Part 2.

Yule Morning

Wren wakes up feeling hot, and restricted, and she shifts, quickly realising the sensation of the King's arm wrapped around her waist, and his straining length pressed into her backside. She stills, and then he presses her into him tighter, and his hips push into her. Her body reacts, without her even having time to perceive what is transpiring, and her back arches, her buttocks pushing back, and suddenly his hand jerks the hem of her nightgown up, and she gulps lungfuls of air, and he roughly leads his tip to her folds, and thrusts, and she cries out. They are on their sides, and his hand slides from her stomach onto her hip, and he grabs, his fingers sinking into her flesh. It hurts, his calloused rough palm on her hipbone. His other arm is folded, she slept on it like on a pillow, and in front of her eyes she sees it straighten and his large hand fist tightly. He's plunging his length into her, and although she felt she was unprepared, there is moisture.

Her mind does not fog, as it always has before, in their love, in the pleasure of physical union with him, when all that would be left in her was desire, and love, and hunger for him, and joy of being his, and possessing him. The piercing overwhelming current does not run her body, she is aware and astute. She feels his every movement, his massive member sliding into her, and spreading her, every thrust greedy and impatient. She can hear his laboured, raspy breathing, and she knows where every inch of her body is, and where it is pressed into his scorching skin. She can feel his left leg, bent, raised, and the coarse hair is scratching her thigh. His forehead is pressed to the back of her head, and she can feel his hot breath on her nape. She closes her eyes, but the intoxication and the bliss do not come, and she lies and waits, and it takes him long, but less than she remembers from before, to satiate his hunger, and then he releases, with a coarse cry, and he grabs her, and jerks her into him, several times, and he is mumbling, but she does not want to listen.

She is telling herself it is quite alright, that it is just that she has forgotten him, and she will just need more preparation the next time, and it is not something she should concern herself with, and then suddenly her body shudders, and she thrashes and rolls away from him on the bed. She is convulsing, and screaming, and crying, and she cannot stop, although she has always praised herself on her composure. She feels the mattress shift, under his weight, and she screams even louder, and lunges away, and falls on the floor. She curls in a ball, some unfamiliar pain slashing across her stomach. It is gone quickly, but she feels sick, and broken, and there is a knot in her stomach.

"Wren, Wren..." His voice is frantic, and he scoots near her, his hand lies on her back, and she whimpers. "My heart, what hurts? Have I hurt you?"

"No… You have not..." Her answer is mixed with sobs.

"Wren, you should have told me to stop! You have not lain with a man for six moons! Of course there was pain!"

"No, there was none..." she is whining. "I do not know why I am crying… I was not in pain. I am not now… If anything, I felt nothing..."

"What?!" His question is an enraged hiss, and she lifts her head that she had had her arms wrapped around, and looks at him. He is pale, and his pupils are flooding the blue irises. "Why did you not tell me?!" He adds a dirty swearing at the end. She is staring into his face.

"Why would I..?" she mumbles, confused, her thoughts jumbling. "It did not hurt..."

"Curse you, Wren!" he interrupts her, snarling, his teeth bared. He straightens up, sharply, and sways, and drops his backside on the edge of the bed. She tries to sit up, her arms are weak, shaking in the elbows, and she almost falls again.

He hisses another curse, but then leans ahead and pick her up under an elbow. His face is dark, and for an instant she is almost scared of him. It is a strange, alarming feeling. He is gentle, though, and he helps her rise. She is now standing in front of him. He lets her go, and they are not touching.

"Wren, I… I hurt you before. The hunger for you, it is dark sometimes. I could never get enough… I remember it, but I lose control. You have always reassured me that you felt just as affected, and then it was easier to forgive myself… For the bruises, and the bleeding..." He clenches his teeth, she can hear them screech, and he looks enraged, and guilt stricken, and she does not understand. "But I do not need your body… Just to lie here, and let me… I am no animal!" He lifts his eyes, the last phrase is sharp and loud, and she winces.

"Forgive me..." she whispers, and he grabs her around her waist, making her gasp, and pulls her in. His face is buried into her stomach.

"I do not want just this… I want you to enjoy… I need it… To give you pleasure… Curse it, Wren, I do not know how to say it!" He is growling, sounding indeed like a wounded animal, and her hand hesitantly lies on his head. She strokes the hair. There is so much silver in it… She remembers that she has not seen him for six moons.

And then she thinks that the two of them are preposterous. They are given another chance to meet, to learn each other, to know each other... to fall in love again. And this time there are no obstacles, or difficulties, and they are wed, and share the halls, and can stay in them for days.

