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The King's Man

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Bilbo has been a slave for eight months.

The raiders caught him just outside of Hobbiton. It was stupid and he even knew that at the time, but it was late and it had been gusting wind all day. There was no one else available to go with him to check the exterior fences and while Bilbo might not run the farms himself –that job goes to the families of tenant farmers who have worked Baggins land since his grandfather’s day- he still feels the weight of duty owed to the families in his employ.

So he went out alone. In retrospect, that was a damn fool idea. Goblins don’t approach the core of Hobbit settlements and for whatever reason they aren’t much interested in hassling the livestock. He should have waited until morning. Now all those families who looked to him for guidance and charity when the harvest turns bad will be looking to Otho, who doesn’t believe in charity and has often accused Bilbo of ‘mollycoddling the sharecroppers.’

The raiding party took him from Hobbiton and two others from just outside Hardbottle. They were sold in turn to a foul-smelling Dunlending caravanner who chewed tobacco and spat constantly. He packed them into carts with mixes races of men, some few scrawny goblins who were too weak to cause the gentler races any problem, and one or two pale and wasting elves.

The Dunlending took them east skirting the Elven territory surrounding Rivendell for the elves there loathe slavers and take delight in killing them wherever they find any. There they were sold on to a slave monger in the markets of Mount Gundabad. That is where most of the elves vanished from the carts, save a few who were hustled into the same pen as Bilbo. Pale they may have been and thin, but they kept Bilbo pressed in between them and shielded him from the goblins’ sight.

Slaves were not encouraged to speak to one another, but one bit of gossip made the rounds no matter what the cost. Azog, the ruler of Gundabad and master of the slave pens, had a taste for Hobbit flesh …and not in the carnal sense either.

Bilbo know that he would probably be dead if it weren’t for those elves. His fellows from Hardbottle vanished from their pens in the night, but no alarm was ever raised. The elves murmured comfort to him in Sindarin when they realized he could understand and petted his hair to try and soothe him to sleep like he was a child –and perhaps to them he was. Bilbo was thirty-three that year, but he didn’t feel like much of an adult in the face of all his hardships.

It was many weeks –Bilbo cannot say how many, but he thinks is might have been nine or ten- before they are loaded back onto a cart and brought them through the Misty Mountains. Some of his fellows were sold to the Great Goblin there or given as tribute (men, mostly, and a few swarthy orcs) before they moved to head south through the bad woodlands of Mirkwood where even the elves who lived there did not go. How long they spent in suffocating oppression of Mirkwood and then in the relentless open expanse of the East Bight, Bilbo cannot say. The orcs who guarded the carts kept the slats nailed shut and only ever opened the door to shove in stale water and cram. It was difficult to keep track of the days.

Bilbo did not see the light of day until they nearly reached the end of the East Bight, where the trees began to grow again to provide some cover and the foreman set up a small temporary pen to let the slaves move about for a bit. There is where the slave monger made his fatal error for the lands beyond the blight still fall within the territory of the dwarves of Erebor.

Dwarves like slavers only slightly less than they like elves or money-changers who put lead plugs into their weights, which is to say: not at all. They like goblins even less and a goblin slaving ring is something they will go to any length to stamp out ---including setting ambushes outside the Bight.

The fighting never got very close to the pens. Bilbo thinks the Dwarves planned it very carefully that way, but he found himself squished inbetween men and elves as everyone huddled as far away from the clashing of axes and swords as they could get.

It perhaps explains something of the time they’d all had that it never occurred to a single soul among them, not even Bilbo, to jump the fence and run. Defiance had been beaten and starved out of them.

The Dwarves won the battle and eventually came to collect their dubious prize. At the time, Bilbo had no idea what to expect. One hears such conflicting stories about Dwarves and not all their clans number among the good folk of Middle Earth.

Still, the Dwarves pulled the nails out of the side-slats of the carts so that fresh air and sunlight could enter their dim interiors. They mucked the moldy straw and moth-eaten blankets out as well before loading everyone back up. Water and cram were still the order of the day, but in slightly large quantities supplemented by a thin pottage that was all a slave’s stomach could tolerate after months or years of privation.

All this seemed like heaven to Bilbo at the time and he slept deeply for the first time in a long while with a stomach that did not grumble at him. So deeply did he sleep that his first glimpse of the Lonely Mountain came not from the outside, but rather the inside when dwarves with long beards and blue hoods in a multitude of shades came to prod them out of the carts and into the warm and dark lower levels of the mountain.

This is how Bilbo came to the mountain, but not how he will leave it.

Bilbo’s group is taken to an open bathing chamber first where brusque dwarrow women (or perhaps men) strip them without a care for modesty, delouse them with a yellow soap that stings at the eyes, and scrub every single soul in their care with stiff bristle brushes that would be torture if they didn’t feel so heavenly on itchy filthy skin.

Some of Bilbo’s fellow slaves tolerate the treatment better than others. Most of the Men are Dunlendings, who have deep skepticism regarding unnecessary baths and object to them most strenuously as they believe excess bathing to be the root of disease. The Dwarves are less than impressed and tolerate the Dunlendings' objections about as well as can be expected.

Bilbo would have gladly washed himself, but by the time his turn comes in the water he is so tired and listless that he is only too happy to submit to the bathing women’s ministrations. Even so there are stains that linger on his skin that will probably drive him to distraction when he is able to care about them once more.

Someone hands out clean tunics and Bilbo’s fits on him like a night shirt. A dwarf comes through with a thick astringent ointment that he applies to every sore he can find, even if it means stripping a patient naked to seek them out. Afterwards they are fed again. It’s water with a little ale in it and thin porridge this time with shreds of some kind of meat in it. Bilbo cannot finish his and a Dunlending snatches the rest of it, only to be messily sick when his stomach overflows.

They are put in a room with pallets on the floor. Bilbo sleeps in a knot with the elves well away from the Dunlendings, who are prone to mischief when they aren’t distracted by hunger and fatigue. Nothing happens that night or the next morning when they are taken out of the room, fed again with a grain porridge drizzled with honey, and put to menial work of varying kinds. Bilbo is set to stuffing mattresses with wool and goosedown. It’s familiar work that he remembers from childhood and it isn’t long before he remembers the trick of it. Around noon a Dwarrow woman comes to fetch him and declares herself to be pleased with his work. She gives him an extra biscuit with his lunch of pea soup and cracks a Dunlending over the hand with her wooden spoon when he goes to steal it.

Bilbo ends up sharing the biscuit among the elves because his stomach is still too small to handle extra rations, but they are able to manage it by simply having larger stomachs to begin with. The Dunlendings, however, resent the preferential treatment and it isn’t long before Bilbo and his elves have to sleep in shifts to guard their fellows from a nocturnal thrashing.

It isn’t long before there’s a scrap; ordinary slave yard stuff that Bilbo has forgotten isn’t actually ordinary. The Dwarf guarding their room wades in and pulls the Dunlending who’s got Bilbo pinned off him only to discover Bilbo managed to get his teeth into the man’s arm and cannot make himself let go.

The Dunlendings are separated out after that. One of the elves has a job in the Arboreum and reports that they’ve been put to work in the fields of Dale, where they are carefully watched by the men who live there.

Slowly (very slowly) Bilbo remembers civilization. He begins to talk more and doesn’t flinch when startled quite as much ...although he still does when stressed or upset. His body fills out and he is able to eat at least one full sized meal a day. He’s lost his tolerance for alcohol, but at the same time he’s not sure he wants it back. The dwarves put him to new work in a chandlery where he does well enough. The candlemaker takes a liking to him and carves him a pipe. Tobacco is hard to come by, but the dwarves in charge of him have learned by now that it’s a safer treat than extra food so he has enough for one precious bowl an evening.

A month into his time at Erebor he is taken to speak to a gruff clerk who questions him closely about his homeland, where he was taken, how he was sold, and whatever else he can remember from his time with the goblins.

“You are perhaps wondering why we have not sent you on your way.” The clerk rumbles. He’s a great big dour creature with craggy white brows and a moustache so long that Bilbo cannot see his mouth except for the movement of his jaw. He stares at Bilbo with his one steely gimlet eye, but offers him pipeweed from his own pouch and water when Bilbo’s voice begins to squeak.

Bilbo doesn’t answer. Once he would have, but there’s still a part of him that looks at the Dwarves and only sees the Masters. You don’t question the Masters. You just do what they say or wait for them to speak.

 “The truth of the matter is that you are far from home.” The clerk tells him. “That you will not speak to me unless ordered tells me a great deal about your mental state. We have learned the hard way that turning freed slaves loose out onto the land to make their own way home only results in bandits and dead slaves.” He points at Bilbo with the bit of his pipe. “You require resources to return to your homeland and if I could, I would give you a bag of coin and a knapsack this very moment. However even Erebor’s vast wealth does not extend to paying the way of every poor soul we liberate from the goblins. You tell me that you are from the Shire. That is a long way from here. You will need to buy passage on a river barge and later a guarded caravan to make it there. When you arrive it is likely that there will be little waiting for you unless you are very blessed in your family. Are you so blessed, Halfling?”

“No sir.” Bilbo’s voice is an echo of what it once was. Otho and Lobelia have Bag End by now and evicting them will take all the lawyers in the Shire. His people in Tookborough would take him in, no doubt, and perhaps help with his legal fees …but not to the extent that it will take to seize everything back from the Sackville-Bagginses. “I am a little blessed, but not so very much.”

“Hrmph. Yes. Well.” The clerk shuffles his papers about. “Here is the deal I offer you. You will work within our mountain as an indentured servant. For how long depends upon what skills you have to offer. At the end of your agreed upon time you will be given a pony, a sack of gold, a satchel of supplies, and passage to your home. In the meantime you will receive four meals a day, a place to sleep with clean bedding once a week along with three suits of clothing, a pair of boots, and a sturdy coat per annum. You will only accept orders from the dwarf you are assigned to and only during the span of time between the morning bell and the evening bell.” He glances up and adds, “At the end of your indenture you will have the option to convert part of your pay into a small plot of land in Dale and a mule. It is not an option offered often, but the men of Dale like your kind. They feel you Halflings have a way with the earth.”

Bilbo musters a smile from somewhere. It’s thin and lopsided, but it’s voluntary and seems to please the clerk.

“Now, young one.” He dips his pen into the ink pot and holds it over a fresh sheet of paper. “Tell me of your skills.”

The clerk is pleased to discover that Bilbo has some basic mathematics and the knowledge every Shireling learns about green things. He already has reports from the seamstress and chandler that have had the benefit of Bilbo’s labor during his rehabilitation, but the old Dwarf seems happiest to learn that he can both read and write in several languages beyond his own.

“I can speak Sindarin as well as read and write it, but I cannot vouch for my accent.” Once Bilbo might have gone on to explain his mother’s love of elvish poetry and the slender volumes of it that she brought back from Rivendell in her youth. He might have mentioned his father’s trade dealing with the Elves. However he has learned to keep himself to himself and it is a difficult lesson to unlearn even in the most congenial of society.

“You will return to the service halls.” The clerk tells him when they are done. “Your work assignment will be decided within the next week and you will be notified in due course. Until then you will continue your work in the chandlery and report to the common sleeping areas. Do you have any questions?”

“No sir.” Bilbo murmurs.

“Come to me when you do.” The clerk says and not unkindly. He pauses. “If I may ---I cannot give you much advice that will do you good, but I will tell you this. You must begin to question your world once more. The slave collar exists in the mind as much as it ever did around your neck. Only one of those can be removed for you. The other you must exorcise for yourself.”

“I’m trying.” Bilbo sighs and shows himself out. “I’m trying.” He repeats to himself as he makes his way back to the Chandler’s warm and comfortable shop. There are candles make and the work is soothing in a way that words aren’t –and may never be again.

The week goes by faster than it has a right to. Bilbo’s elves start to vanish from the room. Some of them say farewell, but others don’t. They’ve all been ransomed by the Elves of Mirkwood or Lorien. Some of them will go home, but others (the ones who never said goodbye) are going West to the Gray Ships. Bilbo says his farewells to the ones who linger, who worry about him still, and tries to give them peace of mind.

