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Honesty

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Loud music blares from the speakers, drowning out the drunken laughter in the room. Chips and popcorn lie strewn across the floor, some of them crushed and walked on. Fili eyes the large stain on the couch. He suspects it’s beer. It better come off, or mother will kill them.

Uncaring, Kili laughs from across the room, a huge smile plastered on his face. It’s his birthday and he’s having some friends over for a party. Fili is there because, despite being three years older, they are still close and Kili insisted he stay. Dis also insisted, because she wanted him as chaperone, which also means he’ll get blamed if anything goes wrong. He sighs, warily eyeing the couch again.

Kili just turned nineteen, but judging from the mess and the fact that they’re playing spin the bottle, of all things, he may as well be turning fourteen. Fili snorts to himself, laughing at his own thoughts. He shakes his head and takes a long swing of beer from the can he’s holding. It’s already past midnight and he’s had a few, so he feels mellow and warm, softly smiling at everyone.

He’s sitting in the circle with the others, playing along, but he’s not really paying attention. All he knows is that they’re playing truth or dare and silently prays that the bottle never lands on him. So far, he’s been lucky.

There’s loud cheering as the bottle stops spinning, snapping Fili from his thoughts. He looks up and sees that it landed on his brother.

“Ah, nooo,” Kili whines and giggles, hiding his face in his hands, obviously more than a little drunk himself.

“Yeah, now we’re talking!” says the guy who spun the bottle. Fili thinks his name is Don. Or Dan. Something with D. “I have just the question,” he says with smug satisfaction. “You’ve been holding out on us and now you have to answer!”

“Aw, come on, Dan, not that again!” Kili pleads, rolling his eyes.

Fili watches the exchange, growing curious. He has no idea what this is about and that alone is very unusual. Kili always tells him everything, or so he thought.

“No way, you gotta tell us now. So, who’s this chick you’ve been obsessing over?”

Fili’s eyes go impossibly wide. He looks to Kili for confirmation and, seeing his discomfort, realises there’s some truth to it. He knew nothing about this, and that hurts.

“There’s no one, I’m telling you. Just let it go,” Kili insists, starting to get angry.

“You can either answer, or I get to dare you. And the dare is—” Dan pauses, draining his shot glass and looking around, searching for something impossible to ask. His eyes land on Fili and he grins. “If you won’t say, I dare you to kiss your brother. On the mouth!”

Fili’s head snaps up, his heart pounding wildly. What did he say? He couldn’t possibly mean that. “Hold on, you can’t just make me into a dare!”

“I just did,” Dan says, still grinning. “But you’re not gonna do it, are you, Kili? So just answer the question.”

Fili looks at his brother and from the stubborn set of his jaw and the angry look in his eyes, he knows that, yes, he definitely is. Kili hates being pressured into things and, as his friend, Dan really should know better. Bullying Kili into doing something never works.

“Stop this. Come on, this is stupid,” Fili insists, but Kili ignores him and stands, slightly unsteady from the drinks he’s had. He moves across the room towards Fili. There is a collective intake of breath as everyone in the room realises Kili chose the dare. Dan protests loudly, insisting Kili simply answer instead.

Fili watches it all, feeling his throat close up. Is this really going to happen? He can’t allow it and yet he can’t say no. He wants this. He’s wanted it for so long that he can’t even remember when it started. It’s his deepest, darkest secret, one he’s kept buried so deep he wouldn’t even admit it to himself.

As he struggles with himself, Kili is already there, kneeling beside him, a look of determination on his face. If Fili ever imagined doing this (and he had, on countless nights, when his dreams betrayed him), he never pictured Kili looking like this. He swallows thickly. He can hear the crowd laughing and catcalling, “French! French!” but the pounding of his heart drowns out everything else.

Their eyes lock as Kili grabs him by the shoulders. He leans in and time slows. Fili feels like falling under water, drowning, gasping, struggling for breath. It’s a simple press of lips, nothing more. It’s what they did a thousand times as children, but it is so much different.

Fili’s heart is thundering in his chest, a torrent of emotions threatening to break free. He wonders if his heart is loud enough for Kili to hear. Should he close his eyes? Should he move his lips? He should probably just step back and end this.

