AN: Here's part 2! If you didn't catch it from the first part, this is very AU. If you're interested, here's a link to a dancer that might help with visualizations: www . youtube dot com /watch?v = Xr6RaPGHVQE. And also, I have drawn a bit of art for this AU, which you can find on my tumblr: shinigami714 . tumblr dot com. And of course there is extra info in the endnotes.
Pairings: Fíli/Kili, Thorin/Bilbo, Dwalin/Ori, Bofur/Nori
Chapter 2 - Ulubôz
Dís ran through the halls of the palace, her skirts flailing about her as tears streamed down her face. She felt only anguish in her heart as she searched every room, every hidden hallway. The palace guards ran behind her examining every entrance and exit, and awakening the entire court. Thorin ran from his rooms at the commotion, the sound of his sister's cries echoing through the halls.
"Dís! What's wrong, what's happened?" Thorin shouted, and he moved to hold his sister's quaking form.
"They've taken him! My baby boy!" she cried, falling to the floor in her anguish. Thorin lifted her gently and turned her face towards his own.
"The stone?" He whispered, and she pulled away harshly, moving back towards her beloved sons' rooms.
"My child! My child!" she sobbed, walking heavily through the wide hall, leaning against the wall. Thorin followed behind desperately, and he gripped her shoulder to stop her.
"Where's the Arkenstone?" He asked again, his face serious as he stared into his sister's eyes. Dis scoffed and shook his grip from her arm.
"You're blasted stone is safe! Atop Fíli's head as always," Dís shouted, a heated glare upon her face, and Thorin flinched and looked around. Guards were still running up and down the hallways behind them and poking into rooms, but no one else was in sight. Dís pushed a set of heavy doors open and flew into the rooms beyond. She collapsed in tears against her youngest son's bed and gripped the sheets tightly between her fingers.
"Mama?" Fíli whispered in the dark, and his feet padded softly over to her. She sniffled and gripped her eldest boy in a fierce hug, pulling him to her chest.
"Mama, where's Kíli?" Fíli asked, and Dís hated the fear she saw in his young eyes.
"Gone, my sweet, he's gone," she murmured, and as tears filled Fíli's eyes, she rocked him in her arms, sobbing along with him. Thorin watched in silence, his eyes wandering to the empty bed his sister leant against. He touched it with a hand, and frowned. It was still warm from Kíli's sleeping form; surely his nephew could not have gone far. But at the sight of the crumpled pillow and thrown off sheets, anguish still filled his heart. Thorin stood tall as guards entered the room, and Dwalin approached him hesitantly.
"There's no sign of him, my King," the soldier muttered, and rubbed the back of his head nervously. The other guards looked equally as nervous under their king's scrutiny and Thorin frowned and breathed out of his nose, trying to stay calm.
"Keep looking, search the villages, search beyond if you must," Thorin voiced, and Dwalin nodded before rushing away, the other guards in tow.
"We'll find him Dís," Thorin whispered, though his sister did not budge, nor acknowledge his words in any way, continuing to rock Fíli in her arms as she sobbed.
Erebor thrived as it always had, and the people within the walls of the Kingdom were happy and fulfilled. The young prince had grown, and entered the first years of adulthood, beginning to look like the King he would one day be, and Thorin's rule remained steadfast and strong. The men of the court and people of Erebor were completely loyal to the royal family, ensuring the Kingdom's continued prosperity.
But despite this peace, Fíli was bored. He loved Erebor, he loved the palace, and he loved the people, but sometimes, he just needed to get out. Something was missing from his life, always had been. Ever since his brother had been taken, Fíli felt lost within the walls of his home. His heart ached, and often he felt as though it belonged to another. He had many friends and comrades, but still, he wanted more.
The meetings in the court were drab most days, as the men around him talked of trade and commerce. The surrounding Kingdoms always wanted a piece of Erebor's bounty, and though Thorin willingly gave what he could, there were lines that needed to be drawn, and Fíli found he did not quite care about such things. Not yet anyway. Perhaps one day, when the people were his responsibility alone.
He dazed off for a bit, slouching slightly in his seat and tugging gently at his beard while he listened half-heartedly to the overlapping conversations. He was just pondering the unusual moles upon Óin's face when something piqued his interest.
"I have a message here from King Thranduil. It says the palace of the west was taken, overthrown by some unknown force; he's requesting our help," Balin spoke, his eyebrows raised slightly as he scanned the words. Thorin shifted forwards in his seat and frowned while Fíli sat up straighter.
"We have not spoken with any of their Kingdom in years, why send for help here?" Thorin questioned.
"Are yeh sure it was meant for us?" Dwalin asked, crossing his large arms across his chest.
"Yes, I'm more than sure, the note is signed from King Thranduil himself, and addressed to you, my lord," Balin said as he looked up and handed Thorin the parchment. The king squinted at it in disbelief, thumbing the seal that was unmistakably Thranduil's with confusion in his eyes. Thorin slapped the paper down against the table and contemplated his choices before he turned to his nephew.
"Fíli, take a small army and go see what can be done. We've never had…strong alliances with Thranduil, but I refuse to let innocents suffer if they can be saved. Grant whatever aid you can. And be careful," Thorin commanded and Fíli nodded, a smirk forming on his face. Thank the Valar! He finally had something to do!
