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A Much-Needed Rest (The Hobbit) (M)


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Slight spoilers for those who haven't read the book, although no major plot points are revealed, really. I own nothing, all rights go to the brilliant minds behind this franchise.

Here is my self-indulgent attempt to satisfy the frequent, painful pangs of H/C longing I felt while watching Bilbo suffer in The Hobbit. As many have said before, the chapter in which Bilbo catches a cold from falling into the river and being wet for extended periods of time is one of the greatest sneeze passages in literature. It's permanently burned into my brain. So, I decided to paint a slightly more vivid picture than the one in the book, but this time, I gave Bilbo something of an obstacle to overcome. I just wanted someone to love on him, even if it terrifies him. And yes, I totally stole this concept from the Stargate movie, but this is fanfic, so I think we can all live with it.

Oh Martin Freeman. You are flawless. No grown man has any right to be that adorable and rattle my poor, vulnerability-loving brain so thoroughly.

Feedback is an easy way to earn my eternal love.

Bilbo shuffled his large feet down the cobblestone hall, struggling to keep up with the long strides of his human guide.

“And I tell you, our surprise could not have been greater to find amidst the commotion a band of water-logged dwarves!” the man roared heartily, taking a sharp turn around the corner as Bilbo only just managed to avoid slamming into the wall.

He rubbed his bleary eyes and once more quickened his pace. “I suppose that would be something of a shock,” Bilbo offered, trying in earnest to make conversation with his host. The congestion in his nose was rapidly mounting, much to Bilbo’s dismay, and he discreetly scrubbed his nose against his sleeve, wincing a bit as the sensitive skin stung uncomfortably.

Ever since washing up on the river bank, Bilbo had been battling an increasingly runny nose, a scratchy sore throat and a distracting tickle deep in the back of his sinuses. This unfortunate condition made him painfully aware of his complete lack of handkerchiefs, a state that was causing his sleeve to become increasingly damp.

“You speak the truth!” the man laughed, his voice echoing off the stone walls as he scratched behind his ear and glanced down at his diminutive ward. “But not to worry, Master Baggins, we will do our best to accommodate you and your dwarf friends! Your room is at the end of this hall.”

Bilbo nodded and tried to respond but found himself accosted by a mounting sneeze. His rounded nose filled with a ticklish urgency and he stopped for a moment to sneeze wetly into the crook of his elbow, and continued to sneeze three more times. Sniffling miserably and feeling conscious of the man’s watchful eyes, Bilbo once again longed for the comforts of his hobbit hole – namely, fresh handkerchiefs. “Pardon me,” he muttered, resuming his shuffling walk in response to the questioning look of his guide.

“Ah, a bit under the weather, Master Baggins?” the man said pityingly, slowing his stride ever so slightly.

“Yes, I’m afraid so,” Bilbo admitted. He sniffled again as they came to a stop in front of a large wooden door.

“Then I will leave you to the rest you need,” the man said, gesturing to the door as he opened it and left it slightly cracked. “And, perhaps you may find something in there to, ah, speed your recovery.” With an odd, exaggerated wink, the man took off down the hallway and disappeared around the corner.

Bilbo stared after him for a moment before pushing the door open and slipping into the room, quietly closing the door behind him. He immediately felt the heat of a crackling fire, which filled him with a sort of grateful relief. His nose prickled again and he turned toward the fire, breath hitching and mouth open. His eyes fluttered shut weakly as he took in a sharp gasp of air. “HehKsscchhhh! EhhhGssssshhh! Hrrrssshhhh!” Bilbo sneezed freely, bent forward by the harsh sneezes, his curly hair bouncing against his forehead with each motion.

The firelight illuminated his sneezes into a fine mist as Bilbo groaned and rubbed a finger under his pink nostrils. He blinked and glanced around at the room, pleased to find it warm and cozily furnished. A fur rug rubbed agreeably against Bilbo’s feet and across from the fire was a table with a pitcher and bowl of water, along with neatly folded clothes. Most delightful to Bilbo’s eyes, however, was the sight of a large, welcoming bed.

He stepped forward but then stopped, unsure if the dim firelight was playing tricks on his tired eyes. Bilbo blinked, rubbed them vigorously, and then looked again. With a jolt of shock, Bilbo realized that he was not alone. Sitting upright on the bed, watching him with curious, fire-lit eyes, was a young woman.

“I…I beg your pardon!” Bilbo spluttered, backing away from the bed with his hands up. “I was told that… well, what I mean to say is, I was under the impression that… there must be some mistake!”

