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An Early Start

Chapter Text

The Carrock where the eagles drop them off is clearly a very convenient spot for a race with a 15 foot wingspan, and it certainly has a pleasant view. However, on their way down, Bilbo can't help noticing that it is also rather exposed. There was nothing quite like a full day spent in vertiginous scrambles to keep the blood pumping, of course, but it was a different story once you stopped for the night.

The rest of the company are all trussed up in a dozen layers of smelly goat wool and leather and most likely haven’t even noticed the cold. They all seem in rather high spirits as they set up the camp, and even Thorin is almost smiling.

Briefly Bilbo thinks back to the unexpected hug that morning, but he shakes the thought out of his head firmly. It wouldn’t do to dwell on it, though perhaps it might warm him up a bit. Whatever magic Gandalf had used in his healing trick had clearly worked very well, so it was probably strong enough to account for a bit of unusual behaviour.

Still, the facts of the matter are these: it had been a pleasant Summer day when Bilbo had taken it into his idiot head to go chasing after these dwarves, and he had been dressed accordingly, and now the nights are getting very cold indeed.

Bilbo tentatively stretches his feet at little closer towards the fire, but any attempt at subtlety is ruined with his first sneeze. The entire company fall silent and stare.

“Yes yes, all right,” grumbles Bilbo. “I’m fine, just a little chilled. You needn’t fuss.”

“Are you sick?” asks Ori, a note of panic in his voice. “I’ve read about this, sicknesses, they affect all the races apart from us. You’re not going to… to die, are you, Mister Baggins?”

It takes Bilbo more than a moment to hush the clamour that arises from that statement. “No, no no. Please. It was one sneeze, it’s a bit nippy out here, and I shall be fine in the morning, I assure you.”

He looks around at a circle of pitifully concerned faces. Óin clears his throat meaningfully, as if about to make some diagnosis, and it’s more than any reasonable soul could bear, so Bilbo sighs heavily and makes his decision. “You know, I probably just need a bit of rest. Excuse me, good night.”

It’s a wrench to leave the fireside, but Bilbo strides bravely off, flicks out his bedroll and attempts to get comfortable. He’s still freezing, and will probably remain so, but he’ll be damned if he’ll let dwarves be the only ones who get to brag about their endurance abilities. They already look at him as if he’s made of glass.

A warm, heavy weight descends upon him unexpectedly, one that smells like all kinds of delicious things that drag him straight from drowsing into wide-eyed alertness. There’s long, slightly matted fur against his face and he has to spit it out of his mouth before he can speak clearly, staring up at the dark shape standing over him in the shadows of the evening.

“Thorin?”

“To keep you warm,” says Thorin shortly, and Bilbo realises the Dwarf has laid his coat over him. Thorin remains standing over him, and there’s a moment of silence. Your coat smells wonderful, is all Bilbo can think, but he can’t possibly say that.

“Thank you?” he manages at last, and Thorin nods, then walks back to his place by the fire.

Bilbo falls asleep pretty quickly, the king’s coat keeping him as snug as he can ever remember being, but his dreams are uncomfortable, full of Thorin’s eyes and his hair and his arms around Bilbo’s shoulders. In the morning it’s no sacrifice to return the coat. It’s done its job.

--

The next night, when Bilbo retires to sleep, the coat lands on top of him almost immediately. He rolls over in surprise to find Thorin walking away already.

“Thorin!” he calls, and the king pauses. “Thorin,” says Bilbo again, still unsure what he wants to say.

Thorin has turned, now, and is watching him. He seems dreadfully tall from Bilbo’s position on the ground.

“It’s all right,” says Bilbo. “I can’t keep taking your coat. I’ll be fine.”

“I - We have no use for a sick burglar,” Thorin mutters, and is gone.

--

The next night Bilbo is prepared. Once everyone is busy eating, he clears his throat and says, "Thank you for letting me borrow your coat, Thorin, but I really think I might have to let you have it back now. I’m feeling much better, I assure you, and while you may not want a sick burglar, I think we can hardly afford a sick King."

