Chapter 1: Precautions
A/N Right, sorry it took so long, but here is my next story and... what's this? It's not gay?! Yes, I know, strange for me too. Anyway, this a Bilbo x Reader story and you (Mrs. Reader) are now hereby christened Ithilien. I'm sorry but I hate reading reader fics that are written so smoothly and then a horrible, distasteful (Y/N) appears. It just ruins it. And anyway, I'm sure that names like Nicole or Courtney wouldn't fit in a story like this. Also, this is third person not first because I'm more of a story'teller' that way and not just something I put up because I am depressed. Forgive me. I suppose if you want to go into it, eye colour is green and hair colour is brunette, personality is just a little more outgoing than Bilbo, but just a tad. I hate the really feminine and heroic ladies in these sorts of stories because it's pretty generic. Now, Bilbo's role in the movie (more people know that than the book so yeah) is split between the two of these characters, okay? Okay, tangent has ceased, I do hope you enjoy! Oh, also review please :)
Update: A few touch-ups.
"Goodbye Aunt Lobelia, I will visit next week!" All of Ithilien's efforts were in vain as the old Hobbit merely grunted and slammed the door in her face. She sighed and turned to the gate that would lead her to Bagshot Row. She opened it and closed it forcefully, hoping to chip some of the precious wood of her aunt's property. She inhaled deeply and lifted her posture, attempting to lift her spirits at the same time.
A cold breeze pushed against her and lifted the hairs on her arms, enticing a small gasp from her additionally. "Ruddy wind..." She murmured as she placed her basket down on the ground and rooted about for her brown cloak. She easily found the hard material and pulled it from hiding. As soon as she tied the collar around her neck she felt a comforting warmth surround her, lowering the raised hairs on her body.
A bright yellow flower in her aunt's garden caught her immediate attention and she double-checked that the landowner wasn't spying on her. Ithilien reached over the small fence and struggled to pierce the stem, but eventually she managed to pluck the flower. She admired it for little more than a second before sorting the downsized flower into her hair.
"Much better..." She whispered to herself as she retrieved the downed basket and set off on a brisk walk, hoping to get back to Little Delving for at least Elevenses. She deeply inhaled the fresh dawn scent and scanned the area about her. No-one in sight. Of course, no-one in their right mind would want to get up at this time and in this dim light.
However, after only a few moments of striding, Ithilien stopped short when she heard deep voices above on the right. Wasn't that Bag End? The voices were unfamiliar and definitely not Hobbit-like. She stuck to the hill as close as possible and didn't want to become involved in any odd business. The voices didn't leave nor make any sign of advancing toward her. "Are we headin' off anytime soon?" A low accented voice called out and she desperately wanted the answer to be, 'Yes, of course, let's leave this place immediately!' and for them to be on their way. Unfortunately, no answer was given and that only peaked her curiosity.
Ithilien peeked over the hill she was hiding behind and she witnessed more than a dozen Dwarves swarming around the entrance of, indeed, Bag End. She forgot herself and gaped at the strange people. The one closest to her, at the back of the group, was stout, had white hair and seemed the most orderly of all the milling Dwarves.
She spotted a gleaming gold article hanging from said Dwarf's belt and felt an odd fluttering chill resonate from her middle to the rest of her body as she admired it's beauty. As suddenly as she had fallen into the trance, she snapped to attention when she heard a low and booming voice order, "It is apparent that he will not be joining us. Make haste if we want to set up camp in a decent place." With that, the group began to move on foot east towards a large pen of horses and a few odd ponies. Her eyes darted back to the Dwarf-with-white-hair's golden item that swayed to and fro as he walked away.
The fluttering sensation burst through her body again and she picked up her basket and climbed the small hill separating Bagshot Row and Bag End. She carefully walked behind them, staying low to the floor and picked up her pace when she was certain that no-one would hear her.
She was so close that she could almost pickpocket the unknowing Dwarves. When this thought crossed her mind, she pulled her raised hand back as if it had touched fire. When did she start thinking things like that? She looked around herself, 'And when did I get here?'. Her eyes fell upon the gold treasure and she rationalised that it would help her family more than one hundred silver pennies would; it would feed the family for more or less the whole year and buy them a brand new hobbit-hole. She breathed deeply, picked up her pace again and reached her hand to the belt. She pulled the cloak away painfully gently to reveal the item that had been pulling her towards the congregation.
