Title: Halls Beneath the Hill
Pairings: minor canon het
Word Count: 1181
Disclaimer: If I owned the hobbit there would be more angst
Summary: 50 years before Thorin's Company knocked, the door of Bag End appeared
There had always been a Bag End as long as there had been Bagginses, for the very first carved her chambers from the hillside with his own two hands. Though skilled with shovel, lathe and hatchet, Balbo Baggins was a gentle hobbit at heart and this home was his betrothal gift for the lass he wished to wed. So he built his love into every doorway, every window and polished sill and all who saw her agreed that no finer hobbit hole could be found within the Shire.
This first Baggins married Berylla Boffin as he had wished and Bag End became home to a gaggle of their children, born in her halls beneath the hill. She was a place of light and laughter for decades on end and the family's love seeped into the stone of her foundation and the earth that was her heart.
Although the five Baggins children eventually grew up and moved away over the years, Bag End would always hold a special place within their hearts. Yet no one realized that she returned their love with every fiber of her being.
At least not until the night Balbo and Berylla passed away in their bed, and Bag End simply disappeared. The hill remained, but when their neighbors woke the next morning, her door was gone and the windows were sealed tight. After a few attempts to gain entrance, other hobbits refused to go anywhere near her, for touching the earth where Bag End stood filled them with an endless wave of grief.
Only when Mungo, the eldest son, returned from Southfarthing, laid his head against her doorway and whispered that he was sorry through his tears, did the wood reappear beneath the hobbit's hands. He opened the door and walked inside his old home to find everything preserved just as it had been and they mourned together for the lives that they had loved and lost.
When he moved to leave again, the front door wavered until Mungo promised to return, though the door still refused to open under any other hand. So even after he moved into Bag End with his wife Laura, the other hobbits in the neighborhood were wary of accepting invitations to their home, fearing that the house might disappear with them inside. However, as time passed without a repeat of this incident, the residents of Hobbiton eventually decided that they had nothing to fear but missing out on the finest elevensies of any in the Shire.
While the gossip still whispered of magic, it was the simple magic of home and hearth instead of the fierce and dangerous spells of Big Folk so there was always a hint of admiration in the talk. No other home so clearly loved her family and many hobbits were secretly jealous of the Bagginses at heart.
So for another generation, the rooms of Bag End rang with happy laughter, but as her children grew into adults a split formed where brothers should have stood. All of the family knew that Bungo would have first chance to claim their home when Mungo died and only if she rejected him would the others follow suit. While most of his sibling didn't mind this, busy with their own loves and lives, his brother Longo resented the order of their birth. Why should his brother receive the house just for being older and the hobbit became more and more determined that Bag End should belong to him instead.
When he married and bore a child Longo's possessiveness only increased because Bungo remained a stubborn bachelor and surely a hobbit hole of that size should fall to one who would make proper use of it? Thus, when Mungo finally passed on and the door to Bag End vanished once more, Longo ran home to claim her for himself.
However, when he arrived she remained stubbornly shut tight, refusing to acknowledge the hobbit as her next owner and Mungo's rightful heir. Perhaps if he had wanted her for love or family then she would have welcomed him inside, but Bag End could see the greed within his heart.
So all his efforts were futile and he finally gave up, though as he left Longo swore that his family would have the house one day. If not him, then his children or theirs, because the Sackville-Bagginses knew what belonged to them and they would remember this slight.
Yet Bag End ignored his threats and simply slept away her grief while she waited for one who deserved to live within her halls. This time it was several years before a Baggins passed through her door again, for Bungo was away in Tuckborough courting his beloved and he would not return until she agreed to be his wife. Only once Belladonna Took became Belladonna Baggins did the pair move back to Hobbiton and beneath their hands that bright green door became real once more.
It was love at first sight when Bungo introduced his wife and his home to each other, and Bag End held her children close to shield the spark of new life that they brought within her walls. Their son Bilbo was born less than one year later and she adored him all the more for the tragedy that followed.
Fifty years later, a meddling wizard and his band of dwarves arrived to drag the last Baggins out from her protection and into the wider world. Although Bag End could have stopped Bilbo this was not her place, so his home simply bid him farewell and vanished into the grey mists of the aether. She knew it would be a long time before Bilbo returned to her, if he returned at all, and his neighbors looked at the smooth unbroken hillside and worried for his fate.
However, Bag End knew that her Baggins still lived, she could feel it in the wood and rock that were her bones, and so when Otho Sackville-Baggins came around, he received the same rejection that had bedeviled his father many years before.
Otho did not give up as easily as Longo, not with his grasping wife spurring on his avarice, but he could not pierce through her protections with his cold and shriveled heart. So at last he left, screaming obscenities and swearing that when Bilbo died he would be back, but Bag End would disappear forever before she accepted that hobbit as the master of her halls.
Yet it did not come to that. A year and a day after Bilbo left the Shire, he finally returned to her, though he was a much different soul than he had been before. Her hobbit was weary and broken now, but Bag End recognized the child of her heart and her door opened easily beneath his calloused hands. She could feel his grief and sorrow as an ache within her stone and the house mourned for his pain as she mourned for all Bagginses when they passed beyond her sight.
But Bilbo was home now and Bag End knew that with time their wounds would heal.