One Day I'll Remember Chapter XIX: You Will Be
Chapter XIX: You Will Be King AgainA/N: Title comes from the lyrics of “King” by Lauren Aquilina.BbBbBbBbBbBbBbBramble blinked once and then again. “Thorin, is your niece riding a bear?”Thorin kept his eyes on Bramble. “Of the two of us, I thought I would be the one hallucinating.”“UNCLE!” Fili shouted. She clambered off the bear, skidding on the ice as she fell next to Bramble and Thorin. She clutched her bloodied right hand to her chest. “Uncle, we’re getting help. I promise.”Thorin could barely lift his other arm and turned his head slightly as he tried to keep his sight on Bramble while looking at his niece. “Fili? You’re alive.”“Yes. I’m alive. Amad and Kíli are too, but they’re hurt. Amad got hit on the head and had another seizure and we can’t wake her up. Kíli was stabbed and is unconscious. Dwalin is with them as is Captain Tauriel and the Elf Prince,” Fili said.“We need to get them to a healer,” Thorin said.“Says the man bleeding out,” Bramble said.Fili looked at her uncle more closely and put her hand over his wound and applied more pressure. “Uncle. What happened?”“Azog,” Thorin said.“Your uncle killed him though,” Bramble said.“Are we sure?” Fili asked, “No offense uncle.”“None taken. He is dead unless he can walk around without his head,” Thorin said.“Good to hear,” Beorn said.Bramble looked back for a moment and back at Thorin. “Hey, Beorn, can you put on some pants or something?”“Clothes would hinder my ability to shapeshift,” Beorn said.“Oh, well…okay then,” Bramble said.Beorn picked up Thorin with ease. “I will take him to safety. I do not think either of you can lift him.”“That will not be necessary,” a voice said from the air.An Eagle landed near them. It shapeshifted into a woman with golden-brown hair and matching eyes who was nearly as tall as the giant Beorn.“I am Arnbjörg of the Eagles. I am here to assist the wizard’s Dwarf friend,” the woman said.“Uh… why are there so many naked people?” Fili said.“I have stopped asking at this point when weird things happen to me,” Bramble said.Thorin almost snorted a laugh, but he ended up hissing in pain.“I will carry him and the other two as well,” Arnbjörg said.Beorn nodded. Arnbjörg changed back into her Eagle form. Bramble and Fili climbed on top of the Eagle.“Take care of the others, Beorn,” Fili said.“I will, lass,” Beorn said as he laid Thorin on the ground so the Eagle could more easily take him to safety. BbBbBbBbBbBbBbFlying would have been exhilarating for Bramble if she was not in the midst of panicking over Thorin. Would he still be awake when they landed? Would he even be alive?Thorin was placed on the ground near some tents set-up by the entrance of Erebor as a make-shift medical facility. Fili and Bramble slid-off the Eagle. Arnbjörg flew back into the air.A petite woman wearing the uniform of the Red Tree with blood splattered on her shirt walked towards the small group. “Well, my sisters won’t believe this.” She looked over at Thorin. “I am going to guess the Dwarf is King Thorin? And you’re the Hobbit? And one of the Dwarves of his Company?”“Yes, this is Fili, his heir. Please help them,” Bramble said.“No, don’t worry about me,” Thorin muttered as he tried to sit up. He failed at moving more than his head.“None of that,” the woman said as she knelt next to him. She looked up and shouted, “I NEED A STRETCHER!” She cleared her throat. “Now, tell me what happened.”BbBbBbBbBbBbBbThorin was moved into a tent as they waited to get the next available surgeon. Kíli and Dis were laid out next to him once they had been brought down from Ravenhill. Dwalin paced nervously between the beds.“What about Fili and Bramble?” Thorin asked.“They can walk and breathe. Fili’s hand can be fixed up later,” the Red Tree woman said.“And I have had a concussion and a sprained ankle before, dear Dwarf,” Bramble said quietly as she stroked his hair.“What is the Red Tree doing here? They stay out of battles if they can,” Dwalin said.“Well, we were already here because of Laketown. The battle happened so quickly, we couldn’t get help. It will still be a few hours before more help comes as the Americans are mucking things up at the borders,” the woman said, “My boss, Ecthelion, and I are the only ones to have fought in a war before. We’ve been directing things amongst the different factions. So far, the Elves have been keeping to themselves.”“What’s your name?” Bramble asked.“Ioreth, ma’am. If you’ll excuse me, I can hear more wounded being driven in.” She gave a brief bow before leaving the tent.Bramble saw a flash of silver armor and blonde hair walk past the tent. “Thorin, I’m going to get help.” She kissed the top of his head. “I’ll come back.”The Hobbit ran out of the tent and after the Elf King. “King Thranduil! Stop! I need to talk with you!”The Elf glanced back, but did not stop walking. “I have no time for whatever it is you wish to speak with me, Halfling.”“I do not have time either. I need your healers to stay. The Red Tree and the Dwarf Healers are overwhelmed. We need your assistance.”“I have already stayed here too long,” Thranduil said.“You have to stay to help.”“I do not have to do anything.”