Bilbo is staring at Thorin, standing in the doorway of his house and the first thing he thinks is, “I’m going to marry that Dwarf.” Sure, Thorin had just insulted Bilbo but in Thorin’s defense, Bilbo really wasn’t a burglar. Bilbo, in true Hobbit fashion, would never let Thorin know that though. Thorin’s beautiful and mournful singing only intensifies Bilbo’s need to court the soon-to-be King Under the Mountain.
He gives Thorin the first gift, a small dandelion, by sneaking it into Thorin’s bag when he isn’t looking. Bilbo had grabbed it while running to the party heading out of Hobbiton on horseback. When he and Dwalin were on watch one night, Bilbo purposely picks a spot close enough to the king without being obvious. Once he notices Thorin’s breathing slow and even out, he quickly rushes over and shoves the flower, slightly crushed by Bilbo’s hand, into Thorin’s pack.
He never sees Thorin react or even notice it. Bilbo sighs and sets out to find a better gift. He asks Bofur for a lesson on whittling as the toymaker was constantly making small wooden figurines for the group. Bilbo had received a small bumblebee once. He told Bofur what he wanted to make and Bofur found the right sized piece of wood and helped Bilbo slowly carve a small wolf.
Bilbo admires his handiwork and is slightly sad he has to give it to Thorin but he knows that if Thorin accepts this, then he will know Thorin feels the same. Unfortunately for Bilbo, before he can give Thorin this gift, he is hoisted by his feet by a troll and it falls out of his pocket into their stew. He simply sighs and after the situation is handled, Bilbo sheepishly asks Bofur for help again.
“You care a great deal about making this one wolf, don’t you?”
Bilbo gulps and doesn’t realize he’s blushing which lessens the glare he aims at Bofur. “I just- I just want to learn something new. I’ve never done this and practice makes perfect, right?”
The lie holds Bofur over for now, he thinks, but when Bilbo puts a lot of care and effort into the new wolf, Bofur notices and chuckles. Bofur keeps his mouth shut for the most part but he may have spoken to Balin about their Hobbit and his new interests.
Bilbo doesn’t get the chance to give Thorin the second gift until they’re all in Rivendell. He made sure to keep it safe in his pocket as they ran away from the Orc pack and it was the first thing he checked on when they were settled. Bofur gives Balin a knowing look, though Bilbo doesn’t see it.
The second gift was unceremoniously shoved into Thorin’s hands one night after Bilbo hears Elrond and Gandalf talking about the sickness in Thorin’s family. He wanted to give Thorin some peace of mind, even for a small while.
“I made this,” Bilbo chokes out, suddenly red in the face and hands gripping his elbows.
Thorin eyes it over and cracks a smile, the first Bilbo has seen on this whole journey. “This is very good. Did Bofur teach you?”
Bilbo nods and says, “Yeah. I made one before but I guess the trolls didn’t like it very much.”
“What do you mean?” Thorin’s eyes are particularly stunning in the moonlight and Bilbo has a hard time staring at him for very long.
“Well-” He clears his throat and rubs his hands together. “Well, you see-”
“Thorin!” Balin calls out from somewhere in the castle. “We must read the map now!”
Thorin stares at Bilbo for a moment longer before turning and Bilbo gets hit by a braid in Thorin’s hair. He didn’t even realize how close they were standing.
They leave Rivendell in the dead of night and Bilbo really will miss it. Thorin gives him a look before they head out but Bilbo can’t be bothered to care.
The group journeys further still. Bilbo examines several long and sturdy grass blades. He takes a few and begins braiding them as they walk. He eyes Thorin’s wrist and makes some adjustments to the length, trying to get it right.
One night, Bilbo is awake, threading some red through the green, as well as Thorin and Balin. He’s laying in his bed, nearly tucked all the way in and laying on his side away from the fire. He can hear Balin and Thorin talking about the journey and how much longer it’ll take. Bilbo eventually tunes them out and can feel his eyes begin to slip shut.
“I noticed the little laddie has taken up some new hobbies.”
“He is quite interesting.”
“You know, Thorin, we don’t know how much longer any of us has. You can and should think about your own happiness for once. You’ve taken care of us for far too long. You are allowed to be happy.”
Bilbo is too tired to stay awake much longer but he swears he hears Thorin say, “I am.”
The stone giants in the Misty Mountains gives them all a good scare and Bilbo is interested in the ring he stole from Gollum, but he checks once he leaves the mountain and travels down to his companions his pocket for the braided length of grass. He finds it and lets out a sigh of relief. But the relief he felt was quickly overshadowed by Thorin’s angry rant to his companions. Bilbo appears and gladly soaks in Thorin’s dumbstruck look though he can’t for too long as Azog comes down.
