A snippet from “The Road Less Travelled By” by @tvshows-addict and @taggiecb. For context, it’s the Lumberjack Louis fic we’ve been working on for I don’t even want to know how long in which Louis lost his husband Ed, lives like a recluse, Harry is new in town and Niall is a Sheeran.
Here goes nothing, this is unbeta’ed and all over the place, I apologize.
“The trespasser has a name you know.” The trespasser- Harry - replies.
Louis just gives him a once over, turning to address Niall instead. “Can you drive him into town? We can get together with the guys tonight or something.” He doesn’t wait for an answer, just turns back towards the outdoors where his horse -his only ally at the moment- is waiting for him.
“Lou, hold up a sec.” Niall’s voice comes up behind him. “I was thinking— ”
No. Nonononononono. Louis knows this tone.
“No.” Louis deadpans.
“Seriously Lou. We can’t take him back to the motel.”
“Why the fuck not?” Louis tries not to shout.
“Well, he’s hurt, for starters and he doesn’t have anyone here. You can’t leave him with Scary Lisa. Plus there’s no elevator there and a million stairs, he could die of a nasty fall with that ankle… He needs someone to keep an eye on him until he gets back on his feet at least.”
“Lisa didn’t look so bad.” Harry’s voice is faint.
“Great! Take him home with you then.” Louis says to Niall, completely ignoring Harry. “You need a project until school starts up anyway.” Louis doesn’t look back, still getting Jasper ready for another couple hours in the woods.
“I don’t have the room, and you know it. Even my couch isn’t full sized. Plus I can’t bunk with my boss, right? Must be against some kind of rule.”
“Well, nothing much we can do then, is there?” Louis feigns ignorance, truly hoping to avoid the turn that this conversation is taking. He should know better. He really should.
“You could let him stay here. At least, until he finds an apartment.”
“Oh no. No no no no.You get that little dark cloud of a thought out of your head right this minute Niall. No.” He yanks one last buckle into place with a resolute. “No.”
“But Lou, he’s in need! He’s like an injured little baby deer, look at him. He needs someone kind, caring, with compassion to take care of him, someone who will make sure he’s okay.”
“None of the things you just said describe me.” Louis says, giving Niall a hard look.
“What would Teddy do?” Niall says pointedly, looking hurt, actually no, sad. Fuck. He drops his shoulders again.
That’s a fucking low blow if Louis ever saw one.
Louis groans. “You don’t know what he’d do.” He outright lies.
“Come on, we do know. He would let him stay. He would take him in with open arms and expect you to have some compassion towards a creature in need— — This is not the Louis Teddy fell in love with.” Niall says in one go. The manipulative son of a fucking bitch— —
“Who’s Teddy?” a deep voice booms behind them, startling Louis out of his trance.
“My husband.” Louis says at the same time that Niall says, “My brother.”
“Oh, sounds like a decent guy.” Harry looks at Louis, and Louis knows that he heard the previous conversation, knows that Harry doesn’t want to go back to that motel to fend for himself. Louis sighs again.
“Yeah, he was.” A frown flashes across Harry’s face. Louis scrunches his eyes shut, then forces himself to look at Harry before changing his mind. “You’re staying here for a while. Go lie down, get off that foot because you’re not staying a minute longer than you have to. Niall will show you around the house. I’m leaving.” Then he walks away, as quickly as he can with a one ton horse lumbering behind him.
He can already feel himself regretting his decision.