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Kendall and Harry

Kendall Jenner & Harry Styles Call It Quits!

After weeks of swearing that she's single, it seems like Kendall Jenner really is solo.

The 21-year-old model had been seen all over the globe with her boyfriend Harry Styles, but things have apparently fizzled out between the two.

 

 

When Harry was seventeen and new to London, with nothing but his guitar and a dream, he’d scribbled down a list of five-year goals on the back of a dirty napkin. He hadn’t really known at that time if he’d be able to achieve them, but he figured, sat in a quiet nook in a corner of a coffee shop, it wouldn’t hurt to have them.

Number one, get signed to a record label.
Number two, have my own place.
Number three, be working on at least my first album.
Number four, have a steady income.
Number five, meet the love of my life. 

He likes to think he has achieved them, at least a little bit. In the span of five years, he’s got three platinum albums under his belt, two Grammy nominations, four number one singles, two successful grossing arena tours, and a number of different endorsements and sponsorships. He makes a lot of money—he doesn’t really want to say how much exactly, but it’s quite the number—has a highly anticipated fourth album dropping in the next few months, and has millions of fans all over the globe. He regularly gets invited to sit front row for London Fashion Week, gets to attend flashy, fancy industry parties, and once, he even met Chris Martin from fucking Coldplay and Chris Martin was the one who got star struck. Over him.

Perhaps he hasn’t really completed all—he doesn’t think he’s met the love of his life yet, and considering he’s just gotten out of a relationship, he doesn’t think he’ll be meeting them for a while—but, with four out of five in his list of goals crossed out, he thinks he’s doing well.

Niall, however, is of the opposite opinion.

“I’m just saying, you’ve really got to get your shit together,” Niall is rambling, gesticulating widely. There’s a beer bottle in his hand and he’s at least the slightest bit tipsy, seeing as they’ve been drinking since nine in the evening and it’s currently approaching three a.m. “You can’t keep sulking and moping like this, you’ve got to get out and, like move on! Pollinize some flowers!”

“Huh?” Harry mumbles into the rim of his own bottle, slightly confused. “Do people say that?”

“They do now,” Niall says imperiously, taking a swig of his beer. Some of it dribbles down his chin and splatters on the sofa; Niall just frowns down at it. “Sorry. But my point still stands. You’re twenty-two years old, not eighty-six, so you should be going out and having fun! Dancing in the club! Fucking people in the bathroom! Engaging in threesomes! Not sitting in your living room with me watching,” he squints, “is this The Notebook?”

In Harry’s defense, they’d already watched Taken and Taken 2 earlier in the evening. Plus, it’s three in the morning. You’re supposed to get, like, deep and introspective and emotional early in the morning. It’s a law.

“Hey,” he says, affronted. “You watch your tone.” He pauses, watches the way Ryan Gosling’s arms move as he rows the little boat he and Rachel McAdams are sitting on. “Ryan Gosling is hot.”

Niall hums. “I dunno, I much prefer her myself,” he says, pointing to Rachel. “She’s a stunner.”

“Very true,” Harry says, nodding sagely in agreement. They’re both incredibly good-looking, and together they make an incredibly good-looking couple. Harry tears up a bit when they appear on his flat screen together. “How are they so pretty?”

“You should get in between that,” Niall muses, still staring at the telly. And then he seems to remember something, because suddenly he’s shouting, “A threesome! You should be going out and having threesomes, not imagining them!”

Harry winces at the tone of his voice. “But I don’t want to have a threesome,” he replies. On screen, Noah and Allie kiss under the rain. “I just wanna watch their love story.”

“But this film is sad as fuck,” Niall declares. “And you’re sad as fuck. So sad as fuck, plus sad as fuck, equals sadder as fucker.”

“Math doesn’t work like that.”

“I don’t care,” Niall says, rolling his eyes. “The point, which you’re missing completely, Harry, is that it’s been three months since Kendall left you and you really need to move the fuck on and stop being heartbroken.”

There’s a silence, punctuated only by Noah and Allie speaking quietly to each other. “But I’m not—”

Immediately, one of Niall’s hands come up to cover his mouth. “Oh no, you don’t,” Niall says darkly. “Don’t you try to deny it. You are heartbroken, Harry. Moping. Mourning. Sorry for your loss.”

“She’s not dead, Niall,” Harry tries to speak. It comes out muffled.

Niall ignores him. “You curl up in a ball and cry over her,” he says. “You think about her every night and day, thinking up scenarios on how to win her back, and that’s romantic Harry, but really, move the fuck on.”

Okay, now he’s just exaggerating. Harry licks at Niall’s hand, and Niall pulls it away with a loud yell. “I do not,” Harry argues, when Niall’s far enough that he’s not going to immediately cover Harry’s mouth with his hand again. “How many times have I told you, she didn’t leave me. It was a mutual break-up. And besides, we weren’t even super serious.”

“You dated for a year,” Niall challenges.

“Still wasn’t serious,” Harry shoots back, rolling his eyes. “It was fun, and yeah, I will admit I liked her, but I wasn’t, like, hurt or crying over her or plotting ways to get her back.”

Really, he’s not even lying. Kendall was definitely something—she was a friend first and foremost before they decided to try out the whole dating thing. They never really made it official, never really reached those monumental milestones like other couples did, but she was nice company, someone that Harry could talk to on a regular basis, someone who would cuddle him when he had a shit day. Harry could say that Kendall was an almost but it’d be a bit too sad and wistful for what they were; they were more like the halfway point between a friendship and a full-blown relationship.

But Harry isn’t heartbroken, neither is he pining, or whatever it is that Niall’s got into his head. He’s fine. He likes spending time at home, would rather be spending time at home watching rom-coms and drinking beer with Niall than going to some party and trying to pick someone up. After all, one-night stands are temporary, Netflix is forever. Or so he hopes.

“But what about your songs?” Niall asks, and his voice brings Harry back down to earth.

“What about them?”

“They’re all,” Niall waves a vague hand around. “sad. And stuff.”

Harry frowns. “No, they’re not.”

“They are,” Niall insists. “I mean, the one you recorded yesterday was depressing. I think I cried a bit.”

Harry looks at him incredulously. “How did you even hear that one?”

“I have connections,” Niall replies self-importantly. Which means he probably convinced Jeff to let him listen to it.

Harry huffs. “It’s really weird that you and my manager are good friends, you know.”

“Hey, it’s not my fault the man loves me,” Niall replies indignantly. “I’ve been his golf-buddy ever since you decided you were too good for golf.” He sniffs, taking a swig of his beer. “No one’s ever too good for golf. But anyway, your song. Brilliant as always, but depressing as fuck. Are you sure you’re not heartbroken?”

“I’m sure,” Harry replies, rolling his eyes. “Lots of people write songs about heartbreak, even though they’re not heartbroken. It’s like, song-writing jackpot.”

“I know,” Niall says, the duh in his voice evident. “But it’s just a bit worrying.”

“That I’m writing songs about heartbreak?”

“That you haven’t written anything remotely happy in the past three months,” Niall corrects, setting his bottle down on the coffee table and crossing his arms. His face is schooled in a serious, stern expression, and Harry would take him seriously, he would, if he wasn’t quite obviously tipsy, his face red and his eyes glassy.

“That’s not true,” Harry says. “I’ve written plenty of happy songs the past three months.”

“Oh yeah?” Niall challenges. “Name one.”

Harry quirks an eyebrow. “Happily,” he answers immediately. Happily’s pretty upbeat; a nice tune to dance to. Plus the title itself has the word ‘happy’. That has to give him plus points, right? 

Niall mimics his movement. “You don’t understand / what you do to me when you hold his hand?” He quotes. “I know you wanna leave /  but come on baby be with me so happily?” He pauses. “We’re on fire now?”

“Okay, you took it too far with the last one,” Harry says, picking up a pillow from the couch and throwing it at Niall, hitting him square on the face. “That’s just, like, symbolism. I don’t actually want to be burned at the pyre.”

“Still,” Niall insists, lobbing the pillow back at Harry. Harry catches it mid-air and sticks his tongue out at Niall. “It’s still sad. Give me another one, go.”

“Fine, um. Where Do Broken Hearts Go.” Where Do Broken Hearts Go is a jam. An eighties jam, one that Harry is particularly fond of belting.

Niall’s eyebrow, impossibly, climbs up higher his forehead. “Harry,” he starts, “the title itself talks about broken hearts. Don’t get me started on the lyrics.”

“How about Olivia? That’s a pretty happy song.”

“That doesn’t count,” Niall argues. “You wrote that song four months ago, not three. Way before you and Kendall even broke up. Face it Harry, you’re sad as fuck."

“I’m really not,” Harry says.

“No, you are,” Niall insists. “Just yesterday, you wrote—wait.” He pulls his phone out of his pocket, brandishing it like a trophy. “I typed it down.”

He scrolls through his phone, tapping and muttering to himself quietly. Harry watches him for a few moments before shrugging, turning his attention back to him. Allie’s just about to admit to Lon that she’s been spending time with Noah, and despite already seeing the scene a million times, he really wants to see it go down.

“Aha!” Niall crows, just when the scene starts to get really intense, then he’s clearing his throat loudly, imperiously. “I promised one day that I’d bring you back a star,” he reads morosely. “I caught one and it burned a hole in my hand.”

Well, if he reads it like that, of course it’s going to sound ridiculously sad. “You don’t have to make it sound that sad.”

“That’s the thing!” Niall explodes, gesturing so wildly that his phone flies out of his hand. “I don’t have to make it sound depressing, it just already is. And see, if it sounds sad just being read aloud, what do you think it sounds like when its set to sad piano music like you’ve been so fond of recently?”

“Hey,” Harry huffs. “Johan is great at the piano, `s a shame if I don’t utilize his talent.”

“That’s not what I’m saying,” Niall says, raising his hands defensively. “I’m saying that you’re fucking sad. Even Jeff thinks so.”

Harry gasps. “You and Jeff gossip about me?”

“We’re just worried about you,” Niall corrects, sounding like some sort of parental figure. Harry eyes him warily, scoots a bit further away. He doesn’t like the idea of Niall and Jeff being like, his parents or something. “You used to write so many happy songs, now it’s just like, sad song after sad song after sad song after sad song. So many sad songs.”

Harry sighs, shakes his head. “It’s really not an indication of anything,” he insists. “But you know what? Fine. If it bothers you both so much, I’ll go to the studio tomorrow and write a happy song.”

“Will you really?” Niall asks. And then, “scratch that, I realized the question is ‘can you really?’”

Harry glares at him. “I can,” he answers. “And I will. I’ll show you, I’ll write the most obnoxiously happy song to ever exist. I’ll have you dancing by the end of it.”

“Fuck yeah,” Niall says, his face splitting into a grin. “I love a good dancey song. Now shh, stop talking, I want to see what happens to Allie.”

Harry can only stare at him in exasperation as Niall physically turns away from him and focuses on the telly. Sometimes, he has no idea why Niall and he are even friends.

 

 

Harry goes to the studio the next day, newly determined. If art reflects real life, then Harry’s going to make damn well sure that he writes the happiest, perkiest song imaginable, if only to prove to Niall and Jeff that he’s fine, that he’s doing well, and that the sad songs are just an aesthetic choice. He’s going to write it so well that by the end of it, Harry expects to see them twerking to it 

Okay, maybe not. But his point still stands.

It’s easy in theory—it’s just one song, and Harry has written almost a hundred of those before. He’s basically just going to be doing it again. It’s not going to be that hard.

Except it all sort of falls apart in execution.

He does have a productive studio session, and he does end up writing and finishing a song, but it’s not…exactly what he’d planned.

“Let’s just not…tell Jeff about this,” Harry says weakly as Julian plays the song back for him. It’s, well, it’s brilliant—the words raw and emotional, the chords quiet, building up to a powerful climax—and he quite likes it, it’s just, okay. Harry can admit it sounds a bit depressing.

It’s all Johan and his fucking piano’s fault. He didn’t have to get those chords stuck in Harry’s head.

Julian raises an eyebrow. “You don’t think he’ll like it?”

Harry doesn’t know whether or not Jeff will like it, but to be honest, he doesn’t really care; he’s more concerned about how Jeff will probably gossip about him to Niall because they’re similar to a couple of old, nosey ladies like that, and Niall will accost him with lots of platitudes about how Harry is heartbroken and depressed and how he really needs to move the fuck on. “I dunno,” he just says vaguely, wincing as he hears the sheer vulnerability in his voice. God, why does he sound so sad? “It’s just, he might think I’m depressed.

Julian snorts. “He already thinks you’re depressed, you know.” 

“I know,” Harry says morosely. “And this song will literally just prove his point.” 

Julian doesn’t say anything for a while. “If it helps,” he offers eventually, “it’s a really great song?”

“It doesn’t, but thank you,” Harry answers. He listens to himself sing quietly, wondering where the words I know I’m not your only, but at least I’m one even came from. He doesn’t remember ever having feelings like this towards anyone, much less having to repress it quietly. “I think maybe I’ll just sell the song.”

“You sure?” Julian asks. “I mean it’s gorgeous, to sell it to another artist would just be…risky, you know? They might not be able to capture the same emotional depth.”

“I don’t even know how I achieved this emotional depth,” Harry confesses honestly. He stops the song, shaking his head. “But I think if I sold it to, like, Ariana Grande or someone, she’ll be able to do it justice.” He sighs. “Just, please don’t tell Jeff about this? I won’t hear the end of it if you do.”

Julian looks at him amusedly, but mimes zipping up his lips. “My lips are sealed,” he says. He reaches towards the computer, saving the recording. “Did you want me to export this demo, then?”

“Yes, please,” Harry says leaning forward on his seat to peek at the computer. “Burn me two copies of the CD too, please.”

 

 

The sale goes without a hitch. 

Ariana’s team, fortunately enough, loves the song—they needed a new ballad for her new album and thought his was perfect—and immediately draws up a contract for him to sign, promising royalties and writing credits to Harry. He parts with it only slightly reluctantly; he thinks the song is brilliant, don’t get him wrong, but the more he listens to it, the more he wonders just how much repressed feelings he actually has. And where those repressed feelings even came from.

Anyway, the sale goes great, with Harry managing to get his lawyer to read up the contract of sale without alerting Jeff, and he goes home slightly richer, still determined to follow through with his promise of producing the happiest, perkiest song imaginable.

 

 

Of course, because Harry is dumb, and because he’s not actually all that good at planning, or managing anything, he completely forgets one little detail. 

He forgets to tell Ariana’s team not to contact Jeff about the song.

Which is why, despite all his elaborate plans, despite his sneaking around and all the calls he had to make that began with hey, please don’t tell Jeff, he still finds out. Which means he calls Harry up, asking if he’s alright and if he’s sure he doesn’t need him to book a break-up therapist or something for him, both of which Harry answers an affirmative to.

Harry’s sort of expecting the same thing from Niall when he shows up for their weekly beer and film night, but it doesn’t happen like that. He doesn’t even talk to Harry about how song-writing is going, or tries to convince him that he’s heartbroken and should really just move the fuck on, just grabs a beer and settles on the couch like he usually does. Which is actually fantastic, because now Harry doesn’t need to spend the evening making excuses and explaining to Niall that he’s fine.

Maybe Jeff finally learned to keep a secret.

It’s around one in the morning when Harry finds that this is decidedly not the case. They’re watching Sleepless in Seattle and Harry’s kind of sleepy, the beer in his system making him feel all warm and cuddly. Beside him, Niall’s on the laptop, quietly clicking on things. 

Harry doesn’t think much of it until Niall shifts, on the couch, pulling out his wallet from his pocket. He pulls out a credit card from the sleeve, squints at it, and Harry doesn’t speak up until a few moments later, when the credit card is back in his wallet and Niall is done purchasing…whatever it was he was purchasing.

“Did you buy a pig?” Harry asks, because recently, Niall’s been obsessed with getting one of those teacup pigs. Harry always has to stop him from trying to obtain one when he’s drunk, because even though Harry has known Niall since they were about six, he’s still not quite sure if Niall knows how to take care of a living thing other than himself.

Plus there’s the entire thing about them not actually staying teacup size as they grow.

Niall sighs sadly. “No.” He perks up immediately though, his eyes gleaming. “I bought you—” he turns the laptop around so Harry can see it, and Harry leans forward to skim the text on the website. “Tada!”

Thank you for availing of our service, the page reads, followed by a photo of two people on the bed, hugging. Under that photo is Harry’s full name, and Harry’s address.

Harry blinks once. And blinks again. And says, his voice dangerous: “Niall, did you get me a mail-order bride?”

Because what the actual fuck. It kind of looks like Niall’s just purchased a person. For Harry.

Niall blinks back at him for a few moments, before throwing his head back and howling with laughter. Harry throws a pillow at him. Hard. “No, what the fuck, Harry.”

“A prostitute then?” Harry also doesn't want a prostitute.

“Of course not!”

“A stripper?”

“No!”

Damn, he’s running out of ideas. He settles for launching another pillow at Niall’s head. Niall bats it away easily, still laughing. “Stop!”

“What did you get me, then?!” Niall must hear the tinge of hysteria in his voice, because he’s pulling himself together, trying to stop himself from laughing.

There’s still a big grin on his face, though, when he says, “I got you a professional cuddler.”

A professional…what. “What?”

“A professional cuddler!” Niall repeats, still grinning. He nudges the laptop, and Harry picks it up, pulling it closer to read the website. The Snuggle Buddies, it says on top, next to photos of different people hugging, and how Harry missed that a while ago, he doesn’t know. “They come over to your house and you lie down in bed and they cuddle you and stuff. It’s supposed to make you feel better.”

“Supposed to—what?” Harry stutters. He clicks on the word home on the top of the page. “Why?”

“Why?” Niall repeats, a tad dramatically. “Why? You wrote an extremely heartbreaking song yesterday, Harry, despite telling me that you would stop with that stuff, that’s why.”

Harry winces. Guess Jeff did tell him then. “You can’t police inspiration, Niall! It came out because it needed to come out!”

“Because you’ve repressed your emotions!” Niall yells, 

The page finally loads fully. Welcome to The Snuggle Buddies, it reads, and Harry blinks, bewildered as he scrolls down.

 Snuggle Buddies Website

Here at The Snuggle Buddies we strive to provide you with the most relaxing and enjoyable professional snuggling experience possible. As a professional cuddling service, we are masters of platonic touch that offer a personalized experience, which strives for your absolute happiness. Whether you want to cuddle for friendship, relaxation, or therapeutic reasons, we would be happy to be your snuggle partner.  Many people do not get the amount of human touch they want or need on a daily basis, and a professional snuggling service is the solution. Our experienced cuddlers will soothe your mind, body, and soul to blissful relaxation. We don’t discriminate against anyone and would love to be your snuggling partner. It is very easy to call us and set up a meeting with any of our trained professional snugglers.

This is. This is, quite possibly the strangest thing he’s ever seen. “Niall, this is quite possibly the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.” 

“I know, isn’t it great?” Niall bounces on his seat, looking happy. “It’s said to be really helpful. I read the reviews before I booked you for it. Everyone said they felt an increase in happiness and vitality in their lives.”

Harry doesn’t need an increase in happiness. Or vitality in life. “But I don’t need that.”

“Yes, you do,” Niall says, and his tone is firm. “You need to be happy.”

“But I am happy!”

“Will you call writing songs set to piano music with strange, sad, metaphors as lyrics ‘happy’?” Niall asks doubtfully. “Because I wouldn’t. Neither would Jeff. Or Anne.”

Harry gapes at him. “You talked to my mum?”

Niall shrugs. “She called me up and asked why you’ve been sounding so sad lately,” he says. “So I told her everything.”

Harry groans, burying his face in his hands. “She didn’t even know I was in a relationship!”

“Yeah, well, she does now,” Niall says. “She’s mad at you for not telling her, by the way. So’s Gemma.

“Gemma knows too?” He moans into his hands. Niall is a horrible, horrible person for bringing his family into this. “You are the worst person to ever exist.”

“I’m your best friend, I’m just looking out for you.” Niall says. “I hate seeing you all sad.”

“But I’m not—” Harry cuts himself off with a frustrated noise. He sits up straight, pushes the laptop towards Niall. “Cancel it.”

“What? No!”

“Niall, please,” Harry begs, hanging his head. “I’m really not…I don’t need a professional cuddler, I swear. This is dumb.”

Niall tutts, patting Harry on the head. “No way,” he says, and he sounds way too gleeful to be actually sorry about what he did. “You have too many repressed feelings, mate, and I really think this’ll be helpful for you.” He pauses. “Besides, they have like a no-refund policy, so no way am I cancelling it. It’s fucking expensive, you know.”

“I’ll pay you,” Harry says.

“Mate, you can pay me thrice of what that cost, and I’m still not cancelling it for you.” Niall says. “This is for your own good.”

Harry has to resist the urge to smack Niall on the face. Niall’s usually not stubborn, except for the times that he is. And when he is, getting him to do something is akin to getting your teeth pulled out, absolutely painful and not worth it when it isn’t necessary.

He closes the laptop sadly, leans back on the arm rest. “I liked you better when you were drunk and trying to buy pigs online,” he says, trying not to pout.

Niall sighs. “Yeah, well, me too.”

 

 

The thing is, Harry’s success comes with a lot of hard work. Lots of writing, and studio sessions, lots of meetings with the label, promo team, management about how they’re going to market this album, which single they’re going to release first, which shows he should make an appearance on, which events should he perform on. There’s a lot that goes into creating, producing and marketing an album, even though Harry already has a large, established fan base. 

So Harry truly, absolutely cannot be blamed when, in the midst of all these meetings and last minute studio sessions, he just sort of…forgets about the whole cuddling thing.

He’s coming home from a long day—it was a studio day, followed by an intense work out, and a strangely exhausting dinner with Nick, and Harry’s slightly drunk, extremely tired, and he really just wants to crawl into bed and go to sleep. Maybe after eating some ice cream.

He’s so focused on getting to his bed that he doesn’t notice the weird signs; doesn’t notice the haphazardly kicked off Vans by the corner of the foyer or the strange denim jacket slung on the bannister.

He does, however, notice when a voice pipes up from his couch.

“Mate,” says the voice. “Your wifi sucks.”

And then Harry screams.

It’s really not his proudest moment.

He whirls around in shock, grabs the first thing he finds—a snow globe, for some strange reason. The boy—because that’s what he is—doesn’t even look startled, just continues tapping at his phone. He looks incredibly cozy, his clothes and his hair slightly rumpled from lying down for too long, and Harry would normally loathe to disturb someone who looked that comfortable, except, well. That’s his couch. And that’s a stranger. On his couch.

“Who are you?” Harry asks, clutching the snow globe tighter. It’s not all that big, but if anything, it’d be a good item to hurl. “How did you get in here?”

The boy ignores him. “You’d think being an internationally famous pop star would merit you having much better wifi than the rest of us peasants,” he mutters, still tapping on his screen. “But no, I guess not. Everyone gets shitty wifi. Also, you shouldn’t keep your spare key under the mat, you know. Easy target for burglars.”

“Who are you?” Harry asks again, louder this time. He can be intimidating; he boxes, for God’s sake. He could totally beat this boy up.

The boy still ignores him and reaches down to the floor; he comes back up with a spoonful of ice cream, which he promptly places in his mouth. Harry blinks at him, his grip on the snow globe loosening.

“Is that my ice cream?” He asks incredulously. “Are you here to steal my ice cream?”

The boy snorts. “I wish,” he says, licking the spoon. “Nah, I’m here to do my job.”

“Which is?” Harry moves closer, curious despite himself. He keeps the snow globe in hand just to be safe.

The boy gives him a look, drops the spoon into the carton, and pulls himself off the couch, so that he’s standing in front of Harry. He’s wearing a soft pair of joggers, a slightly threadbare white t-shirt, and he’s got the bluest eyes Harry’s ever seen.

The boy blinks at him, one slow sweep of long eyelashes, before holding out a dainty-looking hand. “Louis Tomlinson,” he says, grinning, and oh no, he’s pretty. “I’m here to cuddle you.”

It takes a while for his words to register. “You’re here to what?”

 

 

Louis Tomlinson, according to himself, is twenty-four years old, and a professional cuddler by trade. He was born on Christmas eve, hails from Doncaster, Yorkshire, and is five feet nine inches (his words, not Harry’s). He likes tea, he likes football, has five sisters and one brother and a mum he calls superwoman. 

According to Harry, however:

Louis’ got blue eyes, long eyelashes, and a sharp jawline, dotted with scruff. He’s not five feet nine inches (Harry thinks he’s more at around five feet-seven, but don’t quote him on that), has a strange penchant for Adidas, and talks loudly. He’s very tactile, always placing a hand on Harry’s arm when he’s making a point despite the fact that they’re practically strangers, and he just happens to be the prettiest boy Harry’s seen in his twenty-two years of existence.

 Oh, and he’s a pain in the arse. Naturally.

 

 

“So,” Harry begins uncomfortably. Somehow, they’ve been talking about themselves for the better part of an hour, getting to know each other. Louis says it’s because he wants to build a good, working relationship with his clients; Harry suspects it’s because he’d just wanted Harry to make him some tea. “You’re going to cuddle me." 

Louis takes a sip of his tea. “Yep.”

“You,” Harry repeats, “are going to cuddle…me.”

“Mate, no matter how many times you say it, that sentence is not gonna change.”

“But it’s so weird,” Harry says.

Louis raises an eyebrow. “Shouldn’t have booked a professional cuddler, then.”

“I—I didn’t,” Harry stammers out. At Louis’ incredulous look, he elaborates. “My mate Niall, he just sort of…booked me one cause he’s got it into his head that I’m heartbroken and pining after my ex.”

Louis hums. “Are you?”

“Am I what?”

“Heartbroken and pining after your ex.”

“No.”

“When did you break up?”

“Oh, like, um, three months ago?”

Louis nods wisely. “Repressed emotions, then,” he says. “I’ve seen my fair share of that, and really, you don’t have to be ashamed about your feelings.”

“No!” Harry protests. “No, it’s—I’m, no really, I’m fine,” he says fervently. He doesn’t know why he’s so adamant on letting an attractive stranger know that he’s fine, but it’s just. It’s probably better if Louis doesn’t get the wrong idea about him.

It takes him a while to notice that Louis looks amused, his mouth twitching slightly in the corners, like he’s trying not to laugh. “Are you teasing me?”

“No,” Louis deadpans. The quirk to his mouth still hasn’t disappeared.

God, he’s so pretty. And Harry’s not just saying this lightly. He’s seen his fair share of attractive people—most of his friends are attractive, as well as the people he encounters during red carpets and industry parties—but Louis is just…different. He’s so pretty that Harry doesn’t really know how to handle himself.

It takes a while before he realizes that Louis’ actually said something to him. “Um, sorry?” He says, embarrassed.

Louis quirks an eyebrow. “The cuddling,” he says slowly. “I mean, your kitchen is lovely and all that, but I’m like, eighty-percent sure we’re supposed to be cuddling right now.”

Right. “Right,” Harry says uselessly. “Um, about that. I was kind of hoping we just…don’t?”

Louis’ eyebrow moves higher up his forehead. “I mean, you’re lovely and all that,” Harry says quickly. “But like, as you can see, I am not actually in need of a professional cuddler, it was just, like, a dumb idea my mate had when he was drunk, like instead of buying teacup pigs, he bought—” Harry gestures at him uselessly, “—you, so. Yeah. It’s fine if we just…don’t.”

“I see,” Louis says, like he’s mulling Harry’s words over in his head. “So you’re sending me away?”

Harry winces. “Sort of…?” he says, then sighs. “Look, I promise you’ll still get paid and stuff. Just, like, forget this entire thing even happened.”

There’s a beat. Harry watches as Louis’ expression shifts, his eyes narrowing just the slightest bit. He runs a critical eye over Harry, as if appraising him for a fight. “No.”

Harry can’t have heard right. “No?”

“No,” Louis repeats, shrugging. “I’m not leaving.”

What? “What?” Harry asks, unsure if he’s heard right. “You’re not leaving?”

“I’m not leaving.”

Harry gapes at him. “You can’t just refuse to leave someone else’s house.”

“Sure I can,” Louis points out, almost smugly. “I’m doing it right now.”

“I—” Harry fish mouths at him for a second, completely at a loss. His mum never taught him about what to do when his unwanted house guest refuses to leave your house. Does he throw him out? Call the police?

In the end, he settles for, “You’re very unprofessional.”

