A/N: This is the last chapter, my lovelies! I hope you had at least a miniscule of the fun I had! Wren goes to Erebor, and her following adventures are in the other stories. The next one for an update is "Thorin's Return to Shire."
My most heartfelt gratitude to Just4Me,RagdollPrincess and RedHairedJenna for reviews and messages! It is thanks to you three that I actually finished my first multi-chapter piece! Loads of love!
The morning comes, cold and misty, and you open your eyes in this room for the last time. The drawers are pulled out and bare, your old trunk open in the corner, the desk empty for the first time in years. You screw your eyes and look at the Dwarf sleeping near you. Thick black lashes, peaceful brow, he is breathing deeply and quietly, lips slightly open. You carefully slip from under his arm, his fist clenches the sheets, but he does not wake up.
You throw a dress over your naked body and slip out of the room. Through the empty corridor you sneak to the common bathroom. It is cold, still carrying the smells of the soaps and essences the girls living here used last night. You splash some cold water on your face and have a peek at the balcony, overlooking the backyard. It is empty and you sit on one of the abandoned chairs there, pulling your knees to your chin, hugging your shoulders.
The first song of thrash is cheery, and you take it as a good omen. You cannot see the Lonely Mountain from this part of the city but you know it is there, behind the towers of Dale and white bushy clouds. It is unwavering, unyielding, but now you know that it is not cold. It is stern and staunch, but there is heat and flame inside it, a living beating heart.
You are trembling from cold and lack of sleep, but you are resolute, and you feel that a proper dress and a large breakfast would probably stop the shivers. You just want to stay here for a bit longer, in the silence and obscurity. Never again, as it feels at that moment, you will be alone, unobserved, unattended, disregarded, which you see both as a curse and a privilege.
When the sun rays touch the railings of the balcony you have been sitting on, you return to your room. The King is fully dressed and seemingly nervously pacing the room. You smile to him and step into his arms. The line of his shoulders softens, and he buried his nose in your hair.
You pick up your clothes from the floor, chuckle at yet another pair of undergarments ruined, shove yesterday's wet dress in the trunk and get dressed for the road. Thorin is watching you from the bed, pretending to read a book he pulled out of your trunk at random. The last few things packed, including the book pulled out of the King's hand, his mock advances refused and a few passionate kisses exchanged on the bed, you look around the room and say, "I'm ready to go."
You go down to the common room, quickly finish the breakfast and wait for Master Dwalin with a few other dwarves to arrive from the inn they were staying at. You are also expecting Thea to come to say goodbye. You have visited your other friends in the last few days, said goodbye and shed a few tears over rather extensive amount of ale. You have talked to your patients, passed them to other healers, visited the families you have treated before and said goodbye to those who worked side by side with you in the last four years. There is nothing to do in Dale any more.
An hour passes, outwardly you two are quietly talking over tea and seed cake, in actually you are tickling his calf with your foot and he is trying to keep a straight face, and the Dwarves arrive. You receive ceremonious bows and respectful greetings, and you wonder what they have been told about you. Master Dwalin greets you the last, astonishing you by graciously kissing your knuckles. He bows his head low, "Barazninh?" You smile to him and see a small tinge of warmth in his eyes. It is not a smile, but the feeling is there.
The inn help brings down your trunk and bags, the Dwarves are busy loading them and the supplies for the road on the ponies. You touch the King's sleeve and he leans towards you, his eyes attentive and tender. "My friend Thea is still not here. I have to say goodbye to her." "We have to set out, honourable healer," he retains the moniker in front of others. "The journey is long, and we should not lose time." "I can't leave without saying seeing her!" His temper flares but he tries to compose himself. "Have you told her you are to leave at the dawn?" "Yes, but..." "The sun is high already, you gave her enough time. We are leaving as soon as the ponies are saddled."
At that very moment you realize that the journey ahead of you is indeed very long, and it is not the travel to Erebor. You smile to him graciously and lower your head in an obedient gesture. Although other dwarves are busy with the luggage and supplies, they were throwing side glances at you. they go back to work. You place your hand on his arms folded on his chest and ask in your most lilting tone, "My Lord, how much more time do we have? The view from the top balcony is splendid, perhaps we could have the last look at Dale before we leave." "I am sure we have a moment for that," he loops his arm, and you accept it. You lead him to the balcony leaving the Dwarves to their tasks. You might be wrong but when you pass the ominous tattooed warrior, you can swear you see a mischievous glint in the eyes of Dwalin, son of Fundin. Maybe, he even gives you a wink.
You step out at the balcony and turn to the King. The rage that is splashing in your eyes must be searing since he tenses when he looks into your eyes. "My Lord," your voice is low and clear, "what I am going to tell must be new for you but I want to be perfectly clear. I will not follow your commands if I do not consider them fair and just. At a battle field I will never show you any disobedience, as well as in front of others, but I want you to remember it, and remember it you will, Thorin, son of Thrain," you point your finger at him, "I am not your property. I am giving up my life here to share yours in Erebor, and I will say goodbye to my friend, who loved me and supported me before you even knew I walk this world. Are we clear, my Lord?"
He clenches his teeth, his hands in fists, and you are bracing yourself against an upcoming violent outburst. The temper of the King Under the Mountain is notoriously unruly, and you have seen his rage. And you fear it. But at the same time you are not going to give up your positions. Your heart is aching, leaving your home of four years, your friends, your practice, and you are full of trepidation from what the future is to bring you in the Dwarven Kingdom. Thea is the last friendly face you might see for a while, and you owe her all the time in the world.
You look up at the King, his brows drawn together, the muscles contracting in angry knots on his jaw, and then he blinks, seemingly shaking off the haze of his wrath just a second ago clouding his gaze. He cannot seem to choose a path, either to openly change his opinion and look submissive, or insist on his point of view. But as he obviously starts to suspect, there is no easy way to make you do his will. Dragging you down the stairs will probably produce an opposite result. He sighs and stares at you. You lift your chin and wait for his answer. "You have an hour," he snarls and turns to leave.
"Wren!" Thea's voice is ringing through the inn yard. You lean over the rails, and there she is in all her voluptuous glory, blazing eyes, hazel curls and delectable bosom. You rush by the King, tumble down the stairs and fall into her firm embrace. "I am so sorry", she mumbles. "I could not leave earlier… We just arrived yesterday… The carts got stuck in mud…." "No matter, no matter," you are hugging her tight and feel tears running down your face. "You came! You came to say goodbye to me!" "Of course I did, you silly cow! Not every day your best friend leaves to live a life of splendor and carnal exuberance under the mountain!" You laugh and cry at the same time. "See, I learnt some of your smart words!" She is crying too but a radiant smile is there, under the tears, and you hug her again. "I will write to you," you promise, "and you will come to visit, and then," you whisper in her ear, "we will find you a scrumptious large Dwarf." She guffaws and wiped her tears. "Promise?" "Promise." She nods and looks over your shoulder. You turn your head and see the King Under the Mountain standing near your saddled pony.
The Dwarves keep a respectable distance, allow you your privacy, and the King bestows the winegirl a ceremonious low bow. She gives him an haughty nod and turns back to you. "Good luck, girl! You will need it. That one is a tough cookie. You just had to go for a King," she is shaking her head. You chuckle through tears, "I know. But like in that song you taught me, None but the brave deserves the fair." You are laughing now. "That's my girl!" You hug again. You feel your lips tremble again, but she slightly pushes you away from her and towards the small procession standing by. "Go ahead, Wren, Erebor awaits!"