There you are
Thorin and his company walked through the dense forest chatting quietly. Anyone else would have been nervous because the forest was a little dark and quiet... too quiet that was almost unnerving. Bilbo kept close enough to Bofur and Bifur and kept glancing over his shoulder like he was expecting something to pounce at him any minute now.
“Why are you so calm?” he asked Bofur who’s at the moment merrily talking with Gloin.
“Shouldn’t I be?” Bofur looked at Bilbo without understanding why the halfling was so nervous.
“This forest...it’s way too quiet to my liking,” Bilbo muttered peeking to his left gripping tightly to his coat like it’s the only thing that’s keeping his nerves in check. Gloin came to walk by his side and dropped his hand over Bilbo’s shoulder.
“There’s nothing to fear. We have Thorin’s...” his sentence was cut short by a distant, strong howl of a wolf that stopped the whole company to their tracks.
“Dwalin!” Thorin’s rich, a deep baritone voice emanated from somewhere in the front.
“Aye!” warrior’s gruff voice was heard and he then walked past Thorin taking a firm grip of his ax. Everyone was ready to fight. Fili’s twin swords were in front of him ready to strike down any enemy that came to his path. Kili was glancing his surroundings bow and arrow ready in his hands.
Everyone was on their guard.
“What was that? Was it a wolf?” Bilbo asked a slight panic rising in his chest.
“Aye. It was. Let us hope it wasn’t a common wolf but a...” Bofur answered while looking ahead waiting for something.
“But what? Let’s hope what?” Bilbo looked at Bofur but he didn’t answer because there’s a noise. Thorin and Dwalin were standing side by side gazing through the woods.
There was movement between the trees, quiet rustling as someone or something was heading toward the company.
Then Bilbo saw it.
A huge silver-white wolf with golden eyes emerged from the bushes and stopped in front of Thorin and Dwalin.
“That’s one big scary looking wolf...” Bilbo whispered eyes wide open. But to his great surprise, everyone relaxed and Thorin lowered his sword and the expression on his face softened.
Fili and Kili chuckled. Yes, the wolf was big, standing tall its head was way above Thorins and even Dwalin’s. And its muzzle alone was as long as Bilbo’s arm. But nobody seemed to be afraid of the animal.
Why was that?
Bilbo couldn’t help but wonder.
Wolf’s nostrils flickered as it took a sniff on the air. Thorin waited patiently and let his gaze wander over the wolf’s form. Its silver-white fur shone, where a ray of light touched it, big paws supported the weight of the animal and long bushy tail swayed a few times signaling the animal´s current mood.
“Hey, there girl...” Thorin whispered shifting his gaze back to the she-wolf’s eyes. Movement of her ears told that she heard him although she didn’t move closer to him. But then she closed her eyes and bowed her head low with a soft whine.
Thorin smiled fondly and stepped forward while Dwalin put down his ax and turned around walking away to give them some privacy.
Thorin touched her dense fur and when she didn’t stir, he embedded his hands to her fur. It never stopped to amaze him that although it looked soft and velvety, it was rough, but underneath it, the hair was like flossy peachfuzz.
The she-wolf growled quietly and pressed her massive head against Thorin’s chest eyes still closed. Thorin chuckled and gave her a loving stroke through her neck smelling the wild scent on her. She smelled like wildlife after heavy rain, pine, and autumn. For Thorin, it was the best scent in all Arda.
Bilbo was still staring at the odd scene in front of him.
“Would someone explain to me what is going on?” he quipped.
Fili and Kili came to stand beside him and shared an amused gaze before Fili opened his mouth.
“Well, you see a master burglar, that wolf is our uncle’s beloved.”
Bilbo stared at Fili mouth open and tried to come up with some kind of answer.
“What?” was all he manages to say.
“Yes...she ain’t an actual wolf, she’s a skin-changer,” Kili responded keeping his eyes fixed on her waiting for his uncle to let go of her so he could go to greed her. It’d been nearly a week when they have seen her last.
When Thorin finally stepped back from her, Kili and Fili rushed over to her and tried to tackle her to the ground.
“Auntie!” both brothers shouted overly excited and the she-wolf growled softly which sounded a lot like a peal of laughter. Thorin shaked his head and walked over to Balin and Dwalin.
" I think I saw a small clearing just over there,” Balin pointed to his right and Dwalin nodded.
“Alright. We set a camp for tonight. Let’s move!” Thorin agreed and gave the order.
Bilbo watched as the Durin brothers rode on the wolf´s back, as she trotted in front of the line.
“How much odder this journey is going to get?” he thought to himself and settled behind Bofur and Gloin.
Everyone was settled, Bombur was cooking a pheasant stew that Kili managed to hunt while riding on the she-wolf and Bofur was as always telling everyone one of his stories. When Bilbo turned his head he saw a small and young-looking female approaching them.
“Who is she?” he asked Dori who was sitting next to him with Ori and Nori.
“She’s Thorin’s One. The wolf you saw earlier, of course.” Dori answered and Nori gave Bilbo a look that clearly said: “don’t you know anything?”
Bilbo’s eyes popped wide and his jaw nearly dropped to the ground.
“She’s the wolf skin-changer?”
But she was so small!
How can someone so small become something so big?
When you entered the clearing after changing back to your human form, you couldn’t help but notice the halfling’s expression and chuckled. That reaction never stopped to amuse you.
You made your way over to Thorin and sat beside him nudging him gently with your shoulder. Smiling he turned his head and pressed a soft kiss to your cheek resting his forehead against yours.
“Hello, amrâlimê. I hope your patrol over this week was an easy one?”
How you had been missing that deep baritone voice of his that always send shivers through your spine. You lowered your head to his shoulder and closed your eyes.
“It was. Nothing out of ordinary. Although I did see a certain wizard passing me by muttering something about the stubbornness of dwarves. Any idea what was that all about?”
Thorin lifted his hand to stroke your cheek and for a while, he didn’t say anything, just enjoyed your presence.
“We had a little disagreement about which way to go earlier. Nothing to worry about.”
“A little? Didn’t look like a little disagreement to me.” you laughed and looked up.
Thorin smiled that rare smile that always managed to make you weak in your knees.
“Get some rest ibinê. You’re heading out for another patrol tomorrow morning?” Thorin said as he coaxed you to lie down next to him.
“Yes I am.” you yawned and took a comfortable position on your bedroll and closed your eyes.
It didn’t take long when you were fast asleep. Thorin watched you as you slept beside him before Balin drew his attention back to the present. They discussed their next route a couple of hours then decided to take some sleep as well. Tomorrow was going to be quite difficult, the route they’re forced to take was dangerous even if you’re there in your wolf form to watch their back nothing was certain.