Before he can decide, Kili steps away, looking unfazed. Without meeting Fili’s eyes, he gets up and moves back to his spot on the floor.

“That wasn’t a proper kiss! It doesn’t count!” Dan argues once they’ve parted.

“Leave it, Dan,” Kili snaps. “I did your dare. You weren’t specific.”

Dan glares, but relents.

“Fine. I’ll come up with something impossible next time,” he warns, but he’s laughing and Kili joins in, shaking his head.

“You’re like a dog with a bone. Just let it go.”

“Nah, man, I know you’re hiding something and I’ll make you tell me. But for now, just spin the damn bottle.”

So Kili does and the silly game continues.

Fili tunes it out again, except, this time he isn’t comfortably enjoying his beer. It feels like his whole life changed in that single moment. He wants to go out and scream at the top of his lungs. He itches to cross the room and punch Dan for his stupid dare. He wants to shake Kili and curse him for following through. Instead, he drinks and drinks some more. He laughs along, smiles and jokes, pretending that his insides aren’t trying to crawl out of his throat.

Everyone forgets about the kiss right after it happens. And why shouldn’t they? It was a mere peck on the lips, no longer than a second. The only thing making it wrong were Fili’s own inappropriate feelings. He looks at Kili carelessly laughing from across the room, oblivious, and the guilt chokes him.

He sits there for another half hour, thankful that the bottle seems to hate him. Against all odds, it refuses to land on him. As soon as he’s convinced it wouldn’t look suspicious, he gets up to leave. He makes his excuses, saying he’s had too much to drink, and escapes the room.

Kili doesn’t even notice him go.

 


 

Fili wakes after a restless night and stretches. Lifting a hand, he rubs it over his face harshly. He has a mild headache. As he opens his eyes, he remembers the night before, driving blood to his head, making it instantly worse.

He closes his eyes again and touches his lips. How long has he wished for that? But it wasn’t what he wanted, not truly, and he curses fate for mocking him this way. He got to kiss Kili, but it was all wrong. And knowing there’s someone Kili actually likes now makes him feel even more pathetic. With all the stress, his head starts to pound.

He groans, pinching the bridge of his nose, and decides to leave the room in search of painkillers.

He gets water from the kitchen and downs the pills, drinking straight from the bottle. He’s still sitting at the table rubbing his temples when Kili walks in, letting out a loud yawn and stretching.

“Morning,” he says, voice rough with sleep. “Do you have the painkillers?”

“Yeah, here,” Fili says, handing them over. He offers the water as well and Kili takes it gratefully.

He throws his head back and drinks and Fili’s traitorous eyes follow the way his throat moves as he swallows. They focus on the way his lips glisten with water. Kili’s tongue flicks out, catching the drops, and Fili has to look away. He feels so guilty, he nearly makes himself sick.

Kili slides into the chair next to him, groaning loudly and letting his head fall down on the table.

“I feel like my head’s going to split open.”

“Just drink lots of water and you’ll be fine,” Fili chuckles and pets his hair, making Kili hum approvingly. The sound goes straight to Fili’s head, immediately making him tense and pull back. But it’s too late; heat is pooling in his stomach, twisting into knots. Touching was a bad idea.

 “Give me a massage.”

“A what?” Fili chokes out.

“Massage my head. This headache is killing me,” Kili asks again, his forehead still resting on the table.

Fili’s heart pounds wildly. There is no way he could agree to this. He needs to put some distance between them and not make this any worse than it already is. Touching Kili now would make him feel like a monster. He’d be abusing his brother’s trust, taking pleasure from innocent touches, instead of helping with his pain. Fili would not stoop so low.

“Don’t be such a baby,” he says instead. “You shouldn’t drink if you can’t take it.”

“You’re so mean to me,” Kili whines. He waits, but Fili does not budge, so he grumbles and gets up. “Fine, I’ll go take a shower. Maybe that’ll help.”

As soon as he’s gone, Fili lets out a sigh of relief. He drinks more water, willing the headache to go away and allow him to clear his mind.

