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We Both Got Nothing to Hide

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Louis

“Oi! What do you want, Tommo?” 

Louis’ head snapped up as he heard the voice of the familiar Alpha being directed at him, grinning over at the brunette man. He pointed down at his half pint glass, indicating he wanted the same again, and it seemed like Niall had understood, as he turned back to the barman, gesturing with his hands as he waited for their order. He shut down the text conversation he’d been having with his little sister and shoved the phone away, intending to get fully plastered. It wasn’t often he truly let himself go on a night out, but after a completely shit week at Uni, it was all he wanted. 

He let his eyes wander around the room for a moment. Zayn was busy placing a bet with some unknown person across the room, the tall pool cue resting against his hips as he laid what looked like a fiver down. Louis was a little surprised; Zayn hated losing money, so he was usually the last person to join in on things like that. Liam was watching from the sidelines, chatting to a blonde girl who Louis was sure was in one of Liam’s classes. Finally, he spotted Harry, who was wiping his hands down on his thighs as he emerged from the bathroom. Louis gulped, hating how his body responded to the mere sight of Harry, the Alpha he called his best friend.

Harry’s eyes found Louis’ across the room and he smiled softly, walking back over. The closer he got, the stronger Harry’s scent became, and Louis had to fight to not lose himself in it, the smell as enticing as ever, even above the smell of sweat and alcohol lingering around the room. Harry dragged the stool closer to Louis and sat down, his knee pressing against Louis’ outer thigh, making the Omega push into the touch ever so slightly, but hopefully not enough that Harry would notice he was aching for contact.

“Where’s everyone gone? Thought they wouldn’t leave you alone…”

Louis just rolled his eyes. “Hazza, I’m fine. I can take care of meself, you know that.”

Harry sighed, pushing a hand back through his hair, releasing a waft of pheromones in Louis’ direction, making Louis almost arch back in a desperate attempt to inhale all of it. “I know you can. I do, Lou. But I just … I care, okay? I just think- wait, where are you going?”

“Zayn is doing absolutely shit, I can see from here the lad can’t aim at all. I’m going to give him some pointers.”

He hopped down from his stool, well aware of an Alpha across the room watching as he sashayed his way to Zayn, making the other Omega laugh as Louis set his hands on his hips, leaning over Zayn’s back and whispering in his ear a few pointers. Zayn nodded and Louis took a step back, leaning against a nearby pillar as he watched Zayn take his advice on board, bringing the cue back and sliding it forward, the red ball heading straight into the pocket.

“Told you,” Louis smirked as Zayn walked past, slapping his ass as he did so.

“You’ve got his attention, Lou, ease up,” Zayn muttered, folding his arms as he watched his opponent take a shot, trying not to scoff as the other man missed by a mile. “Which one next?”

Louis pushed onto his tiptoes, surveying the table quickly and with a practised eye. “Go for the one by the top middle pocket. Easy pot, and it’ll leave him in a tough position for the next one.” Just as Zayn was about to walk away, Louis held his arm, pulling him to a stop. “What did you mean?”

“I mean, Harry’s watching you, and he’s glaring at me.”

Zayn walked off and Louis smiled to himself, resetting his expression before he turned, peering over his shoulder and winking at Harry. It seemed, though, that the man Louis assumed to be an Alpha stood next to Harry thought the wink was aimed at him, judging by the way he was strutting over. Louis exhaled and plastered a smile on his face, looking coyly up at the man. He honestly wasn’t interested, but he quite liked the attention, however much he hated to admit it.

“Saw that,” the Alpha rumbled out as he closed in on Louis, an arm above Louis’ head as he looked down at him. “Think I’ve seen you here before?”

“What an original line,” Louis drawled dryly, smirking at the Alpha, well aware that he was inching closer. “But yeah, I’m in here a fair bit with my mates. Not sure I recognise you, though…”

“Well,” the Alpha started, bringing his head closer to Louis’ neck, which was just… no. There was only one Alpha Louis allowed near that part of him, and this man definitely wasn’t him. “I prefer the clubs in town. But my friends persuaded me down here tonight. Quite glad they did…”

“Is that right?”

“Yep. I’m Kieran, by the way. And you are?”

“Louis,” he said, looking over to where Zayn was calling him again. “Excuse me, my friend needs my help.”

He walked away, smiling at the Alpha as he headed for Zayn. They both pondered Zayn’s next shot for a moment until Louis decided, pointing at the ball he wanted Zayn to go for. He stepped away and saw Harry staring at him across the room. He smiled widely at him, but he noticed the smile Harry returned was quite tight, not meeting his green eyes as it usually did. He cleared his throat and headed back to where Kieran was still waiting for him, making it obvious he was checking out Louis’ body as he walked over. 

“Not a meat market, mate,” Louis said as he leaned back against the post, placing the sole of one shoe against it. “And, if I can be blunt, I’m not interested.”

“Bit sassy for an O, aren’t you?” the Alpha returned, his tone less than friendly. “You’re the one who winked at me, mate.

It was like Harry had a spider sense for when Louis was getting uncomfortable, because the next thing he knew, his best friend was at his side, Louis’ denim jacket in his hands. 

“I’m tired, Harold. Shall we?”

“We shall,” Harry agreed, holding open Louis’ jacket for him, letting him put it on, leaving the buttons down the front undone. “Sorry to interrupt you there, I’m Harry, nice to meet you.”

“Kieran. Is he yours?” The Alpha nodded his head in Louis’ direction, and Louis clenched his hands at his sides, hating when he was spoken about like he wasn’t right there in front of the other man. 

“Oh no,” Harry chuckled, shaking his head much to Louis’ amusement. “Believe me when I say the only person Louis belongs to is Louis. I’m just the best mate.”

“Not just the best mate,” Louis admonished, grinning wickedly at Harry before he carried on. “Flat mate, chef, cleaner....” Louis ticked each item off on his fingers, making Harry laugh, a blush appearing high on the Alpha’s cheeks. “Come on, you. I’ll go say bye to Zayn and Liam. Did you tell Niall we’re leaving?”

“Yeah, but he was too busy with what’s-her-face to care,” Harry said, following Louis as he pushed his way through the crowds, smiling at a few people he recognised. They hugged their friends goodbye and before Louis knew it, they were walking home, side by side. They lived on campus in one of the more palatial apartments on offer to third years, and Louis wasn’t sure he could describe how much he loved their little home. The paths back were lit by the orange streetlights dotted around, and although it was usually a bustling campus, it was quiet out tonight, Louis and Harry only encountering a few students as they took a brisk pace back, both feeling the cold. 

As always, Louis had forgotten his keys, so he followed Harry inside, rocking back on his heels as they waited for the lift. He knew they could walk, but he was tired, thank you very much. He leaned against Harry’s side when they stepped inside the metal box, which chugged slowly up to the third floor, opening with a loud squeal that made Louis wince slightly.

“You had a good night?”  Harry asked as he held open the door for Louis to walk past. Louis flicked on the lights of their hallway as he nodded, kicking off his shoes by the door. He’d worn them too many times inside and been told off too many times by Harry to not remember now. “Do you think there’s any chance Zayn will ever get better at pool?”

“No,” Louis laughed, handing Harry his jacket to hang up. “You want a cuppa?”

“In a sec,” Harry said, coming to stand behind Louis. “First of all … cuddle?”

“Well, I suppose I could allow it,” Louis teased, hurrying into Harry’s waiting arms. He buried his face against the black Pink Floyd t-shirt Harry had worn all night, subtly inhaling the Alpha’s comforting scent. It was something Louis had noticed about the new Alpha when he’d met him, only second to his green eyes. It was so visceral to Louis it had shocked him the first time he had smelt it. He’d been around Alphas his whole life, having attended a mixed gender school, but nothing had ever affected him like Harry’s scent had. Right in the middle of the orientation talk, Louis had found himself drifting away from the group of Omegas he was standing with, seeking out the Alpha who was emitting the most glorious scent; sandalwood, mixed with a hint of honey, and something else Louis couldn’t quite identify at the time. Later, he’d realise it was roses, the sweetest topnote to Harry’s scent, which was the one that had truly hooked him in. 

Now, that scent meant several things to Louis. It was safety. Comfort. it was home. Louis could feel Harry’s head dip down to the curve of Louis’ neck, nudging his nose just at the side of it, pressing ever so slightly.

“Can I …” Harry asked, always keen to gain Louis’ permission before he scented him. Louis had never been an Omega that particularly enjoyed giving in to his Omega tendencies, but with Harry, everything felt different. “Lou?”

“Mm hmm,” Louis nodded, feeling hazy under Harry’s scent, which only intensified as Harry began to scent him. Louis felt himself completely relax as Harry nuzzled into his neck, rubbing gently, leaving his scent all over Louis’ body, occasionally burying his nose against Louis’ scent gland, inhaling deeply too. It wasn’t something Louis ever consciously wanted, but each time Harry did this to him, Louis couldn’t for the life of him remember why they didn’t do this all the time. Harry always had more of a need to do this when they’d been out, especially if Louis had been talking to other Alphas, and somehow, it comforted Louis when they were back home to smell like Harry. To smell like home. Trouble is, as comforting as Harry’s cuddles were to Louis, they had another less wanted effect on Louis. He wriggled in Harry’s hold slightly, feeling himself start to get slick, his boxers beginning to dampen. This was one of the things Louis found most frustrating about being an Omega; the lack of control over his basic bodily functions. “Hazza… enough, babe.”

He felt Harry scent him a little more before he quickly kitten licked over Louis’ scent gland and pulled off, grinning at Louis. His green eyes were a little glazed, telling Louis he’d gotten a little too deep into it, but Louis couldn’t bring himself to mind. The boundaries between himself and Harry were tenuous at the best of times, and he knew Harry only had pure intentions towards him. He was the only Alpha in the whole world Louis trusted without second thought. 

“Sorry. You just … you smell good tonight.”

“And I don’t every night?” Louis teased, poking Harry’s flat belly through his t-shirt, making the Alpha let out a very unmanly squeal. “Rude. Anyway, do you want that cuppa now?”

“Uh, yeah, please,” Harry said, already heading off to his bedroom, his t-shirt up and over his head before he stepped, emerging again a second later. “I think I’ll have a shower first, though. You could do it and pick something for us to watch on telly after?”

Louis pondered that for a moment before he realised he had a really early class, and if he started watching telly with Harry, he’d be awake far longer than he intended to be.

“Actually, I’m gonna have an early one. Got acting class in the morning, and you know Alistair will go nuts if I’m late again.”

Louis didn’t miss how Harry’s shoulders sagged at his suggestion, but he nodded as he tugged his curls back and into a loose bun at the back of his head. 

“Alright, Lou. Don’t worry about the tea-”

“Nah, I fancy one, so I’ll leave it on your bedside table. Have a nice shower.”

“You’re the best,” Harry called, walking away from Louis. All Louis heard was the click of the bathroom door shutting, smiling when he realised Harry hadn’t locked it after him. He walked into the kitchen and set about making the cups of tea, stealing a couple of the shortbread biscuits Harry had made the previous day while he was waiting for the kettle to boil. He laughed quietly when he heard Harry singing away to himself in the shower, some old song that Louis didn’t recognise but he still listened intently, captivated by Harry’s beautiful voice.

When the drinks were made, Louis picked them up and walked carefully to Harry’s room, nudging the door open with his foot. It was dark but Louis knew the room well enough by now and headed to the bedside table, setting the cup down on the coaster Harry usually had waiting. Louis took a deep inhale as he stood up, surveying Harry’s private space for a moment. His scent was the strongest in here, lingering on everything Harry owned, and Louis loved it. They spent most of their time in the main living areas where their scents were usually mingled together, but occasionally, they’d curl up on Harry’s bed, on top of the covers and watch something on Netflix until Louis felt overwhelmed and found an excuse to leave. 

Just as he was about to head off to his own room, Louis spotted the pile of clothes Harry had left at the foot of the bed. It was what he’d been wearing most of the day, and Louis couldn’t help himself. By now, it was almost an impulse to rummage through Harry’s washing basket and find something, but this was even better. He snatched up the black t-shirt before he could think twice, and then rammed the rest of the clothes into Harry’s washing basket so he wouldn’t notice his t-shirt missing.

Louis heard the shower cut off and he bit down on his lip, knowing Harry would be out of there sooner rather than later. He tucked the t-shirt under his arm and hurried off, closing his bedroom quietly behind him as he slipped inside. The cup was getting a little hot so he put it down on the desk, admiring his room for a moment. It was Louis’ little haven, and he loved how perfect it was. People might have this misconception about Louis that he was a slob, or that he didn’t care much for cleanliness but that just wasn’t true. In his room, Louis liked things in order, and it was rare he allowed anyone to step inside his little sanctum. There was a very good reason for that, one which meant Harry was definitely not ever allowed inside.

Louis pressed play on his phone, starting up a gentle music playlist before he walked over to the huge built- in wardrobe, one of the things that had drawn Louis and Harry to this apartment when they’d been looking for somewhere to live for their final year. It was pretty much unheard of for an unbonded Alpha and Omega to live together on Campus, but Louis had never much cared for the rules, and, it appeared, neither had Harry. They’d been insistent when the housing officer had double and triple checked this was what they both wanted, that Louis wasn’t being coerced into it by the Alpha before Harry scoffed, muttering quietly about it more likely being the other way around. 

The wooden doors were opened slowly by Louis, and his chest filled with pride as he looked down at his pride and joy, the creation he was most proud of. His nest. He knew it wasn’t the norm these days for an Omega to have a nest unless they were pregnant with their Alpha’s pups, but Louis didn’t care. He’d always had a nest as a little Omega, and it was something that had stayed with him through to adulthood. This nest, though, was special. 

Louis dropped to his knees and brought Harry’s t-shirt up to his nose, taking a deep breath in. Harry’s scent flooded his nostrils, and Louis allowed himself to shudder, affected as always by the Alpha scent. His whole body relaxed as it was engulfed by Harry’s scent, and Louis smiled to himself, loving that he had this time alone to just completely allow himself to be an Omega. This was a side of him he refused to allow anyone to see, not even Harry. Nobody knew about his nest, and that was exactly how Louis liked it. It was his thing, purely for him and nobody else.

The nest was growing fairly rapidly at the moment, thanks to the items of Harry’s that Louis kept stealing to add it. Whenever he saw Harry leave something laying around in their apartment, he couldn’t help but pilfer it, sneaking off to his room to add it to the nest. The base was made up of a collection of the fluffiest, softest blankets Louis had been able to find, adding to it whenever he saw one in a shop he was unable to resist. Even then, he always tried to get Harry to scent it in some ways, leaving the Alpha quite confused at times, but as always indulging Louis in his quirks. 

Louis spread out the t-shirt across the edge of his nest, smoothing it out, feeling the soft fabric under his hands. There was something he loved about having Harry’s things so close to him, and worked quietly for a few minutes, tucking the sides under a few other things of Harry’s, including a blue hoodie that Louis absolutely adored, another few t-shirts, and even a pair of pyjama trousers Louis loved on Harry’s long legs. He stood up, admiring how cosy it looked, and he just let him sniff the air gently, admiring how much it smelt of his Alpha best friend. 

He froze when there was a knock at the door, and he slowly crept out of the wardrobe, pushing the door closed slightly. He swallowed down the lump in his throat, grateful that Harry was the sort of Alpha who respected his boundaries and didn’t just burst into Louis’ room.

“Yeah, Haz?”

“Just wanted to say goodnight, love. I’m going to bed. You need anything?”

“Nah, you’re alright. Sleep well, Hazza.”

“You too, Lou,” Harry called, and Louis stood still, listening as he heard Harry walk away, his bedroom door eventually closing. Louis released the breath he didn’t realise he was holding, and walked back to his nest, admiring it again. It was a feat of pride for the Omega, and Louis felt glad for a moment he allowed himself this private thing, this thing which brought him so much joy and comfort. 

He reached in and snatched up one of Harry’s shirts that was draped over the edge of his nest and tucked it under his arm before he shut the doors, leaving the nest for the night. He sometimes slept in it when he was feeling particularly vulnerable, but he wasn’t quite there tonight. He retired to bed, trying not to think about his roommate just down the hall, laying in his bed, alone. Louis often had this longing to retire to bed with Harry, to allow himself to be cuddled to sleep by the Alpha but he couldn’t. But Louis had a sinking feeling that if he allowed himself that, he wouldn’t be able to stop, that he’d want more. And there was no way he could risk his friendship with Harry because of his gender, and his often uncontrollable Omega urges.

His friendship with Harry meant too much to him for that, and Louis sighed, pulling off his clothes before he snuggled his own covers, a navy star patterned duvet cover that Harry had bought Louis for his last birthday, knowing the Omega loved the softest things around him. Louis had almost cried when he’d first put it on his bed, sinking into the Egyptian cotton, wrapping it tightly around his small body. In lieu of having the Alpha’s body next to him, Louis bunched up Harry’s stolen shirt and clutched it to his chest, much like a child would do with a teddy bear. He allowed his face to dip down, nuzzling into the fabric of Harry’s shirt, breathing in, letting the smell fill his lungs. 

With a deep, contented sigh that left Louis feeling relaxed and at peace, he shut his eyes and willed sleep to come. As always, it took a little while, Louis’ brain always whirring at a million miles an hour, but Harry’s scent, albeit slightly faded, was enough to lull Louis’ brain into a sense of peace. With that, he fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.

 

Harry

Harry reached out, slamming his hand down on top of the alarm clock his sister had bought him when he’d started university, knowing the mere alarm from his iPhone wasn’t enough to stir him from his slumber. This alarm clock had a hideous beeping sound that never failed to startle Harry out of sleep, interrupting whatever pleasant dream he was having, but still, that was the point of it, and Harry was often grateful for its existence when he watched other students get called out for being late to lectures or classes. 

“Fuck sakes, stupid time to start a shift,” he muttered, throwing off the covers. He knew if he kept covered up and warm that he’d just doze back off and would probably lose his job, the job that allowed him to have a bit of a social life. With a groan, he sat up and looked around, noticing that the sun was already peeking through the sliver where his curtains hadn’t quite met, and before he could think twice, Harry reached up and ripped them apart, flooding the room with brilliant sunlight. 

It was the catalyst Harry needed to get moving, and he got to his feet, stretching his arms up tall, his fingertips not too far from grazing the ceiling now. Harry made a conscious effort to ignore the morning wood in his boxers, knowing if he went down that road, he’d most certainly be late. He’d always been an Alpha who had enjoyed masturbating, and having the Omega of his dreams just down the hallway did nothing to pacify that want and need, leaving him half hard more often than not. Harry, though, always held back, knowing his Omega best friend didn’t see him in that way at all, much to his chagrin.

He stumbled blearily around his room, changing his boxers and pulling a pair of trousers up his legs, balancing against his desk for fear of falling over if he attempted to stay upright without any support. He yanked any old t-shirt out of his drawer and looked around for his favourite blue hoodie, frowning when he saw no sight of it. He rummaged through all of his drawers and his wardrobe but it was to no avail. The hoodie was nowhere to be seen. 

He grabbed a black one from his wardrobe and pulled it on before he stomped out of his room, phone in his hand as his fingers flew across the screen, texting Liam to see if he’d left it there the last time they’d had a boys night in. As expected, Liam was already up and about, replying almost instantly. Harry shoved a piece of toast in his mouth as he read the text, his heart falling as Liam said the hoodie definitely wasn’t there because he’d had a big tidy up the day before. 

“Harry?”

Harry whirled around, turning to see a very sleepy looking Louis standing there, rubbing tiredly at his eyes. He could feel himself staring but it was hard to look away, not when Louis looked like this. Harry just wanted to rush over and scoop him up into his arms, to scent him all over, to kiss him, hug him, take him to bed…

“Harry, I didn’t know you’re working?”

It was Louis walking over and snaking his arms around Harry’s waist that brought him out of his daze, leaning down to kiss the crown of Louis’ head as the Omega rested against his body. Louis’ scent was overriding everything else in the room… the strong coffee Harry had made for his flask to take to work, the toast still sitting on the side. Harry felt slightly dizzy as Louis’ soft and sleepy body radiated his scent in waves, inhaling as subtly as he could.

As always, it was the fresh scent of mint that hit him first. He’d not found an Omega before who had smelt so boldly and he loved it. The mint part of Louis’ scent wasn’t strong as such, but it hooked Harry in every single time, and it had been that way since the day he’d met Louis. Harry smelt a little deeper then and caught a whiff of honey, the soft sweetness that followed Louis around, the one he knew other Alphas smelt whenever Louis was out and about. But it was the next scent, the final one that usually only Harry got to smell that drove Harry wild.

He could feel himself stirring in his boxers as Louis relaxed further, sinking easily into Harry’s embrace. Harry hadn’t popped a knot in too long, often too tired to wank when he got home, and right now, his body was craving the warmth of Louis, and it was all Harry could do to stop visualising how it would feel to bury himself in Louis’ body, to knot him and make Louis slicker than he’d ever been. 

Harry gave in to one of his desires, leaning down to scent Louis. Although Louis smelt of himself, Harry felt a primal need to make Louis smell of him before he left, in case any Alphas came into their apartment. They’d know Louis had an Alpha (of sorts) and it settled Harry’s jealous inner Alpha and calmed him. He pulled away, slightly embarrassed at his actions, but it was Louis that held him in place, pulling Harry’s face back down to his neck.

“S’okay, Harry,” he mumbled, tilting his head to the side to give Harry more room to scent him. Harry loved when Louis was all pliant like this and he just let his Alpha take over, taking in as much of Louis’ scent as he could before he reluctantly pulled away, kissing Louis’ forehead gently. “You going now?”

“I probably should,” Harry said, stepping away to decant his coffee from the mug into his flask, tightening the top as Louis watched on, leaning against the counter. “Actually, Lou, have you seen my hoodie?”

“Which one?”

“The blue one Mum got me last year when we went home for Easter? It had the sheep motif on the front.”

He looked up at Louis as he carefully put the flask into his backpack, not missing how Louis’ face had gone slightly pink. 

“No idea. You’re the tidy one around here. Did you leave it at Liam’s?”

“I already asked him, he said no,” Harry answered, zipping up the front of the black hoodie he’d had to wear anyway. “Could you check your room, make sure I didn’t put it in there by accident when I left your washing?”

“I will, but it’s not there,” Louis snapped, and Harry looked up, a bit surprised at Louis’ tone. He knew Louis had realised what he’d done because the Omega’s eyes fell to the floor, clearly embarrassed. “Sorry. I’m just tired… didn’t sleep well.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, Lou,” Harry said, wishing he had known so he could’ve helped. “If you wake up, you can always come in my room for a hug, you know.”

“I know. But I don’t want to ruin your sleep as well as mine,” Louis said, his voice still low and husky. “Anyway, have a good morning.”

“You too, love,” Harry said, hugging Louis again quickly. “If you come by about eleven, I’ll be ready for my break.”

Louis nodded and he stood at the door as Harry walked away, only pushing his headphones into his ears when he was out of sight of Louis. The walk to the campus bookshop where he worked part-time for some spare cash wasn’t too far away from where he lived, and Harry enjoyed the burst of fresh air he got as he strolled, his favourite music pumping away in his ears. He passed the odd Alpha jogging, Omegas on their way to work or class, Betas chatting with their friends. He enjoyed being at a mixed-gender University, and Harry valued all of the friendships he had, preferring to make friends with people based more on their personality than their gender.

“Morning, Harold,” Liam called as Harry approached the entrance to the shop, the Beta already there and leaning against the door, arms folded across his chest. “I thought you’d be here earlier since you were texting me at just gone six.”

“Lou woke up so we had a chat before I left,” Harry said, tucking his earphones away in his bag for later on. “I didn’t know you were on this morning?”

“Rob called me late last night, said Lily wasn’t well and asked if I’d cover. You know me, any chance for some extra cash.”

“Nothing to do with that Omega that keeps popping in whenever she knows you’re on shift then?” Harry teased, laughing when he saw Liam blushing. He pulled the shop key out of his bag and let them both in, flipping the closed sign to open, even though it would probably be an hour or so before the first student wandered in, seeking out a book. “You want a tea or anything?”

“Yeah, please. I’ll go and grab the delivery pallets from out the back while you do and sort out the till?” Liam replied, and Harry just nodded. He did enjoy working with Liam. The Beta had a good work ethic, always diligent with whatever work he did, and Harry used his big muscles to his advantage, leaving Liam to haul in the heavy boxes of books he knew would be waiting in the backroom to be put out. Harry went into the office and busied himself reading through the notes their boss, Rob, had left him, detailing the things he wanted to be done through the day. He drew a rough circle around the things he intended to complete and headed to the little kitchenette, filling the kettle.

A few minutes later, he was out on the shop floor with Liam, watching the Beta’s muscles bulge as he rested the final box on top of the pile, wiping the sweat away on the back of his hand. When Harry had first met Liam at the bookshop, he’d been convinced the man with the soft brown eyes had been an Alpha. When Liam had revealed himself to be a Beta, Harry realised that maybe he shouldn’t be assuming people’s genders by their appearance, and it certainly opened his mind. He and Liam had connected straight away, and they’d been firm friends ever since. 

“Right, I’ll shelve that box of Science text books if you could make a start on the poetry ones?” Harry asked gently. He knew Liam didn’t mind taking direction from him in the slightest, but he still feared Liam assuming Harry was using his Alpha status to boss the Beta around. “I think Niall’s in this afternoon so we should definitely leave something for him to do. You know he's a pain when he’s bored.”

The last time Niall had been working alone in the book shop, he’d thrown caution to the wind and, instead of using the familiar alphabetical shelving system, he’d rearranged two entire sections of the shop by colour, creating colourful rainbows on the shelves. As beautiful as they’d looked, it had left students stumped until Rob had called in Harry, Liam and Niall for a late night overtime session to correct Niall’s mistake. It wasn’t something Harry was easily going to forget.

Harry and Liam worked quickly and quietly, making the most of having no customers to help until the student body began to trickle in, some alone, some in pairs. Harry found that some simply came to sit somewhere quiet for a while, whereas others, like Louis, came in purely to get what they needed before they legged it, as if being around books would rub off on him somehow and make him more clever than he wanted to be. Harry helped a few students find the latest books on their lists they’d been given, and took a good few pounds for the shop, handing over the paper bags with a cheeky smile, trying to ignore the Omegas who were blatantly taken by his scent.

