1. Bilbo's Soft Little Woman
"The nights were the worst...They...took it in turns to watch; and when it was Bilbo's turn he would see gleams in the darkness round them, and sometimes pairs of yellow or red or green eyes would stare at him from a little distance, and then slowly fade and disappear and slowly shine out again in another place. And sometimes they would gleam down from the branches above him; and that was most terrifying." -The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
Eru knows what hunted in Mirkwood's darkness and Bilbo, peering at what he could not see and what might not be helped, felt small and powerless and alone. Why, oh why, did Gandalf lead him out of his hobbit-hole? In his hole it might be pitch-dark, but only small things threatened. Here, he saw large eyes and gluttonous eyes and downright hateful eyes. The worst were the insect-eyes, pale and emotionless.
When the most evil of these disappeared he thought of his cat's sweet eyes, two green orbs shining in the recesses of his smial. He'd kept it a guilty little secret that even as an adult, he was afraid of the night. Many times when he went to bed, he thought of rats and mice biting him and gnawing on his bones. How had he shuddered at rats and mice, when he'd faced old Gollum? But that was why he'd got his pretty little kitten, to be his guardian.
He wished she were still his little ball of warm softness next to him while he slept.
The Mirkwood nights were cold. Near some of the dwarves countless pairs of red eyes were staring, staring, waiting for Bilbo knew not what. Red eyes, patterns in the dark, darkness all around. Where was his woman? Sometimes, she'd jump on his bed at this hour and tickle him with her whiskers. How he loved to wake up in the middle of the night and hold that purring one, such a pretty little one all covered in fine velvet!
Should he wake the dwarves?
No. They needed their strength and their wits, to get through this accursed forest fast.
Maybe he'd disappear into the dark maw of some strange creature. Bilbo shivered. He was glad he'd made sure his soft little woman would be all right. That little girl might now be curled up on Drogo and Primula's couch, looking like a small round pillow.
Drogo and Primula were decent respectable folk who didn't appreciate fanged hunters of the night, but that one had looked at Primula with her imploring round eyes and miaowed. Then Primula had looked at Drogo with her imploring round eyes, and the two of them would always keep the cat well fed and well scratched whenever business called Bilbo to a different part of the Shire.
Those were the days, before Bilbo had stupidly listened to the dwarves' taunts and acted on instinct rather than reason. The only other thing he could think about, in the ten minutes he'd spent running from Hobbiton to Bywater to meet his companions on time, was what to do with the cat.
If Drogo and Primula hadn't been home, perhaps Bilbo would have missed the quest.
Maybe Gloin was right about him not being fierce enough. It certainly felt that way, with the darkness all around.
Facing a pair of pale eyes that had suddenly appeared above him, Bilbo thought he could be at least as brave as his soft little woman.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.