Okay, I am not in fact dead. Sorry this is a late update. I have a project I already need to get started on and I've been trying to work on it over the last few days while keeping up with other homework and a social life. But I am back. I hope you all enjoy this chapter!

xoxo Mels


Adaira's POV

Over the next several days, I continued to meet with Thorin and Dain as Thorin worked remotely from his bed. It took a lot of convincing to keep him in bed and listening to Rînor's directions, but with some cajoling from me, Thorin gave in and did as he was directed to, staying in bed so his stitches wouldn't tear. Thorin was not remaining idle despite my pleas for him to rest when he overdid it. I knew that there was much yet to be done, but Thorin's health should be a top priority.

A trail of dwarves came in and out of his tent to speak with him, bringing their grievances before him or their fears. Watching Thorin act as King was truly an amazing sight for me. I felt as if I learnt quite a bit just from watching him and I also felt as if learnt where my own inadequacies lay when it came to ruling. When certain things were required of Thorin that would make it necessary for him to leave his bed, he deferred those dealings to me.

I always checked with Thorin before making a final decision in any matter, even if he constantly told me that he trusted me to speak on his behalf. While I was grateful for his vote of confidence, Thorin was King, not me and I was thankful for that. I didn't want to rule, not yet. I didn't think I was ready to lead our people and in any case, if I was Queen that meant something had happened to Thorin.

Thorin had yet to make a decision in regards to what to do when it came to King Thranduil and King Bard and after the third day had passed since I had brought up the issue I began to press him on the matter. It didn't look good on our part to let the matter drag on for too long. We could not make it seem like we were ignoring them both as any dealings with them in the future might be spoiled by how we approached them now.

Not to mention, it did not do our people any good to drag the matter out. An alliance with Bard and Thranduil could help our people return to prosperity. While Dain had called for more supplies from the Iron Hills, we were reliant upon the healers Thranduil was providing to us from the Woodland Realm. If he suddenly withdrew them because he felt snubbed by us it could mean the deaths of our people.

"Thorin, we need to give Thranduil and Bard an answer. If we continue to make them wait they may feel like we are snubbing them. It's already been a week since the battle," I reminded my Uncle as I sat beside his bed, trying to get him to make a decision and give me an answer.

"I have given thought to your words, mizimith. You have built a rapport with both Thranduil and Bard. As both you and the Elf," Thorin said, looking over at Rînor who was changing Fili's bandages, Rînor paying him no mind having gotten used to his moods by now. "...refuse to let me leave this bed — I have decided that you shall meet with them and negotiate an alliance in my stead," Thorin said, dropping a bomb on me and my mouth fell open in shock as my eyes widened.

"What!?" I shouted before lowering my voice as I heard Rînor shush me and I turned around to look at him and shot him an apologetic look before flicking my eyes to Tauriel, watching her shoulders relax before turning back to Thorin. "I can't!" I whisper shouted at Thorin as he watched me with an amused look on his face. "You're the King, Thorin. I'm only your heir. What if I mess up? What if I…?" I began to ramble as anxiety filled me and scenarios filled my head, all of them ending badly and Thorin raised his hand stopping me from continuing before he reached out and put a hand over mine which was resting on his bed.

"I have every confidence that you will negotiate terms that are beneficial to our people. You've spoken to them, you've sat with our wounded, our dying. Our people respect you. Already they look to you. I may be King mizimith, but you are the heart of us," Thorin told me, a small smile on his face and he squeezed my hand.

"I —Of course I'll do it. I'm just afraid of messing things up," I confessed to Thorin and he nodded in understanding.

"You need to have more confidence in yourself, mizimith. You know what you are doing. You have natural born leadership skills. The only thing you lack is trust in yourself," Thorin told me and I sighed, knowing he was right.

"I didn't really have anyone to be proud of me like I do now after adad...well you know. On Hegg I wasn't the sort of person you would go to in an emergency situation except if you were injured. I sort of was a wallflower. Not shy, but not really noticed I guess," I told Thorin who listened to me closely, still holding my hand.

