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Encounter in the Dark

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When they were children, Fili and Kili used to be close, almost inseparable. Everyone knew them as Fili-and-Kili, a unit, two parts of a whole. It was almost unthinkable to have one without the other. Lately, however, things have changed. Kili had become withdrawn, seeking time to himself and going off alone.  Drinking, having friends of his own and getting into Mahal only knows what kind of trouble, Fili had no idea, since he tried to give him space. It still worried him, however. And above all, he missed Kili’s constant presence in his life, the companionship, his cheerful attitude, and even his stupid jokes.

So it was just an ordinary evening as Fili made his way home alone from a tavern. He walked down the dark, empty streets of Ered Luin, following the well known shortcuts that would lead him home, feeling the pleasant buzz of ale in his belly. He was deep in thought, so it took him a moment to realise that after turning a corner he almost stumbled into two shadowy figures, obscured by darkness.

He stopped, taking a look, and it was clear that they were two male dwarves kissing. Such a thing was deeply frowned upon in their society and for a moment, Fili felt a sense of admiration, even envy, for the two foolhardy dwarves. As an heir to the throne of Durin, he could never allow himself such a thing. And yet, he knew that his desires run deeper and darker than any in this city could fathom.

He allowed himself to look a second too long and he was spotted. The young fair-haired dwarf that was facing his way opened his eyes, and then widened them, almost comically. He stepped away from his partner, as if burnt, and his mouth opened soundlessly. Fili suppressed a laugh. The poor fellow must think Fili would report him or give him grief. He was just about to put his mind at ease, when the other dwarf turned around, looking straight at Fili and nothing could have prepared him for the shock that followed. He looked into his eyes, the gentle brown eyes he knew so well; the eyes of his little brother.

The blond dwarf inched away and quietly stammered, “I’ll be seeing you around, yeah?” before taking a few long strides and fleeing the alley. But Fili paid him no mind. His eyes were fixed on Kili and he couldn’t look away. Kili, who looked right back, unapologetic, with a stubborn set of his jaw.

“Well?” He challenged, but Fili remained quiet. The silence dragged on and it was clearly stretching Kili’s nerves thin. “Come on, say what you have and be done with it!”

Fili gave him another long look, before turning on his heel and exiting the alley. When he was gone, Kili took a shuddering breath, his face falling and stumbled backwards into a wall. He leaned back, resting his head against the cold bricks behind him and looked at the dark sky above. He took another deep breath and closed his eyes.

 


 

When Kili got home and climbed the stairs to reach the room he shared with Fili, the lights were already out. He took a long time coming home, because he roamed the streets, trying to clear his head. In the end, nothing helped, so he decided to head home and face his brother. But now it appeared he was already asleep. By the faint light of the moon, Kili could see the contour of his brother’s body, lying in his bed, facing away from him.

He quietly closed the door behind him and leaned against it, looking at Fili.

“Fee?” he whispered to the dark, quiet room.

Nothing.

“Are you awake,” he said a little louder, but still no more than a whisper. Fili said nothing, but he could hear his breathing speed up, which meant that he wasn’t asleep.

After a few more moments of silence, Kili pushed himself away from the door and quietly padded across the room. He reached Fili’s bed and slowly lowered himself to sit at the edge, careful not to touch his brother. He sat, stiff as a board for a few minutes, expecting something, anything to happen. When nothing did and the silence just dragged on, he sighed and leaned forward, placing his elbows on his knees.

“Won’t you even look at me? Do I disgust you that much now?”

At that, Fili bolted upright, making Kili flinch and jump at the sudden movement.

“Shut up!” He growled through his teeth. His eyes were blazing and he looked almost wild. For the first time in his life, Kili felt like he didn’t know his own brother. He had no idea what he might say or do.

Fili was shaking with quiet rage, his hands twisted in the sheets, so hard his knuckles were going numb. Kili must have looked taken aback, or even frightened, because after a few moments of their staring contest, Fili closed his eyes tightly and when he opened them again, something had shifted. He still looked rather wild, but there was hurt and deep sadness where the anger used to be. It confused Kili even more.

