Like promised, another chapter that's probably my longest so far~
Fili and Kili sat across from Bilbo, smiling at him. "I'm still glad the two of you are making amends." Thorin walked in then, looking a little tired but better than he had in years. "Hello you two," he said, taking his seat at the head. "Hello Bilbo," he said fondly.
"Greetings, uncle." Kili nodded helping himself to the food glancing between him and Bilbo like he was expecting something to happen right now.
"You look tired." Bilbo said watching Thorin carefully, nodding his greeting with a small smile.
"It's nothing. Just the elves." Thorin paused for a second, putting some food on his plate. It was obvious in his posture and tone that even if there was peace, he still wasn't exactly fond of them.
"Again." Fili sighed. "Ah well. Dwarves and elves aren't meant to be friends I assume." Thorin nodded, giving Bilbo a small smile.
"So it seems." Bilbo agreed watching Kili wolf down his food nodding in agreement.
"You shouldn't work too hard if I may say, you'll tire yourself." Bilbo added softly, drinking some of the juice.
Fili smiled around his food. "There's a wedding this month and Erebor is in a state of flourish. We have want for nothing, Uncle. It's all fine." Thorin nodded, smiling. "Friends are better advisors then advisors are," he said with a small smile at Bilbo before he started poking at his food.
"Agreed." Kili nodded smiling at his brother, his mate. Bilbo smiled looking at them both, picking on his food eating what he thought he could keep inside. Even if the food did look delicious, he was still afraid he couldn't hold too much of it inside him.
Thorin watched carefully as Bilbo ate, happy his appetite had returned a little bit. Fili was happy that everything was getting so much better in their lives. He yawned. It was only lunch time and he was so tired. Although it made a little bit of sense. Late night.
"I hope you're not too exhausted." Kili whispered grinning, nudging his brother's side gently.
Bilbo choked slightly, laughing as he drank the juice. "Please boys, leave that talk when you're alone." Kili didn't even look apologtic, grinning widely.
Fili laughed, grinning at Kili. "No, I don't think we will." Thorin scoffed. "Please boys. I don't want to hear about my nephews trying to procreate with one another." He shivered, making a face. "I helped raise you two. I want none of that at the table."
"Sorry Uncle." Kili said with a grin, leaning against his brother's shoulder. Bilbo smiled amused, standing up after a while. "I thank you for the meal."
Thorin gave him a small nod. "What do you think you'll do?" He asked, curious as to what Bilbo was going to get into this time.
"Honestly, I do not know. Maybe visit Dale, I haven't had the chance to properly look around yet." Bilbo replied gazing out of the huge window at the city below.
"It sounds like a good plan." Thorin stood. "I'll walk you to the gates. Don't want our burglar getting lost." He walked to the door, opening it for the Hobbit.
"Alright." Bilbo sounded surprised but nodded waving at the brothers before following Thorin out the door.
Thorin gave them a smile as Fili laughed, happy for the two. He hummed silently as he walked beside Bilbo, "You're still wearing the flower," Thorin said pleased, looking down at Bilbo.
Bilbo flicked the flower in his hair with a small smile. "Don't have a reason to take it off." He chuckled softly, cheeks flushing lightly.
"I didn't say I didn't like it on you," He mused. "I'm glad you ate as well." He added as an afterthought.
"I feel a little better as well." Bilbo agreed smiling, lowering his hand from his hair. "I'm thankful you're back to yourself...you know, giving me the chance. It helps a lot."
Thorin nodded. "Like I said, as many chances as you need. I... Erm... Care for you and I want you to be happy," he said in a quick rush, looking away.
"Thorin..." Bilbo stared up at the king, swallowing thickly through the sudden lump in his throat. "I'm thankfull, I really am." He blinked when he stepped in the sunlight, sheltering his eyes from the sun and sighed happily as it warmed his skin.
Thorin took a deep breath. "I hope you enjoy Dale," he replied. "I'll see you around. If you need any direction, just ask anyone. We're more than willing to help." He smiled and gave Bilbo one last look before returning into the mountain.
