Author: Sibyl Moon
Fandom: The Hobbit
Theme/Genre: Chance meetings, Fantasy, AU, Romance, Female Bilbo
Word Count: 5800
Summary: Bellanna Baggins heads to Bree to take care of business after her father’s death and to get away from Hobbiton for a bit. A set of daggers and a handsome face turn her world on end.
Author Note: The Khuzdul phrases in this fic have been translated through google and google searches to the best of my ability, any mistakes are my own. The Dwarrow Scholar website was also a great help.
Prompt: Thorin Oakenshield is working in Bree the first time he meets the Baggins of Bag End. (From Just Write 2021 Prompt Calendar)
“Do you really need to do this on your own, Miss Belle?” Hamfast asked, even as he tightened the straps on the pony and handed her the reins. “Surely the Thain can find a bounder or even one of the rangers to take up this errand.”
“I’m sure he could Ham,” Belle tugged the brim of her sunbonnet forward to cut the glare and turned to her gardener, neighbor, and friend. “But you know that this is something I should be doing as the Master of Bag End. With Dad’s passing his duties fall to me, and while I’ve been able to do much of it by post and through intermediaries over the last year, it has come to the point where I need to go into Bree. I need to meet with our suppliers and check on the trading posts in person, among other things. We’ve always been known for our personal involvement and care in the trade caravans and routes. I’ve been neglecting those details since Dad fell ill. This has been left much too long already, and it won’t do to have the Baggins name thought badly of along the trade routes, not after all the work Mother and Father put into building our reputation.”
“Reputation outside the Shire,” Hamfast took his hat off, slapping it against his leg and ignoring the dust that rose up before putting it back on. “Never heard of such a thing before your mother married your father.”
“I don’t think anyone did,” Belle laughed, adjusting the reins in her gloved hands. She glanced at the sky before looking back down at Hamfast. “To be honest, I could use the break from the Shire as well. You know how they’ve been getting lately.” She saw his grimace and nodded. She smiled gently at him. “I’ll be back before you know it, but if I want to make it to Grandfather’s smial tonight, I need to leave now.”
“Take care, Miss.” Hamfast nodded at her and stepped back. “Don’t worry about Bag End. We’ll keep her to rights until you return.”
“I have no doubts. I’ll see you in a week– send to the Thain if something comes up, he’ll know how to get in touch with me,” she told him, slapping the reins to start the pony plodding down the road toward the Greater Smials.
Marigold was an experienced cart pony and didn’t need direction in the journey beyond being pointed in the direction of the smials, so Belle looped the reins over the cart runner in front of her and opened the food basket on the seat next to her. She pulled out a couple of scones to enjoy once they were on the main road.
Without her permission, her mind drifted over the last few months, darkening her enjoyment of the day. The sting that came when she thought of the loss of her parents was still as sharp as ever, but she felt she was beginning to learn how to breathe around it. Her father had held on until Belle reached her majority. So even though there was talk about managing her, nothing could be done without her consent.
“Hmph,” Belle screwed her face up at that thought, ‘manage her.’ Like she was an unruly kitten who needed to be trained to stay out of the knitting. It was a rare hobbit in Hobbiton who’d understood her Took-Baggins family. They’d seemed to confound them all. “And now they all want to fix me into a proper Baggins.” She sighed and put the second scone back, closing up the basket.
She hadn’t told Ham any falsehoods about this trip to Bree. She needed to deal with business that couldn’t be done through the post or intermediaries. She wasn’t going to have the company built by her parents fall apart just because of her grief or because others thought it unbecoming.
Mostly though, she wanted out of Hobbiton. Away from the looks of pity that followed her around – or worse, the looks of avarice. She knew that many of the hobbits around her were wonderful, kindly, and loving creatures, but the wealth and status that came with Bag End and her family brought out the worst of even the best of people.
Belle was hopeful that she could come up with a solution to the problem while taking care of the last of her dad’s old business before heading back to Bag End and the suitors that would be sniffing around to smother her once she returned. She knew she was being a bit unfair. Most of those around her probably expected her to want to get married and start a family soon.
