being mr. azoff's assistant was y/n's dream job, it was just a bummer that his most beloved client seemed to hate her.
"Did you want anything, Harry? (Y/N)'s about to make a coffee run."
Although she'd never admit it, (Y/N) held her breath as she fiddled her fingers behind her back, awaiting any response. She already had a good idea of what he would say when he bothered to give an answer, but she still had a tiny hope he'd prove her wrong.
"No, 'm alright."
He didn't even raise his head from where it was buried in his phone. Mr. Azoff gave (Y/N) that same polite smile he always did whenever Mr. Styles rejected her services, like he wasn't sure why Mr. Styles wasn't more accepting but it wasn't his place to ask or change the habit. Mr. Azoff treated her right and that was what she tried to focus on, not that the fact his best friend and someone she could consider to be a creative idol, couldn't seem to even give her a moment of his time.
"Okay, I'll be back in a minute, Mr. Azoff," (Y/N) chirped pleasantly, well versed in how to brush off being brushed off.
(Y/N) was grateful for the fact her boss's preferred shop was only a few blocks away from his office, giving her the chance to clear her head with fresh (or as fresh as it could be here in L.A.) air instead of stuffing herself into her car.
Mr. Styles was always like this. Why it still bothered her when he brushed her off or ignored any of her offers of help, she wasn't sure, but it did. That world famous kindness that circulated within the industry as well as what was flung around Twitter had been what she was expecting when she finally made it through the vetting process to be hired as Jeff Azoff's assistant, knowing full well who one of his biggest clients was. She had been realistic, knowing that Harry Styles wasn't going to be her best friend, fawning over her at all times, or suddenly fall in love—this wasn't like those stories she remembers reading when she was young—but she had figured he would give her more than a passing glance the first time she met him.
Since that first day where he offered a single sentence introduction, she'd been waiting in vain for anything more to happen. More often than not, his conversation would stop when she entered the room or go quiet enough to let her know she wasn't to be included. He gave her plain smiles, not even the hint of a dimple, when he bothered to acknowledge her presence, usually when he would skirt around her to leave the room she'd just entered. She never got a chance to experience firsthand the humor everyone praised, the kindness he all but trademarked as a middle name, or the gentle vulnerability he gave to those who needed it. He could barely even meet her eyes, his gaze moving to his phone or where he plucked at his sleeves or painted nails.
To be fair, she was still fairly new at the job, only about six months in to her position, so there was a good chance he still needed some warming up after being so used to Mr. Azoff's last assistant that had been employed for years before relocating and leaving the position. Mr. Styles was also known to be shy, something a few others had disclosed to her when they noticed she didn't have much to add whenever he was brought up. Maybe he needed a little more time, and that was something she was more than willing to give, along with the space it seemed he needed.
At least until his European tour started. Then, he would have to at least get used to her presence, seeing as they were to be sanctioned to matching flights, hotels, and backstage areas for the better part of the next three months. She wouldn't be able to give him much space then. Hopefully he wouldn't hate her more after those ninety days together.
As much as the walk to the cafe and the extra Matcha latte she treated herself with, cleared her head and had her back on her feet after being blown back by the nonchalance paid to her entire existence by someone she felt singled out by, the effect could only last for so long when she entered the office.
Before pushing the door open, she could hear the voices inside happily chattering away. Mr. Styles' cackling laugh that she was sure had his eyes creasing closed with his head thrown back was the most prevalent noise, something she usually only caught the tail end. As she expected, the second she gave a gentle rapping of her knuckles against the door just before pushing it open, all sound stopped, even Mr. Azoff's chattering trailing off once he realized Mr. Styles was done interacting for the moment.
"Here you go," she chirped, passing along the coffee to her boss with an unbothered smile that was much stronger than she felt, "Is there anything else I can do for you?"
"No, no," he shook his head, "Not until this afternoon. Go and enjoy your lunch, (Y/N)."
She gave a quiet nod of her head, chancing a single look in Mr. Styles' direction. He had his gaze fixed on his hands. A flush clung to his skin, surely a lingering effect of the laughter she had interrupted.
"Okay, let me know if that changes," she offered with a short smile before turning on her heel.
Just as she left the room, closing the door behind her, she heard Mr. Azoff heave a muffled sigh on the other side.
"Jeff, please. She jus'—"
(Y/N) left before she could hear much more. She didn't need to know what Mr. Styles thought about her.
Despite the buzz filling the terminal, (Y/N) almost couldn't believe the way not a single person had noted Mr. Styles' presence. Not even a single muttering or whisper of his name could be heard in the busy place.
He sat in peace, a grey hoodie with the strings tied covered his torso, hood up over a pink beanie that concealed his curls. He sat with his legs spread wide, taking up space with his black sweats folded over his legs. Scrolling through his phone, he was in his own world with his chin propped up in his hand, cheek smushed against his ring-bare fingers. He only looked up when boarding was called.
(Y/N) followed quietly behind the trio of Mr. Styles, her boss, and Mr. Lambert, the tour's stylist. She could hear the tittering and quiet conversation in front of her while other members of production and the team trailed behind her. Without Mr. Azoff's wife joining them just yet for this tour, she didn't have many close friends within this group for the time being.
It was all a blur, finding her seat on the plane and placing her carryon above. She was the first in her row, huddling close to the window seat. She knew Mr. Azoff was going to join her as soon as he finished doing whatever it was he and the Harry's were doing, so at least she wasn't going to be completely alone.
Biding her time until take off while the rest of the plane filled up, (Y/N) distracted herself with answering emails on Mr. Azoff's behalf. She verified hotel arrangements, replied to all the correspondence that went along with Mrs. Azoff joining them later in the week, and anything else that needed her attention before takeoff.
Huddled into her corner of the row, the early call time for the flight began to catch up with her. The emails in front of her couldn't hold her attention against the tiny pillow she had managed to sneak into the backpack she shoved under her seat, the plush sandwiched between her cheek and the sidewall of the plane. The sound of shuffling feet as the rest of the flight filled up was like white noise to her cloud-puffed brain.
(Y/N) couldn't help herself before she was fluttering her eyes closed. Surely, Mr. Azoff would wake her before takeoff if she really passed out.
She wasn't sure how long she sat, resting her eyes with her limbs floating in the in-between realm before much of the shuffling ceased and the heft of someone settling in beside her sounded in the empty space. She didn't bother blinking her eyes open, even when she heard chattering beside her. Mr. Azoff was one of the voices, followed by someone who sounded a little too close to her for his comfort.
"Jeffery..." Mr. Styles sighed.
"Stop acting like a child, H," her boss scolded, voice stern though he was quiet, "She's asleep, I'm not going to make you talk to her."
(Y/N) was grateful for the way she had her cheeks mushed between her shoulder and her fluffed pillow. Maybe if she covered them, her seat mates wouldn't be able to feel the embarrassed heat gathering under her skin.
Mr. Styles was sitting right next to her, she realized when she heard the heavy intake of a breath leave his lungs. She wasn't sure how she'd do it, but it looked like she was going to have to pretend to be asleep all the way to the hotel. Maybe, she could convince everyone she was a very well-organized and direction-following sleepwalker if she was careful.
That thought didn't last long, (Y/N) having to break her facade at the sound of Mr. Azoff's voice calling to her.
"(Y/N)," he started, speaking around Mr. Styles. He repeated her name a couple of more times, prompting her to mime opening her eyes as if she'd been dead asleep only moments prior before he continued, "We're about to take off."
"Oh," she smiled, the curve tight, "Thank you."
If not for the fact she was sure she would die if they knew she had overheard the way Mr. Styles couldn't stand to even sit next to her, she would have hesitated more before she crossed her gaze to the man beside her. His eyes were already on her when she looked at him, expression tight as he seemingly forced a smile in her direction. His back was stiff against the seat, hands twisted in his lap with flaking nail polish. His gaze didn't linger on her for very long before he looked away, just in time for the safety spiel from the steward team.
Following suit, she followed through the motions of checking her seatbelt, absently locating the exits, and curling into her seat by the time they were cleared for takeoff. She didn't like this part, but it was enough to huddle herself against the back of her seat and brace herself with her hands clenched into the armrest to her right side.
She sat with her eyes closed, nails digging into the leather of the armrest as she felt the motion beneath her feet, the runway disappearing underneath them until the turbulence of takeoff shook the body of the plane. (Y/N) breathed her way through it, hunkering down into the slouchy fit of her hoodie.
It wasn't until the turbulence evened out, steady windfall starting in the dark of the early morning, that she felt eyes on her. Without really thinking, she blinked her eyes open only to find Mr. Styles looking to her with something softer painted over his features.
He didn't immediately flit away when her eyes met his, allowing himself to touch over her features with the warmth of his gaze. His tanned skin still held a buttery warmth even under the draining overhead lights of the cabin, stubble covering the bottom half of his face she'd never seen him grow out until recently. His eye contact was famous around the world, unrelenting though welcoming as it gave her a chance to see the flecks and streaks through the moss of his irises. (Y/N) floundered under his attention, unsure of what to do with something she doesn't think she's ever had before.
"Um—Did—Or, do you want m-my pillow?" she asked, blindly reaching for the little plush fit between her body and the sidewall.
At the sound of her voice, Mr. Styles seemed to realize what exactly he was doing and who he was glazing over with his eyes. He shook his head then, curls peeking out from underneath his beanie.
"No, thank you," he mumbled, reaching into his hoodie pocket to pull out a pair of headphones.
That was all his attention that she was granted until his headphones were plugged into his ears and she was alone again in her row.
"And finally, on drums, Sarah Jones!"
(Y/N) was blown away as the area erupted into cheers she was sure could rival the screams that sounded when Mr. Styles first appeared on stage. She watched on from the mouth of the backstage area, her boss at her side with a drink in hand, as Mr. Styles reveled in the screaming and yelling, a bright dimpled smile on his face. If not for the fact she was technically there in a professional sense and this was only the second show she'd had the privilege of watching, she would have joined in and screamed and cheered for the band that was being introduced. (After getting a chance to meet every moving part of his touring band as well as watching them perform, she very much so understood the enthusiasm offered to these characters).
It was when Mr. Styles joined in on the fanfare, pumping his fist and making a noise that sounded like he was barking along with the crowd that she couldn't hold back her laughter. The layered fringe hanging from his jacket glittered in the light, matching the sheen of sweat that covered his shirtless body. He threw his head back with a bright laugh she almost wished he had the microphone held to his mouth for, just so she could hear what his joy sounded like.
Even just this moment alone was something she was sure she was always going to remember, no matter how many times she was going to witness this over and over. Never had she been to a concert that held the same energy as these arenas—and eventually stadiums—she'd visited. She couldn't blame a single person in this room for everything they did to get to this place, every moment of planning, saving, celebrating, and crying. She understood.
Mr. Styles was meant to perform. Even with his brief breaks he spent on movie sets, it was clear why he came back to this space with these people that followed him like honeybees and gave so much love and kindness to him.
