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A Sorta Fairytale (With You)

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~*~

 

Louis is Not Pleased. “No, no, no! Sophia, you can't be serious. Please tell me you aren't serious,” he whines. This could not be happening to him.

“I thought you were a fan,” is all Sophia says, sifting through the racks. “What do you think about a sweetheart neckline? Do you think that it will make my boobs look bad?”

Why didn’t Sophia understand how dire this was? How could Louis talk about wedding dresses at a time like this? “But I’m not a fan! I just-”

Sophia shot him a look, cutting him off. “You just went to his concert. And got back stage, but were too scared to go up and actually introduce yourself to him. It’s not my fault you’re such a pansy.”

Louis splutters, at a loss for words. She’s not wrong, but really.

Harry Styles has been the bane of Louis’ existence since his two younger sisters discovered his music four years ago. Back then, he’d been just a curly-haired cherub making his way through X-Factor. He was cute, and had a good voice, but Louis could easily ignore him then. Now, Harry Styles is a tall, broad, dimpled representation of the Devil Incarnate. Every single time he comes on the telly or he sees him in a magazine, Louis has to excuse himself to take care of the way his pants get too tight. It was pretty embarrassing when he was in the middle of Tesco’s but it’s Louis’ cross to bear, like some fucked up Pavlovian response. But that isn’t the problem.

The problem is that Louis absolutely fucking hates his music. Taking his sisters to Harry’s concert last year was torture, coupled with the fact that he had been a hair’s breadth away from Harry and had to get the hell out of there. Meeting one of the most attractive men in the world with a raging boner was probably terrible etiquette, especially when he’s escorting his younger sisters. It wasn’t one of Louis’ prouder moments, if he’s honest.

And now the fucker is going to be in the same wedding that Louis is. Fantastic. Louis is going to single-handedly ruin the happiest day of Liam and Sophia’s lives because his dick can’t get with the program.

“If you’re going with a sweetheart neckline, don’t go with the mermaid shape. It’ll make you look wonky,” he moans. He drapes himself dramatically across the most uncomfortable chair in existence. “I can’t even believe this. Sophia, I can’t be in the same room with him. I might actually tell him how much I hate his music.”

“Or tell him how badly you want to bang him,” she muses.

Louis groans again. “That too. Why couldn’t Liam just pick me to be his best man?”

Sophia grabs another dress and lays it none too gently across his lap. “Because you’re already my man of honor. It’s time to stop being silly and help me find a dress. We have two more hours before we have to meet with the wedding planner to confirm the venue. Get off your arse and make yourself useful.”

“Don’t you even care about my crisis?”

“Not even a little bit,” Sophia says with a sweet smile.

With one last dramatic sigh, he gets to his feet. “Fine. Let’s find you a dress.”

--

After what feels like the longest day in history, Louis finally makes it back to the flat that he shares with Sophia and Liam. He loves Sophia and he's excited for their upcoming nuptials, but good god if he hears the word “wedding” again today he may very well vomit. The lights are on, which means that Liam must be home.

“Honey, I’m home!” Louis crows as he flings his keys into the bowl by the door. “Did you miss me?” He jumps on Liam before he can answer properly. “I certainly missed you. You won’t ask me about dresses or color palettes, will you?”

Liam chuckles as he dumps Louis on the sofa. “Nope. Busy day, then?” He walks back to the kitchen and the smell of something delicious cooking hits Louis.

God, he’s going to miss this. He and Liam, along with their friend Zayn, had been like the Three Musketeers throughout university. They were thick as thieves and twice as mischievous. At least, until Zayn had been offered a position as curator at an art gallery in Los Angeles. Then their trio was down to two. It had worked wonderfully, and then Liam had met Sophia. Sophia fit seamlessly into their lives and Louis loved her dearly, but. Now that they were getting married, it meant that everything was changing.

Everything except Louis. He’s still working as a sports writer/editor for the local paper and he’s been single for longer than he cares to think about. With a desperate crush on a pop star that he can’t stand that’s coming to his two best friends’ wedding.

“Louis? I asked if you’d eaten already.”

It was enough to shake Louis out of his melancholic thoughts. “No, not since lunch. Smells delicious. What are you making?”

Liam goes back to stirring a pot on the stove as he checks his phone. “A recipe Harry sent me to try. He said he found it when he was in New Orleans and thought I would like it.”

Louis feels his traitorous dick twitch at the mere mention of him. They were going to have a serious talk later on about this whole Harry business. “Oh. How nice,” he offers lamely. He wants to complain, but he can’t very well gripe about Liam’s best man to his face, now can he? “When is he coming again?”

“He’ll be here on the twelfth. I can’t wait for you to meet him! I think you’re going to really love him. And maybe this time you won’t run away.”

“That’s what you think,” Louis mutters under his breath. Louder, he says, “I’m never going to hear the end of that, am I?” Despite his sulk, he takes the steaming bowl that Liam hands him. It smells even more amazing up close, and Louis’ irritation flares a little more. Great, not only is he gorgeous, he apparently can cook, too.

Liam flops down onto the sofa next to him, clutching his own bowl to his chest. “Probably not, but it’ll be a good way to break the ice. Harry will find it hilarious.” He doesn’t seem to notice Louis mumbling under his breath about stupid pretty pop stars as they dig into their dinner. Admittedly, the rice dish is amazing and it leaves a pleasant burn on the back of Louis’ tongue. It’s like the burning hatred/arousal that wells in his soul when he thinks about Harry’s stupid pretty face.

Once the sound of spoons clinking against their bowls fades out, Liam starts talking again. “I’m really glad he’s coming, you know? I mean, he’s my best friend in the world besides you and Zayn. I didn’t think he’d be able to find time to come back.”

“It’s the way it should be! Jet-setting across the globe singing to screaming prepubescent girls should always take a back seat to your best friend’s wedding. I mean, I cleared my schedule for it,” Louis offers, earning himself a shove in the arm. “I’m serious!”

“Sure you are,” Liam replies with a fond eye roll.

Louis’ suddenly filled with restless energy, so he grabs their dishes and takes them to the sink. “You probably should warn people. Wouldn’t want to start a riot at your wedding or anything.” He rinses their bowls out and starts to put the pots into soak. Anything to not look at Liam, whom he guesses is probably looking at him like he’s been body-snatched. Louis doesn’t rinse his dishes out on a good day, so it’s pretty understandable.

“Why? Only our close friends and family are going to be there, and they all know who he is. You’re the only one being all uptight about it,” Liam says.

“What? How? Everyone has already been told he’s going to be there?” Louis demands, slamming his hands down on the counter. “I thought only the wedding party knew!”

Liam quirks his eyebrow and folds his arms. “We told them? Why are you suddenly being so weird about this?”

“Let me guess. Zayn knows too, doesn’t he?” Louis moans, covering his face with his palms. Could this get any worse?

“Of course he knows, Louis. I told him. This is about the weird crush you have on Harry, isn’t it?”

Louis gasps, clutching at his shirt. Yes, it could get worse. “What? No!” he squeaks out. Realizing he probably sounds like a distressed cat, he clears his throat. “I mean, no. I don’t have a crush on him. I’m just appalled you didn’t tell me everyone knew.”

Liam rolls his eyes and turns the television on. “Maybe I didn’t tell you because I knew you’d be all weird about it. It’s okay that you have a thing for him, you know. Hey, maybe he’ll like you back!”

Groaning again, Louis lets his head hit the counter with a loud thunk. Great. Just great. Everyone and their grandmother apparently knew about his embarrassing fixation with Harry Styles, and he would bet anything that Liam was already formulating a plan in his head for them to meet.

Between contemplating a plane ticket to Iceland and building a rocket ship to the moon, Liam’s phone rings. It startles Louis out of his thoughts, enough for him to eavesdrop on the conversation. “Yeah! We’re so excited you’re coming! Don’t worry, you haven’t missed too many best man duties,” Liam says with a laugh, and Louis takes that as his cue to leave. He can’t be in the same room with Liam while he’s on the phone with… him.

Fucking Harry Styles, Louis thinks as he retreats to his bedroom.

-*-

The next few days pass by in a blur, enough that Louis barely notices the date of Harry’s arrival creeping up on him. That is, until Harry shows up on their doorstep.

Louis is just getting out of bed, hasn’t even had his morning cup of tea. The doorbell rings and he glares daggers in the vague direction of the door. There's no reason that anyone should be ringing their bell at nine in the morning. Hell, Louis wouldn’t even be up if it wasn’t for the fact that he has to go to his tux fitting in an hour. He trudges towards the door and swings it open with a shout of, “What?”

“Hi! You must be Louis!” an entirely too cheerful voice says. And of course, it belongs to none other than Harry Fucking Styles. Who is standing on Louis’ doorstep looking unfairly attractive for someone who supposedly just flew from Los Angeles. His curly hair is pulled into a stupid bun on the top of his head, his green eyes bright and clear. Even his clothes, a baggy white shirt and ripped black skinnies, look like he just walked out of one of his concerts and not like he’s been flying for hours. So, Louis does what any reasonable human being would do.

He slams the door in his face.

Louis’ heart is beating so hard Harry can probably hear it on the other side. He’s not equipped to be dealing with this, especially without being properly caffeinated first. This can’t be happening to him. “Wake up, wake up, wake up,” he mutters to himself, carding his fingers through his hair.

