Chapter 16: Ges-sasekh
Pairings: Mostly Platonic Kíli/Fíli, Kíli/Bilbo/Fíli, Dwalin/Ori, Dwalin/Nori, Bilbo/Thorin, minor and background pairings
Rating/Warnings: Competition, romance, and so much bloody angst
Word Count: 5209 (91,549 so far)
Disclaimer: If I owned it, there would be more threesomes.
Summary: Fíli and Kíli have spent decades searching for the last piece of their hearts, but meeting Bilbo is just the beginning of the tale. Because hobbits believe in love, not destiny and someone else catches their burglar's eye.
Chapter 1: Ze' Chapter 6: Ges Chapter 11: Ze'sasekh
Chapter 2: Nu' Chapter 7: Haded Chapter 12: Nu'sasekh
Chapter 3: Gem Chapter 8: Gimon Chapter 13: Gemsasekh
Chapter 4: Ramekh Chapter 9: Tager Chapter 14: Ramekhsasekh
Chapter 5: Gamekh Chapter 10: Sasekh Chapter 15: Gamekhsasekh
Thorin makes the first move, beginning his campaign with long walks through Erebor. He invites Bilbo to join him and shows the hobbit all the wonders of his kingdom, telling his beloved stories from his childhood and sharing the burdens of his crown.
The dwarf lord knows about Bilbo's agreement with his sister-sons – the burglar had told him straight away – but he does not speak about them. Thorin will not win this fight with bitter words or hatred; Bilbo has seen enough of that from him.
Instead, Thorin reveals his kingdom's buried secrets, the hidden haunts that he had discovered back when he was young. He shows Bilbo the cascades of molten silver deep within the mountain and the caverns strewn with gemstones, diamonds shining in the torchlight just like stars.
When Thorin cannot find the time for exploration, he invites Bilbo to his court and while the hobbit does not presume to tell his beloved how to rule his people, he enjoys watching the dwarf lord in his element. The two of them often discuss the day's business over dinner, the king using Bilbo as a sounding board to put his thoughts in order, and the burglar is sure that dwarvish politics will make more sense in time.
Honestly, compared to remembering which of his distant relatives are currently feuding with each other, keeping track of dwarven clan alliances isn't all that difficult. It doesn't hurt that Thorin's court currently consists of about two dozen people: his companions and the nobles from the Iron Hills who decided they would stay. While the dwarf lord has sent messages back to his kin in the Blue Mountains, ravens travel much faster than any dwarven caravan. It will be months yet before most of the Sigin-tarâg arrive.
For now Thorin and Bilbo are able to talk and laugh and sit quietly together without too many interruptions. The dwarf lord listens to his hobbit, paying him the sort of close attention that he never could before, and when he asks to kiss Bilbo, the burglar can find no reason to say no. That first kiss is achingly gentle, little more than a fleeting touch of lips. It's the hobbit who pulls Thorin back down for a proper snog, his doubts momentarily forgotten in a pleasant rush of heat.
However, despite the dwarf lord's current sweetness, Bilbo cannot shake the memory of those hands around his neck. Sometimes when Thorin is extolling the virtues of his kingdom, his eyes glint gold in the torchlight and the burglar feels as though he's looking at a stranger once again.
In truth, perhaps he is. King Thorin of Erebor is very different from Thorin Oakenshield in several ways and the hobbit doesn't feel as though he knows this dwarrow yet. Bilbo is discovering a whole new side to his beloved now that their quest is over and it's too soon to say whether or not he likes the changes; whether Thorin's consort is a thing that he can be.
Sometimes Bilbo is relieved to leave the dwarf lord's presence and meet with his nephews, though his time with Fíli and Kíli carries its own frustrations. With the princes, there is no romance to rekindle; this is something new and bright and fragile in its innocence.
Thorin's nephews seem almost hesitant; determined to court their hobbit but careful not to press. Fíli and Kíli give Bilbo small tokens rather than attempting to match Thorin's grander gestures and his acceptance is always met with sheer delight.
“Why are you so happy whenever I say thank you?” the burglar asks one morning. “I can't deny I like the presents, but you have to know that I don't need them to enjoy your company.”
“We've never done this before,” Kíli admits, looking at the hobbit shyly. “Fí and I didn't have to court each other, but we want to woo you properly. We just want to make you happy, Bilbo, and when you accept our presents, we know we're doing something right.”