“So I’ve been told,” Louis dismisses. He stands, and stretches; the hem of his shirt rides up, exposing a strip of caramel skin. Harry tries not to stare too hard. “Where’s your bedroom?”

“My bedroom? Why do you need to go to my bedroom?”

Louis rolls his eyes like the answer should be obvious and Harry’s perpetually dumb. “Because that’s where the cuddling usually takes place.”

He stalks off past Harry and up the stairs, and Harry feels vaguely disoriented, like a hurricane had come into his house and left his things intact but pushed everything half an inch to the left.

“There’ll be no cuddling taking place,” Harry says loudly, before hurrying up the stairs after Louis. He tries not to stare at the way Louis’ bum bounces as he moves.

Because he just had to have the most gorgeous bum to go with his pretty…everything. Isn’t that just the cherry on top of this entire thing.

“Who said?” Louis shouts back. He seems to have already found the bedroom, but it’s not like it was hard to find—it’s the only room with a pair of double doors, after all.

“I did,” Harry says, as Louis throws open both the doors with a flourish. Harry winces as the doors bounce off the wall and follows after Louis quickly, quietly shutting the door behind him. “I told you, I don’t want a cuddle.”

“I know,” Louis says. He jumps face first on the bed, before turning until he’s lying on his back. He props himself up with an elbow, his shit-eating grin visible even in the dim light. “That’s why you’re going to cuddle me instead.”

Harry blinks at him. “I am?”

“Mhm,” Louis answers. “I love cuddles. Come up here.” He scoots up the bed until his back is to the headboard, and pats the space beside him. “Come cuddle me.”

Harry feels his look grow more incredulous. “Why would I do that?”

Louis’ grin only grows. “Because I’m not getting out of your bed otherwise.”

He’s a bit infuriating. Infuriatingly pretty, yeah, but right now just. Infuriating. There’s a part of Harry that wants to strangle him.

“I could just pick you up myself and throw you out,” Harry points out, his fingers curling into fists. After all, Louis is small—certainly much smaller than Harry. Harry doesn’t think he’d have any difficulty picking him up. “You probably don’t weigh much.”

“Don’t you dare,” Louis says lazily. “I’ll kick you and then scream. Then the police will have to arrest you and put you in prison.”

“If anyone’s getting arrested it’s you,” Harry says. “This is my house.”

“But I wouldn’t be the one violently manhandling another person, would I?” The spark in Louis’ eye tells Harry that he knows exactly how unreasonable he’s being, and that he doesn’t care.

“Why don’t you go home and cuddle yourself?”

“That’s not how it works, you know.” Louis sighs long-sufferingly, like Harry’s been testing his patience all throughout the night. “Just take your trousers off and come up here. Please?”

His blue eyes get all sad and soft, and he looks so small, sitting on top of Hary’s king-sized—or was it California king-sized?—bed and that’s just not fair.

Harry takes his trousers off and climbs the bed. Simultaneously, he also curses God for Louis’ good looks.

“I don’t like being the big spoon,” he points out, as Louis wriggles down the bed until he’s safely ensconced in the duvet, looking like some sort of pretty burrito.

“Well tough luck, Styles,” Louis quips, lifting the duvet a bit so Harry can get underneath it. “You had your chance and you blew it.”

He grabs Harry’s wrist, shifting until he’s facing away from Harry, then he drapes Harry’s arm around his waist, snuggling further into the bed.

Harry blinks dumbly at the back of his head. This is so not how he imagined his night to be going. “Am I going to get paid for this?”

“No,” Louis pinches his hand hard, making Harry yelp and pull his hand away. “Stop making fun of my job.”

“That hurt,” Harry grumbles, looking at the red mark Louis left on his hand. “I was just asking.”

“You’re not supposed to be asking, you’re supposed to be cuddling.”

“Fine.” Harry carefully places his arm around Louis, wary of Louis’ sharp fingernails and his apparently, violent pinching habits. He waits, but he doesn’t get a pinch—just gets a quiet sigh of contentment, and the calm rhythm of Louis’ breathing.

Harry doesn’t want to admit it, but. It’s nice. Louis is warm where they’re touching, his skin radiating body heat in a way that makes Harry just the slightest bit sleepy.

“Is your house haunted?” Louis asks suddenly. His voice is pitched low, like he’s afraid of speaking too loud.

Harry blinks. “No?”

“Are you sure?” Louis sounds a bit strange, an undercurrent of fear in his voice. He seems to curl closer to Harry, and his sudden apprehension makes a sense of dread settle in his stomach.

“Why?” Harry asks haltingly. He moves a bit closer to Louis, goose pimples erupting on his arm. He grips Louis much tighter, feels fear creep up his spine. “Is there…something?”

Louis doesn’t speak immediately. And then, “nah, just fucking with you.”

Harry lets out the breath he didn’t know he was holding. “Louis.”

“What? I was just curious.” Louis pats his hand, in what he probably means to be a comforting gesture. “Never slept in a haunted house before. Thought maybe this was my chance.”

“My house isn’t haunted,” Harry grumbles, pulling Louis closer. He doesn’t like the idea of haunted houses. Or ghosts or zombies or spirits, for that matter. And Louis is tiny, which makes him the perfect size for Harry to pick up and sacrifice to the ghosts, should there be any.

It’d be a shame to sacrifice someone so pretty, though. Harry’s still undecided about the whole thing.

“Shame.” Louis sounds genuinely disappointed at the thought. Harry would bet all the money in his bank account that Louis’ the type of person to enter a haunted house, get scared shitless, and push another person in front of him. It’s just the type of person he seems to be.

Harry fidgets, shifting on his side, tucking his free arm closer to his chest. He ends up in a strange position—one arm slung around Louis’ waist, and one squished between Louis’ back and his chest.

He shifts again; one of his knees accidentally knocking into the back of Louis’ painfully. Louis yelps at the impact.

“Sorry, sorry,” Harry apologizes, trying to find a way to fit their bodies together in a way that doesn’t feel cramped or forced. “I told you, `m just not used to being the big spoon.”

Louis sighs. “And it was going so well,” he says dramatically. “Just stay still.” He wriggles around under Harry’s arm, pushing himself back until they’re pressed together, chest to back. Like this, Harry can feel Louis breathe; he thinks he can feel Louis’ heart beating faintly against his chest.

He closes his eyes, tells himself to relax. It’s not hard to do, because, the presence of a warm body beside him is always comforting. It makes the bed feel smaller, makes him feel like he’s not alone. Harry could fall asleep like this.

That is, until Louis starts playing Candy Crush.

It takes a minute for him to place the theme music, and then Harry’s frowning, pushing himself up onto his elbow. “Are you playing Candy Crush?” He asks, even though there’s absolutely no way he’s not. Harry’s been there; he’d gotten addicted to it back when it first came out, and he’d never not recognize the theme music and the strangely creepy voice of the commentator.

“No,” Louis says, not even sparing him a glance. On his phone screen, a bunch of candies disappear.

“Do people still play that?” Harry wonders, shifting closer to Louis and hooking his chin on Louis’ shoulder. “I thought it, like, died or something.”

“My mate Liam downloaded it on my phone,” Louis clears another three candies, managing to clear out the jelly. “It’s supposed to help me sleep. Shit buggering fuck,” he cusses, when he realizes he’s just ran out of moves.

Harry bites his lip to keep from laughing. “To help you sleep?”

“Yeah, I can’t sleep sometimes,” Louis says, violently tapping on the play again button. “A lot of the time, actually. He thought this would help a bit.”

“Does it?"

Louis huffs. “No, because I keep losing.”

Harry watches as Louis swipes his finger, clearing another three red candies. “You know,” he says conversationally. “Instead of like, clearing the little ones, you should like wait until you can make one of those special candies. Then combine them.”

“I know,” Louis says, clearing a bunch of green candies. “But I can’t do it.”

Harry hums thoughtfully. “Here, move this blue candy down,” he says pointing. Louis does as he’s told. “Okay, now move the purple one to the right. Then move the red one down, and there, you’ve got a special candy.”

“Sick,” Louis says, combining it with another bunch of red candies. It causes all the candies in that row to disappear, jelly shattering in its wake. “With your help, I might actually make it to the next level now.”

Harry snorts. “Well, we can try,” he says, and proceeds to tell Louis to move the yellow candy down.

 

 

He doesn’t remember falling asleep; one minute he’s bickering with Louis about which candy Louis should move, and the next it’s ten in the morning and he’s opening his eyes slowly, completely alone on the bed. He almost passes Louis off as fever dream, someone he’d dreamt up, except that when he turns to look, the sheets on the left side of the bed are rumpled, in a way that they haven’t been recently. 

Oh, and there’s a bright pink post-it note stuck to his forehead. Of course.

Thanks for the ice cream! it reads, followed by a bunch of smiley faces with x’s for eyes. And then at the very bottom, the name Louis, with an x right after it.

Harry shakes his head, and gets up to use the bathroom.

 

 

Harry fully intends to pass it off as a one-time thing, except.

“You don’t have Yorkshire?” Louis’ voice pipes up, a week later. He’s on the couch again, and this time, Harry doesn’t scream. 

No, really. He doesn’t.

“Uh,” Harry clears his throat. “What?”

“Yorkshire tea,” Louis elaborates. He’s watching telly—there’s some sort of football match going on, Man U versus Liverpool, apparently. Normally, Harry would take the time to sit down and watch, admire the players and thank the gods of football for the tiny shorts necessary for the sport, but he can’t seem to spare the attention now. “`s my favourite.”

“No?” Harry asks, staring confusedly at Louis. “Why are you here?”

Louis shrugs. “You’ve got another cuddling session scheduled.

“I—what,” Harry frowns, his brow furrowed. Another cuddling session? What does that mean? He thought there’d only be one.

What the fuck.

He sits down beside Louis, intending to ask him about that, but the instant he opens his mouth, Louis scoots closer to him, lifts his feet up onto the couch, and places his head on Harry’s lap.

“I know I was hired to cuddle you,” he explains, when Harry blinks down at his head. “But also, Man U might actually lose this match, so I’m gonna need your support in this very troubling time in my life.”

So Louis is a Manchester United fan. “Okay?”

“Good,” Louis says. He pats Harry on the knee. “Can you scratch my back?”

Harry scratches his back. It’s honestly not as weird as it sounds.

 

 

“Niall,” Harry says on the phone, after he wakes up the next morning. Louis’ gone again—no note this time, just the rumpled sheets signaling that he was even there. “Niall, how many sessions did you book this professional cuddling thing for?" 

Niall just hums thoughtfully. “Ten,” he says smugly. “Every Wednesday evening.”

Harry sighs.

“I’m still not cancelling it,” Niall says, before Harry can even open his mouth to ask. “You’ve still got like, what, eight sessions, right? Think of it as just four sessions twice.”

Well, at least he’s not wrong with the math there.

“Oh yeah,” Niall adds, before Harry can say something to that extent. “Jeff told me to tell you he wants you in the studio by noon.”

Noon. That’s in...an hour. Fuck. “I hate you both,” Harry says morosely, and then hangs up to get ready.

Fucking Niall.

 

 

During their third session, Louis comes in loudly, kicking his shoes off and yelling about something. Harry can take it for all of five minutes, and then it becomes way too much, and to shut him up he decides to just agree with whatever Louis’ yelling about. 

Turns out, he’s agreed to watch a film with Louis on Netflix.

Which isn’t that bad—really, it could’ve been a lot worse—but Louis insists on sitting on Harry’s lap instead of right beside him like a normal person.  He claims it’s to save space. He’s full of shit.

“Ow,” Harry whines, jerking his hand away from Louis’ waist. “Why’d you slap me?”

“You’re distracting,” Louis says, not tearing his eyes away from the telly. He shifts on Harry’s lap, leaning back and sprawling out on him further. “You keep moving.”

“Well, yes, because I can’t feel my legs anymore,” he points out, pinching Louis lightly on the waist in revenge. “You’re fucking heavy.”

Louis slaps him on the hand again and ignores him. “Stop moving.”

“The couch is a perfectly fine place to sit in, you know.”

“But the couch isn’t warm,” Louis replies. He shifts on Harry’s lap, curling up so that his back is pressed against Harry’s chest. “It makes me feel cold.”

Harry isn’t quite sure what to do with him. Pick him up, and throw him out the window, maybe. It’s really a very appealing idea. “I could always just get you a blanket.”

“Or,” Louis says, purposefully making himself heavier, “you could save yourself the effort and just let me stay here.”

“Thanks for thinking about me,” Harry replies sarcastically, “but I’d really rather get you a blanket.”

They bicker like that through the entirety of the film, pinching, slapping and sniping at each other. When Louis eventually gets off his lap, it’s because he’s hungry and wants Harry to make him dinner.

Harry refuses to think that Louis’ won this round. Not even when Louis beams at him adorably from across the dining table, a plate of home-made spaghetti and meatballs in front of him.

Nope.

 

 

“Why are you still here,” Harry asks exasperatedly, when he walks into the kitchen and finds Louis kneeling on the counter, digging for something in the overhead cupboards. He’s already supposed to be at home; they don’t have a session scheduled today, seeing as it’s a Thursday and Louis had already stayed in Harry’s bed the previous night for their fourth, and was gone when Harry woke up. 

But apparently, he’s back. He’s probably looking for the tea—Harry had moved it to a different spot in an attempt to get Louis to stop snooping around his kitchen. Seems like that plan didn’t really work.

Louis hums, pulling out a cupcake tray. He inspects it for a couple of minutes, before dropping it on the counter beside him, and Harry winces as it clatters on the Italian marble. “Got hungry.”

Harry leans against the wall, waiting for an explanation. Louis doesn’t say anything else.

“You know, my house isn’t a restaurant,” Harry says, when Louis brings out a cake tin. Louis lets it clatter beside the cupcake tray, and turns his attention back to the cupboard. “I’m not obligated to feed you.”

“I know,” Louis says, bringing out a few glasses that Harry keeps as a spare. Harry thinks for a moment that he’s going to drop those too, but Louis just pushes the cupcake tray and the tin aside, and sets them carefully on the counter.

“My house isn’t also a playground for you to climb on things and explore,” Harry adds, before Louis can bring anything else out.

“I know,” Louis answers again. He seems to be looking at something in the cupboard, his eyes fixed on a point.

Harry sighs loudly. “Please leave.”

“I already did,” Louis answers, exaggeratedly cheerful in a way that’s probably meant to drive Harry up the wall. “Left right after our session.”

“Then why’d you come back?”

Louis reaches into the cupboard—and Harry decidedly does not stare at the way his shirt rides the slightest bit up, or the way his trousers slide the slightest bit down—and makes a triumphant sound when he manages to snag whatever it is he was reaching for. He hops down from the counter gracefully, and when he turns around, there’s a box of Earl Grey tea in his hand. “I think my roommate might be fucking someone.”

He screws up his face as he says it, looking incredibly disgusted by the thought, and Harry tries not to notice how cute he looks. “Might?”

“Might,” Louis confirms. “I’m not sure.” He putters around the kitchen, pulling the kettle off the stove—how Harry hadn’t noticed there was water boiling is beyond him. It’s probably because Louis is so distracting.

“You’re not sure? You mean you didn’t check?”

Louis scoffs. “Of course not, Harold,” he says, grabbing a mug and pouring the hot water into it. “I don’t make a habit of barging into my roommate’s rooms whenever I feel like it because one, they have a right to privacy, and two, I might see something I don’t want to see. Like his dick.” He shudders exaggeratedly. “Or maybe his arsehole.”

Harry rolls his eyes. “How’d you know he was fucking someone then?”

“I heard a crash,” Louis says dismissively, dipping the tea bag into his mug. He lets it steep for a few moments. “And like, a moan, I think.”

“You think?”

“I told you, I didn’t really check.”

Harry runs a hand down his face, feeling the strangest urge to strangle Louis right about now. He won’t, because he tries not to succumb to unnecessary violence. All the love, and all that. “Please leave.”

Louis hums. “No.”

“Louis.”

“Harry.”

“This is my house.”

“But my roommate is fucking someone in our flat.”

“That’s not my problem.” Louis can stay in like, a coffee shop or something, at least until his roommate is done fucking someone. Harry will personally pay to have him stay in a coffee shop, instead of lounging around in Harry’s house.

But before he can voice out that thought, Louis is turning to face Harry, clutching the mug of tea in his hands. “But he’s fucking someone,” Louis says pitifully. “I don’t want to see his arsehole.”

He pouts at Harry, tilting his head in a way that makes Harry feel like his heart’s been hit with an anvil, and God. The only reason why Harry decides to allow him to stay is because he’s too tired to argue, not—and he wants this noted down—because of the puppy dog eyes.

Harry sighs. “At least make me a cuppa as well.”

The expression clears from Louis’ face and he grins widely, punching a fist in the air. “Yes!” He shouts triumphantly, setting his tea down on the counter and fetching a mug to make one for Harry. “Fuck, yes!”

“Don’t start,” Harry says tartly, as he accepts the mug Louis passes him. “If you say anything I’ll throw you out.”

“You say that,” Louis says smugly, bouncing on his heels. He chooses to go hoist himself back on the counter instead of sitting on the chair by the perfectly fine breakfast nook, and kicks on the cupboards beneath his feet noisily. “Yet you never do it. I’m thinking you might actually like it when I bother you, Harry Styles.”

Harry likes it as much as he likes mould on bread. "You’re going after I finish this cup of tea.”

Louis doesn’t even seem bothered. “Please,” he says, “like you could get me to leave when I don’t want to.”

He’s right; Louis ends up staying six hours. In that time, he’s managed to convince Harry to order pizza, watch about ten episodes of Friends on the telly, and throw food at Ross. He also manages to steal a box Jasmine tea, which Harry doen’t notice until after he’s left.

One of these days Harry’s going to snap and strangle him.

 

 

On the fifth session, Louis brings a football with him. 

He spends an inordinate amount of time convincing Harry to play with him, claiming that they should take advantage of the warm weather and Harry’s spacious backyard. It’s only when he starts threatening to play football inside the house, kicking the ball around just to prove his point, that Harry agrees.

“I can’t understand why you can’t just run around outside by yourself,” Harry complains as he laces up his trainers.

Louis scoffs. “And look like, what, a crazy person who broke into Harry Styles’ backyard? No thanks mate. Besides, it’s more fun with a partner.”

It’s a sunny day. The sky is a nice blue, and the clouds are picturesque and fluffy, resembling the clouds drawn in children’s picture books. There’s still a bit of chill in the air—this isn’t LA, after all—but it’s nice enough.

The only problem? Louis is absolutely brilliant at football. His movements are smooth, his kicks strong, and he dribbles the ball with ease, manhandling it past Harry’s legs and, more often than not, sends it straight into Harry’s makeshift goal.

And of course, Harry is ridiculously horrible at football.

Louis tries not to laugh too obviously every time Harry trips over the ball, or misses a particularly easy kick, or gets hit by the ball. He mostly fails, which is why after a few hours, his face is red from stifling his laughter, making him resemble a tomato.

Eventually, when the score reaches eight to one, with eight being Louis’ score, obviously, Harry gives up and plops down on the grass. He’s content to just lay here, staring at the sky and reflect on his football failures, but Louis, apparently, isn’t.

“Get up,” he says, pulling at Harry’s hand. His face is a dark shadow, silhouetted by the sun. “Come on, let’s play.”

Harry squints up at him, but doesn’t move from where he’s lying on the grass. “I don’t want to,” he says. “I suck.”

Harry thinks Louis rolls his eyes. “Come on, don’t be a baby.”

“No,” Harry says stubbornly. The grass tickles his back through his shirt, and he thinks maybe there’s a little trail of ants climbing over his shoe, but no way is he getting up to play football again. “I’m tired.”

Louis hovers over him even more. “Come on,” he wheedles, completely blocking out the sunlight. “Football’s fun!”

Harry casts him a doubtful look. “Maybe for you,” he says. “You’re not the one tripping over his own feet.”

“It is fun,” Louis insists. “Were you ever part of a team?”

Harry sighs. “The preschool youth team back in Holmes Chapel,” he admits, pulling at the grass. “I was five, and like, the fourth reserve player or something.”

And what a time that had been. Harry’s pretty sure he only played one game in his entire, short-lived football career, but his mum’s actually got an album full of pictures of him playing football, kicking the ball and falling over.

That was way before his sudden growth spurt, though, back when he could still control his limbs and was generally much more coordinated than he is now.

“See?” Louis says smugly, as if he’d just proven a point. “Fun. Anyway—” He tugs at Harry’s hand again, trying to get him to stand. “Stand up! People are going to think I murdered you.”

Harry resolutely stays put. “No one’s going to think that. The nearest neighbours are ten kilometres away.” Maybe he can just lie here and like, cloud-watch. “You can play, I’m just gonna lie here and look at the clouds.”

Harry’s pretty sure that Louis’ going to ignore his last statement and continue trying to get him off the ground and onto his feet, so he closes his eyes, prepares himself to hear more wheedling. Louis can, after all, be quite stubborn. And quite convincing.

But then he hears, “ugh, fine,” and then Louis is plopping onto the grass beside him, the football tucked between his legs. Harry, confused, pushes himself onto his elbows. Stares as Louis sprawls out until they’re lying side by side.

“What are you doing?”

Louis raises an eyebrow, unimpressed. His hair is mussed, and there’s sweat beading his hairline. There’s also a smudge of soil on his cheek, one he got from when he saved the ball from one of Harry’s more stellar kicks. “I thought we were cloud-watching.”

His eyes are a much prettier blue than the sky. Harry finds that he doesn’t really want to cloud-watch anymore.

Louis turns to look at the sky, his profile lit up by the sun. He suddenly snickers, one of his hands coming up to cover his smile, before he’s nudging Harry with an elbow. “Look,” he says, pointing. “It looks like my mate Liam’s dick.”

Harry looks at the cloud. It is very phallic-shaped.  “How do you know what your mate Liam’s dick looks like?”

“Sometimes I catch him taking nude selfies after his gym session.”

“Oh.” Harry says, mulling over that information. He points out another cloud, a bit further away from The Cloud That Is Liam’s Dick. “That one looks like a baby elephant.”

“No,” Louis disagrees. He traces a shape out in the air. “It’s another penis.”

Harry gives him a flat look. “You’re ruining the spirit of cloud-watching.”

“I’m improving it,” Louis corrects haughtily. “Penises make everything better.”

They spend an hour like that, Harry actually trying to find things in the clouds, Louis doing his best to make everything into a penis. Eventually, it gets a bit too dark, and they start getting hungry, so they head back in for a quick shower and a late dinner. Harry makes a pasta that Louis pretends to hate but really obviously loves, judging by the way he gets a second serving and glares when Harry gets one too.

After, when they’ve cleared up all the dishes and put the pasta in the fridge, Louis just takes off, tucks himself into Harry’s bed. Harry only grumbles a little bit before he’s climbing the bed, fitting himself behind Louis.

 

 

Harry is meant to be doing something important in this meeting, he’s pretty sure, probably discussing his thoughts about his next single, or what he wants the the music video to be, but he can’t really focus on that because Louis won’t stop texting him.

How Louis got his number, he’ll never know. 

And it’s not like they’re normal texts either. No, he’s texting Harry fucking emojis, rows and rows of different smileys and people and flags and…whatever it is you can find on the emoji keyboard. A lot of things, Harry gathers, because although he doesn’t use them, Louis’ texts have like, fifty different emojis each.

He’s in the middle of trying to decipher one of Louis’ texts, because there might actually be messages in them, when a hand on his shoulder makes him look up.

“I’m listening,” Harry blurts out. All he sees, however, is a secretary packing up the laptop they used for the presentation, a bunch of empty chairs, and Jeff.

“Harry,” Jeff says patiently, “the meeting ended ten minutes ago.”

“Oh,” Harry replies sheepishly. “Oops.” He stands up and pockets his phone, trying to ignore the way it’s still buzzing relentlessly in his trousers. “Sorry.”

At least Jeff doesn’t look bothered. “It’s fine,” he says. “I could tell you were distracted so I had them wrap it up early.”

Harry doesn’t deserve a manager like Jeff, honestly. “Sorry,” he says again. “I just, uh. Yeah. I owe you one.”

“You owe me plenty,” Jeff corrects, as he shepherds Harry out of the room. “Do you know how many times I’ve had to save your ass in there a while ago?”

Harry hazards a guess. “A lot…?”

Jeff rolls his eyes. “Who is it.”

“What?”

“The person you’ve been texting.”

As if on cue, his phone buzzes again. Harry pulls it out of his pocket unthinkingly, opening his phone to another string of emojis.

Harry sighs. “Louis.”

Jeff frowns. “Who?”

“The professional cuddler Niall got me.”

“Oh,” Jeff nods sagely. “How’s that going for you?”

“Terrible,” Harry answers immediately. His phone lights up with the notification for a new message, and Harry resists the urge to just throw his phone to the ground and stomp on it. “He’s terrible, Jeff. It’s like he’s made it his life mission to annoy me. Look,” he holds up the phone to Jeff, “he won’t stop sending me emojis.”

Jeff looks at the phone, then back at Harry. “Ah yes, emojis,” he deadpans. “Truly the worst thing in the world.”

Harry pouts. “Stop making fun of me.”

“Sorry.” Jeff nudges him forward, pushing him past the conferences and the offices and towards the lobby. “I’m sure he’s not as bad as you think. I mean, he seemed like a pretty great guy when I met him.”

Harry whirls around in shock. “You met him?”

“`Course,” Jeff says, shrugging. “Had to make him sign an NDA, didn’t I?”

He…what. “You met him and instead of having my back and cancelling the entire thing, you just decide ‘why not’ and just make him sign an NDA?” Harry crosses your arms, affronted. “I’m your client. Me. Harry Styles. Not Niall Horan.”

Jeff rolls his eyes. “You don’t play golf with me anymore,” he replies easily, clapping him on the back and pushing past Harry. “Which is why I like Niall better now. Also don’t forget, you’ve got another meeting tomorrow at one!”

Jeff gives him a wave, strolling out of the lobby casually. Harry glares at his retreating back, and only stops when his phone vibrates a hundred times in his hand.

Harry stifles a groan. The next time Jeff and Niall have one of their golf dates, he’s so going to come along.

 

 

“I don’t understand why we’re here,” Harry grumbles, casting his eyes around the store. They’re in a pet shop, of all places, because Louis decided that they needed to get out of the house and all but forced Harry into a pair of trousers and a shirt. He had even found one of Harry’s old snapbacks, a bright green one that was frankly, an eyesore, and made him wear it in an attempt to make him incognito. 

It’s not really working. Harry’s sure the shop attendants are taking sneaky pictures of him on their phones.

Louis waves a hand at him, his eyes fixed on a display of puppies. “I told you,” he says, making his way towards it. He pokes a finger through the bar, and Harry watches as a puppy sniffs at it. “We spend way too much time in your house. It’s unhealthy.”

“But you’re a professional cuddler,” Harry argues, frustrated. “The cuddling’s supposed to happen at home, in a bed.”

“And that is where you’re wrong,” Louis says. “Also we’re here `cause I think you need a pet.” He reaches into the cage and takes out one of the puppies. “Here.”

In a flurry of motion, he deposits the puppy into Harry’s arms. Harry blinks as the puppy looks up at him.

“Hi?” He greets. The puppy barks back at him and wags his tail. Harry pats it on the head.

“I don’t need a pet,” Harry says, as the puppy wriggles in his arms. “I’ve already got one.”

Louis raises an eyebrow. “Yeah? Where?”

“With my mum, back in Holmes Chapel,” Harry says. He puts the puppy back into the pen. “Her name’s Dusty and she’s a cat.”

Harry quite misses her, actually. He’s been thinking about phoning his mum and telling her to bring her down here so Harry can see her for a bit.

Louis scoffs. “Well that’s shit,” he says. “How am I supposed to play with your pet if it’s all the way in Holmes Chapel?”

He takes off suddenly; Harry blinks at him for a few moments before lengthening his stride, catching up to Louis easily. “Why do you want to play with my pet?”

“I like animals,” Louis answers, shrugging. “Also because your house is boring as fuck.” He stops abruptly, doubling back to one of the displays. Harry follows him and finds himself staring at a frog.

Harry frowns when he sees the mischievous look in Louis’ eye. “Don’t.” He doesn’t need to hear about how he bears striking resemblance to frogs again; Gemma had once spent a month sending him pictures of different kinds of frogs, all with the caption ‘it u’. She still calls him a frog sometimes, when they’re both at home and she thinks he’s being particularly annoying.

