It was a very strange piece of wood. The hobbit had worked on it for days when they first arrived at Gandalf’s strange friend’s home. The dwarves had settled into the house with pleasantness that Thorin couldn’t resent them for. Despite his eagerness to get on to home, to Erebor, he knew his company needed proper rest after all they had gone through.
Bilbo, surprisingly enough, had seemed very intent the first couple of days on finding something out in the woods. When the other dwarves had asked if he needed someone to accompany him, he’d merely brushed them off with an odd impatience that had the dwarves exchanging looks.
He came back the third night with a branch broken off from an ash tree. He cut it down and began to work on it. It took a week before the piece of wood began to take shape. Bilbo had carved it down to a most odd shape that made each of the dwarves feel very puzzled. They had never seen anything like it.
They hadn’t seen Bilbo carving wood before so this struck them as very strange indeed. Surely it wasn’t a hobby or else he would of kept it up every night they sat around the fire? Whatever it was, he treated it with the same care and intensity that the dwarves themselves had treated their precious jewels and metals with.
They had each wanted to ask about it. Thorin could hear their curious whispers as Bilbo worked on the piece of wood after each meal for hours at a time. He too also wanted to ask Bilbo what the odd wood was supposed to be. Was it some sort of hobbit toy? Perhaps it was going to be a pipe. Yes, that must be it, a pipe.
The wood began to take a beautiful shape and finally, one night, Bilbo set it down in his lap and let out a very satisfied sigh.
And finally, one of the dwarves couldn’t help it anymore. It was Bofur.
“Is it done then?” he asked cautiously but in earnest friendliness. Bilbo jumped a little bit, pulled from his appeasement over the wooden object and stared incredulously at Bofur. For a moment, he gaped, his mouth opening and closing, and Thorin noted, with speculation, that Bilbo’s fine pointed ears turned a little red.
“Oh. Yes, yes it is,” Bilbo said hurriedly and instantly stood up before any more questions could be asked or the wood could be properly admired. After so many days spent on the artifact, the dwarves, Thorin included, felt a bit surprised that Bilbo didn’t want to show off his masterpiece.
Thorin decided it was best left to the hobbit and his anomalous ways. He figured it was not of import and therefor let it drop away from his mind.
The next day, Bilbo seemed in an unusually vibrant and pleasant mood. He jostled around as happily as if Beorn’s home were his own. He smiled so widely that it wrinkled up his nose in a way that Thorin certainly did not find to be even remotely charming.
It was difficult to say what it is that had changed overnight but Thorin couldn’t help but notice that Bilbo was suddenly radiant. The hobbit had always been a fair creature with soft looks that, with all due respect, should never have attracted any reputable dwarf. Despite Thorin’s recent acceptance of their burglar, he still maintained the same thoughts of him. Though perhaps he admired Bilbo a bit more keenly now than he would have admitted to quite some time ago.
He no longer felt furious and embarrassed with himself for staring too much at the Halfling nor did he try and insult Bilbo when he did something that caught his attention in the wrong sort of way. He now looked on Bilbo with enough respect that he was comfortable in admitting his faint attraction. Bilbo would make a fine mate. He was made of the dainty stuff that poetry was written about. Thorin never thought he’d find someone like that that he’d be drawn to.
It wasn’t as if he thought about it often either. They had much more preoccupying matters at hand that he spent time worrying about. His feelings for the Halfling could be dealt with later. He needed to win back his kingdom, he needed to give his people back their home. It drove him forward and was all that he knew. Vengeance.
And yet he couldn’t stop noticing Bilbo on this particular day. He was glowing. That was the only way to describe it. There was something sensual in the way that Bilbo moved that he hadn’t perceived before. There was fluidity and admirable grace in his motions as he maneuvered between the dwarves, helping to clean up after a meal.
“What’s with Bilbo?” Fili murmured near him, though not to him. Thorin glanced to his side and his two nephews were huddled together.
“Not sure. He’s flitting around like a maiden in heat. You don’t think…?”
