A/N: Well folks, that's it! We've come to the end of our very long journey.

Thank you all so, so much for all your lovely comments, for those who followed along and those who favourited this tale. Thank you also to everyone who read it. I'm proud and pleased that you have enjoyed and have supported it so faithfully. It started as a desire to see Thorin survive BoTFA, because seeing him die on screen still kills me each time. I also wanted to explore how forgiveness can come to those who truly desire it. It wasn't going to be this long orginally, but I seem unable to write short stories!

A huge thank you to lizajay12 who encouraged the initial idea and then proof-read so many chapters, giving me feedback and fixing my mistakes. Also a big thank you to you readers who gave me ideas on how Thorin should woo his Bella.

I hope you enjoy this final epilogue - you deserve it for sticking around for this long!

I hope you all have a safe and joyous Christmas, if you celebrate it, and if not, have a nice, restful break. It's summer here, so I plan on going to the beach often and bumming around for a bit.

As usual, I don't own anything, not even Richard Armitage, but I'm still hopeful that Santa will leave him under my tree as requested!


The first sight of the Lonely Mountain brought tears to the eyes of the weary travellers and a gasp of wonder from Poppy, the only one who had never seen it before.

The last five months had been both a joy and a challenge. While the weather had mostly remained fair, there had been enough downpours to test even the most positive person. Tempers had been frayed and harsh words spoken on occasion, quickly forgiven, and Bella could be pardoned for wondering a time or two what in Arda she had been thinking when agreeing to travel back to Erebor.

For the most part though, she and Thorin existed in haze of love and happiness. They rode together for a few hours every day, often teasing each other surreptitiously until they couldn't bear it any longer and Bella would swap over onto her pony as they tried to get the racing pulses under control. Dwalin cottoned on quite quickly to what was going on and would distract the others, shaking his head in mock disgust. The younger dwarves took longer to work it out but when they did, the ribald remarks came, which would have Bella blushing and Thorin growling. It didn't stop them though. Luckily they shared the remarks with the other newlyweds, Bofur giving back as good as he got.

At first they stayed in as many inns as possible but as they travelled further east into more remote country, they needed to camp more and more often, despite being able to stay in the odd remote barn on occasion.

For their wives' comfort, both Thorin and Bofur erected tents each night, with just enough room for two. While snug, neither of the couples complained as it did give them a measure of privacy even if Thorin happily had to bear the marks of Bella's teeth as she attempted to stop herself from crying out her pleasure each night. For that reason, Thorin would pitch their tent a little further away from the others though the sniggers from his nephews in the morning let them both know they hadn't been completely successful in their endeavours.

There were some occasions when Thorin and Bella could sneak away from the others and indulge in their passion. The same thought occurred to Poppy and Bofur and, one time, Bella and Thorin nearly came across the other couple in the woods, only Poppy's cry averting what would have been a mortifying event for both pairs as Thorin quickly changed their direction, both blushing in the near darkness.

Once again, Gandalf led them to Rivendell, where they were warmly welcomed by Elrond and Arwen. Bella gave a little cry when she saw the lovely elven maid and rushed to greet her, the two friends hugging and crying with joy at meeting again. When coherent once more, Bella proudly introduced her husband.

"Welcome, Your Majesty," greeted Arwen. "I am beyond pleased to see my dear friend so happy." Thorin returned the greeting cordially though he couldn't help dropping his eyes at the knowledge that he was the cause of Bella's previous despair during her previous stay.

Before he was allowed to wallow in his guilt, Bella took his hand and kissed it, her eyes glowing with love. Thorin gave her a tender smile, recognizing what she was wordlessly telling him before they both turned to greet Lord Elrond.

It wasn't long before they were ensconced in a large, airy bedroom where they were to rest and freshen up before a welcoming feast in the evening. Though tired, they had not had such a comfortable bed since the last inn many weeks ago, so they wallowed in the luxury as they made love before dozing off. Upon waking, they bathed together in the large sunken tub, scrubbing off weeks of travel dirt.

"How long are we to stay?" asked Bella as they walked hand-in-hand to Elrond's feast.

