To Your Mark

Chapter 30

Upon hearing those very words slip from the blonde dwarf's mouth, Ren only turned to look at Thorin, his own blue eyes wide with horror.

"He's sick?" She asked suddenly, looking back to the younger dwarf for a definite confirmation, fear rising in her chest as she waited with baited breath. She faintly recalled watching Kili limp a few times but dismissed the thought as simply a stiff muscle. She only assumed that if something had happened she, the elf who was a healer and had aged to be over 4,000 years old, would have been told!

His blue eyes were wide and his hands were shaking with unconcealed fear. "Yes! H-He just collapsed when we got back! I... I don't-"

"Fili." He suddenly felt two hands on his shoulders and he looked up into the eyes of the female who had since risen from her chair to comfort him. "He's going to be fine." She promised as she looked intently into his eyes. The younger dwarf was hesitant before he slowly nodded his head and searched her eyes for a long moment. "Now, take me to him."

He nodded again and then turned before heading out into the hall with the she-elf right behind him. "He's this way!" He yelled back to her and they immediately rushed down the hall and into the lobby of the inn, Thorin on their heals.

Before she saw him, the elf could hear the young dwarf screaming in pain and her pace quickened before he came into view, nearly leaping down the rest of the stairs.

"Kili..." She breathed before arriving at his side when she found him on the ground, her sapphire eyes quickly scanning over his form. Her hands immediately shot to his head and found that he was extremely hot. "He's burning up." She murmured to herself, not paying any attention to the dwarves the dwarves which had since gathered around when they heard the heir screaming, some of them just then arriving back from the feast. His skin was extremely clammy and pale beyond measure, causing the woman to frown deeply.

"Is it a fever?" Fili asked her, kneeling down on the other side of his brother, Ren's longer legs having carried her farther faster.

"Yes but I don't know what's causing it." Her eyes continued to rake over his body and she could find nothing out of place on his person except for the fact that he was deathly pale.

"The arrow wound..." Thorin murmured in disbelief, his head raising from where it had been hung in his hands as he had come to watch the elf examine his nephew over her shoulder.

"What?" She asked as she turned around, wondering if she had heard him correctly.

"He was shot in the leg with an arrow during the river battle." Thorin clarified, his own brow furrowing slightly, having thought that the elf knew about the wound. But then he remembered. She had lost those memories.

"AND YOU FAILED TO TELL ME OF THIS?" She suddenly shouted in disbelief, her eyes flashing like blue fire with anger towards him.

"We thought it was taken care of." He replied calmly, his arms crossed over his chest.

"OBVIOUSLY IT WASN'T!" She shouted, sending a glare the dwarf lord's way again before she looked up and quickly found Oin in the crowd who had been standing quietly in the back. "Which leg?"

"His right one." He told her grimly, watching with concern in his eyes. He had correctly treated the wound so the dwarfling should be fine. He didn't know why the sudden fever though he noticed Kili had been favoring it lately ever since they stepped foot in Laketown.

Ren immediately stuck one leg out and reached down into her boot, withdrawing her hunting knife. Shifting slightly, she took hold of the fabric of his pant leg and stuck the knife through, creating a small hole. Sticking her fingers inside, she then widened the hole by pulling in opposite directions.

It was only a moment later that the bandages around the wound were visible and she stopped for a moment when she saw the dark liquid staining the normally white cloth.

Frowning deeply she quickly untied the knot and began to unwind the cloth from around his leg, only for it to fall away and reveal the ugly wound lying underneath. It was black in color, the blood running from it no longer a bright red. For a moment, she wasn't sure entire what she should do and her mouth fell open in fear. A wound like this was not something natural. This looked like weeks of unattended damage. A wound from a simple arrow wouldn't become infected and turn black in a matter of days.

But then there was a slightly niggling in the back of her mind, a slight tug and she heard the faint whisperings of dark words. Very dark words. The same that she had heard when they were about to enter into Mirkwood. She knew what might be poisoning him.

She growled a few words from an elvish healing spell and she watched as the dwarf cried out in pain again and she was almost certain as to what was plaguing the young creature due to the fact that it seemed to recoil against the light laced within her words.

"Bilbo." She called for the Company's hobbit and he quickly pushed his way to the front of the crowd, his own face showing signs of anxiousness as he also stood back and watched.

