Disclaimer: I don't own the Hobbit!
A/N: Thank you all for the reviews you left me. They were a wonderful New Years gift! I'm so happy that you like what's happening so far and I too feel bad for what I put Bilbo through.
Unfortunately my University is silly and decided to start classes up again today instead of on the 7th like every other school so I won't be able to work on this as much as I'd like to. Still to make up for it here's a slightly longer chapter than the previous. Enjoy!
Bilbo woke up naked but thankfully alone. He was sore and felt dirty. He wanted to clean all the dirt and grime and especially evidence of last night from his body.
He dressed himself in his clothes which lay on the floor and then headed for the door. Outside the room he met up with the same orc from yesterday. "Take me someplace to clean up," Bilbo said shortly. He wasn't in the mood to be polite and definitely didn't want to hear any of the greetings the orc had to offer him.
"Of course, my lord." The orc led him further underground until they hit an underground spring. Bilbo told the orc to leave him alone and then did the best he could to feel clean. He practically rubbed his skin raw but that was what it took to finally forget the feel of Azog on his body.
When Bilbo left the water he saw that his old clothes were missing. In their place was leather orc armour in his size and thought, 'Why the hell not?' as he was with orcs and the armour was cleaner than his clothes.
"What now, my lord?" the orc had appeared seemingly out of nowhere startling the hobbit. What to do now, that was a good question.
"Where is Azog?" Bilbo asked since all he really wanted was to get away from this place and kill Azog. An ugly expression appeared on the orc's face which prompted Bilbo to ask what was wrong.
"His majesty is out with a hunting pack following the dwarfs trail and because I was chosen to be a part of your guard I could not join." Bilbo looked at the orc in surprise. He didn't know that orcs could feel anything other than anger, fear and hunger.
Something other than surprise must have appeared on Bilbo's face because the orc suddenly became angry. "I don't need some Halfling pitying me," he growled out.
"I don't pity you!" Bilbo sputtered out. "What's your name anyway?" It just didn't feel right calling his guide 'the orc' when there were hundreds of orcs in the nest and now he knew that each one had some sort of individuality.
"I am called Gurak," Bilbo's guide answered with a strange expression on his face.
"Well then Gurak," Bilbo said clearing his throat and fiddling with his shirt. "Our next order of business will be getting something to eat and meeting up with the rest of my guard. I want to get to know the people who are supposed to protect me."
Gurak made a strange sound which resembled a disbelieving snort but otherwise made no sound of complaint. Gurak let Bilbo outside and into the surrounding forest where he made some guttural sounds and caught the attention five other orcs and two goblins who were bickering with others in the surrounding forest. Gurak made a few more word before switching to the common tongue.
"These are Bazul, Ushnar, Khargol, Arob and Marad, the only female in your guard." Gurak said pointing to each of the orcs one by one. Bilbo couldn't help but try to spot any difference between the female orc and the males but he saw none. "These two are Rem and Zragd," Gurak finished.
"Right err, it's good to finally know your names." Bilbo said as he placed each name with each orc or goblin. It was no easy feat because they all looked so similar. "So, shall we go find food?"
Gurak nodded to Bilbo's guard and then they all let out a shrill whistle. The ground shook as eight wargs ran towards their riders. Each orc and goblin easily swung themselves up onto their warg leaving Bilbo standing there the only one without a mount. It appeared as if they would have to hunt their food and once again Bilbo was feeling a bit lost.
"Well, what are you waiting for? Let out a whistle and call your warg," Gurak said with much exasperation as if he were talking to a child.
"My warg? I don't have one," Bilbo replied absolutely flummoxed.
"Your warg chose you last night when you defeated Bor in battle. Now hurry it up little lord. We're all starving," Gurak said, annoyed.
Bilbo decided there was no harm in amusing Gurak's assumptions and let out his best whistle which wasn't as shrill as the orcs' or goblins' but was still a decent volume. It was a surprise when he heard the stomping of warg feet and then out of the forest a magnificent silver warg appeared. Bilbo turned to look at his astonished guard and gave them the first real grin he'd had since he left the Shire.
"Shall we go hunt?"
It was already late afternoon when Bilbo and his guard set out for their hunt – Bilbo had apparently slept the entire day away – which was a good thing since orcs and goblins favoured the darkness to the light. Their wargs quickly smelt a herd of deer a few miles out and the group began racing towards their prey. The only weapon on Bilbo's person was his elvish sword which had been returned to him by Gurak after he had called his warg and so wasn't very helpful in taking down the deer.
