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So Many Trips Around the Sun

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Fíli gets all the way to the kitchen before he realizes the lump of clothes in his armchair is not in fact his laundry. He's too hungover to be afraid, so he finds a bottle of beer and pops it open on the counter. It's definitely a person, he's sure of it. It's breathing. A small person, but a person.

He investigates closer. There's a coat and some other stuff lying neatly on the sofa that is in fact covered in laundry, though Fíli thinks that's Kíli's stuff. Definitely small, but not a kid. They're all curled up in the chair, and they seem pretty comfortable. It's a boy, his own age maybe. Decidedly non-threatening. No one with a clearly home-made matching set of mittens and hat is a threat. There's a scarf too. They're purple.

Besides, he thinks he has about two or three stone on the lad. Even curled up, Fíli can see how titchy he is.

“Hey,” he says, nudging him. “Hey, wake up.”

The boy makes a sound, and covers his face with his arm. Well, well, titchy he might be, but that's a tattoo on his forearm. Granted, it's a flower of some sort, but still, a tattoo.

“No, seriously, wake up,” Fíli insists, taking a drag of his beer. “I think you're lost.”

Now he opens his eyes, looks up at Fíli. He's sort of cute, for a home invader. Then again, most home invaders don't turn that shade of red.“Who are you?” he asks.

“My flat, so I get to ask the questions.” That seems to clear things up. The boy looks around the place, now lit, even if it is raining pretty hard, and turns even redder. “How did you even get in?”

“The window,” he admits. He's sort of talking to his knees more than Fíli. “This isn't Nori's flat.”

“My neighbour?” Their windows are right beside one another on the fire escape. He must have picked the wrong one. On another note, he should probably start locking that window. “No. I'm Fíli. I'm the right window. You were going for the left.” He looks around. “Do our places look that much alike?”

“Yes, in the dark,” the boy replies. “I did wonder when Nori got a cat.”

On the only clear spot on the sofa, Fíli's cat, Daisy, sleeps on. Some guard cat. Fíli kicks at the sofa, but she's not bothered. “So why exactly were you breaking into Nori's flat?” That seems like a bad idea to Fíli, just from the handful of conversations he's had with Nori.

“I wasn't,” he says, uncurling a little. “Nori's my older brother. I didn't want to go home drunk, so I went to see him, but he didn't answer his mobile. He always leaves his window unlocked for me. I'm sorry, I'm really sorry, I drank too much and got them mixed up...”

Fíli shrugs. “You didn't kill me in my sleep, or anything.” Not every day he wakes up to a boy in his flat. “I didn't know Nori had a brother.” What he knows about Nori could fit on a Post-It though. The list starts with vaguely terrifying and ends with hates Daisy.

“He has two,” he mumbles. “He's the middle brother. I'm Ori.” He finally stands up, Fíli moving aside for him. Either he's short or Fíli is tall, because he only comes up to Fíli's shoulder. “I'm really sorry about this.”

“Honest mistake.” Outside, thunder cracks and Ori jumps. Fíli grins. “How old are you, any way?”

“Nineteen,” he answers, smoothing his hair down. He really is cute. Fíli sort of wishes he'd slept without a shirt or something. He's more impressive that way. His hair probably doesn't look too good right now either. Damn, and he hasn't brushed his teeth either. “I'm really sorry. I mean, I really am.” Ori leans over to scratch Daisy's head, and the damn traitor rolls over for him, showing her belly. “I like your cat.”

Fíli eyes her. “She can be sweet when she likes.” She tends to hiss at Kíli, but he doesn't help by hissing back every time. Only Kíli would pick a fight with a cat.

Ori shifts back and forth, crossing his arms over his chest. “So, I'm just going to...go next door. Sorry, again. Really sorry.”

Maybe he should ask him to stay. He's not so hungover he can't dredge up some charm from somewhere. Ori is already halfway out the door though. No, he'll just wait, ask Nori about him later, see if he might be interested. Besides, Fíli needs a shower. He smells like last night.

After he gets himself cleaned up, and his head is a bit clearer, he thinks to pop next door. He'll just reassure Ori that there's no hard feelings.

Only Ori is sitting in the hall by Nori's door. When he sees Fíli, he turns red again. “Nori's not home and my mobile is dead,” he says. “And it's raining.”

On cue, thunder rumbles.

This day is working out in Fíli's favour after all. “Want to come in? This time you can even use the door.”

“Actually, if I could just use your window, I bet I could get into Nori's that way...”

Fíli waves him off. “I could use some company. And you could tell me how exactly you ended up climbing a fire escape in the middle of the night to go in through a window. I really want to hear the logic behind that.”

“I wouldn't say there was a whole lot of logic,” Ori says, following him in. He looks lost in Fíli's flat now, playing with the ends of his scarf. Daisy wanders over from her dish though, head-butting Ori. “Oh, hello again.” He stoops and picks her up, Fíli's wonderful cat choosing to be charming for once. Good cat. “Aren't you a sweet girl?”

“She's not usually so sweet,” Fíli says, coming closer.

“It's probably because I still smell like cigarettes. Cats love the smell.”

“You smoke?”

