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New Romantics

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Bilba was stressed. Beyond stressed. Furious. Punching a number into her phone she called the only person who could help now. Muttering curses to herself she listening to the ring, waiting for her saviour to pick up.

 

“Bilba, lass, it’s 9 o'clock at night.” Balin mumbled goodnaturedly on the other end of the line. Bilba sighed and rubbed her brow.

 

“Balin, this is important. You know that little international tour we’ve been organising for months?” Bilba simpered.

 

“I am aware of it, yes.” Balin drawled. “Is there a problem with one of the venues?”

 

“If only, the problem is a bit bigger than that.”

 

“Is Heathrow shut?”

 

“Nope, one more guess. Involves a couple of blondes.”

 

Bilba could hear an intake of breath on the other end that was then let out slowly.

 

“Lorien…? They haven’t dropped out have they?” Balin’s tone was light, but there was an anxious undercurrent mixed with something akin to frustration. Balin was too used to the whims of musicians to be that surprised by anything now.

 

“Yes they have. Spectacularly. Gala rang up shouting to high heaven about how she was never working with Fin again and was sorry for any inconvenience. What am I going to tell Sigrid? She’s in rehearsals right now! After everything she did to fix that horrid mess with Fin in the first place! We have to find someone, anyone, as long as they can play well and have the same country streak as our girl! I don’t care if they’re a big name, Balin. Anyone. Please please please help… everyone I can think of is busy or on an artistic break. I tried calling Lorien’s agent but they wont speak to me! I’m not getting through to Gala, Fin or Cel so I’m guessing they’re holed up in that bloody tree house of a studio…”

 

“Okay Bilba, this is what we are going to do. Leave Lorien, there is no point trying to persuade them back now, you know how stubborn they are. I’ve got an idea. I know some guys who may fit the bill. Old friends of the family.” Balin’s voice was level and internally Bilba relaxed ever so slightly, no longer steering a wildly out of control ship. “I’ll give them a call, and text you the address. They have a show tonight so you can see for yourself, they’re very good. Should gel nicely with Sigrid’s style, and it would be a great break for them.”

 

“Balin! You're my hero! Have I ever told you that I can’t live without you?” Bilba gushed, her mind forming a plan of the best way to approach this new group that would be joining them for the next 10 months. There was no option for them to say no; an international tour with a name like Sigrid Bowman was a coveted position, especially for an unknown group. Balin chuckled on the other end of the line.

 

“Many times. Not that I mind hearing it. I’ll let you know the address.” Balin hung up, leaving Bilba to do a happy dance around her office. It currently looked like a bomb had gone off; papers and business cards sprawled all over the place as she had tried to find a replacement. Padding out of the room Bilba made her way to her spare room turned wardrobe and set about choosing the perfect outfit for persuading this group that she wasn’t about to kidnap them and sell them into slavery. Quickly she settled on a pair of dark blue skinny jeans, heeled brown brogues, a billowy white shirt and, her favourite part of the ensemble, a heavily beaded maroon waistcoat. Dressy, but not too formal: perfectly respectable. Quickly Bilba piled her auburn curly hair into a bun at the base of her neck, letting out a few strands around her face. Throwing on a coat and grabbing her bag, Bilba swung out of her apartment and trotted out to the street. The message from Balin came through whilst she was in the stairwell of her building.

 

 

The Man in the Moon, Holloway Road. They start at 9. Called the Durinsons. Heard the cider is good there too! B.

 

Grinning Bilba swung open the door and made her way to the tube. Holloway Road was only a few stops up on the Piccadilly line, so clearly luck was on her side as her phone blinked 20:46 at her. Head down against the March air, Bilba quickly tapped out a message to Sigrid, who was currently blissfully unaware of the predicament her tour was in.

 

Firstly, nothing to worry about love! Lorien have dropped the ball on us, hardly surprised. Going to The Man in the Moon to persuade Balin’s recommendation to join us. Don’t panic! Everything is under control. Don’t kill them before I get a chance to do it first. Get some sleep, I’ll let you know how it goes xxx

 

Bilba sent it before she could change her mind. Sigrid was lovely, but she would start panicking as soon as she read this, even though it was necessary to keep her in the loop. Jumping down the stairs of the station two at a time Bilba made it onto the next train with seconds to spare, speeding underground into zone 2. The polite lady of TFL informed her several nerve wracking minutes later that this station was Holloway Road. Darting off the tube and reaching ground level, Bilba swivelled around a few times to get her bearings before brusquely jogging toward the aforementioned pub. The windows were covered in moisture and loud acoustic music could be heard from the street. People spilled out onto the street drinking and laughing around rickety tables. It looked jam packed, which was a hopeful sign; Bilba trusted Balin entirely, but the prospect of poaching a band for an international tour that was leaving in a few days, and knowing nothing about that band, was a slightly scary nothing. Straightening her spine Bilba drew herself to her full height and marched into the pub (only dodging a handful of drunkards).

 

+

 

 

 

It was loud. The room was long with a bar running one side with several harassed looking bar staff dashing about. From the bar to the opposite wall was a sea of people. At the other end of the room directly opposite the door was a slightly raised stage that the Durinson’s, she assumed, were currently setting up on. Lively guitar music played through the speaker system as the band prepped. Shedding her coat Bilba made her way to the bar with a lot of oh excuse me’s and pardon sorry, but she made it in the end, shimmying between two bodies either side of a small gap. She tried not to frown at the bar coming up to her mid chest even in her heels. After a few failed attempts to get the busy staff’s attention the body on her looked at her over his shoulder with an amused look. Bilba didn’t spare him a glance and continued her quiet, slightly passive aggressive, attempts at getting service. The man turned entirely to face her, outright grinning at her. Bilba raised an eyebrow.

 

“Can I help you?” Her voice was clipped, but damn it she was still polite. The grin changed into a smirk.

 

“Would you like me to get their attention for you?” His voice was deep and gravelly, somehow still carrying over the music and chatter, and definitely condescending. Bilba have him a levelling look.

 

“I am perfectly fine, thank you.” Bilba said primly whilst turning back to the bar with a raised chin. A barman approached… and walked away. Bilba did not turn to look at the man again, resolutely examining the whisky bottles on the other side of the bar. The stranger however had different ideas and leant across the bar and shouted,

 

“NORI!”

 

Bilba would be lying to say she didn’t squeak in indignation, a hand flapping over her heart as she turned to face the brute.

 

“Don’t holler at the poor lad! Really, that’s very rude, it’s clearly busy.” Bilba chided him giving him the best impression of her father she could (slightly raised brows, pursed lips). The stranger did not respond as the barman, apparently Nori, sauntered over to him and stopping in front of them. He had wild hair pointing upward in an oddly diamond like shape, eyebrow piercings and a curly moustache. Bilba blinked at him several times before smiling at him.

 

“Hello, could I –“ She stopped abruptly when Nori held up a hand to her, still looking pointedly at the man next to her.

 

“Thorin, I don’t serve minors, even if you are my mate.” Nori said in a level, bored voice. Bilba could feel the heat rising in her cheeks as she spluttered at his words.

 

“I am not underage! Here, there’s my driving license.” Bilba flustered before pulling said legal document out of her bag and thrusting it into Nori’s hand. He took it with a disbelieving look and gave it the once over. His eyebrows raised and a smile spread across his lips as he handed it back, leaning on the bar. It was such a common occurrence that she generally took an annoyed approach.

 

“My apologies, Miss Baggins, though I hope you take it as a compliment. How was your 28th birthday? September is such a lovely time of year.” Nori drawled, catching her eye. Bilba, now caught in his scrutinizing gaze, greatly wished the stranger would speak up again. He did not. Bilba snatched back her licence.

 

“Yes, well, thank you. It was lovely. May I please have an Bulmers?” She said, making sure her tone was even as if the situation hadn’t entirely flustered her. She felt herself getting side eyed from her left. Entirely fed up with whatever was happening as she had a job to do, she turned to face the stranger.

 

“Thank you. Though you really didn’t need to shout.” Even when confronted with strangers at a bar, Bilba’s manners were always impeccable. “Thorin, is it?”

 

“Yes I did, they’re all hopeless when it’s busy. Miss Baggins.” Thorin dipped his head in a mock bow before taking another mouthful of his beer. Bilba took a moment to assess him discreetly. He stood at about 6 foot, making him nearly a foot taller than her, and was built like a house. He looked mid thirties, with a few lines creasing around his eyes. Dark hair streaked with silver. A sharp, long nose making his face a regal profile. Though they were in the dim, she was fairly sure he had blue eyes. He was dressed in jeans, a very smart pair of leather boots and a gorgeous dark leather jacket. It looked like it was made for him; snugly fitted around his waist, it broadened out with his shoulders and sheathed his thick arms. Bilba wondered vaguely if his forearms were bigger than her thighs. Quickly nipping that thought in the bud, she placed money on the bar for Nori, nodded to Thorin again, before slipping off toward the stage. The perk of her size was that she could slip through a crowd like water; in the music industry, it was a blessing. Bilba tucked herself in at the corner of the stage with a perfectly clear view of her potential replacements.

 

Set up was finished and, after a few experimental notes with their backs facing the crowd, The Durinson’s were finally ready to perform. Her phone buzzed in her bag, and she fished it out. If anyone was watching, they would have seen the colour pour out of her face and Bilba take a long drag from her drink. Several messages had apparently come through during the bar debacle that she had missed.

 

ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS

 

Tell me you’re not serious

 

I’m going to kill her. You can have her head for Christmas. I can’t even describe what I’m going to do to Fin. Cel may be spared with mental scarring.

 

Are you genuinely serious?

 

Of course you’re serious. It’s Fin, for fuck sake. What did Balin say about them? We can’t mess up this tour.

 

I called Balin. You’re serious. Fuck

 

Are you there yet?

 

What are they like?

 

They have some stuff on iTunes, it’s pretty good.

 

I can’t believe The Loriens bailed on me, after I was so nice to them at Reading. Should I come too?

 

My rehearsals are done. New costumes are great, I want to wear them forever.

 

You’re the worst PA ever, sometimes. I’ve messaged you enough to warrant some response. I’m coming over, and yes Dwalin is with me. No he is not happy, I had to buy him 5 mars bars for this. You owe me. Xx

 

“Bugger.” Bilba muttered. She quickly tapped out a reply.

 

They’re just about to come on, and I am not the worst; may I indicate that I’m not Bofur. No need to come darling, I need you tip top and well rested tomorrow! But if you do the barman is called Nori, shout at him to get his attention. Apparently I’m underage again. Tell Dwalin I have biscuits in my bag if he’s worried of dying of starvation. Xx

 

Bilba tucked her phone away as the lights dimmed slightly and the background music shut off. The Durinson’s had finished their set up and were turning to face the crowd. There were four of them total; a singer and guitarist, a bassist, a violinist and a drummer. The drummer was broad and burly, with almost grey hair despite appearing to be in his thirties, and had an incredibly intricate beard. It hung in two thick plaits from his chin that curled up at the ends, and reached the bottom of his neck. The bassist was skinny and lanky, seemingly still a teenager with ginger hair spilling out from a lavender beanie, and seemed slightly drowned by his instrument. The violinist radiated confidence and was waving and hollering to someone in the crowd. He was tall and broad with long dark hair and dark eyes, and even on the stage he seemed graceful. The guitarist seemed related to the violinist, despite being the opposite colourings of blonde and blue eyes. He wasn’t as tall as the violinist but even prior to their performance his presence on the stage was impressive. He held himself with confidence and a slight hint of arrogance, Bilba noted. Parts of his hair had been pulled back from his face with plaits, and he had a scruffy, but impressive, beard. He was also the reason Bilba’s heart dropped like a stone; blonde, self possessed, guitarist. A deadly combination when Sigrid Bowman was involved, Bilba thought with an internal groan.

 

“Good Evening you bunch of bastards!” The blonde shouted, a cheer erupting from the crowd in response, “We’re the Durinsons! Well, we don’t have all night, do we?” With a laugh the guitarist nodded to the drummer who counted them in.

 

With that they launched into their first song and, almost instantaneously, Bilba’s niggling nervousness melted away.

 

Far over, the Misty Mountains cold…

 

They blended perfectly, and were exactly the sound Bilba was looking for. They were enthusiastic and excited, an energy that the crowd reciprocated, and deceptively laid back in their performance. Bilba had to admit that she was transfixed, their music making her think of great, unexpected journeys and epic adventures. It was earthy, almost; rawness seemed to pervade their sounds. Especially the singers’ voice. It was low but rich, and Bilba had to admit, it would be a perfect companion to Sigrid’s singing voice. Before she knew it the song was over and with little ceremony they launched into the next. The violinist was leaping around on the amps as he played, his hair whipping about him as he sang along with the crowd. The bassist was far more focused but occasionally looked up long enough for Bilba to see he was blushing before he looked back down again. The drummer was grinning but apart from that seemed nonplussed about the whole affair. The frontman however was in a league of his own. Due to his mic being on a stand he wasn’t leaping about like his probable brother, but he was rocking in time to the music as he played and sang. Despite his limited movement he seemed to own the stage. Bilba was actually quite in awe of the band. Pulling out her phone, she quickly wrote a message to Balin.

 

These guys are incredible! Good genes, Mr Fudinson.

 

The band seemed to be winding down. They had been playing for an hour, sweat was dripping from the ceiling, and the energy seemed to fill the air. It was at this point when Bilba felt a hand on her shoulder. With a strangled shriek she wildly turned to see Sigrid, who had the decency to look sorry. Bilba glared at her.

 

“I hate it when you do that.” She shouted over the din. Sigrid raised an eyebrow.

 

“I’ll stop doing it when you stop sneaking up on me all the time!” She retorted. This was a circular argument that they had far to frequently. “Anyway, how are they?” As Sigrid spoke, the front man began introducing their last song.

 

“… and it’s about our favourite place to play; right here!”

 

There is an inn, a merry old inn

Beneath an old grey hill,

And there they brew a beer so brown

That the Man in the Moon himself came down

One night to drink his fill

 

Bilba watched Sigrid as she observed the band. Her arms were crossed, but she looked pleasantly surprised. She was nodding a long to the song, scanning each member of the band as she did. Then she seemed to properly focus on the frontman, and narrowed her eyes. She raised an eyebrow at Bilba, an expression that she favoured above all others. Bilba raised her hands in innocence and mouthed ‘blame Balin’. At this point Dwalin appeared at Sigrids shoulder holding three drinks, and promptly passed them out.

 

The round Moon rolled behind the hill

As the Sun raised up her head.

She hardly believed her fiery eyes;

For though it was day, to her surprise

They all went back to bed!

 

The crowd exploded into applause and cheers as the band bowed and, slowly, began to pack up their kit.

 

“What d’you think?” Bilba asked Sigrid, who was still watching the band like a hawk.

 

“They’re good, I like their sound. Dwalin why didn’t you say you had musical relatives?”

 

Dwalin grumbled something about pushy pop stars. Sigrid laughed and rested her head on his shoulder, taking a swig of her drink. The friendship between the bodyguard and the star was an odd one, but a strong one. It was then that Bilba realised what Sigrid was wearing.

 

“Sigrid, darling, I don’t think you should be wearing your new costumes around yet…? What if someone took a photo of you?” Bilba asked incredulously. Sigrid stuck out her tongue.

 

“I told you, it’s comfortable. And I got dragged out to help sort out my tour, I didn’t have time to change, so it was this or pyjamas. Would you like me to go change into my pyjamas?” Sigrid drawled, grinning at Bilba. Admittedly, Sigrid being seen out in pyjamas would be worse. Still, Bilba was nothing if not a stickler for details.

 

“But, you look so… you know… scandalous.” Bilba muttered. Dwalin coughed, though it definitely sounded more like a snigger, and Sigrid outright laughed.

 

“Loosen up, Bilba. I’ll tell you what, next time I have a fitting I’ll get something similar for you alright?” Sigrid teased. Bilba pursed her lips even as she blushed.

 

“That won’t be necessary, thank you Sigrid.” Bilba said primly, pointedly ignoring her laughing friends. Admittedly, Sigrid did look good. But it was difficult for Sigrid not to look good. Currently she was encased in tight high waisted leather trousers that seemed to be sewn onto her skin they were that tight, and a cream and black bralet top. A slither of creamy skin could be seen between the two. She had a red plaid shirt thrown over the top with the sleeves rolled up, Bilba thought the shirt had once been Fin’s, and a pair of beat up black converse that were her rehearsal shoes. Sigrid’s mid length hair fell in waves around her shoulders, the light blonde reflecting the lights overhead. She still had quite a bit of make up on; dark smokey eyes, making her green iris’s pop, and dark red lips. Bilba, despite her often fussy behaviour, had to admit that Sigrid did look wonderful, if a little scandalous. It was then that Dwalin nudged Sigrid and nodded over to a door that the band had disappeared into.

 

“I gave Kili a call on the way over, we can go see them.” He grumbled, taking Sigrid by the elbow and leading her over before she could respond. Glancing back she called for Bilba to follow. Bilba straightened her shoulders and marched after them; time to steal a new band for the tour. This, Bilba could do.

Chapter Text

“That was even better than last week! Did you see the way they were so excited? Did you see the girls singing along?” Kili crowed as the Durinson’s bowled into the small backstage of the pub. Fili was tousling his hair in a towel, but laughed along with his brother. It was true; their performances were going from strength to strength.

 

“I did see that brother, perhaps we should buy them a drink later.” Fili mused into the towel. “Ori, d’you want to come?”

 

Fili heard a squeak that was quickly covered by a cough.

 

“You know I… I wouldn’t do that, Fili.” Ori chastised him. Fili’s retort was cut off by a crashing noise, followed by Oin barrelling into the room with a cymbal in each hand. Fili, removing the towel, raised an eyebrow at the drummer.

 

“Don’t trust crowds.” Oin muttered, before going to stow said symbols away in his kit bags. The door opened behind them and Fili recognised the heavy footsteps.

 

“Fili, you slipped in two songs.” Thorin said in a blunt tone. Fili sighed, caught his brothers’ sympathetic gaze, and then turned to face his uncle turned manager with the calmest expression he could muster.

 

“I know uncle. It won’t happen again.”

 

“No, it won’t. And Kili, try not to break your neck with all your prancing around, okay?” Thorin finished in a much gentler tone. Kili nodded brusquely, not quite meeting his uncle’s eye. It always made him feel uncomfortable how his elder brother was measured by such a different standard to him. Fili moved to the table of refreshments that the pub had set out for them; bottles of water, a couple of beers, some crisps and a plate of sandwiches. Taking one of each Fili plopped down onto a raggedy couch next to his brother and started to tuck in as the band began to unwind. After a few minutes of companionable silence, there was a loud knock on the door. Thorin went to open it. From Fili’s position he couldn’t see the newcomer, but he could see the way his uncle’s eyebrows raised in surprise.

 

“Dwalin, I didn’t know you would be here with… friends.” Thorin’s voice pitched like a question, but Fili’s ears perked up at the name.

 

“Dwalin you bastard why didn’t you tell me!” Fili called from the sofa (it was far to comfy to rise from, even if it was for a distant cousin) Fili thought he heard muttered swearing from the door, then a definite female sounding sigh.

 

“May we please come in?” Dwalin’s voice was definitely not that high.

 

“Yes, Mr…?” Another female voice. Dwalin, his terrifying body guard relative who could reduce the hearts of men to puddles of piss, hanging around with two delicate sounding women? Maybe this evening would be entertaining after all. Thorin’s head was tipped to the side, assessing the two unseen women, before he gave a small curt nod and stood out of the doorway to let them pass.

 

Dwalin barrelled in first. He was in his ‘civilian’ body guard clothing, Fili noted, which meant that whomever he was working for must be around somewhere. He was in dark jeans, sturdy boots, a white shirt and a crisp dark jacket. His baldhead was shiny under the lighting. Fili also noticed that there were more chunks out of his ear’s than the last time he had seen him. He also was now sporting a beard, his mouth turned down into a frown despite his sparkling eyes. Clearly Dwalin was enjoying ruffling Thorin’s feathers. Dwalin glanced back and gestured with a broad hand for his two companions to follow. The first was a tiny woman. She looked positively dwarf like compared to Dwalin. She was the definition of petite, probably only just scraping 5 foot without her heels. She had a mass of auburn curls that looked like they were tied up but were putting up a good attempt of getting loose from the nape of her neck. Her face was fairly round but tapered into a pointed chin and an upturned, button nose. Her eyes, green mixed with hazel, darted about the room nervously. The woman frowned then gestured at the doorway again, making the second woman enter. Fili was glad he was sitting down.

