AN: I owed quite a few people a "sunshine and puppies" story. This is it.
Also, I seem to have fallen into a crack!ship, and I have zero regrets.
Spoilers: The Hobbit
Disclaimer: The Hobbit comes from Tolkien, Sigrid comes from the Jackson movie, hopefully I didn't make too many mistakes!
Characters: Sigrid, Fili, Tilda, Kili; Fili/Sigrid
Summary: Fili and Sigrid agree to an arranged marriage, and quickly learn that mountains and lakes ally more quickly than people.
In all the excitement, she can almost forget it is her wedding that the celebrations are for. The great hall Under the Mountain is lit with a thousand lanterns, light refracting off of mirrored jewels so that it is as though the very sun blazes through the heart of the stone. Her people dance, bright colours returned to their cloth thanks to years of successful trade in a city newly built. She herself wears the finest material Dale produces, turning down her father's offer of the softer southern fabrics for the comfort of something made at home. He'd not pressed the issue. He has not pressed her for anything since she agreed to the marriage.
The offer had, at least, been made in good faith. She sees Fili often enough, in missions to Dale on his uncle's behalf, and hears of his exploits as he helps to clear the last remnants of rabid orc packs from the northern mountains. His uncle and her father have reached an accord, but neither can forget the words they spoke to one another, those years ago, by Erebor's Front Gate. They are polite and formal, but their people can feel the lack of warmth between them.
Sigrid assumes it was Balin who suggested the wedding. In any case, it was the statesman-dwarf who had come to her father's newly built house to make the proposal. Bard had almost refused on the spot, but Sigrid would not let him. She had agreed to let Fili court her, and to Balin's suggestion that she and Fili be the ones to write the actual contract. After, her father had told her every time the dwarves paid a call that she did not have to marry if she did not wish it, but Sigrid has never been stupid. Even the rumour of a union between Mountain and City has seen an increase in trade. Fili is as good a prince as she might wish for, and as good a man. Her father will reconcile his feelings soon enough. She must only show him that she is happy, and she thinks she might be, given time.
Now, though, as the dancers whirl, Sigrid feels the beginning of doubt. The dwarves are so different, their halls so alien, for all that she can see her own city from their gate. She wears a dwarrowdam-style gown, cut taller and slighter to fit, and sits at the high table with the dwarf-lords, and wonders if this is a terrible mistake.
She hears her sister's laugh rise above the noise of the crowd, and looks for her in the crush of dancers. Tilda is dancing with Kili, though he plainly does not know the steps. Instead, they lurch around the floor, nearly colliding with the more decorous pairs. Tilda cannot stop giggling at his antics for long enough to tell him the proper way, or perhaps she doesn't care. Sigrid feels the smile in her stomach before it appears on her face, to see her sister having so much fun.
"He's always like that," says Fili, who has been seated beside her, of course, though they have not spoken much. "He can't do our dances either, and if Tauriel didn't carry him, I think he'd be trod to death at an elvish party."
Sigrid's smile does not lessen as she looks at him, though her stomach shifts. It's not entirely uncomfortable. In the years since the Mountain's recovery, Fili has grown broader. His beard is full, and reaches nearly half-way down his chest. Tonight, it is woven with gold chains, so fine that when he turns his head or laughs, she can hardly tell where the jewelry leaves off and the hair begins. He is every inch the golden prince now, so changed from the traveller who climbed out of her toilet all those years ago.
She's changed too, she knows. She's filled out and her hair is thicker now that she eats enough on a regular basis. She can see the alterations well enough in Tilda and in Bain to know that she must look healthier, brighter, too. But she does not think she can hold a candle to him.
The music shifts, and Kili sets her sister down. He looks at them from across the floor, amusement clearly writ upon his face, and Fili takes a deep breath.
"Hold your chair, lass," his whispers. "Grip it under the bottom. They won't let you fall, but they'll seem like they're trying to!"
She had known what to expect, of course, though not when to expect it. The dwarrowdams who had laced her into her dress had been sure to tell her as much as they could about the dwarvish customs. Much of it had gone in one of her ears and out the other, thanks to her nerves, but this she remembers, because the description of it had ended with the one word she still can't think of without feeling like she can't breathe: bed.
