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The Call Of The Wild

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PART ONE:
THE CALL

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All four Tokio Hotel boys are in the States again. They're continuing the Feel It All Tour and currently they're surrounded by a hoard of well-behaved fans all raising hands and asking questions and everyone is joking around. It's at this particular meet-and-greet that our story begins. 

"Hey guys," says the next fan who's passed the microphone. She seems to hesitate, though the smile on her face is positively giddy. "Ok, so I'm gonna be bold and ask for a little favor," she says, and her cheeks color in embarrassment. "You probably know already that there's a small portion of fangirls who really get off on the fact that you two are twins -- it's like, adorable. So can you please hold hands for a few seconds and pretend you have no idea what kind of fantasies you're fulfilling? Pretty please?"

The request is bold indeed. Everyone knows never to ask anything twincest-related -- it's an unspoken rule. Breaking this silence is more taboo than twincest itself. 

Tom looks at her like he's about to explode with laughter however, he slaps his knee and snorts even; while Bill looks a bit mortified -- though his expression is too stiff to be fully readable.

It's Tom who responds. He doesn't even spare a glance at his bandmates. "Yeah, sure, why not," he says, and grabs his brother's hand, interlocking their fingers for the whole room to see. Bill frowns for a second before controlling his expression better and smiling as well. "Just so you know, we think you're batshit crazy. But we love you anyway," Tom says and laughs before moving on to the next question. He seems to have forgotten that he's holding Bill's hand, and several minutes later when Bill regains his speech and starts gibing Georg along with Tom, Tom's hand is seen absent-mindedly stroking the back of his brother's hand. It makes Bill falter and look at the ground for just a moment.

Late that night, after the show, the drinks and more fans, when they're shucking shoes off in their hotel room, Bill stops with one shoe still on and decides to say, "I wish you wouldn't encourage that faction of our fans." And Tom doesn't even need that venomous look he's being thrown to know what Bill is talking about. The twincest fans. Obviously.

"Oh Bill," the elder twin sighs, "It's not a big deal. No one really believes that shit. It's harmless... So a few girls get their rocks off on some kinky shit," he laughs, "let them." His smile is wide and wicked and not at all deflated by his brother's disapproval. 

"We've talked about this before. It's not right." Bill's chin is up in the air like a moody child.

Tom just rolls his eyes. "Since when are you such a prude? I personally have never minded being a part of someone's intimate daydreams."

"I have a problem with it when it's... that," Bill says stubbornly. And finally he's got his second shoe off at least. Tom is well ahead of him in getting undressed, for he's just pulled his sweat-soaked t-shirt over his head clumsily, causing several hanks of his long brunette hair to fall free from his man-bun. He gives Bill a sympathetic look and approaches.

"Billa..." Tom's face has softened, it's no longer sarcastic. He takes a hand of Bill's in his, to soothe, but Bill pulls away and frowns at him. "Hey. What's that for? I can't hold your hand now?"

"No."

Tom doesn't like that biting tone. It's like a slap in the face, and he hates it when Bill acts like a primadonna. Suddenly he's had enough of Bill's coldness and has his own ways of pushing back. He grabs Bill's wrist and yanks him from his seat on the bed so in a split second they're standing toe to toe and staring right into each other's eyes.

Bill is gaping and trying to pull away again but Tom won't let him.

"Hey," Tom commands, "Hey! What's your problem anyway? I haven't been able to get close to you for years now. It used to be only when the cameras were around, cuz you told me you didn't like encouraging their little fantasies. And that's fine. But don't think I haven't noticed that you shrink away when we're sitting on the same couch at home. When there's no one around but us." Tom had managed to gather his brother into his arms, for Bill had stopped fighting, but he was focused on Tom's shoulder instead of his face. So Tom says, "Hey," in that one gentle voice again, and squeezes him lovingly. "What's the problem?"

Bill swallows though his mouth is dry. He honestly doesn't know what to say. "It's nothing. It's -- I don't do that."

The corner of Tom's mouth quirks up. "Yeah, you do. So what is it? Do you hate my beard that much?" He's trying to liven the mood between them because suddenly it feels like they're at a funeral.

"I don't hate your beard," says Bill, "Now let me go brush my teeth. My mouth feels like sandpaper."

Tom lets him go and Bill slinks away to the bathroom but the thought is only more pronounced in Tom's head now that there really is something going on. Bill had barely looked at him. He quivered beneath his fingers, Tom felt it. So he let his brother go for tonight, but it was as good a time as any to get some answers finally -- so Tom makes up his mind to get some.

The next morning they pack up to leave early, sparing no pleasantries -- for Bill seems to still be angry -- and load themselves onto their North American tourbus for a day of loitering aboard until the next destination. Tom thinks there's no better place for a captive audience than a tourbus bunk bed, where there is literally no more than a cubic meter of space to escape to; so he corners Bill in his and pulls the earbuds right from his ears.

"Hey!" Bill protests, "What's that for?"

Tom squeezes himself into Bill's bunk beside him and draws the curtain. "Cuz I wanna talk. You never answered me last night."

"Get over yourself, Tom. There's nothing going on. Now hand me back my earphones." He puts a hand out, waiting.

But Tom doesn't comply. He rolls them loosely and quickly drops them down his own shirt-neck so they fall in a bundle by his naval. "So get them," he says jokingly. And he honestly never thought Bill would have a problem reaching under his shirt just that little bit to snatch back his earbuds. It was no big deal at all, right? He was just kidding around. 

He never expected that Bill would swallow so suspiciously and then declare, "Fine. Keep them if you want to be like that." 

It makes Tom frown. He's angry now. What the hell is Bill's problem? "I'm being like something?! No Bill, give me a break." He reaches down to lift his shirt hem and the ball of white wire falls into his lap, easily within arms distance from his brother. "Take your headphones back. They're right there."

"What kind of stupid game are you playing, Tom?"

"I'm not playing any game. I just want to know why you won't touch me... in the most normal ways. I don't bite." His tone is accusatory but also sad in a way that makes Bill feel guilty.

"I don't know..."

"Just take your headphones back."

Bill takes much too long to decide; and when he finally reaches his hand out, ever so gingerly, to take back his property from where it lays on his brother's thigh, Tom grabs his wrist roughly, forcing his twin to go toppling into his chest. "Eek!" Bill squeals and tries to find his balance again, hands now resting on either side of Tom's legs.

"God, Bill. You nearly face-planted and you won't touch me," Tom sighs disappointedly. "Did I do something wrong?"

Bill looks up at him finally but then pulls back from his body entirely and retreats to the corner of the bunk. He shakes his head.

"Then what is it? What's wrong?"

"I dunno, Tomi. It's just weird."

"What's just weird?"

