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Daffodils and White Tulips

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A warm breeze stirred the curtains of the bedroom and it was a welcomed relief from the midsummer heat for all in the room save one. 
Bella groaned as pain squeezed her midsection and felt as if her fingers were going to leave indents in the wooden posts of her bed. The breeze did little to cool her and sweaty curls stuck to her brow. The contraction seemed to go on forever and it pulled low moans from her as it built in intensity until she thought she was going to snap. 
This was ridiculous if you asked her.
None of this should have been happening honestly. 
She should be back in Erebor not doing this is in her bedroom in the Shire. She should be at home with Dwalin waiting outside the door instead of alone save for her Aunts, and cousins, and no spouse to be seen. 
She had tried to be patient in Erebor, had known it would take time as everyone healed and rebuilt the Mountain. Things had kept her busy as well between her own healing and then the restoration of the Great Library. 
In her heart she had believed that Dwalin would propose to her and make her his wife; perhaps at Midsummer Festival, then she had thought it would happen on Durin's Day, and then Yule. Nothing not even a hint or whisper came to her pointed ears. 
It had been a shock to discover herself in the pudding club, she had tried to tell Dwalin delicately but for whatever reason he wouldn't make time for her. So the decision was made in her heart that he had just been leading her on and this wasn't the place for her anymore. 
Heart broken she had been tempted to break something as she left their suit of rooms in Erebor.
Something broke this time, however it was not the bed post she was gripping and she squealed as hot liquid poured over her thighs.

"Lovely Bella" cheered her Aunt "there goes your waters. Won't be long now." 
Bella wiped the sweat from her neck groaning "This is taking forever. Why isn't he here?" 

Primula peeked out the window towards the lane "where is he indeed?" 




Dwalin shielded his eyes as he surveyed the rolling hills of The Shire from the back of his pony.
He had never thought he would be back here and definitely not at the prompting of a hobbit he had never met.  
The letters had started a couple months after Bella had left. At first he had ignored them even going so far as refusing to accept them having assumed they were from Bella. Balin had laid one on his desk one day with the comment that the handwriting looked nothing like Bella's and that Dwalin should see if perhaps it was something serious. 
He had rolled his eyes at his brother as his dagger made short work of the paper. 
The missive had been on crisp white paper with what looked like lavender in the corner, how he knew what lavender looked like was beyond him but here he was. Tidy handwriting marched across the page informing him that the writer was a hobbitess named Primula Brandybuck, that she was a cousin of Bella's, that Bella had arrived safely but that Primula was sure that there had been a grave misunderstanding that led to Bella's departure. 
He had snorted and tossed the letter into the fire. 
"Honestly Dwalin is that really the proper response?" Balin huffed at him. 
Dwalin stared into the flames watching the paper curl into ash "I have no interest in communicating with anymore hobbits." 
Balin poured them each a finger of whiskey "Nadad I still can't help thinking there was a serious miscommunication going on." 
Silence stretched between them as they sipped the strong liquor. 
"She left me, my yasith walked out on me. Clearly marriage doesn't mean the same thing to halflings as it does us." 
Balin cleared his throat "I still wonder if she was aware that you were in fact wed-" 
"OF COURSE SHE KNEW" he roared throwing his glass against the wall, it shattered and rained down on the stone floor "I GAVE HER MY BEAD, DECLARED MY LOVE AND SHE RETURNED IT. WE- WE MADE LOVE! SHE KNEW and she still walked out..."

The letters were persistent which amused a small part of him, apparently being persistent and stubborn was a family trait. 
Eventually he started reading them but was determined to not answer them. 
Primula wrote of the weather there, how she was planning to marry another cousin of Bella's but on her father's side whereas Prim was related to Bella on her Mother's side. 
Hobbit family trees had to be quite interesting when it was all written out. 
There was occasional updates on Bella thought mostly that she seemed sad, that she was eating alright, that Prim was sure that she missing him something fierce. After a while Prim began to suggest that he was being a coward by not answering her, speculating that perhaps he had moved on and replaced her dear cousin despite Bella telling her that dwarves only loved once. 
He couldn't ignore that so he began to write back, at first to tell her off for insulting the honor of a Son of Fundin but then found himself answering her questions; then slowly telling her his side of the story. It was oddly soothing to write it all down and the pieces began to fall together as the letters continued to cross Arda between them. 
Each letter brought with it a bit more information, shed a little more light on what might have prompted Bella's leaving. 
Primula invited him to her wedding that was just after midsummer but suggested he come sooner to fix things with Bella beforehand. 
He had written back that he wasn't sure there was anything to fix and Prim's last letter fair called him an idiot and ended with the sentence "You need to see her and make things right before it's too late." 



