He doesn't know when it started exactly and it seems that everyone else had figured it out before he even knew what it was, which was kind of odd because he was highly observant of everything around him. It shouldn't surprise Kíli that much since Fíli always insists that he wouldn't know he was in love even if it shot him with an arrow. Funny how he didn't know the first thing about himself but could tell you the names of all the great dwarves before him, forwards and backwards.
But if Kíli was going to pick the first time he fell in love with Bilbo it had to have been when Bilbo rushed around his house terrified for the safety of family heirlooms and knick knacks with sentimental value as his home was invaded by uproarious dwarves. Bilbo had looked awfully adorable padding around with outstretched arms as if being cautious and the worried little quiver in his bottom lip shouldn't have made him look so damn fragile.
Bilbo looked absolutely disheveled that night. Shirt tucked into his trousers halfway, suspenders hanging loosely on his shoulder and by his side, and his hair was slightly tousled from exasperation. Kíli had thought his initial feeling of Bilbo had been amusement and he had thought of Bilbo as being too homely, but that's how hobbits were. He'd bet that Bilbo was afraid to get one little thing dirty.
While those statements were true, Kíli failed to recognize his feelings as something far more deeper than amusement. He found Bilbo to be mousy and endearing and perhaps a little silly at times, panicking over the smallest things. Kíli could tell he never spent a lot of time with dwarves because it seemed that Bilbo thought they were just stocky people that trashed everything in their wake (even though they could do it so easily).
But with that put aside, Kíli had more pressing matters to deal with than stereotypes.
Kíli was in love with Bilbo. A hobbit. A quiet, prim and proper, hole-in-the-ground, hill dweller from the Shire that didn't know the difference between an axe and a sword, but damn did he look cute puzzling the two over. Kíli should be convincing himself that he had been hit on the head pretty hard to believe something so ludicrous as falling in love with a halfling but he's not. He's supposed to feel ashamed but he can't. Kíli's not afraid of what others might think, his problem runs deeper than that.
He's never been great with words, especially when feelings were concerned, but if the emotion was strong enough Kíli could get the message through somehow. If Fíli and the others knew about his predicament before he did, Kíli was sure that Bilbo would figure it out sooner or later. Kíli just needed to find a way to say it without having to speak. It was hard to practice confessing his love for Bilbo, let alone actually admitting it, and his brother certainly didn't help ease the pressure by teasing him every chance he got.
So Kíli had the next best idea of killing two birds with one stone. He could show Bilbo that he cares for him whilst giving his people a good name by doing things out of adoration. He could woo and sweep the little halfling off of his hairy feet in no time if he really put forth the effort and he was pretty determined to do just that. Once he had a prey he wouldn't stop hunting until he claimed it for himself.
The first attempt could've gone better, Kíli thought.
It had been a long night of feasting, music, and boisterous tales of ancestors amongst the dwarves and what better place to do this than at Bilbo's cozy little hole in the ground? It was the first night all over again and Bilbo still managed to look like a nervous wreck, chasing around the room to protect his precious cups and plates being thrown around carelessly but with such grace at the same time. The halfling had gotten tired fast, clearly exhausted and wound too tightly with worry.
While Thorin and the others were in the main room, playing music by the fireside, Kíli chose to stay behind in the dining area to see if Bilbo wanted help. Kíli saw how weary that youthful face looked or how the spring in Bilbo's deceivingly light step had turned into a stumble of tired limbs, dragging themselves across the ground as if they were made of stone. And even though none of his dishes perished a trip to the floor or against the wall, Bilbo still managed to look distraught.
Kíli poked his head around the archway connecting the dining area with the adjoining room, watching quietly as Bilbo dragged himself to the other side of the table to collect all the dishes the dwarves had dirtied this night. Bilbo attempted to heave them all at once but found himself setting them down just as quickly. Bilbo stood there for a moment, studying the structure of how the dishes were stacked and trying to figure out the best way of cleaning them up.
Kíli emerged from the corner and walked further into the dining room, trying to make himself known but going unnoticed by Bilbo. He stood there for a moment, contemplating whether or not he should go through with this. Bilbo hadn't acknowledged his presence yet and if he wanted to chicken out Kíli could sneak away right now to join the others instead. No, he must do this. If Kíli backs out now he'll never be known.
"Ahem," Kíli cleared his throat with a cough, causing Bilbo to whip his head up.
Kíli took a step forward slowly to gauge the hobbit's comfort level. After having his pantry cleared out by dwarves for the second time Kíli wouldn't be surprised if Bilbo cringed away from him. But luckily for Kíli he didn't. In fact, Bilbo's once tense shoulders slouched a little as if in relief, so Kíli had no choice but to take that as a good sign. An even better sign was when Bilbo smiled slightly and greeted him warmly despite looking dreadfully exhausted.
"Good morning," Bilbo said nervously, smoothing his shirt out and tucking it into his pants properly like he was fixing himself up for Kíli. The first night all over again.
"It's nighttime," Kíli observed with amusement, a fond smile creasing his face.