It was a sword. Ithilien had never used one in her whole life and didn't plan on ever using one but she was certain that it would fetch a high price indeed. The blade was golden and there was no guard to separate it from the grip. Her small smile faltered when her mind screamed that these were dangerous people. Glancing at the sword again as she struggled to keep up with the pace of the person in front, she reasoned with herself that if she were caught then she would likely be killed. She let the bunched article of clothing slip from her fingers. It was too late before she could remedy her mistake.
The weighted bundle brushed against the Dwarf's side who froze and ceased walking at the contact. The suddenness of the action led her to clash into the back of the Dwarf. She jumped away immediately and attempted to run in the opposite direction but two large hands gripped both of her wrists and pulled them behind her. She whimpered and flailed against the tight grip; ultimately wasting her energy, she became limp. Only when she felt a gentle touch on the shoulder did she stop and open her eyes.
The white haired Dwarf was standing in front of her. She noticed his eyes travel behind her and he nodded. Tentatively and cautiously, her wrists were released and she massaged them in an attempt to relieve the searing pain. Her eyes darted to the left, her only exit, but they landed on a bald-headed Dwarf (however, his tremendously braided beard covered for it). Ithilien stared and he shook his head. She forced herself to look at the white haired Dwarf again and he smiled when he realised that he had her full attention.
"Well done, lassie, I didn't even know you were there! Thorin, come take a look at this!" He called over his shoulder and another Dwarf appeared, apparently known as Thorin.
He looked her up and down and swiftly turned to the white haired Dwarf, "What is this, Balin?" She became slightly offended, 'This?' and sent him a glare. She shifted her weight from foot to foot when he returned the cold gaze.
Balin quickly tamed the two by quickly saying, "I believe we have found our second chance, Thorin." 'Second chance?'
"Uh, excuse me, sorry, but what do you m-mean second chance?" Ithilien interjected nervously. How could that Dwarf be so lenient about her almost stealing his life-saving weapon? Thorin looked at her with much disdain but eventually nodded and turned away to the ponies again.
Ithilien glanced briefly between the two and protested, "W-Wait! What do you mean? I-I-I really don't agree with this!" Balin looked at her incredulously and said just as much, "Well of course you don't- you haven't signed the contract yet!"
Her face twisted in utter confusion, "Contract?" Balin nodded and pulled out a folded piece of paper and handed it to her. She clutched it, opened it and observed in disbelief as it unfurled to the ground. She peered back to the Dwarf and he gestured to read it. She turned back and began reading through silently. 'Cash on delivery, up to but not exceeding one fourteenth of total profit, if any. Seems fair. Lacerations... evisceration... incineration...' After perusing through once she asked faintly, "May I ask... What is this entailing? Because I'm rather confused."
"Oh, burglary, of course."
Ithilien's face fell as she stepped back in protest, she extended her arm stiffly and thrust the contract away from her body but Balin carefully lowered her arm, "Now, lass, are you alright?"
Ithilien shook her head rapidly, "No no no! You have the wrong Hobbit! Look at me!" She gestured to herself and awaited an answer along the lines, 'Oh, yes, I didn't realise. Be on your way now...'. When all she received was a confused expression Ithilien exhaled deeply and stated a little too harshly, "I'm a woman! I can't do these things that you're asking of me!" She began counting on her fingers, "I am to get married soon, I am supposed to have a family, care for my children and husband and then leave all of my things to them- that is all I want, none of this!"
She knew she was lying to herself. All of the other times that she had recited that small speech to herself had brought her close to tears, or beyond. Ithilien anxiously wondered if the other noticed the waver of hesitation in her voice. Apparently so. Balin's expression softened sadly and he spoke just as softly, "Aye, lass… If you really want to, but don't kid yourself."
Balin motioned for the Dwarf blocking Ithilien's escape to leave her be. He turned and they both mounted his horse before riding at a steady pace toward the receding company. Ithilien glanced down in melancholy and found the contract still in her hand. She looked up and opened her mouth to shout to them but they were almost at the borderline of Frogmorton.
Ithilien regarded the local Hobbit-holes and whimpered with indecision. Inwardly reciting every curse word she knew (not a lot), she collected her basket from the ground and pulled her dress up just enough to ensure that she wouldn't trip over herself. Ithilien sprinted in the direction of the Dwarves.
Eventually, after many breaks to catch to her breath, she caught up to the Dwarves, doubled over and shouted to the ground, "Wait! I want to come with you!"
The entire company halted and turned around. Balin laughed heartily, guiding his horse towards her, "I can't tell you, on behalf of the company, how happy we are that you agreed, lass." She puffed deeply and stood up straight again, laughing uneasily, "As am I."
