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There is Thy Gold, Worse Poison to Men's Souls

Chapter Text

It was like emerging from an ocean of blood. The putrid smell overwhelming your senses as the heat slowly made it unbearable to move upward. Trying to hold your breath, less your mouth be filled with the metallic taste. All the while you swim towards the light above the surface. To fresh air. To life.

And then you awake. He awoke. Awoke not to the sun, by the pale canvass of the ceiling. His breath came out in labored breaths as he started upwards. No water was in his lungs, but his chest was constricted. His back ached, and he looked down to find his bare chest covered in bandages. Hesitantly, he went to touch the, only to hiss as it stung like a bee sting. He groaned in pain, and felt a weight on his legs. He glanced down, and jumped in shock, before staring in awe.

There, with her fiery hair splayed out like a halo, lay his love, asleep with a look of worry etched into her face. She looked haggled, like she hasn't slept in days. She seemed to be catching up on it. And he had never found ger more beautiful.

Tentatively, he lifted his hand to brush away a piece of hair obstructing her face. His fingers barely brushes her cheek, yet her eyes fluttered open. He felt his breath catch as the emerald spheres locked gaze with his dark ones.

“K...Kili…?” She whispered, her voice struck with awe as she looked at him like some kind of miracle.

“Tauriel, Armeline ,” he returned with Judy as much awe. “Is this the Halls of Mahala? Have the Valar giftedness with the vision of you one last time?”

Lifting her head, the elf maid laughed, before cupping his face.

“No, A'maelamin. This is the healing tents. Azog and his kin are dead. We won my dwarf. And I am as real as you are alive, Melamin .”

Taken by surprise as she pressed her lips to his, Kili soon returned it with all the rising passion. The passion of being alive! Of having his one in his arms! Of the battle being won!

‘The battle….We won!  Blog is dead! Azog is dead!  Thorin! Fili!’

CRASH!

Kili snapped his eyes open as Tauriel broke the kiss. He turned his head to follow her gaze at the front of the tent. There stood Ori- Ori! He survived as well!- who had just dropped a pot of what looked to be water, and was gaping like a fish out of water.

“Uhm-well-uh…Kili, you're awake,” Ori stammered out, trying to look anywhere but directly at the dwarf prince and the elf maid.

“Aye. It was the best wake up, too,” Kiki floated, not trying to hide his smirk. A slap on the shoulder brought his attention back to Tauriel, who was-wait, was she blushing?

“Oh! Oh that's good!” Ori laughed nervously, before he completely sobered up with a jerk. “Oh my Mahala! Kili, you're awake!!”

“Uhm.. Ori, we just said-.”

“BALIN! OIN!”

Kili nearly hit his head on the headboard. He never heard Ori shout that loud. Before he could even process it, the little dwarf ran outside, shouting at the top of his lungs.

“KILI’S AWAKE! HE’S AWAKE!”

He laughed boisterously, before looking into his love’s eyes and tearing up. He pressed their foreheads together and they both giggled.

“I'm awake.”

 

-~-

“He's awake! He's awake!”

Bilbo snapped his head up from the book, facing the flap of the tent. A bundle of knitted scarves rushed past the rest t, before rushing back and stumbling inside. Ori was flushed, his braids stuck to his sweating forehead as he grinned at the resident burglar.

“Kili! Kili's awake!”

Bilbo could've sworn he felt his heart skip a beat. Kili- little puppy eyed Kili - was awake. He felt the overwhelming urge to rush to his tent. Then he caught himself as he heard an intake of breath beside him.

Whatever anxiousness he felt, Thorin must've been feeling it ten fold. The relief in his eyes were perfectly clear, there was longing and sadness in them as he looked at his injured form. But the stubbornness dwarf, thick headed as he was. Attempted to arise. Bilbo quickly rushed to his side, gently preventing the flinching dwarf from moving any further.

“Ah ah ah! No, not with those injuries you don't!”

Thorin. Looked to him and glared. But the slight pout in his mouth told Bilbo he wouldn't put up much of a fight.

“He's my kin, I must see him,” he growled out, and Bilbo tutted.

“With those injuries? You'll scare the lad back to sleep!-Now don't give me that look, Thorin Oakenshield! I want to see him just as much as you do but the lad just woke up. We don't want to overwhelm him.”

Thorin sighed, sinking back into his bed and features to Ori.

“Go on, Ori, make sure the rest of the company doesn't know until after Oin checks on him.” A beat passed, before he added. “Oin should be in Fili's tent. Hurry on.”

Ori nodded, before speeding out of the tent, leaving the king and his burger alone. An awkward silence rang through as Bilbo shifted in his chair, his body tingling with anxiousness. Too long after, he picked up the book he has been read aloud earlier, and coughed.

“So, where where-.’

“Master Baggins, you may go if you wish.”

The hobbit looked at his friend and blinked in surprise.

“I'm not going to leave you alone,you're too vulnerable.”

“There's guards outside the tent, I'm hardly vulnerable,” Thorin spat out the last word like it was poison, but then gave Bilbo a kind smile. “Go. I know you yearn to.”

“But Thorin-.”

“Bilbo.” The aforementioned stiffened, as he was not used to the dwarf king using his first name. Nor was he used to the cool touch of his calloused hands on his own. “For both of us, go see Kili.”

A moment later, Bilbo nodded. He marked his place in the book,l before closing it and placing it next to Thorin. He rushed out of his seat, and began to run out. He called behind him to his friend

“We’ll finish when I get back.”

As the hobbit made his way through to mud of the camp, his mind playing through the quickest route to Kili's tent, he wasn't able to see the longing look Thorin gave him as he left.

Within a few minutes of almost falling in the wet ground, or his uncovered feet getting stuck in the muck, he made it to the crowded tent. Crowded since the company minus the badly injured ones, must've heard Ori’s screeches.

Small as he was, he was able to slip past their billing forms to reach the cot. There, Oin was checking on a bed raffles and weak Kili, who was grasping the hand of the elf Tauriel as Oin mercilessly began changing his bandages. Relief fled the hobbit, and he felt a tear roll down his face as he sniffled. It seemed to catch the young prince’s attention, for he turned his big brown eyes to him and grinned ear to ear. It tugged at Bilbo's heart to see him smile.

“Blast it all,” he sniffled as he whipped his eyes. “Now I truly do wish I brought my handkerchief.”

“Master Boggins!” Kili shouted, and Bilbo scoffed as he made it to the cot.

“How many times do I have to tell you it's Baggins?” He reprimanded, all the while enclosing the young dwarf in a big. Only to have it broken up by Oin, who tutted.

“Not when I'm changing his bandages,” he grumbled out, mumbling something along the lines of “Damn emotional sissies.”

Kili rolled his eyes, before turning back to Bilbo full of worry. “How about you, Bilbo? How's your injuries?”

Consciously rubbing the back of his head, he shrugged.

“Good. Nothing bad. Just a few cuts and bruises. A bump on the back of my head. Nothing a little sleep and a cup of tea couldn't fix. That's what i've been telling Thorin, all you need-.”

“Uncle? Bilbo, Uncle's alive?!” His eyes light up like a fauntling at Yuletide. “How is he?! Is he awake?! Is he-?!

“Kili! Slow down!” Bilbo insisted, as if talking to a hyperactive fauntling. But with the bouncing and questions, he might as well have been. Once Kili settled down, Bilbo began.

“Yes, he's alive. Yes he's awake, and as far as being well...he's alright. A little worse for wear, but alright.”

Kili sighed in relief, before raised a questioning eyebrow. “What do you mean worse for wear?”

There was a shift in the tent. All of the company including Tauriel  fidgeted, and Bilbo scrambled for words. It hasn't been all that hard of an adjustment, it was just… well, different.

“Well, um…. You see, he has all those stab wounds and all…But...Well you see, when he was fighting Azog… that is to say-.”

“The white bastard took a chunk out of his nose,” Oin deadpanned, and Bilbo flinched at his frankness. Kili seemed to conjure up the image, and scowled as if he had eaten something sour.

“Oh...well… that's...unpleasant.” Kili coughed out, and Bilbo scrambled for some way to make this not seem as awkward as it was.

“It's nothing big, it s just o. The side of his nose. It's more of a deep gash then anything. Beside, it doesn't detract from his face or anything-.”

“So, what you're saying is that you still find him handsome?”

“Yes, that's exactly what I-wait, no!” Bilbo stammered as his face free hotter then Smaug’s breath when he realized Kili’s sly remark. “That's not what I meant at all! N-not to say that he's not, he's very handsome- drat! That's not-ugh!”

Bilbo threw up his hands in defeat, before covering his face, drowning out the laughter of the company. He was brought  back from the the brink of death by a reassuring Pat on the shoulder, courtesy of Balin.

“Easy lad, the dwarfling’s just pulling your leg."

“Dwarfling? I'm 77 years old!” Kili pouted, before his eyes widened. “Unless I've- No! Is that grey in my hair? Nooooo! I'm as old as Uncle, aren't I?!”

The young dwarf began to sob, until he was cuffed on the head by Dwalin.

“It's been one week, wazzock. So quit yer whinging, ye babe.”

“Hey! No hitting my patients!” Oin snapped at the bald warrior, walking him with his horn. “It's bad enough that you carried Fili in like a ragd-”

“Fili!” The young dwarf shouted, before looking at Bilbo with hopeful smile that broke the hobbit’s heart  “Bilbo, how's Fili?”

Bilbo shifted his feet in comfortably and avoided Kili’s gaze. The whole room went silent, and from the corner of his eye, he could she Tauriel placing a comforting hand on Kili’s shaking shoulder.

“I-Is…. Fili...is he…?”

“No, Kili, he's alive, Melamin ,”Tauriel insured, before turning to Bilbo with pleading eyes, urging him to tell him.

Swallowing thickly, he turned his eyes to Kili, whose own eyes were shining with instead tears. He took a deep breath and said:

“Fili hasn't woken up….And we don't know if he will.”

Chapter Text

‘And we don’t know if he will.’

Those words haunted him every minute of every day. It made five days seem like fifty years. The dread of the unknown. Mahala, he couldn't even see Fili. He has begged Oin to put them in the same tent, but the half deaf dwarf had insisted that the stress would only make the healing harder. He had no idea of Fili’s condition, other than second hand information. They all said the same thing. ‘He isn't getting any better or any worse. He just is.”

For the first two days, Tauriel had gone to check on Fili periodically, but after the second day, Kili need her not to. Fili’s tent was near the elven camp,and her betrayal to Thranduil made her a prime target for her once comrades. Tauriel had her own problems, and Kili couldn't bother her with his own.