She watched as he finished his introductions of the band, launching into another song that had the whole arena moving and dancing. Even without the help of the spotlight and the cameras following his every move, she was sure she wouldn't be able to keep her eyes from him; he commanded the space, with every intention of taking that attention and thriving under it.
Despite the relationship—or lack there of—off stage, (Y/N) couldn't wait to see this almost every night for however many months she had the privilege of standing stage side.
"Call me if you need anything!"
Mr. Azoff shook off (Y/N)'s offer as she started off in the direction of the green room being used as the catering space for the day. A busy morning had ensued, leaving (Y/N) running around trying to find any trace of an adequate wifi connection in the middle of the venue just so she could answer emails and show up to video meetings she was attending on Mr. Azoff's behalf. It wouldn't have been so bad if not for the time differences given the fact she was on a completely different continent than any business she was working with. The stress of it all had her beat before the morning had even touched into the double digits for the day, still with another handful of hours worth of work to get through.
Finally—finally—she had typed away at every email, fielded every phone call, and spaced out the following day's agenda given the lack of a performance crowding Mr. Azoff's schedule. Now, she could sit down and eat before shuttling back to the hotel for a nap—as long as she wasn't needed for anything else, of course.
The catering space wasn't as busy as she sure it had been an hour prior, only a few others lingering about. One of the few happened to be Mr. Styles.
A clip was holding his curls back, a plain t-shirt with a pair of basketball shorts covering his legs revealed he had just finished with a workout before he would shower off and get to his soundcheck. He had his phone in hand as he forked food into his mouth, that intense look on his face that she always seemed to catch on him. His brows were knitted heavily in the middle, shrouding the bright green of his eyes in the shadow of his brow with his jaw tight as he chewed down whatever he had picked over from the table.
(Y/N) flitted her eyes to the rest of the crew littering the space before she was caught by Mr. Styles who seemed to always somehow know when someone had spotted him, even with nothing more than a phone camera. The little whiteboard catering hung above the food table was filled out with the day's menu. The prettily curved words brought a bright smile to (Y/N)'s face when she spotted the forth item down the list.
The catering team's arancini was easily one of (Y/N)'s favorite things she's ever eaten, on this tour or otherwise. She didn't care that it wasn't more than some risotto rice left over from the night before's dinner, repurposed as to minimize waste and turned into a crunchy, cheesy ball with the perfect acidic marinara served alongside it. If she could, she would live off those little pieces by themselves. Hopefully, there were at least a few left for her to devour, even if they were a little cold at this point.
Readying her plate with a small serving of Caesar salad and the lemon baked salmon (Mr. Styles' favorite and top request from what she'd heard), (Y/N) worked down the line until she reached the covered basin that held the arancini she easily dreamt of at least five times since the first bite. Lifting the lid, the fresh scent of bright tomatoes and fragrant oregano filled her senses, the bite of the smell hitting her harder with her empty stomach.
Nothing hit quite as hard on her expectant tummy than the fact she realized only a second too late that there wasn't a single rice ball left in the warmer. A thin layer of remaining sauce was laid along the bottom, but nothing was dropped beside the mushed tomatoes.
Maybe she was being a little dramatic, but (Y/N) felt her shoulders drop at the sight of the empty container. To be fair, she was almost two hours late to serving time, so she couldn't be that surprised that there wasn't any left to spare. Surely, she wasn't the only one obsessed with the parmesan coating on the outside of the sticky rice. She couldn't blame anyone for jumping on the opportunity to take as many as they could while they were there.
(Y/N) replaced the lid, taking her half filled plate to one of the small tables set up in the room. The day began to catch up with her as she sat down. Her morning had been hectic enough to suck the energy out of her bones, now combined with the disappointment of how high she put herself at the mention of her favorite food before finding it all gone. She slumped into her chair, taking out her phone and finally looking at something that wasn't work-related for the first time that day.
Every bite she scooped into her mouth was monotonous as she slipped a pair of earbuds in before screening the missed messages she'd had to ignore for the morning. Music was filtering through her headphones, the perfect distraction to her brain that felt entirely too empty now that she wasn't running at top speed like she had been the second she'd woke up. If not for the texture of each bite she took, she wouldn't know exactly what she was eating with the way she couldn't use even muster the minuscule amount of energy it would take to glance at her fork.
With her eyes glued to her phone as a video now played out on screen, (Y/N) didn't have enough room in her head to keep track of the rest of the room. As much as she prides herself on being a good assistant, especially being so new to this position, she doesn't think she would notice if Mr. Azoff walked in and screamed out her name while banging pots and pans.
That was exactly the reason she didn't notice Mr. Styles approaching her table either.
It wasn't until she noticed a plate being slid onto the table beside her, a hand complete with a tattooed cross and green glittery nails keeping a hold of the lip until she managed to pull an earbud out. Looking up, Mr. Styles still had that tight look on his face, his free hand fidgeting at his side like he was itching to get out of there.
"Yes?" she chirped, assuming he was finally taking her up on her offers to help him as well when she assisted Mr. Azoff.
Watching as Mr. Styles dropped his gaze from hers, (Y/N) had to keep from tipping her head at him. That wasn't like him at all, unable to keep eye contact. From what she knew, that was something he insisted on. She hoped he was okay.
"Um—'M full, but I thought I'd ask if y'wanted any before I threw these away," he said, his voice floating under his breath.
It was then that (Y/N) finally noted what was on his plate, finding a duo of the arancini balls she had been mourning only moments earlier. The same fragrant, acidic sauce laid underneath it along with shreds of parmesan cheese sprinkled atop, the same way she would have plated it. She had to keep herself from drooling at the sight.
"A-Are you sure?"
A beat passed, the green of Mr. Styles' gaze finally meeting hers again. "I thought these were your favorite."
(Y/N) had to stop herself from letting a pinch touch at her brows. "I mean, yeah, they are, b—"
"Then, 'm sure."
The deep vibrato of his voice was more soothing than any note of music she played could ever hope to be, the same voice she'd had the privilege of listening to every night while on the road on the loudspeakers. Despite the giving nature of his tone, underlying softness floating alongside, she knew there wasn't much room to argue. Besides, (Y/N) didn't think she had the strength to say no to his offer with that plate in front of her.
"Thank you, Mr. Styles," she smiled, reaching for the plate as he retracted his grip.
A chaste smile curved his lips, the tip of his nose seemingly blushing red before he gave her a quiet nod of his head. He didn't say anything else before he walked away, leaving her to constitute her two plates of food into one with that warmth in her stomach that could have energized her enough to work another hectic morning. Her only complaint was that she wished he would have sat down with her. She'd even give up his offer of the arancini if that meant he'd sit down beside her and finish his meal.
She didn't see him again until he was leaving the greenroom with a granola bar in hand, one bite already taken out. She had thought he said he was full.
It was with that thought that, shortly after, (Y/N) realized she had never told Mr. Styles what her favorite food was.
"Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear (Y/N), happy birthday to you!"
(Y/N)'s skin felt warm with all eyes on her, a sheet cake in front of her with frosting flowers and twinkling candles stuck through. She didn't know what to do with everyone's eyes on her, twisting in her spot with a shy smile on her lips as the song came to a close. Fluttering her eyes to a close, she blew out the candles while everyone cheered. A wish absently flittered through her head, hoping for happiness to come to everyone in this room with her as they deserved so much after surprising her with a birthday celebration in the middle of an international tour.
"Thank you all, so much," (Y/N) muttered once the room grew quiet, her fingers knotted into a sheepish pile as she swept her gaze across the gathered crowd, "I didn't even realize anyone knew it was my birthday, this really means a lot. Thank you."
All of her new friends, crew and production members for the tour that she had grown close with over the last few weeks, all gave her mixed mutterings of more birthday wishes, that of course they remembered, and they were all more than happy to be a part of this with her. After the show tonight, they all promised to take her out to one of the clubs in town to help her celebrate before they would be off for the next city the following day. Cutting the cake came next, the grouping of crew began to break off as conversations rose in volume in the green room, leaving (Y/N) to soak in the atmosphere as the creamy icing spread over her tongue at first bite.
She truthfully had no idea anyone had been aware of her birthday, let alone have the time to put something like this together. Sure, it wasn't a huge celebration, but the fact a cake had been secured, complete with personalized frosting spelling out her name while on the road, was enough to have her heart hurting from how full it was. Even Mr. Styles had made it, huddling himself in one of the small corners with his arms folded across his chest as he sang along to the birthday song. She was pretty sure he had even been a few minutes late to a fitting for the next slew of tour outfits just so he could be apart of something like this for her.
"Happy birthday, (Y/N)," Mr. Azoff said, coming up behind her with his wife only a few paces behind, both with a plate of cake in hands.
(Y/N)'s features softened immediately as she took him in. "Thank you so much, Mr. Azoff," she started, still disregarding every invitation for her to call him by his first name, "You didn't need to put anything like this together at all. Really, thank you so much."
He would be the only one that might recall her birthday, she figured, coming from her hire paperwork. Besides, they spent enough time together she may have accidentally let it slip out while talking. Mr. Azoff would definitely be the kind of boss that would do something like this for her.
Instead of the humble way he swept away her gratitude she had been expecting, her boss let out a bubbling peal of laughter. Mrs. Azoff matched (Y/N)'s confused expression, knitted brows and all as they looked at him.
"I didn't put this together," he clarified, shaking his head before spearing another bite of cake, "I've been so busy I can't even remember what year it is, let alone the day."
"Oh," (Y/N) sounded, face dropping. "Do you know who it was then? I just want to thank them properly."
A shared look happened between the Azoffs, the missus' blonde brows raising in her husband's direction as if she was wondering the same thing. Mr. Azoff gave her a pointed look, flicking his gaze to (Y/N) for only a moment before he raised a brow. Realization seemed to spring across Mrs. Azoff's face, the kind (Y/N) was hoping she could share in.
"Tell her," Mrs. Azoff mumbled, quiet enough (Y/N) knew she wasn't necessarily meant to hear the command. She watched as Mr. Azoff floundered, his lips pressing into a thin line with wide eyes as if he were pleading with her without words. "Jeffery, I think it would be nice for her to know. He's not going to mind."
Her reasoning seemed to loosen him up some, only enough to have his gaze returning to (Y/N)'s with a small pivot. "Sorry," he told her, excusing the last few moments with a chaste smile on his lips, "Um—It was Harry. He was the one who remembered and put this all together."
(Y/N) had to keep her jaw from dropping at the new information. Her fork was limp in her hand. "Really?"
"Mhm," Mrs. Azoff chirped, "He was the one who came to us, telling us he had everything all planned out, we just needed to be here to surprise you. He did a good job, didn't he?"
The picture of Mr. Styles standing so nonchalant in the corner of the room, singing quietly to the birthday song while she stood in front of the warm glow of the sparkling candles took on a new tint. This had been all of his idea, even the light pink and warm green frosting spelling out her name with petite flowers on the sheet cake had been his idea. The cake itself was even her favorite flavor, something she was doubting was a coincidence.
"Really?" she asked, the question feeling dumb on her tongue but she couldn't help but ask.
"It's all he's been talking about his last couple of days off. He wanted to make sure everyone knew and would be able to come celebrate with you."