It took several days to reach the Western Kingdoms, and when they did, it was in ruins. They sat upon their horses atop a nearby hill and eyed the charred remains of what had once been Thranduil's golden palace. Fíli had seen it only once before, as a young lad, but he remembered clearly how tall and broad the walls were, and how brightly they shone in the sunlight. The entire village had been laced with gold and various gemstones, but now, everything was black. Smoke billowed up into thick clouds and covered the sky in a sickly grey hue. It was clear that whoever had attacked the Kingdom, was long gone and that they left very little behind.
But Fíli could still hear screams, pained cries, of people who were suffering and dying in the wreckage. Though they were too late to stop the attack, perhaps some of them could be saved. The prince dismounted and turned to those that accompanied him.
"Look for any survivors," Fíli commanded, though he doubted there would be many.
"We will house and feed those best we can, and welcome them into our kingdom," he said, beckoning Dwalin to accompany him as the rest of the army split off into smaller groups.
The ruins smelled of burnt flesh, and Fíli covered his face as they walked within them. Homes were destroyed, and small flames still flickered amongst the debris. The two men poked their heads into every building they found, though they discovered no survivors. The few who still clung to life, were lost causes, and Dwalin quickly put an end to their suffering. Several bodies looked nearly decimated, as though a wild animal had torn into their flesh and chewed it from their very bones.
Fíli moved further through the village and they eventually came upon the palace ruins. Children huddled in corners, and Fíli gestured them in the direction of others as they moved further within the collapsed walls. The two men ducked beneath fallen archways into the depths of the rubble, picking up the occasional artefact as they moved.
Fíli was studying a surprisingly intact and very ornate vase when he heard Dwalin shout from not far away. He made his way towards the voice, ducking behind a torn tapestry, and peered around the large man's shoulders.
"Look at this! Found a whore! And a pretty one at that, wouldn't mind the company on the ride home," Dwalin jeered and tugged on the arm of a boy, probably a few years younger than Fíli. His eyes were dark and his brown hair fell over his shoulders in soft waves. Light silks covered his neck and legs, and gems and jewels hung across his body in tantalizing ways. He was thin, and struggled in Dwalin's strong grip, the fear clearly visible in his eyes. His skin was bronzed from days spent under the sun, and Fíli's eyes clung to every movement of his body. He wasn't just pretty, he was absolutely gorgeous. Fíli watched the boy squirm in Dwalin's grasp for a few more moments when he saw the tell-tale mark on the inside of his wrist.
"He's no whore, he's a dancer," Fíli spoke gently, eyes still glued to the other's form.
"What?" Dwalin asked, in the process of kicking the other's legs apart. The dancer whimpered and began muttering words in a foreign language as tears started to fall from his eyes.
"Let him go, you're frightening him Dwalin," Fíli ordered, and the other obeyed the command with a frown. The dancer immediately curled into himself and backed into the wall behind him, crying softly.
"He's a dancer. He's anything but a whore," Fíli said, and Dwalin looked between them.
"What do yeh mean?" Dwalin queried, eyeing the boy lustily.
"He's probably a virgin," Fíli muttered, taking a step closer. The dancer flinched and eyed him with distrust.
"Bull, look at 'im, he doesn't look like a virgin," Dwalin claimed, and Fíli had to agree. The dancer's coverings were nearly transparent. Though they appeared white upon first glance, Fíli could see clearly where his skin pressed against the sheer fabric. One shoulder was bared, and even the soft pink of his nipples were visible through his shawl. Jewels hung around his face, framing it, and several fell into the dip of his bellybutton. And though he was covering much of himself, Fíli could see how low his bottoms rode, where a jewelled belt hung loose around his waist, and the dark line of hairs that trailed up above it. He swallowed and tried urgently to control his body's reaction.
"That's the whole point. They're supposed to look…enticing," Fíli slurred, feeling his face fill with heat.
"How do yeh know this?" Dwalin asked suspiciously.
"I've heard tales of them before. Long ago, when our Kingdoms were closer, they say the Sindarin dancers greeted King Thrór upon each visit to the Western Kingdoms. They were revered amongst the people. Violating them against their will was punishable by death," Fíli explained and he stepped quickly towards the dancer and gripped his wrist tightly.
"Look, he has the mark," Fíli said, turning it and thumbing over the tattoo there. Kíli gasped and pulled away quickly, staring intensely at the prince.
"Their skills are legendary, they say a single dancer could hypnotize an entire room," Fíli whispered. Looking upon the other, he could see how that might be possible. If the boy's dancing was half as appealing as his form, Fíli knew he would be under his control in a second.
"Well, what do we do with a dancer?" Dwalin grunted, leaning against the remains of a nearby wall.
"Let him dance, of course," Fíli said with a smile, and then knelt before the boy. The dancer scurried away as far as he could, but Fíli just closed the distance.
"Do you speak Khuzdul?" Fíli asked, already knowing the answer. The boy had looked at them with such a fearful expression while they conversed; it was obvious he didn't understand a single word.
"No? Westron perhaps? Can you understand?" Fíli asked slowly, and he smiled when the other's eyes widened in recognition. The dancer licked his lips and blinked, looking up at Fíli from under long dark lashes.