Hopefully Thorin will understand that this isn’t meant as a rebuff. It’s been nice, feeling that their company’s leader despises him less than before. They’ve hugged, and it’s been a good week since Thorin last insulted him.

"My people do not suffer from sickness of the body, Master Baggins," says Thorin.

"But you can feel the cold, surely?" asks Bilbo, and Thorin frowns, as if the suggestion offends him. The rest of the company has fallen unusually quiet, watching this exchange take place.

"Yes," Thorin admits, "but we are sons of Durin. We endure.”

Obviously Bilbo wants to be careful of Thorin’s feelings, with everyone paying attention like this. He’s the king, and he’s got enough on his plate after all, but Bilbo is reluctant to let the matter go, even if Thorin is now openly glowering at him.

It’s a glower, all right, but gosh, Thorin’s eyes are terribly blue. And he’s far, far more handsome than ought to be allowed. No-one could blame Bilbo for the idea that falls from his lips well before his brain has properly considered it.

“Then we should share it. I’m only small, it’d be big enough for both of us.”

Oh, the look on Thorin’s face. Aware, faintly, of Gandalf coughing quietly from his seat a little further back from the fire, Bilbo can only press on, attempting to repair the damage. “It’s my own fault for not bringing something more practical. It’s only common sense, Thorin.”

“Sensible creatures, hobbits,” announces Gandalf, and returns to his pipe.

“I don’t see any other way around it,” agrees Bofur cheerfully before anyone else can speak, and there is a murmur of agreement from the company that sounds oddly eager to Bilbo.

Balin is positively beaming. “I like a problem solved,” he says. “Any more of that stew, Bombur laddie?”

Soon enough the conversation turns, and Bofur is telling some scurrilous tale about an alewife in the Blue Mountains. It lasts past the point Thorin has stopped staring at him, and since Bilbo has long since lost the thread of the story, he waits until the next round of guffaws breaks out and then stretches theatrically.

“I’m done in,” he announces. “Bedtime.”

And whether or not the company is watching, or snickering, or talking in loud confused voices, thank you Kili, Bilbo doesn’t care. He lays out his bedroll and lies down, still not sure what will happen next.

It’s less than a minute before Thorin joins him. Without speaking, he sets his bedroll out beside Bilbo’s, unbuckles his sword, shucks off his coat, and pulls it over the two of them. He’s very, very still, almost like those carven statues Bilbo has sometimes seen over the tombs of Men, in Bree’s cemetery.

Which only means that most of both of them is outside the coat’s reach. No good. Bilbo yawns carefully, giddy with daring, and rolls sideways, until he is tucked closely against Thorin. Under the pretence of sleepiness he dares to lay a hand on Thorin’s upper arm, and rests the toes of one foot against the King’s leg.

Thorin, if possible, stiffens further. It’s like cuddling up to a block of stone. Still, Bilbo thinks, it’s very warm stone. Thorin seems to emit heat like some sort of furnace, with the result that Bilbo is asleep in mere moments, more comfortable than he’s been in weeks, coat or none.

--

In the morning, by the time Bilbo wakes, Thorin is already up and discussing their route with Dwalin and Gandalf. Which is reasonable.

After all, they’re only sharing the coat for warmth’s sake. Within a few nights, Bilbo is feeling better than he has since he left Hobbiton.

Thorin seems somewhat less well, however, which is a worry. More than once Bilbo has seen him pass a hand over his face or sigh, losing the thread of whatever he’s been saying. He has lost his good mood, too, snapping under his breath in Khuzdul at his nephews for no reason Bilbo can see.

Now that Bilbo is feeling so much better himself, he feels as if he ought to try to help somehow. When they retire to sleep, Thorin keeps perfectly still and silent, and Bilbo hasn’t dared speak to him. Struggling with how to broach the subject, he falls asleep still pondering it, and wakes again just before sunrise.