The hobbit is more charmed by this admission than he wishes to admit. Indeed, he has to hide a smile when the archer nods once, firmly, as though to turn his words into reality.
Then Kíli drags Bilbo off to meet his brother in the upper ramparts. The trio spends a lovely afternoon together, wandering from the kitchens to the hot springs to the library before the day is done. The princes' courtship is tailored precisely to his interests and whenever their skin brushes, the hobbit can feel Fíli and Kíli's adoration clear as day.
Yet that's also Bilbo's problem. He can feel their admiration and he isn't sure whether he truly returns the princes' interest or if he's simply being influenced by the strange link between their souls.
That connection seems to be growing stronger now that the hobbit has acknowledged its existence. Bilbo can feel Fíli and Kíli's emotions almost as clearly as his own and blocking the princes out requires concentration. Whenever the burglar loses focus, his walls dissolve and his bond with Fíli and Kíli comes rushing back again. The sense of belonging nearly overwhelms Bilbo and he doesn't know how he managed to miss their connection until now.
The hobbit still isn't sure if he believes in destined lovers but there is something undeniable drawing him to the princes. Bilbo even checked his birthmark, cutting away enough of his ankle hair to see a flash of lettering. His skin is marked with shining dwarvish runes and it would be so easy to surrender, to let the bond guide his choices and call it love instead.
But Bilbo has always been stubborn. The burglar needs to know if there is more to their relationship than some Valar-born connection – what the princes call ashânumahâl – before he can decide.
“I don't know how you do it,” the hobbit says to Ori in a fit of pique one morning. “How do you trust your lives to the Valar's meddling?”
The younger dwarf has been spending more time with Bilbo, leaving Nori and Dwalin alone while they enjoy their honeymoon. The two of them were married just a week ago since Dori and Balin had demanded a proper celebration, one that required a lot of time to plan. Bilbo had been surprised by Balin's enthusiasm since the older dwarf had always seemed quite traditional. But if he had any misgivings about Dwalin's second husband, he did not share them with the hobbit and Balin stood with his brother when the wedding vows were read.
Bilbo was there as well, bearing witness to their marriage with the rest of Thorin's company. The ceremony was short but sweet, just as heartfelt as any that he'd seen in Hobbiton, and the burglar couldn't deny that Nori, Dwalin, and Ori all shone with happiness.
Indeed, Nori seems to delight at touching Dwalin now. Nothing risque, not in public, but he'll kiss the warrior's cheek or rest his head upon his shoulder whenever possible. The dwarf is making up for lost time with a vengeance and Ori just smiles at his brother's antics, his expression blissful even when Nori and Dwalin start to bicker about whether Erebor's new spymaster should keep his hand in thievery.
The trio seems happy, truly happy, and yet Bilbo can't help thinking that this exception proves the rule. He doesn't understand how Ori can be perfectly willing to share his husband with his brother just because the Valar said so, the husband that he'd married for the runes around his wrist. “How can you be certain that what you feel is true?”
“Why would I question it?” the dwarf replies, looking as confused by Bilbo's question as the burglar feels right now. “Mahal knew what he was doing; I've never wanted anyone the way that I want Dwalin and I know that Nori feels the same. We love him and he loves us and trying to deny that would only make us miserable. It did make us miserable before the law was changed. Why would we throw that love away?”
Ori makes things sound so simple but the hobbit can't believe it. Magic doesn't make a marriage. He wants a foundation built on love and friendship since attraction alone can't keep a relationship alive. Bilbo has plenty of the latter; he noticed that Fíli and Kíli were gorgeous before he ever thought of Thorin and learning the price of infidelity hadn't made him blind. In another life, the hobbit would have tried to court the princes. He would have invited one or the other to his bed for a tumble and then seen where things led from there.
However, it doesn't seem right to sleep with Thorin or his nephews until he's made his decision. All this talk of destiny has made Bilbo wary of giving either side false hope and while a different hobbit might have tried to keep all three dwarrows as his lovers, Bilbo has never been that type.
The hobbit finds it odd enough that Fíli and Kíli courting him together seems completely natural and that's probably just the Valar's magic messing with his head. The princes are Fíli-and-Kíli as much as separate entities but adding Thorin to the mix is a different kettle of fish entirely.
