Chapter 1: Fleeing
Summary: Bilbo has no where else to go, they cannot go to Rivendell and they cannot return to the Shire.
It has been three years since the end of their Quest, the one where Bilbo's Hurt colors first bloomed, and while on a short Adventure to see the trolls from his stories Bilbo and the four faunts he had brought along have heard about an attack on the Shire and that there have been no survivors Bilbo desides he must keep the children safe.
-A/N: Meant to fix it, broke it further first, Sorry.
Yellow-Harmed in happiness (Like Bumblebee yellow)
Silver- When you feel nothing when you harm someone
In Bree Bilbo decided that they should stop for the night, the young Hobbits he had brought along for this short trip were not used to the long walks that Bilbo now favored for his trips. Even though they had only just left the Shire the children were tired and so Bilbo had stopped at the Prancing Pony for some proper rest before they headed further.
For all their exhaustion, Bilbo could tell that the children were excited to have been allowed along with him, their parents had made it clear that they did not like the idea of Bilbo Baggins, with his high collared clothing and Adventures that took him away from his home for days if not weeks.
But Primula and Drogo Baggins had taken to letting him look after their young son Frodo when it came to their knowledge that, not only did Frodo quite like the odd Hobbit but that Bilbo's neighbor's son Samwise was Frodo's soulmate, their Hurt-colors blooming after a party hosted at Bilbo's that they had both been invited to.
When Primula had told Bilbo of it Bilbo had given her the list of young faunts that had been there and as Samewise had been closest they had gone there first to check to see if the two were a match, there had been no need to look further and Bilbo had gained a small faunt underfoot on most weekends.
Now they were off on an Adventure to see the trolls from Bilbo's tales and Merry and Pippen were along because they had begun to get the Tookish wandering feet already and Bilbo was going anyway so why not take them along. Bilbo hadn't minded, his little cousins were angels after travelling with Dwarrow and Bilbo liked the company.
"Now, darlings, it's straight to bed so we may leave early in the morning." Bilbo told the children as he arrived at their room, opening the door for them to enter.
"Yes, uncle Bilbo." Four voices replied.
After they were in bed Bilbo rechecked his pack to make sure he had all he needed and checked the supplies the children had placed in their bags at his promptings, unneseccary but wanted things, so that if the children lost their pack it was nothing they could not do without.
And then Bilbo rolled his bedroll out on the floor, pressed his lips to his left wrist and went to sleep.
Bilbo woke early in the morning and, after checking on the still sleeping children, made his way downtstairs to fetch breakfast before waking them.
What he got instead was news whispered from the Rangers, whispers that the Shire had been devistated and that there were no survivors or none yet that had been found or had found shelter elsewhere, the roads were being watched for Hobbits and there were some whispers of selling any that were found.
Not by the Rangers of course but by some of the darker characters in the Inn.
Bilbo slipped back up to his room before they saw him and quietly woke the faunts, slipping their oilcloaks around them, grateful he'd gotten them so they could grow into them and that they fell to almost drag upon the ground.
As they exited Bree and stepped off of the main road to follow the exact path Thorin had once led a company of Dwarrow and a Hobbit upon Bilbo was never so glad that he remembered the way so well, that Thorin had had no want to be noticed and had gone out of their way to avoid civilization.
Each night Bilbo would make their camp, leave young Samwise in charge, for he was the eldest, and seek out rumors, trying to never go far.
He heard that even the road to Rivendell was unsafe, that the last Homely house was surly where any Hobbit would seek aide and shelter, they could not go to Rivendell.
As the children slept deep inside the relative safety of the Troll cave where once Bilbo had taken a chest of treasure that a group of Dwarrow had buried, where Sting had been found, Bilbo thought about where he could take them that they would be safe, where none would dare try to harm them.
Bilbo looked to the east, where beyond all the he could see lay a mountain.
Bilbo had been in contact with Balin for much of the last two years. Balin often wrote him, sometimes slipping in wrinkled and crumpled notes that Thorin had written to him, unfinished and stolen Bilbo suspected, all of them trying to figure out how to ask him to return.
It had been a relief to find out that Thorin lived after the Battle and the little notes, unintended to be seen by Bilbo's eyes, reassured him that Thorin still cared for him even if Thorin no longer loved him as Bilbo loved Thorin.
Perhaps... perhaps Bilbo could finally return, not only for the children's safety and not because there was no other place. Bilbo had wanted to return to the Lonely Mountain for several months, but Frodo had begged Bilbo to be there for his Birthday Party and Bilbo could not find it in him to refuse, it had also given him time to set his affairs in order as he suspected that after arriving in Erebor he'd never wish to leave again.
He'd been writing to Balin about coming to the Durin's day celebration that year and Balin had encouraged it as had Ori and Bofur, both of whom Bilbo had a regular corrispondence with, the others being hopeless or busy, and Thorin being unable to commit to anything sound and repeating things often in the stolen snippets of his writing that Balin snuck along with his own.
It reassured Bilbo that Thorin's silence was not meant to harm him but rather he had no idea what to write or how to not offend Bilbo without realizing as Bilbo had often found some of Thorin's writings filled with apologisy and promises for rewards and trinkets, though he again would apologize for thinking Bilbo could be bribed.
Bilbo shook his head at his Dwarf's ridiculousness, it did not matter to him that Thorin would think they'd not spoken in years, Bilbo sent Thorin simple letters about day to day life in the Shire that Bilbo knew through Balin that Thorin read, and would read the starts of Thorin begging Bilbo to remain away from him and safe, scoffing at the Idea that Thorin would ever intend to harm him again.
Balin had assured Bilbo that Thorin would welcome him, sending along a proclimation copy the recended Bilbo's banishment and named him Hero of Erebor signed by Thorin as proof.
Bilbo looked at the sleeping children, he'd had told them about the Shire tonight instead of the Trolls as he had planned before the Shire's Fall and how they could not go back, could not risk going home.
Little Merry had suggested going to Rivendell to the Elves, the small thing had always been facinated by the stories that featured them. Pippin had wanted to go to Beorn to see his giant bees, he wanted to ride one and refused to believe Bilbo that he would be too big. Both Sam and Frodo had been silent, understanding more than Merry and Pippin, understanding that they were now without parents and a safe home.
Bilbo had settled them in the deepest part of the cave and it said more about Sam and Frodo's understaning of their situation that only Merry and Pippin complained about the smell.
Bilbo had searched through the muck and bones to find several small knives that could be hidden on one's person, as much as he hated the idea of arming the children that were now his, it would not do for them to have no protection should they somehow become separated.
As much as Bilbo loved Elves Bilbo knew that they would have little loyalty towards keeping his children safe, however, there were many Dwarrow that were still returning to Erebor, some that Bilbo had encountered and had been pleased that Bilbo had asked them to take letters along with them, he suspected it was because it gave them and excuse to meet a Hero of Erebor in person once they arrived at the Mountain.
If one of the Children encountered a Dwarf and gave their name as Baggins Bilbo had no doubt that the Dwarf would see the child safely to the hands of one of the Company, Dwarrow were greatly protective of family and children moreso, they had to have heard about the Shire by now, and Bilbo would not be surprised much if he found any member of his Company along the way seeking to find information on his safety.
Bilbo sighed and glanced back at the sleeping children, he would tell them about seeking Dwarrow in the morning should anything happen to him, hopefully they would make to Erebor safely.
Chapter 2: No
Summary: Thorin finds out about the Shire
Summary: Thorin finds out about the Shire
Thorin looked up as Balin entered the hall, he looked frantic and terrified, so much so that the Dwarrow before Thorin making his case ceased speaking.
"What is it Balin?" Thorin asked as he stood from his throne.
"The Shire has been attacked!"
