question marks are out of fashion (flimsy) wrote,
question marks are out of fashion

to be a fool, Harry/Louis, NC-17

to be a fool
Harry/Louis, NC-17
pining, size/height difference kink
9 156 words

♥ to violentfires and imagination55 for the wonderful beta, to randominity for her encouragement, and to dangerbears because she requested Harry/Louis, height kink fic forever ago (sorry it took so long!).

It strikes him now, oddly, that he’s never before noticed the height of Louis’ shoulders compared to his own, and how much smaller Louis actually is. He frowns, confused at himself, and shakes his head.

Here on Ao3 or:

It’s during a break from interviews, with the August sun hot over London, that Louis announces loudly he wants a milkshake. They’ve been at it for hours, and Louis clearly looks a little tired, a bit worn, and Harry decides to tag along because he could really do with some fresh fruit and maybe a bottle of orange juice himself. Louis ends up driving to the shop despite his tiredness, hair tucked into his beanie, humming along to the radio.

Harry doesn’t mind the silence; they’ve talked all day, shared and overshared, and for the few minutes in the car it’s nice to be quiet. He stretches his legs and leans back into his seat, watching as Louis moves to check his phone at a traffic stop.

“Hands on the wheel,” Harry says automatically and Louis rolls his eyes, but then laughs, drops his phone and puts his hands back on the steering wheel.

“Alright, you worry-wart,” he says and grins at Harry, eyes crinkling up a little. “It’s not as though we won’t be there in a minute,” he quips.

“Better safe than sorry,” Harry recites automatically. He fumbles his phone from his pocket and takes an instagram shot of Louis’ profile, dark glasses and beanie and all because the sun has hit just him right through a gap between buildings.

“Don’t put that on Twitter,” Louis says, frowning, and parks the car. Harry hits ‘send’ and pockets his phone. He gives Louis a wide grin and unfastens his seatbelt to get out of the car where the heat settles around him again like a wet rag. He pulls a face and trudges, but turns when Louis calls out for him.

“You did, didn’t you!”

Harry laughs without answering and continues on ahead; he opens the door of the milkshake place, pushes his hands into the pockets of his jeans and turns around, holding the door open for Louis.

“Maybe,” he belatedly replies with another grin.

“Wanker,” Louis says. Harry follows him inside, but waits by the door while Louis orders, pays and returns with two large milkshakes. Harry allows him outside again, courteously holding the door open, but can’t hold back an amused grin.

“Wipe that look off your face, Styles.” Louis turns around to glare at Harry as they walk back to the car; he puts both shakes on the roof before elaborating. “I might still be growing. Milkshakes have a ton of hidden protein.” His eyes flash a little, challenging, and he unlocks the car, grabs his beverages and gets in.

“Protein, right, yes.” He snatches one cup from Louis and takes a sip through the straw before putting it in the cupholder. He can’t help but pull a face at the sweetness and says, “Sugary protein?”

“Oh sod off,” Louis huffs; he takes a sip from his shake and then secures it between his thighs before pulling out onto the street again, neck stretching a little as he looks back. Harry watches the irritation fade from his eyes, worried for a moment, and then cranes his neck.

“You can go,” he says.

Louis steps on it and swerves the car around. It’s two minutes to the next supermarket where he parks the car again, grabs his milkshake and climbs out. Harry follows him, looking around, shoulders hunched and hoping that nobody will recognise them because he’s really, really had enough attention for a day. It’s a small shop, though, and the salesperson is a tiny white haired lady who is entirely too enthralled in her sudoku to notice them.

He grabs a basket and tracks after Louis, absent-mindedly picking up a few apples and a box of strawberries on his way. Vitamins, he thinks and then loses Louis, staring at a row of sandwiches and trying to decide which one he wants; he finds him again in the juice aisle, arms half crossed over his chest, sucking on the straw of his drink.

“Juice isn’t bad, though, is it?” he asks, lips pursed a little, brows furrowed. Harry comes closer and shakes his head.

“No, I mean, you should get a proper fruit juice? That isn’t mixed with sugar and water and shit,” he says not very eloquently and waves his hand, then points up at a row above eye level. “These seem fine.”

Louis tilts his head and looks up, then stretches, gray jumper riding up over the waistband of his jeans and exposing part of his pants and stomach. He reaches for a bottle of orange juice and when he can’t quite get to it, tiptoes. Harry stares for a moment, dumbfounded, and resists the urge to simply grab the bottle for him. It strikes him now, oddly, that he’s never before noticed the height of Louis’ shoulders compared to his own, and how much smaller Louis actually is. He frowns, confused at himself, and shakes his head.

Louis fumbles for the bottle for a moment, then finally manages to grab it. “Looks good,” he says as he reads the label. Harry nods slowly; he can almost see the top of Louis’ head like this, the little swirl in his hair there, and if Louis stepped any closer he’d very neatly fit under the crook of Harry’s arm. Harry blinks and bites his lip. It’s as though he hasn’t seen Louis in a long time - even though Harry sees him every day - and now he’s all different and Harry finds that he as to re-evaluate every bit of him.

“Alright,” Louis continues. He drops the bottle of juice in Harry’s basket and then ushers him to the register. “We should get going. Paul’s going to be unhappy with us.” He walks on ahead, and Harry makes his muscles move to follow, still astounded.

It’s not- it’s not as though he’s never noticed. Louis isn’t a tall lad, he’s never been, even when Harry was still smaller, but it’s never hit Harry quite like this before. Coming up behind Louis, who is impatiently drumming his fingers against the counter, Harry realises he could probably curl his body around Louis’ and cover him entirely. It’s a strange thought to have about a friend, just weird, and he shakes it off, digging for his wallet in his jeans to pay for their shoppings.


