Title: We lock ourselves in (3/?)
Fandom: Tokio Hotel gen, twins-centric
Summary: Sometimes, the usual roles are reversed.
A/N: Third in a series of loosely connected one-shots depicting various snapshots of what the boys get up to when they have months of spare time on their hands. This one is mostly fluff with a little dash of angst.
They had been home since the day before yesterday, which was also when Bill had seen his brother last. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to see Tom, on the contrary; he was just so freaking tired that quick trips to the bathroom had been all he could manage. Now though, after sleeping for the better part of two days, he was slowly beginning to unwind and boredom was setting in.
Also, he was starving.
After a long shower, with a towel wrapped around his hair and a fresh pair of sweatpants hanging low on his hips, Bill finally felt refreshed enough to do something about it. He threw open his bedroom door in passing before he flung himself on his bed again and made himself comfortable. Tom’s door, right on the other side of the hall, was open too, he noted with pleasure.
“Are you awake?” he called hopefully.
“Barely,” was Tom’s mumbled reply.
“What are we going to do about that?”
“Dunno. Not getting up yet.”
“I miss you,” Bill whined at the ceiling.
He could hear Tom snort softly into his pillows. “I’m right here.”
“I haven’t seen you in two days.”
“Come over then. I’m not getting up.”
Bill sighed. When they were kids, their beds had always been foot to foot so they could look at each other without getting up. Come to think of it, that had been a pretty good arrangement. They should move their beds so they could see each other when the doors were open. For a minute, he wondered if he should get up and move his bed right now and make Tom do the same, but then dismissed the idea as too strenuous. Besides, they needed physical contact to recharge their twin batteries, like two pylons transmitting power between them.
Bill moaned and kicked his legs like a fussy toddler. He didn’t want to get up. He wanted to stay right here in his nice, comfortable bed, with the universe revolving around him as its divine emperor. Servants to cater to his every whim. Good music. A selection of delicious junk food. And some exotic dancers would be nice. When he closed his eyes, he could see it; he’d be wearing a big, sparkly crown. And Tom would be there, of course, because nothing was ever fun without Tom and Bill had only wanted the exotic dancers for him anyway.
When he opened his eyes again, though, he was still alone in his room, still hungry and bored. Huffing, he scrambled across the bed, grabbed his pillow and dragged himself across the hall and into his brother’s bedroom. Tom was sprawled out on his stomach in the middle of his bed, snoring softly. Bill tossed the pillow at his head. “Move over!”
“Be nice or go away,” Tom grumbled, but he did make room for his twin.
Bill flopped down on the mattress beside Tom and surveyed his surroundings. Tom’s room seemed larger than his even though they were the exact same size, simply because it was so meticulously tidy. CDs and books and magazines were neatly stacked on a shelf next to the stereo, Tom’s practice guitar hung on the wall above a small amp, his laptop sat on the desk with the cables rolled up into tight balls, and the cushions on the couch were fluffed up like the whole thing had been set up for a furniture catalog. Even the ashtray on the windowsill was empty and clean. Bill smirked to himself. He reached out and patted Tom’s head fondly.
“You’re so ridiculous.”
“Hnngh,” Tom made, which Bill took to mean, ‘So are you.’
He grinned. “And you smell.”
“Go back to your own bed then.”
“Hmph.” Bill debated this for a moment, then rolled over and buried his face between his twin’s shoulderblades. He breathed deeply. Yes, this was way better than being alone in his room. Even when Tom stank, he was still Tom, after all.
Tom’s breathing was already evening out again, as if he’d been waiting for Bill to curl around him so he could go back to sleep. Bill pouted at his brother’s back. Tom was probably the only person on whom Bill’s presence had a narcotic effect, and Bill understood why – they always were more comfortable when they were close, it was just a fact – but right now he was awake and bored and hungry and he wanted Tom right there with him.
He tugged at one of Tom’s braids none too gently. “Hey, don’t fall asleep on me!”
Tom swatted at his hand. “Why not?”
