A/N: A friend suggested I take the age-old "fake dating" trope and make a modern day Nofur story. Not one to back down from a challenge, I complied. ;)

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...

Bofur enjoyed being single. He liked staying out as late as he wanted and spending money on whatever he saw fit. He liked being able to leave his dirty clothes on the floor and not having to answer to anyone but himself. Bofur liked being free.

Unfortunately, his workmate Thorin was in a blissful, committed relationship and thought Bofur should have the same. Cue weekend after weekend of awkward double dates in various restaurants and bars. Dates where Bofur spent more time concentrating on his beer then the conversation, and none of the men Thorin lined up ever held his attention.

After the fifth such date Bofur was at wits end. He couldn't handle anymore small talk about retirement plans and the possibility of starting a family in the future. That wasn't the life he wanted.

The weekly poker night with his friends was the perfect opportunity for Bofur to vent his frustration.

"I can't keep goin' on these bloody dates!" Bofur bitched into the foam of his beer. "I told Thorin I'm not interested in meeting anyone, but he just isn't takin' the hint!"

Across the poker table Dwalin rolled his eyes and tossed a red chip into the pot. "Why don't ya just find someone to date then? It's not all bad, ya know."

"How is it not bad?" Bofur mourned. "Havin' t' explain yer every move to an annoying, clingy boyfriend who wants t' buy a house together an' start adoptin' babies..."

Dwalin laughed. "Yer missing the good stuff. Having someone to come home to at night, someone who gives a shit about what happens to ya. Not to mention the regular sex."

"Oy! You! No talking about your sex life now that you're dating my little brother!"

Snagging a peanut from one of the bowls on the table, Dwalin lobbed it at Nori's head. "What, ya don't wanna hear about me rutting with yer brother? Don't wanna know how he begs for my-"

The thought was never finished because Nori dove across the table and tackled Dwalin, upsetting the game in the process. Cards, chips, and snacks fell to the floor as the men wrestled and threw insults.

"Get over it, you two! We never get to finish a card game anymore without a fight breaking out." Gloin grumbled, gathering up the chips strewn at his feet. "And you- just tell Thorin to bugger off and get on with it."

"Don't ya think I've tried?!" Bofur tossed his hands up in exasperation. "Ever since he an' that Bilbo fella hooked up he's been set on spreadin' his lovey-dovey crap to the rest of us. I like things the way they are now. Livin' alone, fuckin' who and when I please... I don't want a relationship!"

"Sucks to be you, my friend," Nori said with a sharp laugh. "Thorin don't understand that guys like us prefer out tumbles with no strings attached."

"Amen!"

Another weekend, another blind date. Bofur knew he should just refuse, but Thorin was his only real friend at work and he didn't have the heart to say no.

"I really enjoy my job as an investment banker, but my real passion is bowling. I'm on two leagues and once..." The date-of-the-night droned on and Bofur resisted the urge to drop his forehead onto the tabletop.

Across the table Thorin and Bilbo were making moon-eyes at each other and holding hands. Stealing himself for a long, painfully boring night, Bofur ordered another beer and forced a polite smile.

"An' he wouldn't shut up about bowling! He actually told me his five year plan! Married with two dogs and a house in the suburbs!" Bofur stared down at his cards as if they might hold the answer to his problems.

"What are ya going to do?" Dwalin rumbled, smirking at his own cards.

"I don't know, but I can't keep on like this! It's drivin' me crazy!"

Gloin tossed a chip into the center of the table. "Why don't you just tell Thorin you're seeing someone?"

"Because it's Thorin. He'd want to double date. It wouldn't work unless..." Bofur's eyes grew astonishingly wide.

"Unless what?" Nori arched a brow.

Bofur regarded Nori with a slightly crazed grin. "Yeh should be my boyfriend."

"Excuse me?!" Nori dropped his cards in shock.

"Not for real! Just pretend t' convince Thorin I'm off the market!"

Nori stared at his friend for a long moment, stunned into silence. Then he burst out laughing.

"Am I that bad a prospect?" Bofur tried not to feel hurt. "What if I pay for all the fake dates?"

The laughter stopped. "Deal."

"You're really going to pretend to be Bofur's boyfriend?" Ori asked from where he sat on the edge of the bathtub, watching Nori carefully style his hair.

"Sure. Why not? You know how easily Bofur blushes. I'm gonna have some fun taking the piss out on him."

"Do you even know how to be a boyfriend?" The younger boy's brow furrowed. "I don't remember the last time you had a second date, much less a relationship."

Nori scoffed. "I've had to watch you and Dwalin make eyes at each other during family dinners. It can't be that hard."

"And you don't think this Thorin fella will see through the charade?"

"Don't worry, little bro. I've got this covered."

Bofur and Nori met up two blocks from the restaurant for their first "date". The place was a tiny gastro-pub with a decidedly hipster vibe.

"Who picked this shit hole?" Nori peered through the tinted front window with a wrinkled nose.

"Not me. Bilbo's a bit of a food snob, so most of the dates tend t' be at this kind of place."

"Just so you know, I'm ordering the most expensive thing on the damn menu." With that Nori opened the door for Bofur with a mocking gesture. "After you."

"Thorin. Bilbo." Bofur introduced as they took seats at the table. "This is Nori, my... boyfriend."

Nori let out a barking laugh that he quickly disguised as a cough. "Sorry 'about that. Nice to meet you! Bofur's told me so much about you both!" He rested his arm along the back of Bofur's chair, smirking as the other man shifted uncomfortably."

