"I can't believe tomorrow this is going to just be a memory," Marianne said, glancing around the Prancing Pony. Fili glanced up at her from his ale but didn't respond, waiting for her to continue. As usual, she felt as though he knew what she was going to say before she said it, before even she knew what she was going to say. She was only just getting used to the feeling after months spent together.

"The past year I've done nothing but agonize over getting back to my family, and now that I'm going back tomorrow… it's sad." For that year she'd had to work hard everyday to accept that there was nothing she could do to get back to her parents or let them know their nineteen year old daughter was okay. She was completely out of control, and it had been maddening for her.

Tomorrow, on the anniversary of her arrival, the portal would open at the exact place where she'd fallen through from her world to Middle Earth. She'd done the best she could with that year, gone to help reclaim Erebor, helped save the lives of those who were supposed to die, one of which was sitting across from her now, looking at her with those blue eyes that matched hers perfectly, while the other was across the room getting more ale and flirting with a very pretty girl that stood six inches above him. Kili seemed to appear manly around anyone, regardless of the differences between their stature. She smiled at the thought that size really didn't matter. She glanced at Fili, who appeared to be smiling along with her, even though she hadn't voiced her thought aloud.

She could tell Fili was sad too, but very careful not to show it, always keeping his emotions tucked away and hidden. He rubbed his temple periodically, and she wondered if he had one of the headaches he got when he was upset. She doubted he was that sad to see her go. She had spent every single day of the past year with him and his brother, and although he was hard to read, she expected that she was much more devastated by her loss of him than vice versa. Which was just as well because she was now leaving and didn't need to have to carry that with her.

She, Fili, and Kili were like three peas in a pod now. Kili was like that brother she never had, a thought that entered her mind as he loudly arrived at the table, slamming three mugs down and spilling half of the contents in the process.

"Ahh, I love being a prince," he sighed, falling back into his chair and grinning at the ceiling. Marianne and Fili glanced at each other, laughing. "So what are we talking about?" Kili asked, glancing at them.

"Marianne's departure tomorrow," Fili said, watching his brother's face fall.

"The time has come hasn't it?" Kili asked rhetorically. Marianne and Fili nodded silently.

Kili glanced around the room, his mood suddenly sober. "I guess it makes sense this is where our last night will be. It's where we met, right?"

They all smiled at the memory, of Marianne's begging them to take her with them in hopes she could find someone to help her get home (they'd thought she was crazy clearly), of their sneaking her back to camp and Thorin's finding out inevitably that they'd snuck off to Bree when they were supposed to be on watch. All Kili's idea of course.

She'd often wondered if the frequent conflict she'd had with Thorin had been displaced blame for Kili's antics and irresponsibilities. There was certainly no love lost between her and the King under the Mountain. It was due to these two before her that she'd somehow miraculously been allowed to continue with the company, time after time, argument after argument.

Kili grinned at the memory of how they met, but fixed his eyes on the table. He looked like he was laughing, but Marianne knew that this posture was designed to hide his feelings as everything he felt was reflected in his eyes. This was a new strategy of his, unlike Fili whose naturally guarded nature didn't didn't give anything away. But Marianne was sure Kili was finding that even though women now fell into his bed like fruit from a tree that being a prince wasn't all it was cracked up to be when it came to lack of privacy and people watching him for his reaction to just about anything.

Marianne reached out and brush her hand momentarily against Kili's, and he laughed shortly, still staring at the table.

He took a breath before looking up at her smiling, this time clearly enjoying something he hadn't shared with them. "How about we look in the bright side?" he asked. "We have one night left with you here, and we should make the most if it."

Marianne smiled at him. This sounded like a great idea. "I'm game. What do you suggest?"

"I have a romp with that very pretty lass, while Fili beds you as you've been longing for for months."

