A Very Unexpected Journey (OC x Thorin Oakenshield) Chapter 4

Chapter 4

“You didn’t say anything about that!” Will hissed in Harlow’s ear.

“I didn’t know!” Harlow defended herself, keeping her eyes trained ahead, but at no one particular. 

“You didn’t tell them?” Thorin had overheard the conversation, his anger growing at the wizard with every word.

“If I had, they would not have come.” Gandalf answered calmly. Avoiding the question that was hanging in the air, the wizard turned to Bilbo. “Come now, Master Baggins,” He turned around and headed farther into the house, Bilbo trailing behind him.

“C’mon, this involves us, too.” Will nudged Harlow.

                                                                                   *Magical Time-skip!*

After an exciting story on the invention of golf, Bilbo turned his attention on the two Ironhearts’. “Can you promise that I will come back?”

The two cousins exchanged looks. They would be crossing Middle-Earth to face a dragon, Smaug, no less. “No, we can’t promise that.” Will answered, watching the Hobbit in front of him. He was scared, that much was obvious, but Will could still see it. That little spark that craved adventure, something to brighten up his dreary life.

“But we can promise that we will do everything we can to protect you.” Harlow gave Bilbo a reassuring smile. “We would risk our lives for your safety.” The Ironhearts would have died if it wasn’t for Bilbo’s sudden need of hire.

“Let me think about it.” Mr. Baggins’s rubbed his temples with a sigh. “I’ll think about it.”

                                                                         *Another Magical Time-skip!*

“Do you think he’ll sign it?” Will asked as the two plopped down against the wall.

“You saw that spark.” Harlow answered plainly. “He will.”

There was a certainty that would have edged anyone off in her voice. “I don’t know, I don’t think it’s strong enough.” Will responded, ignoring her tone. He had known Harlow long enough to know that she could easily disguise her emotions.

“You should know that the tiniest spark can start an inferno.” Harlow shot back, instantly regretting it when she saw Will’s face. They kept silent until they started to hear low singing coming from the living room.

“Far over the misty mountains cold,

To dungeons deep and caverns old,”

Harlow and Will froze, chills running up their spines.

A Very Unexpected Journey (OC x Thorin Oakenshield) Chapter 3

Chapter 3

After Harlow and Will had tucked Dellvan into bed, they pulled out weapons that they thought would never see light again and their leathers and furs that were worn from travel.

They had expected Bilbo Baggins’s house to at least be somewhat noisy, but when they arrived, the only thing they could hear was the party down towards the bottom of the Shire. “Maybe he cancelled?” Will suggested with a yawn. “I wouldn’t blame him.”

“I don’t think he would have just asked for bodyguards and then cancelled the night before he was supposed to leave.” Harlow reasoned, trying to blink the sleepiness out of her.

“There’s only one way to find out, you know.” Will shrugged and scratched his chin.

Harlow didn’t respond and instead, reached forward and gave three, strong and clear knocks. They waited, anxious, the only sound being their breathing.

After a moment and exasperated sigh and the shuffling of feet came from the other side. The door opened to reveal Bilbo Baggins, the very man they had been hired to protect. His soft face looked worn down from stress and his shoulders visibly relaxed when he saw fellow Hobbits and not rowdy Dwarves.

Bilbo’s hazel eyes gazed on the two, swirling in confusion.
Harlow gave him a soft smile to make up for her cousin’s lack of manners and to try and comfort Mr. Baggins. The poor lad must’ve had a rough time, telling by how exhausted he looked.

“Hello, Master Baggins.” Harlow and Will gave him a slight bow of their heads.

“Harlow, William!” Bilbo exclaimed, surprised, “What are you two doing here?” The hobbit was much to tired for formalities at the moment and only slightly cared if he came off as a bit rude. After all, a crowd of thirteen Dwarves that weren’t the politest, did that to you.

William frowned, more awake. “We were hired to be your bodyguards. You didn’t know?”

A wave of clarity washed over Bilbo’s expression. “Gandalf!” He turned back inside his house with pursed lips. What nerve this wizard had!

The gray wizard came into view. “I almost thought you wouldn’t come.”

Harlow and Will stepped into Bilbo’s house, careful not to track any more mud for the sake of the Hobbit, though, it really didn’t matter, telling by the state of the house. “Aye, and we almost didn’t.” Harlow and her cousin glared at the wizard. This human knew too much of their past. The only ones that knew this much were Will’s sister, Victoria, and the Elves of Rivendell, who were all under the oath of secrecy. 

“Let me introduce you to the leader of our company, Thorin Oakenshield.” Gandalf nodded as a Dwarf stepped out from the crowd of Dwarves that surrounded them.