"It is up to you, my love," replied Thorin. "I know you would like to spend a little time with the princess."

"Yes, I've missed Arwen very much. It would be wonderful to catch up on each other's lives. I have so much to tell," she said, smirking up at her handsome husband.

"Oh? And what will you tell her? How wonderful I am in bed? How I can make you scream with just my mouth?"

Bella gasped and then gave him a little slap on the arm as she giggled. "Certainly not? I am going to tell her how my handsome dwarf king wooed me and convinced me to marry him." Looking slyly up at him, she continued. "Then…I'll tell her about your prowess in the bedroom." Letting him go, she began running, laughing as he chased her down the halls, threatening retribution.

And almost running down Lord Elrond.

Only his quick elven reflexes prevented Bella from toppling back onto the floor. Setting her upright with a grin, he nodded at both Thorin and Bella, the former attempting to re-assert his regal disposition, embarrassed to be caught in such a manner, especially by one of the most powerful beings in Middle Earth.

"Shall we go and enjoy the feast?" asked the elven lord, suppressing the urge to laugh. Never would he have ever imagined seeing the stubborn, aggressive, dwarven king in such a carefree, light-hearted manner. Love had wrought wonders on both of them.

Nodding in agreement, Thorin held out his arm to his wife in a much more dignified manner, who took it with a large grin as they walked to the feast, chatting with Lord Elrond all the way.

They ended up staying a week in Elrond's halls, Thorin wanting to ensure that they arrived back in Erebor well before the winter set in.

It was a wonderful week for Bella, who spent many hours with Arwen while her husband conferred with Lord Elrond and Gandalf over political and diplomatic matters concerning both their people.

One afternoon, Bella caught up with Lord Elrond in his office. Once again, she thanked him for all his support during her last stay before asking if he had foreseen she and Thorin reuniting.

Elrond shook his head. "No, my dear. I can foresee many events, but that wasn't one of them. I just knew that such a love as yours would find a way."

"But you didn't know how Thorin felt?"

"You did tell me of your relationship, remember? And I did not tell you before, but the first time you came, when you and your husband were still at loggerheads, shall we say, I could sense his strong feelings for you then."

Bella looked at him wide-eyed. "Really? I thought he hated me back then, though I know better now. How could you tell?"

"The way he looked at you, when you were not aware of it. The feeling I had that he wanted to be both as close to and as far away from you as possible. Those sorts of reactions are not those of someone who feels nothing."

Pleased to have this insight on Thorin, Bella continued chatting with Elrond, mentioning how much they both hoped to have a family but were prepared for the eventuality that it may not happen. Elrond smiled enigmatically as she spoke and once again advised that no-one could see all things in the future.

When they left Rivendell, Bella extended an invitation, with her husband's wholehearted approval, to their 'official' wedding in Erebor, whenever that was. "We will send a raven from Erebor," advised Thorin.

"Ada and I would most certainly be honoured to attend," agreed Arwen eagerly. "We shall look forward to it very much, won't we?"

Lord Elrond smiled benignly, agreeing that it would an event to remember, if he recalled correctly how dwarves celebrated marriages.

With fond farewells, the company continued their journey home, intending to cross the Misty Mountains via the same path that Bella and Gandalf took, but in the opposite direction.

Though Elrond had reported few goblin encounters, Thorin still ordered that the hobbits ride in the middle so that they would be protected in the event of an attack. Confident as she was in Thorin's skills, Bella couldn't prevent the nervousness that persisted until they crossed the mountains and were back on the plains.

Gandalf led the company to Beorn's house where the dwarves received a much warmer welcome than their previous 'visit'. Much talk was spent discussing the events of the battle but Bella didn't wish to be reminded of that awful time, so she and Poppy toured Beorn's property instead, making friends with the animals and relaxing in the late autumn sunshine.

Poppy was still in a state of shock at the sheer size of the skin-changer. She thought meeting the elves had been exciting but this! Beorn had been just as fascinated to meet yet another hobbit and had picked Poppy up unexpectedly, causing her to shriek in surprise. Bofur's reaction was swift and only the intervention of the other dwarves prevented an unpleasant scene. Realising his error, Beorn had apologised to them and peace was restored. Bella had explained to Poppy later that Beorn hadn't meant any harm; it was just that they were a source of fascination for the huge man.

