Arkenstone Heart

A Proposition

***Sorry for the wait! I have just finished the rough outline of how the story will end so that kinds takes some time...so does studying for exams lol :) thanks again to all my reviewers! enjoy!***

A/N : to avoid any further confusion I want to say that Leena is a dwarf, she just never makes any reference to her height because she is constantly surrounded by other dwarfs.

'Raessa Boragincae, daughter of the late Cybryll and Tosil Boragincae, beloved sister of Magdalena Boragincae, died on this day. Though her life was not a lengthy one, she will be remembered for her kindness and charity to all. She leaves behind the Lord Vorin, and sadly, no children.'

That was the scroll line that kept appearing to me in my nightmares night after night for the weeks following my step-father's departure. Each time I would wake up, terrified beyond belief and would have to peel the heavy, sweat covered strands away from my face. Granted, it was only just a dream but it seemed more real each time - and that's what scared me.

As I had no chance of getting back to sleep I lit the candle next to my bed and quietly moved through my dark room. The nights were frigidly cold now that winter was beginning to set in. I pulled my robe closer to me but it provided no warmth. Quietly still, I opened my door and crept out - careful to not disturb the sleeping king. The sound of his light snoring was the only audible thing and the sound relieved me as I knew there was no chance of him following me out.

The halls outside our chambers were fairly easy to navigate and before long I had wound up in the throne room that the group of us had been to; it felt like it had been years ago when I had first laid my eyes on the beauty that was the Arkenstone.

I would come here most nights when sleep evaded me. I still couldn't decide if it was the stone itself that pulled me in or just the solitude of the room that allowed my thoughts to run freely. At any rate, I would console myself on a small bench of gold idly playing with whatever trinkets or jewels I would find. There I recalled how life had been since that fateful encounter with my step-father.

My attitude towards Thorin had changed little; though I developed a new found respect for him. Suddenly he didn't seem so very much like the man I had portrayed him to be.

Instead of being heartless tyrant I witnessed a deep amount of care and concern, directed especially towards his sister-sons. Which I'm sure he desperately tried to hide. I realized too that surprisingly enough, some of that care may have been distributed to me as well.

Once my step-father had disappeared Thorin stood there holding me in his strong arms. For once in my life I felt protected instead of restrained. Before long Fili and Kili came rushing into view after hearing my terrible screams. The two stood there with an overwhelming amount of concern and Kili couldn't decide whether to remain silent or point out his uncle's new found intimacy. That's when Thorin looked up and -with what I sensed was a hint of reluctance- removed himself from around me. I was in no mood to talk to anyone so I turned and silently left the room. As I retreated though I heard,

"Leena!"

" Leena what's wrong?!"

Once I got out the door I stopped to listen to Thorin's reply.

"Let her be. Now is not the time for your harassment." His voice heavy with emotion.

The majority of the outrage that followed was too difficult to make out. I peered around the door frame.

"Harassment?!" they cried. Then Kili, in a violent whisper said, "If anything is to be seen as 'harassment' it would be the scene that we walked in on!"

"Enough!" Thorin bellowed. He had little patience. He began again, this time with a calmer demeanour. "*Sigh* I had no choice. She had a dagger..." Thorin held his brow in his hand. He looked deep in thought as he tried to think of reasons for my sudden outburst.

"What? But that's not possible! We were with her the whole..." Kili checked his waist and his hands wrapped around an empty sheath. "...time." His eyes went wide as he remembered how I sought refuge in his hug when I saw my step-father arriving.

"Indeed." came the reply. "How am I to entrust my kingdom to you when a mere girl can steal a weapon right from your person?" he asked quite seriously.

"She is no 'mere' girl, uncle." came Fili's cautious reply, "I, and Kili too, believe to see a great heart in her. She is not one to be push-"

"Don't you think I am aware of that?" Thorin snapped. "She will make a great queen someday. But I fear that her spirit may be too strong for her own good."

"And that she may not accept you." Fili reasoned. Thorin's features seemed to soften for a brief moment. He then abruptly regained his gruff tone.

"What I fear, nephew, is that I won't be able to control her; as she will be bearing my name." and with that he turned and walked out the same way I did.

I quickly jumped back into the shadows and watched carefully as Thorin marched back up the stairs to his chambers. Each step seemed like more effort than the last and I felt a fleeting moment of guilt for causing him excess trouble. When his figure faded away I listened again for the familiar voices of the brothers.

"What in Durin's name was that all about!?" Kili demanded. His blonde counterpart roughly patted him on the shoulder."It's only a matter of time. Soon, they'll see it as clear as we do." he smirked cheerfully. Kili snickered before the two headed for the opposite door.

I smiled to myself as I remembered their faces as they left. Those two could always find the bright side to every situation. Why couldn't I be more like that? I knew what they were thinking; and there was no way I could bring myself to dwell on it. There was nothing between Thorin and I. And I'm sure he felt the same.

The days did seem to drag on after that, and few words were exchanged on the subject that hung like a cloud over me. How was I going to save my sister? My earlier problems seemed so pointless and distant that I felt almost ashamed. Here I had been fearing a man who had never laid a hand on me, meanwhile my baby sister was planning her own funeral.