It was a few hours later that Niall finally arrived, a good half an hour early for his shift. Harry had actually done a double take when the Irish man had arrived at the shop, and Niall had returned his stunned gaze with a middle finger, making Liam chuckle. Harry put down the books he was shelving and hugged Niall quickly, the Alphas slapping each other on the back as they did so.

“You’re bloody early,” Harry couldn’t resist commenting, watching as Niall went and sat on the stool behind the desk, rocking back and forth. “Did your class finish early?”

“Professor emailed, called off class,” Niall shrugged, reaching for one of the wrapped mints that were in a little dish on the counter. Harry watched as he unwrapped it and popped it in his mouth, screwing up the paper and leaving it on the counter before he saw Harry glaring and quickly pushed it into his pocket instead. “How’s things with you?”

“All good,” Harry replied, tugging a few books back to the front of the shelf. “Actually, did I leave my hoodie at yours, Niall?”

Niall just rolled his eyes before he replied. “Not again, Harry.”

“You’re right, Niall,” Liam chimed in, coming to stand with Niall, the pair giving Harry an amusing glance. “It’s not the first time you’ve asked us where your clothes are. Have you been sleeping around and leaving little souvenirs with your conquests?”

“That’s disgusting,” Harry said, wrinkling his nose at the idea of sleeping around, shaking his head. “Definitely not the case. I just … I guess I’m just forgetful or something? Maybe they’re at the gym …”

“It does amuse me you genuinely have no clue where your clothes are,” Niall chuckled, slinging an arm around Liam’s shoulder. “You sure you haven’t got a secret Omega who’s pilfering your stuff?”

“Pretty sure,” Harry shrugged, knowing the only Omega he had any interest in at all was Louis, not that either of his friends knew about that particular crush. “I dunno. Maybe I’ve dropped them or something?”

“You’ve lost too many things for it to be just you being useless,” Niall quipped, smiling at a customer who approached the till, a large text book in her hands. “Hello there, shall I take that for you?”

Harry stood on and watched in amusement as Niall flirted his way through the entire exchange, smiling at the Omega woman as she left, sighing as the door shut behind her. “Like her, did you?”

“She smelt nice, did you catch it, H?”

Harry nodded, entirely unbothered by the Omega’s scent. It certainly wasn’t a patch on Louis, never mind that she was a woman and therefore not of interest in the slightest. “She was alright.”

“Good job you haven’t got any spare clothes around to throw at her,” Niall teased, and Harry just smirked, shaking his head as Niall continued. “Here, Omega, take something of me. Sniff it while you go to sleep, I smell so goooooood….”

“Shut the fuck up, Niall,” Harry said, bringing in his Alpha voice, although he knew it had little effect on a fellow Alpha. “Not funny…”

“My pheromones are so manly, sniff it and you’ll want to carry my pups…”

“Right, that’s it-”

Harry launched himself at Niall, tugging him back off the stool and to the floor. The pair roughoused on the floor for a bit, rolling over and tickling, poking, prodding, whatever they could do to throw the other one off. Niall was quite insistent, and instead of completely trouncing him, Harry held back, letting his friend get the upper hand for a bit, laughing when Niall finally flipped him onto his back again, straddling Harry’s hips and punching the air in victory while Liam just shook his head.

There was a pain in his side, but Harry laid back, trying to catch his breath. Niall felt heavy on his hips, but Harry didn’t have the energy to move him. It was only when a shadow appeared behind Niall that he squinted, trying to make out a face.

“Harold, what the fuck are you doing now?”

He scrambled to get up, toppling Niall off him as Louis’ unamused face came into view, staring down at the pair of them. Niall let out a loud cackle at that, getting up and dusting himself off as Harry did the same, certain his cheeks were blazing out of embarrassment at Louis catching him like this.

“Uh, Lou … is it that time already?”

“It is,” Louis nodded, reaching up and tucking a piece of hair behind Harry’s ear. “I mean, unless you’re busy …”

“No! No way, nope. Niall’s here, so they’ll cope. Lads, I’ll be back in a bit.”

He didn’t meet the eyes of the other Alpha and Beta as he walked out behind Louis, holding the door open for him like a gentleman. Louis nodded his thanks and headed off, his backpack hanging from his shoulders. Harry knew from previous experience, though, that taking it from Louis was a big mistake. Louis was an independent Omega, and he didn’t like being made to feel like he was any lesser by an Alpha, not even Harry, and Harry was always keen to respect Louis’ boundaries. 

“Been up to much?”

“I made a start on an essay for Drama,” Louis said, smiling over to Harry. The sunshine was beating down on Harry’s shoulder, and he gulped as he watched Louis slip off his jumper, tying it around his slim waist, the sleeves dangling down his thighs. “I mean, after I went back to bed for a bit, of course. In your bed.” The glint in his eyes told Harry that Louis was trying to provoke a reaction for him, so he merely shrugged, not giving Louis what he wanted.

“Well, I do have a pretty bloody good mattress, so I don’t blame you,” he said, wishing he’d brought his sunglasses with him. “And you finish normal time?”

“Yep. You don’t have to-”

“I know I don’t, but I want to. I’ve only got a couple of hours left anyway.”

“Yeah, but then you’ve got that Economics class,” Louis said, his brow furrowing in concern. “I don’t want you to run yourself ragged for me.”

“I’m not, and will you stop worrying?” Harry admonished, putting his arm lightly around Louis’ shoulder, tugging their bodies together. “I’m fine, and you know I like making sure you get there safely. Just … pacify the Alpha part of me that wants to look after you, yeah?”

Louis shrugged, and they walked in silence until they approached the building where Louis had his dance class. He was doing a mixed Arts degree, which involved him dabbling in a little bit of all the arts bar any kind of drawing. He loved it, and Harry loved that, because he was Louis’ best friend, he often got previews of his work, whether it was a dance, a performance or a song. Louis didn’t seem to have many inhibitions when it came to performing in front of Harry, and quite often, that led Harry’s mind down a path he knew it shouldn’t be wandering down, often having to retreat to jerk off before Louis could catch him with a hard on.

“Oh Christ,” Louis mumbled as they turned the corner, seeing the gang of Alphas outside, waiting for their own class. “Why would the Uni set an Omega dance class at the same as this bunch of twats in the same building?”

“God knows,” Harry growled, instinctively pulling Louis closer. “I’m going to wait, though.”

As he’d expected, Louis didn’t deny Harry that. He knew that Louis got nervous when there were big groups of aggressive Alphas like this, and as much as Louis liked flirting with Alphas in a playful way, this was something different altogether. Harry could feel eyes fixated on the pair of them, and he hated in that moment that Louis wasn’t his Omega, that he couldn’t display his bond mark and show them Louis was off limits. There were things, though, that Harry could do for now, something to put them both at ease.

“Going to scent you,” he whispered, and he felt Louis’ head nod in agreement, letting his neck roll slightly to the side. Harry bent his head down and inhaled deeply at Louis’ scent gland, letting the smell wash over him. After a moment, he started nuzzling in, making sure his scent was all over Louis. They were body to body by now, and Harry felt Louis’ fists clutch at the waistband of his trousers, holding them together. “You okay?”

“Yeah,” Louis muttered, staying in Harry’s hold. It felt like no time at all had passed before the door flung open, and the Omegas from Louis’ class started filtering in. Harry was reluctant to let Louis go, but he did, making sure he pressed a quick kiss to his cheek. “Thank you.”

“Anytime,” Harry replied, smiling softly at the Omega. He pulled away, hoping Louis hadn’t felt how affected Louis had made him, how hard he was in his jeans right now. He stood back and watched as Louis walked inside, hitching his bag up and ignoring a few comments that Harry couldn’t quite catch, making him angry, his fists clenched at his sides. He knew the Alphas would be able to smell Harry’s presence on Louis, but it just seemed like they didn’t care, or were goading Harry into a reaction.

The door closed and Harry breathed a sigh of relief, knowing Louis was probably safely tucked away in class now. He turned and walked away, shoving his hands in his pockets when he heard the group of Alphas laugh loudly, one of them pointing at him. 

Harry spun around and growled lowly at them, not sure if they could hear but it didn’t matter. He knew when he drew himself up to his full height that he looked intimidating, and he didn’t stop glaring until the other Alphas turned away, paying him no further attention. Louis was safe, and that was all Harry needed to know.

He’s not yours, Harry reminded himself as he hurried back to the bookshop. Not your Omega, Harry.  

Harry shook his head, determined to get any and all thoughts of Louis as more than his best friend out of his mind. He took a deep breath and entered the building, intent on at least eating some of his salad before he was due back on the shop floor again. 

 

Louis

“Sure you don’t want me to come in?” Zayn asked, and Louis shook his head, trying to gather all the handles from the shopping bags up at once, save him coming back.

“Nah, you’re alright. Hazza should be home from class by now,” Louis replied, nudging the door shut with his hip. “Thanks for today! I had a lot of fun.”

“You’re welcome.” Zayn started the engine again, and Louis took a step back, shifting a couple of bags into his right hand so he could wave him off. “See you tomorrow?”

“Yeah, bye Z,” Louis called as Zayn drove away, tooting his horn. Zayn was the only one of the group who had a car, so he was the one who acted as chauffeur, particularly for Louis, who loathed walking anywhere. It was only Harry who could persuade Louis to walk to campus and back again, not that Louis would ever tell the Alpha as much. Louis turned and began walking back to the apartment building, struggling to open the door when another Alpha came out, holding the door open. Louis mumbled his thanks and didn’t make eye contact as he hurried in, calling for the lift.

Instead of trying to wriggle his key out of his too-tight jeans, Louis just elbowed at the door, making enough of a racket that he hoped Harry would answer. Just seconds later, his prayers were answered when the Alpha opened the door, frowning at the noise, but that quickly disappeared when he saw Louis stood there, laden down with bags.

“What’s with the racket, Lou?” Harry asked, coming forward and taking the shopping bags from Louis’ hands as the Omega slipped past him. Louis could already smell Harry’s sweet scent and he took a quick breath in, letting it settle over him and relax him. “Have fun?”

“Sorry, the bags were heavy, and I couldn’t get my key,” Louis replied as he hung up his jacket, letting Harry carry his bags in. “Yeah, Z and I had a great time. I spent too much money, but hey, you can’t take it with you!”

“Bit young to be thinking like that,” Harry laughed, setting the bags down on the end of the sofa. Louis turned and smiled at him in thanks, noting Harry’s tight shorts and tank top, meaning he’d probably been working out at some point. “I’m just watching telly, you can join me if you like.”

“Might do in a minute,” Louis said, rifling through the bags. His hands landed on one of the things he was so pleased to have bought, and he pulled it out, practically squealing with excitement as he rubbed it against his face, closing his eyes in sheer pleasure. He’d held back from expressing how much he loved his new purchase in front of Zayn, but with Harry, there was no hiding. “Look at this!”

Harry barely glanced back at him, so Louis took matters into his own hands. He ran over to where Harry was sitting on the sofa and launched himself into Harry’s lap, letting Harry’s hands clamp down on his hips, holding him down. He laughed as the Alpha pretended to be winded, and Louis held the new purchases between them, grinning and bouncing with excitement.

“Please don’t sit on me and bounce like that,” Harry pleaded, and Louis laughed, realising what the Alpha meant. He tried to push away all thoughts of what might be happening in Harry’s shorts right now, but couldn’t but bounce a couple more times, imagining how Harry’s knot would feel right now. “Louis, seriously.”

“Sorry. I was just excited to show you what I bought today! Ta daaaaaa.”

He nodded down to the blanket, bringing it up and rubbing it down Harry’s cheek for a moment, smirking to himself when he realised the action was covering the fibres in the Alpha’s scent. He studied Harry’s face, waiting for a reaction.

“Another blanket, Lou?” Harry exclaimed, chuckling in disbelief. “Seriously, I know you Omegas run a bit colder than us Alphas, but you must have enough to keep all of Manchester’s Omegas warm!”

“Well, sod you then!” Louis said, clambering off Harry’s lap, taking his blanket with him. “I got it because it was quite beautiful, and very soft… a cashmere blend, Harry. Do you like the colour?”

It was a soft duck egg blue, one Louis knew would look beautiful with the rest of the blankets in his nest, particularly the grey knitted one Harry had got him for Christmas. Already, he was itching to dive into his room and add it to the already large collection but he held back, preferring to spend some time with the Alpha.

“Sorry. It is beautiful, Lou. Can I have a proper feel?”

Louis ripped off the paper band holding it in its folding position, and shook it out before he handed it over to Harry, keen to let the Alpha touch as much of it as he could, to hopefully leave it dripping in his scent for later. That was the only irritating thing about buying new things for his nest. As soft and as comforting as they were, they didn’t smell like Harry, which was the primary need for Louis when it came to his nest. He often ended up watching TV in the middle of summer with a blanket over himself and Harry just to get it coated in the Alpha’s smell, or making Harry try on something new he’d bought just to make it smell like him. It was even more ludicrous that Harry never seemed to question these behaviours, and just went along with whatever Louis asked of him. 

“Ooh, I see why you like it. But do you prefer this to me?”

“Huh?” Louis looked questioningly at the Alpha, trying to understand what he meant.

“Well, all these blankets you need must mean I’m not doing a good job of taking of my- of taking care of you,” Harry said, clearing his throat quickly. “Need me to warm you up, hmm?”

“Oh fuck off,” Louis laughed, snatching the blanket back from Harry. He put his hands on his hips, trying to look like Harry had pissed him off but he knew he was way off the mark judging by the dopey grin on Harry’s face right now. “Don’t pull that superior Alpha body heat shit on me, Styles.”

“You love it,” Harry teased, trying to pull the blanket back out of Louis’ arms, making Louis just cling on even tighter. “Louis, come here, let me warm you up…”

“Bloody pig-headed Alphas,” Louis screeched, ducking away as Harry reached for his wrist. “I’m going to get changed. Make me a tea.”

“What’s the magic word?”

“Now,” Louis said loudly as he stomped off to his bedroom, hearing the Alpha chuckle behind him. He brought the blanket to his nose and sniffed, disappointed when the blanket smelt more of the shop than it did of Harry. He walked past Harry’s bedroom, pausing when he saw the door was open. He peeked inside, seeing Harry had already made his bed and he had a brainwave.

He went inside on his tiptoes, not wanting Harry to know what he was up to. He flipped back the duvet cover that was already nice and smooth, and he spread out his blanket across Harry’s sheet, making it so the Alpha wouldn’t notice until he was in bed and on top of it. He pulled the duvet back over it and left it as neatly as he could. It wasn’t as good as Harry’s job, but it would have to do. He smirked, realising what an ingenious idea it was. Before Harry would realise, the blanket would be doused in his scent, and then Louis could steal it back for his nest. It was a win-win, without a doubt.

As he went to leave, he spotted one of his favourite headscarves of Harry’s draped over the corner of his mirror, no doubt having been used earlier in the day. Louis bit his lip, mulling over his decision for a moment before he decided to just take it. It was almost out of his reach, and Louis pushed onto his tiptoes, nearly stumbling as he hooked it onto his index finger, bringing it down and into his greedy palms. Louis took a strong breath of it, closing his eyes as the scent was more intense than he’d imagined, and he shook his head, snapping himself out of it.

He crept back to his room, closing the door behind him and putting some music on so Harry wouldn't bother him for a moment. He set the scarf onto his bedside table and changed out of his clothes, slipping on some comfy joggers and a baggy t-shirt, mussing up his hair out of its stiff quiff. He looked over his reflection in the mirror before he grabbed the stolen headscarf and walked over to the wardrobe, opening the doors. His nest looked as perfect as ever, and Louis didn’t hesitate to clamber inside, curling up for a moment. He felt tired, and Harry’s smell surrounding him did nothing to deter his body from wanting to nap, but he pushed that away. 

Louis sat up, crossing his legs as he looked for the perfect place to put the headscarf. It was only a tiny item, but being so heavily doused in Harry’s scent meant it was a key one, one that Louis would need close by when he wanted to be calm in his nest. He spotted a little corner near where he’d created a pillow of sorts out of some blankets, and he knelt forward, tugging it across the corner of the pillow. He fiddled with it for a few minutes, making sure the ends were tucked out of sight, nodding proudly when it was done.

He couldn’t resist giving it a try and laid down on his side, making sure his face was pressed up against the new item. Louis shut his eyes and took in a few deep breaths, feeling Harry’s scent roll over him. He felt more relaxed than he had in a while. It was only when Harry yelled out that his tea was ready that Louis groaned, getting himself up very reluctantly. He switched off the light and closed the doors, leaving his next behind as he walked out to the sitting room, seeing his favourite mug on the table full of tea, a small plate of biscuits next to it. 

“You’re gonna make me fat,” Louis grumbled as he reached for a biscuit, nibbling on the edge. “But thank you, love.”

“I prefer the term curvy,” Harry said, setting back on the sofa and pulling Louis into his side. “And you couldn’t get fat if you tried. You’re a dancer, Lou. Besides, I prefer curvy Omegas. Stick thin ones don’t do anything for most Alphas, trust me.”

“If you say so,” Louis said, shoving the remainder of the biscuit into his mouth. “What are you doing?”

“You smell … like me?”

Louis froze, swallowing down the lump of biscuit in his mouth before he said anything more. “Do I?”

“Yeah. I mean, I like it, it's fine but it's weird because you just got in … we haven’t been hugging long enough for my scent to be so heavy on you.”

Louis knew it was because of the nest, but he shrugged it off again, wriggling out of Harry’s arms to reach for his tea. “I, uh, think I wore this top last time we had a cuddle. Must be that.”

“Yeah, must be,” Harry mused, letting Louis settle back into his side. “Thought we’d order takeaway for tea. I can’t be bothered to cook, and it’s payday tomorrow. My treat.”

Louis just smiled to himself, wondering how he managed to land an Alpha like Harry for his best friend. An Alpha who saw him as more than just an Omega, but as an actual human being he genuinely cared for and wanted to spend time with. He turned his head and pressed a kiss to Harry’s shoulder. “Thanks, love. Sounds perfect.”

*****

Later that night, Louis pushed onto his tiptoes and wrapped his arms around Harry’s neck, pulling him down into a hug. Harry laughed and went easily, hugging Louis back tightly.

“Sleep well, yeah? Remember, if you wake up, come find me. I don’t mind a midnight cuddle.”

“Will do,” Louis replied, knowing he would never do such a thing. If he got into bed with Harry, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to hold back from touching him, kissing him, doing more than he was sure Harry wanted from him in any way.  He stood and watched as the Alpha went to his room, shutting his door behind him. Louis turned on his heel and headed for his own room, bypassing the lightswitch on the wall in favour of his lamp, the light much more gentle on Louis’ tired eyes.

He changed into his pyjamas and shoved his comfy clothes in the hamper, well aware they needed a wash by now. He turned on the fairy lights that were woven through the headboard of his bed. He’d had them when he lived at home, thanks to his little sister giving him a set when she upgraded hers, and Louis had loved them so much he’d bought some for his room at Uni as well. He hadn’t even told Harry he had them, but he wasn’t entirely sure why he was hiding them. 

He opened the door to the cupboard where his nest was and opened it, inhaling deeply as Harry’s scent immediately started to seep out. He looked down at where he’d left the headscarf earlier on and crouched down, running his fingertips across the soft cotton. Louis could picture in his mind all the times he’d seen Harry wear it around the apartment, and he nuzzled it against his cheek for a moment before he laid it back down in its place. He was feeling more heady than usual, and Harry’s scent somehow felt more potent.

Before he could do something like climb into his nest and fall asleep, Louis got back to his feet and walked away, heading for bed. He didn’t feel sleepy just yet, but the way Harry’s scent had affected him made Louis need to lay down and just rest for a while. His bedding - the most expensive and softest kind you could buy - was relaxing, and he stared up at the ceiling, his mind drifting, as it often did, to Harry.

The Alpha was just down the hallway, and sometimes that thought drove Louis crazy. Louis was on suppressants that pushed away his more primal urges and limited his heats to a few times a year, but he was still an Omega that had a deep crush on an Alpha who lived right in his proximity. It was with those thoughts about Harry whirring through his mind that Louis found himself subconsciously sneaking a hand down under the covers, pressing against his crotch. He wasn’t hard yet, but he was well on the way to being so.

He closed his eyes as he began to rhythmically rock his hand back and forth, trying to keep his moans to a minimum. He knew Harry didn’t have superhuman hearing, but the thought of the Alpha hearing him get himself off was one that left Louis feeling very conflicted. On the one hand, the idea of Harry hearing him and getting all worked up was something Louis liked to imagine. The thought that Harry would be turned on because of him, and might want to storm in Louis’ room and fuck him was the stuff of the Omega’s wet dreams.

But on the other hand, there was the fear. The fear that Harry would be disgusted by Louis using him in his thoughts, that he’d push the Omega away, and it would ruin their friendship. As much as Louis hoped and prayed that wasn’t the case,  he couldn’t push away the fear that it was and it was that which kept him quiet, muffling his moans into the pillow or letting the shower drown it out whenever he got himself off.

With a deep breath, Louis sighed and slipped his hand inside the waistband of his boxers, feeling all manner of things when he finally touched his own dick. His own hand was all Louis had ever known, but in a way he didn’t mind. He knew what he liked, and he let his mind run away with him as he worked his hand over himself. 

“Ah… Harry…”

Louis let his eyes close as waves of pleasure began to roll through his body. Louis wasn’t small, considering that was how many Omegas were stereotyped to be, and he worked his hand slowly, taking his time with it. Everything felt so good, he still felt slightly dizzy from Harry’s strong scent with his nest, and Louis just let it all consume him for a moment.

It was as his mind drifted off that Louis’ mind became filled with thoughts of the Alpha again. Louis remembered that he’d stowed his blanket in Harry’s bed, and the thought of Harry scenting it, possibly touching himself on top of it was a lot, and Louis moaned, thumbing across the head, hissing at the strong sensation it evoked in him. He couldn’t wait to get that blanket back and wrap himself in it, to imagine it was the Alpha’s arms around him, kissing him, touching him…

Louis knew he was close now. His body felt tense with a desperate need to release, and he knew he was soaking the sheets underneath him with slick, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. Harry was invading every inch of his senses, and Louis felt himself getting lost further, imagining Harry burying his face in Louis’ neck, scenting him as he moved inside him, taking Louis as his own. The thought of bonding with Harry made Louis’ fist fly harder and faster over himself, and with his other hand, he teased himself where he was slick, letting out a low groan as he slipped a finger into himself.

He let his hips rock down on his finger as Louis bit down hard on his lip, his mind like a constant whirr of images of himself and Harry, the Alpha taking Louis apart until he was crying with a desperate need to come, to be full of Harry and his pups. It was that thought that had Louis gasping, pushing a second finger in as his body responded with more slick, Harry’s name falling from Louis’ lips again and again. He came hard as he pictured the moment Harry would bite into his neck and make him belong to the Alpha, and he felt his body spasm around him, covering himself in come as he released a silent scream, spent and overwhelmed.

Louis lay there panting in his bed, in the mess he’d created as he came down, still shaking from the force of his orgasm. As always when it was over, the guilt flooded Louis’ system, and he hopped up, stripping the sheets off his bed as he ignored the trail of slick working its way down his inner thigh. He bundled up the dirty sheet and quickly fitted a new one, slipping into the bathroom when he was done and cleaning up the mess he’d left on himself.

When he was clean and feeling refreshed, Louis couldn’t resist opening the cupboard where his nest was and grabbing a shirt that was bunched up on the side. He needed calming down, and he knew surrounding himself in Harry’s scent would give him that. Minutes later, he was laid out on clean sheets, Harry’s shirt wrapped around him as Louis tried to shut his mind down, trying to relax. The guilty feelings were waning, but Louis knew that since it was the third time this had happened this week, he had to rein it in. He needed to try harder, and he needed to get over Harry, although how he could do that was still a complete mystery to the spent and sated Omega.

 

Harry

Harry could feel the unrest settling in his bones as he paced back and forth, waiting for the kettle to boil. A glance at the clock told him Louis was now fifteen minutes later, and for some reason, he was feeling it more than usual. Harry couldn’t quite pinpoint why he was feeling this way, but something prickled across the back of his neck as he gripped the edge of the worktop, taking in some slow and steady breaths to calm himself down.

It was twenty minutes later that the door finally opened, and Louis’ laughter filled their hallway. Harry sprang up from where he’d been sitting on the sofa, and he took big strides over to where Louis looked up in alarm, quickly ending his phone call just in time. Harry couldn’t help it. He grabbed the Omega’s hips and pushed him back against the wall, making Louis squeal out in alarm.

“Harry! Harry, stop-”

“You’re late,” he growled as his hips rested against Louis’ pinning him to the wall. “Where were you?”

“I was talking- Harry, that hurts- I was speaking to my professor! I didn’t understand the assignment, so I stayed to chat with her afterwards!”

“Then you should’ve text me,” Harry murmured, brushing his lips over Louis’ scent gland, loving how the Omega was radiating pheromones that were just driving him wild. “I was worried, Omega.”

“Sorry, Alpha,” Louis said, tilting his head to give Harry better access. Harry knew Louis how to deal with him when he was like this, and he felt the Omega relax as Harry scented him, slightly more aggressively than he usually would. “God, Harry-”

“Just … give me a minute, Omega,” Harry growled again, pressing a leg between Louis’. “Sorry, I-”

“Must be your rut time,” Louis remarked, his dainty hands resting on Harry’s broad shoulders as he allowed Harry to continue. “You’re only ever like this when it should be your rut. Handsy, too.”

Harry paused his ministrations for a minute, thinking to what time it was. Louis was probably right, now he thought about it. Harry had been on suppressants since he was sixteen, begging his Mum to take him to an Alpha doctor that could help him. He didn’t like how out of control his ruts made him feel, how aggressive and out of character he felt, and after several meetings with a doctor and a psychiatrist to make sure Harry understood what he was asking for, he was put onto Alpha suppressants, which would remove almost all of his rut symptoms.

