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The Ship of Broken Dreams (Part 1)

Title: The Ship of Broken Dreams
Pairings: Bilbo/Kíli and non-con human!Smaug/Kíli
Rating/Warnings: NSFW; Warnings for non-con, discussion of torture, violence, death
Word Count: 10,693 (18,154 total)
Disclaimer: If I owned the hobbit there would be probably be more angst
Summary: Titanic AU, with Rose!Kíli and Jack!Bilbo


They said the Titanic was the Ship of Dreams but when I first saw it, I knew it was my nightmare.

The enormous vessel loomed out of the water, a monstrous hulk of shining steel that dwarfed all of its surroundings. Above its decks rose the dark smoke stacks that would soon billow out a black and choking cloud as the great ship began its maiden voyage across the Western Sea. Yet while the Titanic might have been a masterpiece of engineering, all I could see was a prison that would carry me from my family and take me from my home.

"Master Kíli." A touch on my arm brought me out of my reflection and I turned to see Balin, my uncle's steward, standing at my side. "It's time to go, laddie," he said and I followed him to where my brother and uncle waited for me on the dock.

My uncle, Thorin Oakenshield, was the Lord of Lonely Mountain and he looked it, tall and stern in finely cut blue cloth. However his face softened with regret when he saw , and I knew that Thorin cursed my fate as much as I, but we simply had no choice.


It all started with my great-grandfather, Thrór, who had been a kind and just lord in his youth, bringing prosperity and riches to our lands. However, as he aged Thrór's mind broke and in his madness he gained a lust for gold and gems that rivaled the dragons of legend and that the mines of Lonely Mountain simply could not support. My great-grandfather bankrupted our estate in his search for rarer treasure and my fate was sealed when the old man looked upon the Arkenstone.

The Arkenstone: that great glittering jewel was the rarest of all gems, a flawless fire diamond of enormous size, and when Thrór looked upon it he was lost. He would have sold his soul to claim it or for just the chance to hold it, but it was not his soul that its owner wanted.

That owner, a strange man with no past, no title and no name but Smaug, did not want any price in gold or gems or land. No, he wanted something far, far worse, and stone-mad Thrór could do naught but grant it to him. They met in secret, Smaug and my great-grandfather, and when they parted they had wrought my doom. For Smaug left that meeting with a contract that promised only thus: when Thrór's youngest heir took its owner's hand in marriage, the Arkenstone would come to Erebor.

This was eighteen years ago, just after I was born, and my family was stricken when they discovered what my great-grandfather had done. Those were dark days for our house and they grew only darker as, without the stone, Thrór soon died, killed by his stolen yearning heart.

His son, Thráin, gave Lonely Mountain over to my uncle's rule and left to discover a way for our family to escape the consequences of his father's madness. However, all of his trials and tribulations came to naught because despite Thrór's insanity, the contract had no loopholes. Thus if my uncle broke our side of the promise by refusing his youngest heir to Smaug, the seat of our house, Erebor, and all of our lands would be forfeit.

Yet Thráin did not give up on his quest and he continued searching for many years. One day my parents received a message that my grandfather had found a ray of hope in our despair and he would write again with good news when he could. But he disappeared attempting to bring me my salvation and we've had no word from him in nearly thirteen years.

So it fell to my uncle Thorin to do right by our family and he performed his duty admirably. He brought Lonely Mountain back from the brink of destitution, but even as our lands and people prospered, the curse of the Arkenstone weighed heavy on his mind.

Growing up I knew of none of this. My brother and I were bright and laughing children and my parents could not bear to dim our joy so soon. I think in their hearts they were still hoping that things would change and indeed Thorin kept trying to free me from my bonds. So it was only when my eighteenth birthday neared without a miracle in sight that uncle and my parents sat us down and explained my coming fate.

The news that I would soon be married off to a stranger twice my age, a man I had never even met, was horrifying and more so because Fíli and I had always dreamed of romance in our hearts. Yet for all our carefree childhood, we had been raised as my uncle's heirs and I knew that I could not let my family's homeland fall into Smaug's uncaring hands.

So I would do my duty as I must and confine the idea of love and romance to the realm of unrealistic dreams. I thought that perhaps I could still be happy with my family around me and maybe I would grow to like my husband more in time, until Smaug tore that dream away as well.

He arrived at Erebor on the day after my eighteenth birthday, a tall thin man with fiery hair who stared at me with judgmental eyes and pronounced me good enough. Smaug brought with him only a small craven man whom he called Gollum and the two of them disappeared with my uncle into his study for long hours of negotiation.

When the door finally opened, Smaug informed me coldly that he would see me soon and I'd better be prepared. Then he stalked outside without another word and drove off in his car, leaving me staring after him in surprise. In contrast, Thorin's face was grave and almost ashen, while there was a shaken horror in his eyes as he told us of the man's demands.

Smaug had declared that he would only wed me if I sailed with him to his homeland, leaving my family far behind. Only once our vows were spoken in a church across the sea would he grant me the Arkenstone and our contract be fulfilled. Thorin said that he had tried to argue but the man stood firm and though it broke our hearts we had no grounds for refusal, not with Erebor on the line and the gem still in his possession.

So less than two months later I found myself upon the docks, Smaug's ring heavy on my finger as I stared up at my new prison and waited to say farewell to all I'd ever known.


I shook my head to clear it of those dark thoughts for there was no point in dwelling on the past and I was running out of time. Uncle said goodbye, hugged me in his strong arms and whispered his apology, before he clapped me on the shoulder and passed on his last advice.

"Courage, nephew. Try to find the best in the situation and make peace with Smaug if you can. I know that this is not what you wanted but I am sure that you will face this trial like a true son of Durin's House. Your mother told me to remind you that whatever comes we will always love you and I promise that we will find a way to see you again."

I blinked back tears at my uncle's words for he had never been the most effusive man and then I turned to my brother who looked as heartbroken as I felt.