 

            Sigrid Bowman, Sigrid fucking Bowman, stepped through the door. Fili wondered briefly if he had dehydrated so much he had started hallucinating. It was also so ridiculous that he nearly laughed. The face of current British music was stood in their tiny, dingy dressing room tacked onto the side of the bar he had been going to with his family for his whole life. Her green eyes swept the room assessing them each individually before the settled on him. Fili wasn’t one for giddy nerves at pop stars but she was breath taking. Slender and tall, wrapped in leather and flannel with make up straight from the 70’s, she was that delectable mix of good girl face, self confidence and long legs that Fili would die to sink his teeth into. Her plush mouth parted slightly, eyes narrowing just a fraction at him, before the turned to Dwalin. They seemed to communicate silently before she visably relaxed and swung an arm around the other woman’s shoulders. Was she Dwalin’s current employer? It would make sense, he had caught Dwalin singing one of her songs last time he visited, much to his chagrin. She seemed to be waiting for them to say something.

 

“Holy hell…” Ori mumbled from somewhere to his side. Kili was looking between Dwalin and the second woman with his mouth flopping open.

 

“Dwalin!” Kili said, his voice breaking slightly.

 

“Um, hello… I’m Sigrid, this is Bilba. Great show tonight!” Sigrid Bowman said to them. She smiled genuinely; it was more crooked than the smiles Fili saw on the posters plastered all over London.

 

“Fili… Sigrid Bowman is in our dressing room.” Kili was staring at her shamelessly, as if she would disappear if he looked away. Fili and Ori probably weren’t much better.

 

“I can see that brother. She can probably hear you too.”

 

“Sorry, sorry Miss Bowman but – could you – d’you think you could say that again?” Kili hurried whilst digging through his pocket, casting out an empty cigarette pack and several receipts, “could I please get a recording of that? My friends will never believe me.” He finished with a winning smile, phone in hand. Sigrid blushed slightly before narrowing her eyes at Dwalin, who was laughing into his hands. Fili grabbed his brothers shoulder and pulled him down onto the sofa.

 

“You can’t just demand stuff from her, she’s not a show pony. Mum brought you up better than that.”

 

“I didn’t demand! I asked nicely! I think… oh god have I offended her? Miss Bowman, may I please-“

 

“Enough.” Thorin’s voice cut across Kili’s jabbering, which was slowly growing hysterical as he awkwardly was bobbing into a bow. “May we help you, ladies?” He said smoothly. The short one, Bilba, smiled tightly at Thorin before clearing her throat.

 

“Right, well, yes. As you may have noticed, my friend here is Sigrid Bowman,”

 

Might have noticed? She’s the biggest thing in country music since guitars.” Kili hissed, before receiving a pointed look from Bilba.

 

“Yes, there is a case for that, Mr Durinson. Anyway,” she pressed, as Kili had opened his mouth to retort, “We are actually here to discuss a business opportunity. Sigrid’s manager Balin suggested you, and we are very impressed with your show tonight, Sigrid did some research on your EP’s and they’re great too. Now, I don’t know if you’re aware but Sigrid is about to undertake her biggest international tour to date, taking place on all continents. And there is an opening for a warm up band. To cut a long story short, are you free for the next ten months?” Bilba finished abruptly, arms wide with a hopeful expression on her face. Even Oin seemed to notice the stunned silence that followed.

 

It was Thorin who responded first.

 

“Are you asking us to come on tour with you, a bunch of people we’ve never met?” Thorin’s voice grated the silence, and Fili thought he saw Bilba wince a little. Uncle did have that effect on people. It was Sigrid however who stepped in.

 

“You know Dwalin, don’t you? And Balin I am led to believe.” She said, a peaceful smile on her face as she met Thorin’s eye. Her voice was musical even when she spoke.

 

“Why would Dwalin be there? Why is he even here right now?” Thorin snapped, turning on his cousin. Dwalin shrugged and smirked.

 

“Because he’s my full time body guard.” Sigrid replied, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. So he was her bodyguard then, Fili thought, he wouldn’t have thought that she would’ve needed one but then again he wasn’t a female pop star, so he probably wouldn't know anyway. Thorin raised his eyebrows and crossed his arms.

 

“So you’re someone who attracts enough danger to warrant a bodyguard?” Thorin spat. Fili and the others head’s were moving like they were watching a tennis match.

 

“No,” Sigrid continued smoothly, “I’m someone who’s popular enough that my label considers me an important asset. Bodyguards aside, no offence Dwalin, but this is an incredible opportunity. Tickets for most shows are already sold out. 30 areas and 20 small theatres for a range of intimacy in the shows. The first one is in two days in London, the next two days after that in Stockholm. You will all get to travel,” she started speaking to the group at large now, “everything is already booked. Balin is on call to change flight details right now for you, just say the word. I know this is sudden, but I have a really good feeling about you, and I love you’re sound. I would be honoured if you would join me.” She finished, smiling again and catching each of their eye’s in turn.

 

“Is… is this for real?” Kili murmured, rising from the sofa and taking a tentative step forward. He looked back down at his brother before pointing at Sigrid, “Is she for real?”

 

Fili stood as well, clapping a hand on his brothers’ shoulder. Sigrid was watching them like a hawk. Her face was relaxed, but there was a tension in her eyes; she was nervous.

 

“If you would give us a moment to discuss, Miss Bowman?” Fili asked, flashing her his best winning smile. She blinked a few times and then blushed. Fuck, Fili thought, how can anyone be this attractive in real life.

 

“O-Of course! How rude of me, this is a lot all at once. Bilba? Let’s leave them too it. Wait no, here’s my card,” she flourished a card out of a pocket and passed it to Thorin, “if you’re interested, give me a call, or even just to discuss specifics. I have a warm up show tomorrow… if you want, as I’ve seen you play, you can come along. Bilba do you have…? Great, thanks. Here, 5 backstage passes. Even if you aren’t interested in the tour, I’d love for you to come along.” Sigrid held out the tickets and Ori gently took them, mumbling thanks as he slowly turned into a beetroot.

 

“We will think about it.” Thorin rumbled, though he did look mildly interested Fili noticed, which was something. It was Bilba who beamed a smile at him.

 

“Excellent! Here, take my card too, just in case someone doesn’t pick up their phone.” Thorin found himself with another card. After that, Dwalin shepherded them out of the door, though Fili heard a “Nice to meet you!” from Sigrid as they disappeared behind the bulk of his cousin. The door clicked shut. After several moments of quiet, Fili found himself grinning like a maniac. Slowly, he began to laugh. He vaguely noticed Kili and Ori were having the same reaction whilst Thorin watch stoically and Oin seemed rather perturbed by their behaviour.

 

“I don’t understand what is funny.” Thorin sniffed.

 

“You – you honestly think we would consider turn – turning down a tour with Sigrid fucking Bowman?” Kili wheezed. Thorin gave him a levelling look.

 

“No you dolt. I simply didn’t want us to appear to eager.”

 

“But we are eager.” Kili pointed out.

 

“Did anyone else notice that Thorin got the numbers of two different women?” Ori asked, before slapping his hand over his mouth and looking owlishly at Thorin.

 

“Way to go uncle! Sigrid may be a little too cool for you. And too young. Maybe the PA?” Kili said innocently before smirking, “Nori said you were talking to a woman earlier who was so small she barely looked over the bar, was that her?” Thorin smacked him on the back of the head.

 

“Shut up the pair of you. Miss Baggins and Miss Bowman are now business partners, so nip that in the bud.”

 

“You’re the one with their numbers, Uncle…”

 

“For business purposes, Kili, do you think I would hit on women with half of my family in the room?”

 

“So you want to hit on them? Or just the tiny one? Or just the tall one? Don’t be greedy Uncle you can’t have both.”

 

“I didn’t-“

 

“Anyway Sigrid is definitely Fili’s type, he likes ‘em tall. Maybe subconsciously he think’s it cancels out how short he is.”

 

“Fili would never be interested in some air headed singer. And she's not that tall.”

 

“She's taller than you, and Fili. And how would you know what she’s like?”

 

“Because I know her type.” Thorin said with a bit too much venom, cutting off Kili’s playful banter. “Simpering and silly with a good enough voice to make someone invest in her. I have no idea why Dwalin and Balin are working for her. Anyway, listen. This is an incredible opportunity, and we are going to make the most of it. But remember; this isn’t going to be like your UK tours, lads. This is going to be big, and probably quite ostentatious, given the headline act. Don’t get lost in distractions and frivolity. Pop princesses rise and fall like the wind, but if you continue to do the great work you do… then you will last into history.” Thorin finished in a murmur. Giving them all one last glance, he left the room. With a roar of delight Oin grabbed hold of all of them and brought them into a massive group hug.

 

“We’re going on tour!”

 

“We’re going to see the world!”

 

“SIGRID FUCKING BOWMAN LIKED OUR SHOW-“

 

“Shot gun not telling Dis or Dori!”

 

The resulting argument of who would be that sacrificial lamb could be heard for at least an hour.

 

+

Chapter Text

 

Sigrid was hot, sweaty, and in great need of a shower and a nap. Their late night excursion to see the Durinson’s the night before, coupled with early rehearsals and the general pressure and nerves that came with the beginning of a tour, had left Sigrid rather worse for wear. She was currently hiding in her dressing room in the few hours she had spare between the show rehearsals and the actual show. Lying face down in a dark room for a while was definitely what she needed, she thought to herself.

 

There were two things that were bothering her; the Lorien’s dropping the ball, and the Durinson’s stepping in. Whilst deep down Sigrid wasn’t surprised that the Lorien’s had dropped out of the tour, it still hurt. After all, they had been planning to tour together again for a year or so. Sigrid had met the Lorien’s at a small folk festival when she was just starting out at the tender age of 16. The next year they had toured around Europe together for 7 months, their sounds meshing well and all involved getting along like a house on fire. Sigrid had been in awe of them at the time. She was young, and they were incredibly talented (and cripplingly beautiful) artists, who seemed to enjoy her company. It was then that Sigrid had lost her heart to a certain frontman. Fin Glordell was glorious; like some Scandanavian god straight out of the myths. Tall and broad, possessing that lithe agility that made him move like a predatory big cat, a head of golden hair that reached his mid chest, and those eyes. Deep green and lustrious like grass in spring. Green on green, they used to laugh. When Fin looked at her then, Sigrid had felt that she was the centre of the universe under his all consuming gaze. The fact that her dad hated him only made her love Fin more, in that strange teenage way of first love. The idyllic creative atmosphere, coupled with Fin’s eloquent seduction of her, created a bubble around Sigrid that she believed would never pop. Gala became an older sister, guiding Sigrid through the choppy waters of the music world. Cel, whilst slightly aloof, was accommodating towards her and was always happy to jam. Fin, glorious Fin, had told her he would move mountains and drain oceans for her; nothing short of perfection was acceptable for the two of them. Sigrid had been deliriously happy. But, as all things, it came to an end.

 

The tour finished and Sigrid was given a record deal with Erebor Studios, and she quickly rocketed to fame. The Lorien’s, who had refused a deal with Erebor Studios, took personal offence to her career. Gala told Sigrid that she had sold out, and Cel simply never spoke to her anymore. Whilst their relationship limped on for a few awkward months, Sigrid and Fin split up soon after in a very messy and very public break up. His reasoning being that she was too young, too naïve and that she simply wasn’t what he wanted anymore. Sigrid had been devastated, but had carried on. In time she saw that Fin was probably right about her age, and they even managed to be friends again after a few years. Even Gala and Cel came round in the end, if slightly frosty. Sigrid had really believed that this tour would bring them back together and, whilst she was too world weary now to seriously expect the idyll of their first tour, there was no denying their musical chemistry. Also, despite everything, she really thought this tour would be a good break overseas for the Lorien’s. Apparently, they hadn’t put as much stock in this tour as she had. Sigrid groaned and pressed the heels of her hands into her eyes, thinking about all this didn’t help anything. Truly she had, after several years, gotten over the whole business, but that it certainly liked to rear it’s head every now and then.

 

Now, with no Lorien’s, Sigrid was facing a 10 month tour with a bunch of people she didn’t know. The Durinson’s had a great sound, and with some luck and more records, they could definitely make something of themselves. But that didn’t change the fact that Sigrid didn’t actually know them. She had spent the last 6 years in the spotlight and had learnt the hard way about trusting people too easily. Various scandals and gossip magazines with her face plastered all over them flashed before her closed eyes. Those whom cared about her knew not to take anything like that seriously, but it didn’t change the fact that her privacy was something she coveted. Was she making a massive mistake…?

 

No, Balin wouldn’t have recommended them otherwise, Sigrid thought. Her manager, her wonderful lovely manager, wouldn’t throw her together with a group of lad’s who were about to run their mouths about half truths. She had to hold onto that. They would, hopefully, be here soon and agree to the tour. Or so Sigrid hoped. Bilba seemed confident that they would, and Dwalin had muttered something about ‘smashing skulls’ if they didn’t. Well, she thought, if they didn’t agree apparently they would be physically maimed, so maybe that would persuade them.

 

Flopping off of the sofa, Sigrid paced into the bathroom, peeling off her leggings and vest, and turning on the shower. The warm steam began to fill the room and she felt herself relax as she began to go through the motions of preparing for a show. After all this time, nerves still fluttered in her stomach, even though this was a warm up show in a relatively small venue. Quickly she scrubbed herself clean and washed her hair. Shutting off the water and wrapping herself in a fluffy robe, she padded off to find her stylists who were waiting to transform her into Sigrid Bowman: Pop Sensation and English Darling. Or, at least, that’s what the papers were calling her.

 

+

 

 

“There you are! Where have you been?” Thorin muttered through his open car window as he pulled up infront of Dori’s flat. The Durinson’s were all milling about outside. Kili frowned at Thorin.

 

“We’ve been here, where we said we’d be. Where have you been? Shot gun!” He asked, darting around to the front passenger side. Thorin grumbled from inside the car. No matter how many times he picked Ori up for shows, he always got lost. As this was such a regular occurrence no one waited for Thorin’s reply, but bundled into the car. Thorin pointedly looked at Oin.

 

“Oin, seatbelt.”

 

“What was that Thorin?

 

“Seatbelt. Now.”

 

“This isn’t a seal pelt, what d’you think I am…” Oin plucked at his jumper in confusion, shooting Fili a look that suggested Thorin was mad. Grumbles came from the front.

 

“Seat. Belt.” Thorin said loudly through gritted teeth. In the end, Ori leant over and buckled Oin in, before handing Thorin a sat nav.

“Dori… Dori programmed it already. So we…” Ori stammered and gulped.

 

“So we actually get there?” Fili drawled, smirking at his brother.

 

“It’s always a good day when you arrive.” Kili answered seriously.

 

Thorin snarled and took the sat nav from Ori and dumped it in Kili’s lap and put on the radio, before pulling away.

 

“What do you think her show will be like?” Kili asked.

 

“I… I was looking at some videos this morning, her shows are massive. Not just the venues, but everything else. Costume changes, dancers, sets, fireworks, the whole lot.” Ori said, with a look of something of awe. “They’re quite amazing, really.”

 

“Dancers, you say? What kind of dancers?” Kili quipped with a grin. Fili lent forward and smacked him in the arm.

 

“Pant’s on, brother. Let’s keep this as a pant’s on tour.”

 

“Still lots you can do with your pants on, like-“ Kili was quickly silenced by Thorin hitting him upside the head. “Ow! You great brute. You can’t just hit people.”

 

“We are here on work, boys, you’ll do well to remember that.” Thorin mumbled.

 

“Way to take the fun out of an international tour with Sigrid fucking Bowman.” Kili muttered in response. Oin, Ori and Fili shared an exasperated look. Kili didn’t seem to want to call their tour mate anything other than Sigrid fucking Bowman. Fili felt his stomach do an excited flip about the prospect of seeing her perform tonight. He too had done some research and, in all honestly, her performances were monumental. It was quite terrifying that they were to be gracing her stage.

 

They fell into their usual bickering for the rest of the journey, until they parked close the theatre.

 

“Right, lads,” Thorin started as they climbed out of the car, “Remember, we are here to see how she performs. After it’s over, we’ll let them know our decision. Okay?”

 

“But our decision is yes, right?” Oin piped up, frowning at Thorin. With a sigh, Thorin locked the car.

 

“Of course it’s a yes.” He said eventually. Kili let out a whoop and hugged Fili before bounding away. “Kili! You can’t get in without the tickets which I have, remember?” Thorin called after his youngest nephew exasperatedly. Quickly, they all followed Kili to the theatre. It was 7 pm, with the show starting at 8, so they were cutting it pretty fine. There was a massive queue leading away from the theatre, disappearing down the next road along. Thorin raised his eyebrows.

 

“She is popular, I guess…” he said bregrudgingly, as the security checked their passes.

 

“Lighten up uncle, this is going to be fun!” Fili said, giddiness getting to his head, grinning as they were lead down a twisting corridor into the bowels of the theatre. They were shown to a break room of sorts. Dancers and make up artists were rushing around them and, in the centre stood on a table, was Bilba. She held a clipboard and seemed to be shouting out the timetable.

 

“…and remember, this stage is smaller than we are used too so be careful! No broken ankles, please!” She said primly, before stepping down off the table. Looking up, she saw the Durinson’s loitering in the doorway. With a wide smile, she waved them in.

 

“Glad you could make it, gentlemen! Hungry?” Bilba gestured to a long table covered in food, “Help yourselves. You’re more than welcome to stay in here till the show starts, then you can wait in the wings or watch from one of the boxes reserved for friends and family. If you need me, shout!” With that she hurried off, yelling at errant dancers.

 

“There is literally glitter all over the floor.” Fili mumbled, lifting his leg to look at the sole of his shoe, before walking to a comfy looking couch and flopping down on it, the others following suit. Ori was leaning forward, watching the comings and goings with sharp, shining eyes. Oin was tapping a rhythm on his knee and scarfing down a sandwich. Kili was apparently plaiting his hair, whilst Fili was desperately wiping the glitter off his shoes. Thorin sighed. Was this what it was going to be for the next 10 months? Awkwardly sitting around and not fitting in? His moody thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice.

 

“Thorin, laddie! You came!” Balin was striding towards them, a broad smile on his face. Balin was short and round, with long snowy white hair in a ponytail, reaching down his back. He had a beard, also white, that was closely cropped along his jaw. He was dressed in a deep red suit, exquisitely tailored, and brown brogues. His blue eyes were ever twinkling, and his arms were spread wide in welcome. Thorin stood and shook hands with the older man.

 

“Of course, I’m a man of my word.”

 

“Hmmm. I heard your words were terrorizing two of my favourite lass’s last night.” Balin quipped, side eying Thorin. He didn’t know how he did it, but Thorin always felt like a small child in front of his distant relative. The distinct taste of shame crept up his throat.

 

“There was no terrorizing involved.” Thorin muttered in defence. Balin raised his eyebrows, but brushed over it.

 

“Yes, well, those two run the show here, best be on your best behaviour laddie. How are you boys?” He asked the group at large, smiling at the excited responses. “Are you ready? Have you decided where you’d like to view from?”

 

“The wings! Best place to see all the action!” Kili said quickly before Thorin could get a word in. The other three nodded their approval.

 

“Well then!” said Balin, clapping his hands, “I’ll take you there, Bilba is currently fixing a problem with some of the dancers. If you would follow me, gentlemen..”

 

Balin turned on his heel and strode with purpose out of the room. Jumping to attention, the Durinson’s fell into step and followed suit.

 

+

 

The theatre was big. Fili would have never made it to the wings without Balin as their guide. Corridors twisted away, deeper down underground, and spindly curling staircases led upwards. After about half an hour, and 10 minutes before the beginning of the show, they arrived in the wings. They were stage right, in a reasonably large space outfitted with a couple of couches where Balin deposited them, about 10 metres from the stage itself and in front of the sound desk. The curtain was down, and Fili could see that various parts of staging were being wheeled around; a Victorian bandstand, a wooden bridge, a small forest of willow trees, a set of carousel horses and what looked like a black set of Rococo style chairs. Suspended high above them was a balcony that looked like it had been pulled right off an ancient castle, complete with trailing vines and candles along the stone railing. Industrial sized fairy lights were strung along the rafters. Fili could hear the crowd murmuring beyond the dark curtain; Ori had told him earlier that it was sold out, with 2500 audience members. Inwardly, Fili felt a rise of nerves. This was her warm up gig. This was a small crowd for her; the international tour had dozens of stadium shows that were sold out. The Durinson’s had once played at a festival of 2000 people, and it was their biggest show to date. He knew they could do it, that they could rise to any challenge, but it was still terrifying.