“What? No! Of course not. I’ve never heard of such a thing…”
“But we don’t know a thing about hobbits. What if they do experience a sort of time that makes them more…you know.”
“That’s ridiculous. Maybe he just slept well.”
“Or maybe it has something to do with that thing he made!” Kili exclaimed and even Thorin had to wonder about it. Did it have to do with that wooden device?
Thorin was about to do something very un-kingly. Clearing his throat, he announced to his company that he was going to go to his room for a while and for no one to come and disturb him. There was a mumbling of respect among the dwarves and Thorin left the room.
Only he did not return to his chambers. Instead, he went to the chambers set up for Bilbo. He glanced down the hall to ensure no one had come to follow him and let himself into the burglar’s room. He didn’t know what to expect but felt a whoosh of air leave him when nothing out of the ordinary stuck out at him.
He went to the hobbit’s bed. It was very tidily made and well slept in. Leaning over it, he instantly caught a whiff of something. Frowning, he leaned down towards the pillow and inhaled quietly. It was sweet and faintly honey. That was Bilbo. He’d used a concoction he made to lather his hair with. It had been sickeningly delightful the first day he’d used it and Thorin knew he hadn’t been the only dwarf who had tried to get close to Bilbo to continue to smell it.
That wasn’t it though. There was another smell, one underlying it. He recognized it though he wasn’t entirely sure from where. It was faintly sour but not wholly bad smelling. There was something natural and raw to it. Like the smell of grass or mud.
He smoothed his hand over the bed before slipping it under the pillow. If he kept anything precious near, he’d keep it there. And sure enough, his fingers slid over the smooth girth of the polished wooden device.
He pulled it out from under the pillow and held it in his palm curiously. He didn’t know what to expect from it. Nothing became any clearer. If anything, looking at it in full only further confused him.
The device was approximately nine inches in length. It had a circumference of two or three inches. Carved into the pale wood was an intricate design. The design was carved both into the wood and stuck out of it, creating an odd rippled ridging along the length of it. The very top of the thing was thinner than the rest and curved somewhat upward into a bulbous point. The handle of the device was thin and rough, making it a good grip but there was only enough of it to grab by the tips of your fingers.
He turned it over and over, looking for some sort of passage that might allude to what it was. That’s when he heard someone coming. Panicking, he shoved the object back under the pillow and rushed for the door. He waited with baited breath, prepared to use some poor excuse and shout of a reply if it were Bilbo coming back to his room.
Luckily, it was not. Whoever it was walked right by. Judging from the weight and fall of the steps, Thorin put together that it must have been Gandalf. Thinking on it, he thought that the wizard may know of the object. He opened the door and slipped out after the old grey.
“Gandalf, may I have a word?” he called after the wizard. The wizard turned in the hall, peering down from under his bushy brows and he looked positively caught off guard.
“Thorin, what on earth are you doing in Bilbo’s room?”
“That is what I would like to have a word with you about.”
“Ah. I see,” Gandalf grumbled, pulling his shoulders back, “Well come along with me then. Haven’t got all day, have we?”
Thorin walked after Gandalf and they came to the back where Gandalf was kept. He sat down on a chair set up in his room and looked expectantly at Thorin.
“The Halfling,” Thorin began, uncertain of how to go about asking Gandalf what it was, “He has made something. None of us recognized it. It is very…strange.”
“Strange? What is it?” Gandalf asked, his face open in wonderment.
“He made it out of an ash branch. It’s a piece of wood shaved down into a thing about this big,” Thorin said and held his index fingers apart to demonstrate the exact length of the item, “And quite round in width. It has a narrowed tip and very nonsensical carvings-.”
Gandalf was chuckling. The wizard was actually chuckling. Thorin didn’t know whether or not to be insulted. He did not like to be interrupted by a laughing wizard. It made him feel a fool.
“What is it? What on this sickly earth is making you laugh?”
