The pain behind your eyelids is searing white, slicing you mind and spirit, perfect in its blazing cruelty like a finest Dwarven dagger. Breathing is troublesome, with each intake of air icy flames lick your right temple, tears from the burning eye on the same side slipping down your cheek. The curtains are drawn, you are curled in a tight ball in the corner of your large bed, pressing heels of your hands over your eyes. Everything is pain and there is nothing left in the world. Even the slightest movement of your closed eyes is an agony. The sheets and covers are glacial, the next moment you are desperate to kick them off your legs, suffocating and sweltering, simultaneously trying not to stir the temple on the silken pillow. Next moment the silk pressed into your face feels revoltingly clammy. You cautiously slide the temple to the sheets and breath in. The faint smell of the essences in your customary morning bath is mixed with the spicy, fresh scent of your King's skin. The faint scents of lilies and gardenia linger to the fabric, and you close your eyes.

The morning started in a hustle. You slept longer than usual and awoke in an empty bed. Your King had already left for training. You felt sleepy and irritated, colours of your garments suddenly too bright, water in the tub too hot. You should have known that the pain was coming, the irritation or irrational giddiness often preceding it, but you were too busy running errands. After bath, while drying your hair you skimmed through some papers left from the day before. While getting dressed you heard the breakfast being served in the dining chambers. You hurried there but ran into you King returning from his training. Unreasonable annoyance churning in you, you followed him into the bath chambers to resolve a small misunderstanding from the previous evening, while he was cleaning up and changing. When your conversation was over, both sides slightly unsatisfied by the exchange, it was time to move to the hall to receive visitors coming with requests. On the way to the hall you both were silent, him still apprehensive after your sudden rebuke, you hurriedly finishing the letters from the day before. When you almost walked into a column he guided you through the door peevishly. It irked you further more. Sitting and listening to the requests, you seemed to find fault in all of his decisions, your vexation increasing. You were wistfully contemplating the breakfast you hadn't had a chance to touch. Hunger was nagging at you, making you slightly dizzy, but you attempted to ignore it, silently listening to seemingly endless number of pleaders.

And then they came in. Two older men and a younger woman, dark hair and sharp features, definitely from the North. All three of them tall, faces proud. Nonetheless, their plea was courteous, asking for shelter and work from the King Under the Mountain they were humble and mannerly. They said their village was vandalized, only about thirty of them left, with no place to go. It was an unusual request, Men rarely wishing to share dwelling with Dwarves. It was denied.

