Bilbo Baggins was by no means a respectable Hobbit. Once, when she was very young, her elders hoped her Took blood would not play up and create an unusual daemon. Her mother had had a stout goat so many hope that was as extreme as she would go. Of course, all faunts' daemons went through unusual shifts. But they were expected to settle into perfectly respectable rabbits or moles. Not settle as a 3 foot komodo dragon with a venomous bite. As such, Bilbo was 34 without so much as a hint of a suitor despite her large smial and wealth.
However, Bilbo was quite content with it merely herself and Salic. That was until, a certain Grey wizard walked up to her door.
"Don't even start, Gandalf, I would rather know what you want and why there is a strong sent of Dwarves around you." Salic interrupted from his perch in the cherry tree.
"I am looking for someone to go on an adventure"
"May I ask why you are looking for someone to go on an adventure with?"
"Because it will be good for you and very entertaining for me."
Salic and Bilbo exchanged a look. They had both known Gandalf long enough to understand that they would be going whether they liked it or not. Better to start this mess of with a bang then getting their probably dwarf companion(s) angry with them,
"How many are coming? You have a habit of inviting yourself and others to dinner."
"Thirteen and myself."
And with that the infuriating wizard wandered off. The only blessing was that it was market day and there was time to prepare for the guests.
Several hours later the smial hall was filled with a large table laden with food. 4 geese, a string of trout and several ham pies would hopefully be enough to feed the dwarves. If not, there was enough ale to stop them complaining. In the bedroom Bilbo was packed and ready to go. A leather bag was filled with toiletries, herbs, clothes and other travel necessities whilst a set of travelling leathers was waiting for the following morning. Enough trips in the rain had taught the pair that these were essential. A large burlap sack was also there for Salic to sit in. Whilst he showed Gandalf no fear, Salic was far too accustomed to the mocking of other hobbits to be comfortable with strangers, preferring to remain hidden until he could trust them. As he usually rode on Bilbo (hind legs on her hips and front legs and head looking over her shoulder) she was quite capable of carrying such a heavy weight around. In fact this had lead to Bilbo being far stronger than the average hobbit and without the usual chubbiness her race preferred. That and several years of 'unproper' trips to Rivendell had made Bilbo a very unusual hobbit.
With the first knock at the door Salic scampered off leaving Bilbo to entertain her guests.
The dwarf was incredibly tall covered in tattoos and carrying two battle axes. The most notable thing however, was the lack of a daemon. Despite knowing other races did not have daemons, seeing someone without one was incredibly odd. Even elves had something following them; a ball of light that pulsated power. The dwarf coughed and said, "Dwalin at your service."
"Bilbo Baggins at yours and your families. Please come in. Cloaks, boots and weapons to your left and food to your right. Would you like to wait for the others or start now?"
The Dwarf looked at Bilbo, probably seeing if it was safe to remove the battle axes (which it was as her bow was in the bedroom) and complied with her requests. Bilbo may not of been a usual hobbit but there was simply no way she would let mud be trampled into her carpets.
"I'll wait for the others lass, but an ale wouldn't go amiss."
"One ale coming up" Bilbo replied as she left the room to get a barrel. Whilst doing this she missed the second arrival. She was only aware of their presence when a large bang could be heard through the smial. "Everything alright master dwarf?"
"Aye lass, just greeting my brother."
Bilbo re-entered the hall carrying two ales and was greeted by a smaller dwarf with a snowy beard. "Balin, at your service."
"Bilbo Baggins at yours and your families. Care for an ale master Balin?"
"Thank you lass."
"Cloaks, boots and weapons to the left please."
Another knock could be heard. Opening the door Bilbo saw two young dwarfs. An archer and one with moustache braids.
"At your service. You must be Miss Boggins."
"I'm afraid not. I am Bilbo Baggins, as in the Baggins of Bag End. If you are looking for a Miss Boggins then you will have to go elsewhere. A pity, I have a lot of food for dwarves but you must be at the wrong smial."
A very hurried assurance that they were looking for a Miss Baggins saw the pair enter the house. Kili was about to scrape his boots on Belladonna's glory box but quick as a whip Bilbo had him by the ear.
"If you whip your disgusting boots on my mother's glory box you will be out this smial faster then you can say frog spawn. I hope I am clear. Boots, cloaks and weapons over there please." It was almost comical that a dwarf, supposedly of a warrior race could pull such a pained face from an ear tug yet Kili managed. After chanting sorry and removing his boots he hid behind his brother; who may or may not have been laughing at him.
Another knock at the door revealed a pile of dwarves falling through the door, landing on Fili and Kili. A deep chuckle revealed that the Grey wizard was there (and probably pushed the dwarves over).
"Bilbo, let me introduce Bofur, Bifur, Bombur, Oin. Gloin, Dori, Nori and Ori. I believe Thorin is running late."
Dwalin stepped forward, "He has a meeting with our kin but he will come."
"Well" Bilbo said looking at the sea of dwarves around her, "no point letting the food go cold. This way please and I'll put some by for master Thorin."
The looks of awe she received from the dwarves when she saw the food was gratifying and their rush to the table informed her none would go to waste. After putting two platefuls by for Thorin in the oven Bilbo sat next to Gandalf and tucked in. They were certainly a jovial bunch, perhaps a little rude (impromptu belching contest) but they seemed nice. Perhaps with time Salic could trust them, and looking at the luggage they had they would be traveling for a while together. Once the food had been cleared Bilbo started to clear up, that was until a plate went flying past her head. The hatted dwarf (Bofur?) started to bang the knives in the table.
"Oh please do not do that, you'll blunt them!"
"You hear that lads, she says we'll blunt the knives." And with that they broke into song.
"Blunt the knives and bend the forks!
Smash the bottles and burn the corks!
Chip the glasses and crack the plates!
That's what Bilbo Baggins hates -
Cut the cloth and tread the fat!
Leave the bones on the bedroom mat!
Pour the milk on the pantry floor!
Splash the wine on every door!
Dump the crocks in a boiling bowl;
Pound them up with a thumping pole;
And when you've finished, if any are whole, Send them down the hall to roll!
That's what Bilbo Baggins hates!
So, carefully! Carefully with the plates"
After the small heart attack she suffered Bilbo saw that all of the plates where washed an neatly staked. Running a finger along a knife blade she said," at least you did not blunt the knives, I do like being able to cut my meat." That caused many of the dwarves to burst into laughter. "I should cook for dwarves more often if this is how you clear up- why is there only one candle stick?" On the table there had been a pair of glass candle sticks with multiple colours in them. Now there was only one. As several of the dwarves turned to the dwarf with a star shaped hair do Bilbo approached him.
"Yes Miss Baggins?"
The knife was pressed to his throat "My candle stick and anything else you have borrowed, please?"
After a tense moment the candle stick and a few spoons appeared. Several sighed and shock their heads whilst the silver haired dwarf looked ready to give him a good scolding. He did not get the opportunity to do so as Bilbo had dragged Nori's chair (with Nori in it) to the corner and made him face it.
"I have enough issues stopping Lobelia from stealing my spoons without you adding to them. Now, dwarfs that steal sit in the naughty corner and do not get dessert."
"They do not talk either" this resulted in Nori grumbling and several snickers from the company. "Kili, Fili, be a dear and help me bring the dessert through?" The pair practically leapt from their chairs and hurried into the kitchen.
"What are they?"
"Treacle sponge pudding and custard. I hope you enjoy."
"Can I have Nori's?"
"No." Bilbo figured Salic would probably enjoy it. The rest of the company certainly did. Bombur even tried to get the recipe, but it was Bilbo's great-grandmother's and she would fight him for it. As the last of the custard was scraped away three loud knocks could be heard from the door.
"He is here."
The dwarf at the door was an imposing figure. Tall with silver lines in his hair, he looked around the Shire as if it has personally offended him.
"Gandalf, I thought you said this place would be easy to fid. I lost my way, twice." Oh, so the Shire had personally offended him.
"Ah, so this is the hobbit. Looks more like a grocer than a burglar to me."
"I am no burglar, although I am your host. Now, I have food, which incidentally I bought from a grocer. If you intended grocer as an insult then I have to inform you that your food does not jump from the fields to your table. It is a perfect ally respectable job for a hobbit. If you plan to try and insult me all evening then you can stay here. If not then please come in and I have food for you."
Quite frankly Bilbo did not strike an imposing figure like the dwarf. Dressed in a pale blue dress with her golden curls tied back in a matching ribbon, but her stance and serious expression informed the dwarf she was not joking.
"Lead the way Miss Baggins."
"You are yet to tell me your name Master Dwarf."
"Thorin Oakenshield, son of Thrain son of Thror. King under the mountain." If he was hoping to scare her into a civil tongue he was sadly mistaken. Bilbo had put two wizards and a pair of elf lords in the naughty corner. A dwarf king may soon be joining Nori.
"This way please master Thorin."
She led the dwarven king to his seat and brought him his food. The others seemed to calm down a little whilst the dwarf ate.
"Where is Nori?"
"She put him in the naughty corner." Fili looked like he was about to burst. "Uncle, she dragged Nori into the corner." Fili and Kili broke down into gales of laughter. Many others joined the young dwarves as Nori sulked in the corner. "And" Dwalin chocked out, "She took away his dessert." Another round of laughter went through the smial.
"Well Miss Baggins, apart from removing dessert, what is your weapon of choice."
"Bow and throwing daggers. I also have basic training in a sword but I am yet to find one that is properly balanced for my stature." If this shocked the dwarf his face did not show it. In fact he seemed only able to brood.
“What news from the meeting in Ered Luin? Did they all come?”
“Aye. Envoys from all seven kingdoms.”
“What do the dwarves of the Iron Hills say? Is Dain with us?” Dwalin asked.
“They will not come."
“They say this quest is ours, and ours alone.” This caused a ripple of disappointed murmurs around the table (and corner).
“You’re going on a quest?” Every eye turned to Bilbo.
“Bilbo, my dear girl, let us have a little more light.”
As Bilbo fetched the candle Gandalf removed a map and key from his pocket.
“Far to the East, over ranges and rivers, beyond woodlands and wastelands, lies a single solitary peak; The Lonely Mountain.”
“Aye. Oin has read the portents, and the portents say it is time.”
“Ravens have been seen flying back to the mountain as it was foretold: When the birds of yore return to Erebor, the reign of the beast will end.” Oin sounded like he recited this line several times.
"I'm guessing the beast is not a rabbit."
“Well that would be a reference to Smaug the Terrible, chiefest and greatest calamity of our age. Airborne firebreather, teeth like razors, claws like meathooks, extremely fond of precious metals” Bofur was either cheery at the idea of facing a dragon, or had empty a barrel by himself.
“Yes, I know what a dragon is.” She had dragon for a daemon.
“I’m not afraid! I’m up for it. I’ll give him a taste of the Dwarfish iron right up his jacksie.” Ori may have aided Bofur in emptying the barrel.
“Sit down!” Well at least Dori was sober.
“The task would be difficult enough with an army behind us. But we number just thirteen, and not thirteen of the best, nor brightest.”
“We may be few in number, but we’re fighters, all of us, to the last dwarf!”
“And you forget, we have a wizard in our company. Gandalf will have killed hundreds of dragons in his time.” Bilbo could feel Salic's joy at Gandalf discomfort at the question. Now Bilbo was dreading the day Kili and Salic got along. Valar have mercy.
“Oh, well, now, uh, I wouldn’t say that, I”
“How many, then?”
“Well, how many dragons have you killed? Go on, give us a number!”
“Hm.” Bilbo wished that she could draw Gandalf's face right then. She would frame it on her mantle. The dwarfs were somewhat busy yelling at each other.
“Shazara!" That shut them up. Thorin glowered at the group. "If we have read these signs, do you not think others will have read them too? Rumours have begun to spread. The dragon Smaug has not been seen for 60 years. Eyes look east to the Mountain, assessing, wondering, weighing the risk. Perhaps the vast wealth of our people now lies unprotected. Do we sit back while others claim what is rightfully ours? Or do we seize this chance to take back Erebor? Du Bekâr! Du Bekâr! [Balin:] “You forget: the front gate is sealed. There is no way into the mountain.”
“That, my dear Balin, is not entirely true.” He held up the large ornate key.
“If there is a key, there must be a door.” Certainly not thirteen of the best night or brightest. Was it too late to get rid of them.
“These runes speak of a hidden passage to the lower halls.”
“There’s another way in!”
“Well, if we can find it, but dwarf doors are invisible when closed. The answer lies hidden somewhere in this map and I do not have the skill to find it. But there are others in Middle-earth who can. The task I have in mind will require a great deal of stealth, and no small amount of courage. But, if we are careful and clever, I believe that it can be done.”
“That’s why we need a burglar.” All on eyes on turned to Bilbo.
“Hm, A good one, too. An expert, I’d imagine. Yet that is not me.”
Again the dwarves started yelling at each other. After several minutes of this Bilbo re-entered the room with two pots and smashed them together. If they would be like this the entire journey she was taking the pots with her. At least she had their attention.
"I am no burglar, that is true. However, if you have come here then you need a hobbit, probably because of the dragon. He must be accustomed to dwarf, elf and man scents but not hobbits. Besides, you must need me to steal something, and as a hobbit I am very quite on my feet; not hard when you do not wear clunky boots. I am one of the few hobbits trained weaponry and perhaps the only one willing to help you."
The dwarves mulled over her words. At last Thorin said, "give her the contract."
Pondering precisely how many trees had been used to create it Bilbo looked the thing over. Most was fair, except, "Master Balin I have an issue with this."
"Aye lass, what would that be?"
"It states that if my gem is lost, stolen or damaged the Company will take time to aid me. Yet I have no gem. May I alter it to meet the needs of my daemon?"
Thorin seemed tempted to deny the request but Balin had agreed for him.
"Then I would like the contract to state if lost my daemon will be looked for, if injured treated with medicinal supplies, if hungry fed and not touched without his permission." This got several raised eyebrows and after a stunning display of stare communication the alterations were made. With a flourish Bilbo signed her name.
"Welcome to the Company Miss Baggins."
Leaving the dwarves to their depressing song Bilbo brought Salic his desert. He was half berried under the blankets and turned to face her. "So?"
"I think that despite their poor manners and loud ways that they are good people. I think you will like the younger ones and the Urs."
"He stole my candle stick."
"Tried Salic, I know you like the pretty colours and it is back on the mantle. Ready to go?" She new he was but it was polite to give him the option. Salic like being asked such questions (despite it being pointless as Bilbo had signed the contract."
"Yes, I suppose so. Best send the dwarves to bed before their singing makes me cry."
With that Bilbo re-entered the parlour. "Master Dwarves, I have rooms waiting for you when you are ready. They are in threes and with one single and Gandalf you have your usual room. Nori you may now leave the naughty corner and I warn you my daemon is attached to those candle sticks, take them at your peril." And with the stealth of an Oliphant the dwarves turned in for the night.
"Bilbo my dear."
"You have left a message for the others to let them know you are leaving."
"Of course. Hamfast will look after my garden and home and if nothing is heard form me in 5 years Drogo gets my home. If I send a letter or word the 5 years is restarted. Honestly, after coming back to an auction I am well prepared for the Sackville-Bagginess. Even their best layers cannot break my will."
"Good, but I was hoping to see Salic chase the neighbours away again. Good night Bilbo."
"Good night Gandalf."