“Louis? Was someone at the door?” Liam asks, suddenly appearing in the kitchen. Louis is pretty sure this nightmare is just going from bad to worse.

“No! Just the milkman!” Louis squeaks out.

Too bad for him, years of friendship have taught Liam to question anything that comes out of his mouth. Before Louis can finish protesting, Liam shoves him out of the way and proceeds to open the door. “Harry!” Liam shouts excitedly, pulling Harry inside and hugging him tight. It would be a perfect Hallmark moment, except Louis is on the verge of a breakdown. “Please forgive Louis, he’s a bear in the mornings.”

Harry turns a beaming, dimpled grin on him and Louis is pretty sure the butterflies in his stomach start salsa dancing. “It’s all right. I’m sure he probably wasn’t expecting to see me there.” He extends his hand, his large, ringed-fingered hand that maybe Louis has spent way too much time fantasizing about. “It’s nice to meet you, Louis. I’ve heard so much about you.”

Louis can’t even will his body to move. He probably looks ridiculous, in his slouchy track pants and t-shirt that probably belongs to Zayn. His bed head is enough to scare small children on a good day. Now he’s meeting the source of his shameful wanks in the flesh. “Likewise,” he grits out. He winces internally.

Harry’s grin dims a bit and he can feel Liam shooting eye-lasers at him. “Well...that’s good, I guess. I’m just so excited to be here. I can’t believe you’re getting married, Li!” Harry exclaims, like Louis isn’t the most awkward human being on the planet. He’s been here five minutes and Louis has already managed to fuck it up.

“Me neither. Louis teases me all the time, saying he’s still wondering how much I bribed Sophia with,” Liam says with a chuckle. “Right, Lou?”

Can the earth just swallow him up now? “Tux fitting,” he manages to say. He clears his throat and tries again, “I have to get to my tux fitting. Need to shower. Nice to meet you, Harry. Liam.” Before either of them can answer, he’s stalking back to his room and slamming the door behind him.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” he asks himself, back pressed up against his bedroom door. Louis is a grown man who can pull guys in a bar with a single bounce of his arse. Why is he turning into a twelve year old with his first crush? He doesn’t even like Harry that much. He’s always too polite in his interviews, it’s got to be an act.

Angrily, he strips off his clothes and gets into the shower. He’s not sure if he’s angry at Harry, or Liam, or himself. Of course, his anger doesn’t seem to stop his cock from fattening up at the thought of Harry, those big hands all over him, touching him… Louis isn’t proud of the way he wraps his hand around himself and starts to wank with slow, sure pulls. Pleasure ripples up his spine and he smushes his face against the shower wall. Before he can stop himself, his mind supplies him with images of being spread out on his bed, Harry’s hand working him instead of his own. He can almost picture that deep, raspy voice whispering filth to him while he strokes.

Louis lets out a whimper and comes, cock flexing in his hand. As the traces of his orgasm slips down the drain, he can feel his shoulders slump. He’s never going to survive the next two weeks.

He hurries through the rest of his shower and quickly gets dressed, with only twenty minutes to spare before his appointment. Thankfully, it won’t take him long to get there and he can use his rush as an excuse to not talk to anyone. Mainly Harry, especially after that embarrassing display by the front door. And he’s sure that he’s going to end up getting a Talk from Liam sooner or later.

Taking a deep breath, he heads downstairs to grab his shoes and keys. Liam and Harry have disappeared, much to Louis’ relief. Instead, there’s a blond guy sitting on their sofa, eating Louis’ bag of Doritos that he had painstakingly hidden away from the rest of the household. That’s enough to make him eye the other man suspiciously. “Who are you?”

The blond waves, sending crisp crumbs flying across the sofa. “Niall. Lovely place, you have here. You must be Louis. I’d shake your hand, but,” he says, holding up his orange-stained fingers.

“I’ll survive. And nice to meet you. Why are you here?” He grabs his Vans from the shoe rack Sophia made them use and puts them on. It did make things easier, but it was the principle of the thing.

“Oh, I came with Harry. I’m gonna help with the music for the wedding,” Niall explains, making strumming motions with his hands. “I play guitar for Harry on the road.”

Well, isn’t that wonderful. “Ah,” is all he manages to say. He would smack himself, but that would be way too obvious. “Well, excellent talk, but I have to go for my fitting. It looks as though you’ve made yourself comfortable here, so I’m sure I’ll see you again.”

“See you later, mate!”

Louis shuts the door behind him and lets out a deep breath. All he’s got to do is make it through the next couple of weeks and then he can go back to his regularly scheduled life. He doesn't need pop stars or their strangely charismatic guitarists mucking about. Now, he’s got to go see a man about a tux.

-*-

He arrives at the rental store with about five minutes to spare, a personal best if he does say so himself. Everyone and their grandmother knows Louis is always late, which is why he savors the look of surprise on Liam’s face when he waltzes through the door.

Wait. Why is Liam here? And if Liam is here, that means…

“You really are taking these man of honor duties seriously, aren’t you?” Liam says, slapping him on the back. When Louis doesn’t answer him, he adds, “You saying your fitting today reminded me that I needed to do mine. I just called and asked Marco to squeeze us in.”

“Us?,” he squeaks out. He already knows the answer here, but apparently this masochistic streak he’s developing wants to rear its ugly head.

“Oh yeah, Harry came too. You know, since he hasn’t been able to come before.”

Louis shoulders slump. He had been hoping for a couple blessed hours away from Harry before he had to figure out a way to communicate with him like a human being. This was not conducive to that plan in the slightest. Still, he can’t really fault Liam’s logic. “Yeah. Makes sense,” he mutters. Louder, he asks, “So where is your wayward pop star?”

Liam points over his shoulder to where Marco, the tailor they’d been working with, is currently measuring Harry’s inseam.

While Harry's shirtless.

When did Louis’ life become a shitty rom-com/porno? He swallows down the lump in his throat and wills his burgeoning erection to disappear as sits down in a chair to wait his turn. He tries to keep his eyes on his phone, but more often than he’d like to admit, they wander to where Harry is standing, arms stretched out while Marco takes more measurements. It’s the sweetest kind of torture. Harry's back is broad and so, so beautiful and Louis can’t help but want to drag his mouth along the swirls of ink that cover his skin.

He’s so lost in his blatant staring that it takes him a moment to notice that Harry’s smirking back at him. Heat crawls up his neck and he quickly glances down at his phone. Great, now this deliciously gorgeous and probably very, very straight man in front of him caught him staring like a creeper. Louis usually had much more class than this.

Before he can get his bearings, Harry is standing next to him and is slowly pulling his shirt on. It shouldn’t be as hot as it is. “Your turn,” he says, voice like honey that slithers down Louis’ spine. It settles, hot and coiling in his belly.

“Cheers,” he replies. He takes a deep breath and walks quickly towards where Marco is patting the cushion. He keeps breathing through his nose as Marco gets to work. Thankfully, they were well past the measuring portion.

At least until Marco says, “Okay, now try it on for me.”

Louis’ thoughts screech to a halt. “Now?” he asks dumbly.

Marco looks at him like he’s lost his mind. “Of course. I need to know if there are any more alterations I need to make. Full tuxedo, please.”

He didn’t sign up for getting naked in front of Harry. Especially not since Harry hasn’t stopped smirking at him since they locked eyes earlier. With a heavy sigh, he starts to pull his clothes off. Thank god he remembered to put clean pants on. He can feel the weight of eyes on him and while normally that would make him preen like a peacock, it only makes Louis’ face burn even more.

Marco helps him button it up and Louis steps in front of the mirror. Admittedly, he looks really good. “I clean up pretty nice, ay Payno?” he asks. He can’t help but turn around to admire the way the material stretches over the curve of his bum, the way it accentuates his narrow chest and makes him look sharp.

It’s not Liam that answers, though. “I’d say so. You look really nice, Lou.”

Lou? Lou? When did they encroach upon nickname territory? Louis might faint from that alone. “Well, thanks for that, Curly. Can’t let down my adoring public,” he snarks back. Banter he can do. Flirty banter is even better.

To his surprise, Harry chuckles. “Curly? I like it,” he says, grinning again. That smile is enough to make the butterflies in Louis’ tummy kick up again.

Louis lets out a strangled laugh of his own. He turns back and looks at Marco, ignoring the way the tailor is smirking knowingly at him. At this rate, his attraction to Harry must be visible from space. How embarrassing. “Are we done? Or do you need to do anything else?”

Marco shakes his head and starts pulling the tux off of Louis to put it away. “You can come get it two days before the wedding. Liam specifically asked me to keep them here so they don’t get ruined,” he said, peering over his glasses at Louis. It actually makes Louis laugh because, well. Liam knows him so well. “Have a nice day gentlemen.”

As Louis is getting dressed, Liam comes tearing into the dressing room like his arse is on fire. “Lads, oh god, I forgot I was supposed to meet Soph downtown to meet with the venue. She’s going to kill me!” Liam glances down at his phone that’s vibrating wildly in his hand. “Louis, can you please take Harry home? I don’t have time to bring him back.”

Louis narrows his eyes. Liam is the most punctual, organized human being that Louis has ever met. Changes in plans and being late make him break out in hives. “Oh really?” He asks, folding his arms across his chest.

