By all accounts, Bilbo should be soundly asleep. It wasn't as though he hasn't grown accustomed to sleeping through the quiet snores and drowsy grumblings of a dozen or so dwarves. Truth be told, as much as it had disturbed his rest in the beginning, now he found it soothing; a shuffling, muttering roar of a lullaby lulling him to sleep as surely as a babe in arms.
Tonight, though, despite being huddled against the broad warmth of Bombur's back and both Kili and Fili curled up before him, sleep still eluded him. It was chilly enough, true, high up where the eagles had left them with no trees for shelter and no fire to warm them, nor any blankets at all. But it wasn't the cold keeping him awake, not the snoring, or the heavy weight of the moonlight pouring over them in a pale imitation of day. It wasn't his aching limbs making him restless, for Bilbo had learned to sleep through their complaints some time ago.
Tired as he was, sleep eluded him and it was only the knowledge that squirming about would wake his companions that kept Bilbo still and silent. The moon took its path slowly through the night sky as Bilbo lay, listening to the occasional quiet murmur as the others switched off on the night watch. Perhaps hours had gone by, perhaps not, when a familiar scent caught his nose.
Pipeweed. Old Toby, if Bilbo wasn't mistaken and he was certain he wasn't. Another whiff carried to him on a breeze and wave of homesickness spilled over him so sharply that Bilbo had to stifle a gasp. He'd meant what he'd said before, he would travel with the dwarves, help them retake their home, if he could. That didn't mean his heart couldn't still ache for the Shire, did it? He hoped not.
Gandalf, he reasoned, would surely be willing to share. They were friends now or something like it. His own pipe was lost, along with his pack, in the goblin tunnels. Surely he'd allow Bilbo a puff, perhaps two, and the urge was too strong to resist. Carefully, so carefully, Bilbo climbed to his feet. The glow of a pipe was obvious in the darkness and Bilbo followed it as much as his nose, making his way through the maze of bodies and limbs, none of which stirred at his passing.
He crept on silent feet to the still figure seated on the nearby rocks, his soft greeting dying on his lips when he saw who it was. Not Gandalf, as he'd assumed, but Thorin, the bowl of his pipe glowing cherry red as he drew in another mouthful of smoke. His eyes were a soft gleam in the moonlight, resting on Bilbo, and silently, he gestured for Bilbo to sit with him.
Bilbo scrambled up onto the rocks awkwardly, wincing when one stone pried loose and bounced loudly to the ground. Even in the dimness of night, he could see the soft puffs of smoke that revealed Thorin's silent chuckle. Bilbo couldn't begrudge him his amusement, only grinned ruefully as he settled next to him, inhaling the sharp, sweet scent of the smoke.
Without a word, he offered Bilbo his pipe and with only a moment's hesitation, he took it. The bit was warm from Thorin's mouth, slightly damp, and Bilbo ignored it as he inhaled deeply, relaxing into the warm familiarity of it. Old Toby, indeed, and he didn't question where Thorin had gotten it. All that mattered was this, one tiny taste of home. He took another breath, just one, before handing the pipe back. A taste was good enough, he told himself, no need to be greedy.
So it was a surprise when Thorin handed it back to him after taking his own mouthful of smoke. They sat for some time like that, passing the pipe back and forth between them as though friends of old in trying times. When they finished and Thorin tapped the ash from the bowl, tucking his pipe away, Bilbo could not think of a way to express his gratitude and instead kept his silence a moment longer. Expecting, perhaps, for Thorin to join the others, let someone else take the watch for a time. Hours earlier he'd seemed grievously injured despite Gandalf's reassurances that Thorin would be well. Surely he needed his sleep.
"Shouldn't you be resting?" Bilbo ventured, softly. Not that he was any sort of healer, nor a wizard, but his own bruises ached with every move he made, bruises on top of bruises. They'd all of them been falling and fighting, stumbling through lashing branches and jumping to and fro from trees. And while being snatched up by eagles had certainly saved their lives, it hadn't precisely been the most comfortable of rescues.
"For that matter, shouldn't you?" Thorin countered, though there was no sting to his words.
Bilbo snorted aloud and shook his head. "We might have all died today but you came the closest by far. You must need some rest. I'm no physician--"
"Nor a warrior, nor even a burglar," Thorin interrupted softly. "As you said. There are many things you are not. Tell me then, little hobbit, what is it that you are?"
