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Warmth

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Bilbo scrunched his nose as the wind picked up, blowing a leaf onto his face before moving on with its journey through the air. If only it was that easy for their travels. Bilbo Baggins, instead of his fine goose-feathered mattress back home, was curled up on his scratchy bedroll. As he kept telling himself, it wouldn’t be the last time he wished for the finer things he once had. He curled his hands around the thin cloth that acted as a sheet and pulled it closer. The wind had also brought a chill, which seemed to him quite unnatural for this time of year. It was August, for goodness sakes.

He shivered and rolled to his side, curling his legs to his chest, with the vain hope that facing the dying fire would warm him slightly. The dull heat that radiated from the fire pit was like a soft touch to his skin, but nothing more. Bilbo scrunched his eyes shut, craving sleep. They had walked miles today and would walk miles more tomorrow.

He started focusing on his breathing, trying to block out the snores of all the other dwarves as he did every night, which finally lulled him into a half-sleep. At the moment he could feel himself drifting off into slumber, part of his brain suddenly realized something was different. Something had changed. He groggly licked his lips, and shifted slightly trying to place what was—oh. Oh.

It suddenly clicked in his mind that one of the main things that probably was a bit different was that there was unexpectedly a body curled up next to his. He squirmed again slightly and he could feel that it fit against his like a key in a lock. It also suddenly occurred to him that a larger hand across his abdomen held him close.

His eyes shot open, vision slightly blurred from grogginess, but he focused on the red and black embers of the fire before him.

“What—“ he whispered, looking down at the hand on his chest. It was rough, like hewn from a boulder, and Bilbo noticed a ring on one of the fingers that was…

“Shhh,” Thorin’s gruff voice mumbled. He pulled Bilbo in closer. Bilbo just opened his mouth but nothing came out in surprise.

“It’s cold,” he muttered into Bilbo’s shoulder, as if that explained everything. Bilbo raised an eyebrow at this, but was still undecided of what to do. He had to admit that this was much warmer, probably the reason he had had almost fallen asleep. He pursed his lips in thought.

Thorin had been much friendlier towards him after Bilbo had saved his life. Bilbo huffed; quite right he should too. He had hugged him then, and had hugged him several times afterwards, but Bilbo figured it was just a Dwarvish sign of affection, comradery with the group, acceptance, all of which he welcomed. But this, this, to him, seemed like more.

“Thorin?” Bilbo asked hesitantly, craning his neck towards where he assumed Thorin’s face would be.

“Hmh?”

He tried to figure out how to most delicately ask this; offending Thorin once again was not at the top of his to-do list.

“Aren’t there… other dwarves that would do better?”

There was silence. He could almost feel Thorin’s eyes upon him, scrutinizing him.

“No,” Thorin said simply, and out of the corner of his eye, Bilbo could see him with his eyes closed, smiling. Bilbo sighed, resigning himself to the situation. He had been in much worse, truth be told.

And if he was honest with himself, he liked this arrangement. He was finally warm; Thorin curled up next to him was much more comfortable than he would admit out loud, and it just felt… Bilbo stopped.

It was late his brain finally suggested to him. He yawned, and settled his arms over the larger one on his chest and drifted into one of the most pleasant sleeps he had gotten in months.

Thorin was gone when he awoke the next morning.