Hello precious. I was wondering today ... how would TOW Harry Louis and Link enjoy these first days of autumn? xx
It’s the kind of weather Louis hates. In the morning when he takes Link out into the backyard, he stands with his arms wrapped around his body, goosebumps covering every inch of skin, breath coming out in puffs. He layers himself in a t-shirt, then a sweater, then a coat, and heads off to work with the heat blasting in the car. By by noon, he’s stripping out of said layers, kicking them aside and under his desk, cursing the whole time. His car feels like a sauna by the time he climbs into it at the end of the day, the late afternoon heat trapped with no escape, and even with the AC blasting the entire way home, he pulls into the driveway with a red face and a sweaty back.
“I hate fall,” he declares Tuesday night after work, letting the door slam behind him. “I hate this shitty ass weather.”
“It’s beautiful out today,” Harry counters from his position on the couch. “Be quiet.”
“No. It’s too hot. The leaves are dying and so am I.”
“Remember when he was at work and the house was quiet? That was nice.”
“Who are you talking to.”
“Link,” Harry replies, like it’s obvious.
Louis ignores him. “Did you see the forecast for next week? Upper 80’s! Again! My classroom doesn’t have central air. We’re all going to kill each other.”
“Oh my God, the drama. Light a pumpkin candle and relax.”
He snorts, kicking off his shoes and takes a seat beside Harry. “Do you solve every issue by lighting candles?”
“Usually.” He puts his hand on Louis’ thigh and squeezes. “You look rather stunning today. I like what your hair is doing.”
“Thanks, I used the sweat as a makeshift hair gel.”
Harry laughs and rolls his eyes. “Imagine a world where you weren’t complaining.”
“Positive thoughts Louis is not the man you fell in love with. You knew what you were getting into with me.”
He smirks. “I’m not sure I did, actually.”
“So does that mean the verdict is still out on whether or not you want to keep me?”
Louis closes his eyes, pets Link behind the ears when he feels him place his head on Louis’ knee, drool and all. “It’s nice in here.”
“I turned the air off hours ago. I figured you’d say something when you got home.”
He shrugs, eyes still slipped shut. It feels like too much work to open them, especially once Harry starts playing with his hair, threading it through his fingers. He could let Harry do this all night. Sometimes, he does. “Still feels nice.”
Harry hums from beside him. “I concur.”
Two weeks later, Louis finds himself in the passenger seat of the Jeep, trunk packed with bags, Link and Mia safe at Harry’s mom’s house. The sun doesn’t feel as hot today, he thinks, as he makes himself comfortable, fiddling with the crank for the window. It feels like a waste of a gorgeous day to sit in the car, but he doesn’t tell Harry that.
“When are you going to cave and tell me where we’re going?”
“I won’t cave,” Harry protests, backing out of the driveway. “Stop asking.”
“You’re terrible at secrets.”
“No, you’re just obnoxious and bug me so much that I eventually tell you to get you to shut up.”
“Exactly. Terrible at secrets.”
Harry rolls his eyes and turns the volume up, almost as high as it can go. “Sorry,” he shouts, “can’t hear you.”
It takes them a few hours to reach the secret destination of upstate New York, one that Harry managed to keep hidden the entire duration of the ride. He looks smug as he pulls up to their cabin in the woods.
“Styles, did you take me here to kill me?”
“That would have been the better option, now that you mention it.” He cuts the engine and looks over at Louis. “Home away from home for the next 48 hours. What do you think?”
Louis squints at the house through the windshield. “I think no one will be able to hear my screams.”
Harry laughs, then pinches Louis’ thigh. “Come on. Get out.”
It’s not unlike Harry to surprise Louis; he often comes home from work to find strange purchases from Amazon or the book store or that eclectic home furnishings place downtown. Louis will make a face and ask what it is, and Harry will start off on some winded tangent about why it made him think of Louis, and half the time, his explanations don’t make any sense, leaving Louis more confused than ever. But then Harry tilts his head to the side, dimple threatening to break out, and he’ll murmur, “Do you like it?” Louis has never lied once when he replies, “So much.”
And this cabin is no exception.
Harry points out the details that Louis would have never noticed on his own, like the sliver of a lake in the distance barely visible through the living room windows, and the skylight in the hallway that shows off the rather impressive foliage. He tells Louis about the cheesy fall festival happening in the town square that occurs just one weekend a year, shows him their bedroom, their bathroom, the Goddamn floor boards, for fuck’s sake, and it’s obvious how much time Harry put into researching this for them. For Louis.
Louis cuts off Harry’s speech about the Oak trees outside by resting his head against Harry’s chest. Harry’s arms wrap around him instinctively, his voice fading to nothing. “This was a good surprise,” Louis says, voice coming out muffled.”
He can feel Harry exhale as he drags his hands between Louis’ shoulder blades. “Yeah?”
They end up attending that cheesy, once a year fall festival, and it’s stupidly fun. They indulge in caramel apples, pumpkin donuts, and Louis begs Harry to get his face painted. He sports a fall leaf on his right cheek for the rest of the afternoon, smudging when Louis drags his thumb through it while they kiss.
They hike, and at the top of the mountain is a view of the most stunning sea of reds and yellows and oranges. Neither of them talk, just stare, breathless. Louis slips his hand into Harry’s back pocket, leaves it there, just wants to touch, to be closer. They take some pictures before they make their descent back down, but the photos don’t do the views justice. It cheapens it.
The weather is unfairly perfect. All weekend, Louis keeps his sweatshirt on over his t-shirt, warm and comfortable, and when the sun goes down for the day, they sit behind a campfire, eating grilled cheese and soup. The flames are hot and make Louis’ face itch.
The moon shines through their bedroom window, and in the otherwise blackened room, Louis can make out the curve of Harry’s jaw, his bare shoulders, his back, his thighs. They move together slowly, then much faster, and right before Louis lets go, Harry makes a terrible joke about how he hopes Louis was right in saying no one would be able to hear his screams from here. Louis chokes out a laugh, hates Harry so much, loves him impossibly more.
He needs to fall asleep, his body is begging him to, but Harry won’t stop whispering to him, dragging his mouth across Louis’ collarbones. Louis sighs and takes it, keeping his fingers twisted in Harry’s hair. They keep at it until the sun starts to brighten their pretend home.
“Harry,” he whispers, almost sure Harry’s already asleep. “Guess what.”
“Mmm,” Harry answers, lips vibrating against Louis’ arm.
“Did you know I love fall? Like, favorite season, by far.”
He can feel Harry’s grin. “Even though I forgot to bring my pumpkin candle?”
He nods, sliding down further under the covers. He’s cold, but Harry’s warm. “Yeah, even though you forgot it.”