Title: I'll Carve a Space Into Your Heart
Time Stamp III: Five Years Later
Pairings: dub-con shapeshifter!Smaug/Kíli
Warnings: dub-con, kidnapping, Stockholm Syndrome, D/S elements, plugs, major angst and anything else I forgotWord Count: 1,768 (25,514 total)
Disclaimer: If I owned the hobbit it would be disturbing
Summary: Being chosen as a dragon's mate is a terribly dangerous thing.
Time Stamp I
Time Stamp II
The dwarf doesn't react at first, his name grown unfamiliar after so many years. Because his master never calls him anything but love, pet, or darling, and the archer has almost forgotten that he was once known as Kíli in the time Before.
Indeed, no one should be talking to him now since Smaug went to make a call while the dwarf does his shopping and everyone here knows better than to trifle with the dragon's prize.
“Kíli?! Is that you?”
He turns when a hand lands on his shoulder, every instinct screaming to strike fast and strike now. Yet the archer stops short when he sees the one who called him, the other dwarf blond and so very familiar. For while he has done his best to put his past behind him, there are some memories engraved too deeply to root out, happy memories that make him smile now.
“Fíli!” the dwarf says delightedly, wrapping his brother into a tight hug and then pulling back to take him in. “You look good.”
It's the truth for the other dwarf has matured in the years since they last saw each other, carrying himself with an air of solid confidence that must do their uncle proud. Fíli even managed to grow into that crooked nose of his, something that the archer hadn't been sure was possible.
But while all the dwarf feels is joy at their reunion, his brother keeps looking at him like he's seen a ghost instead and his distress reminds the archer just how long it's been.
“Kíli, I- We thought you were dead! There was a fire and a body and...” Fíli shakes his head as he trails off and then pulls his brother into another hug, the dwarf thinking rapidly as he returns this embrace. For as happy as he is to see Fíli, the other dwarf will have questions and he doesn’t know what answers he should give.
Indeed, when Fíli finally lets go, the first words out of his mouth are: “Where in Mahal's name have you been?”
“I've been... it's difficult to explain,” the archer replies, knowing that he cannot tell Fíli the truth about his master and expect him to understand. There's a reason that he's never tried to contact his family, one beyond the fact that Smaug would not like it and the fear that they would not want to hear from him. Because the dwarf has changed; he is no longer Kíli and he cannot go back again.
Yet now that he's seen his brother, he cannot simply brush him off without an explanation and perhaps he could pay Fíli a visit down the line. His master allows him more freedom now that he knows the dwarf will never leave him and a quick visit might not go amiss.
So the archer smiles at his brother and tells him as close a version of the truth as he thinks the other dwarf will accept.
“I was taken that night, though I did not know he left a body to keep you from finding me. I thought – well, it doesn't matter anymore,” he says, letting Fíli draw his own conclusions from the pause. If his brother is feeling guilty then he should ask less questions and he needs to finish this conversation before his mate returns.
“But I do not need to be rescued,” the archer adds when Fíli starts gearing up for battle, laying a firm hand on his brother's arm. “I am quite capable of seeing to my own safety and I am happy now. I'm even married, several years and counting, and I love my husband more than anything. So I did not mean to make you worry; I just wasn't sure if you'd want to hear from me.”
“Of course we would have; I would have,” his brother replies, looking desolate again. “I mourned you for years, wondered if I could have done anything to save you and you've just... been living here?”
“Nearby actually, my m- husband does not like the city so we spend most of our time in the countryside. But it's not your fault, Fíli; I need you to know that. What happened to me could not have been prevented and there would have been two bodies instead of one if you had tried. So please, brother, forgive yourself for me.”
“I will try, Kíli, though I spent too much of my life looking after you to make it easy now,” Fíli says in answer and that will have to be enough.
“Valar, but you look so different,” Fíli continues, making his own inspection of his little brother now. “Though this husband of yours does seem to be keeping you well fed. But your hair and... what is that?”