"Yes?" When he spoke, his voice was slightly higher pitched given the fact that his cold had set in and she would tend to that later. Right now, Kili was the most important.

"Go get my satchel from my room and hurry." Before she could even finish, he had risen and was running through their temporary home.

She turned her eyes back to the rest of the dwarves.

"We need to move him to a table so I can work." The elf looked at the dwarves surrounding her and without another word, Dwalin and Gloin stepped forward; Fili also looked up at Ren. "We'll take him to the dinning hall." She told them and at once they all moved to carefully pick him up.

The young dwarf cried out in pain as he was moved, his brother sending him a worried look before they hastily began to cart him through the house with the female stalking ahead in the lead.

Entering into the large dinning hall, the dwarves quickly placed him upon the long stretch of table and he once again let out a loud groan of pain. It was also at this time that Bilbo came rushing into the room, the swinging door to the hall being flung open in the process.

"Here!" He told her whilst handing her her bag which she quickly placed upon the tabletop beside the dwarf's feet. Throwing the flap open, she then began to frantically rummage around inside, searching for what she would need.

"Someone get me a towel and a bowl of water. Hurry." She told them, her eyes never leaving the bag. She immediately withdrew a multitude of small bottles and vials before placing them upon the tabletop.

All the dwarves took the command to heart and immediately began to scurry about the room, all of them trying to get through the door at once. This left Thorin, Fili, and Ren alone with the wounded dwarf.

"What is it?" The dwarf lord asked her, seeing the fear written in her eyes as she continued to look between her things and the wound that had since begun to seep black fluid.

"He's been poisoned by a Morgul weapon." She told him, a certain dread lingering in her tone. The dwarf lord did not know what she was talking about but it was apparently very bad.

"Morgul?" He voiced his confusion and the elf only continued to concentrate finding what she needed in her seemingly bottomless bag.

"Yes. It means 'black arts or necromancy' in Sindarian. It's very dark and very powerful magic. Something that I haven't even heard of for hundreds of years. The last time someone spoke the word 'Morgul' was when Sauron still walked this earth." She explained, the entire time her hand still plunged into her bag.

"And?" Thorin asked and she looked away from her bag and up into his eyes but did not answer, only going back to her work.

"And what?" Fili repeated his Uncle's words, however, his tone was filled with much more fear than Thorin's had been. This caused the elf to stop in her search and instead look directly into the blue eyes of the blonde dwarf.

"I don't know if I can save him." She told the both of them and the dwarves felt their hearts turn to ice in their chests at hearing this. Seeing the hopelessness in their eyes, she then went onto reassure them. "But I will try everything in my power to do so..."

It was then that Bifur immediately returned with a bowl of water and Ori ran back into the room with a few towels.

"Place them here and put one of the towels under his head." She motioned to the table, her eyes flickering up to Thorin's own pair once again before moving so that they could do so. Bringing her satchel up to her again, she plunged her arm back down into the bag and her hand brushed against something before she quickly withdrew it, wondering exactly what it was.

As she pulled her hand out, the soft smell immediately filled her nostrils and she knew what was in the bag without even looking. Thorin watched as a spark suddenly lit in her eyes in realization of the contents of the bag.

"What is it?" He asked her, his own pair of eyes wide and filled with fear for his nephew.

"Athelas." She breathed before pulling the cord on the bag and withdrawing a clump of the weed from inside, all the dwarves watching with fascination seeing as how the plant was still green even though it appeared as if Ren had forgotten about the small bundle years ago. She quickly brought the small bundle to her nose, a smile lighting her face to still find it fresh. How it had gotten into her bag was a complete mystery. Could it have been her brother-in-law's doing?

Without warning, the room to the dinning hall was opened and all heads turned in the direction of the intruder.

In walked a leery eyed Reisa who only only yawned and rubbed at her eyes, a candle holder held in her hands. And only about a step behind her was none other than the redheaded she-elf from Mirkwood.

"These were the dwarves you're looking for right?" The innkeeper asked and the redhead only nodded down at the shorter woman who in return yawned. "Very well. I'm returning to bed. Goodnight." She said as she turned and left the room, her long night dress swaying back and forth as she walked.

It caused Bilbo to tilt his head to the side slightly, finding it remarkable that Reisa was so oblivious to the chaos that was ensuing inside her inn. You'd think that she would be a lighter sleeper.

