“Ah…I shall not be missed.” Bilbo said with a little frown, looking up at the elf before further explaining, “The truth is that most of them don’t think I should be on this journey.”
“Indeed,” Elrond nodded, looking the Hobbit over before stating, “I’ve heard that Hobbits are very resilient.”
Bilbo scoffed and then realized he was serious, “Really?”
“I’ve also heard they are fond of the comforts of home,” Elrond continued, looking out at his kingdom once again.
Bilbo let out a soft chuckle before countering, “I’ve heard that it’s unwise to seek the counsel of elves for they will answer both yes and no.”
Elrond looked at him thoughtfully for a moment before giving the awkwardly shuffling Halfling a pursed lipped smile and nodding out to where he’d spotted you, “Your friend there said much the same thing when faced with her own dilemma.”
Following his gaze, Bilbo watched you press a finger to your lips as Kili spotted you and then you swung up into a tree, waiting for Fili to turn before dropping to hang upside down in front of him. Fili gave a girlish shriek that could be heard even over the distance and you tumbled from the tree and hopped on Kili’s back to dash away before his brother could recover, obviously roaring with laughter.
He chuckled at your antics and then frowned, “It's different with her...She is wanted among them, belongs there even.”
“She does not believe it so though I am certain her worries concerning her heritage cloud her judgment. She desires to feel wanted, to have a place in the world- something I doubt she has ever truly had aside from keeping by Gandalf’s side.”
Bilbo looked up at him, wondering what exactly your past had been like, and then asked, “And you think her place is there? Among the dwarves?”
“That remains to be seen... I have offered her a place here should she choose to stay.”
The Hobbit furrowed his brow, imagining the road ahead without you was a miserable thing, and Elrond placed a hand on his shoulder, “You are very welcome to stay here as well, if that is your wish.”
With that the elf lord left, giving Bilbo time with his thoughts. He looked back over to where you and the two young dwarves were, seeing that Fili had pounced on you and Kili and you were all laughing in a pile on the floor. You sat up and spied him on the balcony, giving a wide grin and a wave before Fili tugged on your braid and darted away with you scrambling after him.
He wondered if you would stay with Lord Elrond and the elves. You had said that your place was always by Gandalf’s side but you were injured and you did seem to fit in amongst the elves easily, even if you enjoyed the high spirits of the dwarves- it would make sense for you to stay.
He went in search of Gandalf to see what his opinion on the matter might be and found you and your two dwarven cohorts instead. Fili and Kili were dragging you toward where a few of the other dwarves were doing a bit of sparring and you tossed him a ‘help me’ look as Kili chuckled, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively, “Come on lass! It’ll be fun. I’ll even teach you how to shoot an arrow.”
“You know I can’t Kili, doing so would put too much strain on my shoulder.”
Fili chimed in the with his brother, “Well then you can at least practice using just one sword in your good hand to be prepared for the road ahead. Dwalin will go easy. We promise.”
You dug your heels in, “You know I don’t spar. Come on lads, let me go.”
Kili tossed you over his shoulder with a laugh, “Never lass.”
You sighed, knowing this wasn’t a fight you were going to win and looked up to give Bilbo a little mischievous grin, “Oi lads, don’t you think our burglar could use some practice as well?”
Bilbo was already shaking his head with wide eyes but Fili grabbed his arm, “A fantastic point (F/n). Come on Bilbo, let’s see how you are with that letter opener Gandalf gave you.”
You giggled at his flustered face and then gawked, hitting Kili’s back forcefully, “Did you just grab my rear, you cheeky dwarf?”
Kili repeated the action as he and his brother barked out a laugh, “And if I did? I don’t see anything you can do about it from your current position.”
Bilbo had traded his bewildered look for a glare, not liking that Kili was using your current position to touch where he shouldn’t, but you didn’t seem to care all that much, a smug grin crossing your face for a moment. Bilbo was just beginning to get curious about what that could mean when you swiftly wound your legs around Kili’s neck so you were sitting on his shoulders and then tossed yourself back so he overbalanced and came tumbling down on top of you.
Kili floundered as Fili doubled over with laughter and you leaned in closer so your lips almost touched, teasing him as thoroughly as you possibly could “Never underestimate your opponent my little prince.”
You were too close to notice the smirk that spread across his face, “Sound advice that you should turn back to yourself lass.”
You were confused until he lifted his head to press his lips to yours and you went reeling back, “You- you- you git! Damn you. You’ll regret that.”
Kili scrambled away with you chasing after him, sparring forgotten for a moment, and Fili gave a loud laugh, “That lass is going to kill him... Uncle Thorin will be displeased that there is one less in the line of Durin.”
Bilbo was frowning deeply, it seemed to him that Kili had captured your heart and he felt even more alone than he normally did. Fili went to make sure you didn’t, in fact, kill the flirtatious dwarf as Bilbo spun on his heel and went to mull over his troubled thoughts.
Maybe it was time to return home, to the easy comfort of his Hobbit hole, he thought, but at the back of his mind he knew that wouldn’t help… he would still feel alone. He found an empty balcony a short ways away and pulled out his pipe to puff at it as he let his jealousy wane into a sense of sadness and loss.