Your head snapped around when you heard Kili yell, “Fili!” as he pounced to help his brother when the branch beneath him snapped. Simply acting instead of thinking, you launched yourself away from Bilbo, winding your legs around a branch as you caught Fili’s hands in yours. You gritted you teeth as you struggled with his weight and sighed internally- dangling… again.
You forced a grin at him, “Blimey you’re heavy. Thank the stars it wasn’t Bombur.”
He gave a weak chuckle as you closed your eyes to focus on your grip both on the tree and on him and you could hear Kili above you, “Hang in there (F/n)!”
You couldn’t help but grin as you shot back sarcastically, “It’s not like I have very many other options besides to hang. In fact I believe there is only one and I am not overly fond of it.”
Fili gave a soft chuckle as he added, “Nor am I.”
You looked down at him, shifting your shoulders to get a better grip, and he blew some of your hair out of his face, “Has your hair always been so long lass?”
“It isn't any longer than yours”
“Yes. Well mine isn’t hanging in your face now is it? You should let Kili braid it some time. Might make him happy since, like a bairn, he doesn’t have a bread to braid.”
“I heard that,” Kili called down and you shook your head, if anyone could keep you spirits up in a terrible situation it was these two. You felt Fili’s grip on your arms slip slightly and growled down at him, “Don’t you dare let go of me, you oafish dwarf. I will never forgive you.”
He forced a grin at you, struggling not to slip any further, “Well we can’t have that can we?”
You began to shake from the exertion of holding up both yourself and a burly dwarf, looking back down at Fili. There was no way to hide from him that you were struggling but he still looked incredibly calm, pursing his lips for a moment before offering, “I’m sorry (F/n)...”
“What for?” you grunted.
“If we don’t make it-“
“Shut it you.”
He shook his head and you were surprised to see a small smirk cross his face, “It would be a shame for you to meet your end without giving our dear Master Baggins a proper kiss.”
You gritted your teeth at him, “Fili, you cheeky bastard, if I could hit you right now…”
He laughed, “I can just see his face- all red and flustered- Kili and I would never let him be.”
You glared at him, “We are both going to live just so I can kick your arse.”
Kili above you called, “Language, lass.”
Knowing you couldn’t last much longer, you glanced around to try and find an alternative to the situation, spotting a branch nearby, “Fili… swing to your left.”
He looked over and spotted the branch you had before looking back up at you, “Are you sure lass?”
“Just do it”
He started to swing and you did the same, risking your grip on the branch above you to get him far enough that when he let go he could reach the branch, pulling himself up on it. As soon as he let go, you lost your grip but Kili was quick grab your leg to heft you up, pulling you over his branch, the one above yours, and then helping you move to sit on the more secure trunk of the tree as you followed the gaze of the other dwarves to where Thorin was advancing on the pale orc, tension filling the air.
It didn’t go well, even through the growing flames you could see that, but you nearly fell from your perch when you saw Bilbo go to his aid, feeling pride swell up amongst the shock at his courage. You knew he had it in him. The only problem was that now he was in a tight spot.
Your legs wobbled when you stood but your balance held, you weren’t going out without a fight and it seemed neither were the dwarves as the ones that could joined your advance towards the orcs with a resounding battle cry. You ran straight at a warg sliding underneath it to slash its soft underbelly before running your sword through its orc rider from behind as you threw a dagger into the eye of another. You were a sight to behold wielding your blades but you certainly weren’t invincible- Bilbo spotted the warg coming at you from behind before you did as you were preoccupied with another in front, “(F/n)!”
You spun and moved to slash at it but your knees gave way, weakened from hanging off the tree, and the dog-like creature sent you flying with a swipe of its paw before steering to follow and finish you. You were scrambling back, unable to regain your footing before it would get to you, when Bilbo skidded to a stop in between you and your aggressor, slashing his short sword in its face. It was this moment when Gandalf’s plan finally came through and the warg in front of you was taken up by a giant eagle, knocking Bilbo back into you as it went to throw it of the edge of the cliff.
You both watched in awe as the flock of eagles threw around orcs and wargs before beginning to collect the members of your party as you huffed, “Never doubt Gandalf.”
As it left your lips one of the great birds dipped to scoop the two of you up, dropping you off the edge of the cliff confidently so that you fell onto the back of another member of his flock. You felt Bilbo’s arms wind tightly around your waist and his cheek press to your back as the eagle lifted further into the air and left the cliff and its orcs behind. You stroked the soft feathers near you knee before letting out the breath you’d been holding, burying you fingers deeply in to the feathers in front of you with one and resting the other on Bilbo’s thigh as you twisted to look for the rest of your party.
A worried frown settled on your face when you spotted Thorin’s lifeless form, exchanging an unsure glance with Bilbo, who had leaned back when you twisted. You faced forward again, searching the growing flock of eagles for the one carrying Gandalf as Bilbo returned his cheek to your back and tightened his hug on your waist when your eagle dipped down slightly. Your mentor’s eagle soon came into view next to yours and you silently communicated with him through a series of looks before looking forward to see your destination, a giant rock jutting out of the ground ahead of you.
The eagle landed to let you off and you joined the others around Thorin, not even sparing a passing glance at your hobbit friend- you were still angry with him after all. You didn’t even defend him as you usually would when Thorin thankfully woke and set in on him again, “You! What were you doing? You nearly got yourself killed… Did I not say that you would be a burden? That you would not survive in the wilds? That you had no place amongst us?”
Gandalf looked down at you with concern, noticing your change of attitude, and found you with your arms crossed and a conflicted frown upon your face as you looked anywhere but the scene in front of you and the flabbergasted face of your friend. He put a hand on you shoulder and you looked up at him as he nodded so that you would look just as Thorin enveloped Bilbo in a hug, “I have never been so wrong in all my life.”
You couldn’t stop the small smile that twitch at your lips as Thorin continued, “I am sorry I doubted you,” but quickly exchanged it for a scowl when Bilbo’s eyes met yours, looking away as he spoke, “No... No, I would have doubted me too. I’m not a hero… or a warrior… or even a burglar.”
He wanted you to look at him the way you did before, with total trust, but you wouldn’t even meet his eye and he was glad for the distraction when Thorin spotted the Lonely Mountain off in the distance. Bilbo looked at it, noting the distance they still had to cover before sneaking a glance at you. It seemed that no one doubted him now except the only one who who’d never doubted him before. It was something he was going to have do his best to change, he looked back to the distant mountain- it looked like he was going to have plenty of time to try.