Thorin nearly dies. Bilbo is panicked and protects his body until the Eagles come and save them all. He refused to back down in the face of the Wargs and their mouth full of sharp teeth and disgusting spit. He had to protect the man he plans to marry.
On top of the Carrock, Bilbo and Thorin finally have the moment Bilbo has wanted since he met Thorin in his house. Thorin refuses to take his eyes off Bilbo as the Eagles leave until he views the mountain, his mountain. But Bilbo needs Thorin’s wrist more than life itself. As the party descends from the Carrock, Thorin makes sure everyone gets off first, holding his arm out for Bilbo to follow Gandalf. Bilbo grabs the extended wrist, his right one, and quickly fastens the braid around Thorin’s wrist.
“Before I forget,” Bilbo says, swallowing a lump in his throat as Thorin stares at his wrist.
Thorin says nothing. Bilbo is terrified that he hates it and is prepared for Thorin to rip it off at any moment but he doesn’t. He touches it lightly and smiles.
“Thank you, Bilbo.” He pauses and looks down at the group making their way to the bottom. “You... you stood in front of me, between me and Azog. You could have been killed.”
Bilbo squirms under Thorin’s intense gaze but he refuses to turn away. “I had to do something. You could have been killed.”
That doesn’t seem to appease Thorin, but Bilbo grabs Thorin’s arm and pulls them down the Carrock. The group is still working their way down as well so their absence was not noticed; though Balin, Bofur, and Dwalin all look at each other. Gandalf even makes a small noise as they join the line.
Bilbo works on his next gift in between running from the Orc pack. He has a small packet of papers he writes little sentences on, trying to work them into a cohesive poem. He is used to writing but trying to write something for Thorin was tough. Thorin didn’t seem like a particularly emotional Dwarf, though the hug on the mountain and the subsequent talk made Bilbo second guess what he knew about Thorin.
“Eyes like water? No. Ice? Definitely not. Thick beard... thicker heart. ”
He growls in frustration as words elude him. In his anger, he crumples the sheets of paper he was holding and the ink he just wrote becomes blurry. Noticing Bilbo’s anger, Ori comes over and smiles, smoothing out the papers.
“Bilbo, you can’t throw away every scrap of writing you do. How else will you learn?”
Ori is too kind and young for Bilbo to be too upset at so he nods. Ori becomes a scribe for Bilbo in a way, with Bilbo stammering out some words and phrases and Ori masterfully creates a few short stanzas.
Bilbo is the one to make them into a single poem, four stanzas long, and Bilbo doesn’t know when to give it to Thorin. They’re moving towards a place Gandalf knows but they are not stopping for anything. Bombur is especially upset at this since he found some fresh vegetables and herbs on the path and was excited to put them in his stew.
They eventually get chased by a huge black bear into a house, which Gandalf happily informs them is the house of the skin-changer Beorn. Bilbo is not a huge fan of the animals which seem to know what the group says to them. One pig who put her snout up against Dwalin’s leg ran away and stayed away after Dwalin’s yell to leave him alone.
Bilbo stays in the garden and appreciates the large sunflowers that tower over him and the bright red and blue flowers that grow in bundles. He sees a small acorn on the ground and picks it up, hoping one day he and Thorin will be able to plant it together. Ori is sketching some of the flowers on the other side of the garden when Bilbo sees Thorin standing on the porch, looking out onto the garden. When he sees Bilbo, he smiles and turns back inside.
Bilbo’s blush runs from his cheeks to his neck and forehead. He has the poem in his bag at his hip, he could easily give it to him now.
“You know,” Ori says from across the garden, “you have a very good poem. I think that whoever reads it will love it.”
Bilbo stares at Ori before quickly walking inside but runs into a flurry of dwarves eating their lunch. Bombur sits Bilbo down and shoves a piece of bread and a bowl of stew in his hands.
“Eat up. Don’t know when we will get the chance to eat this good for a while!” Bombur says happily, clearly proud of his cooking skills.
He enjoys the meal and thanks Bombur and Beorn before leaving the table to find Thorin. Gandalf gives Dwalin, Balin, Bofur, Ori, Fili, and Kili a look. They all smirk and Fili slaps Kili on the shoulder for saying something he shouldn’t.
Thorin is staring at the map in a back room and doesn’t notice Bilbo at first. Thorin is tracing the path to the Lonely Mountain through Mirkwood and trying to plan their journey. Bilbo doesn’t know how to start this conversation without startling Thorin, but Thorin helps him out.