"That is completely unacceptable", the first prickles of pain are stinging the nape of your neck. And yet, you are raising your voice. "What right did you have to refuse those people shelter?" You are pacing around the room, nervous energy ringing through your joints and muscles, making you wring your fingers and rub your wrists. The intricate hairdo with heavy braids, adorned with Speedwells and Dog Violets that you spent some much time weaving in this morning feels awkward, your usual soft tresses by the cheeks distressing, as if itching your skin. You tuck them behind your ears and continue pacing. One of the flowers falls on the floor and you see that it has withered. Your magic usually keeping them alive all day is weakened. You ignore it and turn to your King solemnly sitting by the table. "Their request was reasonable and their manner of address was impeccable," you continue pressing the matter. He cringes and mutters something in Khuzdul. You swirl around and pin him down with your stare. You notice he is less defensive and more angry than you assumed initially. In fact, he is enraged. "Is there something you wish to get off your chest, my Lord? I'm listening," even to your ears you sound unpleasant, but the affliction is pushing you further. Even in your dazed state you understand that you are provoking him, and how easy it is! "What was unacceptable is you antagonizing me in front of the court," he snarls. "I have not antagonized you," you hiss through your teeth, "I merely pointed that the city could use more working hands." His temper flares. He jumps up and slams his palm into the table. "It is not for you to decide!" and with that you smile coldly. "Is that what it is all about, my King?" your voice is venomous and almost triumphant. "Is it me making a decision that you did not dare to make? Causing displeasure from a few Dwarves is not a high enough price for aiding thirty people" he clenches his jaw and bares his teeth. Enraged Thorin is quite a spectacle. "My King," the appellation sounds almost mockingly on your lips, " you chose to refuse shelter for thirty people that would be very helpful now that you are restoring your Kingdom in fear that the residents won't accept them". "They are Men!" "So am I!" you retort and feel your magic pulsating with vengeful fury, "that didn't stop you from asking me to be your queen!" His eyes go dark, to bring up that scabrous page of your relationships is a low blow. "Yes, and you have refused me," his voice is low and dangerous, his sudden composure enraging you only further, "as you stated that my people would not accept you fully. And now you are advocating letting Men in the city that will most likely reject them. They will starve and will eventually be forced to look for a proper shelter. However many of them are to survive by then." You are abruptly feeling vertigo and nausea. The pain is throbbing in your temples, dull and threatening. You turn your back to him as your face is probably pallid. You regally sit in a chair and, having given yourself a moment to recover, you turn to him with a schooled expression. "Have you given your approval, people wouldn't dare ostracize them." "Have I given my approval I would show weakness and foolishness. They do not belong in Erebor," you scoff. "You have seen the world outside the dwellings of Dwarfs, people of all races can live together. You do not need "to keep the city clean" to please fanatical fools," you are angry and light-headed. You feel you can bring your point across better but you seem to be at loss for the right words. The zealous chauvinism of Dwarves has been a bitter subject between you two from the start. "I have seen the world outside Erebor," his tone is acerbic, "I have enjoyed cohabitation with Men to a great extent. Their acceptance and hospitality know no limits." His face contorts from painful memories. "Then show them that you are better than them!" You make a forceful gesture with your hand, which you regret immediately. The ruthless pang bites inside you right temple from the sharp movement of your head. "I am better than them! I sent them away straightforwardly without working them to their last breath without adequate payment." "That does not make you a better leader, that makes you a vengeful tyrant!" The pain sears behind your eyes, but even through it you regret your words. You see hurt flickering in his eyes to be quickly replaced with rage. He steps in front of your and grabs your shoulders, towering above you. "Then why are you still here?" he snarls through his teeth, grasping for the shreds of self control left in him. He stares in your widened eyes. "You said once that you wouldn't be able to stay with a man you do not respect as a warrior and a leader. That is what I am! I am not going to change!" The world around you is suddenly blurred and you close your eyes. "I do not want you to change..." your voice is weak. "And you have no right to ask for it!" He steps back, his chest heaving, fists clenched. You open your eyes. He seems to feel that he frightened you and that makes him withdraw. On the other hand, as remorseful as he looks for losing his composure, he thinks he rightfully won this argument. You clench your teeth and make your voice to stop trembling. "I do not ask you to change, Thorin, but I am asking you to listen to me and think about my words." "I have heard you and I considered your judgement. My answer is still no," he turns around to leave and then come back to stand in front of you, "And the next time I would like to hear your sentiment in the seclusion of our bedchambers and not in front of the court." He storms out, slamming the door behind him. You cave in and sink on the floor.

You are pressing your temple into the cold floor when the maid finds you and helps you to bed. She pulls the dress off you, draws the curtains and soundlessly leaves the chambers. You close your eyes and let the pain encircle you. There is only one way to manage the ache and that is to embrace it. You breath through new and new waves of nausea. You know if you let yourself cry, the pain will intensify, so you tell yourself that nothing matters at the moment but the white ache veiling the world from you. Hours pass by and you feel you have no energy left to fight the despair. When it feels that eternity passed in the catatonic state, when you cannot separate yourself from the pain any more, you hear the door being carefully open and soft steps approach your bed. The bed sinks from the familiar weight and the warm palm of your King lies on your head. He slips the other hand under the ailing temple, and your whole body jerks in agony. Even the skin is intensely painful, your torment seemingly seeping through it. "Hush, zundush," his low murmur is warm and loving, and you let yourself be envelops in his care. You press your face into his hand, his thumb dipping in the doloriferous hollow on your temple. His other hand slowly treads through your hair, gently massaging your scalp, rubbing the temple. He softly presses his fingers at the nape of your neck while his thumb finds the pressure points on your jaw. He alternates between the movements, knowing precisely what brings relief, the familiarity and the thoroughness of his touch easing your pain. As the the world steps out of shadows and you can take your first unobstructed breath, you feel the weight of your hurt pride and sorrow crush you and unrestrained tears roll down your cheeks, dampening the pillow. He gathers you into his arms and continuing to stroke you he murmurs quietly in Khuzdul the words of love and remorse. You cry until you are completely exhausted and fall asleep in his arms.

