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Emerald Boon

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“How can I not interfere?!” A shriek pierced through the hallowed halls.  

“Nienna, it is not our right nor judgement.”

“It is every right!” Tears slowly slid from their container, weaving into compassionate despair. “A child should never bear the fruits of labor in such a young age, nor shall they be smitten by a hand raised by their own kin!”

The grief awashed the fair face with each declination coming forth from her own brother. She placed the black veil over her crystal clear eyes, no longer looking at the handsome sculptured face of her brother, Námo. She shook her head in denial, her black robes billowing with each movement.

“It is not our right, sister. It is not our world to interfere.” The imposing black figure says sternly. His voice reverberated the very halls they stood. “Is it pity you feel for the child?”

“Pity?” Nienna’s face twisted to one of anger, shocking the Valar. “It is not pity for the child that I came to you for this specific boon. I seek this child in hopes of some compassionate soul willing enough to hand aid! But it seems it was for naught.. Námo what do you not understand? What plagues your mind so? A helpless child abused by his own kin deserves aid! He deserves mercy!”

“My ever merciful sister, nothing plagues my mind so.” Námo placated. “But your thoughts trouble me. You speak of, you speak of the impossible. We are the creators of Arda, we are the advisors over the creatures that now inhabit the world we have created. Other universes are not our proxy, they are not under our jurisdiction; therefore, they mean nothing. That boy, he means nothing compared to the Eldar.”

Nienna’s eyes widened at the Valar in front of her. Meaningless, a word Nienna witnessed more times than not when viewing the world through Vairë’s webs. Orcs pillaged villages, steal and kill everything they see, take back children to eat them under the moonlit sky stained with blood. Nevertheless, she feels and seen orcs care more than the Valar standing in front of her.

But it hurt. It hurt being rejected by her own brother. He was the only one who could possibly save the boy from his own demise, and yet… the boy means nothing to him. Nothing at all.

But she knew, she knew what he says was true.

The Lady of Mercy watched as Vairë’s webs slowly formed around the curved columns supporting the corridor. Although Nienna did not appreciate the Weaver’s interference with her business, she knew Vairë’s webs weave a tale upon their land that supported the Doomsman’s argument. The elves danced under Varda’s stars. The dwarves carefully mined Mahal’s treasure, the hobbits tilled Yavanna’s lands safe from enemies abound, and the men erected kingdoms distances away from one another. Peace, the Valar assured, should forever reign over Arda. It was a sworn oath she and the other Valar had taken with Eru.

Therefore, she cannot interfere with otherworldly problems as it wasn’t under the Valar’s jurisdiction.

She, however, was called and labeled  the Lady of Mercy, of weeping. Growing compassion was placed on the child she’s been envisioning with dark tufts of hair, beautiful emerald eyes, and pale skin covered in the blood dripping down from his head. Her countenance nor her thoughts shifted to anything but the child she knew was dying, alone on the floor. She insisted her brothers in helping her grant mercy to the child dying at the hands of his own kin, but they rejected her; and so she weeped, she weeped for the child. The child she cannot help.

“Merciful sister, we cannot interfere.” Mandos sighed deeply.

Nienna’s tears fell from her high cheekbones. “Then what can we do?” She felt the fight drain from her vessel, ebbing itself into the bottomless sea.

“Nothing, sister.” Námo whispers, regret clenching his chest. He knew he relayed hurtful things to his merciful sister, things he knew he would regret when he returns to his throne.

Nienna looked on, new tears forming in her clear eyes. “Nothing…”

~

Freak woke up.

The first thing he noticed was that he felt no pain. He remembered his Uncle Vernon loom over him with the metal end of his belt. But when he felt the area where he knew his uncle struck, there was nothing! No pain! No boo-boo!

Instead of pain, Freak felt something press gently on his cheeks. Then it moved. He felt spindly fingers card through his hair after a few minutes, he peeked his eyes open to see who was touching his hair. The picture in front of him should scare him, but all he felt was comfort ebbing through his veins.

A dark, looming figure cradled him in their arms.

“Master…” It says, but Freak didn’t know what it meant. What was a master? “Master…”

Again, Freak doesn’t quite understand. He quirks his pert head over at the figure’s face, blinking up at it when he saw nothing but a dirty rag. Concerned, he lifted his own hands and pressed it against the hood.

“Are you okay mister?” Freak asks innocently. He was both curious and concerned, wondering what the hood hid from sight. But, with a childlike patience, he waited for an answer he knew wasn’t to come.

Still, the figure continued to card its spindly fingers in his messy hair. Freak pouted because his question was left unanswered.

“It is with great regret you died so soon, Master.” The mister says with a deep, reverberating voice. It comforted Freak. Though the words did confuse him because he hasn’t quite understood what the mister was saying, the words sounded foreign to Freak’s ears. “But soon, I will grant you this boon.”

Freak quirked his head.

