AN: I do not own the realms or the peoples of middle earth. Their creation and ownership belong to Tolkien I am just borrowing them.


It was shaping to be a bright day in the Shire, not an overly hot day with excessive glare, nor a bitterly cold day that froze the bones despite the sun overhead, but a day with gentle warmth and a gentle breeze. With in the halls of a luxurious hobbit hole Bilbo was beginning to stir, the warm breeze blowing through his window chased away the last vestiges of sleep from his startling coloured eyes. He reached up to run his long clever fingers through his honey-amber curls and cursed softly in a language unknown by men, elves or dwarves as they encountered resistance. Still grumbling to himself he stumbled out of bed and headed down the hall to the bathing room where he proceeded to tackle his morning routine, swearing once again when despite his best efforts his comb still stuck in the back of his hair like a demented burr. Tugging at the offending tangle and enduring the sharp points of pain it sent through his scalp he finally succeeded in destroying the knot that had formed over several hours of rowdy partying the night before. Grimacing at his reflection he pulled at his clothes until they sat smoothly in place and he once again presented the picture of a respectable gentle hobbit. Finally satisfied with his appearance he decided to start breakfast for the several Took and Brandybuck Hobbits currently passed out in his guest bedrooms. He hummed happily to himself, steadfastly ignoring the pile of empty bottles in the corner of his other whys tidy kitchen and determinedly not thinking of the mess in his living room. Soon the smell of bacon, eggs, sausages, fried toast, tomatoes, mushrooms and black coffee filled the kitchen, followed shortly by the sounds of dismayed groaning echoing down the hall. With an evil smirk that did not belong on his cheerful features, Bilbo started to plate up the food. Before long his kitchen table was surrounded by pale hobbits, most of whom were holding either their heads or stomachs and glowering (politely) up at him as he smiled and greeted them with a cheery "Good morning, I hope you are all hungry."

His humming turned to whistling as he left the kitchen, knowing that despite their groaning his relatives would have soon cleared the table and feel better for it. Deciding to sort out their mess now rather than waiting until he had an empty home, Bilbo pottered about, soon Bag End was spotless and, he realised, suspiciously quiet. Groaning he crept back to the kitchen only to find it completely empty, bar the piles of dirty dishes piled up on the table, hob and in some cases even on the floor. Mentally slapping himself he set to work cleaning the piles of plates that seemed to be breeding. He lost himself in the rhythm of cleaning, the gentle clink and faint smell of lemons taking him back to the night before. He stilled unknowingly, his hands still in the hot water and a gentle smile on his lips as his memories took him back to the night before.

He'd been getting ready for a last snack before bed when a knock at his door had interrupted a peaceful night. He'd opened the door to find his old playmates grinning at him from the stoop. Hamfast already swaying an arm swung merrily around Drogo's shoulder, his Tookish cousins supporting between them a bust lip and a blackening eye. Little Rosemary, who he'd had to admit had grown into a fine lass, swirling round in a dance with Primula flowers woven into their curls and grass stains on their skirts. Samel and Reith with identical toothy grins, although on closer inspection Reith's canine was chipped. Drotho and Drella standing arms around each other's waists, dark eyes sparkling with mirth. Despite the nagging at the back of his skull repeating the words respectable, calm, polite, he had grinned back and opened the door wider, laughing as Primula and Rosemary tackled him laughing at the top of their lungs. From his position on the floor he'd grinned up at the laughing lads and bid them enter, barely raising an eyebrow at Samel and Reith who had already curled up on the bench pressing shoulder to ankle against each other. After untangling himself from the laughing girls, he'd dumped his smoking jacket onto a footstool and detoured into the kitchen on his way to the cellar, dumping Drogo and Hamfast there to sort out some snacks. When Bilbo had returned to the sitting room he'd had cobwebs in his hair and dirt on his nose, but he was grinning madly and holding several bottles of old, but very strong North Farthing port. His he had felt his grin deepen, when he noticed that on one of his low tables there had appeared several short, sturdy glasses, a bottle of what he recognised as the Old Took's own Lemon liqueur and a brown glass bottle sealed with green wax. Flopping down on the floor between the brothers Samel and Reith, he had ignored their protests at being separated and slapped a deck down on the table top. Their enamelled wooden surface had clattered merrily against the carved oak and he had innocently met the wide eyes of Rosemary and Drella. The night had gone down hill from them with him literally loosing his shirt, but still ending up the most dressed out of all of them. Something he decided he was proud of since he'd had decidedly less clothes on to start with. At some point Reith and Samel had disappeared off into a spare bedroom and their attempts at being quiet had been greeted with catcalls ( by the ladies present) and encouragement by the guys. Hamfast and Drella had entered into a drinking competition based off story telling, with Drogo and Primula taking score. Drotho and Rosemary had disappeared off somewhere only to reappear later a great deal more drunk. Bilbo had felt more at home in those long hours, that had yet finished to soon, than he had in the seventeen years since his coming of age.

