris, trying to get them excited.

“Jesus, you’re dark.” Louis jumped at the sound of Harry’s voice, too busy staring at Harry’s thighs.

“The pools filled.” Louis stuttered, going to turn off the water. Harry rolled his eyes and laughed at Louis, setting the babies down on Louis’ lawn chair to put sun block on them. He made sure to put plenty on, ensuring the babies wouldn’t burn. Harry dipped a toe into the water and smiled when it wasn’t too cold.

“I’m gonna sit in it, can you hand them to me?” Harry asked and Louis complied. Louis watched Harry fit into the pool, making grabby hands towards Ernest and Doris. Ernest was happy to be in the water, slapping his hands against it and making it splash everywhere. Doris was a little more hesitant with it, refusing to leave Harry’s lap.

“Awe, Lou! Look how cute we are, take a picture!” Louis grabbed Harry’s phone and snapped a picture, grinning at it. It was really cute, and Louis totally did not send it to himself to make it his lockscreen. No, sir.

Louis spent the remainder of the time outside staring at Harry when he wasn’t paying attention. There was no way Louis could kiss him today, not with what the nineteen year old was wearing. Louis was way too sexually frustrated and was afraid that if he started kissing Harry, he wouldn’t be able to stop.

That afternoon when Harry left, Louis locked himself to rub one out, the thought of Harry in those tiny shorts in the back of his mind.

~*~

His entire family was picking up on how irritated Louis was, and they all knew why. After their little talk, Lottie had sat the whole family down to tell them that Louis had decided to grow a pair and was going to kiss Harry. Daisy and Phoebe bother Louis about what ‘growing a pair’ meant the whole week, as if he wasn’t already embarrassed enough.

Louis’ was so irritable by Sunday night that Jay threatened to disown him if he didn’t kiss Harry the following day.

~*~
Louis awoke Monday morning completely determined. There was so way he was going to let Harry leave this house without getting to kiss him. It was also important that Louis did it as soon as possible, because he would be returning back to home and back to work the upcoming Sunday. If he wanted a chance with Harry, he had to make his move.

It seemed as if the twins were on his side that day, as they were sleeping in. Hopefully they would continue to sleep long enough for Louis to sit Harry down and kiss him.

“Babies are sleeping.” Louis spoke as Harry entered the house. Harry gave Louis a lop-sided grin and sat down close enough to him that their thighs were touching.

“How are you this morning?” Harry asked, throwing one of his thighs across Louis’. Louis was sure that Harry was in on the plan and decided to sabotage him. He was making things even more nerve-racking, being extremely tactile.

“Yeah. I’m. I’m fine.” Louis stuttered, rubbing his sweaty hands together. Harry gave him a weird look that Louis didn’t see, picking up on his odd behavior.

“That’s good?” Harry offered, Louis nodding absentmindedly.  

After a beat of silence Harry spoke up. “Is everything okay? You’re awfully tense.”

Louis ran a hand through his hair and turned to Harry, looking into his eyes. Harry watched over Louis to try to figure out what the older man was feeling but with no such luck.

“All I’m asking, is that you don’t hate me.” Louis breathed out. Harry furrowed his eyebrows.

“What?” Harry exclaimed, “Louis why would I ever hate you.”

Louis’ gaze dropped from Harry’s eyes to his lips.

“Oh.” Harry whispered and oh. Oh? That threw Louis off, pulling away from Harry to look at him, confused.

“Oh?” He repeated.

“Were. Are you going to kiss me?” Louis froze at that, not sure how to respond. He let out a nervous laugh, running his hands through his hair. A smile bloomed on Harry’s cheeks as they started to turn rosy.

“You were going to kiss me.” Harry whispered in shock.  Louis nodded and hid his face in his hands. Harry giggled and grabbed Louis’ wrists, gently uncovering the older man’s face.

“You don’t hate me?” Louis asked softly.

“Hate you?” Harry furrowed his eyebrows, “I would never hate you for kissing me, you idiot. I’ve wanted to kiss you the moment I opened the door when you came knocking. Well, and then you offended me and I wanted to cry a little bit. I was so frustrated because you were so beautiful but very rude but then you showed who you really were and, god. You’re so wonderful.” Harry sighed. Louis was left speechless, the two boys just blinking at each other.

“So if I kiss you now..” Louis offered. Harry rolled his eyes and put his hand on the nape of Louis’ neck, pulling him closer.

