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A Little Fall of Rain

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It was raining.

The ice was slick, and colder against Bilbo's feet than it had any right to be. Oh, how he wished he was but a little stronger! His arms were trembling, stiff and soaked, desperately trying to hold up Sting just a little higher, just a little-

Azog watched the hobbit with something approaching bemusement. How Bilbo hated it, hated him! Thunder crashed and rolled over the mountain, blending in with the chaos of the battle, the screams of orc and dwarf alike drowned out for a single moment. With a crack, lightning flew through the air, illuminating the endless curve of Azog's blade as it rose and fell inexorably towards the soft flesh of the hobbit below.

White noise filled Bilbos ears as he fell onto the trecharous ice beneath him, gasping.

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It was raining.

Thorin was screaming.

Bilbo was dying, no - Bilbo was wounded, only. He would not end up like Frerin, like his own father; dead at the hands of Azog the Defiler. The distance between them shrank suddenly to naught as Thorin ran, consumed with hatred and fear. The white orc, still turned towards his kill (no, thought Thorin, not that, not yet- not ever!) never knew that it was Thorins blade which peirced his back, which drew such a scream of pain as it tore through muscle and bone, which tore his scarred lungs  and black heart.

It mattered little to Thorin.

For where once he might have dreamed of revenge, and mourned its loss, now his gaze turned to the awful stain of red, steadily soaking its way through Bilbo's coat. His hands, suddenly numb, dropped Orcrist, and his knees, so strong moments before, buckled, putting him at the hobbit's side.

"Bilbo? What were you doing?" He whispered, heart in his throat. For what if he was- but no, his head was turning, thank Mahal, and those hazel eyes he had come to love were soft and clear, still, unclouded by death.

"I- I'm so sorry, Thorin."

The dwarf could have wept in relief at the sound of those words, so quiet and full of pain, but words nonetheless, proof of his life. Thorin moved closer, arms encircling Bilbo's shoulders and holding him close to his chest.

"You have nothing to be sorry for, gihavashel, save for not wearing your mithril coat. Why would you not protect yourself?"

Bilbo smiled. "I didn't- didnt think, I d-deserved it."

"Ridiculous hobbit."

He pressed his nose into Bilbo's soaked hair, breathing in his scent, his warmth. How precious he was, and how frail! He should not have been in battle, should not be hurt.

"Come on," he muttered, "We need to get you out of the rain, to the healers." Gently, Thorin braced himself against the ground, preparing to haul the hobbit to safety. A hand, so much smaller than his own, pressed against his cheek, and he looked once again at the hobbit in his arms.

"Thorin, don't fret. Rain," Bilbo gestured to the wound in his side, "Could hardley hurt me now."

And Thorin knew, then, that there would be no saving Bilbo.

With aching tenderness he carried him off of the ice, and onto a small outcrop of land. Thorin sat, carefully arranging Bilbo comfortably, his head in Thorin's arms, his legs curled up in Thorin's lap. His eyes were closed, raindrops hanging off of his eyelashes like so many diamonds, his face pale and cold. Only the slight rise and fall of his chest gave any indication that Bilbo Baggins of the Shire still lived.

"You must live, Bilbo," whispered Thorin, "sweet Mahal you must live. If I could only heal your wounds with apologies for how I had wronged you! I would give up all of Erebor to see you well."

Eyes still closed, Bilbo replied, "Silly dwarf. You're here- that's all I need. You will keep me safe, and you will keep me close."

"As close as I can, I swear it, but you must not die!"

That damned rain! It fell in rivulets down Thorin's cheeks, blending in with the tears falling, too. But Bilbo opened his eyes again, and his eyes locked with Thorin's, then turned upwards to the darkened sky.

"Come sp-springtime, rain like- like this will be... good....for the flowers..."

"You will see them Bilbo. I promise."

Bilbo let out a soft sigh.

"Flowers..."

And was still.

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It was raining.

Outiside, on the slopes of Erebor, the flowers grew.