As the Company of Thorin Oakenshield traveled through the every narrowing pathway within the foothills leading from Rivendell to the Misty Mountains, Balin paused. He stepped to the side so that those behind him could continue down from the current hill without disturbing their steps and looked at the slope they were on, comparing it to the steeper slope of the next hill. He sighed and muttered, “I’m gettin’ too old for this.”
The sound of laughter as the Princes, Bofur, and Hobbit brought up the rear of the group warmed Balin’s heart and he picked up his pace again, though still off to one side of the trail proper. He wasn’t sure what exactly happened, but the sound of a thump preceded a horrified gasp and a sudden concerted cry from Fili, Kili, and Bofur.
Balin turned swiftly mid-step, balance off kilter slightly, just in time for the Company’s burglar to smack full force into him and send them both tumbling. They rolled by a startled Ori and Dori, smacked a dawdling Bifur off his feet, and bounced off Bombur to be knocked clear off the pathway all together and down the steeper, less forgiving side of the hill to the startled shriek of the Hobbit and surprised yelp of Balin himself.
Back up on the pathway, the other dwarves clustered at the point where Bilbo and Balin had tumbled off the main track and cringed each time there was a thud and snapping branch as the two were out of sight in the brush and obviously still falling. Eventually there was silence. After a moment, Kili spoke up, voice full of dread. “Are they… Dead?”
Dwalin snorted. “Burglar might be, but not Balin.”
This did little to comfort the younger members of the group and Bofur got down on hands and knees to peer down the path of destruction the duo had left in their wake. Not seeing anything, he called down. “Bilbo! Balin!” He paused. “Ye dead?”
Down in the small canyon, where the shrub and tree trunks grew strong and thick, Balin and Bilbo were both gasping for breath. Their tumble had stopped when they’d fetched up against a tree, knocking the air from their lungs. Once able to focus on more than trying to breathe again, Balin spoke up. “All right there, lass?”
His eyes had been closed, but he knew Bilbo had landed atop him somehow and now he opened his eyes, tilting his head up slightly to look at her only to be met with the most interesting sight. It was shiny, sleek, and plump… Like perfect rubies. He couldn’t comprehend what he was seeing. Where had rubies come from out here? It wasn’t until he noticed the rubies shifting in time to the burglar trying to catch her breath that his focus widened… and his eyes widened as well. The Hobbit’s legs were emerging from the rubies, one going on either side of his head! And her thick travel skirt had managed to flip up, baring what was undoubtedly her ruby clad backside to his eyes!
Balin felt his face start to burn as he realized just how close this position put his face to Bilbo’s lady parts. And yet his eyes were glued to the shimmering ruby that was her posterior. His thoughts rapidly fired around his head. What was that on her bum? How’d she get it to shine so? Dwarrowdams wore nothing at all like that, he knew. When you managed to talk your way into getting one in bed, they were short trousers under their skirts that had too many ties. He couldn’t comprehend the tiny little thing clinging to the Hobbit lass’s plump bottom.
“Balin?” Bilbo had finally caught her breath. “I’m okay.” She moved to push herself up, and it wasn’t until she was almost in a sitting position that she realized she was pushing against Balin’s stomach to lift up… Then that meant… She angled her head down and saw the tips of Balin’s snowy beard peeking out from under her skirt. Which meant that the tingling, slightly scratchy, fluffy feeling on her thighs was… She froze before suddenly diving off to the side and standing up.
Balin’s saucer-like eyes only grew larger as he felt Bilbo press on him and start to sit up, sending her ruby-rear closer and closer to his nose. His face was on fire. Suddenly the light cut out as her shifting angle caused her skirt to fall back into place and cover both her rubies and his head. And, just as he felt the barest graze of something silky on his large nose, she froze. He gasped in surprise, both at the silky texture and the sudden movement of Bilbo throwing herself off to the side and lifted himself up into a more sitting position, turning wide-eyes and a reddened face to the equally red-faced Bilbo.
“I’m so sorry, Balin! I have no idea how that happened…” She fussed with her skirt, making sure it was completely and properly down and covering everything it was supposed to before moving to help Balin stand. “Just wasn’t proper at all. So terribly sorry.”
Eventually Balin managed to speak up. “It’s… it’s fine, lass. T’was an accident after all.” Thankfully a more convenient distraction came along in the sound of the other dwarves calling down. “Why don’t we see if we can figure out how to get out of here, now. Hmm?”
“Oh, yes, of course.” Bilbo looked around, quickly spotting the broken brush that marked the direction they’d fallen from. She went back in that direction until a minor drop-off prevented her from going higher. “Oh dear… Looks like we’re going to have to follow this canyon and see if we can meet up with them when the slope evens out.”
“I was afraid of that. Best call up to them.” Which he did and soon the matter was arranged and Balin and Bilbo walked between the tree trunks in the canyon, heading to meet up with the rest of the Company.
Every time she glanced back at Balin, Bilbo flushed slightly before her gaze darted away again, the memory of his beard tickling at her thighs fresh in her mind.
And Balin… Well, his face was pretty much permanently the color of Bilbo’s jacket, a few shades darker than the rubies of her plump backside… And every time he thought of it, which happened quite frequently, the blush deepened again. When they finally rejoined the others, cheers all around the company, he had to brush off the comments on his reddened face with excuses of his age…
For which only Thorin and Dwalin doubted his sincerity, both knowing he was not as old as his snowy hair made him seem. They shared a look, both nodding that they’d try to get the real reason for why Balin was blushing like a dwarfling out of their friend and brother as soon as possible.