Ch. 1

By ROSSELLA1

Note: I do not own the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, or any of their characters. Need a change from writing evil Thranduil, so I decided to get a couple of unfilled prompts out of the way.

Elves have always fascinated Kili. From the time he was young he's been told to stay away from them. His Uncle has told him time how the elves stood by and watched while their people fled Erebor. How elves are faithful friends until the first signs of trouble. And yet, whenever elves have passed through the Blue Mountains, they have always treated Kili with respect. Certainly they've paid him much more attentions than any of the men ever have, bowing obsequiously and addressing him by his proper title. And they are lovely in a way that Kili has never seen in a dwarf nor in one of the race of men. This combined with the idea that they were always forbidden have made them an object of curiosity and often desire.

As he grew older, Kili's interest only increased, as he was acquainted with the laws and treaties of old. Most of them boring regulations that are only common sense. If someone committed a crime against a person, no matter what their race, that person must be given a fair trial and brought to justice. Mirkwood would send Erebor x amount of something or other and, in exchange, Erebor would send Mirkwood x amount of something else. However, one has always stood out in Kili's mind, mainly because it concerns him and he had had to find out about it himself.

He had found out about it on a visit to the Ironhills, when he had just turned 34. There were few books in the Blue Mountains and, whenever he had the chance to come to the Ironhills, Kili used the chance to peruse his cousin's library. He had been pouring over several records about Erebor and had discovered an ancient text that had caught his eye. It concerned both elves and him. Apparently, a treaty had been formed long ago between the elves of Mirkwood and the dwarves of Erebor that the second born Prince or Princess would be married to the highest born, unmarried elf. It had taken much wheedling from Kili but, finally, Thorin had told him more about it. The treaty had been made when Middle-Earth was young and the boundaries of the Kingdoms were still being settled. By always having at least one heir to both thrones joined in marriage, both the elves and the dwarves were guaranteed the loyalty and protection of the other, should need arise. Given their proximity, if one was attacked, the other could be there in a matter of hours. It had been purely political and Thorin wasted no time in assuring him that, once the Kingdoms were well-established, the treaty had lapsed and it hasn't been practiced in generations. It was still passed down through knowledge (although apparently Thorin had hoped to eradicate it from his kin's knowledge by not informing his heirs), but it had been at least half a millennia since it had been invoked. Despite this and Thorin's attestations that Kili would never be married to an elf, Kili couldn't help but remain interested in the treaty. After all, it involved him with one of those beautiful, courteous creatures.

So, when they're hauled into the palace of Mirkwood, tired as he is, he can't help but be excited. He knows that nothing will ever come of the treaty, but it's still a way to see what his life could have been. And he's excited to get a chance to see this Elf King who could have been his husband in another life, yet who Kili's supposed to hate.

They're led into a chamber full of riches beyond anything even the Ironhills has. The floor and wall are made of intricate stonework, no doubt a testament to the former days, when the dwarves came and went as they pleased. Carved into them are pictures of leaves and flowers, giving testament to the elves affinity for nature, and gold runs through these carvings. Stones that seem to glow from within hang from the ceiling, casting light on all that's below. And at the head of the hall, seated on an oaken throne and more beautiful than any of the surroundings, is the Elf King.

His golden hair falls around his shoulders, shining in the light. His skin is pale and blemishless and his eyes are a piercing gray or maybe a blue. Kili can't tell at the distance, but they're simply stunning, either way. He studies them, as the guards lead their group up to the steps of his throne, his mouth set in a straight line, betraying neither anger nor pleasure.

"Gorgeous…" Kili breathes to himself, as he gazes with wonder on the elf. He wonders how his Uncle could ever hate someone so beautiful. "Hst!" He hisses suddenly, as Fili, who's standing next to him, digs his elbow into his side. He turns to glare at his brother.

"Don't!" Fili warns, glaring right back at him. "Uncle would kill you!"

Sticking out his tongue and pouting, Kili turns back to study Thranduil. The King's lips are now curled up, ever so slightly into the barest hint of a smirk. And he's looking straight at Kili. 'Shit!'