“Burglar,” Thorin says without lifting his head, “come in.”
Bilbo steps forward further into the room, hand on his bag. “What are you doing?”
“Just checking our route. I am not looking forward to our journey through Mirkwood but it must be done,” Thorin says, turning in his seat and facing Bilbo. “What brings you here?”
“I came to see you,” Bilbo says, not realizing how it sounded as he says it. “Uh, I mean- what I meant to say was- I wanted to-” He shuffles through his bag for the single piece of paper among the dozens already in there and he’s stuttering and cursing under his breath when Thorin comes over and stands near Bilbo.
“Are you alright, Bilbo?”
As Thorin says Bilbo’s name, Bilbo snaps his head up and finds Thorin staring at him. Bilbo swallows the lump in his throat and Thorin gently takes the paper from Bilbo’s hand. His eyes dart back and forth as he quickly reads the piece and Bilbo can barely breathe as he watches Thorin’s face soften and he smiles.
“You wrote this?” Thorin asks.
“Well, Ori wrote most of it but I gave him ideas. I knew what I wanted to write but I am not that good of a writer so,” Bilbo says, shrugging.
Thorin smiles at Bilbo. “It is good. You should practice more.”
Bilbo cannot stop staring at the Dwarf. All he wants is the proper rings on the proper fingers and for them to live their lives together for as long as they both may live. Bilbo is already fifty years old and he doesn’t even know how old Thorin really is. He briefly considers asking Thorin’s hand in marriage in that moment but Bilbo is not done with his gift giving and Thorin has yet to really accept or give a gift in return.
Gandalf requests the help of Bilbo and in a swish of his cloak, Bilbo is whisked away from Thorin. That is the last time they are able to be alone for quite a while. Bilbo, spurred by Thorin’s comments about his writing, continues to practice with Ori’s help. He also whittles with Bofur and makes a few more small animals, such as a deer and otter for the Bard’s children.
It is not until they have defeated Smaug and reclaimed the mountain that Bilbo gets the chance to speak to Thorin alone. Well, Thorin demands Bilbo turn over what he has in his hands. It is Bilbo’s next gift to Thorin.
“I picked it up, in Beorn’s garden.”
Thorin gives him a look of disbelief. “You’ve carried it all this way.”
“I want to plant it one day,” Bilbo says.
Thorin smiles, a genuine smile Bilbo hasn’t seen in a long time. “Plant it? This mountain will not sustain such life yet.”
“Then we can bring it to Bag End.”
The mention of Bilbo’s hometown makes Thorin frown, just for a moment, and Bilbo worries that Thorin will not accept.
“Very well,” Thorin says, a soft smile on his face, and Bilbo’s heart flutters in anticipation of their wedding.
Bilbo couldn’t stay after they announced Thorin’s death. He remained with Thorin until the very end but he couldn’t bear to be in the cursed mountain for much longer. He closes the acorn in Thorin’s palm and kisses his forehead goodbye as Dwarves lift his body away. The mountain was not his home. He could barely bid his friends a proper goodbye but they understood.
Before he leaves, he visits the princes. Kili has a broken nose, several broken ribs, and many, many slashes on his back, arms, and legs. He is laid out on his stomach and sees the Hobbit first.
“Fili! Look presentable!”
Fili fared much worse than Kili and Bilbo knew why. Fili would have laid down his life for his brother and nearly died himself. He has three arrow wounds on his torso, one of them through his shoulder, a mangled arm from a Warg that will most likely be removed, and a twisted ankle from running to Kili’s side. Both of them sport black eyes and cuts on their faces.
“I swear, it’s my ankle that hurts the most. You’d not believe me but I swear it’s true,” Fili says.
Bilbo can hardly look at the two of them, not understanding how they can be so jovial after a battle. He has tears in his eyes as he stands between their cots, holding their hands.
“I loved your uncle very much. Very much. I need you to know that.”
“Bilbo,” Kili says, patting his hand, “we know. We all know.”
Bilbo grunts but continues on. “I had planned on giving him his last gifts in person but-” Bilbo sobs and cuts himself off as he turns and sees Thorin. He’s laying on a cot and Bilbo can’t take it anymore. He walks over and kneels down and allows his cries to overtake him. He feels a hand on his shoulder but cannot be bothered to turn and face whoever it is.
“Thorin,” Bilbo cries, muffled by his face in Thorin’s arm, “Thorin we were supposed to do this together. You weren’t-” Bilbo grips Thorin’s hand, “You weren’t supposed to go without me!”
The hand on his shoulder gets tighter and now he can hear a voice behind him.
