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Destinies Miracle

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“Louis!” Harry calls from the master bedroom ensuite, Louis poking his head through the door just moments later.

“Yes love?”

Harry smooths his hands down the silky, floral patterned button up- Burberry. “Does this look okay together?” he asks gesturing from the shirt to the stripped Ladvin trousers and the shiny, black leather Saint Laurent buckled boots. 

Today was Louis and Harry Tomlinson’s 22-year wedding anniversary, 27 years since they begun dating, 31 years since the fateful day the pair met. Through all this time that has passed Louis still looks Harry’s form up and down with the exact same awe he did the day they met, the same admiration when the two finally crossed the line from friends to more, the same undeniable love as he watched Harry walk down the isle. Louis was a lucky man. 

“You look beautiful my love,” Louis gushed as he wrapped his arms around his husband, “How did I ever get so lucky?” 

Louis was 18 when he met Harry. The Tomlinson’s had just moved to Holmes Chapel, occupying the double story, brick house adjacent to the Styles/Twist residence. Harry was the one to show Louis around town and introduce him to all places and people of any relevance. The two hit it off well and quickly became best friends, the proximity of their homes making it exceptionally easy to spend every waking moment attached at the hip. 

Not long after Louis turned 19, he received an invite from Manchester United to join their talent academy, an offer too extraordinary to refuse. A year later, Harry had finished his schooling in Holmes Chapel with exceptional marks being accepted into Manchester University’s school of law. After a horrible first semester of student accommodation, Louis offered Harry to move into his flat with him. Shortly after, Louis made his debut in the Manchester United first division team, both Louis’ and Harry’s families cheering him on from the stands. Louis and Harry were constantly teased by their mutual friends about their dependency on one another and their undeniable domesticity. After 2 years of living together, the duo finally admitted their feelings towards each other and laughed about how long it took them to do so, despite already acting like a couple for years. The news of the new relationship came as no surprise to their friends and both of their families alike. 

Louis was taken away from his thoughts by the sound of his husband’s voice, “I could say the same. Look at you! I have seen you dressed up in so long. This is nice, have I seen this before?” Harry asked running his fingers down the lapels of Louis simple black blazer. 

“Nah, its new, was sent to me by some French designer, I don’t know. I liked it, now I’m wearing it.” Harry laughed while shaking his head. His husband was clearly not quite as into fashion as he was, Harry was endeared by it. 

“Sophie just got home about 5 minutes ago so were good to go whenever your ready” Louis said with a quick peck to Harry’s lips. 

“I’m just going to brush my teeth then we can say goodbye to the kids and go?”

Louis nodded pecking Harry’s lips once more before slipping out of the bathroom and downstairs. Their house was quite big, much more lavish than the normal family home. With Louis playing professional football for 8 years and Harry becoming a successful lawyer, the family were by no means strapped for cash. Grabbing the keys to his range rover off the kitchen counter and pocketing his wallet and phone, Louis made his way into the main living area to see his four children. Sophie, their eldest daughter was sitting on the rug across from their youngest, Zoe, playing a new variation of the classic board game, snakes and ladders. Both of their sons Hudson and Hayden were lounging on the U-shaped sofa watching the sports news channel on the TV. Louis felt blessed that all of his kids had taken at least a slight interest in football, Hayden particularly keen on the game. Louis sat down on the couch in-between the two, putting his dress-shoe clad feet on the glass coffee table in front of himself. 

“When is your appearance for this show again?” Hudson questioned after a minute. Once Louis had retired from football, he had found himself frequently involved in sports media- before and after game coverage, commentating and sports talk shows alike. His most frequently appearances were on the footy show- a sports media talk-show which evaluated the weeks’ worth of matches and player analysis, hosted by the one and only Louis Tomlinson every week. 

“In 2 weeks, you can come if you’d like? I definitely be able to get you live audience tickets.”

Hudson beamed, nodding furiously while the whining began on his other side, “Dad! I’m a heaps bigger fan than he is, why does he get to go? I should get to go! Dad!”

Hayden was definitely much more Louis-like than Harry-like, loud and unashamed of voicing his opinions. Hudson, much more Harry-like, eager to avoid drama, sat on Louis other side passively while Hayden had his little outburst.  

“Hayden, stop. You can come too. Girls, you can also come if you’d like?” Louis posed the question to his daughters who both grunted out unimpressed ‘no’s, neither looking up from the game in between them. Okay, so the girls weren’t quite as into football as the boys. Oh well, he’ll always keep trying. 

As Louis focused his attention back on the screen, he heard Harry’s footsteps coming down the stairs. Just as he appeared in the entrance way in the room, the program begun playing the highlights of this weeks Man U game. 

“Ready to get going no-“

Louis was quick to cut him off, “One second” he said leaning forward on his seat while turning the volume up with the remote. 

Harry huffed and sat on the ground beside his girls.

“Don’t marry a footballer Soph, its not too late, you can save yourself” Harry joked, clearly referring to Sophie’s boyfriend of 11 months. Jackson was a member of the Manchester United talent academy and had been dubbed a shoe-in to be selected in the starting team next season. The pair had known each other for years, Jackson being the son of one of Louis’ team mates, they would often run into one another at games and other functions. Louis and Harry were thrilled when Sophie announced that the two had begun dating, could not think of a better person they could trust more to treat their daughter the way she deserves to be treated. 

After a few minutes, the montage ended and Louis rose from the couch, “Okay, best behaviour tonight, Sophie’s in charge, if you need us, just call.” 

“Dinner is in the slow cooker, its ready so just dish it up whenever you’re hungry. We’ll be back by lunch time tomorrow.” Harry said as he walked around the room kissing all of his kids on the head, Louis following suit. 

“Wait, tomorrow? I thought you were going for dinner?” Zoe inquired with a crease in her brows, even at 10 she was still very dependant on her fathers, not liking to be too far away from them for longer than absolutely necessary. 

Harry comes to sit next to her once more, wrapping his arms around her frame as she leans back against his chest, “we’re staying at the hotel that we’re having dinner at tonight.”

“Why though?” She looked up at Harry pouting. 

Harry pulled her into his chest further, kissing the crown of her head, “Because its your father and I’s anniversary so we want to celebrate.”

“Why can’t we celebrate together?” She inquired.

Louis could tell Harry was struggling when he glanced at him helplessly, so he quickly piped up, adding “Anniversaries are something that is better to just be celebrated between the two people, Zo.”

“Why can’t you celebrate here?” She asked innocently. 

It was Sophie who piped up this time, winking at her dad’s, “Because Zo, they want to celebrate loud”. 

The unhelpful comment earned a chuckle from the boys, a confused head tilt from Zoe, a smirk from Louis and a death glare and reprimand from Harry. 

*

The Radisson Blu Edwardian was a hotel in the heart of the city that Louis and Harry had considered very near and dear to their hearts. It was the place which they spent their first night as a married couple and since then they had returned multiple times, always staying in the same suit. The Valentino Suite is 98 square metres when sold with 2 bedrooms. It's south-facing with a fully external balcony running the length of the suite, carrying some of the entertaining space through from inside to outside. The two bedrooms are separated by a living room which includes a sofa area, TV, sound system and dining table for 6 people.

Louis and Harry were greeted warmly at the front desk and their shared overnight bag was taken up to their room while the pair walked hand in hand to the Opus restaurant on the first level. 

“Reservation for Tomlinson” 

A look of recognition flashed across the hosts face, “Ah of course, right this way gentlemen.”

The pair were lead, still conjoined by their hands, to small table in the far corner of the restaurant. A single rose stood proudly in the centre of the table next to a card with ‘Tomlinson’ written in delicate script. Harry appreciated humble decoration. Louis pulled the chair out for Harry and gestured for him to sit, an action which Harry had learned to stop protesting, after 27 years of doing so Louis was not going to stop now. A waitress introduced herself and took their drink order promising to return shortly to take their meal orders. Their drinks came soon after, a bottle of Baigorri De Garage Rioja Crainza with two elegant glasses. Once they made their meal choices, they called the waitress over placing their order. 

“Can you believe its been 22 years?” Louis asked reaching across the table to cradle on of Harrys hands in his own. Louis had always been affectionate and special occasions definitely enhanced this trait. 

“If I’m honest, it feels longer, you have been my whole life Lou.” Harry says bringing their conjoined hands to his lips and kissing the back of Louis hand.

“Oh uh, don’t let your mum heard that, she won’t be too happy with me.” 

“Oh please, she loves you more than me and you know it, she would never be anything but happy with you. Besides you know what I mean.” Harry says while squeezing his hand. 

“I know darling, we’ve done a lot together, our wedding feels like so long ago, I’m worried that I’m going to start forgetting the details.” After all Louis would turn 50 come the end of the year. Half-way to 100- God, where did time go?

“I think the one thing I’ll always remember is Niall’s not so sober speech.”

Niall’s best man speech had all their 115 guest all in stiches and tears of laugher steaming down both Louis and Harrys faces. Recounting stories of the couple before they were together and not so tastefully delving into stories of the couple sex adventures once they did finally get together (“The lease on my apartment had just ended and I had been sleeping on these boy’s couch and can I tell you the noises that came from their room at night ‘ahh ahh harder, faster, right there’” he had imitated in a breathy voice, “safe to say I found a new apartment quick smart”). 

Their meals came and they continued to reminiscence on their wedding night, from their respective buck’s parties to their honeymoon in Paris, as they ate their delicious food. They shared a dessert while they finished off the pricey bottle of wine, all the while never taking their eyes off of each other. One thing was for sure, their love for one another had definitely not gotten any less intense in the time since the first ‘I love you’ and all the millions in between. 

After sending on their compliments to the chef and paying the bill (with a hefty tip) the two made their way to the top floor of the hotel, to their penthouse suit. As soon as the door was closed behind them Louis had Harry pressed against the wall adjacent to the door with his lips attached to his neck. 

Harry huffed out a breathy laugh, clearly already affected by Louis mouth, “You don’t mess around do you?”

“Never have” he smirks up at Harry, pupils already blown as he leans in and attaches their lips. 

Louis and Harry sex lives have always been quite… fulfilling. Of course, at 47 and 49 years of age, with 4 kids and 2 successful (yet often demanding) careers, the two have definitely slowed down over the years. In saying this, they still probably are far more intimate than the average couple. The couple were concerned in the early years that their excessive sex lives was going to fizzle out and the spark would be lost but if anything the more time that went on, the better it got. They knew each other’s bodies better than the back of their hands, knew exactly where to touch, lick and bite and they always keep it exciting and fresh. They were the ultimate dream team. 

Harry kicks himself off the wall, detaching their lips and taking Louis hand in his own, leading them towards the master bedroom. Once inside the room, the two graceless fall back onto the bed, shoes already kicked off along the way. 

“Thankyou for organising tonight, I loved it and I love you- so so much” Harry says as he peppers Louis face with delicate kisses. 

Louis rolls them over so that Harry’s body is stretched out underneath his, knees situated on either side of Harrys hips, sitting upright. Slowly he unbuttons Harry’s blouse running his hands over the smooth skin of Harrys torso, delicate fingers paying extra attention to his nipples. 

“I love you too. Fuck, you’re so beautiful,” says Louis as he leans down to kiss the tiny tummy Harry has accumulated as the result of 4 pregnancies. He knows that Harry is hard on himself and can be self conscience about it so Louis always is sure to verbally and physically reassure him of the beauty Louis sees in him. 

As Louis continues to suck bruises around Harry’s hips, the younger boy becomes impatient pushing Louis’ jacket of his shoulders. Louis gets the hint, sitting up straight, quickly unbuttoning his shirt and throwing it carelessly on the floor. 

“This is your night Harry, tonight’s all about you, going to make you feel so good.”

Popping the button on Harry’s trousers, Harry is quick to comply lifting his hips off the bed and shuffling while Louis pulls them down. Louis’ are quick to follow when Harry expresses his wish for Louis to take them off. If there’s anything that Louis has leant in their 22 years of marriage is that he is an absolute sucker for Harry- what Harry wants, Harry gets. 

Once both men are fully rid of clothing, Louis flattens his body on top of Harry, re-capturing his lips in a soft, familiar kiss- they have all night, there is no rush.

“Going to give you what you want okay, love,” Louis whispers into his husband’s mouth like it’s their own little secret, which he supposes it is. Intimacy between 2 people who love each other will transport you to another world where only you exist and this moment is all that matters.

In time, the kiss becomes heated, hands exploring skin, and hips moving on their own accord. Louis begins to kiss his way down Harry’s body, from the sensitive skin of his throat, down to the fine trail of hair around his groin. He continues to kiss around Harry’s hips and inner thighs, purposefully avoiding his cock- fully hard and resting against his stomach. A particularly hard nip to Harrys left inner thigh has Harry whimpering and bringing his hands to tangle in his own long hair, pulling hard. 

“Please Louis, please” Harry exhales.

“As you wish” Louis says as he takes the tip of Harry’s cock into his mouth, hand wrapping around the base. Louis is quick to find a rhythm between his hand and mouth, tongue paying particular attention to the fat vein on the underside, running from the base to the tip. When Louis pulls off with his mouth, continuing to stroke with his right hand with the slickness of his saliva, he begins to tongue at the sensitive slit on the head causing Harry’s back to arch off the bed, finally releasing a clearly suppressed shout.

“Let it out, babe” say Louis as he continues to stroke, “No one will hear you, don’t need to stay quiet. I know how you love to be loud, I love to hear you.” 

This only causes a stream of whimpers, indecipherable curses and moans to fall from Harry’s lips. Louis loves when Harry gets like this, so lost in the moment- fully gives himself over to Louis’ control, so trusting. 

Louis’ hand slowing comes to a stop, palming his way down from the tip of his dick, over his balls, fingers passing through Harry’s crack. Harry let’s out a moan so loud that he is very thankful they are not at home, not sure how the would explain that one to Zoe. Louis scoots down the bed situating himself between Harry’s thighs licking a stripe over his hole as Harry’s legs come to wrap around his head. This has always been his favourite sexual activity to do with Harry, the younger man always so responsive and Louis has always taken great pleasure in making him fall apart. He continues to lick and lightly prod at Harry’s hole with his tongue before using the slickness of his saliva to add a finger. After a while Louis stops to fetch lube from their overnight bag, conveniently placed at the foot of the bed, discouraged by Harrys thighs pressing tighter around his face. 

Louis huffs out a breathy laugh, “Babe, let me up, I need to get the lube.”

Harry clearly has to force himself to release Louis, thighs shaking and hole clenching rhythmically. Louis unzips the bag and pulls the bottle out in record time and when he turns around its to Harry facing away from Louis on his hands and knees, hole on full display. Crawling back on the bed, Louis place one hand on either one of Harry’s cheeks, gentling kissing Harry’s puckered hole. 

“Want it like this then, my love?” 

When the only response Louis received was a whimper, Louis snicked the lube open drizzling a generous amount onto his fingers. While one hand continued to massage Harry’s left cheek, the other began circling around his hole covering it with lube. Eventually, Louis pushed his index finger past the ring of of muscle, sliding it in and out in earnest. He takes his time, all the while mouthing and simply breathing hot and wet against the small of Harry’s back causing goosebumbs to rise on the skin their and the fine hairs to stand up. He is quick to work his way up to three fingers, Harry already dropped onto his forearms trembling, breathing heavily with his bum curved proudly in the air. 

“Louis, ready. Please”

Louis slowly removed his fingers adding a bit more lube onto his palm and giving himself a few tugs, moaning at the touch- finally. Positioning himself behind Harry, he lines himself up with his hole circling the tip around his rim a few times teasingly before pushing past the muscle slowly. With balls pressed against arse, Louis draped himself over Harry’s back with an arm around his abdominal, kissing the back to his neck and he began to slowly thrust in and out. The slick sound accompanied by heavy breathing and soft whimpers muffled by plush hotel pillows were the only sounds in the room. It didn’t take long for Louis to find Harry’s prostate, evident by the earnest scream Harry released and the obscene arching of his back, encouraging Louis to speed up his thrusts because nothing turns Louis on more than giving pleasure to his husband.

They were both panting, on the verge of their highs when Louis pulled out flipping his Harry onto his back, guiding his legs around his waste as he leaned back down and re-entered him. He begun to thrust at the same unforgiving pace as he captured Harry lips with his own, tongues meeting for a dirty kiss. Soon they were just panting into each other’s mouths, Louis muttering hardly intelligible ‘I love you’s and ‘you’re beautiful’s, Harry too gone for anything to pass his lips other than a moan. 

Louis took Harry cock, hot, hard and covered in his own slick pre-cum relentlessly bubbling from the tip, into his hand and begun to stoke to the rhythm of his own thrusts. Not 5 stroke later, Harry was arching off the bed, eyes squeezes closed and lip caught in a tight grip between his teeth as he reached his orgasm, cum painting his chest all the way up to his chin. Louis immediately followed suit, slowing down his thrusts inside Harry as they both rode out their highs. 

“We always come at the same time,” Harry giggled breathily breaking the silence, Louis body covering his like blanket, “parapsychological sex”. 

Louis rolled off of Harry, lying next to him with their flushed faces only centimetres apart, “What?” he asked running his fingers through Harry’s sweaty fringe.

Closing his eyes in pleasure he responded, “Like telepathy. Psychological alignment. We’ve been together so long we’ve developed almost a six sense. Like we think the same way and our nervous systems and brain patterns are like in sync so we can basically read each others minds. They’ve done research on it and stuff.” 

Louis stared at Harry in bewilderment, “Love, not a minute ago you couldn’t even string together enough letters to form a word, now you come out with that?”

Harry chuckled, nuzzling his face into Louis’ as he does so, “It’s true though, we’re connected like we’re one person. I don’t think I could ever feel whole without you.” Harry admits staring directly into his husband’s eyes. 

Louis laces their fingers together resting them between their chests, “you’ll never have to feel that way, okay? Dream team. Forever.” He whispers reassuringly, the conversation seemingly too heavy for a louder voice. 

Harry nods, tucking his head beneath Louis chin and kissing his husbands collar bone.

“Happy anniversary, babe.”

“Happy 22 years.”

 Louis pulled the covers up over their bodies wrapping his arms around his husband, kissing his hair and wishing him a sound sleep before drifting off himself.

*

The next morning the two woke up naturally to sun streaming through the windows, still wrapped up in each other’s bodies. They shared a much needed shower before heading down to the breakfast buffet, stuffing themselves full of eggs, bacon and delicious French inspired pastries. Harry took a mental note of some of the more unusual combinations, wanting to try to make them himself (“The kids would love these, Louis”). They checked out at the front desk just shy of midday, Louis driving them home with one hand on the wheel and the other resting on Harrys mid inner thigh, thumb rubbing gentle circles into the fabric of his jeans. 

When they arrived home, they were greeted by lunch courtesy of Sophie and a big hug from each of their kids. They spent the remainder of the day lounging around the house and getting ready for school and work the next day. 

*

Louis awoke to lips repeatedly pressing against his face, “time to get up,” came a familiar deep drawl. When he opening his eyes he was greeted by the sight of his husband leaning over him, fully dressed with his leather laptop bag slung over his right shoulder. Harry started work early. Like 6am early. This way he could get a full day’s work in and be home in time to pick the kids up from school, be involved in any extra-curricular activities, cook dinner and so on. He’d been doing this ever since he went back to work 2 years after Zoe was born as a way to make Louis unconventional schedule work as parents. Louis would get the kids ready in the mornings, make their lunches and drive them to school before he went to work early afternoon. 

Louis sat up wrapping one arm around Harry’s neck and giving him a quick peck on the lips, “Have a good day at work, please don’t stress yourself too much.” 

Harry was a bit of a perfectionist when it came to work, always putting too much pressure on himself, taking on too many tasks than he could handle. Louis just worried about him. 

“I won’t, I promise. Love you” 

“Love you too.” 

