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Title: Parchment & Mithril II
Author: Flakedice
Fandom (Hobbit/LOTR/SIL/crossover): Hobbit
Characters/pairings: Bilbo Baggins/Thorin Oakenshield
Rating/warnings/etc: PG. Nothing worse than the book or the movies
Summary: Bilbo Baggins is not the Hobbit he used to be before taking off on his adventure. Lobelia knows he's hiding something.

AN: Big hugs and thanks to slythay for being my artist this year. I'll put links up to their gorgeous art very soon.

And a big round of applause to peaches who made [community profile] hobbitbigbang possible! :)

Green Hills:

Parchment & Mithril II

Bilbo's shoulders sagged as he heard the front gate slam shut. He lowered Sting, drawing in a shaky breath. No doubt word of his actions would spread like wildfire through the Shire. But at least he would be spared Lobelia's visits for a while.

His gaze fell on his ransacked desk. His futile efforts at a letter were scattered and cast aside as if they were nothing.

Thorin's portrait was visible among them, his gaze softened by the start of the smile on his lips-

Oh, how Bilbo wished that gaze was upon him now.

Bilbo tore his gaze away and sheathed Sting, setting the sword down next to the desk. He picked up one of his half-finished letters and cast it aside with a sneer. No matter what he wrote it would make no difference.

Or at least so he told himself. Bilbo was all too aware that not sending a letter meant he was not waiting for one in return. A torture for which he was ill equipped these days.

He had left Erebor in a state of uncertainty. A grim urgency had fallen upon the mountain after the battle. Makeshift hospitals had been set up within the damaged halls. A regiment of the relatively unwounded had been caught up in the care of the sick, scrounging up supplies and running errands for the few healers Erebor retained.

All those that remained worked hard in clearing the halls and making them fit for habitation. So confident - or desperate a small voice in Bilbo's mind cautioned - had Thorin been of their success, he had left orders for Ered Luin to empty and their people return to Erebor. In response to the prospect of a caravan of kin arriving within a few months, the dwarves had flung themselves into preparations.

It had soon become clear that one small hobbit had little business in remaining within Erebor's great halls. Least of all one that had betrayed its king.

Bilbo had left in the depth of night, finally a thief in name and deed. He had felt guilt at helping himself to supplies for the journey. Even more for keeping the gifts Thorin had given him.

He would have demanded their return, Bilbo knew. But for all that had happened, the guilt he carried, Bilbo wasn't ready to let them go. Heartsick as he was, he was desperate to hold onto the tangible evidence of Thorin's affection. Evidence of his regard, no matter how short it had lasted.

He had made no goodbyes. There was no one to see him leave, exiled and a traitor.

Bilbo had managed to help the dwarves reclaim their home but there was no place for him. The realisation had only grown after the battle, in the way other members of the company had treated him. What familiar warmth there had been had faded.

Perhaps there never had been a place for him. Bilbo had been set apart from the very beginning. Useless baggage brought along for later purpose. It wasn't until Bilbo had saved Thorin's life that things had changed. That Thorin had started to look at him differently and the Company had followed suit.

Bilbo found himself tracing over the stones of the bracelet, fingertips gliding over the smooth cut surfaces.

For three glorious months, he had thought that he had found his place. That there was a reason he had always felt like he had simply settled in the Shire. There was more and he had finally found it.

Bilbo blinked his eyes against the sting of tears, the tight painful clutch of his chest.

Bilbo turned his back on the desk, Thorin's portrait and the pile of unfinished letters. He couldn't face making another attempt today.

He picked up the stained cloth sitting on the edge of the desk - pulling it out from the pile of parchment - and wrapped it around his wrist, covering the bracelet from sight.

Not when he felt there was no forgiveness to be had.


On to Part Three



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