Chapter 12: A Life Ensues
Pairings: Kíli/Bilbo, hints of a couple others
Warnings: Can I warn for epic fluff?
Word Count: 2858 (34,173 total)
Summary: Kíli is a virgin. Bilbo is a unicorn. Together they fight goblins and cuddle epically.
Art: Unicorn!Bilbo 1, Unicorn!Bilbo 2. Unicorn!Smaug and some alternates.
Chapter 1: A Wizard Meddles Chapter 5: A Mountain Shakes Chapter 9: A River Flows
Chapter 2: A Quest Begins Chapter 6: An Archer Dreams Chapter 10: A Dragon Flies
Chapter 3: A Burglar Woos Chapter 7: A Company Walks Chapter 11: A Gemstone Glows
Chapter 4: A Romance Grows Chapter 8: A Hobbit Bargains
“Look, darling. We're almost there,” Bilbo said. “That river marks the edge of Hobbiton.”
He and Kíli had been traveling west for several weeks now, the journey home passing much more quickly than the trek to Erebor. This was partially due to the fine ponies that had been their wedding gift from Beorn since these animals were almost able to match the unicorn for speed. Although Kíli generally rode Bilbo, they had needed pack horses to carry the wealth of supplies and presents that their friends had offered them.
Apparently a proper dwarvish wedding required gifts from all attending and the guest list had contained more kings and nobles than Bilbo had known existed in the East. Thranduil and his children, Beorn and Gandalf and several other wizards, Lord Dáin from the Iron Hills and a contingent of men sent from Laketown, plus all the dwarves of Ered Luin, everyone had come to wish the couple well.
Even Smaug had arrived to check in on his great-great-grand-nephews since Bilbo had sent him an invitation for politeness' sake. Thankfully, he came as a unicorn rather than a dragon, though his presence had raised a few eyebrows nonetheless. Indeed, Bard the Bowman's daughters had spent most of the ceremony tying flowers to Smaug's horns, the dragon preening happily underneath their careful hands.
Of course, Bilbo could have been standing in an empty field and he would not have noticed. He only had eyes for Kíli's brilliant smile, the memory of his husband's joy putting a soft look on his face.
“We should walk from here,” the hobbit said, taking the archer by the hand. “My neighbors will have questions, lots of questions once they see that wedding band, and it would be cruel to make you take the brunt of their interrogation. At least this way, I can talk.”
“I appreciate the concern,” Kíli replied with a laugh. “But I walked into a dragon's lair without flinching; I think that I can handle a few nosy hobbits now.”
“Yeah, well. You've never met Lobelia,” Bilbo told him. “Her mother was a banshee and a sour one at that. She's been after Bag End for years and she was probably furious to learn that I was still alive. Whatever you do, don't talk to her alone.”
“All right, I'll be careful,” the dwarf promised. He wasn't sure if this Lobelia could really hurt him but there was no harm in indulging Bilbo's protectiveness. To tell the truth, Kíli found his husband's worry rather sweet whether he was offering the dwarf another coat or fretting about bandits on the road.
Not that any sane bandit would have dared to attack the couple after they'd left Erebor. Sure Kíli and Bilbo had been loaded down with presents, but they'd also been well escorted: by Fíli to the Mirkwood, by Thranduil's son to Dol Guldur, by Smaug and Beorn through the mountains and on to Rivendell. Kíli and Bilbo were only alone now because they had politely declined Elrond's offer of his guardsmen, rightly deciding that one heavily armed dwarf and a unicorn would be safe enough on the Great Eastern Road.
Honestly, the closest they'd come to danger was encountering some rangers and that was more an issue of bad wine than arrows in the dark. Rangers were always looking for news of other lands and Kíli and Bilbo had quite a tale to tell. So they swapped drinks and stories late into the evening and Kíli had been very grateful for his husband the next morning since Bilbo had cured his hangover with only a tiny bit of begging on his part.
Then the couple had continued westward, sticking to the road except for one small detour to pick up Fíli's wedding gift. Some treasure had turned out to be an entire chest of gold and silver, enough that Kíli and Bilbo wouldn't have to worry about money for a long, long time.
“Even if it smells of troll,” the unicorn muttered, glancing back at the chest. It was tied securely on his pony, right next to Bombur's pouch of spices and the wooden toys that Bifur'd carved.
“Bilbo?” Kíli asked. “Did you say something?”
“Nothing important. Just gathering wool,” the hobbit chuckled. “We should get moving; I'm ready to be home and my neighbors will think I've lost it if we keep standing here.”
He tugged Kíli into motion and the two of them stepped across the boundary line of Hobbiton. They led their ponies toward Bag End, strolling along leisurely as Bilbo pointed out the landmarks of his town.
“That's Bywater Pool on our left and Sandyman's Mill on the far side. Remember? You and the others stayed in the Green Dragon last time you were here; that's right across the bridge. Over that hill are the Great Smials; those hobbit holes are owned by some of the oldest families in the Shire – Bracegirdles, Proudfoots, and half a dozen more. It's those old grandams who are going to lead the phalanx of hospitality; expect cookies, tea, and interrogation by terrifying hobbitesses who can see into your soul. Seriously, Mauve Bolger is a siren; she can read your mind.”
