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In Vino Veritas

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Erebor was alight with victory. Dwarves would use any excuse for a feast, and the elves were a lot less dour that it initially seemed. Even Thranduil had deigned to join the festivities once he'd gotten a good look at the dust-covered bottles in the mountain's impeccably climate-controlled cellars.

After carrying a hopeless torch for Thorin for nearly a year, you were more than ready to transfer your affections to a more attainable fellow. And so you mingled and danced with every dwarf, human and elf that seemed even a little interested, only to find your gaze straying again and again to the rear of the hall. Thorin sat there, on a chair that was as throne-like as it could get without being an actual throne, surveying the festivities with haughty approval. He might be newly crowned but he made a perfect king, as remote and unattainable as the sun. As happy as you were that he had survived to enjoy this victory, it still hurt to look at him.

If only your heart would finally get the message and stop jumping every time you thought of him, or heard his voice, or someone spoke his name…

You did your best. You danced until your feet hurt. The dwarves had many intricate reels, which Bofur showed you patiently, and soon you were whirling and skipping across the floor with the best of them. Those long hours of ballet class had been good for something.

For a brief stretch of time it helped. The music was too uplifting, too playful not to enjoy it to the hilt. Flying across the floor with a series of skilled partners made you feel more alive than you had in ages.

You whirled around, smiling at Thorin over your shoulder. It was hard to contain your joy and the smile lit up your face until you were fairly beaming. You couldn't help it.

He met your eyes. A small answering smile curled his lips before he looked away again towards an elderly dwarf who had approached him.

Your poor, parched heart took that as a sign even though the rest of you cautioned you to stop hoping. If Thorin hadn't shown any interest in you when he was a wandering warrior, even though you'd slept around the same campfire for nearly year, how likely was it that he would notice you as a freshly crowned king who had his pick of the beauties of his own race?

And yet you didn't care. Taking his fleeting smile as an invitation you found yourself propelled unerringly towards the throne. By the time you arrived, Thorin's petitioner was just leaving.

Thorin turned to look at you as you came to a halt in front of him, breathing hard with exertion. Your cheeks were flushed, your eyes sparkled, and a light sheen of sweat illuminated your face. Your hair, having come undone from its ponytail, fell in utter disarray around your shoulders.

"Good evening," you said breathlessly.

For one horrible moment you had the feeling that Thorin was trying to place you, as if you were so unimportant that he had already forgotten who you were. But then a smile lit up his features. He looked genuinely pleased to see you, and you relaxed a little.

"And a very good evening to you as well, Y/N. I trust you are enjoying yourself?"

"Very much."

"You certainly are in fine fettle tonight. I have rarely seen such a beautiful dancer."

You blushed. "Thank you."

"Popular, too," he said, leaning forward confidentially. "I imagine it gets tiring after a while. If you have come to me for protection from the dance offers, you are in the right place. I shall fight them off until you catch your breath."

You beamed at him. "Thank you! But I'm already recovered." It was true. If your breath was still quick it was because he was so near. Not that he would know that — when it came to your infatuation with him, Thorin was blind as a bat.

"I see. Is this a courtesy visit then?"

"Not at all. Actually—" you bit your lip, blushing. Maybe this wasn't the best idea.

"Yes?" Thorin prompted when you didn't continue.

"I— I came to ask you if you would dance with me," you blurted out before you could lose your courage again.

He leaned back again as if to place some distance between you. His amiable expression cooled somewhat. "Ah. I'm afraid I must decline."

You wilted. It was too telling a reaction, but you couldn't help it any more than you could help breathing.

"I'm sorry. I presumed too much."

"Not at all," Thorin said smoothly, but it was an empty reassurance, devoid of any real warmth. "It is a tempting offer," he added, "and if I were to dance at all this evening I would be honored to partner you."

Belatedly, you remembered his wound. He had been officially recovered for over a month now, but that didn't mean he was cleared for anything too strenuous. You could have slapped yourself. "Does the wound still hurt?" you asked quietly.

"Not at all. I am merely not in the mood for dancing. I might be growing too old for such pastimes."

You turned to look at the floor, where Balin and Glóin were skipping their way through a particularly acrobatic reel. "I see."

He followed the direction of your gaze. "Then again, perhaps I am merely too dour to enjoy a good revel. That does not mean you have to share in my moroseness." Thorin gave your cheek a fatherly pat.  "Go on. Enjoy yourself."

You wanted nothing more than to spend the entire evening at his side, but you could hardly ignore a clear dismissal, no matter how nicely worded.

You murmured some polite nonsense and made your way back to the revelers, feeling as if you had been run over by a truck. Your feelings certainly had been.

But then it was your own fault for refusing to see the truth for so long. Thorin wasn't interested, and if a year spent in your company hadn't changed that, it wasn't going to ever change.

This had to stop. It had to stop right now, and there was no better way to make it stop than more dancing, until your feet hurt enough to take your mind off him. And maybe a glass or two of the wines that Thranduil so coveted. You had never been much of a drinker and because of the quest you hadn't touched a drop of alcohol in over a year. But everyone raved about the wine, so you should at least try a sip. In celebration.

If it helped you forget your stupid unrequited feelings for even a minute, even better.

 

*  *  *

 

You were staring into your cup like a hardened private eye when a long whistle caught your attention.