Mrs. Azoff's warm smile along with her boss's quiet curl to his lips was all the confirmation (Y/N) needed to know they were being completely serious. They were acting as if they were sharing a secret with her despite the room full of people that were in on it before she was.
"Th-That's really nice of him," she settled on, unsure if there were any real words that could convey just how much the idea of Mr. Styles planning this little surprise made her heart ache. "I'm going to have to tell him thank you when he has a minute."
"I think he'd really like that," Mr. Azoff told her, voice quiet as if he were sharing a tiny secret.
With the way Mrs. Azoff looked at hm after he spoke, (Y/N) wondered if there really was another secret she wasn't privy to.
Screaming cheers filled the SUV the second the door flung open, Mr. Styles piling inside with a towel hung over his shoulder and a bright smile gracing his features. His energy was vibrating off of him in waves, intoxicating the small space of the car as they pulled out of the venue as the curtains closed behind them. (Y/N) never really got to see him this closely after a show, tonight being an occasion that Mr. Azoff and she were to head back to the hotel with him right away in prep for the late night meetings needed before any of them were to be dismissed to bed (Mr. Styles' next album was coming up closer and closer, and labels needed answers if he wanted the vinyl pressings to be done in time).
Tonight, (Y/N) was packed into the backseat of the SUV with Mr. Styles, feeling that bright energy he harnessed on stage settling in like another person sitting between them. He used the towel offered to him by security to wipe off his glistening face, sweat soaking the fabric though he didn't stop smiling.
"Jeff, Jeff," Mr. Styles started, pulling on the neckline of his blueberry embellished top, drawing the fabric away from his skin, "Did you see that back there?"
She watched as her boss let out a small laugh, turning around where he sat in the front passenger seat to face his client. "See what, H?"
The smile that broke out on Mr. Styles' face somehow grew bigger. His breathing was still coming in pants, something (Y/N) wasn't sure was coming from his excitement or the lingering exertion from his stage time. "That girl, she was dressed like a clam and her head was the pearl! I think she had a sign too, but I couldn't see it because every time I looked, she was dancing and I couldn't stop laughing."
"Oh, that's why you could barely finish singing Sushi?" Mr. Azoff pressed, matching Mr. Styles excitement with his own bubbling smile. A small glance was flicked in (Y/N)'s direction, as if she were telling her to get a load of this guy.
"It was so funny, Jeffery," Mr. Styles insisted, the purple leather of his pants squeaking against the seats with the way he couldn't manage to sit still, "It was like there was a bobblehead out there, but with these little legs." Just when Mr. Azoff went to answer, Mr. Styles completely changed with his jaw dropping before he turned to (Y/N) with another layer of excitement brewing in the car. "Wait, (Y/N)! Did you see that girl dressed like a fairy? She was standing with the angel and the sushi roll!"
(Y/N) tried to school her features, keep the surprise off her face at the fact Mr. Styles was acknowledging her—and with a smile too! Attempting to focus on the question at hand, she racked her brain for whoever it was that he was referencing. "Maybe. Were they standing in pit?" she asked, settling into the leather of her seat with Mr. Azoff watching on with a less than neutral expression giving away his own shock.
"Yes, yes," Mr. Styles chattered off, "Towards the exit catwalk! She had on big sparkly wings, and everything!"
"Oh, yeah," (Y/N) perked up, giving him a matching grin, "That was the same costume—"
"—you wore for Halloween!" Mr. Styles cut her off to finish her own sentence, bouncing in his seat in time with the rhythm of the pavement underneath the wheels of the car. "That's why I noticed her! Y'had the same wings, and the dress, and everything, right?"
This time (Y/N) wasn't as smooth to recover at his words. She had been the only one to dress as such for the holiday, and she hadn't thought Mr. Styles had seen her at all in his own rush to be dressed in his own costume and prepping the extra song he was to cover for the occasion. It could have only been twice where she thought he might have seen her, especially as more than a blur that had to run past while doing whatever errands Mr. Azoff needed.
"Y-Yeah," she bubbled off, pretending she didn't stutter in hopes that no one else would notice, "that was my Halloween costume. I didn't realize you noticed."
The curls that flopped over Mr. Styles' forehead added to the boyish sparkle in his eyes as he looked at her, dimples denting his cheeks. "Your's was m'favorite costume."
It was only a second later that Mr. Styles was distracted once more in his adrenaline-fueled post-concert excitement, drawing Mr. Azoff into another bubbling conversation about a moment that happened on stage. (Y/N) was left to settle into her spot, seatbelt tight around her chest as her heart struggled to beat out of its cage.
If he wasn't careful, (Y/N) was going to start thinking he didn't hate her.
(Y/N) sidestepped out of the doorway, allowing Mr. Styles to brush past her in his rush to exit the room she'd just entered. He didn't bother to even make eye contact with her or shoot her an awkward smile she'd become accustomed to. All she caught of him was his strained expression as she bounced into the room, feeling much more awake this morning after the bubbling excitement she felt while riding back to the hotel with Mr. Styles being so happy to talk with her.
That excitement drained as soon as she saw the way he all but flinched at her presence now that the after show adrenaline had worn off. Mr. Azoff seemed just as surprised at the blatant switch as he watched Mr. Styles run off.
"Uh—Good morning, Mr. Azoff," (Y/N) attempted to chirp out.
She could see the way he floundered for words, his eyes flicking between her and Mr. Styles' retreating figure she was forcing herself to keep from glancing at. "(Y/N), I—"
"It's okay, it's okay," she waved him off, doing her best to convince herself with her own excuse, "He's probably still tired from last night, it's okay."
The look on Mr. Azoff's face told her he knew something she didn't. (Y/N) figured it was a secret she didn't want to know.
This had to be the first time (Y/N) had ever seen Mr. Azoff so stressed, especially after setting out on this tour with his favorite client. His hair was a mess with the usual day's worth of stubble on his face now growing into almost a full beard with the way the last few days have come stumbling around him. Near constantly did he have a phone pressed to his ear, preferring to take all of these phone calls as opposed to allowing (Y/N) to take care of them like he had so far in this route.
"We don't know if he's going to be able to make it on this Friday," she heard Mr. Azoff sigh into the receiver, dragging a heavy hand through his hair. Mrs. Azoff looked just as glum as she listened into the conversation from the small couch that was set up in the living space of their hotel room. "I know—we're trying. He's barely been able to get out of bed since he got off stage last night, we haven't started on the road at all."
(Y/N) felt concern spike in her chest at the mention of Mr. Styles' state. She knew he wasn't doing so well after last night, especially with how hard he had to start straining himself towards the end of the show just to hit notes she knew would otherwise be easy for him. What she hadn't known was the fact he didn't have the strength to even get out of bed. She'd hate for him to have caught the same flu that one of the crew members had suffered through just a couple of weeks earlier.
"We don't want to cancel or reschedule anything, yet, no," Mr. Azoff rushed out, sinking into the couch cushion beside his equally as exhausted wife, "We have a few days still, so we'll see if he feels any better by Thursday. If not, I'll call you with options."
It was only moments later that Mr. Azoff hung up the call, looking just as exhausted as he started the call. Seeing as how it was Tuesday, and Mr. Styles had only a few days left to be feeling better in time to even travel for his next show, she could understand his stress.
Before (Y/N) could even offer her services, Mr. Azoff said her name with a lingering exhaustion. "Could you call one of those liquid IV offices, please? And get his doctor on a call; if he needs antibiotics, I want them picked up by the end of the day."
Very few times did Mr. Azoff feel like a boss, always talking to her in gentler tones with requests rather than demands. Not that he was flexing any superiority and unforgiving directions even now, but she knew this was something he needed done thirty minutes ago, but was still willing to accept it being done now.
That was all she needed to hear before she had her phone pressed to her ear. Even if Mr. Styles didn't care for her as much as she may have thought a week ago, she wanted him better just as much as Mr. Azoff did, and not just because of the touring schedule.
How (Y/N) happened to be the only one within the central crew to have been vaccinated for the flu this season, she didn't know, but she didn't mind the added responsibility tied with the booster. Armed with a takeaway container of hot soup, a liter bottle of water, and another round of medication for Mr. Styles, Mr. Azoff sent her off to his hotel room.
Mr. Styles had all but been quarantined since he started exhibiting those early flu symptoms, a medical team having been the ones tending to him the previous couple of days as he apparently worsened into running a fever and getting sick to his stomach. It was into the late hours of the evening that Mr. Azoff finally shooed them off (at his client's request, supposedly. Mr. Styles felt bad to have so many people fussing over him, he had said), and thanked them for everything they did for his client. They were left with the tools and a regiment on the best and fastest way to get Mr. Styles healthy again. She remembered watching Mr. Azoff read over the extensive list left in his care, a humorless laugh leaving his lips and he muttered something about the miracle of this week being one of the longer breaks he had scheduled between shows.
As the crew couldn't afford anyone else getting as sick as Mr. Styles was, (Y/N) was chosen to be the first one to tend to him given the fact she would be the least likely to catch whatever virus he had—and even if she did, they could afford to have her on bed rest for a few days. Mr. Azoff had passed along the printed schedule of his medication times and what foods and fluids would be best to get his system back on track in the remaining forty-eight hours left until a decision would have to be made on whether or not the next show was in jeopardy, and she was on her way.
An apology was ready on her tongue for the second she breached the sanctuary of his hotel room, knowing that she was most likely one of the last people he wanted to see at a time like this. That was the hardest part, she figured. She wasn't afraid of falling ill or seeing him sick, it was knowing just how unwelcome she was going to be in his space, especially since he wouldn't be able to flitter away from her like she knew he was used to. But, that fear was going to have to be shoved into a box in the back of her mind. Mr. Styles wasn't feeling well and needed someone to help him, and that was what she was going to focus on.
After a quiet rap of her knuckles against his hotel room door went expectedly unanswered, (Y/N) pulled for the keycard Mr. Azoff had slipped into the bag of essentials he'd passed off to her. As soon as the handle clicked with a green light blinking, she twisted the knob carefully. A quiet creak whined from the hinges as she entered the dark room.
Mr. Styles' messy bed was empty, the only light coming from the dimly set bedside lamp revealing the creases and folds in the bedding she was sure housekeeping hadn't had a chance to come by and change since he'd been holed up in the space. His luggage was left neatly beside the closet, only a pair of brightly colored socks laid atop the case letting her know it had been touched in the last few days. If not for the fact she knew there was no where else for him to have gone without someone on his team being notified, (Y/N) would have assumed his hotel room to be deserted by the way the air felt stale as she stepped in.
"Mr. Styles? It's (Y/N). I know you probably don't wan—"
Before she could finish her apology for stepping into his space, a gagging noise from the bathroom gave away his position. That was when she noticed the sliver of light leaking from underneath the closed door.
Rolling her lips between her teeth with concern knitting her brows together, (Y/N) abandoned her doctor assembled and boss ordered care package on the bedside table. It was with shaking hands that she gently knocked on the bathroom door.
