The next morning, Bofur woke to a similar sight. Lilly was looking at him thoughtfully, smiling at him when he opened his eyes and noticed her stare.
"You took out your braids," it was a statement more than a question.
"Yes, they can be uncomfortable to sleep in, and I usually have to redo them in the morning regardless," he noticed her own rumpled braid with amusement, "speaking of redoing braids, would you like me to fix yours?"
Lilly frowned as she felt her hair, finding odd pieces sticking out, with a nod, she turned herself around to allow him access, "I haven't had my hair done for me since I was 10, I think. I was going to a dance class and was so scared of making a fool of myself. My sister sat me on the bed and told me a good appearance makes a confident girl."
"Aye, as vain as it is, being comfortable with oneself is important," Bofur smiled as he skillfully undid her braid.
"Yeah, but the bun didn't stop me from falling on my face," Lilly laughed at the memory, of course it wasn't funny then.
Bofur chuckled at the small girl, easily imagining a young Lilly dancing about "fell on yer face? Here I was under the impression you were more graceful."
Lilly playfully slapped his hand, "oi, hush, you. I had to grow into my body."
Bofur chuckled, tying off the braid, "and you did beautifully." He didn't have time to feel embarrassed as she chuckled.
"Thanks, Bo, wish young me could've known that," she giggled, shaking her head as she remembered, "the girls never really liked me, so I was always off with the boys."
Bofur chuckled, "that explains a lot," he laughed merrily as she swatted him, huffing annoyed.
"What about you?" Lilly looked up into his eyes expectantly.
"What about me?" he grinned cheekily down at her.
"What were you like as a kid?"
"I already told you, my childhood was pretty uneventful, at least compared to yours," he couldn't help but chuckle at her pout.
"I told you some of my embarrassing stories, you owe me one," she gave him a good-natured glare.
Bofur smiled as he rested a hand on her head, breaking her cross look, "I had a small group of dwarves I called friends, and knew a handful of men. I never much hanged around any pretty dwarf girls, mostly because they are lacking in number."
"Lacking in numbers? Why is that?" she looked up at him curiously.
"Well, I suppose they were just uncommon births," Bofur shrugged nonchalantly.
"Are there many elves? I heard Bawlin mention them in his story," she looked, large eyed at him.
"I suppose, never really saw many of them myself," Bofur glanced at the surrounding dwarves, it didn't seem like they were paying any mind, for which he was glad. He didn't have much of a problem with elves but he knew many of the others did.
"I would like to see one," she heaved herself up, beginning to pack away her things, "that was one thing from fairy-tales had to kill."
Bofur looked at her thoughtfully, "your fairy-tales were things you had to kill? It sounds very sad."
Lilly smiled humorlessly, "it was a bit of a nightmare there," she shrugged as she turned from readying her horse, "I suppose you have some nightmarish things here too though."
"Yes, we do. Wargs and trolls, orcs and necromancers," Bofur smiled as she crinkled her nose at the mention of trolls. The trolls from Harry Potter crossed her mind, not something she'd like to fight.
"They must be horrible," she shuddered; the two had finished helping the others pack. The group all mounted their rides and began their trek again.
It wasn't long before the downpour started, it was annoying, how drenched the group became. Lilly shuddered as she flung her pack open and retrieving the old Carhart jacket of Greg's, hoping it could keep out some of the rain and keep in her body heat, afraid of ruining her leather jacket. Jake was doing the same thing not too far ahead of her. Shrugging on his big army jacket, he knew he was better off than poor Bilbo. He handed the poor Hobbit a hoodie of Lilly's, it swallowed the small being more than it swallowed her.
Dori spoke up, " Here, Mr. Gandalf? Can't you do something about this deluge?"
Lilly looked to the gray man ahead, "you can control weather?!" She hoped he could wave that staff of his and make everything all better, but she figured if he could've it would be sunny by now.
"It is raining, master dwarf, and it will continue to rain until the rain is done! If you wish to change the weather of the world, you should find yourself another wizard," he responded, shooting the dwarf an exasperated glare.
Lilly zoned out then, thinking that if they had Harry Potter it would be better than this man. Now that she thought of it, she had not seen him do any magic yet.
"Did you make a deal with Demons to get your powers?" Jake asked, interrupting Bilbo and Gandalf's conversation.
"Demons? Dear lad, the demons in this land would rather kill me than give me powers," he chuckled at the insinuation.
"Where we come from," Lilly interjected, seeing Jake's miffed expression, "there are witches that use dark magic. They make deals with demons to get some heavy duty powers."