 

Fili’s internal panic was brought to a halt by commotion at the door they had come through. Masses of people were making their way through; a Victorian band, tropes of circus dancers, medieval ladies, ballet dancers, and a bunch of knights literally in shining armour. With quick practiced steps, the dancers made their way to their positions; the majority lining up in both of the wings to wait for their ques. Another group of people, make up artists Fili thought, made their way through the door backwards, focussing on the person they were working on. It was Sigrid.

 

She was striding with the easy confidence of a headline act despite those around her pulling her this way and that as the final touch ups were done. She was in a white gown; the bodice reached up to her neck, with loose billowy sleeves reaching past her fingertips. There was a sash tied around her waist before the full skirt fell about her, pooling into a train behind. Her hair had been pulled back into a bun on the top of her head, and a radio mic was strapped to the side of her face. Seeing the Durinson’s, she raised a hand in greeting, before continuing to the stage.

“I can’t believe we are actually here…” Ori murmured. Oin grumbled in agreement.

 

“Sigrid fucking Bowman.” Kili breathed, a grin splitting across his face. The crowd was growing restless, and they had begun to chant.

 

Sigrid… Sigrid

 

Bilba hurried over to them, apparently appearing out of nowhere, and plopped onto the couch with them. Sigrid was now stood in the bandstand, her back facing the crowd, and swinging her arms loosely.

 

“Are you ready for a show?” Bilba quipped over the crowd, grinning at them. Their responses were drowned in the noise.

 

Sigrid… Sigrid… Sigrid

 

Fili could feel the anticipation and excitement in the air, and leaned forward slightly. Sigrid was directly in front of them in her pretty little bandstand, nodding her head to a countdown he couldn't hear. The Sound techs behind him were scrambling over their workstation in the last seconds of preparation. Sigrid then looked over their heads, apparently to a sound tech, and nodded.

 

Sigrid… Sigrid… Sigrid… Sigrid! SIGRID! SIGRID!

 

Sigrid shifted slightly and folded her arms against her chest. The bandstand suddenly lit up, apparently made of thousands of tiny LED lights. She began to sing.

 

Loving him was like driving a new Maserati down a dead end street

Faster than the wind, passionate as sin, ending so suddenly

 

The crowd, which suddenly silenced at her singing, roared in response. The curtain suddenly dropped.

 

Loving him was like trying to change your mind once you’re already flying through the free fall

Like the colours in autumn, so bright just before they lose it all

 

Sigrid then spun on her heel, her dress billowing out behind her (helped along by some friendly wind machines hidden somewhere). Smoke suddenly poured up and out of the floor around the bandstand, making it look like it was adrift in clouds. Sigrid began to descend the bandstands stairs.

 

Losing him was blue, like I’d never known

Missing him was dark grey all alone

Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you’ve never met

But loving him was red

Loving him was red

 

The Victorian band dancers entered the stage. They cut through the smoke and swirled around the bandstand, pairing off and lifting each other in time to the music. Sigrid reached the floor, and was quickly embroiled into the dance as she sang.

 

Touching him was like realising all you ever wanted was right there in front of you

Memorizing him was like knowing all the words to your old favourite song

Fighting with him was like trying to solve a cross word and realising there’s no right answer

Regretting him was like wishing you’d never found out that love could be that strong

 

Sigrid was spun by one of the dancers back into the bandstand, where she quickly grabbed hold of one of the pillars and faced the crowd. The dancers suddenly sped up in their movements through the smoke as she reached the chorus.

 

Losing him was blue, like I’d never known

Missing him was dark grey all alone

Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you’ve never met

But loving him was red

Loving him was red

 

Sigrid moved back through the dancers, striding to the front centre of the stage. The dancers split apart around her, forming long lines on each side of the singer. Sigrid flung out each of her arms and the dancers rippled, peeling away into groups and, quite suddenly, began throwing dancers in the air. Sigrid continued to sing, directly in front of the crowd now as the dancers soared behind her.

 

Remembering him comes in flash backs, and echoes

Tell myself it’s time now gotta let go

But moving on from him is impossible

As I still see it all in my head

Burning red

 

Oh, losing him was blue, like I’d never known

Missing him was dark grey all alone

Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you’ve never met

But loving him was red

Loving him was red

 

Sigrid threw her head back, holding the last note, as two dancers rounded on her. Each taking hold of the skirt of Sigrid’s dress, they pulled. The billowy white fabric came away, splitting down the middle, fluttering off of her body. Underneath she was wearing a glittering silver dress. It was short with thin straps, reaching her mid thigh, with beads swinging in rows across it. Her toned legs were bare. She had a pair of bright pink brogues on her feet, which were nearly as shiny as her dress. Reaching up, Sigrid pulled at her hair and in one swift motion it spilled out around her, waves of gold falling around her shoulders. She bent at the waist, before flicking her torso, head and hair back up. Simultaneously, Showers of sparks reigned down from the ceiling, illuminating the dancers and the first few rows of the crowd.

 

Well there’s a lot that’s spinning round in my head

Can’t stop turning burning red

Yeah, yeah

Loving him was like driving a Maserati down a dead end street.

 

Sigrid softly held the last note, eyes closed and arms raised, as the crowd exploded into noise.

 

“WHAT WAS THAT LONDON?” She shouted. Deafening applause and cheering replied.

 

“That’s what I thought!” She laughed, a dancer twirled over to her holding a bright pink guitar. Sigrid took it and gracefully slung the strap over her shoulder. “This one’s called Sparks Fly, I want to hear you SING!”

 

+

Chapter Text

 

            The Durinson’s sat with rapt attention for two and a half hours. As Kili said later, Sigrid Fucking Bowman was fucking enchanting. She started her set with her older work, but proceeded to play some of her new album to test out the crowd. It was then that she darted off stage and came out wearing the outfit from the night before; high waisted leather skinnies and an ivory bralet, her hair falling about her in waves. Fili was quite impressed that he didn’t pop a boner watching her. When in her older stage outfits there was a delicacy and childishness in her movements, but with these new clothes she was strong and challenging and self possessed in her own appearance. He was vaguely aware of the media scandals that had hounded her career and he assumed she was done with appealing to a certain ‘look’ of a female singer. The Sigrid before him was beautiful and terrifying in equal measure. A few times he glanced at his band mates and saw that they too were enthralled by the show. The whole thing was mind blowing; not just Sigrid but the dancing, the sets, the music and that beautiful voice ringing from the rafters. Billa nodded along to the beat but for the most part appeared to be answering emails on her phone, clearly very used to the natural wonder going on to her left. Thorin however had apparently seen enough and had slunk off with Balin about half an hour in.

 

“… I’ve got one last thing for you all, my beautiful darlings..” Sigrid’s breathy voice echoed. She was on her knees centre stage at the very front, holding hands with the fans there. Her hair was sticking around her face and Fili could see the glistening sweat on her back and shoulders. How the fuck she was wearing leather trousers, he thought absentmindedly, he would never know. Screams and cheering answers and she laughed, “I don’t want to go either! But all things must end in time. So for now, let me sing you a song that is very important to me. Things I’ve wanted to tell you all for such a long time but I’ve never had the words too. It’s a new song off the new album, and it’s called Shake It Off.” The noise of the crowd grew to a deafening din. “I guess you guy’s have heard it on the radio then? Excellent! Because I want you to SING IT WITH ME!”

 

Sigrid bounced up blowing a few kisses to those she had been holding hands with as the drum beat started. She skipped along the front of the stage to her guitarist as the music kicked in, and began rocking her body in time.

 

I stay out to late

Got nothin’ in my brain

That’s what people say

That’s what people say

 

I go on too many dates

But I can’t make ‘em stay

That’s what people say

That’s what people say

 

Sigrid pulled the radio mic off her face and grabbed a red glittering one off a stand behind the guitarist. With her spare hand she mimed driving a car as she sauntered across the front of the stage. Behind her all the dancers were spilling out of the stage wings and forming into groups, and swiftly began to perform multiple types of dance; ballet, hip hop, latino, ball room, tap, jazz… far too many for Fili to recognise. Ori’s little gasp though suggested it was quite impressive.

 

But I keep cruising, can’t stop wont stop grooving

It’s like I’ve got this music in my mind

Saying it’s going to be alright

 

Because the haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate

And the fakers gonna fake fake fake fake fake

I’m just gonna shake shake shake shake shake

Shake it off, shake it off….

 

The Durinsons’ watched on as this young woman poured her heart and soul into her final song, each considering the next 10 months of their lives with her. They were on a journey to somewhere, but where their journey would end; that was a different question entirely.

 

+

 

“So lads, I need an answer.” Balin said jovially over his pint. After the show had ended and Sigrid and her dancers had been swept into changing rooms somewhere, the aging manager had swooped in on the Durinson’s and Billa, with Thorin in tow. He had shepherded them out of a back exit and into a tiny pub down the road before it got too busy with people who had been in the audience to discuss the tour. They were crammed into a little booth, the Durin’s seemed excessively broad in the chest Billa had noted as she perched on the end, cradling a gin and tonic. She was pleased that Sigrid’s warm up show had gone so well considering the upheaval of finding a new supporting act, but now they had to have an answer. She was very glad of the solid comforting presence of Balin. Thorin surveyed Balin from the other side of the booth, leaning back into the seat with an arm thrown behind Kili’s head beside him. Thorin slowly cocked an eyebrow.

 

“I didn’t think it was you who asked in the first place, cousin.” Thorin drawled, his eyes sliding over to pin Billa. Inwardly, she had to admit, she was a little terrified. Outwardly however she was a Baggins. And a Baggins was nothing if not proper.

 

“Quite right, Mr Durinson. Are your band willing to take part in the tour of a life time around the world with an international superstar of musical quality that will not only greatly expand their fan base but also teach them what endurance is in the music industry?” Billa rattled off in a cool tone. Thorin balked slightly at the frankness of her words. Stupid man, she thought, thinking I would show fear at his attempt of intimidation. The fact that it had worked didn’t matter. They stared at each other for several painfully silent seconds. It was Oin huffing who broke the silence.

 

“Of course we bloody are, Miss Baggins. Thorin is being a majestic idiot. Who wants a beer?”

 

A cheer erupted from the brothers, Ori beamed, and Thorin scowled. Balin stood to help Oin. Billa let out her breath through her nose and took a long swig of her drink, pulling her phone of her pocket to let Sigrid know.

 

“Excellent news boys, you wont regret it! Good thing too…” she mumbled, biting her lower lip and glancing at the still scowling Thorin, “… I’d already changed all the flight details.” Billa finished, her ears reddening slightly. Thorin’s scowl shifted ever so slightly to something that may have been amusement.

 

“So sure of us deciding to join you, Miss Baggins?” Billa shivered slightly at the timbre of his voice. No no no, none of that please. Biting down on those tingles Billa raised an eyebrow imperiously and sniffed.

 

“Yes, you need media coverage and experience. You already have quality, therefore everything else you needed our help with. You didn’t really have a choice in the first place.”

 

Turning away from three laughing young men and one very mad looking older one, Billa decided to forgo the text she was writing and called Sigrid, slipping out of the booth to the quiet of the pub’s garden.

 

+

 

Two days later at some god forsaken hour The Durinson’s found themselves at Heathrow airport. Balin had had a taxi pick them up instead of relying on Thorin’s driving. Dis, Nori and Dori had come to see them off along with Gloin and his son, Gimli. Gimli had just turned 18 and thought the tour was the best thing ever and was very put out that he wasn’t allowed to come along as a roadie. Gloin was discussing the monetary gains of investing in concert halls with Balin. Dori currently had both his brothers in nearly a death like hug as he rattled on about the importance of personal hygiene. Dis was talking quietly to her boys as her brother rested his head against her shoulder, occasionally imputing to the conversation. After about 15 minutes there was noise steadily growing outside. After 20, clear voices shouting ‘Sigrid!’ and invasive questions could be heard. Balin sighed and went to the door, talking to the security there. They promptly left. After a few minutes the noise died down and the door opened again. The airport security came through first, then Billa, Sigrid and finally Dwalin, one arm still hovering around Sigrids’ shoulder.

 

“…I said I’m fine.”

 

“I know you said that, Sig, but…”

 

“Don’t get like this now, okay? Everything’s fine. I promise. Do you want some tea?”

 

Sigrid slinked off to a little tea station in the corner of the room, producing cups and milk jugs with the fluidity of someone who had been here a lot. Dwalin stomped over to Billa and propelled her into a chair before taking one himself. Billa looked down her nose at him. Given their height difference even when sitting, it was an impressive feat.

 

“Dwalin dear, don’t be such a prat.” She muttered. Dwalin glowered at her. “I said don’t. She’s fine. Once we’re on the continent there’ll be more bodies around. So don’t even go there.” Billa sniffed then nodded, the one sided conversation apparently over.

 

“She’s picked up your tea thing.” Dwalin grumbled. Billa blanched.

 

“Dear lord. Don’t worry, Dwalin, I’ll go save it for you.” With that, Billa was up and out of her chair and hurrying over to Sigrid, casting a concerned glance at the Ri brothers as she passed. Sigrid was definitely a coffee person, and did not properly understand the concept of over brewed tea.

 

Dis had just untangled herself from her family and sat next to Dwalin.

 

“You’ll look after the boys.” Dis stated. Dwalin scoffed slightly. The Durins, he thought, no tact at all.

 

“Of course Dis. I’ll keep them out of trouble.”

 

“I don’t want them to come back and inform me that I’m now a grandmother or that I have to bail them out of jail.” There was slightly more humour in her tone, but there was an underlying strain there. Dwalin placed a heavy tattooed hand on her shoulder and gave her what he thought was his best comforting smile.

 

“You have my word, Dis, I’ll keep your pet idiots safe.”

 

Dis sighed out a chuckle at his words. Billa at this point returned with two cups, pressing one into Dwalin’s hand and the other into Dis’s. Dis looked up at Billa sharply.

 

“I didn’t ask for tea.”

 

“I know, but you looked like you needed it. Earl Grey, dash of milk, half a sugar.”

 

“Yes… how did you know that?” Dis now looked more confused than anything else. Billa grinned.

 

“I’m a tea whisperer, I guess.” With that, she began handing out boarding passes and luggage tags, indicating it was time to go. Dis looked back at Dwalin, raising an eyebrow. Dwalin looked back at her, deadpan.

 

“Your’s aren’t the only idiots I look after.”

 

+

 

After several emotional goodbyes, a security scare (Kili, you can’t take soil from our garden with you) and several paparazzi run ins, they were finally on the plane. Sigrid’s tour was that big that the entire plane was full of her crew and dancers. Sigrid, the Durinsons, Billa, Balin and Dwalin were all at the front of the plane. Billa found herself tucked in by the window, with a very sleepy Thorin next to her, who promptly passed out. They hadn’t said a word to each other since the pub, and had fallen into almost amicable silence. Billa used his unconsciousness to steal another glance at him. His head was tipped back, exposing the tendons of his throat and his Adam’s apple. His tshirt was rumpled enough to show his collar bones and top of his chest with dark hairs curling there. His arms, she still hadn’t checked if they were thicker than her thighs, were lost in the mass of hoodie that he was wearing. Dark hair spilled out of the top knot he had put it into, framing his angular face and waving softly from the air con. Strong, thick thighs wrapped in denim were planted firmly on the floor. Billa felt her throat close up slightly and bit down on her lip. Fuck. Not good.

 

Billa didn’t see a pair of green eyes watching her appreciative gaze. Sigrid snorted softly at her PA. About bloody time she got excited over something, Sigrid thought. Maybe this tour will be interesting after all.

 

+

Chapter Text

The first stop on Sigrid Bowman’s international tour was Stockholm. The flight was fairly short and, as they had left so early, they arrived in time to check straight into the hotel. Sigrid was swept off the plane by Dwalin into a mass of body guards, and taken to the hotel separately. Billa, like a teacher on a school trip, stood at the door of the plane and counted everyone out and into taxi’s. The whole crew operated like a well oiled machine and Fili couldn’t help but feel slightly ostracised because of it. It’s not like it was intentional; these people were clearly very used to this whole process and they weren’t. The Durinson’s hung back, unsure of what to do, until Billa noticed them and waved them over. She quickly scanned over her clipboard.

 

“Thorin, you’re with me and Sigrid’s band. The boys are with some of the dancers. Thought it would be good to get you all to mingle a bit.” She said with a smile, ushering them down the stairs and pointing to which vehicle they needed. Thorin glowered at them before pulling his hoodie up against the wind and plodding off. Kili peppered Billa with questions about the hotel before she snapped and shoved him, ending the conversation and propelling the band to their taxi. Kili threw open the door and sprawled himself across the bench seat, groaning.

 

“Why is it so early… I think I’m dying…”

 

“If you’re dying, do it quietly.” Said a voice from the opposite bench. There were two dancers there, one blonde male and a red headed female. They were both lithe and willowy and obviously tall despite being sat down. The man had his silvery hair pulled back off his sharp face and his blue eyes looked cold and bored. He was beautiful in a terrifying way. The woman’s auburn hair fell in soft waves down her back and pooled on the seat beside her, her face softer than the man but she carried some of the coolness of his character. Her lips were turned up in a smirk and her brown eyes were slightly narrowed at Kili. Kili turned his face to look at them and pouted, his hair tangling in his two-day stubble.

 

“Do you have no heart, my lady? Do you not see my pain?” he croaked out, waving at his body in general. The woman bit into her lip to stop a chuckle. The man sighed and crossed his arms and turned to look out the window. Fili sighed and kicked his brother in the ass to push him along the bench before climbing in after him. Ori and Oin piled in after them. Kili grumbled loudly but allowed himself to be moved to accommodate the others. The door shut, and the taxi pulled away into Stockholm. Several moments of awkward silence passed as the twosome and the band stared at each other. The woman was still watching Kili with a raised eyebrow as if he may keel over at any point and the man continued to ignore them Ori cleared his throat nervously.

 

“Uh, we’re in the Durinson’s. I’m Ori, and this is Oin, Fili and Kili,” Ori gestured to each of them, pulling his sleeves over his hands. “Pleasure to meet you.” He finished with a slight bow of his head.

 

“My name is Tauriel, and this is Legolas. We are two of the dancers and have been with Sigrid since she was 18. Pleasure to meet you too.” Tauriel said, returning the head bow. “How has it been so far?” She continued in a low murmur. Legolas had apparently fallen asleep now, his face pressed against the window. Ori shrugged.

 

“Pretty terrifying if I’m honest, we were only asked two days ago. All this feels like a dream.”

 

“Yes, this industry has that kind of feeling regularly. Have no fear, I’m sure you’ll find your feet soon.” Her support sounded more like a military command.

 

“Uh… thanks?” Ori squeaked. She nodded and pulled her legs up to drape them across Legolas before shifting to curl up into her seat. Soon she too was asleep.

 

“I guess dancers sleep a lot.” Oin observed. “I expected them to be much less… reserved.”

 

“Well,” Fili said with a stretch, “If they work with Sigrid they can’t be too bad. She doesn’t seem the type to suffer fools.” Kili guffawed beside him, so Fili sent him a levelling glare. “Something to say, brother?”

 

“If she doesn’t suffer fools then you don’t stand a chance.”

 

“Shut up.”

 

“Clever. You really put me in my place.”

 

“Shut up.”

 

“You really know how to put the fear of God in my heart.”

 

The rest of the journey continued with petty squabbling, that they probably should’ve grown out of by now.

 

+

 

“… and your room is 705 boys, it’s a suite so you can all be together. Sigrid is in 704 and I’m in 706 if you need anything. She said something about showing you around this afternoon!” Billa said in a hurry, forcing key cards into their hands before trotting off to a different lift in the hotel lobby and quickly stepped inside and disappeared from view. Oin turned and frowned at Thorin.

 

“What did you say to her that made her run away that fast?”

