The drive back to the motel is slow. Harry's behind the wheel and Louis lets his eyes glaze over, buildings and lights blurring together. Harry reaches a hand out for Louis's and he holds it tight. They stumble into their room and Louis hasn't been this high in a long time. He feels loose, calm, horny, eager, and Harry's staring at him, smiling big and red and so pretty and he can't help it. He corners Harry against the sink, leaning into him. They're just in their pants, getting ready for bed, and Louis can't help himself. There's a voice in the back of his mind, muttering furtively that he can't just be another one of Harry's mistakes, can't be another straight-boy mistake, can't do that again, and Louis knows that. Louis knows he would rather die than have Harry avoid his eyes and apologies uncomfortably, loving him but not loving him the right way. Louis knows that, knows he won't handle that well, but- but there's a louder voice, a more insistent, stoned, sweet voice in the front of his mind telling him to do it, to kiss him, because fuck knows if he'll get another chance. He curls a hand into Harry's hair, tugging a little, loving the way Harry's eyes flutter, the way he naturally submits, curling down into Louis's hand. Harry fits his big hands around Louis's hips and their faces are so close, their breath heavy. Louis can't help himself. He pushes himself slightly onto his toes, leaning further into Harry's body, hip to hip, and nudges his lips against Harry's. Harry responds immediately, letting out a huff of breath that sounds like yes, and pulling Louis in tight against him, sweeping his tongue across the seam of Louis's lips. Louis closes his eyes and relaxes into Harry, into being held close, and wraps his other arm around Harry's neck, opening his mouth against Harry's mouth. They kiss lazily against the sink, not moving, not progressing further than chaste kisses, until Harry shudders a little and his hands drop from Louis's waist to the top of his arse, as if asking permission. Louis pulls back a little, grinning, and before Harry's face can fall into disappointment or rejection, he pulls Harry's hand and leads him to the bed, falling onto his back and tugging Harry down on top of him. Harry immediately shoves a thigh between Louis's and his elbows frame Louis's head, huge hands cupping his face. Harry dips back down, kissing him deeply, and the weight of his body on top of Louis's makes Louis groan, sliding his hands from Harry's shoulders down across his back and down further to clutch at his bum, pressing down as he pushes his own hips up. Harry stills, eyes clenched shut tight, and then lets out a harsh breath against Louis's lips, rutting them together, grinding down into Louis. Louis slams his head back into the pillow and Harry just bends down and attacks his neck, biting and sucking harshly, definitely leaving bruises, as he finds a rhythm to rut their hips together, cocks aligned perfectly.
      "God, Lou," Harry pants out, lifting up on an elbow and staring down at him. "God." And Louis doesn't know what to say to that, because, yeah. God. He slides a hand back up to curl into Harry's hair, stroking through, letting his thumb drift down to rub at his cheekbone. Harry leans into it, closing his eyes. He grabs Louis's thigh and hooks it up, fitting himself perfectly in between Louis's legs, and oh. The angle changes and it's perfect, Harry's cock is sliding just up against his balls, so close to where Louis wants him, and Louis's cock is rubbing, slick in his pants, against Harry's hard stomach and Louis hazily thinks he could come this way. Harry seems to be on the same wavelength, because he presses in hard, once, twice, and stills, face tight, mouth dropped open, eyes clenched shut, and Louis watches, rapt. He wishes he had the Polaroid on him, wants to capture Harry's face in this moment, coming into his pants like he's fourteen fucking years old, but coming just from Louis, just from rubbing up on Louis's body and fuck if there's anything better than that. Louis sneaks a hand between them, curling it into his own underwear and stroking hard, fast, almost there already. He comes quickly, cupped into his hand, letting out a small whimper as his eyes finally close, breaking their eye contact. When he comes back to earth, Harry's staring down at him and Louis wants to hide his face because Harry's looks fucking wondrous and there's really nothing in Louis's `So You're In Love With Your Straight Best Friend´ manuel that guides him through this. Harry rolls off him, but not far. He keeps an arm wrapped around Louis's waist, pulling him close to press a kiss to his hair. Louis smiles over at him, a bit hesitant, and Harry just grins back.
      "Shower?" Louis relaxes.
      "Race you there."

