Translation of Khuzdul: Ukr‚d - greatest heart. Uzayang - greatest love. Ughvash‚ - greatest treasure.

Interlude - Here with Me

Bilbo glanced at the door even after it had closed behind the two young dwarves. Strong arms were wrapped around his waist and he was pulled flush against Thorin's chest. "Thank you, ukr‚d. I don't know how we would weather this storm without you." Bilbo smiled wryly to himself, his left hand finding Thorin's as it lay on his stomach and he laced their fingers together. "You have brought such a change to our lives, such joy...and only now do I really see the strain I put on both my nephews before. How I..."

The hobbit released Thorin's hand then and turned in his arms. "Don't even think that. You tried to be a father and uncle to them at the same time. And their king. Your love for them was evident throughout our journey... You did the best you could, and they know it. And KŪli...he will be fine, I promise. There is so much he still feels he cannot tell anyone, not even his brother... It will take time, but Thorin," there was nothing wry about the smile he bestowed upon the dwarf, "if we have anything now, it is time." The full meaning of that statement suddenly hit the hobbit much like that stupid rock his head had impacted on two weeks before. Time. They finally had time. As much as they could ever wish for. And they were wasting it standing here when they could be...

He could feel the blush creep up to the tips of his ears and down his neck even before Thorin commented on it. But comment the dwarf did. "You seem flushed, Master Baggins. Shall I call for ”in or Lord Elrond? Or do you simply require rest after this day?" Blush or not, Bilbo could still elbow Thorin in the ribs. "Back to spousal abuse, huh?" The hobbit could hear the mirth in Thorin's voice all the while he buried his burning face against the dwarf's chest. "I don't know if I'm inclined to let it go this time. Not after what you did on our ride here and those glances you've been giving me all throughout today." So Thorin had noticed. Now that his hunger for food had been satisfied...for now, Elrond had said he would still need to regain his strength and would thusly feel close to starving for a while longer...another kind of hunger was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

Especially now that he saw Thorin in Erebor, in the kingdom he had fought so hard to regain. Granted it wasn't the mountain Bilbo had seen him struggle for, but the dwarf seemed so much happier now than he ever had back in Middle-earth. And he knew a part of Thorin probably still feared that the day had only been a dream and Bilbo was still lying on his cot in the healing tent, unconscious. There was only one way to lay the king's fears to rest. Or maybe there were more courses of action, but Bilbo wholeheartedly chose the most enjoyable one. So in lieu of a reply, he tangled his fingers in Thorin's hair and pulled him down into a searing kiss.

While the dwarf had been startled for a moment, he quickly caught on, his tongue delving past his hobbit's lips to tangle with its mate. Bilbo gasped into the kiss, amazed by the urgency and sheer need that rolled off of Thorin in waves. When at last air became a priority and the dwarf reluctantly broke the kiss, his pupils were dilated and he was breathing heavily. Bilbo suspected that he looked just as dishevelled as the dwarf and couldn't help but smirk. The desire and love in those sapphire pools emboldened the hobbit and he ran a finger down the dwarf's broad chest, stopping at the heavy belt. Thorin had divested himself of his fur coat when they had first reached their chambers, so now there were only three layers of clothing between the hobbit's questing fingers and the dwarf's skin.

Noisily, the belt clattered to the floor and Bilbo's fingers attacked the fastenings of the armoured tunic as Thorin shrugged out of his velvety coat. Thorin chuckled at Bilbo's frustrated sigh...the fastenings clearly had a mind of their own and didn't feel like cooperating with the hobbit. Bilbo's glare faded at the sight of Thorin's sparkling eyes and the faint smile that graced the dwarf's lips. Bigger hands covered Bilbo's, then Thorin made short work of the armour and before long it had joined the belt and coat. The hobbit's jacket was next and then he found himself pressed flush against the king's chest once more. "I believe I have not finished showing you all of our apartments, uzayang. Let me remedy that..."

All of a sudden, the floor disappeared from under Bilbo's feet as he was lifted up. His legs wound around the dwarf's hips automatically and his arms went around strong shoulders as he nuzzled Thorin's neck. If that made the dwarf's breath hitch then that was just too bad. "You know I can walk just fine, right?" He was blowing on the sensitive tip of the king's ear then, making him shudder. "I'm not an invalid, despite what you may be thinking, Master Dwarf."

"You are still recovering... And if you object any more then I might have to go and seek out ”in and Lord Elrond and ask them if you're not too weak still and shouldn't exert yourself the way you obviously want to." Thorin's groan as Bilbo began nibbling at his earlobe belied his previous words. "Bilbo..." Thorin's voice was shaking and the hobbit smiled a secretive little smile and was just about to attack the dwarf's neck again when he heard a door being kicked open and he found himself on his feet again. The dwarven king was breathing heavily and visibly fought to regain some semblance of control.