Immediately every Dwarf had their hands on their weapons shouting that they should offer aid as soon as possible, Thorin included, after all they all knew that Erebor was only theirs due to Bilbo Baggins and his brilliance, first at saving the life of their king from Azog, then from Thranduil's dungeons, (that had endeared Bilbo to a great many Dwarrow) then in Lake Town where Bilbo had vouched for Thorin's integrity, Bilbo realizing the riddle meant the moonlight on Durin's day would show the key hole and more, they were all annoyed and angry that Bilbo had yet to return to Erebor yet despite Balin's promises that he was working on getting him back, they all also had been informed that Bilbo Baggins had given their King his Hurt-colors.
"Quiet!" Thorin shouted in Khuzdul.
"The Shire is gone." Balin whispered, tears falling, "There has been no word of survivors, though there is talk of selling any found."
Angry murmurings broke out as Thorin fell back into his throne
"No." He whispered, his eyes falling to his bared wrists.
Dwarrow often displayed their Hurt-colors if they were upon their arms or face, except in battles, or their clothing would have specific designs where their hurt-colors were, such as a strip of Dwarrow runes down a trouser leg to show they had colors down their leg.
"Your Majesty?" Balin asked softly.
Thorin looked at Balin and pulled himself together, he'd have time for mourning later.
Thorin stood, "Any one who finds a Hobbit being sold is to collect them, the Royal treasury will reimburse you, if you suspect there are more report it to one of the Company, they will go along with you, there will be no tolerance for any who decides to keep a Hobbit as a slave, some Hobbits may attempt to go to Rivendell, if you find them along the road help them, tell them Erebor will offer refuge should they wish."
"And Bilbo Baggins?" The Dwarrow who had been making his case before Balin interrupted him asked.
Thorin wondered if he looked as lost as he felt, "Find him, keep him safe, take him to wherever he wishes, any Baggins is to be offered a place here in Erebor."
The Dwarrow all nodded, pleased with their King's decision.
"We will spread the word." The Dwarrow all vowed and the Court broke leaving Thorin alone with Balin and Dwalin.
"Nori should be notified." Thorin said.
"Aye, I will, if he hasn't heard already." Dwalin said, "You need anything?"
Thorin looked at his friend, "Nothing you can guarantee, my friend."
"What is it?" Dwalin asked.
"Aye, I cannot promise you that, but we will do our best." Dwalin told him.
Thorin nodded, "That is all we can do."
The next few weeks Erebor accepted a number of Hobbits through their doors, some found and collected by the Elves, healed within their halls before being brought along to Erebor, others bought from Slavers who then found themselves raided to make sure there were none being kept behind.
Children were reunited with parents, siblings or family, if no family was to be found a Dwarrow offered to take the child or in some cases children in as their own, the Dwarrow could not bare to break families more than they already were, especially as they found that many of the Hobbits had had a greater number of siblings before the Shire's Fall, numbering from seven to ten, now they were twos and threes.
But there had been no sign of Bilbo Baggins, though a young Hobbit had told them that he had been away from the Shire when it had come under attack along with four young Hobbits, her son being one of them.
Now every Dwarrow was searching for Bilbo or the children he'd been with.
The Company, with the majority of knowledge about Hobbits, had been asked to help make them comfortable, Dori spent several hours with Ori, Bifur, and Bofur making clothing or children's books and toys, while Bombur made food for them.
It had been Kili who mentioned the Gardening and the rest who had found themselves bringing the Hobbits to the Garden that Thorin had originally intended for Bilbo.
The Hobbits began to request planting materials and asked if they might farm and garden in the land around the Mountain, Thorin had granted the request and volunteers provided protection while they were out of the Mountain, soon only the younger Hobbits spent their time in Bilbo's Garden, watched by Kili and Tauriel, sometimes even Legolas.
Some Dwarrows asked why they had sought shelter at Erebor instead of the much closer Rivendell and almost everyone spoke of their children insisting Erebor would be safer, that Mr. Bilbo had told them stories about how he had helps the Dwarrow get their home back and maybe they would return the favor, with such childish innocence that they'd not had the heart left to deny the chance that the children would end up correct.
And there was still no sign of Bilbo Baggins.
Chapter 3: Beorn's
Summary: Bilbo takes a respite at Beorn's and wonders if he should send a message to Balin or Thorin.
Summary: Bilbo takes a respite at Beorn's and wonders if he should send a message to Balin or Thorin.
Bilbo watched the children play in Beorn's garden, after the initial disappointment about being too big to ride the bees Pippin was taken to ride upon Beorn's shoulders nearly anyplace he wanted to go.
Bilbo's arrival with the faunts at Beorn's had been nearly in the dead of night, too fearful of stopping so close to the Misty Mountains to sleep and so had gone so far as to carry both Merry and Frodo while Sam had managed the much smaller Pippin.
Their arrival must have woken Beorn but when he had opened the door to a drenched Bilbo and four tiny Hobbits he had welcomed them in, fed the Sam some warm milk as he had been the only one awake while Bilbo put the others in a bed of straw after getting them out of their wet clothing.
Beorn had assured Bilbo that his tale could wait for the morning as even Beorn had heard news of the Shire's Fall.
Bilbo had woken late the next afternoon to the sound of happy children, a sound that he had sorely missed as they travelled slowly in order to avoid being found. He'd remained in his bedroll for some time just listening to the noise that had been absent for the last few weeks.
Finally Bilbo had risen and smiled at the sight of the great big shape changer being used for climbing up like he was a tree, the shape changer being extra careful of the faunts and managing to speak with Sam about the things he had discovered in the garden.
"Little Bunny, you have awoken!" Beorn shouted.
The children abandoned Beorn to tell Bilbo all about what Beorn and they had done while he was asleep.
"Little Bunny owes me a story when the baby bunnies are in bed." Beorn said, even as he smiled down at Bilbo, "Come, you must be hungry."
"Can we have honey cakes, Mr. Bearman?" Pippin asked.
Bilbo decided that it was too much energy to be embarrassed about Pippin calling Beorn Mr. Bearman.
"Aye, baby bunny, I shall have to teach your uncle to make them to keep up with your appetite and to take along with you." Beorn decided, to the excitement of the children.
Once the children were asleep for the night Bilbo sat with Beorn at his table and told him what he'd heard and the smoke he had still been able to see from the edges of Bree in the direction of the Shire, how he'd been unwilling to take the children nearer to chance seeing their parents dead. How he'd discovered that the roads to Rivendell would not be safe anymore for Hobbits and how he'd managed to make his way through the Misty Mountains undiscovered and unharmed by anything other than a goblin or two and a single Warg that Bilbo had managed to dispatch before fleeing through the night to Beorn's where he had known they'd be safe.
"And you seek refuge at the Lonely Mountain?" Beorn asked softly once Bilbo was done.
Bilbo nodded once, "I'd planned on visiting later in the year anyway but now..., I wish this had not happened but I know that I would not be turned away, Balin and the others have told me that I would be welcome."
"Aye, there have been many Dwarrow that come through here, they remain on the edges of my land but tell me that they are there which I suspect has to do with your Company telling them of me and how it is only polite that they inform me of their presence, some have even had letters from you."
Bilbo's cheeks burned a bit, "Ah, that was actually my doing, I told them that you did not care for Dwarrow overly much and that they should tell you of their presence lest you come across them in your bear form."
Beorn nodded, "I thank you greatly then, the knowledge has indeed saved their life on occasion."
"I should pen a letter to Balin or Thorin to tell them I am well." Bilbo said as he sipped his tea, "They have likely assumed I perished along with the rest of the Shire."
Beorn looked down at Bilbo, "There have been a number of Bunnies making their way through my lands."
Bilbo looked at Beorn in startled confusion, "What do you mean?"
"Some have had young ones along, I walked with them until they reached the edges of Mirkwood where they were taken in by the Elves." Beorn told Bilbo.
"You mean other Hobbits survived?" Bilbo asked both relieve and shocked.
"And they have been making their way to Erebor? Why?" Bilbo asked.
