One of my favorite tropes is fake boyfriends–you know, “I need to bring someone home for the holidays because my parents won’t stop pressuring me.” There are endless possibilities. These are just a handful as it’s a popular one in the fandom.
Note that some AO3 fics are available publicly on the server, while some require an Archive of Our Own account/membership to access. If you don’t currently have access, you’ll need to sit on a waitlist – typically for a week or two – to gain access. Get yourself on that list ASAP as some of these require that access to read.
The “Summary” is taken from the author’s own AO3 summary. “Why I Liked It” is my opinion (and only mine). I’ve removed the content warning this month, as I’ve found that my triggers might not be yours and vice versa. I’ll include it if I think there’s something additional to the author tags that I think readers need to know. If not, just take care to read at your own risk and read author tags.
If you like this feature, want to chat, or give me suggestions for future themes or recommendations, please hit me up on Twitter. @Rosann_1986 (formally @FlyWishing).
These are NOT in ranked order.
- In a Twinkling by Jacaranda_Bloom
Summary: Louis’ Nan just wants him to be happy, to settle down with a nice boy, and bring him around for Christmas. Louis is too busy with his career to bother about relationships, but in an attempt to appease his Nan, he sends her photoshopped pictures of him and his pretend boyfriend, Harry. The fact that the man in the pictures is none other than Harry Styles, world famous Gucci model and recurrent star of Louis’ fantasies is irrelevant. It’s not like their paths will ever cross, So it comes as somewhat of a surprise when Louis returns home for Christmas and walks into his Nan’s sitting room only to find the real-life Harry Styles happily chatting away with the grey-haired ladies of his Nan’s Crochet Circle.
Why I liked It: See my interview with the author of this fic in this month’s issue! This one was originally an advent fic, so it was dropped every day for 25 days of Christmas. It’s a lovely story of two boys finding each other through the weirdest meet-cute ever. The boys are all here (even Zayn), and Louis is just adorable and sweet. I love his relationship with his Nan, and H as a model is lovely. Side of Niam, which is unusual, but lovely. Some nice smut.
- It’s Fine to Fake it ‘til You Make It (‘Til it’s True) by sunflouwerhabit
Summary: Harry dreads an impending visit to his hometown, where he’ll be forced to reunite with a newly engaged ex-boyfriend, a childhood best friend turned near stranger, and a family who never understood just how desperately he needed to leave. In the midst of it all, a ludicrous Twitter proposition brings him to Louis.
Why I liked It: I loved this one so much – it’s a more recently completed fic. Super cute characters, a little bit of miscommunication, lovely, lovely boys.
- Just Pretend by KingsofEverything
Summary: Louis Tomlinson is a divorced dad who doesn’t date. What free time he has, he likes to spend with his teenage daughter, and if he wants to take someone home, he does it when she’s spending the weekend with her mom. Then he meets Harry Styles, another divorced dad with a teenage daughter, who convinces him it’s a good idea to pretend they’re dating to keep their kids happy.
Why I liked It: This one is super cute and has the unusual feature of older Larry with teen daughters. They are still precious.
- And Then a Bit by infinitelymint
Summary: take a parallel universe where Louis and Harry were never together, mix in a two year hiatus and an impending comeback, pour in a dash of lost fans, two tablespoons of strong friendship and a Modest! employee with a good idea. Add a squeeze of pretending to be a couple, lots of kisses and a tattoo or two. Stir. Serve: the mother of all publicity stunts.
Why I liked It: Fake dating to lovers. Canon compliant. Great smut, Harry is lovely in this one. This is in Louis’ POV (except for the epilogue) and there’s a bit of internalized homophobia, so beware of that. Louis is clueless about his feelings toward Harry, but it feels pretty authentic as the ruse progresses. This is from early 2015, so it feels super prescient that there’s a whole hiatus subplot at the start of this.
- That Sounds Fake by Okay by dancingontheceiling
Summary: Harry Styles is a rookie journalist forced to work the gossip desk at a major New York magazine. Louis Tomlinson is the A-list actor who doesn’t appreciate Harry or his articles.
Why I liked It: There is some really good writing. Fake boyfriends to lovers. Louis is famous, and there is some internalized homophobia. I really like this one–Liam and Niall are great too. Harry is adorable in this one.