“You are an idiot,” Fili said harshly, but it somehow ended up sounding more fond than anything. He was rewarded with a confused look, followed by a tiny smile, which slowly turned into Kili’s trademark smirk. He ruffled his little brother’s hair, and at that, the smile finally reached his eyes.

“So, we’re good?” It’s been a long time since he’d heard his brother sound so young and vulnerable.

“Yeah,” he said, trying to smile back.

And he thought that would be the end of it. He really should have known better.

“But the way you ran off back there—“

“Kili...,” he said warningly.

“ you seemed really upset with me and I—“

“Let’s not talk about this.”

“want to know if you’ll be ok with me—“

“Not now and not ever.”

“going out and—what do you mean ‘not ever’?” His voice rose by the end of the question. “Are you just going to pretend this never happened? I want to have you in my life and not have to hide things from you! I miss us being close, Fee!”

Fili looked completely lost. There were so many emotions in his eyes when he finally looked at his brother, and Kili couldn’t even begin to unravel them all.

“I miss it, too... But you must give me time, Kee. You can’t just expect me to be ok with this. It came as a huge shock.”

“I know,” he sighed and leaned back on his elbows, facing away from his brother. “I know it was a shock and I know you can’t ever understand—“

“I understand a whole lot better than you think,” Fili muttered, before he could think better of it.

The silence that fell on the room after that could be cut with a knife. Kili slowly turned and faced his brother, but Fili seemed too fascinated with the quilt design to look up, his hands twisting in it once more.

“Fili? Fili, look at me.” The hands just kept twisting. “What did you mean by that?”

A smile spread Kili’s lips and he sounded excited and hopeful as he went on, “I was so afraid, so terrified you’d hate me, Fee! I had no idea you could be like me! This so great, can’t you see? I don’t care what anyone else says, as long as you don’t judge me and now I know you understand what it’s like—“

Fili’s breath hitched and he jumped out of bed, trying to escape to the other side of the room. He probably would have fled the house as well, if Kili hadn’t caught his arms in a tight grip.

“Let me go!” he sounded almost desperate. “It’s you who doesn’t understand, you couldn’t possibly understand!”

“Then make me understand!” he said, shaking his brother’s arms. Fili was looking down, so Kili reached down and cupped his face with his hand, urging him to look up. He did, and when their eyes met, the blue ones looked utterly hopeless and broken. Kili rubbed his cheek soothingly before settling a strong hand at the back of his neck. “Talk to me. Help me understand.”

Kili leaned down and rested his forehead against Fili’s, closing his eyes, feeling his brother’s breath on his face. His hand was still rubbing Fili’s neck in what he hoped was a soothing way, while the other one held him in place. His aim was to relax him, but in reality, Fili seemed to become more and more agitated with each passing second. So, he opened his eyes, mere inches away from Fili’s own, and whispered “Tell me what’s wrong.”

Then something broke.

With a strangled moan, Fili was set into motion and his hands landed on either side of Kili’s face. He mapped it out slowly, tenderly, one hand settling on the side of his face, so that he could run a thumb over the chapped lips, while the other travelled down, along Kili’s neck and arm, down the side of his body, and settled on his waist, drawing him nearer. Kili let himself be drawn and their bodies slotted together in perfect harmony. Fili moved that final distance, but instead of kissing Kili on the lips, he kissed the corner of his mouth and ran his lips along his jaw, over the stubble, in a clear display of desire. He stopped by Kili’s ear and whispered, “I’m wrong, Kee.”

He moved to step back, the desire in his eyes replaced by self-loathing one more, but Kili held him firmly in place.

“Oh, no, you don’t! You don’t get to do this and then run away, Fili!” Kili sounded as desperate as he felt, but he still didn’t dare to look at him.

“I’m sorry... You—“

Kili pushed him against the nearest wall and pressed their bodies together. Fili bit back a moan, closing his eyes, still trying to keep himself from reaching out. With his eyes closed, nothing could have prepared him for the shock of having his lips claimed in a sure, lingering kiss. He didn’t get a chance to respond before it was over. When he looked back at Kili, he was smiling gently at him.

“You’re the idiot.”

And then he was kissing him again, only this time, Fili had the presence of mind to respond. It was a clumsy first kiss, and Fili kept giggling, in relief, in disbelief and in complete, undiluted happiness, but it was all smiles, all them and all perfect.