“That would make me so, so happy.” And that was all Louis needed to hear before he closed the distance between them. Their lips met softly, Harry’s bottom lip caught gently between Louis’. Louis frantically reached for the younger boy’s hips, getting even closer. The moment their tongues brushed together Harry moaned quietly, and Louis had to pull away before he got too overwhelmed.

“God, you’re lovely.” Louis said. Harry kissed him again, keeping it chaste and sweet.

“I can’t believe it took you this long to realize I wanted you to kiss me. You’re so oblivious.” Harry replied, stroking Louis’ cheek with his thumb.

“Hey. You could’ve kissed me you know.” Harry looked down shyly then.

“I didn’t think you wanted some pathetic kid kissing you, so I didn’t. I almost did the other day, but, you know.” Louis’ eyes widened.

“I knew it.” Harry giggled and pecked Louis’ lips.

“I was such a flirt and you didn’t respond so I figured you weren’t interested.” Harry shrugged and wow, Louis actually was a daft idiot.

“I just thought you were being nice” Louis replied weakly, and Harry had to kiss him again, just to shut him up.

~*~

“Right.” A voice says, and Louis pulls away from Harry so fast it’s amazing.

The two were laying on the couch, Louis hovering over Harry as they made out. They couldn’t stop touching all day, but couldn’t very well do anything while they had to watch the babies. So as soon as the twins were put down for a nap, Louis and Harry retired to the couch to pick up where they left off.

“Mum!” Louis gasped, cheeks flaming. Harry groaned next to him, trying to hide his red, swollen lips. He also had also grabbed to put a pillow in his lap, because they had been making out for a while and hands had started to wander.

“I’m very happy you finally made a move, love, but I didn’t not want to see that.” Jay smirked, looking between the two boys.

“In my defense, you’re home early.” Louis remarked and Jay clicked her tongue.

“My replacement came in early. Now I’m going to shower, and if I hear anything you two are dead. Also, Harry dear, should I expect you for dinner?” She raised an eyebrow and Harry nodded.

“Good. Behave you two.” Jay pointed at the boys before leaving the room and heading up the stairs.

“We should take a break anyway,” Harry let out a breath, “Was getting too heated.” Louis hummed in agreement and pressed a kiss to Harry’s forehead. He sat back on the couch but pulled Harry to his chest, the two cuddled together.

There was no place Louis would rather be than right there in that moment.

~*~

Louis’ sisters and Dan absolutely freaked out when Jay told them about catching the boys that afternoon, Lottie cheering as Fizzy handed money over to her. Dan had to give up some money as well to Jay, because apparently everyone had a few bets as to when Louis was actually going to make a move.

Dinner was amazing, Louis and Harry sharing fond looks while the older twins pretended to puke. The whole family made fun of them but neither of the boys cared, both caught in their own little world.

Louis was lying in bed that night, having just got off the phone with Harry when his phone buzzed underneath his pillow. He fished it out and saw that he had a new text message.

From: Zayner

Hey Lou, hope you’re having a good time. I was wondering if there was any way you could come back home Wednesday to start work on Thursday? We’re absolutely swamped this weekend and Niall has a family emergency so he had to go back to Ireland. I really, really need you to come back. Please let me know ASAP

Louis read the message over and over again, chewing on his bottom lip. He had to go back early, there was no way he could say no. Zayn had already done so much for him by giving him the month long break and Louis owed him big time. So, with shaking hands, Louis responded.

To: Zayner

No problem. See you thurs.

~*~

The next morning Louis felt as if he couldn’t get out of bed. He didn’t want to have to break the news to Harry, especially considering they were supposed to have six more days together, when they really only had less than two. Louis already told his mum, knocked on her bedroom door nearly in tears right after he texted Zayn. She had wrapped him up in her arms and held him closer, whispering to him that Harry would understand and that Louis leaving wouldn’t change a thing.

With a sigh, Louis rolled out of bed and trudged to the shower, not wanting to be a mess when Harry arrived. He didn’t feel like looking nice, so he threw on a pair of joggers and a hoodie, making his way downstairs. Waiting for Harry to arrive felt like forever, and Louis was starting to get impatient. He watched the twins giggle and babble at each other as he waited, but not even the cuteness of the babies was making him feel any better.

