(see header post for summary and details)
Harry wasn’t sure how to look at Montreal – as the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning – but in any case, it was the leg that seemed to change everything.
Since the disastrous interview some days ago in Philadelphia, Harry had found himself avoiding Louis. If Louis wanted to act like their relationship was nothing (even if he knew that Louis didn’t mean it), then Harry didn’t really owe him any attention. But he knew that spending time apart from each other was really just making it all the more abundantly clear to their fans that there was something wrong, and that was why Harry forced himself to fall back into familiar patterns with Louis. He’d dance next to him, lean in so that it looked like he was whispering something in his ear even when he wasn’t. He was putting on a show for everyone, and it seemed to be working – at least to a certain extent.
Tonight, they’d been singing Gotta Be You, and he even went so far as to lean in toward Louis for him to give a lyric to change the chorus too. He’d sang “say achoo,” and “my shirt’s blue,” for the crowd at Louis’ request; very tame lyric changes, granted, but the crowd still ate it up, relieved that Larry Stylinson was finally back in communication with one another.
During their encore performance, he could feel Louis’ fingers reaching out, just barely grazing along Harry’s fingertips, and it took every muscle in his arm to keep himself from reaching his own hand and taking hold, winding their fingers together and keeping them there.
That night, they were all sitting in the suite that Niall and Liam were sharing. It was Matt’s last leg with them, he was flying out back to England in the morning as he had classes to start taking within the next week.
“Don’t have too much fun without me,” he’d teased, leaning in against Harry’s shoulder from where the two of them were seated on the couch. Harry didn’t respond; he just pressed a kiss to his forehead – which was an action he’d hardly ever even used with Louis for fuck’s sake.
They were quiet after that, paying more attention to the conversation going on between Niall, Zayn, and Liam. They were debating about whether they should all surprise the fans during Niall’s next TwitCam by having the entire band show up.
“Remember how we used to always joke about making Louis and Harry…” Niall quickly silenced himself, Harry’s head jerking up and Louis looking away from his cellphone and over at Niall with wide eyes.
Matt was clueless, looking back and forth between the rest of them. “Making Louis and Harry what?” he asked.
Liam swallowed hard, clearing his throat. “Making them do a really terrible dare,” he lied. “We were going to have Harry go out to get something from the vending machines in a bra that had been thrown on the stage during one of the shows, lock him out, and make Louis film the entire thing for the TwitCam.”
Matt’s eyes widened. “That’s, erm…wow.” He looked over at Harry with an amused smile. “I bet you could pull of the bra-and-underwear look.”
Harry was blushing, but his eyes went over to Louis instead of Matt, seeing the blush on his cheeks and the ghost of a smile threatening to pull at his lips. Because he knew the answer to Matt’s assumption, as Harry had put on a bra once for a dare – just for Louis, though. It had resulted in Louis fucking him over their kitchen counter, and again on the stairs, and then once more in bed, the bra being ripped off and thrown somewhere by that point.
“That wasn’t what Niall was referring to.”
The words sounded so foreign that Harry couldn’t imagine that he’d actually said them. But then Matt was blinking back at him curiously and Louis was watching the scene playing out before him intently, and Harry realized that he had, in fact, said that out loud. “Then what was he referring to?” Matt asked.
Harry swallowed thickly, biting down on his lip and looking back at Matt. “We need to talk,” he said, standing up from the couch and signaling for Matt to stand up as well.
Matt’s cheeks were a little flushed, and Harry could already feel his heart twisting with what he was about to do, but he couldn’t very well keep this a secret for all that much longer.
He didn’t look at the rest of the boys as he led Matt out of the room and down the hall toward his own room. He closed the door after them, his heart hammering in his chest as he turned back to face his boyfriend and opened his mouth. “There are some things that I wasn’t exactly…one-hundred percent honest with you about.”
Matt shuffled from one foot to the other. “This is about Louis, yeah?”
Harry’s eyebrows shot up. “What?”
His response was a shrug. “You and Louis…all the rumors that people always started about the two of you…Larry Stylinson…you two were really a thing, right? That’s…what you’re trying to say?”