It pained him to know he couldn't look after the people he loved most. His only hope was in the improvement of his injuries. Oin said he should be fine to walk by next week,but there was one problem: his right leg. Not only was it still injured from the arrow, but it needed to be reset and put in a brace. It was a two person job, and Oin never had enough time for it.

Besides, the supplies needed to treat the sound and make a sufficient brace were in Dale’s camp. And they had been hit the hardest. It'd be a miracle if the supplies needed were left.

All hope seemed lost, that is until Tauriel shook him awake with a grin on her face.

“I have some good news.”

Bolting up, he asked excitedly, “Is he awake?”

Frowning, Tauriel shook her head. “ No, but you're going to be able to see him.”

He slightly perked up, before he looked at her puzzled. “Wait, how so?”

“I found someone to help. And she brought the brace.”

He felt his heart skip a beat. He was finally going to do it! He’ll be able to see Fili. He practically bounced in anticipation when a voice called from outside.

“Tauriel?Are you in there?”

“Yes! Come in,” Tauriel called out.

In rushed a whirlwind of curly blonde hair and blue skirts, carrying a basket of what looked like the proper materials for a brace. She quickly placed the basket down before rolling up her sleeves.

“Alright then, let's get this done and out of the way. I have a tent of people who need their intestines put back in.”

Kili chocked at her frankness. She said it so calmly, and if he remembered correctly, this was Bard’s eldest daughter. She was practically a child, and she was helping with organ arrangements. Good Mahala!

“Thank you so much, Sigrid,”Tauriel told the daughter of man. “ I promise it won't take long.”

“No worries,” she brushed off as she laid out the boards and tape, before taking out a stick. “ It won't take long I just need to-hear, bite this,” she insisted, holding a stick to his mouth and he obliged. “I just need you to take care of the wound before I reset the bone.”

She handed a bowl of crushed substance to Tauriel, who then place it on a footstool. Gingerly she unwrapped the healing wound before pressing the to the wound. Kili hissed as it stung

“Kili, stop whining,” Tauriel scolded.

“But it stings!” He said through the muffle of the stick.

“Great, this should cancel out the pain,” Sigrid said, before pushing the bone back into place.

Unprepared, Kili screamed into the stick, grounding out khuzdul to the sky.

“Valar above, I’ve amputated children who cried less than you,” Sigrid mumbled and Kili felt his stomach drop. Not by the horrifying statement itself, but by what it implied. The battle had brought so much pain to the people of Dale. The gold sickness brought this all.. In a small part of him, he felt responsible for putting the human girl through all that.

“Alright,” she sighed. “Now hold still, I need to wrap this up before putting on the brace.”

Kili nodded, biting the stick hard as she began to tightly wrap his leg. He flinched, but tried to contain any leg jerks. He felt it was the least he could do as she began fitting the boards. Tauriel gave his hand a reassuring squeeze.

“There, was that so hard?”

He chuckled. “Well, I suppose with you here, it isn’t so bad.”

With a final tug, Sigrid let out a breath of relief.

“Okay, lovebirds. That should suffice for now.”

Kili glanced down at his leg, which was wrapped in a wooden brace, and elevated by a few pillows. It felt less twisted and more bundled. And now he could actually feel it. Smiling up at the human he said:

“Thank you,my lady.”

A slight blush dusted her freckled cheeks, before a hint of a smile tugged at her mouth.

“It was no problem,” she assured. “Now you won’t be able to stay on it for a few days, so keep it elevated. When you do eventually walk, make sure you have someone to help you, like Tauriel. It’ll  be longer for you to be able to walk on your own, but other then that, you’re good to go.”

As she began to make her way out, Kili called out after her, “Wait! Sigrid, have you seen my brother?”

The daughter of man stopped, before turning to him with a look of surprise on her face.

“Master Fili? What of him?”

“How is he?” he begged. Seeming to understand, Sigrid gave him a reassuring smile.

“He is well. He’s just resting. The wound in his back will take some time to heal, and sleep is the best thing for that.”

It was definitely more reassuring than any other report on his brother’s health as of late. And he gave her a thankful nod.

“Now remember. No walking for a couple of days,” she told them, before making a hurried exit after the two gave a nod. As her shadow passed the tent, Kili looked to his elven love, who shared his mischievous grin.

“Well, you heard the lass. No walking,” he said, exaggerating a tone of authority as he sat himself and stretched his working leg.

“Aye,” Tauriel nodded solemnly as she grabbed a cloak and helped him put it on.

“Alas! If only I had a tall, strong, beautiful elf to aid me,” he sighed as he braced himself. Carefully, Tauriel Picked him up in her arms, and he winced as his leg was placed over her shoulders. Once he got situated on her shoulders, she craned her head up to him.

“You ready?” She asked, to which he replied with a grin

“Onward, my lady!”

-~-

Now, she couldn’t see through the oversized cloak all too well. In fact, she had mistakenly ran into five people, to whom Kili had apologized in his fake voice. She occasionally felt a tug as Kili adjusted her hair to fit his fake beard, and she let out a growl when he used it to steer her.

“I’m not a pony,” She growled out.

“I know. You’re far more beautiful than any pony.”

“Don’t try to charm your way out of this. You’re not in charge just because you’re on top of me.”

“Oh, you can be incharge of me anytime,” Kili said slyly, causing her to blush as she pinched his good leg.

“Kili!” She screeched, and he shushed her quietly.

“Quiet, love. You can scream my name later,” he jested, and Tauriel felt her face boil as she contained her outrage. “First, we need to find Fili and Thorin’s tents.”

A moment later, after almost bumping into another healer, Kili asked her:

“By the way, where are they? Are we close?”

She stopped walking when it finally dawned on her.

“Kili….I can't see.”

“I know, you told me.”

“So how am I supposed to know where we are?”

A pregnant pause filled the cloak, before Kili mumbled, “Right….Mahala's hairy balls, what are we going to do?”

“Um, lets see…. Is there any landmarks or flags of some sort nearby.”

Kili angled his body upwards, before he gasped.

“Oh! I see something! I think it's one of Dain's flags!”

Tauriel thought for a minute, trying to map out where in the camo the Lord of the Iron Hills was. But she was snapped out of her musing quickly by Kili

“Hold on! Hold on! Is that- it's an elven guard!”

Throwing caution to the wind, Tauriel hurriedly peaked through the cloak. Sure enough,  an elven guard was walking towards the flag. What was more surprising was the human who followed closely behind.

“King Bard? What is he doing with those guards?”

“I don't know” Kili whispered. “But it looks like they're heading to that big red tent over there.

Following the guards with her eyes, she was able to see the tent.

“That's the council tent! Are they holding a meeting?”

Kili growled from the top of her shoulders,“They better not! Uncle can't get out of-.”

Ishkh khafe andu null, gurnos’ comys!

Both she and Kili jumped at the booming voice ringing through the camp. After a shaky moment, she balanced both of them, before running to a dark corner. She popped her head through the cloak and looked up at Kili, who looked like a kicked puppy.

“Oh, so he can get off his royal arse to shout at Thranduil, but he can't bother to see me!”

Tauriel flinched at the mention of her King-no. He was no king of hers. She had made that very clear. But it didn't erase the fact that she was odds with the elf that had raised her. Kili, noticing her discomfort, reached his hand to her, and brushed her knuckles with his thumb.

“Tauriel, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have…. He's an idiot, Twig King, that is. I mean, Thorin's an idiot too, but Twiggy MckTwigerson doesn't deserve your sorrow, my love.We don't have to go if he's there. Besides, it just means we can go back and enjoy each other's company. ”

“He made his choice, and I made mine.” she said solemnly. “If you want to see your uncle. I'll take you to him.”

“Tauriel, I told you-”

“Kili. Just because I'm not on the best terms with Thranduil does not mean you have to sacrifice what you want,” she insisted, and squeezed his hand back. “I can handle my own demons, Memaline. No need for them to interfere with your life.”

Kili looked at her inquisitively before saying, “But that's what ones do. We share our troubles, our joys,our struggles and triumphs, our demons and hopes. Tauriel, never consider your feelings to be a burden. We are Ones, Armeline. And ones mean that no matter what, I will always be there for you.”

She hasn't even realized she had been crying until he reached down and whipped away a tear. She choked out a laugh as she took his hand and kissed the palm.

“As I will you, Kili,”she whispered.

Kili gave her a dopey smile before huffing out, “If only I was able to bend over, I'd kiss you senseless,”

She laughed, before careful craning her head to his to the right angle, and planted a kiss on his lips. From the angle, neither could depend the kiss, so it remained sweet and chaste. But neither party seemed to mind. When they finally broke, Kiki knelt his head against hers and smiled.

“We’ll leave those two alone while they sort out their verbal hate sex,” Kili jested, and Tauriel snorted at how oddly accurate it was. “We’ll just go see Fili first.”

“What of your uncle?”

“Meh, he can some visit me. I'm not happy with him right now,” he grunted and Tauriel grinned.

“You dwarves hold grudges like no other,’ she teased and he smirked.

“We just have good stamina for grudges. Among other things,’ he suggested with an eyebrow wiggle. Tauriel rolled her eyes before heading in for another kiss. That is until the cloak was yanked off of them.

Helping at the sudden rush of cold air, Kili flailed a bit, timing them around, until he fell forward. Luckily, she was quick and caught him in her arms. He groaned before he looked up at her with wide eyed adoration.

“My hero,” he sighed, and she blushed. Up until a gruff cough cut off their moment. Turning to face the culprit, she felt her body go stiff.

“D-Dwalin!” Kili yelped. “I-It’s not what it looks like!”

“Really?” the tattooed dwarf asked, raising one bushy eyebrow. “'Cuz it looks to meh ye and yer tree ‘ugger-’

“Hey!” The both of them yelled in unison.

“Notic’ 'ow aye said 'ugger,”Dwalin pointed out before directing his gaze to Tauriel. “Aye ain't  got nothin’ against ye, lass. If it weren't for ye, this fool would be ah ta bottom of ta lake. But it don't excuse ta fact tha’ YOU,” he pointed to Kili, he trembled in her arms. “Aren't supposed ta be out o’ yer tent!’

“What is the ruckus out here?!” A voice called out, and all three of them turned to the onslaught of newcomers. Tauriel palled, and front he looks of it, Kili was no better.

“Kili?”

“U-uncle?” Kili stuttered.

“Kili!”

“Dain? Dain!”

“Kili!” “Kili, son of Dis!”

“Gandalf! Bilbo!”

“Kili….” the king under the mountain growled, causing the young to help. Tauriel felt the dark aura coming from the dwarf as he growled at the two of them.

“Tauriel!”