"Thorin?" his voice was now laced with concern. Desire was still coursing through his veins, but his love for the dwarf overpowered any lust fueled haze and always would. Thorin's wellbeing and happiness would always outrank any need for a tryst, no matter how much he longed for it. "What is the matter?" He was about to reach out to touch the dwarf's arm when he was pulled into an embrace, gentler than the last. Thorin's hand wound it's way under the hobbit's chin, coaxed it up until their eyes met once more. Oh Valar, those eyes. How he had been able to look into those pools and not see the depth of the dwarf's emotion was beyond him now. All his fears, regrets and doubts...spoken and unspoken...were there right beside his hopes and dreams and his love. Above all else, there was that all-consuming love he felt for Bilbo and the hobbit was sure his knees would give out at any second.

"This was the last room in the Royal Chambers...the last room they finished. About five years back. I couldn't...I could not set foot in here without longing to have you by my side. These chambers, they were never mine only. They were ours, always." The pain that Bilbo expected to see at these words was there in Thorin's eyes. But it was dwarfed by the longing the king had spoken of. Longing that Bilbo knew only too well. And while he had felt it keenest when visiting the rebuilt Esgaroth, where he had stayed in a room not so different from the one... The yearning to be near Thorin again had always been there. And it had nothing to do with their actions that night in Lake-town. Oh, he had desired that as well, but the longing was for so much more.

Hesitantly, Bilbo touched Thorin's cheek and shivered as the dwarf leaned into the touch. Closing his eyes tightly, he breathed, "I would have been the happiest hobbit to ever live if we had stayed in our little cottage. Words cannot describe what this means to me..." Slowly he opened his eyes again and nearly gasped at the expression on Thorin's face. "You have been so thoughtful of what I might wish for, but Thorin, with you by my side I would happily spend my days in Gollum's cave. I don't need rows of books, and hobbit furniture and a garden to be happy. I only need you. I don't know that I'll ever be able to thank you enough, you and your...our...nephews."

Blue eyes caught grey, held them as the dwarf whispered, "Turn around, ukr‚d. Turn around and see why I couldn't spend even one night in this room until this day." And Bilbo did, and nearly stumbled over his own feet. The huge bed was nothing like the ones he had seen in Erebor after Smaug had fallen. Those had been clearly of dwarven make, just like this one clearly wasn't. "It was KŪli's idea once more, but I was glad he dealt with it from conception to delivery. The thought of your mother finding out about it..." It was beautiful and reminded Bilbo so much of his own small bed in Bag End. Hang on...

"KŪli was snooping around in my bedroom, wasn't he? When I was..." Lying on the floor having fainted?

"He only wanted to get a cool cloth for your head...but clearly he committed certain things to his memory..." Thorin pointed at the various chairs and tables, all a perfect marriage of dwarven and hobbit designs. "It kept our nephews busy for a long time to craft all this. Even though I'm sure they didn't think beyond us sleeping on the bed when they carved it..."

Bilbo could hear the smirk and shook his head with a laugh. "And what is it that they didn't think of, my King?" The hobbit turned, his fingers swiftly undoing the lacings of Thorin's tunic. "What could you possibly wish to do with me on our bed..." the tunic was removed and hobbit fingers moved to another set of lacings, all the while stopping to brush over the straining hardness that seemingly waited to be released, "...that isn't sleeping?" The almost innocent question was in stark contrast to Bilbo's actions and Thorin almost growled at the hobbit like a caged animal.

"There are so many things I wish to do to you...but they will have to wait. Tonight, all I wish to do is to hold you and make you feel cherished and loved." Thorin leaned down then, to trail kisses down the side of Bilbo's neck to his collarbone. His shirt was pushed off his shoulders...he hadn't even noticed the dwarf start on the buttons...and he quickly let it drop to the floor. "I won't put any strain on you tonight. I just...I need..."

Bilbo nodded. He knew exactly what Thorin needed. Not the raging passion that had threatened to consume them earlier, but something more loving, something sweeter. Something that made the dwarf believe that Bilbo truly was alive and well. And if the hobbit was honest with himself, it was what he wanted as well. So he took the king's hand in his and stumbled blindly to the bed. The rest of their garments dropped along the way as if as an afterthought, and when the backs of his thighs hit the bed, he sat down and pulled Thorin to sit beside him. They were both aroused, but for that brief moment the need became secondary and they were both simply revelling in each other's presence.

Thorin leaned in to rest his forehead against Bilbo's, his eyelids fluttering shut as he took a ragged breath. "I thought I had lost you again. It felt like the Arkenstone all over again, only that this time it was you who was taken from me, and...I was losing my way yet again. Though it made me realise just how foolish I had been back then. You are so much more valuable to me, my living breathing Arkenstone. It is beyond me how I could fall under its spell so completely when I had you by my side, ughvash‚. But I know, even if it was here, right now, it wouldn't have any power over me." The hobbit was both relieved and fearful hearing this. Did he truly have such a hold on the dwarven king? And could it be that Thorin himself also...

