Translation of Elvish: Mellonen - my friend.

Translation of Khuzdul: Ukrd - greatest heart.


Chapter 39 - A Plan is Forged

Now (1 F.A.)

The speeches had been a success, well, as far as such a tedious thing could ever be. But Bilbo and Thorin had truly been magnificent, even Kli had to admit as much. Standing side by side, with Turgon and his queen behind them, they recited the words that had been penned specifically for this occasion. Words speaking of a joint future between elves, dwarves and hobbits. A future of plenty and prosperity. "I'm betting a crown on uncle exploding before the night is out," the dark-haired dwarf had muttered to his brother at one point, but Fli had simply shaken his head. Which, in hindsight, had been rather kind of the blond. Because Thorin hadn't exploded at all. He had only smiled, mostly at Bilbo, but also at everyone gathered in the square.

Anorion had joined the two dwarves, and had placed his arm around Kli's shoulder. "It is truly wonderful to see our races joined together in something akin to harmony now. Too long have we fought not only amongst ourselves but also with each other. Too long have some of us neglected to see the differences between Durin's Folk and other, less savoury dwarven families." The elf smiled down at the dark-haired dwarf, and Kli nodded. "I was one of those who required convincing, I am afraid. And maybe the way I eventually was convinced is not the best, but..."

"But I would truly prefer if you left it at that, Anorion. Thank you very much." Fli had gone pale, and was staring into his mug of cider. Kli frowned to see his brother like that, having not truly realised before how much his own ... dalliance with Anorion drove home the fact that the blond was alone. Not that it was anything like the love their uncles shared, or even Frodo and Ori. They were friends, and while their hearts were not claimed yet, they allowed themselves to take pleasure in each other's company. Just like Fli had back in the Blue Mountains before their journey to Erebor. There, everyone had called Kli too beautiful to be a full-blooded dwarf and some where even accusing him of having elvish blood. Fli had stood up for his brother, yes, but still... The brunette had always felt out of place, and now, for the first time, he had not only made friends, but had found a, well, lover. Was Fli jealous of that?

"I am not certain I follow, Master Fli," Anorion smiled. "It was seeing your uncle cross blades with Lord Ecthelion. Blades that are identical. I never thought I would see an elven weapon in dwarven hands, nor for an elf to suffer a dwarf wielding his own blade. And there was the Lord of the Fountain, clearly more than happy to allow Orcrist to remain with King Thorin. Although, he does refer to it as Orcrist Two." He chuckled. "I am not certain if King Turgon will be so understanding when he finds out that Olrin wields Glamdring. Maia or not."

From the corner of his eye, Kli saw his brother blink and then shake his head. "I am sorry. I shouldn't..." He took a deep breath, and both the brown-haired dwarf and the elf turned to him. "I'm an idiot. And no, I'm not going to write that down for you Kli. And I won't say it again, either." He grinned then and stuck out his tongue. "I've always taken care of this loot here, Anorion, and it's hard to come to terms with the fact that I might not have to do so anymore. That he's finally found someone who cares about him the way I do. Well, maybe in a slightly different way, and I truly don't need to know any details about it, but... I owe you thanks. And also an apology. I've been somewhat ... not myself of late. Kee and I always stuck together and now, suddenly, I find myself with time on my hands and don't quite know what to do with it." The blond shrugged. "I've tried books, but that was really just a cover to spy on our friends. I don't have to do that anymore now, do I?"

It was Anorion who replied, "Well, I am sure you would be more than welcome to join the sparring sessions of the King's Guard. After all, your brother is attending them more regularly than some of my fellows." Kli could have kissed the elf. And would. Later. This way, he could once again spend more time with his brother, learn from the elves and be near his lover. "Besides, I am sure it would please your uncle very much, and you two look as if that could be of interest to you." The elf winked, and both Fli and Kli snickered. Revenge for all that talk of tea and the lovey dovey behaviour.

"He's been torturing us again, and I think Bilbo is catching on now. Do you think King Turgon might allow us to ... you know ... officially join the King's Guard?" Kli's eyes were pleading, and he was alternately gazing at Anorion and his brother. The latter of which was shaking his head, but his blue eyes were sparkling with mirth. "Bilbo will like the idea. After all, he's always advocating how we should work closely with the elves. He'll keep Uncle Thorin from killing us. Might even convince him that it's the most wonderful idea since they thought of finally tying the knot."

"Firstly, Kee, they couldn't exactly get married before, and Uncle Thorin was rather quick with his proposal. I mean, Bilbo hadn't even been with him for a day before he sported the braid." Fli shrugged. "It's true and you know it, brother dear. However, and secondly, you might be right. We should talk to our hobbit uncle first. It would give us something to do that doesn't involve boring council meetings, you know? And besides, what's the point? You and I will never take over his rule, not that I'd want to. The crown looks rather uncomfortable to say the least..."