Still, despite this, Harry would, every few months, experience symptoms like he was heading for a rut, and after years of friendship, Louis had learnt them to read them easily. Harry became more tactile, particularly with Louis, and he liked the Omega to stay around, to let him know where he was so Harry wouldn’t worry unnecessarily. Harry was grateful that Louis seemed fine with this, and consequently, he was the only person Harry felt comfortable around for those few days. Louis really was his safe place. 

“Must be. I’m sorry, Lou, I-”

“Don’t apologise, it’s instinct. Natural. You keep going, love.”

Harry did, until he was satisfied that the Omega was doused in his scent, so everyone would know Louis had an Alpha looking after him. Louis was a little bit wriggly in his arms, his body moving slightly under Harry’s but he paid it as little attention as he could. Louis was always a fidget, and apparently couldn’t stay still for more than a minute without needing to move. It wasn’t quite what Harry wanted, but it had to be enough. When he released Louis, Louis’ eyes fluttered open and he blushed, straightening out his shirt before he bent down, picking up his school bag and flinging it over his shoulder.

“I’ve got some school work to do but I can sit out here with you and do it, if you’d like me to?”

“I really would,” Harry grinned, leaning in to brush his lips against Louis’ cheek. This had nothing to do with his rut symptoms, it was simply something he liked to do, to show the Omega affection. “In return, I’ll make you some tea and toast?”

“Make it with Nutella and you’ve got a deal,” Louis grinned, laughing as he sauntered off up the corridor. Harry watched until Louis disappeared from view, his door closing quietly behind him. Harry turned on his heel and set about making Louis’ drink, feeling far more at peace now Louis was back in their apartment and safe. He knew Louis didn’t think of him in a negative way because of how needy and possessive he was being right now, and it settled something inside him as Louis appeared, dressed in some joggers and one of Harry’s hoodies. “Hope you don’t mind? It was on your bed…”

“You know I don’t,” Harry muttered as he finished making the tea, presenting Louis’ to him with a flourish that made the Omega giggle. “I’ll just do the toast. Go and sit down, Lou. I’ll be quiet, I know you’re working.”

“Ah, you’re fine. You know I don’t like it too silent when I work.”

Harry did know that, and he returned to the living room to find Louis spread out on one end of the sofa, socked feet tucked up underneath him, his phone in his hand. The Omega looked up as he heard Harry enter and gave Harry a dazzling smile that sent a shiver down Harry’s spine.

“Sorry, I just-”

As he sat, he yanked Louis across and pulled him straight into his lap, arms encircling Louis’ small waist. Harry’s hand laid flat on it at first, letting his mind drift to thoughts of that tummy one day being the home of his pup as Louis flicked through the television channels, cosying back against Harry’s body.

“This okay?” Harry muttered, and he smiled into Louis’ hair as the Omega smiled, staying quiet. “Thank you. For indulging me.”

“S’okay,” Louis said after a while, a hand resting on Harry’s thigh. “I don’t mind. You know I’m a cuddler.”

Harry pressed a kiss to the back of Louis’ hair, taking a moment to inhale his scent. His hand slipped under the hoodie Louis was wearing, freezing for a moment when he realised Louis wasn’t wearing anything underneath, and his stomach was bare. The skin was warm against Harry’s palm, and he bit back a moan, letting his fingers stroke back and forth. He imagined a time when this would be allowed, that he could touch Louis wherever and whenever he wanted, but that was never going to be a reality. Louis allowed this, and he’d take as much as the Omega was willing to give.

“You want me to let you work?”

“I’m alright,” Louis said, resting his hand on top of Harry’s. “I can do it in a bit. I’m kinda comfy. You’re a bit like a human hot water bottle, Harold.”

Harry smiled at that, loving being what Louis needed. He was well aware of Louis’ love for blankets and warmth, and the idea that he was being that for Louis right now made pride run through his veins, holding the Omega a little tighter. 

“Good. Like taking care of you.”

“You always do,” Louis murmured, turning to smile at Harry for a moment. “Ooh, My Dream Home! Let’s watch this, then I’ll do some work.”

Harry just nodded. He wasn’t one for home improvement programs, but if Louis wanted to watch it, that’s what he’d do. He was fairly certain he’d do anything to make his Omega happy. Not yours , he reminded himself, tugging Louis a little closer, pretending for a moment that he was. 

He stirred a few hours later, taking in a deep breath as he stretched out his long limbs. He blinked his eyes open slowly, reaching out for Louis, but when he felt nothing, his eyes flew open, scrambling to sit up. The room was dark, the television off but he sensed somehow that Louis was still in their apartment. He looked down and smiled at the blanket Louis had covered him with, feeling ridiculously fond as he realised it was one of Louis’ favourite ones. 

He carefully pulled it off and winced slightly when he saw it had been masking the erection currently going on in his trousers. Unprovoked boners were another side effect of Harry’s rut time, and he tucked himself down as much as he could so Louis wouldn’t have to face that before he folded Louis’ precious blanket, holding it against him as he went to find the Omega.

“Louis? Louis, where- oh.”

Louis froze as he stopped in the doorway of Harry’s room where he was coming from. 

“Harry, I-”

“You were in my room?”

Harry wasn’t bothered at all, would in fact be happy for Louis to spend all of his time in his room but it was the look Louis had on his face that made Harry feel strange about it. Louis looked like he was a rabbit in the headlights, and Harry watched as Louis swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing.

“Louis?”

“I was… I lost my sock.”

“You… lost your sock?” Harry replied a little incredulously, looking down at Louis’ empty hands. “In my room?”

“Well, no,” Louis huffed, folding his arms now, looking a little defensive. Harry just wanted to cuddle him. “I… thought it might have got mixed up in your washing or something. But I didn’t find it.”

“Clearly,” Harry shrugged, leaning against the wall, a bit amused by now. “Do you want me to have another look?” His green eyes stayed locked on Louis’ blue ones as he shook his head, trying to ignore how looking at Louis like this was affecting him. He could feel his tummy roll over in arousal as Louis’ eyes swept down his body and up again, resting on the blanket. “Oh, thanks for this. Kept me nice and warm.”

“I bet it did…” Louis smirked, accepting the blanket back from Harry and holding it close to his chest. “And you’re welcome. Didn’t want you to get cold. I left you a plate of dinner in the fridge if you want it.”

“Not really hungry,” Harry admitted, just wanting to get himself alone so he could try and get rid of this insistent erection. “Do you, um, you want to share tonight?”

“Your bed?”

Harry nodded, and watched Louis’ face flicked through a range of emotions before he shook his head, biting his bottom lip. Harry almost sensed Louis was feeling conflicted about his decision, like he’d said one thing to Harry but was feeling another.

“You sure, Lou? Just for cuddles?”

“I… I shouldn’t,” Louis stuttered out, his knuckled white as he gripped the blanket hard, taking a small step away. “You need to sleep. G’night Harry.”

“Lou-” Louis stopped where he was, blinking over at the Alpha. “Goodnight hug?”

Louis sighed but nodded, stepping into Harry’s arms. Harry felt like he couldn’t scent Louis, so he rested his cheek on top of Louis’ head instead, kissing it before he pulled away, holding Louis’ arms for a moment. 

“You’re my best friend, you know that? You mean the world to me. And you can always say no to anything I ask of you. It doesn’t change anything.”

“I know,” Louis said, finally smiling slightly. “Go and sleep. I’ll see you in the morning. You still walking me to class?”

“Of course. I’m not working until Thursday morning now, so I’ll be free. Sleep tight, Lou.”

“You too, Harold. Night.”

Louis blew Harry a kiss before he turned and walked off, throwing Harry one more smile before he stepped into his room and shut the door. Harry sighed and stepped into his own room, closing the door with a little more force than was necessary. As much as he hated feeling like this, he knew why there was a part of him that desperately needed Louis in his bed that night. As much as he wanted to take the Omega and knot him and mark him over and over, he also just wanted Louis in his arms, nearby so his scent would keep Harry satisfied all night.

Now, he was all alone. He felt ashamed for feeling those things, for feeling in any way that Louis was just an Omega that was there just to satisfy his Alpha urges, but he couldn’t help it. It was natural. But it was Louis on his mind as he pushed down his trousers and boxers, exposing his cock. Harry was a perpetually horny Alpha, and the fact it had been a while since he’d knotted an Omega meant he was more desperate for it than usual, especially since he’d be surrounded by Louis for much of the day.

Harry had left the main light on, so it was bright as he looked down at himself, at how his fingers wrapped around his cock as he began to stroke, soft and teasing at first. When he felt himself at full hardness, he shut his eyes and allowed his mind to imagine it was Louis’ small hand around him, Louis kissing him, Louis’ mouth on him … Harry didn’t hold back as he groaned at that thought, and he knew he was truly fucked. He was gone for Louis, one hundred and ten percent. And there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it.

******

The next afternoon, Harry found himself at home, being rather domestic. He’d done two loads of laundry, ran the hoover around the main living areas, and had mopped the kitchen floor. As much as he loved cleaning, he wasn’t so keen on how it removed Louis’ scent from everything. Still, the place looked nice and he hoped Louis would like it when he got home. Harry knew he had to leave soon to go and fetch Louis from his class, but he was determined to finish up and leave the place looking perfect.

He bent down and scooped the now dry washing out of the dryer into the basket, which he then upturned on his bed. The items were a mix of his own and Louis’, and Harry folded each of the items, making two separate piles. He liked doing the washing because it felt like he was taking care of Louis in some way, and the Alpha part of him liked that. He also liked doing it because it defied the expectations that just Omegas should do these homely tasks, but really, Harry loved it.

When he was done and had a neat pile of Louis’ things, he picked them and padded through to Louis’ room. As usual, the door was closed but Harry opened it, walking inside. A quick glance around told him that not much had changed since he’d last been there, and he couldn’t resist stopping and just inhaling, Louis’ scent prevalent on everything around. The pinboard fastened to the wall was stuffed with pictures of Louis, his family, him and Harry, and some of their friends too. People were important to Louis, and Harry practically cooed at a relatively new photo of himself and Louis, Harry kissing him on the cheek as Louis laughed. It was a beautiful photo.

Harry walked in and set the washing on the bed, not wanting to disturb anything. Louis’ bed was already made, so Harry just ran his hand over the soft covers, wishing his own bedding was as nice as Louis’. He reached to straighten Louis’ pillow, which was sitting wonkily and he stilled as he saw something a little too familiar sticking out from under it. With shaking hands, Harry reached out and tugged, the item coming free. It was his shirt, one of the things he thought he’d lost a while ago now. The blue check had been a favourite until it had vanished, but apparently, Louis had had it all along.

With a chuckle to himself, he put it back where he’d found it and left, realising he’d better make a move if he was going to make it to Louis on time. Thankfully, the class was a little late in ending, and Harry stayed where he was, leaning against a tree as he watched the students file out. Louis was with Zayn, and Harry watched as Louis got onto his tiptoes to hug the Omega goodbye. He pushed down the bubble of jealousy and raised his hand when Louis looked his way, the Omega smile as he ambled over, a little sweaty.

“I’d hug you but I stink,” Louis said, laughing as he pulled his sweaty t-shirt away from his body, cringing when it slapped back against him. “Ewww.”

“I wouldn’t mind,” Harry said, shrugging and meaning every word. There was something about Louis when he was covered in sweat, body glistening with it, that he just loved. He smelt so much stronger like that, and Harry could never get enough. “Up for it?”

He held his arms open but Louis just laughed, shaking his head.

“Absolutely not, Styles. I don’t even care what weird Alpha thing you’re going to say, but no. Let’s get home and shower, then we can cuddle.”

Harry just nodded and began walking next to the Omega, heading for home. He smiled to himself as Louis called bye to a few of his friends, promising to email them about some assignment or other later on, and soon, they were alone. Harry didn’t think before he spoke, but he almost regretted it as soon as the words left his mouth.

“Oh! I found my shirt earlier on,” he started, and he saw Louis look up at him out of the corner of his eye.

“Oh yeah?” the Omega asked, his voice light and breezy but Harry could feel tension rolling him in waves. He felt confused but answered anyway.

“In your room, funnily enough,” Harry chuckled, shoving his hands further into his pockets. “It was-”

“Why were you in my room?”

Louis’ voice was cold and almost steely, and when Harry sensed that he’d stopped walking, he paused too, frowning at Louis’ reaction. 

“I was … putting your washing on your bed, Lou, like I always do.”

“Well … don’t,” Louis snapped, folding his arms across his chest, a thunderous expression on his face now. “Just leave it outside the door or something.”

“Don’t be stupid, I always put your washing on your bed. Anyway, why was my shirt in your room, Lou?”

“I don’t know, okay?! I didn’t put it there, you must have-”

Harry scoffed, shaking his head. “No, I didn’t. You know I thought I’d lost it. Don’t lie to me-”

“Don’t call me a liar! I said I didn’t know why it was there, okay? I don’t need a second fucking degree interrogation, Harry.”

“Fine,” Harry said, taking a step back, hands up in surrender. He knew it wasn’t worth causing a massive argument over, because Louis could carry on a grudge for days. “I was just trying to help, Lou. That’s all. There’s no … conspiracy or anything here. Just me being me.” He shrugged and started walking off, pausing when he realised Louis wasn’t following.

“Why can’t you just leave my stuff alone, Harry? It’s my shit, and I can take care of it myself. I’ll see you at home, okay? I need to go and-”

“Louis, please, just come home-”

“No. I need some time. Just go, Harry. I’ll see you later.”

Harry just stood there, watching as Louis walked away, head down, his left shoulder tilted down with the weight of his bag. The Alpha part of Harry longed to run over and take the bag, to offer a hand, but he knew it wouldn’t be welcome right now. Louis’ overreaction made no sense, and in the end, Harry sighed and started the long walk home on his own, worries about Louis already taking root in the back of his mind. He knew he wouldn’t rest until Louis was back home, and when Louis was in this mood, he had no idea how long it would be until Louis came home.

 

Louis

“Actually, I’ll just have a juice, I think,” Zayn called over, and Louis just rolled his eyes, putting away the mug that he’d just reached down from the cupboard. His own was sat on the worktop with one of his Yorkshire tea bags inside, and he filled it to the brim with boiling water, freezing when he heard the front door shut. He carried on making his tea, as well as getting Zayn’s juice from the fridge, and he gave Harry a tight smile as he walked inside. Louis smelt him before he saw him, and he swallowed heavily, pushing down the way Harry’s scent made him feel, sensing the emotion rolling off the Alpha as he got nearer.

“Hey. You want a tea or something?”

“Nah, I’m alright. But thank you,” Harry said, carefully avoiding touching Louis as they moved around the kitchen together. Since their fight the other day, tensions between the pair had been running high, and although Louis knew he was at fault, he couldn’t bring himself to apologise. Instead, they’d both ignored the situation and acted like it didn’t happen, although it hung heavily between them like a ghost they couldn’t exorcise. “I’ll be in my room. Don’t want to interrupt.”

“You’re not interrupting,” Louis said, but it was to no avail. Harry had already grabbed some fruit and was heading off, smiling and nodding to Zayn as he went. The bedroom door closed, and Louis sighed, jerking his head in the direction of his room. He sensed Zayn had something to say, and Louis wanted to have the conversation where Harry couldn’t hear them. “Come on, my room.”

Zayn just followed, and settled on Louis’ bed, watching Louis with hawk-like eyes as he set down the glasses, sitting on his desk chair instead of next to Zayn like he usually would.

“Spill.”

“Sorry?” Louis asked, not meeting Zayn’s eye as he sipped on his tea. It was a little too hot and burnt his lips as he sipped, but it was better than letting Zayn see what was wrong. 

“What’s happened between you and H? That was weird as fuck, man.”

“It really wasn’t,” Louis scoffed, shaking his head. “He just got in front work, and he’s probably tired. You know how he is.”

“Yeah, how he is with everyone else. But not you. Never with you. He was really weird, Lou. Has he … hurt you or-”

“No! Absolutely- no. Never. Harry would never hurt me. It was just …” he sighed, realising he’d have to tell the truth now. There was no way Louis could let Zayn think badly of his best friend. Harry might be an Alpha, but he was the softest, gentlest Alpha Louis had ever had the pleasure of meeting. “We had a falling out. Just something stupid.”

“Over what? Was he being a dick?”

“Zayn, will you just- no. He wasn’t being a dick, okay? I was. I snapped at him over nothing, and now instead of confronting it, or me apologising, we’re just ignoring it and it’s weird.”

That seemed to pacify Zayn for now because he just nodded, kicking off his shoes before he swung his legs around, relaxing back on Louis’ bed. Louis cringed slightly, knowing the covers would end up smelling of Zayn rather than of Harry, but he smiled slightly as he thought of how he could dig something out of the nest and surround himself with it later on.

They chatted about school for a while, Zayn enthusiastically talking about his latest art project, and how he’d convinced Liam to model for him. Louis almost wet himself when Zayn regaled about how he’d lied to Liam, pretending it was a life drawing, and how the beta had stoically agreed until Zayn had burst into laughter, admitting Liam could indeed wear clothes, and they’d ended up wrestling on the floor until Zayn had screamed an apology. Louis talked about his dance class, and how excited he was for the end of term performance, but he couldn’t help but notice how Zayn’s nose kept wrinkling as he spoke, until he was so distracted he had to say something. 

“What the fuck are you doing?”

“Excuse me?” Zayn asked, looking a little stunned at Louis’ reaction. 

“You. You keep, I dunno, sniffing the air like something stinks. My room smells delightful, Zayn. I burned a tropical candle last night.”

“It doesn’t stink, Lou. But… there is something I can’t put my finger on. It’s not you, or your bloody tropical candle.”

Louis tried to keep his expression neutral. He had an idea about what Zayn was smelling but he couldn’t give anything away. Not even to his best friend.

“I recognise it, though. What is it?” Louis watched in alarm as Zayn got up off the bed, starting to wander around, blatantly sniffing the air now. Louis tried to relax, but he felt himself stiffen as Zayn stopped outside his cupboard, a little too close for comfort. He reached out, touching the handle and it was then Louis leapt up, slamming his palm against the door, keeping it shut. “Fucking hell, Louis!”

“Don’t go in there!”

“What, is there a body or something?” Zayn leaned in, taking a bigger inhale. “Wait a minute-”

“Please don’t,” Louis said softly, feeling his cheeks heat up as things started to fall into place with Zayn. “Zayn, I-”

“It’s Harry. The smell. It’s really strong, Lou. Like he’s in here, but I know he’s not … and you said he doesn’t come in here.”

“He doesn’t.”

“So why … Louis, what are you hiding?”

Louis just swallowed, feeling a little relieved as Zayn stepped away from the cupboard. His eyes, though, remained on Louis, and he watched him as he sat back down, nervously playing with the hem of his t-shirt. He looked up as he heard Harry’s music blast through the wall before it lowered to a more acceptable volume, Harry yelling ‘sorry, Lou!’ as it got quieter. Louis just chuckled and shook his head.

“Talk to me, Lou.”

“I can’t,” Louis mumbled, knowing he genuinely couldn’t say it. He couldn’t admit to what he was doing. “Don’t ask me to say it, because I can’t.”

“Then… I’ll try and guess. You’ve… got some stuff of Harry’s. Something of his to make it smell like him?”

Louis just nodded, eyes fixated on the floor. This was humiliating, but he knew Zayn wouldn’t stop until he found out what was going on. 

“Okay. Like… a blanket, or a comforter or something?”

“Kind of…”

Zayn paused, thinking for a minute before his eyes widened. “Oh. Oh, I see. I get it. Where is it?”

Louis finally looked up at Zayn, seeing only kindness in his eyes, and it was that which let him nod towards the wardrobe, blushing furiously now. “But… don’t go in there.”

“I won’t, Lou. That’s private, I get it. You have Harry’s stuff in there?”

“A few bits and pieces,” Louis admitted, chewing on his fingernail now. “But there’s some of my stuff, blankets and shit that he’s scented. It’s … it’s comforting, Z. But Harry doesn’t know. And it’s going to stay that way.”

“Is that why you don’t let him in your room?”

“I guess,” Louis shrugged, wishing they would change the subject. “I mean, this is my space. For me. If I want to see Harry or be around him, I can go to him, you know?”

“Yeah, I get that. I think it’s sweet, Lou.”

“What is?”

“How you’re in love with him, so you’ve-”

“Woah. Stop there. I’m not in love, Zayn. Not with Harry, not with anyone. It’s just it’s a comfort thing, okay? My Omega loves his scent, and it’s just something I need. I’ve had a … I had one when I was little. And when I left home to come here, I missed it really bad so I started to make one. At first, I just had one of Harry’s shirts, but then … I got more. But that doesn’t mean anything. His smell just comforts me, that’s all it is.”

“You know it’s okay if you did love him, right? Like … I think Harry likes you-”

“As a best friend,” Louis cut in, his voice low and adamant. “Love is too strong. I love him like I love you-” he carried on, ignoring the loud scoff Zayn let out at that, “and he loves me like a friend too. Just because we’re an Alpha and Omega it doesn’t mean we have to do the whole cliche thing and fall in love. My … my thing is my business. Don’t tell anyone. Please?”

“I would never. I get it. I used to have one when I was small, but I just … outgrew it, I guess? But I get why you like it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, Lou. And Harry would probably quite like it, that he brings you comfort …”

“Well, it’s irrelevant Zayn, because he’s never going to know. It’s my thing, and that’s it. Anyway. Let’s talk about something else. Did you see the new episode of Westworld the other night?”

Thankfully, Zayn must have understood that Louis didn’t want to talk about it anymore because he launched into a play by play review of the episode, and Louis allowed himself to get lost in it. He soon forgot about the whole nest thing, and it seemed Zayn had too, as it wasn’t mentioned again. He didn’t even give the cupboard a second glance when he left Louis’ room, heading out to share a pizza with the Alpha down the hall. Louis trailed behind, pleased his best friend understood him, and when Harry told Louis he’d ordered him a garlic dip for his pizza, Louis didn’t hesitate in walking over and hugging Harry tightly, stunning the Alpha who quickly hugged back as Zayn watched on, winking at Louis. Everything, Louis thought, was going to be okay.

*****

“Totally nailed that monologue today, Tommo,” Will, one of the Omega’s in Louis’ drama class, said as he slung his arm around Louis’ shoulder, walking out with him. “Seriously, mate. That was awesome. No way you won’t get that part in the performance. None.”

“Shut up,” Louis grinned,nudging Will with his shoulder good-naturedly. “Don’t get my hopes up yet!”

“I meant it! Anyway, walking back with us?”

Louis looked around, frowning when he didn’t see Harry outside. “Nah, you’re all good. Hazza’s gonna be here to walk me home soon. Better wait here for him.”

“Whipped,” Will sing-songed, and Louis just sent him the middle finger before he watched him join another group, all of them heading off. Louis leaned against the wall of the building, feeling proud of himself as he ran the drama lesson back in his mind. He’d felt good about his performance when he’d been up on stage, but he hadn’t expected the round of applause that had greeted him when he finished, his fellows students on their feet as they applauded him. It had felt good, and already Louis couldn’t wait to do it all over again. 

“Oh, it’s the Omega all lost without his Alpha,” came a mocking tone, and Louis tried desperately to look unbothered as the groups of unfriendly Alphas got closer, having left their own class in the Arts block. “Where’s your keeper today, hmm?”

“I don’t have a keeper,” Louis snapped before he could help himself, and he looked down as the Alphas started to smirk, getting nearer. “Look, just lay off, guys. This isn’t gonna achieve anything …”

“Says who?” the taller one who Louis believed was called Travis smirked, taking a step closer and towering over Louis. His heart was racing now, and he could feel sweat dripping down his spine as the group closed in. Louis was fairly certain that they wouldn’t hurt him, but still, he didn’t like the way they were trying to intimidate him. “You’re unbonded, right? How about you consider changing that … with me?”

“I really don’t want-”

“WHAT THE FUCK? GET AWAY FROM HIM!”

It all happened in a blur. One minute, Louis was looking up into the dark eyes of Travis, his nostrils flaring as the Alpha scent overtook his senses, not in the nice way that Harry’s did, but rather in repulsion. The next? Travis was being slammed against the wall, Harry’s forearm pressed against his neck as he yelled out, full of rage.

“YOU WILL NEVER, EVER PUT YOUR HANDS ON HIM AGAIN, DO YOU HEAR?”

“Oh, what are you going to do?” the Alpha taunted, staring Harry down despite the precarious position he was in. Louis swallowed and pushed himself away from the wall, laying a hand on Harry’s bicep. 

“Harry, don’t-”

“Louis, are you okay?”

“I’m fine, I promise. Come on, let’s go-”

“No, he needs to know he cannot touch you again-”

“Or what?” the Alpha sneered again, and Louis could smell Harry’s anger in his sense, could only watch as Harry drew himself to his full height, looking intimidating even to Louis. 

“Or I will make your life completely miserable,” Harry snapped, almost nose to nose with the other Alpha now. “I mean it. You leave Louis alone.”

“He’s not yours-”

“He doesn’t have to be mine for me to want to protect him. Now fuck off. Go on. Get out of here.”

The group of Alphas threw a few more curse words at the pair before Harry grabbed Louis’ arm, marching him off. Usually, Louis wouldn’t stand to be man-handled by Harry but he let it go for a moment, quietly seething as they headed off on the path back to their apartment. When he was certain they were out of sight, he ripped his arm out of Harry’s hold, glaring up at him.

“What the fuck was that?”

“What was what?”

“You getting all fucking macho Alpha on Travis? If that was meant to impress me, it really didn’t.”

“I was- jeez, Lou, I was looking out for you! I ran over here and he was in your face, and I didn’t like it.”

“Well, if you weren’t late, it wouldn’t have happened. You told me you’d be here, Harry, you know what they’re like!”

Harry sighed, running his hand through his hair as the pair came to a stop. “I wasn’t late on purpose, okay?! I’m going to the gym after this, and I need my headscarf, but I couldn’t fucking find it anywhere-”

Louis felt a wave of guilt run over him then, but he kept scowling, determined that Harry wouldn’t guess it was him who had it. He just shrugged, folding his arms across his chest as Harry kept talking. 