 

“Nothing!” Thorin said all to quickly, shifting is gaze away from Oin and stomping to a different lift pressing the call button before stuffing his hands in his pockets, slumping so his hair fell over his face. Fili actually felt slightly concerned. Slightly.

 

“You didn’t declare your undying love or a desire to go on an adventure with her did you?” Kili quipped, grinning at his uncle. His joke was rewarded with a smack around the back of his head. Kili responded with attempting to tackle his uncle. The skirmish continued growing increasingly violent before a loud ‘ahem’ was heard behind them. Turning like little boys caught fighting where they shouldn’t, which is exactly what they were, they found a stern looking Tauriel with arms folded and a bag resting against her leg.

 

“If you give him brain damage, he won’t be able to play violin and you’ll all have to go home then Sigrid will have to find a new support.” Tauriel said without inflection. The Durinson’s blinked in response. With a sigh she stepped forward and swiftly pulled Kili out of his uncle’s headlock and pulled Oin up off the floor. She frowned at them again before picking up her bag and, muttering about the stairs, marched off, long hair swaying behind her slender form.

 

“Who the fuck is that?” Thorin muttered after the shellshock of being thoroughly dressed down by a stranger wore off. Kili grinned dreamily and wrapped an arm around Ori’s shoulders. Ori looked up from a book he had produced from somewhere and frowned slightly before returning to read.

 

“The girl I’m going to marry. She can save me from you whenever I need it, it’s like she walks in starlight in another world….”

 

Kili’s declaration was cut short by the ping of the lift. They piled in and dragged their bags in after, all regretting not using Billa’s offer of a bell boy’s trolley. The hotel was old, Victorian esque, and the lift was no different. Wrought iron doors and gilded sconces, pale wallpaper and plush carpet. The hairs on the back of Fili’s neck rose; this place was very fancy and he was suddenly aware of how grimy his jeans, chucks and hoodie were. The lift rushed to the top of the building and deposited them on their floor. Quickly they found it and let Ori deal with the key card lock (no one else had enough patience too)

 

The door swung open to reveal a large sitting area. The ceilings were high and the floor polished marble. Rococo sofas and armchairs circled a low gilded table, currently occupied by a tea tray, a platter of pastries and fruit and a stack of books. Floor to ceiling windows poured light in, and beyond them was a small balcony with some antique looking sun loungers. To the left there was a sleek breakfast bar and a kitchen area (complete with stocked bar) and to the right several vaulted doors, behind which were probably the bedrooms and bathrooms. Along side the entrance way was a great inglenook fireplace, already lit and cracking away, and on the chimney breast above a great flat screen TV.

 

“Holy shit.” Ori breathed. Kili nodded in silent agreement.

 

“I guess this is what being on an international tour entails, boys.” Thorin said gruffly behind them, nudging them into the suite. Slowly they divided up the rooms and discovered that all of them had en suites and Jacuzzi tubs. Billa had said Sigrid would head over at about 11, and it was currently 11:03. Thorin was already tapping his foot, Kili was babbling about Stockholm and Ori was nodding along enthusiastically. Fili was fiddling with the hem of his shirt; they had had enough time to freshen up and he had indulged in the tub before getting dressed. He decided to go for some cleaner dark tight fitting jeans, his usual dark boots and a light blue flannel shirt. It was well fitting, stretching across his shoulders, and tapered in at his waist. He also decided to wear the dark blue pea coat with the high collar his Ma had gotten him last Christmas because Stockholm was still chilly and he didn’t have a scarf with him. His beard had been trimmed back to perfection, cutting along his jaw, but he had decided to pile up his hair in a bun instead of braiding it back. He’d stared at his reflection for a good five minutes trying to persuade himself he wasn’t trying to look good for the first time he was seeing Sigrid properly. Fili wondered briefly what they were going to be doing. He had a bubbling excitement in his belly; the tour, the travelling, that girl. It was a heady mix.

 

He became aware of a lilting voice travelling down the corridor and the sound of a slamming door. Heeled shoes clacked on the tile in the corridor and the voice grew louder, then a knock. The voice was still talking and he now recognised it as Sigrid, however she was talking in Welsh. Thorin yanked the door open and opened his mouth to complain (it was now 11:05) but Sigrid held up a hand to silence him and walked into the room, still quickly talking in Welsh down the phone. Her brow was furrowed and her spare hand was waving around. Apparently whoever she was talking too didn't agree with Sigrid on something.

 

Fili took the moment to take in her appearance as the others got their coats and cameras. She looked very different, but also the same. The angles of her cheekbones were still as sharp, but less defined due to her makeup free face. Her skin seemed paler, and her eye’s a bit more blue than green. Her eyebrows were a lighter blonde than he remembered. Her nose seemed more button-y, he guessed it was due to the lack of contouring, and there was a spray of light freckles across her cheeks. Her light hair had been braided from the middle parting then wrapped and pinned around her head, leaving her long neck free. She was wearing a thick bottle green cable knit sweater that swamped her torso. It was bunched up at her elbows, slender forearms poking out as she muttered into the phone still. A black wool mini skirt was wrapped around her thighs. She wasn’t wearing tights, but instead long thick socks that reached just over her knee. They were maroon, and had frilly lace edging. Her feet were clad in another pair of brogues, however these were cream and brown. A small side bag that had cat ears and whiskers hung around her. Fili could feel the heat creeping up his neck and knew his mouth was hanging open and he was blushing. She looked stunning. Sigrid blew hard out of her nose and pinched the bridge of her nose.

 

“Ni allwch gael Tilda iphone, eich bod yn naw mlwydd oed. Yn awr yn mynd i ffwrdd dwi brysur. Bydd Da yn cytuno â mi, felly gau i fyny. Fi cariad chi, bwyta eich ffrwythau heddiw iawn?” Sigrid said before hanging up and staring at the phone, shaking her head.

 

“Nine year olds want the world from you when you’re rich.” She sighed, looking at them sheepishly, her voice sounding more Welsh than it ever had before, “apparently she needs an iPhone, why would she need an iPhone? She’s nine. Anyway, sorry about that. Are you ready to go?” Sigrid’s face broke into a grin.

 

“I didn’t know you could speak Welsh.” Thorin said, not moving from his spot by the door. Sigrid raised her eyebrows as the Durinson’s shrugged into their coats.

 

“Of course I speak Welsh, I am Welsh.” Sigrid replied. Thorin frowned.

 

“But you’re English.”

 

“Oh no,” Sigrid laughed, “Another victim of the ‘Sigrid is actually English’ campaign. Don’t let my Da hear you say that, he’ll have your head. Let’s go! I’ve got things to show you before my interviews!” With that she grabbed Thorin by the arm and bodily dragged him out of the room, assuming the others would follow. Ori made a noise of realisation as he locked the door behind them.

 

“What is it?” Oin asked, looking up from his phone.

 

“Sigrid’s dad is a meme. Sigrid’s Angry Dad, that’s what they call him. He goes ape in Welsh at anyone who calls her English infront of him, and he used to be in a punk band and was a big voice in the LGSM campaigns in the 80s. I think the Welsh regard him as a national treasure.” Ori murmured. “I totally forgot about that, I think Sigrid got him trending once after a particularly spectuacular outburst.”

 

Kili started laughing at this and began hypothesising what Sigrid’s father was like as they made their way down the corridor. Sigrid was now dragging Billa out of her hotel room after leaving Thorin by the lifts, now accompanied by Dwalin. She seemed more free and more excited than when she had at her show. Fili guessed right now, in this corridor, she was just Sigrid with a needy sister and grumpy Da, rather than Sigrid Fucking Bowman, Welsh Pop Sensation. Fili smiled ruefully as he loped after his bandmates, he truly hoped he could get to know just Sigrid.

 

+

 

Sigrid and Billa ended up leading them into the Old Town of Stockholm. Talk skinny buildings lined the streets, twisting canals and bridges littered their journey as beautiful Swedish people whizzed past on bikes. The morning light was bright and harsh, cutting shadows on the ground as people passed. Sigrid was recognised a few times and stopped for photos and autographs, and she spoke thanks in stumbling Swedish. One of her fans even taught her a few new words before Sigrid kissed her on the cheek and they went on their way. Fili was impressed with her ease with her fans. She seemed so genuine and so interested, so very different from the picture his uncle, and the media, often painted of her. Vapid was a word that usually came to light. Silly, girlish, easily led.

 

“How come you know Swedish?” He asked once another fan had skipped off giddily. Sigrid blushed slightly and shrugged, swinging her arms and falling into step with him.

“Because i shouldn’t assume they know English, and they definitely wont know Welsh. I try and learn a bit of wherever i’m going. Billa however,” Sigrid said in a louder voice to her PA sever meters away, “Is a language genuis.”

 

“Huh. Can you teach me some Welsh?” Fili said, his words tumbling out to keep her talking. Sigrid looked at him with a weird frown and pulled down her sweater sleeves, balling her fists.

 

“Why do you want to know Welsh?” She asked. Fili couldn’t help it; he felt his face slip into a cocky smirk and tipped his head just so, the way he and Kili had perfected when they were out on the pull.

 

“Because I want you to teach me.” Fili purred. Even in his head it didn’t sound like he was talking about learning a language. Not a verbal one anyone. Sigrid’s mouth flapped open a few times before she shut it and turned away from him, a blush joining the freckles on her cheeks. Her grip tightened on her bag strap. Her flustering was adorable.

 

“That’s a terrible idea, Mr Durinson.” She snapped, sniffing and staring ahead. Fili inwardly sighed and balled his hands in his pockets; he probably deserved that. Why would he fuck up their first proper conversation?

 

“I... sorry, that came out way too leery. I don’t really know how to talk to you. You are so... i don’t know, you’re in a different world and I say stupid shit like that when I’m nervous. ” He admitted softly, dropping his chin into his coat collar. Sigrid sharply turned to look at him again. She eyed him once over before looking ahead again, she too letting out a sigh.

 

“Once me and my sister went cow tipping. I thought a vien was going to explode in my Da’s face he was so mad. I had to shovel cow shit all summer to make it up to our neighbour.” She said in an even voice. Fili’s head whipped up as he stared at her incredulously.

 

“...what the fuck are you talking about?”

 

“Another time I fell over whilst running with my guitar and snapped the neck of it. I duct taped it back together whilst i saved up for a new one. It sounded terrible. Another time I walked in on Dwalin in the shower and I couldn’t look him in the eye for about a month. He couldn't meet mine for three. I'm absolutely terrible at making a cup of tea.” Sigrid continued, grinning at Fili with her head thrown back slightly. “What I’m saying is that yes, there is a lot of press around me and media and I am presented as this manic pixie dream girl a lot with hoardes of boyfriends, but I’m just Sigrid. Just Sigrid has done a lot of stupid things and has gotten in trouble with her family and had homework and has worked fucking hard for all she has, but is still just Sigrid. And just Sigrid would like to be your friend.”

 

Fili was stunned by her frankness. It emboldened him to tentatively try and reach out to her. He lifted his head and set a determined smile on his face. Sigrid looked on at him expectantly, her eyes shuttered and distant. Suddenly Fili realised that whilst he felt isolated from her, she probably felt isolated from everyone. Alright, he thought, Operation Becoming Friends With Just Sigrid.

 

“I bet it was scarring to see Dwalin in the shower. That happened once when I was a kid,” Fili shuddered for effect, “I’ve never been the same since.” Sigrid giggled and punched his arm. The nervousness that gripped her previously had left and Fili felt some of the pressure allieviate in his chest. Just Sigrid, he thought. Just Sigrid.

 

Up ahead, Billa had somehow ended up between Dwalin and Kili, who were currently arguing the pro’s and con’s of tractor farmings. She glanced around to see if she could escape; Ori was avidly taking photos of the architecture, Oin was chatting to Ori who wasn’t really listening, but Thorin was glancing nervously at Sigrid and Fili behind him. Billa slipped out as Kili launched into the history of the motorised tractor and fell into step with Thorin. He was less disheveled than earlier; the hoodie had been replaced with a crisp white button down and the leather jacket. His hair was now rolling down his back. Billa ignored it to the best of her ability.

 

“The museum is just around the corner.” She said. Thorin grunted.

 

“I hear that there’s an exhibition of viking jewelry.” She continued. Thorin grunted again. Billa glared up at him.

 

“I hear that they’re going to be burning christian efigys and selling foot long dildos in the gift shop.” Billa drawled in the same tone, and was treated to another grunt in response. Thorin wasn’t listening to her, but trying to catch whatever conversation Fili and Sigrid were giggling about. Fili was apparently telling a story that involved lots of animated arm movements.

 

“Thorin, you’re being kind of a buzz kill for them.” Billa said, smacking his arm with the back of her hand. Thorin jumped and glared at her, clearly startled.

 

“When did you get here?” He snipped. Billa sent him a withering look.

 

“The whole time you great idiot. Stop being a weird old man over young people being friends, or I’ll send you home. Now, come on, the museum is here.” Not giving him a choice Billa grabbed his elbow and tugged Thorin across the street and into wherever she had planned for them to spend the morning. Thorin glowered at the back of her head, wrinkling his nose as her flowery perfume drifted across the gap between them. It smelt divine, mind you, but the principle of being close enough to the busy body of the century to smell her perfume made his nose wrinkle.

 

Kili glanced behind aparently after winning the agricultural debate, though both sides claim victory, and smirked at his brother before nudding Dwalin and nodding at the blonde pair. Dwalin looked over, his face going stony. Kili guffawed at him, smacking Dwalin in the side.

 

“Oh come on Dwalin, don’t be such a spoil sport. £20 says she’ll shoot him down in flames.”

 

Dwalins mouth made a grim line as he eyed his young charge, a hint of some kind of emotion in his eyes.

“£20 that she doesn’t.” Dwalin muttered. Kili giggled next to him before darting off into the museum behind Ori and Oin who were making their way after Billa and Thorin. Sigrid and Fili caught up with the stationary Dwalin. Fili glanced between the two before cracking a smile and following his brother. Sigrid’s cheeks were pink from laughter, and a blush was trailing down her throat. Lose hairs had fallen out of her braids and were waving in the breeze, the sun illuminating her hair and making it seem even more golden. She was swaying slightly on her slender legs, something she tended to do when standing, as she frowned slightly at Dwalin, head cocked. She placed a pale hand on his forearm.

 

“Are you alright, Dwalin?” She asked softly. Dwalin had noticed that when her voice was softer her accent was more pronounced. It made her seem even gentler. Dwalin nodded gruffly before swinging an arm around her shoulders and leading her up the museum steps.

 

He had known his nephew since the day he was born, and he knew what Fili was interested in. Fili had had a very colourful sexual history, which he took great pride in, but had made it very clear that relationships weren’t really for him. Sigrid, whom he had known closely but for only 5 years or so, was the type to fall head first into love and deal with the problems it caused later. Her type was very obvious; blonde, self possessed, guitarist. Dwalin could feel something akin to nerves when he had seen the pair laughing together, the way Sigrid’s eyes had crinkled up with her real smile rather than her ‘photo shoot’ smile. If Fili hurt her, Dwalin thought darkly, I’ll tear his fucking arms off, family or no.

 

This young woman had shown him that even in the face of despair there was always hope, and he was not about to let Fili break her; because as sure as day, in time he could.

 

+

Chapter Text

+

 

Sigrid was actualy having a good time at the national museum. She tried to visit at least one in every city she went too, rather than just hole up in her hotel. Despite the hiccup with Fili at the beginning everyone seemed to get getting on. Billa had somehow organised with the museum that there was limited access to the public whilst they were there so Sigrid didn’t get too swamped, for which she was grateful. They were currently at the jumping point of the tour, it hadn’t quite started yet and Sigrid wanted to hoarde this quiet morning before her afternoon with the press and the opening party tonight. She wished that her family had been there, but Tilda and Bain were still at school and she refused to let her Da come out and leave the kids. Regardless, she had ordered their weekly shop to turn up today, so Bard had to be be in the house to recieve it.

 

The Durisons were kind of like puppies, she thought. Always dashing about and shouting and laughing, to then crashing into chairs for 10 minutes or so before getting up and going again. Kili seemed to just be high on life; one moment he was enthusing about how to properly punch someone, then he was making an origami crane from the guide book, then he was discussing 19th century economics and how it still affected us today. Thorin was mainly silent apart from when he was talking to Dwalin, and then the two gossiped like old women. Billa was busily typing away on her phone Sigrid noticed guiltily, probably organising something for her. Whilst Sigrid knew it was Billa’s job to organise everything she still felt pretty bad about it, as her life had ended up taking over Billa’s life.

 

Fili was a bit more docile than his brother but there was still a spark in his eyes that suggested the amount of energy they had was genetic, but Fili was just better at holding a conversation. Sigrid wasn’t sure if it was a great idea to get that close to Fili in any way other than friendship. She had read all the signs off him; his eyes followed her across rooms with a heat that was not PG 13, he shifted his body to face her whenever they spoke, and was finding reasons to put his hand on her shoulder or back and lead her around. Sigrid knew if she but stretched out her hand he would come to her willingly. But it would not be worth it in the long run as they would then have to endure 10 months in close proximity. Sigrid groaned internally, why did this guy have to be in this band? She decided silently that whilst she would be friends with him she would stop herself before anything progressed past that: it just wasn’t worth it. Her personal history, the amount of press attention this tour was going to get and Fili’s nature (as much as she could see of it so far) were a time bomb she did not want to make. He seemed like the kind to run headlong into things, drink his fill, then leave with a smile and a sweet goodbye. Sigrid did not want that, despite how much she wanted to sink her fingers into his hair and see just how much beard rash she could endure before Billa banned her from kissing. It would be all up her neck as the top of his head only reached the bridge of her nose. Fili was clearly a guy who had been around a bit and possessed the easy self confidence of someone who was very sure of his own skills, Sigrid wondered briefly what it would be like if she just gave in and dealt with the aftermath when it came, and if it would be worth it.

 

It probably would be, for a time.

 

Shaking her head slightly to clear her thoughts Sigrid realised she had been staring at Fili apparently for some time. He was laughing with his brother and Oin about something, he head thrown back and his eyes closed. Aparently those three had given up on the museum now. His coat was slung over his shoulder and his shirt sleeves rolled up around thick forearms. Sigrid could see the ends of tattoos curling around his elbows. His skin was golden, she thought, with Thorin, Fili and Kili making a scale of colour from pale to tan. Sigrid shivered. Hastily she pulled out the old pain of ex boyfriends and press scandals that surrounded her relationships in her mind. She couldn’t inflict that on this guy, he did not deserve it. She couldn’t do it to herself either, she was 110% done with men and the trouble they brought her. At the moment of her resolution, Fili turned slightly and caught her eyes on him. His blue eyes were warm from laughter and he cocked his head and mouthed ‘you okay?’, raising an arm to scratch the back of his neck. Sigrid nodded, ignoring her waivering resolve. One look, she thought, one look and I’m already about to throw my decision out the window. She was profoundly pleased with herself that she didn’t glance down as his shirt rode up with his movements. Now was not the time to be seeing delectable hip bones.

 

Sigrid decided that, as she was now on the way to friendship with the majority of the Durinsons (apart from Thorin, the miserable bugger), she would focus on Ori for the rest of the afternoon. Ori seemed interested in the art she could drag him off and cool off a bit before she had to see Fili again.

 

Ori was quiet but passionate and, once she got him on a subject he enjoyed, she couldn’t stop his excited jabbering. His beanie often slid down over his eyes, he was continuously fiddling with his ginger hair and generally fidgeting. His baggy jumper reached his mid thigh, his skinny legs poking out and into some scraggly trainers. Sigrid noticed too that he was continuously holding his camera and snapping away. They had fallen into silence looking at paintings and as she was leaning to study one more closely she heard a shutter. After six years of fame Sigrid instantly whipped around, pinning Ori with a glare. The ferocity in her eyes made him squeak and fumble his camera sligtly as he lowered it away from his face.

 

“S-Sorry! It’s just a really nice light in here, sorry Sigrid!” He mumbled, blush reaching up to his hair, “I can delete it if you want!” Ori shoved his camera into her hands and retreated quickly. “Sorry, I should’ve asked.”

 

Sigrid turned the camera over and looked at the display. It was nice light. There was a skylight above her, so she looked like she was stood in a pool of light. The photo was a side on portrait in black and white, her body small in the frame with the floor stretching out infront of her and the cieling stretching on behind. The painting she was looking at dwarfed her, her face titled up and furrowed slightly in concentration. She looked like she was in the middle of stepping forward with one leg bent behind her. She had one index finger pressed against her lips, her other hand wrapped around her bag strap. Stray hairs from her braids waved about her face, and the dark of her clothing offset the white of her skin. Gently she handed the camera back with the photo in tact and feeling distinctly guilty.

