AN: Okay, so first of all, disclaimer: I do not own these characters, they belong to the creators of Malcolm in the Middle. Alright, so this is a Malcolm/Reese story; it's a oneshot based around Reese coming to terms with his attraction to Malcolm. There are sexual elements, obviously, so don't read if that bothers you. But it's not a porn story, so if you're expecting that, don't read it either.
The feelings had been developing for some time, simmering just beneath the surface. But it wasn't until the summer that Reese was 13 years old that he finally had to face the facts and acknowledge that he was completely and utterly fucked.
He'd been able to write off the awkward moment last month as a weird fluke. It had been a hot day, he'd been tired, and his hormones were raging out of control. Malcolm had simply been there. So when Reese had suggested they go lie on the couch on watch television, that was all there was to it. That weird feeling of excitement and eagerness he'd felt when Malcolm said yes was just reflective of his boredom and loneliness; he'd wanted the company, that was all. And when, lying there together absentmindedly watching a Discovery Channel documentary on bark beetles, he found himself getting hot and bothered, he attributed the reaction to the unbearable heat. It had nothing to do with Malcolm. How could it? The warm sensation that had rushed through his body as Malcolm's arm brushed up against his was totally a one-time thing. And he'd been sweating because it was summer. That was it.
But the other day had been impossible to deny. Even inside of his own mind.
Not that he'd ever really successfully convinced himself that he didn't have a major, embarrassing, full-on crush on his brother.
He'd known that on some level or another since he'd attained even the most basic understanding of sexual attraction. After Hal's profoundly uncomfortable sex talk, explaining that the seemingly antagonistic behavior young boys displayed often translated to I like you.
Reese figured that his father had no reason to lie to him, and once he started showing the signs, he put two and two together.
His greatest fear was that Malcolm would get wise; if he really was a genius, he would eventually catch on to the fact that his older brother had the hots for him. And though he knew he wasn't the brightest bulb in the box, Reese had enough common sense to guess that that wouldn't go down very well.
So he hid it to the best of his ability, which, even by his own estimation, wasn't every effective.
He felt no real drive to spend time with anyone else, and desperately attempted to cover up his ridiculous, insane crush by fighting with Malcolm constantly, both physically and verbally. And in a brotherly way, he told himself. Not the I like you way Dad warned us about. Totally different.
And by some reason, it had all worked perfectly. Mostly, Reese suspected, because even in his most paranoid moments, Malcolm probably never worried about his own kin secretly watching him change after showers in the evening.
So his flimsy facade of the "big brother bully" worked perfectly. Right up until that fateful day, when it all fell apart in about 30 seconds flat.
It started with some inane argument about who should get the last orange popsicle, and subsequently turned into a wrestling match (at which point Dewey joined in for absolutely no reason). The whole thing was going fine until Reese ended up sitting on top of Malcolm, straddling his hips and pinning his both shoulders to the ground; Dewey standing behind them, hitting Reese on the back with a wiffle bat and whining loudly. A split second after realizing that this was the last position he needed to be in with his brother, Reese froze up, realizing that he was as hard as rock. And judging by Malcolm's facial shift from annoyance to surprise, he had noticed it to.
But that by itself wasn't the deal-breaker. That could, with relative ease, be dismissed as "one of things." Just "something that happened." Malcolm was smart; he probably understood human biology much better than Reese did, and wouldn't get overly worked up about a physical reaction to stimulus.
What really fucked everything up was Reese's reaction. He immediately turned bright red and let go of his brother, backing away quickly. Malcolm's surprise, mixed with some slight amusement, turned to full-on shock. Dewey, not noticing any of this, continued to smack Reese with the wiffle bat. "I want it, I want it, I want it!" he complained.
Reese stood up, deliberately avoiding Malcolm's stare. "Whatever, you can have it," he said, face still red.
Dewey watched him leave, looking disappointed that the fight was over. He turned to Malcolm hopefully. "I want it?" he said curiously.
