Disclaimer: As always I own nothing but the original characters and the situations all characters find themselves in.
Normally Bilbo was a fairly deep sleeper, it rare for him to wake during the night unless some outside source interrupted his slumber in a way he couldn't ignore. So the hobbit couldn't have said why he woke up a few hours after he'd drifted off, his eyelashes rising sleepily as he blinked away sleep and attempted to comprehend what had woken him and why he felt instinctively that it was important for his mind to clear enough to properly understand where he was and why-oh.
Eyes widening in surprise Bilbo very slowly comprehended the fact that his head was tucked under Thorin's chin, their chests pressed against each other's with his hands resting on his husband's chest while Thorin's hand…Thorin's hand lay at the small of his back, keeping him in place with a gentle but firm hold. At his back and under his sleep shirt, Bilbo mentally corrected, swallowing hard as his senses were bombarded with sensations and realizations. How good Thorin smelled, the faint brush of the dwarf's hair against his own cheek, the calloused fingers pressed against his own, getting warmer by the second skin…and their hearts beating in time with each other's.
To say it had been a while since he'd shared a bed with anyone was a rather large understatement, even more so if one factored in how long it had been since he'd been properly held like this. Of course Thorin's size made this easier for him, but he would have never pictured the dwarf as the type who would hold anyone in their sleep. Because while he might have been the one to snuggle closer for the warmth or out of an unconscious desire to be closer to his husband, Bilbo couldn't see himself putting Thorin's hand where it was, especially without Thorin knowing it.
Not that he was silly enough to presume that Thorin knew who he held, Bilbo assured himself, squashing that hope under his metaphorical foot. Thorin probably had no idea what he'd done and this whole situation they found themselves in was purely accidental. They'd both been drawn to the other's warmth and-and Thorin's hand must have gotten especially cold and the dwarf had placed it where he had to warm it quicker through body heat. Yes, that was most likely it, the hobbit told himself firmly, even though it sounded vaguely stupid to him as he thought it. And really it didn't matter how they'd gotten in their present situation so much as what he should do now as he was awake and aware.
Every possibility Bilbo came up with struck the halfling as dangerous given he was dealing with a dwarf that had fought in countless battles, trekked through hostile environments on a daily basis, and had learned early to be suspicious of the trustworthiness of others. Not that he thought Thorin would attack him if he accidentally woke the dwarf up, it was the waking the no doubt light sleeper beside him that had him afraid to act. How would he explain their present circumstances? And what if Thorin did assume he was a threat and rolled them over and pinned him to the mattress and-it was better he not think about the ands that followed that thought.
Unable to come up with a sure fire plan, and admittedly he didn't really want to move from where he was, Bilbo decided that it would probably be best if he were just to will himself to go back to sleep. Thorin was a very early riser after all, and would no doubt wake up before him. The other man didn't have to know he'd ever woken up in the night and they could both just pretend this had never happened.
Yes, that would be the best approach by far, Bilbo decided as he resolutely closed his eyes and turned his attention to concentrating on the heart under his hand, allowing the steady thud to lull him back into sleep.
Normally Thorin wasn't a deep sleeper, nor did he tarry in bed for long come morning. Dark dreams and memories tended to haunt him when he was unconscious, and he had long ago trained his body to require very little sleep to function on. So it was with some surprise that Thorin woke that morning, feeling more refreshed and inclined to remain right where he was than he had in a very long time. Awareness came quickly too, being able to wake at a moment's notice having saved his life the King Under the Mountain countless times. That he wasn't alone in his bed registered quickly, followed swiftly by the knowledge of their current positions and the name of the smaller body cuddled up against his own.
Bilbo. His consort.
It was the hobbit's curls that clung and rubbed against his beard and under his chin, the soft skin of his consort's back that his fingers were splayed over to touch as much as possible. They fit so neatly together, Thorin marveled, Bilbo feeling so small and precious cuddled up against him.
Probably for warmth, his cynical, practical side pointed out, the halfling not yet used to the coolness within the mountain. But even so the hobbit had felt safe enough to come to him instead of bundling up more securely under the covers. He was glad of that.
Judging the deep, even breathing to mean that Bilbo was still very much asleep Thorin allowed his fingers to stroke the back he'd pressed them again, allowing himself to enjoy the innocent enough caresses. He enjoyed it especially when his touch made Bilbo press more firmly against him, the hobbit's low sound of pleasure music to his sharp ears.