The thing is just, once aware of it, Harry can’t seem to shake it anymore. It penetrates his mind and makes him notice things he didn’t notice before; tiny details like the fact that Louis’ sweaters are always too long over his wrists or that there might be a reason other than fashion for him to roll up his trousers. It’s silly, but Harry can’t help it, like he’s wearing tinted glasses that he can’t take off.

A few days later, Louis comes over to Harry’s flat to watch the X Factor, chatting happily on the phone, grinning and mouthing a ‘hello’ at Harry; he leaves his shoes in the hall, brushing past Harry, who leans down to set them on the doormat next to his own.

“Huh,” he says involuntarily, staring down.

“Harry!” Louis calls from the living room. “Haz, Hazzah!” Harry throws one last glance back at their shoes now neatly aligned next to each other, and pads into the living room where Louis is already sitting cross-legged on the sofa and has turned on the telly.

“It’s almost started,” he says. “Can you get us some bowls? I brought crisps.” He leans down and retrieves a plastic bag from the floor, spilling its contents messily on the table. “Oh, and some chocolates. Is anyone else coming? I bought a bit more just in case.”

Harry nods, shifting from one foot to the other. “Yeah, maybe? Nick said he might. Oh, and maybe a friend of his?”

Louis nods his head and Harry goes and gets a big bowl and a couple of beers from the kitchen. He flops down on the sofa next to Louis, upsetting his balance, and helps him arrange the various snacks on the table, and then pops open a beer to lean back into the sofa, sighing, while Louis uncaps a beer for himself and grabs a Mars-bar. They settle next to each other, shoulders barely touching, thighs pressed together. Harry takes a sip from his beer, flicking his eyes over Louis’ features, ignoring his reflex yelling at him to put his arm over Louis’ shoulder.

“We haven’t hung out in so long,” Louis says suddenly, smiling, but keeps his eyes on the telly as the title music of the show starts playing. He very perfectly fits into the corner of the sofa, feet tucked under his thighs, one arm folded over his stomach.

“What shoe size are you?” Harry suddenly blurts out before he can stop himself and takes a large sip of his beer to cover up just how awkward he feels.

Louis does look up now, turning his head, eyebrows scrunched together. “What?”

Harry shrugs and quickly grabs a handful of popcorn, most certainly not feeling any less awkward. “Nothing. Just wondering.”

Louis laughs a bit and shakes his head; he goes back to his beer and the telly without answering the question and Harry dares to sneak another glance, but then looks away again when Louis catches him staring.

“Alright, what is it?” Louis says after a beat and Harry feels him shift, sit up a bit more, back straight. Staring again, he realises that even slouching on the sofa, he might be taller than Louis, but Louis stops his train of thought before it’s even properly begun, and continues, “Are you going to try and set me up with that friend of Nick’s? Because I hope you’re not. That would be terribly awkward.”

“Oh,” Harry replies slowly, mind racing to come up with something. “No, not at all. Hey, I like your T-shirt. Is it new?" he finally asks.

Louis frowns at him and shakes his head, a smile playing around his lips. “You’re more odd than usually, Harry.” He finishes his chocolate bar and drops the wrapper on the table, then leans back, sipping his beer. “That guy's voice is nice, though. You think he’ll make it?”

Harry realises that he hasn’t really been paying attention to the show, but he nods anyway, moving his eyes back to the telly. He’s can't help being even more fidgety through the first ten minutes, unable to keep his eyes on the screen, and jumps to his feet when the doorbell rings.

“That’s Nick,” he says and goes to answer the door. Nick’s brought a sixpack of beers and a bottle of wine as well as a pretty blonde with blue eyes. He hugs Harry tightly before pressing the bottle of wine into his hands, grinning.

“Not for now,” Nick says, toeing off his shoes. “Though, I wouldn’t object to it. But it’s a very good one, this one. You know, for an occasion.”

“Thanks, man,” Harry says with a grin and nods at Nick’s friend. “Harry Styles.”

“This is Dana,” Nick says, smiling, and Harry dutifully shakes her hand. He allows Nick to lead her into the living room, puts the wine into the fridge and returns with a plate for the biscuits Louis has brought.

Nick and Dana are on the sofa already, caught up in conversation, and Harry squeezes in between Louis and Nick, then stretches his legs out over Louis’ lap, wiggling a bit until he's sitting comfortably.

"What a fine bunch of guys and gals," Nick says, nudging Harry's side with his foot.

“We’re both on the market,” Louis says when Nick’s friend catches on and glances at them, smiling a little around her beer. Harry purses his lips, but decides to huff out a dry laugh, used to Nick's set-up attempts, and looks back at the telly while she says, “Good to know,” and catches his eye from the corner of his sight. Nick always brings friends when he hangs out with Harry, mostly because he thinks Harry shouldn’t be single at eighteen or should at least be having fun, and Harry really doesn’t mind it all that much because Nick knows a lot of smart girls, who are usually as amused by the prospect as Harry is and tend to humour Nick as much as Harry does.

As the show progresses, Harry moves on to another beer and then another, laughing at Nick’s commentary, mixed with Louis’ remarks now and then, and by the time the next commercial break is over, Harry is rather buzzed, head feeling a little fuzzy.

“I need to,” he says, waving his hands, and pushes Louis’ arm off his legs, then stumbles to his feet and to the loo. On the way out, Nick’s friend is in the hallway, waiting with her arms crossed. She looks a little uncomfortable, just the way Harry feels. He pushes his hair back and smiles at her, trying to ease the tension.

“Sorry,” she says, smiling back a little. “I was just-” She waves her hand and Harry nods, feeling oddly relieved.

“There’s another bathroom just down the hall?” he says. “Just in case.”

