The Company of Thorin Oakenshield was not but a few days outside of the Shire when the midsummer’s heat began to take a toll on them. The sun’s radiation would turn each of the dwarves’ heavy coats into ovens by high noon each day. Poor Bilbo Baggins was dripping with sweat as well. The heat was so excruciating that the ponies were beginning to slow down, and Gandalf was beginning to notice.
Then one scorching afternoon, a very weary Kili noticed something in the distance. He was wiping the thick beads of sweat from his forehead and strands of sticky brown hair from his eyes when he saw a glimmer in the distance through the thick trees. He pulled his pony off of the dirt trail the Company was following so that he could get a good look at what he saw. As he peered closer through the trees, he spotted sparkling streams of falling water. Fili, who was just as weary as Kili, had been following him very close when he noticed Kili pull off to the side of the trail. He, too, pulled off the trail, Dwalin looking at them with curious eyes and then moving on.
Fili appeared next to his brother. He always enjoyed looking at his brother’s profile. He had a small, sweet nose and the prettiest dark brown eyes. His absence of a beard did not attract many dwarf maidens, giving the advantage to Fili, allowing him some more time with his baby brother. Fili pulled his eyes from Kili’s profile and tried to find where exactly Kili was looking at off in the distance. “Brother, why did you stop?”
“From here I can see a waterfall. Maybe it flows into a pool,” Kili responded without facing Fili.
Fili looked to his side. “Kili, don’t get any ideas.”
“Oh, come on, brother! You’re burning up, too! We all are!” Kili pointed to the Company far ahead of them, back on the dirt trail.
“Yes, I know. Stopping by an ice-cold pool would be lovely, but convincing Uncle Thorin to stop would be quite the difficult task.” Kili turned to face his brother. A mischievous sparkle crept into his eyes. Fili took note of this. “Kili, I said don’t get any ideas!”
Now a smile grew on Kili’s face. “What? We should at least try!” Kili flicked the reigns, urging the pony to head back onto the trail. Fili sighed and followed his little brother. The two raced past Bilbo and Gandalf towards Thorin. The other dwarves marveled at the racing brothers.
Thorin could hear rushed hooves from behind him. Before he could blink, Fili and Kili appeared by the sides of his pony. He sighed and questioned them. “What are you two up to now?”
Kili answered coolly, “Well, I happened to looked to my side while wiping the sweat from my eyes a little while back on the trail when I spotted something quite interesting.” Kili now had Thorin fully captivated, but all Thorin could think was that Kili had seen an orc. Or worse, an elf. Kili continued in his calm tone as the trail curved towards the direction of the falls. “I had actually seen something quite nice.” Kili and Fili smiled as the falls came into view.
But Thorin had not seen them, for he was still looking at Kili, puzzled. “And what was it exactly that you saw?”
Fili pointed in from of him. “Just look ahead, Uncle!”
Thorin turned to the front and stopped his pony. In front of him was a series of beautifully cascading waterfalls that flowed gracefully into a giant lake surrounded by large, green trees that seemed to provide the perfect shade. When Thorin stopped, the rest of the company did as well. He turned to face Kili, whose eyes were begging to stop at the lake. Thorin turned to Gandalf, who took one look at Kili, another at the falls, and immediately understood. Gandalf merely shrugged and smiled at Thorin, cocking his head to the side slightly. Thorin looked back at Kili whose eyes were still pleading. He finally gave in. “Fine, just this once, Kili.”
Kili’s eyes lit up instantaneously. He glanced at Fili, and half a second later, they were off racing towards the rocky shore of the lake. The Company followed them, but by the time they were done tying up the ponies, Fili and Kili were already removing their weapons and heavy coats. The young brothers stripped down to their pants and thin under-shirts. Fili kept a small dagger, just in case he found a fish to eat. They kicked off their heavy boots and raced through the thick trees towards the back of the lake where a fallen tree concealed a small water cave…
Bilbo, still gripping onto his pony’s reigns, approached Thorin. “Excuse me, Thorin?” Thorin turned his fierce eyes to Bilbo’s, causing the little hobbit’s heart to race. He stammered a bit. “I-er- h-how long will we be staying?”
Thorin wanted to smile at Bilbo’s silly stammering, but he was afraid it would slightly reveal he had feelings for the Halfling. Instead, he turned away to look at the other dwarves. Dori and Nori had already started tending to the ponies. Oin and Gloin had already disappeared into the thick brush of the forest surrounding them, probably in search of fire wood. He thought for a few seconds, leaving Bilbo waiting patiently beside him. Maybe staying one night by the lake wouldn’t slow them down from reaching Erebor. He finally announced to the Company that they would be camping at the lake for the night.
Immediately after announcing this, Thorin heard Ori give a little “Whoo!” Thorin just rolled his eyes. Bilbo looked down to hide his smile, but Thorin caught a glimpse of it and smiled as well, only to conceal his a second later.
Bilbo walked his pony over to Nori and Dori. He then walked through the trees in the same direction that Fili and Kili had run off in. He stopped under a shady tree at the midpoint between the shore where the camp was set up and where Fili and Kili were talking on a small shore near a giant slab of rock.
After seeing the Company settle in, Gandalf looked on at the trail they would take tomorrow. He peeked over his shoulder to see if anyone was watching and once he was all clear, he walked quietly onto the trail. But someone had seen him leave. It was Thorin. He ran to catch up with Gandalf.
“Wizard, where are you off to?” Thorin asked.
Gandalf turned on his heel and raised his eyes to see Thorin tapping his foot. Gandalf chuckled. “I am only checking the route for tomorrow morning. I am not leaving you.”
“And what if there is trouble while you’re gone?”
Gandalf smiled. “Surely the Company of Thorin Oakenshield can fight it off. But let’s just hope for the best, shall we?” He winked and turned around to continue down the rocky trail. Thorin sighed and walked back to the lake. He sat under a shady tree a few feet from Bofur, who was smoking his pipe, and Dwalin, who was napping to regain his energy after having the nightshift.
He looked out onto the sparkling lake. Ori was splashing in the water like a toddler, and Balin was wading near the shore with his pants rolled up. Thorin’s eyes began to search for his little hobbit. Where was he?
Bofur was watching Thorin’s eyes switch from left to right. He had known about how Thorin secretly admired Bilbo since the morning they left the Shire and Bilbo came running behind the Company with his contract in hand. Bofur had seen Thorin’s eyes light up from the second Bilbo shouted “Wait!”
The wheels were turning in Bofur’s mind now. He thought that if he could get Bilbo and Thorin to somehow get to know each other, then Thorin would finally reveal his feelings for the Halfling. Bofur had a plan. He stood up and walked over to Thorin, whose eyes were still in search of Bilbo.
“Er, Thorin?” Thorin looked up at Bofur from where he sat quietly. “I saw something through the trees over there.” Bofur pointed to the trees in Bilbo’s direction. “It was moving fast, and I thought you might wanna check it out.”
Thorin looked in the direction of Bofur’s finger. He raised an eyebrow. “Is this another waterfall you want me to see?”
Bofur chuckled nervously. “Hehe, no. I’m quite serious.”
Thorin looked at Dwalin who was deep in sleep. He sighed, and stood up. “If I’m not back soon, come and look for me. And bring weapons.” Bofur saluted Thorin and returned to his tree to watch Thorin cautiously trek through the thick trees towards Bilbo. Bofur chucked to himself and smoked the rest of his pipe before drifting off.