summary:Harry is like a hurricane, stirring up things Louis would rather ignore. Yes, Harry is a hurricane. And Louis is completely unprepared.
aka an AU about how two worlds collide when Harry stumbles into Louis’ store one cold morning, and how Louis slowly becomes a little less broken.
a/n: I have no idea what happened with this. One day I find myself with vulnerable!Louis feels and the next I have a +12K oneshot???? figure that one out. yeah idk either. it’s also all completely unbeta’d so any and all mistakes are mine, and i apologize. and if you’re reading this on the tumblr app, it only shows half the story
warnings: language, hints of depression, past louis/liam relationship, and then as a bonus, i put smut at the end (
if you’re not into that, you can just read until the last couple of paragraphs) i’ve also got a poor knowledge on how to be british but i tried my hardest.
The antique store is all Louis has.
He’s got his flat just above the place, but he’d rather not be there. He’d rather be in the shop, with books, and the smell of the dusty, old, and forgotten, with a heater that never works and makes it so he has to curl up in a blanket on his ugly, worn out chair, with its high, regal back, and claw foot legs. The chair nearly swallows him whole when he sits in it, but he doesn’t think he’d have it any other way. It was one of the first things brought into the store when he first opened, and it’s still the only thing he absolutely refuses to sell. The color was completely repulsive; a sort of cross between moss green and a muddy brown, but Louis felt that only made it a little more relatable to him and his life- just a little off. He had a bad habit of sleeping in it most of the time, his bed too cold and spacious for him to sleep him alone. He never felt alone sleeping downstairs, not when all of the antiques had stories of their own to tell, and when all Louis wanted to do was listen.
He couldn’t completely ignore the upstairs though- he still had to eat- but he tries not to think or breathe or do much at all when does have to go up there. It still smells too much like Liam, despite the five months he’s been gone. He still lives there, in Louis mind, even if every part of him is gone except for the scent of him. His bed is made up on one side, and in the rare occurrence that Louis actually sleeps there, he clings to the edges of the mattress, making sure not to roll over and damage what’s already figuratively broken. Sometimes he’ll even go to the extent of swapping his pillow for what used to be considered Liam’s, and cling to the smell of musk and coffee and that damn vanilla sugar body wash he always used.
So, yes; The antique store is all he’s got, besides himself. But Louis’ not living in a dream world, and he knows that only one of those things is completely reliable.
He wakes up early as the sun is shining into the store windows, into his eyes, and he realizes he’s fallen asleep once again curled up in his big chair, a book still clutched in his hands. He’s got that familiar ache in his bones, and he shouldn’t like it, but he does. He figures it adds some consistency to his life. He rolls out the kink in his neck and turns off the light that he almost always falls asleep on. His oversized jumper is all out of sorts and his sweatpants are all twisted around his waist, so he pads across the cold, hard tile, up the creaking stairs to his room to change. The small dresser in there has got six drawers, but Louis’ things only take up two. Most of his clothes are spread out on the pinewood floorboards, all scattered and out of sorts. Louis tends to find metaphors in just about everything, and he thinks his messy floor kind of represent his brain and all of his thoughts that are shoved in there. He picks up a pair of black skinnies that are bit worn out, but only because they’re his favorite. He then slips on a grey jumper because the store is so cold all the damn time and he can’t afford to fix it, so instead he just buys a bunch of sweaters to get him by. He throws his old clothes in the corner where the rest of his dirty laundry sits, threatening to spill over from its towering pile; He’s really got to find time to go to the Laundromat. He’s got a small closet filled with a couple of coats, but for the most it sits empty, along with the dangling hangers, waiting to be put into use. Louis wonders that if closets could be sad, would his be? Probably, he thinks, because there was a time when the closet was filled with color, plain and plaid button ups swinging delicately inside, and it looked alive. Now it’s empty and dull, a bit like Louis’ life. He doesn’t spend too much time dwelling on it, though, because he’s got a shop to open and new objects to shelf and sell, but mostly because he doesn’t want to waste any more time than he already has feeling sorry for himself.
Walking back downstairs with a cup of cheap tea in his hand (the flavor is pretty weak, but tea is tea, so he can’t complain too much), he unlocks the front door and grabs a book off of his shelf of unfinished books, all marked by multicolored bookmarks sticking out from a spot somewhere in the book. He tends to start books and then put them back on the shelf with a bookmark still stuck in them, because he doesn’t actually like finishing the books. Louis thinks endings are bit overrated, especially the happy ones. “Completely unrealistic,” he’ll mutter under his breath, in the rare instance that he actually does finish a book, before putting it on one of his ‘Sell’ shelves.
He grabs Lolita this morning, just for the fun of it, and then goes back in the chair. It’s probably completely unprofessional, but he doesn’t bother wearing shoes today, just because he can. He’ll put them on later, when business will probably pick up, but it’s still so early, only about 8:15 on a Saturday, and it’s the middle of autumn so people won’t be coming in until after they hit up the farmers market, most likely. The sun is shining brightly, and Louis thinks he should prop open the front door to air out the place, but it’s still cold outside, and he doesn’t particularly want to get up, so he discards the thought and open up the book in his hand.
The bell on the front door jingles to life but Louis is so deep in the alternative world he barely notices. There’s the sound of boots scuffing against the mat in the front of the store and a deep, rough, cough, before Louis is drawn out of reading and back into reality, back into his store. He checks the clock, 9:30, quickly setting his book down and slipping on the Toms he stores next to a side-table on the opposing side of his chair. Making his way through the maze of antiques the shop has collected over the last couple of years, he sees the back of a tall man with a headful of loose curls in a long black pea-coat and black jeans, paired with what Louis thinks are brown Hudson shoes. Louis’ kind of peering at him from the safety of behind of tall shelf lined with clocks. The stranger is hovering over the boxes of records Louis has set up on a table. There’s about five of them; big deep boxes filled with records from artist all across the board. Louis watches him for a couple more minutes, wondering what he’s looking for, until he realizes that, he’s the owner of the damn store and it’s kind of his job to ask.
“Hi,” Louis says, and the stranger, who jumps a little, turns around. Louis now sees that the man is not so much of a man, but someone quite young, maybe 18 or 19. His complexion is strikingly pale compared to the black coat, and scarf, Louis now notices, he’s wearing. His eyes are green and shining with life, and even though he’s not standing directly in front of Louis, he can tell the guy would tower over him. The stranger smiles at Louis before drawing out a “Hi,” himself. His voice is deep and rough, much like the cough he gave earlier, and it all doesn’t quite fit together.
“Can I help you find anything?”
“Erm, yeah, I think. Are you the owner?” The guy draws out again, his voice somehow being rough and smooth at the same time, like one giant contradiction.
“Yeah, actually. I’m Louis.”
“Wow, really?,” he asks.
“Erm, yeah, really?” Louis asks again, even though it’s more of a fact than a question.
“Oh it’s just, you’re so young. I mean, erm.. I’m Harry,” the guy, Harry, eventually spits out.
“Young? Are you kidding me?,” Louis chuckles, “There’s no way I’m any younger than you are, mate.”
