The plan was for the company to enter Beorn’s home two by two every five minutes. Gandalf said it was the only way the skin changer would invite the company to stay the night. You and Bombur were last, which bothered him more than it bothered you. At this point in your journey, you would do almost anything for some food.
“I don’t see why I’m always last,” Bombur grumbled.
“You’re strong enough to protect the company if something attacks from behind, Bombur, that’s all,” you said.
He smiled at you. “That’s why you’re my favorite, lass,” he said, reaching up to pat your shoulder.
You breathed out a laugh and looked up to the front of the group. Thorin was grinning at you. It was a rare sight for the company, but usually when Thorin smiled it was directed at you.
You were shanghaied into joining the company just like Bilbo was. Gandalf said he had never met a human who was both sweet as honey and deadly as a bear. He pushed you into signing the silly contract and Thorin begrudgingly accepted you as one of his company. You knew that you had grown on him as time passed.
The dwarves disappeared in twos and as you didn’t hear any signs of a fight, you assumed everything was going to plan. When it was only you and Bombur left, you pressed your ear to the door waiting for the signal from Gandalf.
“Yes! Yes, they can all come in, just tell me the rest of the story!” You heard the voice you guessed to be Beorn’s yell.
With that, you pushed the heavy wooden door open and entered the home. You had never met a skin changer and didn’t know what to expect. But you definitely didn’t expect this. Beorn resembled a human man, but he was huge, his neck and back covered in fur, his eyebrows and beard longer than even the oldest dwarf’s.
He looked at you, his eyes narrowing, then blowing wide. “A human woman?” he asked Gandalf.
“Yes,” Gandalf said.
Beorn stood still while Gandalf finished the tale. When he was done, Beorn eyed you. You willed yourself to look confident and strong though you wanted squirm and fidget under his intense gaze.
Thorin stepped in front of you, his stature rugged and protective. “Will you help us or not?”
Beorn shrugged. “Dwarves I do not like. However, I cannot leave a lady without aid when she asks.”
Though you could have rolled your eyes at his patronizing words, you kept your mouth shut and took the help Beorn gave you.
There were enough chairs for all the company to sit, including Gandalf and Beorn. The skin changer was at the head of the table, and you were sat next to him by Gandalf. You ate and drank as much as you could fit in your belly, for you knew it could be days before you got the chance again.
The dwarves took turns asking Beorn about skin changers and you listened intently and found it all very interesting. Despite first being unsure about Beorn, the more you listened to his stories, the more you enjoyed his company. He was actually a very kind being and you were grateful for his help.
“So, that’s what I did!” Beorn yelled, his cup lifted in a toast for the end of his story.
The roar of laughter around the table was deafening. Your smile was bright and you laughed wholeheartedly while holding your drink high in the air. As you brought it down to your lips, you saw Thorin glaring at you from across the table. His eyes were dark and his shoulders slouched, his fists wrapped tight around his silverware on the table.
You lifted an eyebrow at him in question as you lowered your cup. What could he be upset about? This was the most comforting night the company had had since you left your own home weeks ago. You looked down at your plate in thought, your tongue darting out over your lips, cleaning the wine off them.
“(Y/N), may I speak with you,” Thorin practically yelled over the table, causing everyone’s laughter to dissipate.
You nodded. “Excuse me,” you said to Beorn and the dwarves, scooting your chair back and standing.
“Hurry back!” Gandalf said, lightening the mood once more. “Beorn has many more stories to tell!”
“And I don’t want to miss any!” you said to Beorn with a harmless smile.
You started out of the room and Thorin followed you closely. You rounded a corner and ducked into a small room that looked like a library. Bookshelves and framed maps adorned the walls and there were giant sized chairs scattered near the windows. The room was dimly lit by the moon shining through the windows and a single lit candle in the corner. You took it from its place and lit a few other candles in the room, telling yourself to remember to blow them out before you returned to the table.
It dawned on you as you circled the room that you had never been alone with Thorin before. Sure, you had both shared stories and conversations while on watch at night, but the others were always right there, a few feet away. There was never any need to be pulled away like this. It made you a little nervous, like a child in trouble with their father.
“Thorin?” you asked.
He spoke with his back to you. “I don’t like this…skin changer. I don’t trust him.”
“Gandalf trusts him. Besides, we don’t really have another choice with the orcs circling the property.” Thorin was pacing. “He’s given us food and drink and a place to stay. On the morrow, we’ll be off,” you said.
He stopped his steps and looked at you, his hair falling from behind his ear and covering his eyes, giving him a menacing demeanor. “He was eyeing you earlier. Did you not notice?”
“I was the one being eyed, of course I noticed.” He straightened at your tone. “Would you not be suspicious if thirteen dwarves, a hobbit, a human, and a wizard, all armed, mind you, wanted to enter your home?”