Balin raised a finger, asking her to wait just a moment, "Ah, now, you need a pen…" Balin called out over his shoulder, "Ori! Get the inkwell and pen!" Another Dwarf, Ori, came running from his horse with a small top-covered jar of ink and an improvised ink pen made of polished pine. She took the objects and opened the jar and dipped the wood into the black liquid.
Ithilien watched Ori walk quickly back to his horse and glanced down to where Balin was encouraging her to sign. She put pen to paper and signed her signature deftly. She smiled at her work and passed each object back to Balin, who folded the contract into his pocket and tucked the inkwell and pen into the parallel pocket.
He smiled and patted her on the back, ultimately leading her towards the ponies. He made conversation on the way, "By the by, I never did get the chance, my name is Balin, son of Fundin. Pleasure to have you..." He gestured with his hand and she chimed, "Ithilien... daughter of Lithi?"
"Pleasure to have you aboard, Ithilien." She smiled broadly. The distinct voice of Thorin ordered to everyone, "Give her a pony." before setting off again. Unfortunately, the only pony left was the luggage pony.
She clambered on, with a little help from a peeping Kili as he pushed her foot upwards with his hand from his horse. She made sure to thank him but regretted it almost immediately as another Dwarf behind added enviously, "I told him to help you! So I helped you indirectly." She smiled uneasily and said, "Oh, thank you?" He grinned and sat back, obviously proud of his... contribution. The two Dwarves began to bicker, "Shut up Fili, you haven't got the muscles for this kind of work." "Pfft, please. I'm stronger than you, Kili." Soon they arguing became white noise to Ithilien's ears.
"Hello, my dear girl, my name is Gandalf the Grey." Gandalf fell back on the company to ride next to Ithilien and offered a hand, which she clasped and shook gently.
"Now, pay attention, that is Thorin at the front- the leader- and then we have Gloin, Nori, Oin, Bombur, Dori, Balin, Bofur- and behind us, we have- Dwalin, Bifur, Kili, Fili and finally Ori. Did you get all of that my dear? Good, good."
He didn't give her a chance to ask again so she asked a different question, "Are you a Wizard?"
"Yes." Was the simple answer. Ithilien became uncomfortable and looked ahead.
"So… I was a second chance? Who was the first?"
"Hm. Well, another Hobbit. He denied us but I believe that he will come around. I do hope it is soon. Most of us took wages on his showing up." Ithilien's face brightened at that, she had never been able to gamble on anything before.
She asked tentatively, "Wages? May I?" Gandalf laughed and she thought that she had made a fool of herself before he continued, "Ha! Feel free, my girl!"
She giggled excitedly and asked curiously, "What did you bet on?" Gandalf responded, "Ah, well, I counted on him showing."
Ithilien bit her bottom lip and decided that a Wizard's decision was a superior one, "Hm. I'll wager that. Five coins."
Bofur had been eavesdropping from in front and shouted to the rest, "Ye hear that lads! She bets five coins on Master Baggins showin'! Alright lass, I'll play- seven coins he doesn't show." Ithilien put on a brave face and said, "Done, uh, Bofur?" A swift wave told her she guessed correctly. She inwardly cheered.
Speak of the devil, it seemed.
"Wait! Wait!" The company halted and turned to see the commotion, "I signed it!" Ithilien studied him. That was… Bilbo! That's it. A Baggins. Her Aunt, Lobelia, had been eyeing Bag End for a good few years and literally despised the bachelor. Honestly, she didn't know who he was or what he was like and didn't want to make pre-judgements that she would probably later regret.
She observed quietly as he held a flapping paper in his hand and handed it to Balin. Huh, he must have made copies. As if reading her mind, Gandalf murmured, "I told him to bring two. As a precaution."
After Balin said, "Everything appears to be in order, welcome Master Baggins to the Company of Thorin Oakenshield.", Thorin dismissed him almost immediately saying, "There is another, Master Baggins. You will share the pony." to which Bilbo fussed as he didn't particularly want to share a pony with another Hobbit, if that is what Thorin had meant. God help him if it was another Dwarf.
"N-no, that won't be necessary, thank you, I'm sure I can keep up on foot. I-I've done my fair share of walking holidays. Even got as far as Frogmorton onc- AGH!" At this, Ithilien perked up. He was picked up by two Dwarfs, Dwalin and Bifur, and almost thrown onto the luggage pony in front with another Hobbit.
