Lucy and Ramona (lucy_and_ramona) wrote in lnr_fics,

Fic: Never Mind the Furthermore

Title: Never Mind the Furthermore
Author: Lucy
Rating: R.
Pairing: Harry/Louis
Genre: Angst/Romance
Warnings: Adult themes? There's a lot of phone sex, idk.
Disclaimer: I don't own One Direction and make no aspersions toward their sexualities, nor do I believe that anything I write is fact.
Summary: "We are just friends," Louis states, an annoyed edge to his voice. "We're just friends who sometimes have phone sex. It's not a big deal."
Author's Note: I like this one a lot, and I'm hoping other people do, too. :)



Louis Tomlinson has a dirty mouth and a dirtier mind.

"D'you wanna come on my face, Harry?" he asks, his voice tinny on the other end of the line. He still sounds vaguely amused, though. Harry finds it unbearably arousing, and squeezes himself to stave off the jolt of lust.

"Yeah," he murmurs. He can tell his voice is husky. "Yeah, can I? Can I, baby?" It's an endearment he uses almost exclusively when they're doing this.

"Uh-huh." Louis's gone all breathless. His words stutter when he speaks next. "I wanna know what you taste like."

"Izzat what you want?" Harry lets his hand drift up and down his erection once. Just once. "You wanna suck me off?"

"Mhmm," Louis murmurs, a soft rustling coming from his end of the phone. Harry wonders, not for the first time, what Louis looks like while he's getting himself off. "Or maybe... Maybe I want you to suck me off."

Harry suppresses a whine and squeezes himself again, waiting for Louis to continue.

"Yeah, maybe that's what I want." Louis makes a quiet, pleased noise. "Anybody who's ever seen your lips has thought about it, you know. Man, woman, whatever, I guarantee they've thought about you going down on them."

"I've thought about it," Harry whispers. He begins stroking himself again. That's rather the point of all this, after all. "About..." He swallows. "About sucking your cock." He doesn't mumble it, instead enunciating so Louis can hear exactly what he's saying.

Louis makes this aborted groaning sound and a flash of a grin crosses Harry's face. He's getting better at this game.

"Don't say that," Louis responds, but he sounds more eager than anything.

"Don't say what?" Harry asks, cupping his palm over the head of his cock and then using the gathered pre-come to slick down his shaft. "Don't say how I wonder how you'd fit in my mouth? How I think about how hard I could get you? If I could make you beg for it?" His voice lowers, the grin lingering on his face. "Don't say how I want to suck you until you come down my throat? Is that what you don't want me to say?"

Alright, so maybe Louis isn't the only one with a dirty mouth. Still, Harry thinks, it's all for a good cause.

Louis's breath hitches and he curses loudly down the line before there's complete silence aside from how Harry's panting heavily into the phone.

Finally, there's an amused voice on the other end.

"Jesus, Styles, are you trying to kill me?" Louis asks, still a little breathless. "D'you really think about - all that?" Harry guesses that Louis probably can't say it out loud without risking more arousal.

"Sometimes," he murmurs, his voice breaking in the middle of the word as he runs his thumb over the head of his cock. "Little help here?"

"Oh right yeah," Louis says in a rush, clearing his throat. "Where was I before you went all porn star on me? Hmm." He pauses, then exclaims, "Right, of course! I was talking about letting you come on my face."

Harry whimpers, stroking himself in earnest now. His fist is almost too tight as he thrusts into it, but also not quite enough. "Yeah," he sighs. "Mmmyeah."

"D'you want to do that?" Louis asks, his voice as close to seductive as it gets. "Let me suck you until you're aching and then finish you off right on my face? I'd be sure to get most of it on my lips though, sorry. Wouldn't want to waste it."

He doesn't sound the least bit apologetic. "Louis," Harry mumbles into the phone, so close he feels like he's blushing all over his body. "Louis please..."

"Fuck, Harry," Louis legitimately moans his name and Harry can't hold back anymore. With a strangled noise, he comes over his fist, the substance dripping down his knuckles and his thighs as he releases a pleased sigh.

Louis laughs softly after a moment. "You're just lying there in your own spunk, aren't you? Dirty boy," he says with obvious affection.

"Fuck you," Harry mumbles while the feeling comes back into his legs. "It's your fault."

"Now that, I will admit to." There's a pause before Louis clears his throat. "Only a few more days before we're all back together, right?"

He always does this, like casual conversation afterward means they didn't just bring each other off through the phone.

"Right, Wednesday, I think." Harry reaches over to grab a tissue off his bedside table. He does feel a bit dirty doing this in his mother's house, but he's the only one home and he'd been desperate. “Have you spoken to the others?"

