Guilt, Bilbo found was a useless emotion, and unfortunately it was one that Bagginses were quite good at cultivating. He knew there was no real reason to be consumed by the emotion—it was not Bilbo's fault that Thorin Oakenshield had to have secret meetings in the middle of the night that anybody could wander into—and yet he could not help but feel that he had broken some unspoken rule.

Bilbo had managed to get back to camp before any of the dwarves noticed he was gone—which, once he thought about it, was mildly disconcerting—and attempted to relax. Snippets of past conversation stuck out in his mind; 'He likes you' and 'your burglar'. The thought of Thorin caring for him in more than the platonic sense made him slightly uncomfortable, though it was not entirely unwelcome. It was a compliment to be admired by someone, though a bit odd.

"Oh hello, Mister Bilbo!" Kili stepped over to him, a giant smile on his face. "What shall we talk about today?"

Bilbo did not mind having conversations with Kili—he was by far one of the nicest beings Bilbo had had the pleasure of speaking with—but today he wanted to grab the dwarf by the shoulders and ask him just what in the hell they meant when speaking with Thorin. Instead, he smiled lightly and said, "How are you today, Master Dwarf?"

"Oh please, drop the formalities. It's not like Thorin can hear us." Kili sighed as he sat next to Bilbo, staring at the wilderness that surrounded them. "I'm sorry about my oaf of an Uncle," Kili said, his voice quiet. "He really is much nicer than he seems—he's just a selfish man about some things."

Bilbo raised his eyebrows and smirked. "Some things?"

The dwarf laughed. "Fair enough, he is selfish about most things, but he does care about those that follow him."

Bilbo didn't answer; rather he chose to sit in silence his head in his hands. He did not want to think of Thorin at the present moment, but Kili seemed intent on having Bilbo hear the apology. The hobbit sighed and shook his head, effectively ending the conversation. Kili placed a hand on his shoulder. "Right, I'm going to eat some of that stuff that Nori calls food." He walked away, leaving Bilbo to his thoughts.


He had barely closed his eyes when the sun had risen; instead of pleasant dreams of home and familiar faces, he heard the grunts and movements of dwarves. Bilbo sighed as he forced himself awake, rubbing his eyes whilst slowly moving into a sitting position.

"You alright there?" Roused from his thoughts, Bilbo looked up into the face of Balin. He did not mind the older dwarf—he was the first one who gave him a chance when he first joined the traveling party—however, at this point in time he wished to be left alone.

Placing a hand over his face, Bilbo waved a hand signifying he was fine. "Right, laddie. It's time to get up. We've got a lot of ground to cover."

Bilbo groaned and cursed. "Dwarves." He stood turning his back to the elder dwarf while he started cleaning his area of camp. "Bloody creatures; putting ideas into my head." He threw his blanket into a ball. "No good, the lot of them." He felt a presence behind him and assumed it was Balin. Not really in the mood to spare any feelings, Bilbo continued his rant. "Wasting my bloody time—to think I felt bad for the lot! Pah! Should have stayed home."

He heard a cough behind him, but paid it no mind. "No point in me really being here anyway." Bilbo scratched the back of his head, his bedding finally neatly folded. "I've got a weapon that I have no idea how to use and I'm permanently stuck on the run option when it comes to anything mildly life-threatening." He sighed and turned around, facing the presence that had remained silent.

What Bilbo saw, he was not exactly expecting.

No one other than Thorin Oakenshield was standing behind him, the dwarves hand behind his back a rare emotion on his face. Bilbo could not exactly decipher it—but it reminded him of pain. However, as quickly as it had appeared, it was gone replaced by a solemn expression.

"O-oh, Thorin hello." Bilbo forced a smile, his hand behind his head.

"I was going to ask if you needed assistance with anything," He paused. "However, I see that my services are not needed. You might want to speed up your packing, we are leaving shortly." He turned, walking away without another word from the hobbit.

"Right." Slightly mortified, Bilbo rubbed his hands over his face and breathed deeply.

Another long day began.