“A life cherished.” The entity says endearingly. “A life without estrangement, without torment. A gift I bestow onto you.”

“I get a gift?” Freak was now looking over the place, eyeing for something wrapped in a bow. He’s never received a gift before! His Aunt Petunia always gave gifts to her precious ‘Dudders’ on his birthday. When he asked though, his uncle cuffed him over the head and locked him in the cupboard. So admittedly, he was excited. It was his first present, who wouldn’t be?

The entity nodded its hooded head. “A gift I bestow to you. A life without estrangement, without torment.” Freak inclined his head, pressing it against the entity’s shoulder. It pressed its hood against Freak’s forehead. The little boy felt a cold breath press against his scar before it disappeared, and replaced with another spindly finger pressed against his cheeks.

Voluntarily, Freak  held onto the hand that never drew back. “Will I get a mama and papa?” The little boy quirked his head expectedly at the hooded figure. He was hopeful. He wondered if his mama and papa would like him. Wondering if they can take care of him like Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon would with Dudley.
“Mister?”

This time, the hands drew back. The figure carefully placed the boy on the grey tiled floor.

Mister slowly bowed to the ground, a big curved blade in hand. Suddenly, he disappeared from sight in one big flash that flooded Freak’s own sight.

“Mister?”

~

“T-the child,” again Námo’s sisters porcelain face glossed itself with tears. “He’s gone.”

Námo watched her sister woes pour rivers in the very halls, his hands clenching. “I am sorry, merciful sister.” The Lady of Mercy said nothing in return but continued her weeping. “But we could not have helped nor grant the boon to the child.”

Nienna sniffed, turning away from her brother.

The Doomsman of the Valar looked on in solemn as his sister floated through the hallway like a spirit, weeping in every step.

~

“What is this?”

Bilbo Baggins just got back from the markets. At the plump age of thirty-three, the hobbit never expected the unexpected; nor did he appreciate the unexpected, as it does make him late for dinner! He got back from the markets after perusing the wooden stalls filled to the brim with the latest harvest the farmers plucked from their garden. Spending little to no coin with no interest in any daily harvests in the marketplace, he decided to head back to his lovely hobbit hole on Bagshot Row.

When he got back, however, he didn’t expect to get a little visitor waiting for him on his doorstep.

At first he thought of the little boy as a faunt, lost and waiting for his parents, but as he got closer the child was no faunt. In fact, the child was anything but a faunt! First of all, the child had little feet with barely any hair warming his little toes. If one was to distinguish a hobbit, they will surely tell when they look down. Second of all, he was wearing odd clothes. Didn’t look fitted at all, not even his young Tookish cousins dared wearing baggy clothing that covered their feet. Uncomfortable they were!

Though the clothes themselves look well-crafted and quite regal. The cloak draping from the boy’s back shimmered a green hue, camouflaging itself with the hobbit’s own very green door. The brass clasps clipped together around the boy’s neck shimmered in gold and bespeckled jewels. It befitted a king, Bilbo thought.

Bilbo felt himself gasp when the child seemed to have noticed him staring. The child curiously looked at the hobbit with a childlike innocence. Those eyes! Those very green eyes! They reminded Bilbo of a time when his mother plucked a very rare flower which bloomed with her red roses. It was a green rose. Though, now that the hobbit thinks about it, those green roses his mother loved so much paled in comparison to the green eyes of this child. His eyes looked ethereal and beautiful, all packaged in two sweet irises.

But it was enough putting the poor child under a gentlehobbit’s scrutiny! Bilbo felt like his father might be rolling in his grave right about now all because Bilbo lacked any Baggins’ hosting capabilities. The stern voice of his father screaming in his mind demanded him to greet the ethereal child and offer himself as a host, until the child’s parents pick him up of course. Though he wouldn’t mind the company while he prepares his mid-afternoon tea, in fact it was almost time for such a thing to prepare!

Opening the gate, Bilbo greeted Hamfast who appeared ever so slightly nervously. The hobbit tend to fumble with his gloves when he felt quite nervous with anything, primarily Lobelia.

“Ah, Mister Baggins, sir…” Hamfast feigned a glance at the boy then to his friend. “What brings you in so early, sir? Found anything at the markets?”

“Good day Hamfast,” Bilbo greeted with a genial smile. “You ask about my time at the markets? Well they were severely lacking the things I needed. It seems I would need to wait until another season warms the Fall” He shook his head. “It seems I have a little guest.”

Hamfast sighed. “I’m sorry Mister Bilbo. I tried scaring the kid from knocking on the door, but the little tyke is too stubborn for my wits!”

“There was no need of that, Hamfast.” Bilbo gently admonished the Gamgee. “It seems I would be having company for my mid-afternoon tea.”

“Are you sure Mister Bilbo?” Hamfast shot his friend a shocked look. “The other hobbits will be yammering about this in the markets tomorrow!”