And with that Harry was out the door and off to work. 

When he arrived at work he was greeted by his best mate and co-worker Niall already at his desk in their shared office. 

“Am I hallucinating? Niall Horan at work before me?” Harry mocked rubbing his eyes with a very serious expression on his face. 

“Ha, ha. Very funny. I need to get out early today to take the old dog to the vet for his needles so I’ve got to be on me best behaviour” 

Harry hummed as he set about getting himself ready for the day’s work- booting his computer up and organising the paperwork that had been left on his desk. 

It was Niall that broke the silence, “So how was the anniversary?” 

Harry felt his mouth pull up at the mention, cheeks dimpling, “So good, I love staying at the Radisson. We have so many good memories there, its hard not to feel nostalgic.”

“So what is it 21 years?” 

“22” 

Niall whistled lowly, “wow, getting sick of each other yet?” 

“Not even a little bit.”

The work day went on, Niall leaving just after midday. Harry finished up all the bits and pieces he had been dealing with that day at around 3pm, heading directly to the school to pick up Zoe before continuing onto the high school to get Hudson and Hayden. 

When they pulled into the driveway, Harry was pleased to see that Sophie’s car was in the garage and she was home this early. This year was their eldest daughter’s first year studying at Manchester University which both of her parent were beyond exited about as she could remain living at home and they could still support her. However, the only complaint Harry would have is that he doesn’t see her nearly as much as he thought he would with her remaining living at home. She most definitely took after her parents being very hard working and dedicated, spending all of her spare time in the university library and study lounge. Harry shouldn’t complain, he just misses his baby sometimes. 

After quickly checking the main box and closing the gate to their property, he follows his three kids into the house with his bag slung across his chest. Upon entering the house, he finds Sophie and Jackson in the lounge room watching a movie, cuddled up under a blanket. He really does give them his full blessing. The couple remind him very much of him and Louis when they first started dating, it has been a beautiful experiences watching their relationship blossom and he is very proud of is daughter.  

“Hey guys” he says quietly, not wanting to disrupt the onscreen tension. 

Both teenage cease to take their eyes of the screen and Harry can’t help but laugh at their distracted “Hi dad” and “Hey Harry” that they say in unison. 

Heading into the kitchen, he quickly prepared a fruit salad as all the kids whisk around the open space. He places the platter on the dinning table which both Zoe and Hayden were sitting at getting a start on their homework, Hudson already upstairs doing God knows what. He cuts up some more fruit, placing it in a bowl before returning to the living room to join Sophie and Jackson. He sits down next to Sophie, placing the bowl on the coffee table in front gesturing for them to take if they please. Turns out the movie only in the opening stages so Harry was quick to pick up on the plot and sucked into the desperate romance story line. 

As the closing credits ran, a call of “Dad!” from the living area caught Harry’s attention, getting off the couch and moving towards Zoe’s call. 

“Yes my sweetheart?” he said as he sat next to her, pushing her fringe out of her eyes and smoothing her dishevelled pony tail down. 

“Can you help me with my maths homework, I don’t get it” she pouted. 

“Of course, let’s have a look,” Harry said squinting at the page, he definitely need glasses but he was absolutely not ready to admit that fact out loud. 

The two worked on the long division problems for half an hour together. Even after she understood the process, Harry stayed with enjoying spending time with her. Hayden and Hudson were also at the table which gave him a great opportunity to talk to them about their days and generally enjoy their presence also. He loved his kids so much and he dreaded the day they were all grown up. When Harry noticed the sun beginning to lower in the sky he decided it was probably time to start dinner. 

Poking his head back into the lounge room where Sophie and Jackson were still on the couch talking Harry asked, “sorry to interrupt, just wondering if you were staying for dinner Jackson? You’re more than welcome.” 

“That would be great, thankyou” he smiled politely. 

With that, Harry went back into the kitchen and begun chopping some vegetables for the stir-fry he planned to make. Quick, easy and healthy. 

After boiling some rice, and cooking the vegetables with some beef strips in a simple satay sauce, Harry dished up the meal onto 7 plates, covering one and setting it aside for Louis to heat up when he gets home later. 

“Dinners on the table!” 

In less than a minute he was seated at the table with his 4 kids plus Jackson, digging into the meal. 

“How’s the academy going, Jackson?” Harry asked after a while. 

“Yeah, great. It’s a lot harder than armature league but the good kind. I feel like I’m really getting better, pushing myself more.” Jackson replied. 

“Louis said the same thing when he first started out, he always says he didn’t realise how bad he was until he joined academy. Which of course isn’t true.” Harry rolled his eyes.

“I totally understand that, though. I’m more nervous about the step up from this to professional now though” Hayden said shoving a piece of broccoli in his mouth. Harry was glad he was comfortable around their family.

“You should speak to Louis about, I remember how nervous he was about his first game, he’d definitely have some pointers for when the time comes.” 

Once everyone was finished with dinner, Harry sent Zoe upstairs to shower while Hudson helped him with the dishes, much to his disgust. They finished up quickly and both joined everyone else in the lounge room where they were watching the X-factor. Not long after Zoe joined them in her pyjamas with a hair brush and colourful ties in hand 

“Dad can you braid my hair so tomorrow it will be all crimpy?” She asked sitting between her dad’s legs when he said on the couch.

“Of course, Zo” He said as he begun smoothing out her wet hair with his fingers. 

Two braids later, he kissed her head and she stood up before plonking herself in his lap. The family continued to watch for another 10 minutes before Louis came home, greeting everyone before disappearing to the kitchen to heat his dinner. He returned only minutes later sitting on the armchair with one foot under his bum as he ate his meal. 

“Okay, bedtime for you.” Harry said moving his head to the side to kiss Zoe’s cheek. 

Harry piggybacked her to her room, kissing her goodnight and closing the door behind himself. Back downstairs everyone was bidding a goodnight to Jackson who was getting ready to go home for the night. Harry decided to take a quick bath to relax himself before bed, using one of the bath bombs from his vast collection. As he was just getting, in the door to the ensuite clicked open and Louis appeared. 

“Hey babe” he said coming over to Harry’s side to give him a kiss. 

“How was work?” Harry asked.

“Yeah good, exiting. The show is getting good hype so there’s been talk of adding a midweek episode or maybe extending the time slot, I’m buzzing. How about you?” 

“That’s great, Lou. I know how much hard work you put into it, you really deserve it. Work was good, productive.” Harry replied. 

“No unnecessarily stressing yourself out?” Louis asked for the second time that day, raising his eyebrows. He was clearly concerned about him which made Harry feel so loved. 

“I promise, Lou.” 

Louis began his night time routine- brushing his teeth, washing his face, etc. while Harry continued to relax in the warm, scented water. When Harry re-emerged from the bathroom wrapped in a towel, Louis was already in bed scrolling though his phone. He dropped his towel in front of the chest of draw on Louis side of the bed. Leaning over to retrieve pants from the bottom draw, Harry felt a light slap on his exposed arse. Turning around, Louis was back to scrolling through his phone, face one of innocence. 

“Oi, hands to yourself please,” Harry chided jokingly. 

This caused Louis nonplussed exterior to break, soft laughter slipping from his lips. Harry joined him in bed moments later, Louis reaching over to place his phone on the bedside table before wrapping his arms around his husband. 

“I love you” Louis said into the skin of Harry’s neck. 

“Love you too.” Harry said, turning his face and kissing Louis foreground. 

The two laid in silence for a while until Harry tentatively broke it, “I’ve been reflecting today.”

“Yeah, on what?” Louis enquired.

“Us.”

“Yeah I was thinking we should get a divorce too, this isn’t working, active immediately” Louis joked. 

Harry slapped his chest lightly, “Don’t even joke, I have a fragile heart.”

“I know sorry, do elaborate.”

Harry turned so that the couple were face to face, “just like our lives, our relationship, our careers, our kids. Its honestly perfect. Everything is just my fairy tale, everything I could have dreamed of and more. I wouldn’t change a thing. Lou, I’m just so so happy. Thankyou for everything you’ve provided me with, I love you so much.” 

Louis rolled Harry over spooning him from behind, hand resting against his heart, “Dream team, Harry. Forever, I promise you.” 

Harry fell asleep with his heart full of love a smile on his face. 

*

4 weeks later 

Harry awoke the same way he had for the last 2 weeks, sweating and gasping for air. Nightmares. 

“Shh babe, it’s okay,” Louis said rubbing his back in slow circle, “you’re okay.” 

Harry glanced at the clock on the bedside table as he struggled to get air into his lungs, 3:12am. The nightmares had been different every night, the same concept for all- he would be doing normal things (going to work, cooking dinner, etc.) when someone would give him a baby and everyone would turn against them, shun them, try to kill them both. Every dream would end in a near death experience and it was freaking Harry the fuck out. He couldn’t fathom a reason why this could be happening to him, his life was very stable and balanced. 

“Yeah, okay” Harry replied distractedly as he laid back down. 

Louis watched him, still sitting up with concern written all over his face, “Same nightmare?”

“One and only” Harry replied, feeling tears sting his eyes. 

One more glance in Louis direction and Harry was breaking down into full on sobs. 

“Hey, hey, you’re okay.” Louis cradled Harry’s head against his chest, smoothing his hair down, “It’s okay now”. 

“Yeah, it is n-now” Harry hiccupped, “but as soon as I go b-back to sleep, it- it will happen again.”

“Darling, maybe you should go speak to someone about this,” Louis approached lightly, “a professional, it kills me seeing you like this, I don’t know what to do,” he smiled sadly, “I’m so sorry.”

Hearing a crack in his husband’s voice caused him to pick his head off Louis’ chest, “No, it’s not your fault, don’t say sorry.” 

“I’m just so angry with myself that I can’t help. You know I would take any pain away from you if I could but I can’t and I’m- fuck- I’m so sorry, Harry.”

The two lay intertwined in each other, both slowly but surely drifting into a restless sleep. 

*

“Wow,” Niall whistles as Harry enters their office a few days later, “You look like shit.” 

“I feel like shit,” Harry replies miserably, slumping into his chair. 

“Still not sleeping much?” 

“It’s getting better, less nightmares. I’ve just started feeling really ill the past few days, just really nauseous, threw up this morning” Harry groans.

Niall scoots his chair to the far side of his desk, “okay so how about you stick to your side of the room and don’t go giving me any diseases, thankyou.”

Harry rolls his eyes, “I don’t think I have any catchable diseases Niall. I’m just run down, 3 weeks of no rest will do that to a person.” 

*

By Friday Harry has spent every morning of the week throwing up, feeling nauseous and fatigued. Louis finally convinced him to see a doctor and take a very necessary day off work. His appointment is not until afternoon so after spending the better part of an hour lying on the bathroom floor, expelling all contents of his stomach, Harry makes his way down to the living room to lie down on the couch and watch some TV. 

It feels like he has just closed his eyes when he hears voices, everyone bustling around the house getting ready for their days. 

“Dad? Shouldn’t you be at work?” Hudson asks clearly confused. Harry always starts work before the kids even wake up and he never ever takes a day off. 

“Not feeling too well, bud.” 

Hudson smiles sadly at his father, “Yeah, you look it.” 

Harry can’t help but to laugh at that instantly regretting it when the nausea amps it up a level, “Thanks, Hudson.”

It’s then that Zoe comes running into the room, instantly jumping onto her father, excited to see him with a shout of “Dad!” 

She lands straight on his stomach. Harry winces, lightly pushing her off before making his way into the adjoining kitchen just in time to vomit into the sink. Moments later, still bent over the sink as precaution, Harry feels a hand rubbing soothing circles into his upper back- Louis. Tears spring straight to Harry’s eyes. Louis notices. 

“Love, it’s okay don’t worry about it,” he says embracing his husband as the tears roll down his face, “You’re seeing the doctor today, all will be fixed.” 

Harry can see all kids watching the exchange with concern which only makes him feel worse and the tears to multiply. He doesn’t want his kids to worry.

“’m just going to go lay down upstairs,” he mumbles freeing himself from Louis grip and slowly making his way up the stairs towards his and Louis room with his head bowed. 

*

“Harry Tomlinson?” 

Harry stands upon hearing his name called out and follows the nurse towards Doctor Hunts office. 

“Thankyou,” he says as she opens the door for him and he slips inside. 

He shakes the older woman’s hand and seats himself on the chair across from her desk. Doctor Hunt has been the family doctor since before Sophie was born, the Tomlinson’s having full trust in her for any and all medical treatment and advice. 

“So, what brings you here today Harry?” she smiles genuinely. 

“For a few weeks now I’ve been having like bad dreams and trouble sleeping and the last week I’ve been feeling really ill and vomiting daily.” Harry says fidgeting with his fingers, “I just can’t seem to shake it so I’m just concerned it’s not something that is so simple to just… shake.” 

Doctor Hunt nods along, eyebrows scrunched in concentration. 

“Okay, this could be caused by a number of things so don’t stress yourself too much, my initial guess would be some sort of bacteria which would simply require a dose of antibiotics to eradicate,” she fixes her glasses as they skip down her nose, “I think we’ll do some bloodwork- I’ll push you into priority so we’ll be able to get tests back today, does that sound okay?” 

Relief washes over Harry, “Yes, perfect. Thankyou.” 

The blood extraction takes all of 5 minutes before Harry is asked to take a seat back in the waiting room where he will be called once the results have been produced. He takes the time to send Louis a quick update text (‘Just had a blood test. Doc doesn’t think it’s anything serious. Sorry for acting silly this morning, you know how easily stressed I can get, love you x’). 

After another 10 minutes of playing around on his phone and a reply from Louis, (‘Told you there was nothing to worry about, see you soon, love you.’) he is called by the same nurse and escorted back to Doctor Hunt’s office. Once re-seated he take in the look on her face and his heart immediately sinks. The crease between her brows and the obvious bewilderment written across her features verifies the paper of Harry’s results does not bear good news. 

“Please tell me that I’m not dying,” 

Doctor Hunt glances up from the paper, “Harry you’re not dying… tell me, have you had any unprotected sex recently?” 

Harry’s confusion intensified, “Yes, but only with my husband, we’re monogamous so there’s no way that I could’ve caught anything? We’ve only been with each other for 27 years, we’re both clean.” 

Harry’s mind was swirling- had Louis cheated on him, caught a disease and then spread it to Harry? 

“Harry, I’m not sure how to say this so I’ll just say it, you’re pregnant” 

“No I’m not.” 

“The tests are conclusive, Harry. You are pregnant.” She said lips set in a straight line. 

Harry felt faint, “but- but I’m almost 50! We’ve been having unprotected sex for years. I didn’t even know this was possible?” 

“Possible? Yes. Common? No.” Doctor hunt replied gently, obviously aware of Harry’s inner turmoil, “Males usually lose the ability to carry at around 35-40 years of age. There are rare cases where fertility does last longer. You may be in the minority but this is most certainly not impossible.”

“So, it’s like safe? My body can carry this baby properly?” Harry blurted out. He may be on the verge of a panic attack but his paternal instincts have clearly already kicked in. 

“Pregnancies over 45 years of age do most certainly involve more elevated risks- a much greater likelihood for miscarriage for one, about 1 in 2. Overall though, the pregnancy is much riskier for the carrier than the child. Pre-eclampsia is extremely common. I’m not going to lie, it won’t be a pleasant experience, but it is doable.” She leans forward in her seat, “Abortions are an extremely common choice in this situation. Is that an option you’re willing to consider?” 

Harry feels sick at the thought, well sicker than he already felt, “no. Absolutely not.”

“Just as I assumed. I do have to check though.” She types something into her computer, “I’m going to recommend you to go to the hospital today. Usually I would say to just book in to see an obstetrician in time, however with your age it is better to take a look immediately to figure out what you’re dealing with.” 

Harry nod, feeling very overwhelmed. 

“Firstly though I’d like for you to stay in here for a while to calm down a little bit and wrap your head around all of this.” She stands, making her way towards the door. “I’ll give you some privacy.”

With that she exists the room and Harry is left stunned. He pulls his phone out of his pocket with shaking hands, immediately calling Louis. 

“Hey babe, finished up at the doctors?”

At the sound of the older mans voice, Harry suddenly felt choked up, the first sob hitting him like a title wave. Oh god, this explains why he’s been so emotional.

“Love, what’s wrong? What did the doctor say?”

“Louis, I’m pregnant.” Harry replied once he’d controlled his sobs and evened his breathing. 

“Excuse me?” 

“The blood-test,” Harry breathed out, “I’m pregnant, I’m still fertile.”

The line was silent until, “Jesus Christ. We’re having a baby?” 

Harry couldn’t help it when he felt a little smile tug at the corner of his mouth though his tears, “Yeah, we’re having a baby.”

“Okay, we can do this, everything going to be okay. Where are you now?” 

“I’m still at the doctor’s” Harry replied, “I’ve got to go to the hospital so they can check everything out, see if everything still working the way its supposed to and all that.”

“Okay, I’m leaving work now, we’ll go together. I’ll pick you up from the doctors. I love you so much Harry, I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” 

Harry felt 10 times more relaxed, “Thankyou, love you.”

Doctor Hunt came back 5 minutes later and approved him to leave, wishing him luck with everything. Louis pulled up out the front of the surgery not 5 minutes later, getting out of the car and wrapping his arms around Harry tightly. The two stood that way, no words spoken for at least a few minutes before Louis brought his hands to Harry’s stomach and broke the silence, “Our little miracle. We’ll get through this, okay?” 

Harry wasn’t sure who he was trying to convince, they were both clearly scared shitless; Harry nodded nonetheless. 

It was a short drive to the hospital, but one filled with a lot of tension. The waiting room in the ER was next to empty and the couple were taken to a room in next to no time. Upon explaining the situation to the doctor, Louis and Harry were escorted to yet another room with ultrasound equipment. An obstetrician and a mid-wife came into the room shortly after, introducing themselves and getting straight to work. 

“Harry, if you could please lay on this table for me? Perfect, and just lift your shirt, thankyou, this may be a little cold.”

Harry knew the drill, he’d been through this for 9 months, 4 times. 

“So you don’t know when the baby was conceived, am I correct?” 

Louis and Harry both shook their heads as reply. 

The obstetrician continued to move the wand around Harry’s stomach until she found a small blur. There, on the monitor, was their baby as clear as day. Harry’s eyes begun to water again because it was one thing to talk about and a totally different thing to see it with his own two eyes. 

“So it looks like you’re about 7-8 weeks along. At this stage everything looks normal, I’m sure your GP made you aware of the increased risks associate with a pregnancy later in life?” 

“Briefly, yes.”

She cleaned Harry up and got him seated before following suit, along with the midwife. 

“Okay, so we just need to go over a few things,” the midwife started, Doctor Sarah, “All risks associated with pregnancy almost quadruple, after 40. You are 47, is that correct?”

Harry nods. 

The obstetrician, Doctor Lee, takes over, “We have to take extra precaution in these cases. You have to know that by continuing this pregnancy you will be putting your health in jeopardy-”

She opens her mouth to continue but Harry is quick to cut her off, “I’m not having an abortion.” 

She nods, “and that is totally fine, we always have to make sure the patient knows the option is available. Is this your first pregnancy?” 

“I have four children.”

“Okay, and how did those pregnancies go? Did you have any troubles with those?” 

“The first 2 were premature, the first one almost 2 months. Otherwise, not particularly. Just normal stuff- morning sickness and such.” 

Both woman nodded along, “that’s definitely a good sign. For now, you should treat this as a normal pregnancy but also be cautious. Look out for any signs of abnormality and don’t hesitate to seek help if anything feels off even if it only seems minor, it could potentially be detrimental to both yours and the child’s health.” The couple nodded along, “More frequent pre-natal appointments are recommended. Book in your first appointment within the next couple of weeks and they will decide an appropriate appointment schedule. Do you have any other questions at all?”

