“Uncle.” Kili snickered. “Are those brass buttons?”
Thorin reached out to clip the chortling dwarf over the head.
“I didn't mean to cause offense!” Kili whined rubbing at his wounded head, “I was merely complementing your new attire.”
Thorin glanced down at himself again with a gruff sigh; he had been living in The Shire for little over a year now, clad still in his heavy furs and thick leather boots, a layer of armour constantly tucked under his clothing as precaution. Bilbo didn’t mind, but it set the tongues of Hobbits wagging furiously with one another.
He was after all the very opposite of the smartly dressed and clean shaven Hobbit folk. Children would cower behind their mothers and fathers would turn their noses up at him. Especially when he was seen walking hand in hand with little Frodo Baggins or sat casually on the bench outside of Bag End with Bilbo and his pipe.
He hadn't been bothered before, throwing scowls in the direction of those brave enough to mumble loud enough for them to hear. His stiff composure and bulkier frame proving intimidating to the simple Hobbits of The Shire who preferred to gossip and gloat at Thorin’s back.
But he had watched as Bilbo flushed and shifted uncomfortably under the scrutinising bellow of an elderly barmaid that had seen Frodo untucking his shirt and attempting to braid his lovely curls earlier in the week, one night in the tavern. His heart going out to the soft Hobbit as he stuttered and flushed under disapproving look.
He knew that Bilbo was a Hobbit of good standing, he was well known of among The Shire and had been a respectable Hobbit before his adventures and before he had come home with a Dwarf at his heels. Bilbo put his hands at his hips and told her sternly to mind her own business and to find something of better interest to fill her day.
Thorin knew that he had to try harder to fit in with the shire folk. If only for Bilbo’s benefit.
So here he was stood. In the living room of Bag End a brass buttoned up cobalt blue waist coat pulled over his bulky frame, a crisp white buttoned up shirt underneath, the sleeves rolled up over the thick muscles of his arms the material stretched and strained at his broad shoulders.
“Perhaps you should have purchased longer britches, uncle.” Kili snorted.
Thorin clipped him over the head again and grumbled at the chocolate britches that finished at the centre of his calf muscle, in the traditional hobbit fashion he had foregone his shoes and socks.
He felt a new wave if embarrassment wash over him when Killi could no longer hold back a booming laugh, the sound filling the room and setting Thorin’s teeth of edge furiously.
“I fear uncle that you look even scarier in that attire than you ever did in Erebor!”
Thorin growled folding his arms over his chest with a dangerous scowl aimed at the young dwarf, a look that would once have turned his nephews cold and had them both chanting apologies. Instead Killi's amusement increased and he doubled over in laughter.
If only Fili had been able to accompany him on his visit.
“Are you planning to cut your beard too?”
Thorin shook his head; the thought had crossed his mind. Trimming back his scraggly hair and shaving his beard to fit in with other traditional Hobbit men. Bilbo had laughed at the suggestion carding his fingers through Thorin’s hair and trailing down to twirl against the messy braid Frodo had attempted to fix into the dwarfs beard earlier that night before curling it around his wrist and pulling Thorin forward with a soft kiss.
The beard would stay.
“I am not a hobbit!” Thorin snapped. “I have merely taken to wearing clothing that does not cause my burglar to be the topic of gossiping tongues.”
“I’ve been the topic of gossiping tongue’s much longer than I have been considered your Burglar.” Bilbo laughed, smiling a greeting to Kili who waved enthusiastically at the Hobbit. “You look ridiculous.”
Thorin’s chest deflated, a wounded look forming over his features when Kili and Bilbo both chuckled at the former king. Had it not been for his stubborn majestic demeanour his cheeks would have powdered with the distinct flush of embarrassment. Instead he balled his hands into a fist and barrelled past his chuckling companions with a hearty huff.
Bilbo rolled his eyes, ridiculously knocking at his own bedroom door before slipping quietly to find Thorin sat with his arms crossed over his chest, his Hobbit style clothing pooled at the foot of the bed. His thick furs and heavy boots back on and a look that made Bilbo’s heart flutter with nostalgia.
“My mother was a Took.” Bilbo mumbled. “Hobbits of The Shire have always talked of me and my strange ways, you’ve only added oil to the flame in becoming my companion.”
“I just wanted to suit better at your side.” Thorin grumbled disheartened.
“You do,” Bilbo smiled, “how would you feel at my attempt at being a Dwarf?”
“You would not need to. It was a Hobbit burglar that managed to steal my heart. Not a Dwarf.”
“Like wise.” Bilbo grinned.
Thorin flushed awkwardly shifted uncomfortably on the bed before turning away from the Hobbit with a slow burning smile that Bilbo pretended he couldn’t see in the Dwarfs reflection.
Stupid Dwarfs. Bilbo smiled.