"Good evening then," Bilbo gushed, turning back to the dirty dishes and scratching his head. Bilbo was fidgeting and shuffling around the room to make himself look busy but Kíli wasn't letting up or leaving. When Kíli didn't leave, or move for that matter, Bilbo turned back to him with an expectant look on his face. "Can I help you?"
"Look's to me like you can't even help yourself, master Baggins," Kíli shot back spryly, stepping in further, approaching Bilbo more confidently. Kíli's warm eyes stared longingly at him, making Bilbo blush and look away.
"Well, if you..." Bilbo hesitated on the next word, "...men could learn to pick up after yourselves..." He trailed off again leaving Kíli to figure out the rest of the sentence, not caring if he offended the dwarf or not.
"I could help you," Kíli offered, slowly making his way over to Bilbo so that they were only a few feet apart. Kíli rested his hand upon the tabletop, taking another step closer while let his hand rake across the wooden surface.
"What? So you can actually break something this time?" Bilbo accused with a hint of irritation, backing away just slightly away from Kíli.
"I just wanted to help,", Kíli admitted honestly, shoulders slumping. He quickly changed tactics and straightened up more, turning his back on Bilbo. "But since you seem dependent on doing it yourself..." Kíli trailed off, shooting a look over his shoulder.
Kíli began to walk away slowly, giving Bilbo just enough time to mull it over in his stubborn little head covered in auburn curls. Bilbo bit his lip and fidgeted awkward toward Kíli, trying to prevent him from leaving but trying to let him go at the same time. In the end Bilbo caved and let out a huffing sigh that suggested he was too frustrated to spare his pride this once.
"Wait," Bilbo said in a rushed voice, sticking a hand out towards Kíli. He watched Kíli as he turned around nonchalantly, grinning like he won. Like he knew what was coming. Bilbo sighed, defeated. "Just, help me sort this lot out. Just this once."
Kíli nodded once with a huge smile across his face, hurrying to Bilbo's side as if eager to help the halfling and he was. As soon as he was within reach of the dishes Kíli was heaving them up in strong arms and marching into the little kitchen area. Bilbo rushed up beside Kíli holding his arms out in case they decide to topple over but they never did. Kíli shook his head. Bilbo really needed to put more faith into dwarves and stop assuming they were all clumsy.
The dwarf set them down on the small table with a tiny groan, straightening up to smile at Bilbo expectantly, looking for praise or any sign that Bilbo was grateful. But Bilbo had a neutral expression on his face and Kili's heart dropped just slightly. What was Kíli expecting anyway? That Bilbo would just hop into bed with him just because he carried dirty dishes for him? That they'd ride off into the sunset on a pony, just them against the world? What utter nonsense had nestled it's way into Kíli's mind?
"Well, at least none of them are broken," Bilbo thanked in his own awkward way. "But they're still dirty. Good morning," Bilbo dismissed nervously, not caring if he neglected to acknowledge it was nighttime once again.
Bilbo huffed stubbornly pushing past Kíli to venture off in another part of his house, needing a break from staring at dirty dishes all night. He'd hate washing them tomorrow since the remains of food will be dried on there by then, but he really needed to lie down. Bilbo prayed that the dwarves would clear out soon but he knew that'd be asking for too much since it was a long shot.
Kíli was left alone with the stack of dishes, eyeing them ruefully as if silently scolding them for not helping him with his situation. He sighed, dragging himself out of the little kitchen and back into the main room where everyone else was. Kíli plopped down into one off the small chairs, huffing as he did, which caused Fíli to titter under his breath like he had seen everything that happened.
Kíli had gotten nowhere.
The second time went a little better. At least, Kíli hoped it did.
Kíli knocked on Bilbo's front door, wearing the best and most genuine smile he could muster, which wasn't very difficult since he was destined to make Bilbo his. After withdrawing his hand away he made sure to stand up straight, fixing his long messy hair with his free hand. He clutched the gift he brought for Bilbo to his chest, feeling just how hard his heart was beating.
The door creaked open slowly, almost cautiously, and Bilbo stuck his curly head out the door looking around like a frightened animal that had been cornered by his hunter. He stared up at Kíli with big eyes, sighing with relief that it was only one of them and not a gang of dwarves demanding entry to his once cozy little home.
"Ah, Kíli. Is it just you then?" Bilbo inquired nervously, dreading that at any moment Thorin and his boisterous kin would jump out of the shrubbery at any given moment as if it was some special surprise.
"Here," Kíli said as he disregarded the hobbit's question. Kíli blushed as he presented Bilbo with a bouquet of flowers that ranged in colors and species. "I picked these for you."
Bilbo eyed them precariously as he furrowed his brows together with an incredulous expression caught between worry and flattery. Kíli smiled nervously at the halfling, hoping that this would be his ticket into Bilbo's good graces and heart but after holding his arm out with the bouquet in his hand for an increased amount of time he let it fall to his side, beginning to frown.
"Do you not like them?" Kíli asked worriedly, craning his head to one side as he waited for Bilbo to tell him what he was thinking.
