The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.
The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.
- Kate Chopin, The Awakening
It was rare for Harry to find something he loved more than summer nights. Of course, he loved the days too, but there was just something magical about the seemingly infinite expanse of time, of sky, of stars, of a cool breeze after hours of unbearable humidity, of loneliness, finally blissful loneliness after days, weeks, months, years, of interviews, sweaty fans, screaming people everywhere. During the day, even a summer day, Harry was contained, he was Harry Styles, one fifth of One Direction, manwhore extraordinaire, breaker of hearts and inhibitions, not to mention beer bottles.
But at night.
On summer nights he was Harry Styles of Holmes Chapel, lover of cats, complete idiot with a particular dislike for change and lima beans. On a summer night, everything was different, coated in a magic dust and leaving Harry, only Harry, awake until the birds began their early morning song as his friends and family, everyone, drifted off to sleep and he merely breathed, laughed or didn't, smiled or didn't, sang or didn't. Nothing really mattered on a summer night. On a summer night, everything was changed, and on a summer night, anything could happen.
This particular summer night should have been nothing special. The breeze was stronger on the highway, of course, but he only laughed, hair whipping about his face; at least this disruption to his normally sedentary nights was welcome. They were far out of London, far from lights and people and even thoughts, and Harry was happy.
He should have been overjoyed. He was driving down a deserted highway with his best friend at three in the morning, laughter always bubbling, music blasting for all the world, or more accurately, only the two of them, to hear. No one but them.
And anything can happen on a summer night.
He remembers only details. He was young, probably only five or so, but even then he knew it was something... Something important. Something he should remember. And details were better than nothing, right?
He remembers the sand between his toes, feet still pudgy and soft beside Gemma's now long and lean ones. His mother had scolded him for not wearing shoes, for dirtying the feet that would soon need to be squeezed inside a too-tight, unnaturally shiny, prison, but his father (because it was that long ago, back when his father was there to do much of anything at all) his father had only laughed, laughed from somewhere deep inside (because, as he told Harry later that day, there was no other way to truly laugh).
He had nudged his wife good-naturedly, had told her to let children be children, had gently pushed Harry toward the slow waves.
He remembers the waves more clearly than anything else. They were calm, languid, enticing, calling for him to join them, and at even five years old, Harry could hear the voices of each, loving and gentle.
Waves haven't talked to him since. Not like they did that day.
It had been Harry's idea, of course it had been Harry's idea. It was beautiful, thoughtful, rather an existential experience, really, and if he was being perfectly honest, a bit romantic.
But then again, so were most of Harry's ideas.
They had been on the floor, tangled together, all limbs and layers and blankets and hair, empty pizza boxes scattered about and the TV buzzing at them, friendly, from somewhere above. It had been one of those days, those summer days trapped inside an unfamiliar hotel room for fear of being bombarded if they dared to venture outside.
The crowds were there, as they always were, screaming, as they always were, and Louis couldn't quite work up the energy to even stand. So Harry had sat with him, just as he knew Louis would do were the roles reversed. All day long. Because those were the kinds of things they did.
Harry wasn't quite sure what all the other boys had been up to, but they hadn't popped in, not even for a quick hello, not even when Harry shouted "pizza!" into the empty hallway, a shout made mostly for Niall's sake, yet he had never appeared, blonde hair whipping about as he skidded around hotel corners, nose twitching at the scent of cheese and dough.
Harry didn't like to lie, not even to himself, but sometimes it was unavoidable, and he couldn't help but push away grateful thoughts toward his Irish friend for leaving the two of them alone, at least for one day.
It was rare for them to have an entire day alone together, he and Louis. They were on tour, they were tired, they were hungry, their voices were sore. Yet that day, that summer day, Harry's voice had never been more clear.
They didn't do much of anything, but then again, they never really did much of anything at all. There had been a lot of laughing, he knew that much. Some FIFA, but Louis had complained the whole time. He always did, whenever Harry got him to sit still for long enough. It only ended when the older boy had leapt up from his position on the couch to lunge for a DVD and hold it over the open window (and Harry hadn't been about to let Love Actually fall). There had been some wrestling in there somewhere, most likely following the Love Actually ordeal, which Harry later came to refer to as "that time Louis was almost responsible for a murder-suicide". But then again, there was always some wrestling in there somewhere.
