The Mummy AU
Tíli was a coward; all wet and self-serving, a grifter who got himself into trouble with whatever bad news he found himself surrounded by. Fíli had had little doubt that the kid was hurtling toward an early grave, the way his gab kept going after he was told, in no uncertain terms, to shut the hell up.
And then Fíli started noticing. Watching. Eventually, openly studying his partner’s younger brother like a new scientific discovery.
It was the way Tíli moved that clued Fíli in. The way his body interacted with those around him, tuck-and-rolling like muscle memory. Sometimes his feet moved preemptively, without permission, and he’d be under his newest encounter’s fist but then … he’d stop. Welcome a fist to the teeth as if it was what he wanted.
Tíli was a fighter, clearly, yet he let himself take the beating on offer. Perhaps as recompense for all his dirty deeds; perhaps because he really wasn’t as good as Fíli suspected.
Fíli had theories but couldn’t understand.
Smiling up at him through bloody gums, Tíli chuckled a wet, “You going to inform my dear brother about this?”
Frowning, Fíli didn’t say anything, simply continued to drag Tíli through the backstreets toward the hotel.
“I don’t get you.” Fíli said at last when he hauled Tíli through the lobby.
“Nobody does, my friend.”
And that was the end of that.