Stiffening, she shockingly turned her attention to the person who called her. And she felt tears prick at her eyes as she locked gaze with her oldest friend.

“Legolas!” she called out.

“Tauriel,” a new voice said with venom in her name. And she felt like a rotting tree after hearing her name said so.

“Shit,” she muttered, just before all hell broke loose.

“What are you doing out of your tent?!”

“I could ask you the same thing!”

“The lads right, Thorin.”

“So you're fraternizing with these stone molesters now?”

“Father! How can you-?!”

“Shut up, Dain!”

“N-now come, now! Everyone! P-please stop-!”

“-Not now, Burglar!”

“His name is Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield!”

“You would trade immortality for this crippled hair bag?”

“Father, that's enoug-!”

“How dare you! I am King under the Mountain!”

“Oh, your King alright! King of the shirumund!

“What did you just say?!!”

“EVERYONE SHUT UP!!!!”

Everyone stiffened, and Tauriel felt herself freeze as she stared at the previously ignored King Bard. He looked as though he needed a ten year nap and a tall flask of the strongest elven wine.

“You!” He pointed to Thorin. “Get that Arkenstone out of your arse, and stop yelling all the time. No one likes your voice as much as you do. You!” He now pointed to Thranduil. “Are as bitter as your damned wine!”

Tauriel held back a gasp. Surely the human did not know the true seriousness of the offense he had just given!

“I can't exactly say 'would it kill you to be a bit more kind hearted’ because you're immortal. So stop being such a cynical old elf. You!” he pointed to Legolas, Gandalf, Bilbo and Dain collectively. “Keep doing what you're doing.”

“And as for you two,” he finally addressed the two of them, and Tauriel couldn't help but feel like a reprimanded child “I hate to admit it, but they're right. You’re in no conditioning to leave your tent. You're Erebor's second heir. You need to be able to recover as quickly as possible. And Tauriel, I expected you reprimand this kind of behavior. Go back to your tent. We will call for you two when he recovers.”

“Both?” Thranduil inquired, and Tauriel held back a flinch at the demeaning tone. “She has no loyalties among us. She shouldn't be here in the first place.”

She felt Kili tense in her arms, and looked to see his fists clenched. She wanted to tell at Thranduil, to say he was wrong. But how could she?it was true, she had no formal loyalties. Only that of her heart. But what was love in a scene of unsteady alliances?

“Yes, she does,” Bard stated, and Tauriel felt her breath  catch.

Thranduil scoffed, “To whom?”

“To me. She pledged her loyalty to Dale, as it's guardian,” Bard stated in a matter of fact tone, never wavering.  He gave her a look that said “play along.”

“I'd that true?” Thranduil now addressed her, and she felt her throat go dry. Gathering up the courage, she rasped out a yes.

“Truly? And where is the proof of this agreement?”

“It was lost during the battle,” Bard supplied. “But I can assure you, Lady Tauriel has pledged herself to the people of Dale.”

She held back the need to gap openly. Why was he sticking his neck out for her? Kili looked up at her confused, and she mouthed “later”.

“Then why is she with my nephew?” the dwarf king growled, and Bard answered quickly.

“My eldest has been charged with making sure your nephews have their wounds were dressed.”

“That's right!” The halfling-Bilbo, she recalled- piped up. “Oin himself charged Bard’s lass, Thorin. I remember that she asked the Lady Tauriel to care for Kili while she was busy.”

She didn't care that she barely knew either of them. She could kiss both of them. Best yet, the questioning kings seemed to begrudgingly accept this. Bard smiled and then turned to the two lovers.

“Now that this is settled, I'll escort the two of you back,” he said with a smile, before looking at Thorin. “Is that acceptable?”

The King under the Mountain grunted. “I have nothing more to discuss till Fili awakens. Just make sure he gets back safe. Kili?”

Kili jumped in her arms, before gulping out, “Y-yes?”

“I'm glad you are well.”

In her hands, she could feel Kili's skin heat up, and had to hold back a snickers at his suddenly pink cheeks. He grumbled out something in khuzdul and turned away from his uncle.

“I'll go, too!” Bilbo interjected, only to be held back by a firm grasp on the shoulder by the dwarf king.

“No, Master Baggins. Ones enough.”

Scowling, the hobbit turned to the king and said, “The meeting’s adjourned. I can go where I please, Thorin.”

“You may not!” The king snapped.

Tauriel jumped at the sudden change in his voice, as well as the crazed look in his eyes. Quickly, she took herself and Kili away as Bard guided them away from the brewing storm. As soon as they were out of an earshot, Tauriel turned to Bard.

“My lord, why did you-?”

“You saved my children. It's the least I can do,” he assured, and Tauriel bit her lip.

“I swear, I will do all in my power to be the best guardian-.”

“Tauriel, you don't have to-.”

“No!” She insisted. “I want to be Dale's guardian….T-that is unless you do not wish me to be.”

A grin graced the King’s grim face before he said, “I couldn't wish for a better guardian.”

She felt her heart swelled. She had a place to belong. Her love was alive, and they had pledged to keep each other. She might've lost her old life, but her new one was looking to be as bright as the starlight she and Kili were so fond of.

Speaking of her little love, she turned down to him and was about to reassure him they would try again for Fili’s tent. That is until she saw how pale he looked as he stared in the direction they had left from.

“Kili, what is wrong, A'maelamin ?”

“...H...His eyes,” he murmured. “W...was that…?”

“Kili?”

After a second if staring out, the dwarf shook his head. “It's nothing, my love….I t couldn't be.”


Chapter Text

Her newfound duties as Guardian of Dale hadn’t changed her schedule much. She still spent the morning and evening with Kili, which she found to be the highlights of her day. The only change was how she spent the inbetween. After breaking fast with Kili, followed by a reluctant goodbye, she would go to Bard’s tent and meet with the leaders of Dale’s patrolling units. She would address issues that needed fixing, than she would do a quick perimeter check an hour before noon. In all honesty, it wasn’t too off from her old duties as captain of the guards in Mirkwood.

It was afterwards that was new to her, yet it was surprisingly the most enjoyable. She relished in this as she waited outside the store house, bouncing in anticipation. That is until she heard footsteps come out.  With a smile she helped take a few items from Tilda’s heavy load, and hefted it into her arms as she turned to Sigrid.

“Where to first?” She asked the Lady of Dale, who looked off for a moment.

“Let's see...Last I heard, Bain’s delivering the elves their needed supplies, as well as the Iron Hills.”

‘Ed year at’ elean,’ she’d have to sneak the boy a sweet from the kitchens when she got the chance.

“Which leaves us with Dale and Erebor,” Sigrid remarked as she adjusted her basket.

“Which means we getta see Kili!” Tilda piped up.

Tauriel felt her smile brighten, before the ever serious Sigrid added, “Among others.” But the smile tugging at the human’s mouth told her this arrangement was entirely intentional.

They made their way to the tents of men. Most of those with serious injuries only needed their bandages changed, as did the mildly injured.

There were a few that needed new stitches, or had some dying flesh that needed operating on. When this would happen, Sigrid would send Tilda outside despite the little one’s protests. Tauriel would tend to the preparation and the removal of the rotting flesh, while Sigrid would hold the men down before patching up the treated wound.

It was in the first few days of them working together that Tauriel had learned the girl had little to no bedside manners. She would often tell the struggling patients to hold still quite harshly, or when she attempted to hold their hand, she would accidentally crush it in her own grip.  When Tauriel asked the first day where in the world the girl had learned how to comfort the injured, she looked blankly before saying it was how she got her brother to stop squirming when he scraped his knee. She felt sorry for poor Bain.

Somehow Tauriel had convinced Sigrid to attempt singing to the injured. She found it worked, as the lass’s soft voice, no matter her odd choices in song, seemed to calm the people she would tend to.

“Secretly he’d buy it

And drink it on the quiet

And dream he was an Earl

With a girl on each knee.”

“That sounds nice right about now,” the injured man they had tended to murmured with a smile on his face, and Sigrid laughed.

“Well, hold still, or you won’t have a knee for one of those girls to sit on.”

Tauriel supposed her to be oddly charming, in a gruff sort of way,

After finishing their rounds in the human camp, they would have a quick lunch with the injured children. Tilda had discovered the many wildflowers that grew in Dale, and had begun a tradition of braiding flower crowns with the other children, Tauriel and Sigrid would join, adjusting the crowns to make sure they didn’t fall from the children’s heads as they played.

“Look, Lady Sigrid! I’m an elf queen, just like Lady Tauriel!” Helga, a young girl with burns running down her collarbone down to her shoulders, told the two of them. Sigrid giggled, and Tauriel found herself blushing.

“You may be one, little one, but I myself am no elf queen. I’m a silvan elf.”

“A silly-van?” the girl inquired.

“It’s a lowly elf,” she explained. “It means I’m not royalty.”

The girl’s mouth shaped like an ‘o’, before she smiled brightly. “Well, I still think you’re the prettiest elf I ever saw!”

The light blush turned to full on crimson as she attempted to give a thank you, but had resolved to covering her face. Beside her, Sigrid had been reduced to a giggling mess.

“Sig! Sig!”

Tauriel peeked through her hand to spot Tilda rushing to them, carrying a gargantuan bouquet in her arms.

“Tilda, what are you doing with all those flowers?” Sigrid questioned before her sister rounded behind them and dropped her load of flowers. Tauriel lifted her hands to see the young girl tugging at her bun, making the older girl cry and flinch in pain.

“Tilda!”

“Hold still! I gotta make you pretty for Prince Fili!”

Tauriel almost fell backwards at the statement. But this her surprise, Sigrid didn't even flinch. She merely rolled her eyes as her sister continued to unbraid her long curly hair.

“Prince Fili?” Tauriel asked finally.

“Yeah! She's gotta look pretty so he can wake up!”

Confused, she turned her gaze to Sigrid, who smiled and shrugged.

“It's a fairytale I told her once. A sleeping princess couldn't be woken up, until one day a Prince came along. He was so handsome, the princess woke up just to see him.”

“So why can't it work the other way around?” Tilda insisted as she started to pick out flowers from her pile. “Tauriel, which ones do you think would look best?”

Her eyed widened when Tilda picked up one notable flower, and she snatched ot it out of her hand.

“Not that one. Nightshade is very poisonous,” she said, checking the pile for anymore.

Thankfully, there was none, and she sighed. However, she did find some pretty blue flowers that would look nice, and held them up for Tilda’s approval. The little human nodded vigorously, before insisting that she do an elven braid in her sister’s hair. She couldn't say no to the little one’s face. As she set work to Sigrid’s tangles, she snickered before saying in a lowered voice.

“So you are Fili’s 'Prince Charming'?”