He’s summons after the evening bell one evening back to the clerk’s office where another dwarf is waiting. He has a snowy white beard and introduces himself as Balin, son of Fundin. He tests Bilbo’s penmanship and translating abilities. He must be satisfied because Bilbo is given a room in the upper levels of the Royal Quarter that night. It’s a glorified closet with a bed and access to a nearby bath house, but it’s his.

It’s quiet, sleeping alone and Bilbo does not manage it very well anymore. His imagination turns every creaking door into a Warg and every shadow into a goblin come to take him away. He reports to Balin the next morning red-eyed and listless.

“Bad night, laddie?” The dwarf asks and seems to genuinely care.

“I’ve lost the habit of sleeping alone.” Bilbo says and shrugs. “I will get it back in time.”

“Aye.” Balin tilts his head. “If not, then come to me and I’ll have you put into the guards’ barracks. Twenty snoring dwarves ought to put you at ease if you need the presence of other bodies in the dark. There’s no shame in it.”

“Thank you, sir.” Bilbo is irrationally proud of himself for being able to say ‘sir’ and not ‘master’ now. “…but I would like to try it the other way first.”

“Good lad.” Balin praises him and gives him his first job, which is to translate some very rude letters one of the minor Royals received from an associate in Mirkwood. Bilbo translates it as truthfully as he can and submits it to Balin for approval.

Balin scans the contents and sighs. “I might have known.” He pinches his nose. “Gloin’s boy Gimli and Prince Legolas cannot be made to leave each other be. I cannot tell if they are friends or not. Copy the original and retain it for our records. Send along the original and translated version to Gimli. The fool boy is trying to teach himself the language out of a book and refuses all instructors. At least it keeps him out of trouble.”

Bilbo does so. It’s the first letter from Mirkwood that he translates, but it isn’t the last. He and Balin fall into a neat groove and it is surprising when at the end of his second week, Balin informs him that he’s being transferred.

“It’s not that I don’t appreciate your work, laddie. I want to keep you on, but working for me will add time onto your indenture.” Balin hastens to assure him when Bilbo’s eyes go wide with an irrational sense of betrayal. “This was only ever a temporary position for you ---a test, if you will, to see if you’d work well elsewhere and I believe you will. You’re fast, patient, and don’t shirk. You don’t take offense easily and know when to seek direction. There’s another who has need of your skills whose letters cannot go through this office.”

“Who will I be working for?” Bilbo asks dully. He made a mistake in becoming comfortable in this little office with all its books and its cheery hearth.

“A great man.” Balin says and his eyes are shining with pride. “A great man who will one day become a great king. The only one I will happily bend my knee before; you’ll be working with Prince Thorin.”

Bilbo feels a thread of trepidation in his guts. “Yes sir.” He says and does not repeat what he’s heard under the stairs; that Prince Thorin is a hard man who is intolerant of failure. They whisper about him, the prince who has been declared heir over his father, and very little of it is fit for decent ears. Most of it must be lies and pernicious gossip, but some of it… oh sweet Eru.

“You look like I just ordered you to jump into a thresher.” Balin observes. “I know he has a fierce reputation, but he is loyal to those who show loyalty to him. I would not send you to him if I thought you’d catch the sharp side of his tongue, laddie.”

“No sir.” Bilbo squeaks and Balin sighs.

“We’re back to ‘yes, sir’ and ‘no, sir’, are we?” He pats Bilbo’s shoulder. “Thought I’d broken you of that. Oh well, Thorin will just have to do for himself in this case.”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo says and tries not to shake too visibly.

Bilbo’s moved to another room, which is a bit larger and has its own water closet. He has a wash basin that someone fills in the afternoons and when they come by to light the hearth. He no longer takes his meals in the big kitchens, but is informed that he will eat in the upper level servant’s hall. The seamstresses give him new shirts, several waist coasts, and let out his trousers with a sense of great triumph. One tries to convince him of the merits of boots, but Bilbo asks for a comb instead and uses it to tidy up the hair on his feet.

For all that he feared this position, it’s a fortnight before Bilbo even sets eyes on his ma… on his employer. He has a tiny office with a brazier for his feet where foot runners know to bring him his work. There’s a housekeeper who brings afternoon tea to all the royal clerks and who flirts relentlessly with Bilbo until he remembers how to flirt back without issuing an actual invitation.

He works from the morning bell through to the evening bell with a pause for luncheon. The cooks send him back with some scraps rolled up in flat-bread to bolster his afternoon tea now that he can handle that many meals in a single day again. The workday ends with a communal dinner that tends to be on the light side as Dwarves take their main meal at midday. In the evening he returns to his room and toasts sausages over the fire for his supper. Then he lays down in bed and stares at the ceiling until either the noise in his head quiet down enough for him to sleep or the sun rises, whichever happens first.

Bilbo’s first glimpse of Prince Thorin is at a distance and only because he’s risen from his desk to find out who it is out there shouting and slamming doors. The culprit is Prince Thorin, as it turns out, who is having a row with his father that Bilbo beats a hasty retreat from. Bilbo hides in his cubby for the rest of the day and sends runners out for whatever he needs, which the rest of the administration staff seems to be doing as well.

His second glimpse of the prince is a bit closer to hand when the man himself pushes aside the curtain shielding Bilbo’s workspace and drops a sealed letter on his lap.

“Translate that.” He growls. “Speak to no one of it. When you are finished you will deliver it directly into my hands and no others. Am I understood?”

“Yes, sir!” Bilbo squeaks and sits transfixed under the weight of Thorin’s icy blue glare.

Thorin stares at him a while, evaluating him perhaps before he leaves without another word.

Bilbo translates the document and having seen the contents, can easily understand why they don’t need to be bandied about. He brings the original, the translation and a few discarded rolls of parchment that he’d been using as scrap paper. He’s stopped twice by some very official looking personnages who offer to accept his burden until he lets them look at his calculations and leads them to believe he’s just carrying some very boring accounting work. They become less helpful after seeing that.

He finds the Prince attending on his grandfather and lingers in the shadows of the corridor until Thorin is alone.

“You requested this.” He murmurs and offers up his double armload of papers only to remember too late that the Prince doesn’t actually need his trash numbers. “Oh, but not those…” He cries out, but too late. Thorin is squinting at Bilbo’s rough doodles and an equation meant to figure out exactly how many crates would be required to ship enough arms to supply four-score dwarves along with an accompanying list of the sheer amount of weaponry a single dwarf carries on his person on a good day.

Thorin looks back at him with a single raised eyebrow.

“It was camouflage, sir.” He drops his gaze and addresses Thorin’s boots. “In case I was stopped.” He reaches for his papers again, but Thorin holds them out of reach.

“Why?” He asks.

Bilbo frowns and finally explains, “Accounting is boring and no one can get rid of an accountant fast enough.”

He thinks (he’s not sure) but he might hear the prince snort suddenly in a poorly concealed laugh.

“Well done.” Thorin tells him. “Return to your post. I will have more work for you.” He doesn’t return Bilbo’s scrap paper until the next day and when he does the math has been corrected in places, the list of arms has been expanded to include two demi-axes and a boot knife, and his atrocious doodle of a Dwarrow soldier has had a longer beard with braids added onto in deep indigo ink.

There is indeed more work and he must do it well because he arrives to his cubby one day to find it gone.

“You will be working in my study.” Thorin informs him when Bilbo goes to ask about the whereabouts of his work. “You’ve been promoted to my personal servant. I only keep one and the last was a spy for a noble who opposes my policies on miner labor. I have no real need of a valet so you will serve as my secretary, but if you are asked then your duties involve helping me dress and attending upon me in the bathing chamber. You will sleep in my former valet’s room adjacent to mine. The hours will be longer and I may require your services after the evening bell. Your indenture will be shortened to reflect that extra duty. Am I understood?”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo replies automatically.

Thorin looks at him with an expression Bilbo cannot fathom, until he says “I see what Balin meant now.” He shakes his head. “It is no matter. Return to your quarters and pack your belongings. Be moved in and ready to work by the afternoon bell.”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo says and Thorin sighs.

Being Thorin’s secretary is not much different from being his clerk, except Bilbo no longer has the luxury of staying in his snug little cubby all day. Prince Thorin is all over the mountain and requires his secretary to keep track of names, dates, places, appointments, and to make notes about the things he discusses. Those notes are usually burned in the evening, but Thorin seems to take some perverse delight in letting his detractors believe they still exist. Often Bilbo doesn’t actually take notes at all. Unless Thorin instructs him otherwise, he just scribbles at random to make it look like he is.

The housekeeper no longer brings him tea as he takes that meal with his employer along with luncheon and sometimes dinner. Thorin did not lie when he said he often worked late, but Bilbo doesn’t sleep often anyway and develops an appreciation for being given enough work so that he’s exhausted enough to fall easily into bed when he is released.

It doesn’t always help the nightmares, but Bilbo’s learned not to make noise in his sleep …or at least he thought he had.

He has been working with the prince for three months when there is a lull in Thorin’s activities. He’s having a peaceful patch and it shows in Bilbo’s workload. It’s all right for the first few days. He has enough of a sleep debt to get him through the nights, but as his body recovers so too do the demons that plague the darkness.

Bilbo sleeps easily enough, having gotten back into the habit of it, but it’s not good sleep. He wakes up with the pillow between his teeth or the blankets clamped in his white-knuckled fists.

Still, the night when he wakes up thrashing with the Prince of Erebor kneeling by his bedside in a nightshirt comes as a surprise.

“I… I…” Bilbo tries to apologize, but his throat closes on the words.

“You were whimpering in your sleep.” Thorin says. “And begging. Is there aught that I should know?”

Bilbo sags back into the mattress and shakes his head. He has little to complain about. He was protected at every juncture of his journey. No goblin ever touched him or bit into him. The things he sees in the darkness are phantasms and not memory. “No.” His throat clicks around the sound, but doesn’t stop it. “Forgive me. I won’t wake you again.”

Thorin waves off his apology like it’s an insect …and not one that would have survived the encounter either. “You will tell me what it is that you need.” He says it like a general, like a man used to giving orders, and surprisingly Bilbo responds to it.

“I need…” He takes a ragged breath. “I need to not think for a while.”

Thorin is quiet and Bilbo does not blame him. After all, what is to be done? Except…

“Perhaps I can help with that.” Thorin says at last.

Bilbo sits up in bed to stare at his employer, but the dwarf doesn’t look like he’s funning with him or trying to lighten the mood. Rather he is watching Bilbo again with the peculiar expression he gets from time to time, usually in the evenings when he closes his doors to visitors and leaves his coronet on the mantelpiece. It’s a look Bilbo only sees on Thorin when he is in his shirtsleeves and barefeet. On anyone else it would look like hunger, but Bilbo has always fancied that it looked like a predator’s brand of patience.

“If you want my help then you will meet me in my chamber.” Thorin instructs him. “You will leave your clothing here and go to kneel before my hearth with your hands clasped behind your back. You will wait for me to come to you no matter how long I choose to linger.”

Bilbo swallows. He’s not entirely sure he heard that correctly.

“This is not a requirement.” Thorin goes on to say. “If this is disagreeable to you then remain in your quarters and we will not speak of it again. If you like I will transfer you to the authority of another and it will not impact your indenture. This has nothing to do with your debt to Erebor and is to remain strictly between you and I. Am I understood?”

“Yes, sir.” There’s a new weight to those words somehow as Thorin stands and looks down on him.

He leaves without another word and Bilbo swings his feet down to the floor and stays that way for several minutes, wondering what it is he should do.

It would be madness to go and …do that. It would be every despicable thing and yet…

Bilbo would be lying if he said he had never looked on Thorin with desire. It has been months since he felt such things, not since he was taken from his home, but the Dwarrow prince is well-formed with stout muscles and a thick pelt of hair on his chest and arms that put Bilbo in mind of some of the farm lads he once fooled around with in his tweenie years.

The offer is compelling and Bilbo is curious. The idea that Thorin might be able to quiet down the sounds in Bilbo’s head, if only by drowning them out with something else, is… oh Eru. It’s temptation personified and the reason why Bilbo is already stripping off his night shirt and trunks.