"Thank you." Bilbo waved after him, turning back towards the city below and walked down the huge stairs, descending in the city with awe.
He was taken aback by the ammount of markets and shops he found, searching around curiously getting a look or few as he walked.
Bilbo had ended up buying his wedding gifts for Fili and Kili, finding them a perfect matched silver bracelets, and after a moment of hesitation he bought a golden ring for Thorin to give if a situation like that came. A thank you gift of some sort, he told himself as he pocketed the ring.
He ate a small lunch in a comfortable looking cafe, noticing pleased that Thorin had been right and most of the dwarves and people he met were indeed friendly to tell him about Dale, how it had been built up again or explaining about the many statues around the city.
The sun was lowering by the time Bilbo was partly done with Dale, his muscles sore after so much walking when he was used to hide in his room and not move at all. With his gifts hidden and his spirit high, Bilbo made his way back to Erebor.
Thorin, on the other hand, had spent the day with Bofur who was showing him the intricacies of carving. Thorin was a Smith, not a toy maker, and the dwarf had jumped on the opportunity, not knowing who it was for.
Thorin was finishing the bead carefully, turning it in his hands with satisfaction. It was small and made of gold with lilies and small birds on it. Simple enough for his Hobbit. He hoped so at least.
He didn't know what he would do if Bilbo would turn his courting down, he hadn't exactly done this before. He'd feel broken, of course, but there was a small part in him that kept saying that Bilbo wouldn't do it, wouldn't turn him away. After all the hobbit had started to look and feel better after his own attitude had changed.
Thorin still felt bad from what he had done, knowing that it was his fault that Bilbo had turned from a happy and cheerfull hobbit into an empty, scared shell of who he used to be. He would make it up for him, even if it meant it'd take his whole life to do it.
Thorin jolted surprised at the small knock on the door, covering the jewelry with his hand and trying to find a place for the knife but failed rather spectacularly. He turned around surpirsed to find Bilbo leaning against the doorframe. "Halfling! Hello. Uhhh did you enjoy Dale?"
Bilbo watched him amusement shining in his eyes. "Hello. I did enjoy it yes, the city was amazing."
Thorin placed the knife on a table with a cough, secreting the thing in his hand in his pocket. "I'm glad. Bard has made the city prosper most fantastically." He gave Bilbo another smile, unable to stop himself. "Please, sit and rest awhile if you wish. You look exhausted."
Bilbo nodded thankfully, walking in the room and taking a seat on one of the chairs. "He has done a great job with it, I really enjoyed it." He was surprised how easily he slid back into Thorin's space, the small edge still between them but even that was dying away and Bilbo trusted Thorin a little more, believing he wouldn't get as hurt anymore.
"He rebuilt it grander than it ever was. I pride myself on aiding him somewhat. The markets of Dale are as great as ever." Thorin agreed taking a seat on the chair next to Bilbo.
"I noticed, I found so many beautiful artifacts and jewels and even flowers...it's amazing." Bilbo smiled. "Found wedding gifts for Fili and Kili as well."
"Oh? What did you buy them?" Thorin asked curiously, leaning closer to Bilbo in his arm chair and letting his chin rest on a hand. He looked at peace, curious towards the Halfling.
"Silver bracelets, matching ones. They had a beautiful carvings on the edges with soft gold, and runes that the helpful seller told me meant things like 'love for eternity' and something cute like that." Bilbo chuckled smiling. Somehow they just fit the brothers, even if they were fierce warriors.
"They'll love it, I'm sure. I have yet to finish their gift. Just simple swords. I have to etch runes on them and have them embued with magic," Thorin said. "I forged the both of them, for which I had to use Dwalin's forge. He didn't mind."
"That sounds amazing!" Bilbo exclaimed with a bright smile, leaning against his arm. "I'm sure they'll love it."
"I'm sure they'll love both of our gifts." He thought for a second. "Although I expect that it'll be a lot of matching things. Because of their relationship and the numerous similarities."
