EPILOGUE

Seven weeks after Dain's birth

The King enters your bedchambers grumbling under his nose, you think you hear some mild swearings in Khuzdul in the low irked voice. The door slams behind him, and he is pulling his doublet off himself. He gets tangled as he has not opened all of the silver buttons. He gets even more irritated and jerks it off. You think you hear fabric tearing.

You are sitting in the bed patiently in your nightdress, your lower body under covers and sheets, your shoulders propped on pillows. Finally having triumphed over the offensive piece of clothing, the King throws it across the room and turns around to where your youngest son's bassinet is usually put. He is met with an empty space. The King is staring at it.

"Where is Dain?" "In his new nursery, at the end of the passage. I assigned Unna's old nursemaid to him." The King is still standing in the same pose. "Why?" "So we do not wake him up." His shoulders grow tense. He slowly turns around and finally has a good look at you.

The new nightdress has a very low cut, thin straps of intricate lace, bodice gauzy. The very slight tint of teal of the gossamer compliments your skin and the copper of your strands. You have let your hair loose and Nyrnala is on your collar bones for the first time since it was taken off you in Mirkwood. You can see the King's throat move in a spasmodic gulp.

"I am very grateful, my lord, that you have not pressured me into returning to my marital duties earlier. To think of it you have not mentioned it for full four weeks," you are very decorous, and he narrows his eyes, "But I am fully recovered now and as long as we are careful..." Your voice trails away, and you give him a composed smile.

His face suddenly contorts in anger. "I am afraid I have to decline your generous offer, my Queen. Perhaps you should have consulted me before you went through all this trouble organizing it." He turns on his heels and disappears in the bath chambers, closing the door behind himself with a deafening bang. You jerk, and then you are frozen in shock.

You are too stunned to cry, you are trembling. His rejection felt like a punch into your stomach. You are taking short shallow breaths in. You obviously do not understand something. He cannot possibly have lost his desire for you. Why would he have wooed you all these weeks if he did not yearn for you anymore? There were short but ardent kisses, seemingly accidental touches, heated looks. He had never before had to court you, and now he was seemingly enjoying this new game, small tokens of affection presented to you, a ribbon, a brooch, and several times you even found flowers on your pillow. The little gestures left you giddy and even more enamoured. You climb out of the bed.

You slightly open the door in the bath chambers and find him sitting on the step leading to your large tub that you had occupied together so often in the past. His palms are pressed to his face, elbows on his knees, and he lifts his eyes at you. The expression is pained and remorseful. He momentarily closes his eyes and exhale. "Forgive me, zundush, I was unfair."

You tiptoe to him, the floor is cold, and sit cautiously near him on the step. He picks up your hand and strokes your knuckles with his thumb. "It was cruel and unjust, forgive me." You frown. "I will, if I understand why you were so unfair. I would have expected you to..." You are not certain what to say. He nods and clenches his jaw.

"I do not wish for you to feel you are obliged to do it," he finally starts speaking, and his tone is grave, "You have to know how much I appreciate you forgiving me and accepting me back as your husband. But if your desire for me has not returned, I can… live with it."

You are staring at him. "How is me wearing a titillating dress and moving our babe to a different room is not a sign of desire?" "It is all very well thought out and..." He hesitates. "And?" "Cold." You emit a surprised chuckle. "Are you calling me frigid, my lord?" He looks at you askew. And then you start laughing.

You cannot help it, he looks so sour. You suddenly feel light and confident. You wrap your arms around his neck and murmur, "Would you have felt better, my lord, if I leapt at you once you entered the room and started pulling your clothes off?" He pouts, and you start laughing even harder. "Are you honestly feeling I am offering you my body out of obligation?" He tries to move out of your embrace, but you do not let him.

And then you swiftly straddle him. You have returned to your swording practice a week ago, and your body already feels more agile. He has no choice but grab your buttocks to support you. You settle in his embrace and tread your fingers into his hair.

His body reacts immediately, and you feel his length growing where your center is pressed into him. His eyes are darkening. "I thought, my lord, we have agreed that upon six weeks after our son's birth you were to reclaim me as your wife." His breathing speeds up. "And I thought you were not willing, my lady. Nothing in these seven weeks hinted on you being overwhelmed with yearning for me," his tone is grouchy.

