Concerning Hobbits and Dwarves
Beta: Stormwind13, (Thank you Dear for making yourself the trouble to work this through for me^_^)
This is now the Beta Version, Enjoy and maybe leave a comment for us both if it is now better to read or not?
Thanks, Sury and Stormwind
*Your feet look as pretty as that of a girl! … He has not even enough hair on them, just like my little sisters, look! … Bilbo has human feet!*
The young son of Belladonna and Bungo Baggins looked morosely down as he listlessly swung feet. In the distance, he could hear his tormentors playing in his relatives' garden. Currently, Bilbo was hiding on an old bench in the overgrown part of the old herb garden. Today, their teasing had been more vicious then usual and he felt like more of an outcast from the other shirelings. They often played cruel tricks on him and said nasty things at least as often as they harassed him.
Of course, only when none of the adults were looking.
To be fair, his feet were indeed smaller than normal Hobbit size, if only just barely… if Bilbo were being honest. When measuring them against those of his cousins… which he was not doing, no matter what cousin Ortho had said! They did look…odd? Weird? He had never seen the feet of a human before in his life but had been told that they were smaller compared to that of a Hobbit's, considering their size. Moreover, they hurt easier too! The other children never had so much as a slight cut or a little hurt on them when they ran over the ground. Bilbo on the contrary often had to watch out for stones, because they cut more easily into his soles or to step more lightly because his feet did not toughen up like the other children's did. And in the winter, his feet froze more quickly than other Hobbits'. Another dispirited sigh left his lips and curling up on the bench he sat on, Bilbo thought about all the differences between his cousins and himself that he had noted of late.
The feet were only the beginning of a longer list of odd differences that the twelve years old Hobbitling had noticed.
Another difference that was most prominent, his teeth, had brought it to Bilbo's attention that something …was…not…right with him? Hobbits, as a rule, got the first of their last set of teeth at nine to ten years of age. Healthy, white teeth. Small and yet much tougher as those of a human, they lasted them with little care given, through their entire life. Since they were smaller folk, they had two teeth less than humans on each side of their mouth, upper and lower row alike. That made their jaws look smaller than that of a human.
Of course, Bilbo as usual, had to stand out again!
Not only had he kept his milk teeth until now, he also showed no cursed sign of growing in his adult set any time soon! And speaking of milk teeth, Bilbo's had an odd shape and when he had lost one a week ago, the tooth had looked like white marble instead of the normally more pearl colored teeth he had seen when his cousins had lost theirs. More so, it had been surprisingly hard to crush as it was custom to do with the first tooth lost and it was larger than those of his cousins. It was simply not fair, Bilbo thought!
Another sigh escaped Bilbo on the bench.
What he had told no one besides his mother was that he seemingly had two extra teeth on each row. She had told him to keep it a secret, that things like that did sometimes happen and to think nothing of it and Bilbo had heeded her, not wanting to give the other children new ammunition to harass and bully him with. Such as they had the time they found out that Bilbo's ears were slightly bigger. Theirs were shaped like a leaf and daintily pointed at the tips.
Bilbo's were slightly larger and had an uncommon rounding at the shell and the tip wasn't as pointy as it should be.
Another mark on his ever-growing list of misery. His Took cousins never teased or bullied him but the children in Hobbington usually did. What, Bilbo silently questioned himself, would they say if they ever found out that he had developed a fine dust of hair on his legs and even on his chest in the last year?! He didn't even want to know!
From the corner, hidden partially by a rosebush, Belladonna watched her son with sorrow when he curled up more and began to cry silently.
Her resolve to talk with her husband about Bilbo's troubles only grew with the miserable picture that her son had unknowingly presented her with. It was high time to put those brats of his relatives in their place! Was Bungo blind? She shook her head and silently slipped back onto the pebble path up to the house. Belladonna knew that it would do her no good to try to comfort her son right now. Sometimes he could be more stubborn than a proverbial rock!
Bilbo could be a real hermit if he wanted to and when hurt, the lad always fled to a place where he could hide and lick his wounds in silence.
She knew where Bilbo had gotten that particular stubborn streak from… now she stopped walking and sighed, much like her son before. He had it from his father, from Bungo and from her. Only her most trusted relatives knew about Bilbo's little secret, no one else in the shire did. They would have shunned the poor lad for only being born different.
She did not want that for her son.
If anyone, she was at fault here and not Bilbo, she thought as her chin jutted out in her silent fuming at the situation at hand. If any of her brothers had seen the look in her eyes now, they would have gulped and turned tail already. Even the most stubborn of her brothers did not dare to cross their sister when she got into one of her moods. An enraged Belladonna was truly a frightening sight and currently she was quite mad at the relatives of Bungo; who told their children nonsense about her son that then in turn, grew into the merciless bullying of Bilbo.
