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To Fly Again

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Beladrielas the Clever was said to be an intelligent dragon, and quick as could be. They said that his scales were as silver as the lonely moon. He was a young dragon, or at the very least, smaller than his brethren.


But what made Beladrielas different from other dragons was his decision to turn against their ways. He had sided with the elves in the Great Conflict that destroyed most of the dragons.


Most of these kills could be attributed to him. Beladrielas had a way with words, and could often stall his fellows long enough for his elven and human allies to slay them. Others, he had pursuaded to turn on the dragons.


The last battle Beladrielas ever faught was the most dangerous. He raced against time to weaken Smaug, to last against him long enough for the elves and humans to win. All assembled knew that Smaug was the last of the Great Fire-Drakes. They knew that killing him would end the war...

 

But Smaug was as cunning as Beladrielas. None of the archers below could make a shot for fear of hitting Beladrielas instead, leaving Beladrielas on his own.

 

 

The last seen of either dragon for centuries to come was Beladrielas falling from the sky, barely able to stay in the air. He had disappeared into the mountians, and they had been unable to find his body.

 

Smaug had disappeared. Until he attacked Erebor and claimed the gold within.

 

 

 


 

There were only two beings in the all of Middle-Earth who knew the fate of Beladrielas. Those two were Beladrielas himself, and Gandalf.

 

Beladrielas had managed to fly quite a distance away before he'd had to land. That was where he had met Gandalf. Beladrielas hadn't had much of a choice back then, either Gandalf could save him or he would die no matter what.

 

So Gandalf had changed his form.

 

Beladrielas had been given a new name, one that suited his form far better, along with instructions to keep his head down and avoid too much attention.

 

Then he had been dropped off in the Shire.

 

 

He had garnered attention, or course, but he had managed to fit in.

Centuries passed, and it got to the point where none of the Hobbits paid him much attention, and, while Beladrielas loved his new life, he found ways to practice fighting so that he could defend himself and the Shire.

 

 

He had been especially fond of Belladonna Took, and when she chose to adventure off with Gandalf, that had been only time he had ever left the Shire since his arrival. He found himself enjoying himself, and soon the reason he accompanied Gandalf and Belladonna was no so much for Belladonna's protection, but also for himself.

 

He had cheered when she had married Bungo Baggins, and had cried with her when they learned that she was barren. He wasn't there, however, when she and Bungo agreed to name him as their heir.

 

The other Hobbits had reluctantly agreed to this, with the condition that he become a Baggins.

 

 

And so he did. He took up the Baggins name and everything it represented.

 

 

 

 

And that is how Bilbo Baggins came to be.

Chapter Text

Beladrielas became a true Baggins surprisingly quickly. He had been resectable enough before he had inheirited Bag End, but afterwards, within twenty years he was seen as perfectably respectable.


It hadn't been easy, but the loss of yet nother friend left Bilbo without much of a desire to adventure.

Before he had taken every oppurtunity to adventure with Gandalf, trying to find a way to regain his true form.

And when he had heard of Smaug's reemergence, he had argued with the wizard, telling Gandalf to give him his true form back so he could face Smaug.

Gandalf had refused, telling Bilbo he was not to face Smaug, telling him that he would regain his true form when it was truly needed.

So Bilbo had settled down, doing his best to forget his time as Beladrielas.

And he had told Gandalf that under no circumstances would he go adventuring again.

So why was Gandalf walking up the lane?

***

Gandalf had asked Bilbo on an adventure, completely forgetting how Bilbo had told him that he would not, under ANY circumatances, go adventuring again.

Except his specific wording had said something about Smaug and his death, but wouldn't Bilbo have heard if Smaug was dead?

No matter, he'd sent Gandalf away, inviting him for tea out of politeness, no real invitation meant. Gandalf had left with a 'humf!' And that had been the end of that.

Except there were dwarves in his smial. Claiming that Gandalf had sent them.

So he was scrambling around, trying to keep his smial (and china!) in one piece. Really, didn't those dwarves have any manners? It made him glad that he'd faught alongside elves and men instead of dwarves!