Bilbo and Salic were up early that morning. Bilbo was dressed in most of her leathers (excluding her hooded coat) and had her knives concealed on her. Breakfast was prepared and the dwarves slowly trickled in. It was rather easy to see who was hung over. Kili was hugging the coffee pot whilst Dori was rushing around fixing Ori's hair. They left the smial quite quickly and Bilbo hung up a sign that read Gone Adventuring (hands off my spoons). Salic was in a sack under her coat and her quiver and pack were on her back. As they walked towards the Green Dragon the company seemed to wake up a bit more. Kili and Fili were quite animated as they talked about the quest. The few hobbits that were up and around simply muttered how improper it was, and clearly mad Baggins had gone too far this time. Bilbo walked with her head held high but Salic squirmed uncomfortably in the sack. At the Green Dragon there were ponies. The dwarves clambered up and Bilbo groaned at the idea of riding them. She of course could ride them, but quite frankly would rather not spend the journey sneezing. But rather then give the grumpy king something to complain about she clambered up and positioned the sack so that Salic was comfy.
Oh the joys of travelling. The ever eventful journey which involved a sore back and avoiding Thorin. It seemed if Bilbo so much as blinked he would mock it. His nephews seemed to have a secret supply of honey as they were hyper all of the time. The Urs and Ori were fine travelling companions at least. Ori enjoyed history as much as Bilbo did and the pair spent several hours discussing the Second Age. Bofur was also good for a conversation and Bombur enjoyed exchanging cooking tips whilst Bifur joined in with his cousins (with a translator). It was towards the fifth week of travel that the rain began to fall. The dwarves slowly became as miserable as the weather as Salic and Bilbo entertained themselves (perfectly dry due to their sensible hobbit leathers).
"Eye spy with my little eye something beginning with S."
"Is it sack?"
"Eye spy with my little eye something beginning with D."
"Is it dwarves?"
"Mister Gandalf, can you do something about this deluge?" Dori was staring at his brother, who with his knitted clothes looked like a drowned kitten.
"No, if you want that then you shall have to seek another wizard."
"Do not go to Radagast Dori" Bilbo said with a chuckle. "He would spend the time trying to remember what a cloud was."
"Or he would have a bug in his mouth" Salic said low enough for Bilbo to hear.
"Have you meet many wizards Miss Baggins?" Gloin asked.
"Just the two Master Gloin, Radagast the Brown and Gandalf here. There is also Saurman the White and the two blues; the names of whom I do not know as Gandalf has forgotten their names."
That then sparked a conversation about how Gandalf could possibly forget two wizards names when there were only 5 of them. Salic and Bilbo continued their game of I spy.
After a few more hours in the rain the company approached a burnt down farm house.
"We'll stop here for the night." Thorin called to the group, which caused a cheer to erupt from the dwarves.
As Thorin ordered the group to set up camp Gandalf began his wizardly mutterings. Going on about how it would be better to Rivendell. Whilst Bilbo loved Rivendell (and Salic tolerated it because Arwen was nice) the dwarves would rather hug Smaug then go to the elves. As Gandalf was not getting his way right that second he stormed of in a huff.
"Where are you going?"
"To seek the company of the only one with sense around here."
"And that would be?"
"Myself Miss Baggins!"
"I'm offended!" cried Salic from the sack.
"He can't hear you. He is off Gandalfing."
"I'm still offended."
The evening quickly turned into night and Gandalf was still not back from his tizzy. Bilbo was absentmindedly scratching Salic through the sack when Bofur came over with two bowls of stew.
"Here, do us a favour lass and take these to the boys." Bilbo (and Salic in the sack) headed over to the boys who were watching the ponies. The guilty looks on their faces when Bilbo brought them their food told her she was not going to have a quite night.
“What’s the matter?”
“We’re supposed to be looking out for the ponies.” Kili stated.
“Only we’ve encountered a slight problem.”
"There were 16 ponies," Fili said.
“Now there’s fourteen.”
“Daisy and Bungo are missing.”
“Well, that’s not good. That is not good at all. How did you lose two ponies? Shouldn’t we tell Thorin?”
“Uhh, no. Let’s not worry him. As our official burglar, we thought you might like to look into it.”
“Well, judging by the tree ripped in half recently it was something big that you somehow missed!"
“That was our thinking.” He quailed somewhat at Bilbo's raised eyebrow. Salic was debating coming out the sack to join in the raised eyebrows.
“Hey! There’s a light. Over here! Stay down.” Fili pointed at a light in the distance.
"You've got to be kidding me."
"What is it Miss Baggins?"
This statement was confirmed by a massive mountain troll walking toward the fire, carrying a pony under each arm.
“He’s got Myrtle and Minty! I think they’re going to eat them, we have to do something.”
“Yes; you should. Mountain trolls are slow and stupid, and you’re so small.”
“They’ll never see you.”
“No, no, no...”
“It’s perfectly safe! We’ll be right behind you.”
“If you run into trouble, hoot twice like a barn owl, once like a brown owl.”
Groaning Bilbo snuck towards the fire. From the shadows Bilbo could see three trolls and six ponies around the camp. If there was any chance to rescue the ponies Bilbo would need either Gandalf or thirteen dwarves. Yet before she had the chance to form a plan the dwarves rushed past her hiding spot and starting fighting the trolls.
And losing to the trolls. The pinnacle of their losing was when the trolls threatened to rip Dori's arms and legs off. It took less than three minutes for the dwarves to be in sacks.
Salic popped his head out. "Should we leave them?"
"I think we are morally obligated to help them."
"Damn those morals. Hey look it's mom."
There was indeed a bush of Belladonna. Pulling out an arrow Bilbo studied the plant.
"Mom and an arrow to the eye-
"Might take out a troll. Only one way to find out. Might need a distraction as well."
After prepping several arrows the pair climbed into the trees. Salic cleared his throat and began in a deep voice, "Where did those dwarves go?" At the sound of his voice the trolls straitened to listen to them.
"Don't know" replied Bilbo, if only they turned a little more, "Hope no one eats them but us."
"Oh aye, nasty business them being infected with parasites." If Salic ever met the trolls they would hate him for that comment. They immediately began yelling that they did nit have parasites. Bilbo stuck her hand through the leaves of the tree briefly so Thorin could see it. He got the message and kicked Kili.
"I've got parasites as big as my arm." And now they would not stop going on about the parasites they had. One troll was at the right angle and twang, an arrow embedded itself in his eye. With a horrible gurgling sound he collapsed on the ground, dead. As the other two trolls yelled Salic and Bilbo jumped into a different tree.
"At least we have these large, juicy cows to eat."
Salic's comment made the trolls look up with greed in their eyes, and in the case of a smaller one, an arrow. Two down, one to go.
"The dawn will take you all!"
"Can Gandalf not count?" Salic grumbled, "there's only one left."
Before their eyes the last troll turned to stone. Deeming it safe Salic crawled back into his sack as Bilbo jumped out of the tree.
"Need a hand getting out of the sacks, Master Dwarves?"
The look of relief on the dwarves faces was immense. First, Bilbo released those who were going to become a poor copy of a roast boar and then those in the sacks. She then began handing them back their weapons. Gandalf wandered into the clearing during this time.
"How did you take out the troll?" Gloin asked whilst handing his brother an ear trumpet.
"What!" several of the dwarves cried.
"My mother's name was Belladonna, as in the deadly plant. I coated the arrows in it an shot them in the eyes. Poison directly to the brain, deadly even to creatures that big."
"Then we have you and your mother to thank Miss Baggins" Thorin said. The rest of the group were contemplating why such a peaceful race named their daughters after deadly plants. "But why were there two voices? Was Gandalf aiding you?"
"Not I, but another."
"My daemon." Bilbo answered. "It was he who said you had parasites, not my idea. But I have to say Kili your face was hilarious when you were protesting your innocence."
"Where is your daemon Miss Bilbo?" Dwalin asked.
"In the sack."
"Why?" asked Balin, looking at the sack with interest.
"He does not want to come out."
"Why?" Nori asked the question this time.
"He does not trust you." And with that Bilbo left to follow Gandalf to the troll hoard.
Whilst the majority of the dwarves entered the troll hoard, Ori and the Urs went over to the rock where Bilbo and Salic sat. They could both agree that it was in their best interest to not get close to such a smell. They liked their food staying on the inside.
"Why doesn't your daemon trust us?"
She turned to the group who seemed somewhat saddened by the idea Salic didn't trust them. Someone they had never even met.
"Its not you. Salic is unusual. He is the only daemon of his kind in all hobbit history. Most daemons are creatures like rabbits or moles. As different as it gets is a goat like my mother. Salic has be ostracized because of these. Other hobbits and daemons treat him poorly, or pretend to be friends with him to only hurt his feelings later. Elves treat him like a toy to be played with, except Lord Elrond and Arwen. Men try and kill him. So, Gandalf, Elrond, Arwen and I are his only friends. How does he know how you will treat him. And, well it is because of what the goal of the quest is. You might attack him."
The dwarves looked downtrodden. After a while, Bombur looked at Bilbo and said, "What is Salic, we won't attack honest. We'll listen before anything else."
The others nodded their agreement.
Taking a deep breath Bilbo said, "Salic is a komodo dragon." The only sign of shock was a slight widening of the eyes.
"He's not actually a dragon." Bilbo hastened to add as Salic curled in on himself inside the sack. "He is a very big lizard that was named after a dragon. No wings, no fire, but he does have a venomous bite. He is about 3 feet long and very heavy, believe me."
"Well, I can see why some folk would treat him, you poorly" Bofur said, turning his attention to the sack, "but none here would do that. Promise."
He was about to say something else when Salic removed his head form the sack.
Very, very slowly he cautiously came out of the sack and made his way over to the dwarves. Approaching Bifur he tasted the air and then stood on his hind legs. Bifur bent over slightly so he was eye level with Salic. After a brief moment Salic gave Bifur a hug. It was like a weight was lifted from everyone's shoulders. Salic went to each in turn. He climbed onto Bombur, stole Bofur's hat (and wore it) and wrapped his tail around Ori.
"Nice to meet you all."
"It's nice to meet you to Salic." Ori replied.
Approaching footsteps caused Salic to run back into the sack as the group arrived.
"Ah, Bilbo, here. " Gandalf handed her a small elvish dagger, although it was a sword to her. Testing it Bilbo found that it was perfectly balanced for her hand.
"Thank you Gandalf."
"No problem my dear. I ho-
What ever he was going to say was cut off by the cries of "Thieves, Murders, Fire!" from a somewhat batty brown wizard.
"Radagast" Gandalf called out.
The pair drew away to have a conversation as the Urs and Ori looked at the rabbits.
"Don't try and eat them" Bilbo said with a small smile. "They bite."
"And it bloody hurts." Salic grumbled.
That made the group chuckle but it quickly turned serious when they heard, "You're being hunted."
"Radagast can you draw them off?" Bilbo asked.
"Off course Miss Bilbo, these are Rhosgobel rabbits. They sharn't catch me."
This had then led to one of Bilbo and Salic's favourite past times; running for their lives. The ponies had bolted so now they were dodging wargs and orcs.
"Oh what fun!" was the sarcastic cry from the sack. Bilbo would have replied is she had any air to spare. Right now though it was spent trying not to die. The Company hide behind a rock as orcs passed by. Ori almost ran into them, but Salic had grabbed him with his tail and pulled him back. More running and then they were under a rock with a warg on top. Kili sunk an arrow into the warg whilst Bilbo fired an arrow into the orcs throat.
"Run you fools!" Gandalf yelled.
"No, I was thinking of swimming!" Salic yelled form the sack. Despite their exhaustion several of the dwarves smiled at that. Then Gandalf had vanished.
"Where is he?" Nori cried, positioned in front of Ori.
"Close ranks!" Thorin roared, brandishing a shiny new sword.
"This way you fools!" Gandalf played jack-in-the-box behind some rocks and the Company ran to them. There was a passage way. Thank goodness. They hurried down it, Kili and Bilbo last as they were providing cover for the others.
"All accounted for?" Gandalf asked. Doing a quick head count Bilbo knew that they were all there.
"There's a tunnel, do we follow it or not?" Dwalin called from a bit away.
"Follow it of course!" At Bofur's words the group made their way down the tunnel.
"Yes my dear?"
"This is the back door is it not?"
"You are about to have thirteen very unhappy dwarfs Gandalf. Bilbo and I won't help you. We're going to sit in a tree and laugh."
"You wouldn't help an old friend?"
"Not when he has dug his own grave." Salic replied. "Time to face the music."
and on that note they stepped out into the sunlight that shinned on Rivendell.
The dwarves were cautious as they walked across the clearly elven bridge. Every time Bilbo was here she wondered why here were never railings. Elves were meant to be sensible but basic safety? Not for the first born. Shortly after Lindir greeted the group Lord Elrond rode in.
"Close ranks!" The dwarves pulled Bilbo into the centre of the group with Ori. She wasn't sure if she should be flattered to be included in the group or annoyed at being protected when she could fight. However, fighting was not needed here, but talking. Thorin would probably insult them so it fell to Bilbo.
"Good morning Lord Elrond" Bilbo said in Sindarin. "Sorry for the wargs, unfortunate chase. My companions and I are trying to study old maps. By chance you could help us?"
The dwarves were uneasy at the use of elvish, but it at least seemed to stop the elves circling.
"Of course dear Bilbo" Elrond replied, "Arwen will be happy to see you." Switching to Westeron he addressed the group, "Welcome to Rivendell. Bilbo says you are studding old maps, but after a chase like that I think dinner is called for."
The dwarves turned to each other and began muttering.
"What did you tell him?" Thorin asked.
"Good morning, sorry about the wargs, we're studying old maps can you help. Not the purpose of the map studying. Elrond will help us and I know you do not like elves but if you behave we might get decent food so play nice."
Thorin gave her an approving look and turned to Lord Elrond, "Thank you for your hospitality."
Dwarves did not understand the idea of play nice. Bilbo had gotten meat (for Salic more than her but she was the one to eat it) but the dwarves had salad and bread. Thorin at least ate with some decorum at Elrond side but the other's were being ridiculous. As Elrond informed Thorin and Gandalf of the names of their swords, Bilbo looked at her own.
"I wouldn't bother lass. Swords are name after great deed in battle." Balin said kindly.
"Well, I shall simply have to earn it a name." That made Dwalin and Balin smile The pinnacle of the night was when Bofur jumped onto the table and they started to sing.
"Tere is an inn, a merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
One night to drink his fill.
The ostler has a tipsy cat
that plays a five-stringed fiddle;
And up and down he runs his bow,
Now squeaking high, now purring low,
Now sawing in the middle.
The landlord keeps a little dog
that is mighty fond of jokes;
When there's good cheer among the guests,
He cocks an ear at all the jests
And laughs until he chokes.
They also keep a hornéd cow
as proud as any queen;
But music turns her head like ale,
And makes her wave her tufted tail
and dance upon the green.
And O! the rows of silver dishes
and the store of silver spoons!
For Sunday there's a special pair,
And these they polish up with care
on Saturday afternoons.
The Man in the Moon was drinking deep,
and the cat began to wail;
A dish and a spoon on the table danced,
The cow in the garden madly pranced,
and the little dog chased his tail.
The Man in the Moon took another mug,
and then rolled beneath his chair;
And there he dozed and dreamed of ale,
Till in the sky the stars were pale,
and dawn was in the air.
