Title: Aftermath
Author: Ladyholder
Fandom: The Hobbit
Warnings: Canon Typical
Wordcount: 5787

Part One

“Why do you stay?”

Bilbo side-eyed Dáin and continued to work the soil of the garden Balin had found for him outside of the royal residences.

“You seem awfully sure that you will be allowed to stay once Thorin wakes,” Dáin observed. He walked around the garden and gently kicked at the various raised beds. “You know he banished you, right?”

“Given that I was there and you weren’t, I’m very certain that I know what happened. And you were also informed of the change to those circumstances by Balin,” Bilbo reminded him. He finished his work on the bed under his hands and moved on to the next. Winter had been deeply lean and everything they had been able to gather had gone into feeding the small population inhabiting Erebor. Men, dwarves, and one lone hobbit had passed a long winter repairing what they could while nursing their wounded.

“He’s going to wake up to find you still here and his banishment in place. You’ll be kicked out on your arse. At best,” Dáin said with relish. Bilbo was certain that he was looking forward to that very thing, but then, the dwarf had made it very clear that he loathed the air Bilbo breathed. Sadly for Dáin, not a single member of the King’s Company, so his opinion was irrelevant.

Bilbo hummed softly as he started planting the bed he’d moved to with potatoes. His plan was to ignore Dáin for as long as he could. He had too much to do on a daily basis to indulge in the Lord of the Iron Hills and his drama. After he finished the last bed, he’d be heading out to the fields that the men of Dale had put together. He was going to invest his magics into the soil to jumpstart germination.

“Pay attention to me, halfling!” Dáin demanded. He stepped towards Bilbo and Nori stepped out of the shadows to stare at him. Dáin stopped and glared at Nori before turning his glare onto Bilbo. “You won’t always be guarded.”

“If there are to be any further consequences to my actions, they won’t be coming from you,” Bilbo said quietly. “And you know it. You’ve done your part to help Erebor and the Longbeards are duly grateful for it. I suggest that you go home.”

“You don’t speak for the Longbeards, halfling,” Dáin growled. “And I will wait for my king to wake so I can see him deal with you in the manner you should be.”

Bilbo said nothing as he watched Dáin leave. Only when he could no longer hear the dwarf’s footsteps did he relax. “He’s going to be a problem.”

“Balin agrees,” Nori said from his position watching the approaches. “Thorin needs to either wake up or Dís needs to get here soon.”

The chuckle that broke free from Bilbo was slightly bitter, but he couldn’t help it. The choices Nori was giving him were both full of issues. “Neither option is…”

“Optimal,” Nori finished when he hesitated. “I know that we got to Thorin in time to hear that he’d forgiven you and rescinded your banishment, but him falling into a Stone Sleep before anyone else showed up was deeply inconvenient.”

“Agreed,” Bilbo said. he finished his planting and stood up, dusting the dirt clinging to his hands off into the planter. “And the boys falling into the Sleep before Thorin made his announcement isn’t helpful either.”

“Durin’s. Being giant pains in the arse from time immemorial,” Nori teased with a wry grin.

“Aren’t you also of the Line of Durin?” Bilbo asked as he started walking back into his rooms.

Nori fell into place beside him and shrugged. “On the distaff side and it was illegitimate at that.”

“And yet, here you are,” Bilbo reminded him. “I’m going to be going down to the fields to help with the latest round of planting. Who do you want to send with me?”

“Not me,” Nori said swiftly. “And Balin, Dwalin, and Glóin are all out as well. Dori?”

“Fussy, but there are very few people who will fuck with your sibling having seen him fight,” Bilbo allowed. He made sure to grab a hat to protect his head before he picked up his bag of supplies for the day. There really wasn’t anything that he needed to use to augment his innate magic, but having food when he got peckish was always a help.

“True. And yet, he’s still a fussy arsehole,” Nori muttered as he escorted Bilbo through his rooms in the royal residence. “Do you think Tauriel would be willing to join you?”

“The fields I’ll be heading out to are about as far away from Dale as you can get, so I think Thranduil will leave her and me alone,” Bilbo allowed. He frowned as he reached the main room where the Company liked to settle in each evening and found it empty. “Where is she hiding?”

