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The Tenderness of a King

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After many days of running, fighting off foes, eating little, and drinking even less Thorin's company had finally took time to rest. Ori had discovered a small clearing with hidden nooks and crannies that seemed made for bedrolls and sleeping dwarves. Camp was set up and though the destination of the dwarves was growing nearer with each passing day, Thorin had declared they take a few days to recuperate here, salvage supplies and simply relax. Each dwarf wholeheartedly agreed and one hobbit probably most of all.

Bilbo Baggins was not made for adventures, that much was clear. He enjoyed an unrushed walk through a garden as much as the next hobbit, but running and fighting, well he plain and simply was not cut out for it. Though he desperately wished to prove himself to the dwarves, one dwarf in particular, he knew it was virtually impossible. The dwarves teased him constantly of his weakness, and commented frequently on his unusual behaviour.

The dwarves had set up a fire and placed logs around it for sitting, while cooking up their first meal in several days. It didn't take long for ale to appear and everyone drank well and chatted merrily. Even the hobbit enjoyed the conversation and he listened intently to the dwarves' tales this night.

A few hours later, as the ale began to take effect, the conversations turned to sillier topics.

After a longwinded tale about one of Dwalin's conquests as a young dwarf Bilbo found himself longingly looking into the fire before him, a bit of a flush on his face. Fili, noticing the hobbit's somber attitude nudged his brother's side nodding towards the sight. They grinned at each other before starting to tease the hobbit once more.

"Say Bilbo," Fili questioned, "what's the best you've ever had?"

The hobbit, honestly confused by the question gave him a puzzled look in return.

"Best I've had? Best what?" Bilbo asked.

"Why the best lady of course! What else? Surely you must have lots of relations in the Shire," Kili pressed.

Bilbo finally understanding flushed right to his very ears, turning his attention immediately back to the fire. He stuttered a response,

"Wh-what? Don't be ridiculous, why would I talk about such things?"

"Don't tell me you're a virgin, Mr. Baggins?" Kili inquired grinning widely.

By now Bilbo was sure that not one spot on his body hadn't turned a bright flaming red. Needing to find something to do with his now trembling fingers he poked aggressively at the fire with a stick. What did it matter if he'd never been with another…intimately? Hobbits had more pressing matters to attend to, like eating five meals a day, and writing to relatives, organizing one's books even. And so he said as much.

"What does it matter if I am? I-I would much rather lay with another out of l-love than just a savage romp in bed. Hobbits, h-hobbits are much more dignified than to just sleep around," Bilbo stated in as steady a tone he could manage.

By now many of the dwarves were laughing and making a mockery of him of course, but he ignored the rest of their comments focusing all of his attention on keeping the flame of the fire alight while at the same time trying to lessen his still flushed face. After some moments Bilbo couldn't help but feel a strange sort of tingling. The kind one only felt when being watched. He glanced up at the dwarves, now discussing other things altogether. His eyes passed across the fire right into the intense gaze of Thorin Oakenshield. Bilbo's eyes widened slightly in shock. The dwarf king was watching him? But why? For what felt like minutes Thorin did not blink or glance away once but held Bilbo's eyes in a blazing stare.

Bilbo caved and looked away, flushed again for some reason. Had he done something wrong? Offended the dwarf somehow? Bilbo had thought that saving the dwarf might make them develop a friendship. Thorin had thanked him after all, and even embraced him briefly at the time. An act that had Bilbo feeling like he might actually belong here with this company after all. Bilbo remembered the reflection of the flame in Thorin's gaze moments ago. The dwarf king had such presence, even when he remained quiet and brooding throughout most of the journey. His thoughts were a mystery to the hobbit.

Some time later Bilbo risked another glance up only to find Thorin's seat across the campfire vacated and looking entirely too empty. Sadness briefly filled Bilbo's mind until he felt a large hand settle itself on his shoulder causing him to jump ever so slightly. Thick hair brushed against the back of his neck and hot breath ghosted over his pointed ear. A deep yet soft voice whispered just loud enough for him alone to hear.

"I would be gentle with you, if you would have me."

Bilbo sat in stunned silence. He would recognize that resonance anywhere. Thorin Oakenshield's powerful voice had whispered such things to him. Bilbo was not so innocent as to not realise what such words implied. The king wanted him, in an intimate way. In a moment the strong hand on his shoulder had released him and he heard soft footfalls walking away behind him. Goosebumps spread down Bilbo's back and he shivered at the loss of touch. The offer tempted him so. The thought of losing his virginity to as strong a presence as Thorin Oakenshield tugged at his heart in ways he'd never felt before. But a hobbit of the night he was not. No matter how much he desired the touch of the dwarf king, he could not lay with someone who did not truly love him. Curse his sentimental self.