“Because it’s rude,” Bill informed him. “Have some manners!”
“You’re not some random stranger,” Tom groaned. “Different rules apply.”
Bill laughed. “That’s right. And twin etiquette dictates that you get up and make me breakfast.”
The brazenness made Tom lift his head at last. He still looked groggy, but the dark lines under his eyes that had gotten worse and worse over the last weeks of their excruciating promo tour had faded some, Bill noted with satisfaction. He smiled winningly.
“Why’s that?” Tom asked.
“Because you love me and couldn’t live without me and so you wouldn’t want me to starve, would you?”
Tom stared at him with narrowed eyes. “By that logic, why don’t you make me breakfast?”
“Because I said it first!” Bill said indignantly. It made sense, it did. Also, Tom’s scrambled eggs were better than his; not that he’d ever admit that.
“Whatever,” Tom said with finality and slumped back down into the pillows. “Not. Getting. Up.”
“Tooooooom!” Bill wasn’t above whining. His brother should know that. He should also know that he would never get to sleep again unless Bill took mercy on him; Bill had had practice keeping Tom on his toes since before birth, after all.
But then again, Tom had been so tired lately. The stress of awkward questions regarding his love life and the stalker incident, coupled with their usual workload had brought him to the brink of what he could stand, and Bill had been more than a little relieved when an opening in their tour schedule had appeared and they could go home for a few days. Bill could still be bouncy and energetic even when he was being run ragged as long as he had his music and his twin and his friends, but Tom was different. He needed peace and quiet and stuff.
“Tell you what,” Bill said gently, trying to keep his voice low. “I’ll make breakfast if you take a shower, and then you can doze off again while I watch Scrubs.”
It was Tom’s turn to whine. “Shower?”
“You really do smell,” Bill told him cheerfully.
“Or do you really want me to go?” he asked. He didn’t think Tom wanted to be alone, not really, but it never hurt to keep an open mind, and he would’ve given Tom just about anything he asked even if Bill didn’t quite like it, if it only made Tom happy. “I won’t be mad, I promise.”
“Go?” Tom murmured. He turned his head and blinked at Bill sleepily. “Nah, don’t. Just…be quiet for a little while, okay?”
Their mom had once told them that it had been like this even before they were born: one of them had kicked until the other kicked back and shut him up. They took turns tormenting their mother and each other, nagging until there was a response, reassurance that they weren’t alone.
“Okay,” Bill said softly. He relaxed back into the pillows that smelled of Tom’s soap and hair wax and cigarettes and sweat, pleasant to no one but him, and soaked up the quiet atmosphere of the early fall afternoon. The sun was filtering through the threadbare, faded curtains that their mom had sewed for Tom’s first room, fifteen years ago. The fountain in the neighbors’ garden was splashing. People were talking in the distance. It was a nice day in suburbia.
Bill shuddered at the thought. Much as he loved sleeping in his own bed, he thrived on the excitement of their extraordinary life, here today, gone tomorrow. Beside him though, his brother was snoring with his fingers curled tightly into the sheets as if he never wanted to leave his bed again, and Bill felt a pang of wistfulness. If Tom told him that he was sick and tired of the rockstar life, Bill would give it up tomorrow, no regrets. He hoped Tom knew that.
As quietly as he could, Bill got up and sneaked out of the room, downstairs into the kitchen. The house felt empty; no pictures on the walls yet, no carpets on the floor, no mail in the mailbox when Bill checked, just a few ads from the nearest supermarket. They hadn’t really lived in their home at all since they’d moved in. It was time that changed.
The fridge was empty too save for a bottle of ketchup and various alcoholic beverages, none of which would make for a good breakfast. Dinner, maybe. Bill stared into the fridge, hands on his hips, tapping his foot as if food would appear if he just wished hard enough. When this didn’t appear to be working, he slammed the fridge shut and blew at a strand of black hair, pondering. He had no choice. He’d have to go grocery shopping.
