Electing Strange Perfections

Chapter 9

The next morning, Louis feels like a human once again. He wakes up before Harry and curls up into his side, pressing a kiss to his chest before resting his head there, just enjoying his warmth. Harry stirs and mumbles something inaudible before wrapping his arms around Louis, pulling him closer. Louis lets him, closing his eyes and letting out a small sigh.

He drifts in and out of sleep a couple of times, but he’s startled awake when the front door is slammed shut. Zayn must be gone, then, and maybe Niall as well. Louis smiles and lets himself imagine them going out on a date for breakfast, trading stories of their past and their plans for the future over scrambled eggs. It’s such a bizarre image that he chuckles. It makes Harry stir again and Louis soothes him down by petting his chest for a while before he starts tracing the swallows tattooed below Harry’s collarbones with the tip of his fingers.

It only takes a couple of minutes of this for Harry to wake up, his arms tightening even more around Louis.

“Morning,” he says, voice scratchy from sleep.

Louis returns the greeting and then presses a kiss to Harry’s chest before rubbing his nose against it. “Can we stay in bed all day?”

Harry lets out a small laugh. “But that’s what we did yesterday.”

“So?” Louis lifts his head to bat his eyelashes at Harry, putting on his most adorable face. “We don’t have anything else planned, do we? And I didn’t enjoy it yesterday, I was too sick.”

With a yawn, Harry shakes his head. “You’re the only one to blame for that.”

“I’d had a shit day,” Louis replies defensively. “It’s not like I get blackout drunk every day.”

“I know, I know,” Harry says, mollified. “I’m sorry, you’re right. I shouldn’t have commented.” He lets go of Louis to stretch his arms above his head and Louis leans up to press a kiss to the heart tattooed inside Harry’s arm, smiling when he chuckles. “You’re cuddly this morning. Usually you’re already out of bed and eating cereal on the couch at this hour, if you’re not still asleep.”

Louis shrugs, moving in closer, nuzzling into Harry’s neck. “You were warm and inviting.”

“As cute as this is, I need to wee,” Harry declares, thoroughly ruining the mood. “I’ll make pancakes, yeah?” he asks, gently pushing Louis off him to get out of bed.

“Yeah, that sounds good.”

Sitting up, Louis hugs his knees to his chest as he watches Harry cross the room, his eyes falling on Harry’s morning wood, his cock jutting out heavy and full. Louis bites his lip and says nothing, even if he feels his own cock twitch at the sight. With the conversation they’ve had the night before, his mind immediately jumps to the conclusion that it needs to happen now. He wants it, they’re seemingly home alone, and the day is already shaping up to be a lazy Sunday. The timing is right.

Once Harry is out of the room, Louis leans back against his pillow, picking up Harry’s and placing it under his head to sit up a bit. Once that’s done, he stretches out on the bed over the duvet and wraps a hand around his cock, stroking it lazily, but with intent. He needs to be at least half-hard before Harry comes back, he tells himself, closing his eyes and biting his lip once more as he conjures up images of what he hopes will happen in a couple of minutes. He’s already had this fantasy often enough to come up with it quickly and he huffs out a breath when heat flares up in his cock as it begins reacting to his motions.

“Fuck,” he hears Harry say in a breath and Louis opens his eyes to find him stuck in the doorway. “Lou?”

Louis tightens his hand around his cock and twists his wrist, drawing a moan from his lips. “Remember last night’s conversation…?”

Harry clears his throat as he begins crossing the room, his eyes not leaving Louis once. “You want to do that now?”

“We’re home alone, aren’t we? And I’m ready. Why wait?” His voice shakes slightly, betraying some of his apprehension. He wants it, there’s no doubt there, but he’s bloody nervous.

Harry sits on the edge of the bed, next to Louis, and looks at him seriously. “Are you sure about this? We don’t have to rush into things, it’s all right if you’d rather wait.”

Louis shakes his head, his hand stilled on his cock. “I want it. I’m sure.”

With a nod, Harry leans down to kiss Louis, pressing his lips tenderly against his. “Yeah? Okay. I want it, too.”

Wrapping his free hand behind Harry’s neck, Louis pulls him closer and kisses him, his breath stuttering when he starts moving his hand again. Careful not to break the kiss, Harry climbs on the bed, straddling Louis’ thighs and sinking both hands into Louis’ hair, tugging until Louis pulls out of the kiss to gasp. Lowering himself over Louis, Harry holds his head in place and kisses him once more, deepening it as he begins rolling his hips down on Louis’. Louis lets out a soft moan into Harry’s mouth and clings to his back as he pushes his hips up to meet his movements, his feet planted in the mattress for leverage.