“Thanks.” She slides past him and allows her body to brush against his, and Harry feels a rush of endorphins before he ducks his head and returns to the living room, where he sits down next to Louis again and leans against him heavily, heart still beating fast.

“A romance is born,” Nick says with a wide grin and stuffs another biscuit into his mouth.

“Oh shut up.” Harry shakes his head and nuzzles Louis’ shoulder, curling up against him. It’s a small shoulder, round, and from where his cheek is pressed against it Harry can see Louis’ collarbone peeking out of the V of his T-shirt.

“She is very cute, though.” Louis leans back a bit, sighing, and Harry rolls his eyes and sits up, putting some space between them. Dana returns after a while, looking fresh and pink-lipped and smiling at Harry who finds himself smiling back because she is pretty and Nick knows so very well what he’s into.

Xtra starts and Harry considers switching seats with Nick, to sit closer to Dana, but then doesn’t. Louis feels warm and comfortable against him, Harry doesn't want to give up the feeling of Louis' body pressed against his own and his alcohol buzzed mind doesn't even try to argue with that explanation. He grabs another beer instead and they sit in near silence, watching, laughing occasionally.

“Right,” Nick says when the next commercial break starts. “I’m knackered and I should have been in bed thirty minutes ago. I’m off.” He gets up and Harry waves at him from where he’s half lying on Louis, blinking sleepily, limbs heavy.

“Good night, Grimmy,” he says with a grin.

“Good night, Nicholas,” Louis yawns.

There is a tangibly awkward moment, in which Louis moves to get up, but Harry just stays pressed against him, yawning some more, not allowing Louis to move. Nick’s friend gets up too, stretching her arms over her head. She says her goodbyes and Harry waves, trying to act nonchalant, and then slumps back against Louis.

“Well,” Louis says. “I didn’t think I’d be the one staying here. I wouldn’t have minded going home with her, though.”

Harry makes an annoyed noise, can’t help it because suddenly the thought of Louis with a girl irks him. He shifts to wrestle Louis right into the corner of the sofa, hands closing around Louis’ wrists, and Louis laughs and kicks his legs; he strains against Harry’s grip and then sighs and slumps back down. “I give,” he says, “I give.”

“Really?” Harry stares, transfixed, at the curve of Louis’ mouth, trying hard not to think about kissing him, and then moves his hand to fit both of Louis’ wrists in one so he can tickle Louis with the other. Louis wheezes out a breath, thrashing, laughing.

“Harry!” Louis hisses, half-laughing, half-angry, and Harry presses his wrists down harder, feeling bones and sinews that aren't as fragile as he'd somewhat expected. He bites his lip and lets go of Louis, sitting back.

“I win,” he says, looking away, feeling the urge to hide his face because his pulse is racing, like a hot fever that he ought to not be having. He climbs off Louis and gets up, smoothing his T-shirt out. His hands feel hot, tingly, where he's touched Louis, and he wants to climb back on top of him and see what more of Louis he can cover in his hands, what will fit and what won’t, compare the size of his palm to the width of Louis' chest and the narrowness of his hips and waist.

“You win,” Louis replies with a grin, still sprawled out, oblivious, his T-shirt pulled down over his shoulder, “because you’re bloody heavy. Should lay off those proteins.”

Harry looks down, shakes his hair into his face and then swoops it back into shape, before looking at Louis. He tries to read Louis' face, feeling jittery because he doesn't know what's going on and what to do with his hands anymore. “Should I call you a taxi? You’ve had a few beers.” It's the easy way out, but Harry like the easy way out sometimes.

To his surprise, Louis shrugs and smiles. “Nah. I’ll- if it’s okay I’ll just stay over? I’m dead tired.”

Harry swallows tightly; he wants to say no. Instead he says, “Yeah, of course, mate. I’ll put the blankets out in the guest room.”

“Brilliant.” Louis yawns again. He closes his eyes and stretches, body arching off the sofa, stomach exposed where his V-neck rides up. Harry holds his breath for a moment, then goes to get the guest room ready, feeling hot and cold all over, stomach twisting.


“Shit,” Harry says, ducking into the house, head bent and shoulders hunched. It’s raining, pissing bloody buckets, and the temperature has dropped below fifteen for the first time since spring. Harry is freezing, chilled to the bone, from the jog from his flat to Zayn’s house.

“You look like a drowned poodle,” Zayn says, grinning when he answers the door. Harry just shakes his head like a dog, laughing, and then pushes past Zayn, leaving wet shoe prints from his trainers on Zayn’s nicely polished dark hardwood floors.

“Could I have a towel?” he says, taking off his shoes and gingerly placing them on a shoemat.

“Oh, sure.” Zayn nods and vanishes down the hall while Harry makes a right turn into the kitchen to make some tea like he always does because Zayn can't make tea to save his life. He smiles and waves at Perrie, her glasses on and sprawled over a book at the kitchen table.

“Yo,” Louis suddenly says from the door to the living room. He’s all wrapped in a thick jumper, hands hidden under his armpits, and his hair is sticking up, and Harry's heart makes a funny little turn inside his chest.

“Hey,” Harry says and sets up the kettle, fiddling with the touchscreen buttons on Zayn’s stove to keep himself from staring at Louis again. “What-” He shakes his head, frustrated.

“Upper left, plus, plus, then lower right,” Perrie says smiling.

“Your kitchen is a spaceship,” Harry huffs out, but follows her instructions. Zayn comes in from the hall a moment later and drops a towel on Harry’s head, then sits next to Perrie.

“Wanna play FIFA until Liam and Niall get here?” Louis asks, tilting his head; Zayn shakes his head and drops it on Perrie’s shoulder, making a snoring noise.