“Well, maybe,” Harry says, and Louis wonders how it is possible for a voice to sound like syrup.
“So, Harry,” Louis says, “what are you looking for?”
“I’m not actually sure,” he smiles. Louis notices there’s a dimple in his cheek, and how he’s got his hand shoved in his pockets, how he’s teetering back and forth, shifting his weight from his heels to his toes, like a child. Louis’ not actually sure how to deal with this kid; he seems like a nice guy, surely, but probably got everything he ever wanted when he was younger, how he probably doesn’t know what it’s like to go through the things Louis’ gone through. He might be 23, going on 24, but he feels so much older, and the ache in his bones every morning really don’t help. When he thinks about the comparison between the guy in front of him, and himself, he suddenly longs to go back to when he was Harry’s age. He would be buying this very shop with Liam, along with the flat, with all of his grandparents old stuff packed up after they had passed. He had boxes of it, and as much as he loved them and their crazy antiques, he knew he needed money, and a job, and a place to live, and the only way that was going to happen was if he sold them. He was still here, nearly 5 years later, a majority of his grandparents stuff was gone and sold by now.
“Well,” Louis says, coming out of his trance-like state, “Just take a look around I guess. I’ll be by the register. Just call if you need anything.”
He turns on his heel and goes to curl back up in his chair, taking his Toms back off, and picking up Catcher in the Rye this time. He’s really go to stop starting things he can’t finish, he thinks.
He’s only been reading for about 15 minutes when Harry is leaning on a shelf near the back of the store, this time watching Louis. He watches the way Louis’ eyes scan the lines of the pages behind his glasses, the way he lick one of his thumbs before delicately flipping the page. Louis is sure Harry doesn’t know that he sees Harry looking at him, so he just continues to flip the pages of his book, reading about Holden Caulfield, until he finally steals a glance at harry from above the rim of his glasses. Harry flashes him a smile and then awkwardly coughs into his hand.
“Do you think, uh. No, no,” He mumbles to himself. “Um, well that’s for, uh, yeah. Bye Louis.”
“Goodbye Harry. It was nice to meet you,” Louis says, looking up, but not moving from his spot in the chair. He gives him a quick smile before he’s back into Holden’s world. Harry moves his hand to wave, but sort of stops in the middle of it, before turning towards the door and walking away from Louis, and away from the store.
Louis has a few less customers than usual, probably due to the nice weather. They probably went to the park and had lunch and then strolled down the street or something like that. Louis doesn’t really care, if he’s honest. He’d much rather stay in the safe confinements of his old worn out shop any day. He finds himself thinking back to Harry that night, as he’s doing a bit of inventory. He wonders what will come of him, or if he’ll ever see Harry again. He pushes it out of his brain though, because he’s sure Harry has a wonderful and exciting life, vastly different than the one Louis’ made for himself. He’s probably got friends and a nice flat; probably has people who love him and care about him; probably has a warm bed he goes home to every night. Probably, Louis thinks. He falls asleep in his big ugly chair again, with the light still on, and Louis knows he’s got to stop doing that because it’s running up the already high electric bill.
It’s pouring rain when Harry comes back into the shop. It’s 8:45 at night and it’s pitch black outside, the only light coming from the windows of stores on the street, and the flickering streetlights that you can never rely on. It’s early January and the shop would be colder than ever if it hadn’t of been for the small space heater Louis bought early last month. He hasn’t taken down the few Christmas decorations he did hang up this year, even though the New Year has already gone and passed, along with another lonely Christmas and his 24th birthday. Liam had stopped by that day, Christmas Eve, and Louis’ birthday. He told Louis he was on his way out of town to his parent’s house for Christmas, and that he thought he’d drop by to see how he was, if he was well, eating. He gave Louis a box of his favorite tea, an expensive kind in a pale yellow box with a gold trim. Louis had hugged him long and hard, thanking Liam for checking in. But then Liam was gone again, and Louis cried himself to sleep, quietly, from inside his cold bed, trying to scrounge up ever small sent of Liam he could catch out of his pillow, wishing for the warm feeling of love to come back to him.
Harry’s got on the same coat Louis had seen him in last time, but this time he’s wearing these dark denim jeans, and a grey scarf. Same shoes though. His hair has gone a bit flat from the rain coming down outside, but Louis watches as he careful shakes his hair out over the mat, careful not to get the droplets of water from going everywhere. He looks wide eye at Louis, who is, just as he last saw him, tucked away into a corner of his chair. Louis is surprised to see him, Harry, who hadn’t been back in the shop for nearly 3 months. He sets down the cup of tea he was holding next to another unfinished book stack that’s sitting atop his side-table, and throws off the blanket he’s been wrapped up in. Harry’s got a million and one bags slung from each of his shoulders, so Louis lightly pads across the floor to Harry to see if he can help.
“Here, here, let me take one of those from you. There’s a place in the back you can put them to dry if you need to. Jesus, Harry, you’re soaking wet,” Louis says exasperatedly. Harry stares at Louis with bewilderment, but hangs him a couple of the bags he’d been carrying before following Louis into the back to set the rest of his stuff down. He hasn’t said anything yet, not even hi, before he’s blurting out, “How’d you remember me?”
Louis just looks at him like the answer is obviously. “I forget nothing.” He smiles at Harry before sliding past him and back into the front of the shop. “Can I get you some tea?” Louis yells at Harry from the bottom of the rickety stair that lead up to his flat. Harry comes out of the back too, then, and tells Louis he’d love some, if it’s not too much. Louis doesn’t say anything more as he makes his way up the short flight of steps and into his kitchen. The mugs are about the only Louis knows exactly where they are because they’re really the only kind of dishware he uses anymore. Sometimes he’ll eat a bowl of cereal or top-ramen, or if he’s feeling especially motivated, a plate for a sandwich, but that’s usually all the only extend to which it goes. He puts on the kettle and washes out the two mugs until the pot starts screeching from its place on Louis underused stove. He doesn’t really cook, never really has. Liam had always been the one that claimed the kitchen, always making Asian food, or homemade granola bars or Louis favorite, muffins. Louis doesn’t think he’s even eaten a single muffin since Liam left, too sad or poor, or both, to do so. He finds the sugar in the back of a cupboard filled with spices Liam used to buy down at the famers market on warm summer mornings, and brings it down with him, along with the two mugs he’s made up. He likes his tea bitter, personally. It’s actually quite weird, Louis thinks, because he’s usually one for sweets and Haribo’s, but not when it comes to tea. He finds among the records again, just like last time, flipping through them aimlessly, and picking up what seems to be every other one.
“Here’s your tea, Harry. I wasn’t sure if you liked sugar in it or not,” he says handing Harry one of the mugs. Harry takes it from him, graciously.
“Thanks so much, Louis. I’d like just a bit of sugar if you don’t mind.” Louis doesn’t though.
They stand in silence for a few minutes just sipping their tea in the middle of the store, Harry still flipping through one of the record boxes. Louis speaks though, suddenly hyperaware of the quietness that’s settled around them. It’s not uncomfortable, per se. Louis finds it almost comforting, and that’s scarier to Louis than anything.
