I am so happy to be here recommending fanfiction at No Stunts for the first time. Mary (@fitzandlarry) and I have been friends since we met at a Louis Tomlinson concert in DC in February 2022, and we’d shared fanfic recommendations since before that. I am honored to be someone she’d turn her column over to.
A bit of background on me. I’ve been in the fandom since the dark days of Covid-19 lockdown, Fall 2020. I started reading fics in January of 2021 and haven’t looked back. As of the date of this writing, I’ve logged over 400 fics in almost every genre. I love love love canon stories (the longer, the better of their lives in the band), university fics, historical fiction, anything soulmate related or werewolves. I love a good plot–give me the love story, but also give me well rounded characters and a conflict they have to face together.
I don’t tend to read super dark or abusive fics, extreme power imbalances, or vampires. Aside from that, I’m game for anything, and I’ve read good fics in all of those categories mentioned–if it’s well-written, I’m a fan. If you have suggestions for me, feel free to reach out at either of the above locations.
As mentioned, canon (stories that follow the known timeline of the boys in the band) are a personal favorite genre of mine, and I’m planning on doing a 100% canon recommendation list for my column in January, after a foray into holiday fics for December. To start though, I thought I’d do my most recommended fics. And yes, HelloAmHere appears here thrice because they are my favorite author. Unless noted, all of these have endings where the characters end up together, if that’s important to you.
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. I recommend all of them all the time.
- Of Mates and Men by BananaHeathen
Summary: In which, Louis and Harry meet as best men for their best friends’ wedding… well… sort of. Or, the one where Harry’s just moved back from New York and Louis doesn’t believe in romance. Or, I guess… the one where Zayn and Liam are getting married.
Why I liked It: OMAM is one of the best slow burn, friends to lovers fics out there. Be prepared for a full immersion into the lives of these characters as this is a very long fic, capping out at over 600K words. The writing is super accessible and detailed without being dense or overly flowery. You just can visualize the setting so easily with BananaHeathen’s descriptions–I especially love the wedding venue tour. And they have links along the way to see some of the real locations mentioned. It’s a great, found family OT5 story with fully realized characters in Liam and Zayn and Niall as well as some lovely side characters. The story takes place over a year in the life of the characters–if you don’t love long fics, I’d suggest taking this one in pieces, but don’t let the longevity of it keep you away. It’s glorious.
If you’re not a super fan of long fics, break it up into shorter chunks. It’s THAT worth it.
Content Warning: There is some smut, but it’s spread out and feels like normal healthy sexy love between two adults. It’s well realized. Some discussion of deceased parents and bad parenting.
- My Heart is Breathing for this Moment in Time by UsedToTheBeach
Summary: When Louis first saw Harry at the 2010 X-Factor Auditions, he thought he was watching a peculiarly special stranger. But Harry has known Louis ever since he was five years old. Because Louis has a rare genetic disorder that causes him to Time Travel to important moments in his past and in his future – and to Harry, always to Harry. When they’re put into a band together, it seems like everything Harry has been waiting and wishing for has finally come true. Except for the small fact that Louis doesn’t know that Harry is in love with him- that Harry’s always been in love with him. Fate, it would seem, is just getting started. A story about growing up and growing together, and the impossible love that makes it all worthwhile.
Why I liked It: This is one of my all-time favorites. It was one of the first fics I read because I love The Time Traveler’s Wife and this is inspired by that novel. It’s grounded in canon, but it works so well with the time travel element. UsedToTheBeach really gets the inner dialogue/angst that fetus Harry feels (oh yeah, it’s in Harry’s POV) for everything about his life. I’ll talk about this one again in my canon recommendations, because I can’t not talk about it. It’s literally the one fic I’ve read four times and I think it’s probably the one I rec most.
Content Warning: Under age smut. I know I said above I don’t love power imbalance. This is one of my exceptions because Louis’s character changes age, so it’s not always an imbalance. Also, major character injury/near death.
Summary for SSH: “That’s the attitude,” said Louis, “I’ll tell you tomorrow. Tonight, I need to do some research. Zayn, give me your number. I’m gonna save our symphony.”
Summary for NO: Symphony hall was the first place Louis had felt at home in this city, and he always had the box to himself. Until tonight.
