Speaks With Beasts

Title: Speaks With Beasts
Author: Keira Marcos
Challenge: Thursday Vignettes – October 25, 2018
Fandom: The Hobbit
Genre: Alternate Universe, Rule 63 (Female Bilbo)
Word Count: 1533 (Complete)
Relationship: Pre-Thorin/Bella
Summary: Some hobbits are beast speakers. Bellarose Baggins is a little braver than the rest of her kind.

– – – –

“Ah, Bella, I was looking for you.”

Bellarose Baggins looked up from her book and curled her bare toes briefly into Virgil’s pale fur. “Hello, Gandalf.”

The wizard leaned on his staff as if he needed the support and Bella nearly frowned. She wondered how many people bought the Maiar’s frail old man act. He’d come around the Shire a lot over the years due to the circumstances of her own emergence and, of course, her adoption of a Dire Wolf. The whole Shire had been up in arms the day she’d hauled Virgil home as a puppy. In fact, they’d complained about him for more than a decade. Then the Fell Winter came, and Virgil proved his worth to them all. They’d learned that he considered them all under his protection and that warg wasn’t bad to eat if it was smoked first.

“How can I help you?”

“I’d like to introduce you to someone.”

Bella made a face. “What sort of someone? You’d better not have brought a human this far into the Shire without permission. The Thain will be very cross with you!”

“Ah, no humans, I promise,” Gandalf said and glanced toward Virgil who was staring at him with bright blue eyes. “That didn’t work out so well last time.”

Bella huffed and shut her book with a snap. “So, who is this someone?”

“His name is Thorin Oakenshield, and he is the king of Durinfolk.”

She lifted an eyebrow. “I’ve never met a dwarf king before.”

Gandalf smiled. “You do like new experiences.”

“I also like to be home in time for tea,” she said tartly and looked up to gauge the position of the son. “Why am I to meet this dwarf king?”

“He has a job for you—something suited to your unique talents.”

“There is nothing unique about my talents in the Shire. Even Lobelia can speak with animals. She just prefers those silly little bunnies of hers.” Bella huffed. “I had to fence off my entire garden to keep them out of my vegetable patch!”

Gandalf grinned. “While it is true that beast speaking is hardly a rare talent in the Shire, you’re the only one who isn’t afraid to speak with the more deadly of them.” He hitched his head toward Virgil as they walked.

The giant white wolf was taller than her on all fours, but he kept pace with her as they walked. “Well, Virgil isn’t like others of his kind. And when the wargs came during the Fell Winter, they weren’t interested in listening to any of us. Which was fine because they were better for eating than conversation anyway.”

The wizard snorted in amusement. “Yes, I remember. It would amuse to know that outside of the Shire many consider hobbits to be quite bloodthirsty little savages for their ability to hunt, kill, and eat wargs.”

“Virgil does most of the hunting,” Bella protested then huffed. “And good, maybe it’ll keep those big people away from us.” They started down the path toward her smial, and she caught sight of a large party of dwarrow in front of her home. “You said a dwarf, you old git. I don’t have anything prepared to feed that many!”

“No need to feed them all, I’ll send his party off to the Green Dragon while we have a discussion.”

Bella glared at him. “It’s a good thing you’re a wizard because you’d make a terrible hobbit.”

“Very rude.”

“Ha, don’t speak to me about rudeness. You did warn them about Virgil, right? If they try to hurt him, I’ll hold you directly responsible.”

“I did tell them, yes.”

Bella continued up the path and all too soon, she found herself in front of her bright green door. One of the dwarrow stood front and center, long dark hair, a short beard, and bright blue eyes that were inspecting her with what bordered on disdain. She knew that look well. She received it from male hobbits on the regular because she was wild and in their estimation unseemly. But she didn’t have much use for those judgmental little bastards.

She frowned at him, and he blinked in surprise. “It is the height of rudeness in the Shire to visit a private residence at meal time without an invitation. I shall overlook this in your case, Master Oakenshield, since Gandalf is quite known for his terrible manners.” She shot the wizard a look. “The Thain named him a genuine disturbance to the peace more than a decade ago.”

