Another update for the readers, hope you all enjoy. Thanks to those who reviewed and read the last chapter. Enjoy!

She thought she would see her family again, that she would be free from the pain and embraces the calming warmth once again, but that wasn't what she felt. Her aching muscles was the first thing she felt as she slowly consciousness, her eyes fluttered open only to be blinded by the rays from the sun and attempted to shield her eyes, only to notice that her left arm was bandaged with a splint in it, interacting that it was broken. The only comforting thing was the plush bed she laid on and carefully sat up while letting out a pained hiss. Looking at her good arm she took notice of the scratches and bruises covering all over her pale skin. Her head throbbed painfully and let out a low groan at the discomfort as she tried to think.

"Good to see you awake, my dear." The sudden voice forced her to reel back and gasp harshly out of fear. She could only ignore the pain and press her back against the bed frame as she made eyes with the elderly man sitting not far from her. "I didn't mean to frighten you. You don't need to be afraid of me."

Fear and distrust clouded her mind as the old man spoke gently, no matter how kind he spoke, she didn't know him.

"I found you on the river bank about a day's ride from here and miraculously you survived. I'm grateful you've seen the light again." She held her graze as her shoulders relaxed lightly and expression softened.

"Y-you…you found me?" Her hoarse voice asked.

"I did. You were...not in a pleasant way, but thanks to elven medicine and plenty of rest your body has had the chance to heal. Still lots of recovery still but at least you'll have the proper care."

Her body trembled and carefully looked at her surroundings. "W-where am I?"

"You're in Rivendell, a guest to Lord Elrond and he'll make sure you're cared for. There is nothing to fear here."

Nowhere was safe. Fresh tears began to stream down her cheeks, the very thought of her being here alive and her family gone had been haunting her for so long. She wanted to be with them, to see their faces again, that's what she wanted most.

"Can you tell me your name?"

She could only choke on her sob and cover her mouth with her hand, bowing her head low too weak to hold it up anymore.

"It's alright, my dear. Take all the time you need."

She just wanted to die.

The memory faded from Lia's mind as she stared out into the water from the barge, scattered ice and air thick with fog. She'll never forget the very day Gandalf saved her, and for a short time hated him for it. She never wanted to be saved and just wanted to join her family but as time passed she slowly came around to realize that her family wanted her to be happy and alive, and that was what convinced her to move forward.

Now, she had a new family, someone to love, and possibly a place to call home if they were successful in reclaiming the mountain. Not the mention the baby that grew in her. She pressed her hand over her lower belly and closed her eyes, thinking about what her child will look like, whose hair, and eyes? It was beautiful. A hand suddenly came over her own and jumped a little from the unexpected contact, only to relax realising it was only Kili who stood behind her with his arms wrapped around.

"How are you feeling?" his voice asked against her ear.

"I'm alright, you don't need to worry, just tired is all."

"You should try to get some sleep; I'll wake you when we're near."

"I'll sleep later. Really, you shouldn't fret. Others might notice….something is up." She whispered lowly to not draw attention.

"I know I just want you well. And I want to protect you."

"And I you." She finally turned facing him. "Everything will be alright, at least I hope."

"Watch out!" shouted Bofur. The barge was turned quickly and missed the pillars and with experience stirred between them.

"What are you trying to do, drown us?" asked Thorin bitterly.

"I was born and bred on these waters, master dwarf. If I wanted to drown you I would not do it here." It wasn't exactly threatening but more of a fact.

"I've had enough of this lippy Lakeman." Dwalin growled lowly. "I say we throw him over the side and be done with it."

"He has a family." Lia had to add. She didn't think he was serious about his threat anyway.

"Bard, his name's Bard." Bilbo answered with a hint of annoyance.

"How do you know?" questioned Bofur.

"Uh, I asked him."

She had noticed him and the man she knew as Bard did share a moment of small talk, something she hadn't done yet, and felt a little rude to not even say a word to him.

"I don't care what he calls himself. I don't like him." Dwalin raved on.

"We do not have to like him. We simply have to pay him. Come on now, lads. Turn out your pockets." No one looked pleased about the request. Lia had nothing on her, which made her feel guilt like she should contribute.

"How do we know he won't betray us?" Dwalin continued.

"We don't." answered Thorin.

Lia was growing annoyed at their distrust but said nothing to them. She excused herself from Kili and made her way along the barge and towards the bargeman.

"Hello. Bard, was it?" she asked gently.

"Aye. I never caught your name."

"Lia. I just wanted to say thank you for helping us. I understand it puts you in a position and none of us have been grateful towards you, so thank you." He seemed a little taken back by her words and gave a tight smile.

"Thank you, Lia."

"I have a question. Before you said you could help me but couldn't help the others. Why's that?"