“That, my dear dwarven prince, is a very unique object to hobbits. It is called a…well, I forget the original name of it. It’s no longer used in daily dialect. They mostly refer to it as, well, a Lovely Touch,” Gandalf said, his eyes wrinkled at the corners out of pleasant amusement, “Though from what I remember, a hobbit only ever has one Lovely Touch. They make it quite young. I’m surprised to hear Bilbo’s made his- perhaps he lost his original in the mountain. Oh yes, that must be it.”
“A Lovely Touch? What do you mean by that? What is it for?” Thorin demanded.
“Ah, well, you see…” Gandalf’s words lingered in the air and then he cleared his throat, “Thorin, some things should remain private to a race’s culture. This may be one of them.”
“Gandalf,” Thorin said sternly, looking darkly at the wizard, “If this will hinder my burglar’s performance, then I must know now.”
“Hinder? Oh no, no, Thorin Oakenshield, it will not hinder his performance at all. If anything, it’ll make him better. Hobbits are…creatures of excess. A happy hobbit is a hobbit who can comfortably eat about seven meals a day and be on time for every single one of them,” Gandalf explained, hesitant, “And they do a number of other things throughout the day that they rather like keeping on schedule when they can.”
Thorin stared at him. Of course, he was not catching on to exactly what Gandalf was entailing.
“You see, Bilbo doesn’t have a partner. He and many other hobbits…They…Hobbits are very…” Gandalf huffed, “I think it is time for my pipe. Do you mind?”
“If you have a point, make it. I do not wish to waste my time further,” Thorin said impatiently, although now- now he was curious.
Gandalf paid him no mind and instead went about removing his pipe from his cloak. He lit the pipeweed inside and puffed at it a few times before he settled more comfortably into his chair.
“Hobbits,” he mused, “They are such clever creatures. And make such pleasant things. Like pipeweed.”
Gandalf puffed and puffed. He blew out a couple of smoke rings and Thorin tolerated with a growing sense of resentment towards the damned wizard. Finally, Gandalf let out a particularly big puff of smoke before he focused his stare onto Thorin.
“Hobbits are very sexual creatures, Thorin. But they are also very prudent by nature. It is very rare for a hobbit to sleep with one they will not marry. They are very monogamous, oftentimes only having one partner in their entire lives. They do not experiment or take strangers to bed or dilly-dally. It’s not only frowned upon socially, but the hobbits themselves feel quite distraught even thinking about it,” Gandalf stated slowly.
“But they are still very sexual creatures. Hobbits require much stimulation throughout their lives and they have a high dependency on self-pleasuring until they wed or partner. There is actually a bit of a mental problem that can be caused if a hobbit does not pleasure their bodies enough. Though I do believe I have forgotten what it is,” Gandalf tapped his pipe against his lip, as if thinking, but eventually gave up, “They created those things, the sexual toys, to pleasure themselves with. Almost nearly every hobbit has a Lovely Touch. On their wedding night, it is ritual for the newly wedded to burn their Lovely Touches in a communal fire at the foot of their bed when they first make love. It signifies the breaking of a solitary life and the entering of a life spent with another. They are very significant to the hobbit culture.”
Thorin was absolutely enthralled by the information. At first, anyway, and then he actually began to blush. He’d touched a toy that, had no doubt, been inside of the soft body of Bilbo Baggins. It suddenly made sense as to why Bilbo had grown grumpy and restless during their journey. It didn’t just have to do with a discontent in sleeping arrangements or lack of proper meals. The hobbit had had no time to himself and then he must’ve lost his- his…
He swallowed thickly.
“I see. Thank you, Gandalf. That was very informative,” Thorin said curtly and quickly dismissed himself.
Later on that evening, he watched Bilbo closely. The hobbit had slipped off some time before dinner while the singing of the dwarves was at its loudest and Thorin had struggled to not strain his ears to listen to hear if Bilbo was using his toy or not. He busied himself by asking Bombur what it was they would be eating tonight and tried to drown himself in the enthusiasm of the dwarf.
Then Bilbo came back and Thorin could not look away from him.
