Author's Note and disclaimer: So, Kili and Tauriel wouldn't leave me alone. They demanded another story about them, something more serious this time. Here's my stab at it. Tauriel's description of the elves awakening is adapted from the Silmarillion, and I used tolkiengateway dot net to research the constellations. As always, the world of The Hobbit is not mine.

Rating: T for now; probably M eventually. (sexuality)


"Hmm?" Kili rolls over sleepily, then recognizes the soft voice and suddenly snaps awake. It's her- Tauriel. She's back! He sits up and gives her a bright smile, then rubs at his eyes. She woke him right out of a dream- a very nice dream about her, as it turned out. But he'll take the real thing over a dream any time.

"Tauriel!" He stands up and crosses over to the bars of the cell, brushing his clothes off as he goes. "Lovely to see you. Er…what's wrong?" He frowns. Tauriel isn't smiling- she's all business.

"Promise me something." Her voice is urgent.

"That's awfully open-ended. Do I get to decide what to promise you?"

"Not exactly." Her mouth turns up in a fraction of a smile, and she holds up one hand- dangling the cell keys from her fingers. Kili's mouth opens in a silent oh of realization as he eyes the keys. "If I let you out for a while, promise me you'll stay close to me and you won't try to escape."

"Well- that's asking a lot, but all right. I swear by Durin's beard that I won't try to escape. And I will stay very close to you," he adds, with a quirk of one eyebrow. "Will that do?"

"Yes." Her voice betrays a touch of exasperation for his constant flirting, but it's a tolerant, amused exasperation. She reaches down and unlocks the cell, then holds the door open as Kili walks out.

"I want to show you something. Follow- quietly." She locks the cell behind them and beckons Kili along.

The route they take is not familiar to him- not that he knows much of the layout of the Elven King's palace at all. But it's evident to him that Tauriel is taking the back way- she leads them through narrow, ill-lit passageways, and they see no one. Finally, she opens a small door, and they emerge into the woods. It's a warm night, and Kili takes a deep, cleansing breath of outdoor air. Tauriel still leads the way forward, moving like a lithe, silent night animal, down a path between huge trees that is hardly a path at all. Kili pads after her, and a few minutes later, they emerge onto a sloping bank of grass. There is water running somewhere nearby- Kili can hear it, bubbling musically over rocks.

"Here." Tauriel folds her legs gracefully underneath her and sits, then looks up at Kili and pats the ground beside her. He sits down, too, looking around, but there's not much to see in the dark. It seems like a safe, peaceful place, though. He likes it. He especially likes the company.

"So...where's here?" he asks curiously.

"Look." She points upward, into the night sky. There's nothing there, but…stars. Millions of stars wink down at them, sparkling across the expanse of the heavens. Tauriel takes a deep breath, and as she begins to speak, Kili understands that she is reciting something. " 'Their eyes beheld first of all things the stars of heaven, and the first sound that was heard by them was the sound of water falling over stone.'" She pauses, and looks over at Kili.

"That's what they say of the first Elves, anyway. I believe it- this place feels like the beginning of the world."

Kili nods, his gaze fixed upward. The stars wink at him, and the water ripples in the background.

"It's beautiful," he agrees. Hearing that, Tauriel smiles to herself. She suspected he'd appreciate this view. She lies back, pillowing her head on the grass, and they are quiet for a moment, looking up at the stars.

"What did the first dwarves see?" Tauriel asks finally.

Kili has to think about that for a moment- he hasn't really considered that before. He knows the story of his people's beginning, of course, and how the Creator made them strong enough in body and mind to endure all hardships, but he has never before considered what they first saw. "Well…the Fathers and Mothers of the Dwarves rested in the mountains till it was time for them to wake. I suppose they first saw the stones of their cavern. And heard- well, the quiet, maybe?" He shrugs and laughs. It's not an elegant explanation, like Tauriel's. But she doesn't seem to mind.

He sneaks a sidelong glance at her, admiring her profile in the starlight. She's beautiful, with creamy skin and delicate, high cheekbones, but she's tough and strong, too, and he knows how well she can fight. Kili feels like he could look at her all night. Though if he had all night, there are other things he'd like to do, too. He's beginning to think that maybe, if he plays things right, he might have a chance.

