For any new readers, I am currently in the process of revamping some of the older content of this story. Any chapter that has been updated will be marked with a date. Thanks for reading and please enjoy the story!
Pain erupted as my back collided with the sharp rock of the mountainside. Unnatural stars corrupted my perfect vision and my head throbbed in protest as I searched in a feeble attempt to locate a weapon. A sword, a stone, or even a stone would have given me precious hope. However, as my daggers lay out of reach I could do no more than gaze in horror at the beast creeping towards me. Bolg lifted a heavy arm to retrieve the weapon from his back. The unbearable realization began to creep into the deepest folds of my brain. I was defenseless, exhausted, and some of the fiercest pain I've ever experienced rushed through my back. I would not reach my dwarf. I was going to die on this mountain.
The pain that seared my body was nothing compared to the ache that spread to my heart. Perhaps it was for the best. Nothing good could come between us in a world full of so much hatred. I was already unwelcome amongst my own kind and it was doubtful that the dwarves of Erebor would differ in any way. It was painful concept to grasp, knowing that my death would go practically unnoticed. I only hoped that Kili would not suffer a similar fate.
It was then that I heard the rushing footsteps from above. My hearing recovered in time to witness the dwarf's defiant yell as he leapt upon the orc. A wave of hope flooded my chest as Kili's sword narrowly missed the beast's head. He struggled to keep his hold and was almost immediately thrown onto the staircase. Quickly recovering, he pushed to his feet with a growl and threw himself back into the fight. He dodged an attack and slashed at the orc's midriff before Bolg's fist slammed into the dwarf's face. Before I even had time to comprehend the panic of watching his sword drop, I was on my feet in an instant. The dwarf was dazed within the orc's grasp and I leapt with all remaining strength to slam my dagger into its flesh.
The orc howled and within moments I was thrown away once again. Kili took advantage of the distraction and drove his sword upwards into flesh. He pushed himself away from the beast and watched him fall to the ground howling. As the orc drew its final breath, I finally breathed a sigh of relief. With the immediate danger gone, I relaxed my muscles and laid upon the cold ground for a moments rest.
"Tauriel," Kili panted as he rushed to kneel by my side. "You are injured…"
"I am alright," I whispered tiredly. A pair of hands gripped my shoulders and I was gently moved into a seated position. I clenched my eyes tightly to counter the pain that the movement brought. Not once did his hands leave my shoulders. It took strength to cast aside the instinct I felt to push him away. My elven kin knew better than to lay a finger upon my body, Kili did not. Yet, even more terrifying was the realization that I welcomed his touch.
Relief flowed through my veins at his survival and before I realized what I was doing, my head fell comfortably upon his shoulder. My heart pounded with emotion as I reveled in the fact that we both still lived. Kili wrapped an arm around my back, which only caused my heart to beat more rapidly. I clung to his shoulders as his name escaped my lips in a whisper. I could feel his cheeks curl into a smile but the moment was stolen from roars of the advancing army.
"We cannot stay here," he sighed into my hair. "There are more coming, can you stand?"
"Yes," I reluctantly pulled away from him. Every single movement tore at my back, but with his help I made it to my feet. He made certain that I could stand on my own before turning to retrieve our weapons. When he returned, there was a smile upon his face.
"I never thought I would be fighting alongside an elf," he stated as he handed me the daggers. I could not help but smirk at the comment. Truly, I shared similar thoughts. No dwarf had passed through our forest in what felt like centuries. Their recent presence was indeed a surprise. He met my gaze and his tone turned serious. "Will you remain by my side?"
"Such little faith in me?" I teased, returning his smile.
"I have nothing but faith in your skills, but it is no surprise that you are injured." He pointed out. "Not to mention we are both exhausted. We will work much better as a team."
Team. A smile took control of my features. I began to recall the events that lead me here to this very mountain. "What you feel for that dwarf, is not real." My King's harsh words clouded my mind. Is my heart truly lying to me?
Before I could dwell on the thoughts any further, movement sprung along the slabs of rock above us. I pushed aside the King's words and my complex feelings for the time being.
"I would be honored to fight beside a dwarf," I offered a final smile to him before turning my attention to the orcs that were now descending the stairs. My body protested in pain, yet I lunged forward alongside the dwarf.
It was incredible how well we fought together, as if elves and dwarves were designed to work with each other from the very beginning. She would strike high, while I fought low. Together we struck down every orc and beast in our path. The only problem was there seemed to be no end to the army. My body ached as I pushed through the exhaustion. I knew Tauriel had more bruises than I and yet she refused to allow any form of weakness show. I had to keep fighting.
"Eagles!" Tauriel exclaimed from beside me. I followed her gaze up to the sky and could not resist a smile. The great eagles swooped down and swarmed the battlefield, killing every orc unfortunate enough to find themselves in their path. "We can survive this."
