This was written to go along with the fic Just Us by Euphorion. Make sure to go check that out so this will make sense!
Summary: Louis was happy until he wasn’t.
Word Count: 3223
Warnings: Polyamory, angst angst angst, mentions of slight self harm
Louis was happy the way things were, he really was! He was glad everyone could be so happy together, how even Liam was beginning to warm up to them even more so than before. It was all great, until Louis had to start working more.
It had been incredibly nice of Perrie to give them her flat, but things weren’t going quite as planned once they moved in. The rent was much higher than before, which Louis hadn’t really cared about since Harry had said he had a job set up at the bakery and Niall was playing gigs at the pub every now and then. The problem was, neither of those were working out as much as he had hoped. Harry was barely working, only once a week or so, same with Niall, who was also playing for free! Zayn and Liam meanwhile were too busy to even think about getting jobs just yet… Which left Louis taking on more and more shifts, even a second job as a waiter at a restaurant.
Every night, he would come home, exhausted and nearly on his last nerve. But Harry would make it better or Zayn would cuddle with him until he was smiling softly, so it was all okay. Slowly though, Louis began to feel separated from everyone else.
Some nights he would come home to find them all cuddled together with a movie playing softly in the background, sleeping peacefully with small smiles. It made Louis happy to see everyone else happy, he really was, and he continued to tell himself that was good enough. Yet, the days that were scheduled to be his and Harry’s were turning into Niall and Harry days, same with his Zayn days… They were beginning to forget him it seemed.
“Lou, we could never forget you,” Harry whispered to him after one Saturday, a night spent by cuddling and nothing else.
“We love you and we miss you, so much,” Zayn added on, his nails slowing scratching up and down Louis’ back in a soothing fashion. Louis drifted off to sleep that night, content and finally worry free. Everything seemed to be okay after that, even if Harry wasn’t inviting him to join if Louis ever happened to walk in on Harry and Niall. Even if his heart broke every time he walked in too late to kiss everyone goodnight. Even if he was slowly beginning to drown in his own self pity.
Things were okay though, until Harry forgot an anniversary.
Louis had taken the day off of all work, something his co-workers agreed he deserved, for the day he and Harry first spoke to eachother. He had woken up early to go out and get some of Harry’s favourite pastries, leaving a note for him explain even. He was smiling the whole day, finally getting Harry to himself for a whole twenty-four hours. His heart was racing at the thought of everything they would do together, everything the romantic in Harry had planned to do as a surprise.
There was a skip in his step and sparkle in his eye, the scent of fresh macarons of all their favourite flavours made the fresh morning air that much better. Maybe it was the springtime blossoms or maybe it was just the excitement of being free for a day, Louis didn’t really know, he was just happy.
“Hazza, I’m-” he called out as he opened the door, finding a very naked Niall atop a very naked Harry on the floor. He froze, shoulders dropping along with his smile, as he took in the scene, the two laughing like it was just an ordinary day.
“Jesus fuck Lou, gave us a fucking heart attack,” Niall laughed, shaking his head.
“You gonna leave so we can keep going or do you wanna watch?” Harry asked with a smirk and wink, though his face and body were shiny with a thin layer of sweat. “Unless you got work to do.” Louis shook his head, looking down and biting his lip.
“Nah, it’s fine,” he mumbled, placing the macarons on the counter and walking around them. From that day on, the space that had been growing became entirely much too obvious.
Louis began to notice just how everyone seemed so happy, always bright and excited to be with eachother. Louis was left wanking- wanking! He had a boyfriend and a partner in crime and he was wanking in the shower before crawling into bed! Crawling into a empty bed more often than not anymore. He knew Harry was a cuddler, he always slept better being in someone’s arms or vice versa, but Louis was the same way and he hadn’t allowed anyone to do so with him. That was something special for Harry and him. Then again, so was the word boyfriend, and that was special to Harry either.
Louis was spending more time in the bathroom than what was necessary for a simple shower, the water mixing with tears that were sadly, not caused by shampoo in his eyes. He began to wonder what he had done wrong, what had he done that was having Harry and Zayn forgetting him? He was working more, but what choice did he have?! The lads needed him to keep working, he couldn’t let them just go out on the streets all because he selfishly missed having attention. It would be nice if he stopped walking in on Zayn and Harry together in bed every Saturday though…
Nobody seemed to be noticing either. Noticing how upset Louis was getting, how he would wince whenever someone would touch his back even a little. How were they supposed to know the scratches there though? Louis hid them, the accidents that may or may not be becoming less accidental. They started out accidental, after he would cry or just let himself wallow in his self pity, he would scratch his back, just trying to let some of the pain out. He just wanted the pain to stop, he couldn’t though. This wasn’t a cut or a burn, he couldn’t put neosporin and a bandaid on it. He couldn’t make it go away, no matter how hard he tried.
It was months before someone even noticed the almost hollow, sad shell that was left of Louis.
And of all people to go and talk to him about it, it was Liam.