"Whoa," Kili said, eyeing the nearly empty bottle before you. "What brought this on?"

You scowled blearily up at him. "Go away."

"I will certainly not go away and let you drink yourself stupid, Mrs. 'I won't even touch ale'! What's wrong?"

"Nothing." Besides, you didn't feel drunk. The wine hadn't made you forget, it hadn't made you slow down, or slur your words. Your limbs were buzzing oddly and you felt magnificently angry, but that was it. Thanks for nothing, stupid wine.

"This doesn't look like nothing."

You pursed your lips and blew ineffectually at a strand of hair that tickled your nose. You'd had it up to here with Durins and their stupid beautiful faces and their fucking inability to take a hint.

"Go. Away."

"I don't think so." Kili placed a hand on your shoulder. "Come on, we need to get some water into you. It's a wonder you're still conscious."

Why did they always think they knew what was best for you? First Thorin, who sent you off to dance when all you wanted was a few minutes of his attention. Then Kili, who wouldn't leave you to drown your sorrows in peace. You slapped Kili's hand away, only for him to place both hands on your shoulders a moment later.

"Come on, darling, don't be like that," he said. "Let me help you, hmm?"

In your state, it was more than you could take. You staggered to your feet so fast your chair fell over with a clatter, and pushed. It was only meant to be a little shove but Kili flew across the next table and crashed into a group of empty chairs with a hair-raising racket.

All heads turned to you.

Kili rolled over with a weak groan. Wood splintered beneath him.

Your hand flew to your mouth. "Oh no. Kili!"

You stumbled forward towards the prince, who was feebly trying to extricate himself from the tangle of broken chairs.

You grabbed a chair to pull it off him. The backrest shattered in your hand. You let go of it as if burned and took a step back.

"What is the meaning of this?" thundered Thorin behind you. "Kili. What did you do?"

You turned towards him with eyes as big as saucers.

"I broke Kili," you whispered.

 

*  *  *

 

You sat at a table, flanked by Thorin and Dwalin so tightly it was a wonder you could move at all, and tried not to look as dejected as you felt. Kili was uninjured, but you still felt horrible. You'd never been an angry person, had never before resorted to physical violence to get your point across. It had shaken you.

Pitching you against several elves and dwarves in arm-wrestling matches had proven that you were much stronger than you ought to be, and a great deal more resilient. Under normal circumstances, a proper Dwarven squeeze would have crushed your fingers into powder.

Now everybody was trying to deduce the reason for your sudden power-up. Thranduil had taken an avid interest and was now leading the impromptu investigation.

"She is from a world without magic?" asked Thranduil for the third time.

"She already said so twice," bristled Thorin. "It's true. I was present when she crossed over."

"Excuse me if I did not take the word of the inebriated human on that very unlikely fact," Thranduil drawled. "Very well. Then there is only one explanation."

"Yes?"

"She owes her increased strength to the wine. Mirkwood wines have restorative properties. Some…" here he hesitated, as if loath to divulge a closely-held secret, "…carry more of an enchantment than others. There is deep magic in the grapes, and this was a particularly fine vintage. Very rare. Very old."

Thorin raised an eyebrow. "That does not explain—"

"It will if you stop interrupting," snapped Thranduil. "Since she has been only recently exposed to the magic of Middle Earth, the wine's effect must have been a lot more potent in her case. Perhaps her physiology was better suited to absorbing its effects. It is difficult to say without more of her kind to test it on."

"Is the effect permanent?" you asked quietly.

Thranduil's gimlet gaze switched from Thorin to you. You got the vague impression that he was enjoying himself. "Only time will tell. It might be."

"Oh, goody." If that was true you would have to relearn touch, or you'd keep damaging everything around you.

"It's a good thing, lass," said Dwalin, ruffling your hair. "You're as strong as a dwarf now, and as hardy! Although you still look like you'd blow away in a fair wind."

"Well, I'm not used to it," you groused. "I'll keep breaking things! Expensive things, knowing me. And I don't want to hurt people."

"Nobody will care if you break a few trinkets," Thorin said dismissively. "And you cannot hurt us. Not properly." He rolled up his sleeve, exposing his muscled forearm. "Here, try to break it."

You looked up at him and then back at his arm. Did he really think you were going to try and break his bones on a whim?

Dwalin patted your shoulder. "Go on, lass, you'll see there's nothing to it."

Dwarves were demented. All of them.

Bile rose in your throat. You shoved at the table. It would have toppled if Thanduil had not steadied it with an elegant finger.

"Excuse me," you choked out. "I need some air."

There were doors at one side of the hall, leading to a series of terraces.

You fled.

 

*  *  *

 

There was an orderly pyramid of smaller stones set aside for wall repair. Some junior builder must have spent hours arranging it just so. You kicked it.

The stones exploded apart. Your foot didn't even smart.

This was like therapy. Amazing, lovely therapy.

You kicked at another stone. This was for Thorin, for being such an obtuse bastard. Kick. This was for the stupid wine. Kick. This was for Thorin's stupid beautiful face, and voice, and mouth, and...

Kickkickkickkickkick!

Strong hands closed around your waist, lifting you off your feet and away from your work of wanton destruction.

"Hey!"

"That's quite enough of that," Thorin said in your ear.