"I knew that after the quest when we reclaimed Erebor things would be different, that I would have to be different and assume a new role, but I guess saying and doing are two different things. I want to help our people, but I'm afraid to say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing and have it reflect badly on you or the rest of the family," I finally said, admitting exactly what it was that made me hold back and not really have confidence in myself.

"Things are different now mizimith," Thorin began, nodding in agreement. "Erebor is reclaimed and now comes the hardest part. There is nothing you could say or do that would reflect badly on us because I know that you will put our people first. There are some things of course that you must keep in mind," Thorin told me and I nodded and he continued.

"We must never air our grievances with each other out in the open. We must present a unified ruling body to our people. If they saw you arguing with their King in public it does not present the right image. It is better to come to me and ask me to speak in private. I will always have time for you mizimith. The same could be said for you and Dwalin. You are my heir and Princess of Durin's Line. If you and Dwalin were seen having a marital spat in public it reflects poorly on the state of your marriage. Keep your private life private as much as possible," Thorin informed me and I hummed in understanding.

"I was angry at Dwalin when he came back drunk, but I thought it best to have him come inside the tent and not make a spectacle of himself where anyone could see him. Not just for my sake, but for his. The soldiers look up to Dwalin and they didn't need to see him like that. It sets the wrong precedence at the moment," I said and Thorin frowned deeply.

"Came back drunk? When was this?" Thorin asked me and I sat back in my seat, my eyes widening slightly as I realized that Thorin had not been told of the little incident. "Mizmith," Thorin prompted as I looked down at my lap and I groaned, knowing that he was not going to let it go until I told him what had happened.

"Dwalin didn't have the best initial reaction to the news that he was going to be a father," I said in a small voice, not looking at Thorin and when he was really quiet I chanced a look up at him and saw a vein popping in his clenched jaw. "It wasn't necessarily about being a father, it was because he found out that I knew and hadn't told him. Then you know ended up fighting a dragon and in a battle…," I said and Thorin unclenched his jaw finally.

"What happened?" Thorin asked me, his voice tight.

"He left to clear his head and cool down after our argument. Dwalin is stubborn as they come and hard headed, but so am I. It took him a few days to come around. He turned up late one night, very drunk," I said and Thorin's jaw clenched tightly once more so I held up my hand, stopping him from saying anything until I had finished.

"I asked him about what happened earlier that night before he turned up. Dwalin was bunking with some of Dain's soldiers while trying to wrap his head around everything I had told him. Which granted, I only told him because I threw up when I smelt Kili's wound and Dwalin had finally had enough and made me finally see Oin. Rînor knew, but assumed I already knew myself and didn't think it was his place to say anything just yet until he had a chance to talk to me alone which had yet to happen," I said, rambling slightly so I blew out a deep breath and got to the point.

"One of the soldiers was a father himself so Dwalin started asking questions. They talked and drank and Dwalin began to feel guilty for the way he left things between us so he drank even more. The soldiers tried to get him to sleep it off but you know Dwalin...stubborn. He had enough liquid courage in him to come and talk to me, but I don't think he was expecting to run into his brother and Gloin and Oin who stopped him before he could enter my tent. He ended up passing out after I let him inside and we talked the next morning and cleared everything up. I've forgiven him, he's forgiven me so there is no need to look like you've been sucking on a lemon," I told my Uncle who was indeed making a face and Thorin raised an eyebrow at me.

"Dwalin's lucky. Most darrowdams would have thrown him out on his ass," Thorin said after a moment and I snorted at that and rolled my eyes. "Gloin's wife has in fact several times," He added and I chuckled at that.

"Maybe I'm too nice, but I figured he'd just pass out anyway. Not to mention he only had himself to blame the next morning when he had a hangover," I said and Thorin chuckled at that.

"I hope you at least let him suffer," Thorin said and I made a face at that and shook my head.

"I took pity on him. Maybe that made the guilt worse. I was too kind," I told Thorin who shook his own head as I rose to my feet. "Well apparently I have to speak to Balin about arranging a meeting," I said with a sigh before shooting an annoyed look at my Uncle. "You just don't want to deal with Thranduil," I accused him and Thorin tried to play innocent.