"Been texting Nialler quite a lot. You know he gets lonely without us. Liam called me yesterday." Louis hums for a bit but Harry doesn't say anything, simply swiping the smears of whiteness from his thighs. "He says to tell you to text him back, you dick. Direct quote."

"I just bet it's a direct quote." Harry laughs and drops the tissue into his trash bin. "I should go shower, probably. I'm all sticky."

"Think of me," Louis jokes. Harry knows it's a joke, so he responds accordingly, muttering something about of course, sweetums, and say hi to your mum from me.

Harry ends the call after Louis says another cheerful goodbye, then sighs. This is probably getting a little out of hand. He couldn't care less.

--

"Harry!"

Harry laughs as a blond Irishman crashes into his arms, immediately returning the hug.

"Hey, Nialler," he greets, letting his bag drop to the floor beside him so that he can hug Niall properly. "Did you have a good Christmas?"

"Would've been better with you guys," Niall replies, his hands still locked behind Harry's back. He's the first one of them Harry's seen, but he knows the others are either already in their flats or will be along soon.

Harry smiles against Niall's shoulder. He smells like boy but also like cigarettes. "I missed you too, Niall. Zayn's in already, then?"

"Ugh, do I smell like him?" Niall frowns, finally pulling away and looking down at himself like he'll be able to see the stench of Zayn's nasty habit on his clothing.

"Just a little bit." Harry feels like he can't stop smiling, and it only widens as he hears a familiar mischievous voice from behind him.

"Y'know, if you wouldn't hug people while they're smoking, you probably wouldn't smell like it, Nialler."

"Louis," Harry breathes, turning and immediately falling into a hug. From behind him, Niall shoots a remark back, but Harry is busy rubbing his face against Louis's.

"What're you doing?" Louis asks, laughing, into his ear.

"How long's it been since you shaved?" Harry asks instead of responding to the question. "You're scratching my face."

"I wouldn't be scratching your face if your face wasn't on my face," Louis points out. "And I dunno, couple days. It's winter," he adds, as though that should be a proper reason.

"Okay," Harry murmurs, too happy to see Louis to come up with an actual retort. "I missed you."

An added pair of arms encircles them and squeezes tightly, Niall's voice coming from somewhere near Harry's right armpit. "I missed you guys too, you know."

Louis laughs and Harry lifts his arm to accept Niall into their hug, his arm snug around his waist.

"What are you all doing in the hallway?" Liam asks from behind them, obviously bemused.

"Missing each other," Niall responds for the group, backing up enough that he can grin at Liam. "Want to join?"

Liam shrugs a shoulder and ducks beneath Niall and Harry's arms, his own moving around their ribs in a loose hug. "Sorry it took so long for me to get here, driver got lost," he mumbles, leaning his head against Niall's shoulder.

"Oh my god," comes an irritated voice, and Harry pops his head up to smile at an annoyed looking Zayn. He's not really annoyed, Harry knows. The corners of his mouth are twitching. "Are we being gay in public again?"

Louis gives Zayn a pinched look and shoots back, "It's not public, it's the hallway. And don't act like you're not longing for my touch, Malik." He pounces on Zayn and drags him into the hug. Harry notices that Zayn doesn't really put up a fight.

Harry couldn't wipe the smile off his face if he tried. He's with his boys again. He's on top of the world.

He should've known that sense of euphoria wouldn't last very long.

He and Louis separate to unpack before meeting up again in the living room. Louis suggests getting a pizza or something because god knows there isn't anything edible in the fridge, and while they wait for it to arrive, they watch reruns of Friends. It's perfect, it really is.

"I know I'm probably supposed to have the whole male mentality on this one, but they totally were on a break," Louis mutters, nibbling on the edge of one of his crusts. His eyes are locked on the screen, so Harry doesn't feel quite as creepy about staring at him for a bit.

"Well, Rachel's always been an uptight little thing, hasn't she?" he says absently, smiling when Louis snorts. He looks good. It's not that Harry's never noticed before, it's just that it's a little different when they've spent the last five ways describing various sexual acts they'd like to perform on each other.

"You're staring, Hazza," Louis whispers without looking at him, a smile twitching his lips. He pops the last of the crust into his mouth. "I can't possibly be more fascinating than Ross and Rachel."

"You are, though," Harry says. He doesn't mean to; it just comes out.

Louis finally looks at him, his eyes wider than they usually are. Harry isn't in the practice of surprising Louis Tomlinson, so this feels like a bit of a victory.

There's a bit of time when they're just looking at each other, and they're both smiling, and Harry can't remember loving anybody quite this much.

He leans forward and Louis turns his face away.

Harry stares in dumb shock at the side of Louis's face. Louis swallows once, twice, his throat bobbing as Harry watches.

"I'm gonna go to bed I think, been a long day." He sounds shaky, and he still isn't meeting Harry's eyes.

