A/N: Lots and tons of thanks to Yellentine for the idea for the last scene in the previous chapter. She messaged me all the way back in, gosh, it was probably November with the idea. I realized like the day after I last posted that I hadn't mentioned her and I was like "NOOOOO!" I felt really bad and then I got distracted by life…for like five months. *sigh* So, here's to awesome, adorable ideas for Fili and Anna from Yellentine! :D
Warmth: that is what Kili woke up to.
Groaning slightly, a large, tired, rather aching part of him given all the running and eagle riding they'd been doing lately wishing to remain asleep, he turned over slightly in order to toss out an arm and smack his brother into wakefulness. If he had to welcome the day, he might as well not do so alone. Not only did his arm find nothing but straw-covered dirt, but he didn't quite make it all the way to turning over. There was something in the way.
Eyes still drowsy, it took him a moment to realize that it was so very warm and he was so very stuck because he had something large, furry, and asleep on his stomach. Biting back a yelp of surprise, his blue eyes scampered to take in what was before them better.
First, it was a dog. One of the dogs that lived there. Well, he supposed it was comforting that wild dogs weren't prone to breaking into their host's home. Second, it appeared to be the dog Poppy had introduced as Aidan the evening before. His head was covered in a large patch of black fur as compared to the grey the rest of him and his fellow canines sported. He had appeared to be a friendly thing from what they saw. By no means was he the leader, but he seemed to be happy with that. The harsh looking female named Aoife clearly had the position of alpha hound.
Still, that did not explain why he was asleep on Kili's stomach, lying on his back, his four paws batting absently at the open air. Did dogs dream? Is that what he was doing, because it rather looked like he was trying to swim through the air.
Before the dwarf could decide anything conclusively or really get past realizing that Fili wasn't beside him like he had been when they laid down to sleep, Aidan abruptly let out a quiet woof and rolled up onto his feet, apparently awake. With what had been really a surprising weight lifted from his stomach, Kili quickly pushed himself into a sitting position—Aidan easily towered over him, having to lower his head to look the dwarf in the eye.
Doing just that, the dog's tongue lolled after a few short moments, pleased with whatever he'd found during their staring contest. Cocking his head for a short moment, he quickly lunged forward and nudged the dwarf in the shoulder, as if urging him up for the day. When Kili was up on his feet, the dog huffed quietly in approval and started to trot towards the table they'd dined at before.
They two appeared to be the only ones awake so early, though if the dim light was any indicator, that wasn't surprising. The light filtering in through the high windows was still rather pink, though it would soon enough be considered a decent time of morning. Unconsciously, he noted Poppy's previous warning: do not go outside.
Truth be told, he wasn't going to have a problem with that. While Rivendell was really only about a week behind them, it felt like incredibly further. So very much had happened and he was already weary to the bone. He hated to think what some of his older companions were feeling, Besides, he preferred a roof above his head that one could tell was sturdy just by looking at it, not merely pretty. Groaning with sleep as he stretched, Kili shrugged off his overcoat soon after. Summer was fully upon them and it was already warm. It thrown onto his little pile of things, he rubbed a hand down his face as he made to follow the large wolfhound.
What else did he have to do?
He was blinking against the dimness when he saw it and a great smile spread across his face, one that would have surely gotten him slugged in the arm…had his brother been awake to see it.
Along one of the walls, a great dappled horse drowsily taking up the other half of the stall, were three figures. Entwined together in a large, clearly loving heap, were first, his brother with one arm thrown above his head and the other wrapped very securely around his hobbit's waist, second, Poppy with her face lying right atop his tunic-covered chest and her fingers fisted in the blue material, and third, the enormous hound Aoife. Despite the heat, the dog had lay with her big furry head right across their hips, her snout lazily pressed against the hobbit's stomach.
With all his heart and considerable amusement, Kili wished there was a way for him to make a record of the scene before him and use it to lord over and tease Fili for the rest of all time. Unfortunately, he was no artist. Nor, as the sounds of snores turning to groans of wakefulness indicated, did he have the time.
Unhappy with disturbing at least the former two, and more than a bit wary at waking the third lest she snap at him with her prickly attitude, he knew it would do no one any good to let them slumber on until the others were up. Just because everyone knew that Poppy was more than Fili's acquaintance or quest companion, didn't mean that everyone should see them like…this.
Thorin would either have an immediate, severe heart attack or his temper would get as hot as a smith's forge right before battle when everyone needed something. Neither seemed like a preferred outcome…
Slipping off his boots to more quietly creep across the dirt-covered floor, he approached warily. Just as he was about to carefully step up and over the sleeping dog's tail, Aidan whined quietly from behind him. Head shooting up from where it had been resting, Aoife was quite suddenly staring at him, something akin to irritation in her big eyes. Then they found Kili and they narrowed if a dog had the ability to do so. Freezing where he was, he found his gaze locked with hers, having the niggling feeling he was losing whatever competition they were having, until she huffed slightly and dismissed him. Shifting so that her tail was far from harm's way, she gently got to her four feet. Shaking herself out, stretching, and then yawning, rather reminding Kili of Bofur's morning ritual, she gently leaned over the hobbit she had been using as a pillow and pressed her snout against Poppy's cheek.
The sensation of cold, damp dog nose did not immediately cause her to rise, much to Kili's surprise. He would have thought it an incredibly rude awakening, but Aoife was forced to continue on to licking her cheek in order to get the hobbit stirring. He watched with a growing smile as Poppy first lazily blinked open her eyes, a smile coming to her face as she awoke enough to realize what was standing above her. Reaching out a hand as she yawned, she began rubbing the dog behind the ears until she shifted so that her chin was resting on Fili's chest. A positively glowing smile spread across her face and for a few long moments, she just stared up at her still deeply sleeping dwarf.