"I don't think they care too much about that. They're close both in mate and brother bond." Bilbo assured smiling.
"I'm so happy for them. I just can't believe my nephews are marrying before me." Thorin sat back in the chair, rubbing his beard. "It's weird. I feel so old now."
Bilbo's smile softened. "You're not that old Thorin, and I'm sure your one will come one day. They were few of the lucky ones, they are young, there's so much ahead of them. It's amazing. You've done a great job with them, raising them up." He added nodding.
Thorin gave Bilbo a look. "I'm not the only one who had a hand in raising them." He paused for a second, rubbing his beard again and then ran his hand through the mane of hair before reaching into his pocket. "I… er… Bilbo Baggins. I…" He paused, shifting a little bit. "It's a dwarvish custom and I'm rather foolish but, if you so wish, I'd like to present you with this bead." He took it out of his pocket, presenting the little thing in the palm of his large hand. "I've come to terms with a few things this week and I know some may think this has gone too fast, but having you back in my life really means a lot…" He trailed off, refusing to look at Bilbo as his hand held between them.
Bilbo's eyes widened in surprise and shock, staring both at Thorin who refused to look at him, and then the beautifully carved bead of gold that rested on his hand. The conversation he had had with Kili and Fili flashed in his mind and he swallowed audibly. Could it be...did Thorin indeed have his name on his skin?
He reached forward with a shaky hand, picking up the bead carefully and examined it. The nature theme carved on it made him smile, appreciating that Thorin still remembered he was nature's creature. "It's beautiful, Thorin." He finally got out, warm yet unsure smile on his lip.
Thorin hesitantly looked at Bilbo. "I'm glad you like it, Bilbo," he murmured, looking at Bilbo's face. "I... erm... In Dwarf culture, it means that you are being courted by me. If you accept it, anyways, I'll braid it into your hair so everyone knows. If you accept. You don't have to. It's okay."
Bilbo chuckled softly, he hadn't heard Thorin stumble over his words like that before. He turned the bead in his hands, thinking about it for few minutes that were a pain for the King. To be courted by Thorin, to be beside him and really be a part of the family...If Bilbo had any doupts before this, they were all wiped away.
He turned the bead again, placing it back on Thorin's hand smiling. "I'd be honoured." He managed to say quietly, his cheeks burning and heart treathening to jump out of his chest.
Thorin's heart swelled in his chest and he gave him a large smile. "Sit between my legs, my halfling and I shall do so," he said gently, sitting up and separating his legs a little bit enough for Bilbo to sit between them.
Bilbo moved as he was told, walking over to Thorin before sitting on his knees before him, gazing up at the king, his king.
Thorin looked down at him with a smile, bending and kissing Bilbo's forehead lightly, just a graze of lips against forehead. He let out a long breath, his fingers running through Bilbo's hair lightly. He leaned back with a genuine smile on his face. "I'm still sorry for treating you ill over the years. You don't deserve that," he murmured, finding a place for the bead and starting to weave it into his hair.
Bilbo's breathing stuttered at the gentle graze of lips, nodding his head slowly and freezing completely when Thorin started to braid his hair. "I know, Thorin. I'm sorry too that we had to go there." He felt Thorin's fingers work with practiced ease, noticing that the braid and bead would end up resting before his left ear.
He was soon finished, proud of his work in the curly mess of hair. Thorin leaned down, wrapping his arms lightly around Bilbo's shoulders like he did all those years ago atop the Carrock. "As long as you forgive me," he murmured into Bilbo's ear, happy the hobbit accepted his gifts.
Bilbo returned the embrace after moment of hesitation, shuddering in Thorin's arms when he breathed against the sensitive tip in his ear. "I forgive you, Thorin."
Thorin felt the shiver of Bilbo's body, his own tremoring as well. To think that this hobbit was now his... "Thank you. It means the world to me. Really does." He sighed, closing his eyes and leaning his forehead against Bilbo's temple. "So, tell me how the years treated you?"