"Tauriel?" Galaren breathed in recognition, the name coming easily to her mind. Legolas had spoken of her often. The Athelas in her palm soon was forgotten and Thorin watched out of the corner of his eye as the elf's hand began to inch along the table until her fingers wrapped around the handle of her small hunting knife just as a precaution in case the she-elf was there to take them back to the Greenwood. "What are you doing here?"

"He's infected with Morgul poison." The words tumbled easily from her mouth, her green eyes widening with fright when Kili suddenly cried out in pain.

At that point, Ren's own shoulder burned and she only grimaced but made no noise of pain.

"I'm already aware of that." The blonde replied before turning back to her patient, knowing that they were wasting precious seconds simply talking about it. Picking up the plant and moving over to the bowl of water, she began to strip it of its leaves and flowers, the healing properties coming away with them as well.

"What good is that going to do?" Bofur asked as all the dwarves silently watched, Kili's panting the only other sound filling the room. "It's a weed!"

"Kingsfoil may be a weed but when used correctly, it can have a wide variety of uses. The people of the North actually utilize them the most but they learned from their elven ancestors." She went onto explain as she finished striping the plant into the water.

However, as she did this, Kili cried out in pain again and another nearly blinding white hot wave of pain coursed through Ren's body, nearly causing her to collapse.

Having to stop for a moment, she leaned on the table and grit her own teeth, biting her tongue to keep the scream of pain from escaping her throat.

None of the dwarves noticed this, however, due to the fact that Kili was beginning to wildly flail about on the table as if the dark magic infecting him could sense the cure only inches away.

But this small falter in Ren's normally stoic persona did not escape the eyes of the second elf in the room, her mind recalling the words of what the Orc had told her. The dwarf wasn't the only one sick.

When the pain was bearable once again, sapphire eyes opened and the she-elf panted slightly as she looked down at the Athelas that lay in the bowl before another worrisome thought struck her mind, one that nearly caused her to gasp in fear.

The pain in her shoulder was inconsistent which was an abnormality in wounds. There should normally just be a burning sensation, not one that came in waves of different degrees of severity.

And she was aware of the fact that she had been shot with an arrow which caused her to pale in realization as the dwarf on the table before her writhed again, causing her now glassy eyes to raise up to look at his pain-filled form.

She had been shot with a Morgul arrow, too.

All the elf could do was swallow thickly before looking back down at the bowl of water containing the now soaking weed, making sure to remain calm and not show any signs of panic. Panic was one thing that healers couldn't have.

Instead, she scooped up the drenched ball of Kingsfoil and stared at it, knowing that there wasn't enough of the plant to treat two newly infected wounds.

There was enough for one and a little extra in the case that some was accidentally dropped or lost during the journey. But she knew that she had to save Kili, for the sake of his brother, his Uncle, his friends and the rest of his family, but most importantly herself.

She wasn't going to let this dwarf die.

Leaving the minuscule amount of left over Athelas in the bowl, she turned around to find that the dwarves had since then restrained Kili and were holding him down so that he wouldn't continue to thrash about and hit one of them or Ren herself, only causing the healing process to become longer.

"We're losing him!" Oin called to her and Ren's brow was furrowed with determination as she walked around the side of the table, briefly placing her hand upon Kili's forehead before shutting her own eyes.

As soon as she did that, Black Speech immediately filled her ears and Kili yelled loudly in pain again and her eyes quickly shot open as a vision of a burning eye filled her vision.

Withdrawing her hand without another thought, the elf panted slightly with fear. Kili was indeed almost gone. He was almost completely lost to the darkness.

"Tauriel!" Galaren called to the elf who only silently stood off to the side and watched, an underlying tone of horror in her green eyes. At hearing her name being called, she blinked the haze from her eyes and looked at the other elf. "I need your help." Hesitation passed across the elf's features and the blonde knew that time was running very short and she had an idea of how to save him but she couldn't do it alone. "Please help me save him." Desperation filled the older elf's voice and the redhead felt her skin prickle as all eyes turned hopefully to look at her. "That is all I ask. Please, Seler'." Ren begged in their native language and Tauriel only let her eyes rake over the faces of the Company.