He looked fucked out. That was the only way of putting it. His hair was a right mess and there was this glassy edge to his eyes that had something violent and possessive churning inside of Thorin’s stomach. He thought, fiercely, for a moment that he wanted to be the one to wreck such havoc on Bilbo that the hobbit would amble around dumbly for days on end until he remembered his own name. Damn that hobbit for being so tempting!
“Thorin?” Bombur asked politely but intrusively. It was unlike his king to ignore his subordinates when he took the time to talk to them. Thorin glanced at him and put his hand on his shoulder apologetically. Bombor smiled in his good-natured way and Thorin bowed his head to him before taking his leave.
He was hypersensitive of Bilbo’s whereabouts for the rest of the evening. He felt as though he could smell the polished wood on him. He’d never seemed quite as happy as he did now. He was content.
When it was finally the time to retire, Bilbo looked eager to leave. It had grown late into the evening and the dwarves had insisted the hobbit stay up with them to get a little drunk and join in on their merry party of dancing and singing. The hobbit had complied for a while but Thorin picked up on the subtle glances towards the hallway. Either the hobbit was tired or he was anxious to use his toy.
They all bid one another good night. Thorin returned to his own chambers where he stripped down to nothing and laid against the soft furs laid out from his cloak. He’d finally been able to wash them of the rancid gore and filth that had collected in their coarse softness and he relished in how they felt. It was as if they were new.
Despite his heavy mind, he did not go to sleep. Instead, he listened.
He could hear soft voices from Kili and Fili’s room. He could hear Bombur’s snoring. Then things fell silent at some point. He held his breath. He waited a good long moment and then sat up very slowly in his bed.
He threw his legs over the edge and stood up. He strode over to his door as silently as his feet would allow him, though compared to a hobbit; he supposed he might as well have clambered over with pots and pans on each foot.
He pressed his ear to the door and strained to hear something, anything.
It took a long while. He didn’t even know how long he waited, but eventually it paid off. It was so quiet at first that he thought he might’ve fallen asleep against the door and begun dreaming. But then it happened again and this time it was much more pronounced.
It was the faintest whining groan. Thorin’s head rushed and he instantly had to ground himself against the door.
It happened again, this time a bit louder, but not too much, not near enough to wake any of the dwarves. Thorin dared to open his door a crack. This time when the hobbit moaned, it was clear and beautiful. He could hear Bilbo’s hitch of breath whenever he pressed the toy inside of his body. The groans were few and far between but Thorin relished in the sounds between.
There was the keening noises, the purrs and tight sighs. Then it escalated. Suddenly Bilbo’s voice inclined radically and he began panting. Thorin’s mind was gone from him, tainted in his own madness. He could picture it so vividly. Him above the writhing hobbit, slamming into him again and again, making the Halfling pant and groan and scream out.
Then Bilbo cried and Thorin realized that he was dripping precum between his legs. His own cock was swollen up thick and heavy between his legs, bobbing in the air every single time Bilbo made a noise. It was that final noise, that noise of absolution that had Thorin grabbing hold of his own base and giving himself a slow, firm stroke. He quickly let go.
He shut the door as quietly as he could manage and tiptoed back to bed. He felt faint of mind and lay down at once. He stroked his hands along the furs, breathing deeply and trying desperately to control himself. He couldn’t.
Bilbo was sprawled across his mind. He could only imagine the burglar naked. How soft he’d be in some spots and how firm he would be in others. He imagined the size and swell of his cock and if it tasted as sweetly as Thorin suspected it might. He wondered if Bilbo would be shy of sex or if he’d be as bold about it as he was with his little toy.
Thorin took a very, very deep breath. He would either have to take the initiative or he would have to get over this ridiculous desire for the hobbit. He knew the latter was impossible. It was not just the flesh he sought out, but also the Halfling himself.
He eventually fell into a sleep that was filled with panting groans and golden twists and things that made him roll around in bed so that when he woke up, his furs were damp with sweat and something else. He took them to the river to clean them yet again the following day.