"Nothing special, truly." Bilbo replied with a smile. "The Shire was quiet, too quiet after everything I had been through. I thought I'd go insane if something didn't happen. It sounds weird but it's true. Everything went too smoothly, it was like waiting for Wargs to attack any moment."
"That's what journeys do. They change you. Sometimes for the better," Thorin explained, releasing Bilbo so that the burglar could stand from the cold stone floor. "Sometimes for the worst. I'm glad Fili and Kili happened to keep your insanity back."
"Me too." Bilbo chukled rising up from the floor brushing his knees. "I nearly didn't open the letter, but then I recognized Fili's crest mark."
"It was nearly mine. I wonder if you would've even dared to if it had been." He leaned forward once more to get closer to Bilbo. "But we decided on Fili's because it is his wedding. The prince's wedding, anyways. It's very important. We cannot change the past nor do I want to if it brought you here." He flushed a little bit. "I sound rather foolish. Sorry."
"No, your words make sense." Bilbo assured him gently and blinked reaching for his pockets. "I,..ah...saw this in town and well.." He flushed pulling out the golden ring with an eagle carved into it, and practically thrusted it into Thorin's hands. "I-I thought it'd suit you, a some sort of thank you gift..."
Thorin looked at it with a large smile, removing all of his other rings and wearing just that one and his signet ring. "Thank you Bilbo. I'll treasure it until time takes my bones and ever after that." He admired the fit on his finger, looking back to Bilbo. "I love it."
Bilbo breathed out relieved, glad he hadn't done anything wrong or messed anything up. "Then, I'm glad." He smiled brightly.
Thorin's hand raised slowly to cup Bilbo's cheek lightly. Just the barest of brushes that rested there. "I hope you have every reason to be glad for the rest of a long life, Bilbo," he replied, his heart threatening to flutter out of his chest and out of the window to be free. It was a weird feeling, but if it was Bilbo doing this for him then he'd happily let the feeling rest within him.
Bilbo felt his throat go dry and he nodded slowly, Thorin's hand warm and solid against his cheek, just resting there. "I am sure I'll have plenty of reasons."
"Good," Thorin breathed, thumb stroking his cheekbone gently. "Is everything okay, Bilbo? You seem… dazed."
"Yeah...Actually I'm feeling a lot better than in years," Bilbo admitted smiling.
"Are you hungry, do you need anything, are you tired?" Thorin asked, his hand resting on Bilbo's neck now, jolting the chain of the pendent a little bit as a reminder that it was there.
"A little tired to be honest, it's been a long day." Bilbo's skin rose on goosebumbs under Thorin's fingers and he bit his lip to stay still.
"I'll take you back to the room if you want to lie down? It's been rather long for both of us." Thorin stood, towering over the Halfling and smiled softly, taking Bilbo's hand in his and leading him back to his rooms.
Bilbo walked beside him, unable to stop smiling and feeling rather small beside Thorin. It really didn't bother him, it made him feel safe. The bead tickled his ear, a constant reminder that it was there and this was true, really happening. He wasn't sure what would happen after this, but he knew Thorin would help him through whatever would come before them.
Thorin walked close to Bilbo, his hand covering the Hobbit's completely. "Here we are," he said quietly, stopping outside the wood door. "I'm just up the hall of you need anything at any hour."
"I know." Bilbo smiled turning around to face Thorin with a smile, tilting his head slightly before biting his lip nervously and rose on his tiptoes, letting his lips graze gently against Thorin's cheek. "Good night, Thorin."
Thorin blinked in surprise before bending to return the kiss softly. "Good night, Bilbo. I'll see you tomorrow." He gave him a large smile, backing away slowly and going to his large, spacious rooms.
Bilbo slipped in his room closing the door after him, his fingers lingering on his own cheek and he flushed walking over to the mirror staring at his reflection. The clothes, the necklace, the flower, the braid and bead...he started to really look like one of the dwarves here, like he was being courted on. For the first time in a long time, Bilbo slept peacefully without nightmares.
Reviews are encouraged and appreciated :3