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Calm The Fire: 39

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“So hold on,” Náriel said while looking from one to the other. “You two are brothers?”

“Correct,” Fíli and Kíli said at the same time.

“And your mother is Dis?”

“Correct again.”

“Oh...” Náriel trailed off thoughtfully. Her eyes looked up at the bright sunlight. They had all set off travelling without Bilbo. He was still – for all she knew – in his Hobbit-hole fast asleep. Right now she was riding a dapple grey horse, it was a beautiful creature, Fíli and Kíli rode either side of her.

“I knew your mother when she was younger.” Náriel continued from her earlier sentence. “Is she still a little...quirky?” That made the brothers laugh. “I distinctly remember that of Dis. She was so endearing, and honest, and thoughtful.” Náriel said quietly, she looked up when the brothers were looking at her oddly. “What?”

“Are you on about our mother?”

“Listen, parents act differently to their children than they do to their friends.” Náriel said with a sure nod.

“Say,” Kíli leant across and looked at her with narrowed playful eyes. “What embarrassing stories can you tell us?”

“Kíli!” Náriel laughed, “I'm not – no, forget that, no, I don't have any.”

“Oh she does, she so does, she's avoiding answering your question,” Fíli said while leaning on the other side and looking to his brother. Both looked forwards and then smirked up at her. “What about uncle?” Fíli said quietly after a few seconds of silence had passed between the three.

At this Náriel shook her head. “No!” She laughed. “I am not saying, or telling you any embarrassing details of your relatives past.” She said firmly but with a wide smile.

“That's no fun,” Kíli said while letting out a heavy sigh and looking at her with a bored expression.

Náriel just returned the look. “Don't look at me like that, it won't work. I’ve had the same look shot at me by your mother when she was young, it won't work.”

Kíli still looked at her with a bored expression but with pleading eyes. Trying to look almost saddened at one point he even playfully sniffled to pretend being upset. Blinking slowly, he looked to the ground and then up at her.

“Please,” he said quietly and rather feebly.

“No!” Náriel exclaimed and looked away, only she had the same look being shot at her by Fíli. “Oh seriously! What is with you boys?” She rolled her eyes, eventually they both laughed and grinned at her. Shaking her head slowly she readjusted her grip on the reins and looked back to the sky. It was so blue, she realized she hadn't seen the sky fully for so long. She'd been hidden away under thick foliage for so long. Lazy white clouds rolled past, and across these flitted the forms of birds.

“Say,” Fíli said quietly, “What was Erebor like from a visitors perspective?” He asked curiously.

Náriel raised an eyebrow and thought over the question. “When I first got told I was going to visit, I was apprehensive. I mean no offence, but I didn't know I’d get along with your kin. Though, you were all very welcoming, but I digress, this isn't answering your question.” She smiled. “It is, or was, beautiful. Full of wonders, and there was always something to notice and distract yourself with. I don't think I ever fully explored it. It is a vast place.” Náriel explained. “But I’m sure my words are pathetic compared to the stories you two grew up on, surely.” Tilting her head to the side suddenly she looked over her shoulder. Fíli and Kíli exchanged a look and looked at her oddly before looking over their shoulders too.

“Wait!” Came a quietly exclaimed voice. The owner of the voice suddenly appeared. Bilbo came running up to them, breathless and waving the contract about in the air. Pulling to a stop near Balin's horse, Bilbo let out a heavy breath and almost keeled over onto the floor. Once his breathing was back under control, he looked up at Balin. Most members of the group by now had turned to look at Bilbo with a look of disbelief, none more so than Thorin, who looked like he thought Bilbo really was a lost cause.

“I've signed it.” Bilbo waved the contract up at the silver haired Dwarf. Balin looked at him with mild amusement. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out his glasses. Holding them to the paper he squinted slightly at the writing while Bilbo took to apprehensively looking at the four legged animal beside him. The horse regarded him coolly while snorting quietly.

Seeing Bilbo's name written in clear neat handwriting by the word 'Burglar', Balin put his glasses down and looked to Bilbo. With a content expression, Balin tucked the contract away, giving Bilbo a smile he nodded. “Welcome, Mister Baggins, to the company of Thorin Oakenshield.”

Bilbo smiled and patted his sides, his smile quickly vanished when he heard simply spoken words coming from the leader. “Give him a pony.”

“What? No, no, really I’m fine...” Bilbo defended himself only to fail and end up getting scooped up and plonked into the saddle of a pony. He sat straight backed and rigid in the seat which he now found himself in.

Seeing as how everyone was dividing up their payments, Náriel urged her steed forwards. Bilbo seemed most disheartened that even Gandalf had participated in this bet. “I didn't,” she whispered while appearing on his other side, Bilbo gave a jolt upon hearing her. “Mainly because I have no money.” She smiled.

Bilbo's grateful expression dwindled. “If you had money, would you have bet too?”

“No.” Náriel smiled again. “I'm usually quite good with character, and the sensing of ones character.” She looked up at the sky again. She had honestly forgotten how simply mesmerising the sky could be. Her eyes slowly slid down to look at him. “You're afraid. Understandable considering what we're all undertaking. But that doesn't mean you're not willing.” She ran a hand through her horse's mane. “Come on, being in one place all the time is boring, no? You – deep down – wish to know what else is out in the world.”

“Just didn't know that to see the outside world I’d have to contend with a dragon.” Bilbo replied with an awkward smile.

“Oh,” Gandalf said from his other side. “That won't be yet or if at all, Bilbo Baggins.” With this he rode off ahead of them.

Watching as he went the two of them eventually exchanged a look. “I'm glad you came, Master Baggins.”

“Bilbo will do, please,” he said quietly.

“I'm glad you're coming along, Bilbo.”

“Hm, yes, well,” Bilbo stuttered off onto a tangent of mumbling quietly before coughing lightly and looking to her. “I get the feeling not all are feeling the same as you.” At this he looked forwards to where Thorin was riding at the front of the group.

Náriel smiled, “It's fine.” She said while tilting her head to the side and looking at him thoughtfully. “You can join me, I’m also on the 'not sure if wholly needed' list.” Bilbo frowned lightly, he wasn't sure whether that was a compliment or not, but considering Náriel was smiling at him, he decided it should be taken as one.

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(A/N: Updated before work again! xD And yet again: only typos, please let me know and I'll edit them later! Thank you very muchly!)

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