Then the ostler said to his tipsy cat:
'The white horses of the Moon,
They neigh and champ their silver bits;
But their master's been and drowned his wits,
and the Sun'll be rising soon!'
So the cat on his fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
a jig that would wake the dead:
He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
While the landlord shook the Man in the Moon:
'It's after three!' he said."
Excusing herself from dinner Bilbo walked to her usual room. Opening the door she saw a familiar figure.
"Arwen!" She ran to hug the elf maid and Salic climbed into her lap. "Hello old friend. Hoe are you?"
"Great, Bilbo killed some trolls and we are escaping the poor manners of our companions."
"This is a story I need to hear."
They spent several hours chatting when there was a loud knock at the door. Rising from the bed Bilbo answered it. Thorin stood outside, for once he face wasn't broody. "Miss Baggins, may I speak with you?" Before she could answer, Arwen stood up and moved to the door. "I will see you tomorrow my friend." "Good night Arwen"
Turing to Thorin she said, "How can I help you master Thorin?"
"I came to inform you that we are to stay here for two weeks so that we can read the map. I" here the dwarf king looked uncomfortable, "I also wished to talk to you about the trolls."
"Well perhaps you would like to come in." As he walked in Bilbo noticed several pieces of carrot in his hair. Evidently the dwarves' manners had gotten worse.
Thorin turned in a business like manner, "First I would like to thank you for killing the trolls. You ensured the Company was not eaten and I am grateful."
"Can't recover a kingdom from inside a troll."
The corners of his mouth twitched as if he wanted to smile. "True. Second, I wish to address the issue of trust. The Urs and Ori have informed us about Salic. I wished to assure you that none in this Company would harm him. We would no sooner do that then destroy another's gem."
"Thank you Thorin. But I do not decide who Salic will trust. We may feel each other's feelings, but he has his own mind and he will trust when it has been earned."
"Trust does not come from nothing." Thorin agreed. "I also wish to apologise for my behaviour. Other races have not treated those who survived Erebor well, and I did not trust you because of this."
Wow, Thorin had a nice mode. That was shocking. "Well, apology accepted. If you do not mind I am going to use the bed. See you in the morn."
"Good night miss Baggins."
When he shut the door Salic emerged from under the bed. "He has a nice mode!"
The time in Rivendell was blissful compared to the time on the road. Every morning Bilbo had a bath, ate breakfast with Arwen and spent the morning with her. At noon she was in the library, often with Ori who didn't mind Salic reading books over his shoulder, and the afternoons with the Company. This could be weapons practice with Kili, Fili and Dwalin, or walking in the gardens with Thorin. Dinner was often boisterous, but not as bad as the first night. The evenings were spent in Elrond's study chatting with him and a few other elves. At night whilst Bilbo was asleep Salic would keep the Urs, Ori and Dori (who he decided he could trust after Dori saved the pair from Elrond's sons) company as they had the night watch. Sometimes they would chat but most of the time they sat in companionable silence with Salic's head on their lap.
The two weeks past quickly. Far to quickly for the pair. After one dinner Elrond announced the map could be read. Thorin, Balin and Bilbo (because Salic is nosey) go to read the map. As the moon appeared from behind the clouds words glowed on the map.
"Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's day shall shine upon the keyhole."
"Well," Bilbo said with an air of nonchalance, "how nice to know. I'm off to bed."
"What is your purpose?"
"Nothing" Thorin said, his stare icy.
"If your purpose is to enter, there are some here that would deem it unwise."
a loud sigh was heard from the sack, resulting in all eyes turning in on it. Bilbo was on Salic's side. Of course it was unwise, no need to state the obvious.
"Good thing no one here is stupid enough to go to a mountain with a sleeping dragon in it." Bilbo smiled at Elrond.
They quickly filed out of the room.
"We leave at dawn." Thorin said.
"Aye lad, I'll tell the others." Balin bustled off to the camp the dwarves had set up.
"Good night Miss Baggins."
"Good night Master Thorin."
Taking one last bath Bilbo prepared for the journey onwards. Leaving letters for Elrond and Arwen she turned in for the night. Dawn came to soon and with a sigh the pair left the last Homely Home and headed into the wild.
The weather reflected Salic's mood as they headed into the wild. Deep thunderous clouds threatened to flood the ground bellow. Salic missed being able to go about more freely and Bilbo missed not having a sore back. Balin, Dwalin, Ori, Gloin were somewhat hard to read so Salic was unsure of where he stood with them. Nori stole his candle stick so good luck earning his trust and Thorin. Well, he had been quite rude up to the trolls, but then perfectly amicable afterwards. Maybe saving his life made him nice. The princes were so open that Salic trusted them, he merely did not want to show himself with others watching. He was rarely able to keep the others company during the night watches due to the Company guarding in twos. Besides, he would rather stay in the sack if it rained again. There was no desire to get soaked.
He still got soaked. Despite the travelling leathers water found its way into his sack. He assumed that it was due to the gripping wind. Bilbo was still mostly dry and annoyingly smug about it. That changed as they reached a narrow part of the traitorous path. She moved far slower than the dwarves (wishing for an oh-so-practical hand rail) and almost fell if Bofur and Dwalin had not caught her. The ground seemed to be moving. No, no it was moving! From the sack he could hear Bofur cry, "Bless my soul, the legends are true. Giants, Stone Giants!" Well great. They were going to die.
Bilbo agreed with Salic's internal monologue. It was far more terrifying to see the monsters moving. Taller than the mountains they hid in the giants were concentrating on killing each other. Suddenly she and half of the Company were being carried away on one of the giants. Bilbo thought her heart would give out. Then they were racing towards the cliff face. Sure of death, Bilbo hugged Salic and closed her eyes.
She wasn't dead but she was still going to die. Gripping onto the side of the cliff left her winded and sore. If the others new she was missing they couldn't help, they were simply to far bellow the edge.
"Bilbo!" Looking up she saw Bofur and Ori reaching towards her. She would never reach their hands, and they knew that to despite their attempts to grab her. Salic also knew this, so he climbed onto her shoulders (wrapping his tail around her waist) and the dwarves pulled the pair up. The relief on the Urs, Dori and Ori's faces was immense and they squished the pair in a group hug.
"I thought we lost our burglar."
"She has been lost ever since she left her home."
Near death experiences made Bilbo cranky. And a cranky Bilbo was in no mood for Thorin Oakenshield and his mood swings.
"Excuse you! I know exactly were I am. I am half way up a bloody cold and wet mountain, on the way to another cold and wet mountain because you hired me. And I am not the one who got lost in a village with only three roads. That I believe was you. Twice." She stormed off, following Kili into the cave he found.
Settling herself into a corner she petted Salic until she calmed down. The others filtered in and began setting up camp. The atmosphere was tense as neither Bilbo or Thorin looked at each other. The mode of the group was not improved by the lack of a warm meal. As she dosed off Bofur sat next to her.
"You alright lass?"
"I want to bite Thorin."
"Only a little."
Bofur smiled at the two. "I thought he was warming up to you."
"So did I. But apparently being tossed onto a cliff face by a stone giant is my fault."
"I reckon he was scared for you. Not that his reaction was good" he hastened to add under Salic's gaze, "but he doesn't usually lose his cool like that."
"Not the first time we've been yelled at." Bilbo sighed. Truly, she thought the emotionally constipated dwarf had been making progress.
Bofur was about to say something when a confused look crossed his face, "What's that?"
Sting was glowing blue. As Bilbo lunged for her pack and sack Thorin yelled, "Everyone up!"
In fact, everyone was going down as the floor disappeared under them.
Goblins were disgusting. They were vile creatures with clammy skin and hooked claws. Despite being a dwarf pile, the dwarves fought against them. Bilbo had put arrows in three of them when she saw one goblin hauling a contorting sack away.
"Salic!" Bilbo lunged for the sack, but another goblin kicked her in the back. Hearing the cries of the dwarves, she Salic and a goblin fell into a chasm.
Bilbo would write a book one day. It was going to be called, How I survived the improbable. Killing two trolls, improbable. Surviving a thunder battle, improbable. Landing in a pile of mushrooms with her pack, quiver and a very angry lizard, improbable. But there they were, mostly in one piece.
"Are you alright?"
She was answered by a hiss. Sighing, she picked the sack up and followed the cave. A small golden ring was sitting in the middle of the path. Before she could pick it up Salic grabbed her hand. "Don't! It feels off." The wave of fear and distrust coming from the lizard stopped her from picking the ring off. It looked innocent enough, but then again, so did Radagast. And she had seen him decapitate orcs.
"Should we leave it?"
Considering his options, he finally said, "No, but don't touch it. Pick it up in a handkerchief or something."
"And dwarves think their useless" Bilbo replied smiling as she picked the ring up and stuffed it in her pocket. "We'll give it to Gandalf next time we see him."
Salic was about to speak when, looking over Bilbo's shoulder, he spun and hit something with his tail. He it something with such force that it flew across to the opposite wall and hit it with a loud crack.
"What is that!" The that in question was a strange creature, with large eyes and perturbing bones.
"I don't know!"
Did you kill it?"
Salic poked it with his tail. "Yes."
"Stop poking it!" Tearing her eyes away from the creature, Bilbo looked up the chasm. It was not too far, and as it was dry, an easy enough climb. "Can you smell the dwarves?"
Tasting the air on his tongue he said, "Yes, somewhere up there, but there are a lot of goblins."
"Best get climbing. "
A climb later, Bilbo found herself on a deserted platform. There was some truly terrible singing up ahead. Following the tune she went deeper into the mountain. It took a while, but she located the dwarves. They were two platforms up, surrounded by goblins. There was a revolting who was responsible for the atrocious singing) that looked as if he was in desperate need of a weight loss program. A bag of silver was thrown onto the floor.
"Did Nori steal from the elves?"
"Looks like it" Bilbo replied. The pair rolled their eyes.
Now the goblin was roaring about a bone mangler, and pointing at Ori.
"Oh no you don't!" Knocking an arrow she took aim. As the goblin took a step towards the dwarves an arrow sliced through it's wobbling neck. Ad it fell into the depths of the mountain, the dwarves turned to Bilbo. As did the Goblins. All the goblins.
"Salic my dear."
"I suggest we run."
With that the pair went sprinting into the depths of the misty mountain.
The goblins were relentless in their pursuit. Killing their leader obviously made them angry. As she ducked and weaved through the hoards, stabbing any who got to close with her knife or sword, the dwarves were also running for their lives. Parallel to herself, led by Gandalf (who had come back from his Gandalfing) they to were killing any goblin that came near.
"You know" Salic yelled as he smacked a goblin in the face, "I blame Gandalf for this. He always comes with these adventures and something odd happens!"
From bellow they heard Gandalf yell "Run". Bilbo was getting sick of him yelling that. What were they going to do? Stop and admire the scenery.
"If we pushed him off a cliff we could blame the goblins. Oh no, he fell! He will be missed. Or you could hit him with an arrow, because you were aiming for a goblin. We'd hold a funeral at Rivendell and everything."
"Stop planning my murder!"
Thing to note, Gandalf had great hearing. When he wanted to. As they ran further into the darkness another hoard came from their left. A goblin smacked Bilbo hard with his shield and for the third time Bilbo was falling off a cliff. Salic had fallen off her shoulder. Bifur grabbed Bilbo's hand as she fell and Gloin caught Salic. Barely time for a sigh of relief they raced on. Salic now on Gloin's back, hitting goblins that got too close. Bifur and Bombur stayed at Bilbo's side as they at last made their way into the sunlight.
As Gandalf counted the dwarves (sounding like a tutor after play) Bifur checked Bilbo over for injuries. Bombur was doing the same to Salic. After Bifur finished his checks he pulled her into a tight hug. It had been years since she was hugged and Bilbo returned the gesture and no Salic they were not tears in her eyes. Besides, Salic was similarly being hugged by Bombur. The moment was ruined by howls.
"Out of the frying pan" Thorin muttered.
"And into the fire, RUN!"
They were going to kill Gandalf the Obvious.
They were running again. Bifur and Bombur stuck at Bilbo's side and Salic was perched on her back looking for the wargs. Gandalf led them to a cliff edge with tall pine trees. The trees towered behind them as they turned to see wargs bursting into the clearing. Bilbo and Kili fired arrow after arrow to provide cover for the others as they climbed into the trees.
"Kili, Go!" Bilbo took down three more orcs as Kili climbed a tree. Firing a last arrow into a particularly brutish orc Bilbo raced to a tree and climbed. Salic was above her, pulling her up until they reached the branch with Dori on it. Before he could even begin to pull them up the tree began to sway dangerously. They had little choice but to jump from one tree to the other like squirrels as wargs tore the trees down. In the last tree they were desperate. Looking up at the Grey wizard Salic screamed, "Call a butterfly or something! Do magic or something you old coot!" The answer to that demand was a pinecone with vibrant orange flames erupting out of it. Spreading the fire to other pinecones, the dwarves began to throw them at the wargs. The fire licked at the wargs and orcs and brought them precious time; the dwarves let out a victory cry as the wargs backed away.
Their relief was short lived.
A white orc, that towered above the others with a horrible, jagged piece of metal sticking out of his stump of an arm came forward on a pale warg. As the tree fell, dangling them over the edge of the cliff, Thorin's eyes did not leave the orcs face.
"It cannot be!" He sounded as if he was in a state of disbelief. Bilbo pulled her eyes away from his grief stricken face at the cry of "ORI!"
Nori was clinging to a branch, trying to pull himself up as Dori and Ori slipped from the tree. Only Gandalf's staff stopped them from plummeting to their deaths.
"On it." The lizard clawed his way back up the tree and ran to the brothers Ri. As he extended his tail to wrap around them The cry of "THORIN!" distracted her yet again. She was sure that Dwalin could never make such a broken sound. As he tried to scale the tree his branched snapped, causing him to swing from the barely connected limb. Turning to Thorin, she saw him being knocked down by the brute's mace. With a groan Bilbo pulled herself onto the tree. She was tired. Her muscles ached from the running and fighting. She wished that she was in bed with a warm meal in her stomach. But she wasn't. She was on a burning tree with a grumpy dwarf king on the verge of death. She promised she would help and Bagginess did not break their promises. In her right hand she had her sword and in her left she had one of her larger knives. She charged down the trunk of the tree.
She threw the knife into the flesh of the orc about to decapitate Thorin and stood over his limp body. A grey bur shot out from behind her and bit the jugular if the white warg before climbing onto Bilbo's back. The pair stood in a defence stance as the while orc clambered off his head mount. They glared at each other. The most twisted smile imaginable crossed his face as he pointed to the pair. Declaring something in his guttural language the other orcs began to edge closer to the pair. They roared at the approaching orcs, a roar that was met by Dwalin, Fili and Kili. They decimated the orc ranks as cries could be heard from the sky.
"Guess Gandalf did magic" Salic said with awe in his voice.
"Or something" Bilbo agrees, a smile spreading across her face.
The majestic birds used their wings to send the flames spiralling towards the orcs as others grabbed the dwarves. Salic nabbed Thorin's shield as an eagle gently picked them up in it's claws. For the forth time they were falling. At least the landing was soft. "Thank you!" Bilbo yelled to the eagle that carried them. Looking to the other eagles they saw the rest of the Company. Fili and Kili had their eyes trained on their uncle. He was still unconscious.
The wind was cold and biting as they flew through the night. Salic and Bilbo curled up together and gained a few fitful hours of sleep before they were deposited upon a big rock (apparently called the Carrock). The Company huddled around Thorin as Bilbo counted her knives. Only one lost, but she was down to six arrows.
