- No Beta
- Alternate Universe
- Established Relationship
- Male Pregnancy
Shortly after their victory of what quickly became known as the Battle of the Five Armies, Bilbo realized he was with child. It honestly didn’t come as a surprise to him that he was, considering all the sex he and Thorin managed to accomplish during their journey, in spite of the fact that they never seemed to have any privacy. It seemed that once their courting had started in earnest, Thorin was more than happy to try and make up for a hundred-year dry spell. And he really put his back into it every chance he got. As Bilbo thoroughly enjoyed his mission, he hardly complained about it.
Apparently, however, the pregnancy was a rather big surprise to Thorin, so much so that Bilbo felt it was a good thing that Thorin was lying down and recovering from the injuries he obtained during the battle. Otherwise, he’d have likely fainted dead away in front of many of the Dwarves that currently resided in the Mountain, and that would have been embarrassing.
Two days had passed since he’d told Thorin about the pregnancy, and Bilbo still wasn’t sure exactly how his husband-to-be felt about the whole thing. All Thorin had managed to do when Bilbo was near was stare at him in wonder and shock. Considering Thorin hadn’t known that male Hobbits were capable of pregnancy and he was dealing with some rather serious injuries still, Bilbo was willing to wait him out patiently for some time yet.
It was two days later when the healers finally allowed Thorin to get out of bed and wander around the chambers they were housed in. Óin allowed Thorin to conduct some business himself after a bit of wheedling on Thorin’s part, but the other Dwarves were required to come to him and only for a few hours per day. Óin was quite adamant that he would not allow Thorin to be worn out and set back his recovery.
Bilbo was glad to hear it, and perhaps having other Dwarves around would help Thorin’s tongue to loosen when it came to him. Thorin had graduated to opening his mouth to say something before snapping it shut in the last day or two. Bilbo simply chuckled and kissed his mouth, smiling against his lips when Thorin kissed back, and then went about the business of cleaning up their home.
He loved Thorin dearly, and he’d do anything for him, but sitting by his bedside while he snored away and healed was almost immediately boring. Bilbo felt rather creepy sitting there and watching him sleep, so he elected to do something useful, once his own exhaustion and minor injuries were put to rights. So he’d proceeded with cleaning their quarters, working during Thorin’s long slumbers, starting with the room Thorin was in because a horn blast wouldn’t be enough to wake him, and then moving into the living area and the other bedrooms.
He was working in the kitchen when Thorin made his way out of the bedroom after Dwalin and Óin helped him into some light clothing. Bilbo stood atop the counters, scrubbing away at the shelves inside the cabinets overhead while humming lightly to himself when he heard a sharp breath.
“Bilbo! What in blazes are you doing?” Thorin cried out, panic obvious in his voice.
Startled, Bilbo reached for the cabinet to steady himself and then turned around to peer at Thorin, who was rather pale and staring at him with wide, fearful eyes, and he frowned. “I’m cleaning the cabinets. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see this kitchen clean and sparkling before we put any food in it.”
“You should not be doing this in your condition! There are plenty of others who can do the cleaning. You must rest,” Thorin said, glaring at him. “Dwalin, get him down.”
“I hardly need his help getting down,” Bilbo said, sitting on the counter and then hopping down lightly before Dwalin could move. “Whatever is the matter, Thorin? I’m pregnant, not an invalid.”
“You… you simply cannot do things like that,” Thorin said, pulling him into his warm, strong embrace. “It’s too dangerous.”
“I’m fine, Thorin,” he replied, returning the hug and patting him on the back. “But if it makes you feel better, I’ll ask Bard if there is someone who would care to clean up the high stuff for some decent wages.”
“I’ll pay them whatever they want, if it means you stop climbing on top of the counters,” Thorin murmured as he guided Bilbo back into the living area.
“Did I hear right, laddie?” Óin finally asked as Thorin had Bilbo settled on the sofa, a soft, warm blanket tucked over his lap. “Did you say you were…with child?”
Bilbo nodded at him. “Yes, I am,” he said, raising his voice so Óin could hear him clearly.
“Amazing. Simply amazing,” Óin muttered, staring at him in wonder. “Do you know how far along you are?”
Humming, Bilbo shrugged. “I’ve thought about it since I realized and asked Gandalf to confirm it. Taking into account my symptoms, and how far along Gandalf estimated I was, perhaps when we were at Beorn’s home or about a week or so after? Definitely before we entered Mirkwood. So, three months?”
Óin hummed and took Bilbo’s arm in one hand while he checked Bilbo’s pulse with the other. “Is there anything special we need to worry about with Hobbit pregnancies? We only have Dwarvish pregnancies to judge against.”
Bilbo shrugged. “I wouldn’t expect they would be all that different. We tend to grow big as houses, sometimes end up with weird craving combinations and such. One of my cousins developed quite a liking for mushrooms sautéed in honey,” he said, shuddering at the thought. “It was really quite gross.”
“Any herbs or such you need to ingest?” Óin asked while Thorin looked on a bit worriedly.
Dwalin stood still as a statue on the other side of the room, looking dumbstruck.
“I gave Gandalf a list of herbs and spices we often ingest in a milk drink during our pregnancies, as well as a list of vegetables and fruits we often ingest in higher quantities, just to give our bodies a little boost in health. Nothing serious, though, and nothing we can’t absolutely do without. It’s more of a comforting routine than anything, really.”
“Nonsense,” Thorin said, beckoning Dwalin over. “Find Ori and have him bring his writing implements. We need a list of everything Bilbo desires for the pregnancy. See about purchasing some cattle from the farms near Lake-town and any other animals they’ll spare, and we need a list of supplies for making stables and barns outside before the winter sets in. We don’t want the animals to freeze.”