Venturing outside seemed daunting, especially on foot, but driving around the corner to the nearest supermarket in his big, flashy car would cause much more of a stir than just quickly popping over there under cover of a hood and sunglasses. He snagged one of Tom’s hoodies from a hook by the door and zipped it up to his chin. The fabric swallowed him up completely like a soft security blanket, which was kind of nice. Upon inspection, he found a pack of cigarettes and a lighter in the left pocket, some money and Tom’s keys in the right. Excellent.
Shopping was, to Bill’s relief, mercifully boring and uneventful, although he was sure the fans wouldn’t agree. Their delight in watching them perform even the most mundane tasks was equally amusing and silly. Humming softly to himself, Bill grabbed eggs, milk, cornflakes and toast, sliced cheese, a bottle of juice and some Fritt candy strips and made his way past the cashier and out the door having to write only two autographs. “Thanks, Tom!” the girls beamed, and Bill grumbled something unintelligible as his twin would and shuffled off in his best imitation of Tom’s penguin walk. They’d probably run home to blog about how nice and approachable Tom was, shopping all by himself at the local supermarket.
In all, it was a pretty good day. Even the scrambled eggs turned out okay.
“Ta-da!” Bill presented a fully-laden tray of breakfast to his brother half an hour later. But if he had hoped to startle Tom, he was disappointed. Tom was sitting in the middle of the bed, a notepad and pencils in his lap, sketching out a scene with quick flicks of his wrist. This was Tom’s secret art; but there was neither room nor energy to spare for it in their everyday schedule. Tom had made his choice long ago, but as Bill watched him draw, lines flowing together to create an image that seemed to be picked straight from Bill’s memories, Bill couldn’t help but wish that there was more time to contemplate from a distance. More time for Tom’s soul to rest, so he could pour it into this.
Of course, if they had had more time, there might not have been anything for Tom to draw: this was the paradox of their life, the price of fame. And Bill loved the rush, the excitement, the constant motion of their life – it was what he always wanted, the one thing he was meant for – but sometimes, when he was very honest with himself, he could see that Tom would’ve had options, talents, desires for a quieter life.
“I’m sorry,” he said, and Tom looked up at him in surprise.
“That you don’t get to do this more.”
Tom shrugged. “Not your fault.”
“We’re in this together,” Tom said wryly. “It’s not always all about you, you know.”
“Don’t be stupid.” Bill put the tray on the bedside table and sat down, cross-legged, at the foot of the bed to watch his brother doodle. “What are you drawing?”
“I had a dream,” Tom said distractedly, “just now.”
“About what?” Bill prompted when no further explanation came forth.
Tom flashed him a grin. “I dreamed you’d made breakfast.”
“I did,” Bill said indignantly.
“What, really?” Tom looked around in surprise and found the tray on the nightstand. His face lit up. “Hey, cornflakes!” He snatched a bowl and dug in.
Snorting, Bill grabbed a plate of eggs and toast for himself. “I had to go shopping first, too.”
Tom choked on a spoonful of milk. “You went out by yourself?”
"Yes, sure!" Bill rolled his eyes. “I’m twenty years old, you know!”
Tom gaped at him like a fish out of water. “Are you crazy? You know what could happen!”
“But it didn’t,” Bill argued. Tom had gone from relaxed-enough-to-draw to a full-blown anxiety attack in under a minute. He’d been way too paranoid ever since the thing with the stalkers, and it made Bill sad and furious in equal measure. “Look, I’m fine--”
“You should’ve woken me up, I would’ve come,” Tom raged.
“But you were tired,” Bill said. “I was out for fifteen minutes, nothing happened at all--”
“But it could have!” Tom insisted. He frowned deeply, looking wretchedly upset.
“It didn’t, Tom,” Bill told him firmly. “Eat your cornflakes.”
“Fuck the cornflakes!” Tom snapped. He dropped the bowl and stalked off to the bathroom. The door slammed behind him, and then Bill was all alone again, sitting in a puddle of milk.
Sighing, Bill brushed soppy cereal off his legs. He went up to press his ear against the bathroom door and listened to Tom pacing. “Tom.”