"You!" Oh great, he was alive.
"What were you thinking! You could have gotten yourself killed!" Hypocrite, Bilbo was about to give him a piece of her mind when he continued his rant.
"Did not say you would be a burden! Never have I been so wrong in my life." His face broke into a smile and he stepped forward to hug them, only to be stopped by a tail.
"Yes" Salic said in a cool voice, "You were wrong".
And the pair headed down the Carrock.
On the way down the Carrock Bilbo enjoyed the view. Unlike Salic she did not want to think about Thorin right then. The view truly was lovely. The dawn broke through the clouds and bathed the ground below in gentle shades of orange and yellow. Watching the sun rise and fall was one of the better parts of travelling.
He was going to bite Thorin. For two whole weeks he had proved he could be kind and funny, decent to have talks with, these may be Bilbo's thoughts more than his, but the point was that if his emotions went up and down like a faunts toy then it was best to stay well away from him. At least 10 feet at all times was preferable. They were Bilbo was studying the scenery. This scared Salic more than anything because it meant that she had reached cool-acceptance levels of anger. Something she inherited from her father, it meant she was going to be a Baggins about this, polite and cold. It would be fun watching the two fight. Or, Bilbo reduce Thorin to a grovelling mess.
The Company joined the pair at the bottom of the Carrock. They had found a nice cave (and confirmed that there were no goblins by jumping on the floor several times) and split into groups for the night. Bilbo slept next to the Urs, (Salic was using Bifur as a pillow) and the rest of the Company was dispersed in their family groups. Nori was fussing over Dori and Ori, which was actually quite sweet. Neither seemed to mind to much and they drifted off to sleep. Bofur kept glancing over at them every so often, as did Dwalin, resulting in their brothers rolling their eyes.
The next morning they took stock of what possessions they had. Most of their weapons were accounted for, but they only had Bilbo's, Bombur's and Ori's packs. Which meant they had some food, sewing equipment, basic first aid and several journals. Not enough for 14 (Gandalf seemed to survive on air so he was fine). Oin was using Bilbo's first aid to deal with Thorin's injuries and Gandalf was staring off into the distance.
"I know off a place where we can rest."
"Is he friend or foe?" Thorin winced as Oin wrapped what was Kili's tunic around him.
"Neither. He will either help us or kill us."
"I like him."
"Of course you do Salic."
The march to the mysterious person's home was pleasant. Gandalf led, followed by Thorin with Dwalin, Balin. Kili and Fili circling him like mother hens. Oin was not to far behind, staring at Thorin as if he was silently daring his wounds to open up. Gloin naturally kept him company. That left the Urs and Bilbo lagging at the back. They spent the time chatting or in companionable silences. Salic was loving it because Bifur was carrying him in his arms via a hug.
"I'm not sure who's enjoying that more, Bifur or Salic." Bilbo said to Bofur.
"Bifur probably. He was really worried when you to fell. Fairly certain he was about to jump down after you."
"Why!" Bofur seemed shocked by the question. "'Cause he cares about you. Think he's gonna be tying a rope to ya so you don't fall off something again. Don't ya know we care about you two?"
"No one has since our parents died. Gandalf was our guardian until we came of age but he was off in the world. We went with him sometimes but we were alone a lot. It's nice, having someone care about us. Just not use to it is all."
She was enveloped in two sets of arms. Bombur and Bofur seemed set on squeezing the life out of her. "We'll be here for you lass. No doubt about it." Bombur said. Salic let out a happy hum as Bifur hugged him harder. They walked arm in arm until Gandalf stopped.
"We need to scout ahead."
They all turned to Bilbo.
"Right, guess we're off then."
They climbed a small hill and saw a bunch of wargs and a bear thing.
When they came back down it was to be greeted by a, "Well?"
"There's a bunch of wargs and a bear thing."
This statement was met with stunned silence.
"Gandalf, is our host the bear thing?" Knowing Gandalf it probably was.
"Yes, his name is Beorn and he is a skin changer. Sometimes he is a great big bear, and sometimes he takes the form of a large man."
"That's unnatural!" Dori cried. "He must be under some dark enchantment!"
"Dori", Salic said in a dry voice. "You are in the presence of a talking komodo dragon who is strong enough to carry you with his tail and have just ridden massive eagles. I think we need to accept that there are strange animals in this world and move on."
Whatever retort Dori had was drowned out by a ear splitting roar.
"Great, its the bear thing." Salic groaned as yet again they were running.
They reached the house but where unable to reach the latch. It seemed that they were going to die because nothing was a sensible height.
"Move!" Bilbo yelled as she pushed through the dwarves. Salic stood on her shoulders and lifted the latch so they could get in. Not a moment too soon as when they shut the door the bear slammed against it.
"What a lovely welcome." Bofur quipped.
"The bear is uncontrollable but the man can be reasoned with." Gandalf declared. "But he has a strong dislike of dwarves."
The affronted looks on the Company's faces was priceless.
"Bilbo and Salic will come with me and ensure we are welcomed."
"No" Bilbo said, glaring at the wizard, "I will come, Salic will stay with Bifur." She could feel his discomfort from where she was standing and if he did not want to go he did not have to.
Salic shot Bilbo a grateful look as he scurried to sit on Bifur's back.
"You're nervous" Bilbo said with a chuckle as they approached the frankly ridiculously tall man.
"I am not."
"I may not be Salic but I can smell it on you."
He ignored her in favour of greeting their host.
"Good morning!" Gandalf called.
"Who are you?"
"I am Gandalf, Gandalf the Grey."
"Never heard of you."
"Then you should count yourself lucky" Bilbo said with a smile stepping in front of the wizard. "He is a meddling old wizard who has been labelled a disturber of the peace back West."
"Who are you, Little Bunny?"
"I am no little bunny, although I have a friend who tries to eat them. I am Bilbo Baggins of the Shire. I and my friends are in need of your assistance."
"Your friends are dwarves."
"Unfortunately so, but they could be worse. They could be wizards."
This earned a scowl from Gandalf and a chuckle from their host. Kneeling down to look at her (and she still had to look up at him) he asked, "why does Little bunny need my help?"
"Well, we were captured by goblins on our way across the mountains and I shot the king one with an arrow, which annoyed the rest of them which resulted in a chase. That led us out of the mountain with few supplies, only to be hunted by wargs. In turn this led us to climbing trees, throwing on fire pinecones at them and orcs. One of our members being injured by Azog (who apparently will not stay dead) me having to save the idiot and then being rescued by giant Eagles." Beorn looked a little shocked by the tale. "So, any help would really be appreciated." The bear man burst into laughter.
"You have had quite the adventure Little bunny. If what you have done is true you and your friends are welcomed in my halls."
"Thank you master Beorn."
Beorn gave them a small feast were they were served by his animals. It was unnerving as they acted like daemons except they could not speak. After a blissful bath (nothing better than a bath) they drifted off into a deep sleep.
After another hearty meal, Bilbo was found outside drinking tea. It was rather comical as the cup was massive, and she was using a plate as a saucer, but the tea was good and her manners had been drilled into her so yes, she had a saucer. Salic was terrorising chickens with Bombur and the other dwarves were relaxing whist they could. Beorn had promised them as much rest as they needed. Which was why Bilbo was enjoying her tea admiring the flowers. Then Thorin left the house. His wounds, whilst numerous, where not as bad as they could have been. Now he had been prescribed rest by the healer. With the air of a dwarf on a mission he marched over to Bilbo.
"I came to apologise."
"Er..." he looked sheepishly at the step she was sitting on, "May I sit?"
"I am sorry for how I acted on the cliff. It was poor of me and you have been nothing but useful on this journey."
"Well, I do not entirely believe your words as we have done this before. I must say this tea is lovely. Its camomile, meant to sweeten the temper. Would you like a cup?"
"No. Miss Baggins I was worried for you and I lost my cool."
"I did not want you harmed."
"You are aware I am off to face a dragon."
"Dammit I am apologising!"
"Evidently, you did say you were sorry."
"Then why act like this?" His face was beginning to turn red.
"Because I am a Baggins. It is this or me slapping you. Salic and I have spent enough of our lives being told we have lost our way, that we are abnormal, that we are unwanted without you, Master Oakenshield, joining in." Bilbo took a fortifying sip of tea.
"From what you and Gandalf have said, you were never welcomed by your fellow hobbits. We dwarrow value a gem no matter what it is like. You will always be welcomed by us." He put a hand on her shoulder.
"A nice sentiment I suppose."
"Naught but the truth."
He looked quite serious and she found herself believing him.
"Then I accept your apology Master Oakenshield-
"Thorin, but act like that again and Salic will bite you. It'll take two days to die."
"Duly noted Miss Baggins."
"Bilbo." He squeezed her shoulder.
"You know, I am envious of you and Salic."
"Yes, having such a companion must be marvellous. Always having a friend, and a honest second opinion."
"You can't do that with your, gem was it?"
"No. They are like ordinary gems except they glow."
"Have to say, hugging Salic sounds better than hugging a rock. No offence."
"Non taken." he chucked.
"Did you just laugh? Quick get Oin, you must be feverish."
"I am quite well Bilbo."
"Then get Ori, this has to be recorded. On this day, Thorin Oakenshield, grumpiest dwarf known to Arda laughed."
That resulted in more laughter from the dwarf. "I am not that solemn."
"I think I've seen trees that smile more often than you."
"Then I shall have to fix that." He held her hand as he smiled.
Rest was a blessing. Thorin was being quite nice and seemed content to wander the gardens with Bilbo (which caused Salic and the Urs to not so discreetly follow whilst staring). Several times she caught the others staring too, but Thorin would distract her by asking about what flowers there were and what they meant. For some reason he was curious about Hobbit flower language. When not walking in the gardens she was chatting with the Urs and Ris. Shortly after Bilbo had had her conversation with Thorin Nori had come to her. Or more specifically, Salic.
"May I speak with you Salic?" He merely glared at him. Whilst running through the Goblin Town everyone had seen Salic, hard not too when Gloin had been carrying him. However, he still did not trust Nori. With a sigh Bilbo said, "You can talk at him but he will probably just stare at you." Salic proved this by staring.
"Right, thank you for saving my brothers. You could have run to be with Bilbo but you pulled them up."
Salic stared at him.
"Well, there all I have, and Ori is so young and Dori practically raised us, so..."
"I'm sorry I took the candle stick?" He seemed a little creeped out that Salic had not blinked once during this time. "Um, was it a really important candle stick?"
"No, he just really liked it."
Now Bilbo was starring at Salic because he was making Nori super uncomfortable and it was getting ridiculous.
"Fine, I accept your apology Master Nori."
There was a visible release of breath as Nori nodded in thanks and left.
"Did you have to stare at him?"
"I did rather."
A few days later Salic had another odd conversation, with Dwalin. He was sunning on a rock while Bilbo and Bombur cooked (nice hobbity food to look forward to tonight) when the towering dwarf stalked over.
"I saw you fight the goblins. You primarily use your tail, smashing them with enough force to impress a dwarf. Beorn has a forge that he lets us use; we repair his stuff in payment for food. Made ya this." He presented him a strange device that looked like a spiked ball, with a small tube and leather buckle on it. "Goes on your tail to do more damage."
"Put it on for me?"
Dwalin bent down and attached the mace head. After a few experimental swings Salic broke into a huge smile and hugged Dwalin. "Thank you!"
He then ran off to the kitchen. Several crashes were heard and Bilbo screaming, "Dwalin why!?" The dwarf burst into laughter as he ran away from the angry hobbit lass with the rolling pin.
Dinner was well received by the dwarves. Beorn also liked what he ate before he left. It was rather like being at home again. This brought a smile to their faces as the dwarves began to sing. After a song or two Gloin turned to Bilbo. "Do you sing Miss Baggins?"
Salic roared with laughter, "If you count sounding like a flattened cat singing."
Nudging Salic off his chair she replied, "No I do not, I play but I do not sing."
"What do you play?" Balin enquired.
"Piano, violin, guitar, flute and the fiddle."
"Accomplished then." Thorin smiled at her (so far at six smiles).
"Lass, I think I saw a fiddle, if ya won't sing then give us a tune." Bofur was off and a fiddle was soon pressed into her hands. There was simply no getting out of it. The dwarves refused to be budged.
"But I only know Shire tunes, you do not want those."
"Please Miss Boggin." Kili and Fili were giving her puppy eyes. Dammit.
She stood to a cheer and went to the edge of the room. As she played she and Salic danced (on his hind legs) the steps to the music. This was something they often did on winter nights, her playing, Salic singing and the pair dancing. If the dwarves response was anything to go by it wasn't half bad. As the song finished they were met with cheers.
"You should play more often," Thorin said. He guided her back to her seat as Fili took the fiddle and began a dwarven tune.
"Thank you, do you play?"
"Perhaps we could play together when there is no longer a dragon in your home."
"I would like that." They watched and laughed as the princes tried to dance like they had, only to fall on their faces.
On the morn Bilbo spared with the boys. The princes were very good, but had never fought a hobbit before. Her style threw them off, and Salic would knock their legs out from under them. At least Dwalin was entertained. When they finally refused to leave the ground Dwalin asked, "Who trained you lass?"
"My mother, and later Radagast."
"Was you're mother a warrior?"
"No, a Took. Um" When looking at Dwalin's confused face. "Hobbits are divided into clans. My father was of the Baggins clan and my mother of the Took clan. Bagginess are respectable and are the pinnacle of what a hobbit should be, Tooks punch goblins in the face for fun." There was a snort of laughter from the floored prices.
"It's true." Salic said. "Our great-great-great uncle, Bullroarer Took smashed a Goblin kings head off with on swing of his club at the battle of Greenfield."
"And you took one down with a single arrow."
"Does seem to be becoming a tradition doesn't it."
"Not a bad one ta have." Dwalin said. "If all Tooks are like this no wonder the Shire is so peaceful."
"There's also the Brandybrucks." Salic said. "They booby-trap the forests surrounding the Shire."
Bilbo started to giggle. "Remember when Primula made a slip knot trap and Gandalf set it off and we found him a day later. That was not a happy wizard."
The dwarves laugh with them at this.
"Please say you know how to do that."
"I do but I am not teaching you, and I think lunch is ready coming?"
Bilbo sat on Salic's back (side saddle) and they headed off to lunch.
At lunch Bilbo was approached by Bofur, Bifur and Bombur. "Lass, we want to ask you something important."
Bilbo put down her seed cake. "Sure, what is it."
"We heard you're conversation about clans. Can a hobbit join any clan they want?"
"Yes, mostly by marriage but some are adopted and some are in two clans at once, like the Sackville-Baggins. Why do you ask?"
"We'd like you and Salic to join are clan. Bifur would like to make you his sister." Her mind was racing at this. Bifur looked hopeful and was carefully signing for Bofur to translate.
"Bifur says that he knows we aren't the most respected clan like you Baggins, but he would love ya like a little sister and do right by ya." Any further words are cut off by Bilbo throwing her arms around Bifur.
"I always wanted an older brother!"
"I want hugs too!" Salic was picked up by Bombur and was given a crushing hug. "Welcome to the family little cousin."