"I believe it has to do with a tale from Mr. Bilbo." Beorn raised an eyebrow, "Many of the young ones tell this tale once they bed for the night, and the adults seem as though they have no other option, so they go."
Bilbo felt like crying all of a sudden, Bilbo knew that Thorin would not turn him away but why would he take in just any Hobbit?
"I have also seen several young ones accompanied by Dwarrow." Beorn said.
"What?" Bilbo asked.
"And have been asked by Oakenshield to offer any Hobbit aide or food should I see them, I know that they would fear me by showing myself to them suddenly, especially as I have caught some Men trying to take captives on my lands at the beginning, so I provide them protection during the nights while they sleep and until they reach the woods and Elves. Your Hobbit Kin know what they can eat or not and have not yet tried to hunt on my lands." Beorn told Bilbo.
"Thank you." Bilbo said gratefully, he had no idea what else he could say.
"You are welcome, Little Bunny." Beorn replied.
"I don't know how to repay you." Bilbo said as his tears finally spilled over.
"Come now, Little Bunny, you do indeed." Beorn smiled when Bilbo looked at him in confusion, "Tell me this tale I have heard only snippets of."
Bilbo smiled, "May we begin it tomorrow, I am sure the children would like to hear it again."
Beorn nodded, "Tomorrow, Little Bunny."
Bilbo nodded gratefully and left Beorn to lay down with the children, letter writing forgotten.
Chapter 4: Mirkwood
Summary: Bilbo is glad that Hobbits can navigate through nearly any tupe of situation as long as they know which direction they want to go, else losing the Elven path would have been just like last time.
Summary: Bilbo is glad that Hobbits can navigate through nearly any type of situation as long as they know which direction they want to go, else losing the Elven path would have been just like last time.
Bilbo walked next to Sam, Sam's hand in his, like most Hobbits Sam could still feel the lingering Sickness on the Forest and Bilbo had been forced to lift Frodo onto his back and carry Merry in his arms while Sam carried Pippin on his back as the three younger Hobbits hadn't been able to stop vomiting when they took their first steps in the darkened woods, Sam was doing quite well for being so young though they had had to stop a few times for him to be sick and had lost the Elven path fairly early due to stepping off of it for Sam to be sick.
But Bilbo was not too worried, Hobbits had a wonderful sense of direction, even here Bilbo knew they were travelling the correct way, it was hard to mislead a Hobbit and Bilbo was disappointed that he had not demanded to lead the Dwarrow through the Elven wood during their journey so long ago, but they had made it out and they would this time as well.
"Doing well, Sam?" Bilbo asked softly as they stopped again.
Sam nodded as he wiped his mouth and then took Bilbo's hand again, "Are we nearly out?"
Bilbo nodded, "A day or two more and we should reach the edge of the Forest, assuming we manage to avoid the spiders."
"And the Elves?" Sam asked softly, "Are we avoiding those too?"
Bilbo hesitated, "Not particularly, I want to reach Erebor before we go searching out Elves for you to meet, is that alright, Sam?"
Sam nodded, "I want to be safe too, Mr. Bearman said the Elves were being nice but... they might be afraid of showing him their true face."
"After we reach Erebor I'm sure Thorin wouldn't mind taking you to see Elves, there may even be an Elleth in Erebor, if Kili and Fili's letters are correct." Bilbo told them.
"Are Elleth's more rare than regular Elves?" Sam asked, "Elleths are girl elves, right?"
"Yes, Elleths are female Elves but I do not know if they are rarer, you may have to ask Tauriel once we arrive." Bilbo told him.
"Okay." Sam said softly and fell silent as they walked.
Bilbo worried a little about Sam, he'd probably need to carry him for some time after they got out of Mirkwood but Bilbo wouldn't mind.
"You're doing good, Samwise, I'm proud of you." Bilbo said softly.
Sam looked up at Bilbo, "Do you think Ma and Da would be too?"
Bilbo had only told Sam about the Hobbits that had made their way to Erebor and explained that it was possible though unlikely that their parents had survived. It had been suggested by Sam to not tell the others, they would hope and then be disappointed if their parents hadn't made it.
"Of course they are." Bilbo assured Sam.
Sam nodded, "Okay."
Chapter 5: Arrival
Orange-harmed in worry
Orange-harmed in worry
Sam fell to his knees as soon as they reached healthy land and Bilbo let both Frodo and Merry down and peeled Pippin from Sam's back and lifted the young Hobbit into his arms.
"Is he going to be okay, Uncle Bilbo?" Frodo asked concerned about his Soulmate.
"Yes, when we reach Erebor I will be able to help him better, Bombur or Dori should be able to get the right herbs I need if they don't already have them, Do not worry, Frodo." Bilbo reassured Frodo.
"Is it 'cause he had to carry me?" Pippin asked.
"He is sick because the forest is sick." Bilbo explained.
"How come you didn't get sick?" Merry asked.
"I did." Bilbo said, "The first time I came through the forest."
"With the Dwarrow?" Frodo asked.
"Yes, it was unfortunate that it took us weeks to leave Mirkwood, by the time we managed to get out Thorin had to carry me as well, Sam will be fine." Bilbo promised.
"Can we call Thorin Uncle?" Pippin asked as they walked along the river.
"You will have to ask him that when we arrive." Bilbo told him.
They walked in silence for a time before Frodo broke it.
"Yes, Frodo?" Bilbo looked down at the Hobbit.
"Did Mr. Thorin give you your Hurt-colors?" Frodo asked, looking up at Bilbo.
"How do you know I even have Hurt-colors?" Bilbo asked.
"I've watched you do dishes." Frodo whispered, Bilbo had always purposely left the dishes until after Frodo was asleep when he stayed over so that Frodo never saw the colors on his wrists, "He hurt you, and I saw black."
"Dwarrow are much stronger than most Hobbits and they have trouble remembering it." Bilbo began, "Yes, Thorin gave me my Hurt-colors, but many of them were not intended, he likely never even realized that he caused them at all."
"Are you mad that he gave you reds and blacks and blue?" Frodo asked.
"Those are not the only colors he has given me, Frodo." Bilbo assured the worried Faunt.
"What other colors do you have?" Merry asked.
Bilbo led the children away from the river to a place where they'd be hidden and helped Frodo set up their camp for the night.
"Thorin has harmed me while feeling many emotions, as I said, some Dwarrow forget that they are stronger than most of Middle-Earth. He has given me gold along my shoulders and green where he saved my life as we travelled over the Misty Mountains. He has given me Purples and whites and blues." Bilbo smiled at the children, "I love all of the colors Thorin has given me, even the ones that are mixed with black. Do you know why?"
Pippin climbed into Bilbo's lap next to Sam, Frodo's grip on Sam's hand turning the hand shades of blue and orange, reveling Frodo's emotions or sadness and worry, Merry leaned against Pippin and shook his head with the others.
"Why?" Sam asked softly, leaning against Frodo as best he could while remaining in Bilbo's lap.
"Because not only did he give them to me but they mean he is mine as I am his and I love him."
The Faunts stared up at him but nodded in understanding.
"Come, it is time for sleep, we still have a ways to go before we reach Dale." Bilbo told them, having decided not to stop in Lake Town, he did not trust the place after last time, as much as he hated to distrust Men or people in general Bilbo did not want to risk it after Beorn told him about Men trying to take Hobbits on his land.
"Goodnight, Uncle Bilbo." Four voices chorused and they settled themselves around Bilbo and went to sleep.
Bilbo stayed awake, his eyes turned towards where he knew the Lonely Mountain lay, waiting for their arrival.
"Hush, Pippin, we're trying to sneak." Frodo murmured as they made their way through the darkened streets of Dale.
"But I'm Tired." Pippin whined.
Bilbo smiled a little, they had been doing so well about not whining or complaining, "We are almost there, Bard lives near enough and it is still early enough that he may still be awake to let us in."