"I will miss you," I told him as I wrapped my arms around him and held on tight. Though he was my elder by some years, Fíli and I had always been best friends and I did not know how I was going to face this future without him at my side.

"Me too," he replied, pulling me in closer. "Try to write if you can and maybe after you are wed, I can come to visit your new home."

"I hope so," I told him, releasing my grip reluctantly. The ship's horn sounded then so I knew that it was almost time to go and indeed, that was when Smaug finally arrived. My fiancé pulled up in his sleek black town car, an ostentatious display of wealth and power that just proved he had no class, and when he stepped out he greeted my uncle with a dismissive nod.

This was only the second time that I had seen the man in person and his gaze still made me shudder. It is the eyes, I thought. Smaug was not an ugly man and his movements were sinuous if not graceful, but his eyes burned with a feral light that held no warmth, just a sense of clinical calculation.

"Shall we then, Master Durin?" my fiancé asked, giving me a short bow and a mocking half-smile. Then, though all my instincts cried against it, I accepted his arm and let him lead me toward the ship. His man summoned some porters to carry our trunks and I spared a moment to wish that I had been allowed to bring my own attendant because this man, near twin to Gollum but known as Sméagol, truly creeped me out.

But then the Titanic rose before us and with one last lingering glance back at my family standing small upon the dock, I found myself within the ship and I heard the prison gate slam shut within my mind.

---

Bilbo Baggins was going on an adventure and he was incredibly excited. Looking up at the Titanic it seemed a creature out of myth, for how could mere human hands have built something quite so large?

It's beautiful, the man thought as he stared up at the gleaming steel and the rich dark paint. This ship is going to make all our dreams come true. Then Bilbo was shaken rudely from his thoughts by the sharp words of his one and only cousin.

"Stop lollygagging and help me with our trunk."

“Aah, Lobelia, always a pleasure to hear your voice,” he replied with a mocking grin. Yet he did as she asked nonetheless, taking one end of their large travel trunk as the pair maneuvered their way carefully down the docks toward the Third Class gangway.

The pier was a chaotic mess: deckhands, passengers, well-wishers, and gawkers of all types running around madly as they tried to get everything sorted or just tried to find a better view. However, one and all were excited – a shouting, laughing, pointing crowd – because the maiden voyage of the Titanic was making history and everyone present knew that they'd remember this day for the remainder of their lives. So it was all the more surprising when Bilbo's eye caught on oasis of calm within the storm.

Well don't they look cheery? he asked himself sarcastically, watching a pair of men walk up the First Class ramp. The two were dressed finely, the cut and quality of their clothing marking them as wealthy and probably noble; wealthy enough that Bilbo would have cheerfully robbed them blind under other circumstances. Yet the pair's expressions were the most striking thing about them for they were a spot of gloom amidst the joy.

The elder of the two, a tall sinewy man with the pallor of a natural redhead, was staring up at the Titanic scornfully and even from this distance, Bilbo could tell that it failed to meet his expectations. In contrast, the body language of the other man, dark-haired and significantly younger, spoke of misery and he stepped onto the ship as though walking to his execution. Bilbo didn't know how anyone could be unhappy with such excitement on the air and he found this dichotomy intriguing, but he was distracted from his musings when Lobelia nudged him in the side with one bony arm.

"You've got our tickets, yeah?" she asked pointedly as they finally approached the Third Class entrance.

Bilbo patted his pocket. "Yup, safe where they've been since I won them two nights ago.”

“Hah! I wish I could have seen his face when he realized that you'd taken the pot. He should have known better than to bet against you."

"Of course, dear cousin, but wasn't that the point?" And indeed it had been, for Bilbo and Lobelia's presence on the Titanic was the culmination of a months' long plan.


Although Lobelia was significantly older, the cousin had grown up together. Both only children to aging parents, they had been orphaned when Bilbo was still young and left with nothing but each other to count upon. The cousins had banded together in order to survive life on the streets and between the two of them, they had managed well enough.

Bilbo had always had a head for figures so he learned to count cards and cheat at poker while Lobelia had a knack for attracting generous and wealthy lovers who helped them make ends meet. Nimble fingers also ran in the family and both Bagginses had quickly learned to lift valuables from strangers in the streets. When the coppers were around, Bilbo would deflect suspicion by working as a magician on the corner, and if there were a few too many coins in his collection, who could say for sure?

Sometimes he had the chance to try his hand at burglary as well and when he was lucky, the pair would have enough to eat for weeks. However, despite their talents, this was not a life in which they would ever prosper and so when she heard of the Titanic, Lobelia had hatched a plan.

The ship was being promoted as a floating palace, a veritable fantasy upon the seas, which meant that it would be filled with quite a few rich people who owned quite a few small valuables. All the cousins had to do was obtain a pair of tickets somehow, fill their pockets over the course of the journey and by the time the ship arrived, they would be set for life.

For as Lobelia was fond of reminding Bilbo in the weeks before the voyage, "On a ship like that we could nick nothing but the silverware and still come out rich on the other side."

It had taken them some time to find the perfect target for their plan: someone who was rich enough to have bought two tickets – even if they were the cheap ones – and crazy enough to bet them both on a single game of cards. But that was old Gandalf to a tee, money to spare and nutty as a loon, so he also wasn't likely to try and recover his losses before the ship had sailed. All Bilbo had to do was wave a pouch of aged tobacco in front of the old man's face, stolen from the Thain's private stash for just this situation, and the plan went off without a hitch.


So here they were, about to embark on the grandest adventure of their lives. Or the most cramped, Bilbo thought as they slowly navigated through the narrow halls that laced the Third Class section and finally arrived at their berth.

"Good thing we packed light," Lobelia said cheerfully as she surveyed the room that they would be occupying for the next four weeks, or more if the Titanic ran behind schedule. The two had managed to secure their own cabin by pretending to be married but there was still barely enough room for them to turn around and Bilbo murmured his agreement as he began to unpack.

