You see, Harry has always followed Louis' lead. It's an unspoken rule and neither of them dislike the dynamics of their relationship. It's been so since the young ages of seven and ten, when Harry started to follow Louis around blindly. Like a puppy trying to please his owner, some would say. Whether it was for something as simple as a walk to the park, or kissing down at the creek behind Harry's house, he had always been helpless.
The thing is, he never knew that change could be part of their relationship. He never expected Louis to look at him as if he knew what love was, because they were only friends who sometimes kissed. When you're ten years old, a kiss doesn't mean very much. He could never understand why Louis would look at him like he held the world, but he would return it. He would follow his lead, always.
He could never understand why Louis took days off in high school when the curly haired male broke his foot, because he was only thirteen and middle school isn't important, but high school is. They spent an entire week in Harry's room, watching movies that made them cry, laugh, and jump in terror. That was normal for them, but what wasn't, was the way that Louis had held his hand the entire time. What Harry couldn't understand was why Louis insisted he was the one to feed Harry his crisps, when he was perfectly capable of feeding himself. Still, he went along with it. He would open his mouth and sometimes he would catch the way that Louis' eyes would focus on his parted lips, but the majority of the time his eyes were locked on the television screen. He would never understand why Louis' were constantly darting to his side to look at Harry, but he was beginning to like it.
When Harry turned sixteen and Louis turned up with a date to his birthday party, he couldn't ignore the pang of hurt that settled into his heart. After watching Louis and Niall - the blond lad that he knew was a year above himself - for countless hours, he almost considered cancelling the sleepover that him and Louis had created as a ritual after every one of Harry's birthday. He didn't, though. He could never do something like that, although he continued to wish he had for the rest of the night. Louis apologized for keeping Niall a secret and explained that they had been dating for a week, to which Harry smiled with tight lips. He regretted allowing Louis to stay over, especially because Niall was the only thing that the older male seemed to want to talk about. Harry didn't know how to relate, considering he had never dated somebody before, and he had fallen asleep to the chant of 'Niall' spilling from Louis' lips.
The look on Louis' face when he saw Zayn's fingers intertwined with Harry's a month after his sixteenth was one that the younger male thrived on. They had been chatting for several months and Harry wasn't oblivious to the way that the dark haired male looked at him. Although it was different from the way that Louis had always looked at him, it still made Harry's abdomen curl, and he felt an urge to make something out of it. It was easier than he had expected, probably because Zayn was in his final year of school before university, and Harry had always gotten along better with people older than himself. After a month of late-night phone calls (which would have been with Louis if he hadn't been on the phone with Niall), Harry knew that Zayn was majoring in English, and he finally managed to convince him to help him with studying for his final exam. Though it was three months away, Zayn had agreed, and they had met at library the next day. No studying was done, and the curl in Harry's abdomen only grew after his first proper kiss was stolen by Zayn.
Now it was mid-March and they had been dating for two weeks. Harry spotted Louis in the hallway and made the first move of public affection that him and Zayn had ever shared, grabbing the male's hand in the middle of the hall. Zayn had responded easily enough, looking down in surprise for a moment before squeezing Harry's hand and giving him a sly smile. For the first time, Harry didn't return it. He was too focused on the way that Louis seemed to be frozen in his spot, even with Niall tugging on his sleeve to earn his attention back. It was a good feeling and as much as he genuinely liked Zayn, the jealousy written on Louis' face was something that Harry wanted to see more of.
A game started that day and Louis and Harry were its only players. Their sleepovers became more frequent, and they alternated between their houses every weekend. They would stay up until early hours of the morning, talking and attempting to make one another jealous. Harry, of course, was always one step behind. Obviously, Louis and Niall had shared their first kiss long before he was even dating Zayn. The first snog was also claimed by Louis, and while it was being described, his gut had curled in the way that it usually did when he was with Zayn.
"We were just sitting on his sofa, right. Watching some crap cooking show because Niall insisted. I was bored out of my mind. Now picture this. Niall is talking away like a toddler who's just learned how to form words, and I'm growing more and more impatient. Finally, the show went to a commercial and he was still going on about it so I just sat right up and grabbed his face and kissed the words right out of his mouth. You should have heard the sounds he made, Haz. I reckon you would make similar ones. Cos you lads are so close in age and all, yeah?"
He was being compared to Niall and, well, that was new. The idea of being snogged by Louis wasn't, though. He pictured it a lot more than he should have, considering he had a boyfriend of his own, but sometimes he just couldn't help it. When he found himself unable to sleep, it was always Louis that was on his mind. Louis and his lips. The way that they would feel against Harry's own often left him feeling uncomfortable, although he had never been more than kissed and hardly knew what it would actually feel like.
That was why, with the newfound knowledge that Louis and Niall were taking their relationship to the next level, Harry decided to catch up. He hated the idea of following Louis' lead, but he loved it all the same. It was exciting, knowing that in some way, it was his childhood friend - crush? - who was encouraging him to take the next step.
