The moon was big and the night sky free from obstruction. It really was a perfect night for looking at stars, but that was something far from his mind. He was looking at them, but seeing something completely different. The last few months had been hectic and now, with everyone else sound asleep, was the only time he had had to himself at all. The night was warm, it had been a typical august day, and the warmth was still lingering in the air. He was laying in one of the lawn-chairs, facing the sky, thinking that it really was a beautiful night. It seemed perfect and he should be feeling happy. But sadness weighed his heart down, making him feel horribly guilty. Because he shouldn’t feel sad, not at all, he should be the happiest person on the planet. He had a remarkable career which had brought him not only more money than he could ever spend, but more importantly, four of the most important people of his life. He had a loving family, a bright future and an amazing girlfriend whom he loved… But that was just it. He did love her, didn’t he? He should. They had been together for years and she had always been there for him, through every hard time, every fight with the boys, all that time spent over-seas. All the happy moments as well, celebrating their first Brit, selling platinum, making it to number one in America, giving out three incredibly successful albums… No, he did love her, he did. But then there was that part of his heart that was constantly screaming at him, pulling and pushing him in another direction, towards another person, a person that wasn’t his girlfriend, but rather his cheeky, charming, and incredible best friend. The best friend that had been there from the very beginning, always believing in him and supporting him like no one else, who had gone through all the bad stuff with him, as well as all the good. The best friend that he could talk to about anything and everything, that never judged him and always understood him. The best friend that knew exactly what made him tick and could make him laugh with a simple look, who could comfort him with a simple touch and who could make his heart explode by simply being in the same room. The best friend, who was not only male, but also his fellow band-member, Harry.
As he tried to make out the complicated patterns of the stars above him, all he could see was his friends face, his uncontrollable hair, his piercing eyes, one second light as grass in the summer only to be dark as jade in the next, a haunting look he knew was made for him alone. The crooked smile that would always make him a stuttering, smiling idiot, also something he suspected Harry did on purpose. As he tried to listen to the crickets in the bushes and the breeze in the trees, all he could hear was Harry’s slow and gravelly voice in all its different variations. Light and kind when he was trying to comfort, deep and concentrated when he was singing, and in the mornings, when he had just woken up, Harry’s voice was dark and raspy in a way that would send shiver after shiver through his body. Even now he could feel the affect Harry had on him, the feeling shooting through him and igniting a spark within him. But as he thought about his beautiful and loving girlfriend that was sleeping inside their house, waves and waves of guilt crashed down upon him, putting the spark out again. Even if he could do something about what he was feeling, he was afraid it was too late.
He sighed and stood up, casting a last glance at the starry sky above him, saying good bye for now. He opened the door on the porch and stepped inside, sure to lock up behind him.
“Louis?” he spun around at the sound of his name and found his girlfriend standing inside the room, looking scared.
“Eleanor? What’s wrong? Are you okay?” he hurried up to her and took her face in his hands, studying her face in search of something wrong.
“Louis, I think- I think my water just broke. I think the baby is coming” he couldn’t think, the baby was coming. The baby was coming NOW and he didn’t know what to do. What was he supposed to do? “Louis?” He looked at his girlfriend who was about to have his baby, saw how scared and tense she was and his heart clenched.
“Right. It’s okay love, we’ll get through this, everything is just fine. Will you be okay here for a second while I go and get your overnight-bag?” She nodded at him and he led her to a chair and rushed for the bag.
As they got into the car the contractions started and it seemed to hurt because she screamed, and all he could do was to let her squeeze his arm as he drove as fast as he dared. Thankfully the traffic wasn’t as bad as he had dreaded and at a red light he quickly dialed Liam’s number, giving him the heads up and leaving it to him to tell the rest of the boys, both wishing and fearing that Harry would be there. The light switched to green and they were off. He didn’t care about the directions on the signs when they came to the hospital, and drove straight up to the door. Eleanor was now drenched in sweat and clutching her large stomach, breathing hard. With a little effort he got her out of the car and supported most of her weight as they entered the hospital. As soon as the medicals saw them they rushed forward with a wheelchair and started firing questions at him. When did the water brake? How long between contractions? Does she have any allergies? It was a never-ending interrogation until they got her into a free room. They seem satisfied with the questions and left them for a couple of minutes as someone went to get a doctor. He was standing by her side, letting her crush his hand as he stroked her forehead.