The sun dipped towards the horizon and with it Bella's hopes that this would be over anytime soon. 
"Auntie I thought once the waters went the babe would be out in no time" she moaned swaying with the rhythm that sang through her body. 
Donnamira and Primula shared a look that spoke volumes but Bella was too lost in her own world to notice. 
For regular hobbit pregnancies that was usually the case unless there was something lacking, like the father being absent. Hobbits were all about family not just socially but on a physical, biological level. When female hobbits are expecting they spend hours surrounded by loving family members and just as much time snuggled up to their partners. The hormones that it released really sped things along for the mothers. 
This pregnancy had been hard on Bella, both with it being a mixed pregnancy and the father being absent. She had grown as round as a pumpkin sure but there were hollows in her cheeks and some wondered if she had been below a healthy weight when she fell pregnant. Bella had insisted that she was hale and healthy, Donnamira acting as her midwife had agreed that physically she and the child were fine. However the entire family agreed that Bella suffered from a broken heart and they all knew that could add complications. 
The Took clan had tried to rally around her, tried to make up for the lack of partner affection but they had all known that it would not compare and now prayed to Yavanna that this labor would end well. 
First Bella had gone more than a month past what was normal for hobbits and now it looked to be a very long labor since she had started in the middle of the previous night.

"Some babies are stubborn, my dear." 
"They arrive precisely when they mean to" chirped Prim from her spot by the window. 
Bella leaned over to grip the foot board of her bed "ah yes just like damn annoying wizards that show up unannounced." 
She let her mind drift as the pain grew again in her middle. 
This whole situation was Gandalf's fault. 
She had told him "Good Morning" when he had first shown up with his story and invitation for an adventure. But of course he had not listened. 
Instead she ended up with a home full of dwarves and an empty pantry. The tale of how they had lost their home had set her Took blood a light and the emotions in their song had her mind made up before her head hit the pillow that night. 

Pain sang through her that almost drove her to her knees and made her cry out in anguish. Cool comfort blossomed on her forehead while strong pressure on her hips eased some of the ache there. 
"It's alright Bella, cry out if you need to" whispered Donna as she wiped away some of the sweat "This will all be over soon." 
"Soon enough she'll be in your arms and this will all be a memory" added Prim from behind her where she applied counter pressure on Bella's hips. 
"Prim how many times do I have to tell you dwarves don't have girls often this baby is a boy...YAVANNA'S TITS this hurts! AHHHHHHHHHH" 


Bag-shot row was the same as Dwalin remembered all those nights ago; tidy gardens behind various fences and little round windows glowed with candle light. On his first visit it had been late enough that most of the homes had been dark and the occupants in bed. This evening however the sun glowed red on the horizon while pink clouds streaked the sky and many of the hobbits that lived on either side were out all looking up the lane. At first no one seemed to notice him as they stared towards Bag End and all seemed to be waiting for something.
He led his pony up the cobble stone lane wondering what they were all looking at; a few noticed him and one even gave him a small wave before turning to speak to their spouse.
Bag End's door was as green as it had been those seasons past when he had followed Tharkun's directions and the glow of the tiny ruin he'd scratched into the fresh paint.  
That had been the first time he'd ever laid eyes on Bella and he was embarrassed to admit that in the beginning he had thought she was a lad. The illusion her pinned up curls gave of it being short and how she hid her curves at first had added to the misgivings. 
It wasn't until they had been on the road a bit, actually the ordeal with the trolls that he had any inkling that she was female; their time in Rivendell had confirmed it. The elf maids had found her a dress that left no doubt to her curves and fixed her curls to where they flowed over her shoulders to part way down her back. He among others had almost swallowed their tongues when she came out looking prettier than a bluebell in the meadow. Nori of course had some bets placed on which gender the hobbit identified as and Dwalin didn't even care that he was lost. 
That evening had been the first time he'd danced with someone is almost 50 years and he was positive he enjoyed dancing with Bella more than he had ever with Dis. The next time they had danced had been at Beorn's and that was when he had known she was his One. They had danced on the porch under the moonlight as Beorn and the others took turns playing different songs. Fili and Kili had each taken Bella around the floor but each time she came back to him for another round. 
Some how during all that they had gone through she'd saved that pack of hers and there had been a green dress tucked in the very bottom that matched the color of leaves in the spring. Her hair had grown too long to pin up well and she had lost most of her pins when she fell in the Tunnels. 
That evening Dwalin had offered to braid it for her and when she accepted his heart had soared with happiness. All congratulated them on the engagement and he was too happy to question the confusion on Bella's face. 