It must be audible in his voice because Liam definitely doesn’t look at him. “Yeah. I’m really sorry. Gotta run, bye guys!” He hurries out of the room and his exit is signaled with the bell on the door. That bastard. Louis is going to twist his nipple so hard the next time he sees him.

There’s nothing to do but his accept his fate. Louis warned Sophia about what might happen if he was left alone with Harry for too long. He shouldn’t be held responsible if Harry drops out of the wedding and they have to find a new best man two weeks before. This is Liam’s fault for not asking Zayn. And probably Zayn’s fault for being in America. And Sophia’s fault for saying yes when Liam proposed to her last year. And-

“So...shall we? Lunch, maybe?” Harry asks tentatively, breaking Louis out of his mad loop of thoughts. Louis would thank him if he could trust himself not to say something stupid.

“Um, sure. Anything you want in particular? I can’t guarantee filet mignon, but there’s a great chip shop down the street.” They walk out of the shop and Louis squints against the bright sunshine. He forgot his sunnies in his scramble to get out of the house and away from Harry, which obviously was an absolute bust. “I don’t want to harm your delicate popstar constitution.”

Harry groans, which makes Louis whip his head around. Shit. Maybe he really did offend him this time. “Hey, I was just-”

“No!” Harry yells, eyes wide. He clears his throat and waves his hand. “I mean, no, that sounds lovely. I don’t think I’ve had proper junk food in ages.” As if on cue, his stomach lets out a growl that makes Louis’ eyebrows raise. Harry doesn’t even look embarrassed by it. “I eat pretty clean on the road so I don’t get sick or run down,” he explains as they start walking. Thankfully, the street is pretty deserted, so maybe they won’t have to worry about any teenagers lurking in the bushes. Yeah, Louis’ read the stories online. Only when he was bored with Netflix, of course.

“So I’m guessing there’s some truth to the rumor about your obsession with kale, then?”

“A guy does a juice cleanse once…” Harry grumbles, but he’s still smiling. “Can I let you in on a secret?” He laughs when Louis crosses his heart and his eyes. “I hate kale. With a passion. I’d rather eat dirt, if I’m honest.”

Louis lets out a dramatic gasp, clutching at his chest. “But Harold! Aren’t you supposed to be the veggie loving hippie who is allergic to buttoning his shirt and can knock a starlet off her feet at fifty paces with a single dimple?”

He might be imagining it, but Harry’s eyes dim and his smile drops just a fraction before he’s shaking his head. “Yup, that’s me. You caught me,” he says flatly. It feels less like a joke and more like something that Louis doesn’t think he wants to touch. It’s none of his business.

Trying to lighten the mood, Louis lets out a deep sigh through his nose. “I guess I won’t sell you out to the Sun just yet. It’ll be our little secret.” He peeks out of the corner of his eye, just in time to see Harry’s eyes widen a bit. His face relaxes and the easy smile returns as Louis’ tummy twists a bit. “So. Chips then?”

They head into the chip shop, which is pretty empty for the middle of the day. Harry looks just as relieved as Louis feels as they place their orders. The weather is so nice, they decide to sit outside at one of the rickety metal tables out front. Probably not the best idea, given Louis’ present company, but he can’t say no when Harry brings it up. Once they’re seated with their food in hand, Louis can feel the silence starting to slowly close around his throat.

“So, tell me about yourself, Mr Popstar. And not the trashy things I can read in the tabloids, either,” Louis asks as he pops a chip in his mouth.

The words seem to rattle Harry for just a moment, like he’s not used to someone asking questions like that. Granted, he’s probably not, considering that most of the interviews Louis’ seen the questions all involve who he’s fucking that week. It’s sad, really. “Um, well. Let’s see. I’ve been friends with Liam since we met in playgroup, I used to be terrified to go down the slide by myself as a kid, my favorite subject in school was English, I have potted fern named Dave that lives on my tour bus, I babysit my hairdresser’s daughter so she can have some time with her fiance, um…” he trails off, pinching his lip between his fingers. It makes his lips look plump and pink, which is totally not even fair. Louis is about to call foul, when he starts again, “I don’t know, really. What do you want to know?”

Louis should probably consider this as an opportunity to ask something really deep. Really meaningful. Instead, he blurts out, “Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever had sex?” He could smack himself, honestly.

Harry blinks at him for a full minute before he dissolves into really loud, honking laughter that might be the best sound Louis’ ever heard. “Well, that’s not what I expected at all,” he says, wiping his eyes. “Seriously?”

Louis has the good sense to look at least a little sheepish. “Sorry. That was literally the first thing that popped into my head. You don’t have to answer.”

“In one of the prop cars we used in one of my videos,” Harry replies, tucking his chin into his hand. “It was pretty hot, even though we almost got caught. Worth it though.”

He isn’t proud of the lick of heat that courses through him at the thought of Harry in such a compromising position, even if his mind helpfully transposes himself over the probably gorgeous model Harry was banging, but. He manages to keep a straight face. “The lives of the rich and famous. That would have made a hell of a headline.”

Harry shrugs. “Yeah, but it didn’t. Besides, you can’t believe everything you read in the papers anyway,” he says cryptically before taking a sip of his drink. Before Louis can ask, Harry tacks on, “What about you? What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever had sex?”

“Probably on top of the copy machine at work, during last year’s Christmas party. I was completely off my face, apparently shagged a boyfriend of one of the girls in the fashion department.” He looks away, heat crawling up his neck at the memory. Not one of his proudest moments. “I didn’t find out about that until the next day. I came clean, bought her a fruit basket as an apology, and then hooked her up with my mate. They’re expecting a baby now.”

“That story didn't go where I expected it to. That’s really sweet of you, actually,” Harry offers with a sweet smile. It makes Louis’ insides flutter a bit. “So, you’re gay then?”

Louis nods, finishing the last of his chips. “What gave it away?” he teases.

Harry held his hands up. “Hey, I didn’t want to assume. Just because you slept with a guy once doesn’t make you gay. Sexuality is fluid, it could have been a one time thing.”

That’s...not what he expected. “That’s true. So, what about you?”

Harry’s face turns an interesting shade of red and he looks down at his lap. Louis wants to press, practically burning with curiosity, but he doesn’t. It’s not like Harry owes him an answer. “Sorry, that might have been a bit personal. I didn’t mean to overstep,” he offers, reaching out to touch Harry’s arm.

To his surprise, Harry doesn’t flinch. “No, it’s just that… I’m not out,” he mumbles, scratching his cheek. “I’m… well. I’m gay too, but I’m not out. I just… I don’t want to deal with the fallout of that right now.”

A million questions bubble up in his mind, but they’re drowned out by the sounds of angels singing and the gates of Heaven opening up. Holy fuck, Harry is gay . Louis might faint. He had a dream once that this exact thing happened, but he’s pretty sure this one won’t end up with the two of them naked in his bed. Getting his libido and imagination under control, Louis rubs Harry’s arm. “Hey, don’t be like that. No one says you have to be out. You’re you and I’m sure the people who matter know.” He pauses, thinking back to something Harry had said earlier. “Is that why you got all quiet when I joked about the girls?”

Harry nods, leaning into Louis’ touch. “Yeah. I’ve always been linked with all these women, but most of them are just friends. A couple of them I’ve only talked to once or twice. But that’s how it works, you know?” He says with a humorless chuckle. “Anyway, didn’t mean to be a downer.”

“Well, if you’re truly sorry, maybe you’ll buy me yogurt. I think we can call it even then,” Louis decides, tossing their rubbish in the bin. He gives Harry a toothy grin and motions for him to follow. “If you keep pouting like that, you’ll get wrinkles and nobody will buy your albums anymore.”

It gets him an eyeroll, but at least now Harry’s smiling. “God, you’re demanding. Fine.”

Louis counts it as a win.

-*-

Days pass and Louis is having A Crisis. Being in such close proximity to Harry near constantly has done nothing to quell the embarrassing crush he has on him. Harry is just so damn nice, and now that Louis knows he’s gay, it’s like a hundred times worse. Before, Harry was just this vague concept that Liam occasionally brought up and occasionally Louis wanked to. Now he’s real and a constant source of sexual frustration by simply existing. Louis dick is going to fall off before this is all over with.

Like now, for example. Harry and Niall are bickering over the song selections Liam gave them for he and Sophia’s first dance. One would think they were arguing about peace in the Middle East with the way they were carrying on. Louis is finding it more adorable than he should.

“We can’t pick that one! That’s so cheesy and cliche. I can’t believe Liam picked it,” Harry gripes, scratching it off the list. “What do you think about I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing by Aerosmith?”

Niall rolls his eyes. “That one is even worse. Everyone uses that one. And you couldn’t sound like Steven Tyler if your life depended on it.” Ignoring Harry’s disgruntled muttering, Niall looks at the list again. “ Back at One by Brian McKnight ? Does Liam know you at all? You’re a pop singer, not an R&B crooner.”

“Why are there so many country songs on here? Did Liam just Google ‘first dance songs’ and write down the top ten?” Harry shakes his head and flops down on the couch.

“Would you be surprised, though?” Louis chimes in. He’s been listening to this argument for over an hour and they’re still nowhere. “And it’s not like the two of you have any better ideas.”

Harry snorts and kicks his feet up on the coffee table. Even his quirky toes are endearing, what the fuck. “And I suppose you do?”