 

“It’s my fault, Ori. I’m just kind of jumpy about photos in public, it’s a bit of a knee jerk reaction. Don’t worry, take as many photos as you like. You’re clearly very good at it.” Sigrid said kindly with a soft smile. “As long as you okay them with Billa before you post them anywhere.” Sigrid added as an afterthought. Ori nodded quickly.

 

“O-of course! Sorry! Thank you!”

 

“Come on, there’s Rembrandts to see.” Sigrid laughed, lacing her arm through Ori’s to hopefully comfort him a bit.

 

“Yes! Okay!”

 

As they turned out of the room Sigrid bodily crashed into Billa.

 

“Oh, sorry Billa. Want to come see some Rembrandts?”

 

“No, Miss Bowman, I want you to look at your watch and tell me what time it is.” Billa said, raising her eyebrows. “Ori dear, the boys were asking after you. They’re in the next room.”

 

Ori took his cue to leave and, with a small smile and wave to Sigrid, darted off. Sigrid by this point had checked the time and-

 

“Oh bugger, sorry Billa!” Sigrid garbled, already striding towards the exit with Billa in tow, “Sorry, I was making friends I guess. Is the car here already?”

 

“Of course, would I have it any other way?” Billa quipped. Good, Sigrid thought, she’s not annoyed. She was only 5 minutes late but Billa’s organisation ran with terrifying precision and it was best not to cock it up.

 

“No, obviously not. Do the Durinson’s know that we’re going?”

 

“Yes, I left them playing silly buggers in the cafe. Aparently you have to feed and water Kili every 4 hours or he’ll, and I quote, literally die.” Billa drawled, rolling her eyes. Sigrid pushed open the museum door for Billa, barely registering Dwalin now tailing them. He was really very good at his job. Sigrid sniggered.

 

“You’re hardly one to talk, no one else I know has ‘second breakfast’.”

 

“That is a very important meal I’ll have you know!”

 

“Yeah yeah...”

 

+

 

Spotted! Sigrid Bowman out and about in Stockholm before the opening night of her international tour, New Romantics. Who is THIS guy?! Move over Sig, can we have him?

 

+

 

Sigrid Bowman looks very different from the good girl image we are all used too. After a year break she’s back and bigger than ever with a new album and a new tour, both packing punch and attitude. She’s sat currently in a great black wingbacked armchair in her hotel suite where she’s staying prior to the first show of her tour here in Stockholm. Bowman is dripping class and elegance in a black satin off the shoulder crop top/midi A line skirt combo. A tantalising inch strip of her toned stomach shows between her outfit. Her long legs, adored the word over and reportedly insured for €5 million, are bare and crossed, gleaming white against the chair. Her blonde hair has been sharply pulled back off her face into a high pony tail, falling in soft waves at her shoulder. When I arrive, she’s surrounded by make up artists. She mouths ‘sorry’ and gestures to a tea tray whilst I wait. When they’re finished she has been turned into a smouldering seductress: dark lips, dark eyes with popping green pupils and sharp eyebrows. She hurries over to me and i realise she’s not actually wearing shoes yet, and barefoot she stands at about 5’11. “sorry!” she said again, a Welsh lilt still there in her voice, “I ended up getting distracted at the national museum and was late back. Sorry, would you like a cake?” She looks over her shoulder and Billa Baggins, her ever present PA, appears with a cake trolley. Sigrid Bowman is a blend of international superstar and Welsh country girl that has made the world fall in love with her. She’s known for her old world manners, emotional songs and that ongoing list of exboyfriends. Here at Aftonbladet we interviewed the superstar before her tour kicked off.

 

Aftonbladet: Sigrid, thank you for taking the time to join us today. How are you?

 

Sigrid Bowman: No problem! Thank you as well. I’m very good thanks, I’m so excited to be here. I love this city. And I’m excited to get New Romantics started!

 

A: I’m sure you are. You’re known for theming your shows, is there anything in store for this tour that’s different to your previous world tours?

 

SB: New Romantics is all about new beginnings. I’m sure you’ve seen the coverage of my personal life that has followed me since I was sixteen (Sigrid laughs) and I guess about a year and a half ago I just got sick of it, and decided to confront it rather than shy away from it like I had done up until then. New Romantics, and the new album, are all about me overcoming this crazy social pressure that I’ve been under and making a joke of the things that people say about me. So yeah, that’s the general feeling of the tour. As for show details, I guess you’ll have to come and watch to find out!

 

A: Interesting. You’re right, I know that your romantic relationships have been hounded for years. So ‘New Romantics’, why did you chose that name?

 

SB: I guess it’s because I wanted to enter a new relationship with myself. It was really hard growing up with all these people telling me I should be this way or that way, I should be with this guy or that guy, and especially difficult when stuff about my family that came up. It was really hard, despite having a great support network. So when I decided to just throw everything in the face of that, I also had to address my view of myself, because everything had really ground down my confidence over the years.

 

A: Really? But you seem so self possessed on stage?

 

SB: Yeah, I guess on stage it was never difficult. I’m at home on stage. It was more off stage. (Sigrid pauses and rubs her hand around her wrist) But I think now I’m in an incredible place and have never felt better. I’ve spent a long time cutting ties that were poisonous or holding me down. It was painful, but it was worth it.

 

A: I’m glad to hear that. What about the unannounced support act for New Romantics?

 

SB: Ah yes, I was wondering if you’d ask. It’s so exciting, they’re an up and coming band from the UK with this incredible sound, I’ve really never heard anything like it before. I think our styles really gel and they’re great guys so I’m sure everyone will love them too. They’ll be revealed tomorrow!

 

A: There were rumours that the Loriens were going to be supporting you, but if this is a band you’ve never played with then is it not the Loriens?

 

SB: Sigrid suddenly seems a bit subdued) No, not the Loriens.

 

A: It was rumoured because you seemed to be spending time with them again, especially Fin Glordell. Nothing in the pipelines then?

 

SB: Nope. Currently we aren’t working on any projects together. Who know’s though, maybe some point in the future. 

 

A: I see. One last question if that’s alright?

 

SB: Of course! Fire away.

 

A: Is ‘Sigrid’s Angry Dad’ going to make an appearance in Stockholm? He has quite a following online.

 

SB: (Sigrid laughs) Oh, I know he does it’s amazing, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened in my career. That’s what he get’s for shouting in Welsh so much. Unfortunately no he’s not, my brother and sister are still at school so they’re all at home. So sorry Stockholm! No angry dad (Sigrid laughs again, flicking her hair over her shoulder), I can put a request in though, maybe next time.

 

A:Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, and good luck with the show.

 

SB: Thank you! Have a lovely day.

 

Sigrid Bowman: New Romantics is tomorrow night at 8 pm at Stockholm Concert Hall. All tickets are now sold out but we are running a competion to give away....

 

+

 

“...and that’s the last one, good job Sig.” Billa huffed out, slumping down into the armchair opposite Sigrid. Sigrid mumbled in response, tipping her head back and closing her eyes. She found interviews fun most of the time but when they’re back to back for 9 hours it’s pretty gruelling, especially when there were so many things she couldn’t say. She raised her hands to scrub her face.

 

“DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE!” came a voice from across the room. Sigrid made a noise like a toddler having a tantrum.

 

“Bofur, I’m tired as fuck. Let me rub my eyes.” Sigrid whined.

 

“Oh no, little miss. It’s lasted this long, it’s staying on for the party. Also I’ve been drinking all afternoon so I can’t re do it.” Bofur quipped, beaming at her as he came over holding a shoe box. “Feet up lass.”

 

Sigrid complied and stuck her legs straight out. Bofur quickly unwrapped a pair of mid heel t-bar shoes, black like the rest of her outfit, and buckled them.

 

“I have no idea how you walk on those tiny ankles.” He mumbled, placing her feet back on the floor and grabbing her hand to pull her out of the chair. “Bifur! Get over here and check her hair.”

 

Bifur, who was currently hunched over his brushes, jumped to attention and scurried over. Sigrid smiled at him sleepily. The pair were rough and rude, but they were a part of her little family. As Bifur gently fixed her hair back into place, glaring when she complained that he was pulling her scalp, Billa pulled herself out of her chair. Sigrid realised that Billa had changed into a smart green shift dress that clung to her curves and cut off at the knee and her go to smart heeled brogues. Someone, probably Bifur, had tamed her hair and pulled it over to one side so it curled delicately around her face and tumbled down to her mid chest.

 

“You look nice.” Sigrid said, wincing slightly at the drag of Bifur’s comb. Billa bobbed into a bow.

 

“As do you. Though you also look like you’re going to eat a man.” Billa giggled, “I think you’re really getting into that look.”

 

Sigrid stuck out her tongue. “I’m not going to eat anyone, I just make them fear it.” Sigrid brushed her hands along her collar bones to rid herself of some imaginary hairs. “Are we good?” She asked, sliding her eyes to her side to look at Bifur. He gave her a grumble and a nod.

 

“Well,” Sigrid started, clapping her hands together, “as we were the only ones to work today, let’s go get smashed.”

 

Various cheers and hollering responded. The make up team trickled out of the suite as Sigrid paused to fetch her bag and adjust to the heels. Billa was waiting at the door, glaring at her phone.

 

“Billaaa,” Sigrid whined again, “no phones, party. Let’s go.” Billa looked up at her and frowned.

 

“Sig, how is this type of thing already happening? You have the worst luck.” Billa held up her phone, currently showing a grainy photo of a couple out in a street somewhere. The man was short and stocky, the woman tall and turning in towards him and speaking. His hand was on her lower back and their heads were close in conversation and the man was smiling at her with his teeth pushing into his bottom lip. Oh no.

 

Fuckaroo.” Sigrid hissed, smacking herself in the forehead with the heel of her hand. Luckily it was nearly 10 pm now and coupled with the time difference so Tilda wouldn’t have seen it yet, because as sure as day Sigrid’s phone would be ringing off the hook as soon as she had. Nine year olds apparently love gossip about their superstar sisters.

 

“Fuckaroo indeed.” Agreed Billa. “I’ll do some damage control, once they’re announced tomorrow it’ll be cleared up.”

 

Sigrid pushed Billa out the door of the suite and clicked it shut behind them, about to nod along, but then she paused. She thought about the things she had said today. Her new beginning and laughing in the face of shit like this.

 

“No.” Sigrid murmured, the word rolling in her mouth. Billa raised her eyebrows, looking up from an email she was already constructing.

 

“No?”

 

“Yeah, fuck it. Who cares? Let them murmur and make everything fucking Romeo and Juliet. They’ll know who he is tomorrow and then there will be no problem. Today I have worked hard an now I want to have fun. So fuck it.” Sigrid marched off down the corridor before Billa could respond, leaving her in a stunned silence.

 

Yes, she thought. Fuck it. Let them have their stupid rumours.

 

+

Chapter Text

 

“Sigrid! Tell us about the new show!”

“Who’s the new guy?”

“Where are you heading tonight?”

“Hey Sigrid! Look over here!”

“What’s the ne-“

 

The press gathered outside the hotel were silenced by the taxi door that Dwalin slammed shut. Sigrid, in the back with Billa, maintained a neutral expression until they drove away. Once out of sight Sigrid breathed out and slouched back against the seat, head turned to accomodate her ponytail. Billa patted her leg sympathetically.

 

“I checked on the Durinson’s earlier and they all seemed very excited for tonight, but they haven’t seen the photo yet, hopefully they won’t be too put out by it.” Billa said, eyes flickering as Stockholm rushed past them. Dwalin snorted from the front passenger seat.

 

“Trust me, the boys wont see that photo as a problem, especially not Fili.” Dwalin muttered with a slight hint of venom in his tone. Sigrid raised an eyebrow and quickly shut down the butterflies developing in her stomach.

 

“Oh?” She quipped, trying keeping her tone neutral. Billa groaned and threw an arm over her eyes.

 

“Don’t ‘Oh?’ us, Sigrid, we aren’t simple.” Billa huffed. Sigrid raised her eyebrows.

 

“What? Am I not allowed to know your cryptic language from on high? What are you getting at?” Sigrid challenged.

 

“Boys like that ruin girls like you.” Dwalin said quietly.

 

“And girls like you ruin boys like him.” Billa added, muffled by her arm.

Sigrid looked between her apparently despairing agent and body guard, her mouth hanging open in suprise. She made a spluttering noise before swallowing and trying again.

 

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Sigrid asked them at large, voice pitching up an octave. She saw Dwalin’s eyes squint at her in the mirror before he sighed and shook his head and looked away. Billa however openly glared at her.

 

“Sig, you have very specific tastes. That kid ticks all of them, and has charm by the wheelbarrow load.” Billa raised her hand to stop the retort forming in Sigrid’s throat, “firstly, it would probably not be a good idea to screw the front man of your supporting act and secondly, I don’t actually think you want a relationship right now. And we both know you can’t hump them and dump them.”

 

Sigrid blinked at her PA, desperately trying to pull something out of her mind to argue back, but there was really nothing. Petulantly she crossed her arms and sank back into her seat.

 

“Do you think that too, Dwalin?” Sigrid asked quietly. Dwalin nodded quickly.

 

“Fili... Fili doesn’t really do relationships either, Sig. I don’t think he would be able to give you that, regardless of how interested he is.”

 

Sigrid’s ears perked up at the last part.

 

“So he’s interested in me?” She breathed out before she could help it. Billa smacked her across the thigh and groaned again.

 

“Aren’t you listening Sigrid? Tell me, honestly, if you think this is a good idea or if you are just wanting to get him out of your system.” Billa asked sharply, pinning Sigrid once again with a glare.

 

“...it’s not a good idea, I know. When did you marry Da and become my mother exactly?” Sigrid mumbled, extinguishing the hope in her chest. They were right, of course. Sigrid wasn’t very good at commitment free hook ups, and if Fili wasn’t a relationship guy then... well, it just would never work, regardless of how disarmingly attractive he was.

 

Billa had sniffed at her question, not gracing it with a reply, before covering Sigrid’s hand with her own and giving it a squeeze. Sigrid squeezed back and flashed Dwalin, who was watching her intently in the mirror, a small smile. She knew that they were looking out for her and in all honestly she needed to be saved from her romantic heart sometimes. But still, a rich velvety voice that sounded like Fili’s whispered, there’s no harm in being friends. Right? Sigrid pulled her bottom lip between her teeth and nibbled it, a nervous trait she had picked up from Tilda. She could be friends with him, she had to be. They were going to be living with each other for the next ten months, she couldn’t ignore him.

 

 But after the tour, pretty Sigrid, what about after?

 

Blue eyes and straight, white teeth flashed dangerously in her minds eye.

 

Sigrid shook her head to clear the voice and images away. Afters were dealt with when they arrived in the present, there was no point in concerning herself with maybe’s.

 

The car fell into a comfortable silence and the journey was over a few minutes later. In reality Sigrid hated being driven such short distances, but it was more often than not required when she was out and about when on tour. The schedule was well known, and as such she was easy to follow. Dwalin exited first and circled the car to open Sigrid’s door. The response was instant. Camera flashes burned her retinas and questions upon questions were shouted. Luckily the bar hosting the party had erected barriers on either side of the entrance so they didn’t have to fight their way through. Billa stopped to answer a few questions, but the two women were quickly shepherded inside by Dwalin, who was glaring at everyone.

 

+

 

The bar was lush, Thorin thought, though he would never admit that out loud. It was decorated in a very French rococo style which Thorin thought was fitting, as this girl clearly had delusions of granduer. Sconces lined the walls and bathed the room in a soft, warm light that blended perfectly with the light blues and golds of the decor. Over stuffed armchairs, tables and stools filled the room, with two bars at either end. Someone had strung garlands of wild flowers from the chandeliers in great ropes of white and pink across the ceiling. Slow pulsing music was rumbling out of speakers somewhere. The fleet of taxis that the tiny busy body had at her command had whisked them, the dancers and the rest of the crew away to this place before the popstar arrived, some twenty minutes after. Thorin huffed into his beer at the very thought of Sigrid fucking Bowman. She was ridiculous, and not even English aparently.

 

Thorin had known what she, and her PA, were like the moment he knew who they were; arrogant, self obsessed and fickle, riding their shortlived wave of success before they ultimately dropped back into nothingness. Thorin had long buried those brief pangs of longing and humour he had felt when he had spoken to the PA at the bar before he knew who she was. It wasn’t his fault, she was ridiculously prim, anyone would find that funny. And you’d have to be a corspe to be blind to her curling hair and button nose and sumptuous red mouth. Thorin gulped down half of his beer. He didn’t care, really, that the PA seemed to be as cool with him as he was with her. Really, he didn’t care. And her card was definitely not tucked carefully into his wallet behind a photo of the boys when they were young.

 

The boys had long since abandoned him to go and goggle at some red headed dancer, or at least that’s what Kili was doing. They at least seemed happy with all this; and why shouldn’t they be, at their age. Their mother, his sister, had very firmly told him “not to fucking fuck this up for them by being a miserable fuck”, and Thorin was trying in his own way. He had wanted to turn up looking a total mess, but he had been forced into a deep blue shirt and black slacks. Fili had apparently taken it upon himself to pack Thorin more shoes (Thorin himself had just brought boots and flip flops) and glared at his uncle until he put on the leather loafers. Thorin sniffed, he guessed they were alright.

 

It was then that a body plonked itself down into the chair opposite Thorin. Thorin had specifically decided to sit as far in the corner as he could, and was trying to look as intimidating as possible, so whoever this was was clearly a simpleton who couldn’t read the ‘sod off’ body language he was conveying. Thorin slowly lowered his glass and glowered at his new table partner. It was a man, with long dark hair that seemed to be pulled into pigtails. A ridiculous deer stalker hat was perched on top of his head with the flaps sticking out on either side. He was grinning at Thorin, eyes fucking twinkling, with one hand cradling a drink and the other drumming out a tune on the table. Thorin glowered at him all the more.

 

“Lovely night for a party, eh?” The man quipped, a thick Irish accent lilting his words.

 

“Quite.” Thorin bit out. He didn’t want to talk to any of these people; they were all cogs in a part of the music industry that he hated, and he wanted it to stay that way.

 

“I’m Bofur, I’m Sig’s make up artist. Aren’t you that miserable manager Billa keeps having to talk to?” The man, Bofur, replied jovially totally unfased by Thorin’s icy demeanour. Thorin mentally filed away that the PA was apparently complaining about him.

 

“If you mean the manager of the Durinson’s, then yes.”

 

“Well, it’s a pleasure to meet ya. Just a warning though,” Bofur leaned forward, his smile conspiratorial as the scent of whisky hit Thorins nostrils, “I know you’re trying to hate us all, but we’ll wear you down eventually.” Bofur winked at him before pulling himself out of the chair and loping off to another table, possibly to invade someone else’s personal space.

 

Thorin glared at his back for longer than was probably necessary.

 

+

If Fili was the sharing kind, which he usually wasn’t, he would have said that the twenty minutes before Sigrid arrived dragged. Every minute he was glancing at the door or his phone, simultaneously checking the time and the room for her presence. He couldn’t get her out of his mind since this morning, hell since she had walked into their dressing room at The Man in the Moon. He hoped, rather desperately, that after a good hard fuck she would be out of his system and then he could get on with the whole tour business. Fili assumed that if all their cards were on the table this wouldn’t be an issue, as he had always maintained that honesty was the best policy in this kind of thing. The only tricky part was, well, the ten month tour they were now on. Fili had no idea how much time they were going to be spending together specifically, but he assumed it was going to be a lot. Would it get really awkward? Fili really had no idea what she was like, other than she seemed to have a great affection for her fans and a needy sister.

