29: North and News

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North and News

(20 days til' Christmas)

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AFTER A FEW hours Louis finally fell asleep, though his grip on Harry's hand never loosened, even in unconsciousness. Like even in his dreams he couldn't stop worrying, thinking, agonizing over what Harry could have possibly meant about his hometown.

Harry hadn't meant to cause him this much distress, but he figured the better the warning the better Louis might be able to prepare himself. Perhaps if he works himself up the entire way there, he'll arrive and realize it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be.

That was a fool's hope, Harry knew. Louis was going to hate the North Pole, understandably. He never should have brought him.

It's not that he didn't want him with. In a perfect world, he'd have probably brought Louis home a while ago. He'd have told him all about Gemma and Ed and their adventures growing up. He'd have bragged about being something of a teacher too, only to elflings instead of human children, and he mostly just taught them how to bake cookies. He would have insisted Louis bring his own mum along on a visit so that Jay and Anne could become close friends. They'd visit the North Pole all the time and Louis would be happy to be there, happy to celebrate Christmas with Harry, and totally indifferent to the fact that Harry was a half elf.

As soon as he thought these things, Harry frowned to himself. He didn't need all of that, really. He fell for Louis before he even knew a single thing about him, and the one quality that could have – should have – been a deal-breaker wasn't. Louis hates Christmas, hates it with everything he's got, and Harry doesn't care. If he had to spend the rest of his life celebrating Christmas on his own, out of Louis' way, he'd do it if it meant Louis was his for the rest of the year. He knew he would. He didn't need that perfect world because his was already perfect enough.

This is why he shouldn't have brought Louis along. Certainly there will come a time when Harry would have to bring his boyfriend home to meet his friends and family, but this shouldn't have been it. Not under these circumstances. But he was too worked up earlier to see that, to understand the potential repercussions of the decision he had made – all he knew in the moment was that he needed Louis there for him, just in case.

A lump formed in Harry's throat, and he tried swallowing it away. His mum would be fine. She must be. Ed would have told him if she was in a really bad condition. His mum. His poor mum. How could he have done this to her? Let her overwork herself like this just because he was too stubborn to go speak to the Elder Elves? He was a horrible son.

But maybe when she met Louis... Maybe when she saw who Harry has been spending all his time with, all his energy on... Maybe she'll understand. Forgive him. Harry had to believe that the woman who gave birth to him would have enough of him in her to see what he sees in Louis, to be just as charmed just as quickly.

Is that unfair, though? Unfair of Harry to hope of their first meeting? He's dragged Louis to a place he's going to hate, and now he's hoping that his presence will mostly just quell his mother's disappointment in him. To make him feel less guilty.

God. What has he done?

And worst of all is knowing that Louis is trapped there. He won't be able to leave. The express doesn't run every day; they won't be able to leave until the next time it runs, whenever that may be, and so what happens when Louis wants to leave? Which will happen. As much as he wanted to meet Harry's family, there's no way he could have known what he was about to get himself into – Harry never let on about anything involving the North Pole. Louis wouldn't have been able to guess.

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