"I hope he had nice things to say," Thorin said with a slight grin. "I'm afraid he'd been a bit tight lipped about you. I wouldn't have kept insisting on dragging him out so often had I known there was someone he was interested in..."

"That don't surprise me. We've known each other for years, but he wouldn't agree to go out with me until... what's it been... three weeks, honey?"

Bofur's eyes widened and he choked on his beer. "Err, yeah. Three weeks sounds about right."

"You must be something special, Nori," Thorin said warmly. "I was starting to think Bofur wouldn't ever find someone who held his attention."

"He's somethin' alright," Bofur agreed.

Dinner was awkward to say the lease. Nori amused himself by calling Bofur by increasingly cheesy pet names and ordering himself an overpriced steak. For his part, Bofur spent the evening trying to keep his story straight so that Thorin wouldn't catch on to the ruse.

Dinner turned into dessert and ended with Bilbo clapping his hands together with a pleased smile. "This was lovely! I happen to have tickets to the symphony next weekend. Would you two like to come with us? We would have dinner beforehand and make a night of it."

Bofur glared down at the price of Nori's meal on the check. "We'd love t' go with you!" He offered Bilbo a dimpled smile and pointedly ignored Nori kicking his leg beneath the table.

"Great! It's a date then!"

"I hate you." Nori growled, shuffling the cards together before dealing them out.

Bofur batted his eyes in feigned innocence. "Why do yeh hate me? I'm just tryin' t' be a good boyfriend an' take yeh t' the symphony."

"The hell, Bofur! Do I look like the king of guy who wants to go to the damned symphony?"

"No, but after what dinner cost me last night I figured it's only fair. I'm not made of money yeh know!"

Dwalin exchanged an amused look with Gloin over the poker table. "I think I'm gonna enjoy ya two fake dating. It's funny as hell!"

Nori rolled his eyes. "Suck it, Dwalin."

"That's what yer brother said last night!"

"You ass!" Nori threw down his cards and tackled Dwalin to the floor. "I told you I don't wanna hear that shit!"

Gloin sighed and gathered his chips. "Guess we're done with the game tonight."

"See yeh later, Gloin," Bofur said with a wave. Then he leaned back in his chair and waited for the other two to wear themselves out.

Bofur dreaded the symphony "date", but when he pulled up in front of Nori's apartment building he decided it would be worthwhile. Nori climbed into the passenger seat wearing a navy blazer and looking ridiculously uncomfortable. "Wow. Yeh look... classy...?"

"Did I mention how much I hate you for this?"

"Hey, yer getting' a free dinner out of the deal." He offered Nori a dimpled grin. "Who knows, maybe tonight will end up bein' fun."

The restaurant they met Thorin and Bilbo at was a tiny upscale eatery with exposed brick walls and less than a dozen tables. As they say down the waiter came and took their drink orders, then told them the food would arrive shortly.

"But we didn't order," Bofur whispered when the waiter departed.

Bilbo laughed. "It's a tasting menu, you don't order. Rather they'll bring us a selection of tapas to share."

Nori slung an arm over the back of Bofur's chair and smirked. "Yeah, honey, it's a tasting menu. Obviously."

Bofur kicked him under the table.

As it turned out, tapas meant tiny plates half full of food that had to be split between four people.

Bilbo gushed over each bite of food, commenting on the flavor profiles and the chef's creativity. "Oh, Thorin! I'm quite certain you have to try this spiced watermelon!" He picked up a piece of the ruby fruit and held it out.

"It does look delicious," Thorin said before taking the fruit into his mouth, his lips wrapping obscenely around Bilbo's fingers.

Bofur's mouth fell open and he tried not to stare at them. Nori caught sight of his friend's horrified expression and flashed a switchblade grin. "You gotta try some too, sweetie!"

"Err, no, that's okay. Yeh don't have-" He trailed off as Nori's hand moved towards his mouth. Bofur tried to gingerly take the fruit, but his lips brushed against Nori's fingers, causing the other man to jerk back as if he'd been burned.

"Oh." Nori wiped his hand absently on a napkin and shifted in his seat. "Yeah... it's good, right?"

"Yeah... good..." Bofur couldn't quite meet his eyes.

If Bilbo and Thorin noticed the tension neither commented on it. Soon dinner was finished and they left the restaurant and walked several blocks to the opera house. They took their seats in the balcony of the richly appointed theater and settled in. The symphony was preforming a selection of Elgar's 'Enigma Variations', which was probably lovely if you enjoyed that sort of thing. Bofur did not.

"Dear god, is it over yet?" He leaned over and whispered to Nori, the earlier embarrassment forgotten in the face of boredom.

"Fuck, I hope so!" Nori replied. "If I didn't think Bilbo would bitch I'd take a nap."

Bofur smothered a laugh in his hand. "I don't think I could sleep. I'm too hungry!"

"Right?! Whoever invented that tapas shit was cracked. There wasn't enough food for one person, much less four!"

"Uh. I'd kill for a cheeseburger right about now. That and a beer."

Nori smirked and slowly reached his hand into his inside jacket pocket. "It ain't beer, but it should help."

Bofur glanced around to make sure no one was watching, then ducked his head and took a deep pull from the flask. The whiskey burnt going down and settled warmly in his empty stomach. "My hero!"

"I should keep it all for myself. It's your fault we're stuck here!" Nori took a swig and tucked the flask back into his pocket.

They passed the flask back and forth for the remainder of the program and by the end they were both feeling a comfortable buzz. They said goodbye to Thorin and Bilbo and began the walk back to Bofur's car.