A groan answered a beat later. "Jeff, I promise 'm going to be alright in a couple of days," Mr. Styles grumbled out, voice deep and sour, "Don't cancel anything, please."
Releasing the hold her teeth had on her bottom lip, (Y/N) sucked in a deep breath. "Actually, it's (Y/N)."
"W-What are y'doing here?" was his stuttered response, raw voice leveling out in volume.
Not quite as biting as she may have expected in a moment like this, but (Y/N) had figured he would ask something of this type. "I'm the only one that's had my flu shot, so Mr. Azoff wanted me to come check on you. Is it alright if I come in?"
"Please, don't." That was the clipped response she had been anticipating, but (Y/N) thought his tone dipped into something more embarrassed than angry.
"Mr. Styles, I have water and food, and the medication you'r—"
Before she could get much further with her explanation, she was cut off by the sound of a guttural noise on the other side of the door. Mr. Styles gagged alone in the bathroom, his panting breaths being cut off only to be replaced with the sound of him getting sick.
As much as (Y/N) wanted to respect his privacy and foster a kinder relationship between the pair of them, there was no way she was going to be able to sit idly by knowing that she could help him when he so clearly needed some support. That was all it took for her to barge into the bathroom, rushing over the tiles to where Mr. Styles was hunched over the toilet.
Focusing herself on him and not what was currently leaving his system, (Y/N) stroked her hand down his back while the other worked on drawing his hair out of his face. A stray clip was fit against the top of his head, a sloppy attempt she was sure he had executed with shaking hands.
"(Y/N), no," he stuttered over her name until she felt a shudder rack his spine, his head being sent back to the toilet bowl as another round of sickness left his body.
She didn't say anything back, knowing not only would it fall on deaf ears, but this wasn't the time to start pleading with him to let her stay. That wasn't up for debate as far as she was concerned; whether he liked it or not, she wasn't going to leave him to be sick all by himself in a hotel room in a country he didn't call home. Nothing sounded more dreadful than that.
Instead, she only shushed him and lead a soothing hand down his spine with her other hand fixing his hair from his face. The strands had lost their curl after a few days without wash, matching the stale texture of his clothes that she was sure he hadn't changed out of in just as long. Having heard about how heavily he prioritized his self-care, especially when touring, she knew he really must feel terrible if he couldn't bring himself to do any of those basic things.
Nonetheless, she stayed a constant, steady presence beside him on the bathroom floor. She tucked baby curls behind his ears, the strands too short to reach clip on the top of his head, and she shushed him with a gentle hand on his back as he emptied his system before being reduced down to dry heaves and gags resulting in nothing more than stolen breath and teary eyes.
"It's okay, Mr. Styles, just breathe," she reminded him as he reached to flush the toilet, his breathing coming in rapid pants through his raw throat.
"Don't call me that," he panted, sitting back on his heels though he still didn't care to turn to face her, "I don't like it when y'call me that."
"Okay, okay," she soothed, the same word having fallen from her lips at least a hundred times at this point, "What do you want me to call you? What do you like better?"
"Jus' H, please. Want y'to talk to me like y'know me."
Her heart just about broke at how pathetic he sounded in that moment, his request just short of a whine given his burned throat. "Okay, I can do that," she agreed with a gentle pat to his back. "I'm going to be right back, alright? I brought you some water for you to sip on."
Before (Y/N) could even get to her feet, Mr. S—Harry—H twisted in his spot and raced to wrap his fingers around her wrists. He kept her from going any further with his manacle-like grip, bloodshot eyes glossy in the low light of the bathroom. "Wait, please. I-I don't want to be alone if I get sick again."
As much as she knew it was against her better judgment to leave the liter of water out in the bedroom, there was no way she could argue against him when he looked at her like that. And, for the first time ever, he was pleading with her to stay with him, not fighting for a way out of her presence. How could she say no to that?
"Okay, I'll stay a few minutes longer, but I need to have you drinking something soon," she reasoned, settling back down onto the tile floor. She crossed her legs underneath her, opting for something more comfortable than the cuffs of her knees digging into the hard floor as she was prepared to sit there for as long as Harry needed her (or until she could convince him of the importance of water right now).
Harry all but deflated with relief at her words, slumping into her arms in a way that had (Y/N) doubting he knew he was doing. Another sign of just how bad he was feeling then—he'd never seek comfort in her like this otherwise. Nonetheless, (Y/N) wrapped her arms around him without question, cushioning her back against the wall of the bathroom behind her while Harry's clumsy limbs found purchase around her. He shuffled up beside her with legs folded underneath him, his bottom on his heels. He was close enough to the toilet incase of an emergency, but his knees still knocked into hers with his arms around her waist, face tucking into the curve of her throat.
"Thank you," he murmured into her neck once he burrowed himself against her skin, his forehead clammy.
"Of course," she told him, her arms around his middle with her palms spanning the planes of his back. "Has it been like this all day?"
"Mhm," he practically whined, his nose scrunching against her skin, "I hate it. I hate being sick. I jus' want to be better already."
(Y/N) held him tighter the second she felt wetness slide over her skin, moreso than the sheen of sweat that covered his forehead. He was crying. That gloss that had lacquered his gaze had overflown, now leaking over her skin and pooling in the line of her collarbones. "I know, H, I know," she crooned to him, forcing herself to stay composed despite how much her heart ached for him then, "I brought stuff for you that's supposed to help you feel better. Do you want to try taking some medicine or drinking some water?"
"I don't think I can keep it down," he told her, voice watery as he spoke, "'M sorry."
"No, don't be sorry, okay?" she gently scolded him, shaking her head as she brought her hand up to card through the length of the curls on the back of his head.
"I jus' want to be better, (Y/N)," he repeated earnestly, a sniffle following right after to match the wiggle of his nose she felt against her skin. She wanted to be endeared at the small touch but that was quickly outweighed by the concern she felt the second another wave of tears washed over her skin, Harry's breathing shifting until she feared he would start sobbing.
"And you will be," she promised, hugging him tighter with her fingers lacing through his hair, "You need to give yourself a little more time, okay? Sleep a little more, and once you're up to it, we'll have you eating and drinking again and you'll be feeling so much better. I promise."
Harry tensed in her arms before could finish his thought. A scramble of limbs ensued then, leaving (Y/N) feeling the absence of his warmth while he hunched over the toilet and threw up the nonexistent contents of his stomach. (Y/N) was behind him in a rush, rubbing his back and cooing to him as he began to dry heave, only bile leaving his system now.
It was (Y/N) this time that flushed the toilet down for him after a few minutes of nothing else triggering his gag reflex, proceeding to gather him back into her arms once he was settled enough to unlock his joints and allow his muscles to go malleable again.
"It's alright, H—"
"See?" he cut her off, voice particularly raw after his latest showing, "'M not getting better, (Y/N). I jus' want to be better and-and play a show and I do-don't want to let anyone down."
"You're not letting anyone down," she cemented, relaxing into the stiff sidewall of the tub as he tucked himself into her warmth one more time with his face in her neck.
"I've heard Jeff talking about cancelling or rescheduling shows," he mumbled, a sniffle following after, "I don't want to do that. S-So many people travel jus' to see me, and 's be-been so long an—"
Harry was cut off by his own crying, the stress of the situation along with the just how awful he felt in that moment catching up to him now that someone was there to listen. His grip on her tightened with his arms around her waist and his face buried in her neck, his chest stuttering with his uneven breaths and squeezes of his sobbing lungs.
All she could do then was hold him against her, as if her hug could keep him from shaking so hard with his heady breaths. Her neck was slick with his tears, the tip of his nose wiggling with every sniffle he sucked in in hopes of regulating his breathing.
"Its okay, H, really," she cooed to him, drawing one of her hands up to the back of his head with her fingertips twirling through the curls, "You need to stop crying, okay? You're only making yourself more sick by crying, you know. Just breathe, alright? It's going to be okay, I promise."
Though it took him a moment, she could feel the way he tried to heed her advice. He fought off the stutter of his sobs, his breathing coming out in shaky pulls with the exhales being long and drawn out over her skin. Her palms soothed down his spine, the length of her nails dragging over his shirt in what she hoped was calming runs.
"Feel a little better now?" she asked once he curated a rhythm of deep breaths and sinking exhales. Though she could feel just the smallest remnants of his tears having seeped against her neck, she didn't feel that dampness growing as opposed to the way it was only a few moments earlier.
"Y-yeah," he mumbled, nodding his head against her neck, "Sorry."
"Don't be sorry, okay?" she told him, parroting her earlier words, "There's nothing to be sorry for. No one likes being sick, and I know you're under a lot of pressure since we're also on the road. It's okay."
A nasally little thank you sounded against her neck along with the brush of his lips being felt against her throat. A small smile touched at the corners of her lips as she felt him relax into her, exhaustion weighing him down now that he wasn't clinging to the edge of the toilet. (Y/N) tentatively laid her cheek on the top of his head, lending him more of her warmth in hopes of holding off another wave of his fever.
Just when she figured he'd fallen asleep, his breathing even with puffs of air fanning over her skin, he pulled his face from her neck. Harry's cheeks were flushed as he looked to her, ruddy and glistening with a sheen of sweat. His eyes were puffy and red, the scleras bloodshot from his crying session. Even his lips were swollen, the same hue as his red-tipped nose.
"Can I have some water?" he asked her pathetically, voice nasally given his clogged sinuses, "And a blanket. 'M really cold."
(Y/N) nodded her head right away, feeling her eyes rounding out as she took him in with pity in her gaze. "I'll be right back, okay?" she told him, brushing stray curls behind his ears.
Harry gave her another sad look, mimicking the nod of her head. "Thank you," he told her before tucking his swollen bottom lip between his teeth.
She made quick work of collecting the liter of water she'd put off to the side along with the knitted blanket that was bundled over the hotel bed. She knew that was something he'd brought from home, an item she'd seem him cart around to every venue and every hotel room to help him feel more at home despite the miles between. Hopefully it would be just what he needed in that moment.
Stepping into the bathroom, Harry was just where she had left him. He was bundled beside the bathtub, his legs now bent in front of him to make himself into a small ball with his arms around his shins. His glossy eyes seemed to widen at the sight of his blanket, completely glancing over the water in her opposing hand in favor of reaching for his token from home.
"Thank you so much," he repeated, grabby hands taking the knitted blanket as soon as she offered it to him.
Despite his aching limbs, the blanket was wrapped around Harry's shoulders in quick succession, the fabric being pulled up to his face with a finger wrapped in the material from underneath absently rubbing against his cheek. He soothed himself enough to have his eyes flutter to a close as (Y/N) settled in beside him, taking her spot against the bathtub wall with her legs criss-crossed underneath her bottom.
"Still want some water?" she asked in a crooned tone, hoping to keep from disturbing him too much from the sweetened state he was falling into.
"Yes, please," he murmured, eyes still closed.
Twisting off the cap of his water, (Y/N) offered it to him with a nudge against his shoulder. Harry begrudgingly untangled his hand from the knit of his blanket, taking the bottle with his eyes opened to only a slit.
"Only take sips, H," she told him as he raised the bottle to his lips, "Any more and it might make you sick again."
