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it's so hard to get old without a cause

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Harry never really thought he was going to enjoy being an adult, doing grown up things. He used to think of himself as a supernova; shine bright and die young. Being young seemed too fun, too much to give up for something else, something more boring.

Like Christmas, for example. As a kid, Harry used to love Christmas. He’d wake up early in the morning and wake up his mum, too excited about his presents to stay in bed any longer. Just like any other kid. But as he grew up, the presents he wished for became less fun and more convenient. A good frying pan instead of a Playstation. And socks. During his uni years, socks were a gift from heaven. He was constantly out of them, god knows where they went.

And everyone knows socks are nowhere near as fun as a Playstation. It’s not that he was afraid of growing up. It was more that he couldn’t imagine it being worth losing all the fun.

That was of course, until he met Niall. They met a few years after Harry had graduated uni. It was a proper romantic moment from a film. Harry was standing in line at Pret, trying to decide what to order. He was so deep into his mind that he didn’t notice that it was his turn until someone poked him in the shoulder. That, of course, made him startle and accidentally bump into a guy (Niall) who had just bought a latte. It was love at first sight, as one can imagine.

(Actually no; it was love at first from Niall’s point of view, apparently. Harry didn’t realise he was in love with Niall until about a year later. But he’s always been a bit slow, so there’s that. At least he realised.)

Also, speaking of Niall:

Niall’s just waking up. Harry would’ve loved for it to be one of those moments in films; where the sun would shine in through the gaps in the blinds, creating patterns on Niall’s pale skin. It’s not that kind of moment, though.

For one, there’s no sun. Being in the middle of the winter, its not going to be up yet for another hour or so. So, the room’s pretty dark. But Harry can feel his body move under their thick duvet, his thin legs stretching and cold toes brushing Harry’s ankle. Niall groans and lets out a deep sigh.

And in the dark, Harry can see him groggily open his eyes. A small smile appears on Niall’s lips and he blinks slowly. He lifts his hand to lazily drag a finger over Harry’s cheek.

”Morning, my sunshine, the love of my life” he mumbles, voice raspy from his sleep.

Harry groans and pushes his face into his pillow.

”Stop taking the piss.”

Niall laughs quietly next to him and he’s moving, throwing his body lazily over Harry’s. His warm breath fans over Harry’s neck and it tickles.

”But it’s so hard to resist when you keep being such a sap” Niall says and presses a quick kiss to his jaw. Harry grunts and turns his head to look at him. Niall’s voice is light but his eyes are warm. He looks divine. His hair is rumpled and could need a wash and his cheeks are covered in stubble that could use a trim. Harry had complained about it a few days ago, saying he’d get stubble burns on the insides of his thighs. Niall had just said that he couldn’t shave until Christmas, otherwise it’d look really weird since his beard still grows in patches, even though he’s on the old age of 28. Life can be cruel.

Harry reaches a hand up to Niall’s face and pokes at his cheek.

”This can finally come off” he says, rubbing his finger tip over the scratchy stubble. ”Happy Christmas.”

Niall smiles brightly and ducks his head down to press his lips against Harry’s.

”Happy Christmas” he breathes against his mouth before pulling back a little. ”Christmas sex?”

”Well, now that you put it so eloquently.”

”I though we agreed that you’re the romantic in this relationship.”

Harry shrugs his shoulders, which is a bit hard considering Niall is half lying on top of him.

”It’d at least be nice with some manners, once in a while.”

Niall gets a glint in his eye.

”Alright, then” he says and sits back on his heels. He clears his throat before bowing his head and taking Harry’s hand.

”Would you do me the incredible honour of engaging me in an act of love making in the celebrations of these festive times?”

Harry can’t help but laugh loudly at this and sits up to wrap his arms around Niall.

”Let’s celebrate the birth of baby Jesus by sexing up the place” Niall mumbles between breaths with Harry’s lips against his. Harry pulls back.

”Jesus wasn’t actually born in December, he was bo-”

”Don’t you fucking dare” Niall says and cuts him off by pushing him onto his back. Harry lets out another laugh and cups his hand around Niall’s neck to bring him down for another kiss. Niall slips his tongue into his mouth and tangles one of his hands in his hair. Harry brings his other hand to Niall’s back and uses it to push him flush against himself. He can feel Niall’s moles under his fingers; or maybe he can’t feel them, maybe he just thinks he does because he knows they’re there.