"Being so close still. Haven't we grown out of that yet?" He's looking down at his own barefoot toes and Tom can tell those words hurt his twin as much as they hurt him. And they really stung. 

He crawls closer to Bill, not being able to stand this distance and physical wall that's built up between them. It's just a nuisance. He misses being able to hug Bill and fall asleep tangled in each other like they used to. It wasn't even the cameras that made them stop, because the intrusive cameras had started when they were barely teens. No, this was a more recent development, something in the last five years or so. "Look at me, Bill", he says as he's propped up on all fours right over his twin. Bill looks squeamish but complies. "Tell me what's wrong."

"It's..." Bill tries saying before his voice breaks. "I love you, Tom. If that's what you're worried about. I'm not going anywhere. I'll always be here."

The confession gives Tom pause. He wasn't expecting that, because he really wasn't worried about that. He thinks now that maybe he should be and it makes him panic. "You're too far away," says the elder twin, and he settles his body over Bill, who can't help but spread out under him. They haven't been this close in ages. Tom rests his weight on his elbows and strokes his brother's hair at the temples. His hand meanders lower, cupping his jaw, and Bill nuzzles into the touch.

"I like this so much more," Tom says.

It breaks a little piece of Bill's heart. "I like this too," he admits, but Tom is even more worried now that Bill is blinking back tears.

"Billa," he pets kindly, brushing his finger under his brother's eyes. He kisses his forehead. "Talk to me."

"I don't have anything to say."

Tom huffs. "We haven't been like this in so long. I miss it. I miss you... You know you can tell me anything."

Bill shuts his eyes and tries pushing Tom's gentle hand away. Tom lets him, but doesn't make any further concessions to move back. 

When Bill doesn't reply, he tries a new strategy. "I'm never leaving you. No matter how much you push me away."

"I know. I'm glad."

"Then why?"

"Because you belong with other people."

Tom gives him a strange look, like he doesn't fully understand, and he doesn't. "I don't know what that's supposed to mean but I don't belong anywhere but with you. You know that. What changed? Did I do something wrong?"

Bill shakes his head and looks miserable. He bites his lip again to try and keep the tears at bay, or else Tom will get close -- even closer -- again.

"Then do you not want to be with me?"

Bill shakes his head again. Tom then gets a sudden ludicrous and very wild idea. And it's probably only because of all their years together that he's able to detect this one feint feeling out of all the possible reasons Bill could be acting suspiciously.

"Hey," he starts sweetly as always, "don't kill me for saying this, but... you're not jealous that I've been spending time with Ria, are you?"

The younger twin clenches his eyes shut and adds two hands to cover his face as well. Underneath, he's turning beet-red and he's debating telling a lie or truth. Neither was a good option. He takes too long to reply, and Tom seems to have figured it out even without words, for he crowds in again, his hands cradling his twin's head now, and pries Bill's fingers away. They're looking into each other's eyes now and Bill bites at a lip-ring, worrying it the way Tom usually does. This isn't seduction though, this is apprehension. 

Tom speaks again. "Do you want me to spend more time with you? Is this revenge or something?"

Bill shakes his head once more. He's incapable of words. There's no way to say what's on the tip of his tongue anyway. Such things aren't meant to be spoken aloud.

"But you want me to spend more time with you, right?"

Bill does nothing this time. He just looks petrified and his eyes start welling up again. Tom really can't stand this -- it's obvious Bill is hurting deeply right now and he wonders how it took him so long to figure out this was such a big problem.

"I'll dump her. I swear I will if you don't like her."

"She's fine. I like her," Bill says meekly.

"So why have you been so distant? Don't you think this is nice?" Tom punctuates his words with a tender graze of his knuckles over his twin's cheek.

"As long as it's nothing more." The words are croaked as if they'd gotten stuck in Bill's throat halfway up, and they have the same effect on Tom, who freezes. 

There's too little oxygen between them now. He can't believe what he just heard. No. Just no. There's not many ways to misinterpret that, but there's no way that's what Bill meant. Tom has to make sure though. He clears he throat uneasily, especially due to their proximity, and asks, "That's why you hate that -- uh, idea -- in those fanfictions? Are you afraid of me, or of yourself?"

How he manages to say something so straight-forward at a time like this is beyond both of them. At least Bill has stopped blubbering. He takes his time to reply, but finally he says, "Me." In the tiniest, weakest little voice, and it's kind of heartbreaking.

Tom pulls himself up then. Completely away from where he had been draped over this brother. "I see." His voice is calm, sterile. And Bill is displeased about it.

"See?!" he says. "See? I knew you were gonna act like that." As if Bill was ever in the right about any of this.

Tom looks back at him now and it's not the cold look Bill had been expecting; it's sad, melancholy, and the mood creeps into Bill as well. "I'm sorry," says Bill. "I didn't mean to fuck anything up. I didn't think you'd notice or care so much."

Tom holds his gaze. "I care. I always care." But after, he throws his head into his hands and rubs nervously. This time, Bill approaches.

"Don't hate me, please."

"I don't hate you," Tom replies but sounds a tiny bit more vexed. "You should have just told me why the twincesters bother you."

Bill remains quiet. It's not really that they bother him, it's that they make him feel like if he steps over that line, it would be somehow be ok, and that's wholly unacceptable. 

"Can we be normal now?" Tom asks.

"I don't know."

Tom throws him a frustrated look. "How don't you know?"

He receives a shrug in reply, but Bill is cowering beneath his gaze.

"Do you want something else then? What do you want me to do?"

At that, Bill looks absolutely mortified and he starts inching away again.

"Oh, not this again," Tom groans in disdain. His patience has been worn thin and he jerks Bill back to him. In fact, he crowds into Bill's space, dominating him again. Bill tries to hide the shame on this face and Tom robs him even of that solitude when he pins his wrists. "What is it that you want?" Tom says clearly.

Bill shakes his head.

"Say something."

"Nah-uh."

"Say something! What do you want? I'll do anything. Just name it and stop being such a pussy."

Bill stares back at him, blinking, gaping, searching for something acceptable to say. When nothing comes to mind and Tom's face clouds over with only more sorrow, Bill doesn't think, he just does. It's over as soon as it starts -- he kisses Tom on the lips. Done. Then closes his eyes so he can bask in his own stupidity and shame and misery, and so he doesn't have to look at Tom's probable disappointment in him.

But Tom isn't disappointed. If anything, he's happy Bill has finally given him some sort of answer. Bill wants to be kissed? He studies his brother's frightened face and pets his hair. It's sad that Bill seems to have felt this badly about whatever he's feeling that he had to keep everything bottled up. It's not that big a deal. Or rather, it shouldn't be, in Tom's opinion. So they could kiss, so what? 