Harry wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that, exactly, so he just nodded and hoped that would suffice.
“You two aren’t exactly the most subtle about keeping things disclosed, you know,” Matt carried on. “I always kind of figured – from the way he always looked at me like he was imaging what my head would look like off of my body and all – that there had to have been something there.”
Harry nodded a little gravely, scuffing the toe of his shoe along the carpeted floor with a stiffened stance. “I’m sorry that I never told you,” he said. “I didn’t…I didn’t want people to know about Louis until Louis was ready for them to, but…I owed you an explanation.”
“I’d never tell, you know,” Matt told him honestly, and he gave Harry that tug of a smile that told Harry that he was telling the truth, that he wouldn’t tell. It wasn’t Matt’s style.
Harry sniffed, nodding. “I know.”
Matt was quiet for a few moments and Harry’s mind was racing with a million different apologies and explanations to give Matt. But before he could actually muster one up to give, Matt was talking again.
“Are you still in love with him?”
He figured it was a fair enough question, he just didn’t know how to answer it. It was evident at this point that Harry was an apparently terrible liar, and telling the truth wouldn’t likely set him free, would it?
Harry’s eyes met Matt’s, and his mouth opened and closed a few times as he tried to organize his words. The only words that he managed to get out were, “I’m sorry.”
Louis was sprawled back in his bunk the next morning, ready for the bus to drive them to wherever it was they were going this time (he’d kind of stopped paying attention) when he felt a tall shadow looming over him and his eyes blinked up, settling on Harry’s frame. He ignored the way his heart gave a little jolt at the sight, offering him a small smile. “Hey Haz.”
“Matt and I broke up.” That was all he said. No additional explanation, just those five words.
Louis’ stomach knotted up and he sat up a little, staring back at him with wide eyes. “Oh,” he said. “That’s…I’m…I’m sorry.”
Harry shook his head, shrugging it off. “I just…I thought you should know, I guess,” he mumbled, taking a step backwards, and then another, going toward the table further down the aisle. “We’re headed to Hershey, Pennsylvania, by the way,” he pointed out, shooting Louis one last look over his shoulder. “Maybe we can convince them to let us into the park – I hear that’s where all the chocolate is. The entire park is built around the idea of candy.”
Louis smiled back at him, a small smile, and he nodded. “I’m sure between you and I we can convince Paul and the rest of the guys to be their wonderful selves and let us go.”
Harry nodded, smiling weakly before turning away and moving back toward the table.
Zayn stopped between the bunks, watching Harry before turning back to Louis. “What was that all about?” he asked.
“Harry and Matt split,” Louis said quietly, and it only took another second before Zayn was sitting down against the bunk and looking at Louis, expecting a further explanation. Louis shrugged. “That was all he said.”
“Well, you know it had to do with you.”
He did, but he didn’t say a word. Because he wasn’t positive that he had anything to do with it – he just had a feeling, a gut instinct that it somehow, someway had to do with him. “Now’s my chance,” he declared.
Zayn raised his eyebrows in question. “Your chance?”
“Don’t you remember back at the start of the tour when you asked me if I had some master plan to get Harry back?” Zayn nodded, and he could tell by the look on his face that he could already see where this conversation was going. Louis rubbed his hands together for a second before giving him an affirmative nod. “Consider the master plan officially in action.”
As it turned out, they had been able to convince Paul and the others to let them spend the second day in Hershey at Hersheypark – which, much to Harry’s dismay, was not a park built out of chocolate.
“It would melt, Haz,” Louis told him, bumping his shoulder against the taller boy.
Harry rolled his eyes, snagging the beanie off of Louis’ head and holding it up higher so that Louis had to ease up on his toes to grab it back. “Once the first statue out of chocolate is erected, I will be the first in line to see it.”
“Then nobody else would be able to see it ever because you and Niall would eat the entire thing. They’d never let you anywhere near that thing.”
Somewhere off behind them, Zayn and Liam were arguing over whether or not the caricature drawing of them was accurate or not, and Niall was dancing around with the gigantic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and Hershey Bar and posing for pictures with the fans.