'You fucking twat,' is what Harry thinks, but outwardly, all he says is a quiet, "Right, okay, Lou. Sleep well."

Louis finally looks at him, tries to smile, and fails. He stands and ruffles Harry's hair like he hasn't just made Harry's heart sink, and trails off up the stairs.

Harry doesn't move for a while, worried that if he does, he'll burst into tears or something ridiculous. When he manages to at least swing his legs off the couch, he buries his face in his hands, still tearless.

"Damn it," he mutters under his breath. "Damn, fucking, damn it."

He silently puts the rest of the pizza they didn't finish into the refrigerator, then turns off the television. He stands in the middle of the living room for a moment before kicking the table so hard one of the mugs falls off and clatters on the floor, breaking. He thinks he should probably clean it up, wonders if Louis heard, wonders if Louis cares.

Harry turns off the light and goes up to his room.

--

The mug isn't there the next morning.

It's in the trash when Harry walks past it to the refrigerator, grabbing a piece of cold pizza and biting down into it with relish. He's trying desperately to ignore the other boy already in the kitchen, but he knows it won't last long. Louis won't let him.

"How can you not heat that up?" Louis asks with blatant disgust. "You're an animal."

Harry takes a deep breath. It's Louis. A Louis who ripped out his heart and practically fed it to him, or something else melodramatic, but Louis all the same.

"It gets soggy when you heat it up," he argues without turning around, grabbing orange juice from the fridge as well. He's pretty sure orange juice and cold pizza don't go together, but whatever. "At least this way it's not soggy and gross."

"No, it's just cold and gross," Louis teases. His voice is closer, and Harry closes his eyes when arms encircle his waist.

Louis rests his cheek against Harry's back for a moment, remaining quiet while Harry pours his juice into a glass. He doesn't let go as Harry puts it back into the fridge, simply tightening them instead.

"Good morning," he says softly. This is Louis's way of apologizing, Harry knows. Being sweet and huggy and lovable. It works, too. Harry can feel the humiliation and anger melting away as Louis rubs circles just above Harry's navel.

"Morning." He's not entirely forgiven, though, so Harry dislodges him to take his pizza over to the sofa and turn on some mindless cartoons. He's not really paying attention to them anyway, so he supposes it doesn't really matter what they are.

He hears Louis sigh and then a weight sink down on the couch beside him. He still doesn't look.

He shoves the last of the crust into his mouth and then grunts when Louis piles onto his lap, arms hooking around his neck so that Harry can't get away even if he wanted to.

"Stop being mad at me," Louis commands, pressing his face against Harry's neck. His hair is slightly damp at the ends and he smells like soap and slightly of syrup, which explains the plate Harry saw in the sink.

He huffs. "It doesn't work like that, Louis." He wants to shove Louis off his lap but he also never wants Louis to move.

Louis squeezes him tighter. Harry can feel Louis's eyelashes against his neck, jesus. "Yes it does," he argues. "Stop being mad at me."

"No." Harry's voice is firm, and he refuses to put his own arms around Louis. He's finally acknowledging that he's mad, though, so that's an improvement. "Get off."

Louis doesn't move for a long moment, then leans back slightly, and Harry - stupidly - thinks he's actually going to listen. Instead, Louis presses syrup sticky lips to Harry's cheek, lingering there for a few seconds before pulling back.

"Please stop being mad at me?" he asks, his voice softer than it normally is and much less confident.

"You're such a wanker," Harry mumbles, shoulders slumping with defeat. "I don't know why I put up with you."

"Because you love me." Louis's smile is slightly sad when Harry looks up, so he immediately looks back down. Shit. Wow, he hadn't thought it was possible to actually feel your heart breaking.

"Can you get off me now?" He sounds like a wounded animal, he thinks, but Louis gets off all the same.

He doesn't go far, just back to the seat beside Harry on the couch. After a moment, he hesitantly wraps his arm around Harry's waist, and Harry sighs and lets him, his own arm drifting automatically over Louis's shoulders.

He thought being an international superstar was supposed to be more fun than this.

--

The rest of the day seems like pure tedium after that. Harry mostly plays Angry Birds and mopes, because for the first time he hasn't got anything else to do.

Louis doesn't act any differently, though, cheerful as ever. He offers Harry tea and refuses to put any sugar in it until Harry hits him with a rolled up magazine that had been sitting on the table.

"Night, Lou," he finally mumbles at around eleven. He's not really tired but he's pretty sure if he has to listen to Louis sing along with the songs in Grease anymore, he's going to kick him in the head.

"Night, Hazza," Louis says happily, tucking his feet up into the warm space on the couch left by Harry's body. "It's almost at the end, though. You're gonna miss the best song, you know."