They stayed for a couple days, during which Gandalf sent word to Thranduil's halls to advise that the company was going to travel the elven path again. It would mean leaving the ponies at the elven gate though Beorn promised to take care of them.

As they were packing, Bella found herself a little way from the others, Beorn by her side.

"Safe journey, little bunny. Do not overtax yourself on the path," advised Beorn.

Bella frowned up at her friend in puzzlement. "Thank you. Thorin will take care of me, I know."

"Aye, I've seen how he looks at you. He'll be even more protective now, I think."

"What do you mean?" This conversation was getting more confusing by the second.

"Now that you carry his heir," replied Beorn offhandedly.

Bella couldn't do anything other than gape at the skin-changer. "W-what did you say?"

Beorn looked down at her with a knowing grin. "You carry the king's heir in your belly."

"But…but…I'm not…not…with child!"

"Yes, you are," he insisted.

"How could you know that, if I don't?"

"You smell different. It is very early yet, but I could tell as soon as we met again," advised Beorn.

Bella had to sit down. This was…this was too enormous to process.


Beorn believed she was pregnant! Could she believe it?

She didn't feel any different and she hadn't missed her courses, which were due in a few days. If she was with child, then it was extremely early.

Thorin's voice calling her brought her back to the present. Despite Beorn's words, she had difficulty believing it until she had definitive proof. She decided not to say anything to Thorin until she was certain. If her courses didn't arrive as expected, then she would tell her husband.

Riding with Thorin as usual, his hand splayed over where their child possibly lay, Bella hoped with everything in her that Beorn was right.

At the elven gate, they were met by a party of elves sent by Thranduil to escort them through Mirkwood. Amongst them was Lindiriel, whom Bella greeted with great delight. The elf looked at Thorin, then smirked slightly at Bella before whispering in her ear, "Seems I was right." Bella just laughed and nodded, before introducing the company.

"My wife has a collection of friends everywhere," observed Thorin under his breath, which Bella heard.

"Well, that's what happens when one is not surly and unfriendly," she retorted, his chuckle following her into the trees.

The forest was as oppressive as before but it was a far different journey than the previous one. The elves had enough supplies to supplement their own and while the dwarves and elves didn't exactly socialise, there was no unpleasantness or ill feeling. Kili flirted outrageously with Lindiriel, who simply bore it with quiet humour, while Bella and Poppy were glad to have another female to gossip with.

They only stayed a couple of nights in Thranduil's halls, the elven lord putting on a feast for his guests and using the opportunity to discuss the progress that had taken place in Thorin's absence. Feeling fatigued, Bella excused herself and was taken to their chambers, which were a marked contrast to the cells Thorin had previously occupied.

As she readied herself for bed, Bella finally had a quiet moment to think about Beorn's words. She noted that her courses were a few days late but that could be due to the travelling, so she didn't raise her hopes up yet. The tiredness could also be attributed to walking through a dense forest. She didn't feel any different, only a slight soreness in her breasts, but that was common before her courses.

It was still too early to tell, but she couldn't help the flutter of hope in her chest beating stronger than before.

Unable to stand the suspense any longer, she decided to have Lindiriel take her to one of the elven healers while Thorin was meeting with Thranduil the next day. The healer, centuries of knowledge and wisdom in his ageless face, calmly examined Bella before smiling at her.

"Congralutations, my lady. You are definitely carrying a new life within you. I daresay there will be much rejoicing in your husband's kingdom at this news."

Bella burst into tears, her heart overflowing with joy. A baby! She and Thorin were having a baby! Their heartfelt wishes had come true. How happy he would be!

In something of a daze, she went back to her chambers, reassuring Lindiriel that her health was fine. Laying on the bed, she rubbed her hand over her belly, where she knew her child lay, already in love with the little being that she and Thorin had so longed for.

"You will be so loved, my little one," she murmured. "You will be the light in your father's eyes. Your cousins and family will adore you." A tear seeped out of the corner of her eye as she pictured Thorin with their babe, proud and protective.