Bilbo gave Hamfast a pointed look. “It is impolite for a Baggins to reject hosting guests. And when have I ever spared a care for gossiping hobbits?”

Hamfast sighed. He always knew his friend was an odd one. His Tookish blood, perhaps. “If you so wish, sir. Then I will be on my leave then! A wife to attend, and pumpkin pasties to eat before Winter comes!”

Bilbo rolled his eyes which did not bely his amusement for his friend. “Go then, Mister Hamfast. Pumpkin pasties wait for no one!” The gentlehobbit watched as his long time friend waved a goodbye and took his leave towards the home his family belonged in. He turned a smiling face to the child who was all but silent. “Hello.”

The child did not reply, much to Bilbo’s distaste.

Bilbo cleared his throat awkwardly. “My name is Bilbo Baggins, master of this house.” He waves at the child.

The child blinked, opening his mouth to speak. “ Hello. ” The boy waves.

Although the gesture transcends through language barriers, Bilbo still blinked at the unknown language spewing from the child’s mouth almost effortlessly. In all his years spending times in the woods looking for elves and his time at Bree, Bilbo encountered many languages. From the elegant Sindarin of the elves his mother spoke as if it was her mother tongue, the guttural curses spewing from a drunken dwarf’s mouth, and the Westeron he himself speaks as his native language. Ever the linguist, Bilbo made sure he would look in a lexicon that might shed a light on the language he has never heard. For now, Bilbo finds himself in a less ideal situation.

He did not know how to host a child that does not understand him!

Chapter Text

 

It wasn’t until spring did the hobbits of Hobbiton realize who was under Bilbo Baggin’s wings, staying inside the comforts of the greatest smial on Bagshot Row. Lobelia Sackville-Baggins was the first one to ever gut her own reputation by demanding Bilbo Baggins to ‘stop being a coward and face his responsibilities.’ Of course, Hamfast as his name suggests dealt with Lobelia’s rather pointy nose, gently nudging her off the property, hastily Bilbo commended. The butterfly effect, however, occurred after she made a rather dramatic scene. Dreadfully enough, the hobbits in the markets started gossiping until their lips jumped from their faces for which Bilbo did not appreciate. Especially those confusticated assumptions!

Bilbo Baggins could concur, the assumptions were merely that, assumptions; and most of them were absolutely absurd! Kidnapping a child off the streets is enough to criminalize him and slander the Baggin’s line. There were also talks about the child being a stray orc, or a dwarf from the Blue Mountains, or even going as far as an elf evidence being the fancy embroidery!

Not once did they bother asking him about his guest that long overused his stay in his smial (which of course, he didn’t mind because he did enjoy the silent company) or even bothered if the child had any parents! They were all wondering who it is and what influence it had over him! By Yavanna, Bilbo does not know how his parents ever dealt with both their relatives and the general public.

Though he would admit, he did find the child quite odd. First was the child’s overall fear towards anything considered dangerous . It seemed worryingly overly excessive. Just the other day, Bilbo had brought out a kitchen knife sharpened by a whetstone he found by the river abbey. It was sharp enough to cut even the finest of parchment with the littlest effort, which perhaps justified the little boy’s fear. And it seemed the child had quite a fear with the porcelain sink he had in his bathroom. Secondly, there were peculiar moments surrounding the child when he had bouts of emotion. Things started disappearing, even the boy himself! In fact, he saw him one time standing on the hill over his hole-in-the-ground when he was just in the living area a moment ago. The hobbit hadn’t heard the resounding click from the door closing! Additionally, he swore to Yavanna there were times Bilbo saw his doilies and trinkets dance around the boy, but it could be Bilbo’s eclectic imagination.

But what made Bilbo’s heart hurt was when he would raise his arms, or anything really, the child would flinch and run to the room Bilbo had accommodated for him. The behavior continued during the months he stayed in the smial, the child continued to flinch whenever a shadow loomed over him or a hand unintentionally raised. The first time he met the boy, it was difficult enough with the language barrier and adding on possible abuse addled the hobbit. He caught him one time pulling his pantry door open, intending to sleep in that tiny space! It made the hobbit suspicious towards the child’s original caretakers, but his mind was put off when he’s been getting requests to seek an audience with the Thain.

And dealing with his Tookish cousin wasn’t what Bilbo needed at the moment.

That’s how he finds himself here, smoking his favorite pipeweed. A nice smoke garnered such great relief to surge through his hobbity body, releasing it out in a series of rings in the air. But of course, something also odd finally came and it came in the form of some Big-Folk standing outside his gate with a long staff and gray robes.

Then the most peculiar thing happened. The man stared at the rings Bilbo blew out and turned them into butterflies! My was the sight ever wonderful, but was quickly short lived when a butterfly rebounded on the tips of his nose and dissipated in the air. This did not amuse the hobbit, in fact it quite made him contrite with the stranger! The smoke may as well clog his nose or anything important. Maybe a bit over dramatic for Bilbo’s taste, but no one has ever questioned a hobbit’s limited patience.