Bilbo blinked and looked up at the pale swell of the moon. It cast its silvery light over their companions, each of them wrapped up as best they could in the meager warmth offered by their cloaks and clothing. Gandalf had promised they'd find some sort of shelter tomorrow as well as food for their grumbling stomachs. The others hadn't had any such difficulty finding their sleep; their huffing snores carried even at this distance.
"What am I?" Bilbo murmured, nearly to himself. "What am I, indeed?"
"Brave," answered him softly and Bilbo startled, as though he could have forgotten such company. "Loyal," Thorin added, the deep rumble of his voice so low as to only reach Bilbo's ears. Or perhaps that was because the words carried from a mouth that was much closer to Bilbo's ear than before, couched on warm, damp breath. "Stronger than you appear. If there is more to you than that, I look forward to seeing it."
"Yes, well, then," Bilbo wet his lips, nervous for reasons he couldn't explain. "I suppose we'll find out, won't we? If there's more. To me. More to me than that."
Thorin chuckled softly, still close enough that his breath fell soft against Bilbo's ear, a touch of warmth against the cool air. A hand fell on his shoulder, giving him a gentle shake and if Bilbo turned his head the slightest bit he would see it. A dirty hand, surely, stained with mud and wood sap and blood, as were they all. A strong hand, a warrior's, a good, strong—
"I suppose we will," Thorin's soft voice interrupted the flailing turmoil of Bilbo's thoughts. It was only a hand, he told himself. A comforting gesture between companions, like a hearty slap on the back, and there was nothing about those thick, strong fingers digging lightly into shoulder that meant anything else. Which meant he should keep any other ideas that were squirming through his thoughts to himself, thank you very much.
"Are you—" Bilbo blurted, biting off what he might have said and surely that was from the Took half of his heritage, this lack of control over his mouth. Thank goodness for his Baggins nature taking back control and stopping the foolishness that was attempting to spill forth. Remember who you are, Bilbo told himself sternly. And remember quite well who you are with. Thorin was a prince, a Dwarven prince, which meant he was descendent of Kings, and Bilbo was…a hobbit. So any idea that Thorin was offering any sort of the kind of play Bilbo had indulged in during his youth was ridiculous.
Utterly ridiculous and surely it was only the events of the day that had even brought it to his mind. Nearly dying did bring a little heat to one's blood, Bilbo had learned. That was all, just a warmth of the blood.
With an elaborate stretch, Bilbo shrugged off that hand before it gave his own any other ideas and instead muffled a largely fake yawn into his hand. "Well, then, I suppose I should get some rest before first light. And so should you, shall I wake one of the oth—erk!"
Two fingers over his lips stifled his cry and their state should have appalled him, this utter lack of cleanliness. Perhaps it would have, had he not been spilling into Thorin's lap at the same moment, tugged to sit between strong, heavy thighs, thick as tree trunks on either side of him. It took Bilbo a moment to realize he hadn't simply fallen; Thorin had grabbed him, with his strong, dirty hands, and neatly arranged Bilbo against him.
"And is your bravery failing you already, burglar?" Thorin murmured and this time it was against his ear, lips brushing against him and Bilbo shivered, helplessly. No, not so terribly helpless, he realized, Thorin wasn't holding him. His hands were strong- and why did his mind insist on reminding him of that- but gentle, his grip easily broken. If Bilbo wanted to break it, and did he, did he not, did he…the length of Thorin's body against his back was hard, like leaning against a stone wall yet not, not with his warmth leaching through both their clothing.
"Not really…burglar," Bilbo protested, weakly. He squirmed, restlessly, and the sudden hiss of Thorin's breath between his teeth was headily gratifying. Daring, Bilbo did it again, a twisting little wriggle of his backside against- "Oh, my," Bilbo breathed, let his eyes flutter closed as Thorin grabbed his hips and forced him to stillness.
"Yes, you've said," Thorin gritted, harshly, "Not a burglar, not a warrior, but surely a tease!"
Bilbo shook his head, his hair whispering against Thorin's tunic, the curls catching in his beard as Thorin groaned and buried his face into them, uncaring that Bilbo's hair was likely as dirty as both their hands. "I'm not that, either."
And Bilbo might have been content to let his Tookish side rule this night, let senseless need overcome practicality as Thorin shifted his grip and rolled his hips upward, rubbed the hard bulge in his trousers against Bilbo's backside until they were both dirtier for it. He would have simply let Thorin. If his next groan hadn't been as much pain as pleasure, if he hadn't felt the sudden flinch, the nearly-aborted press of Thorin's arm against ribs that had very recently been chewed upon by a warg.