"You're a woman." He saw that wasn't enough for an answer and smirked lightly. "It didn't feel right to leave you behind."

"Just because I'm a woman doesn't mean I'm weak. I'm a bloody damn good fighter, give me a sword and I'd protect myself and my friends from anything."

"I don't doubt that." Bard smiled gently. "I meant no disrespect."

"You didn't. You seem like a good man." That was all she said to him, there wasn't really anything else to say. She made her way back to the others and gained in the small talk among them.

"There's just a wee problem. We're 10 coins short." Everyone but Lia and Gloin had contributed.

She let out an exhale and showed her chain necklace. "Will this be alright?"

"That's mithril," Thorin pointed out. "It's worth more than 10 coins, more than what is here."

"At least it will pay, and have some left over to support his family. Where's the ham in that?"

"You're father made that for you las," said Dwalin. "He'd want you to keep hold on it." Thorin than looked at the only one left and crossed his arms.

"Gloin. Come on. Give us what you have."

"Don't look at me. I have been bled dry by this venture. What have I seen…" Gloin carried on as the others all slowly stood up straight and looked in the same direction.

She was about to ask what it was until she followed their gaze and saw it. "Erebor." whispered Lia in awe. "We're so close."

"Our home." replied Kili.

"Bless my beard. Take it. Take all of it!" Gloin was quick to give up what he had than as soon as he laid eyes on the mountain they all focused on. Bard then approached them rather quickly and held out his hand.

"The money, quick. Give it to me."

"We will pay you when we get our provision but not before." Thorin assured him.

"If you value your freedom, you'll do as I say. There are guards ahead. Quick, into the barrels."

"Not again…" complained Ori`.

Everyone did as Bard said and Lia went to follow Kili but Bard stopped her. "Not you. I said I could get you across and I will."

"It's too risky." protested Kili.

"She'll be safe, I promise." He met eyes with her. "You won't want to be in the barrels, trust me."

She pondered on her options but knew she wasn't left with many. She agreed to stay out of the barrels but not before sharing a kiss with Kili and sitting herself away as she leaned over the ledge from the barge. Bard casually made his way towards another man and watched as the two gained in small talk.

"What's he doing?" growled Dwalin.

"He's talking to someone," she told them quietly. Her heart jumped when Bard pointed at them. "He's pointing right at us." And couldn't help but feel like they had just been betrayed. "Now their shaking hands."

"The villain. He's selling us now." Dwalin sounded convinced.

"No he's not…" Lia than understand why Bard didn't want her in the barrels. She could only watch helplessly as piles of fish were dumped into the barrels covering the dwarves to the brim.

She heard the dwarves groans and uncomfortable noises as Bard directed the barge towards Lake-town. He had given her a coat to wrap around her and she sat aside in silence as they approached.

"Quiet." Bard warned as he kicked one of the barrels. "We're approaching the tollgate."

By the looks of it so far the town was no paradise, in fact didn't look like a proper town at all. The placed smelled like rotten fish and the air was thick with whatever stench it was, one she couldn't make out.

"Halt! Goods inspection! Papers, please! Oh, it's you Bard."

"Morning, Percy."

"Anything to declare?"

"Nothing, but that I am cold and tired and ready for home."

Percy had spotted her and didn't even question anything, and instead gave a light bow with his head. She smiled in return at the man. So far so good.

"You and me both." Percy stamped what appeared to be declaring Bard clearance. "There we are. All in order."

"Not so fast."

Of course it had to be too good to be true. A small man dressed in shaggy black clothes and with the worst teeth she had seen any man have appeared out of nowhere, and with the looks by the guards behind him he was somehow important. She already didn't like him just by looking at the shady man.

"Consignment of empty barrels from the woodland realm, only…they're not empty…are they, Bard? If I recall correctly you're licensed as a bargeman. Not a fisherman."

"That's none of your business." Bard tried getting his way through to him.

"Wrong. It's the Master's business, which makes it my business."

"Oh, come on, Alfrid, have a heart. People need to eat."

"These fish are illegal. Empty the barrels over the side."

"No…" she whispered. If only she had her weapons, but what good would that do then? Than an idea came to mind, one that was risky but she took it. "Excuse me," when every eye from man lay on her it felt like stone weighing her down. "Forgive me; I don't think we've been properly introduced." She stood up proudly and removed the oversized coat from her. "Who do I have the honour of talk to?"

"Alfred Lickspittle," she had to force back a giggle from his name and grimace from his smile. "The Master's deputy of Lake-town. Who are you?"