“I’ll make it perfect for you, babe, I promise,” Harry says against Louis’ lips, pulling his bottom one with his teeth until Louis whines through his nose and digs his fingernails in his back. Harry hisses and lets go of Louis’ lips only to run the tip of his tongue along it as his hips continue to grind agonizingly slowly against Louis’.

“I trust you,” Louis says, voice already breathless from the way Harry has him pinned to the bed, restraining his movement to small pushes of his hips to meet Harry’s.

Harry waits until Louis is whimpering with every push before he does anything, breaking the heated kiss they’d been having to press his lips down the length of Louis’ neck, moving down to his chest as he crawls down Louis’ body. Just when Louis thinks Harry is going straight down to his cock and he begins bracing himself for it, Harry drags his teeth down Louis’ nipple before flicking his tongue over it, making Louis gasp.

“You like that?” Harry says before sucking hard on Louis’ nipple.

Louis’ toes curls as he digs his fingers into Harry’s hair, pulling on it in an attempt to get his mouth away, the sensation too much and so, so good, but too much, his hips stuttering up in the air to seek friction, contact, anything.

“Y-yes,” Louis gasps out, fingernails scratching at Harry’s scalp.

Harry pulls off, lips glistening as he grins at Louis, before blowing cool air on Louis’ wet skin, making him shiver violently and whine as he twists on the bed to try and get away. Harry then kisses across his chest and Louis’ breath gets stuck in his lungs when Harry puts his mouth to his other nipple and stars anew, teasing it with his teeth and his tongue until Louis tugs hard on his hair.

“Too much,” he gasps out, eyes closed, breath laboured.

“Sorry, love.”

Harry stretches to press an atoning, chaste kiss to Louis’ lips before resuming his trail of kisses and kitten licks down Louis’ chest. It turns into small bites once he gets to Louis’ stomach and Louis sucks it in by reflex. Harry doesn’t say anything, used to it by now, Louis supposes, and instead licks a broad strip up Louis’ cock before pressing a kiss to the tip and moving away.

Louis opens his eyes and pushes himself up on his elbows to see what Harry is doing, a protest on the tip of his tongue. He finds Harry knelt on his side of the bed and searching through the drawer of the sole bedside table. Louis rolls on his side and pinches Harry’s bum, smiling when he lets out a yelp of surprise.

“What are you doing?”

“Looking for lube,” Harry replies, and his words make Louis bite his lip. “I know I’ve got some, it’s just been a while.”

“How long?”

Lube in hand, Harry drops it on the bed and goes back to Louis, lying next to him and tangling their legs. He presses a kiss to the tip of his nose. “Since I met you.”

With a smile, Louis kisses Harry, pulling him on top of him by the shoulders and smoothing his hands down his back as they kiss, sighing through his nose when Harry settles on top of him once more. Running his hands down Harry’s back, Louis grips Harry’s bum to pull him even closer and try to make him start grinding down again, but Harry moves back, eventually breaking the kiss.

“I’ll start preparing you, okay?”

Louis’ heart, which had already been beating fast, quickens even more at Harry’s words, and he nods frantically. “I’ve never… to myself.”

Harry gives him a reassuring smile and pecks his lips. “Don’t worry. I’ll take it slow. Just relax and let me do all the work.”

Louis nods again and settles back down on the pillows, getting comfortable and watching Harry with rapt attention as he begins slicking up his fingers, and it’s only in that moment that Louis realises how big they are. He’d always known that Harry had big hands with long, never-ending fingers, but now that they’re about to be buried inside his arse, it’s like he’s noticing for the first time just how impressive they are. He gulps and wraps his hand around his cock loosely, stroking it to try and relax.

Harry wipes his hand on the duvet and then pats Louis’ thigh to make him spread his legs, kneeling between them. He runs a hand down the inside of Louis’ thigh and kisses his knee before pushing it back. Louis understands at once and brings his legs up, bracketing Harry’s waist with them. Harry bends forward to kiss Louis, which Louis returns enthusiastically. Just when Louis is relaxing into it, his hand tightening around his cock and stroking with more purpose, Harry runs a slick finger along Louis’ taint, making him moan in surprise.

