In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit named Bilba Baggins, known to her friends as Billie. Admired and respected by the whole Hobbiton, Billie was quite an unusual Hobbit. She wore trousers, seemed completely disinterested in revels and gossip other Hobbit maidens were preoccupied with, and kept herself busy all day, helping those in need of guidance, support, and sound advice. She possessed knowledge and skills in almost any area a good Hobbit was to succeed, except one exception. A keen observer and a quick mind, she was blind and unaware when it came to her own worth.

Billie was a lovely maiden indeed. Her hair was golden and wavy, full, and glossy, though somewhat unruly, escaping braids, and coiling gently at her neck and temples, especially in rainy and hot days of Hobbiton Summer. Her body was light and nimble, with alluring curves. Her eyes were blue and framed with exceptionally long and fluffy lashes.

When asked by her many friends why she was still not spoken for in her age of bloom, she'd wave her hand dismissively, and mumble something in the sorts of, "Who would want a tomboy such as myself?" While in reality, most prominent bachelors of Hobbiton long time ago lost their hearts to her feisty charm and capable manners. After all, nothing in Hobbiton went without her participation, and everything fell apart when she were to direct her attention to any other matter.

And so, Billie persevered, her days full of gardening, reading, watching after other's children, who adored her from the first look, cooking, and making preserves, long hikes, knitting, embroidery, helping men in the Municipality Council, teaching in the local school, and occasional fishing, which she was quite good at, when one day everything changed, with a knock that came to her door.

Billie was just sitting down to her supper of venison stew, with dried apples, prunes, tubers, wild garlic, and the secret mix of herbs, that had been passed from a generation to a generation of women in her family, when she had to get up, put aside her napkin masterfully embroidered with petunia flowers, and go to the door. She pulled the ends of her velvet, dark green robe's belt tighter, and jerked the round copper handle.

A Dwarf stood on her threshold. He was tall, looming over her, wide shouldered, and violent looking.

"Dwalin, at your service," he rumbled, and his eyes appreciatively ran her figure.

"Bilba Baggins, at yours," Billie muttered surprised, and the Dwarf smirked lopsidedly.

"Well, lass, will you let me in? And where is it?"

Billie stepped aside, letting him in, and then watched him wipe his feet.

"Where is what?" she asked.

"Supper, lass. Where is the supper, lass?"

Billie gave him a studying look and pressed her fists into her round hips.

"I do not recall inviting any guests tonight, Master Dwarf. So, do not expect much."

"You have temper, lass. I love it!" He chuckled and smirked again. "You are a fiery lass, lass!"

Suddenly he stepped to her and grabbed her hand, that looked small and gentle in his bear paw.

"Roses are red, your eyes are blue! I'm a Dwarf, and a hubby material too!" he announced gleefully, and then broke into booming laughter.

Billie pulled her hand out of his grip, and opened her mouth to berate the insolent man, when another knock came.

While Billie turned to the door, Dwalin disappeared in the depth on her house, stomping loudly.

"Balin, at your service," announced the second Dwarf she found behind her door. This one was older and had smart, twinkling with mirth eyes.

"Bilba Baggins at yours," Billie muttered even quieter than the time before, starting to feel quite alarmed.

"And a fine lass you are, lass." The one called Balin chuckled, and entered her house. "I see my brother is here already, since I see a cloak on the hook, and it is my brother's."

Billie had nothing better to do than invite the Dwarf to join the supper.

The men greeted each other, in quite unusual way, but Billie somehow intuitively knew that although rough and unmannered, they were decent people and were safe to invite into her house after dark.

And then another knock came, and Billie marched to let more guests in.

These two were young and gorgeous, and immediately they started looking at her somehow strangely. Billie just could not quite understand why they would stare at her unblinkingly and breathe heavily.

And then more and more Dwarves arrived, and finally Billie understood the reason for this kerfuffle in her hole. It was of course Gandalf the Grey who was to blame for it! Gandalf the Grey, the wandering wizard, famous in Hobbiton for his fireworks. Unlike her neighbours, Billie somehow intuitively knew that there was more to him than just fireworks, and she always treated him with respect and hospitality. He came quite often to her, seeking her advice and talking for hours with her about matters of the many far away lands.

And then all these Dwarves were to be seated and fed, and although they started misbehaving, they quickly remembered decorum and table manners under her strict stare and at the view of her tapping foot.

Very quickly genuine camaraderie was born between her and the Dwarves, and they were telling her of their people, of the traditions, of their travels, and of the past, mentioning how they had lost their Mountain kingdom Erebor to a dragon. Gandalf smoked at the end of the table, smirking knowingly. Billie's heart wept and bled for the loss that her new friends had endured, and she swore solemnly to herself that she would do everything in her power to aid them.

After the dinner was over, the Dwarves quickly washed the dishes, and offered to entertain their kind hostess with music.

"Our mistress doesn't lack talent in music herself," Gandalf mentioned nonchalantly, and chuckled when Billie grew pale under the intent stare of twelve pairs of eyes.

"Oh no, I am hardly..." Billie tried to argue weakly, but the Dwarf named Dori was already pulling her in a circle, and all Dwarves begged her to grace them with her singing.

Billie sighed, but somehow it was impossible to refuse to sing.

I will leave my heart at the door

I won't say a word

They've all been said before, you know

So why don't we just play pretend

Like we're not scared of what is coming next

Or scared of having nothing left

Look, don't get me wrong

I know there is no tomorrow

All I ask is

If this is my last night with you

Hold me like I'm more than just a friend

Give me a memory I can use

Take me by the hand while we do what lovers do

It matters how this ends

Cause what if I never love again?

I don't need your honesty

It's already in your eyes

And I'm sure my eyes, they speak for me

No one knows me like you do

And since you're the only one that matters

Tell me who do I run to?

Once Billie's voice died, she saw all twelve Dwarves frozen, their faces emotional, and she could have been wrong but she thought she saw the Wizard discreetly wipe a lonely tear off his eye.

"Mahal help me, lass, you know how to melt a man's heart..." the Dwarf named Bofur spoke raspily, and then smirked. "You would make a good Dwarven wife, lass."

Billie blushed furiously. She had not expected to enjoy this compliment so much, although of course she hardly believed it.

And then another knock came to the door. Billie excused herself and went to see who had arrived now. She vaguely remembered the Wizard mentioning another Dwarf, but she was so busy trying to convince Ori to eat his vegetables, and make sure that everyone was pleased with their dessert - seedcake, scones, and chocolate chip cookies of her paternal grandmother's recipe - that Billie found herself quite unprepared to what she saw when she jerked the door open for the last time that evening.


This story will probably never be continued… :P