"Let me go, you... you tyrant!"

"Still 'my king' to you," Thorin said mildly. "Are you quite finished destroying my property?"

You glanced guiltily at the floor, now strewn with cracked stones.

"I'm not destroying anything," you protested, ignoring all evidence to the contrary. "Just doing a bit of rearranging."

Thorin toed at a cluster of broken shards. "Yes, I can see that. Are you quite done?"

"I might need a few more minutes," you admitted. "What are you doing out here anyway? Shouldn't you be at your party?"

"I came here to offer comfort," he said wryly. "I can see how that might have been ill-advised. And it is your celebration as much as mine, seeing as you are a member of my Company."

Any other day, the idea of Thorin comforting you would have sent you into paroxysms of happiness. But since his idea of comfort tonight was likely a pat on the head and an awkward "there, there", you'd rather he left you alone.

"I think I did enough celebrating for one night, thank you. So if you're not here to ravish me or do something else interesting you can go back in. I'll clean up when I'm done."

"I beg your pardon?"

"You heard me." You sketched an ironic curtsy. "My king."

Despite your attitude, you felt a bit sad. He was so close, and you loved him so, and he just didn't see it. A sigh escaped you, entirely at odds with your truculence.

Thorin looked like he was fighting a smile. "I do not even know where to begin answering that. Y/N... are you a maudlin drunk?"

"Shut up."

The smile widened. "Maudlin and belligerent. Whatever shall I do with you?"

You pressed your lips together. "If you haven't figured that out by now I'm not sure you can be helped."

He raised an eyebrow.

You sighed again and completely failed to look away. You wanted to. Looking at Thorin was an exercise in misery, after all, and you were not usually a masochist. And yet…

It should have been illegal to be so good-looking. His hair was backlit by the stars and it looked as if they were caught in the dark strands, forming a crown of light. You breathed in his scent — fresh pine, leather and snow, mingled with the subtle musk of his skin. His face was so close to yours you could have kissed him. Your heart squeezed painfully. In your dreams, idiot, you thought.

"I will be sure to create a law to that effect first thing tomorrow," Thorin stated in that low, seductive rumble he called a voice.

"Hmm?" What was he talking about?

"A law outlawing looks as superb as mine," he clarified with a smirk.

"I didn't say that out loud." You groaned. "Did I?"

"I'm afraid you did. I am, of course, flattered."

"I'm sure," you muttered. A curl of hair was tickling your face again and you slapped at it without any effect, nearly hitting Thorin's nose in the process. Thankfully, he had excellent reflexes. He evaded your flailing hand with little trouble and grinned at you.

"I know you mean nothing by it," he continued, because clearly his thick skull had been hewn by Mahal's own hand from a single beautiful, hollow boulder. "You have partaken rather heavily of my best wines. It does take some that way."

You batted your eyelashes at him because the alternative would have been to smack him for prolonged and insistent obtuseness. "In what way?"

He brushed away the curling tendril that bothered you. "Renders them amorous. You needn't worry. I would never take advantage of you in this state."

Okay, that was it. You were done.

You grabbed two fistfuls of his tunic and slammed him against the nearest wall.

"What if I want to take advantage of you?" you demanded.

His eyes widened. "Y/N!" he breathed. He had never said your name like that before. The tone of his voice, intimate and gravelly, was right out of your naughtier dreams. And he was staring at you like he had never seen you before. His pupils had expanded, nearly eclipsing the electric blue of his eyes.

Your heart started beating faster. Had he actually liked being manhandled? Dwarf-handled. Whatever.

You got a better grip on his tunic and pulled him away from the wall, so you could walk him back to a side entrance that led to the guest quarters.

"Would you let me?" you murmured.

The sound that emerged from Thorin's throat was somewhere between a purr and a moan.

You gave him a little shove and when his back hit the door you pounced, slanting your mouth over his, clenching your hands in his hair. His lips parted. Whatever he had meant to say was lost as you took advantage, deepening the kiss, nipping at his lower lip when he groaned again.

His hands came up to wrap around your wrists, but he made no move to free himself. Instead, his thumb stroked lightly over the tender skin on the inside of your wrist in tacit approval.

Heat pooled in your belly. Thorin wanted this. At least for now, he wanted you.

You found you wanted to bite at his mouth, his neck, leave a mark for him to remember you by, but you knew you shouldn't. In your current state you might do real damage.

You freed one hand from Thorin's grasp to fumble for the door grip. Usually you had to lean against Dwarven doors with all your strength to get them to open, but this time the door gave way with laughable ease. Thorin stumbled backward with a surprised oath. You took advantage of his momentum to propel him backward and to the left. His back hit another door, causing it to shudder in its moorings.

Please, let the room be unoccupied.

You pushed yourself up on tiptoe to kiss Thorin again. He let you, even responded as eagerly as you could ever wish, but when you pulled away he was looking down at you with an unreadable gaze.

"Thorin?"

His thumb caressed your wrist again. "Mmm?"

"Penny for your thoughts."

"You are beautiful," he said. "And very drunk."

"I'm not drunk," you said. "Whatever else that wine did, it didn't make me drunk. Besides, I've wanted you for ages when I was sober too. You never noticed." There. It was out.

He raised an eyebrow. "Is this true?"