"Lia." She smiled bitter sweetly. "I'm heading towards the Iron Hills visiting family. I was with a company of other travellers headed there but unfortunately we were ambushed by bandits, I only just managed to get away." Her voice was filled with emotion to try and sweet talk him, must to her disgust. "I was left with nothing, until Bard came and offered me a ride over into your most well established town. As a thank you I paid with whatever coins I had left for these fish, a gift for your people. I have heard times are hard and the folk have struggled. Would you really allow it to be wasted? I'm sure when the people hear the Master is dumping fish back into the lake I don't believe that would look good for either for you or your Master, don't you agree?" She knew she had him just by the look he gave.


She exhaled softly as the barrels were put back and Alfrid stormed off the barge looking rather unpleased.

"Raise the gate," shouted Percy.

Alfrid wasn't done though and spoke directly at Bard. "The Master has his eye on you. You'd do well to remember: We know where you live."

"It's a small town, Alfrid. Everyone knows where everyone lives." The barge drifted on through the town.

"That was a nice speech you gave him. Nice work." He praised.

"That man's a weasel."

"Aye, he is indeed."

Not much longer after the barge was brought to a stop and Bard kicked a few of the barrels over before everyone else helped themselves out. Lia rushed to help Bilbo first and then Kili. "I'm glad I don't smell like you do right now."

"You still love me." he smirked ignoring the smell.

"No less."

A bystander looked baffled watching as the dwarves emerged from the barrels and was approched by Bard.

"You didn't see them. They were never here. Fish you can have for nothing." He looked pleased and moved on like it was nothing. Bard than directed the dwarves ahead. "Stay close. Follow me."

"What is this place?" asked Bilbo.

"This, Mr. Baggins, is the world of Men." answered Thorin.

Lia followed closely behind Kili with Bilbo following right behind her. As they made their way through she looked at her surroundings. It looked to be like a market area, stalls set up and people shouting things they were selling, it didn't look as bad as she thought it would. Everyone seemed to be well, other than the stench, but growing up in this area the men folk were probably used to it. She noticed they were all getting strange looks from people as they passed, none of them questioned, but if someone was to tell the Master than they were going to be in trouble than.

"Halt!" A guard shouted there way as they looked and quickly started running. "In the name of the Master of Lake-town I said halt!"

They all tried to escape the guard by making their way behind a stall only for another to appear in their pathway. They were stuck as the guards closed in with more coming in. It was time to get physical. Brave Ori hit a guard in the face with a large stick knocking him back. Balin, Dwalin and Thorin joined in to try and knock them out. Fili and Kili tripped another with rope and Nori knocked him out with a pan. She saw another trying to get up and grabbed the pan from Nori before swinging it at his head, knocking him back down. That's was all of them, or at least for now. Everyone gathered around in awe not looking very frightened of what just happened. It was clear they had no love for the guard, or the Master for that matter. They quickly scattered when more guards approached and pretended nothing happened while the dwarves hid.

"What's going on here?" When no one answered the guard spoke again. "Stay where you are. Nobody leaves."

The dwarves hid under the large stall table with the guards tied up and knockout out with them, waiting for the rest of the approaching guards to leave so they could move on. Bard seemed to help them than, and appeared in front of the guard.


"You. What are you up to, Bard?"

"Me? Nothing at all."

One of the guards seemed to stir slightly and a bystander purposely dropped a flower pot on his head, knocking him out once more. Lia smiled seeing that the man folk would help them and wouldn't forget it. Braga didn't really believe Bard and came around the stall only to see nothing of interest.

"Hey, Braga. Your wife would look lovely in this," said Bard as he held up what looked to be a corset.

"What do you know of my wife?"

"I know her as well as any man in this town."

Braga looked rather annoyed and threw the corset aside before storming off. If they weren't hiding she would've giggled.

"Quickly." Bard led them away again.

"Where are you taking us?" Thorin questioned.

"The only safe place I know. My home."

"Da!" A young boy who looked to be in his early teens came rushing over. "Our house. It's being watched." So much for that.

"Alright. Lia, you'll follow my son and me. The rest of you will need another way in, let me show you."

They had to follow the plan without being caught; there wasn't really another way to do it. Lia found herself with only Bard and his son, Bain, who seemed to be a good boy. Bard knew he was being watched and casually went up the steps towards his home with his son and Lia behind him. Just as Bard was about to enter his home he whistled and threw an apple down at one of the spies.

"You can tell the Master I'm done for the day."

Once the door was closed it felt like she could breathe again.

"Da! Where have you been?" A child a little shorter than her came running to her father and hugged him.

"Father! There you are! I was worried." Another looking a little older than Bain hugged her father with love.

Lia smiled at them, just seeing how much love was in the family warmed her heart.

"Bain, get them in." He did as told and went down the steps.

"Da, who is that?" The little girl saw Lia with a curios stare.

"Girl's, this is Lia, she's our guest. Lia, these are my daughters, Sigrid and Tilda."

"It's a pleasure to meet you." Lia smiled brightly at them.

