“Will!” Harlow hissed in her cousin’s ear, trying to capture his attention. “William!”
Finally, his head snapped back to meet Harlow’s, at the mention of his full name. William, or as he preferred, Will, had curly dusty brown hair and hazel eyes. He had the soft face of a Hobbit’s, and had the appetite of one, but Will, like Harlow, was only half Hobbit. Though, the only things that hinted that was his bulky muscles and six, random braids.
However, Harlow and her brother, Dellvan, looked more like their Dwarven father. They had chocolate brown hair and dark, olive skin and almost black eyes.
Harlow pulled Will away from Lobelia’s birthday party. The three weren’t exactly sociable, but Lobelia would not take a kind ‘No thank you, happy birthday, anyway’. Every Hobbit in the Shire had to come.
“What is it?” Will asked, seeing Harlow’s troubled face. He had grown up with Harlow, he had even helped her raise Dellvan after their home was destroyed. Will knew that Harlow wasn’t easily phased, she’d been through too much for anything except their past to scare her now.
“Someone offered you and I a job.” Harlow answered, starting to chew her nails. It was a nervous habit, something the two shared after crossing middle-earth and barely surviving.
“Well, what’s so wrong about that?” Will questioned. A job was a good thing. It meant food on the table and getting closer to paying off their debts. Harlow should’ve been ecstatic about it.
“We’re supposed to bodyguard Bilbo…we’re going to Erebor.” It came out as a strangled croak.
Will felt like his pulse stopped. He could hear his heart pounding, like the sound of a giant out for a jog. “E…Ereb…Erebor…?” Will didn’t care that his voice was cracked and weak, he couldn’t hear it over the memories of the screams and crying, anyways.
“We-we don’t have to, Will. We can always-“
“…Enough to pay off our debt, apparently.”
For a minute, their eyes connected. It was a silent agreement. They would go.