Jake didn't like that Gandalf thought his instincts were funny, he was still alive because he was always wary, "I just don't want any surprises," he glowered then, "we are on a lot of demon's hit lists."
"You fought demons? What are they like?" Bilbo's tone was a strange combination of curiosity and fear.
Lilly smiled to the smaller man, she knew he was older (by how much she didn't know),but she felt an odd protectiveness, like an older sister. Between the two of them, it was obvious that she was more experienced than he was.
"They are pure evil," she said sadly, "they are the souls of people taken to hell and tortured to the point of losing all humanity. They're ghosts, but smarter and stronger and a lot harder to kill."
Jake nodded, "everyone who goes to hell becomes a demon, it may take longer for some, but it happens. It burns out all feelings, so they kill for the sake of killing. I hope we've done enough good to stay outta hell." He laughed humorlessly, as everyone else looked at the man as if seeing him for the first time. He had eyes that were dark, tired, and almost empty, as if he was accepting of any fate that could await him. Bofur quickly looked to Lilly, wondering if she had that same hopelessness in them.
"Bo, are you alright? You do know Jake just likes being a downer," Lilly noticed his frantic look towards her, as she eyed him suspiciously.
Bofur saw the same tiredness and darkness in her eyes, despite being several shades lighter than Jake's, but she looked more hopeful and alive. Would she turn into her brother, losing all hope of a better life?
"Nothing, dear lassie," he smiled gently.
She furrowed her brow before grinning back, and that smile helped ease his worry. Yes, she experienced a similar life to her brother, but she was strong and good.
"You're funny, Bo," she laughed lightly, shaking her head. She looked to the sky, the gray was rather depressing, "lovely weather we're having, eh?"
"Aye, for plants maybe," he chuckled at the state of her, she looked like a drowned rat, her blonde braid weighed down, the hairs that escaped now clinging to her face, heavy tan jacket soaked, but it was her smile and eyes that made her look surprisingly innocent, despite her rumpled appearance.
"You know, I never saw this coming," Lilly shook her head chuckling; "I know young people are suppose to feel invincible, but I think it's more than that. I have grown up around some of the craziest things out there. I know I can die, hell I've seen most of my family die, and I know I'm not so lucky that Fate will somehow spare me. But do you know the first thing I thought when we found out we left our world?"
Bofur stared hard at the girl, trying to read her, "No, what?"
"I thought, 'Lilly, you finally made it out,' and I was so happy. The only way out for a Hunter is to die or go crazy. I'm the lucky one, and that's never happened before. Out of all our family, I was always the one who my family protected, to never have a chance at stepping out of their shadows. Now I can be my own person, here no one has expectations for the youngest Mason kid."
"I imagine it can be hard being the youngest," Bofur stared at the young girl, thinking to his own family.
"It can be," Lilly nodded, "it was hard to prove myself when I was shoved to the back. I am stronger than I look, and even Jake doesn't accept it after all these years. You know, the day before I got here, we finished a hunt. He protected me again. I can never make mistakes and learn if I can't fight my own battles."
"Aye, well if there are any monsters from your world, I'll let you take charge," Bofur smiled as he watched her chuckle, "I'll run and hide behind you, and I'm sure Bilbo will join me."
"Thank you, Bo," she ignored Bilbo's indignant 'hey,' she was so happy that he was trying to make her feel better.
"Any time, Lilly," Bofur smiled, before the two lapsed into a comfortable silence, occasionally breaking it to tell little stories. Bilbo joined in when Lilly asked about Hobbits.
It wasn't long before the group had reached their destination. It looked to be an abandoned house, and Lilly didn't like the feeling it gave off. She stood to the side as the dwarves set up camp.
"You feel it too?" Jake moved to stand next to his sister.
"Yeah, it feels wrong, I really don't like it," Lilly shivered as a cold chill swept over her.
"Keep your eyes peeled, we'll take turns on watch with the dwarves, I'll start," Jake went to sit next to the fire, accepting a bowl of soup that one of the dwarves gave him. Lilly smiled as Bombur handed her a bowl of the hearty stuff, she always did love stew, and the dwarf's was good, for working with what they had. Bilbo had left to take the prince's their meals, and Lilly noticed Gandalf's absence. That didn't make her feel any better, she knew there was strength in numbers, it also meant he was somewhere away from her watchful eyes.
"Are you alright, Lilly?" Bofur moved to sit by the wary girl.
"Something doesn't sit right with me," her voice was quiet as she glanced at the dwarf, "this place, why was it abandoned?"
