Much has been said of the hospitality of Rivendell. In truth, the Baggins brothers thought they had been enjoying it for weeks. Those days were full of song, storytelling, kindness, healing, and beauty, but they were nothing compared to the celebrations which followed. When Lord Elrond learned that a prince of the line of Durin was engaged to be married, the wine flowed like water, the music grew lively, and all the Hall of Fire, usually given over to storytelling, filled with dancing.
Thorin took Bilbo by the hand then, leading him through the steps of a complicated elvish reel. Never in all his life were the hobbit’s feet so light. Never had he been allowed to dance with someone he truly desired. Elrond claimed the second dance with Bilbo, and though they were mismatched for height, they managed to clap hands easily enough. The tall elf matched his steps to a hobbit’s with graceful ease, laughing hospitably with Bilbo over their few shared missteps.
His third dance was for Thorin, and all the others thereafter, until he kissed the dwarf’s neck, just below his beard, and suggested they have an early night.
Technically, Bilbo continued on in his sick room. At least, he left all his things there that first night. Propriety remained a fact, and the couple was not yet actually married. However, he slipped himself into Thorin’s larger bedroom at once and did not leave it until the Company quit Rivendell entirely.
The chambers for a visiting prince were much nicer than his plain white sick room, anyway. For one thing, Thorin’s bath was in a separate room, not simply relegated to a corner out in the open. For another, he had five of the large, arched, open windows instead of three, and a commensurately spacious room. His bed was not simply large; it could have slept the whole Company. There was more than enough room for Bilbo, and plenty of pillows besides.
“I shall hold you close and sleep chastely at your side,” Thorin said, nonsensically. “Let me only lie beside you, my love. No more do I wish for peace and contentment.”
“Well, I should like a little more than that for true contentment,” Bilbo said, “but if you are overtired, I quite understand. You indulged me terribly on the dancefloor, and I thank you.”
Then, overcome with feeling, he reached up to caress one of the lilacs still badly braided into Thorin’s hair. “Allow me to take these out, at least.”
“I—you may have anything of me you desire, Bilbo.” Thorin’s words were carefully chosen. “I would have you know first that to touch the hair of a dwarf is an intimate act. Any elf aware of us will understand that my feelings when you unbraid my hair are—intimate. Quite intimate.”
Bilbo laughed, cupped Thorin’s beard in both hands, and kissed him gently. It was all too wonderful. He looked out the wide, open windows over the moonlit waterfalls. In the distance, crickets sang and frogs chorused down around the pond, but there was no sign of secret spies.
“Are you shy, my love? Fear not! I shall guard your honor. Any elf excited by you must first contend with me. Let them look and perish with envy, for they will know it is my touch—not their own—which pleases you.”
“No, I.” Thorin bent down for another kiss. Then a third. Bilbo would happily kiss him until Angmar and Mordor rose again, ending all the world. “I have been rough with your feelings, I think,” Thorin said. “I have asked things of you which you did not wish.”
“If anyone should say that it is I.” Bilbo laughed again, and slowly drew the bead which bound the end of Thorin’s braid away. He set it on the nightstand next to a flickering candle. “I still cannot believe you were a virgin when we met. I have never been so thoroughly pleased with anyone as I have been with you, and that is not only because I love you.”
Above his dark beard, Thorin’s cheeks glowed red. This was plainly not an effect of the candlelight. “Some of my teachers have thought me a quick study in the past.”
Humming with approval, Bilbo pushed Thorin’s shoulder gently to turn him around. With fingers unused to the task, he began unwinding the flowers from the dwarf’s long hair. Sinking to the bed to provide better access, Thorin let his head fall back in pleasure.
“My perfect prince,” Bilbo said.
“I am not that.” Thorin’s eyes were closed, and he seemed to be speaking to the open window. “In the discovery of such pleasures, I lost my wits. Pursuing them, I lost sight of my true goal, which has always been your happiness. Only ever your happiness.”
“Are you still so upset about taking your shirt off at me in that little cave?” Bilbo laughed again. “I forgive you. Indeed, if I am ever again displeased with you once we are married—much as I doubt the possibility now—I highly advise that course of action. You are exceptionally attractive without your pesky shirt in the way.”
Turning, Thorin let his loose hair cascade down his shoulders in a messy tumble. His soft, blue eyes held no hint of sleep. “You truly do not mind that we are likely observed, even now.”
“Thorin, if every single person in Rivendell lined up to watch us celebrate our engagement, I should not care a bit.” Bilbo paused, giving this due consideration. “Except for Kili, of course.” Then he laughed. “I am freed, Thorin! Oh, you cannot understand the weight I have been under. If we were not to be married, I think I should kiss every single fellow in Rivendell, and there would be no consequences at all.”
Something glittered in Thorin’s eyes at that. “We are to be married,” he said.
Bilbo laughed again. “And I am yours alone. Never alone again! I do not care who knows it! I would shout it to all the world, if I could. However, if it is your own wish to celebrate in true privacy, we can go back down to that dank little cave. Seems a waste of a perfectly good bed, though.”