Empowered by the reaction Thorin allowed his hand to slip out from under Bilbo's shirt, lifting it up to stroke through his consort's curls, smiling over their messiness at the moment before turning his attention to the braid he'd struggled so hard to make in the hobbit's rebellious hair. A symbol, Thorin thought, proof that this tiny halfling belonged to him and no one else. Claimed and was claimed by him.
Balin had made it clear that the morning was his, and that he was to spend it with his consort. Customarily the whole day and a couple more at least would have been set aside for him to spend with Bilbo as newly wedded, their right even as royals. But that wasn't possible given the present social and political climate, it far too important that he be visibly out and about, putting his people first and making sure that Erebor continued on its road to regaining its former glory. For that matter many of his people were still not enamored with his choice in consort, he didn't want them to think he neglected them in favor of the hobbit and turn their anger on Bilbo.
He'd explained all this to Bilbo before the wedding, because even though their marriage wasn't a consummated one he hadn't wanted the other man to misunderstand his early departure today as a statement of dislike or disinterest in spending time with him. It would look, he knew, like he was slighting his consort in favor of his people and that wasn't the truth. If he could have remained here, just the two of them, he would have gladly. He could have used the break if nothing else and Bilbo knew that.
Bilbo had said he understood, but whether that was the case…he didn't know. And sighing over the fact Thorin continued to stroke his fingers through Bilbo's curls, his thoughts turning to ways he could make this all up to the hobbit later.
Eventually Thorin got up to use the bathroom, returning to find that Bilbo had quite literally cocooned himself in the bed's blankets in his absence, the sight startling a chuckle out of the dwarf as he shook his head at the sight.
Since he'd been replaced as his consort's heat source Thorin opted to retrieve some of the incredibly boring and tiresome paperwork Balin had dumped on him the day before, carrying it over to the bed with him. Settling in beside the hobbit Thorin leaned his back against the bed's large headboard and turned his attention to reading over the lengthy lists and requests for assistance from the various Guilds and prominent dwarf families.
It was after the sixth time Thorin questioned outloud as to just why he'd thought it was such a good idea to retake his kingdom and his throne that the dwarf was greeted with the sound of a muffled chuckle. Looking up from the parchment and them down Thorin met Bilbo's sleepy but awake eyes.
"Good morning, Consort."
"Good morning, Husband." A strange, almost ironic smile curved the hobbit's lips. "And that is not something I ever thought to say in my lifetime." The laugh that followed was both surprised and amused. "What are you working on already?"
"My penance, one could say, for losing myself to the gold fever and my need to retake this place at all costs. My people have returned to the mountain, and now they too want everything that it holds within its walls. Everyone's need is greater than the others."
"Like children around freshly baked cookies."
Thorin's eyebrows rose in confusion, which seemed to only amuse his hobbit that much more judging from the size of the other man's smile as Bilbo sat up beside him, copying his position so that his back was to the headboard as well.
"What I mean is, when you make fresh cookies everyone wants them, knowing they're best warm. But they can burn your tongues sometime, or the cookies crumbles because they haven't had time to set. That's why you have to keep them out of reach until it's safe and they can enjoy the treats properly."
"You would compare gold sickness to a desire for cookies?" Thorin couldn't begin to wrap his mind around that, much less decide if he was insulted or not.
The touch was light, but Thorin felt it like a blow to his chest when Bilbo set a hand on his thigh. "A starving man presented with food doesn't care about the taste or whether his wasted body can handle all that he gorges on. You were starved for this place, your home and birthright for decades. In your boots most would have done the same, though most would have failed or given up long ago. You won't lose your head again…and if nothing else you got me as a consolation prize." Bilbo finished, obviously trying to insert some humor.
"That is true." Keeping his touch light as well Thorin allowed himself one quick stroke through Bilbo's messy curls and then asked if the hobbit was hungry.
Allowing the change in subject Bilbo smiled and reminded Thorin that hobbits were always ready for a meal.
"How could I have forgotten."
The next couple weeks went by fairly well, most everyone still in high spirits after the wedding and the festivities that had followed it. Both Thorin and Bilbo settled back into their earlier routines and their separate beds, the two missing each other at night but naturally not saying so as they spent what little time they could eke out for their husband. Naturally Thorin was non-stop business from morning until night with his duties, and Bilbo split his time between his garden planning and assisting Ori in sorting through, rebinding, and discarding the massive amount of scrolls and books that lay damaged and uncared for in the city's Great Library. His new friend and the other dwarves who were in charge of the library had been shocked and distressed at the idea of their consort taking orders and doing actual work with them, but he'd brought them around eventually and he was fairly sure that eventually they would all be at least friendly, if not friends due to their love of books and learning if nothing else.
