The day starts off waking up alone, like it has been the past few days. There’s no arm wrapped around his waist, no curly hair tickling his nose, nothing but cold sheets that still hold Harry’s smell but the scent is fading the longer he’s gone.
He’s been gone five days and Louis still can’t sleep all that well.
The calendar in the kitchen has a date circled a few days from now, in Harry’s writing with the words ‘I’M BAAAACK!!!!’ in his chicken scratch. Louis has taken to crossing out the day before he goes to bed, staring at the calendar and wishing time would just hurry up.
He also wishes Harry didn’t have to leave in the first place but that’s neither here nor there.
There’s a text from Harry when he gets out of the shower, commenting on how cold the mountains are in Colorado. It makes him smile, his typed up reply of ‘maybe u should dress for warmth and not style Styles’ and Harry’s immediate response of ‘hey that’s Tomlinson to you!’ only warming his heart slightly. He automatically grabs for one of Harry’s sweaters out of habit, not realizing his choice until he’s brushing his teeth and it makes him miss Harry that much more. Out of habit he snaps a picture of himself, sending it to Harry with a single heart the only message included. He knows Harry will save it, adding it to the collection of proof that Louis wears Harry’s clothing more than his own.
Not that Harry minds, not when he buys things for himself he know Louis will wear and claim is his, the same clothing that will be mixed in with the rest of their clothing in the closet, not bothering to separate it anymore because there’s no point.
He’s on his way to Doncaster after that, wanting out of the house that screams Harry but if he screams Harry’s name the only response is the echo of his own voice. He needs attention, needs to feel loved in person rather than from someone miles away who is currently with someone who doesn’t deserve it.
He zones out during the drive, makes it in plenty of time and is mum is there waiting for him at the door. He didn’t call, didn’t text but somehow her motherly instincts knew her son would be making an appearance today. Her arms are open wide as he climbs up the steps, throwing himself into her embrace.
He lets her fuss over him, something she always does when he’s home and they both let it happen because of how rarely he’s even in Doncaster anymore. He stays until the girls get home, soaking in their hugs and kisses and brushing their tears away because the twins never fail to cry when they see him. He stays for dinner, helping his mum in the kitchen which really means he keeps her company and cracks jokes while Lottie is the one to actually help her prepare food. He takes Dan’s spot at the table as he’s out of town, and he can’t help but feel better when he looks at the five ladies in front of him, knowing that he can finally take care of them and that they don’t need to worry about trivial things like they did before. Only Louis really remembers how hard it used to be, when Lottie and Fizzy were young and their family barely got by. He remembers taking care of the girls so Jay could sleep, always getting up early and getting them ready, making their lunches and helping with homework.
He wipes a tear from his eyes, glancing back down at his plate. When he looks up a moment later, Jay has a soft look on her face, like she knows what he was thinking about. He gives her a smile, shrugging his shoulder as he returns to his meal. He knows she’ll talk to him about it later.
He helps get the twins ready for bed, helping them choose what accessory to wear with their uniform tomorrow. It just like before; he tucks them in, begrudgingly reads them a bedtime story but does all the voices just the way they like and kisses their foreheads before shutting the door. He checks in on the older girls, giving them hugs and when Fizzy holds on longer than normal he realizes he needs to come back more often. It’s not fair to them that he’s gone so much, but really none of this has been fair to them.
He curls up with his mum on the couch, the silence comforting even with the noise from the television in front of them. Her hand runs through his hair, tutting that he needs to cut it. He eventually falls asleep to the movement, comforted by the sounds of his family around him.
It’s the best sleep he’s gotten since Harry left.
His phone goes off at three in the morning. It’s Harry’s number, but Harry would never call him this late London time unless it was an emergency.
It’s not Harry. It’s female, high pitched with worry and stress and Louis is immediately awake, sitting up on the couch.
“Louis, it’s Taylor. I’m Taylor. I mean- Louis, Harry got into an accident.”
It feels like all the blood has drained from his face and landed in his stomach. He feels faint, has nothing to grab other than the cushion of the couch.
“Louis? Shit, Louis are you still there?”
“What happened?” His voice feels foreign to his own ears.
“We were riding ATVs, he was driving one and I was too and he, I don’t know what happened but he just flew off the front and hit something and he just wasn’t moving- god I’ve never seen someone lay so still and they took him and he’s been in surgery for like an hour now and I know I should have called you sooner but-”
“I’m on my way.” He’s already up, headed up the stairs into his mum’s room, shaking her awake.