***

The next morning dawns like the fiery depths of hell. The thermometer on the car says it's 104 degrees and Louis things he might already be well-done. The leather of the seats is griddling his thighs and the thick air chokes him.
      "Amarillo," Harry trills next to him, rolling the r, "Texas." They have Fast Car on the radio and Louis hums along
      "Startin' from zero, got nothin' to lose."
      "Me and myself, I got nothin' to prove," Harry finish, beaming over at him. They stop in Shamrock, Texas to see the Pioneer West Museum and Harry searches every souvenir shop on the block for a bolo tie with a shamrock for Niall. It's futile, and Harry drops back into the car, spitting. "
      What is even the bloody point, then?" They drive on to McLean to see the Devil's Rope Museum and Louis is hot, tired, and cranky.
      "Can we bloody go, H?" he snaps, when Harry gets distracted by the thrilling history of barbed wire. Harry glances back at him, laughing at Louis's pout, pulling out the camera and snapping a photo.
      "Almost better than your o-face," he says, winking, and Louis flushes. They make it to Amarillo for lunch, and Harry insists on barbecue again. He gets the sauce all over his face and Louis laughs, taking a picture and resisting the urge to kiss the mess off, but Harry sees the look in his eye and takes his time licking his lips, eyes sparking with laughter. Louis kicks him under the table and dips his finger in his own excess sauce, drawing it into his mouth, batting his eyelashes across the table at Harry. Harry just narrows his eyes and says.
      "You just wait." They make it out of the city unscathed, but narrowly, because Harry yanks them into an old alleyway just off the main street, pushing Louis against a wall and kissing him until Louis is grasping at Harry's shoulders just to keep standing. Louis shoves him off after a good five minutes of snogging, giving Harry a dirty look.
      "You're gonna get us in trouble, babe," he says, trying to force his giddy expression into something serious. Harry just shrugs, holding his hands out as if to say I can't help it. Louis wants to punch him and then kiss him and then kiss him again and again and again. Louis is possibly in the eye of the goddamn storm.
They make it to Tucumcari and check in at the Blue Swallow Motel, drawn in by the huge neon sign on the highway. Louis's eyes are closing already and he can't even be annoyed by Harry's hands gripping his hips tightly when they stand at the desk. There's an old woman behind the counter and she barely notices, anyhow. They stumble to their room and Louis falls on the bed. He's sticky and hot and exhausted, but mostly he just wants Harry to fall down next to him and like Harry's reading his mind, he does. He has to be just as hot and he's definitely as sticky as Louis is, but he wraps himself around Louis, flipping on the telly to a baseball game. It's the Houston Astros versus the Seattle Mariners and Louis doesn't even pretend to register it, just turning in to nose at Harry's neck as Harry presses small kisses down the side of his face.
They fall asleep that way and Louis briefly thinks before he drifts off that they really need to shower in the morning. The thought makes him smile. Things are really almost perfect, however momentarily.

***

It takes them two more days to get to Flagstaff, and they decide to spend the night there. They find a quiet diner and Harry pours over the map for long enough that Louis gets impatient, kicking at him under the table.
      "What could possibly be so interesting? We literally stay on the same road the entire way," Louis whines. "I'm prettier." Harry smirks down at the map and catches Louis's ankle between his feet, holding it in place.
      "Wouldn't dare argue, darlin'," he says.
      "Then pay attention to me!" Louis grumbles. Looking up with a long-suffering sigh, Harry props his head on his fists and gives Louis a mockingly attentive look.
      "Dazzle me, Tommo," he says. Louis makes a face.
      "What are you even looking at, though?" he says, gesturing to the map. Harry shrugs.
      "I think we should go up to the Grand Canyon." Louis raises his eyebrows.
      "Okay."
      "Really?" Harry sounds surprised.
      "Sure," Louis says, shrugging. "Why not? We're basically there, aren't we? It's just, like, what, 80 miles north?" Harry nods.
      "Yeah, about that far. We can take Highway 180 straight there, basically."
      "Sounds good." Louis smiles over the rim of his milkshake. "Romantic, innit? Grand Canyon and all." Harry laughs a little.
      "Gonna sweep you off your feet, I think."
      "I'm planning on it." Harry's feet stroke over Louis's briefly, before pulling away.
      "Back to the hotel?" and Louis is out the door before Harry's left the tip.