“As a matter of fact, I do.” Louis hops off the chair he was sprawled across and plants himself between Harry and Niall. He ignores the way his skin tingles when he brushes against Harry. Now is not the time. “Gimme the notebook,” he demands. He flicks through the list and can’t help but roll his eyes. This is list is awful. “Well, you weren’t kidding about these songs being shit, Harold.”

“Thank you,” Harry beams, and Louis catches the tail end of Niall’s mouthed Harold? “So, what do you think?”

“You need something better than top 40s to chose from. You’re not a two-bit wedding singer, for god’s sake. Here,” Louis scribbles down a couple of options off the top of his head.He knows he should think about what Sophia and Liam might like, but all he can think about is Harry up on stage, singing him love songs. It makes his neck prickle and his stomach twist, but nobody has to know about it. “Better?”

Harry lights up as his eyes flick across the page. “These are brilliant! Who knew you were such a softie?” He passes Niall the list, who looks equally impressed with Louis’ suggestions.

“I think Lovesong by The Cure is perfect. It’s sweet, a little rocky, deep, and I think your voice will sound amazing,” Niall notes, giving Louis a thumbs up. “You’re pretty good at this.”

Louis shrugs. He bites his lip and pointedly doesn’t tell them that Lovesong is his favorite. “Better check with Liam first and see if he agrees. Although, you probably shouldn’t tell him I picked it. He might disagree on principle,” he tries to joke, but he knows better. Liam is going to love it. He might even figure out that Louis was the one who suggested it. But, the thought of Harry up on stage crooning those words at him is just too tempting.

Jesus. What’s happening to him?

“It’ll be fine, Lou,” Harry says softly. His eyes are glittering and he’s smiling at Louis like he just discovered the cure for cancer, not recommended a goddamn song for a wedding. The way the nickname rolls off Harry’s tongue is too much.

He can feel the itch in his bones, the need to get the fuck out of there, so he gets to his feet as quick as he can. Ignoring the confused looks on both their faces, Louis shakily announces, “Glad I could help, but I have an article to finish before the stag do this weekend. I’ll see you lads later.” He beats a hasty retreat back to his bedroom and takes a deep breath once the door is shut firmly behind him.

He’s really not going to survive this wedding. His tombstone is going to read “Death by Charming Popstar” and he can’t even be sad about it. Not when the thought of Harry’s dimples or soft smiles or stupid laugh is enough to make him giddy. This is starting to veer into something beyond crush territory and Louis isn’t prepared for that.

So, he makes up his mind. There’s only one thing that can be done about this, and he realizes the stag do this weekend is the perfect opportunity.

He’s going to fuck Harry out of his system. It’s worked before, despite what Liam or Zayn might have to say about it. It’s the only solution he can really think of to break this before he descends into some sort of poorly written fanfic that he’s never read, not even when he was high.

It’s decided then. Louis goes and grabs his computer to do some work, because it wasn’t just a conveniently timed excuse, he really does have an article to finish before the weekend. And if it gives him the chance to fastidiously ignore the little voice in the back of his head (that sounds suspiciously like Zayn, actually) telling him what a terrible idea this is, that’s even better.

-*-

Drunk might be a very strong word, but Louis is certainly buzzing hard.

The stag do is in full swing and Louis has had his fair share of shots since they got to the club. Harry was kind enough to rent out the building so they wouldn’t be bothered and everyone could enjoy themselves. It means Louis can’t pull like he normally would, but that’s even better for Operation: Crush Purge to commence. He even wore his favorite red shirt, the one that swoops low below his collarbones, and his tightest fuck-me skinny jeans for the occasion. His lazily gelled hair is now plastered to his face from the combination of sweat and alcohol, but hopefully Harry won’t be looking at his hair.

Speaking of Harry, he’s looking so beautiful it’s almost painful to look at. His curls are loose and shiny against his shoulders and his shirt should be marked as illegal. It’s a sheer black button down with patterned roses stitched along the sides, his gorgeous nipples and miles of inked torso on display. Louis just wants to put his mouth all over him. He’s poured into jeans so tight that Louis is sure it took three people to get him into them, but if everything goes according to plan, he’ll be the only one to get Harry out of them.

The rest of the week had really cemented to him just how important it is to nip...whatever this is in the bud. Being the best man and man of honor, Louis has had to spend what felt like years in Harry’s company, and it’s done nothing to quell the growing something in his chest. Harry’s just so damn nice and he is genuinely interested in everything. He laughs at Louis’ jokes and gives him these devastating smiles that makes Louis’ heart do loopty-loops in his chest. It’s been a long time since someone made him feel this way and he knows this can only end badly. Harry’s a famous closeted popstar, and Louis is a loser writer at a local paper.

Life isn’t some Notting Hill-esque plot in a movie.

Louis shakes his head. He’s getting too melancholy over this. Clearly he needs more shots.

Like a tragically beautiful alcohol fairy, Harry appears on the dance floor next to him with a shot glass in his hand. “Thirsty?” He asks, dimples on full display. Louis would very much like to take his shot out of that dimple.

“You have no idea,” Louis husks back. He locks eyes with Harry and takes the shot, making sure to lick his lips when he’s finished. He cheers internally when Harry’s eyes follow the motion. Step one in the right direction. “Wanna dance with me?”

He can see the indecision play across Harry’s features, knows exactly what he’s thinking. “You rented out a club. Everyone here was invited and they all know you. Besides, it’s just dancing,” Louis needles, putting his hand on Harry’s arm. He can feel how warm his skin is through the soft mesh of his shirt and all he wants is to feel Harry pressed up against him. He waits a beat and then shrugs. “It's okay if you don’t. I’ll go find someone else to-”

“No!” Harry shouts. He grabs Louis’ arm, like Louis was actually going to walk away from him. Not when Harry’s lips are shiny and his eyes are blown wide. Louis wants to climb him like a tree. “I’d love to dance with you.”

Louis smirks and tugs Harry out onto the crowded dance floor. The party has gone on long enough that everyone is just the right amount of intoxicated to not care what anyone thinks. Bodies twist and gyrate to the music around them, but all Louis can focus on is the heat of Harry’s skin and the smell of his cologne. It makes his head swim from more than just the alcohol.

The bass pounds inside his chest and Louis starts to move his hips, throwing his hands up in the air. He looks over his shoulder and nods his head until Harry fits the lines of their bodies together. It’s like something clicks into place and Louis loses himself in the feeling. The pulse of the music and the drinks in his veins make him feel reckless, like nothing else matters but the heat and the sweat and the way their bodies move in time.

Harry must feel it too, pressed up against Louis like he is. “Fuck, you’re so hot,” he rasps in Louis’ ear. He drags his lips along the edge of Louis’ jaw and it makes him shiver all over. “I’ve wanted you since that day in the shop when I watched you put on the tux.”

“I knew it. What a fucking creep,” Louis teases, grinding back against Harry. The resulting laugh makes Louis grin even harder. Here, in this moment, nothing else exists and Louis kind of wants to keep it that way. “But I guess I should tell you, I want you too.”

Just like that, the air goes from syrupy and slow to charged with heat and lust. It’s like lightning dancing across his skin and he wants to feel it burn him from the inside out.

“Take me back to your place,” Harry whispers.

Louis doesn’t even waste time with a response. Instead, he wraps his fingers around Harry’s wrist and pulls him towards the closest exit. It doesn’t matter who might see them, not with Harry breathing down his neck and his hips flush against Louis’ arse. It’s been a while and Louis can’t be blamed for the bloom of heat in his belly at the feeling.

They stay pressed together all the way up until they make it outside, when Harry pulls away. It gives Louis a bit of whiplash, but then he remembers the conversation from days before. It makes sense, but Louis can’t quite tamp down on the stinging feeling in his chest. He ignores it in favor of the heat in Harry’s eyes as he rakes his gaze across Louis’ body. “I can’t wait to get alone with you,” Harry murmurs, just loud enough for Louis to catch.

It’s just sex. It’s lust and release and finally, Louis might be rid of all of these feelings. That’s what he chants to himself as he fidgets on the curb. Anyone with eyes can see what’s going on, that the two of them are seconds away from jumping the other right there in public. Harry’s lips are so red, and Louis is so drunk he wants to taste them. “Me neither,” he says finally.

The cab he can’t remember calling pulls up and the two of them hop in, waiting a couple of beats before they’re pressed back together. Finally, Louis gets to taste Harry’s mouth, sucking at his perfect pillowy lips as they kiss like in the movies Louis doesn’t watch. He gasps when Harry’s tongue finds his and he swallows the breathy moan Harry lets out when he tugs his bottom lip with his teeth. He probably should be mindful of the cabbie in the front, but Harry’s pulling him into his lap and his brain shorts out. The hands Louis has been fantasizing about curve around his bum and knead into him, pushing their hips together.

“Can I fuck you? Please? Your arse, God,” Harry begs.

This, Louis is used to. Men who touch and praise and want want want. It makes his stomach swoop and knot in a single breath. Harry nuzzles his neck when he doesn't answer, mouthing at his jaw. “It’s okay, if not. You can fuck me, if you want. Whatever you want.”

Whatever you want. Louis could cry. It’s like all of his never-to-be-talked-about wanks are coming true and he expects to wake up at any moment in his bed covered in his own come. “I’d love for you to fuck me, always wanted you to.” He bites his lip before he can embarrass himself. Harry doesn’t need to know how many times Louis’ had his dick in his hand thinking about just that.