I met her eyes. Her renewed spirit was contagious and we returned to the fight with a fresh heart. The giant birds cleared the area around us before migrating to the battlefield below. My chest practically heaved by the time Tauriel slashed through her final orc.
I collapsed to my knees as we were awarded with a few moments of rest. The adrenaline faded quickly and exhaustion finally took control of my body. As I struggled for breath, the thought of losing Fili burst to the surface. Only this time there were no enemies to release my fury.
"Fili." A sob burst through my lips. I had no energy to fight the tears that crept from my eyes. "My brother… He's gone."
Tauriel remained quiet as she knelt beside me. From the corner of my eye I could see her wrestle with the decision to offer a comforting hand. After a few moments she finally chose to rest her fingers on my shoulder. She did not speak. Instead, she allowed me to grieve in silence. I did not know how long we sat there, but the moment finally came when no more tears could fall. My breathing steadied as my sorrow was replaced with emptiness.
"I am sorry Kili," her voice was small. It was evident that she was not placed in a position such as this often, yet her presence was more helpful than I could ever explain. I reached a hand to cover hers as it laid upon my shoulder. She shivered at the touch and for a moment I feared that she would pull away. However, she relaxed her muscles and remained at my side.
A new thought occurred to me. I nearly lost her too. Just moments before I reached her, Bolg had been ready to deliver a final strike. Had I been even a second later, she may have been lost to me.
"I cannot express how relieved I am that you are alive," I told her quietly. My head turned to look her in the eye. She was struggling to remain strong, as I could see the tears threatening to spill from her eyes. Her mouth opened slightly, but she could not seem to form any words. Yet it was clear in her eyes, the feeling was reciprocated. After all, she had spent countless efforts to keep me alive thus far. I would never be able to repay her for all that she has done on my behalf. Not that I was troubled to be in her debt. Now, if Uncle knew of the deeds I owed her…
"Thorin!" Tauriel jumped, startled by my sudden outburst. I pushed myself to my feet in an instant. How could I have forgotten about uncle? "We must find him!"
I began running and she quickly fell in stride beside me. We made our way down the steps to where Fili… I shook my head. I had to force myself to push away the fears of seeing his body if we had any chance of reaching the dwarven king. We were close to where his body would lie. A knot clogged my throat as I prepared to round the corner. To my surprise, there were three figures kneeling over my brother. Initially, I expected to see the company mourning him. Instead, the elven king Thranduil knelt at his side. Standing nearby was the elven prince and to my relief a bruised and battered Thorin.
"Uncle!" I gasped. His body was covered with cuts and bruises, but thankfully nothing appeared to threaten his life. He met my eyes and pressed a finger to his lips, signaling for silence. It was then that I noticed the elf king chanting something in his language. His hands pressed against the large gash on Fili's chest. I glanced at Tauriel and she gave a reassuring smile. He was trying to heal him.
Behind them, the elf prince locked his gaze upon us. He did not glare accusingly as he had several days ago on the beach. Instead, he wore a soft expression. It was evident that my presence irritated him but I could not help but notice the sorrow in his eyes as he shifted his gaze between Tauriel and I.
"He lives, but only just," the elven king stated. I released a breath that I had not realized I'd been holding. My heart lit up with joy. "He needs much more work. Tauriel, I will need your assistance."
I felt her stiffen beside me. She appeared nervous but very slowly did she obey her king.
"I will return to the fields below," the blonde prince spoke. "There is still a battle to be won."
"Kili," Thorin glanced at me. "You should join him. They will need all able hands to finish this battle."
I glared at my uncle in disbelief. I had only just learned that my brother may yet live and he expected me to leave him behind to join some elven prince back on the battlefield. I met the blonde elf's gaze and it was evident that he was just as annoyed as I.
"Your brother is in good hands," Thorin stated. His tone made it clear that there would be no more discussion. I grumbled before turning towards the elf. I glanced back to Tauriel who gave me an encouraging smile before turning her attention to her king. I ran to catch up to the prince, who didn't seem to care if I was following. Fine by me, I thought to myself.
"Are dwarves incapable of haste?" He taunted.
"Is that a challenge, master elf?" I retorted. "I have had a very trying day, I would not be opposed to removing your legs from your body."
"Are all dwarves so easily tempered?" he smirked. "Besides, I would not bother challenging a being who can hardly keep pace."
"Afraid of being upstaged by a dwarf are you?" I returned his expression. "What do you say we make this interesting?"
My king continued to work on the injured dwarf. I stood nearby to await any order he might give, however I had a suspicious feeling that his true intentions differed. Fear swarmed my chest as I imagined what would transpire once we were alone. I recalled the sword at my neck as he degraded my affections. My heart ached as I wondered what would have happened had Legolas not intervened. Would he have followed through with his attack? I had long since known that Thranduil was a cold king, yet I never imagined him taken up a sword against his own.