“So what brings you back, Harold?”
“I was just walking home from the library when it started pouring. Obviously today would be the day I left my umbrella at home, so when it started raining, I knew I was screwed. Well, until I remembered this place and yeah. Now I’m here. Kind of funny, huh?” Harry asks. His dimple is peeking out from his cheek, jus ever so slightly, and Louis humors him because, well, to be frank, he hasn’t had any sort of company in months besides the objects that line his shelves and the books he can’t seem to finish.
“Yeah, kind of funny,” he tells Harry.
“Anyway, do you think it would be alright if I stayed here for a bit and maybe finished up reading a book from one of my classes? At least until the rain lightens up? Please?” Harry asks.
“Yeah, sure. I close at 10 though. So you’ve got like an hour,” Louis says to Harry.
“Well… I just, please? Could I stay longer? I promise to lock up for you and everything if you want. I just. It’s always so loud in my flat and, well. It’s quiet in here.” Harry looks like he’s about to pout like child, and he looks harmless enough, but with a look like that, the kid could probably get away with murder.
“We’ll see,” He says, heading back to his chair. There are a couple of table and chair sets in the store, so he’s sure Harry will have plenty of space to put his books and papers and such. He grabs one of his unfinished books, and his newly brewed tea, and wraps himself back in his oversized blanket.
Soon enough though, he hears Harry rustling around in the back, hears the sound of papers being grouped together and books being stacked on top of one another, before he sees Harry coming out and setting them on the table set closest to Louis. He watches as Harry spread out the papers across the table and then slowly reorganizes them. He stops watching after that, much preferring his book over just about anything and everything. He doesn’t mean to doze off and fall asleep in his chair for the hundredth night in a row, especially at such an early hour, but he does. And when he wakes up in the morning, his blanket is pulled up around him, his keys sitting on the side-table, and his lamp off. He gets up and around the shop to see if anything is missing, but all he finds is a slip of paper on the table Harry sat at the night before with scrawled writing across it.
Thanks for keeping me out of the cold last night, it reads. Niall, my flatmate, well he has a hard time keeping quiet, and I think your shop was just what I’ve been looking for; a quiet place to study. Your keys were pretty easy to find, so I locked up for you. They’re sitting on your side table in case you didn’t see them when you woke up. See you soon Louis.
Louis doesn’t really know how to deal with that, so he crumples up the note and throws it in the garbage before he can’t think about it. Harry is naïve, Louis thinks. He’s naïve and too pretty for his own good. And Louis is just Louis. He’s Louis, with an antique shop, and that’s all. He goes out later that day to finally do his laundry, but when he comes back, he notices a new kind of smell hidden among the shelves, something a little warmer than Louis is used to. He pretends it’s from the soap at the Laundromat, but he knows it’s a lie. He doesn’t mind the lie though, because it keeps him safe. Safe and sheltered from all the real possibilities he doesn’t want to consider.
Louis slowly starts to sleep in his bed more. Slowly, mind you. It’s gone from once every two weeks to once a week. Its progress, Louis tells himself. He’s finally gotten around to putting away some of the clothes that decorate his floor, but a majority of them either stay there or just sit in the basket. He can’t find it in himself to fill all of the drawers just yet, because somewhere in the back of his mind, Louis hopes maybe Liam will come back here, or maybe Louis will wake up one day and be back in Liam’s strong arms and the flat will smell like apple crumb muffins, just like it used to. He knows it’s all unrealistic and a lie, but Louis doesn’t really mind lying. It keeps him safe.
Harry comes back around a little sooner than Louis expects, only two weeks later, this time when the snow is covering the ground. He’s wearing a dark blue hoodie with a different black coat over it, his denim jeans shoved into some thick boots to keep his feet warm, and his hair tucked up into a black beanie. He looks different like that. He looks more like a Harry should, according to Louis. He’s only got one book bag with him this time, and a small paper bag in his hand. It startles Louis a bit when the bell on the door jingles because he’s barely seen anybody on the street, much less come into the store. He figures business will be slow, so he picked today to clean up the place a bit. He’s going through a box of old paintings, trying to decided which ones to add to his fading walls, when he sees Harry standing next to the shelf of clocks. He holds up the small paper bag up next to his face and smiles a cheesy smile at Louis, and Louis can’t help but laugh. He can feel the cobwebs hanging off his ribs slowly shaking themselves off with the force of his laughter. He hasn’t laughed in a long time, and even just the short burst of it brings an ache to Louis’ stomach, somewhere deep inside. But it’s a good kind of ache, not at all like the one he feels in his bones every morning. Harry smiles a genuine smile then, happy to see Louis filled with some kind of emotion.
“I’ve brought you food, as gift. My mother always said the best way to someone’s heart, was through their stomach,” Harry says to Louis.
“I’d say your mother is a very smart woman,” Louis chuckles, setting down his box of paintings and making his way over to Harry.
“Erm, yeah, she was.”
“Was?” Louis notes.
“Uh, yeah. She died a few years ago from cancer,” Harry mumbles.
“Oh. I’m sorry Harry. I didn’t mean to pry.” He really didn’t.
“No, no, it’s okay Louis. I wouldn’t have told you if it was something I didn’t want you to know,” Harry smiles at him. He feel like maybe he should tell Harry about his parent to make him know that Louis understands, but Louis’ not quite ready to share any part of him with Harry. Not yet.
“Okay, well, sorry,” he says because, he is. He knows it can be hard. “Well, what’d you bring?” He asks eagerly. It’s the most energy Harrys seen him exert in the two times he’s come into the shop, but even so, he can tell it’s a rare occasion, so he soaks up as much of it as he can, and pockets it for another day.
“I hope you like scones,” Harry says, a smile still plastered on his face.
“Why, Harry, are you trying to woo me?” Louis smirks.
“Is it working?” Harry hints back.
“No,” Louis says simply, “But your efforts are being accounted for.” He takes the bag from Harry’s hands and reaches in to grab a scone. It’s one of those chocolate filled ones, with the icing dripping across the top in a zig zag. He bites into it, and it’s still so warm, and as it travels down into his body, he feels flushed. He’s been so cold for so long, it almost feels like his whole body is burning. And- he can’t seem to force the smile on his face to go away. Not even the tea Liam gave him makes him feels this warm. He closes his eyes and relishes in the sensations. He’s still got the scone held up in front of his face, so he takes another bite and shuts his eyes again and feels everything around him come to color, even if it’s only a little bit. Harry just watches him through the whole thing, becomes entrance with the way Louis gives his eyelids a small squeeze just before he opens them. He looks at how Louis got his shoulders nearly up to his ears, his body concaving with the feeling of everything. Harry grabs out a scone as well, nearly taking half of it into his mouth in one bite. He doesn’t close his eyes like Louis, still watches the way Louis sort of hums to himself after he finishes his scone.
“Thank you, Harry. That was very kind of you. Can I get you any tea?” He asks, because if he’s going to make himself a cup, he might as well ask Harry too.
“Yeah, I’d love some. Thanks Lou.”