"What if he's asleep?" Merry asked.
Frodo looked up at Bilbo, wondering the same.
"Then we shall see about finding elsewhere to rest before we begin early tomorrow." Bilbo said, "If it is still there I know an overlook where we will be hidden form view." Bilbo told them as he peered around a building, "Quiet now."
The Faunts nodded and Frodo tightened his grip on Pippin and Bilbo's pantleg while Merry felt Pippin squeeze his hand as Bilbo moved across the Street and knocked lightly on a window that faced the Alley they had slipped down, Bilbo hadn't wanted to appear at the Front Door still worried about the Loyalties of some Men.
"What the..." Bard trailed off as he opened the window and peered down at Bilbo, "Bilbo Baggins!"
"Hello, again, Bard." Bilbo whispered, "I know it is quite late but could we trouble you for the night?"
"Of course." Bard frowned, "Are you wanting to climb through the window?"
"If you don't mind, I have heard troubling Rumors concerning Hobbits and an exchange of moneys, I would not want your family in danger for housing us." Bilbo explained as he handed Sam over to the Man, followed by the other three and then Bilbo himself.
"No one in Dale has dare to try to keep a Hobbit, they have..." Bard looked down at the small Hobbits, "Exchanged moneys for them and escorted them further to Erebor where King Thorin has been welcoming them and seeing them settled as best they can be."
"So, Thorin has been excepting Hobbits into Erebor." Bilbo said softly, settling the Faunts into the guest bedroom the Bard led him to.
"Indeed, he has, he has also reimbursed almost every one that has had to buy a Hobbit." Bard told Bilbo as he led him to the kitchen for a bit of tea.
Bilbo looked startled.
"He has also allowed them to begin farming around the Mountain with Dwarrow protection, and I have heard that he plans to enter an agreement with them about an exchange of goods once the Hobbits are more settled." Bard told him, "Now, it amazes me that you have managed to arrive without having been seen by any of the peoples looking for you, I know that the Elves have been keeping a closer eye on the Elven road through Mirkwood for Hobbits and just about every Dwarrow, Man, and Elf on this side of the Misty Mountains has been keeping an Eye out for you and your little ones in order to see you safely to Erebor."
"How did you know I was travelling with children?" Bilbo asked.
"A young Hobbit arrived at Erebor with the information that you and four young ones were away from the Shire when it Fell." Bard watched Bilbo's face carefully, "I do not know her name, King Thorin did not share it with us."
Bilbo nodded, "That is likely a good thing, just in case, not that I think you would harm a Hobbit but one can never be too careful given our current circumstances."
Bard nodded, "I trust you will want to continue on in the morning?"
Bilbo nodded and sipped his tea, "Likely early in the morning before the sun rises too high so that we will arrive at the Gates when the Dwarrow on guard can open them or they are already open."
"You would not wait for an escort?" Bard asked as he poured Bilbo some more tea.
"We have not needed one thus far and this close to Erebor, do you think we need one?" Bilbo asked sincerely.
Bard shook his head, "No, but I would offer you one all the same, your little ones seem tired and the one you were carried seems sick."
"He is, Hobbits are able to feel the health of the very earth, it is likely why the Hobbits wished to farm around the Mountain, they could feel the potential and sought to bring it forth." Bilbo explained.
"You do not appear sick, nor the other little ones." Bard said.
"Between Sam and I, they were carried, after they got so sick within the first inches of the forest they did not touch the ground while we moved through the forest." Bilbo explained, "And having gone through the forest before I was able to prepare myself before leaving Beorn's lands, I had no way to prepare Sam or the children for what we would expect at Mirkwood."
"You could stay and recover here." Bard offered.
Bilbo shook his head, "If I began Sam's treatment here I would have to remain here for several weeks, we were on a time constraint three years ago and I am not a young Faunt who has never felt sick land before. No, it would be best to get to Erebor before I begin treatment for Sam."
"What herbs will you need to treat him?" Bard asked, "While you push on I can have them collected and sent along after you so you might treat him as soon as possible."
Bilbo nodded, "I can write you a list."
Bard nodded and went to fetch Bilbo paper and ink.
Once Bilbo had finished writing and handed Bard the paper Bard looked at the tired Hobbit.
"If you wish to leave early you might want to get some sleep." Bard told him, "I will have some breakfast for you in the morning."
Bilbo nodded, "Thank you, Bard."
"Of course, Master Baggins, I am glad you made it here safely." Bard acknowledged.
"As am I." Bilbo offered softly as he entered the guest room that he had placed the children in, "Good night, Bard."
"Good night, Master Baggins."
Bilbo checked on the sleeping children, made sure that Sam was no worse, else he may have to take Bard up on his offer to stay, but it seemed that a steady diet of honey cakes mixed with water was keeping the boy from declining, for which Bilbo was grateful, and then Bilbo settled himself in his bedroll on the floor next to the bed, knowing that they were safe in Bard's home.
Bilbo woke as the sun peaked over the horizon and repacked his pack and quietly woke the Faunts, lifting Sam in his arms and guiding the boys down the stairs to the kitchen where Bard was setting plates of food on the table.
The children looked at the food wide eyed, after having mainly Honeycakes and things that could be kept for months the fresh food on the table was amazing to them, Merry, Pippin, and Frodo helped themselves to the fresh fruit and vegetables, thanking Bard profusely.
"Did you really kill the Dragon?" Pippin asked with his mouth full.
Bard chuckled as Bilbo prepared a mix of Honeycake and milk for Sam, feeding it to him carefully as the boy leaned against him.
"Yes, with a Black Arrow inherited from my ancestor." Bard told him with a lingering smile.
The children finished eating quickly and Bard looked at Bilbo, "Are you sure that you do not want the escort?"
Bilbo looked at Bard and then Sam, "I do not have time to wait, the sooner Sam is settled the sooner he will get better, even without the herbs."
Bard nodded, "Very well, I have prepared some food for the little ones, the things they have likely missed, I noticed that they ate much of what was fresh, most of it is fruits and vegetables."
Bilbo smiled gratefully, "Thank you, Bard."
"You are welcome, my friend, I suspect you wish to leave through the window?" Bard asked.
Bilbo nodded, "You are correct."
"Yay." The Faunts cried.
Bard smiled at them and took Sam from Bilbo while he climbed out of the window they had entered through and told the little Hobbits to hold onto his curled free hand while he lifted them up and passed them out the window to Bilbo while he kept hold of Sam in the other arm.
They laughed happily at the weightless feeling as Bard lifted them out.
Bard then passed Bilbo's pack out along with the extra supplies before passing little Sam over to Bilbo.
"I will see you soon enough, Bard, thank you, again." Bilbo said as Frodo once more took Pippin's hand and Bilbo's pantleg as Merry took Pippin's other hand.
"Be safe, Bilbo Baggins."
Bilbo nodded and they slipped down the Alley and away, leaving Dale soon enough, unseen as it was still too early for most to be about.
Bilbo was slightly pleased to arrive at Erebor after the Gates had been opened, there were many Dwarrow about and even some Hobbits and so Bilbo and his Faunts were overlooked as they made their way through the tall halls.
"Uncle?" Frodo tugged Bilbo's pantleg.
"Was Erebor like this the first time?" Frodo asked.
"No, Erebor was empty the first time, darling, there had been a Dragon living here at the time." Bilbo explained as he stopped at a table, it appeared that Erebor hosted something like a Market in the morning.
"Yes?" The Dwarf asked Bilbo.
Bilbo smiled, "I wonder if you might be able to point me towards Balin, son of Fundin, or Dori, son of Lori?"
"Ah, newly arrived, Master Hobbit?" The Dwarf asked.
"We are." Bilbo agreed with a nod.
"Then you'll want to see King Thorin before any one else." The Dwarf explained.
"Surely he has other duties." Bilbo said.