When Harry did come through the door, he knew something was wrong right away. He was wearing short denim shorts with a black tank top, hair held back with a floral headband. Harry was sure that this outfit would make Louis jump him instantly, which was the point of wearing what he did. However, when Harry came into Louis’ line of view, Louis just smiled. The smile Louis gave him didn’t quite reach his eyes and he looked miserable. Harry came around to the couch and curled up to Louis, pressing a gentle kiss to the underside of his scruffy jaw.

“What is it, love?” Harry asked, eyes wide in worry. Louis couldn’t find it in himself to say it, so he pulled out his phone. He opened his conversation with Zayn and gave the phone to Harry, who took it hesitantly. Louis watched Harry as he read the messages, holding his breath. Harry locked the phone as soon as he was done, handing it back to Louis with a sigh.

“I’m upset, but I understand, Lou. Not being able to see you every day is going to suck for a little while, but we can still visit each other.” Harry spoke, linking his fingers with Louis’. With gentle fingers, Louis guided Harry’s face closer to his to press a sweet kiss to the younger boy’s lips. Harry smiled against Louis’ mouth, and Louis was so gone for this boy. How lucky was he to get to kiss such a beautiful, understanding boy?

“I don’t want to spend these next few days moping.” Harry nodded in agreement.

“Why don’t we do something fun with the twins today? We could go to the park. Oh, and we could feed the ducks! Ernie and Doris would probably love that!” Harry exclaimed. Louis chuckled and smacked a kiss to his boy’s temple.

“Whatever you wanna do babe, is fine with me.”

~*~

So later that afternoon Louis finds himself walking in the park, hand clasped with Harry’s while the two of them push the twin’s double stroller. It’s a beautiful day outside, the sun shining warm again their skin. The twins were dressed in cute little summer outfits with tiny hats to protect their skin from burning, and Harry cooed the whole time Louis dressed them.

When the four of them got to the small pond, Harry pulled out a loaf of bread well Louis got the twins out from their stroller, drawing attention to the group of ducks swimming around. Harry sat down next to them and pulled out a slice of bread, breaking off a piece.

“Watch Hazza, lovelies! He’s going to feed the duckies.” Louis cooed. Both twins watched with wide eyes as Harry threw the break into the water, watching as the ducks swarmed to get it. This made both of the twins giggle wildly, thinking it was the funniest thing in the world. Harry threw another piece and started cackling at ow hard the babies were laughing.

“Do you want to try?” Harry asked the babies, who both nodded. He gave them each a piece of bread that they nearly squished in their tiny fists. Louis got one as well, tossing it into the water. Ernest and Doris followed his lead, Doris’ piece making it into the water while Ernest’s landed just short of it. With big blue eyes, Ernest looked up at Harry, bottom lip wobbling.

“Oh, Ernie. Try again, love.” Ernest accepted the bread again, this time making it into the water, accidently hitting a duck on the head. Louis chuckled and Ernest giggled, grinning up at his big brother. Louis looked up to see Harry watching them fondly, a smile playing on his lips.

“You’re so good with them. They love you so much.” Harry commented. Louis’ heart swelled in his chest and he smiled at Harry before puckering his lips. Harry rolled his eyes but leaned over to kiss Louis’ anyway, the two laughing against each other’s lips. Harry stood up, putting the bread away and reaching for Ernest.

“Come on, I think that these two deserve some ice cream.”

The four of them made their way to the ice cream shop nearby, smiling along the way. Once there, Harry and Louis each ordered their own ice cream, before getting plain vanilla for the twins. The boys took turns feeding the twins in between bites of their own cold treats, laughing at how messy the babies were getting. At one point, Harry had some hot fudge on his lip, so Louis’ thumbed it off, sucking the sticky substance off his finger. Harry flushed at that, and Louis leaned over to kiss his pink cheeks.

“Excuse me?” A timid voice said, interrupting the boys from their little moment. A middle aged woman stood in front of them, a young girl by her side.

“Hi!” Harry smiled at them, waving at the little girl.

“Can we help you with anything?” Louis asked politely. The woman nodded and grinned down at her daughter.

“My daughter had something she wanted to say to you two.” The little girl blushed and smiled shyly at Harry and Louis.

“I just wanted to say that you two are very cute together.” The girl said. Louis thanked her and gave her a dashing smile.

“You two have a beautiful family,” the woman spoke, “Have a lovely day.”