She was rewarded with a laugh from the girl.

“Tilda seems to think so,” she whispered. “Don't tell her, but I don't think it'll work out between us.”

“Why ever not?”Tauriel teased.

“For starters, he never said more than two words to me. And they were the same two words over and over again.He introduced himself to me eight times in one night. So either he can't speak common tongue, or he thought me stupid. Neither are exactly fairytale beginnings.”

Tauriel bursted out laughing, mirth prickling her eyes as she doubled over. She wiped away her tears as the laughter turned to short giggles.

“It surely sounds like the epic love story of our age,” Tauriel jested, causing Sigrid to giggle.

“Tis a shame, he is handsome. For a dwarf,” Sigrid mused as Tauriel finished placing the last flower in. She leaned back to admire her handywork. Meanwhile, Tilda nudged her sister, a devious grin on her face.

“If only you didn’t look like such a fish wife, Sig!” the little one teased, only to squeal when her sister pulled her into her lap and tickled the wee one mercilessly. Little Tilda screeched with laughter as she called out for mercy.

“No! Stop! Ahaha! T-Tauriel, Help!”

“Don’t you dare! We ladies need to teach this little twerp a lesson!”

Grinning, Tauriel asked, “Who says I’m on either of your sides?” Before pouncing on both of them, proceeding to tickle them till they howled with laughter.

Idly, she wondered if this was what it was like to have sisters. She never had siblings. The closest thing she had was Legolas, and that hadn’t worked out all too well, she reflected sadly. But she quickly shook it off as they made their way to the dwarf camp.

Sigrid decided it was best to split up, so she and Tilda could take the side closest to the elven camp. Once again, she found herself indebted to the line of Girion. She would have to make a tally chart. All the more exciting, she was in Kili’s section. Which meant she could return to his tent all the more early.

She was making her rounds when her shoulder collided with someone else's. Jerking her head to the side, she froze at the familiar face. On instinct, she pulled him by the arm to behind at tent and hissed:

“What are you doing here, Legolas?”

“Hear me out, Tauriel, I was just-”

“No!” she snapped. “If you think I’m going back to the Mirkwood after all this, you’re surely mistaken.”

Legolas huffed. “Trust me, melan . That is not why I’m here.”

Sighing, she placed her basket on her hip and said, “Then why are you here?”

"To say goodbye.”

“Well that's all fine and-wait, what?”

“I’m leaving, Tauriel.”

She blinked as she ran through his words in her head. He was leaving? “You’re leaving?”

Her oldest friend-could she still call him that?- turned his gaze to the north and sighed. “You were right, Tauriel. After everything that has happened...I realize now that my father does not know all. Which is why I must go out to understand the world, if I am to live in it for so long.”

It took a moment to process what he meant to do. And when it did, she couldn’t do anything but nod in understanding. She understood the pull all too well, the pull to discover and protect the world. And she was glad her friend had learned this thirst as well. But she was also filled with sorrow, as it meant that they would go their separate ways.

“Will you return?” she asked, hearing the emotion in her voice when she cracked.

He sighed. “I shall. When? I know not. But till then,” he said as he took her hand into his own. “Know that you are still my closest and dearest friend. Nothing my father says will ever change that.”

Fighting back tears she pulled him into an embrace, to which he was at first caught off by. But surely enough, he got the mechanics down. She had to admit, it was an odd custom amongst mortals, but nonetheless, she found it to be fulfilling.

“You are quite sure you wish to stay with that hairy child?”

“Legolas!”

“I am only making sure,” he jested before he pulled back. “May we see each other soon, Tauriel.”

With tears in her eyes she smiled at him, “Travel well, melan .”

And with a final nod, he disappeared back amidst the camp. She felt a tear fall down her face, but forbade another to escape her eyes. She walked to Kili’s tent, as it was the last she needed to check before turning in for the night, Yet when he greeted her with enthusiasm, she let the sorrow of seeing her oldest friend leave pour down her face. Without question, Kili held her in his arms as she weeped.

-~-

Exiting the tent, she continued to whistle a song her Da had taught her. As a little girl, younger than Tilda, he would perch her on his knee and tell her of how her ancestors had the ability to sing the songs of birds.

“Song is the language of the birds,” he had told her. “True songs, that is. Most have butchered the language to jiberish. But those with the Blood of Dale know how to truly sing.”

But since Smaug, the thrush birds had yet to return, and the language had been lost to most. The last true song was a ballad, written by the fleeing Dale refugees and thrush. A ballad of woe and acceptance of death. Twas a grim poem, but it was a grim time.

But none of the patients cared, for the song was only to be understood by the thrush and those with Dale running through their veins. As she went tent to tent, singing of how fire would bring death to them all, the hypnotic melody soothed them. Besides, it was as her Da said to when she had wept for the suffering birds and people of Dale: songs are meant to haunt us, for us to remember, so we may heal but never forget. And heal they did. As the song lulled them to rest, she was able to tend to their wounds with greater ease. But the dwarf she was to heal next needed no song, for he was already asleep.

She came into the tent silently, placing the basket down before sitting herself on a stool next to the dwarf prince. As she took out the knife to cut the bandages, she noticed a red spot and cursed. He must’ve ripped a stitch out in his sleep. Quickly, yet carefully, she unwrapped the old bandage and saw the open stitch. Sighing, she took out her flask of wine, and applied it to the wound with a rag. When the wound was nice and red, she took out a damp cloth and her spool and thread.

She began to restitch the healing wound, only for the dwarf to flinch in his sleep. She began to dab the cool cloth on his forehead, and pondered ideas. It was strange, he had never flinched before, and she worried his condition may be worsening. But the wound did not look infected, and she had been taking precautions to make sure his back was treated on a daily basis. As she continued to close the wound, he grunted in in pain and she couldn't exactly tell him to suck it up. So she sighed, before beginning to hum.

As she pressed her hand to head, he flinched. But as she hummed, he began to relax. Delecetaily, she removed the bandage of his face, exposing the cut running diagonally across his face. It was not nearly as ghastly as his uncles, but it would leave a noticeable scar. However, she thought it didn't detract from his natural looks, it just added character to his classically handsome features.

It was a shame he didn’t seem to like her much when they last interacted. Had she been younger and less knowledgeable of the world, she would’ve indulged herself in Tilda’s childish fantasies herself. For any proper lady surely would’ve swooned at the idea of tending to a handsome and brave prince. But she was no lady, no matter her Da’s new position. And she had seen said prince crawl out of her toilet.

Proper ladies would've fainted once they realized that said handsome prince had a cavity in his chest that needed to be treated for infection every day. Said treatment included reaching into the wound itself to search for maggots. Luckily, she hadn’t found any. Yet. Needless to say, she could admire the prince, but over the past weeks, she had grown to know him too well to kid herself with any notion of something beyond a healer and an injured dwarf.

She had to remind herself this as he eased at her touch, his previously pained face relaxing into content. She shook her head of any inappropriate thoughts as she cleaned the wound before redressing the cut. As she did so, she ceased her humming. His face twisted slightly in discomfort, and she sighed, giving into such a needy patient. She finished his head, but this time, she sang in the language of the birds the song she had been humming as she moved down to his dressing his torso.

“Now I see fire, inside the mountain

I see fire, burning the trees

And I see fire, hollowing souls

Blood in the Breeze.”

With a final tug, she finished dressing the wounds. Happy with it, she pulled his shirt back down, and pulled his sheets and furs back up. After placing the remaining of the supplies in her basket, she moved her hand to the Prince’s to give it a reassuring squeeze, before finishing her song:

“And I hope that you remember me.”

She stood up, retracting her had to pick up the basket. Mentally, she made a note to stop by Kili’s tent to reassure him about his brother’s condition. She placed the basket on her hip, and made her way to the entrance.

That is until it grabbed her.

A hand cold as death itself onto her bare elbow. Frozen in place, she slowly realised that there was only one possible owner as a cough racked through the room.

“You….” Fili rasped. “Aye...Aye ‘member you.”

Chapter Text

To say he was shocked when Bard’s lass came tumbling into the tent, babbling “H-He’s awake! H-his nephew! He’s awake!” was an understatement. It had taken him a full minute to process what the lass had said, But once it clicked, he found himself bolting up from his chair to shake the sleeping dwarf awake. If Bilbo had learned anything from his visits with Thorin, it was that the broody dwarf was even more so when woken up. But the anger in his face mattered not, even when his glaring eyes shifted from him to the class, and then back.

“Why is she here?” Thorin asked grumpily, causing the lass to flinch. Bilbo whacked him on the shoulder.

“No need to be rude! Especially when she brings such great news.”

“News?” Thorin asked, before asking Sigrid directly. “What news?”

“Y-Your nephew, Prince Fili,” she stammered out. “He’s awake.”

A moment passed. Only a moment. Then Thorin turned to him, his solemn eyes bright as he said, “Master Baggins, I shall need your assistance in escorting me to my nephew’s tent.”

Without a moment’s hesitation, Bilbo jumped to his feet and aided Thorin with his boots and coat, before helping him to his feet.

“I’ll just add it to the list of things you owe me for,” Bilbo cheekily grinned, and Thorin quirked a brow.

“You have a list?”

“Oh yes. It’s very extensive.”

“Hmmm… It seems I need to repay you.”

Bilbo tapped his chin thoughtfully, before shaking his head. “I don’t know, it is quite the list. I don’t know how you could possibly-.”

“I’m sure I have a few ideas,” Thorin growled out, causing Bilbo to laugh. Till he caught the gleam in his eyes. Much to his dismay, the hobbit felt his cheeks redden as he laughed nervously.

“Well, um...That is to say...Um, Lady Sigrid!” He turned to the human girl, who was trying not to fidget at the odd air that suddenly filled the room. “Could you go to Kili? Escort him to Fili’s tent as soon as possible?”

The girl stood straighter, and nodded. And before Thorin could protest- he could tell there was some outrage boiling on his tongue- she dashed out of the tent.

“Kili isn’t well enough to leave his tent,” Thorin grunted.

“And neither are you. Yet here we are,” Bilbo huffed out as he helped the dwarf out of the tent. “Besides, he isn’t alone. Sigrid will help him over, and Tauriel is bound to already be in his tent.”

“Fantastic. A human tot and an elf are charged with my line’s wellbeing,” Thorin grumbled, earning him a glare.

“That elf stayed with Kili for seven days till he awoke, refusing sleep and food. And if it wasn’t for that human tot, your heir would have a hobbit family living in that hole in his back,” Bilbo snapped out, and Thorin did not reply.

