Letters To You | Harry/Louis (Liam/Zayn) | NC-17 | Harry doesn’t think he’s a good person and Louis doesn’t think anyone is paying attention to him. When they join the pen pal program at their respective universities, they discover otherwise.
The thing was, nothing had really changed as much as Louis had expected it to — at least, not enough that he felt the pressing need to acknowledge it and assign a definition to whatever sort of relationship (even then, the word ‘relationship’ felt too serious for what they had) existed between the two of them.
If anything, Louis had grown comfortable with the way that Harry fit into his life. Initially, he worried about having to accommodate the other boy, about having to rearrange his schedule and his daily livelihood just to make room for the new person that had popped up in it.
On the contrary, Harry never seemed like the type of person who required all that extra fuss and worry. He came and went as he pleased, though as the days wore on, it seemed as though he was more content to stay than to leave. And though this would have worried Louis much more in any other living situation, it helped that Liam was often at Zayn’s room (what Zayn’s roommate did with his free time, Louis didn’t know, nor did he bother to ask), leaving their room empty and available for one of Harry’s clandestine, late night drop-bys. And on the rare occasion that Liam had decided to stay in, or perhaps even bring Zayn with him for some obscene cuddling on the other side of the room, Louis only had to text Harry a fair warning, and that would be that.
As far as he was concerned, nothing had to change.
At this point, life was nothing more than Harry — the beautiful, wonderful secret that he kept to himself late at night when he didn’t have to share and nobody else could have him. Even when Louis started to notice that he hadn’t been focusing his attention as much as he normally did on schoolwork, he realized that it probably wasn’t a bad thing at all; if anything, it only meant that he’d finally found reason to do more with his life other than to hide out in the library.
And on the off chance that he actually had an assignment to attend to, Harry served as his personal cheerleader even when he didn’t need to be. He’d felt horribly the first time Harry came over on the same night that he had a paper to write, unable to give him the full attention that he deserved. But the younger boy didn’t mind; he sat on Louis’ bed and watched a movie on his laptop (he started bringing more of his things with him, Louis soon noticed), occasionally offering a helping hand — in more ways than one — just to motivate and stimulate him.
The first time Harry slept over had been an accident. Until then, they’d always had a mutual understanding that he would leave just past midnight so as not to raise suspicion in the morning if Liam were to come around. Louis felt guilty about sending Harry off into the middle of the night, but the younger boy seemed more than willing.
“It’s the only time we really get to see each other because of classes and whatnot,” Harry argued at the time. “And that’s enough of a reason to make it all worth it.” Louis couldn’t deny the warmth in his belly after that.
However, it had been a particularly grueling night for both of them, one that would have probably been best spent in their respective dorms. But it had reached a point — almost a full month into their nighttime meetings — where it felt weirder to be apart than together, and so they met up, only to have Louis studying for an exam at his desk and Harry preparing a presentation on the bed. Louis was the first to wake from his desk in the morning with a cramp in his neck. And though he woke Harry in a panic, there had been no indication that Liam had come around and seen them.
It was strange for a time, after that. Harry apologized, though both of them didn’t quite understand what he had to apologize for. In an attempt to indirectly compensate for the crappiness of the situation, Louis took Harry out to breakfast — the first time since their first morning together all those days ago. And as the days wore on, things seemed to settle back into normalcy; Harry still came over, although with a greater awareness for the self-imposed curfew, and Louis would still press him into his bed for a session of languid kissing until Harry absolutely had to leave.
But he couldn’t ignore the mounting sense of restlessness that seemed to characterize their latest nights together. It was almost as if someone had flicked a switch on, and what previously went by unnoticed suddenly crept along the fringes of Louis’ awareness, urging him to do something he didn’t want — no, didn’t know how to do.
Though nothing had changed, Louis could feel its inevitability. By now, Harry was more than just his closest friend (which, for the time being, had been his only truth). But what his role was beyond that, what capacity he filled in Louis’ life and to what degree of importance he held…
Well, that was something he simply didn’t know how to answer.