Either way, he’s not thinking anymore, because Niall rolls his hips down against Harry’s. Harry bucks his hips up to meet Niall’s in another thrust, feeling himself getting hard. Niall’s breathing is speeding up, his breaths short and rapid.

Harry uses a hand and foot to push the duvet away, leaving them both exposed to the chilly air. Then he brings his hands to Niall’s bum and squeezes, pushing him down to meet him halfway as he thrusts upwards. Niall groans into his mouth and draws his head back to let it fall down on Harry’s shoulder. His breath that only a few minutes ago tickled Harry’s skin, now sends a flutter down his spine.

Niall squeezes one of his hands in between them to palm at Harry’s crotch through his boxers. Harry jerks up into his hand and flips them over in a swift motion so he’s on top. Niall’s arms fall down on the bed, spread out. His chest is flushed and he lays in the open; panting with a smile on his lips.

Harry sits down on Niall’s upper thighs, their cocks just brushing under their underwear. He puts his hands flat on Niall’s chest, feeling it rising and falling under his touch. Niall brings his hands to Harry’s, clasps his fingers around his wrists and rubs gentle circles on his skin. The engagement ring on his left hand catches Harry’s eye and it makes him breathless.

It’s like the world has stopped. It’s just them, nothing else. Their movements that just a second ago were rough and fast, now turn slow and caring. Harry leans down to press a kiss on Niall’s chest before leaning his forehead against him, Niall’s chest hair tickling his temple. He rolls his hips, feeling Niall gasp for air under him. He does it again.

Niall’s short nails rake down his back, squeezing in under his boxers and cupping his cheeks, kneading the flesh. Harry sucks hard on his skin and Niall pushes his boxers down as far as he can. Reaching one of his hands between them, Harry aids him in removing his underwear. He sits up and removes them completely before sitting back on his heels and grabbing the hem of Niall’s. Niall lifts his hips and lets Harry slide his boxers down his legs.

Harry slowly kisses his way back up Niall’s leg. He caresses his tensing muscles with his thumbs and leaves a trail of light kisses on the inside of his thigh. Niall’s breathing is shallow above him, and one of his hands come to tangle in Harry’s hair. Harry presses a kiss to his hip, sucking on the skin. Without warning, he grabs Niall’s cock in his hand, dragging the foreskin down. Niall gasps loudly and Harry pumps him a few time before repositioning himself.

He drags his tongue along the underside of his shaft, circling it once over the head, and then again. He wraps his lips around it and sucks gently. Niall’s breathing is loud and his left hand comes to tangle in Harry’s hair again - Harry hadn't even notices it was gone. Harry hums in appreciation and takes him in deeper, relaxing his jaw. He shuffles a little to get his arms free and when he’s got them, he traces light trails on the inside of Niall’s leg with his finger, going up all the way to his crotch and down to his balls. He strokes them gently while sucking harder. Niall moans and makes a move to sit up. He grabs Harry’s face gently and pulls him off his cock, the look in his eyes wild.

Harry leans up on his arms to kiss him and Niall greedily accepts it, biting down on Harry’s lower lip, causing Harry to moan and thrust his hips against Niall - desperately trying to create some friction. Niall wraps his arms around his lower back and lets his hand slide down to Harry’s bum. He squeezes and separates the cheeks slightly, earning a quiet moan from Harry, the sound drowning in Niall’s mouth.

Harry reaches over to the nightstand to get the lube. Niall’s kissing his neck and it makes Harry’s hand shake but he still manages to squirt some on Niall’s fingers. He coats them up nicely and stands up on his knees on either side of Niall’s legs, resting his torso against Niall’s shoulder as Niall’s fingers seek their way to his hole. Harry shudders at the familiar sensation and bites down on Niall’s shoulder blade. He pushes himself closer to Niall, their cocks trapped between their bodies and Niall pants heavily in his ear. He scissors his fingers, curling them in absolutely divine ways until Harry can’t take it anymore.

He leans back and rolls of Niall and down onto the bed, Niall’s fingers slipping out of him in the process. Niall twists so he’s hovering above Harry between his legs and ducks his head down to kiss him. Harry wraps his legs around Niall’s waist, drawing him in closer. Niall adjusts his hips and Harry can feel his cock drag between his arse cheeks. Niall uses one hand to guide himself in place and then he sinks slowly into Harry.