Both Louis and Harry shook their heads despite the array of question floating around their brains, still in too much shock. They made their way back to Louis car in a tense silence, hands intertwined in a sweaty grip. Once they had arrived back home, the pair remained seated in the car, frozen. 

For some reason the number one question swirling around Harry’s head was, “How do we tell the kids?” 

Louis audibly sighed, “I don’t think we should.”

Harry’s brows scrunched, “What?”

“They said that there is like a 3 in 4 chance that you’re going to lose the baby before the end of the first trimester. I don’t think we should tell them until its like… a sure thing?”

Harry visibly flinched at his husband’s words. “Is that what you want then? You want me to miscarriage? That would be convenient wouldn’t it?”

Louis reaches for Harry’s hand, but the younger boy pulls it away heatedly, “Harry you know that’s not what I meant. I just don’t want to go telling everyone and then- “ 

“Our children aren’t everyone Louis, they’re our children, they deserve to know what’s going on” Harry quickly interrupts, voice raising an octave. 

Louis rubs the heals of his hands against his eyes, “Harry, I’m not going to fight you on this. Ultimately its your body, your decision. I’m just trying to protect you.” 

Harry visibly softens. “Shit, I’m sorry, I know, I didn’t mean to get angry,” he says slumping back in his seat, “I’m just so scared, Lou. Fuck, I’m petrified.”

“I know.” Louis rests his hand against his husband’s thigh in reassurance, “we’ll figure this out together, yeah?” 

“Yeah.” 

*

That night in bed, Louis and Harry had a long discussion about the news and together processed all the information they had been overloaded with. Lots of tears were shed accompanied by equal amounts of smiling and laughing. They discussed their fears and imagined what it would be like to have another little Tomlinson running around. They speculated the gender and threw names around which definitely helped to push aside some of the anxiety to replace it with excitement.  

Harry had ultimately come to the conclusion that Louis was right, it was best if the kids were kept in the dark for now. Nonetheless, Harry knew that he did need some extra support on top of Louis and it was important to him that he told his mum. He may be 47 years of age but in difficult situations such as this, he always craves the warm nurturing he associates with his mother- plus, he’s always been a mummy’s boy. Louis was extremely on board with this development, offering to spend all day with the kids so that Harry could drive to Holmes Chapel and spend the day with his mum. 

When Harry wakes the morning after he doesn’t remember falling asleep, must have nodded off in the midst of baby clothes talk as he last remembers. He thoughts are soon overpowered by a strong wave of nausea that propels his body out of bed and into the ensuite where he makes it to the toilet just in time to expel the contents of his stomach. After a while of half-sitting-half-laying on the bathroom floor, Harry pulls himself to his feet and leans against the vanity. He grimaces at his reflection- bring on the pregnant glow his mind chants as he rubs his hands over his pale skin and examines the dark rings around his eyes. Slipping his tooth brush into his mouth, Harry realises it was about time for him to get up if he wants to make it to Holmes Chapel and home by a decent hour, Louis not wanting him to be driving home tired and Harry not wanting to spend a night away from home. 

Harry takes a quick shower and gets dressed in some comfortable clothes he would usually not be caught dead leaving the house in but the mere thought of anything tighter than joggers makes Harry itch. 

Louis, the ever heavy sleeper, remained unconscious through the entire 40 minutes it took for Harry to get ready (interrupted twice by the sudden urge to vomit). Running his fingers through his husband’s hair, he slowly watches Louis’ eyes blink open. 

“Hey, just letting you know that I’m leaving now.” Harry says as he kisses Louis tussled hair. 

Louis mumbled out something that sound something like ‘wassatime’. 

Harry glances at the digital clock on the nightstand, “Just after 7 so I should be able to avoid most of the traffic and get to mums around 8.” 

Louis sits up keeping the duvet wrapped around his waste, “have you had breakfast?” 

Harry knows that his food consumption was always a major concern of Louis’ in his previous pregnancies. Wasn’t too fond of Harry skipping meals on the account of nausea.

“Uh no,” Harry twists his ring around the fourth finger of his left hand, “still feeling a bit ill, I was thinking of just getting a tea on the way.”

Louis shakes his head, getting out of bed and making his way out the room. Harry follows behind confused until they reach the kitchen and he watches Louis put two slices of wholegrain bread into the toaster wordlessly. 

“Louis, I can’t”

“Too bad, you’re going to have to, we’re taking every precaution.” Louis says as he takes two mugs out of the overhead cupboard and places a tea bag in each and a spoonful of sugar in one. Harry knows he won’t win this battle, knows Louis is right so he just slumps into one of the stools situated around the kitchen counter and heaves a heavy sigh. 

“I can’t wait for the morning sickness to be over.” Harry says as he watched Louis pour boiling water into the mugs finishing each off with a splash of milk before placing the one with sugar in front of Harry, “thankyou.”

The toast pops up and Louis begins to speak. “Harry, you’re going to have to prepare yourself for it not to stop. You heard what they said yesterday, it’s pretty likely it won’t.”

“I know” Harry agrees miserably as he takes a bite out of the first piece of dry toast, forcing his body to swallow with a sip of tea. 

10 minutes, a cup of tea and one and a half pieces of toast later, Harry is on the road. He had sent his mum a text last night to check that she didn’t have any plans for the day and it was okay for Harry to come over so she would be expecting him. The whole drive his mind was running and he found himself feeling relieved as he pulled into the familiar driveway of the single story brick house, more than ready to get out of his own head. His mother was around waiting on the doorstep watching him as he carefully hopped out of his range rover and locked it before making his way through the garden to the front door. 

“Hi mum,” he said as he was wrapped up in a warm hug.

Anne was the one to release the hug, quickly usher Harry into the house. “Come on, it’s freezing out here, we’re letting all the warm air out.”

Harry automatically made his way to the kitchen, Anne close behind as she set about making the two tea. 

“Now tell me, why didn’t you bring any of my beautiful grandchildren with you? What’s going on, dear?” She asks lightly clearly sensing that something is off about the spontaneous, solo visit. 

“I just need to talk with you alone.”

His reply seems to heighten his mother worries, the crease between her brows becoming more defined, “okay, let just finish this up and we’ll go sit in the living room and we can chat.” 

The two carry their respective mugs into the living room, placing them on the coffee table before facing each other on the coach. Anne can obvious sense her son’s ill ease as she places her hand on his knee in a reassuring matter as she watches her son struggle to form words.

Harry can already feel the tears stinging the back of his eyes, oh boy, here is goes. 

“We fucked up really badly.” Harry says as a single tear falls from his eyes. 

Anne is quick to wipe it away, “Sweetie, what’s happened?” 

“You asked me why I didn’t bring any of the kids?” Anne nods, “technically I did,” he says and he places a light hand on his stomach.

Anne just watches him, expression somewhere between confusion and surprise. 

“I- um, I’m still fertile and we didn’t know and I’m- we- I- “ 

Anne cuts in, “You’re pregnant?” 

Harry nods as the walls to the dam come crashing down and his body is wracked with sobs. 

“I s-swear I thought I, I was sterile. We had Z-Zoe 10 years ago and, mum, she was s-so hard to conceive. I thought, I thought I was st-sterile years ago.” Harry sobs into his mother’s chest as she rubs soothing circles onto his upper back. 

“Shh, I need you to calm down darling, its okay.”

Harry looks up at his mother face, “you’re not mad at us? For being reckless?” 

She full on snorts at that, Harry can feel his own lip pull up slightly at the sound, even through his breakdown, “I’m not mad. You’re not teenagers anymore, you have 4 beautiful children, you know what you’re doing. So maybe just assuming that you weren’t fertile wasn’t the smartest move but how were you to know, you’re 47 and it is uncommon. You will get through this though, as long as you stop looking at it as something you should be regretful about.” 

Harry nods along to her words, allowing them to calm him down. 

“We did always say we wanted 5.” 

“See Harry! This was supposed to happen. I know it.” She places her right hand on his flat stomach, “Little miracle baby.” 

Harry smiles, “Miracle, I like that.” 

“So that’s what you have to focus on and everything else will be okay, I promise.” 

Harry believes her.

*

“Oh thank god you’re home,” is the first thing Louis says as Harry walks through the door later that afternoon, “I was starting to get worried. You messaged me and said you were leaving almost 2 hours ago.” 

Harry places his keys on the entryway table and rolled his back, successfully cracking it in several places. 

“The traffic was crazy; I think there was an accident. Sorry for worrying you.” Harry says as he wraps his arms around his husband, curling around him and resting his head on his shoulder. When Louis realises his husband clearly doesn’t plan on moving from this position after a full two minutes, he huffs out a laugh. 

“Bit tired?”

“The long drive tipped me over the edge I think.”

Louis begin manoeuvring them towards the living area. “How about you go chill out with the kids and I’ll sort dinner out, okay?” 

Harry lifts his head at that, “you are not touching my kitchen.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it, I was just going to order something.”

When they reach the living room where all of their kids are stretched out along the couch watching a movie. They had made sure to reassure all of their kids that Harry was okay but he would still be a little under the weather so they should cut him some slack. Zoe immediately launches herself at Harry as soon as she catches sight of him.

“Hello my princess, good day?” he asks bending down to kiss the top of her head. 

“Uh huh, I missed you.” 

“I missed you too,” he says as he guides both of them to the couch where they sit practically glued together. 

Harry glances at the TV to see a movie he has seen many times prior as Louis asks for dinner suggestions. The generally consensus comes back as Chinese. 

“So what did you guys get up to today?” 

it was Hayden who piped up, “Dad took us to the Man U v Chelsea game. Did you see the score?” Harry shakes his head no, “3 to nil, fucking sick.” 

“Hayden. Language, come on you know better.” Harry reprimands. “I’m glad you had a good day. Nana sends her love by the way.”

Its then that Louis comes rushing into the room, “Harry, I just got off the phone with mum- “ 

“I thought you were ordering Chinese?” 

“I was but mum called first.” He puffs, obviously having run from the bedroom, “whoa when did I get so unfit? Anyway Ernie finally proposed. Him and Chelsea are getting married!”

Ernest, Louis youngest sibling, had been with his girlfriend Chelsea since high school. Now, at the age of 27, their inevitable married had been highly anticipated by everyone. 

“No way! Finally! Have you called him yet to congratulate him? I want to speak to him!”

“I’m going to leave it until tomorrow. This all just happened, I want to give them their moment.” 

Harry nodded in understanding, getting engaged is a special moment between 2 people. He’ll remembers his and Louis engagement for the rest of his life, he’s sure. 

Not long after the food arrived and the family sat around the dining room table (the family’s nightly ritual) discussing random topics as they came to mind while eating the Chinese take out directly from the plastic containers. 

Harry realises that no matter what happens in the coming months, at least he will always have this. 

*

Mid September and Harry is 10 weeks along, fast approaching the end of his first trimester with minimal complications. The pair returned to the same clinic they had through all of Harry’s previous pregnancies who were quick to assure them that everything so far looked perfectly normal however they would like to see him for appointments more regularly just to be on the safe side. He’d had a pre-screening for any potential defects which had all come out negative much to both Louis and Harry’s relief. 

The whole family were now on their way to Ernest and Chelsea’s engagement party. Harry, the number one love activist, was thrilled for the newly engaged couple however he’s been very tired all day and experiencing quite a bit of pain around his abdomen. On top of this, the nausea which usually subdues throughout the day has gotten progressively worse since this morning to the point where he has to keep the window down in the car to maximise fresh air flow so that he wont throw up. He feels claustrophobic and bloated in his eveningwear which feels like fire on top of him already heated skin. Overall, he could definitely be in a better mood. Nonetheless, he puts on a smile and prepares himself for a night full of lots of social interaction. 

When the family make it inside the venue, Harry is quick to spot Jay whom he hasn’t seen for quite some time with everything going on. 

“Jay” Harry says with his arms wrapped around her, “Can you believe it? Little Ernie getting married?”

“Hey don’t you get too comfortable. Before you know it Soph will be- “ 

Louis cuts her off, “Never happening. Don’t even finish that sentence.”

As their children all give their grandma hugs and kisses, Lottie spots them from the other side of the room and quickly makes a beeline directly into Harry’s arms, “Harry! I’ve missed you.” 

“My family could at least pretend to care about me,” Louis mutters under his breath. 

Lottie hears because of course she does, “Oh shush Lou, of course we care about you. We just care about Harry more,” she winks. 

Louis rolls his eyes. The funny part is that she’s being serious. He’s not even mad.

She takes a sip from the champagne flute still poised in her delicately manicured hand, “oh, I’ll go get you guys some.”

Harry looks over at Louis panicked, Louis’ answering shrug very much unhelpful. 

“Uhm… actually I’m just going to stick to water tonight, designated driver and that, thanks anyway, Lots”

“Oh come on” she says, “Just a couple won’t make any difference. Were here to celebrate.” 

Okay so she’s going to make this hard then, “Well… I’m actually not feeling too well so ‘s probably for the best.” 

Lottie still looks displeased but excepts his explanation nonetheless. Harry is relieved.

Harry spends most of the night either sitting at one of the small table around the venue and avoiding all unnecessary interactions or in the bathroom. He feels miserable, definably the worst of his pregnancy so far. The pains have gotten worse and the room has started to spin lightly. The constant line of sweat on his hair line is making him feel gross and dirty and he would probably pay for a shower at this point. He’s mostly reduced interactions down to his and Louis family which has still proved difficult since only Louis and Anne know how Harry is actually feeling and why.

“Harry, y’alright?” 

Its Ernest. The man of the hour. So Harry plasters on the smile and forcibly extracts himself from the chair he’d been slumped in for the last half hour by himself.

“Yeah, of course. Enjoying yourself?” 

Oh god. Harry really needs to sit down. There’s a sharp pain in his stomach, his head feels airy and all of his limbs weak.

“Yeah. Yeah. This is great… Listen are sure your okay? You look a little pale?” Ernest asks reaching out to Harry’s arm. 

In that moment the urge from some sort of relieve was overwhelming and he literally had to push past his brother-in-law to the bathrooms. He didn’t even realise he was being followed as he dropped to his knees on the tiled floor and heaved into the bowl. At this point, Harry had nothing left in his stomach but this didn’t stop his body from continually dry retching, tears streaming down his face as his stomach heaved. 

He vaguely recalls hearing an, “Oh shit, I’ll get Louis,” as his stomach constricts and contracts repeatedly. Not long after, he felt cool hands pulling his hair back and a damp square of paper towel being held against the back of his neck. Harry looks up in between heaves to see his husbands concerned face. 

“I can’t stop. Louis,” he managed to get out before returning his attention back on the toilet, this time blood mixing in with his saliva as he continually strains. He almost passes out at the sight. 

“Fuck, Harry. I’m calling an ambulance, okay?”

Harry didn’t have it in him to fight it. He leans his forehead against the bowl as he struggles to listen to his husband talk to the emergency operator, determined to focus on something so that he doesn’t black out. He’s not sure if he succeeds. 

Everything feels like its moving in snapshots around him as he’s pulled to his feet by two men and laid onto his side on a gurney. He barely registers the eyes on him as he’s pushed into an ambulance, shaking and disorientated. 

He does know that some time between the ambulance starting to move and the sirens sounding, he loses consciousness. 

*

“Is he okay? Why isn’t he waking up? Can someone tell me what’s going on? Fuck’s sake!”

“Sir, I’m going to need you to calm down or I’m going to have to ask you to remove yourself from the room.” 

Harry blinked his eyes open at the voices. Multiple people bustled around him, pricking needles into his skin and wrapping a heavy fabric around his bicep. He felt so weak that they could be killing him and he wouldn’t have the energy to protest. 

“Mr Tomlinson can you hear me?” Harry just stared at her blankly still feeling quite disorientated. “Squeeze my hand if you can understand me.” 

Harry gave the weakest hint of a squeeze but it’s all that he could muster in that moment. 

People continued to bustle around him, the energy in the room feeling much calmer than when he had first regained consciousness. Before he knew, Harry was drifting off to sleep, too exhausted to keep his eyes open.

*

When Harry awakes again he was feeling a lot brighter and much more aware of his surroundings. Louis was sitting in the arm chair by his side in the private room. 

“Lou”

Louis’ head immediately shoots up and suddenly his hands are in Harry’s and there is the lightest press of lips against his cheek. “Harry, hey, how you feeling?” 

“I’m okay”

“I’m going to buzz for a nurse, okay?” 

Harry just nods. Moments later a nurse reports to the room and immediately begins checking all the equipment Harry is only realising now is attached to his body. 

“How are you doing now, Mr Tomlinson?” 

“Um- I feel better than earlier, really weak, tired…” 

“Totally normal. You’ve just experienced a bit of hyperemesis gravidarum. It’s a condition usually experienced early on in pregnancies, severe nausea. You seemed to have had a bit of a spike in estrogen levels in the past 24 hours too which only heightened your symptoms.” She checks the bag connected to the IV invading the skin of Harry’s inner arm. “You were very dehydrated from all of the vomiting, which is why you passed out and why you’re feeling a bit weak and fatigued.” 

“Is this a condition that’s going to like stay with me? Throughout the pregnancy?” Harry asked anxiously. He was really starting to have hope that this pregnancy was going to be no less hassle than any of his others. 

“It usually subsided by the end of the first trimester. Sometimes it will follow you throughout the whole pregnancy. It depends on the person.” 

It depends on the person. That’s not what he wants to hear when he’s in the category for one of the most high-risk pregnancies. Nonetheless, he nods and thanks the nurse for her help as she retreats from the room. 

“Harry, I think it’s time we tell some people about the baby.” Louis starts, “so many people watched you being stretchered away unconscious and they’re worried about you, sending me messages and calling me to see if they’ve figured out what’s wrong. I can’t lie to my family, Harry.” 

“I know. It’s okay, I agree,” Harry said. “I mean it’s only like 2 weeks until the end of the first trimester anyway. I don’t know Lou, I really need to tell the kids.”

“Of course, they’re first to know, okay?”

“Okay.”

*

When Harry made his return home the following day with Louis assistance, all the kids were home and anticipating his arrival. Louis had called and spoke to them all the night before (“Dad is okay. Everything’s fine. We’ll be home tomorrow and we can talk about it then”). 

Louis called a family meeting and the 6 sat around the dining room table. 

“Okay, we have something very important to tell you.” Louis starts. “Some things are going to change around here and we really need your help. We all need to pick up our slack and give your father a lot of support over the coming months, he’s um- your dad is pregnant.” 

4 jaws dropped. Zoe was the first to recover. 

“I’m going to be a big sister!” she squealed, jumping up and down. Sweet, innocent Zoe. Not quite understanding the full implications of the news. 

Hudson spoke next, “Wait, aren’t you too old to even get pregnant?” 

“It’s rare. It does happen and it can be quite dangerous because my body’s not quite… is not 100% capable, I guess.” Harry explained. 

“Is that why you were sick last night?” 

“Yeah, I have a condition which caused the nausea. They are hoping it will just kind of just go away at the end of the first trimester, which is only about 2 weeks away now.”

Harry could see Sophie visibly jolt at his words from the corner of his eye. 

“Hang on a second. You’re almost a third through your pregnancy and didn’t think to tell us? Why would you keep us in the dark?"

She doesn’t wait around for a reply though, quickly pushing out of her seat and towards her room. Harry places his face in his hands, feeling tears sting his eyes as he listens to the sound of her bedroom door slamming. 

“I’ll go talk to her,” Louis says as he rises out of his seat. 

Harry quickly shakes his head, “no, I’ll go.” 

Harry knocks on his daughter’s bedroom door before granting himself access and slipping inside. Sophie was at her desk typing away frantically on her MacBook Pro, not even sparing a single glance at her father’s intrusion. 

“I wanted to tell you.” 

No reply. 

“You guys are the first to know besides nana.”