“No,” Ori puts Daisy down, though she immediately throws herself back at his legs, winding around him like Fíli isn't even in the room. “My friend Gimli does though. That's who I was drinking with last night. Which is how I ended up so drunk I couldn't tell right from left.” He still seems embarrassed. “I really am sorry about that. I can't believe I didn't notice.”

“Well, I tried it on with your brother once when I was drunk,” Fíli offers. “I think he threatened to stab me.”

Ori raises his eyebrows. “That sounds like Nori.”

“Good to know it wasn't just me.” It really is. It makes Fíli slightly less afraid of his neighbour. “So what about you? You threaten every lad that tries it on with you?”

Ori glances at him, and shakes his head. “No one ever has, so I don't know.” He smiles at the floor, and damn, Nori really might kill Fíli. He wagers a man like Nori is protective of someone like Ori. “Probably not.”

“I'll take your word for it.”

Turns out they use the same charger, and get Ori's mobile plugged in while he showers in Fíli's bathroom. Kíli and the rest of the family are over enough Fíli sometimes has a few packaged toothbrushes in the bottom drawer, courtesy of his mother, and lucky him, this is one of the times. He loans Ori a shirt, figuring that's all he has that will fit him.

“Nori still hasn't texted me,” Ori says, checking his mobile. “He must still be at work. Sorry. I could try his window.”

“No,” Fíli protests. “I've got food, if you want it. Or, I think I do.” He checks the fridge. Not much. Damn, and he was doing so well. “I could order?”

Ori keeps looking at him like he's waiting for Fíli to suddenly turn into a psycho. But he checks his pockets and comes up with some money, and Fíli calls the Chinese place around the corner. “Play a game?” he asks, when he sees Ori eyeing the game consoles.

By the time the food arrives, Fíli's casual attraction and interest has grown by leaps and bounds. Turns out Ori is smart, and likes most of the same things Fíli does, and he beats the one stupid level of Max: The Curse of Brotherhood for Fíli when he asks.

This is possibly one of the weirdest days of his life.

Outside, the storm keeps up, and absolutely no one Ori texts for a ride answers back, all still at work.

They get through the food and a few more levels of Max, taking turns on levels, and after that, he convinces Ori to watch a film. Kíli's clothes unceremoniously get shoved onto the floor, which Daisy takes as an invitation to nap on them. Serves Kíli right. “My brother's,” Fíli explains. “He lives at the dorms.”

“My brother wouldn't let me,” Ori replies. “Either of them. Dori was convinced I'd be distracted from my work, and Nori was convinced that I'd be...distracted, but not the same way Dori thought. They're both right.”

“So...” Fíli decides it's time to push his luck. “No boyfriend?”

Ori huffs, and says, “You're not very subtle.”

“Wasn't really going for subtle,” Fíli replies, and gets a laugh. “So, no boyfriend?”

“I broke into your flat,” Ori reminds him.

“Makes for a good story,” Fíli suggests.

“You live next door to my brother.”

“I will start locking the window.” He really should do that any way. Probably not safe.

“Oh my god, you're mad,” Ori says to his controller. “I broke into your flat, and you're trying to pick me up.”

“I'm just a very understanding kind of guy,” Fíli tries for charming, and it seems to work.

Ori grins, still more to the controller than Fíli. “All right. Give me your mobile.” He puts his number into Fíli's mobile, and hands it back. “And if I were you, I'd avoid Nori if he finds out. He won't really do anything, but he'll glare a lot.”

Ori's mobile goes off at the same time someone starts pounding on the door. Fíli answers without the chain at the same time Ori says, “Oh no.”

It's Nori on the other side of the door. Fíli thinks changing back into his trackies and his under-shirt was a bad plan now. Doesn't look good. Ori still wearing his shirt looks worse. He's going to die. He can feel it in the look Nori gives him when he sees Ori and looks back at Fíli.

“Christ, Nori, I didn't sleep with him,” Ori says, coming in front of Fíli right as Nori starts to step into the flat. “I'm not you. And even if I did, it's none of your business.”

“Dori trusts me to watch you when you're over -”

“Dori gives me condoms,” Ori shoots back.

Nori makes a face that makes him decidedly less creepy and a lot more human. “I didn't need to hear that.”

“He let me stay while you and everyone else was at work. And he let me use his shower. So stop it.” Ori being bossy sort of turns Fíli on. All right, if he's honest, most of Ori turns him on. Christ, this is a weird day.

“Fine, whatever, just let me get you home,” Nori says, grabbing at his arm. “Dori is about to have heart palpitations, by the way.”

“Yeah, fine,” Ori agrees. But before he goes, he turns back to Fíli. “Text me? I'll at least bring you back your shirt.”

“I can't deal with this,” Nori says, loud enough they can hear.

“I will,” Fíli promises. “You like old films? Cinema around the corner plays interesting stuff all the time.”

Ori smiles at him. “I do.”

“Really, I'll be sick,” Nori interrupts, tugging Ori alone. “I can't deal with this. Dori is going to blame me for this.”

“Nori, shut it,” Ori hisses, following after him.

Fíli watches him go, then shuts the door and goes back to the film. Kíli comes over around when Fíli is actually reading a book, coming for his laundry. “Hey,” he greets, leaning over the sofa. “What are you up to?”

“It was a weird day,” Fíli says.