You wake up to see the first rays of sun sneak through the gaps between the curtains. The King is sleeping beside you, sprawled over the covers, still dressed in yesterday's garments. He is frowning in his sleep, one hand clenching your tunic. You look into his beautiful face and feel the world around you halt for a moment. The events of yesterday rush back into your memory and for a second your anger flares up. You clearly imagine quietly getting up, changing into travel clothes, packing few belonging and leaving the city. You see yourself walking on a dusty road, proud and independent, leaving a King with a broken heart behind. At that very moment you feel certain that you possess his heart fully and that your departure will devastate him. You know that he will continue ruling his people, strong and stern, filling his halls with gold and his people's hearts with respect. And he will grow old, lonely and bitter, unaccepting and disdainful, and at that very moment the understanding dawns on you that you are not going to allow that.

You press your knees into the bed and push him off the bed. With a loud thud he lands on the floor and jumps on his feet, futilely grasping around his belt for a sword. "Thorin Oakenshield," you yell into his befuddled face, "you dimwitted, barbaric, thick skulled brute!" His mouth falls open and he is staring at you with bewildered eyes. Never have you before raised your voice at him so openly, to say nothing of names calling. You press your fists onto your hips. Your magic boils up following your temper, and you hear the golden sparkles cracking around you, your unruly copper curls vibrating in the static electricity around your head. You pin him down with a fierce stare and he actually takes a step back. You point your finger into his face, "Now you are going to listen to me, Thorin, son of Thrain, and listen very attentively," you articulate each word and the magic pulsates more and more noticeably, goblets starting to quietly jingle on the table, "never again in your long and prosperous life, if you value your sanity and especially the integrity of your extremities", he visibly gulps, "will you even hint that my opinion is less worthy than that of your narrow-minded, chauvinistic counselors, and, Durin forbid, ever again will you even think of insinuating that the place of a woman is in the bedchambers," he is still stupefied but you see him opening his mouth as if to object. "I am not done!" He shuts his mouth with an audible clank of teeth. "You chose me to be your mate. You share my bed, my body and my skills, and I was at your disposal in any tasks you endeavoured to achieve. And never have I shown you anything but a level-headed attitude and unconditional support. And you will respect my opinion and you will discuss it with me openly in front of the court. Or, Mahal help me, I will agree to marry you and then you will find that all they tell about Dwarven wifes is a picnic compared to what it is to be married to me!" you cock a brow and wait for an answer. The King blinks and swallows loudly. He takes a breath, but you interrupt, "And the last thing, if I am ever being unreasonable, which hardly ever happens," there is a question implied in your sentence, and under your stormy gaze you see him hurriedly nodding and then shaking his head, as if the grammar of your sentence confused him and he is not sure how to support your favourable evaluation of your own character, but you'll take it as a confirmation. You move closer to the edge of the bed and he retreats another step, under your flaming disciplinary stare. "If I am ever a bit less of my rational and dependable self, you will delicately and very tactfully help me to understand that I might be slightly confused and probably there is a very good reason for it," you sarcastically hike up your brows, "something very reasonable and grave, well, I don't know", you theatrically shrug your shoulders, "a forthcoming hemikrania for example, and you will endure my miniscule lack of delicacy as I have to endure your temper, your constant brooding, your pouting, your moods in the evenings, your peevishness in the morning, your outbursts regarding Elves, Men, the apparently unsatisfactory quality of mead, that was completely adequate the day before, as well as your general petulance about everything and anything in this world. Are we clear?!"

