A/N: Okay, we've all seen female hobbit inserts out the yin yang, but I've yet to see one portray an accurate representation of what would happen should a group of dwarves try to invade an independent minded woman's home. Here ya go.
Just so's you know, the answer to 'What's your weapon? Sword or axe?" Bofur replies 'Well, she's right handy with a broom." That's what kind of story this is. Oneshot for now.
Beryl Baggins was nobody's fool. That daft wizard was up to something, and she certainly knew he wasn't giving up just because she said no. What did he mean, asking her on an adventure? She had responsibilities right here that needed tending. People depended on her. Still, it made her wonder what his next move would be. It was sure to be an eye opener. Gandalf the Grey was not known for subtlety.
By dinnertime, she knew. She was mildly irritated by dwarf number one, a big, bald lumbering brute that seemed to barely comprehend speech. By dwarf two, she was sorely irritated, but when those two scamps showed up on her porch, it was time for action. Beryl grabbed her trusty broom.
The immaculate white haired dwarf quickly saw which way the wind was blowing and beat a hasty retreat for the door. The two scamps yelped rather satisfactorily, while the brute roared his approval of her daring, even as he laughed himself out her front door.
"My dear Beryl Baggins, whatever is the matter?" He wasn't a wizard for nothing. Gandalf appeared as if out of thin air. She was sure though, he had picked a good vantage to watch the unfurling farce. He didn't show himself until twelve dwarves were stymied at her front door by broom. The laughter under his voice was proof enough.
"Master Gandalf, I can assume you have something to do with this unruly bunch descending upon my house?" Her boiling brown eyes stabbed at his usual grey shrouded self assurance, but caused no visible consternation she could see.
"I did, my dear. I had hoped to show them the wonders of hobbit hospitality." He stroked his long beard thoughtfully, cocking a bushy eyebrow at her in reproach. It met with no visible success, either. Long friendships had their advantages.
"Well, hobbit hospitality is much easier to render when one knows they're coming, AND said guests have the sense to respect the host's home." A few of the perpetrators that had actually made it in had the decency to look abashed. Certain dwarves would be cleaning her front hallway before they sat down to supper, AND her mother's sewing kit they'd used to scrape off their muddy boots.
"Now, that being understood, it's easy to see you chaps have traveled a ways. Clean your boots there on the hedgehog scraper, and I'll round you up a proper meal, IF you boys will behave yourselves." Now that her anger had abaited a bit, she took in their bedraggled and somewhat road weary appearance, causing her conscience to twinge. "You look like you could do with a proper bedrest to boot."
Thorin could not believe his eyes. The directions he'd been given were fairly worthless. The number of hillside homes, round green doors, and 'mighty oaks' were mind numbing in the Shire. However, there was no mistaking a company of dwarves being held at bay by one hobbit lass, forcing each and every one to scrape their boots at broom point. Seeing the mighty Dwalin bend to the tiny termagant was enough to wonder if Gandalf might actually know what he was about. He had fully expected his brash dwarves to utterly cow the gentle little hobbit. He sat a long while astride his pony, chuckling at the unlikely sight.
Her hallway and kit had been dutifully restored while she laid the table out the first time. By the fifth time she reloaded the table, Beryl was amazed to have found appetites to rival the hungriest of hobbits. Dwarves did not have stomachs. They had bottomless pits. Beryl's patience and energy were flagging by the sixth reload.
As she finally sagged against a wall in unadmitted defeat, a young dwarf with a shy demeanor came to her. "Excuse me, Miss, but what should I do with my plate?"
"Oi, we're handling that. Mistress Baggins, why don't you take a seat while we tend cleanup?" The blonde scamp suggested with mischief twinkling in cobalt blue eyes.
"Aye, ye've fair tuckered yourself out. We'll handle cleanup, why don't you take a seat here by the fire with Gandalf, while we show our appreciation?" A dwarf with a lilting cadence and the most ridiculous hat maneuvered her into the comfy chair by the fire, where Gandalf rested a heavy hand on her shoulder.
"Do I want to know what they're doing in my kitchen?"
"Probably not. They feel they owe you on two accounts, and are quite possibly settling them in the only way they may."
Just then Beryl heard the most horrid metallic screech. "Mercy above, please don't let that be what it sounds like. I had a time of it getting my knives sharpened properly the last time they were blunted."
Then the song started. Beryl watched her dishes sailing past the door, mischief and devilish grins alight on young faces hurtling her fine dinnerware like jugglers' balls down the hall to the kitchen.
Several times she tried to get up, and each time, the wizard's heavy hand stopped her. She wasn't exactly sure what she could accomplish did she make it to her feet, except to think by the end of it, she'd need a new broom.
Finally the wizard let her up, as the song wound to a close, and Beryl marched into her kitchen to find it spotless. Dwarvish laughter surrounded her as her dropped jaw and wide eyes made it clear they'd managed to gull her. " Oh, you, you!" Beryl sputtered incoherently to silence, and finally caught her breath. A small smile fought its way clear to grace her face. "Well done, you rascals. Well done." Which only made them roar even louder with laughter. In fact, they were so loud, they almost missed the knock at the door.
"He's here." Beryl bustled off towards the door. She wondered who "He" was that would have Gandalf of all people talking in hushed tones. "He" who?
Oh indeedy, "he" who! He had to be the most resplendent thing Beryl ever laid eyes on. A mane of coal black hair surrounded a strong face with fine patrician features. Blue eyes to put the blonde scamp's to shame regarded her thoughtfully as he studied her. "Gandalf, I thought you said this place would be easy to find. Were it not for our hostess here holding the company at bay, I might never have found it." Beryl was so busy blushing, she almost missed the small smile that graced his mouth.
"Thorin Oakenshield, allow me to introduce our hostess, Miss Beryl Baggins. Miss Baggins, this is the leader of our Company, Thorin Oakenshield."