It had been entirely unremarkable, but really, with Louis, nothing ever was.
It was there that the idea occurred to Harry at all, safe and sweaty, far too warm in Louis's arms, sky orange as the day settled into another sweet night. Louis's eyes had been shut, eyelashes brushing against his pink cheeks, never quite as red as his thin lips or the blush Harry could feel spreading over his heated skin. His eyes followed their mountainous terrain, the lips that is, as the reddened skin dipped and turned in an almost beautiful way, causing rivets big enough for streams, for oceans, and Harry almost wanted to-
He was hot, too hot, sweating heavily, and Louis's body pressed close against his own wasn't exactly helping matters. "Let's go," he had whispered, words out of his mouth before he could process them.
"Go?" Louis's eyes fluttered open in question. "Go where?"
An excellent question. Where did he want to go? Somewhere, somewhere far. Somewhere worthy of a summer night. The darkening sky answered for him. "The beach. We'll go to the beach," he hesitated, breath quickening. They would watch the sunrise with sand around them, with water lapping, all waves and darkness and Louis.
The other boy was already smiling when Harry looked up. "I'll grab the keys."
He remembers the drive taking hours, hours alone in the car with Gemma, his mum, his dad. Harry hadn't wanted to go at all, he hadn't completely understood their reasons for going, hadn't wanted to put on the tuxedo, lent to him by an older cousin and much too big. He had wanted to be back home in their small house with the old soccer ball in the back, a goal made from tin cans and a game from Gemma's shrieks as he ran past.
There were too many people there, too many hands tugging at his sore cheeks, too many voices, too many aunts and uncles, too much time before dinner. The sun was too hot and his shoes too tight and he couldn't hold enough flowers in his small hand and Claire was yelling because this was her day and everything was supposed to be perfect and he wanted to cry and scream and drive home, but mostly just run into those waves, as they were calling for him to do.
Of course, when the time came, he had walked in front of Claire as slowly as he could, had tossed the flowers in front of her just as he had been instructed, and afterward, once it was all over, she had kissed him on the forehead and whispered that he had done perfectly.
But that part came much later.
Harry was invincible. He always had been, but never quite as much so as that night. He had never been quite as invincible as he was in that moment, sitting beside Louis and belting Arctic Monkeys songs until Louis finally gave in. Months of living with Harry had taught him, at the very least, the lyrics to the boy's favorite songs.
What happened was this. They sang, or rather, screamed, and Louis slammed his foot on the gas and suddenly Harry was really screaming and laughing and his hair was flying and he was flying and he would never admit it later, but there were, more likely than not, tears in his eyes, and the streetlights were out and the stars paved the way and Louis was gasping along beside him, fighting for breath, but if this was a fight, he never wanted to win.
And next to Louis, he was invincible.
Looking back, that was the moment he gave in, and it was from then on there was little hope. For either of them.
It's funny, isn't it, how one moment, if it's the right moment, can affect a lifetime? How a single instant, the spark of a fire, the hitch of a once steady heartbeat, the turning of a page, or more importantly, a touch, just one touch, can push a river to diverge from its oceanic home, changing the course of an entire body of water for, well, forever? And really, forever is an awfully long time. A terrifying amount of years, stretching into decades, millennia, infinity. Songs are written about forever; forever is insurmountable, constant.
Yes, forever is an awfully long time to be born from a single moment, Harry thought much later when he and Louis remembered that night. It was due to this moment that he could never quite bring himself to believe in fate, no matter how hard he tried.
But then Louis had slowed, and they were still laughing, always laughing, and talking, whispering really, because who wants to interrupt a moment of invincibility?
Yes, a moment was a funny thing.
Harry sighed, the laughter receding back into his throat, glancing over at his friend, at the tanned hands placed firmly in the ten and two position, overly careful after his moment of typical recklessness.
