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Not So Delicate

Title: Not So Delicate
Pairing: minor pre-slash Kíli/Bilbo
Warnings: Fluff, lots of fluff.
Word Count: 1338
Disclaimer: If I owned the Hobbit, it would be ridiculous.
Summary: Dwarves don't get sick so Kíli freaks out when Bilbo catches a cold.


Something was wrong with their hobbit.

Bilbo had been tired and listless for the past few days, leaving early from Laketown’s many celebrations when he bothered to go at all. But Kíli was sure that their burglar had not been injured in the flight from Thranduil's dungeons and the dwarf couldn't think of any other reason why he would fade like that.

So he took to watching their hobbit subtly for he wanted to ensure that no one was harming him in secret and the more that Kíli saw, the more worried he became. Because not only was Bilbo sniffling like it was hard for him to breathe but he also could not seem to stop coughing and his eyes were dripping constantly. Even his skin was strange, much hotter than normal and pale beneath his flush.

However, when Kíli mentioned the hobbit’s distress to his brother, Fíli told him not to worry overmuch. “It has been a hard month for all of us,” the elder dwarf said reassuringly. “I'm sure he's just tired from dodging elvish guards while we were imprisoned and he'll be back to normal before long.”

But while the archer tried to take Fíli's advice, drinking and flirting and dancing with every pretty young thing who asked, it just didn't feel right to party without Bilbo at his side. He couldn’t stop worrying that something awful was going to happen to their burglar and Thorin’s company owed him more care than that, particularly since he was the only reason that they had reached Laketown successfully.

So Kíli went back to check on Bilbo and he could no longer ignore his misgivings when he pushed open the door. Because the hobbit was huddled on his bed, the very picture of abject misery such as he had never seen before.

“Bilbo! What's wrong?” the dwarf exclaimed, rushing to the burglar's side anxiously. “You should have said something if you were wounded. I mean, you could be dying by now! I'll go get Óin, or a human healer, or by the Valar, I'll just fetch them all!”

But even as Kíli was busy panicking, Bilbo reached out to pat his arm reassuringly. “Hey, it’s all right, really. No need to bother them. All I need is rest and tea and relaxation until this darn cold goes away.”

“You're cold? Let me get another blanket then.”

The archer started to push himself off the bed, already thinking of the best dwarf from whom to steal a blanket – Dwalin definitely – before Bilbo tugged on his arm again and said with a somewhat exasperated sigh, “Kíli, no, I'm fine, I promise. Well, I mean, I'm miserable but I’m just sick, not dying. So a few more days in bed will have me back to fighting strength soon enough.”

“Sick?” the dwarf asked blankly, looking down at his friend with a confused frown. It was true that the burglar didn't seem particularly worried by his condition and yet Kíli had never heard of anything like this before. “Are you... Is it a hobbit thing? Like how dwarves sometimes get a little screwy when we're above ground for too long.”

“… No. It’s not like that at all.” And yet that explains so much. Bilbo replied eventually, staring up at the archer like he was the crazy one. “I mean, I thought everyone got sick sometimes. Except maybe elves, but they're... elves. Have you never caught a chill?”

“Um... I don't think dwarves do that. At least not in the way you mean,” Kíli told him, twisting a lock of hair around his fingers as he worked out what to say. “We can be injured or killed by the elements and we feel pain and the cold just like you. We can even starve or die from lack of water, but we do not... leak like that. Are you sure that you're not actually dying? Or does this 'sick' you speak of always make you suffer so?”

“Well, I can't speak for any other hobbits, but my head usually aches horribly and my throat burns whenever I swallow anything. I can also never hear because my ears are ringing, my nose drips constantly and I cough so much it's hard to breathe. When it's really bad, I sometimes wonder if I'm going to suffocate while I'm sleeping and my bones often ache beneath my skin. So I’m too hot or too cold constantly and even food turns to ashes in my mouth. But it's really not that bad,” Bilbo finished somewhat sheepishly in the face of the dwarf's wide-eyed stare.

“And that's all normal?!” Kíli exclaimed, horrified by his friend's litany of woe. “Maybe I should go find Óin just in case.”

The young dwarf looked ready to bring back half of Laketown and Bilbo really hadn't meant to upset his friend this much. But even if his worrying was rather adorable, the hobbit much preferred to convalesce in peace and quiet and so he needed Kíli to stop freaking out.

“Truly, Kíli, I will recover soon enough,” he promised as sincerely as he could through the daggers in his throat. “Colds are not deadly, just very unpleasant, and there is no cure for the misery they bring.”

“All right. If you’re sure. But you hobbits are much tougher than any of us knew,” the dwarf replied, his expression slightly awestruck now. “Though surely there must be something that I can do to ease your hardship even if I cannot fight this ill for you?”

'Well... When I was younger my mother always used to hold me and the warmth of her arms helped me sleep. But I couldn’t possibly expect you to do that,” Bilbo told him quietly. After all, it was hardly good manners to ask for snuggling and the hobbit never would have mentioned it if his misery hadn't overwhelmed his propriety.

Still, even if Kíli would never agree, the burglar couldn't help thinking about how nice it would feel to be held once again. No one had really hugged him since his parents died and that lack was almost a physical ache by now.

Of course, in his despondency Bilbo had forgotten that the young archer had no sense of shame at all.

“All right then,” Kíli agreed cheerfully. His mood had already improved significantly at the chance to help his friend feel better and it was hardly a great difficulty that the hobbit asked of him. Even if the archer could only ease Bilbo's pain, at least he was doing something because there was nothing he hated more than feeling inadequate.

So the dwarf peeled off his outer layers and climbed up beside the burglar, ignoring Bilbo's embarrassed protests as he made himself comfortable.

“Relax,” he whispered, pulling the hobbit back against his chest. “I'm not going to start nothing with you so miserable, so just relax and let me comfort you.”

But you would if I weren't? Bilbo thought, mind catching on Kíli's words and becoming stuck right there. But the dwarf was so blessedly warm against him that the hobbit couldn't worry about the implications for too long, not right now anyway. For while he still felt terrible, the cursed ache in his bones was finally easing and perhaps he would finally be able to sleep again.

“Thank you,” he murmured as he sank into the mattress, exhaustion already tugging at his mind. There would be time enough to feel embarrassed by his lack of manners after he felt better and Bilbo only hoped that Kíli would allow him to repay his kindness in some way. But for now the hobbit was warm and comfortable, held safe in the other's arms as he drifted off blissfully.

Indeed Bilbo was near asleep already when he felt soft lips touch his forward and the dwarf whispered, “You are welcome” in reply.


End.