Title: Many A Slip
Pairings: Harry Styles/Louis Tomlinson
Summary: Written for the prompt of "Harry/Louis - slipping up in front of the cameras," for suggsygirl.
"Fuck!" Harry hit the stage with a bang, grateful that his windmilling arm had carried the microphone far enough away from his mouth that the auditorium hadn't heard the expletive. He scrambled back to his feet, the floor treacherous with water and foam and nearly went over again.
From across the stage he caught the quick frown of concern from Louis and just had time to shake his head, grinning to show that he was okay before the world went dark again as Liam hit him in the face with another mound of acrid tasting foam.
"Ugh." Backstage, Harry pulled his t-shirt away from his chest in disgust. It was wet, and cold, and sticky, and his spare was out in the tourbus, which upon reflection was a stupid mistake to have made. He should have known that the last show was going to end in this sort of carnage.
"Hey. You okay?" Louis appeared behind him, a solicitous hand in the small of his back. "You went over with a hell of a whack back there. You wanna be careful."
"I'm alright." Harry smirked at him. "Reckon you've given me worse bruises."
Louis snickered and held out a blessedly dry looking shirt. "Here. Thought you might need this."
"Won't fit me, will it?" Harry took it anyway, grateful that Louis had thought of him, stripping off his own top without a second thought.
"Should do, it's Liam's." Louis leaned back against the wall, enjoying the sight of a wet and topless Harry. "I pinched it when he wasn't looking. He bloody avoided most of the cream throwing anyway, so I figured your need was greater."
"Thanks." Harry smiled at him, the shirt still hanging loose in his hand. "I owe you."
"Yeah?" Louis' smile got dirtier. "How much?"
Harry shrugged, closing the distance between them until he was close enough for Louis to touch. "Dunno. What's the going rate for shirt-theft?"
"Shirt-lifting you mean?" Louis cackled and Harry groaned. "Now there's an idea." He trailed a fingertip down Harry's stomach, making him shiver. Pleased with the reaction, Louis hooked his finger into Harry's waistband and pulled him closer still. "It's got to be worth a kiss at least..."
Harry obliged without argument, and soon Louis' arms were possessively tight round his neck, his tongue hot and insistent in Harry's mouth, both boys oblivious to their coldly stark concrete surroundings.
A minute of so of increasingly heated kissing was interrupted by a sudden slap on Harry's arse that turned out to be Niall on his way out to the bus.
"Hey, you two wanna watch yourselves," Niall called back as he headed towards the exit. "Ben's on the prowl with a camera."
Louis pulled Harry back into a clinch, nuzzling his cheek. "Nothing he hasn't edited out before," he murmured with a smile, capturing Harry's mouth again with practised determination.
Fuzzy-tired and horny, neither gave Niall's warning a second thought, and so Harry was exploring under Louis' shirt and Louis had one hand down the back of Harry's jeans when a crew from the local entertainment channel rounded the corner.
There was a confused scuffling as they came to a surprised halt, but it was Ben's voice raised in a stuttering attempt to get them to turn back that finally caught Louis' attention and he looked over Harry's shoulder to find a camera pointed straight at them.
"Shit," he hissed, shoving Harry backwards so hard he nearly fell over again.
"Lou!" Harry protested, confused at the fierce look of almost-panic on Louis' face until he turned to see what he was staring at. "Oh. Hi guys." He waved vaguely, conscious of Louis making spluttering noises in his ear like he'd just swallowed his own tongue.
"Um, my in-ear fell down the back of my jeans. Louis was just - giving me a hand." He threw a hopeless look of desperation at Ben who gave him a wide-eyed shrug in return as if to say 'this is your fuck-up mate, you deal with it'.
"Uh." Harry could feel Louis' nails digging into his wrist, willing him to come up with something more convincing, knowing the two reporters hadn't been fooled by his lame excuse, were already throwing excited questions at them both.
"It's not what it probably looked like," he croaked, throat too dry to project the words or any conviction. "Seriously. Um."
"We were just - drying each other off," Louis said, aiming for nonchalance and falling short due to the noticeable tremor in his voice. "That's all. Don't know what the hell you thought."