“Good question,” Nori muttered. He walked over to one of the doors lining the wall and knocked. When Tauriel opened the door, she was dressed to go out of the Mountain. “You heard?”

“You weren’t being quiet,” Tauriel reminded. She eyed Bilbo before leaning to the side and picking up her bow and quiver. “I heard Dáin walking around and I didn’t want to deal with his drama. I get enough from the Company. At least they are amusing.”

“Funny,” Bilbo said. “I’m going to spend the day out in the far fields. Do you want to come with me?”

“Yes,” Tauriel said. She cocked an eye at him and waved the bow at him. “I can do some minor hunting while you do your thing. See if I can bring anything back for dinner.”

“Oh,” Bilbo froze in place for a moment before he shook his head. “If you could get a brace of rabbits? That would be lovely. I have some interesting recipes and my greenhouses have some early vegetables to make a good meal.”

“I can do that,” Tauriel agreed. She nodded at Dori when he met them at the main door into the royal quarter. “I’ll look to see if there is any plant life that’s edible as well.”

“A sound plan,” Dori agreed. He frowned as Nori escorted them through the Mountain towards the main gates. “Are things so very dire we need an escort in Erebor?”

“Dáin has been getting bolder and bolder now that it’s spring and we can expect the caravans to start arriving soon. You were also there when Balin said that the signs were strong that one of our three sleepers would be waking soon. He’s been wanting our Burglar gone since last fall and the time he’s got left to force him out is rapidly diminishing,” Nori reminded him.

“Right,” Dori said with a sigh. He shrugged slightly and the massive hammer slung over his shoulder moved with him. “How bored am I going to be?”

“Very,” Bilbo admitted. “I’m going to be pouring a great deal of energy into the ground to make sure the planting takes, so I’ll be mostly sitting still.”

“Which means that you will be a very tempting target,” Dori said. He frowned once and then pressed his lips together as he saw several of Dáin’s men standing guard. “We need to get the caravans here soon.”

“I’ve got ravens going back and forth between us and the Blue Mountains,” Nori reminded. “The first group left more than a month ago, chasing the spring thaw as it moves north. We should have caravans coming in at a steady stream over the next few months.”

“And I’ve sent ravens to my kin as well. There will be some adventuresome hobbits with those caravans,” Bilbo said softly. “Having them here for summer and the harvest will help enormously.”

“Good to know,” Dori said just as softly. He nodded once at the guard and looked at Bilbo. “Where too?”

Bilbo quickly took charge and directed them toward the fields he’d agreed to help.




Bilbo let the threads of green energy drift gently from his hands and tied them off so the new life being sown could support it. “You bellowed, Dori?”

Dori looked abashed for a brief moment before he shook his head. “I did. Balin sent a runner. Fili woke up.”

“Ah. So, we need to get back to Erebor soonest,” Bilbo surmised. “Where’s Tauriel?”

“Behind you,” the elf announced. She walked around him and held out a hand to help him up. “There was no way I could miss the racket Dori was making.”

“Well, I couldn’t wait for him to come up on his own,” Dori protested. He had Bilbo’s satchel in his hand and offered it to him. “I’ve already made our excuses with the Men. We should hurry.”

“Right,” Bilbo agreed. He turned towards Erebor and started out at a steady jog. Dori settled into place next to him and he was sure that Tauriel was ranging behind them, acting as a rear guard.

It took longer than he wanted, but less than expected for them to get back to Erebor. Dori waved at the guards as they passed the gates and aimed them toward the infirmary that Oin had taken over. Whatever happened with Fili would happen there because there was no way that the Company would let anyone else see.

“Halfling,” Dáin called as he approached the infirmary. “You are not to go near the Heir.”

“You have no power here, Dáin, but what Thorin gives you, so stop trying to grasp what isn’t yours,” Dori snapped. “Balin was Regent, and with Fili awake, he will take over that duty until Thorin wakes. The Company will be getting him up to date on what’s been happening here in Erebor. You can stay out here and stew.”

“Who are you to deny me access to the Heir?” Dáin demanded. He walked over to loom over Bilbo and Dori slapped his hand against the other dwarf’s armored chest.