Even her adventurous mother had done so after all.
‘But,’ Bell thought, sighing. ‘She managed it all on her own terms, with someone who supported her. I don’t see anyone like that around me, and that’s the issue.’
Taking the reins back up, she directed Marigold off the path toward the spring. Hopping down, she made sure to keep her skirts well away from the boards or the edges of the cart, not wanting them to get caught and rip or trip her. She looped the reins around the hitching post and pumped some water for the pony.
Belle wandered back to the cart and hoisted out her basket, toting it over to the bench set up next to the spring where she laid out her lunch. It didn’t take her long to finish, her musing’s direction having quashed her appetite. She was on her way before much time had passed at all.
As the sun began to set, she pulled into the yard of the smial to the chatter of children and chickens.
“Bellanna! We didn’t expect you until tomorrow.” Adamanta Took shook her apron at the faunts and animals alike in her hurry to cross the yard.
“I finished matters up earlier than I thought,” Belle smiled, climbing down and into her grandmother’s arms, enveloped in the scents of lavender, fresh-baked bread, and vanilla. “I can always turn back around if you don’t have room for me. I saw a lovely place for camping out just up the road.”
“Oh hush your mouth girl,” Ada admonished, smacking her shoulder. “Get your bag and get inside, you’re just in time for dinner. Ferdi, come get your cousin’s cart and pony.”
“Still ruling your kingdom with vigor,” Belle quipped once she had her bag and was following her grandmother inside the smial. “A queen in all but name.”
“Oh shut it,” Ada replied without any heat, “You sound just like your Da, kings and queens, bah! Fanciful notions for the big folk, leave it to them. We’re hobbits, we’ll be happy with our smials, gardens, families and little comforts.”
“Of course, Grandmother,” Belle responded just as her father had, carrying on yet another tradition. Peculiarly, the familiarity of it eased the ache in her heart, even without her father in the routine. Perhaps she should have made time to visit over the last few months.
“I’ve already aired your room out,” Ada pointed down the hall. Somehow despite the ever-expanding number of children being added to the family every year, everyone always seemed to have their own room in the warren of the great smial. “You know where it is, put your things away and come back for supper. You must be famished with only basket rations all day.”
“I managed well enough,” Belle protested, laughing and already heading down the hall. “I can smell the chicken stew and biscuits, though. You know that’s my favorite.” Her appetite kicked in for the first time that day.
“I might have taken that into account. Good thing too, you look like you need a good feeding up,” Ada’s voice echoed down the hall after her. “Hurry up, now.”
Belle’s laugh echoed through the hall, and her cheeks hurt a little from smiling by the time she reached her room. Yes, she definitely should have made time to visit earlier.
Belle smiled all the way through dinner, watching her family move around each other in a kaleidoscope of noise and color. The ever-present pain in her heart was surrounded by a well of love and affection that, while it didn’t mute the pain exactly, made it much more bearable the longer she spent with her Took relations.
“How are you doing, cousin?” Ferdinand asked, his question slipping under the noise of the family.
“I didn’t think I would be, but I really am doing okay, Ferdi.” Belle looked at him. They were close enough in age to have spent their fauntling years together whenever her mother had visited Tuckborough.
Squinting at her, he ladled another serving of stew into her bowl, “You do look better than the last time we spoke,” he said, making an oblique reference to her dad’s wake.
“It’s been nearly a year,” she said, taking a buttered scone from his plate, something they’d done to each other since those long-ago years. “If you don’t keep moving, you get mired in the mud.”
“Your mother?” He laughed at her, filling a mug with honey mead and passing it over. He nudged his plate closer to her, even as he plucked a pea pod out of her salad.
“Of course,” Belle smiled softly, watching him and remembering meals where they’d traded bits back and forth, thinking they were being so sneaky under their mothers’ eyes. “She wasn’t someone who liked to dwell on what couldn’t be changed.”
“What are your plans after this trip Bellabee?” Adelard asked from her other side, sticking his long nose into the conversation like always and his cheery smile softening any insult before it could be taken. “We heard that they were lining up over in Hobbiton.”