"Louis, we've watched this movie together six times," Harry replies wearily. "I could probably recite that song."

"Dare you," Louis says instantly, a smile spreading across his face. "I'll do Danny's part if you do Sandy's."

"You'll do no such thing," Harry insists. "I'm going to bed."

Louis practically leaps off the couch in a burst of energy, gripping Harry's shoulders and beginning to dance him around the living room. "I've got chills, they're multiplyin', and I'm losin' control!" he sings at Harry, ignoring the deadpan look Harry's giving him.

"Louis," Harry warns, refusing to let his legs cooperate. "Stop it."

"You made me miss my cue, you dick," Louis accuses, frowning. "Go on, do Sandy's part now. Tell me I've got to shape up. Cause you need a man." He wiggles his eyebrows fiercely and it's not as amusing as it'd usually be.

"I'm going to bed now!" Harry says loudly, extricating himself from Louis's arms. He takes a deliberate step away, ignoring the look Louis's giving him, pleading and hopeful.

"But Sandy," Louis tries, taking a step forward.

Harry looks down and to the side. "Leave me alone, Lou," he says quietly. "And maybe think about why I don't want to sing a song called 'You're the One That I Want' with you right now."

With that it's like all the air's been sucked out of the room and there's a long silence. This time, when Harry says that he's going to bed and heads for the stairs, Louis doesn't stop him.

Harry reclines in his bed after stripping down to his boxers, sighing and staring at the ceiling. He's embarrassed now, in the aftermath, of how much he overreacted. It's not like Louis's trying to make him upset. Louis just doesn't understand. And of course he doesn't, he's not the one wanting more than he should.

It's not even like it's a huge thing. He never meant for it to be this big deal, and it wasn't, really, until they started doing this stupid over the phone thing.

Now it's like that's all Harry can think about. It's all he can picture when he's getting himself off, even when Louis's not on the phone.

The first time had been - well, much less awkward than he'd thought it would be. Harry had just absently mumbled that he was horny as hell and Louis had offered to help.

'It's not a big deal,' he'd said. 'It's not like we're actually doing anything. I'll just talk you through it.'

He'd agreed without much thought, because that sounded fucking amazing to him, but now it's this whole mess. He knew Louis didn't feel the same way, had always treated it like a bonus to their friendship rather than a twisting of the friendship into something different.

It is different, though. In Harry's mind, at least, and he knows he needs to come to terms with the fact that his mind is the only place it's ever going to be.

He's startled out of his thoughts by the harsh buzzing of his phone against the bedside table, and he stares at it for a moment. It's still buzzing, so it's not a text message, but there's no way it's what he thinks it is. There's no way Louis is that stupid.

... Yes, there is, apparently, as Harry leans over and sees the screen proclaiming that Louis Tomlinson is calling him.

He sighs and answers the call, holding it to his ear.

"You realize we're literally twenty feet from one another right now," he points out carefully.

"I'd say it's more like fifteen," Louis answers, and his voice is slightly gruff.

"My mistake," Harry murmurs. "Are you seriously trying to do this right now?"

"What're you wearing?" Louis counters instead of answering his question.

"Louis," Harry groans, flopping back down on his bed. "I'm so not in the mood."

There's a moment of fuzzy silence where Harry thinks Louis might've actually hung up on him.

"D'you really think about sucking my cock?" he asks finally, and Harry groans again.

"I think about a lot of things," he hedges, rubbing a hand through his hair. "Can you leave me alone now?"

"All you've got to do is hang up the phone, Harry," Louis replies. There's a darker undertone to his voice now. Harry shifts at the frisson it sends through his body, and tries to ignore that he's hardening in his boxers. "Just hang up the phone."

"Louis-"

"Fucking end the call if you don't want it," Louis interrupts with a near snarl. "You can't."

Harry doesn't reply, just licks his lips and stays on the line.

"That's what I thought." Louis sounds softer now. "I don't know why this is easier for me without looking at you, alright? But it is, okay? It just is, and I don't know why I can't just say these things to you. But don't act like I'm the only one involved here because you could've ended it at any time. You could've stopped when it was too much."

"I like it being too much. I don't want to stop," Harry replies with another shiver. "Just - just shut up and talk." It makes no sense but Louis knows exactly what he means, and his voice lowers.

"Are you hard?" he asks quietly. "Yeah, I know you are. Are you naked yet?"

"Yes," Harry answers, shoving his boxers down his legs. He wraps his hand around himself in a practiced motion. "What about you?"

"I'm in the living room!" Louis sounds scandalized. "People sit on this couch!" There's a moment of silence where Harry's lips twitch into a grin. "Okay, now I am."

"Slut," Harry laughs, grinning at the way Louis's breath catches really obviously. "Are you touching yourself?" He falls so easily into this rhythm, like this is normal now, because it is.