“Back off, Dáin,” Dori warned. He smiled grimly as the other dwarf took several large steps back. “And I’m part of the King’s Company, that’s who.”

Bilbo suppressed his amusement as Dori escorted them into Oin’s realm. “He’s not going to take that well,” he warned.

“I’ll wait out here then,” Tauriel said. She stared after Dain and exchanged a significant look with Dori. “Just in case.”

“Dáin’s always pushed to get more out of Thorin and his family than he had,” Balin cut in from his place in the infirmary foyer. “And while he’s of the line of Durin, he doesn’t rule here.”

“Right now, Fili does,” Bilbo reminded them. “And the last time we saw each other, I was being forced over the parapet due to Thorin banishing me. I wouldn’t blame him if he doesn’t want to see me.”

“Get in here, Uncle!” a thin and somewhat reedy voice cut through his self-pity.

“Fili!” Bilbo called as he turned towards wherever Oin had stashed the younger dwarf. He stopped abruptly as he realized Fili was sitting up in a bed, propped up carefully so his torso was supported. While he didn’t look as healthy as he had in Bag End, he looked miles better than he had after the Battle of the Five Armies. “Oh, look at you!”

He had not been able to spend any time with his Durin’s while they had Slept and healed in the Stone. No one had any idea if he would negatively affect the process, so out of caution, he had stayed away. That meant that the last time he’d seen Fili had been right after the battle when his wounds were still rawly evident.

“Yeah, this was a surprise,” Fili said with a smile. He turned his gaze to look at Balin, expression morphing into a frown. “And yes, I do want to see you and you’re staying. Now. Oin’s already updated me on Thorin and Kili’s condition. What’s been happening with the Mountain while I was healing?”

“Before we do that, did Oin feed you?” Bilbo asked as he settled into place next to Fili’s bed. The young dwarf looked good. His first impression of the level of his healing seemed to be correct. The wounds were healed to the point of being scars and with every moment that Fili was awake, he seemed to be getting stronger.

“He did,” Fili assured. “Now. Stop delaying. I need to know what’s been happening, no matter how grim.”

Bilbo nodded once and waved once at Balin. The older dwarf took a deep breath and started explaining everything that had happened since Fili had been stabbed on Ravenhill.

The story, Bilbo decided as he listened, wasn’t as grim as it had felt while they were living it. Food had been tight over the winter, but between what Bilbo had managed to pack before they’d left the Shire, and what he’d arranged to buy from Thranduil, everyone in the Mountain had made it through to spring. Their population had sheltered in Erebor and concentrated their attention on repairing the Mountain so it was as habitable as possible. That work meant that everyone had something to do over the long winter and everyone stayed busy.

Bard and the people of Laketown had pitched in as well. After a brief recovery period, the man had arranged to have some of the survivors from his people go back to the site of Laketown to search for anything salvageable. It hadn’t been a huge amount that they’d found, but at the time, every single bit had helped.

While Bilbo had been trying to manage the food situation, Bofur and Bifur had started working on rebuilding the walls of Erebor. The main outer wall had been destroyed first by Smaug and then by Thorin, so making the Mountain weather-tight had been imperative. Winter had thundered down on them without mercy and even with the great forges lit, the whole place had been colder than any of them had been comfortable with. That hard work had paid off quickly and the work teams had moved on to getting Erebor ready for its new inhabitants.

“What was Dain doing while you were all working like dogs?” Fili asked.

“Trying to play king,” Balin said sourly. “He tried to take over as Regent, stating that he should do so, given that the three of you were Sleeping and healing in the Stone and your mother wasn’t here. He tried to ignore my appointment as Regent, but Dwalin, Nori, and I were able to keep him at bay. We all stepped carefully though since the majority of the dwarrow in the Mountain are from the Iron Hills and he’s their Lord.”

“So their loyalty is to him first, and Thorin second,” Fili surmised. “What were Ori, Dori, and Bombur doing while you were all working?”

“Bombur was working with me to make sure everyone was fed,” Bilbo informed him. “Ori was keeping track of everything and acting as the main scribe for Erebor. And Dori was working with Balin to determine each step of the plan to get Erebor back on its feet in between figuring out what we will need to furnish all the rooms we fixed up. We wouldn’t have gotten as far as we have without his input.”