“Oh.” Harry whispered, looking at Louis out of the corner of his eye.

“Thank you very much.” Louis replied, bidding them a good day as well. When they walked away Louis turned back to Harry, only to find him frowning slightly.

“What’s wrong, babycakes?” Harry rolled his eyes at the nickname but smiled.

“You didn’t correct her.” Louis shrugged.

“I didn’t see the point.” And with that Louis went back to his ice cream. There weren’t words to describe how amazing Harry thought Louis was.

~*~

That afternoon when Jay came home, Louis walked Harry outside to his car. Harry leaned against it, Louis’ hands on either side of his hips, trapping the younger boy between his arms. Harry grabbed the hem of Louis’ tank top and pulled him closer, so their hips were only inches apart. Louis kissed Harry softly, hands moving from the vehicle to gently caress the skin of Harry’s hips.

“I want you to come over tomorrow night.” Harry breathed against Louis’ mouth.

“Yeah?” Harry nodded.

“Wanna cook you dinner. Properly wine and dine you.” Louis brushed his lips against Harry’s once again, and Harry took that action as a solid yes.

~*~

The next day, Harry came over to watch the twins and they had another pool day, appreciating the lovely weather. Spending the day splashing in the pool really wore the babies out, so much so that they were nodding off as Harry and Louis tried to feed them. So once the twins were fast asleep, the older boys made their way to Louis’ room to kiss in his bed, strictly keeping hands above the waist. When it was time for Harry to leave, Louis kissed him goodbye and told him he’d see him later, and that he was very excited for their date.

Later that night, Louis found himself standing in front of Harry’s door, a bouquet of light red carnations in his hand. The door swung open and revealed a very soft looking Harry. He was wearing black jeans with an oversized white sweater, his nails painted a pretty, pale blue.

“Wow.” Louis breathed out, eyes raking over Harry’s figure.

“Wow yourself.” Harry smirked, and then his eyes fell on the flowers, “Red carnations.”

Louis nodded.

“They symbolize love, pride, and admiration.” Harry spoke, and yes, Louis knew that. He really wanted to get a flower that really represented the way he felt about Harry. He, along with Lottie, spent time that afternoon looking at different flowers and their meanings. Louis stressed that he had to find the perfect kind, and when he found out about the carnations, he was sure that was the flower he wanted.

“They’re beautiful, Lou. Come inside, I’ll get a vase for them.” As soon as Louis stepped foot in Harry’s apartment, he was taken back.

Harry’s apartment was beautiful, filled with white furniture and different shades of pale colored pillows on the couch. There was a fluffy pink rug in the middle of the living room and fairy lights strung up along the walls. There were multiple sweet smelling candles lit around the room that made Louis want to kiss Harry breathless.

“It smells amazing in here.” Louis spoke. The two walked into the kitchen and Harry filled up a vase of water, putting the flowers in it.

“Thanks, babe. We’re having chicken parmesan, garlic bread, and salad. I hope that’s okay?” Louis hummed and approached Harry to kiss the corner of his mouth.

“Sounds delicious, sweetheart. When are we eating?” Louis asked and just then the oven time went off. Harry giggled and pulled the chicken out of the oven, grabbing two plates.

“There’s a bottle of pink moscato in the fridge. Can you grab that for me?” Louis retrieved the bottle and poured it into two glasses, taking them to the table. Harry followed with their plates of food and the two of them sat down, raising their glasses in a toast.

“To us?” Harry asked.

“To us.” Louis grinned, clinking his glass against Harry’s. Louis moaned as soon as he took his first bite, the chicken absolutely delicious.

“God, I didn’t know you could cook like this.” Louis said around a mouth full of food. Harry grimaced but then laughed, taking a sip of wine.

“I watch a lot of cooking shows in my free time, and always wanna try new recipes.” Harry explained.

“Well, when you come and visit me, you might just have to cook because I surely cook.” Harry giggled.

“What do you eat then?” He asked.

Louis shrugged.

“A lot of takeout? Frozen dinners? Cereal.” Louis offered and Harry’s eyes widened. That wasn’t healthy and he was starting to think he should cook some meals so Louis could take them home and eat properly.

“That’s so bad for you! I’m going to have to teach you.” Louis really liked the idea of that.