"I hardly think my bedside is the proper place for a negotiation meeting. Of course, I could always hold the meeting myself. I'm sure I'm adequately healed," Thorin said as he began to lift his blankets and try to slide out of bed.

"Oh no you don't!" I told Thorin, pushing him back down on the bed. "You are staying right there, mister," I told him, narrowing my gaze at him as Thorin smirked at me. "Until your stomach is not being held together by string, you are staying put," I told my Uncle firmly and he sighed and settled back against his pillows.

"If I must," Thorin grumbled and I huffed out a breath through my nose. "Send Dain to me if you happen to see him. We need to start discussing making the mountain inhabitable if we are to have guests for winter," Thorin said and I nodded and turned away from his bed. I walked over to Tauriel who was sitting beside Kili, reading a book, one I had procured for her from the Elven camp that was written in Sindarin.

"Tauriel?" I asked in a quiet voice and the red haired elf looked up from her page. "How are you feeling today?" I asked the woman who blinked back at me. I didn't expect an answer, but was surprised and exceedingly thrilled when she spoke.

"I'm...well," Tauriel spoke, her voice equally as quiet as mine.

"Do you need anything?" I asked her, hoping that she would continue our conversation and at first Tauriel went to simply shake her head but then she cleared her throat slightly.

"No...I'm…," Tauriel said and she looked away from me. I gently reached out and put a hand on Tauriel's arm.

"It's okay," I told Tauriel gently and she turned her head, her eyes meeting mine. "You'll get there. You don't have to do anything until you feel ready," I assured Tauriel, squeezing her arm gently before pulling my hand away. Her lips turned up slightly and I turned to look over at my cousin. "Rînor said Kili's wound is healing really well. His color is coming back too. I hear you've been helping Rînor, I can see it's working," I said, turning back to look at Tauriel who looked perplexed and hopeful.

"I have to go and speak to Balin, but if you need anything just ask Rînor and he will send a message to me," I told Tauriel and I saw her nod her head slightly. I smiled down at her before heading for the tent entrance. "Rînor," I said, stopping by the tent flap and the Elf turned around to look at me from where he was grinding herbs together in a mortar at his work bench. "I leave my stubborn Uncle in your capable hands. If he gets up just whack him over the head for me," I told the Elf who smiled back at me as Thorin dignified my words with grumbled Khuzdul.

I grinned and headed out of the tent and into the sunshine, turning my face up towards the sun and feeling a few stray snow flurries falling down on my face. I shivered as a cold breeze whistled through the tent city and pulled my hood up over my head. I set off twisting and turning, Dwarves bowing their heads to me as I passed by them and I heard someone shout my name so I stopped and turned. I lowered my hood for a better look and saw Ori making his way towards me, hurrying to catch up with me.

"Adaira!" Ori said, out of breath as he finally made it to me and he bowed to me, shouldering his bag.

"Good morning Ori," I greeted the scribe with a smile and then I narrowed my eyes at him and leaned in towards him. "I told you to stop bowing," I hissed and Ori looked scandalized.

"It wouldn't be proper," Ori told me and I sighed and rolled my eyes. "Where's your guard?" Ori asked me, looking around and I looked down at my feet. I still was supposed to have one of the Company accompany me everywhere I went, but while I had been with Thorin this morning I had ditched my guard.

"I...uh," I stammered and Ori frowned at me. "I kind of ditched my guard this morning," I finally admitted and Ori shook his head, sighing.

"You're supposed to have guards for a reason," Ori scolded me, sounding just like Dori in that moment. "What if someone tried to harm you?" He asked me and I looked around us at all of Dain's soldiers.

"I'd scream. Or…," I said and I reached into my cloak and pulled a dagger out of my boot. "I'd stab them myself," I told Ori as I showed him the dagger. "I just did fight in a battle. If I can handle Orcs…," I said and Ori cut me off.

"You knew that was coming. You expected to be attacked. What if someone snuck up on you or attacked you when you were on your own?" Ori asked me and I frowned.

"Well, I'd…," I said, but I really didn't have an answer for what I would do in that situation.