And then she remembers that her mind is quick, and while she has just arrived to a rather auspicious realisation, the King is still in acute mental pain. She is not quite sure whether he is, on the other hand. She indeed has forgotten him quite a lot, and she feels her habitual talent in reading minds is dulled, additionally by the emotional strain just now. But she moves a bit back and cups his face, making him look up and meet her eyes. He is frowning, lips are pressed in a stern cold line, and Wren is bashful, and feels frail, and weakened, but she smiles to him shakily.

"I know, Thorin..." Her tone is soft, and she leans in and places her hands on his shoulders. "I know… I think I do… But I am confused… And angry..." She pauses, surprised by her own words, and the King frowns more, looking at her questioningly. She sighs.

"I just realised… I am angry with you, for leaving me alone for so long… And I know it is wrong, and you have been fulfilling your duty, and I would hate to see you act otherwise, but..."

"It was hard for me too," he grumbles, and she nods.

"Of course, it was. And perhaps, worse than for me. I was at least home." She strokes his cheek with her thumb, and her fingers involuntarily curl into his beard. "The beard is longer..." she whispers, and he cocks one eyebrow.

"Your mind jumped..." He then smiles, only just slightly, but it seems his anguish is ebbing. "I forgot how erratic you are sometimes..."

"I am not!" she exclaims, and he smiles wider. She then steps closer, and he opens his arms. She carefully sits on his lap, and pulls her feet up, and on the bed. He moves back, and they are settled quite nicely. He then pushes his long arm behind him, pulls at the covers, and wraps them around them.

His face is very close, and she is studying the long nose.

"You forgot that my mind jumped, and I forgot that I could trust you. We need to learn each other again." He is watching her face attentively. "We need to repeat our courtship, my King." She tries a tentative playfulness. She peeks, but sees his nostrils flare in seeming indignation.

Before she has time to recoil from her words, he growls at her, "Do not even think about it! Another seven years of waiting will kill me, woman!" She blinks, and then bursts into laughter. The feat had been executed masterfully, and judging by a smug grin the King is very proud of himself.

"Well, no, of course not, we will not wait for another seven years!" She wonders if she can play him with equal skill. "Perhaps just six moons? Is it not the traditional time for initial courtship? You will make beads for me, we will converse, and have decorous walks..." His eyes are widening in terror, and she realises she has succeeded. More laughter comes, it is louder and easier with each instant, and he joins her, low chuckles in his chest, so familiar, and she wraps her arms around his neck.

She presses her temple to his and stills. He notices, and quiets down too, and his hands are splayed on her back, hot on her sensitive skin, and she closes her eyes.

"I feel like a maiden..." she whispers. He makes a surprised snort like noise. She laughs quietly again. "I know, it is dim… But I am flustered, and cannot bring myself to look under these covers..."

"There is a naked Dwarf there..." the King whispers, and Wren roars with laughter, and starts keeling over, he grabs her tighter, and puts her back on his lap.

He is laughing loudly too now, and she grabs his ears and kisses his firmly on the lips. It is close mouthed, and ridiculous, but he pushes his hands in her hair, and the tone of the caress changes, and his lips are demanding, and greedy, and she suddenly shrinks away.

Frustration spills on his features, but whatever he sees in her face makes him take a long measured breath in, and he leans in and gently brushes his lips to her burning cheek.

"I cannot promise you six moons, my heart. But we could try… a bit..." the King offers grudgingly, and Wren smiles to him with gratitude. And then she giggles.

"Why do I have a feeling that by 'a bit' you mean but a few minutes?" she asks, and he throws her a somewhat frustrated side glance.

"Because you are bobbing on my lap, and it agitates me, which I cannot hide from you in this position?" he offers grumpily, and she has to agree with him on all accounts.

And then Wren has a question.

"Does it not feel strange to you as well?" she asks, and tentatively puts her hand on his shoulder under the covers. He is still dressed in an undertunic, and she fidgets with the fabric. "Lying with me?"

"I was still half asleep," he answers reluctantly. "Holding you now feels… right." Wren smiles widely to him.

"It does, does it not?" She rubs her nose to his cheekbone. "I slept with your old tunic..." She does not know why she is saying this. He is right, she is erratic. "To remember your smell..."

He turns his head, and their eyes are just inches away from each other.

"I yearned for you too, my heart..." He whispers, and her lips tremble.