“Ha!” Belle snatched up the mug Ferdi had barely let go of. She took a long drink before slamming it down. “Those idiots, they can line up all they want. I’m not something that is given out like a gift at a birthday party.”
“Here, here!” Mugs thumped on the table as cheers of agreement went around the table at Belle’s shout.
“You tell them that no daughter of Belladonna Took is going to fall for one of those softhanded, cowed little faunts who’ve never had a trace of garden dirt under their nails,” Ada stood on her chair at the end of the table, her cup raised in a toast to her granddaughter.
“No granddaughter of Adamanta Chubb either,” Alexandrine shouted from her end of the table in support of her sister. “Or my great niece.”
“By Yavanna.” Gerontius Took looked up at his wife and then down the table to his granddaughter. Then again to his sister-in-law. “The women in this family have always been fierce, every generation. I wonder if something will happen to dilute that spirit. I’m happy to say that it hasn’t happened yet, even when my fiercest daughter married the stuffiest of the Baggins’.”
“Dad wasn’t so stuffy in the end,” Belle laughed, calming down at the show of support from her Took relations. She still didn’t know what she’d do when she went back home, but here tonight, it didn’t matter.
“No, he surprised everyone,” the Thain agreed. Conversations began to pick back up around them, quieter now. “Himself most of all, I think.”
“He’d do anything for Mother,” Belle said softly, but she didn’t disagree with her grandfather.
“Don’t let any of those stuffed shirts tell you that you have to marry,” her grandfather told her as she headed off to bed later that night. “I’ll support whatever choice you make, Bellabee,” he said, the old nickname from her faunt years making itself known again.
“I have no intention of marrying anyone right now,” Belle assured him. She let herself be drawn into his embrace. Closing her eyes, she could smell the Longbottom leaf he’d been smoking earlier lingering on him. “Definitely not one of those fools simpering around Bag End right now.” She knew she was being unfair, really she did. Most of them were probably good lads, they just weren’t good for her, and she didn’t feel like being fair right then.
“Good, not a one of them deserves you anyway,” he said, patting her shoulder. “You’re the granddaughter of a queen, remember?”
They snickered in the dimly lit hallway at the huffing sound behind them where Ada was getting Belle a few more blankets.
“There are no queens in the Shire and definitely none in Tuckborough,” she snapped at the two of them, but Belle could see her lips twitching upwards as she fought a smile. “If you’re quite done acting like faunts.”
“Are you saying I’m not a princess, Grandmother?” Belle forced her eyes wide, feeling them begin to water.
“Oh, pish tosh,” Ada thrust the blankets at Belle huffily and sashayed back down the hall. They both heard her muffled chuckles as she disappeared around a corner.
“Well, I think you’re a princess, sweetheart,” Gerontius said, pulling her into one more hug, awkward around the bulk of the blankets. “Don’t let anyone treat you as less.”
“I won’t. Goodnight, Grandfather,” Belle replied, kissing his cheek and then watching him make his way after Adamanta, wondering if she would ever find someone that matched her the way that her grandparents were or the way her parents had been. “I doubt I’ll ever find anyone to match me. Definitely not here or back home. Too much of an odd duck, I think.”
Shaking off her melancholy thoughts, she headed off to bed. She had the second leg of a long trip to finish tomorrow, and she’d need her wits about her in Bree with all the big folk.
Despite her protests, Belle didn’t quite make it out of the smial without breakfast. Her cart was hitched and ready when she woke up, but Ada just plunked a bowl of porridge on the table in front of Belle and stood in front of her until she sat down and finished it.
After promising to stop on her way back home, Belle was sent on her way before anyone else was up. Plucking a plum up out of the overflowing basket repacked by her grandmother, Belle nibbled on it as she rumbled her way down the road to Bree.
She expected to make it to the town shortly before the gates were shut for the night. She’d sent a message to the bounders so they could send ahead to let the inn know that she’d need a room for the night and room in the stable for the cart and pony.