“I turned my room upside-down, Lou. I’ve got no idea what I’ve done with it. I’m getting a bit sick of myself losing shit at the moment!”

“Well I don’t have it,” Louis grumbled, and Harry looked even more confused and frustrated. 

“When did I say I thought you had it?”

Louis gulped, realizing he’d made things much worse, and he hated lying to Harry, but he didn’t have a choice now - he had to keep it up. 

“That’s not the point. The point is you didn’t have to do that. I never asked you to.”

“I’m so bloody sorry for caring and wanting to protect you, then,” Harry snapped, turning on his heel and storming away. 

Louis deflated instantly, feeling the weight of his lies and Harry’s obvious frustration, and he couldn’t take it. He jogged after Harry, calling his name. 

“Harry! Hazza, wait.”

As he thought, Harry stopped, but his body language screamed at Louis that he was pissed as they stared at each other, a good few feet between them now. Louis reluctantly took a few steps closer, trying to relax himself so Harry would sense he was calmer.

“I’m sorry, okay? I… you know how I get when someone gets all Alpha on me. I can protect myself, or at least I think I can. But I do appreciate you looking out for me. I won’t pretend to understand an Alpha’s need to get physical all the time, but what you did, it was… it was sweet. Thank you.”

Before he could second guess himself, Louis surged forward and into Harry’s arms, on his tiptoes as he wrapped his arms around the Alpha’s neck. Harry hugged back straight away, sniffing lightly at his neck as they embraced, and Louis stayed quiet, letting Harry have that for a moment.

“You know it’s not that I don’t think you can take care of yourself, right? I just … it’s my Alpha instincts, Lou. I want to, no, I need to protect the people I care most about. When I came around the corner and saw Travis hovering over you like that, I just … I saw red. All I could think about was getting him away from you. I hate violence, you know that’s not me but-” Harry’s eyes dropped to the floor as he said his next words. “I care too  much about you to let you get hurt.”

Louis swallowed down the lump in his throat and nodded against Harry’s chest, feeling the rhythmic thump of Harry’s heart in his chest. 

“Let’s just go home, Lou. Forget about them, okay? We can watch some telly, cuddle up-”

“I thought you were going to the gym?”

Harry just shrugged, putting an arm around his shoulders as they walked off. “Doesn’t matter. Would prefer an afternoon in with you.”

And who was Louis to argue with that?

*****

“Louis? Louis!”

Louis sighed and sat himself up on his elbows where he’d been relaxing on the sofa, pleased his only class of the day had been cancelled. The professor had some other commitment, but Louis wasn’t about to argue. It had been raining all morning, and that just meant more time snuggled under his blanket with some trashy TV on. Until Harry started yelling, that is.

“What now, Harold?”

There were heavy footsteps and then Harry leaned over the back of the sofa, peering down at Louis.

“Where’s my Ramones t-shirt?”

Louis knew full well where it was. It was currently in his nest, at the bottom, alongside Louis’ new fluffy blanket. But he wasn’t about to tell Harry that. He had to bluff it.

“No idea. You do the washing. Where did you put it?”

“If I knew that, I wouldn’t be asking you where it was, would I?”

He sighed and stood back up, looking a little stressed. Louis hated the guilt he felt when he saw how his secret nest was affecting Harry, but he couldn’t risk him finding out. The thought of that was too humiliating, and he just pushed down the guilt, watching as Harry peered under all the sofa cushions, fruitlessly searching for his clothes. 

“Bet it’s you, you sneaky little Omega thief.”

“What’s me?” Louis asked, sitting up now, crossing his legs in front of him.

“Hiding my stuff away. I mean, you had my shirt the other day, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were sneaking my things into your wardrobe one by one, trying to see if I’d notice, to wind me up…”

Harry laughed as he said the words, but Louis knew he was getting a bit too close to the truth now, and he felt himself prickle, defences going up straight away. He stood up, his blanket falling to the floor but he didn’t care. All he cared about was getting Harry’s thoughts away from him stealing the Alpha’s stuff.

“Excuse you?”

“I’m just kidding, Loubear. I know you wouldn’t do that. Well, actually-”

Harry turned around, a dopey grin on his face as he ambled over to Louis, pulling him into a hug. Louis pushed him away, ignoring Harry’s sweet scent as anger overtook him, unable to calm down.

“No, seriously, Harry. How fucking dare you accuse me of that?”

“Louis, I was only-”

“Don’t patronise me and say you were only joking, Harry. What do you think I am? Some sort of pathetic Omega who can’t function without an Alpha? An Omega who needs my Alpha’s things around at all times?”

Harry’s eyes widened for a moment, and Louis cursed himself silently, realising what he’d said. He’d sometimes alluded to Harry being his Alpha in a jokey way before, but somehow, this felt different. Harry opened his mouth to speak, but Louis got there first, blinded by his anger, indifferent to Harry’s emotions.

“Louis, please-”

“No. No, Harry, enough. I’m sick of your Alpha bullshit. I let you get away with so much, do you know that? I let you scent me, I let you touch me, hug me … and now, what, you’re going to accuse me of stealing your shit as well? In case you’ve forgotten, Harry, I am not your Omega. You don’t have a right to be such a fucking possessive Alpha, you’re always bloody around, I don’t get a minute’s peace-”

“Oh, don’t act like you’re a saint here, Louis,” Harry spat out then, and Louis did a double take at how Harry’s voice was laced with venom. “Don’t go all high and mighty on me-”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means that I know you’re lying. Hiding something, maybe. You’ve been cagey for ages, and I don’t like that you’re keeping secrets from me. Why can’t you be honest?”

“I’m allowed to have secrets, Harry-”

“I’m your best friend, Louis! You can tell me, I won’t judge you-”

“I can’t! Not this! Just … stay out of it!”

Louis heard his voice crack as he yelled those last words, panting now as the impact of their argument hit home.

“Is it me?” Harry asked, his voice softer now, yet still cutting through the silence. “Have I done something wrong?” He looked over to Louis who dropped his gaze the minute he realised Harry was looking at him. “Is it us? Do you … do you want me to back off or something?”

“Look … not everything is about you, Harry!” Louis said, throwing his hands up in the air as he spoke, frustration flooding him as Harry crept closer to the truth, to finding Louis’ private secrets. “I don’t owe you anything. You’re my best friend, but that doesn’t mean I have to tell you every single fucking thing about me and my life!”

“You’re right. You don’t owe me anything,” Harry shrugged, his shoulders sagging as he gave up arguing. Louis felt the lump in his throat growing as Harry looked at him with pleading eyes, tucking two fingers under Louis’ chin and forcing him to look at him. “But just know I’m here if you want to tell me. Whatever it is, we can talk about it. Work it out. It’s you and me, Lou.”

“There is no you and me, Harry! God, will you get that through your thick skull?!” Louis hated that he could feel tears brewing in his eyes now. He’d never cried in front of Harry, and he was determined not to now. “We’re not dating. I owe you nothing. Now fucking shut up!”

Louis leapt over the back of the sofa then, heading for the hall. He rammed his feet into his Vans and got his hand on the door handle, opening it before a palm landed on it, slamming it shut again and making Louis jump. He looked up, seeing Harry’s pained expression.

“Don’t go. Don’t leave it like this, Louis.”

Louis’ skin was itching, he was hot all over, and all he wanted to do was go to his safe place, to his nest, to hide from the world. But he couldn’t. Harry would follow him in there, and he’d find out. He’d know that Louis had stolen his things, and that he’d lied. It would probably ruin their friendship, more than Louis had just done anyway. He slumped against the wall, pressing the heels of his hands against his eyes until it was almost painful. He just wanted his nest. That was all he wanted.

“Hey, come on, don’t cry …” Harry said, crouching down in front of Louis, resting a hand on his knee. “We need to stop arguing like this. I hate it, what it does to you. I don’t care where my stuff is. I’m a forgetful dick anyway, it’s probably at Liam’s or Niall’s.”

Louis didn’t say anything. He just let Harry witter on, hoping he’d go away and leave him alone.  He shuddered when Harry ran a hand through his hair, trying desperately not to lean into the Alpha’s comforting touch. 

“I’ll get you a tissue. Wait there, alright?”

Louis just nodded into his arms, waiting until he heard Harry’s footsteps move away before he got to his feet, yanking open the door and running out. He had no idea where he was going. All he knew was that he had to get away.

 

Harry

“Fuck!”

Harry slammed his palm against the wall when he realised Louis had run away after all, that instead of talking to him, the Omega had been forced to flee. He felt a bit sick and darted out of the door, looking left and right down the corridor but of course, there was no sign of Louis. He was a speedy little thing at the best of times, and worst of all, Harry wasn’t sure where he’d have gone to.

He came back inside and slammed the door, gripping his hair hard in his fists for his moment. The pain on his scalp was better than the ache in his heart at the thought he’d upset Louis so much. It was the last thing he wanted to do. He walked back inside, but everything felt too quiet without Louis. Usually, the Omega was curled on the sofa watching some crap on telly, or doing his work, or even if he was locked away in his room, Harry could usually hear his music, or even better, Louis singing along to his favourite songs. Right now, there was nothing but silence, and it was almost deafening.

Before Harry could think twice, he grabbed his phone and begged Liam to come over, telling him he needed to talk. Liam lived close enough that he arrived within ten minutes, and Harry let him in, roughly wiping away the tears of anger that had fallen, surprising Liam. Harry wasn’t opposed to crying, not at all, but it was usually something he did alone, when no one else could see. Harry didn’t buy into Alpha stereotypes, but there were people out there who could make his life miserable for being a softer person. If he was honest, Louis was the only one he could really be himself in front of.

“Harry … what’s up, mate?” Liam asked, slinging his arm around Harry’s shoulder as he led him inside, closing the door behind him. The apartment was quite dark since Harry had turned off all but one of the lamps in the place, and he slumped down on the sofa, head in his hands. “Where’s Lou?”

“Don’t ask,” Harry mumbled, shaking his head. “We … we had a fight. He’s gone, I don’t know where.”

“You seem to be arguing a lot lately …” Liam mused, and Harry sighed, knowing it was true. “I thought you two were proper close …”

“We are!” Harry said, throwing his hands up in exasperation. “Or I thought we were. Just … everything I say lately seems to be wrong. He’s always snapping at me over something. I don’t know where I stand with him anymore, Li.”

“Oh mate. Louis loves you, you know that. Is it … I mean, I hate to stereotype, but is it the time of his heat? Omegas are supposedly more emotional then, aren’t they?”

Harry shook his head. “Lou’s on suppressants. He doesn’t usually get affected, not like I do when it would usually be my rut. But that’s beside the point. He’s hiding something from me, Li.”

“He’s allowed to have secrets,” Liam shrugged, ever the pragmatic Beta. “You know he doesn’t have to tell you everything, right?”

“I know. I don’t expect anything, Liam. He just usually chooses to share stuff with me. But there’s something he’s not telling me and I hate it-”

Harry was cut off by the loud ping of his phone and he leapt up, hoping it was Louis. His heart fell when he saw Zayn’s name on the display.

Zayn: Thought you’d want to know Louis is with me at my place. He’s okay but said he doesn’t want to come home tonight. Also, he doesn’t know I’m doing this, but I knew you’d be freaking out.

Harry showed Liam and quickly replied, thanking Zayn for letting him know where Louis was. He felt a little bit more relaxed now he knew where Louis was, but still, the ball of anxiety was present in his stomach, and he knew it wouldn’t disappear until Louis came home. 

“Let me make you some dinner,” Liam said, not waiting for an answer before he took himself off to the kitchen, leaving Harry sitting on his sofa. Louis’ blanket was, as always, draped over the back, and Harry reached out, pulling it over him. Immediately, the Omega’s scent tickled Harry’s nose and he felt himself relax, like Louis was there with him somehow. He curled up against the back of the sofa, letting his eyes drift shut, suddenly exhausted as all the fight left his body. “Harry, you want chips or potatoes?”

Liam shuffled in then, and smiled to himself when he saw the Alpha sound asleep, Louis’ blanket clutched tightly in his hands. Hopefully, he’d get a few hours kip, and then he and Louis could sort it out the next day. 

*****

“Harry? Wake up. Alpha …”

Harry stirred, his neck sore as he stretched himself out on the sofa, and he tentatively opened his eyes, shocked when he found himself staring into Louis’ baby blues.

“Louis, I-” Harry flew up off the sofa, but he didn’t miss how Louis flinched back as he reached out, biting his lip nervously as he stuffed his hands into the pockets of his joggers. “Shit, you’re home.”

“Yeah, I … I just got in. I was at Zayn’s. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you where I was, I just needed some time.”

“It’s okay, I understand. As long as you’re okay, that’s all that matters. Do you want a cup of tea or some breakfast?”

Louis shook his head, looking a bit awkward. Harry hated that, and he wished things could go back to normal, like they always were. “Zayn made me something at his before he went to class. I know you’re busy, I’ll just-”

“Louis, don’t go. Please? I want to talk to you.”

He felt relieved as Louis nodded and shuffled over, settling him down on the opposite end of the sofa. His eyes drifted down to where his blanket was on the sofa, but they quickly went back up to Harry’s, a questioning look in them.

“Oh, I slept out here, in case you came home. I used that … I hope you don’t mind?”

“You know I don’t,” Louis whispered, playing with his fingers in his lap. “Can I just start by saying I’m sorry for overreacting yesterday? I know I’ve been a bit snappy, and I wasn’t fair to you.”

“Please don’t apologise,” Harry said, reaching out for Louis’ hand, pleased when he let him take it, rubbing his thumb back and forth over the back of Louis’ tiny hand. “I should never have accused you of anything, even if I was just joking. And I really hate that you felt you had to run away from me last night.”

“It wasn’t that,” Louis quickly interjected, shaking his head, squeezing Harry’s hand a little tighter. “I just … I got overwhelmed. I had to get out of here before I ended up screaming at you, and I didn’t want it to get to that point. I still feel a bit … weird, I guess, being here. Like I’ve upset you and things aren’t okay between us?”

“But they are,” Harry said, shifting his bum closer to Louis. “Louis, this is the last thing I want, for things to be weird. We’re so close, you’re my best friend. I just want things to be okay.”

Louis gave him a shy smile then, and Harry caught the first signs of a blush on his cheeks. The Omega still looked nervous, bouncing his knee and playing with his fingers, and Harry knew what would calm him down.

“Can I … can I scent you, Lou?”

It didn’t help that the Omega smelt heavily of Zayn, and Harry didn’t like it. His possessive Alpha side wanted to make him smell like him again, and he grinned as Louis nodded, coming closer. Harry leaned in first, brushing his lips against Louis’ cheek before he dipped his head lower, taking in a soft breath first of all. Louis’ scent surrounded him like a security blanket, the beautiful sweet scent taking up every part of him.

“You know I’d never hurt you, right?” Harry whispered against the soft skin of Louis’ neck where he’d shaved that morning, the perfume of the shaving foam he’d used not able to overpower Louis’ natural scent. “You mean the world to me, Lou.”

Louis’ hand was around the back of Harry’s neck, stroking softly as Harry continued to scent him until he was happy the Omega smelt of him, and he felt him nod in answer to Harry’s question. “I know, Alpha.”

Harry tried not to react too much to that, and he slowly pulled away, staring into Louis’ eyes for a moment, completely lost in the Omega. It was Louis who stood up first, folding his blanket as he mumbled about his plans for the day under his breath, telling Harry he didn’t want to go to class today, that he needed a day at home which Harry understood.

“Um, Lou?”

Louis looked up, his blanket tucked against his chest. He looked so soft, Harry just wanted to grab him and hold him and never let him go.

“Liam suggested maybe we could all go out tonight, have a drink and stuff?”

“All of us?”

“Yeah, the usual gang,” Harry smiled back. “You and me, Li, Zayn and Niall. We haven’t been out for a while, so it might be nice?”

“Yeah, I like the sound of that,” Louis thankfully replied, nodding with a small smile on his lips. “We could walk down there when you’re back from work?”

“We definitely can. Speaking of, I’d better go and jump in the shower. But-” he took a step over to Louis, suddenly nervous to ask. “We’re okay, Lou?”

Instead of using words, Louis just stepped forwards and wrapped his arms around Harry’s neck, pulling him down slightly. Harry went easily, wanting to make it so Louis wasn’t straining himself, and he relaxed in the Omega’s safe embrace. 

“We’re okay, Harry.”

*****

Harry could only sit back and watch as Louis manoeuvered his way through the crowds at the pub, holding two pints aloft which only accentuated his curves. He’d put on the tightest pair of jeans known to man, which had rendered Harry speechless when he’d first seen Louis emerge from his room at home, and his shirt left little to the imagination as well, slightly sheer and clinging to his body like a second skin. 

“You two sorted everything out?” Liam asked. The two were still standing at the bar, waiting for the final couple of drinks and Niall and Louis’ bags of crisps to be brought over, but Harry didn’t spare Liam any of his attention until he saw Louis had arrived safely back at their table. “Haz?”

“Sorry. Yeah, we’re good. We had a chat when he got home this morning. We both apologised and he-” Harry cut himself off, not sure he wanted to admit to scenting Louis, not to Liam anyway. “We hugged it out. It’s all good.”

“Happy to hear that,” Liam said, clapping Harry on the shoulder as the man behind the bar left their pints behind, along with the crisps. “Thanks, mate.”

They ambled their way through the crowds, and Harry had to admit he was a little surprised at how busy it was. Usually, a Wednesday night was fairly quiet, which is why he’d gone along with Liam’s suggestion of being out, but apparently neither of them had realised it was one of the term’s cheap nights, meaning the bulk of the student body was out and about. That immediately set Harry on edge, and he felt his hackles rise every time somebody got too close to Louis. He felt protective over Zayn too, but not in the same way he did over Louis. 

He sat down quietly on a stool opposite Louis, listening as he laughed along to whatever tale Niall was regaling the group with. Harry tried not to make it obvious he was staring, but he leaned back, taking in every inch of Louis he could see. Louis’ eyes crinkled beautifully as he laughed, and Harry loved how he threw his head back when he laughed, showing off his beautiful neck. He was a dream, and Harry wasn’t surprised when he saw another Alpha eyeballing Louis from across the room.

“Harry? Don’t you agree?”

“Sorry, what?”

Louis just sighed, shaking his head but his small smile told Harry he wasn’t cross. “Never mind.”

Harry just returned a dopey smile Louis’ way, and tuned out, just observing everyone around him. The noise in the bar picked up for a while then, and Harry lost track of the conversation Louis was having with Niall and a couple of other people he knew from Louis’ class, so he lost himself in conversation with Liam and Zayn, the pair talking about some sort of project they were working on together for Zayn’s art class.

“Oi, Harold!”

Harry snapped to attention as Louis’ voice caught his ear, and he looked over, wondering what he wanted.

“Get us some crisps, love! Niall stole mine, and I’m hungry!”

Louis didn’t have to ask twice. Harry was on his feet and pushing his way through, excusing him as he went, leaning over the bar to catch someone’s attention to get Louis’ food. A female Omega sidled up to him when he was at the bar, purring and flirting with him, a hand on his forearm, but Harry just ignored her, trying to seem as disinterested as he could. As soon as he had Louis’ crisps, he disappeared, leaving an angry Omega in his wake but he couldn’t bring himself to care.

He was a little surprised to see that by the time he arrived back at the table, Louis and his group had been joined by another Alpha, one Harry didn’t recognise. He was stood up next to Louis, tattooed arms folded in front of him, and was chatting away like he’d been standing there forever. Harry just scrunched the bag of crisps in his hand, trying to keep his jealousy and temper under control. Niall then stood up and disappeared, probably to use the loo, and he brushed past Harry, resting a hand on his shoulder as he did so.

“He’ll be fine. Leave him be, Haz.”

Harry gave a tight nod but that didn’t stop him from watching exactly what was going on. Louis seemed to be enjoying the conversation, so Harry just set his crisps down on the table, trying to listen to Liam witter on about something at work. They’d managed to book an author visit for the following week, and as always, Liam wanted to plan everything in meticulous detail, but Harry just wasn’t in the mood.

“Honestly, mate, I’m not interested,” came Louis’ voice across the table, and he was laughing but there was tension in his face. Harry’s fist twitched where it was hidden under the table, his jaw set angrily as he reigned himself in, knowing Louis needed to feel like he could deal with this himself.

“Not how you’ve made me feel, Omega,” the other Alpha rumbled, giving off an aura that Harry really didn’t like. It seemed to have caught Liam’s attention too, because the Beta had stopped talking, and was watching it unfold across the table alongside Harry. “Come on, you can come back to your group later, come back to my place-”

“I said fuck off,” Louis snapped back, and he turned away, gasping as the other Alpha reached out and grabbed his shoulder, pulling him back around. “Do not put your hands on me-”

“Oh come on. You’d look so fucking good sat on my knot … would probably take it so good ...”

Harry had had enough. It was one thing trying to coerce Louis to go back with him, but to put his hands on the Omega? Harry wasn’t going to stand for it. He walked up behind the Alpha and tapped him on the shoulder, getting his attention. His lower lip was pierced, and he sucked on it as he squared up to Harry, clearly ready for a fight.

“What?”

“He quite clearly said no, mate,” Harry began, trying to keep his voice friendly, not wanting violence, especially in a public place. “Go and find another Omega, yeah?”

The Alpha practically growled at Harry and stood up tall, staring him down. Harry returned the glare, and barely stumbled when the guy shoved him, shaking his head.

“If he ain’t yours, kindly fuck off.”

Harry shoved back and the other Alpha’s eyes turned black, tilting his head to the side as he stared Harry down.

“I think you’ll find that technically, he isn’t yours, and he was outright fucking flirting with me, mate,” the Alpha spat out, his voice low. Harry could see Louis cowering behind him, and watched in anger as the man turned back to Louis, walking towards him. Harry didn’t hesitate and quickly rounded the Alpha, tucking Louis behind him, prepared to take whatever physical punishment he had to in order to keep Louis from harm.

“No, technically he’s not mine, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna let you do this,” Harry growled out, his Alpha side coming through now. “Back off. Now.”

Harry could feel something grab the back of his shirt, and he quickly looked behind him, seeing Louis there, staring back at him. He hoped Louis could read in his eyes that he had this, and he quickly turned back to the other Alpha, who was still looking angrily back at Harry.

“Look, fuck you and fuck this-”

The Alpha reached out past Harry as if to grab Louis, and Harry saw red. He shoved the Alpha back, hard, watching as he stumbled and fell back into a table that was just behind him. The resulting noise stilled everyone in the pub, and Harry looked down, a bit shocked as he took in the scene. The Alpha was laying on the floor, covered in beer and whatever else the people behind them had been drinking, and broken glass was strewn around.

He felt slightly nervous as he watched the aggressive Alpha get to his feet, mindful of the broken glass, and he growled again, fists clenched at his sides. Harry didn’t hang back, and immediately pushed forward again, trying to keep the Alpha away from Louis at whatever cost. The Alpha was prepared though, and started to hit back, throwing punches and kicks, some of which connected with Harry’s body as things got out of control. People around were jeering and cheering, but to Harry it was all white noise.

“Harry, Harry, STOP! Mate, this isn’t worth it-”

Niall and Liam were trying to get in the middle of them now, and Harry could feel hands on his arms, pulling him backwards. He resisted, trying to pull away but the other two men were too strong for him on his own. He and the Alpha fell into a battle of words, yelling insults and other obscenities at each other, and it was only when the bar security guards came over that Harry relented, panting and pulling his shirt back onto his shoulder.

“Fucking knothead!” he yelled as the guards dragged the other man off, having been told by staff and other customers he was the instigator. Harry looked down at himself and cringed at the state of him. The Alpha had ripped his shirt as he’d yanked at Harry, and there was a beer stain down his front from where Harry had grappled with him. He wasn’t necessarily proud of his actions, but he was proud he’d defended Louis’ honour, and kept him safe. Harry realised then he hadn’t seen Louis in the confusion, and he turned around to check on him, but he couldn’t see him. “Louis? Fuck, Louis?”

Niall and Liam looked around in alarm too, and they all staggered back to where they’d been sitting before this had all kicked off. A few of their stools had been taken by other customers, but there was no sign of Louis.

“Zayn, where’s Lou?” Niall asked, still looking around for any sign of the Omega.

“Shit, I thought he was with you-” Zayn said, standing up and looking too. They split up then, and all walked around, trying to find Louis but he was nowhere to be seen. They met up at the table again, and Harry felt sick, feeling like something bad must have happened. All of a sudden, though, he felt a hand on his arm and he looked down, surprised to see it was Zayn. “Harry-”

“Has he called you?”

“No, but… I know where he’ll have gone. Go home, Harry.”

“What? No, tell me where he-”

“Trust me when I tell you to go home.”

“Zayn, he could be anywhere, I can’t just-”

“Harry, stop being a fucking knothead and listen to what I’m telling you. Go. Home. Lou will be there. Just … go and take care of your Omega, okay?”

Harry swallowed and nodded, realising there was something that Zayn couldn’t, or wouldn’t, tell him. Zayn quietly promised to tell the others where Harry had gone, and he legged it out of the bar, running at full pelt. His chest was screaming as he tried to take in much needed oxygen, and his boots made his feet ache, not built for running, but Harry didn’t care. All he knew was that he had to get home to Louis, and he just prayed Zayn was right.

It was five minutes later that a sweaty, panting Harry slammed through the entrance to the apartment block, startling a group of nicely dressed Omega girls on their way out. He apologised and took the stairs rather than waiting for the lift, and paused at the top of the stairwell, needing to catch his breath. He knew he must look a state, but he hoped Louis wouldn’t judge him. 

He reached into his pocket for his key as he walked up the corridor, and took a steadying breath before he slid it into the lock, opening the door. The apartment was silent as he walked inside, and he closed it behind him, locking it for security before he set the key in the bowl by the door. He stood and closed his eyes, inhaling quickly to see if he could smell Louis there, and he felt better when he could, although there was something different about his scent. Panic.

“Lou? It’s Harry. Where are you, love?”