Bofur shrugged, "they probably got ran off or went to find better land."
Lilly frowned at his dismissal, "I don't like that we're staying here. I hope I'm wrong, but I think that there is something evil here." Despite whispering her words, Thorin heard.
"First Gandalf, now you," Thorin almost bellowed, it must have been a king thing, shouting your words, "if you have a problem staying here, then go on ahead, let us see how far you make it on your own."
Lilly scowled, "I was just saying that something feels off, nothing against you, sir."
Jake recognized the look that crosses his sister's face; the same one she wore when she followed their father. She loved their father, Jake knew that, but she lost respect for him when she was old enough to know he took away his children's lives and any hope of happiness. He could see some similarities between the king and their dad.
"I know this land more than you do. I will not lead my kin wrong."
Just then, Fili and Kili rushed to the camp, breathless.
"Trolls, they stole the horses, Bilbo is going to try and get them back," Kili said.
Lilly wanted nothing more than to tell the king 'I told you so,' but hearing Bilbo was in danger made her spring into action. The siblings grabbed their machetes and Lilly tucked her handgun into the waistband of her pants, while Jake grabbed a shotgun full of rock salt.
"Do you really think you should be heading off into this battle? You never fought trolls," Bofur wanted the girl to be safe.
"Never doubt me, Bofur," Lilly's voice was cold, "if Bilbo is facing off trolls, he needs our help."
Bofur felt like he was slapped, "I just worry for you, I apologize, dearie."
Lilly sent him a tired glance before Jake interrupted, "let's go Lils, we have trolls to kill."
The two followed a fidgety Kili, as the rest tried to get their own weapons together. Creeping up to the trolls camp, Lilly felt adrenalin pump through her, readying for a fight. She had never seen a being so hideous, the trolls were large and lumpy and obviously going to be stronger than the three of them. That did not stop Kili, who was emboldened by the presence of the siblings, and went charging in.
"Drop him!" Kili demanded, that spurred the two hiding out into action, Lilly leaping over a fallen tree as Jake led the way. She quickly went into formation, standing back to back to back with the other two.
"You what?" the troll holding Bilbo asked.
"I said, drop him," Kili all but growled. Lilly was shocked when the large monster threw the short man at them, knocking them over and disorienting them. The rest of the dwarves chose to attack then, yelling and fighting. The group put up a good fight, but it all went downhill when Bilbo was captured and was practically torn apart. Lilly did not hesitate in laying down her weapon, not wanting to see her new little friend be ripped apart so soon after meeting him. The trolls tied her over the fire, on a rotating spit. She saw Jake was down with the others, in a bag. She zoned out, ignoring the arguing of how to cook her group, instead attempting to get to the knife she wore on her thigh.
"Damn, this is hot," Lilly mumbled to herself, frowning as her fingers strained.
"Aye, unfortunately it is going to be a slow death though, not hot enough to kill us quickly," Lilly could hear the grim grin in Bofur's voice.
"For fuck's sake!" Lilly all but yelled, "if I'm gonna die, I don't want to hear your damned bickering."
The trolls stopped dead, and Lilly attempted to shrug, trying her best to give them a winning smile.
"She's right. Dawn ain't far away, let's get a move on! I don't fancy bein' turned to stone."
"Wait! You're making a terrible mistake!" Bilbo quickly interjected.
"You can't reason with them, they're half-wits," Dori grumbled.
"What does that make us?" Bofur asked, morbid humor shining through.
"I meant with the...uh, with the...with the seasoning," Lilly grinned, Bilbo was being erratic, but maybe he had a plan.
"What about the seasoning?" a troll asked.
Lilly watched as Bilbo spun a quick lie, saying they all had parasites, and had to swallow her laughter at the change of mood. The dwarves quickly went from disclaiming Bilbo to playing along.
"The dawn will take you all!" Gandalf bellowed, as he popped out of nowhere, destroying half the cliff he stood on.
Lilly gaped in awe, watching the trolls turn to stone. Gandalf and Bilbo soon cut down the dwarves and Lilly, since they were in the immediate danger, before helping the others out of the bags. Almost as soon as Jake was righted, he gathered Lilly up in his arms, hugging her tightly.
"Looks like we fight another day," Lilly quipped. She grinned when she felt Jake's chest rumble from a short laugh. Gandalf and Thorin were off to the side, talking.
"There must be a cave nearby," Thorin said, and from his voice Jake knew where they were going, it seemed they were making a little detour.
Yay! Hope you liked it. Reviews are lovely :)