"Do you have names for the constellations?" She's curious.

"Some of them. I don't know very many, but…" Kili lies back in the grass next to her, and takes her hand. Her fingers are long and slender, and his short and thick, but they lace together comfortably.

"That…" Kili points upward, holding Tauriel's hand in his so that she points along with him. "Is Durin's crown. Like so." He traces the arch of the crown with their combined hands. "When he looked in the Mirrormere and saw it around his head, he knew it was a sign that he should found a city there."

"That's interesting. We call it something completely different."

"What's that?" They are no longer pointing at the stars, but they keep holding hands anyway. Tauriel rubs her thumb across Kili's palm. He has calluses in all the same places she does, from using the bow.

"The Valacirca- the Sickle of the Valar. It was placed in the sky as a warning to evil. But I suppose it could be both the Sickle and Durin's Crown."

"Why not?" Kili shrugs. They are silent for another moment, looking at the sky, their fingers twined together. Once again, it's Tauriel who breaks the silence.

"I'll see Thranduil again tomorrow morning. I'm going to try to convince him to let you go."

"Oh, not going to keep me in the cells forever, then? And take me out for stargazing by night?" Kili makes light of it, but Tauriel shakes her head sadly.

"No- much as I like the stargazing…" she squeezes his hand affectionately, and Kili feels his heart do a joyous backflip. "…I want you- Thorin, and all of you- to succeed in your quest. I wish I could help. We know the darkness is growing, and all Thranduil wants to do is watch the borders." Her frustration is showing, but she doesn't care.

"Come with us, then." Kili turns onto his side and props his head up on one elbow, looking down at Tauriel eagerly. She shakes her head.

"I…I can't do that. Too many…too many responsibilities…I can't." She's torn inside- maybe she should just go with him anyway. She wishes she could, but would Thorin even accept her help? And what about her people in Mirkwood? "I…" she looks up suddenly into his eyes and puts her hand on his cheek, cupping his jaw. His beard tickles her palm. Kili's heart does a double twisting handspring, this time. "I can't, but I'll help how I can. And no matter what happens…I'm just glad to have met you."

"I'm glad too," he whispers. He doesn't move. Their faces hover, inches apart. Then suddenly she slides her hand around to the back of his neck, pulls him down, and kisses him enthusiastically. Her tongue darts into his mouth, and she tastes delicious, like nothing else in his experience. He's frozen with shock for a second, but then kisses her back with equal fervor. They break off breathlessly, with Kili half-on top of Tauriel by now.

"You know…" Kili runs his hand up and down Tauriel's shapely waist. "Before you use your considerable powers of persuasion on the King and successfully free us…I should thank you properly for saving my life." He cocks a suggestive eyebrow at her.

She regards him skeptically. "You already thanked me- didn't you?"

"Not the way I want to." He slides a hand up towards her breast and cups it experimentally. It's small, round, and soft, just perfect, and Tauriel doesn't stop him- though she's still on her guard.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean I should thank you like this." He grins at her and ducks his head to kiss her neck, then scoots his way down towards her cleavage. His beard scratches a bit, but it's a pleasant contrast to the softness of his lips. Tauriel's breath catches with a small whimper of pleasure. She doesn't want him to stop.

"Good?" He pops his head up and gives her a wicked smile. Tauriel nods.

"Yes," she acknowledges breathlessly. "But…"

"But…?" He has one hand on the top fastener of her bodice, but how does it work? It doesn't feel like any type of clasp he knows, and it's too dark to get a good look at it. He tries again- then sits up so he can use both hands. Still it doesn't open. Kili makes a frustrated sound in his throat. "What kind of Elvish armor are you wearing, anyway?"

Tauriel laughs. She sits up too, takes his hands, and leans in to kiss his cheek.

"I'll show you how it works- in my room. Come on." She stands up, smoothes her tunic, and holds out her hand for Kili.

"At your service, my lady." He bows with a flourish that makes Tauriel giggle, then takes her hand and falls into step next to her as they go back up the path. Her room! He can't wait. And when she stops halfway back to the palace and pulls him against a tree for another long kiss, he figures- correctly- that she can't wait, either.