“You know, I don’t even know your last name. It’s only proper that if you’re going to start hanging around here you tell me your full name,” Louis says from the bottom of the stairs.
“It’s Styles,” he tells him as Louis is halfway up the stairs.
“Harry Styles,” Louis mutters under his breath as he makes his way into his kitchen and puts on the kettle once again. Louis thinks it’s got a nice ring to it.
Harry stays in the shop until closing, sometimes pulling out his laptop and writing out a paper, or he’ll take out a thick textbook from his backpack and read for a bit, or like when Louis starts doing some more inventory and rearranging the shelves, he’ll help out. They don’t talk much, and Louis likes that it’s not weird with Harry. It’s not weird or awkward or eerie. It’s nice and comforting. Harry seem to do that to Louis. Make him feel comfortable.
“I’m almost 20,” Harry says while he’s dusting off a lamp from storage.
“20?” Louis stares, “You’re still so young,” he tells Harry.
“Not really. I mean, I’ve completed 3 years of Uni, but I still have got 5 or so left. I’m going to school to be a sociologist, you know.”
“A sociologist? Like those people who do those behavior analyses and stuff?”
“Yeah,” Harry laughs, “something like that.”
“Well then, work your magic, Boy Wonder. What can you tell about me from all of your fancy analyses?” Louis smirks. Harry stands back and looks Louis up and down.
“You’re alone,” is the first thing Harry says. “Most likely, you’re an insomniac. You like to read so much because it’s a distraction from reality. You’ve got to be around the age of 24 or 25, although, you certainly don’t look it. You feel like life flows in one day and through the next, and you’re just rolling with it. You want to feel again, because all you ever feel is numb.”
Louis stares at Harry hard, trying not to let his emotions slip up. He squeezes his jaw together and purses his lips. “Come with me,” Louis says to him. He goes over to his chair silently and grabs the big blanket, wrapping it around his shoulders. He leads Harry up the stairs, again wordlessly, grabs another blanket off of the couch, and throws it at Harry for him to wrap around his own shoulders. There’s a second staircase Louis leads him up until he sees a door labeled Rooftop Exit, and Louis careful unlocks it and pushes it open. It creaks and echoes in the poorly lit stairwell, but it’s worth it. The building, Louis’ building, is probably only about 8m up, but it’s enough. It’s still lightly snowing, and the entire city glistens and reflects from the lights and snow scattered across the skyline, the darkness of night creating an illuminating effect. Harry sucks in a sharp breath when they get to the edge of the building, when Harry’s gripping the railing, and the whole site comes into view. Louis just looks at him and smiles. That has been his reaction too, when he first came up to the roof. He had been awe-struck, and Liam and tucked Louis under his arm and into his chest, telling him it’s perfect, babe. Louis eyes are glued on all the little twinkling lights in the distance, so Harry decides to take a glance at him. Little flakes of snow are sticking to the ends of Louis’ hair, dusting it perfectly. His profile is so incredibly beautiful, Harry wants to take a picture and paint it on a giant canvas so everyone can see. The wind is wicked and bitter up here though, and it nips at Louis’ golden complexion, turning his cheeks rosy from the frost. He’s never seen someone so perfect.
Meanwhile, Louis is fighting eternally with himself. He wants to tell Harry, wants to talk to him about anything and everything, because he knows he’ll listen. But he doesn’t, because Harry is still practically a kid, and he’s got a life and job ahead of him and before Louis will even know it, he’ll be out of Uni and Louis will be alone again; so why even let him in? He might be, just maybe, also freaking out. Liam is the only one who has been up here with him before, and after he left, Louis would come up here and pretend he was still beside him. He’s been trying so hard to let go, or even just loosen his grip a little, but Liam was all he’d ever known. But maybe Harry could fix that. Maybe…. Maybe Harry could fix him.
“You’re right,” Louis eventually says, quietly.
“I know,” Harry tells him. Louis just scoffs a little, and it makes Harry smile.
“You’re going to be a pain in my arse if you keep coming around.”
“I know,” Harry says again, still smiling.
“Jesus Christ, what am I going to do with you?” Louis mutters to himself. And they just stand like that for a bit, with Harry smiling down at Louis, and Louis trying is very best not to stare back.
They go back down to the shop though, after the wind starts to whip in their faces and the snow picks up its pace. Louis makes him another cup of tea before Harry packs up his stuff just as Louis is closing up shop.
“I’ll see you soon Louis,” Harry says as he’s walking out the door. Louis can tell he wants to say or do something else, something more, but that he’s decided not to push it. Louis is waiting though, waiting for Harry to push the limits so he can push him away, just like he has with everyone. Or maybe he’s waiting for the shop to take him in, to fill him with dust and old clocks; broken and forgotten trinkets of those who are no longer living. It might be more reasonable that he’s waiting for Harry to slip among the shelf and squeeze between the spaces Louis has yet to fill. Either way he’s waiting, but he thinks maybe this time, he’ll have just enough patients to actually wait. He curls up into his chair again later that night, but instead of his big quilt, like he normally wraps up in, he grabs the blanket he threw at Harry when they went on the balcony. He may or may not have buried his nose into it, inflating his lungs and soul with /Harry/, who smells like tea and cupcakes and something else Louis can’t put his finger on. He may or may not have, but if he did, it’s not like anyone needs to know but him. And he won’t tell anyone otherwise, but Louis sleep that night, long and blissfully and deep. He’ll blame it on the wind and the snow and all the cleaning he did, but he knows. He knows Harry is like a hurricane, stirring up things Louis would rather ignore. Yes, Harry is a hurricane. And Louis is completely unprepared.
Liam stops by two days later, after Louis shows the balcony to Harry. He comes around and asks Louis if he wants to catch up over some coffee or in Louis case, chia tea. Louis says yes obviously.
They walk down the street from the antique shop and settle down into a small café, sitting in a booth right next to a big window. The snow is still falling outside, and school must be cancelled, Louis notices, because the streets are just about overrun with children and kids in their early teens. He likes to watch them, but of he watches them too long, he starts to miss his youth.
“I got it,” Liam says, shaking Louis out of his trance. “The job, I mean. I got it.” Liam beams.
“Wow, Liam, that’s… that’s amazing. Congratulations,” Louis says to him. He feels bittersweet about it though, if he’s honest. Because here Liam is, moving on with his life, fulfilling his dream, and all Louis has is his damn antique shop.
“Yeah, thanks Lou,” Liam smiles again. “Most of the time trainees have to do a ton of internship, like two, three years, but they offered me the job right after I finished training. Told me I was really good. I got it, Louis. I’m finally going to be a firefighter.”
“Liam, that’s so incredible, really,” Louis says. He’s happy for him, honestly, he is.
“You’ll be my contact, yeah? I mean you don’t have to. I get it if not. It’s just that, well, my parents live pretty far and if there was ever an emergency or anything…” Liam trailed off. “And, well, you’re my best friend, Louis.”