"You could try to fight back, but it's safer to have a guard," Ori said before he took my arm and pulled me off to the side where it was quieter. "You're a Princess now. There are those who might want to do you harm. You might not see the reason for a guard, but you are Thorin's heir. If he dies, you're next in line for the throne. That makes you more of a target for those who want to bring down Durin's Line," Ori told me in a hushed whisper and I froze as I realized he was right. "And you're pregnant with the next Heir of Durin's Line," Ori added and that made my heart seize as I realized that if anyone wanted to take out not only the Heir to Durin's Line, but the next heir, all they had to do was kill me.

"I get your point, Ori," I told the scribe in a hushed voice as I put a hand over my bump protectively. "I promise, I won't ditch my guard from now on," I told him and Ori nodded, looking pleased.

"Where were you headed?" Ori asked me and I remembered that I was on my way to meet with Balin before Ori had stopped me.

"Balin," I said and Ori nodded before offering me his arm.

"I'm headed that way too," The scribe told me as I accepted his arm. "We'll just tell, Balin that I offered to escort you," Ori told me as we set off once more and I looked down at Ori and smiled, grateful to him as I realized that Balin indeed would have killed me if I had turned up without a guard...again.

Ori and I arrived at Balin's tent and I said a loud "ding dong" something I had been doing lately as we didn't have doors to knock on. I heard Balin call for me to enter his tent so Ori and I entered together and found Balin working at his makeshift desk. He looked up from whatever he was writing, a smile on his face as I squeezed Ori's arm tightly before letting go and heading over to Balin's desk and taking a seat in one of the chairs in front of it.

"Morning nadad," I greeted my brother in law as I got comfy, knowing this was probably going to be a long conversation.

"Good morning namadith," Balin greeted me before he looked over my shoulder at Ori. "Ori, do you have the scrolls I asked you for?" Balin asked the scribe and Ori nodded and approached Balin.

"It took some digging, but yes," Ori said as he pulled some scrolls out of his bag and handed them over to Balin. I raised my eyebrow questioningly and Balin, seeing this, filled me in on what was going on. "I had Ori return to Erebor to go through the King's Chambers and Royal Office. These are the last decrees made my Thror as King," Balin informed me and I made an "ah" expression.

"Does it matter that those decrees were written while Thror was seized by Goldsickness?" I asked Balin who shook his head with a sigh.

"Unfortunately, no," Balin told me as he sat back in his chair. "What we did with Thorin, having you rule in his stead until he was no longer taken by the Goldsickness has never been done before. A King is always fit to rule. We've had our share of bad King's, but no one would ever think of deposing them. To do so would be considered treason," Balin told me and I nodded in understanding.

"I wonder what our people will think of my decision to depose Thorin until he was no longer affected by the Arkenstone…," I said, putting a hand to my jaw. "I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression because of my actions," I said and Balin nodded.

"Time will only tell, lass. You did what you had to do in that moment and what was right for our people in the end," Balin told me and I sighed and nodded.

"So Thorin has finally decided what is to be done when it comes to Thranduil and Bard," I told Balin who looked pleased by this information as he had been just as worried as I was that we were sitting on this too long.

"Oh? And what has he decided?" Balin asked me, taking out a new piece of parchment and dipping his quill into ink, ready to jot down the royal decree.

"Thorin's brilliant idea is to have me negotiate the peace treaty with Bard and Thranduil because according to him I already have built a rapport with both men," I said, laying it out for Balin and he looked up at me.

"Thorin has requested for you to negotiate the peace treaty?" Balin asked me as if for confirmation and I nodded as I waited for him to get up to go yell at Thorin and ask him what the hell he was thinking. "That's actually quite smart," Balin said and I blinked back at him, not expecting him to say that as he started writing things down.

"Ori perhaps you should stay, this will take some careful planning," Balin told Ori who nodded and pulled his bag off before grabbing another chair and pulling it up to Balin's desk, Balin shoving parchment and a quill at the scribe.

"That's it? You think this is a good idea too?" I asked Balin who looked up from his scribbling at me.

"Indeed it is," Balin told me as I groaned and sat back in my chair. "Thorin and Thranduil have never seen eye to eye, in fact their last meeting went rather poorly. Yours however went exceptionally well. You gave both Thranduil and Bard something they dearly needed or wanted and only asked for peace between your people," Balin said and I snorted at that.