As the days went by, it only became worse. Bilbo became irresistible. Thorin could hardly contain himself. He’d openly ogle the hobbit so obviously that even his company had begun to make polite inquiries. Was Thorin to take Bilbo as his royal consort? They all supported the decision. Not just to appease him, no, but he could see it in their faces. They had deep affection and respect for the one who had saved their king and who had willed himself and proven himself so much.
Bilbo, of course, had remained oblivious enough. Thorin didn’t blame him. He paid no extra special attention to Bilbo besides his staring. Nor did he make any suggestive advances.
Eventually, it was Balin who came to talk to him about it. It shouldn’t have surprised him.
“You’ve become transparent, my king,” Balin said carefully.
“Aye, have I now?”
“Quite. Though I don’t blame you. Master Baggins would make a very suitable consort. Our people would grow to love him as they love you,” Balin said seriously.
“Would they?” Thorin asked, just as seriously. It had been an honest concern of his. A dwarf king marrying a hobbit. Any other race would have been just as scandalous but hobbits? Hardly anyone has ever heard of the tender and soft-bellied race.
“You are bringing them back home, Thorin. I’m certain that if you wished to wed an ass that they would be happy and supportive,” Balin pointed out with a bit of a jesting grin. While it made Thorin feel a little better, his mind was not entirely settled.
“What if Bilbo does not want to remain with me by my side under the mountain? I know he dreams often of his bed back home. I will not be able to give him his garden and books back,” Thorin said and he never realized before now that that was what he’d been afraid of. He wanted to give Bilbo the happiness that the hobbit deserved.
“Perhaps not, no, but I think that our burglar might be a bit more adaptable than we give him credit for. Besides, I think if you were to give him a home where he was well taken care of and loved, that it would be good for him,” Balin said and now he was looking to Bilbo. Thorin followed his gaze.
The hobbit was certainly used to the pleasant and easy life that came from the Shire. He had managed their journey exceptionally well, however, showing outstanding bravery and wit and devotion when Thorin had expected it least.
“Might I just say,” Balin started slowly, “You’ll never know until you seek out his hand. Our people will come to love him if you love him. They will know you fell for him for a reason. And I wouldn’t be encouraging you about this if I didn’t think for a moment Master Baggins didn’t feel the same.”
Thorin looked at Balin, scandalized. He had never said anything about love.
“Don’t give me that look,” Balin instantly scolded, eyes flashing, “You would never seriously consider a consort unless you cared for them like that. And if you have, then you are not the king I once believed you to be.”
The firmness of the old warrior’s words shocked Thorin into a resolute silence. Balin was right.
Thorin nodded to his friend.
“I will propose to him when the time is right.”
“That’s a good lad. Don’t hesitate for too long.” Balin clapped a hand on Thorin’s shoulder and stood up. He left Thorin alone with his thoughts and concerns.
While Thorin would have very much liked to court Bilbo, that was not the way of the king. The royal consort was to be proposed to directly and immediately upon decision. It was a relationship to be founded on loyalty, love, friendship, devotion, and integrity. Someone who would promise to stay by the side of the king through the worst of it all and embrace him during the best. There would be time later for Bilbo to braid his beard and polish his sword.
Thorin wondered what traditions hobbits often resorted to when courting one another. He thought again of the toy and his cheeks reddened at the memories of Bilbo’s noises of ecstasy. Looking at the hobbit, he almost felt bad for having eavesdropped on such an intimate moment in Bilbo’s life.
He could scarcely believe he’d been pushed to his limits because of the jealousy a toy had caused him. He was far more stubborn and deft than he’d ever care to admit.
Soon, he would be the one to take the Halfling to bed. He’d defend in Bilbo’s name and honor. Watching Bilbo eating his soup alongside his kin, he felt heavy warmth inflate his chest. He lacked a beard and was dainty and quaint where dwarves were brash and large. Where they slurped, he sipped, and while they let mead drip into their beards, he’d keep a napkin tucked around his neck to catch crumbs.
And yet, Thorin felt as if he belonged nowhere else but forever in his company. Bilbo Baggins may not be a dwarf but he was as good as any. Thorin saw that. And so would his people.