"But 'm so thirsty," he whined, brows pinching together in the middle.
"I know, but if you drink too fast it'll make you sick again," she reasoned with him, scooting in closer to him with her arm pressing against his own, "Just sip it for now and if you can keep it all down tonight, you can drink all the water you want."
Heaving a sigh, he gave a nod of his head as he heeded her advice and took small sips from his bottle. (Y/N) kept an eye on him as he drank, watching for any turn of the tide that would garner her helping him back to the toilet bowl. By the time he finally seemed satiated, handing her the bottle in search of the cap to be fixed back on top, he sunk down and lent his cheek against her shoulder. His eyes were shuttered closed once more, his hand working its way back under the knit of his blanket to press the material against his cheek again.
"Tired?" (Y/N) murmured, maneuvering to wrap her arm around his shoulders and cuddle him close.
"Yeah," he said, voice cracking some under the pressure of his raw throat.
"Here," she said, shuffling in her spot to move just far enough away from him to get a whine filtering through his throat. Uncrossing her legs, she unfurled them in front of her with her ankles folding over one another, "Lay down, H, its okay. You can put your head in my lap."
He seemed calmed at the prospect of her only moving so he could more comfortably. With his legs curled against his tummy into a ball, Harry laid his head in her lap, her plush thighs acting as his pillow. "Thank you," he sighed, nasally voice quietly bouncing off the tiles.
"When you wake up we'll take some medicine, okay?" she told him, placing her hands in his hair as she unclipped the sprout she'd made with the strands to card through his curls.
All she earned in response was a quiet okay, leaving him to fall asleep only moments later.
Sinking against the sidewall of the bathtub, (Y/N) let her own eyes close. Cuddling with Mr. Styles was definitely not how she saw this morning going. She was going to have to text Mr. Azoff to let him know not to expect her for the rest of the day.
Humming to acknowledge the call of her name, (Y/N) continued to clean up the little medication station she made up on his bedside table now that each of the pills were in his system. She was going to have to call up for another large water bottle for him now that there was less than a fourth of the liter left. And, probably another serving of hot soup since that had been forgotten hours earlier, going cold.
"'M sorry," Harry said behind her, the warmth of his glossy gaze being pinned on her back.
"You don't need to be sorry, remember?" she said to him, constituting all of his orange and white bottles back into the small pack the medical team had prepared as she gave him a small glance over her shoulder. "No one is upset with you; it's not your fault you're sick, we all know that."
"No," he croaked, shaking his head against the fluffed pillow, "That's not what 'm talking about."
"Oh?" she asked, settling into the nest of bedding she'd made her own since they carted him back to bed after his nap. He hadn't been sick for hours at this point, the main concern shifting to fend off the fever that was sapping his energy and drawing a fog over his brain.
As soon as he saw her close once more, Harry made a move to lay his head in her lap again. It was instinctive at this point to have her hands carding through his hair, pulling the strands from his flushed skin. This time though, Harry looked up at her with his slightly hooded gaze, a touch unfocused despite the fact he'd been awake for the better part of the last hour.
"'M sorry 'm so mean to you," he breathed, a sheen collecting over his eyes as he took her in, "You're taking care of me, and I don't deserve it."
(Y/N) felt like a deer in headlights with his tired gaze on her. This was definitely not how she ever saw this conversation going—if this conversation ever happened, anyway. She floundered for words as she shook her head, distracting him with a particularly drawn out run of her fingers through his curls.
"Don't say that, okay? What you don't deserve, is staying alone in a hotel room while you're sick," she murmured, "But, you don't need to worry about that right now, okay? You don't need to apologize for anything."
To be fair, she never really considered his behavior mean. He avoided her, sure, but he was never blatantly rude to her.
"No, no," he shook his head in her lap, "'M so mean to you 's not fair. I-I barely even talk to you, and you're still taking care of me. 'M sorry, (Y/N)."
"Harry, really, I don't think you're mean, ok—"
"I jus' don't know how to talk to you, (Y/N)," he continued as if he hadn't heard a single word she said, "'S so hard to talk to you, and-and m'brain hurts when I try to think about it."
Canting her head as she gazed down at him, she dropped one of her hands from his hair only to skate over the planes of his face. She traced over the height of his cheekbone, and brushed the length of his lashes before she grazed the bridge of his nose. "It's okay, Harry," she soothed him, watching as his eyes fell closed, "It's okay to be shy. I know Mr. Azoff's last assistant was really close to you, it's fine if we're not there yet. We'll get there someday, right?"
"No," he whined, drawing out the syllable as he peeked his eyes open, "'S not like that—not like with Mallory, (Y/N). I like y'so much that m'brain doesn't work around you. It wasn't like that at all with Mallory—I didn't have a crush on her."
(Y/N) was thankful for the cover of his illness to keep him from fully noticing her reaction to his confession. While it was sweet the way he described his feelings—a crush, he'd said—that had to have been at the very bottom of the list of reasons she would have thought up as to why he behaved the way he did around her. What was she supposed to say to something like that? How was she supposed to take it given the fact that this could be nothing more than one of his delirious ramblings given the state of his fever?
"I can't believe 'm telling you like this," he muttered, eyes fluttered closed in a tight pinch as he turned in her lap. He faced the soft of her tummy, his arms wrapping around her middle as he nosed at the fabric of her top. "I smell like vomit and I haven't washed m'hair for four days, 'm sorry."
A quiet sigh left her lips as she carded her fingers through his hair, the unwashed curls slipping between her fingers. "It's okay, Harry. Don't worry about any of that right now, okay? We can talk about that later, but you need to focus on getting better right?"
"Right," he peeped, voice slowing and dredging deeper into sleep, "And you'll stay with me?"
Her answer was automatic, "Of course. I'll be here to take care of you, I promise."
It was only moments later he was asleep again, face tucked against her tummy while (Y/N) was wide awake.
(YN) woke with a stiff neck to the sound of the shower running, still wrapped up in Harry's bedding though now she had his knitted blanket draped over her form. The side of the bed she had slipped him into once she was too tired to stay awake was now cold, only the impression of his body on the sheets giving away his presence.
Blinking her dry eyes, she tried to get her bearings after the long night she'd had tending to her boss's favorite client, along with every rambling confession he woke up in the middle of the night to share.
He apparently thought her hair was very pretty, wanted to share clothes with her, and thought she had a cute laugh. Though, those were only the confessions she could decipher in his sleepy, nasally voice.
She was still clothed in the outfit she'd donned the morning before, her phone waiting with a handful of texts from Mr. Azoff asking about Mr. Styles' state and if there was anything the pair of them needed now that (Y/N) had taken on the role of nursing him back to health for the time being. She pushed those messages off to the side at the moment, instead trying to untwirl her brain now that she had a moment alone without Mr. Styles' health at the front of her mind.
He liked her, he'd said—he had a crush on her even. That was why he didn't have it in himself to hold a conversation with her, too shy to speak to her without making an ass of himself. The thought made her heart flutter, a fact she couldn't deny especially after she realized the smile on her face when she recalled his exact words.
Despite the fact his kindness didn't always extend to her in the obvious ways, thinking back, she realized the signs were there. He remembered her birthday and put together an impromptu party that he couldn't even properly attend. He remembered her Halloween costume even though he was running around all day, preparing for one of the biggest shows of the year. He paid attention to her; he listened for her favorite foods, favorite colors, favorite books. While he was too shy to talk to her about those things directly, he still went out of his way to find them out and keep them to himself.
It was easier for her since she knew she got this job to send her own feelings packing, out of her head and her heart before she could find herself in trouble with an infatuation with her boss's favorite client and best friend. That fact grew even more important as soon as Harry started behaving the way he did around her, but now that she had that glimmering confession, the tender explanation, it was hard to keep those feelings from marching right back in. All those months that she had to school herself into knocking away the melancholy at the fact that one of her inspirations didn't seem to like her now were turned in a new light, trying to see those same moments from Harry's point of view.
How many times had she thought she felt his eyes on her, only to turn and find him looking the other direction? Had she really been only a second too late to catch his gaze? Every time she had chattered away with a member of the crew or Mr. Azoff himself, with Harry scrolling through his phone distractedly had he really been listening in and collecting information he was too scared to ask for? Or even the times he had dropped his gaze when she met his, the blushing hue to his skin now could be out of sheepish affection and not the need to get away from her as soon as possible.
She hadn't been invisible to him, or even a negative presence in his day-to-day, she was piecing together. He thought of her the same way she thought of him. What a heart-stopping thought.
(Y/N) jumped in her spot, the bedsheets rustling around her denim-clad legs at the sound of Harry's rumbling voice. Dropping back into the moment, she saw him standing just outside the bathroom door, luggage at his feet as he packed away the clothing he would need sent off to be washed before they were on their way to the next destination. A quiet smile was on his lips, a shy shifting to his gaze that kept him from meeting hers. His socked feet dug into the plush carpet on the floor, legs folded over in a pair of heavy black sweats along with a crewneck from his brand that hadn't been released to the public just yet. His hair was damp and dark, finally washed after the few days she was sure it had been bothering him.
"Morning," she chirped back, finding her voice, "How are you feeling?"
"Better," he mused, running a hand through his damp hair, "Finally getting to actually sleep last night helped a lot, I think. I took the medicine y'left on the table, and took a shower and I'm really feeling a lot better."
"Good, that makes me happy. Now, you can sleep all day and actually eat something instead of laying on the bathroom floor." (Y/N) felt proud of herself when she caught sight of the dimples denting his cheeks as he huffed out a quiet laugh.
A beat of silence passed between them as Harry finally dropped the guise of rifling through his bag to face her. Stuffing his hands into the pockets of his sweats, he toed at the ground as he looked at her through the fan of his lashes.
"Um, thanks for taking care of me and everything yesterday, (Y/N)," he drawled, a pinch touching between his brows, "I really, really appreciate it. 'M sure it wasn't easy. My mum says I always get whiny when 'm sick, so..."
"You weren't that bad," she told him with a gentle smile, crossing her legs underneath herself from where she sat on the bed, "I used to babysit when I was in college, and you are definitely not as bad as some of the kids I used to help."
"Great," he laughed with a playful roll of his eyes, "'m not as bad as a child. I'll have to tell my mum, that'll show her."
After the short peals of laughter died down, silence filled in for their voices. Was she supposed to say something? Did he want her to say something? Or was what was said last night meant to stay right there—in the evening hours, in the brain fog that came along with his fever?
"Listen," he said, swallowing hard as he finally met her gaze head on, "'M really sorry about yesterday. I know I said a lot of things, and 'm really sorry if I made y'uncomfortable or anything. I-I don't know why I said any of that, honestly."
Fighting the urge to drop her own gaze as she'd seen him do so many times before, (Y/N) kept herself focused on him, following the small droplets of water that clung to his forehead from his damp curls. "You didn't make me uncomfortable," she said, "But—um—di-did you mean it? What you said? About being shy and everything because of... me?"