He listened out, his Alpha senses heightened as he sensed there was something wrong. Louis’ scent was a lot stronger than usual, and when he paused, straining to hear, he could hear whimpering, faint but it was definitely there. His heart started to race, and he slowly walked through the apartment, calling out so Louis knew it was him.

“Louis, I’m coming to find you, okay? I just want to make sure you’re alright…”

He paused outside Louis’ door, where his scent was the strongest. He could definitely hear Louis inside, and he pressed his palm against the door for a minute, hoping that he could sort this out. He gently rapped his knuckles on the door, the noise cutting through the silence of the apartment.

“Louis …”

There was a louder whimper at that, and Harry stepped inside, swallowing hard. The room was completely dark, but he could see a slight glow coming from Louis’ cupboard. Harry frowned and walked a little closer, trying not to breathe too deeply as Louis’ scent was potent now, so strong he couldn’t think straight.

“Omega … I’m going to come in-”

“No! Alpha … no.”

There was something desperate in Louis’ tone that stopped Harry in his tracks. He paused, hand outstretched for the handle of the cupboard but now it just hung in the air, waiting as he decided what to do next. He couldn’t walk away, not now. He had horrible visions of Louis hurt, sitting there and needing someone but not knowing how to ask for it. He couldn’t turn away, not now he’d come this far.  

“Lou … I need to make sure you’re okay. I need to see that you’re not hurt. Please let me see you. I know you’re scared, but it’s just me. I won’t hurt you, love.”

There was silence for a minute, only broken by Louis’ occasional sob and sniffle. Harry could smell his fear as another wave of Louis’ scent rolled around the room, and his heart just ached, wishing there was something more than he could do rather than just stand here and wait like a fool.  If Louis refused him, Harry wasn’t sure what he was going to do. He was just reaching into his pocket to text Zayn and ask what to do when-

“Okay.”

Louis’ voice was raspy, like it was an effort to speak, but Harry was certain he’d never heard a more beautiful sound.

“Alright. Thank you, Lou. Okay … I’m coming in, love.”

For some reason, Harry’s hand started to shake as his hot palm made contact with the cool metal of the wardrobe door handle, pulling gently. There was a creak before the door came easily, and the glow from inside the cupboard illuminated everything in front of him. Harry swallowed heavily as he opened it fully, eyes raking around before they settled on the one thing he’d wanted to see more than any other. Louis. 

 

Louis

Louis wiped at his eyes just as the door started to open. To Louis, it felt like everything was happening in slow motion. The fairy lights inside the cupboard lit up his space, his precious nest but all Louis could see was Harry’s shadow as the door was pulled open, making the Alpha seem tall and intimidating from Louis’ place on the floor. He sniffed and curled further back against the edge of his nest, cheeks flaming in embarrassment as Harry took in the scene before taking a step back, allowing Louis to see his face. Louis felt more vulnerable and exposed than he’d ever been.

He sat nervously playing with the shirt that he’d wrapped around him as he braved a glance upwards, watching as Harry’s eyes roamed around, taking in every inch of the cupboard. Louis’ clothes were still hanging up and stashed in the cubbies at the sides, but his entire attention was focused on the floor, and the nest in which Louis was curled up inside. Louis was all too aware that Harry had seen his clothes littered around the nest now, and he felt sick at the thought of what must be going through the Alpha’s head right now. 

“Oh, Lou.”

Harry stepped forward slowly, a hand reaching out but Louis protested, whimpering slightly, not sure he was ready to allow an Alpha into his private space, not even Harry. It felt so much like an intrusion. He’d spent so long cultivating this space that having anyone but himself in there just felt wrong. He could see the hurt flash across Harry’s face, and he dropped his gaze, his chest aching with the realisation he’d let the Alpha down. 

“No… not, not in here. Please, Harry. Not here. Mine. My space.”

Louis’ mind was confused, and he was struggling to speak in full sentences, the presence of the Alpha overwhelming his already exhausted senses. Harry must have known it was too much because he stepped back again, but he surprised Louis by dropping to his knees, his face now lit up in the soft light, concern evident all over him. Louis backed away slightly, pulling the shirt tighter around him. 

“Okay, I won’t come in. That’s fine, Lou. Do you need anything? Can I do something for you?”

Louis just shook his head, wiping the tears that were falling away. He tugged the shirt of Harry’s that he’d grabbed tighter around him, the scent of it and the Alpha comforting him, even in his heightened state. Louis’ eyes fell as he caught sight of a movement out of the corner of his eye, and he saw Harry’s hand stretching out, palm up, just waiting. Louis accepted it and shakily extended his own arm, resting his hand in Harry’s, lacing their fingers softly.

They sat in silence for a while, and Louis felt himself relax as Harry stroked back and forth over his hand with his thumb, his eyes moving around slowly, taking in Louis’ nest. It was nerve-wracking, watching Harry judge his nest. It was a source of pride for Louis. He’d spent so long creating this space, collecting the things together, and now seeing an outsider so close made him feel nervous, like if Harry hated it, he’d have to start again and make something that would impress the Alpha too. Not only that, but Harry would realise how much he meant to the Omega, since he’d seen the amount of his own things that made up Louis’ nest. 

“Louis, this is beautiful.”

Louis sat there, stunned, as he let Harry’s words sink in. He worked up the courage to look up to see if Harry’s face gave away anything, thinking he was lying but there was nothing but openness and honesty there, a small smile of Harry’s lips. He sat quietly for a minute as Harry’s eyes admired the nest, not touching but letting his eyes say everything. 

“You mean it?”

“I do,” Harry nodded, eyes now roaming around openly before landing on Louis’. They sparkled in the fairy lights of Louis’ cupboard, and Louis could only feel relief. “This is a nest, right? A proper Omega nest?”

Louis nodded nervously, chewing on his lower lip. He watched as Harry reached out with his other hand, stroking the soft blanket that was just in reach of his fingertips, running them back and forth over the soft fabric. He wasn’t sure how much the Alpha understood of Omegas and their nests, but he wasn’t sure he had the strength to explain it just yet. 

“And… these are all things that mean something to you?” He must have sensed Louis tense up at the question because he started to backtrack, clearly not wanting to upset Louis, which the Omega appreciated. “Sorry, Lou, you don’t have to tell me anything. This is your space, I-”

“I … I want to talk about it. With you.”

Harry’s eyes softened even more at that, and he shifted from his knees so that he was sat on his bum, cross legged, listening intently. Louis felt a little bit scrutinised but he knew there was nothing to be scared of, not with Harry. 

“And I would love to hear about it. Whatever you’re willing to share.”

Louis licked his lips and cleared his throat before he spoke, his voice hoarse from his crying. He felt surprised at how calm he felt with Harry’s presence so close to him, and his nest surrounding him. It was like everything he’d been scared to show the world was on show, and it wasn’t as earth-shattering as he’d anticipated it being. His world hadn’t crumbled. 

“Maybe … tomorrow? I just …”

“You’re tired, I can see that. Do you, um-” Harry cut himself off then, looking nervous so Louis just squeezed his hand a little tighter, hoping to encourage the Alpha to speak. “Can I take you to my bed? To cuddle you? I just … I’d like you close to me tonight. Just after everything, sorry, it’s the Alpha in me-”

“It’s fine,” Louis practically whispered. Slowly, he sat himself up and pulled the t-shirt he’d been holding close against his chest as he shakily got to his feet, still holding Harry’s hand as he stepped out of the nest, onto the carpeted floor. Something inside him was trying to pull him back to the nest, to get back to a place where he knew he was safe, but he tried his best to overcome it, gripping Harry’s hand tightly as he led him out of the cupboard, flicking off the fairy lights. “Harry, I …”

“I’ve got you. Do you need one of your blankets or something?”

Louis just nodded, and watched as Harry walked over to Louis’ bed, carefully lifting off the comforter that Louis had placed at the end of it as always. He loved how Harry always treated his things with such care and respect, and it was with that thought in mind that Louis allowed himself to be swept up into Harry’s safe arms and taken to Harry’s room. He was laid out on the bed, his comforter placed on top of him before he could say anything. 

“You mind if I change? Just into a T-shirt and shorts, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable…”

“It’s fine,” Louis replied, burrowing himself further under the comforter, the smell of Harry’s bed sheets soothing him. He didn’t look as the Alpha changed, and only rolled over when he felt the bed dip beside him, Harry now laid out next to him. It took but a moment for Louis to roll into his arms, letting himself scent the Alpha, the smell calming all of his senses. He knew there was a danger he’d slip too far into his own mind with how he’d been feeling and his proximity to the Alpha but it was a chance he was willing to take. 

“G’night, Lou,” Harry whispered, leaning in to kiss Louis’ forehead gently. Louis purred at the sensation, the way his skin burned where Harry’s lips had been just a moment before. He fell asleep quickly, his body and mind exhausted after an emotional night, Louis forgetting there was much more to come tomorrow when the sun rose on another day. 

*****

Rather than a gentle wake up, Louis found himself jolted from sleep as he rolled over, slamming into the cold wall next to him.  He frowned, not quite understanding. His bed was in the middle of the room, not near the wall. He frowned and stretched out his arm, stilling when his hand met warm skin instead of the sheet. He froze, things from the night before suddenly flooding back. 

“Shit-“

He scrambled to get up, his heart racing in a panic. He looked down at the still sleeping Alpha, who had at some point in the night taken off his shirt, bare chest now exposed as the blankets shifted down, covering just his legs. Louis drew his own knees up to his chest, protecting himself slightly as he ran through in his mind how he could get himself out of this situation, how he’d get away without disturbing Harry. The thought of facing the Alpha after everything was too humiliating.

“Lou?” He startled as he realised Harry was now awake, and blinking blearily up at him. He stayed still as Harry reached up to his face, pushing his fringe out of his eyes, a soft and gentle smile on his face. It was this which reminded Louis he could trust Harry, that he might be an Alpha but that he could trust him implicitly, with everything. “C’mere, need a cuddle.”

Louis paused for just a moment before he went, curling up against Harry’s bare chest. He tentatively reached out before he let his hand rest on Harry’s skin, playing gently with his sparse chest hair. It seemed Harry didn’t mind because he just let Louis carry on, the pair waking up before Harry cleared his throat, although Louis quite liked his husky morning voice. Usually, Harry was up and about before him, making breakfast or heading to work so this Harry wasn’t one Louis typically saw.

“We don’t have to talk about it, you know,” Harry started, his voice soft in the silence of the room. “I know we said we would today, but I want you to know there’s no pressure.”

“I … I want to. I just don’t … I don’t know how.”

“Maybe start from the beginning?” Harry prompted, rolling over slightly, ducking his head to scent Louis softly. There was no permission sought, but Louis let his hand snake over Harry’s side and down his back, keeping them close together. “When did it start?”

Louis told Harry about his mum who had always had a nest for the two of them right from when he was small. They didn’t have much money and lived alone, but despite the fact their home was sparsely decorated, and they often barely had enough to eat, the nest was always a source of comfort and warmth, and where Louis would sleep with his mum when the cold was bitter enough to make his bones ache, and heating was a luxury they couldn’t afford.

“But … what made you need one here? And … using my things?”

“I’m sorry about that,” Louis blurted out, eyes widening as Harry brought up the one thing he’d been dreading. “I just-”

“I don’t need an apology, Lou. Not at all. I’m just trying to puzzle it all out in my thick Alpha head.”

Harry’s self-deprecating joke made Louis giggle slightly, and he arched his back slightly as Harry trailed his fingertips up and down Louis’ back over his shirt. He had a compulsion to have Harry touch him without the material separating them, but he wasn’t brave enough to ask for that. 

“I guess it started back when we moved out of the dorms and into this place. I lived alone there, and I had my own space when I needed it. Then suddenly, I was here with you, and there was nowhere for me to just … to be , you know?”

He saw Harry’s gaze fall at that, and hurried to explain, not wanting his best friend to feel anything negative at all. “Harry, no. Don’t do that, don’t feel like you did something wrong, please? This is all me, I promise you.”

“So … why did you need somewhere to hide from me?”

“It wasn’t necessarily that,” Louis said, his gaze fixed on a freckle on Harry’s chest as he spoke. “Remember the day I completely fucked up that dance piece, my first one?” Harry nodded, and Louis carried on. “Well, you remember then how I ran away and you couldn’t find me for hours? I came here, and I hid in my wardrobe. I couldn’t bear for anyone to see me like that, a crying mess of an Omega. I came and I hid, brought my blankets in, fell asleep. That was what made me realise how much I missed having a nest.”

“I get that, especially if you had one as a child,” Harry said, and Louis loved how empathetic he was being. “So … things obviously changed?”

“Yeah. I took all my blankets in there, and built the first nest. It was great. I loved it, and often slept in it when I was really homesick. I used to FaceTime Mum from there too. She got it, you know? Why I needed it. But then … Zayn’s birthday happened.”

“Zayn’s birthday?” Harry frowned, and Louis longed to reach up and trail the wrinkles on Harry’s forehead with his fingers, watching as realisation dawned on him. “Oh. When you got drunk?”

“Drunk is not a strong enough word.” Louis cringed at the memory. “You carried me home, got me indoors. I vaguely recall you getting me into bed, giving me your jumper because you couldn’t find any blankets-”

“They were in the wardrobe!” Harry gasped, and Louis just laughed softly, nodding. “Dammit, I should’ve checked.”

“Well, I’m glad that you didn’t,” Louis said with a shrug. “I woke up with your jumper on me, and I felt so calm, so … peaceful. I realised it was your scent that made me feel that way. I kept the jumper, and added it to my nest. It was so much better after that. So I decided to add to it.”

“You … took my clothes?”

“Every now and then. If you left a jumper around or whatever, I’d just … nab it. Put it in my nest. It was a bit like a compulsion, like I had to have more. Then I realised that I-” Louis cut himself off, freezing where he was. He felt like someone had dumped a bucket of cold water on him as the realisation struck. The thought that had just popped into his head was true. He loved Harry. And that just made all of this so much more complicated.

“That you what?”

“That I couldn’t be honest about this. About needing your things.”

“I mean, it’s so flattering that you liked having my things around you, you know. It makes me happy to know you were comforted by it, but you didn’t have to take anything.” Harry reached down and held Louis’ hand for a moment. “If you’d have just asked me, I’d have given you anything you needed. Or … me? You could’ve come to me for a hug, or for me to scent you …”

“That wasn’t … it’s complicated, Harry. I’d put on this front of being this independent Omega that didn’t need an Alpha, to everyone. And even though I let you hug me and scent me, I couldn’t tell you just how much I loved it, being close to you. I couldn’t have everyone know that I was everything people believe Omegas to be. I felt like if I hid the nest, and how much of your things I’d taken from you, then no one would know what I was really like. The real me. The one I’ve hidden for so long.”

“Oh, Louis-”

“Don’t. Don’t pity me. Please. I was okay with it, keeping that part of me away from everyone else. I was used to it.”

Harry just hugged Louis tighter for a moment, and Louis let his eyes drift shut, calmed down as Harry’s scent rolled around them both, his pheromones relaxing every part of Louis’ mind.

“Louis, there’s nothing wrong with needing or wanting an Alpha. It’s natural. We’re biologically made to need each other, that’s how we are, Lou. We find an Alpha, or an Omega, we mate, we have pups … that’s life.”

“I know that. I did biology, Harry. But it wasn’t me, or who I thought I had to be, anyway. I didn’t want to want an Alpha. I especially didn’t want to admit I …” he trailed off, hoping Harry would get what he wasn’t saying, what he couldn’t say. 

There was silence for a minute, Louis not sure where to take the conversation from there. He’d told Harry everything, and the Alpha hadn’t fled, so clearly he hadn’t freaked him out that much. Still, Louis felt twitchy, like he needed to get out, away from Harry before he blurted out more truths he wasn’t quite ready to share.

“Do you want something to eat, Lou? Your tummy’s rumbling and as cute as it sounds, I need to feed you, Lou.”

“I’ll cook-”

“No, you need to eat something decent, Lou. Please, allow me.”

Louis kicked out then, squealing as Harry grabbed his ankle after a minute, stopping it. “Such a rude Alpha. I’m going to steal your favourite socks for that, just so you know.”

“You can have what you like, Omega,” Harry shrugged, pulling on a shirt. “At least I’ll know I’m not going mad anymore!”

*****

A few days later

“Oi! Bloody twat- no!”

Louis cackled as his fingers deftly moved over the controller in his hands, his little animated character celebrating onscreen when the football rolled into the goal. Zayn just groaned and flopped back against the sofa, the controller in his lap, hands over his face. 

“Oh, come on, Zaynie poo. Don’t be a sore loser.”

Zayn just returned Louis’ look with a glare, and Louis laughed it off, pausing the game. 

“You know, you’ve been so happy for the past few days,” Zayn began, his brown eyes wide as he looked at Louis, a slight smirk on his features now. “Why’s that, Lou?”

“No, I haven’t,” Louis snapped, folding his arms defensively across his chest. “I’m always wonderfully bright and cheerful, Z. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“The twinkle, Lou,” Zayn remarked, shrieking as Louis started the game up, laughing when Zayn fumbled with the controller and almost dropped it in his haste to try and beat Louis again. “Deny it all you want, but since the other night at the bar, you’ve changed. You’ve been really chilled. It’s a good thing, you know.”

“You do talk some shit,” Louis laughed, scoring yet another goal. It was a wonder Zayn hadn’t given up yet. Neither of them bothered to move when the front door opened and Harry hollered that he was home. Louis could feel Zayn’s eyes on him, waiting for him to react to the Alpha’s presence but he just focused on the game, determined not to give in to whatever it was Zayn was thinking.

“Oh, hey Zayn,” Harry said, smelling sweaty as he walked in. Louis could feel himself reacting to Harry smelling so Alpha-like close to him, and he bit back a smile as Harry leaned over the back of the sofa, pressing a kiss to the top of his head. “Didn’t know you’d still be here.”

“I’ve been having fun kicking his arse on Fifa,” Louis said, tilting his head back and grinning at Harry. “You had a good session at the gym?”

“Yeah! Did lots of arm work today. Have a feel.” Louis caught Zayn rolling his eyes as Harry flexed his bicep, and Louis reached out, squeezing it gently, loving how solid it felt under his palm. “I’m yours for the rest of the night, though. Thought we might order in?”

“Nah, I got some stuff to cook,” Louis said, nodding towards the kitchen. He paused the game as Harry wandered into the kitchen, rifling through the bags that Louis had left on the counter from his brief wander down to the shops earlier on before Zayn had arrived. He wasn’t a good cook if he was honest, but he could make a mean pasta bake, and he’d bought the right things to do so later on, hoping to make the Alpha smile. “Might have even got some strawberries for pud.”

“Ooh, you do spoil me, Omega,” Harry purred, pulling off his sweaty gym t-shirt over his head as Louis walked out of the room, perching on the edge of the sofa again, watching Harry as he walked towards them, half naked now. His tattoos glistened under the sweat on Harry’s torso, and Louis hurriedly looked down, determined that neither Harry or Zayn would see how affected he was. “Just gonna get in the shower.”

Without thinking, Louis caught the t-shirt that Harry threw at him, and he brought it up to his nose and took a deep inhale, letting Harry’s scent in. He particularly loved it when Harry came back from the gym or from a run. His scent was stronger and a bit deeper like this, and Louis couldn’t get enough. If he’d taken some of Harry’s sweaty gym clothes to bed for a few nights, that was his business and no one else’s.

“Louis, what the fuck are you doing?”

Louis stilled and swallowed, working up the courage to look at Zayn who was looking a bit mind-boggled by what Louis was doing. He quickly set the t-shirt down next to him for later on, and cleared his throat, hoping his cheeks weren’t as red as they felt.

“Nothing.” He shrugged as he did it, but the fact Zayn didn’t start the game again told Louis he had more to say.

“Oh my god.”

“What?”

“You…” Zayn chuckled, shaking his head. “You showed him, didn’t you?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Zayn Malik.”

“Alright,” Zayn shrugged, getting to his feet and walking off. “Harry? Harry, did Louis show you-”

Louis knew Zayn’s voice wasn’t loud enough to be heard over the pounding water in the shower, but in a panic, he clambered over the back of the sofa, launching himself on Zayn’s back, dragging the Omega backwards and almost to the floor. “Shut the fuck up, you twat!”

“Don’t lie to me then!”

Louis sighed and slumped against the wall, knowing he should be honest. “Fine. Yes, I showed Harry my … my nest. Kind of.”

“How did you kind of show him? Like, in a photo or something?”

“No. He came and found me the other night, after that idiot in the pub came onto me. I ran home and … I hid there, needed to feel safe, you know? I don’t know how he knew where I was but …” a quick glance at Zayn’s face told Louis all he needed to know. “It was you, wasn’t it?”

“I mean … I didn’t tell him about it. I just said I knew you’d be at home, so to go there. I hope it’s okay that I did that?”

“Course. He’d have found me eventually, you know what he’s like. But, yeah. So I was in my nest, and he found me. He was lovely, actually. Seemed like, in awe of it? Said it was pretty, and that I did a good job. But then I came out, and we went to bed.”

“Together?”

Louis nodded, cheeks flushing as he realised he’d never admitted that aloud to anyone else before. He knew Zayn wouldn’t judge, that he’d often curled up against Niall to sleep on the sofa when they all hung out, but it felt different to say he and Harry had willingly slept in bed together. “Yeah. Nothing  happened, but … it was nice. To have him comfort me, like that.”

“I bet. So …” Zayn shifted his body so he was facing Louis now, his voice quieter so the Alpha down the hall couldn’t hear. Louis was grateful for the noise of the shower which told him that Harry was still scrubbing his hair, the slight sounds of his singing flowing down the corridor. “Why don’t you, you know, move things along with him?”

“Zayn …” Louis sighed, shaking his head. “I can’t. I don’t even know that he feels the same way about me. He didn’t hate my nest, but that doesn’t mean he wants anything more from me. I’m happy with how things are.”

“You keep on kidding yourself, then,” Zayn said as he got to his feet, zipping up his hoodie. “I’ll leave you to it. Seems like you’ve got a dinner to cook for your Alpha.”

“Not my Alpha …” Louis muttered as Zayn pulled him into a hug. “Thanks for today, mate. See you tomorrow?”

“Yep, will do,” Zayn said as he opened the door. “Say bye to Harry for me, yeah?”

Louis waved as Zayn walked off and locked the door behind him, his head a whirlwind of thoughts. No matter how much he tried, he couldn’t get the thought of what Zayn had said to him out of his head. He knew how much he wanted that, to make Harry his, to tell Harry how he felt about him, but that was too much of a risk. Harry’s friendship meant too much to Louis for him to risk it on something like love.

He started the dinner, placing the meatballs on an oven tray, humming quietly to himself. There was something quite peaceful about being all domestic, and he carefully prepared the rest of the dish, sliding it into the oven as Harry’s bedroom door opened down the hallway. Louis glanced at the table and decided they’d eat there instead of their laps, and he walked over to the cupboard where they stored the plates, pushing onto his tiptoes to reach down the nice plates they kept up there.

“Oh, shit!” He jumped a mile when Harry’s arms slid around his waist, pulling their bodies together as he rested his hands on Louis’ bare stomach under his jumper, laughing as the Omega batted at him, pushing him away. “You scared the shit out of me, I could’ve dropped the plates!” 

“Sorry, Omega, you just look so cute all stretching up like that. You could’ve asked me to reach them…”

“Wanted to do it myself, make it nice for you,” Louis mumbled as he stomped over to the table, setting them down on opposite sides on top of the table mats. “Dinner’s in about half an hour. Hope you’re hungry.”

“Definitely. Worked up an appetite. You sure there’s nothing I can do to help- ouch!”

Louis laughed as he whipped Harry’s butt again with the tea towel he’d flung over his shoulder earlier, and chased Harry out, back to the sitting room. He stood over him when the Alpha jokingly cowered away, hiding his face behind a cushion as Louis dangled the tea towel in front of him, laughing. “Now, sit and stay. Do as you’re told for once.”

“Aye aye, captain,” Harry said with a mock salute, blowing Louis a kiss as he walked back off to the kitchen, needing a minute to breathe. Even just a few minutes in Harry’s company could drive him mad at the moment. Louis was certain he was entirely screwed.

*****

“You comfy?”

Louis just nodded, smiling where he was laid on top of Harry on the sofa. Since the confession and reveal of Louis’ nest, the pair had been getting closer and closer. Louis wasn’t afraid to tell Harry he needed a cuddle or to be scented, and it was beneficial for them both. Harry seemed to be more content then he’d been in a while, and Louis felt relaxed beyond compare. It was perfect, and Louis knew the time to move things along was getting closer.

“I love this, you know,” Harry murmured, stroking his hand up and down Louis’ back as the telly played quietly in the background, neither of the men really paying it much attention. “Your scent is … it's sweeter when we do this.”

“Yeah?” Louis questioned, smiling slightly at the thought that being closer to the Alpha was changing him in some way. “You like it?”

Harry just nodded, and Louis tried not to shiver as Harry pressed his nose against the top of his head, sniffing gently. “It’s really you , Lou. I’ve always loved your scent, you know that. But when we’re close, it kind of… I don’t know, mingles with mine, maybe? Whatever it is, I really love it.”

Silence fell again as Louis’ eyes closed, savouring the closeness with the Alpha. He knew he had some schoolwork to get done, but right now, there was nothing else he wanted to do other than stay laid on the sofa with Harry. Thoughts were whirring round like a whirlpool now, and as much as he wanted to relax, Louis couldn’t shut his mind off.

“Oh. I meant to say thank you for the top you left on my bed the other day,” Louis muttered, stroking over Harry’s chest. Louis sensed it was a pride thing with Harry, that the Alpha loved knowing his scent was something Louis loved so much, and he was keen to continue to do that for as long as Louis wanted him to. His nest was getting bigger by the day, and Louis truly loved it. 

“Hope you found some room for it.”

It was those words which made up Louis’ mind for him. He sat up, careful not to hurt Harry as he settled on his knees between Harry’s legs. The Alpha frowned, resting his hands on Louis’ thighs as he waited for him to speak. Louis was aware he was probably showing that he was nervous now, and that the Alpha could probably smell that on him.