The Dwarf shook his head, "This is much more important, we've all agreed to postpone what can be postponed to help the Hobbits."
Bilbo's eyes widened, "Why?"
"A Hobbit is the only reason we have our home, we can do little about the Shire's fall but we can make sure the Hobbits do not have to wander as we did." The Dwarf explained.
"I am sorry, Master Hobbit, to have upset you." The Dwarf apologized.
"It is nothing, I just... it has been a long journey." Bilbo explained.
The Dwarf nodded, "I can have my son take you to the King, if you'd like."
Bilbo nodded, "Thank you."
"And for the little ones." The Dwarf handed a little wooden figure to each Faunt.
"Thank you." They said together, Frodo helping Merry and Pippin put their new toys in their pockets.
"These look like Master Bifur's work." Bilbo said after examining Sam's little figure, an Elf.
"Aye, most Hobbits can't pick out the differences between Master Bofur's work and Master Bifur's, did you used to buy many toys from them?" The Dwarf asked as he waved over a younger Dwarf that looked a great deal like him.
Bilbo smiled, "No, but Master Bifur's work is usually more detailed than Bofur's, I've always suspected it was because Master Bifur gets very focused on his work whereas Master Bofur whittles for something to do with his hands."
"Aye?" The Dwarrow asked.
"This is my son, he'll take you to King Thorin, who will get you set up in quarters, you may have to share with another Hobbit and we'll try to find your relatives in the next few days." The Dwarf told Bilbo.
"Thank you, you have been very kind and helpful." Bilbo smiled.
"Of course." The Dwarf nodded and Bilbo followed after the young Dwarf.
"Uncle, look!" Merry said, pointing, "Was that the Dragon?"
Bilbo glanced at the ruby covered statue they passed in the hall.
"I believe that it was much bigger." Bilbo told them, catching the puzzled glance the Dwarf sent back at him, "And the scales did not shine, as such, it was more a reflection of the light, more of a sparkle really."
"It's pretty." Pippin said, "I want to touch it, can I, Uncle?"
"No, you may not, a Dwarrow likely spent a great deal of time creating that and I'll not have you break it accidently." Bilbo smiled softly down at the Faunt, "Though I'm sure you'd be extremely careful."
Pippin nodded, "Okay."
The Dwarf stopped before a large set of doors, "King Thorin is within."
The doors were opened by the guards on either side as the young Dwarf left Bilbo, likely to return to his father.
Bilbo stepped into the room and had to smile at Thorin where he stood, head bent towards Balin and Dwalin as the looked over a paper that Balin held.
Thorin had changed little overall, his hair a bit more silver at the temples, his clothing better quality, likely made by Dori as well, and he sat regally upon a simple throne but did not seem to lord the position over Dwalin as he had once, and Bilbo's eyes were drawn to Thorin's bared wrists, where green, blue, and gold swirled in a rather lovely pattern.
Bilbo walked silently towards the three, the other Dwarrow likely waiting for him to announce himself and Bilbo, Bilbo wanted to take in his Dwarrow for a bit longer before he received more Hurt-colors, likely getting a bit of yellow added to the gold around his shoulders, perhaps a bit of purple as well.
Thorin glanced up and fell silent abruptly.
"Bilbo?" He whispered as he stood from the throne.
"Hello, Thorin." Bilbo said.
Thorin walked with a purpose toward him and Bilbo supposed he should be grateful that Thorin did not crash into him as he had done at the Carrock.
Thorin's fingers traced down Bilbo's cheek gently, "You are really here." He murmured.
"I am." Bilbo assured.
Thorin's hand found itself at the back of Bilbo's nock and drew Bilbo to his chest, careful of the small child Bilbo carried, "I feared you would not make it." Thorin whispered into Bilbo's hair.
"We did, I am safe." Bilbo said, tears filling his eyes as he leaned into Thorin.
Balin cleared his throat, "Perhaps we should see Master Baggins to his room."
"Indeed." Thorin cleared his throat, "May I escort you and your...," Thorin looked down at the children, "...Little ones?"
Bilbo heard Dwalin snort.
"You may, I have been informed that we may have to share with other Hobbits." Bilbo smiled.
"I doubt Thorin will let you out of his sight." Dwalin said.
Bilbo glanced at him with a raised eyebrow.
"I would like you to be in the Royal quarters, we could clear a room for you if you would rather have your own." Thorin said as they walked.
"Where else would you put us?" Bilbo asked curiously.
Thorin looked away, embarrassed.
Bilbo smiled, "I do not mind sharing your rooms, Thorin, Balin has made sure I received your attempts at writing, else I might have thought you no longer cared for me."
Thorin threw a glare at Balin.
"I am sorry, I did not know what to say." Thorin admitted.
"You never have." Bilbo acknowledged, "Any thing would have been better than silence, which I suspect is why Balin felt compelled to send your writings along."
"Mister king?" Pippin asked, drawing attention to himself.
"Yes, little one?" Thorin peered down at the Faunt.
"Can we call you Uncle too?" Pippin asked.
Thorin looked at Bilbo in question.
"They call me Uncle Bilbo, and they know you gave me my Hurt-colors." Bilbo explained.
"You may call me Uncle if you wish." Thorin told Pippin, but made sure to look at each boy.
They walked for a bit longer before halting at a set of doors.
"These are my rooms." Thorin said as he opened the doors, "You will be staying here, unless your family has already arrived, Ori has been keeping records along with several other scribes, when he comes for supper we can inquire."
Bilbo nodded as they stepped into the rooms and Frodo let go of Bilbo.
"Uncle?" Merry asked.
"Yes, Merry?" Bilbo knelt, carefully, balancing Sam.
"Can we go play with the toys that the nice Dwarf gave us?"
Bilbo nodded, "Do not leave the room."
The three nodded and wandered to sit in front of the fire and pulled out the little figures.
"I had forgotten that Bofur and Bifur handed little toys out to all the Dwarrow to give to the newly arrive children." Dwalin muttered.
"And why does this one not want to play?" Balin asked after the Hobbit in Bilbo's arms.
"Sam is recovering from Mirkwood." Bilbo said softly, "Bard should be sending someone along with the herbs he needs to recover faster, but he should be fine now that we no longer have to travel."
"I have noticed that many Hobbits seem a little ill after traveling through the forest, why is that?" Balin asked.
"We can feel how sick it is, and Sam being young, he is more effected." Bilbo explained.
"The others do not seem ill." Dwalin mentioned.
"They were carried and I was more prepared having been through the forest before."
"We received no word that you were on your way." Thorin said as he led Bilbo to sit on one of the couches.
Bilbo nodded, "I did not quite trust any one to keep us safe, we stayed for a time with Beorn and he told me that there had been Men trying to take Hobbits on his land and I did not want to risk it, and I have had enough of Elvish hospitality, I knew they would try to keep us for longer than I wished. We did stay with Bard last night before continuing this morning."
Thorin nodded and held Bilbo's hand in his gently.
"We are glad you made it here safely." Balin said, "You and the children should rest, I'll have Gloin's son Gimli seek Bard's messenger and send him and Oin along to check you lot over."
"Uncle Bilbo?" Sam asked softly.
"Can the Elleth come too?"
Thorin smiled at the little Hobbit, "I will see if she is available, she has been teaching the other little Hobbits how to grow things in the Garden I built for Bilbo."
Bilbo looked at Thorin in surprise, "You built me a garden?"
Thorin nodded, "It was to be a courting gift for when you returned."
"Thorin." Bilbo murmured, and pressed his forehead to Thorin's.
"I wished to apologize for great many things and to court you as I should have done, but I did not know I was the one to give you your colors." Thorin explained.
"How did you not know?" Bilbo asked.
"I feared that your colors were not given by me and I did not want the proof, I wanted you." Thorin whispered.
"You silly Dwarf." Bilbo said, "You gave me green upon my shoulder and gold around them, and so many other colors."
