"Do you think he'll faint?" Fili asked as they crossed The River, the ponies' hooves bouncing upon the stone. A smirk grew on Kili's face.
"Nearly did last time. And we weren't dead then." Kili chuckled, patting his pony's sweaty neck. They road to the bottom of The Hill and tied their steeds up in town, letting them graze while they headed up the dirt path. Past the flowers and through the gate. Bag End looking unchanged while inside it was missing a few things.
Bilbo meanwhile, had only recently gotten home himself. And upon finding his own folk had also believed him to be dead and sold many of his belongings as fast as hotcakes, he was left rather stressed. He spent nearly everyday from sparkling dawn till starry dusk over the hill and under the hill, trying to barter for his own furniture back from a neighbor or two. Although he'd never think of it, it was a decent enough distraction from dealing with the death of his friends. And it left him exhausted.
Little Bilbo sat at his kitchen table, nearly falling asleep with a mug of milk in hand. A piece of toast buttered and ready to be eaten before him. But it seemed his sleep was keeping him from this tasty snack. And from noticing heavy footfalls outside his door. Still in his robe, he dozed off. His snug robe could always make him sleepy. When a loud banging shook the house. With a start, he jumped to his feet. Nearly spilling warm milk all over his pajama pants.
"Good gracious. If it is anybody who isn't anybody who stole my things then please leave at once." Bilbo shouted from the table, but with his tired voice is was hardly more than a whisper. He went to the kitchen window, trying to peer out to the front door. But while he was gone his hedge had over grown to block the view.
Bilbo sighed, clenching his jaw and pulling his robe tighter around him, covering up as much as he could. "The nerve to call so early." Bilbo mumbled, though it was already past 11ses, as he sat his mug down and headed for the door. Prepared to bicker with whatever thief stood before him. But he wasn't prepared for this.
Bilbo tied off his robe, reached for the door and swung the thing open.
"I-" but his scolding tone dropped. But did not drop as much as his jaw nor the handkerchief in hand. Or the dribble of milk from his chin. His heart scuttled to the floor. The brothers stood before him, before bowing.
"At your service." As the words rang in Bilbo's pointed ears the little hobbit wouldn't blink. He merely reached out to the smug dwarves, tentatively poked their bellies, before falling over like a fainting tree at the sight of a lumberman. But in predicting such a thing, Fili managed to catch the poor creature and carried him back into his home. Laid him in his favorite armchair. And pulled up a seat with Kili before the hobbit. It took a few minutes for the hobbit to come to his senses once more. But when he did he opened one eye at a time. And upon seeing Fili and Kili fiddling with his fire, smiling at him. The hobbit closed them once more.
"I don't like ghosts so please leave here." When they didn't respond. He waited a moment before opening his eyes again, his scared expression growing distant. "Unless of course. You. You..."
"We aren't ghosts." Fili said as he took a seat beside him, his eyes smiling. Bilbo's blue eyes looked he and his brother over. Shaking his head.
"No no no. I saw you. Both of you. In your spooky tomb." Bilbo's hands were shaking, Kili vanished for a moment, and was followed by a sound of loud rummaging and returned with a mug of ale. He pushed it into the hobbit's hands.
"How did you? Never mind, of course you know where to find it." He took a sip, Kili smirking. "I would refuse since it is yet noon but I feel I need it." The hobbit took a sip before sitting back and hearing their tale. His perplexed expression morphing to understanding as they spoke. His heart rate slowing as he realized he was not seeing the dead nor going back in time to having to repeat the journey his feet still ached from. Though the less tired part of him liked that idea.
A smile eventually grew upon his tired face.
"So that is that. You two faced an army, slew orcs, fell from poison, died by all means but still managed to skip around death, and still here you are. On your feet. Across the land. Sword at the ready." Bilbo smiled as he sat his nearly empty mug down on the oak table. "I admire you pair. Always did. That's why when you two and Thorin...well I..." He stuttered. The memory of watching Thorin's eyes close as he said his last words to the hobbit and the dreary sight of the threesome's bodies being carried into the tomb swelled up in his mind. He held back tears. "None of it was worth that cost." He shook his head. "Not one bit." The dwarves smiled, taking in each of the little creature's words.
Fili rested a hand on Bilbo's shoulder before speaking. "It was a price we were willing to pay." Bilbo raised his brow. "As were you when you first signed on."
"Yes well I," he cut himself off. Biting his lip.
"You came to know it was a very real chance. For you. And for any of us. And did you turn back? No." Kili rested his elbows on his knees.
"You stayed. Slew giant spiders. Rescued us from deep dungeons. Faced a dragon." Kili added from his stool.
"I dare say if there is anyone here with a heart of gold it is you Mr. Baggins. And we thank you for that."
Bilbo smiled and let a tear fall down his cheek. He was quiet for a moment, watering eyes set on the pair. His fingers trembling with pride and happiness.
"I am very glad you are all right. Very glad indeed." Not one moment longer and he flew from his armchair and hugged the two tight as iron. His embarrassment for such things lost somewhere between his hobbit hole and the Lonely Mountain. "Whose ready for tea?"