Indeed, the three of them have their first true argument after Fíli and Kíli catch Bilbo and the dwarf lord kissing one afternoon.
“Why would you let him do that? Did you forget he tried to kill you?” Fíli growls while his brother looks at the hobbit with disappointed eyes. “I know you're giving Thorin another chance but he hasn't earned the right to touch you. Not like that.”
“I still love your uncle and I will kiss him if I want to,” the burglar tells him firmly, keeping his voice level despite the roil of emotion in his gut. Bilbo isn't afraid that Fíli will try to hurt him; he knows in his bones that the prince would rather die. But the hobbit has to fight in order to keep himself from giving in to the pain in Kíli's heart. “What I do with Thorin is my decision, not yours, and you will not win my favor by yelling at me now.”
This relationship will never work if Bilbo can't be his own person; if they can't learn to disagree, argue and annoy each other, then they should quit right now. The hobbit is working on this same issue with the dwarf lord – even without a bond, Thorin's opinions can be forceful – and he feels a rush of fondness when Fíli simply sighs.
“All right. Fine,” the blond dwarf says, running a hand through his hair while Kíli nods reluctantly. “We'll just have to show you that we're the better choice.”
The princes give Bilbo two sweet kisses of their own before leading outside on their planned excursion, searching out the gardens that used to line the upper slope. There isn't much left, but the trio finds treasures nonetheless: winter flowers and buried bulbs that the hobbit will be able to grow with his own hands. Bilbo loves plants and the dwarves love him and none of them mention Thorin after that.
Indeed, the burglar's suitors barely acknowledge their private competition. The three dwarves are strained but civil as they go about their duties every day. After all, the world has not stopped turning just because Thorin and his sister-sons are courting the same person and there is much work to be done.
The entire company has thrown themselves into the restoration, their sweat and tears rebuilding the Lonely Mountain piece by piece. Between the original fourteen and the warriors from the Iron Hills, there are enough hands to clear the rubble, the evidence of Smaug's destruction cleared from their kingdom's hallowed halls. Erebor is becoming something beautiful once more, a safe haven for all of Thorin's people, and Bilbo does his best to help. He can't match the strength or the stone sense of Aulë's children but every project needs a good organizer and the hobbit has always had a talent for keeping things on track.
However, even though Bilbo makes himself useful and he never doubts his welcome, the burglar still doesn't quite feel like he belongs.
“Are you happy here?” Thorin asks the hobbit a few days after Yule has come and gone. The two of them are sharing supper and while the food is just as good as usual, Bilbo cannot shake off a slightly melancholy air. His thoughts are heavy and Erebor is weighing on him, though this day was little different than the ones that came before.
Perhaps that is the problem. Spring is on its way and the burglar feels no closer to making his decision than he was two months ago. Bilbo loves Thorin; he thinks that he will always love Thorin but, Valar- born or not, the hobbit truly cares about the king's sister-sons as well. He can't bear the thought of breaking Fíli and Kíli's hearts by marrying their uncle any more than he can bear the thought of hurting Thorin for a love that isn't real.
That is the true but Bilbo doesn't want to burden his beloved with that knowledge. Thorin doesn't need the added trouble now.
“I don't know, my dear,” the hobbit says with a wan smile. “Sometimes I think I've never been happier and sometimes I still feel like a stranger in these halls. Sometimes I miss the green hills of Hobbiton so much that I can't breathe. But you shouldn't listen to my rambling; I am probably just tired. I never realized how much effort it takes to be a king.”
“It becomes easier with time,” Thorin tells Bilbo, stroking the hobbit's cheek with one calloused hand. “There is joy in serving and once the mountain is restored, I'm sure that we'll find time to visit Hobbiton again.”
Bilbo lets these words soothe his doubts for the moment. The dwarf lord's kisses are always good for clearing out his mind. But the hobbit's uncertainty only comes back stronger and he feels increasingly out of place as more of Thorin's kin arrive. Most of Durin's Folk chose to travel through the winter instead of waiting for the spring; their hearts too eager to see their old home again.
With every group that passes through the gates of Erebor, Thorin becomes more the king that he was meant to be and more of a stranger to his beloved's eyes. The King Under the Mountain must be strong and proud and fair in all his rulings; what use does he have for a hobbit when he needs a consort by his side?