He leans down to capture his twin's lips in a proper kiss. A really inappropriate one, and no matter how much Bill would have loved to not respond, he can't help but press his lips back and kiss Tom with passion. Too soon Tom pulls away with a smile.

"I could do this. This is cool, if that's what you wanted."

Bill brings a shy hand to his lips and smiles sheepishly. "Yeah," he says and giggles lightly. "I just wanted to know what it was like to kiss you so much. I don't even know why." His fingers and toes and lips are tingling now. He feels exhilarated, even through his bashfulness.

"Probably cuz I'm all over Ria, like all the time," Tom laughs. "You want anything else?"

Bill's eyes round into saucers. "Tom!" he squeaks, "You can't ask me that!" And then he's back at his old game of pushing Tom away. Too bad Tom isn't having it. He's having too much fun now that Bill's finally spilled the beans.

"Why not? Just tell me." Tom kisses his cheek, "You want me to kiss you some more," kisses his temple, "here? Or here?" Tom's breath is on his ear now. His voice is lower and it's turning Bill on in a way his illicit dreams about kissing Tom never did. He is shy and squeamish about all this, but he really hadn't imagined that far into the scenario. He'd always stopped himself before he got out of hand. So kissing really was as far as Bill had thought this through. He was always afraid he would slip up and start mauling Tom's lips, or snatch him out of his girlfriend's arms in his jealously. But he had never imagined Tom would have his tongue in is ear. Never thought it would make him feel like this. This is beyond a guilty curiosity, now Bill is aroused and it scares him. Especially because he knows already that Tom is very cavalier about these things. He'd always said, "If twins want to go at it like bunnies, who the hell needs to care other than the two involved?" Then he would shrug and go on with business as usual. 

Bill finds his voice suddenly. "Tomi, stop."

Tom raises his head and quirks an amused eyebrow. "Why? You like this. I can feel you're hard. So why stop? I'll admit this is fun." He dives back, capturing Bill's lips in a heated kiss, which is so good it makes Bill's toes curl. Tom is even massaging their tongues together, and Bill is fighting with himself over how much he unexpectedly likes it and how much he shouldn't. He moans and it gives Tom an excuse to kiss his tongue fully into his mouth, to suck on that famous barbell in the singer's mouth.

"Nuh --" Bill tries to protest when Tom starts rubbing his hips against him. There's no mistaking Tom's intentions. After all, Bill's seen his brother put the moves on a girl too often in his life. When they were younger, they were never shy about being with girls in front of each other. Now Tom is doing it to him.

"God, Bill, you are sexy," he says, as if it's news. "Do you get frustrated like this when I'm with Ria?"

Tom's discovered that he likes Bill's jealousy, that he really wants to hear him confirm it, because it's working magic on his erection. It's fuller than Bill's by now, and he has no problem rubbing off with his brother, because it feels so good. Tom resumes kissing a trail from Bill's mouth, to his ear and jaw, and down is neck; and it's turning him on the way Bill is panting and arching beneath him.

"Have you listened to us having sex, Bill?" Bill makes a funny strangled sound and Tom groans. "Oh god, you have?" 

"Once. I didn't mean to." Bill sounds like a child confessing some silly mistake to his mother.

"That's really hot. Do you want me for yourself?"

Bill wrinkles his nose at the question. "No." That's gross.

"You don't?" Tom is grinding down onto his twin, their hips creating a delicious pressure for their erections.

"Maybe a bit. I don't know."

Tom laughs. "Wanna find out?" At this point, Tom isn't very much against trying out this twincest thing the fans have been touting for years. He holds Bill's nape and kisses him hard. If he's being honest actually, he's never been so puzzled and turned on in his life. He has no idea what's going on, why he's rubbing against Bill like this, why he decides he'd be bereaved to stop, and why it feels so good. It's all too new. All he knows is that if Bill wants this, so does he.

"Oh god, please want this," Tom moans lightly and he's barely able to distinguish if he said it aloud or in his head. His hands travel to both their pants, where he unzips and unbuttons and pulls down until he can wrap his hand around and stroke both their cocks together. He leans back down to pant into Bill's mouth. "I think those fans knew a little something," he chuckles, but his breathes are short. Beneath him, Bill has his eyes closed, his legs have fallen open, and while he still wants to protest, he's been blinded by the pleasure Tom is giving him.

Skin on skin, sliding together like this is not something either thought would happen, much less Bill, who'd been trying to avoid his naughty curiosity. But his guilt is quickly being swallowed up by Tom's kisses, the way his brother is touching him, and he can't avoid responding. Tom is here with him, so it'll be ok. "Oh… oh, make me come. Please," Bill whines.

Tom grins and Bill can feel it in the way he's nuzzling into his neck. "I will… I'm so close too," he says into Bill's ear. The low timber of it travels down Bill's spine and makes him buck up into Tom's grip. Tom bites down on Bill's ear before he comes, then releases a wave of hot breath over it and it sends Bill over the edge as well. Like electricity, he feels his orgasm spark within him and destroy all sense in its way. There is only this now. As the stars subside from his vision, he blinks to try and regain his composure. Tom is sprawled out and heavy on him, boneless from his own orgasm, and he can feel their release, slippery on his stomach. 

It's Tom who moves first; takes his own t-shirt off his back and uses it to clean up the mess they've made. He sees Bill's tangled earbuds nearby and moves them out of harm's way as well. Bill just watches him. It feels unreal the way Tom is taking this so easily. He just tosses the soiled t-shirt out onto the floor and settles himself beside his brother, lying his head on the younger's chest. He's just too calm, Bill thinks. He's even petting up Bill's side, along the large curly and cursive tattoo.

Bill can't feel that calm. He feels on pins and needles and feels them where Tom is touching him too; hypersensitive and starting to freak out at what they've done.

Tom can sense this. His touches become softer, fingers gliding over Bill's belly, and he whispers, "Shhhh," and, "Don't worry about it." And he kisses Bill on his breast-bone near where his head is when he looks up into meet his eyes. "Don't worry about it, ok?"

Bill swallows. His tongue feels like lead, but he manages to say, "Don't do that again." His face is stern again.

Tom just laughs. "Like you didn't like it. Give me a break, Bill. Now that I know what your problem is, we're gonna fix it." Bill looks horrified, he sits up abruptly and Tom is forced to his feet. Either way, he's not upset, he's smiling still, and it only upsets Bill more. Tom just shrugs. "I don't care if it's weird. It's nice being close to you again. So if this is what it takes for you to stop acting like I'm a parasite, then so be it. It's up to you." His shoulder lifts again, his mouth is twisted casually as if he's just said something akin to, "I don't care, you order food for me." Finally he wends away -- probably to the shower -- leaving the curtain to swing in his wake, and Bill with a fresh pounding headache.