"I…I know this, a little," He stuttered. His accent was thick, and the words rolled slowly off his tongue almost merged together as one. The consonants were softer and the resonances were smooth and exotic. His voice was deeper than Fíli expected, and he found he quite like the sound of it.
"Your name?" Fíli asked calmly, doing his best to make the other feel comfortable in his presence.
"I…have no name," he whispered, and looked down, the jewels clinking around his body as he moved.
"No name?" Fíli questioned in surprise. He could not imagine such a thing. A name was a person's identity, their legacy. He studied the dancer, and knew he must give him one, a name that would honour his beauty, his grace, and that deserved to be known. A name Fíli desperately wanted to remember, to hear, and to call on a daily basis.
"Then I shall call you Kíli. It was my brother's name," Fíli said softly as he eyed the dark hair and eyes that reminded him so much of his lost family member. Dwalin made a sound of surprised recognition but Fíli's gaze remained on the man before him. The dancer pondered his words and looked at him for a moment before lowering his gaze to the ground.
"Thank you, my prince," he spoke and Fíli smiled gently in return.
"I am Fíli, prince of Erebor. Would you like to come with us, Kíli? You can dance, for the court in my Kingdom, if it pleases you. We can find you a room within the palace," Fíli offered. Kíli's lips opened and closed and he looked at Fíli with wide eyes. When his gaze flittered nervously towards Dwalin Fíli understood his fears.
"I promise no one will harm you, no one will touch you," the prince ensured, but still Kíli eyed Dwalin nervously.
"Don't worry about him, he's a big softie at heart," Fíli whispered with a smile and Kíli covered his mouth and snickered as he glanced at the larger soldier.
"Hey, what'd yeh say just now," Dwalin asked, affronted by the laughter and he scowled when Kíli chuckled again and smiled.
"Nothing important," Fíli mumbled, his eyes glued to the slight rise of Kíli's lips and the slant of his eyes. Fíli felt his heart literally drop into his stomach, but he coughed it back into place and reached out a hand as he stood. When Kíli gripped it with a sultry glance, his heart dropped immediately back down. It was going to be a long ride home at this rate.
They walked slowly back through the wreckage, Kíli in the front, and both Fíli and Dwalin leered at his swaying hips. The bangles and jewels chimed as they knocked into one another, and the fabric poured over his rear and thighs teasingly. Fíli could see the skin beneath, the hint of a crease, and he was fully aroused almost instantly. Fíli took a deep breath as he tried to think of something other than bronzed skin, even as his eyes trailed up the dancer's spine.
"Doesn't leave much to the imagination, does it?" Dwalin muttered, his voice heavy with lust, and the prince breathed in heavily beside him.
"No…it certainly doesn't," Fíli choked out in response.
They travelled little that night, camping early and settling in the sandbanks to help spread rations amongst those rescued from the ruins. Fíli sat between Dwalin and Bofur, as he chewed some meat from a bone and looked upon their new additions.
"Only twenty three total," Fíli counted, his eyes wandering through their campsite.
"Mmm, most were dead, or dying," Bofur yawned, and leant back against a dune. The bird on his shoulder squawked indignantly and flapped its wings at the movement. He tugged thick fabrics over his head, and rubbed a finger under the chin of one of his tigers before tossing her a stray piece of meat. She gobbled it up eagerly before resting her head in his lap, content for the moment.
"And sixteen of them are children?" Fíli confirmed, and Bofur nodded remorsefully.
"Yeah, poor things, there won't be much for them, even in Erebor. A child without a parent is lost in this world," Bofur muttered as he ran fingers through the fur on his tiger's head.
"Any idea who was behind the attack? Dwalin and I saw nothing much other than rubble," Fíli grumbled, picking food from his teeth.
"Not too sure, though Bifur seems to think the place reeked of dark magic. The cats weren't fond of it either, they growled the entire time and hissed at the remaining flames," Bofur responded sombrely. He flicked the fang that hung from his right ear grimly and kicked sand from between his toes. The morale was low, and Fíli had never seen his men so upset by anything before. Life in Erebor sometimes made one forget the troubles that occurred in the rest of Šebeth.
"Kíli!" Fíli shouted across the campfire. The dancer looked up at him in surprise and stood, walking languidly towards him. Bofur's eyes immediately lit up at the sight of him, and the surrounding men turned their heads as his form walked by.
"Why who's this? Such gorgeous eyes, just like one of my wild cats," Bofur said with a smirk. He sat up and leant forwards as his eyes grazed Kíli from head to toe.
"Bofur…no touching," Fíli warned the other man.
"Just for the eyes? I can handle that," Bofur grinned, running a hand through his long moustache hair.
"Kíli, would you dance for us tonight? I'd very much like to see it," Fíli requested in Westron. The dancer nodded and dropped the cloak about his shoulders to the sand. There were murmurs of appreciation and comments on his beauty from the surrounding crowd, and Kíli raised an arm and posed, the jewels clanging about his shoulders and hips. Fíli could barely contain his excitement and Dwalin whistled heartily at the sight.
"Bofur, play some music for him, let us see if the legends are true," Fíli requested, his eyes locked on the dancer's dark ones.
