Notes: This was supposed to be an interlude, darn it! But then Bilbo started thinking, and planning and...the rest is history. Interlude next though, because I'm pretty sure they want to get some *nods*

Translation of Elvish: Mellonen - my friend.

Translation of Khuzdul: zyungl - lover (beloved). Ukrd - greatest heart.


Chapter 24 - Proper Hobbit Cooking

Now (1 F.A.)

Bilbo was not idle after leaving Thorin behind in the council chamber. And he fully intended to make tonight memorable indeed. He was still shocked by the king's reaction to Erestor's news, but he was so very happy about it as well. Clearly Thorin had read his book and was truly making a fresh start, even where the elves were concerned. Not that the hobbit had expected much resistance to Turgon's new plans anyway. Though he had anticipated at least some and to find Thorin simply agreeing... Well, at least he had been there to witness Erestor's startled face. Not that his own had been much better he guessed. And he probably looked stunned once again when Thorin spoke of orchards and farming. True enough, the dwarves now had the time to think of such things, but to actually try and implement them... Bilbo was beyond excited.

So as he walked towards Elrond's chambers, he was truly impatient to get the meeting over and done with. But as always, fate would not let him have his wish. Which wasn't exactly true considering he was very much by Thorin's side again, but that was beside the point. "Mellonen. Do come in please. I just heard the news from Erestor..." Oh. So the two Balrog Slayers hadn't even told Elrond that he was not going to have his home away from home. "I cannot believe the king took it so very well. But I assume that is mostly thanks to you." Bilbo shrugged, gazing pleadingly at in who sat in a chair, perusing a thick volume. But the dwarf smiled and shook his head. No help would come from him. "I have to admit, I always longed to live in one of the great elven cities. In Gondolin or Nargothrond. It would appear that I do get my wish after all."

"You don't mind? I'm sure there is room for a small pavillion near the waterfall, and a few terraces. I don't see why we cannot have both." The truth was that he had wanted to show Thorin just how beautiful Rivendell had been and now... "A lot of the craftsmen of Imladris came across the sea with us. I am sure they would love to assist with it."

"Master Baggins, I believe you have more interest in the rebuilding of fair Rivendell than I knew until now." He sat down and motioned for Bilbo to do the same. "I would not ask it of your betrothed, Bilbo. But...if you would like to see it done, maybe you could speak with Thorin." What was wrong with the elves?! However, as he himself wanted to see Imladris rebuild, he simply nodded. "Very well then. And we shall truly be indebted to you. Not that we are not so already." The hobbit blinked at that. "I do not only speak of what you did for Glorfindel and Ecthelion today, mellonen, but everything you did back in the Valley. And now as well. King Thorin could still be distrustful of my kin, and while I know a lot of his changed perspective is due to circumstance and the Lord of the Fountain being so very, you know, persistent, much of it is also thanks to you. Your love has softened his heart, which was as stone when I first met him. Unbeknownst to you, you have healed something within him that I am not sure he knew himself was broken."

in cleared his throat then. "While this is all very interesting I'm sure, I'm not here to hear about our king's...private life." He gave Bilbo a pointed look, who felt rather sorry for himself as he hadn't said a word on the subject. "What I came here for was knowledge of all those nifty herbs and teas you have been recommending to some of my charges. I do so appreciate your help, Master Bilbo. In some of the cases I truly was at wit's end." Bilbo was flustered and blushed. "Now now, none of that, dear Burglar. I would have thought that by now you are accepting the fact that you do make a difference. Always have."

He averted his eyes and mumbled, "Except you thought I was an expert if I recall correctly, and we both know that wasn't the case."

"And yet you got us out of a few pickles, Master Baggins. Especially our king. It's good you're back with him, I did worry about his wellbeing these past few years." Bilbo snorted. Few years was more than an understatement. From what he had heard so far, he surmised that Thorin had been a mere shadow of himself ever since he woke in Aman. "Now, less talk of matters that really are none of our business, Lord Elrond, and more of herbs and such." Bilbo smiled wryly and sighed, resigning himself to sitting here for the next few hours, being quizzed on hobbit healing methods.

---

It was four hours later that he finally bid Elrond and in farewell and made his way to the main food market. While the elf lord and the dwarf had been dissecting almost every word he'd said, Bilbo hadn't been idle and had formed a plan for the evening and night ahead. If everything went according to said plan, there wouldn't be a doubt left in Thorin's heart regarding Bilbo's feelings, not that the hobbit thought there were any to begin with. He now smiled to himself as he picked through all the foods on offer. Had he ever done a proper hobbit dinner for Thorin before? He didn't think so. Their first weeks in the cottage had been about things other than food for the most part...not that there hadn't been hobbit cooking...and here in Erebor food had been brought to them most nights from the large kitchens that provided the royal household and their guests. It was high time Bilbo finally used his own little kitchen.

