There was not a whole lot a hobbit wouldn’t forgive. They might fight at times with one another, or have family feuds going generations on who had the best recipe on certain dishes, and everyone in Hobbition knew about the arguments one Bilbo Baggins and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins could get into when put together, but they always forgave each other. At the end of the day there was never any real resentment or grudges held. It simply was not in a hobbits nature to hate a person, much less refuse a sincere request for forgiveness.
And that, Bilbo found, was the problem he currently found himself facing. For the first time in his life, Bilbo found himself reluctant to forgive. It took a great deal for a gentle hobbit unwilling to accept an apology and wipe a bad slate clean, but most hobbits never faced a mad dwarf king who set out to kill them for trying to avoid a war that came anyways. Bilbo felt he was rather right in his anger and frustration.
As he stood by the dying king’s bed, the dwarf who he had thought of as a dear friend clutching at his hands and begging for his forgiveness, Bilbo found his usually warm heart cold, his face blank as he stared down at a remorseful Thorin. Where he would have felt shock and horror at his behavior before, all he found himself feeling was anger, anger at Thorin, at the situation, and at himself. As Thorin babbled about how sorry he was and that he wished to take back the pain he had caused Bilbo while under his gold-sickness, all Bilbo found himself able to do was stare at the now desperate dwarf and think of being dangled over that damn wall, Thorin cursing his existence as he shook the hobbit by the throat.
Thorin had wanted to kill him, and he no doubt would have if not for the other members of the company coming to his rescue. But even when he was pulled back over and set on the stone ground to shake like a leaf and hold his burning throat, he found no sympathetic looks, only distrust and hate for what he had done. While it had only been Thorin who wanted him dead, it was clear none of them could see what he had done was for them, for their safety.
Bilbo still remembered how his eyes had burned along with his throat as Thorin banished him from the reclaimed kingdom, threating him with death if he was ever seen again by the king.
He was brought back to the present by Thorin now crying as he begged Bilbo so say something, to react, to forgive him damn it, and couldn’t Bilbo see it was not Thorin’s fault for what he had done to the burglar. And for the first time in his life, Bilbo felt petty and vindictive. With the memory of Thorin’s threats of death ringing in his ears, Bilbo smiled down at the dying king. His sudden change in expression had Thorin relaxing, the dwarf king believing himself finally forgiven no doubt. Bilbo wanted to laugh and scream and cry.
Instead, he leaned forward, his smile never leaving as he squeezed the hands holding his. It was with the phantom feel of them back around his neck that he opened his mouth to the equaling smiling dwarf, Thorin’s grip growing weak from all the blood loss. Bilbo thought it wouldn’t be much longer now before the king left this world to join his nephews in the next with all of the other lives lost from the battle.
“Oh Thorin,” Bilbo breathed out, removing one hand to place on Thorin’s heavily bandaged chest. He found himself staring into those sky blue eyes, letting all of the emotions he felt, all the anger and animosity and pain, shine though as his tightened his small hand around Thorin’s. He watched as the happiness in thinking he was forgiven was replaced by confusion. He patted Thorin’s chest, gentle despite his shift in emotions concerning the king. He would let his words cause the pain, not his hands as dwarves did. “Oh Thorin,” he repeated, “there is nothing you can say or do that will let me forgive you for what you have done.”
At Thorin’s dumbstruck and pained look, Bilbo removed his hands and took a step back, the shaking hand that had held his following, fingers outstretched for Bilbo as Thorin’s eyes once more filled with tears.
“What--,” Thorin started then coughed, blood staining his lips as his hand fell, no longer able to support the weight. “No, that’s not—Bilbo, please,” he was growing paler, his words shaky as he stared at the still smiling hobbit. Bilbo watched the dwarf’s tears fall anew with a growing sense of apathy. As Thorn began to wheeze, the air no longer as easy for the king to breath, Bilbo found his smile fading, his hand going for the pocket with his special ring. He tugged it out and began to toy with it as he watched Thorin reach for him again, his hand only staying in the air for a scant few seconds before falling. Thorin was gasping for breath now, his hands going to his throat as he struggled to breathe.
As Bilbo watched his once friend die, all the anger he had felt left him. He gave a shaky breath of his own as Thorin scratched at his throat, the idea of it being ironic the king would die being unable to breathe racing through his numb mind, the bruises around his own throat throbbing. Someone else must have heard the king, though, as Balin was soon asking what was going on through the tent flap. Without thought Bilbo slipped on his ring, the world losing color but bringing him a sense of relief at it being back on his finger. At Bilbo’s silence it was not long before Balin threw the flap open and hurried to his struggling king side, the old dwarf’s eyes wide as he called for healers.
“Bil—” Thorin gasped, “Bilbo.” He ignored Balin’s words, his hands slackening from his throat as his eyes sought out Bilbo’s hidden form. When he saw no one, he shut his eyes. Balin cried for healers again over him with desperation in his voice. Bilbo found himself frozen as he watched Thorin stop breathing, as healers rushed in with wild eyes that quickly turned pained and distraught at their still king. Without realizing it Bilbo found himself in the tents corner, hands pressed against his mouth as he watched the two healers fight to bring back their king, Balin pushed to the side to let them work. Somewhere between one second and the next Dwalin joined his brother, the taller dwarf’s face pained as he clamped a hand on Balin’s shoulder. Both dwarves were crying, Balin clutching his brother’s hand on his should for all he was worth as they watched the healers slow then stop.
The older of the two healers turned to face the brothers, his grief clear as he shook his head.
Bilbo faintly registered Dwalin begging to curse, his voice cracking, and the second healer pulling the blanket bunched around the dead king’s chest up and over his head, covering Thorin from sight. The hobbit paid them no mind as they moved to stand in front of the grieving brothers, his eyes locked on the covered king. Before he knew it he was alone in the tent with Thorin once more, only this time there were no crying dwarves begging for his forgiveness. He found his feet taking him to the bedside, his hands limp at his side. Bilbo tried to bring back his anger, his once great burning hate for Thorin, but just found himself cold and empty.
As he stood there, eyes hollow and heart twisting in pain, he raised a hand to lay it over the dead dwarf’s chest. Spreading his fingers to touch as much as he could, he leaned forward to bow his head over his once friend.
“Farewell, Thorin Oakenshield,” he whispered. Bilbo stayed like that for a long minute, just breathing the precious air Thorin could not, before removing his hand and rising his head. If there were tears on his face, well, that was his business. “Long live the King Under the Mountain,” he said to the silent body, hands pressed to his own chest as he backed away.
As Bilbo snuck past his grieving companions outside Thorin’s tent, wanting nothing more than to be home, he twisted the ring on his finger and swore he heard a laugh in the back of his mind.