"Please help my nephew." Thorin rumbled, stepping away from him so that he could plead with the huntress himself. He knew that Ren's healing powers were great as they were but Kili was beyond just her help.

The battle inside her only waged a moment longer before the redhead wordlessly pushed through the dwarves to stand upon the other side of the dying dwarf."Two prayers are more powerful than one." Ren clarified before placing the Athelas upon the festering, black wound. Tauriel immediately reached over and placed her hands on top of the female's before both of them began to speak in elvish, the same words coming from both their mouths as if they had been working together for ages.

When they first began to chant, Kili only cried louder in pain and for a moment, the dwarves all began to grow even more worried, their eyes turning accusingly to the two elves who seemed to be instead putting a curse upon the heir as his body arched and writhed.

However, another long moment passed and their beautiful voices continued to fill the room with their melodious sound.

A sudden wave of calm washed over the group, accompanied with a sort of gentle bliss as the two elves continued to speak, the breathy elvish words sweet upon all their ears.

The room was quiet except for their voices, the dual magic that they were casting continuing to work the dark poison from the dwarf's wound and ridding the environment of the negativity.

Thorin himself seemed to be under some sort of spell as he gazed at Galaren. It seemed as though no matter how hard he tried, he could not tear his eyes from her form which slowly seemed to become encased in a bright, nearly blinding light.

Yet, at the same time it was not blinding but beautiful.

Her sapphire eyes sought him out and she continued to speak with her hands placed carefully up Kili's wound, the elvish words only growing softer upon his ears the longer she spoke. As the light continued to nearly swallow her entire person, he found that his breath had left him at the mere sight of her.

In that moment, she was the most beautiful thing that he had ever seen. An ethereal goddess walking among mortals or so it seemed.

For a moment, it seemed as though the young, blonde dwarf was the only one able to draw his eyes away from the two elves and he slowly looked down at his baby brother and found that he too had his head raised, his dark eyes focused on Tauriel.

His howls of pain had also quieted and it seemed as though the color was already beginning to return to his pale cheeks, the spell working wonderfully.

Both women continued to speak for another long moment before their melodic tones slowly drifted out as they finished the spell, releasing everyone in the room from their enchantment. Each dwarf blinked a few times before shaking their head as if to clear their thoughts.

However, Kili's head soon slumped to the table, feeling exhaustion take over him then.

Fili looked up at the two she-elves with wide eyes, not knowing what just happened to his younger brother. "What's wrong with him?"

"He's just tired, Fili." Ren spoke softly to the young dwarf who only looked away from her and to the face of his brother. "He should be fine now. He'll require a few days bed rest and some tending to but he'll pull through." She then turned to look at the rest of the group. "He needs to be taken to bed and we will finish dressing his wound once he is comfortable." The blonde elf continued to speak, seeing as how Tauriel wasn't really all that comfortable around the Company. She didn't like being the center of attention.

Only a few short minutes had passed when they had Kili resting comfortably in the brothers' darkened room which was illuminated by a wide number of candles scattered about to provide for better lighting.

Ren knelt quietly on one side of the bed, just finishing up tying a clean bandage around his thigh, securing the knot in place with an extra tug which left her more than satisfied with her work. She only glanced up at the dwarf's face to find his dark eyes open but full of exhaustion as they lazily traveled about the room. Directly on the other side of the bed stood Tauriel who almost stood over the dwarf, keeping a watchful eye on the Lothlorien princess which set said elf on end.

For Valar's sake, it wasn't like she was going to hurt Kili.

With a quiet sigh, she rose from her place at his side and turned back to begin to put her supplies away, exhaustion from stress beginning to wear on her. She placed the extra bundle of bandages back into her bag when the soft voice of Kili himself caused her to stall.

"Tauriel...?" A soft whimper came from his mouth.

"Lie still." The redhead commanded him, almost a hint of fondness in her voice as she gazed down at his weak form.

"You cannot be her..." Kili breathed again, his dark eyes barely open as he continued to gaze at the beautiful she-elf. "She is far away... S-She is far... far away from me." Ren barely glanced back over her shoulder to find that the dwarf was no longer gazing at the redhead but instead the ceiling as if he were envisioning her that very moment. "She walks in starlight in another world..." He breathed again, a very slight smile tugging at the corners of his lips.