Why I liked It/them: Weirdly, I came to this universe from SSH first and it was months before I knew there was a prequel. I loved the OT5 relationship in SSH. I’ll be honest and say that ABO are not my favorite universe/trope overall, but this is my favorite one of that genre because of the way HelloAmHere handles the secondary genders as part of personality not as raw biology. The way HelloAmHere builds characters is a masterclass in writing. They feel fully developed. Also, NO has the absolutely best sex scene I’ve ever read in a fic. I got back to just that scene often (blushes). Still.
Content Warning: ABO (Alpha, Beta, Omega)
- This Multiplicity of Powers by HelloAmHere
Summary: Maybe in another universe he isn’t different. Maybe he hadn’t been given an impossible choice. Maybe he wouldn’t have lost everything and broken everything and then fallen impossibly, irrevocably in love with the first next thing that was kind. Maybe in that universe he doesn’t feel like he’s never breathing, always pretending, teaching the kids even though they all have to learn alone, trying hard not to read the headlines, and so afraid, every day, that he won’t be a good enough teammate to the superhero he can’t live without. He knows that love isn’t supposed to feel this way, slid secret under your skin like a surgical razor, an invisible war held close over the tender vein that keeps you alive. On the other hand, Louis wonders, had he ever known how to do it any other way?
Maybe there’s a universe where he doesn’t have to keep all his secrets on the inside.
But this isn’t that universe.
//an X-Men AU.
Why I liked It: OT5 are superheroes and it’s another HelloAmHere fic. I resisted this fic for a long time because I thought superheroes would be weird, but it’s turned into one of my absolute favorites. Excellent found family vibe. Super slow burn, best friends to lovers. Really interesting and inventive plot that revolves around the other characters and really good character development with some flashbacks. I think the superpowers are an interesting allegory for the real personalities and situations of the real H&L.
Content Warning: No explicit smut. Abusive family. Some superhero type violence.
- Just Let Me by HelloAmHere
Summary: The party was going well. So well, Niall had already sworn undying love to one multi-tiered chocolate cake, two friendly corgi-poodle mixes, Zayn’s hair, and the entire population of Los Angeles. So well, Zayn had only laughed and ruffled Niall’s hair and not even twitched towards a cigarette. So well, nearly everyone had spilled far past the boundaries of the night’s original plans, extracting bottles of vodka from the cabinets and losing a lot of clothes. Harry had proclaimed that he was finally going to throw a small and very grownup dinner party and of course here they were three hours later, fifty people half-naked in the pool. Soon to be full-naked, if Louis had to guess. Everybody in LA loved a heated pool. Everybody loved Harry.
Why I liked It: This is my favorite comfort fic. I read it when I need a palette cleanse or just need something to make me smile. Louis in this fic might be my favorite Louis–he’s just so himself, needy but stubborn and lovely. It’s canon in that they are in the band, but it takes place in what I would call Larry no man’s land–in the 2014 time frame. Like all HelloAmHere’s work, it has great characterization and very sweet, but sexy love scenes.
Content Warning: ABO (Alpha, Beta, Omega), touch deprivation, major character losing consciousness
- Tie Your Heart by ArcadianMaggie
Summary: Harry grows wings.
Why I liked It: This is another canon favorite in that they are in the band. It is set in 2012 just before the second album. As the summary says, Harry grows wings. It’s a metaphor and I won’t give away the goods, but it’s super well done and just lovely to read. The absolute adoration on the page between Harry and Louis (and all of OT5) is palpable and feels so real, despite the fantasy element of the wings.
Content Warning: homophobia (external and internalized), major character injury
- Stranger Stars by Shaylea
Summary: Five years ago, Africa offered a grieving Louis Tomlinson an escape from an England he couldn’t tolerate. Now it’s become home as he leads overland tours across the continent with his best friend and driver Zayn Malik. What’s meant to be just another ordinary six-week trip from Cape Town to Nairobi turns into anything but, when future lawyer/current photographer and songwriter Harry Styles and his friends join Louis’ latest set of passengers.
Why I liked It: Shaylea is a master at a road trip fic. This is basically an African trek from Cape Town to Nairobi and it’s so well described–not overly detailed, but enough to make you feel like you are there. The slow burn friends to lovers story feels authentic and it’s rich and robust. There are ups and downs and it’s not insta love and there are some bouts of miscommunication, so it feels real. It’s alternating POV by chapter so you get both perspectives so it feels like you get a very full idea of what both are thinking. Also, great side of Ziam.
Content Warning: internalized homophobia, major character illness
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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