The reporter wagged a teasing finger at him. "Now boys, the game's up I think? The camera will reveal all, right Jim?" She patted the hand-held camera the man next to her was wielding proudly and beamed.
Not someone generally given to violence, in that moment Harry could have happily choked them both. Before he could protest their innocence further, the approaching sound of running feet echoed down the corridor, and with triumphant yells of "Your turn Winston!" and "Get him!" a wild looking knot of boys consisting of Zayn, Liam, Josh and Ashton had jumped on the alarmed group, slinging copious amounts of shaving foam and throwing water as if someone was on fire.
There was a confused struggle, added to by the sudden appearance of Paul yelling at everyone to stand still and behave, and in the middle of everything the camera was knocked to the concrete floor with a hideous crack of lenses and plastic. Jim the cameraman made a grab for it, only to be tripped by foot or feet unknown, and half a litre of Evian followed him down to effectively drown the camera and its exposed insides.
When everyone had been dragged apart, and the four boys were standing looking sheepish and apologetic, Ben scooped up the camera and slipped it to Paul, muttering something in his ear before turning to the reporters.
"I'm so sorry," he said, spreading his hands as behind him Paul gruffly ushered the rest of the boys, including Harry and Louis away down the corridor towards the exit. "It's the end of the tour, and, you know, high spirits. I'll arrange for the cost of the camera to be reimbursed immediately, if you could come this way?"
"But - we - our memory card - " was all they heard before the door swung shut behind them and they found themselves running across the carpark towards the coach.
"Great timing guys," Louis muttered under his breath. "Seriously, you have no idea."
"Wanna bet?" Zayn slapped him round the head cheerfully. "Niall texted us from the bus. Said you clueless bastards could probably use a hand."
Louis and Harry exchanged glances, starting to laugh with shocked relief as they climbed on board the tour bus.
Twenty minutes later, dry and warm and finally starting to relax, everyone's head shot up when Ben appeared on the steps and declared the tv station was demanding the return of the original camera. To their horror, Paul grabbed the sorry-looking remains from the side and handed it to him.
"No!" Louis was on his feet, reaching out automatically, only to curl his fingers back in hesitation. "I mean - you can't."
"It's technically their property, sorry Louis." Paul held his dismayed gaze until Ben had disappeared again, carrying the offending item out of reach.
Louis sank back onto the seat slowly, looking pale. Harry reached out to grasp his shoulder comfortingly, and Louis shook his head.
"You have no idea what you've just done," he said hoarsely. "If you knew what was on that - "
"I don't know and I don't want to know. So I suggest you get rid of this." Paul flipped something at him that hit his shirt and fell into his lap.
Louis looked down. Resting on his leg was a memory card. "I - you - won't they be back though? When they find it's gone?" he stuttered.
"It hasn't gone. At least - they'll find one in there. It's even got footage of you guys on it, from last night. So they've no cause for complaint. Although, for the sake of my nerves, could you please be more fucking careful in future?" He stalked off towards the back of the bus without waiting for an answer, and Louis subsided slowly into Harry's arms with a faint groan of relief.
Harry hugged him tight from behind, and kissed him on the cheek. "That was close."
"Fucking close," Louis agreed, and turned in his arms to rest his head on Harry's shoulder. "Next time I try and snog you in a public corridor, would you mind slapping me?"
Harry laughed softly. "Can I ask what your feelings are on private bunks?"
"Hmmn." Louis wriggled closer and buried his face against Harry's neck. "I guess that would be safe."
"Nice and warm and dark?" Harry murmured. "With the curtains drawn, and the blankets pulled up?"
Louis made an encouraging noise without looking up, and Harry smiled, resting his cheek against Louis' hair. "I mean, I should probably get out of this t-shirt and give it back to Liam," Harry continued in an amused undertone.
"Please, God, wash it first if you get up to anything in it," Liam called from the opposite couch and Louis sniggered, sitting up and taking Harry's hand.
"Come on then Styles. Time to slip into something more comfortable. Like, me."