"Mhmm," Louis hums, breathing heavily into the phone. "Thinking about what you probably look like right now."

Harry lets out a very shaky whoosh of air. "Are you?" His voice is weak. "That's... You could just come see if you wanted."

There's a pause on the other end. "Don't push me, okay?" Louis sounds gentler than he usually does, and Harry swallows, nodding before he realizes he's a moron.

"Okay," he says instead. "What're you thinking about now? Think about me sucking you off," he commands before Louis can answer.

Louis whines into the phone and Harry grips himself more tightly at the sound. "You're gonna be the death of me," Louis moans with another breathless sound. "You've got the lips for it an', an' everything..."

Harry tucks his lips into his mouth and then wets them with the tip of his tongue, feeling his cheeks flush. "I want to," he groans, head smashing back against the pillow.

"Your lips all pink and soft... They look soft," Louis mutters. "Like they'd be nice. I want you to, too."

Harry groans in a mixture of frustration and heady arousal. "You're so - fucking confusing," he manages before he falls apart, the images in his head too strong to resist anymore.

"I want you," he thinks he hears, but with the blood pounding in his ears it could've been anything.

After a moment where Harry catches his breath, Louis speaks again. "Alright, fair's fair. Hearing you - kills me every time," he admits sheepishly.

"You-" Harry starts, exasperated. He sighs. "What d'you want me to do?" he asks expectantly.

"Just talk," Louis murmurs. "About anything. Or even better, make some more of those little noises you do when you come."

"I can't just do it on command, Louis," Harry argues, but there's little butterflies swooping in his stomach. "You like my noises?"

"Don't," Louis says firmly, but he's half-laughing. "Harry."

Harry feels ridiculous just making noises with no stimulation, so he passes a hand over the sensitive head of his cock. It's too much but he moans involuntarily and Louis actually gasps on the other end.

"Again," Louis commands, and Harry obeys without thinking about it, touching himself and then whimpering softly into the phone. Louis groans loudly.

Harry passes fingertips over his shaft slowly, letting whatever noises want to come out of him escape his mouth. At one point it's so much over-stimulation that he's pretty sure he actually sobs into the phone, and that's when Louis lets out a strangled moan to signal his release.

Harry snatches his hand away from himself to grab a tissue and collect his release, hearing the soft rustling of Louis doing the same on the other end.

"You sexy little bitch," is the first thing Louis says down the phone. It sounds like a compliment.

"I try." Harry's voice is a little raspy and he clears his throat. "You realize you're not going to make me forget that we need to talk about this by giving me an orgasm?"

"Yes," Louis answers immediately. "It was worth a try, though. And fun, as well."

"We need to talk about this," Harry insists instead of laughing. Louis sighs.

"I know. I know we do. But I'm all lazy and orgasmic right now, so can it wait?" Louis requests.

"Tomorrow?" Harry asks, tossing the tissue in his hand into his wastebasket. "Tomorrow night? Have you got plans?"

"I'd break them for you. This is important." Louis sounds completely serious, almost solemn, and Harry's next sentence takes a moment to get out of his mouth.

"Tomorrow night, then." His words almost seem to echo in his own ears. "Sounds good."

"Are you going to avoid me the whole day?" Louis asks softly. He doesn't sound accusing, just a little sad.

"No," Harry replies just as quietly. "You'd deserve it, but no."

After a moment, Louis's voice comes back on the line.

"I know I would," he admits. "Good night, Harry. Love you."

Harry squeezes his eyes shut and wishes Louis meant it the same way he did. "I love you too. Night."

He hangs up the phone and buries his face in his pillow. Tomorrow night. Right.

He's scared out of his mind.

--

Harry wakes up sticky and displeased because of it. His alarm goes off in the middle of a very nice dream so he's already sort of upset because of that, and then the sticky remnants on his thighs remind him that tonight he's going to have a really awkward conversation that's very likely to make him cry or something.

He's not looking forward to it.

Louis's head pops through the door as Harry sits up. He's slept naked as usual, but it's the first time Louis won't look quite at him because of it. Harry is torn between finding it cute and finding it annoying, then remembers why Louis won't look at him and settles for sort of nauseous instead.

"Hey," Louis says airily. He's not fooling Harry for a second with his nonchalant tone, even if his cheeks weren't flushing lightly. "We're going out for breakfast, come on."

"I need to shower," Harry says slowly, shoving the blanket away. It hadn't been covering much, but now it's covering even less and he stares at the way Louis's throat bobs nervously.

If this is how it's going to be then Harry's going to milk it for as much as he's worth. Maybe Louis doesn't love him like that, but he fucking well wants him. Harry's not above using that to his advantage.