The thing about Niall and Harry’s sex life is that it’s not only one sex life, it’s so many different types of sex. There’s the passionate, desperate kind. The slow love making, the lazy morning blowies, the fun and laughter and oops-there-goes-my-knee-in-your-groin-again kind. That’s Harry’s favourite kind of sex. Because one of the things he loves the most about Niall, is that he makes things fun.

Like Christmas. No, he hasn’t really started to get Playstations again, and yes, he still sometimes get socks and yes, it’s not the most fun gift. But it’s not about the gifts anymore. It’s about his and Niall’s traditions, the ones they've made together. Christmas sex is one of them, and one that Harry enjoys very much.

The room’s quiet except for the sound of skin slapping against skin and their ragged breaths. Niall’s pounding into him hard while kissing his neck. Or, it’s more sloppily placing his lips against Harry’s skin because he can’t seem to concentrate enough for actual kisses. Harry can feel by the change of rhythm in Niall’s thrusts that he’s nearing his orgasm, and brings one of his hands between them to wank himself off. But Niall pushes his hand away and wraps his strong fingers around his cock.

Harry groans into Niall’s neck as Niall matches the rhythm of his hand with the rhythm of his hips. Niall pants hard in his ear and his hair tickles Harry’s jaw and Harry comes with a loud groan. Niall’s thrusts become erratic and he bites down on Harry’s shoulder as he too, comes. He falls down on Harry’s chest, panting hard. Harry brings a hand to his head and threads his fingers through his bed head hair. Niall kisses his neck and slowly slips out of him. Harry can feel the light trickle of Niall’s spunk coming out of his arse.

Niall rolls off him and catches his eye.

”I fuckin' love Christmas sex” he says, slightly out of breath. Harry rolls his eyes but smiles.

”You say it like it’s the only time of the year that we fuck.”

”You’ve got to admit - there’s something special about fucking in honour of God’s baby.”

Harry frowns.

”That’s very much on the borderline of being perverse.”

Niall shrugs and brings one of his hands to Harry’s tummy. He drags a finger through the mess there.

”You’ve got jizz all over yourself.”

”I’m well aware, thank you very much. I’ve also got it practically pouring out of my arse hole.”

Niall laughs and leans in close to kiss him slowly.

”Happy Christmas.”

--

Niall’s yawning when he enters the kitchen. His hair is still a bit damp from his shower and going in every direction; he’s obviously towel dried it and not bothered to do anything else. He hisses when his feet meet the cold tiles, because he’s stupid enough to not wear socks. Harry tells him so.

”Why’re you not wearing socks, you idiot?”

Niall just walks past him and flips him off over his shoulder. He goes to have a sip of water from the tap and then turns around, leaning his bum against the counter. Another yawn.

Harry stretches his foot out under the table and pushes at the chair opposite him. Niall takes the hint and goes to sit down, leaning forward and putting his head down on the table. He’s going to get breadcrumbs stuck to his cheek, because neither of them could bother to wipe down the table after their supper last night.

Harry stands up and walks over to the counter, lacing his fingers in Niall’s hair as he passes him. He goes to make him a cup of tea and puts the kettle on.

”I made scrambled eggs” he says over his shoulder.

”You always make scrambled eggs on Christmas Day” Niall says, his voice muffled by the table. Harry pours the hot water over a teabag and goes to stand behind Niall’s chair. He leans down to gently brush his lips against the soft skin on Niall’s neck. Niall hums in appreciation.

Their first Christmas living together, they were living in a studio flat in Elephant & Castle. It wasn’t a very good flat, really. Very drafty. Also, they didn’t have a tree. They couldn’t afford a real one and frankly, they couldn’t bother having to throw it out afterwards. So they thought about getting one of those fake ones, but then Harry’s bike broke down and they had to use their money to fix it instead. They decorated the ugly fern Niall had bought when he was still living alone, with baubles and glittery angels. It looked fucking hideous.

Now, their income is a bit more stable and their joint savings account can handle both a tree and a broken down bike. (Harry hopes his bike doesn’t break though, he needs it to get to work.) They’ve got a real tree, even. It had been a tough choice, in the end. They’d gone together one day after work to pick one out, but had fallen in love with completely different trees. Eventually, they’d had to compromise and get one that neither felt very much for.