Oakenshield grinned at her. “I appreciate your consideration, Mistress Baggins.”

Bella huffed. “Well, come in then. Mind Virgil’s tail. He doesn’t like anyone to touch it.” She swept past the dwarrow and up the short steps to her door with Virgil on her heels.

Shortly, she found herself seated at the dining table with Virgil at her back. He obviously wasn’t thrilled with their guests but hadn’t been overtly hostile as yet. A map of Erebor was spread out between her and Oakenshield. She listened to the explanation he offered about a secret door and the key he’d inherited to it. Bella knew enough about dwarf history to know that Erebor was infested with a great dragon.

“You think my ability as a beast speaker will make me immune to dragon-spell,” Bella surmised, and all the dwarrow stilled. “What? Were you going to save the whole dragon thing for last?” She laughed and sat back in her chair as she picked up her tea. “It is believed that Smaug is the last of his kind. I’ve never spoken to a great dragon, of course. As far as I know, no hobbit has. Though I have the journal of an ancestor who traveled to Gondor and on his travels, he met a fire drake. Falco claimed the drake to be intelligent, gold hungry, and self-absorbed. He was also easily flattered. My cousin escaped the drake by feeding him poisoned meat. I doubt Smaug will be so easily taken care of.”

“Gandalf does believe you’d be immune to dragon-spell,” Thorin said and glanced toward the wizard who was seated quietly in the corner. “We’d like you to distract Smaug so we can kill him.”

Virgil chuffed and growled.

Bella nudged the dire wolf with her shoulder and he chuffed. “Hush, old friend.” Virgil growled again, so she turned in her chair, so they were eye-to-eye. “Let’s strike a bargain.” The wolf inclined his head. “If I decide to go with these dwarrow to Erebor—you’re free to eat them all if they get me killed.” She shot Oakenshield a look when he huffed in shock.

Virgil licked her chin, walked across the room, and he threw himself on his rug.

“Now,” Bella said as she used her sleeve to clean her face. “I’ve heard enough about your settlement in the Blue Mountains to know that your people are suffering there. It’s the only reason I would agree to help you. Gold holds absolutely no favor with me, and I have plenty of it to have a fine life here in the Shire. Virgil goes where I go. He’ll hunt for his own food, and he may provide game to the party as it suits him. He’s not slave labor nor is he a beast of burden. He’ll carry my gear and me, but that is it. Virgil has no taste of ponies so if you have them they aren’t at risk. It won’t take long for them to get used to him and I’ll soothe the way on that front. He has my explicit permission to protect himself from all physical harm, so you are not to ever, under any circumstances, attempt to physically discipline him. There’s a human man in Bree missing an arm because he tried to hit Virgil with a walking stick last summer.”

Thorin took a deep breath. “We’ll respect his space, Mistress Baggins.” He glanced toward the map. “If gold won’t sway you—what would you like in exchange for your work on our behalf?”

“The Shire isn’t big enough,” Bella said simply. “It is an ongoing problem, and many young families have been encouraged to have no more than two children, and that’s not fair. Should I help you kill Smaug, and your people return to Erebor, I would like you to set aside land for my people at the foot of your mountain. All of the fey magic in this region is already invested in the Shire, and we can’t expand without causing harm. We need a new, fresh place to build. The land surrounding your lonely mountain is ideal.”

Oakenshield focused on the map between them and nodded. “Balin—write her contract. Prepare a copy to leave with her leader.”

Bella stood. “Good. I’ll make some food.”

As she entered the kitchen, she heard one of the dwarrow ask, “Uncle, can you have Balin put it in the contract that her big wolf can’t eat all of us? There is the line of succession to consider.”

She just grinned at the mixture of outrage and laughter that question caused. This was going to be an adventure.