He was biting his lip, Louis, that is. He was biting his lip, chewing it slowly, nibbling at it and bringing to it a red tinge. His tongue flicked out, brushing the bruised surface, wetting it slightly and pausing for a split second, giving his lip a break from what must have been painful at this point, and then his teeth were back, working indentations into the pliant flesh as it weaved in and out of his mouth.
There was almost an art to it, lip biting, at least the way Louis did it. Another swipe of the tongue, but this time the teeth never came back, the left corner of his bottom lip didn't receive the love Harry knew it deserved.
Why had the chewing stopped, God, he didn't want it to ever stop. The reddened lip was almost calling for it, asking for blood to be drawn, for more, more, more. And Harry was the man for the job, Harry could do it, if Louis was refusing to, Harry would gladly bring the lip between his own teeth, to nibble and suck until it glowed red, until it was swollen and-
"You alright there, Haz?"
"You were just staring a bit, weren't you? See anything you liked?" he winked.
"I, no, I..." Shit. What was wrong with him? He always - always - had a response to Louis's teasing, but his lips were still red and his eyes weren't on the road anymore, they were on Harry's and... What the hell was wrong with him? "I think I just need some caffeine. Fast." It was just Louis. Louis, his best friend, his band mate, his Louis.
He just needed caffeine, that was all.
"I'll turn off at the next exit."
He was just tired. Really. That was all.
He remembers being slightly scared of it, however drawn to it he was. The water called, all through the ceremony itself, begged him to join it in a carefree life, in pure ecstasy, in nothing but waves and sand and wonder.
"Join us, friend."
And he wanted to. God, he wanted to.
The water itself was more green than blue, different from the pictures he drew in school and the maps covering the walls of his classroom. He had always expected the ocean to be a bright, salty blue, and yet... It was green, definitely green, he remembers deciding.
He never drew a blue ocean again.
Before, before he was forced into the shiny shoes that pinched his feet, before the petals were pushed into his small hands as he was urged down the aisle in front of everyone, before, his father had helped him carefully roll up the legs of his new black pants, had given him all the permission he needed to wade into the waves he had been so ardently admiring.
But he hadn't gone in, he had run through the soft yellow sand, sending showers of it behind him, ready to join what he was sure would become his new companion, but he hadn't. At the crash of a wave, as the water broke over the freshly thrown sand, he turned, screaming, running back into the arms of his laughing father, the laugh from deep inside, as it always was.
Harry was sure that to others it had seemed like a simple game, a matter of outrunning an infinitely stronger force, of never letting the ocean reach out its glowing fingers to touch even a toe, but coming just about as close as possible.
But to him, to the five year old him, it was, well, it wasn't.
"Join us, friend."
It wasn't a game at all. He wanted the water, he needed the ocean, and yet... And yet.
The caffeine didn't help. Harry shuddered, feeling the warmth from the cup pass slowly from vein to vein, from cell to cell, the coffee filling his system. It was nice, the caffeine, but it didn't help.
God, what was wrong with him? He had wanted to kiss Louis, hadn't he? He had wanted to grab his best friend's face between his hands and-
No. No. This wasn't helping either.
He had seen something he liked though, hadn't he? Why? Why now? Why not yesterday, this morning, last year? Why were his eyes drawn to Louis's pants, low on his hips, tight everywhere else, God, so tight, so unbearably tight, TOMS thrown on as he ran out the door because, well, he couldn't quite be Louis without praising Jesus for his TOMS every ten minutes, even though he knew Jesus had less to do with it than Simon Cowell.
Harry's eyes travelled farther up. His shirt was tight, too, but not tight enough for Harry's taste, never enough for Harry's taste. He was wearing a scarf, why, Harry would never know, because, God, it was summer was he trying to kill him?
He must have been, because, almost as if he could hear Harry's suddenly indecent thoughts, Louis glanced over, flashing him a blindingly white grin and winking. "You enjoying that coffee of yours, Haz?"
Harry started, having completely forgotten about the coffee Louis had dutifully searched for in not one, but three separate towns after finding every store, shop, and market closed in the midst of their late night, and by now early morning, adventure. "You look like a fucking superstar," he blurted, blushing as the words passed his lips, but Louis only laughed.