They decorated the tree a week earlier and Harry accidentally broke one of the baubles when he fell over the cord to the Christmas lights. Niall hadn’t even reacted at the incident, which, to be fair, is to say a lot. But when Harry had started to complain about his now hurting knee; Niall had kneeled down next to him and kissed every little inch of his knee - even though he could’ve started bitching about his own crappy one.

Harry glances at the tree that can be seen through the door to the kitchen and nudges his nose against Niall’s ear.

”It didn’t turn out too bad, did it?”

Niall lifts his head to look at the tree, and sighs.

”Nah, but I’d still prefer the other one.”

He turns his head to kiss Harry on the chin.

”But at least it’s better than the fern” he finishes and Harry chuckles. He straightens his back and goes to put the iPod speaker on, deciding it’s time for another Christmas tradition. He puts on the FUCK YEAH IT’S CHRISTMAS, BITCH playlist that Niall’d made and presses play. Mariah Carey instantly comes on and Niall grins widely.

Harry goes to get them a wooden spoon each and hands one of them to Niall who stands up.

”Ready?”

”I was fuckin’ born ready.”

Niall reaches up to one of the shelves (on which they keep their small collection of cook books, the picture of the two of them at Disneyland, the little snow globe Niall got at the Harry Potter Studios and the macaroni frame Theo had made them last Christmas) and takes down the garland they’d put up. He wraps it around Harry’s neck and slaps his bum.

Harry turns the volume up and their kitchen turns into the bloody O2 Arena, if their enthusiasm in their pretend-performance is anything to go by. They know the lyrics by heart, of course. And Harry doesn’t mind being a sort-of-grown-up if it means he can always do stupid things like this with Niall.

After their traditional Mariah Carey performance, they have breakfast. Yes, Harry has made scrambled eggs as always, but he also made bacon sandwiches. Niall puts everything on trays and carries it over to the sofa in the sitting room. Harry gets out the extra blankets from the cupboard and turns the telly on, lowering the volume until it’s almost muted.

They snuggle up close on the sofa under the blankets, Niall sticking his cold toes in under Harry’s thigh as he sips on his tea. He presses a kiss to Harry’s shoulder and when Harry glances at him, he sees him eye his bacon sandwich longingly. Harry sighs and even though Niall’s got his own on the tray, shares it with Niall.

No, Harry didn’t use to think he was going to enjoy being an adult. And yes, sometimes it’s really not fun. Like when the economy is bad. Or when he’s got loads of work to do. Being a teacher means that he’s always got at least some tests to mark. Like, he loves his job, but marking tests isn’t really his favourite thing to do in his spare time.

But Niall - Niall makes being an adult okay. More than okay, he makes it fun.

”What time are we leaving?” Niall asks, his mouth full of bacon sandwich.

”Noon.”

Niall twists Harry’s left arm so he can look at his watch. He gets up from the sofa and over to the tree. Harry starts to chuckle when Niall makes a great show of bending down and swirling his hips, thrusting his bum in Harry’s direction. He picks two of the presents from the smallish pile and brings them back over to the sofa.

”You get to go first this year” he says as he drops them in Harry’s lap before returning to his seat. Harry picks up the bigger of them, but Niall stops him.

”The other one first.”

He sounds oddly nervous when he says it and Harry shoots him a look, but Niall just nudges at the other present.

It turns out to be a book about Elvis Presley and Harry beams at Niall when he reads the cover. Niall blushes lightly and hides his face in Harry’s shoulder. Harry hugs him close and presses a kiss to his neck.

”Thank you” he mumbles and Niall clears his throat.

”Okay, the other one” he says and lifts his head from Harry’s shoulder.

When Harry removes the wrapping paper - it’s obviously wrapped by Niall himself, judging by the poor quality wrapping - the present is revealed to be a black frame. The picture in it is a black and white photo of the two of them from earlier this year, Harry in the middle of his proposal.

The proposal wasn’t very fancy or big. Harry took Niall out for dinner at that Italian restaurant where they have Niall’s favourite garlic bread, and popped the question somewhere between the main course and dessert. The picture (amongst hundreds more) were taken by Zayn, who Harry had hiding at a table in the back.