Her father is staring at her, the only person in the whole hall, besides Thorin, naturally, who is not grinning and clapping along with the music as the dwarves converge on them, lifting their chairs on to their broad shoulders and singing what Sigrid must assume are bawdy songs in their own tongue. She smiles as much for Bard's sake as for her own, grateful for Fili's warning as the chair slides forward and backward.
They are carried down the corridor towards the living quarters, all the dwarves of Erebor behind them. Kili, near the front of the throng, has Tilda on his shoulders so she isn't crushed by accident, and it's he who opens the door when they all finally arrive at the suite Sigrid and Fili will share.
At last, not even Sigrid's grip on the chair is enough to save her. She's tumbled out and into Fili's arms, as the throng laughs good-heartedly around them. She's never been so glad to not speak Khuzdul, and hopes that Kili has the sense not to do any translating for her sister.
And then Fili is pushed through the door, and his brother shuts it behind them, and Sigrid realizes that she is alone with her husband in the dark.
Fili had never given much thought to his marriage. Before the quest, his life had only two possible outcomes: regain the Mountain or perish in the attempt. When the former had occurred, he'd forgotten that it was the beginning, not the end.
There had been no discussion of it for the first few years. Erebor was rebuilding, as was Dale, but both were strong. There were pockets of resentment, of course: Men who felt the dwarves owed more, dwarves who felt the Men deserved less. Thorin's regal disinterest didn't exactly calm these sentiments down, but the dissent between the two races never grew louder than a whisper.
Then Balin had gone and turned the whole royal council on its ear. Kili's allegiance with the elves of Mirkwood, unofficial as it was it yet, left them in good standing with Thranduil's kin. A marriage to a daughter of Dale for Fili might do the same. And Balin, ever the canny planner, had a specific daughter in mind.
"You think the Bowman will allow it?" Thorin had shouted, and Fili had known that Balin would win: Thorin only resorted to calling Bard by his old epithet when he was cornered.
"I think the lady herself will see the wisdom of the match," Balin had said. "She runs his house, as ever, and that means running the City as well. Bard might resist, but Lady Sigrid will agree to it, I am certain."
"Fili?" Kili had asked, the only one to so much as look at him.
"I will court her, if you wish it," he'd said. "But if she does not, I will not push her."
"Do what you will then," The King had commanded, and thus it was begun.
It isn't until he sees her at the wedding, dressed in dwarvish style and with the colours of his house woven into her hair, that he knows his heart is lost. Their courting had been painfully formal, not to mention superlatively supervised. As a result they still do not know each other very well, but he knows that she is strong of heart and a hard worker. He can only hope that, given time, he will be more than an alliance to her, more than a better path for her people.
She does not eat much, but then, neither does he. He wishes they could dance, but they didn't have enough time to learn each other's steps, and while it is all right for Kili to make an ass of himself, Fili must uphold the dignity of Erebor, tonight more than ever. Instead, he watches her from the side of his eye. The light gleams on her hair and on the jewels that adorn her gown, but it is her eyes that sparkle the brightest as she watches the dancers below. She is, he is grateful to see, not afraid. He supposes that after a dragon, a dwarf is not much of a threat.
The music changes, and he has time to warn her, at least, before they are borne up and away by the crowd. His kin have the sense to dump him off his perch first, so that he might catch her when she falls, but then his idiot brother shoves him, and that means he has to hold her even tighter so that neither of them takes an unfortunate tumble. If nothing else, it would be considered unlucky. He can hear Kili's laugh above the crowd, and then abruptly nothing, as the door is shut and they are left in the dark.
"Are you all right?" he asks, still holding her in his arms.
"Yes, thank you," she says. "The ladies who helped me get ready told me this would happen. But thank you for the warning anyway."
"It wouldn't do for you to start married life with a fall," Fili says, thoughtlessly. Then he realizes what he's said: married life.
She stills in his arms, and he sets her down as gently as he can. She's lost a slipper, he notices, as her skirts settle themselves on the floor. Her foot will be cold against the stone, and yet the only place he can think to send her, the bed, seems uncouth.
"I'll build up the fire," he says instead, and turns towards the hearth.