Prim had informed him that Hobbit engagements were done with flowers, walks and a meal which explained the confusion to him now. 

He was almost to Bag End when a hobbit with a head full of golden curls called out to him; he was Bella's neighbor and gardener, and he had wanted to let Dwalin know that right now might not be the best time for visitors with Ms. Bella. 
"Why's that" he asked as he tried not to glare at the fellow. 
Hamfast hooked his thumbs in his belt "Well it's her time ya see and I think she's having a rough go of it. Definitely not the time to be worrying about old friends cropping up." 
Dwalin had heard that phrase before but he couldn't put his finger on it. 
"What do you mean 'her time'?" 
Hamfast looked uncomfortable as he chewed on the stem of his pipe and a pink cheeked lass answered from her seat on their garden bench with a few children "means she's about to pop." 
Dwalin drug a frustrated hand over his face "I feel like my Westeron is rusty. I don't understand."
Hamfast pulled a face "well ya see Bella was in 'the family way' and now she's" he began to mime straining and then rocking something. 
Family way... Family way? FAMILY WAY
Dwalin felt the blood leave his head and the ground seemed to move beneath his boots. 
"Whoa big fella" a rough hand patted his cheek and once his eyes could focus he discovered that Hamfast was very close to him now. 
"I have to-" 
A new sound filled the air, the sound of someone in immense pain and Bell said softly from behind them "I think she's having a very rough time of it, poor dear." 
Forgotten was his pony, his belongings, anything as he sprinted towards Bag End. 

 

 

Bella could hear banging and shouting as she rocked her hips in agony. Donnamira had figured out that the baby's head wasn't sitting right so she'd had Bella walking laps around Bag End while rocking her hips in a circle. 
"What in the blazes in going on out there" she panted to her Aunt who was helping on to the bed. 
Donnamira's ears twitched as she heard a new, deeper voice but turned her attention back to her niece. 
"Whatever it is Primula will handle it. Now lets see what is going on... yes very good."
Donnamira hummed as she prodded about "I think this little one should be with us soon. However lets have you lay like this" she positioned Bella on her side with her top leg bent to touch the bed "This should get her the rest of the way to come out." 
Bella breathed heavily "I have told you that it's a boy. Dwarves don't have giiiirls. Oooohh this contraction is different." 
"Let your body work. Don't fight it." 
Bella gripped her sheets as the pain moved from the top of her belly to her groin and struggled to breath with it until she couldn't stop the moans of pain.  