"For this lovely creature, anything," Bofur said with a smile. He shuffled a bit, pulling an elegant clarinet from his bags, the bird upon his shoulder flapping its wings and settling again. His tiger growled deep in its throat, affronted by the movement, before walking towards the others past the dancer. Kíli did not flinch as the fur grazed his leg, though his eyes followed the beast's movement carefully.
Bofur leered at Kíli before playing a simple tune. The men knew the sounds, and thumped their feet along with it, creating a steady drum beat. Kíli moved immediately, his body twisting with the melody, and his wrists twisted in time, soft chimes sounding as his bangles ricocheted off one another. The men were awed by him. He was absolutely stunning, even more so in the light of the campfire. His eyes glowed an amber colour and the sheen of sweat on his skin made his shawl cling to his form invitingly. The gold of his belts shimmered as he circled the flames, drawing the attention of every soldier. Kíli worked his way around once, then twice, finally stopping again in front of the prince. He danced there, looking into Fíli's eyes, and approached slowly until he was standing above Fíli's form.
"Gods above," Fíli whispered, watching as Kíli moved his hips in a circular motion, turning so that Fíli could clearly see the contour of his rear. The dancer bent backwards, and his hair dragged sinuously across Fíli's ankles, beckoning him to touch the strands. Fíli clenched his fingers tightly in the folds of his loose sharovary in an effort not to grab at them.
"Bless me," Bofur muttered, pulling the clarinet from his mouth. Even as the melody stopped, Kíli continued to dance, creating a rhythm with the jewels on his wrists and hips. His shoulders shook above Fíli and his earrings dragged against the long line of his neck. In that moment, Fíli saw nothing other than the intoxicating man dancing before him, not a boy at all. Kíli was a mountain of edges and curves, he was feminine and masculine all at once. The arch of his back captivated Fíli, and the jagged structure of his jaw as well as the knot in his throat, made Fíli's groin stir with arousal.
"Hey now, if I'm not allowed, neither are you," Dwalin grunted and Fíli managed to wrench his eyes away from the intoxicating sight just long enough to raise an eyebrow at the other man.
"Okay, so tha's not technically true…but yeh know what I mean," Dwalin muttered in response. Fíli grinned slightly, and lowered his lids, feeling more than a little bit drunk at the display before him.
"I won't touch him, no matter how much I wish to," Fíli slurred, as Kíli worked his way back up to a standing position. The dark haired man turned to face the prince once more and Fíli's eyes were drawn to the pendulum like movements of the golden jewels over his navel. He desperately wanted to touch the bare abdomen exposed before him, wanted to lean forward and run his tongue across the coppery skin, then press it into the tiny dip.
"What about me, young prince?" Bofur asked with a sly wink.
"I'm afraid you'll have to search elsewhere to warm your bed tonight Bofur," Fíli murmured, trying to compose himself as Kíli began to slow his movements to a stop. Bofur pouted dramatically and raised a finger to beckon a tiger, but the cats snubbed him and continued to laze about on the sand near the fire. Bofur groaned pitifully and turned towards the dancer.
"If you change your mind dear Kíli, don't hesitate to let me know," he spoke, grinning lecherously, and Kíli glanced at him blankly.
"He doesn't understand, our tongue is unfamiliar to him," Fíli explained, laughing at Bofur's antics.
"Oh I'm sure he knows what we're talking about, to some extent; it's fairly…evident," the tamer said, glancing pointedly at Fíli's groin. The prince coughed, clearing his throat before covering himself the best he could. Kíli bent to pick up the cloak he'd removed and approached him silently.
"Did you…enjoy, my prince?" the dancer asked slowly in his sultry accent and Fíli breathed in deep as he looked into the other's chestnut eyes.
"Yes, thank you," Fíli whispered, and then he pulled a blanket from his pack and handed it to the other man.
"It is cold in the desert at night, please take this. You'll need your rest; tomorrow will be a long journey," Fíli said. Kíli wrapped the fabric around his shoulders and bowed low in thanks before returning to his place near the fire. Fíli watched him, even as the other lay down and closed his eyes, and right then and there, the prince's heart was stolen for eternity.
Dried stones fell from the walls as a shadowy form rushed through the winding caverns. Left, then right, right again. Torn grey fabrics billowed out behind as it silently moved through the tunnel. Finally it stopped, entering a hollow in the wall. Hidden in the darkness was another, its hideous body covered in layered folds.
"Did you find him?" the creature whispered, nothing but the glint of sharp teeth and cracked lips visible in the dim lighting.
"He is with the Durin's army, headed back to Erebor," the shadow croaked through an equally dried mouth.
"You've failed to bring him to me," The leader growled, baring his teeth as drool leaked from between them in disgusting thick globs. The shadow flinched and whisked away to a far corner as the creature slammed a fist into the wall beside him. Sand fell from above in clumps and the thumping sound echoed through the cavernous tunnels.
"There are too many, they stay close together, a tight-knit group. The prince….has many guards," the shadow hissed.
"And, the jewel?" the creature snapped, its eyes glowing from beneath its hood.
"I do not know where it is," the shadow admitted, sneaking back towards the exit.
"Go! Do not fail me again!" the creature howled, the shadow recoiling and disappearing down the tunnel without a sound in a flash.