All three dwarves are out of Bilbo's league. Watching Thorin and his heirs at court, the hobbit does not feel as though he belongs in such fabled company. His family may be wealthy by the Shire's standards, but he loves food and books and lazy evenings by the fire as much as a good adventure and he could happily live the rest of his life without seeing another battlefield. Bilbo is no warrior. The hobbit isn't even a proper diplomat and he doesn't know how to rule a dwarven kingdom. Thorin may value his advice, but that doesn't make his words worthwhile or even close to right.
Bilbo has done his best. He's tried to learn the nuances of his beloved's culture and suggest solutions that will leave all parties satisfied. But meeting the dwarf lord's sister has made his failures obvious. Dís has been filling in for Thorin's missing consort since before the hobbit was a spark in his parents' eyes.
The dwarrowdam knows her people. She understands her brother's temper and the shape of dwarven pride and when she tries to teach the hobbit, he's never good enough. Bilbo always misses something vital and he can't escape the feeling that he's a disappointment in her eyes. Dís makes him feel unworthy of both her children and her brother. She makes him feel disloyal when he thinks of going home.
Dís loves Durin's Folk above all else. Bilbo thinks she would do anything to make her people prosper and whether the hobbit married Thorin or the princes, Dís would expect him to share that sacrifice.
Bilbo doesn't know if he can do that. He doesn't want to settle for visiting the Shire once a decade and yet he cannot ask his dwarves to leave their home.
The thought of Thorin giving up his throne is laughable and while Kíli might be happy in Hobbiton, Fíli is the crown prince of Erebor. He takes his duties seriously and that isn't the sort of position one abandons for a romance, not even for some fairy tale of destiny.
Perhaps Bilbo should just leave. Perhaps going home would give him clarity. But when the hobbit mentions leaving, the stab of pain in his princes' eyes nearly brings him to his knees. The words are barely out of Bilbo's mouth before Kíli is offering him a score of reasons why he cannot travel: the passes are still blocked by snow, there aren't enough supplies to spare, what if there are more orcs upon the plain? The list goes on and on until Bilbo finally takes pity on the archer's panicking.
“Relax, love. Spring has not arrived yet and I'm not going anywhere,” the burglar reassures Kíli. He reaches out to touch the prince's shoulder, letting their connection deepen to soothe the hurt he feels. It would be so easy to ask the princes to come with him and the hobbit nearly speaks the question without even meaning to.
“Would you...?” Bilbo starts before he regains his senses, dismissing that idea as utter foolishness. There is no point in asking when his dwarves would just deny him; Fíli and Kíli couldn't possibly leave the Lonely Mountain and forcing the princes to admit this truth would only cause them pain.
Yet Bilbo cannot give up his home either, not without being sure, and he can't trust his feelings where the princes are concerned. What the Valar granted can just as easily be taken and while Fíli and Kíli claim to love him, the hobbit can't be sure. As much as he enjoys their company, their relationship is built on something insubstantial and that's simply not enough. The burglar cannot stay in Erebor unless he stays for Thorin and that relationship soon proves itself a hopeless dream as well.
Bilbo's breaking point occurs a few weeks later. One of the new arrivals is caught stealing rubies from the mines and he's brought before the King Under the Mountain to receive his punishment. The hobbit expects the thief to be exiled or perhaps imprisoned for a while but Thorin orders his execution without a moment's hesitation.
Bilbo cannot hide his shock and even though Dís explains that her brother must set a firm example, this is the final straw; this seems proof that the Thorin Bilbo loved has been consumed by Erebor. The burglar does not have the strength for such decisions – he does not have the heart – and he starts to pack that afternoon. It is nearly spring now; Bilbo should be able to travel without facing dire snowstorms and it is time for this hobbit to go back home again. If he stays much longer, he fears he'll lose himself in trying to love Thorin and even if the weather turns foul, there are several kings to the west who have offered him their hospitality.
Once made, this decision takes a weight off of the hobbit's shoulders, Bilbo feeling free and incredibly guilty all the same. He never meant to play with anyone's heart and he certainly never meant to lead his dwarrows on. Yet the hobbit cannot regret loving Thorin any more than he regrets his time with Fíli and Kíli; he only regrets the pain that he knows his choice will cause.
So Bilbo seeks the dwarf lord out once he's finished packing. He finds Thorin in his study and the king takes one look at his expression before murmuring, “I see you've made your decision and you haven't chosen me.”