Before he figures things out, Kili is already back, fresh from the shower. His hair is wet, clinging to his back, a towel wrapped around his waist. Fili can’t help but stare at the droplets of water covering his body as he stalks closer, stopping directly in front of him. The blue eyes move slowly, taking in the tanned skin, appraising the curves and muscles, trailing up and meeting brown. Kili looks confused, questioning, and he reaches out a hand.

“What?”

“The water,” Kili says, pointing. “I said give me the bottle.”

Fili realises he’s not only holding it, but clutching it tightly, twisting the cap. He quickly hands it over, running his hands trough his hair, needing to keep them occupied somehow. Kili takes a swig, looking at him oddly, sizing him up.

“Is something wrong?” he asks.

“What do you mean?”

“You’ve been weird all morning. Is something up?”

“Nah, I’ve just got a headache,” Fili dismisses the question.

“I’ve seen you with plenty of headaches, but you’re never this weird.”

“You’re imagining things,” Fili laughs, pretending Kili’s proximity isn’t setting his whole body on fire. Pretending he doesn’t want to reach out and taste the drops of waters sliding down Kili’s neck or feel the smooth skin of his chest. Pretending he isn’t craving to reach down, rip off the towel and let them both be damned.

He tries not to let his eyes wander. He faces Kili directly, not allowing himself to look away in shame, despite the sinful thoughts overwhelming his mind. But Kili isn’t buying it.

“You’re a terrible liar,” he says and Fili is like a deer caught in the headlights. Kili looks into his eyes and Fili feels like falling. Dropping from an endlessly tall skyscraper, waiting for the impact that will inevitably come. He feels desperate and afraid. He wonders what Kili sees in his eyes. A part of him wants Kili to know. Getting a small, teasing taste the night before made him want it all. It made him want to take what he denied himself for so long. And Kili is right there. So close, familiar and tempting.

Without realising, he looks at Kili’s mouth, torn and longing, giving the game away. Kili’s eyes widen, but Fili cannot see it. Unconsciously, he wets his lips and swallows.

Kili steps closer, crowding his space, and Fili snaps out of his thoughts, looking at him questioningly. Kili’s eyes are gentle, vulnerable and afraid. It makes Fili’s breath hitch. Kili’s fingers tangle in his hair, going to the back of his head, drawing him closer and Fili goes easily, willingly, as if in a dream.

Their kiss is nothing like the one before. Kili’s lips are firm and gentle, his hand holding Fili in place. Through a haze of emotions, feeling every point of contact, Fili kisses back. His nerve endings are on fire. Everything feels electrified, intensified. His fingers clutch at Kili’s hips, drawing him near, sliding up and down his spine, tracing droplets he saw earlier.

When Kili pulls back, Fili chokes back a whimper threatening to escape his mouth. He feels his lips tingle and desires nothing more than to kiss him again. They look at each other and Kili smiles, causing him to do the same. After that, no words are needed. Fili feels a million tons lighter, open and free. Finally daring, he pulls Kili down for another kiss.

This one is longer and more demanding. He sucks Kili’s lower lip into his mouth, grazing it lightly with his teeth. Kili’s lips part, inviting his tongue inside and he goes, sliding, teasing and pulling at Kili’s own, exploring his mouth. Kili tastes of toothpaste they both use, but it’s different, intoxicating, overwhelming Fili’s senses.

He feels Kili slide onto his lap and breaks the kiss, awkwardly trying to wriggle away. This is all new and sudden and way too fast and Fili is already painfully hard. He shuffles away, not wanting Kili to notice. But Kili always gets what he wants, so he presses closer, driving them together, and with a deep moan, Fili realises they’re in the same state.

They’re breathing hard, Kili’s forehead resting against his, a disbelieving smile on his face. Fili’s hands roam across his back, exploring the skin and helping balance him where he sits. Without warning, Kili lets out a sharp laugh.

“In the end, Dan made me tell the truth, after all,” he responds to Fili’s questioning look and they both laugh, happy without secrets weighing them down.

Still smiling, Fili curls his fingers around his neck and pulls him down for another kiss.