Smiling against Louis’ lips, Harry moves his finger lower, dragging it over Louis’ hole slowly, almost teasingly. Louis’ lips stutter and a gasp leaves his lips. It feels weird to be touched in such an intimate place, but it’s not a bad weird. It’s a strange weird, a surprisingly enjoyable weird. Harry keeps kissing him as his finger moves back and forth in slowly, teasing motions that leave Louis breathless.

Just as slowly as he got there, Harry pushes the tip of his index against the tight ring of muscles, letting Louis’ body take him in without force. Louis moans again and shifts his hips, trying to get used to the feeling. Harry keeps his finger motionless to help him for a moment, waiting until he sees Louis settle back against the mattress before pushing his finger in a bit more, stopping when only the tip is in. Louis hisses and shuts his eyes, biting his lip.

“Is it too dry? Do you want more lube?” Harry asks, his voice laced with concern.

Shaking his head, Louis sighs through his nose. “No, no, it’s… I just need a second.”

“We have all day,” Harry replies, pressing a kiss to Louis’ knee.

After a few mores seconds and a nod from Louis, Harry pushes his finger in more, keeping the slide slow, and Louis inhales loudly until Harry stops, his knuckle pressed against the rim. The two of them stop breathing for a moment, and then Harry pulls his finger out before pushing in again, and Louis exhales in a loud moan, the feeling exhilaratingly new and fucking amazing. The slide is easier each time Harry does it, and before long Louis is moving his hips to meet his finger, grinding down on it. Louis has stopped stroking his cock, his hand resting idly on it, but he feels like he might come from Harry’s finger alone if he keeps this up and there’s only one in, Louis can’t even imagine what it’ll be like when it’s his cock. He moans just to think of it.

“Do you think you could take two?” Harry asks and he laughs when Louis nods frantically in answer. “Yeah?”

“Yes, shit, do it!” Louis snaps, breathless, giving his cock a few tugs in hopes it might release some of his pent-up lust. It only succeeds in making it worse and he whines, the sound turning high-pitched when he feels a second finger pressing alongside the one rubbing circles around his rim.

Slowly, Harry pushes them in. The stretch is uncomfortable, at first, but Louis tries to relax into it, rolling his hips in small motions to try and ease them in. Once Harry’s in to the knuckles, he moves them in small circles, stretching Louis even more and making him moan brokenly, his head rolling back against the pillow. He grips the sheets and pulls them, thinking that it can’t get better than this.

That is, until Harry slowly drags his fingers in and they press up against a spot that makes Louis jolt and moan loudly, his hand tightening around his cock, tugging it desperately. Harry only laughs, moving up to kiss Louis. Louis traps Harry’s lip between his teeth and pulls on it until Harry hisses and pulls his fingers almost completely out before slamming them back in, making Louis moan and let go of his lip. Pushing on Louis’ thigh to move it higher, nearly folding Louis in half, Harry quickens his hand, the change of angle allowing him to go deeper.

An unbroken string of moans is slipping out of Louis’ mouth without him noticing and his knuckles are turning white from gripping the sheets, and he’s tugging on his cock desperately, feeling his orgasm build up at the bottom of his spine. With every push of his fingers, Harry hits Louis’ prostate, each time sending sparks through his body.

“Harry, I’m close…” Louis whines, rolling his hips to meet Harry’s movements, clenching around them to get more, needing to feel fuller still. “More, please, I need more,” he nearly begs, only to moan when Harry adds a third finger, pushing it in alongside the other two without warning and keeping the same rhythm without faltering or giving Louis time to adjust, and it’s too much, but it’s so good that he cries out, “yes, yes, yes!”

Louis comes without warning, splashing over his stomach and his hand, his hips pushing down on Harry’s fingers, riding them through his orgasm. With a long, deep sigh, Louis flutters his eyes open to look at Harry. He has stilled his fingers and is seemingly waiting for a sign that Louis is alive. It makes Louis smile to see how attentive Harry is being. Clenching around Harry’s fingers, feeling full and almost overstimulated, Louis rolls his hips tentatively, gasping at the sensation.

“I can stop if you prefer,” Harry says, stroking his hand up Louis’ belly, running it through Louis’ come and smearing it.

Louis shakes his head. “No. Keep going. I want you in me.”

“Do you think you could come again?”