Dwalin nodded, looking at Bilbo in wonder once more, before striding out of the room.
Bilbo sighed, amused and exasperated. “It’s not really necessary. Gandalf is perfectly capable…”
“That may very well be, but we’ll be here for months without the ability to find what you need. I would not see you without when I have more than enough gold to get you what you need, even if I have to pay the Elves for it.” Thorin pulled him closer. “Now you just rest. I’ll wake you when Ori comes.”
Rolling his eyes, Bilbo closed his eyes, not really sleeping, but enjoying the closeness of his husband-to-be instead.
Three weeks passed, and by the end of it, Bilbo had more than enough herbs, spices, and canned goods to feed those in the great halls of the Tooks and the Brandybucks at full capacity for at least a month. That wasn’t to mention all the staples for him to do a great deal of baking, because apparently canned peaches and apples were no good if there was nothing to make dough with, in order to make a pie or lovely little tarts or fritters.
He wasn’t going to comment on the three dozen cows, two dozen sheep, eighteen goats, or the twelve dozen chickens in what was now the animal complex, a series of buildings that were not only fully built but designed to keep the elements out, and the animals warmed during the cold winter months which would be here sooner rather than later.
Still, it would be nice to have fresh milk, butter, and eggs. Bilbo and Bombur had already taken to discussing all the foods they wanted to make, and spent quite a bit of time going over recipes and writing down the ones from the Shire that Bilbo remembered.
Truth be told, he hadn’t had all that much to do, since Thorin and the rest of the company found out he was with child. Cleaning had been taken over by some of the men and women who would be residing in Dale once it was rebuilt (and were now residing in Erebor…with two-thirds of Dain’s people leaving, Thorin had brokered a deal with those who would rebuild Dale, having them stay in the Mountain during the winter and help with clean-up in exchange for help with rebuilding Dale come the spring). They were also caring for the animals.
And every time he did try to do something, one of the Company was there to keep him from doing it, insisting instead that he rest and let them take care of it. Strangely enough, Bombur was the only one who didn’t fuss over him like that, welcoming his help in the kitchen when he cooked for the company.
Still, it annoyed him, and he almost regretted giving Gandalf that little ring of his. It made him feel funny, and he knew if Thorin found out how it made him feel, he would have put up much more of a fuss than he already was. But still, if he had it, he could find a moment of peace and quiet.
But he was a Hobbit if nothing else, and sneaking about without being seen was an effective skill set, even being the only one amongst the Dwarves of Erebor and the great stone halls. He managed to get to the treasury without being caught by one of his family, and he smiled at the guards and the treasurer who greeted him. “Hello, Master Marin. How does the cleaning and count go?”
“Slow, but very well, Master Baggins,” Marin said, bowing to him. “I hear congratulations are in order.”
Bilbo ran a hand over his slightly rounded stomach and grinned. “Thank you! I have seen that the traders from Rohan, Gondor, and the Lake-town farms have set up a marketplace outside, and I was hoping to get some coin to go and do a bit of shopping. Thorin had said it wouldn’t be a problem to get coins if I ever needed them.”
“Of course not, Master Baggins,” he said, motioning him over to his desk. “Do you have someone to go with you to help carry your purchases and to help with any bartering?”
Bilbo bit his lip. “I did not think of that. Do you have any recommendations?”
“My Lara is most excellent at bartering,” he said, motioning over at one of the young female Dwarves who had come with the army from the Iron Hills to help aid in any healing that needed to be done, as had her mother, Dala. Bilbo had met both women in the healing fields after the battle and aided them in whatever capacity he could. “And I am certain we can find a Dwarf or two who would be willing to help you with your goods.”
“Yes, Papa?” Lara asked as she pulled off her gloves and wiped some flyaway strands of hair out of her face.
“Master Baggins here would like to go down to the marketplace and he needs someone who knows a bit about bartering,” Marin told her. “I thought you could do with a break and some fresh air.”
Lara looked relieved rather than annoyed by it, so Bilbo relaxed. “Of course, Papa. Shall I gather some gold?”
“Aye, grab two of those bags there to the side. The ones that have been cleaned and counted, and I’ll make a note. If you need more, come back. Now off with you two, and I’ll see about getting some Dwarves down there to carry your goods.”
Lara and Bilbo made their goodbyes and walked down to the gates, chatting merrily. Once they were outside, both took deep breaths and sighed happily.
“Dragon filth is the most awful thing,” Lara said in between deep breaths. “I will be glad when that job is done, though it will unfortunately take the whole winter.”
“I would offer to help, but if I lift more than a feather duster, someone ends up in a state. And it’s not always Thorin,” Bilbo replied wryly, and Lara laughed.
“Well, you are with child, and to be honest, Dwarf women do not always have the easiest time of it. The males worry so, but you seem healthy enough,” she replied. “No sickness?”
Bilbo shook his head. “Honestly, everyone keeps asking that, but other than the occasional mild nausea, Hobbits don’t have that kind of sickness during pregnancy, unless there is another cause, such as bad food or the flu.”
“You are very lucky then,” Lara said, and the two lapsed into silence as they took in the wide expanse of tents and booths that had sprung up in the last two days. Already there were many bustling around them, Men, Elves, and Dwarves alike.
“Come along, before the bloody Elves buy everything worth having,” Lara said, grimacing.
Laughing, Bilbo followed her down and they got themselves lost in the throng.
“What do you think of this?” Lara asked, showing him a lovely butter yellow fabric with tiny leaf patterns on it in a slightly darker shade of yellow. “I think it would make a lovely waistcoat on you.” She held it up to him and examined it with a critiquing eye.