"Of course, Kli. That is the most important part about being a king. The crown." Anorion chuckled and winked at Fli, making the brunette glare daggers at them both. "You are correct though," the elf eventually conceded, "The throne would suit you ill. Both of you. I am not saying you would not be wise and good kings, but I cannot see the desire to rule in your hearts. You would both be able to lead your people, but somehow I do not think you were born to do it. Not the way King Thorin was. And Master Baggins. To think that we owe so much to two hobbits. Two halflings. I know they believed that we would think them foolish for dealing with Sauron's Ring of Power, but the opposite is the case. Even our High King would not have been able to resist such an evil. He would bestow the greatest honours upon them both if he thought they would allow it."

Fli shook his head, "I don't think that's a good idea. Uncle Bilbo still thinks he was a fool, no matter the good he accomplished while using the Ring. And Frodo ... he's lost so much because of it. He nearly turned away from love because he feels ... tainted. Oh wait, you don't know yet, do you?" Kli looked to his brother in confusion before realising what he was talking about. And Anorion... The elf raised an eyebrow in question and shook his head. "Well, Uncle Thorin and Bilbo were rather sappy again all the way here, and then all of a sudden Bilbo blurted out with the question of how long Frodo and Ori were going to wait before informing their family of what was going on between them. Completely blew our cover, he did. Only, he didn't. Frodo and Ori already knew what we were up to. But anyway, they are, in fact, an item. Just like we wanted them to be."

Anorion began to chuckle, and his feeble attempts at hiding it with a cough didn't help at all. "I did tell you, did I not?" he eventually managed. "You were way too blatant about the whole thing. Stealth and secrecy should have been your way of handling them instead."

"We shall keep that in mind the next time we are trying to get two friends to admit their feelings to each other," Kli deadpanned. "Who knows. Maybe you will find yourself at the receiving end yourself." He stuck out his tongue, but his teasing quickly came to an end when Anorion leaned down to kiss him. In the middle of Gondolin. During an important festival. When the elf pulled back, the young dwarf was flushed and tried to find something to do with his sweaty hands that didn't involve tearing his lover's clothes off.

Anorion chuckled. "I am counting on that, dearest Kli. For, as you very well know, I have a very hard time admitting my feelings. I cannot imagine what it will be like when I finally meet the one I am meant for. Although, I hope that you, the both of you, will either find your one true loves before me or at the same time." He gently caressed Kli's face and then nodded to Fli.

The blond shrugged. "It will happen when it is meant to. No sooner, but also no later. Although, I hope you two will find true love at the same time. Anything else would be cruel." He grinned. "I still don't quite get how the two of you can be ... well ... how you are," he gestured at them with both hands, almost spilling his cider. "Darn it. You see, now you even make me nearly waste my drink. Very mean of you." He was grinning though. And somehow Kli knew that his brother understood him better than he let on. Fli might not have taken a lover, but he, too, was longing for something akin to what Thorin shared with Bilbo. That all-consuming love that swept you off your feet. For a brief moment, he and Anorion had thought that maybe... But the love they felt for one another, and love it was, was borne of friendship and maybe physical attraction. They cared for each other, deeply. But Kli knew that the elven archer wasn't his ... his One. The one Aul had intended for him.

Maybe it could have been Tauriel. Maybe it still could be her. He had felt rather strongly about her, but somehow the years spent in Aman had made those feelings fade. To the point where even he had to admit that it might have been a simple infatuation. And desire. After spending all of his youth as something like a laughing stock amongst his peers for being too pretty, having someone truly take an interest in him had been enough for Kli to think he was head over heels. But were she here now, the young dwarf would probably seek out her friendship more than anything else. He had seen how love had held Thorin in its grip even after his uncle had thought Bilbo lost to him forever. It had been nothing like that for Kli. He had dreamt of Tauriel maybe for a year after waking, but now he could hardly remember the sound of her voice, or the colour of her eyes.

"...and as usual, Kli is daydreaming and not listening to us at all," Anorion teased and the brunette nearly jumped out of his skin. How long had he been lost in thought? "Now that you decided to join us again, mellonen, I was just saying to your brother that I would speak to my captain, for formality's sake. And Fli will do the same. As a friend." It so happened that Anorion's commander was none other than Ecthelion, which was part of the reason that no one had batted so much as an eyelash when Kli first started to join the elven archers for their training sessions.

"He still grumbles about the whole thing," Fli chuckled. "What did he say again, Kee? 'I am not a bleeding bow-wielding arrow-shooting whimp!' And then he'd realised Kli glaring at him and he'd gotten all flustered and mumbled something like 'Not that there is anything wrong with bow and arrow. A bow is a fine weapon indeed.' And so on. It was hilarious. But I think what 'Thel really took offence to was the fact that Glorfindel was made commander of the swordsmen. And overall Captain of the King's Guard. Not that he wanted either position. Not really. But Turgon didn't even ask his opinion. Or Glorfindel's for that matter. I think they both did something without involving us that landed them both in this mess. Though it could work in our favour now."