Louis shrugs, giving Harry a smile that quickly dies when he begins pushing his fingers in and out of Louis’ hole once more, keeping the rhythm excruciatingly slow. Louis’ breath turns deeper, louder, and his eyes flutter shut as his head rolls back on the pillow. He lets out small whimpers, almost like meows, whenever Harry brushes against his prostate, and before long Louis is once more clenching around him, wanting, needing more.

“Harry, please, enough with this, I’m ready,” Louis says in a breath, not even opening his eyes.

Pulling out his fingers immediately, drawing a deep, shuddering breath out of Louis, Harry moves up the bed to press a series of quick, playful kisses on his lips. Louis wraps his arms and legs around Harry, clinging to him to keep him in place, kissing back with more fervour even has Harry shifts against him. He hears the bottle of lube uncap and it only makes him kiss Harry with more intent, licking into his mouth and drawing a low, pleased moan from Harry’s throat.

Louis’ entire body shudders when he feels the tip of Harry’s cock press up against his hole, just resting there without pushing in any further. He whines and tightens his arms around Harry’s back, pulling out of the kiss with a gasp.

“Do it, do it, do it, do it,” he repeats in between small kisses over Harry’s lips, fingernails scratching at Harry’s back demandingly.

Harry laughs and nods, his nose rubbing against Louis’ cheek as he does so, and he moves his hips forward, making the tip of his cock nudge Louis’ hole, making him twitch. Reaching between their bodies, Harry aligns himself and then begins pushing in, just enough for the head to be in.

It’s all it takes for Louis to let out a high-pitched moan, clawing at Harry’s back, his fingers slipping on Harry’s sweat-slick skin, as he tries to breathe through the stretch. After a couple of seconds of counting his breaths – sixteen, he must be close to hyperventilating – Louis shifts his hips up, letting more of Harry slip inside of him. Harry nods with a gasp and he pushes in slowly, only stopping when he bottoms out.

“Okay?” Harry asks, pecking Louis’ nose.

With a nod, Louis tries to smile, only for his face to contort with pleasure when Harry moves his hips minutely. “Yes, yes, good,” he finally says, tightening his legs around Harry’s hips.

Slowly, Harry begins building up a rhythm, kissing Louis through it. Louis kisses back as best he can for a moment before he throws his head back, letting out a string of soft ‘ah’ sounds with every thrust of Harry’s hips while Harry mutters praise to Louis in between grunts.

“Shit, baby, you’re so tight, hm, you take it so well, you’re such a good boy,” he lets out, voice rough and lower than Louis has ever heard it.

The sound of it paired with the feeling of Harry’s cock pushing in and out of him is enough to get Louis hard again, turning him into a whimpering mess. Louis’ legs fall open and Harry leans back to grab them and hoist them up against Louis’ chest, using them as leverage to intensify his movements, thrusting harder.

Louis opens his mouth to talk, wanting to ask for Harry to go faster, but the only sounds that come out are moans. He grips the sheets in his hands, pushing his hips to meet with Harry’s movements. He’s never felt anything like this before, like his entire world has been reduced to Harry and how he fills him up, how it’s almost too much, his body never quite getting used to the intrusion.

“Harry, I…” he pants, forcing his eyes opened to look at Harry, at his face framed by Louis’ legs. The sight makes him keen and his cock twitches against his belly. “I want cake.”

Harry slows down, his brows furrowing for a second before he understands and bursts out laughing, his rhythm becoming irregular. “I want cake, too.”

Louis laughs, too, his body shaking with it, and he lifts his arms, trying to get a hold of Harry. “Kiss me!”

Bending forward, effectively folding Louis in two, Harry presses a long, heated kiss to Louis’ lips. The new angle makes Harry’s next thrust hit just the right spot and Louis cries out, throwing his head back and arching his spine.

“There, right there, Harry, please,” he pleads, voice high and breathy.

Keeping him folded, Harry grips Louis’ ankles and begins fucking him in earnest, the sound of their sweaty skins slapping together filling the gaps between their moans. Louis grips the sheets once more, only to let go after a moment to wrap a hand around his cock, holding it tightly and jerking it with quick, desperate motions. Above him, Harry is more of a mess than ever, with sweat rolling down his face and his hair matted and sticking to his skin. His face is contorted, his eyes screwed shut, and grunts leave his lips with every other thrust, sounding like the air is getting punched out of him every time.