“I cannot believe you have no conscience. I have met your son. He’s a good man. He helped others when there was no gain in it for him. I can only assume he learned it from you or someone close to you.” The Elf paused for a moment, but continued walking. Bramble grabbed Thranduil cloak and yanked it just hard enough to get the Elf’s attention. He stopped and turned around. He looked ready to snark some comment or other, but looked surprised. “Where did you get that chain mail?”The Hobbit self-consciously adjusted the mithril vest. “Thorin gave it to me.”“When?”“It feels like ages ago, but he gave it to me as a gift yesterday,” Bramble said. She shifted from foot-to-foot under Thranduil’s scrutiny, wincing at the pain.“When he was still ill?”“Yes, though I don’t see what it has to do with anything. He gave it to me because he wanted me to be safe. I’m not a warrior and have little understanding in how to defend myself.”The Elf King spoke in Sindarin. “Do you know what the vest is worth?”“Um… a bit more than gold? I thought it was an old version of platinum,” Bramble said, “It’s rather useful, though I still feel ridiculous.”“And you came to us to save your Dwarves without knowing the value of the gift?”“Of course. Why wouldn’t I? I love them. They’re my friends. Thorin… I love him dearly too, though a bit differently than the rest.”Thranduil spoke to his aide. “Tell the healers to assist the doctors here and set up a watch with the surviving soldiers.”The aide bowed and ran to deliver the orders. Bramble blinked rapidly. “Did I miss something?”The Elf leaned down and whispered to Bramble, “That little vest of yours is worth three times that of your home.”“More than Bag-End?” Bramble gasped.Thranduil smiled ever so slightly. “No, three times than the Shire and all its holdings.”Bramble put a hand to her head. “Uh… well… I, um… I think I will go sit down now.”“Do you know what it means for him to give it to you?”“Uh, I, I think… um… oh good gracious. I think I might know.”“It is a betrothal gift,” Thranduil said.Bramble made a squeaking noise. “Don’t you mean engagement gift?”“No, betrothal,” Thranduil said.The Hobbit swayed. “Oh, that majestic idiot. Excuse me.”BbBbBbBbBbBbBbBramble ran back into the tent and was relieved to see Thorin still breathing. Fili looked over at the Hobbit. “Professor? Are you alright? Do you need…”“I need to know when I have been half-married Thorin. We Hobbits don’t have betrothals!” Bramble said as she went to Thorin’s side, “I don’t know about Dwarf marriage customs you beautiful moron.”Thorin turned his head towards Bramble. “I thought you understood. I had been trying…”“Trying since less than a day after we made ourselves even remotely clear about our feelings,” Bramble said, “You didn’t stop to think I wouldn’t understand your gifts?”Thorin swallowed. “I’m sorry.”Bramble rubbed her eyes. “I wish we had more time. We haven’t had time. Hobbits don’t… we spend a good bit of time getting to know one another romantically before getting to that part.”“You don’t have Ones? You didn’t know if we were meant to be with each other? To be Ones?” Thorin asked.“I don’t any more than any other Hobbit. It’s a bit of faith, really,” Bramble said.“Soulmates is the best translation,” Dwalin offered.“Oh… that’s… that’s not something we can just know,” Bramble said, “But Dwarves know?”Thorin nodded. “I knew when I awoke from the Halls of Mandos, but having a One does not mean you are that person’s One.”An Elf entered the tent. “We are going to be able to take him to surgery in five minutes.”Two Dwarves hobbled into the tent. Dain leaned against a tall, blonde Dwarf in armor. The blonde Dwarf shoved the Elf aside. Dain said, “What is that pointy-ear creature doing here?”“I asked the Elves to help with the wounded,” Bramble said.“And what right do you have to decide my cousin’s care?” Dain said.Thorin barked out something in Khuzdul which seemed to confuse Dain. The Lord of the Iron Hills laughed. “You have the worst timing cousin!”Fili spoke in a low voice to Thorin in Khuzdul. Bramble only understood her name, Gandalf’s name, and something about Erebor.“It is not my decision to make, Fili,” Thorin said.“THEN ASK HER! I’ll get the wizard,” Fili said, “Professor, please say yes. Uncle loves you and you love him. We need your help and I can’t do this alone if… no. It won’t happen. This is just temporary.”Thorin looked ready to protest before he clutched his wounded side in pain. Fili left the tent as did the Elf. Dain and the other Dwarf came closer to Thorin. “What can we do for you?” Dain asked.Bramble felt Thorin grab her arm. “Dwalin, you are to look out for Fili.”“Aye, I’ll do that,” Dwalin said.Thorin turned his head to Dain. “No matter her answer, you are to protect Bramble. She is my One and she will be kept safe, even if it is just to escort her back to the Shire.”“It will be done,” Dain said, “Thorn, would you be willing to be this Hobbit’s bodyguard?”“Aye, sir,” the blonde Dwarf said.