"It's enough space for sleeping and for storage, which is really all we need. We'll be spending our time on the upper decks anyway until we mark all the fools who have loose pockets and the things that aren't tied down. You'll just have to find yourself some Second-Classer to shack up with when you can't stand my ugly mug anymore."

"Why, my dear husband, are you telling me to cheat on you?" Lobelia responded, batting her eyes at her cousin and pretending to swoon. "How scandalous." But Bilbo just grinned in response, their laughter echoing out into the hall.

---

In the First Class section far above the cousins' berth, there was much less laughter to be heard.

A steward had led our small group through the Titanic to our cabin and though it was beautiful, I was far too depressed to give the ship its due. However, when we stopped in front of a wood paneled door and my new fiancé - Mahal, I hate that word - drew the key out of his pocket and handed it to Sméagol, I shook myself mentally.

Remember, be polite and act happy. It's time to make the best of things, I thought, gathering my courage as the sniveling man ushered us obsequiously into our suite. I managed to smile as Smaug showed me around the sitting room, pointing out and explaining all the cutting edge technological features such as the electric lights, the automatic fans, and the ice box in the corner. His face softened somewhat as he talked and it seemed that here at least was something he was passionate about. So I tried to listen carefully, making encouraging noises whenever he paused for breath.

If all Smaug wanted was a captive audience then our marriage would be survivable, even if it could never live up to the dream of love I'd held, but when we entered the bedroom I felt that hope freeze and die inside my chest. There was only one bed, a monstrous four-poster that utterly dominated the space, and the sight of it filled me with a sudden terror.

Smaug must have seen the fear upon my face for he stopped his lecture about the bathroom's fancy copper plumbing and snapped, "You're my fiancé. I was hardly going to pay for separate rooms considering how much these tickets cost."

Feeling what small connection that I'd found slip away in the face of his aggravation, I stammered desperately, "I'm sorry. It's just that, I- I have never...And we're not wed, it is improper."

"Of course you've never. Why do you think I asked you family for the youngest? I know you nobles start early and I was hardly going to pay so much to be some man's second best."

The idea that he truly thought of me as chattel to be bought and sold knocked me silent but Smaug must have taken my mute repugnance as assent. His frown eased slightly and he added,

"Sméagol will be sleeping in the sitting room throughout the trip so no one will have cause to question your good name. Since we are engaged, anything that damages your reputation would damage mine as well and I will not allow that to happen. Now, I must find some of my colleagues before dinner so you are free to do as you wish until then."

My fiancé left, taking Sméagol with him, and I used the solace to try and regain my composure. Well, that was unfortunate but it could have gone worse...somehow. I'll just have to do better next time. For now I might as well do something useful, I thought and started to unpack.

I had wanted to bring everything I owned just for the comfort of it, but uncle had convinced me that it would be far more logical to ship the majority of my possessions once we had reached our destination and he was right. So instead I had brought only two small trunks, filled with the things that I couldn't live without.

One trunk contained clothes and I was grateful that I'd brought the finery as well as my more casual wear because Smaug seemed the type to require formality. The other trunk contained a variety of personal items. Chief amongst these was my bow, which I loved dearly and could not bear to be without, though I greatly doubted that my fiancé would approve of me using it.

Although lords were no longer required to lead their soldiers into battle, the House of Durin continued this tradition and I had trained with the best from a young age in order to be ready should such a day arrive. While I was proficient with the sword and axe, my brother's weapons of choice, archery was the skill of my heart and my bow and quiver were family heirlooms that had been passed down through generations.

I open their case and hefted my bow once, checking it for damage and taking comfort in the familiar weight. Then I wrapped it in cloth again and lay it back down next to my arrows. Then I re-locked the case, placing it carefully in the back of the closet before continuing to unpack my other things.

Just then a shuddering rumble began beneath my feet and an enormous cheer sounded outside as the great ship Titanic began to ever so slowly inch away from the pier. Although I knew it wasn't proper, I gave in to the urge and ran up to the First Class deck where I leaned out over the railing to watch the land recede. All around me there were swarms of people celebrating the beginning of our journey, united in their common exultation.

One old man threw his hat to the crowd on the pier and a couple some distance to my left was dancing joyously. By their clothes they probably weren't supposed to be on this level but the ship's crew was busy at the moment and no one here was going to report them, not today. They were an odd sight for other reasons too: while both fair and handsome enough from a distance, the man was shorter than his lady and if I was not mistaken, she was leading him as well. But for all his poor skill at waltzing, he must have been strong for just then he picked her up and twirled her in a circle while she shrieked and giggled and held on for dear life.

I had to turn away from the display because I was envious of their happiness and as I stared back toward the shore, I wondered if I would ever laugh like that again.

---

Bilbo soon discovered that for such a great adventure, life on the Titanic quickly fell into routine. He and Lobelia acted their part as newlyweds around their neighbors and during scheduled meals but then snuck into the higher class areas of the ship to scout out their future targets. Although the decks were technically segregated, it was amazing what a stolen change of clothes and an attitude could do and no one ever asked to see their tickets.

During the first two days at sea, Bilbo and Lobelia marked those passengers most likely to have valuables locked away and while they wouldn't hit the room safes until the ship had nearly docked, that did not stop them from making preparations now. They found their targets through a variety of methods: talkative maids, general spying and even casual conversation. Lobelia, in particular, had a gift for turning talk to family heirlooms and by the time the second day was over, their plan of attack was essentially complete.

In addition to this scheming, the two also kept busy with other pursuits since there were many hours to use up in each day. Lobelia started looking for a suitor that she could charm while her cousin kept his hand in by nicking easily lost objects and hiding them beneath the false bottom of their trunk.

But the thief couldn't do that too often without raising suspicion so he'd also wander around the many levels of the Titanic or find himself a corner and watch the wealthy folk walk by. Bilbo liked to make up stories for them as he cataloged their valuables and dreamed of the life he and his cousin would have when they finally arrived.