“Gloin and Oin?”

“Gloin was working his way through those mountains of gold to find as much of Dale’s Treasury as he could. We know that Erebor is going to be rich for generations, even if we don’t open another mine, but Dale needs money so they can buy what they need to get back on their feet. And it lets us fulfill the agreement between Thorin and Bard for his assistance,” Balin explained. “The Company decided that there was no way that Erebor could keep the money without looking like a bunch of greedy arseholes. Oin was working to make sure that the wounded that survived the battle got treatment and he spent most of the winter doing so.”

“So none of you sat on your arses, doing nothing,” Fili said.

Dwalin snorted softly. “No lad, we didn’t.”

“What is Dain’s problem? Beyond the fact that he wasn’t declared regent,” Fili asked.

“I’m still here. He thinks that I should still be banished,” Bilbo said with a shrug. “Your uncle was able to let Balin know that he had rescinded my banishment, but Dain thinks we’re all lying. He’s waiting for Thorin to wake up and get rid of me.”

“Uncle, Thorin is no more going to banish you than I’m going to become a brunette,” Fili snapped. “And I’m certain that Balin let Dain know this.”

“I did, lad,” Balin confirmed.

“And he’s still pushing this line?” Fili shook his head. “He’s going to be a joy to deal with.”

Balin snorted softly before he shook his head. “Oh, lad. He’s a right arse and he’s always been this way. Great in a fight, and decent at running the Iron Hills, but he’s never been known to be a political animal. The only smart thing he’s done in this situation is confining his comments to when he’s alone with Bilbo or around the Company.”

“At least Uncle made sure we knew how to be more than our swords or a smart mouth. Navigating clan and family politics weren’t our favorite lessons, but we can do it, even if we’re shite at it,” Fili finished. “Right. Might as well send him in. Dwalin?”

“Sure, lad. I’ll go get him,” Dwalin agreed.

Bilbo made certain to move to the far side of Fili’s bed, out of the line of fire as Dwalin walked out. Better to not get within arms reach of Dain while his dander was up. He nodded once as Oin moved a chair into place.

When Dain walked in, he looked smug and certain of himself. “Fili.”

“Dain,” Fili returned. He stared at the older dwarf and waved at the chair in front of his bed. “Sit. I’ve been briefed on what’s been happening in Erebor since we went to the Stones to Sleep.”

“Good! Then you agree that the halfling needs to be removed from Erebor and sent on his way!” Dain offered with a broad grin. He turned his smile on Bilbo and the expression changed, showing a level of threat that would have scared Bilbo into a heart attack before his adventures. “Thorin will thank me for getting rid of you.”

“No, he would not,” Fili snapped. At the affronted look Dain gave him, he shook his head. “Balin has told me that Thorin rescinded his banishment of Bilbo. He also informed me that you know this too. What makes you forcing Bilbo out of Erebor is a good idea?”

“He’s not a dwarf! He doesn’t belong in Erebor and there’s no way that Thorin will let him stay when he’s back in his right mind!” Dain exclaimed. He waved at Bilbo and curled his lip in a sneer. “He’s a halfling. He’s not worthy of even knowing Thorin.”

“Without him, we would all be dead,” Balin reminded with a level glare.

Dain threw up his hands and tried to talk over Balin. “He gave the Arkenstone to that Man and the Elf!  Thorin should…”

“Thorin should have what?” Bilbo cut in. He was tired of staying out of the discussion and deeply tired of holding his tongue around Dian himself. When Dain said nothing, he got up and walked around to stand in front of the dwarf lord. “Thorin should have what, Dain?”

“He should have kept the banishment at the very least, if not killed you for your betrayal of him,” Dain hissed. “And if he can’t do it, I can!”

“It’s not your place to do that, Dain!” Balin snapped. His beard was almost bristling with his anger and Bilbo slanted him a considering glance as the older dwarf walked over to stand in front of Dain. “You are not Regent, Fili is. You are not Lord here, you are an honored guest. You are not making the rules, Thorin is. And Thorin made the decision that Bilbo Baggins is not banished. That he is in fact, forgiven for taking the Arkenstone and turning it over to Bard and Thranduil. We’re all tired of you ignoring that.”