There’s no one in the sitting room when Bilbo pads through it, shivering as the cool air brushes over his bare skin. It’s warmer in the bedchamber, even though the room is arguably larger. There’s two hearths there and Bilbo chooses to kneel in front of the larger one. Both are banked for the night, but the bigger one is giving off a little light and more heat. There’s also a plush fur rug in front of it that will be more forgiving to his knees than the stone floor.

Thorin as good as warned Bilbo that he would be kneeling for a while. There’s no need to be stupid about it.

Kneeling there is –it’s better than lying in his bed. There’s the feel of the rug under his knees, the low-level of concentration that kneeling requires without his hands on his thighs for balance, and then there’s the anticipation of what it could possibly be that is to come.

Bilbo isn’t experienced in these things or really in any bedsport at all beyond the normal sort of games that Hobbit tweens play with one another. He has some brutally acquired knowledge of what happens to slaves who meet the Masters’ eyes for too long or speak back, but it’s second hand knowledge that he has tried desperately to scour from his memory.

He kneels like that for –well, however long and falls into a sort of meditative silence as he concentrates on not falling over, not thinking about the bad things, and listening for the sound of footsteps outside the door.

When Thorin does arrive, Bilbo almost doesn’t notice until a broad and calloused palm cups the nape of his neck and coaxes him into tilting his head back to look up.

“You chose to come.” Thorin’s thumb is drawing a little circle on the sensitive skin below Bilbo’s ear. It make the Hobbit shiver and isn’t unpleasant. “I am pleased. Your reward…” He holds up a length of black cloth and guides Bilbo to look back down before he ties it over Bilbo’s eyes. It doesn’t really block out much. Bilbo can still make out vague shapes and light, but everything is blurred into a murky sameness. He can still sense Thorin’s presence in the heat of his body and the way the air moves around him.

A hand closes gently around his throat and drift upwards to cup his jaw. Thorin brushes his thumb along Bilbo’s lips and guides him to open his mouth a bit until Thorin can slide two fingers inside –his index and middle-finger, it feels like. He leaves them there to rest.

“There are rules for what we do.” Thorin tells him and his voice is richer somehow now that Bilbo cannot see him. “These rules will bind us both equally. Some rules only invite a punishment, but breaking others will mean an immediate end to this. Nod if you understand.”

Bilbo nods.

“The first rule is this; I will never harm you without your permission or invitation.” Thorin’s fingers are a reassuring weight on his tongue and settle Bilbo deep inside. It’s easier not to shake when there is someone there, holding him steady. “The second is that this will end the moment you no longer need or desire it. I will not punish you or blame you if you no longer desire my touch. Thirdly, I will give you a word to say. If I frighten you or harm you in ways you do not like, then you are to say this word immediately. Lastly, this thing between us only happens once the second evening bell has rung. The hours of labor will be reserved for work. The time between the first evening bell and the second evening bell are yours. You may invite me to touch you, but I might choose to not indulge you. Nod to show your understanding.”

Bilbo nods again.

“These are the rules than cannot be broken.” Thorin keeps speaking. “If I break them then you are free to leave my presence. Request reassignment from Balin. He will grant it immediately and without fear of reprisal from. If you break the third rule by remaining silent when you should not then I will no longer touch you, not even at your invitation. Nod your understanding.”

Bilbo swallows around Thorin’s thick fingers and nods once more. Thorin strokes the inside of his cheek.

“These other rules are different.” He says and his voice drops to a low rumble. “If you break them, then I will be forced to instruct you in the error of your ways within the boundaries of the first rules. You will obey my orders within the bedchamber immediately and without question. If I request a response from you then that response will be ‘yes, sir’, ‘no, sir’, ‘thank you, sir’, or ‘please, sir’. Unless I instruct you otherwise, you are forbidden to climax without my permission –in or out of my presence. You may touch yourself to your heart’s content so long as you do not come. I will remove my fingers from your mouth now and you may ask me questions about what we have discussed.”

His mouth feels empty without Thorin’s hand and Bilbo swallows on the saliva that collected on his tongue. “What if you’re away and I am left behind? Do I wait for you?” It’s a valid question. Thorin has been called away before for days at a time and rarely brings a secretary with him into the field.

“If I am gone for longer than two days, then you may touch yourself…” He pauses and a sardonic grin pulls at the corner of his mouth. “…on the condition that upon my return, you describe what you did to yourself in detail. If I am pleased with your efforts, I will allow you to renact them for me. If I am not, then I will instruct you in a better technique so I suggest that you not waste your time with a boring wank. Is that acceptable to you?”

Bilbo wets his lips. “Yes, sir.”

“I thought it might be.” Thorin threads his fingers through Bilbo’s hair and considers him. “Tell me of your experience.”

“…sir?” Bilbo frowns in confusion. Surely Thorin knows by now what skills he has?

“I mean…” Thorin sighs with an air of great patience before his voice sharpens with predatory interested. “Have you ever been held down and properly fucked by another man?”

The room gets hot as soon as the words leave his prince’s mouth. Even the tips of Bilbo’s ears feel like they could be steaming in the air. “N-no, sir.” He confesses softly.

“And yet here you are…” Thorin muses. “Kneeling naked at my feet and already more than half hard. One would argue that you know a nice fat prick is good for. Tell me. Who has touched you? Who have you touched?”

“I… I have kissed a few girls in the past.” Bilbo’s heart is going a mile a minute. “I jerked with some other lads in a hayloft and a friend once lent me the use of his mouth behind the party tree.”

“Hands and mouths then.” Thorin pats his cheek. “No intercourse. No penetration. I am pleased. I’m removing your blindfold. You will go to my bed and get down on your hands and knees. I want to see that pert little ass of yours up in the air. Do you understand?”

“Y-yes, sir.” The room in brighter than Bilbo recalls when the cloth comes away, but maybe his eyes have just adjusted.

Thorin pinches his ear to get his attention. “Get moving.”

Bilbo hastens to obey and listens to Thorin as moves around in the room behind him. It’s an awkward position that limits his field of sight, but his hearing is still sharpened by his time in the blindfold. He hears the hiss of a match and the darkness of the room recedes a bit. The bed dips under Thorin’s weight as he kneels behind Bilbo and there’s a touch of warmth against his backside as Thorin spreads his cheeks with the fingers of one and holds the candle closer to –to inspect him back there.

“Such a sweet little pink hole.” Thorin murmurs and Bilbo yelps at the sudden broad wet swipe of his tongue there. “…and tight too! Like a good little virgin. I’ll take my time when I open you for the first time. I’ll use all my fingers and my tongue before I take you the way you were meant to be. Would you like that, Bilbo? Would you like me to make you all sloppy and loose before I use you?”

The quiver in his voice surprises even Bilbo. “Yes, sir. Please, sir.” He has no idea what he’s getting himself into, but he can’t quite make himself care. The voices are fading; driven out by Thorin presence.

“Patience, my little one.” Thorin croons to him. “On your back first. There is something yet that I wish to attend to.”

Bilbo rolls over without question and goes all over hot when he realizes that at some point, Thorin has stripped himself down to bare skin. He steals a glance down and sure enough, there’s the thick and heavy length of Thorin’s penis hanging between them and hovering a bit above Bilbo’s own where Thorin has moved to cover him.

“Tell me the name of your homeland.” Thorin instructs him.

“Th-the Shire, sir.” Bilbo swallows. “I was born in the Shire.” His eyes flutter shut when Thorin passes a hand over his forehead.

“It is a good land.” Thorin tells him. “Should I hurt you or frighten you then I want you to call out the name of your home. Will you do that for me?”

Bilbo would do anything Thorin asked right now, anything at all. “Yes, sir.” He gasps. “Sir, please…”

“In good time.” Thorin kisses his way down the length of Bilbo’s torso, pausing to nuzzle the dense hair of his chest and stomach, before his breath ghosts across the tip of Bilbo now hard prick. “Now you will tell me how your friend used his mouth on you.”

“I… oh… he put it around me and suckled.” Bilbo gasps as Thorin licks a warm wet strip up from his balls to the tip of his leaking sex. There Thorin laps at the precome swelling from his slit.

“Is that all?” Thorin doesn’t lift his mouth away and tiny quakes ignite down Bilbo’s spine as whiskers tickle his prick.

“Seemed to be plenty at the time.” Bilbo moans and squeaks when Thorin pinches the inside of his thigh. “I mean; yes, sir.”

“Then erasing the memory of his touch on you will be easier than I thought.” He grazes the underside of Bilbo’s cock with his teeth making Bilbo arch up off the mattress with the shock of it. The cry that come out of his throat is nothing he ever expected to hear from himself. Thorin retreats and waits until he’s fallen back down. “If this is disagreeable to you then you know what to say.” He murmurs, watching Bilbo closely.

Bilbo lays still panting and trying to quantify whether that touch had been good or bad or caught so perfectly in between those two extremes that it was neither one nor the other. Finally he says “Yes, sir.” and nothing else.

Thorin puts his mouth on Bilbo once more and it isn’t long before all coherent thought leaves his mind possibly for good. The things he does are nothing Bilbo even considered, but now will never be able to forget. He nips. He licks. He sucks Bilbo’s balls into his mouth one at a time. He swallows Bilbo’s entire length and hums deep in his throat until it is all Bilbo can do to keep from flying apart right then and there.

“You’re close.” Thorin croons to him as he pulls Bilbo into his lap and cradles him there. “Tell me.”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo pants and fights the instinctive urge to rut against Thorin’s hard thigh. It wouldn’t take much. He’s already so close and the feel of large hands cradling his backside is keeping him on the edge, especially when Thorin spreads his cheeks with two splayed fingers. “Please.” He moans. “Please, sir.”

“I’ll give you what you crave, little one.” Thorin presses a kiss below his ear and nips him there again to watch Bilbo shake. “Has no one touched you down there before? Have you never touched yourself?”

Bilbo is shaking too hard for words to come out so he has to settle for shaking his head while he clings to Thorin’s chest.

“Then we will go slowly.” Thorin bites him once more and lays him down face first onto the mattress. “Hips up.” He says and moves a cushion underneath Bilbo’s groin that levers his hips so that his backside is angled up and on display for Thorin’s gaze. Thorin pats his thigh and moves away from the bed. Bilbo counts his breaths until the mattress dips again and he feels those strong hands spread him open once more.

Thorin wipes him clean with a damp cloth and rubs gentle circles around the little ring of muscles holding Bilbo closed until it’s easier to relax into the touch. “There now. Perfect.” Thorin praises him. “Keep relaxed and I will put a finger inside.”

Something cool and slick trickles onto Bilbo’s hole and over Thorin’s index finger where it’s poised at the entrance. It’s fragrant oil, Bilbo realizes after a bit. It dribbles down his cleft and down his balls, leaving a warm wet path in its wake. He grips the sheets and keeps counting as Thorin presses that first fat finger into him.

It feels like an intrusion and Bilbo has to force his body not to clench around it. Thorin murmurs a stream of soothing praise into his ear as he hunches over Bilbo and pushes into him. The finger is in at last and Thorin leaves it in place until Bilbo’s body stops fighting him …then he begins to move. He uses more oil until there’s little to no resistance when he slides the finger in and out of Bilbo’s body.

“Is that good?” Thorin asks and Bilbo cannot answer because it… it… “Neither yet? Patience. I will give you another.”

The second burns a bit as the girth of it stretches Bilbo’s insides. Bilbo squirms and quiets when Thorin stills his hips. There is more oil, more slow patient pressure, and finally his body accepts that this finger is going to stay inside him too.

Thorin gives him a third that makes him dizzy when it presses against something inside of him. Then, oh heavens, Thorin gives him a fourth and Bilbo is shaking with fullness.

“Beautiful.” Thorin growls against the flesh of Bilbo’s shoulder. “I knew that you would be beautiful like this, stuffed all full of fingers. I cannot wait to see you full of something better. Would you like something better, pet?”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo hasn’t whined like this since he was a fauntling, but his pride has run away somewhere and won’t come back. Nothing matters anymore except the wicked crook of thick Dwarrow fingers inside of him. Nothing matters but pleasing Thorin.

