“Go take your break, (Y/N). Before it picks up for the rush.”
You nodded to Buck behind the bar and took the plate of bread he offered you with a smile. You slid between the chairs and tables and through the busy kitchen to the back door. The fresh air that filled your nose was a welcome change to the thick, oily air of the tavern.
Only a few steps away from the back door was a hilltop where you often enjoyed your breaks. As every day, today you spent it with your legs dangling over a rock, fiddling with the ties of your apron. You munched on the hard crust of yesterday’s bread and sighed. Four hundred twenty-seven days, you thought.
It had been four hundred twenty-seven days since Kili and his family left for Erebor. He had repeatedly promised he’d come back to you, but now the dwarfs around you began to wonder. He will. You convinced yourself. I will not lose faith in him even if this whole village has.
That day which seemed so long ago now, Kili burst through the tavern door, much to Buck’s chagrin-
“Just ‘cause yer the prince doesn’t mean you can send my door off its hinges!” Buck bellowed from behind the bar.
Kili gave no answer, but sped between the empty tables to you.
“What has you so out of breath? Running from Dwalin again? What did you do now?” you asked, laughing as Kili caught his breath.
“Amrâlimê, I have news. Good news, my dear.” He kissed your hand, then your cheek.
“What is it?”
“Home!” he got out. He grinned at your confused expression and laughed triumphantly, swinging you around in the air by your waist. “We’re going home!”
Your feet had barely landed on the floor before he was kissing your lips. You drew away. “Explain, my love,” you chuckled, used to his outbursts by now.
“We’re going- all of us. We’re going to reclaim the mountain. We’ll kill that damned dragon and take back what’s ours. No more living in this blasted village- no more working in the forge or this bar. You’ll be a princess, my dear.” He smoothed your hair and held your cheeks. “We leave tonight.”
“Thorin and Fili as well?” your stomach began to drop.
“And Dwalin, Balin, Ori- all of us!” The light of the tavern was low, but the torches danced in his bright eyes.
“How-how long will you be gone?” you asked.
His face fell. “I suppose months.” His eyes met yours, more assured now. “A year at the most. Then I will be back for you and we’ll go home.”
A lump grew in your throat. A year without him. Without any of them. He noticed.
“Come here,” he said, leading you outside with a hand on your back. He stood, staring at the ground, his face unmoving. Then, his eyes met yours. “I won’t go.”
“You will go. They need you. This is what you’ve been dreaming of all your life.”
His hands landed on your waist. “I’ve been dreaming of you all my life. Where you are is where I always want to be- anywhere, as long as you are there with me. I don’t need Erebor, I need you.”
“You’ll always have me. You’re called to do this now and I will be here when you return.” Your fingers shook as they ran down his chest. You needed to stay strong or you knew he would never leave you. Not that you really wanted him to. “I’ll be fine here. Buck won’t let me get into too much trouble. You’ll be back before you know it. A year in the life of a dwarf is very short.”
“Without you it will seem very long,” he said.
You hummed, staring at the fur covering his chest. He lifted your chin and kissed you. “I’ll do it for you. Everything I do is for you, my dear.” His forehead leaned against yours.
Your eyes ripped open at the sound of Fili’s voice. “Brother! Let’s go!”
Kili looked back to you with an expression you’d never seen. You shook your head and grinned. “Don’t take too long. I’ll be waiting.”
He chuckled and ran his fingers through your hair. You tried to speak, but his attack of gentle kisses hardly allowed your words.
“Don’t be stupid-” Kiss. “And don’t bug Dwalin-” Kiss. “He’ll keep you safe if he doesn’t-” Kiss. “Kill you first.” He kissed you deeply, gluing your body to his and rubbing his thumb across your cheek.
“I’ll be good,” he said.
You wrapped your arms around his shoulders and he returned your embrace with a force that lifted your toes off the ground. “Somehow I doubt that,” you mumbled into his hair.
When you drew away, Fili was there to gently grab your chin in his thick fingers. “I won’t let anything happen to him, (Y/N).” He kissed your forehead before you hugged him and Thorin.
“Go get our home back,” you said.
“I love you,” Kili said, kissing your hand, then your cheek.
You only nodded, afraid your voice would betray your front of courage.
You watched him walk down the hill with his brother and uncle. After a few steps, he turned around and called, “One year, my dear!”
“One year!” You called.
You stared at the crust in your hands as your mind went back to that day. You would never tell anyone how long Buck had comforted you as you cried. And the old bartender kept your secret for you.
You set the bread on the plate and looked back out over the hilltop. You didn’t feel like eating much, your stomach was churning at the thought of Kili. You hated not knowing where the rest of your family was. You wondered if your chest would always feel this hollow.
A loud raucous from inside the tavern pulled your attention from your sorrow. You stood, thinking the rush had come early. You were dusting off your trousers as you heard a chorus of cheers.
You threw the door open and rushed through the kitchen, bumping into the cooks as you went. You ignored their protests and sprinted to the bar, feeling like your stomach had removed to your throat.
There, in the middle of the empty tavern was Fili. You hugged him, then quickly drew away. “Where is he?”
His serious countenance broke into a grin. He nodded his head toward the front door. You fled, barely hearing Buck’s voice.
“EASY ON THE…door,” he said after it slammed shut.
Your stride never broke as you leapt into Kili’s strong arms. Your toes dangled in the air as you buried your face in the crook of his neck.
“I’m sorry I’m late, my dear,” he said.
Your ribs spasmed as you held back a sob. “It’s okay.”
You heard him chuckle and he set you down, wiping the tears from your face. He kissed your forehead and said, “Let’s go home."