“You're not exactly making me want to visit any neighbors,” Kíli told the hobbit with a laugh. “Telepathic grandmas seem like a good reason to hide inside your house.”
“Our house now, darling,” Bilbo corrected fondly. “And Mauve is harmless, really. She just sits and smirks until you tell her all your secrets anyway. But the cookies are well worth it and I promise I won't make you face her charms alone.”
“Damn straight. Now, we're about to pass the Party Field on the right there, which is exactly what it sounds like and doubles as the market square. That's where I want to plant Beorn's acorn,” the hobbit said, pointing to the east end of the field. “We'll be able to see the tree from our front garden once it grows tall enough. A living memory of our journey and the road that led us here.”
“It is a good story, isn't it?” Kíli asked, giving Bilbo a fond smile. “Very romantic. The dashing adventurer and his courageous unicorn, saving each other's lives and fighting evil from here to Erebor. Though I admit, I will be glad to stay in one place for a while. I'm sick of traveling.”
“Me too, love; me too,” the unicorn agreed. “Most of all, I'm sick of cooking on a fire instead of a proper stove. But we're almost there now. In fact, as soon as we round this corner, you'll see...”
Bilbo fell silent as Bag End came into view. Because the hobbit couldn't actually see his smial even though he knew that it was there; all he could see was an enormous crowd standing by his gate. He recognized most of his closest neighbors and some relatives: Mauve Bolger and her brood, the Sackville-Bagginses and is that Augustine Took? And his cousins? Oh dear lord.
“Brace yourself, darling,” the unicorn warned, squeezing Kíli's hand.
“Why? What's going on?”
“We have a greeting party. That looks like most of Hobbiton and a horde of Tooks as well,” Bilbo explained before wincing guiltily. “I knew I shouldn't have mentioned our arrival time in my last letter. Now they've all come to say hello.”
“And that's a bad thing?” the archer asked, his tone adorably confused. “I mean, Lobelia and Mauve both sounded a little scary, but what's wrong with the others? I have to meet your friends and family eventually so why not do it all at once?”
“Well, I suppose that's more efficient,” Bilbo conceded. “It's just...” You have no idea what you're in for. None at all.
Unfortunately, before he found the words to explain the true terror of Tooks en masse, one of the waiting hobbits finally noticed that the guests of honor had arrived and at that point, it was too late to flee.
“Look!” Prudo Proudfoot shouted, pointing right at Bilbo. “They're home”
Suddenly the unicorn and his dwarf were surrounded by smiling children, lads and lasses grabbing their cloaks and pulling them toward Bag End. Bilbo couldn't hear a thing over their chatter but he'd spent enough time with his cousins to guess at their questions anyway.
“Where have you been?” “Who is that?” “I want candy.” “Do you have presents?”
The cacophony was almost overwhelming and the hobbit glanced over at his husband to make sure he was okay. He was expecting mild panic but Kíli just looked delighted as the swarm of fauntlings ran around his legs.
“I've never seen this many children in one place,” the dwarf told Bilbo excitedly, before kneeling down to look one of the smallest lasses in the eye. “Hi, I'm Kíli. What's your name?”
“Isabel,” she answered shyly.
“Nice to meet you, Isabel,” Kíli said. “Would you like to introduce me to your family? I'm new here and I could use someone strong and brave to help me out.”
The lass lit up at the suggestion, nodding quickly and grabbing the edge of Kíli's belt. She had been hanging on the edges of the crowd but now she walked forward proudly, leading the dwarf and hobbit up to the gate with confidence.
“Nicely done, my dear,” Bilbo murmured. In one fell swoop, Kíli had won himself both a guide and a protector, one that would make the other hobbits think twice about asking anything too personal. Not that this outcome had occurred to his husband; the dwarf was simply being his usual kindhearted self, reaching out to Isabel just to make her grin.
“Mum, look. This is Kíli. He's a dwarf,” the lass announced once they'd reached the porch.
“We can see that darling,” Anna Took replied, smiling down at her daughter. “But why don't you let your cousin Bilbo here tell us where he's been.”
With the ice broken, introductions moved quite quickly, Took after Took shaking Kíli's hand. The dwarf tried to keep them straight at first but he gave up quickly; at least dwarvish names all rhymed. He just smiled and answered all their questions, promising that he really did love Bilbo and his family was well respected, “Very well respected, actually.”
“My husband is the younger prince of Erebor,” the unicorn explained proudly, smirking at Lobelia. “His uncle is the King of Silver Fountains and the Lord of Carven Stone.”
“Wait, your husband?!”
“You got married without us?”
“Well that won't do at all.”
“Hey everyone, this is a wedding party now!”