He can actually feel his heart ache, because he knows Liam means it. “You’re my best friend too, Li. Of course I’ll do it. I’d be honored.” Liam smiles at him. “But you know I’ll kill you if you ever use it, you know that, right?” Louis says to him. Liam just laughs at him.
“Yes, I realize that,” he laughs again. it makes him smile to see Liam so happy and alive. Not in like a literal sense, but..
“Are we okay, Lou?” Liam asks.
“Yeah, Li. Course we’re okay. Why wouldn’t we be?”
“I don’t know, I just, I haven’t seen you in a while and I just, I don’t know. I miss you and like I said earlier. You’re my best friend. I love you.”
It physically hurts him to hear Liam say that. His chest feels like it’s caving in when he says “I love you too,” back to him, because he knows, /he knows/, it’a not the same when he says it. Liam stares at him and smiles, but Louis can’t look at him. Not now. He tries his hardest to focus on the kids playing outside thought the window, tentatively sipping his chai tea.
Louis does most of the talking after that, Liam keeps asking him questions about what he’s been like lately. Louis tells he’s alright, that business has been pretty good, decent at least. Louis wants more time with Liam, he does, but he doesn’t. He tells Liam that he should probably get back, and Liam offers to walk him back. That’s alright with Louis, obviously. They get coffee to go (and chia tea for Louis), and head out onto the cold streets.
They get back to shop, and Liam asks about some ugly, old painting Louis used to have in the shop, if he still has it.
“God, are you really asking me about that god awful dog painting, the one with the beard on the pug?” Louis accuses him.
“Yes! I mean no! I mean,” Liam tries to recover.
“You love that painting and you can’t tell me otherwise,” Louis proclaims.
“I couldn’t hate that damn ugly thing anymore! How dare you say I love it,” Liam says to him.
“Well, in any case, yes, I still have it. It’s your favorite. I could never sell it,” Louis says.
“I swear to god, Tomlinson. Say it’s my favorite one more time,” Liam laughs.
It’s true. The painting was terribly offending to the eye. Louis had gotten it donated to him in about his second year we owned the shop. Him and Liam had laugh for hours at it’s horrendousness. That’s why he never sold it. Believe it or not, he’d actually turned down buyers. He told them it was of sentimental value to him, to which they kindly understood. Antique-ers were a different kind of species all on their own, Louis swears. They are a thousand times more understanding and appreciative of the belongings and their past. He couldn’t bare to part with the damn thing, just simply because Liam had put a little piece of it inside his empty body. It lays there, right in between a few his right ribs, covered in dust.
Liam announces he’s got to go home, but that he’ll see Louis soon. Louis understands, gets it, that this isn’t Liam’s home anymore. That his closet and dresser are still going to be empty when he goes upstairs. Liam hugs him for a long time, tells him he’s going to be okay, asking him to take care of the shop for him. Louis promises.
Liam’s presence lingers long after he leaves. The old overhead lights flicker a bit when Louis things about him a little too much, the clocks tick a little louder. He just curls back up into his green chair and wonders if the shop will ever accept Harry the same way it molds to Liam.
Harry comes by a lot after that. He brings Louis breakfast, if he comes by before class or on the weekends. Or sometimes he’ll bring dinner for him and stay late, sometimes helping Louis close, or closing for him if he falls asleep reading, which is most times. He pulls Louis blankets up close and turns off the light before locking up and leaving without a trace. They sit on the roof most nights too, unless it’s particularly rainy or if the biting winds are more than their skin can handle. They’ll drink warm tea from whatever clean mugs Louis has at the time and talk. Well, Harry talks. Mostly about his mum and how much he misses her sometimes. He talks about how much he wishes he would have come out to her when she was still alive (which take Louis a bit by surprise, because he hadn’t even really though Harry was gay), and how he’s happy he at least got to have a mother for 16 years. Or sometimes he’ll tell Louis about how much she would have liked Louis. It makes Louis wonder what Harry sees in him. Why he would rather spend time in a dingy building all night or all weekend instead of out with friends or sleeping all day in his flat. Louis thinks that’s probably what he would have done if he would have gone to college. But thus, as Louis has learned, life never goes the way you expect it to. He sympathizes with Harry when he talks about how unexpected his mum’s cancer was. He didn’t expect his parents to die in a car accident when he was five, and he certainly didn’t expect his loving grandparents to die when he was 18. He didn’t think he’s ever but an antique store or fall in love with Liam but those things happened too. Louis will leak little snippets of his life to Harry, enough for Harry to get the picture. Harry treasures those moments more than any of the other ones he’s shared with Louis so far. When Louis goes still, when he grips his teacup just a little tighter, and he gives Harry another puzzle piece to fit into the frame of things; yes. These are Harry’s favorite moments.
Louis slowly lets him in, he supposes. It’s slow and weary, but he lets him in nonetheless. The shop walls start to mold to him and let him in too, and that’s when he really opens up. The shop’s always had a good judgment of character. He thinks it’s unfair thought to have Harry here so often, lifting things that are too heavy for Louis to move, or reaching things from the top shelf and dusting them, and not give him a pence for his work.
“Harry,” Louis says to him a few weeks later. It’s Valentine’s Day and apparently Harry would rather spend it here than out drinking with his other single friends, or picking up a bloke in a club. Louis doesn’t get him, not one bit.
“Yeah, Lou?” Harry calls back to him.
“I feel awful having you help out here all the time and me not giving you anything in return,” Louis says to him.
“Oh, it’s alright. I like being here. It’s better than my flat. Its quite, and all that,” Harry tells him and Louis thinks it’s funny because it’s the same excuse he always gives.
“Harry, I’m serious. I feel terrible. I wish I could pay you and all I just- I mean I barely have enough to pay for the heating and food but if you want me to I can try to put you on payroll-“ Harry cuts him off with a laugh. It’s not at all the reaction he was expecting.
“Louis, I don’t want anything from you. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true.” Harry chuckles to himself.
“What, what is it?” He nags at Harry.
“I just- never mind. Forget it, Louis,” He chuckles again.
“No. Harry, tell me. Please?” Louis begs.
“I just want to kiss you, is all,” Harry blurts out. He quickly takes as step back from where he was towering over Louis. Louis can see him mentally beating himself up for saying such a thing out loud.
“You what?” is all Louis can manage in the moment.
“Nothing. Please Louis, forget I said anything,” he says as he turns his back away from Louis.
It hurts more than Louis would have ever thought it would have. He almost forgot what is was like to feeling things until he feel the sharp pain rip though his chest, through his heart, tearing a hole in his soul. Harry had become so there for Louis lately. He was the cutch Louis had always needed but never had, and now he was turning his back on him. It hurt, yes, It hurt more that Louis could have even fathomed into words, which is why he does the first logical thing he thinks of. He grabs Harry roughly by the shoulder closest to him, spins him around, and smacks his lips to Harry’s.
