Seventy years ago Unlath daughter of Ur received him as a guest, but her family denied him what he asked and chose the course of her life. Things were so different then. As she and her small ragtag procession slowly wind their way around the mountain to the entrance to his kingdom, this time she uncertain of the outcome.

She and her most faithful guards are the last survivors after the earthquake that split her father's mountain. Could the mountain have felt the turmoil she felt inside over the years and broken like her heart?

...

Tor, the captain of her guard returns with news that they have permission to enter the kingdom under the mountain. He grumbles that there's no welcoming party. But she did not expect one, not after what had happened between Thorin and her family. She responds, "At least we are given sanctuary."

Upon entrance, she begins seeking Thorin out to give him her thanks. Every attempt is refused. They have been allowed free access to anywhere in the mountain, but have been met with coldness by all who remember her and her family. Thorin remains elusive for days, not even showing up to feast.

Finally on the 3rd day, he joins the evening feast and she spies him leaving the feast hall. Quietly she excuses herself from the lowest table, to follow him down the hall which must be toward to chambers.

He hears her behind him and calling to him, "Thorin! Yer Majesty! Please!"

He pinches the bridge of his nose in annoyance before turning to her and muttering, "I gave ye sanctuary. What do ye want of me this time, woman?"

She's taken aback for a moment by the coldness in his glare. It shouldn't have surprised her, but the intensity of it pains her. Timidly, she continues, "I wanted to thank ye for allowing us to shelter here. We have no where else to go. Thank you."

He starts back down the hall.

"Thorin?" she's afraid of his response - but he's stopped not turning around, waiting for her to speak. She has waited so long to tell him, can she find the words now?

With his back still turned to her, he covers his eyes and leans on the wall for support. It was bad enough to have to give her admittance to his kingdom. How could he turn away a woman in distress? But those many years ago still burn in his mind...

"I can na ask anything but that ye hear me out. Know that my heart wasn't in the choices made that fateful day that shook our lives. My father couldn't see what I saw in ye and sent ye away with no help. I was going to come with ye. But I was caught as I was putting the bags on my horse..." all other words catch in her throat, as the tears fall from her eyes.

The revelation hits him like a ton of bricks, making it hard to breathe and the emotional pain sears him all over again. He takes a breath to calm himself and turns to look back, this time softer but the pain shows as he nods in acknowledgment and continues slowly down the hall.

During Thorin's morning ride with his nephews, Kili notices he's especially moody and quiet and rides beside him, "Uncle. What is weighing on yer mind?"

Thorin shakes his head and remains silent.

"Fili, Sayla, Ula and I have been wondering about the treatment of our guest, Lady Unlath. It has to do with her, does it na?" Kili gently presses and Fili catches up to them. Thorin knows they won't press more, but they might as well be told what happened back then.

Thorin stops his horse and turns to stare blankly toward Lake Town as he tells Fili the story, "More than three and a half score years ago, I asked her family for help. She and I were like two planets colliding as we fell in love and were secretly engaged - planning to let her family know soon. I was hers mind, body, and soul. Her father did na take kindly to a poor king in exile courting his daughter and sent me away. She did na say anything as her Father dismissed me. All this time...I thought she'd spurned me too. Last night, she told me she tried to come with me..."

Fili and Kili both put a hand on his Uncle's arm, hoping to give him comfort. They'd not seen him so torn since just before the Battle of 5 Armies.

Thorin looks up to them then back over Lake Town, gritting his teeth, "I'd have fought my way back to get her, even to the halls of the dead..."

Kili gives a squeeze to Thorin's arm as he points out the obvious - hoping to help ground his uncle in reality, "But she's here now..."

Thorin nods and clasps their arms in appreciation before they head back to give him some breathing room.

He asks the wind if he dares risk it all again? By Mahal, time has only made her more beautiful...

"But Lady Unlath, this work is below you...please reconsider," her captain pleads.

"We are homeless and taking refuge where we are not welcomed. I will help us earn our keep. I volunteered in the kitchens to be out of the way of the House of Durin. Tor, I will na hear of this from ye again," she snaps the last line for emphasis.

