Chapter 18

Or

What Do You Mean We "Accidentally" Got Married?

Las Vegas turned out to be a great place to go, and a terrible place to go, when you've got thousands of dollars to burn. Thankfully Kili had some sense to not throw all of his money into gambling, but it was the food, and especially the alcohol, tab that was the most embarrassing to look at.

And he loved it.

He was also thankful that when he got drunk he took a lot of pictures and videos, and every morning of their five days in Las Vegas started with them all crowding around, groaning over their hang overs, and looking through Kili's phone to better remember what had happened the night before.

The first night was to be expected, after a long day of traveling they had gotten to Las Vegas, gambled a bit at their hotel, and seen a really awesome show. Or it looked awesome, none of them actually remembered it, and Kili was almost positive they had all passed out from exhaustion half way through the show because that's where his videos and photos ended. It would also explain how all four of them were still fully dressed, for the most part, when they woke up the next morning. Fili was the only one who had enough drunk sense to at least take off his shoes. Collin had managed to take off a belt, a shoe, and a sock. Kili has gotten his jacket off. Bran had managed to put on the complementary bathrobes and a hat.

No one knew where the hat came from.

The second night was another show that they all remembered this time, but they didn't remember when Fili won a jackpot, there was video evidence, and then somehow lost it, Fili's account was down by 2,000 the next morning. They had also at some point gone to a gay bar, or maybe it was a strip club for women, all Kili knew was that there were a lot of naked guys on poles on his phone the next morning and two messages from contacts he didn't recognize. Fili has one, Bran had two and a dick pic, and Collin managed to get six numbers and four pictures of people he didn't recognize. Bran's obvious jealous was adorable, and Kili and Fili made plenty of dirty jokes and innuendoes for the two love birds. There was also a noticeable hickey on Bran's back, but when it was pointed out Collin's pleased expression cast away any questions about where it might have come from.

The third day was the especially fun day. Bran and Collin had gotten so drunkenly affectionate that by mid afternoon they had gotten each other engagement rings. Kili and Fili weren't even tipsy at that point, and were highly entertained by Bran and Collin trying to one up each other with the engagement rings. It lasted so long that they both sobered up and stopped, but Kili passed a note to the clerk to hold the two rings in their sizes, just in case.

Kili had decided to go easy on the drinking that night, but continued with the pictures and videos for the sake of the others, and was glad he was mostly sober when Bran and Collin had decided to get married, which led to a hilarious and slightly painful conversation the next morning.

"Ooooh god, what happened next?" Bran laughed until he was in pain, Kili flipping to the next item in his phone to show them the discussion to get married. Bran and Collin went quiet, and Kili wondered if he should have deleted this part of the night. Did they really not remember?

"HAHA! Oh God!" Collin laughed, blushing in embarrassment and nudged Bran. "I can't believe we accidentally got married!"

Bran, however, wasn't laughing, and the look of hurt made everyone go quiet.

"What do you mean we 'accidently' got married? I was being serious when I proposed. Was… was it really a joke to you?" Bran admitted, humiliated and hurt and blinking back tears.

"Oh… oh god…" Collin stammered before he swallowed and fought back tears himself, "I thought you were joking!"

"Ha! Of course I was joking! Come on, a Vegas wedding? Seriously?!" Bran laughed far too forcefully, and Kili and Fili winced and wanted to get out of the room.

"I was being serious. I remember saying yes and marrying you, and I meant it." Collin admitted, Bran's fake laugh and smirk breaking in shock.

"Seriously?" Bran's smile was timid, but encouraged by Collin's nod.

"Seriously." Collin confirmed. Fili groaned and slapped his forehead.

"JUST KI- oh okay wow, you guys did not need any encouragement." Fili laughed as his order was fulfilled before he could finish making it, Collin and Bran going at it. Kili tapped Fili on the shoulder and motioned toward the door, glad he had saved those rings now.

Bran and Collin were quite pleased to have their engagement rings, short lived though it was, and Fili and Kili were glad to be out of their hotel room given the state of Bran, Collin, the couch, and the bed was in when they got back.

The fourth night was a proper celebration for the newlyweds now that they both realized they had been serious about marrying each other.

The fifth day involved getting Bran and Collin proper wedding bands, and enjoying their last night in Vegas before heading home with almost empty pockets.

At least, it was supposed to be enjoyable, until the news story broke out.

Kili saw the news first when he went to go grab some food from the bar for everyone, seeing the breaking news story for the evening. He couldn't hear what the tv was saying, the sound probably wasn't even turned on, but he could read the text along the bottom.

"ALASKAN MERMAID HOAX PROVED REAL - FOUND ALIVE AND CAUGHT - TAKEN TO PRIVATE AQUARIUM FOR STUDY – PUBLIC REVEAL TO BE ANNOUNCED"

The picture was of a man Kili didn't know, no doubt assuming responsibility, and a clip of Tauriel thrashing while being loaded onto a truck.

"Kili?" Fili shouted at his brother when Kili dropped off the food at their table, too drunk to control his volume but still sharp enough to tell something was wrong.

"Kili?! Where are you going?" Bran shouted when Kili turned and left without a word.

"What was that about?" Collin whisper shouted to the other two at the table, but neither had an answer.

"Maybe some bad alcohol or food?" Fili suggested with a shrug, wondering if he should follow his brother or not.

"FREE DRINKS ON ME! I JUST WON ME A BET THAT MERMAIDS ARE FUCKING REAL!" The screaming over the bar's intercom got their attention, making them quickly look at the tv and their phones to check the news.

"Shit." Fili was up and out of the bar before those free drinks could be had, Collin and Bran behind him, as he rushed back to the hotel room.

To his relief Kili was there and had not wandered off somewhere in distress.

"It's my fault." Kili mumbled, sitting in the dark as he hadn't bothered to turn on the lights when he got to the hotel suite.

"She's captured and locked in some tank somewhere and oh God it's all my fault," Kili choked, unable to stop guilt ridden sobs from wracking his body, not caring that his brother and best friends were now there and could see him.

"We'll figure something out," Fili didn't have anything else he could say. Kili might just be right, but they were all to blame. They had made her unafraid of humans, Bran and Collin and been responsible for putting a tracker on her, and now she was paying the price. Fili didn't know a way to convince Kili that it wasn't his fault, or their fault.

"I should have been there, I could have- I should have- maybe I could have stopped it and-" Kili broke down, unable to form words. Fili didn't have any words either, and sat with his brother instead. Kili accepted the comfort, turning into Fili as he sobbed, glad that Fili's arms were around him.

Bran turned on the light, motioning to the suitcases, and Collin started grabbing stuff.

"We'll pack up and see if we can get an earlier flight," Collin whispered to Fili, who nodded and mouthed 'thank you.' They knew Kili wanted to get back to Alaska immediately, he would want to go try to fix this and not let anything stop him, but for now they knew he needed to do this. They couldn't stop his guilt, and they all felt guilt, but what they could do was help Kili and let him lament and cry.

Bran stopped packing and left the room when he saw Fili tearing up, and Collin followed Bran to see what was wrong.

"We did this," Bran whispered to Collin, pacing and gripping his hair to try to keep calm.

"We're going to fix it."

"This is all our fault…" Bran muttered and Collin grabbed Bran to stop him from pacing.

"We are going to fix this." Collin said again, firmer, but before he could try to get Bran to focus on the task of packing to help move things along Bran was hugging him, swallowing hard, and holding back tears of his own.

In the other room Kili gripped his brother, swearing to himself that he was going to do whatever it took to get Tauriel back to the sea where she belonged. He owed her that much.