Translation of Khuzdul: Ukrd - greatest heart, zyungel - love of love (greatest love).


Chapter 30 - The Worst Patient Ever

Now (1 F.A.)

He wouldn't admit it to anyone else, but Thorin felt sorry for himself. He had quite possibly saved the excavator from the Halls, and now he had to pay the price for it. His head was ringing and his foot...it felt like someone was driving hot spikes through it. He had been offered some elven poultice but he had politely declined. He was of Durin's Folk and did not need to be pampered. He would heal soon enough and that was that. Only, soon enough seemed to be longer than he had thought it would be. Days, in had said. Maybe even five days! Bed rest was one thing, but for that long?! He heard muffled voices outside the door, and huffed. Fli was probably complaining about his unwillingness to comply, or maybe it was the two healers that somehow hadn't appreciated the pillows he had aimed at their heads. Fools, the lot of them!

The door opened suddenly, and Thorin already prepared himself for more useless suggestions, but... It was Bilbo who entered. Concern was written all over the hobbit's face, and somehow it was seeing the worry in his beloved's eyes that calmed him. At least somewhat. The king did, however, see the earthen pot of elven poultice. He sighed. "So now they send you in with that stuff? How very cowardly of them." He looked away; but he had apparently moved too quickly and couldn't quite suppress the pained hiss that left his lips. Bilbo was by his side within seconds, the pot on the bedside table, forgotten for the moment. "I'm fine, I'm fine. I'm sure our two resident healers already filled you in. Broken bones and a concussed head. Nothing to worry about."

The hobbit snorted. "Indeed. You could have been killed!" Oh, so trying to play it down had apparently been the wrong course of action. "Do you have any idea how worried you made everyone? How scared I was? Not that I could show it for Kli needed my strength. He...he thought of me and how long I was unconscious. He was so afraid that the same would be happening again." He caught his breath then, starting to hyperventilate. But when he reached for Thorin's hand, it was like a death grip and his eyes were filled with remembered pain. His next words were little more than a whisper, so soft that the dwarf had to listen attentively to hear them. "I thought I would find... The tent...I saw you in that tent again. And while I know that death is not final here, that you would return, I couldn't... In a way I am glad Kli was there, needing me, for otherwise I don't know what I would have done."

"I am sorry I worried you." How could he have forgotten about his beloved and how hard the news would be on him? On his nephews, both of them. And he had thrown nothing but abuse at Fli... And in and Lord Elrond. When all they had tried to do was help him. Curse his dwarven hotheadedness. "I..." But Bilbo shook his head, silencing him.

"You saved a life today. I cannot fault you for what you did, only the outcome of it all. And I don't mean the fact that you are hurt; that was beyond your control. What isn't is how you are acting now. You are miserable and have been told you need to rest, but that's no reason to make everyone else around you a target. Least of all your family or those who wish to aid you. You may hurl abuse at me, but I won't have you treat others that way." There was a fire in the hobbit's eyes that told Thorin that arguing would be an exercise in futility. Not that he particularly felt like fighting with his betrothed anyway. Bilbo was right. That didn't mean he didn't grumble when the halfling pushed away the blanket covering him to apply the poultice. And he didn't say anything about how nice it felt on his skin, how his ankle was aching less almost straight away. He would keep that much of his dignity.

Once Bilbo was done fussing over him, Thorin took hold of the hobbit's hands. He had been stroking the blanket nervously, and the dwarf felt yet another pang of guilt. He'd done this. And instead of being grateful to be alive, though bedridden, he had been less than kind. "It is alright, ukrd. I am well. Or will be again soon. I will never leave you again, not like I did before. I swear it." The halfling averted his eyes, and Thorin didn't have to be a genius to know why. "Please, don't..." He didn't know how to continue. 'Don't be upset'? 'Don't cry'? "Bilbo..." He reached up to touch his betrothed's face then, turning his head around and brushing at the tears that fell from grey eyes. "I won't leave you," he whispered again, and this time the hobbit nodded and sighed.

"I will hold you to that. For if you don't, Aul won't be able to bring you back quickly enough to keep me from plotting murder myself." He chuckled weakly, but his hold on Thorin's hand tightened. "You are well," he breathed. "Oh, you are well." And then he smiled, watery but it was still one of those beautiful smiles that he only ever bestowed on the dwarf. He pulled a hand away, then, searching in his pockets for a handkerchief and once it had been found, he dabbed at his eyes. Once the tears had been dealt with, the smile suddenly faded into a rather put-upon expression, which startled the king. Until Bilbo muttered, "You will truly do anything to get out of spending time with me...out in our garden...under the stars." Thorin groaned at that. If only his head hadn't been pounding... "If this is how things are before we are wed, I hate to think of our married life."