His head is finally, finally empty.

Thorin’s weight on Bilbo’s back is almost as good as the hot insistant pressure of his slick cock pressing into Bilbo’s open hole. Bilbo squirms and presses back into that delicious invasion, ignoring Thorin’s pleased chuckle in his ear.

“Patience, little one. You shall have it all.” He croons. “I will hold nothing back.”

“Please!” Bilbo gasps, trying to take in every bit that will possibly fit. “Please!”

Thorin pushes into him with one hard thrust and Bilbo keens with the stretching burn of it as Thorin’s testicles slap up against his own and stay there. Thorin runs his hands up and down Bilbo’s sides, soothing the Halfling as he pants into the sheets, and coaxing him to relax.

“You are beautiful, perfect.” Thorin groans as he eases cautiously back out and then presses back in. “You were made for this. I knew you would be. Balin had no idea… no idea what he was doing to me, sending you here. Tiny, clever, gorgeous thing. I thought to never touch you, but then… then!” He thrusts into Bilbo again. “You like this, do you not? Answer me!”

“Yes, sir!” Bilbo breaks off with a moan as Thorin hits his prostate. “Please, sir. More!”

“So sensitive, so eager…” Thorin obliges him with another thrust that is just barely short of too hard. As it is, sparks explode behind Bilbo’s eyelids and he moans like a wanton thing. “So demanding. You were made for this, for me. Not for fumbling ignorant farm hands. Say it!”

“I was made for you to fuck, sir.” The words slip out of Bilbo as he pushes back into Thorin’s thrusts and is rewarded by pleasure, thick and honey-sweet in his veins, as the dwarf loses his composure and slams into him again …and again …and then again. His thrusts turn shallow as Bilbo cries out and bites his lips, trying hard not to climax, but not quite remembering why he shouldn’t.

Thorin pounds into him with short hard thrusts until he tenses over Bilbo and comes with a grunt in a hot wet rush that Bilbo can feel pooling in his belly. Thorin stays that way, a warm damp weight on Bilbo’s back until his cock finally stops pulsing and he slides out, only to plug Bilbo’s damp hole with one finger.

“Clench down.” Thorin says, looking too happy and sated to be properly stern. “Hold my seed inside of you until I tell you otherwise.”

Bilbo obeys and Thorin rolls him onto his back. He guides Bilbo’s hands up above his head. “Grasp the sheets and do not let go.”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo wets his lips and stretches out his spine as Thorin lifts Bilbo’s hips up off the mattress to settle them across his hard thighs.

“Keep your legs spread.” Thorin says, looking down on Bilbo’s weeping erection. The tip of it has gone a deep purple-red and a thick stream of precome oozes down the length of it. “Do you want to come?” He purrs, stroking Bilbo with the tips of his fingers.

“Please, sir.” Bilbo tries not to writhe, but his body isn’t entirely obeying him. He wants… he wants… “Please, Thorin. Sir. Please, I need… I need…”

“Shhh. You shall receive it.” Thorin closes his fist around Bilbo’s prick and it’s over embarrassingly quick; one jerk, then two, and Bilbo spills over with a wounded cry. Thorin holds him still through it all and guides Bilbo to shoot all over his own stomach so that’s he’s sticky and glistening with his own seed. “Perfect.” Thorin lifts Bilbo’s knees in both hands so that his trembling hole comes into view. “Now, relax and let it out.”

“Oh!” Bilbo gasps and can’t at first. If he does, if he does that then…

“Let me see you covered in our come. Let it out, Bilbo!” Thorin barks and that frees up Bilbo’s muscles so that it all comes draining out of him, sliding down the curves and cleft of his buttocks, pooling on Thorin’s thighs, and dribbling down onto the sheets in thin pearly rivulets.

“Would that you could see what I see.” Thorin says as he admires his handiwork and Bilbo shakes in his hands. “I will do this to you in front of a mirror. Then you will see yourself as I see you and never know shame again. Shhh, my Halfling. Peace.”

Bilbo’s breath hitches on a sob as Thorin lowers him onto the bed once more and kisses him slowly with a mouth that tastes a little of Bilbo’s pre-come. “You did well.” He murmurs into Bilbo’s mouth. “So well. I am pleased with you. Lay still now and let me tend to you. Submit to my care.”

“Y-yes, sir.” Bilbo groans. The truth is he thinks that he might never be able to move again. It’s too easy to let Thorin move him about like a ragdoll and wipe him clean with the damp cloth. He is expecting to be sent back to his room for sleep now that the sounds are silenced, but instead Thorin settles him underneath the thick coverlets on the big bed far away from their wet patch. The dwarf vanishes for a bit to clean himself. Bilbo can hear the splash of water, but cannot make himself turn his head to watch.

Thorin returns smelling of spicy soap with soft shirts for the both of them. He dresses Bilbo with care and tucks him underneath one thick arm. “You will not sleep alone after we do these things.” He says once the candle is extinguished. “I have no other servants in these chambers save you. There is no one to embarrass you.”

“Thank you, sir.” Bilbo tucks his face into Thorin’s shoulder and cuddles into the other man’s radiant body heat. His eyes are already drooping with the promise of sweet un-haunted sleep.

“Thank you, Bilbo.” Thorin murmurs in response, but perhaps Bilbo only dreamed that part.


Chapter Text

Bilbo wakes the next morning before dawn and under the warm weight Thorin’s body. There are thick and slick fingers working his entrance and Bilbo submits bonelessly to his Prince’s needs. Thorin slowly fucks him awake, taking his ease between Bilbo’s thighs, and reaching down in-between their bodies to tug gently at his balls.

“Do you need to come?” He asks and thrusts harder when Bilbo shakes his head. “Now?”

“No, sir.” Bilbo bites his lip as Thorin takes him harder and harder. There’s a ringing in his ears and it only gets louder when Thorin grasps his ankles and hooks them over his broad shoulders.

“I will use you like this until you come from it.” Thorin grunts as he ruts into Bilbo. “This once you are allowed to come before me, but only if you come from my fucking you. I will not lay so much as a finger on your cock. Hold out as long as you can, but not too long. If I come first then I will not touch you again until sundown and even then I will only use your mouth.”

“Y-es, sir.” Bilbo moans. This new angle gives Thorin a perfect angle and he uses it to devastating effect. He grunts his approval when after fighting it and fighting it, Bilbo comes with an exhausted moan and goes limp in his grasp.

“Good… so good.” Thorin gasps and pulls out to jerk himself onto Bilbo’s stomach. He leans down and Bilbo’s eyes fly open when he feels the first warm rasp of a tongue gently cleaning away the evidence of their activity. His mouth is bitter when he kisses Bilbo after, but heady too.

They both sigh as the dawn bell rings.

“Go to your morning routine.” Thorin presses another kiss to the underside of Bilbo’s jaw. “We have much to do today, but there is the evening to look forward to.” He pauses and trails his hand down Bilbo’s stomach. “Wear your blue waistcoat today. I enjoy seeing you in my colors.”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo slips out from underneath the covers and pauses at the door to smile at Thorin, who is still stretched out on the blankets and watching him. “Thank you. I feel… better.”

“Good.” Thorin waves him away and that is the end of their privacy for the rest of the day.

Bilbo wears his blue waistcoat, but decides during the course of the day that he will not always indulge Thorin if he attempts to dictate Bilbo’s wardrobe. Still, he is happy and grateful for a good night’s rest and this seems like a just reward.

Thorin only smiles over breakfast when his eye dip down to Bilbo’s midsection and he says nothing.

It’s surprisingly easy to go back to the normal routine. Bilbo completes his duties and if sometimes Thorin’s eyes go dark and hot when Bilbo calls him ‘sir’… well, Bilbo manages not to blush too hard over it. The fact of the matter is that Thorin is a busy person and there is no opportunity for either of them to become sidetracked by personal matters.

Bilbo takes his personal time in his quarters and uses it to smoke his nightly pipe while reading a book. His pulse quickens with the second bell of the evening that marks sundown rings. He sets his book aside, taps out his pipe, and goes to find Thorin.

Thorin uses the blindfold on Bilbo once again and takes him into the bath where he allows Bilbo to act as his body servant. Afterwards he takes his time washing Bilbo both outside and, ah, inside before Thorin bends Bilbo over the tiled edge of the sunken tongue and opens him using only his tongue.

“Sir, please… no more. I’ll come.” Bilbo whines even though he never ever wants Thorin to stop. It’s a blessing and torture at the same time when Thorin pulls away and hitches his hips up behind Bilbo’s backside.

“Just from a little licking?” Thorin chuckles. “Wee sensitive thing. We will work on that. You will learn to hold it without nearly shooting off the second I get my hands around you. It would please me to be able to take my time bringing you off. Don’t you want to please me, Bilbo?”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo rocks backwards, tormenting himself with the thick weight of Thorin’s prick. He cannot see, but blindness has enhanced his other senses. Thorin’s calloused hands feel like lightening on his skin and he can all but taste the musky tang of arousal on the humid air.

“Then be good for me.” Thorin instructs him. “I want you to think of numbers while I finish opening you. Think of the equation I showed you this afternoon.”

Bilbo tries. He does. He tries so hard, but Thorin splays his fingers inside of him. He crooks them, pulls them out, pushes them back inside dripping with fresh oil, and seems intent on turning Bilbo’s entire mind wrong side out. Then it isn’t fingers that Thorin is using in him …it is… only…

“Easy.” Thorin murmurs into his ear as he pushes his fist in deeper. His fingers are curled up tight with the nails tucked into his palm. Suddenly Bilbo understands why Thorin had him spend so long filing his nails down to almost nothing. “Take all of it. You can do it. I know you can.”

“Ah!” Bilbo jerks as he’s cracked open from the inside and bites his lip hard to distract himself from the relentless pressure on his prostate, but Thorin forces him to open his mouth using the hand not currently responsible for turning Bilbo’s universe upside down.

“None of that.” Thorin admonishes him. “You are forbidden from hurting yourself. Listen to my voice. Concentrate on me. Take what I am giving you. You want it, don’t you? You want to be good. Say it.”

“I want to be good, sir.” Bilbo is shaking apart and can barely holding himself inside his own skin, but he wants… he wants… “I want… it’s so big. I can’t… I can’t!”

“You can.” Thorin says and pushes those last few increments inside. “You have. See? Now hold it. Wait for your body to accept me. You know it will. Hold it.”

Bilbo nods even though he can no longer remember what it is he’s agreeing to. There’s only the fullness, the weight inside of him crowding his insides and rearranging him around it to make room. Bit by bit, inch by inch, and breath by labored breath it becomes easier. It isn’t so overwhelming and the muscles in his back un-knot until Thorin can safely move his fist only moving it is almost as bad and… and…

Orgasm takes Bilbo by surprise as he comes so hard and suddenly that it hurts. It hurts. The climax feels ripped out of him and his vision blacks out.

He comes to curled up on his side on the massage bench all wrapped in a towel with his head pillowed on Thorin’s thigh and tears on his cheeks. Strange, he can’t remember crying. He touches the damp tracks on his face and looks at the moisture on his fingertips in confusion.

“I’m sorry, sir.” He croaks and he is. He hadn’t meant to… to do that.

“Shh.” Thorin pets his head. “Perhaps that was too much too fast. You’ve been so good for that I pushed you harder than you were ready for. Are you hurt?”

Bilbo wets his lips and shakes his head. “I didn’t… I didn’t like coming like that.” He confesses softly. “It wasn’t that way before.”

“Did you mean to use your word?” Thorin asks patiently.

“I… I didn’t know that would happen.” Bilbo closes his hand around the edge of Thorin’s robe. “I’m sorry. I would have said it if I knew. Don’t be angry with me.”

“I’m not angry, only disappointed with myself.” Thorin lifts Bilbo’s hand to his mouth and presses a kiss to his knuckles. “Would you like to go to bed now or keep going?”

“I would like to keep going.” Bilbo says softly. “…but with something different for now? Please, sir?”