Except, right, the dwarves had brought an elf with them. At least the elf had better manners.

And then when Gandalf finally arrived, he refused to tell Bilbo anything about what was going on until the leader of the Company arrived.

And then the dwarves started throwing around his good china.

Really! The nerve of those dwarves!

***

The dwarves leader arrived and turned out to be a dwarf. Of course.

And, being a dwarf, the first thing that he did after entering Bilbo's smial was insult him. All because he had said he had some skill at conkers!

To be honest, that was sort of his fault. He'd been surprised at the dwarf questioning him on his weapon of choice. He knew that throwing conkers and throwing knives were really similiar.

And then the dwarf didn't even thank him for saving some food!

Bilbo half listened to the detail of the quest. They needed a burglar to steal the Arkenstone from-

Wait, Smaug?

Bilbo clenched his teeth, feeling very much like Beladrielas again. he fixed Gandalf with a Look, trying to silently convey to the wizard that they needed to talk.

Hopefully he got the message.

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Nori had noticed something off with their Hobbit host. He'd slipped through the Shire too many times to not notice the differences between this Hobbit and the rest.

 

Like how when he ran his fingers through his hair his hair changed from gold to silver, bouncy and curly to flat and scaly. His fingers briefly became tinted with silver as well.

 

And his eyes. Whenever he was annoyed his eyes changed, circular pupils into vertical lines. And even when he wasn't annoyed, they held a weight that suggested that he was MUCH older that he looked.

 

Nori had slipped away while Thorin was explaining their quest to speak with the Hobbits about their host, and he'd gotten a lot of information.

 

"They call him the First Took." Nori told Thorin. "Say he's lived in the Shire for near two hundred years or so. Without aging a day."

 

"A former wizard, prehaps?" Thorin asked.

 

"No, I've heard accounts of him fighting with weapons. Mostly daggers and throwing knives, though." Nori said. "They say that he just showed up one day out of the blue with Gandalf."

 

"Where did he come from, then?" Thorin asked.

 

"Wouldn't tell me that they thought." Nori said, "At least, the adults wouldn't. One of the young romantic ones said that the Hobbits reckened that he's Gandalf's half-Hobbit son. They claim he saved all their lives during something called the Fell Winter."

 

"Fell Winter?" Thorin asked, eyes snapping up at the thief.

 

"Aye." Nori said. "Coldest winter the Shire's ever known. Even froze the Brandywine, the Shire's only means of protection. Wolves and..." He trailed off. "Thorin, Orcs and Goblins attacked the Shire. Either it was because they were hungry, or it was because-"here Niro paused.

 

"What, Nori?" Thorin asked sharply.

 

"A legend." Nori said. "They've no proof but... They tell tale of some Bullroarer Took, a hobbit who could ride a horse and knocked a Goblin Kings head off. The Hobbits say that the Goblins still remember."

 

 

"Have you noticed anything off about him?" Thorin asked.

 

"Aye, one thing I know for sure is whatever he is, he's no Hobbit." Nori said. "Gandalf placed some sort of enchantment on 'im, and it's wearing off. When he runs 'is hands through his hair when hes' stressed, 'is hair turns silver and scaly. 'Is hands gain a silver tint. Sometimes 'is eyes become vertical slits, and even without that, I can see 'es older than he looks."

 

"He's gone to speak with the wizard." Thorin said. "Listen in, if you can." Nori nodded and headed off, finding their host and Gandalf with surprising ease.

 

 

They were already deep in conversation.

 

 

"-nearly killed me last time Gandalf! And you used up almost all of your magic saving my life! No, I'm not-"

 

"Bilbo!" Gandalf snapped. "You said you wanted to face him. You have your chance now and you know as well as I that without you their quest is doomed to fail!"

 

"I don't have a death wish Gandalf!" Bilbo replied, voice taunt. "I'm more than happy to live the rest of my days here, in the Shire!"

