12. Excuse Me?
Dwalin pushed his chair back from the table. It was good to be back. His reconnection to Talliya the night before reaffirmed his desire to have her as his mate, however, they could not remain in Weatherton; the dwarf was eager to move on to the Blue Hills.
He began to speak, his attention on his brother. "The others will be by this way in some seven days if all goes well for them. That is plenty of time to get matters in order and pack what needs to go."
"Pack?" Talliya inquired as she refilled Balin's ale.
"Aye," Dwalin said in passing, still addressing his brother directly. "Balin, you and I will see what there is as far as crates and such in the barn. We can always make some if need be. She'll not need much really so the wagon should be big enough."
"Wait. What do you mean?" the half-dwarf asked a bit louder, now filling Dwalin's mug. "Who is coming? What packing?"
Dwalin ignored her questions, his mind focused on the present task. "We can check the grain stores. A few sacks of grain should do for all the ponies; the rest can be sold."
"STOP!" Talliya slammed both hands on the table leaned towards Dwalin menacingly. Both dwarves looked up at her calmly. "Answer my questions and stop talking around me!"
Dwalin studied her as if she had no business in the discussion; Balin stifled a snort at his younger brother's expression. This discussion was about to get interesting. Of course, the elder dwarf could have interjected some time ago and given the answers requested, but this was between his brother and his mate…no, wife. Talliya was definitely more than just a mate.
"Again I ask, what are you talking about!" Talliya's green eyes sparkled dangerously.
Dwalin leaned back in his chair, resting his tattooed forearms on his chair and regarded her as he might a pestering child. He seemed quite unaware of the brewing storm.
"The trip to Ered Luin," he said matter-of-factly. "I am sure there are a few personal things you would like to take. Bofur and his kin will meet us here and we will travel together. It is much safer that way—especially with the babe."
"Ered Luin?" Talliya repeated.
"Aye. While Dain now rules Erebor, Thorin charged me to see to those who remain in the Blue Mountains. I need to return there soon."
The woman bristled. She stood up straight and crossed her arms defiantly. "And when was I consulted about this matter? It is my life after all. What makes you think I wish to leave here?"
The massive dwarf looked up at her coolly, his jaw set. "I gave my word to Thorin Oakenshield on his deathbed. I must return to Ered Luin and as my mate, you and the babe will come with me."
Talliya let out a disbelieving snort. "Your mate? When did that come about? I do not recall you asking to wed me and I certainly do not remember agreeing to be your *wife*!" She emphasized the last word.
"Mate, wife…what ever you wish to call it is fine, but your home is now the Blue Mountains. My son…"
"*Our* son," she corrected. "And that is your home, not mine! This is my home and always has been!" Seeing the rather indifferent look in Dwalin's eyes, Talliya set the challenge. "What if I don't wish to leave?" Her voice began to rise as her exasperation with the dunderhead before her grew. Was he really so dense?
Balin, completely forgotten by the two, sat quietly sipping his ale. This was their battle and he would only intervene if safety demanded it. Suddenly Dwalin moved, causing Balin to become more attentive.
The tall dwarf's chair nearly toppled with the force and speed at which he stood. Now he glared nose to nose with his infuriating treasure. He raised a finger, but before he could utter a word of argument, Talliya cut him off.
"You come into my life, accept my hospitality, and make me think things—feel things—I never thought I would! Then you up and leave with no consideration of how I feel! I am left to discover I carry *our* child, who I will have to raise alone since you are off on a suicide quest. Suddenly you reappear, accuse me of a terrible deed, and expect me to just pack up and leave the only place I have ever known?" She was screaming at him now, her anger at him, at the situation, at everything boiling over. "You have no right!"
"My son belongs with his people!" Dwalin shouted back.
"His people? What about *my* people? He is not just dwarven…or does my blood count for so little?" she hissed.
The raised voices startled the child from his sleep and he began to cry. Talliya immediately felt remorse and turned towards the cradle, but Balin moved quicker and already held Grundin. The gentle dwarf was making soothing sounds and the babe already began to settle.
Suddenly, Talliya shoved past Dwalin and stormed from the cottage. She needed to cool down and as long as Balin was with *her* child she did not worry. Dwalin stood stunned at her abrupt departure. He looked at his brother and son. *His* son! Damn that female and her emotional pigheadedness! He made to follow her, but Balin's calm, soothing voice stopped him.
"She has a dwarven tempter for sure," the white-haired dwarf said gently.
Dwalin understood the unspoken and strongly suggested meaning. He grunted in response and downed the rest of his ale. Patience was never his strong suit.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.