Louis, unsurprisingly, doesn’t listen. “He looks like you,” he coos, putting a finger to the glass. “I’m gonna call him Harry.”

“I don’t think you can name the pet shop animals,” Harry says.

Louis ignores him. “Hi, Harry,” he greets loudly, like the frog will actually fucking reply to him. “How are you today?”

“Louis, you know it’s not going to reply to you, right?”

“Shut up, Harold, I’m trying to listen to what Harry’s saying.” He puts his ear to the glass. “Are you having a nice day?”

It’s obvious that he’s just doing this to rile Harry up, but Harry can’t help it. He gets riled up anyway.

“Louis,” he says. “It’s a frog.”

The frog suddenly croaks, like it’s trying to argue with Harry about its frog-ness. He loses, of course, because he is a frog. And because Harry knows these things, since Harry is a human and not a frog.

“His name is Harry,” Louis corrects, haughtily. “Stop disrespecting him.”

“You named him after me.”

“All frogs are named after you,” Louis replies matter-of-factly. “It’s `cause you look like all the frogs.”

He’s a complete nutjob. Harry resists the urge to smack him.

Harry decides to change tactics. Louis can be incredibly bullheaded about things like this, and he knows from experience that Louis can argue about a point for hours, for no other reason except that he ‘just felt like it’. “Does this make me Harry number one, then?”

“No,” Louis replies. He’s still got his ears pressed to the glass of the cage, and he looks silly. “you’re Harry number five.”

“Five?”

“Yeah,” Louis answers. “Prince Harry, Harry Potter, Harry Osbourne from Spiderman, Harry over here, and then you.”

Harry crosses his arms. “Why does the frog that was named after me come before me?”

“He doesn’t talk as much as you,” Louis says dismissively.

Harry rolls his eyes, huffs, and wanders off, leaving Louis with Harry the fucking frog.

Eventually he finds himself at the rodent section of the store, watching, entranced, as a hedgehog burrows into the wood shavings of its cage. That’s also where Louis finds him, however many minutes later. He takes one look at the hedgehog, before turning to face Harry, an eyebrow raised.

Harry keeps his eyes fixed on the animal. “You were right,” he says, as the hedgehog curls into the little hole it made. It’s really cute—small and quiet. It looks like it would make nice company. “Maybe I should get a pet.”

“A hedgehog?” Louis asks. “Really?”

“What?” Harry asks defensively. “It’s cute.”

“It’s boring,” Louis replies. “How am I supposed to play with it?”

Harry gives him a look. “You don’t,” he says. “I’m not getting a pet for you to play with.”

“What are you getting a pet for, then?”

“For myself,” Harry says. “For me to take care of.” He cocks his head at it. “Do you think I should name it Louis?”

Louis narrows his eyes. “You wouldn’t dare.”

“I’m gonna name it Louis,” he says decisively, and tries not to laugh when Louis’ face turns even more mutinous.

“You are not going to buy a pet hedgehog and name him after me, what the fuck.”

Harry wasn’t really planning on buying it, but now he kind of wants to. “Why not?” He challenges, raising an eyebrow.

“Because if you do, I’ll cut off your balls and feed it to you in your sleep.” Louis threatens.

Harry snickers. “You wouldn’t.”

“Try me.”

 

 

Thirty minutes later, they leave the pet shop sans hedgehog, but with Harry’s balls intact. Distantly, Harry knows that Louis wouldn’t actually hurt him, but, well. Turns out Louis can be quite convincing. 

Louis doesn’t gloat, but he also doesn’t stop smiling for the rest of the session.

 

 

Harry doesn’t mean to slam the door when he gets home, but it still ends up banging noisily against the frame. He’s not mad, per se, it’s just—he’s had a long, hard day, filled with long meetings about his planned music video, paparazzi getting all up in his face and shouting questions about whether or not he has his sights set on any girls, and reporters calling him up for statements about Kendall’s new…whatever she’s doing. He knows they’re mostly syndicated—it is promo time, after all—but really, he just wants to go to sleep and maybe not deal with his life for the next eight hours or so. 

There’s a pair of Adidas trainers in the middle of the foyer, placed in such a way that Harry would trip on them if he wasn’t careful, and Harry resists the urge to scream. He’s really not in the mood to deal with Louis, and whatever Louis thinks will be fun to do today.

He leaves the trainers where they are, and goes to find Louis. He’s not in the living room, the flat screen or the quilt that Harry left on the sofa untouched. He’s not in the kitchen either, but Harry can tell he’s been there; all his food containers have been brought out from the cupboard and left on every flat surface available.

Harry sighs, and makes his way to the bedroom. He figures Louis will be there—after all, Louis, despite climbing all over Harry’s house and snooping in different rooms, always tends to gravitate to either the kitchen, the living room, or the master bedroom.

He’s right. When he gets there, he finds his bed naked, the sheets left in a bundle on the floor. The balcony doors are open, letting in a light, cool breeze. And leaning against the railing, lighting what looks to be a big, fat blunt, is Louis.

“What are you doing?”

Louis doesn’t even startle at Harry’s sudden appearance. “Lighting up," he mumbles around the joint. The flame finally catches, and Harry watches as he takes a long drag, holding it in his lungs for a few seconds, before blowing it out.

Harry leans against the balcony door. “Do you seriously have to do this here?” He asks, unable to keep the annoyance out of his tone.

Louis shrugs, taking another drag. “Yeah,” he answers. Wisps of smoke escapes from his lips as he talks. “My roommate Zayn—have I told you about him? Anyway, he has this habit of like, getting high and spray painting things on the walls, and he always takes the weed from my stash. So I just brought it here.”

He what. “Wait, you keep your weed in my house?”

Louis gives him a look. “`s what I said, didn’t I,” he says, like he even has the right to get pissed off. “

“You’re not supposed to keep your weed in someone else’s house without fucking telling them, Louis.”

Louis rolls his eyes. “Sorry,” he replies, completely unapologetic. “Besides it’s not like you even fucking noticed.”

That’s not…That’s not even the point. Harry is this close to pushing him off the balcony and watching him fall.

However, because he isn’t a violent person, he refrains. Instead, he stalks forward, rips the joint out of Louis’ hand. “Give me that.”

“Hey,” Louis protests, but Harry doesn’t pay him any mind, just turns his back to Louis, lifts the joint up, and takes a drag.

Immediately, the taste of good weed floods his senses. Harry inhales as much smoke as he can without coughing, holds it in, before blowing it out towards the sky. He takes another two hits, sucking it down greedily, and letting out, before turning to face Louis again.

Louis’ got one eyebrow raised and is staring at him with an expression of slight surprise. “Didn’t know you had it in you, Harry Styles.”

Harry feels lighter already. “Shut the fuck up.”

They relocate to the lounge chairs on the balcony after they finish the first joint. Louis rolls them another one and they pass it back and forth while lying down, staring at the sky. There are no stars, because this is London and the only thing the London has is smog and air pollution, but it’s nice anyway.

“Lou,” Harry says, his words slurring together a bit. “Do you think if I flew up there, and like, blew all the smog away, we’d be able to see the stars?”

Louis gives him a look that would normally be scathing, but right now, just makes him look unimpressed. He’s a bit high too; Harry can see it in the way his eyes are red rimmed, in the way his accent is just a little more Northern. “How high are you?”

“One-point-eighty metres,” Harry answers promptly.

“That’s not what I meant,” Louis says, shifting to extend his foot over his lounge chair, and kicking Harry in the leg. He doesn’t clarify what he meant, though, which means that Harry answered him correctly. Harry is smart like that.

“Lou,” Harry says again, and Louis kicks him to show that he’s listening. “Did you know your name rhymes with ‘blue’? Like your eyes?”

He doesn’t see it, but he thinks maybe Louis smiles. “And yours rhymes with…”

“Happy,” Harry supplies.

“No,” Louis says. “Marry. Marry Harry.”

Harry doesn’t know why that makes me giggle. “Marry me?” He asks. “Would you marry me, Lou? Just `cause it rhymes?”

Another kick. “No,” Louis answers. “I’d marry literally anyone in the world except you.”

That’s mean. Harry pouts. “Why not?”

“Because I don’t want to marry you,” Louis answers. He kicks Harry again. “You can’t make me.”

“You’re mean,” Harry replies. “I don’t like you. And stop kicking me.”

“No,” Louis says. He kicks Harry again to prove his point.

And Harry decides that the best thing to do is to get off his lounge chair, climb on top of Louis, and pin him down with his body. Just so Louis stops kicking him.

The lounge chair creaks ominously beneath them. “Oh my God,” Louis yells, squirming. “It’s gonna break.”

Harry clings onto Louis. “No, it won’t.”

“It will,” Louis says, pinching Harry on the waist hard. “We’re going to fall and I’m going to break my bum and you’re going to have to spend your millions on my hospital bills.”

“It won’t.” Harry pulls Louis’ hand away from his waist, pinning it down beside his head. He does the same for the other one. “You’re tiny.”

“Fuck off,” Louis says angrily. He does his best to pull his hands away, but Harry just presses them down harder, tightens his grip.

“Stop moving.” Harry giggles, purposefully makes himself heavier. “You’re trapped. I caught you.”

Louis, by some miracle, actually stills. He looks up at Harry, and Harry feels his breath catch, feels like there’s smoke stuck at the back of his throat, burning through his skin, even though he and Louis stopped smoking ten minutes ago.

He’s just so—he’s so pretty, is the thing, his blue eyes dark and glittering, despite the lack of light, his hair all soft and messy. Harry kind of just wants to put his mouth on him. Just once, just to see what he’d taste like.

Louis stares at him, goes slightly pink, and mumbles, “Fuck, you’re cute.”

Harry blinks at him for a few moments. “What?” He can’t have heard that right.

“I said, fuck off, curly,” Louis yells the last few words in Harry’s ear, making Harry shy away and giggle. He still doesn’t get off, though, because Louis feels nice underneath him, and he smells good, like sandalwood and Harry’s favourite cologne. He probably stole some of it off the dresser. “I’ll shove you off, I swear.”

Harry doesn’t know how he’s planning to do that, considering that he’s got both of his hands trapped. “You can try,” he says. “But I’ll just take you down with me.”

He shifts his weight a little bit, just so he’s not pressing his full weight onto Louis. Louis, for some reason, doesn’t move—he just stays put, not even trying to squirm away from Harry. Maybe he likes being held down.

There’s a word for that, but Harry’s too high to remember it.

“If you fucking pull me down with you,” Louis begins.

“You’ll what?” Harry challenges, leaning down and nosing at Louis’ collarbone, trying to follow the scent of sandalwood. He’s pretty sure it ends somewhere, and when it does, he hopes he finds, like, a sandalwood forest or something. One that has no paparazzi and no journalists where he can live in forever.

“I’ll sue you.”

“Then I’ll sue you back,” Harry replies mindlessly.

“Then I’ll sue you back.” Louis squirms a bit when Harry’s nose touches his neck, but he doesn’t complain, just lets Harry continue to smell him.

“You can’t sue me when I’m suing you.” Harry says.

“Why not?”

“Because…” Harry can’t remember. Weed always makes everything fuzzy, kind of like his brain’s been stuffed full of cotton. “You just can’t. It’s like, the law.”

“Fuck the law,” Louis says immediately.

“You can’t fuck the law.” Louis’ all warm and smooth and soft, like some sort of tiny teddy bear, and Harry can feel the tiredness creep up on him.

“Just watch me.” Louis says defiantly. “I’ll fuck the law and I’ll do it twice.”

“Mmmkay,” Harry mumbles, shutting his eyes and inhaling deeply. “Maybe you can fuck the law tomorrow. `m tired.”

“Then go to sleep.”

“I will,” Harry says into Louis’ neck. “I’m just gonna cuddle the shit out of you first.”

“Help,” Louis whines, but he doesn’t really do much, just lets Harry bury his face into his neck.

 

 

Harry’s still on the lounge chair when he wakes up, the sun shining brightly in his eyes. Louis, as always, is gone—he must have somehow managed to escape from underneath Harry without waking him. Harry doesn’t know why he feels a flash of disappointment at that thought. 

On the other lounge chair, his phone rings. Harry groans, pushing himself up on his elbows to reach for it, when he realizes there’s something wrapped around him. It takes him a few moments to recognize that it’s his blanket, one that was, when he checked yesterday, bundled up on the floor of his bedroom, and not out here.

Harry’s not endeared. He isn’t.

 

 

After that, things are a bit…different. At least on Harry’s part. 

Louis’ still a pain in the arse, but Harry’s starting to recognize that it’s not because he wants to send Harry to his grave early. No, Louis is fond of him, at least a little bit, enough to push and prod and poke and annoy until Harry pays attention to him. Harry feels like he’s suddenly gotten access to a different perspective, and now everything that Louis does makes the slightest bit more sense.

So Harry does his best to reply to all the annoying emoji messages Louis sends, even going so far as to activate the emoji keyboard on his phone and try to use the emojis. He sends Louis proper messages as well, stuff like, which do you think came first, the chicken or the egg, or my friend’s dog just peed on my shoe, just to see what he’d say.

If Louis notices the slight change in behaviour, he doesn’t mention it at all.

 

 

“What are you doing?” Harry mumbles sleepily, his face smushed into Louis’ hair. There’s something slightly wet pressing on his skin, moving in little shapes on his arm. It’s a familiar feeling, but Harry can’t seem to place it. 

It abruptly stills. “Drawing,” Louis says, brightly.

Drawing? Harry pulls his face away from Louis’ hair and pushes himself up on his elbow, trying to take a peek. “What are you drawing?” 

Louis uses his hands to cover the spot he’s been working on. “Nothing,” he says, looking over his shoulder to give Harry a beaming smile. He’s apparently really drawing—he’s got a sharpie in between his fingers, one he probably picked up from Harry’s night table.

Harry frowns, pulls his arm away lightly, but Louis grabs his arm and pulls it back towards him. “You can’t be drawing nothing.”

Louis rolls his eyes. “Okay, fine, it is something,” he says, “but you’re not allowed to see it yet.”

“Why not?”

“It’s a surprise,” Louis says innocently, and that sets warning bells off in Harry’s head. Louis’ surprises are never really innocent.

He raises an eyebrow. “Are you writing mean things about me?”

Louis scoffs. “For me to write mean things about you, I have to actually be thinking about you,” he says. He jabs the back of the sharpie against Harry’s hand lightly. “You have to stop being so egotistical.”

Okay, Harry is not egotistical. It’s just that he’s finding it a bit hard to believe that Louis isn’t thinking about him just a little bit right now. “You’re saying you’re here in my house, in my bed, drawing on my arm and being cuddled by me, and you’re not thinking about me at all?”

“Yep,” Louis answers, popping the ‘p’. “You’re not special, Harry Styles. I get cuddled by a lot of people too, you know.”

Harry gasps mockingly. “You mean there are more people out there who can stand you?”

The sharpie jab comes much harder, this time. “Shut up,” Louis says. “Just for that, I’m going to start writing mean things about you.”

Harry waits for Louis to resume his drawing, just so he can take a peek at what he’s working on, but Louis just stays put, keeping his hands over his drawing. It’s a few minutes of waiting, before Louis is looking around, raising an eyebrow. “I’m not gonna start if you keep looking over my shoulder like this.”

“It’s my arm, I have the right to know what you’re drawing on it.”

“Yeah, well,” Louis says. “No. It’s not finished yet.”

Harry rolls his eyes. “C’mon, it’s not like it’s the next Mona Lisa or something.”

“It could be,” Louis says. “Have you ever seen me draw, Harry Styles?”

“Well, no, but—”

“Then you don’t have the right to comment about my artistic ability,” Louis finishes smugly. “I’ll have you know my roommate is an extremely talented artist, so some of his talent must has rubbed off on me somehow.”

“I don’t think it works like that.”

“It does,” Louis insists. “Don’t argue with me, because unlike you, I actually finished college.” Harry watches as Louis shifts so that only one hand is covering the drawing, and uses his other hand to write TWAT on the back of Harry’s hand.

Harry resists the urge to steal the sharpie and write on him. Instead he just shakes his head, lies back down. “Make sure it’s something I can get off in about a day,” he warns, before closing his eyes. “I’m filming a music video in a couple of days.”

The only reply he gets is the feeling of the sharpie on his skin.

 

 

Lou Teasdale’s eyes practically bulge out of her skull when Harry shows up on her make-up chair three days later, for the filming of his music video. “Harry,” she starts, her eyes flitting from where the word TWAT is still visible on the back of his hand, to Louis’ drawing, stark and unmistakable smack-dab middle of his un-tattoooed forearm. “Did you…is that a new tattoo?” 

Harry scowls, unable to stop himself. “No,” he says, using a hand to cover the drawing. “Lo—someone drew it on me and now it won’t come off.” Fucking sharpie. Harry really should have known better.

Lou blinks at it for a few minutes, like she’s trying to wrap her head around it. “Harry…I’m sorry to tell you this, but that is a dick.”

It is a dick. An incredibly realistic drawing of a dick, complete with foreskin and veins and pubic hair. And it has tiny stick legs, for some strange, random reason. “It’s a dick with legs.”

Actually, Harry’s pretty sure that this is a real dick. Like someone’s actual, drawn-to-life dick. Knowing Louis, it’s highly likely that right now, Harry’s walking around with a good replica of nudist-best-mate Liam’s dick on his arm.

Lou stares at him for a few moments, then back to his arm, before bursting into laughter. She laughs so hard she almost falls to the floor, tears spilling from her eyes. She doesn’t stop, not even when Harry decides to gently shove her out the door for her to compose herself. And even then, Harry can still hear her laughing.

It takes a while—fifteen minutes to be exact—before Lou comes back decidedly calmer, with Caroline in tow. Caroline, to her credit, doesn’t say anything when she sees it, for which Harry is grateful for. She just goes to the clothing rack, pulls out a flowery jacket and tosses it to him with the unspoken instruction to wear it.

Harry could kiss her. “Thank you,” he breathes, scrambling to put it on. “Please don’t tell Jeff about this.”

Caroline raises an eyebrow. “Sure,” she says, “but just a piece of advice, drawing dicks on your arm is not going to help you get more of it.”

At that, Lou, who’d been applying moisturizer on his face, starts laughing again. This time, Caroline joins her.

 

 

The next few days after filming the music video are spent getting papped, working on his album, and generally preparing for his promo tour. He’s scheduled to fly out to LA on Friday, right after the song gets released, and then attend a bunch of TV interviews, radio guestings and performances Jeff booked him for, so Harry attends meetings, rehearses his single and familiarizes himself with the questions they’ll be asking him on the shows. It’s so incredibly draining that by the end of the day, Harry’s always exhausted, passing out fully clothed on top of his bed. 

He’s in the middle of taking a well-deserved nap when Louis comes over for their next session. He’d started the day early, working out at five am because he couldn’t sleep anymore. After that it was the studio until after lunch, then a long, two-hour meeting about the details of the promo tour, followed by a boxing session to blow off steam, and then three hours of meticulously packing his suitcase for L.A.

Louis, however, doesn’t care about how well-deserved this nap is, because he comes in loudly, all slamming doors and shoes bouncing off walls. Harry manages to block out his noise with a couch cushion, and it works, at least until Louis plops down on top of him.

“Haaa-rryyyyy,” he sing-songs, ripping the couch cushion away from his face and poking him on the eye. “Hey Harry.”

Harry grumbles, swatting his hand away. He enjoys about five seconds of peace before Louis’ hand is back again. “Harryyyyyy,” he says, drawing out the last syllable annoyingly. “Harry. Harry. Wake up. Harry.”

Harry stays resolutely still. Louis tries to physically open his eye with his fingers, and Harry swats his hand away again, and covers his eyes with an arm.

Louis pokes him in the armpit, making Harry squirm. “Come on,” he bounces on Harry’s stomach, and Harry feels all his breath leave him on a large exhale. “Get up.”

“Go away,” Harry mutters, using his free hand to try and stop Louis from poking him everywhere. “’m tired.”

“But it’s time for a session,” Louis says. He uses the couch cushion to smack Harry on the face, and Harry grunts, tries to shove Louis off of him. “That means you’re supposed to entertain me.”

God, it’s like dealing with a hyper-active child. “You entertain yourself,” Harry grumbles, trying to grab Louis’ hand when he twists his nipple. “Just let me sleep for a bit.”

There’s a sudden pause, like Louis is thinking this over. “Okay,” he says eventually, getting off Harry and leaving him be.

He gets another half hour of peace before Louis wakes him up again, this time by making as much noise as possible in the kitchen, so Harry reluctantly sighs, sits up from the couch and opens his eyes.

And stops. And closes his eyes, and opens his eyes again.

Because all of his stuff, everything he’d meticulously packed for three hours, is scattered all over the living room.

Harry stares at the mess, dumbfounded, then stares at his suitcase, which is standing upright and completely empty. Like there’s literally nothing left inside, all its pockets and linings turned inside out to show just how empty it is.

And Harry knows it’s not hard to repack—the only reason why he’d taken three hours was because he couldn’t decide on which shirts to bring—but he’s absolutely exhausted, and he’s leaving in two days, and now he has to spend time he could’ve used for sleeping refolding and fucking repacking his things, all because Louis was bored and decided to mess with his stuff.

A crash from his kitchen startles him, and Harry just feels his blood boil even more. He pushes himself up, stomps towards the kitchen and comes in to find Louis on sitting on the marble countertop, kicking his heels back and forth.

“Louis,” Harry says, and he tries not to sound angry, but that’s how it comes out as. “Did you seriously fucking mess with my stuff?”

Louis doesn’t even seem bothered by Harry’s anger, just kicks his heels against the cupboard and raises an eyebrow. “No.”

And normally, he can tolerate Louis’ bullshit—even laugh it off, sometimes—but he’s had an incredibly rough day, and really, Louis isn’t making it any easier. “Then why are all the stuff I spent three hours packing a while ago not in the suitcase?”

Louis shrugs. On the stovetop, the kettle starts to boil, and he hops down, goes to turn off the stove. “You told me to entertain myself.”

“Yeah, by using my Netflix account or watching telly or using my fucking laptop, not—” Harry cuts himself off, takes a deep breath to calm himself. It doesn’t work, in the slightest.

Harry watches, fuming, as Louis pours the hot water calmly into the mug he’d set out, before dropping a tea bag into it. “Not what?” He asks, sounding completely unbothered.

“Jesus fuck, Lou,” Harry swears. He can feel his blood rising, red-hot anger spreading through his veins. “I literally let you have free reign of my house every time you’re here and you just go and decide to mess up—you know what, never mind,” he says, rolling his eyes. “I can’t reason with a fucking child.”

“Hey,” Louis says, and he sounds angry now, which, good. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means that I can’t leave you alone for two seconds without you making a mess of everything,” Harry doesn’t want to yell, but he can tell he’s dangerously close to doing so. “I have to always be around to watch over you, to supervise you—you’re twenty-four years old.” Start acting like it, he doesn’t say, but Louis hears it anyway.

“Are you calling me immature?” Louis demands, placing the kettle back down on the stove top. He does it so calmly, that it just makes Harry even angrier: how he can be so unaffected and unbothered, while Harry is dangerously close to wringing his neck.

“You are immature,” Harry explodes. “You literally show up, make as much noise as possible, annoy me until I’m pulling my hair out, make a mess of my entire fucking life, and you don’t even care.”

Louis blinks at him. “Your entire fucking life?” He repeats, and there’s a dangerous edge to his voice. “I messed up your whole life? Last I checked, you were some broken-hearted pop star who couldn’t seem to stop writing depressing songs even before we met.” He scoffs, takes a sip of his tea, and places it back on the counter. “Don’t act like I messed up your life when it was already a mess to begin with.”

And Harry—

Harry doesn’t know what happens exactly, but one moment he’s seeing red and the next, he’s got Louis’ wrists in his hands, and Louis backed against the counter. He can hear himself breathing hard, can tell that he’s breathing hard, and his heart is pounding against his ribcage, racing from the anger and something else, an emotion Harry can’t place.

It takes him a moment to realize that Louis has quieted, and when Harry chances a glance at him, his face is slack, his blue eyes glassy. He doesn’t seem to be breathing—or if he is, he’s doing it so quietly that Harry can’t hear it—and there’s something in the way he looks right now, all…open and vulnerable that makes Harry’s heart kick up another notch.

Louis’ eyes are fixed on Harry’s face, and his tongue comes out to wet his lips, and, okay, Harry knows Louis is attractive, that he’s probably the prettiest person Harry’s ever met, but right now it catches him off-guard, hits him like a punch to the gut. Louis is gorgeous, his blue eyes bright, his mouth wet, and so very red, and it would be easy to just lean down and—

Harry shakes his head, drops Louis’ wrists like he’s just been burned. He doesn’t look at Louis’ face, doesn’t look at any part of Louis, actually, when he mumbles a sorry and flees the kitchen.

 

 

Harry doesn’t know how long he spends hiding in his bedroom, doesn’t know how long he spends alone. Louis’ quiet, when he comes in—something so incredibly uncharacteristic of him that it makes Harry’s heart ache. He doesn’t say anything, just climbs onto the bed and sits quietly beside Harry. 

Harry breaks the silence. “I overreacted,” he says, because he can at least admit that. “I’m sorry. I’m just exhausted and cranky, I didn’t mean to shout at you like that. Didn’t mean to grab you, either.”

He doesn’t look at Louis, takes a deep breath. “And you didn’t mess up my life,” He admits. “True you maybe made it a bit…messier, in like, the literal sense,” he sighs, thinking about all the packing he has to do again, “but you didn’t…like, metaphorically mess it up.”

“Are you sure you’re not just saying that to make me feel better?” Louis asks quietly.

Harry shakes his head. “No,” he says honestly. Truthfully. “No, you…you definitely changed it, I think, but I don’t think you changed it in a bad way.”

It’s not even a lie. Harry swears he wasn’t heartbroken before he met Louis, but he also hadn’t realized just how lonely he actually was. Louis changed that, though; he’d been so loud and so annoying that half the time, Harry wanted to throw him out of his house, but it must have worked, somehow, because now Harry doesn’t sleep as well without him.

Louis is quiet for a while, probably contemplating Harry’s words. “I meant to piss you off.” When Harry looks at him, he shrugs. “I really did, just…not that much.”

Of course. Harry chuckles quietly, turning to face him fully. “I’m really just tired,” he says. “It’s been a stressful past few days, plus I always get a bit…weird whenever I have to fly.” He shrugs. “I have this tendency to, like, get homesick before I leave? It’s kind of a weird thing.” Don’t get him wrong, he enjoys travelling—enjoys going to different countries and meeting new people—and he especially loves LA, but there’s something about the thought of leaving home that makes him cranky.

 Louis gnaws on his lower lip. “About that,” he says. “When are you leaving?”

“Hm?”

“To…wherever you’re going.”

“L.A.,” Harry corrects mindlessly. “Um, Friday? I’m flying out on Friday.”

“Oh.” There’s a small pause. “How long will you be gone?”

“Two weeks.”

“Oh,” Louis says again. He’s got a strange expression on his face, one that Harry can’t seem to read. “That’s…that’s nice, I guess.”

“Yeah,” Harry says slowly, watching him closely. He sounds different, a bit strange. Harry can’t put a finger on it. “Um, who are you and what have you done with the Louis I know?”

And it’s only because he’s watching that he catches it, catches the way Louis’ mouth quirks up for a second before he’s rolling his eyes, exaggerated and dramatic. “Excuse you,” he says. “I can be nice.”

Harry scoffs, feeling the beginnings of a smile form on his face. “You’re never nice to me.”

“I’m always nice to you,” Louis corrects haughtily, crossing his arms. “I’m practically a saint.”

“Sure,” Harry agrees, half-teasing. “Whatever helps you sleep at night.”

That makes Louis huff, and he glares at Harry, before flopping dramatically onto the bed. “You are such an asshole,” he says, shifting so that his back is to Harry. “I have no idea why you’ve got so many fans.”

“Maybe it’s because of my good looks?” Harry suggests, moving to lie onto the bed too. He takes the unspoken invitation, lays an arm around Louis’ waist. Pulls him closer, just a little bit. “And my charming personality?”

“Fuck off,” Louis says. Harry squeezes him just the slightest bit.

“Or maybe it’s the way I walk? Straight into their hearts and stole them?”

“Really?” Louis asks. “That’s like your worst song ever.”

“Close, but not quite,” Harry says. “It’s called Best Song Ever.”