 

"Belladonna wouldn't have been pleased to see what her death did to you!" Gandalf said. "The two of you had so much fun together, it's a surprise she married Bungo instead!" A moment passed. "You loved adventuring as much as she did, even the Baggins' could see that."

 

"Her death was the final straw." Bilbo said. "I can't watch more of them die, Gandalf!"

 

"Then why are you staying?" Gandalf asked. "If you stay, then you will watch as they age and die around you, while you remain the same for centuries! This is your only chance. My magic was never meant to be permanent, but at this rate, it will be! It has sunken in so deep that this may be the only thing that can undo it!"

 

"Gandalf, you don't know what you're asking of me." Bilbo said. "I-"

 

"I will need that magic soon, Beladrielas!" Gandalf snapped. "And if you do not come, then your peaceful life will be shattered by another who's intentions are not as pure as mine! I can feel the stirrings of the Enemy. I know you can feel his call."

 

"I can ignore it." Bilbo - or was it Beladrielas? - replied. "He has no claim over me."

 

"His magic is stronger than mine." Gandalf said. "And it will break through my spell, and sieze control over your mind."

 

"I cannot go, Gandalf." Bilbo said. "I have a duty to the Shire."

 

The dwarf thief waited a few more moments, but it appeared that their conversation had ended.

 

 

Nori returned to Thorin. "It appears he will not come."

 

"I thought not." Thorin growled. "He is a soft creature."

Chapter Text

When Bilbo woke up in the morning, his smial was quiet and his guests were already gone.

Gone to face Smaug, with or without him.

And even with him, the chances of their success were rather slim, given what had happened last time he'd faced Smaug.

Despite the dwarves nonexistent manners, he couldn't let them go to their deaths. He let out a sigh, before searching for anything that they might've left.

He found a contract sitting on one of his tables and quickly picked it up, before reaching over to grab his pen and he signed it. He rolled it up, and put it in his bag, leaving his copy of his will in it's place. The Thain, his adoptive cousin Drogo, and Hamfast all had copies of his will to ensure that it would be followed.

Then he stepped out of Bag End, locking it. He hurried to Hamfast's, knocking on the door.

"Bilbo?" The Hobbit asked. "What are you doing out so early in the morning? It's time for first breakfast!"

"I'm on an adventure," Bilbo said, handing Hamfast the key. "Don't let Lobelia have it, don't even let her know YOU have it. If you would, keep my house clean and my garden in order, would you?"

"I can do that." Hamfast agreed with a nod. "Where are you going?"

"With the dwarves that showed up last night," Bilbo said. "They're heading off to certain death if I don't come." With that, he took off again.

"Good luck Master Bilbo!" Hamfast shouted after him, finally remembering his manners as he hid Bilbo's key.

***

His stride lengthened when he saw the dwarves on ponies up ahead and doubted himself for a moment. It disappeared just as quickly as it had appeared when he reminded himself that without him they stood no chance against Smaug.

"Wait!" He shouted. "I signed it!" They stopped and turned around and he pulled the scroll out of his adventure bag and handed it to Balin. He read through it quickly before turning to Thorin.

"It appears everything is in order." He said, nodding approvingly. "Welcome to the Company of Thorin Oakenshield, Master Baggins."

"Give him a pony!" Thorin barked, and Bilbo opened his mouth to protest before he remembered how far away Erebor was.

Instead, he settled for giving Gandalf a dark glare as Fili and the elf picked him up from their ponies and put him on one of his own.

Then the dwarves started throwing around money. Bilbo looked around, confused.

"They bet on whether or not you would come," Gandalf said, pulling up so he rode next to Bilbo.

"And you?" Bilbo asked, refusing to look at the wizard.

It didn't stop him from hearing the sound of a bag of money hitting the wizard's hand. He sighed in response, before thinking of something else.

"You mentioned the Enemy," Bilbo said, looking at Gandalf. "You think that he will recruit Smaug if he isn't defeated."

"Dragons worked for him last time." Gandalf pointed out. "And few dragons decided to help Men and Elves after his defeat."

