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Title: Moments Between Waking
Author: Keelywolfe
Fandom: The Hobbit (2012)
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Bilbo/Thorin, hints of Kili/Fili, hints of Dwalin/Balin
Warning: Implied incest between brothers


Sequel to: For Those Who Cannot Sleep and And No Rest Shall We Find



~~*~~


Though Bilbo hadn't been away from the Shire for that terribly long, there were times it felt like an age. Long enough to forget how it was to wake in a comfortable bed, warm and still drowsy, the blankets pulled up to his nose.

The warm press of naked skin against his back, however, was not something to which Bilbo had ever been accustomed. Thorin was curved against him, a heavy leg thrown over Bilbo's alongside an arm around him, holding him in tightly. Of all the Dwarves, Thorin was quietest in his sleep, his breath as silent as a nighttime breeze though warmer where it gusted against the back of Bilbo's neck.

Bilbo took a breath of his own and let it out, shakily. From the small window poured daylight and while Bilbo had no idea of the time it was certainly early enough for the others to be awake and to make note that Bilbo had not rejoined them by the fire, his small pallet of blankets undisturbed.

Oh, what he had done. Things that seemed easy in the darkest of night had a terrible way of changing their appearances in the starker light of day.

It had been years since he'd done any such play as this. Though no one in the Shire would be so crass as to speak about what went on behind closed doors, it was rather expected for a hobbit in his tweens to indulge in a bit of unorthodox behavior. A little play between boys or girls was not precisely encouraged but neither was it frowned upon; better that surely than a hasty wedding with the bride's skirt barely hiding the swell of a child within.

At a certain age one was expected to leave such play behind and marry, and that was what Bilbo's youthful companions had done and he…simply had not. He had taken his comforts in his books, his warm chair by the fire. In home and hearth, and likely he would have been content with that. Until a wizard and troop of dwarves had shattered his contentment, had sent him yearning for adventures and far off places.

Behind him, Thorin made a little sound, the first Bilbo had heard from him all night. He shifted, the warm line of his arm tightening and Bilbo drew another slow breath at the firm length he felt pressed against his back. Yes, he'd been sent to yearning any number of things he'd happily spent his life doing without and Thorin was quickly becoming one of them.

Curious, perhaps, that Thorin seemed to have a bit of a yearning himself, wasn't it? Bilbo wasn't entirely familiar with dwarfish behaviors or their lifespans, but surely Thorin had left his equivalent of his tween years far behind. Yet, he had been the one to begin this, had he not? That night on the cliffside seemed shadowy as a dream to Bilbo and still he remembered it had been Thorin to pull him into an embrace, Thorin's hands on him had led them on the path to Bilbo waking in this bed.

The ways of dwarves were unlike those of hobbits, he supposed, though he guessed it was possible Thorin had an unmentioned wife. The thought sent a note of pain to strangle in his throat and he dismissed it hurriedly. Thorin was a Dwarf of great honor and even if he weren't, the others likely knew where Bilbo was. From what he had seen Dwarves held their families in high regard and were that true there would probably be pounding at the door this morning in outrage; no, there could be no unspoken of wife.

Ah, yes, the others, who were certainly awake and enjoying their breakfast. Bilbo cringed inwardly to think of facing them and their knowing looks. It had been easy enough to believe they knew nothing before even with Oin's rather blatant advice. There would be no pretending again.

Still, that didn't mean they needed to spend the entire morning abed. With a wretched sigh at the thought of leaving this cozy comfort to face a troop of Dwarves, all of whom would have ideas on just what had happened betwixt these sheets, Bilbo moved to crawl out of bed.

Or he would have, if he could have moved. At his first stirring, the limbs around him tightened, hauling him back against Thorin's chest as though he were a pillow to be clutched. Bilbo sputtered and squirmed, all for naught because Dwarves seemed to take their sleeping arrangements quite seriously and Thorin did not seem inclined to let him go.

What a picture they must make, Bilbo wondered sourly, him caught in the arms of the King as though he were the bunny Beorn had called him, caught in a snare of Dwarven branches.

And as tempting as it was to settle back in, his belly chose that moment to remind him that supper had been some time ago and that there were not many leftovers to be found after twelve dwarves and a wizard had taken their share.

"Thorin," Bilbo whispered. He squirmed again but his arm was like a band of iron, holding him in. "Thorin!" he said again, louder, despairing of ever getting breakfast this day. How had Thorin survived so many years in the wild if he was so difficult to wake?

A question that was quickly answered as Thorin mumbled close to his ear, "Hush, you cannot speak. We're sleeping."

"I most certainly am not sleeping," Bilbo exclaimed. "I'm awake and wanting breakfast, so if you would be so kind—"

"No, you are not," Thorin informed him. "You are very much asleep, as am I, and you are going to remain so for another hour, at least."

Bilbo chuffed softly at that, arching slightly against the hardness pressed to his back, "There's at least one part of you that isn't asleep."

"That is possible," Thorin said agreeably, "But alas, it also does not want you to leave this bed."

"Are you always ridiculous in the morning?" Bilbo huffed. As always, Thorin's teasing was disconcerting. "Very well, it does not want me to leave the bed. But it is making its wishes known in a most uncomfortable fashion. Try as it might, it will not find what it seeks there. Let me roll over."

Thorin's arm tightened enough that Bilbo wheezed out a startled gasp. "I think not. A hunter well knows that one does not release ones prey from a trap, lest they flee."

"Flee!" Bilbo exclaimed. "And where might I go without my trousers?"

"I've no idea but I do not relish chasing after you without mine." His beard was a ticklish prickle at the back of Bilbo's neck, his mouth moving softly against it and Bilbo shivered, helpless to keep his head from dropping forward to allow better access.

