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Absconding

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He's had a very trying couple of weeks, coming home only to find that he'd been presumed dead and that most of his things had been auctioned off, just barely making it on time to save his home from the clutches of the Sackville-Bagginses.

It had been a good thing that he and Gandalf had stopped by the troll hoard on their way home, because heaven knows how he would have managed to buy everything back without having to use the silver and gold given to him by Bard, and he'd rather hold on to that as a keepsake.

Such as it was his homecoming had caused quite the stir, and even now he found himself besieged by distance relatives who wanted to see for themselves whether he was really back and, indeed, if he really was who he claimed to be.

So when he heard a knock on his door, a little on the late side for polite company, he merely sighed and hoped that it was some of his younger Took cousins, hoping for him to tell stories.

What he found on the other side of the door was a more pleasant shock than he'd been expecting.

"Kíli!" He is still for a moment, dumbstruck, but he is quick to open his arms in welcome and Kíli ducks between them, grabbing Bilbo around the middle and lifting him off of the floor, laughing a greeting.

There is an expressive, dainty cough, and Bilbo looks past Kíli to spy Tauriel, who gifts him with a kind smile.

"Good evening, Mister Baggins," she begins politely, and it almost feels strange, to have someone address him in such a genteel way, "I do hope we are not interrupting anything."

"Of course we're not," Kíli protests, stepping back to stand beside her, "before he left Bilbo said we'd be welcome at any time. Didn't you Bilbo?"

"Indeed I did." He agrees good-naturedly, although if he's honest he hadn't been expecting a visit for years. "Why don't you come inside?" He stands aside and his eyes flick between the two of them as they pass him by.

Something is definitely going on here, and he suspects that he knows what it is.

He serves his guests tea and calmly asks what brings them to The Shire so soon after Erebor was reclaimed.

Kíli grins widely, his chest puffing up with pride.

"We're eloping!"

Bilbo spits his tea halfway across the table.

"Eloping is not what I would call it," Tauriel quickly amends, her cheeks burning, "it's just that, when we asked permission from our respective guardians, they did not agree to the match."

Kíli slumps a little, but Tauriel shifts beside him and he straightens back up, throwing a captivated smile her way.

They're holding hands under the table, how adorable.

"There's still a lot of bad blood between our races, you see, so Uncle Thorin was not exactly pleased with the news."

"Old grudges take a very long time to die, I suppose," Bilbo nods sagely and mutters, "stubborn kings," into his tea.

"They tried to forbid us from seeing each other," Tauriel adds mournfully, "but I could not stand to step aside."

"Neither could I."

They share a meaningful look and suddenly Bilbo feels like an intruder in his own home. He fusses around with his teacup and keeps his eyes averted until the moment passes.

"So you see, there is no way that we could be wed at the mountain, not with things as they were, and Mirkwood would not have been any better. So we thought, maybe, that we could get married here. If it's not too much trouble." Kíli adds as an afterthought. "After all, to attempt to separate us after we've already pledged ourselves to each other, that would be quite scandalous."

"Yes, I imagine it would be very reprehensible. Dishonorable, even." Bilbo grins at them. "I will do everything I can to help you."

The pair smile widely, and when he shoos them off to the guest bedroom with the largest bed, because there was no point trying to separate them when they've been alone together on the road for months, they both give him a hug before saying goodnight.

He, on the other hand, stays up well into the early morning.

He's got a wedding to help plan, after all.