"Why are you so short?"

"Tilda! That's no way to speak to someone." Sigrid look horrified. "I'm so sorry. She speaks her mind." Lia could only giggle lightly.

"Tis' quite alright. Tilda, my father was a dwarf and mother was man folk, does that answer your question?" She was answered with a bright smile and quick nod from the child, making her beam even more.

Unfortunately, the others had to come through from below from the water, which meant the toilet. One by one they all started climbing up the stairs which only confused the girls even more.

"Da, why are there dwarves climbing out of our toilet?"

"Will they bring us luck?" Tilda was just too cute, Lia thought to herself.

Everyone was just about freezing from the water and Bard and his children were kind enough to pass around dry clothes for them to wear.

"May not be the best fit but they'll keep you warm."

She wasn't feeling so bad herself but was offered a rub to wrap herself in for comfort. Kili made sure she was well and left her with Tilda as he met with Fili. They both sat away from everyone and gained in small talk as Lia braided Tilda's hair from the front.

"You said your mother was man folk and father was dwarf, right?"

"Aye, that's right."

"Where are they now?" She was only a child so she knew she was only curios about her.

"They are no long here." Tilda's face fell.

"Oh…I'm sorry. I know how you feel though, I never knew my mother she died at child birth." Lia didn't need explaining as she figured it was probably from Tilda's birth. She spoke so causally about it, which was good and not blaming herself for it. "Do you have siblings?"

"I had two brothers, but they had the same fate as my parents."

"I'm sorry, I didn't know."

"Tis' alright, Tilda, and your right you didn't know." She finished the braid and beamed happily at her. "You are a sweet girl with a bright mind, never waste it."

"I won't."

"Pinkie swear?" Lia offered her wiggling pinkie and Tilda giggled as she did the same.

"Pinkie swear!"

From the other side of the room Kili watched them from a distance and smiled as he watched the scene with Lia and the child. It was good for her, something different other than running or fighting.

"How is she?" Thorin asked.

"She is well, a bit tired, but she will be alright."

"You are both going to be good parents."

Kili went tense and looked up at Thorin with concern, thinking he had figured it out somehow. "H-how…I don't understand how- -"

"You are going to have kids one day, right?" asked Thorin with furrowed brows. "Once after your married I am sure you both will want to settle."

"Oh, right, yes of course. You just caught me off guard." He tried to admit making Thorin smirk.

"Parenthood can be the most challenging thing, but it is the most rewarding. You both will do well." Something was on Kili's mind though.

"Thorin, what if we fail to find the hidden door? What if this quest was for nothing?"

"If we do fail, it wouldn't have been for nothing. You met Lia, your one love and an important member to our company. None of us would have met her if this quest never started. " His words weren't what Kili expected to hear but felt rather happy. He was right though, Lia joined their quest because Gandalf invited her to join, and at least he'll have the woman he loved at his side always, no matter what.

"You are right. Thank you, uncle."

Kili was concerned about Lia's pregnancy. She had already been through so much stress and was worried anymore would do harm to her and their child. He felt like he should tell someone, ask for advice, but knew it wouldn't end well. Everyone was going to find out eventually and would need to tell them, he just didn't know when. It was possible Oin could give a little help if he was to keep the secret for the time being, it was better than nothing. He might have a word with him later.

Not long after Thorin had demanded the weapons promised to them from Bard. He came back and laid them on the table for everyone to look at. Lia grabbed the nearest thing what looked to be fishers hook. Not what she had in mind as weapons, and that included everyone.

"What is this?" asked Throin who wasn't very pleased what Bard had to offer.

"Pike hook. Made from an old harpoon."

"And this?" asked Kili.

"A crowbill, we call it. Fashioned from a smithy's hammer. It's heavy in hand, I grant but in defence of your life, these will serve you better than none."

"We paid you for weapons. Iron-forged swords and axes!" Gloin complained.

"It's a joke!" Never had Lia seen Bofur look rather annoyed.

"You won't find any better outside the city armory. All iron-forged weapons are held there under lock and key." Bard explained.

"It's better than nothing," Lia tried convincing them. "We can't go on without something to defence ourselves." Lucky Balin was on her side.

"She's right. Thorin, why not take the offer and go? I've made do with less. So have you. I say we leave now." Balin said. Bard wasn't going to allow that though.

"You're not going anywhere."

"What did you say?" Dwalin took it as a threat.

"There are spies watching this house and probably every dock and wharf in the town. You must wait till nightfall."

Lia wasn't sure what was to happen but she did hope Thorin wasn't going to do something reckless, which unfortunately she had a bad feeling that's what he was going to do.

Mahel help them if something was not to go right.

Reviews will be fantastic please! Hope you all enjoyed and thanks for reading. Peace out!