Harry nodded him toward a rollercoaster up ahead of them. “Think you can handle it?” he asked menacingly, changing the subject.
Louis rolled his eyes, smirking. “Always,” he said, bumping his shoulder and leading the two of them off toward the line.
They posed for a few pictures while they were waiting, a few girls giggling at the sight of them while a few others asked where Matt was.
Harry’s hand wrapped around the back of his neck, stretching it from side to side as he smiled back at them. “He went back to London,” he said, lifting his shoulders in a shrug before dropping an arm around Louis’ shoulder and shaking it a little. “So I guess this chump will have to do instead.”
He didn’t have to look at Louis to know that he was grinning, a girl snapping a picture of the sight with her camera. The line moved forward a little more and one of the girls, with a short head of red hair and a bashful smile, caught Harry’s eye. “I’m really happy you two are friends again,” she blurted out before her friend was tugging her away to get on the ride, the two girls looking back over their shoulders at them after a moment.
“I am too, by the way,” Louis said quietly, staring down at his feet almost bashfully.
Harry turned to look at him, smiling tentatively. They hadn’t discussed Matt. In fact, Harry hadn’t discussed Matt with much of anyone save for a few questions asked by Niall since the blond was notoriously nosy and wouldn’t shut up until he’d found out exactly what he wanted to know.
Matt had been the one to end things, really. And they hadn’t so much broken up as Matt had made some offhanded comment about how it’d been nice while it lasted and he wished Harry the best. Harry wished he would have yelled, cried, done something. But he hadn’t. He’d accepted it and then he’d told Harry that he needed to pack his things, and that had been that.
He knew that a break-up statement would have to be issued sooner or later, but he figured they’d get to that whenever they got to that. Right now, he was spending time with Louis – really spending time with Louis, and it was too good of a feeling for him to really be able to focus on much of anything else.
“Me too,” he finally said, giving Louis a grateful smile. “I’m really happy, too.”
And he was.
It was two days later and they were in Pittsburgh getting ready for their show. Harry and Zayn were wrestling on one of the couches and Niall sided up next to Louis and Liam, bouncing on the balls of his feet.
“And you haven’t told him about any of this?” Liam asked, looking over at Louis with raised eyebrows.
Louis shot him a knowing look, shaking his head. “If I told him about it, it’d ruin the surprise.”
Niall looked at the two of them confusingly. “What are you going on about?” he asked before his face lit up brightly. “Is this about my birthday?”
Louis and Liam shot him synchronized looks that told him that the answer to that question was no before looking back at each other. “I have it all planned out,” Louis said. “Talked to the tech guys…I think it’ll be good.”
“What’ll be good?” Niall asked, leaning in.
Liam sighed, dropping an arm around Niall’s shoulder and leading him off, their heads huddled close together as he explained to him what was going on. Niall had been the only one who Louis hadn’t let in on too close ahead of time in fear of Niall blabbing (accidentally, of course) to Harry.
Louis’ heart was racing in his chest, butterflies twisting and swarming around his stomach. He caught Harry’s eye from across the backstage area just as the stage manager was pushing them all to their places for their intro.
He swallowed down the lump in his throat, repeating a mantra of “just breathe” in his head as they were all placed onto their appropriate stage elevators. He met Harry’s eyes once more before they were all shot up onto the stage and directly into the screaming crowd.
It was now or never.
The concert started out the same as all the others, following the same schedule and list as all the others, but Louis was hardly able to focus on any of it. He was going through the motions of the concert, running through the entire concert on autopilot as his mind was far too preoccupied with a million other things.
Harry was finally comfortable around him on stage again, the two of them messing around just as they always used to (save for the dirty whispering that they’d often done in one another’s ears), but Louis could hardly stand himself to be around Harry right now with the way that his entire body seemed to be racked with nerves.
They got to their last song before the Twitter session would begin, and as the song died down, the crowd began to roar with what was to come next.