Still staring at the spot where Reese had disappeared down the hallway, Malcolm murmured, "Yeah, sure. Go for it." Dewey made a discontented noise, but took the popsicle anyway and ran outside to play.
And that had pretty much been it. They didn't discuss it or anything; Reese avoided Malcolm for the next three days, hoping against hope that he would just drop the whole horrible thing. He spent most of his time outside, just riding his bike or hanging out at the park. He didn't make eye contact with Malcolm during meals, and was sure to go to sleep and wake up before him. True, he wasn't sleeping well, and his mind was on his predicament for most of the daytime anyway. But other than that, it worked pretty well until one night, Malcolm decided he'd had enough and woke Reese up at two in the morning.
"Wh-? Huh?" Reese mumbled, rubbing his eyes sleepily as Malcolm shook him awake.
"Get up," Malcolm whispered. "We need to talk."
Reese groaned, looking first at Dewey to make sure he was still asleep, then at the alarm clock. "Dude, no way. It's two in the morning...go back to sleep. We'll talk later."
Malcolm shook him insistently. "No we won't, you liar!" he hissed, glancing at Dewey too. "You're just going to get up early and avoid me all day again." He grabbed Reese's shoulders and forced turned his body so he had to look at Malcolm's face. "Come on," he said softly, somewhat pleadingly.
Reese's heart melted, and it took all of his willpower to stop himself from touching his brother's face. "Okay," he said weakly.
They tip-toed out to the living room in the darkness and sat on the couch. Reese felt his heart beating so hard, he was sure they could both hear it. The only light in the room was coming from the lantern on the back porch. Reese could just make out the right side of Malcolm's face, and saw a cautious hesitation in that one eye.
Forcing himself to breathe normally, he tried to sound annoyed instead of scared. "So what do you want?" Not bad, but it came out a little too squeaky to be completely believable.
He heard Malcolm swallow and clear his throat. "Well," he started nervously. "I think we should talk about the other day, don't you?"
Reese gritted his teeth to keep from burying his face in his hands in shame. "What other day? What are you talking about?"
Malcolm groaned quietly, and Reese thought he could see him rolling his eyes. "Please don't do that. This is weird enough already."
Reese folded his arms, drawing his knees up to his chest defensively. He paused, then took a shaky breath. "Okay," he said in a small voice, turning away in embarrassment. "What do you want me to say?"
"Umm..." He heard Malcolm fidget uncomfortably on the other side of the couch. "I don't know. I guess I just...I mean, is this...what I think it is?"
Reese considered dragging it out with a sarcastic response like What do you think it is?, but decided it wasn't worth it. "Yes," he whispered, tucking his head into his knees.
He heard the sharp intake of breath. Then, "Oh."
Feeling his face get hot, Reese squeezed himself into a tighter ball, willing himself to be anywhere else in the world. "So," he finally managed, "Aren't you going to make fun of me?" He looked up, straining his eyes to try and read Malcolm's expression. "If you are, could you just get it over with now, so we don't have to talk about this ever again." He felt himself start to tear up, and felt a surge of anger at his own weakness. "I have a stupid fucking gay crush on my brother, and I'm sick and a perv, and..." he swallowed, wiping his eyes, "please just call me a fag or a sicko or something. I don't want to talk about it."
There was a long, unbearable pause, and Reese just wanted to go back to his bed and die. And then he felt Malcolm tentatively place a hand on the back of his head and stroke his hair softly.
"I'm not going to make fun of you," he whispered. He sounded stunned, but not disgusted; somewhat amazed and disbelieving and...something else, just underneath. Regardless, his tone was convincing enough to stop Reese's tears. Wiping the rest of them away, he looked up uncertainly. Malcolm was sitting next to him now, fingers still intertwined in Reese's hair, stroking nervously; his other hand was sitting lamely in his lap. Malcolm was staring into Reese's eyes with a completely unreadable expression.
"You're not?" Reese asked hesitantly. He let out a choky laugh, smiling slightly. "I mean, you're kinda passing up on a good opportunity here."
