Arkenstone Heart

The Wedding

*A/N: Regarding the last A/N in which i said i was "excited" to write the wedding scene got some pretty heavy feedback and I'd just like to clarify that I was not saying that i was excited ABOUT the wedding happening, but that i was excited to write about and explore my ideas of dwarvish wedding customs and what the dress would look like. Sorry for any confusion/upsetting :P*

***WOOHOO More than 100 reviews! this is amazing! I given 1000000 thanks to everyone who took the time to voice their opinions, i really appreciate them :) Anyway, to show my gratitude i have posted TWO chapters back to back :D Enjoy!***

I knocked on the door lightly. I slowly turned the knob when I heard the reply and entered the room. Any doubts or insecurities about this whole endeavor quickly vanished at the sight before me. She was standing in front of the full length mirror fixing the last clasp on her shoulder. She smiled at me through her reflection in the glass as I approached. My image was ghastly in comparison. I looked at the simple, black floor length skirt I was currently in and winced slightly at the sight of the two of us occupying the same space in the reflection – she deserved it all. All I could do was smile in return, for words could not describe how wonderful she looked.

The seamstresses in Dale had outdone themselves as the dress completely encompassed our dwarven culture within its many fabrics. Her shoulders were covered in large patches of animal fur which squared them off. From the high neckline down, her torso was made of a replication of the diamond studs on Thorin's chest armour. I reached out carefully and was surprised to find that it wasn't actually made of metal – but a thick fabric that passed perfectly for it. Below that was a very full, dark brown skirt that made large pleats around the bottom. As I looked closer I could see tiny crystals adorning the skirt in intricate rows – a tribute to the splendor of her new home.

Looking my sister then, I almost laughed at my earlier thoughts that this could ever have been me. She was a princess; that was so clear to me now. And soon she would be a Queen. Hurriedly, I wiped my eyes clear of the blurriness that the developing tears created and tried to compose myself for her sake. In an instant though, she detected this and rushed to hug me.

"Leena, it's ok." she whispered as she placed a comforting hand around me.

"I'm sorry! I just- it's all happening so fast..."

She laughed and pulled away to look at me. "Hey! I'm the one who should be getting the pre-wedding jitters – not you!"

"I know, but you just look so beautiful and, I'm having doubts that what I'm doing is right for you. I don't want to lose you – especially to him."

"Thank you. I thank you for all that you've done for me. But let me finally be there for you. Are you sure that's the only reason why you don't want this to happen?" she looked at me expectantly.

I struggled to gather my thoughts to give her an answer. Another knock on the door sounded though, before I managed to. "Yes?" I called back to whoever was at the door.

"Miss Leena?" a familiar voice replied. I opened the door enough to hide my sister from view. "Balin! I'm sorry I thought you were-" I left it hanging.

"Ah yes, well it seems that all is in order now; we are just waiting on the word from the groom and we should be ready."

"Thank you. Oh, and Balin? He, he hasn't asked for me or anything, has he?" I questioned hesitantly.

He looked a little confused at first. "Well, no lass, I do not believe he has. Did you need to speak with him?"

"No! No. It was just a thought is all. Thank you again."

"No problem, I will be around again shortly." came the reply as the stout figure made his way back down the hall.

Why had I asked that? Of course Thorin would not be having a second thought about his ex-fiancee when he was getting ready to wed his newest one. I returned to where I had left Raessa and helped her add the finishing touches. Once everything was in place, there was nothing to do but sit and wait. In that time I was reminded of the past when my step-father was asking him and I when our wedding date was to be set. How it had seemed so long ago!

Suddenly that same knock resonated from the door. As I got up to answer it again I remembered how we pretended to act as a loving couple standing there before him.

"They are ready for her now." Balin stated.

I went around the room to double check everything and thought about how I had thought I was so terrible pulling on his hair like that. As if a single strand could do anything significant. I stopped.

"Raessa, wait!" I cried as I rushed over to where I had hid a small pocket knife within her mattress – a safety precaution of course. I then hurried over to her, knife in hand.

"What are you doing?" she asked a little leery.

"Your hair. Give me a piece of your hair." She handed me a loose piece of her dark brown locks and watched with interest.

