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Two Bilbo Adventures

I'm spending a lot of time on Tumblr and while I've never really left any of my fandoms, I haven't been writing. Tumblr stalking other people has lead to more writing. Here are two drabbles tied into The Hobbit after a successful Christmas season of reading through all things Tolkien and seeing the movie four times (soon to be five).



Campfire

The rain let up when it had decided it was done. Thorin’s Company had chosen a small rock ledge to camp under, with corners that had remained dry in the shelter of hanging stone. It looked out into a small clearing that was full of puddles, and a silence seemed to descend on them all when the last of the raindrops stopped.

Gandalf used this silence to hurumph a nod in the direction of Dori, who nodded and rolled his eyes in good sport.

Bilbo, wet and shivering, dismissed the exchange and looked to Oin expectantly for a fire. Together with Gloin’s help, they had one going in not too long of time and the Company set about taking inventory of wet, damp and dry gear. Food was put on and as the stars started to shine above them, spirits steadily rose.

Bilbo placed himself on a log three of the Dwarfs had carried to surround the sheltered fire with a contented sigh. He still felt chilled but no doubt that would pass soon. Gloin, Nori, Ori, Dori and Balin had encircled the blaze too, though conversation seemed short and private where it happened and Bilbo did not mind.

He had mastered the names and identifying features of all of the Dwarfs near the end of his first encounter with them. It was good Hobbit manners to know the names and faces of all guests, expected or not. And Bilbo had found many instances to practice those names through cursing them on his first night. Sometimes, he caught Gandalf using a mnemonic to keep a few of the Dwarfs straight. Bilbo felt some pride at surpassing the Wizard in something, and his eyes picked out Gandalf standing under the stone with his pipe and a thoughtful look gazing out into the night.

A presence suddenly broke Bilbo’s attention as a shape stepped over the log and then loomed over the Hobbit.

“Bilbo.”

The Hobbit’s gaze snapped up to Thorin, who met his stare before settling down on the log beside him. Bilbo instinctively shifted to make more room, though there had been plenty. He was always unconsciously giving the Dwarf Prince a safe berth.

“Thorin,” he muttered, staring at the fire and frowning with his brows. He told himself to be polite and to relax. The other Dwarfs were nodding at their leader with a familiarity that Bilbo believed would be forever beyond him.

“Our dear Burglar,” started Thorin, which tightened the muscles in Bilbo’s stomach at the realization that formalities had not ended. “We’ve traveled some days together and while you have heard of my line, and those of my kin, we know not of yours.”

“My…my line?” Bilbo stuttered, snapping his head from the fire and not quite matching Thorin’s gaze. “I—I’m not sure…”

“Do Hobbits not count their family history very closely?” asked Balin with curiosity.

Bilbo chewed his lip, and then nodded. “Oh, yes. Yes we do, but—hmmm.”

He put on a show of thinking deeply about it. And the Dwarfs were patient, though Thorin’s presence right beside Bilbo seemed to add pressure to the question. He felt that he had to answer carefully.

Or you could be honest, came a thought that almost sounded like it had Gandalf’s voice. Bilbo glanced up and saw the Wizard still in his place but his attention perhaps was drawn to the fire. Several of the other Dwarfs had gathered behind their sitting comrades.

“Well,” Bilbo began, adopting a tone he used when he rarely told stories. “My father was Bungo Baggins, and he built Bag End. Which, I guess, was his only claim to fame in The Shire.”

“Was he strong?” Ori asked.

“Uh, no,” Bilbo admitted. He laid a hand on his chest. “He was, well, my size.”

“But he built Bag End, he must have been very good with his hands,” Bofur submitted.

Bilbo nodded, as he exhaled. “Yes, yes he was. Though much of the work he directed.”

He wasn’t sure why he had added that part. After all, Dwarfs could appreciate a builder of things. A delegator of things, not so much. “He, uh, designed much of it but left much of the work to others because he spent so much time with my mother.”

Relieved to have nods around the circle at this explanation, Bilbo continued. “It was expensive work and it took about a year to dig out, and the furnishings didn’t become complete for three more years.”
“Expensive,” Thorin nodded raising a brow. “Perhaps your family has a history of burgling?”

A few “ahs!” of explanation and understanding arose from around the fire but Bilbo frowned, knowing full well that Thorin didn’t expect that to be the case. He shifted to face the Dwarf directly now.

“That is not true,” he pointed, trying to keep the indignation from his tone. “My mother was the daughter of The Old Took, which had one of the wealthiest families in the Shire. He was Thain, you know.”

Thorin said nothing, but held his gaze and his eyebrow up.

“And your mother?” Ori interrupted. “What was she like?”

Bilbo could not hold Thorin’s stare, and Ori’s question was welcome in excusing him from it. “Well, my mother was…”

He tried to think of a word to use here. Belladonna Took had been beautiful in his memory. She had been strict and forgiving. She had nice things and told great stories and knew who to pretend to be kind to, and who to help.