The surrounding hobbits cheered and several of Bilbo's neighbors ran home to get some food out of their pantries while everyone else moved to the Party Field. Kíli and Bilbo were swept along with the others, their protests about unpacking summarily dismissed. Indeed, it was a good thing that Beorn's ponies were the most placid creatures in existence, content to eat grass in a corner while bedlam reigned upon the field.
The celebration lasted for hours, more and more hobbits arriving as the word of Bilbo's wedding spread. All the unicorn and his dwarf could do was bow to the inevitable, allow the chaos to swirl around them and hold on for the ride.
“I'm so sorry about this,” Bilbo whispered to his husband, wincing when Adalgrim pulled out a fiddle and began to sing along.
“Hey, it could be worse. At least the food is good,” Kíli reassured him, waving the muffin in his hand. “And maybe your cousin there will let me play a song.”
The dwarf talked his way onto the stage a few drinks later, Adalgrim as helpless against those dimples as his cousin was. He handed over his fiddle without hesitation and Kíli began to play a quickstep, one that soon had most of Bilbo's kin dancing on the grass.
I didn't know that he could play, the unicorn thought, watching his husband's fingers fly across the strings. Somehow instruments had never come up in their conversations but Bilbo was glad that the dwarf could still surprise him; after all, they had a lifetime to learn about each other now.
Three songs later, Kíli returned to the fiddle to its owner, waving tipsily to his disappointed audience. He promised them an encore later before hopping off the stage to look for his husband in the crowd. Rosie Took climbed up in his place and she quickly had the other hobbits gasping in awe as she juggled fireballs.
The dwarf found Bilbo standing with a stranger, a stout hobbit with great branching antlers that he hadn't met before.
“Kíli, love, I'd like you to meet my great-uncle, the Thain of the Shire,” Bilbo said, motioning to the hobbit standing at his side. “He has come to grant us his blessing.”
“I am very pleased to meet you,” the archer told him, pulling out his best courtly bow. He was still a little tipsy but the Thain had a presence that was undeniable. Indeed, his enormous antlers signaled the strength of his connection to the land for the Thains were always chosen from amongst the kin of Forest Gods, the better to protect the Shire from outside enemies.
“Greetings, Son of Durin; you are welcome here,” the Thain intoned before a smile split his face. “We were starting to worry about Bilbo. Unicorns aren't meant to be alone forever but he always had a stubborn heart. You must be very special to have caught my nephew's eye.”
“He is,” Bilbo said, looking at Kíli with such adoration that the archer ducked his head.
“Well, he certainly is a cute one,” the Thain chuckled. “If you ever want another wedding, I'll be happy to officiate, but know that you are already husbands in the eyes of Yavanna and recognized by Shire law. I hope that you'll both be very happy from now on.”
“Thank you,” the dwarf replied sincerely. Then his face twisted with confusion as the Thain suddenly leaned in close to him.
“If you ever hurt my nephew, I will gut you like a fish,” the hobbit promised fiercely, Kíli taking a step back at the murder in his eyes. But then the Thain smiled brightly once again. “Now, has either of you seen Mauve Bolger? I promised my wife I'd ask her for her cupcake recipe.”
Bilbo pointed vaguely northward and the Thain wandered off into the crowd, one slightly panicked dwarf and his husband left behind.
“Congratulations, love. You passed,” the unicorn told Kíli, patting the archer's arm. “The worst is over now.”
“I hope so. That was just...” the dwarf shook his head, visibly pulling himself together and smiling wryly at Bilbo. “You hobbits are strange folk, you know that, lansûn? Strange and wonderful. My life is never going to be boring with all of you around. Though, I have to admit, I'm about ready to crash. It's been a long journey and we still need to unpack before we sleep.”
“That sounds good to me love. Let's get out of here.”
It actually took three more hours, two encores, and one very embarrassing duet before Bilbo and Kíli finally managed to sneak away, taking their ponies and heading toward Bag End as quickly as they could. One or two hobbits noticed their departure but they were so drunk that they just smirked suggestively and turned back to the stage. Rosie Took was trying to light her cousin's hair on fire and no one wanted to miss that.
“Home at last,” Bilbo said a few minutes later, slumping against his front door with a great sigh of relief. The lock clicked shut beneath his hand, all of his relatives safely on the other side.
“It's as nice as I remembered,” Kíli replied, looking around their smial's entrance hall. He had stripped both ponies of their tack before letting them loose in the front garden and he carefully set down his burden on the floor. Packs and chests and presents made quite a pile, but they could finish unpacking later. “You have to show me everything.”
“I will, love. I promise. And I really am sorry about my family,” the unicorn told his husband. “They mean well, I swear; they're just utterly insane.”
“And my family isn't?” Kíli laughed. “I know you met my uncle; I was there.”
The dwarf walked over to Bilbo and wrapped his arms around the hobbit's waist. Kíli smiled again and the unicorn could feel the love pouring off him, warming him from head to toe. Bilbo's own heart was full to bursting and he suddenly knew that he'd never feel the cold again.
“You don't have to apologize to me, Bilbo. Not for your relatives. Because we're home. We're home and we're together and that's all that matters now.”