You rolled your eyes. It was the only appropriate response to such persistent obtuseness. "You are a thick-skulled moron of a king."

Thorin laughed. "Spoken like a true dwarrowdam. If what you said is true, then there is time." He touched your face. "There will be other nights."

"Are you trying to be the voice of reason?"

"I suppose."

You took a deep breath and pushed yourself up on tiptoe until your lips brushed his.

"Well, don't. There might be other nights, but none where I can do this—" You shoved him up against the door again until his feet barely touched the ground. "And this," you continued, taking hold of his wrists and pressing them against the hardened wood next to his head, holding them captive.

He strained lightly against your hold, watching you out of glittering, half-lidded eyes.

"Try harder," you whispered into his ear.

A breath escaped him but he obeyed, making a proper attempt at freeing himself and failing. He didn't have the right leverage, and you were very motivated to keep his hands right where they were.

You wanted a whole night of this, of Thorin at your mercy. But he had to want the same or it wasn't happening.

"So," you said. Blunt honesty seemed to work; you were going to give it a proper try no matter how embarrassed it made you. "If you don't want me to strip you naked right here and ride you hard, you should leave."

Thorin's nose brushed yours. His breath fanned your lips. "Y/N…"

Did he think you were made of stone? "Now."

Thorin closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them again, they were ablaze with desire. "And if I want all of that?"

Oh. His lips were so close to yours, you could nearly taste him. Your softer side wanted deep, leisurely kisses, but another, darker part of you wanted to slam Thorin against the wall again and devour him whole. The two opposite impulses warred with each other, freezing you in place.

This was a bad idea for so many reasons. You were in love while he was probably just intrigued that you were suddenly able to match him physically. He was honorable, but now that he was free of the quest, he wouldn't refuse sex if it was offered. From his point of view you were a valued companion, pretty enough, and quite a bit more delicate than a dwarrowdam, though you weren't a waif by any stretch of the imagination. You had clearly indicated that you wanted him. He would oblige you, and tomorrow you'd go back to being casual acquaintances.

You were setting yourself up for heartbreak. You didn't care. You'd likely never get another chance like this, so you'd have to to make the most of tonight.

"Regretting the offer already?" Thorin murmured. It wasn't meant as a taunt, but you took it that way. Recklessness surged, breaking the stalemate.

"Not at all," you said and bit his neck. His head fell back. It was a surrender and an invitation.

You felt light-headed with exhilaration and trepidation in equal measure. This was happening. Thorin was yours, for tonight at least, and you were going to unwrap him like the royal present he was.

And you were going to do it soon or you'd lose your mind.

You searched blindly for the door handle, without success. Thorin pushed your hand away and reached behind his back. There was a click and the door opened. You both stumbled through at a near run. You took hold of Thorin's shoulders and used your momentum to propel him towards the nearest hard surface you saw.

Not that you saw much. It was a mere slice of muted shine in the otherwise stygian darkness, and when you realized you'd misjudged the distance it was too late. Thorin crashed into the furniture with a grunt. Wood cracked and splintered. You overbalanced and crashed together to the floor amidst a heap of unidentifiable and now sadly defunct furniture.

You squinted into the darkness, chagrined. "What was it?"

Thorin gave a noncommittal hum. "A desk, I think." He pushed easily to his feet and helped you up. "Ignore it," he ordered, leaning towards you.

You pulled him in for a kiss. He cupped your face between his hands and returned the kiss just as fervently. When you parted you were both breathing hard.

"There has to be a bed here somewhere," you murmured. Your hopes of finding it were nil, though — you were blind as a bat in the darkness.

Thorin didn't seem to worry about that. His hands had found your buttocks and were kneading them with delicious dedication. You grabbed hold of his tunic and began walking him towards the next shadowy object, which turned out to be a chair rather than the hoped-for bed.

The two of you staggered aimlessly through the room, occasionally crashing into things. When your feet got tangled in the third chair in a row, you decided you'd had enough.

"Do you see a candle anywhere?" you asked Thorin.

He chuckled. Then he took your hand and kissed it. "If you would unhand me for one moment," he murmured.

You let go of him.

Moments later you heard a shuffling sound, then a scratch, and soon the light of several thick candles spilled into the room from a small side table.

The light wasn't very bright, but it was enough to see that you were in one of the guest rooms. If it had been assigned to someone there was no sign of it — no personal possessions, nothing to indicate the room was occupied.

The elaborately made bed was untouched.

Thorin took in the details with one practiced glance.

"We'd better not push that table over," you said backing away from the candles and holding a hand out for Thorin to take. "How did you find those so quickly?"

He pulled you into his arms instead and gave you a hot, thorough kiss. "I am a miner, love. I can see well enough in the dark."

You bit your lip, suddenly embarrassed. "I can't."

He chuckled. "That much was plain."

"Then why did you let me push you into things?"

His grin was a slash of white in the dim light. "I enjoyed it. You can be as forceful as you like — that sort of thing is exciting to a dwarf."

Your eyes widened. "B-but— I thought it was just Glóin who liked, uh, the rough stuff." During the quest, conversations around the fire had turned ribald more often than not. And while Bofur had a girl in every village, the happily married Glóin had the more interesting sex life of all the Company. He was glad to share the details at every opportunity. Among other things, his wife apparently liked to wrestle with her husband during sex. She also liked to tie him up and spank him, but that was a whole other kettle of fish.