 

Finally, after twenty minutes of pretending to listen to Kili’s babble, Sigrid arrived. Dwalin pushed the door open for her and Billa, and shut it forcefully behind him. Cheering erupted in the room at their arrival and Sigrid cheered back, shouting something that sounded like ‘let’s get wrecked’ before rounding on the bar and rapidly firing orders at the tender there. Fili waved in the general direction of the bar, took his bandmates orders, and stalked over. The whole place was pretty packed, so it took Fili a while to wind through them, especially when he kept getting stopped by curious crew or dancers. He quickly slipped away from each group with a smile and finally, finally, made it to the bar, Sigrid was leant against it on her elbows overseeing the insane amount of drinks that the tender was making for her. Fili took the time to drink in her appearance; she looked more dangerous than he’d ever seen her, for lack of a better word. So very different to earlier but still obviously Sigrid. Her hair was pulled off her face in a severely tight ponytail causing the sharp lines of her face to stand out even further. Her make up was dark, eyes and teeth glittering below it, her skin the same porcelain white that still almost frightened him. Her top was off the shoulder giving a heavenly view of shoulders, arching collarbones and the divet inbetween that Fili wanted to outline in his tongue. He stopped an arms length away from her, before clearing his throat.

 

“Bad day?” he joked, nodding his head towards the bar covered in drinks. Sigrid’s head turned towards them, her face cracking from her vampiric appearance into a cheeky smile.

 

“They’re for everyone, you goose.” She retorted. “Any preference?”

 

“Whisky, on the rocks.” Fili smirked back.

 

“Oh my, how dangerous of you.” Sigrid drawled, before reaching across the bar and grabbing a whisky on the rocks that had already been poured and passing it to him. Fili made sure that his fingers lingered on hers just for a second.

 

“So, what’s the deal with these kinds of parties?” Fili asked, genuinely concerned as he surveyed the mass of people infront of them. Sigrid patted his arm and straightened herself. Fili noted that with heels she was nearly a head taller.

 

“Well, for you guys I guess it’s getting to know people. I understand it’s pretty scary coming in last minute, but everyone is lovely, and very welcoming. Nothing to fear, love.” Sigrid smiled, before being called from somewhere else in the room. She downed her drink then grabbed another. “Oh,” she continued, rounding on Fili again, “try not to let Tauriel eat your brother, okay? Sex on tour with your tour mates isn’t the best idea.” She grinned, but her eyes had taken on the same shuttered quality that they had when she thought he was insulting her. With another pat on the arm and another louder call of her name, she was gone.

 

Fili swirled his drink, watching her fingerprints on the glass catch in the light and indulged in the disappointment sinking in his stomach. That answered his question then. He took a brief moment to toast to whichever diety had put such a person in his life, even if he could only look on at her, and forced all thoughts of Sigrid Bowman that weren’t pure out of his mind ,before plunging back into the party.

 

 

+

 

The next time Fili spoke to Sigrid was much later in the evening when a lot more whisky had been consumed. She was sat inbetween Ori and Kili furiously discussing what the best songs were to play as a supporting act. Kili had earlier in the evening been told by Tauriel to ‘maintain 2 meters distance’, and had sulked about it. Apparently this was Sigrid trying to cheer him up as Fili took a seat next to his brother.

 

“...I mean, you’ve got to mix your own work with the classics. And then work the classics to your style!” Sigrid shouted over the music, arm slung behind the violinist. Kili pouted.

 

“I play violin, how can you adapt that to anything?” He grumbled. Ori and Sigrid shared a look.

 

“Where’s your sense of adventure, Durinson?” Sigrid teased, poking Kili in the chest. “That’s the beauty of music; you can adapt it to anything! Switch brass instruments for the violin, switch the electric guitar for a violin, hell switch the vocals for the violin, trust me you can make it work!” She enthused as Ori noddled along.

 

“I... I actually put together some detailed plans!” Ori squeaked, “I know we haven’t had that much time to plan anything so I just... well, I thought we could try some new things and strengthen our old things?” Ori fished out several bits of paper out of his ever present satchel with shaking hands. Sigrid turned fully to face him.

 

“May I see?” She asked kindly. Ori paused for a moment then nodded, swallowed, and handed them over. Sigrid promptly buried herself into reading them, causing a lull in conversation.

 

“Why didn’t you ask for any help, Ori?” Fili grumbled, feeling distinctly guilty. In all honestly his and Kili’s planning had summounted to ‘wing it’ and Oin’s was ‘just turn up’. Ori blushed and looked down, tugging on a lock of his hair and shrugged. Sigrid had now finished reading and slowly lowered the papers, observing Ori in the way one might a new found species.

 

“..what?” Ori stammered, hastily gulping down some of this drink.

 

“Can I keep you?” Sigrid asked seriously, placing both her hands on Ori’s shoulders and shaking him slightly, “Because you’re a fucking genius.”

 

Kili burst out laughing at the exchanged and launched into a story about their school days and Ori’s god like knowledge, with Fili filling in parts he missed. The stories ended with Sigrid laughing so hard her drink came out of her nose. She looked across at Fili, eyes alight in a way he hadn’t seen before, not even when she was performing. Her cheeks were pink and she was biting her hand to stop herself laughing any more, waving the other one at Kili feebly to get him to stop.

 

In the back of Fili’s mind something reminded him to breathe. Another part of his mind tried to hoard that image like it was something precious and divine, but the whisky blurred it too much for it to be clearly remembered the next morning beyond a hazy outline and vivid, too saturated, colour.

 

+

 

Thorin didn’t know how it had come to this, but it was definitely all that PA’s fault.

 

The make up artist hadn’t felt it appropriate to leave him alone all evening, and had come back with a tray of alcohol and a handful of friends. Dwalin had also appeared, scowling at the lemonade in his hand whilst looking forlornly at the tray. A game was proposed, cards appeared, drinking ensued. Before Thorin knew what was happening he was arguably enjoying himself and occasionally laughing along with his new drinking buddies. He made a point to ignore Dwalin’s shit eating grin.

 

It was then that the PA had walked past,  an empty keg resting on her shoulder. She stopped briefly infront of Thorin to say something to one of them, before continuing somewhere with the keg. A while later, she walked past with another.

 

“Lass, what the hell are you doing?” Bofur slurred from across the table. Billa shifted her weight and hiked the keg to a more secure place on her shoulder.

 

“Helping, you drunk idiot. The bar’s are too small to hold the used kegs as well as the full ones, so I’m taking them outside so you lot,” She pointed at them all, “don’t have to wait for your drinks.” She shifted again, grimancing slightly as some ridge on the keg dug into her shoulder. She then looked at Thorin, surprised. “Can I help you, Mr Durinson?”

 

Apparently Thorin had stood up at some point. His arms had also decided to reach toward the keg, pull it off her shoulder, and place it on his own. Billa scowled at him.

 

“I don’t need help, thank you very much.” She said primly, reaching up to take it back. Thorin smirked at the attempt; she was too tiny to get reach.

 

“Where does it go?” He drawled. Billa looked down right furious, lips pursed, hands balled into fists beside her. Dwalin was laughing into his drink. Thorin’s smirk only grew.

 

“Out that door.” Billa muttered lifting her chin and looking away from him, pointing a thumb over her shoulder. Thorin bowed his head and sauntered off, rather pleased at how much he had ruffled her feathers.

 

“...that guy is such a git. Stop laughing Dwalin.” Billa snapped behind him. Thorin’s smirk developed into a thoughtful smile as he pushed the door open with a wobbly leg and chucked the keg outside. She had been helping, not enjoying the party. Huh. She must be doing as a favour, he thought viciously, the likes of her wouldn’t help others. Thorin stumbled back to the table. Billa had left. Dwalin was still smirking at him.

 

“What.” Thorin mumbled, glowering at Dwalin.

 

“You like her.” Dwalin all but beamed. “And you’re too much of a bone head to do anything about it.”

 

“You’re decieved, cousin.” Thorin spat. Him? Like her? Ridiculous.

 

Thorin ignored a small voice in him, which was suggesting something much more concerning; she may actually be a nice person.

 

+

Chapter Text

Billa awoke to her phone alarm, a wake up call from the hotel and her laptop alarm all screeching at her in tandem. Pulse racing and a garbled stream of swear words in her throat, she gracefully sat up and fell face first out of bed. Picking up the phone and mumbling her thanks to the receptionist, she glared angrily at her still screaming phone. The screen blinked 5:02 AM at her. Billa sighed. One day, she thought whistfully, one day I will get my weekend layins back. Shutting off her laptop and lightly treading over her sprawl of clothing on the floor, Billa nipped into the shower.

 

            As PA to the star of the show, Billa got certain perks. Sigrid always insisted that Billa had a suite the size of her own, and Billa was eternally grateful. The bathroom was extensive and entirely marble. The bath itself was sunk into the floor, a great 6ft square, and a giant bronzed shower faucet hung above. The room also had french doors leading to a balcony, but flowing curtains protected the bathers modesty.

 

            With an audible groan Billa stepped into the bath and turned the faucet on. Steam rolled and filled the room as the warm water washed away lingering fatigue and aches from the previous day. Thinking of the previous day, Billa frowned as she thought of Thorin, angrily scrubbing her hair with shampoo. That guy is a cocky peice of miserable shit and is infuriatingly beautiful, she grumbled internally. Really, the nerve of that guy. The Durinsons themselves were lovely, despite the slight Fili/Sigrid problem, but their fucking manager. Billa hadn’t seen anyone strop like he could since she dropped strawberry lemonade down one of her cousins at a country fete. Dwalin in his own way was steadfastly trying to vouch for his relative, and throwing in a sleu of sexual inuendos, but Billa wasn’t buying. The man was intentionally rude; something unforgiveable in Billas well kept books.

 

            Not that thinking about how easily he was slinging barrels around last night was necessarily a bad thing. I mean, thinking about him as an object when he was a terrible person didn’t make her a terrible person, right? Billa thought that maybe that would cancel out what she was doing thinking about him.

 

            The steam swirled, losing the rest of the room in the haze, and the water set her skin on fire, the marble cool against her hand that supported her whilst the the other furiously worked. His eyes, dear lord his eyes, she could feel them burning into her even now. She wanted to wipe that self assured arrogance off his face and watch him crumble before her, make him want her more than the air he breathed, wanted to hear the way her name would sound on his voice when it was rough and broken and whether his strength would be a bruising touch and how he would look when she rode him to oblivion and just how good he would feel between her thighs and if his dick was as thick as the rest of him and if and if and if-

 

Billa came so hard she thought she might pass out.

 

She shut off the water. The steam slowly cleared out the doorway to the balcony. She was dressed and ready in 5 minutes, breakfast consumed in 10. Without a backwards glance to the bathroom Billa strode out of her room and into her day. The lift doors pinged merrily as she turned the corner, giving her just enough time to slip in before they shut. With her back to the lift she set about going through the schedule for the day on her iPad, ignoring possible other occupants.

 

“Well, good morning to you too.” Came a barritone from behind her. Billa visibly jolted, snapping her head round to see of fucking course thank you life for this. Thorin cocked an eyebrow and smirked, his eyes glinting with something like amusement. “My, aren’t you a scaredy cat in the mornings.” He drawled.

 

He was leant against the back wall of the lift, arms crossed. He wasn’t wearing his usual shirt/jeans combo though, oh no. Today he was encased in a perfectly tailored midnight blue suit, complete with a crisp white shirt and a silver tie. His hair was down but pulled back from his face, beard imaculate and shoes glistening under the lighting. Billa felt saliva pool in her mouth. With her voice apparently on holiday, she did the only thing she could. Billa narrowed her eyes.

 

Thorin graced her with a flash of teeth, some weird predatory version of a smile, with his head cocked. Billa didn’t look away, and neither did he. The lift felt suddenly all too small and all to slow, the very air around them seemed to charge. Thorins eyebrows pulled down ever so slightly into a confused frown, and he opened his mouth as if to speak. He uncrossed his arms and – minutely – turned a hand palm up towards her.

 

Billa shifted her weight back, and began to turn her hips towards him, despite her brain (somewhere behind the fuzzy noise filling her ears) screaming at her not too.

 

The lift pinged.

 

Like dropping a full glass of water, the moment shattered and that weird feeling fled. Billa snapped back to facing forward and before the doors even opened, marched out into the lobby. She thought she heard a sigh. She didn’t look back.

 

+

 

The day was a whirlwind of nerves and that crazed, jittery excitement that reminded Fili of the time he went skydiving with his uncle Frerin when he was 18. He was pulled this way and that, led through sound checks and told set lists by Ori, but the whole time he was on autopilot and slowly plodding towards the big jump. Before he really knew it they were ushered into dressing rooms somewhere in the giant theatre they were perfoming in, and left for the first time to their own devices. Thorin was pacing and, like he always did on their first gig of a tour, was wearing a suit. Oin was miming out his drumming and muttering to himself, shaking his head and starting again whenever he slipped up. Ori was staring into space and Kili was talking (shouting, actually) to their mother on the phone.

 

“Ma wishes us all luck!” Kili said, grinning at his brother and clapping him on the shoulder. “Are you ready to lead us, brother?”

 

Fili knew that, despite his joking tone, this was his brother seeking reassurance. His smile wasn’t quite as wide and a nervous bounce was developing in his left leg. Fili grabbed his brother and pulled him into a headlock.

 

“Of course I am, you twerp.” Fili scruffed up Kilis’ hair with his spare hand, causing loud complaints to ensue, “Now lets get dressed and show Stockholm what hot fucks we are.”

 

And with that, clothes and shoes errupted across the room.

 

Fili watched as his bandmates tossed various articles between each other. We are a well oiled machine, he thought to himself, and we can over come anything. Even a tour with Sigrid fucking Bowman.

 

A few moments after the last shirt had been buttoned and the last shoe tied, and a short rousing speech from Thorin, a knock and a shout of “LET’S GO!” came from the door. Fili slung his guitar strap around him and quickly pulled all of them in for a hug.

 

The door then flew open, apparently the stage hand didn’t want to wait, and they were marched to the stage. It had a similar backstage set up as the previous show they had seen, with a small couch area to the side so staff could watch the show, where a couple of people were already sat. The deafening buzz of the crowd had already started, and Fili could see their small set up from sound check had been perfectly recreated and a rack of spare guitars, bass’s and violins had been set up just to the side. Sigrid, he thought, that type of care had Sigrid written all over it.  He hadn’t actually seen her since the party the night previous, but he guessed being the star of the show was a pretty busy job.

 

The stage hand brought them to a stop next to the couches, and told them to wait a few minutes. Kili’s leg was bouncing even more, and Ori was turning a slightly concerning green. Oin continued his furious air drum practice with a frown that was progressively deepening. Fili opened his mouth to talk but he found that, despite his vocal warm up, he had no sound he could make. As something close to terror pawed at his mind, one of the figures rose off the couch. It was Sigrid.

 

“Guys! How are you?” She said, somehow quiet but still heard over the noise. She stopped between Ori and Oin, throwing an arm around each of them and gestured for the two blood Durinson’s to lean in. She was half dressed for the show; partly wrapped in some bodice but with some ratty sweatpants on her legs. Her face looked concerned as she assessed each of them, before smiling at them.

 

“Look,” she started, “I know you’re probably shitting yourselves right now. I would seriously doubt my judge of character if you weren’t. But I want you to know that I would never have asked you lot to join me if I didn’t think you could you this. In fact, I know you can do this.” She paused for breath, and squeezed Ori and Oin for effect, “The energy you have, the prescence. Watching you play is intoxicating. And yeah so, okay, you’re my warm up, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t fucking kill it tonight, okay?”

 

“...yeah, you’re right Sigrid. We can do this!” Ori squeaked, his face reverting back to it’s usual blushing red. Sigrid grinned at him and knocked her head lightly against his.

 

“That’s the spirit, champ.” She enthused. “What about you, Oin?”

 

“Huh. I guess if they’re all here we should play...”

 

“Oh we’re not just gonna play, Sigrid fucking Bowman, we are gonna own your stage tonight!” Kili all but yelled, pointing his finger at her whilst laughing, “When we’re done, they’ll all leave because we’ll be that great!”

 

“Oh yeah? Think you can one up me, Durinson?” Sigrid quipped, her lips twisting into a smirk and throwing her arms wide. “Come at me then!”

 

Kili shouted something that sounded like “For the North!” before diving at her, grabbing her round the waist and throwing her over his shoulder. Ori and Oin joined in and soon Sigrid found herself being thrown between the three of them. Fili grinned and stepped up, shoving his brother out the way and catching Sigrid cleanly. She was still laughing. Fili let his face fall in mock seriousness.

 

“Are these ruffians bothering  you, my lady? Should I do away with them for you? Feed them to a dragon?” Fili drawled, bowing his head to her. Sigrid guffawed and slapped his chest.

 

“Put me down you bunch of idiots, my legs are insured for an insane amount of money.”

 

“All the more reason to break them!” Kili yelled, earning him irritated glances from the sound techs. Sigrid frowned at him with an open mouth, looking between them all. Ori shrugged whilst Fili shared an evaluating look with Oin before looking back to Sigrid.

 

“Maybe your legs could be our retirement fund?” Fili asked innocently. Sigrid rolled her eyes, before shifting in his arms to be put down.

 

“You lot are the worst,” She muttered in false annoyance. Once on her feet again she shucked out of her sweat pants, and passed them to a roadie, who passed her a pair of brogues. She was in those damned leather trousers again. Quickly she slipped on her shoes.

 

“So, are you ready boys? Because I’m introducing you.”

 

+

Chapter Text

 

Stockholm Concert Hall was packed to the rafters. Over the last hour the guests had been pouring in and gradually the noise had raised from loud to ear splitting. Sigrid Bowman hadn’t been to Sweden for over a year and, given her massive global rise in popularity, it felt like the entire country was in the building. Not only that but online rumours about her secret support act had been flying left right and center, heightening even further after the photo of Sigrid and an unknown man surfaced the day before. 7:59 PM. The curtain was still down.

 

8:00 PM.

 

The house lights dropped, screaming ensued. Two great spot lights circled briefly before setting in the curtain. The curtains dropped and somehow the noise level raised even more.

 

In the center of the stage was a modest set up. Four young men were checking their instruments, stood shoulder to shoulder in front of their set up with their backs to the crowd. The screaming continued, rising, rising....

 

“Stockholm, I can’t hear you...”

 

Rising...

 

“Is that really the best you’ve got?”

 

An ear splitting, unintelligible wall of noise.

 

The four men suddenly turned around and moved to their mic’s and the drum kit. The lead singer grinned wolfishly at the crowd.

 

“I think they all know that’s not me, Sig.” He drawled, winking at the crowd. His face was multiplied across the screens around the hall. Tinkling laugher came through the sound system.

 

“Aww, you got me, guys.” From stage right, in strutted Sigrid fucking Bowman. “So you don’t think this guy could pull of being me?”

 

The man laughed and strummed a quick riff on his guitar.

 

“Nah, I’m too pretty to be you.” Somewhere, over the screaming, there were some giggles.

 

“Stockholm, my rude friend here is Fili Durinson.” (screaming) “and this is Kili Durinson,” (screaming) “On base we have the beautiful Ori Ri,” (screaming) “And finally on drums we have the magnificent Oin Durinson.” (screaming) “and together they are, THE DURINSONS!”

 

“They are my very dear friends, and will be sharing this world tour with me, and you all have the joy of joining us in our first gig together. Now,” Sigrid paused, grinning at the crowd, “I have to finish getting ready for you all but, in the mean time, please show my friends the kind of WELCOME THAT WE GIVE HERE!” Sigrid ended with a shout, throwing up her arms and bowing her head to the crowd. The noise rose once more and Sigrid quickly met each of the boys’ eyes. Fili was last and she outright grinned, winked, and gave him two thumbs up before waving (a lot) and went gliding off from whence she came. The Durinson’s shared a determined look and a collective deep breath. This was it, the big jump. Fili angled his body away from his bandmates and back to the crowd. It was so dark in comparison to the stage lighting that he couldn’t make out how many people were there but by god could he hear them. He put his lips to his mic, an old gift from his father that came to every show, and he did was Durinson’s did. He overcame his fear, and carried on. But his brother beat him too it.

 

“Let’s hear it for SIGRID FUCKING BOWMAN!” shouted Kili, leaning down to his own mic and sticking his tongue out at his brother.

 

“Like she said, we’re the Durinson’s. Who’s ready to dance?” Fili finished, Oin already counting them in over their ear pieces. The crowd roared back. With one last glance to his bandmates, Fili played the first few notes of their first song to Oin’s beat. Ori’s bass reverberated through his spine and then, the final piece, Kili’s violin over the top of their melodies. As soon as they began to play it was like they were back in their tiny practice space in their mum’s attic. The noise grew and swelled around them. Fili brought his lips to his mic again. Breathe in, breathe out, and...

