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The Naming of Bilbo Baggins

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I.

The beginning of it all simply was Kili’s fault, laughter in his tone as he declared, “You must be Mister Boggins!”; it took the hobbit until the third day to realize it wasn’t a mistake on the archer’s part, and five more before he quitted routinely correcting him.

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II.

Bilbo Baggins’ expression, caught between bafflement and exasperation (quite adorable to behold, it was), never failed to make Bofur laugh, so he took great delight in making the creature look like that whenever he called him, “Berilac.”

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III.

Baggins, Tooks, Proudfeet…Master Furry-feet, Gloin mused as he caught Ori and the burglar chatting about hobbit families; not for the first time the dwarf wondered how soft the hair on the top of the Halfling’s feet were, and yet again he forcibly pushed the question away.

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IV.

Bifur signed, “Pretty Flower,” as he chewed on the head of a daisy and watched Bilbo weave daisy chains – never had he met someone with such a love for flowers; this time instead of nervous incomprehension, the little fellow blushed and ducked his head; the toymaker smiled, not upset over his family spilling his secret.

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V.

“Ahhhh!” Bilbo cried as he ran through the meadow’s tall grass, startling birds and causing them to take to the air; “Don’t fly away on us, Sparrow!” Bombur ordered with a chuckle – hobbits were such unusual creatures.

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VI.

The first time Thorin named him Melekun was when he tightly hugged the hobbit whom had proved him so wrong; he promised Bilbo someday to tell him what his nickname for him was (“Hobbit,” in his native tongue), but he never did.

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VII.

There was nothing to be done about Nori’s song, “I ho, I ho, Bilbo Dragon-slayer is here!”; however, after it bizarrely became popular in the various villages the company passed through, in Rivendell, and even in Beorn’s household (with animals bleating along), well, Bilbo Baggins had never been so embarrassed in his life!

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VIII.

Bilbo’s eyes rounded comically as he took in the disastrous breakfast table and sputtered, “How are you going to tell our host?!”; giving his friend a too innocent smile and cheerfully slapping him on the back, Fili replied, “Why, that’s where our Beorn-whisperer comes in, seeing he has a soft spot for you and all!”

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IX.

In the extraordinary darkness and coldness Balin drew a little comfort from the little body burrowed against him, murmuring tiredly, “Thank you, Mister Cuddles”; he sensed Bilbo’s small smile as he pressed closer with a sigh.

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X.

Ori reluctantly released Bilbo’s invisible hand and pulled his arm back into his cell, the Halfling’s promise to pass his message along to his brothers and to return soon making him blink back tears as he said quietly, “Go…be careful Little Brother!”

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XI.

Amongst the oppressive darkness of his cell, and mounting concern for his unaccounted for cousin, the hobbit’s smile flashed clear, warm, and genuine, giving the warrior new hope; thus Bilbo was the first creature whom wasn’t kin or a dwarf to learn that deep down Dwalin was a softie when the dwarf gave him a new name: Sunshine.

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XII.

The silence since the dwarves had impolitely thanked Bilbo for the rescue from the dungeons was heavy and awkward around the campfire, with everyone focused on their food; suddenly Oin pointed his finger at their burglar and stated, “Cricket!”; it took several moments for the others to understand, but then a spirited debate broke out regarding which sobriquet for the Halfling was the best, naturally ignoring the creature in question who cried, “I am right here!”

~~~

XIII.

Bilbo Baggins stared down at the festive Party Field until a large hand settled carefully on his shoulder and a voice asked, “Ready, Bilbo Baggins?”; taking a deep breath, the hobbit hesitated an instant before turning and looking up at Dori, and Bofur and Dwalin standing behind the dwarf, taking in the wrinkles in their faces, white and silver now weaving through their hair and beards; “Aye,” he smiled at them, “I do believe I’m ready for another adventure with old friends,” he answered, then followed them along the path without a backwards glance towards the lights and laughter.

THE END