Louis catches Harry's eyes and Harry finds himself nodding. “Yes,” he says, then hides under the towel to dry off his hair. “Can you set the game up and I’ll finish the tea?”

Louis hums and retreats back into the living room, and Harry follows a few minutes later with a pot of tea and two cups. He places the tray carefully on the couch table and then glances up to see Louis on the floor, on his knees, bent and arse sticking out while he fiddles with the cables of Zayn’s Playstation. Harry stops in the middle of the room, suddenly frozen, staring at Louis' bum and unable to tear himself away, almost wanting to laugh at himself.

After a moment Louis turns his head and looks over his shoulder at Harry, brows furrowed. “This stupid thing won’t turn on,” he says. “I’m sure I plugged it in right.”

“Mhm,” Harry says, throat dry. He walks over to the telly, kneels next to Louis to reach over him and take a look at the wires. Louis holds them up and Harry presses closer, his chest against Louis’ side and back, because he can't see otherwise, really.

“Look,” Louis says, “I think it’s broken. Nothing will turn on.”

Harry wants to make a joke about it and disagree because something is definitely turning on. Louis is all warm against him where Harry’s still chilly from the rain. He fits his hand over the small of Louis’ back, feeling Louis shift under him, the slight elevation of Louis’ vertebrae against his hand, but then forces himself to get up and flicks the switch on the distributor right next to them and the telly and Playstation flicker alive.

“Oh,” Louis says and sits back against his heels. He looks up at Harry, brows furrowed, and then scratches his head and smiles. “Well, I couldn’t have known that was there,” he continues a little indignantly.

He reaches out and Harry grabs his hand automatically and pulls him up, while Louis scrunches up his face. “Ow, my knees.” He rubs them and grins at Harry.

“You’re getting old,” Harry jokes, even though he quite honestly wants to make an entirely different joke, and then remembers that he’s supposed to let go of Louis’ hand.

Louis rolls his eyes and grabs two controllers, then flops down on the sofa. “I’ll show you old. Duel me fair and square, Styles.” He tosses one controller at Harry, who manages to catch it, and holds the other one out like a rapier.

“En guard,” Harry replies with a grin. This he can do - that other thing where he really wants to slide his hands under Louis’ jumper and see if he’s warm there, too? Not so much.


Louis is tactile when he’s sober, but he’s downright handsy when he’s drunk. Harry knows this, and he knows how to avoid the painful nippletwists or the occasional cruel ballslapper, having known Louis for a good two years now. The only difference is that now he suddenly doesn’t want to avoid any of it anymore, he wants Louis’ hands on him because it means he gets to be handsy in return, like an instinct that he can’t suppress.

When Louis, giggling over some story he’s just told, goes for Harry’s chest, Harry’s quick enough, even tipsy, to catch both his hands and hold them tightly to avoid further damage and admittedly to feel Louis’ skin a bit more.

“Help,” Louis says loudly even though it’s just the two of them, tugging at Harry’s grip. “I’m being held captive. Call the police!” He winds his body until he almost falls off the sofa and Harry has to crawl on top of him both to save him from falling off the sofa and to keep him still; he really doesn’t have any other choice in the matter.

“I think you’ve gone mad,” he grits out, voice a little rougher than he’d thought it would be, and Louis whines and twists his body until they actually go tumbling onto the floor. Harry oofs and lets go of Louis, the air stolen from his lungs for a moment, but then chases after him on all fours and tackles him again.

“Come here,” he manages, laughter bubbling up alongside arousal, and gets a good grip on Louis’ wrists again. He pins him down using his entire weight, body hot, and Louis bucks up, but then goes still, breathing hard, face turned to the side. Harry can feel it, the way Louis’ breath makes his back rise and fall just a tiny bit, and for a moment he pretends he can feel Louis’ heart pulsing through his skin where he’s is still holding him tightly, fingers digging in. He’s, god, he’s so drunk and he wants to lean down and bury his nose against Louis’ neck and so he does, resting his forehead against the side of Louis’ skull, inhaling his scent until it makes him dizzy. His heart is racing again and it takes all his willpower not to press a kiss against Louis’ neck right then and there, suck a mark into his skin and then rub his thumb over it to see how Louis might react.

“Haz?” Louis says carefully, and Harry snaps out of it and sits up, reality coming crashing down on him.

“Sorry,” he croaks out. “I feel a little ill.” He lets go of Louis’ wrists and Louis wiggles out from under him. He sits up, kneeling, and reaches up to touch Harry’s forehead.

“Six pints and you’re down?” he asks jokingly and Harry nods weakly. He staggers to his feet and falls down onto the sofa, grabbing one of the large pillows to cover his chest and crotch, hugging it tightly to hide his erection. If he’s lucky enough Louis won’t tackle him and take revenge just now, but buy into him feeling ill.

Louis follows, swaying, and laughs at him. “You’re such a kid sometimes. Hold on, I’ll get you a glass of water.” He turns and vanishes to the kitchen and Harry closes his eyes, relieved, and desperately tries to think of baby ducklings and puppies and rollercoaster rides and anything that’s not related to how much he wants to get Louis naked, apparently.

Louis comes back and hands Harry a glass of water, happily chewing on a slice of leftover pizza. His hand is small, fingers barely closing around the glass, and Harry stares for a moment before Louis lets go of it and sits on the armrest of the sofa.

Harry takes a sip, unable to take his eyes off Louis’ hands, involuntarily comparing the way his own hand fits around the glass to the way Louis’ did just a second ago, and then another larger one to hide his face when his mind decides to compare the width of the glass to the width of his own cock and draw its conclusions from it. He coughs, thumping his chest and eyes watering as he chokes.