The healer had assured her that she was quite healthy and that their gentle pace of travel would not endanger the baby at this early stage. Bella decided to wait to tell Thorin her news upon their first sight of Erebor. She wanted the moment to be even more special for him. Though how she would keep the excitement to herself, she didn't know.

Upon exiting Mirkwood, they were met by a contingent of dwarven soldiers, sent by Balin to escort them to the mountain.

Amongst them were Nori, Gloin, his son Gimli and to their delight, Thorin's sister, Dis, who had not been able to wait a moment more to see her sons, brother and his new wife.

Fili and Kili gave a huge cry of delight as they engulfed their mother, who was crying unashamedly as she held her beloved boys before scolding them for giving her such a fright, but not letting go regardless.

In the meantime, Bella was enthusiastically greeted by her friends, Gloin proudly introducing his son, Gimli. Bella told him that she felt like she already knew him, having listened to his father's tales on the journey, making the young dwarf blush fiercely.

Dis had finally let her sons go, only to nearly choke her brother in her fierce grip. The siblings held each other for a long moment, words unnecessary.

Letting go, Thorin took Dis' arm and turned towards Bella. "Dis, I would like to introduce you to your new sister, my beloved wife, Bella. Without her, I doubt any of us would be standing here," he told her proudly.

Bella's breath was stolen as she was immersed in a flurry of arms, hair and tears before reaching up and hugging her new sister back.

Shorter than Thorin, Dis stepped back and took Bella's face in her hands. "Thank you. Thank you for my brother and my sons. I have been regaled with tales of your bravery and kindness. You will have my eternal love and gratitude. I am proud to have you for my sister."

Her heartfelt words brought tears to Bella's eyes as she smiled back at the lovely dwarrowdam. She could clearly see the resemblance to Thorin, though Dis' beauty was much more feminine, with her black hair and soft, wispy beard. Her eyes, though, they were as lovely and bright as her brother's.

"Thank you, Dis. I have been so nervous about meeting you, even with Thorin's reassurances. I hope we will become great friends."

Dis laughed. "I have no doubt about that. How could I not like the one that put my thick-headed brother in his place?" Bella giggled at Thorin's disgruntled murmur. "No, Bella, my dear, I'm most happy to relinquish that role to you, though I don't envy you," she said, smirking at her brother.

"I'm so happy to see you too, sister," muttered Thorin.

"There are compensations," laughed Bella, in her husband's defense.

"I suggest we continue our journey before I become thoroughly emasculated in my subjects' eyes," said Thorin. He introduced his wife, their new queen, to the soldiers, who knelt down in deference before placing Bella back on his pony.

This is what I will need to get used to, thought Bella as she mounted the pony. She was no longer just Bella, wife of Thorin Oakenshield. No, now she was Bella, Queen of Erebor. And this was just a taste what awaited her.

Then she felt Thorin's arms around her and she relaxed. To the kingdom, she would be queen, but she would always be simply 'Bella' to her husband.

It was a merry journey around the lake, where Bella could see much of the town had been rebuilt, but with much better building materials. Gloin appraised them of the happenings around the mountain and Bella looked forward to seeing the changes for herself. The last time she saw Erebor, it had been a desolate vista, filled with dead and injured.

When the mountain finally came into sight, Thorin sighed with pleasure at seeing his home again. He hadn't realised how much he missed it until it was there in front of him.

That night, as they camped, Bella asked Thorin if they could walk a little ways away from the camp. Puzzled, Thorin agreed before informing the guard, who would keep a respectful distance from the couple.

There were many more trees and groves than there had been previously, Thorin had noted with satisfaction, so he led them to a stand of trees near the lake shore, where they were shielded from other eyes. He kept Orcrist with him at all times, though, just in case.

Sitting down, he pulled her into his lap and wrapped his arms around his wife as well as the blanket he had brought with him to protect her from the cold night air. "Was there a reason you wanted more privacy?" he asked while nuzzling her hair.

Bella nodded and looked into his eyes. She wanted to see the play of emotions in his beautiful eyes when she told him her news. He raised his eyebrow in enquiry as she took hold of his marriage braid.