He feels a wave of heat ripple through his body. Harry’s mouth isn’t moving against his, but Louis can still see the moment being processed. Before he knows it, Harry’s eyes are fluttering shut, his hands are tight on Louis’ hips, and his lips are starting to move where they’re pressed against Louis’. Louis shuts his eyes too, hoping to feel everything around him, afraid he’ll never feel this alive again. He’s the first to open his eyes, and he immediately pulls his lips away too. All he can do is brings his fingers to them, touching them lightly, as if they’d just been touched by magic. He looks wide eyed at Harry, whose look to Louis is the same. The thoughts are running around so fast in Louis’ head, he’s so unsure what he’s supposed to do now. Harry’s reciprocating Louis’ look, wide-eyed, but he looks almost dreamy. Louis feels like he can’t breathe, like everything is collapsing. He needs air. His face is streaked with fear as he turns and runs up the stairs, through his flat and all the way to the rooftop. He gasps for air and grips the railing when he gets there, leaving Harry in the dusts. Harry’s not that far behind him though, calling after him, until he gets to the roof too. Louis can feel him standing a few feet behind him, but he can’t bear to turn around.
“Louis, what the fuck? You can’t just kiss me and then run away. What was that to you? A joke?” Harry sounds furious, and confused and- god, Louis just wants to be able to hear his own thoughts.
“Louis. Fucking turn around and talk to me,” Harry demands, but it sounds more pleading than anything.
“Louis, please,” Harry sounds so small when talks now, on the verge of begging. “Please,” he whispers quietly. Louis can’t stand to hear Harry so sad; Lovely, young Harry with his stupid curls and stupid beanies and stupid sociology degree. Adorable Harry who brings Louis dinner and breakfast and tea. Harry, who Louis realizes he’s in love with.
“I’m so sorry Harry,” his whispers into the wind. He can’t turn around; his cheeks are tear-streaked and he knows his eyes get all red and puff when he cries and he really just doesn’t want Harry to see him like this.
“Louis, look at me. Please,” Harry begs again.
“I can’t,” Louis manages to choke out.
He hears the concrete echo under Harry’s feet; he knows that Harry is directly behind him. He can feel the heat from Harry’s body radiating onto his back.
“Louis,” he says even quieter. He slowly manages to turn Louis’ body toward him, but Louis’ got head hung down low. He tucks two fingers under Louis’ chin and sees his tears. He’s slow in his movements, like he is in just about everything else he does. He kisses just under Louis’ left eye and smiles slightly when Louis goes to close his eyes and his eyelashes tickle Harry’s upper-lip. He moves himself so he’s standing tall, rests Louis’ head on his chest, presses small kisses to the top of his head, and wrapping his arms around him.
“Talk to me Lou,” Harry says. “I know you felt that too. You can’t lie to me,” he follows up. The only sound for a while is Louis’ sniffling, the last of his tears spilling over his eyelids. Harry speaks again when Louis’ breathing is back to normal. “Why did you run away?” He asks. It’s not an accusation, or an interrogation, just a simple question. Louis is slow with his answer, but he speaks eventually, pulling away from Harry.
“I haven’t felt since Liam. But you,” Louis trails off, “You made me feel. But it can’t be you. You’ve got so much ahead of you. All I’ve got is my shop. That’s it. Just my shitty shop and me. But you- you could have everything. Anything. Why me?”
It’s a lot for Harry to comprehend, but he does his best to catalog every question imbedded in Louis’ statements.
“Why? Why you? Because you’re so wonderful, god, you’re so lovely and I love the way you always fall asleep reading, because even though you know you’ll wake up with a kink in your neck, whatever book you’re reading is always just too good to put down. And how you always close your eyes and smell your tea before you take the first sip, it’s so cute. There is so much to you, Louis. There is so much that I want to learn and explore. I don’t give a fuck if all you can give me is you and your shop. I’ll take it. I’ll take it Louis. I’ll take whatever you’ll give me. Because it’s you, and that’ll be more than enough for me. Say you’ll kiss me again. Say you’ll let me take you to the cinemas and out to clubs and anywhere and everywhere you want to go. Say you’ll take me Louis. Say you’ll let me in.” Harry’s breathing heavy once he finished speaking, either from the adrenaline or the fact that he feel like he did that in one breath, he’s not sure. Louis is staring at him again, and Harry can tell he’s unsure if he should believe him or not- and Harry could slap him for it. Of course he was being honest! He practically spilled his entire heart out for Louis, Harry thinks to himself.
“That’s all I can give you,” Louis says in a small voice to Harry. It’s as close to a ‘yes’ as Harry’s going to get, so he takes it. He dives his head back down and meets Louis’ lips this time. They kiss for a long time on the rooftop in the dark, with the exception of the moonlight and the city scape, until the wind pick back up and bites at the very core of their bones. They hold hands down the stairs, and Louis might have, just maybe, giggled at that.
When they get down into Louis’ flat, he asks Harry if he’s got anywhere to be (to which Harry obviously tells him no), and then tells him to stay put on the couch. He skips down the second (or first, depending on where you are in the building) flight of stairs into the shop. Harry can hear Louis locking up downstairs, turning off all the lights, and putting away the register. Then he can hear Louis coming up his creaky old stairs and back into the living room, where Harry can now see him. Louis doesn’t say anything more to him and he lays Harry down on the couch, and slips in next to him. He’s not ready to have someone else sleep in bed, especially since he barely sleeps in there himself, so the couch will have to do. It’s a little uncomfortable and a whole lot crowded but Harry doesn’t complain. He knows Louis got something he hasn’t let go of yet, something he’s still got something wrapped up tight in his iron fists, but he’s not too worried. All in due time, he tells himself. For now, he’s content with just wrapping Louis up and keeping him safe from whatever demons he’s fighting off.
They sleep on the couch all night, finally waking when the sun shines through the thin white curtains Louis’ got hanging in his kitchen window. Louis’ arms are tucked up tight against his chest, his face nuzzled into Harry’s neck. The ache in his bones is still there, but it seems a little lighter that he’s used to, not quite so severe. He whispers to Harry that he’s go to get up and open up the shop, but to come down when wakes up. The sun shines a little brighter as well, Louis notes as he’s propping open the front door. Maybe everything would start getting a little brighter.
He’s right, for the most part. Things are pretty bright after that, for a couple weeks. He throws out his sheets and buys new ones, ones that will become “Harry and Louis” sheets. He deep vacuums the couch cushions and does all his laundry, including putting it in the remaining drawer, all but one. Harry’s now got a drawer there too, and a few coats in the closet. Overall, the whole flat gets a bit of a makeover; a Harry-makeover. Louis does his best to make the flat as livable as possible, now that Harry stays over most nights. They haven’t actually slept together yet, just slept next to each other, but that’s perfectly fine with Louis and Harry for now. They’ve discussed it- decided slow and steady was better. So yeah, things are brighter for Louis, until he gets a phone call one fine afternoon in the beginning of March.
“Hello, Tomlinson Family Antiques, Louis speaking, how may I help you?” he says into the phone.
“Uh, hi. Louis?”, a gruff voice Louis doesn’t recognize says back.
“This is he, what can I do for you?” He says again, a tad frustrated. He hears Harry chuckle from across the room and looks up to shoot him a smile.
“Is it correct that you know a Liam Payne?” the voice asks.
