Notes: Is it an eagle? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s an eanie meanie cliffie :P
Translation of Elvish: Peredhel - Half-elf.
Translation of Khuzdul: Âzyungâl - lover (beloved). Âzyungel - love of love (greatest love). Ukrâd - greatest heart.
Chapter 28 - The Scarf
Now (1 F.A.)
It was one of the first warm days of the year, and Bilbo was sitting in his little garden smoking his pipe. Down the road, construction had started in earnest, and already Gondolin was a shining jewel with stacks of white marble marking where houses and palaces would soon rise from the plain. Rocks...no...boulders had been brought in from the Pelóri Mountains and an artificial hill had been erected in what was to become the centre of the city. There, a great tower and citadel would be erected, and the palace not far from it. The roofs, the hobbit had heard, would be gold plated, gleaming in the sunlight. It would indeed be a sight to behold, beautiful in a different way than Erebor.
For the Mountain was wondrous indeed. Even Erestor had grudgingly agreed that yes, dwarven architecture held beauty as well, though unlike that of his own kin. And now Bilbo even wondered if his friend would wish to leave Erebor once the elven city was finished. Glorfindel and Ecthelion would probably stay behind as well, or split their time between the Mountain and Gondolin; and it seemed that the High King was perfectly content and happy about that. Bilbo didn't want to know what was going on between Turgon and the Lords of Flower and Fountain, because it surely was not good. They had probably annoyed the king one too many times, which was not surprising at all.
"There you are." Thorin's voice was warm and gentle, and Bilbo closed his eyes for a moment, savouring the soft timbre. Few people ever got to hear it, and he thought himself very lucky indeed to be counted amongst those who did. "I see you managed to escape Glorfindel? Our nephews seem to have been less fortunate." Thorin stepped into view with a smirk, and Bilbo simply nodded. Oh yes, he had escaped. Just before the newest rendition of the great tale of 'How Glorfindel the Great killed the Balrog of Morgoth'. He was glad that he had witnessed the running up to one of those storytelling sessions on numerous occasions in Imladris, so when he saw the first signs, he fled. Fíli and Kíli had been less wise. Yes, maybe Bilbo could have warned them, but where would be the fun in that?
The hobbit shrugged as his betrothed sat down by his side. "They need to learn to watch out for the little things, Thorin. There are warning signs. He will clear his throat oftentimes, and wander about aimlessly. Maybe even pick up a book on histories and sigh at it. Loudly. Then he will sit down, by a fire if possible. And he will stare into the flames. At that point you should run." The king chuckled. "If you don't, you're done for. Because once he starts, and you attempt to leave, he will use those eyes of his on you. And they are a weapon to be reckoned with, Thorin. They can turn even Lord Elrond into a whimpering elfling. I've seen it with my own eyes. There's only one person I know to be immune to them. Erestor. He can doze through Glorfindel's stories and our dearest Lord of the Golden Flower will not even bat an eyelash. Even Ecthelion is not so privileged."
"It's called being in love, Bilbo. You should try it at some point." Thorin received both a raised eyebrow for that and an armful of hobbit. In one smooth movement, Bilbo had put down his pipe and straddled his dwarf, arms wrapped around the Thorin's neck. "Oh, so you wish to try right now, do you?" Blue eyes sparkled with mirth and the first stirrings of lust and the halfling moved his hips just so, eliciting a hiss from the king. "You do not play fair, Master Baggins, not fair at all. Especially as you know full well that this will have to wait. Unless you wish me to ravage you right here and right now without any time for..." Bilbo shut him up with a kiss and when they came up for air, Thorin growled. "I will make you pay for that. Tonight, âzyungâl. Tonight. For now I must away to inspect the mines. As you yourself pointed out I should do." That was true, the hobbit had to agree. But now that it was interfering with his needs and wants, he was not so happy about it anymore. They were both hard from that one kiss, and it took all of his willpower to clamber off of Thorin and sit down next to him.
"I shall hold you to that, my King." The dwarf groaned again, pulling Bilbo into an almost brutal kiss that left them both breathless. "You should go before I lose what control I have left, âzyungel. Or the mines will have to inspect themselves, I'm afraid." Thorin nodded, unable to speak for a moment it would seem. He stood, his legs somewhat shaky and Bilbo giggled. "I hope you won't be too weak though, tonight. For I hope to lie with you under the stars, out here on the soft grass. The way I dreamed so often after my return to the Shire." His betrothed nodded, his large hand coming up to stroke down the halfling's cheek. And the smile playing around those lips, together with the soft glow in sapphire pools...those had nothing to do with the passion that was ever burning between them. No. They were knowing and filled with love. They had time. All the time in the world.