Marianne felt the blood drain from her face at his words and tried to jerk her hand away from his in alarm. He held it tightly, her eyes glued to his face as he grinned at her in his betrayal. As their friendship had deepened, she'd spent so many hours with him talking about how she yearned for his brother, how Fili didn't think of her that way, and that it didn't matter in the end because she was leaving. Then she'd go on to how much she missed her family and how hard it was for her not to be able to make it home. Kili had always been great for sympathy and then distraction, very comforting, followed by some fun outrageous idea that truly did help take her mind off things. She was speechless now, frozen in her chair as the three sat in uncomfortable silence, no one speaking.

She finally succeeded in yanking her hand from his grip and brought it to her forehead shielding her eyes and covering her blazing face as she stared at the table before her, blinking, trying desperately to figure out a way to regain control over the situation. The awkward silence stretched on. She couldn't bring herself to look at Fil, who had not uttered a word after Kili's declaration.

Finally, unable to tolerate the discomfort any longer, and maybe as a result of some reason returning to her mind, Marianne abruptly rose from the table.

"Good night," she said curtly. At that point she couldn't stop herself from glancing once at Fili, who was lounging in his chair as though completely unconcerned, his glass casually held by one hand, which he was looking at now. He appeared to be smirking slightly.

He looked like he was trying not to laugh.

Marianne flushed, her throat feeling tight, as she turned from the table without a word, feeling betrayed and mortified. She knew a part of herself had hoped she'd see something different when she looked at Fili. Surprise. Compassion.

Willingness possibly.

She found none of those. Marianne turned and walked from the bar, a heavy lump in her throat, taking the stairs two at a time to her room. Her hands shook as she flipped the lock on her door. Her eyes were prickling ominously and her nose was beginning to run. Turning to her bed, she threw herself on it sideways, her long silver blond curls splaying around her as she pulled the covers over her side. She lay there staring at the wall breathing deeply. She allowed her face to crumple for a minute, feeling relief as she did.

A few more moments passed as she began to feel more steady. None of it mattered. She was leaving tomorrow, which was sad but joyful. She was going to see her family and friends and dog. Return to her studies. She missed it all so much. And she would go on with her life, Middle Earth behind her, fixed in her past.

Fili, permanently in her past.

This wasn't how she'd wanted to spend her last night, holed up in a dingy room in the Prancing Pony, but maybe it was fitting, mirroring how she spent those few long weeks after her arrival, trying to make sense of what had happened to her, trying to blend in, working for her keep, before she'd met Fili and Kili and joined the company, before the most wonderful and meaningful year of her life.

But she wanted to be downstairs with her friends celebrating and drinking late into the night, not hiding in her room, counting the minutes until twilight the following day when she would hopefully be transported back the 21st century of non-Middle Earth.

There was a knock at her door, Kili coming to apologize. She'd forgive him of course. She always did, and especially today of all days.

It wouldn't hurt to give him a bit of a hard time first, though. Hand on hip, she whipped the door open, a sharp remark on her tongue, but fell silent as her eyes met Fili's. She froze in the doorway, her eyes wide, her voice silent. They stood staring at each other for a moment before he laughed, which only served to irritate her. "May I come in?"

Without saying a word, she turned and walked back into the room, leaving the door open as a response.

"You're angry with me," he stated as the lock on her door clicked into place again. It wasn't a question.

She really was, even though she didn't want to be. "I don't like being made fun of."

"He wasn't making fun of you," Fili said.

"Not him! You," Marianne cried as she turned to stare at him. He looked surprised and taken aback by her words. One thing she did know was that he was much more sensitive than he let on, that she could wound him if she wished. She had to fight the urge to do so.

"Me?" he asked.

"Oh please," she began. "You were clearly trying not to laugh. I'm not an idiot." Fili stared at her in silence, his expression irritatingly unreadable, as it so often was.

"I'm sorry," he began. She wasn't sure she was going to accept this apology as readily as she would have Kili's. "I do that sometimes when I'm uncomfortable, laugh. I don't always realize I'm doing it."

She snorted and turned back to her bed, away from him, and angrily started straightening the bedclothes she'd bunched when she'd lain there. "Well, you should do something about that because it didn't help things at all. This is my last night here! I don't want to spend it this way, hiding in my room, humiliated and alone." She felt tears prick her eyes again.