Thorin had kept his distance from me and only on royal outings was he obliged to hold my hand or engage in public displays of affection. He hadn't pressed the matter of the single bedchamber and so I remained there most nights brooding silently as to what my next move should be. Some nights I would be pulled away from my thoughts and hear his deep, luscious voice humming his people's song to himself. I could still remember the haunting melody and tried to recreate it softly to myself now.

It was at this thought that I was suddenly interrupted by a low throat clearing sound. Out of sheer fright I leaped off my bench and in the process dropped the gold coin I hand wrapped in my palm. It fell to the ground with a noise that shattered the silence and rang through the hall. After following its trajectory to the floor I shifted my eyes and I looked up sheepishly at the intruder.

Thorin didn't say anything and he walked over to the bench I had been occupying and sat down, tired. He was dressed in nothing more than a white long sleeve cotton shirt and some navy blue pants. I wanted to look away, unsure of what his reaction was going to be, but I found my eyes attracted to his presence. His long mane had been loosely tied back and hung low on his muscular back. This seemed to change his features as his face and broad shoulders were uncovered and open for my eyes to observe. It bothered me how serene and less daunting he appeared to be. My eyes travelled further down and noticed his shirt. The tassles on the neckline of the shirt pulled it down low enough that I could see the outline of a tattoo of the Durin's family crest over his heart. It affected me deeply how one man could be so committed to his home and family.

"It is late." he noted. His eyes remained focused on the distance. I remained standing beside him and had to look down at the king.

"Yes, I was unable to sleep - I'm sorry if I woke you." he glanced up at me at those soft words, as it was the first nice sentiment on my part.

"I guess I owe you an explanation," I began as I timidly sat beside him.

"You owe me nothing."

"Yes, I do." I sighed knowing that I was going to admit some things that I had been ignoring for so long and began again, "You have allowed me into your home, your family and I have behaved as a child. I have been ignorant and ungrateful; and for that I am sorry."

He scrutinized every word, unsure of where this was coming from. "Your outlook has changed of late." he turned his body to face me. "I can't help but wonder why."

I tensed up. I wasn't fully capable of trusting this man with my greatest secret. For all I knew he could relay every word to my step-father and make the situation for my sister much worse. "I...I can't say."

Thorin's breathing increased. "Tell me." I shifted away from him. "No."

He raised his voice slightly. "How am I to help you if you won't tell me?"

This angered me, "It isn't your right to know!"

"As king-"

I got up and looked down at him. "You. Are not. My king." With that he rose and stood towering over me, fire growing in his eyes.

"Have I no right then to help my wife?!" he demanded. "When she disrupts my sleep in the small hours of the morning with her cryptic activities?"

My gaze held fast and I continued. "I never wanted your help! I never wanted... you." I was shocked that those words escaped my mouth. His features softened a bit as he looked upon me.

"What one wants and what one gets are often different things. " he replied patronizingly. I realized that he was speaking not only of my situation, but of his.

"Well I'm sorry that I didn't turn out to be the 'perfect' submissive wife you had in mind!" I rose my voice, putting emphasis on 'submissive'.

He lost his composure then. In one swift move he had me on my back and I could feel his powerful hands holding my arms in place. I winced as the hard gold pressed into my back. "Who said you weren't a submissive wife?" he stated.

Right then I felt the pressure and the weight of his body on me as he kept me pinned down. His hair had tumbled out of its pony tail and was hanging down enveloping his face. He gave one flip in an attempt to throw it back and all that remained hanging was the two thick braids which swayed and lightly touched my shoulders. A single tear escaped and trickled down my cheek.

"My sister. He has my sister." I managed to whisper. Thorin regained the dark cloudiness in his eyes. He looked a little regretful at putting me in such a compromising position. I felt his weight lift off of me and he rolled over next to me.

"Who does? Lord Beauyon?" came the reply. I sniffed and answered, "Not for long; he plans to give her away to Lord Vorin." I turned to see his reaction, and I was relieved when he recognized the name and what that meant.

I couldn't believe I was about to do this. "I was hoping you could, you know, give me an idea on how to stop him."

"So you want my help." I rolled my eyes and stared at the ceiling. "Yes."

"I fail to see what I could do." he too remained staring at the ceiling. I sat up, stupefied.

"You're a KING. You can do anything!" He turned to me, that smirk playing on his lips.

"But not your king- and until we are married..."

"Fine then." there was an awkward pause.

"What?"

I repeated myself in a more frustrated tone. "I said 'fine'. I will marry you. IF you help me save my sister." he looked at me with those distrusting eyes.

"She means that much to you? So much that you would forsake your freedom?"

"I would trade my life for hers; which is what I intend to do by marrying you. I'll even come without a fuss." I winced at that idea but kept true to my words. I waited for his answer.

"I would like to point out that I would be marrying you anyway."

"Yes, if you consider marrying someone as dragging them down the aisle." he knew I wasn't kidding about the dragging part.

To test the validity of my proposition, he leaned closer to me and while placing his hand on the back of my neck he kissed me. My first reaction was to reject this advance however the kiss was short and sweet, and in no way demanding. He broke away quickly, satisfied with the result and looked me directly in the eyes.

"I'll see to it that it's done."

"Thank you." I whispered. Though I couldn't be sure if it was for agreeing to help, or for the kiss.

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