Kili hated being cold. Wasn’t it just his luck that tonight had to be one of the coldest nights yet? Pity that it was such a pretty night as well. There was not a star in the sky, nor any wind to make the nearly unbearable temperatures even worse. There was just him, his uncle Bilbo and the dragon Smaug around the cheerfully flickering fire pit.
It was also his birthday. Not that he had told anyone.
Bilbo was just so stressed lately and Kili was almost positive that the hobbit wasn’t entirely healed. No matter what he told him, the young dwarf could see when the hobbit winced or limped. It made him so mad that at times he wanted to turn around and yell and scream at his uncle for what he’d done to him.
That wasn’t an option of course. Thorin would probably kill him the second that he saw him.
The young one sighed heavily as he thought about his family. What would Fili be doing right now? Was he busy learning how to be a good heir to the throne? Did his brother even miss him at all?
“What are you thinking about over there?” came Bilbo’s soft voice from beside him. Kili startled. He hadn’t realized that the hobbit had moved from his spot by the fire. He felt something soft being draped around his shoulders.
“We may have the advantage of having a dragon travelling with us, but we still need to bundle up. I’d feel awful if you got sick.” Bilbo said sitting down beside him. The hobbit was dressed in more layers than Kili had ever seen him wear before. Thick woolen trouser covered his legs and went all the down to his ankles. His coat was bigger than the one that had been destroyed in Erebor and instead of being blue, was now a red color that resembled the hobbit’s original jacket. Around his neck was a soft, warm scarf.
Kili wore similar clothing to his friend with the exception that upon his feet he wore thick, hard toed boots. Bilbo absolutely refused to buy a pair, saying that Hobbit feet were sturdy and would be able to withstand the cold of the North.
Kili accepted the blanket and buried himself in it. “Thank you, Uncle Bilbo,” he said. Bilbo smiled and gently ruffled the boy’s hair.
“You still haven’t told me what’s on that overactive mind of yours.” Kili snuggled into the warmth of the blanket.
Over the last few months, Bilbo had taken on more of a guardianship of the dwarf. He always made sure that Kili received enough food and was warm enough when they slept at night, even sometimes going as far as sacrificing his own rations and comfort. It made Kili very reminiscent of when he was much younger and his family barely had enough to get by in Ered Luin. He was grateful of everything that Bilbo had done for him, especially given what he had been through himself.
Smaug had assured him that the initial effects of the binding ritual had worn off but the lasting ones. Kili looked into Bilbo’s multicolored eyes, the sign of his sin, according to Smaug.
Bilbo had done the unthinkable. He had bound a dragon against its will. And he had done it to save his family and give them back a home.
And what had been his reward? Banishment. He’d been thrown to the side and left for dead. Sure there had been a dragon to help mend his wounds but the fact remained that no one, not his brother, not anyone who had the nerve to call Bilbo a “friend” had come forward to defend him against Thorin.
“I’m just thinking, Uncle Bilbo.” Kili said softly. “How much farther is it until we get to the North?”
He heard a low growl from across the fire. Both of them looked up at the humanoid dragon. Smaug didn’t really look much different than he had when they had left Erebor. He still wore the same long black leather billowing coat except now there were tiny sections of red filtered throughout the coat, mimicking the scales that he had lost. He still wore long black, extremely tight trouser tucked into knee length black boots.
He human face was thin and angular, his cheekbone high. His eyes still retained a reptilian like quality. They mirrored Bilbo’s to show who he had been bound to.
“We are attempting to locate a nest of Dragons who may or not be in one of the most secluded and unexplored regions of Middle Earth,” he snapped. “How much further do you think we have to go Boy?”
Kili shrunk back from the biting tone. Even in human form, he still found Smaug utterly terrifying.
“Don’t you speak to him like that, you great brute,” hissed Bilbo. “It isn’t his fault we’re like this. If someone had just been a better look out, perhaps we’d have more than the clothes on our backs” Kili paled. No matter how terrifying a dragon was though, an angry Bilbo would probably always scarier.
The tension between the two adults became almost palpable. It seemed like the two would never stop arguing.
“No, the child is not the one who bound a dragon with knowing how to break it. He should not even be here in the first place, MASTER.”
Bilbo leapt up, his eyes blazing. “You know good and well why he is here. What would you have me do? Turn him over to the very King who has threaten to him with death should he ever return? Are you really that cold hearted?” he yelled. Kili shrank back, feeling awful.
Smaug glared at Bilbo from across the flickering flames. “You cannot even care for yourself properly and you expect to be able to care for a child? How are you going to protect him if you cannot even teach him what he must know to survive?” he said.
“Dragon Lord he might be, but you’ve not the skill nor the knowledge to teach him.”
Bilbo didn’t respond. He stood in front of the fire, eyes wide.
“I believe I shall turn in early tonight,” he said quietly. He turned away from his companions to the small tent they had purchased in a little town a few weeks ago. A shuddering breath and he was gone.
The air around the remaining two was nearly stifling in its quiet. Smaug appeared undisturbed by the argument. Kili had burrowed himself deep into his blankets so that only the top of his head was visible.
“You should join the Hobbit, Dwarfling.” The dragon drawled out. “We have a long way to go tomorrow. We wouldn’t want you getting tired. Master will be even more airheaded than usual if he has to fuss over a child all day.”
Kili sniffed, “I’m not a dwarfling,” he said even as he stood to go crawl into his bedroll, next to Bilbo.
This by far had been the worst birthday ever.