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The Look of Love

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Bilbo Baggins was a perfectly respectable hobbit, or had been at least, before a Wizard and thirteen dwarves came crashing into his life. And a respectable hobbit had a respectable wardrobe.

He had rooms in Bag End dedicated to clothes, rooms of jackets and waistcoats, ties and cravats, trousers of various length, size and material, a room for summer clothes, a room for winter woollens, a room for his special occasion outfits.

He had been a patron of all the finest tailors in the Shire and even had a few pieces shipped from Bree, which had started a few new trends back when he’d been a younger hobbit.   

And true, his wardrobe might be slightly larger than that of the average hobbit, what with being a wealthy bachelor, but it didn’t warrant the looks of goggle-eyed shock that his husbands were directing at it.

“You know,” Thorin said, striding out into the middle of his first wardrobe room. “When you said you wanted to bring some clothes back with you to Erebor…”

“Didn’t think you’d be bringing back enough clothes to fill up the treasury,” Dwalin finished, rubbing the fabric of one of his favourite waistcoats between his fingers.

“We might need to hire some more ponies,” Thorin added thoughtfully, as if he was seriously considering it.

“Very funny,” Bilbo said. “I’m not intending to lug everything all the way back to Erebor with me, though it will be nice to have some of my own clothes when we are back at home.”

“We should have come back for your things sooner,” Thorin apologised, bending to join him where he was sorting through a pile of his jackets.

Bilbo rolled his eyes fondly at him. “Well, we’ve a little busy,” he pointed out, and it was true.

It had been three years since Erebor had been reclaimed, and they were still rebuilding. Thorin had fully recovered from his terrible injuries, as had his nephews, numerous dwarves were returning to Erebor to live again (and not just those who had fled in the first place, nor their descendants), and crafts and trade were being produced once more.

Slowly, slowly the Mountain was coming back to life. It was a wonderful thing for Bilbo to watch grow around him.

Oh, and he’d got married to the two dwarves he’d fallen in love with, that was important too.

The three years since their journey had flown by in a blur of happiness, but now they finally had the time to go back to Shire and sort out Bilbo’s affairs, something that he had found difficult to do through letters (mainly because entrusting a letter to a trade caravan was slow, and his neighbours were suspicious of letters delivered by raven), and he hadn’t wanted to travel all the way back without his husbands.

Bilbo had loved having Dwalin and Thorin in the Shire, especially in the summer when he could take them all around on his favourite walking holiday routes and introduce his loves to all his family and his neighbours (some of whom had rather amusing reactions to him turning up holding hands with two dwarves) and cooking for them in the kitchen that his father built for his mother had been nothing but a joy.

But summer was rolling on, and they knew that they needed to start getting ready to leave before the mountain passes closed, which is why the three of them were standing in his dressing room, Dwalin holding a crate that seemed wholly inadequate in the face of his enormous wardrobe.

“We’ll bring back as much as we can,” Thorin assured him. “You’ve worn a different outfit every day we’ve been in the Shire, I’m sure you’d appreciate them.”

“I would,” Bilbo replied. “There is nothing wrong with dwarven fashions, of course, or those of the men of Lake-town, it’s just…”

He trailed off. Dwarven clothes were beautifully made, but a different style than he was used to, with different patterns, and the clothes from Lake-town were serviceable but plain, with none of the embroidery hobbits liked on their clothes. He couldn’t find a flower-pattered waistcoat anywhere east of the Misty Mountains, no matter how hard he tried.

“I suppose it seems a bit silly, but I think hobbits express themselves more through clothes than jewellery,” he tried to explain.

Thorin exchanged a look with Dwalin. Where once an admission that he missed anything about his home in the Shire would have sent Thorin into a spiral of guilt and Dwalin into a state of absolute determination to replace anything he needed, with his bare hands if necessary, this one was full of affectionate exasperation.

“You’re one of Thorin’s consorts and there’s a whole guild full of people who would fight make your clothes,” Dwalin pointed out, raising an eyebrow at him.

“Oh,” Bilbo said thoughtfully. They had been so busy rebuilding and making do with what they had for the last few years that it simply hadn’t occurred to him to do otherwise.  

“And we don’t think anything about you is silly,” Thorin added softly.

Bilbo laughed. “I have a chest of handkerchiefs in the next room,” he informed them.

“Looks like we’ll be needing another pony after all,” Dwalin said with a snort, and Thorin kissed Bilbo behind his ear.

“Not even that,” he assured Bilbo with a smile.

---

Bilbo was happy to see Erebor again. While there was always a part of him that would miss the Shire, it was easier to leave now he knew Bag End was in good hands (and not Lobelia's). But he was reminded all over again how much he loved his new home, the magnificent pillared caverns and beautiful hallways, and it eased his heart to be back among his dwarven family.

(Although when he saw the enormous pile of correspondence – mostly from elves – left on his desk, his happiness did dim ever so slightly.)

While he still wore his dwarven style clothes, he happily incorporated some of his traditional hobbit outfits into his daily attire, suspenders instead of a belt on some days, a jacket instead of a coat on others, and trousers of a proper length that didn't swish around his ankles every day with profound relief.

Bilbo had to confess that he was both long past caring what anyone thought about him, and quite used to attracting stares as the only hobbit in Erebor (and one of Thorin's consorts beside). But it turned out the looks his new wardrobe was attracting were less critical and more speculative than he expected.

Bilbo was still surprised however when Dori approached him asking for patterns, as some potential customers had approached him asking for similar clothes.

“Actually,” Bilbo said to him, over a cup of tea and some scones. “I had something I wanted to discuss with you.”

He showed Dori the simple sketches he’d been making in his spare time, and Dori smiled at him as he looked at them. Dwarves didn’t celebrate the same holidays as they did in the Shire, but they had their own festivals, and the Hearthstone festival was fast approaching - Bilbo's favourite and not just because it included a feast. Bilbo had decided that he was going to design the outfits that the three of them were going to wear that year.

“Yes, I think that will do nicely,” Dori assured him.

---

Bilbo had to admit that he was a bit nervous when he laid out their outfits that evening.

While it was true that Dwalin had little interest in his clothes, and Thorin’s taste tended to run towards Durin blue regardless of style, he wasn’t sure that they would appreciate the clothing that he had designed for them.

Although Dwalin turned out to be flatteringly appreciative of Bilbo's waistcoats so he couldn't imagine that he would protest too hard.

They both stopped when the entered the bedroom, staring at the clothes on the bed.

The outfits were balanced somewhere between hobbit and dwarven styles – long trousers (aside from his) and long overcoats, but the shirts were soft hobbit style, as were the cravats – striped Durin blue, the green of his round door, and the brown that Dwalin seemed to favour. He had designed each of them a waistcoat, not identical but all patterned with honeysuckle and forget-me-nots, so symbolise the love and bond between them all.

“You don’t have to wear it,” he began, but Dwalin was already stripping off, and Thorin was running an approving eye over the waistcoat.

“It’ll go nicely with the jewellery we made you,” Thorin told him with a smile, and Bilbo beamed at him.

He wanted to make them something to represent how happy he was with them here, even if he still loved things from his old life in the Shire, and it seemed that they had understood the meaning in their clothing, if the very nice kisses he was receiving were any indication.

He was sure that the three of them in their complimentary outfits would make a striking picture on the dais.

(Something that was backed up by the increase in orders that Dori reported in the next few days.)