Bilbo looked at it. “Yes, and I believe it would make lovely robes for my child as well,” Bilbo murmured. Then he looked at the merchant. “Five lengths of this one.”
The merchant, looking giddy at the size of the purchases Bilbo was making, went to measure out the material and add it to the others Bilbo had already decided on, while Bilbo continued looking through the bolts of material.
A few moments later, he found some very soft material in a variety of solid colors, all of them pale and perfect, and a bit thicker than usual. “What about these for blankets for my child?”
Lara rubbed the fabric between her fingers. “Oh, that is lovely. It would also make nice, warm clothing as well, I think. Perfect for the mountain. And you can take scraps and create a quilt or two. And with the Dwarves returning from Ered Luin, some may have young children as well. If we take what he has, we can gift blankets to those who need them.”
Nodding, Bilbo, once the merchant had put the other cloth in the pile of Bilbo’s purchases and made a note on his book, handed him the seven bolts of the material. “I want all of this.”
“I have more in the wagons, if you desire it. Same colors,” the merchant said.
“I’ll take whatever you have,” Bilbo replied.
They had just moved over to the next section of materials when he heard the clearing of a throat behind him. Turning around, he really wasn’t surprised to see Thorin, but the entire company, all of them with their arms crossed over their chests and glaring at him? “What are all of you doing here? Come to do a bit of shopping?” he asked, turning back around to look at the more filmy material. “This would be lovely around the cradle, don’t you think?” he asked Lara.
“Aye, and it would make a lovely over-layer for dresses, should you have a girl,” she said, bowing to Thorin before picking up the bolt and handing it to the merchant. “Ten lengths, please.”
“Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my husband-to-be was not where I left him, but out of the Mountain and traipsing about the countryside,” Thorin said, “without a proper escort.”
Bilbo rolled his eyes. “I am hardly without an escort. I have Lara here, and she is a fine and proper escort. And see those three Dwarves off to the side, looking extremely bored? They are here not only for my protection, but to cart my purchases back to the wagon Marin sent. And I am not traipsing about anything. The marketplace is just outside the bloody doors of Erebor, and I am surrounded by people who would not hesitate to gut anyone who looked at me cross-eyed. Now, quit being such a hen and tell me if there is something you like.”
Lara picked up another bolt, this one a rich, thick, deep blue material that was decadent to the touch. “Now this would make a wonderful bath robe or evening robe.”
Feeling the material, Bilbo nodded. “It would.” He spun around and shoved the bolt up against Thorin, to the king’s surprise. “And it looks lovely on him.”
“I also have it in a burgundy, black, a lighter blue, two shades of green, and a charcoal grey,” the merchant offered. “I also have more than one bolt of each, should you wish for more of a particular color.”
Seeing a perfect opportunity to make robes for all of his companions, plus several other Dwarves he was becoming quite fond of, not to mention himself and his children, he said, “I’ll take whatever you got of this material.”
“Yes, Master Baggins!” The merchant said, his voice so full of excitement Bilbo was surprised he didn’t jump up and click his heels.
“I see you’ve taken to spending my money rather well,” Thorin said, his arms sliding around Bilbo’s waist.
Bilbo leaned back into him and grinned up at him. “Gold isn’t any good unless you can use it to make those you love happy, and I think all of you deserve to be spoiled a bit, especially after the journey we undertook. In case you hadn’t noticed, we left with little and arrived with even less. And I would see you and our child have all that you deserve.”
Thorin leaned down and kissed his cheek. “Do you have enough gold on you?”
“Yes, for the moment, I believe,” Bilbo said, his eye catching on another bolt of cloth. “I’ve found some lovely materials for our child, and for some new clothes for myself. I found a few that would look quite lovely and regal on you as well.”
“Here,” Thorin said, dropping two more bags in Lara’s hands, and pushing two into Bilbo’s pockets. “If you need more, simply call for it to be brought down from the Mountain. I am going to look at the metalworking.”
“They have some lovely axes and swords,” Bilbo called out as Thorin moved away. “I saw them when I found the gardening tools!”
Thorin nodded and moved off with a part of the company, and some of his other companions strolled over to nearby stalls, but Dori and Balin stayed with him and began looking through the cloth themselves.
Bilbo smiled, content to spend the day making purchases for himself and his family.
Several hours and twelve wagon-loads later, and Bilbo was sitting in his room, on the sofa, happily munching on a muffin Bombur had made while the Dwarf in question puttered about the kitchen with Bofur, making the entire company a meal.
“I cannot believe you bought so much,” Thorin said, chuckling, as he rubbed Bilbo’s feet.
“Those twelve wagon-loads were not only my things,” Bilbo pointed out. “They were the entire company’s, plus the stuff we purchased for Lara for her help. The items you purchased would have filled two wagons if they were put all together. Besides, I’m a creature of comfort, and I would like to make a nice, cozy home for us and our child. Nesting starts early among us Hobbits, thank you very much.”
Smiling, Thorin relaxed into the sofa. “So you are happy here?”
Nodding, Bilbo swiveled around and scooted back so he could lay against Thorin, and he pulled his partner’s arms around him. “Very much. I gave Gandalf the letters for the Shire, telling those who need to know what is happening. I left my home and my belongings, with the exception of what Gandalf is bringing to me, to a cousin of mine, Drogo Baggins. He is just recently come of age. Though the Hobbit he is rather smitten with is still in her mid-tweens, so it will be a few years yet before they begin courting. At least now he’ll have a nice home to present her with.”