Harry can literally hear Louis roll his eyes, and he bites his lip to keep from laughing out loud. “You’re acting like I care about the title,” Louis eventually replies. “I don’t even like your music.”

He says it so convincingly that Harry would believe him, if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s personally heard Louis sing some of his songs under his breath, when he thinks Harry’s not listening, or when he thinks Harry’s fallen asleep. Sometimes, Harry just pretends to be asleep just so he can listen to the cadence of Louis’ voice.

He doesn’t say any of this out loud, though, because he doesn’t want to die prematurely. “You know what,” he says, “instead of like, trying to insult me, you could just come clean and admit that you’re going to miss me when I leave.”

He thinks that maybe, Louis smiles. “Who said that I’m going to miss you?”

“Just a hunch.” Louis messes with Harry’s things, yes, but there’s something different about it. He obviously wanted Harry to get mad, and looking back on it, Harry thinks it’s his roundabout way of saying I’ll miss you. Louis seems to be the type, after all.

Louis sighs. “You really have to stop being so egotistical,” he chides, elbowing Harry lightly in the stomach. “It doesn’t agree with your good looks and your charming personality.”

“Oh, so you agree that I’m good looking and charming?”

“Of course not. You look like a frog.”

Harry rolls his eyes. “Please stop with that.”

“Never,” Louis replies gleefully, before croaking like a frog. He doesn’t stop, not until Harry, quite literally, flops down on top of him and clamps a hand over his mouth.

Harry’s life, honestly.

 

 

 

Harry arrives in LA

Harry Styles arrives in LA alone
He cut quite a casual figure in a hat when he arrived in LA solo to promote his new single

Oh to be one of the many hats in Harry Styles' collection and sit on that perfectly messed-up, slightly greasy hair all day.

The star rocked a grey fedora as he flew into LAX airport to promote his new album. Unless he's meeting up with someone that is?? Quick, someone google where Kendall Jenner is right now. 

 

 

L.A. is hot. Harry hasn’t even been out of the airport for longer than ten minutes but he’s already sweating, the back of his shirt sticking to his skin. Coupled with that disgusting feeling you get only from long-haul flights, plus the mob of paparazzi and camera flashes that meet him when he comes out of the arrivals area, and he’s just so ready to strip out of his clothes, and take a nice, long shower.

So that’s the first thing he does, when he’s finally been checked in and all his bags have finally been brought up. He spends about hour in the shower, just standing there and letting the water wash over him, soothing his aching muscles, and feeling all the dirt, grime, and sweat he’d accumulated on his flight wash down the drain. 

When he finally emerges from the bathroom, clean and relaxed, there are three texts already waiting for him. Harry expects them to be from Jeff, texting to remind him about something or the other for his promo tour, but it’s not.

It’s Louis.

He’d sent three messages full of emojis. Harry doesn’t know why he’d expected anything else.

Harry sends back a heart emoji, walking over to the balcony. He doesn’t go out—he’s still naked, and the last thing he needs is some pap taking a photo of him naked and selling it to the tabloids—but he manages to pull aside the curtain and snap a gorgeous photo of the L.A. skyline.

Miss me already? He types, sending both that and the photo to Louis.

Louis replies with a string of middle finger emojis. Harry takes that to mean that he does.

Aw, I miss you too, baby, he sends, and adds a heart emoji, just because. Then he finds out that there are other heart emojis aside from the red one, and tacks those on too.

Louis’ next text actually has words this time. i really hate you , you know .

Harry bites back the grin that’s threatening to overtake his face. No, you don’t.

 

 

They don’t stop texting after that. 

Harry ends up falling asleep in the middle of Louis’ texts, and wakes up to about ten new ones from Louis. And they’re not just random texts filled with emojis, either—although there are some of that too—they’re actual, real texts, full of words and messages and substance.

So this is what happens:

Harry sends him random text messages about LA and pictures of many different things—pictures of the view from his hotel room, the food he’s eating on that day, the different, many-coloured blouses his stylist has packed up for him to wear. Louis, in between his emoji barrages, replies with snarky comments about how obnoxious Harry is, and witty updates about current London life, that makes Harry howl with laughter every time he reads them.

we have better weather here, he sends Harry, after Harry sends him another photo of LA.

why don’t you hang out with REAL celebrities, he replies, when Harry sends him a photo of him and Mick Jagger, standing side by side.

you’re so weird, is the message Harry gets after he sends a particularly funny picture of a cat he found on Twitter. i’m not even into pussy.

Harry doesn’t think too hard about the fact that he catches himself thinking about that last one right before he falls asleep.

 

 

good job, is a text waiting for Harry when he walks off his first radio guesting. It wasn’t anything much—just a quick interview to talk about his new single and the sound of his new album, nothing to warrant a ‘good job’ text, but it’s there anyway. 

Thanks, Harry types back slowly. After a few moments, he adds, You listened?

liam did, is Louis’ immediate reply. i’m impressed , you didn’t talk as slow as you normally do .

Harry rolls his eyes. He talks at a normal speed, thank you very much. I didn’t know Liam was a fan.

he’s not, comes Louis’ reply. i told him i hated you so he listened to it obnoxiously loud to piss me off . He even adds three angry emojis at the end.

What did you do this time? Harry knows it’s wrong to assume, but, this is Louis he’s dealing with. Ninety percent of the time, Louis actually did something to piss someone off.

i didn’t do anything, harold, Louis replies, with more angry emojis at the end. Harry rolls his eyes.

Well why’d he try to piss you off then?

someone replaced his detergent with cinnamon sugar and it almost broke his laundry machine and he’s blaming me.

That…literally has Louis written all over it. Sounds like something you would do.

Louis sends him the middle finger emoji. it was his fault for not noticing ., it reads. and zayn’s siding with him so i’m texting you because i need friends

I’m glad you only think of me when you need me.

of course, Louis replies, with three kissy emojis. do you think you could introduce me to Beyoncé ? i want to be part of her squad

Sometimes, Harry wonders what goes on in Louis’ mind. I’ll see what I can do.

ty xx, Louis sends, with lots of heart and kiss-face emojis.

 

 

He’s got another few radio interviews scattered throughout the next few days—some of them pre-recorded, some of them live. Louis, somehow, always manages to text him right after he gets out, no matter what time it is in London. Most of the time it’s nothing much—an emoji, a comment about the weather at home—but sometimes Louis asks about the answers he’d given on radio, and it leads to them exchanging incredibly long-worded texts. 

After that, he’s got his first live performance on Ellen. It’s a whirlwind of activity the instant he wakes up: with a briefing, then a technical rehearsal, then hair and make-up, then wardrobe back-to-back. He also ends up meeting Leonardo di Caprio right before filming starts starts, which distracts him—Leo is one of his favourite actors ever, and although he knew he was going to be on the show with Leo months before, him actually being right in front of him is a different thing altogether, and it sends Harry into mild hysterics.

Luckily, the show goes off without a hitch. Ellen manages to toe the line between professional and cheeky, and is generally just Ellen. Nobody brings up Kendall—nobody alludes to her even—and most of the interview is about Harry’s single and his next album, and Leo’s upcoming film. They end up playing Never Have I Ever at one point, and Harry can’t stop himself from collapsing into laughing fits as some very interesting answers come up.

His performance goes really well too—the studio crowd seems to know the lyrics and sings them back to him enthusiastically. One of the scariest things about releasing something to the public is the audience reception, and hearing his lyrics being parroted back to him, and seeing the crowd dancing along to the music eases his nerves a lot.

He doesn’t check his phone until he’s back in his hotel room, safely ensconced in his duvet. There’s a message from Louis, and Harry has to bite his lip from grinning too wide as he thumbs it open.

leo’s looking smoking, is all it says.

He’s better looking in person, Harry sends back, hoping that Louis’ still awake. There’s a slim chance; Louis sent the text six hours ago, back when Harry was too busy to bring out his phone, and he’s probably asleep by now.

He tosses the phone under his pillow and stretches, curling his toes into the sheet. He kind of wants a massage; he can feel a dull ache in his lower back, probably from the long flight from London. He makes a mental note to schedule one tomorrow evening, when he’s free. Maybe he’ll even make it a spa day.

And then his phone pings, muffled, and all thoughts of massages and spas fly out of his head as he goes to pull it out from under his pillow.

did you get me an autograph, Louis’ text reads, and Harry feels himself grin at the text.

Why are you awake, it’s four in the morning there, Harry replies.  And no autograph for you. He sends that, pauses, then composes another text. How did you even know Leo and I were together today?

This time, the reply comes much faster. liam found this harry styles fan twitter account, the text says. it’s keeping me updated on you .

That…actually explains how he’d been able to listen to all of Harry’s radio interviews. His fans are nothing but dedicated in trying to put together his promo schedule, after all. Aw, so you do think about me!

only in relation to other people, Louis replies. for example , leo di caprio . could you tell him i’m horribly single and that he should give me a ring sometime ?

What if he isn’t single?

he will be if you tell him about my glorious arse, Louis says. it’s an arse that could launch a thousand ships .

It is an arse that can launch a thousand ships. Harry’s had it pressed against him the past couple of weeks, and he can recognize a good bum when he sees one. Or feels one, rather. And Louis’ arse is very, very nice indeed. The nicest he’s ever felt.

Go to sleep, Harry types, instead of saying all that. So you can grow a little taller.

Louis sends him a string of middle-finger emojis. i’m 5”9 , dickwad, he texts, and it makes Harry chuckle.

You can’t be 5”9, Harry replies. You’re TINY.

well we can’t all have the size of your ego, Louis texts back.

I’d say the size of your arse should make up for the size of my ego, wouldn’t you?

you know what , fuck you, Louis texts. don’t ever speak to me again .

Good night little Louis, Harry replies. He even adds a little kiss emoji at the end.

fuck off, Louis replies immediately.

When it’s clear that Louis isn’t going to add anything to that—not even a good night or a talk to you tomorrow—Harry sighs, tucks his phone under his pillow and stares up at the ceiling. It takes him a while to realize that he’s smiling absently, and he runs a hand down his face, trying to get himself to stop.

Get it together, Styles, he thinks, turning on his side and burying his face into his pillow. It’s just Louis.

And really, though it’s kind of weird how much he thinks of Louis—how he sort of misses him, even though it’s only been a week and Harry still has one more here in L.A. Louis…Louis isn’t his anything. He’s sort of a friend, yeah, but more than that he’s someone Niall paid to cuddle Harry to try and get him out of his sad song-writing funk, even though Harry maintains that it is not a funk and is actually just him being artistic.

Which means that Louis is essentially getting paid to spend time with Harry, and, to some extent, be friends with Harry and it’s just…it’s just weird, is what he’s saying.

But thinking about all that makes his head hurt, so he just turns on his side, smushes his face into his pillow. Tries to quell the disappointment when he realizes that the pillow doesn’t smell like sandalwood, doesn’t smell like anything, actually.

Falls asleep that way.

 

 

It’s two days later when Louis texts again. 

party time !!!!, his text reads, followed by an image file. Harry leans against the treadmill he’d been planning on using and taps at it, waiting for it to load.

He’d almost caved yesterday, his fingers itching to text Louis, to send him dumb things, but Louis did tell him in no uncertain terms to fuck off. And, okay, sure, Louis was probably joking, but Harry just wanted to give him space, just in case.

Besides, he’d been sufficiently distracted the previous day—he went to the spa, got a really good massage, and after, Jeff had dragged him out and plied him with pints until he felt all loose and happy. Harry hadn’t even thought of Louis at all, except for when the bartender had placed down a cocktail similar to the colour of Louis’ eyes in front of him and he’d almost cried because of its beauty. 

So, yeah. Progress.

The picture finally finishes loading and Harry opens it up, humming. Louis hasn’t ever sent him a photo before—usually it’s Harry sending the photos, and Louis being snarky about them. It’s quite the development. Harry tries not to feel giddy about it.

And he really, really shouldn’t have, because he ends up staring at a selfie of Louis beaming innocently in his living room, his coffee table piled high with food, all his DVDs and Xboxes brought out, and two men he has never seen in his life looking somehow like a combination of annoyed and shifty at the same time.

“What the fuck,” Harry mumbles, loud enough that the lady on the treadmill beside him shoots him a dirty look. He gives her an apologetic grin and waits for her face to soften slightly before turning back to his phone.

What are you doing? He sends, not at all frantically.

The reply comes within seconds. i’m throwing a party, it says. and you’re not invited.

In my house??? Louis, who are those people??

what people ?

The ones behind you.

there’s nobody behind me , Harry, Louis replies. i’m alone.

Louis there are two strange men in the selfie you sent me, Harry sends.

huh . maybe they’re ghosts . guess your house is haunted after all .

Harry takes a deep breath, and lets it all out exasperatedly. He steps off the treadmill, shooting yet another apologetic grin to the lady beside him before going off to the least populated corner of the hotel gym. 

He taps Louis’ number, before bringing the phone up to his ear. He waits patiently as the phone rings, and Louis only pocks up right before it goes to voicemail. “Hello?”

“Louis,” Harry hisses, pitching his voice low so as not to draw stares from the people at the gym. “What are you doing?”

“I’m throwing a party.” He sounds smug, more smug than anyone who’s throwing a house party in someone else’s house has the right to be.

“In my house?”

“I would’ve invited you, but you’re in L.A.,” Louis points out.

Harry shuts his eyes, tries to calm himself down. “That’s not the point,” he says, making sure his voice is calm and measured. “The point is you’ve broken into my house, and brought two men I have never seen in my life into my living room.”

“Well you’ve got a nice living room,” Louis says. “A nice sofa. And a huge telly where we can play FIFA and watch footie.”

“Louis, I swear to God, if you just invited random strangers into my house to fuck with me—”

He’s interrupted by Louis’ laughter. “Harry,” Louis says, giggles punctuating his every syllable. “No. Of course not. I wouldn’t—” Harry hears him take a deep breath, calming himself down. “It’s just Liam and my roommate Zayn. I told you about them before?”

Liam and Zayn? Harry frowns, thinking. It takes him a minute, but he eventually manages to connect them to Louis’ nudist-best-mate-Liam and weed-stealing-roommate Zayn. Which might pose another problem. “Does your friend Liam still have his clothes on?”

Louis bursts into laughter. “Oh my God,” he says. “I told you I caught him taking nude selfies one time—”

“Louis—”

“No, no, he’s fully clothed,” Louis says, still laughing. “We all are, pinky-swear. Lads, come say hi to Harold!”

There’s a bit of a rustling on the other line, and then Harry is hearing the sounds of other voices. “Hey Harold,” he hears someone say monotonously, followed by someone else saying, “Sorry for this, Tommo wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

Harry sighs. He hears a bit more rustling, a voice shouting “ooh, is that a real Brit Award?” and then the sound of someone being hit a throw pillow. “Sorry `bout that,” Louis says, when he comes back on the line. “Liam just tried to touch your Brit Award.”

Harry shakes his head. “It’s fine.” He pauses. “You didn’t tell them who I was?”

“I signed an NDA, remember?” Louis reminds him. “Think they might know already, though. Liam won’t stop staring at your Brit Award, and he knows how to read, even though it takes him a while.”

That makes Harry bark out a small laugh. “It’s fine,” he says. “As long as he doesn’t steal it.”

“He won’t,” Louis replies confidently. “He and Zayn are practically harmless." 

Harry doubts that anyone who’s willingly friends with Louis will be harmless, but he doesn’t say that out loud. Instead, he shakes his head again, trying to tamp down the growing fondness for Louis. He’s not supposed to be fond, he’s supposed to be mad Louis broke into his house and essentially invited two strangers over. “I guess.”

Louis doesn’t speak for so long after, that Harry starts to think he’s been hung up on. He’s just about to pull his phone away from his ear, to check if the call still connected, when Louis clears his throat.

“We could leave.”

Harry blinks, caught off-guard. “What?”

“If you wanted,” Louis says. “We could leave.”

And it’s weird, because Louis never seems to show any remorse for his pranks—never apologizes for messing with Harry to the point that Harry regularly thinks of tying him up until he can’t move (and not in the fun way). But there’s something in the tone of Louis’ voice, something that makes Harry pause, something that sounds like a slight apology.

Harry must’ve been silent for a long while, dwelling on that, because suddenly Louis’ speaking up, sounding normal again. “Ooh, the footie’s on,” he says. “Time’s up, there’s no way you’re going to get us to leave now.”

Harry rolls his eyes. “Whatever,” he says. “You can stay. Just don’t break anything.”

Louis, because he’s Louis, hums like Harry’s just posed him a challenge. “I’ll break the most expensive thing in your house.”

The most expensive thing in his house is probably the flat screen. Harry doesn’t say that, lest he give Louis any ideas. Besides, he probably won’t break it until after the footie game, and that gives him about an hour, an hour and a half to forget about that threat. Maybe two hours, if he’s lucky. “Would that be your arse, then?”

Louis scoffs. “Are you insinuating that I had my arse paid for?” he asks. “I’ll have you know, Styles, my arse is completely natural. A God-given blessing.”

“No,” Harry says, “I’m asking if you had it insured.”

There’s a pause. “Why the fuck would I—you know what, you’re so fucking weird,” Louis says. “I’m hanging up now. Don’t you dare call me until the game is over or I’ll trash your house.”

He hangs up immediately, doesn’t even give Harry a chance to say goodbye. Harry shakes his head, pockets his phone, and returns to the treadmill, intent on continuing his work out.

 

 

The next time he gets a new text from Louis, it’s a few days later, during one of the commercial breaks during the taping of the Late Late Show

He and Louis hadn’t been texting recently—Louis hadn’t texted him after the game, not even to threaten to follow through breaking the flat screen, and Harry didn’t text him either. Couldn’t find the time to; he’d been running around doing interviews and performances and television appearances the last few days.

The text, when Harry opens it, almost makes him choke on his tea. He doesn’t, thank God, but he does make a distressed noise, worrisome enough that James actually asks if he’s alright.

He’s not, but there’s no time for that, because the floor director’s counting down the seconds before they go on air. Harry pushes all thoughts of the text aside, plasters a smile on his face, and focuses on the finishing the interview.

He only lets himself think about it when he’s back in his hotel room, away from prying eyes. He taps on his and Louis’ conversation, opens up the photo—because it is a photo that Louis sent—and stares.

It’s a pretty photo, if he’s being honest. It’s a selfie of Louis, his hair messy, his blue eyes bleary. He’s beaming at the camera, looking far too angelic for the absolute menace that he is, and the photo cuts off enough that Harry can see the top of his chest, the dips of his collarbones, and his bare shoulders.

Because he’s shirtless. It’s not necessarily a problem, however, it’s just—he’s shirtless in Harry’s bed. Harry would recognize those thousand thread count sheets anywhere.

And knowing Louis’ penchant for driving Harry over the edge, it’s possible that he’s lacking a few other articles of clothing as well. And Harry’s cock twitches at the thought.

Are you naked in my bed? Harry texts, before he can stop himself. It’s not the subtlest of questions, but it gets the job done.

And despite the late hour in London, Louis’ reply only takes a few moments. no.

I don’t believe you, Harry sends back.

It takes a while for a response to come. i’ll prove it, the text says, and Harry doesn’t even have time to wonder what that means before his phone is lighting up with a FaceTime call from Louis.

Harry takes a deep breath, swipes accept.

It’s few seconds until the call to connects. Harry waits patiently, watching as the screen goes from dark, to bright, figures going from blurry to something much clearer. In the center of it is Louis, hair still messy, blue eyes still a bit bleary, and still in Harry’s bed. Shirtless.

“Hi,” he says.

Harry does his best to keep cool. “Hi,” he manages evenly. Leans back against the headboard, quirks an eyebrow up coolly. “What are you doing?”

It’s instantaneous, the way Louis’ expression changes; he breaks out into a grin, and stretches, his iPhone angled in such a way that it shows the way Harry’s comforter slipping down his bare shoulders, exposing the musculature of his chest, the dip of his clavicle. Suddenly Harry’s mouth feels a bit too dry. 

“I’m proving that I’m not naked in your bed,” Louis replies, and then he’s reaching out to tap something. Harry realizes what he’s doing just in time, and he manages to close his eyes, just as Louis flips his camera.

There’s a few seconds of rustling. Harry keeps his eyes shut.

“Harry, why are your eyes closed?”

Harry shrugs. “I don’t want to see your dick.”

Louis makes an affronted noise. “I’m not naked,” he says. “And I’ll have you know that my dick is incredibly pretty.”

“I’m sure it is,” Harry replies easily, and barely resists the urge to say just like the rest of you. “That’s not my problem with it.” In fact, Harry’s pretty sure he won’t have any problems with Louis’ dick.

Which, in itself, is the problem.           

There’s a silence. Harry keeps his eyes shut.

“Harry.” Louis sounds amused.

“Louis.”

“Open your eyes.”

“But—”

Louis makes an exasperated noise. “I’m not naked,” he says. “If you’d open your eyes, you’d see that.”

Harry opens his eyes. Louis isn’t naked.

He’s wearing a pair of boxers, sitting low on his hipbones. From the way Louis’ angled his phone, Harry can see the expanse of his stomach, toned and golden; can see a trail of darker hair leading to underneath the fabric of his boxers. Can see the base of…something. Harry doesn’t want to finish that sentence; afraid it might give him an aneurysm.

He’s not naked, but, he might as well be, judging by the way Harry’s cock is reacting.

“Oh,” Harry breathes. His mouth feels like the Sahara.

“Yeah,” Louis replies, then he’s flipping the camera back to his grinning face. “See?”

Harry…Harry sees. Harry definitely sees. Harry’s cock is thickening up from how much seeing he’s doing.

“Why are you in my bed?” He asks, swallowing thickly. He tries to think of dead kittens to stop his cock from getting fully hard.

It doesn’t really work.  Not when Louis’ in his bed, wearing nothing but a pair of boxers. While talking to him.

Fuck.

Louis shrugs. “Your bed’s so much comfier than mine,” he says innocently. “Much bigger too.”

Is he…is he flirting? Harry wants to says no, he isn’t, but Harry’s cock is screaming yes at all decibel levels. It’s fully hard already, straining against the fabric of his trousers, dampening the fabric with precome, and Harry bites his lip, curls his free hand into a fist so he doesn’t palm at his cock.

There’s no way Louis can’t tell what’s happening right now. Absolutely no way.

As if reading Harry’s mind, Louis’ grin widens. Harry feels his face flush from a mixture of both embarrassment and arousal.

“I,” Harry begins smartly, racking his brain for something to say. Louis opens his mouth, presumably to interrupt, but Harry beats him to it. “I have to go."

He ends the call quickly, and hides the phone under the pillow. Takes a few deep breaths, trying to collecting himself. From under the pillow, he can hear his phone buzzing, Louis probably sending a dozen texts to get Harry’s attention, but he ignores it, focusing on willing his hard-on away.

It takes a while, but eventually, he gets it to go down to about half-mast. Harry decides to take a cold shower after that.

 

 

Harry manages not to think about it for most of the next day. He’s pretty sure he could’ve gone the whole day too, if not for Louis sending another photo. 

This one is a lot better. Or worse, depending on the point of view.

Louis isn’t shirtless this time, which is a small mercy. He is however, still in Harry’s bed and looks to be wearing nothing except Harry’s Green Bay Packers hoodie.

smells like you xx, is the caption. Harry stares at the photo for a few moments, and stares at it some more as he unbuttons his trousers, wraps a hand around his cock. Doesn’t stop staring even as he jerks himself off quickly, his orgasm already coiled in his belly. Comes hard, all over his hand and stomach and thighs with his eyes glued on Louis, on how pretty he looks, dressed in nothing but Harry’s hoodie, in Harry’s bed.

Later, when he’s cleaned himself up, he tosses his phone into his suitcase, smushes his face into the pillow, and groans as loud as he can. He doesn’t want to think about it, but he can’t ignore it, because it’s flashing like a fucking neon sign.

He’s got a massive crush on Louis Tomlinson.

 

 

The next two days are spent ignoring it all together. The day after that is spent panicking about it. The day after that is his flight back to London, and that is spent reassuring himself that he is a grown man, and he can handle a fucking crush, even if it’s on Louis, who is simultaneously the prettiest boy that Harry’s ever seen, and an absolute pain in the arse. 

It’s not that he thinks Louis’ going to laugh at him and his feelings. In fact, he thinks the opposite; he knows Louis can be kind and gentle, when he wants to be. Knows that Louis isn’t a bad person, even though he spends a lot of his free time annoying Harry until he’s ready to pull his hair out. So the worst case scenario would be Louis turning Harry down awkwardly, and everything will be incredibly awkward until they end this entire thing.

No, it’s just that Louis is, essentially, hired. He’s literally being paid to spend time with Harry, to cuddle him, which means their relationship isn’t organic in any way.  Which means Harry has no idea if Louis even likes him as a person, or if he’s just forced to pretend to be his friend he’s getting paid. For all of he knows, maybe Louis talks shit about him behind his back. Maybe Louis hates him, and is just incredibly good at pretending.

So. Obviously, having a crush on someone who’s been hired to help you is a bad idea. But it’s too late for Harry to not have a crush on Louis, so the next best option is to just try to ignore it altogether. At least until they finish their sessions.

There’s only two more left, after all.

 

 

He gets a day to himself after he lands back in London. It’s not enough time to mentally prepare to face Louis, but Harry is thankful for it anyway. He spends the day alternating between trying not to think of how he jerked off to Louis, thinking of how he jerked off to Louis, feeling guilty about jerking off to Louis, and ignoring all of Louis’ texts. He’d say it was very productive. 

However, Wednesday evening still comes way too fast, and he’s still not prepared when Louis comes barging in, kicking his Vans off and dropping his jacket onto the floor.

He stops when he catches sight of Harry on the couch, like he wasn’t expecting Harry to be home yet. Harry watches as he narrows his eyes, gives Harry a very obvious once-over.

He doesn’t say anything for so long that Harry actually gets fidgety. “Hi?”

Louis looks at him for a beat longer. “You look the same.”

Harry blinks. “Should I have looked different?” It was only two weeks in L.A., after all. Harry has no idea what changes would affect him in just two weeks.

Has no idea what Louis was expecting to see, even.

Louis just shrugs. “Not really,” he replies. “Whatever.” He flops onto the seat beside Harry, kicks his feet up onto Harry’s lap. “Did you bring me back something pretty?”

Harry tries not to react to how close Louis’ feet are to his dick. Jerk off to someone one time, and your dick never lets you forget it, honestly. “Was I supposed to?”

The question’s mostly for show, because Harry did actually get him something. In fact, there’s a tiny bear in a Lakers jersey he’d found at the airport and picked up for Louis on a whim, tucked nicely into one of the pockets of his still-unpacked suitcase. But he’s not going to admit to doing so. Not yet, at least.

Besides, Louis’ probably going to snoop through all his stuff later and find it. Better to just save himself the effort.

Louis sniffs haughtily. “Of course,” he says, kicking his leg out, moving his feet closer to Harry’s crotch. Harry wraps a hand around his ankle to stop him from actually resting his foot on Harry’s dick, doesn’t miss the small smirk on Louis face when he does. “What kind of a sugar daddy are you if you don’t bring me pretty presents back from your trips abroad?”

“The kind that wasn’t aware that I was your sugar daddy?”

“`Course you are,” Louis says off-handedly. “You’re my richest client to date.”

“I’m pretty sure I’m your only client to date.”

Louis rolls his eyes. “Whatever.” He moves to kick Harry in the crotch, but Harry’s already expecting it, and he tightens his grip on Louis’ ankle, refuses to let him move. “You know what, never mind. I’m gonna go find me a new sugar daddy. One that’s gonna buy me pretty things.”

“Okay,” Harry says patiently. He shoots Louis a grin, the one that makes his dimples come out. “Make sure these people actually know they’re your sugar daddy, though. Otherwise, they might just think you’re stealing.”

Louis abruptly pulls his foot back, and then launches himself onto Harry. Harry’s already expecting it though, so he manages to evade it, and what follows is a ridiculous, unnecessarily long wrestling match, that involves Louis squirming all over the place and trying to hit him wherever he can reach, and Harry attempting to get him to stop by pinning him down onto the sofa.

Louis wins, but only because Harry lets him.

 

 

Ignoring his attraction is much easier said then done. 

Mostly because Louis is so fucking tactile, and he spends so much of his time touching Harry, cuddling him, placing his various extremities on top of him, and it’s like. It’s so hard. Harry’s dick can’t catch a break.