A short distance away, against the pinkening horizon, Bilbo can see the silhouette of Bifur standing the watch. He is whittling at a small stick in his hands, as usual. No-one else seems to be awake yet.

More pressingly, there is an exiled Dwarf prince at Bilbo’s side who is decidedly less statue-like than he’s ever been before.

“No,” mumbles Thorin, his wide, heavy arm slung suddenly across Bilbo’s stomach, almost winding him. “I will not… I won’t let..”

“Shush,” whispers Bilbo instinctively. It occurs to him that if he reaches a little further around, he can stroke Thorin’s beautiful hair. Oh, it’s full of dirt and oil and the odd bit of Orc blood, but it’s beautiful nonetheless; the curl and weight of it, the strands of silver through the black. It smells a bit like his coat, of smoke and sweat and dirt, a combination which really has no business being so appealing.

Thorin shudders again, clutching close as Bilbo runs comforting fingers over his hair. How delicious it would be if it really was Bilbo he wanted to hold like this, instead of whoever’s lucky enough to be part of this dream. Or perhaps not, since it seems more like a nightmare.

“Mine,” mutters Thorin furiously, his lips moving against Bilbo’s neck. No, definitely someone lucky.

Nobody has the right to be so attractive. It’s simply rude, thinks Bilbo sleepily, the hand that isn’t stroking Thorin’s hair daring to rub a soothing thumb over the king’s drawn brows. He makes more calming, shushing noises, and his hand, entirely of its own accord, moves downwards, stroking softly across Thorin’s sharp cheekbones towards the darkness of his cropped beard. He stops there, of course, even when Thorin’s lips part softly, practically begging for Bilbo’s thumb to press against them.

Bilbo is too lost in watching his own remarkable self restraint to realise at first that Thorin’s eyes have opened, just a little. Once he does, he’s too startled to move.

Thorin shifts very slightly, and Bilbo’s hand, so recently tracing the edge of Thorin’s beard, snaps back to his side. The one previously on Thorin’s hair grabs at some of the grass beneath them. Thorin doesn’t speak. It’s unbearable.

“I am so, so sorry,” stammers Bilbo in a whisper. “I just, I really am, there’s no excuse, I can’t,” he continues eloquently.

The future King of Erebor blinks at him a few times, then presses their mouths together, and Bilbo makes a strangled noise that he will deny to the end of his days. The rasp of Thorin’s beard against his face is softer than expected, the smell of Thorin’s skin is very, very close and very, very interesting, and the taste of Thorin’s mouth is something Bilbo urgently wants to pursue. His heart struggles against the wall of his chest like a trapped bird, and his hands clutch upwards into Thorin’s hair, oh goodness, his hair, his braids, and Bilbo realises Thorin is quite awake now and must be aware now of how greedy the hobbit’s hands are, attempting to pull all of him closer.

He hasn’t even realised how short of breath he is until Thorin draws away briefly and he gasps, gulping down air, as thick Dwarf fingers press over his mouth. “Quietly,” breathes Thorin. “We will be heard.”

Bilbo nods, not daring to speak. He can be quiet, probably, and he would really like some more kisses, although he’ll settle for looking into those eyes for a bit longer. Thorin is smiling at him, although it’s a confused and cautious sort of smile, and Bilbo risks a smile back.

“You are full of surprises, Burglar,” murmurs Thorin, and leans over to kiss him again, just a chaste press of lips. Bilbo realises that a second too late, pressing his tongue back into Thorin’s mouth instinctively, but it doesn’t seem to matter, and at once they are kissing like lovesick tweens again. It isn’t until Thorin’s mouth shifts away from his, moving along Bilbo’s jaw, that he opens his eyes and realises just how close to morning it really is.

“Thorin!” he whispers urgently, and Thorin growls against his neck. Bilbo swallows hard and tries again. “Thorin, it’s morning,” he hisses, eyes pressed shut to block out the hot, whiskery kisses that are threatening to overwhelm him all over again.