"Ridiculous," Bilbo muttered, nearly as annoyed with himself, for he was giving in, wasn't he, the rising heat between his legs suddenly more urgent than the grumblings of his belly. It was as though Thorin had woken a hunger in him he'd long forgotten and now his very skin cried for a touch.

Thorin hummed against Bilbo's neck, in agreement perhaps or more likely appreciation. Certainly that part of him that was not asleep seemed to be enjoying it. The hard pressure of his cock was leaving a damp trail in the small of Bilbo's back.

"Come now, let me roll over," Bilbo pushed at his arm fruitlessly. "You needn't let go, you brute, just let me breathe!"

"Brute?" Thorin asked, almost a chuckle. An edge of teeth grazed just beneath his jaw and Bilbo gasped aloud.

"You have me pinned to the bed with one arm and half a leg," Bilbo said, somewhat breathlessly, "All because you don't want me to get up. If you've another name you'd prefer, your Majesty, I've large enough ears to hear it."

"Very well." And to his dismay, Bilbo found himself released. Warily, he pushed up to kneel and found Thorin looking up at him, the blanket low on his hips leaving his chest bare.

Bilbo had seen it before, true, though only briefly last night as he'd treated Thorin's wounds. It was as thickly furred as a hobbit's feet, narrowing at his naval to an inviting trail leading downward. Unthinkingly, he reached out to touch and Thorin caught his hand, stilling it.

"You wished for me to let you go and I have done so," Thorin reminded him, solemnly. "Surely you should be off to find your breakfast."

"It would serve you right if I did," Bilbo muttered and he pulled his hand free of Thorin's loose grip to settle it in that heavy thatch of hair. Carefully, he combed his fingers through it, fascinated. It seemed more like fur, soft and thick against his fingertips, curling around his knuckles. Dark as the hair on Thorin's head with the occasional threading of silver and Bilbo sat for a long moment petting, bringing his other hand in to run his palms downward.

Thorin was silent, his breath catching occasionally when Bilbo's fingers brushed against a particularly tender bruise, though they did seem much improved, their sickly purplish-green fading. When Bilbo dared to glance at his face, he found Thorin watching him through lowered lashes, the barest rim of blue showing softly beneath them.

The sheet cutting across Thorin's hips made a barrier to Bilbo's touch and he rested his hands on the edge, near the visible swell beneath it. "Shall I?" Bilbo asked, quietly, though he was certain he knew the answer.

"By your leave, Master Baggins."

He lifted his hips to allow Bilbo to tug the sheet free, drinking in the sight of Thorin bared before him. Though it was not a sight unseen, it was much clearer in the morning light and Bilbo took a moment to look to his fill. His cock hung heavy between his thighs, cushioned by another patch of soft, curling hair. Swollen thick with need, the glistening dampness at the tip already leaking and Bilbo swallowed hard as Thorin shifted beneath his gaze, his cock bobbing as Bilbo watched.

"Will you just stare at it, then?" Thorin finally asked and he reached down to wrap his hand around it, giving the shaft a firm stroke. It was enough to snap Bilbo from his daze, the very idea that Thorin would take this away from him with it barely given. Carefully, he brushed Thorin's hand away and cupped both his own around the length, stroking his thumbs up to the head to slick through the wetness there.

Thorin made a soft sound, hips rising to meet Bilbo's touch. Again, he slid his thumbs along the heavy length, smearing the slickness downward, then up again, following the throbbing pulse beneath the skin.

This was not enough, Bilbo thought wildly, not enough simply to touch and he leaned in to press his tongue against that fluttery pulse, lapping gently. Beneath him, Thorin let out a startled shout, hips jerking, and Bilbo settled his hands there, pushing him back against the bed.

"Let me," Bilbo whispered, nuzzling against the length of the shaft gently, pressing his nose briefly into the velvet soft sack beneath it to breathe in the sleep-warmed scent of him. Thorin smelled earthy, the clean scent of the ground after rain and Bilbo inhaled it deeply, let it warm him.

"Ah, you—" Thorin choked out and Bilbo glanced up, caught his wide startled eyes. Deliberately, he poked out his tongue and lapped his way up the tip, watched that little touch crackle through Thorin's eyes.

Bilbo parted his lips and let the head press inside, his mouth stretched wide around it and a sound strangled free from his throat, wild and needy as he took Thorin inside himself as much as he could. The taste was not familiar, nothing like his dusty memories led him to recall. Dark bitter-salt and Bilbo swallowed again, again, his mouth flooding with saliva as though it wished for him to take this taste deeper, to make it his own.

Above him, Thorin made a hurt, creaking sound, dry as a branch in the wind and Bilbo simply could not look up at him, could not bear to see his expression, if it was shocked or tight with unbearable need. He could only do this, his focus lost to it, brow creasing as he concentrated. It wasn't as difficult as he recalled, to open his mouth further, curling and rubbing his tongue around the length of it. He found he could take it quite deep, bumping softly against the back of his throat before drawing back.

Blindly, he reached out to find Thorin's hand clenched in the sheets. He worked it loose, brought it up to set gently on the back of his head and it trembled there, briefly, sifting through his curls. Tightening just a bit as Bilbo tried to suck, hollowing his cheeks as he took Thorin in deeply. Another slick rush of bitter salt surged over his tongue and Bilbo swallowed it away, a moan vibrating loose from his throat. Thorin gasped aloud, hips moving clumsily and Bilbo held on tightly, pressed his tongue hard against the heavy thickness laid over it.

There was still a great deal left over that could not possibly fit in the smallness of his mouth and Bilbo wrapped a hand around it, found the rhythm to be easier for it. Helped him brace for the sudden lurch of Thorin's hips upward, his hand following his mouth as he pulled nearly off then took it in deeply again. Until his hand was wet with his own saliva, stroking alongside his own cadence and Thorin's moans were a counterpoint, a song of their own.