Louis doesn’t want it to end, but he can feel his orgasm building up, making him roll his hips up to meet with Harry’s thrusts, making the two of them moan loudly when it only works to push Harry deeper inside of him. Harry bends forwards once more and kisses Louis messily, rolling his hips in figure-eight movements, pushing in as deep as he can go before he stills and comes with a groan, his hips stuttering against Louis’ and his kissing becoming nothing but their lips pressed together, Louis swallowing every noise Harry lets out as he shakes over him.

Feeling Harry’s cock twitch inside of him sends Louis over the edge and he comes for the second time with a cry, arching his back off the mattress and clenching around Harry and making him moan faintly. Louis is pretty sure he sees stars this time, and when he finally comes down and relaxes against the pillows he starts giggling tiredly. Harry settles down on him, his cock still inside Louis’ arse, and Louis shifts his hips, still enjoying the feeling despite the soreness slowly setting in.

“Wow,” Louis says, unable to remember how to form a sentence. He feels elated and weightless, like his body is made of air and he would just float up were it not for Harry’s weight on top of him.

“Yeah?” Harry asks, gently pushing back Louis’ fringe. “It was a good first time?”

Nodding, Louis gives Harry a large, wrecked smile. “It was perfect. When can we do it again?”

Harry laughs and pecks Louis’ nose before slowly pulling out, making the two of them hiss. Kissing Louis again, nibbling at his swollen lip until he whines and pushes him away, Harry lies down next to him, resting his head on his arm. Louis rolls over to face him, reaching forward to trace Harry’s feature with the tip of his fingers.

“You’re gorgeous,” Harry says in a soft voice. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.” Louis smiles, wriggling on the bed as he feels something warm start leaking down the inside of his thighs. Realising what it is, he blushes. “I should get cleaned up.”

Harry shakes his head, pulling Louis against him. “You should stay here with me. We’ll shower later, I’m gross, too. But I want a nap, before.”

“We literally just woke up.”

“Nap,” Harry repeats, drawling the syllable until Louis laughs.

“Okay, okay, fine. But then you have to make me pancakes.”


Getting comfortable against Harry, Louis sighs, smiling to himself. His bum is sore and he feels sticky and disgusting, he probably stinks and his hair must be a mess, but he can’t find it in himself to care, not when the man who is quite possible the love of his life is drifting to sleep while holding him tightly after they’ve had what has to be the best sex in the history of sexual intercourse.


The leaves are changing colour and a cold wind is seeping in through the cracks around the windows, turning their flat into a fridge. Louis has adopted the habit of walking around with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders as they try and push as far as possible the date on which they’ll turn on the heating, knowing they’ll see their power bill skyrocket. The days are dull and grey, the sky overcast and if last year Louis loved October because October meant finally moving into his own apartment, going away from his stepfather and gaining independence, now it only serves as a reminder that he’s managed to fuck up his life with one careless gossip.

Zayn has already left for Oxford a couple of days earlier and Niall has turned into a moping mess even bigger than the one Louis is. He spends his days glued to his mobile, texting almost constantly and looking crestfallen when a reply takes a while to come. Louis feels guilty that the sight Harry comes home to every night is that of his boyfriend and best friend sulking on the couch in front of bad reality television, but he also can’t seem to get a grip on his life.

He knows that logic would want him to get a job and start bringing in money, especially since with autumn rolling in, Harry is only working three days a week until it completely stops in November. When that happens, they’ll be relying almost entirely on Niall’s salary to pay for the flat, with the help Louis’ mother provides by sending them groceries money whenever she can. Louis knows it’s unfair that he’s not helping, but the prospect of getting a job is, quite frankly, terrifying. It’s too definitive; it would be accepting his faith and making a cross on the possibility that he might go back to school. His stepfather’s offer is still on, his mother texted him a few days earlier along with pictures of the twins, as long as he accepts the transfer to law school.

“Do you think I’d make a good lawyer?” he asks Harry one night as he helps him cook dinner.

Harry looks up from the onions he’s chopping, frowning pensively. “I don’t know, to be honest. We don’t argue, so I can’t tell if you’re good at it.”

“There’s more to being a lawyer than arguing, though,” Louis replies, popping a piece of carrot in his mouth and giving Harry an innocent smile when he catches him doing it.

“Are we having the conversation about your stepfather’s offer?” When Louis nods, Harry mirrors him. “Can I be honest?”

“Yeah, of course,” Louis says, feeling his stomach tighten.

“I hate to tell you this because I want you to be as happy as you can be, but I’ll say it anyway: you should accept. I would, if I were you.”