They don't have a formal reception area in their private suite. The rooms had not originally been designated for the royal family, but Fili selected them because, far from the heart of the Mountain as they are, they have windows. It's small, for both of their stations, but Sigrid had liked the idea, and they will have public reception rooms aplenty as their roles within Erebor change. For now, the room is dominated by the hearth on one side, and the bed on the other, with lush carpets between. He makes a note to see about getting chairs. There are doors, to the spring-fed bath and to their separate dressing rooms. Her things arrived two days ago, but have not been unpack yet. In his mother's wisdom, as set down by the contract, it was decided to let the new Lady of Erebor organize her own belongings.
He hears her move to the lamps that line the wall, and the room brightens as she turns the wicks. He pokes the fire, it does not in truth need much help, and tries desperately to think of something to do or say.
She curses softly as he turns, his eyes blind from staring at the fire, and when he can see clearly again, she is standing in front of him. They are nearly matched in height – he looks directly at her chin when they both wear shoes, and taller when he's in his heavy boots – but she is much slighter than he is.
"Sigrid?" he asks.
"It's the dress," she says, colouring. "I watched them lace it, and it seemed simple enough, but..."
She trails off, and he realizes what has happened. It's a dwarvish wedding dress. They're not as intricate as the sort of dresses his mother wears to court. Those are laced in such a complicated way that he might spend an hour and end up only with a tangle of ribbon. Wedding dresses are designed to unlace with ease, but tied in such a way that the person who wears them cannot reach the knots.
"Turn around," he says, as softly as he can, and she turns.
He lifts her coiled hair, and puts it over her shoulder. The dress unlaces at his barest touch. He's not entirely sure how it stayed on throughout the evening, but finds he cannot spend too much time thinking about that because he has been completely distracted by her skin. It's paler than a dwarrowdam's would be, and dusted with freckles. Unaccountably, he wonders what it might taste like, were he to lean forward and press a kiss to the skin he's just exposed.
She shivers, and he jerks back to himself. His fingers move to the other knots, and before he quite knows it, the weight of the jewels on the gown pulls the whole thing off of her shoulders to pool on the floor. Neither of them moves for a breath, and then she turns back to him. For an irrational moment, he is so proud of her, his brave girl, that he thinks his heart might burst. Then she leans down and kisses him, and he rather forgets to think at all.
She ought to be mortified that he has to unlace her, but instead he seems to expect it, and for some reason that makes her feel better. They are married, she recalls belatedly, a bubble of something that is not quite panic coursing through her. Of course he would expect to undress her.
His touch is soft, first as he lifts her hair out of the way, and then as he undoes the knots she can't reach. She feels his breath against her skin, warm, and realizes that the heat behind her is not the fire, but him. She resolves to match it, to be the wife he expects her to be, and musters her courage as his hands move lower. She nearly falters when the dress falls away, leaving her in just her shift, but then she pulls herself together and turns.
He has the oddest expression on his face, but she doesn't give herself too much time to think about it. Instead, she bends towards him, and presses her mouth to his. She hasn't done a lot of kissing, certainly not enough to think herself by any means proficient at it. His response is, therefore, quite a bit more than she is expecting.
His hands move back to her waist, and hold on to her, hard. The fabric of her shift balls up under his fingers, and the hem rises above her knees. She feels the press of him everywhere, his mouth on hers, his hands still tightening, the fabric of his trews against her bared legs. It is overwhelming, and she tilts her head back to gasp for breath. There is little relief in that, though, because he takes her head in his hands, and trails kisses down her neck, stopping when he reaches her collar bone. For one brief, illogical moment, she wonders why the hair of his beard doesn't tickle her – it's coarse and tantalizing, but it doesn't make her want to laugh – and then he finds his way back to her mouth again.
His hands slide to her shoulders and push back, gently but very, very determined. She has the presence of mind of step out of the dress carefully, but after that relies on him to steer. It isn't until the bed hits the back of her knees that she understands. She jerks her head up, finally breaking away from the heat of his kiss.
"Sigrid," he says, her name mostly air in his mouth. He swallows hard. "We don't have to, if you'd rather not."
"Fili," she says, shocked at her forwardness, "take off your trousers."
He does, and she turns down the bed, wrestling with the bolster until she gets it clear of the mattress. He lifts her again, and sets her as close to the middle as he can reach before climbing in after her, kicking off his shoes as he goes.
