It was not Thorin's best day.
Through some terrible combination of ill luck and magic, the Company no longer had a burglar. Instead, they had a tiny Hobbit child, who clung to Thorin's leathers like a Dwarf child would their mother's skirts. He could barely walk around without the Halfling sniffling about him going too fast or calling out his name in a high-pitched voice or grabbing at one of his hands. Multiple times he had barked to one of the others to take the child for Durin's sake but inevitably, tiny Bilbo would end up clinging to Thorin again.
None of the other Dwarves quite understood why, and they were all rather hesitant to make comment about it. Thorin knew exactly why, and he thought that the sniveling brat had another thing coming, when he returned to normal. And he would return to normal. Gandalf had verified this, after poking and prodding the Hobbit child for well over an hour, much to Bilbo's consternation.
The Halfling child had pouted and cried and made threat to run away, but one blue-eyed glower from Thorin had him pinned in place, and Bilbo had suffered Gandalf's mutterings and pokes in a fierce sulk. If Thorin was not so irritated by that tiny face, he would have been amused. As it was, he was determined to ignore Bilbo as much as possible.
To no avail.
"Thooorin! Wait for me! You're walking too fast again!" cried Bilbo from behind him, making Thorin grit his teeth.
"Now now, laddie, Thorin just has longer legs than you do, there's a good child --" Balin was trying to pacify the child. Thorin knew it was useless.
"NO! He's just a mean old fat-headed Dwarf! He NEVER waits! I've been running after him ALL this time!" He could feel his eye twitching now.
"But Bilbo, don't you want to walk with us? You can ride on my shoulders!" Kili said in a sweet tone, and the dangerous silence that was Bilbo's response nearly made Thorin smile.
"No," said the tiny Hobbit very clearly, and then Thorin felt a tug on his cloak, just a moment before something scurried up his back and clung to his neck.
He choked and reached up to grab at tiny hands, but they evaded him, and Bilbo scrambled for a better grip, thankfully with less choking, but somehow with more hair-pulling.
"I want to ride on Thorin's shoulders!" cried the tiny Halfling, and Thorin thought very darkly of exactly what he would do to Bilbo for this humiliation when he returned to normal.
Again his nephews tried to plea and reason with the child, but Bilbo was having none of it. He was hell-bent on causing as much mayhem as possible, and Thorin suffered it in dignified silence, his expression stormy and brooding. He paused at the edge of a small cliff and looked over the small valley beyond them, feeling the wind blow through his hair, and for a moment he felt normal again. They were on a proper quest, and soon they would make their way to his home and the kingdom that belonged to him --
"THORIN! LOOK! THERE'S SNOW UP THERE!" cried a tiny (but suspiciously loud) voice by his large ear, rattling his eardrums.
Oh for fuck's sake.
He grabbed the child and dragged him away from the company, setting him on the ground facing away from the Company and giving him such a glare that Bilbo shut his mouth over his protests immediately. "You were not this evil as a child!" he whispered, and Bilbo gave a tiny smirk before screwing up his face as if to cry.
Thorin panicked. "No no no! Bilbo, please stop! I am sorry for the other night! Just please do not bawl!"
Bilbo paused, his tiny fists about to rub at his dry eyes, and he gave Thorin a piercing look. "And?" he said very quietly.
Oh but evil was in this Hobbit. "And -- and I should not have gone to think --"
"Brood," said Bilbo with such a sweet expression that Thorin wanted to shake him.
Thorin clenched his jaw but carried on, "Brood, that is, I should not be... brooding, during the only small bit of time we could have had to ourselves. When I... should have been with you."
Bilbo surveyed him for a long moment, and finally gave an imperious nod. "Apology accepted. Now, pick me up and carry me properly, or else I will cry and Gandalf will come running and he will find out you've been horrible to me."
Thorin scowled, but Bilbo screwed up his face again as if to scream, and the exiled King quickly picked up the Hobbit child and tucked him against his side, muttering under his breath as he did, "Gandalf should have figured out that you retained your normal mind, so that we would not have this mess."
Curling his fingers around one of Thorin's braids, Bilbo smiled. "What makes you think he didn't?"
Thorin was very tempted to throw him off the cliff.