He’s curled up against Harry on the couch, idly watching a film. This is probably one of the more platonic cuddling they’ve done, and in theory, it should be easy to just ignore this attraction, except that Louis had whined about his fingers being cold and refused to shut up until he realized that a great way to warm them up was to shove his hand between Harry’s legs and tuck his fingers under Harry’s thigh.

Which means that, essentially, there are mere millimeters between Louis’ hand and Harry’s traitor of a dick.

Harry can’t not focus on that.

Especially since, he realizes, that before he jerked off to Louis, it had been literal ages since he last had an orgasm. Four months, to be exact. And now all that pent-up sexual frustration he hadn’t even noticed he had is coming back in the form of accidental boners, like he’s a fucking teenager again.

Underneath him, Louis shifts a little bit, tucking his head into Harry’s neck. His fingers move a little too, brushing at the sensitive part at the back of Harry’s thigh, and Harry bites his lip, forces himself not to react.

“`m cold,” Louis mumbles. He curls up closer to Harry, buries his face in Harry’s chest. “Why’s your house so fucking cold.”

“It’s not that cold,” Harry disagrees, wrapping an arm around Louis’ shoulders and pulling him closer. Louis just has the tendency to get cold easy, especially when he’s not moving around. Which is probably why he moves around so much.

Louis makes a noise. “It is,” he says, but keeps still.

It’s a few more minutes of watching the film in that position, and Harry’s starting to think that he might be able to make it to the end of the film without popping a boner, when Louis evidently decides that it’s not enough. He pulls away suddenly, withdrawing his hand from where he’d tucked it, and before Harry open his mouth to ask where he’s going, he climbs in between Harry’s legs, leans back against Harry’s chest.

“Cuddle,” he demands, resting his head on Harry’s shoulder. He’s a warm and solid weight, pressed against Harry’s chest, but Harry can’t focus on how nice it is because he’s too busy focusing on the space between Louis’ arse and his cock. Or the lack of, rather.

It’s just—this time, there’s barely any space between them, to the point that all Harry has to do is nudge his hips a little bit forward, and his crotch would be touching Louis’ arse. He doesn’t do it, obviously, because he’s not a creep and he has self-control, but the thought is there, and it’s really fucking difficult to ignore.

To add to that is the fact that Louis keeps moving, shifting around between Harry’s legs. Harry has no idea if he’s simply trying to find a comfortable position, or to find a way to keep warm, or something else, but the way he’s moving brings his arse closer to Harry’s already hardening cock.

Harry kind of wants to cry.

“Lou,” He says desperately, wrapping his arms around Louis to get him to stay still. “Stop.”

It’s either Louis doesn’t hear him—too engrossed in the film to pay any attention to Harry—or he chooses to ignore him, but he doesn’t stop. He keeps squirming, shifting forward and back, and despite Harry’s attempts, he can’t find a way to put more distance between them unless he physically gets up and leaves.

It’s inevitable, then, that Louis shifts far back enough, and his arse comes in contact with Harry’s cock.

Harry knows when Louis realizes what exactly is pressing against his lower back, because he goes completely still. He doesn’t move for a few moments, doesn’t make to pull away. Harry isn’t even sure if he’s breathing.

Eventually, Louis speaks.  “Harry,” he says slowly, carefully. There’s a question in his voice too, like he’s afraid of jumping into conclusions. “Is that…?”

And then the entirety of the situation hits Harry, like a slap to the face. It takes him a while to get his muscles to work, but when he does, he wastes no time shoving Louis off his lap, scrambling off the couch, and running to the kitchen, his face flaming.

 

 

Louis follows him, because of course he does. 

“Harry,” Harry hears from behind, and he doesn’t look up from where he’s staring at the counter, doesn’t turn to face Louis.

“Please don’t,” he says desperately. Takes a deep breath, lets it all out in a whoosh. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Let’s not talk about it.”

“Harry, I—”

“Please don’t,” Harry begs the counter. He knows what Louis’ going to say—that it’s a normal reaction, that it happens to the best of us, but like. This isn’t just a boner from proximity, or whatever, this is a boner because he wants to fucking bone Louis. Even though he knows it’s not a good idea to.

“Harry,” Louis sounds so much closer now, and suddenly there’s a hand on his shoulder. “Harry, it’s really fine—”

And it’s an accident, really, when Harry whirls around and grabs Louis’ wrist.

The first thing he notices is how small Louis’ hand is compared to his own. The second thing he notices is the way Louis stills completely, the way he makes no attempt to pull away. The third thing he notices is that when he tightens his grip, Louis’ breath hitches.

And the last thing he notices is that when he backs Louis up against the wall, Louis’ eyes turn glassy.

It’s—fuck, this should not be erotic at all, but Louis is looking at him with something that looks a lot like want on his face, and his eyes are so big and so blue and this is bad. This is so, so bad. This is the worst thing to ever happen to him because the thing is, Harry could’ve lived without the knowledge that Louis likes to be held down and manhandled.

Because that’s what this looks like. This looks like blatant trust being placed into Harry’s hands; this is the culmination of everything Louis has done that ended with Harry having to pin him down to get him to stop. Harry feels drunk with power, with lust, and there’s nothing he wants more at this moment to put his mouth on Louis, to make him scream and shake and fall apart, then put him back together afterwards. He wants everything, wants to mark him up and pin him down, then take care of him, and right now, Louis is looking at him like he isn’t at all opposed to that idea.

Louis draws in a shaky breath, a pretty pink dusting his cheekbones. “Harry,” he murmurs, lowering his head and looking up at Harry through his eyelashes. It’s that movement that startles Harry from his trance, and he lets go of Louis, takes a few steps back, and practically runs to his bedroom.

This time, Louis doesn’t follow.

And when Harry wakes the next morning, after having fallen asleep alone, Louis is nowhere to be found.

 

 

Harry texts him a Sorry and adds a sad emoji at the end. 

Louis replies with it’s okay, and that one smiling emoji with the rosy cheeks.

And that’s it.

 

 

Well, actually, it isn’t.

 

 

It takes Harry a week. 

In that one week, Harry ends up having to promote his single all over Europe. He flies to Ireland, to Spain, to Germany, to Sweden to perform his new single, attend different interviews, and talk about his new album. Every night, he finds himself retiring to his hotel room completely exhausted. Every night, he finds that he can’t sleep well.

His lack of sleep makes him cranky, and his mood gets so bad that Jeff ends up flying Niall out to him, hoping to lift Harry’s spirits, just a little. Niall takes him out for pints and it’s fun, yeah, especially when they get tipsy, but it doesn’t do much to help with his sleep problem. 

Which is why the evening before he’s supposed to fly back to London, Harry finds himself back on The Snuggle Buddies, clicking on the Book Now tab at the top of the website. He scrolls through the list of cuddlers, finds Louis’ name and photo, clicks on him. He slowly types in his name, his address, his email, his credit card number, and books himself another five sessions. 

He shuts his laptop after that, turns on the telly, and waits. It doesn’t take long—it’s only been ten minutes when his phone chimes with an email confirming his booking. It takes another minute for his phone to chime again, this time with texts.

you do know you don’t have to book a bunch of sessions just to see me again , right ?

And then after that, a text filled with random emojis.

 

 

Louis doesn’t come over the Wednesday right after Harry arrives back London, due to some prior commitment he won’t tell Harry about. He does however, text Harry through it, sending him a bunch of flags and making Harry guess it. Harry gets five out of fifty right, a feat which he’s incredibly proud of.

They don’t talk about That Thing Between Them—which is what Harry’s taken to calling it— at all. Harry knows that they really should, instead of ignoring it, it’s just. He doesn’t want to. At least, not yet. Not when they’ve just started talking again, and this entire thing feels a bit…fragile.

Harry finds himself unable to sleep again a few days later. He’d gone to bed early, feeling exhaustion settle into his bones, but he’d just ended up wide awake, staring at his clock, watching the hours pass by.

It’s one-thirty in the morning when he finally gives up trying to sleep. He picks up his phone, scrolls through Twitter first, liking a few tweets, then to Instagram, watching a few videos and liking a few photos. That doesn’t hold his attention for very long though, so he finds himself opening the messages app, tapping on his conversation to Louis.

You up?

It only takes a few minutes for Louis to reply. 

i don’t do booty calls if that’s what you were wondering

Harry snorts. I can’t sleep

and that’s my problem how ?

You’re my professional cuddler. You’re supposed to help me go to sleep.

pretty sure that isn’t in the job description , mate, Louis sends back.

Harry bites his lip, thinks for a bit. After a few minutes, he sends, Come over? If you’re not busy?

No response comes for so long that Harry starts to get nervous. He’s in the middle of typing out a never mind, you don’t have to when his phone vibrates in his hand. It’s takes him a few moments to realize that it’s an address.

His phone vibrates again. only if you come pick me up !! it reads. also buy me a mcflurry .

 

 

Harry ends up loitering illegally on the curb outside Louis’ building for ten minutes before Louis actually comes out to meet him. He’s dressed in a soft-looking beige jumper and an equally soft-looking pair of sweats, and he’s got a beanie pulled over his head and the fakest grumpy pout on his face. “I was sleeping, asshole,” he complains as he climbs in the Range Rover. 

“Do you really even sleep?” Harry muses, backing up from the curb and back onto the road. There’s no way Louis was sleeping; if he was, Harry wouldn’t have gotten like, fifty texts in the last five minutes alone. “I feel like you’re awake all the time.”

“I told you I have trouble sleeping, right?” Louis says, buckling his seatbelt.

Oh, right. “Don’t worry, you can sleep in my place later.”

“It’s even worse when I have to sleep in strange places,” Louis laments.

“You’re telling me my house is a strange place?”

“It’s `cause it’s haunted,” Louis replies, kicking his feet up the dashboard. Harry gives him a long look, but Louis just beams cutely at him and gestures for him to keep his eyes on the road. “Where’s my McFlurry?”

“Haven’t gotten it yet,” Harry replies.

Louis gasps exaggeratedly. “But you promised! You mean to tell me you lured me out from my warm bed into the cold, terrifying night for no reason?”

He’s so dramatic. God, how Harry’s missed him. “Haven’t gotten it yet,” Harry repeats, making a right turn. “Didn’t want it to be melted before I picked you up.”

“But now I have to wait.” Louis sounds disgruntled, but Harry chances a look at him, sees the small smile playing on his lips.

“Would you rather have eaten it melted then?”

“No,” Louis says, “but it wouldn’t have been melted if you got it before you picked me up.”

“Louis, you made me wait ten minutes.” If it wasn’t melted when Harry arrived at the building, it definitely would’ve been by the time Louis came down.

“Ten minutes is perfectly reasonable waiting time,” Louis says. “Don’t be a diva, Harold.”

“I’m not, Lewis,” Harry says, as they approach the McDonald’s. Harry turns left into the drive-thru lane, pulls up beside the machine. “What kind of McFlurry do you want?”

“I want…” Louis makes a big show of thinking, humming and hawing until Harry rolls his eyes and pokes him in the side with the finger. “I want a McFlurry with nothing in it.”

Harry gives him a look. “Who gets a McFlurry with nothing in it?”

“Me,” Louis says, leaning over to pinch Harry on the waist. Harry yelps, twists away from Louis, and gets tangled with his seatbelt in the process. He doesn’t miss the way Louis smiles, clearly amused.

“But that’s just ice cream,” Harry says, batting Louis’ hand away when he goes to pinch Harry again.

“No, it’s a McFlurry with nothing in it,” Louis says, rolling his eyes. “Just go order already.”

“Ugh, fine,” Harry says, rolling down the window. From the machine, a perky, happy voice greets him, and Harry does his best to match her tone. “Hi, can I have one Oreo McFlurry and one M&M McFlurry, please?”

Louis pinches his waist again. “That’s not my order,” he says, grumbling. “I can’t believe you made me wait for my McFlurry and now that you’re getting it, you’re not even getting the one I want.”

Harry resists the urge to argue back. He doesn’t think the person on the other end would appreciate hearing him tell Louis that a McFlurry with nothing in it is literally just ice cream. “Fine,” he says, instead. “Also one McFlurry with nothing in it.”

There’s a pause. “Sir, isn’t that just ice cream?”

“I’ve been reliably informed it isn’t,” Harry deadpans.

There’s another pause. “O…okay,” the voice says, clearly confused. “Please drive to the, uh, next window.”

“Thank you,” Harry chirps, before leaning back against his seat and driving through the next window. The lady manning the counter looks confused when he pulls up, does a double take when she recognizes him, and blushes when Harry hands her the money and asks her nicely not to tell anyone about this.

They get waved through to the third window, where they get handed their ice cream. As soon as they’re off, Louis reaches for his ice cream, digs through the bag for a spoon.

“Don’t spill anything in my car,” Harry says.

“I’m going to spill the entire thing on your lap,” Louis replies. He scoops out a spoonful of ice cream, pops it in his mouth. “That’s what you deserve.”

Harry doesn’t think that’s what he deserves at all. If anything, he thinks that he deserves that least. “What does it taste like?”

“Like all my hopes and dreams have combined into this one cup,” Louis says, because he’s a little shit. “And no, you can’t have some.”

Harry wasn’t even asking for some. “Okay,” he says, making a right-hand turn. “That’s fine. Oreo and M&M McFlurries are better than the bland ones, anyway.”

Louis makes a noise. “Why’d you order two?”

“I like to mix them up and eat them together,” Harry lies, staring straight ahead.

From his peripheral vision, he sees Louis make a face. “That’s disgusting,” he says. “Oreos and M&M’s, what do they taste like together?”

Harry wouldn’t know. “Uh, sweet.”

Louis narrows his eyes at him. “You know what, you’re barbaric,” he says, setting down his McFlurry and picking up the M&M one. “You’re violating both Oreos and M&Ms.”

“What are you going to do about it?”

“I’m going to eat this one,” Louis declares. “I’m sparing the world of your weird, possibly lethal combination of McFlurries.”

Harry stares straight ahead, bites his lip to stop himself from laughing. “Okay, Lou,” he agrees patiently, and to his credit, Louis waits until they’re stuck at a traffic light before leaning over and smacking Harry on the arm.

 

 

It’s nice when Harry wakes up later, his bed warm and cozy in a way it hasn’t been for quite a while. Louis, for the first time, appears to have stayed the night, and he’s asleep, so Harry just makes a soft noise, pulls him closer, and tries to go back to sleep. 

It becomes evident, a few moments later, that Louis isn’t actually sleeping. “You know,” he murmurs, his voice slightly rougher from disuse. “I have no idea why you thought that I’d be freaked out by that.”

Harry’s confused for all of three seconds before Louis shifts backwards just a little bit, and—oh. Oh. Oh, fuck.

Harry’s eyes fly open, and he scoots back so far until he and Louis aren’t touching anymore. “I, um,” he manages to stammer out. “I’m so, so sorry. That’s—um.”

That’s a stiffy. A huge, fucking boner, because his cock is a treacherous little thing. Or, not-so-little thing, in this state.

Louis shifts onto his other side, so that he’s facing Harry. He looks like he’s been awake a while, his blue eyes clear. “It’s fine,” he says, rolling his eyes. “It’s normal. Happens to everyone.”

And like, Harry knows it’s normal—knows that every person with a cock has experienced waking up with one of these at least once in their lives—but Harry can’t stop the feeling of mortification spreading over him. Because, the thing is, an accidental erection in the morning stops feeling accidental when it’s pressed against the one person Harry really wants to fuck.

“I—I’m sorry,” he says again, scooting back a bit further. “I hope you know I wasn’t trying to violate you, or like, fuck you in your sleep or something.”

Louis snorts. “I told you, don’t worry about it,” he says, grinning delightedly. “Erections are kind of inevitable, especially when you’re in a profession like mine.”

“Oh.” Harry tries his best not to think of other people cuddling Louis. The idea makes jealousy flare up in his chest, which is ridiculous, because Louis isn’t his to be jealous over. “Okay.”

Louis must read something on his face, though, because he’s grin grows, just a touch. “I have to say, though,” he says, shifting a little closer. “There’s really nothing quite like waking up to your cock trying to stuff itself into my arse.”

And then before Harry can react, one of Louis’ hands reach out, lightning quick, to squeeze at the bulge in Harry’s boxers.

Harry’s mouth drops open. “It’s a pretty good cock, if you were wondering,” Louis continues, like nothing’s amiss. Like he hasn’t made Harry’s cock even harder, blurting precome onto the fabric of his boxers. “One of the best I’ve ever felt.” His eyes are bright, trained on Harry’s face, and much slower this time, he reaches out towards Harry’s cock.

Harry’s reflex action to that is to grab his wrist, roll them over until he’s on top, and hold him down.

Immediately, Louis squirms underneath him, shifting until their hips are aligned. Until Harry’s cock is nestled right beside Louis’, already so hard that it hurts a little bit.

God, the effect Louis has on him.

“Louis,” Harry says, urgently. Desperately. Ignores the feeling building in his belly, the instinct telling him to rut, mark, claim. “Louis, please.”

Louis doesn’t stop moving. “Haz?” He arches up a little against Harry, his own cock brushing against Harry’s.

Harry resists the urge to grind down against Louis, to lean down and taste him, resists the urge to rut against him until he’s coming into his pants like a fucking teenager. “Lou, don’t.”

Louis looks up at him through his eyelashes, smirks a little bit, and fuck, he’s so pretty. Harry just—he wants to fuck him until he cries, come all over his pretty face and his long fucking eyelashes, then kiss him, taste himself on Louis’ tongue. “Why not?”

He wiggles a little bit, shifting in a way that gives Harry’s cock delicious friction. “Why not?” He repeats. He bucks his hips up, rubbing his clothed cock against Harry’s, and—no. No. They have to stop this right now.

Harry stifles a moan, clamps his fingers Louis’ wrists, holds them down above his head. “Stop,” he says. Finds his voice coming out an octave lower, sounding almost like an order.

Finds that Louis stills almost immediately, goes slack underneath Harry. Finds Louis’ pulse fluttering against his palm, the thump-thump-thump of it so quick that Harry can barely catch it.

This is wrong. This is all so, so wrong. This isn’t how they’re supposed to be interacting.

“You know,” Harry says, his voice pitched low, and he watches Louis’ eyes darken, watches his Adam’s Apple bob. He isn’t quite sure what he’s saying anymore; it kind of feels like someone else has taken over his body, like someone else is telling him what to say, what to do, how to act. “This isn’t just a joke to me, Lou.”

He squeezes Louis’ wrists gently, oh-so-gently; listens to the way Louis’ breath hitches.

“You can’t tease me like this and expect me to forget about it later,” Harry hears himself continue. “This isn’t just another one of your pranks. To me, this—” he rolls his hips slowly, just to watch the way Louis’ eyelashes flutter, “—is serious, and if you’re doing this just to fuck with me, I’m going to have to ask you to stop.”

Louis makes a small noise, something that sounds dangerously close to a whimper. Harry squeezes his wrist once more, enjoying the way Louis’ pulse spikes against his palm, before reluctantly rolling off him.

“I’ll make breakfast,” he says, ignoring the throbbing of his cock between his legs. “See you downstairs.”

The last thing he sees before he stumbles out of the room, is Louis looking dazedly at the ceiling, his own cock tenting the fabric of his sweats.

 

 

So they’re not talking about it. 

Apparently, they’re really shit at communicating, because even though this is the second time this happened, neither of them bring it up. They don’t talk about it while they eat breakfast, they don’t talk about it when Harry’s driving Louis back to his building, they don’t talk about it when Louis sends him a message full of emojis and they end up texting each other the whole night.

They still don’t talk about it when Louis shows up at Harry’s house for their next cuddling session and makes as much noise as one human possibly can until Harry throws a pillow at him. He is, however, less tactile—he keeps his distance, touches Harry less. He’s also not in the bed when Harry wakes up the next day, and Harry doesn’t even have to check the house to know that he’s left.

And that’s—okay. Kind of…sad, but. Okay. Fine. Harry can live with it. It’s better like this, after all.

 

 

Of course, it all goes to a head right before their twelfth session. 

Harry’s incredibly busy the entire day—working at the studio, followed by two back-to-back meetings regarding the final track list of his album, and then a work-out session—which is his excuse for not realizing that his phone had died, sometime during the day. And when he finally gets it working again, there are dozens of texts and missed calls from a few hours ago, from both Robin and Gemma.

Robin’s first text reads, Anne’s just passed out, we’re taking her to the hospital. His second one reads, Call us when you’re free.

Gemma’s says, Mum’s on her way to the hospital!!!!! Followed by Call me!!!! And then, Why aren’t you picking up????

And after that, there are dozens more texts and missed calls, but Harry can’t seem to read them, because holy fuck, his mum’s been rushed to the hospital. His mum is in the hospital in Cheshire while he’s in London, and it’s eight pm and he needs to get to her right now.

He jabs at the call button, his heart rate picking up, searching frantically for where he’d deposited his car keys when he’d come home an hour ago. He eventually finds them hidden between two couch cushions, and he unplugs his phone, tucks it between his ear and shoulder as he goes to grab his jacket and put on his shoes.

The call goes to voice message, and Harry shuts it off, tries to call Robin. That goes to voice message as well, and Harry makes a frustrated noise, ends the call and calls Gemma again. He needs to know that his mum’s okay. He needs to.

Just when he’s about ready to leave, his jacket on and his boots zipped, the front door opens. “Harry! I—” Louis stops short when he sees Harry, dressed and standing in the middle of the foyer. “Are you going somewhere?”

And fuck, Harry had completely forgotten that he had a fucking session with Louis.

Harry just shakes his head. “Not right now, Louis,” he says, shouldering past him to get to the door. Louis is quicker though, and he grabs Harry by the arm.

“Are you alright?” Louis asks, and there’s a thread of concern laced through his tone. “You’re crying.”

Harry hadn’t even realized that he was. He reaches up, feels wetness under his eyes, dripping down his cheeks. “I’m fine,” he says shortly, pulling his arm away from Louis’ grip. He takes a deep breath, tries to gather himself enough to speak. “Look, Lou—”

Immediately, Louis grabs onto his hand. “Harry,” he says, and his voice is gentle in a way Harry’s never heard it before. “I’m, I don’t know what’s happening, but—”

“She’s in the hospital.” The words ring out clearly in the quiet of the foyer, and Harry feels more tears welling up in his eyes, feels his heart splinter. “My mum, she’s in the hospital, and I have to go see her, I have to go—” He hears his voice crack, feels more tears fall down his cheeks.

There’s a few moments of silence, only Harry’s ragged breathing punctuating the air. “Okay,” Louis says quietly, and then suddenly there are arms wrapping around him, a body pressed against his back. “Okay,” he repeats. “Let’s sit down first.”

Harry wriggles his way out of Louis’ grip. “Lou, I have to go see her,” he says desperately, turning to face Louis. “I don’t know what’s happening, what if she’s seriously hurt, or, or—”

“Hey,” Louis says. “It’s okay, love.”

“I have to go see her,” Harry says again, his voice bordering on hysterical

“And you will,” Louis says, his voice soothing. He tangles his hand in Harry’s, pulls him towards the couch. “After you’ve calmed down.”

Harry follows him. “But I have to go see her now,” he says stubbornly 

Louis shakes his head. “Harry, I can’t let you drive in this state,” he says, pushing Harry onto the couch. “Just a few minutes, alright? Take a few deep breaths for me, come on.”

Harry does as he’s told. “But what if she’s going to die?” He says, his voice cracking. “Lou, I can’t—she’s my mum, she can’t die, I haven’t—”

“Hey, hey,” Louis interrupts, his eyes blue and sad. “Don’t panic. Deep breaths, okay? Just calm down, and then you can go, I promise.”

He wraps his arms around Harry, leans his head on Harry’s chest. Harry immediately buries his face into Louis’ hair, taking a few deep breaths. He tries his best not to cry into Louis’ hair, but if a few tears escape, Louis’ kind enough not to mention it.

He doesn’t know how long he sits there hugging Louis—it’s probably not more than a few minutes—but eventually the panic recedes enough that he’s not choking on it. He feels a lot calmer, a lot more put together, like he can actually drive the two hours to Cheshire from London without actually driving headfirst into a pole.

He pulls away, about to thank Louis, when his phone chimes. He scrambles for it, his hands shaking, and he has to type in his passcode three times until he’s able to pull up the text.

Mum’s fine! The text from Gemma reads. Sorry, didn’t check my phone. Her appendix ruptured, and she had to be taken in for surgery. She’s alright now though!

Harry lets out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. A feeling of relief bubbles up his chest. She’s fine. She’s not going to die.

The thought makes him tear up again.

I’m still coming up there.

Tomorrow, Gemma replies, after a minute. It’s late and she’s asleep. She’ll still be here tomorrow.

Are you sure she’s fine?

Gemma sends a photo of her, peacefully asleep on the hospital bed. Stable condition and everything, she sends. Just tired. Come up tomorrow morning.

Okay, Harry sends back. Tomorrow.

He wipes his tears away with the back of his hand, lifts his head to meet Louis’ expectant gaze. “She’s fine,” he says, and he can hear the feeling of relief in his words. “She just. It was her appendix. They had to take her in for surgery. But she’s fine.”

The edges of Louis’ mouth quirk up, just a little bit. “That’s good,” he says, reaching out to hold Harry’s hand. “You still driving up there?”

Harry shakes his head. “Not tonight,” he says, tangling his fingers with Louis’. “Gemma said tomorrow.”

“Oh,” Louis says simply. He doesn’t pull his hand away. “Alright.”

Harry exhales, suddenly feeling exhaustion creep up on him, settle heavily in his bones. “Bed?” He suggests, standing from the couch, keeping their hands linked. He doesn’t want to let go, not just yet. “`m exhausted.”

“Okay,” Louis says, and he follows when Harry pulls him up the stairs and into the bedroom.

 

 

When Harry wakes the next morning, he finds himself face-to-face with Louis. 

He’s curled up on his side a few inches away from Harry—far enough that they’re not touching—with both his hands tucked under his head. His eyes are closed, but he’s awake; Harry can tell by the way he’s breathing, just a little too erratic for him to be asleep.

Harry holds his breath, reaches out to trace a finger down the side of Louis’ face. Louis’ eyelashes flutter minimally, and then suddenly Harry’s being pinned by a bright, blue gaze.

“Hi,” Louis says. His voice quiet, kind of like he’s afraid of being too loud, and Harry’s chest aches a little bit, looking at him like this. “How are you feeling?”

“Fine,” Harry replies, and his voice comes out raspy, a little gravelly. He clears his throat. “Did you sleep?”

The corners of Louis’ mouth turn upwards. “I wasn’t lying when I told you I don’t sleep well in strange places.”

“Why didn’t you go home, then?” Harry asks. He cups Louis’ cheek with his hand, brushing the high point of his cheekbone with his thumb.

Louis doesn’t protest to the touch. “You look like you needed the company,” he says. “You’re my friend, Harry. I wanted to make sure you were alright.”

There’s an overwhelming feeling of fondness bubbling up Harry’s chest, threatening to spill out. He shifts closer, until their legs are tangled together. “I’m your friend?”

“Of course you are,” Louis says, no hesitation whatsoever. He’s still watching Harry carefully, like if he’s an animal that spooks easily. Or as if he’s about to burst into tears again.

“Oh.” Harry is speechless. He shifts even closer, just until their foreheads are touching.

“Yeah,” Louis murmurs, his lips twisted into something like a smile. He doesn’t seem uncomfortable with their proximity; he just reaches up to grip the front of Harry’ shirt, simultaneously a question and an offering.

This is the moment, Harry thinks incredulously, when the universe—the infinite, ever-expanding universe—narrows down to just the two of them, to just the space between their faces, the quiet in this room. The stars stop falling, the planets stop turning; everything outside of them falls away, chips and shatters and bends and break, until there’s nothing left but this moment, suspended. 

Louis’ gaze on his face is so blue, and it holds, grabs at Harry’s heart, robs him of all his words. He can’t—he doesn’t even know where to begin, doesn’t know how to start describing all the ways this moment unfolds, the way the pieces fall into place. Doesn’t know what to do except to close his eyes, take a deep breath, and.

“Thank you,” he murmurs, and then leans down to press his mouth on Louis’.

It’s gentle, heart-achingly gentle, even as Louis’ other hand comes up to rest at the back of Harry’s head, even as he pulls Harry closer. It doesn’t last all that long either; Harry feels like it’s barely just begun when Louis is pulls away, a small, gorgeous smile on his face.

