Title: Unfucking Fate
Fandom: The Hobbit
Warnings: Canon Typical
A/N: Canon, schmanon. Also, timeline? What timeline?
“Thorin, I don’t think this is the way to the Blue Mountains,” Frerin called from his litter. His voice was weak and barely seemed to carry through the air to him.
Thorin turned back to eye his brother before he returned his gaze to the land before him. “No, brother. It does not. Lie back down before you tear something.”
“Bossy bastard,” Frerin sighed and settled back onto the nest of blankets they had scrounged together to carry him.
“There might be a reason for that, nadad,” Thorin muttered before he took another step. “There might be a reason.”
“Do you have any idea where we are?” Balin asked from his spot just behind Thorin.
“No. The roads are well maintained here and I’ve seen nothing that looks like men have had a part in it,” Thorin said with a shrug. He waved a hand at the bridge they were crossing. “This is too short to be the work of men.”
“And it’s not dwarrow work either,” Balin said after he peered at the stonework they were crossing. “Aren’t there halflings in this area?”
“I don’t know,” Thorin admitted. He pulled a map out of his belt pouch and unfolded it. “We were following this road,” he said as he followed the line of the road from Azanulbizar.
Balin peered over his arm and grunted softly. “We turned at Bree and instead of heading towards the Blue Mountains, we’re heading towards the Shire. That’s the realm of the halflings.”
“Well, they can’t be any worse than the men we’ve passed,” Thorin said as he stared at the map. “They also can’t be any worse than where we’ve been.”
“True,” Balin agreed. He traced his finger over the line of the possible road they were on. “We’ll be passing Hobbiton. Towns mean work, possibly healers, and we can also trade for food.”
“All good things,” Thorin said with a nod. He folded up the map and stored it in his belt pouch. “Let’s hope they don’t freak out over the sheer number of armed men coming through their lands.”
Bilbo Baggins sat back on his heels and glanced down the road. He had been inspecting his tomatoes to see if he had a set of prize winners this year and hadn’t been expecting to have a fauntling scream for him
“What’s got you all a bother, lad?” Bilbo asked. He rocked up onto his feet and walking towards his gate. “Hamish, what’s going on?”
“Dwarves, Mr. Bilbo! There’s a bunch of dwarves walking down the main road,” Hamish panted as he hung on his gate.
“Well,” Bilbo said. He paused to think things over and nodded once. “Run down to your father and let him know that I will be checking with the Bounders to see if the dwarves are here peacefully. And I want him to get the party field ready for campers.”
“Yes, sir, Mr. Bilbo, sir!” Hamish called as he started running for his family smial.
“Son of a bitch,” Bilbo muttered. He let his magic flow down the lanes as he untied his gardening apron and laid it on the bench outside his door. Thankfully he didn’t need to lock up and he quickly started running down the main lane towards the Green Dragon. Nothing was pinging his senses and he breathed a sigh of relief as he reached the station.
The main Bounders station for Hobbiton was next to the Green Dragon and it took him only moments to gather a small division of them. The rest of the trip towards the main road was done in silence. As they turned a curve of the road outside Hobbiton, the dwarves were spread before them.
“Oh, shit,” Bilbo muttered before he slowed to a stop. “That’s an army.”
“What are we going to do, Mr. Baggins?” the lead Bounder asked from his left elbow.
Bilbo glanced at the man briefly and shrugged. “Go up and see why they are here. And hope we can keep thing peaceful.”
“I had one of the runners head for the Great Smials to the Thain know where we were headed,” the Bounder offered.
“Good job,” Bilbo praised. He took a deep breath and nodded once as he turned back to face the column of dwarrow. “Better have your people spread out, Bounder Cotton. Just make sure that no one has their bows cocked. We want to at least try to keep the peace.”
“Yes, sir,” Cotton agreed.
“Right, here we go,” Bilbo muttered as he stepped forward. Clearing his throat, he tried to remember everything he’d ever learned about dwarrow. “Hello and welcome to the Shire. I am Bilbo Baggins; may I know the name of the one who leads you?”
One of the dwarrow stepped forward and Bilbo took in the look of him. Taller than him and much broader, the dwarrow was dressed in armor with a sword strapped to his back and with the long hair and beads that were endemic to his people. He was covered in bruises and healing cuts and his armor looked like it had been hastily repaired. Whatever he and his little army had gone through, it had been bad.
“I am Thorin… Oakenshield, son of Thrain, son of Thror, the leader of these men and we are dwarrow from the Blue Mountains. It seems we took a wrong turn on our way home and we’re passing through your lands. We mean no one here any harm,” the dwarf at the head of the column explained. “
“My, you have gone off course, haven’t you,” Bilbo exclaimed. He stared at the dwarrow before him and cocked his head to the side as he observed how they circled around Oakenshield. “I know very little about your people, so I’m going to be blunt.”
“We appreciate that, Master Baggins,” Thorin cut in.
“Good,” Bilbo said. He slowly let his magic back out again, trying to get a feel for the beings before him. “Do I have your surety that your people will behave themselves? That they will cause no harm to my people? That you will behave in a manner that will not offend Mahal or his wife Yavanna?”
“You have my surety that we will behave in a manner that will make our lord and his lady proud,” Thorin promised.
Bilbo nodded once as his magic confirmed that Thorin was sincere. “Thank you,” he said. He waved a hand at the Bounders behind him. “What do can we do for you?”
“We have wounded,” Thorin said after several moments of silence. “We are able to trade our skills for assistance if our gold will not work.”
“Dwarrow are well known for their skills in craftwork,” Cotton murmured. “I know that my family will pay well for dwarven work.”
“Really?” one of the dwarrow behind Thorin asked, surprised.
“Really,” Cotton confirmed. He rocked on his feet and smiled. “My family owns the main pub in Hobbiton and we’re thinking about expanding, which means that we have need of metal and stone work. While we have a blacksmith in Michael Delving, we’ve not had one in Hobbiton for about three years.”
“Who would we talk to about trading our skills?” the dwarrow asked. “Balin, son of Fundin.”
“That would be me,” Bilbo admitted. He looked down the line of the dwarrow and frowned. “How many are you?”
“We are almost three hundred,” Thorin admitted. He looked devastated for a moment and Bilbo had to wonder how many dwarrow had actually marched to whatever war they had just fought. “And almost a third of us are injured in some way.”
“We have healers,” Bilbo promised. He glanced at Cotton and smiled as the Bounder moved off to send a runner for the healers. “Let’s get you to the field where you and your men can set up whatever camp you can. The healers can look everyone over there and you and I can sit down to discuss exchange rates, work costs and the like.”
“I would like that, Master Baggins,” Thorin said after several seconds. He turned back to his men and spoke quickly in his own language.
Bilbo turned back to Cotton and quickly directed him to spread his Bounders out down the line of the army. He wanted to make sure all the dwarrow reached the Party Field with a minimum of fuss. And having the Bounders with them would help calm any of their more nervous countrymen.
When Thorin turned back to him, Bilbo waved a hand towards the correct road. “Shall we get your people settled?”
“Yes,” Thorin agreed.
Smiling softly, Bilbo started walking, Thorin at his side.