He was quite surprised that it was a girl. Ithilien twisted around skillfully and smiled at him, "Bilbo Baggins! I am Ithilien from Little Delving. I'm sure you've seen me around. I visit Hobbiton every so often on my trip to The Ivy Bush, you know, in Bywater. Well," She shook her hand in a way to suggest that she was getting off-topic, "Anyway, I've seen you around."
Bilbo looked at her strangely and then recognition flashed in his eyes, "Ah! Yes! You're, um, Lithi Vill-Baggins's daughter, yes?" The truth was, he didn't even know her first name.
She applauded and praised, "Well remembered, Master Baggins!" Bilbo flushed and rushed out, "Oh, no need to call me Master, just Bilbo will do nicely."
She grinned and said, "And just Ithilien will suit me nicely, just Bilbo." A mischievous fire rose in her eyes and she turned around.
They heard Oin shout from behind them, "Come on Nori, pay up!" to which a small bag of coin was slung at him regretfully. The Dwarf celebrated with a loud, "Hey hey hey!" That reminded her to retrieve her winnings but Bilbo beat her to the chase, "What's that about?"
Once again, she was interrupted, "Oh, they took wages on whether or not you'd turn up. Most of them bet that you wouldn't." Gandalf explained.
Bilbo nodded and asked Ithilien nervously, "What did you think?"
Her eyes darted to Gandalf and she called in a sing-song tone, "Oh Bofur~! Where's my winnings~?" As he sighed and rooted around his pockets (and Ithilien was pretty sure she heard a murmur of "Damn women an' their bloody memories…") Ithilien twisted around to see Bilbo's reaction. He was smiling! He suited it.
He looked over to Gandalf, "What about you?"
Gandalf 'hmm'd' for a moment but swiftly caught a bag of coin headed his way, "My dear fellow, I never doubted you for a second." he said heartily as he stuffed his prize into his bag. A bag of coin skilfully found it's way onto Ithilien's lap and she clapped her hands briefly in delight.
Bilbo swung his head back and held his nose as he sneezed and brought his head back down. He apologised and explained, "Sorry, all this horse-hair is having a reaction." She understood and felt the temptation to sneeze now as well but forced it down. He was making a fuss and rooting around in his pockets when he began to murmur, "No, no..."
Ithilien turned her head to the side, "What's the matter?"
"Oh, wait, wait! Stop! We have to turn around!" He shouted and held his hand up.
"What on Earth is the matter?" Gandalf asked incredulously.
Bilbo said regretfully, "I forgot my handkerchief."
In front, Bofur ripped an old rag from his sleeve and said cheerfully, "Here! Use this!"
He slung the battered old thing at Bilbo and almost hit Ithilien in the face if she hadn't have ducked. Bilbo stared at it in disgust and Ithilien sighed as she robbed it from his hands quickly and threw it back to the Dwarf, earning a small, "That was rude, lass...". She pulled out a small white and green embroidered handkerchief and handed it to Bilbo, "Here, I always carry a spare. You can keep it."
Bilbo took it gratefully and held it to his nose. Inside, she was grateful that he didn't blow his nose.
"Move on." Thorin's voice carried over the din of the Dwarves laughter.
As the pony carried on walking, Ithilien made conversation and she was truly curious, "So… I see you outside Bag End, but I don't actually see you outside Bag End." She turned to face him, "Am I making sense?"
Bilbo shook his head slowly and she tried again, "Okay, I see you outside of your house, when I visit, but you're never outside your fence. Why is that?"
Bilbo nodded and explained, "Ah, well… I suppose that I just like to keep to myself." Her eyebrows rose and she turned the corners of her mouth down in a "fair enough" manner.
"Now, my turn. Why visit Hobbiton if you're just going to Bywater? Isn't it a long trip back?"
She explained, "Oh, well, I have friends there, you might know them actually, there's Ted Sandyman, who I help from time to time at the Mill and he gives me ten silver pennies each time. There's also Lobelia who I have to visit weekly or I'll get a punishment- or not. I don't quite know, I've never risked it."
Bilbo tensed at this and asked, "Lobelia Sackville Baggins?"
"Yes. And I know what you two think of each other," She said sternly.
Bilbo looked ashamed as he must have sounded so impolite, but she continued, breaking out into a wide grin, "And trust me, Bilbo, I feel the same way you do towards her. She's a wicked old cow."
They both giggled and laughed and exchanged rumours and stories about her, "This is no lie, I am almost positive that I was adopted into that family; I'm nothing like the Hobbit and she hates me for it." She trailed off sadly and Bilbo brushed her arm, catching her attention again, "It's a good thing you're nothing like her."