"Marianne, I didn't come here to fight."

"What are you here for then?" she cried in frustration, turning to him, not realizing how close he stood now, his piercing eyes level with hers. She stumbled back slightly in surprise and he grabbed her arm.

"This." Marianne froze as he lifted his other hand to her face, his thumb gently caressing her cheekbone. She stared at him, her eyes searching his, gauging the sincerity of his action. Then she closed her eyes to turn her cheek to his hand, feeling the rough skin of his thumb against her skin. They stood there like this, the moment stretching, Marianne feeling her chest rise with each breath, feeling his eyes searching her face, although her eyes were closed as she felt the pressure of his hand against her skin change as she slowly pressed against it. Then he drew her forward, his other hand still on her arm, his fingers on her cheek brushing back softly until they rested below her jaw.

Marianne's mouth opened as she took a breath, her eyes shut a he lifted her chin so that her lips finally met his.

Her hunger in her kiss was met by his own as she melted into him, bringing her hands to grasp the front of his tunic. His hands tangled in her hair as he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her tightly against him as her arms wrapped around his neck as she pressed against his chest.

He moaned and moved his hands to lift her and deposit her on the bed as he followed, her eyes wide. He kneeled above her and she gazed at him.

"How long?" she asked suddenly, needing to know if he was there only because Kili had suggested it.


She raised her hand to draw him down beside her, frantic now as she rose from the bed to pull her clothing from her body while he did the same, not wishing to waste another moment, until they were naked except for her undertunic.

Marianne held Fili's gaze as he now sat before her on the edge of the bed while she slowly pulled her tunic over her head, her breasts bouncing free. Her nipples tightened in the cool air of the room.

Fili's eyes dropped to her chest, his hands reaching out to pull her to him by her hips. He brought his hand to just below her sternum, tracing the large jagged scar there that she'd taken saving his life. He'd not seen it before. They hadn't even discussed it. It had been weeks before he was well enough to speak, and by then it was a memory.

The skin of the scar was sensitive and tingled painfully as he touched it. They didn't speak for a moment, and then he looked up at her.

"It's a miracle you survived," he said.

Marianne nodded. "So I've been told." She stared at the scar. "If I'd died it would have been for a very good reason."

He stared at the scar again. "I couldn't have lived with myself if you'd died for me."

"Then it would have been in vain." Their matching blue eyes met, and then she bent to kiss him again, his hand moving to cup her breast gently. She moaned, not at the sensation of the touch but because the touch existed.

Fili leaned back on the bed, pulling her down onto him as he kissed her. She laid stretched on his chest, straddling one of his legs, his chest hair rough against her skin.

His hands roamed her body, and she stroked her own down his torso, coming to wrap her hand around him. She didn't consider herself an expert on the male body, but she thought he must be quite large. He was thicker than either of her boyfriends had been. He moaned at her touch before he rolled them so that he was above her again as she stretched on her back, her mouth still catching his in a kiss as he carefully settled between her legs.

Marianne broke the kiss and bit her lip in anticipation as Fili began to push into her. He stopped suddenly when he encountered a barrier, his eyes flying to hers in surprise. She ignored it and planted her heels on his bottom, driving him into her and gasping as she felt the barrier give way.

Fili's breath was short as he stilled above her, her face buried in his shoulder as she clung to him. "I didn't know."

"I didn't want you to."

"If I'd known I…." He trailed off.

"What?" she asked, curious what he was going to say, if he would have had a grand romantic gesture or even refrained entirely. He paused.

"Had a bath," he smiled. She knew he wasn't telling her what his real thoughts were as he dropped his head to kiss her. "Are you in pain?"

She shook her head and then gasped as he rocked his hips forward gently, the feeling better than she had imagined. She gripped his shoulders as she broke the kiss, moving her forehead to his shoulder as he rocked his hips forward again. After a few moments he slowed and leaned back, looking down on her as he continued to move in her, her eyes half closed at the feeling.

