Thorin 'Oakenshield' Durin was in love.
At six years old, one would question the validity of the statement, but Thorin was indeed head over heels, over the moon, and soaring above the stars in love.
He knew a thing or two about love. His father liked to tell of how the first time he saw Thorin’s mother, he couldn’t breathe. The air had been knocked out of him, his mother was so beautiful and unbelievably perfect. His mother also liked to tell him stories before bedtime that involved lovers who would do anything for the other person. Anything to be near.
Thorin could relate.
And the name of the person with whom Thorin was inexplicably, ardently, and explicitly in love with was none other than Bilbo Baggins. The curly haired, big eyed, boy that had transferred into Thorin’s class a month earlier.
He was, in Thorin’s mind, perfect.
The moment the boy stood before the class – in spotless sneakers, khaki shorts that fell just below his knees and a bright green vest over a button down shirt – and announced, “I’m Bilbo Baggins. I moved from Hobbibibton to here. And I’ve got a loose tooth. See!” Thorin forgot how to breathe.
He was utterly and completely enchanted. He watched in wonder as Bilbo smiled wide and blew air repeatedly so his tooth wiggled. He could feel his heart thump rapidly in his chest, just waiting to jump out and fall into Bilbo’s tiny hands as the boy brushed past Thorin to find his seat at the table behind him.
“Dwalin,” Thorin said one day at lunch as he poked a hole into his juice box.
“I’m in love,” Thorin declared. He was nothing, if not decisive.
Dwalin swallowed a bite of his PB & J sandwich. “Yeah? Who you in love with?” Dwalin asked.
“Bilbo,” Thorin answered as he opened his pudding cup.
Dwalin looked across the classroom to take a good look at Bilbo. The boy in question was happily munching on carrots. Dwalin wrinkled his nose. “But he’s really small. If you tried to kiss him, you’d crush him,” Dwalin reasoned. “Papa always tries to kiss Ma but she shoves him away cause she says Papa is a big monster that’ll squash her if he tries anything smart.” He took another bite of his sandwich. “I don’t know why Mama doesn’t want Papa to be smart.”
Thorin nodded his head. He hadn’t considered that. Compared to Thorin (or Dwalin), Bilbo was indeed tiny. Practically a head smaller. He could pass for a pre-schooler. Thorin would hate if he crushed Bilbo. “I don’t care,” Thorin finally admitted. “I still love him.” Then after a brief moment added, “And I’m not going to kiss him. That’s gross.”
With a shrug of his shoulders, Dwalin finished his lunch. “Are you going to tell him?”
It had crossed Thorin’s mind once or twice, but he didn’t know how to go about it. “Should I?”
“You have to,” Dwalin advised. “It’s the law.”
Well then. Thorin would just have to tell Bilbo.
Bilbo could usually be found at the coloring table during recess. Yes, he had a sense of adventure, but the other kids were much bigger than he was and as the new kid, he wasn’t sure how to make friends. At his old school, Bilbo had grown up with his classmates. They were his neighbors and cousins. But here, the kids were just a bit intimidating.
So when Mr. Grey announced it was time for recess, Bilbo made his way to the coloring table, grabbed a piece of paper and went to find the crayons. Only the crayon bin was missing. Which was very, very odd.
Bilbo put his hands on his hips and stared at the empty drawer. Where could those crayons have gone?
There was a quiet cough behind him and Bilbo turned around to spy one of his classmates sitting at the coloring table, the entire bin in his lap. “Are you going to share?” Bilbo asked, concerned that Thorin was going to hog the colors. Smaug had done the exact same thing the week earlier and Mr. Grey had given him a timeout.
The classmate nodded, and Bilbo’s smile returned. “I’m Bilbo,” Bilbo introduced, sticking out his chubby hand to the boy.
Thorin stared at the proffered hand but didn’t shake like Bilbo expected. Instead he stood up and bowed. “Thorin,” he replied before sitting back down, clutching onto the crayon bin tightly.
“I’m not a princess,” Bilbo huffed as he sat down. He looked at his white sheet of paper and back at the crayons. “Can I have a blue one?”
Thorin stuck his hand into bin and pulled out a blue crayon and rolled it across the table. Bilbo picked it up and frowned. “That’s not blue,” Bilbo said.
“Yes it is,” Thorin scowled.
“This blue’s too – it’s not – I need a not so dark blue,” Bilbo told Thorin.
Thorin dug into the bin and pulled out another blue crayon. Bilbo sighed. Thorin’s eyes went wide. Had he chosen another wrong crayon? He threw it back in the bin and found another one. Bilbo just shook his head. Thorin had no idea there were so many different types of blue.
Bilbo picked up his sheet of paper and sat down next to Thorin. He rummaged through the crayon bin and found the exact shade of blue he wanted. “This one,” Bilbo told Thorin as he put crayon to paper and drew two round circles.
He put the crayon back in the bin and grabbed a brown crayon.
“What are you drawing?” Thorin asked, leaning over the bin to get a closer look at Bilbo’s drawing.
Bilbo put his arm around his paper and made a face at Thorin. “It’s a surprise,” Bilbo whispered gleefully.
As Bilbo grabbed crayons and worked on his picture, Thorin sat there and watched. He let himself take in the wonder that was Bilbo Baggins. He hadn’t meant to steal the crayons. But he wanted to talk to Bilbo. And now they were friends.
All in all, the mission could be considered a success.
Except Thorin still hadn’t told Bilbo he loved him.
“Bilbo,” Thorin wondered, clutching tightly to the crayons.
“Yeah?” Bilbo asked, his tongue sticking out of his mouth as he concentrated on his picture.
Thorin swallowed. “Nothing,” he deflated.
They sat for the remainder of recess in silence, the only sound that of Bilbo picking up and discarding crayons and the crayons being rubbed against paper.
“Finished!” Bilbo declared with a smile, slamming his crayon onto the table.
He held up his picture to reveal a drawing of what could only be two familiar boys. One was Bilbo and the other was Thorin. Bilbo had a big smile, yellow curls, and oversized feet. Thorin had a mop of black hair, blue eyes, and a frown.
“It’s me and you,” Bilbo explained. “Do you like it?”
Thorin nodded his head dumbly. “I – I lo – love it,” Thorin stuttered out.
Bilbo preened under the compliment and handed it to Thorin. “You can have it.”
“Thank you,” Thorin marveled.
Bilbo grinned. “Will you color with me again tomorrow?” Bilbo asked, as a blush colored his cheeks.
Thorin nodded dumbly and Bilbo clapped his hands in excitement, pulling Thorin into a hug. Thorin was rooted to the spot, even after Bilbo had let go and Mr. Grey was announcing the end of recess. But Thorin didn’t care.
Bilbo hugged him. With a silly grin on his face, Thorin put back the crayon bin and sat back down at his table, his picture from Bilbo clutched tightly in his hand.
Bilbo hugged him. Him.
Tomorrow, Thorin would draw a picture for Bilbo. Then he’d tell Bilbo he loved him. And if he didn’t do it tomorrow, then he had every recess for the rest of their lives.
Thorin nodded to himself. It was a good plan.