"Me." Bilbo's brow furrowed. Neither of the brothers had spoken. His bare feet padded upon the cool tile as he turned about to the voice. Eyes growing wide at his door as Balin, Dwalin... Bifur, Bofur... and even Bombur squeezed his way in. Speaking a surprising word of two of, "I'll take ale please."
"I won't believe it." Bilbo mumbled under his breath. Kili and Fili nearly as surprised as he. This time as the dwarves filed in through his door, his arms were open to them as was his heart. And a smile danced from his eyes to his lips. Once Bombur waddled in and unplugged the door, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, and Gloin followed suit. Every last one of them pulling Bilbo into a hug. The poor little hobbit's ribcage left bruised whence they were done. The hobbit hole was full of laughter and reminiscing of their previous visit. Fili and Kili questioned them all about their travels, and discovered the company had left a day or so after them when hearing of their return to the Shire.
Bilbo scuttled about disappearing in and out of the room, in his robe just as the last time, gathering every dishware he had left and every bit of cheese and sausage in the house.
"2nd Break- well, hm, Luncheon is served!" Fili and Kili pushed through the company and plopped down at the head of the table beside the hobbit. Raising their mugs high to the Baggins as all were seated. As they all cleaned their plates, Fili and Kili finishing off their mugs of ale firstly of course, when a shadow appeared in the doorway. Before it shifted as the dwarf stepped into the room.
"This place is easier to find in the day." Thorin said through a smirk. The dwarves and hobbit all broke out into a cheer. Kili scooting over to allow space for the King. Bilbo looked from Kili to Fili, to Thorin and beyond. And stood upon his chair.
"To the friends and journey that changed my life. Changed all of ours really." He shifted his weight as he balanced on the stool. "And most truly gave you three, new lives. A second go around is the way I think of it. For when I put my nose on it," he looked about to all their bearded faces. "You gave me. A new life. Whether that life is fully behind me matter's not. For it's in here, forever." He patted his robed chest before raising his mug high. The group cheered and drank down the ale and wines. And finished their meal after a short while as Bilbo didn't own much food since the 'robbery' as he called it.
As the afternoon passed upon the hobbit hole, the dwarves scattered about Bag End, thinking back and chattering about every odd and end. Bilbo spotted Fili and Kili whom stood beside the window. Looking upon the green hills dotted with the shifting shadows of clouds. Bilbo wandered towards the brothers with gentle footfalls. Hands in his robe pockets. The two looked down to his curly head as he looked to them.
"You are welcome to take the guest room and stay awhile." He lowered his voice and leaned in, "but don't spread the word for I have not enough beds for everyone, and none in this shire could accommodate Bombur. Even old Barrelson is thinner than he. And that hobbit can't get through his round door." The two smirked.
"Thank you for the invitation." Fili said. Bilbo was quite for a moment. He fiddled with his robe tie.
"Back home with you after this I take it? To the great Lonely Mountain." The hobbit asked. The two brother's looked at each other for a moment before returning their eyes to the hafling.
"We're not certain." Fili said. Ideas and plans were fluttering through their minds like butterflies taking their first flights.
"To home eventually, yes. But the world is large. And I've heard many a tale of riches of all sorts, and ales to satisfy even a dragon that lay within and beyond known borders."
Bilbo rocked from heel to toe. Glancing between the two. "That sounds very... dangerous." Kili's eyes turned impish.
"But just as inviting. Does it not." The dark haired dwarf said through a smirk. Bilbo glanced to the floor and played with his sleeve.
"I won't say yes. But... I cannot bring myself to say no." Fili and Kili exchanged a smile. Their eyes dancing as their words played off each other.
"Wouldn't you say June sounds about right?"
"Why yes. Yes I would."
"Fine time for traveling."
"Wherever the road-"
"Or no road."
"Will take us."
"Ponies will have rested up plenty by then."
"We may be able to snag up a third." Fili's blue eyes flicked to Bilbo. "A nice small one. Sweet as an apple." Fili's blue eyes flicked to Bilbo whom shifted from foot to foot.
"Well... if I am not too busy with the house... and the furniture... and the garden, well I..." Bilbo bit his lip. Taking in a short breath. And held his head high. "Blast it all. Call the pony Myrtle and I've locked the door and am at your side."
The brothers broke into grins, gripping the halfling's shoulders. The idea of adventuring through the lands, over mountain and valley. With a friend as fine as he, and a brother that was as much part of him as his own flesh, made their hearts dance in their chest. Fili knelt down to the hobbit.
"In your words my dear Baggins, we were given a second chance to live." He squeezed his shoulder. Bilbo smiled a cheery warm look. And Kili's soft brown gaze hopped between Fili and the hobbit. Before saying with a lively smile in his eyes.
"And live it we will."
Author's note: Hello wonderful readers! Thank you for reading this story! Now I must say I had been planning on ending this story right here,but since I cannot wait to continue the adventures of Kili and Fili, and of course, Mr Bilbo as well, I will be posting a sequel. It will come soon, so please keep your eyes out for a sequel to "To Live Again". Please review, and let me know what you think! Thank you kindly!