Thorin shrugged. "Glóin simply likes to talk at length about it. But we all enjoy a rough tussle."

You pictured a rough, naked wrestling session with Thorin and a hot flush flooded your whole body. Until now, your fantasies had been more of the vanilla variety. Hearing that Thorin might like being wrestled into submission awakened a greedy impulse to do just that.

You cleared your throat and tried to think of innocent things, like flowers and butterflies. "Is that what you call it? Tussling?"

Thorin grinned. "We do have other names for it. Khûzdul is not a gentle language."

In your mind's eye, the butterflies started doing unspeakable things to the flowers they were sitting on. You shook your head, trying in vain to dislodge the image.

Thorin ran his thumb over your lower lip. "You think too much," he observed accurately. "Kiss me."

You narrowed your eyes up at him. "Shhh. This is my seduction, not yours. From now on, the only words you are allowed are 'yes', 'please' and 'more'."

You couldn't believe the things coming out of your own mouth, but it was too late to take it back. You had to soldier on.

The corners of Thorin's mouth curled. "As you wish." His eyes twinkled up at you. "What about 'harder'?"

"That's fine." You pondered that a little, then patted his chest. "You can also tell me to stop if you don't like what I'm doing," you added. After all, there was a chance you might hurt him and not even notice. You weren't exactly experienced at rough sex. Or sex in general.

Thorin looked down at you expectantly. His eyes were such a vivid blue… Where were you? Ah. He wanted a kiss.

You pressed your lips to his in a light caress and tried not to think about amorous butterflies. Ease back into it, that was the ticket. Rough was fine, but try not to grope him too hard right away, he might not like that. You certainly wouldn't.

A challenging light entered Thorin's eyes.

"I would not worry about hurting me," he said. "If this continues at the same pace, I might fall asleep before we begin."

Asleep, was he? What an ass. This is what you got for trying to be considerate. Indignation surged, accompanied by a feral urge to wipe the smug condescension off his face.

Idly, you wondered if this was how dwarves felt all the time.

"Four words," you growled up at him. "Try to keep up."

He raised a supercilious eyebrow. Make me, it said.

Your badly restrained desire erupted from its prison with the force of a hurricane. Grabbing his shoulders, you pushed yourself up on tiptoe and bit his lip even though you'd promised yourself not to. Then you thrust your tongue forcefully into his mouth. It was a marauding onslaught of a kiss. It made your head spin to plunder his mouth like that, take what you wanted without compromise. 

When you finally tore yourself away to take a breath, he was panting. His eyes glittered with feral hunger in his shadowed face. He took a menacing step forward until his body was flush with yours, and bent his head until his lips grazed your ear.

"Harder," he growled.

He wanted harder? You'd give him harder. You grabbed his neck and pulled him back down with a moan. Your tongues tangled again in a harsh, delicious battle, and you whimpered despite yourself at the sweetness of it. You could kiss him all day. Your free hand slid up his throat. You ran your palm over his beard, shivering at the prickling rasp, then scratched your nails along the line of his jaw.

Thorin shuddered.

You bit his lower lip again, careful not to break the skin despite your feverish need, then brushed your mouth along his cheek to lick and nibble at his ear.

Thorin rewarded you with a broken groan that sent a spike of sensation right between your legs.

"Harder."

Your nails dug into the back of his neck. It was getting harder and harder to be careful.

Your hands left his neck to roam over his chest, his shoulders, his waist. He was so beautifully proportioned, the heat of his skin a furnace beneath the layers of his courtly clothing. You needed to feel that skin against yours. You tore at his belt until something gave and the clasp came apart in your hand. Then you grabbed his vest and pushed it down his arms. Seams ripped, then tore apart entirely. You pressed your palms against Thorin's chest and pushed him towards the bed, kissing him in brief bursts as you went. He cupped the back of your neck and pulled you back in until your mouths were fused together so tightly it felt like you would never separate again. Not that you wanted to.

The bed stood on a stone pedestal. You hit your shins against the sharp edge as you manhandled Thorin up the step and shoved him onto the mattress, jumping to straddle him before his back had hit the bedding.

He pushed himself up right away so he could kiss you again. It was a hard kiss, borderline violent in its fury. You took it even deeper, reveling in the unrestrained carnality.

Your hands slid inside the deep vee at the front of his tunic, encountering silky chest hair. You spread your fingers, luxuriating in the contrast between its slight roughness and the sleek muscle beneath. Then you grabbed a handful and tugged, raking your nails gently over his breastbone a moment later. Thorin let out a surprised groan.

You smiled against his cheek and grabbed his tunic in both hands.

With a few vicious tugs you had torn the richly embroidered material straight down the front, exposing his torso to your greedy gaze. If you forgot everything else, you were sure this was the one sight you'd remember forever.

Thorin let himself fall back onto the mound of pillows, content to watch your face as you admired him. His body was magnificent. Impossibly wide shoulders, a deep chest corded with the kind of tough, defined muscle that was impossible to achieve in a gym. You had seen it before, but never like this, spread out beneath you like an offering, so broad and thickly muscled and biteable

You wanted to devour him. If only you could decide where to begin. Your knuckles brushed tentatively across his ridged abdomen. Your fingertips traced the trail of dark hair downwards until it widened, vanishing beneath the waistband of his leather trousers. Then you laid your palms flat over the place where skin met leather, curling your fingers into the hot flesh as you leaned down to lick and bite at his muscled throat.