"Yes, there was a reason I wanted to be alone with you," she started. "And no, it's not for that," she giggled at the lascivious look that came over his face. "Well, not yet, anyway."

"Bella, what is it? Are you ill?"

"No, my love, no. I couldn't be more perfect." Taking his hands, she knelt up so their eyes were same height. "Thorin, my darling dwarf, I have the most wonderful news." Placing one of his hands on her stomach, smiled shakily at him. "Thorin, we are going to have a baby," she said, wonder clouding her voice.

She watched as a range of emotions crossed his face; confusion and disbelief turning into hope, amazement, wonder and finally, complete and utter joy.

"Bella? Bella!" he cried out, as the news finally sunk in. His eyes dropped to her belly, where his hand rested and he gentled caressed it. "Bella, is it true? You carry our babe?" It was still hard to believe.

"Yes!" she sniffled, seeing the tears gather in his eyes. "Yes, Thorin, it's true. We are going to be parents."

Gathering her in his arms, he kissed her deeply, conveying all his love, joy and gratitude in the caress. She could feel the wetness on his cheek and wiped them away with her fingers, as he did the same to her.

For a long while they said nothing, just stared into each other's eyes, as they processed the enormity of the situation.

Pulling her back onto his lap, Thorin kissed her temple, then just held her, one hand continuously rubbing her stomach.

"Thank you, my heart," he said quietly, awe still in his voice. "Thank you for the precious gift you have given me. I will never be worthy of it, but I will love, treasure and protect you both until the end of my days."

"This is a gift we've given each other. Our love has given us this precious babe. I think we both deserve it."

"How far along are you? How long have you known?"

"Beorn was the first to tell me, but I didn't believe him as I hadn't missed my courses."

"How did the skin changer know this?" he asked, confused.

Bella shrugged. "He said I smelled different." He looked at her in disbelief and she shrugged. "Anyway, he told me it was very early so I decided not to say anything as it was too hard to believe. Once we were in Thranduil's halls, I saw a healer who confirmed it. Working back, I believe that I am no more than six or seven weeks along."

"And you are well?" he asked a little worriedly. Dwarven pregnancies tended to be quite straightforward but Bella was not a dwarf.

"So far, so good," she replied, squeezing his hand in reassurance. "Though that may change. Some hobbits suffer terrible morning sickness."

"We will have Oin take a look at you as soon as we return to Erebor," he determined, kissing her forehead. "You must tell me and him of any concerns straight away. I couldn't bear it something happened to you." His voice reflected his fear.

"Hobbits generally have no problems with childbirth," she tried to reassure him.

"But none of them have carried a half-dwarven child, have they?" Bella shook her head. "We don't even know how long your pregnancy will last."

"No, we don't. But we won't dwell on the bad things, Thorin," she insisted. "We will concentrate on how happy we are and how much we look forward to meeting our baby."

Thorin smiled before kissing her softly. "Yes. Mahal would not have given us this second chance only to take it from us. I very much look forward to seeing you rounded with my babe. You will be the most beautiful mother-to-be."

The sat and talked for a while longer, deciding not to tell anyone until she had been examined by Oin, until Thorin deemed it too cold for her and carried her back to their tent, despite her laughing protests.

Their return to Erebor was met with great joy. Balin was the first to greet them, tears in his eyes as he welcomed his king and friend back home. An equally hard hug was given to Bella. She then greeted the rest of the company that she hadn't seen in so long. Bofur proudly introduced his new wife, who was appropriately welcomed by his brother and friends.

Balin organised a great feast to welcome their king back, and it was where Thorin introduced his new wife to his people, whose numbers had swelled enormously in the time he was gone. As well as dwarves from Ered Luin, dwarves from the Iron Hills and the Grey Mountains had decided to make Erebor their home.

Though Balin was going to give him a comprehensive tour on the morrow to show him all the progress that had been made, Thorin was amazed by what he had already seen at how much had been achieved and the changes to his home. Where the landscape surrounding the mountain had been scorched and desolate, now it was flourishing with trees and woods, as well as extensive crops nearer to Dale.