A loud bang brought Bilbo sharply back to the present and somehow ended up with Gaffer Gamgee covered in soap suds and a bedraggled Hamfast staring cross-eyed down the blade of Bilbo's sharpest carving knife. The Gaffer's laughter brought Bilbo back to himself and he sheepishly apologised to his oldest friend and his gardener. He looked between the two trying to figure out why they were standing in his kitchen at … he glimpsed at the sun and just barely covered his shock… three in the afternoon. Deciding they weren't going to be speaking soon, as Hamfast was studying his toes and the Gaffer was holding onto his kitchen table howling with laughter, Bilbo sighed and set the kettle to boil dragging out some scones and jam (soothing himself that he would eventually get something to eat that day after he had gotten rid of his guests.) Ushering a still shaking Gaffer into a carver chair and shoving Hamfast down onto the bench, he served up tea, keeping a weathered eye on the two in front of him.

" So", he began uneasily, "What can I do for you two fine Hobbits today?" Avoiding Hamfast's amused gaze he stared determinedly at the Gaffer willing the older man to get to the point.

Finally calm enough the Gaffer took a sip of his tea deliberately drawing out the time it would take to answer. Bilbo merely repressed an eye roll and kept his gaze steady. Bilbo repressed a smirk that would have been unbecoming of a Baggins as the Gaffer's shoulders dropped and he sigh. The older hobbit looked uncomfortable as he began to speak. " Now Master Baggins don't take on so remember I have known you two and the rest of your little ragtag crew," he frowned over at his son at a snort before smoothly continuing," since you were all born. I know you all mean no harm by your little parties, in fact Personally I think you in particular (well you and this one 'ere) should get involved in them more often, 'twould do you the world of good. No matter how you try Master Baggins your mother was still a Took. Yes well were was I? Ah yes well even though I don' care some of your relatives *cough* lobellia *cough* otto *cough* don' look to highly on it. I thank you for your tea and scones Master Baggins and I will be off now," he raised a hand to stop Bilbo rising and answer the amused smirk, " yes well I didn' say any of that, Don' you be sending my Hamfast home to badly tonight now Master Baggins. Afte'noon." With a tip of his cap the Gaffer left Bag End the sounds of Bilbo's laugh echoing in his ears.

Bilbo's shoulders were shaking with the force of his laughter and as he looked at Hamfast's pleased and worried expression he gave up the fight and slid off the bench onto the floor howling with mirth. Hamfast slowly joined him and soon both were rolling around in hysterics. Hamfast was the first to hiccup into a form of calm, slapping Bilbo on the back to get his friend to calm down. He answered Bilbo's grin with his own. Bilbo smiled fondly at his friend and a hint of mischief crept into his grin, " Darts Master Hamfast?"

Half a bell later saw Bilbo and Hamfast ensconced in one of the darkest, deepest rooms in Bag End with both the front, garden and said room's doors locked. Whilst darts would seem like a harmless activity to, well to any one, this was a game thought up by their gang in the days of their extreme youth when they were old enough to drink but not old enough to be considered adults. Bored and fed up they had come up with many games, slowly filtering several out as they realised Bilbo had an advantage in most of the games, his sharp mind and quick reflexes putting him easily above his companions. 'Darts' was one of three games they kept on. Hamfast and Rosemary, had been the best originally, but Rosemary's changing shape had allowed Bilbo to over take her. The locked doors were a must especially in this area of the Shire where nosey neighbours combined with stricter than most morals. Hamfast was singing a racy tune as he wrestled with the boards and Bilbo was bouncing on the balls of his feet juggling several unsheathed blades. The simple bone handles and silver blades distracted from the deadly sharp edges and unless handled no-one would guess at the lead added inside the handles. The blades were adapted by Bilbo and Hamfast themselves after they discovered they had a knack for anything that required aiming and throwing. Drunken stories overheard at the Green Dragon had convinced the impressionable youths that no matter how quiet the Shire was now there was a chance they would need to defend themselves in the future. Bilbo shook himself and as Hamfast slipped to his side the both raised their hands and in sinc several blades embedded themselves deep with in a target. Both tutted and quickly a completion built between the two.