 

Weep for yourself, my man,

You’ll never be what is in your heart

Weep, little lion man,

You’re not as brave as you were at the start

Rate yourself and rake yourself

Take all the courage you have left

And waste it on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head

 

As he drew in breath for the chorus, Fili took a moment to grin at the crowd before slamming the next notes out of his guitar. Ori was straightening out so he could join the vocals, and Kili had a foot pressed against the amp infront of him and, somehow over all the noise, Fili could here him laughing.

 

But it was not your fault but mine

And it was your heart on the line

I really fucked it up this time

Didn’t I my dear,

Didn’t I my...

 

Tremble for yourself, my man,

You know that you have seen this all before

Tremble, little lion man,

You’ll never settle any of your scores

Your grace is wasted in your face,

Your boldness stands alone among the wreck

Now learn from your mother or else spend your days biting your own neck

 

Kili took that moment to shift his body weight into the leg on the amp and jumped, launching himself several meters further across the stage, all the while still playing. As always, Kili was the center of the show.

 

But it was not your fault but mine

And it was your heart on the line

I really fucked it up this time

Didn’t I my dear?

 

But it was not your fault but mine

And it was your heart on the line

I really fucked it up this time

Didn’t I my dear?

Didn’t I my dear?

 

The pace changed to a slow, shifting melody that was steadily rising. They let the music whirl for a few bars before Fili brought his voice in, harmonising with the music. Next Ori, then Kili, and finally Oin all brought their voices in as the music rose and rose. The very air seemed to buzz, thrumming with the sounds of their voices. All at once, they stopped.

 

But it was not your fault but mine

 

And then they exploded back into noise.

 

And it was your heart on the line

I really fucked it up this time

Didn’t I my dear?

Didn’t I my dear?

 

But it was not your fault but mine

And it was your heart on the line

I really fucked it up this time

Didn’t I my dear?

Didn’t I my dear?

 

 

The song ended, and Stockholm went wild.

 

This, Ori thought, as he grinned at the crowd before them, is how you have a good time.

 

+

 

“We have time for just one more before Miss Bowman,” (screaming) “joins you again tonight, and uh, I think you’re going to like it. It’s a cover of a Swedish band... Ready, brother?” Fili quickly wiped away the sweat from his face with the sleeve of his shirt.

 

“I,” (screaming) “will you let me finish?” Kili laughed into his mic, winking at his brother. “Ready when you are!”

 

Oin counted them in and Ori rocked minutely to the beat,

 

 

Half past twelve

And I’m watching the late show in my flat all alone

How I hate to spend the evening on my own

Autumn winds

Blowing outside my window as I look around the room

And it makes me so depressed to see the gloom

 

There’s not a soul there

No one to hear my prayer

 

Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight

Won’t somebody help me chase the shadows away

Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight

Take me though the darkness to the break of the day...

 

Somehow, even with the glaring lights and giddy high of playing live, the Durinson’s knew that somewhere, Thorin was glaring. Fili laughed in the interlude, jumped and span in a circle as he swung his guitar around his body, and poured his heart and joy into an ABBA cover. Well, his Ma had requested it, it was the least they could do.

 

+

 

Sigrid fucking Bowman was currently dominating the stage of the Stockholm Concert Hall. The entire place was sparkling with lights which were fracturing off her beaded bodysuit, her thigh high boots cutting shadows as she strutted between her dancers. The song was bassier than anything they had heard at her warm up show, something off a recent album that dropped before the tour, and Stockholm were loving every second.

 

The Durinsons, high off their performance, had only skittered over to the crew’s section in the wings so they could watch the show, and Billa (as usual) had appeared out of nowhere with snacks, drinks and beers for them, beaming from ear to ear and nearly crying because she was “just so proud my dears!” She had been quickly shooed away by Thorin. Ori hadn’t sat down yet and had actually started dancing with dancers who were waiting to go on. Oin was hovering around the sound desk and asking lots of questions. Kili and Fili, with their uncle, were destroying the food Billa had brought and watching Sigrid.

 

“You did good, boys.” Thorin said through a mouthful of BLT, delicately brushing crumbs off the suit he was still wearing. “Your mother wanted to call you straight after, but I told her to let you cool off first. I’m assuming ABBA was her idea.”

 

“What really? Uncle, I’ve been snapchatting her this whole time.” Replied Kili, perplexed and holding his phone at arms length. Thorin scrunched up his nose.

 

“Snap whating?” He mumbled, more to himself as he new his nephews were not going to explain social media to him. They didn’t.

 

+

“My darlings, this has to be the last song. I was supposed to shut up about half an hour ago.”

 

Sigrid, alone on stage bar her mic stand and guitar, grinned at the crowd’s pleas and screams.

 

“How about this, I want all of you who can, lift up anything you have that lights up. I want you to sing and dance with me, I want to feel you on this stage with me, and I want us to blow the roof off this place. Can you do that for me?” (screaming) “I thought you could. Now,” Sigrid shifted, light shimmering around her off her costume, and plucked a few notes out of her guitar. She paused to tune it. “I’d like to play a song that is very, very special. It’s one that you have told me you relate too, and at the end of the day, that’s all I want from my music. I want it to mean something to you guys. I want my fuck ups to comfort you in yours,” Sigrid paused again to laugh to herself and take a swig of water. “So, remember what I said, I want you to sing and dance. I want you to light this place up.”

 

Sigrid rocked back on her heels, and counted in her band. Then her head snapped up and she smirked at the crowd.

 

I remember when we broke up, the first time

Saying this is it I’ve had enough

Because like

We hadn’t seen each other in a month when you, said you, needed space,

 

The resounding “WHAT?” from the crowd could be heard 5 streets away.

 

Then you come around again and say, Baby

I miss you and I swear I’m gonna change, trust me,

Remember how that lasted for a day

I say I hate you, we break up, you call me, I love you,

 

(ooh)

We called it off again last night but

 

(ooh)

This time I’m telling you I’m telling you

 

Sigrid let go of her guitar and flung her arms wide, lights and showers of sparks exploding across the stage at her signal. The crowd’s own lights bobbed and waved with the beat. Sigrid pulled her mic off the stand and walked to the very front of the stage.

 

We are never ever ever, getting back together

We are never ever ever, getting back together

You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me

But we, are never ever ever, getting back together....

 

+

 

This just in: Sigrid Bowman just dazzled Stockholm on the opening night of her world tour, New Romantics. Good job Sig! She’s definitely grown up since her last tour; look at those legs! We wish we could dance in leather pants...

 

Sig’s opening act turned out to be the little known Durinson’s, who are big on the UK folk scene but not much else. And guess who that guy was then? Fili Durinson, the frontman. We don’t think that’s a good idea Sig! We all remember what happened last time you dated on tour!

 

+

 

Thorin finally closed the door to his hotel room and fell heavily against it. In one movement he loosened his tie and threw it into the darkness, glad to be rid of it. His heart, cantankerous beyond it’s years, felt ready to burst. His boys, his nephews, his pride and joy, had played a blinder. Despite the obvious nerves they had truly exceeded even his expectations, which were usually pretty high. And not just his nephews; seeing Ori, who used to literally hide from other people, laugh along with the jokes on stage, was truly a sight. Oin on the other hand could probably stand still in a nuclear blast.

 

Slowly he peeled himself off the door and, shedding clothes as he went, fell face first into bed. The clock blinked 2:45 at him. He had stayed with the Durinsons for a few drinks but had gracefully bowed out to allow them their fun. That, and the PA was there. And was steadily getting tipsy herself. After what Dwalin was now calling ‘barrelgate’, Thorin did not want to be near her or alcohol at the same time, lest he do something regrettable.

 

            The PA had seemed genuinely sincere in her congratulations for the boys, but he thought the tears were a bit much. No one is that affected by other people’s success, not positively anyway. There had to be something wrong with her, Thorin internally mumbled, no one can be that friendly, efficient and beautiful. It just wasn’t fair. Exhaustion washed over him and, falling into the embrace of sleep, his mind pondered locks of curly hair, shining hazel eyes and plump, little mouths. Needless to say, Thorin slept very well.

 

+

 

            Thorin woke up to his phone ringing. Flailing an arm around to find it he didn’t bother to check the caller before answering; only one person would call at this time.

 

“I was sleeping, Dis.”

 

“Wow, great for you. Why is everyone asking me if Fili is doing Sigrid Bowman?”

 

Thorin opened his eyes with a start, suddenly awake.

 

“What?” he growled. On the other end, Dis sighed.

 

“I thought you would know as you’re their manager. It’s all over the internet. Have you even checked since you left?”

 

Thorin let silence answer for him. Dis sighed again.

 

“Of course not. Basically someone photographed them looking friendly and, because he talked the most on stage about her, they’ve added 2 and 2 and come out with 4000.”

 

“I’ll fix it.”

 

“Fix it?” Dis laughed, “I don’t think there’s anything to fix. An awkward apology to Sigrid Bowman maybe, but this is the first example of the fame rumour mill I guess.”

 

“Why would I apologise to Miss Bowman?” Thorin grumbled. He did not like being woken up to talk about Sigrid fucking Bowman.

 

“Not you, idiot, Fili. This seems to happen to the poor girl a lot. It might be an idea for him to talk it over with her so she know’s he doesn’t blame her. You do have to see her every day for 10 months.”

 

“Wait, why did you wake me up if there’s nothing I can do about it?”

 

“Oh, I was wondering if it was true.”

 

Thorin made a noise like a wounded animal. “Diiiisss.....” he complained, throwing an arm over his eyes.

 

“Alright, obviously not. What, she’s cute! I guess it would be a bit hasty though... but then again, you know what Fili is like. Anyway, speak soon!”

 

Dis clicked off the line, and Thorin’s phone went the same way as his tie the night before.

 

+

 

The next month was a blur. The gig in Stockholm was a blinding success, and suddenly the Durinson’s found themselves the center of media attention like no other. Old EPs were dredged up and, after Billa asked, were currently being reprinted to be sold at shows. Interviews were scheduled online, on the phone and in person. Collaboration request’s flooded in, and Fili even got a request to model for a guitar make. Also, Ori’s book blog had suddenly become vastly more popular, and he had began discussing idea’s on online streams with other book lovers the world over.

 

The Durinson’s found their place within the family of the crew. Bofur stuck to Thorin like a burr and in time Thorin was actually beginning to like him, much to Dwalin’s amusement. Billa too was steadily throwing him more and more off his guard. She would randomly send him food or new shirts, or a guide on something interesting in the area they were in, usually something historical. Rather than being endearing, as he assumed she was intending, he was starting to find it unnerving; she was sending him all of his favourite things. Thorin was holed up in his room late at night, working through an avalanche of emails from the day, when a soft knock came from the door. Stretching he heaved himself out of the chair, he padded over and pulled the door open, expecting his room service dinner.

 

It was his dinner, but apparently Billa came with it too.

 

“Um, hello. I wanted to ask you something and I saw them delivering your dinner, so I figured I’d just ask now... is that okay?” She was speaking quietly, leaning against the door. She looked tired. Against his best intentions, Thorin opened the door wider.

 

“I ordered a lot, let’s share.”

 

Billa’s smile rivalled the sun.

 

“Great, I haven’t eaten yet. Thanks Thorin!” She slipped past him pushing the food trolley. Thorin frowned.

 

“Wait, didn’t I see you and Miss Bowman eating dinner in the hotel earlier?”

 

Billa paused at the table where she was laying out the food, her lips puckering in confusion, before her face cleared and she nodded.

 

“Oh, yeah, I did. I have about 5 meals a day.” She said it like it was normal, and continued setting the table. Thorin shook his head and shut the door. He slumped into the chair opposite and tucked in with gusto. He noticed appreciatively that Billa did the same. He thought he heard a soft moan, but when he looked up from his plate she seemed normal enough. Once the majority of the food was consumed, he sat back and considered her. She was wrapped up in a giant maroor sweater that fell to her mid thighs and dark green leggings. He hadn’t noticed earlier, but she was actually bare foot. Her hair, usually well kept despite it’s curly nature, seemed a bit more wild today, tumbling down her back in a great auburn mess. Before she could notice him staring, he remembered what she said at the door.

 

“You wanted to ask me something, Miss Baggins?”

 

Billa looked up from her plate at her name and nodded, swallowing the last of her food. Thorin made a point to not look at her throat.

 

“Please, call me Billa. I keep telling you that. I was actually wondering how you’re doing with the boys popularity?”

 

“Fine. Why?”

 

“Well,” Billa looked down at her hands and twisted them into the sleeves of her jumper, “I remember what it was like with my first big client and whilst I’m not a manager I have a lot of experience with dealing with this type of thing.” She suddenly stopped and looked up, going red in the face, “N-Not that I think you’re not experienced or that you can’t handle it! Not at all! Just that, this side of the industry is very different from the folk scene. You have to tread so very lightly or you’ll wake up every snake in the grass.” She finished in a hurry, chewing on her lip.

 

Thorin took a few moments to collect his thoughts, and also to leave Miss Baggins – Billa - to stew a bit. He had already definitely offended a few people. One, someone from Mirkwood Studios, had said he would literally rather die before speaking to Thorin again. Thorin may have insulted his honour as a musician. Not only that, but Thorin did see the benefit in consulting someone already well established in the industry. Balin had been fairly helpful, but he wasn’t actually here. Whereas Billa was in the very room. Billa was currently staring at him fairly intently. Thorin leant back in his chair and folded his arms behind his head, gave Billa a once over and then cocked an eyebrow.

 

“Well, Sensei, teach me.”

 

+

 

Three and a half hours later Billa had metaphorically beaten that cockiness out of him. After getting Thorin to run through what he’d been saying to people Billa had marched him to his laptop with a stern look in her eyes. They had gone through every last thing he had drafted that day and had effectively rewritten it. She had made lists and lists of pointers and tips for each studio, magazine and blog, written bio’s on CEOs and reporters, and had hundreds of suggestions for free publicity for the band. She was effective, thorough, and terrifyingly in control.

 

“No, wait,” Billa leant over his shoulder and tapped her pen on the screen. “yes, you’re getting to the point but you need to ham up your introduction, as bad as it sounds you’re selling the band. These people won’t have heard of them.”

 

Thorin grunted in response and started tapping out a new intro, and grinned over a certain word that Billa sighed over as soon as he wrote it. She dropped her head and breathed out heavily through her nose.

 

“Thorin, you can’t call them bastards.”

 

“But they are bastards, Dis didn’t marry Vili till Kili was four.”

 

I know but you just... you’re doing this on purpose.” Billa muttered the last part, sliding her eyes across to glare at him. Thorin found himself forcing a smile down. Billa raised her eyebrows in surprise.

 

“Holy shit, a smile. It must be late.” She laughed, straightening up again. Her hair trailed across his shoulder in a heavy blanket.

 

“I do smile.” Thorin pouted. He was pouting more at the loss of her closeness. Billa gave him an incredulous look.

 

“Sure you do, and I don’t eat.” She scrubbed her hands over her face then stretched, checking her watch as she did so. “Oh bugger, I’ve been a slave driver for nearly four hours. I’m so sorry, we’ve got an early flight tomorrow!” Billa whirled on the spot, grabbing various possessions she’d scattered about. She returned and placed a hand on Thorin’s head, patting him gently.

 

“Well done...” She mumbled through a yawn, “Wow Thorin you have nice hair. Seriously, be a hair model.” She patted him once more, ignoring Thorin’s frozen form, and stumbled to the door. Thorin shook himself mentally and got up too.

 

“Why would I want to be a hair model?” He drawled, crossing the room and leaning against the door so she couldn’t leave. Sleepiness seemed to be suddenly descending on her, because Billa gave Thorin a very lazy smile with half closed eyes.

 

“Why not? People play with your hair all day, you get paid loads, and you’re pretty so your hair would be everywhere.” She yawned again before she realised what she’d said. Thorin raised both his eyebrows and smirked at her. Billas face turned red, and it crept down her neck too.

 

“I, um, I mean...”

 

“You mean I’m not pretty? Billa you wound me.” Thorin pressed a hand against his heart. Billa opened and closed her mouth several times before shaking her head wildly.

 

“No! Of course you’re pretty, I mean, objectively, I mean-“ She stopped as Thorin’s thumb ghosted over her chin, pulling down on her lower lip. It puckered out toward him. Her eyes flickered up, confusion and want clouding them; something Thorin felt would be in his too. Despite every lesson he had ever learnt, every broken heart he had nursed, words slipped from his mouth as easy as breathing.

 

“Miss Baggins, may I finally kiss you?”

 

A beat of silence, breath mingling. Then, two hands fisting in his shirt and hauling him forward.

Chapter Text

The month on tour had been a whirlwind so far. A heady mix of bright lights, music, whisky and an endless stream of new people and attention. The Durinsons’, especially Fili and Kili, were giddy off of it. 28 days in a blur.

 

Sigrid, whilst charming and fun, kept them all at arms length. There were moments, like their first show, when she was so happy that she seemed to glitter around them, but the majority of the time she drifted past like a serene dream. Her only other points of contact were when she quietly discussed music ideas with Ori.

 

Fili was fucking sick of it.

 

That wasn’t to say that he thought she was doing this to avoid him, but he had a hunch. He overheard a dancer telling Sigrid that he had slept with them and it was the first time he had seen her close to anger. He was politely ignoring his memory of her telling him not to sleep with people on the tour. (Also she had technically said Kili shouldn’t let Tauriel eat him, so really it wasn’t the same at all)

 

This growing mindset, coupled with half a bottle of whisky curling in his stomach and his bandmates leaving whilst he was in the shower had led to Fili slumped in the hotel corridor outside Sigrid’s room. His phone blinked 02:35. She had to come back at some point. He didn’t really know what his plan was, but he had to do something.

 

Just as he was about to crawl towards the lift Fili heard the padding of bare feet around the corner. Sigrid appeared in another giant plaid shirt with a beaten up acoustic guitar slung over her shoulder. Her hair was a curly mess, and she was intently reading through a notebook, pencil hanging from her lips. She didn’t notice Fili until she nearly kneed him in the face.

 

“What the fuck Fili!” She squeaked, dropping the papers on his head. Fili lifted a hand and plucked up the papers, handing them back. He tried to give her his most charming smile.

 

“Good evening, Miss Sigrid. How are you?”

 

Sigrid gave him a leveling glare.

 

“Tired. Get out of my door way so I can go to bed, please. I thought you lot were all out enjoying the fruits of Milan.”

 

“Alas, my brothers left without me,” Fili hung his head and placed his hand over his heart, “Therefore, I give you my allegiance.”

 

“Just what I wanted! How did you know?” Sigrid drawled with an eye roll, but this time the corner of her mouth lifted slightly, “But seriously, get out of the way. The doors open outward here.”

 

Fili begrudgingly left his station on the floor. As Sigrid jostled the key in the lock he finally absorbed how she looked.

 

“Have you been recording or something?” He said, reaching to look at the papers tucked under her arm. Sigrid stiffened at the door before doubling her efforts, turning her face away from him. Fili frowned.

 

“No, just... just doing some writing, you know how it is.” Her voice was partly covered by the creaking of the door which she all but hurled open and stepped inside. “Goodnight!”

 

Sigrid went to slam the door behind her, but Fili stuck his foot in the gap, wincing as the wood slammed into it. Sigrid gave him a calculating look with a raised eyebrow. Shifting her weight to one leg she crossed her arms.

 

“Fili, what are you doing. I want to go to bed, and you are drunk or you apparently bathe in whisky.”

 

“No.”

 

“No? No what?” Sigrid’s mouth opened in amusement. “I didn’t realise you were in charge of my bedtime.”

 

Fili’s mouth was working before he had a chance to stop it.

 

“Would you like me to be in charge of it?” His voice dripped like honey, clearly not talking about when she went to bed but what she did in it. Sigrid’s face instantly dropped, jaw clenched, eyes shuttered.

 

“Get the fuck out, Fili. Never say that to me again. Go screw another one of my dancers if that’s what you wanted, but fuck off.” This time Sigrid drew the door back, clearly about to slam it. Fili removed his foot as it banged shut.

 

Shit. He thought. Shit shit shit shit. What the fuck was that, brain.

 

Fili retreated, licking his self inflicted wounds.

 

+

 

Sigrid slumped against the door, bending at the waist and covering her face with her hands. She was nearly shaking with rage. What the hell was that? Despite Fili being drunk, that was out of hand. She had been desperately, desperately, pushing all of them away whilst trying to stay civil. Focus on her work and focus on her family, that was Sigrid’s life. Being close to the Durinson’s, any of them, meant being close to Fili. And Fili was apparently her fucking kryptonite.