In the photo, Harry’s resting his forearms on the table, the little box laying open in his palms. Niall’s got a hand on his chest, and his facial expression is a mix of wonder and happiness. He’s also got a piece of garlic bread in his other hand, which is really what to be expected.

”I know I make fun of you for being a romantic sap,” Niall begins, and Harry can’t take his eyes off the photo. ”but I want you to know how incredibly lucky I am to be with you. That - ” he points at the photo ”was the best day of my life.”

Harry tears his eyes away from the photo and looks at Niall - his fiancee.

”I’m really not that romantic, though. I just like lighting candles.”

Niall snorts and steals another piece of Harry’s bacon sandwich.

”And also, it was the best day of my life, too.”

Niall grins widely at him before opening his mouth and showing him the half chewed food.

”Are you regretting it yet?” he manages to get out, with a teasing glint in his eye.

Harry just rolls his eyes and stands up to get his gift for Niall. Since it’s only the two of them, their Christmas tree doesn’t have lots of presents under it. But they added the ones they’re going to give to their families to fill out a bit, and Harry has to rummage for a while before he finds it.

When he returns to the sofa, he throws himself down so he’s laying on his back with his legs on Niall’s lap. He’s wearing his joggers since he couldn’t be bothered to get properly dressed just yet, and Niall easily slips one hand in under the fabric. He cups his hand around Harry’s shin and rubs his thumb over the hairs. The Christmas music is still on low in the background and the lights from the tree and the fairy lights in the window light up Niall’s skin and he looks so delightful and Harry fucking loves Christmas.

He hands Niall the gift. Niall shakes his head and gestures to the hand tucked in Harry’s joggers.

”I’m a little occupied, you open it for me.”

Harry does as he’s told and reveals a box of all Eagles albums that also includes a biography. He holds it up to Niall so he can see properly. Niall’s face lights up.

”Jesus Christ, Harry! This is bloody amazing” he exclaims and quickly gets his hand out from Harry’s joggers to get the box in both hands.

Harry watches him twist and turn the box to see every side and read every text on it and how his eyes are so incredibly happy and his heart feels heavy in his chest. How could he ever believe, that being an adult would be boring? How could he even think, that being a grown-up would be anything but amazing? Because how could life be anything but fantastic when he’s got Niall?

”I really fuckin’ love you, Harry.”

Harry smiles.

”I’m glad you like it.”

The thing about Christmas, is that it’s great. It’s cosy, warm and loving and candles and music and smiles. But Harry has that every other day of the year, too.

Well okay, not always. Niall can be the most irritating person on the whole fucking planet. Like when he doesn’t sort his blacks from whites properly and their clothes get all weirdly coloured, or when he doesn’t put the lid back on the peanut butter and leave the sticky knife on the countertop, or when he uses up all the hot water, or when he hogs the whole duvet, or how he always brushes his teeth so furiously that they always have toothpaste splashes on their bathroom mirror.

But he makes up for it, more than that. When Harry always makes him a cup of tea in the morning and Niall always thanks him with a kiss and squeeze on the bum. When he cleans the toilet and never complains that Harry never does it, because he knows how much Harry hates it. When Harry has a lot of papers to mark and is so tired he could fall asleep on the spot and Niall gets him into bed. When he spoons him every night, even if they’ve had a fight. When he fucks Harry so hard into the mattress that he’s sore for days.

Harry guesses he is the romantic one, for noticing all the little things, their unofficial routines in their every day life. And routines, which should be the most boring, mundane thing about being a grown-up. Their routines are probably Harry’s thing about being an adult. He gets to live this - not perfect, but really good - life with the person he loves. He never would have done that if he’d stayed forever young. He still considers himself young, though. Niall would probably kill him if he stated otherwise.

”I’m only getting old when we get a kid” he sometimes says. ”And probably not even then.”

Harry loves the way Niall uses ‘when’ instead of ’if’. It makes him hope and long for a day when their daily routines look completely different, and their Christmas mornings start even earlier than they do now.

”Oi, nut head, what ya thinkin’ about?” Niall throws a piece of bacon at him.

Harry knows that Niall’s going to take the piss out of him if he says ‘you’, because that’s what he always does. He smiles.

”You.”

Niall groans in his hands.