Thorin has been expecting this conversation. Part of his heart never believed that any love could be stronger than the ashânumahâl and he's felt his hobbit growing distant over the last few weeks. But seeing the truth in Bilbo's eyes still stings.
“I'm so sorry,” the dwarf lord's burglar tells him, the expression on his face enough to make a strong man cry.
“It's not your fault,” Thorin murmurs, pulling Bilbo into his arms. He can't let his hobbit carry that guilt upon his shoulders; his heart will recover and they were just not meant to be. “You gave me a fair chance and neither of us knew about your runes when we began this. I do not regret the time we've spent together. You have brought me happiness.”
“I do love you,” Bilbo says, the burglar's words muffled against the dwarf lord's chest. “But this life of kings and courts is not for me. You were meant to rule and I cannot be the partner that you need. I belong in Hobbiton and I will not ask you to give up your throne for me; not when we fought so hard to free your homeland and I know how good a king you'll be.”
No. I would not give up Azsâlul'abad for anything, Thorin thinks and in this revelation, there is a sort of peace.
The dwarf king loves his people and his homeland, and if Bilbo cannot stand beside him, then he has made the right decision. Thorin would never want his beloved to resent his position and this relationship would end badly if the hobbit tried to make him choose. Because the Lonely Mountain would always win that contest, always, and that's no love to offer someone who does not love this stone as well.
His burglar deserves someone who will put him first instead of second and that's something Thorin knows his sister-sons can do.
“Have you told Fíli and Kíli?” the dwarf lord asks Bilbo gently. He intends to offer his congratulations, showing the hobbit that he bears the princes no hard feelings. But Thorin's question is met with a cry of distress that cuts him to the bone.
“Bilbo? You have chosen my sister-sons, haven't you?”
“I can't!” the hobbit wails. “I can't stay here and I can't ask them to come with me. I won't."
“Why not?” Thorin asks him, honestly confused. Although his relationship with Fíli and Kíli has been strained by their competition, he still wants his sister-sons to be happy and despite all his justifications for continuing his courtship, the dwarf knows that Fíli and Kíli would be happiest with Bilbo at their side. “My sister-sons would join you in a heartbeat and while I would miss Fíli's help, I would not deny him. Erebor will not collapse that easily.”
The king means the words as a comfort but when he finishes, Bilbo just looks more horrified.
“You cannot mean that,” the hobbit exclaims. “I assumed they would deny me but their acceptance would be worse. I can't let Fíli and Kíli throw away their future on some dream of destined lovers when I still don't know what I feel. I care about them; I care about all of you but I do not understand how love based on magic can be real. Hobbits do not have ashânumahâl; we have second dates and marriage contracts and I cannot deal with this. This is not how hobbits do things, not at all."
Bilbo's voice grows louder with every word until he's almost shouting and Thorin has to wonder how long the hobbit has kept these feelings bottled up inside. But even though Bilbo clearly means what he is saying, the dwarf lord cannot help but argue because his burglar has never been more wrong.
“Maybe you should spend less time worrying about what is possible and more on that which is,” Thorin says, hoping to stop the heartbreak that he sees looming near.
If Bilbo seemed happy about leaving, that would be a different matter but the only thing on the hobbit's face is misery. There is sorrow to match the pain Fíli and Kíli will feel on learning that their amrâbulnas has left without them; sorrow to match the twinge in Thorin's heart, that foolish organ refusing to understand that it has no claim on Bilbo now.
However, the hobbit will not listen to reason. He is set on this course of action no matter how it pains him and he's always been too stubborn for his own damn good. All of Thorin's arguments are met with firm denials, the dwarf king's skill at oratory failing him utterly.
“Will you tell them that I'm sorry?” Bilbo pleads when Thorin finally falls silent. “I never meant to hurt your nephews but it has to be like this."
“Won't you even say goodbye?” the dwarf lord asks and he can't help feeling that he's failed his sister-sons when Bilbo shakes his head.
“At least say that you'll return,” Thorin pleads for their sake. “Will you return someday?"
“I don't know,” the hobbit tells him honestly. “If I could be sure of my own heart, then maybe... But I cannot trust the Valar's magic and I don't know if I would have the strength to leave a second time. That's why I cannot say farewell; I would stay to make your nephews happy and so I must leave right now."
