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A Heart of Red Roses and Diamonds

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There will be those who argue, in the days after the great battle for Erebor where dwarves, elves and Men fought side by side for the first time in centuries,that Thorin, son of Thrain, son of Thror, is a fool for trusting once more in Bilbo Baggins. They will argue that Bilbo betrayed Thorin once and will do so again. They will argue that he is a fool because Bilbo owes nothing to the dwarves, that Bilbo isn't a dwarf. Thorin is not a fool to trust Bilbo. Not unless the entire company is made up of blind fools.

Those who will say that he shouldn't have any faith in Bilbo were not part of the quest. Most of them will not even have been part of the battle. They won't have seen Bilbo as he quietly lost hope and faith as his friends vanished before his eyes. They won't have seen the way that Thorin's obsession with the gold put the wellbeing of his companions and his sister's sons at risk. They weren't there to see Thorin dangle Bilbo from the battlements by his neck. They didn't watch as the hobbit tried to defend himself with words instead of a sword.

Those who will say that he shouldn't trust Bilbo will not have been there to have seen him come running, having crossed a battlefield, to warn Thorin of a trap set by his greatest enemy. They will not realise that Bilbo risked life and limb to bring that warning to a dwarf who might still have killed him anyway as a traitor. Bilbo, who came though he can hardly use a sword and has never seen battle. Bilbo who had even less business being there than Fili and Kili, who Thorin would have kept from such an experience if he could. Bilbo carried that warning about the second orc army. Bilbo killed the warg that would have removed Thorin's leg and caused him to bleed to death on the battlefield. Bilbo bandaged the wound and used his own belt to slow the bleeding as much as he could. Bilbo watched the way while Kili supported Thorin and Dwalin carried Fili.

If there is one in this world that Thorin can trust who is not of his blood it is Bilbo Baggins. A hobbit of all creatures.

These arguments, however, will all come later, once the battle is long over and cleared and Erebor has begun the long process of healing. This discussion will not happen in the immediate weeks or months after the slaughter at the base of the mountain, it will happen in the years following and for reasons that, at this precise moment, Thorin could not have foreseen. For in this moment the only thoughts Thorin has are for his hobbit as he is now. Thorin's hobbit, glorious as he demands the attention of a young healer with dark braids in the style of the Blacklocks. Thorin's hobbit who stares at him with concerned eyes as he pushes blood coated fingers back through matted honey curls. Thorin's hobbit who has a heart that slowly unfurled into a rose the same shade as the blood that drips onto the floor of the tent under Thorin's feet and glitters with the diamonds littered over its petals like dew on a spring morning.

Thorin has seen that flower bloom and grow and whither over the course of the quest. Perhaps the sight of his One's heart after so many years had left him off balance, for though he is prone towards distrusting anyone he does not know he had been all the more rude and demanding of Bilbo than he would normally be of a new acquaintance. For all his months of puzzling, and he has had ample time for it between the weeks spent on Rivendell, the healing time at Beorn's home and their wrongful imprisonment in Mirkwood, Thorin still hasn't figured out why Mahal would make his other half a hobbit of all creatures.

"Set him down, let me look at him," the healer instructs. She steps away from the cot she had been working at and Thorin realises that it is Bifur on that bed, without his axe. Kili obeys quickly, gratefully, and helps Thorin onto a bed as the dwarf king barely suppressed a groan.

"Fili first," he orders, watching the younger's dark eyes slide to his brother who lies still on another bed, his chest rising and falling fitfully.

"It will be you first," Bilbo replies, "you ridiculous dwarf. I didn't go through all the bother of saving you all those times for you to bleed to death because you are being stubborn." Dwalin shoots Bilbo an amused look.

"He's right," Thorin's murkhûn agrees. "Fili stirred a few times an the way down, but there's little to be done for him until he wakes. He's breathing,which is more than you will be if anymore of your blood ends up in that floor."

The healer is looking at Fili as they speak, eyes running from toe to head as she assesses him. Thorin is watching her closely enough, however, to see the way her expression slips when she reaches Fili's chest, to notice her eyes go wide and her mouth fall into a soft 'o' of shock before she forces a neutral expression back onto her face, though there is a lingering wildness around her eyes.

"It would reflect poorly on me if I were to allow the King Under the Mountain to bleed to death in my tent," the 'dam says. "And your heir is currently in no fit state to take over if you do. Hold still." She orders as she pulls a sharp little knife from her belt.

She doesn't order him to strip, not that he could if he wanted to, rather she simply used her little knife to cut through his thick trousers with calm efficiency. The sharp blade makes short work of it, aided by natural dwarven strength and the inclination to maintain their tools to perfection. Bilbo pales and looks away, taking a few calming breaths though he has certainly seen Thorin in greater states of undress than this and injured besides. The healer introduced herself as Arja while she pokes at him with deft fingers though she scowls and mutters under her breath for much of her examination, dark words about battlefield dressings and the vileness of warg mouths. He barely surpresses a yelp when she pokes at a particularly sensitive spot and pulls out half of a tooth.

"It's going to need sewing," she says , "and that means no walking for at least a week." She adds with a glare at Thorin. The king bristles, she has no right to order him to do anything.

"I'll do my best to make sure of it," Kili, the traitor, tells her and she nods curtly. "And Fili will help, when he wakes up." His confident words don't hide the slight tremor of his voice and Thorin realises how worried Kili is about his brother in the same moment that the healer does.

"If he has been stirring then he will wake soon enough," she assures him, "and I will tend to him properly as soon as I am done with our King." Kili accepts this quietly, obviously disturbed and frustrated by how little he can do for his loved ones and wanting to appear strong for all around him.

Thorin would offer him comfort if he could, but the next eternity is an agony of deep stabs and the rasping pull of thread through his skin, even with the poppy milk that she gives him to ease his pain. Eventually, he welcomes the sweet embrace of blackness, though he could not say if it is the pain or the blood loss that brings it on.