"Stop," Bilbo whispered, nearly inaudible through his own hoarseness. "Stop, stop, you can't—"
"Do you mean to tell me what I can or cannot?" Thorin nearly growled it, the edge of his teeth suddenly sharp against Bilbo's ear and lower, biting a line down his jaw that Bilbo suspected would linger into the daylight hours, a mark that the others could see and he swallowed, hard, against the thick urge rising in his throat to mindlessly agree.
"Very well, then I can't," Bilbo snapped and squirmed away from Thorin's loosening grip. He ruthlessly ignored the firm ache in his own trousers that begged him to rethink matters. Surely Thorin wasn't that hurt, surely he knew his own limits….
The paleness to his face, visible even in the moonlit glow, suggested otherwise. Whatever need glittered in his eyes couldn't let Bilbo ignore that and he sighed loudly as he held up his hands, "I'm sorry."
"There's no need for apologies," Thorin told him, curtly. "Go find your bed, then, and get some rest."
"No, no, there is a need for apologies, because I am not a tease!" Bilbo hissed and he was meanly satisfied to see Thorin blink and lean back on his hands. Strong hands, Bilbo thought regretfully. "I'm not," Bilbo repeated, quieter, casting a wary glance at their snoring companions. Not a one of them had stirred, none of them were watching this quiet drama with gossipy eyes.
"Bilbo," Thorin murmured and perhaps there was an apology of his own woven into the simpleness of his name.
"I just. I can't." Bilbo tried, broke off, frustrated. He slipped back down to his knees and reached up, cupping Thorin's face in his hands. His beard was coarse against the softness of Bilbo's palms, prickling softly and Bilbo curled his fingers through it, combing lightly and Thorin closed his eyes. "I can't hurt you," Bilbo confessed, softly.
Warm fingers caught his own, twining them together and Bilbo caught his own breath as Thorin turned his head to press his lips against their knuckles. Their hands looked alike, Bilbo realized, the same dirt and blood griming them, ground into the skin until it was impossible to tell hobbit from dwarf.
"I've been hurt before, little hobbit," Thorin murmured against their knuckles, "Long before we met."
"I know," Bilbo said raggedly, trying to ignore the wet rasp of tongue against his fingers. Thorin, it seemed, cared little about the state of their hands past what he could do with them. "I know, I heard, I saw, but that's all the more reason that I…ah…!" Wetness surrounded his littlest finger as Thorin suckled it, his teeth the lightest pressure. "I can't. Hurt you," Bilbo went on doggedly.
Thorin let his finger slip free, trailing down his lower lip in a streak of saliva before Thorin took Bilbo's hand into his own again and lifted it once more until he could whisper into the smoothness of his palm, "You do."
"I do…what now?" Bilbo asked, hazily. His good intentions were leaking away from him much the same way they had that morning, weeks ago now, when he'd woken to an empty house, all signs of dwarves cleared away and his respectability had been swamped by that aching emptiness. He'd filled it that time with a group of dwarves and a wizard; this time one dwarf alone seemed to suffice.
"Hurt me," Thorin said calmly, into the cup of Bilbo's palm as though he could possibly hold the weight of those words. Wounded, he tried to draw away but this time Thorin's grip was one of iron and stone. "It hurts me to see you, to know what I've taken you away from. To think of what might befall you." Pale eyes met Bilbo's over the bridge of their hands. "It hurts me to know you."
"Oh," Bilbo let out, a miserable little sound.
"But to not know you," Thorin continued, relentless, "To let you go. That would be an agony to me."
And what was there to say to that? What could Bilbo possibly do except push recklessly forward, much the same as he'd been doing since he stepped out his front door that morning not so terribly long ago. He pushed ahead, past dirty hands and strong arms until he could wrap his around Thorin's neck and catch his mouth with his own.
It was awkward and clumsy, a kiss built of clacking teeth and bumped noses. Until Thorin took his head in both hands and tipped it before claiming his mouth again, fitting them together like pieces of a puzzle. Bilbo tasted the pipe smoke on his breath as Thorin slipped his tongue over his lips, coaxing his way inside. It felt strange, tongue almost too large and his beard scraping deliciously, different from the few stolen kisses Bilbo had received in his youth.