“As you wish.” Thorin promises and takes him back into the warm water. Despite what he says, they don’t do very much and Thorin doesn’t allow either of them to climax again, but Bilbo leaves the bath warm, drowsy, and relaxed to his very core.

He wakes up the next morning stiff and cramped, which precludes any kind of bed sport, but Thorin shows him a Dwarfish massage technique to ease the soreness. Bilbo remains in the office that day so no one will see how he’s limping and Thorin checks on him periodically even though they do not discuss why until the sun goes down.

“No penetration for a while.” Thorin decides and shushes Bilbo with a finger over his lips. Bilbo is kneeling on the carpet between Thorin’s knees with his wrists bound lightly behind his back. “You need time to heal and I must learn your limits better. That is difficult to do when I’m deep inside you, pet.”

Bilbo sighs, but says “Yes, sir.”

They stay like that for most of the evening as Thorin reads a history book from Gondor and pets Bilbo’s hair. Sometimes he will settle his fingers on Bilbo’s tongue, but mostly he toys with Bilbo’s hair. The contact is good –soothing even- and keeps Bilbo from wandering too far into the dark recesses of his own mind.

Before bed, Bilbo is allowed to use his mouth on Thorin, which does not go as well as he’d hoped.

“You’ll improve.” Thorin promises him as Bilbo coughs and sputters, having inadvertently gagged himself. “It pleases me that you are eager, but it takes practice to relax your throat that way. We will work on it if you like. To begin with, cradle me on your tongue the way you cradled my fingers as I read. Do you remember?”

Bilbo nods and remembers. He’s not allowed to touch Thorin with his teeth and once again, he realizes that Thorin has been sneaking him lessons without telling him beforehand. “Yes, sir.” He says, feeling more confident.

“Good boy.” Thorin guides himself back into Bilbo’s mouth and lets his thick girth rest in the curved trough of Bilbo’s tongue. Bilbo closes his lips around him and wishes he could take more, but Thorin has only given him half to play with. He sucks lightly, moving his tongue back and forth in the way he’s learned best keeps saliva from collecting in his mouth and trickling down his chin.

“Very good.” Thorin rewards him with another increment and sighs when Bilbo swallows around him. “Keep that up and you’ll have something to swallow.”

Bilbo remembers Thorin’s mouth on him, remembers everything his prince did with his mouth, but that… the idea of taking Thorin’s climax in his mouth. Bilbo moans around Thorin’s cock without meaning to and is rewarded with an uncontrollable jerk of Thorin’s hips. Bilbo moves forward to take in more, just enough so that it won’t reach the back of his throat. He won’t gag again, he just wants…

“Pace yourself.” Thorin pulls back. “Do you want me to spill in your mouth so badly?”

Bilbo cannot help the wistful sigh that ripples through him. He does want that. He doesn’t know why, but he wants it. His mouth is full and his hands are bound so he tries to let it show in his eyes. Some of his desire must get through because Thorin’s eyes go dark and hot.

“You do want it.” He rumbles and threads his fingers through Bilbo’s hair, tightening his grip until it’s just short of painful. Bilbo has never had a sensitive scalp so it feels secure rather than hurtful and the sensation makes his balls tighten. Oh my.

Thorin doesn’t miss his reaction. “I should give you what you want.” He growls. “I should hold you by your hair, fuck that clever little mouth of yours, and empty myself down your throat. I should give you exactly what you’re asking for even if you aren’t ready for it.”

Bilbo nods as carefully as he can without biting what is in his mouth. It’s stupid and reckless, but he wants! Oh, how he wants all of that.

“You want it that badly?” Thorin tugs his hair. “How badly?”

He can’t talk but he can moan so Bilbo moans. He pleads with his eyes and sits up on his knees. He suckles the tip of Thorin’s cock, coaxing him ever harder.

“You… you wanton little…” Thorin grunts and grips Bilbo’s hair tighter, holding him still. “What would you do to repay me for using your hot pink little mouth like a hole meant for my pleasure alone?”

Anything. The answer is anything and Bilbo is dizzy with the truth of it. He’s hard from the idea alone and he can feel the dampness drizzling from his tip.

“Look at you. You want it so badly you’re nearly fainting from the lack of it.” Thorin croons and slides deeper into Bilbo’s mouth. He’s hard, so very hard and his cock jerks on Bilbo’s tongue. Thorin is close too and Bilbo wants nothing more than to suck him down. “There’s nothing you wouldn’t do for it, you’re that starved. Would you? Is there anything you’d balk at to get what you want?”

Bilbo shakes his head no. No, sir. Please. Please, please

“I’ll hold you to that.” Thorin cups the back of his head with both hands. “You will hold absolutely still.”

Bilbo’s heart is hammering in his chest, but he freezes in place. There’s a little coil of fear in his stomach, but the rest of him is clamoring for the glide of hardened flesh over his tongue. He closes his eyes and submits as Thorin pulls out and then thrusts back into him so deeply he almost reaches Bilbo’s throat. The contact is brief and doesn’t leaving him sputtering. Thorin keeps thrusting into him and it gets easier to still his throat’s instinctual rejection.

“Perfect.” Thorin pulls on Bilbo’s hair a little, just enough to keep him in place and groans in time with Bilbo’s moan of arousal. “Perfect…”

“Ah!” Bilbo lists forward when Thorin pulls out entirely, but Thorin’s grip on his hair holds him still.

“Keep your mouth open.” Thorin is working himself with one hand as he tilts Bilbo’s head back. “Hold out your tongue and make it into a cup.”

Oh. Bilbo holds his mouth open and closes his eyes as Thorin brings himself to completion. The first droplet of semen to hit hot tongue is hot, thick, and bitter with a pervasive musk to it that both is and isn’t pleasant to Bilbo’s palate. It’s a taste he’s never encountered directly before, but thinks he may now always associate with this.

“Hold it there.” Thorin milks his cock for the last few spurts. “Don’t spit. Don’t swallow yet. Let me see your mouth full of my seed.”

Thorin is looking down on him with an expression of mixed pride and heat when Bilbo lets his eyes flutter open again. Bilbo wants very badly to spit, but that look in Thorin’s eyes is something he could bask in all day. A little discomfort seems a paltry price to pay.

“Good.” Thorin cups Bilbo’s jaw and gently closes him mouth. “Now swallow it.”

It’s somehow even stronger-tasting going down that it was sitting on his tongue, but Bilbo gulps and coughs until he’s swallowed the entire load. He opens his mouth again when Thorin presses at the corner of his mouth and lets Thorin admire his clean tongue.

“Was it everything you wanted?” Thorin asks as he lifts Bilbo up off the carpet and carries him towards the bed.

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo rolls onto his stomach when Thorin drops him onto the mattress, but is immediately rolled back over.

“I’m going to use my mouth on you now.” Thorin lifts Bilbo’s thighs up onto his broad shoulders and settles comfortably on the mattress like he’s going to be there for a while, like he’s going to take his time. “While I do, you will consider everything I might ask for in repayment for that little favor. Say them out loud while I suck you. You are forbidden from coming until you come up with an idea that pleases me.”

“Ye-esssss, ah!” Bilbo throws his head back as Thorin swallows him down to the root. “Yes, sir!” He gasps and writhes under the onslaught of Thorin’s powerful tongue. His head is spinning, but he wracks it still, trying to think of something that would please a dwarrow prince.

“I… I could…” What skills does he have that aren’t already at Thorin’s command? What does he know of bedsport that Thorin didn’t teach him? What does he know of his bed partner, really? Everything they’ve done seems to be Thorin’s explorations of him. A hot lance of shame shoots through Bilbo’s chest as he considers the ramifications of that. “I could make you my grandmother’s trifle.” He says shakily.

The look Thorin gives him isn’t quite scathing, but he cocks one inky black eyebrow as if to say ‘That’s the best you can do?’

“It involves a lot of candied violets and –ah!” Teeth graze the underside of his member and Bilbo’s hips jerk. “Cream. Three different kinds that you have to lick off the spoon just to get it all, but I… I wouldn’t bring you a spoon.”

A smile curves along Thorin’s lips and he releases Bilbo’s cock. “Would you feed it to me from your fingers?” He purrs and then licks a long, slow, and deliberate path along the throbbing vein on the underside of it. He follows the line up and over the tip and delves his tongue into Bilbo’s weeping slit.

“I like your idea better.” Bilbo pants and tacks a belated “Sir.” on the tail end of that statement.

“An admirable first effort.” Thorin chuckles and presses a kiss to the inside of Bilbo’s thigh that turns the hobbit’s spine to warm water. He brackets Bilbo’s erection with one calloused palm and licks him again. “Keep going.”

“I would ride you, sir.” It’s a little easier now, having come up with one thing. There are other ideas trickling in now. “You wouldn’t need to lift a finger.”

“Intriguing.” Thorin’s eyes are hot and dark. “Would you stretch yourself open for me?” He smiles at Bilbo’s desperate nod. “You’d make a show of it, using every one of your fingers and even then you’d still be tight when you sank down on me. I like it.”

“I-is that what you’d like, sir?” Bilbo is not whining. He’s not. It’s just that Thorin is using his hands now and Bilbo’s sure that he could get addicted to the slightly rough drag of it. Thorin doesn’t have a prince’s hands or even the hands of a farmer. His palms are roughened by sword practice and his periodic work in the forges. His callouses have callouses and feel like nothing else ever will against Bilbo’s skin.

“Maybe.” Thorin allows and his tone turns wicked and teasing. “Perhaps I’ll ask for something else …or maybe I’ll invite one of my guards in here to act as your tutor. We dwarves are a lusty people. It seems a shame to limit your experience to only one.”

No!” The vehemence of the word startles even Bilbo and he turns a dull red as Thorin’s hands still on him, but nothing surprises him more than the words that tumble out in its wake. “…not alone.”

Thorin’s hand tightens on him briefly before slowly easing. “You would like me in the bed with you?” He asks and peers into Bilbo’s eyes looking for something that he finds. “No. Not in the bed, but in the room.”

“Where I can see you.” The image is there in Bilbo’s mind and he can’t shake it. It makes his blood pound, but it’s not necessarily in a bad way. “I would… I would need to see you.”

“Mahal’s breath, I wish I could fuck you right now.” Thorin groans and sags against Bilbo’s belly. Then he levers himself back up on one elbow. He’s not jerking Bilbo anymore, but Bilbo almost doesn’t miss it. Not with the way Thorin is looking at him. “You would have me watch you be mounted and taken by one of my dwarves. Would you perform for me, little one? Is that it?”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo writhes into the sheets, desperate for some kind of contact or an outlet. “I would.” He feels the shiver that wracks Thorin’s body chasing through his groin and thighs.

“I think…” Thorin’s voice is hoarse with something –emotion maybe? Or lust. “…that you’ve earned a climax.”

Bilbo arches into his touch. “Thank you, sir.” He bucks and gasps as Thorin grasps the base of his member and covers the head of it with his mouth. That is… oh… very good. He holds off as long as he can, but Thorin is relentless and almost drags Bilbo’s orgasm out of him. Then he swallows it all down with every evidence of pleasure.

Thorin kisses him after and revels in the way their flavors combine together on their tangled tongues. “You’ll kill me like this.” Thorin breathes into Bilbo’s ear as he runs his hands all over Bilbo’s smaller body, gentling him and bringing him back down from the dizzying heights they’d reached together. “I had no idea what a treasure you would be.”

Bilbo ducks his burning face into Thorin’s shoulder and clings. He’s still shocked at himself. To agree to do something like… that. No, Bilbo hadn’t agreed to it. He’d suggested it! Eru have mercy.

“Peace, Halfling.” Thorin kisses his temple and continues to soothe him through touch. “It was only a fantasy. Have no fear. We will do nothing that does not please us both.”

“I…” Bilbo counts in his head until his breathing starts to even out. “I would still. I’m only… I am a Baggins. We’re a boring respectable sort. We never do anything exciting or have any adventures at all. I hadn’t expected… I hadn’t known about that part of myself is all.”

“It is nothing to be ashamed of.” Thorin pushes Bilbo’s sweat-damp curls out of his eyes. “I would never bring you to one who would harm you. Pleasure shared is good and right whether it is shared between two or three or even five so long as all are made happy. What happens in the bedchamber has no bearing upon who you are outside of it.”