Thorin licked his lips. His eyes darted toward the flickering candle. “Are you certain?”
Standing beside the bed, Bilbo offered his hand to Thorin. “The choice is entirely yours, my love, and I shall be happy either way. Take me down to the secret waterfall where our understanding was reached, or help me with my cufflinks.”
Taking the hand in both of his, Thorin turned it to face the ceiling. Bowing, he pressed a kiss in the center of Bilbo’s palm. Then he unfastened the golden flower, placing it gently on the nightstand beside his beads and the wilting lilacs. Bilbo’s cuff draped gently away from his wrist, and Thorin pulled him closer. A beard filled Bilbo’s palm, and a soft kiss traced his fluttering pulse. Linen dragged up the hobbit’s arm as Thorin shifted his sleeve further out of the way, scraping his teeth against the inside of Bilbo’s forearm in a teasing little nip.
“Yes,” the hobbit said, missing casual by several octaves. “I can see you are not terribly experienced at this sort of thing.”
“I have learned what you like.” Thorin’s voice was deeper than the root of a mountain. “You like these,” he said, taking Bilbo’s other wrist. Unfastening the cufflink there, Thorin set it carefully aside and kissed the tender wrist revealed.
“Oh yes,” the hobbit admitted. “They are by far the most thoughtful present I have ever received.”
Slipping off the edge of the bed, Thorin slid gracefully to his knees. His fingers caressed Bilbo’s ankle, and his posture was very familiar. “And this?” he asked, drawing forth the silver anklet. “Do you like this?”
Bilbo ran his fingers along the curve of Thorin’s scalp. “I like everything you give me.”
“Was there something else you wanted me to give you,” Thorin asked, “when I gave you this?” His hands went to Bilbo’s trousers.
“Indeed there was,” Bilbo said. In other circumstances, he would have been very happy to take receipt of such a present immediately. Just then, however, the hobbit had a different idea. “But our first time after our engagement should be special.”
“Oh?” Thorin was so beautiful on his knees. His strong, regal jaw tilted up so elegantly to meet Bilbo’s eyes. In his gaze, there was nothing of reluctance or uncertainty. He waited upon Bilbo’s pleasure.
Catching both of Thorin’s shirtsleeves, the hobbit pulled the silk tunic up and over the dwarf’s head, tousling that dark cascade of hair beautifully.
“Better?” Thorin asked. He was still kneeling at Bilbo’s feet, but now he grinned.
Bilbo returned the grin. “Much.”
“I hope that all of my gifts improve so as we progress,” Thorin said. “When we reach Erebor, I will give you an engagement present surpassing any other seen in this age.”
“That sounds lovely.” Instead of putting his hands back in Thorin’s hair or on those gloriously muscled shoulders, the hobbit bent a bit to take Thorin’s hands in his. “Up you get,” he ordered. “I have a good idea.”
Rising up past Bilbo’s face to his natural height, Thorin caught the hobbit’s mouth in a sweet kiss. “All of your ideas are good,” he said.
Bilbo laughed. “I shall reward you for that, Thorin Oakenshield! Flattery will get you everywhere.”
“There is nowhere save here that I desire to be.”
For that, Bilbo had to kiss him again. And take off his trousers. In short order, both of them were entirely naked. Once that desirable state of affairs was successfully attained, Bilbo encouraged Thorin up onto the bed.
“You really are so beautiful on your knees,” the hobbit murmured. Stroking the back of those perfectly formed joints, he felt the soft, smooth hair of Thorin’s legs. “Kneel right here for me.”
Piling a few pillows in front of the dwarf, Bilbo was able to assume the same posture facing him. With this artificial adjustment, they were of a perfect height. His cock brushed right up against Thorin’s, measure for measure, and even that grazing contact thrilled him so much he needed to brace both of his hands on Thorin’s arms for balance.
“Like this?” Thorin’s words were little more than hot breath against Bilbo’s lips.
“Together,” the hobbit agreed. “This first time, now that we are engaged, let us come together in a perfect meeting of pleasure.”
Barely moving at all, Thorin opened their mouths into a kiss, tasting Bilbo’s tongue and exploring with his own. “Brilliant,” he said, wrapping a strong, calloused hand around them both together. “The best idea I’ve ever heard.”
Responding to the warm grip, Bilbo rocked forward slowly. Thorin matched the rhythm easily. Outside, crickets chirped. Bilbo sighed. Thorin grunted. Frogs sang. Bedframes creaked. Wax spluttered. Bilbo moaned. Thorin gasped. Skin slicked.
“Please,” said Thorin.
“Soon,” said Bilbo.
“Now,” said Bilbo.
“Almost,” said Thorin.
Bilbo whimpered, hands clutching.
Thorin groaned, franticly nodding.
In perfect time, they came together, collapsing down onto the soft bed. After a bit, someone blew out the candle.