AN: Ugh...yes, yes. I know I'm horrible for taking longer than a week to update. But it's not entirely my fault! You guys know how crazy this time of year is! In other words, I apologize profusely, but please don't stone me. I don't want to be stoned. (Unless it's with Mary Jane.)
Anyway, here's Chapter 2.
As it turned out, things were actually worse than Malcolm had thought. If that was possible.
The first thing he realized upon waking up the next day, once his brain was able to function properly and sort through the information overload he'd been exposed to the night before, was that he didn't feel particularly panicked. Shocked, perhaps.
Okay, shocked definitely. And a little disoriented. But not nervous.
Not disgusted either, which surprised him a bit. Sure, he considered himself an open-minded person who had no major qualms about others' sexual activity, and if Reese's interests extended to men, then that was just the way it was. No problem (even if it was rather surprising). But the incest taboo had always been a barrier even the most liberal-minded American tended to shy away from. It just wasn't done.
It wasn't something Malcolm thought about all that much. He'd studied Oedipus Rex a couple of years ago, but couldn't recall having an adverse reaction to the incestuous themes, other than perhaps thinking Huh, that's odd.
But that was just an abstract idea. Now he was face to face with a real life, flesh-and-blood situation: his brother had the hots for him.
Scratch that, his brother was in love with him.
That was the quote. "I think I'm in love with my brother." Right there on the page, plain as day. Undeniable.
And yet, Malcolm didn't feel grossed out or disturbed. His first thought upon waking up was How the hell am I going to bring this up?
It was a genuine dilemma. There was no way he could just sweep this under the carpet, as he did with so much of the drama in his life. This was too important. But if he fucked up the inevitable confrontation, he could easily risk losing his brother forever. If he didn't make it clear from the outset that he harbored no ill will or judgment, Reese would undoubtedly close himself off. It would ruin him sexually, and emotionally. The whole thing was very delicate.
And it was strange to be thinking about these things. As intelligent as he was, Malcolm tended to focus his cognitive skills towards academics and various obscure hobbies rather than closely studying human behavior. He hadn't really thought much about the status of his relationship with Reese; it simply was what it was, nothing more to it. Until now.
He could see how it had happened; that was the really weird part. Reese had no real friends and spent virtually all of his time hanging out with Malcolm. They'd never really talked about feelings, or anything particularly deep for that matter, but the fact remained that Malcolm was probably the only person his brother had ever opened up to, even marginally. In some twisted sort of way it almost made sense that Reese fancied him. Almost.
But Malcolm was thinking about all of this while he lay awake in bed in the early morning, offhandedly listening to Dewey shoving things into his backpack out in the hallway. And he kept turning it over in his mind as he sat at the breakfast table, ignoring his parents as they scrambled around to try and get to work on time. And he was still thinking of it as he shuffled back down the hallway to use the bathroom before school.
He was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't think to knock before opening the door and ended up colliding into Reese.
...who was exiting after a shower.
...in a towel.
Later, Malcolm wouldn't be sure if it was he or Reese who panicked first, but either way, one of them jerked in surprise and stumbled on the slippery bathroom floor, and the next thing they knew, Malcolm was flat on his back with the wind knocked out of him and his very wet, very naked brother straddling his hips.
Mere inches apart, Malcolm could feel Reese's breath on his face.
Reese froze, eyes wide. His breathing hitched and a weird sort of strangled noise escaped from his mouth. Malcolm would have laughed at the sound had the circumstances been different. But instead, he just gasped for air, his mind running wild with thoughts of...something.
And when Reese's brain finally kicked in and he pushed away, pulling the towel closer around him as he stood up, Malcolm felt a thrill of horror and shame at his body's reaction to the contact.
Oh my God...
"Sorry," Reese muttered stiffly, his jaw tense as he looked pointedly away from his brother.
Malcolm swallowed. "Umm...yeah. Yeah. It's okay. No problem. Accident." He shifted his legs discreetly, silently praying that his hard-on was sufficiently concealed.