Your hands slid up over his sleek skin, feeling the slight roughness of the scar that sliced over his ribs. You ran your lips along the upper curve of his right pectoral until they caught on the tight nub of his nipple. Taking it between your teeth, you bit down lightly, then flicked your tongue over the spot.

Thorin arched mutely into the caress. His hands tightened on your hips with bruising strength. Arousal whipped sharply through you.

Taking a deep breath, you began tearing off long, broad strips off his ruined tunic.

"Hands off," you said.

Thorin blinked up at you, as if waking from a dream. "Y/N?"

You tied one thick strip around the upper right bedpost and took hold of Thorin's right wrist, securing it loosely enough to allow him some wiggle room, but too tightly for him to free himself.

"Tell me to stop," you whispered into his ear, then sank your teeth lightly into a spot just beneath his jaw.

Thorin groaned, a deep thrum of sound. "Never."

When you straightened again so you could secure his other wrist, you saw that his gaze was soft and a little dazed, his lips lightly parted. You wanted to soften in return, wanted to sink back over him and cover his face with kisses.

But no. You couldn't be weak. He clearly wanted someone who knew what she was about, not a simpering ingenue. And while your first instinct was to yield, there was a part of you that wanted to test out your new strength and resilience, wanted to push Thorin until he was as lost as helpless as you'd felt.

"Drifting away already? I wouldn't want to bore you too much," you said sweetly.

He barked out a weak laugh. "There's no danger of that now, I think."

"Good." You slid your hand down his belly and cupped him firmly through his trousers.

He arched into your touch with a hiss.

You shifted your grip and squeezed, testing. He didn't make another sound but he pushed even harder against your hand. His chest expanded in time with the arch of his hips, and you swallowed painfully at the sight. He could seduce you without even trying, You had to make him as crazy for you as you were for him.

You would make him moan your name if it was the last thing you did.

You let go of him so you could to tug impatiently at his laces. When they wouldn't loosen to your satisfaction you tore them free, jerking his hips off the bed in the process.

Thorin didn't seem to mind the rough treatment. He watched your face, his chest rising and falling like the great bellows in the forge.

A deep flush rose in his cheeks as you took hold of his cock. He was so thick your fingers had no hope at all of meeting, but you tried anyway, squeezing hard enough to wrench a strangled moan from him.

Just like that, you were wet. You had to let go of him again to lift the dress over your head, leaving you in nothing more than a pair of flimsy panties and a bra that had shrunk so much in the wash that your breasts nearly overflowed the meager cups. You threw the dress heedlessly behind you.

Thorin took you in with greedy eyes. The long muscles of your belly rippled as you undulated your hips over his cock, feeling the friction through the flimsy silk of your panties. The thin material dragged along his length, damp with your juices. It was torture. Lovely, amazing torture.

You dismounted so you could slide the panties down your legs, then straddled him again, arching your back as you took off your bra as leisurely as you could. Only then did you lower yourself back down to slide your slick, naked sex along his hardness.

A small whine escaped you at the contact, echoed by a savage Khuzdûl oath from Thorin. He was so sleek and hard, and you wanted him inside you so badly.

You glided back a little and tilted your hips so the blunt, broad head nudged your opening. You felt tiny in comparison. He was much too large to take comfortably without copious foreplay. But you were different tonight. Your body was stronger, your need sharper than ever before. And a secret, hungry part of you wanted to feel him split you open, wanted to take him while still tight and a little unprepared.

Thorin tugged fruitlessly at the restraints that kept him from touching you. "Wait," he said.

You pressed a finger against his lips. "Wrong word," you admonished.

You rolled your hips and slid down, taking him inside the barest fraction. You were slick and hot and Thorin hissed at the contact even as he tried to pull away so you wouldn't hurt yourself. The harsh stretch should have scared you. Instead, it pierced you with a spike of violent arousal. You braced your hands on Thorin's chest and sank down another inch.

You'd never known pain could feel so good. And your body was quick to adapt, softening around him so that you merely felt full rather than stretched beyond bearing.

"Stop," Thorin growled.

It was an unmistakeable command. As much as you wanted to just take him, you couldn't ignore a clear no. You stopped.

You stared at each other, breathing hard.

"Thorin…"

His gaze was glued to your face. He looked ravenous, and nearly as wrecked by the experience as you felt.

You leaned forward, crying out as the change in angle stimulated your clit. "You feel incredible," you breathed.

Thorin closed his eyes.

"I want more," you murmured. "It hurts so good."

You shifted your hips a little, craving more of the fullness. You had taken maybe a quarter of his length inside, and he was so deliciously thick. He was ruining you for all other men, forever, and he didn't even know.

Thorin's jaw clenched. "Fine," he bit out.

Thank Mahal.

You straightened again, let yourself sink down another inch. It was getting easier, gravity and your slick arousal aiding you where Thorin wouldn't. Thorin's head fell back, exposing his muscled throat to your blurry gaze. The stretch was still borderline painful, but it made you so hot you could barely think. More importantly, the sense of power was delicious, and you wanted more.