“Do you know how dangerous this is?” Sophie asks like she hadn’t listened to any of her father’s previous statements. “It says that there is a 70% elevated risk of death, as in dying, during labour when over 45. You’re 47, dad!” 

Okay. That’s, okay. Harrys takes a seat on her unmade bed as she swivels around to face him.

“I know. Trust me, I’m so frightened and I just really need your support, Sophie.” Harry says hopefully. 

“Why couldn’t you trust me enough to tell me what was going on? I’m 18, I could’ve helped. I’m not a kid anymore” Sophie counters sadly, eyes trained on her lap.

“I know, darling,” Harry starts, “You’re not a kid and I know I could’ve trusted you with this. You have to understand how scared we were though, they told us it was pretty likely that the baby wouldn’t make it. I promise I wanted to tell you. I wasn’t just protecting you, I had to protect myself as well. Please understand that.” 

Sophie nods but her lips remain pulled down and her eyes stay focused on her lap. 

“Can I get a hug please?” 

A genuine smile tugs at Sophie’s lips as she sits next to her father on the bed as he wraps his arms around her and cradles her head to his chest, just how he used to when she was younger. 

“I love you, okay? I promise I won’t leave you in the dark anymore. Every little progression, you’ll be first to know. I will warn you though, you’ll probably get sick of my daily list of complaints. There’s a lot of them.”

Sophie laughs against his sweatshirt, arms still wrapped around his body. “Has it been hard?” 

“Not too bad yet. A lot more nausea and pain than the others but it could definitely be worse.” Harry says as he begins to sway them from side to side. 

“You’re going to have a tummy again.”

“Don’t remind me.” Harry sighs. 

Sophie scoffs, “Shut up, you love being pregnant.” 

“I do.” Harry smiles. “I really do believe this is fate, Soph. I was supposed to have 5 kids.”

“What do you think- boy or girl?” 

“Right now I think girl. Only a few weeks and we’ll know for sure.” 

Sophie breaks the embrace looking into her father’s eyes, “I’m sorry dad. I am exited for you I promise. I love you.”

Harry re-wraps his eldest daughter in his arms, “Love you always.” 

*

“I still think you’re pulling one on me…” Niall said, gazing at Harry sceptically. 

The night of the day that Harry was released from hospital both Louis and Harry spent hours on the phone to family and close friends spreading the news. Two weeks later Harry had completed his first trimester and the following Monday both Louis and Harry informed their respective works about Harry’s pregnancy in case of any emergencies and for Harry to organise paternal leave. 

“I swear to God, Niall. I am pregnant. Stop staring at my stomach for hints, I’m not showing yet,” Harry pulled his blazer tighter around his body “you’re just making me self conscious.”

“Can you blame me for being sceptical?” 

“I guess not. I thought the fact that I come into work green everyday and have to use the bathroom about 6 times more than a regular person might have been good enough confirmation?”

Niall scrunches his nose up, “Don’t know how you do it mate, being pregnant sounds like a pain in the arse.” 

“A pain in the everywhere more like it,” Harry mutters miserably as he tries to focus on the paperwork on his desk. He would be lying if he said he wasn’t struggling. 

“So when are ya gonna stop working?” 

“Hopefully to the end if all goes to plan.” Harry replies. 

Niall stops typing on his computer abruptly, “You can’t be serious, mate. You’re like 13 weeks and you can already hardly move.”

“Wishfully thinking, Niall.” Harry laughs but there is a bitter edge to it, “I’m just going to play it by ear. You know Louis, if anything gets worse he’ll tie me to the bed…”

Niall wiggles his eyebrows. 

“Not like that you sicko. To stop me from going to work and stuff. Ugh, I can’t even think of sex right now.” Harry scrunches his nose up leaning back in his chair, stretching his arms overhead and cracking his back.

“Really?” Niall gasps, “Not even a handy?” 

Harry glares and Niall but shakes his head no nonetheless. 

“You poor thing! No I take that back, poor Louis!” Harry rolls his eyes, “Do you realise how much sex he’s used to? You guys were insatiable! Is he okay? Balls turned blue yet?” 

“We’ve been here 4 times Niall, he’ll survive.” 

“Wait,” Niall actually genuinely gasps at this revelation “you never had sex during your other pregnancies?!”

Harry shift in his seat. This conversation has gone way past what he’s comfortable with. 

“I mean sometimes, yeah. Not a lot though. I don’t know if ill be able to at all this time, we’ll see.” Harry shrugs, “Anyway, we both have work to do an I’m beyond uncomfortable having this conversation with you.” 

“Okay, okay,” Niall holds his hands up in defeat, “make sure you keep me updated though.” 

Harry throws a pen at him. 

*

“Dinners on the table!” 

His 4 kids plus Louis are quick to make there way into the dining room and into their respective seats upon his call. A simple spaghetti bolognaise tonight. 

“Wow Dad, got enough food there?” Hudson asks referring to Harry’s mounded plate of pasta covered in an unprecedented amount of cheese.

“Hey, I’m eating to two here,” Harry says placing a hand on his small tummy. 

“You could be lying to us about being pregnant as an excuse to get fat.” Hayden says slurping a long string of spaghetti into his mouth, “I like that theory.” 

“I second that theory” 

“me too”

“me 3” 

“Okay can we stop attacking your father, please?” Louis interrupts, “How was your day love?” 

“Um, alright.” Harry says twirling some pasta around his fork, “I’ve been having these headaches the last couple days which isn’t helping the nausea at all. But I’m living.”

“Harry, why didn’t you tell me about this? Any slight thing wrong and we go get it checked out remember?” 

“No, no. I think I’ve just been getting dehydrated from all the sickness again. I just need to drink more water.” Harry exaggerates his point by taking a long sip from his glass. “I promise, if it gets any worse I’ll tell you. Anyway, how was everyone else’s days?” 

“Good!” Zoe is quick to tell, “We played football in P.E and I kicked everyone’s butts! Some of the kids in my class didn’t even know how to play, dad!”

Harry could never get over how cute his kids were. 

“Well you’re very lucky you got my football skill genes. Your fathers not very good at football.” Louis mock whispers, thumbing towards Harry discreetly. 

“and we’re back to making fun of me.” Harry mutters. 

“All in good fun, my love.” Louis says leaning across the table and smacking an exaggerated kiss onto Harry’s cheek. 

After dinner Louis offered to clean up since it was a rare night that he was actually home in time for dinner, so Harry laid on the couch with the girls and watched the nightly channel 2 game show. Doing nothing for the first time that day made Harry realise just how much his head hurt and the light, airiness to the throb in his parietal lobe. He found it increasing difficult to focus on the TV the longer he tried and was thankful for the distraction when Louis entered the room bearing mugs of tea. 

Some time between greedy gulps of tea, Harry must have drifted off to sleep because the next thing he registers is nimble finger combing through his hair and his husband lightly shaking him awake. 

“Come on babe, you’ll hurt your back sleeping on this. Let’s get you up to bed.”

Harry nods noticing that the room that room has already been vacated of their children and the TV is off. It must be late. Louis gently guides Harry up the stairs, into their bedroom and under the covers of his bed before following suit. 

Harry turns around, his back to Louis’ front as his husband wraps his arms around his middle and the two fell asleep together. 

*

“Come in!”

“Hey Soph, what’s up?” Harry says as he enters his daughter’s bedroom. She’s sitting cross-legged on her bed with her laptop resting in front of her.

“Just finishing off an assignment.” She replies glancing up at him, “Why? What’s wrong?” 

Harry sits on her desk chair, swivelling it around to face her as he places a tentative hand on his stomach which is now actually starting to look like it bears a baby (and not one of the food kind). 

“No, nothings wrong. I was just wondering, since you know your father is going to be away a couple nights for the filming in France, if you would like to come to my ultrasound and check-up with me?” Harry asks. 

“Really? You want me to come?” She asks hopefully, eyes lighting up. 

“Of course, I’d love for you to be involved. I want you there.” 

“I’d love to come dad,” She says as she gets up from the bed and wraps his arms around her father’s neck, “Thankyou for not treating me like a kid.” 

Harry sways them and says “I don’t mean to, okay? If something I do bothers you, please just talk to me, I don’t mean it I promise. I miss you a lot, I don’t want us to drift.” 

“We won’t drift I promise.” She says getting back on her bed. 

“How did you get so grown up? My baby is an adult.” Harry says feeling very emotional all of a sudden. “My first baby.” 

“Dad, please don’t cry. I’ll literally kick you out of here.” She says eliciting a watery laugh from Harry. 

“I can’t help it, it’s the baby’s fault.” 

“Oh please, you’re always like this. I don’t recall you being pregnant on my first day of uni when you literally wouldn’t stop sobbing and made me late to orientation.”

She had a very good point so Harry didn’t argue, instead focused on pulling himself together and stopping the tears. 

“One more thing,” Harry says as he made his way to the door, “that appointment could be the one where we find out the gender.” 

“No way! Dad! Oh my god!” 

Harry just laughed as Sophie continued to animatedly freak out before exiting the room. 

*

Harry woke up to a very shrill sounding alarm- Louis’. Today was the day he left for France for the entire long weekend and Harry was definitely not looking forward to it. He always hated it when Louis had to spend nights away from home because of his job, being pregnant only making his longing for his husband worsen. He used to absolutely despise it when Louis’ would go away before they had kids and no one to occupy him, usually opting to stay at his mothers until Louis’ return. 

“Babe, it’s early. You don’t need to be up for a few more hours.” Louis kissed his cheek, “Go back to sleep and I’ll call you when my plane lands, okay?” 

“Okay, love you.”

“I love you both so much.” Louis says kissing Harry nose before scooting down the best and placing a light kiss on Harry’s protruding stomach before giving it a tentative brush with one hand. 

When Harry woke up the second time it was to a far more soothing alarm, much more pleasant to wake up to. At this point he was used to the constant pain, nausea and aches that came along with his pregnancy and was barely surprised when he felt bile rising up his throat. 

He took a quick shower before heading to his kid’s bedrooms to wake them up for school. Harry had taken the day off today for his appointment which Louis was not very impressed when he realised that he would be missing it. 

After dropping Hudson, Hayden and Zoe off at school he drove back home to do a little bit of tidying up before his appointment. Sophie drove the two of them to the clinic chatting non stop the whole time about how privileged she felt to potentially be the first one to find out the gender of the baby. Harry was just glad to see her happy and on his side. 

“Appointment for Tomlinson.” Harry to the receptionist at the front desk of the clinic. 

“Of course sir, just take a seat and you’ll be called in just a tick.”

The pair’s bum’s barely hit their seat in the waiting room before Harry was called by his obstetrician. 

“Good to see you, Harry.” Doctor Reed said once the three were in her office. “and who is this?” 

“This is my first born, Sophie.” 

“Nice to meet you.” Sophie puts her hand out to shake the Doctors hand politely. 

“Goodness gracious. Good to see you outside of the womb!” Doctor Reed laughed, not releasing Sophie’s hand as she turned to her father, “So beautiful, Harry.” 

“Isn’t she?” Harry agreed proudly, “Louis and I are truly blessed.”

“Right! Let’s take a look at your next little blessing shall we?” 

The next few minutes found Harry stretched out on his back with Doctor Reed feeling around his stomach with the ultrasound equipment. 

“You’ll be glad to here that the baby is in the perfect position. Everything looks great in here.” 

Harry breathed a sigh of relief, “You have no idea how glad I am to hear that. Everything just feels so off I just convinced myself that something was wrong with the baby.” 

“Sometimes pregnancies can be nice and cosy for the baby and absolute misery for the carrier so don’t worry yourself too much.” The Doctor said. “Of course if you do have any of these concerns, don’t suffer in silence, please seek help.”

Harry nods, never taking his eyes off the screen in which his offspring lights up.

“So can we find out the gender?” Sophie asks from where she’s sitting by Harry’s side holding his hand. 

“I can definitely see the gender of this little one. Harry, want to know the gender?” 

“Please.” 

“Come March, looks like you’ll have another little baby girl.” 

Harry immediately bursts into happy tears accompanied by watery laughter, his eldest daughter resting her face in the crook of his neck as she hugs her father from his lying position.  He’s overwhelmed.

“I’ll just get you cleaned up and do a couple more tests so you can go tell that husband of yours like I’m sure you’re dying to do.” 

The doctor cleaned his stomach before sitting him upright and wrapping a thick strap around his arm to check his blood pressure and heart rate. 

“Hmm.” Doctor Reed hummed tight lipped as she typed something into her computer. 

“Is everything okay?” Sophie enquired anxiously from her father side.

“Your blood pressure seems to be a little high. Nothing too major right now but we definitely need to keep an eye on it.”

20 minutes later and a few more tests and the two Tomlinson’s were sitting in Sophie’s stationary car, Harry dialling Louis’ number and switching it to loud speaker. 

“Hey love,” came Louis’ voice through the speakers, “how did everything go?” 

“Great, yeah. Doctor Reed said everything looks the way it should and the baby is progressing perfectly.” 

“That’s great love, I wish I could’ve been there.” Louis sighs, “I don’t think I’ve ever missed one.” 

“Especially the one that you find out the gender!” Sophie squeals from beside Harry. 

“What?!” Louis just about yells, “You found out the gender?” 

“Yep” Harry smirks. 

“Well tell me!” 

“Hmm, I don’t know.” Harry continues to tease. 

“Harry,” Louis takes a deep breath, “please tell me.” 

“Only since you asked so nicely.” Harry pauses dramatically. “Baby number 5 is going to be…”

“Harry, hurry up.” 

“A girl!”

“Harry! That’s great, just like you said you thought!” Louis says, smile evident in his voice. 

“Yeah, I feel like I’ve known with all the kids. I just have good paternal instinct I guess.” 

“I can’t wait to get home, babe.” Louis sighs. “Just two nights.” 

They finished up their call not long after, Sophie starting the car and beginning their journey home.  

“Hey, you didn’t tell dad about your blood pressure.” 

“I know,” Harry sighed. “I don’t think he really needs to know. You know that he’ll just worry for no reason so please don’t tell him.” 

Sophie looked like she wanted to argue but nodded nonetheless. “If you think that’s what’s best…” 

“I do.” 

*

“Dad? Are you alright?” Hudson asked from where he was sitting on the other side of the couch, “Should we call dad?” 

Harry had been dealing with some crazy bad stomach and back pains as well as heartburn all day and now that its about 4pm, he was feeling more than a little over it. 

“No, no, I’m fine. Just feeling a little run down.” Harry replied with probably the most unconvincing smile ever. 

“You’re getting a lot bigger now. You’re looking proper knocked up.” 

A genuine smile teased at Harry’s lips this time, “My kid’s language is atrocious. You don’t tell your dad he’s looking proper knocked up.” 

“Hey,” Hudson put his hands up in defence, “we were raised by dad. It’s not our fault.” 

Very good point. 

“Maybe I should speak to him about it before this little one comes.” Harry says while rubbing circles into his stomach. Winking at his son he continues, “You know, keep one of them pure and all that.” 

“Ha, ha.” He mocks sarcastically. “You love us.” 

“I do.” Harry says, suddenly very seriously. “Very, very much. No matter what, never forget it.” 

*

Louis arrived home the following day. Harry was planning to pick him up from the airport in the early hours of the morning but has frankly been feeling rather shit lately and can’t really find it in him to get out of bed earlier than totally necessary. His body seems to be growing along with his stomach and he feels puffy and bloated everywhere. He is sure now that his hyperemesis gravidarum symptoms are not going anywhere through the whole pregnancy, the thought alone making him want to cry and wrap himself in a blanket and never leave. He doesn’t though. He gets out of bed, showers, puts on his work clothes and mentally prepares himself for the day ahead.

*

“Hey Niall, I’m just going to step out for a second.” Harry said already rising from his chair. “Need a little fresh air.” 

Niall looks up from the paper work on his desk and immediately frowns at his co-worker’s appearance, “You alright? You’re looking pretty pale?”

“Yeah, I’m okay. Just the normal stuff, I’ll be fine.” 

Niall looks sceptical when he smiles and says, “Okay mate. Be back soon or I’ll come looking for ya.” 

Harry spoke a soft “okay” before exiting the room and heading down the elevator to head out onto the back patio of the building hoping that it will be vacant of any workers. Luckily it was, Harry immediately slumping against the cool, concrete wall of the building and taking a deep breath. 

He wasn’t as nauseous today (as being the operative word) but he was feeling much more tired than usual, to the point where his head felt airy and dizzy. 

Deciding to get some water, Harry pushed himself off the wall and begun walking towards the door. That’s the last thing he remembers until waking up in a hospital bed.

*

Pre-eclampsia. 

High blood pressure the cause of him passing out. 

Hitting his head on the step into the building on the way down the cause of his concussion which kept him unconscious until arriving at hospital. 

Louis was furious if the sight of him pacing up and down the hospital room with his jaw set tight as the nurse checked Harry over one last time before emitting him. The nurse leaves to retrieve Harry’s doctor to give him his prescriptions for the new pills he’ll be adding to his already vast, pregnancy collection. 

As soon as the door clicks shut the words Louis has clearly been holding back since he arrived come tumbling out, “Harry, what the fuck?”

“What?” Harry asks innocently. He knows. 

“Don’t act dumb! You knew you had high blood pressure!” Harry opens his mouth to reply but Louis barrels on, “No Harry, no excuses. You knew, it was on your medical files, they don’t forget to tell a patient, who might I add is pregnant at a dangerously high age, that they have a potentially life threatening condition. Why would you keep that from me?”

Harry just stares down at his lap not knowing how to reply. He knows Louis is right, he feels shit enough about the whole situation without being yelled at. 

“I realise you don’t want to worry me but I have every right to.” Louis continues, “You’re my husband. My husband who is also carrying my child.” 

Harry just nods weakly. He knows.

“And like you never take your health seriously which is just dumb but now you’re carrying a child and its both of your health’s you have to take into consideration and the fact that you didn’t is just beyond stupid. I have no idea what you were thinking.” Louis shakes his head laughing bitterly, “Of fuckin- “

And Harry can’t take the torment anymore. He knows he fucked up. He knows he is a fuck up. He doesn’t need it reiterated so he interrupts his husband with a harsh, yet teary eyed “stop.”

It is then that the doctor comes into the room, obviously not sensing the tension as he cheerily writes up Harry’s prescriptions and jokes about the baby being a ‘tough one’. Louis doesn’t even pretend to listen and Harry only nods along politely. 

Louis helps Harry back to the car with a secure hand around his waist but they both remain mute. After a quick stop at the chemist to pick up the prescriptions, the two make their way home, Harry immediately making his way to bed.

*

When Louis woke up the next morning, it was to Harry still by his side, an extremely rare occurrence since Harry fell pregnant, even before then Harry had always been an early riser, keen to get on with his day. He knew Harry was angry with him and yes, the words he spoke yesterday at the hospital were maybe a little bit too harsh, but in that moment Louis was petrified and it was easiest to take them fear induced frustrations out on Harry. In hindsight, he knows that was wrong, that Harry is quite fragile right now and needs as much love and positive support as Louis can physically give, but Louis is human too. 

A quick glance at their analogical alarm clock on the Harry’s bedside table tells Louis that it is 8am. Harry never sleeps past 7am, even on the weekends. Now it is weekday, the kids should’ve been up an hour ago to get ready for school and Louis is growing increasingly concerned about his husband. 

“Babe.” Louis whispers into his husband’s hair while jostling him lightly. 

Harry eyes open immediately and with much ease and Louis realises in that moment that he was not asleep at all. 

“Are you okay, love?” Louis says with all the concern building inside him. “It’s 8 o’clock.” 

“I know,” Harry says simply as he rolls over, snuggling further into the duvet, “It’s not like I’m going to work. You don’t want me to go to work.” 

The tension in Louis’ body slightly subsides with Harry’s words but he can still indicate by his husband’s tone that he’s feeling a bit down. Whether that has to do with his words yesterday or not, Louis feels guilty.