Niall and Zayn met Louis’ gaze and he gave them a small, knowing nod. They moved back, each one of them grabbing onto one of Harry’s arms and play-wrestling with him, causing a slurry of camera flashes to erupt through the stadium.
Louis fiddled with his microphone for a few moments, meeting Liam’s gaze from across the stage before looking back to the crowd. “We’re going to be doing things a little differently tonight, I’m afraid,” Louis spoke up above the crowd.
The crowd quieted down just a little, just enough to hear what Louis had to say, and he could hardly hear his own words (let alone the audience) with how loud his heart seemed to be pounding in his ears. “I know that at this point in the show, you guys get to see us do some of the things that you want us to do, but tonight, I’m going to do something that I want to do. Need to do, actually. So I hope you understand.”
Just as confused as ever, the audience cheered him on. Even if the stage lights caused the audience to be practically blinding, he could still see the glittering twinkle of a few of the posters. One reading LARRY staring at him as bright as day. He figured that was as good of a sign as any.
He looked behind him for a split second, meeting Harry’s confused look only momentarily before he was turning back to the crowd. “You all know that we met at the X Factor,” Louis began to explain. “And a lot of you also know that for two of us, we’d already kind of met even before then…even if we weren’t aware of it.”
That set the audience straight off, screaming and roaring in applause, calling out Harry and Louis’ names at the top of their lungs.
The encouragement caused a grin to bloom onto Louis’ lips and he nodded. “Exactly. At a Script show, actually,” he carried on, looking back at Harry once more. He was wide-eyed, squirming back against the couch with a curious look flickering in his eyes.
Louis turned back to the crowd. “So, I figured that I’d commemorate that tonight,” he declared, setting the audience off once more as the familiar bars of a song started through the stadium. He looked back at Harry one last time. “This one’s for you, Haz,” he declared, before the song began and his words turned into lyrics.
“Going back to the corner where I first saw you, gonna camp in my sleeping bag. I’m not gonna move.” He sucked in a shaky breath, taking a step across the stage. “Got some words on cardboard, got your picture in my hand, saying ‘if you see this boy, can you tell him where I am?’”
The audience screamed at the change in pronoun, so loudly that it was almost deafening, but Louis just kept going. He had to keep going or he’d cower out entirely. And he was tired of cowering out. He was tired of being scared.
He just wanted to be Louis.
He reached into his pocket as the audience sang the lyrics along with him, giving him the extra boost of encouragement and adrenaline that he needed. He pressed the play button on his screen, turning around as the large screen above the stage was filled with a shot of Harry and Louis – a private shot, a private video, a video of the two of them from over two years before.
The audience was screaming, screaming and hollering and consuming Louis from the inside out, but he just kept singing.
He turned back to Harry, locking his eyes on him as he got the next line out. “And I know it makes no sense, but what else can I do? How can I move on when I’m still in love with you?”
Harry had absolutely no idea what Louis was doing, really, but it made him nervous – nervous and excited and exhilarated and terrified all at once.
He heard the screaming in the crowd get even louder (as if that were possible) as Louis started up with the chorus, and Niall nudged Harry sharply with his shoulder to get him to turn around, to look up.
And when he did turn around, when he did look up, he found himself staring at a video of him and Louis lying in bed together back at the X-Factor house, Louis holding out the camera in front of him as they leaned in and stole kisses from each other every so often.
His entire body flushed with heat, his heart started doing somersaults in his chest. This was it. This was Louis doing exactly what he’d always been afraid to do. He was coming out. He was coming out in the biggest fucking way that a person could possibly come out. He was laying himself bare in front of god and everybody, and Harry could feel the tears welling up in his eyes.
He whipped away from the screen as a new image of him and Louis wrestling on Liam’s couch came to life on the screen. He knew this video by heart and he couldn’t stand to watch it, couldn’t even think right now. He placed his head in his hands, jiggling his legs up and down and fighting off the shaky grin that was threatening to shoot off of his face at any second.
The tears weren’t welling up anymore, they were just freely slipping down his cheeks, and he turned around to look at the screen once more – seeing a shot of Louis mouthing I love you against Harry’s cheek – before he had to whip around once more, an impossible smile on his lips as his head shook in disbelief.
