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Divine Visitations

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            There weren’t many in The Ever Green Fields that didn’t know The Baggins. There was Bag End One, a small version of the original, that housed Bungo and Belladonna, and then there was Bag End Too, the home of Bilbo Baggins and his Dwarf, Thorin Oakenshield. Each home was built into one large hill, but faced opposite ways, and there was the large, oak tree on top of the hill that was essentially the calling card of the Baggins compound.

            Often, there were small parties under the oak tree and today was no different.

            The warm breeze lifted the ends of the table clothes but only enough to cause a pleasant ripple effect; not enough to lift the clothes from the table. The dancing pattern of embroidered lavender blossoms and oak leaves along the cloth’s edge was merry and seemed to beckon to onlookers to taste the delicious faire laid upon the tables.

            There was much food to be had as was usual. Delicious cold meats on shining platters next to fresh side salads of potato, broccoli and coleslaw; fresh fruit salads of apple and citrus, along side three bean and carrot salads as well.   Barrels of ale and mead accompanied sparkling glass containers of lemonade and punch. Down in Bag End Too, deserts of all kinds, apple pie, vanilla bunt cake with raspberry filling – Thorin’s favorite, as well as a mix-berry cobbler, peach tart and lemon pudding; all laid out and ready for the end of the meal.

            In other words, a typical Hobbit outdoor luncheon.

            Bilbo and Thorin had recently returned to Bag End Too. They had been away to The Halls of Waiting to visit Thorin’s family and of course, Bilbo’s parents insisted that there be a welcoming home party upon their arrival home.

            Not that the Hobbits of The Ever Green Fields actually needed an excuse for a party; they hardly needed a reason in life, why in the world would they need one in the afterlife?

            Such silly things, reasons are!

            Naturally, Belladonna had invited all the close family friends; Myrtle Merrywheather and her husband Farabert, Myrtle’s sister Gemma Greenfield and her husband Wazo, Asphodel Brownfoot and her husband Fortham, Rosemary Waterfield and her husband Toman, Queenie Burrows and her husband Tosco – the former blacksmith, and few other Brandybuck, Took and Baggins relatives. Why even Odo Proudfoot was going to make an appearance!

            Most of the men, along with Thorin, were down in Bag End One, chatting and sharing Gerontius Took’s latest sample of his famous cider, while Bilbo, his mother and most of the women were making sure everything was in place and chatting over each other.

            “Should we have a small table just for the plates and flatware?”

            “Maybe we should arrange everything in groups by main dish, vegetable, fruit and desert? Or just leave it hodge-podge?

            “Leave it as is – but for sure a separate table for plates and flatware.”

            “Bilbo, what about faultlings?”

            “Bella, dear, should we bring the deserts out now or later?”

            “Are there any we should expect that weren’t invited?”

            “Let’s let fauntlings sit where they like.”

            “What about extra blankets?”

            “Let’s leave the deserts downstairs for now.”

            “Lobelia better not show up – Or so help me I will take that umbrella of hers and shove it right up …”

            “BILBO!”

            “Is anyone going to sit at the tablets or just on the ground?”

            “There you are, sanâzyung.”

            Bilbo felt two warm hands slide around his waist just as Thorin’s nose nuzzled the pointed shell of his right ear. He twisted in Thorin’s embrace to wrap his arms around his Dwarf’s neck and pull him into a quick but deep kiss.

            They held each other close, even as they broke apart.

            “How many ciders have you had?” Bilbo asked with a slight narrow gaze but still smiled at his love.

            Thorin smiled, his eyes a little hooded. “A couple.”

            “A couple.”

            “Yes.

            “A Couple usually means two, Thorin. Not six.”

            Thorin shrugged. “Okay – so maybe a couple of couple.”

            Bilbo laughed a moment until he froze as did a few other Hobbits.

            “Did you hear that?’

            “Is someone calling?”

            “Who could that be?”

            “Do you think there is an emergency?”

            “It’s the Ever Green Fields, Gemma – what emergency could there be?”

            Bilbo’s eyes widened. “Oh, no – it can’t be.”