Thorin traced Bilbo's high collar, "Some I wish I hadn't."
Bilbo looked at Thorin and fingered his bare wrist, "I suspect that baring your hurt-colors is something the Dwarrow do."
Thorin nodded, "You are a Hobbit, they would not mind you keeping yours hidden."
Bilbo shook his head, "I did not keep them hidden because I did not want them or whatever you are thinking. Hobbits have never had Hurt-colors given by any other tha another Hobbit, I would have had to explain too much and at the time of my return I thought you were dead and I did not have the strength to explain to any other than the Thain what I had hidden and he suggested I tell no one else."
"As much as I would like to remain here with you, I have other duties to attend." Thorin said, "I will send someone to keep you company if you like."
Bilbo shook his head, "We will likely take a nap, the Faunts are already yawning."
Thorin glanced at the three by the fire who were yawning and leaning against one another.
Bilbo nodded, "We will see you at supper."
Thorin pressed a kiss to Bilbo's forehead and followed Balin out, Dwalin trailing behind them.
"Come, little ones, let us take a small nap before supper." Bilbo suggested, rising from his spot.
Quietly Bilbo guided the three to the bedroom, finding the washroom that connected to it and giving the Faunts all a quick scrub before settling them in the bed, he did not want them to be put in dirty clothing again and so left them without, wondering if he should give some of their clothes a quick wash as well when he heard the knock.
Bilbo opened the door and smiled at Dori.
"I heard you had little ones with you still, and I suspected that they might need something clean as well as yourself and brought you some of the things I'd had made for the Hobbits." Dori said as he stepped into the rooms with a basket of clothing in his hands, "They do have a bit of Dwarrow design but I haven't had many complaints about that."
"Thank you, Dori, when I wake the children for supper I will have them pick something." Bilbo told him.
"Ah, they must be tired, as you must be." Dori smiled, "If you want to wash up I can keep an eye on them should they wake, I have a spot of sewing to finish on some of the clothing I brought."
Bilbo nodded, "I think I will take a moment to clean up."
"Just a moment." Dori dug through the basket and pulled a shirt and trousers out, handing them to Bilbo, "I haven't quite gotten the hand of Vests but some of the Hobbits have been making them, I wasn't sure what size would been good for you though."
"This is fine for now, do not trouble yourself, Dori, I am sure you have been very busy with all of the Hobbits coming here." Bilbo calmed the Dwarf, "I am very glad that you have been very welcoming to my people."
Dori smiled, "We all wished that someone would have welcomed us as such and it will likely become a beneficial thing with the Hobbits insisting on Farming the land around the Mountain. Thorin doesn't know who to approach about it though."
"If any Tooks made it here it is likely one of them will be taking over the Thainship." Bilbo told him, "I will look over Ori's records and tell him which ones he should approach."
Dori nodded and folowed Bilbo into the bedroom, taking a seat in one of the Chairs as Bilbo entered the washroom, taking a shirt from his basket.
Bilbo came out a short time later and Dori suggested joining the children for a nap, that he would wake Bilbo for supper.
Chapter 6: Supper
Dori woke Bilbo gently, "You might want to wake the little ones, Fili and Kili have arrived and are making quite a bit of noise."
Dori then left the room to attempt to control Thorin's nephews.
Bilbo smiled and got up before nudging Frodo awake, helping the young one pick some clothing out from Dori's basket and leaving him to get dressed while Bilbo woke Merry and then Pippin.
Frodo quietly helped Merry with his buttons while Bilbo dressed first Pippin and then Sam, lifting the sick boy into his arms and kneeling before the Faunts.
"Now, what you are about to witness is a very Dwarrow supper, if at any point you feel overwhelmed you may leave and collect yourselves here." Bilbo told them, "I am warning you because Dwarrow can be very rambunctious, especially the younger ones."
Frodo smiled softly, "Okay, Uncle Bilbo."
"Are you ready?" Bilbo asked.
They nodded together and Bilbo led them out of the bedroom.
"Uncle Bilbo!" Kili shouted, launching himself at Bilbo, only to be stopped by Fili.
"Remember, little Sam is feeling sick and Bilbo is going to be holding him." Fili reminded Kili.
"Sorry, Uncle Bilbo, Little Sam." Kili cooed at the child in Bilbo's arms, "And who are you?" Kili poked Frodo gently.
"I'm Frodo Baggins." Frodo smiled, "This is Merry and Pippin."
"Ah, I'm Kili, and the cranky pants behind me is my brother Fili." Kili whispered conspiratorly, making the three giggle.
Bilbo watched Kili lead the others away to play before the fire and then headed to the dining table with Sam.
Soon enough Oin entered the rooms with Tauriel and sat next to Bilbo, "This must be the little ill one."
"Gimli brought me the herbs from Bard's messenger but I'm not sure how to prepare them." Oin handed the package to Bilbo who took them, "Dori, would you mind taking him while I make his medicine up?"
"Of course." Dori sat next to Bilbo.
"Sam, this is Dori, he's very nice, and I'm sure Tauriel will come sit and talk to you if you'd like." Bilbo murmured.
Sam looked at Bilbo tiredly but nodded and Bilbo shifted the Faunt into Dori's arms.
"He's all soft..." Sam slurred a little with drooping eyes, "Like a floofy pillow."
Dori smiled, "Thank you, Ori made me this Sweater, that's my youngest brother, he quite likes to knit, he doesn't have much time for it lately..."
Bilbo watched for a moment as the vibrations from Dori speaking sent Sam into a light doze, before he headed to the kitchen area to find Bombur at the stove. Bilbo smiled, nodded and set to finding a teapot to brew the herbs into a tea, leaving some to make into a soup in a week, at his age Sam would only really need a couple doses, if they were back in the Shire a parent would make a soup in the morning and the young Faunt would only eat that soup for their meals, getting seven doses over the course of the day and maybe even being woken up for an eighth, then be fed a mix of porridge, milk and honey for the week coupled with bright sunshine and naps on healthy earth with growing things, the second series of doses were to make sure that the sickness was gone and their normal meals would be accompanied with warm honeyed milk. Most of the time the Faunt would be running around about two days after the first day of doses but Bilbo knew that it may take a bit longer considering that this was not the Shire and it might take Sam a day or two to accumulate to the Foreign earth, Bilbo may even have to give Sam a couple extra doses, he would have to see how Sam did tomorrow.
"Bombur?" Bilbo got the large Dwarf's attention, "This is Sam's medicine, he will be needing the tea at several points, would you mind making sure no one else drinks this tea?"
"Thank you." Bilbo smiled and poured a small cup of the tea, bringing it back to the dining room and helping Sam take sips of it before setting the rest away.
"Would you like to stay with Dori?" Bilbo asked the boy.
Sam nodded and started to fall asleep.
"Is Sam going to get better now?" Frodo asked, wandering over to check on them.
"Yes, he may sleep through supper, you do not need to be concerned, it is normal to sleep, I will wake him to drink a little more and see about some porriage, honey and milk to feed him as well." Bilbo explained, "And then tomorrow we will have someone show us to the garden and you and Sam can take a nap among the plants, I suspect that Thorin will not want us to go out of the Mountain for a day or two."
"Why not?" Frodo asked.
"Well, how would you feel if Sam returned after a long while away from you?" Bilbo asked.
"I never want him to leave." Frodo said, "But I usually have to go home."
"And Thorin has not seen me for three years." Bilbo said.
"We'll never be able to leave the Mountain again!" Frodo gasped dramatically, "That's such a long time to not see each other."
Bilbo chuckled along with the other Dwarrows, "Go and play with Kili."
Bilbo sent the boy back to Kili and Fili who were crawling around with Merry and Pippin on their backs.
"I take it the Sam is Frodo's One." Oin said.
"It is surprising that they found each other so soon." Dori said.
"Hobbits often find their match young, I'm odd that I didn't, that my match wasn't even a Hobbit." Bilbo explained as Bofur entered with Bifur.