“Okay. I still expected you to put up a fight though” Louis laughs cautiously, very aware that Harry’s expression remains blank. “When was the last time you voluntarily missed a day of work?” 

Harry doesn’t really answer his question though. He simply replies, “I’m tired” and that’s that. Louis knows the conversation is over. 

Louis kisses his forehead while smoothing his fringe away from his face, “Okay babe. You stay up here, get some more sleep. I’ll get the kids off to school and then we can just chill out together. I don’t have any work today so we can do whatever you want, alright?” 

Harry doesn’t reply so Louis just presses his lips together and makes his way towards the kid’s bedrooms. Already preparing an excuse in his head to tell their schools as to why the Tomlinson children were late, Louis is surprised to see all the kid’s rooms vacated, beds made and school bags missing. He heads downstairs and gives a quizzical look to Sophie who is perched on the kitchen counter drinking a cup of tea and munching on a croissant. 

“Number one, who gave you permission to eat my croissants,” Louis points at the offending piece of pastry, “and number 2, where are all my kids and what did you do to them?” 

Sophie just rolls her eyes. His kids were too similar to him for their own good. 

“Firstly, I actually picked these up so no they’re not yours,” she emphasises her point by taking a big bite out of the pastry, “and secondly, dad texted me this morning asking if I could wake the little rat bags up and take them to school since he could hear that I was already up anyway.” 

And okay that makes sense but that means that Harry’s been awake since at least 7am and he’s still in bed which is concerning in itself with everything going on with his health. Louis knows better than to approach him about it right now so he just has to sit back and trust his husband’s judgement. As hard as it may be. 

Sophie has just finished her end of semester exams at university and is now on break until school starts up again in 3 months so her and Louis get comfortable on the couch together with the TV playing a movie from the 00’s in the background. At about 10am, the movie is just wrapping up when Harry comes down the stairs with one hand on his protruding stomach, still in his pyjamas. 

He plops down on the arm chair next to the couch which seemingly takes maximum effort.

“Hey darling, feeling okay?” Louis asks. 

Harry gives a small nod, he definitely looks brighter than earlier that morning, “Yeah, I’m fine.”

“Want a cuppa?” Another nod. “Sophie?” 

“Yes, please.” 

As Louis makes the 3 cups of tea, he can hear Harry and Sophie conversing in the living room and an involuntary smile pulls at his lips upon hearing his favourite sound in the world, Harry’s laughter. 

“Okay, one for you,” he says passing the first mug of to Harry, “one for you,” the second to Sophie, “and one for me.” 

“It kind of makes sense why you were getting so big so quickly now,” Sophie picks up conversation, “with the pre-eclampsia.” 

“I feel like a whale and I’m only like halfway, imagine what I’ll be like full term.” Harry grimaces. 

“You always did get big though, in your other pregnancies I mean.” Louis chimes in.

“I’m getting big everywhere now though. Look at my feet.” Harry says lifting his legs onto the arm chair and pointing his rather swollen feet towards Louis and Sophie. “Everything feels puffy.” 

They spend the rest of the day on the couch despite the array of things Louis knows needs to be done and the fact it must be killing Harry to leave said thing undone, but a day on the couch seems to be what’s best for everyone right now. 

*

This next morning Louis has his alarm set to wake up at 7am. Harry is still in bed when the alarm goes off. Work is not even mentioned. Louis takes the kids to school and when he returns home, Harry is still in bed. Early afternoon, he heads of to work, Sophie promising to pick the other kids up from school and to keep an eye on her dad. When he returns home from work at 8pm, Harry has moved to the couch, still in his pyjamas. 

*

“I was thinking and I want to quit my job at the firm.” Harry says seemingly out of the blue one night in bed, almost 2 weeks since he’d taken leave from work after the pre-eclampsia ordeal. 

“Quit?” Louis asks because well…. What? “I thought you were just going to take paternity leave?”

“I was.” Harry says with no expression, “I just… we have more than enough money. Even if both of us retired we’d be more than fine. I don’t need to work, so why should I?” 

“Because you love it?” 

Harry shakes his head, “No, I used to love it.” 

And okay, that’s news to Louis. Louis had always made it clear that he did not expect Harry to work a day in his life if he didn’t want to but Harry always did. He’d studied hard at university and loved what he did. He never wanted to be the ‘trophy wife’ which the media loved to make him out to be at the top of Louis’ career, he wanted to make his own achievements, have his own goals and ambitions and feel like he has a purpose outside of his family and make a contribution to society. So the fact that he was now saying that he was unhappy in his profession which he used to be so passionate about not only stunned Louis, but also saddened him a lot. 

“Okay. If you want to quit, then I support you 110%.” Louis said while wrapping his arms around his husbands ever-growing frame. 

“Thankyou.” 

“I love you, Harry.” 

And for the first time in 2 weeks Harry said, “I love you too.”

The next day Harry sent in his letter of resignation which was accepted and active immediately with the consideration of Harry’s health. Harry didn’t inform any of his work colleagues and turned his phone off after the fourth call from Niall. 

*

When Louis got home from work 3 weeks after Harry’s resignation, it was to Sophie cooking dinner and Harry no where to be seen. 

Sophie could obviously read her dads puzzlement on his face as she was quick to say, “He’s upstairs in bed. I don’t think he’s left all day.”

Louis just sighs. Harry’s been feeling quite down lately, spending more time than not in bed. He’s hardly left the house all month and Louis knows that he’s been dodging calls from friends and family member. He knows that these last five months have been possibly the most difficult of Harry’s life, he just doesn’t know how to help and that’s making him feel lost and useless. 

When he reaches the bedroom, Harry’s propped up against the pillows with his kindle in hand, reading. 

“Hi babe, how are you feeling?” Louis asks. He always asks. 

“I’m okay.” Harry says, eyes still on the electronic device. “Had more pains today and still feel really bloated and worn out and stuff. Nothing new.”

And stuff. 

“Okay well Sophie is just about done with dinner. Did you want to come down? All the kids are home.” 

Harry presses his lips together, almost smiling apologetically, “I think I’ll just stay up here, don’t really feel like eating.” 

“You don’t have to come down but I’m still bringing you some dinner, okay? You need to eat.” 

Harry just nods submissively. 

“Mum called today,” Louis says not wanting the conversation to end just yet, “Ernie and Chelsea picked a date for the wedding. February 29th. Leap year next year apparently.”

Harry just hums along, “that’s soon.” 

“Yeah, apparently they wanted a winter wonderland sort wedding. And you know what they’re like, wanting to be all different. Can’t imagine too many weddings on a day that occurs once ever 4 years, an anniversary nightmare if you ask me.”

“Mmm, I’m going to be huge then. Baby’s due in March.” Harry says flatly. 

“I know. It’ll be good though, happy times.” Louis smiles, shamelessly trying to cheer his husband up, “You love weddings.” 

“Never been to a wedding 9 months pregnant.” Harry rebuts. 

Louis can’t argue that point, so instead he changes the subject, “I have that charity match next weekend. The whole starting team of 2015 is getting involved, that’s gonna be sick.”

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to go, Louis. I’m just so worn out. The kids should go, they’re old enough to go on their own now, they can look after Zo.” 

Which okay, that is so not like Harry. Harry is probably the most protective father to walk the planet and would definitely not be letting his 3 children under 18 into an event with so many people without parental supervision. What’s more though is the fact that Harry himself is reluctant to go, beyond the kids. Harry, for as long as he and Louis have known one an other, has always loved going to Louis’ games, no matter how minor. He remembers that time when he was still playing for the academy, Harry had a bad dose of the flu and Louis had to call Anne to talk some sense into her son and stop him from going to watch Louis’ match in the freezing cold against doctor’s orders. 

“Okay, that’s fine if you don’t want to go. Jackson will be going with Sophie I’m sure, so the other kids will be fine with them.” Louis says, “I’ll go get you some food now okay?” 

“Okay.” 

Louis presses his lips to his forehead in a lingering kiss before exiting the room with a heavy heart.

*

“Is dad okay?” Hayden asks that night while the whole family (minus Harry) are eating dinner at the dining table, “Is he still really sick?” 

“Yeah, unfortunately,” Louis sighs, “I think it’s just all getting to him right now bud and he’s just a bit down in the dumps.” 

“I miss daddy.” Zoe pipes up, frowning down at her barely touched meal. 

“I know, we just have to give him more love and support okay, Zo. Just make sure you’re being extra good and it’ll make him happy. Come on, eat up.”

The family finishing eating their meals in an almost awkward silence. That same silence continues as they wash up the dishes and sit down to watch some TV. Everyone is upstairs and in their respective rooms by 8pm, just about the earliest in Tomlinson history. 

Louis realises that without Harry, their family dynamic is totally defeated. 

*

2 days later Louis wakes up at 7am, as per usual, with Harry no longer by his side where he was when they fell asleep last night. From the light streaming a line on the carpet from under the bathroom door, Louis assumes Harry inside showering and getting ready for the day which makes him immensely proud as he knows how tough it has been for Harry to do so as of late. 

All that is completely obliterated when he slips out of bed and stubs his toe on something hard. A suitcase. What the fuck? Louis glances at the ensuite door to make sure its still shut as he crouches down and unzips the bag to inspect its contents. Harry’s clothes, Harry’s toiletries, Harry’s kindle and Harry’s shoes- what? 

He is still staring down the bag in bewilderment when the ensuite door clicks opens and Harry steps into the room, fully dressed and with his hair tied up into a lose bun. 

“Oh,” is all he says when he sees that Louis is now awake. 

Louis frowns at him, “Yeah. Oh.” 

An explanation seems to be below Harry right now as he just steps passed Louis, crouches down and re-zips the suitcase before standing it upright and pulling it towards the bedroom door. 

“So what do you think you’re doing then?” Louis ask when its clear Harry doesn’t plan on saying anything. 

When Harry continues to walk out of the room without a word of reply, Louis feels close to snapping. He grabs a hold of his husband’s arm and sits him back on the bed. 

“Harry, just talk to me please,” Louis rubs at his temples, “tell me what’s going on?” 

Harry stares back at Louis blankly for a full 10 seconds before his face suddenly contorts and he’s full on crying, hands over his face and struggling to pull in an adequate breath. Louis is immediately by his side, one arm around his waste and the other rubbing soothing circles into his chest. 

“Shh, it’s okay.” Louis says when Harry starts trying to speak over his tears and rapid breathing. “Take your time. Just focus on your breathing, okay?

Harry just nods, taking deep, even breaths as the sobs begin to cease. 

“I can’t be here anymore, Louis.” Harry says with tears still evenly rolling down his face, “I’m so miserable.”

Louis just nods because he knows. He knows Harry has been miserable.

“I know.” 

“I saw a doctor yesterday,” Harry says leaning all his weight on Louis, “he said I have prenatal depression.”

The sobs start up again and Louis can’t help it when he feels his own eyes start to sting with tears. He tightens his arms around Harry as he trembles, holding his head against to his chest and pressing his face to the crown of Harry’s head. He just hold him close and breathes him in.

“I was so scared, Louis.” Harry continues, “I was blaming the baby, our poor innocent baby, Louis. I was petrified I was going to hurt our child.” 

“Oh, Harry,” Louis continues to hold him close, “You did the right thing by seeking help, baby. I’m so proud of you.” 

“I have an appointment booked in to see a psychologist. I’m going to go twice a week.” Harry says staring back up at Louis through glazed over eyes and for the first time in a long time, Louis can see determination in them, “I need to get myself back on track.” 

“If you want me to come and support you, you know I will be there in a heartbeat if you say the word, okay?”

Harry’s face once against screws up with the force of his tears, “Why are you still being so good to me? I know I have been horrible to be around; I know I’ve been pulling everyone’s moods down.” 

Louis wipes the tears away from Harry’s eyes, kissing his nose “Love, we understand. None of us can even comprehend what you’re going through. We just want you to be happy again, okay? I’m willing to do anything to help you get better.”

“I need to get away from here for a while, I can’t get better here. I just feel so numb.”

“Where were you planning on going?” Louis enquires, gesturing to the suitcase with the arm which isn’t wrapped around Harry’s body.

“A hotel, uptown.” 

“Can I have one request?” Louis asks lifting Harry’s chin so they’re looking at each other, eye to eye.  

Harry nods. 

“I don’t want you to go to a hotel.” Louis says firmly. 

“Louis…” 

“No, listen to me,” Louis interrupts. “I trust your judgement. If you feel as though you need to get away and you can’t get better here than I totally trust that judgement. My only compromise is I don’t want you on your own and it would make me feel a lot better if you were to go stay at your mum’s house. Would you consider doing that?”

Harry mulls over the proposition over for a few seconds before he’s nodding, “Yeah, I think I’d like to do that.” 

“Okay well, I’ll call her and then I’ll drive you there after I’ve taken the kids to school, okay?” 

“You don’t have to drive- “

Louis cuts him off, “No, I don’t but I want to, okay?”

They both stand and Harry immediately wraps his arms around Louis body and buries his face his in the older mans neck, “Thankyou, so much. I’m really sorry, Louis.”

“Nothing to be sorry about.” He says rubbing his back, “We’ll fix this together, yeah?” 

Harry goes down to the kitchen while Louis wakes the kids up. When he gets downstairs, a cup of tea is waiting for him and Harry is over the stove cooking pancakes for everyone. As of late, it is rare for Harry to even be out of bed to see the kids off to school, let alone cook them breakfast. This is most definitely a step in the right direction, Louis thinks. He steps out onto the patio connected to the living area with his phone in hand and dials Anne’s number. 

“Louis, darling. How are you?” Anne chirps immediately. 

“Yeah, good good. Yourself? 

“I’m great!” Anne replies, “You need to tell my boy to answer my calls! He’s been ignoring his mum lately, can you believe?” 

“I can actually.” Louis sighs, “Anne, I’m going to bring Harry to your place in about an hour. Everything that’s been going on lately has really been weighing down on him and he just wants to be away for a little while to kind of get himself in the right headspace again.” 

“Oh dear, why hasn’t he mentioned any of this to me?” Anne asks, self-reproach obvious in her tone. 

“As I say, he really hasn’t been himself the last few weeks. He only just opened up to me this morning.” Louis says. 

“My poor boy.”

“We’ll be there in probably 2 or so hours. I better go now to get the kids all ready for school but we’ll talk more when we get there, alright?” 

“Okay, Louis. Thankyou for calling. Bye now.” 

“Bye, bye.”

During breakfast, Harry explains to the kids what’s going on much to Louis surprise. They all give him hugs and pretend they don’t notice him tearing up as he says his ‘goodbye’s and ‘I love you’s. 

They drop the kids off at school before turning around and taking the main road towards Holmes Chapel. They stay in relative silence the entire way, the radio turned low and their hands clasped in a tight grip over the centre console. 

Upon arrival at Anne’s house, the three sit down in the living room and talk through everything. Harry tells Anne about his prenatal depression and the plan his doctor created to overcome it. He talks about his fears and anxieties (which was included in said doctors plan) and Louis and Anne sit quietly and give him their undivided attention and support. About an hour and a half later, Louis regretfully announces that he has to leave now if he’s to get to work on time. 

“I’ll miss you.” Harry says as Louis puts on his shoes by the front door. 

“Me too, babe.” Louis says, standing up straight and wrapping his arms around his husband, “I’ll call you tonight. And every night after that. As long as you need, Harry.” 

Harry nods where his face is squished against his neck, “I love you so much, Lou”

“I love you too.” 

*

Harry’s mother drive him to his first appointment with his psychologist back in Manchester two days into his stay. Her name is Lucy, a woman in her early 30’s who specialises in pre and postnatal mental illnesses. They start off the session by talking about Harrys life- growing up, meeting Louis and falling in love, his career, his aspirations, his children and most prominently, his other pregnancies. She concluded that the difficulties that he has faced in this pregnancy has been the sole perpetrator of his depression and they worked together on devising a plan to overcome it. Getting back into a normal routine was the main goal that she set for Harry along with having a meaningful conversation with his husband at the end of everyday about how he’s feeling. He books another appointment for 4 days’ time and promises that by the time he comes back for said appointment, he will be back to living at home. 

*

The day before Harry’s next appointment with Lucy, he returns back home. Anne drives him around midday and sticks around for dinner to spend time with her grandchildren. The kids are clearly cautious of upsetting Harry at first which sets him a bit on edge but after a while they warm up to having him back and start treating him like they normally do. Louis, ever the angel, is great, tending to all of Harry’s wants and desires and making him feel as comfortable as possible. That night he sits down with Louis and talks about how strange he felt moving back into his own home but he’s very glad that he’s back and he feels more motivated in life than he has in a long, long time. He also talks about how today he’s starting feeling such a stronger connection to their baby and that he’s extremely thankful to be back to bonding with her. He sets his alarm for 7am with the intention to spend the morning with the kids before his appointment with Lucy at 11am. 

He does. Later that day the baby kicks for the first time and Harry cries, feeling so many emotions, the sudden spike in determination almost overwhelming. 

*

Harry woke up on Saturday morning to the shower running. The charity football match would kick off at midday however Louis was required at the field at around 8am for preparations so Harry guessed that it was probably still pretty early and he didn’t need to get up just yet. Harry decided it was best if he didn’t go back to sleep, wanting to stay in a routine as normal as possible, instead grabbing his kindle off the bed side table knowing it wouldn’t hurt to lie in and read for a little while. 

McMurphy is kicking up about cleaning schedules in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest when the bathroom door clicks open and Louis steps out, hair dripping wet and slicked back with a crisp, white towel wrapped low around his hips. Louis had truly always been a sight to behold. From the softly defined curves when the two first met to the pure, lean muscle and thick thighs he sported at the height of his career to now, slightly less defined but muscles still thick and lovely. 

“Damn,” Harry says dropping the kindle to the bed as he (with maximum effort) pushes himself up against the head board, “why aren’t I greeted by this sight every morning?” 

Louis just smirks, the smug bastard. He’s been working out much more frequently recently in preparation for today while Harry has been sitting around gaining a pound per week, only inclined by his bloody pre-eclampsia. In all of his other pregnancies Harry managed to stay fairly lean in all areas other than his stomach (of course) making the foreign swelling of his entire body, from his feet up to his face, that more much more unbearable. He loves sharing his body with his child and the not only physical but also emotional closeness he feels to her but in saying that, he’ll be very glad when he can claim his own body back as just his own. 

“So shameless, Harold.” Louis says when Harry not so subtly keeps his eyes glued to his husband’s body as he drops his towel and begins getting dressed. 

“I’m a perv, you’re a show off… perfect arrangement I’d say.”

Louis snorts, “you’re ridiculous.” 

“You love it.” 

“I do.” 

Once fully dressed, Louis crawls up the length of the bed kneeling next to Harry on the bed and lifting his shirt up to his nipples to reveal his protruding stomach and popped belly button. He smooths his hands over the stretched skin, leaning down to place a gentle kiss on the bump. 

“Hello my baby girl,” Louis whispered, lips lightly brushing against Harry’s skin with each syllable, “How’s everything going in here? Being good for daddy are you?” 

Harry knew the question was for him to answer, “Full of energy last night, she’s settled down now though.” 

“Good girl. Wasn’t keeping you awake was she?” Louis asked, hands still roaming over his husband’s pregnant belly. 

“A bit. I don’t mind though, its kind of reassuring that she is. I think I’d be more stressed if she wasn’t moving around,” Harry winks, “what with her fit dad’s sporty genes she’s bound to have.” 

Louis left shortly after, Harry deciding it was best to get out of bed and get ready for the day. He was already feeling extremely anxious and claustrophobic just thinking about the masses of people and magnitude of noise that he would be surrounded by today but he knew it would do more harm than good if he were to stay home. So he showered, woke all the kids up and started on a full English breakfast with lots and lots of bacon (what baby wants, baby gets). 