An amused snort at the dreamy look on her face refused to be kept in and Kili could have slapped himself.
Poppy's big blue eyes immediately snapped to look at him and a bright red blush overtook her cheeks. However, he noticed relief flood through her once she realized it was him. Rolling her eyes and screwing her nose up in an irritated face at him, making him laugh quietly, she turned back to his brother. Pressing a kiss to his stubbly cheek, she extracted herself from his hold and limped over to Kili.
An eyebrow raised, she greeted flatly in Khuzdul, "Good morning."
Grinning, he threw an arm around her shoulder to provide a subtle excuse for her to use him as a crutch, "Aye, it certainly appears to be one, doesn't it?"
Wrapping one arm around his waist and the other over Aoife's shoulders, the hobbit whispered, "When you find some dwarf woman you decide to love, I'm going to ensure that I'm inconveniently there at every turn."
"Nonsense, you'll be far too busy staring dreamily at my brother. It'll be perfect, because Uncle Thorin will be far too busy to worry about my romantic exploits given he'll be glaring at you."
"You're welcome," she replied wryly at full volume given they had traversed the hallway to the rear of Beorn's home. While it wasn't overtly visible on her face, he could see a bit of concern behind her eyes and he suddenly wondered if he hadn't bumbled yet again. She and Thorin had never exactly got on well and there he was bringing up the fact only a few days after everyone had found out she and Fili were…whatever exactly it was they were. Courting sounded a bit too formal for the situation and waking up to spend nights with each other was absolutely no better.
Bringing the smile back, he shrugged, "Though, who knows, he's always found a way to be irritated with me in the past… I think that's his way of showing he cares. If he's invested enough in you to be genuinely irritated, I'd say it's a good s—!"
He abruptly cut off his own thought with a surprised cry, swatting with his free hand as a bumblebee the size of his fist buzzed past.
Before he could successfully shoo the insect away, Poppy had slapped his hand down with enough force to make it smart. "OW! What was that for?"
A frown on her face that reminded him of his mother when she was preparing herself to scold them, the hobbit replied as sharply as her slap, "Bees are not belligerent creatures. They mind their manners, so you can bet your Mahal given braids that you will, too. You swat at one more bee and I will snap your bow."
Eyes wide, he noted with clear bewilderment, "Poppy…I swear you were just possessed by my mother and it was positively terrifying. Never ever do that again, please."
Her mouth quirked with the beginning of a smile, "Good. Bilbo can't be the only mother hen of the group. Now come on, let's start breakfast."
Before he could protest or mount a swift but tactical retreat, Aoife had huffed her assent and Poppy had tightened her grip on his hand. Yet again beaming as sun truly began to stream through the east-facing windows, she sent a greeting to the room full of hounds that sounded decidedly Elvish, "Quel amrum!"
Their host's canine servants all looked up at her, what could only be large dog smiles on their faces, and barked a simultaneous reply. Aoife stepping up beside her and nudging the two-legged being onto her back, their little hobbit was soon riding about the kitchen, gathering various ingredients at her steed's behest.
Though he knew he was supposed to be helping in some fashion, Kili found himself unable at first. It was odd, but he couldn't remember her ever being that…weightless. He wasn't sure what was playing the largest roll in the broad smile, the bounce in her limping step, and the unhindered light in her voice, but they were all there. Gandalf had mentioned on multiple occasions something about a light in the hobbit that he particularly loved and he couldn't help but wonder if this was it—if it was back.
If at the end of the quest they were not all dead or broken or fractured, he was going to be incredibly jealous of his brother, should some iteration of the scene before him be what he came home to. Had he a tad less honor, he might consider stealing her away. The absurdity of the notion made him suddenly snort in laughter, catching Poppy's attention. Smile still strong, she chided jovially, "Hop to, Dwarf of the House of Durin. There is cream to be skimmed. You haven't a beard to get in it."
Rolling his eyes, he slowly, reluctantly made his way to the door that was opened out toward the large field in the back. However, it looked far smaller when it was filled with bear…a bear that was staring right at him with enormous, yellow eyes. "P-Poppy!"
Glancing up, a mischievous smirk overtaking her face, she noted once following her friend's gaze, "Oh good, our host has returned. Do be courteous, Kili. You're the first dwarf he won't be attempting to eat…hopefully."
Glaring back over his shoulder, he noted darkly, "Ha ha, Poppy. Ha ha…"
He was about to say more but his vision had quite suddenly been taken up entirely by bear as Beorn extended his snout, loudly inhaling the dwarf's scent, a cautious growl low in his throat. Quite lost for words, the dwarf could only stare back and wish he had a little three foot tall hobbit by his side to protect him.
A/N: Okay, well it's been a terribly long time, hasn't it? I do apologize; all kinds of real life things came up and bit me right where it hurts. I hardly had the time to read FanFiction, let alone write much. I'm going to try and get back on track though. I've dearly missed Fili and Poppy, so I really don't want to let them go again until we get them to the end of their story. This wasn't too much for a chapter, but it got me back in the swing of things. We can spend some time with Beorn and then go trekking through an enchanted forest. It'll be lovely!
Goodness, it feels like forever since I've said this, but I now gratefully say thanks for still reading, review if you wish, and I hope you enjoyed! Until soon!