After dinner on the second night, the thief wandered out onto the observation deck where he and Lobelia had danced on the day of their departure and found someone already there. Bilbo was surprised to see another person since the highest level of the ship was usually empty at this time of night, most First Class passengers partaking in their preferred after dinner luxuries. But even though he blinked twice, the figure did not disappear and the thief moved closer so that he could see the stranger clearly.

A young man was sitting on the seaward side of the deck railing, his face pensive as he watched the dark ocean streaming by below. He seemed familiar and it took Bilbo a moment to place him as one of the men he'd seen on embarkation day, the one looking so miserable on the First Class ramp.

Now that he had a better view, the thief could see that the man truly was young, probably barely into adulthood if he had to guess and thus some years younger than Bilbo himself. While the thief already knew he must be rich, the youth was clearly noble as well because only those born to rank sat with such unconscious posture at all times. Yet his only ornaments were a few rings and a silver clasp pulling shoulder-length brown hair back from his face.

Valar, he's just my type, Bilbo thought, looking over the fine strong features; he'd always had a weakness for tall brunettes, especially ones that needed saving, and this one didn't seem any happier than before.

Indeed, the man was staring down at the water with such intent that Bilbo felt compelled to ask, "You're not planning on doing something stupid like jumping, are you?"

At his words, the younger man startled and turned toward him, the thief getting a glimpse of wide dark eyes before the other lost his balance and with flailing arms began to fall backward off the rail.

"Shit!" Bilbo cried out as he darted over and grabbed the nobleman, wrapping an arm around his waist and trying to pull him back to safety. However, the other turned out to be quite heavy and both of them almost went overboard before the thief gave one great yank and they tumbled to the deck instead. Bilbo took a moment to appreciate the solid body pressed against him before helping the young man sit up.

"Are you okay? I didn't mean to startle you,” he asked worriedly. Great first impression that. Nearly get him killed.

But the other man just shook his head. "I am fine, but I would have been lost if I had fallen. Thank you for saving my life, Mr...?"

"Baggins, Bilbo Baggins. At your service.”

“Kíli Durin, at yours.” The young man gave him a faint smile and Bilbo felt his heart thump at the way it transformed his face. Fuck, you must be gorgeous when you're happy, he thought, saying the first thing that came to mind in order to keep the conversation from coming to an end.

"I really am sorry. That hardly counts as a proper rescue when it was my fault that you fell."

"It's all right. I probably shouldn't have been sitting like that anyway," Kíli replied politely. "Though I am surprised I did not hear your approach."

At that Bilbo laughed awkwardly and rubbed the back of his head. "Uh, yeah. We Bagginses have always been light on our feet. You just looked so sad that I was worried you might jump." Idiot! Don't say that!

Indeed the other man's face dimmed and his eyes filled with sorrow. But then Kíli shook his head and said softly, almost as if speaking to himself, "No, there is no fear of that. That would only make things worse."

"Do you want to talk about it?" Bilbo offered, filled with a desperate urge to somehow make things better and put the light back in Kíli's eyes. The younger man didn't answer immediately, just looked uncertain as he twisted one of his rings round and round. The motion caught the thief's eye and Bilbo's heart sank when he realized that the gold circle was on the Kíli's ring finger and thus was probably a wedding band.

Okay Bilbo, you're going to be a friend then. You're going to listen to his problems without taking advantage of any marriage troubles even if you think he's ridiculously attractive. Because he is. The thief tried to smile encouragingly and hopefully not lecherously when the nobleman finally looked up.

"I shouldn't...i- it would not be proper at all... and it is not terrible, not really, even if it isn't what I'd hoped," Kíli said haltingly, biting his lip in distress. "I just wish he would actually talk to me sometimes instead of ordering me around as if I were an idiot. I mean, I know I am young, but that does not make me stupid and it bothers me sometimes that he would think I am."

Yeah, Bilbo thought sympathetically. Tall and disdainful looked like the type.

"In truth, we do not spend all that much time together," the nobleman continued, seeming to forget that the thief was there. "I only see him for any length at dinner and we do not talk there because he is too busy flaunting me before his friends – well, colleagues maybe; I do not think that Smaug has friends. I am starting to think that he only wants me for my name. Which sounds awful, but it could be worse since he has always been civil and proper so far. And I should not complain; I just have to make the best of things."

Kíli finally looked up and smiled at Bilbo weakly, "Even if he is not the one I would have chosen."

At the last, the thief's heart ached with compassion and he wondered what ill luck had led the nobleman to be married off so young. Money maybe, that Smaug fellow seemed wealthy and I know the status-hungry will often pay well for a title. His family is probably land-rich and money-poor nobility with nothing but their name and their children left to offer. Makes me glad to be a commoner.

Bilbo wasn't sure what advice he could give the other man, if any. But it didn't matter because just then Kíli must finally have realized that he was baring his soul to a total stranger and he quickly took refuge in formality.

"I apologize; it is nothing," the nobleman said, standing up and visibly bringing himself under control. "Thank you again for saving me but I should be heading back. Smaug might wonder where I am."

Before Bilbo could protest, Kíli bowed shortly and then fled back into the ship. Already feeling bereft without his presence, the thief stared after the younger man until he heard a laugh ring out behind him. When he turned, he could see Lobelia walking across the deck and Bilbo sighed as she moved closer.

"You sure looked cozy, cousin, at least before you scared him off,” she said cheerfully, patting the thief on the shoulder in mock sympathy.

"Oh, shut it. He's married and you know I don't get involved with that. Unlike you,” Bilbo grumbled at his cousin in response.

"You and your morals. But maybe I should try for him then. This one is rather cute,” Lobelia replied, putting her hand through her cousin's arm and pulling him along the deck as Bilbo gave an outraged cry.

"Don't you dare!" he shouted, but she just laughed again and shrugged.

