/ / / A Collection Of Acquisitions \ \ \

Bilbo rose early, before Thorin, and ate some bread from the day before while he dressed. Thorin blinked at him when he left his antechamber after dressing.

"Are you going?" Thorin asked, his voice rough.

"Yes, I will be back later."

"Look after yourself, Bilbo Baggins."

Bilbo smiled. "I promise. You too, Thorin Oakenshield."

Thorin smiled as Bilbo left the room. He met Gani, who was to be Bilbo's companion in Lake-town, outside his door and they started walking to Bofur's rooms and then to the rest of the group. They set off straight away and Bilbo enjoyed the ride in the fresh air down to the lake. After they got to town Bilbo went to see Bard and then went shopping with Gani at his side. They finished their tasks a few hours after lunch and started back for the mountain. It was not until they got into the halls of Erebor and Gani started separating the boxes marked Bilbo from the other purchases that Bilbo realised just how much he was bringing back from their trip. Bofur laughed at the look on Bilbo's face.

"Do not worry, Halfling," Bofur said, clapping Bilbo on the shoulder. "You came with very little. Will you tell me what you bought?"

"No," Bilbo said. "How on earth will I get all of this to my room?"

Suddenly there were a group of dwarves standing in front of him and before he could say a word they all grabbed a box and started following Gani towards Bilbo's rooms. Bilbo followed them with the sound of Bofur's loud laughter ringing down the hall behind him.

"Thank you," Bilbo said, when they had placed the boxes in the middle of the sitting room.

"Happy to help, Master Baggins," one of the dwarves said. "King Thorin is in a meeting still."

"Oh, thank you," Bilbo said. "I can unpack here before I put everything in my room."

"This is your room," one of the dwarves said, frowning at one of his companions.

"Well," Bilbo said, "I do not sleep in here obviously. I sleep in the antechamber."

A couple of the dwarves looked at one another and laughed.

"We do not care that the King sleeps with a hobbit," one of them said, before they started for the door. "We should get back to the Great Hall. Goodbye, Master Baggins."

"I am not sleeping with the King," Bilbo said to their backs and then turned to Gani. "Does everyone think that I am sleeping with Thorin?"

Gani frowned at Bilbo for a second and then shook his head. "You cannot listen to the guards, Master Baggins, they have too much time to gossip and rarely care for reality."

Bilbo nodded and walked to one of the boxes and opened it. He took out a wrapped package and handed it to Gani. "I saw you looking at this; I hope it was the right one."

Gani accepted the package and unwrapped it; inside was a long, carved pipe and a bag of tobacco. "Master Baggins, you should not have."

Bilbo shook his head. "You have been helping me since we met and hobbits love to give gifts. Do you like it?"

"I loved it when I saw it in the window, thank you."

"You are welcome," Bilbo said. "Whenever you want to you can go and do something fun. I will not be going anywhere for the rest of the day."

"Are you sure?" Gani said. "I could go and see my brother Fani."

"Then go."

"You do not want help?"

"No, go," Bilbo said. "But, if you could mention to the guards that I am not…I do not…Thorin is…I do not want Thorin to think that dwarves are gossiping about him."

"I will," Gani said, before he turned and left. "Goodnight, Master Baggins."

"Bilbo…" the hobbit said, even though it never made any difference. "Goodnight, Gani."

Bilbo had the chance to find the food in his pile and place it in the kitchen before he was interrupted.

"My," Thorin exclaimed, when he opened the doors to his and Bilbo's rooms.

"Oh," Bilbo said, wringing his hands at the look of shock on Thorin's face. "I did not mean to buy so much. Gani left to put some of it in the boat and then I found the bookstore and I am sorry."

Thorin frowned at him. "Why are you apologising?"

"I bought too much," Bilbo said, looking at the boxes. "There were so many books I have never seen before and then there was a very nice-NO!" Bilbo rushed over and closed the box Thorin was about to open. "That one is a secret." Bilbo flushed as he hefted the box and carried it into his room.

"A secret for me?" Thorin asked, following him.