Anorion's brow was furrowed in thought, and then his eyes lit up and he grinned. "I heard something about shelves breaking under a too heavy load. In the royal quarters. Some of the books belonged not to the High King, but Queen Elenw. Turgon was not pleased at all. So if there was but a shred of a hint that the whole thing might have been the handiwork of your friends... It really comes as no surprise that Turgon would bestow upon them such high honours. Honours he knew the Lord of the Fountain and the Lord of the Golden Flower desperately tried to avoid. Did you know Ecthelion took it so far as to nominate his own lover? Erenion was rather unhappy with him."

"Oh, so that's the reason he left for Tirion so quickly? Lovers' spat?" Fli grinned. "Serves 'Thel right for pulling such a stunt. It's almost as bad as King Turgon deciding he didn't want to be High King anymore and simply passing the crown to Gil-galad. I think he'd commit suicide and then just stay in the Halls. Permanently." Kli nodded, giggling. Ecthelion really had landed himself in a lot of trouble if even his mate decided to take flight.

The brunette was about to say as much when Thorin and Bilbo joined them. "Ah, King Thorin and Master Baggins," Anorion greeted them, bowing lowly. "I was wondering if you could spare me a moment, your Majesty? There are a few things regarding the wedding festivities that I would discuss with you. On behalf of my commander, that is." Was he making this up or did Ecthelion really ask the elf to speak to Thorin? Kli wasn't sure, but hey, it gave them a chance to speak to Bilbo alone. So when Thorin shrugged and motioned for Anorion to follow him, his lover simply winked at both Fli and Kli and then it was just the two brothers and their hobbit uncle.

"So, Uncle Bilbo? Are you having a good time?" Fli smiled warmly, but the hobbit's eyes narrowed suspiciously; clearly he could tell that something was up. "There's one or two things we wanted to talk to you about without Thorin around. We had this brilliant idea, but we fear Uncle Thorin wouldn't even hear us out before telling us 'No'. Or having a heart attack. Or both." Bilbo chuckled, and didn't stop until they had told him their plan and he had agreed to help them. And Kli was glad that it wasn't going to be him who'd break the news to the dwarven king.

---

"No! Absolutely not!" Thorin was livid. And it probably didn't help at all that Bilbo thought the dwarf's reaction was simply hilariously funny and was giggling without even attempting to hide his glee. "Under no circumstances will my nephews become members of King Turgon's guard! If they feel like finally living up to everyone's expectations then they will join the guards of Erebor! And that's final!" Well, that had gone better than expected. And worse as well. One of the biggest problems Bilbo had at that moment was this: Thorin was rather ... appealing when he was angry. His eyes were sparkling and his voice was deep and brooding. But no. He was having this conversation for a reason other than lying with his betrothed. Not that that wouldn't be a perfectly good reason in and of itself.

"Thorin," the hobbit began, patting the seat next to him on the sofa that the dwarf had vacated the moment Bilbo had brought up this most wonderful idea of Thorin's nephews. "Would you please sit down? You're making me dizzy." The only response he received was a glower. "Please, ukrd? For me?" He knew he wasn't playing fair, but then at times that was necessary with a stubborn dwarf like Thorin Oakenshield. The endearment had the expected effect and the king slumped down next to him, still glaring. "Just think about it for one second? Wouldn't it be more of a statement if your heirs were to join Turgon's guard? It would show everyone that the old animosity is truly a thing of the past, more so than any grand gestures and feasts could ever do. Besides, it would probably drive Thingol mad. And that is always a good thing, isn't it?"

Bilbo knew that in that moment he had won. The gleam in Thorin's eyes was indication enough that the idea of upsetting Thingol won out against the king's own reservations. And the dwarf knew that Bilbo knew. "Cruel, just like I said to Balin." He huffed, but his eyes turned warm as they caught the hobbit's. "I am holding you responsible for this. If it all blows up in our faces then it will be on you." Bilbo shrugged. That was better than he had expected. "Let this be your first act as my consort, even though we still are not married. Time seems to slow down for some reason, but in three months you will be mine. Though I wish it could be this day. No matter how tired we both are..." And they were.

It was still early in the morning, and they had only just returned from the elven city. Or elven building site as Thorin referred to it mostly. Dawn had been greeted by song, and a huge feast had appeared from the bowels of the royal palace. There had been enough food to feed a whole army for at least a week, or just enough to keep a party of hobbits happy. But no sleep and lovely food made for very tired guests, and they had not been the first to take their leave. True to his word, they had found upon their return that the rest of the day was kept completely free, and they could spend it however they saw fit.

"You are right of course, but alas we cannot bind our hands in marriage just yet. So I suggest we do the best with the day we have been granted today, and look forward to our holiday in a month's time. But for now," he yawned and then giggled. "I think we should retire for a while. Or we shall fall asleep standing up. And that is not my idea of fun at all."