Harry grins and licks his lips. “You can do me next time.”

Louis is still drunk enough to believe him.  The promise of next time, next time, next time throbs in his veins and makes his head spin a little. He doesn’t answer, instead choosing to press their mouths together again. He loses himself in the kiss, in the wet heat of their tongues sliding together and Harry’s fingers inching up the back of his shirt.

The cabbie clearing his voice from the front seat breaks them out of their haze. Harry hands him a wad of bills out of his wallet before they stumble out in front of the flat.

Louis doesn’t quite remember how they got here, but they’re in his bedroom. He can’t even waste a moment to worry about the mess, not when Harry is tugging his shirt up over his head. He fiddles with the buttons on Harry’s stupid sheer shirt and yanks it off, until they’re pressed chest to chest. Harry’s skin is hot and just beginning to sheen with sweat. It’s nearly too much for Louis to handle, so he leans down and licks one of Harry’s nipples.

The reaction is immediate; the noise Harry lets out goes straight to Louis’ cock, still trapped in his tight jeans. Fuck, but he has to hear that again. He alternates between slow sucks and gentle licks, until Harry’s nipple is puffy and red. He could probably stand here all night, drawing those gorgeous sounds out of Harry so he can commit them to memory. “You’re so beautiful,” he breathes out.

Harry moans once more before he steps back and pushes Louis onto the bed. He lands with a bounce but Harry crawls on him before he can move. Once again they’re pressed together, kissing as their fingers map out unfamiliar planes and curves. Harry breaks the kiss after a moment and Louis can’t help but chase his mouth.

“Eager, love?” Harry teases, but he’s the one grinding on Louis’ thigh so he isn’t really one to talk.

Instead of answering, Louis reaches up and undoes the fly of Harry’s trousers. Of course the bastard isn’t wearing pants. Louis can’t find it in himself to be ashamed of the noise he lets out when he fits his hand around the heft of Harry’s cock. It’s hot and solid in his hand, flesh smooth as he drags his fist up the length. “Seems I’m not the only one,” he says with a smirk when Harry bucks up into his fist. “What a lovely cock you have, darling.”

Harry shivers and lets his head loll back. It’s the perfect opportunity for Louis to admire the long lines of his neck, the way his mouth falls open on a gasp that has Louis’ blood singing in his veins. He could probably just wank Harry off and be content with himself, throbbing cock be damned. Clearly, though, Harry has other ideas. He bats Louis’ hand out of the way and shimmies out of his jeans with much more finesse than Louis expected. Completely naked, he stretches out over Louis and slowly, slowly makes his way down his body. He bites and licks and teases, so much that Louis might actually have to beg him to get on with it.

By the time he’s worked Louis’ jeans off, Louis feels like he might explode. He feels too small for his skin, Harry’s mouth leaving fire-hot kisses like brands wherever it touches. His cock is painfully hard, feel like it’s been hard for hours and all he wants is Harry to fuck him. Harry licks a stripe up the underside of his cock and Louis can’t stop his hips from arching off the bed. “Please,” is all he can manage to say.

Harry doesn’t make him wait. “Where’s your stuff?”

Louis nods towards the nightstand and Harry quickly retrieves a half-empty bottle of lube and a string of condoms. “Ambitious,” Louis teases, but has to bite his lip when Harry’s lust-blown eyes meet his.

“Can you blame me? Fuck, you’re so gorgeous,” Harry murmurs as he scoots back down between Louis’ legs. “Next time I think I’m going to eat you out. Your arse is made for it.”

Again, he’s struck by the promise of a next time. It flares in his belly and he feels his heart kick up in his chest. “I’ll hold you to it, Styles.”

Harry grins, before he starts to mouth at the head of Louis’ cock. He swipes his tongue across the slit and it makes Louis shiver. His cock feels tight and heavy, Harry’s mouth hot and perfect against it. He’s distracted enough that he barely notices the finger circling his hole, until just the tip dips inside of him.

It hurts. He should be embarrassed by how long it’s been he’s last been fucked, but he can’t be, not when Harry’s slowly starting to thrust in and out. His long fingers feel better than Louis could have imagined. Soon, Harry pushes in with two and Louis moans at the way it burns. He’s hungry for it, the stretch and way his body is giving way to Harry’s touch. He rides back against the feeling, rocking his hips down.

“Jesus Christ,” Harry mutters, sounding awed. He thrusts in with three and bites Louis’ hip when he arches up again. It feels good, will be even better when it’s Harry’s cock.

“Enough, I’m ready,” Louis demands.

Harry looks skeptical, but bites his lip when Louis squeezes around his fingers. They slip out and Louis scrambles to sit up so he can roll the condom down around Harry’s cock, long and pink and perfect. He gives him a couple of cheeky wanks before Harry’s shoving him back down and picking up his legs to wrap them around his waist. Cock in hand, Harry rubs the tip against his rim and Louis squirms at the tease. It’s maddening, and Harry looks like he knows it. “You fuck, get on with it!” Louis gasps. He should have known that Harry was going to be that kind of lay.

“All right, all right. I’ll stop.” With that, Harry pushes until the head of his cock pops inside and slowly he’s inching deeper with short little thrusts. The burn ripples up his spine but it’s the best kind of hurt, makes the bottom of his feet tingle. It’s the fullest he’s been in a while and Harry’s cock feels huge. His thrusts stay short and tight until he’s completely buried inside of Louis and gives them both a chance to breathe. “You feel amazing, Lou,” Harry whispers, like it’s a secret to keep between the two of them. He kisses Louis on the nose and it’s almost too much because Harry’s so goddamn sweet even buried balls deep in Louis’ arse.

“No you,” Louis breathes out. It makes Harry smile and he can’t help but grin back. He can count the number of times he’s smiled this much during sex on one hand and he doesn’t want to think about what that means. “Now, work those popstar hips. I’ve seen you thrust against a microphone stand, I expect nothing less than amazing.”

Harry rolls his eyes but does exactly as Louis asks. He rolls his hips and thrusts sure and deep, pulling noises out of Louis that he didn’t even know he could make. He’d half-expected a drunk, sloppy fuck but this. This was even better. Their bodies rock and Harry fucks like he talks, slow and rough and it’s so good Louis might cry. His cock is still full against the curve of his belly, but right now the way Harry feels buried in him makes it almost secondary.

At least, until Harry wraps his hand around him and begins to stroke. His hips move like a metronome and times the moves of his wrist perfectly. Everything goes hot and Louis might just burn up from the inside. He starts to fuck back into Harry’s rhythm and his hands shoot out to pull Harry down. Louis kisses him, hard, and bites at his lip while Harry picks up the pace. He must be getting close, with the way he’s breathing into Louis’ mouth and his thrusts start to get shaky and uncoordinated. He’s still stroking Louis’ cock and it’s so, so good.

“Gonna come. Wish I could come in you,” Harry slurs against his lips.

Louis moans and imagines it, exactly what it would feel like. He can imagine the way Harry’s cock would twitch and how hot it would be, wet and filthy as he filled him up. It’d drip down his thighs and now he wants nothing more than that. “Yes, fuck, want that,” Louis grits out as he rolls his hips up. He knows he can’t have it, but the thought makes heat build in his lower belly. His cock flexes in Harry’s fist and he’s so close.

Harry thrusts hard and goes rigid, his mouth falling open as he comes. He lets out the most beautiful noise and buries his face in Louis’ neck, biting down hard. He keeps rolling his hips against Louis’, sitting up after he’s caught his breath. It still feels good and now that he’s come, it seems like all his attention is on Louis. “You look so good like this, fuck, wanna make you come,” he purrs, still rocking into Louis with his softening cock.

He doesn’t even pull out when Louis wails and comes, shooting up his belly and hitting his chin. Harry strokes him until he’s spent and twitching through the aftershocks of his orgasm. And because apparently Harry is also a sex god, he leans down and starts to lick at the trails of come on Louis’ chest. It should be disgusting but all it does is make Louis want to go again. His cock twitches in protest but really, what does it know.

Finally, Harry carefully pulls out and strips off the condom, tying it off and dropping it on the side of the bed. Louis would totally call Harry on his bad post-sex etiquette, but he’s too busy trying to get his brain back in order. Also, he would have done the same thing. “That was…” he starts to say, but instead he leans up and kisses Harry sweetly on the lips. Sex always makes him sleepy and right now, curling up with Harry in his bed sounds perfect.

“Perfect? Amazing? Life-changing?” Harry offers, laying down next to him. Louis would push him off the bed if he didn’t want cuddles more.

“Satisfactory. Needs improvement,” Louis teases, kissing the pout that forms on Harry’s lips. “Come on, no one likes a bragger. Just come give me cuddles.” Louis holds out his arms and smiles when Harry flops into them like they’ve done this a million times. “Good lad. You can stay.”

Harry hums and before long, they fall asleep like that.

It’s the best sleep Louis’ had in weeks.

 -*-

If Louis had expected his crush to be over and done with after that, he was sorely, sorely mistaken. Not only had it not gone away, it has increased ten-fold. Harry had woken him up with a spectacular blow-job which Louis had gleefully returned full on, followed by a breakfast that Louis would eagerly describe as manna from heaven. The two of them had spent the day cuddling and kissing and catching up on all the shit television that Harry had missed while on tour. All in all, it had been the perfect day.

