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It was a chillier than normal summer evening, so Bombur decided some stew was in order for the company. He’d always prided himself on his venison stew. They’d been fortunate enough that day to pass a patch of wild potatoes and carrots, and he had harvested generously. Kili’s bow took down a small doe. The pudgy chef was in his element. As the sun set, he presented each member of the party with a hearty, warm bowl of his creation. After many days of cold jerky, it was a welcome break.

Bilbo was especially grateful to take the steaming bowl from Bombur’s hands. Their burglar was used to the frequent, home-cooked meals of the Shire and had not taken well to the meager food they had on the road. He started to take a bite when his eyes suddenly lit up and, excited, he rummaged in his rucksack for a small packet of dried, green herbs. Smiling giddily, he stirred a few small leaves into his stew, eyes fluttering closed as he inhaled the scent. Mouth watering, he prepared to dive in.

“What’s that you’ve got there, Mr. Baggins?” Fili plopped down next to Bilbo with his bowl. He leaned closer to the Hobbit and sniffed at his stew. “Are you stockpiling secret spices?”

Kili sat down next to his brother, looking up from his own bowl curiously at Fili’s question and peeking around to see the hobbit sprinkling a few more leaves into his stew for good measure. Bilbo laughed good-naturedly at Fili’s teasing tone and smacked his lips after testing the flavor of his dinner. “Not secret! I’d just forgotten I’d packed it, to be honest. It’s a spice my mother started growing out in the garden when I was a little boy. It’s always been my favorite – absolutely perfect for roasts and stews.”

“Well,” Fili canted his head in Bombur’s direction, “Bombur would be devastated if he knew you thought his stew needed further seasoning.” He smiled secretively. “But, as part of travelling is trying new and exotic things, could I try a pinch?”

The hobbit’s brows furrowed and for a moment he reflexively clutched the little packet towards him, but, suddenly remembering his Baggins manners, he graciously – if hesitantly – passed the spice over to Fili. “Of course, of course, it’s only polite.” Before turning back to his own meal, he cautioned, “But don’t take too much – a little goes a long way.”

Fili took a whiff from the top of the small container. “It smells… incredible,” his face had a faraway look on it. Experimentally, he poured the smallest amount into his palm, then sifted it into his stew, stirring. He ate a spoonful of the stew and smiled broadly. “So good,” he rolled his eyes. “Brother, you must try.”

Kili peered into his brother’s bowl cautiously, nose wrinkled. The youngest Durin, in spite of having an overdeveloped lust for adventure and mischief, had always been a rather picky eater. “No, no. I think I’ll pass.” Not wanting to offend the graciousness of their foreign friend, he smiled brightly at Bilbo and quickly added, “I wouldn’t want to risk Bombur’s wrath. I’m not so brave as my brother here.”

“This is the most savory thing I’ve ever eaten,” Fili declared, polishing off the bowl. “In fact, I might just have a second helping—if only to have more of that spice. What is it called, Bilbo?”

The hobbit’s forehead wrinkled in thought as he dug into a second helping of stew himself, peppered again with the delicious spice. “You know, I don’t recall its proper name. Mother just used to call it zing.’” Bilbo shrugged, smiling fondly at the memory. “That’s all I’ve ever known it by.”

“An appropriate name indeed—zing,” Fili nodded. “My taste buds are doing just that.” He rose to ask Bombur for more stew and returned to his seat for more of the Hobbit’s delicacy. “Thank you, Bilbo. It is truly delicious.”

Not long after they’d all settled into their bedrolls around the campfire, Kili heard a soft whimper from his brother, who was curled up on his side a few feet away.

He cracked an eye open blearily; he’d been nearly asleep when his brother’s pitiful whine had roused him. Blinking in the dark, he could see that his brother was trembling uncontrollably, his back to him. Kili raised up on his elbows and squinted at Fili’s shivering frame. “Brother,” he whispered, so as not to wake the others, “are you alright?” Cautiously, he reached across the distance between them and laid a hand on Fili’s shoulder.

“Kili,” Fili breathed. “I feel very… peculiar,” the blond told him. He let out a muffled groan and clutched at what Kili thought was his stomach. Then, he realized Fili’s hands were closer to his groin.

“Aulë, it burns,” Fili confessed to his brother. “Not in pain, but… but…” even in the dim firelight, Kili could tell he was blushing. “It feels as if I am desirous of someone. Dreadfully, painfully desirous.” His eyes met Kili's. "What is wrong with me?"

Upon realizing his brother’s predicament, Kili had snatched his hand away from his shoulder, face flushing in embarrassment. But Fili’s eyes were bright with fear, his groans more pain than pleasure. Whatever he was experiencing, it clearly was not normal arousal. Swallowing his discomfort, Kili crept across the space between them and determinedly laid his hand on Fili’s shoulder again, squeezing in a gesture of comfort.

He wasn’t sure how to pose his question. “Have you – ” he cleared his throat and tried again. “Have you tried taking care of it the normal way?”

“Brother, this is not normal,” Fili hissed, “I assure you. But, I shall try.” Wincing, he got to his feet and limped into the brush. A few moments later, Kili heard a soft cry of pain from the direction his brother had gone, then a moan of consternation. He returned to his bedroll and gingerly lowered himself down next to his brother, sighing. “I am able to find… release,” he quietly admitted, “but it hasn’t diminished the… problem,” he gestured towards his crotch.

Fili nudged Bilbo awake by shaking his shoulder. “Mr. Baggins,” he asked him. “That spice you gave me. Is it known to produce any side effects?”