"Alright..." She clears her throat. "I think we should start on our courtship, before I am crying again. Which would be foolish… And aimless, for that matter."

He emits a crackle of laughter.

"Always so prudent," he draws out, and Wren nods.

"Indeed, I am."

She shifts and faces him, her legs going around him. The covers are still around them, but her dress bunched up, and her center is pressed to his hot length. He groans.

"This position does not encourage much restrain from me, my heart..."

"Who said anything about restrain?" she purrs, and then her fingers run his sides, making him jerk - he is surprisingly ticklish for a severe Khazad warrior, which she somehow forgot as well - and she picks up the undertunic and pulls it off him.

"I just need you to be a wee bit patient," she whispers in his ear.

"That I can," he answers, and then twists his head and catches her ear between his lips. Muscles sweetly clench below her navel.

The desire rises. It is familiar, but so utterly new and fresh, and she feels inebriated, but on the other hand, everything is sharp and bright, and she laughs. She wants to tell him she is happy, that nothing has ever brought her more joy than having him near her, that she is already healing, and feeling better, but then she decides the words would be quite pointless.

She kisses him, gently but passionately, and he answers, without trying to dominate, just savouring it, just like her, and her hands slide over his shoulders, over the muscles between them and the neck, and onto his back. The thews are smooth, and hard, and he draws a sharp breath in. She nips his bottom lip, biting, and then smoothing the bite with the tip of her tongue.

"I take it back..." he rasps. "There is very little patience left..."

"Good," she answers, without hearing him, and then she cranes her neck, and places a row of little bites along his jaw, and then moves to his neck.

Her hands push the covers off his body, and his hands fist around the skirts of her nightdress scrunched in them, and she releases him for a moment and lifts her arms up.

The dress is taken off. It slides up her body slowly, and then he stops and looks her over. She remembers how thinned she is, and for a moment she feels like covering herself. She knows he noticed, a cloud comes over his previously sunny, and playful disposition, and she rushes ahead, and presses her mouth to his.

They kiss for awhile, her body is heating up, and she starts rubbing herself to him. Something stops her from taking him in, though, and he guesses. He is after all an experienced lover.

"Tell me what you need..." His voice is all rasp. "Take what you need… "

"Did you miss me?" she breathes out - her mouth, hot and greedy, half open, on his neck - and he drops his head back.

"I have..." he answers.

"Was it painful?" Her tone is demanding, and she wraps her legs around his waist impossibly tightly, and leans back, holding her weight with her legs, while her hands claw at his chest. She remembered the thick black hair and the silver in it, and she treads fingers in it.

"Aye…" he chokes on his answer.

"Did dreams torment you?" She does not relent. She is whispering hotly in his ear, and he groans, and his arms fly up, and his hands lie on her upper arms. They are trembling, he is hardly controlling himself. "Of my body in your arms? Of my quim convulsing around you? Of my juices trickling down your fingers?"

She is not certain why she is pushing him. Perhaps, she needs to know she was not the only one to die again and again for six moons.

"Let me in, Wren..." He is begging, and demanding, and almost sobbing.

"Tell me of your nights without me… Tell me… Tell me how you found release without your wife!" she snarls. He suddenly straightens up and peers into her eyes.

"I have not… I would never touch another woman!" His tone is bewildered, and she does not know where it comes from but she smirks darkly and grabs a handful of his hair. She pulls it back, making him drop his head back.

"Of course not. Why would you? No one could compare." She has never before been that conceited, but she believes it at this moment. His eyes are dark, and starving, and mad.

"Wren, please..." His voice breaks.

"Tell me how you ached!" she almost screams into his face. His face contorts. She is not moving, and he gives in.

"Not just nights, days too..." he whispers, his eyes fixed on her face. "I needed my wife, not just my… lover. But nights were worse… "

"Did you think of my body?"

"I remember it well..."

"What did you do? Have you pleasured yourself, my lord?"

"It helped not… It is not the same… Wren..."

"You said I could take what I needed," she reminds him, and closes her eyes, and rubs her upper body to his, her sensitive peaks are scratched by the chest hair, and her juices are covering the insides of her thighs, and they are on his stomach now as well. "I need my rectification… I as much as died in these moons..."

He inhales sharply, his chest heaves, and he cups her face. She keeps her eyes closed. She does not want to see his face. She fears the pity that, she is certain, is in his eyes. She has failed to control herself, and there are tears streaming down her cheeks.

"Let me take the blame and repay you, my heart..." His voice is deep and low, and she slowly opens her eyes. She feels the teardrops on her lashes.