They had beads which demonstrated her membership of the Ur family and a document made by Balin (giving it to her with a grandfatherly smile) which they signed. Bilbo in her usual flourish and Salic in his odd scribble, but he was using his mouth. She was fairly certain the three of them were close to tears as they braided them in her hair. On at each side of her face and one down the middle of the back. The beads were wooden and had runes carved into them but were shaped like the roses that grew in her garden. Once they were done they pulled the two into another crushing hug, and they hadn't felt this happy their entire life.
Song she plays is Galway Girl by Ed Sheeran (all rights belong to him) except the words would be edited to fit in this world.
Hope you are all enjoying so far!
They talked and laughed until they were called in for dinner. There they were greeted and hugged by the other members of the Company. Kili and Fili seemed to think that the adoption now made Bilbo a dwarf, which they found hilarious and began teasing. Bifur was about to give the pair a piece of his mind, but Salic had already floored them. At dinner the mood was still merry (aside from two grumpy princes doing a wonderful impression of their uncle) and the ale flowed freely. Soon attention turned from Bilbo to Salic who was attempting to eat (maul) a loaf of bread.
"I know food was in the contract, but I think this is the first time I've seen Salic eat" Balin said from his place next to Dwalin.
"Does that count as eating?" Dwalin enquired.
"Yes, it does. I am a komodo, I don't have fingers, just claws. It's not like I can hold a knife and fork."
"Do you need a ha-help?" Thorin enquired, barely able to keep a strait face.
"Thank you your majesty."
As Thorin cut the bread Bombur turned to Bilbo. "Not eating cousin? Is there something you would prefer?"
"No, Salic's eating so I will not."
"What?" This seemed to confuse the dwarves.
"When one eats the other feels full, same with sleeping. Very efficient when it's just us travelling, that way we always have one on look out."
"But I've seen you and Salic sleep at the same time."
"Yeah, I'm just lazy." Salic answered with a mouth full of food. This caused a few chuckles and several rolled eyes.
"Can you tell us some more about daemons?" Ori inquired, pulling a note book from somewhere.
"Well" Bilbo started, "All daemons shift, change forms until they mature and are only one form. My mother had a goat and my father a ferret. We cannot go to far from the other. To do so would cause our bond to stretch, and a great deal of pain. If stretched to far it breaks and we die." That is met with stunned silence.
To further ruin the mood Salic states, "If one of us dies, so does the other. We feel each others emotions and pain."
The dwarves look incredibly worried and Bifur hugs Salic to his chest.
"Well," Balin says, with false cheeriness, "That is very different from a dwarf's gem. It glows and changes colour when we met our One."
"What's a One?" Salic said around his food.
"All dwarves were made for one other, we only love once."
"Aye, and it is the best love known. My wife Alrisa..." Gloin starts and the Company groans. Soon they devolve into a food fight (which Beorn joins at some point) and Bilbo makes her exit. Salic is busy catching food in his mouth.
"Bilbo?" Thorin is approaching her with a concerned look.
"Yes, is something wrong?"
"I want you to return to the Shire."
Seriously? Ah, he was serious, grumpy face and all.
"I am coming and you will not stop me. I will not be convinced otherwise and dwarves may be stubborn but you have not seen a hobbit."
He placed his face in his hands, "Please, I want you safe. After Erebor is reclaimed I would send a dwarven army to escort you, but please be safe."
The face Bilbo gave him is the same she give's Lobelia, and has the same effect; they drop their ridiculous idea. Carefully she threads her fingers through his.
"Why would you want me in Erebor?"
Thorin might of blushed slightly.
"I would want you at my side. Bilbo, may I..."
Bilbo moves slightly closer.
"May I court you?" He presents two gorgeous beads. They have ruins carved into them.
"I would have gold for you but all we have is wood."
"I am a hobbit Thorin. We ware flowers in our hair. This is a nice compromise. Braid them in?"
She has seen the often enough do their own hair to know how important hair is to dwarves. Thorin's face is pure awe. He slowly moves behind her and braids them in, carefully and almost reverently.
Once he has finished Bilbo tugs his braids so he is down to her level and kisses him.
If not for a lizard silencing certain nephews the moment would be ruined. However, it was perfect.
The next day they were mounted on ponies heading to Mirkwood, and if Bilbo and Thorin road side-by-side no one dared to comment.
Mostly due to the glares of Salic and Bifur.
At the edge of Mirkwood Gandalf stated he was leaving.
"Gandalf, a word?"
"What is it Bilbo?"
"I found something in the Goblin tunnels. It's a ring, Salic does not like it and will not let me even touch it."
"It smells bad." The seriousness of Salic's tone brokers no argument. From her pocked Bilbo removed the wrapped ring and handed it to Gandalf. He looked curious and placed it inside his robes. "No time to investigate this now, perhaps later. I will see the pair of you later." With that he cantered off (via his horse).
"Where is he going?" Kili asked.
"He's off Gandalfing."
"Yes, when Gandalf is off doing something for wizardy reasons/sulking he is Gandalfing. There are also Gandalfisms which involve him answering yes and no at the same time."
Mirkwood was awful. The very air of the place was poisonous. No light penetrated the canopy and the trees seemed to give nothing but ill will. It was suffocating and everyone hated it. It effected the dwarves to a small degree; she noticed them checking necklaces and bracelets often although she did not comment; but Salic was fair worse. He was hardly able to make jokes or sass the others and spent most of his time trying to stay on Bilbo's back. It went on like this for a few days. Soon her brother and cousins noticed and carried Salic for her as she felt as bad as he did. Soon Salic spent a great deal of time passed out, with Bilbo not far behind. The near darkness, sparse food and passed out daemon all resulted in the hobbit struggling to keep up. Two weeks into the forest saw the entire Company trying to keep the pair going. All Salic would say was that the forest was sick and then fall asleep. At night they could light no fire for fear of the moths, so the Company put Bilbo and Salic in the middle. Thorin would constantly worry, and he slept next to the pair holding his sword, as if that would keep the forest away. Bifur slept next to Salic with Bofur and Bombur, attempting to ward off the forest as well with his boar spear. Despite the offers to be carried Bilbo kept walking. She chatted with the Company to try and abate their fears, especially Thorin's and Bifur's, but she was not fooling anyone. At least she was not their number one concern, that would be the spiders.
They were as tall as cart horses, covered in thick, wiry black hair. They fought in a tight circle but one by one they were capture. Bifur, Salic and Bilbo were the only ones left standing. Killing the last of the brutes they raced (well Salic waddled but it was fast enough) after the spiders who had caught the others. A spider leapt from the canopy and Bilbo plunged her sword into it.
"It sting!" it cried as it flailed on the floor.
"Sting, not a bad name for a sword." Bifur patted her shoulder with a smile whilst spearing another spider.
"Where are the others?"
Bifur merely pointed upwards. There were the Company, all bound into bundles of webbing. She made for the nearest tree but Bifur held her back. Instead he began to climb, which was sensible as Salic and Bilbo could barely walk in a strait line. One by one the Company fell from the canopy. Once they landed Bilbo freed the dwarves using her daggers, Salic with his claws. They looked as bad as Bilbo now, barely able to stand. The spiders circled around them again as Bifur dropped from the trees. He was not the only thing to fall from them. Elves dispatched off the spiders with a ridiculous number of flips and then turned on the dwarves. Whilst they were showing off Bilbo stuffed Sting down the back of her leathers and hid Salic's mace in a hair bun. Thorin stepped in front of her whilst she did this and Bilbo grabbed some of his knives and hid them in her leathers too. However, there was no hope for her bow or his sword. He held her hand as the elves began searching the dwarves. Once they came to Bilbo the Company began to riot. There were cries of "Have you no shame!" and "Get your hands off the lass you tree-shagger" (that one being Dwalin, Gloin, Oin and Ori) whilst Bifur and Thorin surrounded Bilbo to hide her from the male elf.
"Enough!" the leader called. "Tauriel, if you could please search the female."
The clearly female elf stepped towards Bilbo and began to search her. Her bow, quiver and three of her knives and two of Thorin's. Thankfully she was careful where she searched, given the dwarves staring at her, and did not look in unusual places for stashed weapons. Currently Bilbo had; one sword, seven of her own daggers, one of Thorin's, and a tail mace. The last dug into her head but it was better to have it than not. Once searched, the elven leader began prattling on about Thorin's sword, then they were lead into the depths of Thandril's halls.
Thorin hated Mirkwood. Not only was it the place where a certain traitor ruled, it was killing Bilbo slowly. At first the Company had been preoccupied with the dimming of their gems, but Thorin noticed Salic's silence. Since he had come out of the sack the lizard would not shut up, so his silence was worrying. That night he pulled Bifur aside and told him about his worries. The axe-headed dwarf then began to watch his little sister closely. Nothing changed for the first few days, then Salic fell off Bilbo. The lizard had an extremely strong grip, he did not fall off anything. Bilbo staggered and he rushed to hold her. Pale and clammy, when had she gotten so bad? Bifur was holding Salic.
"He won't wake up." Thorin turned to the lizard, who was in no better shape than Bilbo.
"We can go on, give me Salic Bifur."
Thorin and Bifur shared a look. "We're setting up camp her for tonight." The dwarves collapsed in a circle. Thorin checked to see if his nephews were fine before getting Bilbo to eat. She was a hobbit, he had seen how much she ate, yet he was hard pressed to get anything into her. Panic was beginning to encase his heart. When she fell asleep, head in his lap (which at any other time he would have loved) the others approached.
"What's wrong with them?" Kili looked worried, as did the rest. Even Dwalin, who usually kept his face neutral looked scared for the small lass.
"She's a hobbit" Balin said, "A child of Yavanna. We feel the forest's evil, but that is nothing compared to what she feels. Look at poor Salic."
"We'll have to keep an eye on the pair. Make sure they eat. Someone will have to carry Salic, Bilbo is in no state to do it." Oin was checking for injuries on the pair.
"I'll carry Salic." Bifur said. He already had one hand on the lizard, slowly petting him.
"Why didn't they say anything before this?" Dori asked, "clearly they were struggling."
Nori snorted at his brother, "Haven't you noticed? They always keep going, find a way out. Trolls, wait and ambush. Azog, knife then defend. Only way out a forest is to keep going. So they did. This time they'll need our help."
Bofur slung his arm around the dwarf. "Aye, we'll keep an eye on them."
So they did. Bifur carried the poor lizard and Thorin walked with Bilbo. He offered to carry her but she refused. Part of him was proud at how she carried on, the other half wanted to tear his hair out at her stubbornness. Instead of doing that he kept her distracted, chatting about her life in the Shire, the clans (which were confusing) and in turn told her about his pebble years and Ered Luin. They both laughed over Kili and Fili but he still worried. Her leathers hung off her, her emerald green eyes dimed and her golden curls hung lank. At night he slept by her side, not proper for a courting couple, but when she was asleep she clung to him, so if it brought her comfort in this evil place then he would gladly stay by her side.
He wish he did when the spiders came. He barely remembered it except the panic of losing sight of her. When she cut him out of the cocoon he hugged her close to him. Elves came next and he and Bifur circled her. He'd be damned if he let one touch her. He may have growled at them. Out of the corner of his eye he saw her stuff her sword down the back of her leather, so he growled louder to distract the elves. Dumb things fell for it. He even felt her little hands take some of his knives. Bifur started an uproar when one moved to search her, he joined because they were NOT touching her. Eventually a female did search her, but if looks could kill the she elf would be dead a dozen times over. He saw her remove two of his daggers (and Bilbo took three so at least she was armed) and only three of her own knives. Doing the maths, Thorin realised Bilbo had a sword and eight daggers on her, how had the elf missed all that? And more importantly, where was Bilbo keeping it all?
Then they were dragged into the elf brats halls.
There the elves showed how cruel they were. Bilbo was carrying Salic and was flanked by Dwalin and Bifur. When they were thrust into cells, they left Bilbo outside. They could only watch in horror as the elves attempted to take Salic from her. Thorin rammed his body against the cell, as did the others, to try and stop them. But it was no use, the cells did not budge. Neither were in a state to fight and Salic was pried from Bilbo's grasp. She was thrown into a cell. She clung to the bars and began speaking in elvish. They seemed to ignore her as they took the struggling lizard further away. Her pleading fell on deaf (pointy, ugly) ears until she screamed. Her body went taunt and her eyes were wide open as she let out another blood curdling scream. The blond leader barked out an order and the she-elf ran down the corridor, The blond opened her cell and picked up the screaming hobbit and raced down the corridor. The whole time the dwarves had been yelling. Bifur was swearing and trying to comfort his sister. As bad as the screams were, the silence was worse. He prayed, to Mahal and his blessed wife, that it had not been to late and that Bilbo still drew breath.
Elves appeared outside of Thorin's cell. They dragged him to Thandruil's throne room. The elf stared regally as the guards left to the corners of the room. There were no railings here, Bilbo would hate it. The thought saddened Thorin and made his blood boil. This elf was responsible for the death of his people and hurting Bilbo. He glared at the woodland king as he began his speech.
"Some may imagine a noble quest is at hand. A quest to reclaim a homeland and slay a dragon. I myself suspect a more prosaic motive, attempted burglary or something of that ilk." Here he got uncomfortable close and Thorin wanted to punch him, yet years of diplomacy lessons were not for naught. "You have found a way in. You seek that which would bestow upon you the right to rule. The kings jewel; the Arkenstone. It is precious to you beyond measure. I understand that." You understand nothing, son of traitors. Thorin was inches from punching him, it was no mere jewel. "There are gems in the mountain that I too desire. White gems, like starlight. I offer you my help."
"I am listening."
"I will let you go, if you but return what is mine."
Thorin turned to look at the palace of elves. "A favour for a favour."
"You have my word, one king to another."
"I would not trust Thandruil, the great king, on his word, should the end of all days be upon us. You!" Here he let his rage out and turned to the blond, "lack all honour! I have seen how you treat your friends. We came to you once, starving, homeless, seeking your help. But you turned your back. You, turned away from the suffering of my people and the inferno that destroyed us!" He cursed at him, knowing it would irritate him beyond no measure as he would not know the words.
"Do not speak talk to me of dragon fire. I know of its wrath and ruin." His magic pulled back to reveal a scared face. "I have faced the great serpents of the North. I warned your grandfather what his greed would summon. But he would not listen."
"As your people do not listen."
"What?" The elf turned to Thorin.
"As your people would not listen to the pleas of a hobbit and her daemon. As your people separated them and caused them unimaginable pain. Do not talk to me of deaf ears."
"She is half of nothing!" he roared. "She is worth more than you will ever know."
"Indeed? Well, the hobbit is receiving treatment. She may yet live."
"May. If she dies, nothing of my realm will come to yours, elf. We do not deal with soul killers like you!"
"Stay here if you will and rot. A hundred years is a mere blink in the life of an elf. I am patient, I can wait." Thorin was dragged from the halls and thrown into his cell.
"Did he offer you a deal?" Balin called.
"Yes, and I told him he could go ish kakfe ai-d dur-rugnu."
"Well, that's that. A deal was our only hope."
"There's always hope Balin. Any word on Bilbo?"
"None. But no news means she is still alive, they would at least tell us otherwise". There are grunts of agreement throughout the prison.
Three days pass before news of Bilbo came to the dwarves. Many were frantic by that time. Bifur growled at any elf that came by whilst the others begged of news.
Eventually, the blond who had taken Bilbo returned.
"She lives. Does she have kin here?"
"In your cells? Her brother and cousins are here. I think all would call her kin." There are calls of agreement, and a few demands for the elf to fetch her.
"You are all dwarves and would call her kin?"