It was a school night, so Harry needed to be home by eleven, but he still made the best of his time with Zayn. He genuinely liked the lad and the way that he made him feel, so it never felt like time wasted. His relationship wasn't fake, necessarily, and he couldn't have chosen somebody who was more affectionate or kind. Harry figured that the reason why Louis disapproved of their relationship so much was because of the way that Zayn portrayed himself, which was as somebody who was neither affectionate nor kind. That made everything more exciting for Harry. His boyfriend was artistic and expressive and the most attractive person that he had ever laid his young eyes on, and their kisses always made Harry eager for more. They were sprawled out on Zayn's couch, attempting to study but mostly stealing kisses, and it was with a lingering one that Harry's heart sped up.
"Hey, Z. Do you think we could, like, do more than kiss?" he asked quietly, looking up at Zayn from underneath his eyelashes with an innocent expression, which he had been trying to get across as seductive. Zayn chuckled lightly in response and nodded slowly, reaching over to cup the younger male's face and lower him onto his back. Harry looked up with wide eyes, alternating between watching Zayn's dark eyes and his kiss-swollen lips, and that familiar curl tugged at his abdomen when they were finally on his own. His eyes fluttered shut and he sighed through his nose, reaching up to hook an arm around Zayn's neck and pull him in deeper, tentatively kissing him back and gasping at the feeling of a tongue running along his bottom lip. It was something that he would never get used to, and by the time that Zayn's tongue was prodding at his own, his head was swimming. He let the older male explore his mouth, and then took his time to do the same before they broke apart, breath mingling with their small pants. It was Zayn's warm smile that assured Harry he wasn't dreaming.
When he catches Louis up with everything, he's shunned. Louis sits up from his spot nestled next to Harry and he looks down at him in utter shock.
"You and Zayn what?! Harry! You're too young to be doing shit like that" he yells, sounding incredulous. This gets Harry's blood boiling and he copies Louis, sitting up and crossing his arms across his chest. He's sure that his glare speaks more than his words will, but he still feels them necessary.
"I really fancy Zayn, Lou. It isn't like he took my virginity" he argues, and his voice sounds much too calm to his own ears. The silence that follows has panic crawling its way up his throat and his expression softens while he waits for his best mate to make a sassy retort or comeback, and when none comes, he continues speaking. "Why are you looking at me like that? Come on, tell me" he urges.
It takes a while for Louis to pipe up and when he finally does, it's with a sheepish expression and hushed voice. He tells Harry that he lost his virginity to Niall two days ago and not only does the younger male feel like he's behind in their game, but also like he's lost something important to him. Without a doubt in his mind, it's Louis. He doesn't understand why he feels this way, but without thinking, he stands up. He fishes his phone out of his pocket and calls the first person that he's ever opened up to, other than Louis.
Zayn picks him up from Louis' house after ten minutes of Louis' quiet apologies, and Harry just doesn't understand. Why is Louis apologizing? Why does he feel jealous? He has absolutely no right to feel jealous, especially considering he has Zayn. Louis has never been his...
Except for back when they existed in a small bubble that was just louisandharry. That bubble was ruined the night that he turned sixteen, when he nearly got sick with the knowledge that Niall had been added into the mix. Now everything was louisandharryandniall and although he had never admitted he, Harry despised the change. He could understand that losing your virginity was something big, and with the thought of louisandharry becoming louisandniall, he broke down in the passenger seat of his boyfriend's car. His boyfriend who wasn't Louis, but now looked at him the way that Louis used to.
His tears had dried by the time they got to Zayn's place, which was abandoned with his parents gone for the weekend. Zayn had never understood why Harry and Louis felt the need to spend every weekend together, but he had never questioned it or dared to ask Harry to change his routine. Looking at him now, he had an idea of why it was that the two seemed inseperable. Harry was broken and it was Louis' doing, although he wasn't sure what had caused it. Clearly they were a lot closer than Zayn had thought, because Harry never cried (unless they were watching a romantic comedy, although that was between the two of them).
He held Harry close while the male calmed down, until he finally stopped trembling against his chest. He looked down and was met with the sight of Harry curled up against his chest, looking right back up at him with wide eyes and he knew it was too early to be feeling it, but all that came to his mind was lovelovelove. It was early June and their four month anniversary was in two days, and he had something special planned. Harry didn't have to agree to it, but he wanted to make love to the male. He wanted to get it across that despite how early it was, he was definitely gone for the curly haired lad.
Harry, apparently, had a plan of his own. He watched Zayn closely for a couple of minutes before closing the small distance between their faces and kissing him deeply. They had done this plenty of times before, but it had never quite felt like this. It felt rushed and nerve-wracked, and Zayn barely contained his smile after getting past his initial surprise. He cupped Harry's cheek and slowed down the pace of the kiss, easing the other's mouth open and trying to get across all of the emotions that he felt for him.
When Harry pulled back in an attempt to regain his breath, his eyes read bedroom and who would Zayn be to say no to him? He stood up on shaky legs and pulled Harry up with him, stealing kisses all the way up to his room. This was far from his first time, but he knew that it was Harry's, and that meant a lot to him. It was different than a quick shag with some guy he had just met, and that was what had him feeling so nervous. This was Harry.