"Well I suppose that's exactly what I am, isn't it?" His laugh came from deep inside in an all too familiar way, and Harry couldn't help but wonder if Louis's father had taught him where true laughter came from, too, or if that was just Louis. Louis being Louis.
Louis was still laughing. "And what does that make you, dear Harold, my groupie?"
He was kidding. He was just joking, he was just joking, he was just being Louis. But God, what he wouldn't give for it to be true. "Shut up and drive, Lou."
"Yeah, you know better than anyone that my mouth is good for a whole lot more than just talking."
Another wink, and Harry almost passed out. Just joking, just joking, just joking.
It was the night, the magic of the summer night, that was all. People weren't people on a summer night, they were different, they apparently wanted to kiss Louis, but it wasn't-
It was just the summer night talking.
And soon it would be morning.
He remembers that the sun was hot that afternoon, beating down through his thick curls, his mother slathering on the sunscreen, muttering about his father's genes causing skin that almost glowed in the dark, skin that needed constant screening from the sun. He remembers hearing her complaints about beach weddings, about the one day of sun in all of the English summer and she has to spend it in heels, but all he can see are those salty, seductive waves.
It's all he can ever see.
He remembers walking down the aisle, his father giving him a thumbs up from the first row and Claire behind, pushing him along with her own slow steps. He remembers giggles and whispers about "that adorable flower boy," but through it all, through that day and the next and the year after, through it all is the ocean, begging him to join in the fun, but knowing, knowing, that more likely than not he'll never be able to step in.
It's still not light when they finally get to the beach, so dark that Harry can hardly see the waves from across the sand, but he can hear them, their lulling brush of the shore, their cool caress of the broken rocks, powdered by years of throwing and being thrown. Like the water, they've been here forever, long before Harry or Louis or earth itself. The waves have lived through every summer night there's ever been, and Harry is almost jealous of them, jealous of their history and their infinite future.
He only has now, this night on the sandy ground, warm arms around him and the freezing expanse before him.
Louis has a flashlight; he holds it up to his chin, jumping at Harry from the other side of their exhausted car, causing shadows and noises and Harry to jump and squeal in a way he would never want to be caught on camera. He wouldn't be seen this way by anyone but Louis. Ever.
He's almost embarrassed, but Louis only laughs, his go-to response for everything, and Harry realizes it's a better response than any other. It melts him a bit, he's hardly conscious of it, the way his knees sag and his eyelids droop and he wants nothing more than to fall and be caught. Harry could listen to that laugh forever and never find the energy to move an inch.
But he doesn't. He doesn't fall, he grabs the wool blanket from the back of the trunk, one they packed only hours, though to Harry a lifetime, ago and waits for Louis to reach for the breakfast he's now starving for because, really, what else can he do?
The sand is almost as warm as he remembers, and Harry quickly rids himself of any footwear, reminding him far too much of the shiny shoes that pinched of almost fifteen years before, desperate to feel sand and only sand. Sand everywhere. He doesn't need to glance at his friend to know Louis is doing the same.
And then it's only them. Harry, Louis, the sand, the immense sea. The waves are whispering to one another, he can hear them, hear each distinctly as they talk to him for the first time in almost fifteen years.
"Hello, friend. Welcome home."
They know he won't join them. They know he's scared or cowardly or afraid, but they don't mention Louis.
They forget that with Louis, Harry can never be any of those things.
He remembers that Claire looked beautiful up there, at the alter, once he had taken his seat, father on one side, Gemma on the other. Her dress wasn't white, it was ocean green, something he would have remembered even if his mother had not commented on it so profusely. It was ocean green, glittering with sand, consuming her, consuming Harry's vision, it seemed to him as if part of the water itself had leapt from its ocean home and onto his cousin. He remembers being more than slightly jealous.
He doesn't remember much else after that. After that, not much else happened, yet to Harry, it was everything.
"In sickness and in health," Claire had whispered, so quietly he hadn't been completely sure she had said anything at all until Robert repeated the words.
