Summary: Beryl finds out exactly what the adventure is that Gandalf has lined up for her and doesn't care for it at all. Notes: Image found on pinterest, so not sure who to credit. If you know, comment or message me so I can attribute appropriately. It's gorgeous. Beryl was self aware enough to realize this one intimidated her no little bit. However, the second he strutted into her home as if he owned it, her dander was up and running. Her shoulders squared, her chin came up, and her fingers twitched for her broom. Several dwarves backed away. Whether to get out of the battle zone or to claim a better view, not even Gandalf could say. Beryl figured possibly both. “So, you’re the hobbit.” “And you’re a dwarf. Now that’s settled, what of it?” Beryl crossed her arms over her chest. Unfortunately, this drew attention where she didn’t want it, so settled for putting her fists on her hips. All that blasted dwarf did was cock an eyebrow and smile at her as he twirled his heavy cloak off onto a hook near the door. “You’re spirited, I’ll give you that, but are you battle ready? Axe or sword?” Bofur, of the ridiculous hat, couldn’t resist. “Well, she’s right handy with a broom. I can tell ye that.” The laughter and aye’s that drew had Beryl blushing to her roots. “A broom, do you think a broom would do against orcs or trolls?” The maddening dwarf dared cock a supercilious brow at her. She returned the favor, which the arrogant git seemed to find humorous. She just couldn’t help herself, her mouth ran off with her. “Well, it held off twelve dwarves right well enough.” The quick answer had the dwarves roaring in mirth. Thorin gave the young woman in front of him a more thorough onceover . Her head was crowned with wild brown curls valiantly escaping the severe bun she’d tried to tame them. Bright brown eyes regarded him with no fear. She had the straightest brows he’d ever seen, and unlike most hobbits a long, high bridged nose. The generous mouth though, that was typical of most hobbits he’d seen, along with the plump cheeks. The stubborn chin and scowl were unexpected. She was shaping up to be full of surprises. He couldn’t help thinking again that she might do for this venture after all. Her clothes were nothing less than one would expect of a well bred hobbit of means: full sleeved, pristine white shirt; ladylike wool waistcoat in deep blue, and full peach colored skirts. They were modest, well tailored, and without a single bow or frippery. They spoke of comfort, breeding, and a mind boggling practicality. Beryl had enough of standing in hallways, and didn’t care for his calculating appraisal. “Look, we can spend the rest of the night here trading barbs, or you can go seat yourself at the table while I heat up a meal for you. Coming?” Thorin could only bow to his hostess and follow her lead. BB*BB*BB*BB*BB*BB*BB*BB*BB*BB*BB*BB*BB*BB*BB Never did Beryl think the day would come she’d have to escape her own hobbit hole, but escape she needed, and there was no place like her garden when in this much turmoil. A Dragon! Gandalf thought she, of all people, was fit to take on a dragon. That opinion was a bit much even for her to swallow. What was that wizard thinking? Beryl threw her arms over the garden railing, letting the soft night air soothe her roiling thoughts. “Is this the same hobbit that chased four dwarves, including the mighty Dwalin, from her home with a mere broom? I never thought I’d see you run from battle, Lady.” Beryl raised her head from her folded arms to see merry blue eyes and dashing dimples smiling at her from the shadows. She so did not need the blonde scamp cajoling her now. “I’m regrouping. Finding out your friend since childhood wants to feed you to a dragon with a helping of dwarves on the side is a bit much to take in all at once.” Chuckling softly, the blonde dwarf joined her against the fence rail. “That sounds more like. I didn’t know what to make of the defeated lass of a minute ago.” The dwarf casually drew out his pipe, filling, tamping, and lighting it. He drew in deeply, and let the smoke float out over the bucolic serenity spread before them in the moonlight. “Defeated? Hah! Twas but a momentary overwhelming.” That knowing, smirking glance deflated Beryl on the spot. She laid her head back down on her folded arms, letting it take her full weight. “Alright, so I still feel overwhelmed. Ask me to solve a centuries long feud between two hardheaded old curmudgeons? Yes, I can do that. Ask me to balance the church budget while managing my own family? Yes, I can do that. Organize the family reunion right after juggling the Spring Market Fair the week prior? I can do that. “but take on a dragon that decimated two peoples? I don’t know. It’s so outside of anything I ever imagined having to handle, I just….don’t know.” Beryl hung there over the rail like washing left on the line. Her companion patted her back in sympathy. “Gandalf believes you are the only one capable of giving this venture hope. If a wizard believes you can do it, who are you to doubt yourself?” “The one person that knows me better than the wizard?” Again that soft chuckle. Beryl felt it caress her nerves, soothing their frazzled edges better than the soft scents of her flowers. Beryl took quick stock of herself. “Now, I know I can get you lot there. I know how to plan a trip, plan for any emergency, but dealing with a dragon? What experience could I compare that to? I don’t know the first thing about dragons, and all that talk about sneaking and burgling! I’ve never!” “Gandalf did mention you never lost a game of hide and seek. There was also something about Old Bristlemyer’s gin…” the sputtering indignation was well worth the blow to his shoulder. The young dwarf was set laughing again. “I was returning it! That daft cousin of mine, Paladin, thought it’d be a lark to try it for himself. I was trying to keep that plonker out of trouble.” For good measure, Beryl gave him one more good shove in the shoulder, nearly tumping him over. “I also got caught. Hardly proof I’d succeed against a dragon.” “Ah, but how many times did you not get caught?” Again, moonlight caught dimples winking in the dark, nearly a match for the silver clasps winking in his braided mustache. Beryl’d never seen its like. Who braids a mustache? She raised her head, squinting at him in the moonlight. “Alright, I’m not going to keep calling you ‘Blonde Scamp.’ Which one are you?” He guffawed so hard, she worried he’d lose his place on the rail. It was a nasty fall over the side of her hill. “Is that what you’ve been calling me?” Did nothing spoil this one’s humor? “It’s nicer than some of the others.” The dry tone did not escape unnoticed. “I can imagine. Fili, son of Dis, sisterson to Thorin Oakenshield.” He waited. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me!” There it was.