The elf called to another. There were cries as an another elf walked into view. In his arms was Bilbo. Another had Salic.
"Place her with her brother, the one with an axe in his head."
The elf raised his eyebrow, "the one who was growling?"
They were placed in Bifur's cell. He rushed to his sister (who was still asleep) and began checking her for injuries. Bedding was brought in and they were left alone again.
"How is she?"
"Asleep, but I cannot tell what damage there was to her soul. I see no injuries on either on them."
"Salic!" there were cries at the sound of a tired lizard.
How are you?" Ori called from down the hall.
"Fine, stretched, not broken. I'm not turning into dust anytime soon. And we still have a few toys."
"I've got an idea for a way out."
"Hello everyone. How are you?"
"We're fine, lass what's your plan."
"Wait for the elf with the keys. You know, you would think that after they heard me speak Sindarin they would not speak of a possible way out in front of me."
"Elves are honourless and traitors."
"Not all elves are like this. Arwen and Elrond are our good friends. Rivendell elves have shown us nothing but kindness."
"Perhaps lass" Dori said, "but these ones put us in jail."
It was at dinner time that Bilbo's plan came into action. As the elf brought her food, she and Salic began coughing and moaning. The elf approached and was knocked out cold with the butt of a dagger. "Can you believe they still did not find all my weapons. I was in their healing halls for three days." She handed Bifur the elf's sword and took his daggers and bow. Bifur already had the keys and was freeing the others. Thorin rushed to Bilbo and hugged her. She kissed him quickly before handing him her sword, "You'll use this better than I." The rest of her weapons were handed out. Kili got the bow and Bilbo pulled Salic's mace out of her bun.
"You had that in your hair?" Dwalin yelped.
"Yes, not the most comfortable. Now this way, and quietly."
Salic led them to the cellars.
"You are meant to be leading us out, not further in." Bofur whispered.
"We know what we are doing, now get in the barrels please."
Angry muttering met this statement, until Thorin snapped, "Get in the barrels."
They clambered in with the grace of new born kittens. Once they were all in, Bilbo clambered into the barrel nearest the leaver, and grabbed Salic's front legs, his tail wrapped around the leaver.
"What do we do know?" Bofur asked.
"Hold your breath" Salic smirked at the dwarves confused look and pulled the leaver.
Hobbits did not like water. Komodo dragons did not like water. They did not like orcs. Surmise to say they did not have a fun time escaping the elves. At least no one was seriously hurt and Kili had excellent aim for someone in a barrel. The pair sat in the bottom of the barrel and stabbed anything that came too close. They may have stabbed Nori.
Eventually they reached a bank. Thorin had to pull the half drowned pair out. Bilbo buried her face in his furs. His chin was resting on her head.
"Are you alright?"
"No, I'm doing my best impersonation of a fish right now."
"ORI!" They turned to see a bowman shoot at Ori. Dwalin blocked the arrow with a stick. He looked ready to rip the mans arms off.
"Excuse me," Balin interrupted, "is that barge for hire?"
The lake had ice floating across it. The only reason why she wasn't frozen was Thorin's arms wrapped around her. She leant on his stomach. "Were you treated well in there Thorin?"
"We were given food, and a nice place to rest. I think we were more worried about you."
I'm fine" she twisted up to kiss his jaw, "not pleasant, I'll grant you, but we have recovered. Stop fussing, you are worse than Dori."
"I am not as bad as Dori. And I am allow to worry."
"I say we throw him overboard and be done with it."
"His name is Bard and we are not throwing him overboard."
"How do you know his name?"
"I asked. Should I be expecting a shovel talk like that from Dwalin; hurt him and I'll toss you off the mountain."
"No, they like you too much. I however, have had 12 shovel talks."
"Hurt her and I'll bite you in the groin."
"13 shovel talks."
"Expect more. Gandalf, Radagast, Lord Elrond and his three children. Maybe Beorn."
"I'm going to get shovel talks from two wizards, four elves and a skin changer."
"My life was odd before I went on a quest with thirteen dwarves to go into a mountain with a dragon."
"We are approaching Lake Town, get in the barrels."
"I never want to here that sentence again." Gloin grumbled.
Lake Town was in need of serious aid. The people were starving and an air of poverty clung to every inch of the place. Every inch that is, except the master's house. He was larger than any self respecting hobbit would allow themselves to become. If you were that fat, how could you enjoy the countryside or dance? At the sight of the lump of flesh Salic had started growling, and not too long after Bilbo joined him. However, it merely sounded like Bilbo was excellent at growling as Salic was hiding under her leathers. After Bard had had them climb out of his toilet (and she was never letting the dwarves forget this) they had demanded to see the master of the town. What weapons they had would not save them from a dragon. Although, Bilbo was fairly certain very that any weapons would make much of a difference.
"Who are you?" The fat one called. "Enemies of the state?"
"Dwarves sire" answered another that needed a bath more than Bilbo did. "They wanted to speak with you."
"Send them away, I have no time for riffraff."
"You do not know who you are speaking to!" Dwalin yelled. "This is no common criminal; this is Thorin, son of Thrain, son of Thror."
"Thorin stepped forward. "We are the dwarves of Erebor. We have come to reclaim our homeland. I remember this town in the great days of old. Fleets of boats lay at harbour, filled with silks and fine gems. It was no forsaken town on a lake, this was the centre of all trade in the north. I would see those days returned, I would relight the great forges of the dwarves and have the wealth and riches of Erebor flowing once more!"
The crowd cheered at Thorin's words. It was a good speech, Bilbo thought. Probably a part of his education for here he looked every inch a king, despite his missing robes and armour.
"Death!" Bard cut through the crowd, black, jagged lines over his eye. "That is what you will bring upon us. Dragon fire and ruin. If you awaken that beast it will destroy us all."
"You can listen to this nay-sayer, but I promise you this. if we succeed, all will share in the wealth of the mountain." More cheers at this proclamation. "You will have enough gold to rebuild Esgaroth ten times over."
"Why should we take you at your word, hey?" The slimy one asked. "We know nothing about you. Who here can vouch for your character?"
"Me." Bilbo announced. "I'll vouch for him." Thorin smiled at her as she stepped forward. There were a few murmurs as her ears and feet were seen. "I have travelled far with these dwarves through great danger and if Thorin Oakenshield gives his word then he will keep it."
Bards words were drowned out in the roars of the crowd and they were beckoned to a tabled covered with food. It all looked delicious, and goodness knows after the forest she could eat it all, but all Bilbo could see were the starved faces of the men. The bread soon disappeared into Bilbo's pockets. When Thorin saw this he too began sneaking bread. Soon, all the dwarves were sneaking bread; perhaps the only time they were actually sneaky.
As they left for a house the master provided for them (why did he have a house on stand by?) the bread was handed out to the people they passed.
"You'll make a great queen." Thorin said to her.
"You got that from me stealing bread? And queen? Moving a little fast aren't we?"
Thorin bent down to her level. "When you know you know. Besides, you saw people you could help and did so; very queenly."
She laced her fingers through his, "It's not enough. It's a good thing you promised the men the gold. They'll need it."
"And I meant every word. These people need as much aid as my people do."
Bilbo leant against him as they walked.
"You'll be a great king."
"Thank you ghivashel."
The next day Bilbo was going through what supplies they had.
"The elves took my sewing needles!"
"What were you going to do, darn them to death?"
"You know Salic, I'm in half a mind to try."
"Where's Nori and Bofur?" Bombur called from the kitchen.
There was a wave of smug satisfaction from the lizard.
"What did you do?" Everyone's eyes were on the lizard.
"I may have locked them in a broom closet.
"Why?" yelled Gloin.
"I was tired of them dancing around each other. And the rest of you were too!"
"We may have been lad, but they are going to kill you."
"nah, they like Bilbo too much."
"If we die I blame you. Come on we are letting them out of the closet."
They headed up the stairs and heard banging coming from a blocked closet.
"Bofur, Nori, are you alright?"
"Lass let us out!"
"Dwalin? Salic how many dwarves are in there?"
"Four? Ori, are you okay?"
"Please let us out." Ori's voice was muffled, with four dwarves in there it must be tight.
I will don't worry, Salic, could you not put them in separate closets?"
"There was only one."
She groaned as she pushed the table out of the way. "Okay, I am going to unbolt the door. Please do not kill Salic as I would die and I had no part in this."
Four dwarves burst from the tiny room. Ori almost tripped but Dwalin caught him.
"Well" Bofur said, "that was one way to find ya One; locked in a broom closet by a lizard."
"Really?" Bilbo's face was split in two with her smile.
"Yes" Ori said a little breathlessly, "seems Salic decided we had to, ah, get on with it."
The komodo turned to Bilbo, "If you and Thorin hadn't sorted yourselves out you'd been in there as well."
"How did you even get four dwarves in there?"
"We are never speaking of it." Nori announced, with Dwalin nodding.
"I had aid." The twin laughs from downstairs seriously narrowed the list of helpers down.
"Okay.. well congratulations and good luck."
"Good luck, why do we need that?" Bofur sounded scared.
"One word, Dori."
Watching Dori having a slow meltdown was entertaining. First he started yelling at Salic, then Bilbo; which resulted in Thorin yelling. Next he demanded to see the gems to see if they had changed (which they had but Bilbo did not look as this seemed private). This led to Dwalin and Bofur having to ask to court the younger Ris. Dori looked like he wanted to say no but Ori had learnt his puppy eyes from somewhere and he quickly gave in. Gloin took him to a bar for a pint. Ori at least was fine, Balin gave him permission immediately. Nori had to get Bombur and Bifur to agree. Eventually they agreed and he turned to her.
"Bilbo can I please-
"Go ahead, don't see why you're asking me."
"You're Bofur's cousin. I have to ask you."
"Well hobbits ask whomever whether their families approve or not. Love is love, we do not get in the way."
"That works?" Fili asked.
"If it did not I would not be here. Now kiss him already."
Nori was more than happy to oblige.
A pair of arms wrapped around her waist. "That worked out well."
"I think so."
"Hush Salic, or I'll put you in the naughty corner."
He grumbled as Bilbo turned to face Thorin. Wrapping her own arms around him she moved in for a kiss. It was soft and gentle and she was fairly certain she could die happy.
"I would like to talk, alone please."
Happy feeling gone.
They headed out of the house. Salic followed but stayed a fair distance away so they had some form of privacy.
"Thorin, what's wrong?"
He faced the lake. "I need to talk to you about what you are going to burgle."
She moved next to him and studied the lake. It was quite boring, must be a dwarf king thing to stare out at the landscape.
"The thing you have to steal is the Arkenstone; the heart of the mountain. I need it to summon the dwarven armies to fight the dragon." Looking around Thorin sighed and continued, "the Arkenstone was placed above my grandfather's throne as a sign of our divine right to rule. He had all bow to it. He claimed to the population it was found within the mines of Erebor. He lied."
Here his tone turned cold and his glare icy. He seemed to be half lost in the past. "It was my gem. Mine, that instead of leaving to mine or my parent's keeping. Yet he used it as a symbol of his power. When the dragon took it, he removed it from the throne and it was lost in the treasury, to Smaug."
"Thorin.." Her voice was quite and laced with sympathy. Unsure of what to say, she merely placed her hand on her own.
"Gone, I watched as it fell into the gold as the dragon came. I could do nothing. Not to get it, nor to let my anger out, for he was my king. My parents and siblings were angry, for what he had done, but half of me was gone and we could do nothing." He took a long steading breath. "I know I cannot dissuade you from entering. But I beg that you are careful. I cannot lose anymore of my soul, azyungel. Please..." He looked so broken, as if he had spent so long pretending it was okay that the moment he admitted something was wrong he could no longer keep the mask. She held him, in a tight embrace. She let that say everything that her usually silver tongue could not.
"What does it look like?"
"Small, about the size of your palm and a perfect oval. It glows white. Although it might change when you touch it."
"Is that how you work out your One?"
She moved herself so she could look him in the eye.
"What if it does not change?"
His face twisted slightly. "It will."
"I know it will."
Any further arguments was silenced with a fierce kiss. Passionate and deep it quickly drove all doubts out of her mind. Pulling away for breath he declared, "It will change."
"Well" Bilbo said (a little breathless) "After that argument who am I to doubt."
Laughing, he kissed her again. "Is that all I need to do to win an argument, kiss you?"
"Ah, but Master dwarf, it works both ways." She pulled him down and took his breath away.
"I'll get you it back, I promise."
"I love you ghivashel."
"I love you too."
"We should head to bed." Thorin made no move to go, only tightening his arms around her.
"Why, Thorin, how very forward of you." Bilbo teased the dwarf. His reaction was priceless. His arms were removed faster than Bombur could eat and immediately began stammering about how he would never ruin her honour in such a way. She watched him flail for a bit before she burst into laughter.
"I tease! Honestly Thorin, if that makes you blush like a Shire lass what happens if I say se-
His hand covered her mouth and he looked scandalized.
"Not here! In a town of men? No dwarrowdam would ever even think of such a thing in a place like this."
She licked his hand. "I am no dwarrowdam. I am a hobbit, and hobbits as a general rule are, um, coupling before they come of age."
"Have you?" Thorin looked somewhat panicked at this idea. Must be a dwarf thing.
"I?" She considered tormenting him; only a little. "If I had, would you cast me aside for something I had done, acceptable in my culture, before I met you?"
"No! But it is not the dwarrow way. We remain untouched. I still would, do love you, as you say, it is a part of your culture. Perfectly acceptable."
"Well, I have not. Most unusual too, 34 and no suitors, but I was never interested. They would have been put off with my odd ways. If anything they would have wanted my smial and wealth. Besides, they were not to my tastes."
"And your tastes are?"
"Dwarven kings apparently."
Arms around her again he kissed her curls. "And I like hobbit lasses with great skill at fighting and sass."
"And a komodo."
"Good, but I do not think Salic will kiss you."
"I am not kissing him."
The next morning they headed to Erebor. On the way the passed the ruins of Dale.
"Behold" Balin said with a sigh, "the desolation of Smaug."
"Will it be rebuilt?" Fili asked.
"If men wish to rebuild then yes, and we will help. Erebor needs trade to thrive, Dale and Esgaroth were our partners, occasionally Mirkwood as well. We will stand by our allies." Thorin seemed very solemn at this thought.
The Company remained solemn as they progressed to the mountain. The Urs circled Bilbo and Salic. Bombur took Salic at one point and hugged him tightly. Bifur wrapped his arms around Bilbo as they approached the gate.
After several hours they found where the door was. As the sun set they began to panic. When it did set the dwarves fell into despair.
"What did we miss Balin?"
"I don't know lad."
"We haven't missed anything." Salic announced.
"What?" The dwarves looked stunned at his words.
"We are traveling with idiots. Moon runes. The last light, not the last day. It is the last moon of Autumn. Just wait for a cloud to move then we can enter the mountain."
When a cloud did move the key hole was revealed. With awe the door was opened. They seemed awed. For some, they were returning home. For others, it was their first time. The pair let them have their dwarf moment. When the moment turned into five minutes, Salic cleared his throat.
"Right, which way to the treasury, because we're off to steal from a dragon."
The Urs immediately swarmed the pair.
"Thorin, ya can't let them go."
Bifur yelled something in Kudzhel.
Rather than have this debate again, Bilbo and Salic hugged their family (not goodbye because they were coming back, dragon be damned) and kissed Thorin. If the kiss was somewhat desperate and clingy, no one commented. Thorin brushed a stray curl away from her face. "No one will judge you if you stay."