His jaw was only just starting to ache, unaccustomed as it was to being stretched wide around the slick-slide of a Dwarven cock, his wet hand moving alongside, when Thorin stiffened beneath him. The hand in his hair pulling free to curl into a fist that settled on his shoulder and Bilbo only had time to wonder about it when the first hot pulse fell across his tongue.

He swallowed frantically, nearly choking from it though he never considered pulling back. Thorin was writhing beneath him, hips pitching upward and to hear his rich voice sobbing out cries of pleasure only made him more determined to finish this properly. He kept one hand on Thorin's hip, all his weight braced against him as he swallowed again and again, one trickle escaping to seep down his chin. It seemed an endless moment until Thorin finally slumped back against the bed and Bilbo pressed a last, soft kiss to the softened shaft, sat back in his heels to take in the sated Dwarf before him.

Bilbo was quickly becoming fond of seeing Thorin so, still gasping as he sprawled against the sheets. His legs were spread wide, arms outflung, and his mouth was swollen, teeth marks still visible as though he'd tried to stifle his own cries. Utterly debauched and once again the despoiler was Bilbo.

Who on Middle Earth would believe such a thing? Bilbo very nearly doubted it himself.

His own cock was still hard and needy, aching for release, yet Bilbo contented himself with curling against Thorin's side, waiting until the other caught his breath. One ear he pressed to Thorin's chest and he settled a hand into the warm pelt of hair there, stroking softly.

When Thorin finally spoke, his voice was hoarse, "So it is true what they say."

"I'm sorry?" Bilbo asked, absently. He shifted a bit closer and until he could push against Thorin's side, reminding him without words that one of them had yet to find their release.

"Hobbits will put anything in their mouths."

Said mouth dropped open, Bilbo stilling in shock before he sputtered out indignantly, "I don't know that it's as unusual as all that!"

Certainly none of the hobbits he'd indulged with during his youth had found it strange.

"Perhaps not to your people." Thorin's voice rumbled beneath Bilbo's ear, deep within his chest.

"Dwarves don't—" Bilbo swallowed hard, felt a flush of color rise up his face that had nothing to do with his lingering need. "Use their mouths for…for things?"

He felt Thorin shake his head. "I was born and raised in Erebor, my little hobbit. I was unaware there was even such a thing as kissing ere I left it."

"Other dwarves don't kiss?" Bilbo demanded. It seemed horribly unlikely.

"I could not say. We like to keep our private lives as such. But I had never seen nor heard of such a thing until I left the Mountain."

Oh. Well, that was awkward, considering he could still taste the warm bitterness on the back of his tongue. Thorin hadn't seemed offended and yet-- "Sorry?"

"Must you apologize for everything?" And Thorin pulled him up till Bilbo was straddling his waist, cupping his face in both large hands to hold him still for the warm, tender touch of his mouth, the sweep of his tongue within. He felt Thorin grimace at the taste and quickly licked his way past Thorin's lips, forcing his own flavor upon him. He relented, allowing Bilbo to nibble at the tip of his tongue as he rubbed the heavy need of his own cock against the flat plane of Thorin's belly, whimpering at the delicate rub of soft hair against him.

"If dwarves don't like to use their mouths," Bilbo panted, biting his own lip at a particularly delicious shift of his hips, "What do they do then?"

Thorin chuckled hoarsely, his grip shifting from Bilbo's face to dip lower, stroking a path down his own hairless chest, the soft swell of his belly and lower, "We are very talented with our hands."

It wasn't so terribly long after that Bilbo would fervently agree.

~~*~~

No matter his newfound desires, the urges of his stomach would not be denied and this time Bilbo escaped from Thorin's lax arms easily, slipping away to wash before dressing in his increasingly ragged clothing.

His belly was nagging and yet, Bilbo paused at the door, taking in the sight of Thorin still sprawled amongst the bedclothes. He was ravenous and every moment he lingered gave Bombur more time to gorge to his heart's content and yet Bilbo stayed a little longer, weakened, he thought, by the tangle of Thorin's hair across the pillow, his head haloed in the pool of silken darkness. His face was relaxed in sleep, the taut worries he knew Thorin carried cast aside and there was a temptation there, to slip back between those sheets and wake him in a more pleasant fashion than they had become accustomed to as of late.

Bilbo reeled back with a mental snort. Fanciful thoughts and perhaps Thorin's morning ridiculousness was catching. His Took nature had taken the lead for long enough, time for his Baggins' side to have its stretch and all it wanted was breakfast.

Venturing into the dining hall he was greeted by loud hails from all, Fili's voice carrying over all others.

"And here is Master Baggins on this fine morning!" he shouted heartily, raising his mug in a mock toast. "Later than expected and breakfast half gone, though surely only something important could have kept you from such a fine meal!"

"We thought perhaps you'd been off burgling something," Kili called through a mouthful of bread, spraying the table with crumbs.

"Aye," came from Fili, "Perhaps getting into something you shouldn't."

Dwalin cuffed them both sharply on the back of the head, barking out something in his own language, and the both of them looked chastened. For exactly the length of time it took for Dwalin to look away and Kili tossed a wink Bilbo's way.

"Good morning," Bilbo tried, ignoring their antics on the theory if he pretended he did not see it, it would cease to exist. There was an empty chair on the opposite side of the table and Bilbo slid into it, took the plate that Bofur offered him gratefully and if his smile was changed this morning, Bilbo saw no sign of it.

His fears about breakfast were unfounded; the table still laden with honey cakes and fruit, an assortment of nuts and berries and the tea was still hot. Beorn's clever animals brought platters and cleared away plates, though when Bilbo asked after their host, Bofur only shrugged.

"Haven’t seen him, though Gandalf wasn't much troubled by it. Gandalf went off somewhere himself, not so long ago," Bofur added before Bilbo could ask. "Said we're safe as houses here, he did, but not to venture too far afield if you've a mind to go wandering."

Heavy footsteps caught the attention of all and Bilbo swallowed a mouthful, chasing it down with a gulp of tea as Thorin walked into the hall. Greetings called to him held a solemn note that Bilbo's had lacked and he couldn't help but notice that Kili seemed to suddenly remember the purpose of a napkin. Thorin nodded to them all, eyes searching until they lit on Bilbo.

For the briefest moment, the others fell away and Bilbo simply met his gaze, the softness he could see within. Then Thorin looked away, smiling and greeting the others as he found an empty chair of his own and if was close to Bilbo, he couldn't be blamed for that as there were few empty chairs to be found.

To his dismay, Thorin visibly winced as he took his seat and Bilbo frowned, patting his mouth with his napkin before laying it aside.

"Are your wounds troubling you?" he asked and the table went silent, each Dwarf becoming absurdly interested in their own plates. Bilbo realized none of them had ever asked about anyone's injuries, even Thorin. The first acknowledgement he'd heard was from Oin the day before. Perhaps it was a Dwarven custom and Bilbo fretted inwardly that he'd already managed to misspeak this morning.

Before he could think of a way to word an apology, Thorin cleared his throat, his mouth worked silently for a moment before he said shortly, "No."

"Right, then," Bilbo said, nodding. "Good. Good to hear. That." Around them, the conversation resumed slowly, rising near, but not quite, to the raucous level before Thorin's arrival.

Despite his denial, Bilbo couldn't help but notice that throughout the meal Thorin seemed to be having trouble sitting. Though he was obviously trying to keep still, every few minutes he would shift yet again as if seeking a comfortable position. His ribs, perhaps, Bilbo thought worriedly. They'd seemed much improved, perhaps they'd reinjured them last night—

…oh.

Oh, well, there was one other reason that Thorin might be having difficulty sitting this morning and from the barely hidden amusement on Kili and Fili's faces, they'd guessed it as well.

Kili sent another wink Bilbo's way and Bilbo blushed crimson to his eyebrows, busying himself with his plate. This, he decided, was why breakfast the morning after should only be for two.

It was strange to be a guest in a house that had no host. For all that the Dwarves had tidied up after themselves quite well at Bag End, it seemed any assistance of that sort was unnecessary here and the lot of them ended up back in the main room at loose ends. Most of them lacked much in the way of possessions, packs lost in the depths of a goblin mountain, and busied themselves the best they could.

Dori had a needle and thread, patching the clothing of any who requested it and Dwalin was going over his weapons with thorough meticulousness that Bilbo watched with curious interest. Just how many weapons did he have secreted away on his person, Bilbo wondered, and how had he kept so many of them from the goblins?

Bilbo knew from Bofur's disturbingly cheerful telling of the tale as they'd travelled the past few days that they were all lucky to have the weapons they did. Some had managed to scrounge better than others during their flight from the goblin city. Kili and Fili were sitting near Dwalin, going through their own meager supplies, and Kili was again lamenting the loss of his bow.

In one corner Nori had coaxed a few others into a game of dice with leftover berries from breakfast to be used as coin and occasionally a loud cheer or groan came forth from their gathering. Bombur was particularly loud at a grievous loss, arguing noisily with Oin and Bifur, and they all switched from the Common tongue to their own with rapidity that was giving Bilbo a headache.

And Thorin…

Bilbo was not trying to stare at him and yet, his eyes were drawn time and again. Like his nephews, he was working on his weapons, testing the blades for nicks or damage. The Elven sword needed no care and something in Thorin's expression made Bilbo think that vexed him. He laid it aside and took up his axe, drawing a wetted stone across the blade. The gravelly drag of it was soothing and again, Bilbo found himself watching. Until Thorin's hands paused beneath his gaze and he raised his eyes to find Thorin watching him, one brow raised and the barest hint of a smile curving his mouth.

Oh, this was intolerable! If any chose to tease him yet again this day Bilbo would have no one to blame but himself for acting like a love-struck tween.

Perhaps a few moments alone would clear his head. Bilbo climbed to his feet and made his way out of the room and no Dwarf cast him so much as curious look or word. No Dwarf, save one, and Bilbo fled from that pale gaze to the door outside, taking in deep breaths of cool air into his overheated lungs.

For all that Gandalf had reassured the others that they were safe enough, Bilbo was wary as he ventured around. The gardens were well tended, as their mealtimes could well attest, and some of the restlessness tight in his middle eased at the familiarity. He took some time to check on the plants, testing the plumpness of the tomatoes and casting aside the rare weed that sprouted between the vegetables. There was little enough to attend and Bilbo wandered away soon enough.

Some distance away Bilbo could see the shape of many beehives and no amount of nosiness would draw him to them. Closer were the stables and Bilbo crept into them curiously to find many fine ponies in their cozy stalls. They looked up at him with large, velvet-brown eyes, whickering softly and Bilbo held out a hand for one to nuzzle eagerly against.

"All right, then," he laughed as it lipped his hand gently. "Next time perhaps I can smuggle you a treat, hmm? You'd like that, wouldn't you?"

"I never saw a pony yet who didn't." Bilbo startled and the pony did as well, snorting in alarm as they all looked to the stable door where Balin stood watching them.

Automatically, Bilbo soothed the creature, patting its soft nose comfortingly and it gentled again under his hands.

Balin stepped closer and studied the pony with a practiced eye. "It would seem neither bird nor beast can resist your charms, lad."

To Bilbo's mind, it didn't seem that he meant the pony. He patted it again gently, scratching behind its ears as he considered. Well, he had been expecting something like this all day, had he not? Balin seemed to be waiting, holding out a hand for the pony to investigate before offering a firm scratching of his own.

"I'm sure I don't know what you mean," Bilbo said quietly. Beneath their hands the pony chuffed happily, tipping its head to offer the best places to scratch.