Another harsh swallow had his throat bobbing, the green of his eyes disappearing for just a moment as he blinked towards the ceiling before returning. "I mean, yeah. I did mean it. I never wanted to tell y'like that, though, that's for sure. I know y'were being nice, but I definitely did smell like vomit and you're a saint for sitting there and letting me talk like a crazy person all night. I don't even know how you found time to sleep with me constantly bothering you."
"You weren't bothering me," she said, a smile cracking her features now that she realized there was no catch to his confession. There was no reason to quash the happiness filling her chest. "I thought it was really sweet what you were saying to me. It was nice to hear all of that stuff, especially since I was pretty sure you didn't like me just two days ago."
He clenched his eyes shut at her finishing words. "I really am sorry about that, I hope you know," he said with a heady sigh, "I wish I had a better explanation, but really, you jus' make me nervous."
"It's okay," she waved off, shuffling towards the edge of the bed closest to him without much thought, "You make me nervous, too—I get it."
"I do?" he asked, a boyish smile touching at his features while his eyes seemingly sparkled in the low light.
"I mean, yeah," she revealed, a duh tone to her words, "Why do you think it's always so hard for me to talk to you?"
Harry took slow steps towards the edge of the bed, his socked feet dragging through the plush carpet. "But you're always so—," he trailed off, flicking his hands out in front of him with a flourish, "Everywhere, I guess. Talking to everyone and laughing. I don't think I've ever seen y'nervous."
"Well, I don't like everyone else the way I like you, so I don't get nervous like that. It's harder to talk to you when all I want is to say the right thing."
Before she even realized it, Harry was stood right in front of where she was sat on the edge of the bed. He towered over her with warmth radiating from his chest, the heat much more pleasant than the fever he was running the night before, especially when he looked at her so sweetly with his big eyes. It was in slow movements that he brought his hands out and settled them on her wrists, only to trail down to lace his fingers between hers. When she didn't pull away or make any sound of protest, she felt him squeeze her hands.
"I like hearing y'talk. Y'have a pretty voice," he murmured, his voice just a touch deeper than normal given the last week of his life.
"I like your voice too," she beamed up at him, "Why do you think I'm always out there during the shows?"
"Because, Jeff makes you?" he teased, shyly dropping her gaze to where their hands were bundled between them.
(Y/N) shook her head, adjusting her position on the bed to sit with her bottom on her heels and her legs folded underneath her. "I like listening to you sing and talk to everyone. You're amazing on stage. It's my favorite part of being on the road with everyone—getting to see you every night like that."
He keened under her praise, canting his head as he squeezed her hands. Dimples dented his cheeks as he looked to her. "Thank you," he murmured, the blunt ends of his front teeth sinking into his bottom lip once he got his gratitude out.
Looking at him like this, feeling the strength of his hands and the heat of his skin all the while he looked at her so tenderly had (Y/N)'s heart racing. How was this real?"
Dropping her eyes to his lips, the raspberry color just a bit drained from his illness though he wasn't any less appealing. She spoke without thought as her stayed stuck on his mouth, "Can I kiss you?"
She watched as a smile grew on his lips at her words. "I—uh—'M sick, remember?" he protested less than half-heartedly.
"I got my flu shot, remember?"
That was all the convincing it took to have Harry dropping her hands from his, only to then cradle the soft of her cheeks in his hands. His lips slotted against hers in a tender press, allowing her to taste the clean mint of his toothpaste and whatever scented chapstick he'd swiped over his pout. She didn't even have time to think about the fact she was still wearing her clothes from the day before with unbrushed hair and unwashed skin, not with the way he was holding her and pressing into her mouth for more. It was as unhurried of a kiss as it was wanting, making up for the lost time that had been wasted over the past few months.
The contact remained innocent, only sweet presses of their lips growing more and more delicate until Harry pulled away just to press a smattering of kisses against her pout. His actions drew a laugh from her chest, her hands reaching for his shirt as he kissed her smiling mouth.
"We don't have to leave for the venue until tonight, right?" he asked, slightly breathless though he matched her smile tenfold. (Y/N) nodded her head still in his delicate grip, the pad of his thumb sweeping under her eye. "We should probably leave for a little and let housekeeping clean up a little, but 'm still really tired," his gaze flickered over hers, his smile growing that much more at whatever he found in there, "Could we go back to your room? We don't have to do anything"—that had his cheeks blushing—", but I don't want to sleep alone again after this."
That was all (Y/N) needed before she was dragging him down the hall to her hotel room, following right after him into her unused, plush bed. It was instinct at this point the way he cuddled up to her, face in her neck with his nose pressed to her pulse. All she felt was a press of his lips to the curve of her throat before he was asleep again, leaving (Y/N) the time to send Mr. Azoff a message.
Harry was fine, she told him, but he'd probably need another day of rest and looking after. A job she was more than willing to continue to take on. She'd tell him the full story later, she decided, especially after he saw the room service charges for double meals to her room.
I got a request for something like this a super long time ago so thank you to whoever requested for being so patient! thank you so much for reading and sorry for any mistakes! if anyone has any ideas or requests of your own pls pls send them in !
harry is y/n's best friend, so she thought she knew everything about him. but, it looks like they both had some secrets: harry thought about her a lot more than she realized and y/n has really soft hands.
"C'mon, (Y/N), let's go to bed."
Harry's voice in her ear had (Y/N) jumping out of the half-asleep limbo she found herself in. Going back to his place after a gathering at Mitch's house had left her a little more than exhausted after she managed to wipe her makeup away and change into a sleep set she had buried in the back of his closet. Her previously styled hair was piled into a mess on the top of her head as she knuckled at her eye, letting Harry help her up off the couch with his fingers looped around her wrist.
"Your room?" she asked, voice a bit rumbly as she readily followed him.
"Yeah, that alright?" he checked, her hooded eyes barely catching the way he looked at her over his shoulder.
"If I can have your fluffy pillow," she bargained, coming more alive after the walk with her bare feet on the hardwood of his floors.
"You know," he started, (Y/N) able to imagine the roll of his eyes, "y'can jus' say you're spoiled."
"Is that a yes?" she prodded, climbing atop his bed while he went to his closet in search of his own pajamas for the night (which was really just going to be a pair of sweatpants that would very quickly turn into boxers after he shed the pants in the middle of the night).
"If it'll keep y'quiet," he called from the closet, door cracked to keep him concealed while he changed though he could still talk to her.
"You'd be devastated if I never talked to you again," she countered, snuggling right up to the fluffiest pillow in the bunch on his bed, the quilted puffs of his comforter settling around her form
"I have other friends."
(Y/N) rolled her eyes. She knew he would say that—as if she wasn't his best friend. "You're a dick!"
Faintly, from the crack in the doorway, she could hear him imitating her in a crackly, childish voice, repeating her words as if it were the strongest comeback known to man. She only rolled her eyes.
Leaving his closet, Harry came out with a bare chest and low sweats, the band of his underwear hugging his hips—his typical bedtime uniform. He looked much too smug as he tossed his clothing to the hamper in the corner of his room.
"You've got quite the attitude for someone who's getting to sleep in m'bed when it would be very easy to kick you out to the couch."
"You'd never kick me out—you like to cuddle with me too much," she countered triumphantly as he climbed into bed with her.
"I do not," he argued, features scrunched as if he couldn't believe she would ever suggest such a thing.
(Y/N) rolled her eyes, the sleep that had taken her before beginning to creep in again now that she was cradled in warmth and the scent of her best friend. "I give you twenty minutes then you'll be all over me."
And, maybe she did. But, that wasn't something she was ready to analyze this close to sleep.
"Goodnight, Harry," she settled, burrowing into the fluff of her pillow with the warmth of the quilt lulling her to sleep.
"Goodnight, (Y/N)," he answered in a decidedly gentler tone, the sound of his shuffling to get comfortable filling the space between them.
Just as (Y/N) figured he would, it was almost thirty minutes after she shuttered her eyes and sunk into the mattress with her back to him, that she heard him shuffling about again. The rustling of the sheets sounded once more, the mattress dipping just before she felt the warmth of Harry's arms wrapping around her middle. The quiet sigh he let out when he pressed his chest to her back let her know that he probably figured she was asleep, his covert cuddling going off without a hitch.
As much as the annoying best friend in her wanted to twist around and tease him for falling into exactly what he had denied, but that other part of herself that she tried to keep tied up and locked away in the back of her mind had her staying silent. Was it really such a bad thing to have her Harry cuddling into her, getting comfortable and warm before falling asleep? Was teasing him and telling him I told you so really worth halting the way he nosed into her neck, his breath fanning across her skin?
Besides, she was too tired anyway. At least that's what she was telling herself.
(Y/N) sunk into him, her body conforming to the strong lines of his own, feigning a stretch so she could drape her hand over his own where he settled into her softness. A few moments after she relaxed, she felt the way he carefully hooked his ankle around her own, socked feet curling together as Harry shuffled as close as he could behind her.
The strength of his thighs could be felt against the back of her own where she curled into him. Every block of his muscles were pressed against her back with the help of his bare chest, warm and strong though he softened himself to hold her in his half-sleep. The blanket on her form had nothing on the length of his arm thrown across her waist, hand and palm set against the soft of her tummy, only flexing once he felt her own touch find his own.
Yeah, there was no way she was leaving this.
Finding a soft place to sink into, (Y/N) allowed herself to be lured into the limbo of sleep for real this time, her breathing evening out as she began to lose touch with what was happening outside of the bubble of contact cradling her.
Until something changed in that bubble—something decidedly less soft than the rest of him curled around her.
Against the curve of her bottom, (Y/N) felt something hard pushing against her. Even with the haze of sleep having begun to blanket her, it didn't take much for her to connect the dots and realize what was going on.
He was hard. Holding her tight against his chest with her butt pushing against his lap, Harry was hard.
As far as she remembered, that wasn't the case when he had climbed into bed with her or even something she noticed when he first wrapped around her. Now that she had softened in his hold, conforming around his body and sinking into his warmth, she could feel that something poking against her ass.
Maybe she hadn't hidden her shock as well as she had hoped, at least with the way she felt Harry nose against the back of her neck and pulse his hold around her. "What happened?" he drawled sleepily, "Why'd y'wake up, (Y/N)?"
She knew there was no doubt a much more tactful way to broach the subject, but that wasn't anywhere on her mind as she spoke: "Ar-Are you hard?"
That had Harry stiffening up behind her, shuffling in the sheets and drawing away just enough she couldn't feel the pressure of his body directly behind her. Despite that, he still attempted to feign nonchalance with a breathy laugh fanning across her skin. "Uh—Maybe?" he laughed out, sounding just as stiff as his hold began to feel, "Sorry."
Just as he started unwrapping around her, his arm slipping from where it was anchored from over her waist, (Y/N) stopped him with her fingers lacing through his with her palm pressed to the back of his hand. "Wait, no—You don't," she stuttered, cutting herself off when she heard just how flustered she sounded, "You... You don't need to move if you don't want to."
"Oh?" he sounded, his body staying stiff though he didn't make any further movements to slip away, "Y'sure?"