“I am glad. I do not know what I would have done if you had decided you could not stay here,” Thorin murmured into his hair.
Bilbo patted Thorin’s arm. “Well, you do not have to think about such things. Tomorrow we get the joy of going through all our purchases and dividing up where everything goes. And then I wish to measure everyone, so I can get started.”
“On what?” Thorin asked curiously.
“Gifts I’m going to make for everyone,” Bilbo said. “All that cloth was not only for myself and the baby. I’ll have you know that I may have been a gentlehobbit of some means in the Shire, but my parents insisted that I have a well rounded education, and I know my way around a needle and thread and creating patterns. And from our discussions, needlework and sewing are Lara’s craft of choice. She’s offered to help me when she can. She is helping her parents because there was no opportunity to work on her craft here.”
Thorin hummed. “There are many Dwarves and Men who are going to need clothing and other things come winter. Perhaps I should put her in charge of our Clothworking Guild, and have her purchase more cloth, if you two left any for others to purchase.”
Laughing, Bilbo tilted his head back to place a kiss on Thorin’s jaw. “That is an excellent idea, and there was much cloth left, though from the look on the merchant’s face when we were done, I believe if we were the last purchase, he would still be happy.”
“Of that, I have no doubt. But the materials you did buy were quite lovely. I cannot wait to see what you do with them. And sewing has the added benefit of you staying in one place and out of trouble,” Thorin said, kissing he top of his head.
“I am glad you approve,” Bilbo said dryly.
Chuckling, Thorin tightened his hold on Bilbo. “Sleep for awhile. I will wake you when it is time for dinner.”
“All right,” Bilbo said, getting comfortable and drifting off after a few minutes.
Two months later, Bilbo found himself back in the treasury. He wasn’t looking for more gold to spend, however, but for small gems, and he had enlisted the help of Marin and Dala.
He’d had an idea for a hanging toy that many Hobbits put over their child’s cradle, to give them something to look at, reach for, and play with, when they awoke or were placed in their cradles. And with this child being part Dwarf, Bilbo thought a combination of cloth flowers and precious gemstones would make a nice compromise.
Now here he was, scouring the piles of treasure for gems small enough not to make the toy too heavy. How exactly he was going to attach them, he did not know, but he thought Bofur and Bifur might have some ideas about that, once he asked them.
So it was that he had, in his sixth month of pregnancy, climbed atop a pile of gold (it truly wasn’t very high at all) and was bent over, picking through a small pile of gems that had been tossed out of the way until the gold was dealt with, when Thorin found him.
“Bilbo Baggins!” Thorin’s voice boomed loudly, half-roar and half-shriek, though how he managed that, Bilbo would never know. It was an impressive feat, nonetheless. “What are you doing up there? Are you mad?!”
Bilbo, for his part, was so startled that he wobbled, losing his balance as he turned, and managed to fall on his arse on top of a rather pointy ruby. Wincing, he pulled the ruby out from under his rear and tossed it to the side. “Why must you startle me so when I am off level ground?” he asked crossly, glaring at his intended. “And I am quite fine, thank you very much, not mad at all. Though there are many Hobbits back in the Shire who might agree with you and not me.”
Then he noticed the ashen look that Thorin, Dwalin, and Kíli all sported, as if all blood had drained from their faces. “Whatever is the matter with you?” he asked as he half-walked, half-slid down the pile, stepping onto the floor with ease at the bottom. And if anything, they had gotten paler as he came down. “Are you all well? Has something happened to someone?”
“Nay, everyone is fine, lad,” Dwalin said, wiping his hand over his face. “You gave us a fright is all. Climbing up on that pile in your condition…”
“You should not do such things,” Thorin said, pulling Bilbo flush against him when Bilbo drew nearer. “What if you had fallen?”
“I was fine,” Bilbo said, rolling his eyes even though his face was mostly buried into Thorin’s upper chest. “I wouldn’t have slipped then if you hadn’t startled me so.”
“Do you wish to harm our child?” Thorin asked, pulling him back with a frown. “I see no reason why you continue to do these dangerous things.”
“No, of course I do not want to harm our child!” Bilbo said, glaring at him, offended that he would even think that. “But standing on top of what is a rather small pile of gold and looking at gemstones is hardly going to do either of us in. You worry far too much.”
“And you not enough. Pregnancies are difficult things. It is all too easy to lose a child before birth,” Thorin said. “I know. My sister lost one before Fíli was born, and another after Kíli. You should rest as much as possible.”
Sighing, Bilbo leaned against him. “I am sorry for that, but you must remember that I am not a Dwarf. I am quite well, and very healthy, and am capable of doing many things right up until it is time for the birthing. But if it bothers you so much, I will not climb atop piles of gold again. Nor will I climb atop anything that I deem will make your eyeballs pop out of your head, should you catch me at it.”
“Thank you. Now I think you should rest. What were you doing in here at any rate? The traders are gone, and you hardly needed to climb on top of a pile of gold to get to gold.”
Bilbo showed him the small gems in his hand. “I had an idea for a toy for the cradle, and I wanted to find some of the small gems before they were used for something else. I only needed a handful. Marin and Dala are over on the other side of the room, looking as well for me, though I daresay your bellowing probably half-scared them out of their very wits. And no blaming them for my being up on top of that pile. They did not see me nor had any way of knowing I did it. I had just climbed up not a minute or two before you came in.”
Shaking his head, Thorin said, “If you want small gems, just tell someone, and we’ll find you what you want. Will you do that for me?”
“Yes, I suppose so. Now, since you’ve managed to ruin my fun, I am going to go and have a bath.” Bilbo patted his rounding belly and sighed. “I’m getting as big as a bloody hobbit hole. I’ll not be able to see my own feet before long.”