You pushed down harder. He filled you so well. But there was more of him to take still. He grew even thicker towards the base and you couldn't quite manage to cram in the last stubborn inch.

You leaned forward to whisper in his ear. "I want your mouth on me," you ordered. "Anywhere you can reach."

A breath later, his teeth found your neck. He gave you a punishing nip that made you squeal, then suckled gently at the spot, soothing the small ache. Then his lips trailed down your chest and closed hotly over your breast, drawing a moan from you. He was slow and thorough, licking and nipping until you had softened around him to his satisfaction.

That was all it took.

You shimmied your hips, sliding down on him the rest of the way. He was inside you to the hilt, and you both gasped at the sensation as he bottomed out.

"Mahal, yes," Thorin groaned. "Take it all." And then, belatedly, "Are you hurt?"

You shook your head, shuddering when the small motion caused him to shift inside you in a way that felt incredibly good. "No, just full." You moaned. "Sooo full."

"Mahal," he said again.

You closed your eyes and began to rock. If you had felt full before, now it was like you were merging together. Your nerve endings were constantly firing. You had never known such sustained, blinding pleasure.

"More," he murmured. "So beautiful. Give me more."

Your rocking turned into bouncing. The bed groaned, then creaked alarmingly. You didn't care, lost to everything but the cascading rush of pleasure.

Thorin's biceps bulged as he writhed in the restraints, back arching off the bed, tendons rising in sharp relief along his straining neck. It was the hottest thing you's ever seen. "Harder."

You slammed down on him again and again, breathless with the mind-blowing pleasure of it. The creaking of the bed frame turned into a rhythmic groan that echoed Thorin's deeper grunts.

Your head fell forward. Your nails curled into Thorin's chest, leaving bloody scratches. Your hips ground together, eyes boring into each other.

Thorin pulled viciously at the restraints, straining.

Another, louder creak sounded, like a ship's mast groaning in the wind. You barely heard it, lost in a haze of passion, the rhythmic slap as your hips collided again and again.

The bands holding Thorin captive ripped with a screech.

Wood snapped. The bed collapsed with a crash, dumping you to the stone dais with only the thin mattress to cushion the fall. The impact drove Thorin hard into you. His arms, suddenly free, closed around you in a protective embrace. The back of his head hit the floor with a thud, his usually catlike battle reflexes momentarily lost in the sexual daze. The breath rushed out of you on a gasp.

You stared blearily at the wreckage around you. The bed had been reduced little more than kindling. It hadn't merely broken, it had shattered. The wood must have been rotted. There was no other explanation. Dust and wood shavings littered the mattress, Thorin's hair and cheeks, your sweat-slicked belly.

You ran your fingers along his cheekbones, brushing off reddish dust. His skin was slicked with a light sheen of sweat as well, so you merely succeeded in smearing the mess around.

You'd been so close.

Even now you were having trouble accepting the fact that you couldn't just keep riding him into oblivion.

"We broke the bed." Stating the obvious was not usually your style, but you couldn't help it. Your bum still smarted from the hard contact with Thorin's thighs. The rest of you tingled as your blood buzzed restlessly in your veins, urging you to pick up where you'd left off. "We broke the bed," you repeated numbly.

Thorin looked up at you. He still seemed a little dazed, whether from being enthusiastically ravished or the way his head had bounced in the fall you couldn't quite tell. "Do you care?" he asked eventually.

"No." Then again, you hadn't born the brunt of the impact. "You?"

"No."

You wiggled your hips experimentally. The echo of pleasure was immediate and powerful. There was something deliciously depraved about taking Thorin amidst the wreckage of the bed you'd just ruined. The mattress would cushion his back a little, even thin as it was. And the stone dais wasn't likely to break as the bed had. "Do you want me to keep going?"

His fingers tightened on your hips. His eyes darkened. "Yes. Please."

You wiggled a little more, then rolled your hips in a deep, slow motion. It felt so good that you did it again. Now that the stone beneath him had no give at all, every grinding pass pushed him even deeper into you. There was no stopping now. Your smooth, rolling rhythm turned increasingly erratic as the coil of sensation in your stomach tightened. Your legs tingled, then locked, too tense to move.

You fell forward onto Thorin's chest, working your hips in short, hard digs.

His broad, hands slid from your hips to your ass. The calluses rasped deliciously against your skin, adding yet another layer of sensation. His fingers dug into the flesh of your buttocks, guiding your hips into a rolling grind while his own hips rose in a maddening counterpoint.

You grabbed his shoulders, scratching him and not caring as your climax rolled over you like a tsunami, drowning you in ecstasy.

An arm like a steel band closed around your back. Thorin bucked, nearly throwing you off. Then he  followed suit with a hoarse shout.

You may have passed out for a minute there. When you came back to reality you were lying on your back on a thick rug. Thorin leaned over you, murmuring your name.

"Hi," you whispered, unaccountably shy all of a sudden.

Thorin's answering smile was so open and sweet, you wished you could frame it and hold it close forever. 

He brushed his lips against yours. "Hello," he said. "You had me worried for a moment there."

You stretched into the kiss, glad to have a moment of tenderness. "What happened?"

"You fainted."