"Fine, fine. I'll leave him to your pining then. Just don't get too attached cousin; a noble isn't for the likes of us to keep."

It was good advice and Bilbo tried to follow it the next day, he really did. But the thief could not get the image of sad brown eyes out of his head and he found himself searching the faces of the other passengers in the hopes that Kíli might be there. So that night he was back on the promenade, leaning against the rail and hoping that the noble would return. Bilbo had waited for nearly an hour before he finally gave up, only to run smack into Kíli walking out the door.

The thief felt a goofy grin forming on his face and he greeted the other man brightly. "Hey, you came back. I wasn't sure if I'd see you again after the way that you ran off."

Kíli ducked his head, blushing slightly. "I...yes. I wanted to apologize for that; it was impolite of me to leave so quickly after you had saved my life and everything."

"No worries, it was my pleasure. Would you like to walk with me?" Bilbo offered and when Kíli gave his hesitant assent, the two began to stroll slowly along the deck. The younger man was tense at first and kept some distance between them, probably still embarrassed about last night, so the thief started telling stories about his childhood to put the nobleman at ease.

Even editing out the worst of the hard times and his less than savory profession, Bilbo still had plenty of tales to tell and gradually Kíli began to relax as he realized that the older man wasn't going to ask him anymore questions without consent.

Bilbo took it as a personal victory the first time that the younger man smiled faintly at one of his jokes, even as he reminded himself desperately, married, married, married! But soon Kíli joined in the conversation and the two traded humorous stories back and forth as they walked along. The nobleman told Bilbo about his brother and all the trouble they had found growing up in Erebor while the thief countered with the story of his first disastrous job as a street magician.

Later on in the evening, the conversation turned more serious as Kíli began to trust Bilbo more. He told the thief about his mother and how much he admired her for refusing to quietly accept a noblewoman's place and that, in fact, she had been the one to teach him archery.

"Uncle always says that she was a hellion in her youth and blames our trouble-making on her genes. She drove my grandfather crazy by refusing to marry long after it was proper, but she was just waiting for someone who wanted a partner as well as a wife. You should see her and father now because the two of them are still disgustingly in love even after all these years. Fíli and I always wanted to find a love like that and at least Fíli will still have his chance."

The younger man looked so dejected then, shoulders hunched and arms wrapped around his chest, that Bilbo couldn't help but reach out and place a hand softly on his cheek. When Kíli looked up, the thief smiled gently.

"Hey, why don't you meet me here right after dinner tomorrow and we'll go do something fun? The youngest Brandybuck is turning eighteen and they're planning one hell of a party. You seem just about his age so you should fit in if you dress casual. It'll take your mind off other things."

Please, Valar, please say yes.

---

I knew I should refuse. Walking around on deck with a strange man was bad enough but I could hardly accept an invitation to attend a party with someone other than my fiancé and think it would be proper. Yet he looked so hopeful and he had been so kind.

Truthfully I probably should not have come back tonight at all, not after almost spilling my family's darkest secret, not with the way that Bilbo made me feel.

But Smaug had barely talked to me since that first awkward night, only acknowledging my presence to order me around or point out my mistakes. Every overture I made to try at least for friendship had been rebuffed and I was starting to think that he preferred it when I did not talk at all. Also, though Smaug had so far kept his promise and left me unmolested as I slept, some of his colleagues made me cringe.

A great muscular albino known as Azog was the worst of them by far and he was at every meal that we attended. His gaze was always hungry and I could feel it like a weight upon my skin. Just that evening during dinner I had felt something slide up the inside of my leg and when I started, only Azog did not seem surprised. Instead he just gave me a toothy smile while he told my fiancé that I obviously needed a firmer hand and he would be happy to oblige at any time.

Although Smaug had hissed at him to keep his ideas to himself, Azog's eyes lingered and I was afraid this warning would not hold him off forever or that Smaug would one day change his mind.

It was this fear that had driven me to try and see Bilbo tonight, to experience some joy in case everything went dark. Bilbo, who listened to me when I talked and actually seemed to care about what I had to say. Dear sweet Bilbo, who tried to make me laugh and was a much kinder and friendlier face than I'd ever thought to find upon this journey. He was not traditionally handsome in the stately way that uncle had, but his warm smile was the most attractive thing I'd ever seen, making me want to curl into his arms and never let go again - maybe, if things had been different...

But they were not different and the fact that Bilbo seemed to return my interest meant it was even more important for me to refuse his invitation. And I was going to, but when I opened my mouth what came out was, "I would love to attend."

Bilbo grinned then, bright and blinding. "Great, I'll see you tomorrow night."

So we said our farewells and I walked back to my cabin, a smile of my own tugging on the corners of my lips.

However, when I opened the door and entered, Smaug was waiting for me and my smile disappeared quickly underneath his frosty gaze. He was sitting at the table in the main sitting room, a small metal case set before him and the cabin's safe open in the wall.

"Where have you been?" my fiancé asked with a frown and gestured impatiently for me to sit down. "I've been waiting."

"I was just walking up on deck. I needed some air."

"Hmm, I see. Well, I thought it was time for you to understand just what your great-grandfather bought from me with your hand, seeing as it will be yours once we are wed."

I mumbled a halfhearted thanks and watched dully as Smaug opened the case with a combination, though he still made sure to hide the numbers from my sight. When the lock clicked open, my fiancé lifted the lid and pulled out another smaller box, this one unlocked with a key that he wore on a chain around his neck. Finally, the other man placed this case on the table in front of me and when he opened it, I had my first glimpse of the Arkenstone.

The gem shone like a star against the black velvet, burning with a thousand different colors trapped within its heart. There was something beautiful and almost seductive in the way that it shimmered but it was a cold and distant beauty that reminded me far too much of Smaug. When I glanced back up, I found my fiancé looking at me expectantly.

"Well?"

"Um, it's pretty?" I offered, not sure what he wanted to hear.

