Happy Pride Month! The fics this month are what I’d call “coming of age” – often coming out, discovering one’s sexuality, becoming more like the human you’re meant to be. These stories are sometimes difficult and include characters who aren’t supportive, if not aggressively homophobic. I’d encourage you to read the triggers and proceed accordingly.
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). “Content Warning” is a mixture of my own warning and sometimes pulled from the Triggers the author has suggested.
These are NOT in ranked order.
- Five Point by LilyBlue28 (see my interview w/ April in my author interview this month).
Summary: Five Point Summer Camp for the musically gifted is Louis’ home. For as long as he could remember it was the only place he’d ever been where he felt completely accepted and free to be himself. Even when all other parts of his life seemed to spin out of his control, Five Point and the friends he’d made there remained his constant. A place of peace where he could shed all the worries he carried around and just be relaxed and happy. That is until Harry shows up. One year, in the summer between his Junior and Senior years in high school, the camp gets a new member in the form of Harry Styles. Tall, sexy, arrogant, and flirty Harry, who coincidentally gets assigned to his cabin and happens to be related to Louis’ best friend. He couldn’t escape him if he tried, and he does try, but Harry has set his sights on Louis and doesn’t plan to give up until he’s uncovered ever facet of who Louis is. Little does Harry know that Louis has yet to discover that himself. Their journey pushes them both to the edge and in the end neither boy will ever think of home the same again.
Why I liked It: This has a nice slow burn and a lovely blossoming of Louis’ realization of his sexuality as he falls in love with a boy. I love the way he straddles who he thinks of himself as Home!Louis and Camp!Louis, and I love his camp friends. It’s almost an enemies to lovers, but not quite. Strangers to not-friends to friends to lovers.
Content Warning: internal and external homophobia, bullying.
- Here in the Afterglow by FondLeeds
Summary: 1970’s AU. In a tiny town in Idaho, Louis’ life is changed forever by the arrival of a curious stranger.
Why I liked It: This is a great 1970s AU historical fiction. It weaves their love story against a backdrop of political uprising as gay rights begin to be debated in the US (Harvey Milk election in San Francisco) juxtaposed with the homophobia of a small town. I loved the way the author portrays the way they found each other and the development of their fierce love. Solid plot outside the love story.
Content Warning: Family/Local Community homophobia. Bullying that leads to violence/injury.
- Heading for Limbo by kingsofeverything
Summary: Childhood best friends who’ve fallen in and out of touch with each other since Louis’ family moved away when they were thirteen, Harry and Louis find their paths crossing again and again. Each time, no matter how many miles apart or how many years it’s been, it’s as if no time has passed. They fall back into their easy friendship, until life intervenes and sends them on their separate ways once more.
When Harry discovers some life-changing things about himself, Louis is there for him, however he needs. But it’s all temporary because Louis has plans that will move his life from New York all the way to L.A. and the distance isn’t the only thing between them.
The pieces of their twice broken hearts are scattered from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Why I liked It: This has slow burn, friends to not-friends, to lovers, to exes, to lovers. Word of caution, Harry has a girlfriend for part of it, but it’s a really nice slow awakening of his sexuality.
Content Warning: Angst/Pining.
- I’ll Fly Away by juliusschmidt
Summary: Harry and Louis grew up together in Lake County, Harry with his mom and stepdad in a tiny cottage on Edward’s Lake and Louis in his family’s farmhouse a few minutes down the road. But after high school, Louis stuck around and Harry did not; Harry went to Chicago where he found a boyfriend and a couple of college degrees. Six years later, Harry ends up back in Edwardsville for the summer and he and Louis fall into old patterns and discover new ones.
Featuring One Direction, the local boyband; Horan’s Bar and Grill; families, most especially children and babies; Officer Liam Payne; many local festivals and fireworks displays; and Anne Cox, PFLAG President.
Why I liked It: Nice OT5. Good character development. I love the way Harry and Louis found each other after being best friends as kids.