And then the planets continue turning, the stars continue falling. The universe around them builds, reforms.

“You should get ready,” Louis says, pressing his forehead against Harry’s. Harry’s heart does somersaults in his chest. “You have to drive up to your mum in a bit, remember?”

Harry remembers. “Okay,” he says, pressing a kiss onto the top of Louis’ head. “Okay.”

It’s another ten minutes before he gets out of bed.

 

 

Harry’s mum is indeed fine when he arrives in Holmes Chapel, smiling and laughing with both Robin and Gemma in the hospital room. Harry hugs her so tight he starts crying into her shoulder, and his mum whispers soothing things in his hair, tells him that she’s sorry for worrying him, and that it’s going to take much more than a ruptured appendix to bring her down. 

And if Harry starts crying even more after that, well. He’s always been a momma’s boy, and he’s not ashamed of that.

She gets discharged from the hospital the next day, the doctors deeming her fine and well on her way to recovery. Harry stays another day after she gets discharged, just to make sure, despite his mum shooing him away and telling him to get back to work in London.

It’s nice, actually, being back in Holmes Chapel with his family. It’s home the way London isn’t—trees and old wood houses and the same people he’s known most of his life a stark contrast to London’s sprawling streets and sky-rises and paparazzi following him everywhere. Don’t get him wrong, Harry loves London, loves the adventure, the thrill, the glamour, but Holmes Chapel will always hold a special place in his heart.

He does have to spend some time apologizing to both his mum and Gemma about hiding a year-long relationship from them, though. They’re still slightly angry about it, and they don’t stop being angry until Harry promises not to keep anything from them anymore.

He hugs his mum for five minutes on his last day there, and does the same with Gemma. Robin promises to text him updates about Anne’s condition, and then he’s off, braving the two-hour drive back from Holmes Chapel back to London.

When he arrives at his house, he spots a familiar pair of Vans kicked off in the foyer, catches sight of a denim jacket he’s come to know slung on the bannister.

“Oh,” Louis says, when Harry walks into the living room. He’s tucked himself into the corner of the couch, wearing what looks to be one of Harry’s hoodies. “You’re back.”

From the telly, there’s the sound of a loud explosion, probably from the film Louis’ watching. Harry doesn’t turn to look, finds that he can’t tear his eyes away from the sight of Louis, looking soft and comfortable in Harry’s clothes, on Harry’s couch.  “I am.”

Louis’ mouth turns up slightly. “Welcome back, then,” he says. “How is she?”

“Good,” Harry says. “Recovering, but she’s doing well.”

At that, a genuine smile spreads across Louis’ face. “That’s great,” he says happily. He gestures to the coffee table in front of him, piled high with Chinese take-out. “I ordered food,” he says. He flushes a little bit after, the tops of his cheeks turning a pretty shade of pink, before turning back to the telly. “`s mine, though, so you can’t have any.”

God, he’s so cute. Harry’s heart actually seizes in his chest cavity. “No, it’s not,” he argues, crossing the few feet between them and settling down onto the floor. One peek at the food tells Harry all he needs to know. “These are all my favourite dishes.”

Louis sniffs haughtily. “Maybe they’re my favourite too.”

Harry picks up a carton filled with baby carrots, one of the vegetables he knows Louis refuses to even touch with a ten-foot pole. “So you’re telling me you’d eat this, then?” He asks, raising an eyebrow.

Louis looks down at it, wrinkles his nose at the sight of it. “Sure,” he says, swinging his legs down and sliding onto the floor next to Harry. He reaches towards it, pops a baby carrot into his mouth and Harry watches, amused, as his face changes to one of utter disgust. “Okay, maybe you can have that one.”

Harry bites his lip to keep from laughing. “I want a meatball,” he says, setting down the dish and reaching for the carton of meatballs on the other side of the table.

Louis sniffs. “You can’t have a meatball.”

“Why not?”

“They’re all mine.”

“You know,” Harry says, “I think you should learn to share.”

“Never.”

“Can I please have a meatball,” Harry says, pouting exaggeratedly. He even bats his eyelashes a few times, for effect.

Louis sighs, obviously trying not to smile. “Fine,” he says. “You can have a meatball. Only a tiny one, though.”

“Oh, is it because you only like big meatballs in your mouth?” Harry says brightly.

The look Louis gives him is so scathing that it makes Harry double over in laughter. “You know what,” Louis says, pushing himself into a standing position. “You’re mean. I’m going to pour boiling water on you.”

He runs towards the kitchen, and Harry pushes himself up, still laughing. “No, please don’t,” he gets out in between his giggles, chasing after Louis. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.”

Louis, however, has already managed to reach the stove, where the kettle sits, presumably filled with hot water. He doesn’t reach for it though, just turns toward Harry and leans back against the counter. “You’re mean,” he says again, an eyebrow raised as if daring Harry to object. “You’re absolutely horrible, Harry Styles and—”

It’s so easy for Harry to cross the space between them; much easier for him to cup Louis’ fce with a hand. And it’s the easiest thing in the world, then, for Harry to lean forward, feel Louis’ small, soft exhale of shock against his lips, and fit their mouths together.

Louis stills completely, obviously taken aback, but Harry doesn’t pull away. He stays still, keeps his hands where they are, his thumbs stroking the high points of Louis’ cheekbones. Keeps his mouth pressed against Louis’ patiently.

Finally, Louis makes a soft little whimper, and his mouth opens against Harry’s as he fists the front of Harry’s shirt. He kisses back timidly, tentatively, almost like he isn’t sure he’s supposed to be doing this, like he isn’t sure if he’s allowed. It’s such a contrast that to what he’s like normally, and it makes Harry smile, makes him kiss Louis a little slower, with a little more certainty.

When they break apart, Louis keeps his eyes shut, his forehead pressed against Harry’s. His mouth, at this angle is so very red, that Harry has to resist the urge to lean forward and claim it again. “Was this a thank you for the food?”

Harry’s grin, impossibly, gets wider. “Oh, so you’re admitting the food was for me?”

“Shut up,” Louis mutters, but there’s a quirk to his mouth. “It wasn’t for you.”

“It was definitely for me,” Harry argues. He leans down, presses a quick kiss onto Louis’ lips because he can, watches the gorgeous way Louis’ face lights up with his grin. Harry pulls away, the same time Louis opens his eyes, his grip on Harry’s shirt falling. 

“It wasn’t for you, but because I am a generous and kind person, I’m willing to give you some,” Louis says, because of course he just won’t admit that he ordered it for Harry. He shoulders past Harry, makes it all the way to the entrance of the kitchen before he turns around, one eyebrow raised. “Except the meatballs. Those are mine.”

And Harry thinks that warrants him tackling Louis onto the couch and peppering his face with kisses.

 

 

Louis’ visits become more frequent after that. Or more frequent than they already are. 

He doesn’t come by everyday—because he’s obviously got a life outside of, well, Harry—but aside from the scheduled sessions, he shows up so much that Harry’s come to expect seeing him one of the rooms in his house, watching telly or making tea or generally just being there. Some days, Harry’ll spend the entire day out, and come home to him on his phone, lying in the middle of the couch; other days he’s there when Harry wakes up in the morning, eating Harry’s cereal in his bed and talking about something or the other. And on other days, Harry will drive down to where Louis is, pick him up, and bring him back to the house.

The kisses, too, is something that becomes normal. They kiss a lot—sometimes it’s nothing much, just a peck on the lips; other times, it’s when Louis’ being too noisy and deserves to be kissed quiet. And other times, it’s because Louis climbs onto his lap, so cuddly and tactile, that Harry just has to snog him senseless.

Besides, Harry really likes the way Louis looks after he’s been snogged senseless: his hair all mussed up, his mouth very wet, looking dazed and sweet. Harry holds the opinion that it should be one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

They still don’t talk about it, because even though their relationship has graduated to the next level, they’re somehow still incapable of talking about the important things. And it’s not because Harry doesn’t try—he does—it’s just that every time he tries to get Louis to talk about it, Louis just pinches him and changes the topic so efficiently that Harry forgets what he wanted to talk about in the first place.

Louis is very good at being distracting, after all.

Nevertheless, Harry is happy. He likes Louis—likes the way he beams angelically at Harry when he messes with Harry’s stuff, likes the way he bombards Harry with texts when he’s off doing something else, likes the little sounds he makes when Harry kisses him, soft and whimpery and really fucking nice. Likes the days when he comes down the stairs to the sight of a beautiful boy in his house, rummaging through his pantry and declaring that he wants to make pancakes; likes the nights he falls asleep with said boy in his arms.

It’s really fucking great.

 

 

“Well, you look proper smitten,” is what Jeff greets him with him sliding into the booth beside him. Across from them Niall cackles, and Harry hears the thunk of his beer glass as he sets it down. 

“He is,” Niall says. Harry isn’t looking at him, but he’s sure Niall is grinning. “Hasn’t put down his phone the entire time we were waiting for you.”

“He’s lying,” Harry says, looking up at his phone. He locks it, sets it on the table for good measure. He resists the urge to pick it up when it vibrates in his hand. Louis can wait a bit, just until he proves his point. “See, I put it down.”

Jeff, however, seems more interested in Niall than he is in him. Which, rude. “So, is it the professional cuddler guy?” He asked interestedly, as Niall passes him the pint on the table.

“Louis, yeah,” Niall says, his grin so wide Harry’s afraid it might split his face in half. “Harry loved him so much he booked another five sessions with him. I’m the best fucking friend ever.”

He stretches a hand out, and Harry watches as they do a really complicated handshake, complete with a lot of finger movements and fist bumps.

What the fuck. “Why the fuck do you have a secret handshake?” 

They ignore him. “So does he still write depressingly sad songs?” Niall asks, leaning forward to hear Jeff better.

Jeff shakes his head. “I have no idea, he hasn’t been writing recently.”

“Damn. So how do we tell if he’s still sad?”

“Well,” Jeff says, dragging out the word. “He’s been smiling a lot more? And like, he doesn’t ever get off his phone now, so.”

Niall gasps. “Even in meetings?”

Especially in meetings.”

“It’s not my fault Louis’ more interesting than the meetings you drag me to,” Harry mutters, taking a sip of his beer, but they must hear him, because they look at him for a beat, before leaning even closer to each other.

“Do you think he’s done it?” Niall asks Jeff conspiratorially.

Jeff shakes his head. “He hasn’t told me anything. You?”

“No. Shit, what do we do?”

“You do know I’m just right here, right?” Harry pipes up, and it’s satisfying feeling to watch both their heads swivel in his direction.

“Oh, right.” Niall says. He turns to face Harry, raises an eyebrow expectantly. “Well?”

“Well what?”

“Have you made a move on Louis?”

Harry sputters, feels all the blood rush to his cheeks. “What?” he asks, shaking his head. “I—what? Made a move, I—Niall, I don’t really—”

“Oh my God,” Niall interrupts, his eyes lighting up. “You did! Harry Styles, get in!”

His face burns. “No, no, it’s not like that,” he says, but Niall’s too busy dancing in his seat to listen to him.

“My best mate’s finally getting some!” Niall yells, to the answering cheers of the other patrons of the pub.

No, Niall, that’s not—”

Niall ignores him. “My hundred quid, please, Jeff.”

“Fuck,” Jeff sighs, taking out his wallet and sliding a hundred-pound bill towards Niall. “I really thought he wouldn’t.” 

“Wait,” Harry interrupts incredulously, blinking at them. “You bet on me?”

I bet on you,” Niall corrects, triumphantly holding the bill up to the light first, before tucking it into his wallet. “Jeffrey here bet against you.”

Jeff shrugs. “Never should’ve doubted you, man, sorry.”

“But,” Harry starts, looking from both Jeff to Niall. “How did you know?”

Niall’s eyes, somehow, light up even more, but before he can yell some more about Harry ‘finally getting some’, Jeff’s cutting in. “We have eyes, H,” he says patiently. “We both saw what he looked like.” He shakes his head. “Shame on me, though, thought you weren’t brave enough to do it.”

“Oh, he was,” Niall says, nodding so enthusiastically Harry’s momentarily afraid his head’s going to fall off. “Harry here is an arse man, there was no chance in hell he was going to pass up an opportunity to tap that.”

Harry sighs. “I hate you both,” he says, picking up his phone from the table. There are already dozen texts waiting for him when he unlocks it, littered with emojis. It makes him smile reading through them.

“Aww, no you love us,” Niall says, reaching out to ruffle Harry’s hair. “Look how happy you are right now, sexting with Louis.”

Jeff snickers then nods, taking a sip of his beer to hide his grin. “We got you laid, H,” he says sagely, and it makes Niall burst into laughter, leaning over to high five Jeff.

Harry makes a mental note to find a new best mate. And maybe also a new manager, while he’s at it.

 

 

“Lou,” Harry says as patiently as he can, giving him a look over the board. “Stop it.”

“Harry,” Louis mimics his tone, giving Harry his own look. “I’m not doing anything.”

Harry raises an eyebrow, looks pointedly at Louis’ Scrabble stand, where he’s got ten tiles instead of the normal seven. “You’re cheating.” 

It’s been like this the last two hours, ever since Louis had managed to find Harry’s Scrabble set and demanded that Harry teach him how to play. Harry’s just out here, trying to play a normal, fun game, and Louis—well, Louis keeps cheating.

“I’m not,” Louis says, picking up another tile from the bag and throwing it at Harry.

“You are,” Harry insists, managing to catch the tile mid-air. He makes to put it back in the bag, but Louis leans over and snatches it from him, setting it beside his ten tiles.

“Just because you’re losing, doesn’t mean you get to accuse people of cheating, Harry,” Louis says, in a semi-patient tone. “Stop being such a sore loser.”

Harry makes a frustrated sound. “I’m not,” he argues. “But you’ve literally got eleven tiles on your stand.” He’s also pretty sure Louis’ got more tiles hidden in the pocket of his hoodie. The bag is way too empty for the amount of tiles that’s currently out right now.

Louis gasps. “You’re looking at my letters,” he exclaims. “You’re the one who’s cheating!”

What. “Louis, you do know I can see how many tiles you have without looking at what letters they are, right?”

Louis ignores him. “I can’t believe this,” he says, crossing his arms. “Here I am, trying to have a nice, clean, wholesome game—”

“Louis—”

“—and you’re just out here cheating,” Louis finishes, shaking his head disappointedly. “I trusted you, Harry Styles.”

“Louis—”

“No, you know what,” Louis says, knocking over his stand of tiles as he pushes himself into a standing position. He levels a very disappointed look at Harry. “I'm going to find myself a new Scrabble partner. Someone who won’t do me like this.”

He makes his way past Harry, clearly intending to get to the front door, but Harry just rolls his eyes, grabs Louis’ ankle and pulls hard, until he stumbles into Harry’s lap.

Mm. A Louis in his lap is the best kind of Louis.

Louis thrashes around, because even though they’re sort of dating now, he’s still mouthy and squirmy and a pain in the arse. “Let go of me,” he cries. He kicks a leg out and knocks over the entire board.

Harry just holds him tighter. “No.”

“Harold, I swear to God—”

“I’m sorry,” Harry interrupts, before Louis can go into a long, threatening tirade. He presses a kiss onto the back of Louis’ head. “I’m sorry, I won’t cheat again.”

Not that he was cheating in the first place, but you know. It’s easier to just give in.

Louis stops thrashing. “I don’t believe you,” he says.

Harry uses his momentary stillness to rearrange their positions, manhandle Louis until he’s facing Harry, straddling Harry’s lap. “I won’t cheat again,” he repeats, meeting Louis’ eyes. He schools his face into his most earnest expression. “I promise, baby.”

And then Louis blushes. Really fucking prettily, Harry might add. “I, um,” he stutters, clearly affected, and Harry can’t stop his grin from forming, can’t stop the sudden delight bubbling in his chest. Louis likes being called baby. Harry makes a mental note to call him that all the time, just to see his reaction.

He splays his hands on Louis’ waist, squeezes it gently, if only for the way Louis squirms on his lap. “I, I don’t—”

“Really, baby,” Harry pitches his voice low, enjoying the way Louis’ flush deepens, spreads down his neck. It’s a very interesting development, this. One that Harry’s going to treasure forever. “I’ll play fair and square with you next time, I promise.”

“O-okay,” Louis says, his blue eyes glassy. “Um, okay.”

Harry tries not to grin too wide. “Thank you, baby,” he says, leaning forward to capture Louis’ lips with his, relishing in the soft sound he makes. It’s not long until they’re properly snogging, Harry’s hands snaking up the back of Louis’ hoodie, Louis’ hands tangling into his hair.

And if Harry sneaks a hand into Louis’ hoodie pocket, finds a handful of tiles in there, well. He just likes being proven right, that’s all.

 

 

Three days later, Harry wakes up with Louis in his bed. 

Not that that’s an uncommon occurrence—because Louis has taken to staying overnight every time they have a cuddling session—but usually, he isn’t still wrapped up in Harry’s arms in the morning. Usually, he’s lounging in the space beside Harry, eating cereal and getting crumbs all over Harry’s bed, or he’s down in the kitchen, wreaking havoc on Harry’s kitchen supplies.

So waking up with Louis still in his arms is a novelty, one that Harry intends to enjoy. Or would actually enjoy, if Louis would just keep still.

He’s shifting a little bit, rocking his hips backwards and Harry lets out a sigh, tightens his grip on Louis to get him to stop moving. Of course, this doesn’t deter Louis at all, and he begins wriggling even more violently, pushing back against Harry.

“What are you—” Harry says, frustrated, but Louis makes a noise that sounds vaguely like a moan and pushes back, managing to get Harry’s cock to slip right between his arse through the fabric of his joggers.

Oh.

“Lou,” he starts slowly, shifting away from Louis, but Louis makes another noise, and grabs Harry’s hand, keeping him in place.

“Don’t,” he says, his voice a little breathy. “Don’t you dare pull away again, Harry.”

Harry’s suddenly incredibly aware of how Louis is pressed against him, of how Louis’ arse is nestled against Harry’s crotch. Of how his own cock is already big and hard, straining the front of his boxers. Of how long it’s been since he last got off.

Of how, if he nudged his hips a forward little bit, he could slip it in between Louis’ arse cheeks, rub one off against Louis, just like that.

“Lou,” he says again, helplessly, as Louis rocks against him, his lush arse brushing against Harry’s cock. He wants, so much that it burns, but he wants to be sure that Louis wants this as well, that this isn’t some misguided sense of duty just because Harry’s paying him, or some kind of practical joke.

Like Harry said before, he’s serious.

Louis, though, must be able to tell some of the cause of Harry’s hesitation because he squeezes Harry’s hand, grinds back against him filthily. “I’m not—this isn’t because you’re paying me, or whatever dumb reason your brain came up with,” he says, a tinge of frustration in his voice. “I’m doing this because I want to, Harry, because I—” here he pauses, and when he speaks again his voice is a little bit softer, a little more pleading, “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about your cock since the first time I felt it against me.”

Harry’s mouth goes dry. He makes a strangled noise, but Louis ignores him in favour of rocking his arse against Harry’s crotch. “Please,” he says, his voice still in that soft, pleading tone. “Please Harry, I want it, I—”

And something inside Harry snaps. He pulls Louis back roughly, until there’s absolutely no space between them, holds him still when Louis tries to grind back against Harry’s cock.

There’ll be plenty of time for that later, after all. Right now, Harry just wants to make sure they’re on the same page.

“Louis,” he says, his voice low, and like he’d expected, Louis stills completely. “Do you remember what I said before?”

Louis keeps silent. Harry rocks his hips forward a little bit, slipping his still-clothed cock between Louis’ still-clothed arse cheeks. There’s too much clothing involved, honestly. Harry wants it all off. “Hey. I’m talking to you.”

Louis lets out a soft noise, one that Harry takes as an answer. “You see,” he says, snaking a hand under Louis’ shirt and splaying a hand on his stomach. He can feel the erratic way Louis’ breathing, his stomach expanding and contracting with every breath, can feel the way he’s already so worked up, his skin warm to the touch. “I wasn’t kidding when I said I was serious about this.” He lets his hand climb higher and higher, until he can brush a thumb against Louis’ nipple. Louis moans, and Harry drops his head, presses a kiss onto Louis’ shoulder. “So, if this is just another one of your pranks, then cut it out right now.”

It’s a long charged moment before Louis responds. “It’s not,” he says weakly, and Harry has to bite back a triumphant grin. “I—this isn’t a joke. I—I want…” he trails off.

Harry presses another kiss on Louis’ shoulder, lets his hand move lower, until it’s resting above the waistband of Louis’ trousers. “Hm?”

He hears Louis take a deep breath. “I want…”

Harry bites at Louis’ shoulder, lets his hand move lower, until he can pull down the waistband of Louis’ joggers the best he can. He’s not wearing underwear, and his cock springs free, fully hard and curving towards his stomach.

And it hits Harry, like a lightning bolt: he planned this.

“What’s that, darling?” He asks. If his voice comes out a little rougher, a little grittier, well. It’s all Louis’ fault.

Louis lets out a soft whimper that goes straight to Harry’s cock. “You,” he says, his voice shaky. “I want you, Harry.”

Harry closes his eyes, lets the words settle in the air around them for a few beats. “Alright,” he murmurs lowly, relishing in the way Louis shivers. “Alright. Thank you, baby.”

And then he wraps a hand around Louis’ cock and starts jerking him off quickly.

The first stroke has Louis mewling, and Harry can feel the way he tenses up, can feel the way his breathing picks up. He’s already so turned on—Harry can feel precome dripping down the shaft, and it makes the glide of Harry’s hand smoother, easier.

“Fuck,” Louis whines, his voice broken, fucking up into Harry’s fist. “Please.”

“Shh, it’s alright,” Harry murmurs, keeping his voice low. Louis whimpers, but keeps still. “I’ve got you, I promise.”

Louis moans again when Harry thumbs the head of his cock, gathering more precome and spreading it down the shaft. He’s so fucking responsive—so loud and so sensitive and Harry just. Harry wishes he could see Louis.

He should’ve thought this through more.

“Wish I could see you right now,” he says. He bites down on Louis’ shoulder, hard, listens to the way Louis keens. “Bet you’d look so pretty, all flushed and sweaty and begging to come.”

“Harry,” Louis gasps out. His hand comes up to circle around his cock, resting on top of Harry’s. He doesn’t do anything with it though, just seems content to keep his hand on top of Harry’s as Harry jerks him off. “Harry, please.”

“Wanna put my mouth on you,” Harry continues. Presses his mouth to the exposed skin on Louis’ neck, the places he can reach in this position. “Wanna taste you everywhere. Mark you up, bite you. Just a little though, just enough that everyone knows what I did to you.”

Louis’ close—Harry can tell by the way he’s breathing, by the little whimpery noises he’s making. Harry tightens his grip a little, strokes him a bit faster. “Then,” Harry murmurs, when Louis doesn’t say anything in reply, “`m gonna spread you open.”

Louis’ breath stutters. “Three fingers,” Harry murmurs. He shifts his hips, enough so that his cock is pressing against Louis’ arse, giving Louis a good feel of how big his cock is. How turned on he is, all because of Louis. Pretty, pretty Louis. “I’d open you up slowly, though. Wouldn’t stop until you were gagging for it.”

He’d look so pretty too, writhing and begging and gagging for Harry’s cock. For Harry to stuff him full, fuck him deep, until he was coming untouched, split open by Harry. Only Harry.

“And then, when you were absolutely desperate—” Harry rocks his hips up against Louis’, making Louis keen, “—I’m going to fuck you so hard you won’t be able to walk for a week.”

Almost immediately, Louis tenses up, and then he’s keening, coming into Harry’s hand and all over his joggers. Harry strokes him through it, whispers soothing things into his ear until it’s over, and then rolls Louis onto his back and climbs on top of him.

He kisses Louis thoroughly, deep and slow and gentle, a stark contrast from the arousal building in his belly, the heat spreading in his veins. Louis opens up immediately, and his hands coming up to sink themselves into Harry’s hair, gripping at the strands.

It’s a while until they pull apart, and Harry takes a moment to enjoy the way Louis looks, dazed and soft and pliant. His cock though, eventually protests at being ignored, so with a sigh, Harry presses one last, lingering kiss on Louis’ mouth, before flopping down beside him, his back against the headboard, before taking his cock out from his boxers.

He’s just begun jerking himself off, moaning at the sudden stimulation, when suddenly there’s a hand batting his away and a Louis clambering onto his lap. He kisses Harry, bites at Harry’s lower lip, their mouths moving frantically against each other’s.

“Baby,” Harry tears his mouth away from Louis’, takes a moment to just breathe. He lets his hands drift lower, squeezing at Louis’ gorgeous arse. “Not that I don’t appreciate this, but. I wanna come.”

Needs to, at this point. Harry thinks if cocks could cry, his would be full-on wailing by now.

“I know,” Louis says simply, leaning forward so they can snog for a few more moments. He bites Harry’s lip before he pulls away, leaving it stinging in the best possible way. “I’m gonna do it.”

Harry blinks at him. “Lou, you don’t have to—”

“Shut the fuck up, Harry,” Louis says easily, sliding down until he’s at eye-level with Harry’s cock. He doesn’t move for a few moments, observing Harry’s cock, and just when Harry’s about to roll his eyes and pull him back up, Louis leans closer and gives it a tiny, kitten lick.

Harry inhales sharply, a hand flying on top of Louis’ head. “Baby,” he starts. You don’t have to, is at the tip of his tongue, but he doesn’t get to say it, because Louis is wrapping a hand around his cock and going down on him, laving a tongue over the head first before fitting his mouth around it.

It’s. Well. Louis sucks cock like he was born to do so, and Harry can’t stop himself from moaning, from pushing him down with the hand on his head, slow and gentle. Louis doesn’t even protest, just moans happily as he takes Harry’s cock deeper and deeper.

It’s all sinful, velvet heat, and Harry has to breathe, has to stop himself from bucking his hips up, and fucking up into Louis’ throat. He doesn’t think Louis would appreciate that.

Not yet, anyway.

“Baby,” Harry manages to get out, his eyes trained on the sight before him, of Louis’ cheekbones sharp, his cheeks hollowed, his eyes closed in euphoria, his gorgeous mouth wrapped around Harry’s cock. He’s, fuck, he’s beautiful—and Harry swears, if he died right now, he’d have died looking at the most beautiful thing in the world.

Louis pulls off a bit, swirling his tongue over the head, tonguing at the slit, before taking him down again, until Harry can feel the way his throat is moving around his cock. He does it again and again, sucking cock like his life depended on it.

Harry’s not gonna last—he’d been ready to come the instant Louis had gone down on him, and he can feel his orgasm building, can feel heat spreading through his veins. “Baby,” he says again, and Louis hums around his cock, making Harry moan. “Babe, I’m gonna come.”

He expects Louis to pull off, expects to be finished off with his hand; he doesn’t expect Louis to go down on Harry with renewed vigour, tracing the vein on the underside of Harry’s cock with his tongue, swallowing around the head until Harry comes in Louis’ mouth.

And he certainly doesn’t expect Louis to swallow every bit of it.

“Fuck,” he groans, when Louis pulls off grinning mischievously, his blue eyes bright. That’s fucking hot. “Come up here.”

Louis wastes no time clambering up the bed, plopping himself down on Harry’s lap. There’s a spot of pearly white come on the corner of his mouth, and Harry uses a thumb to wipe it off his face.

But before he can wipe it off on the sheets—it needs a washing, anyway—Louis turns his head, catches Harry’s thumb with his mouth, and sucks it clean.

Fuck. Harry’s cock gives a feeble twitch at that.

“You’re amazing,” Harry says honestly. He’s probably gazing up at Louis with an expression of awe, but he just. Doesn’t care. “You’re so fucking amazing.”

Louis sniffs haughtily. “You could stand to eat more fruit,” he says, letting his hands slide up the planes of Harry’s chest until his arms are around Harry’s neck, and Harry just.

Has to snog him again.

 

 

They go out clubbing when Harry’s single gets a platinum certification. 

They’re in the middle of watching one of those scary shark films when Harry gets the call from Jeff, and Louis gets so excited that he pulls Harry up, tells him that they’re going out to celebrate, even though Harry tells him that they don’t need to, and that making out and trading mutual orgasms is a perfectly fine way to celebrate.

