Well it's been a while, mix of summer stuff and writer's block but enjoy this short piece and please review. My family just had a Tolkien marathon with the appropriate food, it was wonderful. Many thanks to all who have favorited.

Bilbo flew desperately after Smaug, the beast's blood a warmth on his beak. He heard a pained howl behind him; his sister. He sent a quite prayer that she was not severely injured and flew on.

He could not beat Smaug to the town: half of it was flame by the time he arrived, wings straining. He caught sight of his target and, spiraling down, punctured Smaug's wing with his body.

There was a bellow and the wing he had injured swung down, knocking him from the air into a roof.

He heard Smaug land, heard his voice and struggled to make out the words through the ringing.

The ringing finally faded with the word child. Bilbo began working his way to his feet, stretching his wings to make sure they were unbroken when something twittered past him. A thrush…

A piece of forgotten legend emerged-the line of Girion could understand the speech of thrushes. The thrush would warn Bard-Bard whom he had seen shooting desperately at Smaug.

He made it into the air as Smaug launched himself forward and saw the black arrow spiraling forward, through the air and through dragon hide. He saw Smaug rise, stretching like a drowning man for life-till he fell, the place where the arrow hit glowing with dying fire.

Smaug was dead.

Part of Bilbo ached to return to his sister and part of him literally ached. The latter reasoned that he should see if Fili, Kili, Oin, and Bofur had survived and he laboriously set off to do just that.

He was relieved to find them alive and when it was day they set off back to the mountain.

Nori from his seat against the wall heard the echo of voices and sat up suddenly. Umbra jerked up as well, her wolf-ears pricking up. As wolf and dwarf they ran up towards the voices.

Umbra transformed as she neared Bilbo who was clad in Bofur's jacket, managing not to break her run as she did so and Nori felt a quite pride. He handed her his jacket when she released her brother, the other dwarves respectfully not looking at her.

"Something's wrong." She said shrugging into the long jacket.

Nori nodded, his brief relief giving way to worry. "It's Thorin. The gold-sickness, it's taken hold. He hasn't left the treasure since we saw Smaug fall. How did that happen by the way?"

Bilbo told them all he had seen as they ran down the stairs only to stop when they reached Thorin. He knew his horror was shared by the others at the sight of the king whom, he just realized, he might love.

It was a relief to see that the rest of the Company was unharmed save for a few bruises. Bilbo found the clothes he had shed battling Smaug and changed, wincing at his sore muscles.

He was afraid. Thorin had the dwarves searching the treasure for the Arkenstone, which he was relieved to find still in his pocket. Umbra had simply disobeyed and in wolf form had gone hunting, dragging a basket Balin had found with her. Aside from Thorin's obsession with gold, Bilbo knew that the king and his sister would come to blows soon, their relationship had never been a good one and the open disobedience mixed with growing paranoia would be explosive.

At least Umbra's become comfortable with her wolf. He toyed with the acorn he'd picked up in Beorn's garden.

"What is that?" Thorin's voice startled him and he nearly dropped the acorn.

He saw, when he spoke of his garden, a lightness in Thorin's eyes, something that was kind and worthy of respect, something he might love.


"Thorin! Yeh need to see this." And then it was gone.

When Umbra returned, exhausted but with a skinny rabbit and some large fish in her basket, it was to the sight of the dwarves filling in the gap in the front gate by night. She pulled Bilbo aside clad in nothing but her skin and with a growl more suited to her wolf form asked, "What the hell is he thinking?"

"I know I know. There's got to be a way to convince Thorin to give the men of Lake-Town their share."

"One of these days I swear-"

"Please don't." Something in his voice made Umbra pause. "I don't want to see him hurt."

Realization filled her eyes. "I won't hurt him. He doesn't have my loyalty but is he has your-love?" Bilbo nodded. "Fine. But if he tries to land a hand on you, I will stop him."

"Very well."

She nodded and went to distribute her catch to Bombur. Bilbo groaned.

Things were already bad and he had a very bad feeling they were about to get worse.

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