But before Thorin pulled away, he seemed to recall just why he had been searching for his hobbit in the first place. "My nephews tell me that they have given up on that foolish bet of yours. Even Balin seems to have admitted defeat. That leaves only you and Ori now. Why don't you go to the library and talk to him? And give him this..." He pulled a familiar-looking scarf from his cloak. "Kíli may or may not have lifted it from your nephew, but you can always tell Ori you found it. And would like him to return it for you. Maybe even today while Frodo is visiting with his parents out in the tents. It can still get cool in the evening, so Frodo may need the warmth of his scarf..."
That was brilliant thinking, and Bilbo bounded to his feet to hug the dwarf. "This means he has to go meet the parents, you know that." Thorin shrugged, but there was a smirk dancing around the corners of his mouth. "An important step that is, in hobbit courting. It shows that you care about your love enough to endure your future in-laws. And trust me, at times that truly is a chore and then some. And while Ori may not understand the significance, Frodo will surely realise how much our young dwarf cares about him. Which will hopefully prompt him into action for we all agreed that if it were up to Ori, they would still be dancing around each other in a century." He smiled at the knowledge that they had centuries and more, that Frodo would be able to let go of his hurts just like he had done.
Thorin had sighed rather loudly at the mention of 'in-laws', and was now kissing Bilbo's forehead. "I would brave even the fabled and infamous Lobelia Sackville-Baggins. Though luckily she has not yet made an appearance. Maybe the Valar decided that Valinor cannot handle her?" The hobbit chuckled. Lobelia had died a year before they had departed Arda, and he was sure that she would resurface. Eventually. He almost waited for the day, just to see her face when she realised that he, her most hated relative, was now the consort of the King of Erebor and friends with elven nobles. "So you will go?" Thorin's words startled him for a moment before he realised what the dwarf was asking. He nodded. Oh yes, he would go and nudge Ori just a little bit.
"Wouldn't it be wonderful? Another union between our two races? Not that I believe we will be the only ones anyway. I have seen a few of your miners eye some of the hobbit lasses, and lads, with barely veiled interest, and they received smiles in return. Always a good sign that." The first hobbit settlers had arrived just the previous day, to ascertain that the elven provisions for hobbit homes in Gondolin were agreeable and to begin surveying the pastures and hills to see where they could set up fields and homes later on. And as expected, both Frodo's parents and his mother had been among them. They had spent last night entertaining Belladonna, and if Bilbo was not very much mistaken, Thorin was still rather apprehensive around her. What did he think? That she would advise her son to go against his heart's desires and leave the dwarf? Like that was going to happen!
Thorin bestowed one of those special smiles upon him, and Bilbo felt himself melting. It was the same smile he had first beheld on the Carrock, after the dwarf had surprised the hobbit, and probably himself as well, by pulling Bilbo into that tight embrace. "It would indeed. Though I am afraid there might be other unions as well. Unions that I'm not sure about..." Oh yes, Bilbo had seen the signs. And he thought it was rather cute, though he would never ever voice that particular bit around his dwarf. Thorin may just have a heart attack. "Elves, Bilbo! Elves! I'm not saying we should go back to the old animosity, but some of the workmen, well, they are taking this newfound friendship a bit too far." And yet Thorin knew full well that both elves and dwarves only ever loved once and thus, those budding romances between the two races were meant to be. But clearly that didn't mean that the king liked it.
Bilbo glanced down at the grass between his feet so Thorin wouldn't see his smirk. The dwarf still did though, and huffed. "You cannot halt fate, âzyungel, you of all people should know this. Or have you already forgotten?" Thorin snorted. He had not. "Well there you are. I know you fought it, but let's be honest...weren't you happier after embracing it...and me...on the Carrock?" The dwarf stood and walked over to the battlement, looking out on the road and tents below. Bilbo followed. "You can admit it, you know? It won't hurt you to say, 'You are right, Bilbo. I mean, you are most of the time anyway, but you are especially right in this. I was an utter fool to not see what was right in front of me.'" Whatever else the hobbit had wanted to say was cut off by insistent lips covering his, and strong arms that pulled him against Thorin's chest.
"I love you," Thorin breathed into the halfling's ear once he broke the kiss. "I love you, my insufferable hobbit." That got the dwarf two hobbit fingers poking his sides just so, and he had to step back to capture Bilbo's hands before he was reduced to fits of laughter. "Now now, Master Baggins. Less of this and more of," he leaned in again, "that." This time the kiss was short and sweet, and Thorin obviously did not wish to break it even as he did. "We have to leave this for later, ukrâd. The both of us have places to go and people to see. But I promise you, Bilbo. The moment those doors close behind us tonight, there will be no more interruptions. I will make you scream for mercy before I'm done with you."