It works, though deep down Bilbo almost wishes it hadn’t. Thorin stops, and he pauses, resting his forehead very gently against Bilbo’s. His hair hangs around them both like a curtain, blocking out the rest of the camp. Or the world. He sighs softly as if he’d rather stay like this, too, then leans down to whisper again.

“Tonight.” His breath is on Bilbo’s ear, and then, oh and then he runs the tip of his nose along the sensitive edge, up to the tip, and kisses it.

Bilbo’s whole body stiffens, and he presses his mouth very firmly shut so that all that escapes is a whimper.

Apparently Thorin was unaware of the sensitivity of hobbit ears. He is looking at Bilbo now with frank surprise, and damn him, the bastard actually grins. It’s a flash of white teeth that leaves Bilbo almost as undone as the wretched trick with his ear.

“It is morning. Time for us to rise,” says Thorin, standing, and around them the company begins to stir.

Bilbo watches him roll away and head over to Bifur, relieving him of his watch. Groaning softly, the hobbit reaches down to rearrange his prick in his trousers, resisting the urge to do any more. “Well ahead of you there,” he grumbles to himself.

---

The trek towards Mirkwood crosses a wide plain, dotted with tussocks of sharp-bladed grass, rocky outcrops, and the occasional tree. It’s all very well for dwarves, with their boots and all, but while Bilbo would never dream of complaining, there have been times when the endless tramping across Rhovanion is less comfortable for hobbits than it might be. The well-kept roads of the Shire are not quite the same as endless rocks underfoot or swamps or thistles or anything of that sort.

Today, he barely notices. At breakfast, he eats his porridge in a sort of daze, his hand creeping up to touch his mouth so often that Bofur asks if he’s burnt his tongue, and Bilbo can’t think of any sensible answer. That mood lasts until well after the Company has set off, and for an hour or so Bilbo could be walking over sunlit meadows of wildflowers, replaying in his mind the warmth of Thorin’s skin, the soft sound of his mouth opening against Bilbo’s, the faintest creak of his leathers as he’d leaned up over Bilbo to kiss him.

It’s when Balin glances over at him with a distinctly quizzical expression, and asks if he’s feeling quite well, that it occurs to Bilbo how obviously smitten he might be looking.

“Oh yes,” replies Bilbo airily. “Quite well, thank you.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” says Balin, and Bilbo could swear the old Dwarf’s eyes are twinkling.

Unsettled, Bilbo frowns at his feet as he walks on a touch faster, leaving Balin behind and catching up with Bifur, who nods in surprise at his sudden company. Bilbo feels a little guilty as he nods back, well aware that he’s deliberately sought out the one Dwarf who cannot talk to him.

But he is troubled, now, by Balin’s knowing expression. Bilbo has no business behaving like some lovestruck faunt, he’s a grown hobbit and a gentlehobbit at that, of none too tender years.

Moreover, he is on an important, dangerous quest, several weeks past his last hot bath, in need of a haircut, plus he’s lost so much weight he must look positively gaunt. Back home, he never considered himself unattractive, if nothing much to swoon over, but he really isn’t at his best at present. He has several cuts and bruises from his fall in the Goblin caverns and and despite significant scrubbing he’s pretty sure he still has remnants of troll-snot on his jacket. Now is not the time to be mooning about the possibility of stealing a few kisses come bedtime.

All of which is true, of course, and at the same time rather perplexing. It’s not hard to imagine why anyone might want to kiss Thorin; he’s so tall and big and fierce, and majestic of course, being a Prince, and he can lead a company and kill Wargs and Orcs and Goblins, and he’s got such blue eyes and black hair and that beautiful deep voice, oh heavens, he can even sing pretty well.

What occurs to Bilbo then, however, is to wonder why on earth Thorin would want to kiss him.

He looks up, to where Thorin and Dwalin are walking near the head of their group of travellers, and his heart begins to sink as fast as his mind starts racing.