"I'm fucking starving," Nori moaned, his shoulder bumping against Bofur's as they walked.

"I have an idea! C'mon!" He grabbed Nori's hand and pulled him down a side street. Two blocks over they came to a food truck advertising cheap late night fare.

They ordered greasy cheeseburgers piled high with bacon and paper cones filled with seasoned french fries. Sitting side-by-side on the curb they scarfed down their food and chased it with the last of the whiskey.

"The next time we go out with Thorin and Bilbo we should do this." Nori said around his last mouthful of fries. "Much better then the damned symphony."

Bofur couldn't help but agree.

"How's the fake dating going?" Ori asked, watching his brother over the top of the newspaper he was flipping through.

Nori considered the question for a moment. "Thorin seems to be buying it."

"And?" Ori prompted.

"And I'm getting free food out of Bofur, so it's working out for both of us."

Ori tilted his head slightly. "Well, that's good, I suppose." He looked like he wanted to say more, but wisely kept his mouth shut.

"All right, boys, the game is five card stud. One eyes jacks are wild." Gloin dealt out the cards then regarded his own hand. "Let's play!"

Dwalin glanced down at his hand and tossed a red chip into the center of the table. "I'm in."

Schooling his features, Nori matched the bet. "Same here."

"I got nothin'," Bofur said, shaking his head and folding. "Hey, Nori. Yeh want t' grab lunch on Friday? Thorin an' I have t' work late, so Bilbo suggested a lunch date."

Nori shrugged, his fingers tracing over the back of Bofur's chair. "As long as it ain't nothing fancy."

"Just food carts. We've only got an hour break. Meet me at noon?"

"Sounds like a plan."

Gloin raised a brow at Dwalin, who pulled an entertained face in response.

"I'm calling the hand. Let's see your cards, boys." Gloin laid his cards out on the table. "Three of a kind."

Dwalin smirked. "Straight flush. Beat that, looser!"

Nori dropped his cards and cursed. "Dwalin, stop being a pain in the ass."

"Yer brother doesn't seen to mind!"

And once again the poker game ended in a pointless fight.

...

Friday came quickly and found Bofur and Thorin waiting outside their office building. Bilbo and Nori arrived at nearly the same time, Bilbo throwing himself into Thorin's arms and kissing him passionately. "I missed you quite a lot, you know! Three days is far too long!"

Bofur turned away from them and rolled his eyes, offering Nori a dimpled grin. "Hey."

"Hey, babe." Nori smirked and slid an arm around Bofur's waist. "Miss me?"

"Uh, yeah. Of course..." He flushed and shifted in Nori's embrace.

"Now that we're all here, let's eat!" Bilbo declared, taking Thorin's hand and leading the way down the block towards the park.

Deciding on a good truck the bought trays pull of gourmet tacos and seasonal fruit salad. They claimed a picnic table in the shade and dove into their food.

"Mmm! God, I love food trucks!" Nori said around a mouthful of taco.

"I've never eaten out of a truck before..." Bilbo hesitantly took a bite. "Oh! It's really quite good!"

Thorin laughed. "Not every date needs to be at a fancy restaurant to be good, you know."

"Some of us prefer this." Bofur's thigh bumped against Nori's under the table.

Bilbo grinned. "All right, I'm feeling adventurous! Why don't you two plan our next night out?"

Nori elbowed Bofur lightly and winked. "What d'you think, dear?"

"I think we're due for a night of live music an' lots of beer!"

Bilbo looked uncertain, but Thorin grinned. "Sounds like fun! We'll hash out the details later. Right now, work calls."

They tossed their trash into the bin and walked back to the office in companionable silence. Thorin slid his arms around Bilbo's waist and pulled him close, murmuring something into his ear that made the smaller man blush.

Bofur and Nori glanced at each other, unsure of what to do.

"At least our next date should be fun," Bofur said at length.

"Yeah. Been awhile since we went out and got good and pissed."

Thorin pulled away from Bilbo and looked at them. "Okay, Bofur, kiss your boyfriend goodbye so we can get back to work."

"Oh. Err. We don't normally kiss in public..." He stared intently at his shoes.

"Stop being such a prude," Thorin teased, leaning back in to kiss Bilbo again.

Nori looked at Bofur, who glanced around as if looking for an escape route. Taking a step close, he whispered, "You owe me big time."

"For what?" Bofur started to ask, then Nori's lips were on his, hot and rough and a little unsure.

He reacted without thinking, fisting the front of Nori's shirt and pulling him closer. Nori made a surprised sound deep in his throat and ran his tongue along the seam of Bofur's lips, before realizing what he was doing and pulling away with wide eyes.

They regarded each other uneasily, neither quite knowing what to say. Bofur nervously licked his lips and Nori followed the movement with his eyes. Kissing had not been part of the plan.

"Time's up, Bofur. Let's go!" Thorin waved goodbye to Bilbo and started up the sidewalk.

"You should go," Nori said softly.

"Yeah. I'll see yeh for poker night..." Bofur raised a hand, dropped it, then turned and hurried away.

When Bofur arrived for the poker game Dwalin and Gloin were already at the table.

Gloin waved and picked up the cards. "All right, boys, let's play!"

"We're not waiting fer Nori t' show up?" Bofur worried his lip between his teeth.

"Nah- he's crapped out on us tonight," Dwalin rumbled, grabbing a handful of peanuts and popping them into his mouth. "It's too bad, I had a really good 'that's what Ori said' joke to piss him off with."

Bofur frowned, trying not to feel worried. "Did he say why he wasn't comin'?"