Tom was unnervingly blithe about all this.


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Chapter Text

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PART TWO: 
THE WILD

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Over the next few weeks on tour, Tom really took to heart the task of making Bill open up again. If Bill ever tried flinching away when it was just the two of them alone, Tom had found the cure to make him melt. It was a bit drastic, but it worked wonders. He'd grab his brother and pin him against the nearest surface, even hold his wrists tight and immobile if Bill fought back too much, and he'd kiss him with as much ardor and love as he could. And the result was a suddenly pliant and speechless Bill, who always wore this sheepishly adorable grin on his face. He'd touch his fingertips to his lips and try to cover his smile, but just for a few moments afterwards, he'd let Tom cuddle and be close to him. And Tom loved that smile on his brother. Every time he saw it, he wanted more of it.

The last couple times Bill had intentionally kept him at arm's length, it was in front of their manager and their bandmates. It wasn't particularly noticeable, but Tom felt the distance, and the moment they had been excused from the meeting, he pulled Bill into the nearest bathroom and plundered his mouth. Tom smiled at the debauched look on Bill's face when they parted a minute later. 

No matter what dazed look remained on Bill's face after each kiss however, Bill still had the decency to look affronted by their actions, and he would soon push Tom away again. Tom had no such decency; he'd just grin even wider or give Bill a peck on the cheek as his brother slipped free from his arms. 

And then it was business as usual the minute after that. Because really, their tour was pretty demanding, and a minute was all they could spare for clandestine romps in random corners.

The problem was -- and perhaps Tom didn't know this yet -- was that Bill found it increasingly hard to push Tom away, especially now that he was getting these surprise assaults, which made his whole body tingle, from his lips to his toes, and all the hairs on his body prickle with electricity. This was what Bill had feared most: that being with Tom would feel good.

The second and bigger problem -- which Tom knew about but didn't seem to be bothered by -- was that Tom had started looking for reasons to corner Bill. He knew he had started liking kissing his twin a bit too much. But it was just too much fun. The covert touches, and that smile on Bill's face, and knowing that even if Bill wasn't saying it with words, that it made him happy -- it made Tom happy. 

And so it was like this that Tom had begun kissing Bill several times a day. It had evolved pretty quickly, and he took pleasure in finding reasons to do it now.

So that's where the twins are now, winding down backstage after an energetic show, along with Georg and Gustav, and Tom says, "I am so wrecked right now." He laughs and takes a plentiful drink from his water bottle, and then pours the rest right over his face. Bill and the others step back from the waterfall that ricochets off Tom to his surroundings.

"Thanks for the free shower," says Georg with a scowl, as he brushes off water droplets from his shoulder.

"No problem," Tom gibes back, "I knew you needed one." He winks and Bill purposefully slinks back another inch, because even while being a dick, Tom is too charming.

After drying off and changing quickly, the four Tokio Hotel bandmates have another session of questions from fans, where towards the end, a petite girl with mousy hair and a devious smile gets passed the microphone. "This question is for Tom," she says and her friend pokes her in the arm, nudging her on probably. "Well, we all know how much of a lady's man you are, but I was wondering if you've ever kissed a boy." The poor girl looks deadpan after she's said those words, but the rest of the room erupts in howls of laughter and dismay. It probably doesn't help that Georg has decided to get Tom back just then and starts egging the fans on.

"Yeah, c'mon Tom. Don't be shy, tell us," he says.

"You mean other than the time you practically begged for my dick?" Tom shoots back derisively, and the whole room knows he's just kidding. But then he follows up with, "Yeah, there was someone else. Sorry to break your heart, Georch." He says it almost proudly, with no visible trace of shame, and even when the girls start tittering and convulsing from such a candid answer, he tells them, "Love who loves you back. Plus, he was hot." The girls squeal and Tom is riding a high from lighting up the room. He doesn't spare a glance at Bill, he just wiggles his eyebrows suggestively at the crowd and tongues his lip-ring seductively until the discussion moves back into safer territory. If he had looked at Bill, he would have seen him clutching his chair with white knuckles and a sudden pallor to his face.

Because Bill knew Tom was talking about him.

Back in their hotel room that night, Bill is seething, and Tom can't wait for it. There's some kind of anxious and excited energy coursing through him, and he can't wait for Bill to yell at him for what he said to the fans. And the longer Bill puts off the fight, the more anticipation and pleasure builds inside Tom. Because he's watching Bill brush his teeth, and can tell that his brother is absolutely furious, and that in a few minutes he's going to have Bill under him on this very bed. And if Bill wants to fight back, so be it because it'll only be sweeter. He'll only coil his body around his brother tighter. And if Tom searched his feelings a little bit deeper, he knows that this isn't about the fallout or consequences, it's that he just really wants to be close to his brother again.

So he's got an enormous grin on his face and stands up to block Bill's way out of the bathroom, to really egg him on, and Bill looks murderous at this point. He can't take it anymore. The blond singer pushes hard against Tom's chest and chastises as loud as he dares, "You fucking ass!"

The fight has begun, just as Tom had been waiting for. Tom steps back into Bill's space and Bill bristles, but still spits out his words just as before. "You told the world, Tom! The world! What the fuck?!"

"I told them I find you hot. Don't you agree?" Tom says. He has the most annoyingly smug and boastful look on his face, and he's audaciously calm while he says it, which Bill finds infuriating. He pushes at Tom and Tom lets him. Even takes a few of his punches, but that smile doesn't subside.

"Are you stupid or something, Tom?! Did you switch brains with Georg or something? How can you say that -- that stuff to a whole room of those silly little girls?! It's going to be on every single blog by tomorrow, if it isn't already!"

"Quiet down," Tom placates, though he's still rather cheeky. "You're the one that's been all love who loves you back, and equality, and gender doesn't matter lately. Why can't I?" His specifically pitchy words mock specific things Bill has said about his sexuality in recent interviews.

Bill pushes him again, until the back of Tom's knees reach the bed and he almost falls over. "We can't both say that kind of shit. You have a girlfriend. You're still the one the fangirls drool over."

"Sure Bill, like this has anything to do with public relations right now. Be honest and tell me you're angry I said you're hot." Tom's look is challenging and Bill pauses to consider.

"Fine," Bill says. "I'm angry you said that." 

"And what's your big problem with it? No one knew it was about you."

Bill rolls his eyes. "If I can't hide behind PR, nor can you Tom. Just cuz they don't know you're talking about me, doesn't mean you can say those things about me."