--

By the time they find a sheltered spot to make camp that evening he can barely look at Thorin, and busies himself keeping the fire fed and fussing with Bombur about that night’s stew. Bombur agrees that it does seem to be catching on the pot, but suggests that’s probably only because someone built the fire too high, and raises his eyebrows meaningfully.

“Sorry,” says Bilbo, abashed. He drops the bundle of kindling he’s scavenged, and beats a retreat.

Not too far away is Gloin, sitting on a fallen tree in the half-darkness, sighing over the little pocket portraits of his family again. Bilbo’s not hiding, exactly, but certainly Gloin’s magnificent beard does a good job of blocking Thorin from view.

“Hullo, wee Burglar!” says Gloin. “Anything wrong? You don’t normally sit so far from the fire.”

“What’s that?” asks Óin from beside his brother, apparently not so deaf for once. “You’re not taking a fever again now, are you Mr Baggins?”

“No, no, I’m fine,” says Bilbo, anxious not to draw any more attention. It doesn’t work, of course, and now, from right across the campsite, he sees Thorin stop in mid-conversation with Balin and glance over at him. Bilbo smiles weakly and then pretends to be very interested in a pebble near his big toe.

“Master Baggins,” calls Thorin, “I would speak with you alone. Will you walk with me?”

Bilbo winces at the sound of Thorin’s voice and rises to his feet. There’s no helping it.

Thorin nods at Balin, dismissing him. “See we are not disturbed,” he mutters, and Balin is definitely twinkling at Bilbo this time.

But Thorin is already headed towards another copse of trees a little further down the hill, leaving Bilbo scampering to catch up. Well, it’s very kind of Thorin to do this in private, at least. Let him down gently instead of in front of the whole company. On the other hand, he’s probably also keen not to let any of them know it happened in the first place.

Bilbo stumbles over mud and tree roots, clumsy with apprehension, only half-aware of his surroundings as his miserable thoughts churn around his head.

“Master Baggins?” asks Thorin, pausing. He’s holding out a hand, and Bilbo takes it instinctively.

He’s grateful that Thorin’s watching where they’re going, because Bilbo can’t really look at anything else now except how incredibly small his own hand looks, wrapped in that gigantic Dwarf paw. When they stop, he’s so absorbed in the sight that he stumbles, and Thorin drops his hand to reach out and steady him, grasping both his shoulders.

They’re certainly a good distance away from the company, hidden from sight amongst old, wisened beeches and hawthorns. Bilbo can see the warm glow of the campfire, and that faint sound of dwarven conversation that always sounds like the beginning of an argument, but there’s no making out individual voices. He looks up at Thorin in trepidation, more out of breath than the distance they’ve travelled ought to merit.

“Bilbo?” asks Thorin, more quietly. His face is mostly hidden in the shadows under the trees.

Bilbo nods hastily, wanting to fend off the kind words before they begin. “I understand, Thorin. It’s not a problem. You really don’t need to apologise, after all, we were both... there, and I’m only sorry if I’ve caused you any bother. I got rather carried away, and with all your worries, I just, yes, well what I mean is, you don’t have to worry about me. I, er. It won’t happen again, I promise. And I understand if you want me to sleep somewhere else.”

“You regret what happened this morning,” says Thorin.

Bilbo screws up his face a bit, because he’s a lot of things, but not an outright liar. Or at least not often, and never to Thorin. “No, personally, I don’t think I do, not at all. But I understand that you must regret it, and that’s completely fine. I understand, truly.”

“Indeed,” growls Thorin, stepping closer, twigs crunching under his heavy boot. “A wise hobbit, to tell me my own mind. Master Baggins, look at me.”

Which Bilbo obediently does. And it’s a good thing Thorin’s got a decent grip on his shoulders still, because his knees feel suddenly wobbly.

“If you do not wish me to kiss you, I would have you tell me now,” says Thorin. His usual grim frown is gone. Instead Thorin only looks rather crestfallen, and worn, and probably very much in need of kisses, now Bilbo considers it.

