Day 6

Title: Day 6
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Middle Earth
Rating: R
Pairing: Bilbo/Thorin
Disclaimer: Not my characters. I wish they were mine. I definitely don’t get paid for this.
Summary: Thorin's sneezy and missing his Bilbo.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2017-18 project project for Masking

When Thorin woke up, he realized his day was going to be utterly miserable. His throat was as fire, even while he drank from the glass and pitcher of ice water on his bedside table. His eyes were hot and tired because he'd been awake most of the night coughing and snuffling. And his nose was so runny and sore he could barely stand touching it. But the worst part of it all was that his burglar was gone.

Bilbo was back in the Shire, visiting his fellow hobbits. Thorin had had some regal obligations, so the timing just hadn't been good. He'd sent Balin and Dwalin to see Bilbo safely there and back again.

As it turned out, he had ended up canceling two of his obligations anyway—a grand dinner party for some dwarves visiting from elsewhere in Middle Earth and a meeting with several of the men from Rivertown who needed to negotiate a new trade agreement. He didn't care what the cancellations looked like; it would have been impossible to get through either function considering how sneezy and miserable he felt. More than anything else, he felt irritable. Every little thing got on his nerves, from the rough cloth he was forced to blow his incessantly runny nose into to the sound of footsteps in the passage outside his chamber that were far too loud.

hahhh... hahhhhhhhh... Hahhhhhh...” He started to cover his nose, but the second the cloth even brushed against it, he winced at the sharp pain. So he let his hands drop into his lap even as his nose kept twitching. “Hahh! Hahhhh! Hah-ahh-HAHHHH... Hahhh-KTTCHUHHHH!” He pitched forward, sneezing over the blankets and not caring. His nose felt wet, and he pressed it into his shoulder. Somehow, his tunic was jut a little softer than the handkerchief. But only just. It was such a relief when he got one of his sneezes out, but afterward he felt just as miserable as before.

The only thing that made his suffering all night bearable were the cats that had joined him in his sickbed. They weren't Bilbo, but they were fluffy and warm and they wouxldn't be moved, even if he shook the bed with coughs and sneezes. The best part, however, was how he could complain to them and not feel as though they were judging him. He could be weak and whiny and vulnerable and not lose face in front of them. They would just purr and rub against him like he wasn't almost in tears.

They were still here this morning, a big white and orange one with tufted ears, a fluffy white and gray one with a sort of squished up face, and a black and gray beauty with the biggest tail he'd ever seen in a cat. They lived in the caves, catching rodents and making their beds wherever they wanted. Probably every dwarf in this part of the kingdom had met them. Probably they had dozens of different names. Thorin hadn't named them anything; he had simply been glad for their company when he'd felt at his lowest and loneliest.

He heard the door to his outer chamber open, and he quickly dragged his sleeve across his face so he wouldn't look so messy. It could only be one of his nephews. Probably news of his being indisposed had already traveled through the mountain as if it were good gossip, but everyone knew that only Fili and Kili were allowed in his bed chamber right now.

As he waited to find out which one it was, he felt another sneeze coming on. “Hahhhh!” Maybe even more than one sneeze. “Hahhh!” His eyes fluttered closed as his breath hitched. “hahhh...hah hah hah Hah Hah HAHHH-HAHTChuhhhhh! HAHHHTShhhhhhh!

He still felt the prickly, about-to-sneeze feeling in his nose, but he pulled his eyes open for an instant to see Bilbo standing in front of him. Bilbo? “HahhhhTISCHHHHH!” He wished he'd thought to cover his nose that time, but it was too late now. “Hahhh-IHHtchhhhh! HAHChhhhh!” When he finally opened his eyes again, he found his hobbit hurriedly ushering the three cats out of the bedroom. Thorin tried to protest, but his prickling, tickling nose still wasn't through with him yet. “hahh hahh hahhh HAH-TESHhhhh!” He cupped a hand to his nose and mouth, sniffling heavily. “What are you doig?”

“Cats got in somehow,” Bilbo explained. “Clearly, you're allergic.”

“I'b... I'b...” His shoulders tensed and he was tossed forward yet again. “hahh-IHHHShhhhhh! Snrfff! Snerfffffff! I'b dot.”

“Thorin, love,” Bilbo said, settling himself on their bed and taking Thorin's free hand. But he spoke in what was close enough to a patronizing tone that it made Thorin bristle. “There's no use denying it. You're sneezing your head off right now. Obviously you are.”