Which is why Louis can’t help but wonder why things are suddenly so weird between the two of them. What’s a few orgasms between friends? Why was Harry suddenly unable to look him in the eye and made a concentrated effort not to be in the same room alone with him? Was this the Big Gay Freak-Out Harry had never had the chance to have? None of those questions had answers that Louis’s going to like, so he tries not to think about it. If Harry wants to be a shit about this, Louis can be one too.

Except he can’t. Not with the glaring, obvious crush he still has on Harry. It’s only gotten worse because now Louis knows how nice Harry is, how sweet, and also how good he looks  naked. It’s beginning to turn into like territory, and now Louis can’t even get Harry to look at him.

Louis decides he needs to get to the bottom of this. Seeing as how Harry suddenly has Best Man duties he needs to attend to, Louis figures the next course of action would be to talk to Liam. Maybe Harry confided something and Liam can at least give him a hint at what to do about it.

Liam’s puttering around the kitchen when Louis finds him, putting together one of his disgusting post-workout smoothies that Louis makes fun of him for. He tenses up, like he’s waiting for it, but his eyebrows furrow when Louis asks instead, “Um, can I talk to you?”

His eyes flick down to where Louis’ wringing his hands together and the furrow deepens. “Of course, Louis. What’s wrong?”

Straightforward and to the point. Louis can be straightforward and to the point. “I...um…” he starts, but clears his throat. His cheeks burn and he has to take a breath before he continues. “Did Harry tell you what happened Saturday night?”

Judging by Liam’s blank expression, he’s guessing not. Fuck. “Okay, so. Remember how you were joking about hooking Harry and I up?” Liam nods, and Louis’ heart kicks up a notch. “Well…we did. And um, now things are weird?”

“Weird how?” Liam asks cautiously.

“I swear to god, Liam, sometimes you’re as dense as a rock.” Louis blows out a frustrated breath. It’s not Liam’s fault but he can feel the pressure already building behind his eyes. “He won’t talk to me. He won’t even look at me. And like, your wedding is in a bloody week and I don’t want to fuck this up anymore. So...how do I fix this?”

He’s met with silence and Louis can’t help but fidget. He hopes Liam isn’t mad at him because he was the one who suggested the two of them get to know each other in the first place and really, it’s all his fault if things go pear-shaped and oh god Sophia was going to kill him-

“Louis?” Liam calls out, breaking him from his thoughts. He blinks once and looks up to see Liam’s entire face soft and sympathetic. That’s almost worse. “Hey, it’s okay. You didn’t fuck anything up. Maybe you just need to talk to him? I mean, Harry’s not the type to just hump and dump, no matter what the papers say.” Louis wrinkles his nose at Liam’s poor choice of words, but he’s not wrong. He thinks back to the chat in the cafe and his chest aches a little. “I think you’ll be surprised.”

That was not as helpful as Louis thought it would be, but at the same time, he feels a little lighter. “Well, thanks for that, I guess. Good talk. Should I punch you in the arm, or do we need to fist bump?” he jokes.

Liam just smiles. “How about a hug instead?”

Well, who could say no to that?

--

Despite having a lot of them at any given moment, Louis doesn’t really like talking about his feelings. He’s more of a show, don’t tell kind of person, but he knows he’s not getting out of this one with flowers and passably okay poetry. Which is why he’s standing outside of Harry’s door, hand poised and ready to knock.

Deep breaths, he reminds himself as he raps his knuckles against the door. His heart jumps up into his throat when Harry answers in nothing but a tattered pair of sweatpants. He looks just as soft and sweet as he had that morning and it makes Louis’ belly twist.

“Oh. Hey,” Harry says, shuffling his feet. “Do you need something?”

Louis swallows the lump in his throat. “Yeah. Look...can we talk? I feel like we need to talk.”

Harry looks startled by that, which isn’t promising. Still, he lets Louis in and closes the door behind them, motioning towards the bed. It’s the single bed Zayn had left when he moved, though Sophia had converted it into a proper guest room. Why the fuck was he thinking about that now?

He doesn’t sit down, but Harry does and the air gets thick around them. Louis feels like he might actually choke on it. “So...what did you want to talk about?” Harry asks. He still won’t even look at Louis and that’s it.

Two days of nothing and now Harry seems to have lost his memory. Or his mind. Louis hasn’t quite decided which one yet. “Oh fuck off, you know what. Why are you acting like such a prick? We sleep together and suddenly you act like you don’t even know me? Is this standard protocol for popstars or am I just special?” It’s much more biting than he intended but he can’t stop it. It’s pouring out of him like a pot boiled over.

Harry’s eyes go wide and he stands up, fists clenched at his side. “No! Come on, I told you that’s not who I am! Of course not, that’s not it at all! It’s-”

“It’s what?” Louis prods.

“It’s...complicated. I don’t really know how to explain it?”

Louis rolls his eyes. “So instead of trying you thought just ignoring me would fix it?”

“Damn it, Louis. I was trying to figure out how! This is a first for me, okay? I don’t usually see people after I’ve been with them so I don’t know how to act! What do you want from me?” Harry lashes back and Louis recoils.

Cold dread fills his stomach and he might be sick right here on the floor. “Don’t reduce me to some groupie fuck. I didn’t fucking sleep with you because you’re Harry Fucking Styles. If that’s all I thought of you, then I would have done it the first day and been done with it.” As the words tumble out of his mouth, Louis realizes just how much he means them. It may have started out that way, the novelty of possibly getting to be with the unattainable object of his fantasies, but then he just became Harry. Harry was ten times better than Harry Styles ™.

Harry’s face contorts and he sits back down on the bed, burying his face in his hands. His body quakes and Louis wants nothing more to run over there and hug him, but he can’t. Not until Harry says something, anything. “I know, Lou. I know you didn’t. But, I can’t help but wish you did, just a little bit.”

“What?” Louis asks. His stomach is somewhere down between his feet and that wasn’t what he expected to hear.

“I know you like me. I like you too. A lot, actually. But I can’t. I shouldn’t.” Harry rubs his face and looks up, eyes wet and his face red. “I like you enough that I can’t do that to you.”

Louis feels like the room has started spinning. “Do what, exactly? Harry, I don’t understand.” His skin is prickling all over and the room is getting too hot. It sounds like something he wants to hear, but then why is his stomach tightening into knots?

Harry sighs and lets his hands hang between his knees. The tears have started streaking down his cheeks and Louis’ stomach knots harder. “I’m closeted, Louis. People write shitty articles about me dating girls because I’m in the closet. That means that even if we did get together, you’d have to pretend. Pretend that you’re just my mate and watch me parade around with girls hired to make me look straight. That’s fucked up, and I won’t do that. I like you too much for that.”

“You...like me?” Louis stammers out. His head is reeling and he sways a little on his feet. Harry likes him, but likes him too much to push him back in the closet. At least, that’s what he thinks is happening. It’s hard to make sense of anything over the way his heart pounds in his ears.

“Lou, how could I not? You’re so bright and beautiful. I think I was halfway in love with you just from all the things Liam told me about you. Even when you slammed the door in my face that first day,” Harry says with a smile, but it gives way after just a moment. “That’s why I can’t ask you to do that. That’s not fair to you, or to me. To either of us.”

It makes sense. Still, that doesn’t stop the lead from settling in the bottom of Louis’ belly. “You don’t get to make that choice for me, though. What if I want to? What if you’re worth it to me?”

Harry shakes his head. “No. I can’t do that to you, and I can’t ask for that. You think that now, but what about when we can’t be seen together? Or when you have to read articles about me fucking my way through scores of girls? Fan stories that get made up and sent out into the internet? That’s what this is like, Louis. And nobody I care about should have to deal with it. Fuck, I don’t even want to deal with it but it’s part of my job,” he spits out.

Bitterness isn’t a good look on Harry. Louis wants nothing more than to scoop him up and run away somewhere that this isn’t his reality. He had no idea. “I’m sorry,” he says automatically, opening his arms. He isn’t surprised when Harry gets up and lets Louis hold him. Even though Harry’s clearly taller, he hunches over enough to make himself small against Louis’ chest. “That’s terrible. Nobody should have to go through that.”

“No. They shouldn’t. But it is what it is,” Harry says, nosing against those same words etched into Louis’ skin. “And I’m not asking you to deal with that.”

Louis wants to say something. He wants to argue and prove to Harry that none of that matters if they have each other. He can feel the words on the tip of his tongue, but instead he keeps them clenched firmly behind his teeth. He gets it and it only makes him like Harry more that he’s thinking of Louis and their hypothetical relationship first. It doesn’t stop his heart from cracking down the middle.

For once in his life, Louis can’t find the words he wants. So, instead they stay there, swaying together in the quiet of Harry’s borrowed room and just let the press of their bodies do the talking. It’s better than the sound of broken hearts and empty words anyway.

-*-

It’s three days before the wedding when Zayn arrives and Louis has never been more grateful to see him. He missed him, sure, but Zayn has always been Louis’ rock when things get tough. And right now, Zayn is exactly what he needs. He volunteers to pick him up from the airport and without Louis even having to speak, Zayn knows something is wrong as soon as he slips into the passenger seat.