“Would it kill you to be a bit more grateful?” Bilbo scoffed out. “Especially in times such as this, where trust is what you will need to rebuild your mountain upon.”
Still the dwarf king did not respond, and Bilbo wished he could throw his hands into the air. But that would mean letting go of the impossible oaf. Such action would ensure that he’d topple down into the mud. As amusing as it would be, it definitely would not be good for his injuries. So he walked him to the tent. Sighing, he grasped Thorin's hand and pleaded in a soft voice.

“I’m not asking you to entrust your life to them. Just...Just try to have a bit more faith?”

Silence reigned, until Bilbo felt the squeeze returned to him.
“I have faith in you.”

Bilbo felt his heart skip a beat, and did his best to hide the growing dopey smile fighting to appear on his face. Silly hobbit, no need to read too much into it. Taking a deep breath, he led them into the dimly lit tent.

Oin was already there, checking the lad for regular muscle movements. And was he moving! He sat up straight up-of course supported by very comfortable pillows, mind you- but for a dwarf who had suffered severe injuries as he did, it was no small feat! And from the quick shift in his blue eyes towards Bilbo and Thorin, he was no doubt awake.

“U-Uncle!” he rasped out. “Bil- *cough* bo!”

Before he could even stop him, Thorin bolted from his arm and used his walking stick to hobble over to Fili. Not that he was unaccompanied for long, as the hobbit ran to join him and embracing the bed ridden dwarf. That is until Oin pulled him and Thorin by the collars.

“Alright, that’s enough. The lad’s not out of the woods yet. Don’t need you two crushing him,” he reprimanded, and Bilbo smiled sheepishly.

Thorin didn’t seem to care as rested his rested his forehead to his nephew’s as he smiled lovingly.

“I was afraid you would never awaken,” he admitted, and Fili gave a weak laugh.

“That eager to make Kili your heir?” he joked, and Thorin snorted.

“Eru Forbid,” and the two Durin's snickered.

Bilbo felt his heart swell. This was the best he had seen Thorin since he had seen Kili last. Lately, he had been too swamped with the duties to see either Kili or Fili, and Bilbo knew how miserable it worried it made him, oh he knew. They had been both shared their worries of the boys and the company  to each other when it became overwhelming. Not only was he fully awake and well, but Thorin was joyful and happy. He felt a tear prickle at his eyes, before he noticed the king’s wobbling knee. Panicked, he brought the walking stick to his friend,and helped him balance.

“Thank you, Bilbo.” Thorin supplied with a small smirk, and Bilbo felt his cheeks pinch with pink heat.

“No-No problem!”

“Oi! Get a room, ye two!” A voice called from behind.

Turning his head, Bilbo felt his face burn, but was soon hit with a familiar sense of deja vu when the whole company came piling into the tent-save for Kili. In an uproar of tears and laughter, Bilbo was able to make out some of the nonsense coming from his companions.

“I’m so glad you are awake!” Dori gushed, and Ori adding a “We were really worried!”

“Bout damn time ye got yer lazy arse up,” which earned Dwalin a smack from his brother.

“It’s good to see you awake lad,” Balin assured with a smile.

“This calls for a song!” Bofur announced loudly, before taking a deep breath and began “Theeeeerrrrreeesss-!”

“Oi! Put a sock in it! The lad’s head is probably pounding from your loud mouth!” Nori snarked which gained a shove from Bofur.

“You’re the one who's shouting!”

“Shitting? No shitting in the tent!” Oin screeched, which gained him a smack from Gloin.

“You’re the healer! You shouldn’t be shouting!”

“WHY IS EVERYONE SHOUTING?” Thorin roared, before a brawl began.

Annoyed and confused, Bilbo made sure to shield Fili as he attempted to pull Theron back by his walking stick. To little avail, as the stick was pulled from his hand and used to pry a biting Bofur off of Dwalin’s forearm. Bilbo felt Fili shift under his protective arm, and was about to prevent the dwarf from engaging in the stupidity. That is until he let out a yelp of pain. Before Bilbo could assess what caused the pain, a voice carried over the chaos.

“Fili?”

The mayhem stopped, and all eyes turned to the entrance of the tent.  Standing with the help of his elf love and Bard’s eldest was Kili, who wore the biggest grin on his face. Forsaking his “crutches” he hobbled over to the bead, collapsing on his older brother. Startled, Bilbo helped the boy up, only for him to fall back in a tight embrace as he sobbed into his brother's shoulder.

“Th-Thank Aule!” he choked out, and Fili weakly managed to return the hug to the best of his ability.

“It’s alright, Kee,” he croaked out with a chuckle. “I wasn’t going no where.”

Kili sniffled, “Good. Cuz I would’ve brought you back just so I could kick your ass.”

Kili then gave his brother a tight squeeze, and Fili let out a cry of pain. Bilbo pulled the petrified Kili off, as Fili clutched his stomach.

“Shit! Fi, I’m so sorry!” Kili cried out, and Fili laughed weakly.

“Nah, it’s fine! It’s nothing-ouch-bad!”

Bilbo’s eyes widened as he saw a small patch of red under Fili’s bandages and panicked.

“He’s bleeding!”

In a flurry, Oin pushed through and pushed a profoundly apologising Kili away. He removed Fili’s hand and examined the damage.

“Dammit all, his stitching came undone,” the deaf dwarf cursed, before turning to the only human in the tent. “I thought I folded ya to check his stitches dailey?”

The young girl looked scandalized, “ Master Oin, I checked them a and had to redo them just today. He keeps opening them in his sleep,” she finished with a look a mother would give to a naughty fauntling directed at Fili. Out of the corner of his eye, Bilbo noticed the lad had turned an unnatural shade of pink. He hadn't much time to contemplate as Oin let out a hefty sigh and held out his hand to Nori.

“Alright lad, I know you're some of that twig fucker’s wine. Hand it over, he's going to need it”

Relecuntly, Nori relinquished the flask, Which earned a growl from the dwarf king.

“You dare bring that elf piss into-”

“Oh Valar, would you give it a rest?” Bilbo exasperatedly groaned, and the king looked back at him wounded. “Don't give me that look. You're the one acting like a child. Oin, would you like some assistance with the stitching?”

“Some what? Oh! Help! Yet fine, lad, just need you to hold him down.”

Bilbo nodded, and pressed Fili’s shoulders down. Oin produced a knife and cut off the bandages, revealing a small but bleeding part of the sound. He held the flask to Fili’s lips,and he chugged a good portion, before relaxing into the cot. Oin took out a needle and spool, and made quick work of the wound. Once finished, he glared at the company.

“Alright, you lot. We can go now. He still needs his rest, and he sure as hell can't get it with your squawking.”

Most of the dwarves, embarrassed, shuffled out of the tent with awkward “goodbye, Fili!” And “Glad your alright!” Others- namely Thorin, Tauriel,Kili,Sigrid,and Bofur took longer.

Tauriel grabbed Kili and attempted to bring him back so Fili could rest. But she was countered by Fili, who stammered out.

“I-I need him to stay for a minute,” he said, looking apologetically at Tauriel, but refusing to met Sigrid’s eyes as she hugged out

“Your brother is recovering as well. It would be best for both of you to return to your tent a and rest, Prince Fili.”

“I will bring him back,” Bilbo offered. “I can assure you I'm more than capable.” Stealing a glance at a distressed looking Thorin, Bilbo shrugged. “After all, I brought his uncle here by myself. How hard could it be?”

“Then who's going to bring uncle back?” Kili asked, sharing a lovesick gaze with Tauriel. Obviously, the two were not comfortable separating.

“I will wait. I refuse to leave without Master Baggins.”

Apparently Thorin felt the same sentiment. Bilbo groaned, ready to respond with yet another reminder that he was a grown dwarf, and needed to begin acting like one, when Fili spoke up.

“I'd also prefer that Bilbo stayed as well,” he said with a small blush. “I promise, it won't be that long… plus, it's kinda personal…”

“Personal? I’m your uncle, you little-”

“Aaaaaand I’m taking you back,” Bofur interjected, taking the flustered dwarf’s arm and began to lead him out the tent. But not before throwing a goofy smirk at Bilbo. “Just hurry up. Don’t want to be running around camp asking ‘where’s Bilbo?” all night!”

The hobbit couldn’t help but chuckle before jesting back, “Make sure you don’t pass out under the table when you get to his tent. Be a real shame if you were late for your duties for the second time in a row.”

Bofur let out a hearty laugh, which was followed by a squeal of pain. “Owch! Now that wasn’t very nice, your high and mightiness! Now I might just have to pass out under your table. And maybe I’ll snore, too!”

Bilbo felt a wince of pain as Bofur led the growling dwarf out into the night. It was his nature to be worried about an injured friend, yet he wasn't sure which one he should be worried about more, seeing the way Thorin acted. It wasn’t justified, Bofur could be a bit much, but his charm and good hearted laughs were well meant. Bilbo only hopped his hatted friend didn’t push too many of Thorin’s majestic buttons.

Shaking his head, he turned to Fili, who was sporting a slight shade of pink above his mustache braids. THe night was not hot, and there was plenty of furs to keep the cold off of him. Which only meant one thing.

“Alright, who saw you nude?”

Fili’s eyes blew to the size of a dinner plate, and his blush bloomed to his ears as he stammered out, “W-W-What?!”

“When someone’s that embarrassed, it's usually for something like being caught nude. So who was it?”

Kili let out a sound of confusion. “When has that ever been embarrassing? We’ve seen the whole company bare multiple times. Like in Rivendell!”

“Don’t remind me, that was mortifying,” Bilbo groaned out.

A sly smile crafted onto Kili’s face as he leaned in, “Come now, Master Boggins. No need to be bashful, I saw you ogling Uncle’s-”

“WE ARE NOT HERE TO TALK ABOUT THORIN’S-UH-PARTICULARS!” Bilbo hummed as he felt his cheeks turn to tomatoes, before he collected himself with a cough. “We are here to Listen to Fili. FilI?”

The sitting dwarf fidgeted as he looked to Kili, “Ki, Bilbo...I need you to be one hundred percent sure about the answer to this: Was she my nurse?”

Not sure which “she” he was referring to, Bilbo piped up, “I’m sorry, who?”

Kili, on the other hand, seemed to understand perfectly as he replied, “Mahala, she was! Tauriel told me the girl had been tending to you since the battle.” The young dwarf let out a bark of laughter. “Aule has quite a sense of humor, doesn’t he, Fi?”

Fili’s face turned pale- as if it was possible to be more so in his sick state- and buried it in his hands. “Maker’s Balls!”

Kili continued to laugh louder, “You were asleep, at least you didn’t get the chance to screw up when you were out cold/”

“She probably did see me nude!” Fili cried out, groaning as he sunk into his cot, his face as red as melded iron. Kili roared with laughter, and Bilbo found himself even more confused.