Louis inhaled deeply, eyes closed as he ran a silent mantra of breathebreathebreathe in his mind. But even that wasn’t enough to fully obscure the sweeter sound of Harry’s nonsensical murmurs into the crook of his neck, warm breath tickling him as the younger boy made to kiss every hidden inch of flesh that his lips could catch beneath his jaw line. He had embarrassed himself only moments ago, keening unexpectedly when Harry had pulled off both their shirts only to press their chests together, and since then, he had to focus on calming the rest of himself so as not to shatter the tenderness of the moment.
It was always this way with Harry, and it seemed as though it could only get worse as days wore on. It was too easy to lose himself altogether under Harry’s touch, to lose sight of the reality around him and give into the coiling desire he felt for the boy that leaned over him.
He wanted Harry; he did, and he was reminded of it each time Harry’s body aligned perfectly with his, flushing his skin with heat. But his inability to fully understand the nature of their relationship kept that desire at bay, sobering him and offering a constant reminder to take things slow. And though a full month had passed and Louis could only imagine Harry’s impatience, the other boy showed no indication of dissatisfaction with how far they’d taken things. Louis had made his inexperience with the whole situation perfectly clear, and from the looks of it, Harry was fine with waiting — quick hand jobs and blowjobs notwithstanding.
Harry’s trail of kisses moved from just beside his Adam’s apple along the taut expanse of skin that led to the soft patch beneath his earlobe. His short, stuttered breaths tickled, and he had to fight the grin that tugged at his mouth. He wondered how long they’d been doing this and even tried to remember when Harry had walked through the door, but it all melded into one hazy memory of touchtouchtouch and kisskisskiss.
“‘M gonna blow you,” Harry murmured as he kissed the corner of Louis’ mouth. “Just — gimme a minute to properly snog you.”
Louis’ snort was cut off by a pair of lips, tongue darting in between his and flicking across his bottom teeth. Harry smelled so enchanting each time, an indescribable cross between natural sweetness and the faintest trace of cologne from earlier in the day. And it was a strange realization that his Harry — this day’s end Harry — was the only Harry he’d come to know fully. Sure, they knew each other through those letters and all that other correspondence, but his real experience with Harry existed solely in the confines of his white cinderblock walls, and it elicited a low rumble in the pit of his stomach.
Harry’s fingertips played with the hem of his shirt before crawling cheekily underneath, gliding across his heated skin and moving along his stomach.
“Mmm,” he moaned into Louis’ lips. “Soft.”
“So – oi!” Louis pushed Harry off not too gracefully, and the other boy looked down at him with a smirk that he desperately wanted to slap off. “I’m not soft.”
Harry ducked down low, kissing his throat once before pulling up on his shirt just up to his chest. He leaned forward and littered an embarrassment of kisses around his navel, each one lighter and unbearably more ticklish than the one that came before. Louis threaded his fingers through those brown curls, just to give himself something to do.
“You aren’t,” Harry corrected him softly. “But your tummy is, and I’m quite fond of it.”
“You’re — such a weirdo, Haz,” he said, laughing breathlessly. “Fuck.”
Harry only grinned wickedly before tugging on the waistband of Louis’ trackies and pulling them off with his underwear in one swift movement. And any laughter that remained in the older boy’s throat was immediately cut off by the warmth of Harry’s mouth encircling his cock.
“Fuck,” he repeated, desperately thinking of anything other than Harry’s throat and Harry’s nose tickling the soft patch of hair at the base his shaft to keep from coming too soon.
Still, Louis could only fend off the inevitable for so long before stars burst from behind his eyelids and his breathing stuttered erratically, body arching upward and his throat expelling a sound too guttural to be his. When he blinked his eyes open wearily, he could see Harry crawling back up to him, licking his teeth and lips before kissing Louis’ shoulder chastely.
“You’re…getting quite good at that,” Louis said, eyes aimlessly tracing the ceiling.