Looking up, he saw that Thorin was gracing him with a peculiar look. “What?”
“Bilbo, it is true your midsection has rounded some, but you’re hardly huge. If anything, I think you need to eat more,” Thorin said, guiding him out of the treasury. “Come, let us get you fed and bathed, and into a nice warm bed for a nap.”
“Do I not need to log these with Marin?” he asked, holding out the gems.
Thorin handed them over to Kíli. “Kíli will take care of it, and bring them to you in the room.”
Kíli, who had finally recovered his coloring in his face – Dwalin still looked quite pale – smiled at him and nodded. “I will be more than happy to aid you on your quest, Uncle Bilbo.” Fíli and Kíli started calling him that a bit in jest, but liked it so much that it had stuck. “I will bring you the finest gems of this size that we can find.”
“I only need a handful, not a wagon load,” Bilbo called out, and he let Thorin and Dwalin escort him back to the rooms.
He found himself not long after tucked under a blanket on the sofa in their room, his lap filled with a tray of hot tea, a small meat pie, a plate full of cranberry scones, and his daily herbal milk drink. Dwalin and Thorin sat with him, their own lunches on their laps, and both of them were watching him while trying not to act like they were.
Shaking his head, Bilbo drank his herb drink and then tucked into his meat pie.
A month later, Bilbo found himself near the front gates during his walk with Kíli. He was actually glad that it was Kíli, because he was less inclined to try to lift him and carry him if he looked even remotely out of breath, instead of just allowing him a moment to breathe.
Bombur was not so bad either, and he often let Bilbo get away with more. Bilbo thought that perhaps it was because Bombur’s wife had given birth to his seventh child not long before he left. In fact, his family, Bilbo found out during one day of bread baking, was the reason he had come on this quest in the first place. He had wanted a better life for his children than the one they had. While they weren’t starving and were better off than many, he wanted more for them, and he saw Thorin’s quest as the perfect opportunity to get it.
His family, whom he had written to once the battle was over, was scheduled to come in the first caravan come spring. He had shared the letter’s contents with Bilbo, his eyes teary as he read it while they sat at the small work table in the kitchen.
Fíli was almost as good to have around as Bombur, but that was because often Lara could be found at Bilbo’s side, the two of them working on clothing – Bilbo on his gifts for the others, his own clothing, and things for the baby, and Lara, who worked on the commissions she got from the Dwarves and Men in the Mountain. Fíli spent his time being rather smitten with her and Lara was a good distraction.
Lara, for her part, had been quite giddy when Thorin announced her as the Head of the Clothworking Guild, and she had taken the generous allowance Thorin had offered to get started with and ran, buying out every item related to sewing that was left in the marketplace, exacting a promise that the spring and summer traders would bring more.
Bilbo watched Fíli and Lara with amusement. Fíli was definitely heading toward love, and Bilbo always found it sweet that Lara, who was direct, blunt, and had the most wicked sense of humor, blushed like a tween newly in love whenever Fíli paid her attention. As Bilbo was often the same around Thorin in the beginning, and still was, truth be told, he swallowed whatever teasing he might otherwise do.
Still, Fíli’s preoccupation with Lara meant that he was able to more easily move around the chambers, including helping Bombur in the kitchen. Bombur always made sure he did not do too much, but he also trusted Bilbo to know his own limits.
But today was Kíli’s turn, and he was talking to the guards, so Bilbo made a motion that he was going to step outside. Kíli nodded and continued his conversation.
It was sunny outside, in spite of the chill. Snow hadn’t yet settled on the ground, though it covered the top of the Mountain quite liberally, and at this point, it was unlikely to for any length of time. Most unusual for this time of the year, as it was nearing spring already, making the winter strangely mild compared to what he heard it was usually like.
Sighing with contentment at the feel of the sun on his face, Bilbo walked down to the riverside to sit on one of the benches that had been added there. Wanting to get as much sun as possible, Bilbo took off his coat and wrapped it around his middle, and he rolled up his sleeves and then pulled the bottoms of his leggings up to his knees. It wasn’t too cold, and the sun felt wonderful on his skin. Throwing his head back, he soaked up the sun, intending to do it for as long as he could manage, before someone panicked and rushed him back to his room and buried him under twenty blankets.
Perhaps half an hour passed when he felt someone settle next to him. Cracking one eye open, he smiled when he saw Dala sitting next to him, watching him with open fondness.
“Found a moment to sneak out, did you?” she asked, chuckling.
“Kíli knows I came outside. I’m certain he’ll come and get me when he’s ready to head back. In the meantime, I thought I would enjoy the sun,” Bilbo replied. “I have no idea why they get so panicked every time I lift more than my own drinking cup.”
Dala sighed. “I do believe it is because the females of our race have such difficult times with pregnancy and birthing,” she said. “I myself lost three children at various times during my pregnancies before I had my Lara. It is not only that there are three males to one female, or that we do not wish to have children that keep our numbers low. I was bedridden for most of my time with Lara, and the birthing was most unpleasant. We elected not to try again.”
“I am sorry for your loss,” Bilbo said, reaching over to take her hand, and he squeezed it. “Bombur’s wife had seven children so far. I find her even more remarkable in light of those odds.”
Dala nodded. “She may indeed be one of those who is blessed. There are some who do not have the problems that plague many of us. Every now and again, a woman will have a large family such as Bombur’s. Many of us who bear children only succeed in having one or two, and pregnancy is a most difficult time. Intense bouts of nausea and illness that can leave one abed because of exhaustion, risk of dehydration, bleeding if one does not take care for what they are doing. Crafting, cooking, or long walks, such as you take, are many times impossible. As I said, being confined to bed is not unusual. And if we are lucky, we will carry until the end, and have a healthy baby.”
