This is my first Hobbit fanfic, and I have no idea where the plot (or lack thereof) is going, so you'll have to bear with me. At this point, it's just what the title says: a series of thilbo moments along the road. It may extend up to the Battle of Five Armies, and even afterward, if I take pity on my own feels and make it AU. Until then, it's just a meaningless ball of fluff. Enjoy!
The first time Thorin saw the Hobbit, he knew he would be a liability. As much as the Dwarf trusted Gandalf, there was an innocence in the little creature's eyes that could not be ignored. It only took a glance for him to know that this Bilbo Baggins was no burglar. Most likely, the Hobbit had never lifted a weapon in his life; he was ill suited to the rough conditions that this quest would no doubt yield. As such, Thorin wasted no effort hiding his contempt at Gandalf's choice. There was no possible way this small, comfortable being could take his place as a member of the Dwarven Company. He was no warrior; it was obvious that he would be nothing but a burden. And to think that the Wizard would risk the life of such an innocent creature in a battle that was not his to fight— the Dwarf King was nothing short of disgusted.
Thorin's mistrust and fury at the situation lasted through the first leg of their journey. By the time his company fell prey to the Great Goblin, his frustration at their burglar's incompetence was great enough that he paid no thought to his fate. Indeed, the sullen Dwarf failed to notice Bilbo's absence until long after they had escaped the Goblins. In the face of Gandalf's anger, Thorin's stubborn nature reared up with a vengeance. It was the Wizard's fault that the Hobbit had come in the first place, and if he had met his death in the Mountain, well, that was not on Thorin's conscience. And yet, the Dwarf could not help the images that came, unbidden, into his mind; the Hobbit's wide, trusting eyes, pleading silently in fear. His kind features contorting in fear and pain as Goblin soldiers swarmed over him. The light leaving those same innocent eyes—
The Dwarf King mentally gave himself a violent shake. These visions were nothing but his vivid imagination. More likely, their burglar had fled like the coward he was, back to his warm hearth and the comfort of home. Something that Thorin himself could barely recall through memories of fire and the blood of his kin. If he was to be truly honest with himself, the Dwarf could not blame Master Baggins for escaping this life while he had the chance.
When Bilbo slipped into view, sporting his familiar domestic smile, Thorin could not suppress the jolt of relief that shot through him. Unconsciously, he had grown to trust the Hobbit, and his assumed abandonment felt more like a betrayal than anything. The Dwarf's voice was suspicious as he questioned his burglar's motives, but the Hobbit's answer was too simple and selfless to ignore. The hardened warrior felt his heart soften at the Hobbit's words, and he knew that his sentiment was shown openly on his face. While internally more homesick than ever, Thorin knew that Gandalf had been right about this creature. He was far greater than he appeared.
In his struggle to admit his mistake without losing face before his followers, Thorin was nearly grateful to the sudden appearance of the Orc Pack. In the following battle, any conflicting feelings for the Company's smallest member were swept from the Dwarf warrior's mind. Thorin was in his element, sword in hand, fighting for his friends. However, the tide was quickly turned against him. Gandalf ordered a retreat, and he had no choice but to obey. From the branches of the quivering fir tree, Thorin watched the appearance of his greatest foe. As the Pale Orc locked eyes with the Dwarf King, a malevolent smile contorting his scarred face, Thorin felt long-buried hatred burning within him. Without second thought, the Dwarf stood, sword and shield in hand, and strode out to face his foe. In retrospect, it was a supremely idiotic move. Within minutes, Thorin was battered and bruised, lying where the Warg had flung him, unable to move through his own shock and pain. As the Orc raised its blade above his head, the Dwarf resigned himself to his fate. He would never see his home again. His quest had ended in failure, at the hands of an enemy he had believed long dead.
His salvation came, of course, at the hands of the one he least expected. The last thing Thorin comprehended before his consciousness faded was the small form of the Hobbit, rushing at his attacker with sword raised. The last thought that squeezed through the filter of pain clouding his mind was for the Halfling's safety. The instant Thorin awoke, safe on the ridge many miles from the burning woods where the Company had been rescued, it was no surprise that the first words from his mouth were addressing Bilbo's safety. To the others, the surprise came in the form of their leader's sincere apology, his admittance of his mistake and his concern for his burglar. The Dwarves all held the Hobbit in highest regard, and all felt a rush of affection when Thorin scooped the little creature into his arms, wordlessly expressing his gratitude. And sure enough, when the Hobbit later expressed his optimistic opinion, that the worst was finally behind them, no one had the heart to correct him.
The night after their rescue, Bilbo Baggins had dark dreams. Huddled with the rest of the Company in a sheltered cave below Great Shelf, the ridge where the eagles had dropped them, he shivered in his bedroll and tossed within the clutch of his nightmare. In his mind's eye, the Hobbit followed the path of the thrush he had witnessed earlier. He rushed along the countryside at impossible speeds, until he stood in the shadow of the Lonely Mountain. Melting through the rocky walls of Erabor, Bilbo found himself standing atop a vast pile of gold and jewels. Scanning the surrounding mountains of treasure, he noted with relief that the dreaded Fire Drake was nowhere to be seen. However, as soon as the thought had crossed his mind, the Hobbit felt the ground beneath him shudder and shift. Desperately scrambling for balance, he slid down to the floor, crouching defensively as the gold coins above him shifted aside. Slowly, the metal slid away, revealing the huge muzzle of the sleeping dragon.
