You woke with a start, your body tense and quivering, your breathing harsh and heavy.

When your eyes focused on the familiar thick canopy of your bed, you groaned and closed your eyes, prying your fingers away from the sheets dampened with your sweat. Not again. You sat up, running your fingers through your thick wavy hair, trying to settle your rapidly beating heart. It took a few minutes, but then you found your breathing was steady again and the after effects of the dream subsided.

But you knew the dreams would only come back when you let your eyes slip closed again, so you gave up on any more sleep and instead stared up at the canopy reproachfully, as though it was the cause of your exhaustion.

Three months. This had been happening to you for three months—the waking up covered in sweat, heart pounding wildly, flashes of your dream flickering in front of your eyes. Then you'd fall back asleep, and it would happen again. It left you feeling drained and exhausted, like you hadn't slept at all. And Mahal, you were so tired.

Outside your window a faint, barely-there, light lingered in the sky, and realization made you startle out of your bed, legs twisting with the sheets so that you landed with a thud on the cold floor. You were late for work. You started your evening shift just as the sun went down, and you were sure your employer, the ever-irritable Malya, would not be pleased.

"Oh, gods, not today," you moaned, rubbing at your soon-to-be bruised knees and wincing. You stood up on shaky legs and rushed through your ritual of getting dressed, twisting your hair into a semi-presentable braid and attempting to scrub the exhaustion from your face. You practically flew out the door to your house, running up the well-worn road towards the lonely mountain. Erebor. Or, more specifically, to the royal kitchens. The disappearing light plunged the world into a cold chill, but you didn't get the chance to stop and admire the pretty landscape of the sunset.

You couldn't risk being any later than you already were.

Trust you to find a way to oversleep, despite the distinct lack of sleep you'd been experiencing lately, on the day before a banquet. The King's cousin, Lord Dain, would be arriving tomorrow with a massive entourage of lords and ladies, servants and squires, for the feast in honour of King Thorin's bride. It would be a week-long event, and with so many extra mouths to feed, you knew that as the dessert chef you would soon be not-sleeping for a completely different reason.

Passerby's sent you odd looks as you ran, cursing the mountain for being so big, the hallways so long and seemingly never-ending. If you were an elf—you wrinkled your nose at the thought—you'd probably be there by now; they were fast and not easily winded, you would give them that. You rounded the corner, your fast-paced steps coming to an abrupt stop, jarring your knees slightly. You cursed under your breath, because you knew how the high-ceiling halls echoed. "Oh, Mahal, why?"

Malya was standing by the entrance, her face pinched, and her severe features distinctly pissed. You swallowed, kept your head down and hurried for the door, hoping she was waiting for someone else. When she moved back inside the kitchens, you did your best to slip in unnoticed. Her small eyes noticed though, following you as you grabbed an apron. You were sure she would have more to say to you later when you would not be quite so busy.

You got to work, the kitchen already full and bustling, and it made you realize just how much time you had lost. You muttered a harsh curse and exhaled heavily through your nose, getting to work on the thousands of pastries you needed to bake.

Luckily you were left on your own, and you felt your mind properly re-focus on the task at hand, measuring the right quantities and working the ovens until you were red-faced from the heat. You barely had room to move, and it was loud with the shouts of "behind you!" and "coming through".

The chaos eased a little after dinner finished, the ebb and flow of people slowing. There was a dull ache at the base of your spine that seemed to be radiating downwards by the time the fires for the ovens were burning out, and the last of the workers were finishing up for the night.

There was always one cook left in the kitchen overnight, in case any of the royal court decided they wanted a midnight snack. Tonight, it was your turn and you continued with baking. You weren't interrupted much, except when a few random maids hurried into the kitchen looking frazzled and asking for lemon cakes or milk.

Then the hour grew even later. You were tired, so very very tired, and you were contemplating just crawling up onto the kitchen counter and giving in. You didn't care if the dreams would wake you in a few hours anyway and make it impossible for you to go back to sleep—you just needed those few hours. Even if the dreams would only make you more exhausted, you just wanted a reprieve.