Kili doesn't have too long to muse on this, as their Company is brought to a halt. Thranduil's gaze lingers on Kili's face for a moment longer before moving on to study his companions.

After five long seconds, the King looks to the guards. "Remove their chains. They look nearly starved to death. Bring them to the dungeons and give them food, drink, and new clothes. Send a healer to tend to their wounds and allow them to bathe. It will not hurt to allow them to rest before I speak with them."

'And he's merciful, too!' Kili thinks as they're led away. 'Sort of!'

…..

The cell Kili's brought to is twice the size of his room, nice and warm, has a comfortable bed, a privy blocked by a screen, and a small fountain for washing. He's given plenty of food and water, he's brought to a room where he's allowed to bathe in private, he's given new clothes, and an elf tends to his spider-bite. Kili's never been in a dungeon before, but he highly doubts that this is typical treatment for prisoners. As far as imprisonment goes, Kili could get used to this. One thing bothers him. He is not allowed to see any of his Companions, including Fili. Kili can't remember the last time that he and his brother were forcefully kept apart and he doesn't want to. But they have only been here for a few hours and perhaps things may change. For now, Kili refuses to worry about it. His captors have treated him like a guest and there's no reason to assume that they won't behave the same towards his friends and family. And, quite frankly, he's too exhausted to worry. After he's finished eating and bathing, Kili falls back onto the softest bed he's ever lain in and falls asleep within seconds.

…..

When he awakes the next day, he's brought breakfast and then left alone for several hours. He's never been good at being confined but, after wandering around in the forest for so long, being able to relax and not have to worry about duties is refreshing. He misses Fili a great deal more now than the previous night, but missing him won't reunite them, so he forces thoughts of him to the back of his mind. What Kili can't ignore is his worry for Thorin. Fili, at least, is safe in the Elf King's palace. Kili has no idea when his Uncle was parted from them and no idea where he is. From what their company has experienced, Kili knows that the forest is a dangerous place. Who knows what else lurks there? He can only hope that his Uncle will be found by the elves.

It's around lunchtime when Kili's pulled from his cell, led down the hall, and brought up to the first floor. He's taken into what looks like a library. Two divans face each other in the center of the room and a sits between them. Perched on one of the divans is the Elf King.

He's clothed in scarlet robes and, while he doesn't look quite as ethereal the second time Kili sees him, he's still stunning enough to make Kili's breath hitch. The guards let go of Kili's arms and Thranduil gestures towards the seat across from him. "Please, sit." Kili nods and obeys. Smiling, the elf glances up at the guards. "You may wait outside. I will call you if I have need of you." The King waits until the door closes and, then, his lips still curved upward. "So, you are Thorin Oakenshield's nephew."

"Yes." Kili replies, nervously, not sure whether the King bears his Uncle the same ill-will that Thorin bears Thranduil. "Kili. At Your Service."

"I've heard of you in passing but I am glad to get the chance to meet you in person." Thranduil's eyes rove over him interestedly. "My name is Thranduil, King of Mirkwood, and I hope you have not found my hospitality remiss."

"Not at all. Only…"Kili trails off, unsure if it's polite to ask for anything.

"Yes?" Thranduil prompts him, his face not betraying any sign of offense.

"My companions." Kili finishes. "I was wondering if I could see them." He decides not to single Fili out. Just in case.

"Mmm…perhaps. Not now, at least. Maybe later." Kili's heart sinks and something must register on his face because Thranduil laughs and reaches out to lay a hand on Kili's cheek. The contact is nice and warm and closer than Kili ever thought he'd get to the King. "Take heart. I have no intention of harming any of your Company. They have been treated much the same as you, for I am not nearly as callous as your Uncle would have you believe."

"My Uncle-"

"Was found before any of your Company. His wounds have been tended to, he has been fed, and, while I doubt he is enjoying his stay, he has not been harmed."

Kili allows himself to relax just a bit. "Can I see him?"