(Y/N) didn't want to think about why she was so sure about him staying just where he was, if not moving to get back into the position that warmed her in the first place, and she decided now wasn't the time to analyze it all. "Yeah, it's fine," she chattered, her voice an octave higher than what was natural, "It-It's not a big deal."
He swallowed behind her, making careful movements to resume his hold on her, allowing that hold she laced over his hand to guide him back into place. "I—uh—I thought y'were asleep."
"Almost," she peeped, trying to remind herself this was only Harry. No reason for her to be nervous and stiff with him—he's her best friend. "Were you almost asleep?"
"Not quite, obviously," he joked, his smile audible as he gave a delicate pulse of his fingers with hers. While it definitely wasn't the first time they'd ever held hands, (Y/N) tried not to think about why this time felt different.
It's just Harry, It's just Harry, It's just Harry was the mantra playing in her head as she voice rose to her throat. "Can I ask you something kind of weird?"
"Were you thinking about anything? Like when you..." She didn't need to finish her sentence to make it clear where she was going with it.
A beat passed, silence having settled in the bedroom like an extra person.
"You don't have to answer that, by the way. I don't even really know why I asked, actually."
"No, 's alright," he told her, hand flexing under hers, "I jus'... I thought it was obvious."
She doesn't think she's ever been so grateful for the fact Harry couldn't see her face as she processed his words. "What do you mean?"
"I—Uh...I mean," he floundered, the tip of his nose brushing her skin as he ducked his head behind her, "I was holding you—touching you, so..."
Her mouth ran dry at the implication, her heart bubbling at the verbal confirmation of what she had been thinking—hoping. "So, you were thinking about... me?"
"I mean," he breathed the faint fan of a laugh, humorless, "yeah. I thought you kind of knew that. I don't think I've ever really hid it before."
(Y/N) wasn't even sure if she was breathing when she realized exactly what he was telling her.
He's thought about her before in a way that's had him in this situation? Had there been other nights like these where she really had fallen asleep and she had no idea she had been on his mind? How long had he thought about her like this? And, he'd supposedly never hid it? What did that even mean? Were there signs th—
"(Y/N)," he sighed out her name, beginning to slip away from her, "'M gonna go ahead and sleep in the guestroom, alright? I—uh—I didn't mean to have this conversation, especially not like this so..."
She hadn't even realized just how long she had gone silent until his voice filled the room, filling the void. After giving her a small pulse of his fingers around her own, he unhooked his ankle around hers and left her back cold after drawing away. Despite the sleep that had been moments away from cloaking her limbs, (Y/N) twisted between the sheets in a haste.
"Harry, wait," she bubbled out, finally catching sight of him for the first time since she bundled into his bed, "D-Don't go, please."
He looked resigned as he shuffled to the edge of the bed on the opposite end. His silhouette revealed the heave of his bare chest as he gave another sigh, the deep breath filling his lungs with his nose flaring. Dropping his gaze to his lap where he was stretched out with his arms stationed with his elbows sinking into the mattress on either side of him, he shook his head. "I don't think that's a good idea, (Y/N). I think I need to... be alone for a second."
If not for the dark, (Y/N) liked to think she would've seen a tint of pink on his cheeks.
(Y/N)'s mouth ran dry as she tried to find the right way to show him he didn't need to leave if he didn't want to. "You don't have to be alone, though," she swallowed, the comforter shifting around her as she inched just the barest length closer to him, "If you don't want to be, anyway."
A beat passed. Harry shifted just enough to look at her in the dim of his room, the glisten of his eyes barely glinting in the limited light.
"Do you want me to stay?" When she didn't immediately answer, her throat dry, she could see the way Harry's fists wrapped tight before he raise one hand to linger through his hair. "You have to tell me or I can't do anything. We need to be honest with each other, right?"
The deep rumble of his tone was almost as warm as the feel of his arms around her. The perfect coaxing method. "I want you to stay," she peeped, her voice a whisper between the two of them, "I want to help you."
"Help me?" he prodded, settled amongst the sheets once more though he kept his distance.
"Yeah," she said, a small nod of her head, "with—um—you know, that."
A quiet laugh left Harry's lips at her words. "Yeah, that, huh?"
His gentle teasing was enough to have her shaking her head against the fluffed pillow with a roll of her eyes. "H, stop," she complained, biting back her smile, "I'm trying to be nice."
"Being nice, to you, is offering to touch my dick? You've been pretty mean to me for years, then, and I had no idea," he prodded, throwing his hands up in the air as he sunk down into the mattress, feigned exasperation.
"You don't have to say it like that, sicko," she chided him, taking the initiative to shuffle just the smallest bit closer to him, the dips in the mattress joining together.
"Since when are you shy, hm?" he countered, turning to face her with a lopsided smile on his lips, cheek cushioned by the pillow.
"You don't know if I'm shy or not," she argued, feeling a warmth hit her cheeks, "We've never been in bed together like this before."
"What is this then, huh? How is this different than before?"
In the limited light, she could see the way he looked a little too smug at his line of question. She knew he liked to play around, but she never really allowed herself to think about what it would be like to see him playful between the sheets. This wasn't something she was going to be able to forget.
"You know what I mean, stop being annoying," she complained half-heartedly, rolling her eyes in an attempt to match the energy he was giving. As much as she was comforted by his teasing, that demeanor was hard to meet when her mind was somewhere else—stuck where he had been pressed tightly against her back.
Maybe she should have pulled her head out of that moment, thought a little more before she opened her mouth once more, but the slight pause after her words was too much of a temptation to let slip away. Despite the fact she could see Harry gearing up for his own teasing stab, she stopped him with her hands tightly bundled in the fluff of his comforter.
"Can I, though?" she whispered out, swallowing before elaborating "Touch your dick, I mean."
In the limited light, she could spot the way Harry's gaze widened for only a moment before he chanced a slide down from her eyes. He touched over the planes of her face, skating over the line of her nose and the pillows of her cupid's bow before flicking to her eyes once more.
"Alright, c'mere," he relented as if he had no other choice but to give into her beggings—as if he wasn't the one with the hard on at the moment, being propositioned by the person who caused it. With his back on the mattress, he opened his arm out to her, beckoning her to his side. "This is gonna be like the first time I taught you how to take a real tequila shot, isn't it?" he prodded, his arm wrapping around her form as she settled into his warm.
(Y/N) huffed at his question, nudging her elbow into his side with her arms bundled between them. Laying on her own side, she was granted his chest as her pillow, his hand spanning along the planes of her back. "This isn't the first time I've done something like this, you know that right?" she told him, one of her hands settling on the bare of his stomach, the position familiar despite the new circumstances.
The static around her shifted, telling her Harry had drawn closer. She felt him before the touch of his nose brushed through rogue strands of her hair. "But, you've never done it with me before, have you?" he murmured, his free hand slipping under the covers and finding her own, "Y'sure y'want to?"
She didn't even need to think before she was nodding her head, cheek smushed against the warmth of his chest. "I want to."
A gentle kiss was pressed to the top of (Y/N)'s head, something silly enough to get her cheeks heating despite the fact she had plans to do something much more scandalous than a little kiss.
"Wanna see?" he asked her, voice dripping down the length of her spine with his hand pulsing around her own.
If not for the fact he was loosely holding her hand, she's sure her entire body would have clenched to match the way her tummy did at the sound of his question. "Please."
"Ooh," he sung, "Polite now, aren't we?"
His teasing tone fell on deaf ears, her attention transfixed on the way his hand shifted from laying over hers to push the fluff of white comforter out of the way of his lap. The low waist of his grey sweats and the peeking waistline of his underwear were the frame around the bulge she had felt earlier pressing into the curve of her bottom.
She didn't even have half the mind to be embarrassed at the way her breathing hitched at the idea of seeing what was underneath, not even when Harry gave his own breathy laugh at her reaction. Her hand on his chest felt restless then, wanting to pluck through the layers of clothing covering him and following through on her offer to help him.
Her fingers curled, the tips pressing into the soft skin of his tummy. "Can... Can I touch you?"
His heartbeat under her ear stuttered, pounding hard against his ribcage just as he swallowed. "Yeah, go 'head, love. Let me jus'—"
Cutting himself off, Harry clutched her close to his side as he used his other hand to shuffle his sweats and underwear down his thighs. His cock sprung up once the waist of his briefs cleared his flushed head, ruddy and warm as he let out a muted hiss at the contact. (Y/N) was grateful for the fact he couldn't see her reactions with the way she was curled against his chest, leaving her to freely widen her eyes and mouth to drop open with a breath puffing out.
Sure, they'd been friends for a long while and weren't necessarily shy around one another, but there was always a line when it came changing or stripping down bare around one another. She'd never seen this much of his body this way—bare lengths of thigh, soft hips, and heavy cock was all new to her.
Harry's hand flexed against the planes of her back, a steadying weight against her form. "Alright?"
Gone was the teasing and the silent laughter. His tone was mellow and attentive, a whisper as if there was anyone around to overhear.
"Uh-huh," she breathed, watching the way the blocks of muscle lining his stomach jumped at the fanning air grazing his skin, "Just... It's big."
As much as she didn't want to add to his inflated ego, there was no way she could lie to him with the evidence right in front of her. He was thick and flushed, a ruddy mushroom head with a vein snaking along the length of his cock. A trimmed nest of hair bordered his base, dark and curling. She itched to wrap her hand around him, feel how heavy he was, the warmth he would carry. Would her fingers complete a circle around his shaft or would she just barely make it? Would he be as soft as he looked?
"Y'can touch if y'want, love. Don't need to be scared—'s jus' me."
The soothing rumble of his voice under her cheek brought her back to reality, finding her fingertips denting the skin of his stomach. Her nails made tiny crescents in the soft skin just under his butterfly tattoo, anchoring her down to keep from reaching despite the clear permission she'd been given to do so.
But, like he said, it's just Harry. Her best friend. Who apparently got hard while thinking about her.
"It's alright?" she prodded, sliding her hand just a fraction of an inch lower over his tummy.
"Promise, (Y/N)," he murmured, dropping another kiss to the top of her head.
When she didn't immediately move, she caught the movement of his hand from the corner of her eye, the same one that had stripped his lower half. He placed the span of his palm over her hand, warming her skin before he curled his fingers gently around. Using that tender grip, he tentatively moved her hand for her, gliding across the strength of his abs and down the stretch of his pelvis. The skin grew soft as her fingertips met the dark curls at his base just before Harry tugged her upwards, guiding her to wrap her fingers around his shaft with his own mimicking the hold around her.
"This alright?" he prodded, his thumb running along the outside of her own in a soothing stroke.
All she could manage at the moment was a small nod of her head, cheek skimming the bare of his skin. It didn't take any prompting of his hand to get her to begin a slow stroke over his length, Harry's hand following right over her. A quiet shifting in his breathing happened under her ear, lungs stuttering at the first shallow touch. His hand dropped then, leaving her to take care of him while he reached for the creases in the sheets at his hip instead.
She familiarized herself with the weight of him in her palm, warm and heavy. The vein snaking around his length pulsed every time she tightened her hand in an experimental flex. His head was spongey and warm when she chanced a small skating of her thumb over his slit, wetness beginning to seep out the longer she touched him. Harry's breathing was shallow though quiet in the silence of his room, leaving her to concentrate on the movements of her hand and the gentle reactions he gave her.