Whatever answer he expected that was definitely not it because Smaug's face darkened and he said flatly. "It's pretty."

"I'm sorry. I've never been one for jewels." And it was true. I had always preferred the sight of living, growing things to the cold light of treasure.

"Of course you aren't. Of course I get the Durin who looks at the rarest gem in the world and fails to be impressed." His voice was hard and angry and he began packing the Arkenstone away with short, sharp movements. The gem went into the box, into the case, and into the safe, and then Smaug slammed that door shut as well and stalked off into our bedroom as I stared after him in astonishment.

What was that? Was I supposed to swoon or something? Whatever he desired I had obviously failed to deliver because Smaug refused to talk anymore that evening, instead just staring at me with calculating eyes. That gaze made my skin crawl so my sleep was fitful and my dreams were dark.

When I woke, Smaug's mood had not improved and the only thing which let me endure the torture of that day was knowing I would be somewhere else that night. Once the last course of dinner had been served and eaten in cold, uncomfortable silence, I excused myself and ran to change.

The only thing I had that seemed remotely casual enough was the hunting gear I had brought on a whim, but all my worries over whether or not it was actually suitable disappeared when Bilbo turned my way. His eyes widened and he stared at me as if I were a dream come true and I felt warm again for the first time that day.

"Shall we then?” I smiled shyly as I offered the other man my arm and then let him lead me into the ship.

---

Bilbo turned to see Kíli standing in the moonlight, looking somehow even more desirable when dressed in simple dark clothes and with his hair loose around his face, and the thief knew he was a goner. Fuck it, I'm in love, he thought as he felt his heart clench within his chest.

It wasn't just that Kíli was gorgeous, though he was, but he was also interesting, clever and utterly adorable. The younger man still had an air of wide-eyed wonder about him that made Bilbo want to protect him from the world, even as he would give anything to see the man that Kíli would become.

With this revelation came another: despite knowing that it was hopeless, the thief truly did not care and he would do all he could to ease Kíli's sorrow in whatever time they had. So Bilbo offered the nobleman a smile and took his arm, drawing him down beneath the decks.

When the pair entered the mess hall where the Brandybuck's party was in full swing, Kíli looked around him with wide eyes at the raucous celebration.

"Not quite what you're used to is it?" Bilbo asked with a grin. "Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it soon enough," he promised as he drew Kíli further into the crowd, and indeed, he was right. After a few drinks, the younger man relaxed enough to let one of the girls pull him up to dance even though he didn't know the steps and Bilbo watched him fondly from the sidelines as the pair stumbled awkwardly about.

"I thought you didn't do married ones," Lobelia teased as she walked to her cousin's side and followed his gaze to the couple on the floor.

"I don't," he replied. "But that doesn't mean I can't try to make him happy."

"Oh, you've got it bad, don't you?" She patted him sympathetically on the shoulder. "Be careful cousin, though at least the foolishness might be mutual," Lobelia added when Kíli shot a delighted grin their way.

After the song ended, Arthur Brandybuck called Bilbo up to the center of the room to perform his more official profession on the party's makeshift table stage. The thief ran through his standard magician's routine while the crowd watched with drunken amazement, though he threw in a few extra flairs in response to Kíli's rapt attention.

Once he finished, Bilbo went to get another drink and returned to find the nobleman and Lobelia engaged in easy conversation. He sat down next to them and listened to their friendly banter in enjoyment for it wasn't often that his cousin found one to match her wit.

But the conversation was cut short when William Braddock climbed upon the table and challenged one and all to a game of darts. Kíli downed the rest of his drink in one gulp and ran off to compete, Bilbo watching in awe as the younger man proved to have a sure and steady hand. Indeed he worked his way handily through the line of competition and it wasn't long before he was being crowned King of the Third Class Dart Board, complete with paper crown, and his victorious laughter brightened the entire room.

"Impressive work," Bilbo pronounced when Kíli dropped down next to him again, crown tilted at a jaunty angle.

"I'm an archer remember, you should see me with a bow, and sober," the other man replied, leaning against Bilbo with a happy sigh. The thief wrapped an arm around Kíli's back as he laid his head on Bilbo's shoulder and the pair sat together contentedly as they watched the party whirl on by. With the celebration before him and the nobleman pressed warm to his side, Bilbo thought that this must be one of the best moments of his life and he wished that he could pause the world right here. However, even good things must pass and soon their serenity was broken by Kíli's massive yawn.

"You all right there?" the older man asked, turning to look down at the younger fondly.

"Yeah, just tired. I didn't sleep well last night." Kíli raised his head as he answered and it wasn't until his voice trailed off on the final word that Bilbo realized just how close their faces had become. He flushed and started to pull back but before he could, Kíli's eyes darkened with intent and the young man crossed the distance between them to press their lips together.

The nobleman's mouth was soft and hesitant at first, clearly unpracticed, and at this thought, Bilbo couldn't help but pull him closer. With a slight tilt of his head, the thief had them kissing properly and the other man made a hungry noise in the back of his throat at the increased pressure of skin on skin. Bilbo nipped Kíli's lips gently just to hear him groan and then licked his way into the younger man's mouth as he buried his hands in that glorious hair. In response, Kíli wrapped an arm around his neck to hold him in place as the kiss deepened, hot and wet.

But even though the older man wanted nothing more than to sink into the sweetness of the other's mouth and never come up for air, the thief could not ignore the voice forever, the voice that said, you should not be doing this.

So Bilbo planted one more soft kiss on Kíli's lips and drew back, nearly giving in again at the sight of the younger man's blown pupils and kiss-swollen mouth. Yet what caused his heart to squeeze most painfully was that same voice mirrored in the other's eyes.

"I'm sorry," Kíli whispered as they separated, "That wasn't fair. Not when we cannot do this."

The words made Bilbo's chest ache since they were a confirmation of both their shared interest and its ultimate futility. "I just wanted..." the nobleman trailed off and shook his head, staring intently at the floor where his paper crown had fallen.