Harry barked a laugh at that, gently swatting at Louis’ stomach. “I’ve always been good at that. You, on the other hand…”
“Hey,” Louis said warningly, shifting onto his side and fully looking at Harry. “I’m trying. Speaking of which, d’you want — I mean, I can — ”
Harry laughed again that time, though softer and in a way that made the corners of his eyes crinkle up. He leaned forward and kissed Louis again, his mouth warmer than it had been minutes ago.
“Maybe another time,” Harry replied thoughtfully. “Once we’ve fixed that problem with your teeth.”
Louis flushed with mild embarrassment. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be,” Harry said quickly, reaching out to link their fingers together. “Your hands, however…are excellent.”
“Right,” Louis said, squeezing his hand around Harry’s. “At least I’m good for something.”
“You’re good for many things, mate.” Harry squirmed until his face was practically buried in Louis’ chest. He took his free arm and draped it lazily across his waist. “Believe me.”
“Thanks, I s’pose.”
“Welcome,” Harry mumbled sleepily. “Christ, I’m tired.”
Louis fended off the initial instinct to casually insert something about how it was getting late, or how he might have an early morning. Quite honestly, neither of those things was particularly true, and he found that with each passing night, making excuses grew more and more difficult. He wished for a room on his own, one where they could fall asleep together easily without having to think about it twice.
“Mm sorry,” he offered instead, tousling Harry’s curls. “How’d that presentation of yours turn out the other day?”
Harry’s body only tensed for a moment, but long enough for Louis to realize that it had happened. They’d never really discussed school in depth before, even in the correspondence before their first meeting. By then, it had always been quick and random messages and the occasional YouTube link if they were talking through email. But school — and life away from each other, in particular — was rarely ever brought up these days, if only because nothing else really seemed of significance when they were together.
“It was good,” he said slowly. “I dunno. I’m not very good with public speaking.”
“Sure you are,” Louis said encouragingly, patting the small of Harry’s back.
“Not quite,” Harry said, chuckling. “You’d have to see me give a speech first before you can make that kind of assessment. Besides, I hate speaking in front of a class. They’re all twats anyway.”
“Hmm. Surely not all of them,” Louis mused, fingers absently tracing patterns along Harry’s back. “What’re they like, the people at your school?”
Harry backed away, though not so much that he completely left Louis’ grasp. His green eyes flicked upward, some unreadable emotion there that Louis couldn’t put his finger on.
“Yeah,” Louis said, kissing Harry’s forehead because — well, he felt like it. “You’ve mentioned people that you’ve gone out with before, to parties and stuff. What are they like?”
Harry curled into himself slightly, drawing his fingers away from where they had been splayed on Louis’ side and tangling them together in front of him where he could study them with an inordinate amount of concentration.
“They’re not — friends, really. People to get drunk with, quite honestly. Not the same thing.”
Louis frowned a little at that. “Who do you like spending your time with?”
Harry threw his head back, laughing somewhat hysterically and resting his hands on Louis’ chest, as if to anchor himself to something.
“That’s not — you, okay? I like spending my time with you, if that wasn’t already obvious from the way that I seem to come here every night. Or at least, whenever your roommate is getting off with his boyfriend.”
Louis grimaced at the thought of Liam getting off. “Thanks for that. But — well, what’s your roommate like?”
Harry’s face evened out, blank. “We’re — he’s kind of an arsehole. He means well, but…yeah, kind of an arsehole. Kind of going through a rough patch right now.”
Louis dragged his fingers along Harry’s back and to his neck before resting them on his cheek, watching as a splotch of color blossomed beneath them. Harry looked up, his eyes somehow greener in the dim lighting of the room.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
Harry bit his lip. “Not really, no. Sorry, but — no, I like talking about you and touching you and — ” He kissed him messily on the mouth. “Doing that.”
“What about you, huh?” Harry looked on as his fingers danced along the protrusion of Louis’ collarbone. “All I know is that you and Eleanor broke up, but you never said anything after. And the only time you ever mention your roommate is when you give me the all-clear to show up.”
Harry rolled his eyes. “So, I’m saying tell me about them. Actually, I’d like to meet them.”