Bilbo forced Thorin to turn and walk out of the room as he walked at Thorin. The dwarf smiled the whole walk back to the collection of boxes.

"What did you get me?"

Bilbo shook his head. "No one said it was for you."

"You finally got me a present," Thorin said, crossing his arms over his chest. "When do I get to see it?"

"I bought books and I am having a warm coat made and some of those thick boots you all wear."

"You do not wear boots," Thorin said, resting against the back of one of the chairs.

"I know, and I will not most of the time but I thought since I am now living under a mountain I might have call for walking on ground that will be harsher on my feet than I am used to, and colder too - the mountain is colder than I am used to."

Thorin smiled at him.

"I was able to purchase some other clothes I need and was able to pick up the things you had ordered for me as well as," Bilbo opened on of the boxes and pulled out a bundle. "These were ordered for you. I picked them up."

"Thank you," Thorin took the bundle and put it on his bed before turning back to Bilbo.

Bilbo looked at Thorin. "Are you not going to check them?"

"And miss seeing what you purchased?" Thorin asked, and settled back into his chair.

"It is not exciting," Bilbo said. "Books and bits and bobs, a new pipe."

"Well, I have no more meetings today and we have time before dinner so you can show me."

Bilbo nodded and started to open his boxes. "Actually," Bilbo said, pulling a wide, flat, thick bundle out. "This one is for you. I was going to give it to you when we ate but now shall do."

"A gift?" Thorin asked.

"Just a small one," Bilbo said, with his head ducked. "I love to give presents."

"Thank you."

"You must open it," Bilbo prompted. "Half the fun is in watching you enjoy the gift."

Thorin nodded and opened the wrappings.

"I have been told that dwarves prize gifts that have been made by the giver above all others but I have not had a chance to make anything and I have no skill with metal and gems anyway." Bilbo said in a rush, colouring slightly in his apprehension.

Thorin paused before he could see what was inside the packaging and looked at Bilbo who was biting his lip nervously. "Any gift you give me would be appreciated and I have yet to see a skill of yours that is not thoroughly fascinating so I am sure that if you were to make me something I would prize it."

Bilbo flushed. "I am glad to hear that."

"I knew that box was for me," Thorin said with a wink before he finally opened his gift. "Oh."

"Gani told me it was a book of dwarf history. He said you would be able to read it and-" Bilbo was cut off when he was suddenly surrounded by Thorin's strong arms. Bilbo relaxed into the hug with surprise and lifted his arms to wrap around the dwarf, breathing in the scents of fire and metal that clung to Thorin. Bilbo knew he was holding on too tight and had been holding for too long but he liked the feel of Thorin's taller, larger body wrapped protectively around him. Even though he knew his reaction would be obvious soon he did not want to let go.

Finally Thorin pulled away. "This is amazing. I thought books like this would be lost forever."

"When we found it we looked for anything else that was dwarfish in origin but we could not find anything," Bilbo said. "Which is also why I have so much, I found some amazing books and ones on the plants in the area and farming and…well I am pleased you like it."

"We had such books in the library," Thorin said opening the thick leather cover and running his fingers gently along the rough cream parchment. "We do not know if all were destroyed. It will take us weeks to get past all the debris and damage between the passages that have been cleared and where the library is."

"Well, it is only one book but it is the start of a new library if the old one was destroyed."

"This is priceless, Bilbo." Thorin said, putting it down gently on the table and then picking it up again to hold it while he looked at Bilbo. "I could never explain how important this is."

Bilbo grinned. "I am so pleased. Hobbits love to give gifts. I love to give gifts and I am so happy you liked it. I have not heard you say you like to read but when Gani told me…would you like to see what else I got?"

Thorin nodded but did not let go of his book so Bilbo opened the box and started to pull out the books.

"Most of them are books of Men but I can read their writings and I got a couple on healing herbs and oh…" Bilbo started searching through until he found the book he wanted. "I found this one on farming around the mountain. It is very old and was much too expensive but I thought that it might be useful."