Malcolm didn't smile back, a thoughtful, confused look creeping across his face. "You...have a crush on me?" he said tonelessly.
Reese bit his lip, eyes darting away for a second. "Yeah..." he in a shy voice that surprised even him. Ugh...why am I acting like such a girl? And then, after another pause, he felt Malcolm's hand on the back of his head pulling him in. Instinctively, he knew what was happening and closed his eyes, his brain screaming at him as Malcolm closed the gap between them and placed a soft kiss directly on his lips.
It wasn't Reese's first kiss, or even his best. It was chaste and gentle, and nothing special as far as technical skill went, but in that moment, it blew his mind, and he felt as though his body were on fire. He froze up, jaw dropping in shock when Malcolm pulled away and looked at him nervously. "I...Wh-...you..." he stammered.
Then Malcolm looked away, and even in the darkness, Reese could see he was blushing too, and beneath his shock, he felt a surge of pride and excitement.
Malcolm shrugged. "I don't know," he mumbled. "It can't really hurt anything." Reese touched a hand to his lip, staring at his brother with wide eyes. Malcolm turned back to him with a small, encouraging smile. "It's okay," he said gently. He pulled Reese's hand away from his mouth and held it tightly. "I'm not freaked out or anything." He shrugged again, a thoughtful frown appearing as he stared off at the wall. "I mean, you're my brother and I love you. And I don't really have any reason to not do...this, whatever this is, with you. Other than the fact that your my brother. But I'm mostly just glad that you actually like me because, you know, I thought you hated me. And now it turns out that you love me, like love me love me, and it's weird and unexpected, but it's kind of cool and nice and-"
"Malcolm," Reese interjected, staring at him. Malcolm shut up, and turned back to look at him, face still somewhat flushed.
"Yeah?" he whispered, realizing he'd been raising his voice.
"What the hell are you talking about?"
Malcolm gaped at him a moment, then let out a quiet little chuckle. "Nothing, nothing. I was just thinking through everything. Just ignore me."
They sat in silence for a full five minutes before Reese looked down at their still clasped hands and gave Malcolm's a squeeze. Malcolm raised his eyebrow. Reese cleared his throat. "So...do you want to go back to bed now?"
Malcolm nodded sheepishly. "Yeah, I think we should."
They tip-toed back, and at the door, Reese grabbed ahold of his shoulder, stopping him. "Wait," he said, paused, then muttered, "Do you...do you want to sleep in my bed?"
Malcolm looked surprised, thought about it, then nodded slowly. "What do we tell Mom?" he asked. "About us sleeping in the same bed, I mean," he added quickly upon seeing Reese's horrified reaction. "If she sees us in the morning."
"Oh." Reese relaxed. He shrugged. "I don't know, just make something up. Say Dewey was coughing and you thought he was sick, so you moved over to my bed so you wouldn't get sick. Something like that. Just lie."
Malcolm nodded. "Okay."
They crept in and slipped into the small bed as quietly as possible. Reese's heart was pounding again, but this time, he felt nothing but giddy excitement, knowing that his brother wasn't going to disown him or freak out. They lay side by side, Malcolm's back pressed up against Reese's chest. Dewey was snoring softly over on the other side of the room.
After a few minutes, Reese noticed that Malcolm seemed less tense; he was relaxing into the contact a little more. Feeling a sudden rush of boldness, Reese pulled his shirt off and tossed it to the ground. Malcolm stiffened slightly.
"It's hot," Reese explained lamely.
"Yeah," Malcolm whispered, sounding nervous, but a little amused, too. Tentatively, he leaned back against Reese, who wrapped his arms around him protectively.
Reese planted a soft kiss against the back of Malcolm's neck. "Goodnight," he whispered.
Malcolm took a deep breath, and turned around to kiss him on the lips again. Pulling away after a few seconds, he smiled. "Goodnight."
And Reese was able to sleep just fine for a change.