“Yeah! Throw a party and we could all have drinks or something like that — ”
“It’s only fair, seeing as I invited you to that party last month, and I think it ended up pretty well for us. Imagine having a second time around — ”
The other boy blinked like someone had poured water over him. His eyes washed over Louis imploringly, looking for some kind of punch line or, at the very least, some sort of explanation. But Louis didn’t miss the way Harry’s touch had pulled away from him somewhat, and —
“Look, that’s — I just mean that my friends aren’t exactly party people,” he explained hurriedly, watching as the light left Harry’s eyes. “Maybe some — something else, yeah? It’s kind of busy right now for everyone as it is, and Liam and Zayn are always off fucking, so it’s kind of hard to get everyone in the same place.”
“Yeah, alright.” Harry shifted in bed, glancing over at the clock on the desk. “I suppose I should probably — ”
“Stay,” Louis said before he could fully understand his words. “I mean — like I said, Liam and Zayn, always fucking, right?”
Harry only stared at him.
“I mean it,” Louis said wearily, finding that he actually did. “It’s a Friday night anyway, so you don’t have class tomorrow and — we can do breakfast again tomorrow.” He didn’t like the way that breakfast had become some sort of default apologetic activity. “What do you say?”
Something doubtful rose to Harry’s eyes in the brief moment that followed, only to be replaced by exhausted concession and a half-smile. He leaned forward and kissed Louis, lingering longer than Louis probably deserved but moving their lips together all the same, almost as if to apologize on both their behalves.
“Okay, but you’re paying tomorrow,” Harry said, nestling in close to Louis and pulling the covers over both of them. “Throw your shoe at the light switch, won’t you?”
Louis obliged, disregarding the sinking feeling in his stomach.
Everything seemed remedied by breakfast the next morning. Harry was his usual, cheeky self (albeit with a bout of morning voice that made Louis weak in the knees) and Louis was more than willing to pay for their meal together. It was decidedly pleasant, and he even walked Harry to the bus stop and waited for him, giving his hand a tight squeeze when the time came for them to separate.
Guilt lingered with him for the rest of the day, but he hoped it didn’t show when he came back to Liam and Zayn playing video games in the room. He fended off their usual questions of ‘how was your night’ and ‘what did you do’ with vague enough responses that probably only did more to build their impressions of him as a lonely recluse in the aftermath of his breakup with Eleanor. Still, it was a better impression than…well, he didn’t exactly know what.
But he knew he wasn’t ready to tell them about Harry, as that was a discussion that would bring on a whole new slew of questions that he wasn’t prepared to answer. So it was better this way — or at least, easier this way. And easier was what he needed most.
By Sunday morning, he’d come to the realization that he’d shirked off his schoolwork long enough, and that perhaps it was time to go to the library. He even texted Eleanor and asked her to join him, hoping that their sabbatical from each other had finally come to a close; he needed a friend.
She couldn’t go, she eventually messaged later, but not because she wanted to avoid him. She explained that she had a lunch date with some bloke she’d met in one of her classes and really, who was Louis to fault her for finally getting the experience he’d already spent so many months denying her? Another day, she assured her, and somehow, it made him feel better altogether.
At half past noon, Louis’ phone vibrated with a new message, causing him to jump and sending his book flying to the ground.
Grumbling, he read: what’re you doing? :)
Louis smiled at Harry’s use of the little face.
studying. no thanks to you. you’re aces at distracting me.
aces at blowing you, is more like it.
Louis had to remind himself he was in a library to keep from breaking out into laughter as he almost did moments after Harry’s text.
why the library? liam and zayn sexing up the room?
nah don’t know where they are. needed a change of scenery, i guess
okay. have fun with your books xx
Louis opted against replying, holding onto Harry’s two x’s instead and feeling a warm, fluttering sensation in his chest for the rest of his time in the library.