Stroking the bearded cheek, Bilbo whispered against dwarf's lips, "As long as you don't try to place me in a setting and put facets into me... Thorin...I think it is the same for me. I tried to push you out of my mind when the pain got unbearable and yet I couldn't. I was fighting a losing battle and only when I admitted defeat did I know some semblance of peace. You have as much sway over me as that jewel had over you. And who knows; if anyone had tried to take your ring away from me, maybe I too would have turned murderous," Bilbo chuckled at the last, letting Thorin know that he felt no more pain at the memory. "But that's over now. I have finally come home...and who would have thought I'd ever think of a dwarven mountain as my home and not my cosy hobbit hole..."

Thorin's eyes opened, and they were sparkling like the starlit sky. "Never repeat what I'm about to say, but...if you were to settle in Tirion or whatever settlement Elrond is planning, I'd call it my home as well." And with that he closed the gap between them and placed an almost chaste kiss on Bilbo's lips. And it remained that way for all of two seconds before the raging fire they had both subdued for a while once again broke loose, threatening to pull them under in a maelstrom of desire. Thorin pushed Bilbo down onto the mattress gently. And the hobbit went, more than willingly. Hands tangled in Thorin's black and silver hair as he tried to devour the dwarf's mouth.

Thorin broke away with an almost pained groan, breathing heavily. "Slow down...we've to...slow down. Or I really will be skinned alive for going against the express orders of your healers. And while ”in might hesitate to raise a hand against his king, I'm quite sure Elrond wouldn't." Even Bilbo's lust-fogged mind had to admit that the dwarf's words had merit. Thus he nodded weakly and moved up the bed so he could rest against the pillows. But as he reached for Thorin again, his hand was swatted away. "A moment if you please." The dwarf's eyes were shut tightly once more, his breathing uneven at best and when Bilbo's eyes wandered down the king's torso, he smirked when he beheld the glistening pearls... How he longed to lean down and taste them; to be consumed by the taste and scent of Thorin... But he knew if he tried, Thorin would probably end it all there and then.

So he rested his head against the soft pillows, trying to reign in the desire that made his blood run hot. But Valar, how he craved Thorin's touch. Concentrating on his breathing, he barely noticed Thorin shift on the bed until the dwarf gently motioned for him to turn onto his side. Tender kisses were pressed to his shoulders and neck and he lost himself in the sensation until he felt a probing finger at his opening and he pushed back onto it almost immediately. "Slowly," Thorin growled, but before long one finger was joined by a second and then a third. And when the dwarf found that special spot, Bilbo arched his back and moaned into the pillow. How he was supposed to remain composed and take things easy under such an onslaught of pleasure, he did not know.

And then at long last the fingers were withdrawn only to be replaced by Thorin's hardness and it was only the dwarf's hold on his hips that grounded Bilbo. The slow and languid pace Thorin set was driving the hobbit almost insane and brought tears to his eyes. "Thorin," he cried over and over again. However, he knew it would be to no avail. Once the king's mind was set on a course of action, he would stick to it, even if it killed him. Or the both of you as it were... Accursed dwarven stubbornness. He wasn't made of glass! But whenever he tried to move his hips to encourage the dwarf to go faster, the hold on his hips turned almost viselike.

Thorin had been nuzzling Bilbo's neck, ear and hair, but all of a sudden he began nibbling the sensitive tip of the hobbit's ear just as he was angling his thrusts just that way and Bilbo saw stars. He bit into his pillow to muffle his scream and the dwarf used the opportunity to latch onto the soft skin of his neck and Bilbo knew there'd be a mark the next day. And the thought of that, of walking around marked by Thorin Oakenshield for everyone to see, tipped the hobbit over the edge. With a strangled moan of Thorin's name, he found his release, but he wasn't alone. Khuzdul endearments falling from his lips, the dwarf joined Bilbo in oblivion.

It was when their hearts had slowed down and their breathing had returned to normal, that Thorin pulled out and away from Bilbo. He got off the bed and padded towards a door the hobbit hadn't seen before. To the bath chamber. Thorin held out his hand, "Unless you wish to go to sleep in the state you're in now, I believe a bath is in order. Besides, you haven't seen this room yet..." Groaning loudly, Bilbo pushed himself up and joined Thorin. And gazed in wonder at the chamber before him.

Where in the cottage they had had a bathtub that was just big enough for the two of them, they now had a basin let into the floor. The tiles were warm underfoot, tiles that reminded him of... "Do I want to know what other rooms your nephew committed to his memory, or would that leave me scarred for life?" Thorin chuckled and shrugged as he knelt next to the basin to work a multitude of tabs. And before long, they were sitting in the warmest water, and Bilbo felt krinks he hadn't even felt before fade away under Thorin's gentle touch. Normally, such touches would eventually lead to more lovemaking, but for now, Bilbo was content to just lean back in his dwarf's strong embrace and be content.

And if he couldn't recall how he got out of the bath and back into their bed the next day, it did not matter all too much. For he could remember the last words Thorin had whispered to him. "Welcome home, ukr‚d. Welcome home."