Mirkwood hasn't always been this way, grim and shadowed as if some evil has sucked the life out of it. Once upon a time it had been beautiful, the rays of sunlight streaming into the forests deepest depths. Now it's full of cobwebs and dust, the only plants that thrive are weeds, tirelessly eating what yet remains of trees older than time itself.
No birds sing and it's perhaps the first thing Thorin notices as the company is escorted through dead or dying underbrush. Mirkwood was once beautiful, now it is nothing but ruins and an occasional scrawny hare nosing for food. Thorin finds no joy as he walks the beaten paths, in spite of the surroundings the Elves guiding them still stand tall and proud; he wonders how they have managed this long, surely the spiritual nature of the earthy race has been damaged. He almost voices his thought but stops when they reach the gates.
The Elven stronghold is void of any form of glory and it feels bare as they travel through it's centre, nobody greets them, not like Rivendell. It's erie, a stillness that is even unnatural to such a graceful race blanketing everything. Thorin feels as though he's treading too heavily on such fragile grounds but the rest of the company is too and the Elves don't seem to care.
The hair on the back of his neck stands on end when they, at last, reach an impressive open structure. Even cobwebs hang off marble and he tries to ignore the sorry state it's in as they are lead inside.
Awaiting them Thranduil stands stoic, piercing blue eyes not straying from somewhere beyond Thorin and his company. For a moment they wait and then time seems to unravel and the Elven king averts his lost gaze. The breath leaves Thorin's lungs when Thranduil looks at him, suddenly he feels underdressed and too dirty to be in the pristine beings prescience. All hatred for the Elves is lost in that fleeting moment, and then Thranduil is stepping forward, gesturing and commanding in complete silence.
He hardly notices his company being herded away, aside from a worried quip from Kili demanding he and his brother not be separated from Thorin. Bilbo urges them with the help of Bofur away and Thorin admires how sturdy and wilful the Hobbit is; his nephews leave without further question.
Once alone Thorin dares to shift his weight, axious from holding such strict stillness. He doesn't break eye contact with Thranduil while he does this. Instead he glares, trying to convey any tiny scrap of resentment towards the other, but there's nothing left, it's all vanished with - he nearly chokes as he realizes - the Elven King's beauty.
Thorin can't fathom it, this, everything. Thranduil is exactly as he was all those years ago, cold, silent, judging eyes, the very thing that had abandoned them in their time of need, settled on an ancient mount with an army prepared for battle. And yet he had left, simply looked away and left.
He didn't understand, but perhaps it didn't matter, now his company was safely tucked away within the darkening Mirkwood, hopefully eating and resting and here Thorin stood under Thranduil's intense gaze, unable to speak.
"Do not fret," Thranduil says his voice like silk, inviting and soft. "Whilst your company resides within these walls, no harm shall come to them."
Thorin's eyes narrowed but he bowed his head, a rough "Many thanks." slipping past his lips.
A small smile tugged at the Elf's lips, something Thorin had never seen, not even when Thranduil had visited the stronghold that was now Smaug's to see the heart of the mountain. Quite honestly it was shocking.
"Why?" Thorin managed after felt like hours and Thranduil turned his back.
"Do you wish to know?" Thranduil asked cryptically, "Or do you wish to find out?"
Thorin barely had any time to reply before Thranduil was disappearing through an open door way, gliding down the stairs beyond. Thorin followed, his mind still working to understand but he supposed it didn't matter now, if this was some ploy to kill him then Thranduil had won.
Still curiosity egged him on and he kept his eyes pinned to the white clad figure before him, watching each seemingly calculated movement until they reached the bottom.
Thranduil did not turn as he pressed through a wall of surprisingly lush, hanging vegetation. Thorin paused before pushing through, there was no telling what would be revealed on the other side, no warnings as to what this was all about.
He took in a deep breath of damp air and entered.
Nothing could've prepared him for the gentle swish of Thranduil's ivory robes falling that greeted him. He stared shocked, unsure whether he should avert his gaze to allow the Elf some privacy. But as a pale back was revealed Thorin found he couldn't look away, his eyes were fixed, trapped on the bewitching creature before him.
Thranduil sighed as the last layers fell to his feet, pooling around delicate ankles before he stepped out of the ring surrounding him.
