Well, here's the final part, I hope you all like it! I know several of you said you wanted more protective!Thorin and I'm afraid there's not a huge bunch of that in here, but I hope you like it all the same. HOWEVER. I do have an idea for a longer story that I really want to write that will kind of tie in and play off of this one and be about Thorin and Bilbo put into a similar situation that will be a lot more angsty. I hope it won't be too long before I get it up, so keep a lookout!

Thanks again for all the follows, favs, and reviews! It means a lot!

And on another note, no this is NOT Bagginshield. I don't write it, and I don't like it either, this is just friendship.

Part Three

When he drifted out of that darkness he wished instantly that he could go back into it. Oh how everything hurt! He had never hurt so much in his entire life, but then he had never been tortured before either. He moaned, shifting slightly, and wishing he could roll onto his back to be more comfortable, but the instant he moved he remembered his nearly flayed back and gasped aloud as he fought to right himself again.

"Easy does it, Bilbo, don't go hurting yourself more now."

He opened his eyes to see the kind smile of Bofur who was sitting cross-legged by his head, smoking his pipe. It was early morning, Bilbo saw, and he realized he must have slept all the night away, or spent it in unconsciousness, which was more likely. He found breathing difficult and when he touched his chest he realized his entire upper body was swathed in bandages. Some were even showing through blood. He felt suddenly very queasy and light-headed and realized that he had not eaten or even drunk anything for a long time.

"Help me sit up," he pleaded to Bofur.

"I'm not sure that's such a good idea," the dwarf said with a concerned frown. "Oin will be furious if you open all the wounds on your back, and that cut on your belly needed five stitches."

Bilbo felt even more nauseous at the mention of stitches, but he continued to plead. "I just want to be able to drink, I'm dying of thirst."

Bofur nodded understandingly, and got up to his knees. "All right, we can try it, and I'll get you something to drink."

Fili walked by then with a tankard and a bowl of porridge. He smiled broadly at seeing the hobbit awake.

"Ah, you're up! How are you feeling?"

Bilbo grunted in reply as Bofur helped him into a somewhat sitting position, resting his side up against the pack he was using as a pillow, grasping the dwarf's arm to keep himself steady.

"As well as can be expected," he finally said. "How is Kili? I hope he is well."

"He's tired, but well enough, though his ankle will take a few weeks to heal properly," Fili said. "But it's a clean break. He won't stop talking about your bravery. I believe you were very brave Master Baggins." He smiled gratefully. "I thank you for looking after my little brother. I'm sorry it took us so long to get to you."

Bilbo blushed slightly and looked down at his lap. He frowned then when the realization of what he was seeing shocked him. He was still covered with Thorin's coat! No wonder he was so warm and comfortable, it was lined with luxurious fur of the like a hobbit would never own. He looked up at Fili for explanation and the young dwarf smiled.

"I'm sorry my uncle seemed less than grateful, Bilbo," he said. "He didn't mean to be that way, he was only so frightened for Kili. You too."

"Me?" Bilbo asked incredulous. "Why me? I don't think Thorin much approves of me."

"That's not true, Bilbo," Bofur said with a grin. "Thorin really respects you. I don't think he—or any of us really, if you'll forgive my saying so—thought you would get this far with us. But you have proved yourself time and again, and what you did now for Kili, well, I can assure you that worked well to getting into Thorin's good graces."

"But he called me a fool!" Bilbo protested, still somewhat angry at Thorin's unjust words. "Ignorant!"

Fili smiled knowingly. "He says that to Kili and me all the time. That's just how Uncle is when he's scared." He lowered his voice conspiratorially with a mischievous wink. "He's not good at showing his feelings, especially fear, so he has to express them in anger."

Bilbo was about to tell him to stop, seeing the subject of interest walking up, but it was too late. Thorin was already behind Fili, one hand clamping down on his shoulder. Fili offered a sheepish grin.

"Hello, Uncle," he said submissively.

"Go tend your brother, he's looking for breakfast," Thorin said sternly.

"Yes, Uncle." Fili left and Bofur too stood.

"I'll go fetch your water and a little porridge, Bilbo," he said. Bilbo was about to plead with him not to leave him alone with Thorin, but Bofur was already gone and Thorin stood by awkwardly with the hobbit staring up at him, shamed and embarrassed, and all around sore. He really just wished to sleep. He suppressed the urge to groan.

Finally, his natural politeness came through and he motioned to the coat that covered him. "I thank you for letting me borrow your coat. It's true I don't have many warm clothes—no clothes at all right now actually, apart from my breeches."

"The company is pulling together some things to loan you," Thorin said, and then suddenly came to sit down by Bilbo's head where Bofur had sat, his elbows resting on his knees. Bilbo looked at him apprehensively. He might have made headway with most of the other dwarves in the company, but Thorin still made him slightly nervous. Perhaps because he could never really seem to read him, and he was always worried about not looking like a fool in front of him; wanting to prove that he was not just an incompetent hobbit who didn't know anything of the world.

"I wanted to thank you," Thorin said, cutting into Bilbo's thoughts and causing him to look up swiftly at the dwarf leader.

"I'm sorry?' Bilbo asked as politely as possible.

Thorin looked slightly annoyed, but continued. "You saved Kili's life—indeed, you gave yourself up for him. That was a noble thing to do, master hobbit."

