Disclaimer: The Hobbit, all characters, places, and related terms are the sole property of J.R.R. Tolkien's estate, and Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and WingNut Films.
Author's Note: Written as a mini-fill for a prompt on the hobbit-kink meme.
Our Bunny, Our Hobbit
An explosive breath from Thorin was Fili's only hint of his uncle's reaction when the dwarf rounded the corner of the house ahead of him and his brother. Fili managed not to let his jaw drop, his smile only tightening instead as he realized what had caught his uncle's attention. Instinctively he lay a warning hand briefly on Kili's arm, sensing him stiffen.
"At your service!" he said in unison with his brother and uncle in greeting, bowing deeply.
The young dwarf barely followed Gandalf's recitation of the company's adventures. He was unaware of the others gradually appearing per the grey wizard's plan. Nor did he note much about his potential host. Rather, he watched closely, head tilted back, as Bilbo perched a bit uncertainly on Master Beorn's knee. Occasionally he caught the halfling's eye who offered a small smile that was meant to be reassuring; the gesture made Fili's hands twitch, wanting to reach up and bring the fellow down to safer ground, back into the folds of the group.
Frequently while listening to Gandalf's tale, Beorn would cradle the hobbit to his chest and brush his cheek against his messy brown curls, as though he were cuddling a kitten, murmur, "So cute!" and then return him to his knee. By the fourth time this happened Bilbo managed to keep his squeaks of surprise and protest to a minimum. Fili observed the maneuvers like an anxious mother hen. Vaguely he was aware of Kili's growing fidgetiness and of Uncle Thorin's stony silence.
"Well, come in, come in!" the great man proclaimed when Gandalf had finished his tale and repeated his request about shelter.
Beorn lifted up Bilbo from his knee and started to lower him. Fili calmly stepped forward (rather than racing as he desired) to help the hobbit regain his feet – only for their burglar to soar over his head!
"You shall enjoy a feast and a warm roof over your heads tonight," the skin-changer promised as he stood, cuddled the wide-eyed hobbit against his shoulder, and turned to lead his guests inside.
Fili stared with his mouth open for a moment before hurrying after his very annoyed-looking brother to keep him from doing something foolish. He caught Gandalf's eye as the wizard hurried to catch up with their host, appearing much too amused at the situation. And he may or may not have heard his uncle grumble something like, "Batty old wizard!" under his breath.
Kili was home. Seated before the warm fire, the telling of dwarf legends lulled him to sleep. Drowsily he wrapped his small arms around his papa's chest, and was shifted to a more comfortable position on his lap. The wee lad smiled, feeling content and safe…
"So here you are still!" The great booming voice shattered Kili's dream with an almost painful jolt.
He barely had time to wince, tighten his grip, and open his heavy eyes, before he felt himself starting to rise into the air. Startled, he let go of the object he was holding onto and dropped back down to the straw below. Grumpily, sleepily, he looked up and jerked more awake.
Beorn towered above him, holding a flailing Bilbo by the back of his shirt. The skin-changer laughed merrily, turning the hobbit this way and that before cradling him in his arms.
Kili glared down at the straw, feeling put out like a child who had just had his teddy bear taken away without so much as a "by your leave." And it was close to the truth!
He and Fili had gotten into the habit early on during the journey of sleeping with the hobbit snuggled between them to help him keep warm. It had been an accident the first time, the three falling asleep as Bilbo told them about some of the adventures of his Took relatives. There had been Thorin's thunderous disproving stare greeting the brothers on the morn, and they had shuffled about with ducked heads. Then in the midst of Bilbo's timid apologies came a meek, "Thank you, not as cold…" He was the littlest of them all, and often shivering quite a bit at night, Fili pointed out. And he had been very tolerable of their mischievous ways, Kili mused. Bilbo was a good fellow.
So they made a point of having the hobbit settled between them every night since. The arrangement in the beginning had earned their uncle's undisguised disapproval, to which they responded with innocent looks (Kili) and impish grins (Fili). They succeeded in wearing him down to exasperation, long-suffering tolerance, and finally grudging acceptance by the time they were captured by the goblins.
"Not eaten up by wargs or goblins or wicked bears yet, I see!"
Pouting, Kili watched the large man poke Bilbo's midsection with an amused smile. Bilbo looked to be mildly panicking.
"Little bunny is getting nice and fat again on bread and honey. Come to breakfast!" He made a sweep with his hand to include the assembled dwarves and strode towards the table.
"Bunny!?" Kili huffed as he got to his feet. "He is not a pet!"
"Once they name it, they start getting attached to it," Fili complained.
"We could come up with a better name!" Ori claimed.
His comment was met with low rumblings of agreement as the dwarves followed their king who glared daggers at their host's back.