“Yes. Why? What’s going on?” he panics slightly. Harry’s face contorts into one of confusion as he listens to the one sided conversation.
“Is it correct that you’re his contact?” the voice asks again.
“Yes, Yes!” Louis practically yells into the phone. “What the hell is going on?” Harry can tell this conversation isn’t good.
“My name is Andy Carrel, I’m the Station Manager down at the station Liam works at.”
Louis’ hands start to shake. Harry comes around behind the front desk and puts his hands around Louis’ waist; he looks like he’s about collapse.
“There was a fire this morning, a four story building. He, he was on the second floor when the floor caved.”
Louis’ whole body is shaking now, and all Harry can do is hold on tight.
“He didn’t come out for nearly ten minutes. That’s when he went looking for him. He was rescuing an unconscious young girl. He shielded her from the fall and the flames on the first floor.”
Louis is crying, and Harry just wishes he knew what was going on.
“He’s alive. He’s got a few third degree burns though, as well as a concussion, and a broken left arm.”
Louis breathes out deeply, and Harry has no idea if it’s from relief or grief. He can only make out a few of the words coming from the phone, but he knows it’s not good news.
“He’s at St. John’s Hospital. We need you to come down and sign his forms.”
Louis manages to choke out that he’ll be right there, and then hangs up the phone.
“Louis,” Harry says calmly, “What’s going on?” The tears are coming down Louis’ face without a sign of stopping.
“Liam,” he chokes out. “He’s in the hospital. I have- I have to go.” He grabs a coat off of a rack, his keys and starts to leave the store, and Harry behind. Harry’s quick to grab him by the wrist though. It’s not restrictive, but enough to make Louis turn around. When he looks Harry in the eye, he looks broken. He decides not to ask any questions, just a simple, “Let me drive, please.” Louis nods his slightly and drops the keys into Harry’s hands.
The drive to St. John’s Hospital isn’t long by any means, so Harry just rests one hand on the steering wheel and another on Louis’ leg, rubbing soothingly. Louis hasn’t told Harry much about Liam, but from what he can collect he’s more important than just his best friend. Harry doesn’t read too much into it though, or at least he tries not to. They arrive at the hospital with 10 minutes, and Louis nearly jumps out of the car when Harry shuts off the engine. Harry slinks in behind him, knows that he’s just a support for Louis. He can see Louis’ frantic face talking to the nurse at the front desk. She hands him papers and clipboard, that Louis barely reads over, and then hands them back to the nurse. She comes out from behind her desk and starts to lead Louis down the hallway. Louis shoots Harry a pleading look, silently asking him to come with him. He walks to where Louis is and grabs his hand, and they walk down the hall behind the nurse; together. She stops outside a room labeled 214 and inside Louis can see Liam. He’s chest is exposed and has bandages and burn marks covering it. He’s got a cast on his left arm and machines hooked up to his right. Its quiet the scene, Harry thinks.
“Louis?” Liam says when Louis peeks through the door. He walks tentatively over to the medical bed Liam’s hooked up to.
“Hey Li,” Louis says quietly. Harry feels wrong watching the scene unfold before him. He feels like an outsider, so much so, that he’s pretty sure Liam hasn’t even noticed him yet. “How’re you feeling?” Louis asks with tears welling in his eyes.
“A little battered,” Liam says with a slight laugh. It makes Louis laugh though, laugh and cry at the same time.
“I’m going to fucking kill you,” Louis says lightly, still crying and laughing. “Don’t you ever fucking do that to me again, Liam. You really scared me there,” Louis tells him, wiping his eyes. He leans down into Liam’s chest where he’s lying in the bed, hugging him tight, but careful not to hurt Liam. It shouldn’t hurt Harry to watch Louis being so affectionate with some else, it really shouldn’t- but it does. He clears his throat awkwardly, hoping to possibly break up the scene before him.
Liam looks up from where he’s buried his nose in Louis’ hair to see Harry.
“Louis?” He asks quietly, “Who’s this?”
Louis looks up at Harry too, now, and moves away from Liam’s chest.
“Well, uh, Li.. this is Harry,” He says awkwardly as well.
“And he is…” Liam trails off.
“Harry is, uh” Louis fumbles for words. “Harry’s a friend of mine,” he finally says. The look on Harry’s face hurts Louis so much though, like he’s just been stabbed in the heart.
“Hey, Liam,” Harry manages to say, “It’s nice to meet you. Hope you get better soon. And uh, Louis.. I think I’m just going to, uh, catch a cab or something. I’ve got a, uh, paper due tomorrow.” Louis notices how he looks like he’s about to cry as he walks out the room. He wants to go after him, to tell him he’s sorry, how he’s so much more than a friend and explain his history with Liam. But, Liam. He’s hurt and broken and is still Louis’ best friend, and he can’t just leave him here.
“Louis, what’s going on?” Liam shakes him out of his thoughts.
“Liam, I,” Louis’ at a loss for words, but he has to say something. “Harry’s, no. He’s not just a friend,” he finally says.
“Do you love him?” is all Liam asks.
“Maybe,” Louis says quietly.
“Well, I’m still going to be here for the next couple of days, but Harry… well, I’m not so sure. Louis, I want you to be happy. Does Harry make you happy?” Liam asks.
“Yes,” Louis whispers.
“Then what are you doing here, you wanker? Go get him,” Liam tells him
“Thank you, Liam. For everything. I love you,” And when he says it this time, it doesn’t sting. Not even a little bit, not at all.
He takes the stairs and runs down them at quickly as he can, trying to catch up to Harry. He finally makes his way through the crowd on the ground floor and pushes onto the street. He can see Harry walking just a bit away sown the street. He sends a silent thanks to whoever is in charge that he didn’t try to take a taxi or anything.
“Harry!” Louis calls out to him. Harry can hear him, he knows it, but he doesn’t slow his pace. He doesn’t speed up either, which Louis takes as a bit of a win.
“Harry!” He calls again, jogging to catch up with him. Harry turns around this time, but he hangs his head low, and Louis just knows that he’s been crying.
“Harry,” Louis starts, “Harry I’m so fucking sorry. I’m, god, I’m such an idiot, I swear to god. I didn’t mean it, what I said back there. You’re not just my friend. You’re so much more, I just, I didn’t know what to say to Liam. I mean, he’s in the hospital and he’s got a concussion. I just didn’t want to hurt him, you know? He’s fragile.”
“He’s fragile?,” Harry sneers. “I’m fucking fragile too, Louis. Do you have any idea how much that hurt, what you said back there? That I’m your friend?”
“Jesus, Harry. I didn’t mean it. I swear. You’re more than that. You’re so much more. Please, Harry, you have to believe me,” Louis pleads.
“Why should I? Why should I believe anything you fucking say Louis?” Harry’s words are like ice to Louis.