When the flames from the fire had become the last remains of only embers, the dwarves and the hobbit settled themselves in to sleep. Bilbo stared up at the stars for some time thinking still of a certain dwarf. Thoughts of Thorin would plague him for eternity at this rate. After much tossing and turning Bilbo decided on confronting this issue face to face. He would tell Thorin his opinions on this matter and then he would be able to obtain the rest he desperately needed. No use in wasting the few chances at a good night's sleep he had. Bilbo moved swiftly and quietly to the hidden niche he knew Thorin was residing in stopping just a few feet away. His bedroll was surprisingly empty. The hobbit hovered up and down on the tips of his toes wondering where on earth the dwarf king could have gone when he heard a low humming from further into the trees, away from the clearing. Bilbo glanced back at the other resting dwarves before setting out towards the beautiful sound.

Bilbo staggered over branches and crushed leaves, venturing through the thick undergrowth until he could see Thorin's figure sitting against an old oak tree. His stealth didn't last long as he stepped upon a branch making a loud noise and drawing the dwarf's attention to him. And those eyes, caught him again, but this time the dwarf hoisted himself up and approached the hobbit with grace.

"Have you thought on my words, hobbit?" Thorin asked seemingly looking into his very soul.

"I…I…no, no not that. I mean, I couldn't possibly. I won't let myself be used once and thrown away," Bilbo sputtered out.

Thorin's eyebrows rose and his lips curved up ever so slightly before he responded,

"Who said anything about throwing you away?"

The question hung in the air. Bilbo was incredibly puzzled. Thorin Oakenshield couldn't possibly want to have a permanent courtship with the likes of a hobbit.

"But…I am nothing more than a hobbit," Bilbo practically whispered, "What could a king, possibly want with…with someone like me?"

Seeing confusion set on the hobbit's face, Thorin stepped closer, leaving but a small gap between the dwarf and hobbit. His face became serious again before he explained himself,

"My interest in you is not merely sexual, Halfling. If it were, I would not deign to take you as mine. You have saved my life more than once and the lives of my companions. You have proven yourself more than a worthy member of this company. And most of all, you have proven me wrong. I regret doubting you with all my heart. I would have you as my spouse, my partner. You would be mine only, and in return I only yours," Thorin stated as he took one last step towards the hobbit, leaving but an inch between them.

"Do you understand me Halfling?" Thorin breathed.

All Bilbo could do was nod in response. Thorin's lips were next to his ear once again and he was asking him what seemed a final question, one that would shape Bilbo's future in ways he could only imagine in his wildest dreams,

"Then I shall say it just once more, Bilbo Baggins. I would be gentle with you, if you would have me."

Bilbo grasped the front of Thorin's tunic in response and swift as the northern winds Thorin's heavy cloak found its way to the ground with Bilbo lying atop it. Bilbo watched entranced as Thorin removed his weapons, buckles and belts, laying them nearby, before he kneeled down atop the hobbit. Suddenly an intense fear hit Bilbo and he couldn't help the small tremors that passed through his body. Thorin noticed of course and stroked his arms gently up and down before unbuttoning the hobbit's shirt and pushing it over his shoulders. Bilbo swallowed thickly at the action, unable to say a word.

"Do not fear me Halfling, I will not harm you," Thorin's voice washed over him, calming him only slightly.

Bilbo finally found the courage to voice his question,

"H-how can you be s-so composed?" Bilbo's voice came out, shakier than he would have liked.

Thorin's eyes narrowed, eyeing the hobbit before he responded,

"Composed? I am far from it little one. Can you not see plainly what you do to me? Can you not feel it?" At this Thorin pushed his lower half into Bilbo's form, his arousal obvious against the thin material of their slacks. Bilbo flushed heavily and squeaked when Thorin began to gently move against him. Thorin unbuttoned the front of his own shirt with one hand, holding himself up with the other, and Bilbo watched the strong and defined chest reveal itself to him. Thorin truly was an incredible sight. Such a very powerful dwarf and Bilbo knew he would forever be safe in the embrace of his arms.

As Thorin continued to thrust against him Bilbo lost himself in his arousal, not noticing the removal of his slacks until the cool night air washed over him. Thorin's eyes seemed entranced, and filled with lust as they ran over his naked body, but through this Bilbo saw plainly a much stronger emotion. The hobbit reached up grabbing Thorin by his beard, pulling him down to share a tender kiss. The dwarf king moaned loudly into Bilbo's mouth before devouring him completely, running his hands up the hobbit's thighs and over his navel.