"In sickness and in health."
He remembers not thinking much of those words, and if he's being perfectly honest, he still doesn't, because, really, shouldn't this be a given?
"We will always go in the water."
And to Harry, that made perfect sense. "I will always go in the water," he whispered along with them, pledging to himself, to Claire and Robert, to his father, to the ocean.
And when the ceremony ended and Claire stepped off of the alter and into the waves, hand in Robert's, together, her dress joining its forgotten siblings in a sea of laughter and beauty and a long and happy marriage, Harry finally joined them.
And he knew he would always keep his promise.
Louis was lying down, elbows propping him up, munching on a doughnut, a faint smile grazing his flushed cheeks, a smile that grew when he noticed Harry's stare, lighting up his face, the sky, the beach, everything. And Harry could never help but smile back, lying beside him on the deserted beach and reaching for a danish. Raspberry, a favorite of his probably only Louis was aware of.
"So this is it, yeah?" Louis's voice startled him. He'd only heard the waves for so long.
"Yeah. This is it."
"Claire's wedding must have been beautiful here. I didn't think the ride up would be worth it, but..." he trailed off.
"What? The grace of my company isn't enough for you anymore? Back in the good olden days, you couldn't get enough of me!" Harry sighed dramatically, feigning hurt.
For once, Louis didn't laugh. He gave him a forced grin, one that was rarely given to Harry. Harry's were always genuine. "You know what I mean."
Harry paused. He did know what it meant, or at least he thought he did. "It is rather spectacular, isn't it?"
"Yeah," Louis sighed, "yeah, it is."
"It was a great wedding."
"You remember it?"
"I remember enough to make you come all the way out here with me, don't I?" he laughed. "I don't remember a lot," a pause, "but I remember the water. I remember everything about the water. And I remember the vows. I'll always remember the vows."
"I can't imagine ever wanting to be anywhere else, can you?"
Harry didn't answer, and they didn't talk for a long time after that, the two of them. They just sat, another of Harry's magical summer nights.
Louis's hair was blowing gracefully in the late night breeze, his eyes blissfully closed, a touch of his now finished doughnut's glaze resting on his lower lip, and they were red, so red, almost glowing, and Harry wanted... He wanted... Well, he knew exactly what he wanted.
"It's not a matter of tonight," the waves whispered. "Not a matter of yesterday or this morning or last year." And Harry knew they were right. It wasn't the magic of a summer night, it was a matter of one moment, a matter of infinity, a matter of the ocean.
It had only taken a summer night for him to realize it.
"This is what I want," he whispered, eyes leaving the leftover spot of glaze on Louis's lip for a brief moment, only to reach up to the other boy's eyes.
"What?" He didn't understand, Louis didn't understand, and Harry hardly understood himself, but he needed Louis to get it.
Harry leaned closer. This was what he wanted. All he wanted. To be closer and closer and closer and...
He felt Louis's warmth, he could smell him, feel his skin beneath his fingers and for once Harry wasn't thinking about the ocean he was only thinking about...
"Lou," he whispered, and they were impossibly close, and closer still and he wanted and he needed and Louis was breathing beneath him, breathing heavily, and Harry never wanted to be far enough away from Louis that he couldn't feel the other boy's breath on his own skin and still they were closer and Harry was shaking and he thought maybe his heart forgot how to beat but his heart had never beat harder and...
And their lips met.
And if Harry was in the water, he never wanted to stop swimming.
He remembers the water surrounding him, consuming him, eating him, loving him, carrying him gently and throwing him roughly. He remembers loving it, hating it, never wanting to stand, only wanting to swim. Forever and ever and stretching deep into the far reaches of infinity, never daring to end. Ever.
And it never did.
Harry went into the water a lot after that afternoon, after Claire's wedding, hours from London, on a beach on a relatively unknown coast of England.
He tried new foods and loved them. He applied for and was given a job at a small bakery in Holmes Chapel. He fought with Gemma and forgave her. He tried out for the X-Factor and placed third.
He met Louis.