Bilbo jerked awake, spluttering at having his sleep interrupted. It took him a few seconds to process the young dwarf’s question. He took in Fili’s red, sweating face, the way he hunched in on himself, his brother’s wide, worried eyes behind him, and leapt out of his bedroll, placing his hand across the blond’s forehead to check for a fever.

“Not that I know of! Oh dear, are you sick? Should we wake Gandalf?"

“He’s still awake. He’s on watch,” Fili told him, passing a trembling hand over his sweaty forehead. “Can we show him the spice? I would like to know if perhaps he’s seen something like this before.”

“Of course, of course!” Bilbo dumped the contents of his rucksack over his blanket in his haste to retrieve the small bag of spice, nearly dumping the whole thing onto the ground at the sound of a long, loud, suggestive moan from the blond dwarf. He looked up at Fili with eyebrows raised but Kili had stepped in front of his brother, shielding him from view.

“Perhaps we should hurry over to the wizard, yes?” He fidgeted restlessly on his feet, gesturing for Bilbo to lead the way. The hobbit cast one last curious look in Fili’s direction, then scuttled quickly in Gandalf’s direction.

Fili himself was having trouble standing upright, let alone rushing anywhere. Kili turned when he realized his brother wasn't following him, and ran back to his side when he saw him doubled over in pain. He brought one of Fili's arms over his shoulder and wrapped the other firmly around the blond's waist, hauling him upright "C'mon, Fili, Gandalf can help," he murmured encouragingly.

“Let us see,” Gandalf took a sniff of the container the worried Hobbit offered him. “Oh, dear me,” the wizard mused, puffing on his pipe. “If I’m not mistaken, this is a spice solely grown in the Shire. I have heard of Men using it to enhance,” he whispered, “potency.” He locked eyes with Bilbo. “Of course, I know little of its effects on Dwarves.”

Thorin, meanwhile, had been awakened by the conversation. “Burglar,” he spoke in a low, threatening voice, “if you have poisoned my nephew, I will not hesitate to string you up by your intestines.”

“It is not poison, Thorin,” Gandalf assured the King, “but there is certainly cause for mild concern. How much did young Fili ingest?” Gandalf asked the Hobbit.

"Erm," Bilbo swallowed and edged away from Thorin, hiding shamelessly behind Gandalf's legs. "Two rather large pinches, as I recall."

“Well, it’s in him now,” Gandalf nodded sagely, “for better or for worse. I assume, Fili, that you have tried to relieve the—er—pressure on your own?”

Fili put a hand over his mouth to muffle a rising groan. Still, the sound was loud enough that several of the company stirred in their slumber. He frowned in embarrassment. “Yes,” he confessed to the wizard. “But it keeps getting worse and worse. It aches,” he blushed, “inside.”'

“Then it would seem that you have a different sort of need to be filled,” Gandalf raised one eyebrow, and leaned towards the blond, “if you catch my meaning.”

“Does he mean—?” Fili turned to Kili. “Do you mean to say—that I need to be…”

“Penetrated,” Gandalf finished the sentence for him.

Thorin shot to his feet. “That’s ludicrous, wizard! How could you possibly know this?”

Kili blanched and pulled his brother closer to him, suppressing a shiver when Fili groaned and leaned further into him. “What if he doesn’t do it? Will it go away on its own?”

“In time, I imagine,” Gandalf said thoughtfully, “but it could be a long, painful wait. It would be simpler just to take him into the woods, Master Kili."

At this, Fili whimpered and buried his face in Kili's lapel in shame. "Oh, gods," he moaned.

The brunet stared at Gandalf, mouth gaping, sure he’d misunderstood the wizard’s meaning; he absently stroked his fingers stroked through his brother’s hair to soothe him. “Me? What can I do?”

“He means to say that we need to—” Fili whispered something into his brother’s ear.

Kili yelped and nearly dropped Fili in his shock – scandalized as much by his brother’s words as he was by the feeling of Fili’s hot breath ghosting across the sensitive shell of his ear. Hot, shameful arousal slowly curled in his belly; he could not deny that he’d occasionally thought of his brother – blond, brave, shining Fili – in this way, but he had always shoved those desires away, mortified by how wrong he knew such feelings to be. He looked wildly to Gandalf and Thorin, hoping that this was all some kind of huge mistake.

“Kili,” Fili put a warm hand on each of his brother’s cheeks and turned his face towards his. “You are the only one I trust to do this. Believe me when I tell you that you are not going to hurt me.”

“It’s certainly not something Gandalf or I should be attempting,” Thorin’s voice was thick with what could have been misconstrued as lust. “You got yourself into this mess, Fili,” he began digging through Bombur’s cooking supplies. “How fortunate that you have your brother to help you out.” He tossed a flask of something to Kili. “It’s oil,” he explained. “You may need it.”

Fili’s hand slithered under Kili’s tunic in a craving for flesh. “I’ll help you as much as I can, nadad,” he told him.

The muscles of Kili’s abdomen twitched under Fili’s warm touch. His eyes flitted down to the oil, then back up to meet Fili’s eyes, blue ring barely visible around wide, black pupils. Underneath the lust, Kili could see the familiar, loving gaze of his older brother, encouraging him to be brave. Steeling himself, he pressed a tender kiss to Fili’s sweaty forehead and turned to their audience. “Say nothing to others. They – this is no concern of theirs. We will be back before dawn.”

“Let us go far into the woods, Kili,” Fili breathed, clutching at Kili for support. “I don’t want them to hear me,” he said, ashamed.