So he leans up on tiptoes, takes Thorin’s coat in both hands, and presses his lips very deliberately against Thorin’s.

Thorin opens his mouth against Bilbo’s at once, and that hunger, the heat, the wet slide of Thorin’s tongue against his thrills Bilbo down to his toes. The Dwarf’s hands drop down to his waist to pull him into a fierce embrace, and Bilbo has to put his arms up around Thorin’s neck to keep his balance, which puts Thorin’s glorious hair within reach again, so Bilbo digs his hands in, seizing fistfuls of Thorin’s hair to pull him down, closer, desperate to taste and lick and know, until he feels Thorin stumble forward a step.

“Sorry,” gasps Bilbo, letting go, shocked at himself. Thorin is still pressing hot, ravenous kisses to Bilbo’s neck, still holding him up with one hand splayed across Bilbo’s back, but he shifts against Bilbo awkwardly, the other arm behind himself. He’s taking off his coat, Bilbo realises dimly, and automatically helps, pushing the thick fur away. Thorin leans back to catch it before it falls and treats Bilbo to a grin.

The coat is thrown down onto the forest’s floor and Thorin drags Bilbo into his lap as he drops to sit them both upon it. They are nearer the same height like this, Bilbo realises, and Thorin’s hand is on his cheek again. His fingers slide over the back of Bilbo’s head, drawing him back in for kisses that set off something like old Gandalf’s fireworks all through his body.

He wants more, gladly wriggling close and straddling those broad thighs. If he thought the Dwarf was warm in his sleep, it is nothing to the heat between them now. Thorin kisses with fervent concentration, hands cupping Bilbo’s face, stroking broad fingertips down the edge of his ears and setting off sparks with each touch. It is breathtaking to be under such focus, to be explored so intently. Bilbo half-wonders if he couldn’t finish just from this.

Before long, Thorin’s hands have shifted to pushing Bilbo’s jacket and waistcoat off his shoulders and tugging impatiently at the remaining buttons of his shirt.

“Wait, wait,” protests Bilbo, afraid that he’ll have no fastenings left by morning.

He fiddles his buttons himself, tearing his shirt open without caring how silly he may look. It doesn’t matter anymore how Thorin could possibly want him because Bilbo wants, too, wants to press his bare skin against Thorin’s, and moreover wants it more than to stop and ask questions. Thorin’s wide palm presses briefly against Bilbo’s soft stomach as he scrabbles for the blue tunic’s hem. He’s too slow. The Dwarf’s hands slide over his sides, dipping downwards to grasp Bilbo’s arse, startling him forward into the chilly, unyielding metal plates of his jerkin instead.

He can feel the press of Thorin’s cock hardening against him, pushing upwards against his thigh. It’s for him, or at least he’s here while it happens, and Bilbo can’t help whimpering a little at the thought of how lucky he is. It’s overwhelming, the force of Thorin’s want.

Thorin’s hand shifts again, not kneading Bilbo’s arse any more but slipping between the two of them, pulling at the laces of Bilbo’s trousers with rough strength. Oh, his hands are hot, so very warm, and strong, engulfing Bilbo’s throbbing prick so completely that he must bury his head against Thorin’s shoulder to muffle the yelp that threatens to rouse every Orc in Arda.

“Hush,” warns Thorin, and Bilbo feels Thorin’s lips moving along the edge of his ear, and his teeth closing gently against the tingling skin, as if that will help Bilbo be quiet. He squeezes his eyes shut, knowing this won’t take very long at all.

“Thorin, ah, please,” whispers Bilbo, unable to stop, rubbing his face against Thorin’s beard, clawing at the Dwarf’s broad back, helplessly thrusting into his hand.

“A burglar who cannot stay quiet,” says Thorin softly. “Ah, if I had you in my bed. What sounds would you make for me then?”

“Ohh,” moans Bilbo, utterly undone by Thorin’s words. He feels his whole body tighten briefly and then he’s there, leaning back again, white lights bursting behind his eyelids, overwhelmed as he feels his own release striking his skin.