Swallowing an upcoming insult, Bilbo regarded the man with a slight frown and a nose crinkle. “Good morning.” He bowed his head slightly, gesticulating his hands to signal a form of greeting towards the gray man.

The gray man wearing a pointy hat smirked, placing all of his body weight on the top of his peculiar staff. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?” Somehow, his voice seemed oddly familiar to the hobbit that it made the very same hobbit a bit uncomfortable.

Though he could say the inquiring words somewhat amused the hobbit, minutely. “All of them at once, I suppose!” He replied with a wave of his pipe. “Now how may I help you?”

His new charge was expecting a meal soon. The hobbit took a quick break from the world, and relieved it with good pipeweed. Then a stranger disturbed his break and distracted him from making lunch! What terrible nonsense!

“That remains to be seen,” The man’s smirk morphed into a foreboding frown. It weirded the hobbit out. Were the Big-Folk always so… lacking in their expressions? Or were they simply suffering through a curse that swiftly changes their mood as quick as a hobbit could eat pies? Was it a debilitation? Bilbo hasn’t the foggiest.

But he heard the door click and out came his little charge, who ambled towards Bilbo without any regard to the gray man looming over the hobbit’s picket fence. The hobbit saw the gray man crinkle those sparkling blue eyes, examining his charge closely (whom he still need to name, after so long of calling him his charge ).

“Is it time for your lessons?” Bilbo inquired softly. The boy would never bother the hobbit with anything unless it was for a good cause. Usually good food or his lessons in the common-tongue amongst the land of Arda, something Bilbo found shocking considering most faunts would bother their family for anything .

Bilbo wasn’t smug, wasn’t smug in the slightest for having such a wonderful, patient charge!

The boy shook his head, however. “M-M-M-Missed y-y-y-you…” Bilbo would never get used to how angelic the boy sounded speaking the common tongue as opposed to that peculiar language he heard when they first met. The hobbit’s heart melted a little when the child said those words. Though the stuttering needs to be worked on, Bilbo added as an afterthought.

Then the boy seemed to have noticed the gray man which amused Bilbo greatly, upturning his lips from the previous thoughtful frown.

“‘Ello!” The gray man raised his staff jovially which only frightened the child a bit, scurrying towards the hobbit and hid himself behind the seat. Bilbo looked down to the ground, only to find that the man’s shadow was indeed looming over his charge.“My, that isn’t the usual reaction garnered from the faunts of the Shire.”

“Because he isn’t a hobbit from the Shire; you big-folk should know hobbits would never degrade ourselves to… boots.” He sniffed disdainfully as if saying those very words were blasphemous. He also felt the need to protect his charge, so Bilbo raised a brow defensively at the peculiar old man to continue talking about the already frightened child. “Now, again, I should ask, how may I help you?”

The gray man continued looking at his charge, much to Bilbo’s distaste. “I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure.” His eyes found Bilbo’s green ones. “But it seems it may be a bit untasteful.”

The snort that left the hobbit brought the boy’s attention. “An adventure? Now, I don’t imagine anyone west of Bree would have much interest in adventures. Now, if you have come to ask me about your respectable, perhaps good-natured, request I would have to deny such a pleasure.” Bilbo cleared his thoughts. “As you can see, I have a charge that needs to be home and safe . Those nasty adventures would make you late for dinner, hm, mm, and make you quite late for lessons indeed. And those must be done and prioritize accordingly! Good morning to you… and, goodbye!”

The old man stabbed his staff to the ground in vexation. “To think that I should have lived to be goodmorninged by Belladonna Took’s son, as if I were selling buttons at the door!”

Bilbo was taken aback. How did this stranger know his mother? Although his mother was quite an adventurer back in her days, she would always tell him of those adventures; and he would remember such an imposing man before! “Beg your pardon?” He inquired.

“You’ve changed, Bilbo Baggins.” The gray man had the audacity to accuse, raising a pointed finger in the hobbit’s direction. Those very hands made his charge flinch and Bilbo a bit aggravated. The man seemed to have noticed after a moment of silence. “I am sorry if I may have frightened you, my boy.” He adds softly, hoping to calm the little one down. Hah.

“I’m sorry, do I know you?” He inquired. He did feel a sense of familiarity with the gray stranger, but nothing came to mind.

Bilbo smiled at his charge when the child’s shoulders sagged when the old man offered the child a benign expression, but the hobbit turned his smile upside down in favor of the old man himself.

“Well, you know my name, although you don’t remember I belong to it. I’m Gandalf!” Gandalf smiled, waving both of his hands in a semicircle “And Gandalf means… me.”