“You do look unwell,” Louis says. He licks his fingers clean, brows raised in worry, and Harry holds his breath, nodding, eyes drawn to Louis’ lips, mouth pink from eating. He wants to kiss it; he wants to climb on top of Louis and lick into his mouth until it’s just as red as now or even redder.

“Yeah,” he says hoarsely. “I think I’ll go and lie down.”

“Okay,” Louis replies. He scans Harry, head to toe until Harry feels his cheeks brighten despite himself.

“Can you tidy up a bit? If not, it’s okay,” he says to distract Louis. “I can do it in the morning.”

Louis shakes his head. “No, no, it’s alright. I can do it. I’ve been staying over so often, it’s no trouble at all.” He unfolds his legs, gets up and then ushers Harry out into the hall and towards the bedroom. “Go on, it’s fine.”

“Cool, thanks, mate.” Harry smiles and ducks away, heart pounding.


Louis broke up with his girlfriend just before the summer; he spent an entire week holed up in his flat, talking only to his mum and their manager, and Harry felt bad because Louis really liked her and she was good to him and he was happy. But now Harry feels even worse because some mean part of him is glad that Louis is single again and isn’t found texting with his girl every free moment of the day, nose glued to his phone.

And ever since they first watched X Factor together, Louis has been dropping by more often, between interviews or after a busy day of promo, so much that Harry is as used to his presence as he was when they still lived together. A week and a half and about five more beer-and-film nights later, Harry gets an early morning text from Nick that reads i don’t know what your mug looks like anymore but i reckon i miss it.

Harry laughs and turns on the coffee machine because Louis likes coffee in the mornings, and then puts the kettle on the stove for tea for himself. When he's done, he texts back sorry ive been occupied by somebody lately i think hes a bit lonely?. He doesn’t mean that, but it’s easier than to tell Nick the truth. It's easier than telling Nick that he wants to get into his best mate’s pants.

He finishes pouring hot water in the teapot and adding tea leaves, just as his phone vibrates with another text from Nick. and you’re not? it says. Oh, Harry thinks, stomach twisting painfully at the realisation that Nick is right; he is lonely. Frowning, he puts his phone down and then prepare a cup of coffee - milk, no sugars - for Louis and starts setting out some more breakfast items and a cup of tea for himself. He sits down and takes a sip, staring at his phone. The very worst thing is that he didn’t even notice until somebody rubbed it in his face, that even though Louis has been popping by so much he might as well leave a pair of pyjamas and a toothbrush at Harry’s flat, Harry feels lonely anyway. He taps the button on his phone just as it vibrates with another text from Nick, startling him.

it’s friday come out with me tonight? i got somebody you’d regret not meeting

Harry rubs his eyes, thinking, torn between wanting to go, wanting to get drunk and snog a girl, and convincing Louis to stay yet another night for a chance of cuddles on the sofa; he looks up when Louis pads into the kitchen, yawning in greeting. He’s in Harry’s pajamas, bottoms and top; the legs are too long, trailing on the floor, and the sleeves cover his wrists and part of his hands. The collar is too loose, revealing Louis’ clavicle like a promise that makes Harry’s mouth go dry with want.

“Coffee?” Louis says and sits at the table, squeezing his eyes shut as he yawns again, completely unaware of Harry who only now remembers to close his mouth.

“In front of you,” he says automatically, then grabs his phone and types a reply. okay.


The friend Nick wanted Harry to meet turns out to be yet another one of Nick’s model acquaintances; she’s cute: slim, stork-legged and blonde because Nick knows Harry. She’s also smart and greets Harry with a firm handshake and a smile that betrays that soft flash in her eyes when she recognises him. Harry appreciates her discretion and strikes up a conversation with her as they all sit down and order drinks.

Nick is cheerful, and most people in the pub are his friends or friends of friends and Harry goes along with it, laughing and drinking until his fingers feel funny and his chest is resonating with the sound of his own voice.

He’s in the middle of telling a story, when Nick’s friend drags him up, saying something about needing some air, small hands closing over his biceps, and ushers him out the door. She hands him a cigarette and sticks one between her plum pink lips, smiling around it, then lights first his and then her own, leaning against the wall.

Harry knows they’ll finish their fags and then exchange a few words and then he’ll kiss her and she’ll taste like beer and smoke and he’ll like it because she’s soft and small in the very best way. She’ll make him feel a little less lonely for a night, and maybe that’s alright.

“I like the night air,” he says, taking a drag and then another, and pushes his hand into the pocket of his jeans.

“Yes,” she replies and smiles at him, then finishes her smoke, looking up expectantly. Quite suddenly, Harry doesn’t want to kiss her anymore; he knows it’s been building up to this and he’s been working it up to this, but all of a sudden he doesn’t want to anymore. She’s only a breath smaller than Harry, long and lean. All Harry wants is small and maybe almost stocky and ash blond; someone with mischief in his eyes and a smile that makes Harry’s heart ache.

“I’m sorry,” he manages. He drops his fag and grinds it out with the heel of his boot. “Can you tell Nick I went home? I feel- I need to go.” He ducks his head, kisses her cheek and leaves before she can say anything. There’s a taxi stand just around the corner of the pub and Harry finds a taxi, unsteady on his feet, and tells the driver his address, forehead pressed against the cool glass of the window as he tries to arrange his thoughts into a semblance of order.

They arrive at their destination a few minutes later and Harry pays the fee and then stumbles up to his flat, head spinning. He barely manages to unlock the door, hands uncoordinated, and drops his shoes and coat on the floor in a mess he’ll frown over come morning. He stumbles into the living room and suddenly finds himself face down on the couch in the blanket Louis was all wrapped in just earlier this day, sipping tea and telling Harry about one thing or another. It smells like Louis, too, somewhat earthy, but clean and mostly like Harry’s own expensive organic hemp soap that only ever Louis uses.