Dwalin shook his head and laughed. "Nope. Why, are you worried about your boyfriend?"

"No! We're not dating. Yeh know the whole thing is just t' keep Thorin off my back..."

"Whatever ya say." Dwalin motioned for the cards to be dealt and for once they finished their game in peace.

"Why aren't you at your poker game?" Ori asked as Nori dropped beside him on the couch.

"I just didn't wanna go, all right?" He snapped.

"Sure. I was just asking. It's just that you never miss a chance to win money off your friends."

"I ain't winning much when your boyfriend keeps starting fights." Nori tripped over the word boyfriend.

"Nori... Did something happen?" Ori tilted his head and looked at his brother with concern.

"No! Nothing happened!" He schooled his features and tried to appear nonchalant.

"Are you mad at Bofur? I don't want to see you ruin your friendship over this stupid fake dating thing."

"No, I'm not mad at Bofur." Nori sighed. "I'm gonna see him this weekend. We have another date. Thing."

"All right. As long as you're sure you're okay."

"I'm fine, Ori. Just got a lot on my mind."

The bar was already teaming with people by the time Nori dropped into the bar stool next to Bofur. "Hey."

"Hey." Bofur looked at him and managed a weak smile. "I wasn't sure yeh were goin' t' show up."

Nori shrugged, not meeting his eyes. "Free beer, loud music..."

"Listen... about the other day..." He slowly tore the label of his beer bottle.

"Don't worry 'bout it." Nori finally looked up and shrugged. "We had to put on a show for Thorin. That's all. No harm done."

"Right. No harm done."

Bofur would have said more, but Thorin and Bilbo arrived and the band took the stage. Bilbo seemed out of place amongst the crowd, but he clung to Thorin's arm and danced around in time to the music. The band was good, all heavy throbbing baseline and shrill guitar licks. The lyrics were muddled by the cheap microphone, but the singer's voice was low and gravelly.

"They ain't bad," Nori said throwing back a shot of whiskey and grinning wildly.

"Not bad at all," Bofur agreed. His head swam slightly from the alcohol and he was well on his way to being welly and truly pissed.

Nori scooted his bar stool closer, so their thighs were pressed tightly together. "Seems like Thorin and Bilbo are enjoying themselves."

Sure enough, Bilbo had Thorin pressed against the edge of the bar and seemed to be attempting to devour his lips.

"Guess we plan a pretty good date, eh?" Bofur winked at Nori, the alcohol making him daring.

"That we do, sweetheart." Nori slung an arm around Bofur's lower back, his hand curling dangerously around Bofur's hip bone. He tipped his head back and did another shot, pulling a face at the taste. "Whiskey's got a nice burn, but it's better with a beer chaser..."

Bofur met Nori's eyes and chugged the rest of his beer. Nori took the challenge for what it was and tightened his hold on Bofur's hip as he leaned forward and claimed Bofur's lips with his own. The kiss was deep and utterly filthy, tasting of beer and whiskey, and lasting long enough that they were both rendered breathless. Bofur pulled back first, eyes blown wide, lips tingling. Somehow his hand had ended up on the back of Nori's neck, tangled in his carefully styled hair, and Bofur used that leverage to pull Nori back in for another kiss. Nori's grip on his hip was almost painful, and the angle extremely awkward, and eventually Bofur had to break the kiss again.

"We should go." He managed, voice sounding unusually husky.

"We should," Nori agreed without hesitation, pulling Bofur to his feet and leading the way outside.

They made it was far as the sidewalk before Nori drug Bofur into a dark alleyway, kissing him desperately. Bofur leaned into the kiss as Nori walked him backwards, until his back was pressed against the rough brick wall of the alley. Nori's hands came to rest on Bofur's hips, slipping beneath the hem of his shirt and tracing over his stomach. Bofur groaned deep in his throat as Nori slid his fingers into his belt loops, tugging until their hips were flush.

"God, Nori," Bofur ground out. "The things yeh do t' me."

"The things I'm gonna do to you," Nori replied breathlessly as he dropped to his knees, deft fingers working to undo the button and zip of Bofur's pants.

"We should go," Bofur repeated his earlier thought. "Someone might see..." Nori mouthed at his cock through his boxers and Bofur bit hard on his lip, his hips shifting forward of their own volition.

"Don't wanna go. Want you." Nori breathed, nuzzling his face into the hot crease of Bofur's thigh.

"My apartment is three blocks away!" He declared, alcohol addled brain pleased by his brilliant idea. "Three blocks an' yeh can have anything yeh want."

Nori was on his feet in a heartbeat and Bofur was once again pressed tightly against the wall, pinned in place by Nori's body. A far away voice in Bofur's head told him they shouldn't be doing this, but he couldn't quite remember why. Then Nori kissed him again and all thoughts were overwhelmed by the feel of hands in his hair and the taste of whiskey.

The fact that they made it to Bofur's apartment was a small miracle and after several fumbling attempts the key fit into the lock and the door was pushed open. They stumbled inside and managed to shut the door before clinging to each other again.

"Finally!" Nori caught Bofur's lips in a deep, hungry kiss, his tongue licking a strip over the roof of Bofur's mouth.

Bofur's hands pulled at Nori's clothes in a desperate attempt to find the skin beneath. Nori lifted his arms, letting Bofur tug his shirt off and tossing it aside, before doing the same with his own. Groaning, Bofur fumbled with his belt before pushing down his pants and kicking them loose. "Pants. Off. Now." Nori grinned and complied.