Bilbo gasped. That is right! The gray man with a pointy hat that displayed such excellent fireworks back when he was a fauntling. “Ah! Gandalf… the wandering gray wizard. You made such excellent fireworks! Old Took used to have them on Midsummer’s Eve.” He chuckled, those were the good times.

“F-F-Fire-wo-works?” His charge quirked his head at the wizard and at Bilbo.

Bilbo gave a warm smile. “When I was a fauntling, it was customary for there to be a celebration in Midsummer’s Eve and it called for such wonderful firework displays! Pops of color in the sky filled the dark canvas with such beautiful excitement. It was a sight to see when you were a fauntling, exciting really.” Bilbo regarded the boy with curiosity. “Surely you’ve seen fireworks where you’re from, child.”

The child himself was quite confused. Bilbo shook his head. That was a tale for another day, it seems. And perhaps the child doesn’t really know how to formulate the correct sentence to voice his own tale.

“Where are you from, my dear child?” Gandalf inquired, as it seems not even the hobbit knows and they seem quite comfortable with one another.

Bilbo’s charge felt the attention somehow drawn towards him, and under those scrutinizing eyes the child grew nervous. The child bowed his head down, and hid himself in Bilbo’s shadow in order to hide from the oddly sparkling eyes. The action piqued the wizard’s curiosity even more, but it was short lived when the hobbit glared at the very wizard and chuffed in frustration.

“Well, we must be getting inside. It is almost time for lunch and my charge’s lessons. Good day to you sir! Good enough weather to go wherever wizards congregate, good day.”

So without another word, he lead his charge into the smial under the hill. He left a baffled wizard behind, which only satisfied the hobbit even more.

~

It wasn’t until that evening did Bilbo feel a chill go down his spine. Hours after the wizard traipsed over his property and did who knows what to his door, Bilbo and his charge sat in the living area in comfortable silence; Bilbo got up and put on dinner, while his charge diligently practiced his speech. The child was indeed shy when he did so, often times making absolute sure the hobbit wasn’t spying. It greatly amused Bilbo but made him a bit curious as to why the child was very shy, and dare he say it, nervous with the world around him.

By Yavanna, he should perhaps name the child before it became habitual.

Despite the months spent together under the same hill, Bilbo didn’t really catch the child’s name. Yavanna, his mother and father would be rolling in their graves when they find out their offspring wasn’t a proper host. Though to be fair, the child didn’t know the common-tongue until he advanced in his studies months since their introductions.  

“What’s your name, child?” The question left a weird taste on the hobbit’s lips. Perhaps from the lack of awareness on his part, and the lack of judgement.

The child quirked his head. “F-F-Freak.” He stuttered out as if it was a common name. And when those words left the child’s lips, Bilbo was absolutely appalled!

A question appeared in Bilbo’s head. Why? Surely there were much better names out there for a child of his stature – his cloak says it all! He is a portion of royalty, and to be named like that struggled with the hobbit’s head. It twisted, turned it, until all he could feel was anger. Anger towards the child’s caretakers, perhaps even his mother and father who gave him such a terrible name!

The apoplectic hobbit cursed the child’s parents. To be named such a dastardly insult ruined any respect for the child’s caretakers! How dare they!

“W-Well th-that wouldn’t do.” Bilbo shook his head, he shouldn’t displace his anger onto the child; the child deserved no such abuse! “We must give you a new name, hm?” He gave a smile despite being consumed with anger. Never in all his years did Bilbo witness being consumed in such anger for a person he has never met, and hopefully will never meet if time prevails.

The child quirked his head.

“A new name… hm. Now let’s see here.” Bilbo tapped the cleft of his chin. “How about Bilbor?” He jested with a light smirk. The child offered him a small smile of his own but shook his head, though his eyes were inquiring as to what was going on. “No? I thought it was a rather fitting name for a spiffing young man such as yourself, hm.” A hobbity name certainly does not fit the angelic child. Pity.

“Perhaps Quenya is the most appropriate language to name you in, now let’s see here.” Though he was quite adept in the beautiful (yet rare) language amongst the Noldor – and some say spoken in Valinor itself! – Bilbo hasn’t really flexed any opportunity to use his linguistic muscles with anyone before – he was quite nervous! “What about Calion?”

The interested sparkle in the child’s eyes was possibly the right choice – the first choice, the hobbit mused. Puffing up with pride, the hobbit then vocalised the immediate translation. “It means ‘Son of Light.’ A fitting name I must say, quite proud of myself in thinking about such things on the spot but-”

Their moment was rudely interrupted by a resounding knock on the door. Both the christened Calion and Bilbo looked at the door in such a way that could only be described as surprise, no one having the foggiest on who could it be on the other side. Of course Calion wouldn’t know, but Bilbo had the slightest itch it will possibly be someone unwelcome in his home.

Praying it wasn’t the Sackville-Bagginses, Bilbo went for the door to open it and signalled Calion to continue with his assignments in the living area. Calion looked downright frightened, but obliged nevertheless – bless the boy when he nodded and walked along the wooden floor without a complaint. Bilbo inhaled a heavy breath and hastily opened the door.

