“Honestly, I think a lot of people can appreciate beauty regardless of gender.” –My Best Friend, Jade.
“You’re a Dam?!” Kili cried out for the hundredth time, looking equally dazed as if his poor brain could not understand what he was saying. The rest of the company were exhibiting varying stages of denial, disbelief and shock.
“Maybe it was unwise to bring this up at breakfast.”Bifur grunted, eyeing his cousin as Bombur nodded in agreement through his mouthful of sausage.
“Well, when else was I going to tell ‘em?” Bofur argued, rubbing a tired hand over her abdomen as a cramp began. “Me monthlies started again and I need some herbs!”
“How did you hide them during the quest?” Oin asked, quickly getting over his shock and already measuring out certain herbs into a pouch from his handy healer bag.
Bofur sighed, “That’s the thing really. I started to have a natural cycle in Rivendell but then…they stopped.”
This statement was only met with staring from the rest of the Company even as Bofur lost herself in her confused thoughts.
The warm voice of their burglar had the dwarves twisting in their seats or turning to face the hobbit who acknowledged them all with a polite nod as he stood in the doorway, sipping on a cup of hot tea.
“Bilbo!” Kili cried out, racing over to him with crazed eyes. Once in front of the hobbit, he grabbed the front of Bilbo’s shirt tightly and looked him dead in the eye, “Bofur’s a female! A Dam!”
The sudden crack of Bilbo’s palm across his face had Kili stop short. “Get a hold of yourself.” Bilbo said calmly, and held out his tea to the hyperventilating dwarf. “Drink.”
Kili took the proffered drink and immediately gulped down the beverage before throwing the empty cup over his shoulder narrowly missing Nori and shattering once hitting the wall. “Bofur’s a female, Bilbo!” The dwarf cried out again.
Bilbo only shrugged. “I already knew that.”
“What?” The Company yelled.
“When?!” Bifur and Bombur yelled, standing up from their seats menacingly.
“How??!!” Bofur screamed, her eyes wide as she crossed her arms over her chest protectively.
“Nothing like that!” The hobbit reassured them hurriedly, holding up his hands for peace and sent Bofur a slight smile. “I had my suspicions from the moment we met in my hobbit hole and as the quest continued…I decided to help you. If you remember, I gave you a beverage while in Rivendell telling you it would soothe your stomach pains?”
Bifur growled at the hobbit as Bofur pondered at that before nodding enthusiastically, “Aye! I remember. Ye had noticed my cramps and made the drink for me.” She smiled shyly at Bilbo, “It helped quite a lot.”
“What was the tonic, laddie?” Oin asked interestedly, holding up his ear horn.
“It was a herbal concoction created by my mother.” Bilbo replied quietly, his smile gone replaced by a sad light in his eyes. “She created the beverage to stop her monthlies for great periods of time and as part of my inheritance, she left me the recipe in the case if I ever had daughters of my own who were fond of adventures away from home.”
The burglar went silent after that, leaving the room sombre at the revelation until Bofur’s chair scraped against the floor as she stood.
“But…why? Why help me? Why didn’t ye tell me ye knew?” Bofur asked agitatedly, her brown eyes fixed on Bilbo. The dam was taken aback at Bilbo’s thoughtful stare. Those emerald eyes seemed to be staring at something beyond her scuffed boots and clothing, her dwarven looks and her signature hat.
“I don’t know,” He finally answered honestly, his eyes never leaving Bofur, “I was confused at first as to why you were on the quest but after a while...It didn’t matter as much. I decided to help you because you had a fierce spirit that never dulled - just like your cheery smile… so I brought the herbs with me and made the tonic for you in Rivendell.” Bilbo paused to bow deeply in the gaping dam’s direction, “I apologise for not telling you what you drank.”
Bofur was beyond shocked. “B-but- but, I’m a female and ye still helped me-“
“I don’t care if you’re female or male,” Bilbo interjected smoothly, his eyes soft. “Just be you, Bofur. Never let anyone make you feel any different or any less….because just by being you, Bofur, has always been enough for me.”