"Yeah, love?" he responded, a lot less composed than he was a mere moment ago.
"Do you like how I'm doing it? Do you like it this way?" Her questions were shy, but he had told her he would show her how he liked it. As much as she knew he was teasing her before, she hadn't ever done this with him before, obviously, and wanted this to be good for him. The fantasies that had him budging up in his pants, she wanted those to fall flat against the reality.
The hand that had been spanning her back, warming her skin through her thin top traveled upwards until he was stroking over the messy strands of hair on her head. Gentle fingertips carded through, scratching over her scalp with a tender ease. "Doing really good, love, real good," he breathed out, a smile in his voice she would have wanted to see if not for the enticing sight in front of her, "Maybe a little tighter, though, sweetheart. Y'can be a little rough, 's alright."
She nodded her head, cheek cushioned by his stomach. "Okay, let me just..." she trailed off, reluctantly slipping her hand away from his length as she shuffled over his form. Running her clean hand through her hair, she caught a glimpse of him through the strands from the corner of her eye, his gaze dark and heavy on her with his bottom lip caught between his teeth.
That gaze followed her as she bent over his length, her breath fanning across his flushed tip as he twitched with a sigh falling from Harry's lips. "What are y'doing, love?" he murmured, his hand that had been warming her back now coming up to brush her hair out of her face.
"I-I don't want to hurt you," she started, bracing her hand on the thick of his thigh, "So I was going to..."
(Y/N) cut herself off as she pursed her lips, saliva falling from between them to drop on his prick. From her peripheral, she could see the way Harry's gaze could have been perceived as pure black the way his pupils blew up. His hand in her hair tightened, keeping the strands from obscuring his vision. The warmth of his eyes traced over her profile, heavy and hot as she used her other hand to pass her fist along to spread the drop of spit. The pad of her thumb swiped over his head, bringing her saliva and the blurt of precum that made it's way out as he watched her over him, slicking over his length and covering him.
A whispered curse fell from Harry's lips, fanning through the warmed air between them with his eyes fighting to fall closed. Slick noises escaped from under her fist as she stroked over his length, warming him with her palm. She took his request, tightening her hold on him and quickening her pace to something rough. In reaction, she saw the way his thighs tensed, fist clenching in the wayward sheets at his hip while his other held her hair in a firm grip.
"Better?" she prodded, looking to him with a flutter of her lashes.
"So good, baby," he nodded his head, trying this new petname for her without much thought, "So nice to me." It was a bit silly what he was rambling out with hooded eyes and puffy lips, but that didn't stop her heart from attempting to beat out of her chest and her stomach from tightening. "Settle down on me, (Y/N). Relax with me."
His hands on her hair trailed down her body, returning to her back as he urged her to replace her spot on his chest. Cushioning her cheek on his tummy, (Y/N) warmed him, the movements of her hand lagging for only a second before she picked up again. This way, she could hear the rhythm of his heart, the pacing of his breathing underneath her. She felt each of his reactions before she heard him.
Harry had to prioritize his breathing, small moans and curses falling from his lips as he ran his hand in sporadic circles across her back. (Y/N) stayed as quiet as she could, insisting on hearing every tiny noise he made while she worked over him. She wanted to remember every detail of this moment.
Her hand glided over his length, feeling every ridge and vein with her thumb swiping over his spongy tip. Everything was slick and sticky, exactly how she felt between her thighs as she watched the way she took care of him.
The hand in her hair tightened for a moment, grabbing her attention just before Harry's rumbled tone filled the bathroom."This might be kind of weird to say but—"
"I think we're kind of past weird at this point," (Y/N) let out a laugh, feeling Harry's chest heave with his own breathless one. His laughter was cut off with a shuddering breath as she circled his slit with the pad of her thumb, precum following out right after.
"I was jus' gonna say that y'have really soft hands," he continued, voice sounding strained as he finished, "Like—Like, I know we hold hands sometimes, so I knew they were soft, but I don't think I've ever realized how soft and warm y'are, love. 'S re-really nice."
Normally, she would have ribbed him with a tease for going so soft on her (as if that didn't make it heart flutter, but that wasn't something she wasn't going to talk about), but all his compliment elicited in her was warm cheeks and a stuttered heart. "Thanks," she smiled.
"Don't let it go to your head," he chided, his hand squeezing down to her shoulder as if to scold her, "You're already a narcissist."
As much as she was sure he wanted to sound biting, just like he was when he really teased her, everything he said came out with a sigh and a gentle squeeze to her skin. There wasn't much bite to be had with a breathy voice. Instead, (Y/N) only turned her head just enough to press a soft kiss to his tummy, her hand bundled between her chest and his side reaching out to pet over his skin.
Her eyes were glued to his length as he jumped in her hand, another streak of warm precum falling down the length as she roughly stroked her hand down his shaft. He was covered in a pearly sheen, her hand coated in his spit and the slick of him. She could feel the way the prominent vein along the bottom throbbed, his thighs wound tight and tense on either side of her hand.
"Are you close?" she prodded, noting the way he was forcing himself to keep his hips from bucking upwards into her fist.
"Um—Yeah," he got out, swallowing around his tongue, "Kind of lame, but, y'feel really good, love. Not gonna take much more to f-finish me off."
"I'm happy you feel good," she murmured, quickening her pace and tracing her thumb over his tip just the way she was learning he liked. A quiet laugh could be heard under her ear.
With her hand tight over his length, she worked him over faster and tighter than she had started, the slick noises loud in the quiet of Harry's bedroom. She saw each reaction of his prick in her hand, along with the pounding of his heartbeat under her ear. His hand on her back turned heavy, fingertips digging into her back. Even his hips twitched as he tried to restrain himself from fucking into her hand.
"I-I'm gonna cum, baby, okay? Ju-Jus' let go if y'don't want the mess, fuck," Harry prattled, sounding a bit out of it as he tried to speak. A string of curses interrupted him before he was able to continue, "So good, baby, so fucking good. Can't believe you've been h-hiding this from me."
"I didn't know you wanted me to touch you—wasn't hiding," she countered, sure it was falling on deaf ears.
"Always wanted you, baby, can't believe y'didn't know that," he grumbled out, his hips shifting just as she felt another twitch of his cock in her hand. "F-Fuck, love, 'm cumming, 'm cumming."
Just as he spoke, his thighs clenched, balls tightened, and cum spurted out of his tip. Despite his warning about the mess—a completely warranted warning as far as she could see—(Y/N) didn't remove her hand. His warmth roped down her hand, dropping down over her fingers and slicking her even more as she continued working him through the high. Every pump of her hand granted her a whispered curse or a stunted breath. Harry's hand on her back kept her squished against his side, warming her more than the crewneck she had adorning her body.
The mess he made came to a dribble, only small streams coming out when (Y/N) squeezed with her stroking. Ropes of his cum mostly decorated her hand with small spots having landed on the curls bordering his base and the strength of his thighs. Soon enough, it was too much, Harry hissing as she continued to touch him, (Y/N) taking the cue and removing her hand.
She felt drained as she laid on his tummy, hearing the erratic rate of his heart as he softened. Her eyes came to a close as if she had been the one that had been drained of an orgasm, breathing along with him as he hugged her as well as he could with only one arm around her. (Y/N) cuddled close to him, placing a distracted kiss to his stomach once more.
Allowing him extra moments to come down, (Y/N) used her clean hand to help ruck up his pants, tucking him back inside his underwear and sweats. The displaced comforter he had pushed out of the way what felt like hours ago, had been tugged back up over his hips, cushioning around him.
"C'mere, sweetheart," Harry crooned, voice tired as he spoke for the first time with clarity in his tone, "Let me clean y'up."
(Y/N) turned to face him with a soft smile on her lips, shuffling closer to him despite the arm he refused to drop from around her. He sat up in lethargic movements, back against the headboard before he reached towards the box of tissues he had standing on his bedside table. He gave her a tender look as he reached for her wrist, a gentle grasp around her hand.
"You alright?" she asked as he cleaned off her hand, twisting and folding the paper as he dirtied it.
A breathy laugh fell from his lips, the sound not feeling the same now that she kew what it was like to hear it from his chest. "Yeah, I think 'm doing alright. You?"
"I'm good," she smiled, twisting her hand so he could clean up her fingers where he had dripped over her.
"Give me a minute, and we'll take care of you, yeah?" he told her, looking at her through his lashes before he dipped his head down and pressed a delicate kiss to her fingertips. He tossed the soiled tissue in the bin sat a few feet from his bed, the discarding something of an afterthought as he lingered in his kiss.
"What do you mean?" she asked, mind swirling as she replaced herself against his chest, cheek on his shoulder.
A careful kiss was pressed to the top of her head, his arm wrapping familiarly around her waist. "'S not fair that 'm the only one that feels good tonight, is it? Gotta take care of m'girl, too."
My girl—something else she was going to have to think about later.
Tipping her head, she looked up at him with a quiet shake of her head. "We don't have to do that, it's okay."
A furrow touched his brow, his other hand coming up to cradle her jaw. "I want to, baby. 'M not trying to take advantage of y'being so nice to me—can't be the only one cumming tonight."
"No, no, it's okay," she stopped him once more, giving him a gentle smile, "I'm too tired, I just wanna sleep with you."
His gaze dropped over her features, tracing each plane before stopping on the pillows of her cupid's bow. He looked unsure until he matched her eyes once more. She really was too tired, she wasn't lying, especially after the work she put into that.
"Can I kiss you, then? If it's not too... weird."
"I think we're kinda past weird tonight, right?" she smiled, the grin growing when Harry nudged his nose gently against hers. "You can kiss me."
That was all Harry wanted to hear before he dipped his head down and pressed his lips against hers. The kiss was decidedly softer, less urgent than what had happened in this same bed only a few moments earlier. It was a funny thought, (Y/N) tried to fend off. She had jerked him off before she had ever even kissed him.
The contact was innocent, quiet and fleeting. Harry shared small pecks with her, seals of his lips over hers over and over before he slotted his bottom lip between her two. His body was her anchor, arm around her waist and his hand on her jaw keeping her settled in the moment. He only stopped when he could feel her smiling against his kiss, drawing just enough away to nudge his nose against hers once more.
(Y/N) fluttered her eyes open to catch him already looking at her, a smile on his lips that matched the one that had bloomed on her own. His hand on her cheek grazed his thumb over the height of her cheekbone before he dropped to wrap both arms around her waist. He hugged her tightly against his body, prompting her to cling to him with a hug around his middle.
Her face was tucked against his neck as he spoke to her, the full of his lips brushing over the sensitive skin of her neck. "You're m'best friend, baby. You know that?"
She couldn't help but feel like he meant it a little bit differently than when he'd said it before.
"You're my best friend, too, H."
She definitely meant it in a different way than she ever had before.
thank u smsmsmsm for reading and to whoever requested this little idea a super long time ago!!! sorry for any mistakes and ig you have any ideas or requests of your own pls send them in !!!