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She Always Saves Him, Even From Himself

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"Stop smiling at them, Mahli," Sh'rlock chided without disturbing the disdainful purse of his lips. "The Humans will think we welcome their presence."

Instead of disciplining her mouth into a neutral expression - the best he knew his emotional, soft-hearted wife could manage unless specifically angry with either some perceived injustice or, more often, him - her smile only widened. "But I do welcome their presence, husband," she said softly, turning her gaze up to meet his. "Your father has agreed that it's past time for us to close the gap between the peoples of Middle Earth, lest we find ourselves locked into pointless battle yet again. Do not forget how poorly things went for you when you were trapped in dragon form," she added with a raised eyebrow.

Sh'rlock winced at the memory. "Yes, well, enchantments never end well. I was merely lucky that you were there when my body crashed into the lake and were able to extract my soul and replace it in my proper form…"

She arched an eyebrow at him. "Lucky?" she repeated pointedly.

He sighed. "Blessed," he corrected himself, taking her hand warmly between both of his. "Lucky in the sense that you were so determined to save me when I'd long despaired of ever breaking the spell, when I'd become so consumed by my draconic nature that I'd lost almost all semblance of Elvishness." He brought her hand up to his and reverently kissed her knuckles, rapidly-approaching Human audience be damned. "Lucky that you never gave up on me, not once, O One Who Matters Most, my lady wife, my love."

Molly's smiled turned heart-meltingly warm as her beautiful brown eyes - eyes he'd once scoffed at as being 'too Human' - met his gaze. "And I am lucky that you were willing to be saved, O Former Smaug The Terrible, King Under the Mountain, whose claws are swords, whose breath is de…"

He silenced her - and indeed, the entire assemblage of Humans and their Elven escort, who had finally crossed the vast reaches of the receiving hall - by swooping down to plant a kiss on her lips. Of all the things he'd ever revealed to her, telling her of his boasts was the one he regretted most. He should have known she'd never stop teasing him about it.

The kiss lingered until the leader of the Human delegation cleared his throat. Loudly. "Perhaps this is a bad time…?" the short Human male - John Waterson, was it? - said with more than a hint of humour in his voice.

Sh'rlock was minded to retort that it would always be a bad time for Humans to interrupt Elves, but a discreet (not really, but he chose to characterize it thus) elbow in the ribs from his wife silenced him as effectively as his kiss had her. "Welcome, honoured guests," he said instead, the opening to the speech his parents had helped him prepare. "Welcome to the first - but as I'm certain we all hope, not the last - Convocation of the Three Races." He swept out one arm to indicate they should ascend the stairs to join him and his wife - whose waist was now held firmly in his other arm. "My wife and I are pleased to escort you to your quarters."

The look of pleased approval Mahli gave him as the Humans bowed their acceptance of the offer was all the reward he would ever need - until later, of course, when he could show her in more detail exactly how much he appreciated her keeping the lingering personal demons in his soul at bay.