The tall dwarf strode through the halfling village. A virtual arsenal attached to harnesses on his back. Each arranged to not block the access to the other. They sat snug and secure. A set of bags arranged over his belt at his side and knuckle-dusters on his hands. A green hood covered his head, piercing eyes looked out of a face set in a scowl. He looked not just violent but as if violence danced in his shadow. He turned his head from time to time as something or someone caught his eye and inhaled visibly. He snorted once and startled the anxious hobbits that watched him pass. As he turned down a road nearing the central meadow a stirring in the bushes ahead of him had him slowing his pace. Steel toed boots came to a halt as a child fell into his path. The bush quivered again a sound of giggles coming from within as the hobbitling righted itself glaring up at his chest before tilting its head back even further and almost falling over. The glare on the little creature fell away as it got a better look at him and turned into wonder for a moment before it stepped back shook itself and its laterite colored hair.
"You are being a bully." Tiny little hand went to tiny hips as mud colored eyes glared.
It startled the dwarrow and he blinked a few times before realizing his error. Too long in the wilds had influenced him too much. He could smell the nervous fear on the child but his courage made the old warrior proud for its father. "And why do you say that?" He almost added laddie to it but the child was too brave for that.
"You scared my papa and uncle and they came home and slammed and locked the door." The little pebble stomped his big foot not done with his chastisement. "Being a bully is not polite."
The warrior could feel eyes on him, not just from the bushes but behind him on the path. He wasn't frightened by any means considering the temperament of these halflings but any creature can be vicious when its young is in danger. He went to one knee in front of the fierce little one and raised an eyebrow in question. "Now I didn't mean to scare your kin. I've been travelin' too long." He watched as the boy relaxed and nodded at his words. Some of the tension leaving their section of the path.
"Well then if you are a traveller then you must be hungry and tired and that will make anyone angry looking." The brave little pebble straightened his waistcoat and took a deep breath. "Mica Proudfoot at your service". He bowed. "I am sure we can find some...thing. He searched his pockets.before pulling out a handkerchief that spewed a few crumbs as he began to open it.
The hooded head bowed as he spoke in a warm grumble. "Dwalin son of Fundin at yours. Thanks but I am supposed to meet someone.." His words trailed off as he watched the young one looked past him over his shoulder and a hand flew to his knife as words were spoken way too close for his comfort.
"Mica you can go home now with your cousins and tell your parents that all is well. Thank you for being such a polite and proper young hobbit." The voice was calm and filled with pride. The little pebble's chest swelled up before he nodded and two more younglings tumbled out of the bush before turning and running down the path with a "Yes Mister Baggins" over their shoulders.
Dwalin pivoted as he stood, a glower on his face again as he faced the adult hobbit that was just out of arm's length.
The halfling carried no weapons but a small knife at his waist and did not look to be a warrior nor guard. He had snuck up on him and had at least some training of some kind from how he held himself. He was no threat and the friendly smile supported the big dwarf's assessment. Strong arms crossed as his eyebrow raised in question.
"Bilbo Baggins at your service Mr. Dwalin." Small hands went to the bottom of the hobbit's waistcoat straightening it in what was obviously a nervous habit. "I believe I am who you are looking for. Though I told the wizard... Oh never mind that now. Please follow me. My smial is just up the path this way." The hobbit turned though keeping an eye on him. He made a little beckoning motion with his hand before giving the large dwarf his back.
Dwalin sniffed the air again as he started following the hobbit. "Y'r right the wizard sent us here to meet ya." The scent was annoyed. The tension in the little body showed the flash of something close to anger but then it was gone the distraction draining away in a deep exhale. The acceptance or resignation from the little one brought a raised eyebrow to the old warrior. "He didn't tell ya?"
The hobbit paused with a slight turn and a small smile. "No. In fact I told him, No adventures but invited him for tea. But when does a wizard take no for an answer?" Honey curls bounced as the halfling shook his head in cheerful resignation. "Don't worry. I enjoy guests even if wizards send them." His smile welcoming and genuine he reached out a hand gently touching the large scared arm of the warrior with just a brush of fingertips before continuing towards the top of the little hill.
Touched..feel..his arm..calm scent of apples and bread close...rest. Dwalin shook his head, to focus again. He scowled and tightened his hands. Knuckle-dusters clanking, metal pressing against his hands. He shrugged his shoulders and felt the weight of his weapons in their harnesses. Everything was as it should be.
The halfling...Baggins had made it to a small gate and opened it smiling and waiting for him. His body was relaxed there was no anxiety or frustration. As the big dwarf's entered the waist high gate, the halfling closed it behind him then hurried past him to the round green door. "Please when you come in take off your boots and your large weapons." He opened the door not having to unlock it. A trusting group or was there no crime? He blinked as he realized what had been asked of him and he narrowed his eyes at the halfling.