Stomping down the overgrown path, Belladonna Baggins, born Took set her angry eyes on the mother of the worst of the little tyrants.
Later that afternoon, when Bilbo was already in bed, his parents sat before the hearth and stared into the flames together. They had talked after her livid tongue-lashing of his relatives and had just now come to an understanding. Hours after. She knew that her husband loved Bilbo as much as she did and this time Bungo had even kept from complaining much about her loss of decorum. A clear sign that he agreed with her this time.
Bilbo wasn't Bungo's son.
Well, he was, just not that of his loins. In all else Bilbo was surely Bungo's son. The boy looked up to him and tried his hardest to make his father proud on every occasion that Bilbo could manage. Already the lad could passably read and write. Quite a feat for one so young. Both shared a love for books and lore and more so, Bilbo tried his best to be a proper Baggins boy.
Of course, his Took blood from his mother's side often got Bilbo into trouble but that was to be expected and Bungo was certain that he would grow out of that soon.
However, the son of his seed, Bilbo was not.
Belladonna had come back from Rohan one day in a disheveled state of dress and mind and with something in the oven, so to speak. On her way back, she had encountered a Dwarf of all the beings in middle earth! A Dwarf that had been in such a sorry state of body and mind that her heart went out for the poor tormented creature and she had spent the next half year nursing the poor being back to health right there in the wild where she had run across his shivering form.
His body, Belladonna told to Bungo later, had healed up well enough. His mind, however, was lost. She had suspected him to be a survivor of the great battle years prior between the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains and the Orcs of Moria. Most likely, he had wandered around unaided for years! In the end, the poor creature had snapped one night and before Belladonna could stop him from it, he had crawled into her bedding.
Until this very day, she refused to see what had followed as a rape. Whatever it had been, or had made him do it, there never was malice in his touch.
She never blamed the poor Dwarf for what he had done that night. The next day he had woken in one of his rare almost clear-minded moods to only look at her, his face stricken with pain, horror and grief a few moments later. Than he had screamed in anguish and had run away, so fast that she couldn't follow to stop him. She never found him and search Belladonna did! However, the Dwarf had vanished from the very earth she had found him on.
She had given up after the second week, knowing somehow that she would never see him again.
The only thing he had left her to remember him by, besides Bilbo, was a clasp made of real Mithril of all things, with an odd design carved into its frond and signs in Khuzdul on the back and a strange ring with a bluish green stone set on the top. Once, when he had been less mad and his mind clearer he had babbled about it as a child would. In broken Westron and his native tongue Khuzdul alike, the latter she did not understand. Telling her that the ring was originally that of his shield brother who he had searched for in the darkness and found dead there and that he had to keep it safe for him.
That he had to give it to his friend's heir, or so he had told her with an almost demented grin that had disturbed her greatly.
He never told her his name, or that of any other of his relatives. The only thing she was told was the name of his former shield brother, Thrain. Who ever that might have been, Belladonna thought and silently wept a tear for his poor lost and fractured mind and soul. Hoping against hope that he had found peace or that he was dead. Which would have been kinder a fate for him, in Belladonna's eyes, than life like he had had before. She never blamed the Dwarf nor did she let others put blame on his head, he had already been tormented enough from fate in his life she thought and Bungo agreed with her in that.
Not much later, she found out to her horror that she was pregnant.
Knowing as much about herbs as Belladonna did, she could have gotten rid of Bilbo then. Alas, she had wanted to keep him. If only to keep something alive and hale from the poor creature that she could not rescue. She told the truth only to her family and when she had finished her tale, not even her father had said anything about her wish to keep the wee one anymore.
Bungo had found out by chance that she was pregnant and without a father to show while he had been visiting and had not judged her for it.
He had loved her for years now but had never dared to woo her because she could not possibly want a husband that could not give her the children that Belladonna might want. Bungo was not impotent, oh no. His seed had just not the ability to make a baby. He was sterile. After an illness that had swept through the Shire when he had been but a baby, he had lost his ability to sire offspring. It was a well-kept secret and only Belladonna had learned the truth when he had told her his secret in return for hers.
Both had come to a strange accord and after a short time, even come to love each other wholeheartedly.
If Bilbo was born a month too soon, no one took any interest in it.
That he, by Hobbit standards, had been born actually rather late, was something no one else but Belladonna, her family and Bungo knew about. She had been pregnant for nearly ten months before Bilbo decided to be born. What, as she was told by rangers later, was actually nearer to the normal carrying terms of a Dwarf than a Hobbit who normally had a gestation time of only six months.
Dwarves carried for twelve months.
Bilbo had looked normal enough to the casual onlooker, maybe a bit larger and so no one knew about his true origin than before. That she never again became pregnant they all chalked up to the heavy birth of Bilbo and soon it was something that nobody mentioned so not to grieve the poor couple who only had one child, compared to the average Hobbit families with least four children.