Kíli murmured contently in his sleep. He was warm, and his face rubbed up against soft fur. He cuddled into it, and clenched his fingers in the silky hairs as he listened to the smooth droning noises under his ear. Kíli opened his eyes slowly, blinking as sunlight pierced them. He looked up unhurriedly into golden glimmering jewels, then gasped and flinched backwards into yet another solid form. The tiger before him yawned dramatically, showing off its large teeth and Kíli scrunched up his face as rancid breath blew into his nose. The tiger stared at him, then lent its head forwards to lick up the side of his face.
Kíli giggled slightly, laughing as the rough tongue lapped at his neck and face, pulling strands of his hair up with it. He reached up and rubbed tentatively at the fur beneath the tiger's head, then firmer as the animal closed its eyes in pleasure and purred from the action. There was a paw on his hip and he felt the other tiger behind him move to get up.
"Seems they like you lad, can't say I blame them, I'd gladly warm up next to you at night," Bofur spoke in Westron, reaching out to greet the tiger that stood. Kíli covered his eyes to block the sun and looked up at him curiously. Then he raised his arms and stretched languidly across the quickly warming sand.
"You and every other member of this army," Fíli muttered, approaching from Bofur's side. The beast tamer gawked as Kíli's muscles moved with his stretching, and his eyes followed the sheer fabric up his thighs and towards the jewel on his belt.
"Leave him be, I'm sure he's had enough of your probing eyes," Fíli laughed, nudging the other man away. Bofur merely snickered and waved all of his tigers towards him.
"And what of your eyes, Fíli," Bofur asked, slipping easily back into Khuzdul as he turned to walk away. The tigers stretched, much like Kíli, shaking out the sand from their fur before following in the tamer's wake. Fíli glared at the other man's retreating back before turning towards Kíli and reaching to help him stand.
"I wanted to thank you, for dancing last night. Everyone seemed in better spirits afterwards," Fíli voiced, leading the dancer towards the horses.
"O-of course," Kíli stuttered, looking at his feet as he followed the prince.
"I would be honoured if you would dance for us every night, not only during our travels, but also within the palace," Fíli requested, and he reached out to help Kíli atop his steed. When the dancer settled comfortably he smiled, and looked into Fíli's eyes with a nod.
"I'm glad," Fíli whispered.
The prince mounted his own mare and rode up beside the dancer. The two chatted back and forth throughout the day, Kíli stumbling occasionally over the foreign words, and Fíli doing his best to aid. He taught him a few simple words in Khuzdul, which Kíli picked up relatively well. He liked the sound of his own language on the dancer's tongue, but even more than that, Fíli enjoyed the few times Kíli slipped into his own Sindarin tongue. The words flowed over his lips smooth as butter, and though Fíli did not understand a word of it, he still thought it beautiful. The army travelled without stopping that day, and even as the sun bore down on them at its highest point, their spirits remained strong as they eagerly awaited their return to Erebor.
"He's completely smitten with that dancer," Bofur commented to those around him and they muttered their agreements.
"Aye, he's taken more interest in him than anything I've ever seen before," Dwalin spoke, keeping a watchful eye on their surroundings as well as the prince ahead. Bofur turned to look at his brother then, reading his hand movements, and he laughed heartily.
"What is it?" Dwalin asked, eyeing the warlock inquisitively.
"Bifur is of the opinion he just needs a good lay," Bofur explained, and the soldier chortled at them both.
"How long do you think before he yields?" the tamer queried his comrades. Bifur grunted before raising his hands and signing a rune.
"Four days? That's all? I'll say a week, two maybe," Bofur stated.
"The prince wouldn' break his word. He's vowed not to touch 'im, and so he won't," Dwalin insisted, his hands gripping the reigns of his horse tightly. The tamer outright laughed, along with his cousin and Dwalin huffed.
"Even the strongest of men would cave with that form before them," Bofur scoffed, inclining his head towards the dancer's mare. Kíli rocked gently atop it, as though he rode every day. His body was fluid even while sitting, imitating the movements of his mount. The dancer's hair fell in soft strands across his back, and each time he turned to face the prince they played about his shoulders teasingly. Fíli watched him constantly, and even from a distance, the prince's roaming eyes were plain for all to see. Dwalin frowned and worried that he might lose yet another bet.
A few days later the company was looking rather exhausted and worn. The desert was cruel, without the cover of shade or the comfort of fresh water. Their supplies were waning from the extra strain of added numbers, even with so few. Children required a good deal of attention, and the soldiers needed a break.
Kíli took a deep breath, disheartened by the sight before him. Sand and more sand. He could see where the sun's heat bore into the landscape, and not a single sign existed of the great Kingdom they were supposedly headed, not in the foreseeable future.
"Nearly there," Fíli spoke gently, startling Kíli from his thoughts. The dancer sat up straighter and looked around again.
Kíli frowned, he must have misheard the prince, for even after shielding his eyes from the sun he saw nothing in the direction they headed, nor from whence they came for that matter. Fíli chuckled at him as they continued to move through the sand and up an incline in the dunes. And then Kíli gasped. Just barely he could see the tip of a palace take shape before his eyes. And when they reached the edge of the bank, it lowered into a deeper valley than he had ever seen before. The mounds of sand rolled down from all sides, encased within them a beautiful Kingdom, glittering with life. Kíli could see the tops of coloured homes, creating walled passageways throughout the surrounding villages. He could see tiny shadows moving about their work, and birds flying through the sky above.