The woman tilted her head, a bemused smile on her face, and uttered something in a language Bilbo could not understand. She was pretty, in foreign sort of way, with straight blonde hair and gentle features. She looked human, but rather unlike the other people of Lake-town in her demeanor. She moved to the edge of the bed and stretched to her full height, crossing the room to approach the bowl and pitcher on the table.

Bilbo shifted his feet anxiously, watching her as she dipped a cloth into the bowl and wrung it out. “Is this… is this your room?” he asked nervously. “I can’t help but feel that I’m intruding. I can… if you can bring that other fellow back, perhaps he can show me a different place to stay. It’s not my intention to impose on you…”

The lady yet again said something incomprehensible as she knelt down in front of him and scanned his face with kind green eyes. With absolutely no explanation, she started dabbing his forehead with the cloth, sweeping his hair back and wiping away weeks of grime and dirt. Her hands were soft and gentle as she moved the cloth to his cheeks, down to his neck and back up to his nose, which she dabbed at carefully.

Bilbo closed his eyes at her soothing ministrations, utterly confused and at a loss for the proper way forward. Her touch stirred his tickly nose but he had more pressing issues to address when she started unbuttoning his shirt. “Ehm, that’s not really…you really don’t have to…” The building sneeze made it impossible for Bilbo to continue protesting as the lady drew the damp washcloth across his bare chest. He turned away from her as completely as he could and wrestled with the sneezes for a few breathy moments before they finally came out. “Hrrrrssshhh! Ihhh…IhTTCCHH! EhGSSHHH!

Bilbo’s sneezes grew progressively harsher and the woman made a small noise of surprise. He looked back to her, self-conscious and bleary-eyed, but only saw concern on her face as she spoke something in a sympathetic tone. She dabbed under his nose again with her cloth and laid it back in the bowl. She then reached into her dress and produced something that filled Bilbo with a measure of relief – a handkerchief. Placing the handkerchief into Bilbo’s open palm, she nodded at him encouragingly.

An obligatory smile flickered briefly on Bilbo’s face, despite his thorough unease at the lady’s presence. He glanced down at the handkerchief in his hands and then glanced back up at her, cautious. Then, he turned away from her with an apprehensive glance. He would normally never dream of doing such a thing in front of a lady, but desperate times called for desperate measures. The fullness of his nose was threatening to overflow, and with an impatient little sigh, Bilbo buried his nose deep in the handkerchief and blew.

Bilbo’s eyes scrunched tight and he winced at the overly wet sound, but felt relief as the pressure in his nose lessened. Although his head still felt heavy, his nose damp and sniffly, it was a significant improvement on his previous condition. A touch on his shoulder startled him, and after giving his nose a finishing wipe, he turned around to see the still-present young lady looking at him, armed with her damp cloth.

She immediately resumed his bath, washing his chest and unbuttoning the rest of his shirt to finish the job. Bilbo looked up at her uneasily, succumbing to a chill. The water had cooled considerably and the frigid castle air caused it to dry cold on his skin. Bilbo reached out to grab her wrist in objection but realized the need for verbal remonstration when she fingered the button of his trousers.

“No, no, no, no, no, it’s quite alright,” Bilbo insisted in a rather panicked tone, holding up a hand and backing away slightly. “I’m perfectly capable of doing this myself, thank you very much.” Bilbo took the cloth from her hands and gestured toward the change of clothes sitting on the table, then motioned for her to turn around by spinning his finger towards the ground. She giggled at him, clearly finding him the height of amusement, but obediently complied with his request. After handing him the clean clothes, she turned away from him.

Bilbo timidly undressed and ran the cold washcloth over the rest of his body, shivering but enjoying the feeling of finally being clean. He glanced continuously at the woman behind him, thankful to find her dutifully facing the wall opposite him. Perhaps she was a servant of some sort, sent to assist him in getting ready for bed. If he could only finish up with the task, she might leave and he could finally focus on his number one priority of falling asleep.

Placing the washcloth on the ground, Bilbo hurriedly stepped into the clean clothes provided for him. Despite being smaller than normal human garb, the clothes still hung loosely on him, and Bilbo had to shove the sleeves up so that they did not completely eclipse his hands. Although the clothes were large, they felt considerably cozier than the tattered and river-stained garments he had previously been wearing.

Bilbo cleared his throat and turned to face the lady slightly, watching as she spun around and smiled at him. “That’s all finished, then,” he explained, gesturing to his fresh apparel. “You are welcome to take your leave, I think I’ll just hop into bed here…”

The sentence caught in Bilbo’s throat and he bent forward with several explosive sneezes. “AahhhTTCCCHH!” The next one teased him cruelly; he scrubbed at his nose with his finger, rubbing it back and forth until the tickle flared up again. His nose was already stuffy and full, much to his dismay. “EhhhGGGSSSCHH!”