“Because,” Louis says quietly. “Because… I fell in love with the way your eyes lit up from how beautiful the skyline looked when I first took you on the roof. I fell in love with the way you were patient with me and always took care of me, even if I didn’t notice back them. I fell in love with how you talk about your mum and how much you adored her. I know she’d be proud of you for who you’ve become. And I fell in love with the way you look in the morning, when you’re eyes are all rested from sleeping at night and the way your hair looks like a nest,” Louis and Harry both laugh a little at that. “You’re so amazing, Harry. You’re, you’re everything. And I, I love you. I have since you left that note in my shop all those weeks ago. I just got a little lost. I’m sorry I’m so blind, Harry,” Louis finishes.
There are tears on both of their faces now, coming down without any reservations. Harry’s eyes are bright with love and his smile is bigger than Louis has ever seen it.
“I love you too, Louis. I’ve known it since that night too, when I pulled your blankets around you tight, and shut off the light. You looked so at rest and I swear to god, Louis, anyone would have fallen in love with you and how peaceful you looked. We all get a little lost, Louis. I was lost when I met you. But you’re gravitational, Louis. You pull people in and you don’t even notice. I love you, Louis. I love you,” Harry says.
Louis feels like his whole soul is going to explode from so much relief and happiness. He surges up onto his tiptoes to kiss Harry square on the mouth, and it’s unlike they’ve ever kissed before; its full of passion, raw lust, and more than anything, love. Louis can’t help but smile into the kiss because Harry loves him. He loves him, and Louis loves Harry, and that means everything is going to be okay.
Liam gets better and leaves the hospital three days later. Louis drives him home since he can’t drive with his broken arm, and the doctors are saying he won’t truly recover from his concussion for another two weeks. When he makes sure Liam’s all settled in, he sits him down and tells him about Harry, about how they met and how sweet Harry is to him and how they’re still okay, that they’re official now, and how they plan on taking it slow. Liam and Louis cry and laugh and hug and it’s more than Louis could have ever wanted. He’s got Harry, who loves him and takes care of him, and he’s got Liam back, his best friend. Liam tells him how wonderful Harry sounds, and how happy he is for him, and Louis can’t do anything but cry more tears of joy and tell him how happy he really is. Liam tells Louis he’s met someone too, but that it’s not anything too serious yet, although he feels like it could be. Zayn, is his name. Louis hopes they work out. He wants Liam to be just as happy as he is.
Louis gets back to the shop later than night to find Harry stocking shelves and doing inventory. He comes in quietly, sneaking up behind Harry and throwing his hands over Harry’s eyes.
“Guess who?!” Louis says to him.
“Erm… are you Niall?” Harry says, and Louis can feel his cheekbones brush against the bottom of his hands, he knows Harry is smiling.
“Guess again,” Louis whispers. He nuzzles his nose into Harry’s neck.
“Hmmm, then it must be,” he pauses, “Louis!” Harry turns around and picks up Louis by the back of his thighs, settling him on his waist. Louis screams in shock, his voice going high and squeaky. Harry buries his face into Louis’ neck this time, laughing, just as Louis does the same to him. Louis prays to above that he never loses the bubbly feeling in the pit of his stomach whenever he’s with Harry.
As it turns out, he never does.
“God, Louis, your flat is so fucking hot,” Harry says to Louis on a hot day near the end of July. His AC works about as well as his heat, and well, his heat doesn‘t work at all. Harry’s lying on his back on Louis’ (and Louis supposes now its Harry’s as well, since he practically lives with him) bed in just a pair of black boxers. The room is stuffy and feels like a million degrees, so Louis strips down to his boxers too, and lies down with Harry. It’s even hotter with both of their body heats combining, but both Harry and Louis are too lazy to move. The hot air begins to stick to Louis’ skin, like a magnet, and his chest begins to glisten with a sleek sheen of sweat. He feels gooey on the inside too, like all he wants to do is touch Harry and cuddle with him, love him like he loves.
“Harry,” he says, turning in towards Harry’s also sweaty chest.
“Hmm?” is all Harry can muster up. The heat is weighing heavy on his eyelids too, slipping the shut, only to have them flutter back open again.
“I love you,” Louis tells him.
“Mm, I love you too Lou,” he says with his eyes shut. Louis leans close enough to press his lips to Harry’s chest and begins to kiss it, slowly. He moves a knee in between Harry’s legs, just enough to tease. He places his hands on his chest too, touching softly in all the places he knows Harry is delicate in.
“Louis,” Harry warns. The room was already hot, but the temperature is already rising from Louis’ actions. Louis chuckles a little, but doesn’t stop. He keeps kissing, touching, moving, until Harry’s eyes eventually snap open. He takes Louis lightly by the shoulders and pushes him flat on his back so he can be on top. He braces himself next to Louis head and kisses him rather sloppy, but Louis doesn’t mind, just keeps running his hands up and down Harry’s chest. Louis makes little motions with his hips, moving just right against Harry. He knows where this headed, and he likes it, so he moves a bit more, a bit harder, with more rhythm. Harry eventually pulls off of Louis’ mouth with a “Fuck, Louis,”, and a wondering hand inside Louis’ bedside table. He feels around the drawer for the lube until he finally gets a good grip on it and throws it next to him on the bed, slamming the drawer shut. He’s quick to strip Louis of his only piece of clothing and uncap the bottle. Once he’s got enough on his fingers, he’s working them inside Louis, just the way he knows will work him up. With Louis, it’s not sex anymore, Harry thinks to himself. It’s that whole lovemaking thing you hear married people talk about. It takes Harry’s breath away every time. Harry’s got two fingers into Louis before he can even count to 25, and then three, and then Louis is crawling his fingernails down Harry’s back, telling him to just “go already.” Harry shoves his boxers off quickly and puts more lube on his fingers to cover himself. He moves into Louis slow, doesn’t want this to be quick and fast; he wants to draw it out for as long as he can, wants to have Louis writhing beneath him. He starts out with slow, but deep, thrust into Louis, causing him to moan quietly, just for Harry to hear. But Louis wants more, wants it harder and faster, and who is Harry to disappoint? He moves quicker inside Louis and, like a chain reaction, Louis gets louder the fast Harry goes. They’re both almost there though, teetering on the edge of release, until Harry takes Louis into his hand and moves it in time with the way he’s moving inside too. Louis comes with one last moan of Harry’s name, one more scratch down his back. Harry works him through it, coming too. They collapse into a heap of sweat and come, but it’s too hot, and they’re too tired, for either of them to care. Louis curls back into Harry’s chest as he pulls out, slips his eyes shut to the rhythmic sound of Harry’s heart inside his hot skin. They’ll shower later, after they’ve woken up and it cools down enough outside to open up all the windows and let the sound of cricket and the smell of summer waft through the flat. They’ll sleep again afterward too, when the sun goes down and the stars all come out and shine brighter than before thanks to the disappearance of the clouds. They’ll sleep until the moon kisses the sun as it rises in the early morning sky, when the hill in the distance is painted red and orange and yellow, pink and purple. They’ll sleep until daylight seeps into through their white curtain, shaking them from their sleep only to find themselves wrapped up in their lover’s arms.
Harry thinks that sounds pretty nice.
122 notes · #larrystylinsmut #thelarrylibrary #top!harry #past lilo #larry fanfiction #fanfiction #i really hope you guys like this #let me know please #AU #submission
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