I paused and laughed slightly. "I can't believe I almost forgot this; without it the ceremony would never happen!" and with that I found a spot on her hair a good ways down and cut through the fibers until it fell limp in my hand.

"I can always count on you, you know that? I just wish that one day I can finally be there for you." She smiled as she took the lock of hair from me. Balin magically produced a small pillow and she placed the lock across it.

"Let's get this over with, shall we?" she cheered as she made her way out the door. I proceeded to follow.

"Whoa, wait a minute there lass. Where do you think you're going?" he held a hand out to impede me.

"I'm going with her...to the wedding." I replied, confused.

"I'm afraid that cannot happen. You see, it is uncustomary and well, bad luck, for the ex-promised to the king to be present. You understand." He looked at me with a wise gaze.

"I don't care! That's my little sister getting married, and you're saying I can't be there? Let me talk to him, I'll make him see what's right." I demanded as I desperately tried to push past him. Raessa was already gone and once again I felt my world being torn from me.

Before I could protest any further, the older dwarf placed a hand on my shoulder. "Listen. Thorin has told me how much this union means to you to protect her. Now, you stay here and that union will proceed as planned; you go in there and that marriage and any hope of a better life for her will vanish." I swallowed hard and looked back at him. He was right. This was my chance to finally let her go. I closed my eyes and turned away as he shut the door behind him. There was nothing to do but wait.

The moments passed by like hours. I had begun to pace, the bulky nature of my skirts doing nothing to slow me down. I could just imagine what was going on at that moment. Raessa would walk in slowly, arm wrapped around Balin's as she made her way up that long stretch. She would look up to see him waiting there, patiently – all signs of anxiety wiped clean from his features. Then, she would take her place beside him, Balin ever waiting at her side with the pillow and the lock of hair. He would offer her a slight hint of a warm smile ; a gratitude for her agreement to this. I could see her modest reaction as she would bow her head and blush in return. From there, a royal (perhaps Fili or Kili) would begin the ceremony and read exerpts from the book of Durin; acknowledging Thorin's divine right to rule and govern his people. Maybe they would even bring out the Arkenstone. Balin and whoever was appointed to the king would pass the small pillows forward and the bride and groom would each take their respective locks of hair.

I sat down in a chair and held my head in my hand as I thought of the rest.

Thorin would go first, turning to face his bride and reciting his vows – never breaking eye contact. While doing so he would be the first to breach the space between them by taking his lock of hair and slowly braiding it into her dark tresses. His agile fingers would work quickly and the two dwarves would be bound closer together with each braid. Once he was finished, Raessa would do the same, in her own hesitant and modest her fingers through that dark, thick mane. I felt a creeping feeling reveal itself in the pit of my stomach.

After that there was no doubt a small portion dedicated to her becoming the new queen of Erebor of which I was unfamiliar with. I stopped at the last thought of them joining hands, side by side, the first of many long years together. I could have cried out at the pain this thought brought me. No. I couldn't take that smile that he would give her, that look of adoration as they made their way out as husband and wife. And of the affection that would follow; how he would kiss her willingly at the reception that followed, or place his hand around her waist...

It was the feeling of loss then that had me keeling over where I sat. That feeling that had me gripping my waist as if it would prevent me from falling apart right there. I had to be strong; I knew that. But I had been strong for too long; and the thought of this wedding finally shattered the walls I had been keeping up against those feelings. And once it did every reality I had been hiding from came crashing in.

It was the thought of losing him.

The idea that he would no longer care for me, no longer be there watching over me protectively tore me up inside. I couldn't bear not seeing his angry, brooding face as he fought with me or his dominating smirk when things worked out his way. I was finally ready to admit that I wanted to be the one that he held, that he adored. This was the one man that I unknowingly let into my heart – and he was going to disappear this very moment.

I stood up. I couldn't let this happen. Whether my mind thought it was a good idea or not, Thorin Oakenshield had a hold on me and for once I didn't mind. As I ran to the door I thought of Raessa – what was going to become of her? There had to be another way. I would find another way. How could I have thought I was being kind by forcing her to marry a man she did not love?

This sudden selfishness hurt me. Could I just give everything I had worked for, for this one man? I would figure it out later. Now, I had a king to catch, and a wedding to stop.

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