The day wore on, the sun sharp and warm. She paused twice to water the pony and herself, grateful that it was already early fall. Traveling in the summer heat would have been unbearable. Still, she kept her sunbonnet on. The last thing she wanted was a burnt nose when she arrived in town.
She’d been correct in her timing: the sun was just setting when she saw the gates of Bree. Her cart rattled through, pausing only to state her business and get direction to her inn. The guard didn’t give her much of a glance. Big folk rarely did when it came to hobbits.
“Always overlooked, always underestimated,” Belle murmured as she navigated the narrow streets to her inn. Her mother had always said that, and Belle supposed that she’d been correct.
Passing off the cart and pony to the stablehand, she made arrangements for her bags to be brought to her rooms and headed into the inn.
“Hello,” Belle stepped up to the desk, untying her bonnet and giving the area a glance. She waited patiently for the gentleman to look over the desk at her. “You should have a room for me under Baggins.”
“Yes,” he coughed, looking down at the desk, then back over the top at her, “Missus Baggins?”
“Yes,” she said, nodding firmly and smiling. She tried channeling a mix of her grandmother and mother to hide her nerves. This was her first time in Bree on her own. She was determined not to look too out of place. “I’ve made arrangements to have my bags brought in.” She raised her brow at him when he continued to stare at her. “If you could direct me to my room and a meal, that would be wonderful.” She smiled, feeling very tired suddenly.
“Of course, of course,” he scuttled out from around the desk, grabbing a key. “Follow me, we have only a few – smaller rooms – for our esteemed neighboring citizens when they visit our fair town. Luckily one is available for the next week.” He glanced over his shoulder at her.
“A week should be fine,” she said smiling. “I’ll be sure to let you know if my business will take longer than that.” She looked around as they moved through the inn, approving of what she saw.
“Here, we are,” he unlocked the room and gestured her in with a dramatic motion. “Dinner is served in the main dining room all evening – it gets rowdy in there the later it gets though.”
“I’ll be down for something as soon as I settle my things then,” Belle said, nodding. “Thank you for the advice.”
“Here is your key,” he said, handing it over. “Breakfast and luncheon are served in the dining room as well, times are posted on the board, but the kitchen will serve something all day for an extra fee.”
She thanked him again. Belle watched as the boys from the stable brought her bags in almost as soon as he left. She tipped them and sent them on their way as quickly as possible.
She shut the door after them, leaning against it a moment before gathering herself and setting her things to rights.
Taking the desk clerk’s words to heart, she decided to head down to the dining hall and get her supper out of the way before going straight to bed.
Waking to the sun in her face was not pleasant, and Belle made a note to close the curtains that night as she crawled out of bed all out of sorts, sore from two days in a cart and in beds not her own.
“Nothing to do but to do,” Belle told herself as she rummaged for her toiletries. She laid out her clothes for the day and wrapped her dressing gown around herself before heading down the hall to the women’s bathing room.
Quickly going through her morning ablutions, she was glad she’d taken advantage of the baths the night before to wash the travel dust off so she could get an early start on her errands this morning.
She carefully coordinated her outfit: her nice green dress, gold anklets with emerald charms, and a matching umbrella meant to keep both rain and sun at bay. The sharpened point at the end would keep other things at bay as well, to say nothing for the daggers hidden in various places on her person. Belle may not have left the Shire since she was a small faunt, but her parents had prepared her as well as they could to take over their trade business. Nobody had expected it to be this soon though.
She stopped first for breakfast and some tea, taking a few scones with her for later. The very idea that the big folk didn’t have second breakfast would always be a mystery to her.
Heading out, she stopped first at the trading post.
“Mr. Brindle,” she dimpled prettily at the man behind the counter. “I had hoped to find you here.”
“Young Miss Baggins,” he said jovially, coming around to crouch in front of her. “What brings you by my shop?”
“Well, business,” she said, frowning now. “You’ve heard, I’m sure, of my father’s passing.”
“Yes, terrible thing,” Mr. Brindle said, shaking his head. “He was a good man, an honest hobbit.”