Thorin could only glare. "I promise I will make you pay for those words. As soon as my head doesn't kill me anymore, and my leg is cooperating once again, I will make you beg for mercy. And when I do take you, you will moan my name loudly enough for the whole mountain to hear you. You are mine, Bilbo Baggins, and I will spend eternity to prove it to you." Bilbo simply grinned. "You think that's funny, do you? We shall see." He was growling those last few words, but the hobbit's smile never faltered. On the contrary. It only increased in brilliance, and the dwarf could think of no other way to wipe it off his face than to pull him down into a kiss that left both of them light headed. The world was spinning for a few moments, but then it once again halted, centred around this precious creature perched on his bedside. "I am sorry." His voice was rough, and in his mind he could hear an echo from the past, 'I am sorry I doubted you.'

The situation back then had been similar in a way, but so very different as well. He'd known his own heart, and was hoping that Bilbo might come to feel the same way eventually. Little did he know... Now he had the surety he had been lacking then. He knew without the shadow of a doubt that the hobbit loved him just as fiercely; just as passionately. And he drew strength from it. It would make the next couple of days bearable, or so he hoped. He would adhere to in's orders, for he knew it would please his betrothed. But he wouldn't be happy about it.

---

Bedrest did not agree with Thorin. They had all known it, but every passing day they were more and more reminded of the fact. The dwarf would allow Bilbo to apply the elven poultice, but it was becoming quite apparent that he was growing restless. It fell to the halfling to calm the ruffled king, to keep him busy with papers and ledgers and decisions that needed to be made and couldn't wait until Thorin was hale again. Often though the hobbit was called away, having to attend council meetings on the dwarf's behalf, and those hours grew tiresome for those keeping Thorin company. Four days after the accident in the mines, that particular honour was Kli's. His uncle had been sleeping when Bilbo was called away, and had rested throughout most of the afternoon, but now he was stirring. And there was nothing worse than a grouchy, still half-asleep Thorin Oakenshield.

"So where did he go this time?!" It was half a question and half a demand, with a hint of an accusation thrown into the mix. Kli was about to reply, but was interrupted by his uncle. "He must be growing tired of sitting around an invalid all day. Before long, he will wish to move to different chambers, won't he?" The young dwarf sighed and shook his head, reaching for the king's hand, which was immediately pulled out from under his. "I do not require your pity. Nor do I wish to be pampered any further. I am no child, my nephew, and it is high time I return to my duties." Kli could only gasp. While his leg was healing fast, in and Elrond were still insisting he remain in bed for a few more days. To not jeopardise the mending process. Thorin knew this.

"Uncle... Bilbo will be back very soon, and you know that it's not as if he is leaving your side because he wants to. He has no choice but to attend those terribly boring meetings. Even Fli has been drawn into them, me too, but I wriggled out of it today." The king studied him darkly. "And you know that Bilbo is not going to leave you. You're not an invalid. You should hear him speak of you. He's so very proud of you. For saving that miner's life, I mean. We all are. And he keeps giving Fli and I nightmares and mental scars to last...forever." He tried to smile, but the other dwarf's expression made him falter.

He had seen it before. Only once, but it had been branded in his memory. Anger and fear and determination fused into one. Oh dear Aul, why could Bilbo not hurry back? Thorin needed the hobbit, and Kli didn't know what to do. If the king had decided on one course of action, there was only one person who might be able to talk him out of it. And that person was most definitely not him. "And why do you think it matters whether Bilbo is here or not? Do I need his permission now? Am I not your King anymore?!" Aul, no. He was angry, and now Kli feared he had inadvertently brought Thorin's rage down upon their hobbit...who was least deserving of it. "I do not care what my betrothed has to say on the matter; or our so-called healers. I have been resting for long enough." With that he threw off the blankets and sat up, wincing as he did. "And I assure you, there will be more scars for you and your brother for I will prove to Bilbo that I haven't lost my prowess."

This was bad. No, scratch that. This was Arkenstone bad. Clearly Thorin truly believed that Bilbo was close to leaving him, that there was nothing worth staying for but...drinking tea. Briefly, Kli wondered what had brought his uncle to this, to doubting his betrothed's love. Couldn't he see how the hobbit's eyes would light up whenever he glanced at the king? Had he forgotten that Bilbo had been faithful for eighty long years? But then he realised that this had very little to do with the hobbit at all. Thorin had been weakened by this, physically. And no matter what, he had always been able to rely on the strength of his body. Until now. If he was honest, they all had been of like minds. Which was the reason why he had reacted so violently to the news of the accident. Thorin was a rock that had never shown any cracks. Not outwardly. And while the cracks were mending now...