"No, I do," Bilbo said quickly, catching Kíli by the wrist to take the flowers out of his hand and smelling them. "That is why I grew them," he continued frankly, recognizing where Kíli had picked these from.
"Then what's wrong?"
"Well, I can only imagine how tore up my garden is now, thanks to you," Bilbo huffed bitterly, pushing Kíli out of the way and marching out of his front door to see the damage done to his precious garden.
He still had the bouquet clenched in his tiny fist as he padded over to the tiny garden he kept tidy and well protected , or so he thought. Bilbo was prepared to see the soil tore up and wilted stems that had been snapped in half or yanked roughly out of the ground but when he got to his garden he didn't see either of those things. There was still a fair amount of flowers left and the ones that were now in his hand had been removed delicately with unbridled care, like Kíli had used special pruning shears to extract them.
Bilbo snapped his jaw shut audibly, forgetting all the accusations he was so ready to throw around at Kíli and calming down that his garden was still somewhat intact. He spared a look down at the carefully plucked bouquet in his hand, noticing the silk ribbon that kept them together, flushing slightly at what that might suggest. Bilbo spun around on his big feet, looking flabbergasted at Kíli. Kíli smiled hopefully once again but cringed when Bilbo decided to wear a scowl instead.
"Y-you! You stole my flowers!" Bilbo accused with a flailing stuttered, finding anything he could that would make the situation an unpleasant one.
"I hardly stole them!" Kíli defended. "Besides, they're still in your possession."
"I... well... you..." Bilbo was fumbling with his words and completely flustered with the whole scenario that was playing out between them. Bilbo would point a finger at Kíli and ball his fist a few times and it was clear the smirk on Kíli's face began to gnaw at the little hobbit's pride. "You had no right pruning my flowers!"
"I don't see why you fuss so much over your flowers. They're stuck in a small little garden all day. What's the point in growing flowers if you can enjoy them?" Kíli gushed. "I thought that you could put them beside your bed or... wherever..."
Bilbo seemed to consider this and while it hadn't been such a bad suggestion he still felt angry and violated by Kíli's assumptions. He could feel himself blushing when he realized what Kíli's odd behavior for the past week and a half had been all about. Bilbo shook his head and stood his ground with big hairy feet. It was all just a ploy to romanticize Bilbo from the truth. He was sure of it.
"Well, you thought wrong," Bilbo blushed irritably, looking away from Kíli's knowing gaze. "I'll have you know that these flowers that you have so viciously defiled were very hard to get and are extremely rare, not to mention expensive!"
Kíli grinned widely at Bilbo's stubborn pride to always be right and defiant. He found it quite cute actually, seeing that little hobbit raise his voice and throw a tantrum at change. Bilbo was definitely acting like a child and Kíli couldn't help but bark out a laugh at his expense, shaking his head at such hobbit-y nonsense.
"What's got you going then?" Bilbo mused with a stiff lip, flushing more and more at Kíli's behavior.
"I knew you'd say something like that," Kíli chuckled deeply, unphased. "So I got you these."
Kíli held out his hand, waiting for Bilbo to turn around, and when he finally did he handed him a small little sack no bigger than his hand. Bilbo took it from Kíli and opened it up, peering in to see a generous amount of seeds just begging to be planted. The hobbit looked up from the sack to see Kíli beaming at him. He would over think everything so he'd be prepared, Bilbo thought ruefully.
"And if you want I can help you plant them," Kíli offered full heartedly. "I've been reading up on it and I'm sure that with the proper tools i cou-"
"What are you trying to prove?" Bilbo interrogated, pointing the bouquet of flowers at Kíli as if it were a weapon, or a shield. He was pink in the face from frustration and anger and he just wanted to know what the catch was.
"Prove?" Kíli puzzled quzically, not knowing where Bilbo was coming from.
"I know what you're up to and it won't work!" Bilbo stated stubbornly, advancing on Kíli with his bundle of precious flowers.
"What do you think I'm trying to do?!" Kíli pleaded backing away from Bilbo with his hands held up in the air.
"You're trying to justify the rude behavior of your kin and trying to give dwarves a good name by buttering me up!" Bilbo accused, pouting like a little child.
"That's not what I'm trying to prove at all," Kíli insisted, pushing the flowers out of his face carefully and standing up straighter.
Kíli moved closer into Bilbo's personal space, taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly because all the things he wanted to say were just begging to be let out and for a second he thought he might explode. He cupped Bilbo's delicate face, shaping it with his strong hands as he leaned in slightly closer. Bilbo's breath caught and his eyes widened, expecting everything and expecting nothing at the same time. Bilbo's heart was pounding out of his chest.
"There are some things that dare not leave my tongue and so, master Baggins, the only thing I can do is show you what I've been trying to tell you," Kíli whispered secretly, wrapping his arms around the little halfling to crush him to his body. Kíli closed his eyes and tightened his grip around Bilbo, not wanting to let go for one second even if the sky was falling. Kíli turned his face so he could whisper into Bilbo's pointed ear.
"And if it takes forever to tell you, forever it'll be."