“Perhaps.” Bilbo agrees and dredges up a small fledgling smile. “Or perhaps I’m more adventurous than I thought.”

There we can call ourselves agreed.” Thorin gets to his feet and cracks his back. “Ah… this will be a good memory to take with me on the road.”

Bilbo frowns and consults his mental calendar. “Is it time for the watchtower inspections already?” He asks, trying to remember exactly which week in the month it is.

“Aye.” Thorin says and shakes his head as he moves to the wash basin. “A week in the saddle with whoever’s annoyed my grandfather recently and a cold bedroll by a banked fire at night.” He pauses and looks to Bilbo. “It would please me if you would sleep in my bed while I am away. Perhaps I will be cold, but the thought of a certain Halfling tucked into my blankets at home is a warming thought.”

“Your bed is superior to mine.” Bilbo shares a smile with Thorin. “Perhaps I shall …or perhaps I shan’t. It’s been nearly a week since I’ve slept in mine, after all. I should compare.”

“Sass me and see what it gets you.” Thorin advises him, but looks pleased all the same. “Do what pleases you, little one, but I will think of you in here and tangled in my sheets all the same.” He brings a damp cloth over and Bilbo –having gotten used to this part- allows him to make use of it. Thorin cleans his up slowly with a sure firm hand and if Bilbo thought he could possibly become aroused again it might have become embarrassing.

Thorin tosses the cloth back towards the basin when he is done and drags Bilbo under the coverlet with him. It’s a good way to fall asleep.

Bilbo puts on a good face the next morning and even puts some of his newly acquired knowledge to good use to give his prince a good send off. He reports to Balin for work and spends an afternoon going over Gimli’s latest attempt at insulting Prince Legolas in the elf’s own tongue before he finally just marks it up in red ink and sends it back to the young royal in the hands of one of the runners he likes the least.

Balin snorts into his mustache, but says nothing nor does he try to stop Bilbo when he does it.

They work through the day, break for luncheon, take tea over a stack of ledgers that just won’t add up, and nearly miss dinner because Balin’s lost track of time trying to figure out if the chief overseer of the northern quadrant is corrupt or just incompetent.

Bilbo doesn’t think about the darkness waiting for him when the sun sets.

At the evening bell he returns to Thorin’s suite and his little room where he toasts sausages and crumpets for a late dinner. He makes tea and smokes his pipe for the night. He reads a book and washes up. His heart lightens for a moment when the last bell rings, but dims when he remembers that the rooms outside will be dark and cold.

The little bed in his chambers is about as inviting as a hayrick, but Bilbo can still smell traces of Thorin’s soap on the pillows in the big room. It’s soothing and when he sleeps the nightmares do not find him.

It’s a long week that’s made longer when Gimli finally traces him back to Balin’s office. Bilbo does not sleep well after that first night and by the time Gimli arrives to take him to task over the letter, he’s lost whatever good temper he had left to him. It ends with a shouting match that Balin referees like there’s a point system involved. Gimli threatens Bilbo with an axe and Bilbo responds by breaking nose for him with a well-placed punch.

…how this ends with Gimli meekly accepting tutoring sessions from him is anyone’s guess, but Balin claps him on the shoulder even as he takes him to see Oin to splint the finger Bilbo broke in the process of taming the young dwarf.

“I knew you’d be a good fit in the Mountain, laddie.” He chortles and looks well pleased with this state of affairs. “We’ll get you a wee axe, you’ll grow out your beard, and it’ll be like you were born here.”

“I don’t have a beard to grow out.” Bilbo says, looking at his swollen hand. It’s gone an alarming shade of red violet that Bilbo didn’t even know existed in nature. “Hobbits don’t get them until we’re very old and not always then.”

“I’m sure my wife could mock something up for you.” Balin says soothingly. “She worries that the folk up here in the Royal Quarter will take you for a youth.”

“Tell her I appreciate the sentiment, but not to trouble herself.” Bilbo replies and finally starts to feel a bit better.

Work helps and Bilbo stays busy, making work for himself if he has to. There’s a group of dwarves in the artisan’s guild who want to petition the throne for an extension to their hall, but never file the proper forms to gain an audience so Bilbo coaxes and bullies one of their apprentices through the process by turns. They get their audience and their extension, which is pleasing but means that they start bothering Bilbo for help with their other administrative issues until Balin chases them out of his office with a roar.

“Laddie.” He says to Bilbo with a sigh. “You know better than to feed strays. Tell me the truth now. You’ve been running yourself to pieces lately. Have you been having the terrors again?”

Balin’s taken to calling them that ever since Bilbo tried to describe his problems.

“They aren’t so bad when his majesty is about.” Bilbo explains, but doesn’t elaborate as to why. “I just need to be more tired. That’s all.”

“Hmmm, yes. I suppose his presence would help…” Balin muses. “I’ve shared camp with him before and such snoring I never heard before –or since! Still you cannot keep up this way. Your health will suffer and so will those who depend on your work. I’ll get you a temporary bunk in the garrison and that will do until Prince Thorin is back to scare the night demons off with his sawing and grizzling.”

“I should tell him you said that.” Bilbo gives Balin a tired smile.

“Don’t do that.” Balin groans. “I’m already giving you back with a dent. Take the rest of the day off and get some sleep in the open bunks. There’s always someone between shifts. It’ll be good for you.”

The garrison barracks look and smell like forty unmarried dwarves sleep there, but there’s a card game going on four beds down from the empty bunk Bilbo chooses. The sounds of clinking mail and dwarfish swearing shouldn’t be a soothing sound, but Bilbo has started to accept that he is no longer a typical hobbit. He sleeps better than he has in days and doesn’t wake up until someone jostles the foot of his bed.

“You’re on your way to missing dinner, Halfling.” Says the biggest dwarf Bilbo has ever met. He stands head and shoulders above everyone else in the room and has his head shaved to make room for a series of tattoos.

“Thank you.” Bilbo scrubs the sleep from his eyes and thinks he could probably do with another couple of hours, but food sounds very good to him right now.

“Think naught of it.” The big dwarf says and clomps off.

Bilbo considers returning to the barracks after dinner, but the fire in his chamber beckons and it’s coming close to the time when Thorin is due to return. Bilbo thinks he’d like to be able to greet Thorin in person when he returns even if it’s late at night. This past week has been a reminder of all that the prince has done for him –and to be truthful, Bilbo has also missed the great big pillock.

He ends up falling asleep in the sitting room in front of the big hearth with a book open on his knees and doesn’t wake up until well after midnight …only to find Thorin perched on the footstool in front of him watching him sleep.

“You’re back.” Bilbo yawns and blinks his eyes to clear the fog from them. He squints at the water clock and calendar on the mantelpiece. “…and early too! Did the inspections go well?”

“As well as they ever do.” Thorin looks a bit haggard and road worn, but makes no move to stir. “I pushed our pace between the towers.”

“Eager to be home?” Bilbo guesses.

“Aye.” Thorin agrees with a tired smile. “…and eager to give back the pompous windbag my grandfather pawned off on me as an ‘advisor’. I think he just wanted the man out of his beard for a while. Tell me, little one, why are you sleeping out here?”

“Fell asleep over my book.” Bilbo explains and holds it up for Thorin’s inspection. Unfortunately it was laying over his splinted hand and lifting the book reveals his injury.

“How did this come to pass?” Thorin scowls at Bilbo’s bandages like they have personally offended him and… hmmm. Perhaps they are due to be changed. Bilbo had meant to visit the infirmary, but got distracted. “Who has done this to you?”

“I did.” Bilbo breaks on a yawn. “Broke it on your wee cousin’s face when we disagreed over the language he’s been slaughtering. Made Balin’s entire week, watching that.”

“Did you now?” Thorin’s expression darkens, but his hands remain gentle on Bilbo’s. “I should have words with my cousin.”

“He’s been punished enough.” Bilbo says. “He’s finally accepted tutoring in Elvish and spends every afternoon groaning over books in the library. Balin and I have set him to read poetry. The emissary to Mirkwood sends us a tribute every time he leaves and Gimli is too busy to send a letter along with him.” Bilbo’s collected enough tobacco now that he could have two or three pipes a day if he wanted to.

That startles a laugh out of Thorin. “You’ve been busy then.” He chuckles and runs his hand down the length of Bilbo’s arm. His gaze turns wistful. “I haven’t the energy for bed tonight, little one, but I still want you with me. Will you sleep next to me? I will make it up to you in the morning, I swear, but for tonight…?”

“I will gladly stay with you.” Bilbo lets Thorin pull him to his feet. “Any time you wish. You don’t… I enjoy what we do, but not if you must force yourself.” He searches Thorin’s face. “I am glad you’re returned. I… well. I missed you. It’s very quiet here without you.”

“That is not a compliment I’ve been paid before.” Thorin guides him into the big room (Bilbo isn’t letting himself think of it as ‘theirs’, he knows where to draw the line if only for the sake of his own heartache) and undresses him slowly. “Most are glad of my absence, if only for a short while.”

“Then they are fools.” Bilbo lets Thorin put him into a nightshirt that he swears isn’t his own. He has never owned anything so warm and soft, not even back home. It must be one of Thorin’s old things. He tangles his fingers in the clasps on Thorin’s mail shirt. “You have entirely too much fun dressing me. I will return the favor.”

“You’ve gotten bossy in my absence.” Thorin observes. Still, he allows Bilbo to wrestle him out of his heavy coats, boots, and trousers. They all smell a bit of horse so he leaves them in the bathing chamber where they won’t perfume the carpets.

“I’ve been giving orders to a lot of people who ought to not need them. Perhaps I’ve developed a habit.” Bilbo grouses, but pauses. “I can stop if you prefer. I know we are usually… different. Here.”

“No.” Thorin shakes his head and kisses Bilbo’s temple. “All parts of you look good to me. Come, give me a shirt and lay down next to me. Dawn is not far away and my grandfather is sure to have work for us.”

“As you wish, my prince.” Bilbo says it with a smile and moves to obey.

He sleeps under the weight of Thorin’s arm that night and once again the nightmares do not find him.

Chapter Text

They say you can buy anything in the markets of Dale, but Bilbo never really believed that until now.

“Please don’t take this the wrong way, Thorin.” He says slowly, looking at the row of brilliantly enameled …objects laid out in a row on the carpet in front of him. They’re sort of roundish and have handles; a bit like metal flower buds that range in size from roughly the size of Bilbo’s thumb to something comparable to the mass of his folded hands. “…but I have absolutely no idea what these are.”

“Don’t you?” Thorin asks and lifts the largest one. He makes a fist and holds it up so Bilbo can compare the size. The whatsit is not quite the same size, only a little smaller. “Think carefully.”

An idea strikes Bilbo like the kind of shock that lingers on door knobs after a dry spell and he remembers. “I… those wouldn’t be…”

“I said we would practice.” Thorin says with a languid drawl as he sets the –the toy down and lifts up the smallest one. “You will wear one of these for a few hours each evening. When you have been trained to my satisfaction, we will use the next size up. Eventually our goal will be…” His fingers brush over the largest toy and Bilbo can’t help but shiver. Thorin catches his chin and tilts Bilbo’s face upwards so that their eyes meet. “If this is disagreeable then you know what to say, don’t you?”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo licks his lips and his eyes flicker down to the elaborately decorated toys arrayed on the ground between Thorin and him. They look smooth to the touch without a single sharp edge or corner to be found on them. The smaller ones don’t look to be very intimidating and even the ones in the middling-large range seem like a comfortably familiar girth.

“Say it and remind me.” Thorin instructs him.

Bilbo swallows and says “…the shire…” as softly as possible. He doesn’t want Thorin to think he wants to stop or that he’s afraid of anything except perhaps that last toy.

“Again.” Thorin says implacably. “Loud enough so that I can hear you.”

“The Shire, sir!” Bilbo yelps.