He yawns, stretching his arms out above his head as he does. His toes curl, digging lightly into the mattress, and when he looks back at Louis, the other boy looks even more shifty than he had before.

"Yeah alright," Louis mutters. "Make it quick, though. Liam's getting stroppy 'cause of the wait and Niall's getting stroppy because he hasn't got food in his mouth."

"Give Niall an apple or something while I'm washing," Harry mumbles, getting out of bed and searching for what he wants to wear. "And tell Liam he can suck my dick."

The last thing Louis mutters before he steps back through the door and closes it makes Harry grin as well as inspiring him to grab the tightest pair of trousers he owns.

"Except he might take you up on that, and then I'd have to kill him."

--

"Finally, I'm starving," Niall complains when Harry finally arrives downstairs. He gives Harry a chastising look that's all Niall, tinged with a smile even then.

"You're always starving," Harry says dryly, tucking his wallet into his pocket. They're tight enough that it's more work than it usually is, but worth it when Louis turns from idle chit chat with Liam and nearly chokes on his tongue. "We're ready to go, then?"

"We were just waiting for you," Zayn replies, sticking out his tongue at Harry and then hugging him. Zayn's been doing that more lately and Harry doesn't have a clue why. He's not upset about it, because he likes Zayn, it's just a little strange. But he hugs back gladly, rubbing between Zayn's shoulder blades.

"Sorry," he apologizes. "Just figured you wouldn't like having breakfast with someone who smells like stink."

"True, that," Zayn agrees. He steps out of the hug with one last squeeze, ruffling Harry's hair as he goes. Harry fixes it with a few shakes, looking at the others expectantly.

Niall leads of course, playfully marching through the door. It's not a question of where they're going to go; they always go to the little place about a block down from them. It's close enough that they don't need an entourage, and the owners love them, so after a brief conversation with their security, they're off down the street with one guard in tow. He'll probably eat at one of the other tables to give them some privacy, but it's still surreal to Harry that going to breakfast means they need a bodyguard.

"What'd you get up to over Christmas, Haz?" Liam asks, swinging an arm over Harry's shoulder. He can hardly feel it through the bulk of both their coats, but the sentiment is nice. Harry's not used to having friends as comfortable with physical affection as he is, and somehow he's ended up in a whole band of them.

"Oh, y'know," he murmurs, sneaking a glance at Louis. It's hard to think of Christmas without thinking about Louis, to be honest. "Little of this, little of that."

Liam launches into a story about something or other, but Harry is distracted by Louis's cheekbones. He feels bad once he realizes, tuning back into what Liam's saying.

When they get to the restaurant, Harry doesn't even really think about it before sitting next to Louis. It's where he usually sits and he doesn't want to change that just because Louis's going through some sort of a crisis.

Louis does stretch his arm along the back of the both, and Harry's shoulders by default, so he supposes that's something.

They all always get the same thing, so ordering is just a matter of the waitress appearing with a smile and asking, "Same as usual?" and five identical nods.

Liam's on the other side of Louis with Zayn and Niall across from them. Everyone's having conversations, overlapping and mixing with the others, but Harry is content to sit quietly and drink in sips from the one of the glasses of orange juice the waitress had brought with her. Really quite nice of her, he thinks. She even remembered not to put pulp in it.

Everything's nice, right now, Harry thinks lazily. He's still sleepy and it's warm in the building, and he missed his boys so much that he really just wants to sit here with them and take it in, that they're all here. Sure, the situation with Louis is kind of in the back of his mind, but not so much that it's making him upset.

The others don't try to incorporate him into their conversations too much, knowing how he gets when it's early like this. At around noon his brain'll catch up and he'll be able to chat excitedly with the best of them, but right now he's just tired and hungry.

The waitress returns with their food and Harry digs in, still half-listening to the conversations around him.

"-- it was huge, man--" "That's what she said--"

"-- thought I was going to freeze to death, seriously --"

"You and Harry are what?"

Harry pauses in the consumption of his eggs for a moment. That sounds like a conversation that maybe he should be a part of. Liam sounds bewildered and Louis, though Harry can't really hear his mumble over Niall and Zayn's exclamations, sounds embarrassed beyond belief. Sure enough, when Harry looks up, Liam's gaze is flitting from Louis to him and his eyebrows are raised higher than Harry's ever seen them.

"You and Harry are what?" Harry asks carefully. Louis is very deliberately not looking back at him, but Liam is staring. Niall and Zayn's conversation has petered to a stop and it feels like everyone is looking at the three of them.

"Nothing, never mind," Louis mutters, taking a bite of sausage. "Forget it."

"They're-!" Liam exclaims before realizing that maybe he doesn't want to shout that even if there aren't that many people in the restaurant right now. "They're doing things," he hisses with Significant Eyebrows.