The blonde elf in the room just continued to remain still, a soft smile of her own covering her lips as she continued to listen to the poetic words of the dwarf heir, finding them almost bitterly sweet.

"It was just a dream..." He voice cracked with disappointment at this time and his brow furrowed softly. Ren's ears pricked when she suddenly heard his breathing become more ragged and the elf did turn her head to gaze upon the tender event that was taking place.

The dark haired dwarf weakly reached a hand up from where it rested upon the top of the covers of his bed, his thick fingers reaching out for Tauriel's smaller, more delicate ones.

"Do you think she could have loved me?" Kili spoke in his poison induced haze but Ren knew his words to be of the utmost truth. For whether he wished to or not, the young dwarf had fallen for an elf maiden, much like his Uncle had.

Galaren dared not look back at this moment, a large, almost affectionate grin pulling at her lips, one that she couldn't contain at all.

It was then at this point that the young dwarf could no longer seem to stay conscious and with his fingers still loosely holding onto the elf's he drifted off to sleep, hopefully allowing his body a restful slumber now that he was free of the dark magic.

Slowly turning away from the table before her, she faced Tauriel whose green eyes were wide as she stared down at the elf who had just admitted to holding feelings for her. However, after a moment, her eyes softened and she also slightly held onto Kili's hand.

"Do you think you could love him?" The redhead was pulled out of her daze by her fellow elf who was watching her with shimmering blue eyes.

She was silent for a moment as her own eyes met the female's pair, her overpowering gaze reminding her of the heated glare they had shared back in Mirkwood before the throne of the King. She blinked a few times before looking away slightly, not being able to meet her eyes.

"He's a dwarf." The elf spoke and to the redheads surprise, the princess didn't even blink.

"So? Do you think that ever stopped a man from loving an elf?" She spoke, her arms crossed over her chest. "Surely you know the tale of Beren and Lúthien?"

"Everyone knows the tale." She replied, her eyes narrowed at the blonde. The story of Beren and Lúthien was an ancient one and she had heard it often when she had been a child. In fact, it was one of the most common tales told to elvish children.

"So I reiterate my question: Could you love him?"

"I... I don't know..." Tauriel replied quietly before dropping Kili's hand and taking a few steps back from the bed as if sh repelled the thought of loving a dwarf. "It should not matter to you..." She growled back at the female.

"But it does matter to me." Ren replied back, her eyes flashing dangerously.

"Why?" The redhead looked back at her then. "Why do you care what happens to him or any of the dwarves for that matter?"

"I care because he is my friend. They are all my friends and I have come to care deeply for every single one of them." Her words continued to confuse the other elf.

"But... why? Why dwarves? Why not your own people?"

Upon hearing the redhead's words, the female paused for a moment before a small, humored snort came through her nose. "I used to find myself asking that question a lot but I haven't done so again for some time. Yes... Why dwarves? You ask." A far off look entered her eyes as she turned to gaze out the darkened window. "I think I enjoy the company of dwarves to elves because of the way that they live life compared to our own style of living. They smile more. They laugh more. They dance and sing more. They live more. I think elves take life for granted, given the fact that we have been blessed with the gift of mortality. Compared to the life I live now, inside the borders of Lothlorien, it was so dull. There was no excitement to living life in the Golden Wood. And when there was fun to be had, it was controlled and there was little merriment to be found. I think the reason I chose the dwarves was because of how they live their lives. Sure, they may be shorter in the number of years but I feel as though it doesn't matter how long one lives but it matters how one decides to live their life."

"I also disagree with our people's choices. I didn't choose our people because it seemed as though none of us could spare an ounce of kindness for the dwarves. They were cold and starving with not a single roof over their heads. They had to live on the road and even then prepare themselves for battle when few soldiers were found. No one, not even one of the great elven settlements, sent them aid. That was, until I decided to do so. And when I did, my own family cast me out for doing what I believed was right. For helping people like I had been raised to do so. And so, both the dwarves and myself did not have a home to which we could return to. The dwarves and I have faced similar struggles so in a way, they are nearly the only people who understand what it is like to be living on the road. That is why I am giving them my help on this journey and that is why I care."

Both elves were silent for a long moment before Tauriel decided to speak again. "And for what? The cruel idea that the dwarves will give you a home with them in their mountain? The simple fact that the only pay you will be receiving on this journey is one of their friendship?"