“I beg your pardons, but there seems to be a lot that I’m missing. What is so funny?”

Wiping the mirth collecting in his eyes, Kili wheezed, “W-Wh-What's funny is that Fili, The Husbands and Fathers’ Bane of Ered Luin, can’t talk to Sigrid!”

The news was surprising, indeed. Fili incapable of talking to a girl? “That’s curious. I’d think you’d be more adept at talking to ladies. What with all your swaggering and what not.”

“My what?” the dwarf asked, confusion ridling his ill features.

“Swaggering! You know, how you,” Bilbo trailed off, trading speach for movement as he attempted to mimic how Fili first walked into Bag End, bounced step and all. “You know, swaggering!”

“I don’t swagger,” Fili pouted, looking ever so much like his uncle. “That’s just how I walk.”

“But that's the point, Fili. You walk with confidence, you talk with confidence. I wouldn't put it past you if you shat with confidence.”

“BILBO!” Bother dwarves gasped horrified, like a pair of flighty shire gossips.

“Don't look so appalled, I blame you lot for that last bit” he grumbled, internally cursing dwarves for turning respectable hobbits to sailors. “what I'm trying to say is that I would think you'd be able to talk to a lass, Fili.”

“I do!” He defended. “I mean I am capable! Just….” He looked off at the tent opening forlorn, and sighed. “Just not with her.”

“Well…. Why do you think that might be?”

“I don't know,” Fili groaned. “ I just can't.”

“Well..Is it because she’s a human?” he supplied, to which Kili snorted.

“Can’t be. He was considered a sexual landmark back home to traveling human lasses.”

A small, prideful smile played on Fili’s face as he remarked, “The key is that I was eye level with their t-”

“Okay!” Bilbo interrupted, his ears ringing with embarrassment. “So it’s not because she’s a human. Then what else?”

“Is it because she is pretty?” Kil suggested. “Because she is quite lovely. Nothing compared to my Tauriel, but still-”

“Kili!” Bilbo cried out, smacking the lovesick dwarf on the head. “That was very rude!”

“Owch! What, it’s true!”

“I don’t know….Kili might have a point-”

“What? Here you are, mooning over Bard’s lass, and now you're saying-”

“Not that!” Fili defended. “I meant about how her being beautiful might be the reason.”

“Hey, I said pretty, not beautiful. That’s reserved for my lady of starlight,” Kili corrected, to which Fili responded with a cold stare.

“Shut up, she is the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen. More so than all the treasure in the mountain, more so than the Arkenstone!”

“Well there you go!” Biblo clapped his hands together. “I knew you had a silver tongue in there! Now, why don’t you tell her that when she comes by tomorrow?”

Fili shook his head furiously, “I can’t! I can’t speak when she’s around! When i look at her, my tongue becomes a coiled knot!”

“It’s bad,” Kili agreed. “Watching him try to speak to her in Lake Town was the most painful experience of my life. And that was without the poison killing me.”

“Come now, you're being ridiculous.”

“No, trust me, we aren’t” Fili ensured, before he bolted up in excitement. “Wait! Bilbo! I’ve got it!”

“Got what?”

“That Shire brew! That stuff you’re always smoking! Remember when we tried it that one time?”

“I’d rather not.”

“Give me some! Maybe it will loosen my tongue!

“What?!” Bilbo could barely contain a shudder. “Fili, that is the worst idea I have ever heard, you just awoke from a coma!”

“Please Bilbo! It’s my only hope!”

“It’s worth a shot,” Kili agreed

“No, absolutely not!”
“But Bilbo-”

“ No! There is nothing in all of Middle Earth that can compel me to let you become intoxicated!”

“Who’s becoming intoxicated?”

All eyes turned to the front of the tent, where, speak of Sauron, there stood the source of this whole fiasco.  Stealing a glance at Fili, Bilbo had to contain a sympathetic groan at the poor boy’s pale face.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to intrude-erhm, scratch that, I did. But only because I left my basket here,” she said, gesturing to said basket, lying on Fili’s cot.

The lad went as white as his sheets. And an idea formed in Bilbo’s mind.

“No, it’s quite alright, you weren't interrupting anything! You may take it,” he said cheerfully as he simultaneously kicked Kili in the shin, as the little shit was making crude gestures to abort the mission. He then leaned to Fili and whispered “Now’s your chance” while handing him the basket.

The girl had already made her way over, and Fili stared up in complete and utter awe as she reached for the basket, while smiling at the dwarf.

“Thank you,” she regarded towards him, and he retained his grip on the basket.

“I-uh-I,” he stammered out, and Bilbo mouthed from behind ‘Keep going’, and Kili was making crude gestures involving his hand and pelvic area. Before Bilbo could reprimand him, Fili turned bright pink, and let go of the basket.

Sigrid righted herself up, checked the basket, and let out a sigh. “Sorry about that! Goodnight Master Bilbo, Prince Kili.” She looked down at Fili and said, “I’ll see you tomorrow for bandage replacements.”

She then turned to leave the tent. Kili ran his hand down his face, while Bilbo shook his head.

“Wait!”

The lass stopped, and slowly turned back. It was then that Bilbo realised that Fili had been the one to call out. A burst of relief filled the hobbit. Needing to be intoxicated to talk to a lass, what a ridiculous-

M-M-M’imnu Durin, nevrumm zal Tha oz gurul den kezzan anek uloon! Oh, Badguna! Asti adnamul! Cin fin’na i finnest mal plural mel! I valar pulled i elena na on-cin eyes! Manen calima ne rae -yes naitya! Da flowrumm threin namin imdukhi. Let nin n-a loth, then so im lothin lend at cin bur an er alfrin! Tha wak on’ oz slumbrumm ern beurozhir barazkhi, my eyes aduni burudn ulorda fil eron lumba zardur. May da eron my melar enveope da launnd as than only orukhthok urlo me among da smoulderuroz infervare! AFar Angathfark! Tha mausan devoviam avo lat avanukcenduk love drukelf!”

The tent was still. Not silent, still. As if time and sound and all other known concepts had ceased their functions for one second to think one question: What. The. Fuck?

Sound was the first to begin again, as Kili roared with laughter. Uncontrollable, he  might need to be pulled off the floor laughter. Fili was dead silent, no expression on his face. As if he had poured out all emotion into that garbled mess of a- Yavanna, what the hell was that?

Sigrid was in no better shape, as she looked at the dwarf as if he was Smaug arisen. Bilbo felt a pang of sympathy for the lad. Only a pang, because he had no idea what the hell he said. But he was fairly sure there was some orcish in there. If that were the case, then he was past the point of no return.

“Well..I guess it’s better then ‘I’m Fili”” Sigrid offered, and through Bilbo didn’t fully understand it, it was apparently a quip, because Kili howled louder with laughter. “Well, goodnight.”

And like that, she was gone. And that’s when Fili cracked. He grabbed one of the pillows behind him, buried his head in it, and let out a muffled scream.

“Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! I’m such a wazzock!”

Finally, Bilbo broke his silence. “What. Was. That?’

“I don’t know!” Fili groaned. “I saw her, and I knew I wanted to say something, so I did what I normally do!”

“You normally speak orcish to woo women?” Bilbo reeled. “How did you ever lose your virginity?”

“No, but he does usual woo women in Khuzdul,” Kili offered. “Sprinkle in a bit of Quenya for the harder to please, and a pinch of Sindarin for the classy ladies.”
“It’s a foolproof formula.”

“Patented by the Line of Durin.”

“Minus Thorin.”

“He can’t flirt. At all.”

“It’s painful. Excruciatingly painful.”

“No,” Bilvo asserted. “Thorin’s flirting, yes, it’s not pleasant...Well, at least when he’s drunk...But no, that. What happened right now, that was excruciating.”

Fili groaned. “Mahala, I really did hit rock bottom.”

Kili gave his brother a sympathetic pat on the shoulder. “Well, look at the brightside. Not many people can say there more of a failure then Thorin Oakenshield.”

“Remind me, dear brother, how that is supposed to be a good thing?!” Fili bit out, lifting his head to glare at his brother.

“So, just to make everything clear, that doesn’t  happen all the time?”

“Yes!” the dwarf exclaimed. “This has never been a problem before!”

Kili nodded and pointed his finger down. “Back in Eruin Luid, that down there is a legend.”

There was many things that Bilbo learned on this journey. How to wield a sword, how to outwit creatures, goblins, elves and dragons. How to the most private race of all to trust you. But now, he learned that it was entirely possible to choke on one’s own air.

“W-w-why would you tell me that?” he coughed out before looking at Kili accustently. “Why would you know that?!”

“Legends get heard, Bilbo. That's why their legends,” Kili replied, before continuing. “And it is!I’d go to put away the ponies when we ride into town, only to be met by him, all the groceries in hand, and an out of business sign outside the brothel.”

“W-W How?!” Bilbo stuttered out.

“It might not seem like it to other races,but i’m considered to be quite handsome among dwarrow” Fili said, gaining a bit of pride as he painted a picture of the past. “One smirk, and like an archery execution, I’d go down the line.”

“Boom! Boom! Boom!” Kili demonstrated with imaginary arrows.

“Their small clothes would drop like flies,” the blonde dwarf finished, looking reminiscent and nostalgic. With the visuals, Bilbo felt another word that started with the letter ‘N’: nauseous.

“Again. Why am I hearing this? He wondered aloud. He had come to love the boys as if they were little brothers. Nephews, if he were allowed to be a wishful and silly hobbit. The last thing he wished to hear was about their escapades. Especially in detail.

“Oh, bother it all. Fine. If you promise to never tell me that story again, I’ll give you the damn brew.”

Fili’s eyes lit up like a fauntling seeing Gandalf’s fireworks. “Really?”

“Yes, but only if neither of you ever give me visuals of that caliber again. And also, because you're going to need to be intoxicated to deal with the mess you created.”

The two brothers looked to each other, before nodding in unison.

“Thank You, Bilbo,” Fili said sincerely, “I promise you won’t be sorry!”

“Won’t be sorry? I’m sorry already!”

Chapter Text

A drawn sigh escaped him as he stood before the tent. The cold night air brushed his bare face, naked from lending the scarf to a tired and much more bare Kili. Still, the cold wasn’t his only source of discomfort. The fear of Thorin being awake rang true in his gut. He didn’t fear Thorin, per say. That was an emotion he could never associate with his friend. He was more afraid of how he would react to the knowledge that he was about to supply his own blood with the strongest Brandybuck Pipe Brew this side of the Blue Mountains.