The sound of heavy footfalls startled you and you spun around to spot the outline of a man standing in the kitchen doorway, leaning against the wall. He didn't move in further, making it difficult for you to see him properly. He didn't speak, and it only served to piss you off in your already exhausted state. Sometimes the newer or younger servants were hesitant to enter the kitchens—it was perhaps the only domain under the Lonely mountain that was under the complete control of Malya. And they had heard plenty of stories about her to be hesitant.

You were usually kinder. But you were also busy mulling over how comfortable the wooden counter could be and deciding it didn't really matter all that much.

"What do you want?" You snapped at the figure, in no mood to deal with anyone anymore. You wanted sleep—you needed sleep. Your frustration was palpable. And to be honest, the wooden counter actually looked quite soft.

"Well it's nice to see you too, lass," the figure retorted and you could hear the smirk in his familiar voice.

Your heart stuttered, eyes widening and head snapping up as your mouth flapped about uselessly in surprise. Oh no. Not tonight, why did it have to be tonight? Why couldn't you just catch a break? A deep red blush spread across your cheeks like wildfire as you spun around to gape at him.

"Prince Fili…" you breathed, and suddenly the kitchen felt much too small. Not only did you have to deal with almost no sleep, but now you had to see him. Not only did you have to try to keep your eyes open, but now you had snapped at the prince. Could it get any worse? Though you suppose the lack of irritation in his voice was a good sign that he wasn't going to have you thrown in a prison cell for a night. You cleared your throat. "My prince, I did not mean… I mean, I was not expecting you."

You supposed you probably should have, though. He had a soft spot for a glass of warm milk and cinnamon biscuits before he went to sleep, and in the last three months you'd seen him more nights than not. He wandered into kitchen, waving off your terrible apology and you spun around, grabbing for the biscuits and milk. "I can send someone with these up to your room, if it pleases you, my prince?"

A little thrill went through you at your words, accompanied by whispered, panting versions of my prince, oh, Mahal, my prince. You fought another blush back before you looked behind you to find him leaning a hip against the counter you had been contemplating sleeping on (thanking Mahal that you had not done just that). A faint smirk made his moustache twitch and you wanted to know what he was thinking and whether he could see the pink on your face, but then he gave you an odd look. "It's been a while since you've called me by my title."

Your eyes widened when you realized he was right, and you were acting out of character. Over the months, you had become more familiar with each other when you really shouldn't have—he was a prince, you worked in the kitchens. But your lips twitched despite knowing this and despite knowing nothing could ever come of it, and you eased into familiarity with him again. "Well, you startled me. Shame on you."

You heard his chuckle as you turned back around and placed a large pile of biscuits onto a plate, before moving the plate to sit beside him. "Am I that predictable?"

You crouched down by the fire to warm the milk. When he had started coming down to the kitchens for himself, you had gotten used to what he liked and what he didn't. And after a while, you'd both become more comfortable around each other that you'd chat and laugh with him while he ate the biscuits, so you sent him a grin that spelled this out. "Yes."

Half of his mouth quirked up, making his braided moustache dangle and dance, and you thought again about how much you liked it. Quickly, you turned to watch the milk warm, waiting for it to froth at the edges before you removed it from the heat, carefully tipping the contents into a large mug. When you handed it over, his fingers brushed over yours and you suppressed a moan at the rough feeling of them, jerking your hand back quick.

Mahal, you were strung so tight.

He frowned at you, placing the cup down quickly, and grabbing your chin, turning your face up to look at him so he could examine you. His eyes roved over your face, lingering on the deep purple circles under your eyes. Your heart started to pump faster. "You look tired."

You quickly looked away, declaring, "I'm fine."

But he had always been stubborn—it was a dwarf trait, really—and you had never known him to let a matter go when an answer did not satisfy him. "Have you had difficulty sleeping?"

"It's nothing," you shook your head, trying to brush it off. To appear busy, you started to roll out some more dough. Keeping your hands moving meant you had a reason not to look at him. Internally, your heart picked up more speed as he probed for your secrets.

"It's not nothing," he denied, before reaching out. He pulled you away from the bench, lips twitching as he brushed off some flour sticking to your cheek, before focusing in on the purple under your eyes. Lightly, his fingers brushed over the sensitive skin. "Tell me."