“Thorn will keep an eye out for your, Hobbit,” Dain said.Bramble nodded, aware of what Thorin would ask her.Thorin cleared his throat and had a coughing fit which made him bleed more. “Bramble, I would wish to ask this under better circumstances under the customs of your people as I did not make it clear to you before. I would not wish to leave this world without you knowing how much you mean to me.”Bramble moved so she could lean over Thorin. “Are you seriously asking for a death bed wedding? Because I won’t say yes to that.” She put the acorn she had kept in her pocket throughout the battle into Thorin’s hand. “In the Shire, we make a home and plant a garden or make plans for them when we propose. So, we are going to make that plan. This breed of oak tree can grow even in deserts with the right care. Erebor can be made a home with hard work and love. So, Thorin, I am asking you to marry me because I know you will live to plant your trees and watch them grow. Will you spend the rest of your life with me?”Thorin gritted his teeth from the pain of his wounds, but the look of love in his eyes was obvious. He nodded his head.“Good.” Bramble pressed a light kiss to his lips.Gandalf entered the tent with Fili. The wizard had his left arm in a sling. “I see you have decided to go a bit untraditional in this. No flowers or jewels in sight. Not quite what you two imagined, I suppose.”“None of that now, Gandalf,” Bramble said, her voice shaking, “Nothing has gone as imagined since you brought this majestic idiot to my classroom and you know it.”The wizard sighed. “Well, we have enough witnesses to proceed.”Thorin took one of Bramble’s hands in his, the acorn held by both of them. “I will mend things with you, Bramble. I will make this right and give you everything you deserve. Not this hurried affair when I have not apologized for all the ills I have done to you.”“I already forgave you, you know. We will make all things right once you wake up,” Bramble said.“PROFESSOR! WHERE IS THE PROFESSOR?” Bofur shouted from outside.“In here, Bofur!” Fili said.The miner stumbled into the tent, a nasty gash was on his right arm, but he was otherwise unharmed. “Oh, professor, I’m so glad you’re alive. I can’t find anyone else. It’s a right mess out there. What’s wrong with you, Thorin? Where are the others?”“Kíli and Dis are in surgery. Uh, Bofur, I need to ask a favor of you,” Bramble said.“Anything, lass,” Bofur said.“Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum it.” Bramble took a deep breath. “Thorin and I are going to get married and I want you to be a witness. I’ve already forgiven him for what happened, and we will deal with the rest once he’s healed. I’ll explain more later, but he is about to go into surgery. Will you do it?”Bofur nodded though there was a wariness about him. “Aye, sister. I’ll do it for you.”Gandalf spoke in Khuzdul. Bramble slowly repeated the words the wizard prompted her to speak. She knew some words about love, protection, and treasures. The rest she had no time to analyze. She hoped her intentions would come through. If Thorin’s look of wonder was anything to go by, it seemed it did. Thorin tugged at Bramble’s sleeve and they kissed. He slipped his signet ring on her thumb.“Yâsith,” Thorin whispered.Dwalin coughed out a word and Bramble repeated it. “Yâsun.” She gave another kiss.Thorin smiled broadly in a way she had not seen since she had first shown him the acorn. “Definitely want more.”“You are going to have to come back.”“I will come back.”“And I will be there for you,” Bramble said.BbBbBbBbBbBbBbThe Elves took Thorin away to surgery before another word could be spoken. The rest limped or staggered to the central command tent. They found Thranduil, Bard, a male American soldier, a blonde female member of the Red Tree, and several Dwarf lords arguing around a table.“What seems to be the problem?” Fili said.“Nothing to worry about, ma’am. Everything is under control,” the American said.“I am here as one of my uncle’s representatives. You will tell me what is happening,” Fili said.“One of your uncle’s representatives?” the woman from the Red Tree said.Dain tried to stand on his own, but nearly fell if not for Thorn’s quick reflexes. “One, yes. May I present to you Thorin’s wife and the Queen of the Lonely Mountain, Bramble Baggins of Erebor.”The Hobbit nodded her head ever so slightly before addressing the group. She clutched the acorn in her hand “We have a long road ahead of us, ladies and gentlemen. We have made it through the battle, but the wounded need to be cared for, the dead put to rest, shelter to be decided upon, as well as the distribution of food. That is just what we need to decide upon in the next few minutes. There are also greater issues such as alliances and territories to deal with. Two kingdoms have been formed today from the ashes of a dragon’s destruction. I believe we can have a bright future together, but only if we act as neighbors ought to. What say you?”The Dwarf lords were clearly confused by the Hobbit’s presence. The two humans Bramble did not know looked at her warily. Thranduil was unreadable as he almost always was. Bard observed the other’s reactions before she said, “I am glad to see you are well, your majesty. I wish for your family’s speedy recovery.”Bramble nodded her acknowledgment. The rest murmured the same or fetched chairs for the newcomers.Bofur whispered to Bramble, “Long live the queen.”“None of that now,” Bramble said, “We have much more work to do.”Fili took Bramble arm. “Long live the king?”Bramble gave a polite smile as she blinked back tears. “Yes. Long live the king.”BbBbBbBbBbBbBbTO BE CONTINUED
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