Thorin was pretty sure he was either dead or dreaming.
He dismissed both possibilities after a moment of thought; even in his own mind, he had never dared imagine something like this.
Which meant that it was really happening. He was actually standing in Bilbo’s doorway, underneath a sprig of something with round green leaves and white berries, which was apparently supposed to mean that Thorin should kiss the Hobbit in front of him, looking up with cautious hope in her hazel eyes.
This was the exact thing that Thorin had been longing to do since--honestly, since a few weeks into the Quest.
And yet, he didn’t do it. Instead he remained rooted to the spot, staring, frozen with panic, at Bilbo.
And then Thorin did the only thing that he could think of at the moment, although it would probably shame him and his entire line and would definitely make Dís kill him.
The King Under the Mountain turned and ran from his One.
After Thorin left, Bilbo stood in shock for a while.
She had known that she was taking a risk with the mistletoe, but she hadn’t expected Thorin to literally run away from her. Didn’t she at least deserve a gentle let-down or--or anything at all, really, other than what had just happened?
Bilbo turned sharply, stepping out from under the doorframe and the mistletoe. She sank down onto the (luxurious, even by Hobbit standards) sofa in her living room and wrapped her arms around herself despondently.
“Of course Thorin ran away,” Bilbo muttered to herself, sighing sharply and a bit bitterly. “He’s a Dwarf-king, for all he deigns to spend time with me, and I’m a Hobbit. He could have at least been a bit kinder about it, though.”
There was nothing for it but to put on a kettle of tea and serve herself some chocolate-dipped cookies; it wouldn’t mend her heart, but it might make her feel a little better.
Bilbo had hardly finished her tea (a lovely mint blend) when there was a brisk knock at her door. She sighed, but of course she couldn’t simply not answer, so she reluctantly opened the elegantly carved door to see Dwalin.
She stiffened, unsure what he was going to say. Dwalin looked her over, then said, “So, I’m given to understand that Thorin’s gone and made an idiot of himself again.”
Bilbo tried to nod and shrug at the same time and ended up doing an awkward combination of both, though it hadn’t really seemed like a question. Dwalin sighed and shook his head. “Honestly, that fool--he’s always been even more thick-skulled than most of us Dwarves.”
“Isn’t he your best friend?”
“He can be both my best friend and the densest piece of Dwarf-flesh I’ve ever met.”
Bilbo snorted, startling herself.
“Anyway,” Dwalin said, looking suddenly nervous, “you need to talk to him.”
Bilbo froze. “I’m not sure there’s anything to say,” she replied carefully. “He has made himself perfectly clear.”
Dwalin rolled his eyes. “Did you not hear me? He’s not--” he broke off, then tried again. “It’s not that he ran away because he was opposed to--well, you know--he’s just a thrice-cursed fool who doesn’t know how to have emotions. And Dís will have talked some sense into him by now, so he should be ready to actually talk.”
Bilbo bit her lip, shifting indecisively. She didn’t want to throw away this chance--if that was indeed what Dwalin was offering--but she also didn’t want to get her hopes up again. “. . . Alright,” she finally agreed.
Dwalin grinned, and Bilbo managed to smile, albeit nervously. “Good. Now, Madam Burglar, follow me!”
The thump of a pillow against his head made Thorin glare up at Dís. “Bilbo’s here,” his sister said briskly, “So stop feeling sorry for yourself and go talk to her.”
Thorin sat up, decidedly not pouting. “But--”
“But nothing.” Dís did not seem to be in the mood for arguments. “Talk to her. You have nothing to be nervous about; you can’t possibly mess it up any more than you already have.”
Thorin scowled at her, but he got up and went to greet Dwalin and Bilbo.
Bilbo’s carefully blank expression reminded Thorin of the masks that politicians wore over their true emotions, and it hurt that she felt the need to hide from Thorin. It hurt even more that he had given her cause to.
“I--” Thorin and Bilbo began at the same time, and when Bilbo gestured for him to continue Thorin said, “I owe you an apology.” He closed his eyes for a brief moment, trying to gather the willpower to say what he knew he needed to. “I acted dishonorably, and hurt you. I--” He swallowed, then went on. “I never dared to hope that you might feel the same way towards me as I do you, and so I panicked, and acted the coward.”
Thorin looked up and met Bilbo’s wide eyes. “I know I have wronged you, and I am so sorry, Bilbo. Your pain is the last thing that I could ever desire, and yet I have caused it.”
Thorin waited while Bilbo drew an unsteady breath, blinking hard. Finally she looked up at him and asked, “Does that mean that you do return my feelings, then?”
Thorin blinked. He thought that he had made that clear! “Yes,” he said, then cursed himself for how gruff it sounded.
Bilbo smiled at him, and Thorin’s heart very nearly stopped. “Well, why didn’t you just say that in the first place?” she said, without heat.
Thorin smiled sheepishly. “I have been reliably informed that I am an idiot.”
“Well,” Bilbo said, stepping closer to Thorin so they were nearly pressed chest-to-chest, “you may be an idiot, but luckily for you, you’re an idiot whom I’m in love with.” The Hobbit stood on her toes and closed the gap between them, and Thorin promptly forgot everything that wasn’t Bilbo.
Dís exchanged a triumphant look with Dwalin as Thorin and Bilbo embraced. When they showed no signs of paying attention to anything but each other anytime soon, Dís padded over to Dwalin and took his arm, tugging him out of the room to give her brother some privacy.
Once they were through the doorway, Dís grinned openly. “Finally. I thought we would have to wait years for them to sort things out. You know how Thorin is with feelings.”
Dwalin’s smile made his dark eyes shine like black tourmaline. “I do. I’m only grateful that his sister doesn’t share that particular trait.” His grin took on a sly edge.
“Is that so?” Dís stepped closer, pressing their bodies together.
“Very much so,” Dwalin murmured, pulling her down to kiss her gently.