Now then, Louis loved Liam, he was an amazing mate and everything. But he was dense as fuck and it was even worse when he was distracted by Zayn. Yet, it was the loveable puppy esque lad who spoke to Louis about everything.
“Hey Lou, we haven’t talked in awhile,” Liam had said as he sat down beside Louis, who was having his morning cuppa. Nobody was usually up this early, so Louis jumped with surprise.
“Haven’t really talked to anyone in awhile,” Louis admitted, his voice almost a whisper. Liam frowned at that, his arm laying over Louis’ shoulder gently and holding him close.
“Is everything okay, love?” he asked, genuine concern in his entire being, something that really just hurt Louis more. The bags under his eyes showed how tired Liam really was, he probably hadn’t slept at all the night before. School was enough stress, he shouldn’t have to worry about Louis on top of that.
Keeping that in mind, Louis was forced to reply with, “I’m fine, promise, just a little tired from work. Which I’m going to be late for.” With a quick kiss to his temple, that was all that was said between them and Louis tried his hardest not to show his tears on the train.
Everything came to a boil a few weeks later when Louis got home from work early, walking in to hear Harry whining about Louis not caring anymore. It resulted in not only the first fight for the others to see but also the first time he and Harry had really spoken in what felt like years.
“If you loved us, you would make time for us!” Harry snapped, making the others flinch from where they sat on the couch, Louis and Harry screaming in front of them. Louis, who was a good head shorter than Harry, didn’t even blink.
“If I loved you?! I’m working my fucking ass off to keep this place for all of us!” he replied, tears in his eyes from the pure, unadulterated anger he felt.
“Perrie offered to help pay, why didn’t you take it then?!” Harry pointed out, taking a step closer to Louis threateningly.
“I shouldn’t need help to take care of the boys I love!” Louis retorted, not backing down for a moment.
“Then why are you so pissy when none of us have enough energy to stay awake for you?!”
“It’s not that!”
“Then what is it?!”
“You forgot! You forgot one of our anniversaries and spent to the day fucking Niall instead!” Louis finally snapped, glaring coldly at the boy he loved more than anything else in the world. “You remembered our anniversaries when you were miles fucking away but now you’re right here! You say you still love me the same, what happened?!”
“Maybe I fucking stopped, ever think about that!? You’re not perfect Louis!” Everything froze. A pin being dropped could have been heard in the silence as everyone just stared at the Louis then. Louis, who was slowly crumbling, tears spilling over as his head fell down and his shoulders sagged. Harry looked ready to cry himself as he reached out to Louis, meaning to pull him into a hug and start apologizing. But the smaller stepped back, shaking his head as he wiped his eyes and looked up at Harry then.
“If that’s how you feel then, honesty honesty,” he whispered, his voice shaking along with the rest of his body as he held the tears and sobs back.
“Lou,” Harry intoned, trying to hug him again, but Louis just shook his head, turning around and walking out. It wasn’t very surprising when nobody followed him.
He slept in the bar that night, calling into the restaurant the next day sick so he could spend the day crying.
Louis waited until he knew everyone would be out, he still had their schedules memorized after all, before he went and grabbed his things. His phone was off, ignoring whatever anyone said to him. He started rooming with Greg, one of Harry’s friends, but they got along too… Well, got along enough that Louis had convinced him not to tell Harry he was there. If he had the money, Louis would have been home right then, crying on his mum’s shoulder instead of alone on a couch cushion. He couldn’t leave anyway though, he had to keep the boys living space. He continued to order groceries online, sending them to the flat as he avoided his favourite people all together. The scratches on his back had begun to get deeper, blood being drawn every now and then and Louis wished they were still accidental.
He had managed to actually distance himself, making sure he was kept busy if he ever saw one of them at the bar and got some new kid to take care of it, for nearly two months. His heart still hurt everyday and he was a mere shell of who he used to be. He was run down emotionally and physically, just barely keeping up the act of being okay at work.
It was all fine (not at all) and dandy until he ran into Zayn on his way out of the bakery.
Louis had just grabbed his weekly macarons and a croissant for Greg, giving a polite nod at the cashier before he turn and ran into the firm, when he ran into the solid chest of Zayn Malik. When he looked up, his heart stopped beating and he tried to run, stepping back and going to move around Zayn.
“Louis?” a warm voice he hadn’t heard in weeks asked, grabbing him. “Louis?! Lou, you’re okay.” Louis was surprised to be wrapped into a warm embrace, one he refused to let himself return. “We’ve all been fucking worried about you, shit.”
“I highly doubt all of you were worried. I doubt one of you even thought about me,” he whispered bitterly, trying to wiggle away from Zayn, who only held onto him tighter.
“We haven’t seen you in weeks Louis, we haven’t even heard from you, not a damn text or anything. The only hint that we had of you being okay was the groceries,” he said, shaking his head, his voice sounding like there were tears in his eyes. “We were so fucking worried.”