“Your mother was a remarkable Hobbit.”

Bilbo turned his gaze up as Dwarfs around the fire craned their necks to witness Gandalf materialize into the fire glow. He had his hat under his right arm, and his pipe in his left.

“Belladonna Took was a dear friend of mine, as was The Old Took that Bilbo had mentioned. I knew Belladonna when she was very small.”

Bilbo stared, aware that his mouth was partly open. There were a lot of things he wouldn’t know, then, about his mother. She had spoken of Gandalf, but Bilbo could not recall all of the details of those stories. And she had often spoken of them later in his life, when he had been no longer interested in long walks and tree climbing and Elves. And his mother’s stories…

“She put adventuring to rest,” continued Gandalf, “when she had a family and a husband to take care of and she managed the affairs of Bag End quite shrewdly. Though I have no doubt that she would disapprove of your adventure, Master Baggins, had you traveled in lesser company than that of Thorin Oakenshield’s.”

The Dwarfs took this as a mighty compliment and nodded approvingly. Bilbo found that he could not turn away from the kindness in Gandalf’s face, nor forget those words about the interpretation of his mother’s wishes.

And beside Bilbo, Thorin cleared his throat. “Then you, Mr. Baggins—like the rest of us—will have to do your family proud.”

*

Hobbit Feet

Inspired by Kaciart's Picture

“He doesn’t wear boots,” Ori muttered with a frown.

Kili glanced over and found his friend sitting against a fallen tree with his notebook out. He was studying the Hobbit who was carrying things about for Gandalf as they set up camp. It was their first evening after leaving the Shire and while the Dwarfs were used to setting camp, it would be the Hobbit’s first time.

Fili, who stood near shrugged. “I don’t recall any of the other Hobbits in the Shire wearing boots. It’s probably a Hobbit thing.”

“But his feet are going to get hurt,” Ori protested. “We’re going into mountains.”

“Gandalf’s likely thought of that,” Fili reasoned, which started to make a lot of sense to Kili too now that he thought of it. He nodded in agreement with his brother and all three watched Gandalf directing the Hobbit who listened intently and followed all directions exactly.

Oin had a fire going and the Wizard was suggesting that Bilbo place his pack closer to the inner circle of the camp. The watch would be prepared along the outskirts and it would be the warmest and safest place to be.

Kili, still holding his bed roll was deciding that he’d camp next to Ori if Fili wanted to put his by the fallen tree too. He stepped closer to the sitting Dwarf with the books and peeked over Ori’s shoulder. There was the usual lines of script, likely a journal and a few pictures drawn of the other side of the camp. The oak tree, and the corner of the fire. There were thin sketches devoid of detail which could only be of the very tall Gandalf—complete with hat—and the shorter Hobbit. Ori had stopped at Bilbo’s feet, though.

Crouching down, Kili could inspect his friend’s face and found Ori still struggling with the idea of a barefooted traveler.

“I’m sure we’ll get used to many oddities of our burglar before this is all said and done,” he stated in hopes of dismissing Ori’s concerns. “These are good, you’ve gotten better.”

Ori’s ears turned red as he shrugged and muttered unintelligably.

“You should draw Thorin,” Kili teased, aware that Ori had never openly attempted to draw their King. Ori often asked permission to do such things, though for some, Kili had watchd Ori struggle to work up the nerve to ask. It said something about the Hobbit and the Wizard if Ori had assumed permission.

“No, no, I think I’m done,” Ori stated, closing the book and putting his pens into his pack with a hasty finality.

Kili frowned, surprised if he had pushed too hard in regards to Thorin. Fili kicked him from behind too, as if to confirm it.

Ori got up as Kili knelt to set up his bed. By the fire, a spark had jumped out close to Bilbo’s bed, and the Dwarfs watched as Bilbo kicked the glowing embers back into the ring of fire without much afterthought.

“See,” Fili said to Ori. “He’s got tough feet.”

Ori nodded, and then absentmindedly picked up his book and wandered closer to the fire.

“No harm done,” whispered Kili, pleased.

They were then called to watch the ponies now that camp was set up; a task it seemed they’d be asked to do more often.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
bibliokat
Jan. 22nd, 2013 04:46 am (UTC)
I really like these! And hopefully I'll be seeing The Hobbit again (for only the 2nd time though:) this week!

I want to read so much more about Belladonna Took! Did Tolkien write about her too?
cosmicastaway
Jan. 22nd, 2013 05:22 am (UTC)
There's actually not a lot of information there, sadly. Enough to speculate and play with, but nothing beyond what you hear in Tolkien's The Hobbit.

Good to talk to you again Bibliokat. <3
bibliokat
Jan. 23rd, 2013 08:10 am (UTC)
Well, damn. That's what fanfiction is for, though!

You too! One of these days I'll cave and get a tumblr too :)
cosmicastaway
Jan. 24th, 2013 02:21 am (UTC)
Don't. It'll eat your soul and time and, well, not your money. But your TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME!

(but if you do, let me know.)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )