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In a Dusty Corner  by shirebound

DISCLAIMER:  The Professor’s wonderful characters don’t belong to me; I just get to think about them day and night.
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In a Dusty Corner

His sword, Sting, Bilbo hung over his fireplace, and his coat of marvellous mail, the gift of the Dwarves from the Dragon-hoard, he lent to a museum, to the Michel Delving Mathom-house in fact. But he kept in a drawer at Bag End the old cloak and hood that he had worn on his travels; and the ring, secured by a fine chain, remained in his pocket. ‘Prologue’, The Fellowship of the Ring


The Dwarf had been out of sight for quite a long time, or so it seemed to Falco. One could trust Dwarves in all but the temptation to pocket a bit o’ gold or jools here and there, or so it was said, so Falco doubted the fellow was sneaking anything he shouldn’t be from the shelves, racks, and chests that filled the Mathom-house. Still, it never hurt to keep an eye on things, did it? Whistling a bit of a tune and wielding his dust cloth here and there, he wandered about until he found the robust fellow with the beard. The Dwarf turned when Falco approached.

“Falco Chubb-Baggins at your service, sir,” Falco said brightly. “That’s an unusual shirt hangin’ there, isn’t it? It belongs to my cousin.”

“Thráchar son of Thrárin am I,” said the Dwarf. “I am likewise at your service. I am returning to my home in the Blue Mountains after a long journey. You are kin to the esteemed Burglar Baggins? I am honored.” He bowed low.

“B.. b.. burglar?” Falco sputtered. “You must be mistaken, sir. Cousin Bilbo is a gentlehobbit, for all his odd ways.”

“I meant no disrespect,” Thráchar said. He reached out to touch the garment he had been examining, causing a bit of dust to fly off.

“Not many folks take notice of this,” Falco said apologetically. He hastened to dust the shirt vigorously, surprised at how brightly it began to shine. After a few moments, the fine mail glittered even in the dim light. “It’s a lovely thing, isn’t it?” he marveled.

“Indeed it is,” the Dwarf said quietly.

“It’s not for sale,” Falco said warningly. “Cousin Bilbo was very clear about that. Not for sale or trade, that’s what he said. He’ll be wanting it back someday, he was quite clear about it.”

“I would not dream of making an offer,” the Dwarf said solemnly. “However, I have found a few delightful oddments that I would like to purchase, if we can come to an understanding. I will meet you in the front hall shortly, if that is agreeable.”

Falco nodded and took his leave, beaming and humming. He knew there were plenty of goods stored here that the owners wouldn’t mind selling, and his commission on a purchase or two would suit him well since the income from his family's crops had been somewhat less than usual in the past years.

When he was once again alone, Thráchar reverently lifted the mithril from its stand, noting how light it was, and how finely made. Thorin Oakenshield, may his memory never fade, held this very garment, he thought. Burglar Baggins was wearing it during the Battle, and here it is, in a corner of the Shire that I suspect few Dwarves have ever stopped to explore. Replacing the shirt, he bowed his head and murmured something in his own tongue before turning away.

After gathering up from a crowded shelf an armful of toys and baubles he knew his young relatives would enjoy, he went to find the hobbit. To his discerning eye, the skillfully-patched coat of the small, earnest fellow before him revealed that Mr. Chubb-Baggins was not as well off as other hobbits he had met; he therefore agreed to the price the hobbit quoted without question, foregoing the long and exuberant bargaining Dwarves found so enjoyable.

“Splendid, splendid!” announced Falco, accepting the coins with barely-concealed joy. “That will do nicely. May the road ahead be a smooth one for you, sir.”

“I believe I will detour from my journey for a few days,” Thráchar said. “Does Burg... Mister Baggins live nearby?”

“Not too far, back along the Road to Hobbiton and across The Water,” Falco said. “Anyone you meet will be able to direct you. But Bilbo is quite particular about visitors, mind. Tea is at four, of course.”

“Yes,” Thráchar said with a broad smile, remembering the tales. “So we have been told.”

** END ** 





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