“Shh, babe, it’s all gonna be okay. It’s okay, it’s okay. You’re doing so good babe, you’re doing so good” She screamed again and the pressure on his hand doubled, but he didn’t pay any attention to it. He was going to be a dad and he couldn’t quite grasp that. The doctor came in and was just as calm and collected as you would want a doctor to be in this situation. He examined Eleanor and, when he was done, looked at them both with a frown.
“I’m afraid we will have to do a caesarean.” He turned to a nurse behind him and told her to prepare an OR, still just as calm while Louis was freaking out.
“A caesarean!? Why is that necessary? What’s wrong with our baby!?”
“The baby has got the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck, it won’t be possible to perform a natural birth that way. But I promise you Mr. Tomlinson, that it’s a perfectly normal procedure and it shouldn’t cause any harm to the baby or to Ms. Calder. But we’re going to have to move quickly or the baby might suffocate” They wheeled Eleanor away and she was screaming for him, she was scared and so was he. When he went after them a nurse stopped him.
“I’m afraid you can’t be in the OR during the operation, Sir”
“But my baby and my girlfriend are in there and she needs me! You can’t just shut me out!”
“I’m sorry, Sir, you’re going to have to stay in the waiting room” Shocked and angry he walked to the waiting room and sat down. He was terrified. Terrified because Eleanor was forced to go through all that alone, and terrified for their baby, what if it didn’t make it? What if it died before he even had a chance to hold it? He put his head in his hands and waited.
Before long someone’s arm was laid across his shoulders. He looked up and was met by a couple of green eyes staring into his. Without saying anything they hugged each other and held the other close until they were interrupted by three other pair of arms around them. Closed off to the world by his friends, he felt safe, but it ended too soon.
“Is everything okay Lou? Why are you out here?” Liam sounded as worried as the others looked.
“There was a problem, the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. They’re operating on her now. I wasn’t allowed in for some reason. I just- I just don’t know what to do, what if I lose my baby? I- I can’t-”
“It’s going to be alright, do you hear me? Everything is going to be okay, they’re both going to make it just fine.” Zayn had a steady grip on his shoulders and held his eyes with his own. He nodded and Zayn let go.
“Will you wait with me?” the question was met with three ‘of course’ and by a hand slipped into his. So they sat down and they waited. Harry’s hand never loosened its grip on his and his body never strayed too far, always close enough so that he could feel the heat from it. He didn’t meet Harry’s eyes again, didn’t know what he would do if his mind was invaded by that green that overshadowed everything else. He couldn’t do that now, not with his baby on the way and his girlfriend in surgery. Without looking he could ignore the adoration, sadness, and hope he would see there and in turn, Harry wouldn’t see those things in his eyes.
“Mr. Tomlinson?” He looked up to see the same nurse as before standing in the door.
“Yes, that’s me”
“You can come in now, everything went very well” relief washed through him and he hurried up, letting Harry’s hand slip from his in the process.
He was led to a room where he saw Eleanor lying in bed with a little bundle in her hands. He ran forward and kissed her, over and over, thrilled to see a smile on her lips.
“Louis, here, meet your son” she held up the bundle and he took it in his arms, staring down at the little boy in his hands, he was beyond beautiful. Staring back up at him with clear blue eyes and a small, tired smile, was his son. His baby-skin was smooth, he had 10 perfect fingers and 10 perfect toes and on top of his head were a few, sticky, brown curls. He kissed his son on the forehead and looked down at Eleanor who looked back with tired eyes.
“Oh my god… I’m- I’m a father. I can’t believe this, he is perfect, absolutely perfect”
“Yeah, the little bugger caused us some trouble, but he was worth it”
“Are you okay babe? Do you need anything?” he kissed her again, making her laugh.
“No, I’m alright. They’ve pumped me full of drugs though, so I think I’m going to take a little nap. You’ll be here when I wake up, right?”