He suggests they got to their favorite lunch spot, the one Louis hasn’t gone to since Zayn went to America. It was their thing, after all. Zayn graciously doesn’t ask or say anything the entire car trip there, instead choosing to tell Louis about the gallery and what it’s been like working there. He’s full of interesting stories about LA and all the people he’s met, which makes Louis’ chest twinge just the littlest bit. But he nods dutifully and hums agreeably in all the right places.

It isn’t until they’re sat down and ordered their food that Zayn asks, “Okay, what’s up? You’ve been uncharacteristically quiet the whole car ride, so you’ve either been body-snatched or something’s wrong. Spill.”

Louis sighs and looks down at the ratty tablecloth. If it was anyone else, he would have snapped and told them to mind their own fucking business. But it’s Zayn. So, Louis tells him everything, from the beginning of his embarrassing crush all the way to how it’s still hard to be in the same room without wanting to kiss Harry. Zayn just listens and Louis couldn’t be more grateful. When he finishes, he takes a deep breath and finally meets his eyes. “So, that’s it.”

Zayn nods and purses his lips before letting out a sigh. “That sucks, mate. Like, proper sucks. Did you try talking to him again about it?”

“No. The worst thing is I get it. It makes sense. Doesn’t feel any less shitty, though.” Louis lets his head tilt back and he bites his lip. “Just goes to show. Life isn’t some fairytale teen comedy. Sometimes it’s just sad and shitty.”

“Yeah. I wish I knew what to say to make you feel better, though,” Zayn offers. He taps his finger against his chin, eyes lighting up after a moment. “I do know what might make you feel better. I’ll give Ant a call when we leave, okay?”

Louis’ head shoots up. “Do you mean what I think you mean?”

Zayn’s lips curl into a smile, the same one that used to mean flooding dorm bathrooms and riding mattresses down hallways. “Yup. Tonight, we’re gonna get stoned and talk about stupid shit until we both fall asleep in a pile of Doritos and blankets on the couch and Liam finds us tomorrow morning.”

For the first time in three days, Louis feels like himself again. “So, just like old times?”

“Just like old times.”

--

Some odd hours later finds them exactly where Zayn predicted. Louis is on the couch, pressed between Zayn and Niall, who had joined them about an hour ago. Everything feels syrupy and warm and Louis is just the right amount of high. His eyes feel heavy but not with sleep and he’s enjoying listening to Niall and Zayn argue about whether or not Aquaman should be in the Justice League.

“I mean, he’s part fish, right? So, what happens when he starts to like...dry up in the middle of a fight? Seems unreliable,” Niall asks philosophically before taking another hit of the joint they’re sharing. “Who needs a superhero that needs to be in water?”

“The same argument could be made about Batman. He has to go back and get new things, right? Like, batarangs and stuff. Does that make him useless?” Zayn counters, folding his arms across his chest.

Louis takes the joint from Niall and takes a hit, relishing in the way the smoke burns his lungs. He lets the smoke out in a steady stream and adds, “Don’t let Liam here you say that. He’d revoke friend privileges for life.”

Zayn snorts and waves him off. “What Liam doesn’t know doesn’t hurt him.”

For some reason, Louis finds that hilarious and nearly falls off the couch laughing. It doesn’t disturb the flow of conversation going on around him and that’s perfect. He feels lighter than air, even though his bones still feel too heavy to move off the couch. “Why are we even talking about DC anyway? It doesn’t even hold a candle to Marvel.”

“You bite your tongue!” Zayn gasps, feigning upset. He clutches at his heart and pretends to cry into the arm of the couch. “My own flesh and blood betraying me like this…”

Louis forces his face into the most serious expression he can muster. Not any easy feat when his face refuses to cooperate. “Search your feelings, you know it to be true.” He manages for about two seconds before he cracks up laughing, Niall and Zayn joining in.

“He’s got a point, though. Tony Stark is totally the better fucked up billionaire,” Niall muses, fold his hands on his tummy.

This launches the two of them into another conversation about who would win if Ironman and Batman faced off and Louis feels himself starting to drift at the sound of their voices. It feels nice and he just wants to stay here forever.

He doesn’t know how long he’s asleep, but he comes to at the sound of voices talking over his head. He can hear Zayn, and another voice he’s become far too familiar with. He’s still drowsy and not all the way awake, so he’s not sure if he’s dreaming it or not. He has no idea how long they’ve been talking, which probably should worry him, but doesn’t. He doesn’t want Zayn to hate Harry because he doesn’t hate Harry, even if he did break his heart a little bit.

“I can carry him, I don’t mind,” he hears Harry say, but his voice sounds muffled, like Louis’ ears are stuffed with cotton. It’s probably just the weed, or the fact that he’s still half-asleep.

“Mate, I appreciate the offer, but I don’t think that’s a good idea. I don’t think he’d like it,” Zayn replies firmly, but not unkindly. It hurts because it’s true but Louis doesn’t think about it too much. He feels too good to be sad right now, warm and cuddled up with his best mate. “I’ve got him. You go on to bed. It’s nice to meet you, yeah?”

He can hear Harry shifting against the couch. He can picture Harry frowning, wringing his hands like he wants to argue but doesn’t. He must nod, or something because then it’s nothing but the sounds of footsteps going up the stairs. Once he’s gone, Zayn whispers, “I know you’re awake. Let’s get you into bed.”

Louis nods and shakily climbs to his feet. Slowly they make their way up to his bedroom and he spares a glance down the hall. Harry’s door is shut; it’s not like he expected otherwise. “Cuddle with me tonight?” He asks, pulling Zayn into the room before he even answers.

“Of course, Lou,” Zayn murmurs.

Both of them climb into bed fully clothed and Zayn pulls Louis to him, wrapping his arm around his waist. Louis can feel the soft thud thud thud of his heartbeat, strong and familiar, against his back. Warm in Zayn’s arms, he slowly drifts back to sleep, thankful for his best mate.

-*-

The rest of the days leading up the wedding are uneventful, filled with last minute errands and details that need to checked and double-checked. Louis throws himself into helping Sophia with what she needs, while Harry stays busy with Liam and Niall. The band has been rehearsing and Louis can’t help but wonder what song they picked for the first dance. He’s not sure he wants to know, so he doesn’t ask.

The rehearsal dinner goes off without a hitch, and Louis finds himself just ready for it all to be over. He’s happy for Sophia and Liam but things will be much better when he can go back to the way things were before. Harry will be just a distant fantasy and Louis can start seriously looking for a new flat.

“What about the one you saw in Shoreditch? It’s a nice area,” Sophia offers when he tells her about his plans. He has a bunch of adverts up on his laptop and he takes notes of the ones he likes to email later.

“Too far from the office. I’d really rather be close to the tube station.” It feels like the end of an era, finding a new flat, but it’s time.

It must show on his face because Sophia takes his hand and tugs it until he looks at her. “You don’t have to move out, you know. We’re just getting married, it’s not like it changes things.”

Louis snorts. “It does, though. You’ll be a married couple. You won’t  need your crusty old gay best friend just hanging out all the time. I need to give you space to get all boring and sensible. You’ll talk about how England has gone to the dogs and have sex with the lights off once a week and-” She cuts him off by tickling his belly until the two of them collapse into a tangled heap on the couch. It’s just the two of them tonight and Louis can’t think of anything better.

Sophia kisses his cheek. “It’s going to be okay, you know.” The end of her sentence quirks up, like that isn’t all she had to say. Instead, she says, “It’ll all work out in the end.”

He’s a bit confused, but Louis smiles, pecking her back on the forehead. “I know. But it’s nice to hear.”

They camp out on the couch and Louis goes to bed wondering exactly how. Just one more day, he tells himself. It’s just one more day and then it’ll all be over with.

--

The wedding is beautiful. The weather is gorgeous and just the right temperature that the guests are comfortable in their chairs. At first, everyone told Sophia and Liam what a terrible idea it was to have it outside given that they’re in England, but it was uncharacteristically cooperative. The sun is shining, there’s a slight breeze, and it’s perfect.

Sophia is an absolute vision as she walks down the aisle and Liam is already tearing up, the big sap. Louis can’t blame him, feeling a bit teary himself. He looks across to where Harry is standing across the way, looking handsome in his suit behind Liam. It almost hurts to look at him, but Louis has gotten used to the feeling.

He cries a bit during the ceremony, not even ashamed. Despite his bluster and inability to talk about his feelings, Louis wants all of this one day. And he’s so happy for his two friends that they get this together he can’t even be bitter about everything that’s happened. It is what it is.

Harry seems strangely subdued through the whole thing, until they near the end and he starts to fidget. Louis throws him a look like, “what the hell is wrong with you?” But Harry is still decidedly not looking at him. How strange. His best friend is getting married and he looks like he might bolt at any moment.

He almost wants to ask, but Harry is rushing off to get ready with the band. Louis shrugs off his strange behavior and seeks Zayn out, looping their arms together and tugging him away from the pretty redhead he was talking to. “Come Zayn, it’s time to feed me. I’m famished.” The first dance song Niall and Harry chose begins to play and it stings when Louis hears it. So Harry decided not to go with his suggestion after all, as Come Away With Me by Norah Jones drifts through the air. He shouldn’t be surprised.

“You’re so ridiculous,” Zayn replies, but lets himself be led towards the buffet table the venue has set out. The two of them stuff themselves silly on rich food and good wine, enough that Louis is pleasantly tipsy when it’s time to give his Man of Honor speech.