And Bill has fallen into Tom's trap. Because Tom couldn't wait to pull him by the wrist and topple him onto the bed. Bill is completely breathless with shock as in the next instant his body is covered with Tom and Tom's mouth is on his again. "Ugh-mm!" he tries to protest. But Tom is merciless. He kisses him deeply, trapping his hands, and sliding his body over his, until Bill melts beneath him. It's been taking less and less time for Bill to give in, and even through Bill's fury, it only takes him a few seconds this time before he's boneless and pliant for Tom. And finally Tom releases his lips, now wet and kiss-bruised, and looks down at him so smugly. "And why exactly do you have a problem with me saying you're hot, when you've been parading around like you're hot-shit since we were ten?"

Bill has no answer. Not while Tom is looking at him like that, like he's some sort of delicious dessert waiting to be ravaged. He gulps and all his will-power dissolves. And he has to close his eyes because Tom's got him and he can't say the same thing again. He's already said it. Because we're brothers.Because Tom doesn't seem to give a shit that they're brothers when they make out.

So Tom waits, and Bill squirms nervously, and finally Bill says, "You know, I could ask you why you like making out with me so much lately." His eyes are narrowed as he looks up at Tom with vengeance.

And even though Bill thinks he's made a great comeback, Tom blindsides him again when he responds quite simply that, "I just like it when you're happy." And it's true. The best part about all this is seeing his brother happy and knowing he did it -- it just makes Tom's heart dance.

Bill has that vacant and flabbergasted look on his face again. So Tom cuts through his thoughts and shock and just kisses him again. Because this makes both of them happy. It's softer this time, Tom isn't as forceful, he's just good and loving and there for Bill when his brother needs him most. Now that his hands are free again, Bill winds his fingers into Tom's shirt and pulls him closer, deepening their kiss, running his tongue over his twin's lips. He's lost in paradise, and isn't thinking about why he shouldn't be doing this right now. Tom feels too good.

They haven't done more than kiss and cuddle since that first time coming together two weeks ago, but Tom is determined to get there again this time. He's got Bill on his bed and the warmth of his body is driving him insane. He won't let go of Bill's mouth, but at the same time he slides his hands under Bill's shirt and rides it up his body. His fingers play over his tattoos and ribs and when he pinches at a nipple Bill moans into his mouth. This just isn't enough. Tom pulls back, pulls off his own shirt, drags Bill's off of him too before he can protest, and then settles back over his chest. His lips find their way into the crook of Bill's neck, where he's hot and beginning to sweat, along with whatever's dried on him from their show earlier, and the scent is overpowering. Tom can taste Bill on his tongue and he wants more of it. He licks and nips over his neck and moves lower, over his collar bones, then sucks a nipple into his mouth. It makes Bill moan low and long, and buck up into Tom's body. Tom keeps sucking and kissing at every part he can reach, and he can feel the way Bill's heart rate is speeding up. He can feel his brother's hips gyrating more insistently against his own, and he rubs back onto him.

"Oh god… Tomi," Bill is mewling. And Tom knows what he wants to do next. He's traveled down Bill's body and he's working on getting Bill's pants off now. With those, follow Bill's underwear, until he's completely bare and panting beneath Tom. Tom's got a hand wrapped around Bill's dick, and he's looking at him to see if Bill likes it.

Not that all those noises weren't a good clue thus far, but Tom still wants to make sure he isn't hurting Bill, because he knows Bill is rather hard on himself in these matters. But this time, he looks completely blissed out, eyes closed and arms thrown wide against the bedcovers, not a complaint in sight and that's exactly how Tom wants it. He leans down the final few inches and takes Bill into his mouth. Bill squeals and his body tenses reflexively before relaxing again. "Oh -- ohhh," Bill moans, and it's driving Tom insane. He works his mouth over Bill's erection and all he can think is how much he loves Bill's scent. It's the most potent down here, and it feels like something that's been wrapped around him since birth, just more heady and seductive now. But still Bill. Otherwise there would be no way in hell he'd have a dick in his mouth. But this one, Bill's, he likes. He rolls his tongue over the head and Bill cries out ever so sweetly in response. 

Tom doesn't think he's particularly skilled at giving blowjobs -- after all, this is his first one -- but he makes up for it with zeal. He listens for what makes Bill moan, and the way he curves his body or bucks up into his mouth, and does whatever seems to work. And it's definitely working. He's never seen his brother like this before. He looks up and tries to imprint this beautiful picture into his memory. Bill's spread-eagle and lithe and moaning his name in the most obscene way. He's close now. So Tom pumps him with a hand, along with his mouth, sucks him powerfully each time, and keeps his hips steady with his other hand, and Bill comes then. The most amazing pained sound escapes his throat and Tom wants to swallow that along with his seed. Which he does indeed swallow.

He didn't even think about what he was doing. He just did. He'd sucked Bill off, and he didn't care that it was super weird and illegal, not when it put that dazed smile on his twin's face. It warmed his heart. He hadn't seen Bill like this in ages. Not since they used to watch porn together as kids. He remembered even now, how he'd peeked an eye open and saw Bill in his climax that one time. It was the same sound, the same look on his face, except this time it was his doing. And Tom was proud of it.

He couldn't see the problem with any of this, not even when Bill came back to his senses to scold him. They lay together for a few minutes, during which time Tom had almost forgotten about his own erection. He was just rubbing against Bill's thigh lazily, with no real motivation. But then Bill had to ruin his moment and say, "Hey, you've gotta get off me."

Tom scoffs. "Whatever, Bill." But he does lift his head to look his brother in the eyes. Bill doesn't seem that angry this time. His expression isn't readable, but Tom doesn't care. He's holding on to Bill, nuzzling into his naked skin, breathing him in, and that's all he cares about in this moment. So he lays his head back down onto this brother's chest and completely disregards the rest of Bill's half-hearted complaints. 

They fall asleep that way.

When Tom wakes up the next morning, it's to an empty bed. Bill doesn't seem to be in the room and the clothes he'd been rid of last night are also gone. Tom's still got his jeans on however, and he pulls his phone from his pocket to look at the time. His brother probably went to breakfast without him.

There isn't much time to laze around so Tom makes haste to get in the shower. He's still sticky from last night's show and rubbing against his brother. The memory of Bill beneath him, moaning, mewling his name, comes back to him as he sits under the hot spray of water. It's a good memory, Tom decides. Then he remembers that he's declared for all the world that he kissed a boy, and it makes him laugh. Less than a decade ago, Tom would have been completely aghast and repulsed by having that be part of his public image, but he's cooled down a lot since then. As youth wore off, so did his anxiety and brashness towards these kind of sexual topics. Living in LA also loosened him up. Maybe more than required, and definitely more than Bill, now that he's thinking about it. Tom sighs. He realizes now that whatever's been going on between him and Bill lately is probably a bigger deal than he's acting like. Bill's probably not going to talk to him for the rest of the day. Sigh.