"And then I believe Dain came in and called Thranduil a pointy-eared princess and tried to start a war with the Elves," I pointed out to Balin who grimaced as I reminded him that if Azog's army had not shown up when it did, Dain would have started an all out war with Thranduil. "Dain refused to stand down, especially with me telling him to. Who was I to tell him to stand down his armies? Thorin was the one who brought him there, Thorin was King. I was a nobody. I doubt Thranduil is going to be too happy about that little fact. We're going to have to be very apologetic if he is ever going to listen to another thing we say. I promised him peace and I couldn't even stand by my word," I said and Balin nodded as he realized I was right.

"We can only hope that Thranduil will be forgiving and listen to you, lass. Tell him frankly what happened," Balin told me and I hummed slightly before I raked a hand through my hair which was a messy pixie cut by now.

"We need to hold the meeting in a neutral location, before it was prudent to hold it within Erebor, but now I think it is best to hold it outside of the mountain. We should serve a light lunch. We will have much to talk about and a break to eat will hopefully appease both men. Thranduil may be an Elf, but I don't know any man who doesn't get grouchy when he's hungry. Thranduil likes fancy wine so I will speak with the Elven camp, see if we can't purpose a trade. Bard on the other hand is a simple man. Some of our ale should be good for him. And we must remember that Thranduil is an Elf so we need vegetables on our table, not just meat," I rambled as I tried to think of everything that we might need for this meeting. I looked up and saw that both Ori and Balin were writing down everything that I was saying and Balin looked up as I stopped speaking and he gestured for me to continue.

"Um...obviously we have less to offer Thranduil than we do Bard, but that doesn't mean that we can forget Thranduil. Well, this isn't so much a trade negotiation as a peace treaty, but if all the Northern Kingdoms are going to be successful it would be best if we have some amount of trade with one another. If I think of something maybe I can work that in too…," I said, biting my lip as I tried to think about it and I sighed and shook my head.

"I really can't think of anything more right now, Balin. Obviously I can't really say how Thranduil or Bard will react until we get into the meeting. I'm probably going to have to read the room and their moods and go from there. It's best that we give them at least a day's notice. Most likely they are very busy and we don't want to spring this on them at the last minute or appear demanding after we left this for so long," I told Balin who looked pleased as he finished writing and smiled at me.

"I think you'll do just fine namadith. It will be just like when you met with them before the battle," He told me and I chuckled slightly at that.

"I was sweating bullets then and that was just trying to end a war before it started, not negotiate a peace treaty," I said and Balin chuckled.

"A little bit of nerves is always healthy," Balin told me and I snorted.

"Little bit?" I asked him with a raised eyebrow. "Think more like...cavernous size," I told him and both Balin, Ori and I laughed. Some entered the tent behind us then and Balin looked up before smiling and nodding and I turned around to see my husband standing slightly behind my chair.

"Mo chridhe," I greeted my husband and I rose from my chair, a large grin on my face as I flung myself at Dwalin who caught me and hugged me tightly as I wrapped my arms around his neck. I buried my face into the crook of his shoulder and breathed in deeply before I pulled back and looked up at him. "Hi," I said as Dwalin looked down at me, his hands on my hips.

"Amrâlimê," Dwalin said before he leaned down and kissed me and I pushed myself up on my toes to reach his lips better. When he pulled away I pouted slightly, making Dwalin chuckle. He wrapped one arm around my waist before pulling me to his side and looking over at his brother. "Think I can steal my wife for a few hours, nadad?" Dwalin asked Balin as I cuddled into my husband's side, Balin just smiling as he watched us.

"Well, we have everything here mostly figured out. I can start working with the cooks and find a spot for the meeting to be held," Balin said as he thought it over, stroking a hand through his beard before he smiled. "We can do without you for a few hours, lass," Balin finally said, smiling and I grinned brightly before taking Dwalin's hand in mine and pulling him towards the entrance to the tent.

