hoopyfrood: (Nix [Band of Brothers])
[personal profile] hoopyfrood
Title: A Problem Shared
Pairing: Thorin/Bofur
Rating: G
Words: 1341
Disclaimer I do not claim to own any of the characters portrayed. No harm intended.
Summary: After Bombur falls into the cold, dark waters of the Enchanted river, Bofur's smile dims. This bothers Thorin more than the unseen dangers of Mirkwood ever could.



It was tiring, carrying Bombur's large body between them. But it was, of course, necessary. The deep, deep sleep that had taken a hold of him seemed unlikely to loosen it's grasp any time soon and Mirkwood wasn't a place to sit idly. There was no other option. They couldn't, wouldn't, leave him behind and you'd sooner have an axe to your throat if you suggested otherwise. So they pressed forward, pointedly ignoring the shining red eyes that peered out through the thick blanket of never ending blackness that surrounded them.

Though many would not admit it so loudly, there was more than just weariness plaguing Thorin's brave company. Ori had taken to pulling at his mittens in worry over Bombur's plight and Dwalin always made sure he was behind the two tasked with carrying the ample dwarf, ready to defend them if attacked or steady them if they stumbled. For they had all become close since beginning their adventure at Bilbo's quaint little hobbit hole. Lifelong friendships had been forged that would transcend blood and honour.

Of course, there was no one more worried than Bofur. The cheerful, friendly dwarf who was so often the source of laughter amongst their little group had become tense and quiet. Whilst the now familiar smile that always graced his lips hadn't slipped from his face entirely, it was strained; not as bright as it always had been and, in Thorin's opinion, always should be. It was disconcerting, to say the least.

In reality, it had only been two days since Bombur tumbled into the dark waters of the Enchanted river, but for the travelling dwarves and their hobbit, it felt like weeks. So after a few hours, Thorin ordered them to stop and set up camp a little earlier than usual. Well, after less time walking, that is, because it could have still very easily been day above the dense canopy of leaves that shaded them from the world.

As they unrolled their bedrolls and settled down to rest, Thorin watched his men's shoulders sag and their eyes droop in exhaustion. They had just about enough energy between them to light a fire, but once again, they'd be going hungry. Not that wandering out into the unknown darkness to hunt was a good idea anyway.

After a few hours had passed, only Thorin, his nephews and Bofur were still awake.

"Bofur," Thorin's voice rumbled from the other side of the fire. "You should get some sleep."

Bofur jerked slightly at the sound and looked up from his brother's peaceful face in surprise. He blinked a few times in apparent confusion before replying.

"Begging your pardon, Thorin," he began, "but I'd like to be here for him in case he wakes up." He attempted a smile and inclined his head in apology before pulling the blanket that was covering Bombur and Bifur (who had curled up next to his cousin) higher so it was tucked under their chins.

Bofur hadn't once moved from his brother's side since the accident. In fact, he hadn't slept a single wink since it either.

Having been not-so-secretly listening in on their conversation, Kíli and Fíli quickly scurried over to Bofur, determined to offer their assistance. They dropped down on either side of him, cocooning the older dwarf in their warmth.

"We'll watch over him for you," Kíli offered eagerly.

"All night," Fíli added.

Kíli nodded enthusiastically, his hair bouncing around face. "And we'll fetch you right away if he so much as stirs," he finished with a promise.

Bofur's face softened, endeared by his younger companions generosity and genuine desire to simply help.

"Thank you, laddies. Truly." He patted Kíli on the knee and squeezed Fíli's arm. "Maybe tomorrow night?"

As soon as the polite refusal passed his lips, they immediately started to whine their insistence, causing Bofur to chuckle as he tried to unsuccessfully placate them. Even Thorin allowed himself a small smirk at their pouts and childish complaining.

"Come now, you two, leave him be," Thorin eventually cut in with as much authority as he could muster.

They continued to moan all the way to their bedrolls and shifted about restlessly until finally, thank Aulë, settling down.

"You'll have to rest eventually, Bofur," Thorin said once he was sure they had drifted off. "If we come under attack and you're too tired to fight, you'll put more than just yourself at risk."

Feeling awfully like a dwarfling being told off, Bofur's cheeks heated in embarrassment. "Aye."

Quiet soon fell around them, the forest staying eerily still amongst the gentle crackle of their fire and the snores of the slumbering dwarves. It was almost suffocating; the absence of leaves rustling in the wind or birds singing overhead just so distinctly wrong.

As if reading his thoughts, Bofur began to hum a sweet tune under his breath. A lullabye meant to soothe and chase away nightmares, if Thorin's ears were not deceiving him. He let the song wash over him, daring himself to imagine a time where they'll all be once again tucked safely inside their mountain, before reluctantly getting to his feet, barely suppressing a groan as he did so. Fatigue and the aches that strolled alongside it paid no mind to rank or birth.

Bofur raised his eyebrows in silent question as Thorin crossed their sorry excuse for a camp to sit beside him.

"I hope you don't mind me keeping you company tonight," Thorin said as way of explanation.

"There's really no need," Bofur insisted, somewhat flustered.

"It wasn't a request," Thorin stated firmly and simply. He unclasped the heavy furs draped over his shoulders and instead wrapped them around Bofur; the question that was on the tip of the other dwarve's tongue dying as Thorin then swiftly pulled him against his side. Unable and, more importantly, unwilling to fight, Bofur relented.

"This is not just your burden to bear, my friend," he whispered against Bofur's well-worn hat.

Bofur squeezed his eyes shut and let out a long breath, melting into Thorin's embrace. "I'm his older brother. It's my job to look after him," Bofur answered, an unmistakable waver to his voice.

With his suspicions confirmed, Thorin caught Bofur's chin and tilted his face up so he could look him in the eyes.

"It was not your fault," he assured fiercely. "And I wont have you thinking otherwise." He brushed the pad of his thumb over Bofur's cheek, revelling in the feel of deceptively soft skin under his touch.

"You are a brave and noble dwarf. And your name will be forever entwined with legend."

Bofur huffed a small laugh, the warm burst of air ghosting over Thorin's fingers. "I'm just a toy maker."

"You're not a just of anything," he growled, briefly blinded by a strange combination of annoyance and desperate sincerity.

Bofur grinned widely up at him, his cheeks dimpled in delight, and it was as if the sun had suddenly fought its way through the darkness to bathe them in its golden glow. Thorin let let the tips of his fingers fall to Bofur's lips, utterly entranced.

"Do you think he'll be ok?" Bofur murmured against his chilled finger tips.

"I don't think, I know."

Bofur threw his head back and laughed. "Well, who am I to argue with Thorin Oakenshield?" He teased.

Satisfied, Thorin pulled him closer. His heart now lighter.

Together they sat, basking in each other's presence, unconcerned with the possibility of being caught pressed so completely together. It wasn't the time to pretend and deny themselves this simple feeling. Of wanting. Of needing. Of having.

"I very much look forward to hearing the sound of your flute once we find ourselves in more pleasant circumstances," Thorin mused into the silence as he rested his chin atop Bofur's head.

Bofur sighed in contentment, the comforting heat radiating from Thorin's body slowly but surely lulling him into drowsiness. "If I could, I'd play every minute, of every day, just for you my King."

Thorin smiled, soft and indulgent. "There is nothing I would love more."

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