Balin chuckled, shaking his head. "Calm yourself. My brother was all for warning you off but I'm a more practical fellow."

Bilbo pressed his lips together and kept his eyes on the increasingly ecstatic pony before him. He'd best be careful or this one might try to follow him home. "I really don't think this conversation is appropriate."

"No," Balin agreed somberly. He left off his petting and tucked his hands into his pockets. "No, it certainly is not. But we are going to have it all the same."

"Then say what you mean."

"All right, then," Balin said mildly. "All I mean to say is do not forget who he is. And who you are."

"I'm not likely to forget," Bilbo muttered. His hands had gone still and the pony was nudging him impatiently, demanding he get back to the task before him. He did, carefully, not allowing any of the sharp emotion cutting through him to make its way into his touch.

"Good," Balin said, and added, gentler, "Because I would not see you hurt, laddie."

"I won't be hurt. I know how these things end."

"Do you now?"

Bilbo nodded jerkily. "I do. They start with…with this, secret meetings and night times and breakfasts, and they end with bumping into each other awkwardly in the marketplace whilst you pretend to admire their new wife or their latest son," Bilbo snapped out. "And for all that I thank you for your concern, I do understand at least this much!"

Balin looked no happier for his outburst; he nodded slowly and his lined faced seemed tired, "I suppose you do at that." He gave Bilbo a firm slap on the back that made him stagger forward a step. "Come now, sit and have a pipe with me, we're not likely to see many more afternoons such as this."

"I'm afraid I lost mine," Bilbo said unhappily. His lost pipe had been the beginning to all this and that made the regret of losing it sting a bit less. Balin was only speaking a truth Bilbo had known from the beginning and Bilbo did know how it ended. And he wanted it all the same.

"Oh, well, now." Balin guided him outside with a firm arm around his shoulders, leading him towards a bench overlooking the gardens. "I cannot solve the problems of the world and truth be told, I'd rather not try it. The problem of your pipe, though. That has already been solved."

From within his robes he withdrew a small pipe, made in the Dwarven style. The wood was fresh enough that it was still nearly white and it was simple but lovely for all that, with delicate, scrolling runes carved along the side.

He took it with reverent hands, running his practiced fingers over the curves. "Thank you," Bilbo said with honest appreciation.

Balin settled on the bench with a groan, "Oh, don't be thanking me, I'd nothing to do with it. And don't be thanking my brother either, it'll not end well."

"What do these say?" Bilbo touched the runes curiously.

"Ah. Let me see," Balin took out his eye glass and peered through it. "Bilbo Baggins, burglar and Dwarf friend."

"Am I?" Bilbo asked and hated the meekness in his voice. How terribly needy he must seem! Balin paused and set his own pipe aside as he met Bilbo's earnest eyes.

"Lad, you saved the life of our King," Balin said, seriously. "If any can claim such a title to us, it would be you."

Flustered, Bilbo looked back at the pipe and took the tobacco pouch Balin offered wordlessly. The pipe was beautifully balanced, quick to light and it fit well in both mouth and hand. Bilbo drew in a smoky mouthful and savored it, and though it was no Old Toby, the weed relaxed him quickly.

"It's lovely," Bilbo sighed out. "Did he work on this all day, then?"

"Not all of us spent our free time abed," Balin said blandly and he tipped Bilbo a wink when he choked on his next inhale.

"Do you have any kin other than Dwalin?" And he realized how that sounded, knowing what he knew, "I'm sorry I don't mean to be insensitive."

"It's all right, laddie," Balin exhaled a stream of smoke. "There are some hurts that can never heal but the pain of it doesn't mean I cannot speak."

"I only meant if you had a wife or children, perhaps?"

"No," he chuckled. "Dwarven women are a rare jewel amongst us and lovely for all that, but my interest was never there. Dwalin is my fàilirhazar and that is enough for me."

"Fàilirhazar," Bilbo stumbled over the pronunciation. He repeated it, let it roll off his tongue and Balin gave him an approving nod.

"I don't believe there is a word for it in the common tongue," he mused, "And it does not translate well. I think the closest would be, 'the one who eases my pain'."

"That's a lovely sentiment."

"Yes, it is," he agreed. "It's not a common thing but brothers of the womb can sometimes be brothers of the heart."

With a jolt, Bilbo realized what he was implying and saw Balin was watching him closely, waiting for his reaction. That made him wonder too what reaction he'd seen outside Erebor from the other inhabitants of Middle Earth. He drew another puff off the pipe and carefully blew a ring of smoke. The both of them watched as it drifted over the garden, widening until it finally faded into the sky.

"The brother of your heart carves a fine pipe," Bilbo said and Balin laughed in delight.

"Aye," Balin chuckled and he clasped Bilbo's shoulder with strong fingers, a warm, friendly pressure, before taking another draw off his own, breathing out words along with smoke, "That he does."

Whether it was the conversation or the pipe that had soothed Bilbo's restlessness, he could not say, but afterward Bilbo had taken his leave of Balin and returned to the house. From the smell he guessed the evening meal was being prepared and his stomach gurgled hopefully, pleading for something to tide him over. He'd reluctantly grown accustomed to the mere three meals a day that his adventure offered and now here, in this generous home, Bilbo thought he might take advantage of the largess of his absent host.

As he made his quiet way to the kitchen, Bilbo heard the scamper of feet, though in heavy boots it sounded more like a rough troop of ponies trotting through the hallways. Bilbo sighed; if there was one thing life in the Shire had prepared him for it was youthful pranks and he braced himself for whatever it was as he stepped into the pantry.

Only to find a troublesome set of dwarves had gotten here first. Kili had Fili hoisted up on one counter, his legs tight around his brother's hips as they embraced in a rough kiss. It was all wet sounds and hands twisted into long hair and Bilbo only stood in the open doorway, watching with bemusement.