He followed the draw of Thorin's lips the same as he'd followed his path towards the Lonely Mountain, obeyed the silent command of his hands as he pulled Bilbo astride him. There was too much clothing between them and yet Bilbo still huffed out a startled puff of air at the press of their groins through their trousers, the heavy length of Thorin's cock sliding alongside his own as he shifted his hips, guiding Bilbo to rock against him.
Another groan escaped Thorin, equal parts pained and eager and Bilbo strained to recall why he'd tried to stop this to begin with.
"You're injured," Bilbo protested, faintly, even as Thorin fumbled between them, loosening his trousers. The sudden relief as he was freed was incomparable to the feel of Thorin's hand circling him, the strong fingers that Bilbo had been admiring all night surrounding him and stroking with tight, sharp pulls.
"Terribly," Thorin agreed, catching Bilbo's lower lip in his teeth and biting gently. "Do you feel, the awful swelling." And he took Bilbo's hand in his own, guiding it low between them until he could slip it beneath his own clothing and curl it around his shaft.
Disbelief that Thorin had teased him warred with the knowledge of just what he was touching. Thorin, who seemed to care little that he was a Dwarven prince, was moaning into Bilbo's mouth as the hobbit tentatively stroked him, taking in the slippery heat of it, the head grazing wetly against his palm. A dwarf's cock did not seem to be so terribly different than a Hobbit's, and though it had been years since Bilbo had touched any but his own perhaps some skills were never lost.
He tried to squirm closer, pushing Thorin's hands aside as he caught both of them together, hardness against hardness. His hand was too small to circle their lengths and so Bilbo used both, tipped his head down to watch the slide of their cocks between his hands. Even in the waning moonlight he could see the glistening dampness at the tips, leaking further and making it easier for Bilbo to stroke.
Above him, Thorin breathed heavily, dropping his head to nuzzle against the back of Bilbo's neck, teasing aside sweaty strands of hair until his mouth grazed skin. "Pretty little hobbit," he murmured and Bilbo shivered at the touch of his lips, the tickle of his beard against tender flesh.
"You aren't pretty at all," Bilbo gasped out, pushing into his own grip and wishing he had the strength to speak the tumbling words in his head. "You're…ah!...you're hard and…and…big and…you...." Bilbo bit his lip, trying to hold off even as heat crawled up his spine.
Soft laughter greeted that, Thorin's rich voice strained as he arched up, his hips following the uneven rhythm of Bilbo's hands. "Hard and big, am I?" Thorin rumbled, "I should be flattered."
"You shouldn't," Bilbo said, crossly, because he didn't want to talk, not with Thorin's cock sliding against his own, leaking with his eagerness. He didn't want to talk, he wanted to feel, which didn't explain why he blurted, suddenly, "I like your hands."
"Do you?" Thorin murmured, and lowered one to grasp Bilbo's, tightening his grip around the both of them. Bilbo could only watch, rapt, the strong flex of his fingers as he followed Bilbo's jerky pace, eyes following the lines of grime, the smears of blood over knuckles and ground beneath nails and then it was all too much. He spilled over the clench of their combined fingers, streaks of pale fluid falling over Thorin's knuckles, smearing into glistening lines as Bilbo shuddered and came.
A low moan rumbled between them, more vibration than sound, and another surge of wetness fell over their hands as Thorin trembled, spurting over joined fingers and mingled their seed in pearly streaks.
A strong arm fell across Bilbo's back and he grunted softly as he was pulled in, colliding with the firm wall that was Thorin's chest. He struggled to turn his head out of cloth and armor enough to breathe, scrabbling at Thorin with hands that were still slick and he wondered faintly what sort of handprints he was leaving for the others to goggle at in the morning.
From the way Thorin buried his face into Bilbo's hair, he either didn't realize he was being marked or didn't care. As filthy as they both were, with mud, blood, and now their own fluids, Thorin only held him tightly, breathing in as though Bilbo smelled of only lovely things, of cakes and jam, flowery gardens and rich earth. As if he smelled of home.
The moon had sunk lower in the sky, its silvery light barely skimming them when Thorin finally murmured, "You should get some rest."
"Shouldn't you?" Bilbo countered, and he sounded raw and weary. He didn't move, resting his head against Thorin's chest as the dwarf ran rough fingers through his hair, stroking down his back as he held Bilbo close. Neither of them moved until the first glimmer of daylight greeted them, calling them back to their journey.