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Feminine Wiles

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When Bilbo walked down the corridor of the royal wing, carrying a dinner tray with some tea, soup, bread, goat cheese and honey (courtesy of Beorn), she could already hear the shouting coming from Thorin's room.

So Dáin was still there, upsetting her fiancée.

She walked faster now, a scowl on her face. The battle had been only four weeks ago and Thorin was still not fully healed, still recovering from the almost deadly wound to his chest from his final combat with Azog, piercing his lung.

The combat which had made her almost lose her soon-to-be husband.

Husband.

She could still not believe that Thorin Oakenshield, the former prince in exile, now king under the mountain, had asked her, Willow Belladonna Baggins (Bilbo for close friends and family), the old spinster of Bag End as Lobelia (and some other mean tongues) liked to call her, to marry her.

And she could even believe less that she had said yes, not because she didn't love Thorin, but because marrying him would make her queen - which was quite a career: from old spinster to master burglar to queen.

The concept was still so alien to her that she refused to think what that title and position entailed except for sharing Thorin's bed... Well, she surely knew what that entailed because she was no blushing virgin anymore.

When you are in the wilds and on an adventure with dangers lurking everywhere and the possibilty of death, you take comfort and happiness wherever you can and cling to it, throwing caution to the wind and flouting propriety; that was how sharing a bedroll for warmth had led to her losing her maidenhead...

"I think you should stop drinking so much milk of the poppy, Thorin, it's bedimming your common sense!" Dáin shouted when Bilbo finally arrived at Thorin's door.

She didn't bother to knock, just pushing the heavy door (made from holly oak and iron) open, slipping quietly into the room.

"It's not bedimming my common sense, cousin! I asked Óin for the lowest dose so that I can still do my kingly duties!" Thorin shot back.

Bilbo could see that, could see that her husband-to-be was exhausting himself.

A fine sheen of sweat was covering his forehead and naked (hairy) chest, a deep scowl was furowing his brow, his breathing laboured, showing Bilbo that he must be in pain, not to mention that a slight stain of blood was visible on his otherwise snow white bandage which was exchanged and inspected daily by her and Óin, covering the almost fatal wound Azog had given him.

"And I think you have done enough of your kingly duties today, Thorin, it's time for supper," Bilbo said firmly, making her presence known.

Both dwarves looked at her, obviously slightly surprised.

But while Thorin's face lit up immediately, Dáin's darkened.

"Bilbo!", her fiancée exclaimed happily.

"What's your bedwarmer doing here, cousin? Doesn't she have any manners? A concubine shouldn't have the right to enter the king's quarters as she pleases, especially not when he is in the middle of trade negotiations", Dáin spat.

Bilbo deliberately ignored the insults the lord of the Iron Hills had thrown at her, striding over to Thorin's bedside table, placing the tray there.

Yet Thorin took offense. Dwarves were very possessive by nature and since Bilbo was his (although she didn't like being viewed as some kind of possession), her fiancée felt insulted by Dáin's remarks.

"Bilbo will be my wife and thus a queen. You should know better than to insult a dwarven king's queen!" he growled.

Immediately, Bilbo placed a calming and comforting hand on Thorin's shoulder.

"Thorin, please, you shouldn't get so upset, it's not good for your reconvalescence. Remember? Two weeks ago you were still fighting for your life, three weeks ago you were more dead than alive and..."

She paused, swallowing hard before continuing, "And four weeks ago I... we almost lost you! If it weren't for Gandalf and Tauriel..."

Bilbo couldn't help the sob escaping her, the tears forming in her eyes.

"Hush, ghivashel," Thorin whispered, taking her small, soft hand into his big, calloused one, pressing it against his chapped lips.

Dáin snorted at the affectionate gesture.

"I think the negotiations are done for today, Daín. Thorin needs to rest and to recover his strength. I think you should leave now!", Bilbo explained, trying to sound as authoritative as she could.

For a moment he glared at her and if looks could kill...

"Fine, we are done for today. I'll be back tomorrow. I won't let a mad king squander dwarvish gold on worthless and greedy men!" he said acidly before finally leaving.

Bilbo relaxed when the door had closed behind him, letting out a breath she wasn't even aware of holding, sinking down an the soft mattress, and cozy furs on Thorin's bed.

"You shouldn't get so worked up on my behalf, ghivashel," Thorin scolded her softly, placing one of his warm hands on her bare shoulder. Yes, bare because dwarven fashion differed a lot from hobbit fashion: Although her dress had puffy sleeves and straps, there were cutouts, leaving her shoulders exposed.

Drawing her eyebrows together, Bilbo turned to her husband-to-be.

"But he was harming you, Thorin! You are still too..." (weak) "...injured to work so much, not to mention to engage in a shouting match. Your wound is bleeding again! Óin had only removed the stitches two days ago... Let me have a look at it! No, wait, I'll get Óin, maybe you have teared open the internal wound as well!" she excalimed, jumping up from the bed, panicking.

But Thorin caught hold of her arm, pulling her down again.

"You know that's not possible, the wound was cauterized," he tried to reason with her.

"But you are bleeding!" she repeted stubbornly.

Thorin smiled fondly at her before pulling her further down, until she was resting against his broad chest, inhaling his typical scent of leather and tobacco and musk... and medicine, due to the ointment they used on his injury.

"Let's make a deal, okay? I'll let you have a look at the wound and if it's too bad, you can fetch Óin. Otherwise I would rather have you take care of it and then I'll eat supper," he suggested, searching her eyes.

Bilbo couldn't resist his steelblue gaze for long.

"Fine," she relented finally, sighing deeply.

Thorin quickly stole a kiss before releasing her, trying to sit up so that she could unwrap the bindings and check the injury.