He might have been more shocked if the two of them didn't seem more interested in pretending not to be watching him than they were in their own embrace. Kili pulled back with a last smacking kiss and ducked his head to rest it on Fili's chest

"Can we help you, Master Baggins?" Kili purred and Bilbo shook his head, brushing past them.

"Not at all," he said mildly and took two apples from a hanging basket, musing aloud, "And to think, I was given to believe dwarves weren't much for kissing."

Suddenly, he found himself bracketed on both sides by two squirrely Dwarves, each with a hand on his back.

"Oh, if you need instruction-" Fili whispered close to his ear and Bilbo flailed back, all but juggling his apples in a frantic attempt to keep from dropping them to the ground.

"I do not!" Bilbo said loudly, glaring at the pair of them. They only gave him sweet, amused looks, Kili slinging his arms around his brother's shoulder and resting his chin upon them.

"All right, then," Fili said easily. He hardly seemed to notice Kili was burying loud chortles into his hair. "I was going to speak to my uncle about his neglect but it seems he has things well in hand."

"I'm sure he'd find your concern touching," Bilbo retorted and that straightened Kili's spine right quickly.

"Oh, no need to mention it to him," Kili said hurriedly. His brother nodded as well, the two of them bobbing their heads like loons in a pond.

"Yes, yes, he does hate to be fretted over," Fili agreed. He snatched up an apple of his own, biting into it and chewing loudly as he shoved his brother before him out the door, despite Kili's protests over his own lack of apple, "Good afternoon!" he called around a mouthful of fruit and Bilbo kept his amusement to himself.

The Shire had also taught him it would be best not to encourage them.

And so went his day, spent in a sort of lazy boredom of waiting for their host and Gandalf to return from whence they'd gone. By the time dinner was finished and they were all gathered around the fireplace, Bilbo was surprised to find he was restless yet again, wondered with some impatience when they'd be ready to move on.

It gave him pause, considering it. This day had not been so terribly different than those he spent at the Shire; gardening, reading, and perhaps a pipe or two between many meals. When had his simple life started to seem…dull? Something to consider, perhaps. Later.

Neither Beorn nor Gandalf had yet returned that evening and the dwarves had settled in around the fire, humming the occasional song as nighttime settled over them. In a darker corner Balin sat near his brother, one large arm slung over his shoulders and Bilbo met his smile and nod with one of his own.

They were all in pairs or threes, Bilbo realized. Brother sitting with brother and cousin with cousin. The only ones who sat alone were him and Thorin, across the room from each other as pipes were smoked and quiet, deep songs sung.

What would happen, Bilbo wondered, if he stood now to sit with Thorin? If they sat together, close enough for Bilbo to feel the deep thrum of his voice whenever he joined in a song, to smell the heady weed from his pipe smoke. Would Thorin cast an arm around him as Dwalin did Balin? Would he even be allowed a seat?

In the end his nerve failed him this time and Bilbo sat alone, smoking and listening to the achingly sweet lament of Dwarf songs.

It was not so terribly much later that Thorin stood and Bilbo's heart leapt, his eyes going wide. He made no move towards Bilbo, only said low to the others, "Get some rest while you can. We won't be long in this place."

A murmur of agreement followed him as he turned to leave, bidding them goodnight, and Thorin paused long enough to rest his hand on Bilbo's shoulder, strong fingers squeezing gently.

Then he was gone without another word and Bilbo still sat, pipe in hand and near dazed, wondering again just what he should do. That was a sign, was it not, it had to be, an invitation for surely if Thorin had wished to be left alone he would have done nothing. Yet he hadn't sought Bilbo out at all this day, though how could he with a rowdy group of chaperones surrounding them and-and-and-

His thoughts were still twirling in frantic circles when Kili yawned next to him with exaggerated enthusiasm, "It is late, is it not? Perhaps we should all be seeking out our beds." He stretched extravagantly, one arm falling across Bilbo's shoulders as if by accident. "Will you be joining us this evening, Bilbo?"

"Or have you other burgling to get on with?" Fili added, an arm of his own joining his brother's with the addition of a hand to muss Bilbo's hair. He might have given the two of them a shove and a stern lecture if Ori hadn't crawled closer to them, his simple face twisted in concern.

"Have you been burgling here?" Ori asked worriedly. "I shouldn't think our host would like that."

"Oh, don't worry your little head!" Kili abandoned Bilbo for Ori, casting both arms around him and rubbed his knuckles roughly over said head, until Ori squeaked out a protest. "Master Baggins has assured us that he's only taken things that were offered."

"Offered gladly," Fili added.

"Gladly, yes."

"And loudly."

"Yes, yes," Kili nodded, "Quite loudly."

"That's enough of that!" Dwalin growled out from his corner. "The two of you had best stop your tongues from wagging before you find them lopped from your empty heads."

"Our tongues are not the matter of discussion," Kili said primly.

"I'd prefer if mine was not either," Bilbo groaned, covering his face with both hands. Only to yank them away, scrambling backwards as Kili very near flung himself at his feet, batting his eyes like a flirty milkmaid.

"Oh, were we discussing your tongue, Master Baggins?" he asked, sweetly innocent. "I thought we were speaking of burgling. Oh, do tell us a story about burgling." He bounced up, ignoring Bilbo's weak protest as Kili slung an arm around his brother and the other around Ori, dragging them both down to sit at Bilbo's feet. "We want to hear about burgling, don't we, Ori."

Ori opened his mouth and whether he meant to agree or not, Bilbo never knew, as Dwalin roared out, "And I said that was enough! I'll not hear another word about burgling or tongues this night! Off to bed with all of you!"

"One bed for all of us—" Fili began and he scrambled away as Dwalin surged to his feet, his brother at his heels as they scampered off towards their bedrolls, laughing between them. Ori watched them, his brow knit with confusion before he shrugged it away.