After dinner, they boys refilled their glasses of wine and moved to the living room, deciding to put on a movie. Harry really wanted to watch Clueless, and Louis agreed easily, because whatever made Harry happy, made him happy as well. They sat curled up around each other, Harry’s legs thrown over Louis’ and his head snug against Louis’ shoulder. Louis had an arm wrapped tight around the younger boys shoulder and their fingers laced together, cheeks warm from the wine.

Harry laughed at something Cher had said and Louis looked down at him, smiling fondly. Harry gazed up at Louis, eyes sparkling and dimples prominent.

“What?” Harry wondered, smiling wide. Louis reached for the remote and paused the movie, setting back against the couch.

“I really like you, H. I didn’t think it was this possible to become this smitten in such a short amount of time but it happened with you. Whatever this is, I don’t want it to end when I leave tomorrow. So what I wanted to know, is if you’ll be my boyfriend?” Louis asked nervously, bottom lip caught between his teeth. Harry bit down on a smile a nodded quickly, leaning up to press a bruising kiss to Louis’ lips. Louis kissed him back just as enthusiastically, cupping Harry’s cheek in his hand. Harry pecked Louis’ mouth once, twice, three times before pulling away and looking up at him in awe.

“We’re gonna be okay.” Harry whispered, as if it was the world’s greatest secret.

“We are. And I’m so happy we could spend this time together before tomorrow.” Harry hummed and brought his boyfriend’s – holy shit, boyfriend’s- hand to his mouth to kiss the back of it.

“What time do you leave tomorrow?”

“Once you get there, we can say goodbye and then I’ll be off. I really want time to get settled back in before I have to work tomorrow.” Harry nodded and kissed Louis again. And if they spent of the rest of the night making out heatedly on the couch, well, it was really no one’s business. They were boyfriends now, and that kind of behavior was completely acceptable.

~*~

The next morning Louis woke up extra early so he had time to say goodbye to the girls, and see them off to school. Daisy and Phoebe were a little sad, but Louis promised he would make a better effort to visit them, his pinkies locked with each of theirs. It was easier saying goodbye to Fizzy and Lottie, both of the older girls complaining when Louis ruffled their hair. So he sent them all off with a kiss to the cheek and big hug, watching them walk out the door.

Saying goodbye to Jay was simple enough, as she didn’t get emotional. She’d seen him off enough times that she didn’t cry any more, but she still held him close to her and peppered his face with kisses. Louis and Dan hugged it out, Dan patting Louis on his back and asking that Louis not be so much of a stranger. With a chuckle he agreed, and watched his parents go off as well.

He spent his time waiting for Harry cuddled with the twins in his lap, constantly pressing kisses to their heads. It was harder having to leave them, because they were growing up so fast, and he hated missing their milestones. At least now he had Harry, who promised to text Louis daily updates of Ernest and Doris, pictures included.

When Harry walks through the door he’s all smiles, which is something Louis is grateful for. He didn’t want to have an emotional goodbye with anyone today. He was counting on his boyfriend to be optimistic about the whole ordeal, and he knew Harry would come through.

“Good morning, baby.” Harry greeted him, pecking his lips. He grabbed Doris from Louis and they placed the babies in their playpen, but not before Louis kissed their chubby cheeks repeatedly. Louis turned to Harry and opened his arms shyly. Harry fell into them, resting his head on Louis’ shoulder for a few minutes.

“I’ll see you soon, yeah? And I’ll text you every day, and I’ll call you every night.” Louis promised. Harry pulled back to gaze up at Louis, grinning happily.

“Of course. I’ll come visit really soon, okay? Was hoping my hot tattoo artist boyfriend could help me add some more ink to my collection.” Harry wiggled his eyebrows and Louis chuckled, dropping a kiss on Harry’s forehead.

“I’m sure we could figure something out.” Harry brought his lips to Louis’ and they kissed for a few moments.

“I’ll miss you.” Harry whispered. Louis kissed him one last time on the lips and then pecked his nose.

“I’ll miss you more.” Harry rolled his eyes.

“Text me when you make it home safe, yeah?” Louis nodded and squeezed Harry a final time before waving to the babies. Harry watched from the window as Louis got in his car, blowing a kiss when their eyes locked. Louis caught the kiss and put his hand over his heart, making Harry giggle.

While there may be distance between them, nothing was going to break them. Because fate had a funny way of bringing people together.

And when two people are meant to be together, fate works its’ magic to ensure they stay together.