Little hobbit hands raised up toward him palms showing and empty. "Please keep as many small weapons as you need Master Dwarf." Automatically assessing the callouses on the hands of the hobbit, pen, knife, both hands, and a few other tools but all but the ones on his fingers were light, the dwarf took a single step into the hobbit home. Bilbo looked relieved and happy. "The table there to the side will support what you leave for now." The little one bustled about headed further down the hall. "I will get lunch started. Make yourself comfortable". He went through a doorway and left the dwarf in the front hall.
Dwalin growled softly as he inhaled the scent of the entry hall. Mostly hobbits had passed this way. His host being the strongest as was right but there were no others that stood out. He took the hood off and hung it on one of a row of hooks. He relaxed a little and began removing his weapons. The head of his war hammer slid down and rested against the wall. The scent of baking bread began to fill the hobbit's home. The large dwarf took off his signature axes and rested them next to his war hammer. The two smaller throwing axes were set on the table and he began removing the leather harnesses. His body shaking slightly with the relief. Relaxing but needing something more. He glanced down the hall and heard happy humming and chopping. He indulged his instinct and rubbed his back and head against the front door and then against the corner of the wall. The itchiness relieved there was a low rumble in his chest as he bent to unfasten and remove his boots.
He followed the sound of singing to the kitchen and watched the little thing moving about. Sliced meat and cheese as well as some kind of plant pieces were set off to the side. Honey colored curls bounced as the hobbit took small sweet biscuits out of the oven and set them to the side before taking the bread and a fork and splitting it while it was still warm. Dwalin reached for a piece of the meat and a hand came out with a quick smack on the top of his hand. The shock made him drop the meat and growl but the cry of pain from the hobbit, made him take a step back. With his knuckle-dusters on, his hands were protected but, the soft hands of his host were not. The little being cradled one hand with the other and turned pained eyes up at the dwarf. "I'm sorry Mister Dwalin," he winced "I shouldn't have. I am too used to my cousins".
Protect. Dwalin reacts before he can think. Instinct makes him takes the hurt hand into his own. The hobbit makes a small yelp of surprise before silence as his hand is massaged gently. A soft grunt and an abrupt, " No apologies necessary" came from the warrior in reply. They both looked down to where the large scarred and tattooed hands engulfing but cradling the little one. A light blush tinted the hobbit's cheeks and he cleared his throat softly before looking up into steel grey eyes. Quickly hands were withdrawn. "I..will wait in the" he paused and looked back up from his clenched hands. "The other room." He retreated out the other door he could see and into the dining room. He sat in his usual place just next to the head of the table and put his head in his hands growling. Tension once again strong through his muscles.
Bilbo looked down at his hands and blinked a few times slowly. The finger tips hurt a little but his hand actually felt rather nice. He smiled a little, even in his embarrassment and glanced into the other room. The dwarf was rough in appearance, gruff and somewhat scary in attitude and yet, yet he was gentle. He watched the dwarf clench at his scalp, the knuckle-dusters chiming and straining across his hands. The renewed tension in the dwarf made him feel that he was being a bad host and he bustled back into the kitchen.
Bread was drizzled with a rosemary flavored oil, juicy pieces of meat stacked with cheese and lettuce leaves, sweet ripe tomatoes from his garden sliced with care were added as a finishing touch. A plate with pickles and olives was quickly pulled together and set aside. Crackers and toasted cheese curls put into bowls. Onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers as well as a crumbled salty cheese, that had all been soaking in a vinegar and oil herb mixture was uncovered and added to the growing pile. It was a light lunch but not bad. He threw his own sandwich together and made three more just in case before slicing them all in half and placing them on a tray. He took plates and silverware into the dining room placing a setting before the dwarf and where he would sit. A low growl startled him slightly but he spoke softly to the obviously tired dwarf.
"Mister Dwalin? Would you like ale or cider with lunch?" He didn't touch the dwarf though he wanted to make him feel more welcome and relaxed. He got a grunt for his trouble but the dwarf put his hands down and looked at him from under his eyebrows. Bilbo chuckled softly. "Ale sounds about right for now." He said with a smile and left the room taking plates and bowls of food out and placing them on the table. Soon not an open spot was available at the end of the table where they sat. The last trip from the kitchen brought two tankards of ale. He placed one before the dwarf and the other he took a sip of as he sat across from Dwalin. Wide grey eyes looked at Bilbo who raised his eyebrow in question. "T'is a lot" gruff and surly voice replied to the hobbit. "Oh no Mr Dwalin it is actually a light lunch for having a guest. If you would like more it is simple to make it. " Bilbo smiled reassuringly and put a sandwich on the dwarf's plate before one on his own then reached for the crisps. "Eat all you like please."