He stands up, glass in hand, beaming at Liam and Sophia. “Everyone here knows that I can talk at great length about absolute shit, so I will keep this as short as I can.” The crowd laughs and his shoulders relax a little bit. At least they’re entertained. “I could tell embarrassing stories about Liam at uni, or talk about how much shit I gave him when he nearly chickened out of proposing, and it took Zayn and I three hours to give him a proper pep talk, but I won’t. I could also talk about the trials and tribulations of dress shopping and cake testing, and how I’m pretty sure Sophia thought about disowning me a time or two, but I won’t. Instead, I just want to tell you both how much I admire you. How much I admire your love and your appreciation for each other, and how thankful I am to have been a part of watching you two through your ups and downs. I just hope one day I find someone like that, so that I can have half the happiness I wish for the two of you for the rest of your lives. I love you both, and congratulations.” He swallows around the lump in his throat and wills himself not to choke up. He pointedly does not look in Harry’s direction because he’s too afraid of what he might see there. Instead, he takes a sip of his champagne and says, “Your turn, Curly.” The nickname feels a bit like sawdust in his mouth.

Harry clears his throat and raises his own glass. “Well, how does anyone follow something like that?” He pauses and the crowd titters again, just like they had with Louis’ own speech. “Liam, you and I have been friends for so long. Despite the way our lives have taken us, you’re always a constant I can count on. I don’t have many of those, myself, but I’m glad you found that in Sophia. She’s wonderful, mate, you couldn’t have done any better.” Sophia blushes and Liam squeezes her hand, tears already glistening in his eyes. Of course Harry is going to out-speech him, the bastard. “Like Louis said, I wish you all the best in the world and that one day, hopefully, I’ll have the two of you to make the same kind of speech for me at my wedding. All the love,” he finishes and he’s staring at Louis so hard he might strain something.

It prickles something in the back of Louis’ mind but he doesn’t have time to dwell on it. They’re too busy cutting the cake and watching Liam and Sophia attempt to smash it in the other one’s face. The night continues and Louis drinks and dances and pointedly pretends not to notice the way Harry keeps looking at him.

Before too long, the night is drawing to a close. Harry has been crooning different songs throughout the night and Louis finds himself glad none of them are his own. “Alright everyone, it’s time for the last dance. Everyone out on the floor!”

Louis stays in his chair, but happily watches the other couples out on the floor. He hadn’t caught the garter that Liam threw, but had managed to catch the bouquet. Go figure. He fiddles with the petals as the song starts, his back going rigid.

He didn’t.

Louis whips his head over to the stage. Harry is smiling at him as they lock eyes. This is it, this is Louis’ stupid shitty rom-com moment and he might just break down in tears. “This song is dedicated to someone very special, and I hope he knows it. I may have messed up when I told him no, but this is my love song to him. I won’t make that mistake again.”

The familiar lyrics to Lovesong wind their way through Louis’ brain and into his chest, his heart threatening to flutter right out of his chest. His cheeks flame and he buries his face in his hands. Stupid fucking Harry Fucking Styles and his stupid romantic gesture. Louis is so charmed he can’t even stand it. That’s why Harry was so fidgety and weird during the whole wedding, he guesses. 

And judging from the way Niall and his friends are smirking at him, Harry didn’t work alone. He feel like he could burst from how much he loves them even though he also hates them a little bit. Bastards, the lot of them.

Harry finishes up and everyone applauds, including Louis. He waits until the crowd disperses and people start to offer their congratulations to Sophia and Liam, who are packing up to leave, before he seeks Harry out.

“I ought to punch you in the face,” Louis says, even though he’s smiling. It’s a confusing flood of emotions, if he’s honest.

“I’d deserve it,” Harry answers, face soft. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I hurt you because I’m selfish and scared.”

Louis waves him off. “Don’t apologize for that. You’re right, as much as it sucks. Or were right, I suppose. What changed your mind?”

Harry rubs the back of his neck, looking sheepish. “Um, Niall, actually. He kind of put things into perspective for me.”

“I’ll have to send him a fruit basket.” Louis pauses and folds his arms. “Though, you can’t honestly think this cheap-ass romantic comedy confession attempt is going to fix all of this, do you?” he asks haughtily. He has to stop himself from smiling and they both know it.

 Harry tugs him close and kisses his nose. “I’m counting on it, actually. Or, at least, it being a good place to start?” He looks so soft and sweet that Louis wants nothing more than to kiss him forever.

"Maybe a dance and we can start negotiating? Since I didn’t get a proper one and all.”

Harry nods sagely. “I can agree to those terms.”

It doesn’t even matter that the rest of the guests have already left, or that the caterers have started cleaning up around them. All that matters is the two of them swaying to a beat that only they can hear.

 


*EPILOGUE*

The interview just happens to come on when the two of them are sixty-nineing in their bed, Louis riding Harry’s face with his mouth wrapped around Harry’s cock. They had intended to watch it together, but they’d gotten a little distracted.

Three years and countless ups and downs later, Harry was finally able to come out. No more stunts and awful articles about which girl he was shagging this week. Now, it was nothing but the two of them. It had been six months since the first time they were seen out together, holding hands and giggling over lunch with kisses and fond looks. They agreed to wait to confirm it until Harry felt comfortable addressing it, and he had allowed his good friend James Corden to have the exclusive.

So, as Louis bobbed up and down, taking the head of Harry’s cock into his throat, he got to hear Harry talk about the two of them together.

“Three years! That’s amazing. Tell me everything,” James wheedles and Harry laughs on the screen.

“Louis is great to just sit and admire what he’s like, you know? He’s the most amazing partner and he’s been my rock through everything that’s gone on. Not many people are willing to put up with what he had to,” Harry gushes through the speakers, just as here-Harry starts to thrust his tongue in harder. It makes Louis moan around his cock, the two of them caught up in the pleasure of each other.

He hears James laugh and tease Harry about how smitten he is. “I can’t wait to meet your lad properly. He sounds great. Is it true you met at a wedding?”

Louis tunes out Harry’s rehashing of the way they met, focusing instead on dragging his tongue up the thick vein on the underside. He licks across the head of Harry’s cock before sinking back down. Stroking what little bit he can’t fit in his mouth, he starts to rock back against Harry’s face. His own cock is hard and hot where it’s squished between their bellies, but right now he just wants to bring Harry off.

“So, do you think there are any wedding bells in your future? Maybe you’ll get to play matchmaker as well!” James jokes and the thought makes Louis’ cock pulse between them.

He can only imagine the sly look on Harry’s face as he says, “Maybe, maybe not. He’s probably watching and I’d hate to ruin the surprise. But don’t worry, James, you’ll get an engraved invitation hand delivered.”

“I should bloody well hope so!”

The interview goes on to talk about other things, things that Louis really can’t care about right now. He starts to bob faster, tasting precome on his tongue as he sucks. He pops off for just a minute to rasp out, “So hot, hearing you talk about me on television. Love having people know you’re mine.”

He gets a muffled moan in response, making Harry’s tongue vibrate where it’s buried inside of him. His cock flexes and he knows he’s close. Leaning back down, he wraps his lips around the head and sucks hard, bobbing hard and fast until he feels it. Harry’s cock twitches against his tongue as he comes, filling his mouth as Louis swallows greedily. Harry’s fingers tighten on his arse as he finishes, melting back into the mattress as he starts to tongue Louis harder.

Louis sits up just enough to wrap his hand around his cock and rolls his hips, right into the thrusts of Harry’s tongue. It’s so good, and he can feel heat prickling along his spine as he hurtles closer and closer to orgasm. “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” he chants as it builds until he lets go with a loud moan. Spurts of come trail along Harry’s torso and against his tattoos, stark against the golden sheen of his skin. It’s filthy and perfect and Louis fucking loves it.

He strokes himself dry through the aftershocks before rolling off of Harry. The two of them lay there, getting their bearings back after what was arguably some of the best sex they’ve ever had. And that’s saying quite a bit, if Louis does say so himself.

Once he’s caught his breath, he squirms around until he’s cuddled up against Harry, pressing a kiss to the underside of his jaw. His face is red and wet, but Harry looks so blissed out that Louis’ heart might burst. “You look like the cat who caught the canary,” he teases, poking Harry in the side.

“Got to talk about you on the telly. Best day ever, I’d say,” Harry replies with a grin. “You know what would make this day even better?”

“I swear to god Harold if you propose to me right now…”

Harry laughs and kisses Louis on the forehead. “I was going to say shower sex and celebratory dinner, but I know where your mind is at. Don’t you worry. It’ll happen when you least expect it.”

“How do you know I won’t propose to you first, hmm?” Louis huffs out, poking Harry again until he laughs. “Maybe I’ll propose to you so hard the angels will weep with joy.”

“I’m pretty okay with that too, actually.” Harry kisses him again and pulls him close. It’s sticky and a bit disgusting, but Louis can’t think of anywhere else he’d rather be. “What do you say to a nap before shower sex and dinner?”

Louis hides his grin in Harry’s chest, kissing Harry’s nipple and pulling a soft sigh out of him. “Sounds perfect, love.”

Harry doesn’t answer him, already dozing off. It’s okay, Louis isn’t far behind him.

It might not be the fairytale ending they talk about in the movies, but Louis thinks it’s perfect as it is.

 

-END-