“Awww!” Dori, Ori, Fili, and Kili chorused, grinning widely. The rest were discretely wiping tears away (even a stern King) and Bofur promptly burst into tears at the declaration. A subtle push from Bombur had the dam lurching forward, soon meeting Bilbo (who was pulled and pushed none too gently in Bofur’s direction by a teary eyed Dwalin) halfway and into the caught off guard hobbit’s arms. With the company’s encouraging smiles and happy gestures from Bifur, Bilbo set out to soothe Bofur’s tears. He tilted up her face gently by her downy chin and tenderly wiped her eyes and received a watery smile from the dam in response.
Taking what seemed to be a fortifying breath; Bilbo reached into one of his pockets and held out a wrapped item to Bofur. “Here, this is for you.”
Bofur quickly wiped her eyes with a swipe of her hand and took the proffered gift. The wrapping was of soft leather with twine and as she loosened it, she gasped in surprise before looking up at Bilbo. “A handkerchief?”
And a lovely one at that. Bofur ran her hands over the prize wonderingly; the square was simple but elegant. A creamy pale yellow in colour with silk borders stitched in and Bofur’s own name in the corner in an elegant script.
“In the Shire, when we wish to court someone, a handkerchief is exchanged.” Bilbo explained hesitantly.
Bofur’s head whipped up, her eyes wide as she blushed darkly, “Wait- so when I gave ye my handkerchief...”
“You were essentially asking me to marry you.” Bilbo finished for her with a grin, “You didn’t understand the gesture…but I knew you were the one anyway. Will you accept this as a token of my affections and allow me to court you properly, Bofur? With your family’s blessings, of course.”
Bofur didn’t even turn to see her brother and cousin’s reactions (both were smiling and nodding enthusiastically) as she nodded her consent.
“Yes- wait!” Bofur frowned suddenly, making everyone pause in their congratulations and applause. “Does that mean I’m to shave?” She frowned, one of her hands resting on one curled end of her trademark moustache. “Those lasses in the shire-”
“Are in the Shire.” Bilbo interrupted firmly before smiling at Bofur lovingly, “I happen to like where your beard and moustache are. I think their as beautiful as the one who wears them.”
If Bofur could have melted into goo, it would have been at that moment.
“Mr. Baggins has a way with words,” Gloin murmured appreciatively to his brother much to the agreement of the others. Meanwhile, Ori, Fili and Kili seemed to be noting down everything as they watched the encounter avidly. Bifur was just happy his cousin had found a suitable mate while Bombur sighed wistfully at the thought of visiting Bag End…and it’s delicious pantry full of food.
“Here ye are, lass.” Oin interrupted the lovey-dovey moment as he tossed Bofur the sealed pouch of herbs. Bofur caught the package deftly and nodded her thanks to the healer.
Bilbo grimaced as she pocketed the herbs, “I’m sorry, you must be having terrible cramps. That’s the only major side effect besides heavy bleeding.”
“It’s alright,” Bofur reassured him and pressed a kiss (Oi! Bifur growled warningly) to his cheek.
“Why don’t I make it up to you?” Bilbo asked, and grinned at Bofur’s confused stare. “I always took care of my mother when it was her time of the month and she always said the best cures are baked goods, plenty of liquids and most of all, tender love and care” He offered his hand to her, “Why don’t we make our way to the kitchen so I can make you something?”
A cleared throat from behind the two had Bofur scowl at her expectant looking cousin and brother.
“By we, I mean us.” Bilbo amended with a wink to his new relatives.
Bofur only rolled eyes and took her hobbit's proffered hand as they walked out of the room and away from their cheering friends. Even when her brother nudged Bilbo playfully and Bifur smirked at her, Bofur couldn’t stop smiling.
Perhaps it was the intertwining of their fingers or the weight of Bilbo’s hand in one of hers but it was too sweet a moment…especially with his handkerchief clutched tightly in the other.
Just tying up loose ends:
-I think Belladonna influenced her son in many ways and she made sure that he knew exactly what his female counterparts went through. Add in Bilbo's keen observation skills and he connected the dots very quickly concerning Bofur.
-The herbal tonic/concoction in question has no real name but there are certain herbs/plants that can affect an individual's period. This one is usually ingested as a hot liquid, like tea. Pros: Completely stops period for months at a time
Cons: Heavy bleeding and OMG-You-Bitch cramps.
-Bilbo made the handkerchief while in Erebor. I can imagine him finding lovely pieces of cloth, etc in Rivendell/Laketown and keeping it close to him and finally deciding on making a courting gift for his lady love. ^^
Hope you enjoyed!