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Calm The Fire: 50

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Bilbo had spent some alone time exploring the wonders of Rivendell. He honestly didn't know where to start. Everywhere he looked he found something new and interesting and distracting. He walked through rooms examining paintings, through corridors which seemed to stretch on forever. Eventually he made his way back outside and walked along a bridge, looking up at the sky he looked to the clear blue sky and the whirling figures of birds.

Looking back down he tilted his head to the side and shuffled over to a stone bench. Patting his knees he looked to Náriel. Coughing awkwardly, he glanced at her, she looked at him with a sidewards look. “Problems?”

“No.” She sounded sad.

Bilbo frowned and fidgeted. The answer she gave clearly meant otherwise. “What's wrong?” He whispered while leaning closer. “Did you and Thorin have another falling out?” He questioned, a few times they had squabbled quietly, he had only seen them get along once, and that was after he'd escorted her to find food. Other times there was an underlining feeling of awkwardness almost. There was some sort of tension there.

“No.”

“Kíli list off more problems with Elf kind?”

“No.”

“Oh,” Bilbo was at a loss. Frowning he looked to her again after looking over the peaceful surroundings around them. The trees with their green leaves barely moved in the cool breeze which was about. The birds happily sung in the air and continued to fly around.

“Don't laugh at me.” Náriel whispered and wrapped her arms around herself.

“I...I wouldn't,” Bilbo frowned and turned to look at her.

Náriel shut her eyes and let out a sigh. Opening her eyes slowly she turned and looked at him. Smiling sadly she quickly looked around and then back at him. “I'm homesick.”

He blinked, “Oh.”

“You're going to laugh aren't you?”

“No.” She frowned and looked at him. Seeing as how he looked at her with sheer honesty she just hung her head. “Is...well, is your home like this?”

“No.” Bilbo raised an eyebrow. “The structures are similar. I suppose. There's more open space here. It's peaceful like my home once was. There are similarities.” Náriel summed up eventually with a frown. “It's also nice to be around Elf kind who are happy to just do as they please. I can't remember the last time I saw an Elf at home simply strike up and play a flute.” She gave off a random example. “Though...I guess, never mind...” Náriel trailed off and shook her head.

“I know what you mean,” Bilbo said, she blinked and looked up at him. He smiled sadly. “I miss my home too.” He paused and gave a light sigh and a small nod. “Not saying I am not liking it here though,” he said with a smile, Náriel slowly smiled. “Care to explore, with me I mean? That's if you're...you're not busy doing something, I mean, you could be busy, I’m not sure.”

Náriel laughed at his slight awkward ramble. “I would like to.” She stood and watched as he stood too. “I do not know when I’ll next be here. Same for you.”

----

Elrond was enjoying leisurely walking about his home. Noticing two small figures on a balcony, he walked slowly forwards. “You two are not with your companions?”

Bilbo looked up from peering over the balcony railing, Náriel was just slightly taller than him and was able to lean her arms against the railing. She moved her head from leaning against her arms and looked up at him.

“Oh, uh, I won't be missed.” Bilbo said awkwardly while shuffling from foot to foot and looking downwards.

“And I need alone time.” Náriel said still sounding rather sad and wistful.

Elrond just looked down at them both and then looked to the view from the balcony. The two of them were a curious pair, even more so considering the company which they were with. He just smiled lightly and stood silent.

“Only because most of them don't think I should be here.” Bilbo explained while glancing at Náriel who just gave him a sad look. It seemed she didn't wholly agree with his words. After exchanging a look they looked up at Elrond.

“I think I’m tolerated,” came Náriel's quiet voice. “To a point. Perish the thought though of me voicing an opinion.”

Elrond put his hands on the railing and looked at them again. “Indeed,” he said slowly and thoughtfully. Looking up to the blue sky he thoughtfully mused, “I've heard that Hobbit's are remarkably resilient.” He paused and glanced at Bilbo.

Bilbo in retort let out a quiet laugh. Náriel perked up and looked to him. “He has a point. So far you've proved this point to be true, especially with those Trolls.” Náriel said while looking to the nearby waterfalls and watching them curiously.

“And I’ve also heard that the Princess of Mirkwood is not one for sounding like a defeatist.”

Bilbo looked to Náriel as she let out a quiet laugh. “Oh no, come on now, he's right here. You've stood up for yourself quite well.” Bilbo said while Náriel rolled her eyes over to him.

“I've also heard about your kind, that you are fond of home.” Elrond said looking to Bilbo again. It seemed he was going to just skim past Náriel's and Bilbo's little moment.

“And I’ve heard it not wise to seek counsel with Elves, because they'll answer with yes and no.” He looked to Náriel. “No offence.”

“None taken.” She smiled lightly.

Though she smiled, Elrond just looked at them both simply. Bilbo looked awkward, and Náriel's smile slipped. Through the apprehension they were feeling a small smile appeared on Elrond's face which caused them to nervously laugh.

“You are very welcome to stay here, if that is your wish.” Elrond said while placing a hand to Bilbo's shoulder, “That accounts for both of you.” He said kindly and walked away.

Bilbo looked thoughtfully up at the space where he was just standing. Slowly he looked to Náriel. She looked as thoughtful as him. Turning silently they looked back over the railing of the balcony.

“We can't, Bilbo.” Náriel said while shutting her eyes. “You've signed a contract. One which would be hard to back out of. Even if you did, it wouldn't end well.”

“And what of you?” Bilbo asked curiously.

Náriel's eyes slowly opened. “I can't stay either. I have not signed a contract, I am willing to leave when I wish, but I won't.”

“Why?”

“Because I want to return to my own home at some point. But not while it is like it is.” She frowned. “This is minor escapism for me. But I also wish nothing more than to aid the Dwarves in returning home.” She smiled and stepped away from the railing. “Perhaps we shall return here, when everything is all over?” She smiled, Bilbo looked thoughtful and gave a slow nod. Náriel smiled and crossed her arms loosely.

“Perhaps,” he replied thoughtfully and quietly. “Perhaps we can.” The thought of returning or not leaving was an interesting one to him. Though returning when everything was all over was an even more interesting thought. He hadn't given much mind to an end. Not yet anyway.

----

(A/N: Ok! This is going to be the last update for about two days. I'm off to London (again) for Comic Con, so I'm not going to be around for the weekend and I'm travelling up today. I should be packing...but meh, I wanted to update one last time before I go xD If I manage to get home early on sunday, then I may try and update...if not, then I'll update before work on monday! :D Toodle pip! xD)

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