"Wanted what?" Bilbo asked gently, unable to resist his masochistic curiosity.

"I just wanted to know what it would be like to kiss someone I could love." There was such pain in Kíli's eyes when he spoke and the thief felt his heart shatter completely then and there. So he wrapped the other man in his arms again and rested his head on his shoulder.

Valar, you're going to be the death of me. Yet as Kíli tried to apologize once more, Bilbo stopped him with a finger on his lips.

"Don't. Don't be sorry, please, not for that... Now, I guess we should get you straightened up and call it a night, yeah?" The nobleman nodded his reluctant assent and the pair made their farewells before walking slowly back to the top deck.

"Thank you for this. It was perfect and I haven't had so much fun in a long time," Kíli told the older man when they arrived, having regained his smile once again.

"It was my pleasure, really. Maybe we can do it again?" Bilbo responded, reaching out to gently stroke the other's cheek. However, before he could reply, there was a furious yell from behind Bilbo and Kíli's face went white as he stared at something over the thief's right shoulder.

"You! What do you think you're doing? Get away from him!" Bilbo turned toward the voice and his heart jumped into his throat when he recognized the sinister redhead storming closer as Kíli's husband. Ah, shit, He thought, instinctively putting himself between the nobleman and his enraged spouse. This is why I don't do married ones.

"Smaug, we aren't doing anything," Kíli protested but the man just continued to stalk closer, his eyes burning brighter in his rage.

When he was nearly upon them, Smaug hissed furiously, "And why should I believe anything that comes out of your mouth, you lying little whore? Sméagol saw you, saw you sneaking off tonight! I bet you laughed about it when you fucked him, didn't you? Laughed about how I'd never know."

Yavanna's mercy! "It was just a birthday party! He's my friend and I invited him along. There were plenty of witnesses if you want to ask them,” Bilbo said, trying desperately to bring reason back into the discussion because something was seriously wrong here.

However Smaug just shoved him roughly to the side and shouted, "You and your witnesses can fuck off. This is between me and my adulterous fiancé."

Fiancé? But then why...? Bilbo thought in shock as Smaug grabbed Kíli's arms tightly, the younger man wincing at his grip. But when the thief moved to help him, Kíli shook his head mutely and Bilbo was left watching helplessly when Smaug dragged the other man off.

---

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! I thought frantically as my fiancé pulled me through the halls. Smaug had stopped yelling as soon as we were inside, protecting his reputation even in his fury, but we still received confused glances from the other passengers as he stormed past, dragging me along. But despite his silence every time I tried to explain he would not listen, just pinned me with a glare that singed my skin.

I knew I shouldn't have accepted. Yet the party had been wonderful and Bilbo's lips were just as soft as I had imagined. Maybe I deserved Smaug's fury because it was true that I did not love him and my heart had wandered, but at least I had tried to build a bridge between us while all he did was tear it down.

And when he burst into our cabin, threw Sméagol out and slammed me up against the wall, I felt my own anger rise. What right did he have to treat me so? He, who had coerced me into marriage, now dared to accuse me of infidelity after I had rejected the one I wanted most in order to uphold my future vows.

"Let me go!" I yelled, pushing against his hands. "I told you we haven't done anything."

"And I asked why I should believe you, when all the evidence points the other way?" Smaug hissed, pressing me back against the wall. It was hard to resist the urge to take him down just like my uncle taught me, but I knew I could not afford to alienate him utterly for my family's sake.

However, that knowledge did not keep the anger from my voice as I replied, "Because it's the truth! It was a damn birthday party and thirty people could attest to that if you just asked them. I know my duty!"

At this my fiancé drew back slightly but the insane gleam in his eyes only increased and fear began to grow within my heart. "Do you really? Do you really know why I bought you; have you guessed? Or did you just hope to make the best of things, a willing lamb led to the slaughter in your family's stead?"

His voice was soft now, hypnotic, and I shuddered as it froze my blood and bones.

"I told you I would not accept being some man's second best and this is true. However, I did not buy you for your body, lovely though it may be, and I certainly did not buy you for your mind. No, I bought you so that I could own a Durin. So that I could break your spirit to my will and make you into a tame little lordling who will hang upon my arm and show the world the kind of power in my grasp.

“And I will break you no matter how hard you try to fight me. You will submit because I hold your precious Erebor in the palm of an open fist and I can crush your family on a whim.

“So did you really know that? Your uncle did because I told him, just a few short weeks ago. The day I came to Erebor, I showed him the Arkenstone and I told him exactly what I planned... and then I told him that he could stop it, he could stop it all right there.

“All he had to do was give up his title as the Lord of Lonely Mountain, not the lands nor wealth nor holdings, just the title and the chance to ever own the Arkenstone. And you know what he said to me, your precious Uncle Thorin? Kíli will do his duty. He gave you to me to do with as I will; so I ask again, did you know that?"

I could not answer him because shock had stopped my voice but my horror must have shown upon my face because Smaug laughed viciously and continued to spill his filthy lies. I hope they're lies.

"I thought not or you would not have dared to cross me. But perhaps it's my fault for allowing you so free a hand. Perhaps because I kept my promise, you thought that you could find someone else to fill our marriage bed. I see now that I was mistaken to be so kind, but I had hoped such violence would not be necessary. I had hoped that the Arkenstone would ensnare you as it did your uncle and your great-grandfather, consume your mind until you would do anything I wished.

“You should have begged for me to take you, dropped to your knees and promised to do anything, anything at all for the chance to see the gem again. And you would have let me fuck you gladly, just like I fucked old Thrór, just like I could have fucked your uncle if I'd wished. I could have had you then, body and soul, without all this trouble in-between. But no, you thought it was pretty and now I have to break you the harder way instead."