Dwalin had knocked so hard the whole door had shook and he strained to hear anymore sounds from inside. 
In the family way... How? When? Why didn't she say something? 
He was 173 years old so he knew how but the fact that she's a hobbit and he's a dwarf, he didn't think something like this was possible. The When was another thing he knew but the Why bothered him. 
He struck the door again so hard the hinges and door knob rattled. 
It struck him then that perhaps she had tried to say something only he had been too thick to figure it. He recalled sometime after Yule Bella telling him something about a bun in the oven but he had thought that she was baking something. There was another instance of mentioning being in a delicate condition but he had thought she was referring to her monthlies. 
His fist was poised to strike again when the door whipped open to reveal a small dark haired lass that had been scowling but now looked shocked. 
"Dwalin?" 
"Primula?" 
She nodded before jerking him into the home with surprising strength and shutting the door behind them. 
"It's about time you showed up" she scolded him as she began to take his knuckle dusters, cloak, daggers and undid the strap that held Grasper and Keeper. 
"Hey what are you doing" he exclaimed as she stripped him to just his blue tunic, leather pants and boots. 
Primula shook her head "You have to get in that room with Bella right now. I'll explain more afterwards but right now you being with her will help immensely." 
He stopped for just a moment "So it's true? She's expecting a child?" 
Prim took a deep breath, smoothed her curls from her face "alright, I should have lead with that maybe I should have even written you that but I didn't think you'd believe me!" 
Dwalin shook his head "I probably wouldn't have believed you honestly." He admitted. 
She smirked at him "Bella's been in labor for a while now. I think you being in there will help. I think some part of her was waiting for you. Even though you aren't married in our culture you're still her partner and that's a big deal for when it comes to having faunts." 
Low pained moans drifted down the hallway and it made him feel nauseous "I don't know about this. I don't know anything about having babies." 
Prim pulled him behind her "You don't need to know anything about having babies. Leave that to me and my mom. You just support Bella." 


Bella was sure that she was delirious as she looked up to see Prim come into her room followed by... Dwalin
"Are hallucinations normal during labor?" 
The answering laughter not only from her relatives but also from him made her realize that he was really here.
In her room.
Where she was hugely pregnant, sweaty, and naked, and in labor.
"Dwalin?" she whispered "What are you- ooooh this one is worse!" 
Eyes squeezed shut she bit her pillow as the pain pushed down from the top of her belly into her groin. A soothing touch had her crack an eye as the pain rode her. 
He was right there with his large hand on her head, concern glowing in his silver eyes and she wished for the moment to last longer but the contraction grew teeth and she couldn't stay laying down a second longer. 
"I have to move! I can't- I can't stay like this- Oh yavanna help me move" she cried struggling to move away from the pain. 
Before her aunt could move Dwalin had her standing but that didn't feel right either but she stood there shaking and clutching his forearms with all her might. The pain at the bottom in her belly grew, fire spread through her hips and she could feel something trickling down her thighs. 
"What do you want to do" he whispered to her once she breathed a sigh of relief. 
She leaned her head against his chest and listened to the steady thudding of his heart; it was soothing and she felt herself calming against him. 
"I don't know. I wish I knew if something was happening." 
There was a lull as they stood there and it was relaxing honestly. 
She couldn't stop herself from asking "Dwalin what are you doing here?" 
He cleared his throat and she felt his voice rumble under her ear "I came after you." 
Another contraction began to build and she began to pant "Keep talking, distract me. Oh Mahal's balls distract me!" 
Stammering he continued talking as she groaned against him "You can thank your cousin for this... I mean my being here. She-she wrote me persistently, resorted to calling me a coward and then told me I needed to come see you... Wow you have quite the grip..." 
Pain scorched through her "keep. talking." 
He coughed "I wasn't going to come but you're my wife..." 
"I'M YOUR WHAT?" she shrieked as the burn peaked.
"My wife." 
As the pain resided she was able to speak again "No I'm not." 
There was nothing to be heard for a few heartbeats and when Dwalin drew in a breath Donnamira interrupted "Bella how about we try squatting?" 

 