- You’ve Got My Devotion (Hate You Sometimes) by lucythegoosey
Summary: Harry was in the biggest boy band in the world. He was also one half of the best (or worst, depends on who you ask) kept secret relationship in the music industry. Now, almost five years on, after One Direction has broken up, and Harry and Louis’ relationship has as well, a video threatens to put everything at risk. One determined Irishman, a massive publicity stunt and two begrudging exes are all it takes to bring One Direction back to life and maybe, just maybe, Harry and Louis’ mangled love life too. Or: Harry and Louis are forced to fake-date after an old video from when they were dating emerges.
Why I liked it: This is a super cute, meant to be soul mates, One Direction canon compliant(ish) fic. The depiction of post 1D OT4 is great. This one really could be a movie rom-com. I love everything about it, including Mitch, Sarah, Stevie Nicks, and Clifford the Dog as wingmen.
- Pull Me Under by zarah5
Summary: AU. As the first British footballer to come out at the prime of his career, it helps that Louis Tomlinson is in a long-term, committed relationship. Even if that relationship is fake. (Featuring Niall as Louis’ favourite teammate, Liam as Louis’ agent, and Zayn as Liam’s boyfriend, who just happens to be good friends with one Harry Styles.)
Why I liked it: This one was first posted in 2013, and when I tell you it holds up, I’m telling you it holds up. Seriously always impressed that people were writing older Larry back in those days and got so much spot on. It’s really lovely that both characters are written with such thoughtfulness. Louis in particular, as a famous/rich ball player who has little to no sexual experience is lovely as he works through it.
- Dance to the Distortion by domesticharry
Summary: Louis accidentally breaks Harry’s camera lens and in order to get it fixed, they decide to participate in a romantic couples study. The only issue is that they are not actually a couple. Well that and the fact they cannot stand each other.
Why I liked it: Nice fake boyfriends story, enemies to lovers. The motivation behind the fake dating plot is creative.
- Paint me in a Million Dreams by green_feelings
Summary: Harry’s one of Hollywood’s biggest actors, has made a name for himself in prestigious films and lives the life of a superstar. There’s just one thing missing to make it picture-perfect, but the one Harry’s in love with is completely out of reach for him. Enter Louis, one of Hollywood’s biggest actors himself, who just came out of the closet and taps new genres in the industry. When Louis sacks the role Harry auditioned for in Scorsese’s next big film, their irrational feud starts. Who could have guessed it would get even worse when for promo season, their teams decide to present them as a couple for publicity? In short, Harry’s in love with someone and doesn’t care about dating anyone else, Louis never felt home in L.A., Liam writes love songs for someone he shouldn’t write love songs to, and Niall makes everything better with good food
Why I liked it: Great enemies to lovers story by an author I profiled recently. I love that this one starts out as a publicity stunt and ends as true love. Author Interview – Green_Feelings – No Stunts Magazine
- Leave it at That by Antisceptic
Summary: “Just say bloody congratulations and stop torturing yourself with this!” “It sounds a bit homophobic, though, doesn’t it?” Harry drawls, craning his neck to look at her. “What does?” Mitch chimes in from across the room. “Congratulations?” “Yeah,” Harry hums, clearly distracted with his own thoughts. “Like, It’s like I’m saying: you’re gay. We get it. Congratu-fucking-lations. I’m pretty sure the addition of ‘fucking’ is what makes it rude, H.” Sarah points out innocently, but she’s smirking.
(Or the one where Louis Tomlinson comes out as gay at the age of thirty and all the other former One Direction members find out through social media. All of them. Harry Styles included.)
Why I Liked It: Canon compliant-ish. current (older) Larry. Louis is in a fake relationship with someone when he comes out and Harry can’t stay away.
- Escapade by Dolce_Piccante
Summary: In the grand scheme of things, finding a date for a wedding should be no problem for Louis Tomlinson. He’s rich. He’s handsome. He’s reasonably well behaved. But when the wedding is for his lifelong best friend (and former boyfriend), and is happening in under a month, finding a date for the ceremony and accompanying festivities becomes more of an adventure than he ever could have planned for.
Why I Liked it: It’s a classic in the fandom and it’s one of my favorites. It’s got the perfect set up and execution wrapped up in a beautiful pretty woman bow known as Jack McQueen.
Xoxo – Rosann.
Happy reading and thanks for checking out my recommendations. I’d love to hear from you and what you think of my suggestions! Let me know if you have any thoughts for future themes!
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