Louis's lips were warm against Harry's own chilled ones. It was a warm night, and he wondered briefly whether his blood had stopped pumping altogether, if maybe his whole being stopped, frozen in time and space, in whatever dimension he had reached, because right now, and tomorrow and the next day and the rest of his life, all there was was Louis, and a few heartbeats hardly mattered in the grand scheme of things.
He tried to stop thinking, really, he did, because this was what he wanted, exactly what he needed, and they were Harry and Louis and this was so unbearably right, and yet... And yet. And yet they were Harry and Louis and there was Niall and Liam and Zayn and Simon and the fans and his mother and Gemma and Jo and Lottie and Flick and Phoebe and Daisy and music and the next album and the rest of their lives was an awfully long time and what about One Direction and what if and then he was pulling away and Louis wasn't letting go and his lips were pressing tighter and suddenly Harry's face was wet and it wasn't all that much of a kiss anymore at all, it was just Louis everywhere, pinning him down, and Harry thought maybe those were tears, but he couldn't, he just couldn't, all he could do was pull away.
And just as suddenly, the heat was gone, and Louis was gone, and it wasn't a kiss at all anymore, it was just a warm breeze gone cold and Harry was alone and all he could think was fuck.
They were Louis's tears, he realized now, not his own, they were all that remained of the boy lying beside Harry only a moment before. The older boy, so normally full of laughter and cheer enough for himself and Harry both, stood there (he had leapt up upon giving Harry the freedom neither truly wanted), looking about as far from his joking self as one could be.
And it was all Harry's fault.
"Lou," he whispered, standing, reaching out to the boy who was now pulling away.
"Please. Don't do this. Not now, not ever, not..." he trailed off, and finally Harry understood. It wasn't what Louis had wanted, he shouldn't have wasted their only kiss, his only chance, worrying when his fears had been inevitable all along.
"Shit, Lou, don't cry, I-I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking, I shouldn't have acted on-on any-any thoughts or-I shouldn't have and I'm sorry and please let's just forget this ever happened."
Louis was shaking his head. "I can't, or at least I don't want to forget it, I want-" and his lips were on Harry's again, searching, begging, salty from tears and he was mumbling something against them, something important, but Harry hardly cared, he hardly cared about much of anything at the moment and somehow doubted he ever would.
"I've waited for so long," he later learned that Louis had been muttering, "Please don't be a joke." "It was never a joke," he would assure Louis, "Never."
But right then, in that moment, below the slowly receding stars and above the soft sand, Harry could focus on little else but the hitch in Louis's breathing when he brushed his teeth at his earlobe, as he nibbled on his lip experimentally, as he licked slowly along his jaw. All he saw was red as he sucked at Louis's collarbone, heart beating unsteadily as he made mark after mark down the other boy's thin chest in a desperate need to mark him, to mark this moment and this night and make it clear, make it so very clear that this was so far from a joke he didn't even know where to begin his reassurances other than with languid kisses and rushed hands and exploring and feeling and God if he couldn't feel the sudden tightening in his jeans as Louis's fingertips brushed over his chest, as they pulled gently at a nipple before continuing down, lower and lower and lower until he thought he might burst if some of the quickly building pressure wasn't released, and wow, why hadn't he done this months ago, as he felt Louis's skin, burning with want, beneath his own quick hands, undoing each button individually, as he gave special attention to each inch of smooth skin and arched muscle, as he made sure each and every centimeter of Louis had been kissed, had been adored as it should have been all along.
He had been waiting just as long as Louis had, he would tell him later. He just hadn't realized it yet. It had only taken a summer night.