The End

Keira Marcos

In my spare time, I write fanfiction and lead a cult of cock worshippers on the Internet. It's not the usual kind of hobby for a 40ish "domestic engineer" but we live in a modern world and I like fucking with people's expectations.

26 Comments:

  1. OMG, this was great. Female Bilbo is so much fun when done right, and you do her brilliantly.

    This put a huge smile on my face.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lol. Well not ALL of them. Bombur is nice and plump, surely he’d count for two or three?
    Just lovely! I do love a sassy Bella.

  3. This is so amazing and hysterically funny. I bow to your creative mind, nimble typing fingers and quick wit. As ever thank you so much for sharing.

  4. I love this! You built a whole new world in such a short story and my imagination is running wild with “what could happen next?”

    I love your long stories but some of your short ones are really special because the jumpstart my imagination every time I read them.

    So thank you very much for sharing this gem!

  5. That was fun. I really enjoy your Bella. Thank you

  6. Yep. I still adore your imagination!

  7. OMG! I adore your Bella complete with her beautiful, wondrous strengths, abilities and gorgeous inner light. I love her take no prisoners, kick the big bad in the throat and dance in the sun as she waits for the tea to finishing steeping and food to be ready. Thank you for this. Your hobbits, in particular Bella (or Bilbo depending upon the ‘verse currently holding you and your muse enraptured) are so much more than I think even Tolkien could have imagined. He gave the world Middle Earth and its kingdoms and its many and varied and beautiful and glorious and vile and dark peoples/creatures but in reality it feels more like he laid the foundations of what could become so much more. You and your delightful, insightful muse have shared with us beautiful rush slices of a world of such richness of such depths. Thank you.

  8. This is gold. I love how badass Bella is and Virgil is so very well named! I’m glad Fell Winter wasn’t too hard on the Hobbits. The thought of voracious Hobbits is very amusing.

  9. Eat them ALL Virgil. Eat them ALL!!

  10. this was a fun sassy read 😀

  11. Your Bella is my fav asskicking heroine! Thorin (and the rest of the company, never mind Smaug) don’t stand a chance 😀

  12. This was fantastic! You and the Minions have absolutely sold me on the female Bilbo!!! I adore Bella and this just left me smiling. Thank you!!!

  13. All I can do is cackle. This is a gem. I wonder if Virgil will like the taste of goblin…

  14. Fun story. I like your snarky Bella and her Virgil.

  15. Oh that’s great. You always have such interesting and new ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  16. I love Virgil!

    Smoked warg! Bwahaha!

    I love your Badass Bella.

    *flailing wearily*. You totally made my day.

  17. Made me laugh when I’m feeling sick. Thanks!

  18. I know you don’t like questions about your work, I’m just trying to ascertain if the story I’m looking for is yours.

    It’s a Hobbit story, just one or two chapters long. Female!Bilbo time travels back to before the start of the journey. She finds out that Frerin actually lived the rest of his days with the Hobbits and she knew him as a child. Frerin was buried/entombed on the Thain’s property.

    Bilbo says something like, “You look just like Frerin” to Thorin when she meets him again. She takes all the Dwarrow to see where he is entombed and explains about rocks the Hobbits found for Frerin, so he would have things to do in Mahal’s Hall.

    If it is yours and you took it down, I completely respect that. I’m just going crazy not being able to find it. If it’s not yours, could you please let me know as well?

    Thank you.

  19. Thanks for letting me know.

  20. I admit that you are most vexing. After devouring your HHr work (oddly, other than Soulmate Bond. Not sure why that one didn’t click with me.) I read your EAD work Small Magic, which due to the same magic that makes Wikipedia dangerous caused me to branch to your Hobbit works. Upon finishing those, on here and EAD, I searched yon web for more fem!Bilbo works and none seemed to measure up to the inspiring level of quality that you have crafted in your many incarnations of Bella Baggins. I fear that I have been truly spoiled from any work where she is a shrinking violet.

    Superlative work, m’lady.

  21. Awesome story. She is very badass!

  22. Pure gold – especially the thing about eating them if they get her killed… 🙂

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