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Chapter One: In the Dungeons

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"The love of the Elves for their land and their works is deeper than the deeps of the Sea, and their regret is undying and cannot ever wholly be assuaged." ~J.R.R. Tolkien

Below is the soundtrack/theme of Tauriel and Kili.

The bars slammed, echoing through the hall, one by one. With each clash of metal, another dwarf was locked in another cell. The ceilings were rather high, leaving plenty room for their heads, as the dwarves were short and stout and out of place in the elven kingdom. But the cells were small and an average-sized dwarf (which, mind you, was not very tall at all) could fit sitting on the floor, legs stretched out, with maybe a forearms length to spare. The walls and floor were dull, and overall the cells looked crude and dismal, like a cruel sort of joke compared to the exquisite elven chandeliers and decorations.

Kili the dwarf looked up at the she-elf, Tauriel, breathlessly. "Aren't you going to search me?" He stared up at her, almost expectantly, and was unwavering beneath her gaze. "I could have anything down my trousers."

Tauriel raised her eyebrows, amused. "Or nothing." And she, too, closed the bars into place, and then receded to the staircase. Kili just watched her leaving, and smiled.

Legolas spoke in Elvish. "Why does the dwarf stare at you, Tauriel?" He kept his voice level and calm, as always, but inside, he snarled at the bold dwarf who dared make such a show of interest in Tauriel.

"Who can say?" Tauriel replied smoothly. "He's quite tall for a dwarf." she thought out loud, with a smile and a look of detachment on her face. But then she glanced back at Legolas's face and added, "Do you not think?"

"Taller than some," he agreed. "But no less ugly." Legolas dismissed with a remark.

Once Tauriel retreated, Legolas looked sideways at Kili, and narrowed his eyes. A sure thread of tension hung between the two. An elf and a dwarf-- one elegant and swift, the other small and bold. But both vying for the attention of the beautiful red-haired elf.

****

When Kili spoke of the supposed curse on his stone, Tauriel, alarmed, hesitated and proceeded to leave. But when he stopped her with a quick "or not," and a grin, she too smiled. It was a friendly smile; nothing more.

Tauriel stepped closer when Kili mentioned his promise. Then, with a charming smirk, he tossed the stone, and it flew out of the cell, to his surprise. Tauriel stopped it with her foot and held it up to the light, examining the lettering engraved in it.

"Sounds like quite a party you're having up there."

She turned solemnly. She would have joined the elves in their festivity, but she had no desire to see the polite greetings or false niceties. The smiles and nods between tension and clenched teeth. Because although their words were light and unassuming, the air was thick with suspicion, and beneath each of their cordial gestures, the elves did not retract their claws. (A/N: Nothing like this was actually mentioned... It doesn't even make much sense. I just came up with it and decided, why not?)

 Nor did she wish to watch Thranduil introducing Legolas to beautiful elven maidens, who, because of their rankings, would likely win the love of the one she had always wanted, reducing her-- a lowly Silvan elf, unable to prevent herself from falling in stupid, naive love-- to but a shadow in the eyes of the fair prince.

Stop these thoughts immediately, she reprimanded herself. But it was these thoughts that led her away from the celebration. She had somehow found herself taking refuge in the dungeon, of all places. It was almost amusing how she chose a dungeon as her haven. Perhaps it was something about the dwarf that drew her there, but Tauriel knew that her heart was already taken fully by Legolas.

Either way, the elf found herself responding to him. "It is Mereth Nuin Giliath; the Feast of Starlight. All light is sacred to the Eldar, but the Wood Elves love best the light of the stars."

"I always thought it is a cold light, remote and far away."

Tauriel was shocked. What an interesting thing to say! "It is a memory... precious and pure."

Then, the elf, with an almost-smile on her face, awed by this peculiar dwarf, spoke again. "Like your promise." And with that, she handed him back his stone.

With a wistful expression, Tauriel said, "I have walked there sometimes, beyond the forest and up into the night. I have seen the world fall away and the white light forever fill the air."

"I saw a fire moon once. It rose over the pass near Dunland. Huge! Red and gold it was, it filled the sky. We were an escort for some merchants from Ered Luin, they were trading in silverwork for furs. We took the Greenway south, keeping the mountain to our left, and then it appeared. This huge fire moon lighting our path. I wish I could show you..."

Yes, there was certainly something about this dwarf. Perhaps it was his promise, or his fascination in the fire moon. The wonder in his voice as he described it to her. Maybe his ability to share with someone who locked him in the dungeon. After all, the dwarves had just as much hatred of the elves as the elves had of them. And in the exchanging of stories, an odd sort of understanding came between Kili and Tauriel, and they pondered and observed and reflected together.

But Legolas saw not one of these reasons to as why Tauriel had chosen to reside in the dwarf's company, and so as he watched the two immersed in their conversation, a disapproving expression came and did not part from the elf's handsome face.

What a ridiculous pair they were! An elf, beautiful and untouchable like Tauriel, and so unattainable, and a dirty, unkempt dwarf. But the dwarf looked at her, enchanted, captivated. He was in love with Tauriel, and it was plain to see. Legolas knew. He knew because he too loved her, and the expression on the dwarf's face was all too familiar.

Legolas and Kili were unlike in many ways. The dwarf that did not deserve her. And he, prince of Mirkwood, who could have many things he desired, yet not what he wanted above all, so much that it hurt.

But the elf and the dwarf had something in common. They had both hopelessly fallen for a divine maiden who they could never be with.

A/N: Thanks so much for reading! Please, please, comment! I would love your reactions and feedback!

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