Niall actually puts down his fork. That tells Harry more than anything how much Liam's eyebrows can convey information.

Zayn and Niall lean forward at the same time, probably to make sure their words don't escape the table.

"Doing things?" Zayn asks, his voice in a whisper. "Like things?"

"Yes very good, Zayn," Louis says without looking at any of them. His cheeks are more red than Harry's ever seen them, and he's very interested in the rest of his breakfast.

"So, what, you're like boyfriends now?" Niall asks. He sounds more curious than anything else including accusatory.

"No!" Harry answers for him. He wasn't expecting to have this conversation ever, so he's pretty thrown off right now, but it's second nature to stick up for Louis. "We're just friends, alright?"

"Really?" Liam tilts his head, eyes narrowed at him. "Just friends? Because that's not really just friends behavior, Harry." He doesn't seem angry, no matter how harsh his words seem. Maybe it's just that it's Liam, and Liam has to try pretty hard to sound anything other than mild on his worst days.

"We are just friends," Louis states, an annoyed edge to his voice. "We're just friends who sometimes have phone sex. It's not a big deal."

Harry buries his face in his hands as Zayn releases a whoop of amusement and Niall snorts out a laugh. "I didn't know we were telling people this," he mumbles to Louis, the back of his neck burning.

"Neither did I," Louis replies, his arm slipping down over Harry's shoulders. From the sounds of it, he's glaring at the other three. "I wasn't planning on it, I just-" He cuts himself off, and when he continues, he sounds sheepish. "I just thought Liam might be able to give me like, advice."

"Definitely not-"

"Not that kind of advice, oh my god," Louis groans, tucking his face against Harry's shoulder. "Life advice."

Harry takes a deep breath. This is embarrassing, true, but he's spent every day with these guys for over a year and if he can't trust them, he can't trust anyone.

"It's really not a big deal," he agrees, slowly picking up his fork again. His bacon's getting cold. "Just, you know how sometimes you're horny, but your thoughts aren't enough? It's like that, but someone else putting their thoughts with your thoughts." He shrugs, aware he's not really making any sense. "It's not like we're actually touching." His mouth quirks into a slight frown that he hopes the others will take as an attitude toward the whole conversation and not just at the fact that he and Louis aren't touching.

"That's weird, though," Zayn says bluntly as Harry shovels a forkful of eggs into his mouth to get out of responding. Louis answers for him.

"Zayn, let's be honest. This is me and Harry. Is it weird? Is it really?"

Niall blinks at both of them, squinting slightly. "Weird for you and Harry, no. Weird for normal, heterosexual best mates? A little, yeah."

"Well, whatever." Louis shrugs a shoulder, obviously done with the conversation. "It's not going to affect the group or anything. We've got it under control."

It's a lie, and Harry knows that, but he just takes another drink of orange juice and remains silent.

--

"You sure you're alright?"

Harry's hands are shoved in his pockets as Zayn slows to walk beside him, behind the others. His fingers are still freezing but at least the wind can't get at them there.

He bobs his head in affirmation, then shrugs. "Yeah, I mean, why wouldn't I be?"

"'Cause you've not got it under control," Zayn says reasonably. He swings his arm around Harry's waist in a companionable fashion. "Maybe Lou thinks you have but you haven't."

Harry sighs and slumps. "Yeah, well," he mutters. "It's what he wants."

"What about what you want?" Zayn argues. "Look, I love Louis, but even I can see that pretending this doesn't mean anything to you is a dick thing for him to do."

"How do you even know, anyway?" Harry watches his feet crunch through the snow. "I've sure as hell never told you."

"I've got eyes." Zayn rolls his own, his hand curving around Harry's waist. "Why do you think none of us were surprised? I know I expected something like this ages ago."

"You're not the only one, alright?" Harry kicks a clod of snow out of his way. "But it's this and that's fine. I'll take what I can get."

"Shit, Harry," Zayn sighs. "Have you tried talking to him? Not that kind of talking, but an actual conversation about it?"

"Because that wouldn't be tremendously awkward or anything." Harry snorts and holds the door open for Zayn. "He's made it perfectly clear what he does and doesn't want. We're supposed to talk about it tonight but that's pretty much just a formality."

"You two are so fucking weird," Zayn mumbles, separating from him with a hug and another ruffle of his hair before heading down the hall to his flat.

"I hate when you do that!" he calls after him, grumbling and fixing his hair quickly.

"I know!" is Zayn's response, bright with laughter. He's turned the corner now, but Harry flips him off anyway.

Louis's already waiting at their door when Harry strolls up, and Harry cringes subtly. He really doesn't want to be alone with Louis after the morning of revelations at breakfast, so he waits for Louis to open the door and then quickly slides inside.