Louis was here just a few hours ago, and Harry just let him go and went to have drinks with Nick, went to take home a girl just to make himself feel better. He closes his eyes and buries his face into the blanket, inhaling deeply, chest tight. He shouldn’t have let Louis go, he thinks; he should’ve made Louis stay and kissed him and whispered in his ear. He should’ve been honest and not such a coward.

He drifts off after a while, thinking about what Louis’ neck might possibly taste like or what he could possibly say to make it happen, and wakes far from sober, his mouth dry. He sits up, head spinning, and blinks his eyes open a few times, breathing deeply, his heart beating almost arhythmically from all the alcohol. A moment later he’s fiddling his phone from his pocket and scrolling through his recent caller list to find Louis’ number; he hits Call and listens to the dull beeping sound until it goes to voicemail.

“Shit,” he says to himself and squeezes his eyes shut. It’s stupid but he’d hoped to hear Louis’ voice at least, just for a moment. He exhales and gets up to go to the kitchen for a Red Bull and, standing in the hallway, makes a decision. He puts on his shoes and grabs his keys, and as an afterthought his coat, too. It’s not exactly cold out, but he’s happy about the additional layer once he steps out the door, tugging his collar up.

The car is not at all warmer and he punches Louis’ address into the GPS system with slightly shaky fingers. It signals a fifteen minute travelling time and Harry purses his lips, vision swimming. He pops the the Red Bull open and takes a large sip, then puts the can in the cupholder and starts the car. His mind is blank, mostly on autopilot, but somewhere a little voice is telling him that this might not be the smartest idea after all. He bites his lip and ignores it, going over the things he wants to say until his head is filled with a mantra of want this and need you and Louis.

The streets are almost empty, and Harry focuses on the computer voice telling him where to go, fingers drumming on the steering wheel, trying hard to keep his eyes open. He gets there just short of twenty minutes later and parks the car; he’s shivering from the morning cold as he makes it up to Louis’ flat, arms crossed, glancing up to see dawn creep in pastels over the eastern hemisphere. He stops at the door and leans his forehead against it, breathing deeply, almost wimping out, and then rings the bell shortly.

There’s no sounds coming from behind the door and Harry gives it a few moments, listening with his eyes closed and his heart beating high in his throat, and then tries again, before pulling away. He stares down at the doorbell, thinking that maybe he should go home and get a proper night’s sleep and be an adult about this, but then Louis wrenches the door open, hair sticking up and eyes small and tired.

“Harry?” he says, sounding surprised.

“I’m drunk,” Harry blurts out even though that was not at all what he was going to say. He was going to end with that, possibly, as sort of an explanation for all the things he’d meant to say but has now forgotten.

Louis shake his head, but steps aside to let Harry in. “I can see that,” he says. He helps Harry out of his coat and then offers his arm for support when Harry takes off his shoes. “That’s all you wanted to tell me?” He ushers Harry along into the living room, hand on Harry’s arm, and Harry shakes his head, holding onto him tightly.

“No, I like, I want to snog you,” he says which is also something he didn’t actually want to say out loud but it seems now that he’s started speaking it’s very hard to stop again.

Louis halts and looks up at him, brows furrowed in obvious confusion. “Snog as in- snog, or as in a new word that I, Harry Styles, have created and the meaning of which I’m about to explain?”

“The former,” Harry replies and starts gnawing on his lip. Louis is suddenly very close; Harry feels a tugging inside of him and turns around a little to fit his arm around Louis’ middle, his hand against the small of Louis’ back. “I’ve thought about it a lot.” His tongue feels heavy and only after Louis takes a sharp breath, Harry realises that he’s been holding his own.

“Oh,” Louis says. He doesn’t take a step back and he doesn’t smack Harry either, so Harry leans down and presses their mouths together. It’s clumsy and Louis’ mouth is a little dry, but he still tastes like peppermint toothpaste. Harry presses in a little more, tentatively nipping at Louis’ lips. He pulls away a moment later and stares down at Louis, whose lips are slightly parted and who’s staring back up at Harry without letting go of his arm.

“Do you want to punch me now?” Harry says, stomach tight.

Louis shakes his head. “I don’t think I do.” He reaches up and touches his lips, looking lost for a second, then suddenly pulls away and walks past Harry, pulling him along by his arm, making Harry stumble in surprise. “C’mon, let’s put you in bed.”

Harry wants to protest, mind racing, but follows anyway, shoulders tense. The bed in the guestroom is soft when he sits and Harry allows Louis to take off his socks and trousers, body moving on its own almost. He watches Louis’ face, his brows furrowed up in concentration, looking for clues, but there’s nothing but sleepiness, a little smile when he catches Harry watching.

Harry shrugs out of his shirt, too, and Louis tucks him in, yawning, and Harry catches his wrist, holding on when Louis moves to leave. “Can you lie with me for a bit?” he asks even though he knows Louis will probably say no and think he’s weird. Louis will scoff or laugh and then in the morning they will not speak of this again. Harry breathes deeply, bites his lip.

“Okay,” Louis says to his surprise. He crawls on top of the covers and Harry reaches out and fits his hand over Louis’ neck and pulls him down. Louis grunts a bit, but doesn’t protest when Harry nudges their noses and then their lips together. Instead he settles against Harry and lets Harry kiss into his mouth; he makes a little sound and opens up, and Harry presses closer, sneaking his other arm around Louis’ waist to fit their bodies together, their warmth shared, the angles of their knees and hips and elbows fitting together somehow.