But he very quickly changes his mind, because at the club, Louis grinds against him sensually, lets Harry place his hands all over. Makes out with him in the middle of the dance floor, without a care about who’s watching or who’s got their phones out, ready to snap a photo and tweet about them. Pulls him into the bathroom and gives him a blowjob in the toilet cubicle, all fast and dirty-like. It’s the most fun Harry’s had in months.

And even though Harry gets an earful from both Jeff and his PR team the next day, he can’t bring himself to regret it at all.

Stage Harry

poetryandstone: so i went clubbing yesterday and i saw that curly pop star harry styles in the club and like he was with this tiny dude and they were grinding all up on each other and being touchy feely and i think at one point they made out??? (i couldnt see properly cause like julie ended up standing in front of me) and then they disappeared into the bathroom for a bit...anyway congrats to harry styles for bagging such a cute bf y'all make a cute couple. cheers mate.

stageharry:  sounds fake #HarryWouldNeverHookUpWithADude? #InTheBathroomNoLess #Receipts?

 

 

Of course, Louis isn’t the only one who wants to celebrate. Getting a platinum certification is a huge fucking deal, especially when his single has only been out for weeks, at most, so Harry ends up being bombarded with messages of congratulations by friends and acquaintances and family members, all of them asking to meet up with him for drinks. It’s Nick who has the bright idea to throw a party for everyone, and, in spite of Harry’s protests, he manages to put one together so quickly that Harry’s still reeling on the night of it, staring at the fancy decorations and the well-dressed guests and the copious amounts of alcohol in shock. 

And the ice sculptures. What even.

“Having fun, pop star?” Nick slings an arm around Harry, pulling him close. He smells strongly of tequila, both from his drinks and from when Pixie accidentally spilled her drink down his shirt half an hour ago. “You should be, you’re the man of the hour.”

Harry stops staring at the melting ice sculpture of his face and turns to face him. “I still don’t understand why there are ice sculptures in this party.”

Nick grins, mischievous around the edges. “Knew you’d like `em,” he says breezily, steering Harry into the direction of the bar.

“Nick, my nose has melted off.”

“It’s just `cause you’re cool,” Nick says nonsensically, patting Harry on the shoulder. “Cool as ice. Like the young’uns say.”

Harry thinks Nick might be a bit drunk. “I think you need to brush up on your slang, mate.”

That makes Nick stop in his tracks, and he gasps, pulling away and turning to face him. He stumbles a bit; Harry grabs on his bicep to support him. “Are you implying that I’m old?” He cries. “I’ll have you know, young Harold, that I am fun and young and fantastic company.”

Harry bites his lip. “Nah,” he teases. Nick’s hilarious when he’s drunk, all flailing arms and melodrama. “You’re pretty boring.”

Nick looks disgusted at the words. Harry can’t help but burst into laughter. “I am not boring, I--” He grabs at the arm of a passing person, making her stumble, “Rita, tell Harold here that I am fun and young and fantastic company.”

Rita, who had managed to right herself while Nick was speaking, shoots Harry a grin. She’s kind of drunk too; Harry can see it in the looseness of her movements. “Nick is fun and young and fantastic company,” she repeats dutifully, before she’s pulling away from Nick and disappearing into the crowd.

Nick watches her go. “At least Rita loves me,” he says, before turning back to Harry. He runs a critical eye over Harry, tapping a finger against his lower lip. “You, on the other hand.”

Harry does his best to look as innocent as possible. “Me?”

It probably doesn’t work as well as it does for Louis, but whatever. He tried.

“You,” Nick says, “are insulting the amazing, fantastic, fun, young man who threw you this amazing party.” He throws his arms out to the side, manages to hit a lady on the back. Harry mouths sorry at her when she turns to look at them. “One of your best friends in the world, a person who wanted to celebrate your achievements in life!” He pauses for a moment, narrows his eyes at Harry. “And you are insulting him by not being drunk enough.”

He doesn’t give Harry a chance to respond to that accusation, just grabs at his bicep and physically hauls him over to the bar.

Nick orders them three tequila shots each, and they toast to Harry’s platinum single before downing them in quick succession. The alcohol burns as it goes down, warming him up from the inside, and he forgets all about his melting nose and the dumb ice statues of his face.

They stay near the bar, because Nick isn’t quite sure whether or not Harry is drunk enough just yet, and wants easy access to the bar in case he needs to ply Harry with more alcohol. Nick tells him about how the Breakfast Show is going, as well as the different hosting gigs he’s got lined up for the month, and Harry tells him about his album, about how it’s finally finished and how it feels like the most personal thing Harry’s ever done.

The night after that seems to blur together, with Harry getting swept up in a sea of congratulations and even more tequila shots. There’s dancing involved—because Harry can’t not dance when he’s got alcohol in his system—and there’s loud music and party lights and well.

It’s not so bad.

 

 

Later, after Harry’s managed to get home, after he’s gotten himself safely tucked under his bed, he squints up at his phone. It takes a while before he unlocks it—mainly because he keeps thinking his password is four-twenty and he ends up with a missing number—but he eventually manages to pull up Louis’ phone number. He makes a self-satisfied noise, taps at the number and presses the phone to his ear. 

It rings six times before Louis answers. “Hello?” he says. His voice is much raspier than Harry’s ever heard it, and it sends a tingle down Harry’s spine.

“Lou,” he breathes into his phone, clutching it tighter. “Hi.”

There’s a pause. “Harry, it’s five in the morning.”

“Is it?” Harry doesn’t bother checking. “Oh. Were you sleeping?”

“Yes,” Louis replies. He doesn’t sound mad though, just sleepy and mostly curious.

But that means Harry woke him up. And Louis told him he has trouble falling asleep. Oh no. “Oh no,” he says, forlorn. He clutches the phone tighter. “I’m so sorry, Lou. You should sleep again, sleep is important.”

Louis makes a noise over the line. Harry can’t tell if it’s a good noise or a bad noise.  He hopes it’s a good one. “Why are you speaking so quietly?”

Harry makes his voice even softer. “I don’t want to wake your roommate,” he whispers. “You told me that he gets moody when he’s woken up.” He doesn’t want Louis to have to deal with a moody roommate. Louis should only deal with nice things. Like butterflies. And like, summertime.

“Are you drunk?” Louis demands. 

“Noooo,” Harry says, drawing out the word. Nick had given him three more shots before he left, but he doesn’t feel drunk. He’s fine. Great, even. Fantastic. He could like, cha-cha real smooth in his kitchen right now.

The thought makes him laugh. “Louis, do you want to cha-cha real smooth with me?”

“What?” Louis asks. Harry can imagine him now, looking all sleepy and rumpled and confused and tiny. So tiny. “What are you—you know what, never mind. You’re definitely drunk.”

“Are you saying you don’t want to cha-cha real smooth with me?”

Louis snorts. “Harry, honestly,” he says. “You probably can’t even get off the bed right now.”

“I could too,” Harry argues. He kicks his feet out, forces himself to stand up. Sits back down when his vision spins precariously. “Maybe tomorrow.”

It’s hard to tell if Louis is really amused with him, or really annoyed with him. Harry likes to think he’s amused, because Harry is a positive person, and he’s been told that he’s amusing when drunk. And incredibly charming.

Hm. Maybe Louis is charmed with him. He should be; Harry’s the one who gets him off. He shouldn’t be annoyed at the person who regularly makes him come. It’s like, a rule of life.

“Go to sleep.”

“Wait!” Harry shouts desperately, before Louis can hang up. “Are you mad at me, please don’t be mad at me,” he begs. “I called for a reason.”

“Yeah?” Louis asks, his voice soft. Harry really likes Louis’ voice, likes how raspy it is, how warm it is. How it sounds like when he’s singing quietly and thinks that Harry isn’t listening to him. “What reason would that be, then?”

Harry yawns, rubbing at his left eye. “I forgot.”

“You forgot,” Louis repeats.

“Yeah,” Harry says, unapologetic. “Oops?”

Harry thinks that Louis’ going to be mad at him, but he isn’t. “Go to sleep, Harry,” he says. “We can talk tomorrow.”

“But I wanna talk to you now.”

The sound Louis makes is a cross between a laugh and a sigh. “Do I need to come over there and force you to go to sleep?”

“Yes, please,” Harry says, wrapping himself into his duvet and holding it close to his body. “I like it when you’re here. Except for when you steal all the covers and make yourself look like a tiny burrito. A pretty one, though. A pretty, tiny burrito. The one that people want to eat.”

Louis makes an indignant noise over the line. “I’m not tiny.”

“No, you are,” Harry says, because Louis’ wrong. “You’re the tiniest. And the littlest. I wanna like, pick you up and throw you over my shoulder all the time, cause, like you’re so. Small.” Bite-sized. Harry has trouble not pinning him down and biting him, some days. Most days. Everyday, actually. Even after they’ve just gotten each other off.

God, Harry wants to bite him right now. And lick him and maybe kiss him a little bit. Just until he’s all mussed up, flushed and panting underneath Harry.

“If you do that, I’ll slap you,” Louis says, and his words snap Harry out of his daydream. He sounds like he’s getting sleepy too. Which is good. Louis should sleep all the time. Except for the times he’s working. And living his life. And being with Harry. “You can’t just manhandle me like that.”

“But you like it when I manhandle you,” Harry muses, remembering the times Louis would flush all pretty when Harry would pick him up and throw him on the bed, or crowd him against the wall and snog him senseless. Or when Harry would just physically lift him up and change his positions. Louis definitely likes being manhandled.

Louis also likes being called baby. Because he’s Harry’s baby. Tiniest, littlest, prettiest baby.

He must say all that out loud, because Louis is making a noise that sounds vaguely like a laugh. “I’m hanging up now,” he says. “You’re so fucking lucky you’re charming.”

Ha. Charming. Harry was right. Louis thinks he’s charming.

“No, I don’t,” Louis says, and damn, Harry probably said that out loud again.

Whatever. “Stop lying to me,” he yawns, snuggling into his pillow. It’s cold; Harry frowns at it sadly. “Lou, why is my pillow cold?”

“Because there’s no one else lying on your bed except for you?”

Oh, yeah. “You should change that,” he says, holding his pillow close again. If he tries really hard, he thinks he can smell sandalwood. “You should come over. Sing me to sleep.”

“You’re the singer, shouldn’t you sing me to sleep?”

“But I like your voice,” Harry’s getting really sleepy now, his eyelids getting heavy. He lets his eyes slip shut, watches dark colours play beneath his eyelids. “Like it when you talk to me.” Like it when you sing my songs when you think I’m not listening is on the tip of his tongue, but he’s too tired to say it.

“You’re so weird,” Louis says. Harry can hear the smile in his voice.

Harry feels a smile form on his face. “Miss you,” he says. “Please never leave me.”

And although Louis doesn’t say anything to that, he does stay on the line, talks to him about random things until Harry falls asleep.

 

 

Harry wakes a few hours later to someone climbing onto his bed. He groans, throws an arm out and Louis comes easily, tucks himself into Harry’s side like he belongs there. 

He’s soft to the touch, wearing an old hoodie, and Harry smiles a bit when he smells Louis’ familiar scent. “Hi.”

“Hi,” Louis replies, tucking his face into Harry’s chest. “D’you want tea?”

A sudden fondness bubbles up in his chest, visceral and bright. “Later, baby,” Harry says, turning to face him properly. He manhandles Louis until he’s pressed against Harry, the perfect little spoon. “Sleep first, please?”

“Okay,” Louis agrees, wiggling his fingers until Harry tangles their hands together. Harry presses a sleepy kiss onto Louis’ head in thanks, closes his eyes, and lets himself be pulled under.

When he finally wakes up properly, all the alcohol in his system gone, it’s to the sound of the Cha Cha Slide blasting from his sound system.

He probably deserves that.

 

 

“What are you doing?” Harry hears, and he only has time to put his notebook and pen aside before Louis is moving, clambering into Harry’s lap. He squirms a bit, leans back until he’s reclining comfortably on Harry. “Are you writing poetry?” 

“Not poetry,” Harry replies. He places his hands on Louis’ waist, manhandles him until he’s sitting much more comfortably on Harry’s lap. He peeks over Louis’ shoulder, where a football game is still playing on Harry’s flat screen. “Aren’t you watching footie?”

“Mhm,” Louis answers. “But also, what are you doing that’s more important than footie?”

Harry deliberately doesn’t tell Louis he doesn’t actually like football that much; he’s kind of afraid that Louis will skin him alive. To Louis, footie is like the be-all, end-all of sports, and it would be amusing if not for the times when Louis had stopped jerking Harry off because he wanted to watch footie. Harry’s pretty sure he does it on purpose, just to watch the way Harry squirms.

“Writing a song,” he answers instead, letting his hand sneak up Louis’ shirt. He splays his hands over Louis’ stomach, keeps them there. He’s also not dumb enough to initiate sex while Louis’ watching footie—Louis might actually bite his dick off if he did. “Or, well. Sort of. More like brainstorming, really.”

“A song? About what?” Louis asks, twisting to look at him. He’s got a curious look on his face, and he cocks his head, blinking at Harry. “I thought you finished your album already.”

God, he’s so fucking cute. “I did,” Harry says, leaning forward to press a kiss on his nose. He tries not to laugh at the dumbstruck expression on Louis’ face when he pulls away. “Doesn’t mean I can’t write new songs.”

Louis, like he always does when Harry does something particularly affectionate, pinches Harry hard to hide how embarrassed he is he is. It hurts, but Harry’s used to it. He likes to think of it as a trade-off anyway: a pinch for how pink and soft Louis gets. And there’s absolutely no universe out there where Harry would pass up the opportunity to make Louis all pink and soft.

He’s just so pretty like that.

“Can I see?”

Harry blinks at him. “My notebook?” He asks.

Louis rolls his eyes. “No, your dick.” He picks it up, and turns it around in his hands. Harry watches the way he traces the shapes Harry had drawn on the cover, his fingers landing on a star, a heart, and a lopsided butterfly. It’s endearing, how gentle he is with it—almost like he’s holding something precious.

“Well, that could be arranged,” Harry says, and the glare Louis pins him with is weak at best.

“Maybe later.” He’s still holding Harry’s notebook, the cover shut, like he’s willing to let go of it and forget about it if Harry asked him to. Should Harry ask him to.

Harry won’t ask him to. “You can open it.”

It’s quiet as Louis flips open the notebook, as he flicks through the pages, scanning through the half-formed ideas Harry had scribbled down. Harry should feel a bit weird, because he doesn’t usually let people do this, doesn’t let them see his unfinished songs, his unpolished words. Doesn’t let them see the songs he’s started and discarded, or the songs he’s tried to write but found that he couldn’t find the words for.

But he doesn’t, because it’s Louis, and although Harry can’t explain why, although it’s only been a few months since they’ve known each other, it’s only been a few weeks since they’ve started ‘dating’, right now Louis feels like everything to him.

It takes a minute for Harry to realize that Louis has stopped flipping through the pages, and he peeks over Louis’ shoulder to find him reading through a line Harry had written down earlier.

You’re all I want,” Louis dictates slowly, “so much it’s hurting? Harry Styles, should I be worried about you?”

The blunt way he says it makes Harry honk out a laugh, and he buries a face into Louis’ shoulder, trying to muffle the sound. “No, no, I’m fine. It was just…”

It was just something he’d thought of, something that had popped into his head when he was watching Louis earlier—watching the way he was so focused on the game, the way he chewed on his lower lip when he was worried. The way he’d grip at Harry’s hand when he was tense, over a goal or a play or a call.

He’s what Harry wants that his chest aches, sometimes, and Harry just. Wrote it down.

“Kinda sad though,” Louis says. He’s got his finger on the page, right next to the line. Harry wants to see his expression, but Louis doesn’t turn to look at him, keeps his head bowed and his eyes fixed on the page.

Harry hooks his chin on Louis’ shoulder. “Sad songs are fun,” he reasons, hugging him a little tighter. “People like sad songs.”

“True,” Louis accedes, “but I think you should try and write something happier.” He closes the notebook and sets it aside, leaning back and resting his hands on top of Harry’s. He doesn’t say anything about songwriting after that, and the two of them watch the game in comfortable silence.

Later, when Harry’s cooking them dinner and Louis’ sitting on the counter, pouting because Harry isn’t paying enough attention to him, Harry thinks: I want to write you a song.

Writes it down on his notebook later, when Louis isn’t looking.

 

 

 

“Really, Lou,” Harry says. He’s got Louis pinned against the wall, hands bracketing the sides of Louis’ head. Louis’ got his head held high, the perfect picture of insolence, if not for the smile that’s threatening to spread on his face. “You really should stop messing with my stuff.” 

Louis raises one defiant eyebrow. “I wasn’t messing with it,” he says. “I was simply rearranging it. You have a shit system for your tea.”

“It’s a system that works,” Harry disagrees. “You didn’t seem to have a problem with it before.”

Harry had woken up this morning to Louis jumping on his bed, demanding breakfast, and after managing to keep him at bay for around fifteen minutes, he’d let Louis pull him out of bed and down to the kitchen. He’d been in the middle of teaching Louis how to whisk to make waffles when Louis declared he wanted tea, so Harry had filled up a kettle, set it on the oven, and went to grab the tea. Except when he’d opened his cupboard, he’d found all his tea gone, replaced by boxes of instant coffee.

But before he could ask, Louis had dropped the whisk and ran off, cackling madly, which meant that Harry had no choice but to chase after him. It’s why they’re here now, fifteen minutes later, Louis backed up nicely against the wall, Harry looming over him.

There’s an eighty percent chance that this is going to end in sex. Like real, proper sex, not just getting each other off with their mouths and their hands.

“I did,” Louis replies, reaching up to fix his fringe. “I just didn’t say anything about it.”

Harry raises a disbelieving eyebrow. “Really,” he says. Licks his lips, relishes in the way Louis’ eyes drop to watch his mouth. “That the only reason then, darling?”

“Mhm,” Louis says, still not tearing his eyes away from Harry’s lips. “Just trying to keep your kitchen organized.”

Please. Louis only ever messes with his stuff when he wants attention, or when Harry makes him a bit too flustered that he feels he has to retaliate. And right now, Harry suspects it’s the latter—Louis had messed with Harry’s tea, after all, and Harry can’t ever forget the way Louis had frozen in place when he saw the two boxes of Yorkshire tea Harry had bought for him, lined up nicely next to his own.

“You saying my kitchen isn’t clean, baby?” Harry ducks down, noses under Louis’ jaw. Louis tilts his head up, giving Harry better access, and Harry presses a soft kiss there, a promise for what’s to come.

Ninety percent chance of sex.

“It’s an absolute mess,” Louis replies, and inhales sharply when Harry bites him lightly. “`s why you need me.”

“Hm,” Harry murmurs, soothing the mark with his tongue, making Louis shiver with the sensation. “To keep my kitchen organized?”

“Mhm,” Louis agrees, and Harry feels Louis slip a hand into his hair.

Harry pulls away. “Guess I have no choice but to keep you,” he says, then leans forward to take his mouth with his own.

Louis opens up for him immediately, his mouth lush and wet. He’s already making those soft, sweet noises that Harry absolutely loves, and he kisses Harry back just as fiercely, his other hand gripping tightly at Harry’s hair.

Harry presses closer to him, kisses him a little more deeply, with a little more heat. There’s really nothing quite like kissing Louis—he’s always so pliant, so responsive, and yet Harry knows, from experience, that he’s willing to bite if he deems it necessary. Harry’s going to keep him just so he can kiss his mouth into a swollen mess over and over again. Amongst other reasons.

Their snogging gets interrupted by Harry’s phone ringing, though, and Harry kisses Louis a bit harder, intending to ignore it. Louis kisses him back until the sixth ring, and then he presses two fingers against Harry’s chest and pushes him away.

“Answer it,” he says, panting, and Harry can’t tear his eyes away from Louis’ mouth, all red and wet, just begging for Harry to taste it. “Might be important.”

There is perhaps, nothing more important at this moment than kissing Louis, but Harry doesn’t say that out loud. Instead, he slides his phone out of his pocket, swipes to answer the call, all without tearing his eyes away from Louis.

“Hello?” He says, licking his lips, his smile growing when he sees Louis’ eyes darken.

There’s a few seconds of noise on the other end, something that sounds like cloth rubbing together. Harry’s just about to hang up—it’s quite obviously a butt dial, anyway, and he really just wants to get back to kissing Louis—when suddenly, someone speaks up.

“Harry?” A familiar voice says tentatively and Harry—

Harry suddenly feels like he’s been doused with iced water.

“Kendall?”

 

 

She’s in London. 

That’s what Harry gathers from the thirty-minute phone call they had, anyway. She’s in London and she wants to meet up and she wants to talk. Properly, this time.

And Harry gets it, gets why she wants to do this. There’s a lot of things about their relationship that they didn’t talk about, a lot of things that were assumed, rather than explicitly stated. They’ve always been the type of people to allude rather than communicate, and it was somewhat of a recurring issue during the course of their year-long relationship.

It’s still an issue, it seems, because their break-up was one of those things; it was something they never really discussed, but happened anyway. One morning it’s a flippant joke, something off the top of his head, and the next she’s gone, and Harry is single for the first time in a year.

And even though it’s almost been seven months since their break-up, nothing has been resolved completely. Which is why she wants to meet up. For closure.

Harry’s so dazed after the phone call, all his thoughts jumbled up that he forgets about his plans for sex, just ends up wandering into his living room, completely out of it. He doesn’t stop thinking about their conversation, about seeing her again, about finally talking about their relationship.

It takes him a few hours to realize that Louis has already left.

 

 

The first thing Harry thinks, when he slides into the seat in front of her at a café a few days later, is that she looks exactly the same. 

He’s always thought she had one of the kinder faces in her family, her features often more open and approachable than the rest of theirs. She’s also much more expressive than them; despite growing up in the spotlight, she’s never quite been able to master the art of hiding her emotions behind a poker face. It’s one of the reasons why Harry was so drawn to her in the first place, one of the reasons why they ended up being such good friends—they both have the tendency to wear their hearts on their sleeves.

Which is why Harry can tell—from the flicker of her eyes, the slight twitch of her facial muscles—that she wasn’t expecting him to show up.

“You came,” she says.

“Of course.” He smiles at her, tries to infuse as much sincerity as he can in it. “It’s nice to see you again, Kendall. You look well.”

“You too,” she answers, a small, tentative smile forming on her face. “Heard your new song the other week, when I was in New York.”

“Yeah?” Harry asks. “What did you think?”

“You just keep getting better, don’t you?”

Harry laughs, feeling a bit self-conscious. “Thank you,” he says. “That’s really nice of you to say.”

She shrugs one shoulder, looking away from him. “That’s alright.”

The café is a place they used to frequent, back when they were dating. It’s a small, homey place, usually filled with little old ladies who didn’t care much about popular culture or celebrity gossip. It was a place where they didn’t have to keep up pretenses, a place where they could relax for a few hours.

It’s empty now, with no one but the staff in the shop. Kendall orders a latte while he opts for a tea, and they sit around making small talk about what they’ve been up to until their drinks arrive.

“So,” Kendall starts, when they’ve exhausted all conversation topics and are just sitting there and staring at each other. She looks a bit nervous, and Harry gives her a tiny smile, gets one in return. “I wanted to talk.”

“Okay,” Harry agrees, wrapping his hands around his cup. It’s getting much colder, the October chill starting to seep in, and he finds himself missing the few, warm summer days he had.

“I think,” she continues, looking thoughtful, “the first I thing I want to do is to properly apologize, actually. For just ending it like that.”

Harry opens his mouth to protest, but Kendall cuts him off with a strained laugh. “Just let me say this okay?”

She looks away from him, takes a few moments to collect herself. “So, I know that you’re gonna say that it was a mutual break up, that it was you, after all, who said that maybe, we’d be better off as friends, but like, let’s be honest here.” She gives him a pointed look, as if daring him to object. “That was really just one of your jokes.”

Harry keeps his mouth shut. He remembers that clearly—remembers that Kendall had been in London for almost a month at the time, working on a few campaigns and business deals. Remembers bringing her to this same café, remembers them laughing over scones and bagels. Remembers the teasing; Kendall had said your shirt makes you look like a tourist in Hawaii and Harry had pouted, crossed his arms, and jokingly replied low blow, Kendall. Maybe we should just be friends, Kim is clearly the one for me.

He also remembers having a studio session, remembers pressing a kiss on her cheek before going. Remembers arriving home and texting her, asking if she had a good day. Remembers falling asleep and waking up to a message that said I’m sorry, as well as dozens of articles of her publicly arriving back in L.A.

He didn’t text her back after that.

“So, like,” her voice startles Harry back into the present, back to this chilly day in October sat in the same café where he last saw her almost seven months ago. “Obviously it was just a joke, like it was just something so random, but like, it really got to me.”

She shrugs, taking a sip of her latte. Harry stays quiet, lets her find the words she needs. “I’m—I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. I thought about it the whole day, while I was working, and I think it just hit me. You’re a great guy, Harry, but I couldn’t, like, see a future with you, you know?”

She looks away again, takes a few moments to stare out the window. “I mean, the plan was always a huge house with three kids and a…partner, you know that right? And like, I couldn’t see that with you at all.”

Harry bites his lip, looks down at his tea. He gets it, gets what she’s trying to say. Kendall and he were good friends, but he never really saw himself growing old with her by his side, never saw a future with her. He never really had the urge to take care of her that much, never had the urge to wake up next to her or make her breakfast, or spend hours just cuddling with her; to him, she was something much…less than that. Something temporary. Fleeting.

“I just—I didn’t really know what we were doing together,” Kendall continues, turning to look back at him. Her expression is incredibly apologetic, her brown eyes sad.  “And I was so—I felt so lost in a city that wasn’t my own and I just had to...”

She trails off, but Harry hears the word anyway. Leave. I had to leave.

Harry waits, waits for it to hurt a little bit, waits for the feeling of heartbreak to come rearing its head. Finds that it’s all gone, replaced by…nothing. A sense of lightness, perhaps, like a huge weight has just been lifted off his chest.

“I understand,” he says, and means it; the relief that washes over Kendall is palpable, even to him.

 

 

Later, when their drinks are finished and they’ve finally talked everything through, when they’ve finally, seriously stated outright that they’re broken up, and that they’re really much better off as friends, Harry helps Kendall into her coat, puts his on. Kendall studies him, her face open, her brown eyes familiar and kind, and Harry waits, but his heart doesn’t flutter the way it does when he’s looking at Louis. 

“You know,” she says, her smile sugary-sweet. “Jeff told me you were seeing someone.”

Harry feels his lips quirk at the thought of Louis. “I am, yeah,” he says. “Sort of. I think.”

“What’s she like?”

“He,” he corrects mindlessly, and watches as Kendall’s eyes widen, her expression morphing into one of pride. “He’s a pain in the arse.”

Kendall laughs. “But you’re happy?”

Harry can’t help it, he beams. “Incredibly so.”

“That’s great,” she gushes, and Harry can see the sincerity on her face. “That’s really great.”

Harry laughs. “Thank you.” He pauses. “Um, what about you? Are you seeing someone?”

Kendall shakes her head. “Single for now,” she tells him. “I think maybe I’ll just focus on my career for a bit, you know? I’ve still got the time, I think.”

“Definitely,” he agrees, and Kendall beams up at him, before pulling him into a hug.

“I’m really glad you’re happy, H,” she says into his ear, her voice gentle and warm. “You deserve it.”

“Thank you,” Harry replies, hugging her back. She’s always been a good friend to him, and despite everything that happened between them, he’s glad he can still have her in this way.

Kendall presses one last kiss onto his cheek before pulling away, still smiling at him, and exiting the café. Harry watches her go for a bit, and it’s a bit strange, he thinks, that it doesn’t quite feel like a goodbye, doesn’t feel like he’s giving up a year-long relationship.

But then again, she isn’t his, was never his to keep or to give up. They were never meant for forever, anyway—they were only meant for a year, and he supposes that’s the reason why it’s so easy to watch her walk away, so easy to not feel so melancholy about it.

 

 

A few days later, he drives down to Louis’ building. 

Louis hadn’t been coming over recently, nor had he been texting Harry. At first, Harry had chalked it up to Louis being busy—Louis had told him once that contrary to what Harry thinks, he’s actually got a handful of clients that he regularly attends to every week. The cuddling industry is apparently booming, and sometimes it takes up quite a lot of his time.

But Harry had quickly realized that it wasn’t that. Louis often makes it a point to reply to Harry even when he’s busy, even if it’s just one or two texts. This time, however, Harry’s phone has been dead silent, ringing only whenever Jeff or Niall or his mum texts.