"Friendship and love is more precious than any amount of gold in this world." Anger flashed through her eyes again at the incompetence of the younger elf. "It would be wise of you to learn that lesson..." At hearing these words, Tauriel almost seemed taken aback by the harshness with which she spoke to her.

"And then what happens when they die?" The elf's words caught her off guard and she grew quiet then. "Dwarves only live to be what? Two hundred and fifty years old?" The redhead only continued to look at the still silent female. "You seem to forget that you yourself are immortal-"

"I AM VERY AWARE THAT I AM IMMORTAL!" Galaren yelled, catching her companion off guard but when she spoke again, she was quieter. "I have watched babies grow into children and then into adults before dying a number of times. I have watched my friends die before. I have watched kingdoms rise and fall. I have seen the turn of the age and fought in wars. Now, tell me again that you think I am unaware that I am immortal!" She was breathing heavily for a moment as she struggled to regulate her breathing. "And if I have to, then I will leave this planet when they do."

Raising her eyes up so that they were locked on Tauriel's green pair, Ren felt exhaustion and both annoyance sweep over her. "So, I will ask once more... Do you think that you could love him?"

"You would give up your immortality to be with a group of misfit dwarves?" The redhead asked again, disbelief covering her features.

And when Ren would next speak, her eyes were cold and the tone inher voice was equally icy but also full of certainty. "Yes."

The redhead paused slightly, her heart beating rapidly in her chest as her mind raced. "I-"

However, she never got to finish as the door to the room opened and in stepped Fili whose own blue eyes immediately looked to the still form of his little brother on the bed before they looked back to Ren for confirmation.

"How is he?" The blonde dwarf asked and Galaren turned away from Tauriel.

"He's resting peacefully now and should sleep soundly through the night. I gave him some herbal tea that will serve as both a painkiller and a sleeping draught so he should be out for some time."

"Thank Mahal..." He breathed before rubbing a hand over his face and approaching his brother's side to simple stare down at his calm features. "I don't think I could go on without him."

"Well, let's hope that you never have to." Ren said softly and Fili only turned to look at her, his eyes a bit glassy with unshed tears.

"Thank you, Ren." He murmured before he stepped forward and wrapped his arms around the female. She stood rigid for a moment and let her eyes flicker to Tauriel who stood just across the room before a soft smile befell her features and she returned his strong embrace.

He simply clung to her for a moment as if a child would cling to its mother and Ren only held him back as tightly as he was holding her, a sense of warmth filling her entire being. It was also in that moment that she realized how she felt about the two young dwarves, or rather three, if she included Ori.

They were the sons that she never had.

"I think I shall be going." A quiet voice broke the silence in the room and both Fili and Ren pulled away from one another before looking at her.

"I thank you as well, Tauriel, for helping my brother. Should you have not done so, I know for a fact that he would no longer be with us." He bowed his head slightly and once again the elf seemed too stunned for words.

"It was nothing..." She replied quietly before stalking from a room and therefore, leaving Esgaroth without another word causing the blonde female to frown slightly but she said nothing of the matter.

Both remaining members in the room were silent for a few moments after she left, simply staring at the boots upon their feet.

"Well, I think I shall retire for the evening." Ren said after a long moment and the young dwarf looked up at her before slowly nodding. "Should anything arise with your brother, come wake me. I'll only just be down the hall." She gave his shoulder a reassuring squeeze as she told him before gathering her things and turning to leave.

Slipping the satchel up and over her head, she let it rest across her chest before she picked up the bowl with what little remnants their was of the Kingsfoil that had yet to be used.

Quietly opening the door to their room, she stepped out into the hall and closed it just as quietly as she had opened it.

Her feet were quiet as she walked through the nearly silent inn, the only noise present was the quiet snoring from the dwarves inside their rooms and her own breathing.

It was just a short walk down the hall but as she turned the corner to the small corridor her room was in, she stopped when she caught sight of the figure leaning against her doorway, apparently awaiting her return.

He had his arms crossed over his chest and as soon as he had heard her coming around the corner, he raised his eyes from where they had been trained upon the rug beneath his feet.

The two simple gazed at one another for a long moment before it was he himself who decided to speak. "How is he?" She was quiet for a second as she contemplated how to answer the dwarf lord's words.