They hadn't made it out of the entry way, but Bofur couldn't bring himself to care. He nipped at the soft flesh of Nori's neck before soothing it with his tongue, enjoying the low moan it drew out of Nori. "Like that d' yeh?" He whispered and did it again, leaving tiny red marks all along Nori's neck.

Nori's hands slid over Bofur's body until they came to rest on his hips, fingers tightening as he alined their bodies and fitted their cocks together. "Fuck, yes."

Bofur cried out at the sensation, his hips instinctively pressing tighter against the impossible heat of Nori's body. Nori moved impatiently against him and Bofur grinned. "Want more don't yeh?"

Cursing under his breath, Nori grabbed Bofur's fingers and sucked them into his mouth, wetting them thoroughly before sliding them downward. Bofur took the hint and wiggled one finger past the ring of muscle, then another, until Nori was writhing against him. Curling his fingers, Bofur sought out the spot that would have Nori seeing stars, but Nori shifted again, pulling away with a growl. "Ain't gonna last long if you do that. Wanna come on your cock."

Bofur moaned, hips thrusting at Nori's words. "We should go t' the bedroom. Condoms. Lube." He tried to step forward, but was waylaid by Nori's tongue in his mouth.

"Don't care. Too far away." Nori dropped to his knees and wet Bofur's cock with his mouth, tongue sliding over the velvety flesh as Bofur moaned.

"You'll be sore an' regret it tomorrow." Something in the word regret tugged at Bofur's alcohol blurred mind, trying to remind him of something important.

Nori stood up and pressed his palms flat against the wall, spreading his legs. "God, just fuck me already!" All thoughts left as Bofur sunk himself into the tight heat.

Groaning, Nori pushed back, bucking himself against Bofur's hips in attempt to get the friction and angle he needed. Bofur leaned over Nori's body and dug his fingers harshly into the flesh of Nori's hips. "God. Yer so hot like this. Fuckin' yerself on my cock." He thrust his hips against Nori, earning a gasp for his efforts.

One of Nori's hands moved between his own legs, fisting his cock, and stroking it in time to Bofur's thrusts. "Harder!"

Bofur carded one hand through Nori's hair, using it to pull his neck to the side and expose the soft flesh to his tongue and teeth. He nipped hard at the skin, groaning as Nori pressed back against him. His hips snapped sharply, pushing him deep inside Nori's heat before pulling most of the way out, finding a rhythm that worked for them both. The noises Nori made were sinful, no words besides the occasional fuck, but all manner of guttural grunts and moans and whimpers.

"Fuck..." Nori begged, his hand sliding roughly over his own cock. Bofur reached his hand around and pushed Nori's aside, wrapping his fingers firmly around Nori's cock. He stroked one, two, three times before Nori cried out, his back arching as his body tightened and shook. "Fuck, Bofur..."

The sound of his name was too much and Bofur thrust one final time, emptying himself inside Nori with a loud groan.

They sank down to the ground, laying against each other for several long minutes before Bofur had the wherewithal to suggest they move to the bedroom. Exhausted, sated, and still a more than a bit buzzed, they fell into the bed, wrapping around each other and drifting into dreamless sleep.

It was late morning when Bofur woke up, feeling surprising well-rested despite the throbbing headache and cotton-dry feeling in his mouth. A warmth radiated from behind him and his sleep addled brain didn't question it. He shifted his body closer to the warmth and froze when an unexpected arm wrapped around his waist. He forced himself to remain still as he tried to think back to the night before. He could recall the bar and the band and the taste of whiskey... only he didn't drink whiskey. Vague memories surfaced of Nori leading him out of the bar, of Nori in the alleyway, of Nori... Shit!

Bofur's first thought was to sneak out before Nori woke, but they were in his apartment, so that wouldn't work. His second thought was to try and slip out of the bed without waking Nori, to pretend he had slept on the couch and nothing had happened. But something had happened. He could feel the dried stickiness between their bodies and the ache from where his back had been pressed against the brick wall of the alleyway. And if his memories were correct, there was no way Nori wouldn't know what they had done.

No, there was no getting out of this. Not after what they had done and the way Nori's hand was resting on his stomach. Bofur bit his lip and tried not to think about the other things Nori's hands were capable of.

Nori shifted and pressed tighter against Bofur, then his whole body tensed as he woke up. "The fuck?!"

The minute Nori pulled back his arm Bofur leaped from the bed, grabbing a pillow to hold in front of himself as he warily backed towards the wall. For his part, Nori wrapped the blanket around himself and stood up, wincing slightly. "Too hungover to deal with this shit. Need coffee."

"Okay." Glad for an excuse to leave the room, Bofur backed out the door and rushed to the kitchen, grabbing his robe from the bathroom door on the way past. He quickly set the coffee maker to brewing and pulled down two mugs. By the time Nori entered the kitchen, still wrapping in the blanket, the coffee was ready.

"I, uh, can't find my clothes," Nori muttered, sniffing at the coffee before taking a sip.

"I think yeh left them by the door..."

"Huh. Okay." He finished off his coffee and poured himself another cup.

Bofur dug around in the cupboard and pulled out a bottle of aspirin, swallowing two himself before offering the bottle to Nori. "I'm hungover as hell."

Nori nodded his thanks. "Yeah. Wild night, huh?"

"Yeah." Bofur sipped at his coffee and stared awkwardly at the ground. "So..."

"Don't get all weird on me now!"

Bofur forced a laugh. "Yeh d' realize we had sex, right?"

"No shit." Nori rolled his eyes. "People fuck all the time. It ain't a big deal."

"Right," Bofur agreed, wondering why it felt like one.