It had, indeed, been the first thing he had thought to pack on this so called adventure. He would be a thrice fool not to think that his nerves would be rattled more than once on this odd and frightful ordeal. And he had come to find, in his fifty one years, that a nice pipe was quite the comfort. Of course, he hadn’t known it to be particularly strong until a certain pair of royal dwarves had gotten themselves completely wasted one night he had offered it to them. That particular night in Rivendell wasn’t a particularly bad memory, but not a respectable one either. The shame he felt on behalf of the two was well earned as he witnessed Kili flirt mercilessly with an elven lad and his brother challenge a sculptor in the garden to a duel.

Since, their uncle had been very wary of the brand. At the time, it had done nothing to lessen his disheartening distrust towards the hobbit. But even now, in the midsts of finding himself once again in the dwarf king’s graces, he felt the overwhelming urge to abandon the idea and just tell the sad sap to grow a pair of bollocks and speak to the lass. But still, the fresh memory of the pleading look Fili wore, and the absolute sour taste his previous encounter with Bard’s lass had given the hobbit, he somehow found the courage to open the tent flap and peak inside.

Bofur wasn’t under the table passed out, he noted. It brought him a smile and also caused him a pang of sadness. He hadn’t much time to check on the others as of late. Though he did suppose it was his own fault becoming Thorin’s self-appointed aide in his recovery. But they all seemed so understanding, and Thorin was more than willing to keep him busy. It gave him a sense of purpose, now that his burglarizing days were behind him.

With that in mind, he noticed the silhouette of Thorin in the dimly lit tent. The candle by his bed stand was nearly spent, but it lit the tent enough that he could see the outline of a definitely sleeping dwarf. He was curled into himself, the soft rise of his bandaged chest bringing a sense of peace to the normally stoic and anxious dwarf. It was something Bilbo could never bring himself to tire of.

With practiced silence, he snuck around the cot and to his designated chair. The book was where he left it, and he made note to continue where he had left off. Granted he wasn’t caught. Crouching down to the legs of the little nested chair he had created, and moving the furs falling over like a curtain, he carefully pulled out his bag, overflowing with a disturbing amount of unorganised and unpressed clothing. Pulling the bag towards him, and sitting on the heel of his foot, Bilbo took extra care to quitely pull out his father’s pouch. Pulling on the string, he checked to see if there was even enough. Not that it’d take much, given Fili’s previous reaction. But judging by weight of it and the power of the smell, it would be enough. Promptly tying it shut and reaching into his side pouch, he pulled out Old Toby, before moving it back into place. Sighing at the ridiculousness of his previous worry, he turned around to leave. Only to met by a very much awake Thorin Oakenshield.

“Shi-,” he started, scrambling back in shock before the chair slide and he was sent falling on his back.

Across from him, the dwarf king rose on his arms and he caught the look of worry on his friend’s face. “Master Baggins, are you alright?”

“Y-Yes!” he hissed, picking himself up as he rubbed his tail bone. “Hells, Thorin, you could’ve at least gave me some warning!”

“You could’ve told me you were here,” the dwarf retorted, and Bilbo rolled his eyes, carefully to ensure the pouch was still in his hand.

“You were asleep,” he defended, blindly searching for Old Toby with his free hands behind him. “I didn’t wish to disturb you.”

“You wouldn’t have,” he assured, setting himself into a sitting position. “I wasn’t asleep.”

“You sure looked like it,” Bilbo supplied as his hand grasped the body of his pipe. Reassurance would have been in his reach were it not for the fact that Thorin was leaning over, his light blue eyes twinkling in the candlelight.

“Have you gotten so familiar with how I look asleep, Master Baggins?”

He was glad the light was so low. The blush he knew was dusting his cheeks was would be inescapable otherwise. But his mind was not so far gone in the implications that his wit was not quick to surface.

“Having spent this long on this journey in each other’s company, I’d think it odd if I wasn’t familiar with how you look asleep.”

Mayhaps it was the light, but he could see the smallest glimmer of a smile tugging at his friend’s lips.

“I do suppose were quite familiar with each other,” he mused.

Gathering his barings, Bilbo helped himself up, careful to have Old Toby flush to his back as he rocked on the balls of his feet. “I’d hope so…Well, speaking of sleep, you best be getting back to it-”

“And I feel offended that you’d think I wouldn’t notice that you’re hiding something behind your back.”

He kept his curses in his mind. It wasn’t necessarily the worst thing Thorin has caught him with, he thinks cynically. But still, he should’ve known the dwarf’s keen instincts were not restricted to his less noble moments. Letting out a breath, he brought the pouch and pipe out.

The dwarf looked at them, and then to him in puzzlement. “Why would you hide this?”

He could be an honest hobbit. He could say that it was for his nephew, and he was concerned for his reaction to not only the effects it would have on his injured kin, but also the reasoning behind his heir’s instance for intoxication. If these past week’s meeting was anything to base a prediction off of, the realization of his nephew’s wandering eye, and to whom, would not be the most pleasant revelation.

Still, he mentally kicked himself when he spoke next. Surely, he could do better then “I felt guilty for smoking.”

It surely did bring the oddest of expressions out of Thorin’s normally expressionless face. Something between confusion and perhaps wounded pride?

“Why would you feel guilty?” he asked.

Great way to place your large foot in your mouth, he thought. His mind raced for some form of explanation, and he felt his mouth grasping as well.

“Well..I...It’s just that...Well, you’re not able to smoke in your...erm, present condition…”

“Is this about my nose? He asked, quirking an eyebrow, and Bilbo gasped as he realised how it must've come across as, and shook his head furiously.

“NO! No!’ he assured, his blush deepening to that of shame as he tried his best to amend his mistake. “ No, I meant it was because you’re still recovering. Oin said that your lungs were damaged, so it would be a while before you could smoke again, and I just felt terrible, so-.”

“So it is the nose.”

“What? No it's the damned lungs! Did you not hear what I just said?”

“But I breathe through my nose, so because of my nose being in the state it is, it’d be nearly impossible for me to properly smoke again.”

“What? No You had a sword in your chest, you silly dwarf!” he fumed “It's like I’m talking to a mountain? Did you honestly not here what I just said?”

“I did, “ he admitted. “ I was just making sure that you knew what it was you’re saying.”

Confounded, intelligent, smug dwarf! He felt his ears tinge at the tips as he nearly dropped his pouch.

“I needed a smoke,” he grumbled. “And I'm not about to have an angry Oin on my arse for exposing you to smoke. Besides, I know you hate Brandybuck Brew.”

“I don’t hate it,” he defended, his arms rossing like a fauntling who had been accused of being rude. “It’s just not to my taste.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Bilbo drawled, hoping his theatrics would cause enough excuse to leave. “I didn’t realise my humble hobbit crops were not to your royal standards!”

Thorin’s gaze turned from pouting to the inklings of frustration. “I meant you no disrespect, Bilbo. You know that.”

“Aye, I do,” he half huffed, half admitted in honesty. “And I hope you’ll respect my wishes and allow me to smoke my pipe.”

As he tried to make his way past the bed, only to be halted by a hand grasping his elbow. Looking to Thorin, he felt something in the pit of his chest. The intensity in his eyes was still something he was very much getting used to, as it had been somewhat of a new occurrence since he had awaken, this odd sort of gaze that looked too close to a kicked pup. The look seemed much more at home on Kili’s face, but he began to see that perhaps it was a family trait.

“Have I done something wrong?” he pushed.

“No, Thorin. You did nothing wrong! I just wished to go for a smoke,” he tried once again to move his arm as softly as he could, but the grip did not relent.

“You and my nephews are much alike,” he mumbled, brushing his thumb across his elbow. “Neither of you are willing to tell me the truth as of late.”

“...Is that why you’re acting like this?” he sighed, relaxing his arm into the grip as a sense of guilt flooded him. “Thorin, it’s not that they don’t trust you. It’s just that...Well, you were a lad once. There’s probably some things they not wish for their uncle to hear,”

“But what?” he pressed, effectively pulling Bilbo a step closer as he looked even more defeated. “If they can not confide in me, how can I help them?”

“You don’t need to fix every problem in this world,” Bilbo reminded him. “Nor are you capable of doing so.”

“You deny my capabilities,” he pouted like a child, and Bilbo didn’t know whether to reassure him or smack his hand.

“I doubt even you, oh great king, can control my smoking urges,” he quipped. In the dying light, he second guesses the change in his companion’s eyes. He didn’t know whether to attribute it to the light or not, but it did cause him more unease than previously.

“Perhaps I long to know what I can control,” he rumbled.

He felt a chuckle rise in him for the silly dwarf. He always wished to be in control. Though the word choice was odd...And then the puzzle fit together, and he blushed.

“Well...Uhm...You..You..” Bother it all, he felt like a fool. He was never particularly good at this sort of thing in his youth, when it had been relevant. And he was certainly not in a better state now. “...You can...Well..You can always control the, uhm...Control your garden!”

Garden? Garden, Bilbo? He wished more than ever he had the flexibility to kick himself right in the arse for bringing gardening of all things into the conversation! The scandal he’d cause at home, mentioning gardening in response to..well, that!

Thankfully Thorin seemed oblivious of the right mistake he made. Either that or he was genuinely confused as to what gardening was, exactly. Both of which were good options, in Bilbo’s mind.

“..Garden?” he asked, supposedly expecting an answer. He felt the very tips of his ears flush hot as his mind rushed to find the most appropriate of answers.

“Yes! You can..Well, you can control what you plant...And how you keep them..And..And how you sort them...Well, unless you have yourself a gardener, then they do it for you!” he laughed nervously. “Why, I happen to have the best one on Bagshot Row! It was too dark for you to see, probably, considering it being nightfall and all, but Hamfest is quite the artist. Well, of course there’s some parts you best tend to yourself-oh, bother, never mind that last bit. But yes, gardening is quite the manageable activity indeed!”

“Bilbo, I’m not sure that’s what I mean-”

“Oh, you can also control how you make a recipe!” he supplied, doing his best to derive further from his little slip. “Of course it’s always best to follow the one given to you, because so many have tried it before you, so they must know more and have given you their knowledge! Why, my mother entrusted me with her pound cake recipe. I recall she had been perfecting it still while I was a fauntling! Yet now, I dare not let a soul near it! But those nasty Sackville-Bagginses have been after it since she was not yet cold in her grave! Oh, if I told you lot the horrible trouble they went through to have my mother’s recipe, it’d keep you awake for weeks!”

In the midst of his rambling, he felt the grip on his arm loosen, and managed to free himself easily as Thorin let out a sigh.

“Go if you must,” he relented, and Bilbo offered him the most understanding smile he could.