"I suppose I'll be off to bed then," Ori said, slowly, "Perhaps you can tell us about burgling another time."

"Perhaps," Bilbo agreed and promised himself fervently that he'd not speak another word about burgling until the mountain was at his feet.

With the youngest of them gone and abed, the others sat on, quieter for it, and there was much tapping out of pipes and softer murmurs, all preparing to make for their bedrolls. One of which was meant for Bilbo, a small pallet on the end with blankets aplenty.

Bilbo sighed and tapped out his own pipe, tucking it away with the reverence Balin had warned him not to offer his brother. In the corner, the two of them still sat and when Bilbo glanced at them, Balin only offered him that same smile from this afternoon, small and sad and tired. Do not forget who you are. Or who he is.

No matter where he slept this night, he was not likely to forget that. Were he honest with himself there had never been a chance of him sleeping elsewhere. There would be few peaceful afternoons in the coming weeks Balin had said, and few nights as well, Bilbo knew. This one, then, Bilbo was going to take for himself.

Bilbo stood and made his way towards the other side of the house where the guestroom lay, calling quietly to the others as he went, "Good night, then."

"Good night!" Came from Bofur, from a few others, Balin included. Dwalin said nothing to him and Bilbo did not falter, only retraced his steps from this morning, from the night before, the same path that led him back to Thorin.

The door swung open even as Bilbo raised a hand to knock and he yelped in surprise as a fist caught the front of his shirt and pulled him inside. The door was hardly closed again before he was pressed against it, Thorin towering over him.

"What kept you?" Thorin demanded and his mouth was fierce, crushing Bilbo's lips with his own before he could answer.

For someone who claimed Dwarves rarely kissed, Thorin had taken to it quite well.

"Your nephews," Bilbo panted out when Thorin chose to free his mouth and instead investigate the curve of his ear, nipping with sharp teeth. His mouth went still and Thorin pulled back with a frown.

"What about my nephews?" he demanded, eyes narrowed.

"They…" Bilbo faltered, not liking the suspicion in Thorin's face at all, "It's not important."

"Oh, certainly," Thorin's mouth twisted, "I am quite sure it's not important, yet I'll ask again. What did they do?"

"They only held me up for a time," Bilbo said hurriedly, "Asking to hear a story. I promised I'd give them one another time."

Perhaps Thorin knew his nephews too well or perhaps Bilbo's fib was too hasty; either way, Thorin did not seem convinced. It would seem a distraction was in order. Bilbo tipped his head back with a sigh, watched Thorin's eyes drop to the pale, exposed line of his throat, "Do not stop," Bilbo murmured, let his voice fall husky and wanting.

"This is not finished," Thorin warned even as he buried his face against the smooth skin, rubbed the prickly softness of his beard to where Bilbo's would grow had nature thought to plant one for him.

Bilbo sighed softly at the feel, drawing lower still as Thorin proved yet again that Dwarves had nimble fingers, plucking shirt buttons loose as he pressed his mouth against newly bared skin, wet and soft and lovely.

He should have known the direction this was heading, Bilbo realized, his breath catching as Thorin eased down to kneel before him. The door was hard against his back and a comfortable bed was but steps away and Bilbo was trembling, already eager and yet…

"You needn't—" Bilbo said weakly. "What I mean to say is…you told me…"

"I believe I told you any number of things." Thorin's breath was damp, his tongue dipping into the shallow well of Bilbo's naval, following the trail of fine hair there lower, to the barrier of his trousers.

"B...but you told me Dwarves preferred not to use their mouths," Bilbo managed, biting his lip at the pressure of Thorin's mouth through his trousers, the edge of teeth. That muffled touch alone drew a sharp tingle up Bilbo's spine and he caught Thorin's head in his hands, stilling him.

"You needn't do this," Bilbo said, softly, "Perhaps later I could instruct you, it needn't be tonight—"

Somehow that seemed to be precisely the wrong thing to say, from the sharp crease between Thorin's eyebrows as they drew together, his expression mulish. He shook away Bilbo's stilling hands and lifted his own to the fastenings of Bilbo's trousers, deftly parting them and drawing the plackets aside. His underclothes were no obstruction, his cock pressing against them as if eager for the mouth so very close. Thorin tugged them gently aside, his eyes never leaving Bilbo's as he leaned in.

The tip of his tongue was little more than a wet tease, flicking against the tip, skirting beneath his foreskin and then Thorin pulled away to whisper, his breath hot, "I said I knew not of kissing in my youth, not that I was unwilling. Perhaps you've shown me the error of my ways."

If Bilbo had allowed himself to think about it, he supposed he would have thought Thorin might be clumsy at this, uncertain and inexperienced. And his daydreams would have made a liar of him, for Thorin was nothing if not a quick learner, letting the length of Bilbo's shaft slide between his parted lips into the welcoming wetness inside.

"Ah, that's…you needn't…" Bilbo stammered, fighting the urge to squirm as he was taken deeply, the path cushioned by the slick pressure of Thorin's tongue. By all the heavens, he shouldn't be so cunning at this, swallowing tightly around the head before drawing back. His hand was snug at the base, another layer of pleasure and Thorin took him in again, cheeks hollowing as he sucked. Again, each slow retreat followed by a return, until Bilbo could no longer fight the urge to move. He managed one quick, stilted thrust forward and then was forced to gasp as cold air greeted his wet skin.

Thorin was looking up at him, letting the very tip of Bilbo's cock rest wetly on his lower lip. Already his mouth looked swollen, lips plush and reddened, and as Bilbo watched, he darted his tongue out, barely grazing Bilbo, flicking against him as if to get a small taste.

"So quiet," Thorin mocked softly, "Did you not say you would instruct me at this?"

"You don't seem to need a teacher," Bilbo panted, and he could hear the thin whine in his own voice, his desperation.