"He's going to be alright. We might have to delay the last leg of the journey to the mountain for a few days. He should make a full recover though it may take awhile. Morgul poison causes a wound's healing period to stretch."

"We may have to leave him behind then."

"What?" His words caught her off guard and her brow furrowed with slight anger once again. "You can't just leave him behind..."

"If his wound does not heal quickly enough, we will have to leave him here in Esgaroth."

"If you leave Kili here, Fili will also stay. You should be well aware of that fact by now." She said, her sapphire irises still alight with bristling emotions. "And I know that when you open that mountain door, you want your nephews to be by your side."

Thorin was silent upon listening to her words, finding them to be bitterly true. She knew him all too well yet this surprisingly did not upset him as much as he thought it would.

"I thank you again for saving him." Thorin told her and she only nodded her head ever so slightly. "I don't know what we would have done if you were not here."

A small smile tugged at Ren's lips then. "To be completely honest and rather blunt, I don't you would have made it far without me." She told him and the dwarf himself smiled slightly. "I think you would have gotten tangled up in Rivendell..."

"I don't doubt that you are right." He replied, chuckling as he did so, before his eyes slowly drifted downward until he caught sight of the bowl in her hands. The smile slowly faded from his face and his brow furrowed slightly. "What is that?"

"Tis just the remnants of my wares of Athelas. I was going to dry it out again and save it for another use before I turn in for the night." She lied through her teeth to him though didn't even bat an eyelash.

"Oh!" This seemed to jar him from what haze he had been in and he pushed off from the door he was intentionally blocking. "Then by all means, I'll move."

He did so, stepping to the side whilst also turning the knob on her door, allowing it to swing open so that she may enter into her quarters.

She only gave him a polite bow of her head before moving passed him and into her room. It was very dark inside and the elf shot a look at the burning embers of her fireplace, it having not been restocked like it should have hours ago.

Using what little light was let in through the open doorway, she placed the bowl of Kingsfoil upon the table top before she also lifted her bag over her head to place the satchel beside the bowl.

His boots were very quiet as they moved across the bare floor boards and she listened as he began to stoke the fire before dropping a couple of logs on top in hopes of keeping it alive and providing the room with heat.

Galaren only finished with her things before she returned to the large bed with the headboard against the wall where she unceremoniously dropped down onto her rear before lifting her leg up before she began to pull her boots off her feet.

She removed the left one first with her right hand but as she lifted up her right leg to remove the other boot, she hissed in pain as she tried to do so, her other arm too weak to do it.

As the pain continued to course through her body, she could only let out a soft noise of discomfort but she forgot about the sharp stabbing as it bled through her system when a hand closed around her wrist.

Letting her eyes open due to the fact that they had been closed as she fought to control the pain, she blinked a few times to process that Thorin was kneeling in front of her.

"Do you require assistance?" He taunted her, a smug smirk upon his face due to the fact that when they stayed in Beorn's home, the roles had been reversed. The female elf could only roll her eyes but nonetheless gave him a small nod, a soft smile pulling at her lips.

He carefully pushed away her hand and she leaned back slightly so that she could stick her leg out. One of his hands cupped her calf while the other went for the heel of her boot.

His eyes never leaving hers, he carefully removed the leather footwear and placed it on the floor beside its twin. He then carefully set her leg down so that her bare foot rested upon the floorboards beside her other one. His thick fingers brushed against the bare skin of her ankle like feathers, causing her skin to tingle unpleasantly. His hand was there only a moment longer before he removed it so it would then rest upon his own thigh.

"Thank you." She told him quietly and he only nodded before standing up, seeing the slight dullness in her eyes, given the fact that she was exhausted will all that had happened lately. She was so used to sleeping soundly every night that it was starting to spoil her, making her sleepier more easily.

Back when she used to live on the road, she could go for nearly a week without sleeping a wink.

"Given by the fatigue I can see in your eyes, I can tell that you are tired." His voice cut through the silence like a knife and Ren's once dozing mind sprung back to life for a moment. "I myself am feeling sluggish." He moved to leave and the elf was sad to see him go but he paused and turned back to look at her for a moment. "Is there anything else I can do for you while I'm here?"

This caused a soft smile to pull at her lips upon hearing his words and she even laughed slightly.

"What?"