At first, it had been Zayn's intentions to get Harry into his sheets, but he found himself falling fast once they started to get to know one another. Harry had a lot of little quirks that Zayn was beginning to love, and he was sure to discover more as time went on. With that thought, he carefully laid Harry down and climbed over him, discarding both of their shirts. Of course he knew about Harry's extra 'nipples', but seeing them now made him bubble with nervous laughter. It made everything more real and he sat back to admire his boyfriend for a moment, even though Harry was squirming under his gaze.
When he felt as if Zayn had taken enough time to just look at him, he reached out and grabbed his boyfriend's hands, placing them on his body and whispering for him to touch. He was nervous, yeah. This was his first time, and he could hardly push back the thoughts that were nagging him. They were telling him that he was doing this because he wanted to take a stab at Louis, rather than because he loved Zayn. As true as that was, he still felt overwhelmed as he stared up at the dark eyed male, who seemed to be memorizing every inch of his skin. He jumped in surprise when Zayn's fingers came in contact with the zipper of his trousers before nodding eagerly, reaching down to help him pull them off of his hips.
Zayn was gentle with him the entire time and made sure that he was ready every step of the way. Although it had hurt, he understood that it was part of the first time, and Zayn had felt right. He had taken his time and made Harry feel comfortable and it was more than Harry could have asked for. With a promise of being right back, he got up and walked into the bathroom, ignoring the ache in his backside.
He stayed longer than promised while he cried for the second time that night. He didn't deserve somebody like Zayn, because he couldn't love him back. Not when he loved somebody like Louis.
When they had their first fight six months into the relationship, Harry refused to be the first to apologize. Ironically, they were fighting because Louis had made the initiative of calling Zayn and badgering him about Harry and where he had been for the past two months. He demanded to know why Harry hardly returned his texts anymore. Zayn had both told him to talk to Louis and not to talk to him, which had left Harry confused and angry and storming out of his boyfriend's house. With summer holidays coming to an end soon, Harry was miserable. Zayn would be going off to university, and although it was a local one, it didn't make him feel any better. He had come to love Zayn, and everyday he reminded himself that avoiding Louis was for the better. It could only be one of them, and Louis' feelings had never been returned.
Yet, he found himself standing on Louis' front porch. He hadn't knocked, but Louis was standing in the doorway, looking at Harry with worry filling his eyes. He just couldn't bring himself to understand why, after everything, he still subconsciously wanted Louis. He had pushed the older male away with reason. That reason must have flown out of his mind, because within seconds of the door opening, he was pulling Louis into a kiss. It wasn't one of the friendly kisses that they used to exchange up until the point where Louis started to hit puberty and told Harry they couldn't do things like that anymore. It was one full of wanting and pining and unrequited love, although something was off.
When they were upstairs in Louis' bedroom, taking a break from their heated kiss so Louis could grab a condom and half-empty bottle of lube, Harry finally understood. His love wasn't unrequited. It never had been. Everything could have turned out differently if he had only opened his eyes and accepted the love that Louis had for him. If he had returned those glances more genuinely, Louis' slick fingers could have been something that he'd had long before now.
He was just as careful with Harry as Zayn had been their first time, although his fingers were thicker and had Harry fisting the sheets as he scissored him open with just two of them. His head was thrown back and his moans consisted of Louis' name, who was busy licking at Harry's nipple and adding a third finger.
When he finally felt like he was ready, Harry gently ran his hand through Louis' hair and pulled him into a chaste kiss which said more than any of their lingering ones. He watched with lidded eyes as Louis rolled the condom on and slicked himself up, before slowly pressing into the male below him. It was a completely different sensation than what he felt with Zayn and his eyes teared up, but he murmured that he was alright and told Louis that he loved him with his eyes. The look was returned and if he had thought Zayn felt right, he couldn't describe the way that Louis felt.
He knew the perfect angle to have Harry gasping, and he watched the way the younger male's lips formed the noises that were slipping from them. Harry looked nothing short of beautiful with his hair mussed and his dark eyes watching Louis closely, only closing every once in a while. He had never been more attracted to anybody than he was right now, and he loved knowing that Harry felt the exact same way. It was with a particularly desperate moan of his name that he felt his insides tighten with a familiar heat, and he was quick to quicken his thrusts, wrapping a hand around Harry's leaking cock and stroking the male to his orgasm. The sound that Harry made as he spilled onto Louis' fist and clenched around him had the older male following closely behind, the last four rolls of his hips erratic.
The silence that hit them once they had both come down was sickening. Reality dawned on the both of them and Louis carefully pulled out, watching Harry with furrowed eyebrows. He wanted to tell him how he felt, but he knew that Harry finally understood. He knew he finally understood the longing looks and gentle touches and insistent cuddles and hand holding. He knew that Harry regretted everything just as much as he did.
And that was that. They both had somebody to go back to, and it was an unspoken rule that neither of them liked. Harry would no longer follow Louis around, nor would he try to make the male jealous. They would have to love each other distantly, and to that, both of them were helpless.