Your lips parted slightly and your breathing got a little heavy at how close he was, and the way he continued to touch your face, his fingers soothing. You'd spoken to him plenty, you'd laughed and shared a few trivial secrets about your families. You'd appreciated his moustache and his braids and his form. But always from across the kitchen bench. Always with the knowledge that he was so far out of your league.

Never had there been skin contact. You found you liked it far too much.

You swallowed with difficulty, and then you were answering him before you had actually made the decision to. "I've been having these… really very vivid dreams, and they've made sleeping… very broken."

He nodded like he understood this. "I have found that herbal teas help with nightmares and—"

"They're not nightmares."

You cursed yourself for saying too much, the words just slipping out. You should've just let him believe that nightmares were keeping you awake—it was much less embarrassing than the truth.

"Then what are they?" He frowned like you no longer made sense. He was standing so close that all you could really do was stare up at him. You shook your head and tried to move away, but he stopped you, his hand pulling your chin up again and the rough skin of his hands on your jaw and sensitive neck made you shiver. His eyes narrowed in curiosity as he contemplated you. "What do you dream about?"

You shook your head again, but it only made his frown deepen. He took a step closer in towards you, and you were suddenly very aware of the delicious warmth of his body and the way it traced over your skin. You inhaled sharply at his proximity, and your nose was so full of his scent—something like sweat, and dirt and him—that it clogged your brain and made thinking really very difficult.

His hooded eyes scrutinized you carefully and it was like fire dancing on your skin where they landed. Your bottom lip dropped open and his eyes followed for a second, distracted, before he looked back up at you. They were darkly intense, and any lingering thoughts left your mind completely.

"What do you dream about?" He repeated. Curiosity lingered there in the lines of his eyes.

His thumb brushed against your bottom lip, and it tingled and stung and was like lightening all at once. Your breathing hitched and you weren't really thinking straight anymore. Did he know the kind of effect he had on you? Was he doing that on purpose? You blinked up at him, and before you had a chance to consider just how bad of an idea it would be to answer his question, the words fell out. "You. Naked."

You both froze, and it was like someone had thrown a bucket of icy water over you. Your brain caught up with your mouth and you blushed deeply, cursing his intoxicating scent and probing eyes and taunting fingers. His eyebrows shot up so high, they disappeared into his hairline, eyes drifting to stare over your shoulder, his hand still griping your chin as his body remained seized in shock.

Oh Mahal. You had just admitted to dreaming about the prince naked. The prince. Naked. Oh, Mahal help you.

"You dream about me naked?" You groaned in embarrassment, moving as far away from him as you could. You had never been more mortified. It did not help that his moustache twitched in a decidedly preening smirk. You supposed at least, he was not running away from you. Perhaps you had not ruined your new friendship as definitely as you had thought.

Then, he frowned like something didn't add up for him, and he closed the space between you both again. "As flattering as that is, I don't see how that relates to why you're so tired."

Your eyes bugged at his audacity, and you tried to pull away from him but his grip was firm. Pursing your lips, face red, you said, "I've had enough of sharing my secrets."

"I haven't." He waited and you shifted on your feet from the way he seemed to be unbothered by being so close, and you couldn't help but notice he really only continued to move closer. He was intent, and when you didn't answer, his eyes seemed to trail over the column of your neck, the outline of your lips.

"I'm not falling for that again," you muttered, pulling back and away.

He followed, laughing innocently, "Fall for what?"

"You're trying to trick me into telling you far too much with your damn bewitching eyes!" You huffed at him and folded your arms like you were scolding a small child for doing something they knew they shouldn't. He continued to laugh, holding his hands up in a placating, innocent gesture.

"The only reason I ask," he started before he moved closer again. The movement seemed different this time, and it made you pause. This movement he wanted you to watch. Wanted your undivided attention. You did not disappoint. You thought you had never described something so accurately as saying his eyes were bewitching.

His voice dropped to be more husky, more like a smooth purr. You felt it travel over your skin like something tangible and the hairs on your arms lifted and prickled. "You see, when I dream about you naked, I sleep very well."

His eyes caught you off guard with a dark, heated look. Your thighs clenched as a jolt of pleasure shot to your core. And he knew it, judging from the smirk lifting his lips. He stepped in close, holding your gaze, prodding you to speak. There was no more space between you.