Dwalin wasn't sure how he felt when she said "no I'm not." 
He had known thanks to Prim's help that they weren't wed Hobbit-style but he was sure she had known they were wed anyways. This proved she did not. 
Maneuvering her between contractions to where she was squatting at the foot of her with him beside her was difficult since the pains seem to come when they wanted to. 
With one hand she held his and with the other she gripped her knee while leaning back against the bed with a groan. 
"This is taking so long Prim." 
Prim looked thoughtful for a moment, slender finger tapping her lips with ears twitching in her black curls before she shouted "I know!" and darted from the room. 
Pain glazed eyes turned to him "What do you mean I'm your wife?" 
Swallowing thickly he answered "Before you went into the Mountain. Remember we danced around the fire, shared how we felt about each other, made promises under the stars and then we...laid together" he finished in a whisper. 
Bella chuckled "I'm in labor with your child...you don't need to whisper that we laid together.... awwww shite this is a big one." 
Dwalin watched as she began to pant and her entire belly seemed to shift, harden as the contraction grew and she began to sob. The sounds killed him and he would have given Mahal anything to do something for her. Right as his prayer ended Bella shrieked and he heard liquid splashing on the hard wood. 
"Bella your waters broke" her Aunt exclaimed excitedly "AGAIN!" 
"Again? I thought that was something that only happened one time?" 
"So did I" Bella grunted as she crushed his hand. For someone so small she had more strength than he had expected and was pretty sure there would be bruises on his arms tomorrow.  
"The body is a fascinating thing" Donnamira explained tutting around behind them "Sometimes there can be more than one sac even though there is only one baby." 
"Lovely" Bella moaned as she shifted restlessly, rolling her hips and pressing against the wood behind her. 
He had thought they had more time before the next pain but something with that water breaking moved up the time line. Bella had barely relaxed before she was crying out "oh great here comes another one!" 
Right then Prim popped back in with a rectangular mirror in her hands "Found it! Oooh just it time too!" 
He had no idea what she was doing but he focused on that rather than the pain in his hand and he was surprised when she propped it on the floor slightly in front of yet between Bella's legs. The view it afforded both of them was fascinating and slightly terrifying. 
Prim put her hand between Bella's thighs while gesturing to the mirror "See this right here Bella?" 
Bella nodded peeking through slit eyes as she huffed through the pain. 
"That is the baby's head!" 
Bella's eyes snapped open "That tiny black patch is his head?"
Prim nodded so hard her curls bounced "Yup she's right there!" 
Dwalin found his eyes glued to the mirror and was shocked when the patch shrunk to a marble "Hey it went back in!" 
Shock and horror were plain on her face as she yelled "Oh I need the bathroom! I really need to use the bathroom" Bella struggled to stand using his hand to help her.
Donnamira was beside her in a flash pushing her back to squatting "No you don't. That's the baby. Prim get the things ready." 
Bella turned red "But I have to poo!" 
He felt bad for her, he knew full well he wouldn't have wanted to poop in front of her if he could avoid it. However he did recall Dis referring to childbirth as taking the largest shit of her life.
Donnamira shook her head "No no next pain I want you to push with that urge." 
Bella looked mortified "What! Noooo I'll go on the floor! OH Eru I CAN'T STOP.... DWALIN DO NOT LOOK!" 




She was certain she was going to poop on the floor and the last thing she wanted Dwalin to see was that. The urge to bear down was impossible to fight and so she listened to her aunt. It felt oddly good to bear down and she kept one eye on the mirror; she was shocked as the marble grew until it was the size of large radish. 
"Mahal's Balls Bella" Dwalin whispered beside her awe plain on his bearded face.
Her thighs shook as she bore down and that patch grew to a turnip before the pain faded, and this time it barely shrunk back. 
"Bravo Bella" cheered Prim as she offered her a drink of water while Dwalin pushed some sweaty curls from her forehead "Few more of those and she'll be here in no time." 
She shot Dwalin a look who was openly staring at the mirror again "I told you not to look and Prim I told you it's a boy. Dwarves don't make girls." 
He blushed to his scalp "Can't help it." 
"We'll see" sang Prim and Bella glared at her cousin. 
The urge was building again and she fought it a little, trying to pant with it until it was too much to handle. She pushed for all her worth watching as his head came down more, watched her body stretch impossibly to accommodate it. The burn set in as she pushed and she jerked her hips up with a shriek that turned to a scream as the child crowned completely to the brow. The sight of the entire top of her faunts head was amazing and she ghosted a hand down to touch him to make sure it was real. It was hot and wet, and her fingers teased up some cow licks in the mirror. 
"Mahal's beard would you look at that." he breathed beside her and she couldn't even tell him off for looking again; the amazement on his face was enthralling. 
"If you want to touch him do it quickly" she huffed "here comes another one." 