"Quick! Before he changes his mind," I told my husband who laughed, Balin's laughter following us as well as Dwalin and I walked out into the sunshine. Dwalin wrapped his arm around my waist and I wrapped mine around his and we walked off through the tent city, Dwalin leading the way. "So, are you going to tell me where we are going?" I asked my husband, looking up at him.

"No," Dwalin said lowly, looking down at me with a smirk on his face as I huffed and I shook my head knowing that I wouldn't be able to get it out of him, he was too stubborn.

Surprisingly, Dwalin lead us to the outskirts of the camp and I frowned in confusion when I saw two battle rams saddled and waiting. I raised an eyebrow at my husband, but he said nothing and just escorted me over to one, lifting me on to the back of it and helping me settle down into the saddle. It was only when he was assured that I was safely seated that he pulled himself up onto his own ram and he spurred his on. I gently kicked the sides of my ram which trotted off after Dwalin's and we rode side by side away from the camp.

"Thought you could use some time away from all that," Dwalin said as we trotted side by side away from the camp and I smiled as I sat back in the saddle.

"I do. It's so strange being in the middle of everything and constantly being on display," I told him and he nodded and that was when I realized that he was leading us towards the mountain. "Are we going to Erebor?" I asked my husband as the mountain loomed closer, the rams easily crossing the rocky terrain.

"Aye," Dwalin answered me and I rolled my eyes at his one word answer which was only one step up from his grunting.

I followed him in and when we reached the mountain, fires were let in the braziers and two of Dain's soldiers were guarding very open doorway into the mountain. They let us pass through the entrance without question and Dwalin and I rode in only a little further before dismounting, Dwalin lifting me down off my ram, and leaving our mounts with another Dwarf who was tending to several mounts already. Dwalin offered me his hand then and I accepted it, drawing close to him as we entered the mountain.

Instantly I felt that niggling sensation return in my stomach before the mountain filled me with warmth and I smiled as I walked through the Entrance Hall into the mountain, many torches lit, scattering light into the cavernous space which glittered off the walls and reflected back towards us. Our footsteps echoed as we walked as without the noise of so many people living in the mountain there was nothing to drown them out.

I recognized the path Dwalin took as he led me through the mountain. First we walked to the throne room and from there, one of the doors nestled into the stone which would usually have been well guarded, led to the private living quarters of the Royal Family. Once we were in the Royal Wing Dwalin suddenly snatched me up, picking me up and holding me close to his chest as he carried me bridal style. I giggled as he literally swept me off of my feet. He walked to Dis' room and pushed open the door, carrying me over the threshold.

My mouth dropped as I saw the room and Dwalin put me down on my feet as he pushed the door closed behind us. Someone had cleaned the receiving room, the threadbare moth eaten tapestries gone and the furniture polished, no longer covered under a layer of grime. The carpets all looked like they had been taken out and beaten, the colors bright and vibrant and the room smelt of cedar and lemons. Candles were lit in various lamps filling the room with a bright sunny glow. I turned around and looked up at my husband who just nodded his head in the direction of the bedroom door.

I walked across the room, trailing my hands over polished wood and dust free velvet chairs before opening the door to the bedroom. The room had also been cleaned. Gone was the dark, dusty room I had woken up in. This room was bright and clean, the bed made with soft linens and furs and there was a chaise lounge positioned in front of the fireplace in which a lovely fire was roaring. I walked over to the bed frame and ran my hand across the newly polished wood before looking back at my husband.

"It's beautiful," I told Dwalin as I smiled at him softly and he looked slightly red about the face as he stood in the doorway awkwardly.

"Yah like it?" He asked me and I nodded, casting my eyes about the room.

"I thought living in a mountain would be dark or uncomfortable, but this is…," I said and Dwalin reached up and rubbed the back of his neck with one of his hands.

"I thought yah might feel more comfortable in this room. We'll all be movin' in tah the mountain soon and with the bairn…," Dwalin said and I stared at my husband, frowning slightly as I walked closer to him.

"Dwalin, did you clean in here?" I asked him and Dwalin nodded his head. "I...Come here," I told him and I pulled him into my arms. He held me tightly to his chest and buried his face into my hair. "Thank you," I told him as I pulled away from him and looked up at him. "Really, I love it," I told him and he nodded and even smiled slightly.