"Will you just stand there and stare?" Thranduil asked, his voice holding a hint of amusement, just enough that Thorin came to his senses. The Elf peered at him over one smooth shoulder, a cold fire burning within his eyes as he said: "Or will you join me?"
An invitation? Thorin hesitated, not understanding for a split second before shedding the Goblin Cleaver to the ground. The rest of his travel hardy clothing fell with the sword, until he stood curiously naked, his naturally stunted figure not undesirable but definitely lacking the beauty the Elf possessed.
Thranduil gave no sign of finding anything about the Dwarf displeasurable, in fact the smile that had tugged at his lips earlier had returned now, as he sunk to the plush bedding before him.
He didn't have to speak, just setting his glowering eyes on Thorin told the Dwarf everything he needed to know. Thorin padded forward until the edge of the bed, where Thranduil's knees came to rest almost on either side of his chest. The difference was immense but neither seemed to care.
Thorin stood there, aimlessly, before Thranduil bowed his head. He anticipated the Elf's movement and met Thranduil's lips half way, gasping into a warm, velvety mouth.
"Why?" Thorin asked as he fumbled onto the bed, guided by Thranduil's mouth. He received no reply at first, nothing to suggest why this was happening, why he was allowing it to happen. He settled between the Elf's thighs, marvelling at their smoothness, how flawless the skin stretched out until he reached the fork in which everything seemed to join into an impressive hand full or two of hardened flesh. Thorin stared at the others length, resting so obediently against a flat belly, devoid of any hair.
"To bridge the gap," Thranduil's voice coaxed him out of his thoughts, his words warm honey in the cooling evening. "We cannot afford to hate each other forever, not when there are other matters that warrant our attention."
"Other matters?" Thorin inquired, glancing up at the Elf as he gripped the other in both his hands, squeezing as if to test something unknownst to the Elf. "Nothing of importance presently," Thranduil breathed, sighed and his head of platinum hair fell to the bed, his deceivingly delicate looking chest shuddering. "I'm to just believe you?" Thorin asked, giving the Elf a rough tug, drawing a low groan from Thranduil.
"Belief is merely trust," Thranduil murmured, shifting away from Thorin. He beckoned the Dwarf with hooded eyes and Thorin scrambled onto the bed, dark hair spilling over his shoulders in long waves. "And what is this if not trust?" Thranduil asked, slender fingers toying with a lock of Thorin's hair.
Thorin huffed, shrugging as he pushed the Elf's hand away, pressing it forcefully to the bed.
"But do you honestly trust me?" He hissed, staring into such a strange beautiful face, brooding eyes meeting his.
Thranduil seemed to struggle with the question for barely a heartbeat before he replied with a simple: "I do."
For a moment neither of the moved, then icy eyes were beckoning him.... pleading him to move. Thorin did just that, he shimmed close, releasing Thranduil in the process. A second later he asked: "Oil?"
Thranduil's eyes leg him to the small oil lamp next to the bed, it sat on a intricately designed and crafted wooden table of sorts. Thanking the Gods that the lamp wasn't burning, he dipped his fingers inside and gathered a copious amount of the slick substance.
Their roles had already been chosen. Or had they? Thorin was surprised by the airy laughter that filled the outdoor set up upon his fingers finding purchase between ivory cheeks. Thranduil all but giggled when the first finger found its way within.
"Such stubby fingers," the Elven King snickered, an uncharacteristic amusement gracing his usually stoic face.
Thorin grunted and added a second then third finger to which Thranduil reacted quite the same way as the first. When Thorin was convinced he was done he stroked himself, administering a thick layer of oil before taking a huanched position between Thranduil's legs.
Thranduil shifted, spreading his legs wider, inviting Thorin in. With his hands gripping the Elf's hips tightly he pressed forward until sheathed fully within a silky smooth warmth. He shuddered and stayed still until Thranduil's voice drew him from his stupor.
"I shall give you until the moon shines it's brightest," Thranduil stared up at the near perfect sphere of white light in the sky. Thorin opened to ask when exactly that'd be but Thranduil pressed a finger to his lips, a small grin playing out on his face. "I will tell you," he assured the Dwarf before sinking back down to the bed.
Thorin remained still for a moment after and Thranduil's eyes narrowed. "Time is fleeting," he murmured, "do not waste it."