Which turns out to be a dwarf, and not an umbrella obsessed hobbit with a pointy nose. Bilbo was a bit relieved but apprehensive. Why has a dwarf shown up on his steps?

“Ah…uhm. Good evening.”

The dwarf didn’t seem he would share the same sentiment. “Dwalin, at your service.”

Then the dwarf had the audacity to barge into his smial! The dwarf barged into his smial, his smial without even taking off his boots as well!

“Ex-excuse me, I haven’t introduced myself. You cannot just intrude in someone else’s home without proper greeti- do not put your hands in there, it might break!” Pray to all the Green Fields he would have the patience to deal with rowdy dwarves! The dwarf was stuffing his big, calloused hands into his delicate, fragile glass jar filled with cinnamon cookies! He baked them specifically for the child whenever he deserved an award! “Please, I would’ve known and gotten notice if I were to have guests. You surely were not invited into my smial, Mister Dwalin!”

“What is your name, laddie?”

“W-what?” Bilbo blinked.

“Name. What is it, laddie?”

“Bilbo-Bilbo, Bilbo Baggins, at your service. But that still doesn’t warrant your absurd behavior. Please could you see yourself out, Mister Dwalin!” Bilbo huffed indignantly at the dwarf who only looked at him in amusement.

“Well, Mister Baggins, I was invited you see. Now, which way, laddie? Is it down here?”

Again, Bilbo balked. What was going on? It felt like he missed half of a conversation.“I-is what down where?”

“Supper. He said there’d be food, and lots of it.” Dwalin seemed to have distracted himself enough, he placed the jar back on the shelf where it belonged. Fortunately, the jar was left unharmed, but Bilbo’s patience continued to .

“H-He said?” Bilbo was still a bit confused, yet frustrated at the same time. Why does a stone-headed dwarf speak in such riddles?! “Who said?”

The dwarf expertly ignored Bilbo’s query in favor of searching for the supper Bilbo as of yet still needed to cook! Huffing, Bilbo intercepted the dwarf’s path with his arms outstretched.

With a somewhat relieving sigh, Bilbo stubbornly wrapped his arms around himself and stared at the dwarf. “Supper isn’t ready yet.” Bilbo tried. “Why don’t you make yourself comfy in the living area and I will call upon you when it is done.”

Dwalin gave a gruff nod and left without a single word but a small grunt. Bilbo sighed in relief. It seems he would be hosting a dwarf of all creatures, and a rude one at best!

Wait just a tick… oh bebother! Calion!

And just like that, the gruff dwarf who still haven’t divested his boots, his furs, and his manners at the door, froze near the big archway that lead straight into the living area. Bilbo espied his little charge, Calion he reminded himself, eyes widen at the big, mean-looking Dwalin with his weapons still sheathed, fortunately. Calion dropped his quill, leaving a bit of ink dripping onto his recently cleaned coffee table. The boy look absolutely frightened!

The dwarf hasn’t spoken as of yet, which gave Bilbo the opportunity to say “Please settle in the sitting room adjacent, please. Mister Dwalin, I believe it would be inappropriate to disturb my charge while he indulges in his lessons.”

Dwalin obliged with a nod of his head much to the hobbits delight. At least he didn’t have to persuade the dwarf further. Who knows what he might ask of Bilbo, and Yavanna it might be the cinnamon cookies he was unable to pick out from the jar.

“Aye, lead the way.” He grunted, eyes not leaving the frightened child. He shook his head and tensed his jaws, turning his head to look at the hobbit. “Where is it, lad?”

“This way.” Bilbo gave a tense, amicable smile and gestured for the dwarf to head to his left. The dwarf obliged without protest, settling down on the chair while Bilbo entered the living area. He plopped down on the floor with Calion, giving him a sense of comfort. “I’m sorry, Calion. We may have to host that big, loud dwarf it seems.”

Calion, bless his soul, only nodded. “O-O-O-k.”

“If that is alright with you then it is alright with me, Calion.” Bilbo pressed his forehead against Calion’s own. “Make sure you finish your assignment and grab a rag from the kitchen to clean up some of that ink you spilt.”

Calion nodded again and went back to his assignment without delay. His awfully oversized cloak billowed with every small step the little boy committed.

He found the child odd. When he first met the child at his doorstep, he left his hood on every single moment. He’s never even hung it up, once! A bit disrespectful if you’d ask Bilbo, or his father. But Bilbo found it to be an odd quirk and he adapted to such a thing after time passed. He continued wearing his hood in the house and the child knew how to bathe himself so Bilbo wouldn’t have to worry about that whole ordeal. It, however, did not satiate Bilbo’s curiosity as to what is under that fancy, woven hood.