That sounds like love to Thorin, but it's clear that dwarves and hobbits treat these matters differently. After all, the ashânumahâl is the greatest gift that the Smith can give his children, but Bilbo seems to bear it as a burden, one that has him close to breaking from the weight.
As much as the dwarf lord may wish otherwise, he cannot force the hobbit to remain. That would break the bonds of friendship that still stand between them and he had sworn that Bilbo would have no more cause to curse his name.
However, Thorin shakes his head when his burglar holds out a handful of gleaming mithril. “Keep it. That gift was not conditional and I would see you well protected on your journey home. You will always be a friend to the Sigin-tarâg even if you never choose to grace these halls again. You will always be my friend even if you cannot return the love I feel."
“Thank you. I truly thought I would be happy here. I just...” the hobbit trails off with a helpless shrug. “Will you tell the others I am sorry that I could not say goodbye? Tea is at four and there's plenty of it but you are welcome anytime.”
Bilbo gives Thorin one last hug before slipping from the room. The dwarf lord watches him go with a heavy heart and while he probably could have gathered the others before their hobbit reached the gates, Thorin does not even try.
Let the burglar run in silence like a coward; the king may have no right to stop him but he will not celebrate his choice.
Thorin spends the next few hours working steadily; there is always something that needs the king's attention and the endless lists of trade expenses keep him from dwelling on his grief. Although he and Bilbo were not bonded, he truly loved the hobbit and the dwarf lord's heart will need time to recover from this blow.
Not only his, of course. Even as Thorin writes out his directives and answers urgent letters, he is waiting for his sister-sons to realize that their amrâbulnas is gone. At some point, the younger dwarves should feel it and Thorin knows the princes will ask him for an explanation first.
Indeed, the knock arrives just as afternoon is fading into the evening, the door opening to reveal Fíli and Kíli when Thorin calls, “Come in.”
The dwarf lord waves his sister-sons inside and signals Fíli to close the door behind him; this is not a conversation that should be overheard. The princes' expressions are solemn and Kíli's eyes are red like he's been crying, though there are no tear tracks on his face.
“Bilbo's gone, uncle. Did you know that?” Fíli asks him quietly. The older prince is speaking for his brothers – he always does when things get hard – and Thorin feels a rush of fondness for them both. Fíli and Kíli are practically his children. He's soothed their hurts and eased their sorrows, and he should never have allowed the quest for Azsâlul'abad or their competition over Bilbo to drive them all apart. But despite the strain on their relationship, Thorin's sister-sons still need him and this time, the dwarf lord will not turn their pain aside.
“Yes, Fíli, I knew,” Thorin says as gently as he can. “Bilbo came to say goodbye. He told me that he was planning to return to Hobbiton. Will you and Kíli go as well?”
At this question, the archer lets out a choked sob. Kíli presses closer to his brother and Fíli hugs him tightly, his own voice rough when he replies. “If Bilbo wanted us to come, he would have asked. And... we can feel him, you know? Not as strongly as each other – he's trying hard to block us – but we know how much he's hurting. He's miserable, Thorin. Our amrâbulnas chose misery over the love we tried to show him and we cannot force our presence on him now.”
“He didn't want us, uncle,” Kíli continues when his brother falters. “Bilbo chose to leave and if you were strong enough to let him go, then we must be as well.”
But Thorin's strength came from Azsâlul'abad while his sister-sons only have each other and an amrâbulnas who doesn't want what they have to offer him. Fíli and Kíli are trying to stay strong, the princes blinking back tears as they clutch each other's arms. Thorin's sister-sons will suffer in silence if he lets them, but this is the dwarf lord's chance to make things right.
“Come here, my sister-sons,” Thorin tells them, pulling Fíli and Kíli into his arms. The princes are stiff at first but the dwarf king doesn't let them go. His sister-sons need to know that they are still his family; blood stands together no matter what and Thorin won't forget that truth again. He waits patiently until Fíli and Kíli let out a broken cry. Their hands clutch at the dwarf lord's shoulders as he hugs them tightly, murmuring words of comfort against the princes' hair.
For all his gold, Thorin cannot stop their sorrow. The king can only hold his sister-sons as they weep against his chest, Fíli and Kíli mourning the loss of their hearts' dreams.
Chapter 17: Hadedsasekh