They kiss lazily, breathing into each other’s mouths, nipping at each other’s lips, their soft sounds, whimpers, filling the room. With Louis pressed against him Harry feels like a giant, even though the difference isn’t that much, but he can frame almost the entire width of Louis’ back with one hand, just like that. He gets caught up in the feeling of it, allowing his fingers to trail over the sliver of exposed skin just above the waistband of Louis’ pyjamas, and notices only belatedly that Louis breaks away. He settles against the pillows, yawning, and Harry blinks at him, face hot, lips tingling with the memory of this kiss. He hesitates, scans Louis’ face, and then feels a surge of panic hit him like a brick, when Louis simply gives him a curious smile.

“I’m sorry, I’m drunk,” he says and curls up, face hidden against his pillow.

“I know,” Louis says. He pats Harry’s hair and turns onto his side, facing away from Harry who squeezes his eyes shut so he doesn’t have to stare at Louis’ back as he falls asleep.


Harry wakes with his cheek pressed tightly against Louis' back. Louis is breathing softly, and Harry closes his eyes again until clearly some part of Louis senses that Harry is awake and he stirs, groaning a little. He moves, shifting away from Harry, and turns onto his back. Harry stays and nudges him gently, smiling.

“Morning,” he says and tries to read in Louis’ face if Louis remembers, but there’s nothing there but tiredness.

“‘ello,” Louis croaks. He sits up and smoothes his hair back, coughing, then leans against the headboard with his eyes closed.

"Sorry for hogging your bed." Harry looks up at Louis and then pushes himself up on elbows, uneasiness spreading through him in a wave. He could ask, he thinks, he could just ask if Louis even remembers, and he’s about to when Louis smiles again and shakes his head and says, “It’s alright, mate, I’m used to kids crawling into my bed at night.”

Harry laughs despite himself and then swings his legs off the bed. “I’ll go make us tea,” he says and ducks out into the kitchen, throat tight. He sets up the kettle and chooses from Louis’ extensive collection of exotic teas and just as he starts pouring the water, Louis wanders in. He’s combed now, looking a little more awake. Harry smiles at him, but falters when Louis averts his gaze and looks down, sitting at the kitchen table. Harry feels his mouth tighten in a bout of childish anger and disappointment but prepares a cup for each of them and sets one down before Louis.

He takes a sip, hip against the table, and then before he can stop himself, says, “I’ve made things weird, haven’t I?”

Louis glances over his cup and Harry manages to catch his eyes. Louis shrugs and then shakes his head. “No,” he says. “I don’t think- no.”

"Oh." Harry shrugs. He doesn't quite know what to say anymore, so he walks to the fridge and gets some milk for his tea. Maybe he doesn’t even want things to be alright; he wants Louis to tell him that he thinks he, Harry's, gone mad and that he should think of the band because clearly Harry has become incapable of telling himself that. Mostly, though, he just wants to kiss Louis again.

"Are you hungover?" Louis asks and Harry looks over his shoulder and shakes his head, but Louis continues anyway. "I could get you an aspirin if you wanted?"

"I'm alright, thank you," Harry lies. "I wasn't that pissed yesterday." Louis gives him a look and for a moment Harry really wants to smack him because he's so dense. "I really wasn't." He hesitates for a moment, then squares his shoulders and tilts his chin. "I meant it. I still do." Louis' mouth goes slack in surprise, before his eyes dart down to Harry's mouth and then back up.

"Right," Harry says, feeling another rush of disappointment that settles like a rock in his stomach. He empties his cup in the sink and puts it in the dishwasher. "I'll go and take a shower, if that's alright?" Without waiting for an answer, he ducks out of the kitchen and into the bathroom where he peels off his T-shirt and underwear; he remembers Louis helping him take off his trousers last night. He remembers Louis' mouth and Louis' body against his own and for a moment he wants to run away and hide somewhere and not talk to Louis or anyone for a month because he hadn’t thought it’d sting this much.

He shakes his head at himself and glances up when the bathroom door suddenly opens with a creak, and Louis steps in. He meets Harry's eyes for a moment, clearly avoiding looking anywhere else, and then looks down and takes off his socks, pyjama bottoms and finally his T-shirt. His head is bent and his fringe is falling into his face, so Harry can't see his expression at all, but he can see the tenseness in his shoulders and the fumbling of his fingers, and takes a shaky, nervous breath.

"What're you doing?" he asks, swallowing tightly, eyes trailing over the curve of Louis' back and thighs.

"Taking off my clothes," Louis says and looks up; he's blushing high on top of his cheeks, visible beneath his tan, and there's an uncertainty to the way his mouth quirks that makes Harry dizzy. "It's custom for when you take a shower, is it not?"

"Should I leave?" Harry replies dumbly. He knows there's a simple explanation for all this, but his mind refuses to grasp it, racing as he tries not to stare too blatantly.

"No," Louis says. He gnaws on his lip for a moment and then finally takes off his pants, too. He squeezes past Harry into the shower stall and turns on the water; it flattens down his hair and Harry stares, counting a few heartbeats, before urging his legs to move.

"So, we're not being weird?" he asks and steps under the stream, too. It's a big shower, at ground level, all glass and black tile, but all Harry can see is the water beading off Louis' shoulder, off his nose and lips. He moves closer until they're almost pressed together, but is afraid to touch Louis, scared to shatter the moment.

"Can we- I'd rather not talk about this right at the moment," Louis almost snaps and pushes his hair out of his face. His eyes go soft again and Harry's stomach lurches. He leans down and kisses Louis, because if Louis doesn't want to talk Harry needs a way to shut himself up.

"This is okay, though?" he mumbles against Louis’ mouth. Louis nods and tilts his head up. He deepens the kiss, tiptoeing and holding onto Harry’s shoulder for balance, and Harry hesitates for a moment before sliding his hand down Louis’ back. He lets it rest just above the curve of his arse and pulls Louis closer, growing hard within a minute of kissing.