"It is not your fault… It is no one's fault… We all acted valiantly, with dignity, and according to our duty… But I… I just cannot..." She breaks down and sobs loudly. She does not know what to say.

"The warriors had portraits of their wives," he speaks quietly, and she stills and listens. "I have one too… You gave it to me, remember? A moon after the wedding. I could not look at it… Just could not bring myself." He looks somewhat uneasy to disclose it, but she is listening greedily, and he sighs and continues, "Some men grow quiet, lost in their thoughts. Some drink and try to be loud, and jest, and brag, to silence their ache..."

The King tenderly moves her curls off her face and wipes her tears with his thumb. "Some train twice as much… It was worse for those who had just wed. But they all looked at me for guidance. After all, I am a happy newlywed husband as well." He gives her a melancholic smile.

"I am two hundred years old, Wren, and a King. I cannot be caught moaning and lamenting, and chanting my wife's name, while… polishing my sword."

A half laugh, half sob falls from Wren's lips, and it sounds like a hiccup. He smiles to her softly, and then he embraces her, burying his face into her hair.

"I missed you, my heart. Every minutes, of every day. Never doubt it."

"I never have," she answers, and realises it is the truth.

She can tell him that it was just easier to be angry with him, to blame him for being away from her, to pretend that he did not suffer as much, to pretend that he abandoned her. That would add self-pity to the poison of her ache, and would make it even more painful, but sweeter in the darkest of ways.

She wraps her arms around his head, and presses it to her, and somehow they start rocking gently and slowly from side to side.

To think of it, nothing has to be said.

Wren inhales, filling her lungs with the fresh air of their bedroom, and the crispy Winter smell, coming through a slightly open window in the adjoin bathchambers, and with the spicy, intoxicating fragrance of his skin. She lets his strands run between her fingers, and she smiles to him. Their mouths meet, and they are both hungry, and tender, and loving, and impatient. She rises above him, and he cups her buttocks helping her, and his member slides into her effortlessly. They moan loudly, and she suddenly falls limp onto him. He supports her, and she feels safe, and taking measured breaths, she whispers, "Give me a jiffy..."

He hums in agreement, gently kissing her shoulder. The warm mouth caresses her, the hot slick tongue draws a swirl on her skin, and she shivers.

It is morning, and the bleak Winter sun streams through the window panes, and Wren looks at her husband.

He is thinned, and weary, there are shadows, and bitter lines, but the eyes are shiny, and the lips are parted softly, and he is such a beautiful man! The neck is strong, and she strokes the throat with the tips of her fingers, along the tendons. The shoulders are wide, and she has quite forgotten how much taller he is than other Dwarves, and she settles on his length, and splays her hands on his chest.

"Do you love me?" she asks, and smiles to him. His eyebrows jump up. The two of them - for so many reasons - have never spoken thusly before.

"I love you," he answers simply, and she nods.

She starts moving, rising on him, and sliding down, sinking, taking him in, until the tip taps some wall inside her, which she greets with a satisfied hum.

The position is pleasurable to them both, and they continue for quite a while. She is suppressing her release though, not wanting to give up the piercing novelty of what is transpiring just yet. After a climax she is always sleepy and sated and cuddlesome. She wants more of the passion first.

His arms are in a secure circle around her, one on the waist, another around shoulders. His lips are skillful and so very intent on her pleasure! He knows all the right spots, on her neck, and shoulders, and then he asks if he can change their position. She laughs, she knows he will try to make her give in.

She is right, and he pushes her on the sheets, and rises above her on straight arms, aiming for just the right angle. But fortunately for her, she is already oversensitive, and another half an hour passes, in his vigorous efforts, her moans of pleasure, and then he drops his head, his hair tickles her chest, and she chuckles.

"You are doing it on purpose..." he rasps out, and she snorts.

"You have only just realised it?" she asks cheekily.

"Why? Is it a punishment?" he asks, and lifts his face. He is charmingly irked. She rubs her inner thigh to his hip.

"No… But it is lovely that you consider my pleasure your reward, my lord. I simply do not want it to end just yet."

"It will not. Just one climax does not mean I am done with you!" he grumbles, and she giggles.

"I will fall asleep, and you will lie awake, left alone to… polish your sword!"

He lowers his upper body, now on bent elbows, and pressed the tip of his nose to hers.

"Your slumber will not stop me, my petulant Queen. You can sleep of course, but I predict you will not be left in peace for at least a fortnight." Wren grins widely.