 

Would you like me to be in charge?

 

“Fucking narcissist.” She muttered into her hands.

His voice, despite his shitty words, had that curling coaxing effect that made her suddenly feel empty. That, coupled with a month of stoically watching him perform live, had left Sigrid slightly highly strung. Screaming slightly into her hands, Sigrid then pushed herself off the door and desposited her guitar – a gift from Eowyn a long time ago – back in it’s cradle. She pulled the now slightly crushed lyric pad from out under her arm, placing it on the desk. She spread her hands and lent over it in the dim light from the window. The city was alive and pulsing outside. With a face like stone, a face she had fought for, Sigrid Bowman read over what her heart had been screaming.

 

You got that James Dean daydream look in your eye

And I got that red lip classic thing that you like

And when we go crashing down, we come back every time

‘Cause we never go out of style,

We never go out of style...

 

Sigrid read and, inside, she let herself pretend that it wasn’t about him.

 

+

 

Fili tore a hotel poster off the reception wall and, ignoring the slightly sleepy protest from the hotel staff, rode the lift back to Sigrids floor. As a song writer he always carried something to write with and, as luck would have it, he hadn’t lost the pencil in his back pocket in his drunken rambling. He had sobered up considerably after seeing the furious face of Sigrid Bowman.

 

Tugging on the ends of his hair, Fili considered and swirled words in his head. By the time he had reached the 5th floor again, he had fixed his order and scrawled it across the back of the poster. Marching, with a slight wobble, back to the door Fili held the paper up against the wood. No noise came from inside. Holding the paper flat he drew his other hand back gripping the pencil, and swung forward to ram it into the wood. The pencil split but embedded in the wood, holding the paper up. Fili grinned sadly at his work before slouching off to his bed.

 

 

+

 

Billa was being burnt alive.

 

Thorin had quickly abandoned Billa’s lips and moved to her neck. He had shifted to the side, pulled the door firmly shut, before slipping an arm under her ass and pulling her up to his height. He was all beard stubble and teeth and sweet, wet sucking. His spare arm was braced against the side of her head, his chest and hips crushing just enough. Billa buried her hands in his hair scraping down his scalp and rocked her hips, tugging at his hair. She wanted him to stop and keep going forever. She got a growl in response, and Thorin doubled his efforts. He had made his way to her collar bones and was currently running his teeth along one of them, lips curling as Billa let out a strangled gasp. She tugged harder, winding her fingers into his hair and forceably tipping his head back. Thorin’s mouth was red, eyes blown wide.

 

“Can I help you, Billa?” He rumbled out, tightening his arm under her ass so the pressed fully against her. Billa smirked at how hard he was. Slowly leaning forward, she took is earlobe inbetween her teeth and grazed across it, revelling in the responding shiver. Tightening her hands in his hair so he didn’t move she released his earlobe with a wet pop before setting her lips next to his ear.

 

“I think your mouth would be more efficient elsewhere, Durinson...”

 

Thorin stilled, then growled again, his long fingers tightening on the outside of her thigh. He drew her closer, and pushed them off the door. In two strides he was at the bed, stepping over his forgotten work, and pretty much dropped Billa onto the mattress. Billa only bounced once before he descended again. His hair falling forward and trailing around him as he bunched up her jumper in his hands, tugging it off her torso. Billa’s lost her sight for a moment, smothered in knitwear, and before she was free Thorin’s lips were pressing their way between her breasts, sucking and scraping his teeth. Billa moaned again, wriggling free and hurling the jumper away.

 

They were not savouring each other by any means. Quick, firm movements. The room was too hot, sex and sweat and city air filled it. Muffled moans were met with bites and scratches, always pulling closer, harder. Billa tore buttons off Thorin’s shirt, laughing as the pinged across the floor. Thorin responded by literally tearing her leggings as he rolled them down.

 

Hey, I liked tho – oh...”

 

Thorin had gotten rid of her knickers too, and had just used his broad hands to spread her thighs apart, fingers curling around her soft hips. He was panting, shirtless, and a red blush spreading down his chest. Billa unconciously angled her hips towards him. Thorin shot her a slightly feral grin before shifting, spreading one hand over her stomach, holding her, whilst the other trailed towards the apex of her thighs. He lent forward, Billa thought fleetingly he was going to kiss her, but caught a nipple between his teeth at the same time the pad of his thumb brushed down her wet folds. Billa jerked, air catching in her throat but hips held down by Thorin’s hand. She heard a chuckle. She brought her arms around Thorins broad shoulders and raked her nails across. Thorin hissed and stilled.

 

“Sensitive, aren’t we...” Billa murmured, assessing him for a second. Thorins eyes met hers and, aside from the obvious lust, they held something else Billa didn’t have the care to assess right now. She dug her nails a bit harder, relishing in his gasping moan, “Weren’t you doing something?”

 

Thorin’s eyes, if possible, looked like they were nearly completely black. Swiftly he buried a finger inside her, crooking it towards him and pumping it quickly. Billa all but shrieked.

“I didn’t realise you complain so much.” He grumbled even as he quickened the pace.

 

“I didn’t realise- you – were such a fucking tease.

 

“You really aren’t one to talk.”

 

Thorin cut of her reply with the addition of another finger. Again, his pace was merciless. He released her stomach to wrap his hand around her thigh and press it into the mattress, changing the angle to stroke her insides. His gaze was burning, flicking between his fingers and her face, watching her reactions as he twisted and scissored them. Billa was rising off the bed, twitching, orgasm imminent but not quite there.

 

“Thorin, Thorin please...”

 

Thorin’s smile was triumphant. Still fingering her he lent forward and ran his tongue around her entrance, his moan stiffled into her flesh. His tongue switched to his lips, soft kisses across delicate skin before he found Billa’s shivering clit. Billa pushed herself onto her elbows to watch him. In the dim light his face cut a softer profile, hair dark against her pale thighs. Gentle kisses turned into more urgent sucking, his tongue swirling in time with his quick fingers. As Billa dropped her head back, Thorin shifted his angle, pulling her hips closer and somehow moving quicker. Billa dropped back onto the matress, covered her face in her hands and squeezed her legs around Thorin’s head.

 

“Jesus Thorin – fuck I –“

 

Thorin responded by adding his third finger and lavishing her clit with his tongue, the movements simulataniously pushing Billa over the edge. Her vision darkened slightly with the force of her cumming, she was fairly sure she’d made a wonderful mess of his beard. After a few moments of glorious nothingness, Billa realised Thorin was tugging on her knee, apparently requesting to be released. She let her legs unlock and slump to his sides. The speed at which he pulled away would’ve made her laugh if it wasn’t for his fingers leaving her, causing her to whine instead.

 

“I couldn’t breathe properly.” He complained, rocking back on his heels and appraising the view of a sprawled post orgasm Billa, “Next time you cum all over my face don’t lock your legs up around my head.”

 

At this, Billa did laugh. Thorin, years later, would tell her how much he still treasured that first bell like laugh she graced him with.

 

Billa lazily reached for him, pulling him down to her side, rolling toward him as he sunk into the mattress. Thorin curled an arm around her and pulled her into his chest, pressing kisses up her neck as Billas high retreated. After a minute her hands were slipping down his stomach and tugging at his jeans, his kisses turning into nips.

“I’m going to make to wear so much make up on my neck tomorrow, you jackass.” She muttered as she finally released him from his clothing, rolling him onto his back and letting him kick the jeans off. Thorin reached up to touch her, but Billa caught his wrists and placed them abover his head, pressing lightly.

 

“My turn...” She purred.

 

 

+

Chapter Text

Kili sat, as always, observing his brother with the fascination of a wildlife reporter. At this current point in time both brothers were eating breakfast in their suite to the soundtrack of Oins snoring. Kili looked up over his eggs trying and failing not to snicker at the obviously suffering Fili. Fili scowled like a thundercloud.

"What." Fili chewed out between his tentative, wincing sips of coffee. Kili smirked softly and said nothing.

"What, Kili." Fili said again, his voice gaining a stony edge. Kili’s smirk grew even further. "Either speak or I'll wipe that shit eating grin off you myself." Fili finished with a final glare before reaching for some plain toast.

"I'm proud of you brother." Kili said in a singsong voice. Fili winced at the pitch before resuming the glare.

"Of course you are, I'm fabulous. But why this moment specifically?" Fili had far too much experience with Kili’s word play to not give direct questions.

"For bedding the leading lady. I'm assuming that's- what the fuck was that for?!" Kili yelped as toast splashed into his mug of tea. Fili was flipping him off from the other side of the table, "was she actually more kinky than you and scared you or something?"

"No, you fuck nugget. I didn't sleep with Sigrid. Don't say shit like that to her, unless you want your arms ripped off." Fili muttered looking into his mug, chewing forlornly on his remaining piece of toast.

Kili fished out the bread with a sugar spoon before looking across at his brother. Fili looked ashamed, which was new.
"Did someone actually turn you down?"

"If you mean she gave me a very clear no, then yeah, she did."

"I didn't realise that that happened to you. Huh, go Sigrid."

Fili frowned at his brother quizzically.

"What D’you mean 'go Sigrid'?"

"Well, she dodged a bullet there, you're the worst."

The breakfast promptly descended into a food fight.


--


Sigrid woke up with a splitting headache, coming from too little sleep and too much coffee. She groaned and shoved the hotel phone, which was blaring as her alarm, off of the bedside cabinet before snuggling fully under the covers.

Five minutes (or an hour, Sigrid was dozing and didn't keep track of the time) later, Sigrid’s door opened with Billa backing in holding a laden tray with a piece of paper between her teeth. Sigrid blinked at her blearily.
Billa set down the tray and, wordlessly, ripped off Sigrid’s duvet.

"You're a horrible old woman." Sigrid grumbled, curling in on herself and hugging a pillow. Billa took that too with no resistance from Sigrid save a pitiful mewl.

"Get up before I cause a scandal by telling everyone how much of a diva you are." Billa laughed, briefly retreating to the table to pour two cups of tea and sitting on the edge of Sigrid’s bed and handing one to the singer. "I found this on your door, Sig."

Billa handed Sigrid the paper she had had between her teeth, and watched closely as Sigrid read it. In a giant scrawl it read-

SIR-SIGRID (your name is so WEIRD)
IM A FUCKING IDIOT
I KNOW HOW TO BE FRIENDS WITHOUT MY DICK
LETS BEGIN AGAIN, LIKE ALL THAT SHIT YOU SING ABOUT
that wasn't meant to sound rude FuCK I'm SoRRY
- DURIN’S ASSHOLE SON

Sigrid groaned, dropping her head on her knees. Billa serenely sipped her tea.

"Explain," Billa ordered simply. Sigrid groaned again, "...now, before I remind you that I oversee your PR and am currently trying to hush the hotel about your busted 200 year old door."

At this Sigrid lifted her head and frowned.

"Fili didn't bust the door. I probably broke his foot with it but it didn't break."

"Tell that to the 3 foot split in the door. From where he attached his apology note. With a sharpie. By embedding it in the door. Seriously how are you not aware of that?"

Sigrid mumbled in Welsh before uncurling to check the door. Indeed, if she lent close enough, she could see the hallway outside. She ran a finger along the jagged edge.

"Fuck," she muttered softly, "did anyone see it?"

"No one but an old lady who had far too much money to care about you," Billa said airily. Sigrid raised her eyebrows.

"You're surprisingly okay with things." Sigrid commented.

"I'm always okay with things. I am the chillest of the chill." Billa said nonchalantly, tossing her hair over her shoulder, eyes darting ever so slightly away from Sigrid.

"Huh. What did Thorin say about all this? If you know then he does."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Billa replied, "why would I be spending time with that oaf?"

Sigrid snorted.

"Because he's their manager and this is obviously something that needs damage control, or at least a vague plan. Why wouldn't you talk to him?" Sigrid grinned foxily, pouncing on Billa’s issues with Thorin as a distraction from the hole in the door. Billa frowned and ever so slightly blushed, shifting her turtleneck.

"Ah yes, obviously I have spoken to Thorin, about strictly work topics. As we work together."

"Obviously."

"Yep. Now, why is Mr Durinson impaling paper into your door like a barbarian?"

Sigrid sighed and gulped down some tea.

"Because he wanted us to hook up last night, and I said no. I guess this is his apology."

Billa pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows.

"He did what?" Bills growled.

"He wanted us to hook up." Sigrid repeated, "and I said no, he left and apparently he imbedded a note on the door."

"Did he hurt you? In any way? I swear Sigrid I will get him off this tour sooner than you can say tea time, just give me the word." Billa had now crossed the room, visibly ready to fight Fili to the death and took Sigrid’s chin in her hand, twisting her head this way and that, looking for bruises or marks on her person. Sigrid placed her hands on top of Billas and squeezed them, soaking in her support.

"I'm fine, B. He didn't hurt me or even touch me. I asked him to leave, and he left." Sigrid said softly. "I guess you were right that he was into me though." She added, smiling weakly.

Billa frowned and, once she was happy not a hair on Sigrid’s head had been touched, wrapped her arms around her young charge in comfort and support. Sigrid responded in kind.

 

"I just... I guess I hoped it would never happen in the first place." Billa sighed before smiling sympathetically, "Sorry you had to deal with that. Are you sure you're okay?"

"It's fine. He clearly still wants to be friends, I'm sure it was just a lapse in judgement." Billa pulled away and trotted across the room to get their tea. Sigrid brushed some lint off her shirt, shaking her hair out over her shoulders. "It's fine. It's for the best to stop his silliness now anyway."

Billa looked at her thoughtfully.

"Whilst I'm glad you're saying all this, what happened to your staunch defence?"

Sigrid’s mouth opened and closed before she was saved from answering by her phone. Billa dug it out from underneath the pillows and tossed it across the room.

"Oh, it's Bain." Sigrid said before taking the call and turning away from Billa, wandering into the sitting area. Billa swung her legs off the edge of the bed before hopping up and crossing back to the table to get a biscuit. There, to the side of the tea tray, was a stack of crumpled notes covered in Sigrid’s "working" scrawl. Billa, as the youngest child of a nosey family, couldn't help herself.

".... Bain, just tell her that she can't..."

I should just tell you to leave cuz I

"... Why the fuck would I buy her a pig? We don't even have a yard for one..."

Know exactly where this leads but I

"... No no NO do not give her my card details- BAIN-"

Watch us go round and round each time...

Billa sipped her tea quietly, and cursed her curiosity.

--

"Fili."


Thorin burst into the room with no ceremony except the swish of his hair. Fili instantly cringed. Thorin rested a hand on Kili’s head and smiled softly at his youngest nephew. Kili screwed up his face.

"What's up with you?"

"What do you mean what's up with me?" Thorin looked affronted.

"You're all..." Kili shrugged and flapped his hand about before it landed on top of Thorin’s one resting on his head "...touchy." Kili finished lamely. Thorin glared at him and curled his hand back, rapping Kili on the head with his knuckles. He rounded on Fili who was sat still covered in breakfast shrapnel whilst Kili rubbed his head, scowling. Thorin pulled out his phone and passed it to Fili. Fili took it in sticky fingers and looked down. He swallowed audibly.

"What is that." Thorin asked flatly.

"A door."

"Who's door."

"Sigrid’s door."

"What happened to Sigrid’s door."

Kili was watching the two of them with unbridled curiosity that was anything but supportive. Fili huffed through his nose.

"I may have thought it a good idea to try and woo her then she said no and I felt so awful I put an apology note on her door." Fili said in a rush. Thorin raised his eyebrows, unimpressed.

"I won't stand for this Fili." He said darkly. Fili hung his head.

"I know, and I am sorry. If Sigrid wants me gone I understand and I'll go but..." He looked across at his brother, "I'm sorry."

Kili shook his head suddenly and pointed at his brother.

"You're not going anywhere. He can't go anywhere! Right, Thorin? He's not going? Thorin?" Kili was gabbling, still looking between them every second or so. Thorin pinched the bridge of his nose.

"I don't know Kili, it's entirely up to Sigrid and that is entirely fair," he said whilst holding up a hand to block Kili’s retort, "Fili I hope you apologised properly and honestly, because if you go then we all go. I hope you realise what you've done."

Thorins cold contempt was worse, Fili thought, than a raging fury. Thorin left muttering about damage control, slamming the door on his way out. Oin at that moment left the bathroom, wrapped in a towel with his hair piled up on top of his head. He glanced between the brothers, the exiting Thorin and the mess of the breakfast table. Kili was scowling at his brother, and Fili was looking down in self-loathing.

"Did somebody die?" Oin asked.

---

Thorin marched himself to Billa’s room and desperately thought about anything other than their activities yesterday evening. Billa had had a phone call and left early, and hadn't returned, but sent Thorin a message saying he could stay as long as he liked and eat anything he wanted. Thorin was first a little hurt by her exit but he then discovered the reason (his idiot nephew) and was angrier than anything else. His nephews had been raised to respect everyone equally, and Fili had not shown Sigrid any of that. With said nephew thoroughly cowed and sad looking, phase two of damage control was put into action: apologising to Sigrid.

Only Sigrid was in Billa’s room, with Billa, doing something he didn't care to know. Ms Bowman things, he presumed. Maybe making a voodoo doll of Fili, possibly. It would make the whole process far more awkward with Billa there. Thorin had had flings and one night stands before, but he hadn't really realised the issue of having one with someone you're on tour with for the next 9 months. A little bit of a dick move, as his sister would say. Thorin breathed in deeply dislodging thoughts of Billa and last night before breathing out, and knocking on the door.

Sigrid answered, owl eyed and wrapped in a giant cardigan. Her hair was sticking up at odd curly angles and her skin pale in the morning light. Thorin could see the shadows of some spots across her face and the faint purple swipes under her eyes from lack of sleep. She looked the most normal he'd ever seen her, and his opinion of her went up by several degrees.

"Good morning, Ms Bowman," he said seriously, "may I come in?" Thorin tried to balance his natural ‘demanding’ voice with something softer, not wanting to scare or annoy her. Sigrid grinned.

"Mr Durinson, please do." She moved aside and pulled the door open. Thorin saw flashes of Billa pressed against that door in his minds eye. He smothered them quickly: it would be better when they left this hotel.

"Is Billa here?" He asked before he could think better of it. A low laugh came from across the room. Fucking great, Thorin thought.

"Aye, and little old me." Said Dwalin who was nursing a coffee cup on the sofa. Thorin started to scowl at him before remembering why he was here. Sigrid had now shut the door and was turning toward him, so he schooled his face into something more contrite.

"Ms Bowman," he started, "I am truly sorry for any disrespect my nephew may have shown you. They were not raised like that but it doesn't change the fact he did what he did. All damages will be paid in full by us, you have no worry there. I know Fili himself feels very ashamed but he will not come to you unless you want him to. If you wish him gone, it will be so." Thorin said in a low rumble, but sincerity was laced into his tone. Sigrid blinked at him and Thorin thought she looked out of sorts for a moment, like she hadn’t expected either the apology or his approach.

"Thank you, I really do appreciate it Thorin, but I wouldn't make him leave over that." She said kindly. "Fili was out of line, I expect a sober apology from him not just this," she waved about a crumpled piece of paper in her hand, "and an immediate change in behaviour, but I don't want him to leave."

Thorin blinked at her. He had mentally prepared himself for a storm. Sigrid flopped onto the sofa next to Dwalin, putting her legs across his lap before craning her head round to the kitchen area of the room.

"Billa! Is there more coffee?" Thorin jumped at her name. There was a responding squeak and a crash from the kitchen. Dwalin’s smirk spread and he waggled his eyebrows at Thorin. Thorin scowled and cursed the blush he could feel creeping up his neck. Billa came in. She was wearing a high roll neck Thorin noted with shameful pride. She didn't look at him as she balanced a tray with a coffee pot and cups before depositing it on the low table. She didn't look at him when she poured a cup either, but her eyes darted up when it was nearly full and she fucking purred-

"Dyou take milk or sugar, Thorin?" The tone of voice was an echo of her demands and requests from last night, the demands and requests he had bent to immediately and pliantly.

Thorin rasped out his preference and resolutely ignored her sly smile, Dwalins smirking and Sigrids confused yet pointed stare.

Only 9 months left.

+