"There were dragons that chose to help the Men and Elves?" Ori asked, overhearing their conversation. "What were they named?"

"Yes, there were," Bilbo said, feeling two pairs of eyes on his back. "I wouldn't know about it if my family didn't have their hands on the few books on the subject. I only ever read about one, and according to the book, the last he was seen was just after a fight with Smaug. The dragon was young, while Smaug was older and a better fighter. The book says that he had at least one fatal wound from Smaug and flew off to die alone."

"What was his name?" Ori asked, and Bilbo frowned thoughtfully.

"I never found it in my books." He said. "Perhaps Gandalf knows. Apparently, he was alive back then."

"Smaug fought nearly every one of the dragons that chose to side with Men and Elves," Gandalf said. "And killed every single one he fought. There was Qurrkio, Zyaecur, Xyafizz, Akurox, and, I think... Czach. Though I know I'm forgetting one or two."

"Dragons are vile creatures, wizard!" Thorin snapped. "Capable only of bringing death and despair!"

"I have spoken with some of the dragons I named a few seconds ago," Gandalf said. "I have watched as they fought desperately to protect the men and elves that were on the ground. They may all be dead, but not all dragons were the same!"

"Just like not all dwarves are the same," Bilbo muttered under his breath.

"Dwarrow." Ori said quickly, and Bilbo's head snapped towards the dwarf.

"What?" He asked, confused.

"The plural form of dwarf." Ori said. "It's not dwarves, that's considered an insult. Use the term dwarrow."

"Oh!" Bilbo said surprised. "I didn't know. Thank you, Ori." A moment passed before he spoke again. "Halfling is considered an insult to Hobbits."

"The term is so common!" Ori said, surprised, Bilbo nodded and waited for the next question. "Why don't Half- er, I mean, why Hobbits do anything about it?"

"Too many Hobbits stay in the Shire," Bilbo said. "Chose not to go adventuring."

"You would have done so yesterday," Nori said, and Bilbo closed his eyes and took a breath.

"You were listening yesterday," Bilbo said. "To my private conversation with Gandalf." He didn't wait for Nori's confirmation (or denial). "Depending on when you got there, you might or might NOT know that I had NO idea you lot were coming. I was upset that Gandalf invited people into my smial without asking me."

 

"But Gandalf told us weeks ago that he'd found our fourteenth member."

Chapter Text

Things went along surprisingly well until one night when they were camping. They heard Wargs in the distance, and Fili decided to make a joke out of it. Unsurprisingly, it didn't go over well with Thorin, who snapped at them and went off to brood where the wind would blow his coat so that it billowed in the wind all majestically. Not that Bilbo was jealous or anything.

And then Balin gave them all Thorin's backstory. After Smaug attacked and took Erebor Thror -Thorin's grandfather - lead a dwarven army on Moria to try to reclaim it from a massive army of Orcs.

He failed, and was beheaded by Azog, the pale orc who appearantly vowed to end the line of Durin.

Thrain, Thorin's father, disappeared, and Thorin battled the pale orc with nothing but a sword and a shield made from the branch of an oak tree.

Azog lost a hand and, when asked, Thorin insisted that Azog had died of his wounds some time ago.

Bilbo wasn't so sure, and, from the look on their faces, neither were the elf or Gandalf.

***

"I don't think I ever caught your name." Bilbo told the elf.

"I thought I gave it." The elf said, and Bilbo's nose wrinkled his nose as the blantant lie. "I am Legolas."

"Legolas?" Bilbo asked, the name stricking up a memory somewhere, but he couldn't place it. "How did you wind up to be with dwarrow?"

"I was cast out of the Greenwood." Legolas said. "I am not banished, but my father told me not to return until I have seen the foolishness of my actions."

"If you don't mind me asking, what actions?" Bilbo asked.