He shook his head as he rubbed his palm against his nose, the rough calluses on his hand making his terribly sore nose hurt and loosening the congestion enough to make his nose run. “Doe, I'b dot,” he insisted. He felt a strange mix of irritation at Bilbo for driving away the cats and elation at seeing his lover back again unexpectedly. Throin kept both emotions in check as he tried to explain. “I cabe dowd with the sdeeziest cold I've ever had. Add I cad't... I cahh... cahhhhhhh! Hahhhh... Hah HAH HAHH HAH-KTSHHHHH! Uhhh! Snfffffffffffff! Uhhhh... I cad't stob sdee... sdeezidg.” He gave his nose another rub into his palm, wincing all the while.

“Oh.” The sound wasn't one of understanding. It wasn't one of sympathy. And it was safe to say the sound also definitely wasn't one of revulsion. It was a squeak. The sort of squeak he made when the two of them were making love and Thorin did something he found especially delicious. His breath was shallow and quick. His eyes were trained on the bedspread.

“What are you doig hobe already?” Thorin asked. “You wered't subbosed to be back for adother week at least.” Surely word of Thorin's illness had not traveled as far as the Shire in such short time. Surely there must be far more important things in Middle Earth than the state of Thorin Oakenshield's chapped and snuffly nose.

“I missed you the moment I left,” Bilbo explained, still looking downward. “It turns out it didn't take long to get my affairs in order back home. I reclaimed a few goblets and a nice old footstool that cousins of mine took the liberty of liberating while I was gone. I tried to socialize, but the hobbits... well... most of them don't understand why I would want to leave the Shire. They certainly don't understand why I wanted to take up with a dwarf.” He shrugged. “In the end, I just wanted to be back here with you, so we rode straight through the night, the ponies hitched to each other, taking it in shifts to lead. I'm.. I'm glad I arrived when I did.”

It must have been the most interesting bedspread in all of Middle Earth, because his gaze did not wander from it once. “Bilbo?” Thorin prompted, concerned. “Are you all right?”

Bilbo nodded but still wouldn't look up.

“Well, dow that you've drived away all by cats, I'b goig to deed you to keeb the bed warb for be. Because I'b ill add chilled.”

Bilbo gave an involuntary squeak and ran a hand over the bedspread. He opened his mouth to say something then closed it again, at a loss. His chest rose and fell with the deepest of breaths. Then he crawled up to the top of the bed and attempted to slip under the covers. Thorin slid down a little and put an arm out for his hobbit to roll into. Bilbo hesitated only a moment before taking up the invitation and snuggling close.

At once, Thorin knew he had read the situation correctly. He felt his lover's member hard and present against his thigh. And, when another sneeze inevitably began to build in Thorin's nose, he felt Bilbo's little heart race with excitement against Thorin's side. “hahhh... Bil... hahhh-Bilbo... I hahhh I feel hahhhhhhh! feel adother sdeh... hahhhhhhh HAHHH HAHHH! adother sdee-HAH HAH HAHHH HAH-KTSCHHHHHH!” Thorin was thrown forward, coming up off the bed an inch. But Bilbo wrapped an arm around his front when he was back down a second later.

Thorin sniffed pitifully, uncomfortably, his nostrils and the space above his upper lip wet. “Don't you want to... maybe... cover your nose when you do that?” Bilbo asked timidly.

“Aye. Sniff! Snrffff!” Thorin wasn't sure if he was imagining it, but he felt Bilbo rocking against him every time he sniffled. “I'd love to, but by dose is so sore frob all this sdeezidg, I cad't. It hurts so buch whed I touch it.”

Finally, Bilbo looked up at him. Bilbo studied his face with concern growing on his own. Then he rolled a little in place and managed to pull a small cloth handkerchief out of his front left trouser pocket. Thorin pulled back, knowing how much this was going to hurt. “Trust me,” Bilbo whispered soothingly. And, when he touched the cloth to Thorin's nose, that was surprisingly soothing as well. The touch was so light and the hankie cloth so soft, Thorin's nose didn't hurt. He tilted his head a little, making it easier for Bilbo to wipe for him, drying his nose and even catching a few runs that were teasing at his nostrils. “There,” Bilbo said, pleased with his work.

“There,” Thorin repeated gratefully. And to show his gratitude, his hand flipped the buckle back on Bilbo's belt.

Bilbo whimpered and buried his face in Thorin's side. “I can't explain it, so please don't ask me to,” Bilbo said. “I love when you sneeze, but when you said it was a c-cold I... I...”

“This?” Thorin asked, sliding his hand into Bilbo's pants to find his hard member practically leaping at him.

“This,” Bilbo whispered, nodding. “I can't help it. I'm sorry. But you... and your head cold... oh, Thorin... your cold...”