Still not looking at him, Reese stretched out an arm to help Malcolm up, a painfully obvious blush tinting his cheeks. If the heated feeling in his face was any indication, Malcolm was blushing too.
Reese cleared his throat nervously. "Uh...right. Yeah."
Staring at a spot on the floor that had suddenly become very interesting, Malcolm nodded in agreement.
After a beat or two, he awkwardly shifted into the bathroom and shut the door.
Two minutes later, he was standing in the shower, absentmindedly lathering his hair with shampoo. His heart was beating so fast, he was sure it would burst. He closed his eyes and allowed his mind to wander. Allowed himself to drown in memories of the feel of Reese's skin against his body, of the deepness of the reservoir of emotion in his eyes, of the way his muscles looked when he...
And when he finally got out of the shower, Malcolm knew he wouldn't be able to look his brother in the eye for the rest of the day. The entire walk to school, his cheeks were burning, flush with embarrassment and guilt.
I jerked off to my brother. You don't do that. NO ONE does that...well okay, Reese probably does that. To me. Oh, god...Reese probably jerks off to me. And I just jerked off to him. And...oh, god. What the fuck? What the FUCK?
But there was a pattern to these kind of freak-outs. For all his intelligence, Malcolm was prone to very reactionary responses in emotionally driven situations. He panicked, then did something he would later regret...then realize later that he regretted it, then desperately try to fix it. All he needed was time to think.
And what better time to think than during Herkabe's endless droning about the importance of imaginary numbers? Listening to the clicking of the clock hands and the soft scratching of pencils on paper, Malcolm found his heart beating more regularly; found the fog in his brain fading away to reveal the blinding truth in all its brilliance and clarity.
I love him, too, he thought numbly. And weirdly enough, that was far less scary than finding out that Reese loved him. Perhaps because, deep down in the repressed erogenous zones of his brain, he'd already been aware of his attraction. But his conscious mind had dismissed it as foolishness; dismissed it because there was no way in hell anything could possibly result from it. The whole thing was just a silly fraternal crush, more like hero worship than anything else. That was what Malcolm had believed, and it had been easy enough to accept. Far easier than, say, the possibility that he was totally, pathetically, madly in love with his own flesh and blood.
Except he was. And it wasn't just hero worship. And there was a possibility that something could result from it. Because, against all odds and defying all logic, Reese felt the same way. In fact, he'd been the one brave enough to admit it to himself first.
But he would never admit it to Malcolm. Not intentionally. So the ball was in Malcolm's court. It was up to him to determine what to do about all of this. And as the hours of the school day slowly slipped by, his resolve became stronger and stronger. With a perverse thrill of horror and exhilaration, he knew exactly what he was going to do.
It was a stupid, stupid idea. But at least he knew that. And the fact that he didn't care that it was stupid, at least not as much as he cared that it might work, proved that his feelings were real. It wasn't just a phase.
Reese avoided him the entire rest of the day; didn't sit with him at lunch, didn't walk home with him from school, didn't even show up to dinner. But, inevitably, he had to face him. He slipped into the bedroom at half past midnight, presumably after work. It was almost pitch-black, so his eyes didn't adjust until he was right up next to his bed, whereupon he drew in a sharp breath at finding Malcolm waiting up for him.
"Jesus Christ..." he hissed, clutching his chest. He glared at Malcolm, eyes narrowed. "You almost gave me a heart attack, asshole." He punched Malcolm's shoulder roughly and gestured helplessly between the beds. "What the hell are you doing on my bed?"
"Dewey was kicking," Malcolm whispered, silently proud of himself for keeping his voice steady. "Like he used to when we were little and he got nightmares. I tried to ignore it for a while, but...you know."
Reese squinted at him in the darkness, looking back at the other bed where Dewey lay breathing quietly and completely still. "He looks fine to me," Reese said grumpily.
"It goes off and on. It's not continuous flailing, dude." Malcolm threw back the covers and tentatively slipped underneath. He scooted over as far as he could on the thin bed and patted the mattress. "Come on, have a heart."