You grab his ears and rub them in your hands. "Are you feeling insecure, my Lord?" And then you use his ears as reigns to make him nod. He chuckles. "Yes? Oh Mahal, that is unfortunate. Are you feeling you are not alluring for your estranged wife anymore, my lord?" You pulls the ears again and make him shake his head. And he chuckles again. "No? Perhaps you should have asked her. Have you honestly thought that barking at her while she is anxiously sitting in your bed half naked and shaking out of nervous anticipation is a vastly better idea than trying to waken her desire with some caresses?" You force him to nod again, and this time he twists his head out of your grip.

And then he catches the back of your head in his scorching palm and pulls you to his lips. The kiss is desperate and passionate, and you arch your back and press your body into him. "Forgive me, I was a fool…" He is murmuring into your skin, pressing greedy open-mouthed kisses on your neck and shoulders.

You do not wish to talk. You two have done so much talking in the last year and a half that you feel it has been enough for a lifetime. You just want to touch, and taste, and kiss, and... Your thoughts jumble, he is sucking on the muscle between your neck and shoulder. "Do you forgive me?" The hands are sliding on your back, caressing the shoulder blades, and then one of the large palms slides on your backside. "Kurdu?" "Oh for the love of Mahal… Yes, I do! And now please, do shut up, my lord!"

He finally smirks, and you catch his mouth and grab the hem of his tunic. You pull it off and whine from the ecstasy of finally touching his searing skin. You run your palms up and down the hard muscles and grind your hips into him. He gasps and tries to get up. "No, we are staying..." You are practically growling at him. You push your torso away from him and balancing on his lap you pull the strings on his breeches. "Kurdu, the bed.." "No! No time…" Your fingers encircle his member, and he groans loudly and drops his head back. Which you find very fortunate and bite into his neck.

And then you shift, and his tip presses into your folds through the gauzy material. You have taken a long bath today, with horsetail and centaury, and you have been applying the balm of shepherd's purse and chamomile for the last few days, but you expect a vast discomfort. You bite into your bottom lip and start lifting yourself to pull your dress from between you two and to take him in.

His hands squeeze your hips, and he halts you. You whine in disappointment. You are burning for him, your dress drenched where it got caught between your center and his length, and you are frenetic. "Please, Thorin, please..." His eyes widen, and he is staring at you. You get suddenly angry. "I am willing, is it not clear? Stop doubting me!"

He catches your mouth and kisses you hotly. You press your palms into his shoulders, get up on your knees above him, and his hips buck up. He picks up the bottom of the dress and helps you out of it. You wrap your arms around his neck, and his kisses are suddenly gentle and restrained. "Kurdu, I do not wish any pain for you..." He remembers the first times after Thror and Unna. With Unna you had to stop in the middle and postpone your reunion. You were too hasty, too eager for him and had not waited the full six weeks.

It has nothing to compare with the hunger you are feeling right now. You are dying for him, all those months in Mirkwood, and then the estrangement upon your return, the seven weeks of the slow build up, you grab his member and lower yourself on him in a gradual but confident movement. There is stretching, and there is feeling of fullness, but there is no pain.

He sobs and buries his face into your neck. You both are still for a few seconds. And then you press your lips to his temple. And start moving. His whole body is shaking, and he buries his hands in your hair. "Kurdu, oh, my heart…"

You control the movements, slow rise and slow push down on him. You are immediately sore, and it is the most wonderful of sensations. You drop your head back and revel in the feeling of completeness. Up and down, always with him, always linked, nothing to separate you two, union of rhythm and bodies, skin to skin, heart to heart… You wrap your arms around his neck and pull him even closer. The massive arms encircle you, and he is crushing you into him. Your hips move slowly and deliberately, and he is moaning. No words left, no thoughts, just the two of you, and your heat, and your warmth, and love, and trust.

He shatters, his seed rushing into you, your climax simultaneous, your walls around him, his face buried in your neck… You both are still and silent, and you feel tears running down your face. You rub your temple to his, and he gives out a long raspy sigh.

You wish to say something, to tell him that all is well now, that the two of you made it through, that your bond survived, that you love him and trust him, and he is your life, your heart, your husband and your lover. But then you move away and look into his brilliant blue eyes with tears glistening in them, and you know no words are needed. You press your lips to his, and he returns your kiss. Loving someone is giving them the power to break your heart, but trusting them not to. And you know your heart is safe.

THE END

A/N: I decided that ending it with a quote from my favourite Julianne Moore, another gorgeous redhead, is more than appropriate :)

Thank you all for being with me on this journey! Love you all :')