"We will judge each other." Salic pointed out.
"Aye, besides I have survived a dragon for this long, what's a slightly bigger on going to do?" With a smile she turned from the Company and headed down the corridor.
"Do you know which way the treasury is?" Bilbo whispered.
"Left I think, smell awful that way."
"Okay, if we get lost, I blame you."
Eventually, after two wrong turns they found the treasury. It was a vast room, filled with more wealth than imaginable. And somewhere, a bloody big dragon.
"Its still alive." Salic did not sound scared, but more resigned to this fact. Frankly, their luck was not good enough for the dragon to died in it's sleep or accidentally impale itself.
"If we go in there, we likely will not come out. Maybe we can by the others time."
"How so?" The komodo tilted his head at his hobbit.
"If you chew on the arrows a little, get some venom on them, and we get him in the eye. It might slow him down. We don't have any mom, and thing that big, it probably would not kill him, but a poison arrow in the eye should slow him."
"Right, give me the arrows." He carefully chewed the arrow heads (not damaging the shafts) and passed them back to her. They sat there for a heartbeat, emotions flitting across their bond. Despite the fear it was the overwhelming sense of companionship that made them get up. Whatever they did, they would never be alone. They hugged. "I'll distract, you shoot. Love you Bilbo."
"Love you too."
Salic marched into the treasury. "Good evening, O Smaug the Magnificent."
A mountain of gold shifted to reveal the ruby red scales of Smaug. His presence alone was commanding, his size terrifying. Bilbo shifted silently in her perch. She was at a good angle to get his eye if his head turned. "Who are you?" His voice shook the cavern.
"I? I am a distant cousin to the race of dragons. In my home far in the South I thought, how can I, such a small creature, compare to the great Smaug, most fabulous of the fire drakes of the North. I thought that I and my kin were nothing compared to the Northern dragons, and I journeyed far to prove this. A good thing too, as there were dwarves attempting to kill you. I was so angry that I slaughtered the lot; you can probably smell them on me; for who were they to challenge the great king under the mountain." Smaug considered his words. "Well, small cousin, what do you think now seeing me?" "That my kin and I should weep for you are far superior to us." Smaug looked pleased and revealed more of himself from the gold. On his chest a single scale was missing. As Bilbo registered this fact Smaug's golden eye was at the right angle and she let the arrow go. He roared in pain, twisting his head and on impulse she fired another arrow into his second eye. "Traitor! Thief! Foul demon!" "Daemon mate!" Salic cackled as he zipped under the dragon, Bilbo sprinting after him. "There's a scale missing, something long- "And the dragon goes bye-bye. Shiny!" Bilbo saw what had captured his attention was a white glowing gem. It was beautiful and undoubtedly Thorin's. "Salic, grab, I'll find something to stick into the lizard." They ran in different directions as Salic scooped the gem up in his mouth (carefully) Bilbo slammed into a weapons display. "Do you think he cares for you, little thief. I know what you have taken, I can smell his scent on you. He will throw you away once he has the gold. Better I kill you than that." She removed a pike from the display and ran under his legs. "You don't know him, and who cares what a ratty lizard think?" With all her strength she thrust the pike into the missing scale. For such a mighty creature, he had a very girly scream. Salic barely had time to get her out from under him before he collapsed onto her. "Is he dead?" Salic poked him with his tail, "Yes." "Stop poking him." "Bilbo, you're bleeding!" Her entire left arm was covered in blood. "Not mine, Smaug's though. Got the gem?" He spat the gem out. It was still beautiful, but covered in spit. "Right, lets clean that before we hand it to Thorin." The dwarves were panicking. They had heard the dragon's roars and screams. But before they could race in silence blanketed the mountain. "We have to go in there!" The Urs were at the entrance, weapons drawn." "We can't leave the lass now." Nori agreed and headed in. "Bilbo!" Nori was out of the tunnel and so was a blood covered hobbit and a smug daemon. Before any could question them the Urs had surrounded them checking for injuries. Then they were hugging. Thorin moved forward. "Thorin" Bilbo moved forward and out of the hug. "You have a dead dragon in your treasury." "But we heard it roar." Gloin said. "Well, it wasn't dead when we got there." This is met with stunned silence. "Bilbo, did you kill a dragon." "Yesss, why are you all looking at us like that?" The entire Company bursts into cheers and they begin to celebrate. Thorin surged forward and pulled her into a deep kiss. "Also, we found this." Salic handed Bilbo the gem, which turned green in her hand. The Company's roar is louder than even the dragons.
Everything went downhill quickly. The dwarves were enamoured with the gold. One by one they were lost to it. At the end of the second day in the mountain, only Bilbo, Balin and Bifur could turn their back on the gold. Salic spent his time trying to pull Bofur and Bombur out of the treasury. A wave of despair hit Bilbo every time he failed. Bilbo herself spent her time comforting Bifur or trying to convince Thorin not all that was gold glittered. All her love did was dress her like a doll, covering her in jewellery and chains. He ignored her please to leave, to send some of the Company to buy food from Lake Town. Once she felt like she made progress, only for him to start ranting how dangerous the outside was, how she had to stay safe in the mountain. To further the feeling of being a doll, he handed her a mitheril top. She wore it to keep him calm, but it only made her panic.
"He is lost like his grandfather." Balin sighed as Bilbo ripped the necklaces off.
"Can Gandalf save him?"
Balin considered this, "perhaps, but I think that he can only save himself."
Bifur came running yelling something in Kudzhel.
"Elves and men at the gate." Balin translated.
Bifur raced to tell the others as they headed to the gate. Thandruil (on an elk for some reason) and the master (with literal greed on his face) stood with their armies.
The dwarves stood around Thorin. Gone were his traveling clothes. They were replaced with sweeping robes, jewellery beyond count and a heavy crown.
"What do you want?"
"Naught but the payment we agreed, your majesty." The master called from far below.
"What your grandfather refused to pay." The elf could not sound any more haughty if he tried.
"We owe you nothing elf, and we will pay you, Master of Lake Town, once you stand here without our enemies army."
"If I do not receive the gems, then you will have war."
"Thorin, please just give him the gems, this is ridiculous!" Salic stood before the king. He snarled and hit Salic to get him out of the way. Salic went flying and Bilbo ran after him, the pain of the slap across her face.
"I will have war."
Thorin dragged Bilbo into the mountain. "Control your beast."
"I will not, Thorin this is stupid!"
He turned to her, his once clear eyes clouded and dim. "Place a muzzle on him if you cannot. He has no place talking at our side."
He has more than you. Can you hear yourself? You are risking your Company's lives for gold. Fili and Kili could die for a bit of treasure."
"It is not a bit, beloved. It is Erebor. I would have you as my greatest treasure safe in its halls with me." He caressed her cheek and she had never felt more repulsed in her life. He left, yelling at the Company to arm themselves from the treasury. Bifur wrapped his arms around hem as Bilbo cries into the night.
Once again they stole into the golden cavern. They looked for the elf gems. For hours they searched until a hand rested itself on Salic making them jump. Bifur stood behind them, holding the necklace. He had their packs and tears in his eyes.
"Oh big brother." Bilbo hugged Bifur fiercely. "You have to stay, Bombur and Bofur need you. After this mess I'll come find you, I promise. You're the best brother I could ever want. I wish you could come, but you and Balin are the only ones not effected."
"We will see you soon." Salic pressed his forehead to Bifurs. The siblings stood together for several minutes before Bilbo kissed Bifur on the cheek goodbye. He grabbed her hand and gave her a small simple knife. She ad many, but the gesture was appreciated all the same.
On the ramparts Bilbo threw a rope over the edge.
"How could you betray me?"
Spinning round she saw Thorin. Still clad in his royal finery and a scowl. "I am your One. The one you are meant to love above all overs. Above elves and a dragon. Or perhaps you never loved me but my rank and wealth."
Taking a steading and stopping Salic from killing him, Bilbo said, "I fell in love with a dwarf name Thorin Oakenshield. Not the dragon in dwarf skin I see before me."
With that they descended over the ramparts to the elves and men below.
"If I am not mistaken, this is the halfing who attacked my guard and escaped with the dwarves."
"If I am not mistaken, you are the elf brat who's gems we have, if you play nice."
Salic was not known for being diplomatic. The dire nature of the situation even had him out of the sack to sass the king. Bard was struggling to keep a strait face so at lest someone found this amusing. Bilbo was to close to crying to laugh.
"We will give you the gems," Bilbo said, cutting off the wave of not helping that Salic had planned, "If you call off your war and aid restoration and feed my dwarves."
"Your dwarves?" Thandruil looked at her with a raised eyebrow.
"Yes my dwarves. My kin. I will not see them harmed, and if you do then I will burn your cursed forest to the ground. Your choices are, doing the right thing and aiding people to receive gems, or I make the dragon look tame."
The staring contest between elf and hobbit (plus a komodo) is cut off by the master. "And what of the dragon, does it live still?"
"No." Salic said.
"How can you be sure?"
"Because I shoot arrows in its eyes and shoved a pike in it's heart. Fairly certain that it's dead at this point."
This at least, gains some respect. Thandruil even looks less condescending.
"Very well, Bilbo Dragonslayer, I will accept your deal, aid in return for my gems."
Handing the gems over, Bilbo cannot help but think that she truly is a traitor now.
"And what of my payment?" The master moves forward, back swirls on his hand. "For aiding you."
"Take it up with the king. I do not speak for him."
"But you would id him?" Bard asks this.
"We did not travel stupidly far to see him die of starvation now. We will make sure our kin are safe then we return West." Salic raises his head in defiance at the glares he receives.
Before more arguing can ensue Gandalf burst into the tent. "Ready your armies, Orcs are coming!"
"Good morning to you too."
"Salic, Bilbo, pleasure. Thandruil, you must fight with the dwarves."
There is more arguing but, after everything, Bilbo can stomach no more. They leave the tent and sit on a rock.
"Are we leaving?" Salic rests his head on Bilbo's legs so she can stroke him.
"We have done our part. We need not do no more."
"Ah." Salic looks around at the armies of me and elves. There is a resigned nature around them. A few lights are leaving the filed, getting to safety so that the elves need not worry about them. By the looks of it they will need every fighter.
Salic turned to Bilbo.
"Once more into the fray, old friend?"
Smiling, she replies "Once more and another time after that my friend."
The battle was chaos. Orcs, elves, men and a lot of dwarves that came from somewhere, are fighting and dying together. Slicing her way through the hoards, Salic and Bilbo spot Azog. As Salic smashes an orc's head in they look at each other. The silent agreement gives Bilbo a burst of speed as she charges at Azog. As they draw closer, Salic switches from the back to the front to smash Azog in the face with his mace. It draws blood, but he lives still. They duck and weave through his attacks, occasionally getting close enough to cut his legs and arms. There is a cheer through the battlefield, and the cries of "To the king!" can be heard even over the carnage. And there is only one king that they both care about. Swearing, Bilbo redoubles her efforts. Rolling under his legs, she swung her sword in a wide arch, decapitating the White Orc. There was barely time to feel satisfaction before Salic screamed, "LOOK OUT!"
A second white orc swung a mace, hitting the hobbit in the chest. They flew across the field. Pain seared every nerve. It was all consuming. The orc approached and Bilbo could barely raise her head. A dwarf blocked her death blow and began attacking the orc. But the saw no more as they gave into the pain and sunk into oblivion.
Hi! Sorry I haven't updated in a while, soooo much course work. I hope you have enjoyed this so far and thank you for the comments, I love reading them. Bye :)
Bilbo came to with a low groan. Her chest hurt badly, as if an Oliphant had stepped on it. Opening her eye took far too much effort, but when she managed it she saw she was in a brightly light tent. Daylight streamed through the flaps, revealing she was lying on a cot. Next to her was another cot, with a sleeping lizard.
He awoke with a groan as well. “Lets never fight in a war again. That bloody hurt.”
“Do you know how we got here?”
“But I do.” Thandruil swaggered into the tent.
“Where you waiting outside for an entrance line?” Salic asked. He probably would have glared at the elf if he could move his head.
“Hush Salic. Thank you my lord, for aiding us.” The elf inclined his head at that.
“I could not allow the Dragonslayer to die. Especially as Gandalf would not leave me be until I tended to you.”
“Well, thank you.” The elf nodded again and began changing the bandages. A pale green sphere entered the tent and began hovering around Salic. As Bilbo stared, the elf cleared his throat.
“My star, I suppose you have not seen one so close before?”
“I have my lord,” she winced as he tightened the bandages, “the Lady Arwen has shown us hers, as has her father.”
“Then you are an elf friend, for having been shown them in such a friendly manner, but I am using mine to heal your daemon.”
“I’m honoured” muttered the komodo.
Thandruil continued to check the hobbit over. Once satisfied he instructed her to drink and eat, as well as bed rest.
“The dwarven healers should be able to see that the ribs are not further damaged. 3 were broken and the rest cracked. Quite a bit of bruising. Now, you were asleep for a few days so there is a gaggle of worried dwarves outside. Do you wish to see any of them?”
“My brother please.”
Thandruil left the tent and was replaced with a frantic Bifur. He had a few cuts on his face and an arm in a sling. He rushed to her side and began checking her over himself for injuries.
“I’m okay, mostly.” The unamused look was answer enough.
“The other? Are they okay?” Bifur nodded as he sat down next to her.
“Are they still gold sick?” He shock his head.
They sat, him braiding her hair and Bilbo focusing on breathing. Salic was napping.
Balin entered the tent after a while. He gave her a grandfatherly smile. “It’s lovely to see you awake lass. You gave us quite a scare.” He sat down next to Bifur. The slight limp suggested a leg injury.
“The others would like to see ya lass, they feel terrible about the gold sickness. Thorin especially. He has been working himself into a right temper when you wouldn’t wake up.”
Pain exploded in Bilbo, it woke Salic, and it had nothing to do with her ribs. She wasn’t sure how to feel about Thorin. He had hurt her, but he had been sick. Would he fall sick again. Truthfully, she didn’t want to think about it, or talk to him, until she was in a position when se could leave if needed. Salic had crawled into her cot as Balin and Bifur waited for an answer.
“I’ll see Bofur and Bombur, but I don’t want to see the others today. Not, for a while at least.”
Balin nodded and stuck his head out of the tent. Bofur and Bombur quietly entered. Both dwarves looked miserable. Even Bofur’s hat was droopy.
“Lass...” Bofur began, tears trickling down his face, “We’re so sorry.”
“Believe us,” Bombur continued, “if we could undo what we did we would.”
“I’m not mad at you.” Bilbo said with a sigh. Truly, she wasn’t. Just at Thorin, or disappointed would be more accurate. “The gold was cursed and it got you. End of discussion.”
“We don not want your apologies” Salic interrupted. You’re kin who were sick. You we forgive.” The emphasis on you demonstrated that others would not be forgiven as easily.
The dwarves told her about the battle, apparently eagles had turned up at one point, and that men were returning to Lake Town with the gold they wanted. Bard, a descendent of a Dale Lord, was being asked to restore Dale and build it anew. The elves were supplying food for the winter and Dain’s army (explaining the large number of dwarves) was aiding restoration.
“A lot of Erebor remained undamaged, mostly decorations and the path between the entrance and treasury to be repaired.”