“Did I say something wrong?”

Louis just shook his head, hating that Harry was blaming himself. “No. It’s not you, Harry, it’s me. I just… I really want to ask you something but ...”

“Don’t-“ Harry started to say as he scrambled to sit up, making sure not to dislodge Louis, who was nervously chewing on his thumbnail now. “Don’t feel like you can’t ask me anything, Lou. You know we can talk about anything, yeah?” He looked to Louis for a moment, hooking his finger under Louis’ chin to make him look at him. “Do you … want me to scent you?”

Louis shook his head, knowing if he did that, he’d never get up the courage to do what it was he wanted to do. “Not just yet, if that’s okay?”

As always, Harry just nodded and smiled gently, taking Louis’ hand. “You can ask me, Omega.”

Louis exhaled shakily, shallowing. His mouth felt dry, and he could feel himself become twitchy, like he needed to run away.  Instead, he stood up and extended an arm, pulling Harry to his feet. “Come with me?”

Hardy nodded and hand in hand, they walked up the hallway, pausing outside Louis’ room. He’d cleaned earlier on when Harry had been at the gym in anticipation of this, wanting to make the Alpha proud of his space, of how he could take care of things that mattered to him.

“Lou…” 

“I want this. You can come in.”

They kept holding hands as they walked into Louis’ room together. The Omega turned, watching Harry’s face as he took in Louis’ room. There was a small smile as Harry turned, both of them facing each other again. 

“It’s so beautiful in here. I love the smell. Is that the candle I got you for Christmas?”

Louis nodded shyly, licking his lips quickly. “I want to show you my nest. Properly.”

“As long as you’re sure,” Harry said, bringing Louis’ hand up to his mouth and kissing the back of it gently. It was a comforting gesture, and Louis nodded softly, pulling Harry slightly over to the wardrobe. “I can’t wait to see it, Louis. You don’t know how much this means to me.”

Louis stayed quiet as finally, he dropped Harry’s hand and stood in front of the doors. He’d spend quite a bit of time since Harry had first seen his nest making it look as perfect as he could, well aware of his intentions to show Harry at some point. He’d been happy this morning when he’d woken up and neatened it up, adding the t-shirt he’d slept with back into the nest, but now, he was filled with self-doubt again, suddenly worrying something might be out of place that Harry would hate.

“Hey, Lou …” It was like Harry could read Louis’ mind, and he reached out, resting a hand on Louis’ hip as he got his attention. “We don’t have to do this if you’re not ready. I won’t be upset, I promise. We can just go and cuddle.”

“No. I-I want this. I just … I want you to like it.”

Before he could think twice and run away, Louis extended his hand and held the door handle, letting out a deep breath as he pulled it open. His body was blocking the majority of Harry’s view, so he quickly flicked the fairy lights on before he moved out of the way, opening the second door as he stepped aside, letting Harry see fully. He couldn’t bring himself to watch Harry’s face, to see his reaction and he fixed his eyes on the floor, admiring the flecks of white in his carpet.

“Louis, it’s so wonderful. Wow. It’s so cosy and homely, and… I’m a bit jealous, actually.”

Louis laughed at that, making himself look up to see Harry’s face, seeing only genuine delight on his features when he did. “Really? You .... you like it?”

“I really do. It’s so neat and so big! I can see why you like spending so much time in it. Do you …” Harry hesitated, like he was worried to say anything more.

“You can ask me.”

“Do you sleep in it? Or just, I don’t know, relax in there?”

“Both,” Louis shrugged. “It’s a comfort thing, I guess. I feel safe and happy when I’m in there, surrounded by my things, and your things. I don’t sleep in there much, it’s more when I feel overwhelmed and just need to be, you know? I don’t know if I’m making any sense-”

“You are. You really are, I think I get it. It really is wonderful.”

Louis’ hands shook as he prepared himself for what he was about to ask. 

“Do you … would you like to come in there with me? You don’t have to, I won’t be offend-”

Harry had a gentle smile on his lips. His eyes  were almost sparkling in the fairy lights, and Louis just blinked, staring up at the Alpha, his scent starting to surround them. “Omega. It would be an honour to come into your nest.”

“Yeah. Yeah, okay,” Louis smiled, nervously stepping towards it. “I can go in first, then you can join me?”

Harry nodded, and Louis felt like he was very exposed as he got into his nest, pleased the two of them were just wearing comfy clothes, the perfect thing for relaxing in the nest. Louis almost forgot Harry was watching him for a moment as he settled on the cosy blankets at the bottom of the nest, reaching out in instinct to grab something of Harry’s. He’d just collected the headscarf in his hand when he caught himself, and he looked up, nodding to give Harry the go ahead. The Alpha carefully stepped over the side of the nest, taking not to dislodge anything which just filled Louis’ heart with love and pride. He adored how careful Harry was being, and how respectful he was of Louis’ pride and joy. He sat down just opposite Louis, and as he got comfortable, he opened his arms, smiling encouragingly at Louis.

Louis didn’t hesitate. Head scarf in hand, he crawled across and sat down between Harry’s legs, curling up against his body. He felt Harry dip his head and nuzzle against his neck, feeling a bit dizzy with how Harry was making him feel.

“Smells so good in here. Don’t know why you smell different, but you do. So sweet.”

Louis just smiled to himself, letting the Alpha enjoy his scent for a minute. Harry’s scent was unbelievably strong right now. It was a lot at the best of times, thanks to so many of Harry’s things being around him, but having the Alpha himself in there was affecting Louis more than he could admit. He shut his eyes, letting everything surround him, feeling calmer and more relaxed than he had in a long time.

“So perfect,” he muttered under his breath, letting his head relax back against Harry’s chest. After a few minutes of the pair sitting in silence, Louis opened his eyes, turning back to look at the Alpha behind him, who was staring back at Louis. His cheeks were slightly pink, and there was an expression on Harry’s face that Louis just couldn’t read. “Alpha?”

“Just …”

He leaned down, so slowly that Louis felt like time was standing still. He held his breath, eyes fluttering shut just as Harry’s lips pressed against his own, featherlight but so perfect. Louis felt warm all over as Harry’s hand came around, cupping the back of his head gently, holding them together. Harry’s lips were warm and wet against Louis’ as they kissed softly and slowly, tentative almost. He whined lightly when Harry pulled away, dark eyes boring into Louis’ own.

“Is… is this okay, Omega?”

Louis could only nod for a moment, watching as Harry’s tongue darted out, wetting his own lips again. “Yeah. Kiss me again. Please.”

Harry leaned down and Louis arched his neck to meet Harry halfway, their lips colliding a little more heavily this time. He groaned as he felt the Alpha’s big hand tangle in his hair, keeping them pressed close together as they kissed, seeking out more from each other this time, a confidence present now they both knew this was what they wanted. It was Louis who parted his lips when Harry ran his tongue along Louis’ bottom lip, gasping as Harry’s tongue finally touched his own. He’d dreamt for so long about how the Alpha might taste, how he’d kiss and take Louis apart before putting him back together again, with nothing but love and care. Now it was happening, it was everything Louis had ever wanted and more.

Louis slowly turned around in Harry’s lap until he was on his knees, chest to chest with Harry by now. He could feel Harry’s hands slip down to his hips, holding him as their kiss became more passionate, Louis needing slightly more now. He dared to reach up, running his fingers through Harry’s curls, tugging him down as he pushed his tongue into Harry’s mouth, tasting eagerly now, unabashed with want and need.

It was too soon that Louis felt himself lean back, needing to catch his breath. He kept his eyes shut as he leaned down, resting his forehead against Harry’s chest, smiling to himself when he could feel Harry’s heart racing as quickly as his own was. Harry’s hand was stroking his back now, and Louis finally braved looking up, the pair smiling at each other.

“You kiss beautifully,” Harry whispered, leaning to peck Louis’ lips briefly again. “You don’t know how long I’ve wanted to kiss you, Omega. You’re perfect. This nest is … it’s so you, I love it so much. I really love it in here, Lou.”

“I’m so happy right now,” Louis confessed with a little giggle, as Harry’s thumb traced his cheekbone, looking down at him like he was some sort of deity. “Can we just stay in here for a bit? Cuddle? Maybe …”

“Maybe what, Omega?” Harry teased, rubbing his nose against Louis’ gently.

“Kiss a little bit more?”

“You don’t even need to ask,” Harry murmured as he bent down, kissing Louis again. Louis was certain he’d never been more content in his life. He was where he wanted to be. In his nest, his safe space, in the arms of his Alpha.

*****

“Well, that was delicious,” Harry smiled, pushing his plate away and leaning back in his chair, his hands resting on his flat belly. “Ate too much, though.”

“No, you enjoyed it,” Louis said, his chest puffing out in pride that his Alpha had enjoyed the meal he’d cooked for him. He went to stand up and clear the plates away but Harry beat him to it, kissing Louis before he took the plates out to the kitchen, returning with the bowls of strawberries Louis had prepared earlier for them. It wasn’t much, nothing fancy, but Louis loved taking care of the Alpha however he could.

“I love this side of you,” Harry said as he popped a strawberry between his lips, chewing carefully, savouring the flavour of the fruit. “Honestly, when we first met, I never took you for a home making kind of Omega. I always thought you’d be the sort of flatmate who’d leave his dirty socks everywhere, and wet towels in the bathroom.”

“Well, aren’t you lucky that I’m me, then?” Louis teased, resting his foot on top of Harry’s under the table. They ate quietly until they were finished, Louis pushing his final strawberry into Harry’s mouth, unable to entertain the idea of eating anything else. They chatted quietly as they tidied up together, working in tandem to wash the dishes despite Harry’s protests that Louis should sit down. He just said if they did it together, it would be done quicker and then they could cuddle, which Harry couldn’t argue with.

“Ready for bed?” Louis asked when they were done, and Harry just laughed, glancing at the clock.

“It’s like half eight, Lou,” he said, pulling the Omega closer and kissing him quickly. “But if you want …”

“I just thought it’d be, I dunno, cosy?” Louis shrugged, embarrassed as he kissed down Harry’s jaw, loving it since that’s where his scent was strongest. “We don’t have to …”

“No. Sounds good to me.”

Harry laced their fingers together and pulled Louis to his room. They both stripped down to their boxers and climbed into Harry’s bed, Louis throwing one of his blankets over them, keeping them cosy. He knew when they slept, Harry would kick off all the covers, the Alpha running much hotter than he did, but Harry always entertained his love of layers and soft blankets, no matter how uncomfortable it made him. 

“Comfy?”

Louis just nodded, throwing a leg over Harry’s, tangling them up as always. He started to kiss Harry softly, his fingers absent-mindedly playing with Harry’s nipples, as he often did when they were laid together like this. He liked how it made Harry kiss him a little deeper, how the Alpha tugged him closer to his body, like he was trying to make them one. 

As they kissed, Louis kept thinking about how Harry had just taken his clothes off, throwing them on the floor instead of folding them as he usually would. He knew it was distracting him too much when Harry pulled back, frowning at him, a hand gently resting on the side of Louis’ neck.

“Do you want to stop? We don’t have to-”

“What? No! Why would I want to stop kissing you?”

Harry smiled at that, shrugging one shoulder. “I don’t know. You seemed … distracted?”

“It’s just … your clothes.”

“My clothes? What about them?”

“You just … you know they won’t be there in the morning, right? I’ve just thought of the perfect spot in my nest for them, right in the corner, and, oh, while I think of it, I want that cute pink t-shirt back that you stole the other day.”

“Stole?! It’s mine!”

“It’s my nest, therefore it’s mine,” Louis sang out, making the Alpha laugh, tickling his side. “Time you realised that actually, everything you own is really mine.”

“Oh, is that so?” Harry murmured, rolling Louis back onto the mattress, hovering over him. He went to kiss him, but he laughed, shaking his head as he sat up. “You can have anything of mine you want, Lou. You know that.”

Louis just rolled his eyes, shaking his head. “It’s more fun when I steal it, Harold.”

Harry just laughed before he propped himself up on his elbow, staring lovingly down at the Omega. “Go on.”

“Go on what?”

“Go and put the clothes in your nest. You’ll be distracted until you do, so go on.”

“Thank you so much,” Louis breathed as he clambered over Harry’s body, feet on the floor now. He bent over to gather up Harry’s clothes in his arms and laughed when Harry patted his bum appreciatively, and Louis couldn’t resist giving it a wiggle before he skipped over to the door, grinning back at his Alpha. He practically squealed when he held Harry’s soft black jumper up to his face, nuzzling against it. “I won’t be a minute, I promise…”

“Take your time, Omega,” Harry called, pulling the covers back over himself. “I’m not going anywhere.”

 

Three months later

Harry

Harry hitched up his school bag, holding the door open for a few female Omegas as they walked out of the coffee shop, blushing when they thanked him, hurrying off down the path together. Harry ignored them and walked into the shop, eyes darting around and smiling when he saw Niall sitting there, a cup of something in front of him. Harry gave him a quick wave and joined the queue, ordering himself a strong coffee and a cake before he joined Niall at the table, finally unzipping his jacket and getting comfortable.

“Peckish, are ya?” the other Alpha teased, reaching across and stealing a bit from the top of Harry’s muffin. Harry didn’t bother to say anything, he was too used to Niall by now. He stirred his coffee to cool it down as he chewed on a bit of cake, slipping his phone out of his pocket when it pinged. It was Louis, telling him he’d gone for a walk with Zayn, and that he’d be home later. Harry just replied with a line of heart emojis. “Oi, pay me attention.”

“Sorry,” Harry chuckled, putting his phone away again, fairly certain Louis wouldn’t text him again for a while. “How was class?”

“Good,” Niall shrugged, ripping another lump of muffin off. “Feels like I’m really getting into my stride with it, you know? Like I actually get half of the shit the professor is banging on about, which is nice.”

“Always good to know what you’re learning,” Harry said, wincing as the sip of coffee he took burned his tongue slightly. “Ouch.”

“Every damn time,” Niall laughed, slapping his leg as Harry fanned his hot tongue with his hand, hoping it would cool down. “So. How’s things with Lou?”

Harry could feel himself blush at the question. He picked up a packet of sugar from the stand to the side and fiddled with it before he plucked up the courage to talk to Niall about his relationship. “Yeah, it’s… it’s so good. It’s like everything has changed, but at the same time, nothing’s changed, you know? We’re still the same Harry and Louis, but we kiss and … stuff.”

Niall snorted at that, and shook his head. “Tell me you’ve actually knotted him, you Alpha stud.”

“Niall, for goodness sakes. We haven’t … not all that, but we’ve had sex. He’s amazing, seriously. I’ve never had anything like this with an Omega before. I just … I can’t keep my hands off him. Is that normal? I don’t know if I’m moving too fast …”

“Only people that can answer that are you and Lou,” Niall said, gulping down his rapidly cooling tea. “But he seems happy enough, and you definitely are. I’ve never really had a relationship, you know that, but Omegas are meant to drive you crazy when you find the one so … take from that what you will.”

Harry did, smiling to himself at the thought. It wasn’t the first time he’d had thoughts of a forever with Louis. The Omega was everything to him. They’d slept together a few weeks after getting together, and for Harry, it had just confirmed everything he’d felt for a while - that he and Louis were meant to be. They were more than compatible in the bedroom, with Louis loving taking Harry’s cock as often as he could, and Harry couldn’t get enough of Louis’ scent when they were intimate. He also kept pining for Louis whenever they weren’t together, and he could feel himself missing the Omega more right now as well. 

“You told him yet?”

“Told him what?” Harry asked, coming back to reality.

“That you love him,” Niall stated easily, and Harry spluttered around his sip of coffee, shaking his head frantically. “No? Oh come on, Styles, Alpha up! Tell him. Don’t let him think that you don’t.”

“When the time’s right,” Harry replied, wrapping his hands around his half-empty mug. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to tell Louis, not at all. He just wanted to make sure that when he did, it was because it felt right, not because he felt pressured. There’d been a few times he’d wanted to tell Louis, but something had happened that had stopped him, the words falling back inside again. “I think he knows, anyway. Omega instincts, you know?”

“I suppose. Is he waiting at home for you now?”

Harry shook his head and explained Louis was out with Zayn, but that they were having a cosy night in together. Louis had found a new series on Netflix he was excited to watch, and although Harry really wasn’t that interested, he was willing to do anything to keep his Omega smiling. Niall finished off his drink and left, apologising to Harry for cutting it short, but that he had to finish up an essay due the next day he’d put off for far too long. Harry waved him off with a smile, entirely at ease with sitting on his own in the coffee shop. He didn’t much care what others thought about him. 

He was just leaving when his phone rang, and Harry looked down at the screen, excitedly answering when he saw it was Louis. 

Where are you?” Louis demanded as Harry answered the call, heading for home. “ I’m home and you’re not, and I don’t appreciate it.

“Sorry love, I was seeing Niall. I’m on my way back now.”

Good. Because right now, I’m naked in your bed, and I’m very lonely, Alpha.”

Harry broke into a sprint, trying to stop his body reacting to the images running through his mind right now. He promised his Omega he’d be there soon and ran as quickly as he could, panting and sweaty by the time he arrived at their apartment, wiping off his forehead with the back of his hand. 

“Hey, Harry! We were wondering-”

“Later, Adam, gotta go!”

“Get in,” the other Alpha called as Harry took the stairs instead of waiting for the lift, Harry returning his comment with a middle finger. He fumbled with his keys, dropping them a couple of times in his haste to get inside, and practically cheered when finally, he got the key into the lock, his hand practically trembling as it shoved open the door, banging loudly on the wall behind it.

Harry slowed down for a moment, wiping his forehead off on the back of his hand as he shut and locked the door behind him, keen that no one get into their apartment and interrupt his and Louis’ much needed alone time. He kicked off his shoes and began to creep to his room, stilling when he saw something he was a bit surprised by.

“Louis? I… I thought you were naked in my bed.”

Instead of that, Louis was lounging on the sofa, a blanket draped over half of his body. He was wearing one of Harry’s favourite knitted jumpers, and had a tub of Ben and Jerry’s in his hand, the spoon hovering halfway to his mouth.

“I … lied?”

“Why?” Harry’s erection was definitely beginning to fade now, but Louis was looking so cute he couldn’t quite bring himself to be annoyed about the situation.

“I couldn’t find the sprinkles,” Louis pouted, shovelling another spoon of ice cream into his mouth. Harry just sighed and shook his head, stepping closer to the sofa now as Louis dug his spoon back into the pot, refilling it. “And they were my favourite ones. Help me?”

Harry leaned over and opened his mouth, letting Louis feed him ice cream for a second before he rounded the sofa, kissing his boyfriend’s lips gently. “You’re a menace, you know that?”

“I am, but I’m your menace,” Louis grinned, setting the ice cream down on the floor. He got to his feet, letting the blanket fall to the floor and as he walked over, Harry’s tummy did a funny swoop, and he couldn’t stop smiling, loving how gorgeous and claimed Louis looked in his clothes. “What are you looking at?”

“You,” Harry said before he bent down, scooping up the smaller Omega and throwing him over his shoulder, ignoring Louis’ squeals of protests. “Stop whinging, you know you love it when I manhandle you.”

“I prefer it when you call it alpha-handling,” Louis huffed, slapping Harry’s bum as he strode down the corridor. “I assume you’re intending to get me naked in your bed?”

“Very much so.” Harry let the Omega down to his feet once they were in his room, but grabbed Louis’ wrist when he went to pull off his jumper, leaving the Omega with a confused look. “Let me?”

Harry made sure to wait for Louis’ nod before he reached out, tugging the jumper over the Omega’s head. As he did so, Harry shut his eyes letting Louis’ sweet scent wash over him. It was strong again, the floral scent overriding everything else, and Harry could feel his body starting to react to it, glad that he didn’t have to hide how Louis affected him anymore.

Louis was soon bare, while Harry stood opposite him fully dressed, biting his lip and letting his eyes run up and down Louis’ body, appreciating every curvy inch of him. Harry stepped forward, resting his hands on Louis’ warm hips, his nose twitching as he smelt the initial scent of Louis’ slick.

“God, you’re so gorgeous,” Harry muttered as Louis blushed, fidgeting where he was standing. “You smell amazing, you drive me mad, Omega…”

“Then do something about it,” Louis teased, his hands coming over to work open Harry’s belt buckle, the metal clinking the only sound in the room for a moment. “Want you to fuck me, Alpha… so wet for you already.”

Harry took a chance and snaked a hand around Louis’ bare body, dipping his hand down and pressing a finger between his cheeks. Louis was right, and Harry practically growled as he brought his hand up between them, Louis’ scent potent and somewhat dangerous as it lingered between them.

“Wanna touch you …” Louis purred, his hands opening the buttons of Harry’s shirt now. Harry loved how confident Louis was as he slipped the clothes from his body, letting his hand graze against the bulge in Harry’s trousers, making the Alpha buck his hips forwards. “This for me, hmm?”

“Always for you,” Harry purred back, nudging Louis gently backwards towards the bed, watching as the Omega laid out, spreading his legs, entirely unashamed of his nudity. “Fuck, Omega-”

“Yes please,” Louis retorted with a smirk, and Harry just about managed to push his jeans down and off his legs before he collapsed on top of Louis, making them both giggle. He loved how they could have fun when they were intimate with each other, and he couldn’t help himself reaching up, cradling Louis’ face in his hand. “Stop staring at me like that.”

“I’ll stare all I want,” Harry replied, rolling his hips down against Louis’, making the Omega whine, a sound that was like music to Harry’s ears. He ducked his head and brought their lips together, tasting Louis as eagerly as he had the first time they’d kissed. He was already feeling a bit out of it thanks to Louis’ scent taking over every part of his senses, and having the Omega’s soft skin pressed against his own was just about to push him over the edge. “I just … god, I want you so much.”

Instead of words, Louis just grabbed Harry’s hand and pushed it down between their bodies, making Harry sigh in pleasure as his fingers made contact with Louis’ hard length, feeling the silky smooth skin underneath his fingertips. He stroked up and down a few times before he released Louis, letting his hand tease lower and lower, rubbing against the soft skin of Louis’ inner thighs.

“Alpha…” Louis whined, throwing his head further back into the pillow as Harry kept teasing, smirking at the sounds he was drawing out of Louis. “Don’t tease me…”

“But I’m having so much fun,” Harry said, kissing Louis between his words. “You have no idea how good your body feels under mine, Omega. Want to take you apart, make you feel so good, make you mine …”

No further words were needed between the pair. Harry kept kissing Louis deeply, pushing his tongue into Louis’ mouth as he pushed his fingers into Louis’ body, the Omega pliant and waiting for him. The slick was pooling around the base of Harry’s fingers as he worked them in and out of the Omega’s body, rutting his own erection against Louis’ hip as they kissed hungrily, Louis’ hands clawing at Harry’s bare back.

Harry didn’t speak as he manoeuvered himself between Louis’ thighs, tugging on his own cock by now as his other hand carried on working inside Louis’, stretching him open. He knew when they were intimate, Louis didn’t need much by way of preparation, always too eager for the Alpha that his body provided more than enough slick, but even so, Harry couldn’t be too careful with his beloved Omega.

“Ready?”

Louis just nodded, pulling Harry into a filthy kiss as Harry slid inside him, bottoming out in one long thrust of his hips. Harry swallowed down Louis’ moan as he pulled back slightly, flicking his hips forward again as he buried himself in the Omega’s body, Louis begging for more over and over.

“So tight, Omega … so perfect for me, for my cock-”

“Love it, want it harder-”

Harry just nodded and started to pound harder at Louis, giving him what he wanted. He could already feel his knot starting to form at the base of his cock, too turned by the writhing Omega underneath him. Louis was warm and wet and tight around him, and it was so much for the Alpha to keep himself under control. He could feel Louis’ hand slip down from where it had been tangled in his curls to touch himself, and Harry just panted, kissing Louis as he felt the Omega’s tiny hand press against his stomach as he stroked himself.

“Where-” Harry stuttered out, unable to form full sentences but Louis of course knew what he meant.

“My face,” Louis mumbled, his legs coming up around Harry’s hips, letting Harry's cock slip deeper inside him. He felt Louis’ hand scramble for his own, and he let Louis tangle their fingers together as Harry pulled away from Louis’ lips, nuzzling his nose against Louis’ scent gland, taking in a deep of the Omega’s beautiful scent. He loved the way Louis smelt not only of his own scent, but of Harry’s as well when they were having sex. It was intoxicating, and Harry felt himself grazing his teeth over Louis’ neck, over the spot where one day, he hoped he’d bond with the Omega and make him his. “Alpha …”

“Omega …”

“Close,” Louis whispered, sounding wrecked now, and Harry pulled up just enough to look at how debauched Louis looked. He did, and it was a sense of pride for the Alpha that he’d made the Omega look so wrecked. His lips were swollen, his cheeks were red, and his eyes were dark with lust, locked on Harry’s as their bodies rocked together on the sweaty sheets, Harry’s belly burning with a need to claim Louis, to mate him, to put his pups inside him.

“Come for me.”

It was an instruction that Louis loved to hear, and it was just a few hard thrusts from Harry’s hips later that Louis came hard, spilling over his own stomach. Harry gritted his teeth and thrust harder, knowing he was playing it a bit dangerously given how swollen his knot was beginning to feel, but the scent of the Omega, his come and his naked body against Harry’s was driving him to the brink of insanity. 

He growled as he came to his senses, pulling out of the Omega, straddling his hips as he took his cock in his hand, shuffling on his knees as he made his way up the Omega’s body. Louis looked spent, but he smiled up at Harry as the Alpha stroked his cock, moaning loudly when Louis’ small hand wrapped around where his knot was forming, applying pressure he knew the Alpha loved to feel around him, mimicking how it would feel to push his knot into the Omega’s body. 

“Fuck, Louis-”

“Want it … come on me …”

Harry’s eyes found Louis’ and stayed there as his hand flew back and forth, driving himself towards his release, his body aching for the Omega’s in a way they hadn’t shared with each other yet, but now wasn’t the time. As much as Harry wanted to give Louis that part of himself, to feel the Omega around him when he knotted, he wanted it to be special. For now, he’d just enjoy painting Louis’ skin in himself.