They finished the rest of the pot of coffee is awkward silence, neither knowing quite what to say. When Nori began to gather his clothes Bofur went back in the bedroom to get dressed himself. When he came back out to the kitchen Nori was gone.

When Bofur showed up for poker night he was surprised to find Nori already sitting at the table. They hadn't spoken since the morning after and Bofur wasn't sure where they stood.

"Hey," he said hesitantly, sliding into the chair beside Nori. "I wasn't expecting t' see yeh here."

"It's poker night, why wouldn't I be here?" Nori cocked a nonchalant brow.

"Because..." Bofur struggled to finish the sentence. "Last week. Yeh missed last week."

"I had shit to do last week. This week I don't."

"Yeah. Good. I mean, good because it's more fun with four of us..." Bofur ducked his head and willed his brain to stop behaving like a jilted lover. He and Nori were not dating. He didn't want a boyfriend.

"So, listen, 'bout the other night. It was fun. The sex was good- fuckin' phenomenal actually- but I don't think this fake dating thing is working."

"Thorin believes it," Bofur replied dumbly.

"Yeah, but the thing is, I like being friends with you. And pretending that we're a couple is making that weird." Nori shrugged, not meeting Bofur's eyes. "It's just... I don't wanna fuck up our friendship, okay?"

Bofur stared at his hands. "What about Thorin? He'll start tryin' t' set me up on dates again."

"Just tell him you're too heartbroken to date," Nori suggested with a too-bright grin. "Obviously you need time to get over me."

"Yeah. Obviously," Bofur agreed, coming to the unsavory realization that it was true. It dawned on him that he liked fake dating Nori. They had fun together. The sex was amazing. He didn't want to let Nori go, a thought that terrified him.

"Cool." Nori tapped his fingers on the table, then fiddled with his cell phone, then checked the time. "What's taking Dwalin and Gloin to long?"

"Was busy banging yer brother," Dwalin rumbled, coming through the door with Gloin.

Before Nori could reply Bofur stood up. "I don't really feel like playin' cards tonight. Yeh guys have fun." Without waiting for a response he fled back to his apartment, wanting to be alone with his thoughts.

...

Bofur flopped down on the bench beside Thorin with a heavy sigh. The weather was crisp and clear and they had mutually decided to take their lunches out to the lawn.

"Why the long face?"

"Nori an' I aren't together," Bofur said after a minute. "It's over."

Thorin's brows shot into his hairline. "I thought you two were golden after the way you practically drug him out of the bar the other night. Wasn't he good in bed?"

Bofur shook his head. "No, he was amazin'."

"Then what happened?"

"I don't know. Guess it was too much too fast. It just didn't work out."

"I'm sorry," Thorin said, patting Bofur's shoulder. "You really liked him, didn't you?"

"Yeah. I guess I did."

To say that Bofur was dreading poker night would have been a vast understatement. He didn't want to see Nori- not so soon after realizing his own feelings as things between them ended before they could begin. But he also wanted to see Nori- to keep their friendship, to prove that he was okay, to show Nori was he was missing out on.

What Bofur needed was a plan and when one formed in his head he couldn't help but grin. It would be a gamble, but if his bluff paid off Nori wouldn't know what hit him. Maybe nothing would come of it, or maybe it would blow up in his face, but he'd bet it all on a chance to win Nori's heart.

Bofur showed up for the poker game and took the seat across the table from Nori, purposely avoiding his eyes. "Evenin', lads."

"In a good mood, are we?" Gloin cocked a brow. "It's your deal tonight."

Picking up the cards Bofur gave a dimpled grin and shuffled the deck. "Deuces and kings are wild," he drawled slowly, dealing the cards out. "Double points if they're hearts."

Nori's eyes widened slightly and he schooled his expression, but not quickly enough. Bofur noticed and hummed quietly to himself. Time to up the ante.

Bofur glanced at his cards then tossed a chip onto the table. Reaching into the bowl of peanuts, he pulled out a few and popped them into his mouth. He could feel Nori's eyes on him and fought the urge to look over, choosing instead to slowly suck the salt from his fingers- one at a time. A low noise, followed by a coughing fit forced his attention to Nori.

"Sorry. Beer went down the wrong pipe." Nori's voice was a bit ragged and not from the coughing.

"Yeh best be careful there. Don't want t' take too much an' make yerself choke." Bofur met Nori's eyes and winked, before turning back to his cards.

Dwalin snorted into his beer. "That's what I was telling Ori last night..." He paused for affect, waiting for Nori to start their usual fight, but Nori didn't seem to hear him.

"Anyway, boys, I do believe it's my turn and I'll double the bet." Gloin said in a hurry, and slid two red chips across the table, looking smug.

Nori barely paused before matching the bet, his eyes flickering quickly between his cards and Bofur's face.

Bofur pretended to study his cards as he chewed on his lower lip, rolling it between his teeth. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Nori's fingers twitching- a sure sign that the usually calm and in control man was getting flustered. Bofur released his lip and let his tongue dart out to sooth the teeth marks. Under the table, Nori's foot began to knock against his chair leg.

Dwalin cocked a brow. "Alright, lads. I'm calling the hand. I got three jacks."

Gloin folded his cards and tossed them on the table. "I'm out."

"Full house. Aces and eights." Nori said triumphantly, reaching for the poker chips.

"Not so fast," Bofur said cheerily, reaching out to push Nori's hand away, his fingers trailing softly over Nori's palm. "Straight flush. All hearts."

Both Gloin and Dwalin cheered at the winning hand, but Nori simply regarded Bofur with a searching gaze.