"I thought, maybe...we could put a bassawhatsit in here for the bairn just until we can set up a nursery," Dwalin said and I smiled at him, laughing slightly.

"A bassinet?" I asked him and Dwallin nodded at me.

"One of them," He confirmed and I shook my head wondering how on earth I got to be so lucky and pushed myself up on my toes to kiss Dwalin. He seemed a bit surprised at first but eased into the kiss, his hands coming to settle on my waist and he even got cheeky, one hand coping a feel of my bum. I squeaked slightly when he pinched it before laughing into the kiss.

"Oi!" I told him, still laughing as I pushed my hands against his chest and Dwalin reached up and grabbed my hands in his.

"Come 'er," He told me and he picked me up and sat me down on the bed before standing between my legs. He slid both hands up to the sides of my face and tilted it to the side before continuing to kiss me and I slid my own hands up to his arms before running my hands down his back.

When I reached the hem of his shirt I began pulling it upwards and Dwalin broke off our kiss only long enough to pull his shirt over his head and toss it somewhere in the room. I smiled at him as I ran my hands up his chest and ran my fingers through his chest hair, our eyes locked together. Dwalin's mouth descended on mine once more and I locked my ankles around the back of his legs before pulling him down on top of me, Dwalin letting out a breath of air as he fell, before rolling to the side and I looked at him with a predatory look. Two could play at that game.

The candles were burning low and Dwalin and I were laying under the furs, my head on his chest. I slowly trailed my fingers through the hair on his chest absentmindedly as he ran his thumb over my hip bone. I hummed slightly before twisting, covering Dwalin more completely with my naked body as I pressed kisses to the skin between his neck and shoulder. Dwalin's hand settled low over my butt and he looked down at me, his other arm coming up to wrap around me.

"I need ah minute more if yah want tah go again," Dwalin told me in a husky voice and I chuckled at that, pushing myself up a little further to kiss his cheek.

"While that sounds delightful, you already tired me out," I told my husband who smirked with self satisfaction, making me elbow him slightly in the ribs. Dwalin chuckled and I stretched my whole body out then, yawning deeply and Dwalin grabbed me around the middle, pulling me flush against him and kissing my cheek, his scruffy beard tickling my cheek and neck, making me giggle.

Laying on top of his chest, I closed my eyes and I listened to the rise and fall of his chest beneath my ear. After everything we had just gone through, it was a comforting sound. Even having done all of it myself, it was still hard to wrap my head around everything we had done on this quest that I had done. The miracle of it all is that we all were alive. Some of us with minor injuries and others wit worse than that, but none of us had died.

Dwalin began to rub soothing circles over my back, dragging his hands lazily over my spine. Between the warmth of his body and his rhythmic breathing, I fell into a deep sleep. I only woke up hours later when Dwalin gently slid me from his chest back down onto the bed before he slid out of it, leaving me in a warm spot. I burrowed deep down where he had been laying and stole his pillow, sinking beneath the furs as I willed sleep to come to me once more.

I could hear Dwalin moving about our room after he came out of the bathroom and I grumbled and put my arm over my head to block out the noise. I heard my husband chuckle and then I felt his hand as he slowly walked his knuckles down my spine. I sighed and opened my eyes, turning slightly as I stretched and I looked up towards Dwalin.

"Mmmm. Hi," I said in a slightly sleep rough voice as I turned over onto my back and looked up at my husband who I noticed was fully appreciating my naked body.

"If it was up tah me I'd let yah sleep longer, but it's best we be getting back to the camp. No doubt Thorin will already be lookin' for yah," Dwalin told me and I closed my eyes, groaning slightly before opening them again.

"He's probably not. Thorin's given the reins over to me so to speak," I said as I sat up against the headboard, piling the pillows behind my back and Dwalin raised an eyebrow questioningly at me.

"Thorin's decided that I will be the one to meet with Thranduil and Bard to negotiate a peace treaty because I've built a rapport with them both. Honestly I think Thorin just doesn't want to deal with Thranduil himself. It might be better off for us in some ways that Thorin isn't negotiating this. Thorin is proud and so is Thranduil. It's the competition of egos that I think would have made it difficult for Thorin to have made peace with Thranduil," I told my husband as I played with my hands, absentmindedly digging out dirt from under my fingernails. Note to self, make sure I cut my nails and groom well before my meeting with Bard and Thranduil.