Though lately, her darling son had shown more of the traits of his father's kin and that worried Belladonna and her husband mightily.
She knew already, although having the build and looks of her Took kin, that Bilbo had rather strong bones. Nearly every Hobbit child broke a bone or two in the first years of their life. Their race had a fragile bone structure that only hardened somewhat in their tweens years. Bilbo had broken none in his entire life. Falling down from a tree when he had climbed it, running right into a wall without getting a concussion or falling down the cellar stairs, landing right on his head, never did the boy break one of his bones or injure himself seriously. Yes, Bilbo sported the usual bruises, even a scraped knee had been the case more than once. Still, he never grew sick, caught one of the usual colds or injured himself in his endeavors as the others his age so often did.
Another thing that worried his parents was his teeth.
He had the set of a Dwarf and not that of a Hobbit, Belladonna all too well. She and Bungo had done a lot research on Dwarves while she was pregnant. He had even went to the settlements in Bree and in the north once for business to learn more in an effort to determine the differences in build and culture. So far, Bilbo resembled a Hobbit more than he did a Dwarf and both his parents were glad for that.
It spared him the sure scorn of close-minded people if they ever found out.
Still, his hair was a bit courser than that of a Hobbit. Even curling nicely as it did and having her color instead of that of his father. The Dwarf had had dark brown hair and beard, but Bilbo had inherited her honey golden curls. She kept it short in fear that it would grow out even wilder than it already was and so give him away. Belladonna knew that his Dwarven father would have never let her cut it if he had been here… but he was not and Bilbo had to life without his protection in a world that could be very cruel to those who were different. Not to mention that he was most likely the only mix breed child between their races ever! Neither she nor Bungo found any trace of another child like Bilbo in the history books and stories.
Once she joked around about the possibility of Dwobbits as she had called them with the rangers that often visited Tookland. Only to be told that half Dwarven children never seem to have existed in the past as far as they knew.
She couldn't risk having someone find out about Bilbo, ever!
He looked enough like her to pass as their son, luckily, or the questioning would have already started. As it was, Bungo's relatives spit fire enough already about the fact that Bilbo looked so much like her and not like Bungo at all. Giving each other a look, both decided to put off the telling of the truth to Bilbo for a while longer. The pair deemed him still too young for such a burden to bear. As far as they were concerned, Bilbo would stay an innocent child for as long as both could keep him so.
Both hoped against hope that they never had to tell him, despite knowing that it was a futile wish.
Unknown to the pair of concerned Hobbit parents in Bag End, another pair of beings buried the mangled body of their only nearest relative that same evening.
Their cousin, their father's sister son, had been lost and thought to dead for over two decades when he had suddenly appeared in their settlement in the Blue Mountains. Babbling insanely about Thrain, the father of their king, Thorin and his family ring. About a kind woman that he had seemingly dishonored as far as they could understand, his ravings mad and sick enough that he would not last much longer. He died in his sickbed only a few months later and both grieved deeply over his loss.
Until his end, he had begged an unknown woman by the name of Bella for forgiveness for something he had done but did not tell them what it was that he had done when his cousins asked him.
They, as well as the others in their settlement, had a bad feeling about it.
When he had been found, all he had with him were his worn down armor and some unknown clothing underneath that had clearly been made by the hand of someone who had cared for their cousin after he had vanished in Moria. Thrain's lost battle-axe had been strapped to his back along with some of his own weapons. Holding one of the Thrain's braids with the bead of the Durin line attached to it in one hand, to show his children that he was dead, and a lock of beautifully curly and golden hued hair in his other hand. He never let go of the hair until his death. Even after that, his fist was still clutched possessively around the surprisingly soft tress that he had often braided carefully under their watchful and sorrowful eyes.
He never regained his sanity or health and died silently in the night.
His cousins and clan had buried him with all the honors that he deserved. They honored the fact that he had followed his shield brother into Moria to find him and then found his way back out to tell his children the tale of what he discovered. Well, mostly, he was clearly insane in the end but no one minded him, he had seen too much and obviously been tormented. One time he had babbled about Durin's Bane that he had seen and no one asked him for more after that.
Having not the heart to take this comforting little token from the mangled body of their formerly so strong and good-natured relative, they had clothed his body into the little finery that they had and had buried the curious strand of golden hair with him. Hoping that it would give him comfort on his way to the halls of their ancestors.
Try as they might, no one had ever found out to who exactly the lock had belonged, not even Thorin Oakenshield, who kept his eyes and ears open on his many wanderings as a blacksmith in the following years. The true nature of this 'Bella' woman continued to be a mystery that no one could explain. They never found a clue of her and finally thought that she must have died too and left it sorrowfully at that.
Meanwhile Bilbo grew up in Bag End and knew nothing.