"It's nothing." She told him, shaking her head but her sapphire eyes sparkled brightly with mirth. "To think, I have a mountain king waiting on me hand and foot like he is some servant. Am I not the luckiest woman in all of Middle Earth?"

Thorin himself grinned slightly and the sight of it caused Ren's heart to flutter. She rarely got to see one of those smiles but they were becoming more frequent every day that past.

"Only the best for the Lady Galaren." He rumbled at her, his own eyes sparkling with mischief.

"No, I do not need anything else, Thorin." She told him, the fond smile still upon her face, one that was mirrored upon both their features. The two only smiled at each other for a long moment before the dwarf lord sobered as he reached for the door.

"Good night then, my Lady." He bowed his head slightly, his eyes never leaving hers. "May you have sweet dreams."

"Good night, Master Oakenshield. I'll see you in the morning." She bid him goodnight as well and the dwarf remained in her room a moment longer, looking as though he were seriously contemplating something. However, after that long moment passed, he apparently decided against it and left the room without another word.

Ren only sat in her room upon her bed for the longest time, a small smile pulling at the corners of her lips. Her eyes were entranced upon the flames licking at the logs in the fireplace.

So much had happened that day that she could hardly process everything.

They had attempted to escape Esgaroth but were captured by the Master's men but were welcomed with open arms. A feast had been thrown in their honor and the Company had ate and danced the night away with each other. Fili had come barging into the room, shouting that Kili was sick. She had healed the dark haired dwarf but only with Tauriel's help. And yet, it felt as though Ren was missing something before it struck her, nearly knocking her from her seat upon the covers of her bed.

Thorin had kissed her.

Her mind had been so occupied with saving a dying Kili that she had failed to fully process the bittersweet minutes when the dwarf had had his lips upon her own.

And yet as she recalled the very event, all the emotions she had felt came rushing back to her in an almost overwhelming sense. With the emotions, it also carried the sensory details.

The heat from the fireplace which had been freshly stoked by none other than the dwarf lord himself. The strange shadows that had crossed his handsome face as he stood above her. How his deep voice had rumbled and caused her hair to stand on end. How weak her knees felt when he looked at her with such softness in his eyes. The way his hands had so gently cradled her face. His beard upon skin.

The she-elf was brought from her thoughts as another spike of white pain shot from her system, causing the memories to be shoved aside as she nearly crumpled to the side due to the stabbing in her nerves. And she did collapse over onto her side, her eyes closed and her teeth gritted. All she could do was lay there.

A sheen of sweat had coated her brow in a matter of moments and when she was able to open her eyes again, they focused upon the bowl across the room.

It was now or never to use what was left of the Kingsfoil.

She knew for a fact that she didn't have enough but that wouldn't stop her from using it. The elf knew that using the minuscule amount left would buy her enough time to go inland and find more when they began their journey to the mountain.

She only hoped that Kili could get better so that they could leave soon or else she herself would soon be knocking on death's door and she wasn't entirely ready to die yet.

I'm a horrible person.

Hey guys. I haven't talked to you for what feels like ages. Again, I'm a horrible person because I haven't updated for almost two weeks. I've been extremely busy lately and haven't hardly had anytime to write.

I was in Texas for five days and then I had a week to try and make up all the work that I missed so homework has been killing me lately. Also, I had my prom last weekend so I've been trying to recover from that.

We reached 500 reviews! YOU GUYS ARE SO AWESOME! I never even expected anyone to ever read this let alone love it like you guys have!

But as that goes, I'm deciding to take a small break for a while. I'm going to refocus on my Thor/OC story for awhile. Those readers have been waiting since November to get their story and I think their wait is soon going to be over. After a few more editing sessions of Thunderstruck and War Machine and I'll be ready to start in on Back in Black.

I can't wait!

Since the next hobbit movie comes out in December I think I have a little time to work on my other stories. I will probably flip back and forth between this story and the others so just hold tight people. Updates will be spaced out but they will still happen.

Anyway guys, you are all SO AWESOME! Keep reviewing and stay tuned for more!

By the way, the Author introductory video is online on YouTube so you can go find that. It's posted on my wall on fanfiction so you'll have to go to my profile.

You guys can comment on their and ask more questions if you like.

Anyway,

YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO! READ AND REVIEW!

Love,

Blue

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