So he makes his way onto the bus, and surprise-surprise he's the last one on board and David is bitching that if he'd been a second later, he would have dragged him out of bed himself.

Tom brushes him off and goes to look for his twin. 

Bill is curled up with his iPhone in his bunk, exactly how Tom expected him to be. "Hey," he tries saying but Bill just scowls at him and ignores him. "Silent treatment again? Really?" Bill throws him a dirty look, but it's not too intimidating, and without any real venom Tom is reading it more like, "I'd just like to be alone now." "Fine," says Tom, "We'll talk later, when you're ready." He sighs and leaves.

He immerses himself in his laptop and a new song he's been playing with lately, tinkering and tuning it, and it's just not sounding right. Tom's mind drifts to Bill. 

Bill likes him, right? That's why he pushes him away. Tom tries to figure out what on earth his brother is thinking; he thinks maybe he needs to devote at least a little thought to the matter now that he feels wrapped up in it as well. So Bill does or doesn't want him sexually? Tom supposes he does, but that he's just scared of the repercussions. He could put Bill's mind at ease about that -- they're not going to get caught if they're not stupid. In which case, Tom should lock the doors behind which he chooses to maul Bill against. And maybe Tom can keep his secrets to himself instead of sharing them with prying fangirls at meet-and-greets. That too.

It's a surprise when Bill comes to sit with him in the tourbus kitchen/dining area. There's the video guy, the G's, David, and a few others sitting around their respective laptops, immersed in their work, and munching on various snacks. Bill's brought a muffin with him and breaks off half for Tom. Actually, it's probably not that surprising that Bill's come to find him in this moment -- after all, the twins often find themselves inadvertently thinking of the same things at the same times.

Perhaps the surprising part is that Bill has a small smile on his face when he sits down opposite Tom. "Hey," he says, and Tom's heart skips pleasantly.

"Hey," he responds, and for the sake of all the people in the room that don't need to be tipped off to any funny business, he tries to keep his voice casual. Inside however, he's excited to have Bill near him again. Was he forgiven?

Bill is apparently a mind-reader, because that's exactly what he says. "By the way, you're forgiven for last night." His smile is shy, but Tom is beaming.

"Oh yeah?" he asks. "So, did you like it?"

Bill sucks in his bottom lip and glances around. There's no way anyone would know what they were talking about, but he still doesn't feel like saying too much just now. "Maybe."

Tom chuckles. "Ok. Good." They can leave the conversation about why for later.

Later comes after they've checked into the hotel at their next destination. It's almost morning, and they're not playing a show that night. They're about a day early, and even though they should catch a few more hours of sleep before the plenty of other work they have to do, Tom pulls Bill into their hotel room and kisses him against the door as soon as they're on the other side of it.

Even if this is all they do tonight, Tom just wanted to kiss his twin and feel him near again.

Bill lets him. They kiss soft and slow, and Tom buries a hand under Bill's shirt to explore. Bill's got his fingers in Tom's hair and he's pulling him closer, lifting a leg to wrap around the elder's waist until Tom picks him up and Bill wraps both legs around his brother. Tom presses him into the door and his tongue into his mouth, and Bill exhales contentedly through his nose. It makes Tom smile into their kiss and break away. He carries Bill to the bed and drops him on it.

This time, Bill doesn't protest. He lays where he's been deposited and waits, watching as Tom pulls his own shirt off, and then Bill's. 

"So why are you so quiet today? Aren't you gonna kick me in the ribs or something?" Tom chides good-naturedly.

Bill shrugs, but indeed he doesn't look upset right now. Whatever he did alone in that bunk in the morning hours, something must have sorted out for him and suddenly Tom is very interested to find out what.

"So do you want me to do the same thing as last night, is that it?"

Bill shakes his head this time.

"Ok, so what then?" Tom asks, and when Bill shrugs again, Tom laughs. "Say it with words."

"Um, I dunno," says Bill finally. "I don't understand anything. I don't even know what I'm angry about anymore." Tom lifts a very Bill-like eyebrow. This mysterious monologue isn't very enlightening, but luckily Bill seems like he's going to say more. Tom knows him well enough to sense these things. Even when it takes a while. Bill sighs and takes Tom's hand in his, and Tom settles down to curl around him, and then Bill's ready to talk some more. "At first I wanted to kiss you. I thought you were an enigma -- something that was just fascinating and forbidden and I wanted to experience what the fuss was about." Tom chuckles but waits for him to continue. "And then I like, really really wanted to," says Bill, and while Tom pokes him in the ribs, he covers his face in embarrassment.

"Yeah?" Tom prompts. "C'mon, I'm dying to hear more." He's playful but not unkind.

Bill doesn't uncover his face, but at least he keeps talking. "Tomi, I don't know what's going on, but I think -- oh god -- I don't know." His voice breaks a bit and Tom brushes away a few errant locks of his hair. 

"If you're gonna say you like fooling around with me, I already know."

Bill breath hitches and he peeks out from under his hands. "Yeah, but it's a bit more than that I think." His voice is meek and sweet and makes Tom want to cuddle him because he's so cute.

"What are you afraid of, Bill? Do you even know?"

Bill bites his lip and drops his hands. Instead he wraps his arms around Tom's neck and draws him into a tight embrace. "Tomi… don't let me go. Please." He grips Tom even tighter and Tom holds him, stroking his hair. His brother is fragile in this moment, so Tom keeps him close, petting and caressing, and it doesn't matter that they're practically grown men these days. They'll always be like this, and Tom's glad it hasn't changed. They used to lay together like this back when they were teenagers, when they weren't so good at dealing with the pressures of being on the road and with publicity. Bill would crawl into his bunk on tour and Tom would hold him for hours just like this.

Time passes. They idle in each other's arms until Bill's made up his mind, that he's strong enough to admit what he feels. He calls Tom's name, and Tom grunts to acknowledge it.

This time Bill's the one that crawls over Tom's body, and Tom doesn't mind. He likes looking up at the expanse of skin and necklaces and tattoos because it's his brother above him. But Bill's got this funny melancholy look on his face and it's breaking Tom's heart a little. He reaches up to stroke Bill's jaw, as tenderly as he can. The younger twin's eyes turn glassy with unshed tears, and before Tom had wrapped his arms around him fully again, Bill says something earth-shattering. 

"I think I'm falling in love with you."

No, Tom doesn't know how to react to that. He freezes, his eyes locked on his twin above him, and as he watches, trying to sort out how, why, how, what, something -- anything -- a tear trails down Bill's cheek and lands with a tiny splash on Tom's nose. 