She was surprised to feel herself begin to orgasm. She knew how difficult it was during intercourse for many women, especially the first time. The thought had barely left her mind when she was shaken by a violent climax, far greater than anything she'd had on her own, crying out in surprise as she clenched her eyes shut as Fili continue to thrust into her, each movement creating a wave within her that took her breath.

She felt herself relax onto the bed again and his movements slowed until he withdrew from her entirely, her eyes opening to meet his in question. His gaze held hers and he looked almost impish as he grinned. She smirked at him as he drew her up and kissed her, pulling out of her and turning her slowly as he kissed her shoulder and neck, while she tilted her head to allow him access, until he was behind her, pulling her tightly against his chest as his mouth moved up her neck.

She gasped as he slid into her again. She tilted her hips in hopes of giving him deeper access. One of his hands gently cupped her breast while the other rested low on her stomach, holding her against him as he began to sit back on his heels, forcing her along with him as her thighs spread so that she straddled his knees. She couldn't help but rest back into his chest as he began to thrust up into her. To balance herself her hands came back to rest behind her on the top of his thighs, which were rock hard as they tightened with each of his movements as she marvelled at his strength. Anyone would be quickly fatigued in this position, but he seemed unaffected.

His one hand still cupped her breast as his other moved lower on her abdomen until it was between her legs. She gasped as he began to slide her slick clitoris between two fingers, urging her to buck her hips forward in rhythm with him until she felt herself orgasm against his hand.

This time they came together, which even she knew was unusual. But it was wonderful, like a fantasy. They stilled their movements as she leaned back into him before he moved so that they fell sideways in the bed.

They didn't speak and her mind began to skim over everything that had just happened and what it meant.

"You are worried that this changes your plans," Fili said in her ear as he caressed her stomach. She felt a flash of irritation and panic. She hadn't wanted to share that thought with him, unsure herself if she was actually concerned about this.

"My thoughts are my own, Fili," she said, as she had many times before. "Please leave them where they are and try to pretend that you don't already know them so I can figure them out on my own." He nodded and tightened his arms around her, allowing her mind to work over the events of the evening and their meaning in silence as she stroked the hairs of his arm around her.

After a long stretch of silence she finally spoke. "Even if I stayed we couldn't be together could we? Because I'm not a dwarf,"

He didn't answer for along time. "No," he finally said. She nodded, glad her back was to him as tears pricked her eyes. The sadness was painful. He tightened his arms around her and she heard him sniff.

"I love you," he murmured.

She sighed and twined her hands in his. "I love you too," she said.

The next day they stood in the forest beside the fairy ring. It was nearly twilight. She stood between the brothers, their armed guards keeping a respectful distance. She held both of their hands and swallowed. She no longer felt fear or apprehension. This was the path before her. And she was going to see her family again, despite all that she was leaving behind. She was only sad to say good bye.

Turning she hugged Kili suddenly and laughed slightly. He must be wearing five tunics and she suspected two coats. She and Fili had exchanged glances that morning when they'd seen him waiting at the table for them, a much more hefty dwarf than he'd been the night before. Over dressing was another of Kili's new ways to protect himself from emotional pain that may be observed by others. He was adding some of the layers he didn't have naturally. He looked ridiculous.

"Please don't forget us," he murmured as he held her tightly. She had to pull away.

"Never," she said, gazing for the last time into his sad deep brown eyes. "Never," she repeated.

She then turned to Fili. He was looking right at her and for the first time she saw pure and true feeling there. And tears. She couldn't believe it. She hadn't needed that to know that his pain equalled her own though.

She hugged him, throwing herself into his arms, and he held her to him for the last time. They stayed like that until she heard a hum behind her from the ring and knew it was time.

Pulling herself from him she turned and began to walk forward. She stopped and turned. They were already fading as she raised her hand.

"Goodbye!" She called, and the last sound she heard from Middle Earth was his voice calling back to her.


And so ended the most wonderful adventure of her life. She returned to it often in her memories and wondered how they were doing. She never regretted the decision to return home though. It was where she belonged.