“Yes, he was,” Belle agreed. “He left his business to me and, while I’ve been taking care of matters through the post over the last year during his illness and passing, I felt it was time to handle things personally. I’ve come to Bree now to check on everything, settle any debts that might have been missed, that sort of thing. You know how my parents insisted on a personal touch for the caravans and the people who worked for them. I feel it’s my duty to continue that.”
“Very like your father, you are, Miss Baggins.” Mr. Brindle nodded, standing and going back around the counter and gathering some books. Coming back, he led her to a table and helped her into a chair. “I’ve sent copies of papers over the last year, but these are the books. I have a copy that I had made for your father before he passed. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, but I suppose they’ll go to you now. I didn’t send it on because I wasn’t sure if you would be continuing the caravan in the same fashion.”
“It will,” Belle nodded. “I’ll take them with me when I go and we’ll keep up the same arrangement for now.”
She spent the next few hours going over the books with Mr. Brindle and setting up the last trade caravans for the fall. She made arrangements to have the new books delivered to Bag End when they were finished and took her leave.
“You do your father proud, Miss Baggins,” Mr. Brindle said as she left.
“I plan to, my mother as well,” Belle replied, heading off to get some luncheon.
She found herself in the trade district near the shop and bought a hand pie off a vendor, eating it as she wandered around. Belle drifted to a shop displaying weaponry in the window. It had a lovely set of throwing knives that she just had to have if the price was right.
Belle’s obsession with weaponry hadn’t been very becoming in Hobbiton, but both her parents had indulged her over the years.
The bells jangled when she entered. Dusting the crumbs from her fingers, she shut the door behind her, closing out the sounds of the street. She was surprised by the counter in the shop. It was still above her head, but not by as much as usual.
“Hello,” she called, “I was wondering about the throwing knives in your display.”
There was a thump, some clanging, and some disgruntled grunting before the cloth hanging that concealed the backroom was thrust aside, and a well-built dwarrow stepped out.
Belle’s breath caught. He was the most attractive being she’d ever laid eyes on. Dark hair, piercing eyes, and even his proud bearing made her knees tremble. He was also the most disagreeable-looking person she’d ever seen. Disagreeably handsome, handsomely disagreeable – she couldn’t decide. She locked her knees and firmed her mouth, lifting her chin.
“What?” He barked out the command like a general at war.
She straightened her spine, pressed her lips together, and raised her brows, gripping her umbrella. “The throwing daggers in your window. I would like to look at them.”
“Hmm,” he looked at her tilting his head, then smiled.
Belle felt his smile like a physical blow, “Oh dear, you shouldn’t do things like that to a poor hobbit.”
He raised his brows this time, “Like what?” He moved to the window and pulled the daggers out, walking them to a low table to lay them out for her.
“Smile like that, it’s bound to give a lady the wrong idea,” she huffed at him, making her way over to study the daggers and the dwarrow.
“What would be the wrong idea?” he asked, laughter in his voice now.
“Oh, never you mind.” She hooked her umbrella on the table and lifted one of the daggers, weighing it in her hand, flipping it around to get a feel for it. Pulling her gloves off, she set them aside and tested the blade. Giving the daggers a thorough inspection, she turned to the dwarrow to find him looking at her.
“You know your daggers, Missus,” he said, eyes intense on her face. “A fine hand for them too.”
“You have quite the way with words, Mister –” she turned to look up at him, still holding a dagger. “I never did get your name, and it’s Miss.”
“Thorin,” he replied, catching her gaze and holding it. A slow smile curved lips under a dark beard that Belle’s fingers itched to touch. “My name is Thorin. What should I call you, Miss?”
Belle felt her cheeks heat. For the first time, she felt the fluttering in her stomach and the dizziness in her head her mother had always spoken of. Despite her disdain for the male population in the Shire, she knew when she was being flirted with.
“Bellanna Baggins,” she said, dipping her head, partially to hide her blush. “These are lovely work. Do you know the maker?” She glanced up at him from under her lashes.
“I do,” Thorin said, smirking at her. His gaze was full of laughter. “I know him quite well, actually.”