Bilbo located the handkerchief he had used before and ran it underneath his pinkened nostrils, blowing gently. The bath, while greatly easing Bilbo’s grimy discomfort, had done nothing to alleviate the feeling of being cold all over that had plagued him since he first fell into the river. The heavy feeling that clogged his nose only added to the chills that were becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. He shivered a little more prominently and wiped his nose again.

The woman reached out to touch his face, a gesture that Bilbo permitted, albeit hesitantly. The cool curve of her palm curled against his forehead, pressing so gently that Bilbo’s eyes fluttered shut in sleepy indulgence. She slid her palm down to cup his fever-hot cheek, rubbing her thumb against his skin and murmuring a few indistinct phrases in a soothing voice.

“Yes, I do believe I am a bit feverish,” Bilbo responded, assuming the woman was gauging his temperature. His eyes drifted back open and he took her hand in both of his, giving it a reassuring pat before returning it back to her. “Nothing to be too worried about, I’m sure.”

A weighty silence permeated the still room and Bilbo cleared his throat loudly. “Really, I can manage on my own now. I’m just going to… head off to bed…” He tilted his thumb backwards in a gesture and started shuffling over to the bed, wondering if the lady understood his message at all.

She stared blankly at him for a moment, but when she saw him hoist himself up onto the bed, she rose to her feet. Bilbo sighed with relief until he noticed that she was coming toward him instead of moving to the door to leave. He scrambled up on to the bed and dove beneath the sheets, sniffling and watching her with shifty eyes. He grabbed the blankets and shoved them up to his chin in an unsuccessful attempt to hide. She merely came to the edge of the bed and sat down, smiling at him.

“Ehm… you’re more than welcome to leave if you would like… so… good night then.” Bilbo waved his hand at her, motioning toward the door, but felt his worst fears confirmed when she blatantly ignored his gesticulations and settled onto the bed next to him.

Bilbo could feel the blood rushing to his cheeks as he swallowed nervously past swollen tonsils. He risked a glance at her and noted her tall, thin form, amplified by a tight-fitting dress. She was probably twice his height, only making the situation all the more uncomfortable as she slipped closer to Bilbo, placing her hand behind his stiff neck.

Bilbo felt paralyzed when she leaned her face into his, her soft cheeks brushing against his skin, nuzzling soft kisses against his neck and jaw. She traced the tip of his pointed ear with her finger, daring to kiss a little closer to his mouth. Bilbo thought he might die from the fire burning in his face, and yet he found himself completely unable to move or do anything to discourage her. He stared straight ahead, eyes wide with horror.

For once, the tickling sensation in his nose was a welcome one, and it somehow allowed him to snap out of his shellshock and wriggle his nose powerfully in an attempt to rouse the itch. Quite suddenly, Bilbo snapped forward, burying his nose into the blankets and sneezing deeply into them. “IhhhGGGSSHHHooo!! Heh…hehh…HuhRRRSSSHHH! IhGssshhhh! Rrrsshhhh!

Bilbo sat upright, knees bent with his face smashed against them and the blankets, unwilling to move and confront the situation. He imagined that he looked rather comedic, but lost all train of thought when he felt soft hands gently stroking his curly hair. A handkerchief was placed into hand and he took it gratefully, raising his head a tiny fraction of an inch and wiping away the dampness that was coming from his nose.

Bilbo’s eyes traveled slowly over to the side, where they caught sight of the lady looking back at him with a slightly puzzled expression. Before he could do anything, she leaned in again and planted a firm kiss on his cheek, murmuring something soft and comforting in his ear. Then, she moved back and slipped herself under the covers, nestling in and stretching out her legs.

Bilbo watched her apprehensively. Whatever it was she had been trying to do, it seemed that she was no longer in pursuit of it. She reclined there beside him quite naturally, apparently feeling none of the embarrassment and humiliation that the encounter was instigating in Bilbo. He slid his body a bit further down into the bed, sighing at the feel of the cushiony pillows beneath him. He couldn’t remember the last time he had slept in a real bed. Just the sensation of the soft sheets reassured him. He huddled down in the covers and decided to pretend that he was alone.

However, the cool fabric rustled against his fever-flushed skin and caused him to erupt in a new wave of shivers. Bilbo sniffled wetly and curled in on himself, continuing to shudder as chills crept down his spine, which made it difficult to relax.

Something touched his shoulder and Bilbo turned around to see the lady beside him, her soft features illuminated in the firelight, arms held open in a welcoming gesture. The offer presented a dilemma to Bilbo, but his fevered mind seemed to make the decision for him, and before he knew it, he was protected in her embrace, head pillowed comfortably on her generous chest. Her warmth blended with his and his shivers curbed off peacefully, allowing his tightened muscles to finally loosen.