His guard and their wargs took down three dear in total, all old or previously injured because apparently orcs and goblins actually cared about the future populations of their meals. They shared their spoils amongst everyone, including the wargs, and ate their fill. What they didn't finish they placed into raw hide bags for later.
While the orcs and goblins were fine off a diet of pure protein, Bilbo needed some greens mixed in with his meals so asked for an extra bag when his guard was packing up the extra meat so that he could collect some apples from the nearby tree he had spotted.
The hobbit easily climbed up the tree which amazed the orcs and goblins since they were terrible climbers. "Marad wants to know what you're doing up a tree," Gurak translated for the female orc.
"I'm collecting apples. They're sweet red fruit," Bilbo answered. He looked downwards to see the curious looks of his guard and decided to let them have a taste. "Here, try some," he called out before dropping one into Marad's open hands. The female orc looked at the strange food and gave it a whiff. There was nothing wrong with its scent and so she bit into it only to spit it out right away and make a strange hacking sound. She let out what Bilbo assumed were curses which caused the other orcs and goblins to laugh. Bilbo couldn't help but join in.
He climbed back down the tree with his bag full of apples and then gave Marad an apologetic look. "I guess you guys really are carnivores," Bilbo said before biting into one of the apples he collected. His guard gave him disgusted looks but Bilbo just smiled in response.
The group climbed back onto their wargs and headed back to the nest. Once there Bilbo turned towards his guard and asked them what they usually do now.
Gurak translated Bilbo's question to the others and then said, "We usually talk or fight amongst ourselves or we sleep."
"Right okay… Well, I'd really like to learn how to speak your language and how to use a bow and arrow since I don't think throwing a spear is something meant for my stature."
Gurak conversed with the guard before it seemed they came to an agreement. "Since I'm the only one who knows the common tongue it falls to me to teach you orcish. Once you're decent at that, Rem has offered to teach you the goblin tongue. Zragd and Marad will switch off with teaching you how to use a bow and you will train with your sword skill with Bazul and Ushnar since your technique is atrocious. You were honestly very lucky to have won against Bor. Khargol and Arob will teach you how to properly ride your warg since today you were basically just hanging on to the silver one's fur for dear life."
Bilbo was about to make a comment about how he wasn't born for this kind of life before thinking better of it. It didn't matter what kind of life he led in the past because this was his life now and he needed new skills if he wanted to survive. So instead of complaining Bilbo gave his guards a nod and asked, "What do I learn first?"
And so, Bilbo's sleeping schedule changed and during the days he would sleep in the barracks where his guard slept – he refused to sleep in the bed where Azog took him. At nights they would all go on a hunt and then come back to the nest where Bilbo would learn orcish and later the goblin language. He would shoot arrows until his fingers could no longer pull back the bow string, swing a sword until his arms groaned and perfect his warg riding abilities until the rest of his body was sore. He stopped his studies only to eat and on the short breaks he insisted on having. Bilbo and his guards got to know each other better and Bilbo even began to feel at ease with them.
It was during a night about a week after Azog had left to look for Thorin that the rhythm Bilbo and his guard had set up was broken. It was Ushnar's turn to teach him sword fighting and Bilbo noticed the orc becoming more and more agitated. His movements were becoming more sloppy as a result and Bilbo quickly put a stop to their sparring with a well-placed strike leaving Ushnar without a sword.
"What troubles you?" Bilbo asked in orcish as he was now fluent enough to hold simple conversations – being surrounded by only orcs and goblins really quickened the language learning process.
Bilbo's question only served to make Ushnar even more agitated which caused Bilbo to look around for the orc's initial trigger.
In the distance he saw a group of orcs looking in their direction and while Bilbo couldn't hear what they were saying he knew that orcs had better hearing and whatever they were saying was insulting Ushnar.
A strange anger filled Bilbo's blood as he walked over to the group of orcs. Outwardly he looked calm but really he was ready to give those orcs a tongue-lashing with a splash of violence because they were nothing compared to Ushnar. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew that this was not how he usually behaved but he placed those thoughts aside where he would consider them later because he had to focus on his current objective: teach the orcs who was their superior.
"Would you care to repeat what you said about my guard?" Bilbo asked calmly in orcish once he was a couple of feet away from the group of orcs. The orcs stopped their chatter and turned to sneer at Bilbo. Before one of them could say a word though Bilbo raised his sword and held it level to the nearest orc's throats.
