Chapter 21 ~ Fall

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Though it had been Louis to run to Harry's side in the middle of the woods in that moment of weakness, it would be Harry who finally lifted himself shakily to his feet and walked the two of them inside, Louis's arm never leaving Harry's waist and Harry's fingers never ceasing to tremble. 

Harry would trip over his too-big feet, and Louis would smile through red, damp lips and think that maybe he never wanted to leave Harry's side ever again, and then Harry would see that smile and trip over the snow once more; and it was a bit of a hectic cycle, really, of butterflies low in tummies and frightened, soft thoughts.

When Harry finally nudged the kitchen door open with narrow hips and lifted Louis over the threshold, they seemed to freeze, neither quite sure of what to do or what to say. Louis's eyes darted to Harry's, and Harry's eyes darted to Louis's, and suddenly cheeks and ears were as red as cherries, and Louis could still feel Harry shivering against him. Finally, the deeper, slower voice broke the silence when longer, thinner lips began to speak.

"M' Cold." Harry breathed, because really, what else could he say? Louis's head flooded with relief at the prospect of something to do, and he wriggled reluctantly Away from Harry's warm waist to slide into the kitchen.

"G-go upstairs, he murmured, voice shaking. "I'll, uh... I'll just get y-you some tea."  When Louis finished stirring the milk into the warm, amber tea, he lifted the cup, the porcelain shaking in the saucer, and started upstairs with much more fright than was probably reasonable.

What on earth was he to do now? He'd just snogged his best friend after listening to him pour his heart out and confess his problematically strong feelings for Louis. He couldn't decide whether or not he'd massively screwed up or if this was heading for the better. Well, as he knocked timidly on the door of the bedroom and slipped inside, he supposed that all he could do was cross his fingers and hope for the latter. 

He was silent as he padded across the carpet and towards the bunk, where Harry was tugging his damp hoodie over his head, and set the cup down on the dresser. Harry's shoulders tightened as he heard the clink of china on wood, and Louis bit his lip. He didn't want Harry to be afraid; not of Louis...

"In you get," he said quietly, voice shy as uncertain as he nodded towards Louis's bed (neither of them could honestly remember the last time Harry had slept in his own bunk) and Harry's Adam's apple only bobbed as he blinked and toppled clumsily onto the blankets, not daring to look at Louis while he tugged the familiar pink blanket over his shoulders. 

Harry wasn't looking at Louis.  His eyes were locked solidly on his fingers as he lifted the cup to his mouth, taking small, timid sips of the hot tea, and as Louis stood at his bedside, he felt a sudden wave of dread falling over his shoulders.  He'd ruined everything, hadn't he?  He'd scared Harry off again, shooed him away to leave Louis in the dark once more...What had he done?

“You’re not going to run away from me again, are you?” Louis whispered, his face a little too sad as he blinked down at Harry, and Harry’s cheeks drowned of colour as his damp eyelashes clung, tracing dewy trails over his cheeks.  Louis knew the kiss back in the woods had probably been uncalled for; that it had mangled their relationship further than ever, but Harry couldn’t walk away from him now.  He couldn’t shut him out again; he couldn’t leave him like that again, because Louis had no idea what he would do if he did. 

“Are you?” he asked again softly when Harry didn’t answer, and he lowered himself down onto the mattress, his knee touching Harry’s hip.  Harry flinched, but Louis felt him leaning against his touch. He wasn’t sure how to feel about that; about Harry’s head telling him one thing but his heart and body telling him another.

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