Breakfast was a sad affair for the three royals, as they ate little and kept a sharp eye on their burglar whom Beorn kept with him at his end of the table, offering him food and drink and randomly nuzzling the hobbit in his arms. Their companions' attempts at distracting and reassuring them failed; and in the end it was only Bilbo taking it all in (even awkwardly attempting to hug the large man back once or twice) with simple dismay as opposed to his earlier panic that caused the others to hold their tongues and stay in their seats.
But all of the company was starting to count the days until they resumed their journey.
Thorin's frown deepened as the minutes passed and Bofur and Fili still had yet to return. He was unaware of the nervous, worrisome shifting among his fellow dwarves, nor of the longing glances directed to the tempting dishes laid out on the table. They had lost their host (not for the first time, and no reason to wait to sup), regained their wizard, and had now managed somehow to lose their burglar. None could account for his whereabouts since the early afternoon.
The hobbit was not so foolish as to wander off, Thorin was certain. And yet, memories of the trouble that had occurred when he innocently took soup to Fili and Kili in Trollshaw Forest made the dwarf uneasy. Their burglar may have gone to look at their host's large bumblebees and had been kidnapped by wild flowers or a wayward sheep or some other strange creature.
If not for Gandalf's unalarmed stance, the sense of knowing more than he planned to reveal with those twinkling eyes of his, Thorin would be more concerned. And yet perhaps he should be, the grey wizard being an odd character with ulterior motives, going off and returning as he pleased.
The sound of footsteps drew Thorin from his musings, and he focused on Fili and Bofur approaching. Alone.
"Well?" Kili asked needlessly.
"No sign of our burglar," Bofur said with a frown as they reached the table.
That did it. Thorin just started to stand when a side door flew open and Beorn entered the hall, grinning widely, holding Bilbo in his arms. Thorin's eyebrows reached his hairline. The hobbit was draped in garlands of flowers. And looking very dismayed and resigned, too.
Of course, naturally, the dwarf king thought with a sneer, his astonishment fading quickly. This was, what, the twentieth or so time the halfling was found to be in the skin-changer's arms. Their burglar looked absolutely ridiculous. At least some found it all funny, judging from Gandalf shaking with silent mirth beside him and several of the dwarves' amazed and amused expressions.
"Ah, here is supper and company! Little bunny so cute with pretty flowers!" Beorn laughed, beaming down at Bilbo.
The hobbit smiled weakly back.
The merriment faded from the man's gaze, and he hugged the hobbit tightly and gently. "So sad he will be going soon. If only he could stay always…," he sighed wistfully.
There were a series of gasps. Thorin's hand automatically went for the hilt of his sword, his eyes suspicious. A wrinkled, large hand pressed hard on his shoulder in warning. The dwarf scowled fiercely into the wizard's calm face.
The tension was deflated by Beorn lowering Bilbo down onto the bench between Thorin and Fili before moving to his own seat. Thorin gave him a hard look, instinctively searching him for any injuries. Thankfully the halfling seemed only embarrassed by his adventure, blushing under all the stares as he removed the crown of daisies from his head.
And if there were a fair number of jokes about how Bilbo was trying to become a wood fairy during the meal, they were mixed with smiles and clasps on the hobbit's shoulder, for he was back where he belonged.
The leave taking of the company the following morning had gone fairly well. Thorin was gruff yet sincere in his thanks. The shifting of his weight from one foot to another was the only hint of his impatience to be off, watching as Gandalf took a seemingly exceptional long leave of his friend.
Despite the dwarves' precaution of having Bilbo in the middle of their group, Beorn had reached down and plucked him up for a personal goodbye. All thirteen dwarves had grumbled (not too loudly thankfully) with annoyance and frowned with displeasure at this last cuddle. To Bilbo's credit he gave the man a hug as much as he could manage and smiled politely. When returned to his friends, he had been half roughly pushed behind at least nearly half of the dwarves. The hobbit had appeared quite bewildered by it all.
But his bewilderment had been nothing compared to his shock tonight when Thorin called him over to him and his nephews and ordered him to set up his bedroll. The hobbit had looked very much as he had while seated upon Beorn's knee when the three dwarves sandwiched him between them and a few words had been sleepily exchanged over his head.
"Little bunny, indeed!" Kili's voice had been highly affronted.
"Our bunny," his brother said.
"Our hobbit," Thorin issued gruffly.
Presently the four were fast asleep. Thorin had his arm wrapped around Bilbo's shoulders in a protective grasp; Fili's hand was tangled in his brown curls and Kili's foot in his back.
They do make a charming picture, Gandalf mused from his place by the campfire. And now hopefully Bilbo's lingering doubts about truly belonging, being viewed as a friend by the dwarves, is dispelled. I had almost forgotten about Beorn's soft spot for playing with small, cute creatures! Chuckling lightly, Gandalf shook his head before he lit his pipe.