"Do not forget that you are speaking to your king's mate so I would take care in how you act." The guttural sounds of the orc tongue made his words all the more menacing and the orcs quickly adapted a more submissive stance. None of them dared to speak out what they had said earlier fearing the resulting punishment.
"Well? I'm waiting." Bilbo brought his glowing blade closer to the orc's neck so that it actually gave the orc a small nick after which the orc finally began to speak.
"We called Ushnar your bitch since he does whatever you please and also talked about how he had become weak since he was an esteemed warrior and now he is stuck teaching…" the orc hesitated to continue but one look at Bilbo's glare made him go on, "he is now teaching a child how to walk."
"I see," Bilbo withdrew his sword. "And I am this child you speak of." The silence from the group of orcs was more than enough confirmation.
"Draw your swords," Bilbo said after a moment of contemplation. A voice inside his head panicked and asked what the hell he was doing but Bilbo squashed it down and kept his eyes focused on the group of orcs who were confused but had drawn their swords.
"Now attack me." The orcs looked at each other, flummoxed but Bilbo was dead serious in his order. "I said attack me!" he yelled out in orcish and attacked the nearest orc. The orc defended himself and the other four finally understood what Bilbo wanted them to do and attacked the small hobbit.
Just a couple of weeks ago Bilbo would have been terrified and ran away but now he was dodging and attacking with such grace and finesse that he easily knocked away each and every sword out of the orcs' hands.
The orcs stared at Bilbo with frightened eyes expecting death to be their sentence. "I should kill you," Bilbo began earning whimpers from the orcs. "You forgot your place beneath me and beneath my guard," he continued.
"We're sorry, we were only joking," one of the orcs cried out.
"Then you need to learn to hold your tongues!" Bilbo shouted in response. He paused a moment taking pleasure in their scared forms. The voice from before came back and asked what the hell Bilbo had become but Bilbo didn't care. He couldn't keep acting the way he did in the Shire because otherwise, he wouldn't survive.
"I won't kill you," Bilbo finally said giving the orcs relief. "But if you forget your place, I won't hesitate to chop off your heads."
"Don't forget that you're my bitches."
After that one night, Bilbo's guard started looking at him differently. Before there was respect, not a lot of it, but he did kill their second in command in a one on one fight, no matter if it was by sheer luck. There was also a lot of annoyance since they had to teach Bilbo every orc and goblin custom. Now though, the respect was overwhelming and Bilbo felt they may also, dare he say it, trust him. The notion was absurd but once Bilbo began to reflect on how he viewed his guard he would actually say he trusted them too.
Bilbo's comradeship towards his guard was tested one night when they went a little too far north-east from their territory and came too close to wood elf territory. It just so happened that a group of elves were scouting the perimeter of their forest and they caught sight of Bilbo and his company with their superior elf vision.
Bilbo's company continued riding unaware of the danger they were in and then to Bilbo's far right Arob gave out a cry as he was shot off of his warg. "Elves!" the orc yelled out in the Black Speech.
It was a testament to how Bilbo grew to care about his guard that his first thought was not 'Elves! I am finally saved.' And instead it was 'Damn it, we've come too close to elf territory, we need to turn back!' It didn't even occur to the hobbit to leave his company behind.
By now, the rest of the orcs and goblins in his pack had turned towards where the elves were and got ready to attack.
"No! Turn back," Bilbo ordered as he turned his warg around to go towards Arob. He held his arm downwards and grabbed Arob's outstretched arm before he used all his strength to pull the orc onto his silver warg.
Bilbo checked to make sure that the others had followed his orders and thankfully they had. The hobbit then turned towards Arob who sat behind him and he asked, "Can you ride on your own?"
The orc grunted an agreement and before whistling to call his warg back to him. Bilbo's silver warg and Arob's warg moved side by side and then Arob leapt the distance so he was seated on his warg.
"Good, go follow the others. The elves will be on our trail. I'll distract them long enough for you to get to a safe distance."
Arob looked hesitant to leave the person he was supposed to be protecting alone with elves but eventually gave in after Bilbo reminded him who was in charge. Once Arob was a good enough distance Bilbo whispered some commands to his warg before leaping down and holding his hands up in surrender. He made sure to hold up his elvish sword too to make the story he was about to spin more believable.