"Bilbo!" Bofur cried, "You're alive!"
Bofur threw his arms around Bilbo and hugged him tightly.
"Hello, Bofur, Bifur."
Merry wandered over and tugged on Bifur's pantleg.
Bifur knelt and spoke in Khuzdul.
"Ah, he's asking what you want little one." Bofur translated as he knelt down too.
"Uncle Bilbo said you made the toys we got when we got here." Merry showed his little Dwarf figure, "Thank you."
Bifur grinned, spoke and ruffled the boy's hair before pulling another little wooden toy from his pocket, this one a dragon, and handing it over.
"He says you are welcome and we'll likely be giving you boys more, you're family now, because Bilbo's family." Bofur smiled.
Merry looked between them and launched himself at Bifur and began to cry.
"Bilbo?" Bofur cried as he and Bifur stood and turned to Bilbo, the small Hobbit held tight in Bifur's arms.
Bilbo sighed, "I've been expecting this, there's a chance that their families didn't make it here." Bilbo explained to Bofur quietly, "It means that they are likely to stay with me, Merry and Pippin come from rather large families, but even still I'm likely the closest relative they have, certainly they know me better than most with how often I stopped by the Took Smials on my wanderings, you claiming us as family is like saying you'll never allow him to be harmed or go hungry, even if something happened to me, Hobbits Value food and kin greatly."
Bofur nodded seriously, "Aye, we've noticed how some of the Children react to being taken in by Dwarrow, they seem shocked that strangers would claim them and their siblings as Kin."
"Well, Hobbits rarely die early and if they do there is usually one parent left, when both die, well, some Hobbits have a great number of children and relatives can't always take the whole group into one home, so they get split, usually by ages." Bilbo explained, somewhat sadly, "We do try to keep them nearby but sometimes it isn't possible."
Bofur frowned but nodded, "I suppose I can understand, Dwarrow don't really have that problem with so few children born to us to start."
"Do you want me to take him?" Bilbo asked.
Bifur shook his head and tightened his hold, sitting down with the small boy, he shifted the child around until his hands were free and began to whittle, Merry turning to watch.
It took some time for every one to arrive, there were even several Dwarrow that Bilbo did not know as well as a tall blond elf that Bilbo suspected belonged to Thranduil. By the time they were all there Sam had had his second cup of tea and Bombur had prepared his porridge and Sam still rested against Dori's chest, Merry had calmed down, though he still had his hand curled in Bifur's beard and remained in the Dwarf's lap. Frodo had decided that Fili was his Dwarf and cling to his shoulders from his seat in the Dwarf's lap. And Pippin had decided that he was going to conquer the Mountain known as Dwalin and was working his way up the Dwarrow, managing to climb up onto the large Dwarf's shoulders with minimal aide from said Dwarrow.
Bilbo had found himself squeezed next to two Dwarrow he did not know though he suspected that the one on the right that looked like Thorin was his sister Dis, Mother of Fili and Kili, while the other reminded him of Gloin's waxing poetically about his lovely wife.
"You must be the Hobbit." The Dwarf Bilbo supposed was Dis said turning to him.
"Must I be?" Bilbo asked, raising his eyebrow, "Are you going to ask my prefered weapon as well?"
Dis laughed loudly and gained the attention of the others, "You will fit in here."
Bilbo smiled, "I'm glad you think so, my Lady."
"Dis." Dis grinned, "You are family now."
Bilbo nodded, "Then I'm Bilbo."
"Bilbo." Dis nodded back, "This is Gloin's wife and One, Gimris, and I'm sure you can figure out who their son is, if not he is the one that is bothering Legolas, Thranduil's son, there is Bombur's wife, holding their latest child and their children, I still can't quiet remember who is who."
Bilbo nodded and smiled as Bofur threw something down the table, "This reminds me of that first dinner."
"Does it?" Gimris asked.
"Oh, yes, I wonder if they'll sing 'That's what Bilbo Baggins Hates'." Bilbo laughed.
"Oh?" Dis asked, "They've all been tightlipped about their journey, for fear of our reactions no doubt."
Bilbo nodded, "Well, I'm sure I can tell you."
"Please do." The two Dwarrowdams leaned closer.
"Uncle Bilbo?" Sam interrupted, "I don't feel good."
"Oh, dear, best hand him over, Dori." Bilbo stood up to collect Sam and took him to the washroom where Sam was sick and Bilbo grabbed a cool cloth to wipe his forehead.
"Were you too warm?" Bilbo asked softly.
"Would you like to soak in the bath?"
Sam shook his head, "Can I lay on the stone? It's all cool."
"Alright, do you think you can have some more tea first?" Bilbo asked as they walked back out to the dining room.
"Maybe." Sam murmured into Bilbo's neck.
Bilbo collected Sam's tea and Sam drank a little before shaking his head.
"Are you hungry?"
"Alright." Bilbo walked away from the table and settled Sam on the cold stone, on his stomach, cheek resting against the stone, "Comfy?"
Sam nodded sleepily.
"You can sleep, I'll put you to bed in a bit."
Sam nodded again.
"Yes, Frodo?" Bilbo turned to the Faunt as he pet Sam's hair.
"I'm finished, can I lay with Sam?" Frodo asked.
"As long as you don't cuddle up to him, he's feeling a bit hot, alright?" Bilbo said.
Frodo nodded and squirmed away from Fili to lay on the floor with Sam.
The Dwarrow raised their eyebrows as Bilbo wandered back.
"Sam's recovering from our trip through Mirkwood." Bilbo explained.
They all nodded.
"I had wondered why most of the Hobbits became ill when they passed though our Halls, they seemed anxious to move on." Legolas said.
"Hobbits can tell how healthy land from sick land, we are tied to it in a way, if the land is sick Hobbits will usually get sick." Bilbo said.
"You and the others seem fine." Bombur's wife said.
"The other Faunts were carried and, having gone through the Elven wood before, I was able to prepare myself at Beorn's, it is hard to explain the feeling of sick land to a Hobbit that has never felt it before."
They all frowned but nodded.
"Is that why the Hobbits expressed interest in farming the land?" Dis asked.
"Uncle Bilbo?" Merry finally let go of Bifur to climb up on Bilbo's lap.
"I want my Ma." Merry whispered.
Bilbo hummed and pressed Merry closer, "I know, dear, you've been so good while we were on our way here."
"Can we look for them?" Merry asked.
"We will, but Merry, they may not be here, you know that right?" Bilbo asked.
"Am I going to stay with you if we can't find them?" Merry asked, "I want to stay with you."
"Yes, you'll stay with me, sweetling." Bilbo promised.
"All of us?" Frodo asked from his spot next to Sam, where he was playing with his and Sam's figurines.
Bilbo nodded, "I'll be talking to any relatives about things, I have no doubt they will have many questions for me."
Frodo nodded, "Do you think they'll be mad that Uncle Thorin is gave you hurt-colors?"
Bilbo sighed softly, "Given the circumstances, I don't think there will be any problem."
"Even though you got hurt-colors on your throat?" Pippin asked.
It took a moment for Bilbo to realize that the collar of his shirt was not as high as it usually was, the Dwarrow and Elves had been polite enough to not mention the colors on his neck, but Bilbo should have known that the Faunts would notice and say something.
Bilbo sighed again, "Some things are best left alone."
Pippin stared at Bilbo from his perch on Dwalin's shoulder, nibbling on a biscuit, "What if they ask?"
Bilbo glanced at Thorin who stared back.
"We shall tell the truth." Thorin said, looking at Pippin, "I allowed myself to be consumed by trinkets and things, forgetting that the most important thing was the people who were with me." Thorin turned back to Bilbo, "When I allowed myself to listen properly, they brought me back."
Merry nodded, "That is a good way to remind us to value family."
Bilbo pressed a kiss to Merry's hair, "Of course it is."