Bilbo nodded, saddened by the difficulties Dwarf-women had. He at least understood the males in his life a little more now, and why they were so scared for him. “That explains the whispers concerning Hobbits and magic I’ve been hearing since Thorin announced that we were expecting,” Bilbo said.
Laughing, Dala said, “Yes, they think you Hobbits must be magical creatures indeed if you can run about the way you do, with little trouble and no thought of causing harm to yourself or your child. Are all Hobbit pregnancies as easy as yours?”
Thinking about it a moment, Bilbo nodded. “Yes, I do believe so. It is rare for a Hobbit to lose a child, and usually is a result of a rather severe injury or fall. If we ever lose a child naturally, it would be before we even realize we are with child.
“Pregnancy symptoms are mild compared to yours, it seems. It is very rare for a Hobbit to have nausea other than a mild form every now and again, unless one is actually ill. We do not suffer from much fatigue until our later months. In fact, it is only now that I have begun to feel out of breath now and again, and usually it is simply a matter of giving us a few minutes to catch our breaths, and we’re ready to go again. Our cravings can run a bit odd. We are only confined to our homes once our bodies make ready for the birth, and even then, we’re up and about until the pains of birthing begin.
“It is not unusual to see us gardening, cleaning, visiting, or cooking even into our tenth month, though it makes for a very amusing picture if we are alone and are trying to get up ourselves without aid.” He grinned when Dala laughed. “And truly, it is rare to lose a child or adult in childbirth. I am simply not concerned by my pregnancy. Though the baby is half-Dwarf, I am a Hobbit. I am having a typical Hobbit pregnancy.”
“I am very glad for it,” Dala said, wrapping an arm around him. Leaning closer, she said, “You might want to straighten yourself. Kíli and Thorin just walked out the doors and are searching.”
Snorting, Bilbo quickly rolled his sleeves back down, slid back into his coat, and straightened his leggings. Then the two chatted amicably until Thorin and Kíli made their way down to the riverside.
Bilbo leaned his head back and smiled when two shadows blocked his sunlight. “Thorin! Your meetings let out early?”
Thorin, upon seeing how happy and calm Bilbo was, nodded. “We decided a long lunch would be in order.” He looked up at the sky. “It’s a beautiful day today.”
“It is, very much so,” Bilbo replied, reaching up to grasp Thorin’s hands, which were on his shoulders. “I wish we could stay out here awhile longer. The weather will turn soon enough, though I daresay it will be of a brief duration.”
Leaning down, Thorin pressed a kiss to Bilbo’s forehead. “I will have the others bring our lunch outside, and we can picnic here by the water. Would that please you?”
Bilbo nodded. “Very much so. Thank you.”
With a nod, Thorin strode away, and Kíli took a seat beside him. “We should come out here more often,” he said, clearly enjoying the sunshine himself. “I thought Thorin was going to skin me alive when he discovered you were outside without me.”
Bilbo rolled his eyes. “There are Dwarves and Men milling about everywhere,” he replied, motioning nearby. The stables, barns and coops were nearby, and there were many Dwarves and Men enjoying the fine day, taking a break from the everyday toil of the Mountain.
“Well, you know that, and I know that, but I think Uncle has gone mad,” he said, grinning when Bilbo and Dala chuckled.
Dala patted Bilbo on his leg. “Well, I am off. I am certain Marin is ready for lunch, but he gets so lost in his work sometimes he forgets to eat.”
Bilbo and Kíli waved at her, and then they sat back, Bilbo leaning against Kíli, and they sat silently as they watched the other people mill about. Occasionally a fish would come to the surface of the water and snap up a bug.
“I believe some Men went further down the river to do some fishing today,” Kíli said.
“Perhaps we will have fresh fish tonight. Tomorrow for lunch, for certain,” Bilbo murmured and snuggled against Kíli. “You make a most comfortable pillow.”
Kíli laughed. “I am glad you appreciate it. Fíli always said I was bony.”
“I think there is another Fíli would much prefer to cuddle up against,” Bilbo said.
“Aye, that is true. He is working up the nerve to approach Marin for permission to begin courting Lara. Uncle has already given his approval of Lara as a match for Fíli.”
Bilbo looked up at Kíli. “And what do you think of her?”
“I think she is a lovely Lady, and Fíli chose quite well. I will welcome her to the family happily when he finally gets up his nerve. I think Mother will adore her. They have some similarities in personality,” Kíli said.
“And I am certain you find it relieving that I am giving Thorin children, and that Lara and Fíli will likely have a child, since she is rather enamored with the idea of children,” Bilbo said, eying him slyly. “So with the Line of Durin assured, you will be able to pursue a certain miner and toymaker we both know and love?”
Kíli flushed to the tips of his ears. “Am I that obvious?” he asked, smiling down at him ruefully.
“Only to Fíli, Thorin, and myself. And Dwalin. And Balin. And Ori often giggles at you when you cannot see him. Nori notices everything, so he likely knows. And Bombur knows; it’s a discussion we have often while cooking. Bifur and Glóin may be running the betting pools… Dori and Óin may have large wagers going for when rather than if… But I am most certain that Bofur doesn’t realize,” Bilbo said. “Of course, that may be because he feels the same towards you and tries not to show it, so he misses your most obvious lovesick expressions directed at him.”
Kíli beamed down at him. “Truly? He feels the same for me?”