“Why? Why does he get to stay when he betrayed Thorin?” Dain asked. He stared at each of the Company and gripped the hilt of the knife he was wearing on his belt.

“Bilbo?” Fili asked. He sat up slightly and turned towards him. “It’s up to you how much you want to say.”

“I know, Fili. Just to remind you, Dain,” Bilbo started, staring at Dain with resolve. “The Arkenstone is back in dwarven hands. Bard and Thranduil returned it to Balin after the Battle. You were there for that whole meeting. That is when we confirmed that Gloin was indeed going to find as much of Dale’s treasury as possible. And we gave Thranduil the jewels that he’s been after for over 200 years. And they confirmed that if I hadn’t taken the Arkenstone and turned it over to those two as surety, neither of them would have done a damn thing to help us at all. Beyond the defense of their own people. Because without the surety of the Arkenstone, neither of them thought that Thorin would honor the deal he’d made with Bard. Erebor was already dealing with a broken contract with Thranduil and as King, Thorin needed to honor the contract that had been written and broken by his grandfather.”

“What does that have to do with you?” Dain asked belligerently.

“Thorin is my One, Dain,” Bilbo said simply. He turned his left wrist over and Thorin’s maker’s mark was glowing against his skin. “We figured this out early in our trip up to Erebor. Thorin’s honor is my honor and I could no more allow him to break it than I could break it.”

Danin shook his head. “You cannot be his One. He would have told me!”

“In the middle of a battle, you’re going to have a whole heart-to-heart?” Bilbo asked. “I’m quite certain that he told you he had something to discuss with you after the battle was won.”

From the arrested look on his face, Dain wasn’t expecting Bilbo to correctly guess what Thorin had said. He had no idea if he wanted to be insulted by that or not. After all, Thorin was his One. That meant that Mahal and Yvanna had made them to be perfect for each other, each weakness in one, complimented by a corresponding strength in the other. And that meant that he and Thorin were far more alike than anyone really was ready for.

“He did,” Dain said softly. He stared at the mark on Biblo’s wrist. “Why did you not tell me this months ago?”

“Would you have listened?” Balin asked. He waved a hand at Bilbo’s wrist. “We should not have to had to show you that for you to believe us. I was standing in as Regent. You knew this. I told you that Bilbo was no longer banished and that we were going to be returning Dale’s treasury to them. You fought us on those decisions and every other one we’ve made since then. You are lucky that none of us wanted to push things further and were willing to let you talk. If you’d moved on to trying to physically force Bilbo to leave, you might have lived to regret it.”

“He’s the Prince Consort Under the Mountain,” Dain said after several minutes of silence. He tried to pin Bilbo with a look, but it was half-hearted at best. “You’ve mostly ignored how I acted, why?”

“Because for the most part, you seemed to be concerned with taking care of Thorin and making sure that the Mountain was in good hands,” Bilbo said. That wasn’t the whole story, but it was the one that was the least likely to cause the arsehole in front of him to lose his shite. “You’ve not wanted to listen to anything we’ve said since Thorin, Fili, and Kili went to the Stones to Sleep and we all figured that it would take one of them waking to get you to pay attention.”

Dain stared at him before he turned on his heel and walked out.

“Anyone think he’s going to try to corner Thorin when he wakes to try one more time to get his way?” Nori asked from his spot tucked against the door. “A show of hands?”

Bilbo wasn’t surprised when they all raised their hands. “Yeah, this isn’t over yet.” He rubbed at the spot over his heart where the seeds of his children with Thorin were nestled. He’d refused to plant their children until Thorin was awake and thankfully they were being patient with him. “We need to have guards on Thorin and Kili.”

“Already done, lad,” Dwalin reassured. He looked around. “Where’s Tauriel?”

“She waited outside since we weren’t certain how Fili would take her presence,” Dori said. “Wasn’t she there when you went to go get Dain?”