Bofur's own bird took flight as his mare reached the edge beside Kíli's, flapping its wings and circling the Kingdom before flying towards the palace. Erebor was beautiful, gleaming far beyond that of Kíli's home nation to the west. And even from their distance he could see the sparkling blue water that ran through the city's core and around like a moat. Such fresh running water was a miracle to the eyes, surround by empty desert as it was.
"Elo!" Kíli exclaimed, awestruck by the sight.
"Welcome to Erebor, Kíli," the prince voiced and Kíli turned to him with wide eyes and an excited smile.
"I feel, like I have…been here once before. Perhaps, in…a dream?" Kíli muttered, looking back towards the scenery as the prince pondered his words. Their horses began the descent, carefully and with grace, and soon enough they reached the water's edge and the many ornate bridges that led across it. But Kíli was in no hurry to continue and he rode not towards a crossway, but instead to the sparkling blue river. Fíli beckoned the army on, all except Dwalin, and dismounted, walking towards the dancer's horse.
"The water…," Kíli whispered, his eyes following the ripples and his mouth quirking when a fish broke the surface.
"Have you never seen it before? Surely you must have had water to survive," Fíli asked as he helped Kíli step down from his steed.
"Not like this. It is…very blue, and…there's so much," Kíli responded slowly, walking over and bending low at the water's edge.
"Can I….can I touch?" Kíli asked, as his hands hovered over the currents. Fíli could see the small tremors in the dancer's fingers and the hesitance in his eyes, but he nodded and smiled before kneeling nearby. Kíli bit his lip, and lowered his hands slowly, startling slightly at the first touch of fingertips to the sparkling surface.
"Warm…," Kíli muttered, before sticking his fingers in further and laughing at the ripples they made. He shifted so he could slide his toes in, then sat over the edge and dipped his legs completely into the river. He looked about for a moment before back at the water as he smirked like a vixen. And then he jumped, his body slipping into the water like a serpent.
"Kíli!" Fíli shouted, grappling to the edge of the river in surprise. He could see the dancer's form moving beneath the small waves, swimming a little further out into the depths. Eventually Kíli broke the surface of the water breathing in a large gasp of air.
"Celair!" the dancer shouted as he wiped water from his eyes, and pushed the wet strands of his hair from his face. Fíli gaped at him in disbelief.
"It is…beautiful," Kíli cried as he swam back to the river's edge, propping his arms up on the grassy ledge. His nose nearly touched Fíli's as he looked up into the prince's blue eyes.
"The water here…it is the colour of your eyes, and the jewel on your crown," Kíli spoke gently as he pressed a finger first to Fíli's cheek and then to the gemstone above his brow. The prince narrowed his eyes slightly at the action but he quickly relaxed at the expression of innocent wonder on the other man's face. The kohl around Kíli's eyes smudged a bit into his skin, making him look even more exotic than usual, and Fíli almost choked when he saw the way Kíli's shawl clung to his body, nearly transparent.
"Just wait until you see the baths," Fíli murmured, and he reached to pull Kíli from the water. The dancer laughed and shook the excess moisture from his hair and clothing before turning to walk across the bridge and Fíli pulled the horses along behind while his eyes followed Kíli's every movement.
"No one should look that incredible, it's indecent," the prince whispered to his personal guard, and Dwalin merely grunted in agreement.
Thorin greeted them at the gates, having already dealt with the new additions to their palace. Fíli's uncle smiled gently, and looked to his nephew, relieved, before pulling him into an embrace.
"I am glad you've returned safe," he spoke, with a quick glance at Fíli's crown. The prince nodded and moved to the side beckoning Kíli towards him.
"And who is this?" Thorin asked, eyeing Kíli from head to toe. The dancer's clothes were still wet from the river, and he looked inviting as he moved forwards in a bow before the king.
"A dancer we found in the wreckage," Fíli explained.
"He's agreed to come dance here in Erebor," the prince said as Kíli rose, the gems across his shawl shimmering against his skin.
"A Sindarin dancer? I've heard tales," Thorin admitted, his eyes looking pointedly at the sleek fabric embracing Kíli's thighs.
"All true I assure you. He danced for our company many times on the journey home. It was mesmerizing," Fíli insisted and Kíli looked down nervously with a slight flush upon his face. Still, his posture remained confident.
"He has no name, so I gave him Kíli's," the prince spoke wistfully as he gazed upon the dancer and Thorin looked at his nephew in surprise. It had been years since they had seen the youngest prince, and nearly everyone had given up on ever finding him once more, though Dís still travelled to distant Kingdoms ever looking for her lost son. The King observed the dancer's form, much more slender than the rest of the Durin line. Even his face was thin, and his nose small and upturned. Though as Thorin looked upon the dark hair and eyes and the high cheekbones that barely resembled his sister's…was it possible? Thorin's eyes moved to where Fíli stood, noting his nephew's structure and form. He looked nothing like the dancer before them, broad shouldered and hardened with muscle. No, it was time to forget the child. Even after begging the Valar to return him year after year Thorin was left with only a broken sister and a nephew missing part of his soul. The youngest prince was lost to them forever.
"No name?" Thorin questioned and Kíli addressed him with lowered eyes and broken words.
