Aaaaaaarghhh! I've been a terrible person for taking this long to update! x/ But I swear to you I couldn't continue writing this story for the life of me without feeling unhappy with the chapter. Sorry! . Anyhow, I hope you like this chapter, I'm still not quite happy with it but I figured that something is better than nothing and making you wait ages more for it lol. :) Thank you all for your support, you're all awesome people!
Bilbo woke up with a groan and as soon as he opened his eyes he immediately wished he hadn't. Mr. Amazing cook, aka King Under the Mountain, was there to welcome him with that usual frown of his. Bilbo moaned and covered his face, there was one person he didn't want to see ever again and that was Thorin. Memories of his last second of consciousness from last night flashed before him and he grew more embarrassed still.
"I think the fever's back." Thorin called, his eyes never leaving him. In moments Oin was at his side.
"Oh, bright red as a cherry, lad!" Chuckled Oin and Bilbo just wanted the ground to open up and swallow him whole. "Nothing to worry about, with sleep and medicine the lad will be well on his feet."
Oin's assurance did nothing to help Thorin move, and Bilbo very much wished he did. A few hours passed in which Bilbo would try to remain awake only to realize he'd passed out seven times to face an eagle-like Thorin. It was about the tenth pass out that Bilbo decided to speak his mind.
"You know you can leave, I'm not going anywhere."
"It was my fault you got sick, so its only fair that I am close through your suffering." Thorin stated dutifully, Bilbo hated to always be connected with words such as 'delicate' and 'frail', when did he ever give that impression? He was not a lass in need of a prince in shinning armour. Bilbo was overly-self-aware of his weakness and didn't like the muscular, hairy, masculine dwarf pointing it out with every chance he got.
Bilbo rolled his eyes. "Don't be so drammatical. A little sickness is not something I am not used to."
"It was my cooking that got you sick thus I will make sure my mistake is mended." Thorin repeated firmly.
"I am not a flower to be taken care of." Hissed Bilbo in annoyance. "I am a perfectly functional male that is capable of protecting himself."
"I beg to differ." Thorin said.
"Excuse me?" Bilbo chortled in disbelief.
"Isn't this proof enough that you can't take care of yourself?"
"If I remember correctly, Thorin, it was your terrible cooking that made me sick." Bilbo knew it had been a dirty move to put that argument up, but despite how hurtful it might be it was the truth indeed and Bilbo was a bit too proud to let that slide, especially now that he felt like a damsel in distress. However, as soon as Thorin's scowl deepened even further (if that could be possible) the hobbit knew he should have kept his mouth shut but it also made something inside him boil. Why did the Dwarf king have such an ugly expression on his face? Was there no other face he could offer Bilbo?
The hobbit was more than certain that the king would look gorgeous with a smile on his face.
"My cooking," Started the king, eyes boring down on Bilbo's. "Isn't terrible."
Bilbo pursed his lips into a straight line and resisted the temptation to face palm. "It could certainly could use some help from Bofur." He said sardonically.
"Why Bofur? What does he have to do in this?"
"He's a quite a gifted cook." Bilbo stated in an attempt to lighten the mood, failing miserably. "You'd certainly learn from him. You should have tasted the carrot cake he made me last time; delicious!"
"He gave you a carrot cake?!"
"Oh, yes, very kind of him indeed. I'll ask him to make you one if you wish!" And then we could eat it together in a picnic with some tea! Of course, that he didn't say. He doubted Thorin was into such debaucheries; the man hardly seemed to have a libido.
"Why did he give you a carrot cake?"
The harshness in Thorin's voice took Bilbo off guard. "Uh..." He babbled. "I mentioned I liked carrot cakes and he made one for me?"
"So it was a gift?"
"I guess?" He was no longer certain it was safe to be answering Thorin. "He was just being nice."
"Just being nice." Repeated Thorin to himself. Bilbo cocked his head, what was so troubling about Bofur giving him cake? Everyone loves to have cake. Only Thorin could be in such a foul mood at such a gleeful subject.
"Something wrong Thorin? I don't seem to understand what's bothering you..."
"You should have told me." He mumbled, voice dangerously low.
"Told you what?"
"What about Bofur?"
"Don't play games with me, Halfling!" Sneered the dark haired dwarf, making Bilbo jump on the spot. The proximity between the two of them made the words harsh and painful and Bilbo felt his annoyance grow; seriously, what was the matter with this dwarf?
"Don't sneer at me Thorin, I have done nothing to deserve your attitude." Scolded the hobbit, pointing accusingly at the king. "It seems that my mere existence sours your evenings. If you wanted to get rid of me then do so, but do not drag me around like a puppet. Is it so hard for you to be nice to me?"
Thorin's breath flared against his face. "It is."
"Wh-Wha-"Bilbo felt his cheeks flare and mouth drop open.
Oin coughed them into attention. "Master Thorin, Balin wishes to speak to you." Said the elderly sheepishly, his eyes shifting from Bilbo to Thorin to the floor.
Thorin said nothing as he stood and left without a word. Bilbo puffed his cheeks and looked at Oin for reassurance.
"Feeling better lad?"
"A bit dopy but getting better." Bilbo said with a smile before he took the cup the company's healer gave him. He looked at the contents and looked at Oin with a mix of disgust. "What is in here?"