“Shit, fuck- I ... Omega!”

He forced himself to look as he came hard, splattering come on Louis’ face, watching the Omega part his lips enough that a few drops landed on his tongue. It was obscene, and the way Louis’ fingers pulsed around his knot coaxed Harry’s body to keep coming until his legs were shaking, arm aching as he drew the last few strings of come from his body, letting them come to rest on Louis’ chest.

“Made a mess, hmm?” Louis asked as Harry rolled off the Omega, his knot still prominent between his legs, leaving Harry feeling like something was missing, his body still craving the Omega. He pulled Louis close, rolling him onto his side so he could rest his still half-hard cock against his curvy ass, humming in pleasure as his body settled with the Omega so close. “You okay?”

Harry just nodded, his lips pressing insistently against the back of Louis’ neck, loving the bitter tang of sweat on his tongue as he kissed the sensitive spot, taking advantage of being so close to the Omega’s scent gland. He rocked his hips gently until his knot began to go down, his body realising there was no Omega to breed this time.

“Cuddle,” Harry requested, and he smiled when Louis rolled around in his arms, pressing their bare chests together. He leaned in and ran his tongue through a splash of come on Louis’ cheek, knowing Louis loved it when he did that. The Omega practically preened and tilted his neck back to give Harry more space, the room silent as Harry cleaned him up, their legs tangled together.

“‘M cold,” Louis complained when Harry was done, and the Alpha just laughed, reaching down to the end of the bed, grabbing the corner of the blanket that lived there permanently now. He draped it over their naked bodies and pulled Louis closer to him, making it as if they were one person. He kissed Louis quickly, caressing his cheek. “You’re so cosy.”

“And you’re so gorgeous,” Harry replied quickly, pressing his lips all over Louis’ face. “I… I love doing this with you.” It wasn’t quite what Harry really wanted to say but for now, it had to be enough. He was certain Louis knew, anyway. “Wanna nap for a bit?”

“Wore me out, Alpha,” Louis mumbled, his words almost slurred now. His body was completely relaxed against Harry’s, and Harry couldn’t help but slide his hand around the Omega, resting his palm on Louis’ tummy. He stroked in small circles for a minute, feeling Louis’ breaths even out as he fell asleep, safe and reassured in the arms of his Alpha. Harry smiled and kissed the back of Louis’ head, shutting his eyes. He wasn’t sure he’d ever been this happy.

*****

Sadly, Harry’s happiness didn’t last for long. Over the past few days, since the amazing sex they’d had, Louis hadn’t exactly been himself. Right now, Harry was sitting on the sofa, remote control in hand as Louis bashed away in the kitchen, muttering under his breath as he slammed cupboard doors.

“Can I help you find something, Lou?”

“Oh no, Alpha,” Louis snipped, peering back at Harry, his face set in a grim expression. “You just sit there, relax.”

Harry rolled his eyes at the sarcasm but bit his tongue, knowing that arguing with Louis when he was this mood was a no go. He’d been woken up early by the Omega shrieking in the shower when he’d stepped under a cold spray, the hot water apparently not working, then by him moaning at Harry for eating the last of his cereal (which Harry stringently denied given he hated the stuff that Louis seemed to live off), and now, Louis was searching for goodness knows what.

He crossed his socked feet, resting them on the coffee table until silence fell. Instead of appreciating it, Harry sat up in concern, quickly getting up again when he heard no sign of Louis. He crept towards the kitchen and his heart fell when he saw Louis leaned against the worktop, heads on his folded arms.

“Lou…” he said softly, walking over and resting his hand between Louis’ shoulder blades, hoping the Omega wouldn’t shake off his touch as he’d done earlier that morning. “What’s wrong?”

He felt Louis’ body let out a big sigh, his shoulders slumping even further down as the Omega just shrugged. Harry leaned in and brushed his nose against Louis’ neck, pleased Louis didn’t make to move away from him. 

“I don’t know,” Louis mumbled, his voice low and sad sounding. Harry didn’t like that. “Feel a bit shitty.”

“Want to go to bed and let me bring you some soup or something?” Harry asked, always keen to take care of what was his. “I don’t mind. You can email and get out of class for today, right?”

Louis just shook his head, standing up, his face still tight like he was holding back from his real feelings. “I can’t just call off, Harry. I’m not flying through my classes like you are. I actually have to work for my marks.”

Despite the fact Harry knew that Louis didn’t mean anything by his snippy remarks, it still hurt that the Omega was being like this with him. He just took in a breath and folded his arms, stepping away to collect his thoughts before he could say something he might regret.

“Fine. I’m going to get in the shower as I have class in a bit. Let me know if you want anything.”

He walked away, guilt already eating away at his stomach as he shed his clothes, dumping his T-shirt on Louis’ bed as he walked past his room, hoping it might give the Omega something to make him smile. He didn’t bother to shut the bathroom door behind him, and relaxed under the spray of the shower, letting the almost too-hot water cascade over his head and down his body.

“Can I …” came a quiet voice from behind the curtain, and Harry pulled it to the side, smiling at Louis’ uncertain face. “If you want to be alone …”

“You’re always welcome,” Harry replied softly, stepping back inside as he heard the sound of clothes hitting the floor before the curtain swept aside again, and Louis stepped in opposite. He looked beautiful like this, all golden skin and water droplets running down his torso as he looked up at Harry. The Alpha knew something was still off with his Omega, though, and he pulled him against him, scenting him gently. “Better now?”

Louis just hummed his approval, closing his eyes as Harry’s hands rubbed around his lower back, keeping them close. Harry reached for the body wash after a few minutes, taking his time to clean every inch of Louis, loving that the Omega was letting him take care of him like this. It wasn’t often Louis let his guard down enough to be taken care of, so Harry always made the most of it when Louis did. 

They shared a few tender kisses as Harry washed Louis’ hair for him, but soon, the smaller man was shivering as the water started to run cool, and he stepped out, leaving Harry alone. He finished up and quickly rinsed off, following Louis only to find the bedroom door shut. He rapped his knuckles on the wood a few times, but sighed when he got no response, moping off down the corridor to his own room.

It was as he was shoving his textbooks in his bag in the sitting room that Louis appeared, wrapped up in one of Harry’s baggy hoodies, his hair fluffy and sweater paws covering his petite hands. 

“What are you doing?”

“I have class, Lou,” Harry replies easily, checking the pocket of his bag to ensure he had a few pens in there. “It’s only an hour, though. I can make us some dinner when I get-“

“I don’t want you to go.”

Harry looked up, trying to anticipate Louis’ mood but the Omega’s expression gave nothing away. Harry knew he was on dangerous territory here but he had no choice. As much as he loved being at home with Louis, he had to keep his grades up, and that meant attending all his classes.

“I have to, Lou. You know that. I can't afford to get behind.”

“Stay here. We can cuddle, and … stuff.”

Harry groaned, throwing his head back as Louis pulled up the hem on his jumper, revealing a bare hip. He swallowed heavily and let out an exhale through his nostrils, his body too aware of the pheromones Louis was letting out, trying to entice him to stay.

“Louis, please …”

“Fine. Whatever.” Louis quickly tugged his jumper down and stomped barefoot past Harry, barely acknowledging him as he threw himself down on the sofa. “I literally throw myself at you but your stupid class is more important.”

“Louis, no, that’s-”

“I don’t care. Go. Whatever. But don’t expect me to be in your bed tonight.”

Harry just sighed and picked up his bag, knowing if he didn’t leave now he was going to be late. He threw one final look back at Louis, but his heart fell when he saw the Omega wasn’t even looking at him anymore. He was staring at the blank television, but Harry could smell through his scent he was annoyed, and equally pining for Harry. The Alpha couldn’t help himself, walking over and kissing the top of Louis’ head, scenting him gently. “I’ll be home later, Omega. Let me know if there’s anything you want later on, okay?”

Silence was all he got in reply, and he held out his hand, deciding not to touch Louis now. He walked out of the flat, closing the door behind him and heading off to class. He could only hope that when he came home later on, that his Omega would be in a better mood!

*****

Louis

Louis sighed and slumped back against the sofa as Harry left, leaving him all alone in their apartment. He reached for the blanket Harry had curled up with a few nights ago and pulled it across his body, inhaling the pure Alpha smell that was nestled in all of the fibres. He felt warm and his head was throbbing, but Louis pushed all that to the side, trying to focus on Harry’s scent, letting it soothe him.

He knew it was unreasonable for him to have expected Harry to stay, but he didn’t quite feel right today, and just needed his Alpha by his side. Sharing a shower with Harry had eased his feeling of unrest somewhat, but now the Alpha was gone, Louis was feeling that prickly feeling that was lurking beneath his skin was back with a vengeance. He flicked on the telly, hoping to find something mind numbing to watch but came out unlucky, turning it back off and flopping back on the sofa, an arm across his forehead.

He laid there for a few minutes before the urge to move overtook him. He was already dressed in one of Harry’s hoodies but hurried back to his bedroom, pulling on a pair of leggings. Usually, they weren’t something he would wear out of the house but he couldn’t bear the thought of anything tight at the moment, and the leggings felt nice and soft against his skin, which he really appreciated. A pair of Harry’s huge gloves were the last thing he pulled on before he walked out of the apartment, stuffing his phone in the front pocket of the hoodie.

Louis didn’t have a destination in mind, but he just needed to be outside, to feel the fresh air whirl around his warm body. There weren’t many students around as he headed onto campus, letting his feet direct him. He smiled at a few familiar Betas he recognised from around the University as he tugged at the neck of Harry’s hoodie, feeling a little bit warm and sticky now, resisting the temptation to take it off for a reason he couldn’t put his finger on. He sat down underneath a nearby tree, shutting his eyes and letting the sun bathe over his already golden skin.

“Lou?”

Louis’ head was whirling and he didn’t pay the voice much attention, startling when there was a hand on his forearm.

“Louis? You okay?” 

He breathed out a sigh of relief when he saw it was just Niall, crouched in front of him and looking at Louis in concern, wrinkling his nose. 

“Louis, talk to me. Are you okay?”

Louis just nodded dazedly, feeling more and more out of it as the Alpha reached out, touching his forehead. Louis bit back a whine, his eyes fluttering shut as Niall’s hand suddenly disappeared. Louis’ eyes flew open again, locking on Niall’s baby blues which were staring at him in what Louis could only describe as shock.

“What?”

He flinched as Niall reached down, pulling the neckline of his t-shirt over his nose, holding it tight. “Louis, you … why the hell are you out and about in this state?”

“I’m sorry if my natural scent offends you, Niall,” Louis snapped back, a little affronted Niall was behaving this way towards him. To think he considered the Alpha to be a friend. “Just … leave me alone, yeah?”

“No way,” Niall said quickly, shaking his head. “I can’t leave you alone like this, Harry’d kill me-”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Louis moaned as a bead of sweat trickled down the back of his neck, making him shiver. “I … I don’t think I feel too good, Ni…”

“Not surprising … I really need to-”

Louis sat bolt upright, eyes wide as everything hit him like a freight train. He was sure if he’d been standing up he’d have fallen over. “Holy fuck. Niall, I … I’m in heat.”

“I know, Lou. I’m here, okay, I’ve got you but we need to get you home-”

“How did I not realise?” Louis moaned, grabbing at his hair, feeling distressed now. He could feel pheromones rolling off as Niall swallowed hard, breathing deeply now, clearly affected by Louis. “Niall, I’m scared, I … I need Harry.”

“I know, bud. Stand up, let me walk you home-”

“No, I can-”

“It’s not up for discussion,” Niall said, using his Alpha tone which just made Louis whine and dip his head forward in submission, something which happened without his conscious decision. Niall, though, seemed upset by what he’d done. “Shit, sorry. It’s … it’s your scent. I didn’t mean that. But I’m not letting you walk home alone. You’re … you’ll entice every damn Alpha in a mile radius smelling like that, not to mention what Harry will do to me if I let any harm come to you.”

He held out his hand, helping Louis to his feet. In his daze, Louis stumbled and fell into Niall, closing his eyes and smelling the Alpha, letting the Alpha scent wash over him and calm him down. It wasn’t like Harry, but still, it was enough that it was familiar. “God, you smell good-”

“And that’s enough of that,” Niall said, gently pushing Louis away. “Come on, let’s walk. Can you walk?”

“Yes, I can walk,” Louis muttered, his cheeks flushing red as he realised he’d all but come onto his Alpha friend. “I didn’t mean that, Ni. About your smell. Well, I did, but not like that.

“I know, it’s all good,” Niall said, flinging his arm around Louis’ waist, pulling him close as they walked by a group of Alphas, all stopping to stare as a more and more out of it Louis was dragged past them. “Nothing to see here, lads,” Niall called, speeding up slightly. 

“I beg to differ,” one of them called, but Louis just whined and shuffled closer into Niall’s body, trying to hide away. 

“Bloody knotheads,” Niall muttered. They walked in near silence for a few minutes, but Louis was feeling dizzy now, slowing them down. “Not far now, Lou. Harry’s probably waiting for you at home-”

Louis couldn’t help how he reacted to just the sound of Harry’s name. His whole body shuddered and he whined loudly, hands clawing at Niall’s jacket. He could feel the seat of his boxers getting damp with slick, and it just drove Louis further down into his heat mindset, struggling to put one foot in front of the other.

“Jesus, save it for Styles…” Niall chuckled,  breathing through his mouth now, trying not to let Louis’ scent affect him, but Louis wasn’t fooled. He almost was losing the ability to speak, wishing he could tell Niall that Harry wasn’t home, and wouldn’t be for a few hours since it would mean the Alpha would want to stay. As much as Louis loved Niall, he didn’t want anyone else in his space, not when he was feeling this. “Just around the corner now.”

He felt Niall’s hand rummage in his pocket for his key, leaning almost all of his weight on the Alpha as he opened the front door. Louis’ heightened senses immediately found the faint scent of his Alpha as he stepped inside, already starting to shed his clothes in a desperate need to cool down, skin tingling everywhere now as Niall looked away, hovering awkwardly in the doorway. 

“You can … I’m fine,” Louis panted out, throwing Harry’s hoodie onto the sofa, hands working at the waistband of his leggings. 

“But you’re alone, I-”

“Please, Niall,” Louis pleaded, pushing the leggings down his legs, ignoring how damp they were at the back from where he was still leaking. “I’ll be fine. Call Harry, I-”

“Got it, I’ll call, lock the door, Louis,” Niall called as he hurried out of the door, clearly not keen on seeing any more of Louis’ body that he already had. Louis stumbled over to the door and locked it with his key before he rested his sticky forehead against the cool wood, hearing Niall talking to someone on his phone, the voice getting fainter.

Louis tried to keep his head clear, but everything felt like it was closing in on him. He stumbled down the corridor, using the walls to support him as he headed for his room. In his haze, he shivered as he walked past Harry’s room, quickly running in and grabbing the used clothes from Harry’s chair, gathering them in his arms before he went back to his original destination. He shut the door loudly behind him and buried his face in Harry’s clothes, the Alpha scent causing another gush of slick to flow from him.

He hadn’t had a heat in too long, but Louis was already familiar with what his body was doing. All his mind could think of was Harry, and Harry’s knot, and Harry’s cock, even though his need for Harry was equally making him nervous. With trembling hands, he pulled open the doors to the cupboard where his nest was, flicking on the soft fairy lights. He already calmed just from the sight of it, and dumped Harry’s clothes in the middle, knowing they’d make a soft base.

“Toys … need toys …” Louis muttered to himself, his bare feet digging into the pile of the carpet before he dropped to his knees, arm reaching out under the bed until his fingers found what it was he was looking for. He nervously grabbed the edge of it and dragged it out, staying knelt in front of it for a minute. The box was a source of shame to Louis at times, which was why it was hidden away, but now he had Harry, Louis genuinely had no reason for anything inside it. Until now.

He nudged off the lid, staring down and biting his lip at what lay inside. It was a collection that had been a few years in the making, but Louis reached inside, grabbing the soft purple toy that he always preferred, as well as a new bottle of lube, just in case. Not that I need it he thought to himself as he felt yet more slick pouring out of him. He barely was able to get the lid back on the box before he practically crawled towards his nest, Harry’s scent calling his name by now, enticing him closer. Louis pulled the doors shut behind him, needing to feel safe, protected while he felt so vulnerable.

At first, he didn’t so much as touch himself. He curled up at the bottom of the nest on top of Harry’s clothes, closing his eyes and inhaling the Alpha scent that was so potent in his cupboard, it made Louis wetter with desire. He could feel his lips whisper Harry’s name over and over as he rutted against the fabric of Harry’s shirt, feeling his control slipping away. He was sure that being intimate with Harry had somehow triggered this heat, but knowing it was the first one that could be spent with his Alpha made him nervous, shy almost.

“Alpha … please,” Louis whimpered as he reached down between his legs, needing something inside him by now. Harry’s Alpha scent just wasn’t doing enough for him, and Louis whined as he pushed his first finger, the slim digit sinking in deep easily thanks to Louis’ natural lubricant.  But it wasn’t enough. Harry’s fingers were fuller, thicker, and he always knew just where to touch Louis to make him scream, to make his body convulse in sheer pleasure. Still, it was all he had right now, and it had to be enough, even if it was just to take the edge off his need. “Harry …”

Louis fumbled for the toy, grasping it in his shaking hand as he looked down at it, feeling a bit nervous now. It had been a while since he’d played with his toys, but he knew how good it would feel when he sank down on it, letting it fill him up. He dribbled a bit of the lube onto its shaft, careful not to spill any on his nest, not wanting to taint it, but he had a feeling that was going to be fruitless in just a while, when he was completely lost in heat and leaking everywhere.

The moment the toy touched his entrance, he was coming hard, and he angled himself as much as he could, trying not to get too much mess on his nest. But one orgasm wasn’t enough. His cock wasn’t even going down - if anything, it felt harder than before. He sank fully onto the dildo, rocking back and forth and letting it sink in deeper with each erratic dip of his hips. 

Louis wasn’t sure how long he stayed there for, touching his cock and rolling his hips on the toy, teasing himself. It felt so good that he was crying, tears rolling down his cheeks, moaning because everything felt so good. He was sweating, leaking his slick as he fisted the parts of his nest he could reach, feeling safe and better than he’d felt during a heat in a long time. Being surrounded by so many of Harry’s belongings made everything better and Louis just wrapped himself in as many of them as he could, breathing Harry in.

“Fuck me … Harry, fuck-”

Louis stilled when he heard the front door slam against the wall, halting his motions. The toy was still pressed deep inside him, and he couldn’t control the panic laden pheromones emanating from him, whining as he heard heavy footsteps on the wooden floors hurrying to his room, even though he knew deep down it was his Alpha.

“Lou? I’m here, Omega…”

Louis whined, Harry’s voice causing him to go over the edge once more.  He heard his bedroom door open, then the sound of clothes hitting the floor. He was breathing heavily, still coming, his body sweating and producing yet more slick as the scent of his Alpha got stronger. He reached out, pressing his hand to the wooden door, trying to get closer to the Alpha just outside.

“Alpha, please-”

“Can I come in, Lou? I need to know you want me in there …”

“Alpha-”

Slowly, the door creaked open and Louis looked up, gasping when he saw his Alpha stood there in just his boxers, tenting the fabric obscenely. He reached out with his free hand, grazing his fingertips against Harry’s shin, already feeling calm as Harry smiled down at him, his dark eyes locked on Louis’ naked body, covered in sweat and slick and come.

“You’re so beautiful, Omega,” Harry said softly, stepping closer to Louis and the nest. “Do you want me in your nest?”

Louis just nodded, pushing his sweaty fringe out of his eyes with the back of his hand. The toy had fallen out of him now and was laying abandoned on the base of the nest as Harry climbed inside, curling himself around Louis. The pair didn’t hesitate to grab each other, Harry scenting Louis hungrily, pressing his erection against Louis’ thigh, showing how much Louis in this state was turning him on. 

“Alpha, touch me,” Louis pleaded as Harry captured his lips again, biting softly on Louis’ lower lip before his tongue darted out, the pair tasting each other. Louis had no shame with how much he needed his Alpha, and he reached up, tangling his fingers in Harry’s curls, pulling him closer. “Harry …”

He cried out in pleasure when Harry’s fingers trailed down between his cheeks, pressing insistently against his slick entrance, dipping in and out with just the tip of his finger. Harry kept kissing him and rutting against Louis’ body as he played with him, making a mess of Louis with his slick. 

“Smell so good,” Harry said as he released Louis’ lips, pushing a second finger inside. “Didn’t know you’d go into heat, Omega. Fuck, you smell so good, I can’t believe I get to see you like this …”

Louis fumbled behind him, grabbing the toy before he thrust it at Harry. He watched Harry’s eyes get even darker as he looked at the toy.

“You been playing without me, hmm? Naughty Omega …”

Louis arched his back as Harry rubbed the toy between his cheeks, not quite giving the needy Omega what he wanted. He stretched his neck, biting on Harry’s neck, making the Alpha growl, pulling Louis’ hair to get him away.

“Alpha!”

“It’s me who gets to mark you, don’t forget that, Omega,” Harry murmured, his voice deeper than Louis had ever heard it. Louis just let his head flop to the side, bearing his neck where one day, a bonding mark would lay. Harry licked over the spot for a minute, nipping at the sensitive skin just as he pushed the dildo into Louis. “Feels good, hmm?”

“Want your cock,” Louis begged, fingers scrabbling all over Harry’s bare chest, his fingernails leaving red streaks on Harry’s skin. He tried to keep himself still but his own cock was desperate for attention, laying heavily against Harry’s thigh. He knew he was leaking on the Alpha, leaving a mess but Louis quite liked that, how it felt like he was making the Alpha his in some way.

They stayed there, kissing and touching as Harry kept moving the toy in and out of Louis’ body, the toy sliding with ease thanks to how much slick Louis’ aroused body was producing. His mind was getting hazier by the second, lost so much in his head thanks to the way his Alpha was treating him, feeling more loved and cared for than Louis had in his life.

“Knot me …” Louis begged, needing more than just the toy now. He wanted to feel Harry bury himself inside his body, to feel the Alpha’s knot split him open. It wasn’t something they’d done before, but now he was deep in his heat, it was all his body was craving. He needed Harry’s knot, more than he needed oxygen almost. “Alpha, want your knot-”

“Fuck, want to give it to you,” Harry said, his voice raspy now. “Gonna give you my Alpha cock, make you take it so hard …”

“Not-” Louis stuttered out, shaking as Harry pulled out the toy, dropping it on the floor as his fingers replaced it again. “Not here-”

“Not in your beautiful nest, Omega?” Harry asked, trailing his hands through Louis’ hair, a soft gesture that contrasted well with what Harry’s other hand was doing between his   legs. Louis rolled himself over so his back was against Harry’s chest, and he watched as Harry’s long fingers encircled his leaking cock, rubbing up and down. “Look at you, so hard for me. Just for your Alpha, hmm?”

Louis whined as Harry released his cock, pushing Louis forward enough that he could step up and out of the nest. Louis panicked a bit, turning and grabbing hold of the Alpha’s ankle, keeping him close in case Harry was going to do something like run away. Instead of speaking, Harry just reached down and scooped a shocked and dazed Omega up into his arms, holding him against his chest as Louis’ arms encircled Harry’s neck, resting his nose at Harry’s scent gland.

With sure and steady arms, Harry carried Louis over to his bed, laying the Omega out on the sheets before he just stared down at him, reaching to rest a hand on his cheek.

“Gonna give you what you need, Omega,” he said quietly as his free hand worked over his own cock, engorged and red. Louis wanted it more than he’d ever wanted anything. He just whined and spread his legs, trying to entice the Alpha with just his body. “Fuck, look at you …”

With that, Harry got onto his knees, hovering over Louis as he jacked off slowly, wiping the head of his cock and the precome leaking from him over Louis’ thigh, making the Omega inside Louis preen.he kept staring, wide eyed, as Harry shuffled closer, pushing the head of his cock against Louis’ entrance, not quite hard enough to slip inside yet, making Louis’ eyes tear up, needing to be filled.

“Alpha, fuck me, need it …”

“Okay, Omega,” Harry replied as he pushed his cock inside, pushing his hips forward until he was bottomed out, hitching Louis’ legs up around his waist. “Feel so good around my cock, so hot and tight … love fucking you, making you mine.”

“Only yours,” Louis said, his eyes shutting as Harry leaned down, sucking hard on his nipple, making him buck up into the touch. He could feel his body clench down around the Alpha’s cock, hands coming up to grab at his own hair, losing control rapidly. He sighed happily as Harry started to thrust in and out of him, holding on tightly to his thighs, and Louis hoped he would leave a few bruises to remind him when he was more with it of what had happened. “Harder, want it hard, take me, Alpha-”

“Fuck yeah, gonna give you what you want,” Harry growled out, pulling Louis down the bed roughly towards him. Louis felt himself go boneless, giving his body over to the Alpha as Harry fucked him roughly, jaw clenched as he focused on everything. “Your scent is really fucking with my head, just want to fucking make you my Omega-”

“Do it, please,” Louis begged, tears tumbling down the side of his face now, completely overwhelmed. It was everything to have Harry treating him like this, making him his with his big Alpha cock. Louis usually hated feeling like a typical Omega, needing cock and wanting to be knotted, but right now, he felt like a king, like he was the one thing Harry wanted in the whole world. 

“Will one day, will bite you and fuck you and make you mine forever,” Harry growled, biting on Louis’ collarbone in lieu of where they both really wanted him to bite. “That what you want, hmm? Me to fuck you and knot you, to fill you with my pups? You like that, huh?”

Louis had no idea what he murmured in reply, he felt himself slipping under as Harry leaned over and murmured in his ear about pups, and getting Louis pregnant, and how beautiful he’d look all swollen because of his Alpha. Louis loved that though and he shut his eyes, losing himself to the feeling of Harry fucking in and out of his body, groaning when Harry sat up again, putting one of Louis’ legs on his shoulder to change the angle.

