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Rotten Tomatoes

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Bilbo was about done with all the Dwarves invading his home. The desecration they’d done to his bathroom was one thing, but they kept throwing out perfectly good food! Blue-cheese, and half his Mushrooms! Why, That older red-headed one had almost thrown out his prize-winning tomatoes!

They were carousing, dancing up on his table, and using doilies to wipe their grubby hands. One comment on their treatment of his silverware had even inspired song!

Good Hobbit sensibilities or not, he wouldn’t be inviting dwarves in his home again! (though to be fair, he hadn’t this time either).

He glared at nothing, and scuttled off to check his pantry. He had nothing but what the dwarves had put their nose up at— carrots, and celery, potatoes and tomatoes. A wheel of Blue cheese (not his favorite) and a cask of his good elven wine (hidden behind a false wall). There were a few mushrooms left, mostly the butter top kind that were better in pot roasts.

Grabbing a basket of vegetables and a salt shaker, he made his way out to the main room, only to hear someone banging on his door again (ugh—he’d have to replace his doorbell).

Bilbo stalked towards the door, yanking it open with force, only to glare at the late arrival.

He was ridiculously majestic and beautiful. Bilbo instantly hated him.

“So this is the Burglar.” Said the Majestic twat, giving him the up-and-down.
“He looks more like a grocer to me.” And was that Laughter in his voice?

“Tell me Master Baggins,” said the mannerless dwarf, “What weapon do you prefer? Ax or sword?”

“Accidents”, was Bilbo’s bland reply. “Preferably about a month after the initial confrontation if they haven’t apologized yet. It helps allay suspicion.”

Though he didn’t know it, Thorin was secretly alarmed— not wholly by his words, but by the poisonous tomato the hobbit was suddenly brandishing. Oh- he didn’t do so in a threatening way per se, but Thorin watched in wary breathlessness as the hobbit picked off a leaf and then bit into it.

The Dwarf’s eyes widened and Bilbo smirked at him, adding salt to his treat and turning his back. The rest of the bunch were watching him with wide eyes as well. The ‘Majestic Arse’ must be important then— good.

Gandalf was as always watching with poorly hidden amusement. Bilbo rolled his eyes at him.

“I’m afraid your fellows have already cleared out my pantry, Sir.” Remarked Bilbo as he walked leisurely to the table, “Unless you’d like to share in my Tomatoes and Celery?”

“No thank you.” Said the dwarf with a hint of incredulity— must think Veg below him, the twat. And he still didn’t even know his name!

Gandalf was clearing his throat.

“Bilbo Baggins, may I present Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of this company.” Ah. A name finally- and a good one. Oak was a good wood.

“A pleasure, I’m sure.” Responded Bilbo, all politeness.

It was the beginning of an awkward and amazing adventure.

 *******************************************************************************

On the Trollshaws, Bilbo was thoroughly done with Dwarves (he meant it this time). While trying to delay the trolls long enough so that they might be turned to stone, He’d had to improvise.

“The trick to cooking dwarf is- Belladonna!”

“Whassat?” blinked the trolls, and the poor dears- to never have tasted Belladonna berries!

“Ah- they are a great treat, sweet to the tongue and the best garnish for any dish. My own mother was named after them, because my grandfather loved eating them so! He’d eat them by the barrel!”

“And where will we get’em from eh?”

“Why—,” and here Bilbo hesitated, because he didn’t suppose there would be many Belladonna bushes growing outside the shire and he didn’t want to share—“I have some with me here.” And he brandished the pouch he’d brought with him.

“ Now, you must stew them properly, or they can be bitter.- And you’ll need every ounce of flavor if you’re going to plate up this lot. If you want the dwarves to be infused properly, you need to add them after it’s been properly melded with the broth.”

The Dwarves were markedly silent, given that he was talking about cooking them. At least they had some sense. Bilbo grasped the bag and held it so he wouldn’t pour all the berries in- no need to waste them after all—

He snuck one as he put it back on his belt, the berry exploding on his tongue. Divine.

“Now- It shouldn’t take long at all.” He said, as the Trolls peeked eagerly over his shoulder.

“Enough of this.” Said one of the trolls, “I’m starvin’ meself.” And stealing the ladle from his brother took a long sipping taste.

The troll’s eyes widened. “Cor—This’s really good.”

“Gimme that!” said another troll, who tasted it next, smacking his lips afterwards “It’s sweet!”

And so between the three of them, they began to devour the broth. Bilbo thought about telling them that they’d soon not have enough broth to baste the dwarves but thought better of it.

He could only watch with some regret the loss of all those belladonna berries. Wasted.

The Trolls were slowing down. The smallest one started to wobble, before falling to one knee.
“Whaa—.”

Oh. Bilbo had heard that Belladonna berries had some soporific effect on livestock before. He hadn’t realized it would have the same effect on trolls. What good luck!

The trolls all fell to the ground one after the other, sleeping with labored breath.

Bilbo calmly stood up and made his way towards the dwarves on the spit. Using the knife Nori had in between his teeth, he made quick work of the ropes.

“THE DAWN TAKE YOU ALL!” came Gandalf’s voice, before the rock he was on split down the middle and turned the sleeping Trolls to stone where they laid.

It was rather creepy, thought Bilbo— looking as if asleep like that forever.

He turned back to the dwarves, now sans sacks.

“Master Baggins?” Asked Nori hesitantly, “How long have you been carrying those?”

“As long as we’ve been on the road.” Answered Bilbo bemusedly—What did it matter?