“Louis, listen, I don’t think that’s a good idea? Your management set this up, they’ll find out-”
“I DON’T CARE.” His chest heaves, the yelling waking his mum right up and face alight with fear. “I don’t care, Taylor, I really don’t care. Harry’s hurt, I’m coming. End of story. Just-” And he can’t blame her. He can’t, he wants to, he’s been mad at her this entire time for stealing Harry away but none of this is her fault. It’s all for publicity, they know that, but it still hurts. “I’m sorry, alright? I can’t sit here knowing he’s hurt and be this far away from him. I can’t. Let me know when he’s out of surgery, alright? I’ll let you know when I land there.”
She sniffles over the line. It makes his chest hurt. “Alright. Have a safe flight, yeah?”
“I’ll fly the bloody plane myself if I have to.” That gets a laugh from her, and even through the pain he knows everything will be okay. At least he tells himself that.
His mum wraps him up as soon as he hangs up, and his tears flow when the realization that Harry’s hurt hits him fully. She lets him get it out before she’s getting him up, pushing him in the shower and when he’s out she’s already got his car warmed up and has called Paul who is booking his flights now. She hands him tea for the road and reminds him to drive safe, and to call the other boys when he gets the chance. He remembers the girls, mouth opening to say he’s sorry for leaving, again, sooner that he’d like but they’ll understand. They always do, the girls are more resilient than he gives them credit for. He hugs his mum one last time before she pushes him out the door.
He gets to the airport with a half hour until his flight, one singular carry-on bag with his clothes, laptop, chargers and earphones that he brought on a whim with him to Doncaster. It’s still early, the sun barely cracking the sky so he decides to text the other boys, not wanting to bother with emotional phone calls before six am. As he’s getting onto the flight Taylor lets him know Harry is out of surgery and he’s fine, just asleep, which makes Louis sleep just a little bit better on the plane.
The plane lands in Denver in early afternoon, and customs doesn’t really bother checking him out thoroughly like they usually do. Alberto is the one to pick him up, having gone with Harry to Aspen. It’s like seeing his own family again, Alberto holding him close when Louis hugs him, handing him tea and reminding him they have a three hour drive ahead of them.
Three hours doesn’t take that long. Louis dozes through most of it, waking up fully when they enter town. Alberto takes them directly to the hospital, knowing Louis wouldn’t go anywhere else first. He keeps his head down as they enter, the lack of paparazzi around makes him wonder if this is management’s doing, like they wanted to cover up Harry getting hurt and it makes his stomach twinge in anger.
Taylor’s on him the moment she sees him, looking like she hasn’t left since they brought Harry in. She’s crying, delicate tears saying she’s so sorry, that she should have tried to do something, but her words are mostly in fear of Louis’ reaction. He soothes her the best he can, the knowledge that Harry is near calming his head for the first time since she rang him. Eventually she separates from him, wiping her tears with tired fingers and he asks Alberto to take her back to the hotel, not listening to her protests and instead telling her thank you. It stops her from saying anything else, and she nods, giving him another hug before following Alberto out.
He steps into Harry’s room lightly, the nurse closing the door halfway behind him. Harry’s eyes are closed, hair fanned around him with an IV in one arm and it brings tears to Louis’ eyes. He grabs for Harry’s hand the moment he’s close, tears spilling onto his cheeks when Harry opens his eyes.
Green meets blue. It’s poetic, it’s symbolic, but most of all it feels like home.
Harry doesn’t say a word as Louis falls onto his chest, shoulders hitching in sobs because now that he’s here and sees Harry is okay with his own eyes it brings all the emotion he’s been hiding out. He cries and cries and cries, and Harry still doesn’t say anything, just holds him.
Louis wakes up a few hours later, curled up on Harry’s bed with him, the room silent aside from the medical beeping. Harry’s still awake, looking at Louis when he turns his head to look at him as well. Tears immediately spring to his eyes again, and Harry frowns.
“Looooou, don’t cry, ‘m alright,” his voice his rough, pain medication making his voice even slower but it makes Louis laugh, tears falling but it’s not from being sad.
They’re happy tears.
“Only you would crash a bloody ATV while on a publicity stunt and end up in the hospital, Hazza.” Louis shakes his head, brushing curls off of Harry’s forehead. Harry stares up at him.
“I didn’t mean to, I swear.”
Louis shakes his head, leaning in to kiss Harry’s forehead. “I know, love, I know. Accidents happen.”
Harry nods, reaching for Louis’ hand and squeezing. “Taylor said she’d write a song about this.”
“That bitch.” He doesn’t mean it, but he smiles when Harry cracks up. He stays like that until Harry falls asleep, doesn’t leave the room but to relieve himself and call the boys, letting them know how Harry is. He calls Jay and Anne too, crying again at the relief in their voices. He slips back into Harry’s room and thankfully he’s still asleep, looking distraught until Louis crawls back up onto the bed and into his arms.
He sleeps better than he has all week.