Bofur scooped up the poker chips and pushed back his chair. "Well, lads, it's been fun takin' yer money, but I need t' be gettin' t' bed. Have a date tomorrow night an' I don't plan on getting' much sleep."

"A date?" Nori's question was rushed, his eyes a bit too wide.

"Yeah. Just a guy I know from work. We're goin' t' hear a band play at that bar yeh an' I went t' with Thorin." Bofur tried to sound nonchalant, but he couldn't hide the slight grin as Nori's jaw tightened.

"Have fun then," Nori ground out between clenched teeth.

"Oh, I plan on it!"

"Hey," Nori said, plopping down on the couch beside his younger brother with a sigh.

"Hey," Ori replied, raises a brow, but not voicing any questions.

"So... Bofur has a date."

"Good for him?"

"Yeah. I guess." Nori stared down at his hands. "I mean, he can do whatever he wants, right?"

"That's true." Ori nodded slowly, waiting for his brother to get to the point.

"I don't want him to have a date." Nori's voice was almost a whisper.

"Why not? You don't want to date him."

"I don't want to not date him..."

Ori chewed on his lip and considered his words carefully. "You're the one who ended the fake dating."

"I know, I know! It was supposed to be a game, but we had fun, and then we fucked, and... dammit!" Nori tossed up his hands in frustration. "I don't know what to do."

"Talk to him?" Ori supplied. "You two have been friends for years, surely you can figure this out."

"What if he don't want to?"

"Maybe he's just waiting for you to make the first move. He's not the one that ended things, you did."

"His date is tonight."

"Then you'd best talk to him beforehand, otherwise you might miss your chance."

Nori glared at the wall. "Great. This should be fun."

...

Bofur leaned against the bar and hid his smirk behind the mouth of his beer bottle. Nori was there, lurking in a dark corner where he thought no one would notice, but Bofur was watching. Hoping. He made a show out of checking the time on his cell phone and heaved an obvious sigh. Sliding his empty bottle towards the bartender, Bofur let his gaze wander around the room, eyes widening in mock confusion when they landed on Nori.

Caught- Nori had no choice but to join Bofur at the bar. "Hey."

"Hey yerself. What are yeh doing here?"

"Uh, I really wanted to hear the band tonight. Heard they're supposed to be awesome." Nori stared at the stage, not willing to meet Bofur's eyes.

"Oh. Yeah. That's why I'm here too." He frowned. "I mean, that an' the date an' all."

"Right. Your date. Where he is?"

"I guess he's runnin' a little late. Yer welcome t' wait with me... Have a beer... Since we're both here..."

Nori nodded. "Yeah, that sounds okay." He motioned for the bartender and ordered them both drinks, which he paid for with a folded bill.

Bofur uncapped his beer and tipped it back, pretending to take a deep pull. The beer was good, and part of him wanted the liquid courage, but mostly he wanted to remain sober tonight.

"I had a few shots before I joined you," Nori lied as he toyed with his glass. "Probably gonna get pretty pissed tonight."

"Sounds like a solid plan. I'm already feelin' a bit buzzed myself."

Nori nodded and raised the shot glass to his lips, face pulling slightly at the burn from the whiskey. "The bands getting ready to start. Just how late is your date?"

"Not too late yet," Bofur replied, training his eyes on the stage. "There aren't any seats left near the stage. Yeh might as well stay up here at the bar..."

The band took the stage and started their set. The rhythm was heavy and driving, but the beat was off and the singer couldn't carry a tune to save her life. Nori, remembering his cover story, tried his damnedest to pretend to enjoy the music, but it was near impossible. "I ain't nearly pissed enough to listen to this," he muttered, tossing back another shot. He could feel the whiskey warming his stomach, but it wasn't enough to cloud his thoughts.

"I'm gettin' there," Bofur confided, leaning close enough to whisper in Nori's ear. "An' I think my date stood me up."

"He didn't deserve you anyway," Nori replied before he could stop himself. He squeezed his eyes shut and hoped Bofur hadn't heard him.

Bofur bit back a grin as things slotted perfectly into place. "I doubt he'd have been as good in bed as yeh were."

Nori's eyes widened. "Asking for a repeat performance, huh?"

"Could be fun." He shrugged, trying not to seem too eager. "Anything t' get away from this music."

Sliding his whiskey glass across the bar top Nori shot him a sharp grin. "I'm game."

They didn't stop on their way to Bofur's apartment, simply walked quickly while avoiding any more contact then their shoulders brushing. Inside the foyer they stood awkwardly for a moment before Bofur took the initiative and Nori's hand, leading him towards the bedroom.

Once inside the bedroom they finally made eye contact and Bofur managed a smile. "Yeh still want t' do this?"

Nori took a deep breath, clearly thinking of all the things that could go wrong, and nodded. "Yeah."

That was all it took and Bofur stepped forward, cupping Nori's jaw and kissing him breathless. Nori's hands fumbled in the air for a minute before settling on Bofur's hips, fingertips slipping under the hem of his shirt. Bofur made an approving sound before tugging off Nori's own shirt and licking a hot line up his sternum.

"Fuck, Bofur," Nori growled, his hands working on both of their belts. "Want you."

Bofur could taste the whiskey on Nori's breath and knew neither of them were drunk enough to write it off in the morning. "Anything yeh want."

Nori pushed both of their pants down before pulling off Bofur's shirt and tossing it aside. He stepped back and regarded Bofur, taking in the lean lines of muscle and thick trail of hair leading downwards. "Fuck," he repeated, moving close again and claiming Bofur's lips with his own.