“I have a feeling that you’re going to tell me that you’re not just a shopkeeper,” Belle huffed, looking at Thorin’s arms. Even covered by the tunic and jacket common to the area, they were impressive, stretching the fabric just enough to give Belle’s imagination fertile ground. She swallowed dryly.
“You’d be right,” he laughed, and when she huffed and flapped a hand in his direction, he reached out and – giving her time to retreat – took her hand in his. “You’re a firecracker, aren’t you?”
Heart skipping, Belle tugged experimentally at her hand, not really trying to take it back. “You’re awfully courageous, you know?” She kept her eyes on his.
“How so?” Thorin murmured, leaning down, not crowding her, just close to her.
“I’m still holding one of your daggers, Master Thorin,” she said, letting what light there was glint off the blade.
“It looks good in your hand,” he replied, stepping back and releasing her hand slowly. “I’m surprised to find a hobbit in this shop; usually I see your kin at the smithy or in one of the booths with our more general wares.”
Belle looked at him from under her lashes as she tried to decide if he was insulting her or not. She nodded finally and set the dagger down with the others.
“I like sharp and dangerous things,” she said. “I have plenty of pots and pans for now.” Her smile felt sharp and dangerous when she turned back to look at the handsome dwarrow.
“Hmm, but not enough daggers?” Thorin sounded amused as he leaned back against the store counter.
“One can never have too many daggers,” Belle agreed, stepping closer to him feeling daring, her heart beating in her throat. She felt drawn to Thorin like a hummingbird to honeysuckle. “Despite what my – kin – might believe.” She searched his face to see if she was unwelcome so close.
“You-” Thorin stopped and looked at her – looked into her in a way no one had ever done before. She felt stripped bare before him and shivered, her stomach clenching, her head buzzing with delight. “Are you in town long?”
“A few days,” Belle said, coming to a stop in front of him. “I’ve finished most of my reasons for my visit, though, and I should head back to Bag End.”
“You don’t sound enthusiastic about that,” he pointed out, tucking a curl behind her ear. Belle was startled by how natural his touch felt. “You could stay a few days, unless there is someone important waiting for you.”
“No,” Belle replied, grief welling up, a wave overtaking her before she caught her breath. “No, no one is waiting for me anymore. My parents have both passed on now.”
“[I]Bless those who mourn, creator, shield them from the pain with your hammer and guide them to a new day.Umhûdizu tadaizd ku’ adrûthîzd, Mahal , murukhîzd udu charach bakhuzizu ra udnîn izd ana ghiluz nur,” Thorin murmured, pulling her unresisting body close.
Belle didn’t understand what he’d said, but the guttural language and the comfort offered was a soothing balm over her battered heart. She’d been shoring herself up alone since her father’s death. She’d been unable to show any weakness to the hobbits of the Shire and give them an opening to get a foot in the door, and too far from her Took relations to be able to lean on them safely.
“Oh – oh dear,” she sniffled, tugging a handkerchief out of her sleeve. “This is a fine kettle. I do apologize, how unbecoming –” she pulled back and dabbed at her eyes. “Well, that’s just wonderful. I do apologize, Master Thorin. The last thing you need is a lady weeping all over you, I’m sure.”
“I wouldn’t say that you are just any lady, Lady Bellanna,” Thorin replied, stopping her from twisting her handkerchief into knots and tilting her chin up to meet his gaze. “I was going to ask if you would spend the next few days with me. I have little to offer, but I find I can’t let you go if you are amenable.”
“Oh,” Belle felt herself flush from something other than embarrassment. “That sounds lovely and please, call me Belle.”
“If you’d like you could join me for supper this evening,” Thorin offered, gesturing toward the ceiling. “I live above the shop. After I close up if you come back by-”
“Yes,” Belle declared, and feeling emboldened once again, she stood on her toes to kiss the dwarrow on his cheek. “I’ll come for supper, and I’ll buy those daggers.”
“No,” Thorin said suddenly after a moment where he’d just stared at her, his hand touching the spot she’d kissed. “Let me –those daggers – I wish to gift them to you.”