By 11 o’clock the entire family were at the stadium, all rugged up in a futile attempt at staying warm in the harsh British winter. They met with Jackson and his mother and made their way inside. They had A reserve membership seats which were separate from the public and were quite exclusive. The area was alcohol free and the seats were much more wide and cushioned than the general public ones which Harry was immensely grateful for. His bum had just touched the seat with a sigh when he heard his name spoken by a familiar voice. 

“Harry! Darling,” Emma squealed. 

Emma White was the wife of John White, goalie of Manchester United for most of the years Louis was too involved in the club. They’d met when they were both just 20 and their relationship timelines were practically identical. The two were game day buddies and would often spend entire weekends together- shopping, going out dancing, dinner, movies- they were best friends, practically inseparable. God, Harry hasn’t seen her in at least 10 years. 

“Oh my god, Emma!” Harry says practically bounding to his feet (despite the protesting ache of his cold and weighed down joints) wrapping his arms around Emma’s small frame. 

It’s when he pulls back releasing the hug that he notices two teenage boys standing awkwardly behind Emma- James and Toby, Emma and John’s son’s. The last time he saw them they were just toddlers, God. They were so grown up and showed so much resemblance to both of their parents, Harry couldn’t help getting nostalgic. After all these years, Emma could obviously still tell what Harry was thinking as she stepped to the side, pushing the two boys into the little conversation. 

“Toby,” Harry said pointing to the younger boy on the left and then to the older one by his mother’s side, “and James? Right?” 

The two boys nodded but looked at their mother quizzically, clearly not knowing who the hell Harry was standing in front of them reciting their names like long lost pals.

“Boy’s this is Harry, I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of stories about this one.” Emma winked at Harry causing him to flush. He doesn’t know what ‘stories’ Emma is referring to, but Harry knows that in his 20’s he could be quite crazy and he’s definitely not proud of quite a few things he took part in.

for instance, one time the two had just a little bit too much to drink before one of Manchester's home game's and somehow thought it would be a good idea to have a competition of who could first get their boyfriend's attention on the field. After Harry flashed his bare bum which Emma followed up by rucking her shirt up to reveal her breasts, the two were escorted into a back room by security and held hostage until the game was finished and their boyfriends could come 'collect them'.

Emma must have noticed his war flashbacks because she’s quick to reassure, “Oh don’t worry hun, not going to drudge up the deepest, darkest stories. They are well and truly buried, never to see the light of day.”

Harry’s lip pulls up at his old friends’ words, he didn’t realise how much he’d missed her and he unabashed humour. 

“Soph will remember you.” Harry says looking around the stands for his daughter, “Wherever she’s run off to.” 

“Oh, I’d love to see her! I’ve missed you all, it’s been far too long. 10 years?”

“Probably more! Last I saw you I was still pregnant with Zoe and she’s almost 11 now.” Harry says, “Look at me now, still pregnant.” 

Emma eyes almost bulge out of her head, “You’re pregnant?!” 

Harry subconsciously runs his hands over the fuzz of his woollen coat covering his stomach, “Could you not tell?”

“I mean, I just assumed you’d put on a little bit of weight!” Emma exclaims as Harry raises an eyebrow at her, “Okay, a lot of weight. In hindsight though, you’ve always been a stick so that’s just bloody unrealistic of me to think! Oh Harry, how far along?" 

"Around 6 months-ish." Harry replies easily. Usually a conversation about this (especially in a public place) would set Harry on edge but he thinks that it's just a testament to their friendship that he's totally calm and comfortable.

"And was it like-" Emma trails off obviously wary of the topic. Emma was Harry's number one emotional support system (outside of Louis) while they were trying to have Zoe. Emma was always well aware of Harry's dreams of having 5 children and how hard it was on him when he and Louis were struggling to conceive number 4. Emma was always there to comfort him through the entire 2-year ordeal and he can honestly say that Zoe wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for Emma's ongoing encouragement. In short, Emma is well aware of what a fifth child means to Harry. 

Harry takes pity on her after a few seconds of awkward silence, "Planned? Hell no. Trust me, it was just as surprising to us as it is to you." 

"A good surprise though!" She wraps her old friend in her arms once more. "Harry, I'm so happy for you." 

"Thank you," Harry said tucking his face into her neck. He may be almost a foot taller than her, but when has that ever stopped him before? Emma quite often used to refer to him as a Chihuahua in a German Shepard's body.

"Game's almost starting, let's sit together, I’ve missed my game day buddy." Emma squeals as they pull apart, linking their arms while dragging Harry back to his seat and settling down next to him, James and Toby on her other side. 

The final score is 3-1 to Man U, Louis' scoring one of those goals. Harry feels like he's gone back in time sitting in the stands with Emma White watching his husband play and nursing his baby bump. He feels so good today and for the first time he genuinely feels like he has his life back on track.

*

When Harry was pregnant with Sophie some 19 years ago he sought out Heath Murdock, a very famous nude photographer based in London. He'd worked with models all around the globe delivering beautifully artistic and tasteful nude prints and Harry was a massive fan of his work as a photography enthusiast himself. Thanks to Louis' status, they had managed to get in contact with Murdock and Harry had done his first ever nude photo shoot at 8 and a half months pregnant. He'd loved the shots, always found the human body so incredibly beautiful especially in the way that it could create and carry life, so much so that all of his pregnancies there on it was priority for him to have nude shots taken. He loved the comparison and growth he could see in himself in the different shots and he loved the way that each photo was so artistically captured. 

That is how Harry finds himself sitting up in bed one Friday night, propped up against the pillows with his laptop resting just above his knees searching for some sort of way to contact the one and only Heath Murdock. He'd been looking through his pregnancies photo book this afternoon and he knew he had to do this one last time, keep tradition going. 

"Hey babe, what are you up to?" Louis asks as he walks into the room and stretches out beside Harry with an arm around his shoulders and fingers finding their way into his hair. 

Louis raises his eyebrows are he reads what Harry is searching on the screen, "The nude photographer dude?" 

"Uh huh" 

"You want that done again?" Louis asks.

"Of course." Harry replied absentmindedly.

"Really?"

"I really do, Lou." Harry says now turning to face his husband. "I know I'm not looking that great but I still want to do this." 

"Hey," Louis reprimands, "none of that. You look great, I think you should do it too if that's what you want. You look beautiful as always, Harry."

"I love you," Harry smiles, leaning his head down to rest on Louis' shoulder in a grateful gesture. Louis knows that Harry has always been too hard on himself and always know the right thing to say to make Harry feel good. 

"Love you too," Louis says kissing Harry on the top of his head, "How about it then, we can book him for some time in February?"

"In theory, perfect. In reality, he's retired and I have no idea how to even begin to know how to contact him." Harry says as he continues to scroll through his many google and social media searches. He's basically just scrolling through old portfolios of Murdock's in admiration now, long losing hope. 

"Would you be opposed to using a different photographer?" Louis asks after a while. 

Harry just sighs, "I guess not. It just would've been really nice if they could've all been done by Murdock." 

"I know, baby. Better than nothing though, right?"

"Yeah, yeah." Harry sighed, closing the lid of the laptop and giving it to Louis so that he can bend down and place it on the floor (a luxury Harry no longer possesses). "I'll have to do some research to find someone I can trust with it." 

Louis just hummed, reaching to the nightstand and turning the lamp off as Harry scoots down the bed so his head was resting against the pillows. Louis was quick to follow suit, wrapping his arms around his husband as he rested his head against Louis' chest. After exchanging 'love you's and a quick goodnight peck (on the lips and the stomach), Louis was almost asleep when Harry's voice cut through the silence of the room, "Lou." 

"Hmm?" Louis hummed back, half asleep. 

It took a few seconds, but eventually Harry spoke, "I know what I want to name her."

Louis' eyes opened at that. They hadn't spoken about names at all which Louis actually found quite strange because Harry had always been obsessive about the names of their children, indecisive as he was. 

"Yeah?" Louis said sitting up and turning the lamp back on and giving Harry the full attention he deserves. 

"Ayah." Harry spoke with a smile on his lips. 

"Ayah." Louis said tasting the name, scrunching his lips from left to right, "I like it. Where'd you get that from?" 

"I went to school with a girl named Ayah and I always loved her name and it always just stuck with me." Harry begun, "I thought about it for Sophie and Zoe but it just didn't feel right then so I never mentioned it. I was thinking about it again the other day and so I did some research and the name is Arabic for miracle, I never knew that. I just thought it fit perfectly and that's why it was never right for the others,” looking down at his bump he says “she was meant to be Ayah." 

Both of their eyes and hands were now on Harry's bump. 

"I love it." Louis said leaning down and kissing the stretched skin, “Miss Ayah."

At the sound of her fathers’ voice, the baby gave a little kick, Harry's skin bludging with the press.

"I think somebody likes their name." Louis said glancing up at Harry who was grinning madly, Louis heart swelled at the sight, so glad to see his husband happy, "May I propose a middle name?"

"You can propose; doesn't mean I'll agree." Harry winked back, cheeky.

"Ayah Rose Tomlinson."

Louis could see Harry biting his lip to keep back his grin, he knew that Harry would like the name that has been overwhelming the back of his mind for quite some time now.

“Ayah Rose Tomlinson,” he mimicked, his face now overtaken by his massive grin, “I love it.”

*

Christmas morning Louis woke up to a leg slung over his hips, a firm bump pressed into his side and a warm mouth attached to his neck. He was a little more than confused but simply laid still and revelled in the feeling for a few moments before opening his eyes. Louis and Harry haven’t done so much more than a hand job since Harry had fallen pregnant (even those were very rare) and Louis wasn’t going to lie, sustaining from sex did effect him which was very clear by the semi-hardness he’s already experiencing just by his husband’s mouth on this neck.

“Morning.” Louis says once he opens his eyes, voice low and gruff with sleep and maybe just a hint of arousal. Sue him.

“Mmm,” Harry hums against Louis’ neck, “Merry Christmas.”

Louis brings his hand up to Harry’s rest against Harry’s head, running his fingers through his curls, “Merry Christmas, baby.”

It’s quiet then as Harry continues to mouth at his husband’s neck. He’s not even really achieving much, just kind of slobbering on and breathing into Louis’ skin.

“Hey love?”

“Mmm”

“What are you doing?”

Harry looks up at Louis question, looking almost shy as he says, “I want to have sex.”

Louis raises his eyebrows in surprise. Harry has shown little to no interest in sex since he’s been pregnant which Louis totally, 100% understands and respects. So this definitely catches Louis off guard but in the best way.

“Like… now?” Louis asks eventually.

“Yes, now.” Harry chuckles, returning to his claimed spot in the crook of Louis neck, this time with more purpose.

Something about this just doesn’t sit right with Louis though, “Harry, stop for a second. Baby…” Harry looks up, “Are you just doing this because it’s Christmas? Because you think it’s what I want? Because I don’t want to unless you do.”

“I want to,” Harry bites his lip. “I really want to Lou. I miss sex so bad. Please.”

Louis lifts Harry chin, locking their eyes, “Are you sure?”

Harry just smiles, placing his hand behind his husband’s head and pulling him into a kiss. It’s sweet and slow and both of their lips are still slightly upturned as they repeatedly press together.

“I promise, Lou.” Harry says against his lips, “I feel really good today and I want to.”

Louis recaptures his husband’s lips, this time sliding his tongue into Harry’s mouth causing a whine to escape, the sound muffled by the kiss. They are both laying on their sides, Harry’s hands in Louis hair and Louis’ on Harry’ hip.

“Love you.” Louis whispers into the kiss.

“Love you too,” Harry replies while slipping his hands from Louis’ hair down to the front of his briefs, simply cupping Louis from outside of the fabric.

Louis laughs, “Did you just say I love you to my dick?”

Louis can feel Harry smile into the kiss, “It has to know it’s loved too, Lou. Hasn’t received much love lately…”

“Received plenty from my right hand,” Louis quips.

This sparks a genuine belly laugh from Harry and the pair both end up laughing into each other’s mouths, the kiss still never breaking.

“Sorry, you know I’ll make up for it once bub is born.”

“Don’t say sorry,” Louis replies pulling back from the kiss to look into his husband’s eyes because it is important that he understands what Louis is saying. “You have nothing to be sorry for. You don’t have to make anything up to me. I get it, okay? I thought you would know that by now, babe.”

“I’m sorry,” Harry says causing Louis to raise and eyebrow at the apology from his husband despite his little speech, “Shit, sorry. I mean- not sorry? Sorry… I’ll just…”

With that, Harry begins to palm Louis’ cock from where his hand had been resting over his briefs. Louis has to fight the urge to moan, slipping his hand from Harry’s hip to the flesh on his bum, cupping and squeezing. Harry clearly doesn’t have the control Louis does, outright moaning at the touch of his husband’s hand through a layer of fabric nonetheless.

Louis takes that as encouragement to slip his hand past the band of his pants to get a feel of Harry’s overheated skin as Harry continues to work Louis over with his hand from above his briefs.

“Get the lube,” Harry says breathlessly as Louis continues to squeeze at his arse while teasingly nipping at the skin below his jaw.

Louis rolls over and stretches his arm towards the bedside table, retrieving the bottle of lube from the top draw before returning to his previous position. Louis reignites the kiss, skilfully uncapping the bottle of lube with his eyes closed and mind occupied, something he’s become a pro at after all these years. He slowly passes his hand down the length of Harry’s body until he reaches below his hip, preparing to rid Harry of his pants, only to find him already bare.

“You little minx.”

“Just get on with it,” Harry whines when Louis continues to simply stroke the skin of his bum, “the kids are going to be awake soon and you can bet Zoe will be barging in here as soon as she does.”

Right. Kids. Christmas. Exiting and all that.

Louis uses his index finger (already coated in a thick layer of lube) to circles Harry’s rim, covering the area and prepping it for the intrusion. He then takes the bottle once more, applying another generous amount, this time using it to push inside his husband.

Harry’s face is in the crook of his neck and he can feel his hot breath against his collar bone as his breath comes out in uneven pants. Louis slowly strokes Harry’s walls, crooking his finger every so often.

“Another, another.” Harry groans.

Louis (of course) does as he told and adds a second finger, sliding the two in and out in a steady movement. Louis is just beginning to scissor the two fingers as Harry reaches down and pushes Louis’ briefs off his hips and takes his cock in his hand. His strokes are barely there, just teasing, but it does what he obviously intends for it to do, for Louis to speed up his pace.

Louis removes the two fingers and grabs the lube once more, adding just a bit more before pushing a third finger in along side the previous two, pushing them in and out in an unforgiving pace.

“Do you think my arse is getting flatter?” Harry suddenly pipes up, hand still wrapped around Louis’ cock and face in his neck. Louis almost laughs at the abrupt comment but Harry sound very serious so he doesn’t. He’s learned not to question the things that come out of his husbands mouth.

“What?”

“My arse. Is it flatter?”

Harry is still stroking Louis’ cock.

“I don’t think so? No.”

Louis’ fingers are still pushing in and out of Harry.

“I’m getting fatter everywhere else but my bum is getting smaller somehow.” Harry says very seriously, “I think my bum is cursed, I’m destined to always have a small bum.”

This sparks a laugh from Louis. This is just all very ridiculous, but very Harry.

“I love your bum.” Louis says, retracting his fingers and rubbing circles over the pert muscle, “It’s cute.”

“I’m going to have to do so many squats once I’m no longer pregnant...” Harry retorts, “but for now… I have a better workout.”

With that he pushes Louis onto his back and (with much effort) manages to lift his leg over his husband’s hips, settling down on his thighs.

“Wanna ride you.”

Louis has died and gone to heaven. He sure of it. He’s not sure what’s gotten into his husband but he is certainly enjoying it.

“Are you sure, baby? Sure you’re up to it?”

Harry just rolls his eyes, grabbing Louis’s cocks in his hand and lifting himself over it, “I told you I felt good and I want to do this so just shut up and enjoy it, please.”

Harry pushes himself down in one swift motion, both men moaning at the sudden sensation. Louis love it when Harry gets like this, in control and demanding. Louis will admit that he is usually the more dominant one in the bedroom but there is just something so sexy about when Harry takes control. Still so needy and responsive but demanding and unabashed in the way he uses Louis to reach his orgasm.

Harry starts out by swivelling his hips and getting used to the feeling of Louis inside of him- it has been awhile after all. But like the pro he is, after only a short amount of time he has graduated all the way to full on fucking himself on Louis cock, hard and fast.

“Fuck… Louis!” Harry all but screams, “So good, right there… yes, yes!”

Yep. Another aspect of Harry’s dominant side. Talkative and loud.  

 “I’m so fucking horny, Lou.” Harry continues to babble, pace never faltering. “I’ve been needing this so so bad. This feels so good, you don’t know how good this feels…”

“I think I have a pretty good idea.” Louis replies, fingertips pressing into Harry’s hips and matching his pace with restrained thrusts.

From the dazed out and absent look on his husbands face, Louis doesn’t think he even heard him speak. He probably doesn’t realise Louis is even there by this point, it wouldn’t surprise him to be honest.

“Almost there, almost there.” Harry chants, bracing himself with two hands on Louis’ chest and picking up his already frantic pace.

Louis drops his right arm from Harry’s hip to wrap a hand around Harry’s flushed cock but his hand is immediately batted away as soon as he makes contact. Harry traps both of Louis’ hands in his own, pressing them into the bed by his side. Louis look’s up at his husband in confusion but Harry looks to be in his glee, head thrown back, eyes closed and mouth hanging open. Two particularly rough thrusts later and Harry’s eyebrows scrunch together in pleasure and he’s coming all over both himself and Louis.

Untouched.

This man will be the death of Louis.

He just about immediately follows Harry with his own orgasm, hitting him so suddenly it makes his head spin. When he eventually regains his self awareness, Harry has half sprawled out on the bed on his side, half blanketed Louis’ body with his own.

“Merry Christmas, babe.” Harry whispers as Louis pulls the blanket back up over their bodies from where they had kicked it to the end of the bed. “Hope you liked your present.”

“Was that my present now?” Louis quips, eyebrow raised. “Sex?”

“Sort of” Harry smirks.

“What do you mean sort of.” Louis tilts his head, “Stop smirking.”

“That’s the last time you’ll be having sex without a condom for quite some time, pal.” Harry pats Louis chest, “No trusting our strong fertility from now on, is there?”

Louis just groans into his pillow, Harry slipping out of bed and into a pair of joggers and a fuzzy Christmas themed jumper- red with a little cartoon elf.

“I’m going to go start making breakfast. Love you, babe.” Harry throws over his shoulder as he exits the room.

Yep. This man is definitely going to be the death of him.

Louis eventually gets out of bed and joins Harry in the kitchen, helping him prepare breakfast (which mostly consists of him stealing bits of bacon). All of the kids are sat around the table by the time the meal has been finished. They exchange presents around the Christmas tree and watch season movies. They have a quiet Christmas dinner with the six (plus Ayah) and all fall asleep together on the couch after too much Christmas pudding and fruit cake.

Today was a very good day.

*

"Just shake him."

"No don't wake him up!"

"Why not? It'll go cold."

"Yeah but he needs rest, just let him wake up naturally."

"We wake him up every year!"

"He's not 8 months pregnant every year!"

Harry blinks his eyes open at in incessant hushed whispers to see his husband and all of his kids huddled around him where he's wrapped up in the duvet of his bed. Sophie is holding a tray with pancakes topped with a heaping serving of fruit and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, Harry's favourite. None of them take any notice of his eyes on them and they continue their debate.

"He wakes up earlier than this every other morning." Hayden reasons.

"Yeah but today is not every other day. He should get to sleep in." Sophie counteracts.

"Why don't we-" Louis begins but it cut off by Harry sitting up and taking the tray from Sophie's arms with a raspy "ta".