That promise sent shivers up and down the hobbit's spine and he was very tempted to throw convention to the wind and let the Master Miner wait another day for his king. And Ori and Frodo, well, they could pine for a while longer, couldn't they? But Thorin seemed to be able to read his mind, for he touched his forehead to Bilbo's, whispering, "It will be so much better if we have to wait until we can be together, my hobbit. And you know it." The halfling wanted to argue, wanted to point out various reasons why here and now would be just as good, if not better, but there really were none. They both had their duties to attend to, and his did not only consist of being a matchmaker. He was going to meet with his father later on to discuss orchards and vineyards and the like, and Elrond had also asked to meet with him. "Tomorrow though, after the Council meeting that you are attending as well, we have all the time you could wish for. And I have something to show you as well. We have found a garden of crystals. Shimmering and shining in all the colours you can think of. A garden within the mountain."
"Oh, but that sounds wonderful, Thorin. I would love to see it indeed. And if you wait just a minute, I will store away my pipe and get my papers for my meeting later on. With my father." He added the last at Thorin's curious expression. "Apparently they found a few places that would be perfect for orchards. And even two or three that would be ideal for vineyards. I believe Turgon will send an elven gardener as well. The High King is seemingly very keen to work with the rest of us, and I think he wouldn't be opposed to placing elves and dwarves in charge of both, together you know." The king nodded thoughtfully. "It will be good for elves and dwarves to work together. Especially as we will all be living in such close proximity. It'd be foolish not to do so."
At long last, Thorin nodded. "You are wise indeed. Just as Turgon said only the other day." That gave the hobbit pause, a frown creasing his brow. "You didn't think we weren't talking about you, my hobbit, did you? You are my future consort, and I am happy to call you that. And proud of all that you have done for us so far." Bilbo nodded, and gave the dwarven king a shy smile. He still didn't feel all too comfortable with the honours Thorin seemingly desired to bestow upon him, but he also felt pride at it. "Now, if you don't mind, we have to leave. Or they will send guards to fetch us, and we do not want that, now do we?" No, they most definitely did not. That had happened once before when they had gotten somewhat...distracted...and Balin being Balin had sent Ragnar into their chambers. Luckily they had not divested themselves of their clothing yet, and they were in the bedchamber so heard the dwarf before he could get an eyeful.
"Let me just grab my things then." He quickly pocketed his pipe and weed and all but ran through the open doors of their study to gather up the satchel that held various papers and parchments. "The scarf, Thorin. You have to give me the scarf so I can get Ori to return it." The king chuckled and all but threw the knitwear at the hobbit. "Thanks...I guess. For this alone you owe me, my dwarf. Throwing things at your consort is not a very nice thing, no matter who you are. And for a king..."
Thorin laughed, "Yes, but you are forgetting a rather important fact. You aren't my consort yet. I will do all my throwing now so I have it out of my system by the time we speak the vows." Bilbo glared at the dwarf, shaking his head. "Oh, forgive me, ukrâd. It was a scarf after all, not an axe or worse." He pulled the hobbit close and Bilbo went willingly. "I wish it was night already and I didn't have to let you slip from my grasp. But alas duty calls as Balin would say, and we both have to part ways. Though I will walk with you to the library." He placed one last and rather chaste kiss on the halfling's lips before walking out into the living chamber. "I shall order dinner to be delivered to our rooms though..." He pushed open the door then, walking out into the grand hallway and Bilbo had to run to keep up.
"That is a wise idea, my King. Particularly since I do not know when I'll be able to steal away from my father and Lord Elrond. And Turgon's gardeners. But before you suggest throwing all the pointy-ears off a cliff somewhere, let me just add that I love speaking with them." Thorin had done just that. A while ago and in jest, but he had said it. Ragnar bowed to them as they passed the great doors of the royal wing, and Bilbo bid him a good day. They reached the library sooner than the hobbit would have liked and they parted ways, smiling. Taking a deep breath, Bilbo stepped into the library, clouds of dust rising from old scrolls and books and settling on every surface they could. "Oh dear, have Turgon's scribes brought even more old dwarven tomes?"
From deep within, Ori's voice came, happiness and excitement evident in his words, "Oh yes. And they are amazing. Look, some speak of Belegost and Nogrod the great dwarven cities of the Blue Mountains in the First Age. I cannot wait to read all of the accounts and make copies of the books. They are rather fragile as is to be expected, and I still do not understand how they survived at all." A lot of the knowledge of Beleriand had indeed sunken beneath the waves with it, but some had miraculously made it back to Aman and had been in the care of the elves of Tirion. "Will you have time in the coming days and weeks to assist me? I'm afraid Frodo has been called away to spend more time with his family." That forlorn look on the young dwarf's face as he finally came into view would have told him all he needed to know about Ori's feelings for his young nephew...if he didn't know already.
"Of course, it will help me with my Khuzdul as well, and that can only be of advantage. Though, I am wondering if you could help me with something..." Ori's eyes lit up at the prospect of being able to assist his hobbit friend. After that, it wasn't hard to get him to take the scarf and all but run from the library. Bilbo had to smirk at how eager he was to leave the books he so treasured behind to bring Frodo's possession back to him. He was still sniggering to himself about it as he was sitting with his father and Elrond drinking tea in the peredhel's tent. Which was when he received the news...