Thorin wanted to ask what it was about his head cold that made Bilbo so worked up, so desirous. But he couldn't even manage to get a word out. “Hahh! Hahhhhh! Hah! Hah! Hah!” Bilbo pressed the soft hankie to his nose, and the touch of it sent an extra tickling prickle through Throin's nose. His eyes closed at once. “HAHHHHH HAHHH-IPBTSHhhhhhhhhhh!” he sneezed into the handkerchief. And he grabbed Bilbo's wrist to keep his hand there, because his nose was twitching with more tickles already, but Bilbo kept his hand there, not even thinking of moving it away. “Hah! Hah-hah-hah-hah-hah-IHBTSHHHH! HAHTSCHHHH! Hah-HAH-IHTSchhhhhh!

He felt great wetness against his face, the hankie covering up his great, uncontrollable sneezes so well. But he also felt wetness against his leg now. He opened his eyes to see Bilbo's face screwed up, eyes closed, lower lip tucked between his teeth. Bilbo made a sort of whimpering sound as the wetness grew and Bilbo's body thrust urgently against Thorin's side. Thorin's arm, still around Bilbo, tightened its grip. And his hand patted Bilbo's back, the only range of motion he had.

When Bilbo's body relaxed, the hobbit turned his face up toward his lover. “That...”

Thorin smiled and repeated. “That.” He tilted his head, ready to kiss Bilbo, but then he hesitated. “I have to kiss you, but I dod't wadt you to catch by cold.”

Bilbo smiled. “It's a dwarf cold. I've never heard of a hobbit catching a dwarf cold. I shouldn't worry. Just kiss me.”

Thorin did. His lips met Bilbo's with tenderness and understanding, even though what he really felt was a little bit of misery from his terrible cold and a little bit of confusion about why his cold was turning Bilbo on so much. But he had to reassure his lover that, as strange as this interest was, he was still loved and very much still wanted. 

But, as he began to kiss Bilbo, their noses brushed against each other, and this set the tickles off in Thorin's nose like nothing else had. He pulled away, breath hitching. “hah hah hahh hah hah!” And then, before Bilbo could get the damp hankie back up into place, he sneezed again. “Hahhh-IHHPTShuhhhh!

“Oh!” Bilbo's own breath caught. Alarmed, he folded his hankie and dabbed it at Thorin's nose. “Oh, your poor, poor red nose. I have plenty of other handkerchiefs. Let me go get them. Your nose is only going to get worse and sorer if you let it stay wet like this after one of those massive sneezes of yours.” He sprang from bed at once as Thorin just lay there, sniffling repeatedly, fairly certain his nose would be runny like this forever, no matter what hankies Bilbo came back with. And he shivered, chilled again almost immediately without his warm hobbit by his side or his fluffy mountain cats warming his bed.

When Bilbo crawled back in, under the covers, it was with several of his soft, thick handkerchiefs in his hand and with dry underclothes on his body. Thorin couldn't tell if the hobbit had washed up after his little episode or not, though, because the dwarf's nose was so stuffed up with cold he couldn't have smelled it if Bilbo had been out rolling around in dead fish.

He reached up to his nose to rub it, but Bilbo grabbed his hand before he could make contact. Bilbo tisked in disapproval. “That's what got you into this mess. Your nose is far too sore and too sensitive for that kind of touching. Better let me. You just tell me what you need.” He snuggled close again.

“Dose is feelig a little ruddy add tickly add... I dod't dow. Sniff! Snrffff! I just wadted to rub it a little.”

“All right. I can do that for you.” Bilbo touched a dry handkerchief to his nose and rubbed carefully. It made the constant tickly feeling vanish to almost nothing. But his nose was still terribly runny, which Bilbo noticed when he tried to lower the hankie. “Oh dear. Better give a good, long blow right here for me.”

This felt strange to Thorin, who had been blowing his own nose just fine since he'd come down with this cold. He wasn't used to someone else telling him when his nose was full enough to need to be blown. But Bilbo seemed so keen, Thorin decided it was best to just play along and humor him. So Thorin took a deep breath and, feeling Bilbo's thumb and forefinger gripping his nose, he blew.

The sense of relief he felt at doing so very nearly rivaled the one he felt when he sneezed. So he took another breath and blew his nose again, and Bilbo held the handkerchief patiently, applying just the right amount of pressure. Bilbo knew that Thorin felt better; he didn't even need to ask about that. Instead, he asked, “Do you think you can get some sleep now?”

Thorin considered it for a brief moment before shaking his head no. “I'b sorry. I just feel too sdeezy.”

“Even after all that blowing?”