He took it as an invitation to move, and Gods when he moved it was something else entirely. There was nothing quite like mining or drinking ones in weight in ale but this, now this surpassed it all. It was vastly different from fucking another Dwarf, male or female, and human women were never the perfect fit. Thranduil's body, although larger in stature, was the perfect, well, everything. Moist warmth squeezed him and pale eyes were fixed on his face, a long, elegant leg wrapped around him, pulling him closer.
Thorin choked as it all came crashing down on him and suddenly it was over in a few short heartbeats, two measly drops of essence marring Thranduil's skin. His face felt hot, unbearable so and Thorin wished he could simply crawl away somewhere, maybe under a large rock, and hide from Thranduil's gaze. "I don't know," Thorin started but Thranduil merely smiled, shaking his head.
"Do not fret," he breathed, sitting up and Thorin saw the Elf had somehow finished himself off, that or had never really sported an erection. "Tis the moon, it is bright tonight, nearly full and Mirkwood is sleepless just as you are, do not be embarrassed, it was unavoidable on this night."
Thorin looked away. Then he slid off the bed and began to dress. Thranduil watched from his lounging position, eyes never straying from Thorin's face. It felt like hours but really it was only minutes before Thorin was fully dressed again, he looked up from fastening the Goblin Cleaver around his waist again. Thranduil looked past Thorin's shoulder, a sigh escaping his lips.
"You'll find your company in the second hall, mayhap on the balcony over looking the forest."
Thorin bowed his head and turned to leave when Thranduil added: "Might seem like nothing, but tonight was far more important than you may think Thorin Oakenshield."
And when Thorin turned to demand why that was the Elf was a mere flicker of white fabrics disappearing into the lichen that hung on the other side. He snorted and left the strange room.
He took the stairs quickly and after parading around somewhat lost found his company. Most were sleeping, Fili and Kili side by side, Dwalin alone propped against what looked to be a gold plated wall, Bombur seemed to have fallen asleep eating for he held a piece of bread in his left hand, the traces of ale, or whiskey, most likely whine spilled down his front. Ori sat by a flickering light, his quill moving swift over a few white pages, he glanced up briefly when Thorin arrived, greeting him with a small wave before going back to work.
Everybody was accounted for, everyone but two who weren't present in the large hall. He looked around, worry causing the hair on his neck to prickle with unease - and then he saw it, a doorway shrouded by some sort of near transparent fabric. Thranduil's words echoed in his head. The balcony.
He quietly made his way to the doorway and being quite careful eased his way out. The air seemed fresher somehow, and he took a moment to breathe it in before finding what he was looking for.
At the far corner of the balcony, with nothing but a small cloak and a heavy Dwarven tunic, perhaps from somebody inside, sat Bofur with his back against the white marble, a head of curly hair protruding from the tunic and cloak resting on his lap.
As Thorin neared he saw the rest of Bilbo's stout body curled up beneath the fabrics, he also noticed a familiar scarf - Bofur's scarf - wrapped around the Hobbit's large feet that were sticking out.
Bofur's eyes were closed but he smoked his pipe in long slow breaths, one hand on what Thorin could assume was Bilbo's back.
"Back, are ya'?" Bofur asked, one eye cracking open.
"Yes," Thorin replied and gestured to the set up he was looking at.
Bofur chuckled and looked down at the Hobbit using his lap as a pillow. "When ya' left the Elves led us here and brought food, after most of the company started singing songs and telling tales. In short they were too loud for poor Bilbo here to sleep, and he was right tired. I borrowed the tunic, an extra I might add, from Ori and came out here." He gave the sleeping Hobbit a gentle pat on the shoulder. "He was out in minutes despite the slight chill earlier." Thorin nodded and sat down across from Bofur and Bilbo, his back resting against the marble railing, facing the forest beyond.
"And where did you go?" Bofur asked, blowing out a smoke ring. Both Dwarves watched it float high into the night before dispersing.
Thorin stifled a yawn and shrugged. "Had a talk with Thranduil." He said after while, shutting his eyes.
Bilbo shifted in Bofur's lap, turning so his face was buried in Bofur's tunics and trousers.
"Aye," he said softly, "a talk with the tricky Elf."
When he looked across, Thorin was already asleep, light snores emitting from him. Bofur blew another smoke ring, a knowing smile gracing his face as he once again shut his eyes.
Neither of them were being entirely honest but he doubted it would matter, not when there were many days travel ahead; they all needed to seek comfort where they could find it.