Blood pounding through your body, you lifted your chin up, tilting your head to display more of the soft skin of your neck. Your lips pouted as your voice became mockingly innocent, though there was no ignoring how heavy you were suddenly breathing. "Oh really?"

"Yes," he murmured, head dropping down until his nose brushed along your jaw and neck so lightly it made your skin tingle. His breath was warm, sending a shiver down your back. "So why are you not sleeping well?"

You ceased thinking about how embarrassed you should be, and answered honestly. Boldly. "Because I never get to finish. Do you know what it's like, to be brought to the very edge, and then be denied over and over again?"

His licked his lips. "Maybe I can fix that."

Your breathing was heavy in your ears, your voice ragged. "I wish you would."

His fingers wrapping around your hips as he backed you towards the bench before launching his mouth at you. His lips were surprisingly soft and warm, and they moved against yours deliciously, slowly at first before becoming more urgent and lingering until you had to gasp for air and tangle your fingers in his hair for an anchor. When his tongue ran over your bottom lip, seeking entrance, you opened your mouth on a moan, your tongues mingling.

His grip on your hips tightened and he slid one hand down to grasp your ass, squeezing. You nipped at his lip sharply in retaliation for his cheek, pulling on his bottom lip. A moaning growl left him, hands suddenly grabbing your thighs and pulling you painfully close, and he tried to lift one of your legs to wrap around his waist but the skirts of your dress restricted that movement.

He grunted in irritation before lifting you up onto the kitchen bench, and he trailed his lips from your mouth, along your jaw to the side of your neck. His hot mouth sucked at the sensitive skin as his hands moved to the bottom of your skirts, gathering the material up before slipping underneath. His rough hands travelled up your shapely calves to your knees, the material bunching so that you could part your legs and he could step forward, bringing you both closer.

You tilted your head back, eyes slipping closed, and his lips sucked along your collarbone. You couldn't seem to make your voice work, couldn't get any other sounds out than the soft moans he coaxed from you as his hot mouth moved against you, tormenting you. His beard and moustache were scraggly and rough, driving you crazy, and you dug your fingers into his back. The neckline of your bodice prevented his exploration downwards, and his hands fumbled with the bindings in his haste until he grew annoyed enough to grab a kitchen knife and cut them away. Absently, you thought getting home would be difficult with a ripped dress, but then the thought disappeared from your mind as he pulled the material down.

Your nipples tightened as he cupped your breasts, the rough pads of his thumbs lightly grazing over the buds. Your back arched, pushing your chest towards him, begging for more. His mouth latched onto one of your ultrasensitive nipples, the hot wet suction driving you to squeeze your legs around his hips, desperate for contact. His tenting trousers were brought flush against your heated core and he ground his erection against you. He switched breasts, his mouth licking and nipping and his hand teasing the other, creating an unbearable tension that had you gasping and moaning.

"Fuck, your tits are perfect," he hissed as your hips bucked forward against his.

He trailed his mouth back up to your neck, sucking at the right spot that left you a quivering mess, his hands still rubbing and teasing the puckered buds of your heaving chest. Your breathing accelerated, the world seeming to twist and tilt on its axis. Heat swamped your body and electricity jolted your skin from where his hands trailed fire over you. His lips drove you wild with want, a desperate aching in your core. "Fili."

Your fingers scrabbled at his tunic, desperate to feel his skin under your hands, and he helped you pull the material over his head. It was flung somewhere across the kitchen, and your hands sought the expanse of his chest. Thick yellow-gold hair covered his chest and you ran your fingers through it, touching the hard panes and ridges of his lean chest and abdomen. You leaned forward, sucking the hard skin of his neck and pressing your chest to his.

"Oh, Mahal, I want you," he moaned, head thrown back as your lips moved over his neck.

"Then have me," you gasped, as your hand slipped down to rub at his covered cock.

He untied the fastenings to his trousers as you tormented him, and when they were loose enough, you pushed them down to his ankles. Gently running your hand over his shaft, you pumped his hard length twice before his hands glided over your naked thighs, pushing your skirts up further until he pulled the dress over your head, leaving you fully naked on your kitchen bench.