You shrugged and shimmied closer. "Just resting my eyes. I did all the work after all."

"That you did," he said. "Excellently, too. I'm afraid you've ruined me for all other women."

Your heart leapt into your throat. Maybe it was just a throwaway comment. But the tender, soft way he looked down at you made you hope.

"That's hard to believe," you said with a nonchalance you didn't feel.

"It's true," Thorin said simply.

You swallowed past the lump in your throat. "Well," you said, "you've ruined me for all other men, so I guess we're even."

He lifted an incredulous eyebrow. "I have?"

"Come on, I'm sure you know you're a demon in the sack."

The eyebrow inched further up. "That may be. But I have not yet had the pleasure to prove my sexual prowess to you. As you said, you did all the work."

"Oh, you standing there breathing is quite enough for me. I'm not sure I could take it if you actually exerted yourself."

He leaned closer. "Will you give me the opportunity to try?"

You brushed some more wood dust out of his beard. Some of the fine reddish powder was caught in his eyelashes as well. It made him even more handsome, if that was possible. "I'm in love with you. What do you think?"

He drew back. "In love!"

His obvious surprise rankled. "I'm pretty sure I told you already."

Thorin frowned. "You said you wanted me. That is an entirely different thing."

"Well, I love you," you repeated. "Deal with it."

He swallowed thickly. "You are certain of this?"

"What kind of a question is that? Yes, I'm sure. I've been sure for ages."

"Why did you never say?"

"Because you had a quest to finish. Besides, it was obvious enough to anyone but you. Honestly, I made cow eyes at you for a year. Everyone in the Company knows."

"I can hardly believe that. I would have noticed. Mahal knows I noticed everything else about you."

You blinked at him. "What?"

"You thought you were the only one nursing an unrequited affection? Amrâlimê, you are at least as blind as you accuse me of being."

"I'm not! You're an emotional pressure cooker! You keep everything close for ages and then you explode! Just out of curiosity, which one of your enigmatic stares was supposed to communicate your interest? Was it brooding stare number one? Number two? Or the majestic stare into the distance? Or—"

He laid a finger across your lips. "Enough. I see your point. Still. You were hardly any more transparent than I."

That was rich. Compared to the King of Brood, you were an open book. "You never said a word!"

His eyebrow rose. "And you did?"

"Why would I? I was sure you didn't care! You barely talked to me towards the end."

Thorin sighed. "I was certain I would die — either conquering Erebor or defending it. I had no future to offer you."

He had a point there. Your survival had been luck more than anything. And then he had been laid up with a terrible wound before the politics of his new kingdom had swallowed him whole.

"I'm sorry." You had no idea what you were sorry for. "I never thought you'd want me like that."

He brushed his lips over yours in an aching caress. "Always."

Your lips parted, inviting him in. He acquiesced, taking your mouth in a sweet, slow kiss. The ravenous hunger rose back to the surface, even more intense than before. You wrapped your arms around his neck as you took over the kiss, tasting him deep, plundering his mouth. Only when he made a rough sound deep in his throat you realized how wanton you were being. He had offered you a tender moment and you jumped him.

You pulled back a little and tried to compose yourself. "Sorry."

He glanced down at you from slumberous eyes, mouth wet. "What for?"

"My lack of control."

"Let me make something very clear, amrâlimê: I enjoyed it. You can kiss me like this any time you wish. In fact, I demand that you do."

You were trying to do just that as the door suddenly opened, revealing Kili. He walked in with the careful gait of someone who was deep in his cups and nearly stumbled over your entwined bodies. He looked down, gaping blearily at Thorin's very broad, very naked back, covered only by the shredded remains of his tunic.

"My apologies," he muttered, his words only a little slurred. He began a hasty retreat. "I was told this room would be unoccupied..."

You couldn't help it. You giggled. Kili stopped and squinted at you. Belated recognition flooded his face. He paled.

"Uncle? Y/N?!" Your name emerged as a squeak. "What are you doing here?"

Thorin got to his feet with a sigh, bringing you up with him and turning so that Kili wouldn't see you so much of your naked body. Instead, the gaping prince was presented with a perfect view of the royal backside in tight leather.

"I think that is quite evident," Thorin said dryly.

"Well, yes," Kili said, trying to look away and failing. "But you haven't— I mean, it's been ages since you— I didn't think you knew that she— What I meant to say is..."

"It was high time your uncle found someone to take off the pressure," you interjected kindly, before Thorin could make a cutting remark.

Thorin smiled into your hair. "You are entirely too modest, love. Despite your valiant efforts, I find that I am still under a great deal of pressure. Would you be willing to assist me with that?" He glanced at his dust-covered arm in disgust. "After a  long bath?"

"Love?!" Kili mouthed, fixing you with a helpless look. "Bath?"

You shrugged and wrapped your arms around Thorin's waist, forgetting all about Kili for a moment. "Where do you think you'll find hot water at this hour?"

Thorin grinned and lifted you into his arms. "Did I not tell you? There are a number of hot springs beneath the city. There is one with the most amazing deposits of amethyst in the rock wall…" Holding you up with one arm, he bent down to pick up your discarded dress and shouldered his way past a frozen Kili and out the door.

You linked your arms around his neck and rubbed your nose against his. "Tell me more."