The dwarf needed no more encouragement and began to devour the food on the table. Bilbo smiled and ate his own sandwich and some of the salad as well as crisps. He laughed at the growl from the dwarf as he put some of the salad on their plate. He also enjoyed the raised eyebrows of surprise and watching his guest devor the salad and reach for more. The hobbit ate his own food incidentally as his attention was centered on the slowly relaxing dwarf. Hard times were written across his skin. Callouses of both weapons and tools were on those hands. The knuckle-dusters had seen action and repair. Muscular forearms were scared with the tale tell tiny spots of burning metal that only blacksmiths had and all blacksmiths had them, as well as battle scars of both metal and animal. The skin was toughened by wind and rain and browned and freckled by the sun. It looked strange on a dwarf to have it so. Scars were a theme on what of his body that the hobbit could see. The state of the clothing was near the same as well as both being dirty. His gaze continued up those sturdy arms to shoulders ment to carry the mule as well as the plow it pulled. The dwarf's sinewy neck had a plain leather gorget or collar, he wasn't sure. Strong jaw with dark brown and greying beard and moustache. Lips chapped with a small scar at the left corner. Tongue darted out to gather crumbs from the other corner.
Bilbo licked across his own bottom lip in a sub conscious mimic, as his hazel eyes moved to meet piercing grey. Old and strong like the rest of him. Like the mountains and rock that dwarves were said to be carved from. Solid depths but a question surfaced, hope stirred in those eyes. Bilbo blinked and his gaze refocused on the entire man and his cheeks warmed. "I... I should go...go get food started for tea... Yes tea and dinner if more are coming companions?" He knew he was stuttering and flummoxed. It bothered him but there was something primal about the dwarf that cried out to the Took in him. Dwalin grunted softly and started to raise a hand towards him but that was too much and he stood stumbling a little retreating to the kitchen.
Dwalin growled at himself for frightening the little critter, then sighed and worked on finishing the food and listening to the hobbit in the kitchen and inhaling the scent of his mixed up emotions.
Feeling full for the first time in months the dwarrow stood walking to the kitchen. The hobbit had settled fairly quickly and the scents of calm and sweet biscuits filled the air. "Master Baggins? Baths?" He paused in his gruff question before remembering his manners. "Please I stink."
The hobbit was mildly startled and turned then smiled up at him. "Oh, I am sorry Mr. Dwalin let me show you." He dusted his hands against his apron and then walked.towards the dwarrow. Dwalin took a step to the side inhaling the strong scent as the curls passed beneath his nose. Calm and something else began to settle in his lungs. The hobbit paused and looked up at him and smiled a little from so close before he continued down the corridor. "This way Mr. Dwalin. I can take your clothing to wash if you like." Busy little steps down the hall ahead of him curls touched by sunlight and warm lamp light, smelling of sweets and spices. Dwalin followed his feet making noise on the wood and carpet. Yet his host made not a sound. Disconcerting but not too badly. There was too much other tells that put him at ease. He grunted and blinked paying attention to the hobbit's warm ramble. "So how many others should I expect Mr. Dwalin?" The little one stopped in front of a door and then opened it revealing a good sized bathroom with a tiled floor and tub. Metal taps and pipes in three areas, one for the tub, another the sink, the last for something attached to the ceiling with a little chain hanging down. The hobbit chuckled at his questioning eyebrow. "It's a shower like a watering can in the garden. You turn the taps then pull the chain. Nice for a quick rinse before a soak." He walked in and showed off the mechanism his movements fast so only his fingers were wet after drawing the chain. Fast...fast and silent perhaps a burglar in deed. Yet he did not have the other tells such as Nori had. The dwarrow pulled himself from his thoughts and answered the question from before. "Twelve more not including the wizard." His voice rumbled in the tiled room. The scent from.the hobbit changed and though there was a bit of frustration at the answer there was something more and it had him inhaling deeply. The corner of his lips lifted in a wolfish smirk and he began to undo the ties on his jerkin. The hobbit watched for a moment then came to his senses a bit too soon for the big dwarf's liking. "Uhhem yes just leave your clothes by the..." The jerkin was pulled off over his head leaving just the thin undershirt. " the door and I will get them robe over there." A vague toss of the little one's hand at the wall with shelves of linens and hung up robes. Dwalin continued to grin as he pulled off the undershirt and stood taller, broad furred, tattooed, and scarred, torso on display. The hobbit blushed and took a step back. His voice nearly squeaked. "I'll just go make prepared rooms, food..." He turned and silently fled to the sound of Dwalin's rumbling chuckle.