“Oh,” he says again, opening his eyes to faint spots around his vision.

He’s blinking still as he looks down in faint disgust at the mess he’s made, as Thorin wipes it with his hand and smears it carelessly against Bilbo’s shirt. He wants to object, but more immediately, he realises Thorin is no longer holding him in place.

That gets him squirming backwards at once. He can feel that Thorin is still standing rigidly to attention, and there is something Bilbo’s been daydreaming about doing for far too long, quite possibly since the day he left Bag End. Not that he would have admitted it until today. But now there isn’t anything to stop him, as he pushes up Thorin’s tunic at last and opens the laces of his britches, pushing down his smallclothes and sliding a hand up his prick in honest amazement.

He should’ve known. He’s seen how big the dwarves’ hands are, and their noses, and all the other things that lasses like to giggle about. All the same, Thorin’s cock seems huge against his small palm, wide and dark and pointing skyward from the thicket of black curls that looks to trail right up Thorin’s stomach under his clothes. Bilbo has never seen anything so lovely.

He licks his palm, stroking it over the softness of the head a few times, and Thorin makes a very pretty gasping noise, encouraging enough for him to slide his hand down and feel the push of Thorin’s hips into that touch. He circles his tongue around the head experimentally, and if it’s a little stale at first, Bilbo’s seen enough to make his mouth water already, which takes care of that after a few seconds. Soon enough he can taste the fresh salt of Thorin’s skin and firm flesh beneath, taking his time licking up the length until it’s slick enough to take easily into his mouth.

“Greedy hobbit,” murmurs Thorin, and Bilbo’s mouth is too full to reply.

He’s done this before, though he doesn’t always like to remember. When he was a tween, there was Ponto Cotton, the baker’s apprentice, with strong arms and a merry laugh, and Bilbo had been so grateful for his slight, occasional favours at the end of an evening. This is not like that, not at all, not least since where Ponto was so frequently ale-soused and unimpressive, Thorin is hard as iron against Bilbo’s tongue. One huge hand rests lightly on Bilbo’s head, carding his fingers through Bilbo’s hair, playing with the tips of his ears, and Bilbo’s own spent prick twitches in response at how wanton that feels.

Thorin’s other hand slides over Bilbo’s chin, tracing the line of his jaw and dipping down to the apple of his throat. When Bilbo glances up Thorin’s eyes are wide, their blue even paler in the moonlight. “I can feel...” murmurs Thorin, with wonder in his voice. “I can see, your throat, how it moves.”

Bilbo lets his eyes falls shut again and moans around Thorin’s prick, and Thorin’s words cut off in a choke of pleasure. It is so good, and Bilbo wants this so much, his head bobbing as he takes all he can, though that’s barely more than half of it, circling the rest of the length with both hands.

He can taste Thorin properly now, a sharp, bitter tang on the back of his tongue as his mouth becomes wetter. Thorin’s hand in his hair clenches into a fist, and Bilbo takes a deep breath through his nose and swallows, hard, as Thorin breathes out a desperate, shaky word in Khuzdul and fills his mouth in a few thick bursts.

Bilbo gags a little despite his efforts. There’s more than he can manage, and he can’t swallow all of it at once. Dwarves taste different to what he remembers of hobbits however, and he is more than happy to clean up the mess with his tongue. He’s aware of Thorin watching with absolute fascination as he does so, and that’s not so bad either.

“Will that do?” he asks, and Thorin, raising his eyebrows, sets both hands under Bilbo’s armpits and drags him back into his lap as Bilbo laughs, kissing him again.

“You taste of… of my seed,” says Thorin, pulling away to lick his lips.

“Probably because I’ve just sucked you off,” says Bilbo cheerfully. The joy still coursing through his veins is making him brazen.

“You swallowed it,” says Thorin, as if that’s anything remarkable. Maybe it is, for Dwarves. He doesn’t look too horrified, so presumably it’s wasn’t an unpleasant surprise.