Louis was moving toward him at this point, he could see him out of the corner of his eye, and before Harry could fully register what he was doing, he was grabbing his own microphone and shooting up from the couch, moving toward him and singing along with him. “People talk about the guy who’s waiting on a boy,” he sang out, his voice cutting out over Louis’, shaky and gravelly. “There are no holes in his shoes, but a big hole in his world.”
They went on like that, singing back and forth at each other and Harry couldn’t fucking believe this was happening. This was what it was finally boiling down to. They’d spent years trying to figure out a way to be together – to really be together – and now, well…here they were.
“And you’ll come running to the corner, because you’ll know it’s just for you,” Louis sang, taking a step closer.
It was the last line of the song that Louis was able to get out.
In that moment, Harry’s mic fell from his hand and his body lunged forward, barreling his body into Louis’ and surging his lips to his.
Everything around him faded into nothingness, the only thing he was able to focus on was Louis’ lips pressed against his, Louis’ arms wrapping tightly around his waist, keeping them pressed tightly together, Louis, Louis, Louis.
Harry let out a mixture of a cry and a laugh against Louis’ lips, tasting the salt from his tears sandwiched between their lips, but he didn’t care. He didn’t care about anything but Louis, but this right here. This moment.
He was surprised his heart hadn’t slammed out of his chest by the time they pulled away from each other. Louis’ hands moved up to wrap around Harry’s neck, fingers tugging into his locks of dark, curly hair, and Harry mirrored the movements, the two of them holding onto each other for dear life. Harry’s forehead rested Louis’ and he let out a shaky laugh against his lips as the audience thundered on around them and Liam, Niall, and Zayn carried on with the song for them – not that Harry could hear a word. The only thing Harry could hear was the thrum of Louis’ heartbeat against his own.
“What did I just do?” Louis asked, and Harry could only respond by kissing him again and again and again. “I love you,” Louis blurted out as they came up for air once more, but Harry only dove in and kissed him again. “So much,” he kept going, speaking against Harry’s lips as they moved. “I’m sorry that it took me so long.”
Harry shook his head as they broke away, shooting him a beatific smile. “You’re fucking everything to me, you know that, right?”
Louis grinned, wide and genuine – bigger than Harry had seen him smile in months, and then they were closing the gap between each other’s lips and kissing again.
“That’s probably just something you’re going to have to get used to…” Harry heard Liam explaining to the crowd, and the audience just screamed even louder, a million camera flashes going off at once. These pictures and videos would be everywhere come morning – come a few minutes from now, more like, and Harry didn’t give a shit. He wanted everyone in the world to see them, to see what they had, to see how real it was and how it was more real than any other relationship they’d ever been in (or pretended to be in).
Harry finally broke away from him, keeping his arms locked around Louis’ waist as he turned to look at the rest of the crowd, smiling bashfully for a moment and leaning down, burying his face in the crevice of Louis’ neck.
Louis grinned back at him, but it was shaky, nervous, terrified, and Harry couldn’t blame him. This was without a doubt the biggest gesture that Louis could have ever made – and he’d made it for him. He’d done all of this for him. It made him fall in love with him all over again.
“You ready for all of this?” Harry asked as the song died down, turning to look at him.
Louis shook his head honestly, letting out a laugh. “Not even the slightest,” he replied, looking back at Harry. He was smiling nonetheless, leaning in and pulling Harry in for another kiss. “But I’m ready for this,” he added on as they broke away.
Louis responded by reaching down and grabbing Harry’s hand, winding their fingers tightly together – tighter than he’d ever held anyone else’s hand before. “Ready to hold your hand,” he explained, speaking up over the crowd even if his words were still a little muffled. “And kiss you. And be with you. And not give a shit what anyone else has to say about it.”
Harry’s only response was a grin before he was pulling Louis in all over again.
“Are you three sick of them already?” Lauren Toyota asked, eyes shifting between Zayn, Niall, and Liam. They were back in Toronto – back at MuchMusic, even – and Harry and Louis had all but demanded that the interview take place.