"In my Kingdom, dancers did not hold names. Though I heard some men call me lŷg. It means snake," the dancer explained in a smooth leisurely way.
"I see. And do you accept the name my nephew has given you?" Thorin asked.
"Yes, I like it," Kíli admitted softly as his eyes strayed to where Fíli stood beside him.
"Then, welcome to our home Kíli, and please, make it yours as well," Thorin insisted with a bow, before he turned and beckoned his nephew to join him in discussion.
Kíli was left with a scribe. A young jittery man named Ori, with scraggly hair and curious eyes. He dressed well, as all of the people of Erebor seemed to, with luxurious fabrics draped over his head and shoulders and a long robe about his legs. He even had jewels around his neck, though nothing terribly eye-catching. The scribe seemed to care little about wealth and accessories, instead clutching tightly to his journals while they walked through the long halls.
Ori toured him around the palace, showing him places Kíli would surely forget how to find within the day, and scowling at anyone that leered a little too long. Kíli found he liked Ori. The other man was friendly, smart, and even spoke some Sindarin which helped relax Kíli's overworked brain. It was difficult to speak in a language he rarely used or heard, and he had begun to tire from the effort.
Ori said he worked in the palace library, keeping scrolls and tomes organized and readable, while recording his own texts to add to the collection. He offered to teach Kíli Khuzdul, so he could better speak with the people of Erebor and Kíli readily agreed, though he would not begin quite yet, not for a few days. He needed to rest his mind.
The young man also showed him the baths, and remained nearby to help clean Kíli's hair of the sand and dirt it had accumulated in the past days, as well as the grime that caked onto his clothing. Kíli was overwhelmed. The baths in his Kingdom were much smaller in comparison, lacking the natural resources to sustain such a thing. Here, he could swim across them if he desired, and there were several rooms besides the one he was in. As Kíli bathed, and Ori chattered away at him a man approached with thick fabrics draped across his arms.
"This is Glóin, he sews clothing for the royal family, and others living within the palace walls. He's our tailor," Ori explained and Kíli took that as his sign to get out. He felt completely refreshed as he pulled his body from the warm waters of the baths, towelling off his hair as he sat at the edge of the water. Glóin stared openly at him while Ori flushed and looked at him from the corner of his eyes. Kíli turned and sat closer to the other men, kneeling before the tailor who was mumbling under his breath.
"He says you have a beautiful form, and he looks forward to draping you in his wares," Ori said with a gentle smile and Kíli returned the sentiment as they looked over the elegant fabrics.
Glóin watched expectantly as Kíli ran his fingers over the different colours and patterns spread out before him. He seemed interested in absolutely everything, curiously touching each fabric, each design.
"Deil, dan tara," Kíli finally said, with a grim expression on his face and Glóin bristled and turned to Ori for an explanation.
"What's he saying? Does he not like them? These are the finest fabrics of Erebor!" Glóin barked but Ori held up a hand to calm him quickly.
"It's not that, he says…they're beautiful, but heavier, stiffer, than he's used to. They won't move with his body when he dances," Ori stated and Glóin scrunched up his nose before standing and gathering his things.
"Let me see what I have," The tailor spoke quietly before rushing away. Ori chuckled and turned to the dancer with a grin.
"He never fails to impress, and he very much wants to impress you," Ori voiced before turning to his bag and pulling a small wooden box from within. He handed it to Kíli who stared at it coyly before lifting the hinged lid. The dancer's eyes widened as he looked at the contents. A striking trinket lay within the box. It was shaped like a panther, with a long sinuous body, and fine claws. The tail curled at the lower end and its mouth was opened to reveal tiny fangs. Red rubies were faceted into the eyes and black gemstones adorned the length of its body.
"What is this for?" Kíli asked as he pulled the jewel from the case and held it up. It dangled delicately from his fingers and glittered in the soft light.
"This is a gift, from the prince, a navel ring," Ori said and already Kíli moved to hook it on his body instead of the simple embellishment that had previously been there. It settled beautifully in the dip of his navel, the claws touching the sides and the tail hanging alluringly below.
"He hoped you might wear it when next you dance. But if you ask me, I think he'd quite like you to wear it always," Ori snickered and covered his face while Kíli smiled at him and bit his lip. Not a moment later Glóin rushed back into the room, his arms filled with new fabrics and jewel adorned belts and Kíli widened his eyes in amazement.
Dwalin rather thought he had a pretty great job. He liked the King's company and even considered Thorin one of his closest friends. He respected the young prince as well, having trained him daily from the moment he took his first steps. But he loved his job the most on those days he saw the scribe, though he would never tell a soul as much, not since he valued his life. Dwalin knocked on the door outside the baths and stood to his full height as he listened to soft footsteps approach. The door creaked as it opened and then Ori's head poked out the tiny space.
"Oh! Mister Dwalin," the scribe exclaimed before opening the door completely and bowing in front of him. Dwalin watched him eagerly, willing his heart to stop beating so fast, and the steadily growing flush on his face to wane.
"Uh…yes, hello, erm, the King has requested Kíli dance for the court tonight," he spoke as regally as he could manage and Ori looked up quickly with a smile before moving out of the way and waving the dancer over. Dwalin's eyes opened in surprise as he watched Kíli approach. Gorgeous pale blue fabrics with red floral patterns adorned his body, and they were silky and thin like the ones he wore before, though not nearly as transparent. Still, the way they moved about his body was enticing, and his skin was bronzed and glossy, complimenting the colours perfectly. He'd retouched his eyes as well, dark brown smudged around them, and little designs adorned with gemstones covered his face and arms.