"When Smaug attacked." Legloas said. "My father rode a host of elves to Erebor. His intention, I think, would have been war if not for Smaug. As it was, he saw Smaug flying around and dwarrow fleeing the mountian. He paled, and started to pull back, but he didn't. After a few long seconds, I reminded him that we were still their allies, and obliged to give them aid.

"So he gave the order to save as many dwarrow as possible, but not to risk our lives to save them. And under no circumstance was any of us to save Thror. As I neared the mountian, I met Thorin. He was still wearing his royal robes, and easy to see. He was counting his family members, and when he saw me, he said his grandfather had gone back to the treasury, asking me to help save him."

"And you saved him." Bilbo said. "Against Thranduil's orders." Legolas nodded.

"And so he casts me out." Legolas said. "Never mind that none knew where Thrain was, which would have left Thorin in charge, before he had even hit his first majority."

"That's really young." Bilbo said, eyes wide.

"It was why he needed help to get Thror from the treasury." Legolas said. "I see no wrong in my actions, so I remain from my father with the dwarrow."

"Why do you go to the Lonely Mountian?"

"I am needed to lead the way through the Greenwood." Legolas said. "So we do not get lost. And as I cannot follow my father, I follow Thorin."

"There are other elven realms on Middle-Earth." Bilbo said. "You could simply live in one of them."

"My father would recieve word and assume that I have seen the wrong in my actions." Legolas said. "And that I do not return because of my pride." A small smile appeared on his face. "Besides, I have grown... Fond of them." Bilbo nodded, understanding.

It was like how he was not truly a Hobbit, but he had grown fond of them and their ways.

"So you have turned over a new leaf." Bilbo murmured. "Did the dwarrow give you a title?" The elven prince hesistated before nodding.

"Greenleaf." Legolas said. "And every time it is spoken, I am reminded of the Greenwood."

"It's good to remember where you come from, sometimes." Bilbo said thoughtfully, thinking of fire and claws...

 

And death.

 

 

"What na- cín pennas then, lúg?" Legolas asked, What is your story then, Dragon? And Bilbo's head snapped towards the elf, eyes wide in surprise. "How did cin thúl or- sui a perian?" How did you wind up as a Hobbit?

How did Legolas know that he'd been a dragon once?

"Im lost a maeth dan Smaug." I lost a fight against Smaug. Bilbo replied. "Mithrandir found nin sui im was beleth. Ho changed nin cant-." Gandalf found me as I was dying. He changed my form.

"That's all there is to it." Legolas watched him for a second, before nodding and turning away.

"If you say so." Legolas said, not sounding the slightest bit convinced.

Chapter Text

Things continue without much change - why had Bilbo ever thought fondly of adventuring? Of getting rained on for days without end?

Why, if Bilbo hadn't signed a contract, he would have turned around long ago, stubborn dwarrow notwithstanding.

At least Legolas was good company, even though he tried and tried to learn what Bilbo's name had been when he was a dragon.

He didn't outright tell the dwarrow, but Bilbo could tell it was a close thing, and if Thorin asked him, Legolas would answer truthfully. He had threatened Legolas, should the elf tell, but the elf didn't believe that he would follow through.

And he was right about that. Bilbo wouldn't burn him to death, even if he could regain his true form. He'd grown too fond of the elf to kill him.

 

Perhaps he'd just maim him...

***

Somehow Bilbo was surprised that Fili had managed to lose two of the ponies. They went to find out what had taken them - it was Trolls, Bilbo could smell them - and lo and behold, they saw a Troll taking two more ponies.

Bilbo told them to get Thorin while he scouted the Trolls camp, and to please hurry. Then, once they disappeared, he slipped around the edge of the camp, frowning in annoyance when he saw that his hands were not big enough to untie the knot that would allow the ponies to be freed.

He glanced at the trolls, a smile appearing on his face, slipping back around to the dwarrow.

"Why have you not gotten our ponies back?" Thorin asked, eyes narrowed.

"Hands are too small." Bilbo said. "Or the ropes too big, you can look at it either way." He turned back to the trolls. "But, no matter how you look at it, we still can't have the ponies getting eaten." He turned back to the Dwarrow. "You'll have to trust me. Can you do that?"