“Well, you know hobbits. Always hungry.”

It’s a joke, mostly, but Thorin doesn’t laugh. “I would like to know them better. One, at least.”

Oh, he could get used to this, even half-dressed on a forest floor, with rocks digging into his knees. Thorin’s touch has gentled now, rubbing little circles across the exposed skin of Bilbo’s hip, sliding around and down into his britches to cup his bare arse, making Bilbo shiver.

“Is it shameful, what we have done? Amongst your folk?” asks Thorin, mumbling the words into Bilbo’s neck. “It is a crime amongst Men.”

“No, I wouldn’t go that far,” admits Bilbo, his voice a bit raspy still. “It happens, certainly, but it’s... not quite respectable. Shire-folk get terribly excited about faunts and weddings, so people like me, well. It’s not a crime, at all, but it’s not something to discuss in polite company.”

“A good thing, then, that you are not in polite company now,” says Thorin, a flash of white teeth as his mouth twitches into a smile.

“Am I not! You’re royalty, Thorin,” laughs Bilbo, resting his forehead back on Thorin’s shoulder. Perhaps Thorin is right, all the same. Dwarves are not polite, at all, and it may yet turn out to be Bilbo’s favourite thing about them. He half-wishes Ponto could see him now, astride the bare lap of a handsome prince, his chest still smeared with his own release.

“You avoided me today,” says Thorin, and like most of his questions, it isn’t a question at all. He lifts Bilbo’s chin with a finger. “Do not. If we are to continue this, Master Baggins, I would have us be friends.”

“All right,” gulps Bilbo. It’s on the tip of his tongue to object to Thorin’s high-handed tone, but he can’t, not when his heart leaps more at those words than anything that has come before. He hadn’t pictured this as anything more than a mutual convenience, and to know that Thorin could consider him a friend startles him. It’s so far outside his experience, all of this, thinks Bilbo, and the thought leaves him a little sad.

There are more kisses, lazy ones, before they tuck themselves in, re-tie laces, replace and straighten their clothes.

Then they must go back to eat with the rest of the company as if nothing has happened. Bilbo feels horribly wrong-footed with the strangeness of it.

“Alright, Bilbo?” asks Bofur, and if his grin seems rather wide, that’s as far as it goes.

Kili and Fili are singing some daft song that requires them to hit their throwing knives together to beat time, and Bilbo shakes his head at them, helping himself to food. The stars are out overhead by now, and there isn’t much stew left in the pot.

Thorin sits beside him as they eat, and once his stomach is less empty, Bilbo can relax a little. It’s not as though he’s about to lay his head against Thorin’s arm, but he can look his friends in the eye still, join in with a conversation about whether bilberries may still be in season so far East, and so forth.

The company lay out their bedrolls to sleep, and for a moment Bilbo feels uncomfortable again, crawling under that coat with Thorin. He isn’t sure where to put his hands.

Thorin feels no such compunction, it seems, dragging Bilbo into his arms so hard that Bilbo suppresses a squeak, not entirely successfully from the snickering sounds of the company around them. He would be more annoyed, but Thorin is warm and solid and still smells faintly of sex. There is some satisfaction, Bilbo finds, in wriggling his bum back into Thorin’s crotch and hearing the soft grunt that results.

“You asked me, before,” whispers Bilbo, feeling bold.

“Asked what?” says Thorin softly, and he has the advantage of speaking directly into Bilbo’s ear, the edge of his beard tickling the sensitive skin there.

“What noises I would make, in your bed,” sighs Bilbo, feeling the tips of his ears tingle. Thorin’s grip about his waist tightens, and Bilbo grins. It’s a tiny revenge, but a sweet one. “I would sing for you, Thorin, so loud they could hear me back in the Shire.”

“Peace, wicked hobbit,” growls Thorin. “If you goad me further I shall do it now, before all the company.”

Bilbo chuckles. Things could be a lot worse.