He had black hair that mingled with gray, like smoke and Sweltering sapphire eyes. Though he wore simple clothes of fur and leather boots, he gave off an heir of regalness and majesty.

Harlow and Will went rigid. Thorin Oakenshield? The Dwarven prince of Erebor? This trip was getting more worse by the second.

“You never said anything about two more people joining the company.” Thorin growled at the wizard, “Children and one a girl, no less.”

Gandalf sighed as Harlow bristled.

Will couldn’t help a grin. Harlow was never good with dealing with people who had sexist beliefs, having grown up with fiercely independent women and working in the forges with her father and hunting with her uncle. “Mr. Oakenshield, I am afraid you are quite mistaken.” Harlow seethed, “We are not part of your company, but are simply Mr. Baggins’s bodyguards for his journey.”

“Who are you?” Thorin turned to look at her. No one had dared to talk to him in such a way before. Just who did this child think she was? 

Harlow’s back straightened. “Harlow Ironheart, not at your service.” She didn’t feel the need to grovel, even if he was her prince. Years of living among the peaceful, free Hobbits only strengthened Harlow’s sense of freedom.

“Shouldn’t you be home, tending to your children and husband?” Thorin continued to put pressure on her, “How do you expect to defend not only yourself, but two others if the only weapon you know how to hold is a kitchen knife?”

Harlow barely restrained herself from pouncing on the Dwarf and ripping his guts out. “I must ask that you keep your personal thoughts on me to yourself unless I should ask, Oakenshield.”

“Mr. and Ms. Ironheart are perfectly capable of protecting Bilbo on this quest and that is all that matters.” Gandalf intervened before things turned deadly.

“What quest?” Bilbo pipped up, a confused frown plastered on his face.

“You said we were going to Erebor, but why exactly are we going there?” Will ignored Bilbo.

“A quest to reclaim Erebor. To retrieve the Arkenstone.” 

A Very Unexpected Journey (OC x Thorin Oakenshield) Chapter Two

Chapter Two

“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-“

“How much?”

“…Enough to pay off our debt, apparently.”

For a minute, their eyes connected. It was a silent agreement. They would go.

A Very Unexpected Journey (OC x Thorin Oakenshield) Chapter One

Chapter One

There, in front of Harlow, stood a wizard (But for all she could tell, he has just some random traveler).

“Can I help you, sir?” the girl asked hesitantly. Harlow didn’t want to meddle with homeless people, she barely could support herself, her brother and her cousin.

The wizard hummed. “Yes. Yes, I believe you can. And I believe I could help you as well.”

Harlow frowned. Help her? The only thing she needed was money to pay off the debts to a nearby Hobbit that had helped her years ago, when Harlow and her two other family members had come crawling into the Shire. “Help me?”

“You are in need of employment, are you not?” the wizard responded with a knowing smile.

Harlow felt a jolt run through her. A mind reader, perhaps? “Who are you?” she asked with an exhale, trying to clear her mind. If this man did have mind reading powers, Harlow needed to keep her mind blank. There were too many private things in there that she wanted no one, not even the person closest to her, her cousin, knowing.

“I am Gandalf the Grey, a wandering wizard,” he continued, “And I wish to employ you and your cousin as a bodyguard for Bilbo Baggins.”

“Excuse me, I think I heard you wrong. You said Mr. Baggins was leaving the Shire.” Harlow didn’t know Bilbo Baggins personally. He was a Hobbit with a good reputation and he was never late, too, according to her cousin. Harlow had never met the man, but if even Lobelia, her neighbor, had to admit he was somewhat decent, then that was an accomplishment all by itself.

“You heard correctly, my dear.” Gandalf chuckled. “So, will you take the job?”

“How much is the pay?” Harlow asked. She wasn’t going to jump in on a job without knowing her pay first. “And where are we going?”

“If successful, there will be enough to pay off your debts.” the wizard responded, but then he paused for a while. “Our destination is… Erebor.”

Harlow immediately flinched back. No. She wanted nothing to do with that place ever again.

Fire…Screaming…Blood…FIRE!

Shakily, Harlow jolted out of her flashback before she drifted off into those terrible memories. The burn that ran across from her collar bone to her pinky felt like it was in searing, blood-curdling pain once more. If it was just up to her, she would have denied the job right then and there, but they desperately needed money.

“I’ll talk to him.” was all that she was able to say.

Gandalf nodded, “If you accept my offer, come to Mr. Baggins’s home tonight.”

Harlow didn’t say anything else and returned back to her hole in the ground.