“Of course love, I’m not going anywhere” his eyes flicked between her and the baby as she slowly fell asleep.
“Oh god!” Startled, he looked up and saw the guys standing in the door, looking at them with big eyes. He grinned at them.
“Say hello to my son” Liam shrieked, very much like a girl, and ran forward, Niall and Zayn following behind just as excited. Harry didn’t move from his spot by the door, and as Louis looked at him, their eyes locked, and it felt like someone punched him in the stomach. They others’ chatter slowly tuned out and all he could see was Harry, Harry who had a smile on his face but eyes swimming with hurt. He could almost see his heart breaking inside him and any hope the younger boy had clung to for so long, was now gone. It was like watching someone slowly dying.
Always, always and always had he fought against what he knew he shouldn’t be feeling, against what could possibly destroy everything he and the rest had worked for, but it had stuck like glue to his heart and he suspected that it was permanently imprinted there now. But looking down at his son sleeping so soundly in his arms, and his girlfriend who was sleeping just as deep, he knew he could never do anything to risk what he had with Eleanor, even though what he could have with Harry might be so much greater, for his son’s sake.
“Okay guys, I think we should leave these three alone, two are already sleeping and the last one looks absolutely dead and can’t seem to even talk right now. Call me later Lou, kay?” Zayn grabbed Liam and Niall’s arms and dragged them out of the room, despite their protests, leaving him alone with Harry and his sleeping family.
“Congratulations Lou, he’s beautiful” Harry stepped forward and Louis handed his son over. Harry holding a baby was possibly the most heartbreaking sight he had ever seen, it was breathtaking.
“He looks a bit like you. I know it’s ridiculous but he has your eyes, and if I’m not wrong, he’ll have curly hair too.”
“Sorry, I just… Sorry. I know you don’t want to hear that”
“It’s okay Lou, it’s okay. You’re-you’re allowed to be happy, you know that right?” he noticed the hitch in Harry’s voice and once again they locked eyes and everything else besides Harry vanished from his mind.
“Yeah, but Harry, I can’t be happy if you’re not” they stayed silent for a while whilst Harry gently rocked the baby back and forth.
“So… I suppose you guys are gonna get hitched soon? With a baby and all”
“Harry… I- I don’t know what’s going to happen. I think she’s happy with the way things are right now”
“What about you then? Are you happy with the way things are?”
“I… I just had a son, and I love him very much, I couldn’t do anything to hurt him, you know that right? He deserves to have his family” He didn’t want to have this conversation, it was like killing a part of himself, cutting his heart in two and handing one half to Harry, the one that had always belonged to him. Just because he had to do it, doesn’t mean it hurt any less, especially when seeing what it did to Harry, to his Harry, that wasn’t really his anymore.
“Yeah, yeah I do. Of course, it’s okay. I’m happy for you. I really should go now though, leave you three alone for a bit. We’ll talk later, yeah?” Harry handed the baby back and hesitated a second before brushing his lips over Louis’, so lightly he almost didn’t feel it, and then hurried out of the room, leaving him shocked and immobile. He didn’t know how long he stood there, replaying the kiss over and over and over again, before the baby in his arms stirred and suddenly he was meet by blue eyes, so like Harry’s, despite the colour.
“Hey little fella, how you doing baby?”
“I think he likes you” he turned and found Eleanor watching him from the bed.
“I hope so! I am his dad after all”
“Honey, are you alright? It’s been quite a day” The look in her eyes suggested she was referring to more than just the baby being born.
“Yeah. Yeah I think I’m okay, just give me some time to adjust, yeah?”
“Of course” The smile she gave him was sad, but genuine. He just hoped what he was going to say wouldn’t make this worse for her.
“I was thinking… I would like to name him Harry” he glanced down at the restless baby in his arms, before meeting Eleanor’s eyes, she was watching him carefully. After a long silence she nodded.
“Okay. It fits him, actually” he knew his eyes gave away the pain he felt, but he smiled at her and kissed her, before looking at his son.
“Hi Harry. Mommy and daddy loves you very much”