26: Causes and Cures

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C H A P T E R    T W E N T Y S I X

Causes and Cures

(23 days til' Christmas)



Louis tossed his jacket over one of Liam's outstretched arms, stepping around him and into his apartment. He felt Harry on his heels, heard him mumble an apology on Louis' behalf and hand over his own jacket.

"When'd you get back?" Liam asked, unfazed. He shut the door behind them.

"Like half an hour ago," Harry told him; Louis was already in the kitchen, reaching for the fridge to get himself a beer.

"We came straight here," Louis added. "Feel blessed."

"I don't know if that's the word I'd use," Zayn chimed in from the same spot on the living room sofa where he always is. "But happy to have you. If only so that we can get these songs finished and move on from them. Jesus Christ, we're going on, what? Four nights now?"

"Tonight's the night," Niall agreed, raising his own beer bottle into the air with a tip of his head. "We should go out after."

Louis handed Harry a beer and led him into the living room, squeezing beside Zayn so that there was room on his other side. Harry was warm next to him - he was always warm, actually. Which was nice, because Louis was always so bloody cold.

"I'll have to take a rain check," Harry said once they were sitting, offering Niall an apologetic smile. "I've got plans in the morning. Need my sleep."

"You had all weekend to sleep," Zayn raised a brow. "Unless you did other things instead."

"Buzz off," Louis butt in, the back of his neck heating up. He hoped it wouldn't travel to his face unnecessarily. "We were in my childhood home with children around every corner and my mum. Who do you think I am?"

Niall snickered, and Zayn rolled his eyes, but the little smirk on his lips kept Louis on edge for at least a solid five more minutes before the reminder that Harry was going to be busy in the morning finally distracted him. He already knew about this, but he supposed he made himself forget. Normally when Harry doesn't work in the mornings he spends the night. It'll be the first time in a while that won't be the case.

And Louis gets it, he really does. He'd have joined Harry were it not for the circumstances. Also if he had been invited.

"So, how was your weekend off?" Zayn asked, leaning forward to catch Harry's gaze. "Harry, was Lou's family all you hoped it would be?"

"Even better. And nobody shit on my lap this time, so that's a win in my book."

Louis smiled at the memory. "Are you implying that if Niall shits in your lap one night you'll lose the desire to join us every night we get together?"

Falling into the recliner across from them, Niall scrunched his brow. "Hey. I've never shit in anyone's lap."

"You've come close," Louis reminded him.

There was a pause while everyone thought on this, and it seemed to click for Niall and Zayn simultaneously. Niall's lips tightened, and Zayn barked a quick laugh before clarifying. "Are you talking about that night in Manchester when the vodka gave him gas? Like, violent gas?"

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