"Stop daydreaming and get me my boots, tunic and coat." Kli blinked. What tunic? Surely he didn't mean to wear his armoured... Of course he did. And there was nothing to do but to obey. Arguing would only rile the older dwarf up even more, as would dawdling. His back was to the bed when he heard a pained grunt, but he ignored it. There was nothing he could say anyway. All too soon, Thorin stood by the bed, fully dressed and ready to go. That was when Bilbo walked into the room...and Kli longed to disappear into thin air.

---

The meeting had been long and tedious, but eventually they had come to an agreement. Curse the stubbornness of dwarves and elves alike. To get those two parties to work together was still quite a feat, especially when some on both sides remembered the First Age and what had come to pass with the Silmaril. Somehow, conversation always managed to come back to what had occurred all those ages ago and he was growing tired of it. It had been Fli who had brought them all to heel by pointing out that the past was just that, and that they should strive towards the future and not quarrel about things long gone. The elves, oldor to boot, had to admit that the blond's words were sound and it was the dwarves who had grumbled for a while longer before finally agreeing to the plans.

And what plans they were. Bilbo couldn't wait to give Thorin the good news, for that's what it was. Very good news indeed. And something the dwarven king had been striving for himself. It was a shame he hadn't been able to witness his ideas come to fruition. The elves of Gondolin would be granted access to all the precious metals and gems the dwarves were mining for, including the Mithril, in exchange for dwarven tomes that had been salvaged before the drowning of Beleriand. Amongst other things. Ori would be elated, as would Frodo. And if Bilbo was being honest, he was looking forward to perusing the tomes as well and further his knowledge of both Khuzdul and Sindarin, maybe even Quenya. And so, by the time he reached the Royal Wing, he was almost skipping with joy and a feelings of accomplishment. That was, until he saw Ragnar's face.

The guard looked haggard, almost scared, and Bilbo worried that the king had taken a turn for the worst. He hurried up to the dwarf, who began to bow, but was stopped by Bilbo's hand on his arm. "What is it? You look as if you've seen a ghost. Is it Thorin?" And with a sigh, Ragnar explained how the king had decreed that he would be leaving his quarters within the hour and messengers had been sent to King Thingol and Lord Elrond to summon them to an impromptu meeting. On one hand, the hobbit could scarcely believe what he was hearing, but on the other... "Oh no, he is not!" was all he said before pushing open the doors and racing down the hallway to the second set of doors. He pushed through them as well to come face to face with his betrothed. Fully dressed. Even wearing his sword on his side.

Thorin glanced up as the hobbit burst in, sneering. "Oh, so you return finally? To see me off, I'd wager. As you can see, I am quite capable of walking again and as such I shall join you once more in the running of my kingdom. Though I assume you managed just fine on your own and don't need me anymore." What was this madness?! Kli was standing behind his uncle, face gaunt and eyes wide and pleading as they searched Bilbo's.

Taking a deep breath, the hobbit swallowed down the anger that was bubbling just under the surface. "Thorin? You know you shouldn't be up yet. Both in and Lord Elrond..."

He was rudely interrupted by a sneered, "I am no longer going to listen to your elven friend. I know my own body better than he does and I know when I am ready. And I am ready now!" He thundered, and Bilbo had to force himself to stay still and not jump backwards. He had seen this rage before, directed at himself as well, but this time he knew there was no jewel involved, only boredom and maybe fear that too much was put upon Bilbo's shoulders. It had to be.

And so the halfling tried again. "zyungel, please. Only a few more days. Please do not jeopardise the healing process after you've been so patient."

"I will not spend another hour cooped up in bed. I will not! I am king and I shall return to my duties now. You can either join me or remain behind, it is of no import to me." He faltered then, for a moment, and Bilbo could see realisation flicker in those sapphire pools. Thorin's mouth opened, and the hobbit was sure it was to whisper an apology, but then the dwarf snapped it shut again and brushed past Bilbo instead. He turned in the doorway, hand on the doorframe to steady himself...whether because of his anger or his weakness the hobbit didn't know but guessed it was both. "If you wish to come and find me, I will be in the small audience chamber." And then he strode down the hallway as if nothing was wrong at all.

"I...I'm so sorry, Uncle Bilbo. I tried." Kli's voice was small, and when the halfling turned, brown eyes were brimming with unshed tears. "He wouldn't listen. He said...he said you were going to leave him because he's an invalid. It so reminded me of...of how he was in Erebor. When the gold took hold of his mind and he was so focused on the Arkenstone. He won't hurt you again, will he? He won't..."

"There is but one person he is going to hurt with this foolishness, dear one. And that is himself." He was fuming himself, and only years of dealing with one Lobelia Sackville-Baggins enabled him to keep his cool. "Believe me, before long he will come crawling, begging for forgiveness. And maybe he will receive it. Maybe." Kli gasped but then nodded, walking up to Bilbo and hugging him. "You know that I love him, that he means the world to me?" Another nod. "But right about now, I would love to strangle him!"