Rolling his eyes again, Bilbo nodded. “Yes, of course. Bombur is always complaining of his whining on and on about how you would never be interested because you are royalty and he is a simple toymaker and miner, and blah blah blah. My child will be born in a few months, and I know I will be having more in the near future, and Fíli and Lara are a certain match, but for the technicalities of courting. Please, please, put us all out of our misery. Also, I may have a rather large wager myself that you two would get your acts together sometime this week.”
Kíli threw his head back and roared with laughter, and then pressed kisses on top of Bilbo’s head and down his cheek. “Thank you! I will speak with him after lunch, I believe. You are certainly more devious than I would have ever expected.”
“It comes with living with Dwarves. I have learned the best ways to hedge my bets.”
“Why are you pawing my burglar?” Thorin asked as he walked back up, his tone amused.
“Because he is so round and cute and cuddly,” Kíli replied, smiling brightly at his uncle as he wrapped his arms around Bilbo and squished him into a hug before releasing him.
Thorin settled on the bench and Bilbo transferred his need for snuggling to Thorin, smiling to himself as his lover wrapped his arms around Bilbo’s rather ample body. “That he is. Bombur and the others are gathering everything into baskets and will be out shortly.”
“Good,” Bilbo said, deciding to enjoy the day and let his family coddle him a bit.
After all, he was going to bring up soon that they needed to call for the Elven healers who were going to aid Óin in the birth of their child. That would be sure to sour Thorin’s mood a bit, knowing there were Elves in his Mountain.
Bilbo woke up, grimacing as he struggled to sit upright. He felt firm hands help right him, and he sent Thorin a grateful smile.
“Time to relieve yourself again?” he asked, his voice still husky with sleep.
Sighing, Bilbo nodded as he slipped off the bed. “Go back to sleep for awhile longer. I hear someone moving about in the other room, and will have someone make me some tea,” he said, rubbing slightly at his lower back as he waddled to the bathing room.
Thorin grunted and rolled over, content in the knowledge that Bilbo was slowing down and not likely to do anything that would turn his hair white.
Once done in the bathing room, Bilbo made his way out to the living area and into the kitchen, where Bombur was setting up everything for breakfast. It had long since become habit for the entire company to dine together for all three meals, and their kitchen was the best of them all to work in, being the largest and having the most storage space. It also had the added benefit of not making Bilbo walk too far.
Bombur smiled at Bilbo as he climbed onto the short stool at the work table. “Hungry?” he asked, searching their containers for some biscuits.
Bilbo thought for a moment and then chuckled. Usually, he was ravenous, and he realized what the lack of hunger truly meant. “No, actually, I am not. Not at all.” When Bombur glanced at him in surprise, he said, “It will be soon. Usually about three days from this moment, the pain will hit.”
Bombur, who was well informed about the process, reached into another cabinet and pulled out the teas that Bilbo would consume for the next three days, and began to prepare a pot, adding both honey and sugar to the tray. “Have you told Thorin yet?”
Bilbo shook his head. “I only just now realized it. I will tell him once he is awake. He needs the sleep, as I have awoken him many times with my frequent trips to relieve my bladder. There is nothing he can do but hover and fret for the next three days at any rate. Might as well keep my own peace while I can.”
Bombur chuckled and brought the tray over to him, and he winced at the amount of sugar and honey Bilbo added to his tea. “How can you drink that?”
“Normally I cannot, but during this time I crave the sweetness. It helps to keep my energy up, since I will not eat until after the birth. The spices and herbs in this blend will keep me healthy otherwise. Also, this blend tastes quite vile without all the added sweetness.”
“Does the scent of foods bother you? If so, we can use another room to make the meals,” Bombur said.
Bilbo shook his head. “No, Bombur, it does not bother me. I will be most displeased if I do not get to see my family at mealtimes these next few days.”
“Then we will continue on as we have since we moved in here,” Bombur said, smiling at Bilbo and then moving back to where he was preparing breakfast, leaving Bilbo to consume his entire pot of tea.
Bilbo was helping Bombur with the finishing touches on breakfast when strong arms wrapped around him from behind and a kiss was placed just behind his ear. “Have you been snacking as you helped?” Thorin asked.
Turning his head, Bilbo kissed Thorin’s cheek. “No, actually. My three days of fasting have begun.”
“He did consume an entire pot of tea with a horrific amount of sugar and honey,” Bombur said as he walked by with two platters in hand.
Thorin looked down at him in disgruntled concern. “Why did you not wake me? Do I need to get Óin and the Elven healers? Should you be up doing these things?”
Laughing, Bilbo slid off his stool and shoved the two platters of scones and cinnamon rolls he was organizing into Thorin’s hands. “You needed the rest, and there is hardly anything you can do right now. No, I do not need the healers. When you leave for your duties, have them informed that my three days has begun, and I will call them when the pains come. And yes, I should be up and around. It helps stimulate my blood and will be better for me when I give birth. Now go and place those on the table.”
“No ‘buts’. Now shoo,” Bilbo said, pushing him out of the kitchen and heading to the cooler for the butter. He searched the pantries for the blackberry jam he knew Thorin and Kíli loved, and for the sliced peaches for Fíli and Lara, who had taken to eating breakfast with the company and then staying on to help Bilbo with the last of his sewing. The robes he had made for everyone were a rousing success, and many of this companions often came to breakfast in them.
Others saw them and liked them so much that Bilbo had given bolts of the material to Lara, and she had many orders for them from Men and Dwarves alike.