"I have never been bedded in my sleep. I doubt I will not enjoy it." She sticks her tongue at him, and he quickly tries to catch it with his mouth.

And then his face grows serious.

"But are you enjoying our love now?"

Wren wonders if her previous admission has wounded him more than she thought.

"I am," she answers mollifyingly. "I have been fighting off my release since the moment we came together."

"Please, stop fighting it." He is very quiet, and Wren almost has to guess what he has said, but she smiles to him softly and nods.

He gathers her in his arms, pushing his palms under her shoulder blades, and his hips move, in a pointed unhurried rhythm, and she has a moment to feel entertained by the determined expression on his face, but then she closes her eyes and lets it go.

The pleasure is a wave, white hot, scorching, and yet freezing, making her quake, and shiver, and her body arches on the bed, her legs fall wider, and then she whines, and weakly presses her heels into his buttocks, asking for more pressure, and he pushes deeper, and she screams his name into the heavy velvet canopy of their marital bed. Tears burst out of her eyes.

"Thorin… Thorin… My love… So good..." She is muttering, and he is softly kissing her face, whispering words of gratitude in Khuzdul.

She does not know how much times passes before she can open her eyes, and then she does, and sees his brilliant eyes, and relaxed line of lips.

"Take me the way you did when we woke up," she suddenly says, and she feels his body tense in her embrace.


"I do not wish a single memory to tarnish my joy from your return, husband of mine. Take me the same way." Her tone is firm.

They shift, and his arm is under her head again, and he slides in. She takes his hand, pulls it to her face, and softly kisses the inside of his wrist.

"I cannot see your face…" His tone is uneasy.

She looks at him over her shoulder.

"You can peek," she jests. "And you will know… I can never be quiet, after all..."

He seems still in doubt, but he thrusts in her, in a slow deep move, and she inhales sharply.

He sets the rhythm, of a long pointed push, and then he rocks his hips back, almost slipping out of her body, the much wider head of his member catching on some tight ring of muscles inside her, and she mewls weakly. And then out of nowhere, another climax takes her, and she sinks her nails into his hip, halting him, and she is chanting his name, and begging him to pause, as it is too much, too sensitive, too much pleasure. He is pressing his forehead to the back of her head, and his breath is on her neck, and she cannot tell where he stops, and she starts, and the whole world is him, and their shared pleasure, and love, and then one of them moves, but she cannot tell which one, and the world disappears, and his hand is caressing her peak, or perhaps it is hers, or maybe she replaced his when his fingers slid to her curls. Her clit is oversensitive, and those are definitely his demanding fingers she is battering off her quim, and then the pressure is growing in her lower stomach again… And this wave is for both of them, and it is fire, and tenderness, and lightning, and the gentlest of kisses.

She cannot hear his breathing, her ears are still ringing, but she can feel his hot chest press into her back in gasps, and the hair scratches her shoulder blades. He is also petting her buttock, and she is certain he does not know he is.

Wren has no ear for music, but there is a certain cadence to her world at the moment. His pulse, her heart in her throat, the two breaths mixing, one faster, another one deeper, a flapping of the curtain in the bathchambers, and Wren closes her eyes.

She is surprisingly wakeful, aware of the moment, and yet fully experiencing it, and she squeezes his hand, and feels him press his lips to her hair.

"I need repose now too," the King mutters, and Wren's lips twitch in a shadow of a smile. The King yawns, and pulls her closer to him. She scoots over, and arranges covers around them.

Over her shoulder she can see that he cannot keep his eyes open. She turns in the ring of his arms, his softened member sliding out of her, and she is facing him. He is already nearly asleep, but she wonders if she wants to waste the precious minutes with him on such trivial matter as sleep.

"A fortnight..." he mumbles. "Maybe two… And it is time to consider an heir… But I will talk to her about it later… Never leaving again..."

The King of Erebor is sleeping in his marital bed. The room is cold, but not his Queen. She is securely covered with furs and sheets, sharing the warmth of his body. She is pressing his limp hand to her chest, and large unrestricted tears are running down her cheeks. She loves her husband endlessly.


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Betrayed, incarcerated, and about to be hanged, the infamous criminal known as the Black Smith accepts the lifelong servitude under the Oath of the Red Ribbon from a mysterious redhead. Bound to his new mistress by magic, the Smith is now to follow her every order. Katya Kolmakov's new novella "The Black Smith and His Wife" is a story of revenge, clashing wills, and acceptance.