On the way home, he decided to pick up a coffee at one of the carts, realizing he would need the caffeine boost to aid in the night’s long task of catching up completely. He hated this, suddenly falling behind in his classes. But when he thought back to why, thought back to those nights in bed with Harry and those pink lips on his…then it was well worth it.
When he got to his room, he tried the knob once, only to find that it was already unlocked. Hearing voices behind the door, he placed a hand on his eyes as he pushed forward and walked through the threshold.
“I swear, if you two have forgotten to lock the door again…”
Louis froze in his place and flung his hand aside. The voice sounded incredibly familiar, more so than it had any right to at this time of day —
“Harry,” he breathed upon seeing the curly-haired boy sitting on his bed. And across from him, looking more amused than Louis would have cared for, were Liam and Zayn, perched on the other bed and looking like they’d been interrupted midway through a conversation.
Liam looked up at him with a telling smile, while Zayn only smirked at him. Really, he had no right to do that in his room, of all places.
“Harry,” he repeated, watching as the younger boy grinned at him in a way that bore all of his teeth. It would have been adorable — at night.
“I came to see you,” he explained quickly, smile only faltering slightly. “But they were here already. I introduced myself as your pen pal.”
“You — wait, my…”
“Pen pal,” Harry enunciated carefully, his cheeks dimpling as he grinned once more in the other boys’ direction. “You didn’t tell me that Liam was the coordinator of the program at your school. You only mentioned a mate had forced you.”
“Hey,” Liam said defensively. “I didn’t force you.”
“Yeah, you did,” Zayn chimed in helpfully, and Louis’ initial wariness had diminished, if only a little.
Louis closed the door and looked around the room helplessly before deciding on the desk chair — the only neutral space in the crowded room, it seemed. He ignored the way he could feel Harry’s eyes digging into him with every movement.
“So…what’re we talking about, then?” He bounced his knees restlessly.
“Not much,” Liam said. “You never told me about your pen pal, Lou — or rather, Harry. He’s a great mate. Played some FIFA with us earlier.”
“Kicked their asses, too,” Harry replied smugly, and Liam and Zayn scowled at him in a way that was too familiar for his liking. “But yeah…didn’t expect to run into them.” Those last words seemed directed at Louis more than anyone else.
“Oh,” he said, voice small. “I see.”
Silence fell on the room for several seconds, and it seemed like the air rapidly thickened with every moment that passed. But Liam eventually cleared his throat, mercifully.
“Why haven’t you introduced us before, Lou? From the looks of it, you guys are pretty close. And it would’ve been nice to say ‘I told you so’ for once.”
Louis pointedly turned away from Harry, looking instead at Liam and Zayn who seemed to stare at him with unfettered curiosity.
“Erm.” He swallowed hard. “Well — we only just met recently and I guess, yeah. Good friends. We’ve become good friends.”
At that moment, he chanced a peek at Harry from his periphery, immediately regretting it when he saw the momentary hurt that flashed across the younger boy’s face. But when Harry spoke up again, he seemed as happy as ever, if only slightly more reluctant.
“Anyway, you — erm, have work to do,” Harry said, nodding at the books in Louis’ arms. “So I — stupid of me to come, really — but.” He stood up, feet shuffling awkwardly as Liam and Zayn watched on in intrigue. “Yeah, I’ll go. But I was going to tell you, Louis, about a party later tonight, and I wanted to see if you would come. Obviously, the invitation is extended to everyone now — ”
“Oh, we really couldn’t — ” Liam began as Zayn tugged beseechingly on his sleeve.
“No, you really should,” Harry said calmly, this time looking away from Louis. “I know it’s Monday tomorrow and all, but…well, just in case you’d like a fun time or whatever. The invitation stands. I’ll leave the address here — ” He pulled out a slip of paper and set it on Louis’ desk. “And you’re free to come. Lou’s got my number, anyway.”
Liam looked like he might protest again, but instead, just smiled and said, “Thanks, Harry.”
Harry nodded at both of them with a courteous smile. Then he turned to Louis, his eyes darkening noticeably.
“See you, mate.”
And with that, Harry walked out of the room, shutting the door behind him.
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