"Ah so it's Thorin I should thank for keepin' yah busy," Dwalin grumbled and I chuckled at that as I flicked my gaze up to him.

"By all means, please, complain to him," I told my husband who chuckled in response and I sighed deeply, yawning once more before I threw back the furs and swung my legs over the side of the bed, deciding that I couldn't be lazy anymore.

When I stood I noticed that Dwalin's gaze instantly dropped to my midsection and he sobered before taking several steps towards me, closing the distance between us. Gently he reached out and placed a hand over the slight swell in my midsection, his fingers splaying out to encompass it entirely. I reached down and put my hand over his as our eyes met.

"How's the bairn?" Dwalin asked me in a low, husky voice and I smiled at him as I rubbed my thumb in circles over the back of his hand.

"Happy and healthy," I answered my husband as I played with his fingers. I frowned then as a thought came to my mind, one that had kept coming up since I had first broken the news to him that I was pregnant. "Dwalin…," I said and I heard him hum as he rubbed his fingers over my skin. "We never really had time to talk about it before being on the road or being newlyweds, but I guess I've been wondering…did you...do you want to be a father?" I asked my husband, looking up at him once more and I saw Dwalin frown and the startlement at my words.

"Do I want to be an adad?" Dwalin asked me and I nodded in confirmation of my question.

"Our courtship, even our marriage has been so quick I guess we've not really had time to get to know each other and now it's not going to be just us and I realized we just never really talked about what we both wanted," I said and Dwalin frowned more deeply at me.

"Where is all this coming from?" He asked me and I frowned myself.

"I...I know most of your reaction to the news was from shock over realizing what I had just done in my condition and anger about me having kept things from you, but I guess I wondered….," I said and Dwalin cut me off as he pulled his hand away from my midsection.

"I wasn't angry with yah because I didn't want our bairn," Dwalin told me before he shook his head. "Do yah truly think that?" He asked me and I shook my own head quickly.

"No, I could never think that of you. It's just...I...we never talked about starting a family," I said with a sigh as I sat on the edge of the bed and put a hand over my baby bump.

"It's a shock aye," Dwalin said as he took a few steps towards me and put his hands on my shoulders and I looked up at him, our eyes meeting. "If yah had asked me before if I ever wanted to be an adad I would have said no," He said and I opened my mouth but Dwalin laid a finger on my lips to stop me from talking. "That was before I met yah. I never thought I would find my One. I helped Dis raise Fili and Kili and they were hard enough to raise," Dwalin said and I smirked as Dwalin shook his head before he took a seat beside me on the bed.

"Aye, everything's happened quickly, but I want to be an adad. I want our bairn," Dwalin told me firmly as he drew my hands into his much larger ones and I smiled back at him warmly. "Do yah want to be an amad?" Dwalin asked me then and I blinked at him in shock for a moment, surprised by the question. I understood it though. Given our age difference and how we had never talked about things like wanting kids before getting married, it was a reasonable question for him to ask.

"I've always wanted children and a family of my own," I answered Dwalin truthfully and I saw Dwalin instantly relax at my answer. "I never thought I would find someone who loves me as much as you do and I know you'll be a great father. I guess I worried because it's all seemed to happen so quickly," I told my husband and he nodded.

"I know I wouldn't change anything, amrâlimê," Dwalin told me, bringing one of my hands to his lips and kissing the back of it.

"Neither would I mo chridhe," I told Dwalin before leaning in towards him and stealing my hands back so I could slip them around the back of his neck and tangle them into his hair and bear before I kissed him. "I love you," I told him firmly, hearing him repeat it back in Khuzdul. My life had been turned upside down over the last year, but I would change it for the world.


Khuzdul:

Mizimith- Little jewel

Adad- Father

Nadad- Brother

Namadith- Little sister

Amrâlimê-My love

Amad- Mother

Gaelic:

Mo chridhe- My heart