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Bilbo trotted to the council tent with Dagan at his side. He wasn’t happy about not being summoned for the meeting. Throwing the tent door open, he barged in. “Dagan said you’re not sending a trading party out today.”

“Unfortunately. Come sit, Ghivashel.” Thorin beckoned him in.

“Why not?” Bilbo took a seat next to his mate. “And why didn’t someone come get me?“

“You were resting,” Dis answered. “We didn’t wish to wake you.”

Bilbo snorted indignantly. “This is important.”

“I’m sorry, Amral. It wasn’t our intent to leave you out.” Thorin ran his fingers through Bilbo’s growing curly mane.

“What’s going on? Why no trading party? Are there no more settlements nearby?”

“On the contrary, there are still two settlements within our reach, though we’d likely only be able to make contact with one more before we move on,” Balin replied.

“It’s the good’s that’s the problem.” Gloin took over. “We’re out of things to trade. We ain’t got nothin’ left that we don’t need.”

“But we can’t stop,” Bilbo insisted. “Trade relations might be the only thing keeping us from delving into an all out war.”

“We understand, Amral, But we simply have nothing left to offer. It’s the excuse of trade that has granted us what interaction we’ve had so far. Without something to offer, our approaching the settlements will likely be found suspicious,” Thorin reasoned.

Bilbo thought for a few moments, his face scrunched up in concentration. “So, you just need something to trade, right?”

“Aye, something the humans would take an interest in,” Gloin confirmed.

“All right.” Bilbo stood. “Come, Dagan.”

“Bilbo? Where are you going?” Dis wondered.

“Fishing.” Bilbo disappeared out the tent.

~~Excerpt from chapter 65 of The Herd of Durin by Domestic Goddess on Ao3 to be updated on Oct 5th. Subscribe now! ❤

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“Bilbo.” Dis’s voice broke through his thoughts. “Get over here. We came to wash, and you are not getting out of it!” she scolded superficially.

A smile crept onto Bilbo’s face at the sound of splashing as a couple of the mares came to retrieve him. “I’m coming. So pushy!” He turned around to join Tina and Nami as they returned to the other mares.

“Bilbo Baggins! You will get over here, and let us pamper you! For Mahal’s sake! You’re carrying twins! Accept your fate!” Dis teased.

Laughing, Bilbo pranced through the water toward them. There was no reason for him to be depressed. So many cared for him now, and he would return the favor. He would figure it out. He just needed time to think.

“It can’t be my turn yet! We just got started!”

“Everyone but you has been washed,” Tina informed. “Even little Vili’s already had his bath!”

The little colt cooed around his hand from where he sat propped between Sharli’s knees.

“See? Even he think’s you’re being stubborn,” Sharli laughed, petting Vili’s little tuft of hair.

“That’s not fair! You’re supposed to be on my side, Vili!” Bilbo pouted, and the mares giggles as they boxed him in for a thorough scrubbing. “Fine. I guess I’ll suffer through it,” he sighed dramatically, but his sullen mask quickly cracked to make way for a giggle as Dis tutted.

“All right. Behave and let us make you sparkle.”

He did. And reveled in the companionship and love of his new family.

~~Excerpt from chapter 64 of The Herd of Durin by Domestic Goddess on Ao3 to be updated on Sept. 21st. Subscribe now! ❤

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