“Such a beautiful Omega, gorgeous curves, beautiful cock … how did I get so lucky? Gonna put pups in you, Lou, bite you one day, claim you as mine, so everyone knows you belong to me …”

All Louis could hear, aside from Harry’s deep voice, was the slapping of their skin, and his own panting. Harry’s big hand was around his cock again now as his hips pistoned at lightning speed, clearly hurtling towards the pinnacle of everything. Louis wanted Harry’s knot so much, he was driving himself crazy with it.

“Close, Omega … gonna knot you, fill you up …”

Louis could feel that Harry felt bigger than normal, but everything else was hazy. His body was ready in so many ways, to finally take an Alpha’s knot, and he felt Harry’s hands slip back down to his hip, the Alpha’s rhythm stuttering now as he approached the time of his knot. Usually by now, Harry would pull out and come on Louis somewhere, but this? This was bliss, and everything Louis wanted.

“Gonna knot you … fuck, Omega, so tight …”

The pair kept looking at each other as Harry held Louis’ body still, biting down hard on his own bottom lip. He could see Harry trying desperately to keep control, but he wanted him to lose it, to let Harry do what he wanted with him. Louis just spread his legs as wide as they’d go as Harry yelled out his name, his cock getting more and more for Louis to take, even with his slick.

“Oh god, Omega… fuck, Louis, you’re mine, mine, mine-”

Louis could only scream as Harry pulled back and then pushed forward hard, his knot finally slipping past Louis’ rim. It was more pain than Louis had ever felt in his life, every nerve ending in his body firing off and making him writhe, but Harry eased it completely inside his body, holding Louis’ thighs open with his hands, a gentle touch that Louis welcomed.

“Look at you … taking my knot … so beautiful, Omega.”

Louis whined and grabbed for Harry’s shoulder, pulling him down against his body. He welcomed the pressure of Harry on top of him, pushing him against the mattress, arms and legs wrapped around his Alpha. He could feel Harry inside him, filling him with his release, everything he ever wanted finally happening. Harry’s knot was huge, bigger than Louis had anticipated but the burn was so much, pushing Louis closer to the edge. Harry must’ve realised because he reached down, pulling at his cock.

“I love you, Omega …” Harry whispered into Louis’ ear, his eyes flying open at the words he’d been longing to hear. “I love you so much. My beautiful Omega … come for me, want to see you come.”

It was as Harry whispered one more time that he loved him that Louis finally came, splattering all over his stomach, his body straining around the Alpha’s knot that was keeping him plugged up, keeping Harry’s come inside his body, their instincts trying to mate despite Louis’ contraception preventing anything like that for now.

He felt Harry collapse down on top of him, resting his face in the crook of Louis’ neck as they took a breath, trying to calm down. Now he’d got the Alpha’s knot, Louis was feeling slightly more with it, relishing a few moments of lucidity before the heat overtook him again, creating a fog in his mind.

“I love you, Alpha,” Louis whispered while he could, smiling as Harry propped himself up on his elbow, looking down at Louis with red cheeks, his eyes green and shining before he leaned in, kissing Louis, careful to not move their bodies too much. “Wanted to mate with you …”

“I know.” Harry stroked down Louis’ jaw, kissing his lips again. “Wanted our first knot to be special, though. I wanted to remember making you mine like this. Love you so much.”

“Love you too. Feels so big,” Louis muttered, wincing as Harry shifted slightly, pushing the knot into him more. “Kiss me, Alpha …”

“Anything for you,” Harry murmured, sinking into a deep kiss as their bare torsos remained pressed together. “My beautiful Omega.”

*****

The next few days passed by in a blur for Louis. All he knew was that he wanted Harry, and he had to have him and his knot as much as he possibly could, and bless Harry for being there through everything. He knotted Louis over and over, until they were too sore, and even then Harry was there to provide relief with his hands, his mouth or even a toy when Louis was just too desperate to be full. It was a lot, but Louis was certain he’d never been more satisfied in his life.

He vaguely remembered Zayn attempting to enter their flat on the third day, but Harry had practically roared as he ran down the hallway naked, pushing Zayn out of the flat and locking the door behind him, yelling at him not to come back. Louis had been ridiculously turned on by the Alpha’s show of dominance, and Harry had returned to the bedroom to find Louis on his hands and knees, begging for the Alpha and his knot again. Louis was pretty sure that was the best time they’d had, and Harry’s knot had lasted for what felt like hours.

This time, though, when Louis stirred from his sleep, that burning need for sex and a knot felt like it was diminishing. Louis didn’t feel quite as hot and bothered as he had done, but still, his skin tingled with a need for something. He rolled over, trying not to disturb his Alpha, who was still sleeping. Louis carefully extracted himself from Harry’s embrace, but already his inner Omega was screaming at him to get back into the Alpha’s arms.

Louis ignored it as best he could, stumbling towards the bathroom. His legs and arms felt heavy, and there was a soreness between his legs he’d never experienced before, at least, not to this extent, but the need to pee overrode all of that. He sat down, too tired to even stand and used the loo, washing his hands afterwards. He looked up at his reflection in the mirror, gasping when he saw the mess looking back at him.

He reached up, touching his neck which was littered with love bites, dark red marks standing out against his skin. It looked like Harry had absolutely gone to town on his neck, barely leaving a patch untouched. Ironically, the only untainted patch of skin was over his scent gland, the place Harry liked to lick over, teasing the pair of them. He looked further down, seeing his collarbones and chest were in no better state, and the same could be said for his hips as well. He was a mess, but he loved how he looked claimed, like he belonged to Harry like this.

“Come back to bed,” a low voice behind him growled, sending shivers down Louis’ spine. He turned around slowly and looked at a very naked Harry, how he was touching himself as he looked at Louis in what could only be described as a lust filled manner. “Omega …”

Louis took a few steps closer, pressing their bare chests together as he looked up into Harry’s dark eyes, feeling more wanted than ever. “I … don’t want to go to bed.”

Harry growled again, in the back of his throat this time, and Louis shuddered at the sound. “Omega, I want you, so we need to go back to bed-”

“My nest,” Louis whimpered as Harry lifted him up by his hips, putting his legs quickly around Harry’s waist. “In my nest, Alpha …”

Harry must’ve liked the sound of that because they left the room quickly, Harry’s heavy footsteps thundering down the corridor were the only thing Louis could hear, and he whined as Harry kicked the bedroom door open before he stopped in front of the wardrobe where his nest was. Louis knew they’d left it alone so far, Harry too worried about making it messy for them to bother with it, but right now, Louis was craving softness and comfort, and he knew the best place to get that was his nest.

“You sure about this, Omega? I don’t want you to be upset later …”

“It’s fine,” Louis insisted, willing his voice to stay steady as Harry got to his knees, carefully lowering Louis into the nest. Straight away, Louis burrowed himself in, tugging Harry’s clothes around him, loving how the soft cotton fabrics felt against his skin. He could feel Harry’s eyes fixed on him and he shuffled back, making room. “Come in, Alpha.”

He saw Harry blush at that, even in the throes of everything else that was going on. Slowly, he nodded but tentatively stepped, far from the confident Alpha he’d been for the past few days. Louis’ eyes roamed every inch of the Alpha’s bare body as he climbed inside, dropping slowly to his knees, arms open wide for Louis to scoot into, which he did. As they curled up, Louis could feel Harry’s hard length pressing against his hip, and he couldn’t resist wriggling into it, teasing him a little.

“Don’t start something you don’t want to finish, Omega,” Harry warned in his low voice, but Louis didn’t mind starting something, even in here. The desperation to be knotted was gone, but still, Louis wanted Harry again, to feel him inside him one more time before the heat completely passed. “Oh, Louis…”

Louis moaned as Harry dipped his head, capturing his lips in a kiss. It was slower than the others had been, which Louis was slightly grateful for. His lips felt a little kiss-bruised, like they’d been abused in the best way for the past few days, which Louis knew was the case. Still, this time, they kissed more softly but there was still so much love behind it, and as Harry’s hand slipped down to cup Louis’ butt, he couldn’t resist telling the Alpha again.

“I love you,” he whispered against Harry’s lips, feeling the Alpha’s lips curl up into a smile as he kept kissing him. “Knot me again, Alpha.”

“In here?”

Louis just nodded, shivering slightly as Harry’s hand slipped between his cheeks, his fingers playing with his entrance, where he was still loose from all the sex they’d had over the past few years. He whimpered slightly as Harry pressed two fingers inside, ducking his lips against Louis’ ear as he started whispering quietly.

“Look at how ready you are for me,” he muttered as Louis pushed back against Harry’s fingers, driving them deeper inside himself. “Want your Alpha’s knot, don’t you baby? Want it to fill you up, to get you good and full of my pups …”

“Please,” Louis whined, throwing his head back as Harry buried his nose against his scent gland, teasingly grazing his teeth against Louis’ bonding spot. His heart was racing in his chest now as Harry started to manoeuver him onto his back against the base of the nest, making sure Louis was comfortable as he got between Louis’ legs, pushing on his inner thighs to part them a little more. “Alpha, please-”

“Tell me what you want,” Harry said, his voice commanding enough that Louis wanted to do exactly what he said, the Alpha timbre making his skin prickle. “Come on, Omega …”

“Your- your knot, your pups, please Harry …”

He gasped loudly as Harry gave him just that, pushing inside him one long, slow stroke. It lacked the force of the sex they’d had earlier, but it was in no way less passionate. Harry scrabbled to grab Louis’ hand, lacing their fingers as he moved slowly but surely, kissing Louis deeply as he did so. Louis brought his legs around Harry’s waist, his heels resting on Harry’s lower back, and Louis loved the intimacy this position always gave them.

“Love you so much, such a beautiful Omega, I’m so lucky,” Harry muttered over and over as their bodies rocked together, sweat keeping their skin stuck together. It was hotter than it had been in the bedroom, stuck in the cupboard in the nest, surrounded by blankets and clothes but Louis didn’t mind. He let his eyes flutter shut, his mind completely taken over by Harry as he relaxed, enjoying every sensation.

It was then, as Harry made love to him in their nest, that everything became clear to Louis. He wanted this forever, Harry, his Alpha, them making love, creating a family, spending their lives together. He’d never been more sure of anything than he was of Harry. He opened his eyes, looking up at Harry, into those beautiful green eyes.

“Bite me.”

Harry paused his movements, still deep inside Louis as he locked their eyes together, looking surprised.

“Louis, you … you want that? You know that’s-”

“Forever, yeah I do,” Louis nodded, reaching up and cupping the Alpha’s cheek. “Harry, please ...”

As Louis said the words, he could feel himself slipping under again, feeling more and more out of control, but clearly that was enough for Harry as he watched his Alpha nod, resuming his thrusts again, a little more forcefully now. Louis could already feel Harry’s knot start to form at the base of his cock, and he opened his legs further, wanting Harry deeper inside him. 

“Gonna make you mine,” Harry murmured into Louis’ ear again before he kissed him, pushing his tongue into Louis’ mouth. The Omega greedily kissed back, his hands now all over Harry’s back as they both drove themselves closer to their climax, Louis’ belly fluttering in anticipation of what was going to happen. 

Louis reached down, touching himself as the Alpha’s knot began to swell further, stretching Louis almost to his limit. It was the nicest kind of burn, and Louis welcomed it, a feeling deep inside of him telling it would be the last time for a while. “Alpha-”

“I’ve got you,” Harry said softly, pulling back and forcing his knot past Louis’ rim, making the Omega cry out as it split him in two. “So fucking good for me, want you, want this-”

“Bite-”

Everything faded away then as Louis screamed in both pain and pleasure, the Alpha biting down hard on his bonding spot and forcing Louis into his orgasm. The bite was more painful than Louis had ever been led to believe, but at the same time, it was a level of euphoria he’d yet to experience. Every part of his body felt like it was on fire, and the skin Harry was still biting into throbbed, the Alpha still coming into him, taking him over in every way possible.

“My Omega, all mine.”

Louis couldn’t speak. He just laid there and took what Harry had to give him, moaning in pleasure as Harry licked over the fresh bonding mark, watching as Harry admired it before he ran his thumb over it, pressing down enough to make Louis whine again.

The nest was a comfort, though, and Louis burrowed himself further into the blankets as Harry flattened himself on top of his body, keeping the Omega warm and safe. In fact, Louis was quite sure he’d never felt so loved and safe in his life, and he let himself go, becoming calmer and more sated as Harry’s body continued to fill Louis’ with his seed.

“I’ll take care of you,” was the last thing Louis heard as his body gave in, slipping into a restful sleep right there in his nest, with the Alpha he’d now made his own.

*****

Louis stirred an hour or so later, still in Harry’s arms. The Alpha was still snoozing, and Louis rolled over into him, smelling the familiar scent. Everything came flooding back at once and Louis reached up, touching his neck. The skin there was tender as he pressed his fingers against it, and all of a sudden, his body felt warm from the inside, a feeling of happiness taking over every part of him. It was a connection to Harry that he’d never felt before, and Louis was amazed by it.

“Alpha. Alpha,” he whispered gently, waking Harry up. The Alpha smiled sleepily at him, his green eyes shining in the fairylights of the wardrobe, the blankets from the base of the nest draped over their bare bodies. “Harry. We bonded.”

“We did,” Harry agreed, reaching down to hold Louis’ hand. “My beautiful Omega. Can’t believe I get to say that, and that it’s true. Mine forever, huh?”

“Yours.” Louis smiled as Harry’s free hand found its way down to his stomach, pressing against where it was still slightly swollen. Louis giggled, burying his face in Harry’s neck. “Alpha!”

“What? It's mine. And you know what?”

“What?” Louis asked, rolling fully onto his back as Harry wriggled down, pressing kisses all over Louis’ bare torso.

“One day, this belly is going to be full of my pups. I’m going to make you so pregnant that everyone knows that you’re my Omega. We’ll have a family, Lou. And I think I’ll probably ask you to marry me too, so I get to call you my husband one day.”

“Not sure Louis Styles sounds right, though,” the Omega shrugged, feeling a little cheeky now. 

“Me neither. I always preferred Harry Tomlinson if I’m honest. Never much cared about that ‘Alpha not taking an Omega’s surname’ crap.”

“Sounds perfect. I love you, Alpha.”

“And I love you, Omega,” Harry replied, going back to Louis’ neck and kissing over the tender bond mark, making Louis hiss in pain slightly. “Sorry. Did it hurt much when I bit you?”

“More than anything I’ve ever experienced,” Louis admitted with a chuckle. “But then it just felt so good, like … my whole body responded to the fact I was yours. It felt so good after that. I think you knotting me at the same time helped me get through it.”

“Ah, that was my cunning plan all along,” Harry smiled, his dimple popping deeply in his cheek. Louis still couldn’t quite believe that the Alpha was his, that they were bonded for life now. “Is your nest ruined?”

Louis looked down, at the blankets that were covered in come from the pair of them, in sweat, his carefully organised nest in complete disarray. Usually, the sight of a ruined nest would leave him devastated, but somehow, given that he knew the reason for its mess, he didn’t mind so much.

“Nah. Nothing a bit of TLC can’t fix. Maybe…” he suddenly felt shy, but Harry’s open face led him to continue. “Maybe you could help me build a new one? I hear bonded Alphas do a good job with their mate’s nests.”

“I would really love that,” Harry grinned, nodding eagerly. “I know how much your nest means to you, so for you to ask me to help you…”

“You’re my Alpha,” Louis said, cupping Harry’s cheek again. That was all he needed to say.

*****

A month later

“Are you really sure about this? Is this a good idea?”

“Louis, will you just … chill out?!” Harry said from where his head was all but buried in his suitcase, refolding everything that Louis had just thrown in over the past hour or so. Louis couldn’t deny that the nerves were getting to him now, especially since it was just over an hour now until they had to get the train back to Holmes Chapel, where the pair would be staying for the first week of the Easter break. “Seriously, love. Do you want me to scent you, calm you down?”

“Excuse you,” Louis huffed, a little offended. “I’m not some little Omega who needs, as you so wonderfully put it, calming down, Harold. I’m fine, I’m allowed to be nervous, okay? This is a big deal!”

“It is and it isn’t,” Harry shrugged, getting to his feet and coming to sit next to Louis on the edge of the bed. Louis automatically leaned his head on Harry’s shoulder as the Alpha settled next to him, putting his arm around Louis’ shoulders. “Love, you’re my Omega, no matter what happens at home. Mum’s going to love you.”

“Oh really? She’s going to love the fact that I’ve bonded with her twenty two year old son, is she? That I’ve taken you away from her? I- ngh.”

Louis went limp as Harry sucked gently at his scent gland, scenting him. The bond mark had only just healed over fully, and Louis proudly wore clothes that showed off the mark as often as he could, keen for the world to know he was bonded now, that he had an Alpha to call his own. 

“Better, hmm?” Harry murmured against Louis’ skin, and Louis could only just bring himself to nod. “Good. Now let me finish packing, and we’ll get going.”

Louis listened, and just over half an hour later, they were waiting at the train station for their train. Harry had got one of his Alpha friends to give them a lift, which both were grateful for given the weight of the suitcase they’d packed. Louis had been insistent they take some of his favourite blankets with him, despite the fact they were only going for a fortnight, and Harry couldn’t deny his Omega anything. 

The tickets were clutched in Louis’ hand, and he grinned up at Harry as the train swept into the station. Louis loved public transport, especially the train, and he couldn’t wait for the hours journey with his Alpha. He loved being in public with Harry, and he kept their hands clamped together as they stepped on board. Louis tried to control himself as he watched Harry have the heavy suitcase onto the overhead storage space, his biceps bulging as he did so.

“Stop staring, Omega,” Harry muttered, sitting down next to Louis, muttering a quiet apology to the people behind him he’d held up. Louis grabbed Harry’s hand again and laced their fingers, draping Harry’s hoodie over himself to keep him warm, since the train was too cool for his liking. “Comfy?”

“Very,” Louis nodded, watching out of the window as the train pulled away from the station, the pair now really on their way to Holmes Chapel. “Are you sure you don’t want to call your Mum and tell her about us before we get there?”

“No, Lou. I already told you, it’s something I want to do face to face. She’s not going to hate you or kick you out or something. She’ll be happy for me, for us , I promise you.”

“Well, you better be right, Styles,” Louis mumbled, glaring at a female Omega who walked past, blatantly eyeing Harry up. “What’s she looking at? Can she not see the massive bond mark on my neck or something?”

“Oh, I think everyone can see that, Omega,” Harry purred, leaning in to kiss Louis’ lips. The kiss started off chaste, but Louis’ mind was still everywhere, and it wasn’t long before he was attempting to climb into Harry’s lap, wanting more. “Louis … Louis, we can’t, not here. Wait until we get home …”

Louis pulled back, a scandalised look on his face. “I am not having sex with you in your mother’s house!” 

Clearly he’d said that a little too loudly as a few other passengers looked at him, forcing Harry to growl lowly, warning them off.

“Oh, we will be having sex at my mother’s house, Louis. I don’t think either of us can go this entire two weeks without something, do you? Now calm yourself down a bit, love. I can smell you from here, and that means any Alpha’s out here will do too.”

Louis nodded, sinking back into his own seat. He didn’t really want to cause a scene on the train, so he let Harry scent him again, feeling a bit calmer. They chatted quietly for the rest of the journey, but Louis could feel himself becoming more unsettled the closer they got to Harry’s hometown. It was made worse by the fact Harry’s sister was collecting them from the station, and it was the first time Louis was meeting her. Anne he’d met before, when she’d helped Harry move into their apartment, but all of this felt different, far more serious.

“Lou? We’re here, babe. I’ll get the suitcase down.”

Louis nodded and watched Harry reach down the case, following him down the small aisle, waiting as the train slowly came to a halt. There was a beep and the doors slid open, revealing a sunny platform, dotted with people waiting for their loved ones. Louis let Harry get down from the train first, and accepted the hand Harry held out with a smile, his small feet hitting the tarmac.

“I see Gem. You ready?”

Louis nodded but was pleased Harry kept hold of his hand as they approached a young woman a bit shorter than Harry. Louis could already see the resemblance and he stood back as the siblings embraced. Gemma was an Alpha as well, and he saw her nose twitch as she hugged her brother, her eyes quickly settling on him.

“You must be Louis …” she said, hugging him quickly. She pulled back, hands still on Louis’ biceps as her eyes ran up and down him. “You smell like my brother.”

“I, uh,” Louis stuttered, panickey eyes looking to Harry for guidance.

“Gemma, let him go,” Harry asserted, pulling Louis close to his side. “He smells like me because … we bonded. About a month ago now, actually. He’s my Omega.”

“Wow. I … Wow. Congratulations, I guess? This happened quickly, or …”

“No.” Harry shook his head as they started to walk towards Gemma’s car. “I’ve been in love with Louis for a long time. I just… I waited until he was on the same page as me, and then … it just happened. We’re happy.”

“Good. That’s all I wanted to know.”

Louis grinned at that, and sat in the back as Harry got in the front seat with his sister, the pair chatting easily about their family. Louis tried to join in, but he struggled to keep up with the names, instead choosing to watch the scenery pass by out of the window. Eventually, they pulled up in front of a modest looking home, and Louis’ heart started to race again.

“Louis, I can smell you’re getting worried again,” Harry said, turning around and looking at Louis over the seat as Gemma climbed out of the car. “Please, baby. See how cool my sister was about us?”

“That’s your sister. Your mum is a different story,” Louis insisted, sighing to himself. Harry got out of the car first but held Louis’ door open for him, kissing the Omega as he stepped out too. “I just want her to like me.”

“She will. Seems like Gemma’s taken our case in, so let’s go.”

Louis nodded and let Harry drag him towards the front door, which Gemma had kindly left open. Louis could hear two female voices chatting as they went inside, following Harry’s lead and removing his shoes and coat before they walked further inside. Louis’ eyes roamed around, looking at the various photographs mounted on the walls, showcasing Harry from birth to now, and he smiled to himself at one cute image of a younger Harry grinning at the camera, a huge spider on his palm. 

Before Louis had time to doubt this all over again, Harry pulled Louis into the sitting room, immediately going into the open arms of Anne, who Louis recognised from before. His heart felt full as he felt Harry’s happiness through their bond, the sensation settling him a little. 

“Mum … there’s someone I want you to meet.”

“Ah, Louis, your roommate! Nice to see you again, love.”

She surprised Louis by pulling him into a hug, her soft floral Omega scent tickling Louis’ nose. He pulled away to see Harry smiling fondly at the pair, and Louis just rolled his eyes, rejoining Harry’s side again. 

“Can we … can we sit down?”

Anne nodded and led them over to the sofa, curling up where she'd sat before, a crossword book at her side. Gemma had left the room, clearly sensing this was something she didn’t need to be part of, and Louis felt a little bit grateful for that.

“So … how have you both been? Couldn’t bear to be apart for Easter, hmm?” Anne teased, a soft smile on her red lips. She was beautiful, and Louis wasn’t surprised to realise just how much Harry looked like his mum. They had the same kind eyes, dark hair and friendly manner, so Louis could only hope this would go well.

“Kind of,” Harry laughed, squeezing Louis’ hand a little tightly. “We, uh…”

Louis felt Harry’s eyes on him then, and he gave a small nod, smiling at his Alpha.

“Mum, Louis’ not just my roommate now. We … we’re bonded. We’re in love, and we’re a couple.”

Anne looked shocked at this, but she swallowed before speaking, her voice steady. “When did this happen?”

“Around a month ago,” Harry said. “I’m happy, Mum. I love Louis, and he loves me. This is what I want.”

“You love my son?” she asked Louis then, and Louis gave a nervous nod, wishing he could seem more confident. “Was this bonding an accident?”

“No. Very much intentional,” Harry said, his cheeks going slightly pink. “I made sure it was what we both wanted before I did it, I promise. I’d never take advantage of Louis or any other Omega, Mum. You raised me better than that.”

“In that case,” Anne began, a smile starting to form on her lips. “I’m happy for you. You’re young-”

“I’m twenty two!” Harry protested with a chuckle, pulling Louis closer to his body.

“That’s young to me, young man,” Anne teased. “But if you’re sure, then who am I to stand in the way? Congratulations, both of you.”

“Thank you, Mum. Your approval means the world to me, to both of us.”

Louis sat back as Harry and Anne both got up, embracing tightly.

“I want to show Louis to our room, do you mind?”

“Actually, I want a little word with Louis first, love. Why don’t you take your suitcase upstairs and unpack? I’ll be nice, I promise.”

“Go, it’s okay,” Louis insisted, his heart beating erratically in his chest as Harry left the room, his heavy footsteps thudding on the stairs.

“I can smell your fear, Louis,” Anne smiled, taking his hand and leading him to the sofa. “Don’t be scared of me, please. I just wanted to talk to you and make sure what Harry said was true.”

“Which bit?” Louis asked, hating how his voice wobbled as he spoke.

“That the bonding wasn’t an accident, that my son didn’t force you into it.”

“Oh gosh. No, Harry is … he’s the kindest Alpha I’ve ever met. He’s so respectful, and he takes such good care of me. He asked me before he … before we bonded, he was quite insistent on making sure it was what I wanted, actually. I feel lucky he’s my Alpha.”

“That makes me very happy. I’m glad he’s done the right thing by you. I hope you feel safe and welcome in our home.”

“I do. Thank you for letting me stay, Mrs Twist.”

“You’re my son’s Omega. I think you can call me, Anne, love.”

Louis smiled shyly, and Anne ushered him off, sensing Louis was keen to get to his Alpha. He went up the stairs, following Harry’s scent and he stood in the doorway, watching Harry at work, his heart feeling ridiculously full at what he saw.

“What are you doing, Alpha?”

Harry looked up, wiping away the sweat from his brow with his sleeve, giving Louis a dopey smile.

“Uh … making you a nest. I know how much you like it, and how it makes you feel safe. Sorry if it's not the best-”

“It’s perfect,” Louis replied, looking at the cosy nest Harry had already created, made entirely of the blankets Louis had brought and his own clothes, the hoodies Louis loved to cosy up to. “Thank you. I love you, Alpha.”

“And I love you. You want to try it out?”

“Only if you come in with me,” Louis said, tugging Harry down and hugging him, the pair laughing as they got comfortable, Harry pulling a blanket over them. “Oh, just kiss me, you fool.”

And so Harry did.