Bilbo's breath caught in his throat, staring in awe at the blue-grey face of the creature before him. Smaug's skin was rippling with an internal heat, red and gold highlights glinting on the rough scales. As the Hobbit backed away in terror, breath still shallow and rasping, the nostrils of the dormant beast twitched ominously. Bilbo froze, staring in horror as the scaly eyelid before him flickered open, and he was transfixed by the steely gaze of a single huge, golden eye.
The Hobbit jolted awake, a strangled cry ripping from his chest. Around him, a few of the Dwarves were woken as well, and looked to him in concern.
"What's happening? Who's there?" Kili bolted upright in his bedroll, grabbing at his bow. His head knocked against the stone ledge above him, and he bent over, rubbing the bump on his skull and swearing under his breath.
"Is everything alright, Master Hobbit?" Balin asked worriedly from his place by the fire.
"I… I think so, yes," Bilbo replied, standing and making his way over to the older Dwarf. "It was just a bad dream. I think…" he hesitated, not sure how to voice his doubts, "I think I was wrong. I'm afraid the worst is far from over."
Balin nodded and clapped the Hobbit firmly on the shoulder. "Don't fret, Laddie. We've gotten this far, haven't we?"
Bilbo forced a smile and a nod. "Of course, I'm sure we'll be fine. I'm just going to get some fresh air." He walked out of the cave and up the ridge, and sat on an outcropping overlooking the forest below. He had to admit it was breathtaking. The trees rolled away into the distance, followed by flatlands and a landscape too distant to discern. Erabor rose up on the horizon, its solitary grandeur exuding an air of melancholy grace.
"Beautiful, isn't it." The Hobbit turned quickly at the familiar voice. Thorin stood behind him, gazing out at the mountain with a nostalgic sorrow. Bilbo realized at that moment that the Dwarf Lord radiated the same feeling as his former home; he was a mystery, stony and proud, his secrets hidden from the outside world. However, it was clear, even to an outsider, that both the Lonely Mountain and its living counterpart had seen much tragedy.
"Sorry, I didn't hear you walking up." Bilbo smiled up at Thorin, attempting to mask his revelation. However, the Dwarf knew the look in his companion's eyes; he had seen it in the eyes of many before.
"Do not pity me, burglar," he stated calmly. "I have had my share of sadness, but it has made me strong. I do not need your sympathy."
The Hobbit was quick to apologize; "I- I didn't mean to offend you! I only thought... I mean, I…" He trailed off, unsure of what to say.
As he stumbled for words to correct himself, Bilbo felt a warm weight settle about his shoulders. He blinked, tugging at the object. Thorin had draped his heavy cloak about the Hobbit, and was now settling down beside him.
"Do not apologize," he muttered gruffly, "there was no offence taken."
"Thank you," Bilbo murmured, tugging the Dwarf's cloak tighter around himself. It was large enough to engulf his small body, and the fur trimming tickled his neck. The Hobbit was reminded of his childhood, wrapped in his grandmother's quilt as she told him tales of his ancestor's adventures. To think that he, Bilbo Baggins, would grow up to see these far-off lands for himself, to fight Goblins and dine with Elves… sometimes he could scarce believe it.
Thorin's voice drew the Hobbit out of his musings. "There's nothing to thank me for. Can't have my thief catching cold, can I?" If Bilbo had not known his companion, he could have sworn he saw a smile playing at the edges of the Dwarf's mouth.
Thorin, for his part, was trying to force an affectionate grin from showing itself. The little Hobbit was bundled in his fur-lined cape like a child, blue eyes still shining with an echo of wonder. That anyone could survive as many battles as this Hobbit and still retain so much innocence and excitement, as though he was still curled by his warm hearth, reading fantastic novels of some imaginary hero. He does not realize that in this tale, he is the hero. The thought crept unbidden into Thorin's mind, and he turned quickly to hide his smile.
"Speaking of gratitude, I never thanked you for earlier." Thorin's head swiveled back to his companion, brow furrowing in confusion. "You know," Bilbo continued shyly, "for accepting me. I know you didn't trust me… I'm just glad you've realized that I really do want to help you."
"It was nothing," Thorin replied gruffly. He sincerely hoped the grime of travel hid his flushing cheeks. Standing quickly, the Dwarf clapped Bilbo on the shoulder and turned to leave, attempting to block the sincere shining of the little burglar's smile from his mind. The urge to pull the Hobbit into a second embrace, to hold him close and keep him from harm, was something that no warrior could afford to feel. Thorin strode quickly back towards camp; there were a few hours left until dawn, considering the emotional state of his mind, the Dwarf leader was in dire need of rest.
Back on the ledge, Bilbo called after Thorin's retreating back; "Wait, you forgot your…!" but the Dwarf was already out of sight. He clutched the cloak tighter about his shoulders, allowing himself a small smile; it seemed that his leader wasn't quite as detached as he appeared.
Yay, first chapter is done! R+R, pretty please~