The silence hangs above you two, you with your hands on you hips, radiating indignation, him staring at you with something suspiciously close to... admiration? And, Durin forbid, lust? You have no time to get offended by it as he takes a giant step ahead and grabs you, pressing a hot kiss to your lips. You push him away and without your intention, with a loud pop your magic releases in the air between you two. Thorin falls on his backside, waves of the blast throwing mugs and goblets on the floor, pillows flying off the bed, curtains and the bed canopy fluttering. "What in my "show me respect, Dwarf" speech told you to grab me, you brutish oaf?" you huff and puff, and suddenly, to make it even worth, he starts laughing. The open-mouthed laugh, his white teeth glinting, with crinkles surrounding his eyes, he is guffawing, more and more, clasping his hands around his sides, and soon he is gasping for air, and it is your turn to be stumped. "Why, in Durin's name, are you laughing?" you are completely lost, and he is panting on the floor, recovering from his bizarre merriment. "Because I am thick skilled and dimwitted," he lifts his eyes at you, "What else was there? Brute? And if I'm not wrong, barbaric?" He gets up and comes close, but does not touch you. "And I am all of that, kurdu. I am only grateful that you decided to remind me about it instead of taking your possessions and leaving me. You have thought about it, haven't you?" You courtly lift your chin, "That was my first thought this morning". He nods, "Of course it was. And it would have been only fair, though endlessly devastating for me," you lift your brows to show him to go on. He signs, but continues, "You were right, what I said was unjust and disrespectful. When the maid told me you had been ailing and for so long, I was beyond myself. I knew that you haven't asked for me because of my transgression, and I considered it while you were sleeping. Seeing you in pain is agony, zundush, but if not for your ailment, I would have probably lost you by now. I would have come back to the chambers in the evening to find them empty," he speaks calmly, looking down, and you suspect that he is hiding emotions playing on his face. "Look at me, Thorin," he lifts his face and you see unshed tears in his eyes. Your resolve wavers, seeing the proud King unraveled and disclosed, willfully opening his heart and mind. He clenches his jaw and goes on, "And I probably would have gone on with my life and found hundred of faulty reasonings for your leaving me. But holding you in my arms, pale and weak from the pain I was at least partially responsible for, I understood that the only reason for your departure would have been that I had not held you in the highest regard you deserve," he takes a deep breath and looks you in the eyes, blue irises burning with fervor. "Forgive me," his voice is but a whisper, the nakedness and the rawness of his emotion piercing your heart. You gasp and throw your arms around his neck. He presses you into him, both of your shaking from the turbulence and the tension leaving your bodies. You stay like that for a moment or two, both your hearts beating frantically, only your slowing down breathing heard in the room.

"Azyungal?" he mumbles into your hair. "Yes?" "Say that you forgive me," his voice is but a soft murmur. "I forgive you, Thorin," you nudge him a bit to look into his face, "and I won't bear a grudge but you have to explain your frolics earlier on". He smiles to you, a small, still shaky smile, and then looks at you with a mischievous glint in his eyes. "When I was falling asleep, I was afraid to wake up in a cold empty bed, but imagine my surprise when I was rudely awoken by hitting my head to the stone of the floor with a fiery Maia towering above me", he chuckles, "I am sure a Balrog would cowardly retreat in the dungeons of Moria from your flaming locks, blazing eyes and pointed finger." You bestow him a small smirk. "Was that a smile, zundush?" he is purring, sensing that the storm is over. "Keep flattering me and it might be." "I have never been so terrified and aroused in my life," he sneaks his arms around your middle, still cautious enough not to touch below the waist. You let him and he daringly places a delicate kiss on your neck. "The commanding tone, the stern brows, the imposing heaving of your breasts," he has definitely recovered from the turmoil of your dispute and is nibbling on your collar bones. You sigh, no use to pretend to be unaffected by his ministrations. Suddenly he grabs you and throws you into the pillows. Before you have a moment to say anything, he is pressing you into the sheets, pulling on the strings on the front of your tunic, kissing your throat and clavicles. You giggle when the beard scratched between your breasts, your garment miraculously wide open within a second, and then gasp when his lips close around your nipple. "Thorin," you pull him up to meet your lips. He moves and leans into a deep passionate kiss, pouring all his love for you into it, caressing your upper lip. "My nulukh," he is murmuring, between nibbles and licks, "my kurdu, my queen..." You last defense bastions falling, you sigh and wrap your legs around him. He moans in appreciation and then with an impish grin he whispers into your ear, "I'll be very respectful." The nerve in this Dwarf!.. You squeeze your palm around his bulging erection through his trousers and bite his ear, "Don't you dare!"