“Bilbo? What on Mahal’s green earth are you talking about?” Fili’s voice cuts through his sobs and Bilbo looks up in confusion.
And there’s Thorin, staring at Bilbo with tears streaking down his face. He’s awake. He’s alive. He’s alive and trying to talk to Bilbo.
Bilbo doesn’t let him speak and ignores the hoots and hollers from Fili and Kili as Bilbo gently kisses Thorin. He rests his head on Thorin’s forehead and glares at him.
“You absolute prick! You let me believe you died and for what? For what, Thorin!” Bilbo cannot manage to feel angry. His love is alive.
“I love you, Bilbo Baggins,” Thorin croaks out.
Bilbo holds Thorin’s face in his hands. “I love you too, Thorin King Under the Mountain.”
Thorin takes Bilbo’s hand and drops the acorn into it. “Figured we can plant it together. Just like you wanted.”
This time, when Bilbo kisses Thorin, he politely ignores the grossed-out sounds coming from his nephews-in-law.
The return to Bag End is certainly eventful. For one, Bilbo returns with a Dwarf husband who is also king. And two, technically Bilbo is not married under Hobbit law. So they decide to have a small ceremony with just Bilbo and Thorin. As it closes, Hamfast and Bell Gamgee walk up to Bilbo holding two babies.
“Bilbo, congratulations!” Hamfast says, shaking Bilbo and Thorin’s hands as best he can with one hand free. “I am so happy for the both of you. Truly am.”
“Thank you, Hamfast,” Bilbo says. “Who have you got here? I didn’t know you had kids! That’s wonderful!”
Hamfast and Bell look at each other curiously. “Yes,” Hamfast says, “actually we needed to discuss some matters with you once you returned.”
Bell hands Bilbo a small bundle of cloth. Inside is a dark-haired Hobbit baby.
“I hate to be the one who tells you this, but Drogo and Primula died. Drowned in the Brandywine River. They have a son, Bilbo,” Bell smiles at them, “and you are the closest relative to little Frodo here. Me and Hamfast were fully prepared to raise him as our own but... you have returned!”
Bilbo looks at Frodo, huge blue eyes nearly piercing through his own. He reaches a finger to touch his nose and Frodo grabs on and squeezes. Next to him, Thorin stares at the babe.
“He’s beautiful,” Thorin says.
Bilbo stares at Thorin staring at Frodo. He turns to Hamfast and Bell and thanks them for taking care of everything while he was gone.
“Hamfast, Bag End is yours. Keep it, sell it, do what you want with it.” Bilbo watches Thorin holding Frodo and making faces at the baby. “I’m going home.”
The uproar when they return is enormous. Fili and Kili nearly take out Thorin when they see Bilbo holding their new baby brother, in a way. Balin nearly rips Frodo away from Thorin when Thorin doesn’t support the head properly and ends up holding Frodo for several hours. Bofur, Gloin, Nori, and Dori are no longer in the Lonely Mountain but Ori sends word for them to come to see Frodo as soon as they can.
One night, when Frodo has fallen asleep and Bilbo and Thorin are alone, Thorin takes Bilbo by the hand. Bilbo tries to question Thorin, but Thorin remains silent. Thorin drags Bilbo to their shared room and sits Bilbo on the bed.
“I have waited for this moment for a long time, amrâlimê.”
Thorin grabs his pack from their adventure several years ago. Bilbo is honestly surprised he still has it. Inside, Thorin retrieves several items: a dandelion, a small poorly carved wolf, a strand of braided grass, and a scrap of paper with a poem.
Bilbo stares at the gifts he gave Thorin throughout their journey. He is speechless.
“Bilbo, you gave me these gifts many years ago. I believe it is now my turn to give you a gift.”
Thorin turns to the desk and opens a drawer, retrieving a small polished box and handing it to Bilbo. Bilbo opens it and gasps. Inside is a necklace made of silver with two gems hanging off the end: one blue and one green.
“I finished it before we brought sweet Frodo home so I plan on adding another gem to it. But you may wear it for now.”
“Oh, may I?” Bilbo mocks, slightly teary-eyed, and carefully picks up the necklace. “This is beautiful.”
“I forged it myself,” Thorin says, clearly proud of the work he put into it.
Bilbo wipes his eyes. “Thank you.”
He throws his arms around Thorin, who takes the necklace and places it on Bilbo’s neck. Thorin touches the two gems with his finger. He pulls Bilbo into an embrace, one large hand on the back of Bilbo’s head and the other on the small of Bilbo’s back.
“I must confess something, amrâlimê,” Thorin says, holding Bilbo in his arms, “when I first met you, I knew you’d be the one I would marry.”