"Perhaps later." Thranduil repeats, but he doesn't look annoyed. "These are dark times and a great evil has been threatening Mirkwood. Were you to pass through here at any other time, you might find your restrictions significantly lessened. However, too often have foes masqueraded as friends and, for the protection of my people, precautions must be taken. It's very likely that you will soon be allowed to freely move through Mirkwood. However, I'm afraid I can't allow that until I can make sure you're purposes are completely pure." He pauses and Kili knows that he's waiting for the dwarf to supply an explanation but, if Thranduil's asking Kili, that means that Thorin hasn't said a word and, if his Uncle wishes to keep their mission secret, then doubtless there's a good reason. So, Kili keeps silent. After a slightly awkward moment, Thranduil laughs. "But forgive me. You must be hungry. It's lunch time and you haven't had anything to eat since breakfast." Thranduil lifts one of the forks and dishes out several pieces of what looks like deer and some unfamiliar fruit onto a plate. "Please." He holds out the plate to Kili. "Eat."

Kili's not nearly as hungry as he was last night, but it has still been a few hours since he ate and he's never been good with going long between meals. He reaches out to take it and, as he does so, his hand grazes Thranduil's. Blushing, Kili takes the plate and pulls his hand away, apologizing. With a small smile, the King assures him that it's okay. Cutting the meat into pieces, Kili concentrates on his food and manages to eat at a reasonable pace, neither hurried nor too slow. Through it all, Thranduil watches him, never eating anything himself, simply studying the way Kili's lips move with an intensity that makes Kili feel both uncomfortable and excited.

After Kili's finished, Thranduil picks up a goblet and fills it with wine before holding it out to Kili. "Wine?"

Kili nods his head and takes the proffered cup, drinking from it deeply. It's much sweeter and stronger than the ale he's used to and he's not entirely sure he likes it. Still, he keeps it in his hand, just to be polite.

"Now." Thranduil prompts, regarding him warmly, as if Kili's the apple of his eye and Kili can't help but wish that that was true. "I was hoping that we could talk about your journey. It's not often that dwarves pass this way. I can scarcely remember the last time it happened." Kili keeps his silence. "There must be some reason for this sudden journey."

Kili shrugs. He knows that he needs to answer carefully. If what he says contradicts what anyone else may have said, the Elf King will grow suspicious. "I'm not sure. You'd have to ask my Uncle."

Thranduil looks at him indulgently. "Come now. Surely you have some idea."

Kili takes a sip in what he hopes is a nonchalant manner. "As far as I know, we're just passing through." The wine's really potent! He can already feel a certain light-headedness coming on. To save himself from making a gaffe, he puts the goblet down.

"I see." The King's voice takes on a slightly colder tone and Kili knows that Thranduil doesn't believe him.

"I'd tell you if I could." Kili struggles to regain some of the regard that the King had seemed to have for him.

"I'm sure you would." Thranduil's voice remains stony.

"You've been so kind and I'd like to repay that kindness, I just…can't."

"I understand."

Thranduil sits back, surveying the dwarf. His beautiful face becomes a mask, not showing any emotion, but Kili senses that the elf is disappointed in him and the Prince feels a sense of dejection. Kili knows that he can't tell Thranduil what the elf wants to know but he wishes he could. There's something about their host that makes the dwarf want to please him. Things lapse into silence and Kili picks up the wine again to cover his lack of ease. The wine makes it hard to think, but it distracts him from the current situation. He takes another gulp, concentrating on the taste. It's some type of berry, he thinks.

"What…"Kili breaks off. What had he been going to ask? He drinks again to cover his sudden memory loss.

"Yes?"

"I…" He struggles to remember and takes another sip of the wine. It's really quite good, once one gets used to it. Even if it- "What…wine…this?" No. That's not the right phrasing. He finishes the "The type…I…" He finishes the goblet. The Elf King's eyes are narrowed and that's not okay because it ends up making the shadows pool around the wrinkles that that causes and the darkness is starting to block Kili's view. "I think-"

Thranduil stands and walks around the table, taking a seat next to Kili and taking the goblet from his hands. "I think you've had a bit too much. Perhaps-"

Before Thranduil can finish speaking, the darkness completely covers the Elf King's face and Kili can feel himself falling and falling and falling until strong arms catch him.