So, obviously Louis is ignoring him. And Harry doesn’t know why.

Which is why he goes.

He ends up knocking on the door for five minutes, and just as he’s starting to think that he’s got the wrong flat, the door swings open.

The dark-haired man’s eyes don’t bulge out when he sees Harry, but his eyebrows do raise, like he wasn’t expecting Harry on his doorstep. “Harry Styles,” he says before Harry can even introduce himself, his accent northern. He’s got a smudge of red paint on his cheekbone, like he’d been painting before he answered the door.

Harry is suddenly, painfully reminded of his celebrity status. “Um, hi,” he replies awkwardly, studying the man in front of him. “Zayn, right? Louis’ flatmate?”

Zayn nods, once. “Yeah.” He makes no move to open the door and let him in, nor does he let Harry have a peek of the inside of the flat.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Harry says uselessly, extending a hand. Zayn just stares at the hand, and Harry ends up letting it fall to his side. “Um, is Louis here?”

“Yeah,” Zayn replies brusquely, still making no move to let him in. Which means Louis is definitely mad at him for some reason.

“Can I see him?”

“He doesn’t want to see you,” Zayn replies shortly. His face is blank, but Harry thinks he can see a touch of hostility in his brown eyes.

“Um, okay,” Harry replies. “Why not?”

“Why not?” Zayn repeats, the hostility in his eyes growing. “Really? Listen, mate, I don’t care how fucking famous you are, you don’t get to play with people like that.”

Harry’s confused. “What?”

Zayn ignores him. “You don’t get to play house with them, act like you actually like them, and then run back to your girlfriend when she comes calling. Louis isn’t someone that’s only there to keep your bed warm when your girlfriend’s not there.”

Harry’s even more confused. “What? I don’t—”

“Don’t play dumb, Styles,” Zayn says. He’s seething now, properly seething, and Harry would be glad that Louis has some very loyal friends by his side if their loyalty wasn’t currently directed against him. “I don’t care if you’ve got like, a million lawyers at your disposal, and you’re gonna sue us for all we’re worth, but you don’t get to play with his feelings like that. He’s not your fucking toy.”

“I don’t think he’s a toy,” Harry gets in quickly, before Zayn can start up another tirade. “I’m—I don’t understand, what is…what is this about?” 

Zayn rolls his eyes. “Whatever,” he says, clearly not believing Harry. “Just go back to your fucking girlfriend and leave him alone.”

He closes the door on Harry’s face, and doesn’t reopen it, no matter how long Harry stands there knocking.

 

 

So Louis thinks he’s got a girlfriend. Okay. 

Harry doesn’t know where he picked up that idea. Louis obviously knows about Kendall—Harry had talked about her the first night the met, after all, but then he’d also told Louis that they’d broken up in the same breath. It’s been seven months since they broke up, though, and Harry doesn’t understand why it matters right now.

It’s plausible that he thinks that Harry and Kendall got back together. But surely Louis knows that Harry’s pretty smitten with him, right? That Harry’s pretty serious about him—that he hasn’t so much as looked at another person, including Kendall, since Louis came into his life loudly. That he wants to go to sleep and wake up next to Louis, wants to cook him breakfast and lunch and dinner, wants to play Scrabble with him and let him cheat until he wins.

And it’s different, so incredibly different than what he had with Kendall, because when he looks at Louis, he thinks, I want you here with me, forever, and finds that he means it.

He needs to talk to Louis.

 

 

He calls Louis again and again, leaving messages until he physically can’t anymore. He texts Louis, variations of can we talk and please pick up and I miss you and it’s you, it’s only ever been you, and it’s only going to be you. He even drives to Louis’ building again, despite the rather traumatizing experience he’d had with Zayn, and knocks politely on Louis’ door. Liam is the one who answers this time, and despite not being quite as hostile as Zayn, he tells Harry in no uncertain terms to fuck off. 

And it hurts, and it’s frustrating because Harry has no idea how to fix this if Louis won’t fucking talk to him.

So Harry devises a plan.

 

 

“Nick,” Harry whines, over the phone. “Nick, please.” 

There’s an exasperated sigh on the other end, and the sound of the shuffling. “Why?” Nick asks. “If he doesn’t want to talk to you, then just leave him alone.”

“But it’s just a dumb misunderstanding,” Harry tells him, for what feels like the hundredth time on this phone call. “Like, I just want to talk to him again, explain my side. And if, like, he still doesn’t want to stay, then I’ll leave him alone. Swear.”

“But why do I have to do it?” Nick wonders. Harry can hear his MacBook being booted up though, which makes him feel vaguely hopeful.

“Because he’s met both Niall and Jeff and if either one of them do it, he’ll reject it,” Harry says. “Please, Nick, you’re, like, my last resort. I’ll owe you so much, I promise. I’ll bake you those muffins your mum likes. I’ll let you listen to my album first.”

There’s a noise on the other end that sounds vaguely like acquiescence. “Last time you told me you’d let me listen to it first, you completely forgot and bailed on me.”

“I won’t forget,” Harry swears, drawing a cross on his chest. “Cross my heart.”

Nick sighs. “Fine,” he says, then hangs up.

 

 

An hour later, Nick sends him the screenshot of the confirmation email. Harry replies with a long string of thank yous.

 

 

The plan isn’t actually executed until two weeks later, because that was the earliest date available on the website. So by the time the session rolls around, Harry’s buzzing, jumping out of his skin with nerves. 

Nick had tried to calm him down earlier, but he’d given up after ten minutes, and is now just sitting on his couch, watching Snapchat stories. He’s going to leave the instant Louis arrives, giving Harry some privacy, and only come back when Harry texts him that it’s all done.

It’s a few minutes later when the doorbell rings, and Harry jumps up from where he’s seated beside Nick. Nick gives him a look, before pushing himself off the couch, slipping his phone into his pocket.

“Go stay by the dining table,” he tells Harry, and Harry nods, before practically running towards the dining room.

He keeps quiet as Louis comes in, listens as he introduces himself to Nick. He’s professional as he does it, and Harry’s heart races as he hears Louis’ voice, as he realizes that he’s that he’s just in the other room, closer than they’ve been in two weeks. That Harry’s going to see him again, and Harry’s going to explain, and, best case scenario, Louis’ going to come home with him tonight. Not for sex, if he doesn’t want to. Just so Harry can hold him in his arms and fall asleep next to him.

Harry doesn’t even want to think about a worst case scenario.

“Hey,” Harry hears Nick say. “Before we start, do you mind if we go over to the kitchen? I just want to get a glass of water first.”

“Sure,” Louis replies politely. “Lead the way.”

It won’t take long now, Harry knows; Nick’s house isn’t that big, and his dining room isn’t very far from the foyer. The nerves come back in full force, his heart hammering loudly in his chest, and Harry bites his lip, wipes his palms on his trousers. Fiddles with the buttons on his shirt.

Looks up to find Louis already there, staring at him by the entrance of the dining room.

And all of Harry’s thoughts disappear in an exhale. “Lou.”

Louis just keeps looking at him. “Harry,” he says evenly, crossing his arms. He’s mad—Harry can tell that much—but Harry can’t focus on that right now, not when Louis is standing in front of him, looking like everything Harry’s ever wanted wrapped up in a soft hoodie and a pair of joggers.

Harry’s just. So gone for him.

Harry forces himself to speak. “You, uh, you weren’t replying to my texts.”

Louis leans back, raises an eyebrow. “Don’t you think there was a reason for that?” His voice is acerbic, biting.

Harry swallows. “I just wanted to know why,” he says. “I want to talk.”

“So talk,” Louis says. His face is expressionless, his mouth in a thin, angry line, and Harry wants nothing more than to cross the distance between them and put his hands on Louis; wants nothing more than to kiss him until his mouth is red and wet and swollen.

But he knows he can’t yet, so he keeps his distance.

“I miss you,” he lets out in one fell swoop, watches as Louis’ eyebrows climb higher his forehead, watches as his expression morphs into one of anger.

“No,” Louis says, and he sounds angry now. “No, you do not get to do this to me, Harry Styles.”

He stalks out of the dining room, and Harry follows him, completely at a loss. “Lou, wait.”

He manages to grab Louis by the bicep, and Louis whirls around, looking, for all intents and purposes, like he’s about to deck Harry in the face. Harry steps back before that can happen though, putting his hands up.

“You want to talk, huh?” Louis starts, his blue eyes blazing. He rounds on Harry, pressing a finger to his chest. “So let’s talk. I’ll start. I don’t fucking care how famous you are, or how rich you are, or how many fucking fans you have—” He shoves Harry on the chest hard, making Harry stumble back a bit, “—you do not get to treat me like I’m your plaything. I’m not just something you can throw away when you get bored.”

He tries to shove at Harry’s chest again, but Harry manages to gRab his wrists. “Lou, wait—”

“No,” Louis says, violently ripping his wrists away from Harry. “You don’t get to do that either. You don’t get to kiss me and cuddle me and act like I mean something to you, only for you to go running back to your ex-fucking girlfriend.”

“I didn’t—”

“No, you did,” Louis seethes. He shoves at Harry’s chest again, and this time, Harry doesn’t try to stop him. “You fucking did, Harry. You fucking left me when she came calling.” Harry notes the way his eyes are glistening with angry tears, the way he stops for a moment, takes a few seconds to breathe. The way he seems to deflate, all of a sudden. “Was I just a joke to you?” He asks, all the anger in his voice gone, replaced by barely-concealed sadness. “Someone to, what, keep your bed warm just because you were lonely and you wanted company?”

He’s hurt, Harry realizes. He’s mad, yes, but he’s more hurt than mad, thinking that Harry had just liked him because he was bored, spent time with him just because Harry wanted company. He thinks he was a fucking rebound.

And Harry doesn’t understand how he could think that way, doesn’t understand how Louis could look back on all the time they spent together, and think that Harry isn’t completely gone for him.

It’s that that makes Harry step forward, makes him pull Louis closer to him. Louis struggles, trying to pull away, but Harry just hugs him, holds him close until Louis slumps down against him, exhausted from fighting.

Harry leans down to press a kiss onto the crown of Louis’ forehead. “You done?” He asks, keeping his voice gentle. Louis sniffles into his chest, one of his hands coming up to grip the back of Harry’s shirt, keeping him there.

“No,” he says, because he’s stubborn to a fault, and really, Harry loves him so much.

That last thought that makes him pause, makes him freeze where he’s standing. He loves Louis. He’s in love with Louis.

When he thinks about it, the thought doesn’t terrify him at all. His pulse doesn’t speed up, his palms don’t get clammy. His heart just marches on and on, like a soldier to its own beat, steadily, surely. And that’s how Harry knows his feeling are true.

And so he gets a bit reckless. He leans down, just until his lips are right next to Louis’ ear, and murmurs, “I love you.”

Louis bangs his fist hard against Harry’s back.

“Don’t even joke about that,” he says, wetly. He tries to pull away again, and this time, Harry lets him. There are tear tracks on his face, and his eyes are red-rimmed, swimming with tears, and there’s snot under his nose, and yet he’s still the most gorgeous person Harry’s ever seen. The one person Harry wants to go to sleep next to and wake up next to, up until they’re old and grey. “Don’t even fucking say that or I’ll punch you, Harry Styles. I swear to God I will.”

Harry can’t help it, he laughs. “I love you,” he repeats, and catches Louis’ hand when it swings at him. “Ow. I’m telling you I’m in love with you and your first instinct is to punch me?”

“I warned you,” Louis says, trying to pull his hand away. He’s obviously just going to use it to try and punch Harry again, so Harry doesn’t loosen his grip. “This isn’t—you have a girlfriend, Harry.”

“No,” Harry answers amusedly. “I had a girlfriend. We broke up seven months ago.”

At that, Louis stops pulling his hand away. “No,” he says suspiciously. “You got back together with her. I saw photos of you guys together at the café. Hugging and stuff.”

Photos? Harry didn’t know there were photos. “There were photos?”

“Yeah, I saw them in the—” Louis waves his other hand, “—Harry Styles update account.”

Harry snorts. “Why do you still follow that?” He asks, and shakes his head when Louis opens his mouth to answer. “No, wait, never mind.”

He slides his hand up to grip at Louis’ wrist, uses that to pull him closer. Louis still looks wary but he goes willingly.

Harry reaches up to cradle Louis’ face between his hands. “I didn’t get back together with her,” he says, as seriously as he can. “How could I, when all I could think about, all I can think about, is you?"

Harry feels Louis exhale against his lips. “Harry…”

“No, it’s my turn to speak now,” Harry says, using a thumb to stroke Louis’ cheekbone. “You are—God, you feel like everything to me, you know that? I can’t even explain it properly. You feel like the universe all in one person.”

Like the stars and the planets and the solar systems, he doesn’t say, but hopes Louis understands anyway. Like the sun, and the moon and all the galaxies combined.

He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath. “I’m so fucking gone for you, and like, I don’t understand how you would think I’d go running back to Kendall when I have you, Lou.”

“She’s so pretty,” Louis mumbles. He doesn’t look at Harry when he says it. “She’s so pretty, and she’s a model, and you could have literally anyone in the world—”

“And I want you, Louis,” Harry interrupts gently. “I only want you.”

Louis draws in a shaky inhale. “Harry, I’m not—”

“Listen to me, please,” Harry pleads. “The first time I saw you, I thought you were the prettiest person I’d ever seen. Even though you’d essentially stolen my ice cream.”

A small smile blooms on Louis’ face, fragile and delicate. “And then as I got to know you, I realized you were more than just pretty,” Harry continues. “You were smart, too, and charming and funny and witty and loud, so loud. But you could be quiet and gentle and soft, when you needed to be.”

Harry takes a deep breath. “And I won’t lie, I thought you were really annoying at first.” Louis snorts at that. “But you were the only one who was able to snap me out of my weird, not-quite-heartbroken stage. It’s like, I was in a hole, right, and I didn’t even know I was in a hole until you came along and started being annoyingly loud so I had to shut you up. And then I hadn’t realized that in the process of shutting you up, I not only fell in love with you, but also managed to climb out of the hole I was in.”

“Is that supposed to flatter me?” Louis asks dryly, but the smile on his face hasn’t gone away. “Aren’t you supposed to be a Grammy-nominated song-writer? You could be a bit more poetic.”

“I’m not being poetic, I’m being honest,” Harry says, then speaks again before Louis can open his mouth to say anything to that. “I just. You make me so happy, and I’m in love with you, Louis Tomlinson, and I’d really, really like to be in a proper, romantic relationship with you. For forever, if you’ll have me.”

There’s a few moments of silence, one where Harry holds his breath, bites at the inside of his cheek.

And then finally, there are hands slipping into his hair, and Louis is drawing a shaky inhale. “I hate that I’m so fucking weak for you,” he says, and then he’s leaning up and connecting their mouths together.

Their lips slide together easily, like they’ve been doing this for ages, and even though it’s only been two weeks, Harry had forgotten good it was, kissing Louis, had forgotten how he kissed, all pliant and gentle, like he’s letting Harry take control. Had forgotten what the soft, sweet little noises Louis made sounds like, and Harry can’t help but hold him close, drink from the well of his mouth like he’s a man parched.

When they break apart, Harry doesn’t stop staring at Louis’ mouth, watches as a dazzling smile forms on his, the curve of it slow and happy.

“So,” Louis says, pulling away, but not enough to remove himself from the circle of Harry’s arms. “Where do we go from here then?”

Harry grins at him. “I was hoping back to mine?”

Louis laughs, like the tinkling of bells. “Oh, you dog.”

“I mean, we don’t have to,” Harry says,. “I just. I really want to cuddle you, and then fall asleep next to you again.”

Louis’ smile, impossibly gets wider, and he leans on his tiptoes, gives Harry a quick kiss. “Okay,” he says, and it sounds like a promise. “Okay.”

 

 

 

The instant they arrive back at Harry’s house, Louis grabs Harry’s hand, pulls him through the foyer, up the stairs, and into the bedroom. He pushes Harry down on the bed, before going to straddle him, and Harry only has time to grip Louis’ arse in his hands before Louis is moulding his lips to Harry’s, kissing him filthily. 

It’s a few minutes of snogging and rutting against each other before Harry remembers the real reason they came back to his house, and it’s another minute before Harry’s able to pull his mouth away, enough to ask, “I thought we were going to cuddle?”

“We can cuddle later,” Louis says, leaning down to kiss Harry again. Harry bites at the corner of his lip, enjoys the way Louis lets out a soft moan. “Right now, I want you to fuck me.”

That makes Harry stop, and he pulls away, searching Louis’ face for any sign of hesitation. “Are you sure?” He asks. “I mean, we really don’t have to if you don’t want to—”

Louis rolls his eyes. “I wouldn’t have offered if I didn’t want to, would I?”

He wriggles on Harry’s lap, aligning their cocks together. Harry’s cock is reacting already—how could he not be, when Louis was sitting on his lap, looking like all of Harry’s dreams come to life?—but Harry still wants to make sure. “Really, Lou, just because I told you I was in love with you, doesn’t mean you’re obligated to have sex with me.”

“Shut up, Harry,” Louis replies. He suddenly gets off Harry’s lap, rolling onto the space beside him. “If you don’t want to fuck me, I’ll find someone else who will.”

The snarl that escapes Harry is completely unintentional, but, well.

It takes no time at all for Harry to have Louis pinned down beneath him, no time for their mouths to be joined again. Harry kisses Louis hotly, kisses Louis deeply, because Louis is his, and Harry will be damned if he goes out and tries to find someone else to fuck him when Harry is right here.

“No, baby,” Harry says, watches as Louis’ cheeks darken. “I’ll fuck you. I’ll fuck you as many times as you want, even.”

“Are you sure you’re up for it,” is Louis’ reply, and Harry growls, bites hard at the skin under Louis’ jaw.

“Oh, I’m definitely up for it,” he says, rolling his hips slowly, making Louis whimper.

Harry manages to get Louis naked in record time, throwing his clothes onto the floor. He takes a minute to study Louis, lets his eyes trace the sharp edges of his collarbones, the curve of his waist. Lets himself stare at the pink flush travelling down to his chest, the sweat already pooling at the hollow of his neck, the expanse of golden, unmarred skin, just begging for Harry to sink his teeth into. To have a taste.

So he does.

Louis makes a breathy noise when Harry leans forward to suck a bruise on Louis’ neck, and the sound goes straight to Harry’s cock. He keeps sucking until the skin under his mouth is a dark purple, unmistakably a bruise, before moving down to suck another one right below it.

It’s when he’s working on his third love bite that Louis’ hands come up to grip at his hair, pulling at the strands hard. “Harry,” he says, breathlessly. “Are you going to get on with it any time soon, or…?”

“Shh, baby,” Harry murmurs into the side of his neck. He presses a kiss onto the love bite he’s just made before leaning back to survey his work. “You just taste so good.”

“You can taste me later,” Louis says, wriggling on Harry’s bed in a way that shouldn’t be enticing, but is. It’s just—he’s just so fucking pretty, his golden skin all flushed and marked up, his pupils blown, and his legs spread and inviting, and.

He’s so pretty, and he’s Harry’s, completely, wholly, irrevocably Harry’s.

The thought makes his cock throb from where it’s trapped in his trousers.

“You look like mine,” he says, because he can’t not say it.

Louis smiles, slow and bashful, and happy, so happy. “I am yours,” he says, and Harry feels his chest seize something fierce. Leans down to kiss him again.

The kiss turns desperate quickly, and Louis wraps a leg around his waist, arches up against him. “Harry, please,” he whines, trying to get friction on his cock. “I want—”

“Shh, you’re fine,” Harry murmurs, unable to stop kissing him. He reaches down, brushes a finger against Louis’ hole, enjoys the way it makes Louis moan. “Just lemme kiss you a little, baby.”

“I—” Louis tries to say, but Harry doesn’t let him finish, just leans down and kisses Louis.

“You’re so fucking pretty,” he murmurs into Louis’ mouth, and Louis whines, his hands coming up to grip at Harry’s shoulders, like he isn’t sure if he should push him away or pull him closer. “You’re the prettiest person I’ve ever fucking seen.”

It takes a while, but Louis manages to tear his mouth away from Harry’s. “If you really thought I was pretty, you’d fuck me right now,” he says bluntly, and it makes Harry laugh, makes him kiss Louis again, just for a second, just because his mouth was begging for it.

“I will,” he says, pulling away from Louis. “Patience.”

Louis sniffs haughtily. “I’m impatient, you know this."

Harry rolls his eyes, leans down to press his mouth against Louis’ nipple. Louis jerks, his legs falling open a little more.

“D’you like that?” Harry asks, and doesn’t wait for answer, just laves his tongue over it.

Louis moans, arching up into Harry’s mouth, and Harry grins, bites at the nub, just until it’s puffy and swollen. He can feel Louis’ cock pressing against his belly, leaking precome all over his shirt, and Harry reaches down, drags a finger through the tip of Louis’ cock.

Louis whimpers. “Harry,” he whines, and Harry uses this opportunity to switch to the other nipple, biting at it, giving it at the same attention.

Harry feels Louis grasp at his shirt. “Off,” Louis says, his voice breathy. “Off, off, off—”

Harry doesn’t need to be told twice. He presses one last kiss onto Louis’ nipple before pulling off to shuck off his shirt. Taking off his trousers takes a bit more time, because they’re tight, but eventually he manages to get those off too, and he settles in between Louis’ legs, his cock fully hard and already leaking.

Louis leans back against the pillow, his eyes fluttering. “Fuck me,” he says, when Harry grinds down slowly, making Louis toss his head back. “Jesus, fuck, H—”

“God, you’re so bossy,” Harry says, amused, but he pulls away and leans over to grab the lube and a condom from the night stand. He puts them on the bed before leaning down to kiss Louis, hot and dirty and so fucking good.

“How many fingers,” Harry pants into Louis’ mouth a bit later, when they’re both rutting and grinding against each other. Louis whines, arching up against Harry, and Harry moans as his cock slips in between Louis’ arse cheeks, a foreshadowing of what’s to come. “Lou, baby. How many fingers?”

“Three,” Louis gasps, sounding completely wrecked. “Three, Harry, please—

“Shh, I’ve got you, baby, I promise,” Harry says, pulling away. He reaches for the lube, slicks up three fingers before rubbing a finger around Louis’ hole, feeling the muscle tense up. “You’re good.”

“Fuck me,” Louis pleads, “Harry, please I—”

He breaks off, because Harry slips a finger inside him.

Instantly, Louis’ face goes slack, his eyelashes fluttering. Harry kisses him as he pushes it past the first knuckle, just keeps kissing him until his finger is fully inside. He moves it around a bit, trying to loosen him up, and then he slips a second finger inside.

Louis gasps into Harry’s mouth, his hands flying up to pull at Harry’s hair. It’s too soon, Harry knows, can tell from Louis’ face that he hasn’t even fully adjusted to the first one, but Louis doesn’t complain, just breathes in deeply and tugs at Harry’s hair.

“You alright?” Harry asks, worriedly. He keeps his hands still. “Tell me if it’s too much.”

“Like it to hurt a bit,” Louis mumbles, and oh. Oh. That’s.

Harry doesn’t understand why his cock seems to throb at that.

“God,” he says. Barely even recognizes his own voice when it comes out, lower than he’s ever heard it. Beneath him, Louis shivers, his breath hitching slowly. “God, baby you’re so—”

He uses that moment to scissor his fingers, spread Louis open. “How did I get so lucky to have you,” Harry murmurs, pulling his fingers out, before fucking them in roughly.

Louis whimpers. “Wasn’t luck,” he pants. “I saw your net worth online and thought that you’d be a great sugar daddy.”

Harry rolls his eyes. “Be quiet, you,” he says, and slips a third finger beside the other two.

Louis moans, low and breathless, and then keens when Harry brushes his fingers against his prostate. “I can’t be quiet, remember?” He says, pulling at Harry’s hair. God, how is he still forming full sentences? “I’m loud and annoying and noisy and—”

Harry reaches up to grab Louis’ wrists with his free hand, pins them down above his head. “Be quiet,” he orders, and he watches as Louis’ eyes turn glassy, his breath hitches.

Fuck. Harry could come just from this, just from looking at Louis, all spread out and inviting, incredibly affected by Harry.

Harry pulls his fingers out, leans down to press a kiss on Louis’ lips. “`m gonna fuck you now, okay, baby?” He says, and Louis whimpers, but nods.

It doesn’t take long for Harry to roll the condom, doesn’t take long for him to slick himself up, and then he’s pushing into Louis, slowly, making sure not to hurt him.

He stops when he’s fully inside, giving Louis time to adjust. Louis stares at him, his eyes big and blue and glassy, mouth red and wet.

“You alright, baby?” Harry asks.

Louis nods, his tongue coming out to wet his lips. “Harry, move,” he says, and really, that’s all that Harry needs.

He pulls all the way out, then slams his hips all the way in, making Louis gasp in surprise. He does it again and again, building up a rhythm, and Louis keens, throwing his head back in ecstasy.

“Harry,” he gasps, his legs coming up to circle Harry’s waist, heels digging into his lower back. “Harry, I—”

“Shh, you’re alright,” Harry promises. “Do you want me to stop?”

“Please don’t,” Louis moans, so Harry keeps fucking him hard, angling it so that he’s hitting Louis’ prostate at every other thrust. Louis whines, his wrists twisting in Harry’s grip, but Harry doesn’t loosen his grip, doesn’t let up. Just leans down to join their lips together, sucking his lower lip into his mouth.

“God,” Harry says reverently, when they separate, and Louis’ lower lip is looking a bit more swollen than before. “You’re just—you’re so amazing, baby.”

“Harry,” Louis says incoherently. He doesn’t seem to remember any other words except for Harry’s name. “Harry.”

“So fucking amazing,” Harry tells him. He punctuates this with a particularly hard thrust. “The best boy.”

Harry can tell that Louis is close, knows that he’s not going to last any longer either. “I’m so in love with you,” he murmurs into Louis’ mouth, like it’s a secret, before using his free hand to wrap around Louis’ cock. Louis arches up into his touch, making little sounds and noises that aren’t proper words.

“Want to make you come for the rest of my life,” Harry says, jerking him off faster. “Want to fuck you like this when we’re old, make you make all these pretty noises.” There are tears leaking from Louis’ eyes, and Harry lets go of his wrists, uses a thumb to wipe at the corners. “I love you so fucking much, baby, and I want to be with you forever.”

“Love you,” Louis manages to gasp out, and then he’s coming, all over Harry’s hand and his stomach. Harry fucks him through it, mumbles love you into his mouth until Louis is spent, sweaty and panting. Harry only has to snap his hips forward a few more times before he’s coming into the condom, overwhelmed at the sight of Louis, all fucked out and relaxed and happy.

Harry collapses on top of Louis, spent, and Louis lets him stay there for a few minutes, before he’s whining about how heavy Harry is and how he’s going to die if Harry doesn’t get off him right now. Harry rolls his eyes, presses a kiss onto Louis’ forehead before getting off him, flopping down onto the empty space beside him.

Immediately, Louis rolls over, just so he can rest his face into Harry’s chest. “Love you,” he says, tracing Harry’s swallow tattoo with a finger.

Harry’s so in love with him, his heart could burst. “Love you too,” he murmurs, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and pulling him closer.

“You better,” Louis replies haughtily, pinching Harry's nipple, before turning to look at him. His smile is a bright, gorgeous thing, almost impossible to resist.

So Harry doesn’t.

 

 

When he wakes the next morning, Harry takes a moment to enjoy the bone-deep contentment he feels, the absolute happiness bubbling in his veins. He looks down at where Louis is curled up against his chest, finds him asleep—his breathing deep and even, his eyes shut, enough that his eyelashes cast shadows on his face. Harry holds his breath, reaches to brush Louis’ hair from his forehead; Louis mumbles something incoherent, his nose wrinkling, before nuzzling into Harry’s chest. 

Harry smiles, pulls him closer, and goes back to sleep.

 

 

Harry Styles album review

 

Harry Styles: If I Could Fly
The pop star makes a case for greatness with risky new album

Harry Styles broke into the music scene aged 17, singing teeny-bopper songs that made teenage girls around the world swoon. Fast forward five years and he's just released his fourth album, to the delight of all teenage girls, music critics and Harry Styles fans everywhere. With his raspy, distinct tone, and the way he sings with a faint edge of danger, If I Could Fly is an an album of calculated artistic risks, one that could pay of swimmingly.

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