After attending the stew he’s been brewing in the cooking pot over the flame, Bilbo decided to whip up a couple of baked fish for the uninvited guest and some biscuits he had saved up for their supper. Sighing, he placed the food into their respective serving dishes and allowed them to cool in the kitchen. He finished up and  kindly went to the sitting area, firstly checking with his little charge and found him doing everything he is supposed to do before sitting at the dining table awaiting supper.

“Supper is almost ready. If you could, and please could you, leave your boots at the door, furs on the coat hanger, and your weapons near my mother’s glory box. You’ll frighten my charge if you keep those weapons on hand.” He warned when the dwarf made to protest. The protest died on those bearded lips, which Bilbo appreciated nonetheless because the dwarf looked downtrodden. At least he has some sense of propriety.

“Has the little tyke never seen a weapon before?” Shocked, Bilbo looked at the dwarf with something akin to suspicion. This was the first curious, and albeit kind, question that came from Dwalin.

Bilbo sniffed. “Hobbits around these parts never carry weapons, heavy stuff they are! Hobbits generally never carry weapons at all, unless you count the many a farmer’s sickles or hoes they shoulder every seasonal harvest. So no, he has never seen a weapon. But what I’ve examined, he grows apprehensive at anything that is sharp or potentially dangerous. We know how to wield knives how they are supposed to, but I keep it out of his sight lest I frighten the poor little one.”

“Aye.” Dwalin stroked his beard. “Now where is supper again?”

Bilbo rolled his eyes. He gave the dwarf a smile fit for a host and waved his arm towards the archway leading into the dining area. “Please, this way.” The dwarf was indeed a stranger and an uninvited guest, but by his mother and father he would host him with his best capabilities.

But there was another knock at the door. Bilbo could do nothing but stare.

“That would be the door, laddie.” The dwarf said amusedly. But he regarded the frightened child who looked at him with those droopy green eyes. “I’m sorry lad,” the dwarf bowed his head.

The hobbit snorted and went for the door. “Uhm, good evening.”

It was, unfortunately, another dwarf. The dwarf had kind eyes, though, which Bilbo appreciated. He also sported a long white beard that came with age and wisdom, with the armor traditional towards the warrior-like dwarves, and red robes donned over his chainmail.

“It is, isn’t it?” The dwarf looked up at the starry sky. “Balin, at your service.”

“Bilbo at yours…”

“I think it might rain later,” the dwarf kneaded his hands through his beard as an afterthought. “Am I late?”

Bilbo, again, was confused. “Late for what?”

Feeling a tug on his evening robes, Bilbo looked down at Calion who watched the other dwarf with something akin to curiosity – yet, still a tiny bit of fear. “Yes, Calion?”

Calion pointed his fae-like fingers towards the dining area where the gruff dwarf was sitting patiently at the table – or patient enough when considering his dwarvish nature. The new uninvited guest also looked to where Calion has pointed, and saw quite a familiar sight.

“Oh, ha ha! Evening, brother!” He called out at the door, surprising his taller brother.

“By my beard,” Dwalin approached, making the child reel back into Bilbo’s shadow. The dwarf noticed and stood back a little, fearing he would frighten the child more. “You are shorter and wider than last we met.” He shot.

Balin raised a white brow at his younger brother. Dwalin never seemed to care when he scared dwarflings with those evil grin of his, or even mark fear into the enemies that befouled the rightful king’s name. Never did he see his brother submit to a little tyke such as this hobbit’s charge. “Wider, not shorter. Sharp enough for both of us.” He shot back, reminding himself about conversing with his brother later.

Bilbo blinked at their interaction, waving away Calion to go sit at the dining area. When the little boy nodded and left without a single word, Bilbo turned towards the older dwarf and wave his arms. “Since you’re here, you should come in. Please, leave your weapons near my mother’s glory box, boots at the door, and robes on the coat hangers. Supper will be ready shortly.”

He would need to put more food in his cooking pot. Perhaps even make a second helping in case there were more h-

Did they just headbutt one another? Bilbo turned to the embracing dwarves who had their heads reeled back in peals of laughter. They really did somehow translocated into shockingly painful sensation Bilbo felt crawling down his spine. Maybe their heads were indeed made out of stone rather than bone. Bilbo shook his head, he had a charge to attend to!

“Do you mind waiting for supper a bit longer?” Calion nodded in response. “Okay then.”

Although Bilbo knew the child did not eat like a measly hobbit, he had a rather small stomach, but he still needed to know what the child needed. Another thing the hobbit got used to when time passed on.

“What’s his name laddie?” Balin asked near the archway.

Bilbo smiled, feeling quite proud with the name he picked out. “Calion. Calion Baggins.” He honestly didn’t know the child’s surname. But his thoughts were quite put off considering what the child’s previous caretakers named the boy. Nevertheless, the child was kin to Bilbo, his family. And Yavanna knows Bilbo will always stay by his family’s side through leather and steel.