***

Harry makes them wake up at five o'clock in the morning the next day, because he wants to get to the Canyon before it's too hot. Louis makes him drive and sleeps on the way, huddled in the corner, waking up when they arrive to the sound of the camera spitting out a photo. Louis mumbles into his arm and rubs at his eyes.
      "We here?" he asks. Harry nods.
      "I haven't looked yet. Waiting for you." Louis smiles, rolling his eyes. He ruffles Harry's hair.
      You're so cute. Let's go." They step out of the car into the desert and Louis is almost knocked back by the intense dry heat. Harry rounds the car and holds out his hand to Louis. Louis stares at it for a moment and shakes his head, smiling at his feet.
      "God, Harry," he says, taking his hand. Harry just looks at him, all earnest big eyes and soft grin.
      "What?" Louis shakes his head again.
      "You're gonna ruin me," he says. Harry scoffs and pulls Louis close, knocking their hands between their hips, leading him to the edge. Oh. Staring down, Louis feels like he's the biggest, sorriest cliche in the entire world. He feels every single thing he's ever mocked anyone for feeling in his entire life. He feels infinity and he feels connection to nature. He feels connection to something bigger than himself and a sense of awe and-
      "Hey," he says quietly. Harry tightens his hand around Louis's in response, too caught up to say anything back.
      "Back in uni-" Louis starts, and swallows, because he doesn't like to talk about his brief time there. He gets mad and jealous and guilty and inadequate, especially around Harry, with Harry's success and privilege and future. Harry looks at him now and pulls him closer, untangling their fingers and wrapping his arm around Louis's waist.
      "Yeah?" Harry prompts. Louis takes a deep breath.
      "Back in uni, I was in some psychology class, I don't know, entry-level stuff, but we read Civilisation and its Discontents, you know? That shitty Freud manifesto?" Harry nods, fingers slipping under Louis's shirt to pet at his hip. "And," Louis continues, "I mean, it was mostly bullshit, right, but like. He described this feeling, I dunno, it was mixed in all the penis talk or whatever, but he described this thing called the oceanic feeling? Like, it's the feeling of limitlessness. He used it to describe the religious experience, but like, also the feeling you get by staring into something so, like, untouchable? I don't know, but you know what I mean?" Louis feels Harry staring at his profile and his cheeks burn red. "Sorry." He laughs a little. "I probably just rambled stupidly about something you wrote a goddamn thesis on. Sorry."
      "No," Harry says immediately. "Keep going." Louis shrugs.
      "I don't know, it's dumb. Just like. This, you know?" Harry nods, and turns a little, facing Louis. He brings his fingers to tilt Louis's chin up and presses a soft kiss to his lips. He pulls back and gives Louis a small smile.
      "I think you're pretty oceanic, Tomlinson," he says. Louis shakes his head, huffing out a laugh. He rests his head on Harry's shoulder and stares out into the Canyon. They're silent for almost ten minutes, until Louis says,
      "Thank you. For doing this with me." Harry takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly.
      "Of course, Louis," he says, choked.
      "I'm just- I'm going to miss you so fucking much," Louis says. "You're the best thing in my life." Harry turns his head and buries his mouth into Louis's hair. He doesn't say anything, but Louis feels his uneven breath. Closing his eyes, he brings Harry's free hand, the one not on his waist, up to his mouth and holds it there, mouthing words he can't make himself say. They decide to spend the night on the rim of the Grand Canyon, folded up on the reclined seats in their dirty little car, because Louis wants to see the sunset and Harry wants to see the sunrise. Harry decides they need supplies, so they stop at McDonald's for dinner and then some little convenience stores. Louis buys cheap fleece blankets and a stockpile of candy, energy bars, and soda. Harry buys a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. Louis arches an eyebrow at him.
      "Okay, wanna explain?" Harry grins, cheeky.
      "You did say I was James Dean." Louis rolls his eyes.
      "No," Harry laughs.
      "but I want the whole literary experience."
      "And that involves lung cancer?"
      "No, it involves pretending we're beat poets and laying on the hood of our car, smoking cigarettes and discussing infinity and oceans and constellations and other pretentious shit." Louis laughs and pulls Harry in for a kiss.
      "Okay." So they do.

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