Then Bill breaks down completely. He crumples into his brother's body, sobbing, nervous howls pouring from his throat and soaking into Tom. "I -- I'm sorry. I don't know. I -- don't know…" he says through his tears. He's quaking terribly in Tom's arms and Tom's heart is breaking. He never thought it would be anything like this. Whatever Bill had to confess, Tom didn't think it would be this. This is too deep. He wants to hold Bill and make the pain go away, but he has no idea how. He's still in shock.

And this is too deep. Bill means it, that "in love" thing, Tom knows. Even if Bill might not fully know or understand how or why, Tom knows already that what Bill said is probably very true. Even if he's unsure and confused. Tom's confused too, but slowly he's beginning to understand why Bill's been so distant. He wants to berate himself now for not seeing it sooner, for not realizing that his brother wouldn't pull away like that for something trivial. 

"I'm not going to leave you. No matter what," Tom says. "So you don't have to be afraid."

Bill sniffles into his shoulder. "I'm not afraid you'll leave. I never have been."

"Then what is it?"

"I'm terrified that you're the love of my life. That this is it for me… I've had the feeling for so many years now, and I wanted so badly to not connect it to what I felt when I wanted to kiss you. I told myself my jealously was something else. But," and then Bill buries his face into Tom's neck to cover up a new wave of tears and Tom pets his back. It takes him a little while to recover again so he can keep talking. When he does, he stays hidden in Tom's embrace, and speaks into his neck and Tom can hear even the smallest noises he makes, and can feel his breath and heartbeat so near they could be his own. 

"I don't know how to resist you," Bill says, "You're like an undertow pulling me closer constantly. Even when you're with other people, even when there's a room full of them..." 

Bill's words are like butterflies and giant heavy weights at the same time. On one hand, they're ghosting ever so enchantingly over Tom's heart. On the other hand, they're settling like boulders over his lungs, constricting his airways. 

"I can't fight it, Tom. I'm not strong enough. I need you. Even though I know that by saying this I'm probably crippling you emotionally. I'm so sorry…"

Tom breathes. He concentrates to make sure he still has air. There's nothing else he can do. He feels completely overwhelmed and that's just the start of it. 

"Tomi…" 

"Yes, Bill?"

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be sorry. I love you. I'm not leaving."

Bill squeezes him like his life depends on it. "Please don't leave me."

"I'm right here. I always will be," Tom says. And he knows it's true. But he also knows that what Bill's just confessed will change his life. He needs time to think. 

They have a home, they have friends, a band, Tom has a girlfriend, they have fans. This affects everything. And although Tom wants to give Bill everything -- he wishes so much that he could say those words back to him immediately and mean them so that all Bill's worries would be gone and they could live happily ever after -- he can't. No matter how much he wants to, no matter how much he loves Bill, no matter how much he wants to sacrifice everything and just give him everything on a platter, he knows life isn't that easy. Tom can feel vividly now the difference between what he thinks he feels for Bill and what Bill just described.

He needs more time to think. He rubs at his temples and shuts his eyes. Bill's breathing has settled and Tom can still feel it in little puffs right below his ear. Bill is still holding him like a big teddy bear and Tom is happy that he's the one his brother is holding on to.

After that, Tom stops kissing Bill in random corners, and Bill tries his best not to slink out of Tom's embraces. But it's hard.

Adjusting to this new knowledge is just hard. Tom wants to hold onto Bill so much, to squeeze him and never let him go, to take all the pain and uncertainty away. And Bill wants to let him, but it hurts to know that as close as Tom is, he's also a mile away.

Because Tom has Ria, and after her, he'll have another girlfriend, and other one, like normal people do. And even if Bill knows he comes first, above anything else in Tom's life, he knows Tom isn't like him. Tom could and would give him all the sex he could ever want, he'd reach up and pluck the Moon from the sky for Bill, he'd stay with him and be with him if Bill asked him to… and they could forget that there's a tiny difference between "love" and "in love"… but that's not fair. 

It's just not fair.

And so they both cry alone at night. Tom for all the things he wants to give Bill, and Bill for all the things he doesn't want Tom to sacrifice.

And when it becomes too much to bear, they cry together. And Tom kisses him then. On the mouth, over his eyelids, and nose and cheeks, and whispers how much he loves him. 

Months later, they're at home in LA again, and the Feel It All Tour has been over for so long that Tom can't even remember the set-list or cities any more. These things fade after a while. The twins' life has gone back to normal, mostly. Perhaps there are minor changes, but for all intents and purposes, they've gone back into the studio, working on the next batch of music and no one was the wiser that anything drastic may have happened.

Tom is at Ria's apartment watching her put on makeup one morning. They'd been on a date yesterday, fucked thoroughly, he had spent the night, and now they're about to go out for breakfast. Bill is at home -- their home -- probably still asleep and Tom's mind wanders to his twin. He imagines sleeping next to him. Because they've done that quite a lot since the last tour, and he thinks there's no better way to wake up than in his brother's arms. He remembers how he often kisses Bill's forehead when they wake up like that and how Bill wrinkles his nose cutely. Tom wants to be there now, wants to be there when he wakes up so he can kiss him and tell him he loves him. But there's a waving hand in his face and its owner is trying to distract him from his daydream.

"Hey, are you ready to go?" Ria says. She's got a bright playful smile on her face, probably because Tom had just zoned out, and her eyes are painted rather darker than normal. It reminds Tom of how Bill used to do his makeup when they were teenagers. How he was always the belle of the ball, how he still is. How whenever he enters a room, it lights up because he's the sunshine. How Tom would die without that light by his side. And he thinks that even though Ria looks very pretty this morning, he suddenly wants to drop their plans and go home to his brother.

"Yeah," Tom replies. But it's taken him far too long, and his girlfriend is looking back at him a little worried.

"Are you ok?" She reaches out to push a lock of Tom's hair behind his ear, but Tom grabs her hand mid-air. He wants to cry suddenly. "Hey, hey… what's going on?" Her voice is worried and Tom doesn't blame her. It's not the first time Tom's felt like running away just to see his brother. He feels stupid, and he can't tell her why, he never does, but just so that she can't see his face, he pulls her into a tight hug and she softens against him. Tom really wants to cry now. He has no idea what's wrong with him, but he knows there's something wrong.

Ria's arms reach around his back and she strokes lovingly even though she has no idea what Tom is feeling. He's a great guy, he really is, but his life has been a strange one, one she can't relate to, and so she knows he's damaged in ways she can't heal. So she holds him. 