“Has he always been wearing that hood of his?” Dwalin crossed his arms and leaned on the archway near his brother.

“Ever since I’ve met him, yes.” Bilbo nodded his head.

Calion gave a tiny smile aimed at Bilbo, but looked in curiosity and a bit of fear when he felt both the dwarves eyes on him. Bowing slightly, the dear boy got up and headed towards the kitchen perhaps for a glass of water.

“What is wrong with the little tyke?” Dwalin asked. “‘Ve never seen a meek one like him before. Even if he looks more man than hobbit.”

Bilbo agreed and disagreed. The child was quite beautiful, ethereal even. He makes even elves run for their coin! But, the child was indeed meek in nature and a bit too fearful. Contemplatively, Bilbo wagered it was those irresponsible caretakers’ fault.

“Leave it alone, brother.” Balin continued looking at the spot the child was in and sighed. “I saw the twins heading up this way, do you mind if we sit in the sitting area, Mister Baggins?”

“Ah, yes, please.” In all honesty, Bilbo was paying half a mind to the dwarves and waved them off almost immediately. His thoughts were on supper and how much food he would need to use from his pantry.

Then twin knocks interrupted Bilbo’s thoughts.

Groaning, Bilbo went to the door and opened it with a whimper. 

Outside the door stood two distinguishable dwarves, one blond and one dark-haired. The blond one obviously went through his majority with his growing blond beard and complex, plaited braids paired with different sorts of beads. The other one sported no beard, having a bit of stubble around his jaw and the top of his lips, yet still had very long hair. He looked more delicate than his counterpart, who looked more intimidating and fiercer, in Bilbo’s opinion anyway.

“Fili.” The blond one said.

“And Kili.” The other one says.

“At your service.” They both say in unison.

“You must be Mister Boggins.” Kili says charmingly.

Bilbo did not appreciate the slaughtering of his name.

Bilbo blinked in before shaking his head. Where are all these dwarves coming from? Was there a hole in a mountain he hasn’t heard of before? “Nope, you can’t come in, you’ve come to the wrong house.”

He was about to shut the door but the dark haired dwarf, Kili, stopped it by inserting his iron-cladded foot.

“What? Has it been cancelled?” The young one says looking put out.

“No one told us,” Fili piped in.

“Can--? No– nothing’s been cancelled. There was nothing to cancel in the first place!” Bilbo exclaimed.

Kili looked relieved. “Well, that’s a relief.”

“Wha–?”

Like Dwalin, the two had no sense of propriety and barged into his smial without further invitation. Fili took out his weapons from all the compartments Bilbo did not know was possible, ranging from his furs and in his boots as well! He placed it all in Bilbo’s already haggard arms, and to top it off, Kili placed his own weapons in the growing pile.

“Careful with these,” He placed a tip of his fingers on the tip of a dagger. “I just had’em sharpened.”

Bilbo warily looked at the weapons the two dwarves dumped in his arms. Cursing inwardly, he divulged them on the side of his mother’s glory box and walked to the kitchen. On his way to the kitchen, he gave Calion a big smile before smacking his head against the wooden frame.

“Confusticate these dwarves!”

~

“Well, what have we here?” Kili looked down at the most curious of creatures. In all his years living in the Blue Mountains and going on little adventures when he and Fili were dwarflings, he has never encountered one such creatures as the one in front of him.

“Looks like a little hobbitling, I should think.” Fili joined in on Kili’s games.

Bilbo watched little Calion wearily, observing the way the child would react to the two new additions. Shockingly enough, the child watched the two in mild amazement; there was still a bit of fear, but the smiles drawn upon those two dwarflings certainly put the child’s mind at ease. Calion waved at them shyly before bouncing to the dining area where he patiently waited for suffer. What a good charge Bilbo has, truly.

“Aye. You two are here! Give me a hand with these, there are more to come!” Dwalin greeted the two dwarflings with a mighty swat against each of their shoulders. He then shoved a chair into their arms… the chair his father used t- you know what, nevermind.

Bilbo sighed, drawing up his already wavering patience. “Seems I might need to accommodate more food,” his pantry was taking the brunt.

He would have to have these confusticated dwarves foot his bill to gather more food for the coming months. The hobbit quickly dumped the weapons near the glory box, huffing slightly when he saw the older dwarf pilfer a couple of cheeses and meats. By the wheel too! Whimpering when he saw the state of his poor pantry, Bilbo grabbed some more food and carried the load towards the kitchen to prepare.

Another round of dishes was about to be done when another set of knocks on the door caught his attention.

“These pranks are quite untasteful!” Bilbo cursed. “Calion, would you be a dear and get the door for me?”

Calion simply nodded and opened the door, only for a pile of dwarves flood on the wooden floor at the child’s feet. Bilbo heard the commotion and peeked his head from his little haven only to blink.

You have got to be kidding me.