I was so caught up in the sick tale Smaug was spinning that it took me a moment to register the sensation of his lips upon my own, but once I did my stomach twisted with revulsion. Smaug's mouth was hard and cold, demanding my surrender, and when he tried to pry my lips apart and force his tongue inside, I couldn't take it anymore.

I reacted instinctively, kneeing him in the gut and shoving him off of me so that I could get away. My mad fiancé was blocking the doorway so I put the bed between us and looked around for a weapon, anything that I could use to fend him off. Yet Smaug didn't try to follow, just looked at me and laughed.

"Maybe you are still a virgin after all if you react to a kiss like that. In that case, let me explain how this can go.

“If you fight me now and win and then somehow manage to disappear for the remainder of this voyage, our contract will come into effect. Erebor and the lands of Lonely Mountain will belong to me if we are not wed by your nineteenth birthday, no matter what the reason, and I do not think you wish for that to happen.

“Unless of course you want your family to become homeless and penniless, cast upon the streets with no one there to aid them. Not unless you want me to rape your land for its resources, clear cut the forests, mine the mountains, and sell your people to the highest bidder. Because I will.

“Your second option is to fight me and lose."

Here Smaug's smile turned feral and I shuddered at the insanity shining in his eyes.

"If you lose or even win but let me track you down, I will grant you your worst nightmare and give you over to Azog for your sins. You can fight him too and perhaps even fend him off for a short time, but eventually you will falter and then he will be brutal, far more brutal than I.

“He has a taste for virgins, you see, and he has a taste for Durin's blood as well. Azog has craved it ever since I let him play with your grandfather after he tried to steal my Arkenstone, but Thráin was half mad and fragile by the time I released him from my traps and he did not last long under my colleague's sort of fun. Yes, Thráin bled out fast when Azog carved into his skin.

“Not you though; you would endure and you would scream because your mind remains unclouded by the Arkenstone. And when there is no part of you that is not bruised or bleeding, that's when Azog will finally take you. Split you open on his massive cock and his every touch will be a torture as he claims you, brands himself beneath your skin. Azog will fuck you until you're broken inside and out, until the touch of his seed makes you cry in agony and you know that you will never be free of him again.

“And then, when you're begging for the sweet release of death to ease your shame, I will not grant it. No, I'll put you on display for everyone to see and let them pay for the privilege to use what scraps of you remain. I will profit off your misery and Erebor will still be mine, because I will never marry such a tainted, twisted thing.

“And then, finally, there is the third option."

I was shaking now, trembling with the horror of the future he described and I knew that it could all too easily come true. No matter what happened, Erebor would be lost as long as Smaug possessed the Arkenstone and did not marry me, and I would rather die than let Azog be my first. But death was no solution because my brother would just have to take my place and I could not consign Fíli to such a fate.

So I straightened my shoulders and my voice shook only slightly as I asked, "And what is that?"

Smaug smirked again, that twisted reptilian grin which made me want to flee the room. "The third option is for you to surrender. For you to come over here and let me take what I am due; I will not be gentle but if you do whatever I ask for the remainder of our journey, I will count your sin redeemed. I will marry you as promised so that your family's future will be secure and I will allow no other man to hold what I possess."

It was a terrible bargain. I knew it was a terrible bargain. Indeed, the thought of Smaug's touch still filled me with revulsion and I would die a little more inside every time that I submitted to his whims. But I could not see any other way for my family to be safe and what was my happiness compared to that?

"You swear?"

"I swear. I swear on the glory of the Arkenstone that I will let no other touch you and I will marry you upon our journey's end. Let the gem's light fade and my house fall into dishonor and disgrace should I break my word."

A grand oath but he could afford it now that he knew he'd won and when I nodded my reluctant consent, Smaug's evil grin spread wider.

"Come here then," he ordered, stretching out his hand. I forced myself to relax from my fighting stance and walked toward him, stopping just within his reach. Though I tried, I could not bring myself to move any closer but it did not matter when his hand came down hard upon my shoulder and forced me to my knees. I looked up at Smaug in confusion and his smile gained a gloating edge.

"Melkor's name, you are an innocent aren't you? I think I'm going to enjoy this." The hand on my shoulder kept me immobile as the other unlaced his trousers and pulled out his swelling cock. Smaug was half-hard already from his twisted storytelling, thick and flushed before my eyes, and the sight of it made me want to gag.

"Touch me," he ordered. "Stroke me until I'm stiff."

So I swallowed my bile and grabbed him tentatively, wrapping my hand around his shaft before rubbing up and down. He groaned in pleasure as he swelled further and all I could think was, if I loved him this would probably seem beautiful, even as I fought to keep my dinner down.

It did not take long for Smaug to harden completely and he stopped me soon after, the hand on my shoulder moving to grasp my neck instead. He forced his thumb between my lips and though I wanted to bite him, I allowed the intrusion, allowed him to open my mouth wide.

"If you bite me, I will kill you," Smaug warned, then drove his cock between my lips and pressed me down until I choked. I gagged helplessly as he pushed against the back of my throat and my hands scrabbled at the wall to keep from attacking him, but he gave me no time to recover. Smaug just thrust deeper, forced me to swallow him over and over until my vision started to spot from lack of air and my head began to spin. Finally, just when I was about to pass out, he released me and I sank down gasping, feeling the bruise of his fingers on my throat.

"That should be enough spit to keep from tearing you completely," he said as though doing me a kindness, then ordered me to strip and kneel on the bed. I staggered to my feet and stumbled over there, my hands shaking so hard that I fumbled with my buttons when I began to undress. Virgin I might be, but I knew what came next and I wanted no part of it. So I delayed as long as I could until eventually there was no more clothing left.

Then I climbed on the bed and knelt, hoping that if nothing else he would finish with me soon, but even that was not to be. Smaug took his time about it, whispering filthy promises as he stroked his hands across my skin and his touch lingered like a bruise. Finally he was satisfied with my position: knees spread, ass in the air, and when Smaug draped himself across my back, his weight was a terrible promise of what was to come.


Part 2