ten

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Later in the evening, they cuddle up on the couch as they've been doing the past few nights.

Louis curls up and tucks himself into Harry's side, drawing his feet onto the couch and sighing happily when Harry places his arms around his shoulders, rubbing his arm comfortingly.

He can't stop thinking of the reaction of his coworkers earlier today.

If not now, when?

"Harry?"

"Yes, omega?" The way he says it is different from the way Louis usually hears it, the typical pejorative tone, the hint of disgust. The way Harry says the word omega is like a term of endearment, something soft and special, a name for someone he cares about.

"Are you... What are we doing?"

The question is vague but Harry understands what Louis is asking, if the way his hand stills from petting Louis' hair is any indication.

"Well. It depends on what you want."

"But- What do you want?"

Harry is quiet.

"Harry?"

"I want to be what you want me to be." A non-answer. Louis is about to reprimand him, but luckily he adds, "But also... I want to be something to you. Something more than a friend."

"Oh."

"Oh?"

"Okay."

"Okay as in you understand or okay as in you want that too?"

Louis has never been good at expressing his desires but right now there's something that might feel easy about it. They're not even facing each other which is for the best, because Louis can play with the edge of the blanket they're sharing and not worry about making eye contact, which is difficult in intimate situations.

"Okay as in I want that too."

"Like- can you define what you mean by that, because-"

"I want you to be my alpha," he says quietly. But his inner omega already knows, you're my alpha it would say.

"Oh."

Louis laughs, pulling himself up so he can look at Harry's face. He finds him grinning, looking kind of smug but mostly happy.

"You've been courting me," Louis acuses.

"I have," Harry agrees, not even trying to deny it.

His answer makes Louis laugh, feeling giddy. Harry shushes him by cupping his face in his hands, making his intentions very clear, and kissing him.

The long-awaited touch is indescribable, Louis finds. He gets lost in it, his hands finding their way to Harry's shoulders, clinging to him. He melts into the feeling, turning pliant, letting Harry hold up his weight and lead the kiss and be as dominant as he wants because this is their dynamic, this is what they're meant to do, and everything feels right, for once in his life he feels whole.

Not whole like he was missing some piece of himself but whole like he doesn't feel alone anymore, even with just a simple kiss.

Immediately upon detaching their lips to come up for air, he asks, "Will you stay over tonight?"

Harry raises his eyebrows, surprised and suspicious. He puts a little more space between their mouths but Louis revolts by kissing his cheek, and then his jaw, boldly.

"Not for- Just staying here. Sleeping."

"Is that a good idea?" With your heat, he means. Your ghost of a heat.

"Don't question me."

"Alright."

"What is that a yes to?"

"Everything. Whatever you want." Harry grins at him and kisses him again, hard.

It does something to Louis, the way Harry pries his lips open, licks his tongue in, claims his mouth. He can feel himself getting turned on, can smell his scent becoming thicker in the air, and he wants to let it go on forever and ever because Harry's touch feels so good, but he knows it's not a good idea, so he jokingly pushes him away and pulls him up off the couch, down the hall, to his bedroom.

"No funny business."

"No funny business," Harry agrees in confirmation, smiling at Louis like he's just happy to have him, to be with him.

It's crazy, how Louis was confused and a little bit stressed before, but everything fell into place so easily. He tells Harry this as they're getting into bed, trying to gauge which position will be best to sleep in. They end up facing each other, Louis with his face tucked into Harry's broad chest, after having decided it would probably lead to... other activities... if they tried spooning for the night.

Louis can smell Harry's arousal but it isn't oppressive, just a constant hum in the background amidst the other comforting emotions radiating from his alpha fragrance. Mostly, he feels safe, protected, cared for. Liked, a whole lot.

"Hey, Louis?"

"Yes, Harry?"

"I have something to tell you."

"What 's it?" Voice laden with sleep.

"I've liked you for a while. Like, ever since we first met. Last year. When Liam introduced us."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. Could only think about how you were mine, how much I wanted you to be mine."

Louis sighs happily, his inner omega finally at peace now with an alpha's arms wrapped around him, keeping him safe, promising him something satisfying and wonderful, the peace of knowing eventually he'll have love.

"I didn't mean to keep it from you, but I didn't know how to tell you."

"I forgive you," Louis mumbles, mostly joking because there's really nothing to forgive him for, anyways.

In his sleepy haze he feels so comfortable, so warm, so happy.

"Do you feel better? Does your stomach still hurt?"

He shakes his head, snuggling closer. Being with Harry seems to satisfy his soft heat, his inner omega preening at the attention, finally sated. His stomach no longer hurts, and he feels pleasantly warm rather than his usually shivering shakiness, and the general sadness of common distance from others in his life, the lack of physical touch, has finally dissipated.

"I love how comfortable it feels, having you like this," Louis whispers into his chest. He means it. It feels like fate, like destiny, like something written by the stars. They were meant to find each other.

Harry pulls him closer in agreement, eliminating the space between their bodies.

They fall asleep like that.

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