“I’ll only be a few minutes. Afterwards, we can maybe continue where we left off in that book?”

As if he were a pup shown a bone, Thorin’s expression picked up slightly, and his mouth twitched upwards.

“I’d like that,” he admitted, and Bilbo chuckled.

“Thought you might,” attempting to further himself from any more distractions, he made his way out of the tent, careful to not seemed rush, till he was out of the sight of the front of the tent. He made quick work towards Fili’s tent.

 

-~-

 

“Here you are, m’lady,” the old tailor smiled as he pressed a roll into her hand, and her nose scrunched up as she sighed.

“Tom,please stop with that.You’ve known me since I was could crawl,” she pleaded, but the old man shook his head.

“No can do, m’lady. You’re a princess now,” he urged, urging the bowl further into her hand, despite her push.

“Not till Da’s crowned,” she corrected, pushing the roll back into his hand. “And even after, there are still those who could use this more than I.”

“Aye, but you’ve been up day and night tending to those dwarves,” Tom was relentless in his pushing of the roll.

“Someone has to,” she argued, recalling the reluctancy for most volunteers to take to the dwarven camp, claiming that the actions of their kin was the reason behind all this madness. She recalled the disappointment she had when only she and a few others volunteered to aide and eventually oversee the healing tents. Those first few days had been void of much food, as she found it hard to keep it down. But now she cared little for her own growling stomach. It was far from the first time she refused food in her young life.

“We worry, Sigrid,” he admitted, dropping the formalities, and she was able to see the kind old bearded tailor who taught her to sew mittens and patches into clothing underneath the singed grey beard and burn maring the left side of his face. “You’re a child, you need to eat.”

“As do other children, all younger than I,” she stressed, looking at the crumpled roll now in bits in her palms, and she sighed. “...I’ll take it. But after this, no more.”

“We’re just concerned, m’lady,” he repeated, looking across the camp to the dwarves passing by. “We heard last night that both heirs to Erebor are now awaken, and knowing that you tended to the crown prince, we just worry as to how those dwarves are treating you.”

“I can assure you, there’s nothing to worry about,” she contained the need to laugh at the memory of last night. “He’s hardly any danger. He has a hole in his back, if anything, he’s the one who’s scared.”

With that in mind, she picked up her basket from the bench she had rested on. Organising her needed supplies, she placed the remains of the roll in a corner of her basket, and lifted her head to smile.

“And besides, it’s the healer’s job to offer manners. We can’t decide the worth of one’s life on their relative’s actions.”

She did it more to remind herself of this. Truth be told, his uncle’s actions were a bit alarming. Were it not for the hobbit, she’d fear any interactions with the king under the mountain. She thanked the Valar that it was not her responsibility to deal with the newly arising rulers. She only need stitch them up back together.

Approaching the healing tent containing the dwarven prince, she noticed the odd smell surrounding the entrance. It smelled familiar, almost like smoke, but she could see no fumes as she pulled back the flap. Streams of sunlight light the crystal clear tent. Everything looked unsuspicious. Until she spotted the singular occupant in the middle of the room.  He lay still in his cot, his blue eyes open, yet vapid as he seemingly stared out at nothing. Panic flooded her as she failed to see his chest moving, and she rushed to the still dwarf.

“Prince Fili?” she implored, shaking his form. “Prince Fili?”

He didn’t change his expression, and she felt herself break into a cold sweat. He was well last night, how could they lose him this quickly? Oh, what would she tell Da? What would she tell the other dwarves. Oh Valar, what would she tell Kili?

She gasped when he suddenly startled forward. Muffling her surprised scream, she nearly stumbled over her discarded basket and gasped for breath as the dwarf settled himself back into his cot, letting out an easy sigh.

“Wha- Wha-” she barely managed to speak, but the damned reason for her shock circled his eyes around the room, laughing almost carelessly.

“P-Prince Fili, are you well?” she wished for nothing more then to run from the tent and find Oin for help.

But his sudden gaze trapped her as he looked at her and gasped. He looked like he wished to run, had his injuries not prevented him from doing so, as he winced in his attempts to move. With her healer instincts she rushed to him, and supported his back as she helped him back against the pillows.

“Alright, none of that now,” she scolded, removing her hand carefully, before turning around to grab her basket.

Leaning over, she grabbed the ointment that Oin had provided for keeping his injuries from infecting. She spotted the roll, and figured he might be hungry. Pulling herself back up,she placed the crumbled remains on the roll onto the stand. Turning to face the dwarf prince, she noticed his head snap up and to the other side of the room. Odd, but then again, he was an odd dwarf.

“Now look, I’m sure that Oin has explained what I have been doing while you were asleep,” she managed, remembering Tauriel’s teaching of manners as she managed a smile. “You already know about the stitching from last night. All I’m going to do for now is check how it’s faring.”

He stared at her almost dumbly, and she had little patience. It was just like before, except his eyes were open. Leaning over the cot, she took his bandaged arm, and felt his biceps stiffen under her hand. Checking the bandaging, she sighed in relief as it showed no signs of dirt or blood, and seemed to have been changed by one of the lasses earlier, perhaps last night after the meeting by Tauriel. Content, she moved forwards to check the bandage on his chest. He flinched, and but she only paused, and did not look at him as she shook her head.

“I haven’t even touched it yet,” she scoffed, moving her hand to his shirt and loosening the stubborn ties. In the midst of her tugging, she felt cold digits wrap around her wrist as if to stop. It took her a moment to realise it was his hand. Looking up at him, she saw him looking scandalized.

“I’m checking your wound,” she explained, before moving to open the shirt and inspect the bandages. “I see no blood, that's a first.”

She continued to check his front ensuring that there was no need for any replacements before she moved to the back. Lifting his elbow for inspection, she noticed no bleeding or signs of infection, but she still replaced the wrappings.She let his arm fall as she reached into her pocket for her sheeres.

“Alright, turn over,” she instructed. “I need to treat the wound in the back.”

Compliantly, he did so, with her help, of course. Propping up some pillows like she would were he unconscious, she helped him lay at a slant as she carefully peeled his shirt up to reveal the cotton pad covering the upper half of his back. No bleed throughs this time, and she felt relief wash over her. She didn’t need to patch him up again.but the linen pad do need to be changed, and the wound cleaned and treated.

Cutting the pad carefully, she peeled it from his back, slowly revealing the exposed flesh, pink in its healing outside, and a dark scab red in the deepest recesses. She could see where the defiler’s sword reached its hilt at the widest part of the wound, and noticed some inflammation on the bottom part of the inevitable scar.

“Shit,” she hissed, reaching into her apron and taking a linen cloth, before uncorking the bottle of alcohol from her basket, and wetting the cloth. “Hold still. This will sting.”

Pressing the alcohol to the red flesh, she ignored his cries of pain as she focused on applying the right amount of pressure.

“It's either this or an infection,” Sigrid reminded him, pulling back the rag slightly, and the prince hissed as his flesh was exposed to the cold morning breeze. “The last thing you want is an infection anywhere near your spine.”

He still refused to speak to her, opting instead to muffel whatever retorts and pained cries escaped his mouth into a pillow. ‘Were all dwarves so intolerant to pain?’ she wondered. Unscrewing the life to the jar of ointment, she smeared it into her palm and stared at the correct place to apply it. Pressing her hand to the wound, she gently smoothed the ointment onto the torn flesh, feeling his back muscles tense, and then relax at the soothing substance. Seeing the opportunity, she began to smooth it over further down his back, ignoring the grunts of pain arising from the dwarf. Just as Tauriel instructed her to do, she gently pressed her finger underneath the stitching, careful not to disturb them as she reached the deeper part of his wound.

Odd, she noticed, that he did not seem too pained. Instead, when she heard the muffle from the pillow, she could almost swear it sounded like laughter. Pausing, she looked to the splayed mass of blonde hair covering the pillow and his face, and she noticed the slight shake in his shoulders.

“Are you ticklish or something?” she asked, more out of habit. Strange, he never seemed ticklish in his sleep.

Suddenly, she saw his head move to rest his cheek against the pillow. His mane still covered his features, she could see the slight bit of the bandage covering the scare running across his face. That and the smallest hint of a smirk.

“No...It’s just that...When I usually have a lady in my bed...It’s my fingers that are doing the ‘treating.’”

She hadn’t even noticed that her hand had jerked until he shouted in pain. Looking down at the damage, she was relieved to see that there was no tear in the stitching, but she had ended up hitting a deep part of his healing scar. No blood, but it still must’ve hurt. But at the moment, she could not find remorse in her heart. Not whilst red hot shame splotched her chest and cheeks.

“Forgive me,” she said cooly. “It seems I’m not nearly as practiced as you are at this.”

That seemed to shut him up, as he neither lauhged nor groaned. Snatching her hand back, she quickly unfolded a clean pad, smudging the remaining aleol onto it, before sticking it to his back.

“If you could just sit up on your elbows, I can finish this up.”

A second passed as he struggled to balance himself. But it was still quicker then when she had to balance him up on her own every morning, struggling to wrap the bandages around his torso while making sure he didn’t fall off the bed. Wrapping it securely in a matter of moments, she found that it was far more practical and easy for her. Still ,it didn’t make up for his vulgar mouth.

“Alright, all done,” she announced, and he promptly let his arms give out underneath, lying down once again face first.

Sliding her bum off the cot, Sigrid began to gather her things, making sure that the dirty cloths and bandages were separated from her clean ones. Opening the waste pouch she had tied to her belt, she began to discard the bandages and cotton. Humming to herself, she barely heard the grunt and creaks coming from the cot until she heard a hoarse cough.

“Wh...Where are you going?” Fili asked. Sparing a glance over her shoulder, she saw that he had turned himself over.

“To the next tent,” she supplied, picking up her basket.

“Don’t go!”

She glared at the dwarf, whose face resembled that of a kicked puppy. She was reminded of Tilda and Bain when they were younger and wanted her to tell one more story before bed. But that had been ages ago, and they learned it didn’t work with her. She caved in for no pathetic look, much less one coming from a dwarf who had been beyond inappropriate with her but minutes ago.

“I’m sure plenty of healers would love to tend to his royal highness’s whims every waking moment,” she waved off, making her way to the entrance. “Alas, I can’t afford such a luxury.”

“But I didn’t get to tell y-”

“If it would please his majesty, I could send for another lady for you to...What was it you said? Treat?” she interrupted, letting her venom and disgust seep through each word. Not bothering to wait for a response, she stormed out of the tent, her blood broiling.

-~-

“...Bilbo, I don’t think I should’ve done that.”

“Well, I could’ve told you that much” their burglar stressed, rubbing his temples.