When he walked out of the kitchen, his entire family was present, and each one looked at him like he was going to explode at any second. Rolling his eyes, he set the jam in between Thorin and Kíli, and the peaches in front of Fíli and Lara. “Honestly, I am not going to squat down and push out a baby right this second. It will still be days before I am ready. Now eat and go about your business!” he said, shaking his head and waddling off to the bedroom to dress himself in the Elven-style robes Lara had created for him, since wearing his normal clothes was out of the question with his size.
The days passed quickly, and before he knew it, Thorin was being called down to his chambers because Bilbo’s first pains had come.
Thorin managed to get into the bedroom for a time, to see with his own eyes that Bilbo was quite well, and that the healers all knew what they were doing, but after a few hours of chatting with Bilbo, who was in high spirits in spite of the frequent contractions, he was chased out of the room by none other than Óin, who said it was no place for a fretting father.
It did not take long for the entire company, including Lara and her parents, whom Bilbo had taken quite a shine to, to congregate in the living area to await the birth.
And it was long hours of waiting, or at least it seemed to be. Bombur seemed to be the least worried, going about his usual business of cooking and then making everyone eat something. Thorin thought that it was because Bombur had been through this so many times, he had learned not to become stressed over something he could not control.
Finally, after what seemed an interminable amount of time, the faint cries of a child could be heard, and it was only his great strength that kept Thorin from tears, both in relief and happiness. Not long after, they heard the child cry again, and then several minutes later, again, and Thorin wondered just what was going on in there.
Before he could become too concerned, Óin came out with a smile on his face. “Everyone is just fine. The lad came through it all just fine. One of the easiest deliveries I have ever witnessed, and all things considered…”
“And the child?” Thorin asked.
Óin chuckled. “Why do you not come and see for yourself?” Óin said, opening the door again and motioning for Thorin to follow him.
“Hello, love,” Bilbo said, smiling tiredly at Thorin. In his arms, wrapped up in one of the blankets he created, was the tiniest babe that Thorin had ever seen. “Come and meet your daughter.”
At that, Thorin’s eyes blurred and he released a choked sob as he sat down next to Bilbo. “She’s so tiny,” he said, reaching out to touch her blond curls, much like Bilbo’s. “And so beautiful.”
“Well, she is half-Hobbit,” Bilbo said, chuckling softly. “They were bound to be small. Now, do you want to meet your sons?”
Thorin nearly choked on his own tongue. “Sons?” he said, his voice rising a pitch or two as the Elves, who had been working on the other side of the room, turned. Both had small bundles in their arms and smiled serenely at Thorin.
One Elf placed a baby in Thorin’s arms, while the other handed over the second child to Fíli, who was barely refraining from snatching his tiny baby cousin away from the Elf.
Fíli came to sit in front of Thorin while the others gathered around, and Thorin looked between his sons. They were identical to him in color, their hair dark and thick already. Their eyes were a deep blue, but Thorin knew that all babies had bluish eyes when born, and their color would change. But considering their fathers, it was a good chance they may remain blue. They were not identical, however, and it was a relief to know they would not mix them up accidentally.
Thorin managed to tear his eyes away from his son to look at Bilbo in wonder. “But…you were so small. Where in blazes did you hide them?!”
Snorting, Bilbo gave him a look. “I told you I was the size of a bloody barn. I suspected there might be two, but did not want to say anything, since I did not know for certain. I didn’t expect three. That’s unusual, even for Hobbits. Good thing you bought all those goats. I’m going to need help with the feeding in a few weeks,” he said, looking back down at his daughter and brushing his finger against her cheek.
“Now you’re going to have to come up with another set of personal and public names,” Kíli said, leaning against his brother slightly as he peered down at the wiggling child, love for the boy already apparent in his eyes. “You thought of one set each for a son and a daughter, not knowing what you have.”
“Which was born first?” Thorin asked.
“The one you are holding, your majesty,” one of the Elves said as he cleaned up. “Your daughter came next, and then the one Prince Fíli holds. Your Bilbo is a rather remarkable young Hobbit. Not even our women have such an easy time of it.”
Bilbo snorted. “You call that easy?” Then he looked at Thorin. “They will be at least three years old before we even think of having another child.”
Thorin’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “You wish to have more?”
“Well, yes, of course,” Bilbo said, looking at him as if he were a bit daft. “I would like a big family, though I was not counting on three of them straight away. But still, I would like to have more. Do you not want more?”
Thorin leaned over and pressed a kiss to Bilbo’s mouth. “I will be happy to father as many children as you wish to have.”
Glóin snorted at Bilbo’s pleased expression and looked at Thorin. “Good answer.”
“Oh, I cannot wait for mother to get here,” Kíli said, finally losing his patience and taking the child from his brother’s arms. “She is going to love doting on these little ones.”
Thorin nodded. “Yes, she always wanted to have more children. I fear she may snatch one of ours right from under our noses.”
Bilbo laughed. “Well, so long as we get the child back eventually, I’ll be more than grateful for her help.” He looked down and saw that his daughter was starting to snuffle at his chest and fuss. “Are you hungry, little one?”
“All right, everyone out, and let the proud parents have a moment’s peace,” Óin said gruffly, shoving the Dwarves not holding children or on the bed out of the room. The Elves followed behind, hands full of things that needed to be burned. “Fíli, Kíli, time for you to leave, lads.”
“Oh, let them stay,” Bilbo said, smiling as his daughter latched onto him and began sucking. “You might want to tell Bombur to start cooking. In a few hours, my appetite will be returning with a vengeance, and then all of you will be wondering where I am putting all the food I will be eating.”
Óin laughed at that. “Very well, Bilbo. Call for us if you need anything.”
Bilbo looked at his future husband, his children, and his nephews. Knowing the rest of his family was right outside the door, he said, “I have everything I need.”