"I'm sorry!" Louis says before Harry can get too far up the stairs. "I didn't mean for all that!"

Harry sighs, his hand still on the railing. "For all what?" he says with obvious reluctance. He stays on the step but turns a little so he can see Louis.

"For everyone to know." He looks extremely apologetic. "I just - You know I don't really know what I'm doing and Liam's good at advice. I didn't think he'd tell everyone."

Harry's shoulders relax just a little. "Yeah?"

"I'm not very good at saying what I mean," Louis says softly. "I don't want to say something stupid and hurt you. I don't want that at all."

"No offense, but you're doing a pretty shit job of that," Harry points out. Louis flinches and Harry tries desperately not to feel bad.

"I know." He looks miserable now. Harry sighs and steps back down the stairs.

"We're not waiting 'til tonight for this, are we?" he asks. Louis's fingers are slipping together in fidgeting movements like he's nervous. Harry supposes he's got a right to be.

"We can," Louis says instantly. "If that's what you want, we can."

"Shut up," Harry murmurs, grasping Louis's hand and dragging him along to the couch. "It's me, Louis, you don't have to be so... whatever."

"I am, though." Louis looks up at him. "Very whatever." There's a hopeful smile lurking on his lips, one Harry doesn't want to shoot down.

"Aren't you always?" He sets a hand on Louis's thigh. No matter how weird things are right now, he's not going to change how he acts physically around Louis. So maybe he wants to slide his hand up a little. He can resist. It's fine.

Louis's smile fades a little, and Harry can tell the serious conversation is about to start.

"Okay." Louis takes a deep breath. "Can I ask - I know I don't have any right, but-"

"You can ask me anything," Harry says quietly, and he means it. He's not going to hide things from Louis anymore, that's what got them into this in the first place. If he had just told Louis at the beginning that he felt more than normal teenage boy horniness about him, this could've been avoided.

Louis takes Harry's hands in his own. Harry feels a little like he's about to be told his grandparents are dead. "How do you feel about me?" Louis asks, his voice as soft as it's ever been. "I know how you act like you feel, but I don't really know."

"Well," Harry starts. He looks into Louis's eyes and doesn't look away. "You're my best friend. And I love you. And I don't know when, but at some point, that sort of evolved, a little, and you're still. You're still my best friend. That's not changed." He swallows, hard. "It's just that now you're my best friend that I want to kiss."

There, it's out. Harry can't push it back in now, it's up to Louis what to do next.

Louis closes his eyes for a moment, but he doesn't jump away or look horrified. Of course, he'd said he already had a strong suspicion, so Harry hadn't expected him to.

"Okay," Louis says. His voice sounds a little shaky. "Let me tell you how I feel about you. You're my best friend, too. And I love you, too. And I'm attracted to you, definitely. And..." He hesitates for a moment. "And I want more. I want us to be more."

Harry stares at him. "So I want us to be more, and you want us to be more?" he simplifies. "So... So why aren't we more?" He sounds completely confused, and he is.

"Because I'm scared." All of a sudden Louis's voice has taken on a whole new element. "I'm scared, Harry. I've never felt like this about someone, ever, and definitely not about another guy. I don't know if I'm feeling like this because I really do or because this thing we're doing over the phone is screwing with my head."

"You think it doesn't scare me?" Harry's voice raises and then he deliberately makes it quieter again. "Trust me, Louis, I'm scared. I think I'm, I'm," he interrupts himself to take a shaky breath. "I'm probably in love with you and that terrifies me. I don't want to change this forever if it shouldn't be changed. I'd rather have you as my best friend than not at all."

"You can't get rid of me now, Hazza." Louis smiles for a moment before it fades into something else, softer and more breakable. "Can you - say that again?"

Harry doesn't have to ask what. "I'm in love with you," he says quietly.

Is Louis leaning closer or is that Harry's imagination tricking him? "Again," he commands.

"I'm in lo-" Harry's cut off as Louis kisses him, cupping his cheek and keeping their lips together for just a moment.

Louis sighs against his lips. His fingers are trembling against Harry's skin, so Harry reaches up to take them and hold them in his own.

"I have no idea what I'm doing," Louis warns, pressing his forehead against Harry's.

"Neither do I," is Harry's response.

"I'm not very good at relationships," is Louis's next sentence, before he kisses Harry again, still chaste.

"Me either," Harry agrees, nuzzling his nose against Louis's cheek.

Louis remains silent for a moment. "I really want this," he whispers, ducking his head to kiss Harry properly this time.

Harry would say that he does, too, but he thinks that's understood in the way he clutches at Louis's shoulders with no intention of letting go.

He doesn't, for quite some time.


Tags: author: lucy, fandom: x factor, pairing: harry styles/louis tomlinson, rating: r
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