Thorin pulled away gently and reached into his coat on the ground pulling out a vial of beautiful smelling oil, the scent of which was very pleasing to the hobbit's nose, reminding him of home, the Shire, and the flowers in his own garden. Bilbo wondered at what the dwarf could possibly need something like this for.

"I said I would be gentle with you, and this will help. Relax yourself," Thorin spoke, answering his question.

Bilbo still didn't quite understand as he watched Thorin generously coat his fingers with the sweet smelling liquid before tracing them down between his thighs where they pressed at his entrance.

"A-ah…what?" Bilbo let out.

"Hush my hobbit, you must relax," Thorin said once more kissing him in distraction while he pushed the fingers past the tight ring of muscle. Bilbo moaned into Thorin's mouth at the foreign sensation; feeling more pleasure than pain. It didn't take long for Thorin to find something deep inside Bilbo that caused him to cry out in desire. Thorin let out a short laugh at Bilbo's plight.

"As much as I'd love to hear your voice scream for me in the night, I think it would be best not to wake the others. I do not wish to be interrupted," The dwarf drawled, his voice thick with arousal.

"Oh gods," Bilbo gasped.

"I did not know you thought so highly of me Halfling," Thorin chuckled lightly, then removed his fingers from the hobbit, reaching to untie his lower garments. After releasing himself Thorin generously coated his erection and lined it up with his destination. Thorin stared intently into Bilbo's eyes, searching for something before he murmured just above his lips,

"I care for you deeply, I hope you can trust in me as your king and your lover."

Thorin then brushed the hobbit's lips in a soft kiss and pushed into his body slowly. Bilbo gasped into the dwarf's mouth and clung to Thorin's strong shoulders like a lifeline. The hobbit shook beneath Thorin in arousal and after just a few moments his body clenched hard around Thorin, his head thrown back in the most incredible orgasm of the hobbit's life. The site alone had Thorin roughly grasping at Bilbo's soft curls, unable to stop himself from thrusting hard for several moments and coming deep within the hobbit.

Thorin stayed within him for several moments gently thrusting, pushing his seed deeper in the hobbit, before he pulled out gently and lay beside him. Bilbo blushed when he felt some of Thorin's essence escape his body. The hobbit now understood why so many sought the refuge of another's warmth in the night. Making love had been nothing short of incredible, better even than the smoothest of warm teas on a cool day. Bilbo softly rested his eyes wrapped in the embrace of the dwarf king. Thorin breathed deeply beside him and leant over him to reach into one of the satchels he often carried with him. When he pulled his hand back something shone within it.

"What's that?" Bilbo asked his voice rough in the aftermath. When Thorin spoke it was in the smooth and serious tone he often used,

"This is a dwarven bead. We braid them into our hair as we receive them, where they often stay until our death. This is one of the only relics I still have of Erebor."

"Why do you not wear it?" Bilbo asked, honestly curious. At this Thorin truly smiled at the hobbit.

"Because it is not for me," the dwarf responded. Thorin then reached into Bilbo's curly locks pulling out several strands and braiding them in a complex weave. He braided the bead within the strands and fastened it tightly with precision only a dwarf could possess. Bilbo saw it sparkle brightly even in the dim light of night.

"For now, this is all I have to give you Halfling, but when we take back my home in Erebor, I will give you all the riches of the mountain and more. I hope someday you will find comfort in Erebor as you do in your Shire. It will greatly sadden me if you choose to return to your home. I am glad you came to me tonight. I must confess, I was quite worried I may have offended you," Thorin spoke while stroking the braid next to Bilbo's ear.

Bilbo was unsure how to respond to these words. Riches did not interest him in the slightest, and he doubted the tunnels beneath the lonely mountain would hold warmth even remotely close to that of the Shire. Under Thorin's gaze however, Bilbo felt very warm indeed, and knew exactly what that meant.

"Thorin, hobbits care not for riches, we treasure the simpler things in life. You know this," Bilbo replied. Thorin's eyes saddened just slightly and the hobbit quickly pressed on,

"However, if I am with you, I know that I will always feel at home," Bilbo voiced, watching as Thorin's eyes shone in the moonlight, happiness in them once again. Bilbo reached up to embrace Thorin who again leant over Bilbo's body. The dwarf pressed a kiss into Bilbo's hair holding him tightly, the scruffy edges of his beard and long hair tickling Bilbo's nose. And then the dwarf and hobbit drifted into a restful sleep on the forest floor pressed tightly together, both with great joy in their hearts.