Inside, from what Thorin had seen, there was no evidence that the dragon had taken up residence for so long, though he was sure that he would find scorched areas and signs of damage once he inspected it properly.

Bella had been amazed when they entered the great portal, to the cheers of the dwarves. Her mouth had dropped to see a small part of the magnificence that Erebor had once been and would be again.

"It's so different," she had remarked with awe. "It's…it's beautiful, Thorin. Like you told me it would be."

"This is but a taste of what will be, my love," he replied, pride suffusing his countenance at the obvious approval of his wife of their new home. "In time, Erebor will return to its full glory."

"As long as we are together, I will be happy," she declared.

In the morning Oin came to see her, at Thorin's behest. He was overjoyed at their news and examined her thoroughly, pronouncing her fit and healthy. As none had dealt with a dwarf-hobbit pregnancy before, much of it would be a learning curve for all of them. Oin vowed to keep a close eye on her, much to Thorin's approval, but had high hopes that she would deliver a healthy child, whenever that was.

Thorin set to work immediately to build the promised garden terrace and the renovations to the royal suites, so as to incorporate the kitchen Bella wanted.

There was also their official dwarven wedding to prepare for. Dis, who had been told of the pregnancy, took it upon herself to do much of the organising in order to allow the mother-to-be to rest as much as possible. Bella tried arguing that she felt fine, but Dis would not hear of it, arranging for visits from seamstresses, cooks, decorator and builders to be made to her chambers.

Between Thorin and Dis, who became so over-protective, Bella could hardly lift a finger for herself and it soon wore very thin. One evening, they cossetted her to the point where she stood up and yelled at them that she was not an invalid, just pregnant and that if they didn't stop treating her as one, she would refuse to speak to them until the babe was born. Things improved after that, though Thorin still hovered, as much as he was able to.

The wedding was held with much fanfare and both Bella and Poppy got their first experience of a dwarven wedding feast. Elrond, Bard, Thranduil, Dain and their families were honoured guests. Bard got into the spirit of the occasion, though he was quickly drunk under the table, while Thranduil bore it with as much equanimity as he was able, glad to have the sober presence of Elrond alongside, who viewed the festivities with much amusement. It lasted three days, though thankfully she and Thorin left early in the evening of the first night, having announced her pregnancy, the cheers and roars of approval still ringing in their ears. If the return of their king wasn't enough to celebrate fiercely, then an impending royal birth certainly was!

The months wore on and Bella's girth expanded with each one. The dwarven architects had done a magnificent job with her terrace and she loved nothing more than to spend part of the day out there, tending to her plants and vegetables, reading or sitting and looking out over the view of Dale and further down, Lake Town.

Given her pregnancy, Thorin had ensured that her duties as Queen, with Dis as her mentor, had been as light as possible. Bella was grateful for that as it gave her time to come to grips with what her position entailed before she threw herself fully into the role once the baby came.

Ten months after they arrived, Bella felt the first pains shoot across her belly. At first she thought it was just the normal pangs she had been experiencing as her body adjusted to her huge stomach. Some days she thought she would explode and she needed Thorin's help to get out of bed in the mornings, much to his amusement. It was difficult to walk for long, so much of her time was spent out on her terrace, her handmaiden in attendance.

That had certainly been an adjustment! She had protested the need but Dis had assured her that she would come to appreciate the help as she got bigger. Evlin was a sweet, young dwarrowdam whom Bella quickly became fond of and proved Dis correct. There was no way Bella could reach some the lacings or even her feet now. Many hours were spent preparing for the baby, sewing and knitting with company of Dis, Evlin and Poppy, who had insisted she and Bofur stay until after the birth so that they could carry news back to Hobbiton, even though Bella had the ravens for that. There was no way Poppy was leaving before seeing the new prince or princess.

Now, she paced around her suite, sweaty and in pain as the labour progressed, Thorin and Dis helping support her when a contraction hit. Oin had recommended moving about to speed up the labour, only insisting she lay down for his regular checks and when the birth looked imminent.

Each time she had a contraction, she would cry out and Thorin's face would reflect the agony and helplessness he felt as seeing his beloved wife in such pain. Bella would have comforted him if she was able to think about anything but getting through each one.