But as the sun slowly rose over the water before them, the ocean that had watched it all unfold, had been watching for a whole lot longer than Harry had, he didn't think of much of anything at all, how could he, with Louis's breathy "fuck," in his ear, as their kisses became rushed and urgent, messy and clumsy, as he began to tremble, to actually ache for Louis, for his hands and his lips and his eyes and his dick and really, anything he was willing to give him. It was hard to focus on going slow, on treasuring each second, on drawing this first time into infinity when his hand finally dipped below the waistband of Louis's underwear, as he pushed away the last of the fabric separating the two and held him, finally held him, moving slowly down that damned tan chest, pulsing beneath him, licking his way down down down, and then a little farther, until he was licking up with the flat of his tongue, flicking over Louis's slit, feeling him buck and the rumble of his groan and knowing that he caused that, that was because of him and feeling Louis's hands tangle in his curls, feeling his own moan as Louis pushed and pulled, licking and sucking and breathing and wanting until his mouth was full of sweet and salty and wet and lovely and he was being pulled up, until his lips were back on Louis's and God he really, really didn't ever want this to end and knowing that the best part, the part that was really kind of funny, was that it wouldn't, he knew that it wouldn't, knew this absolute delirious happiness would be unlikely to ever end, not while he could lie naked next to Louis, alone on a beach, just kissing and fucking and laughing, as long as he could make Louis groan, could make his back arch and his toes curl and his eyes slip shut, as long as he could hear Louis's inadvertent moan of his name, a chant, "Harry, Harry, Har-," as long as he could make Louis come and come again, and as long as he could lap up every drop and crawl back up the other boy's naked body for another kiss.
"This is all I've wanted for as long as I can remember," Louis would tell him, and "You're all I've wanted for as long as I can remember," he would respond.
But that was saved for a time when Louis wasn't whispering a desperate, "can I?", as if he might die if Harry would dare say no, and he was responding with his own equally needy, equally rushed, "fuck, Lou, yeah, okay, fuck," for a time when he wasn't swirling his tongue around Louis's fingers, sucking and nibbling and salivating because fuck he wanted this, and then they weren't in his mouth anymore, they were dripping with spit, they were gently circling his hole and he was whining and he really, really didn't usually whine, but Louis's fingers were there, and one was entering, curling, and he was bucking up, whining, and he didn't care how dumb he sounded, how Louis would laugh about it after, he just wanted more, and then there was another finger and then another and now he was really fucking them, and Louis was biting his lip, pulling at it with his teeth and Harry really really wanted to be the one doing that, so he did, because that was something he could do now, and then the fingers were gone and he was fucking whining for them, until there he was. Louis. And he was pushing in gently, slowly, so slowly, and Harry held his breath, didn't let himself beg, but Louis knew, Louis always knew, and then he was inside, all the way, and the pain was already morphing into a need, and Harry's hips were bucking, twisting, and yeah of course Louis was the best sex he had ever had. Of course. And he was full, he was so fucking full, wrapping his legs around the other boy and pulling himself closer, tighter, fuller, and he never ever wanted to be empty, never wanted to be without this, without Louis, never wanted this to end and knew it never would.
"I just want you," Louis would tell him after, "only you," and "I'm yours, Lou," he would respond with, holding him closer, always closer, "all yours, always yours."
But that came later. It came after they were done, after they had been done a few times, after it had been what seemed like centuries since Harry had stopped thinking and embraced what was real and there and all Louis. There was plenty of time for that after his heart began beating at a rate he didn't think could possibly have been healthy, after he was panting, after Louis pulled slowly out and he was twisting, pulling himself back onto Louis because no, he wasn't going to ever let go again, after Louis's thrusts, harder and harder and please harder and more and yeah Louis there right there, and there he was, Louis, always right there and he was exploding and crying out and maybe he blacked out for a minute there because when his eyes opened Louis was looking at him just like that, brushing the sweaty strands from his forehead and he hardly had time to register that there was something warm and wet between their tightly pressed bodies, he could barely blink at the intense blue of Louis's eyes before he felt the other boy's hips stutter, as he thrust one last time, collapsing on top of Harry and he was holding him and they were shaking and loose and maybe this was even better than the sex had been but probably not.
"I love you," Louis would whisper every day, "I love you, I love you, I love you," and he wouldn't be able to say much of anything to that at all, there wasn't really much of anything to say to that, because fuck if he didn't love that boy too.
But that was later, after he had laughed, long and hard, from somewhere deep inside, after Louis had stood, legs still trembling, taking his hand and bringing him up and into a run, after, in the light of the morning and the setting of the summer night, Louis pulled Harry into the water.