"What? No!" Reese snarled. Dewey grunted in his sleep, prompting Reese to lower his voice. "Fuck you, my bed's not big enough! Just take your pillow and sleep on the couch."
Malcolm shook his head stubbornly. "No way, it's freezing out there."
"Get a blanket."
"The big blankets are all in the wash."
"Well, get them out of the wash and put them on the couch."
"No, no, they're in the wash. Not the dryer, the wash. They're still wet."
Malcolm groaned internally. "Oh, come on, dude! Please?" Even in the darkness, he could see how uncomfortable Reese was and almost considered backing down. But he knew he'd never work up the nerve to try this again if he stopped now. So he held his ground. "I promise I won't hog the sheets."
Reese's cheeks were flaming red. He looked up at the ceiling, chewing on the inside of his cheek. With a resigned snort, he rolled his eyes and plopped down on the bed. "Fine," he muttered, kicking his shoes off onto the floor and pulling the blankets up to his chin. "Good night." He turned on his side, facing away from Malcolm.
They lay there in silence for about ten minutes or so. Every now and then, one of them would shift a little bit to get more comfortable, but otherwise, they remained completely still. Malcolm stared at the back of his brother's head, heart hammering in his chest so loudly, it was a wonder Reese couldn't hear it. He could tell by the rigidity of Reese's posture that he was obviously still awake, so Malcolm steeled himself and took a deep, quiet breath.
Now or never.
Closing his eyes and keeping his breathing steady to adequately feign sleep, he shifted forward slightly. His cheek sliding against the pillow made a soft rustling noise. He let out a long breath from his nose, tickling the back of his brother's neck. Almost unnoticeably, Reese shivered, freezing up even more.
Malcolm waited another minute or so, preparing for his next move.
Reese made it for him.
Yawning in his "sleep," Reese stretched, arching his back. His body slackened, and he rolled over to face Malcolm. Daring a quick peek, Malcolm lifted his eyelids slightly. Reese's eyes were closed. Their faces were less than a foot away.
For just a moment, Malcolm felt himself beginning to panic.
This is a bad idea. This is a horrible idea. What the fuck am I doing? Abort! Abort!
But then Reese shifted even closer and all of the thoughts swirling around in his mind were replaced by the deeply familiar smell of his brother lying next to him in the darkness.
Malcolm flung out an arm lazily and wrapped it around Reese's back. He pushed his face forward and down, burying his nose in the crook of Reese's neck.
It would have been inaudible had he actually been asleep, but Malcolm was definitely close enough now to hear the soft whimper escape from his brother's lips. Close enough to feel the thundering heartbeat behind the chest pressed up against his own.
Malcolm's patience evaporated almost instantaneously. He opened his mouth and pressed a wet, forceful kiss against Reese neck, rolling his hips forward so that their bodies were totally flush against one another. All pretense that this was unintentional flew right out the window.
Reese's breath hitched. Malcolm felt his Adam's apple bob against his mouth and he couldn't resist a victorious grin. He pulled away to look at his brother's face. Reese's eyes were wide open now. He stared at Malcolm, slack-jawed. His expression registered shock, but with a gleaming lust hidden beneath the fear.
"Wh-wh-wh...?" Reese stammered breathlessly, threading his fingers through Malcolm's hair fervently.
Malcolm took a deep breath, reaching up to stroke Reese's cheek. "I read your diary," he admitted quietly, tensing slightly in case a punch was coming.
Reese's eyes widened further for a moment or two. He gaped like a fish.
Then he let out a sharp, barking laugh, which he promptly smothered with his fist. Malcolm let out the breath, relieved, and snickered a little himself, remembering everything he'd read.
They stared at each other, smiling for a few moments.
Then, with a flash of determination in his eyes, Reese captured Malcolm's lips in his own for the first time...
...It wouldn't occur to Malcolm until the next day that this might be a very, very bad idea.
AN: Alright, more to come. I promise I'll try to update sooner this time. It's just hard to find the time to write. But fear not, regardless of how long it takes, I will not leave this story unfinished! :P