"Anyone else here would have," Bilbo said, feeling embarrassment mixed with pride flush through him, taking the pain from his injuries a bit.

Thorin shrugged. "Perhaps. But it's not the kind of thing one comes to expect from Hobbits." He turned to look at Bilbo, as a smile began to spread over the hobbit's face. "And I deeply apologize for what I said to you. That was not proper given the circumstances and the sacrifice you had made. I could say it was because I was scared, but that is no good excuse. I am deeply sorry for that. I hope you can forgive me?"

Bilbo was shocked. He had never heard Thorin apologize to anyone, and never would have dreamed he would do so to him, not after he had nearly gotten his youngest nephew killed through his own incompetence. Thorin must have taken his silence as indignant anger, because he sighed heavily and was about to stand up when Bilbo shot out a hand to grab his forearm, shocking even himself with the gesture. Thorin looked down at the small hand wrapped around his wrist with a surprisingly strong grip and then followed it up to the hobbit's face.

"Of course I forgive you, Thorin. Though you really have no need to say sorry. I was foolish, I didn't know what I was doing and my aching body tells the tale of that better than I. I don't think it's fair to say I saved Kili's life when I was the one who put him into danger in the first place. That was why I did it, mostly out of my guilt, not under any preconceived notions of heroism on my part."

Thorin shook his head, awkwardly patting the Hobbit's hand. "No, Kili explained it all; it was clearly an accident. I don't want you to blame yourself, Master Baggins. It could have happened to any one of us. We'll all have to be more careful in future. And whether you did it out of guilt or bravery, it hardly matters now that Kili, and yourself, are back with us and on the road to recovery. Yes, it's always stupid to give yourself up for torture, but it's also often a brave thing to do. And I thank you for that bravery so that Kili did not have to suffer for his own."

Bilbo blushed at the praise, uncomfortable with it when he felt he did so little, being helpless when the orcs tortured him. He hurt very badly too, though he wouldn't admit it, feeling a bit annoyed at himself for his bravery. He sighed and winced as all his wounds hurt him more.


He looked up at the cheery cry to see Kili being helped over to him by Fili and Bofur. Thorin turned and glowered at him.

"Kili, you should be in bed," he said.

"If it's all right, Uncle, Kili wanted to rest over here next to Bilbo to keep him company," Fili said with a smile. "That is if our burglar doesn't mind."

"I would be glad for it," Bilbo said truthfully and watched as Kili's bedroll was situated beside his and he was laid down with his foot propped up and a blanket pulled around him. Thorin watched with concern, but Bilbo did not miss the fondness that rested behind the hard exterior in his eyes.

"Thank you so much for what you did, Bilbo," Kili said sincerely, his young face open and guiless. "I don't know if I could have handled it half as well as you did with my injured leg."

"All right, that's enough praise for one day, hobbits do not do good with such things, especially on the subject of bravery," Bilbo pleaded, unable to stop blushing now.

"That's right, we should leave the two of them to rest," Thorin said matter-of-factly, but there was still that fondness in his voice and a certain respect as well that Bilbo had a feeling was not directed at Kili entirely. Maybe he even felt a little pride because of that, but hobbits didn't normally get the change to be prideful of such brave deeds so the feeling was all rather foreign to him. He had to admit he rather liked it though.

Thorin bent to stroke Kili's forehead lightly as he stood up, then turned to walk away when Bilbo called him back.

"Thorin, your coat…don't you want it?"

Thorin turned only half around, not really looking at the hobbit. "Keep it for now until we find something more suitable."

Bilbo was not going to complain any more about it, certainly. The coat was luxurious and warm and he rather liked the novelty of using a dwarf king's coat. It would be a good story to tell back in the Shire in any case. He settled back with a grunt, his wounds paining him, but with the soft bedroll—he suspected they had given him several more layers than normal—and Thorin's coat keeping out the chill, he felt rather comfortable when all was said and done. He was lying on his side, facing Kili and he young dwarf opened his eyes after Fili had tucked him in and smiled at the hobbit.

"Uncle Thorin thinks you're a hero," he whispered.

"I wouldn't go so far as to say that," Bilbo replied, already feeling as if he could drop off to sleep at any minute.

Kili shrugged. "Well, even if it's not entirely the truth, I do."

Bilbo smiled at that, closing his eyes. "I'm afraid I make a terrible hobbit. I don't know what they'll say back home. It'll cause quite a scandal, to be sure. All these scars."

He didn't have to crack his eyes open to know Kili was smirking. "Maybe you'll make a good dwarf then?"

Bilbo scrunched up his nose. "Don't have the beard for it."

Kili laughed. "Thank you again, Bilbo. I'm not going to forget this."

This time Bilbo did open his eyes. "I would do it again for any dwarf in this company."

Kili yawned, his own exhaustion finally catching up with him. "I'm sure you would, Master Boggins." And then he was asleep, snoring gently while Bilbo shook his head.

He closed his own eyes, drifting off into slumber. Yes, being a hero might hurt, it might not always be entirely the glorious picture they tell you about in the stories, but at the end of the day, it certainly felt good. With those pleasant thoughts, he drifted off to sleep, only dreaming of all the adventures that lay ahead of him.