Finally, after what seemed a lifetime to both of them, Bella gave a last almighty push, unable to prevent the animalistic sounds that came from her throat, as the baby emerged into the world.

Lying back against Thorin, panting, sweat dripping from her red face and totally exhausted, all she could focus on was the wailing of her newborn.

"Congratulations, Bella and Thorin," pronounced Oin as Dis wiped the baby down. "You have a lovely little girl."

"A girl!" sobbed Bella as she looked up at Thorin, who had tears rolling down his cheeks. "Thorin, we have a daughter!"

Thorin opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. Instead he hugged her close, kissing her sweat-matted hair as they waited for Oin to ensure the baby was well and to finish up with Bella. Dis cooed and wrapped her in a soft blanket before handing the little princess to her proud parents.

Bella eagerly reached out and took her baby in her arms for the first time. "Oh, Thorin! Look at her, she's so beautiful," she exclaimed, voice hoarse from her cries.

Looking down at his daughter in awe, Thorin could only nod in agreement as he reached out to touch her tiny face. Wrinkled and red from her own ordeal, the baby scrunched up her face and gave a loud wail of indignation at being summarily removed from her warm, cozy home.

"Looks like she takes after her father," joked Bella.

"But resembles her mother," agreed Thorin with a chuckle, his little finger securely captured by his daughter's tiny hand – just as surely as his heart was irrevocably captured.

"She's got your dark hair," commented Bella. "We'll have to wait to see who's eyes she got, but they are quite blue, aren't they?"

"She can have yellow eyes and she'll still be the most beautiful baby ever beheld in Erebor," her proud father pronounced biasedly.

Bella giggled. "I hope not, but I know what you mean. Let's have a look at the rest of her."

Dis and Oin, having delivered the afterbirth and changed the bedding, mainly unnoticed by the awestruck parents, left the family to themselves to get to know each other. Dis couldn't wait to spread the news of her new niece either.

Together, Bella and Thorin unwrapped their baby and inspected her little body. Smaller than a dwarven baby, she was a little bigger than a regular hobbit newborn, according to Bella. She had a sturdier build, indicating her dwarven heritage but her feet were bigger. Her ears were larger, without the hobbit points. She looked mostly dwarven, just smaller in size.

"She's perfect," murmured Thorin, kissing the tiny fingers. "My perfect little daughter."

"Here, I think she'd like her papa to hold her," said Bella, holding the babe out, Thorin eagerly taking her in his arms.

Memories of holding his newborn nephews came to mind as he gazed down at the red-faced infant. "She's smaller than the lads were," he commented softly. "A petite little thing, aren't you?" he cooed, breathing in that newborn scent. Looking up, his eyes watery, he smiled at his wife. "Thank you, my heart. For this precious, precious gift."

Leaning up, she kissed him tenderly. "Thank you, my love. What shall we call her? I think something like Thora, would be nice. A mix of both of us. What do you think?"

Thorin looked at the babe, a gentle smile on his face. "Thora. Yes. Yes, I like it. Welcome to the world, Thora, daughter of Thorin. I pray to Mahal that you shall never know of hardship and cruelty, only love and joy. I will protect you with my very life, Thora, to the end of my days," he vowed.

Not long after, the quiet was disturbed by their nephews and the rest of the company coming in to meet the newest resident of Erebor. To say the lads were excited was an understatement, Dis cuffing them both when they were too loud and looked like upsetting the babe.

At Bella's urging, Thorin let Thora be held by their friends, reluctant to let his baby go. In a few weeks, Princess Thora would be presented to the dwarves of Erebor, to much joy. The birth of females were greatly celebrated and to have a royal princess, even more so.

The events of the day and the long labour soon took its toll on Bella, so Dis ushered everyone out, allowing Bella to rest and feed the baby, promising to bring some food shortly.

Bella fell asleep almost instantly after the feeding, leaving Thorin to cradle his daughter and regale her with tales of her mother's adventures.

The years passed with Bella giving Thorin two more daughters, Flora and Ruby. Being females, none of his three girls were able to inherit the throne, Fili remaining the heir, but Thorin didn't care one bit. His daughters were his treasures and he loved them all dearly.