Louis gasps against Harry’s mouth and pulls away, his breath hot against Harry’s chin and lips. He’s still a bit red in the face, mouth going slack when Harry puts his left hand next to his other and smoothes them down over the swell of Louis’ arse. He squeezes and pulls him in, hips pressed together suddenly. He’s felt Louis against him a dozen times, wrestling or whispering on stage, but never like this with their wet cocks suddenly sliding against another because Louis is just as hard as he is.

“Still okay?” he asks and Louis groans and closes his eyes. He nods and again, tilting his head a little; Harry can’t resist the temptation the curve of his neck offers and latches onto it, sucking a mark into the skin, fingers digging into the soft flesh of Louis’ arse. He trails kisses all the way down to Louis’ ear, bending down a little in an effort to reach, and bites Louis' earlobe, heart pumping wildly in his chest. They buck together and Harry moans, then half-laughs because suddenly he feels mad and he wants it all. He slides one hand around Louis’ hip and curls it around his cock between their bodies, squeezing and stroking tentatively.

“Oh shit,” Louis moans loudly and goes slack in Harry’s grip. Harry moves his fingers up and then engulfs the head in the palm of his hand, carefully stroking until Louis is fully hard, twitching, and he can pull back the foreskin to rub the sensitive skin under it. “Harry,” Louis breathes out and drops his head back against the shower wall. The redness from his cheeks has spread all the way down his torso now; Harry bites his lip and then finds Louis’ pulsepoint, sucking, and starts stroking him fast but gentle, with a twist at the head and a squeeze around the base because that’s how he himself likes it.

Louis whines again, long and almost pained, and rides up into his hand, fingers digging into Harry’s shoulder. The rhythmic background of his breathing turns stackato, racing Harry’s heart, and he comes with a shout, cock twitching and pulsing in Harry’s hand. Harry strokes him through it, then eases off carefully, and pulls Louis close again. They kiss, Louis’ lips slack, pliant, while the water washes Louis’ release away before it can turn sticky.

Harry’s nudges his cock, hard and arching against his hip, against Louis’ stomach, but doesn’t press the issue otherwise, trailing his hand up Louis’ chest to his neck and chin and cheek, rubbing with his thumb.

“I should- I want-” Louis pulls away and looks up at Harry. He lets go of Harry’s arm to grab his cock instead, squeezing the base and tugging it up.

Harry hisses and shudders, moaning. “Please,” he manages weakly, knees almost buckling. He drops his head against Louis’ shoulder, breathing sharply through his nose; he’s almost hyperventilating, staring down at Louis’ small hand wrapped around his cock, the way his wrist arches and his thumb teases at the slit with every slow stroke. “Please, Lou,” he says again. He’s buzzing and hot, skin tingly where Louis’ other hand slides down his hip to hold him still.

He pushes up into Louis’ hand, makes another noise in the back of his throat, and finally Louis gets the hint - or gives in - because he starts wanking Harry, fast and rough, hand twisting up each time he reaches the tip. Harry's visions blurs for a moment before he snaps back, seeing crystal clear for a moment until his mind starts going blank with orgasm.

Two minutes, a voice in the back of his head says, but he couldn’t care less, really. He turns his head and bites down on Louis’ shoulder, coming all over Louis' stomach in a rush of wildfire sparking first up his spine and then down again, a short golden high, that leaves him breathing hard and fast against Louis’ skin. He slumps against Louis, crushing him against the wall, legs weak, and hugs him close, face buried against his shoulder.

“You good?” Louis’ voice asks tentatively and Harry leans up and kisses his neck and then his chin, nodding.

“More than good,” he says and pulls away a little to kiss Louis’ mouth, too. “Can we get dried up,” he mumbles. “And clothes, too.”

Louis makes a small approving sound, but kisses back. He turns the water off and they stumble out, leaving wet footprints as they dry off and put on bathrobes, shoulders and hips bumping together occasionally.

“Hey,” Harry says when they’ve put on slippers and Louis opens the bathroom door. He looks back at Harry, smiling a little, face more open with his hair slicked back, eyes very blue and wide.

Harry licks his lips and then can’t say it anyway; he doesn't want to ruin it just yet. “Should I put some lunch together?” he says instead and Louis rolls his eyes but nods. He ushers Harry out and vanishes into the bedroom while Harry goes to set up a pot of water for some spaghetti.

Louis comes back a moment later, hair combed out into a fringe again; he stands in the door for a moment, watching, and Harry finds himself turning, opening his body up, arm almost reaching out, waiting for Louis to come closer so he can fit their bodies together again.

“Okay,” Louis says softly. He crosses the space between them and finds Harry’s waist with his arm, holding on, leaning against him.

“Spaghetti?” he says, scrunching his nose up.

“Yup,” Harry says. “I’m tired and not in a grand mood for cooking, because I’m still a bit wobbly.” The weird thing is, that it’s so easy now to put his arm over Louis’ shoulder because it fits there so perfectly. It's even easier to gently rub Louis' neck with his thumb and lean down to press a kiss against his temple.

“You weren’t really all that drunk, were you?” Louis asks suddenly and Harry barely hears him through the rush of blood in his ears. He leans into Harry’s touch and puts his head against Harry’s arm, and Harry shrugs and then shakes his head.

“No, I was, but-” He smiles and then looks down. “That’s not why- you know that.”

Louis hums; he meets Harry’s eyes for a moment and then smiles and Harry wants to squeeze him tightly and never let go. “I’d like tomato sauce,” Louis says. “And put some mozzarella in there. I think I still have some.”

His eyes are all squinty and Harry presses another kiss to his forehead and then another, pulling him closer until they're hugging properly, with Louis' arms snug around his waist. “Alright,” he says. “For you.”


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