“Yes. That is what you say when you are unsure.” Thorin presses a kiss to his forehead. “You will say it exactly like that so that I will hear you, even if I am lost in passion. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo drops his gaze. He’s used their phrase only once before and it was more of a test if he’s being very honest. They weren’t even doing anything particularly… exotic. It was only that Bilbo had suddenly been seized by the thought of what would happen if Thorin didn’t stop or if perhaps he’d –lied. About the rules.

The phrase slipped out of him without his conscious consent and Thorin froze above him, so still he might as well have been carved from the basalt stone his people quarried from their mountain. Shame washed over Bilbo at once because he wasn’t hurt. He wasn’t frightened. Thorin had done nothing Bilbo didn’t enjoy and…

He remembers Thorin gently prying his hands away from his face while looking suspiciously amused.

“Was that a test, little one?” He asked and Bilbo was forced to give him a miserable little nod. “Have I passed?”

“I… I didn’t mean to…” Bilbo babbled until Thorin silenced him with a long soothing kiss. “Aah…” He sighed when Thorin released him and the tension melted out of his bones. “I’m sorry. I became nervous.” He confessed softly looking at Thorin’s bare shoulder.

“All is well. Never apologize for that.” Thorin turned Bilbo’s face so that they could look one another in the eye. “It was not unwise of you to do so. We only know each other a little and I have asked you to place a great deal of trust in me. Now, shall we continue?”

“Yes please, sir.”

Bilbo hasn’t used their words since that evening, not until now. It stings a little, being forced to say them. He’s been good. He’s been so good.

“No shame, now.” Thorin pulls Bilbo into his lap and wraps his arms around him. “I need to know that you will not keep silent out of fear of my displeasure. You please me in all that you do, but sometimes I fear that you will stay quiet when you are not happy.”

“I wouldn’t.” Bilbo huffs into the hollow of his dwarf’s throat and adds a belated ‘sir’ when Thorin gently pinches his arm in a mute reminder.

“I am glad to hear that.” Thorin lets his hand ghost over the line of toys until it arrives at the smallest one, which (to be honest) Bilbo thinks he could very well skip over. Still, he stays quiet and trusts Thorin’s judgment as the dwarf lifts it and holds it up for his inspection. “Fetch the oil from my bedroom. You have been good so I will let you pick the fragrance.” He says and lets Bilbo up out of his lap.

The oils live in a collection of cut crystal vials that sit atop a special bureau in the corner of Thorin’s private room. The chest itself is made of ironwood both carved and inlaid with an innocuous design of woodland creatures and hunting motifs. Inside, however, is where Thorin keeps the blindfolds and soft restraints he uses on Bilbo in the bedroom. Fortunately for both their sakes it has a clever lock that only Thorin knows the trick of opening. The new toys will most likely go to stay there, but the oils are innocent enough and their containers are pleasant to look upon.

Bilbo pours a generous measure of sweet almond oil into a little glass reservoir and scents it with the essence of vanilla. It smells a bit like baking to him and is, perhaps, an interesting change from the complex and spicy blend Thorin tends to prefer.

Thorin accepts the oil and sniffs it with an intrigued expression. “You’ll smell like dessert, little one.” He chuckles and pats his thighs. “Lay down over my lap.”

He obeys while wondering if perhaps Thorin is thinking of paddling him. They’ve done that before and  even Bilbo was startled by how much he enjoyed it. So he isn’t adverse to the idea, only –just not in conjunction with having one of the toys inside him. He exhales and forces himself to relax over Thorin’s lap.

“Lovely.” Thorin praises him and slides slick fingers down the cleft of Bilbo’s buttocks. Bilbo opens for him easily, but can’t help the sound of frustration that escapes him when Thorin’s warm strong fingers are replaced by cold metal. It slides in without impediment and Thorin makes a thoughtful noise as he fondles the rounded handle nestled against Bilbo’s entrance.

“You took that very nicely.” He muses as he gently twists the toy to and fro, swirling the tip against Bilbo’s insides. “How does it feel?”

“Good.” Bilbo sighs and shivers. “I could take more, sir.”

“Could you?” Thorin muses. He lets the flat of his hand rest against the curve of Bilbo’s backside. “Leave that in for a few hours and we will see.”

“Sir?” Bilbo feels bereft as Thorin pulls him upright and points him in the direction of his clothing.

“Tonight you are going to leave that in.” Thorin picks up a book and makes himself comfortable while Bilbo pulls on his trousers. The toy makes a strange shape inside him and he finds himself a little glad that he’s being given some time to adjust to it.

It’s not… it’s not like having someone (Thorin) inside him. He’s gotten used to something warm that gives ever so slightly. The toy isn’t at all malleable and he can feel it when he sits at Thorin’s feet.

They sit like that for the evening. Bilbo eventually fetches his own reading and pipe. He can practically feel Thorin watching the hitch in his step as he walks, but the dwarf doesn’t do a single thing about it.

It’s a little frustrating.

Bilbo sleeps in his own bed that night less out of inclinations (or lack of an invitation) and more because his day is going to start damnably early tomorrow and for once Thorin schedule is such that he can have a bit of a lay in.

“Not much of one if I’m to do it alone.” Thorin grumbles before he pins Bilbo to the wall next to his chamber door and kisses him until Bilbo’s knees nearly fold under him. “Can’t I change your mind?”

“I know your ways, majesty.” Bilbo nips at Thorin’s lower lip and catches it in-between his teeth. “If I go with you now, you won’t let me out of your room ‘til it suits you.”

“True.” Thorin admits it as though it costs him nothing. “My father has plenty of clerks. He doesn’t need to steal you away and I am in no mood to share.”

“Yet I still want to sit in on that policy meeting.” Bilbo counters, but kisses Thorin back anyway. The head of the craftsmans’ guild is up to something that involves a lot of late night meetings with key personnel in the deep mines. Technically this is Balin’s field, but it’s also no secret that Master Smith Jilys has a grudge against his prince that Thorin constantly underestimates. Jilys reminds Bilbo too much of Otho’s pinchy-eyed grandfather, who was incapable of forgetting a slight and liked to bide his time before striking back with all the venom he could muster. Dealing with Otho was, ironically, a pleasant stroll through a field of wildflowers compared to his viper of a Grandfather.

Jilys has always struck Bilbo as a similar sort and if he’s planning an embarrassment for Thorin then Bilbo wants to be ready.

Sometimes he’s surprised by how well village life prepared him for an impromptu career in the back rooms of politics. He’s already conspired with Balin to have two of Thorin’s political adversaries demoted and knocking Jilys down a peg or five would make a fine accomplishment to add to the little store of good memories Bilbo holds in his heart against the rancid stench of Mount Gundabad.

Thorin catches the lobe of Bilbo’s ear between his teeth and settles his hands on Bilbo’s hips. “If you’ll not stay with me tonight then… wear my gift tomorrow.” He hurries on when Bilbo goes still. “Not all day. Just a bit here and there. This is no order and falls outside the limits of our agreement, but –will you consider it?”

He looks so hopeful that Bilbo has to agree and to be painfully honest, Bilbo likes the idea. The ambiguity of it appeals to him. How often would Thorin think of him during the day when they were separated? He wouldn’t ask -not during the day- but he would wonder.

“Perhaps I will.” Bilbo groans as Thorin’s hand dips down  the back of his trousers to play with the handle of the little enameled toy. “Enough of that. You’ve had all evening and I’d have given you anything you liked if you’d asked for it. You’ve missed your chance until tomorrow. The tuck shop is closed for the night!”

“The ‘tuck shop’?” Thorin echoes with a winning smile. His fingers are still caressing the handle of the toy, drat him.

“You don’t have them?” Bilbo pants. “It… I took lessons at the Great Smials with my relatives for a while when I was a tween. My grandfather, the Thain, put all of us whose homes were too far away to walk back to up in a little dormitory during the week and we each had little lock boxes to store our private things. We called them tuck boxes and usually just used them to hide our sweets from one another. There were little shops all around the Smials that sold penny candies and we called them ‘Tuck Shops’.” 

“You still smell like a sweet.” Thorin gently turns the toy inside him. “…and I think you were correct. You can certainly take something larger than this.”

Mm, ah!” Bilbo loses his patience and pulls Thorin into his little room and onto the mattress.

What passes there is strange and new. Thorin allows Bilbo to position him as he likes and gives no orders. His eyes are blazing as Bilbo slips the toy out and then slowly impales on Thorin’s member. Still, he makes no move to take the reins even though Bilbo can see that he wants very badly to thrust up into Bilbo’s wet entrance. In fact he’s strangely passive even as Bilbo rides him hard, grinding down onto Thorin’s erection until they both climax nearly at once and fall into a sticky heap under Bilbo’s quilt.

“I should clean us up.” Bilbo groans into Thorin’s chest after. He’s still straddling his prince and even though Thorin has gone totally soft, he’s yet to pull out. He pokes Thorin’s side. “Here now, let me up or we’ll wind up glued together.”

Thorin does not remove his heavy arm from Bilbo’s middle. “I can think of worse fates.” He chuckles sleepily and stares up at Bilbo’s ceiling. It occurs to him that the last time Thorin was allowed entrance into this room was the night he found Bilbo trapped inside a night terror.

Whatever it is Thorin sees up there loses his interest and he tips Bilbo off his chest onto his side so that Thorin’s back is to the door and they are both sharing the same pillow. Bilbo’s mattress is much smaller and thinner than Thorin’s, yet the closeness does not bother him. He tangles their legs together and allows Thorin to pull him close.

“If you did not want to sleep alone...” He murmurs into Thorin’s shoulder as the veil of sleep starts to slip over his eyes. “You had only to say.”

“Sleep, Bilbo.” Thorin replies and pinches out the candle.    

His sheets smell like lavender that night, which means they must have been freshly laundered. Oh well.

True to Bilbo’s prediction, he has to literally peel himself off his lover even earlier than he would have had to wake up anyways because now he needs to start the day with a full bath …which would have gone faster if Thorin hadn’t followed him into the tub to make a nuisance of himself.

You.” Bilbo points at his grinning liege with a scrub brush. “…are a royal pain in the arse.”

“I am so much more than that.” Thorin counters and takes the brush away to wash Bilbo’s back.

In addition, perhaps.” Bilbo sniffs, but cats into the brushstrokes without a single shred of remorse anyway.

He makes it out the door on time despite Thorin’s best effort and with the toy in his pocket. He tries not to think about it as he sets up his lap desk in Prince Thrain’s shadow, but it’s a heavy presence there in his coat pocket. 

It stays in his pocket until well after the policy session is over. Jilys never does make an appearance, which is annoying because Bilbo could be taking a half-day in bed with an agreeably amorous dwarf right now. However there is a visitor from Isengard whose presence probably makes the sacrifice worthwhile.


He never gets close to Saruman the White and the wizard does not say much after he is introduced. He seems a respectable sort of wizard, but Bilbo’s standards are probably a bit skewed. He’s only ever met one wizard before in his life and that was an old friend of grandfather’s, Gandalf the Gray, who is a rather disreputable individual by anyone standards and likely retired at this point anyway.

Saruman doesn’t seem particularly approachable, which is a shame. Bilbo had been toying with the notion of asking if he was acquainted with Old Took’s wizard and if so then perhaps could pass a message on for Gandalf to drop by the Shire during his travels.

He reports to Balin afterwards who is equally annoyed that Jilys has failed to show his hand yet, but is interested in Bilbo’s report about King Thror’s guest from the white tower.

“Hmmm, the arrival of wizards never bode well.” Balin sighs. “They always want something no matter what they say.”

“Should I be worried?” Bilbo asks as he tidied away some of the clutter on Balin’s desk. He’s learned that if he keeps Balin occupied while he does it, the old dwarf doesn’t get a chance to get possessive of his papers. He’s very touchy about who disturbs his stacks and Bilbo fully expects to visit the office one day to find all the mess piled up in the center of the room with Balin perches atop it hissing like a dragon atop his horde.

“Likely no. He’s visited a time or two before.” Balin waves the notion off. “Saruman isn’t human, but he thinks like one. His attention will be on our King and perhaps Prince Thrain. He will only concern himself with those who have the power he requires. Anyone else is wallpaper as far as he is aware.”