They've been together for years now. It's been mostly good. The biggest hurdle was accepting that with Tom comes Bill. And then accepting that although Tom never said it harshly or so directly, that Bill would always come first above her. Other than that, it was good. But lately she's felt him pulling away. It was the same Tom, they'd do the same things, go on the same dates, but he zoned out sometimes and she was sure he barely noticed it himself. Last week, he'd almost forgotten they were in the middle of sex. At least, that's what it looked like even though he tried to deny it. So Ria's been wondering for a while now if Tom had met someone else. And even though she knows that if she brings this up now it's going to completely ruin their breakfast-date, she finally finds a voice for the question. "Tom, listen… is there someone else?"

As she's saying those words she thinks she must be crazy, because Tom wouldn't cheat on her, and suddenly feels bad for asking. She expects him to say, "What? What are you talking about?" and laugh it off; but instead she is crushed into his body suddenly. 

His hug has turned painful and it's flipped her world around. Because Tom hasn't said or denied anything, and she doesn't know what that's supposed to mean, but she knows it's not good. Ria wants to ask what's going on, but before she can, she feels a wracked sob shudder through Tom's body. She feels him shaking and there's no mistaking that Tom is crying now, and she has no idea what to say. He's holding on to her small body and crying into her hair and she's never seen another human being do that in her whole life. Add to that, the fact that we're talking about big, strong, emotionally stable Tom Kaulitz, and she's absolutely speechless. There's nothing to do but wait.

"I'm sorry," are the first words he says after. He's still holding her, not showing her his face, but he's calmed down enough to talk properly. "I didn't mean to worry you. I'm ok, I promise." He doesn't seem all that ok though, because she still feels like a ragdoll in his arms.

"Will you tell me what's wrong?"

He inhales deeply and it feels strained. "I -- I'm in love with someone and I only just figured it out."

"What?!" she yells, and fiercely tries to bat him away from her, because -- "WHAT?! What are you talking about, who?!" In her heart she knows already that he's not talking about her, and yet he won't let her escape his hold.

"I love you, Ri. I really do, you have to believe me, and I'm so sorry." His voice is calm. Too calm, and it's infuriating. Especially since he's still got his arms around her.

Ria is bordering on hysterical now, punching little fists at him, while he still holds on. "Let me go, Tom! Let me go, you bastard!"

"I'm afraid. Please don't hate me." His voice is still calm, but smaller this time, and she stops struggling. "I never wanted to hurt you… I love you."

"But there's someone else?"

Tom nods and she can feel his chin move over her head. "I'm scared, Ri… I don't even know how to describe it." The way he says that, it feels like a whole different person than the Tom she knows and she can't abuse him for this right now. They've been together for too long for her to be cruel like that. She just wants to hear him explain, because this is a part of him she's never seen before.

"I thought I knew what love was. I've been running from it for years because I thought I had it already, and then he had to open his big mouth and say that," Tom says. His tone is sad but also contemptuous, and he wants to slap himself for being so stupid. He's been trying to work out his feelings ever since Bill said he was in love with him. "And now I think I've fallen, but I think I'm scared that I was always here…" He sighs raggedly. Ria wants to ask what on earth he's talking about, and whom about, but his monologue cuts off her thoughts. "I wonder if I ever understood love. Was is right in front of me? Is that possible -- to be in love and not know it?"

She desperately wants to ask who he's suddenly discovered he's in love with, especially since she can't fathom when he could have had time to date this other person, but instead she asks, "So what is it that's so scary?"

He laughs. It's a sad broken laugh, but that's what it is. He lets her go then, and she reaches up to dry his face, but he beats her to it. Tom wipes his shirt-sleeve over his eyes and nose in the same uncoordinated way children do, and he shakes his head. 

"Because I could have gone my whole life loving him and not knowing that that was it. That it was right there." He seems mesmerized, and suddenly she gets the worst idea ever -- she thinks she knows who he's talking about and she pushes him away brusquely. He's got a happy dazed look on his face, like he didn't even notice the huge shove, and she hits him again.

"Tom! Tell me you're not talking about Bill! Tell me or I swear to --"

"Hey!" he yells then. Because Tom's just come back to his senses and won't tolerate anyone but himself saying anything about his twin. "Leave Bill out of this!"

Ria stares at him like he's grown antlers or something. She's seen him get defensive about his brother once before and it was scary. "How can I -- I mean, it's Bill, isn't it?" Ria's voice is lower now, just in case she's got it all wrong, praying she's misunderstood.

Tom narrows his eyes while he ponders his next words. She thinks he looks malicious for a second before he responds, "I love you. I do. So please don't hate me. Ok?" 

But Ria won't give him an answer until she gets one first. "It's Bill, isn't it? --"

Tom continues like she hadn't said a word, practically talks over her. "I love you, but I love someone else more than the air I breathe, and I can't give that up. This is the best I can explain it." He wipes a nervous hand over his brow, and says, "I need to go."

He's at the door already before she's processed that he means to go for good, and when she catches up to him, he's like the Tom she's always known again. She grabs his arm, but he removes her. "Take care, Ri," he says, not at all unkindly, and kisses her cheek. And then he leaves. He actually leaves! Ria runs after him to the elevator, but by this point she has no idea what to even say and the doors close, leaving her in an empty hallway. 

She slumps to the ground, wondering what on earth just happened in her life. 

---

Tom drives like a maniac to get home. He wants to get there before Bill wakes up. Just so he can be there, like he was in his daydreams.

When he arrives, he lets himself into the house as quietly as he can. Even though he didn't plan on spending time with their dogs, he's swallowed in a hoard of them in the foyer, excited as they always are in the mornings, and so he stops to fill their bowls with kibble and scratch behind their ears.

Then he looks at his phone and realizes Bill is probably already awake. Nonetheless, he kicks off his shoes and takes the stairs two at a time. In three more strides he's at Bill's bedroom door and his heart is pounding.

He opens the door but finds Bill's room is empty. It takes Tom a second to recover, but when he finds Bill cuddled in his bed, squeezing Tom's favorite pillow in his sleep, he knows he should have checked here first. Because yes, Tom has a favorite pillow. And yes, Bill's developed a habit of stealing it to sleep with it when Tom's not around. But now Bill is in Tom's bed, and Tom thinks this couldn't be more perfect.

He pulls his hoodie over his head, leaves his jeans in a pile by the bed, and then removes the pillow from Bill's grasp. It wakes Bill up but Tom isn't sad. He's here in time to see it, and he wants to be here every morning. Every morning until forever, he promises. He kisses Bill's forehead and gets under the covers with him. 

"Tomi?" Bill stirs.

"I'm here," Tom replies. 

His brother probably wanted to chastise him for taking his pillow away, but when Tom settles into Bill arms as the replacement, Bill doesn't seem bothered any more. "You're here," Bill says sleepily. He hugs Tom to him and closes his eyes again.

"I'm here. I'll always be here."


---

 

THE END.