Tonight there would be a feast laid out before his dwarf. He had secured some beautiful venison and would roast some of it while other, smaller bits would become a pie. There were some berries, fresh despite the time of the year, and some fresh cream. And then he saw a bottle of an elven red and he nearly bounced with joy. Elven wines were simply delicious, he knew; and while it was somewhat overpriced, he was only too happy to pay the merchant and add the bottle to his basket. The herbs vendor made big eyes when she saw how much he was buying, and bowed time and again, thanking Bilbo over and over and eventually ended by blessing him and the king. "It is an honour, Master Baggins, an honour." The hobbit squirmed but endured the attention. But he was still glad when he could return to the relative calm and quiet of his chambers.

It did not take long to prepare the pie at all, and he was happy to have two ovens so while he used one for baking various things, the other could be dedicated to the roast. And oh, the roast smelled heavenly after only half an hour. He had only seasoned it lightly to not overpower the venison's own taste and now it sat there on a tray with a few onions and carrots, which would eventually become part of the gravy. The same vegetables, and some taters, were also used for the pie, which was now only waiting to be cooked...or baked as it were. Bilbo moved to the fruit next, and scratched his chin. What to do with them? Leave them as they were and eat them with the cream, or set some aside to make a few cakes? He shook his head, unable to decide. Scones first then. But once they were in the oven, filling the kitchen with a lovely aroma that fought the roast's, he once again returned to the question of what to do with the berries.

Eventually he decided to make a small cake and leave the rest for...later. He blushed to the tips of his pointy ears at his own thoughts and cursed the way his body responded. "Not yet, Bilbo, not yet," he chided himself, willing his hardness away. He still marvelled at times that he had become such a sensual being. But it truly wasn't a surprise considering how passionate Thorin was...for him, only for him. You truly are more Took than Baggins, aren't you? Yes, he supposed he was. And the luckiest hobbit to ever live as well. To have Thorin's love was wondrous indeed. "Food first, everything else later." He shook his head to banish thoughts of...of his dwarf. Your dwarf hovering above you, you mean? Showing you the extend of his love for you? That voice sounded far too smug.

Once the cakes had been prepared and the taters were on the boil, Bilbo prepared the last dish. He knew that Thorin would probably not even look at the salad, but the hobbit loved his greens and if he could have fresh salad in the middle of winter, he would, thank you very much. And then he was done. With cooking at least. Next he would lay the table and make himself more presentable. There was flour in his hair and he had no idea how it had gotten there. Lowering the heat of the stove and both ovens, he walked out into the living quarters and to the cupboard that held their dishes and cutlery. He reached for the hobbit pottery and dwarven silverware without a second thought and set the small dining table with two candlesticks and some dried flowers. The bottle of red was also there, open and breathing. The glasses were of elven make, and Bilbo smiled a secret little smile. There had been a time, back in Arda, when Thorin had been anything but happy to even touch anything made by the elves. He had come a long way.

With everything prepared, he moved to the bedroom and undressed while running a bath to wash his hair. He only allowed himself a few minutes in the wonderfully warm water before he quickly dried off and put some oil on his braid. It helped the hair stay in place and made the braid shine softly. The rest of his unruly curls would dry on their own. He dressed in some of his finest clothes; brown suede trousers and a cream shirt made of the finest silk...nothing else. No smallclothes, eh? So sure of yourself... Oh yes, after the earlier exchange between him and Thorin, he was more than sure. Sure enough to leave some furs closer to one of the two fireplaces, though he was blushing profusely as he did so. They had made love on the furs before, but it had always been a spur of the moment thing and never part of an elaborate plan, least of all his plan.

Oh no, his mind was once again flooding him with memories of burning touches and scorching kisses, making him shiver with need to be one with his betrothed. This simply wouldn't do. Berating himself, he stepped out onto the balcony and into the freezing winter air. The torches along the road had already been lit and there was lots of bustling in the city of tents where some of the workers still lived while more living quarters were being opened up within the mountain. The dwarves didn't seem to mind the cold too much and the sound of song drifted up from the cooking fires. Cooking! Racing back inside, he rescued the potatoes from turning to mush. Barely. The roast was done as well, and the cakes, and now there was nothing left to do but to wait.

---

The day had been long and torturous, especially given the fact how much Thorin had longed for evening to come so he could return to Bilbo and remind the hobbit of his promise. So when he rounded the corner and finally saw the huge doors to the royal wing, he sighed in relief. The day had been filled with too many meetings and if he never saw some of the dwarves making requests of their king again, it would be too soon. Ragnar bowed to him, and then opened the doors. "Your Majesty."