"Please don't shoot!" Bilbo yelled out in the common tongue. Fear was clear for the elves to see on his face. Bilbo hoped to the Valar that they didn't notice him speaking in orcish earlier otherwise his act would be over before it even began.
A group of five elves emerged from the trees all as beautiful as Bilbo remembered the elves to be in Rivendell. They looked over him suspiciously, their bows still drawn and ready to fire.
"Who are you? Why are you with the orcs?"
"I'm Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit from the Shire," Bilbo sputtered out. "I was travelling with a group of dwarfs and the wizard Gandalf when the orcs captured me. I'm so glad you're here. I was able to escape my captors whilst you attacked them. For that I am grateful." Bilbo gave them what he hoped was an innocent and relieved smile and thankfully it worked for most of them slightly lowered their bows.
"We know of the dwarfs you speak of and Gandalf is a good friend of the elves. Come, we'll help you find your way back to your companions," one of the elves said, holding out an inviting hand.
Not all of the elves were convinced, however, and one was eyeing the tattoo on Bilbo's neck. Bilbo saw the elf's eyes widen in recognition and he opened his mouth to tell the other elves what it was but it was already too late. Bilbo's warg had returned just as he had told it too and Bilbo pulled himself up as his warg raced by and quickly began weaving in and out of the trees to dodge the flying arrows from the angry elves whom he had deceived.
Once Bilbo was far enough to give him confidence that he had lost the elves, he gave a sigh of relief. Thank the Valar that elves weren't infallible.
When Bilbo met up with his company, he found them arguing amongst themselves. He couldn't make out what they were saying because they were all speaking at the same time. "What's this all about?"
His guard turned towards him, a lot showing surprise and a few looking smug. "I told you he would return!" said Arob.
"Well of course I came back. I was only distracting them so you could get away," Bilbo frowned. He didn't know why he was upset. If he were in their position, he'd probably think that he would run away too.
"Why did you even tell us to run? We could have fought them," Gurak retorted angrily.
Bilbo's grimace deepened. "Fought them, yes. Won, no. The elves had the advantage. They know their forest like the back of their hand while we made huge targets on the back of wargs. They would have hidden up in their trees and we wouldn't be able to give them a scratch let alone kill any of them. Or have you forgotten what happened to the orcs who followed the dwarfs near Rivendell. They were all but slaughtered."
Gurak looked away and growled. He didn't want to say it but he knew that Bilbo was right.
"Right then, anyone else have any issues with what just happened?" The others all shook their heads.
"Arob, can you still join us hunting, or do you need to go back?" Bilbo asked, he almost forgot about the orc's wound in all that had happened.
"They only clipped my shoulder. I'll be fine."
With everything in order, the group got back on their wargs and continued to look for their night's food. They came across a wild horse which they easily took down and then began eating. Bilbo gave his share to his warg because every time he thought of the horse he thought of the pony he had ridden from the Shire and couldn't stomach it. So he ate apples and berries he found in the forest instead.
There was an awkward silence over the group while they ate. It was the goblin, Zragd who finally broke it.
"Tell us what happened with the elves. It is not easy fooling their race."
Bilbo looked up from his food in surprise. They'd never shared stories of their adventures before. Nevertheless, his companions looked interested in what he had to say so he shared his story. He talked about how he used the elvish blade to help his image as a captured innocent and how scared he was that they would overlook his hobbit appearance and focus on the orc armour he wore. He recounted how he had convinced most of the elves how he was harmless except for one who finally recognized his tattoo. They all shared a laugh when Bilbo shared how the elves' faces had turned ugly and red when they found out they had been tricked.
When Bilbo realized that he was laughing about how he'd tricked elves, the race he had idolized so much he couldn't help but laugh even harder. He never thought he would be in this position: laughing with the supposed enemy. Later on he would recount this to his nephew as one of his fonder memories.
Bilbo felt weird thinking it, but he was happy here with orcs and goblins who respected him and listened to him. He only remembered feeling such joy in his youth when he was out looking for elves in the bushes of Hobbiton.
The feeling carried on for the next few days but it couldn't stay. Not when he was still technically Azog's captive. The pale orc would eventually return and he did return. Three weeks after he left, Azog came back to the nest in the middle of the night, angry and accompanied by less orcs than the number that left with him.
It was obvious that Thorin and the others had escaped his grasp again, for which Bilbo was grateful. Still, it meant that Azog was in a mood and only one thing would console him. Bilbo, however, refuses to let anyone or anything ruin him again.