“It was more than suspicion,” he growled.
“Why are you acting this way?”
“I do not appreciate-” he yelled but stopped himself. You heard the chatter in the other room pause for a moment, before continuing. He stared at you with intense eyes, his body rigid. He closed his eyes and shook his head, his muscles relaxing.
“You don’t appreciate what?” Thorin may have calmed down a bit but you felt frustrated and did not understand his outburst.
He sighed and looked at one of the chairs that sat next to a tea table. “Sit,” he said.
“(Y/N).” His tone had completely changed, it was new to you and it caught you off guard. “Sit.”
Without a fight, you did as he told you. The chair was obviously made for the giant skin changer, and even being a human woman, your feet dangled in the air without touching the ground.
Thorin stood in front of the tea table and ran his finger along the edge, refusing to look at you. “Tonight has confirmed… I cannot keep this from you any longer,” he said. His voice was grumbling low in his chest but you had never heard him sound so accessible.
You waited for him to continue.
“I have been alive many years. When you live as long as I have, very few things surprise you. But you have surprised me.” His eyes finally lifted from the table and met yours. They were filled with sadness. “You are human, and very young and inexplicably kind,” he rolled his eyes and breathed out a laugh. “I used to think that time would change your sweet condition but now I pray you stay this way forever. And though you have barely lived, you are as skilled as a thousand year old Elven warrior and you have defended my company with your life. For that, I thank you.”
Your brow furrowed. He was thanking you? You weren’t even halfway through your journey. “You don’t need to thank me, Thorin,” you said.
“You’re not understanding,” he said, walking over to you until your knees touched his thighs. Even in the tall chair, Thorin stood over you.
“You’re not making much sense,” you said.
He breathed out a laugh. With his sad blue eyes still glued to yours, his hand fell to your knee. He slowly and deliberately pushed it aside as if waiting for you to stop him. When you didn’t, he took a step forward and stood in the space he made between your knees.
You were frozen. This was your leader. But you didn’t want him to stop.
Thorin lifted his hands and placed them on either side of your jaw, one thumb waving back and forth on your welcoming skin. You were looking up at him as if he held your life in his hands. As if he was your king.
His thumb moved to your bottom lip. You unconsciously parted your lips as his finger passed over the soft, pink skin. You watched a smirk pull at the side of his mouth.
His body leaned down, closer to you, until he closed the space separating your lips with the softest kiss imaginable. There was a stark contrast between his tender skin and the rough hair of his face. It was intoxicating. But before you could get used to it, he left.
He pulled his mouth from yours, leaving little air between you. He spoke to you, and you felt every word on your skin.
“You have captured my heart, amralime.”
Thorin’s confession to you made you realize he was not alone. You finally allowed yourself to admit your love for him.
“And you, mine,” you whispered.
He parted from you and you watched his expression of shock turn into that of relief, then joy.
You reached up to him. That was all he needed. His lips crashed down onto yours, his kiss no longer tender, but warm and full of need. He felt you fist the fabric covering his skin and he pushed his body further against yours. You gladly accepted him, and wrapped your ankles around the back of his knees to pull him even closer.
How you wish you could shimmy inside his tunic and feel his skin. All you wanted was to be closer, closer, closer.
He simultaneously tangled his fingers in your hair and pushed your knees wider apart, standing so there was no space between your bodies. The combination made you moan into his mouth and you felt him smile under your lips.
He gave you quick kisses down your jaw and landed on your neck with the intention of staining your skin with his mark. Your fingers dug into his back and reached under the warm tunic to scratch his skin.
He groaned your name, sending shivers down your spine and electricity to your core. He moved against you, the new angle allowing you to feel him growing and pressing between your legs. You whimpered, wanting all of him all at once.
“Another story! Please, Beorn!” you heard Gandalf announce.
You gasped lightly, remembering where you were. Oh, how you wished you were in your home, or at least some place where you could continue with Thorin. But you knew this was not the place or the time.
“Thorin,” you said. You were surprised by how raspy your voice sounded.
“Amralime?” he answered, breath hot on your neck.
“We have to return,” you said.
He gave your neck on final kiss and rested his forehead on your collarbone. “We do,” he said.
You lifted his chin and kissed him. You gently pushed him and rose from your chair. “Come on,” you said, your hand reaching out.
“I can’t go in just yet,” he said, his tone somewhere between sheepish and proud. You followed his downward gaze and realized.
“Oh.” You felt heat rushing to your cheeks… and elsewhere. “I’ll go then.”
“You will leave me like this?” he asked.
You winked. “Snuff out the candles before you leave.”
“You are not as sweet as I once thought!” he called after you.
The laugh you returned him was music to his ears.