He nodded sheepishly. “Aye, this cold is just—”

Bilbo gave an involuntary whimper Thorin was not at all expecting. Would this be Bilbo's reaction every time he even just mentioned the awful, sneezy cold in his head? If so, it was a very good thing they were in their bedchamber, far away from the rest of the dwarves. He wondered if having to restrain his feelings in the presence of others would drive the hobbit crazy with desire, and decided to one day fine out. But, for now, he would just enjoy this extra level of power he seemed to have over Bilbo.

“This cold is just so strodg. I dod't dow what I would have dode if you had't cobe back today just whed I deeded you bost. Just whed by cold was gettidg really, really terrible.”

“Oh, my poor Thorin!” Bilbo exclaimed, kissing him, careful to avoid hitting Thorin's nose with his again this time. It hadn't taken him long to learn how to kiss someone with a sensitive, tickly nose, and now he seemed to love proving how well he could do it.

“Well then,” Bilbo began, once he had pulled out of the kiss to give Thorin a chance to catch his breath. “If you can't sleep, at least you can rest. That's almost as good. And I'll stay right here and keep you warm while I catch every last one of your wet sneezes with my handkerchiefs. How does that sound to you?”

Frankly, the idea of lying in bed, sneezing over and over all day long wasn't at all appealing. But with Bilbo here, he really had no cause to complain. So he nodded his approval of the plan and closed his eyes. “Bilbo... I thidk... thidk I've gotta hahh gotta sdeeze agaid already.”

*             *             *

It was the middle of the night when Thorin woke from a fitful sleep and found his bed yet again cold. The heavy weight of his hobbit was nowhere to be found. Shivering and irritated, he pulled himself out of bed. He took one of the blankets off the bed and wrapped it around his shoulders. It trailed behind him like a cape as he made his way through their private rooms, searching and growing more and more annoyed.

But all of his irritation vanished when he found Bilbo in the bathroom, holding a candle in one hand for light as he stood in front of the mirror with his mouth open. He was trying to both open his mouth as wide as possible and inspect his throat, two things that couldn't be done simultaneously. “Thorin!” he jumped, startled to see his lover appear, and nearly dropped the candle, which would have meant spilling the melted wax pooling in the holder at the base.

“What are you doig ub?” Thorin asked, his voice deep and husky from sleep and from his cold. He went to rub his nose, out of a habit, and it was a testament to how preoccupied Bilbo was that he didn't stop the action and intervene. Thorin winced at the touch. Bilbo's care had been exemplary, but his nose was still red and raw.

“My throat hurts like I'm swallowing fire,” Bilbo explained. “Are there spots?” He opened wide and said “Ahhhhh.”

Thorin squinted, looking closely in the flickering candlelight. “Doe sbots, snrfff! Snrrffff! Just irritated. Very, very red.”

Bilbo frowned. “But...”

“I guess dow you've heard of a hobbit catching a dwarf cold, haved't you?”

Bilbo still looked stunned as Thorin wrapped both his arm and the big blanket around Bilbo and steered him back toward the bed. They settled back in, and Thorin shivered until Bilbo stretched out against him. But all that walking and the cool night air had shifted the congestion in Thorin's head, and the moment he lay back down with his head on the pillows was the same moment he felt like sneezing again. “hahh... tickles hahhhh badly... hahhhh! Bil-hah-hah-Bilbo?”

Bilbo scrambled for a fresh hankie. He cupped it to Thorin's terribly twitchy nostrils as he had been doing all day. But he pulled it away before the sneeze could strike. Confused, Thorin tried to hold the sneeze back, but it was much too late for him to regain any control. “HAHTSchuhhhhh! Snuffff! Bilbo? Why—”

ihhtch! y'tchhh! kayitchhh!” Thorin opened his eyes just in time to see Bilbo catch the triple in his handkerchief. The hobbit rubbed his nose into the cloth then looked up at Thorin. “Sorry. Suddenly, I just had to sneeze. Couldn't help it.”

Thorin shook his head and nuzzled his face into a dry part of the handkerchief Bilbo had just used, his nose protesting as he rubbed, but then feeling a bit better for being wiped dry. “Dod't abologize. It's by fault for giving you my cold.”

Bilbo made that squeaking sound again at the mention of that word.

And Thorin grinned. “As lodg as we're both awake... add too sdeezy to fall back asleeb just yet, how about we share bore thad just by cold and your hadkie?” His hand slid down, finding Bilbo's arse and pressing him close. Bilbo nodded, so overcome with pleasure already he couldn't speak. The hobbit's eager erection rubbed against his thigh again and he wondered if the soft skin of Bilbo's cock would feel equally as good against his sore nose as the cloth handkerchief had. There was only one way to find out for sure. Thorin slid completely under the covers, once again disturbing one of the cats that had been sleeping at the foot of the bed.