Zoe is the first to speak, climbing on the bed next to him and situating herself under his arm she screams, "Happy birthday, dad!" which is followed up by a chorus of birthday wishes from the rest of his children and lastly his husband.

While Harry ate they all got cosy on the bed surrounding him with artfully wrapped presents and extravagant cards.

"You have to open mine first, okay dad?" Zoe demanded, shoving her homemade card onto the tray next to Harry's plate making him snicker. She was so cute.

"Come on Zo, let him finish first." Louis said.

Harry just shook his head, "It's okay, I'm finished. This looks beautiful, did you use your new pencils?" he said looking at the picture which depicted him and Zoe holding hands surrounded by balloons, cake and streamers with a 'happy birthday' banner is the background. His baby bump as clear as day.

Zoe nodded enthusiastically, "Open it!"

To Dad,

Happy birthday!

We're gong to make you have the best day because of everything you do for us and how happy you make everyone. I'm sorry that you're sick all the time but thankyou for giving me a baby sister anyway. Because its your birthday you're allowed to eat lots of cake and get spoilt and we will do everything for you. I love you so much and thankyou for being the best dad ever!

Love Zoe

The text was followed by an array of hearts in various colours and sprinkles of rainbow glitter. Tears sprung to Harry's eyes as he held tightly onto the card while wrapping his daughter in a death grip of a hug, kissing her on the head and making her giggle (obvious proud that her card gained that reaction out of her father).

"Okay so I have two presents, the first you get now," Louis said as he places a large, sleek black box on the best next to Harry, "and the second you get later."

When all the kids gave him disgusted looks Louis continued, "Not like that you pervs! Just open the box, Harry."

Inside the lid of the box read Giorgio Armani in fancy, gold print and the contents were covered by thin black cloth. Underneath was a dark charcoal suit jacket with burgundy, silk trimmings and pocket square with a matching burgundy button up underneath with a sleek, black skinny tie pulling the look together.

"It's for the wedding. Tailer made to fit your pregnant belly." Louis piped up.

Harry ran his finger along the silky edges in shock, he loved it and told Louis' just so.

Louis just laughed, "Don't look so shocked! Just because you think I don't have good taste in fashion doesn't mean I don't know you and what you like! Plus, I may have had a little bit of help from one of the stylists, she was looking up pictures of you from events we've been to, it was quite funny actually."

Harry just made grabby hands for his husband who laughed and settled down beside him, pulling him into his arms, "Thankyou, Louis. I love it."

The rest of his presents were presented to him (a watch, more clothing and another big pregnancy pillow in the shape of a crocodile) before Louis proclaimed that it was time to get ready so that they could make it to London in time for his second surprise. Harry really isn’t sure what to expect and isn’t too keen on the 4-hour drive into the city but he is still excited nonetheless. Louis has clearly put a lot of thought and effort into his gifts (evident by his first one) making Harry feel loved and appreciated. 

Louis and Harry made it to London in time for a late lunch at a little Italian place before getting back in the car and heading further into town, into an almost industrial area.

“Okay, Lou. Please just tell me where we’re going now.” Harry pleads just as Louis pulls into a complex of buildings, seemingly deserted bar one car.

“Okay fine.” Louis says putting the car in park, “I may or may not have tracked down a certain Heath Murdock”

“What?” Harry practically yells, eyes building and smile overtaking his entire face, “You better not be joking, I swear to God, Louis!”

“Don’t swear to God.” Louis joking reprimands.

Harry immediately retorts by back handing Louis in the shoulder, not particularly softly either, “I’m being serious!”

Louis rubs his shoulder with a pained expression even though Harry knows it didn’t hurt him at all, “Okay, yes I’m serious. He is retired but he still does some work down here just for himself, not professionally. He said he would love to take some pics for you.”

Harry just about throws himself at Louis (as well as he can in the car, with his seatbelt still secured and 8 months pregnant), “Thankyou so much.”

Louis hears and obvious crack and his husbands voice and has to restrict himself from laughing, “Hey no more crying. Happy days, yeah?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Harry says, pulling back and wiping his glossy eyes, “It’s the hormones. I am very, very happy.”

“Babe, you need to stop blaming the hormones. What are you going to blame once the baby is born?” Louis winks which earns another thump to his arm from Harry before he pushes himself out of the car faster than Louis knew possible. Louis just shakes his head, laughing softly to himself at his ridiculous husband before following suit and exiting the car.

Harry is already at the front entrance of the building with one hand on his cocked hip and the other hand shielding his eyes from the brightness of the sun, raising his eyebrows at Louis’ impatiently as he slowly locks and retreats from the car. Louis uses the buzzer outside the door to call for Murdock who promised to be inside waiting for the pairs arrival. The door unlocks moments later and Harry and Louis are brought into Murdock’s private world.

The room is beautiful.

The space has an industrial feel with the metal stakes and concrete floor but what really draws Harry’s attention is all of Murdock’s work covering the great expanse of walls, surrounding the whole room by beautiful black and white detail.

“Good afternoon, gentleman.” Murdock greets in the distance.

Harry has to physically draw his eyes away from the artwork adorning the walls to where Murdock is knelt in front of a white sheeted corner, setting up a florescent ring light beside a tripod where a camera already sits.

“Afternoon,” Louis returns, pulling Harry by the hand along with him to Murdock’s side. “Some place you’ve got here.”

“It’s incredible.” Harry finally chimes in, taking the opportunity to return his eyes to the artwork around the room.

Murdock just smirks, continuing to set up all of his equipment. He knows it’s incredible.

“I actually have you displayed somewhere around here, Harry.” Murdock says, standing. “Hope you don’t mind. Not many people come in here.”

Harry eyes begin frantically searching the walls as soon as the words leave Murdock’s lips. Because, fuck, that is so cool.

“No, no. Of course I don’t mind! I’m honoured, sir.” Harry rushes out, speaking faster than he probably ever has. He’s exited, okay? “Where is it? Can I see it? When is it from?”

Murdock continues to smirk to himself before replying, “Come with me,” tilting his head towards the left and indicating for both Louis and Harry to follow.

“Here you are,” Murdock says once they’ve reached the left, main wall, making a sweeping gesture around eyelevel to where a 9x9, black and white print of Harry sits.

Harry clearly remember this photo; it was taken during his third pregnancy with Hayden. He is laying on his side facing the camera with his right arm tucked under his head and his left delicately places on his bump. His left leg is pulled over his right and bend slightly, covering his private area and allowing for modesty. The photo is so classy and elegant and the way his eyes are closed and face expressionless makes him look so peaceful.

He can’t keep the smile off his face.

“I love this one.”

“You’re very easy to photograph, Harry.” Murdock chimes in, “Shall we get started?”

They start out by creating silhouette shots, focusing the lighting behind Harry where he standing relaxed and side on to the camera. The results are a white background with Harry’s black figure foregrounded in the centre of the picture, bump on perfect display.

They recreate a few photos he’s done in his previous pregnancies (including the one on the wall) which Harry is exited to compare. The comparison he can make between himself in all of his pregnancies has always been his favourite part and this one is obviously going to be the most dramatic change. He’s exited to compare his first shots from almost 19 years ago to now at 48 years of age.

His favourite part of the shoot is when Murdock brings out a sheer sheet and allows Harry a free range to incorporate it into the photos, naturally and how he feels comfortably. Murdock seems pleased with the photos as he takes them and Harry is feeling great. He feels good about himself and his body and Louis’ encouraging eyes watching him and the smile adorning his face certainly contribute.

For the first time, Louis even gets involved and they get a few photos with his arms wrapped around Harry’s belly and some of him kissing it or simply resting his face against it. Harry think’s he’d like to have on of those one’s on display in their home.

*

By 35 weeks into his pregnancy, Harry can say that he is more than sick of doctor’s appointments. Ever since they discovered his pre-eclampsia, his already over the top appointment schedule has just about doubled as precaution. He lives with it because he knows that it is what’s best for his baby and he would fly to the moon and back for any of his children.

The morning before his fortnightly appointment with his obstetrician Harry woke up in the early hours of the morning, evident by the pitch black room around him. One thing he was thankful for amongst all the difficulties he’s been faced with in this pregnancy is that he will generally sleep straight through the night, typically so exhausted by the end of the day.

The first thing he registers is a thick layer of sweat covering his body and the sheets underneath him. The second is that the wetness is mostly centered around his middle and is much thicker than sweat.

He immediately panics.

He sits up with a tight and protective arm around his belly already feeling tears flooding his eyes as he catches sight of the large blood stain under his bum. Sobs wreck his body as he grabs Louis shoulder as tightly as he can, nails digging in, words failing him as he continues to cry. Louis looks up at him through bleary eyes for less than a second before his confusion fades through the sight of his distraught husband and he immediately shoots up to a sitting position and into action.

“Hey, hey.” Louis sooths, carding his finger through Harry’s hair, “What’s happened? You have to tell me what’s wrong baby?”

He doesn’t have to say anything though, when he shifts on the bed slightly Louis is able to see the blood staining the sheets and sticking to the insides of Harry’s thighs.

He immediately springs out of bed as Harry continues to sob hysterically. “Oh, fuck. Okay, hospital time. Now.”

He quickly pulls on joggers and shirt he finds on the floor next to the bed, not sure if they are dirty and not particularly caring. Harry’s and their baby’s health is his number one priority right now. He then moves to Harry’s side of the bed where his husband is absolutely hysterical.

“Hey, hey.” Louis sooths, running his fingers through his husband’s hair and placing a gentle hand on his hip, “Shhh. You need to breath, love. You’re being so so brave, okay?”

Louis continues to rub soothing circles with the pad of his thumb into the skin of his hip as Harry continues to struggle to pull a sufficient breath in. Louis could tell that Harry barely registered his words and it was then he realized that Harry was having a panic attack.

“Okay shit, H its okay.” Louis stresses, “Fuck, I don’t know how to help you.”

Back when Louis first met Harry, Harry was quite an anxious person and during his uni years he did suffer panic attacks from time to time. However, that was decades ago and Louis feels way out of his depth. He used to be able to just sit with him and his quiet presence would calm him down easily but this seems much worse and Louis doesn’t think that will quite cut it.

Harry is staring at him through glazed over, red eyes which somehow seem vacant and scared all at once. His face is scrunched up and a dark crimson shade as he continues to hyperventilate with the force of his tears.

Louis takes a hold of his husbands face in his hands, hot to the touch, and stares straight into his eyes, “Look in my eyes.” He tries a sterner approach, “I need you to breathe for me, Harry. Can you please do that for me?”

Some of the fog in Harry’s eyes seems to clear and he nods slightly and sucks in small breath, but a breath nonetheless.

“That’s it darling. In and out, do it with me.”

It takes about 5 minutes for Harry to calm down, breaths evening out and and tear ceasing.

Louis still has Harry’s head in his hands with his face directed towards his own when he says, “Okay, we need to go to the hospital now. Everything will be okay, we need to go now though so let’s get you dressed.”

Once Harry is dressed, Louis pulls his husband into a tight hug, “I love you, okay?”

He can feel Harry nod against his shoulder and with a quiet voice he says, “love you too.”

Louis helps Harry into his Range Rover before hopping into the driver’s seat and speeding off towards the hospital. Harry is silent next to him, Louis linking their hands over the center console which he prays comforts Harry on some level. He parks the car in the ambulance rank of the ER not giving two fucks about breaking the law at this point.

“Hi, I’m Louis Tomlinson, my husband is almost 8 months pregnant and he woke up bleeding. Like a lot.” Louis says to the first person he sees in uniform upon entering the hospital doors with a firm arm around his husband’s waist.

The nurse looks from Louis to Harry to the blood stains adorning Harry’s joggers before nodding, “Come with me, please.”

She leads them to a private room, guiding Harry onto the bed.

“A doctor will be here shortly. Is the bleeding the only symptom?” She asks while Louis fills out a form of Harry’s patient information.

“Yes.” Harry replies.

True to the nurse’s word, a doctor shows up not long after and immediately begins a full examination upon introducing himself. Harry is squeezing Louis’ hand in a death grip as they both nervously watch the doctor work.

“Don’t stress,” Doctor West begins, “the baby is fine. I have a feeling I know what is going on but we’re going to have to do an ultrasound to confirm, just in case.”

Harry is assisted into a wheelchair and taken to a separate room with ultrasound equipment and a technician.

“Ah huh. Yes, my suspicions have been confirmed. Harry, what seems to have occurred is a placental abruption.”

Louis is first to speak up, “What does that mean?”

The doctor first got Harry cleaned up and seated before explaining, “A placental abruption basically means that the placenta has detached from the uterus wall, which is what has caused the severe bleeding.”

Harry goes pale at the doctor’s explanation.

His placenta has ripped off the wall of his uterus.

“How do we fix that?” he asks.

Doctor West twines his fingers together in his lap, crossing one leg over the other, “There is no way to fix this, Mr Tomlinson. Once it detaches, it stays detached. We just have to keep an eye on it now to make sure the baby still has ample oxygen supply and develops normally. Usually we would say an emergency C-section is the best in this situation however your baby is still a little bit too premature and at this stage it would be riskier than to stay in the womb.”

“How did this happen though?” Louis enquires, “He’s been doing everything right for our baby. He said he didn’t even have any symptoms? Shouldn’t that hurt or something?”

“Well, yes. I can see on your profile that you have been diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, am I correct?” Both Harry and Louis nod. “Placental abruption can have similar symptoms to those of pre-eclampsia. They can be linked.”

Harry’s eyes start to water again at this revelation, “I did have pains last night. Really sharp pains. I shouldn’t have just assumed it was normal.”

Louis brought his arm up around his husband in a comforting manner as the doctor corrected, “Harry, there is no way that we could have stopped this from happening. You can’t blame yourself, you need to keep calm and get plenty of rest. You have about 5 weeks until your due date and I need you to rest up as much as possible to ensure that you make it to that full term. That’s what will be best for your child.”

Harry nodded, wiping a stray tear from his face.

“What is your birth plan?”

“Natural birth. All my children were born naturally.” Harry replied immediately. He was set on natural birth and little could change his mind at this point.

“Okay, at this point in time I honestly don’t see that happening Harry, I’m not going to lie to you. That may change but at this point I think you should prepare yourself for a C-section, possibly before your due date.”

They went over more information and a report was sent to Harry’s obstetrician. Harry was given the clear to go home (to his ordered bed rest) at around 7am. Louis called Sophie while Harry was signing some documents to let her know what happened and that they would be home soon. When they got home all of the kids were still in bed, naïve to what had just gone down. Louis stripped and changed the sheets while Harry had a quite shower before crawling into bed with a fresh cup of tea by his bed side.

*

3 weeks after Harry’s placenta abruption, he’s feeling more than a little restless with the amount of time he’s spent in bed- not once leaving the house in that time. Louis is strict with his bed rest orders and even though he is bored out of his mind, Harry himself is not keen on taking anymore chances on his or his child’s health. All of that had clearly paid off since his doctor was now confident an emergency C-section would not be necessary and he would be able to see his full term naturally.

So at 38 weeks pregnant, 2 weeks until his due date, Harry is relieved to have been given clearance to attend Earnest and Chelsea’s big wedding. The entire ceremony would be taking place in Doncaster and Harry was extremely thankful that they didn’t have to travel too far as with only 2 weeks left of his pregnancy, he was quite sizeable.

 Right now, sitting on the couch, braiding the front of Zoe’s curled hair, he felt good. He loved weddings and he knew today was going to be a good day. The suit Louis gifted him for his birthday fit like a glove on his swollen body and he felt as comfortable as he could at 8 and a half months pregnant.

“All done.” Harry says tying off the braid and hiding it with a purple pin to match Zoe’s dress, “Go put your shoes on now, babe. We’re leaving in a second.”

Zoe ran off to her room to retrieve her shoes just as Louis entered the main room, whistling low and stretched out at the sight of his husband, making Harry giggle.

“Stop.” Harry gushes.

This only causes Louis to amp it up, catcalling, lip biting and outright eye fucking not off limits. Harry’s cackling the whole time however when Louis starts mock palming the front of his pants Harry loses it, covering his mouth with his hand to muffle the sound.

“Gross, you’re 50 now, old man.” Harry eventually gets out between giggles and lost breath.

“Hey!” Louis says, opening his mouth wide in offence, “Let’s stop with the age jokes, thanks. You’re not far behind me, you know?”

“2 years, Lou. I still have two years.”

“Whatever.” Louis rolls his eyes, sitting next to Harry to tie up his shoes, “How’s my baby today? Hope she won’t give you too much trouble today.”

“Moving lots but you know I prefer it that way. I actually feel pretty good today, exited for Ernie.”

Louis nods in agreement and he crouches down in front of Harry to tie his husband’s laces since he can’t reach himself with the size of his belly, “Me too. We won’t stay late though and if you get too tired or uncomfortable or whatever at any stage please tell me.”

“I will.” Harry replies.

“No Harry, no ‘I will’s, promise me please.” Louis retorts which causes Harry to roll his eyes.

Louis has always been protective and he can’t help that so Harry just grabs both of his hands in his own, using his husband to pull himself off the couch and says, “I promise,” placing a gentle peck on his husband’s lips.

The ceremony was held at a small, family orientated church in the heart of the town Louis grew up in. The brick building was small in size but the expanse of beautiful gardens and field of bright green grass surrounding the premises gave it a homey sort of vibe. Inside, the high ceilings worked with the great expanse of windows surrounding the entire area to open up the room and bring natural light and warmth. Ernie’s family and friends were sat in rows on the right side of the space with Chelsea’s on the left. All seats were filled without being overly packed out which was nice and comfortable. The Tomlinson family were seated in the second pew on the right side of the isle with Harry on the outside to make it easier for him to get up once the ceremony has finished.

Ernie was looking sharp in his classic, black tuxedo where he stood joyfully at the top of the isle awaiting Chelsea’s arrival. The pure joy and admiration was clearly written across his face as Chelsea walked down the isle arm and arm with her father in a beautiful, long sleeve 90’s style wedding dress.

Harry had a steady stream of tears flowing down his cheeks by the time the couple said their ‘I do’s and was absolutely sobbing as he watched the happy couple skip out of the church together hand in hand.

He didn’t even realise until after the ceremony was over that at some point his own hand had found Louis’ which he had been clutching like he needed it to survive. Looking at Louis’ face for the first time, he seems to be just as deeply effected and generally moved by the emotion of the event as Harry, with a soft smile on his face and pride in his glossy eyes.

Oh how time flies.

The guests are all transported to the country club where the reception will be held. Cocktail hour begins while the newlyweds have photos taken with the spectacular views of the grounds as a backdrop.

“Do you maybe want to slow down a little?” Harry queries after Louis’ accepts his fourth beer of the afternoon, “You’re not in your 20’s anymore, love.”

“I’m fine.” Louis waves off lightly and pulls Harry by the hand towards someone who Harry vaguely recognises.

“Roger! Mate. How are you?” Louis greets, sticking his hand out for a firm shake from the balding man. Roger. The name rings some more bells and Harry finally places him- Louis’ families next door neighbour back in Doncaster. Harry lived in the same street as him for 2 years, how could he forget about Roger? He always hated Roger and he’s sure the feeling was mutual but he plasters on a pleasant smile because he knows that Louis absolutely idolises Roger and they basically grew up together.  

“Great, mate. It’s been too long, Tomlinson!” Roger returns, eying Harry curiously.

“Man, you remember Harry, my husband,” Louis says when he notices ‘Roger’s eyes on him, pulling Harry forward with an arm around his waist.

“Of course, of course,” says Roger reaching a hand out to Harry (grip maybe a little too tight for comfort) before looking back at Louis with raised eyebrows, “You guys are still fuckin’ popping out babies. You fuckin’ animals!”

Louis uproars into a fit of laughter at his words, slapping Roger on the back in praise of the comment but Harry just feels uncomfortable and takes the opportunity to slip away when Lottie waves at him from across the room.