“You hate school, though. That’s why you didn’t go to uni. You can’t tell me to go waste years of my life doing something I hate when you don’t even know what you’re talking about,” Louis replies defensively, biting his lip as soon as he stops talking. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to go off at you. You’re right, I should accept.”

“Don’t do it for me, if you do. Don’t do it because you think I want you to get a job that pays well or whatever, okay? Because we don’t know if we’ll still be together once you get your degree.”

Louis frowns. “I want to still be with you. Don’t talk shit, Harold.”

Harry lets out a small laugh. “But we don’t know for sure. We might get into a massive fight and fall out of love. It happens. I don’t want it to, but it might happen. And if it does, I want you to be happy with your life and not regret your choices because you made them for me.”

Hopping to sit on the counter, Louis stays quiet for a moment, the same litany as always running through his mind. If he accepts the offer, it means he gets back his family’s financial support and, perhaps in time, the right to visit them. He gets an education, a damn good one at that, and a degree that will guarantee him a secure, well-paid job in the future. He will get to see his siblings grow up, he’ll get to be a part of their life, and he’ll get to build a life of his own.

On the other hand, if he accepts, it means years of university studying something he has no interest in only to get a job in a field he does not like. He might spend the rest of his life miserable, slowly turning into a bitter, Scrooge-like man with a shrivelled, blackened heart.

But if he refuses, he’s facing a future even bleaker. Their financial situation won’t get much better, even when he’ll get a job, a shit one in a shop, the only kind you can get without a university degree, he supposes. It will eventually put a strain on their lives, especially if they want children, and then in time, he will lose Harry. The fact that they only ever fight when money is the subject should be a good enough foreshadowing of what’s to come if he refuses the offer and ruins his life even more.

He really does miss his family. Knowing that Harry got to meet the new twins before he did – his sisters sent him pictures of that day, with Harry holding the infants and grinning down at them – made Louis miserable for days afterwards. That feeling alone, this sinking, gut-wrenching hollowness, might be enough to convince him to agree. He wants them back, wants to be able to visit whenever he wants. He wants to be welcome there once more.

“I’ll accept it,” Louis finally says, digging his mobile out of his pocket. “I’ll go to law school.”

“Not for me, hm?” Harry asks, cautious.

“For me. I want my family back,” Louis says, rapidly typing a message to his mother before he changes his mind. “You better be there every step of the way and bake me loads of cakes and cuddle me lots because I’ll need it, okay? I won’t enjoy it and I might turn into Ebenezer Scrooge and you’re not allowed to complain if I do.”

Wiping his hands on a towel, Harry walks closer, crowding into Louis’ space to hug him to his chest. With slow, soothing strokes on his back, he nods. “I’ll be there for as long as you’ll want me to be. We’re a team.”

Louis rests his head against Harry’s chest, idly listening to his heartbeat and trying to convince himself he did well. Already, he’s second-guessing himself, wondering if he made the right decision for the right reasons. On the counter, his mobile buzzes and Louis picks it up, his heart swelling when he sees the string of emojis his mother sent him. Harry glances at the screen and laughs, the sound of it rattling in his chest.

“I should start packing, I suppose. I’ve got to move into my flat before the semester starts and all,” Louis says after a moment, untangling himself from the comfort of Harry’s arms. “Zayn will be happy to know he won’t have to find another flatmate.”

“It’ll be easier for Niall and I to come over and visit you, yeah. Only one address to remember.”

Louis’ heart sinks when he realises he’ll have to leave Harry in London. He frowns, taking Harry’s face between his hands. “I’ll pay for your bus tickets so you can visit me every weekend, yeah? Every single weekend, Styles, understood?”

“Understood. I’ll miss you too much to skip one, anyway.”

Pulling Harry into a kiss, Louis wraps his arms around his neck and holds on to him for a moment, trying to commit the scene to memory. The heady smell of the chicken broth simmering on the stove and of the onions abandoned on the counter, the chill filling the flat and the scratchiness of the sweater Louis has to wear to fight it, the sound of Niall watching telly in the living room, a laugh track going off from time to time. And Harry, it always comes back to Harry, his arms around his waist and his lips against Louis’, his smell, like the cold outside and freshly turned dirt, like dead leaves and rain; his warmth, radiating through him and thawing the darkest corners of Louis’ heart, making him feel like everything will be alright as long as Harry holds him.

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