"Why?" Dwalin asked suspiciously. "So ye can kill us?"

"No!" Bilbo's voice rose just enough to tell the dwarrow he was nearing the end of his patience. "Because I'm going to try talking the Trolls into releasing the ponies themselves. You need to be ready to keep them from bolting, but-" Bilbo glanced at the Trolls nervously.

"You need backup in case it doesn't go how you want it to?" Nori asked, and Bilbo nodded. "I'll come with you then. Between a thief and a burglar we can distract them long enough for the ponies to be calmed."

"We just have to be fast." Bilbo confirmed. He turned to the dwarrow. "The ponies are going to try to run as far from the trolls as possible, you have to be ready, and be fast. I'll leave your positioning to Thorin. Nori and I are going to go over our plan, which should take a minute, so you'd better hurry."

***

Bilbo entered the Troll camp calmly, and the Trolls stopped talking and complaining amongst themselves.

"Hello there." He said with a smile. He stood still as a Troll picked him up, despite every instinct in his Hobbit body SCREAMING at him to fight for freedom. Once he was level with the Troll's eyes, he spoke. "I am a," He paused, translating it. "Wingun beaukav ro deaavh." Winged beast of death. "But, to simplify that, you may call me a proavecavor." Protector, the closest thing in the Black Speech to 'Friend'.

"What is the pro-avec-avor?" The troll stumbled over the syllables, and Bilbo allowed a small smile to appear, though it looked kind instead of sinister, as he wished to.

"I protect the animals in this area." He looked around. "As you can imagine, it is quite large, so it took time for Nature to tell me you are here, and time to arrive."

"What does that mean?" Another troll asked.

"It means that you have taken too much life from this area." Bilbo said with a firm nod. "And so I have been sent to make sure that this area doesn't die. Now, the ecosystem cannot systain you any longer, so I am afraid you shall have to move on, without the ponies."

"We caught 'em fair an' square!" The third troll protested, and Bilbo tutted, shaking his finger disapprovingly.

"But wouldn't you rather let them go so that next time you some, you'll have a stable food source for a couple of months?" Bilbo asked, and as realization dawned on the trolls faces, he continued. "Didn't think of that, did you? Or, for that matter, did you realize that if this ecosystem die, you won't be able to return for decades! Perhaps even centuries!" He acted as though he was distressed.

The trolls looked at each other, looking guilty.

 

"Can we eat you then?" A troll asked. "Afore we leave?"

"I'm not large enough to feed even one of you!" Bilbo said, surprised. "And there's no animals nearabout anywhere large enough! Not to mention you need to hurry, lest you turn to stone." The troll dropped him and Bilbo winced as he hit the ground as the trolls looked up at the sky.

"He's right." A troll confirmed, looking at the quickly brightening sky. "We've got no time." He turned to Bilbo, who was slowly climbing to his feet. "Let's eat 'im for 'is trickery."

Quick as could be, Nori ran out of the brush, grabbing Bilbo by his arm - roughly, but Bilbo wouldn't compain. He hurt from being dropped like that, and wouldn't have escaped the trolls on his own.

"Looks like they're not going to release the ponies." Nori commented. "Still, that was clever."

"We still have to get out of here alive first!" Bilbo protested as a troll cut off their mad dash for the forest. The quickly reversed track, but both of them could see that their escape routes were blocked off. Bilbo lowered his voice so the trolls couldn't hear him. "The ponies, Nori!" Nori spun his head towards Bilbo, confusion showing, but he did as Bilbo asked.

They changed direction and Bilbo reached for his dragon strength, and, to his surprise, it came, though with much effort, and it wasn't much.

But it was enough to get him over the makeshift fence. Bilbo threw Nori - wincing at the effort it took - and then dropped and rolled under it.

Then Bilbo saw Gandalf standing on the stone keeping the trolls within the shade, and allowed himself a sigh of relief. Personally, he'd expected the result to be much worse.

