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 fill for a prompt on the hobbit-kink meme.
It had first started among the younger dwarves. A way to pass the time and have a little fun on the journey, one might say. And, honestly, none of them could recall seeing their companion without it, at the very least never more than an arm's length out of reach. A small bag of gold would be the prize. Somehow word had gotten out to the rest of the company (except for him, naturally), and all had taken a try at stealing away Bofur's fur hat.
Ori had presented him with a new knitted blue hat, merrily received. Yet the lad had sighed with disappointed defeat when Bofur managed to put the knitted hat on his head single-handedly and set his hat over it with a grin and a thank-you.
Oin unsuccessfully attempted to snatch it away while playing a new game the hobbit taught them one day known as "tag."
Bombur succeeded in only half knocking it off his brother's head while distributing the dinner rations, and Bofur set it to rights before Gloin could reach for it.
Bifur walked up to him and demanded in a mixture of grunts and gestures to be given the ridiculous fur hat. He had just been given an affectionate, careful knock on the side of his head.
Kili tried to steal it by shooting an arrow through the hat. Sadly his target shifted just enough to remain safe, and his uncle had given him an earful for his prank.
Fili and Dori ambushed Bofur with a tickle attack. But, darn it all, the dwarf kept a hand secured on one floppy end of his hat while roaring with laughter and trying to bat away their hands with his free one!
Dwalin, while practicing with his weapons, tried to knock it off with his axe, but Bofur managed to dodge out of the way each time.
Nori tried to steal the hat while Bofur slept one night (he did have a talent – just a little, mind you – for such things), but it was not so easy to pull off; and the dwarf, half waking up with a grunt and firm tug on his hat, put an end to the operation.
Balin mused the hat would go along fairly well with his great beard and white hair and tried to tug it from his friend's head. Lightly stepping out of reach, Bofur had laughed and commented that a hat with white fur would be more fitting for the older dwarf.
Gandalf cast a levitation spell on the hat, which backfired spectacularly when it hit Thorin's shield and Ori's books and— Oh, never mind, best to forget the aftermath of that incident!
Thorin, King Under the Mountain – even he himself – once hesitantly poked at the large hat with a cautious toe on a rare occasion the company had to bathe, and was requested in teasing yet firm terms to kindly step away from the hat.
Bilbo one evening approached Bofur after staring at his hat for a long time while the dwarf carved a toy out of wood before the fire and shyly asked Bofur where his extraordinary hat had come from.
"'Tis a gift from my mama, made it herself. For my birthday, the day before Smaug came and we fled," Bofur answered with a bittersweet smile.
The hobbit's eyes widened, and he dropped his head and shifted his weight from foot to foot. "Oh!"
"What is it, lad?"
"N-n-nothing," he stuttered, backing away.
"Come now," the dwarf encouraged.
"Could?" Bilbo looked very unsure, eyes darting between the toymaker's face and the ground. "May I wear your hat sometime? It looks so warm—"
Without hesitation Bofur stepped forward and placed the hat on the hobbit's curly head. It was so large that it came down to rest on the bridge of Bilbo's nose. Chuckling, the dwarf adjusted it to its rightful place, revealing the hobbit's wide eyes, his mouth open. Vaguely Bilbo was aware that there were exclamations of surprise and disbelief from the rest of the company in the background.
"There you are," Bofur smiled kindly.
Flushing with pleasure, Bilbo slowly ran his fingers over the furry brim and shivered with delight. "Thank you!" Then his forehead furrowed in puzzlement. "But is not this? I thought..."
"You have a family here, Bilbo, if you want it," he explained quietly.
"Would have never thought..."
"He just asked and Bofur…!"
The chatter amongst the dwarves was growing. A cough and hand motion from Thorin gained everyone's attention.
"The halfling has earned his prize, I believe," he stated, catching his youngest nephew's eye.
Nodding in agreement, Kili walked over to Bilbo and offered a small pouch. "A small bag of gold, as was agreed, Master Baggins," he proclaimed with a nod.
"Oh, thank you, kindly. But I think I have received a better prize," Bilbo answered, grinning happily at all the dwarves and the lone wizard. "A new family."