Author note: I own nothing from LOTR or PJ series.
Chapter one: The Party:
The meadow under the Party Tree was filled to the brim with Hobbits. Tents and lanterns dotted the countryside so that the participants may enjoy the great feast well into the evening. It wasn't so rare for two hobbits to share a birthdate. After all, Hobbits were some of the most fertile creatures. It was rare for them to share parties though. However, Bilbo wouldn't have it any other way, and neither would young Frodo.
Percia smiled as she watched her friend enthrall the young Hobbits with tales of their adventures through the years. His wandering ways may have started with the Dwarves, but it sure hadn't stopped there. Percia was probably the main reason for that, always too restless to stay in one place. Bilbo came along more often than not to make sure she stayed out of trouble. Apparently he just couldn't trust Strider to do the job, a point that brought great amusement to many. Granted it brought the ire of the Sackville-Baggins' down on her for encouraging such 'un-hobbitish' behavior, but she couldn't care less. After the whole issue with Bag End, Percia loved to push Lobelia's buttons.
Still it was a grand event that had taken months to plan. Not that it was a particularly special birthday for either, but the past months had been very trying. Poor Frodo almost lost both of his parents this past spring when they took a boat ride on the river. Thankfully for them Percia had been around to pull them out. Still, they had had a lengthy recovery due to the water they swallowed and catching colds. Frodo had stayed with them the majority of it, everyone too afraid the faunt would catch the same sickness or worse, his parents wouldn't make it. Thankfully it seemed Drogo was made of the same stuff as Bilbo, and Primula, well she was a Brandybuck, enough said.
So really the party was to celebrate not only the birthdays of the two Baggins, but also the recovery of his parents and life in general. A good reason to throw a party in anyone's book. In fact, she noticed Hobbits didn't really need a reason…
Gandalf had even showed up, with a twinkle in his eye and a wide grin on his face. It certainly was an improvement from his last visit when he had learned about Bilbo losing his ancestral home. He had promised not to go tear the mountain down around Thorin's ears, but Percia wondered if he hadn't found some sort of revenge for his dear Hobbit. As of yet he wouldn't tell her, and Legolas would just smirk whenever they ran in to each other, like he knew a very amusing secret and he wanted to hold it over her head. The fact she was dying of curiosity only made it worse!
Speaking of secrets, Bilbo had been sequestering himself in his study more often of late. Every time she tried to sneak a peek he'd toss her out or find better locks. He claimed it was nothing special, but she thought he might finally be writing about their first adventure together. Usually he'd write down what occurred on their trips immediately upon them returning home. Yet, the pain he felt in his heart had stayed his pen from documenting the quest for Erebor. Hopefully this newfound need to finally put the blasted quest on paper meant he was healing from his heartache.
She had a feeling this was a result of the letters he received by way of Lady Dis, via Gimli. The young Dwarf had visited them on several occasions. Given his age, he had more free time to travel, and he used it as an excuse to help with his training. He would be a lord one day, and traveling all over Arda helped with his knowledge in trade and current events. The young redhead had become a very good friend to both Bilbo and her. The others, however, were only able to send letters. Even Nori, who she had anticipated to be one of the first to visit, couldn't seem to break free of his duties as spymaster. It seemed many were trying to find a way to replace Thorin and his nephews, with no luck.
She had also received some letters from the group, even an apology from Kili, likely done under duress, but an apology nonetheless. She, of course, had sent back a reply indicating she forgave him and he was an idiot. Short and sweet. He hadn't responded since, but she did not expect him to. Surprisingly though she did have a steady correspondence with Fili and his wife.
She paused in her thoughts as she watched Fredwick and Georgian Took leading young Merry and Pippin through the tents towards the cart Gandalf had brought with him. That won't end well…
Not her problem. She'd just enjoy the show. Grinning mischievously she took another draw of her ale.
"Oh goodness," Bilbo huffed as he plopped down next to her. "I think you are right. There must be rabbits somewhere in our past to explain all the children running about."
"Told ya," she shot back sassily. "Did they enjoy your story?"
"Of course," he boasted, puffing his chest up a little. "After all, who can resist a tale from the Mad Baggins?"
The two shared a look before breaking down in giggles.
Had Percia not stayed with him Bilbo would likely have detested such a title. However, over the years he had come to enjoy if not embrace the title fully. Much like Gandalf wore his title of 'Disturber of the Peace' with great pride.
"So why are you not out dancing," her friend asked honestly.
"Because I am taking a break. Your Took relatives can wear a person out," she teased happily. "And I want to wait for whatever shenanigans the fearsome four come up with. Need to know which way to duck."
"Good gracious," he sighed rubbing his nose. "Worse than a horde of goblins that lot. Oh well, best leave them to Molly."
Again the two shared a laugh knowing full well just how Molly would handle the small group. At least Frodo was smart enough to slip away before getting caught, usually taking his friend Samwise with him. Merry and Pippin hadn't quite figured that part out. Fred and George just didn't care.