"Yet, you seemed confident that you could teach me," Thorin continued, relentless. "Surely with all your vast experience in these matters you might educate me." He tipped his head and Bilbo yelped aloud at the strange, thrilling sensation of his beard abrading such tender skin. Again, Thorin dragged his cheek down the length of Bilbo's shaft, until Bilbo was writhing against hard wooden door, his head knocking back against it in a bright shock of pain. Dimly, he felt strong hands on his own, working them loose and only then did he realize he had two fistfuls of Thorin's hair, pulling sharply.

Thorin only loosened his grip, shifted his hands to rest lightly on the back of his head and it was the only warning Bilbo was allowed before he was taken. None of his other couplings had ever prepared him for the dark, slickness of Thorin's mouth, the tightness of it around him together with the threatening edge of teeth. There was nothing else but Thorin, his mouth and his hands, hard on Bilbo's hips, urging him to move. Bilbo struggled not to pull hair again as he obeyed, near mindless as he pushed up and slid in deep and again, rocking up into lovely wetness.

Thorin was breathing roughly, loud enough for Bilbo to hear over his own grunts and whimpers, hot gusts of air against his belly and abruptly it wasn't enough to feel this. Seeing it became an imperative and barely, Bilbo managed to slit open his eyes, moaning aloud at the sight. Thorin Oakenshield, King Under the Mountain, was on his knees before him, lashes fluttering against his cheeks and his mouth swollen and stretched around the surging length of Bilbo's cock.

It was enough to tip him over the ragged edge of his control, spilling like a green lad without so much as a warning and even that did not stir Thorin, who only swallowed it away, his tongue writhing against the head as if to lap away every drop and Bilbo's cock valiantly tried to rise to the occasion, honoring the King.

In the end, Bilbo was only himself, only a hobbit, and he could only sag back against the door, trembling, his mussed clothing clinging to him in uncomfortable places. Thorin released him with reluctance, pressing a last, gentle kiss against his softening shaft before sitting back on his heels, eyeing Bilbo with visible amusement.

Thorin gave him a humble little nod, "I hope that was to your satisfaction."

"You are not amusing," Bilbo mumbled.

"I know that I don't have your immeasurable experience—"

"You aren't."

"And while I'm quite sure that almost any Hobbit in the Shire would exceed my feeble attempts to satisfy you—"

"I do believe that the entirety of Middle Earth would find the idea that you have a sense of humor deeply disturbing."

"Truly, my Lord," Thorin said, earnestly, "I hope that I—"

It seemed best to shut Thorin's mouth with his own, less chance of causing offense than anything Bilbo might have said and Thorin gave in easily, pulling Bilbo down to straddle his lap as he shared the faint bitter salt of Bilbo's own taste on his lips.

Beneath him he could feel Thorin's cock straining, rubbing against his backside seekingly and for all that Bilbo felt boneless and sleepy, he thought he might enjoy the feel of it inside him this night.

"You could have me, tonight, if you like," Bilbo murmured into his mouth and to his surprise, Thorin flinched, drawing back.

"I don't…that would not be appropriate," Thorin muttered and Bilbo could only gape at him in astonishment.

Even stranger, Thorin, always powerful and brash, looked close to fleeing, his head ducked away and his hands were no longer holding Bilbo close, fingers flexing open and closed where they rested on Bilbo's hips as though he was fighting the urge to push him away.

Appropriate?

"Well, then, we won't," Bilbo said mildly. He was hardly going to press Thorin for something he did not want, no matter its appropriateness. He wound his fingers into Thorin's hair, as much to stroke him as it was to keep him from escaping. "I may not be as clever with my hands as a Dwarf but I think I could manage. If you like."

Beneath his hands, he felt Thorin relax and that would be a puzzle for him to work at another time. This night he coaxed Thorin to his feet, drawing him to the bed for he had not forgotten the bruises that lay beneath Thorin's clothing. Each was revealed yet again as Bilbo drew apart lacings and opened buttons, each wound stroked and kissed as Bilbo bared him before pushing him back to lie upon the soft blankets.

If he was less talented with his hands than a Dwarf, Bilbo never learned. Thorin shivered and gasped beneath his every touch, holding Bilbo firm against him with one arm as Bilbo stroked him and when he came, Thorin pulled him closer still, sought Bilbo's mouth with his and groaned his pleasure over the tender stroke of a tongue against his own.

Bilbo caught the liquid warmth of it in the cup of his hand, slicked his wetted thumb against the head yet again just to feel Thorin quiver, breath catching. Stroked Thorin through it with his slippery hand until he sagged back against the sheets, sheened with sweat and near glowing in the firelight.

If ever he were to write poetry, Bilbo thought wryly, he might take it from the fanciful thoughts Thorin brought to life within his head.

Thorin did not ask for a wet cloth this night, already drowsing as he was. Bilbo went for one anyway, cleaning his hand and gently wiping away any trace of dampness from Thorin's belly and thighs. The cloth never made it back to the bathroom, instead sacrificed to the floor as Thorin tossed it aside to pull him in, wrapping him up again in a cage of Dwarven limbs.

"Go to sleep," Thorin mumbled against the back of his neck and Bilbo gave a shaky laugh.

"You say that as though I have a choice," Bilbo said, softly, and he suspected Thorin was asleep before the words left his lips. His breathing slowed, the gentle warmth of it soft against Bilbo and though he closed his own eyes, sleep was slow to come.

Beneath the blankets was sultry warm, none of the chill that came with sleeping in camp trickling in, and along his back the bare length of Thorin against him was a curling heat of its own, his hand a lick of flame at Bilbo's hip. Bundled in warmth and comfort, sleep should have drawn him in and yet, Bilbo did not. He lay in the softness of a borrowed bed, the rosy glow from the hearth the only light, and this night, he did not sleep.

-finis-
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keelywolfe

August 2013

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