Thorin nodded back at him, but then turned to face the guard. "How is your wife now? I hope she is no longer plagued by the sickness?"

"Oh no, your Majesty. Thank you for asking." Ragnar beamed. "Master Baggins' suggestions worked a treat, I don't know if we'll ever be able to thank him enough. My wife is even considering naming the little one Bilbo, if it's a boy. I hope you don't mind..."

"Not at all, Ragnar. Not at all. Though my betrothed might faint when he hears it." He smirked, and the guard returned the smile slowly. "No interruptions for the rest of the night, Ragnar. Unless the mountain is falling apart." And with that he turned and strode through the doors and up the long hallway until he reached the doors to the rooms he shared with Bilbo. Pushing them open, he blinked. The living quarters were darker than normally. The only sources of light were the two fireplaces and two candles on the small dining table. And the sparkling eyes of Bilbo standing by one of the fires, smiling at him merrily.

Bilbo was breathtaking. The silken shirt clung to his form in places, leaving very little to the imagination and yet it made the halfling look modest, far too modest for Thorin's liking and he had to fight the urge to cross the distance between them to tear it off his betrothed. And the suede trousers... He swallowed hard, feeling the first stirrings of desire in his loins. Apparently the hobbit hadn't forgotten, quite the contrary. He was out to drive Thorin crazy with lust and was doing a very good job at it so far. The light of the fire bathed him in an orange light, his hair shining red. And there was the sparkle of his bead and the king felt overwhelmed by the love he felt for the wondrous creature before him. Passion could wait for now.

He slowly walked to where Bilbo was standing, and belatedly noticed the wonderful smell of food wafting into the room from the kitchen. He raised a questioning eyebrow. "I thought we could have a quiet night without interruptions." The hobbit winked and ran his hand down the front of Thorin's tunic making the king gasp. "So we could have a nice dinner. I cooked since I realised that I never quite got around to showing you the advantages of good hobbit cooking. As I recall, I was too busy doing other things during those weeks in our little cottage." Whoever had said that hobbits were uptight creatures, unable to say anything even slightly passionate without blushing was sadly mistaken. At least where Master Bilbo Baggins of Bag End was concerned. Bilbo stood there, fingers playing with the lacings of his tunic, looking completely calm and unabashed. Thorin could remember a time, not too long ago, when words like this would have made the hobbit flush profusely, but not today.

Two could play this little game though. With a smirk, Thorin leaned in to lick a path from the lobe of one ear to its pointy tip, making the hobbit groan and shiver. "And what was it you were so busy doing, zyungl?" he asked, breathing into Bilbo's ear. From the corner of his eye, he saw the hobbit's tongue dart out to wet his lips and he couldn't help but chase it with his own, pulling the halfling into a searing kiss. His breeches were uncomfortably tight suddenly, and he could feel a responding hardness against his thigh. One of his hands was buried in Bilbo's soft curls while the other moved over the soft fabric of the silken shirt and came to rest on the swell of the hobbit's backside. The moment he started kneading the soft flesh there though, Bilbo pushed him away, breathing heavily. His eyes were dilated, the grey hardly visible any more and his lips, oh...they were red and swollen and begged for more. But Thorin would restrain himself. Even if it killed him, which he feared it just might.

"You... Not fair..." Bilbo was panting, his eyes closing as he fought to regain his cool. It would be so easy to ravage him like this, to simply gather the hobbit close and give in to the desire to be one. But Bilbo had planned this, had cooked for him and prepared this wonderful surprise and he wasn't going to ruin the hobbit's plans simply to satisfy his needs. Even though he knew Bilbo would be willing, more than willing.

So instead of pulling his betrothed close again, he stepped back and willed his hardness away. "I do apologise Bilbo, though not for wanting you. That will never change, ukrd, not as long as I draw breath. Not ever."

The hobbit nodded slowly, his eyes opening once more. "I wouldn't want you to. For I desire your touch just as much. Only not right now. Right now we will eat and after, well, there are such things I would do to you. Oh darn it." And he all but rushed to the tall doors of the balcony and threw them open. "You will be the death of me, Master Oakenshield," he called over his shoulder, taking in deep breaths of the cold night air.

Thorin stepped up to him, smiling down at his beloved. "I am sorely tempted to show you...but I believe there is food to be eaten, and I'm ravenous." He didn't specify what he was hungry for, and Bilbo glared at him.

"We are behaving like tweens in heat. And no, I never was one in case you were wondering. As you well know." Thorin nodded and kissed Bilbo's forehead tenderly, and the hobbit sighed, leaning into his touch.

"Dinner then?" The king held out his hand and waited for Bilbo to take it. "So what is it that smells so wonderfully?" The hobbit chuckled and pulled him back inside.