Sure enough they heard a loud explosion off to one side. One of Gandalf's larger rockets launched into the air, taking a tent with it. Percia snickered heartily while Bilbo just sighed again. Still neither moved, even when the firecracker turned into a very good depiction of Smaug and started chasing most of the Hobbits in the valley before exploding in a blast of light over the lake. The startled cries had turned to cheers as the light show ended rather spectacularly. It reminded Percia a bit of the Fourth of July show that Macy's put on back home in New York. The thought made her a bit nostalgic.
"And there she goes," Bilbo muttered, his eyes tracking the form of one enraged Molly Took. Yup, the boys were in for it now, she was on the warpath.
"I bet if we threw her at the Orcs they would run just from her glare," Percia murmured thoughtfully, causing the pair to dissolve into laughter once more.
It took some time but both calmed down, though they almost lost it at seeing Gandalf and Molly dragging the perpetrators to the wash tent. All four of them were covered in soot and their hair was a mess. Percia doubted they could be any more obvious.
"I'm glad we did this," she said suddenly, her eyes drifting to the dance area where Frodo and Primula were twirling around. Bilbo's gaze followed hers a soft smile growing on his lips.
Like most Hobbit parties it lasted well into the night, even when Bilbo made a point to do the speeches somewhat early. Once this group got going, they wouldn't stop. She'd dare say they could give Dwarves a run for their money in celebrating. In any case it wasn't until the early hours of dawn that the troop made their way home. Percia and Bilbo had insisted on helping clean up, and Gandalf just sat around smoking his pipe. Apparently the 'young ones' had worn the old man out.
Primula and Drogo had also offered to help, but Bilbo just shooed them away with the rest of the parents to put their young one to bed. Frodo was already fast asleep against his father's shoulder, one hand curled possessively around the other's suspender. Fortunately Molly had kindly 'volunteered' Fred and George's services in the meantime. With more than one stern eye on them the boys knew not to make any more of a fuss.
Finally their little smial came into view. Percia was the first to enter yawning widely as she did so.
"I could sleep for a week," she announced happily.
"I'm sure you could, you lazy brat," Bilbo shot back playfully, closing the door behind Gandalf.
The wizard chuckled a bit even as his eyes narrowed at the interior. He was still put out by Bilbo losing his home the way he had. However, seeing him so happy with Percia he could almost forgive himself for not being there to help the Hobbit when he returned to the Shire. In fact, dare he think it, Bilbo was doing much better away from Bag End then he had living there. Belladonna at least would have been happy with her son's current views on life and adventure.
"Would you like some tea Gandalf," said Hobbit asked, breaking the wizard from his thoughts? "Or are you off to bed?"
"I think a spot of tea would be lovely," he agreed, not really needing much sleep despite his aged appearance. As Bilbo headed into the small kitchen to get a pot going Gandalf sat at the table, having to scrunch his frame in a bit more to fully fit. It wasn't long before Bilbo was back pouring a cuppa for each of them. "To another successful gathering of Hobbits."
"Indeed," Bilbo chuckled as they clinked their glasses together.
"Great Zeus Bilbo! What happened to your study," Percia's question echoed from down the hall where she had disappeared to earlier.
The Hobbit tutted slightly but answered all the same. "The boys were playing in there before the party. I didn't have the time to straighten it up before we had to head out. Just leave it be," he added after a sip of tea. "I'll handle it later."
Percia blinked in surprise at his answer. Bilbo hated to have his study in disarray. And there was no other way to describe the current state of the room. It looked like a hurricane had swung through for a moment. Then again, four faunts playing inside had a very similar effect. Rolling her eyes she turned to leave when something glinted out of the side of her eye. Curious she leant down to inspect it further.
Moving some of the papers that had fallen to the floor she found a small box that had been knocked over, the top askew. Half inside the box and half out sat a rather plan looking gold ring. Percia frowned in confusion. Bilbo wasn't one for jewelry of any kind. In fact, the most a Hobbit might wear was a wedding ring or a necklace, if one was female. Unlike other races the small folk didn't seem inclined to pretty baubles of the like.
Now she knew Bilbo had never been married, or even thought of it. She also knew he kept his parents wedding rings in a special box on the mantel. This ring she had never seen before. Wait… she had a vague memory of something gold in his hand after the goblin cave, but it had been too quick for her to really see anything. She definitely knew he never wore or carried any such trinket in the years they'd been in the Shire since the quest. Curiosity getting the better of her, as it usually tended to do; she went to grab the ring to show to Bilbo in hopes for an answer.
The second her fingers brushed the cool metal pain exploded behind her eyes. Flame and shadow danced across her vision. Armies of orcs and goblins paraded past, burning everything in sight and destroying all that was good in the world. People she knew and loved flashed past in more gruesome depictions of death. All of this and more continued to bombard her mind until finally she stood before a single giant glowing eye permeated with evil staring balefully at her.
Instinctively she pulled on her powers to protect her from the evil being in front of her. The backlash from the two meeting sent her flying and knocking her unconscious.