"The dawn take you all!" Gandalf boomed, bringing his staff down on the stone, and the trolls turned around, confused. Bilbo heard a troll say something indiscernible.

"Can we eat him too?" Bilbo heard one ask as the stone broke and sunlight hit the trolls.

He heard the dwarrow arrive, though he remained laying on the ground, panting for air. After all the time he'd spent Not Adventuring, he'd lost a lot of stamina, and it'd been harder than he remembered to use his dragon strength.

"Are you alright?" He heard Legolas ask him, and he nodded.

"I thought I'd be able to convince them to release the ponies." Bilbo said with a wry laugh. "I didn't think about how long we had until dawn!"

"Master Hobbit?" Thorin asked, emerging from the trees. Bilbo heard his footsteps stap as he saw the trolls. "Well, this isn't what I expected to see." He commented quietly.

"Had you asked, I would have accompanied you." Legolas informed Bilbo.

"I thought I'd get them to release the ponies." Bilbo reminded the elf. "Would've needed your speed to catch them."

Legolas did not reply, as he did whenever Bilbo made a good point during one of their talks.

Chapter Text

When the others left to the troll horde, Bilbo forced himself to get up and follow them, muscles aching.

The dwarrow entered the troll horde and Bilbo collasped against a tree. Legolas waited a moment, before turning to him.

"Beladrielas." He said simply. "I could not be sure until now, but the tale that you gave the trolls..."

"And how would you know what sort of stories Beladrielas spun?" Bilbo asked. "Have elves gained the ability to share memories since I last flew?"

"No." Legolas admitted. "My father has not forgotten the tales you wove, however." Bilbo heard a dry chuckle. "They were my bedtime stories, once." Bilbo's head turned to Legolas in confusion, but both heard the sound of dwarrow coming, and Bilbo let the subject go.

When Bilbo was given an elven sword, he nearly groaned and compained, he wanted to refuse the sword, but adventuring was dangerous, and he knew he'd need it.

So he politely accepted it from Gandalf, attaching the scabbard to his hip with practiced ease.

"Do you even know how to use that sword?" Bilbo looked up to see Nori standing there, with Fili just behind him.

"Despite how I look, I used to adventure quite a bit." Bilbo said. "And I had to learn to defend myself, as Gandalf cannot fight too many foes alone."

"But do you know how to use a sword?" Fili pressed.

"No." Bilbo admitted, I would imagine that it's similiar to claws, he thought. "But we do not have time for me to learn, so I will make due." Then another thought occured to him. "I do have a bow, though, and many arrows. I can use them until I know how to use a sword." Nori and Fili looked at each other, still unsure, but then Fili nodded, and started to back away when-

Bilbo's ears twitched and both he and Legolas turned towards the sound. BIlbo frowned, unable to understand what sort of rabbits would pull a sleigh before out of the trees came-

 

"THIEVES! FIRE! MURDER!"

"Radagast!" Gandalf sounded relieved, and, as if to explain to the dwarrow who this was, he continued. "Radagast the Brown!"

Bilbo didn't know much about the Maia, just that he'd been willing to help Gandalf save a dragon-turned-Hobbit. Gandalf walked over to Radagast.

"What are you doing here?" He asked quietly.

"I was looking for you Gandalf." Radagast said quickly. "Something's wrong. Something's terribly wrong."

"Yes?" Gandalf asked cautiously. Radagast paused, confusion appearing before elation appeared for a brief second, before confusion appeared again.

"Just a minute." Radagast said. "Oh, I had the thought, and now I've lost it." Bilbo glanced away, feeling embarrased for the wizard. "It was right there, on the tip of my tongue!" He pointed at his mouth, and realization appeared on his face.

 

"Oh." Radagast said. "It's not a thought at all. It's a..." He trailed off as Gandalf pulled something out of his mouth. "Stick insect." Bilbo sighed, wanting the encounter to be over with.

Gandalf dropped the insect into Radagast's hands, and Bilbo watched them just glance at each other, and they stepped away from the group. Bilbo's eyes trailed after them until his ears picked up another sound.