Belle cocked her head to the side, anticipation causing her breath to catch in her throat. “Gift them to me? In the Shire something like this – it would be considered a courting gift.”
“I’ll wrap them and present them at dinner,” Thorin replied. He reached for her hand, turning it over and kissing her palm.
Belle felt the tingling warmth shiver from her fingertips all the way down to her bare toes.
“You didn’t answer my question, Sir,” she replied breathlessly, allowing him to tuck her arm into his elbow and escort her to the door.
“I don’t remember hearing a question, my lady,” Thorin said, an amused tilt to his lips beneath the beard. He had definitely regained his equilibrium after her surprise kiss on his cheek.
Belle huffed, pulling away from him once they reached the door to the shop. She hooked her umbrella over her elbow and crossed her arms, glaring at the dwarrow.
“Are you asking to court me, Master Thorin?” she asked with deceptive sweetness. “Or am I free to look around for another suitor?”
“You are going to be the most confounding dam,” Thorin huffed at her, reaching for her once more and pulling her to him, cradling her against his chest. “Yes, you little firecracker, I am stating my intention to court you.”
“Well,” she sniffed, reveling in the feel of his strong arms around her. “That’s quite alright then.”
“I’m glad,” Thorin laughed. It sounded a bit rusty but lovely, resonating and deep. “I wouldn’t want to go against my One.”
“Your One?” Belle wondered, tilting her head back to look up at him.
“We’ll talk more at dinner,” Thorin smiled at her, bending and pressing his lips to hers.
His beard was soft, and his lips warm and demanding against hers. Belle heard her umbrella fall with a light thump as she raised her hands to clutch Thorin’s shoulders. She sighed when a hand cradled the back of her head and he deepened the kiss, his tongue sweeping over her lip, teeth nipping slightly.
“Thorin,” Belle sighed, pulling back, her eyes fluttering open to meet his. Thorin’s eyes were almost entirely black, with just a thin ring of blue around them.
“You undo me, ghivashel,” he murmured against her hair after pulling her close again. He held her tight – she could hear his heart beneath her ear, his breath quick but steady. “You’re going to need to go if I am to have things ready for this evening.” He ran his hands to her shoulders and set her back from him. Bending down, he picked up her umbrella and handed it to her.
“Well,” Belle said and then stopped when she couldn’t think of anything else to say. She felt like she’d just spent a lifetime with Thorin. Some part of her recognized him, and it should frighten her. It would shock any other hobbit, she was sure, but Bellanna Baggins was the daughter of Belladonna and Bungo Baggins. She wasn’t like any other hobbit. “I’ll be back later on then?”
“For dinner, yes,” Thorin agreed, opening the shop door for her. “I’ll have your daggers ready.”
“I’ll look forward to it then,” Belle replied, tilting her face so she could look up at him from under her lashes. She was sure she looked a rumpled mess after her tears and then the delightful kissing, but she couldn’t find it in her to care.
“I’ll be waiting,” Thorin said, using a finger to tilt her face up and lay a chaste kiss on her lips before he stepped back in the shop and let the door shut.
Belle watched him move to the display window out of the corner of her eye, and she felt his eyes on her until she was out of sight.
Lost in thought, she made her way back to the inn and up to her room. Sitting on the bed, she thought about what would happen at dinner when she officially accepted Thorin’s courting gift.
She hugged herself with a smile, feeling warm all the way to her toes as she wriggled them. She hadn’t been this happy since before her parents had passed. The thought brought a small bite of grief, but there was also the idea that they’d both be thrilled for her.
This was not how she’d imagined her trip to Bree would go, and she was still unsure how this would play out. A hobbit and a dwarrow courting – she felt a thrill shoot through her thinking about Thorin.
She was highly looking forward to what was coming.
The courting, getting to know Thorin, more of those fantastic kisses. Then to top it all off, the reactions of the Shire to her courting partner – well, that would be delightful as well. Just the thought of it made her laugh. It was all going to be absolutely wonderful, however it played out. Belle was sure of it.
|↑I||Bless those who mourn, creator, shield them from the pain with your hammer and guide them to a new day.|