Then he dropped down to his knees in front of you, pulling you close to the bench's edge and prying your legs open wide so you were completely bared to him. You didn't have any kind of sense to be embarrassed because you had never had anyone look at you with so much want before. "I want to taste you first."

He moved his tongue over your folds and you cried out. You didn't have any strength in your arms to hold yourself up and you fell back, spine arching in a way that made it feel even better. He seemed to tease you first, circling around your bud but never touching it, building tension in your thighs and legs.

"Don't be cruel, Fili," you pleaded.

His tongue moved over your bud and your breathing became wanton. He licked and gently sucked until he found a movement that made you moan louder than before, and then he did it again. Your breath was catching and hitching, and you could practically feel his smirk when your hands tangled into his braids. His beard created a kind of friction that had you wetter than you'd been in your life and he slipped a finger inside you, making you clench urgently around him.

He kept repeating the movement and Mahal, you were so close. You wanted to come so bad—you needed it—and you had to stop yourself from bucking up into his face. You were repeating his name over and over, moaning and gasping, encouraging, voice ragged and desperate.

And then he stopped, the friction ending and you wanted to cry in frustration. You were sure this was another dream that left you unsatisfied and tired, until he stood back up, his breath hot on your neck and smelling like you, and said, "I want to be inside you when you come."

You were certainly not opposed to the idea.

He yanked you off the kitchen countertop to move you to the large square bench in the middle of the kitchen where there was more room. It was lucky he had the sense to lift and move you because you weren't sure you could've done anything with the throbbing you felt radiating through your body. He kicked his pants off completely and your inside clenched as he climbed up on top of you.

Then he flipped you both over so your legs straddled his hips, the length of him brushing against your ass. The sudden movement and new position left you momentarily stunned; up until that point, Fili had been in control—he'd taken the lead, been dominant—and sitting on top of him left you completely exposed.

"Ride me," he groaned, his hands skipping up from where they gripped your hips, along your stomach and up to cup your breasts. "Use me."

You really didn't need any more encouragement. With desperate movements, you moved his length to be positioned at your entrance, before slowly moving down for him to slide inside. You both groaned loudly as he fully entered you and a momentary relief washed through you.

"Thank Mahal," you muttered and he let out a ragged chuckle.

"You're so wet," he groaned.

You shifted your hips, finding the right angle and position to properly fuck him. One of his hands moved back to your hip to help your slow torturous movements, while the other brushed over your puckered nipple. "You feel so damn good inside me."

You started moving faster, your hips rocking in a smooth motion, his cock rubbing inside you on a spot that made you clench tighter and tighter. You felt you were not completely in control, your attention solely focus on the throbbing ache between your legs. You shifted up and down over his length, hearing his muttered curses, panting like you were running a race. Your breasts bounced and his hand on your hip shifted to rub circles over you bud.

"Fili, Fili, Fili…" you vaguely heard yourself repeating, motions becoming jerkier as you felt your muscles drawing tighter and tighter. You braced your hand on his leg behind you and the angle made you lose your mind.

"Come." He grunted. Demanded. "I want you to come."

You were hardly going to refuse an order from your crowned prince. You came loudly, head dropping back, a sheen of sweat coating your body. His hips thrust up in time with yours, his groan low as he reached his own climax. White light exploded behind your eyes and you felt nothing except the absolute release flooding your body. You continued to rock your hips, riding out your high, until you slowly regained some sense of yourself.

You all but collapsed forward onto his chest, spent. You could feel his beard braids bouncing in amusement as he grinned under you. "Did that satisfy you more than your dreams?"

You smiled at him through your labored breathing. "I think I will not have any difficulties sleeping tonight."

"Perhaps we should do it again, just to make sure?"

You laughed out loud at his cheek. "It couldn't hurt."

You shifted your head to eye him, raising a teasing eyebrow. "You really think you could do that again?"

"Just give me a bit of time and some more of those biscuits and milk, and I'll make you scream my name again."

You shifted up and off him, muscles shaky. "You're making some bold promises."

"I'm good for it, don't you worry." His voice was playful and low, and you felt your insides clench.

You didn't doubt him at all.