Ithilien smiled and focused ahead again. A comfortable silence fell over the two and they rode in peace, until her stomach growled painfully and she murmured dejectedly, "I missed Second Breakfast." She cast her eyes upwards in despair, "And then we'll miss Elevenses, Luncheon and Afternoon Tea… I didn't consider this when I ran after these..."
Bilbo chuckled and attempted to raise her spirits, "You ran too? It's like magic, wouldn't you say?"
"Indeed." Ithilien's smile fell and she asked quietly, "What if we don't come home, Bilbo?"
This caught Bilbo's attention and it wasn't the first time that he had forced himself to think about his probable fate, however, it was the first real time that Ithilien had and he felt he needed to comfort her, "How about this. We both swear to come back, unharmed, together." He flustered and clarified, "Oh, uh, not together together but just together..."
Ithilien laughed and said, "Yes, I understood the first time. And I swear to that." She twisted herself to face him again and extended a hand. He took it and they confirmed the promise.
Ithilien noticed, when she turned back, Bofur grinning at them widely before being spotted and spinning around quickly.
Bilbo couldn't sleep due to the damn ignorant snoring from most of the Dwarves so he gave himself something to do and got up. He headed over to his and Ithilien's pony, gave it an apple and said quietly, "This is our little secret Myrtle. You must tell no-one. Hush-hush."
When he heard ominous shrieks he turned to the group and asked warily, "What was that?"
Kili responded from behind the fire, "Orcs."
Bilbo clarified uncertainly, literally lunging into the safety of the camp, "Orcs?" and Thorin was woken from the mention of the foul race.
Bilbo made a beeline for where Ithilien was sleeping and shook her shoulders gently and then more urgently when she made no signs of waking. Eventually, she roused slowly and yawned before asking sleepily, "What is it, just Bilbo?" She refused to open her eyes but a small smile played on her lips when she heard nervous stutters and confirmed silently that Bilbo had indeed woken her. It would have been very awkward if Thorin had woken her.
Bilbo forgot himself for a moment, staring, before Fili's voice broke through, "Throat-cutters. There'll be dozens of them out there. The Lowlands are crawling with them." Bilbo and Ithilien, now wide-awake, looked over to the two brothers, unknowingly asking for more unnerving information, "They strike in the wee small hours when everyone's asleep. Quick and quiet- no screams. Just lots of blood." Kili 'comforted'.
The two Halflings became equally frightened and simultaneously turned behind them to spot said Orcs.
The brothers giggled when they saw that but completely froze when Thorin berated them, "You think that's funny? You think a night-raid by Orcs is a joke?"
The two Hobbits turned back to the fire and figured that they had been led on.
Kili apologised wistfully, "...We didn't mean anything by it." To which Thorin berated them further, "No you didn't. You know nothing of the world." He walked away to search for the Orcs from the cliff, but mainly to get away from the immature Dwarves. He couldn't afford to look weak in front of his followers.
Balin attempted to apologise for Thorin to the twins and Ithilien and Bilbo, "Don't mind him laddie. Thorin has more cause than most to hate Orcs. After the dragon took the Lonely Mountain, King Thror tried to reclaim the ancient Dwarf Kingdom of Moria, but our enemy had got there first. Moria had been taken by legions of Orcs led by the most vile of all their race, Azog the Defiler. The giant had sworn to wipe out the line of Durin. He began... by beheading the King.
"Thrain, Thorin's father, was driven mad by grief. He went missing, taken prisoner or killed, we did not know… We were leaderless. Defeat and death were upon us." Balin smiled as he reminisced, "That is when I saw him. A young Dwarf prince facing down the Pale Orc. He stood alone against this terrible foe, his armour went, wielding nothing more than an oaken branch as a shield. Azog the Defiler learned that day that the line of Durin would not be so easily broken.
"Our forces rallied and drove the Orcs back, and our enemy had been defeated. But there was no feast nor song that night… for our dead were beyond the count of grief. We few had survived and I thought to myself then, 'There is one who I could follow. There is one I could call King.'"
Bilbo asked, looking to Thorin, who was now rejoining the group, then back to Balin, "But the Pale Orc… what happened to him?"
Thorin responded dismissively, "He slunk back into the hall he once came. That filth died of his wounds long ago."
Ithilien noticed Gandalf and Balin's uncertain glances to each other. She looked to Bilbo who seemed uniformly uncertain.
A/N Okay, so tell me what you think. I'll only start writing for this if I get some reviews because otherwise I'm probably wasting my time. So... until then I hope you guys take care and see ya! nochesombra over and out.