She can tell he's hurt as he heads out in a huff. He's done nothing but be her support and champion since that fateful day. She'll apologize later. This new reality is hard on them all.

...

On his way back from the training hall, Thorin peeks into the kitchen for something to tide him over until mid day feast. Seeing her there, he stops to watch transfixed as she tries to do the menial task of making bread. Her family would have never let her do something so far below them.

She's struggling as she tries to shape the loaves from the sticky dough. It's stuck all over her hands and she's trying to decide if she should pick off the dough or just keep going knowing more will just stick to her. There's flour and dough bits all down her front and in even flour the shock of raven and gray streaked hair that hangs in front of her face. Why is she trying to do something she obviously has no experience with?

He closes his eyes but she's still there, burned into his memory. His choice is made, he'll take the chance and give her quarter in his heart again.

Wiping the sweat from his face with the jerkin he had in his hand, he sets his gambeson, gear and rings on the chair behind in the corner. Then washes his hands and walks over beside her as he rolls up the sleeves of his under tunic.

Silently he takes some flour and spreads it over the dough, then slices off a piece for her to work with and takes one for himself. When she looks up at who is helping her, she startles. But he gently pats her hand with the dough and lifts his to signify he'll show her how to do this.

He takes a little more flour and sprinkles it on the dough ball and waits for her to do the same. Then he tucks the edges of the ball underneath it to make a neat round loaf and sets it on the bread board to rise.

She struggles a little with it, so he steps behind her and guides her hands, so her loaf looks much the same.

The scent of lavender in her hair brings back a flood of memories and he steps back before he's overwhelmed. He covers by adding, "We used to take turns cooking while we were in exile. I miss it sometimes...", and cleaning his hands and gathering his gear before his emotions get the best of him. He gives her the smallest hint of a smile and bows before he leaves.

After decades of trying to accept that he no longer cared or wanted anything to do with her, her loaf drops to the table. She's completely stunned at his small gesture of kindness.

Tor was at the door watching the whole encounter. Thorin passes the captain of her guard, and Tor gruffly grabs his arm to get his attention and shoves him to the wall, "Do na play with her. She's been through enough because of you."

Thorin's day was just looking up, and now this? His temper flares and he decks Tor as he retorts, "She and I both have. I could na watch her struggle with that..."

While Tor nurses his jaw, he spits, "No. Ye do na understand. What she did na say last night is that she was pregnant with your child when you were sent away."

"What? But..." Thorin stammers, eyes wide in shock.

"I was there with her as she gave birth to your still born son," the venom still in his voice.

The trauma of finding out she was pregnant with HIS son, one that he would never know, washes over him. "Oh Mahal, what did I leave her to face?" His anguish turns to back to anger and he punches the wall instead of Tor this time, leaving cuts and bruises on his fist.

The thud on the stone wall and the items shaking on the shelves make her peek out the kitchen door. Down the hall she sees the captain of her guard and Thorin with the hurt on his face. She accuses, "Tor! What have ye done?!"

Thorin steps in front of Tor, toward her, and takes her arms, "He told me the truth I should have known 70 years ago. I did na know ye carried my child or that ye even cared any more. I would have come back for ye in an instant..."

"But Father made sure ye didn't know. I was captured as I tried to follow ye, after my servant betrayed me and told Father of the night we spent together. Father had me put under guard and I was locked away. He tried to pass me off on other men, but I stubbornly refused everyone else. I thought I would break..." The sobs rack her body, finally being able to release the pain she'd held so many years.

Thorin wraps her in his arms holding her tight and cradling her head to his shoulder. "Unlath, I'm so, so sorry. Forgive me, please...forgive me..." His tears fall into her hair and he kisses the top of her head. "Will ye still have me?"

Her choked, "Yes," turns their tears to ones of joy.

"Never again will I leave ye..." he whispers.

Author's Notes:

Songs: Kamikaze Love and Locking up the Sun by Poets of the Fall, The End is Where We Begin by Thousand Foot Krutch, If I Lose Myself by OneRepublic

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