“You shouldn’t be. It’s easier this way, right? There’s an even number, you’re the glue now. You always have been anyway, really,” Louis muttered, quiet tears trailing down his cheek and soaking a small patch of Zayn’s shirt. He was holding back his winces from the burning that was coming from all the different scratches that lined his back as Zayn pressed on them unknowingly.
“Harry said some pretty stupid shit, okay, but he didn’t mean it. He’s a mess without you, he feels horrible about everything he said. Liam nearly beat him to a pulp when you left, he would have if Niall and I hadn’t held him back. He’s been beating himself up for not trying harder to make your work load less, we all have been. Niall started working at the Tescos as a cashier, Liam and I are applying all over for the summer and Harry’s taken more shifts here. We need you to come back Louis, we’re all miserable,” Zayn said, and yep, those were definitely tears.
“Honesty honesty,” Louis said simply, pulling away from Zayn at last, keeping his eyes on the ground. “You all were fine before, you just need a little time and you’ll be fine without me again. I’ll start flat searching.”
Zayn grabbed Louis’ wrist as he tried to walk away, shaking his head and pulling him back. “Just come home Louis. We weren’t fine before, are you blind? Harry was crying himself to sleep, I couldn’t even write a fucking haiku about anything other than how much I missed you. Liam nearly failed an exam because you weren’t there to ask him for a cup of tea and just company as he worked. Niall, fuck, Niall hasn’t smiled sincerely since before you started working more. We need you to survive now. You’re our sun,” he said, cupping Louis’ face in his hands and forcing him to look into his eyes. “We love you, I love you,” he whispered, kissing Louis softly, slowly, sweetly.
Louis fell into it, a tiny noise of desperation emanating from him as his fingers twisted into soft locks he had missed feeling. They kissed for what felt like an eternity, only breaking apart when the front door bell chimed. Louis was breathing harshly and trembling in Zayn’s arms as he cuddled close to his chest.
“It’s not fair. I keep so many things special for Harry, I want them to be special just me and him things, but Niall… Niall gets the same treatment as me. Or he did anyway, he probably gets the treatment I used to now,” he whimpered, burying his face against Zayn’s chest.
“Lou… How long have you felt like this? Why didn’t you talk to Harry about it?” Zayn asked, slowly petting Louis’ hair.
“He never asked.” Zayn sighed, pressing a lingering kiss to Louis’ head as he gently swayed them from side to side.
“Please, just come home. For me, at least. And Liam, Liam misses you more than I thought he expected to,” he asked quietly and smiled when he got a sigh and a nod in reply.
Louis had never been more terrified than he had that night.
As he stood, tucked under Zayn’s arm and held against his warm body protectively, his mind was racing, wondering how his home had become such a strange place. When had it really happened? When had he started seeing his own flat as a terrifying, strange place than the safest home in the world?
“You ready?” Zayn whispered, one hand full with one of Louis' two duffle bags.
“Yeah, yeah,” he responded, gulping, looking up to give Zayn what he hoped was a reassuring smile. The one he got in return was dazzling and left him a little dazed having not gotten used to the full effect of Zayn quite yet. Zayn opened the door then, causing the other three to turn towards it and immediately eyes went wide and jaws dropped.
“Louis!” Liam and Niall exclaimed, running over to hold onto their glue, their rock, their Louis. Harry was left frozen as he watched the others laughing and crying simultaneously, hugging Louis and pressing kisses to any part of him that they could reach. That went on for a good ten minutes before everyone stepped back and let the two finally walk inside properly.
“Louis,” a low, husky voice said, one that could only belong to a certain Harry Styles, and everyone froze. Stepping back, Liam and Niall revealed Louis to Harry, though Liam had an untrusting glare set. Louis licked his lips as he watched Harry walk closer and closer until he was being crushed in a hug and tremors ran through him from Harry. “I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry, I love you,” Harry literally cried, sobbing quite loudly as he gripped Louis.
Louis didn’t know what to do. He wanted to be mad and push Harry away, to yell at him and hate him. But he always said it was impossible to hate Harry Styles.
“I didn’t mean it, I was angry and felt abandoned, I’m sorry. I love you, I love you so so much,” Harry continued to whisper low into Louis’ ear. Louis gulped, tears falling steadily as he slowly hugged Harry back, nuzzling against him.
“I’m sorry,” he muttered, which got an immediate reaction.
“NO! You aren’t allowed to be sorry, you have no need or right to be sorry!” Harry whimpered, holding onto his Louis tighter still. Then they were kissing and Louis thought he might faint. These had been the kisses he had missed the most for sure, the ones that made him feel like the rest of the world was melting away. The ones that made him feel how much Harry loved him.
They had a lot to talk about, more rules to set and maybe even a job to quite, but that would happen later. Trust would have to be rebuilt and Louis would have to explain the scratches that would surely be seen, but all of that could wait! Right now, Louis just wanted to focus on being home with his boys again, his Lost Boys, and everything else could wait.
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