“We’ve been sick of them since X Factor,” Niall corrected, flashing her a playful smile and a shrug of his shoulders. “But it had nothing to do with their relationship—”
“—and everything to do with the fact that they’re just annoying twats, really,” Zayn cut him off before Liam’s hand swatted his arm, informing him that he shouldn’t say twat on Canadian television.
“We are not,” Harry argued, suddenly being snapped out of his reverie and looking over at Zayn.
“We resent that, actually,” Louis chimed in, but his face was pressed against Harry’s shoulder and he hardly looked like he cared at all what they were saying at this point.
Lauren laughed, looking over at Harry. “So, it’s been two days now since the infamous Pittsburgh show…how different is everything for you two? For all of you, actually?”
Harry shrugged. “It’s…different,” he said. “The blow was softened with me having already come out earlier, I think, but right now I think we’re just happy that so many of our fans support us and are here for us, and have been here for us so long…” he smiled, a little dopily. “It’s a good feeling.”
“Really good,” Louis echoed.
“The rest of us are just happy that they’re acting normal again,” Liam cut in. “These past few months had been awful, so it’s good that they’re actually Louis and Harry again. And that they actually get to be Louis and Harry.” He looked over at them, smiling, before looking back at Lauren. “Everyone else gets to see what we see every day now. There aren’t any more secrets.”
“Do you think it’s going to affect your career?”
Zayn shrugged, rubbing his hands together in his lap and scanning his eyes around the other four but allowing them to settle onto Lauren. “So long as they don’t start snogging on stage every night instead of singing with the rest of us, I don’t think we really have anything to worry about,” he said lightly.
“No promises,” Louis and Harry shot back at him in unison, but there were smiles to their voices that caused Zayn to smile right back at them.
The questions went from there, Lauren asking Louis about Eleanor and Harry about Matt, and they took everything in stride, answering all of her questions as best as they could (and as honestly as they were able to). But when the conversation finally shifted away from them and went back to being directed to the band as a whole, they were more than grateful – Harry even going so far as to let out a breath he hadn’t even realized he’d been holding while Louis sent him a small smile from out of the corner of his eye.
At the end of the day, they were a unit. A solid group of five. And that was never going to change. It was never going to be Louis and Harry and the other three, because they would refuse to let it. They’d gone into this as a family and they were going to come out of it as one, too.
The interview wrapped up, Lauren moving somewhere off at the studio while the other five stayed at the table, soaking it all in.
Harry’s fingers drummed against the tabletop and he let out a small laugh despite himself. “Hard to believe how many nightmares I had about this very table a year ago,” he stated, looking over at Louis.
Louis only nodded, pressing a kiss to the top of Harry’s shoulder. “Never again,” he mumbled against the fabric.
“Did you hear that El and Andy are shacking up?” Liam piped up, looking over at Louis curiously.
Louis only nodded, waving his hand back at him. “They’d been fooling around on and off since last year anyway,” he said with a shrug. “Looks like they don’t have to do any hiding anymore, either.”
“Speaking of hiding,” Niall cut in, sitting up a little higher in his seat and spinning around, looking at the room, “not really, actually, it has nothing to do with hiding, but you lot said that—”
“We’ll go to Nando’s now, Niall,” Louis groaned out teasingly, “for god’s sake.”
“Don’t give me that look,” Niall half-whined, looking over at Zayn and nudging his elbow into the other boy’s forearm. “We never got to go last time.”
Liam rolled his eyes, laughing and sliding off of his stool, nudging Niall up with him. “Well we don’t want the poor guy to starve, now do we?” he teased, placing one hand on each of his shoulders and rattling them a little as they began to make their way out of the room.
Harry and Louis were still at the table, sitting in silence for a few moments.
“Are you happy?” Harry finally asked, peeking over at his boyfriend and raising his eyebrows curiously.
Louis’ only response was a grin, wide and genuine, as he leaned in and brushed his lips against Harry’s. “You have no idea, Curly.”
sobs, i really hope you all liked it!