“It’s a good thing you lot are cute,” Tauriel observed as she dropped out of the rafters over the door. “Because I’m not certain if you’re paying attention to me anymore. Isn’t Erebor letting you know where I am?”

“You don’t register as a foreign party anymore, lass,” Dwalin admitted. Bilbo watched as the rest of the Company nodded in unison. “You’re one of us now. Just… taller than most.”

“I take it Uncle wised up regarding Tauriel?” Fili asked. “And Kili?”

Everyone turned to look at him and Bilbo blinked as he realized that they hadn’t explained what was going on with Kili and Tauriel in their update. “She’s his One. Thranduil banished her, and Balin as Regent granted her a place to stay the winter and Bard offered a place in the Dale as well. We all decided that we would wait until Kili woke up to do anything more.”

“Kili told me that you two were One,” Fili admitted. He waved a hand at her wrist. “He has your name in Sindarin on his wrist.”

“And I have his maker’s mark on mine,” Tauriel confirmed as she turned her wrist over. Bilbo knew that Kili’s mark was glowing on her skin and he had become very familiar with it. They had spent many an evening examining the marks they shared, pointing out the similarities and differences between the two. “I’m going to add my voice to the tally and say that Dain is up to something. He wasn’t happy when he left.”

“Oin,” Bilbo said, turning to pin the healer with a stare. “You’ve been monitoring our Sleepers. Do you have any idea when the next will wake?”

“I’m expecting it to be Kili within the next week,” Oin said after a moment’s thought. “He was far less wounded than Thorin. And frankly, Thorin’s age has to be playing a part in the speed of his healing.”

“Right,” Bilbo nodded once and then sighed. “What do you all think our next steps should be?”

“I’m going to suggest that we call everyone together in the Great Hall and introduce Fili to them as the Regent, let everyone know we will be standing as King’s Council and Fili will hold the throne until Thorin wakes,” Balin suggested. “And I think we need to let everyone here in the Mountain know that Bilbo is Thorin’s One. So Dain can’t plot in the shadows.”

“He’ll be livid,” Dori warned. He was leaning against the wall at the foot of Fili’s bed and turned to stare pointedly at his brother. “Nori?”

He rocked one hand back and forth before blowing out a deep breath. “I have a few men that I trust to keep Bilbo safe,” Nori said slowly. “They’re people that I know from the less-than-legal side, but they’re loyal to Thorin, and they are loyal to Bilbo.”

“As long as they’re discrete, I don’t care,” Bilbo admitted. “I know that I need to be guarded when I’m not in the Royal Residence, so we need to figure out how to do it because I can’t have the Company by my side every day.”

“I will certainly, be,” Tauriel reminded him. “I was Captain of the Guard for Thranduil, so I’m certainly qualified to guard you in an obvious fashion. But I do think that Dain needs to be barred from the Royal Residence.”

“I agree,” Fili agreed. He pressed his lips together before he turned to stare at Nori. “Get the men you want to guard Bilbo here. I want to meet them before they start.”

“I will,” Nori promised. He pressed a fist against his heart and faded out.

Bilbo cocked his head slightly as he listened to Nori walk off. After only three steps, the sounds of his paces disappeared and Bilbo turned his attention back to the room at large. They had some planning to do.



Chapter Two


“Do you think you’ve won?”

Bilbo sighed and stabbed his trowel into the raised bed he was working on. “I know you’ve been barred from the Royal Residences. I distinctly remember Fili telling you that you weren’t welcome in here. Why are you ignoring his decree?”

“I’ve got you covered, Bilbo,” Tauriel whispered.

He could just barely hear her moving around him and he knew that Dain couldn’t hear her at all. The two of them had spent hours working out the exact limits of their hearing for just this sort of situation. No matter how things turned out, this was not going to be good for Dain.

“You can’t be Thorin’s One. You’re a halfling,” Dain said after several seconds of staring at him.

The urge to snap back on the slur against Hobbits was strong, but Bilbo knew that it wouldn’t serve him at all. Sadly. He wanted to box the arsehole’s ears but that was out too since the action would put him within reach. Damn it.

“Well? Don’t you have something to say?” Dain demanded.