"Beautiful isn't he?" Ori said with a deep sigh, and he looked almost forlorn at the soldier's reaction to Kíli's approach. Dwalin coughed heavily for a moment, clearing his throat.
"Yeh…bit too tall and skinny for my liking though," he muttered before turning, Kíli following behind with the blushing scribe.
The court was crowded with various people from the palace, seated on cushions and padded chairs in a large circular shaped room. Fine fabrics draped the walls and fell from the ornate ceiling and Kíli reached out to touch them reverently as he walked before the King. Fíli sat just to the king's right, going silent as Kíli approached. No words were spoken between them, but as music began to play and the King lowered his head in a nod, Kíli took his place to begin a dance.
The movements came naturally to him, and the hot bath had loosened his muscles and soothed him to a point where he felt incredibly limber and fluid. Kíli wandered the room, pausing before many people, occasionally stopping to perform a specific pose. He twisted his body and crooked his limbs, performing a full backbend. Then he made use of the hanging drapery in the room, twirling it around his body and dancing with it as though it were a lover, shaking his hips in a constant alternating movement. As the music grew more rhythmic he made his way towards the prince, dancing teasingly to show off the gift that hung from his navel. Then he lowered himself to the ground, resting his fingers just a few feet in front of the prince. And slowly, gradually he lifted his body into a headseat, his rear twisting back until it touched his head, his feet pointed towards the relief in the ceiling. His audience gasped as he held the position, looking playfully into the prince's eyes.
"You did not say he was a contortionist as well," Thorin whispered from Fíli's left and the prince did not turn towards him. His eyes were stuck in front of him. They roamed Kíli's supple body, across his face, and up the length of his legs to the ends of his toes, before lowering again to dancer's muscular shoulders.
"I did not know," Fíli managed to croak as he studied the way Kíli's jewelled earrings dangled down beside his arms, and the strands of blue fabric that hung across him. Though Kíli had been beautiful, when he danced for the company on the journey home, it was nothing compared to how he looked now, with clean skin glazed from the oils in the baths, and hair silky and softer than the smoothest of feathers.
After a moment Kíli closed his eyes and stretched his legs out, to his sides, until his toes pointed nearly parallel with the ground. Fíli eyed the bulge he glimpsed in the dancer's groin and imagined everything he could do to someone that moved with such flexibility. It was clear why Kíli had earned the name of 'snake' among his people, his body curved attractively and he practically slivered while he danced. The dancer lowered his body and did another backbend before moving around the room again, but always he paused in front of Fíli for a few extra seconds.
"If I didn't know better, I'd say he likes you nephew," Thorin drawled, and Fíli turned to him curiously.
"Look how he watches you, returns to you," the king spoke with a grin and Fíli did just that, as Kíli once more stood before him. This time the dancer approached even closer than before, shaking his belly in tiny little jerks. The gift Fíli had asked Ori to give him dangled proud and visible, the panther's tail hanging delightfully in the dark trail of fine hairs beneath the other man's navel. Fíli watched it move back and forth, as the jewels caught the flickering candlelight from the many lanterns on the walls. And before he had time to think about it, Fíli reached out, gripping Kíli's side tightly. The dancer gasped, startled by the touch, and froze in the middle of his movements with widened eyes. Stunned whispers and quick intakes of air echoed through the room and Fíli very quickly realized his mistake. He pulled his hand away hastily and Kíli stepped away from him slightly.
"I'm sorry, forgive me," Fíli mumbled before he beckoned towards the room.
"Please, continue dancing," the prince requested softly with apologetic eyes, and Kíli backed away to move about the room again. He still circled back in front of the prince, and he danced just as enchantingly as before, though he did not move quite so near, and his eyes strayed nervously around as he eyed the prince with trepidation.
Bifur signed across the room to where Dwalin sat and the soldier grumbled angrily before tossing a small pouch towards him, then a few moments later Bofur tossed one as well, though with a happy grin upon his face. Four days was all it took for the young prince to reach out and touch.
AN: Thanks for reading part 2! I have just a few pages left to write, but they are proving some of the most difficult. Here are the terms I thought people might like to know more about. Some words may be incorrectly formatted since I'm not an expert in the many languages that Tolkien created!
Ulubôz: Valarin for Ulmo The pourer, Lord of Waters. Known as the best singer and maker of music.
Sharovary: A type of loose fitting pants, usually gathered both at the waist and above the ankles.
Westron: The common tongue in Tolkien's works, I'm using it in the same way here. It should be noted, that the people of the Western Kingdoms tend to speak in Sindarin, and the East, Khuzdul.
Elo: an exclamation of wonder or delight in Sindarin.
Celair: Brilliant in Sindarin.
Lŷg: Snake in Sindarin.
Deil, dan tara: Literally 'Beautiful, but stiff' in Sindarin
Backbend: A contortionist pose, in which a person curves their torso backwards, sometimes far enough to touch the ground.
Headseat: An extreme backbend, in which the back of a person's head touches their rear, sometimes in a handstand position.