The archer glances down to see what could have made his brother trail off so suddenly, his eyes catching on the bright silver of the collar at his throat. He'd almost forgotten that he was wearing it, the torque as natural as his own skin by now. But the dwarf should have known that Fíli would notice the adornment even though the collar had been partially hidden by his tunic – after all, his kindred have always had an eye for skillful work.
“I told you, Fíli. I'm married now.”
“That is not a ring,” his brother retorts shakily.
“It is for us,” the archer replies, watching his dreams of visiting turn to ashes at the horror in Fíli's eyes. He knew that his brother would not understand but he had not thought to hide the collar; he could never hide the proof of what his master means to him.
“Kíli, what are you talking about? You can't – this cannot be what you want. You're my brother; you're a Durin, and you deserve much more than this,” Fíli says, grabbing onto his brother's arms desperately. “He's the one who took you, isn't he? Your husband; he took you and he made you think that you were his. Durin's beard, Kíli, we have to get you out of here. We have to get you home so that we can make you see sense again.”
The dwarf knows that his brother means it, that Fíli would gladly steal him back from Smaug this instant and spend the rest of his life trying to convince him that his master was not right. But that future leads only to death and heartbreak, for the archer cannot live without his dragon and the dragon would burn the world to bring his mate home again.
So he steps back, pulling his arms free even as his brother stares at him aghast. “You cannot do that, Fíli. I do not need saving and to attempt it would destroy our family. My master is a dragon, brother; the child of a fire drake and a wizard and he has no weaknesses. If his flames did not destroy you, his spells would break your weapons, and I cannot aid your fight in this.
“Please, Fíli. Do not attempt it. You are still my brother and I would not see you die.”
His brother hesitates for a long moment, torn between the archer's warning and what he sees as his duty to his family. But the dwarf just holds Fíli's gaze without flinching, waiting with one hand on his dagger and refusing to back down.
“Then my little brother truly is dead, isn't he? Kíli died in that fire years ago and I do not know this stranger that I see.”
With that pronouncement, Fíli turns away and while the archer knows that this is for the best, that Kíli Prince exists no longer, it still hurts to watch. His brother had always been there for him, ready to bandage scraped knees and get him out of trouble, and some part of his heart had believed that this chance meeting might let them be such friends again. But people grow up, their paths diverge even when they care about each other, and the dwarf cannot change his mind on this.
Yet perhaps he is not the only one who does not find the parting easy for his brother halts again after walking only a few short feet.
“Tell me, Kíli. Does this dragon of yours love you properly, at least?” Fíli asks as he turns back to his kin.
“He'd die for me, Fíli, and I'd do the same for him.”
“All right, little brother, I guess that will have to do. Someday I pray that you will let me help you; but until that moment comes, I can only give you this. Be happy even if I'm not there to see it and know that I love you even if I don't understand.” Fíli steps forward to clasp the archer's shoulders, knocking their heads together gently before he turns to leave once more.
This time his brother does not look back and the archer is certain that their paths will never cross again. Because he will never ask Fíli to ride to the rescue as the other dwarf imagines; he does not need deliverance from the collar round his neck. Yet the pain that the archer felt only moments before has all but disappeared now that he has Fíli's blessing on the life that he has made. A somewhat reluctant blessing, but a blessing nonetheless, and the dwarf finds that he is smiling despite the tears upon his cheeks.
The archer watches his brother until he disappears into the crowd and then turns back to his shopping. He looks at a few new tools for his forge but his heart's not really in it anymore, the dwarf simply passing time until Smaug returns to him.
The encounter with Fíli has thrown him off kilter and he needs his master to set him right again. So he keeps one eye on the street even as he haggles for a hammer and when the dragon finally appears, the dwarf abandons the transaction without a second thought.
“Are you ready, darling?” Smaug asks, leaning down to kiss his mate possessively. As always, the touch of his master leaves the archer breathless and he can feel himself relaxing as the dragon kisses him. Indeed the dwarf's tension is slipping from his shoulders like an ill-fitting cloak now that his mate is with him and there truly is no other place that he would rather be.