            Thorin was confused. “Can’t be what, sanâzyung?”

            “Don’t you hear that?”

            Thorin shook his head. The Hobbits had much better hearing thanks to their pointed ears. Bilbo’s wondrously adorable and oh so tempting ears as Thorin reminded himself at that moment until he froze as well.

            Thorin’s fearful eyes met Bilbo’s. “No. Tell me it isn’t so?”

            There was sudden explosion of sound behind them.

            “UNCLES!” Fili and Kili’s voices filled the air as they encased Thorin and Bilbo in a tight embrace.

            “What in the name of Mahal’s hairy ass are you doing here?!” Thorin hissed discreetly to the Durin brothers as the boys released the couple.

            “We’re visiting!” Kili grinned a toothy smile.

            “We finally convinced Lord Mahal and his Lady to let us come!” Fili added with a nod.

            Both boys froze as they noticed the others about. “Hobbits!” They yelled in unison.

            “Who are these lads, Bilbo dear?”

            “Are you Bilbo’s mama?” Kili asked with mirthful eyes.

            “Yes I am.”

            “I’m Fili!”

            “I’m Kili!”

            “At your service!” Both boys chimed together as they bowed deeply at Belladonna Baggins.

            All the Hobbit ladies oohed and awed over Fili and Kili.

            “Aren’t they charming?”

            “They are far too thin!”

            “They must be starving – poor dears!”

            “We should bring up the deserts now.”

            “Are these your nephews, Thorin dear?”

            Thorin let loose a deep sigh. “Yes, Mrs. Baggins. These are my sister-sons.”

            “Are you boys staying for luncheon?”

            “NO!” Bilbo and Thorin chorused.

            “Oh please, let us stay Uncle Thorin!”

            “We promise to be good!”

            “That’s a promise pregnant with possible pandemonium.” Bilbo snorted.

            “Oh Bilbo, dear – they have already traveled here and the fauntlings would love to have someone new to play with.”

            “Are there Hobbit children?!” Kili’s eyes lit up at the thought.

            “We would more than happy to entertain the children, ladies.” Fili said, already removing his coat, as was Kili.

            It was at that moment that a small gaggle of fauntlings came running and screaming over the hill’s crest and stopped at the sight of the two Dwarf boys. There was about three seconds of complete silence, before the shouts of ‘Yay! Dwarfs!’ and ‘Wanna play?” and “Of course we do!” and “Let’s play Dwarfs and Dragons!” shattered the quiet and all the little children started chasing and running after the two Durins.

            One would think that the grown boys would be too mature to roll on the ground and play with, tickle and piggyback the Hobbit fauntlings.

            One would be wrong.

            Of course, the Hobbit Ladies were thrilled.

            “Look how cute they are together!”

            “So sweet! They’re so charming, Thorin!”

            “Those fauntlings are going to wear those poor boys out!”

            “Are they going to visiting long? The children would love that.”

            “Bilbo, Thorin – do they have favorite foods they like?”

            “Oh, yes! We must have their favorites on hand.”

            Bilbo and Thorin could only watch as the chaos unfolded all around them. They couldn’t really speak because they knew; no one would really listen to them.

            “This is a nightmare,” Bilbo said dryly to Thorin. “We are in a nightmare. A nightmare on Hobbit Hill.”

            “We could always move back to The Halls.”

            “They’ll just follow us.”

            Thorin thought about it for a few seconds. “We could ask Lord Mahal and Lady Yavanna to be reborn into the world.”

            Bilbo simply looked up at Thorin with sardonic smirk. “Right. Given the clear evidence that they take pleasure in our torment, they will probably just reincarnate us as husband and wife and then send the boys along later as our children.”

            Thorin groaned. “I’m going back to the cider.”

            “Wait,” Bilbo said, grabbing Thorin’s hand. “I’ll go with you.”

            They walked away even as the screams and laughter of the children and Durin brothers floated after them.

            “Hey, Uncles!” Fili called.

            “Can we move in with you?” Kili finished the question

            Thorin and Bilbo just kept walking as a chorus of “YAY!” erupted from the fauntlings.