Not one to miss this chance Dwalin quickly touched his child's head with shaking finger tips, he didn't even hear Bella begin to grunt until suddenly with a splash of fluids the head was in his hand while Bella howled. 
"Do you see this" he cried scared to move his hand as he stared at the little smooshed face with pinched shut eyes and pursed lips of his pebble. 
"Bit busy" she snarled before tucking her chin against her chest with determination. 
Later he would deny it but in that moment he was terrified to move his hand as he felt the baby begin to turn and then with a scream that made him think of something from Moria the little one's shoulders were out! Instinct had him putting his second hand under it while shouting to Prim "What do I do?" 
Donnamira might have been laughing when she told him "CATCH!" 
Another scream and there was an infant in his hands; a wet, writhing, screaming, whole baby... his baby was in his hands. 
The moment seemed to freeze as he stared at the wee one in his hands still attached to it's mother by a pulsing cord, everything was silent and still as he took it all in. Poor mite had a cone head from how long it took to be born, Bella seemed just a frozen as he was staring down at the fauntling no longer causing her such pain cradled instead in it's father's large hands. 
Instinct had him handing her up to Bella so she could put the babe to her breast. 
Her.
His daughter. 
That realization struck him like a thunder bolt and he shook with it as he fell on his arse in amazement. 
"Dwalin... Dwalin are you alright?" Bella and Prim's voice sounded like they were in a cave. 
Cold water rained down on his bald head and he started to laugh. 
"Well that's a first" chuckled Donnamira with an empty pitcher in her hand "No one has ever found cold water funny before." 
"Dwalin Son of Fundin what is so darn funny" demanded Bella. 
"Prim was right!" he roared with laughter. 

 

Some time later once all was clean and wearing dry clothes, the evidence of the long labor and birth cleared away Bella looked up at Dwalin. He was shirtless since his tunic was soaked and the whereabouts of his pony were not known. She had wanted to chide him for being careless but knew that Hamfast would take care of the mount and not steal from Dwalin. It was rather romantic she thought how he just abandoned his things for her. 
Standing there with their daughter in his arms, bare chest and arms on display almost made her forget the misery of labor and want ten more little ones with him. It was shocking that she could even feel arousal at this moment and it made her smile a little. 
"What's so amusing Azyungel?" 
Heat flushed her cheeks and Dwalin raised a black brow in question as she fanned herself. 
"Seeing you with her makes me want ten more with you." 
He laughed softly  "Ten? Really? That would be some kind of record surely."
"Maybe in Erebor but not here. Hamfast and his wife have six already and my mother was one of fourteen." 
"FOURTEEN? My word." 
Silence stretched between them and Bella knew she say something, more importantly apologize. 
"Bella I- I'm sorry." 
 The shock must have been written across her face as Dwalin dropped down to sit on the edge of the bed ever careful not to jostle the sleeping baby in his arms. The few candles in the room highlighted the cuff on his torn ear and the ring in his exposed nipple as he settled so that he could look her in the eye. Sincerity was all that was in his silver eyes as he spoke. 
"I never considered that you were not aware of our ways. I forgot that you were not a dwarf, not privy to how we had changed our ways to accommodate being on the road during our Wandering Years. I should have asked you what hobbits did for courting and marriage rather than assume you knew what I was doing. I am sorry for all of this." 
Something in her chest thawed at those words and tears were on her cheeks as she looked up at him. 
"Kurdu I owe you an apology as well." 
He looked startled "No you-"
"Dwalin hush" she placed her hand on his knee "I should have told you that I didn't know what was going on. I should have tried harder to understand and I should have wrote to tell you about my pregnancy. You almost missed something very important and I'm sorry." 


Dwalin could have been knocked over with a feather. Never did he even think he deserved an apology from Bella and yet here she was telling him how she had been wrong. The urge to kiss her had him leaning forward until the unhappy wail reminded him of the slight weight in his arms. 
Violet was not impressed with her Adad jostling about and wanted everyone to know it; she wasn't happy until she was returned to her Amad to have her tiny stomach filled again. 
The vision of Bella nursing their child was something he had never thought to behold and now that he had it was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. Their daughter was the best combination of them with tiny pointed ears, a dusting of fuzz on her cheeks and little feet. Black hair covered her tiny head but the fuzz was pale at the moment. She was the most precious thing he'd ever touched. 
"Bella?" 
"Hmmm" Bella was studying the child at her breast, auburn curls flowing over her shoulders, white nightgown standing out against her sun kissed skin. 
"Will you marry me?"