If she was unprepared for him when they stood in front of the fire, she is devastatingly unprepared for him now. He returns to kissing her, gently at first but with increasing heat, until she thinks she'll melt against him. He's taken off his tunic as well as his trousers, and come to bed in just his linen shirt. It leaves very little to her imagination, and she cannot stop touching him, which is probably why he's kissing her with such ferocity.
He rolls over, pulling her on top of him, and she realizes how heavy he is when her lungs expand with ease. She didn't mind the weight, not exactly, but this makes her feel slightly more in control, and she is glad of it. She can feel the length of him, pressing against her thigh, and that is enough to make her lungs contract again. Unable to stop herself, she looks down between them and hears his breath catch. Before he can stop her, she moves.
Fili stops unlacing his trousers half-way done to take the gold chains out of his beard. Sigrid is wrestling with the bedding, her hair coming loose around her head in a cloud. She's beautiful, he realizes. It's profoundly un-dwarvish, but it is beauty nonetheless. The jewelry he makes for her will have to be different, he thinks, and there are very few existing pieces that will suit. He does not mind. He could never. He will do the work with a glad heart, for his craft, and for the girl who will someday be his queen.
He strips off his trews and tunic, leaving them rather disgracefully on the floor in a heap, and lifts her into the bed. Never has he been so happy to be wearing light boots. He kicks them off and follows her, kissing as gently as he can manage until her hands on his chest and arms spur him on, and he cannot reign himself in. She squirms underneath him, and he remembers her slight figure. He rolls, thinking it might be easier for her to be on top, and finds he rather likes her sprawling thus.
He can't find any of the pins in her hair, and gives up trying. He will take them all out later. He pulls her shift up, but it's mostly caught between them, and does not come far. It does pull his own shirt up a bit though, exposing his arousal. He thinks to pull the shirt down, but Sigrid's hand gets there first, and he bites back a groan at her touch. His eyelids flutter shut, which is why he doesn't see her bite her lip. He does feel her move, but can't tell her intent until it's too late. Before he can prepare her, before he can stop her, she slides down on to him, taking him to the hilt.
With just the lamps and the fire, there's not that much light in the room, but it's enough that he can see her. Her face is white as snow, mouth tight with pain and surprise, though she does not cry out. He doesn't budge, waiting for her to recover, to move away, and it's a moment longer before he realizes that she can't. He puts his hands on her hips. Her whole body tenses, and he nearly moans again because she feels so good. He bites his tongue as hard as he can, and pushes up, separating them from each other. She retreats to the other side of the bed.
"Sigrid," he says, when his voice returns. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, my lord," she says. It's the first time she's called him that since they started courting. He hates it.
"Sigrid," he starts, but she puts one finger to his lips and he stops talking.
"It was my fault," she says. She's crying. He can hear it in her voice, but he's afraid that if he touches her, she'll hate him for it. "The others, in Lake-town, they said it would hurt so I thought I would just get it over with."
"Sig – " He says her name again, because it's all he has left.
"I'm sorry," she says. "I wanted you to…I wanted to be your wife."
"You are my wife," he says, suddenly exhausted. "Regardless of what happens in this bed, you are mine. And I am yours. I promise you that."
He says it in tones more heated than he'd meant to, and regrets it immediately.
"I would like to sleep, if that's all right with you." Her voice is impossibly small. It cuts him worse than any knife.
"Of course," he says.
Bard is going to kill him. Thorin is going to kill him. Fili thinks he might just kill himself, and save them all the trouble, unless Sigrid wants to do it. She has certainly earned it.
She doesn't turn away from him, but she doesn't come any closer either. More than anything, he wants to hold her, to whisper that he will never hurt her again, to make uncountable promises until she falls asleep, and then murmur "I love you" when she can no longer hear him. Instead, he stares at the ceiling, cursing himself for being so damned inattentive and watching the firelight flicker in the veins of amber there, until her breathing evens out, and then he follows her into slumber.
In the morning, when he returns from the privy, she is gone, disappeared to her dressing room or the bath, he guesses. Either way, he will not disturb her. In the hearth, the fire is roaring, and it is not until he sees the unmade bed that he understands what she has done. He knew there must have been blood, and had steeled himself to see it, but Sigrid has burned the sheets instead.
If the servants ask, he will tell them that it is a human custom and change the subject.
To be continued...