“Oh. I’m supposed to defend our bond? Maybe explain how it happened that Mahal and Yvanna decided that a Dwarf and a Hobbit could be One?” Bilbo asked. He tapped his fingers against the mark on his wrist. “Honestly, you’d have better luck asking your maker yourself. I don’t make it a habit of asking Yvanna why she did something and that includes any decisions she makes with her spouse.”

Danin frowned at him. “What do you know of Mahal and his spouse?”

“Yvanna is our Goddess, for the same reasons that Mahal is god,” Bilbo explained. He shifted his grip on his spade slightly as Dain took a step towards him. “Think long and hard on what you’re planning on doing, Dain. You’re already in trouble up to your beard. Go any further and Fili will have your head.”

“But you will be gone and my King will be safe,” Dain countered. He let one hand rest on the hilt of one of his daggers. Bilbo eyed the action and raised an eyebrow at the way his fingers were flexing around the weapon.

“You’ll be dead before that dagger leaves the sheath,” Tauriel promised as she moved forward from her place in the shadows. “I’m honestly uncertain if it would be better to shoot you now or let Fili deal with you. And whatever guards you got around to get in here.”

“I’m going to vote that we let Fili deal with him,” Dwalin suggested as he walked out of the doors leading to Bilbo’s suite. He smiled evilly. “Right after I beat the shite out of him.”

“Why are you going to beat Dain?” Kili asked as he staggered out of the same door. He paused to lean heavily against the lintel and took in the scene. “Never mind. Figured it out. If my vote counts, I’m going to suggest Dwalin beats him, Fili shaves him bald and Uncle can kill him when he wakes up.”

“Let everyone have a hand in it?” Bilbo asked. He was stamping on his urge to gather Kili into his arms and hold him tight. Dain was too close to him to risk that and he didn’t want to get in the line of fire for Tauriel. He was also safe enough that he could take a step back from his position at the raised bed and move out of reach.

“Sure.” Dwalin nodded once and moved to stand in front of Dain. “Tauriel, take Bilbo and Kili into Bilbo’s suite and close the door. Nori’s standing by.”

“Right,” Tauriel said. She uncocked her bow and carefully slipped the arrow back into her quiver before she started moving towards the doors. “Let’s go, Bilbo.”

Bilbo turned and started towards the doors where Kili was leaning. He was going to ignore the sounds coming from the area of his garden where Dain had stopped. Dwalin knew not to damage any of the plants and the paths were certainly wide enough to give him enough room to move. As they got closer he could see that Kili looked like he was struggling to stand upright. “You don’t look all that great, lad.”

“I look fine, Uncle,” Kili protested. He glanced over Bilbo’s shoulder and hummed once in satisfaction. “That’s taken care of.”

“It is,” Tauriel confirmed. She closed the door as soon as she stepped through them and drew the curtains closed. “Do us all a favor, Bilbo, don’t look out there.”

“I won’t,” Bilbo promised. He made sure that he moved out of her way as she headed straight for Kili. He smiled as the two of them embraced fiercely. Tauriel was on her knees and Kili was leaning into her embrace, whispering endearments to each other.

Things were looking up. Two of the Sleepers were awake now and the only one they were waiting on was Thorin. And that meant that he had to be patient. Damn it.

But first, tea.



“That we’re back here again, is not great,” Fili announced. He shifted slightly in his seat before he stilled. “But we are and now it’s up to me to determine what our path forward will be.”

“You aren’t king. Thorin is,” Dain protested.

Fili nodded his head at that. “True. But I’m Regent and while Thorin Sleeps, I stand for him. Which means that I get to deal with the fallout of your behavior.”

“I will wait for the judgment of my king,” Dain said.


  1. Well this is the most evil ending to pop up in my feed today. Congratulations!

  2. Love this! Thanks for posting.

  3. Great EAD Story

  4. Dain is quite the stubborn dwarf, isn’t he? I don’t know if even Thorin will be able to convince him that Bilbo is his One.

  5. Evil.

    But awesome! And Dain is 🤷‍♀️ yeah, I totally buy into this.

    Once again, I’m hooked.

  6. My, my! One dwarf’s stubborn bias will be no match for the soon-whole-again Company. Another wonderful/terrible teaser. *g*

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