“Hmph,” came the muffled reply.
“You’re overreacting,” Bill informed him.
“No I’m not!”
“Yes you are. Take a shower while you’re in there. And shave too, I don’t like our face with stubble.”
“You know what I don’t like?”
The door swung open so abruptly that Bill toppled forward and faceplanted on the tiled bathroom floor. “Ow!”
The breath Tom had drawn to launch into an angry tirade escaped with a string of curses. “Oh, dammit.”
Groaning, Bill raised his head. His nose was bleeding. He felt it gingerly. “If you messed up my twenty-thousand Euro veneers, I’ll drop you off at the nearest gas station to get beat up by French fans,” he squawked.
Tom had the grace to look sheepish. “Sorry.”
“You fucking idiot,” Bill berated him. At least his nose didn’t seem to be broken, and his teeth were all still in place. He breathed a sigh of relief. This wasn’t the first time a fight of theirs had led to bloodshed and it wouldn’t be the last. The good thing about it was that Tom always tried really hard to make it up to Bill, no matter how unimpressed he might act.
Tom crouched down beside him. “Here, let me see.”
“Who do you think you are, a doctor?” Bill huffed, but he allowed Tom to take his face in both palms and inspect his nose.
“It hurts,” Bill pointed out.
“You’ll live.” Abruptly, Tom let him go to rummage through the bathroom closet for a washcloth.
“You know what they say, most accidents happen in the household.”
“Oh, now you say that!”
Tom looked more than a little guilty. “I am sorry.” He wet the washcloth and handed it to Bill. “Look, I’m asking nicely. Please don’t go out alone, it’s not safe. Stuff like this happens when you do.”
Bill dabbed at his nose, pouting. “This was your fault.”
There was a stubborn pause. “You’re being silly,” Bill said then. “I just wanted to make you breakfast.”
“And I just wanted to pick up some fucking smokes and gummi bears at the gas station for you, and then the next day the police was at our door!” Tom burst out. He twisted the hem of his enormous t-shirt around his bloody fists in agitation. “Do you remember mom’s face when she found out?”
Bill released a deep breath. The stress and exhaustion of the past months was finally wearing off; it was only natural that all of this would finally come out. The wound on Tom’s soul was only half-healed yet. “Okay, okay,” he said soothingly. He picked himself up off the floor and enfolded his twin in his arms. “Come here. It’s okay. Nothing else is going to happen. God, you stink.”
That triggered a small laugh. “It’s a crazy girl repellent.”
Smiling, Bill stroked his hand down Tom’s back. Tom was clinging, which only ever happened when Tom was feeling really out of sorts. “You never told me about that dream you had.”
“I really did dream about breakfast. About you making breakfast. Mom was there too. And Gordon. And the dogs.” The tension seemed to seep out of Tom as he talked about it. He sort of sagged against Bill.
“Sounds nice,” Bill said softly.
“It was,” Tom murmured against his shoulder.
Maybe, Bill thought, the suburban lifestyle wasn’t so bad after all. Just for a little while, so they could get used to normality. It was rather like learning to walk all over again. “Come on, have some eggs.”
Tom snorted. “Yes, mom.”
“And then we’ll get dressed and take a nice walk,” Bill continued. “It’ll do you good. Don’t worry, I’ll protect you from the crazies.”
“Don’t make me feel bad for them,” Tom chuckled. His grip on Bill tightened. “Hey. Thanks.”
Tom shrugged, making them both wobble on their feet. “Everything. Standing by me no matter what.”
“Oh, shut up,” Bill said fiercely.
Tom laughed. “I mean it though.”
As well as he knew his twin, Bill always found himself unprepared for Tom’s rare declarations of feeling, whenever they happened. He closed his eyes against the sudden rush of wild affection and hugged his brother tightly. Tom always claimed the protective big brother role by virtue of ten pesky minutes, and Bill let him have it so he could feel strong and brave, but they both knew who of them was tougher when the going got rough; today, he could be what Tom needed. “I know. Shut up.”