He works with Balin until the bell rings for luncheon and… it occurs to Bilbo that he’s running out of time to do anything with the toy in his pocket.

He could just leave it there. He’s well aware that Thorin won’t be angry with him, but it might make for a good excuse to get out the paddle. They hadn’t done that in a while and Bilbo still didn’t quite know how to ask for things in the bedroom. However, that seems a bit… dull somehow; like a retreat onto familiar ground.

Bilbo thinks about it as he takes his meal in the servant’s hall. They’re serving a hearty stew with pork shoulder, button mushrooms, white dwarrow yams, and bacon which is the sort of meal Bilbo tends to miss out on as the cook isn’t quite brave enough to serve his prince the same stew that the servants have been eating. It comes with thick black bread and honeyed butter that is almost enough to distract Bilbo from his mental quandary.

In the end he finds a quiet water closet out of the common way and –ah, oh bother, makes use of the toy.

To be honest, it doesn’t seem interesting one way or the other. He’s just constantly aware of himself down there and it makes it a bit difficult to sit comfortably without squirming, which he tries hard not to do because the other clerks are a rowdy bunch desperate for any distraction from their own work and Bilbo is in no mood to be teased.

That chances, however, when he encounters Thorin in the corridors. It’s an innocent meeting and completely within the bounds of propriety, even when Thorin pulls him out of the way of a group of quarreling administrators who are charging down the hall without a care for who they mow down. Thorin presses him against the wall, shielding the scrolls and ledgers piled up in his arms from wayward elbows and suddenly the toy isn’t quite so boring.

Bilbo feels his body light up in a blazing flush as he becomes acutely aware of the heat emanating from his prince’s body and the blood-warm metal filling his hole. Thorin’s scent is heady and powerful in his nose and mouth and… oh no

‘Not here!’ Bilbo begs that most recalcitrant of body parts. ‘Anywhere but here! Anytime but now!’

His prick, however, isn’t interested in the proper time or the proper place. It’s quite happy with the here and now, thank you.

Thorin intuits –either from some ineffable sixth sense or his intimate acquaintance with Bilbo’s varying states of arousal- his assistant’s predicament and proceeds to make it worse by gently pressing his thigh in-between Bilbo’s legs.

Biting back a moan, Bilbo glares at his prince only to find Thorin isn’t even looking at him. His attention is elsewhere, focused on the passing horde, and his face is remote –exactly as though he isn’t grinding his knee into Bilbo’s fattening prick.

“I am going to get you for this.” Bilbo growls out sotto voce and Thorin replies by pressing in harder.

Then it’s over as quickly as it started and bless providence that Bilbo thought to wear his long tunic today because otherwise he would be very embarrassed as Thorin pulls away. As it is there’s barely any sign at all that he’s …excited.

“Return to my office when you’ve finished with Balin.” Thorin tells him.

“Of course, my prince.” Bilbo agrees, trying to fight his own racing heart.

To his absolute mortification one of the runners pats him on the shoulder and says, “Stay strong, little miss. He has that effect on some. My sister works in the scriptorium and used to swoon every time he went through.” He shoots Bilbo a winning grin. “However, if you were looking for a more comfortable sort…”

“I, ah…” Bilbo goes brilliant red as he realizes he’s been mistaken for a lady. “Not actually a woman.”

“Oh.” The young dwarf’s eyebrows lift up and vanish under his cap. He looks Bilbo up, down, and then back up again before shrugging with a careless smile. “Offer’s still on the table.”

“Thank you, but no.” Bilbo says.

The runner just laughs and leaves him with a saucy wink.

Bilbo finds a water closet and locks the door so that he has a place to breathe as he waits out his erection. It doesn’t seem to want to go down, not even after ten whole minutes. Bilbo’s eyes stray to the pile of work balance on the back of the necessary. He can’t afford to dawdle, but he… he can’t be running around in this state.

He flattens his palms against the inside of his thighs and his nails bite into the fabric of his breeches. He wants to touch himself, but at the same time…

Bilbo slams his head back against the wall and begins to count. He thinks of numbers and ledgers and rows upon rows of calculations. He thinks of long division and counting stitches in crochet. He thinks about how damned annoying it is to turn a row without dropping a stitch. He thinks of stars and his old abacus. He thinks about cold baths until finally (finally!) the aches between his legs begins to ease.

At last, the swelling between his legs goes down and he slides down the wall into a slump on the floor.

Dwarves.” Bilbo whines to Balin when he finally makes it back to the comfortably messy little office. “You are all going to be the death of me!”

“Don’t look at me, lad.” Balin replies without bothering to look up. “I told you not to accept outside work. It’s like feeding a wild animal; do it once and they’ll never go away.”

Thorin is waiting when Bilbo drags himself into the sitting room just as the second bell of the evening. He’s dragging every limb and only barely remembers to lock the door behind him before he slumps to the ground at Thorin’s feet and lets his head fall into the dwarf’s lap.

“You’ve had a busy day, little one.” He observes and pets Bilbo’s hair. “Did I see you with an admirer after I left you in the halls?”

Bilbo shoots him a sour look. “That was on account of you…sir.” He says and feels a bit of vindictive glee when Thorin blinks down at him. “Apparently you have an ‘effect’ on comely lasses such as myself and the messenger thought I might appreciate a distraction.”

Thorin quickly shields his laugh with his free hand and resumes his petting. “Well, then perhaps I need not be jealous then.” He says. “So long as you sent him packing.”

“I did.” Bilbo leans into Thorin’s touch and thinks that this… just touching like they are is almost better than all the bedsport in the world. He closes his eyes and turns his face into the fabric of Thorin’s trousers so that he won’t have to think about just how dangerous a thought that is.”

“Tell me.” Thorin leans down over him and speaks into his ear in a husky whisper. “Are you wearing it?”

Bilbo swallows hard. “Yes.” He whispers. “I am.”

“Good.” Thorin trails his fingertips down the nape of Bilbo’s neck. “And in the corridor. Were you wearing it then? Were you wearing it when he approached you?”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo looks up to meet Thorin’s gaze. “I put it in after luncheon. It was… I’ve been wearing it since midday.” He squirms a little, feeling the pressure inside him and it makes him bold. “Please, may I have the next one up? This one… it doesn’t feel like much of anything unless you are near. Use a different one on me? Please?”

“Since you asked so sweetly.” Thorin smiles at him wolfishly and nods in the direction of the big bedroom. “Go. Strip. Lay face down on my bed. I want to see your legs open and your ass in the air waiting for me.”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo groans and hurries to obey with new life in him.

Thorin takes his time removing the toy and doesn’t insert the next right away, instead he takes his time fingering Bilbo open and investigating any changes the toy might have made.

“Still tight.” He murmurs against the s-curve of Bilbo’s spine. His beard tickles the thin skin of Bilbo’s back and makes him shiver with anticipation. “So tight. How loose can I make you, I wonder? Would you become so accustomed to being filled that I wouldn’t have to open you ever again? How would you like it if I could slide into you whenever it pleased me? I could take you wherever I like. It would only take a few minutes and no one would know that I’d just used you.”

“Ah!” Bilbo quakes as Thorin’s thick fingers toy with his swollen entrance. “Please, sir… please!”

“Please… what?” Thorin coaxes him. “What is it that you want from me, pet?”

“Your cock, sir.” Bilbo pushes back onto his fingers, trying to push one deeper inside. “Please fuck me!”

“Such a mouth you’ve developed.” Thorin muses, but Bilbo can hear the promising and borderline obscene sounds of his prince slicking himself up. “You used to stutter charmingly so when you begged me to make use of you. You were so pure, so innocent and now look at you. You’re moaning for it. You like it when I use you.”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo cants his hips up in mute invitation. “Use me, sir. Please. Come in me. I want it. I want you. I’ll be good! I won’t come. I swear, please…”

“No.” Thorin agrees and there is the blunt pressure that Bilbo’s been craving. There is the stretch. There is the aching burn he craves. “You won’t come until I permit it. You didn’t touch yourself at all today, did you? I can tell from how red you are.” He reaches around Bilbo to squeeze his leaking member. Bilbo’s pre-come flows over his fingers like honey and Bilbo keens. “You’re so hard, so red, so needy. I’d know if you’d jerked it. I’m pleased. You saved it all for me.” He bites the curve of Bilbo’s shoulder and growls out, “Would you like your reward?”

“Yes!” Bilbo grunts and shoves back into Thorin’s thrust. He clenches down on the thick member inside him, delighting in the surprised gasp he hears from behind that turns into a ragged moan as he twists his hips and greedily fucks himself onto that delicious perfect thickness until Thorin’s fingers bite into his hips and force him still.

“You will take what I give you and only what I give you.” Thorin slams into him to emphasize his point. “If you want more then you beg me for it and if you plead your case prettily enough then I will consider giving it to you. Am I understood?”

“Ah!” Bilbo’s arms and legs are shaking. It gets worse when Thorin spears into him again just as he opens his mouth to reply. “YES!”

“Then hold absolutely still.” Thorin advises him, pulling back into a series of short brutal thrusts that run just shy of what Bilbo really wants. “And start begging.”

To tell the truth, Bilbo doesn’t remember half of what he says afterwards only that he opens his mouth and words start pouring out. He remembers some bits and snatches, begging Thorin to leave him sore and aching so that he’ll be able to feel it every time he tries to sit after or promising to be good, to be so good, to do anything at all if only… if only…

He doesn’t remember what it is that makes Thorin cut loose and force Bilbo’s head down so that it rests on his crossed forearms. He doesn’t remember what inspires his prince to fuck him in a blind snarling rut until Bilbo is left boneless and moaning as he fights off orgasm tooth, nail, and claw.

Thorin rocks back onto his heels just as Bilbo is about to lose it and pulls out as the halfling wails at the loss. He flips Bilbo onto his back, lifts him up onto his lap, and shoves Bilbo down onto his wet erection. There he grasps Bilbo’s hips forcing Bilbo to wrap his legs around Thorin’s midsection as he slams them together in a punishing rhythm.

They fall back down onto the mattress when Thorin’s climax arrives and he shoves himself as deeply into Bilbo as he can possibly go, caging Bilbo in with his arms and legs as he grinds them together. Bilbo hisses as he feels Thorin empty himself in a hot wet rush that pools in the vicinity of his stomach.

“Hard enough for you?” Thorin growls as he looks down at Bilbo, who is still painfully hard and squirming on Thorin’s softening cock. “Will you feel that next time some dirt-born foot runner comes sniffing around trying to touch what’s mine?”

“Yes, sir.” Bilbo writhes into the sheets. “Always, sir.”

“Good.” Thorin cups Bilbo’s taught balls and squeezes them. “I should build a little cage for these, one that covers your cute little prick and keeps you soft until I set you free. I should put a lock on it and keep the key for myself. You’re so trustworthy that I forget the rest of the world isn’t.” He squeezes again harder and moves his grip to encircle Bilbo’s weeping erection. “No one touches this without my permission. You come at my leisure. No-one else’s.”

“Only you.” Tears leak down the corners of Bilbo’s eyes as he ruts up into Thorin’s palm. “Please, sir. Please!”

“Fuck my hand, Bilbo.” Thorin growls. “Show me how badly you want it.”

It’s all the encouragement Bilbo needs and he thrusts up into the circle of his prince’s fingers with wild abandon, clinging to Thorin’s broad shoulders, and crying out with each thrust of his hips until his entire body lights up like a bonfire and he falls back down to earth.

“Very pretty.” Thorin murmurs. He holds his hand open and lets Bilbo see how it’s covered in strings of thick white come. “You did that.”

“I… I did.” Bilbo agrees. Eru have mercy, his vision is literally swimming. “Thorin, I think I may pass out soon.”

“Will you now?” Thorin gives him a feral little smile. “All fucked out? Then close your eyes. I will tend to you, little one. Tomorrow we’ll start with another toy.” He sucks some of Bilbo’s glistening seed off his fingers and palm. “It will be one of the larger ones, since you’ve proven to me that you can handle it. Now.” His eyes narrow. “What do we say when someone gives us what we want?”

“Thank you, sir.” Bilbo whispers as the blackness of sleep drags him down into that place where time has no meaning.