Footsteps. Bilbo quickly revised his opinion after hearing a few more. Pawsteps, running towards them quickly.

His eyes flitted to Legolas - the elf undoubtedly had hearing as good as his, or perhaps even better - to see that he had already fitted an arrow onto his bow, watching in the direction of the pawsteps wearily.

Bilbo readied his own bow and watched, noticing that Nori had seen their movements and was also looking in the same direction, waiting with his goblin cutlass ready.

Then, as Gandalf and Radagast returned, Bilbo and Legolas raised their bows, waiting for-

 

A Warg burst through the trees with an Orc on his back. By some unspoken agreement, Bilbo hit the Orc, while Legolas felled the Warg, and it was over before anyone else could get their weapons out.

"Warg scouts." Bilbo, retrieving his arrow, didn't catch who had spoken. "We're being hunted!"

 

"Who did you tell about your quest?" Bilbo stood to see Gandalf looking at Thorin.

"No one!" Thorin denied, and Bilbo sniffed the air, quickly determining that the dwarf king had spoken the truth.

"WHO did you tell?" Gandalf demanded.

"No one!" Thorin repeated, anger evident in his voice.

"The ponies bolted!" Fili shouted in an attempt to stop Gandalf and Thorin from arguing. Everyone looked at him, stunned before Balin spoke.

"We'll never be able to outrun them on foot!"

***

Bilbo wasn't sure how they'd gotten split up. Radagast was leading the Wargs away, so why was it he and Legolas were doing the same thing.

It wasn't the Wargs that worried him - he and Legolas could take out quite a bit - it was the fact that he wasn't nearly as fast the the much taller elf. If he fell behind, he would be doomed.

Both were moving loudly enough so the other could hear them, but quiet enough that they would hear any Wargs coming up behind them.

Together, they spun around, Legolas with his knife, and Bilbo dropping to the ground under Warg teeth, lashing up with one of his feet - he knew that as a Hobbit he should be able to gravely injure it - while he heard he sound of a knife cutting through flesh.

As Bilbo rolled out from under it, he eyed the Wargs surrounding them uneasily, eyes returning to the Warg he had been under just a second before. It wasn't moving, and he glanced curiously at Legolas.

"It would appear a kick from you is enough to kill a Warg, little lúg." Legolas said in a gentle tone, and Bilbo drew his sword, watching their opponents wearily.

Then arrows came out of nowhere and killed them. Bilbo jerked his head back in surprise.

"Elves?" He asked, astonished. "Legolas did you-" He stopped asking the question as the elves rode up on horse.

"Where are i dwarrow i Mithrandir spoke -o?" Their leader asked, face stern. Where are the dwarrow Mithrandir spoke of?


"Vedui mín checked, hir Elrond," Legolas said with a half-bow. "Hain were with Mithrandir." Last we checked, Lord Elrond, they were with Mithrandir.

"Mín thank cin an cín aid, hir Elrond." We thank you for your aid, Lord Elrond. Bilbo said, also giving the Elf-Lord a small bow.

"Bilbo?" Elrond asked, returning to the common language. "I thought after Belladonna you would have-" He stopped, reconsidering what he had been about to say. "You said you were going to quit adventuring."

"This is different." Bilbo said. "Personal. I'd explain but..." He trailed off, and Elrond spoke again.

"Come with me to Imladris." Elrond invited them, and Legolas frowned. "If Gandalf is leading them, they will find their way to my city. If not, we will find them." Legolas and Bilbo looked at each other, and Bilbo spoke.

"We shall accept your invitation, for now." He said. "Should you be unable to find them before the sun rises tomorrow, we will have to leave."

Elrond bowed his head to signify that he had heard him, then turned his horse around, keeping his gaze on Bilbo and Legolas. "I am afraid I have no spare horses, I was unaware I would need them for a Hobbit and one of my Greenwood cousins."

"I will keep up." Legolas said, bending down and picking up Bilbo.