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Soap and Snuggles - A Coats & Customs Interlude

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One of the privileges of being king is a private bathing room, and while Thorin is often happy to bathe in the public baths with his people, on some nights it’s a pleasure to retreat into the deep tub in his private chambers, which he has modified carefully so that Bilbo can sit in it without worrying about drowning, and just bask in the contentment of heated water and his husband’s presence.

Thorin sinks into the water with a long sigh, and Bilbo laughs and slides in beside him, nestling under Thorin’s arm. “What a day,” Bilbo says quietly. Three weddings and a very closely averted blood feud - Thorin gathers his hobbit into his lap and nuzzles Bilbo’s curly hair.

“You were magnificent, ghivashel,” he says. It’s the plain truth - it was Bilbo’s calm good sense, not Thorin’s own bellowing, that got the dwarrow involved in the almost-feud to calm down enough to talk things out.

“So were you,” Bilbo says warmly, and Thorin knows he’s talking about the weddings Thorin officiated, three more dwarrow-hobbit couples, all of them glowing with love and joy. Thorin has to admit that performing weddings is one of his favorite parts of being the head of the Belegost colony - it makes him feel like he’s doing something that changes the world, makes it a little bit better and brighter, like bringing a gem up out of the depths and holding it to the light for the very first time.

Bilbo sits back after a minute and reaches over for Thorin’s beard-shampoo, tipping out a dollop onto Thorin’s beard and beginning to work it in with nimble fingers. “Court tomorrow - do we need to do anything else about Obinn and Miri?” The feuding dwarves - Thorin still isn’t quite sure what the catalyst for their mutual dislike is.

Thorin hums thoughtfully, sinking down further in the water. “I don’t think so. Balin’s got it under control now.”

“Good old Balin,” Bilbo says. “There we go - rinse.” Thorin sinks entirely underwater and reaches up to scrub at his beard, letting the shampoo wash away, then rises out again with a sputter that makes Bilbo laugh. Thorin tilts Bilbo back over one arm and kisses him thoroughly, then scootches his husband back onto the special hobbit-height seat and reaches over for the foot-fur soap that Bilbo orders specially from the Shire. Bilbo leans back against the wall of the tub, feet in Thorin’s lap, and sighs in contentment as Thorin uses the excuse of soaping Bilbo’s feet to massage some of the tension out of Bilbo’s legs.

“Such good hands,” Bilbo says dreamily after a while. Thorin looks up to find that Bilbo has almost melted, head back against the tub’s rounded edge and eyes closed.

Thorin has been complimented on the skills of his hands before, of course - his skill at smithing, at war, even at cradling a child. But somehow, whenever Bilbo says something like this, it warms Thorin from the inside out. His husband likes his hands. There’s an odd, bone-deep satisfaction to it, to pleasing his One, his beloved, doing something for Bilbo that no one else has ever done.

“Don’t fall asleep, ghivashel,” he says softly. “Or I’ll have to carry you to bed.”

“You’re going to do that anyhow,” Bilbo says without opening his eyes, a little smile playing about his lips. “And I’m very comfortable.”

“But if you fall asleep, I cannot kiss you,” Thorin says. Bilbo chuckles.

“Well,” he says. “When you put it like that.” He slides off the seat and submerges for a moment, surfacing beside Thorin. Thorin gathers Bilbo into his lap, and Bilbo winds his arms around Thorin’s neck and lifts his face for a kiss.

Thorin obliges, of course.

They only get out when the water finally begins to grow cold.