“Hey babe.” He says once he reaches Lottie, kissing her cheek in greeting.

“Hey H, how’s my favourite little unborn doing?” She asks with a delicate hand on the side of Harry’s belly.

“Probably better than me…”

Lottie laughs but as someone who has birthed children herself, Harry doesn’t have the urge to punch her in the face. She understands his pain therefore she’s allowed to laugh at it. It’s the rules.

If it was Louis on the other hand…

Just as Harry begins to laugh along with her a cramp in the core of his belly hits him so suddenly that he doubles over slightly with the force of it.

He feels Lottie’s hand on his shoulder immediately and he voice right by his ear, “Shit, H. Are you okay? What’s happened?”

Harry can’t speak for a few moments, eyes scrunched shut and teeth pinching his bottom lip. Eventually the initial pain subsides enough for him to straighten up substantially to look into the concerned eyes of Lottie- they look a lot like Louis’.

“I’m okay, just a little cramp.” He’s quick to reassure. He doesn’t need anyone to be worried about him, its Ernie’s big day after all. “I get them all the time, please don’t stress.”

Lottie looks sceptical but nods nonetheless.

It’s true. He does have cramping, pains and aches all the time so they really aren’t a big deal, it’s just that usually he’s in a more comfortable setting to deal with them so he’s worried that he’s going to be a little more aware of them than he usually is. It’s the setting, he tells himself, that’s why this feels different than usual.

“Can we just go sit down?”

The two sat at a nearby table off to the side and Harry was pleased everyone seemed to be giving him peace and quiet today as nobody disturbed them as they sat there for the duration of cocktail hour. He loves his family and friends dearly but right now they all seem to understand that he’s not in the most social mood. Lottie sipped away on a glass of white wine while Harry took systematic sips of water and willed the pain to stay away for the rest of the evening. All his prayers were in vein though, about 20 minutes after the first set of cramps came another even stronger in intensity and catching him just as off guard.

Lottie held his hand through this time as Harry felt tears prick at his eyes. This pain intensity definitely was not normal and Harry wasn’t so convinced that everything was okay now.

When Harry looked up at his sister in-law this time she was biting her lip anxiously, “H… Do you think you could possibly be in labour?”

“No.” Harry replies on instinct. He doesn’t want to be in labour. He’s not ready and now is not the time. “No. I have another two weeks. I’m going to be late if anything, there’s no way.”

Lottie definitely didn’t believe a word (Harry didn’t believe himself either) “Okay. I trust your judgement…”

The newlyweds make their entrance shortly after and everyone is seated. Louis is slightly more intoxicated than when he left him which is making him nervous because something isn’t right and just keeps downing beer after beer. He doesn’t say anything though because today is a day to celebrate; today is not about Harry.

The next pain comes during the first dance and Harry has to dig his nails into his hands to stop from screaming at the increasing pain in his abdomen. At least he can blame the sour look on his face and the single tear that escapes his eye on the way Ernest looks at Chelsea as they slow dance to ‘When I Fall In Love’ by Nat King Cole.

Dinner is served, Louis uncaps another beer and Harry experiences another agonising cramp in the same position as the previous two.

“I’m just going to go for a little walk.” Harry whispers to Louis as everyone begins to dig into the beautifully presented entrées. Harry isn’t hungry anyway and maybe he just needs to move around a little to settle himself.

“Food just got here, babe. You okay?” Louis says with scrunched eyebrows.

As soon as Harry stands it is evident that everything is definitely not okay. He freezes.

“Love, what’s wrong?”

His voice barely comes out as a whisper, “My water just broke…”

Louis is silent for a minute as the both stair at one another with panicked eyes, “What?”

“My water… just broke.”

“Fuck! Okay.” Louis says springing out of his seat. All their kids plus the rest of the guests on their table and looked at them curiously, some already standing from their seats preparing to assist. “Hospital.”

“What’s going on?” Hayden pipes up from the other side of Harry, eyebrows scrunched in concern.

“The baby’s coming.” Harry replies as calmly as he can, trying his best to ignore his internal freak out.

All that is thrown out the window when his words immediately spark panic amongst the entire table which apparently is a spectacle enough for other guests to start noticing and like clock work Harry is surrounded by a group of people including his and Louis’ mothers, Lottie and even Ernest.

Harry is humiliated. This is not how today was supposed to go.

“Shit none of us have a car…”

“You can’t drive, you’re fucking wasted, Louis!”

“I’m not wasted!”

“Call an ambulance, you idiot!”

“Right.”

By this point Harry is back to sitting in his chair with his burning face in his hands. This could not have gone worse. Everyone is either standing around Harry or watching him from their seats, everyone’s meals going cold untouched.

Louis escorts Harry out of the events room and to the front of the country club where the ambulance will (hopefully) be pulling up in a short amount of time, as promised.

It doesn’t.

55 minutes and 4 contractions later and the ambulance slowly rolls into the taxi bay.

After then, the medical staff make quick work of delivering Harry to the maternity/paternity ward of the local hospital. The sight of his room makes him panic because this was definitely not the plan.

“Louis, we had a room booked at Manchester Royal, all the kids were born at Manchester Royal. We don’t have our hospital bag, I’m wearing a fucking suit, Louis!”

Louis takes Harry’s outburst on the chin, simply listening and being as comforting as he can as he helps Harry out of his suit and into the hospital robe provided before helping him onto the bed.

“I know this isn’t ideal-“

“Ideal? Fuck, Louis. This is the worst scenario I could’ve possibly imagined!”

Louis runs a hand through his hair watching the door and very obviously praying for a doctor to walk through it and save him from Harry’s ramblings.

No such luck.

“I just fucking ruined a wedding! I created a fucking scene and now half of those people are going to leave early to come here and it’s not fair! This is Earnest and Chelsea’s day!”

“Harry you just need to calm down, please.” Louis tries to sooth, thumb rubbing circles on the back of Harry’s hand from where he holds it in his own, “Our mum’s are going to stay at the wedding as long as they can and when we need them here they will come and bring the kids over, okay? You didn’t ruin anyone’s day, love. This is a happy thing, two happy things in one day.”

Something clicks in Harry’s mind then as he snaps his head towards Louis with wide eyes, “No, the baby can’t be born today.”

“It’s okay babe.” Louis chuckles, “Ayah can share her birthday with Ernie’s anniversary, not a big deal- “

“No! Today is the 29th of February.” Harry stresses. “My baby is not being born on a day that doesn’t even exist 3 out of 4 years, Louis!”

“Babe- “

“Louis! You called today an anniversary nightmare. Nightmare!”

“Yes, but- “

“What’s the time?!”

“Uhhhh.” Louis drawls while pulling his phone from the pocket of his suit pants. “Just gone 8…”

“Okay, baby, you are staying put for 4 more hours, please.” Harry whispered firmly, rubbing his stomach like a crystal ball. “That’s it just 4 more hours then you can come out and join the world, okay baby?”

A doctor finally arrived, saving Louis’ from Harry’s ramblings.

“Good evening, gentleman. I’m Doctor Sal. I’ll be assisting in your child’s birth tonight.”

“Not tonight. Tomorrow morning.” Harry is quick to correct.

When Doctor Sal just looks at him curiously and Harry provides no further explanation, Louis says, “He doesn’t want her to be born on the 29th…”

A look of understanding passes over the doctor’s face as she nods along, “Ahh yes, not many people do. Our slate for booked C-sections is always totally clean on today. Labour can be a long ordeal so you could very well make it well into tomorrow however that’s not something you can plan, that’s all up to your baby… Shall we take a look where you’re at?”

She doesn’t wait for a reply before she’s setting up all of her equipment and getting out all of her necessary supplies. A contraction hits Harry while she does so, his legs knees lifting off the bed and hands gripping the handles on their side.

“How far apart are the contractions?”

“About 10 minutes…” Harry replies warily. He knows that they’re fast getting closer and closer together indicating that the baby is getting nearer to being born. Usually a fast labour would be Harry’s dream, all of his other kids taking upwards of 14 hours, but he’s nothing if not determined to keep this baby inside of him until tomorrow.

“Okay, I’m just going to check the position of the baby first to make sure that the little one has made it to the birthing position and its safe to deliver naturally.” She says pouring a clear gel onto his skin and getting the ultrasound wand ready and hooked up to the monitor.

Immediately, their little girl is on the screen, head facing downwards and low towards his hips, “Beautiful.”

Beautiful is right.

Their baby has made it to the perfect birthing position and Harry is endeared by the sight. Like whenever he gets to see his baby, Harry cannot take his eyes off the screen- he’s just so in love. Seeing her like this, fully developed and ready to join the world make him so exited and he just can’t wait to hold her in his arms and show her off to the world. Seeing her now and knowing that in a few short hours that will be a reality makes everything in that moment worth it.

Its truly amazing how just the digital sight on his unborn child can ease all of his nerves and anxieties and such a testament to the bond they’ve already created over the last 8 and a half months.

“Everything is looking perfect so far. I need to check how dilated you are and then we’ll be able to get a better idea how close this little one is.”

He needs to be 10cm before the baby is ready to be born and it is safe for him to start pushing. He is only 3cm dilated much to his relief. He was set up with a foetal monitor to track his contractions and the doctor left shortly after with the promise to come and check on his progress every hour.

Another contraction hit, Louis spluttering on the whole bottle of water he was downing and he scrambled to Harry’s side to comfort him through the pain. He provides his left hand for Harry to squeeze and uses his other to push Harry’s sweaty fringe out of his eyes as he cranes his neck downwards with the strength of the contraction.

“Okay, that hurts a lot…” Harry says as the contraction eases off and comes to an end.

Once Louis is given back ownership of his hand, he quickly uncaps another bottle of the three he bought from the vending machine in the hallway while Harry was being examined by Doctor Sal, chugging the entire thing in a series of gulps.

Harry just watches in confusion as Louis uncaps the final one taking a few tentative sips before placing it back down on the table.

“What are you doing?”

“Hm?” Harry nods towards the empty plastic bottles. “Oh. Right. I’ve been drinking and, you know, I just want to be totally sober when my child is brought into the world.”

Louis doesn’t mention it but Harry knows that he wants to be sober because he knows that’s what Harry wants and what will make Harry happiest. He doesn’t mention it, just settles on a gentle smile and a sincere “thankyou.”

He doesn’t say anything but Louis understands when he kisses his husband’s forehead with a whispered “anything” against the smooth skin.

*

“Fucking hell!” Harry screamed. “Fuck, it hurts. Fucking fuck.”

“Shh baby, it’s okay…” Louis said rubbing his husband’s belly as a contraction struck in an attempt to console him and ease the pain. He knew it was futile but it was worth a shot anyway.

The time was now around 11pm and Harry was about 6cm dilated. His contractions occurred around every 7 minutes now and the strength of each one was now fairly steadily increasing.

“Harry don’t get mad at me…” Louis started cautiously, “are you sure you don’t want an epidural?”

Harry’s face was one of thunder, “No.”

“Babe, I’m just asking. You’re in so much pain…”

“Louis, no. I told you I don’t want one.”

Louis put his hands up in defence, “Okay, I’m sorry. I’m just trying to help you as much as I can.”

Harry’s face visibly softened looking almost guilty and he closed his eyes and ran a shaky hand through the length of his hair, “No, I’m sorry. I know. I’m just really over this, I don’t mean to get mad at you. I couldn’t do this without you, you know? You’re the only one who knows how to relax me enough to get through this so thankyou.”

“Of course, its my job.” Louis replied taking Harry’s face in his hands and kissing his lips gently. “Not too long now.”

“Is it still the 29th?”

“You’re ridiculous.” Louis laughed while shaking his head at his husband nonsensicality.

How he could be in so much pain and the fucking date still be at the forefront of his thoughts is beyond Louis.

A shrill ringing breaks through the room- Louis’ phone. He’d kept their mums up to date with everything via a group chat but this is the first call he’d received or made since they arrived at the hospital.

“Hey mum.”

There’s some rustling on the other end before a reply comes, “Hello honey, how’s everything going?”

Louis can hear joyful voices and loud music in the background. Well, at least everyone else is having a good time.

“Yeah, yeah. Not much since I last updated you. Doctor came just before and adjusted the belt thingy- what’s that thing called again?”

“Foetal monitor?” Jay answers with a smirk in her voice.

“Yes! That one! Sorry, it’s been a long night. Scatterbrain. God it’s only been like 4 hours…”

Louis was cut off by a loud scoff on the other side of the room, “Wow, I feel so sorry for you. This must be so hard on you.”

“Hey now. We just made up, don’t be getting angry at me again.” Louis replies but with no heat. They both have smiles on their faces and sarcasm in their tones.

“Anyway…” Jay says impatiently on the other end.

“Right. Um, what was I saying?”

“Foetal monitor.”

“Yeah, foetal monitor. She like adjusted it because it was giving Harry a bit of grief so that’s all good now. The doctor reckons just a few more hours she’ll be out.” Louis can’t help smiling at that. The feeling of your child being brought into the world never stops being surreal to him, even the fifth time around.

“And no complications?”

“None so far, thank god. They’re keeping a good watch on him but everything looks perfect so far so fingers crossed.”

“That’s great, darling.” Jay coos, “I was just calling to let you know that we’re going to leave soon. The kids are all pretty anxious I think they need to see their dad is okay so we’re just going to say goodbye to everyone and we’ll be leaving within the hour. Should be there no too long after midnight. Tell Harry to not have my grandchild until then!”

“Oh don’t get him started on that, please.” Louis pleads which earns a confused sound from Jay, “I’ll tell you about it later, bye now.”

“Bye bye, love.”

*

“Dad!” the shout comes as 6 pairs of feet enter the hospital room.

Upon the intrusion, Harry eyes immediately shoot open from where his head rest against the pillow of the bed where he was attempting to get some rest.

“What time is it?” is the first thing that comes out of his mouth. Of course.

“12:42. It’s officially March 1st, now stop stressing.”

“Thank God.”

“Should we even ask?” Anne (like everyone else in the room) looks downright confused at the previous exchange.

“Definitely not.” Louis clips.

“How was the rest of the wedding?” Harry asks looking downright guilty, “Hope Ernie and Chelsea weren’t upset with the little scene we caused.”

“Nonsense.” Jay is quick to sooth, making her way to Harry’s bedside, “They both couldn’t be happier for you, Ernie kept asking me for updates. He’s devastated he probably won’t get to see the little one before the honeymoon. As for the scene, you know them- the more memorable the better.”

Louis is very grateful for his mother in that moment as he watches Harry’s shoulders sag and a genuine smile pass over his face. He knows that this matter had been stressing his husband since they’d arrived here and his mother perfectly reiterated exactly what Harry needed to hear to get over it.

Louis watches as Zoe cuddles up to Harry on the bed, careful not to hurt him or disrupt any of the equipment around her father as she does so. Then to Hayden and Hudson as they sit by his side and talk animatedly about how good the food was at the wedding and how much Harry would’ve loved it, he thinks he even heard something in there about recreating a dessert. Finally, his eyes flit to Sophie who watches on with a font smile, looking at her father with clear admiration and endless love. He’s so proud of his beautiful family and truly cannot wait for the newest addition to be welcomed their lives.

*

Now that he’s past the midnight point, Harry is more than ready for his child to be born. He’s taken to walking around the hospital room in an attempt to speed up his labour process. The change in position is actually helpful in easing the weight of his contraction which are now quite frustratingly close together.

Any time now.

*

The time is 3:12am when Harry is officially adequately dilated and everything is set up to prepare for the birth. Jay takes Zoe, Hayden and Hudson out into the waiting room as per Harry’s request for his mum and Sophie to stay alongside Louis.

“You’re doing so well, Harry.” Harry’s mum encourages after his first push.

“Perfect, next contraction I want you to do exactly that and this baby will be out in no time.” The doctor says from in between his legs where she will be guiding the baby out.

By this point Harry is already crying with the agony his body is in. How did he do this 4 times again? He truly didn’t expect the process to be this hard but here he is after one push convinced that he has no more energy left to muster up.

Another contraction hits and his sheer instinct is stronger than any pain as he wraps his hands around his thighs and uses the leverage to lift his back off the bed, pushing with all his might and sobbing his way to the end of the contraction.

“Harry calm down, babe. You need to breathe.” Louis says right by Harry’s ear, his fingers stroking the hair there in a soothing manner. “I’m so so proud of you baby, so proud.”

“Keep talking to me.” Harry gets out just before another contraction hits and he takes a deep breath before pushing once more with his mouth hanging open on a silent scream.

“Doing so well, just like that.”

“The head is almost out, keep pushing Harry, just a little bit more.” The doctor encourages as she assists in guiding the head from Harry.

“Just think about about her. Think about holding her and bringing her home. Just a little bit longer and the pain will be over and she will be with us.” Louis says knowing that it’s the exact positivity that Harry needs to hear and is proven right when he scrunches his eyes shut and with one last push, the baby’s head is totally freed from his body.

Louis breathes a sigh of relief as he takes a peak around Harry and see’s their child’s, head covered in a fine layer of dark hair. He watches a nurse as she suctions her nose and mouth and the doctor give her the green light.

“Great work Harry the hard part is done. Next contraction I’m going to need you to only very lightly push as we guide the shoulders out. Can you do that for me?”

“Yeah. I can do that.” Harry says through his rigid breathing and choked off tears, suddenly very determined now that he was so close.

He focused on his breathing with Louis’ help, adjusting his hand in Louis’ hold preparing to squeeze it through the pain of the next contraction.

“That’s it, baby.” Louis says when he sees his husbands face scrunch up as he rides out the contraction. “Keep breathing, you’re doing so good.”

The baby’s shoulder slipped past the threshold as the doctor guided her out and just moments later a shrill cry boomed throughout the room. The nurses set to work giving her a quick clean her up before wrapping her in a baby pink blanket and gentle resting her on Harry’s chest.

Louis leans down beside his husband as they both admire their little miracle.

“Dad, she’s beautiful.” Sophie says from where she’d been standing off to the side.

Louis waves her over to his side, wrapping his arm around her and introducing her to her baby sister who is laying peacefully on Harry’s chest with two gentle hands resting against her back. Her perfect sloping nose and pouty lips are an exact duplicate of Harry’s own and Louis hopes that when she grows into her chubby cheeks that dimples will be revealed there.

Louis cuts the umbilical cord with the direction of the doctor and then she is taken away for a quick examination as Harry’s body gears up to deliver the placenta which is then taken away for testing due to the abruption.

Just like that, it’s all over.

The baby is given the all clear and returned to Harry’s chest. Harry is watching her with a soft smile and bright eyes when he speaks up, “Can you please get Jay and the kids, mum?”

“Of course, of course.” Anne says from where she’s watching the family huddle together with a fond look. “Oh Harry, I’m so proud of you.”

With that she exits the room and returns with the rest of their kids and Louis’ mother in tow. All the kid’s kind of stand back at first until Harry flashes them a smiles and says, “Would you like to meet your little sister?”

Zoe is the first one to move, bounding to Harry’s side, Louis lifting her up and placing her on the bed next to her father. Hayden and Hudson walk around to the other side and just like that Harry is cocooned by his entire family. He’s never felt more complete.

“Does she have a name?” Zoe asks, her head resting against Harry’s shoulder as she watches Louis lift the baby from his chest and into his arms.

Louis just raises his eyebrows at Harry, encouraging him to answer and he gently guides his baby to his chest as she sleeps soundly.

Harry never takes his eyes off her as he says, “Ayah Rose Tomlinson.”

*
Harry and Ayah were transported to Manchester Royal later that morning where they spent the remainder of the week. Harry’s body needed more time than usual to recover from the stress of the birth and the implications of his many pregnancy complications.

Together, Louis and Harry brought Ayah home on the 7th of March to start her life with her family. All of the kids are absolutely in love with her and are always keen on helping out with her as much as and however they possibly can.

Their family was finally complete.