Behind me, the dwarf king paced the mountainside as he watched his nephew cling to the thinnest strings of life. It was curious that Thranduil attended to the dwarf prince. I could not help but wonder how his hardened hard was convinced to help the dwarves he was ready to abandon. Whatever miracle was provided from above, the two kings honored each other for the time being.
"He will require much rest before he can be expected to wake," Thranduil finally spoke. His back straightened as he rose to his feet. "And much more after, until he can be expected to be on his feet."
"Aye, rest he shall have," Thorin cleared his throat. He was uncomfortable, that much was evident. However, his appreciation overcame his pride. "King Thranduil, I… I thank you for this kindness."
"Your gratitude is misplaced," the elf stated dryly. "It appears my son has a newly found interest in healing the rift between our peoples. A cause that I am not ready to agree to. Perhaps this can be proof to him that I am willing to support his cause."
Anxiety rose as the dwarf clenched his jaw. Being at the mercy of an elf clearly unsettled him. I feared that he would act rashly, yet he gently bowed his head.
"Never the less, I thank you. Now if you will leave him in dwarvish hands, we shall take it from here." Only then did I notice two figures hiding in the shadows. A halfling walked cautiously beside another dwarf. His eyes were gentle as he stared between Thranduil and I, offering a light smile as he neared. "Dwalin, Bilbo; come help me carry him."
"Very well. Tauriel, come." In a swift movement, he had turned and walked towards the battle below. My heart leapt into my throat. To defy his orders yet again would be unwise. My feet moved reluctantly after the king.
The walk was unsettling. He moved slowly, delaying the inevitable punishment that he had planned. Whatever that may be. I scanned the area around me only to find that we were alone.
"It appears I have been placed in an awkward position," he sighed. My body tensed, knowing what harsh words were bound to follow. "To push you away, is to push away my son. I must admit that my judgments against you may have been… rash. I will allow your return to Mirkwood, but you will be stripped of your title as Captain."
Any rational elf would have been relieved at the news, however the thought of returning home did not feel comforting. I felt as if I would be returning to a prison, especially now that I had no title to my name.
"Thank you, my Lord. Though I am not certain I can return. So much has changed and I am not sure that I will find comfort confined in those woods any longer."
"Or perhaps the problem is you will find the return to be lonely, due to the lack of a certain dwarf," he said with irritation. I glanced up at him expecting to be met with disgust, however his expression appeared troubled. "I will not pretend to approve of any feelings you think you have for a dwarf. However, I will withhold judgment… For the time being. My offer stands, if it is your wish to return. For now, return to the battlefield and assist in what ways you can."
"T-thank you," I stuttered. The last thing I expected from the king was kindness, well as much kindness as one can expect from someone like him. He bowed his head and took his leave, heading towards the city where he had left his army.
My heart remained troubled. I did not know what I expected, but I had the smallest amount of hope that he would recall the harsh statement earlier. My head spun in confusion, trying desperately to ignore the fire within my heart. The inner battle caused my head to ache, so I made my way to the battle. I had been so certain when the halfling declared that Kili was amongst the dwarves about to be overrun at Ravenhill. I had been so sure of my feelings for him. Yet now, as the orc army dwindled and the danger practically gone, I was more confused than ever.
Fear. That was the only emotion I could comprehend. Fear of acting on false feelings. Fear of allowing myself to love a mortal. Fear of dooming us both to a life of great struggle. Would never be accepted in this world, that much was certain. For a moment, I desired nothing more than to flee far away.
The clang of metal against metal brought me from my thoughts. As I reached the battlefield I spotted an orc much larger than the others in its army. It swung its mighty arm at the dwarves below. They looked tiny in comparison to the beast. Although, even an elf would appear small in comparison. I reached for my bow to fire at the monster, but as I felt nothing I recalled that my bow had been destroyed. Just then the orc howled, stumbling for a moment before falling forward. Legolas stood at the head of the beast and removed his sword from its skull. It was an impressive kill and I could not help but admire the way he made it seem easy.
"Still only counts as one!" Kili yelled as he ran past Legolas, slaying a couple orcs in the process.
"Are you so far behind that you worry about the size of my victims?" The elf prince smirked.
"Just keeping you honest," he smirked as he drove his sword into another. "Ninety three!"
"What? I will not be bested by a dwarf."
I was so entranced at the two quarreling that I nearly received a blow from an oncoming orc. I dodged the attack and quickly leapt into action.
"Tauriel!" Kili smiled when he noticed me. "Come to join the fun have you?"
"What are you two doing?" I questioned. I was not powerful enough to fight the smile controlling my features.
"One hundred and two!"
"Excuse me my lady, while I make an elf prince cry." He winked and began fighting even quicker. I had no idea how he had any energy left but I fought on beside them, the smile never leaving my face. Perhaps a life together might not be so impossible after all.