"No one ever said that medicine was tasty." Oin simply replied and Bilbo bit his lip at the dispute inside his head until he finally decided to pinch his nose, close his eyes shut and took the drink in a big heavy gulp. He finished by making a loud gagging sound and Oin laughed by patting him in the back. "Now that wasn't that bad, was it?"
"I don't even know, I think I'm going to be sick again..." Moaned Bilbo dizzily.
"Now, now, do I need to call Thorin over?"
Oin broke into a loud cackle.
It didn't take long for Bilbo to recover, in two days he was up and ready to go with the same enthusiasm he'd had on the first day of their adventure. Thorin had avoided approaching him all together and wouldn't even look at him and Bilbo, as much as it sort of hurt, learned to deal with it. He had grown sick and tired of trying to understand Thorin and his bipolar behavior.
However whenever their glances met, a shiver ran up and down his back and before Bilbo could try and know what was wrong with the dwarf the king would glance away. Once, they had ran into one another in the mist of the night where Thorin was keeping watch and Bilbo couldn't sleep, they exchanged glances for a few moments before they looked away from each other.
Bilbo wondered if Thorin could listen how loud his heart was beating in his chest, he certainly hoped not. He had embarrassed himself in front of Thorin enough times to add even more things to the list. Thus he pretended to sleep and decided to listen to the sound of Thorin smoking his pipe in utter silence and if Bilbo didn't know best he would have guessed that Thorin was glancing at him silently. Because he knew he very much was eying Thorin every chance he got, thinking himself sneaky only to be caught on the spot. Embarrassing.
Despite their awkward encounters, Bilbo kept on the adventure with an enthusiastic behavior. Soon the quest for Erebor would reach his end and Bilbo would be allowed to go back home to his hole in the ground and enjoy the pleasantries of silence, personal space and warm bed. And no Thorin to worry about. Oh, but he certainly would miss the broody old crook.
In the mist of his thoughts, Dwalin approached him, making him jump in surprise.
"Bilbo, my lad," Called Dwalin enthusiastically. "How does the day fare for you?"
"Very well, thank you, how about yourself?" Bilbo answered, cautious of his words for Dwalin barely ever approached him, and if he did it was because of an ulterior motive.
"Wonderful, wonderful, I'm doing quite alright myself, say..." Oh, there it goes."Do you and Bofur have a thing going?"
Bilbo hadn't been prepared for that and felt as if a bucket of cold water had been tossed over his head. "Errrr..."
"Really?" Dwalin pushed on, disbelief obvious in his eyes.
"NO! No, good heavens no! No. No...Nononononononono." He couldn't stop denying it. How had that idea popped into anyone's head? "Bofur is my friend."
"Hmmm, I knew it." Dwalin mumbled under his breath, a beat of victory in his voice. Bilbo found himself more dazed than he was before.
"Why did such an idea come to you?"
"It didn't. I heard about it from the ol' gossiping ladies."
"Says the Gossip Queen." Pointed of Kili with amusement joined by Fili's wink.
"Get out ye two, this is a man's conversation!" Flouted the war-veteran, earning Kili sticking his tongue out and Fili leaving with a little taunt. "So... Bilbo," Oh, we're still going to continue this awkward conversation? Okay. Thorin's given me worse. "Why don't you have a little chat with Thorin, yeh?"
Bilbo squinted in suspicion. "Why?"
"Oh, I don't know, its just if my eyes don't fool me there seems to be... tension between the two of ya."
"There is no tension." Bilbo lied and Dwalin grinned and rose his hands as if claiming innocence. Bilbo couldn't help to think how horrible Dwalin had made it sound. It was just social tension, unless there was tension of another sort? Noting how coyly Dwalin was looking at him it certainly was something dirty, and Bilbo wanted no details.
"Alright, if that's what you say I won't push but that's my suggestion and advice if you decide to take it, when, you know, we make camp next." Insisted Dwalin. Bilbo stole a glance at the back of Thorin and gave a loud gulp. Dwalin caught him and Bilbo felt like slamming his face to a tree in utter embarrassment; what sort of burglar was he? So much for sneakiness. "Come now, no need to be scared."
"I'm not scared." Bilbo said lamely, but the truth was, he very much was. He felt butterflies at the pit of his stomach twirling ever so often when he even thought of Thorin. "I just don't think he wants to talk to me, I best be out of his way."
"Now, what makes you think that?"
"He's been avoiding me."
"Why do you think that?"
"I know when someone's avoiding me, Dwalin." Bilbo said, glaring daggers at the threatening dwarf. Dwalin threw his head back and laughed.
"Oh, little Halfling, that's what it might look like to you. Don't be a pansy and go talk to him when night hits in, yeah?"
Bilbo decided to ignore the 'Pansy' comment. "Why doesn't he come to me, then?"
"Because he thinks you don't want him to."
Bilbo guffawed. "And why does he think that?"
"For the same reason you think that he doesn't want to talk to you." Bilbo felt his jaw clench and Dwalin patted him in the back with a slight smirk. "You're both just a bunch of goofs."
Dwalin left and Bilbo couldn't help the butterflies in his stomach come back. He looked at Thorin and licked his dry lips. He didn't know what he wanted to say, there were so many things he wanted; answers, explanations...Could he ask them all and get answers from the silent king?
He dearly hoped so.