Content Warning: internal and external homophobia.
- That Howling Infinite by sweetartine
Summary: When Louis struggles in the literature class he needs to pass to graduate, his professor assigns him a tutor. A cute tutor. A cute tutor with a boyfriend. It’s just as well. Louis isn’t looking for a boyfriend in his last semester of college. But trying not to fall for Harry Styles might be impossible.
Or, the one where Louis and Harry fall in love while reading Moby Dick.
Why I liked It: This is a really cute uni story. Bonding over Moby DIck. Harry is super sweet in this one. Love the slow build, and authentic emotions.
Content Warning: none that I can think of, but check author warnings.
- Just your resident romance by insightfullinsomniac
Summary: “As a second-year Resident Assistant and third-year college student, Louis thought he’d dealt with it all.
Enter: Harry Styles, a sweet, baby-faced freshman. Suddenly, Louis’ dealing with something new: falling in love with his own resident.
aka an American-ish college AU in which Louis is Harry’s RA and they both fall for each other over the course of the academic year (ft. a lot of banter, flirtation, and intervention from Niall, Harry’s well-meaning roommate)
Why I liked it: This is probably the fluffiest fic on this list. Just a lovely falling in love story, no real angst, but I wanted to add something fluffy and light in the midst of a lot of angsty stories.
Content Warning: none that I can think of.
- Where Your Heart Is by anhcor, tvshows_addict
Summary: Or, a college AU set in San Francisco where two lost boys who seemingly have nothing in common find inspiration, each other, and themselves in the process. Louis has a genetic condition that prevents touch.
Why I liked It: I love the vulnerability of Harry and how he is so gentle with Louis, who has a skin disease that makes it so he can’t be touched. They find a way to love each other without touch.
Content Warning: Childhood disease. This is no longer available on Ao3.
- Shake Me Down by AGreatPerhaps12
Summary: Harry’s new to college, fresh out of Catholic school and conversion therapy camp, and Louis runs the campus LGBTQIA organization.
Why I liked it: This is a really good depiction of a closeted first year student coming to terms with his sexuality in the wake of his very homophobic/religious parents, post conversion camp. Heartbreaking at times, as the boys find each other and hurt each other and then ultimately fall in love. No smut.
Content Warning: Internalized homophobia. Pretty extreme emotional parental abuse.
- Atlas at Last by louisandthealien
Summary: Maine to California in ten days. In which Zayn’s an open-shirt hippie they meet somewhere in Ohio, Liam’s the pastor’s son running away from home, and Niall’s the number they call on the bathroom wall.
It’s 1978. Harry and Louis are just trying to get to San Fran in time for the Queen concert.
Why I liked it: This is such a sweet romance, road trip fic. They are discovering themselves and falling in love, while road tripping in a van. Love the historical 1970s.
Content Warning: nothing I can think of.
- Unbelievers by isthatyoularry
Summary: It’s Louis’ senior year, and he’s dead set on doing it right. However, along with his pair of cleats, a healthy dose of sarcasm and his ridiculous best friend, he’s also got a complicated family, a terrifyingly uncertain future, and a mortal enemy making his life just that much worse. Mortal enemies “with benefits” was not exactly the plan.
Or: The one where Louis and Harry definitely aren’t friends, and football is everything.
Why I liked it: I’ve mentioned this fic before, and I’m sure most of my readers (if not all) have already read it, but it felt like Unbelievers fit in this coming out/coming of age theme. I’ll be super honest in that I had a hard time getting past the very first scene of Unbelievers on my first pass of it back in 2021–It was a title I knew I had to read because so many people loved it. It was shocking to be dropped in the middle of a sex scene from the first word. I do like a slow burn. That said, this is a great fic. The plot is sound, and the character growth is lovely. The way the boys grow and learn to trust each other is pretty great. Also, great smut. Obviously.
Content Warning: smut right at the beginning. First word, even. If that’s not your thing, skip the first scene, but read this one. It’s that good.
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!