"Lobelia will hit Uncle Thorin with her umbrella for forgetting that family is most important." Frodo said looking over at them.
"That will be funny to see." Bilbo grinned.
They changed topics and Bilbo held Merry until it was time to put the children to bed, handing Merry over to Thorin who also collected Pippin from Dwalin while Bilbo lifted a still dozing Sam and got him to drink some more of his tea before putting him to bed with the other two and helping Frodo up onto the bed.
Thorin looked down at the four children in his bed, "We're going to have to turn two of the offices into bedrooms."
"You have more than one office? Bilbo asked.
"A private office and a working office, not to mention the personal library and the writing room, I'm pretty sure there is a Nursery connected to these rooms as well." Thorin said as he watched Bilbo tuck the blankets around the boys tighter.
Bilbo walked with Thorin from the bedroom, "Do you really need a writing room?"
Thorin stared at Bilbo, ignoring Balin's sudden laughter, "You may have needed it."
Bilbo smiled, "How about we keep the Private office and repurpose the work office and the writing room, we can put desks in the library so the children and I can write letters if we need to, I'd like to continue writing to Bard and Beorn, perhaps even taking some Holidays to see Beorn, the boys did like it there, and I think he liked them as well."
"Why not the Nursery?" Dis asked.
Bilbo raised an eyebrow, "The children will need a place to play."
"Of course." Gimris chuckled.
"Ori." Bilbo turned to the Dwarf, "You have kept records of every Hobbit that has arrived?"
Ori nodded and reached for his bag, pulling out a large book and handed it over to Bilbo.
"Will you be able to tell who has made it so far?" Ori asked.
"Well, I knew most of the Hobbits that resided in Hobbiton and Tuckborough, and most of us are related somehow." Bilbo shrugged, "I always quite liked genealogy."
Bilbo opened the book and began to look through the names, mainly searching for Frodo, Sam, Merry, or Pippin's families, Bilbo stopped at a single name, and frowned at the little mark made next to it.
"Ori? What does this mean?" Bilbo asked as he pointed to the mark.
"Oh, well, some of the Hobbits were sick after their trip through Mirkwood, even once we managed to find the herbs they needed they didn't recover, that mark means they died." Ori explained.
"Was she accompanied by anyone?" Bilbo asked.
"Is she one of the little ones' parents?" Dis asked.
Bilbo nodded, "Pippin's, he was her youngest and she had three other children."
"Aye, she had two with her, I think one of the Lords took them in." Dwalin said, "Pearl and Pervinca, I believe."
Bilbo nodded, "Are they settled with them?"
"Aye, they were some of the first to arrive and with their mother sick..." Balin trailed off.
"I suppose I shall see if they'd rather stay there, and tell them that they can see Pippin as often as they want, given his age he may not remember them well enough to want them, but we shall have to see." Bilbo said, "I will also have to begin a list of those that have not arrived and cross reference it with those that are known to be gone."
"Bilbo." Dis began, "It can wait for tomorrow, you have had a long trip, and so have the children, no one would fault if you rested."
Bilbo nodded and leaned against Thorin who returned the book to Ori.
"Thank you for welcoming the Hobbits here." Bilbo said.
"You do not need to thank us, you returned our home to us, we cannot return the Shire to you but we can offer a new home." Thorin told him.
Chapter 7: Garden
Bilbo helped Sam into his clothes, the boy was feeling much better, though still a little lethargic and sleepy.
Once all of the boys were dressed Bilbo packed a basket with a bit of breakfast and exited Thorin's rooms, the King having left early that morning, Bilbo hardly stirring, he had been so tired, he didn't even recall falling asleep.
"Good morning, Master Dwarf." Bilbo said cheerily as he closed the door and shifted Sam on his hip, the boy's head against his shoulder, basket on the arm under his bottom, Bilbo offered his free hand to Pippin, Merry holing Pippin's other hand and Frodo holding Merry's hand, "Are you the Guard Thorin mentioned would be looking after us?"
The Guard nodded, "Aye, that's me, where are you wanting to go?"
"Would the Garden be too much trouble, Sam needs a nap on good healthy dirt that has growing things in it, and I suppose that Thorin doesn't want us to leave the Mountain so soon after arriving, not that we would even be up for it." Bilbo rambled.
"Aye, the garden isn't too far, and the little Hobbits won't be up yet, so it'll be quiet still." The Dwarf interrupted Bilbo, wincing a little.
Bilbo smiled, "I'm sorry, It's just been a long journey."
The Dwarf nodded, "But you made it, none the worse for it, you are safe here."
"Of course I am, I never had any doubt about it." Bilbo confirmed, "I was a little surprised about the rest of the Hobbits being welcomed but I am glad that they were."
"Aye." The Dwarf nodded, "You are our King's One, your family is his family and his family is our family. Kin is Kin."
"Mister Dwarf?" Frodo asked.
"Aye, little one?" The Dwarf looked down at Frodo.
"Why do you carry and Axe? Are you going to chop firewood?" Frodo asked.
The Dwarf chuckled as he opened a door that led into a bright room, "Nay, I use the Axe to fight, perhaps your..." The Dwarf looked questioningly at Bilbo.
"Uncle." Bilbo provided.
"....Uncle will let you watch us spar with one another."
"Please, Uncle Bilbo?" Frodo asked as Bilbo let go of Pippin and settled Sam in a mostly empty plot, there were severl plants along the edges but the center was open.
"We shall see, for now, why don't you go look around, do not leave the room." Bilbo shooed the three away as he pet Sam's hair, the sick Hobbit falling asleep again almost immediatly, "Do you know when the others will come?"
"Tauriel usually brings them after the mid-day meal." The Dwarf said.
Bilbo nodded, "Thank you."
"Shall I let King Thorin know where you are?" The Dwarf asked.
"If you like." Bilbo shrugged.
It was hours later that Bilbo woke up from his light doze, Sam was snuggled into his side with Frodo next to him, Pippin was on his chest and Merry was on his other side, the Dwarf was just inside the garden by the door greeting the young Hobbits as they entered.
Bilbo carefully extracted himself from the flower bed and settled Pippin in his empty spot.
"Mister Bilbo!" Several voices cried, "You made it!"
"The Dwarrows are taking care of us!"
"Our parents are growing outside the Mountain!"
"The Shire is Gone!"
"Are we really going to stay here?" A quieter voice asked.
Bilbo knelt down and the children and tweens gathered around.
"I expect that we will stay here." Bilbo said.
"Why are they helping us and being so nice?" A tween asked.
"I... Thorin gave me my Hurt-colors and I suppose it is the right thing to do." Bilbo offered.
"By Dwarrow standards, Master Baggins and our King are married." The Dwarf offered, "Which means offering aid to your Kin, by Marrying our King, Master Baggins is our Kin and his Kin is ours, that he helped win back our home from a Dragon makes our home his as well, even without the marriage."
The children nodded, "Okay."
"Can you tell us the Story?" A younger Faunt asked, "We never remember it right."
Bilbo smiled, "Of course."
Bilbo sat on his bottom on the floor, opened his arms for Sam to crawl into them, Frodo sitting next to Bilbo and holding Sam's hand as the others gathered around, Pippin and Merry leaning against Bilbo's other side while the rest of the children sat around him and before him, facing him.
And so Bilbo began the Story that had begun it all.
"In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a Hobbit-hole, and that means comfort...."
A/N: So, I totally did not intend the Shire to be destroyed but it did, and I think at one point I decided that the One Ring does not exist and that it was merely bad luck that had the Shire Falling. But hey accepting Dwarrows who just kind of know that Bilbo is the only reason they even have Erebor back and maybe want to elect Bilbo King a little bit.
As much as I loved writing this I do have to ask that you don't examine this too closely as I'm sure there are several plot holes and gaps that exist but I wrote this story in like a day, so...
I will try to answer any questions you have and if you have the right question you may inspire another story.