At first Thorin hadn't particularly liked the idea of Bilbo working in the library, he'd promised his consort a life of ease after all and he'd seen for himself how dirty and sore the hobbit was some nights when they'd shared dinner together.
In fact their first major argument as a married couple was over Bilbo's new 'job', Thorin forbidding him from continuing to work there and ordering him to focus solely on overseeing the construction of his garden without doing any real work there either. Bilbo had refused to be swayed and had stood as close to toe to toe with Thorin as his height allowed, the two arguing back and forth with Bilbo refusing to give so much as an inch. He was a hobbit, not a dwarf. Thorin was NOT his king and he would not obey unless it suited him too. And it didn't, so that was that. If Thorin didn't like that then that was his problem.
Neither man had talked to the other for three very long for everyone else days before Balin finally managed to find a compromise that worked, grudgingly, for both men. Bilbo continued to work in the library but he wasn't allowed to do any more heavy lifting or climb the very high ladders. Whichever bodyguard Bilbo had that day was allowed to oversee and enforce those rules if necessary.
It took a couple days after that for things to go back to normal but they did, both sure that there would be more arguments to come as they'd both come to the realization that they could be equally stubborn when their backs were up. The fact that they each thought the other beautiful when he was angry was of some consolation.
And so one afternoon, after finding out that Bilbo wasn't in the library anymore, Thorin headed for the hobbit's garden, having managed to squeeze out some time so that he could pay his consort a visit and see that he wasn't working too hard.
To his knowledge the garden construction was going very well, all the ash left behind by Smaug finally having some value as it was used to enrich the dirt brought in for the gardens. The groundwork had been laid out, so to speak, but only that thus far. That and the netting he'd had secured over the areas where there was potential for Bilbo to fall out of the room and down the mountain, though he'd wisely told the hobbit it was to keep outside dangers from getting in. The look the halfling had given him had made it clear he hadn't believed that, but Bilbo hadn't complained which had been of considerable relief to him.
Entering the room Thorin's first thought was that only Bilbo and the halfling's bodyguard were there, his second that he'd been wrong when he looked down at what was currently holding his consort's attention. His third thought was utter disbelief at what he was seeing.
The six creatures that were currently gathered around his consort were new to the mountain in that they hadn't been in residence before Smaug had taken Erebor. During the dragon's reign over the mountain the dirty colored pests had apparently moved in, staying behind and hiding from the dwarves when they weren't sneaking food or stealing odds and ends they'd taken a fancy to. The annoying creatures were about the size of a human man's hand from wrist to fingertips, tear shaped and seeming to consist completely of smooth fur with no sign of face or even eyes. They had four stumpy little legs underneath them, and yet they could jump high and move with incredible speed when they wanted to which made them hard to catch.
Apparently, Thorin thought as he moved further into the room, they should be bribing the things with bits of cheese buns.
They sensed and saw him before Bilbo did, though the bodyguard had known the instant his king had entered the room, and with squeaks and grumbles they deserted the hobbit, racing for one of the cracks in the wall that was just their size but would allow no one to pursue them.
Turning his head to see the reason for their desertion Bilbo smiled at the sight of his husband, pleased to see him even though he was sorry to see his little friends go. Since he had brought the old cheese buns for them in the first place Bilbo tossed what was left near the hole so that they could get it later and then he turned all his attention to Thorin.
"Hello. Come to make sure I'm not working too hard?"
"Simply passing through. Are you making it a habit to feed those things?"
It took Bilbo a moment to realize the 'things' were his little friends. "My dust bunnies? Sometimes. Why?" Suspicion came into the hobbit's eyes, his body language convey the displeasure that would follow if he was forbidden from feeding the creatures.
"Dust bunnies? That's what you've named them?" Thus far they all just referred to them as 'the pests' or 'infestation'.
"They're the color of dust and they love to bounce around like rabbits. It seemed appropriate. Why? Do you know their proper name? I asked but no one in the library knew anything about them." Aside from the fact that the other residents in the mountain didn't like them very much, Bilbo silently tacked on.
Wisely Thorin stated that no, he had no idea if the 'dust bunnies' had another name in other parts of the world. He had never encountered them before returning to the mountain.
"Well maybe when the garden is all complete they'll spend most of their time here and less time getting in the way of construction or whatever else they're doing that makes you dwarves so angry at them." Though how the dwarves could not find his dust bunnies adorable was beyond him. The way they purred when you pet them and did twists and flips in the air when they jumped was great fun to watch.
Then again he was living with men who thought beards were attractive on women.
His idea of sweet and adorable and theirs probably differed quite a bit.