The naked friction of his body against Nori's was delicious and Bofur couldn't help press closer. He could feel the hot brand of Nori's cock against his hip and shifted his body until they were aligned. "We should... bed..." His words were broken and husky, but Nori got the message and walked them backwards until Bofur's legs hit the mattress and he fell back onto it.

"So fucking hot," Nori half-muttered as he crawled onto the bed, using his knee to push Bofur's thighs apart.

Bofur groped blindly towards the side table, managing to pull open the drawer and grab a condom and a small bottle of lubricant. "Little more prepared than last time."

"Prepared, huh?" He peppered tiny bites and kisses across Bofur's chest. "We're you expecting me?"

"Hoping," Bofur ground out. "There was no date. Just wanted t' make yeh jealous."

Nori froze and for a moment Bofur thought he'd ruined his chances. Then, Nori was on him in earnest, leaning down to devour his mouth in a display of pure possession and want. "Mine."

"Yours? I thought yeh didn't do the dating thing?" Bofur managed between heated kisses.

"Dating, not dating, don't give a flying fuck. I just want you. Don't wanna share you."

Bofur's fingers dug for purchase against Nori's shoulders, dragging him closer. "Yeh don't have t' share me. I'm yers."

Nori fumbled with the lube, opening the bottle and slicking his fingers before trailing them between Bofur's thighs. His fingers pressed in and Bofur opened up around him with a throaty growl. "Fuck."

"Yeh keep sayin' that," Bofur managed, his eyes blown wide. "Why don't yeh actually do it. I want t' feel yeh."

Stretching his fingers one last time, Nori pulled them out and slid on the condom. He lined his cock up, then paused with a look of open amazement on his face. "I don't think this is fuckin'." Before Bofur could reply he pushed in, seating himself fully in the gripping heat.

Clutching at Nori's back, Bofur pulled him down until their lips met in a desperate kiss. His hips rolled up, spurring Nori into motion. Where their first tumble had been rough and desperate, this was different. Slower. More give than take. They moved slowly at first, carefully finding a pace, and exploring every inch of flesh within reach.

Bofur's cock pressed tightly between their bodies, the raw friction of their skin sending him closer to the brink. "So good," he moaned, grinding his body upward so that Nori's cock was striking the spot he wanted. "So close..."

Nori gave a strangled groan and moved faster, pressing himself into Bofur's body with deep, even strokes. "Fuck. Wanna feel you come."

Bofur's back arched off the mattress as he cried out, body clenching around Nori's cock. The echoing groan and the stickiness between their bodies was enough to make Nori fall over the edge as well, crying Bofur's name against his lips.

It took a few moments for them to come down, Nori's head resting on Bofur's shoulder as they both gasped for air. Eventually Nori regained enough conscious thought to pull out of Bofur's heat and toss the condom into the trash. "Fuck." He dropped back to the bed beside Bofur and slid an arm around him.

Bofur was silent for a moment before replying. "Do yeh regret it?"

Nori froze. "Why would I regret it? Do you?"

"No, not at all!" Bofur frowned, clearly choosing his words. "Last time yeh left without sayin' goodbye."

"Last time we weren't dating."

"Are yeh sayin' that this time we are?"

"Yeah. I think so." Nori could feel Bofur's smile, buried against his shoulder.

"Good."

...

Neither Gloin nor Dwalin seemed especially surprised when Nori and Bofur showed up to the poker game hand-in-hand. No one said anything about it as they loaded the table with beer and snacks.

Nori shuffled the deck with a practiced ease. "All right, boys, time to play. Deuces and kings are wild. Hearts are double points." He winked at Bofur as he dealt the cards.

The first few hands were played with the usual trash-talk and banter. Chips were exchanged, hands were folded, and beer was consumed. Just when Bofur was starting to think they might actually finish an entire game without incident Dwalin grinned wickedly.

"So, Nori. Now that yer not single maybe ya won't mind so much that I'm banging yer brother." He regarded Nori over his cards.

Nori looked slowly from Dwalin to his cards and back again. Then he stood up and pulled Bofur out of his chair, kissing him fiercely. Nori's hands wandered down to press against the curve of Bofur's ass, making him blush.

"I don't wanna see that!" Dwalin growled, covering his eyes with his cards.

"Then stop talking 'bout what you do with my brother in bed! Every time you do Bofur and I are gonna make out. The worse you say, the worse we'll do." Nori shot him a switchblade grin.

Dwalin rolled his eyes. "Yeah right. Yer not gonna do anything if I start talking about how yer brother loves my cock up his-"

The sentence was never finished as Nori pushed Bofur back against the table, laying him out amongst the cards. Bofur could feel the chips digging into his back, but couldn't quite bring himself to care. "Sorry, Gloin," he managed as the other man gathered his coat, then Nori's tongue was in his mouth and he found he didn't quite care that their game was over.

At some point Dwalin must have followed Gloin out the door, but Bofur couldn't say when. All he knew is that when Nori finally pulled away from him, spent and sated, they were alone in the room. Plastic chips and cards littered the floor, and there was a sticky stain on the green felt of the poker table. "I think we're gonna have t' buy a new table..."

Nori snorted a soft laugh and nuzzled his face into the crease of Bofur's shoulder. "Don't care. That was amazing. You're amazing."

Smiling his agreement, Bofur leaned in and kissed Nori gently. If this is what it meant to be in a relationship, he didn't mind one bit.

...


...

A/N: Thanks for taking the time to read and remember- reviews and favorites feed the muse. 3