The princesses were greatly loved and treasured by the dwarves of Erebor. They all shared traits of both parents as well as their personalities. Needless to say, the royal suites were very noisy during their childhoods. Their cousins Fili and Kili were favourites of theirs, the lasses often following them about when allowed to. They considered the rest of the Company their uncles, so they were never short of entertainment. Once, Bella caught Dwalin surrounded by the princesses, his hair braided with ribbons as they made him look 'pretty'. Dwalin threatened dire consequences if she told anyone about it, but the smirks and chuckles he received from Thorin told him Bella had ignored those threats.

As they grew, potential suitors came sniffing around, much to the disgust of Thorin who threatened to use Orcrist to geld any dwarf who so much looked at his darling girls. He insisted that they learn to wield a weapon, despite eyebrows being raised by his council. He ignored them all, wanting them to be able to defend themselves in the event that he couldn't.

Fili eventually married a dwarrowdam, Eliana, from the Iron Hills while Kili fell in love with, of all things, an elf-maiden. Tauriel was the captain of Thranduil's guard and he met her when Thranduil made one of his diplomatic visits to Erebor. Thorin was horrified at first, but was talked around by Bella who argued that he was not one to criticise, having married a hobbit himself. There was no argument against that, so he gave his blessing to the union. Kili and Tauriel settled in Dale, remaining close to Erebor.

As promised, the royal family did travel back to Hobbiton but it was for a very tragic reason. The Shire suffered an unseasonably wet winter one year and there was flash flooding in many parts of it. Sadly, Primula was swept away by the floodwaters and Drogo met the same fate when he tried to save her. That left their young son, Frodo, an orphan.

Bella was nearly inconsolable when she received the news and Thorin spent many hours with his wife, trying to give her comfort while grieving himself for his lost friends. At his insistence, he ordered preparations be made for his family to travel to Hobbiton. Fili would remain to rule over Erebor, now well-versed in his future duties. Tauriel was pregnant and Kili didn't want to leave her, so they were accompanied by the ever-faithful Dwalin, who wouldn't trust the safety of his King, Queen and princesses to anyone else as well a small retinue of guards.

As expected, nothing much had changed in Hobbiton in the years she had been away. They were warmly welcomed by the hobbits, despite the sad reason for the visit.

Bofur, Poppy and their seven children were overjoyed to see their friends, though many tears were shed in memory of Primula and Drogo. Frodo, who had been living with Bofur and Poppy since his parent's death, stole Bella's heart away with his dark curls and huge blue eyes, which were way too sad for a little child.

The royal family ended up staying in Primula's house for nearly three months and Frodo quickly became a favourite of the young princesses, who adopted him as a little brother. When it came time to return to Erebor, they begged their parents to take Frodo with them. Not wanting to do something the little lad wouldn't be happy with, they asked him what he wanted to do. The young hobbit said he wanted to stay with them, so when they left Hobbiton, little Frodo went with them.

Over time, the dwarves of Erebor flourished. The royal family grew in size with many marriages and births. The passing of time also meant that they lost friends to old age and its effects.

Thorin's dark locks gradually turned silver, though Bella still thought he was the most handsome dwarf ever. Bella herself grew old gracefully, surrounded by her children and grandchildren as well the numerous great nieces and nephews.

For some reason, Bella grew to a great old age, much longer than a hobbit would expect to live but eventually time caught up with her. She passed away at the ripe old hobbit age of 113, surrounded by her beloved family and most importantly, the love of her life, Thorin. Her passing was greatly mourned by the peoples of Erebor, Dale, Rivendell and Mirkwood.

Not wanting to live without his Bella, and satisfied with the life he had lived, Thorin gladly welcomed his passing into Mahal's halls, where he knew he would be reunited with his beloved. Mahal had blessed their marriage; he knew he would make an exception and allow Bella to await him there.

Thus, ended the journeys of both Thorin and Bella, whose lives passed into legend, but whose legacies continued on with their family.

And the ring? That was locked away in the deepest vaults of the mountain, along with the Arkenstone, with no map or location ever recorded, so that its existence was forgotten and eventually passed into myth.