“Speaking of Erebor,” Balin said, “The injured are being moved to the mountain. We have a room waiting for you, and Thandruil gave us the all clear to move you today. Best to get in the mountain before winter sets.”
“Won’t that be an issue?” Salic asks, “as it’s Thorin’s mountain and he branded us traitors for stopping an elf-dwarf war.”
“The declaration of traitor was never official, and therefore you are not traitors. Nor are you banished. Thorin deeply regrets what happened, he wants to make amends.”
“Well, he can jump into Mordor.” Salic replied. Balin looked saddened by this reply, but before he could reply, Bofur said, “You still need to heal, best come into the mountain and heal there. We’ll not let Thorin come near you if you don’t want him.” There was fervent nodding by Bombur and Bifur at this statement.
“We’ll move you know cousin.” Bombur had a stretcher ready and the dwarves carefully moved them onto it. Despite trying not to, Bilbo cried out in pain a few times. As they left the ten, she saw the others. They were huddled around the tent in groups. When they saw her on the stretcher, they stood up and circled them. They moved slowly to the mountain, none speaking to her. Ori and Kili kept glancing at her, reassuring themselves that she was still there.
They entered the royal chambers. Oin had them carefully place her in the bed, then looked at her stiches encase they were damaged on the way. Exhausted, Bilbo fell asleep before he finished.
Salic did not.
“Right.” He said to the assembled dwarves. “Thorin, out. I think you have lost the right to be here.”
Perhaps his face showed no emotion as he left, but it was easy to see the pain in his eyes.
“The rest of you, you were sick, now your not. Thus forgiven and lets move on. Bilbo will deal with Thorin when she is ready but she is emotionally drained, so get over your guilt now with me.”
“How can you forgive us?” Dwalin asked, shock on his face.
“Like this, I. Forgive. You. Any other stupid questions? No? Then out and let my hobbit sleep.”
They shuffled out the room. He knew they would still want to talk to Bilbo, and it probably would be for the best to completely clear the air, but for now, they were tired.
Everything was better after a nap.
It was two weeks before Bilbo decided to see Thorin. Patly because, well, what could she say to him. But there was also that it was two weeks before Oin would let her sit up and she would like some sense of control. Also, the ceiling was really boring. Salic had informed her of his, ah, direct approach of dealing with the dwarves. It had eased the tension somewhat. But they had all come to apologise and Kili, Fili, Ori and Dori had cried as they apologised. After comforting a dozen dwarves, Bilbo had not been eager to comfort another. The next dwarf she did not have to comfort, as it was Dain. A cousin of Thorin and the Lord of the Iron Hill, had decided tat she needed cheering up. After congratulating her on killing Azog and Smaug, he had kept her company for a few hours; telling her many stories of his childhood. In fact, his visits were the few times that Bilbo was not throwing things at mopey dwarves.
After a lot of prodding by Dain they agreed to meet Thorin. He entered slowly. Everything about him was hesitant.
“Bilbo, I am so sorry. I will spend the rest of my life making it up to you. I am truly so-
“Do you know even know what that means!” Salic is yelling at the king, which Bilbo will allow.
“Yes, you, always you. You wanted the mountain, you wanted the gold. YOU wanted Bilbo. You don’t always get what you want! So what do you want Bilbo or gold?”
“Bilbo, always Bilbo.”
“Really, to treat her like a doll to play dress up with-
“But that’s what you did!”
“And I am sorry, Bilbo,” here he turned to a stormy faced hobbit, “I am so sorry. I never meant to hurt you. Please, let me make it up to you, Ghi-
“What happened to your face?”
The right hand sight of his face was covered in blotchy yellow bruises. They must of hurt when he got them.
“Bifur, I tried to enter your tent as you slept to see if you were alright and he did not want me near you. I think that Dwalin would have helped him if he had not done it so well. Bilbo-
“Will you fall to gold sickness?” Bilbo’s voice sounded broken. Having spent far too long trying (and failing) to hate Thorin, she could only feel pain at what happened. Salic was still mad. Thorin carefully stepped around the enraged lizard, he took her hand.
“Seeing you leave, boke me out of it. My One left me because of what I had become, what a monster I was.” Once the battle began, I rallied the Company and charged after you. When I saw the orc hit you I went ballistic.”
“That was you?”
“Aye, that was me. I carried you back to Oin, Kili had Salic, and Bifur kicked me out the tent. Gandalf turned up with Thandruil and then you were asleep for days. I have never been so scared in all my life. I wish I could bare this pain for you. I wish that I could stay by your side to make up for it all. Please... please don’t go.” There are tears trickling down the dwarf king’s face. Bilbo was crying too. Salic was staring.
“Thorin, its okay, I forgave you but, I don’t know if I can trust you.”
“I understand, but please give me the chance to make it up to you.”
There was silence as Bilbo studied Thorin. Slowly, she took his hand.
“I’ll stay, I’ll stay with you.”
Thorin broke into a large smile, and kissed her hand.
“I am so glad, nothing could make me happier beloved.”
They spent several hours simply sitting and talking together. After a while, Thorin sat on the bed and Bilbo lent against him. As se fell asleep, Thorin was playing with her hair.
When she woke he was still behind her, but he was fast asleep. She turned to Salic, “I’m in love.”
“I know, which is why he is not dead. We are staying right?”
“Right, I am going to need a separate bedroom.”
“For the best really.”
"Really?" Bilbo snapped. "Only, I'm meeting his sister and you, my dear friend, are in a sack."
"You have nothing to fear from Dis. Except her axes. Those you should fear." Thorin wrapped his arms around her and buried his head in her neck. "Should you be up, love?"
"I was I bed for four months I think I'll be fine."
"Listen to the hobbit."
He sighed dramatically, "I will always be outvoted, won't I?"
"Get use to it."
The caravans approached Erebor. Did could be identified from here, mostly because she was in the largest caravan at the front of the line.
"She is going to hate me."
Thorin kneeled down to talk to the sack. "She will love you for your sass alone. Salic, you have nothing to fear from dwarves, please come out of the sack."
Slowly, a komodo climbed out of the sack and onto the kings back.
"Considering your daemon is on my back, I thought perhaps you would wear this." Thorin presented her with his gem in a silver chocker.
"Thorin, shouldn't that be kept safe?"
"Aye, safe with you." He lent forward and kissed her as he attached the chocker.
"Well isn't this sweet."
They broke apart to see Dis, Princess of Erebor, standing behind them.
"You must be my brother's other half, and pet."
Bilbo saw red, meaning Salic was about to go ballistic.
"I am no pet you, you-
"Yes, you Orc spawn, thank you Nori. I am Salic Bilbo's daemon."
"I am Dis, daughter of Thrain, son of Thror, Princess under the mountain."
"Fully aware of that. There was a trumpet announcing your arrival and everything." Daemon and dwarf size each other up before breaking into smiles (which are equally terrifying).
"So," the princess said, turning to Thorin, "Why does my son have an arm in a sling?"
Thorin's vapidly paling face was hilarious.
Sitting in her chambers, Bilbo and Dis began afternoon tea. Having kicked Thorin out, claiming the need to welcome her new sister, Dis was quite comfortable on the sofa Thorin had brought in once Bilbo was out of bed. Her calm demeanour was setting the other two into a little bit of a tizzy. A very small one.
"I understand you are my brother's one, which is clarified by the fact he has you wearing his gem. I merely want to state that I am not here to give you a shovel talk."
They look at her.
"I have been told by a very angry Bifur what my brother has done and quite frankly he does not deserve you. Alas, you seem determined, so I will help you."
"Yes, you'll need someone to teach you politics. Now" she continued despite the noises they were making, "Balin can teach you the basics but I will do the finer points that a queen needs to rule, which are many and you are to be more than a trophy queen. I would suggest starting by picking your ladies maids and opening the Dam's court once they are chosen. Also, the guilds will be eyeing for your favour once set up so be careful what gifts you accept. But contact the seamstress guilds for the coronation dress but not and silver/gold smiths because Thorin will want to do that."
"Should I be taking notes?" Salic asked. "Also, do you stop to breath?"
"Salic, play nice. Dis, Thorin has not actually asked me to marry him, so slow down. If he asks I will ask how to do a dwarven wedding, except I am going to ask for a few hobbit customs. Now, how was your trip?"
When they emerged, arm in arm (in tail) every dwarf began to panic, except Dain who laughed at everyone else's distress. He was glad to be the Lord of the Iron Hills; he could run.
Bifur and Bilbo were enjoying a quite supper. Once Bilbo began clearing the plates, Bifur started communicating with his hands. Being in bed had given them ample time to learn the languages of the dwarves.
"Dis came today."
"She said you had a chat."
"After your tea. Said Thorin had not asked."
"No he has not."
"Would you say yes?"
"Nothing would make me happier. But if he screws up again, feel free to give him a shiner."
Bifur laughed and hugged his sister. "Will do."
"Can I show you something?"
"If it is a sword, wall of swords, armoury or general lots of pointy things I will pass. I like weapons but you take too far Thorin."
He rolls his eyes, "It is not pointy things, please come?"
"Don't have a choice and please no snogging, my eyes can not take any more."
Bilbo and Thorin may have kissed just a little to annoy him.
Leading her through Erebor, Thorin looked giddy. Bilbo and Salic exchange a look.
"Thorin, are you drunk?"
"No, Salic, I am not drunk, but I want you to see, this." With his usual dramatics he flung open a pair of doors. The cavern is huge and there are thousands of pieces of twinkling ore sticking out of the walls. A smooth body of water sits in the middle, so it looks like the room goes on forever. The closest thing Bilbo can liken it to is the stars.
"Its beautiful." Beautiful does not do it justice, but perhaps the look of awe on her face does. Salic stealthily leaves and Thorin pulls her further into the room.
"I loved this chamber as a child. Begged father not to mine it, claiming it a piece of Mahal's finest work. They left it be and I would sneak down here just to look."
"Excellent place to do that."
"Aye, now, I have to ask something of you, something important."
"Is it to marry you?" His crestfallen face is hilarious.
She giggled and kisses him. "Dis and Bifur both talked about marriage, dwarves are not subtle darling. Are you sulking?"
"NO, I just wanted it to be a surprise."
"Hm" she looked around, "the location is an Thorin, the moment it turned green I figured that a certain question was not far away."
"It was really obvious!" Salic yelled from outside the room.
"Well" Thorin pulled her hair out from her bun, "amazing romantics being ruined and all, I can only say this. I love you. I want you by my side. I want to be the one to make you happy, make you smile, make your life as perfect as possible. So, Bilbo Baggins, sister of Bifur son of Kifur, will you marry me?"
Bilbo studied herself in the mirror. The dress fell to her ankles and was a bright Shire green. The sleeves fell from her elbows and there were a few emeralds tastefully sewn onto the bodice. Although, Bilbo had to fight Dori over each one. Salic looked her up and down. "You look beautiful."
"Thank you darling." Hugging Salic, she saw Dis quietly enter the room. She walked forward, carrying a small box.
"Thorin made these for you. He would have presented them to you himself, but apparently you won't let him in."
"Its bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding." Bilbo confirms and opened the box. "Oh, oh they are gorgeous." They were simple silver and emerald pieces, mimicking flowers. Dis carefully put them on the hobbit before giving her a hug. "I am so glad that this day has come. Welcome to the family sister."
There was a loud knock on the door and Bifur walked in. Looking somewhat uncomfortable in his funerary, he offered his arm to his sister.
"That time?" He nodded and held out an arm.
They walk out of the room at a sedate pace, before coming to a large set of impressive oak doors. The doors swung open with a great deal of trumpeting and the pair walked down the isle to Thorin (who's jaw dropped at the sight of Bilbo; more than superstition for not seeing the bride). Bifur kissed her cheek and stepped away from the dais. Thorin took Bilbo's hand and began his vows in Kudzhul. Bilbo (haltingly) completed her own. More Kudzhul from a priest and they were married. Thorin pulled her in for a deep kiss as the room erupted into cheer. The dwarves of Erebor were making a lot of noise, the elves of Rivendale (Mirkwood was not invited) were more refined in their applause. the men of Lake Town/Dale fell somewhere in-between. Smiling and waving they walked back down the isle. "You look gorgeous."
"And you are very handsome." Indeed he was. Durin blue tunic, a black cloak embroidered in silver and covered in jewels. He wore braids fitting for a king and a new crown, silver and mitheril with onyx inlaid in it. The nobles had complained about that, but having Thorin and Dwalin joint scowling at them soon ended that.
As they entered the ball room they were greeted with more music. This of a more gentler tone. Some dwarves began to dance, but Thorin led his hobbit to the table. He truly learnt the hard way to not get between Bilbo and food. He had no desire to have his arm dislocated again.
"Well," Salic said, crawling onto his lap, "I think this is the beginning of something good for two of you."
Thorin turned to his queen; smiling and laughing with Bifur.
"Aye, I think it is."
"Just don't screw up again."
"Not planning on it."
After Bilbo had her full Thorin dragged her out to the dance floor. The dwarves tunes that were playing were replaced with a fiddle. Looking to the band, she saw that Fili had borrowed a fiddle. Laughing, she and Thorin dominated the dance floor as they span around. After a few more songs (dancing with every member of the Company, Dis, Gloin and Bombur's families, Arwen, Lord Elrond and the Twin terrors) Bilbo and Salic enjoyed a slow dance together.
"This is a great place to call home."
"Glad you approve Salic."
"Glad you decided to call this mountain home." Thorin wrapped the pair in his arms and began to slowly dance with them.
"Stop being sappy Thorin, all this for your lass?" Dain was swaying slightly, probably more due to the ale he ad be guzzling than the music. Rather than let Thorin get into a fight, Bilbo and Salic stared him down. Complete with hands on hips, daemon looking over shoulder and raised eyebrow/scale. Dain fidgeted and mumbled an apology before shuffling off.
Thorin burst into laughter, "they should all fear my queen, dragonslayer and made Dain Ironfoot act like a small child. This will be fun."
"I'm always fun."
"Or asleep, or eating. we do that a lot."
"Thank you Salic, now, close your eyes."
"Why does he have to close his oomph-
Thorin was interrupted by a deep (and somewhat dirty kiss). Not that he was complaining.
7 years later.
"Is that a bear?" Bard was looking at a large grizzly that had wandered into the council meeting. No one else seemed disturbed by this development.
"Yes, for now." Thorin grinned at the mans shock before pulling a small child off and hugging her.
Good morning sunshine, did you enjoy your lessons with Balin?"
"Yeah, I can count to 100 now!"
"Wonderful! Belvi, are you a bear for any reason."
"No, felt like being a bear today. Good morning your majesty."
"Good Morning, good morning princess Freis."
"Thorin, the Mirkwood elves are here! Oh, hello Bard." Bilbo entered the room, pale blue dress standing out from the darker colours preferred by the dwarves.
"Great." Thorin and Bard exchanged a look. Shall we welcome them?"
"I suppose we must" sighed Bard. "Poncy pratts."
As they entered the entrance hall, there was a bit of a commotion. A large, winged horse was staring at the gate.
"Palarin, why is Weltrix a Pegasus?"
"Because she is better than a smelly elk." Replied the small prince.
"That's my boy!" Thorin yelled as he spun his youngest round.
Watching their family wait for the elves (Belvi now a hippogriff because he could not be outdone by is younger sibling) Salic turned to Bilbo.
"Glad we left our hobbit hole?"
I hope you have all enjoyed this as much as I have writing it!
Till the next fic! :)