Thorin took the book with one hand, the other one held his dwarf book still. "Do you still want to learn to read Dwarfish?"

"Oh yes," Bilbo said. "I know you will be very busy but if you will teach me I would very much like to learn."

Thorin's face grew dark. "I have not been allowed to do anything but sit and talk. All of the dwarves under my mountain have decided that I should take it easy. I have seen them working until they are so tired they cannot be bothered to eat but they will not let me do anything."

Bilbo bit his lip and nodded.

Thorin frowned at him. "Just spit it out."

"You should not be doing any physical work. You still have stitches in a number of your deeper wounds…though I will need to remove those tomorrow, and when you do not the skin will still need time to heal properly."

"I have worked with worse."

"But you do not need to," Bilbo said. "One more dwarf, no matter how strong you are, would not change that much. Everyone is working hard to reclaim the mountain but they would prefer you to be completely healed rather than working now. They know they came far too close to losing you."

Thorin huffed and stood, striding into Bilbo's room. Bilbo followed after him. Thorin placed Bilbo's book into the bookcase.

"I asked Balin to make sure he found a bookcase for you," Thorin said. "I knew you had books coming from the Shire but I am glad you are able to find some to fill it before they arrive."

"You have a bookcase too," Bilbo said. "It is a shame it only has one book."

Thorin shrugged. "I am hopeful it will have more soon…as soon as I am able to do more physical work."

Something about the way that Thorin spoke made Bilbo think he was missing something as he followed the Dwarf King into the main chamber. Bilbo watched him place his new book carefully on the top shelf. Bilbo's chest felt too tight watching him place the book there and then gently run his fingertips along its spine.

"We should put the rest of your books away," Thorin said, turning. He grabbed a box, ignoring Bilbo's huff of annoyance and started moving it to Bilbo's room. Bilbo grabbed his own box and followed Thorin in. They spent some time putting Bilbo's books away but the last box, which Bilbo claimed had nothing but odds and ends, was pushed to the space at the end of his bed next to the one that held the barebones of Thorin's present.

Soon after they were done a short, rotund dwarf arrived with a pot of food.

"I was going to come down to the eating rooms," Thorin said, even as Bilbo rushed over to collect the pot.

"Well now you can rest," the dwarf said.

Thorin grunted and opened his mouth to speak when Bilbo stepped forward and grabbed the dwarf's hand. "Thank you so much for the food."

"Happy to help, Master Baggins," she said, with a little dip before she turned and started to walk away.

"I am more than capable of walking to the eating rooms," Thorin said, with a vicious edge to his voice. "My subjects think I am weak."

"No, they think you are still recovering," Bilbo said and disappeared into the kitchen to get the bowls. "They are right."

"I can walk and I am their King. They should not coddle me," Thorin said following him, he stopped abruptly looking past Bilbo. "What?"

Bilbo looked behind him at the food on the counter behind him. "I said I was going to buy food to make you a meal tomorrow."

"There is more than I was expecting."

"I bought the things to make you some scones and the ingredients for my tea."

"You are going to make me afternoon tea like promised?" Thorin asked his face clearing.

"Of course, now," Bilbo said, handing Thorin a bowl, "shall we go and eat?"

Thorin turned and walked to the table before the fire.

"I have a question," Bilbo said, a few silent minutes later. "If I wanted to get a letter to the Shire, would there be a quick way to do it?"

Thorin lifted his head with a snap. "Why?"

"I thought I might send a letter to the Gaffer asking his opinion on a few things for the farms."

"Oh," Thorin said. "I can send a raven to the Shire with a note."

"Excellent," Bilbo said. "I will write something tomorrow."

"It will still take a while for the message to get there."

"That is okay," Bilbo said. "There is so much to do before then anyway."

"Would you like to learn some of the dwarf alphabet tonight?" Thorin asked gently.

Bilbo beamed at him and with a firm nod went back to his food. They spent the rest of their evening bent over parchment and the book Thorin had given Bilbo until with reluctance they finally separated and went to bed.

/ / /

I don't apologise for writing utter fluff...there will be more next chapter too. :)