Bilbo felt his mind drifting steadily off until a sharp prickle in his nose forced him to nuzzle his face ever so slightly against the soft fabric of the lady’s dress and sniffle until a quietly muffled, “Hihttcchhooo,” came out. The comfort and warmth of her presence next to him was enough to calm Bilbo’s embarrassment of the fact that he had sneezed into this lovely lady’s chest. Her arms merely tightened around his body and his last thought was one of gratitude as he at last fell asleep.

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This is beyond adorable and just the sort of little Hobbit fic I'd hoped to read once the first film came out! Thanks so much for sharing, Aria! It's perfect :wub:

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Brain... fried...

Too much... adorable Bilbo O.o

LOVE! :heart:


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*Incoherent fangirl squeaks*

Aria, I love you. I really do. This was JUST what I needed to satisfy my own personal Bilbo needs. Bahh. The imagery was just breathtaking, and I'm so very envious of the gorgeous way you build your descriptive sentences. Lovely, lovely.

I have to say, though. Bilbo's embarrassed dialogue/actions were my favorite part. I could literally hear Martin Freeman's voice [uncomfortably] speaking as I read. :laugh: What a treat!

Thank you so much for writing this. :wub:

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Oh goodness. He is an adorable little hobbit isn't he? :wub: Very much love how embarrassed he gets and tries to convince the lady to leave.

Can't wait to see the movie now. xD

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Holy crap! I swear to god, this was actually a hobbit fantasy of mine! An adorable Bilbo comforted by a strange, exotic lady. I feel like my heart has had an electric blanket wrapped around it.

Thank you so much for writing this, that was incredible and I pray to god you write more! :D

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This is delightful. It's well written and well edited, and so steamy (though maybe not for wonderful poor Bilbo). Seriously though, your descriptions of Bilbo sneezing in the firelight and later sneezing into the bedsheets were excellent.

Speaking of descriptions, I really enjoyed your descriptions of Bilbo. He seemed very true to character with his trepidation about the foreign woman. I had forgotten how much I liked Bilbo until I saw the movie recently. I also liked the way you handled the foreign woman, and how Bilbo and the woman still managed to converse. Body language seems to me like a primal method of conversation and I think that really fit with the mood of your fic.

Thank you very much for sharing this. I was really excited to notice it on the site this morning.

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I have to say, though. Bilbo's embarrassed dialogue/actions were my favorite part. I could literally hear Martin Freeman's voice [uncomfortably] speaking as I read. :laugh: What a treat!

^^Took the words right out of my mouth. :)

You have captured Bilbo's character beautifully! I loved reading this. Your writing is lovely.

I wish I could cuddle sneezy Bilbo.

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Oh my god.

I have literally no words for this!

I love it. I love every little bit of this.

Your descriptions...I mean...Your whole fu******** writing style. It's brilliant!

... I...This...Wow...Just wow. Bilbo...Unffff....Gahhhh x.x

Still not coherent enough. This is perfection!!

Thank you for writing this masterpiece <3

I would be eternally thankful if there's more!!!

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Bilbo felt his mind drifting steadily off until a sharp prickle in his nose forced him to nuzzle his face ever so slightly against the soft fabric of the lady’s dress and sniffle until a quietly muffled, “Hihttcchhooo,” came out. The comfort and warmth of her presence next to him was enough to calm Bilbo’s embarrassment of the fact that he had sneezed into this lovely lady’s chest. Her arms merely tightened around his body and his last thought was one of gratitude as he at last fell asleep.

One of the greatest paragraphs I've ever read! *melts*

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ah, i actually just saw the hobbit today and i am in love with Bilbo!! he's so cute! so I had to read this. I remember the chapter in the book when he was sick!! i read it back in 7th grade, and i LOVED it.

The movie was good too..a bit too long in my opinion lol. but thaniks for writing this fanfic this is perfect!

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I just re-read this. :wub:Bilboooo. I can't get over how cute his embarrassment and general flustered-ness was!

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I love this story. It's beautifully written. I especially like how you describe his fever and how she touches his face to feel if he had a temperature. That's one of the best stories I've read here and I'm glad someone pushed it up. smile.png

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Oh, you people are just way too nice! Many, many thanks; I'm blushing over here!

And Spoo, thank you again for all your lovely feedback. It's always so genuine and sweet, and I really needed something to boost my spirits this week. You're a doll! :)

And, sorry this isn't an update. I'm currently working on a Game of Thrones fic that might get posted soon.

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